Monday, November 23, 2009

Seven Life-Changing Syllables

This is a story from The Furious Longing of God by Brennan Manning. While teaching the class The Art & Science of Forgiveness, this story was read to open the third night of the class. This morning the Lord nudged my heart and I knew it was going to be the next HOPE ALERT.

I will never forget a retreat experience years ago in the Midwest. It was a rather large gathering, about 7,000 people. An invitation for healing prayer followed each night’s service; I would go into a side room and meet with those who felt compelled to come. On one particular night, the line extended well beyond midnight and after finishing, I went straight to bed, not even taking my clothes off I was so exhausted. About three o’clock in the morning, I heard a rap on the door and a squeaky little voice: ‘Brennan, can I talk to you?’ I opened the door to find a 78 year old nun. And she began to cry. ‘Sister: What can I do for you?’ We found two chairs in the hallway and her story began. ‘I’ve never told anyone this in my entire life. It started when I was five years old. My father would crawl into my bed with no clothes on. He would touch me there; he said it’s what our family doctor said we should do. When I was nine, my father took my virginity. By the time I was twelve, I knew of every kind of sexual perversion you read about in dirty books. Brennan, do you have any idea how dirty I feel? I’ve lived with so much hatred of my father and hatred of myself that I would only go to Communion when my absence would be conspicuous.” In the next few minutes, I prayed with her for healing. Then I asked her if she would find a quiet place every morning for the next thirty days, sit down in a chair, close her eyes, upturn her palms, and pray this one phrase over and over: ABBA, I belong to You.
It’s a prayer of exactly seven syllables, the number that corresponds perfectly to the rhythm of our breathing. As you inhale—ABBA. As you exhale—I belong to you.
Through her tears she agreed…One of the most moving and poetic follow-up letters I’ve ever received came from this sister. In it she described the inner healing of her heart, a complete forgiveness of her father, and an inner peace she’d never known in her 78 years. She concluded her letter with these words: “A year ago, I would’ve’ signed this letter with my real name in religious life—Sister Mary Genevieve. But form now on,
I’m Daddy’s little girl.

There are tear drops on my copy of this book—and I can’t tell you how often I breathe—Abba I belong to You! Forgiveness and healing is a process but oh the privilege to be helping so many with this journey. Why not consider for this Christmas, a stocking stuffer to encourage a person’s liberating freedom from the past through forgiving freely as Abba as forgiven you and I? A sign on I-75 north of Gainesville, Florida reads: “Forgiving others is an absolute necessity!” Help me spread the good news-- order Free Yourself to Love: The Liberating Power of Forgiveness. Click on this link: and place your order now. After pre-ordering the book on Amazon, forward your email confirmation to You will receive a password to access to the on-line DVD of Forgiving the Unforgivable.

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Monday, November 2, 2009

Almost An Extinct Breed: Good Friends

Recently an old friend read me a poem and afterwards said with deep emotion: “You are one of the few people on this planet that such a poem describes.” My response: “That makes me so sad—to hear that such a GOOD FRIEND is an exceptional thing—especially in the life of such a fabulous follower of Jesus!” I thought about her comments and the poem for several days and I decided that I wanted to share it with all of you. May you examine your heart and see whether you offer such friendship to those that God has brought into your life. I think Christians should be exceptional friends.

On Friendship by George Elliott
Oh the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person:
Having neither to weigh thought nor measure words;
But to pour them out just as they are, chaff and grain together,
Knowing that a faithful hand will take and sift them,
Keep what is worth keeping and then
With a breath of kindness, blow the rest away.

True friendship is a ministry of encouragement:
“Encouragement is the kind expression that helps someone want to be a better Christian even when life is rough.” (Dr. Larry Crabb)
“Carry one another’s burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”(Gal.6:2)
“A friend loves at all times…” (Prov. 17:17)
“No one has greater love than this, that someone would lay down his life for his friends.”(John 15:13)

Laying down one’s life for a friend in the 21st century will cost you time, focused attention and compassion that resists a rush to judgment.
Are you such a friend as G. Elliott and Jesus described?
If you haven’t been this kind of friend in awhile...consider a schedule adjustment that has time for “kindly listening and sifting!”
Have you registered for the FREE YOURSELF TO LOVE CONFERENCE, November 7, 2009? It is this Saturday. You can still register today, call 1-800-965-9324 or go to
- Common lies that Wreck our relationships
- Happiness Fantasy
- Normalize Fighting
- Men are not Clairvoyant
- Dangerous “Just Friends” syndrome
- My Loved One Should Make Me Happy!
- The dependency that strangles love
- And many more “memos to strengthen relationship

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