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    Welcome to the Masquerade Party

    MannaXPRESS couple_masks_640x480-4 Welcome to the Masquerade Party  By Mike Tummillo

    [dropcap]E[/dropcap]ach day as we step outside, we are surrounded by people wearing masks. There’s the woman who, as a little girl, was never validated by her daddy. So, she jumps from man to man hoping one day to meet her knight in shining armor.

    There is the little boy trapped within a big, burly man’s body who’s been dragging around with him all the years of loneliness, the pain of not measuring up, even trying to fill his God-shaped void with a woman. Having repeatedly failed, he’s tried drinking, porn, drugs, big-boy toys–in some cases, the ministry.

    People are seeking approval. We want to be accepted. I recently heard a story about a very wealthy man with a very successful business who admitted that the motivation behind his success was a desire to “prove himself” to his father, long deceased.

    Where’s the peace in all these charades? There isn’t any.

    If you’re looking for a ministry opportunity, look no further than right outside your cubicle. They’re everywhere. It’s a leper colony out there. People are bleeding spiritually all over the conference room yet playing dress-up in an effort to impress as they jockey for position so that they can buy a new car, another suit, have some work done on their teeth or bodies.

    What about you? Have you closely examined why it is you do what you do? Are you hurting? Hurt people are hurting people. Criticized people criticize people. It’s called reaping and sowing.

    In an effort to keep this message short, I’ll cut to the chase: For 99 percent of us, the root cause of our issues is unforgiveness.

    I’ll never forget when I prayed and asked the Holy Spirit to show me who had hurt me so that I could forgive them. I mean really forgive them and release them from the bondage of my grudges and anger and bitterness—for both of our sakes. I took a pen and paper, and He revealed more than 300 individuals, many of whose names I did not know and some of whom were long dead. I was desperate to be the strongest Christian I could be at all costs. I was willing to do anything.

    I prayed for every one of those people. No, I prayed for some until I felt the breakthrough–that I had attained forgiveness. I wasn’t going through the motions. Not this time. In some cases I wrote letters. In others, I went to ask forgiveness face to face–quite humbling, but glorious in every case. The result? Total freedom. Complete victory.

    Was that it? Hardly. To this day, on occasion, I’ll feel that nudge, “Hey, remember so and so? Forgive him too.” These days I run quickly to seek closure and ask forgiveness or forgive. No lip service. I seek God for the grace to do what He requires of all of us.

    Yes, we are surrounded by people wearing masks–but we’ve got ’em right where we want ’em.

    Following are three short prayers that my friend Robert Fitts recommends we each pray every day. In my own words, I do this too. I recommend it. Here they are:

    A Declaration of Unity

    I belong to everything that belongs to Jesus, and everything that belongs to Jesus belongs to me. It’s not “us and them.” It’s just “us!” There’s only one body of Christ. And the problems of the
    church, the whole church, are our problems, for we are the church and we can do more united than we can do divided.

    Divine Appointment Prayer

    Father, give me a divine appointment today with someone who is hungry for God, or sick, or in need. Give me sensitivity to know when that divine appointment happens, and give me grace to minister the love of Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit.

    Luke 10:2 Prayer

    Father, send more laborers into your harvest in which you have called me to serve.

    Michael Tummillo is an ordained minister, a Certified Workplace Chaplain, and a member of NIBIC (National Institute of Business and Industry Chaplains). He lives in Stephenville with his wife.

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