'Guide to Atonement, My Story' written by: Lisa C. Clewis

Sometimes terrible and heartbreaking things happen to us and/or our loved ones. We start asking, "Why?" Our minds become cloudy with negatives and our morals and values that we once held so close to our hearts start to slip. We start to forget. We find ourselves in sin. We find ourselves drowning in guilt and doubt that God could ever forgive us or love us again.

I am going to show you how to forgive yourself and why you should. I am going to show you how much God loves you and how willing and able He is to forgive you. And, I am going to show you how to become the person that you were and still are undeneath all that worldly bggage. For those of you that are new in Christ, I am going to show you God's magnificient love, mercy, and grace. There is no greater joy and peace within than what we find in Christ's ministry of reconciliation.

Chapter 1

As a child I was taught that if you get sick it is because you did something wrong. I was not taken to the doctor like most but forced to look into myself and strive to be the best child of God that I could possibly be. In my quest to surpass sickness and tragedy I knew that the only way to be the best that I could be was to educate myself by studying the Word of God and to train myself in the admonition of the Lord. In my studies I found that not only does God not make me sick because I make a mistake but also that through our faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, God heals.

I started my biblical studies on how to be the best child of God that I could be at the tender age of nine. I not only had the word I had different types of concordances incuding a greek concordance that had the scripture written in King James Version in English but it also had the word written in Greek and the Greek meaning. I have found that in order to receive God's blessings, His healing, His peace; we must believe that we are worthy of His love and we must believe in Him like we believe that every morning the sun comes up and every night there are stars. When you learn to believe in God whom you can not see then you will receive healings and blessings in every aspect of your life that you can see. Matthew 9:28-29 And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to Him and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord. Then touched he thier eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you. (KJV

I remember the first time that I was healed. It wasn't long after I got born again and started speaking in tongues. I was nine years old.  I had something horrible and very painful going on in my body. I hurt very badly in my lower abdomen, enough to make me cry. I felt like I had to urinate. I went to the rest room and tried to pee. Only a little urine and blood came out. It burned very badly. Sobbing, I called my mother. My dad wouldn't allow her to come to me. He said that if there was something wrong with me I must have done something wrong and that I needed to go back to bed and ask God to forgive me and ask God to heal me. My dad was a new Christian. There was a lot that he hadn't learned yet. Well, when I was able I went back to bed. I was in pain and afraid and felt all alone. I talked to God about what was going on and I told him what I knew and believed from what I had learned about him and I asked him to heal me. The next morning I was healed. Not only was the pain and the blood gone but I peed with no problem whatsoever. Praise God! He healed me. From that morning on he was my spiritual daddy and I knew that I could go to him with any problem. You can too. Read Genesis 21: 12-20 to read about another person whom God heard weeping and helped.

When I was nineteen years old I worked at a doctor's office part-time and went to college full-time. Being against my nture to lay out of work I went to work sick one day. My co-workers and the office manager noticed that I could not hear them if my back was turned and I staggered and stumbled when I walked. The office manager asked me what was wrong. I told her that I had a terrible ear ache. She asked one of the doctor's their to examine my ear. One of them did and he said that it was the worst ear infection that he had ever seen and that it would probably cause scar tissue to develop. He then called an ENT that he knew and made arrangements for him to see me as soon as I could get there.The doctor asked the office manager and my mother, who also worked there, to take me to see an ENT who was located about 62 miles away. On the way there the office manager, my mother and I prayed for my ear and sang praises to God. When I saw the ear specialist he examined my ear and said that there wasn't any sign of me having an ear infection. Praise God! He healed me.

Not only does God want for us to pray and to believe, He also wants for us to pray with supplication and thanksgiving. What better way is there to show faith in God and His healing and blessings then to pray with thanksgiving. We should sing praises unto God and show gratitude. Philippians 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known to God. (KJV)

We must have faith like we believe that when we inhale there will be air for us to breath. Matthew 9:20-22 And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment: For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole. But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thell whole.

When  I was twenty-three years old I was diagnosed with endometriosis by two different gynecologist. One of them wanted to do a partial hysterectomy and the other wanted to do a complete hysterectomy. I didn't want a hysterectomy and I didnt want endometriosis. I wanted to have a daughter. I asked my preacher and his wife who are also my husband's parents, to anoint me with oil and pray for my healing.  Praise God! I was healed. The bleeding stopped almost immediately and I started having normal menstruation. I had a daughter when I was twenty-five. James 5:14-15 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.

When I was sixteen years old I was vaginally and anally raped leaving me with scars from the emotional and physical trama and a tear in my rectum. I didn't tell anyone. I was afraid that my daddy would blame me. I washed several times a day. I would be lying in my bed at night and think about it and get up and take a shower and cry my heart out. My faith in God kept me going but I had to forgive my assailant to be healed. Being such a horrific tragedy I started having seizures after the attack. I had seizures for a little over a year. At night I would wake up unable to move anything but my eyes and I was unable to speak. I would have a stabbing pain in my right side. I was miserable. When I had seizures when I was awake I would stiffen out like a board until I regained conciousness. I read and read scripture about forgiveness. I remember the relief that I felt when I finally forgave him, finally realized that he was spiritually sick to have done such a thing. The last time that I had a seizure I was at my boyfriend's house, now my husband. I felt a seizure coming on. There were a lot of people from the church there. I didn't want for anyone to see me. I was embarrassed and I didn't want to talk about what was happening or why. Well, my boyfriend saw that I was acting funny and followed me outside. As he walked up to me I started having the seizure. He took me in his parent's home and layed me down on the couch. When I started regaining conciousness I could feel hands all over my body and hear people praying for me. The people who were there had anointed me with oil and layed hands on me and prayed for my healing. Praise God! I was healed. I still sometimes think about the knife to my throat. I tried to fight him off. I covered up best I could. I guess that's why he so violently penetrated my rectum. I am more careful who I am around and who I am alone with. I prayed for God to bless me with the gift of discerning of spirits and he did.  I thank God for being faithful to comfort me and He gave me strength to find forgiveness in my heart and He healed me. Mark 11:24-25 Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have aught against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.

God's word is so plain. And if you don't understand when you read the word, ask God to give you understanding. He will. God's love is so magnificent. He is our heavenly Father. Our spiritual 'daddy'. He is always there for us if we just let Him. Where there are two or three gathered in His name there He will be in the midst. Matthew 18:19-20 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

Praise God. Through the blood and the stripes of our Lord and Savior Christ Jesus we were healed when he was on the cross. I often think of a song of praise that I learned when I was a child. 'We've got a great, big, wonderful God. We've got a great, big, wonderful God. A God who is always victorious. Does so much for all of us. A great, big, wonderful God. We've got a great, big, wonderful God. We've got a great big wonderful God. A God who loves every one of us. Watches over all of us. A great, big, wonderful God.

Chapter 2

Before we can receive God's blessings we have to know what is available to us and we have to believe that we are worthy to receive God's blessings. So often we cheat ourselves out of his blessings because we are plagued by the misconception that we have to be perfect. God wants us to try not to sin. But flesh is sin. No matter how hard we try to 'do good' and 'be good' we are going to mess up. Romans 3:22-24 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: (KJV)

We are covered by grace. God is kind, compassionate and helpful. God's love and mercy are free not earned by our works. He is the God of love and peace.

I have seen devout men and women of God get out in left field.No one has said that life is easy or behaving like a child of God is easy. Sometimes we get so caught up in how life is unfair or how people are unfair and we feel sorry for ourselves. Why doesn't everyone treat everyone with love and respect? Why is there war and prejudice? Why don't people treat other people the way that they want to be treated? Why do I feel like I stick out like a sore thumb because I'm not interested in worldly things? Why is it that when I don't go along with the group I feel like I am being persecuted for havng morals, values and setting standards for myself and the way that I live my life? Why do I feel like I don't fit in and won't succeed in their dog-eat-dog world? Well, we don't fit in. We are not of this world .We are pilgrims just passing through. Nothing worth having is easy and the devil and evil spirits are going to fight us every step of the way and use anyone and anything he can to get under your skin. But, praise the Lord, the Word says resist the devil and he shall flee.That's why it is so important that we put on the mind of Christ and pray without ceasing and give praise to God often. God's word is the sword that we use to fight the enemy. Learn all that you can about God's word, the Holy Bible.

I can relate to feeling sorry for myself. I like a lot of other people have felt like I was at the bottom of the heap. When I was in middle school in Wilmington, N.C. I was called a  jesus freak and bible love. I felt honored to start with because I knew I was a child of God and I had to pick up my cross and follow him. But it wore me down emotionally. As a teenaer I was left out of the 'in' groups. I also rebelled against my daddy for a while which made me feel like I wasn't good enough for God any more. I stopped keeping the word and the Lord on my mind and started dwelling on negatives that brought me down and upset me. I found myself doing things that I never thought I would do in a million years. It took me a while to forgive myself. As an adult I found myself having to work twice as hard as everyone because the others would single me out and work against me. I also had set high standards for myself and worked real hard. God expects us to do our best. We represent him and the fact that we are his child. But he doesn't expect us to be doormats. Even Jesus got mad when he called the scribes and Pharisee's whited sepulchers. Read Matthew 23:27.

Stand up people. What comes after self-pity? I know. I've been there before many times. Defeat. We allow our minds to defeat us by not controling our minds and constantly staying on our toes and putting on the mind of Christ. We lose sight of what we stand for and what our main goal is in life which is to be the best child of God that we can be.and our second goal is to win people to Christ by witnessing and by example.

What happens next? What comes after defeat and losing sight of what's right? We say something wrong. We do something wrong. We take our lives out of God's hands and try to do it on our own. We get caught up in whatever it is that we've got going on and we fall wayward. We get out into left field. Then we try to rationalize what we have done and deceive ourselves because we took our lives out of God's hands. We stopped trusting him when we should have been saying, "Your way, not my way Lord. Your will be done, not my will."

Next, comes guilt. We beat up ourselves. We think that we are so bad that God will never love us again. We think that we are not worthy of His love. We give up because we don't think that we are good enough for God anymore. Then the devil has won. And we have lost unti.l we realize that God loves us and is willing to forgive us of our sins. God didn't leave us, we left him. I John 1:8-9 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (KJV)

All that we have to do is confess our sins. Godf will forgive us. When we do he will be faithful and just to forgive us. He will cleanse us from all unrighteousness. What a powerful love that God has for us, his children. How eager God is to forgive us and welcome us back into his arms. In Luke we read a beautiful parable about the prodigal son that Jesus taught. Luke 15:4-7 What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which was lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbors, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance. (KJV)

Not only must we seek forgiveness from God we must also forgive others. We need and desire God's forgiveness. We need to forgive one another. God expects us to treat one another with the same unconditional love, tenderheartedness and compassion that he so freely gives to us. It is so easy to hold a grudge or to remain bitter or angry for days, weeks, months or even years after someone has done us wrong. It hurts so deeply to be done wrong by our friends and loved one as well as by our peesr that bitterness and anger are easier than dealing with our true feelings. Matthew 4:44-48 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans so? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. (KJV)

How do we achieve spiritual perfection? How do we feel worthy of his most gracious excellence? I Corinthians 2:9-14 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of a man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. (KJV)

We have the spirit which is of God in us. The Holy Spirit teaches us. I John 2:27 But the anointing which ye received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him. (KJV)

Now that doesn't mean that you shouldn't listen to the word being taught or preached.. It means that we have the Holy Spirit in us. We have only to trust God. We do not belong to this world or to the ways of this world. Romans 8:5-7 For they that are ater the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. (KJV)

God will reveal things to us through the spirit that he has given us that carnal minded people will not understand. Ephesians 3:16-21 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, (KJV)

Our ways are not carnal ways any more. Our ways are God's ways. You can not expect a carnal minded person to understand why a child of God acts out of love instead of selfishness. You can not expect a carnal minded person to understand why you will endeavor to be honest no matter what the consequences are. You can not expect a carnal man to understand why you pray for someone who has done you wrong instead of acting out of spite and revenge. Romans 12:17-21 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be posibble, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil. but overcome evil with good. (KJV)

You can not expect a carnal minded person to understand why you are not materialistic and that your riches are waiting for you in a better place. A place where there is no strife, no turmoil, no hate, no sickness, no dying, no sadness and no lonliness. Matthew 22:36-40 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (KJV)

Love. Love. Love. When we love unconditionally as God commands we have reached that plateau of spiritual perfection. Love. God is love. We have God in Christ in us. We aref ull of his love. It has to show. In I Corinthians the apostle Paul tells us about charity, which means love.  Read I Corinthians 13:3-8

That beautiful, pure and powerful love dwells in us. We have the Holy Spirit in us. We want to love, to help, to pick-up the broken hearted, We want to share God's love and his word so that other people can experience it, can live it and can have the peace of mind and heart that comes from being a child of God.

In your walk as a child of God, you will come across those who say, "I am a Christian." But they do not act or behave like a child of God. They do not treat you with love that you know that they should possess. Because they are carnal minded. They are not putting on the mind of Christ. Do not let people or what people say or do or don't do cause you to falter by the wayside.

Some of us will have family members who will ridicule us because they are carnal minded. Pray for them. They do not understand until they start putting on the mind of Christ. Love. It gets really hard sometimes because as children o God it is hard to find a comrade at work or at home or at school. Use God's word to uplift yourself.

Chapter 3

When I was younger one of my downfalls was forgetting how to forgive and letting myself get hard to people who hurt me. When you give and give and love and forgive so freely it seems that you get a lot of heartache in return. I was expecting to be treated the same way that I treated others. When you expect others to appreciate you and treat you the same way that you treat them and that does not happen it is not hard to lose your ability to continue in love. This happens when we are looking for praises from others instead of rewards from God.

I have felt sorry for myself because people have taken advantage of my humbleness and love, eagerness to treat others the way that I want to be treated. It is natural for the carnal person to think mainly of self and think little about others. But at the time can become devastating. We all need to feel loved, appreciated and cared about by others. People and relationships are important. But God is number one. God should be first in our life. God's opinion of us, of what is in our hearts, is the only opinion that matters. What is most important of all is our eternal live with God. One day or night Christ will return. We will spend our eternal life in a place where there are no disappointments, no sicknesses, no heartaches and no diseases.

At times it is hard to stay focused on God and what is most important. We are human. We have emotional, human needs. So what do we do when we feel overwhelmed, downhearted and discouraged? We pray often, praise God throughout the day and read God's word. Staying focused on God and His word by praying and singing praises and reading his word as often as possible will help keep us from becoming discouraged and dishearted. It may help to memorize this scripture:

Matthew 18:21-35 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven. Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellow-servants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. And his fellow-servant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt. So when his fellow-servants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellow-servant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

This is one more powerful and enlightening passage of scripture. So how do we forgive people who deeply hurt us and use us and who have no care for our needs or our feelings? We pray for them. We pray for God to help us to forgive them and we pray for their needs to be met and their hearts to be filled with God's love. We keep in mind that we are not of this world but a better world to come. We don't need that person to love us to ensure our eternal life. We only need God for that. God loves us so much that he gave his only begotten son to die on the cross for our sins so that we could be saved and have eternal life with him. We are born again of God's seed. We are God's children. We're God's kids. You are dealing with carnal people who have yet to accept Jesus Christ as their risen Lord and Savior. And you have brother's and sister's in Christ who are not behaving like God's children because they either have not learned enough or because they are turning away from God and towards the world. Be an example to them. Tell people about Christ. Lovingly talk to your brother or sister in Christ about their behavior and God's love and how we are to love one another.

We need to remember that we are not working for worldly pleasures but for treasures laid up for us in heaven. God is our refuge. Read your bible. Pray and praise God as often as you possibly can. Listen to gospel music. Spend time with like-minded believers and uplift one another. Hold your head up and be proud of who you are and who and what you stand for. Pray for those who try to bring you down. Rebuke the devil in the name of Jesus Christ. The devil does not have any power over you.

Matthew 6:7-15 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him. After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into tempatation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

Every night after I say the Lord's prayer, I smile within myself. It has to show. I know that God knows me, my needs, everything. I know that he is my sufficiency. He takes care of me and my every need.

But sometimes I feel so overwhelmed. That word, 'but' can be a huge stumbling block if we let it. We have got to believe God and believe in God with all our heart. The devil will try his best to cause us to doubt God, doubt ourselves, doubt whether or not we will have what we need when we need it. Sometimes we have to make ourself relax and clear our minds so that we can pray without our mind wandering. I have found different ways to do this. You can find ways that help you relax. Sometimes I take a candlelit bath or sit on my front porch and quietly watch the sunset. I know that sometimes when I go to bed at night I am so wired up from being wide open all day and trying to get the most done that I possibly can. Nights like those I listen to a breathing cd or do breathing exercises on my own to calm myself and to center myself. The next time you feel like that day or night just get still and take seven slow, deep breaths. Hold each breath for a few seconds. It works. Sometimes I use visualization. I imagine myself with God in a beautiful place. And I imagine Him taking me by the hand and us soaring above the earth. Sometimes when I say the Lord's prayer I imagine myself standing or sitting before my God and Father with Christ sitting at His right hand and I see that they are listening to me. Sometimes I picture me and my family having everything that they need and our bills getting paid and I feel God's arms of protection embrace me. When I get through praying I thank God for His mercy and grace and I thank Him for the many blessings that He has bestowed upon me and my family.

We need to put our faith in God not ourselves or other people. When we put God first everything else will fall into place. Sometimes things don't happen exactly the way we think they should or when we think they should but God knows best. We are better off with our lives in His hands and His will be done, not ours. When we get our faith where it should be we will have peace because we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we are in His hands and His hands are a lot more capable than our hands are.

Chapter 4

"Dear God, Thank you for forgiving me of all my sins. Thank you for loving me unconditionally even when I don't love myself. Thank you for annointing me with your Holy Spirit when I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior and confessed my faith. Thank you that your Holy Spirit leads, guides, and comforts me. Thank you for your compassion. Thank you for the gift of grace. Father, will you teach me how to forgive myself? Will you help me to keep your commandments? Sincerely, Lisa." Colossians 1:20-23 (20) And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile (unite) all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. (21) And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled (22) In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: (23) If ye continue in the faith grounded (firm) and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;
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