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Stories of Redemption
Newsletter – June 2012
June 1, 2012 at 11:15
Then they took up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by. Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. -John 8:59, 9:1 NKJV
Greetings in the name of Jesus,
During the past month I’ve taught this passage at a church in Groton, Connecticut and also here at the little fellowship that meets “on the hill” in New Hampshire. As a result, I’ve pondered its several applications.
Jesus was under great stress. Most of His opposition was political, even if hidden behind a thin veil of “religion.” Rather than have a “face off,” and exercise His unlimited power, He did what is so very difficult for most of us–avoided the conflict for another day.
There would have been crowds of men and women coming and going from the temple. Beggars would command cherished posts. The marketplace would be buzzing. But, “He saw a man . . .”
In the days prior to this Jesus visited another pool where the maimed, blind and crippled congregated to await a possible healing, but more probably to enjoy camaraderie while they hopelessly languished.
But, “Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years.” Jesus spoke to him, personally. “Do you want to be made well?”
Along another road He traveled, Jesus was confronted by a cadre of “religious leaders,” whose power might be potentially threatened by this up-and-coming Rabbi. (Politics, once more!)
They had dragged a woman caught in the act of adultery before Jesus to have Him judged– To trick Him! Well, we know the story. Jesus turned the accusation on them and they “hit the road.”
After doodling in the dirt, waiting for the air to clear, He rose up, “and saw no one but the woman.”
There you have it! This is how God works: One-at-a-time. His Mansion believes in the value of the individual. Our approach is not a pre-packaged “one pill fits all.” Each person must believe they are loved, valued and needed.
In order to avail himself or herself of God’s healing power, each candidate must come to the place where they recognize that God has singled them out for a life of help, hope and healing.
We believe that there is a huge probability that once a man or woman finds their way to His Mansion, Jesus has intentionally “spotted” them. It is a divine encounter!
And just as “someone” led the blind man to the pool, before Jesus touched him, so that the healing could be realized, those of us who serve in any capacity at His Mansion have the privilege of acting as God’s “Seeing Eye People,” guiding damaged men and women “to the Pool.” God continues to bless this ministry even through the difficult economic times our country passes through. In a very real way, whenever you pray for His Mansion and staff, and/or sacrifice financially to help us keep pressing on, you, in a very real way, join us as we take some broken, hopeless, addicted man or woman’s hand and escort them toward their healing.
You are the most caring, generous, and supporting family that any ministry might pray for! It is my joy to share with you, once again, that every bill has been paid and we owe no debt–save the debt we could never pay. Thank you!
The hustle and bustle of this past month has predominately surrounded the graduation recently held on Saturday, May 12th as we celebrated the completion of this year-long program with four women and eight men. It filled me with excitement to see so many graduates stand in front of our chapel stage on that day. God is continually at work in the lives of both staff and residents here on the hill and graduation day exemplified this transformative, healing power only possible by our Lord and Savior.
Most residents believe this day will never come. When first arriving on this hill, a year seems like an eternity. Yet in the year spent here, these graduates have begun to experience, through the power of Jesus Christ, a heart change. Now they know that one year of this life here on earth is nothing compared to the eternal promise of being with our Lord and Savior for true eternity.
Family and friends made their way here to celebrate this special day with their loved ones from as near as New Hampshire to as far as California and the Bahamas! For one female graduate, graduation day was her second time seeing her mother in three years. Praise God for how He has been at work in restoring and redeeming that relationship! What a joy to see them reunite here surrounded by so much love, grace and the Lord’s presence.
During the graduation ceremony, the speeches shared by each graduate were the highlight of the day as they put in their own words where the Lord has brought them from, where they are now and what that journey has been like. The stories shared were so touching, as God’s unique and intimate relationship with each one was emphasized in personal testimony. I am privileged to be able to give God the glory for His redemptive work through sharing two of these testimonies with you. These are words of one of the women…
Before coming to His Mansion on May 11, 2011, I was overtaken by the sin of this world… I first experienced sexual abuse when I was twelve… and experienced drinking and smoking pot for the first time shortly after… I began cutting and taking out my frustration on myself because I had no other way to release the intense pain I was feeling on the inside. For a year and a half, I was in an emotionally, verbally and physically abusive relationship. To cope with the abuse and shame, I began drinking heavily and experimenting with many different street drugs, cocaine being my main addiction. I turned to the adult entertainment industry as a means to support myself and release myself from feeling anything at all.
I felt so broken when I arrived at His Mansion. A failed marriage, abusive relationships, self-destructive behaviors, lost jobs, lost homes, lost income and complete loss of myself, stripped me down to nothing and I had little to no hope. It was at this point, early in the program, that I began to empty myself of denial, shame, anger and self-condemnation. The Lord softened my heart to allow me to see that I didn’t even have a relationship with Jesus Christ. I had made a profession of faith but all it came to be was a religion, full of obligations, duties and rules. As God revealed His Son to me and just what He did for me that gives me new life and unconditional acceptance, I began to understand the gospel message of who Jesus Christ is. I recommitted my life to Jesus Christ and met two people my heart had longed to know; Jesus Christ himself and (myself.) He showed me that accountability and ownership of my sin leads me straight to His forgiveness and truth. God showed me Romans 8:1 which states, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” and John 8, the passage of the woman caught in adultery. He unlocked the doors that held me captive to feelings of inferiority, insecurity and inadequacy. Jesus spoke directly to me and said, “Neither do I condemn you; go and from now on sin no more.”
The identity and acceptance I have longed for, I have found in Jesus Christ. I accepted the wounds and lies of my past, surrendered them and continue to surrender them to the cross in order to experience His power and healing reigning in my life. He has transformed my shame into love, my despair into joy, my fear into peace, my discontentment into patience, my insecurity into goodness and my doubt into faithfulness… He has turned my anxiety into absolute trust. Only until I was left with nothing has He become my Everything and my All in All.
And now the words from one of the men…
Before coming to His Mansion my life was lonely, dark and hopeless. I had considered myself a Christian, but was lost in an addiction to crack cocaine. Over the last 10 years I had been in and out of five different residential programs, His Mansion being my sixth. Over this 10 year span I’ve lost almost everything to my addiction but realize today it took me losing everything to gain the one thing that matters most, a personal relationship with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
I came into this program with very little hope of change, this being the result of the many programs and failed attempts at sobriety. My stay here at His Mansion has been anything but easy… being forced to confront many of my underlying issues head on… my life is different today because of the many things that have happened during my stay here at His Mansion.
The most important thing that happened to me during my stay here is developing a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Before coming here, I had relied on my Sunday school and private school Christian knowledge as a facade. I knew about Jesus, but didn’t actually know Him. I used my knowledge as a cover up so I didn’t have to confront how I really felt. I blamed God for my father’s passing, the disarray my family was in and my poor choices. I had pretended for a while there was nothing wrong. Until I was real with God about my feelings, it was nearly impossible for me to have a relationship with Him. Once I was real, I found these feelings of anger slowly dissipated and turned into a peace that passes all understanding. The wall of anger I had up had prevented me from having a real relationship. Through this I believe God was teaching me that a He wants a real relationship with me. I learned that my relationship (with God) doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s, that’s what makes it personal, and today I truly believe I have a growing personal relationship with my Savior, that’s real in every way. Through this relationship I’ve felt forgiveness like I had never felt for my past sin.
Every time I looked in the mirror in the past I saw my sin and failures. Today I see a brand new creation, saved by His grace and mercy shown for me through his brutal death on the cross. I stand before you today a new man, and forgiven. I have a newfound purpose of serving others and showing His love… Between finding a real relationship with my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and also finding real friendships for the first time, I leave here knowing I am loved by others but most importantly by God…
Praise God for these new lives that have been found in Jesus Christ and for the many lives that the Lord is at work in everyday!
Graduations, and the departure of our graduates from the hill, mean empty beds that are ready to become occupied with new residents who have been anxiously awaiting our May Intake Day. That day finally arrived for six women and ten men. Filled with mixed emotions of fear, relief and glimmers of hope in what the Lord has in store for them during this year-long journey, these new residents were welcomed into the His Mansion family with great excitement and anticipation at the work the Lord will do in their lives. Please be in prayer for these new residents as they transition from the lives they left behind and they step into this community that at first may seem foreign and odd, but in time will become family. May they each find the strength, willingness and comfort through our Lord Jesus to persevere during this transitional period.
The influence of His Mansion reaches so many places and into so many homes, churches and devastated lives. The hope that is offered to such a multitude of people from such diverse backgrounds never ceases to amaze us. Your prayers for this particular group of new residents will support individuals that just arrived here from Washington State, Michigan, Texas, Florida, Ohio, Illinois, Virginia, New York, Connecticut and New Hampshire.
Both residents and staff come to His Mansion from all over the map. It is astounding how God enables our staff to travel to a variety of different places across the country representing His Mansion at conferences, churches and universities. Someone may be planning to travel through your local area so don’t hesitate to contact us if you are interested in the potential possibility of arranging an engagement of this type with a His Mansion staff representative. You may call our office at 603.464.5555 and we’d be happy to speak with you.
There have been so many things to give praise to God for over this last month! He is so good and so faithful and He continues to be as we put our trust for provisions into His hands on a daily basis. We are so very thankful to you, our faithful supporters for the many ways you bless His Mansion. God is always in control and it excites us to be a part of what He is doing here. God bless you!
Joyful in His service together,
Stan Farmer; Director Emeritus Paul Atkinson Sr; CEO