Scripture Reflections

Scripture Reflections | Scripture reflections should be a normal part of our study of the Bible. When we read the Bible it is more than just a book, it is the inspired and infallible word of Almighty God. How can you get the most out of reading your Bible, and do you have a personal agenda when you read? #christianpodcast #readingbible #podcastScripture Reflections 56

Scripture reflections should be a normal part of our study of the Bible. When we read the Bible it is more than just a book, it is the inspired and infallible word of Almighty God. How can you get the most out of reading your Bible, and do you have a personal agenda when you read? Do you go back to those tired and true Scriptures, reading and re-reading the same ones? Do you play Bible roulette where you “test” the Lord and pray for a particular thing and then open the Bible to see if God has answered you in His Word? Or are you willing to listen, to be drawn to the Bible and read through a particular book of the Bible stopping and reflecting?

There are many Scripture reflections already completed for you – these can be short Bible verse that has an accompanying story either a true account or a fictionalized account that gives you an understanding of the main points of the verse. These are great especially if you want a daily reading that is short for each day. I really like these for the children. Some of our favorite books were geared to specific things the children liked for example sports. My son’s favorite was one that had a sports theme. My daughter liked the shorter books that really pointed to the main emphasis of the Scripture in a heartfelt manner, Jesus Calling.

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Scripture reflections should be part of what we do each and every time we read the Word. Scripture is one way to get to know God better, to interact with the Holy Spirit because we should pray to the Holy Spirit to open our minds, our hearts, our eyes and our ears to what the Lord is teaching us during our reading.

When reading the Bible here are my top ten points.

  1. Pray first. Ask the Lord into your heart. Pray for forgiveness for anyone who has hurt you or you have a hard time forgiving and focus on repentance.
  2. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you the wisdom to understand the Bible verses you read or at the very least to teach you something you can apply to your life.
  3. Try for consistency – each and every day plan to read.
  4. Use a highlighter – or underline the verses that jump out at you. There are special highlighter pencils you can use on your Bible that won’t bleed through.
  5. Write in your Bible – there isn’t much room, but sometimes a special note will help you in the future when you read this passage again.
  6. Write a Scripture verse that moves you – or you feel is important.
  7. Close your eyes and listen … is God speaking to you? Write what you feel.
  8. Don’t jump around if you can help it. Try to read through a book of the Bible – you can begin in Genesis, in Proverbs. Or the book of Luke.
  9. Keep track. Keep a list of the books you are reading.
  10. Share with others. It helps me to remember and often gives me more insights when I share what I’ve read with my family or a friend.

Let’s pray –

Dear Lord, I ask you for an understanding of Your Word as I read the Holy Bible. I pray for direction on where to start, and for the ability to be impacted so that I want to change my life for the better as I read and learn more about You. Please fill me with your Holy Spirit, give me wisdom, understanding and the fortitude to read the Bible each and every day. I ask for inspiration as I journal about what I read and the ability to clearly express what I learn with others. I pray that the Bible becomes my resource and guide to learning more and growing in my faith and love of you, and I pray this in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Power Focused Prayer

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power focused prayerPower Focused Prayer

Episode 14

Part One — podcast here

Power focused prayer brings everything in relationship to forgiveness to complete freedom. I want to repeat the summary of this approach which was in The Fire of Forgiveness One. This process leads to complete freedom in relation to forgiveness:

1) A sincere and honest decision and appropriate action to exercise heartfelt forgiveness, 2) Willing to receive the necessary ministry that surfaces surrounding the forgiveness situation

3) Letting go and surrendering all the negative elements involved in the forgiveness itself, and those things that have surfaced around the forgiveness

4) power prayer for the individual(s) who caused the problem. All four of these aspects need to be pursued in order to allow forgiveness let us experience complete freedom.

Some things to think about generated by the content of what I just presented: After going through each step of the process check to see if the negative attitudes and hurts are gone. The memories may still be there, but they have lost the power to hurt or wound. The memories may gradually fade naturally away over time. Be open to understanding that the forgiveness process may need more than one episode of forgiving prayer. Also, consider that the process may happen by uncovering subsequent levels.

This could be the case in long-standing abuse or hurts by others. In some situations, the thought of betrayal or of the wounds “triggers” unhealed hurts, attitudes, and wounds in other areas of the person. For example, the thought of the current event brings up other deep negative feelings; say of self-pity. Self-pity is a subtle form of self-hatred or self- rejection. The feelings of self-pity anesthetizes our pain and it makes us feel good so we indulge in self-pity. Maybe we have a problem with anger that makes us feel vengeful or victimized, so we compulsively want to get back at the one who hurt us. These real issues may not necessarily be directly related to forgiveness.

Therefore, we may need some simple deliverance or healing in adjacent areas so that our freedom from forgiveness can take hold. And power focused prayer for those who have hurt us can bring freedom in our heart by some self-healing prayer. Also, some of us by our upbringing and training may have a struggle with anxious perfectionism, for which there may be a need for some spiritual ministry or pastoral attention beyond the forgiveness process because these painful issues are deeply rooted in our human personhood, they may automatically surface significant other areas which need healing.

If you want God to know that you are hungry, know that another is hungry. If you hope for mercy, show mercy. If you look for kindness, show kindness. If you want to receive, give. Let this be the pattern for all when they practice mercy: show mercy to others in the same way, with the same generosity, with the same promptness, as you want others to show mercy to you. Therefore, let prayer, penitential sacrifice, and mercy be one single plea to God on our behalf, one speech in our defense, a threefold united prayer in our favor. With this offering of sacrifice, the Lord will receive it as an offering, for this kind of a sacrifice to God is a broken wounded spirit; God does not despise a bruised and humbled heart. (St. Peter Chrysologus, Liturgical Prayer, Vol. 2, pgs. 231-232; penitential sacrifice replaces the word fasting.)

Offer yourself to God, make him an oblation of your penitential sacrifice, so that you may be a pure offering, a holy sacrifice, a living victim, remaining your own and at the same time made over to God, “I urge you brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship. Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Rom. 12: 1-3)

A suggested approach for complete freedom through forgiveness:  I mentioned above four steps necessary in order for a person to experience complete spiritual freedom in relation to significant forgiveness. I would like to present a suggestion which would be connected to the fourth step, which is, power-focused prayer for individuals I have forgiven. This approach can easily be used for praying for others for atonement, forgiveness, reparation, intercession. I use the term “power focused” because it has remarkable results in bringing about change in the lives of those we pray for. It is a procedure for cleansing, healing, mercy, and conversion. I am going to present a simple formula, and then I will give further commentary on the specifics.

First, we place ourselves in the presence of the Divine Merciful Love of God. Then we picture the person or group we want to pray or do intercession for. Even though I am praying for a particular person we directly address this formula to the presence of the Divine in my prayer for a particular person or group.  And we say, I am very sorry for all the hard, painful, and difficult things that have happened to you in this particular situation and in your whole life. At this point you have just stepped up into CELP, the compassionate evoking love power of the Divine, thus God’s love becomes the primary and proactive power in this process of forgiveness. I take complete concern and total responsibility for everything you have experienced   

This doesn’t mean that you take on any guilt or negative experiences of the person you are praying for; it simply means that you have become one with the Divine power of the prayer. I sincerely ask you to please forgive me!  This action brings the healing power of the Lord to the recipient of the prayer, and secondarily, but really to you as well. I love you very much, and I thank you for everything.

When you pray this prayer, you become a conduit for the Divine power of the Father, Son, and Spirit to act in the recipient’s life, and yours as well. This procedure should be a Spirit-led experience done with your heart, primarily open for inspiration, rather than your mind. You have placed yourself in the Divine Connection so now the powerful love of the Father, Son, and  Holy Spirit is intimately and proactively present to the person or group you are praying for. When you say “I love you” you are bringing and sharing the infinite love of God for the person you are praying for. When you pray “Thank You” you are grateful for the unique and special person that God has created them to be in this new creation.

MAY WE PRAY!

O Lord spur us on to desire and possess a more abundant life through the healing gift of mercy, and being rich in mercy you constantly offer pardon and call we sinners on to trust in your forgiveness alone. You have never turned away from us, and though time and time again we have broken your covenant, you have bound the human family to yourself through Jesus your Son, our Savior, and Redeemer, with a new bond of love so tight that it can never be undone.

Even now, in “the Grace of the Present Moment,” this time of grace and reconciliation, and as each one of us turns back to your, you grant us hope and freedom in Christ Jesus, and a desire to be of service to all, as we entrust ourselves more fully to the Holy Spirit, and so filled with love and wonder, we extol the power of you merciful and healing love, and proclaim to others the joy of salvation which comes from you!. We pray this prayer in the power of the Cross and the glory of the Resurrection in Jesus name. Amen.

Expectant Faith

expectant faithExpectant Faith

Episode 45

Do we really believe that God is listening? Do we have expectant faith when we pray? Do we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Lord answers our prayers even if the answer is yes, no or not right now? In this podcast, we will examine the idea of expectant faith and the scriptures that show us that God is indeed listening.

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Every Christian wants a deeper relationship with God – Matthew 7:8-9 states “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened.

It seems like such a simplistic request, knock and the door will be opened, but if any of you have seen the picture of Christ on one side of the door, and look closely – you will see the knob to open the door is on our side. The Lord – God, is always waiting there for us –we are the ones that won’t turn the knob to allow Him into our lives.

Are we fair weather Christians? Do we rejoice and praise God only when things go well in our lives? Or do we realize that God is there for us especially when we need Him the most?

We are the ones that are too busy –

Look at your life and examine the times you have been too busy for God? Where are the areas you can improve upon?

When my children we little I could barely get through the day let alone time for prayer, and other than daily Mass it was pretty touch and go, and yes, I was struggling. I wish we had things like podcasts back then!

As my children got older, I was able to spend time with God, my journal or pad of paper and the Bible. I would take the time to pray and they realized early on that if they left Mom they would be so much happier because Mommy was happy. Time with the Lord allowed me to put things in perspective and I felt that when I prayed, the Lord answered me, not always as I wanted yet I felt He heard me.

Do you feel the Lord listens to you in prayer?
Why or why not?

Be honest.

I want to assure you that the Lord does hear you and sometimes the answer isn’t what we want. It is yes – no – or not right now. Currently, I’m praying about a particular need and so far the response is “not right now.”

1 John 3: 1

See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

And Matthew 7:11

If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

We are called children of God – we know this from 1 John 3:1 – and we know in Matthew 7:11 that God gives good gifts to His children – so shouldn’t this tell us that God hears us?

Expectant faith means on a simplistic level to pray to God expecting an answer, we expect the best. Yes, at times it is not the answer we want. Recently when I prayed for an event that was for my daughter the answer was not at all what I expected, yet it turned out to be the answer that God wanted – and in the end, what I realized was best.

More importantly, does God forgive us? When we sin we want to be forgiven. Does God forgive us? Do we have the faith to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we are forgiven?

Acts 26:17-18

“I will rescue you from your people and from the Gentiles—to whom I am sending you to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.”

Hebrews 4: 15-16

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested[a] as we are, yet without sin.  Let us, therefore, approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

God has the power to do all He has promised and then some – the doubters? Those who don’t believe what God said and promised.

Do you have a simple faith – God said it so I believe it? Or a faith that continues to question, are you really there Lord? Can you really answer my prayers, do you really forgive me of my sins?

God has given us example after example in the Bible – in the passage of Lot and his family leaving Sodom and Gommorah – God warned Lot through the angels who came into town that if they did not leave the city would be destroyed. This is in Genesis 19 – The angels also warned them not to look behind and not to stay in the valley –but to escape to the mountains.

However, as they were leaving his wife looked behind and became a pillar of salt. Did she die because she couldn’t leave her old life behind and it was a punishment for wishing for what could not be or because she did not obey – we will never know. These examples in scripture show us:

  1. Place God above all things
  2. Know that God’s Word will come to pass
  3. Punishment for disobedience is death
  4. To have expectant faith – to believe in God’s Word

We tend to mistrust God’s word and yet, God so loved us that He gave us His only son so that we would live eternally with Him.

God is waiting for us behind the closed door – will we open the handle and let Him in?

Is the Lord helping you to realize today how much you need Him?

Think about the following:

  1. How have you failed to open the door allowing God into your life?
  2. Do you accept the fact that the Lord loves you and wants what is best for your life?
  3. Do you heed warnings in your life and trust in God above all else?
  4. Do you accept that God wants to bless you?
  5. Do you realize that God answers prayers?
  6. Do you have expectant faith? The faith that God forgives your sins and answers your prayers?

Let’s pray – Dear Lord, please continue to prepare my heart for You in everything I do each day, thank you for giving me faith – the faith to expect miracles in my daily life, thank you for being at the door and I allow you to come into my life –Lord I chose you today, tomorrow and everyday from now on. Thank you, Lord, for your promises for your love for me and for granting me the desires of my heart and especially for those I now pray…. I love you – and Jesus I trust in You today and always.