Peter denies, Jesus forgives

What is sin?

Simply put, it is missing the mark. In the Gospels, the story of Peter denying Jesus and then being able to be forgiven by Jesus after the resurrection is such a clear example of how much love Jesus has for each one of us.

Scripture

John 18: 17, 25-27 is where you can find Peter being asked three times if he knows Jesus and three times he denies knowing Our Lord. And then the cock crows and Peter remembers Jesus’ words from the Last Supper.

What a weight that must have been for Peter to carry as he watched Jesus die on the cross, bury him and then wait for his return. Jesus does rise and Peter interacts with him. And then, Jesus asks Peter three times, “Do you love me?” in John 21:15-17.

Sin is gone

Peter is no longer burdened by his denial of Jesus. He can move forward, leading the apostles to spread the Good News. That is what forgiveness does; it gives us the freedom to live the life we are called to live in Christ.

Write a letter to Jesus about your sins. List them, ask for forgiveness, pour out your heart to him and invite him in to take your sin away.

(As always, if you are Catholic, consider confession.)

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Unlocking Freedom with Jesus

We live in a fallen world. No news there. We long for something to help us. We often look in many places before coming to the One who can help us. Unbound is a prayer process that can help us rid ourselves of past sins and hurts by others. Even those of us who receive the sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation often hold onto our sins, refusing to forgive ourselves though God has done so.

If after listening to this episode you are interested in learning more, go to the Heart of the Father website. 

There are 5 Keys to Unbound:

  1. Repentance & Faith
  2. Forgiveness
  3. Renunciation
  4. Authority
  5. The Father’s Blessing

All of this is done in the name of Jesus. It is gentle, though it can be emotional. The prayer is driven by the needs of the person coming for prayer. The person leading the prayer and the intercessor are conduits of God’s mercy and healing.

I encourage everyone to look into this prayer, especially if you feel weary and weighed down by life.  Many times, by surrendering past hurts and lies we have believed about ourselves, that burden is lifted. This process is not a substitute for counseling or medical help, rather, it si of help for our soul.

Another good resource is the book, Unbound by Neal Lozano.

Do you have unresolved burdens or sins in your life? Pray. Thank God for all He has already done for you in these areas and then ask if Unbound is something for you. If it is, go to the website to find a group in your area who can pray with you. If you have nay questions or can’t find someone to pray with you, please email me dgbartalini(at)gmail(dot)com.

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External Change

Spiritual Makeover continues…

God calls to us and offers to change our stony hearts for those of flesh. Jesus also calls us to conversion. The Gospels are full of stories which point to Jesus healing and leading people to a relationship with God.

2 Stories

In Mark 2:1-12 we see Jesus healing the paralytic. The man is lowered down from the roof by his friends so he can get to Jesus. And Jesus heals him and then tell him to pick up his mat and go home. He gives him directions, a bit task that allows him to participate in the healing. It is not passive.

And then, The Samaritan Woman at the Well in John chapter 4. Yes, Jesus tells the woman her sins, but then also tells her she can be given life giving water; she slowly comes to realize that this is the Messiah they have been waiting for and tells the other people in town. They to come to believe.

What’s our part?

Jesus calls us for conversion not condemnation. This is important to us for 2 reasons: so we know what he wants of us and to do the same with others. We are called to share the light of Christ with those around us. And the world needs the Light!

Internally we may change, but we need to externally change as well. This is how we lead people to Jesus, by our example, our behavior. So onto the

This week, think and pray about how some of your behaviors might need to change. Is it to stop yelling at your children, spouse or others; remember to spend some time in prayer each day; go back to regular worship with your community – whatever it may be, let’s start having our internal change and external behavior match more closely with each other.

 

Abundance or Scarcity?

It’s an often asked question of people, are you an optimist or pessimist? If we are living as God calls us, then our answer is hopefully, optimist. We have a God of abundance, not scarcity.

What does the Bible say?

I’m going to focus on two passages. From the Old Testament we have the story of manna in the desert, Exodus 16. God gave this food for the people to eat, enough for a day to teach them to trust and rely on him. However, he didn’t give them a small amount, he allowed them to take as much as they wanted as long as they didn’t save it. God provides in abundance for today! And then, in the New Testament is the multiplication of the loaves and fish from Matthew, 15:32-38. The disciples show a bit of hesitancy that they can feed all of these people gathered. But Jesus has none. He takes what is provided, and multiplies is so that there is enough with leftovers.

What does this mean?

God provides us with what we need, when we need it. Jesus shows us time and again with his life that we have been given what we need to live. Whenever we think we have a scarcity, offer that bit to God and see what happens.

Who do we live?

I think we live as if we have all that we need. So give away your time, your good deeds. Stop saving things for a special time and use them to care fort hose you love.  Shift from thinking I need more or what if I need it later to God will provide and whatever I use up or give away will come back to me at the right time.

This week, focus on living abundantly. List all the gifts God has given you and find a way to share them with others, knowing Goad will provide for tomorrow.

Jesus, the Son of God

Do you ever wonder where we would be without Jesus? I know I would not be a tenth of the person I am today without him and my faith in him So who is Jesus, well, he is the second person of the Trinity, God the Son. He is incarnate, which means he took on human flesh, became a person like us in all things but sin and came to this world to save us.

The incarnation is JJesus, Second person of the Trinityesus taking on our humanity. But the Incarnation also gives us a share in his divinity. Jesus’ birth and death gives us a renewed hope and belief that we too, will one day be in heaven. The Incarnation is a foundational belief.  It is the basis for believing and understanding Jesus’ mission, which is to save us, the purpose of his church and his eventual second coming.

For thousands of years, God called his people to himself, but they often turned away. So, “when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to ransom those under the law, so that we might receive adoption” (Gal 4:4-5).

Jesus is our redeemer.  He took on our sins, all the consequences of them and paid our debt to the Father. His Passion and Death, his ultimate sacrifice – saved us from our sins, reconciled us to the Father and opened the gates of heaven

One way in which Jesus was different than us is that He lived a life of total and complete obedience to his Father. In the Garden of Gethsemane when he knew his death was imminent, he prayed for God’s will to be done, not his. His suffering on the cross was real and true and painful. He suffered in his humanity; that suffering was possible because of his divinity.

Jesus rose from the dead and bodily ascended into heaven. He promised his Father would send the Holy Spirit to us to help us, guide us, and empower us. The Spirit forms us in the likeness of Jesus. We live in continual conversion toward God and away from sin.

Jesus reveals the Father to us, for he is visible. His desire is for us to enter into a relationship with him based on our free love for him. Just as God the Father does not force us to love him, neither does Jesus.

Jesus intends for us to become holy and partake of his divine nature. The more we go to Him in prayer and ask for what we need, the more we will receive. We can look at his life as an example, he shows us the way to holiness.

the not lukewarm challenge This our challenge is to pray the Jesus prayer, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”

For more information about the Jesus prayer, take a look here.