God is compassion. Jesus desires to forgive us everything, without exceptions. He also calls us to do the same.
Forgiveness comes from God. Mercy comes from God. Love comes from God. Revenge doesn’t. Holding onto anger doesn’t. A desire to punish others, to give them what you think they deserve never comes from God. These things are contrary to the gospel by their very nature. God is Love and Mercy, and He calls us to be loving and merciful.
Jesus knows our weaknesses and our wounds. He knows all the things that have shaped us over the course of our lives making us the person we are today. And He knows the healing we still need.
Jesus knows all the hurts, rejections, indifference and punishment we've received at the hands of others. He also knows theirs. Hurting people hurt people. And you may be hurting people too. You may especially be hurting yourself. Jesus knows what weighs your heart down, and He can set you free. Forgiveness opens the door to freedom.
It's easier to look at what others do than to look at what you do. It's easier to criticize what others say than to evaluate what you say. Maybe you have hurt others deeply but for some reason you don't think that matters as much as how they have hurt you. These things leave people in pain and unforgiveness. This may be just fine with you. But it's not fine with God. “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful” (Luke 6:36).
Unforgiveness tears down, destroys, damages and breaks. Christ builds up, repairs, restores and heals. The two cannot co-exist. They are opposites. Unforgiveness is the opposite of Jesus. Let's not forget the amount of forgiveness Christ extends to us, and how much we need to be forgiven by God. Jesus forgives us, so we are not justified in being unforgiving. We are in need of God's Mercy. And others are too.
We are not responsible for the actions of others but we are responsible for our own. We are responsible for living in anger and unforgiveness for so long, and we are responsible for living in it for another minute. We are responsible for not trying to make things better. Let's pray for the grace to let go of the pride which holds us back from forgiving. On our own strength we can’t forgive, but with God all things are possible and He can give us the grace and desire to forgive.
Let's ask God to show us areas of our lives that need healing. Let's clean out our hearts today, giving Jesus all of our intentions and so called "justifications" for remaining angry. Let Him have them. We trust Jesus with everything right? Trust Him with this. Allow His Light to shine on this darkness, and finally give you peace.
"God knows everything in our life that has led us here. He knows every scrape and cut. He knows every wound and want. He knows every anxious thought and painful memory. He knows every tear that has fallen from our eyes, and He knows we think He could have prevented them.
We sometimes put on a pretty face when we come to prayer time, when truthfully we are angry or disappointed with God. We say we are ready to turn our hearts over to the Lord and surrender our lives to Him, when really, we don't completely trust Him.
This might be tough to admit, especially for Christians with great faith. But we're human beings, with weaknesses and limitations, and it's pride to think our spiritual life is perfect. We are always in need of greater faith, trust and confidence in God.
Since we have feelings and experiences that aren't always pleasant we shouldn't try to hide this from God in prayer. As we develop the practice of silent prayer in our lives we will grow in faith and learn to trust God more and more. It will become easier as we let our guard down and allow God to love the real us, unpleasant feelings and all. We don't have to wear our false image on our sleeve in prayer. God knows how we really feel. We are here to be healed, not to be perfect."
(This is an excerpt from our latest book, "Silent Prayer: Be Still and Know That I Am God" which can be found on our Amazon page).
May God Bless you, and everyone near and dear to you, In Jesus' name.
"Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in Me, will never die" (John 11:25-26)
It's a New Day! It's a New Beginning! It’s a New Life!
The tomb is empty! Jesus has risen from the dead. Nothing will ever be the same again. This is Good news for the world and Good news for those of us who desire change in our lives. ALL things are made new today! Nothing is as it was. Life starts now.
It's never too late for life to begin again. Each day is new and today is one of them. We are reminded today of the immense, unstoppable Love that Almighty God has for us. Not even the grave could stop it!
Today, we let go of the old, we let go of what was, we let go of everything we were before, and embrace the New. Today we roll back the stone blocking our hearts. We roll back the stone that prevents us from living fully the life Christ died to give.
Through the death and resurrection of Christ we are made brand new. Today we call upon the Spirit of God to remove all that blocks us, prevents us, and keeps us stuck in our old way of living and thinking. Today, we stop looking for the living among the dead. We put to rest and forget about our past, our mistakes, our sins, our selfishness, and our wounds. We let Christ leave the grave behind and walk right into our hearts, fully alive, living through His Spirit in us today.
Christ now calls you to a new life. Nothing can separate you from His Love. Nothing can keep Him from you, except you. So give Him permission to enter. There is a joy to be had in your life right now where you are, no matter what your circumstances may be.
Easter shows us that God's Love cannot be contained. It bursts forth into the world and we need to let it burst forth in our lives and fill us. Jesus died to bring us His joy and we need to make sure His death and resurrection were not in vain. Let’s open our hearts to His healing love and allow it to change us and bring us the courage to bring this same Love of His to others.
So let's be near to Jesus today. Let's be near to the Blessed Mother whose joy is complete today now that her beloved Son has risen. Let's live the Easter life, a life dominated by the present moment and a future so blindingly bright that we can only trust God's vision of it.
Today, close the doors that need to be closed in your life, and open the ones that need to be opened, and walk out of the tomb WITH Jesus.
Let's live our lives in a New Way Today!
May the Risen Christ bless this Easter and always! Happy Easter!!
The Scripture in Isaiah 53 predicts the manner by which we shall all be saved, through the suffering of The Son of God. (Read the full Scripture here) This is not the way we would expect God to come to us, as one of us, born into this world, taking His Divine nature and uniting it fully to our human nature, and dying on a Cross. But He did.
God became man in the person of Jesus Christ, who took upon Himself the sins of the world. Because of the actions of Adam and Eve, who disobeyed God's command, sin and death entered the world. Mankind rejected the paradise God created for us, and now lives in a sinful nature, in a sinful world. With sin comes suffering. We were unable to right this wrong. So God sent His Son to make up for our sinfulness. Jesus came to conquer sin and death by taking our sins upon Himself. He bore the punishment that really belongs to each one of us. He made up for what humanity lacked, and through Christ, all who believe in Him can receive the grace He won for us on The Cross, the gift of eternal life.
Why did He do this? Because He Loves us. God is Love, and God Loves what He has created. He loves each one of us - to death. And if you were the only person on earth, He would have done it all just for you.
Jesus died so that we may live, forever in Heaven. We need a Savior. We needed a Savior then, and we need a Savior now. Sin is still a choice to us, in fact it's everywhere, but through Christ we can reject that choice, reject sin and choose Heaven through The Cross of Christ, by receiving Jesus into our lives.
Today our personal relationship with God can grow significantly if we open our hearts and reflect on what He did for each of us. Let's pray and ask God for the grace to understand this better, and to become more loving, even in our own sufferings.
With gratitude for the life of Christ, as we meditate on His suffering and death, let us remind ourselves that He did it "for me." He didn't just do this for someone else. He did it for you. We can truthfully say "He bore my sins, my weaknesses, my guilt, my punishment … “ We receive the benefit of His death when we accept Him as the center of our life. Let's finally let go of our old way of living, and start living for Christ, in a New Way, Today.
Our Lord’s passion and death was prophesied in Isaiah 53, "God’s Suffering Servant." Today, on Good Friday, our Lord walks this walk. Let’s walk it with Him, as we read this Scripture passage in its entirety …
“Who has believed our message, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him, nothing in His appearance that we should desire Him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces, He was despised, and we held Him in low esteem.
Surely He took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered Him punished by God, stricken by Him, and afflicted. But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities. The punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way, and The Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open his mouth. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He did not open his mouth. By oppression and judgment He was taken away. Yet who of His generation protested?
For He was cut off from the land of the living, for the transgression of my people He was punished.
He was assigned a grave with the wicked and with the rich in His death, though He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth.
Yet it was The Lord’s Will to crush Him and cause Him to suffer, and though The Lord makes His life an offering for sin, He will see his offspring and prolong his days, and The Will of the Lord will prosper in His hand. After He has suffered, He will see the light of life and be satisfied.
By His knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and He will bear their iniquities. Therefore I will give Him a portion among the great, and He will divide the spoils with the strong, because He poured out His life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors.
For He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors" (Isaiah 53).
We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You. Because by your Holy Cross You have redeemed the world.
There is a great spiritual benefit to us when we reflect on the passion and death of Jesus Christ. "The Stations of the Cross" or "The Way of the Cross" is a scriptural, meditative prayer in which we call to mind certain moments of suffering that Jesus endured. We consider each station, perhaps reflect on a scripture passage, pray, and think about what Jesus went through for us. We then move on to the next station and do the same. We open our hearts to God, and allow His grace to enter as we pray. It's a powerful prayer approach and a very peaceful experience, as we contemplate God's tremendous Love for us.
As Good Friday approaches, it's a great time to pray this way. If you're not familiar with the Stations of the Cross, I have listed each one below with a particular scripture that we can reflect on. These are only my suggested scriptures, you can choose your own, or simply pray your own way. What's more important is that we spend this time with Jesus, reflecting on the path He walked for our salvation.
We start each station by saying, "We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you. because by your Holy Cross You have redeemed the world." Let's ask God The Holy Spirit, to guide our thoughts and fill our hearts as we think about each one.
The First Station: Jesus is condemned to death (Mark 14:61-64)
Second Station: Jesus Carries His Cross (John 19:14-16)
Third Station: Jesus falls the first time. (Psalm 140:5-6)
Fourth Station: Jesus meets His mother. (John 19:25-27)
Fifth Station: Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry the Cross. (Mk 15:21)
Sixth Station: Veronica wipes the face of Jesus. (Sirach 6:14)
Seventh Station: Jesus falls the second time. (Isaiah 53:4-7)
Eighth Station: Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem (Luke 23:27-28) (Lam 1:12)
Ninth Station: Jesus falls a third time. (Isaiah 53:12)
The Tenth Station: Jesus is stripped of His clothes. (Psalm 22:8)
The Eleventh Station: Jesus is nailed to the Cross. (Luke 23:33-43 and Psalm 22:16-19)
The Twelfth Station: Jesus dies on the Cross. (Lk 23:44-46) (John 19:28-30) (Romans 5:19)
The Thirteenth Station: The body of Jesus is taken down from the Cross (John 19:31-34)
The Fourteenth Station: Jesus is laid in the tomb. (Matt 27:59-60)
Widely accepted as the fifteenth station is of course The RESURRECTION, where we celebrate Christ's victory over sin and death when Jesus rises from the grave on Easter.
Praying in a reflective way using scripture draws us closer to Christ and opens our hearts to be changed. Through this prayer, we can grow in our relationship with Jesus who loves us ... to death.
God Loves us, and He has already proven it. Let's be open to His redemptive Love in a New Way, Today.
Today we celebrate the triumphant entry of Christ into Jerusalem ... Holy Week begins. During Holy Week we are called to walk with Jesus, to walk in His footsteps on the journey He took to the Cross. We are called to be by His side, to see what He saw, what He endured for our sake, through His eyes, through His immense Love for us. It's a week filled with special masses, prayers, sacrifices, etc., but it's so much more.
We have spent the previous weeks of Lent reflecting within, trying to change, looking at ourselves. Now, this Holy Week, we look at Jesus. We focus our attention on Him. We don't just read about His passion and death this week, we enter into it. Today, He enters Jerusalem, and we go with Him.
"The very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and strewed them on the road. The crowds preceding Him and those following kept crying out saying: 'Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.' And when he entered Jerusalem the whole city was shaken and asked 'Who is this?' And the crowds replied, 'This is Jesus the prophet, from Nazareth in Galilee"(Matthew 21: 8-11).
The people are very excited to see Jesus. They heard all these awesome stories about Him, how He heals the sick and performs miracles, how He speaks powerful words of life and love and forgiveness ...and now He's here, right in front of them. He is greeted so passionately and is praised and loved by the people. We are these people. We put ourselves there this week, at every step.
Today we shout "Hosanna!" Friday we will shout "Crucify Him!" But Jesus already knows this. Jesus enters Jerusalem amidst the shouts of honor and praise knowing that these same people will turn on Him and scream for His death in a few days ... and He loves us anyway. He dies for us anyway. He knows how fickle our humanity is. He knows how weak we really are, how selfish we really are, and He knows we won't always appreciate the sacrifice He's about to make for us. But He makes it anyway. God Loves us. And this week, He proves it!
So let's reflect today on how often we turn on Christ too. How often are we "Christian" when things are going well but abandon Christ when things don't go our way? As long as we see the miracles and answered prayers we Praise Him, but if not? How strong is our faith really? When the cross comes into our lives, what do we do?
Let's pray in a new way today. Let's look at Holy Week in a new Light. Let's see ourselves among the people and ask ourselves the really deep questions our hearts need answered. Let's grow in love and faith. When we enter into Holy Week with our whole heart, we enter into Christ's passion and death, and in the process of appreciating Him, we’ll find amazing graces for ourselves.
May God Bless you and everyone near and dear to you this Holy Week. In Jesus' name. Amen.
"Even now, says the Lord, return to me with your whole heart, with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Rend your hearts, not your garments, and return to The Lord, your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love, and relenting in punishment" (Joel 2:12-13).
Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, and God invites us to come back to Him. By His grace, and through prayer and sacrifice, we have an opportunity to gain a whole new life. It’s a time to make some changes, to admit our sinfulness but also to trust in the saving power of Christ.
It's a time to listen to the voice of God within us and hear the longing of our soul for His unconditional love ... something that can only be found in union with Jesus Christ - the reason for this day, the reason for every day.
God doesn’t want the past to hold us back from a relationship with Him any longer. Jesus has opened the door for us, and it’s time we walk through it.
In preparation for Easter, Lent is a time to re-evaluate our lives. What are our priorities? Where are we spiritually? What sort of person do we want to be? Has our past decisions really brought us the happiness we seek? Is there something more? How can I grow closer to God?
There are a few things we can do to make this Lent more meaningful. We can increase our prayer time, make small daily sacrifices, go to confession, perform acts of charity, and simply open our hearts a little wider and allow Jesus Christ to enter. But let’s not allow this special time of grace to pass us by. Let’s make a commitment to grow in our faith this Lent, to "let go of the old self and put on the new self”, and to make things right with God, with ourselves, and with others.
So today, let’s approach God in humility, knowing we are nothing without Him, yet having absolute confidence in His infinite Love and Mercy toward us. God is just a prayer away, and today His arms are reaching out to you saying “I Love you. I created you. I know you. I’ve never left you - And I never will. I’m still here … Come back to Me.”
"Even now, says the Lord, return to me with your whole heart."
May He Bless you, and everyone near and dear to you, this Lenten season, and always.
The following is a listing of the prayer titles for each of the prayers in our new book, "Prayers For A New Way. A Prayer Book For The Heart." I know it will make a big difference in our lives and in the lives of our loved ones.
Within the book there are prayers on these subjects:
God's Purpose For Me ... Kind Words ... Prayer Time ... Praise The Lord ... Prayerful Trust ... Friendship With God ... The Grace To Forgive ... An Attitude Of Forgiveness ... To Receive Forgiveness ... An Open Heart ... Sorrow For My Sins ... For A New Life ... The Best Of Me ... A New Beginning.
Dear Heavenly Father, I thank you for this New Year and for your great Mercy which is always ready to give me a fresh start. Lord, you make all things new and I ask you for your healing presence in my life in this coming year! I'm so happy to have the chance to start again. Thank you for carrying me through this past year and for always being by my side. I look forward to all the wonderful things you have in store for me.
I know your Mercy is great that every day is a chance to start fresh. You are always ready, willing, and able to forgive us our sins and bring us into a new life. I ask for this new life now.
I ask to be made a new creation in your Son, Jesus Christ. I want to become the person you created me to be! I will need your help. Please make ways for me where there are no ways. Please build bridges and remove obstacles, and make my path straight. Give me strength and peace as I journey on with you toward a bright future.
I ask for the grace to let go and put the past back where it belongs. I pray for the grace not to carry the old baggage into the new year, and to place my future into your care. I pray for you to pour out your healing love in every area of my life. I ask for your help to truly live my life in You, with You, through You and for You.
Help me to move forward in your Love for me. Please help me to respond to the action of your Holy Spirit within me. Help me to come to know you in a deeper and more meaningful way, and to Trust you again with my whole heart. Help me to make a serious commitment to you my God and to put you first in my life, to make you the center of my life, to make you "my all".
Finally, Thank you for sending your Son into the world and into our hearts. Thank you for your unfailing love. I know that you are Good, and Loving, and that you are always with me. I ask for your blessing on this New Year. Please bless and protect my family and everyone near and dear to me. Please guide us all into the Light of your Truth, and help us to walk day by day, step by step, in Your direction.
May the Peace of Christ remain with us all year long, and may we grow in love and faith in a New Way, starting Today. In Jesus' beautiful name. Amen.
Happy New Year!
New Way Today
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