Lenten Reading Notes

The Return of the Prodigal Son (1773) by Pompeo Batoni

7 Secrets of Confession by Vinny Flynn: Secret Seven-You Have to Let Go of Your Chains!

  • There are barriers to God’s love, forgiveness, healing, and restoration.
  • God created us to be free and does not violate that freedom.
  • He will help us to make the right choices, but he doesn’t force His love on us.
  • There are things we do to block His love.
  • Barrier 1-Lack of Faith-Trust draws His mercy and lack of trust blocks mercy.
  • Barrier 2-Idolatry-Divinizing anything that is not God. It’s anything that we’ve become so attached to that we are neglecting our responsibilities to other people and failing to keep God at the center of our lives. Things, people, goals, and activities are not the problem. It’s when we crave and grasp at those things for gratification.
  • Barrier 3-The Father Wound-Many people can’t believe in a loving God because they’ve had a significant person in their lives who left them unvalued and unloved in some way.
  • Barrier 4-Unforgiveness-the outpouring of mercy cannot penetrate our hearts as long as we have not forgiven those who have trespassed against us. In refusing to forgive our brothers and sisters, our hearts are closed and their hardness makes them impervious to the Father’s merciful love. In addition, we need to forgive life itself with all of its frustrations, irritations, failed plans, unfulfilled needs, unanswered prayers, etc. We need to forgive God for not following our plans.
  • 1 Peter 3:9-Do not repay evil for evil or abuse for abuse; but, on the contrary, repay with a blessing. It is for this that you were called-that you might inherit a blessing.
  • What to do when we choose to curse instead of bless: 1. Repent 2. Revoke 3. Replace- Do this anytime and anywhere negativity wells up inside us.
  • We need to be forgiving, but we will not be able to forget and that’s OK. It is not in our power not to feel or to forget an offense. But the heart that offers itself to the Holy Spirit turns injury into compassion and purifies the memory in transforming the hurt into intercession. Whenever a bad memory resurfaces, use that to pray for the person who hurt you. Over time the heart is healed and the hurt has less power over you.

Some lay in darkness and in gloom, prisoners in misery and chains. Then they cried to the Lord in their need, and He rescued them from their distress. He led them forth from darkness and gloom and broke their chains to pieces.

Psalm 107: 10,13

 

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