Oración de Presencia

Vida_en_Tensión_front_20200102Por Stephen W. Hiemstra

Padre compasivo,

Sea especialmente cerca de mí esta mañana—borrar mi culpa; esconder mi vergüenza; encubrir mi pecado.

Aunque soy indigno, comparta un momento íntimo conmigo. Recuérdame tiempos mejores.

Concédeme un dia nuevo en la solbrilla de tu misericordia—un día en que podría pérderme en tu amor y extiende tu amor con abandono a los que me rodean.

Abre un puente sobre las brechas que nos separa—tiempo y santidad y poder—para que pueda pasar más tiempo con los que me rodean, compartir en tus santos afectos, superar mi propias debilidades y amarguras, y recurrir a ti en lugar de mi dolor, para que pueda experimentar una pena piedoso y redemptivo.

A través del poder de tu Espíritu Santo y en el nombre de Jesús, Amén.

Oración de Presencia

Ver también:

Oración del Creyente

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Sitio del autor: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net,

Sitio del editor: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Boletín informativo:  https://bit.ly/Meet_2020

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Believer’s Prayer

Holy Spirit Lutheran Church, Lancaster PA
Holy Spirit Lutheran Church, Lancaster PA

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

Heavenly Father,

I believe in Jesus Christ, the son of the living God, who died for our sins and was raised from the dead.

Come into my life, help me to renounce and grieve the sin in my life that separates me from God.

Cleanse me of this sin, renew your Holy Spirit within me so that I will not sin any further.

Bring saints and a faithful church into my life to keep me honest with myself and draw me closer to you.

Break any chains that bind me to the past—be they pains or sorrows or grievous temptations, that I might freely welcome God, the Father, into my life, who through Christ Jesus can bridge any gap and heal any affliction, now and always.

In Jesus’ previous name, Amen.

Believer’s Prayer

Also see:

Prayer for Healthy Limits 

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net, Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Newsletter: http://bit.ly/XXXmas_2019  

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Confession of Hidden Sin

Roses
Photo by Stephen W. Hiemstra

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

Merciful father,

All praise and honor be to you for you live in the open and have no sin so that no one can accuse you or slander your name without bearing false witness.

We confess that our sins are both obvious and hidden, secrets that bring shame and grief that is to much to bear.

Forgive our sin, pardon the transgressions that burden us, and the iniquity that tarnish our names even when we appear unaware.

Thank you for the death and resurrection of your son, Jesus Christ, who without sin of his own bore our sin on the cross and deprived our sin of its to power to corrupt and pollute our souls.

In the power of your Holy Spirit, give us thankful hearts and minds focused on you so that our lives may be full and our example might bring others to you.

In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.

Confession of Hidden Sin

Also see:

Books, Films, and Ministry

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net, Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Newsletter: http://bit.ly/Lent_2019

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Confessional Prayer

Road closed
Photo by Stephen W. Hiemstra

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

Almighty Father,

Forgive me for my many sins, iniquities, and trespasses.

For I have fallen short of your goals for my life,

I have failed to do many things that I should have,

and I have broken trust with your gracious laws.

Have mercy on my through the blood of your son, Jesus Christ,

who lived a sinless life yet was crucified on the cross,

that I might find forgiveness through him.

Hear my prayer. Have compassion on me though I am undeserving.

Fill my heart with your Holy Spirit,

that I might be saved and rest with you eternally.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Confessional Prayer

Also see:

Giving Thanks 

A Place for Authoritative Prayer 

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net, Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Newsletter at: http://bit.ly/2jaUhI7

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Lenten Prayer

Celtic Cross
Celtic Cross

by Stephen W. Hiemstra

Holy Father,

In the night, I hear your voice and it gives me comfort,

for I know that you are near and need not fear the darkness.

In the morning, I see your light and I find strength for the day,

knowing that you have ordained it and I need only play my part.

In the afternoon, I hear your footsteps behind me and I do not feel alone,

for your hedge of protection is strong and reliable.

In the evening, I feel your warmth and take comfort in rest,

for you rested on the seventh day and declared it to be holy.

In the shadow of your cross, I confess that my good works are filthy rages in your sight and not all my works are good.

Forgive me, Lord, for the unholy things that I had done and the righteous things that I failed to do,

that I might never leave your presence.

In the power of your Holy Spirit, grant me the strength to forgive the sins of those around me.

In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.

Lenten Prayer

Also see:

Giving Thanks 

A Place for Authoritative Prayer 

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net, Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Newsletter at: http://bit.ly/Lent-2018

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Heros and Children in the Faith: Confession of Sin

wedding-002Heros and Children in the Faith: Confession of Sin

Trinity Presbyterian Church, Herndon, Virginia Wednesday, March 1, 2017. Also, El Shadai in DC, Manassas, Virginia, March 2, 2017.

Welcome

Welcome. My name is Stephen W. Hiemstra. I am a volunteer pastor and a Christian author.

Introduction

Today is Ash Wednesday which is the first day of Lent, which starts the 40 days before Easter. Because Christ died for our sins, traditionally Lent is a time of reflection over our sins and also over the spiritual disciplines.

The text for today, Psalm 32, focuses on the theme of confession of sin, which can be both bad things we do and good things that we fail to do. Iniquity, the good things that we fail to do, are normally the sins most painful.

Prayer

Let’s pray.

Holy Father. Thank you for your presences among us this morning. We give special thanks that your word still moves our hearts and stimulates our minds. Make your presence especially clear in this moment and this place. In the power of your Holy Spirit, open our eyes and give us ears to hear. In the precious name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Text

The scripture for today comes from Psalm 32:1-5. Hear the word of the Lord:

“Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit. For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.  I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin.” (Ps 32:1-5 ESV)

The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

Context

What should I confess? (2X)

During this past year, I wrote a memoir of my spiritual life of some 300 pages. This was the story of my youth, relationships, growing up, education, and professional life. In the middle of this life, I experienced many interesting things and also committed sins of various kinds. Many times the deepest pains of life came when I could not do good when the opportunity arose. This type of sin is described in the Bible as iniquity and, as North Americans, this is the sin that many times screams the loudest.

For example, as a young man of twenty-seven years, I was unable to accept the opportunity to be a missionary in Latin American because I did not have sufficient faith in God and paid too much attention to my personal life—I simply was not ready. In another context, I could not provide emotional support to a friend of mine after she was abused by her own mother because of alcoholism—I wanted to help but did not have the necessary emotional resources. In both cases, I was not obligated to do anything, but the opportunity to do something better in Christ was lost.

Many times iniquity is the most painful sin because we do not have the capacity to do good things when life requires a hero in the faith and we are still babies in the faith. For this reason, Lent also has a focus on the spiritual disciplines which help us to grow more capacity to do good things in Christ.

What do you need to confess? (2X)

Analysis

Psalm 32 was written by King David after his adultery with Bathsheba and his murdering of her husband, Uria the Hittite in 2 Samuel 11 and the disclosure of the Prophet Nathan in 2 Samuel 12. His confession is recorded in Psalm 51. But, in Psalm 32 described the experience of David with his confession.

So what did David Say?

In verse 1, David said that it is a blessing to be forgiving. But there is also an interesting sentence: “Whose sin is covered.” This is interesting because the sacrificial system did not cover intention sin, only unintentional sin.[1] God forgave David only because he prayed and his pardon was before the cross of Christ! Psalm 51 is a very important prayer.

What else did David say?

Dave uses different words for sin. Three words are most interesting: sin, transgression, and iniquity. Sin was taken from the word in Hebrew  (‎חֲטָאָֽה) which means to miss an objective like the archer whose arrows fall short of the target. Transgression (פֶּ֗שַׁע) means to break a law. Iniquity (עָוֹ֑ן) means to do something bad or fail to do something good. David’s sins—adultery and murder—were both transgressions of the Ten Commandments.

What elso can we learn from this Psalm?

In verses three and four, David spoke of his depression and guilt for trying to hide his transgressions. But even King David was subject to God’s Law and needed his forgiveness. And we see that his confession resulted in forgiveness and the blessing of God.

What do you need to confess? (2X)

Conclusions

In the context of the church universal, confession is a subjec that Roman Catholics manage better than Protestants perhaps because of their focus today on the spiritual disciplines, such as prayer, Biblical studies, meditation, and confession of sin. Confession, like forgiveness, makes room in our lives for relationships in the community of faith and makes room in the life for better relationships with God.

In the community of faith, confession means that our relationships in the community are more important than our personal guilt. In a competitive world this act of confession is immediately obvious and totally contra-cultural.

Confession is also very important in our relationship with God. Our lives in Christ grow because confession is the beginning of realization that we are not holy like God and we need him.

Consequently, the pain of confession appears in our lives like a sweet sacrifice before a Holy God and as a sign that community in Christ is possible in this time and this place.

What do you need to confess? (2X)

Closing Prayer

Let’s pray.

Holy Father:

Thank you for your love and for giving us the opportunity to confess our sins and be forgiven by means of the cross of Jesus. In the power of your Holy Spirit, help us to forgive the sins of our brothers and sisters in Christ and also the sins of persons that we see every day. In the precious name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

[1] David recognized himself that he had this problem:  “For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.” (Ps 51:16 ESV)

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32. Prayers of a Life in Tension by Stephen W. Hiemstra

Prayers_of_a_Life_in_Tension_webWonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace,
Oh Lord, to be like you—strong and wise and patience and peace loving.
Oh, to be a convenant keeper, dependable and steady, a pillar against the wind.
Oh, to offer mercy and grace and patience and love and truth to all that come near.
Hospitality in the desert; peace amidst confusion; security when uncertainty tears at the soul.
Oh Lord, to be like you; to be like you.
Remember us, Lord, but forget the sin that
Depletes our strenghth, leaves us foolish, makes us impatient, and creates dissention.
Remember us, Lord, but forgive our trangressions that
Breaks our promises, leaves us unreliable—like leave blown before the wind.
Remember us, Lord, but wipe away our iniquity that
Leaves us judgmental and arrogant and at odds with all things good and true.
Remember us, Lord, lest we forget ourselves.
In the power of your Holy Spirit grant us a new day
and the strength to live it in a new way
following the example of your Son and our Savior,
Jesus Christ, Amen.

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30. Prayers of a Life in Tension by Stephen W. Hiemstra

Prayers_of_a_Life_in_Tension_webEternal God,
We praise you for the beauty of the earth, the freshness of the wind, the crispness of the sea, and the warmth of dry earth. You have created heaven and earth for your glory and our benefit. Thank you.
We confess that too often we say one thing and do another; save us from our own hypocrisy.
We confess that too often we have overlooked the needs of our neighbors and preached about their shortcomings; convert our hearts to your truth that we might display your grace.
We confess that too often we have acted too quickly out of prejudice and veiled your mercy; grant us gracious hearts and open minds.
We confess that too often we have focused on ourselves and sheltered ourselves from others; teach us hospitality.
We confess that too often we have resisted change out of stubbornness and neglected the needs of our own youth;  give us eyes that see and ears that listen.
We confess that too often we have judged too quickly and judged imprudently;  grant us the mind of Christ.
Forgive us our many sins;  guide us in making recompense; heal the wounds that separate us from one another and restore us to your kingdom. Through the power of your Holy Spirit and in Jesus’ previous name, Amen.

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27. Prayers of a Life in Tension by Stephen W. Hiemstra

Prayers_of_a_Life_in_Tension_webHoly and Eternal Father,
We praise you for your mercy and grace through Jesus Christ who died for our sins before we were even born. We confess that you and you alone are holy. From our mother’s womb we have tried your patience and even now come to you with blood stained hands. Forgive us in our rebellion against your covenant and against your son. In the power of your Holy Spirit, cleanse our hearts and minds that we might become fit stewards of your mercy and grace to those among us who have not heard the good news or have rejected it on account of our sin and folly. Draw us to yourself today across the gaps that separate us that we might have new life in you, this day, and forever more. In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.

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Silverman Interprets Memories with a Pen

Silverman_review_03312016Sue William Silverman. 2009. Fearless Confessions: A Writer’s Guide to Memoir. Athens: University of Georgia Press.

Review by Stephen W. Hiemstra

Some people date western civilization back to a memoir in the 4th century when a young man struggled with and overcame sexual sin. After converting to Christianity, he played an important role in the monastic movement which encouraged candidates for ministry to practice celibacy. That young man was Saint Augustine and he entitled his memoir simply: Confessions.

Sue William Silverman draws on confessions of her own in her book which begins with a strong topic sentence:

“In Fearless Confession, I invite you to accompany me as I look back at what I learned on my path towards becoming a writer, hoping to assist you with your own journey.” (xiii)

Still, her title—Fearless Confessions—hints that Silverman is not your typical academic author. In fact, she has published three memoirs—

  1. The Pat Boone Fan Club: My Life as a White Anglo-Saxon Jew,
  2. Love Sick: One Woman’s Journey through Sexual Addiction, and
  3. Because I Remember Terror, Father, I Remember You.[1]

—each of which offer a slice of her life experience, not a complete picture (28), suggesting an important principle in writing memoir—theme.  She writes:

“A theme is an abstract concept that represents the underlying meaning, idea, or message of you memoir, whether it’s a full-length book or essay…Revealing a theme is more effective than announcing it.” (24-25)

For your typical biography of a famous person, the hidden theme is typically a how an ordinary person became great—one reason that biographies of ordinary people often lack luster (no hidden theme interesting to the reader).  However, even someone living a fairly mundane life shares much in common with potential readers, given that a suitable theme can be identified—in Silverman’s case, that theme is childhood abuse and its consequences.

Having theme, plot develops. Silverman observes: “Plot is as important in memoir as it is in fiction. In fiction, plot is invented; in nonfiction, it is discovered.” (35) Plot develops around a theme suggesting which details to include and which to leave out. Silverman divides plot into horizontal plot (external events or action) and vertical plot (emotions, thoughts, and insights) (36-37).

She develops this dichotomy between action and emotions further in her discussion of voice dividing voice into the voice of innocence and the voice of experience. Silverman writes of the voice of innocence: “This voice relates the facts of the story, the surface subject or action.” (51). The voice of experience then is where: “we add a more mature voice or persona that, in effect, explains and deepens the Voice of Innocence with metaphor, spirituality, irony, reflection.” (52) She then launches into a discussion of how our voice in everyday life, is not our literary or metaphorically-enhanced voice (55).

Silverman’s description of metaphor as something to discover is priceless. What is the meaning we attribute to special objects (like a gifted, maroon scarf; 72)? How do we discover the metaphors in our own life? In my own writing, my grandparent’s farm served as a metaphor for the security that I lacked as my family moved around during my father’s graduate school years.

Silverman describes herself a writer, speaker, and faculty member at the Vermont College of Fine Arts[2] and writes in 9 chapters preceded by a preface and followed by 4 lengthy appendices. The chapter titles are:

  1. The Longest Paragraph.
  2. Savory Words: The First Bite of Your Story.
  3. Writing on Key: A Few Notes about Theme.
  4. Plotting Your Life.
  5. Between Innocence and Experience: Finding Your Voices.
  6. Mock Moons and Metaphor: Crafting Memoir into Art.
  7. Writing in Style.
  8. Marketing Your Memoir. and
  9. Confessional and (Finally) Proud of It.

The chapters end with writing exercises and the appendices provide memoir samples.

If you are writer contemplating your own autobiographical book, Sue William Silverman’s Fearless Confessions is a helpful place to start. As memoir is a theme in my own writing this year, Silverman’s insights opened up and charted direction where I previously was floundering. Thank you.

 

[1] http://www.SueWilliamSilverman.com.

[2] http://vcfa.edu.

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