Category: Prayer

A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

October 24, 2012 (Psalm 4:6)

‘Who can show us any good?’ (Ps. 4:6)

One thing we must discern is our disappointment with the Church. Broad is the way of grousing against her, finding fellow grumblers who echo our contempt. Few are those who perceive underneath her failures the beautiful, broken body of Christ—as fragrant and winsome as a virgin bride. Narrow the way that refuses to wound her further with scorn; rather, we summon her best through our own prayers and faithful service.

We must renounce the childish view of the church as wicked hierarchy, and we its hapless victims. We are the Church—each one of us bears God’s image as much as priest, pastor, or pope. And like all three, we must continuously forgive broken Christians who misrepresent the Church to us. (Any Church leader who endures learns to forgive the Church daily…)

Two keys: forgive quickly, from the heart. Do so over and over again until you actually have faith for that ‘wing’ of the Church. And choose wisely. You do not have to be subject to cruel and unusual shepherding. Make a conscientious decision to congregate where you find Jesus.

But congregate! Jesus is there, ever faithful in the beauty of those present and in the unseen communion of all the saints who urge us onward from above. At times I am nearly overcome at Church with the sheer weight of glory amid the faithful. Jesus has opened my eyes to her beauty, in season and out. Let Him do so for you, that you too might behold her good—the very manifestation of Jesus on earth.

‘Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.’  (Heb. 10:25)

‘Father, grant us divine sight for Your bride. Help us see what You see, and feel what You feel towards her; help us become who we are as that ‘bride who has made herself ready.’  In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we confess our sins of cowardice and compromise. We have violated Your holy commands in regards to what we have done to our bodies and other bodies. And in our compromise we have become cowards, unwilling to stand for what we know to be true for the dignity of all. We ask that You might have mercy on Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington; uphold marriage in these states, and in our nation, as the Supreme Court prepares to rule on ‘gay marriage.

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Love Shining – October 23, 2012 (Psalm 4:6)

‘Many are asking: “Who can show us any good?” Let the light of Your face shine upon us, O God.’ (PS 4:6)

Politics brings out the worst in people; divided by partisan bickering and hyperbole, battered by sound bites that become more like sound ‘bullets’ as the election draws near, we limp to the ballot box.

Who can show us any good? Few believe that politicians can, and rightly so. Our hope must be in something more.

Sadly, many mistrust the Church as much as they do the State. Most Americans have encountered ‘church’ in various forms and have walked away with a trace of faith but unchanged. Caught in the volley between self-reliance and slavish devotion to another, we settle for less. ‘Gay marriage’ is but a symptom of the cynicism that results from mistrust in Jesus and His bride.

Shine on us, O God. Yesterday in church I looked around me and saw a beautiful and broken group of Christians humbly confessing their sins, seeking the strength to turn from sin to the Son, wanting above all else to reflect Him more brightly.

I then considered the thousands of men and women I know what have cried out for mercy in light of their homosexuality or the struggle of a loved one. I have witnessed Jesus being formed in them through the fire: faith refined and growing stronger as they learned to entrust their very lives to Jesus.

No wonder the struggle is so deep: Jesus knows exactly what it takes for Him to be our all-in-all! A flashy miracle would never work Christ in us. Through hours of saints praying for us then through our many confessions and healing prayer sessions, Jesus lays claim to the whole of us. Now we are His, a shining witness of His love.

Jesus will shine upon us in the days to come as never before. His Mercy will triumph over the compromise and unbelief in the world. His Church will shine.

God gave St. Faustina a similar promise. In spite of her weakness and the compromised church, Jesus promised her that the Church would shine with Mercy.

‘There will come a time when this work of mercy, which God is demanding so very much, will be as though utterly undone. And then God will act in great power, which will give evidence of its authenticity. It will be a new splendor for the Church.’

Let it be so, O God. Please reclaim the years of struggle by making us more pure and merciful reflections of Your love. Make us a Bride that more nearly answers the cry of restless, wounded hearts.

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October 23, 2012

‘Many are asking, “Who can show us any good?” Let the light of Your face shine upon us, O God.’ (Ps. 4:6)

We live in a day of decreasing trust. Superficially, we have never been more connected; we tend to our cyber-family with whom we live out loud and yet only know through hastily posted opinions and photos. Global news, usually tragic, bombards us constantly. Among the barrage are scandals of church and state that erode trust. Overall, the convenience of living through a screen or many screens over-stimulates us then blunts our capacity to relate to real people. We are alone together.

‘Who can show us any good?’ Human hearts have recoiled from trust, the trust capable of deepening friendship with God and His community. An election year does not help. Blah, Blah, Obama; Blah, Blah Romney…Just so many talking heads with no capacity to deliver the goods. ‘Who can show us any good?’

We must heed the deeper cry of our hearts, the one only our Creator can satisfy. ‘Let the light of Your face, beautiful God, shine upon us.’ You alone are THE good. And we are Your people. May we reflect Your light and life to those in shadow.

In Christ, ‘we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.’ (2Pet. 1:19)

‘Father, we ask that You would reveal and rout out the mistrust that breeds cynicism, any way we have bonded with the despair of the world. Unite us with Yourself, awesome God. Let Your glory shine on us. In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we confess our sins of cowardice and compromise. We have violated Your holy commands in regards to what we have done to our bodies and other bodies. And in our compromise we have become cowards, unwilling to stand for what we know to be true for the dignity of all. We ask that You might have mercy on Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington; uphold marriage in these states, and in our nation, as the Supreme Court prepares to rule on ‘gay marriage.

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October 22, 2012 (Psalm 4:5)

‘Offer right sacrifices and trust in the Lord.’ (Ps. 4:5)

We take our places in our nation as living sacrifices, offering prayers to God that He would have mercy on our land through releasing what is good (His healing stream) and restraining what is evil (‘gay marriage’).

We are citizens of a democracy. That means our voices and votes count. And we are citizens of a Kingdom that transcends the temporary rule and reign of men. That means our prayers count. God’s rule is often thwarted on earth. Still, we pray alongside our Brother Jesus as He prays to the Father: ‘Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven…’ (Matt. 6:10)

Our trust is wholly in the Lord, partially (at best) in human leadership. We ask God for hope to sustain us as we behold the rise of wickedness. We offer ourselves as prayerful, fragrant sacrifices that seek to live what we pray: that God would be glorified in the world He made and is intent on redeeming.

‘No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strength. But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear Him, on whose hope is in His unfailing love.’ (Ps. 33:16, 18)

‘We pray that You would preserve marriage in our nation. It is Your will, O God. Let Your will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven. In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we confess our sins of cowardice and compromise. We have violated Your holy commands in regards to what we have done to our bodies and other bodies. And in our compromise we have become cowards, unwilling to stand for what we know to be true for the dignity of all. We ask that You might have mercy on Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington; uphold marriage in these states, and in our nation, as the Supreme Court prepares to rule on ‘gay marriage.

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October 21, 2012 (Psalm 4:5)

‘Offer right sacrifices and trust in the Lord.’ (Ps. 4:5)

For the sake of a generation yet to come, we cry for mercy to restrain the drive to normalize homosexuality through ‘gay marriage.’ We know that ‘gay marriage’ is but a symptom and symbol of the greater idolatry in the land. However, symbols matter. They bear witness to emerging lives in any culture as to what ‘normal’ is.

‘Gay marriage’ is not normal. It tears out the heart and purpose of marriage, which is for man and woman to unite with an orientation toward creating new life. Marriage is not, and should never be, a mere tax shelter for two persons who enjoy sensual companionship.

‘Gay marriage’ seeks to persuade us that homosexuality is finally normal in the eyes of society. It testifies to the citizenry of every land that gay is not just OK. It is utterly on par with heterosexual-relating—a truth to be integrated into every sector of community, including church life. What are you going to tell the two mommies down the street who want to attend your Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) group? After all, they are married…

Do you want your son or daughter to grow up believing that ‘gay marriage’ is as beautiful a goal for his or her emerging sexuality as real marriage? Get real. Same-sex attraction is a problem and a weakness, not a boast. Restraining ‘gay marriage’ is an act of mercy for everyone who supports the pursuit of wholeness.

‘Since my youth, You have taught me, O God, and to this day, I declare Your marvelous deeds. Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, till I declare Your power to the next generation, Your might to all who are to come.’ (Ps. 71:17, 18)

‘Father, grant us foresight for a generation. Open our eyes to what ‘gay marriage’ means for generations-to-come. In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we confess our sins of cowardice and compromise. We have violated Your holy commands in regards to what we have done to our bodies and other bodies. And in our compromise we have become cowards, unwilling to stand for what we know to be true for the dignity of all. We ask that You might have mercy on Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington; uphold marriage in these states, and in our nation, as the Supreme Court prepares to rule on ‘gay marriage.

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October 20, 2012 (Psalm 4:5)

‘Offer right sacrifices and trust in the Lord’ (Ps. 4:5)

Broken and contrite spirits make room for others. They lead out with mercy because they rely upon mercy. As we learn to live under the shadow of the cross, we discover like Bonheoffer ‘that no sin can ever be alien to us’, meaning, we brim with hope for everyone fallen soul who has yet to turn to the Lord. We await them alongside of us at Calvary.

How wonderful for parents and friends of those caught in idolatry to draw upon the wealth of mercy stored up in them from years of turning to the Source. Though deeply personal, mercy is also objective, as its Source never changes and will be ever true to those who turn to Him. He gives each of us the dignity of choice. But we know that God hears our prayers of mercy for loved ones, and our encouragement of them to trust wholly in Him. He is on the move.

Following his fresh reception of mercy, David declares: ‘Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners will turn back to You.’ (Ps. 51: 12, 13)

‘Stir up the gift of Your mercy in us, that our hearts might freely extend that mercy to loved ones. Release the spirit of repentance upon those far away; may our prayerful love draw them near. In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we confess our sins of cowardice and compromise. We have violated Your holy commands in regards to what we have done to our bodies and other bodies. And in our compromise we have become cowards, unwilling to stand for what we know to be true for the dignity of all. We ask that You might have mercy on Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington; uphold marriage in these states, and in our nation, as the Supreme Court prepares to rule on ‘gay marriage.

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