Tag Archives: freedom

A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

Mercy 11: Merciful Surrender

‘I love the Lord, for He heard my voice; He heard my cry for mercy. Because He turned His ear to me, I will call on Him as long as I live. The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came upon me; I was overcome by trouble and sorrow. Then I called on the name of the Lord: “O Lord, save me!” The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion. The Lord protects the simplehearted; when I was in great need, He saved me.’ (PS 116: 1-4)

Merciful Surrender by BethanWe live in an age proud of its sexual liberties. Personal rights now include the freedom to be any number of sexual variations. We may even invoke divine right to deviate: the Chair of Theology at a well-known Christian University left for the summer as a woman and returned as a man, insisting that God honored her self-assessment (and mutilation) above all else.

I am grateful for the simplicity of repentance. Jesus hears the cry for mercy! Given the variety of inclinations humans possess to find clarity and security outside of the Creator, God has given us Jesus to whom we can turn. As the Psalmist declares, He turns to us first, holding out loving kindness as the anchor for those of us getting tossed around by vain answers to our questions.

Whatever our starting points, turning toward the luminous God, His wounds yet visible, is the answer to our deepest cries. He is faithful to re-orient us around what is just and right and true for He embodies all three.

Jesus makes clear that the poor who are subject to the world’s folly have a place in His heart. All they must do is turn to Him in their poverty, not to false riches. ‘Those who are whole do not need a doctor but those who are sick. I come not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.’ (LK 5: 31, 32)

Some use such verses as a reason why Jesus advocates for those in sexual sin. May it never be! The point is this: Jesus is so luminous and powerful in love that He renders our idols worthless. He is magnetic in mercy, compelling in His pure compassion. As such, He gives us reason to repent from what we have turned to in our poverty. But repent we must.

In that choice, Jesus dignifies us and grants us a part in deciding who and what will master us: worldly solutions, or the Creator and Redeemer of that world.

Therein lies His power to restore us. We turn to Him, over and over: repentance becomes the rhythm of our restoration. With each temptation toward lust, self-doubt, and despair, we call on the merciful One. He takes the ground we give Him and sows good seed in it. He loves planting in broken soil! We become fruitful, having yielded our hearts’ deepest cries to Jesus.

‘Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains alone, a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.’ (JN 12: 24)

Prayer Points:

    • Desert Stream/Living Waters: Pennsylvania, Jeff Comeaux, Regional Coordinator. Please pray for our efforts to start a LW group in the Catholic Church.
    • Restored Hope Network: Shadow of His Wings, San Antonio, TX. Lee & Shea Preston, Directors. Specialty: counseling and retreats for men, women, marriages, spouses and family members.
      Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (PFOX), Washington, DC. Regina Griggs, Director. Specialty: caring for parents and family members of those struggling with SSA or living as LBGT.
    • Courage: Pray that Christian schools and universities would have God’s heart and mind as they discern how best to serve students with SSA.
  • Cor Project: Pray that we would be wise and faithful stewards of our resources.
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Mercy 10: Merciful Justice

‘The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.’ (PS 103: 6)

Merciful Justice by HeansterA strange notion of justice is at work today. Instead of true justice: fighting for the transformation of persons dealing with all manner of sexual brokenness, we fight for their right to be ‘bisexual’ or ‘gay’ or ‘transgender.’

We have lost an understanding of human nature, founded in the Creator. So we embrace anyone’s sexual inclination as identity and destiny. That involves the false pairing of gender brokenness with ethnicity and women’s rights. Bad logic. Since when is the immutable and God-given fact of being born a particular gender or skin color the same as a moral disorder?

I just spent a day with an amazing group of Christians in Pasadena California who pray continuously for the restoration of persons. They are still reeling from the Supreme Court striking down Prop. 8; now that marriage has been redefined in their ‘golden state,’ they are witnessing an extraordinary push toward ‘transgender’ freedom. Increasing numbers of persons, some high profile, are ‘coming out’ to surgically and hormonally obtain the gender of their choice.

The freedom to be a slave to self-mutilation? This is not justice rooted in God’s heart. Rather, as servants of God’s Kingdom, we extend the reign of His justice by fighting for the transformation of persons afflicted by gender brokenness.

Among this group in California was an amazing young man who cried out to Jesus after his surgery to become a woman. (Gender reassignment never restores the fractured soul.) Through a spiritual odyssey that has involved many amazing Christian care-givers, he has been reconciled to his true gender (he was born male) and shines in his church as a prophetic witness of the God who saves. Many in the group were men and women, dear friends, who have long since come out of ‘gay’ identification and are bright lights in their faith communities.

Still others are Christians who simply know that they are vulnerable to the false freedoms rife in today’s culture. Committed to Jesus and His Church, they need Christians who will fight for them. Let us forego false justice that confirms persons in their disorders. We serve real justice by extending mercy: the transforming power of Jesus and His community.

Prayer Points:

    • Desert Stream/Living Waters: Upper Midwest: Milwaukee, Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Jean Mersberger, Regional Coordinator. Please pray new groups will start throughout the upper Midwest.
    • Restored Hope Network: Mastering Life Ministries, Nashville, TN. David Foster, Director. Specialty: video/TV production resources as Pure Passion TV, documenting accounts of God’s healing and transformation.
      Christian Coalition for Reconciliation, Houston, TX. Michael Newman, Director. Specialty: one-on-one pastoral counseling and international, multi-lingual counseling via Skype.
    • Courage: Pray that those contemplating repentance would experience God’s abundant grace in order to decisively surrender their sexuality to Him.
  • Ministries of Pastoral Care: Please pray for the translators, publishers and distributors of Leanne Payne’s books, that Jesus Christ would be their protection, provider and advocate.
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