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A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

October 15: Looking on Him Who We Have Pierced

‘Human actions cannot help us but only the sufferings of Christ.’ Edith Stein (St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross)

We begin by gazing on the Cross. Our sins invited Him there. And He was gracious: He suffered and died in our place. Put another way, we killed Him. Each time we bypass the stern and splendid way of love we mock and flog and string Him up afresh. He died once and for all to cancel out our sin. Yet we still do it. Our flailing about like a hooked fish requires that we focus afresh on the One who died for our freedom.

We do ourselves no favors by sweetening our sin with psychological justifications, or deemphasizing our sin due to the more obvious faults of others. When we do that we empty the Cross of its power. God in His mercy gently reminds us of our sin. That slows us down and humbles us. The weight would kill us, should kill us, if He had not gone lower still to bear the unbearable—our sin. When our sin mocked and flogged and crucified Jesus, His death shattered the yoke of what was and maybe still is killing us.

He dignifies us by inviting us to participate in what only He can do for us; He opens our eyes and directs our attention to Him, ‘the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (Jn 1:29).’ Yet He calls us to behold not a concept of sin but our sin–every vile, prideful, grasping, unclean way we have bypassed Him and sought to justify ourselves. It’s our dreadful way, and God has provided the only way out on the Cross.

Key to my conversion was beholding in the Lamb the sin that crucified Him–my sin that pierced Him in order to pardon me. Tears of contrition and gratitude unite when I gaze on the Cross. I did terrible things and am still capable of the same. He acted too. He submitted to the death my sin demanded. His action trumped mine and became my freedom.

I pray for a sweet and deep spirit of prayer on us all as we begin these forty days. We will feature this choice passage in Zechariah 12:10-13:2, and more: ‘I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on Me, the One that they have pierced…’

Join us as we pray for:

1. Living Waters Trainings: For our next training being held November 1-7, 2014 that God would open the hearts of everyone involved to receive all He has for them. Health and spiritual strength for the team members.

2. Poland: Discernment and clarity as Andrew meets with Catholic leaders in Poland about a possible Living Waters group there.

3. RHN: HIS Ministry, Carl Conli, Fair Oaks, CA: God’s blessing as Carl raises up two potential young men for future leadership. Fresno New Creation Ministries, Russell Willingham, Fresno, CA: Provision and wisdom as ministry undergoes changes.

“Courage for Pope Francis, that he would ensure that the Church becomes a clear fountain of transformation for persons with same-sex attraction!”


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Mercy 2: Aching For Mercy

‘Because He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked, be merciful as He is.’(Lk 6: 35, 6)

mercy 19 b taiEach of us aches for something: sex, love, purpose, power, recognition, peace. That ache can find its end in the merciful God. Somehow, Jesus draws out that ache and begins to nourish us at the source of our deepest longings. I know of no other Presence which can feed and sustain our hearts like He can.

Rattled by a hundred things, I raced into Mass the other day certain only of many uncertainties. I sensed God pleading with me to entrust all to Him. I emptied myself before the Crucified and ached for Jesus. With the Holy Meal, He filled me with His abiding love. He made room in my heart for Himself, the day’s demands, and the mercy I want to offer others regardless of my circumstances.

I want to be like Him. His heart brimmed with mercy and aching hearts received the overflow. Like the Samaritan woman whose heart drank in His kindness as He attended to her. I ask God and myself: ‘Today, might one or two thirsty ones drink from the mercy You have shown me?’

That’s the whole deal. He treats us with kindness, even and especially in our agitated, stingy and unclean states. Realizing our misery helps us. It helps us to grasp the magnificence of His mercy. If we can slow down long enough to savor the gift of His kindness, we become kind. We become more sensitive to others’ misery and more aware that mercy alone will free them.

That’s what I pray for in these twenty days of prayer/fasting for mercy: that we will become more aware of the mercy that has freed us, and more free to ache for the mercy that others need.

Jesus ached for sinners. Sinners surrounded Him, celebrating liberties that enslaved them. Then and now. We who know Jesus can be tempted to feel contempt for them. Let us pray to share in Jesus’ heart for them instead. The word for Jesus’ ‘compassion’ in the Gospels conveys a deep heartache, literally, a ‘gut-ache’, over sinners. Jesus looked at them and ached with compassion. May we come to share in His ‘mercy-ache.’

‘When He saw the crowds, He felt compassion, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.’ (Matt. 9: 36)

Day 2, Thursday November 7th, 2013

Desert Stream/Living Waters: Ohio, Crispin & Annelyse Debellis, Regional Coordinators, please pray for strengthening of existing leaders and the development of new leaders.

Restored Hope Network: His Ministry, Fair Oaks, CA. Carl Conli, Director. Specialty: men, women and families.
New Hope Ministry, San Rafael, CA. Ron Smith, Director. Specialty: men who struggle.

Courage: Pray all Courage members and other Christian support ministries for those with SSA may persevere in prayer and come to know God more intimately.

Ministries of Pastoral Care: Please pray that God would love His world through us.

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