Tag Archives: Isaiah

A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

Comiskey at 60 (Isaiah and otherwise…)

‘Arise and shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and deep darkness the peoples of the earth but the Lord rises upon you and His glory appears over you’ (Isaiah 60:1, 2).

Does aging make you better or worse? Guess it depends on who you are looking at. As I turned 60 the other day, I’m more aware than ever of contradictions within me, the mix that alternately cheers and deadens.

How to live honestly yet hopefully? Stay fixed on Jesus: somehow, my ‘cross-eyed’ view apprehends glorious light and sheds it upon the soul’s contours. Shadows flee and hope rises. Almighty mercy frees me to struggle in the Light. In that Light, I can behold the weak one next to me as an equally fit candidate for grace, one destined to wriggle out of frustration and into glory (Romans 8:18-21).

Last week, I reviewed my journals from 2017 and was struck by the year’s difficulty. The gravitational pull of sin and death was evident. But more familiar than a spirit of heaviness were the upward risings that followed every rut in the path. All it took was a gentle act of the will. I offered the shame, disappointment, or fear to the Crucified, who never failed to surge like a crystal stream up the middle of a polluted ditch. I caught His wave through acts of prayerful surrender.

Of course we need reminders of new life. I recall one day last year when I couldn’t summon faith. Giving was down, I had to buy an international air ticket, and the world seemed to be spinning fast, too fast, as if careening off its axis. I called my mother, just shy of her 92-year-old birthday, and offered her my lament. Keep in mind this woman lost her husband of 60 years a decade ago and has had to choose very day to rise and shine. That gets harder every year, as friends die off; she is now the ‘last woman standing,’ the one who cheerfully presides over the memorials of departed friends. She rises on shaky legs, refuses despair and self-pity, and looks to the One who shines upon her.

She heard my lament and responded: ‘That sounds hard. But how great that you are free to launch out into the world and make a difference in people’s lives through His glorious Kingdom!’ I blushed a little and offered my burden to the Lord, who enabled me to straighten up quickly. I positioned myself afresh to reflect His rays. The Light shines in darkness, and cannot be overcome (JN 1:5).

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Advent 2: Comfort and Conviction

‘Comfort, comfort my people…in the desert, prepare the way of the Lord!’ (IS 40)

The fires of Advent convict us even as they warm us. His light blazes in our darkness, and we, no matter how dull and unresponsive, cannot quench its flames (JN 1:5). How grateful I am for the fire that exposes sin in order to consume it.

Isaiah grants us a glimpse of the fullness of Emmanuel’s love. He promises a double dose of comfort in exchange for our sins then rouses us to wax prophetic and raze everything that stands in the way of His Presence, His holy blaze. How nervy of Isaiah! He fuses the image of a tender Father restoring the sin-weary with the blazing Baptist who tears down mountains and raises valleys to make a way for God. Jesus is that Good Shepherd (40: 1-11). He leads us gently into a baptism of fire (MK 1:8) in order to burn off all that resists love in our lives. He comes to dwell with us, to make us as expansive and generous as He is.

Comfort and conviction express well the tension I feel during Advent. That Jesus came in history and we as the Church give a whole month to reflect on His entry can be the stuff dreams are made of: each of us, no matter how devout, remember the kindness of Christmas. Of course our own histories, safely edited by time, can lull us into a false peace. Advent gives us no such break. These four weeks are as much about fond recollections of the manger as they are about His second coming, which will be as violent and conclusive as His first entry was hidden and humble. Advent proclaims at once: Rejoice, He has come; repent, He is coming. Are you ready?

Lulled into a false peace, a friend of mine woke up a bit when I told him that Advent was all about repentance. He thought it was about a party-hearty countdown to Christmas, complete with a pop-open calendar…‘It’s about preparing your heart for Him, now and when He returns.’

Thinking myself quite noble, I drove home from the encounter and noticed an African-American woman walking alone on the side of the road in 18 degree weather. The Spirit prompted me: ‘Turn around and give her a ride.’ My spirit refused to be discomforted. Later that day, Annette expressed some need for me and I stiffened, quietly resenting a new obstacle in my course.

‘Thank You God for revealing what resists love. As we confess our sins, purge our hearts and console us with almighty mercy. Make us as expansive and generous as You are. May we welcome You and others more fully this Advent.’

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False Mercy

Join us today at 3pm (CST) as we intercede for loved ones in need of God’s mercy.

False Mercy

40 Days of Mercy Devotional – Lent 2012 – Day 7

The great sins of the world are superficial wounds on My Heart, but the sins of a chosen soul pierce My Heart through and through… (1702)

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness… (Isaiah 5:20-21)

Father, grant us clarity as to what pleases You and what does not. Thank you for the clear witness of Scripture and the Church. Help us to discern ‘blind guides’; most importantly, help us to discern our own tendency to conform the truth to our lusts. We especially pray for Christians caught in lies of their own design. Set them free before it is too late. Let the truth set us free for Mercy.

For the complete 40 Days of Mercy Devotional – Lent 2012, click here to download.  For a paper copy, United States only, please call Desert Streams Ministries at (866) 359-0500. 

Author’s note – Each day’s entry is based a passage from St Faustina’s diary. The passage entry from the diary is the number in parentheses at the end of each opening quote. Diary of St Maria Faustina Kowalska – Divine Mercy in My Soul (Association of Marion Helpers, Stockbridge, MA 01263) is available through the publisher or Amazon.com

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Prisoners of Hope

Join us today at 3pm (CST) as we intercede for loved ones in need of God’s mercy.

Prisoners of Hope

40 Days of Mercy Devotional – Lent 2012 – Day 5

‘In spite of everything, Jesus, I trust You in the face of every sentiment which sets itself against hope.’ (14)

‘In the time of my favor, I will answer you; on the day of salvation, I will help you…I will say to the captives, ‘Come out!’ and to those in darkness, ‘Be free!’  (Isaiah 49:8-9)

Who is like You, Father of Mercy? Even our sin is not stronger than Your Mercy. You woo us with a Love sweeter and stronger than any the world offers. In that Love, we cry out for all those who have fallen into waterless pits. We rebuke the enemy of their souls, and ask for Mercy to come quickly to meet them. Release those imprisoned by hope with Your Divine Mercy.

For the complete 40 Days of Mercy Devotional – Lent 2012, click here to download.  For a paper copy, United States only, please call Desert Streams Ministries at (866) 359-0500. 

Author’s note – Each day’s entry is based a passage from St Faustina’s diary. The passage entry from the diary is the number in parentheses at the end of each opening quote. Diary of St Maria Faustina Kowalska – Divine Mercy in My Soul (Association of Marion Helpers, Stockbridge, MA 01263) is available through the publisher or Amazon.com

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Faithful Mother for an Adulterous Generation

Join us today at 3pm (CST) as we intercede for loved ones in need of God’s mercy.

Faithful Mother for an Adulterous Generation

40 Days of Mercy Devotional – Lent 2012 – Day 3

‘Rejoice, for you are closer to God in His mercy than a baby to its mother’s heart.’ (423)

‘The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, and rich in love. The Lord is good to all; He has compassion on all that He has made.’ (Psalm 145:8,9)

‘Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; you are ever before Me.’ (Isaiah 49:15,16)

Humble us, O God, by the tender and mighty nature of Your ‘rachamim’. You feel deeply for our needs, and ache over our afflicted state. Would You move us with the Mercy that moves Your heart? Grant us a share in Your Mercy. May our prayers for the release of Mercy promote healing action. Bring the unfaithful home! Transform them through Your (and our) faithful love.

For the complete 40 Days of Mercy Devotional – Lent 2012, click here to download.  For a paper copy, United States only, please call Desert Streams Ministries at (866) 359-0500. 

Author’s note – Each day’s entry is based a passage from St Faustina’s diary. The passage entry from the diary is the number in parentheses at the end of each opening quote. Diary of St Maria Faustina Kowalska – Divine Mercy in My Soul (Association of Marion Helpers, Stockbridge, MA 01263) is available through the publisher or Amazon.com

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