Category: Fast

A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

September 29, 2012 (Psalm 4:1)

September 29, 2012

Answer me when I call to You, my saving, righteous God…’ (Ps. 4:1)

David trusts God. His hope rests entirely on the God who delivered him in the past, and who he trusted would deliver him again. For the king, God is not an abstract ethic or idea—He is the one who has power to save him from death, both now and for eternity. David’s child-like trust pervades the adult intrigue in which he is entangled. May his example strengthen our faith in the God who employs His righteousness to save us.

‘Indeed in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely upon ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril and He will deliver us. On Him we have set our hope, that He will continue to deliver us…’ (2Cor 1:9, 10)

‘Father, grant us the faith of Your servant David. We call to mind the way You have delivered us in the past. Would You deliver us again? In your righteousness, extend the mantle of Your unfailing love over our sorry state. 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 to 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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Restoring Hope – September 28, 2012 (Psalm 4:1)

‘Prayer is the first and greatest work of love we can do for our brothers and sisters.’ (JPll)

 As we begin our 40-days of prayer together, King David grants us a way forward.

David is distressed by son Absalom’s murderous pursuit of him. We share a similar distress when we consider the aggressive and barely resisted move to normalize homosexuality in our day. At stake is the dignity of young people, and the God who made them in His image, male and female.

I caught a talk show the other day featuring a Christian lesbian’, model-perfect in appearance, who was advocating for a very confused girl/boy (gender unrecognizable) on the grounds that our public schools must accommodate ‘degendered’ persons. No-one in the audience protested. As the charming ‘lesbian’ claimed Christ as her guide, it was fair game for any Christian in the audience to share the truth about God’s image and redemption. No-one did.

The church is asleep, afraid of the kickback for taking a stand on gender wholeness. So ‘gay marriage’ advances, therapies helping people change are outlawed, and charming deceivers parade in the public square without resistance.

A new low involves Brian McLaren, seminal leader of the ‘emergent’ church movement. For years, Brian kept all in the dark on his views of homosexuality; last week he performed a same-sex commitment ceremony for his son and ‘spouse.’

With David, we cry out, aching for the truth that sets willing hearts free. ‘Give us release from our distress; be merciful and hear our cry.’ (PS 4:1) For the next 5 days, we shall meditate together on that verse.

God gave us all release from our distress through the inaugural gathering of the Restored Hope Network last week in CA. We set our hope on Him, and spoke freely of the gender shame and brokenness that He assumed for us. In turn, He is raising up a people whose very clarity as men and women, and commitment to one another, is founded on Mercy.

Jesus is gathering a humble people who rely upon His redeeming love. Pray that our light will shine in the darkness and make a way for many to come home.

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September 28, 2012  (Psalm 4:1)

 ‘Answer me when I call to you, O my righteous, saving God.

Water ehartGive me relief from my distress; be merciful to me and hear my prayer.’ (Ps. 4:1)

David is in trouble. The righteous king seduced Bathsheba then murdered her husband, which incited a series of betrayals that came back to haunt him. Now one of his sons, Absalom, wants David’s blood. (2Sam. 11-18)

David is clean. His sins are washed, his heart turned to the God who had shown him mercy. Still he must face the kickback of familiar sins.

He is no different than us amid the sexual idolatry of our day. Though we don’t face the immensity of David’s challenges, we can agree that sexual sin is an equal opportunity offender. Whether porn, romantic obsession, same-gender sensuality, premarital sex, or any number of ways we try to meet our needs in defiance of our Maker, we have all sinned and fallen short of Someone glorious. (Rom. 3:23) And something glorious—the dignity to live uprightly, valuing others fully clothed because they are worthy of value, not because they turn us on.

In the shameless, naked mess we’ve made our sexuality, we the forgiven must admit: our sins have been passed down to a generation more disoriented than we are. How else to explain our stammering response to ‘gay marriage’, as if we must apologize for defining marriage as male and female and thus oriented toward new life?

During the next 40 days, we will indeed cry out for the four states that have ‘gay marriage’ votes in November—Maine, Minnesota, Maryland, and Washington. But first things first: we will simply ask God to have mercy on us for our sexual sin.

‘Like David, we acknowledge our sins as consequential, seeds sown that now reap a whirlwind. (Hos. 8:7) 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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Clothe us, O God

Tomorrow we begin our 40-day fast. Please join me in this extended meditation on Psalm 4, as we seek God’s heart for the sexual and relational brokenness all around us. Instead of seeking mere creatures to solve the moral mess we are in, we will seek our Creator and Redeemer as broken creatures desperately in need of Him.

Clothe us, O God!

40 Days of Prayer for Cleansing and Covering our Shameful Nakedness

September 28th – November 6th, 2012

 

Prayer Guide

Psalm 4

1 Answer me when I call to you,
my righteous God.
Give me relief from my distress;
have mercy on me and hear my prayer.

2 How long will you people turn my glory into shame?
How long will you love delusions and seek false gods?
3 Know that the Lord has set apart his faithful servant for himself;
the Lord hears when I call to him.

4 Tremble and do not sin;
when you are on your beds,
search your hearts and be silent.
5 Offer the sacrifices of the righteous
and trust in the Lord.

6 Many, Lord, are asking, “Who will bring us prosperity?”
Let the light of your face shine on us.
7 Fill my heart with joy
when their grain and new wine abound.

8 In peace I will lie down and sleep,
for you alone, Lord,
make me dwell in safety.

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Fasting: The Feast of Freedom

‘Speak, for Your servant is listening.’ (I Samuel 3:10)

Our 40 days of prayer begin this Friday. Might you consider some type of fast as a way of maximizing your time in prayer?

Freaketh not thou, child of God. Though fasting is usually associated with not eating, I urge you to broaden your view to include giving up one thing that will liberate a few minutes to pray. That could involve replacing 30 minutes of TV or FaceBook time with 30-minutes of prayer; and yes, it could involve going without a meal and praying instead.

My point? We do not give up something to showcase our denial skills—we let go in order to take up prayer. In other words, we fast in order to feast on God. Prayer is holy desire for Him—His heart, His presence, His purposes.

We fast to clear away the clutter and make room for Him. We provide you with a prayer guide, which includes a daily verse and prayer. Hopefully, that will gently immerse you in Jesus: the true desire of your heart. (Guide PDF available at pray.desertstream.org.)

In this tumultuous political season, we do well to make room for Him. Let our hearts not be like the innkeepers in Bethlehem who welcomed everyone but Him. Never before have our hearts welcomed so many virtual ‘lodgers’; never before have we been as tempted to forego the face of God for a thousand virtual faces.

We must listen to the Word of God in order to pray what pleases Him. We must refuse the many and open to the One—the Great I Am—who alone holds the keys to the mess we are in.

I trust that He will clarify our focus on marriage, as He is its Author and Champion. We shall render to Caesar what is his and to God what is His—His image and holiness manifest in the nuptial bond. We will advocate on our knees for that bond, as it benefits every life on the planet.

I trust also that He shall focus our prayers on those tossed about by the false liberties of our day. My son Sam and I just did an amazing book study on 1 and 2 Peter and Jude, which feature warnings about false teachers who eschewed both future judgment and sexual purity.

Peter and Jude urge us as believers to hold fast to sexual integrity, to recognize the hell that awaits those who forego chastity, and the urgent call to pray and implore those under deception to turn back to Jesus and His community.

‘Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear, hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.’ (Jude 22, 23)

Might our fast be a feast of freedom? That feast begins as we partake of God then pray for ‘His will be done’ in marriage and extravagant mercy for the lost. Prayer is effectual. It changes our hearts and moves His on behalf of the broken creation.

I look forward to partnering with you in our feast of freedom.

Beginning the 28th, we shall post daily each prayer entry. Every 5 days, also beginning the 28th, we will blast and post a new encouragement that corresponds with the theme of the 5 days to come.

‘When you words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight.’ (Jer. 15:16)

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