Category: Prayer

A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

Become Who You Are

The full stature of our humanity is always just outside our grasp. Someone truer, stronger, more tender-in-love awaits his or her true revelation.

As God made us in us His very image, He has wired us to represent Him more nearly, more authentically. For this we must reach. Joseph Pieper describes such inspired aspiration as magnanimity, our ‘yes’ to realizing the greatness He stamped upon every cell of our being.

He is faithful. We have all experienced leaders who have witnessed our childishness, roll their eyes, and mutter: ‘Grow up.’ Not our Father and Son. When we fall short of greatness, fumble the ball or even foul out, He loves us through our shame and gently commands that we become more. He wills what He commands. Nothing less than the power that elevated Jesus from the tomb infuses our weak ‘yes’; He helps us to break through the invisible wall that keeps us crowned by childish things.

The other day, in response to an attitude Annette witnessed in me as less than godly and manly, I sought the Lord and He invited me: ‘I want you to become bigger in this area. As you stand tall and refuse to bend, I will give you victory.’ He has. I must choose daily to stand in that higher place. As I do, I grow into the freedom for which Christ set me free.

It hurts but helps us to bump against low ceilings of immaturity. Growth requires our ‘yes’ to Spirit-inspired commands to break the previously unseen wall.

How sad when we don’t. I know a good man who loves Jesus and leads others in His Name who is convinced that he is intrinsically ‘gay.’ Though he refuses explicit homosexual behavior, he is bound by boyish dependencies that belie his 39-years. These friendships are flirtatiousness and campy; his immaturity confuses others and keeps him a pre-teen, emotionally speaking.

It’s hard to grow up. And our Father helps us. He knows we tend to familiar, lesser selves due to laziness and lack of vision. You could say St. Paul wrote most of his epistles for just that reason, to remind faltering Christians to become who God made and redeemed them to be.

LGBT+ month reminds us that we live in an age that has stripped ‘compassion’ of magnanimity; we have lost vision and spiritual power. Let us reclaim both. St. Paul’s words ring truer than ever: ‘For you were once darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord. Live as children of the Light’ (Eph. 5:8). St. Augustine says it another way. ‘Live up to what you have become.’ Become who you are.

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Holy Resistance 2

By Marco Casanova

“You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it” (Mt 16:18).

Usually trademarked by LGBT parading throughout the globe, June makes for an interesting month. The shameless gender bending movements have a way of releasing a seductive cloud over cities. We must fight for those who still “limp between two opinions” (1 Kings 18:21). May we be “unashamed of the gospel” (Rom 1:16) that calls us out of sexy idolatry into the reality of Jesus.

As a dude who’s struggled with homo-erotic compromises, this month can be a battle. I’m proud of the ground taken in my fight for chastity, and humbled that the power of Jesus made such a campaign possible. Yet recently I was cautioned that the idols had not forgotten my name. Even though “they have mouths, but cannot speak” (Ps 115:5), idols have a way of igniting a seductive fire. Its secondary smoke impacts me.

What do we do when we feel a subtle seduction? Rouse yourself to stand. Look to the witnesses who have gone before us: St. Charles Lwanga, a young adult who stood for Jesus in the lure of royal “gay” seduction; Sts. Peter and Paul, chosen apostles, who stood for the “foolish” Crucified One as the pagan world belittled their convictions. These men are no dusty museum pieces of trite devotion. They’re Body members who fight for us when we start feeling the resistance.

How did they do it? Their Friend set His heart towards them:

“I do not ask for perfection from those whom I have chosen to be My friends; I ask only that they give Me their imperfection and the burden of their sins, and allow Me to do for them what, of themselves, they are incapable of doing… ‘Without Me, you can do nothing’…Why is this word of Mine so often forgotten? It is a word of immense power for the healing and liberation of souls because, understood rightly, it obliges them to run to Me in every necessity of body, mind, or spirit, and to allow Me to be their Savior, their Physician, and their God.” (In Sinu Jesu)

This Church of ours was made to march; Jesus promises that hellish resistance will not stand a chance. Fortified by Him and His friends, we stand firm.

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Holy Resistance

‘In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood’ (Heb. 12:4).

Guys tend to be soft these days, orbited by helicopter parents and overly self-aware, as if sensitivity to one’s ‘needs’ means feeding time. Now.

Forgive me, but I cannot empathize for long with dudes committed to Jesus but pixelated, poisoned by porn, who regret that they are not ‘free’ to cave into sexual sin with either gender. They may even fall into self-pity over the loss of beloved idols, as if idols wanted their good. Note to self: idols want your blood, not your best.

Wake up. To become our best, we need resistance, a fight, a battle worth waging that will enliven something noble in us and burn off moral flabbiness. We need a clear vision of chastity—of holy love that rouses us to stop pleasuring ourselves long enough to pick up the sword of the Spirit and wield it. We are built to fight, not fantasize; Jesus redeemed us for war, not whining. We are made to reach beyond childish things and offer ourselves as honorably as possible to others. For their good, not our perceived fulfillment! That noble aim requires full surrender to Jesus and all our strength, endowed by His Spirit.

We have help from our fellows. Last week was the Feast Day of St. Charles Lwanga and friends, a group of about 22 13-30-year-old males who served in the court of a perverse and lustful Ugandan king in the late 19th century. As their spiritual leader, Charles discipled his band of brothers in the holiness of Jesus, which included training in chastity; that training was aimed at resisting the king’s sexual advances. For refusing royal lust, Charles and friends were martyred. They resisted to the point of shedding their blood; that sacrifice quickened the conversion of a nation that now boasts an 81% Christian population.

How far will you go to resist lust? I challenge you. Pick up the sword. Renounce self-pity. Ask Jesus for power you don’t feel. Live like you’re strong: surrender porn and foolish fantasies about the lover you deserve. You have One—Jesus who comes closer than the consummate friend and trains you for war. He has entrusted you with this fight. Start waging it. Become the man you are. Who knows? Your resistance might convert a crowd, even a country.

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Life in the Blood

As the DSM staff gathered throughout Easter to pray for the coming (more Lord!) of the Holy Spirit, we entered Jesus’ merciful heart. Pandemic noise invited us to flee into the folds of His compassion. His wound is love, bleeding yet unimpaired, fiercely beating as to send oxygen-rich Blood throughout His Body so that all might live.

As His Blood enriched ours, we discovered impaired passageways—some blocked—in ourselves and in our ministry. How can we best become merciful members whose very presence permeates what is dying and revives it? Simple: we repent! We allow Him to diagnose hardening arteries; we then welcome His cleansing afresh.

Easy for Him—it’s the purpose of His heart and nature of His Blood—to course through surrendered vessels. Fresh, oxygenated mercy cleanses and revitalizes the heartsick. Now we can hear His command to all the faithful: ‘Summon life from the dead!’

That is good news. Our very lives are merciful, saving agents of His Blood that can well up and heal the most disordered. Of course we can! We are His! And He is Jesus! He lives as the very center of our lives and sends His merciful flood to us and through us with each beat of His heart.

Pentecostal power means that we live to revive the dying. We resound with an invitation for all to welcome His mercy where they are sick. Surrounded by the saints, we help each other refuse silent killers in His merciful, Almighty Name. More than that, we rejoice together in the wholeness we find only in championing others’ dignity over any lustful reduction.

I love my comrades who have come out of life-defying identities—deep divides of soul from which disordered passions emerge—passions that the world applauds and seeks to ignite. We know better! And we live better because One greater lives in us who implores others through us to turn from falsehood and live.

As I write, I see faces of friends throughout the world who infuse churches with their witness of Blood: the life that emanates from Jesus’ Almighty mercy. Life in the Blood now drives and defines previously wounded lives. Their communities are better–cleaner, truer, more merciful—because of them. Deadened tissue from unconfessed sin—from all religious game-playing—is exposed and surrounded by the mercy that wells up from them. Pure, saving joy! Nothing better! We are agents of His Blood whose witness awakens the Bride.

Pentecost has just begun. June is upon us, LGBT+ month. We will be subject to a host of false witnesses. Pray constantly for Jesus’ mercy to rest upon those who don’t know better. Mercy speaks a better word. Jesus’ Blood speaks a better word (Heb. 12: 24). May we who live in the Blood well up and summon life from the dead.

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Awaken Love

‘Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing…’ (Heb. 10:25)

Having ascended to heaven, Jesus reunites with Father in joyful communion. The first fruit of their feast? Loosing heavenly energy to earth endowed with power to permeate and make all things new! From the Dynamic Duo flows the Holy Spirit like sweetest rain—sweet yes, but penetrating too, co-mingling with our human essence and awakening us to the One who loves us more and more nearly than any creature ever could.

This gift of love and the many smaller gifts of the Spirit that all members of Christ can impart to each other build up the Body (1 Cor. 12): that is why we must gather. Simply put, the Holy Spirit wells up in Jesus’ people who know they’ve a gift to give and who hunger for the many gifts that await them in the assembly.

Holy Spirit gift-giving has profound psychological implications. God made us unfit to be alone. The Spirit of Love-in-Truth invites us to come together in our ache for this love—the most profound need we share. We become more human in our self-giving, one to another. And we discover the Divine in our brother or sister. We resist the temptation to make our fellows idols; rather, we honor them as icons–beautiful, flawed mediators of the One who heals and saves us.

Yet the human mediation matters—it is how He made us—fiercely, frustratingly human—and we share a common responsibility to receive and give the gift. Gathering to impart, we grow spiritually and psychologically into our Head.

That is Living Waters! That is the life-giving stream that wells up in what could be the desert of shame and fear-based isolationism. We know the latter through sin’s exile—we mastered ‘social distancing’ long before Covid-19!

Jesus will not have it. He created us to connect with our fellows. As we forge creative links, we become conduits of His lifegiving Spirit to one another.

Now a deadly virus lurks. Stay home, open a screen, zoom community. Not bad. Certainly, we all have benefited from tech-Church and may feel it to be our only option. Others may admit that homey confines are addictive and overly convenient. Maybe we want an excuse to not venture out much anymore.

I exhort you; rouse yourselves. Don’t defy conscience—mask and distance—ok! But find constructive and lifegiving ways to commune. You get only a fraction of community on the flat screen. God made you to offer your whole gift through immersion in the current of gathered believers.

My small group from Living Waters carefully gathered a couple weeks ago. A feast of human proportions! None of us realized how starved we were for honest, merciful disclosure, one to another—facial, vocal, and bodily nuances that mediated many gifts. ‘He ascended on high…He gave gifts to men…that He might fill all things’ (Eph. 4:8-10).

In the Spirit of Ascension, we are boldly, and with care, proceeding on with our Living Waters Training in Kansas City, June 20th-26th. We can do this safely and dynamically to fulfill our mission in this 40th year. After much prayerful refinement, the DSM staff believes this will be the best training ever for the few, the brave, the pioneers who will venture out ‘to know what are the riches of glory in His inheritance among the holy ones,’ ‘the surpassing greatness of His power for those who believe…’ (Eph. 1:18, 19)

Join us. Let’s awaken love together.

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