Category: Prayer

A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

November 1, 2012 (Psalm 4:7)

‘You have filled my heart with greater joy than when their grain and new wine grain abound.’ (Ps. 4:7)

The fruit of marriage is children. Even marriages that are childless are oriented toward the possibility of new life. Marriage is so much more than a cozy, sensual tax- break for two people who need each other. It is about reproducing new life, and caring for that new life in sickness and in health.

The first fruit, and the greatest joy for Annette and I are our four amazing children. How can they each be so alike and yet so distinct? Each phase of their evolving lives poses new possibilities for them and parenting challenges for us. How much is too much? Are we too involved? Too little? Lord have mercy on us, parents who must discern the season!

What delights us most is that our kids want to engage with us, well into their twenties. ‘What? You actually want our presence and input?’ These four continue to grow and so do us parents who have vowed to God and to each other to stay true to what God had in mind when we joined our bodies as one flesh.

‘You did not choose me but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last.’ (John 15:16)

‘Clarify for us, O God, the purpose of marriage. Forgive us for divorcing companionship from procreation. Revive the joy of bringing forth new from our marriages. Grant us grace to tend to that life in a way that pleases You. 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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October 31, 2012 (Psalm 4:7)

‘You have filled my heart with greater joy than when their grain and new wine abound.’ (Ps. 4: 7)

One of the things I witnessed early on in my faith was the generosity of married couples who loved Jesus and who together overflowed with joyful self-giving. They revealed the ‘common good’ of marriages, healthy ones, at least; they generated new life and gave it away generously.

Annette and I benefited from their witness generally and the many gifts they gave us specifically. Together, we too have experienced the call and the capability to become generous. Throughout the years, we have sought to give away joyfully what the Lord has entrusted to us. We can see now a variety of people from around the world who have gone on to multiply the essence of what we gave them.

What joy! Freely we have received, freely we give away. To this day, ministering and married together for 32 years, we ‘with joy draw water from the well of salvation.’ (Isa. 12: 3) Spring up, O well!

‘I was young, and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread. They are always generous and lend freely; their children will be blessed.’ (Ps. 37: 25, 26)

‘In Your generous love, make us generous. May the graces You have multiplied in our marriages grace many. 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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October 30, 2012 (Psalm 4:7)

‘You have filled my heart with greater joy than when their grain and new wine abound.’ (PS 4: 7)

One way that I have experienced emotional freedom is in same gender friendships. One could say that at the core of most same-sex attraction is the cry for emotional belonging and solidarity with one’s own gender. In regards to one’s ‘inner child’, we are talking about a normal developmental need. But that need gets distorted by the erotic/romantic confusion of a wayward adult.

Sorting out one thing from another is an awesome, arduous adventure. The joy of genuine friendship makes the journey worthwhile. I have experienced a level of intimacy and reliance upon male friends now that would have been inconceivable if sex had been introduced into the mix.

Homosexual behavior frustrates the very need it seeks to meet. Chaste friendship liberates the potential for genuine disclosure, authentic emotion, fully clothed.

‘As the Father has loved Me, so I have loved you. Now remain in My love…I have told you this so that My joy may be in you and so that your joy may be complete.’ (John 15: 9, 11)

‘Father, in Your love, teach us to be chaste; liberate the joy of chaste friendship. 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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October 29, 2012 (Psalm 4:7)

‘You have filled my heart with greater joy than when their grain and new wine abound.’ (Ps. 4:7)

Among the treasures I have discovered in turning from sexual sin and toward merciful Jesus is emotional authenticity—the capacity to be fully present before Him and others. One discovers a range of emotions in sobering up. Beneath the squandering of passion are exquisite longings that can motivate one onto the pain and joy of real life, real relationships.

Dr. Joseph Nicolosi quotes a client who said: ‘I would now rather cry than masturbate.’ Surely the same is true about joy: I would rather laugh at the absurdity of my petty grasping ways than bring myself or another under the tyranny of sin.

St. Paul spoke of being ‘sorrowful and yet always rejoicing’ (2Cor. 6: 10). Out from under sin’s delusion, we can enter the spacious, scary place of genuine emotion.

‘Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that You have broken rejoice.’ (Ps. 51:8)

‘Grant us ongoing grace to refuse sinful attachments; grant us courage to face our unattached hearts. Lead us in paths of life, for Your name’s sake. 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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Joy Rising – October 28, 2012 (Psalm 4:7)

‘You have filled my heart with greater joy than when their grain and new wine abound.’ (PS 4:7)

With all due respect to our great nation, I am not sold on the concept of ‘pursuit of happiness.’ That connotes a restless quest for well-being based on externals: the gladness of abundance (‘grain and new wine’), glumness in a lean season.

Give me joy any day, the kind based on knowing God is at work deep within us to will and to do what HE wills. Some earmarks of joy to me:

How Jesus transformed my homosexual lust into same-gender friendships that are all the more powerful because of their purity. In such bonds I rejoice. Through these men, I have discovered a sustained care not subject to the fickleness of ‘eros’. A wise man said: Sex seals the bond between husband and wife; it perverts friendship between comrades. ’ Jesus alone transforms lust into enduring love.

How Jesus transformed Annette and I into really good gifts for each other. We both entered into romantic love with a low view of our capacity to love. We now rejoice in the expansive presence of Jesus in our love, summoning us to give beyond our limited self-perceptions. Besides the Mercy of God, my joy today is simply Annette. I marvel at the quality of love we share. My cup runs over.

How Jesus transformed fear concerning our kids into faith. How do you not fret over the fate of children who must grow beyond ‘thy parents will be done’? Annette and I pray together for our kids daily. What else can we do? In spite of wrecked cars and court sentences and bailouts, guess what? One Greater upholds them and uses all things to draw each child to Himself in just the way (s)he needs. When we see evidence of this, and we do, we rejoice.

Joy cannot be taken from us. Its Source is steadfast, the anchor of our soul. (Heb. 6:19)

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October 28, 2012

‘You have filled my heart with greater joy that when their grain and new wine abound.’ (Ps. 4:7)

David now reflects upon joy: the fruit of undivided attentiveness to God. He contrasts that joy to the happiness of prosperity. Perhaps he refers here to the rise of his pursuers, including son Absalom, who were growing in numbers and strength against the king.

Some years ago, a young married couple, both of whom came out of homosexuality, conceived a child then endured much suffering through a difficult pregnancy and an even harder delivery. We feared for the life of mother and child. At the same time, we read of a celebrity ‘lesbian’ whose new girlfriend had, with the help of a surrogate, popped out babies like cookies from the oven.

I recall such a mix of emotions as to why the wicked seem to prosper while the righteous travail. Then I witnessed the joy of this much-tested couple whose boast is a beautiful child. The light of Glory shines on them. Grateful and utterly dependent on Him for all, their joy surpasses the happiness of prosperity.

‘Do not let your heart envy sinners but always be zealous for a fear of the Lord. There is surely a future and hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.’ (Prov. 23: 17, 18)

‘Show us the difference between joy and happiness. Show us Your face. You alone set the aching heart free. 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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