Category: Sexual Brokenness

A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

Grateful, Out Loud

Jesus healed 10 lepers. ‘Only one of them came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked Him—and he was a Samaritan.’  (Luke 17: 15, 16)

The skin protecting his humanity rotting away, his ethnic status scorned by Jews, the leprous Samaritan discovered Almighty Mercy. Not only was he healed of his disease, but of the alienation that had defined his whole life. Jesus rolled away the stone of his entombment; gratitude propelled him out of the grave and back to His Source.

‘Now in Christ Jesus you who were far away have been brought near through the blood of Jesus.’ (Eph. 2:13)

We came back! We the disintegrated, harassed and helpless due to our misinterpretation of same-sex attraction have been cleansed by Mercy Himself. He made a way for us, and we travel back with shouts of thanksgiving to submit our lives to Him. What else can we do? He alone has healed us; He alone has the keys to life. There is no other place we want to be than with Him and His heart of compassion for the lost. Now found, we live only for His ministry of reconciliation.

Gratitude keeps the path clear. Thankfulness alone for the saving Mercy of Jesus keeps our hearts free for His purposes in spite of all that sets itself above Him. Gratitude torpedoes every obstacle to Divine Mercy.

I am equally grateful for my colleagues and former lepers whose noisy gratitude continues to make a way for others to know Mercy. The Body of Christ is a more pure and authentic place because of you. May our gratitude continue to well up and clear the way for many to come home.

‘This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the Gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else.’ (2Cor 9: 12, 13)

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Waking Up

How do you explain a nation that resolutely opposed ‘gay marriage’ at the polls (32X) then ushered it in boldly last Tuesday?

You could cite Obama’s slide as America’s; he started 4 years ago resolute in his ‘Christian’ commitment to marriage then unraveled. He became the first US president to champion ‘gay marriage’ last May. Did he lead America into ‘gay marriage’ or just reflect the superficial faith of many? Chicken or egg: discuss.

Last Tuesday, the Church laid an egg; she chickened out, big time. How else do you explain the stats that most avowed Roman Catholics in the USA now support ‘gay marriage’? Or the evangelical drivel that ‘we cannot legislate morality’? Are you kidding? Every act of legislation is a moral decision!

We so want a tolerant Jesus that we edit the truth that He is the Creator and Redeemer of all, which implicates our gender, our sexuality and what we do with our bodies. Supporting ‘gay marriage’ declares that we have no understanding of what it means to be human, made in His image. So we settle for a ‘feel good’ Jesus who does not mess with us. In truth, Jesus messes with us at the core of our affections and motives so that we don’t mess up others, including murdering the unborn.

Jesus indicts America’s cowardice with ‘gay marriage’ and a new host of pro-abortion leaders led by Obama himself.

It’s not too late. Last Tuesday sounded an alarm. Will ‘we wake up from the dead and let Christ shine on us?’ (Eph. 5:14)

I had a dream last night of a bright-eyed young pastor serving an ailing church in Boston. Due to the pastor’s disavowal of ‘gay marriage’, the church elders took away his keys. But he had a key, shaped like a cross. His ‘cross-key’ gave him free and ready access to the church that mere men could not stop. Many joined him, and a vibrant renewed church emerged from the dying one.

My friend and colleague Josh Glazer woke up. He led his Maryland-based ministry Regeneration to pray and fast with us over these last 40-days. He writes: ‘I’ve been humbled to have my own cowardice and compromise exposed–masked as compassion, busy-ness, humility, and the pursuit of being ‘relevant’. Also, I’ve become increasingly aware of something akin to a spirit of delusion over our land, blinding us to the true fruit of the unnatural desires we’ve been embracing.

The shining moment of this fast for me was when a spirit of fear was broken. The Lord showed me my cowardice and compromise as “holding to a form of godliness, but denying its power” (2 Tim. 3:4). For three days following, I reveled in Hebrews 11 — reading of my brothers and sisters in the faith who have gone before me, not clinging to this country nor the approval or pleasures therein, “But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them” (Heb. 11:16).

As this fast concludes, whether marriage further upheld or further desecrated, I am convinced we must keep crying out for mercy and a spirit of repentance in His Church and throughout our land. Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy upon us!”

 

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Water Rising

‘I saw water coming out from the threshold of the temple…and where that river flows, everything shall live.’ (Ez. 47: 1, 9)

Deadened like you by a disastrous election (marriage trounced in four states, abortion’s champion re-elected—more on this later), I recalled how most of the DSM staff spent Election Day and I take heart.

We spent 12 hours in prayer in the Minneapolis House of Prayer, located in a church smack dab in the middle of the huge state university there. The prayer house is run by masterful musician Nate Oyloe who also runs Outpost, a sister ministry to Desert Stream which specializes in administering healing to those with SSA and their loved ones.

Throughout the day, different sets of musicians and intercessors prayed through the Apostle John’s prophesies to the different churches recorded in Rev. 2 and 3. That coincided with the end of our 40-day prayer cycle, which was sourced in Jesus’ call of repentance to the lukewarm, shamefully naked (and oblivious) church at Laodicea.

Having not eaten food in 40 days, I feasted on the faithful who sang like angels and prayed like prophets; I could see water rising from the altar and flowing out from the faith of those gathered. Most present were deeply familiar with same-sex attraction, whether personal or through a loved one.

Their prayers for real marriage, for purity, for transformation, for a loving, healing, truthful church had clout. Each knew how costly the golden calf of ‘gay marriage’ could be for their state. Deeper still, each lived in gratitude for the cost Jesus had already paid to make him/her a new creature.

We rode the wave of prayerful devotion and flowed out on the streets, right up the middle of student crowds. Many wore buttons opposing the conservative marriage initiative, while one university church decried it with a huge banner near its steeple. I marveled at the spirit of gender ‘anarchy’ apparent in the hard, defended women and stunted men; a large sign from one dorm window read–‘I Love Anal Sex.’

Deeper than revulsion ran the river from God’s house that makes all things new. I knew that one touch, one drop of that blood and water from His side, one draft of living water could transform an idolater into an icon of holy humanity. We returned to the prayer room and prayed for the city until we could no more.

The next day we discovered that the people on the streets beat us in the polls; they refused our marriage amendment. We lost many battles Tuesday but not the war. The life from the Body, flowing out onto those streets, has just begun to fight. Water levels are rising in the House of God.

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Love Shining – October 23, 2012 (Psalm 4:6)

‘Many are asking: “Who can show us any good?” Let the light of Your face shine upon us, O God.’ (PS 4:6)

Politics brings out the worst in people; divided by partisan bickering and hyperbole, battered by sound bites that become more like sound ‘bullets’ as the election draws near, we limp to the ballot box.

Who can show us any good? Few believe that politicians can, and rightly so. Our hope must be in something more.

Sadly, many mistrust the Church as much as they do the State. Most Americans have encountered ‘church’ in various forms and have walked away with a trace of faith but unchanged. Caught in the volley between self-reliance and slavish devotion to another, we settle for less. ‘Gay marriage’ is but a symptom of the cynicism that results from mistrust in Jesus and His bride.

Shine on us, O God. Yesterday in church I looked around me and saw a beautiful and broken group of Christians humbly confessing their sins, seeking the strength to turn from sin to the Son, wanting above all else to reflect Him more brightly.

I then considered the thousands of men and women I know what have cried out for mercy in light of their homosexuality or the struggle of a loved one. I have witnessed Jesus being formed in them through the fire: faith refined and growing stronger as they learned to entrust their very lives to Jesus.

No wonder the struggle is so deep: Jesus knows exactly what it takes for Him to be our all-in-all! A flashy miracle would never work Christ in us. Through hours of saints praying for us then through our many confessions and healing prayer sessions, Jesus lays claim to the whole of us. Now we are His, a shining witness of His love.

Jesus will shine upon us in the days to come as never before. His Mercy will triumph over the compromise and unbelief in the world. His Church will shine.

God gave St. Faustina a similar promise. In spite of her weakness and the compromised church, Jesus promised her that the Church would shine with Mercy.

‘There will come a time when this work of mercy, which God is demanding so very much, will be as though utterly undone. And then God will act in great power, which will give evidence of its authenticity. It will be a new splendor for the Church.’

Let it be so, O God. Please reclaim the years of struggle by making us more pure and merciful reflections of Your love. Make us a Bride that more nearly answers the cry of restless, wounded hearts.

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October 23, 2012

‘Many are asking, “Who can show us any good?” Let the light of Your face shine upon us, O God.’ (Ps. 4:6)

We live in a day of decreasing trust. Superficially, we have never been more connected; we tend to our cyber-family with whom we live out loud and yet only know through hastily posted opinions and photos. Global news, usually tragic, bombards us constantly. Among the barrage are scandals of church and state that erode trust. Overall, the convenience of living through a screen or many screens over-stimulates us then blunts our capacity to relate to real people. We are alone together.

‘Who can show us any good?’ Human hearts have recoiled from trust, the trust capable of deepening friendship with God and His community. An election year does not help. Blah, Blah, Obama; Blah, Blah Romney…Just so many talking heads with no capacity to deliver the goods. ‘Who can show us any good?’

We must heed the deeper cry of our hearts, the one only our Creator can satisfy. ‘Let the light of Your face, beautiful God, shine upon us.’ You alone are THE good. And we are Your people. May we reflect Your light and life to those in shadow.

In Christ, ‘we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.’ (2Pet. 1:19)

‘Father, we ask that You would reveal and rout out the mistrust that breeds cynicism, any way we have bonded with the despair of the world. Unite us with Yourself, awesome God. Let Your glory shine on us. 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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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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