Tag Archives: Christ

A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

October 31: Transformation of Desire

‘Therefore I urge you, brothers, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of the world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.’ (Rom. 12: 1, 2)

Our wounds and lusts must pass through the fire of the Cross. Holy love purges every disciple. And every part of us is impacted by the fire. He who withholds no good thing from us asks that we yield up everything to the flames so that what is false might be exposed and burned up. What remains is the truth: the golden, imperishable truth of the self that lives only in grateful dependence upon Jesus.

The purging that prepares us for deeper, more authentic communion with our Bridegroom can only be described as a wound of love. It is born of love and intended to anchor us more securely in love alone.

Here we can and must draw from two vital traditions. Evangelicals are utterly clear in the Cross as the way to salvation—God’s costly yet free gift in the God who shed His blood to reclaim our lives. Catholics tend to emphasize the sanctifying work of the Cross as we imitate Christ in following Him through the sufferings of this life. The fire of divine love insists on both: we enter in through the fire of Another’s obedience and we are changed as we surrender to those flames. We enter through the Cross and we become like Him as we accept the little crosses that wound us and invite us to lean on our Beloved.

Through the fire we are changed. Conversion is a lifetime process of cleansing and being conformed to Himself. I experience this in two ways. My love for others has changed as I become aware of many motives that draw me toward some and distance me from others. Jesus purifies me constantly in love of neighbor so that my offering to persons I serve might be purely good.

That is especially true of love for persons to whom I am sexually attracted. I must ask myself: am I willing to sacrifice what pleases me in order to give another what (s)he needs? My King teaches me to be self-aware and yet impartial, motivated by the other’s good (including my wife’s!) I shall carry that good cross all my days, for love’s sake.

Secondly, I ask Jesus for His heart constantly for His Church, His Bride. It is all too easy to mutter against her or simply to detach from her due to myriad disappointments. I ask Jesus constantly for His desire for her to become mine, which requires that He purge me of cool love. Through a painting, He gave me a vision of a beautiful bride in white, who had stumbled then tumbled into a stream.

She looked startled as she sat with a torn and muddied dress in a couple feet of water. Broken by the fall, she was nevertheless exquisite and right in the middle of where she needed to be—the cleansing flow of Her Bridegroom’s love for her.

We are her; to love her is to have mercy on ourselves. In this long engagement, in between betrothal and consummation with our King, we do well to welcome His cleansing and extend it quickly to His members on either side of us in the stream.

Please join us as we pray for:

1. Georgia, Bev Gammalo – Coordinator: For strength and vision for Bev, for existing groups and to see new groups established.

2. Aguas Vivas: Bayamon, Puerto Rico, Miguel & Elisabeth – Coordinators: Direction for timing and team for future groups as they finish second ContraCorriente pilot with church leaders.

3. RHN: CPR Outreach, Sheila Wisler, acting director: search for a new director and whether to attend Living Waters training.

“Courage for Reverend Justin Welby (Archbishop of Canterbury), that he would ensure that the Church becomes a clear fountain of transformation for persons with same-sex attraction!”

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD BLOGS & PRAYER POINTS FOR OCTOBER 31, NOV. 1, 2, 3.

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October 24: Pierced by Love

‘The entire Christian life bears the mark of the spousal love of Christ and Church.’(CCC 1617)

Jesus gave all; on the Cross, He pledged Himself to us as Bridegroom to a Bride. There is no richer or deeper expression of spousal love than Jesus pouring out His life for us at Calvary. He forged a bond with us there that is like a marriage but actually much more. Our Creator vowed to make us His own through death; He released a river of blood, water and Spirit that has power to enable us to love Him in return.

He honors our choice. Will we dodge the Cross or look at it straight as God’s ‘yes’ to an exclusive bond of love with us? That’s the rub, that’s why we remain at a safe distance. Spousal love requires faithfulness. And we tend toward other lovers. While revealing God’s marriage pledge to us, the Cross also reveals our adulteries.

If so, don’t run from your divided heart. In light of other lovers, ask yourself: ‘Who really loves me? Who authentically cares for me, weeps for me, bears with me, fights for me because (s)he loves me—who I am—and not because of anything (s)he gets from it?’

Perhaps like me you can answer honestly: only Jesus loves me perfectly. The Cross invites us to return to that fountain of perfect love and to allow its flow to prime our hearts. Let tears of remorse flow: not the regret of having broken the rules (although we undoubtedly have), but rather the sorrow of having betrayed the best relationship we’ve ever had. Jesus espoused Himself to us at Calvary, and if we have said to yes to Him there, then His spousal light will reveal our infidelities.

Perhaps for the first time, Love invites you to look at your adulterous heart. Don’t run or turn against yourself. Let the truth of His undying pledge of love for you recapture your heart. Enter again His tender and strong river: water to cleanse you, blood to give you new life, Spirit to revive your hurting soul. Remember, unlike a mere spouse, He is the Bridegroom who makes a way for willing hearts to become faithful lovers. He is making us His Bride, responsive and clean, transformed by Love alone.

Please join us as we pray for:

1. Eastern Midwest Region, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Amy Van Cott – Coordinator: Strength and vision for Amy, for existing groups and to see new groups established.

2. International Theology of the Body Congress (www.tobcongress.com): Advance for beautiful teachings of John Paul II throughout the world.

3. RHN: Prayer for Anne Paulk, as Executive Director, protection and provision for her and her three sons and extended family.

“Courage for Pope Francis, that he would ensure that the Church becomes a clear fountain of transformation for persons with same-sex attraction!”

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD BLOGS & PRAYER POINTS FOR OCTOBER 23, 24, 25, 26

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Amazing, Glorious

‘All who heard from the shepherds were amazed.’ (LK 2:18)

‘Being Christian is encounter with a Person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction.’ Pope Emeritus Benedict

Are we still amazed by Christ’s coming into our lives? Believe me, if we are not amazed than no-one else will be either. We must move beyond Christmas—the coming of Jesus—into Epiphany, the shining of His Glory upon our genuinely amazing lives. Read more »

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Treasures from Darkness

‘Everything that affected Jesus affected His mother, yet no intimate understanding existed between them. His life was hers, yet constantly escaped her.’ (Romano Guardini, The Lord)

‘Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.’ (LK 2: 19)

No more powerful bond exists than between mother and child; Mary, like all mothers, is significantly defined by her child. Yet the extraordinary nature of this Child set in motion a pattern that reveals the extraordinary nature of His mother. Read more »

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Mercy 8: Level Ground

‘For Jesus Himself is our peace, who has made the two one, and who has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility…His purpose was to create in Himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross.’ (Eph. 2: 14-16)

house on the sand or hiltch copyI do not like dividing people into categories of sexual brokenness (gay, straight, addicted, abused, abuser, misogynist, ‘amazonian’), any more than St. Paul in the above passage liked ethnic division (Jews versus Greeks) in the one body.

Jesus gave us one goal—to become a chaste, trustworthy gift to either gender; He provides one path on which to become a mature expression of that gift. Together in Christ, we seek security and clarity in our gift-giving humanity. We are one.

Still we profile people. I go to the gym and greet a variety of people whom I am tempted to categorize according to superficial assessments: striver, seducer, airhead, macho boor, gender bender, etc.

The Spirit challenged me. ‘Why do you categorize those whom I simply see as my beloved children?’ Sure enough, as soon as I get to know a gym-mate I discover an exquisite (and usually frustrated) expression of God’s image, usually open to any help they can get in resuming the journey toward wholeness!

If given half a chance, most people want to become good gifts. They live in shame for failing to be true to God and others and need huge drafts of mercy to face what they must in order to become who they actually are.

Every week at Living Waters I gather with men and women who aspire toward just that. Our symptoms differ: fear, shame, arrogance, crippling insecurities, misdirected desire for one gender or the other, no desire, the weariness of a frustrating marriage, the frustration of weary singles. Yet we are all united in Christ, and the aspiration to know Him more and love others better.

The cross creates one pool of mercy where all sinners can come and immerse themselves in the water. All it takes is the cry for mercy: ‘God, help me. The gift that I want to be I cannot be without Your help. Free me to resume the journey toward becoming a mature expression of the gift for others.’

‘For Christ’s love compels us…From now on we regards no-one from a worldly point of view…If anyone is in Christ, (s)he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!’ (2 Cor. 5: 14, 16, 17)

Prayer Points:

    • Desert Stream/Living Waters: A younger generation of leaders! Please pray for young adults to rise up and join the work of Living Waters throughout the USA.
    • Restored Hope Network: Love & Truth Network, Endicott, NY. Pastor Garry Ingraham, Director. Specialty: working with churches to educate them on how to care for their SSA members. Networking healing opportunities for the Northeast. First Stone Ministries, Oklahoma City, OK. Stephen Black, Director. Specialty: working with men, women, families and friends, running Living Waters, speaking engagements.
    • Courage: Please ask God to protect young people just discovering their SSA; may they not be swallowed up by the lies of the culture and be directed to wise council in their time of dire need!
  • Ministries of Pastoral Care: Please pray for God’s favor as they seek to share His truth, healing and love, one precious soul at a time.
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