Tag Archives: National Supreme Court

A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

Reflection 2

Jesus’ 40 days in the desert came immediately after His baptism. Filled with the Spirit, just named by the Father as His beloved Son, Jesus was ready to endure the weakness of fasting. Taken his advantage, as he always does with the weak, Satan made three efforts to tempt Jesus into satisfying His hunger falsely.

Jesus faced two hardships–weakness from hunger and the impact of a severe environment. The desert can be cruel. It offers little respite from heat and thirst. Jesus’ hunger and thirst, combined with the severity of desert solitude, intensified His weakness.

Yet the Son remained spiritually acute and clear. He allowed the empty stomach and barren landscape to tune his spiritual eyes and ears. Jesus partook of the Father’s Word. Alive to unseen realities, Jesus might have heard the underground stream and waited for its surfacing. Already He was expecting the burning sand to become a pool. Jesus was ready for temptation.

No respecter of persons, Satan preyed upon Jesus’ perceived weakness three times. The first two temptations had to do with the enemy luring Jesus into proving Himself, the first by turning the desert stones into bread. That of course hooked into Jesus’ physical hunger.

Jesus responded by naming His main gluten-free meal—the Father’s Word. Alive to that Word which both confirms and feeds His personhood, Jesus busted the enemy’s scheme wide open. It’s as if He said: ‘Only the Father can feed me with food that lasts; only His Word validates me as the Beloved.’

Jesus knew the power of the Father’s validating Word over any miracle or meal. Similarly, He refused the second temptation to hurl Himself down and stay intact as the basis for His divinity. Again, Jesus knew such a test was wrong; His divinity needed no such validation. He had it, the Father confirmed it, and that was that.

Against the barren desert wilderness, the enemy offered Jesus his sexy kingdom—a world splendid and exotic, sensual, visually-stunning, enticing—a world married to man’s pride and vanity. (1Jn 2:16)

All Satan wanted in exchange for his realm was a little worship. Jesus knew the cost of such idolatry. He knew that friendship with sexy idols meant hatred toward God the Father. (James 4:4) Even in weakness, Jesus’ devotion was sure—He bowed only to the Father who loved Him.

Declaring that worship and service belong solely to the living God, Jesus sends the deceiver away.

In so doing, Jesus clears a path in our deserts. We follow Him, as we are still learning to be sons and daughters who listen first and foremost to the Father’s validation. Especially in times of weakness and distress, when our worlds seem more barren than fruitful, we are subject to the desert, and its temptations.

Sadly, we in our weakness have often agreed with the enemy’s deception there.

How many times have we demanded that God perform a miracle and give us what we hunger for now, when He is simply asking us to hold fast to His Word that feeds us more profoundly than any other meal? How many times have in our insecurity compromised our worship to the One just to be stroked for a few moments by a sexy idol?

Truly we are the weak and hungry and poor, those still driven and derided by the enemy who claims to validate our souls only to curse them. Like our Savior who goes before us in the desert of temptation, we must learn to respond to God’s truth and so spring the trap set for us there.

More than anything, this is about listening to the truth and upholding the Father’s sure Word to us. Perhaps He would say to us this Lent: ‘Listen to my voice; in your hunger eat my Word, let me confirm your insecure humanity. And where you in your pride and vanity have bowed down to sexy idols, let me lift you up. Let me wash you clean and set you free from the ties that have bound you to evil.’

At times we have failed the test in our deserts. Greater still is His mercy.
Let Jesus make the burning sand in your life a pool of mercy.

‘As You have shown us mercy, O God, in the desert places of our lives, would You show mercy to the beleaguered state of marriage in the USA? As the Perry vs. Schw. case wends its way to the National Supreme Court, prepare for Yourself a victory. We shall render to Cesaer what is Cesaer’s but we shall prayerfully fight that what is Yours, O God. Prepare the hearts of each justice, especially Justice Anthony Kennedy, to uphold marriage according to Your merciful design. Remember mercy, O God.’

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Reflection 1

Lent prepares us for Easter by leading us to the cross: 40 days, 40 steps to Calvary. It is the downward ascent to God’s mercy.

Lent break ground in us for fresh mercies. It exposes what in us is merciless–stingy, resistant to grace. Lent is the desert in which we in our hunger and thirst are tempted to forsake the Source for pretty poisons.

Lent is the desert in which we can discover the stream that rumbles beneath the valley of death, ready to surface and transform the burning sand into a pool.
(Is. 35:7)

Lent is a severe hope; it points always and only to the God-man agonizing on the cross, forsaken yet certain of the glory-to-come.

Lent asks us to reflect upon the ways that we in our constant scheming to resurrect ourselves might surrender afresh to the Crucified Christ.

Lent asks us to die once more in order to be raised with Him all the more.
In so doing, Lent prepares us for the only hope worth dying for.

Lent is 40 days with Christ in the desert of His fast and His temptation. Filled with life, full of the Spirit, Jesus was led by the Spirit into the place of death, a land of dark spirits which prey upon weak and hungry ones.
(Matt. 4:1-12; Mk 1: 12, 13; Lk 4: 1-13)

Jesus chose the way of weakness and hunger in those 40 days; Lent invites us to do the same. We let go of familiar props and meals in order to rely upon Him alone.

Jesus invites us in to the desert of our own heightened hunger and thirst in order to meet us—to become for us the bread and water of Life. His days in the desert become ours.

We shall discover together how our valleys of death—inside of us, all around us—may actually be better candidates for living water than well-watered gardens.

In these 40 days, I shall be reflecting on our 30 years of ‘Desert Stream’: an extended time with Jesus in the heat of ministry. I hope to convey 40 ways in which His mercy made the burning sand a place of pools.

We shall follow every reflection with a particular plea: that God would have mercy on the USA and use for His glory the current battle for marriage still raging in CA (Court case Perry vs. Schwarzenegger challenging Prop. 8; closing arguments will be made during Lent with Judge Walker’s decision soon to follow).

‘As You have shown us mercy, O God, in the desert places of our lives, would You show mercy to the beleaguered state of marriage in the USA? As the Perry vs. Schw. case wends its way to the National Supreme Court, prepare for Yourself a victory. We shall render to Cesaer what is Cesaer’s but we shall prayerfully fight that what is Yours, O God. Prepare the hearts of each justice, especially Justice Anthony Kennedy, to uphold marriage according to Your merciful design. Remember mercy, O God.’

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The Fight for Marriage Continues Pt. 3

The second question we must raise: does freedom from racial restrictions in marriage apply reasonably to freedom from gender distinctions in marriage? In other words, does interracial marriage set a solid precedent for ‘gay marriage’?

Not at all. Throughout the history of civilization, marriage was and is fundamentally about one man pledged to one woman, for the purpose of bearing and raising children. Ethnicity has never figured into the equation at a foundational level. Discrimination of interracial couples is thus rooted in injustice, in fallen human tradition, and was deservedly overturned by a just Court.

President–elect Obama knows well the power of that justice. As the child of a white woman and African man, he would have been born illegitimately without the foresight of the CA Court. (CA overturned the ban on interracial marriage in 1948, but that ban did not become national law until 1967.) That means that the most powerful man in the USA has a strong sensitivity to marital justice and discrimination.

That is all the more reason for Obama and all citizens to be clear on what the issues are. Obama currently is not. Although he claims to be against ‘gay marriage’ per se, he equally opposed Prop.8 on the grounds that it was ‘discriminatory.’ And he is surrounded by those who have bought into the myth of gays as a targeted minority.

We live in a culture that is vulnerable to the rhetoric of activists who insist that ‘marriage equality’ applies to the false ‘ethnos’ of homosexuality. In their distorted but compelling line of reasoning, this view presumes that homosexuals deserve the same rights as any minority including marital rights, and invokes the struggle of blacks seeking to marry interracially as a legal pathway to ‘gay marriage’ justice.

Bad reasoning. ‘Gay marriage’, unlike interracial marriage, fundamentally violates what marriage is. Remove the component of gender distinction in marriage, and it ceases to be marriage. It ceases to produce new life. It violates what all people know to be true about the design of the universe. There exists a profound historic and creative logic to traditional marriage that ‘gay marriage’ undermines.

Marriage is male and female. Ethnically diversity does not disrupt marriage in the least; gender sameness disqualifies it. Marriage is defined by gender polarity. It should not be tinkered with. For the good of all, especially for the children created by it.

The relentless drive of beautiful, misdirected people has brought us to the brink of undermining the most basic and formative institution on earth.

We must continue to fight. Prop.8 was one victory in what will ultimately become a battle to the National Supreme Court. We must seek to pray and inform all within our realm of influence as to what the real issues are. ‘Fearing God, we persuade men…” (2Cor 5:11)
I urge you:
1. Pray for Obama, that he would make just and true distinctions between the issues at hand.
2. Pray for the Prop.8 team as they prepare for the CA Supreme Court hearings in March. They will be able to represent the case for Prop.8, as opposed to the District Attorney, Jerry Brown, who fought against Prop.8 with all his might. Pray that the Courts will uphold the will of the people by supporting marriage in CA.
3. Pray for us at Desert Stream that we will continue to do our part to equip the church to provide clear and merciful choices for those with same-sex attraction, while fighting the growing injustices in our land. These concern a wrong view of homosexuality and ‘marital equality.’
We have won a battle; we have not won the war. Pray for perseverance, truth, mercy.

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