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A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

Clear Direction for a Vulnerable Generation

My friend and Lutheran Pastor Ole recently commented on Denmark’s (his nation) passage of ‘gay marriage’ last week, which now makes it mandatory for all churches to conduct such ‘marriages.’

I grieve for the church. I grieve that the church offends God by misusing His Name. Mostly I grieve for the young homosexual Christian who no longer has any clear direction and truth to follow. I grieve with everything within me.

Ole was among the first international interns we had at Desert Stream in the early nineties. A same-sex struggler, he fought hard for his healing. Now alongside his wife and many children, Ole fights for the freedom of same-sex strugglers throughout Denmark. His light shines brighter than ever.

As the state and state church bend the knee to distorted ideas about homosexuality and marriage, Ole is committed to reflecting Jesus’ light. He knows he must. How else will a generation know the truth that can set them free from gender disintegration?

Ole reminds me of why we keep on insisting that Jesus sets men and women free from the domination of same-sex attraction and frees them to resume the journey to whole heterosexuality.

Why? Young people with same-sex attraction grow up in a culture that irrationally insists on their baptism and confirmation as citizens of a queer nation.

Who will endure the shame? Who will risk being seen as a hater or bigot by naming homosexuality for what it is: a symptom of personal brokenness that can be resolved through Christ and His healing community?

That’s why the Oles of this world shudder at ‘gay marriage’; it wholly misrepresents what homosexuality is to a vulnerable generation.

That’s why we endure the shame of once again testifying to our weakness and to our healing process.

Our stories point to the One who led us into all the truth necessary to grow beyond the ‘gay self.’

The heterosexually-immoral world cannot tell that truth; they are asleep in their compromise. Reparative therapists aside, the clinical community sleeps with gay activists and have lost objectivity. Even the church is no longer sure if her Savior’s blood can transform the same-sex struggler. She is the worst offender; she sleeps in the light.

Like Ole, we grieve when we witness the devolution of our fellow humanity. We grieve especially for the young ones left ‘shepherdless’ by the blind guides of today. But we grieve unto hope, the light of Christ, and pray that we might reflect Him more brightly to the world and worldly church.

If we don’t, who will?

Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. (Eph. 5: 14)

But as for me, I will always have hope; I will praise You more and more.My mouth will tell of your righteousness, of your salvation all day long.I will proclaim Your mighty acts, O Sovereign Lord…Since my youth, O God, You have taught me,and to this day I declare Your marvelous deeds.Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, until I declare Your power to the next generation, Your might to all who are to come. (PS 71: 15-18)

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The Gaze from the Cross, Part 3

Join us today at 3pm (CST) as we intercede for loved ones in need of God’s mercy.

The Gaze from the Cross, Part 3

40 Days of Mercy Devotional – Lent 2012 – Day 18

I desire that you know profoundly the love that burns in My Heart for souls, and You will understand this when you meditate upon My Passion. Call upon My Mercy on behalf of sinners; I desire their salvation. (102)

Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins. (James 5:20)

Jesus, grant us Your urgent heart for the lost. Forgive us for becoming insulated in our Christian communities. Remind us of our former states, when You rescued us from the judgment of sin and death. Might You use our prayers to reclaim sinners? Would You also prompt merciful action toward them? Activate us, Your merciful evangelists. Like St. Faustina, prepare us to give an account for souls.

Also read The Gaze from the Cross, Part 1, click here for Part 2, and here for part 4.

For the complete 40 Days of Mercy Devotional – Lent 2012, click here to download.  For a paper copy, United States only, please call Desert Streams Ministries at (866) 359-0500. 

Author’s note – Each day’s entry is based a passage from St Faustina’s diary. The passage entry from the diary is the number in parentheses at the end of each opening quote. Diary of St Maria Faustina Kowalska – Divine Mercy in My Soul (Association of Marion Helpers, Stockbridge, MA 01263) is available through the publisher or Amazon.com

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Prisoners of Hope

Join us today at 3pm (CST) as we intercede for loved ones in need of God’s mercy.

Prisoners of Hope

40 Days of Mercy Devotional – Lent 2012 – Day 5

‘In spite of everything, Jesus, I trust You in the face of every sentiment which sets itself against hope.’ (14)

‘In the time of my favor, I will answer you; on the day of salvation, I will help you…I will say to the captives, ‘Come out!’ and to those in darkness, ‘Be free!’  (Isaiah 49:8-9)

Who is like You, Father of Mercy? Even our sin is not stronger than Your Mercy. You woo us with a Love sweeter and stronger than any the world offers. In that Love, we cry out for all those who have fallen into waterless pits. We rebuke the enemy of their souls, and ask for Mercy to come quickly to meet them. Release those imprisoned by hope with Your Divine Mercy.

For the complete 40 Days of Mercy Devotional – Lent 2012, click here to download.  For a paper copy, United States only, please call Desert Streams Ministries at (866) 359-0500. 

Author’s note – Each day’s entry is based a passage from St Faustina’s diary. The passage entry from the diary is the number in parentheses at the end of each opening quote. Diary of St Maria Faustina Kowalska – Divine Mercy in My Soul (Association of Marion Helpers, Stockbridge, MA 01263) is available through the publisher or Amazon.com

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Kingdom of Saints

I had never led a healing service for a group of Catholics before. And although I have been translated many times in Spanish, the language difference this time unnerved me.

Before I could say a word, the worship team played John Wimber’s ‘Spirit Song’. I could not believe it: a song from the seventies written by the healing apostle that made a way for Living Waters to go to the nations, a song that still conveys the essence of Kingdom Mercy: ‘O let the Son of God enfold you, with His Spirit and His Love, let Him fill your heart and satisfy your soul. O give Him all your tears of sadness, give Him all your years of pain, and you’ll enter into Life in Jesus’ Name…’

I looked throughout the packed auditorium in Guadalajara, Mexico and saw young men and women seeking healing from same-sex attraction and their parents, all wondering: ‘Is the love of Jesus really enough to redeem such a deep tendency?’

Wimber’s legacy flooded back to me. Kingdom Mercy was flowing like a mighty current from the cross, breaking fear and shame. He moves mountains in the soul, and grants willing souls the dignity to make new decisions in light of His holy purposes for them.

The Kingdom came through Communion with St. John. His song summoned his essence, and empowered me to extend the rule of Love, the reign of God’s Kingdom.

We operate in Christ due to the great cloud of witnesses, some alive on earth, some alive in Heaven, who have made a way for us to advance Kingdom purposes.

The Church is not just the man or woman next to you on the pew. The Church consists of all the saints who have followed Jesus and who continue to cry out for Mercy to reign on the earth through the obedience of you and me.

My pastor recently taught on how Spanish St. Teresa of Avila in the 16th century ‘discipled’ French St. Therese de Lisieux in the 19th century who in turn became the patron saint of Albanian Mother Theresa of Calcutta in our day.

Heaven helps us. All my days I shall minister in the shadow of faithful ones like John Wimber whose legacy and spirit continues to empower and inform my efforts.

Following the closing mass in Guadalajara, we prayed for three hours for all seeking more healing (everyone in the room!) As men and women fell under the power of the Spirit, received prophecies, had demons cast out, and received ‘gracelets’ of restoration, I knew that Jesus and His witnesses hovered over us. It is easy to do His will. We are neither lean nor alone; we labor with the host of Heaven, rich and dense with anointing from on high.

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The Gaze from the Cross, Part 3

Day 18 of our 40 Days of Mercy Fast

The Gaze from the Cross, Part 3 (Please also read Part 1Part 2 and Part 4)

‘I desire that you know profoundly the love that burns in My Heart for souls, and You will understand this when you meditate upon My Passion. Call upon My Mercy on behalf of sinners; I desire their salvation.’ (102)

The beauty that becomes ours from the Crucified is never intended to be only a personal work. The test of Mercy lies in our releasing that Mercy to others.

For such a deeply wrought work of grace to remain locked up within us belies the gift itself. God digs a deep well of Mercy in us for a purpose–the saving of many lives. Without welling up and finding other thirsty souls, the waters of Mercy in us become dank then drain away altogether. We must provoke one another with this truth: He made us alive in order for us to make others alive in Christ.

The personalization of Mercy to the exclusion of others is a unique temptation of our ‘Living Waters’ ministry. We major on the sanctifying of the saints more than evangelism; we emphasize the nuances of the damaged soul in which healing may be described as a slow, cylindrical ascent.

An important work! And yet ‘inner healers’ can lose sight of a bigger, urgent picture: the blinding power of the flesh, world and devil upon non-believers in contrast to the eye-opening power of the Blood and Water; Heaven’s rescue at Calvary in contrast to an eternal Hell for those who fail to turn to Mercy.

St. Faustina calls us simply to remember the dire state of sinners and to lay them constantly before the Crucified. ‘When I see Jesus tormented, my heart is torn to pieces and I think: what will become of sinners if they do not take advantage of the Passion of Jesus? In His Passion, I see a whole sea of Mercy.’ (948)

Extending the Mercy we have received onto the lost is essential–for their eternal destiny and for our own spiritual maturity. Let’s seek in this fast to make prayer for the lost an ongoing part of our prayer lives.

St. Faustina’s witness helps us here; her focus on the Cross and its flood of Blood and Water can become the locus of these prayers. Following her example, I simply cry out for this ‘liquid love’ to become apparent to loved ones far from Him; I implore Jesus’ Mercy on their behalf, and place them in the pool of healing awaiting them.

In this we imitate Jesus who upon the Cross did not think of Himself but rather of sinners, crying out for them to the Father, as He did for the two criminals hanging alongside of Him at Calvary. Rather than get stuck on their sinfulness, He prayed to the Father to forgive them for their sin: ‘they don’t know what they are doing,’ He prayed (Lk. 23:34). And one surrendered to Him, guaranteeing the ex-con a place in Paradise (vs. 42, 3)

Let us pick up our little crosses and pray. Such intercession primes the way for holy words and action; we are preparing ourselves to be one of many answers to our merciful prayers for others! Let our prayers pave the way. We lay the lost down on the healing ground of Calvary, then we seek to be agents of Mercy for them.

‘Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.’ (James 5:20)

‘Jesus, grant us Your urgent heart for the lost. Forgive us for becoming insulated in our Christian communities. Remind us of our former states, when You rescued us from the judgment of sin and death. Might You use our prayers to reclaim sinners? Would You also prompt merciful action toward them? Activate us, Your merciful evangelists. Like St. Faustina, prepare us to give an account for souls.’

Author’s note – Each day’s entry is based a passage from St Faustina’s diary. The passage entry is the number in parentheses at the end of each opening quote or simply a page number in parenthesis. Diary of St Maria Faustina Kowalska – Divine Mercy in My Soul (Association of Marion Helpers, Stockbridge, MA 01263) is available through the publisher or Amazon.com.

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