Tag Archives: Rejoice

A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

Bravo to North Carolinians Who Stood for Marriage

I am about to impart some prophetic healing ministry to our Living Waters Leaders in Belgium and France; our groups have flourished in the French-speaking world amid profound sexual immorality and unbelief about the authority of the Church to heal the sexually broken. Yet the going is rough for them, and we are all encouraged and strengthened by the news of victory in North Carolina.

That state just passed a constitutional amendment that upholds marriage as solely heterosexual while prohibiting activist judges from claiming that ‘gay marriage’ is constitutional. Due to the new law, these judges cannot overturn the existing law, as they did in Iowa and California.

Everyone who supports ‘gay marriage’ came out in droves to forbid this amendment from passing–activists and their supporters (including Bill Clinton and VP Joe Biden) filled the air with such a din of propaganda that I wondered if marriage would actually be upheld this time.

Forgive me for selling short the American people who when given a vote have always had the good sense to respect others’ differences while upholding marriage for what it is: one man wed to one woman for the sake of the new life they create.

Bravo to the 61% of North Carolinians who stood for marriage. The federal court (which will ultimately decide the definition of marriage in the USA) hears your voice. Let all the states who will once again vote on the definition of marriage this November follow your courageous lead. Let Obama hear your voice as his own cabinet is pressuring him to ‘come out’ and make public his allegedly pro-gay marriage views. Let us all rejoice that North Carolina honored marriage for the good of all.

The nations of the earth still listen and take heart at the righteous acts of our nation.

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No Doubt

Since Easter Sunday, I have never faced such irrational insistence that those with SSA (same-sex attraction) cannot change. The world and worldly church is diabolically united: the gay self is the true self, liberated only in active expression.

Thank God for Easter. Thank God for the season of Easter that spans far beyond its six weeks in the Church calendar; Jesus’ resurrection reminds us daily that He has trumped our old nature and activates us afresh to resume our pilgrimage. Following the Risen Christ is always a path toward maturity, with clear markers for our sexual and relational humanity. United with Him, we ascend slowly towards a horizon of boundless light.

Each morning I rejoice in these words I share with my fellow congregants: ‘Save us, Savior of the world. For by Your cross and resurrection, You have set us free.’ We are saved, and can cry out daily to be saved from the unbelieving world and worldly church.

A skeptic might say: ‘Aren’t you spiritualizing a much deeper human conflict?’ Again, I point to Jesus who always restores our weak, estranged humanity by His beautiful true humanity. Scripture abounds with references to Jesus’ many healing gifts ‘enfleshed’ in a body and a family. His skeptics discredited Him: ‘Where did He get this wisdom and these miraculous powers? Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas?’ ((Matt. 13:54, 55). Jesus the man meets us in our humanity; He meets us in all of our conflicts with wisdom and miraculous power.

In His inspired humanity, Jesus unites the divided parts of our humanity and encourages what is weak. His humanity makes ours whole.

His resurrected humanity seals our hope for freedom from homosexuality. Shaken as we may be by growing darkness on all sides, we can heed Jesus’ response to doubting Thomas:

‘Peace be with you! Put your finger here; see My hands. Reach out your hand and put it in My side. Stop doubting and believe.’ (Jn 20: 26, 27)

Jesus is risen from the death of sin and its many fractures and conflicts, including ours. He breathes peace on us this day. He grants us fresh access to His beautiful humanity, wounds yet visible. Behold the faithful witness of our freedom. Stop doubting and believe.

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Intimate Authority: Holy Week Meditations, 6

This is the sixth post of my Holy Week Meditations for 2012. Please click here for the archive list of posts as they become available.

Intimate Authority: Holy Week Meditations, 6

Mary Magdalene wept and lingered at the Cross. The Man who had become her life died. His death rocked the earth, split the temple, and broke her heart. The tears of repentance and gratitude with which she had washed His feet became a flood of grief. She watered His nail-split feet. Apart from Him, she could do nothing. She had nothing; His life was hers. She filled the void with tears.

He had founded a new life in her. Now grief grounded her, kept her near Him. When Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus transferred Jesus’ body to a tomb, she followed Him there. Did the myrrh and aloes with which they embalmed Him remind her of the perfume with which she had so boldly baptized Him unto His death a few days earlier?

Lingering gives one time to remember, to allow the life that has passed to speak once more. Perhaps Mary recalled His words:

‘I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will be turned into joy. A woman giving birth has pain, but when the baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a baby has been born into the world. Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again…’ (Jn 16: 20-22)

She wept and lingered at the empty tomb. She remembered. Deeper than her grief was her trust in the One who promised to return. How? When? Who can know? Grief kept her from racing away, from returning to the old life, from despair. Grief grounded her and freed her to linger. The Spirit broods over those who wait and remember and weep. Sometimes hope can be conceived only in broken, still ground.

‘Even in darkness, light shines for the upright.’ (PS 112:4)

Perhaps Mary recalled these words:

‘I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His Word, I put my hope. More than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchman wait for the morning.’ (PS 130: 5, 6)

‘Who have I but You? Earth has nothing I desire but You. My flesh and heart may fail, but You are the strength of my heart, and my portion forever.’ (PS 73: 25, 26)

The other disciples went home, confused, disoriented, worn out. Mary Magdalene waited. She lingered and wept at the tomb for hours, hours became a day then another. She was poured out, like when she first washed His feet with her tears, or when He cleansed her with a mighty deliverance, or when she broke open the perfume on His head. She remembered Him being poured out on the Cross, the flood of blood and water. He gave everything to her. She remembered.

She was His—where else would she go? She waited alone at the empty tomb, an empty vessel whose hope lay only in a few words. But those words were His. She recounted them and they sustained her. Trust sweetened her grief. She waited.

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Faithful Mother for an Adulterous Generation

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

Faithful Mother for an Adulterous Generation

40 Days of Mercy Devotional – Lent 2012 – Day 3

‘Rejoice, for you are closer to God in His mercy than a baby to its mother’s heart.’ (423)

‘The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, and rich in love. The Lord is good to all; He has compassion on all that He has made.’ (Psalm 145:8,9)

‘Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; you are ever before Me.’ (Isaiah 49:15,16)

Humble us, O God, by the tender and mighty nature of Your ‘rachamim’. You feel deeply for our needs, and ache over our afflicted state. Would You move us with the Mercy that moves Your heart? Grant us a share in Your Mercy. May our prayers for the release of Mercy promote healing action. Bring the unfaithful home! Transform them through Your (and our) faithful love.

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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Mercy for the Truthful Church

Day 36 of our 40 Days of Mercy Fast

Mercy for the Truthful Church

‘I will allow convents and churches to be destroyed…Souls without love and devotion, souls full of egoism and self-love, souls full of pride and arrogance, souls full of deceit and hypocrisy, lukewarm souls with just enough warmth to keep them alive. My Heart cannot bear this…I cannot stand them because they are neither good or bad…If they do not repent and become enkindled by their first love, I will deliver them over to the fate of this world.’ (1702)

If there is one thing worse than the worldly Church, it’s the truthful Church without Mercy.

Appalled at the sin around her, this Church strengthens her defenses and uses the truth for self-protection. She loses sight of lost and broken ones who need a way into the Church. In her defensiveness, she may also contribute to the divided hearts of clergy.

The Catholic Church and many fine Bible churches have a common commitment to marriage as the sole basis for sexual conduct. Alleluia! I rejoice in many eloquent and thoughtful nuances on this theme. Presented as God’s truth, it lays a narrow, inspired track for all humanity to weigh.

In an era where most grow up harassed on every side by vulgar, needy expressions of sex outside of marriage, the Church is wise to uphold its truth. But the truthful Church must beware of its tendency to merely raise a standard. Without acknowledging the devastation of lives in their midst, and providing a way forward for them to discover the Redeemer of their broken sexuality, the Church actually does a disservice to her own.

Truth without Mercy is not the face of Jesus. It is only another reason as to why sinners believe they have no real place in Church. Where is the Jesus who first defended the adulteress from the religious, the prostitute from the Pharisee? Where is the witness in the Church of Mary Magdalene, freed of demons and shame, now bearing witness of the Merciful Fount that raised her from the dead of sexual sin?

Instead the Church hands out another eloquent set of ethics. And what must this do to her leaders? These ones may buy into the system of ‘postcard’ saints who are only holy, not dimensional flesh and blood people who by Mercy alone have been freed to live out the truth. These truthful ones may well perpetuate the very ethic that shames and derides them for failing to live by it.

Those leaders who have not undergone a process of genuine sexual integration through Mercy and much engaging with His Merciful Church will fail; they go underground on the Internet, to gay bars in other cities, to vulnerable ones they serve then devour with their lusts. These are conservatives, imprisoned by the very truths they hold dear.

The priest in the Kansas City Diocese who abused little girls is a conservative, as is the bishop who allegedly failed to act promptly to stop his violence. And here we see the worst crime committed by the truthful Church: defending the ‘truth’ of the institution over the well-being of innocent ones. Threatened by the world and its judgment, smug in its authority, the Church uses the very truth God entrusted to her as a cover for secrets and lies.

Nothing has discredited the Church more in the last 50 years than its use of ‘truth’ to save face for fractured priests who provoked untold damage in little ones.

Those lost on that evil day will be vindicated by the God of Mercy and Justice. In the meantime, ‘let judgment begin in the house of God.’ (1P. 4:17)

“Because you are lukewarm, neither hot or cold, I am about to spit you out of My Mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.” (Rev. 3: 16-18)

‘Jesus, test our truth with the power of Your Mercy. Cause us to repent if we who know and honor the truth dishonor it with our lives. Wash us clean. We are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. We repent unto Your Mercy. Let the truth of our failure to live by the truth shatter us; raise what pleases You.’

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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