Tag Archives: Desert Stream Ministries

A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

How Then Shall I Fast

“We at Desert Stream Ministries are positioning ourselves before Christ Crucified for 40-days of prayer, from October 15th to November 23rd. Our purpose is to welcome Him afresh into our depths, that we might more nearly grasp His heart for the one He loves most, the Church, His bride. For each of the 40-days, the Desert Stream staff will pray at 3pm CST for specific themes and needs. Will you prayerfully consider joining us? ” Andrew Comiskey

“First, let fasting be done unto the Lord with our eye singly fixed on Him. Let our intention herein be this and this alone, to glorify our Father which is in heaven.” John Wesley

As Wesley beautifully states, fasting is about the Lord: to glorify Him and join with Him in prayer on behalf of His purposes. Whatever sacrifice we make is unto more time to be in His presence and pray. This sounds wonderfully easy. Yet following these clear and simple guidelines requires forethought, grace and discipline!

Now is a good time to begin to pray and consider what type of fast the Lord is asking of you.

What might you give up in order to give God room to make your heart more like His? He may be inviting and challenging you to sacrifice beyond what you feel able. This might involve you fasting on water and a minimal amount of food.

A water fast requires major adjustments in one’s schedule, allowing adequate time to rest and planning to do less physically and socially.

Adele Ahlberg Calhoun, author of Spiritual Disciplines Handbook lists some of the things fasting includes:

*abstaining from food, drink, desserts, chocolate, to intentionally be with God.

*abstaining from media: TV, movies, radio, music, email, [Facebook, Twitter], cell phones and computer games to allow space for listening to the voice of Jesus.

*abstaining from habits or comforts: elevators, reading, shopping and sports in order to give undivided attention to God.

I have also heard pastors call their congregants to fast criticism, judgment and cynicism; a fast we could all benefit from, especially if we turn instead to Scripture and prayer.

The encouraging and challenging truth is that we all can fast in some way. We each have something we can abstain from for forty days in order to pray and spend more time with God. Remember, our self-denial is “in order to intentionally attend to God in prayer.” Calhoun, p 218

Fasting clears us out and opens us up to intentionally seeking God’s will and grace in a way that goes beyond normal habits of worship and prayer. While fasting we are one on one with God, offering him the time and attentiveness we might otherwise be giving to eating, shopping or watching television.

Fasting reminds us that we care about “soul” things. We care about the church. We care about the world. We care about doing God’s will. Thus we willingly set aside a little comfort so we can listen and attend to the voice and nourishment of God alone. For God can give us grace and comfort and nurture we cannot get on our own .” Calhoun, Spiritual Disciplines Handbook

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, and be thankful. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. ” Col. 3:15, 17

Downward Ascent 8: Woeful Well-Being

‘Woe to you when all men speak well of you…’ (LK 6:26)
‘Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.’ (Matt. 5:10)

Being hated for loving Jesus means you are doing something right. Authentic peacemakers provoke war. Jesus may wash feet, defend children, empower women, and cure lepers but He also mirrors the truth of our sin (JN 15: 18-25). His reflection so unsettled the religious and political figures of His day that they smashed that mirror every way they could. His disciples might expect the same. The servant is not greater than his master.

I refer to the backlash prompted by authentic righteousness, not self-righteous bluster. A pagan friend roughed me up in the early days of my conversion when I was prone to quoting Scripture in faux dulcet tones. I deserved to be decked–religion was making me insufferable. That differed from the gossip that surrounded me when I pulled away from gay friends. Although I was sorely tempted to serve both God and Baal, I knew that the former demanded loyalty.

Jesus makes us very unpopular. How else do you explain Mozilla/Firefox Chief (Silicon Valley magnate) Brendan Eich who resigned under pressure when it became known that a few years earlier he gave $1000 in support of Proposition 8? A popular gay website posted this about Eich and anyone who stands for marriage: ’For enforcing misery, shame, and frustration, you are our enemies, and we wish you nothing but failure.’

Be forewarned: the ‘gay marriage’ machine has just begun to steamroll opponents. Note that its energy is essentially ‘anti-Christ.’ To reconfigure marriage means a failure to recognize both the context and purpose of sexual love as advocated by Jesus Himself. (Matt. 19:4-6) People hate chastity and genuine fruitfulness; for all their talk about wanting ‘gay marriage,’ gay activists hate marriage. Blessed are those persecuted for upholding the righteousness of marriage. Blessed is Brendan and blessed are we.

Two years ago, a global gay-rights group did some research and discovered that Desert Stream Ministries was the source of the Living Waters Training week, which are currently being sponsored in nations throughout the earth. These activists never inquired of us but saw fit to launch a virtual smear campaign throughout the globe, using ads to describe our trainings as coercive and based on the premise that one begins the week with their ‘gay dial’ on and we claim to change the dial to ‘straight.’ All in 7 days! (Preposterous, as the training is for lay leaders being equipped to run church groups.)

Using this visual ‘dial’ image and a paragraph of pure lies, they amassed nearly one million signatures online against us. They submitted these signatures to governments around the world and requested that these nations shut us down for the sake of human rights.

The result? Governments around the world warned our constituents in those nations to distance themselves from us or else. It worked. Colleagues whom we had served on their soil for decades put up fire-walls from us to preserve their ministries.

Those who rejoice in the Cross must also be willing to endure the cross He asks us to bear. Consider the promises you make. Those who enter through the Crucified must share in that suffering. Heaven asks it of us.

From what aspect of Jesus’ righteousness do you seek to distance yourself? What cross do you avoid to maintain peace? As we enter Holy Week, be aware of your own ‘Hosannas.’ Will your love endure beyond the palms and hymns? Will you go the distance with Him to Calvary?

Edith Stein was a German Jewish convert who became a Carmelite nun. She exhorted her sisters with these words before being killed by the Nazis:

‘Will you remain faithful to the Crucified? Consider carefully! The world is in flames, the battle between Christ and Antichrist has broken out into the open. If you decide for Christ, it could cost you your life. Carefully consider what you promise.’

PRAYER for Sunday April 13th: ‘On this Palm Sunday, we rejoice that You choose to dwell with us, Humble King, the Prince of Peace. At the same time, we know that our hearts are not much different from the disciples who loved You during the parade and rejected You in the persecution to come. Have mercy on our fickle hearts.’

PRAYER for Monday April 14th: ‘Reveal any “peace at any price” tendency in us. Show us how we adjust the truth to look good before men rather than before God. As we approach the Cross this week, make us true.’

PRAYER for Tuesday April 15th: ‘Jesus, grant us the grace to distinguish rejection based on righteousness rather than rude, proud behavior. We turn from truth without love. Amplify truth-in-love. Remind us of the intimacy reserved for those who endure alienation from others for Your sake.’

PRAYER for Wednesday April 16th: ‘Father, show us any person or issue toward which we fear to be the truth. Grant us the love to include others in the whole of Your Gospel: crucifixion unto resurrection. Forgive us for wanting You only in the joy of new life and not in the grief of letting go. Forgive us for rejoicing in only one aspect of Your Cross and actually hating the other. Help us to love all that You are as we approach Calvary.’

Join us for a Prayerful Lent by bhsher

Join us for a Prayerful Lent

Starting next week, we at Desert Stream Ministries begin an 8-part prayer/intercession series designed to prepare us for Easter.

Entitled ‘Downward Ascent,’ this series will focus each week on one of the Beatitudes (Matt. 5:1-12). We will explore the conditions of heart that free us to welcome Jesus afresh. At a time when gender and sexuality have never been more muddled, we need His clarity. Light will dawn as we apply a biblical understanding of the Beatitudes to His Cross. Broken, we are blessed in following Him to Calvary. Chastity and complementarity arise from our surrender. Our goal is to embody His new life in an age committed to fracturing it.

Every Monday starting March 3rd and ending on the Monday of Holy Week April 14th, we will send you a reflection on each Beatitude. (The one exception will be the third week in which you will receive two reflections.) Each reading will be followed by several prayer requests for that week. The Desert Stream staff will pray these requests daily, and we ask you to join us in these prayers.

Several other ministries around the country, including Courage and various ministries of the Restored Hope Network, will join us in this ‘Downward Ascent.’ Let us humble ourselves before God, that He might raise up what pleases Him.

Mercy 6: The Merciful Path

Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert…and a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness.’ (IS 35:6, 8)

A Lonely Walk to the OceanA well-known Christian recently critiqued me on the grounds that ‘Comiskey apparently has no understanding of the variety of sexual pathways’: what she was saying is that I do not validate any sexual ‘route’ other than the goal of  dignifying one’s fellow humanity, with a particular aim to honor the opposite gender.

She believes that the host of sexual inclinations native to fallen humanity require validation of a variety of paths on which to urge our fellows to become the best GLBTQ….person (s)he can be. (The morphing of the acronym speaks for itself.)

I am only grateful for the mercy of God revealed in Jesus Christ, who showed me the one path one which to become a whole man. To be sure, I have been fraught with a variety of impulses that sought to throw me off the path: to go backwards, sideways, to stall or to steer others off course with my lustful inclinations.

Blessed be Jesus, full of grace and truth, who enabled me to integrate the virtues of chastity and complementarity. Jesus’ way is paved with both: the hard-won gift of self-control by which a man motivated by SSA learned to dignify his brothers by not reducing them to objects of lust, and the progressive opening of my eyes and heart to the beauty of woman. Today my orientation is for woman, and in particular one: my beloved wife Annette.

I may at times feel otherwise. Thanks be to God who set me on His course and by grace keeps me on it. That includes but is by no means limited to sexual fidelity. My orientation means being for her in sun and storm, in ecstasy and indifference.

Jesus is merciful: He gently uncovers the path He has placed in every heart. He awakens us to the gift we are in our gender humanity; our freedom hinges upon discovering the path to chastity and complementarity, and proceeding on it.

‘Stand at the crossroads and look; ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.’ (Jer. 6: 16) 

Prayer Points for November 11th:

  • Desert Stream/Living Waters:  Northeast: Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, David and Ellen Cressman, Regional Coordinators. Please pray for new life and new groups in the Northeast region.
  • Restored Hope Network: Outpost Ministries, Minneapolis, MN. Nate Oyloe, Director. Specialty: worship ministry, youth, Living Waters, men, women and families. Desert Stream Ministries, Kansas City, MO. Andrew Comiskey, Director. Specialty: excellent resources used world-wide, especially the Living Waters program for healing of sexual and relational issues through drawing near to Christ. Prophetic intercession ministry.
  • Courage: Please pray for an end to abortion, pro-gay legislation and the culture of death.
  • Ministries of Pastoral Care: Please pray for humility, focus and grace to practice God’s Presence in each moment of our days.

Transformation: The Fruit of Faith

Tranformation: The First Fruits - Light Bulb Photo by DJwTwo‘Sin is not so much doing something wrong; sin is not being true to who we are.’ – Mother Dolores Hart, OSB

In his first encyclical, ‘Lumen Fidei,’ Pope Francis highlights the power of faith in Jesus Christ as the ground of the new creation. New ways of seeing and being result from ‘seeing things as Jesus sees them, with His own eyes; it is a participation in His way of seeing.’

Such transformation comes only through ‘a radical openness to…a love that transforms us from within, acting in us and through us.’ This is neither faith in faith nor a generic longing for happiness but rather faith in the truth of Jesus.

I marvel at the graceful assurance Francis granted me through this document, not unlike Pope Emeritus Benedict. When our culture of death pretends to overshadow ‘the Light of the world’, God uses these men to anchor me in the Rock that is Christ, Lord of creation and redemption. Jesus has unique authority to remind us of who we are. That has special meaning for persons dealing with same-sex attraction who face unprecedented pressure to relent to the ‘gay self.’

Please read this brief paper on transformation for persons with same-sex attraction from the Restored Hope Network (RHN) and Desert Stream Ministries/Living Waters.

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