The Wandering Desert Monk

The Wandering Desert Monk

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Rehabilitation or re-creation


Rehabilitation or re-creation

Many people want rehabilitation, that is, they want their lives to be returned to their former level of functioning. Knowing there are some things out of order in their lifestyles or their bodies, they join a self-help improvement group or go to a physical therapist. Many people treat their spiritual lives as programs in rehabilitation. The message of Christmas is that the Christ child did not come into the world to rehabilitate humanity; he came to re-create us, to make us new. Many people treat their faith as a self-improvement program: nothing could be further from the truth. An encounter with Jesus leads to the birth of a new power in us. This new power produces in us a new life which cannot be accomplished by human efforts of moral goodness or moral aspirations. The very rightness of God is born in us and wants to be released in us as we give our wills to the Will. – Ron Friesen

Friday, December 20, 2013

Be still and know...


In the busyness of the Christmas season, it is easy to get lost in the noise, the crossing of items off the “To Do” list, the last cleaning of the house, and the mixing of the second-last batch of cookie dough. It is easy to find ourselves so busy that we wonder “Why I am I going crazy?”

The ancients knew something we moderns could stop and relearn:

“Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

Over 3,000 years ago, the Psalmist wrote a song that reminded his people that in the midst of the struggles and challenges of life was a center that spoke peace to frazzled nerves. In this Christmas season take some time to sit down and just breathe this simple prayer: God, you are here. I am embraced by your love and peace. Hold me. Amen. – Ron Friesen 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Fear death?


Face it, folks, we are all going to die! As unpleasant as that sounds, it is the reality. The ancient Psalmist penned it graphically:

Yet for your sake we face death all day long;
    
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered. – Psalm 44:22

Death is the destiny of each of us. Yet, this passage is transformed in the Christian Bible (the New Testament) from a word of doom to a word of glorious hope. In the Letter to the Roman Christians, this ancient text is used to describe the confident faith of Christian believers in face of every imaginable terror including death:

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8:35-39

Yes, death is a reality but it is not such a great reality that it can separate us from God’s love. As we celebrate this Christmas, remember the real message is that the Babe is the love of God expressed to us and nothing can separate us from God's love including death. – Ron Friesen

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Discouraged?


Some days you need to read some good news. For me it is found in these words written over 3,000 years ago:

Why, my soul, are you downcast?
    
Why so disturbed within me?

Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him,
    
my Savior and my God. – Psalm 43:5

Do you have those days when you just feel discouraged and depressed? Today is one of those days for me. I can choose to look at my situation or I can do as one of my friends always says, “Keep looking up.” If I look up I see a new perspective and a new hope. My circumstances are not the full picture; my perspective comes from seeing that there is One who is my hope. Discouraged – Keep looking up! – Ron Friesen

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Thirsty?



There are many word pictures or metaphors to describe a desire for a relationship with the Divine. One of the favorite ones in the Bible is thirst. Here is one such description over 3,000 years old:

As the deer pants for streams of water,
    
so my soul pants for you, my God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
    
When can I go and meet with God? – Psalm 42:1-2

All around us are slacked throats searching for something to quench their thirst;  the real search is for that which will quench the thirst of the soul. It is the wise spiritual director such as the Psalmist who knows that the real thirst is the thirst for an living encounter with the living God. Today when you experience physical thirst, take a moment to draw near to God who will give you more then H2O; God will give you living water. – Ron Friesen

Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Babe is a King


Christ is King.

Who was the Babe of Bethlehem? Were the Magi correct in believing that they had seen a star that signified an historic birth? Was the baby in the manger a King? Were the Roman soldiers right when they nailed a sign over the dying Christ on the Cross declaring, “King of the Jews”? Followers of Jesus have always understood that Jesus was Prophet, Priest and King. He went to the Cross as King; He did not become a King because of the Cross. Christ died as a King; He did not die that he might rise from the dead as King. He was King as he lay in the manger, hung on the Cross and as he left the tomb. - Ron Friesen