The Wandering Desert Monk

The Wandering Desert Monk

Thursday, February 28, 2013

God’s ways may be different than ours…


Do you ever struggle as you see some of the situations in which people find themselves? Like me, do you want to rush in and rescue them? Of course, we have no way of knowing if these circumstances are God’s work in their lives. These circumstances while appearing harsh to us may be the tender work of God to work out some great character-building, life-changing transformation that will rebound to bring great glory to God. We want to see God bless people and us, but we find it difficult to watch someone being pierced right to the heart of the matter. – Ron Friesen

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Ongoing transformation


One of the realities that followers of Jesus know is that God never does a superficial work in our lives. The only thing that keeps God from rooting out our character defects and persistent misbehaviors is our own stubbornness and pride. When we first come to God and ask for forgiveness, we experience a new awakening to the true nature of our character. We have had a temper all of our lives, however, it was so ingrained that we did not even notice it when our voice became louder and our chest tightened.  In our new life, we recognize our temper. We often say, “I asked God to forgive me. How come I still have this temper?” God forgave the results of our temper, but we have yet to give God our temper. God will do the deep work of transformation as we cry out with the Psalmist, “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! (Psalm 139:23). – Ron Friesen

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

True prayer…


There is a great misconception about what prayer is. Many people think that prayer is a tool to get God to patch someone up. We ask God to make someone a bit happier or to fix an aliment. Our praying is short-term and for a quick fix. True intercessory prayer is entering into the heart and mind of God concerning the one being prayed for. We will soon find ourselves not praying for some temporary relief but for the deep work of the Cross and the life-giving Spirit. We seek not our will or the will of the prayed-for-one; we aggressively pursue the reign of God so that the heavenly plans of God will be carried out on earth (Matthew 6:10). – Ron Friesen

Monday, February 25, 2013

Dying to Live...


The Christian faith is one of paradoxes, for example, give to receive, and die to live. To the modern ear these teachings seem strange and contradictory. What does dying have to do with living? The spiritual principle is this: We who are already dead become alive through faith in the One who died once and for all for each of us. We are as the poet recognized “living corpses.” We may look like we are alive yet we are dead on the inside. We become alive when we recognize that the death inside of us died with Jesus on the Cross. We die with Jesus on the cross; we rise to new life in the resurrection. We experience the reality of the “exchanged life.” – Ron Friesen

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Trade in your old life....


Trade in your old life….

One of the realities that followers of Jesus experience is the exchanged life. Followers of Jesus trade their darkness for light, their bondage for freedom, their despair for hope. The basis of this experience is the Cross and the resurrection.  Jesus became our darkness, our bondage and our despair on the Cross. Through the resurrection, Jesus released light, freedom and hope. The Cross and the resurrection are the good news for the world. Have you traded in your life for the life of Jesus in you? The person who lives the exchanged life knows the reality of “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). – Ron Friesen

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Nice People or New People


Jesus is a very attractive person on a human level. In our hearts we know that we should be like him. This attraction to Jesus on a natural level will never make us his disciples: he becomes one of our many models or heroes. When he demands exclusive rights to our lives, we begin to back away from him. We are fine with a sentimental faith; we are challenged by a faith that demands our heart, mind, soul and strength. We want to be nice people; we turn away from becoming new people. – Ron Friesen

Friday, February 22, 2013

Freedom from myself

The individuality and individualism that is held up in our world as a hallmark of human accomplshment runs counter to the Gospel. Our individuality often declares itself by saying, “I can’t surrender,” or “I can’t be free.” If we attend to the spiritual dimension of our being, we soon learn it never says, “I can’t”; it is always opening itself to more and more of God. We are created with a great capacity to experience the Divine, but our individuality, the “I” in the middle of the word, “sin”, keeps us from reaching our potential. The moment we declare the futility of saving ourselves, the very moment we agree with God that we are captives of our own imaginations, this very moment is the moment we are free to experience the fullness of Christ which fills all things (Ephesians 1:23). - Ron Friesen

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Discipline of Disappointment


Have you ever experienced disappointment? How did you react? The test we experience when we are disappointed is the test of the basis of our faith. Many people think God will simply respond to their requests because “I am a good person.” God acts out of his character not out of ours. Our character has nothing to do with God’s responsiveness to us. God loved us while we were his enemies (Romans 5:5). If God loved us when we were spitting in his face, do we think that he does not love us now because we find ourselves disappointed in him? Followers of Jesus learn that their faith is not based on God’s responsive to their demands but on the graciousness of God whose ways are higher then their ways. – Ron Friesen

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Discipline of Hunger


The Discipline of Hunger
 
It is good to be hungry. We are created with desire or hunger. Those who do not hunger are quickly diagnosed with a failure to thrive.  It is what we do with our hunger that is the test of the astuteness of our spiritual life. Many people think that their hunger is simply a matter of a desire of the body or mind. The hunger for food, knowledge, relationships, beauty and other good gifts is a sign that the spirit desires to be fed. Unfortunately, many people and our society believe that hunger equals needs and wants. Those who are spiritually alive understand that hunger is a metaphor for the state of the spiritual life within them. Learning to understand the discipline of hunger is central to spiritual maturity. “Blessed are those who hunger….” – Ron Friesen

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The simple teachings of Jesus


How often have you met people who try to convince you that the teachings of Jesus are simple? We must wonder if they have ever met the Jesus of Nazareth. When we experience the new life that comes from a dynamic encounter with the living Christ, we quickly learn that following Jesus is not simple at all. We soon learn that “go and sin no more” demands a humility and brokenness of which this world knows nothing. We find “sell all you have” a command that questions every penny we spend. We wonder at the words “hate your mother and father” and realize that God is a jealous God who demands total allegiance. We falter at those words “die to yourself” and begin to understand how self-centered we really are. Is it any wonder that Jesus observed with sorrow that many come but few follow? – Ron Friesen

Monday, February 18, 2013

Wait...



Have you noticed that in your walk with God there are times when God seems to slow in giving you the go ahead to move? Most of us are impatient people; we want it and we want it now! We often become anxious when God puts us into a waiting period. God is never in a hurry. God is more interested in developing our character then he is in having us do something for him. God can let people languish in slavery for forty more years while he gets a man ready in a desert. If you are in a season of waiting, welcome it as a time of character development.