The Wandering Desert Monk

The Wandering Desert Monk

Friday, May 31, 2013

Whose side are you on?

There are many who think they can treat the poor with impunity. “The poor don’t vote,” they will say. Who cares about the 47%? “Well, you know the poor will always be with us.” The poor may be written off by the powerful; the poor not written off by God.

The ancient prophet, Isaiah, speaks of a day when God will take his day on the dais declaring his judgment on those who mistreat the poor:

“The Lord takes his place in court;
he rises to judge the people. 
The Lord enters into judgment
against the elders and leaders of his people:

‘It is you who have ruined my vineyard; the plunder from the poor is in your houses.
What do you mean by crushing my people
and grinding the faces of the poor?’

declares the Lord, the Lord Almighty.” (Isaiah 3:13-15)

Those who take the side of the poor take God’s side. Whose side are you on? – Ron Friesen

Thursday, May 30, 2013

I can't trust anymore...

“I can’t trust anymore.” “I have lost all trust in people.” Counselors hear these words in their offices every day. The human desire to trust each other is born deep within us. We are hard-wired to trust. Unfortunately, we are imperfect people asking other imperfect people to be trustworthy. This is a sure recipe for disappointment.

This dilemma is not new to us in the 21st Century; it is as old as the human race. The ancient prophet, Isaiah, writing about 600 years before birth of Jesus Christ, advised us:

“Stop trusting in mere humans, who have but a breath in their nostrils. Why hold them in esteem?” Isaiah 2:22.

The wisdom from the prophet is this: Do not trust people; trust God. We are commanded over and over again in the biblical record: Trust God and love people. – Ron Friesen

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Turn those swords into plowshares....

“They will beat their swords into plowshares 
and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore” (Isaiah 2:4).

If these words sound vaguely familiar it is probably because you have heard them in songs like “Down by the Riverside” also known as “Ain’t Gonna Study War No More” or “Heal the World” by Michael Jackson.

While the modern use of these words proclaims a day of peace and reconciliation built on human effort, the Hebrew prophet, Isaiah, clearly understood that peace came not from human effort but by divine action. It is when God orchestrates reconciliation because nations acknowledge him then weapons of war turn into implements of agriculture. On an individual level the same miracle of transformation occurs: when we get of our thrones of self-rightness and bend our knees to him our tongues are transformed from swords of destruction into vessels of blessing. – Ron Friesen

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

How to find God's purpose...

Sometimes people ask me, “What is God’s will for me?” If you had asked the prophets whose writings are recorded in the Hebrew Scriptures they would have said this or something similar:

“Learn to do right; seek justice.
Defend the oppressed.
Take up the cause of the fatherless;   
Plead the case of the widow.” (Isaiah 1:17)

In a world where making money, being famous, filling closets with the latest clothes and owning the latest technology is the name of the game called life; we are challenged to find a different purpose. We do not live for accumulation; we live for abandonment. We are called to abandon our self; we are called to embrace the other. Not just any other, but the other who cannot defend themselves. Why? When we take up the other, we find ourselves when we were far from God: oppressed, fatherless and husbandless. When we seek justice; we find the God who provided our justice long before we even knew we needed it. – Ron Friesen

Monday, May 27, 2013

Freedom and Responsibility

Freedom and responsibility

We are born for freedom. We believe we have been called to freedom. Actually nothing could be further from the truth. We are not born to freedom or called to freedom; we are born for and called to responsibility. Freedom without boundaries is not freedom; it is slavery to the unknown limits. We are called to own our freedom, to be held responsible for it. Our sense of responsibility is born in our conscience that reflects the Conscience of the universe. The Conscience of the universe was expressed in the Cross where righteousness won the day. Our consciences bear witness to the reality that we are not responsible to ourselves but to the One who established the price of righteousness and freedom. Driven to admit our guilt, the guilt that comes from the sense of obligation that is now owed to God who died on the cross, we bow our knees to God. In bowing our knees, we pick up the responsibility of our freedom. – Ron Friesen

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Give us the good, ole days!

In the end of his reflections on the trials and tribulations of his people in Babylonian captivity, the writer of Lamentations makes this final plea:

“Restore us to yourself, Lord, that we may return; renew our days as of old.” Lamentations 5:21

While we live in the war-torn debris our lives, there always lies a secret cry for the return to the days of peace and prosperity. The biblical path to the restoration of our past successes lies in spiritual renewal. It is God who brings about the spiritual renewal; God is the author of our new beginnings. God will give us back the years that the evil one has stolen when renewal has been wrought in our hearts in the place where God experienced his war-torn debris – the Cross. – Ron Friesen