The Wandering Desert Monk

The Wandering Desert Monk

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A Sovereign God


The idea that God is sovereign strikes terror in the hearts of many people. Many people cannot imagine that somehow God is directing their affairs or the affairs of the world. And if they believe that God is supervising the activities of the cosmos, God is doing a very poor job because there is so much suffering and sadness. Many people ask the question, “Where was God when _______________?” Over the centuries many people have tried to answer this question. The Psalmist takes a different approach because he believes that God is not a philosophical idea but a Personal Being who can be trusted to work out the big picture even when it is not known. The Psalmist acknowledges,

For you have been my hope, Sovereign LORD. – Psalm 71:5

I encourage you take the time to read the Psalm in its entirety to learn why you can have hope in God’s sovereignty. – Ron Friesen

Monday, January 27, 2014

The Ripples of Life


As children we were fascinated by the ripples created when we dropped a pebble in a pool of still water.  Our lives are like a pebble dropped into the sea of humanity leaving ripples: ripples of love, joy, and peace or ripples of anger, hate and disruption. The Psalmist was aware that sometimes his life left ripples of disappointment, shame and grief. Here is part of his prayer:

Lord, the LORD Almighty,
   may those who hope in you
   not be disgraced because of me. – Psalm 69:6

The Psalmist is aware that the world looks poorly on his people because of his choices. How often we read the story of a young scion of an upright family and begin to smear their name because of the behavior of this one son. When we are the ones who bring disgrace to our family, spiritual and human family, what are we to do? Here is the rest of the Psalmist’s prayer:

Answer me, LORD, out of the goodness of your love;
   in your great mercy turn to me. – Psalm 69:16

Only God’s love and mercy will rescue us when our behaviors send out ripples that reflect on everyone around us. – Ron Friesen

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Burdened?


Some days the load is mighty heavy! It is easy to be lost under its weight and size. For some of us the load is called sickness, for others finances, still others broken relationships, and still others grief. Whatever its name, the result is the same: a sense of unbearable weight that leaves us paralyzed. This human condition is not new to this century; it has been the story of the human race for millennia. Over 3,000 years ago the Psalmist wrote about his faith in a burden-bearing God:

Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior,
   who daily bears our burdens. – Psalm 68:19

God is willing to bear our load. I have met many people whose lives are identified with their burden. They have become their burden. For these people it is hard to imagine a burden-free life. Here is the question: are we willing to give up our burn and let God bear it? – Ron Friesen

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Life is difficult!


Over the years I have spent a lot of time with people whose lives have never been easy. Their lives have been marked with tragedy, death, reversals of all kinds, pain and suffering. Yet through it all, they have not forgotten their God. They lived these words written about 3,000 years ago:

Bless our God, O peoples!
      Give him a thunderous welcome!
   Didn't he set us on the road to life?
      Didn't he keep us out of the ditch?
   He trained us first,
      passed us like silver through refining fires,
   Brought us into hardscrabble country,
      pushed us to our very limit,
   Road-tested us inside and out,
      took us to hell and back;
   Finally he brought us
      to this well-watered place. – Psalm 66:8-12 (The Message)

Scott Peck was correct when he wrote these three words at the beginning of his best-seller, The Road Less Traveled, “Life is difficult.” We may feel like we have been to hell and back, yet, the journey is not ended. We will come to the place of where we will experience Shalom, the place of peace, contentment, fulfillment, and abundance. Do not be discouraged today. – Ron Friesen

Friday, January 24, 2014

Look Up!


What do you see?

As you look out of the windows of your home, what do you see? As you drive or walk down your street, what do you see? Walking into a garden, what do you see? Do you see trees or do you see vibrant expressions of life? Do you see homo sapiens or do you see people alive with expectancy and hope mixed with despair? What do you see? The Psalmist reflected on the act of looking and responded with this,

The grasslands of the wilderness overflow;
   the hills are clothed with gladness.
The meadows are covered with flocks
   and the valleys are mantled with grain;
   they shout for joy and sing. – Psalm 65:12-13

Oscar Hammerstein II got it when he wrote, “the hills are alive with the sound of music!” May all of your views be alive with the sound of music. – Ron Friesen

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Target of malice?


Ever been the target of vicious rumors? Is someone out to destroy your reputation? At least once in my life I was such a target; it is not a pleasant place to be. The Psalmist understood my experience when he wrote,

Don't let them find me—
      the conspirators out to get me,
   Using their tongues as weapons,
      flinging poison words,
      poison-tipped arrow-words.
   They shoot from ambush,
      shoot without warning,
      not caring who they hit.
   They keep fit doing calisthenics
      of evil purpose,
   They keep lists of the traps
      they've secretly set.
   They say to each other,
      "No one can catch us,
      no one can detect our perfect crime." - Psalm 64:2-5 (The Message)

Over time I learned the truth of the rest of this Psalm:

The Detective detects the mystery
      in the dark of the cellar heart.

 The God of the Arrow shoots!
      They double up in pain,
   Fall flat on their faces
      in full view of the grinning crowd. – Psalm 64:6-8 (The Message)

When I learned the fate of those who sought to destroy me, I was reminded that vengeance is never mine, only God’s. – Ron Friesen