The Wandering Desert Monk

The Wandering Desert Monk

Sunday, October 18, 2015

No need to fear...

Fear NOT!!!!!

Psalm 27: 1-2

The Lord is my light and my salvation—
    whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
    of whom shall I be afraid?

Psalm 115:11

 You who fear him, trust in the Lord—
    he is their help and shield.

Your trust is God not in your faith!

1 Peter 3:13-14

13 Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.”

Isaiah 41: 10, 13

10 So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

13 For I am the Lord your God
    who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, Do not fear;
    I will help you.

Know who you are!!!!

Romans 8:14-17

14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

I Timothy 1:7

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

Worried about your finances?

Hebrews 13:5-8

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,
“Never will I leave you;
    never will I forsake you.”
So we say with confidence,
“The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.
    What can mere mortals do to me?
Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Do not be anxious!

Philippians 4:4-7

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Fear NOT!!!

A prayer for fear:

Psalm 56:3-4

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
    In God, whose word I praise—
in God I trust and am not afraid.
    What can mere mortals do to me?

When afraid, pray;

“When I am afraid of _________, I will trust you, O Lord. Amen.


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

How generous should we be?

Today’s reflection continues from yesterday’s reflection on generosity from 2 Corinthians 8.

Yesterday we looked at the reason for giving; we give because we are the recipients of abundant goodness from the Divine Giver. Today we will focus on the how of giving. St. Paul provides some principles of giving in these words:

Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:6-8).

First, be as generous as you can be because you reap what you sow. I want to say a word here about some televangelists who have misused this section of Scripture. This is not a teaching to tell you to send your television preacher some “seed money” because if you send him $20, God will send you $200. This “prosperity gospel” is a false gospel. The context of this teaching on generosity is to give the money to the poor and needy, particularly, the needy inside of the fellowship of Jesus’ followers. There are numerous Bible verses that teach that being generous to the poor is honored by the Divine Giver.

Second, there is no New Testament teaching on how how much you should give. It is as common teaching in many churches that their members should give 10% or a tithe of their income to the church. St. Paul says that we should give proportionately which means that those who lots of resources should give lots; those who are poor should give what they believe God wants them to give. Whatever you give, you should do so hilariously (the literal translation of the Greek word translated “cheerful” giver.

Third, giving is more than money. Notice that we are called to “abound in every good work.” My understanding that we can be generous in many ways. There are churches who tell their attendees to share their time if they cannot give of their money. This encourages followers of Jesus to understand that cooking a meal for a homeless shelter is as valued as putting a $100 bill in the collection basket.

Many of us have been generous recipients of our nation’s bounty. We owe it those around us to be generous.

Ronald Friesen © 2015

Monday, October 12, 2015

The flow of generostiy

Over the years I have read and listened to debates about the how we go about helping people with our treasure, talents and time. Most of the discussions are focused on giving money to people standing on the street corner. There also discussions about who are more generous: the poor or the wealthy. Ken Stern argues that the poor almost three times as generous as the wealthy. St. Paul congratulated the poor followers of Jesus in Macedonia for their generosity:

“And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity” (2 Corinthians 8:1-2).

Notice that generosity of spirit and the pocket book is a spiritual fruit of experiencing God’s generosity. If you believe that your wealth is only the product of your hard work and intelligence; then you know that your wealth is limited to your capacity to create it. Finite beings cannot create infinite wealth. If you believe that your bank account and assets are gifts from an Infinite Being, you know that you can never out give the Giver. St. Paul reinforces this thought with these words:

And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us” (2 Corinthians 8:5).

The Macedonian followers of Jesus realized they needed to give their very lives to the Creator who gave them the gift of their breath. If you are your own creator, you have to hold onto your life. It is all you have. When you understand that life flows from a Divine source, you know the One who gives life will sustain and keep you. Generosity flows from an abundant heart when life comes from an Abundant Giver.

Ronald Friesen © 2015