Posted by: Ed | January 13, 2010

EXPOSED IN THE DESERT… or at least trying to be

Last Monday & Tuesday (January 4 & 5) was my 1st desert retreat of the New Year & of the decade. It had spectacular weather and winter landscape was breathtaking.

Since one of the points of this here blog is to avoid being just the Journey talking head, I thought I’d share some reflections, wrestling and insights that I came home with. Just so you know these are largely unedited journal entries so bare with the writing style and grammatical errors.

Here’s the opening blast:
Monday, January 4, 2010 – Desert / Fasting
Here I am. I’m here to expose my life to Your presence. I hope I can bring the real me.
I just realized also, that I’m here to rest & recover. I barely took a breath after an exhausting Christmas. It’s funny; I don’t know that I fully felt that till right now.
I’m here to seek You for this New Year. I want a lot of things to be different this year.
**As if to prove my point I just fell asleep in this chair, long enough to be dreaming & forget where I was. I don’t know how I’m going to get through this night with any reading, because I can barely stay awake. But the quiet is good
– No sports to watch & juggle
– Nothing recorded on the DVR,
– No emails, no texts, no calls.

Moving on to Tuesday morning:
Tuesday, January 5, 2010 – Desert / Fasting
I am thankful for rest & quiet. It’s under 50 on the porch so I’m chilling in the back bedroom looking at the badlands through this large picture window. The flighty birds are on a break from mowing seeds due to the arrival of 2 monster crows. There are 12 or so doves perched on ocotillo about 50 yards away. Hopefully they’ll conclude it’s ok to come back & entertain me.
God, I’m not sure what your agenda is for this time, but I don’t want to jam mine in & lose Yours. I know I’m tired. I know I need some quiet. I know I need solitude & time away from people & their expectations. I probably need more than I’m taking.
I hope to have some goals, some resolutions, some areas for the year, but if that’s not YOUR plan, I’m fine with that.
Gen 18:14 Is anything too difficult for the LORD? What a great question. What if I kept that in the front of my mind all the time? What if I practiced Your presence & kept asking myself this question. Checking the Hebrew kicks it up a notch:
The Hebrew verb aDlD;p (pala}) means “to be wonderful, to be extraordinary, to be surpassing, to be amazing.”
The sun is over the ridge lighting & warming things up (on it’s way into mid 70s perfection) and the quail have showed up in force. They forced some large rabbit away from the food.

Again this year, I’m using the Discipleship Journal Bible Reading Plan. It gives you daily readings in Old Testament, Wisdom Literature (Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Job), Gospels & New Testament. I love these days for the gift of slow meandering through the scriptures they offer. Here are a few places I stopped, that ended up feeling connected:

I’m so filled w/ hope & optimism for my life & for the church in reading Acts 3 & 4.
Acts 3:26 “For you first, God raised up His Servant and sent Him to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways.” Good news – we can, I can turn from my wicked ways because the power of God is here. God is going to turn me from my ways.
Acts 3:12 But when Peter saw this, he replied to the people, “Men of Israel, why are you amazed at this, or why do you gaze at us, as if by our own power or piety we had made him walk? There is no power or piety of my own that heals a person, that does great things, it is faith, acting in the authority of the name of Jesus. These guys had nothing else: no budget, no position, no network. What they did have they gave. They had Jesus presence & His authority to act.

Matt 3:17 This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased… 4:3 “If You are the Son of God, command that…” Maybe this is why we look so different than Acts 3 & 4. We have forgotten who we are or more correctly, and diabolically, we have listened to the wrong voice as to who we are. Have we set up false “if… then” scenarios?

Later in the afternoon, I wrote this:
It seems like I’ve spent this afternoon committing (consecrating?) this year & this decade to You, should You give me that much time. I want to finish well. I want to make the most of this opportunity. I realize that my time is short.

I really am grateful for the gift of a God before whom “no creature is hidden and all things are laid bare.” One of my life’s quests is to stop pretending this isn’t the case. It’ll probably take a few more runs out to the sand.

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Responses

  1. Genesis 18:14 has been heavy on my mind since I read it last week (using the Life Journey Reading Plan).

    Great post…thanks!

    T

  2. Bravo, Ed. I normally don’t share what God says to me when it relates to other people but I heard him say, “He should take a week next time.”

    If you enjoy it, write more as it inspires others. Underneath the humor and activity, you’ve got a poet’s heart.

  3. Thanks Ed……Fran and Chris and I were talking about how much we appreciate your heart for God, your desire for more and how easy it is to listen and receive from you all the time. we are so excited about where God is taking you, us and Journey.
    As as you were talking about Peter and the healing of the crippled man, it occurred to me that perhaps one of the greatest ripoffs by our enemy in the Western Church is in our identity, who we are in him, who and what we carry, and the power, presence and authority which are resident in us. I believe that because Peter knew who he was and who and what he was carrying he could say “…… what I have I give to you, rise up and walk ‘ he simply and freely released what he knew to be in him. Probably more than anyone else, Peter, the man who denied Christ three times, knew it wasn’t him, but who and what he carried.
    We flawed and imperfect believers are perfect containers. The ripoff is that because we see ourselves as flawed and imperfect we don’t believe that we have much to offer others. On the contrary we have all of Him in us to offer to others and the very fact of us being flawed and imperfect only glorifies God more……because when something great happens no one can say it was because of our own power or piety. “We have this treasure in jars of Clay, to show that this all surpassing power may be of Him and not of ourselves.”
    Ed, think about this please, what practical things can we do for you to help you in the year to come. Don’t be afraid to ask.

  4. Hi Ed,

    I often hear before you mention it (and agree) with what God is telling you.

    I have alot to share, things that you might find interesting and enacouraging.

    But tonight I am moved to consider that we need to ask for $, even a few $ (3) from each parishishoner to give to the local church with Haitian ties. Some give $1 other give $5 but EVEYRONE gives to a Christian nation who is praying for help. I realize that Journey’s big ask is SOON. This will only get everyone in the spirit.

  5. Yo Ed, good word from the desert. I need a renovation of the heart. I’m ready to come out of my annual holiday rut. I’m wondering what effect IA City will have on my soul. One thing’s for sure: I won’t be there what I’m not here. So it’s time to beat “Brother Ass” (Lewis, 4 Loves) with a stick and get to it this year. By grace I will now become the sanctified person I forever will be (loose Willard quote). Alright, thanks for the post and encouraging/challenging words

    – Mark

  6. “Quiet is good”


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