Today we know that leprosy is a disease of the nervous system, which presents itself as lesions on the skin. As horrible as leprosy is, Jesus “stretched out his hand (Luke 5:12-26)” to touch a person stricken with the condition. Like leprosy, sin forms within (thoughts), spreads and presents itself externally in our actions. So too, like leprosy, it doesn’t keep God from stretching out in love to heal what we on our own can not heal, restore what has been broken and redeem what was taken away. Sin, no matter how deep within, no matter how widespread, we are never out of reach from the outstretched hand of God.
…if you say so I will let down the nets. Luke 5:1-11 They’d worked all night and hadn’t caught anything! But all that was about to change. Catching fish in the daytime was unheard of and simply wasn’t when the job got done. Simon Peter had no reason to believe they would catch anything. Yet judging from his response, what did he have to lose? As a result of his obedience he was greatly rewarded. Achieving dreams and goals is hard work. We must be willing to “cast our net” one more time, even when to us, it seems futile. As children of the Most High, we have everything to gain and the only way we lose something we don’t have is if we stop casting the net.
Saturday’s Meditation – Psalm 90:12,16-17
So teach us to count our days
that we may gain a wise heart.
Let your work be manifest to your servants,
and your glorious power to their children.
Let the favour of the Lord our God be upon us,
and prosper for us the work of our hands—
O prosper the work of our hands!
There are some tyrannies against the self, that we don’t always readily recognize; such as change, time and place. We constantly think that things and people need to change, that time can be managed and that if we don’t find what we are looking for we are ready to be some place else. These are illusions which keep us running and confused much of the time. Trying to change what is fully external to the self is tiring. Changing the interior self is hard enough but far more rewarding. It gives us permission to free ourselves from the obsession of trying to change things and or people more confused than we are. So too time can not be managed. Another illusion – for an hour is an hour and we must learn to manage ourselves realistically within the time that is given. We can only do the best we can with the time we have. Again, we often fail to appreciate the gift of place, where we are at any given moment, but more importantly where we call home. I’ve come to believe that it is the Spirit of God within us that sanctifies the place and not the other way around. When Jesus entered the synagogue and found a person who had the spirit of an unclean demon (Luke 4:31-37), he didn’t leave and start looking for another synagogue. Anointed by the Spirit we too have the freedom to remain where we are and not be moved until the Spirit of God’s presence within us provides another place.
I’ve had this retreat scheduled for months. Usually I am quite happy to be getting away, in fact rather excited. However, this time it was different. I really did not want to leave home! I’ve come to understand that essentially we walk in wilderness everyday. It’s not necessarily a place but more states of environments. It’s also not all necessarily bad. Sure – stuff happens! Things around us are being constructed and deconstructed at every moment of our lives. We don’t always know what’s about to happen. We only know what it is that we are called to do today, right now, this very moment. If we want something to change, the process of that change must come deep from within the passion that is within us. Life’s journey is about responding to the various experiences we have in these environments and some experiences are more wilderness than others. But life in Christ is about learning to respond in peace in that wilderness, guided by the spiritual presence of God. So, finally, with a workable understanding of “being in the world and not of it, (John 17:15-19)” I’ve learn to accept my “wilderness” as part of life. But more importantly once I return from this retreat, I get to be filled with the power of the Spirit (Luke 4:14-30) back in to my wilderness with so much more peace knowing that it is the Spirit which guides me.
I awoke this morning quite low in spirit. As I read the passage in Luke 4:1-13 it brought to mind, from childhood to adulthood, the many areas where there used to be long stretches of trees along both sides of major roads and small streets alike. Though you didn’t see so much of the “wildlife” you knew it existed. To go into those trees and bushes which I did as a child on many occasions, it was indeed a wilderness for me and my friends but not for the animals that lived there. Today everyone of those places I remember have been cultivated for human habitation, now a very different kind of wilderness. “For it has been given over to me (Luke 4:1-13),” claims the adversary, yet I am reminded today that it’s only an illusion created by the wilderness, a place we enter when the spirit is low creating that opportune time for misdirection and misguidedness. Let us today not be fooled by the illusion of the world’s authority. Even in the long stretches of wilderness, cries of faith in our weakest moments are far stronger than the illusions created by the world, and do not go unheard by the one True Authority.
For if you keep silence at such a time as this…. Esther 4:4-17 We don’t always recognize the opportunity when our own voice will save a life until we or someone we love becomes a victim. In particular, domestic violence has long been a disgraceful part of our society. Even though we know that misogyny is not new, in every culture, we still battle the silence. When the media rise concerning recent events dies down (and it will) our voices must always remain at its highest level of hearing, lest it be too late for ourselves or someone else. #bring back our girls #domestic violence #misogyny
Saturday’s Meditation : Psalm 27:1-3
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?
When evildoers assail me
to devour my flesh—
my adversaries and foes—
they shall stumble and fall.
Though an army encamp against me,
my heart shall not fear;
though war rise up against me,
yet I will be confident.
…he saw his glory and spoke about him. John 12:36b-43 Nearly two thousand years ago, everywhere the Apostle Paul traveled, his adversaries followed him (Acts 17). How tremendous a power and authority, when there are always others whose sole purpose is to undo or destroy what has been accomplished and built up! News Flash – We still speak today because God’s Spirit can neither be undone nor destroyed!