Psalm 119:15 ESV
John 17:14-19 NKJV
Romans 12:2 NKJV
Romans 3:23, Romans 8:28
Philippians 4:8 ESV
I am often reminded that prayer and meditation sometimes includes screaming.
I am a reader, but I’m a bit of an “odd duck” when it comes to what I read. I really came to realize that when I tried to join a book club a few years back. When I joined I thought it might be good for me to expand my book list. Every month a new book was selected, the members read the book, and we met to discuss it. I struggled to read some of the books because they were pretty dark. Others were filled with sorrow that was nearly unbearable. There wasn’t anything wrong with the books. The writers were gifted. The content was relevant to this century. They just weren’t for me.
The group was good for me because I realized I’m different. I stopped going because I accepted who God made me to be.
I’m currently re-reading St. Anthony of the Desert written by St. Athanasius. He lived from 297-373 AD. The book is about the life of St. Anthony of the Desert who left a life of comfort in order to retreat to the desert in Egypt. He gave away his fortune so he could seek God.
You’re getting the idea about the books on my reading list. The books I read are not on the best seller list. Many of them have been around for centuries.
Don’t get me wrong, the books on the list were well written. They had intricate plot lines and created a riveting story. The just weren’t for me. The book I’m re-reading is not a page turner. I often read one or two sentences and get caught up in the meaning. It’s not unusual for me to pray about how God would use the life of St. Anthony to teach me more about Him.
The reading of the book about St. Anthony reminds me that his struggles with good and evil are not so very different than mine, or than the struggles of the psalmist. We read in
Psalm 119:15, “I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways.”
Indeed, we are in this world but not of this world. In John 17:14-19, Jesus prayed, “I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world. I do not pray that you should take them out of this world, but that you should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by your truth. Your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.”
The Apostle Paul tells us in Romans 12:2, “do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
The struggle I face daily is now to temper or modify my heart and mind so I am renewed daily. In the silence, I call on God to help me dispel the enemy from within. Silence makes it so I can hear God. No man, I repeat NO MAN is without sin. We all make choices and mistakes in our choices (Romans 3:23).
The good news, the really GOOD NEWS is that God in me is continuously calling to me. God is continuously bringing good to me when I fall short (Romans 8:28).
When I am UN temperate, God is good to love me, forgive me, and call me back to Him.
But let me be clear…I do not temper myself. It is God who tempers (modifies) me.
The absolute best I can do is to put myself in a place to be a good listener. Even then, I miss the mark. I get busy or distracted and I forget. I let fear be my guide or I want something to be true and I hold onto it too tightly. I justify (‘just if I’ try hard enough I will make it be okay.)
Then when I get quiet in the still of the night, the Spirit of the living God calls out to me and through His great love I see His open arms waiting for me to hear to Him.
In the desert, St. Anthony once locked himself in a cave where he was attacked by his own demons from within. Even though they attacked him, he did not die. Instead a great light appeared and the demons ran away.
I cannot NOT make mistakes. My own fear is before me.
Even then, God is closer than I can begin to imagine.
God is IN me.
When I close my eyes and I close out the world, I see the light.
I see that God is fighting for me.
I see the demons depart.
I am reminded that the Apostle Paul understood. He wrote in Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
There have been many times in my life when “life happens” and I realize I am surrounded by uncertainty, strife, and confusion. St. Anthony called them demons. Some call it missing the mark. Whatever name we give it, know that when we turn to God (I believe once is all it takes), God lives in us and fights for us.
God’s light shines on uncertainty and we are certain.
God’s light causes the striving to cease.
The light of our Holy God dispels uncertainty and we clearly SEE truth.
Our silly demons are no match for our one true God.
Today’ Spiritual Practice is: Be Still
Let God fight for you.
In God, Deborah