Desert time is vital

“Desert time is vital to a mature relationship with God.” (Something to think and pray about this week)

As a Lenten message I think this is fab!

Desert time with God.  That idling of companionable ease, the slow and sensuous tasting, the tasty treats shared with a yummy smacking of lips – a small spoon of yours offered with a small spoon of mine.  Sharing time.  Caring time.  Together time.

And then I realised we were in the “give it up for God” hot sandy desert – not the leisurely sensuous dessert I was enjoying with my Friend and Father.

So let me rewrite those Lenten words my way: “Dessert time is vital to a mature relationship with God.”

We only have the bible to tell us why Jesus willingly walked to the cross.  And that bible is full of fulfillings.  That bible is full of teachings.  That bible is stuffed full of this is why.  And while that works for me … I don’t have to be convinced any longer.  I don’t have to have these things proved to me anymore. I don’t need evidence to bolster my belief.  And I don’t need “good works” to justify or prove my faith.  Not any more.

And if I am wrong and there is no God, no eternal ever after … if I have misunderstood and there is a God who wanted me to toe the party line … if the life of unconditional love both ways is not what God meant at all … if all of this is some massive fairy story for children … for me it is really simple: I enjoy my living so much more this way!

So I believe dessert time is vital to a mature relationship with my God.

And I will linger over my internal relationship. I will linger over our internal dialogue.  I desire to ooze unconditional love.  I seek unconditional love in that quiet inner voice, in the drawing together of others who hear this quiet still voice, of others who seek not a better religion but a loving living today – a love to live by and in and together.

A love that changes. A love that allows.  A love that empowers.  A love that desires.  A love that hurts no one.  A love that allows everyone.  Even when that means saying no, or it’s your turn, or you go first , or I don’t need that you have it … or all and any of those “good works” we so often see not as love but as duty … as obligation … as needed …

Maybe I am wrong about the hot sandy desert.

Maybe I need to leave my comfortable sweet trolley.  Maybe I need to research the bible and seek to prove God to you and you and you.  Maybe I should sell our home and all our possessions and give them to the poor.  Maybe I should become poor so you can sell all your possessions and give them to me.  The desert can be full of whatever I desire to be deprived of.

And I wonder this …

Is this Lenten “journey of desert” what our dear Father actually desires of us?  Or do we each create the desert we wish for?   And if we do –

Then how different is your desert to my “dessert” (that I also create)?

Years ago I gave up sugar for Lent as a young child. I did it for me. I did for God. I did it because religion/church encouraged it.  But my chosen abstinence never brought me any closer to God.  In fact …

I think it helped push us apart for several decades.


16 thoughts on “Desert time is vital

        • What a gorgeous distinction! As I read your first comment the “images” sequence went through my mind – and the loving extraction of words from the Word.
          As I wrote: “We only have the bible to tell us … ” paragraph – I looked at Him (is this really okay to write?) and He just nodded (yes).
          So your distinction makes sense (if I understand you correctly).
          Thank you.

        • Don – as I sit here doing stuff – your distinction is rattling around my mind. And the more it rattles the more it seems to become something worth saying. Spider web growth? Bible experts. Qualified collars. Perspective of skill and knowledge. A hierarchy based on the bible rather then “Word who became flesh.”

          What are your thoughts on a post – singly or joint, you or me or both – on this distinction that makes perfect sense – some of the tension I have felt when writing – the times I have felt I was “letting Him down” in what I saw in the bible – and this one when a phrase or a comment might appear to be devaluing the bible – and yet He nods an okay.

          The “Word who became flesh” and the words of the bible … do you sense anything of that tension?

  1. Desert or Dessert? The Apostle Paul gave us a principle (inspired by the Holy Spirit) in Romans 14:5-9. Now if you want to be literal, then it won’t work for you, but if you want to listen to the Word Who became flesh, you can see the principle and it only matters IN the relationship you have with Him whether you choose desert or dessert.

    I feel like Don in his simple statement about constraint for I believe that even though the Bible is the written “manifestation” of the Living Word, it is the written Word that opens our eyes and hearts and spirits to the RELATIONSHIP that is possible in the Living Word. Jesus, Himself stated that He wanted ALL those who follow after Him to have a relationship with Him just as He has with the Father. How do we know that? Because we had to hear Him speak it first, through the written account laid down by His disciples. Once we heard it, we became like those disciples of old and started walking in it, hopefully, at least.

    I believe brother that is why you were able to state, and rightly so, “I don’t have to be convinced any longer. I don’t have to have these things proved to me anymore. I don’t need evidence to bolster my belief. And I don’t need “good works” to justify or prove my faith. Not any more.”

    You said it different than I have for years, but I have told/taught/preached that we go beyond believing to knowing. It’s not that we don’t use or need faith anymore (because we do to please the Father) but so much of the “basics” of the Bible start to take form in our relationship with the Living Word. As a young spiritual babe, we need the Written Word to direct us, to point us to the Living Word. But our relationship isn’t WITH the written Word, it is with the Living Word. The written Word then becomes our benchmark to keep us from going off some “deep end” path that is not true to the Living Word.

    I have seen this mistake in Pentecostal and Charismatic Churches where people start to believe they have arrived at some spiritual plateau where they no longer need the Written Word for illumination and that the Spirit will give them personal revelations. The fact remains is that anything that the Holy Spirit reveals to us in way of our relationship with the Living Word will NEVER contradict in word or principle what the Lord has given us in the Written Word. It will always be our benchmark and safety net to keep us spiritually true. This is how so many of the spiritual “fads” of our day have taken hold.

    I hope I’m not being too out there, but when we have and develop the relationship with the Living Word, it is a relationship based on communication, not just in talking TO Him, but even more so in LISTENING to what He has to say to us individually. That is why the principle in Romans is so important. It’s like the discussion we had concerning the “50 Shades of Grey” movie. We have a freedom AND a responsibility in our living relationship with the Lord. When we have matured to the point where we HAVE the relationship the Bible speaks to us about WITH our Lord and Redeemer, then He starts speaking to us individually right where we are at, in any particular moment.

    There have been many times I can justify something in the Written Word, a freedom or liberty that is stated, but then when dealing with the personal of a relationship, whether with a Brother or Sister or with the Lord Himself, the Living Word might let me know what unconditional love dictates from ME in that particular situation. That’s the difference; the Bible leads us to love, the Living Word empowers us and shows us when and how to love. It’s like when the Lord states in the Word that “the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” The Written Word tells us how to get to point B in a relationship but it’s the Living Word that is actually point B and where the relationship is.

    Hope this tells you just how convoluted my brain is my brother!! LOL!! Seriously though, hope this gives you some hint of how I take your article!

    Also, you have gone through some of the same thought processes I have as well, “And if I am wrong and there is no God, no eternal ever after … if I have misunderstood and there is a God who wanted me to toe the party line … if the life of unconditional love both ways is not what God meant at all … if all of this is some massive fairy story for children … for me it is really simple: I enjoy my living so much more this way!”

    You have given some really GREAT thoughts here brother and I really enjoyed this! God bless you!

  2. Amen, Paul. I would rather live with that wonder of hope than the wondering if……The desert is where we are sent to endure and to think. Dessert is for after…. 😉 Hugs to you dear one.

  3. We find can find His dessert even in the desert. In His presence is fullness of joy and rivers of pleasure (Psalm 16:11; 36:8). Doesn’t sound very religious and self-loathing there, does it. 🙂 Sounds more like some pretty delicious dessert to me!

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