A Blind Man Healed at Bethsaida (Mark 8:22-26)
Then He came to Bethsaida; and they brought a blind man to Him, and begged Him to touch him. So He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the town. And when He had spit on his eyes and put His hands on him, He asked him if he saw anything. And he looked up and said, “I see men like trees, walking.” Then He put His hands on his eyes again and made him look up. And he was restored and saw everyone clearly. Then He sent him away to his house, saying, “Neither go into the town, nor tell anyone in the town.”
Jesus could have easily healed this blind man as he did a number of others in the Bible, but this story is different. While Jesus is fully able to heal you in one HUGE mountain moving miracle, here Jesus shows us that God works in us continually, and slowly corrects our vision over time. What ever issues you are currently working through right now, know that God is in the midst of it, slowly and appropriately correcting your vision, so that you may see and be healed.
Xristos Anesti, Alethos Anesti. Christ is Risen, Truly He is Risen.
May 5, 2013, was the Feast of the Resurrection where we celebrated the Risen Lord. That was the result and reward to 55 days of vegan fasting, and much prayer. And it was worth it. It was long, difficult, at times rewarding, at times disappointing. But growth, especially spiritual growth, is a slow methodical marathon, and not a sprint. I learned a lot about myself these last 55 days. I learned that as much as I enjoy alcohol and meat, it’s possible to give them up for long periods of time. But more importantly, I learned that there is a lot of hidden, deep down issues, that need to be addressed. Issues of failure, despair and forgiveness of myself and others. I truly don’t believe that I could come to that realization without prayer and fasting, and without the continuous groaning of the Holy Spirit. There is much to work on, but there is much to be proud of. I am happy to have done it, and to realize that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)
Happy Easter to you and your loved ones.
One week left – and not just any week, but the holiest week of the year. This past week flew by – no major disappointments, no great achievements. However, certainly food and alcohol have taken a back seat to everything else. Where are those desires that I was fighting so hard in weeks 1 & 2? who cares? I am just trying to enjoy the remainder of this Lenten period and get as much out of it as possible. My focus now lies on the week ahead, when the Coptic church transforms and relives the last week of the Lord’s life on earth. Its truly a spiritual time and to the individual who wants, a week full of enormous spiritual growth. This last week makes all the sacrifice of the last 7 weeks seem insignificant. I am ready.
Only 2 weeks left. This last week had its significant problems. The biggest was that I ran a Tough Mudder with a few friends this past Saturday in West Virginia. I had not competed in a race like that, or any race at all as a matter of fact, for more than 20 years. The difficult thing was that after the race, all you wanted was protein. And not that protein that comes out of the ground – I mean good old fashioned protein, with cheese, and an egg on top. YUMMM. so you finish the race, and all you can smell are grills hard at work…the beautiful and entrancing smell of grilled beef. I was weak. I didn’t do it – BUT I was weak. In any case, another week down, and only 2 more to go.
We are all a little guilty of being boring and slaves to routine. But every once in a while its necessary to take a risk, change the routine, be spontaneous, and do something out of the ordinary. Being spontaneous can mean a wide array of things, from planning a skydiving trip, to just driving in a direction you have never driven before, to changing a dinner location or weekend location without prompt or plan. Rather than staying in your 30 mile radius, hop on a train and see where it takes you, or drive south, north, east, or west for 2 hours and see where you end up. Guaranteed you will find plenty to see and do at your destination. For me, I got the family together and decided to go to Richmond, Virginia (I’ve never been there before). We went to a few children’s museums and the Richmond Zoo. We got to feed the giraffes and saw a cheetah in mid-stride. If anything, being spontaneous will take the fear of being lost out of you, and allow you to explore more on your next vacation, or your next weekend.
So now we are beyond the halfway mark and I’m excited about what I have learned and experienced so far in the last 5 weeks. That’s not to say it hasn’t been trying and at some points I wanted to give up and drive to the nearest KFC and demolish a bucket by myself.
However, those times seemed to only last for a few minutes before you come to your senses. While I would love to take the credit and state that I am strong enough to just ignore those desires, someone told me that when the flesh is at its weakest point, the Spirit makes intercession for us to God.
“Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” (Romans 8:26)
Without those intercessions, I am certain I would succumb to not only those food desires, but much more. I look forward to the next few weeks and what they spiritually hold for me.
I know its such a boring and mundane job, but it has to be done. The trick is to not let it get out of hand. If you haven’t cleaned your office in a few years, don’t start on a Tuesday after work and think that you will finish it all. A few years of mess and disorganization can’t be fixed in an hour. But there is hope. Either schedule a few small chunks of time or one large block where you clearly have a set goal in mind. For instance, you may want to attack this project early on a Saturday morning, and tell yourself you won’t stop until you’re
done. Or, schedule 2 hours (or whatever works for you) every day for a week, and plan on organizing and filing one pile of paperwork or organize a cabinet each session.
To start, you have to have a plan. Don’t get discouraged. Once you get over the hump of figuring out how you want to set up your office, i.e., file system or electronic filing system, it will become much easier. Remember to then maintain it daily. Also, schedule one hour
(which will probably be more than enough) every week to tie up and organize any loose paper. With your new found continued attention to your office, your productivity will soar.
This was a difficult week. Nothing out of the ordinary – except that I felt much weaker this past week. Possibly due to lack of delicious meat in my diet, but also possibly due to the fact that my struggle was much more focused than in the past few weeks. The last few weeks have been very eye opening. I realize that while the love of food is always a concern, it can be managed. That goes the same for alcohol. I’ve also realized that the spiritual struggle is harder than I thought, but with much prayer, there are many benefits. Another realization I came too this week was that I was under the impression that spiritually I was OK, when and only when the struggle began that I realized there were holes in that story. I realize now that there can be no improvement without struggle. This is the half way mark and I hope and pray that the next half is just as rewarding as the first half.
I recently read a nice article about how to be awesome at life. Here is the article: http://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/how-to-be-awesome-at-life.html
The article first defined what it meant to be awesome and then outlined how to be awesome at life. After much thought and meditation about my own personal need to become awesome, I realized that the article stated something that I don’t necessarily agree with. The article originally listed some of the writer’s ideas of what it is to be awesome, and provided some examples of what it meant to “not be awesome.” The article stated the following, “Just cleaning up some of the not-so-awesome aspects and characteristics will help you on your way to becoming more awesome in your life.”
I disagree. Assuming that everyone’s idea of awesome is different, it is too general to state that stopping some of your undesirable characteristics will lead you to the way of awesome. I’m of the mindset that its easier to eliminate the darkness, by bringing in the light.
Whether you decide to follow the author’s advice to actively stop some of the not-so-awesome aspects of your life or follow my advice of increasing and focusing on the more awesome characteristics of You, in any case, be awesome.
Week 3 has been a huge success for me. I continued diligent prayer and meditation, and it’s certainly paying off. I’m able to better focus on tasks, and have been able to quiet most desires, especially food. Having not eaten any animal or byproduct in the last 21 days, I can sincerely say that it takes a strong individual to eat like a vegan. However, I have found it much more difficult (and rewarding) to pray and meditate daily. I intend to focus more on the meditation and prayer in week 4. I will however confess this – that while the focus has shifted from food, I have been made more aware of other “issues” that I have. I’ve noticed that I have failed in many things, and that my struggle is not with food as much as it is a psychological and spiritual struggle. The closer you get to the Light, you are made more aware of how dirty your shirt is – I have been made so aware. It is a disappointing and disheartening feeling, which requires much thought and meditation. For now – the focus remains on prayer and meditation.