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.