Day 18: Hearing from Brother Moses the Ethiopian
1. Center Down
Before we begin today’s spiritual excursion, please take a few moments to breathe! Take three slow, deep breaths, expanding from your abdomen; try not to raise your shoulders. As you inhale, whisper, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God… As you exhale, whisper, “…
have mercy on me a sinner.”
2. Slowly read aloud the following Scripture
(Feel free to pause at any time during your reading to reflect on, thank, praise, or acknowledge God’s stirring in your thoughts and emotions.)
[Jesus] also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt:
“Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
(Luke 18:9-14, ESV)
For further exploration:
3. Kingdom Prayer
Eternal Father, we thank You for new beginnings and second chances. As the Body of Christ, we are so thankful for Your abundant blessings. We praise You for Your mighty works and unequaled greatness. We praise You with the tambourine and the dance. We praise You with the blast of the ram’s horn, with stringed instruments, and with flutes. With everything that is within us, Father, we praise and bless Your Holy Name!
Faithful Father, we belong to Christ Jesus, we are new people; our old lives are gone and a new life has begun! Accordingly, we choose not to follow the behavior and customs of this world, but we are being transformed into new people every day by changing the way we think and act. We expect a new spiritual awakening. We are eternally grateful to You for Jesus’ sacrifice which gives us a new beginning in life. We were once far away from You but through the meritorious works of Christ, we have been brought near to You through the blood of Jesus. In this new season of our lives, we will tie loyalty and kindness around our necks and write them deep within our hearts. As a result, we are expecting favor and a good reputation with You and with people. We will put our hands to the plow and not look back, for we desire to be those who are fit for the Kingdom.
What area(s) of your life do you need to start again? Ask God to help you.
Sovereign Father, flood our hearts with light so that we can understand the confident hope You have given us, Your holy people, who are Your rich and glorious inheritance. Holy Spirit, we ask that You would show us those areas in our lives that need a fresh start. Help us to remain steadfast during the next twelve months as we anticipate a new and improved relationship with God, our Father; Jesus Christ, our big brother; and with You, our Sustainer. Convict our hearts when we begin to fall back into old patterns, mindsets, attitudes and behaviors and lead us in the right way. Holy Spirit, we are depending on You to help us.
List three ways that you are expecting your relationship with God to improve during 2019:
Merciful Father, the Bible states that we have all sinned and fallen short of Your glory. It is our desire to walk with You and trust in You. Please forgive us for our sins. Forgive those areas in our lives that have fallen short. Forgive us for pride, unforgiveness, deception, dishonesty, rebellion, cheating, stealing, gossiping, backbiting and anything else that dishonors You. Lord, forgive me for (list any sins that you have committed).
Holy Spirit, remind us of those we need to forgive and help us to be quick to forgive. As for me, Holy Spirit, bring to my remembrance those I need to forgive. (Take a moment and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you names or faces of people that you may need to forgive. As He reveals them, say, “I forgive name of person(s).” Now, trust the Lord to heal any wounds in your soul caused by unforgiveness.)
Holy Spirit, as the Body of Christ, help us not to yield to temptation but deliver us from the evil one.
Great and marvelous are Your actions, Lord God Almighty. Just and true are Your ways, King of the nations. Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify Your Name? You alone are Holy. All nations will come and worship before You, for Your righteous deeds have been revealed. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture References for the Written Text: Psalm 150:1-6, II Corinthians 5:17, Romans 12:2, Ephesians 2:13, Proverb 3:3-4, Luke
9:62, Ephesians 1:18, Romans 3:23, Matthew 6:13, Revelation 15:3-4
4. Concepts to Consider
Father Moses the Ethiopian (aka “Moses the Black,” “Moses the Strong”) (330-405AD was a man who openly professed that God had radically changed his life.
As a younger man, Moses had become the household manager and servant to a prominent Egyptian official living in Alexandria. Moses was, however, dismissed from his duties and banished because of suspected theft and murder. Moses then embarked upon a life of organized crime. He assembled and became the leader of a group of thieves. One day as he was fleeing the scene of an attempted murder he took up refuge in a monastery near the barren, alkaline lake region of Scetis, Egypt (Wadi El Natrun). There he was so overwhelmed by the hospitality of the monks that he decided to stay and there began his journey of salvation.
Over the next several years, Jesus slowly molded Moses’ character through the help and encouragement of his mentor, Father Isadore, and through the practice of a disciplined life. So changed was Moses that he eventually became an ordained priest and a well-respected spiritual Father to 500 monks. He went from living a life characterized by violence to a life characterized by non-violence and hospitality.
Unfortunately, his last act of sacrificial love for his brethren cost him his life. Here is an excerpt from Coptic Synaxaria, or “Lives of the Saints” (c.
One day, [St. Moses] went with some elders to St. Macarius the Great, who said to them, “I see among you one to whom belong the crown of martyrdom.” St. Moses answered him, “Probably it is me, for it is written: ‘For all they that take with the sword, shall perish with the sword.’” (Matthew 26:25) After they returned to the monastery, it did not take long until the Barbarians attacked the monastery. He told the brethren, “Whoever wants to escape, let him escape.” They asked him, “And you O father, why do you not also escape?” He replied that he had waited for this day for long time. The Barbarians entered the monastery and killed him with seven other brothers. One of the brethren was hiding, and saw the angel of the Lord, with a crown in his hand standing by and waiting for him. He went out from his hiding place to the Barbarians and he was also martyred.
Beloved Ones, contemplate in the power of repentance, and what it did. It transformed a […] murderer, adulterer and robber into a great Father, teacher, comforter, and priest who wrote rules for the monks, and saint whose name is mentioned on the altar in our prayers.
His body is located now in the Monastery of El-Baramouse [in Egypt].
5. Reflection Questions
(You are encouraged to record your responses to the following inquiries in some tangible, meaningful way, i.e., write, draw, create, vlog/ blog, sing… etc.)
- Personal Reflection: As you think on how the Lord changed Moses’ heart and ways, “is there anything too hard for the LORD” (Genesis 18:14) in your life?
- Kingdom Reflection: How many “Moseses” may be out there in the world who simply need to know the hospitality of the “household of faith” in order to begin to understand the love of Jesus for them? How might this perspective inform our estimation of others who appear “out of control” or “beyond hope?” Optional Time of Centering/Soaking:
If possible, take some time, perhaps 5 to 15 minutes, to get into a comfortable position and simply allow the Lord to minister to you at a deep level (Psalm 42:7). Turn off or put down all distractions. Close your eyes. Hold in your thoughts a meaningful word, phrase, or image from the Scripture you read today. Release all other thoughts and concerns into the Presence of the Lord. If your thoughts wander, that’s okay, just gently return to your Scriptural word, phrase, or image. You may want to set a timer.