Ask and …

What the #*^%&#^$&$^$!! Happened!?!?” ?

Sunday, November 26, 2023

The Lake Sings The Morning In!

Another Gift From God,

so precious.

Nahum 1:7

The Lord is good, a stronghold on a day of trouble; he protects those who take refuge in him,

Matthew 7:7

Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you.

Words of Grace For Today

All of us have asked for things to be a bit better,

or a lot better.


it seldom

turns out to be better,

especially if we get exactly what we’ve asked for!

Thankfully God

hears our pleas, our cries, our wailings, our dreams, or requests,


God most often only gives us what we need


offer life abundant to others.

So much for getting

it to be a little bit better for ourselves.

So we could say, following Jesus really is a bummer, right?!


What God provides that we seldom ask for is

everything we need to live life abundantly.

It is certainly so that living with everything hunky doory and with an abundance of what the world would have us chase after, is not

God’s life abundant

that we receive.


we receive hope, the ability to love and be loved, the ability to be kind and honest, the ability to give

to the most needy

what they desperately need.

And then God gives us the ability to say thanks and enter each day

confessing our sins, and relying wholly on God to bring us to do good things for others.




Or, when God does not give us exactly what we asked for (that would be so bad for us) we can pretend to be astounded and selfishly ask,

“What the #*^%&#^$&$^$!! Happened!?!?

How the Crap Flies!

Thursday, November 23, 2023

How Bright The Light Of God’s Grace,

That Leads Us On Through Life,


Psalm 69:6

Do not let those who hope in you be put to shame because of me, O Lord God of hosts; do not let those who seek you be dishonoured because of me, O God of Israel.

Ephesians 1:7

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace ….

Words of Grace For Today

When we sin, especially when we aim it at other people in anger, the effects of that evil just keep getting bounced around, spreading further and further.

A wise old pastor said once among friends looking back on their lives as pastors, “I hope that I have not hurt anyone.”

Today that could easily be improved on with, “God, I pray you will forgive me for the people I have hurt, and that you will help them heal.”

When Leonard Cohen wrote, “If the sun would lose its light And we lived an endless night … And no one that you hurt could ever heal, Well that’s how broken I would be, What my life would seem to me, If I didn’t have your love to make it real.”

One of the real things about life is that watching other people, many whom we love, suffer because of what we have done, takes all the goodness of life from us.

So we pray with the Psalmist Do not let those who hope in you be put to shame because of me; do not let those who seek you be dishonoured because of me….

For when others are put to shame or dishonoured because of our sins, the stain it leaves on them is not simply a matter of them healing. It is also necessary that the communities around them learn to free them of the shame they have put on them, and restore their honour to them.

That healing is much more complex and often nearly impossible.

So we pray, counting on the forgiveness of our sins, in the richness of God’s grace.

Grace upon grace from God, and through others empowered by the Holy Spirit, provides us our only hope in life,

that all may be well,

all may be well,

all manner of things may be well.

Even as the crap continues to fly all around us.

With A Little

Help From …

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

As A New Day Dawns,

Remembering From Whom Our Help Comes.

First Samuel 7:12

Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Jeshanah, and named it Ebenezer; for he said, ‘Thus far the Lord has helped us.’

Acts of the Apostles 26:22

To this day I have had help from God, and so I stand here, testifying to both small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would take place: ….

Words of Grace For Today

Going it alone, or with our own family, or friends, or company, or kind is typical for us as we meander through life towards, well, we like to deny it with all our efforts – but it’s still towards death.

And we get there in the end, successfully, whether we like it or not.

The journey is usually fraught with failures and detours and disasters of our own making.

As we get to the end of any day, or the start of a new day, best is to recognize that we have nothing new to offer the world,

but the old stuff we have received from the saints before is precious.

Each day, ending or beginning, it is helpful to remember that we cannot make anything good happen for us or anyone else, unless we let God have at us and guide us and perform miracles in us so that out of our pathetic efforts some good will come.

So, to give thanks, to God,

who helps us on our way,

blessing us

and through us others,


that’s a good start and a good end to each day.

Our Measure of God

As If!?

Friday, November 17, 2023

Is Our Measure Ever Any Better At Reaching the Light of Life,

than counting our steps in the snow?

Isaiah 55:8

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord.

1 Corinthians 1:25

For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.

Words of Grace For Today

That God’s thoughts and human thoughts are not the same is obvious, and quite a relief, if you think about it.

If God were to think like humans, with all the evil and shtako humans come up with, we would be in great jeapordy, and that not just as we are now from other humans (ourselves included), but from God. With God’s power that threat would be unbearable, un-survivable, and deadly, even if God did not act out the threats.

When we apply a measure to our wisdom and compare it to our measure of God’s foolishness, that of sacrificing Jesus on the Cross to save all people, if our heads are not buried in the sand or some place else, then we will quickly notice that we humans have a hard time measuring ourselves with any measure that would recognize the greatest power in what we call the greatest weakness, ie. surrendering to death our of love for those doing the killing.

And that is what is so spectacular about Jesus’ story, told over and over, from generation to generation. We start to recognize the sinfulness of our measuring the world, confessing that sin and it’s horrible consequences for all, and turn to God begging for mercy,

for mercy,

for mercy.

We are left each day begging, thanking God for God’s great generosity in forgiving us and renewing life in us (yet again, and again, and …), and learning to sing God’s melodies and harmonies of love and life abundant for all – made possible through our sacrifices.

What’s your measure for today?

We’ve Been Told!

So Why Do We Get It So Wrong?

Sunday, November 12, 2023

Nothing Looks Like What It Is If We Do Not Gain God’s Perspective.

For example my work for today.

Genesis 45:24

Then he sent his brothers on their way, and as they were leaving he said to them, ‘Do not quarrel along the way.’

Colossians 3:13

Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.”

Words of Grace For Today

Nothing looks like what it is if we are in the mode of telling others what to do, or if others are in the mode of telling us what to do!

Joseph could spend all his breath on telling his brothers not to quarrel. They were still going to quarrel.

‘Paul’ (well Colossians is probably not Paul himself but someone writing decades later in his name) could spend as much ink telling people how to behave, and especially how to be good, and even more desperately what they MUST do, like forgiving one another, but people are people and forgiving is not something people do on their own. Neither is being good, nor doing what must be done.

Any parent can give numerous stories how telling their teen not to do something simply invites the teen to go out and try it, somehow so their parents do not find out about their attempts.

So it is when we look at the world: unless we have God’s perspective (given to us, because there is no way we gain it on our own or in any other way) we simply do not understand what is going on around us, not fully, and we are completely incapable of doing the right thing for the circumstances on our own. Only the Holy Spirit guiding us can get us in that direction.

So we pray like mad the Holy Spirit will guide us

to do right,

and what MUST be done,

like forgive others,


also ourselves.

After all,

God has already.


(My work was adapting the exhaust for the water heater, again, so that it will work in cold weather, real hard cold weather, without having to be on all the time.)


The Blessed

The Saints

For All the Saints

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

All the ordinary, lowly people, Jesus says, the ones who suffer,

They-We are the saints,

the wisps of life in the sky for all to see God’s great works of saving ordinary, lowly people, giving them-us


worth anything.

Deuteronomy 32:7

Remember the days of old, consider the years long past; ask your father, and he will inform you; your elders, and they will tell you.

2 Timothy 1:5

I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that lived first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, lives in you.

Words of Grace For Today

Saints, or as Jesus calls us, the blessed, μακάριος, were understood to be different things.

At first the μακάριος were the gods, literally, for only gods could achieve a state of happiness and contentment in life that was beyond all cares, labours, and even death. The blessed ones were beings who lived in some other world away from the cares and problems and worries of ordinary people.

Well, that’s not us, no question. No, we are not the ‘makarios’, the gods.

Then the μακάριος were seen to be those who had died. That’s how they moved beyond the cares and labours of life here on earth. Death gave them entrance to God’s paradise.

Well, last I checked anyway, that’s not us either.

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

Nope, not me anyway.

Then the μακάριος were thought to be the elite and privileged, those people whose riches and power put them above the normal cares and problems and worries of the lesser folk—the peons, who constantly struggle and worry and labour in life.

Then along comes the usual thought that if people were wealthy they must have earned it, so the μακάριος were those who enjoyed the results of right living, or righteous living. If you were blessed you received earthly, material things: a good spouse, many children, abundant crops, riches, honour, wisdom, beauty, good health, etc; more things and better things than an ordinary person. To be blessed, you had to have big and beautiful things.

Nope, definitely not anyone I know. Those that are rich like that and think they have earned it are almost always pretty ugly people on the inside if you know how they’ve gotten so much more than the ordinary stiffs, like us.

Fortunately Jesus puts things upright (upsetting the apple cart of all that blessed privilege stuff of so many generations and fools).

Jesus says the lowly ones: the poor, the hungry, the thirsty, the meek, the mourning, are the μακάριος, the blessed saints.

(Thanks to Brian Stoffregen again for providing the summary I’ve used as the basis for this.)

Now that’s a crowd, and it is a huge crowd of the hoi poloi of every generation, the majority of people who ever lived, that’s a crowd that we fit into.


If we are lucky.

If we are …


If God has claimed us and made us


For all the saints, a day to remember, and a time to look to the future God provides for the saints.

Yep, now that’s us.

That’s the down and dirty of it,

of it all, actually.

At least that’s what the old folks taught me.

Getting Around to


Monday, October 30, 2023

On Our Own, We Allow So Much To Block Us From Seeing,

Yet Alone Being the Light of Christ.

Isaiah 32:17

The effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust for ever.

1 John 2:29

If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who does right has been born of him.

Words of Grace For Today

Life, seems for many, a struggle to see how much they can ‘get ahead’ of others, or how much they can have for themselves.

Doing things right goes out the window along with truth every morning, if they were even in the building at all.

God offers another way.

Following Jesus offers a way to not ‘get ahead’ and take everything one can get, depriving others of the necessities of life. Instead, following Jesus’ example we give God thanks for all that we receive from God, and then use it to give those same blessings to others. Always doing things right is just a beginning. We go beyond that to do what is best for others.

Sometimes that means we sacrifice some of ourselves, some of our life.

Always it means we freely surrender any claim or right to ‘possess’ anything for ourselves. We are always stewards of God’s blessings, blessings intended for everyone.

And when that is how we live, then righteousness prevails, peace, quietness, and trust grow and lasts … forever and ever.

Thanks alone we give to God for working in us, for on our own we could not even start to follow Jesus, nor grow righteousness in our midst.

The Meek and the Poor Say

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

The Days of Autumn Redeem Much!

Psalm 140:13

Surely the righteous shall give thanks to your name; the upright shall live in your presence.

Luke 6:20

Then he looked up at his disciples and said: ‘Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God….’

Words of Grace For Today

Well, the meek, who will inherit the earth, have taken a good look at it and said, ‘no thanks!’

So the poor, who have the Kingdom of God, have taken a good look at what they have, and have said, ‘If this is it, what’s it worth anyway? How about some clean air and water, nutritious food, enough clothing and sufficient shelter, meaningful work and love? Then throw in some food security, and real security, and peace, and justice, and equity!’

Well, some of the poor, anyway, and by far not most of them.

Many more have given God thanks! Thanks for every little thing that makes for life and love and joy and hope.

It’s not that the rich have more and so they always give more thanks, nor that the poor have so little so we either have nothing to be thankful for, or that we are thankful for even the smallest of things good.

But having been on the wealthy side, and now on the poor side of life, I can tell you that being poor has taught me to say thanks to God for more and more of the things that I used to take for granted.

I guess knowing how to and actually giving God thanks makes the Kingdom of God more visible.

So here it is: the Kingdom of God, in this blessed hermitage beside a lake, with the hard cold of winter coming, after the wildfires, smoke, heat and bugs of summer. Autumn is a lovely time, with many fewer bugs, no more wild parties or crazy campers next door, cool temperatures for working hard in, and plenty of dead wood to collect to feed the wood stove so that the cold hard winter days are still warm inside the insulated tarps.

If, out of 365, 60 or more days are like today, then I see things are real good.

If there is a balance in life at all, then these days of autumn convince me that the balance has tipped in my favour, if just every so slightly.

But I’ll take what I get, with thanks, love, joy and hope … hope that life will continue as well far into the future.

Answer 10

The map of North America of the Wildfire Smoke that has taken our breath away this past summer … and it’s all clear across Canada, with a few spots in of light smoke west, south, and south east across the US. Only a few areas are bad enough to be noticed. None are more intense than the light blue.

Thanks One

Friday, October 6, 2023

What Is It?

Jeremiah 7:23

But this command I gave them, ‘Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people; and walk only in the way that I command you, so that it may be well with you.’

John 8:31

Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, ‘If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples;

Words of Grace For Today

Thanksgiving Week starts the Friday before (today), why not?

So I am thankful for these things shown in photos this week.

Can you tell what they are?

Four days later the answer will be shown here.

A week of giving thanks for being able to take photos.

Continue Giving Thanks.

What are you thankful for today?