Of Life

Thursday 11 January 2024


The Destroyer, Saver, and Refiner!

Which is it today for you?

Isaiah 48:10

See, I have refined you, but not like silver; I have tested you in the furnace of adversity.

Colossians 4:2

Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with thanksgiving.

Words of Grace For Today

An easy life, without many challenges, just interesting events that turn out wonderful, with an ability to help others without taking too much trouble to do good …

is that what we wish for?

Baptized in water, by the fire of the Holy Spirit, with God’s Word (the same Word of such power that in the beginning this Word created all that is out of chaos), we might wish for an easy life.

This is certainly not that, for which God has saved, freed, and renewed us.

Instead it is the furnace of adversity that God sends us into, each day, that we may not only be saved, freed and renewed, but that we may also offer God’s Word to others

with our voices, feet, and hands.

It would be impossible to enter into the fray

and remain as God saved us to be, ambassadors of Hope, Love, and Grace,

if we do not also each day begin, continue, and end with prayers of thanksgiving for all God gives us

to share

with the most desperately needy, hungering, and thirsting people on earth.

A small task each day it is not,

and that with the fires of adversity lapping at our feet, hands, and breath.

It Will Get Better

Eventually …

Friday, August 25, 2023

Fires Spot the Ground,

Eating Everything in Their Paths.


Takes Our Breath Away

Isaiah 49:4

But I said, ‘I have laboured in vain, I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity; yet surely my cause is with the Lord, and my reward with my God.’

James 5:7

Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains.

Words of Grace For Today

With wildfires in the Northwest Territories, thousands of people have evacuated, mostly south, way south even to Calgary. Smoke swirls and flows across much of Alberta and Saskatchewan as the NWT fires’ smoke combines with those in BC to wreak havoc on breathing, which last I checked is still a basic function required for staying alive.

It’s not unlike all the other evils that come back to haunt us from our pasts, evils that we blithely contributed to, thinking the day of reckoning would not come, not really. It’s a shame. Almost all of the severe weather events we suffer now could have been avoided if we would have listened, believed and made changes back when changes would have made a difference. Oh, they still will make a difference, but we are in for a lot of suffering for the next few centuries. A lot of suffering.

It’s Gotten Hot,

Not Just In Hell.

Then from CBC news ( we get this:

Though forecasts of rising temperatures, no rain and shifting winds continue to be a worry, fire experts are taking several days to do infrared scans of several of the largest blazes, including the one outside the capital city, said Jessica Davey-Quantick, wildfire information officer for the Department of Environment and Climate Change.

The scans will provide information that will allow wildfire teams to plan next steps in the fight, she said.

If only we could have scanned into the future five decades, back in the 1980’s, eh?!

But we do now what we can:

In coming days, we’ll have more information as these fires are assessed and our next steps are established. Right now it is not safe to return to these communities that have been evacuated,” she said.

Most of all we have to remain hopeful, and remember how we’ve survived in the past, and how we can help each other now:

For now the best we can all do is just wait and see what’s coming. We’re going to get through this. It’s going to get better. Eventually,” she added with a smile, “it will snow.”

Thank God, literally, for knowing things like ‘it will snow’ which give us hope, hope for all the challenges we face in the midst of all the evil we have contributed to form our days,

even this day.

Thank God for ‘snow’.

When It All Hits

The Proverbial Fan …

Friday, June 2, 2023

Red Beauty?

Or Fire Burning Us Out?

Or Smoke

Taking Our Breath Away?

Haggai 2:9

The latter splendour of this house shall be greater than the former, says the Lord of hosts.

Colossians 3:15

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful.

Words of Grace For Today

When, though one knows one has done everything possible to make things right, it all hits the fan and gets blown to bits, one has to ask, why?

Happens to all of us, some more than others, always too often.

So how do we proceed through our days, having this happen to us, and knowing it will surely happen again?

Shall we resign, capitulate, and end our days in despair?

Shall we rise up to fight more viciously than ever imagined – hard for pacifists to fight, yet alone viciously – but shall we abandon being pacifists all together and fight like everyone else, and be more vicious now so that we can win, finally!?

Shall we plod on, actually or pretending not to notice how others run us over like bugs on the road of life?

Thankfully God knew it would be like this for us.

God sent Jesus and the Holy Spirit (all God, Three in One, anyway) to demonstrate life on earth for us, and to guide us with God’s power of self-sacrificial love through all that comes our way.

This provides an unwavering peace, the peace of Christ, that we can claim for ourselves at all times, in any circumstance, no matter who stands against us.

Further, though we may fear the result of all the things we have lost as we move forward in our days breathing, God promises that what is taken will be not only replaced (better than insurance of any kind) but that what we receive will be of far greater value. God’s gifts are always greater and more precious than any thing could be.

Today, ask for peace. It is ours. Trust God’s promises, they are sure. Never are we bereft of life’s best and most precious. God sees to that.

The Tinge

Of Dinge

Sunday, May 21, 2023

Those Are Not Clouds, Just Smoke!

Wildfires Burn,

Smoke Kills

From the Inside.

Psalm 51:14

Deliver me from bloodshed, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your deliverance.

James 5:13

Are any among you suffering? They should pray. Are any cheerful? They should sing songs of praise.

Words of Grace For Today

The runners sent to bring news of what waters would come their way returned when Julius’ people had managed in the hunting camp for four days. They reported that the five natural dams up river were all spilling over, the higher ones pouring wildly through eroded pathways. The sixth dam, the one closest to their community, still held the waters behind it, though only a meter remained before water would spill over it, and eventually it would erode away like the higher ones already had.

With this report, Julius called the community all together, though most were already there eager to hear from the runners. He asked if anyone had an idea of what they could do.

One of the builders spoke up: we could build a way to let water out of the sixth and fifth dams enough to lower them as much as possible. Let that water run, it would flood a bit, though not more than they had seen in past years. Then they could plug the dams enough so they would hold the flood that was coming. If they controlled the flow in two dams, and maybe even three they could reduce the flooding, maybe enough so that their community would survive. A group of builders gathered around and among themselves filled in the details of a plan. Julius called for quiet as they planned. When the builders turned around, Julius asked them what they needed to make it happen. They responded: lots of workers, everyone available. And tools. We’ll gather the tools. And we will need a few people to prepare meals and make a camp for us at each dam. With people ready to leave the gathering, the runners interrupted with one more piece of information.

They saw smoke off to the northwest on their way back starting at the fourth dam all the way to the fifth dam. There was a big fire somewhere upwind and it made it hard to breath at times. It looks like a tinge of dinge covering the whole sky.

Julius reminded them that they had natural fire breaks on all sides of the community so the fire was not a problem for them, but the smoke could be very dangerous. He asked one of the clothes makers if they could make masks to protect everyone who went to work on the dams. After talking it over with another clothes maker he said they could have them ready in a few days. We could send them by runner as they are ready and the workers would have them before they were done with the sixth dam.

That settled it. Julius asked if there were anything else they needed to hear about before the volunteers scrambled to get everything together for their days of working on the dams. No one answered and a hush came over the people.

Julius reminded them that the fires and smoke and the floodwaters would threaten other communities. They knew of five downstream and two more that the fire and smoke would likely affect. “We will send runners to them to give them news of our plans, ask for helpers, and to see what help we can provide them.”

“Remember always,” Julius said, “what was written and told by the Iblers so many times: ‘Are any among you suffering? They should pray. Are any cheerful? They should sing songs of praise.

With that one of the singers started them singing a song of thanks, and hope, and love carrying the people into the future for generations to come: “Lord, you are life’s hope when life withers away, in clay and on rocks grow full in us, be germinating seed, be a secure place, Bring forth buds and bloom bright in us. And as a new ’morrow breaks on this good planet forth, in this new growing day, blossom in us. Keep us safe, securely, firmly in your strong, good hands and bless us all, bless us all and this your planet.

Lord, you are life’s goodness where loving breaks down,in our coldest times, breathe into us. give generous spirits, be our warming light, be hot flame, be burning in us. And as a new ’morrow breaks on this good planet warming again this new day, burn bright in us. Keep us safe, securely, firm in your good gracious hands, and bless us all, bless us all and your good planet.

Lord, you are life’s joy where all laughter is lost, in our deepest dark, live on in us, be joyous dreams dancing, be comforting sight, be voices and sing on in us. And as a new ’morrow breaks on this good planet forth, a wonder filled new day, sing on in us. Keep us safe, securely, firmly in your loving hands, and bless us all, bless us all and your good planet.”

The Kingdom

Not of this world, but in it.

Tuesday, May 9, 2023

Even as the Light of Warmth Burns For Us During Cold Days,

So God Rules Even When We See Rampant Injustice.

Daniel 2:44

And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall this kingdom be left to another people. It shall crush all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand for ever;

Luke 22:29-30

and I confer on you, just as my Father has conferred on me, a kingdom, so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Words of Grace For Today

What can we hope for? While reports of injustices against other people receive from most a shrug of the shoulders (if even that), the cries for help rise from new and old corners: the newly homeless, wildfire evacuees with nothing left at home, drowning victims of illegal immigrants, volcano or flood or storm or drought displaced, the innocent and cruelly convicted, the victims of unjust wars and conflicts, the victims of spousal abuse (both men and women) … and the children, always the children.

We can hope and work to create a just world, a just kingdom where we rule and provide justice for all. Though this has been clearly demonstrated to be mostly a futile effort. For if we rule, we will rule unjustly like all others. And whatever our efforts may be we can never eliminate injustices in our lands or on this earth. We humans are too perverted towards sin and doing others harm to be able to overcome all that we do against each other.

We can and should still work to bring justice where we can, little as that may be. One case at a time.

We can and should look to God’s promises that God’s Kingdom is already arrived on earth. We may not see it for all the injustices of all kinds in every corner. Yet God has established God’s rule, since the beginning of time.

Trusting God’s promises gives us courage to take on injustices, and keep working even when it seems we make no progress.

Already we feast at Jesus’ table.

Already we enjoy peace that surpasses all understanding.

Already God has judged those who need to be judged.

Thankfully we do not need to be, nor will we ever be able to, judge the 12 tribes or anyone else. Fortunately that is God’s work, and we can trust God to do it right.

This is another day in God’s kingdom, where God rules, and we work as God’s servants to share life abundant with as many people as we are able.


You Want A Fire!


Say It Ain’t So!

Monday, May 8, 2023

CTV Photo

Forest On Fire Wipes Out Everything In It’s Path,

With Nothing To Stop It!

Exodus 3:14

God said to Moses, ‘I am who I am.’ He said further, ‘Thus you shall say to the Israelites, “I am has sent me to you.” ’

Romans 8:31

What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us?

Words of Grace For Today

Tinder dry brown grasses and dead wood in the forest lay bare waiting. The snow had melted quickly in the last week until none was left anywhere. And then the fools would cause havoc, along with lightening strikes that could come at any time, so charged was the atmosphere. And more than a few wildfires had already run through communities less prepared and protected than Julius’, built as it was between two rivers east and west, with bare ground kept bare forming fire-stopping strips on the north side. The sheer rock cliffs up to the plateau of bare stone extending for miles on south completed their protected area. Still, inside their own fields and woods everyone still had to be extra careful. It had been so hot lately thankfully no one thought of even starting fire, not for anything.

In the waking hours Julius smelled smoke from a fire. He knew it started yesterday on the far side of the river, so they were safe. But the smoke had left his nose plugged and his throat dry through the sleeping hours in the dark. So he got up to check the horizon. It was all clear. And it was cool, downright chilly at 7⁰ with a slight breeze. It would warm up. But now Julius was chilled, so he the idea came to him, maybe a fire this morning.

Then all sides and voices in his mind and heart started to through out their various exclamations. What, with these dangerously dry conditions!! Well, it is in a protected stove and a chimney with a top to deflect any sparks downward. But consider everyone! What if it gets away from you! Just one spark and the whole community could be burned to the ground. Houses gone. Crops gone. Trees gone. Food stores gone. The summer and winter storms would level everything! Where would they go? Would anyone survive? Remember the Fisigners! Only one family survived, and that by sheer luck that they ran the right way! But food must be prepared. It’s been three days without proper food. He would invite others to come and cook on his fire if they wished to share the fire. His setup was a bit better than most. That’s for the good of the community! Really! You’re just cold! Yes, I am cold. And I am old! And the cold hurts, for which there is no cure except heat, so there will be a fire. Now quiet all, for I must not make a mistake or it could all go really wrong too quickly to stop. And it was quiet.

Then, having decided, he started a fire to boil water for his breakfast and then to heat up a mix that would be meals for him for the next few days. Today, a bonus, would be a hot meal.

As he prepared his breakfast hot drink, his neighbours started to show up, knowing they were welcome to use Julius’ fire, for the invitation was an open one to all to come and share all he had, especially a ‘safe’ fire in just these kinds of conditions.

As each came, they placed their water or food on the stove, and shared a blessing with Julius: May God who is, be with us always. To which he responded: If God is for us, who is against us?

Valentine’s Love?


Valiant with Tiny or Great Expectations?

Tuesday 14 February 2023

Burning Hot, As Hot as 2000 Cherry Red Chimney Pipes,

Love is Wonderful and


Psalms 73:1

A Psalm of Asaph. Truly God is good to the upright, to those who are pure in heart.

Matthew 5:8

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

Words of Grace For Today

Valentine’s Day, the day we celebrate love, and think seriously about what it means in life for us all.

It is rightfully described as that which holds life together, that which covers for so many shortcomings enabling us to live joyful, thank-filled and hopeful lives, that which is not cheap but rather will cost us daily irritations, immense pain, and sometimes even our lives.

Yet this is what God created us to live as: those who are sustained by God’s love, which enables us to love others with self-sacrificial love. The wonders of ‘being in love’ are wonderful, but short-lived. It’s a human body chemical thing at first. However long term one remains ‘in love’ only with tremendous work, growing self-awareness, and so much forgiveness.

Those who expect love to be easy or only beneficial to themselves, toss out the other either by taking them for granted or by leaving them … and thus they deny themselves the opportunity to love and be loved. Then one lives a short changed life, and all kinds of futile efforts are expended to try to achieve what is missing, for loving others at great cost to one self is an essential for life.

Those who work hard at love, and are willing to humble themselves to being the ones who forgive, not only the other, but themselves, are blessed, for they will find the Holy Spirit has given them the gift of a pure hearts, and that’s a wondrous blessing, each sun rise, sunset and all the moments between.

And for us all, love remains a dangerous thing, as dangerous as life itself: no one gets out of it alive.

Strength and Home …

Tuesday 29 November 2022

The sun may set,

in blood red,

forecasting the inevitable storms;

still God provides all we need each day.

Isaiah 40:30-31

Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted; but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.

2 Timothy 2:1

You then, my child, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus…

Words of Grace For Today

The storms of life pound the shores of our hearts and minds, eroding more and more from our courage, hope, and love.

In Advent, with so many commands to remain attentive!, remain awake! be alert!, keep watch! we may well feel we must renew our strength, our faith, our courage, our hope, and our love.

Whether years have taught us our not, we simply cannot on our own. The storms have stolen too much for us to rebuild our ‘little home of courage, hope and love’ where there is no more a shore at all as the ocean of chaos has overrun our lives.

So we cry to God without words and with many words, and also in the words of Martin Buchholz’s hymn Bleib bei uns:

1) Du siehst die Wege, die wir gehen.
Was uns bewegt, hast du erkannt.
Auch wenn wir selbst uns nicht verstehen,
hältst du uns fest in deiner Hand.

Ref.: Bleib bei uns! Bleib bei uns
bei Tag und Nacht.
Bleib bei uns! Bleib bei uns,
hab auf uns Acht!

2) Du siehst, was wir nicht mehr durchschauen.
Auch wenn der Sturm sich noch nicht legt,
bist du die Kraft, der wir vertrauen,
bist du die Liebe, die uns trägt.

3) Du bist der Geist, der uns beflügelt.
Das Feuer, das uns neu entfacht.
Du liebst das Leben ungezügelt.
Und wir vertraun auf deine Macht.

Text und Melodie: Martin Buchholz (2018) CCLI-Nr.: 7128836

Google translate refined by TL

Stay With Us

1) You see the paths we take. You already recognize what moves us.
Even when we do not understand ourselves, you hold us firmly in your hand.

Ref.: Stay with us! Stay with us day and night.
Stay with us! Stay with us, take care of us!

2) You see what we fail to understand.
Even when the storms continue on,
in your power we trust, for your love sustains us.

3) You are the spirit that inspires us.
The fire that rekindles us. You love life unbridled. For we trust alone your power.

Listen Here


Here in the last half the service

On our own we would fall, we would fail, we would never have a home at all.

For already now, in Christ, our home is secured for us, no matter the ‘house’ we have,