God’s Gift

Thursday, May 25, 2023

When the Sun Don’t Shine

But a Tinge

of Orange

All Around,

Then What?

Micah 5:1-2

Now you are walled around with a wall; siege is laid against us; with a rod they strike the ruler of Israel upon the cheek. But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah, who are one of the little clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to rule in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days.

1 Timothy 3:16

Without any doubt, the mystery of our religion is great: He was revealed in flesh, vindicated in spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among Gentiles, believed in throughout the world, taken up in glory.

Words of Grace For Today

In times of trouble, in desperate times when all hope is drowned by the fires of time eroding like tsunamis burning the coastlands of all inhabitants and buildings, when our lungs burn with the smoke of fires about to consume us, when our feet are already soaked by the waters that will drown us, when the earth continues to shake after all our buildings are rubble, after missiles still explode with more arriving though there are no more cities left on earth, when life withers away, when love grows cold, where all laughter is lost …

Then what ARE we to do?

God knows these times will come in every generation.

God knew we needed more than what we could see or know or demonstrate to be true.


God gives us faith,

Faith in the saviour who will rise from the least of us all, a saviour who speaks not to the realities that we cannot change (for conquering enemies or oppressive rulers only makes way for other enemies and other cruel rulers).

No, God gives us a saviour who lives as one of us, teaching, healing, and showing us how to live lives of peace, joy, hope, grace, and love … even as the evil of the world swirls around us.

Jesus lived.

Jesus lives.

By faith we can live as well, even in these days.


Even When One Is

A Burden?

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

The Refugees Can Come At Anytime,

By Land, Sea, or Air,

in Cold, Heat, or Storm.

Will We Welcome Them?

Deuteronomy 5:32

You must therefore be careful to do as the Lord your God has commanded you; you shall not turn to the right or to the left.

Matthew 22:37-39

He said to him, ‘ “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” ’

Words of Grace For Today

The runners who alerted the neighbouring communities of the coming floods and fires trickled back to Julius’ community, bursting at the seams of their expanded hunting camp. All but the one who went to the furthest community. She did not return for months. They found out she had stayed to help that community prepare as best they could for the water and flames that could wipe out the community. Her advice and their efforts are a whole story in and of themselves.

The surprise, a bit unwelcomed, was that the closest community saw little hope of saving their homes and fields, so they followed the young man who had alerted them, all the way back to the hunting community. Already bursting at the seams in their camp, having spent days expanding it to accommodate all of them instead of just a small hunting party, they people starting to complain and cry in uproar that it was not fair to be take such advantage of by these people. The New-Iblers, as they called themselves, were a sixth the number of Julius’ community. As they waited patiently just outside the hunting camp Julius met with a pair of their leaders.

The request was that the New-Iblers be able to make a separate camp not far away and share protection, resources, and work with Julius’ community. Just as Julius was about to respond, welcoming them, a trio of his community members arrived, protesting to the New-Iblers that they would bring such trouble and burden to them. There simply was not room, nor resources, to accommodate the visitors. Even a new camp would make this hunting camp nearly useless in the future for hunting, marking the human presence so wide that wildlife would avoid the area.

Julius listened. When the intruders were done complaining, he reminded one how the community had come together to help his family when their house caught on fire, building him a new home. Another Julius reminded how when her family’s garden had failed, everyone in the community had donated generously to them so that they had more than enough produce for the coming year until the next harvest. Someone had even investigated why the garden had failed while others had not. And then helped the family rescue their garden from the worms that had multiplied so fast there, so that it continued to produce even to this day. They others he reminded of how the community had helped each of them. They he reminded them how they had all helped others in the community.

Remember the ancient wisdom from the old texts: “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ ”

No one could tell what those bringing the complaints of the community were thinking. They waited. Sometimes it takes time to take in wisdom that is not easily welcomed.

Standing Up

Through Our Troubles

To Give Thanks

Monday, May 22, 2023

See The Elves Rising

Through the Snow

In The Morning Light,

Like Poverty Stricken People

Standing Up Through It All

To Give God Thanks

Ecclesiastes 8:15

So I commend enjoyment, for there is nothing better for people under the sun than to eat, and drink, and enjoy themselves, for this will go with them in their toil through the days of life that God gives them under the sun.

Philippians 4:4

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.

Words of Grace For Today

The cynical writer of Ecclesiastes commends enjoyment, eating, drinking and making merry, as people make their way through the toils of life. Nothing like a little backslap in the face about life being full of trouble and toils while speaking to enjoyment.

One surely can see that life is full of toil for some. But not for the privileged. Right? – Wrong. They have troubles, troubles with in consequential things, things of no import that they make into the greatest of troubles. Such it is with humans. If we don’t have trouble with and in life, we make it up. We are more comfortable that way.

God has other intentions for us and plans for us.

God would have us reorient our take on life, ours and others’.

Our lives certainly do have toils and troubles enough to fill a lifetime for each of us. Our lives also have most certainly enough joy, love, peace, and hope to fill a lifetime, and for those for whom that is not the case (which is always at least a great minority of people alive on earth if not most) God gives us this joy, love, peace and hope in great enough quantities to share with all those who need more of life in order to experience the goodness of joy, love, peace and hope.

Whoever we are, those with -or-those without, each day is filled with opportunities to give God thanks, for even in the activity of giving thanks we reorient ourselves from what we lack to the abundance that God pours over us – to be shared with others.

Each day … also means today.

Get hopping







Thirst to be First

Kills Those Last

Saturday, May 20, 2023

Starvation Can Take 3 to 6 Months To Kill.

Luxury Kills the Spirit

In Days.

Isaiah 65:1

I was ready to be sought out by those who did not ask, to be found by those who did not seek me. I said, ‘Here I am, here I am’, to a nation that did not call on my name.

Matthew 19:28-30

Jesus said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man is seated on the throne of his glory, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold, and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.

Words of Grace For Today

So often we strive and struggle and compete and sacrifice the goodness of life to be among the privileged, the wealthy, the powerful: the ones who receive everything in abundance; the ones who come in first in life.

Nothing wrong with that really …


Our being first in those ways always makes someone come in behind us, so that down the ladder, way behind those of us able to strive to be among the first, there are billions of people struggling to just survive. Forget about first, these billions would like to live. Our taking everything we can get and wanting yet more (which threatens our lives in ways we do not see – they are the silent killers of excess living) costs other people their very lives. Sometimes the causation trail is direct, sometimes more indirect. But with climate change we see there really is a ‘butterfly effect.’ Except it is not a butterfly that we put in motion, it is a bit of luxury (over and over again) which sets off global ocean and atmosphere changes which lead to violent storms, flooding, wildfires, droughts, melting of permafrost and roasting of forests and people alike.

God planned for all that, too.

God calls to us.

God is always ready to answer us with graceful forgiveness, renewed life, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit to guide us into lives of humble service to people in need.

Trying to be first turns us in to the greatest curse on humanity. That’s not first place in history. That’s last place. It is to be the ones who brought humans and most life on earth to a catastrophic end, or at least put it on life-support, while the ‘healer’ works to cure us of our every ill.

Being the last ones, though … Being the ones most in need, well, God promised that these people are always first in God’s way for the world and all who inhabit it. Being humble servants of God puts us right there with those most in need, so that we live with them and we die with them, and God receives us just as God receives and honours them.

The Cries

Of the Persecuted

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Jail Deserved.

Jail Undeserved.

Same Grace Response from God.

Psalms 107:10-15

Some sat in darkness and in gloom, prisoners in misery and in irons, for they had rebelled against the words of God, and spurned the counsel of the Most High. Their hearts were bowed down with hard labour; they fell down, with no one to help. Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress; he brought them out of darkness and gloom, and broke their bonds asunder. Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wonderful works to humankind.

Matthew 5:10

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Words of Grace For Today

Some earn their persecution, punished in jail. Some inmates do not; they are not in jail because they are guilty of a crime, but because someone lied, and not a little.

Others are persecuted because they stood up for their faith: for righteousness, for justice for others, to stop abuses, to exercise love for others.

God hears the pleas of all these; all persecuted for their faith or for their own wickedness, or simple because someone else is wicked and framed them, lying to the police and the courts.

God hears the pleas of us all.

God answers with mercy. The wicked are forgiven. Those persecuted for their faith are saved and blessed yet again.

God desires more than anything else for us sinners to repent, to turn to God and live out the forgiveness God offers us, extending that same forgiveness to others.

Quite the plan God has, to bring us all in, to come home, to live with Jesus, the Holy Spirit and God each day, and with other sinners (some of whom are saints at the same time.)

Home today.

Sounds good.

Sounds wonderful.

Sounds like the most abundant life can get.

Give Us

A Break

Sunday, May 14, 2023

The Trees May Look Goners,

and the Sky Dark

with a tiny sliver of a moon,

but that Moon Reflects

the Light of the World.

All is not lost or dark.

Daniel 6:19-24

Then, at break of day, the king got up and hurried to the den of lions. When he came near the den where Daniel was, he cried out anxiously to Daniel, ‘O Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God whom you faithfully serve been able to deliver you from the lions?’ Daniel then said to the king, ‘O king, live for ever! My God sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths so that they would not hurt me, because I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no wrong.’ Then the king was exceedingly glad and commanded that Daniel be taken up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no kind of harm was found on him, because he had trusted in his God. The king gave a command, and those who had accused Daniel were brought and thrown into the den of lions—they, their children, and their wives. Before they reached the bottom of the den the lions overpowered them and broke all their bones in pieces.

John 10:27-28

My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand.

Words of Grace For Today

“If one is awake at all, one knows that there is more that goes wrong in life than goes right.” So goes the ‘wisdom’ of those who propagate fear in order to control others, whether it’s politicians or just your local neighbourhood kid out to make her way among the other kids.

Jesus knew (it’s not that great a secret) that fear is the deadliest enemy to living a good life, a life abundant and blessed. In so many ways he taught with words, healing, and example how to live free of fear.

Not that living free of fear frees one from what can take life from us, but why help all that evil life-sucking stuff get to us sooner than it may anyway. Let evil have to work the full routine if it’s going to get us.

Now the writer of Daniel took another tack. We like this one. The enemies plot and succeed in getting the king (against his wishes) to throw our good Daniel into the den of lions to be eaten. Gruesome end, to say the least. But then God intervenes and frees Daniel not only from fear but from the beasts that are to be feared. The king celebrates and then deals with those who forced him to toss Daniel to the lions. He has them thrown to the lions and for them and their families there is no rescue. The lions ‘overpowered them and broke all their bones.’ At least we are spared the bloody details.

But that is not how God works, as the mountain of evidence to the contrary shows so well. Evil, whether it is a company of schemers and plotters who would have us thrown to the lions, or the neighbourhood kid out to run the other kids her way, or the politician who would create fear in order to win elections, or the lawyers, judges, ex’s and other criminals (liars they are) who create lies and punishments for obvious lies, – evil seems to win.

Exactly to that appearance Jesus speaks: it is not a win for them. It is a loss. A loss of decency. A loss of good life. A loss of truth. A loss of honour. A loss of blessings. A loss of one’s soul to the Devil. As for us who suffer the evil efforts of others: we win again, not because of what we do or do not do, but because of what God does for us.

God blesses.

God protects us.

God shows us how to live, even when evil seems to conquer all around us, and how to live free of fear and filled with joy.

God shows us how to leave the battle with evil to God’s power, the power of love in weakness, suffering, and even death – to which God responds with eternal life for us.

No one can take from us what God gives us. And that is the win of a lifetime. Greater a win there is not.

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.


Seeing the Unseeable

Seeing the (Seeable) Saints

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Can We See Beyond The Obvious,

The Roadblocks,

The Hopelessness?

Psalms 112:4

They rise in the darkness as a light for the upright; they are gracious, merciful, and righteous.

2 Corinthians 4:17-18

For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.

Words of Grace For Today

It is one thing to know that others are fighting against one, working to take everything from one, even life itself.

It is a whole other thing to have those closest to you, turn and take advantage of ‘knowing you best’ in order to steal even life itself from you. For then, not only do the enemies possess the most private information about you, they have thus ripped one’s heart and foundation of life right out of you, robbing you of the ability to trust any other person. Then it becomes clear that this was their intention from the start. It was not to share the best of life with you, but to steal the goodness of life from you and to make you as miserable as they had been all along. Perhaps they hoped to enjoy the goodness of your life by stealing it from you, but such joy of goodness is never possible through such treacherous evil. So they continue to find their next victim, and the next, and the next ….

God planned for this, too.

God’s Spirit, by grace alone, created saints in every generation before us, people who despite all efforts to rob the goodness of life from them continue to trust God’s promises, and they lived as they chose (aided by the power of the Holy Spirit) to be gracious, merciful, and righteous.

God’s Spirit rescues us who can no longer trust anyone or anything, sends not only the Spirit to guide us, but saints of these generations, to show us how to trust by seeing what cannot be seen: God’s faithful love and presence with us






Our enemies may have destroyed us by all worldly measures, but we live blessed in so many ways that we can only give God thanks and praise for,










And we see what cannot be seen.

We trust beyond experiences that have robbed us of all ability to trust.

We live abundantly.



Looking and Waiting

Monday, April 24, 2023

In The Deep Cold and Drear of Winter,

We May Wait for and Look for Spring,

but when hope is destroyed,

can we wait and hope

for life to return to our hearts?

Psalms 130:6

… my soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning, more than those who watch for the morning.

Jude 1:21

… keep yourselves in the love of God; look forward to the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.

Words of Grace For Today

How in the chaos of this world, where truth is sacrificed by everyone every minute, or so it seems, can we find the patience to wait for and look for something better?

What I trusted was the foundation of life here in this country, is blown to bits and shambles. Lies were spread like wildfire rumours, devouring truth, leaving angry accusations levelled at me. It mattered not that they were false rumours, for they were taken up as a call to war against an enemy with more lies added at every turn (even by those entrusted to protect us all from evil), and I was made to be for so many self-righteous people the face of that enemy, though I had lived my life standing quietly and effectively against such enemies and against such lies, rumours and false accusations against others.

How can I wait for and look for God to fix this unfixable chaos that has left me so far in debt I will never see my way clear of it, even as I live as frugally as possible, off the grid in the bush (freaky hot in the summer and hellishly cold in the winter), heating with a rebuilt wood stove, insulated by tarps cast off pieces of foam held in place by cast off pieces of lumber, a door rescued for reuse on its way to the landfill, all built, repaired and held together by ropes and duct tape and lots of wood screws – constantly needing repairs and replacement.

And then I read with new eyes from centuries past poetry, psalms, prayers and literature. People have sighed, plead, and cried aloud for help from much worse betrayals of self and goodness and civility and honesty and love and hope. My life goes on with blessing abundant in the peace of life beside a small lake in the relative quiet of the bush (though fighter jets landing at the nearby base shatter ear drums and peace at all hours, and the nearby oil installation – an old, ear splitting loud electricity generator growls and pounds on and off for days on end, and bush parties in the summer — all this noise when it disappears for hours or days or even weeks makes the quiet, peace, and solitude then so much more noticed and vibrant.)

What chaos and destruction we humans have wrought on others, and on ourselves. It is not that we have not and do not continue to work to bring a just order and peace to bear on this chaos. Many give their all towards such efforts from large and even world-wide to small and personal. Many work outside any lime light, go completely unnoticed during their active efforts, and are forgotten even before they die. For every step forward it seems at least a step is taken backwards. Here we ended slavery of black people. But the world around even today, people are still enslaved. Even here people are held in bonds that control all choices and steal away all fruits of their labours.

Where is our hope?

my soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning, more than those who watch for the morning.

As the sun rises each morning the Holy Spirit creates hope where there is no reason or evidence for it.

The greatest burden we each bear is that (if only we were honest with ourselves) we all participate, blindly perhaps, enjoying the benefits of this continuing slavery, and contributing to the chaos that consumes life at every turn, stealing bits and pieces of life from others, and even finally their lives — all so that we can live on, as it were.

For this burden steals life from us, either in our acknowledging it, or worse in our trying to deny its weight in our lives. We try to swim and still we sink into the chaos. We try in so many ways to try to convince ourselves we can fix it and save ourselves.

keep yourselves in the love of God.

It is futile.

At best we can beg God to keep us in God’s love, save us, free us, and guide us to

look forward to the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.


Another day begging God

Receiving from God

Thanking God

Sharing God’s blessings

whether we are so fortunate to live off the grid in the bush or in the tumult of the city.


Of breath?

Saturday, April 22, 2023

All Things Die, Even Us. That Is Not The End?

Psalms 39:5

You have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing in your sight. Surely everyone stands as a mere breath. Selah

2 Corinthians 5:1

For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

Words of Grace For Today

The ‘fountain of youth’ is a the blatant example of how we strive to reach beyond our own limits. Life is short and we would like to live forever, or at least longer, much longer, with good health.

No one really wants to live on in an increasingly vegetable state for decades and centuries longer than one would otherwise have lived.

So we strive to maintain our health as long as possible, and wish that we could find ‘the key’ or ‘the keys’ to give us better health: a pill, a surgery, a diet, an exercise, a meditation ….

The gift God gives us is a life, in today’s terms in Canada, which can last at most just over a century, and for most of us about 8 decades. (79.49 years for men and 83.9 years for women (so

As if the gift of life were not enough, we yearn for more, and some of us do more than yearn. Some of us go to great extremes to have more life and more from life for ourselves at cost to others, even as far as taking the goodness of life from others, even taking life itself from others (as in killing for organs to transplant) in order to lengthen our own lives.

Yet God gives life as we receive it: blessed.

Normal for us is to fear the loss of life, not only the end termination in death, but the loss of abilities while we live on and on and on. Perhaps the worst example is Alzheimer’s from which one fades in and out of remembering even one’s own identity, while, in one’s more lucid moments, fully knowing the loss of memory will return.

The healthy, God-given response to that very legitimate fear, is to accept death in all its forms and trust that God planned for that, too. God planned for that by promising us that we will live on even after death, and not in the imperfect-dying manner in which we live now, rather in the perfect way that God makes possible at our creation (well limited by our sinfulness – greatly limited): eternal, perfectly healthy, and gracious: living in peace, with joy, and loving one another as God loves us.

Life remains short for us all (though longer than almost all of our ancestors). Life is nonetheless blessed!

Certainly, specifically because it is short we have the opportunity of recognizing that life is blessed.

So how do we choose to live this day:

Will we continually complain that life is short and that we slowly lose our health with age, all the while striving to live longer and better?


Will we live out the blessings that God pours so freely on us, and share them with others?