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.


And Spirit

Sunday, May 28, 2023

Without God’s Spirit

We Are Lost

All Children

and Fire Surrounds Us.

Zechariah 2:4b-5, 9

‘Jerusalem shall be inhabited like villages without walls, because of the multitude of people and animals in it. For I will be a wall of fire all round it’, says the Lord, ‘and I will be the glory within it.’ … ‘See now, I am going to raise my hand against them, and they shall become plunder for their own slaves. Then you will know that the Lord of hosts has sent me.’

Acts of the Apostles 2:1-4

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

Words of Grace For Today

So often God is seen as the Powerful One who works destruction against those who sin, which is all of us.

When God becomes a ring of fire around us and gives us over to those we have oppressed that in revenge they can oppress us are we to call on God to save us? Can we call on God to save us from God’s work against us in response to our own sins?

This way of looking at God does not work out very well, not for anyone, for we all sin and deserve God’s ring of fire around us moving in on us to consume us and end our sins.

God knew this when God created the universe and called it (and us in it) good.

Rather than being a God of revenge and punishment for our sins, terrible as they are, God has other ways of working for us when we sin. God forgives us and gracefully gives us new life, the Spirit working in us to bring new life to us and all those around us.

While we may have lost the words of thanks, praise, and hope itself,

by the Holy Spirit in us we become able to speak all languages, especially the language of forgiveness and hope for all lost sinners.


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.

Cars, Trucks, and Trains …

And Other Great Human Things (and Disasters)

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Ford Model T and VW type 11 Luxus at the Vienna Technical Museum.

The Model T and the VW Bug

are among the most mass-produced car models in history.

What they and others have wrought!

Proverbs 19:21

The human mind may devise many plans, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will be established.

Acts of the Apostles 1:6-9

So when they had come together, they asked him, ‘Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?’ He replied, ‘It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’ When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.

Words of Grace For Today

The plans of mice and men and women; all are temporized by our inabilities to execute the plans, but even more by our inability to foresee the full impact of the consequences, intended and unintended, by our plans.

In 1769 did Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot think of the consequences of violent storms from climate change when he created the first steam-powered automobile capable of human transportation; or did Carl Benz when he produced several identical copies of the first practical, marketable, gasoline-powered automobile for everyday use; or did the many vehicle manufacturers since?

Could Frederick Soddy and Ernest Rutherford, in 1901 foresee the threat to life (not only by nuclear weapons, by accidents ‘salting the earth’, and waste that takes millions of years to decay to safe levels, but also by the political destabilization nuclear power causes and the ensuing denials of ‘global warming’ – better referred to as climate change) with their discovery that radioactivity was part of the process by which atoms changed from one kind to another, involving the release of energy. Soddy wrote that atomic energy offered the possibility to transform a desert continent, thaw the frozen poles, and make the whole earth one smiling Garden of Eden. Did he conceive at all what melting the ice at the poles would do to the oceans, weather, and sustainability of life on earth? Yes he was aware that his discovery could also make possible terrible new weapons, but did he imagine what that would bring us? ‘Hiding under desks in the halls’ certainly cannot save us from this threat to all life on earth.

Doch, God knew all this and more, namely everything that humans would plan, try to do, succeed at and fail at, and still God created us foolish humans.

How could God do such a thing?

Out of love, and the choice to share love with us, for if we are to love, then we must freely choose it (otherwise it is not love) and therefore we must also be able to choose not to love. That choice not to love God, ourselves, and our neighbours (even our enemies) is the foundation of all our foolish evil and unforeseen consequences that plague us now. Climate change is only one example, as here we suffer wildfires and smoke making life a lot more challenging that it already was.

How did God deal with all our foolish plans?

God sent Jesus to show us how to live out the love God has for us.

The simplest thing, it is, this love. Yet it is also the most difficult and complex thing to live out. We can dream it easily enough. Doing it is a whole other thing, which we only succeed at if God works in us to make it so.

Thank God, God does exactly that.

Ready or not for today: God is at work in us long before the clock ticks into this day, long before the sun rises.

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.

Sour Grapes:

Tossing ’em Out?

Or Waiting to Save ‘em?

Thursday, May 11, 2023


Are the Sour Grapes Worth Saving?

Isaiah 65:8

Thus says the Lord: As the wine is found in the cluster, and they say, ‘Do not destroy it, for there is a blessing in it’, so I will do for my servants’ sake, and not destroy them all.

John 3:16-18

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

Words of Grace For Today

While fires rage, and smoke billows and spreads turning sunsets and skies red, and sunrises muted, and people coughing, sneezing and wheezing, eyes watering, where do we turn for help?

Do we think that God has turned against us? It is not hard to turn that corner and blame our creator for the mess we are in. Climate change! Well surely (we could say) God knew that would happen and could have made things better for us all! But No! God turns against us and will destroy us, by fire or ice, by flood or drought, by raging storms or shifting earth. Surely God is out to get us and destroy us all, whether we are innocent or not!

God knew we might say these things, as often humans have through history. So God sent Jesus, God’s own son, to show us that God intends for us and all that world to be living blessings for all around. God does not wish to destroy us, though we may certainly deserve nothing else.

God is like the good vintner who sees the potential in each cluster of grapes, and allows the good to grow, and hope that the bad will ripen into something quite usable, if only vinegar.

So God hopes for us, too. God hopes that we might be saved from ourselves and all evil.

How that changes every day, eh?


Crying To God

Or Languishing Away …

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Even The Animals There Were Barely Alive,

Starving Like the People.

Isaiah 50:2

God spoke:Why was no one there when I came? Why did no one answer when I called? Is my hand shortened, that it cannot redeem? Or have I no power to deliver? By my rebuke I dry up the sea, I make the rivers a desert; their fish stink for lack of water, and die of thirst.

Matthew 8:2

… and there was a leper who came to him and knelt before him, saying, ‘Lord, if you choose, you can make me clean.’

Words of Grace For Today

When Julius travelled to the south, climbing the steep cliffs and crossing the miles of barren rock, he found (as he had heard he would) a community of people so poor and poorly prepared for anything that would come their way that it astounded everyone who saw their community that they had survived this long.

Julius stopped at house after house offering to help heal anyone who was sick, to share words of encouragement, to offer advice on how to prepare better for the winter yet to come, and more desperately to increase their food stores if just a bit. Yet at every house he stopped at, he was told that he could not help them, that they would have to make do such as life was for them. He could move on if we knew what was good for him.

So he moved on to the next house, and the next, and the next, and …. After finding almost every house in the community he turned back north for the journey home that would take him through two nights.

He reached the barren rocks and stopped for that first night. As he setup camp and started to prepare for his light meal, such as it was, for he was nearly out of food himself, unwilling to take anything from such a poor community, a voice called out.

He stopped, surprised and then astounded as one of the community he’d just visited cried out to him to help them. He went, met the person, and heard that a house outside the community, a house he had not found was over-filled with people all sick, cast out of the community. The wanted to be healed, if he could take the time to help them.

So he went.

He saw even in the dark of night with the few lights from burning torches.

He diagnosed them with a simple malady of fungus.

He showed them how to grind up the root of a plant that grew nearly everywhere around them, to boil it in a tea. Within a day they would notice a difference as they started to heal. They scoffed at him and told him he must leave to that he did not become sick, too. They insisted.

So he left, camping not far away.

The next day as he was a short ways across the barren rock plateau, he heard a cry again.

He turned to see a young boy of about 11 running towards him. He stopped. The boy who he’d noticed among the sick, already had started to heal. Then the boy danced towards him, knelt in front of him, and begged him to allow him to come with him.

After a long conversation Julius sent the boy back home, instructing him to help the others. He also promised that he would return before the harvest, and then each year at least once, and begin teaching the boy to be a wise healer for his own people, and anyone who was in need.



Sunday, April 30, 2023

Through the Thick of Life,

Christ’ Light Orients Us

To Life Abundant,

by giving life to others

Genesis 28:16

Then Jacob woke from his sleep and said, ‘Surely the Lord is in this place—and I did not know it!’

Luke 24:32

They said to each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?’

Gospel for Today: John 10:1-10

‘Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.’ Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.

So again Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.’

Words of Grace For Today

Jacob wakes and is convinced (after his struggle with the angel) that God is in this place, and he did not notice.

The disciples on their way to Emmaus walk along with a stranger who opens their eyes to the truth, from the scriptures and all of life. Yet they do not recognize this person, not until he shares bread and wine with them and in the eating the recognize that this is Jesus, risen from the dead.

Many times in life we do not recognize God or God’s works, as we are so engaged in trying to ‘fix’ our own lives, and to compensate for our sins and the sins of so many people around us, and who have gone before us.

On this, the Good Shepherd Sunday, we read that Jesus is the door, a door that is always open to us all, each and every one of us, though we certainly do not deserve such a welcome in the flock of Jesus. We also read that Jesus has the voice that we recognize, sometimes not in our busy minds and hearts, but always in the foundation of our being.

By this voice, by this Word, our lives can be oriented. Orient, the East.

Martin Luther called it the ‘morning land’.

As by the sunrise of each morning we orient ourselves for the day, so by Jesus’ Voice and Word, by Jesus’ Light rising out of every darkness, we can orient ourselves, not by our own strength, but by the power of the Holy Spirit working in us.

Thus oriented for this day, we have plenty of work ahead of us, sharing all Jesus’ openness to us sinners, God’s grace, and the precious gifts of the Holy Spirit to share with so many people.