So!

So Now You See It, Then What?

Wednesday 15 February 2023

Notice God’s Awesome Deeds Lately,

OR

are you missing out?

Isaiah 29:14

so I will again do amazing things with this people, shocking and amazing. The wisdom of their wise shall perish, and the discernment of the discerning shall be hidden.

Matthew 15:31

so that the crowd was amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the maimed whole, the lame walking, and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel.

Words of Grace For Today

So …

Something has gone before and this ‘so’ makes the connection: something that has gone on before has led to what follows.

In Isaiah what follows is what has gone on since the beginning of time and will continue beyond the end of time: God does shocking and amazing things, and by comparison our puny wisdom fizzles to infinitesimally tiny bubbles unobservable in the universe, as if specks of stardust were lost between galaxies. Even those who discern what God is about will be hidden by the shock and awe of God’s brilliant works.

By comparison, Matthew reports that Jesus’ works do not hide anything. They are clearly visible, astounding, and transforming. The people see, hear, and feel what Jesus does healing the deaf, maimed, blind, and lame, also for those so diseased and crippled in heart and spirit.

Nothing is hidden with Jesus, and even so many people do not comprehend, because they do not know what to expect and not expecting anything awesome from God they miss it all, just as freeway drivers smash into and destroy a small plane that just completed an emergency, engine-out landing in front of them. People die because their minds do not ‘compute’ what is so out of place, even when it is God’s place to do wondrously shocking and awesome deeds all through creation.

What will God do today?

Will we see it,

or run it over in our haste to make our own way in the world?

Humble

Humble Desperation

Monday 13 February 2023

On the wretched marred surface and depths of our lives, God works miracles for us with forgiveness, making us precious, just as the golden sunset turns glazed, rutted, treacherous ice into a wonder to behold.

Psalms 51:13

Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.

Luke 18:13

But the tax-collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!”

Words of Grace For Today

It’s hard to be that tax collector, so out of character, beyond anyone’s expectations, actually humbly, desperately begging God for mercy.

Yet that is God’s intention for each and all of us, to be the outsiders, the ones done in, the ones rejected … and yet for us to be the ones most blessed by God’s mercy. The deeper the hole we get ourselves into, the greater God’s mercy for us is an obvious demonstration of God’s grace for all people to take note of!

Starting there, recognizing the hole of sin we’ve dug ourselves into, each day, each worship service, each moment allows us to humbly and desperately beg for and accept

God’s strength in weakness,

Christ’ sacrifice on the cross to give us new life,

and to meet other people’s sins with that same humble forgiveness fuelled by God’s mercy for us and for them.

Our teaching and inspiring is not about bringing people to be good, or better or less bad. That is the work of the Holy Spirit, which is evident all around us and in us … if we take notice.

Our teaching and inspiring others is only to teach all people of God’s ways, God’s ways of mercy, forgiveness, and renewed life for even the most wretched of sinners.

That will keep us more than busy this day, and each day gives us breath.

Prison?

or Free?

Saturday 11 February 2023

The Horizon.

God’s Gift,

one of many.

Psalms 142:8

Bring me out of prison, so that I may give thanks to your name. The righteous will surround me, for you will deal bountifully with me.

John 8:36

So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.

Words of Grace For Today

Of course, you, yes proud, upright, self-righteous you, have never been in prison, so to be set free, and to be free indeed is nothing, right! Not to you.

But let me tell you as one who spent time in prison, put there by lies about a crime that did not even happen, by judges, prosecutors, lawyers, RCMP, and witnesses who all knew they were lying, for it was that blatant, being set free is an experience one does not ever forget. Nor does one forget the time spent as an inmate. Life threatened in various ways at least once a week, by real violent inmates prompted and setup by guards, and by nurses, and by the brass, but protected by real criminals and maybe even a few honest guards … and by God and God’s people. Food and medication that were not tolerated by my system. The noise. The predictable and irregular inspections and demands and new impromptu ‘rules’ and the lack of horizon and photography and intelligent conversation … and the boredom.

The real prison that we find ourselves in does not have brick and mortar walls and evil people attacking us, and uncommitted crimes dumped on innocent scapegoats, and other ‘real’ criminals (guards include) so unpredictable and demanding. The real prison we find each find ourselves in is the one we make out of our own sins. Lies that corner us. Deeds that destroy others (as we intended) but that also haunt and destroy us. Words that we used to try to create a new reality for ourselves, and in denying God’s real creation we step right into the Devil’s playground, where a physical jail would be millions times more preferable!

This is the prison that God has always offered to free us.

This is the prison that the Devil has sent so many ambassadors to, to offer us yet again another way out, which is really another shackle to add to the many that choke the life right out of us.

This is the prison that we try and try and try to free ourselves from, and too often delude ourselves that we have succeeded, only to see the Devil’s playground has expended again around us and our lives and around those we love.

This is the prison that Jesus frees us from. And when Jesus frees us we are free indeed.

So we breathe.

So we dance.

So we take photos.

So we enjoy the horizon.

So we delve into intelligent conversation when it is possible.

So we worship each day to begin the day.

So we sing God’s praise and give thanks for all that keeps us alive, by God’s grace alone, for obviously we do not deserve any of these blessings.

Our task is simply to extend these blessings to as many other people as we possibly can.

That’s life lived richly, abundantly, as God created us to live.

So on this day, what will we do?

What will you do?

We All Have Our Reasons …

Reasons for Rejoicing

Wednesday 8 February 2023

This Thing Is On Water,

Accessible Through Holes in the Floor,

Otherwise It’s Just Ugly

As OSB Siding Always Is When It’s Worn.

At Least The Sky Behind It Is Awesome,

Sort Of.

Psalms 33:21

Our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-17

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing …

Words of Grace For Today

Lots of things can make our hearts glad, like our solitude respected, the warm winter weather, the sunny skies providing great solitude, and … repairs finished to the water pump so that water now flows if we give our all to haul water and pump it where it belongs.

The wonder of life is that even if nothing is so to be enjoyed, God walks with us, and we are glad for God’s presence.

Therefore we have reason to rejoice and pray always, perhaps not unceasingly since it takes a bit of concentration to repair a pump and supply water to it, for instance, but in our pauses most certainly.

Again this day.

From the front

it’s got character too,

and a wood stove for heat.

That’s a start,

but not a home.

Word-Wise

Tuesday 7 February 2023

Like the Beauty All Around Us,

God’s Word Permeates Everything.

Trust It.

Isaiah 55:10-11

For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there until they have watered the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

John 15:7-8

If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.

Words of Grace For Today

Lots of ‘hot air’ blowing around these days, climate change not the cause. It is the age old thing about humans that deceit always seems a nice short cut to achieving what is desired.

So much ‘hot air’ (lies, deceit, fake news, perjury, corruption from the lowest to the most ‘trusted’ levels of everything – even courts, bishops, and … well everywhere!) floats around one has a real case to say that the case of global warming is due mostly to ‘hot air’.

In fact all the climate change deniers producing fake science, fake news, and fake intelligence kept the obvious from happening sooner, ie the reduction of everything that causes climate change.

But boys will be boys, girls will be girls … OK it’s really lying boys will be lying boys even when the get old. Mean girls will be mean girls even when they get old, and the Devil’s temptations to ‘short cuts’ that destroy the doer and many others keep catching more and more people meaning the increase in ‘hot air’ outstrips any incident of inflation ever.

Our words are very effective, at destruction of life, and at healing life.

No question which God intends for us to use with our words.

Thank God everything is not determined by our words, or there would be no hope for any of us.

God’s Word determines everything, even that we are capable of such ‘hot air’ destruction. God’s Word is simple: life is intended and best lived by accepting our sinfulness, confessing them always, repenting (turning back towards God’s will for us), and accepting God’s sending us out to be imitators of Jesus the Christ: sacrificially giving of ourselves (exercising compassion, forgiveness, and unconditional love) so that others may live as God intended us to live.

In a Word: God’s Word for us is that we love God, ourselves, and our neighbours, even our enemies.

Today, as each day, that’s more than enough to keep us busy, focused, and working on making the world a bit better around us for us all.

Proud Potters

Or Humble Clay

Friday 3 February 2023

The Potter Makes Beauty Like This,

And We Mess It Up Real Bad!

God Planned For That, Too!

Isaiah 29:16

You turn things upside down! Shall the potter be regarded as the clay? Shall the thing made say of its maker, ‘He did not make me’; or the thing formed say of the one who formed it, ‘He has no understanding’?

Ephesians 2:10

For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.

Words of Grace For Today

We are the clay, God is the Potter.

We are created to do good works, God is the one who demands it of us, since we are made that way.

Well, not quite so. That is all upside down!

If one wants to control others and make demands of them that they cannot fulfill and thus make them guilty and thus all the more susceptible to one’s control, then this is the right thing to say and teach and demand.

But Jesus came not to lay an impossible guilt trip on us, yet again, as the writer of Ephesians does so well.

God created us so that we will be demonstrations of God’s Love, Grace, and Compassion for all people. That is by our visibly, humbly, and gratefully accepting God’s forgiveness for our inevitable sins, failings, imperfections, and downright ornery stubbornness at wanting to the the Potter instead of the humble moulded clay, God makes us into demonstrations for all other people of how God works. God works not by demanding perfection or good works. Instead God makes us free to choose to love (and also then free to choose not to love – which is to sin). In our freedom we lose life and all that is precious in it, because we simply cannot always choose to love. God also made us to strive to be better, and in that striving we inevitably choose to be Potters of our world, and then of our own lives.

Ahh, if we were made just to do good works, then God did not need to give us freedom to love and not to love.

But God created us to love. And knowing we would choose to sin, inevitably, terribly, wretchedly, God planned for that, with compassion, forgiveness and unbounded love.

We were created to receive that love, and share it with others, first in being demonstrations of God’s love for us and all people, and then in being that love for others,

which is to do good works …

It’s just cutting it down to that we are created to do good works would make our lives impossible! That is the curse of scripture that asserts we are not potters of creation, and then tries to lay the guilt trip on us that we are made to be doers of good works, ie. good little potters and putterers.

That leads us to futile living (trying always to do good works), and at the same time surrendering our ability to choose to love (replacing it with blind obedience to others who tell us what good works are), and inevitably trying to become the ones who tell everyone what good works are … and there ya go, right down the rabbit hole of everything that is not love.

So simple. So complicated. So impossible.

And for that God planned the power of love, which is self-sacrificing giving so that others may live with the freedom to choose

to love or not to love,

and be forgiven when it is so often needed.

Return to Humble Gratitude

Wednesday 1 February 2023

It’s Not Much, And It’s Everything,

A Snow Crystal Covered Branch

Just Like

Life Abundant.

Zechariah 1:3

Therefore say to them, Thus says the Lord of hosts: Return to me, says the Lord of hosts, and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts.

2 Peter 3:9

The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance.

Words of Grace For Today

Return, and I will return to you.

The IF-THEN is right there, and that’s not how God works.

Rather God says: I have always been with you, and you have not noticed. I make it possible for you to return to me. This is my standing invitation, return now.

Or now.

Or now.

For God does not want any of us to perish, though we all seem deadset on that being the end for us. Rather God wishes that all of us will repent, return, and discover the abundant blessings God has poured over us since before we were born.

Jesus’ story makes clear to those who will listen, that God wishes for us to live filled with humble gratitude, ready to be sent and be the ones who deliver God’s bountiful gifts to others, so that they may live filled with humble gratitude as well.

Some of us need to survive a car crash, engine failure in a single engine plane, or a terrorist attack (or one or more of a huge number of ‘accidents’ that should have claimed our lives). Others cancer or some other life consuming disease. Others conflict of war or violent crimes. Others being framed, accused, convicted, and destroyed by the scheming of those closest to us, the police, the lawyers, the courts, and the judges, or some other blatant misuse of authority and power. Others need more than life provides and they never surrender to humble thankfulness. Sad.

Others seem to learn from other’s experiences and find humble gratitude early in life and return often to enjoy it in the arms of a loving God.

Whatever it takes for you, may you find humble gratitude your way of being this day. It’s what please God the most.

The DawnShine

From On High

Sunday 29 January 2023

Blues, Peaches, and De-Light

Psalms 80:20

Restore us, O Lord God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved.

Luke 1:78-79

By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. ’

Words of Grace For Today

After a long, dark night, after many days of snow and clouds, freezing rain and wind, nothing quite compares to the light of the dawn breaking in on this life with blues, peaches and golds spraying the white snow-laden ground with all colours of the rainbow.

These are reminders of God’s promise not to abandon us, not to the floods, nor to the disasters of any kind, nor to the darkness that can creep up on us and catch us, drawing us down, down, down.

God’s promises renewed, our hearts buoyed once again, and our minds set on what lies ahead, even the shadow of death cannot steal the peace from us. Our enemies that would do us harm have no chance, nor have they had any chance of succeeding in bringing about our demise.

Instead we have found refuge in God’s great light, in God’s great forests, and beside God’s great waters. The sun powers our shelters, wood heats our bones, and clean water refreshes us each day, as we feast on simple foods, enjoying every bite.

Even as the cold winds blow, there are moments to find the solitude warming our hearts, bodies and minds as we work outside to provide the basics for the coming days.

And writing, writing, writing keeps our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, as we explore the truth of the past, present and future.

This is the light of Christ, God’s countenance that shines brightly here on us, and everywhere.

May the light find you today filled with gratitude for God’s gifts and the opportunities to share life with those in need (which is pretty much everyone.)

Ah, Life Done God’s Way

Wednesday 25 January 2023

God Plays A Great Tune

With Every Possibility

Are We Listening and Watching and Praying

And Giving Thanks?

Proverbs 11:19

Whoever is steadfast in righteousness will live, but whoever pursues evil will die.

Matthew 5:6

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

Words of Grace For Today

The ordinary ways and means of life are simple: do the stuff right, do the righteous stuff and you will live well.

But if you do the wrong stuff, you will not live well, you will suffer, and die miserably.

The other thing is, if you hunger and thirst for righteousness, then you will be fine.

But …

Jesus is God’s message to us that God intends life to be otherwise for us.

Not just any other way, but the ‘foolishness’ of the cross, that upside down way from our view, of God’s greatest power being in sacrifice in order to forgive and give new life to all us sinners who deserve nothing other than … well, nothing other than all bad, not even breath for life.

Yet we get all that God has that is good for us, given freely to us, to make life wonderful. Of course all that we get from God is not for us, it is for us to give away to others, especially others in need in order to actually keep living.

What a way to live, eh? Everything upside down from the rest of the world, and everything blessed, even when others think we have lost our minds.

But we know how we are blessed in the greatest of ways, even if we are hungry, homeless, and lies have ruined our reputation.

The sun rises, the sun shines or snow falls or rain drops like buckets, and then the sun sets. During every minute God shows us the simple joys of breathing, writing, taking photos, and being gracious, kind, and forgiving.

That’s the stuff of life as God intended us to live it.

Great Foundation of ‘Foolishness’

Sunday 22 January 2023

Do We Follow In Other’s Footsteps,

Or Forge Ahead Where the Spirit Leads Us?

Many Saints Have Gone Before Us,

Without Them We’d Know Nothing

of the ‘Foolishness of the Cross’

Giving Life Abundant!

Jeremiah 10:6

There is none like you, O Lord; you are great, and your name is great in might.

1 Corinthians 3:11

For no one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid; that foundation is Jesus Christ.

Words of Grace For Today

Christ laid a foundation of God’s power in weakness, of sacrifice for others being the way to an abundant life. At baptism we enter into that way of living as the Holy Spirit gives us such great gifts … all so that we can share God’ Grace with others. And then so often we turn it right back upside down and try to make it on our own as saints!

Another Adaptation of Mother Teresa’s “Anyway”

Mother Teresa wrote in her piece titled “Anyway!” that no matter the cost we should still choose to do the good things. I’ve adapted it to reflect that life following Christ is not about making the right choices. That’s a futile way to live, because the problem is that we never keep making the right choices! Jesus showed us instead that God intends that we surrender in our weakness and sinfulness to what the Holy Spirit makes us able to do: living out the foolishness of the cross, bringing Christ’s light into every darkness.

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centred. – We get to forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. – We get to be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. – We get to succeed anyway.

If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. – We get to be honest and sincere anyway.

What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. – We get to create anyway.

If you compassionately listen to a poor person tell their story, it’ll wrench your heart and cost you a bit of life – We get to really listen anyway.

No matter how many poor people you help, there will always be another in great need. – We get to help the poor anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. – We get to be happy anyway.

The good you do today, will often be forgotten. – We get to do good anyway.

Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. – We get to give our best anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between you and God, and God promises to love us, no matter what. God gives us more than we need, so we get to give our all helping others see that God’s Grace is for them, too.

No matter how we fail or what comes our way in God’s great goodness, God created us to love compassionately, live vibrantly, and give unabashedly everything we have so that others may live knowing God’ Grace is for them, too!

Small wonders fill our days, if we but look and listen, and share them.