Discovering Light is Dark …

Wednesday 16 November 2022

What would it be like to discover,

everything we thought was light

is actually dark?

If the Holy Spirit guided us,

we might see instead of darkness everywhere

the wonders of creation.

Job 28:28

Truly, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.

Luke 11:35

Therefore consider whether the light in you is not darkness.

Words of Grace For Today

To know what is evil and depart from it and to know that what one has considered light is actually darkness … well these are two very difficult things to imagine any human is ever capable of pulling off.

Yes, departing from a little sin here and there is something most people pull off once in a while, maybe a few times a month or so, but …

It’s an entirely different thing to leave all evil behind, to depart from it as clearly as a train departs the station or an airplane the runway, or perhaps more accurately, as a spaceship headed towards Mars on a one way mission lifts off from the launchpad never to return again …. That kind of departing from evil is seldom seen, and even more seldom actually chosen by the person departing from the ‘dark side.’

Yes, knowing what is light, and finding one’s way using it, and knowing what is darkness and not trying to navigate one’s life in it, are understandable things, but …

Discovering that what one thought of as light is actually dark, now that takes a monumental amount of self-awareness and situational awareness in God’s creation that would be completely contrary to everything one used up to that point to navigate one’s way in life. That is, well, for all humans, just impossible, unless it’s a fairy tale or fiction or a lie.

The most we can do is pray out of fear and love for God (for just fearing God helps not much) that God would help us discern Good from Evil, Light from Darkness, and God’s Will from our own flawed wills.

The light of day arrives and turns into the dark of night, the weeks turn to months and years, and joy turns to sorrow, as easily as the seasons turn and rain turns to snow and snow melts back to water,

but God’s promises are forever, as much as truth is always truth and lies always lies.

On God’s promises we place our trust and all reason we have to find joy and hope each day. So onward it is …

It’s time to head on in to another day, secured in goodness only by God’s good grace towards us.

Hearing and Seeing

Tuesday 15 November 2022

More than enough will work

to block our vision of

God’s Word and Will and Work

for us.

First Samuel 9:27

As they were going down to the outskirts of the town, Samuel said to Saul, ‘Tell the boy to go on before us, and when he has passed on, stop here yourself for a while, that I may make known to you the word of God.’

Matthew 13:16

But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear.

Words of Grace For Today

Sometimes the Word of God is given to us clearly, plainly, personally, while others have little idea what God communicates to us. It’s rare. It’s also rare to have someone who will share clearly, plainly, personally with us what we certainly do not want to hear, though it may be obvious to so many others as being as clear as a sunny winter day that these are God’s Words to us all.

Being humble enough to hear the truth we do not want to hear,

Being humble enough to stop to listen to God, even when others are oblivious to God’s Word being given,

Being humble enough to see what others refuse to see,

It’s like being a photographer who sees, and captures for others to see what they would otherwise never see: the beauty of God’s creation, the power of love, the corruption, destruction, and pain caused by evil thoughts, words and deeds.

Most people have their own ideas, shared by an echo chamber perhaps on the internet, about how the world works and should work and what is required to bring about change.

When one has an open mind to hear God’s Word shown, spoken, written, given witness to by past generations, made obvious in the simple words of a child or an old, wise person, then one has no such ideas, and certainly does not occupy an echo chamber for approval.

God directs.

We listen, we mystics.

We share what others will hear, most is ignored.

We pray that God will find a way.

Saul listened this time, but could not listen to Samuel in the end, and David replaced him, as Saul succumbed to the ills of his mind and soul.

Today, let us listen. Today, let us see.

It is all God has for us,

and greater blessings, peace, and joy are simply not to be found in all of life.

Turning Away, Turning Towards …

Monday 14 November 2022

All the pointing in the world may not help,

when we think that

the abyss lies ahead.

Ezekiel 14:6

Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God: Repent and turn away from your idols; and turn away your faces from all your abominations.

Romans 12:2

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God, namely what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Words of Grace For Today

Calls to repent and turn away from idols and abominations have been around as long as humans were able to fathom God exists.

The trouble is not in turning around and away from what we know is evil, it’s in what we turn towards that we think is the answer to life.

Sven and Ole found this out the hard way, as we always do.

They are Hittites, long since extinct, so no racism can be read into the story. Add to that my heritage as Swedish (the Sven’s are many), Norwegian (the Ole’s are plentiful, and German (I ought to keep better order and therefore know better, some would say) and I take free license to retell the story and alter it as I wish.

So Sven turns to Ole as they are pulling back to the truck the big moose they shot, “This is too hard. I need a break.”

After he’s caught his breath Ole walks up to the moose to feel the hide. He turns to Sven, “I know the answer. It’ll be easier if we pull it with the hair instead of against it!”

Sven, seeing the logic in it, sets about getting ready to heave the heavy carcass homeward.

After a two hours and a few breaks later, Sven yells, “Break.”

Ole pipes up after a bit, “Well, whaddaya think, Sven? It’s easier, eh?” (The two immigrated to Canada decades ago.)

Sven waits a long while before answering, “Yes, it is much easier. The problem is Ole, when we stopped for our first break after pulling it against the hair, we were only a half mile from the truck, now we are two miles away.”

Turning around, away from idols and abominations may be the easiest thing we can do. Turning towards God, now that takes more than a few smarts. That takes the Holy Spirit guiding us every step of the way. Thus we pray: God send your Holy Spirit to guide us so that we are not conformed to this world, but transformed by the renewing of our minds, so that we may discern what is your will, knowingwhat is good and acceptable and perfect.

Sometimes the Holy Spirit sends us simple instructions, other times good friends to guide us. Whatever we need we pray God will provide it also today.

Before Sven and Ole could even think of taking another break they came across a dirt road. There stood their friend Hans, “I knew you two would need help, so I put a tracker in Sven’s pocket. Let’s get that moose into my truck and you two back to your trucks. But tell me, why did you turn around when you were so close to your trucks?”

Bold We Are, Come What May

Sunday 13 November 2022

Moon Morning,

Cold,

Clear,

and Only Early November

Judges 6:17

Then he said to him, ‘If now I have found favour with you, then show me a sign that it is you who speak with me….’

1 John 5:14

And this is the boldness we have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.

Words of Grace For Today

God hears us.

God hears us every day.

God hears us every minute of every day.

God hears us every minute of every day when we think, pray, wish, desire, dream, speak, write, act, and hope.

Be careful what you ask for, you might just get it, in spades.

Or so the saying goes.

Yet we are bold to think, pray, wish, desire, dream, speak, write, act, and hope … and to do so in response to God’s Grace that gives us life, and even to do so out of the evil that resides in us, from which we cannot get free.

For we have been saved, and are being saved every minute of every day,not because we deserve it, but because God so chooses especially since we do not deserve it, in order to demonstrate to all how merciful and gracious God is towards us and all creation, no matter how wretchedly evil we are.

God hears.

God responds.

God responds with Grace.

God responds with Grace giving us all we need for life.

So we are so bold as to knowingly think, pray, wish, desire, dream, speak, write, act, and hope all that is in our minds, hearts and hands, knowing God walks with us and saves us and God from all harm that can be avoided.

A clear February -24⁰ day in November already. Clears the head, tests the systems, prepares us for climate changes new extremes that will come again this year.

We pray we may survive and flourish, come what may.

Promises, Promises

Saturday 12 November 2022

The Reason to Hope:

Shadows Always Point to the Light!

OR Grace!

I’ll take both, thank you.

Isaiah 51:11

So the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

Revelation 21:4

God will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.

Words of Grace For Today

To return home singing with everlasting joy and gladness through every fibre of our being, and that sorrow and sighing at the evils that can be done to innocent people shall flee away to never be seen again! Oh, what a dream! What a promise.

Likewise that God will wipe away EVERY tear, that death will be no more (though is that a good thing for creation?) so that there is no mourning or crying or pain anymore. Are these the first things?

I always thought that death was the last step in life, and grieving a loved one’s death was the last thing anyone wanted to endure again, or for the first time if one is observant of what it costs others.

Of course these are not the first things that the Revelation’s passage speaks of. The first things are all that make up this universe: God’s first things for us, beloved creatures, which also includes evil, since love requires a priori a choice to love, and then also to not love, which is a choice of evil.

That is to say this promise has a prerequisite, namely that the universe we know is no more.

I’ll hope to wait on that, meanwhile there still is death, for creation would be overrun with humans if we did not die, as if it is not already, along with all life forms that would no longer die. So death is here to stay for a while.

But already today or any day soon, I’ll take the coming home, singing with joy and happiness that will not end, putting sorrow and sighing scurrying for the far reaches of the universe far, far away in a time that is not. I suppose all displaced peoples of all times would take that, too. Those with homes they’ve never lost nor had no home for years may not quite fathom the joy this would bring us all.

It seems an impossibility for me, as for most displaced peoples, most refugees. The promise we hope for with real expectations is that we would once again be able to have a home to come home to, a secure, safe, warm/cool, and dry home, one where we have the ability to supply us and ours the essentials of life.

One might think that starts with air, water, food, clothing, shelter, meaningful work and love (giving and receiving.) Yet it actually starts with what God’s Grace supplies: faith, hope, and love. For without these a home is nothing, as many people have endured, knowingly so or completely unawares.

For now I am, as many are, graciously given faith, hope and love, so that where we land for the night and sometimes through the day is already so blessed, a home without them would be nothing to desire.

Singing and endless joy is ours already. A home would be a bonus, a good bonus, a longed for bonus, and for that we hear God’s promises and hope that one day ….

Blues, Darks, and Hope

Friday 11 November 2022

Dark,

Dark,

Covered Dark With Snow

Job 1:21

He said, ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there; the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.’

Romans 5:3-4

And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,

Words of Grace For Today

The colour of fall is gone, drained away and then killed off by the freezing nights, leaving it so vulnerable to the wind that carpeted paths and grass and woods with yellow turning brown.

Now the subtle whites, greys, darks, and blues are all that remain as the lake has frozen over, and loons, ducks, and beaver no longer swim to and fro, but have either flown away or now walk on top the ice.

A foot of snow covers the troubles of the past summer and fall, pristine white, marking the path of all who walk about with tracks for all to see. Even now it is not as short a daylight, not as dark a day, as will come by the winter solstice, though the darkness of cloudy, snowy days presses down and settles souls in the dark blues until they are lifted free.

For we may assume we are due something glorious, something more uplifting than the dark blues of winter, and yet … well, we are wrong more than occasionally about what we are due.

Remembering where we’ve come from is a good start to taking our place in the universe without complaint or false presumption: We are born naked into this world and we will die and decompose back to the elements of dirt and food for other life forms.

All we are and have in life is a gift from God, so if, well no, when we suffer, it does us no good to think it ought to be otherwise. Evil will prevail through other people and circumstances, and even through us. Remembering God’s graciousness towards us allows us to see beyond the suffering to the benefits God brings to us through our suffering: endurance, character, and hope. This hope carries us through whatever may come our way. This in no way exonerates or excuses those who participate in the evil that we and others suffer needlessly; they-we will still answer to God. We get to respond to God’s grace for us by celebrating the abundance of life given to us, even in our suffering.

For this we give God thanks.

For Even in the Blues, It’s Not All Blues

What To Do With That?

Monday, October 24, 2022

The Root of It All …Is God’s Faithfulness To Us.

Nehemiah 9:33

You have been just in all that has come upon us, for you have dealt faithfully and we have acted wickedly.

1 John 1:9

If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Words of Grace For Today

The simply terrible reality of our lives is that we always have acted wickedly, even if we do not admit it, especially when we do not admit it.

Some of us do things that we all recognize as wicked, like murder (sometimes quick, sometimes slow over years of culture-denial & assimilation, neglect, false accusations, exile, displacement, lack of health care, destructive ‘health care’, abuse, and the list goes on), or theft, or giving false witness, or adultery, or attacks on our bodies with drugs and alcohol, or disregard for the environment (which is most of us alive in the ‘developed’ countries), or lying, or -well we all seem to know what makes us the really obviously wicked things that humans all too commonly do.

It’s the myriad of other things that we do that are wicked, that we think go unnoticed by others and God, which are for our benefit, supposedly, at a cost to others’ lives. These are most wicked, and almost every human that has lived or ever will live does these wicked things. They are the ones the really ‘get’ use in shtako, with ourselves, others, creation and with God.

The simply reality of our lives is also that God deals with us faithfully, and even spectacularly gracious.

God forgives us.

Not that we deserve it, or sometimes even know that we need it.

It is that we get a clean slate to begin again, each day, each hour, each minute.

Now what will we do with that?!

God means for us to be faithful and to give that same kind of undeserved grace to others so that they may live abundantly.

Now what will we do with that?!!

If Only … ?

Sunday, October 23, 2022

All Greatness

In, Around, and From Us,

Is Always a Mere Reflection of God’s Greatness,

As Water Reflects Sunlight

to Be Gloriously

Gold and Precious.

Psalms 50:16-17

But to the wicked God says: ‘What right have you to recite my statutes, or take my covenant on your lips? For you hate discipline, and you cast my words behind you.’

James 1:25

But those who look into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and persevere, being not hearers who forget but doers who act—they will be blessed in their doing.

Words of Grace For Today

If only it were so simple that we could be lookers into the perfect law, the law of liberty, who persevere, being not hearers who forget but doers who act!

Oh, life would be so simple. And damnedable for us all.

So James and a host of other biblical writers and writers since, reminding us that humans are so fallible, even and especially when it comes to describing God’s attitude towards humans.

We just want it to be that we are in control and we can choose and those who do not so choose as we have are damned and we are blessed forever. That’s a simple if demanding perspective on God’s attitude towards us, and it’s a simple way to deny the reality of one’s own ongoing sins, and a handy way to make demands of others, trying to control them, since we cannot control ourselves in the least, as it seems.

God certainly does hate our sins.

Thank God that is not the end of God’s story with us. God’s story actually begins with our sins and ends with God blessing us with such an abundance we cannot imagine it, and in between God forgives, renews, and sends us out to provide that same Grace to others, which brings hope to an otherwise seemingly lost world.

Once we confess the reality of our sins and God’s Grace that sustains us, then we certainly can and should do our best to look into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and persevere, being not hearers who forget but doers who act.

But God blesses us long before we even make that attempt. Our reward is already given to us undeserved. Our actions may bring God’s blessings to others, though.

And that’s worth the effort each day.

The Cloud

Saturday, October 22, 2022

The Great Cloud of Saints,

Coloured by Their Blood,

Surrounding Us

with

Indefatigable Hope.

Second Chronicles 20:12

O our God, will you not execute judgement upon them? For we are powerless against this great multitude that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.

Hebrews 12:1-2

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.

Words of Grace For Today

It is one thing to be overwhelmed by a mass of people coming against you. It is another thing to have the state, in the form of the Police and the Courts, come against you.

What can one do against such odds: the whole power of the state fuelled by lies created at every level, against one who speaks the truth, which no one wants to hear?

There are enough words from prophets and disciples who lived and died under the same circumstances.

It is in that great cloud of witnesses to the truth that one can take refuge, for these are God-made, and God-sent saints, who have ‘fought the good fight’ and run the race set before them, the race of putting God’s Grace, Love, and Hope before all else, giving witness to God’s great powers, powers so much greater than all the powers of all the states ever to have stood for a time on earth.

Come what may, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, we can lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and live each day to it’s fullest, celebrating God’s great goodness for us and those who come up against us.

Another day on planet earth when millions will unnecessarily die, and millions will be born into a hope that does not disappoint.

Great Grey

Friday, October 21, 2022

Another Grey Day At The Shore,

Waiting For Justice.

Isaiah 61:1-3

The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me;
he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the broken-hearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners;
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn;
to provide for those who mourn in Zion— to give them a garland instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit.
They will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, to display his glory.

Luke 15:21-22

Then the son said to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.” But the father said to his slaves, “Quickly, bring out a robe—the best one—and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet….”

Words of Grace For Today

Now if you want to display your greatness … well there are all sorts of things humans do, most of them on the spectrum from silly to outrageously stupid and futile.

We do plenty of things on that spectrum for all sorts of other reasons as well. Sin abounds from us and among us.

Now if you were God (which you are not I’ll remind you in case you might momentarily forget!) and wanted to display your greatness there is no limit to what you can do and do do. The greatest of these is make good people out of us sinners.

So the Spirit of the Lord reaches out to the down-troddened and those dealt with unjustly to lift them up to the fullness of life.

So Jesus comes to show us God’s unending grace and choice to forgive us wretched sinners (actually we are pretty darn good sinners, really) and to celebrate who we are with a feast like no other.

Come all you who are thirsty for truth, and justice, and grace, and blessings. God has poured out enough to fill every thirst and hunger.

This is God’s display of greatness.

And we saints? We remain really good sinners, yet again to be saved by God’s display of greatness in mercy and grace.

Another grey northern autumn day in the solitude of the bush. The kind photographers shake their heads at and return to the darkroom to work and wait for another day. Just the kind of day that God uses to show us how beautiful life is.