We’ve Been Told!

So Why Do We Get It So Wrong?

Sunday, November 12, 2023

Nothing Looks Like What It Is If We Do Not Gain God’s Perspective.

For example my work for today.

Genesis 45:24

Then he sent his brothers on their way, and as they were leaving he said to them, ‘Do not quarrel along the way.’

Colossians 3:13

Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.”

Words of Grace For Today

Nothing looks like what it is if we are in the mode of telling others what to do, or if others are in the mode of telling us what to do!

Joseph could spend all his breath on telling his brothers not to quarrel. They were still going to quarrel.

‘Paul’ (well Colossians is probably not Paul himself but someone writing decades later in his name) could spend as much ink telling people how to behave, and especially how to be good, and even more desperately what they MUST do, like forgiving one another, but people are people and forgiving is not something people do on their own. Neither is being good, nor doing what must be done.

Any parent can give numerous stories how telling their teen not to do something simply invites the teen to go out and try it, somehow so their parents do not find out about their attempts.

So it is when we look at the world: unless we have God’s perspective (given to us, because there is no way we gain it on our own or in any other way) we simply do not understand what is going on around us, not fully, and we are completely incapable of doing the right thing for the circumstances on our own. Only the Holy Spirit guiding us can get us in that direction.

So we pray like mad the Holy Spirit will guide us

to do right,

and what MUST be done,

like forgive others,


also ourselves.

After all,

God has already.


(My work was adapting the exhaust for the water heater, again, so that it will work in cold weather, real hard cold weather, without having to be on all the time.)

Stoop Low

To Move Forward

Friday, November 3, 2023

The Sky May Be The Limit, Expansive and Inviting,


God Calls Us To Do The Work of the Kingdom

Down Here,

In The Snow and The Bushes of Life.

Zephaniah 2:3

Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, who do his commands; seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you may be hidden on the day of the Lord’s wrath.

Colossians 3:12

As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.

Words of Grace For Today

I was at a conference recently at a monastery dedicated to  teaching people to follow Christ to be leaders in the church.

In the long hallways between rooms & buildings looking ahead the door tops are at chest height. When one comes to the door, though, as the door opens by sliding down into the floor, after a slight delay the top also rises up higher than any person I’ve seen or heard of, and I’ve been among the Maasai – and I’ve watched NBA games.

The perception given is that following Christ does not offer lofty things in the future. One looks down looking forward. And just so there is no mistake as one passes through some doors about 20 feet further there is a beam at the same height as the closed doors. At these one must stoop low to pass onward.

The faith passed on to us does not promise us great things (as we humans rate them); our faith does not meet our dreams & expectations. Just the opposite. The saints show us that our faith teaches us to give up our dreams & expectations as we stoop low to pass through each day.

God’s surprise for us is what God does offer the saints, which we learn is ultimately everything of utmost value! Starting with humility, compassion, kindness, patience, service, and love.


The Blessed

The Saints

For All the Saints

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

All the ordinary, lowly people, Jesus says, the ones who suffer,

They-We are the saints,

the wisps of life in the sky for all to see God’s great works of saving ordinary, lowly people, giving them-us


worth anything.

Deuteronomy 32:7

Remember the days of old, consider the years long past; ask your father, and he will inform you; your elders, and they will tell you.

2 Timothy 1:5

I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that lived first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, lives in you.

Words of Grace For Today

Saints, or as Jesus calls us, the blessed, μακάριος, were understood to be different things.

At first the μακάριος were the gods, literally, for only gods could achieve a state of happiness and contentment in life that was beyond all cares, labours, and even death. The blessed ones were beings who lived in some other world away from the cares and problems and worries of ordinary people.

Well, that’s not us, no question. No, we are not the ‘makarios’, the gods.

Then the μακάριος were seen to be those who had died. That’s how they moved beyond the cares and labours of life here on earth. Death gave them entrance to God’s paradise.

Well, last I checked anyway, that’s not us either.

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

Nope, not me anyway.

Then the μακάριος were thought to be the elite and privileged, those people whose riches and power put them above the normal cares and problems and worries of the lesser folk—the peons, who constantly struggle and worry and labour in life.

Then along comes the usual thought that if people were wealthy they must have earned it, so the μακάριος were those who enjoyed the results of right living, or righteous living. If you were blessed you received earthly, material things: a good spouse, many children, abundant crops, riches, honour, wisdom, beauty, good health, etc; more things and better things than an ordinary person. To be blessed, you had to have big and beautiful things.

Nope, definitely not anyone I know. Those that are rich like that and think they have earned it are almost always pretty ugly people on the inside if you know how they’ve gotten so much more than the ordinary stiffs, like us.

Fortunately Jesus puts things upright (upsetting the apple cart of all that blessed privilege stuff of so many generations and fools).

Jesus says the lowly ones: the poor, the hungry, the thirsty, the meek, the mourning, are the μακάριος, the blessed saints.

(Thanks to Brian Stoffregen again for providing the summary I’ve used as the basis for this.)

Now that’s a crowd, and it is a huge crowd of the hoi poloi of every generation, the majority of people who ever lived, that’s a crowd that we fit into.


If we are lucky.

If we are …


If God has claimed us and made us


For all the saints, a day to remember, and a time to look to the future God provides for the saints.

Yep, now that’s us.

That’s the down and dirty of it,

of it all, actually.

At least that’s what the old folks taught me.

Getting Around to


Monday, October 30, 2023

On Our Own, We Allow So Much To Block Us From Seeing,

Yet Alone Being the Light of Christ.

Isaiah 32:17

The effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust for ever.

1 John 2:29

If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who does right has been born of him.

Words of Grace For Today

Life, seems for many, a struggle to see how much they can ‘get ahead’ of others, or how much they can have for themselves.

Doing things right goes out the window along with truth every morning, if they were even in the building at all.

God offers another way.

Following Jesus offers a way to not ‘get ahead’ and take everything one can get, depriving others of the necessities of life. Instead, following Jesus’ example we give God thanks for all that we receive from God, and then use it to give those same blessings to others. Always doing things right is just a beginning. We go beyond that to do what is best for others.

Sometimes that means we sacrifice some of ourselves, some of our life.

Always it means we freely surrender any claim or right to ‘possess’ anything for ourselves. We are always stewards of God’s blessings, blessings intended for everyone.

And when that is how we live, then righteousness prevails, peace, quietness, and trust grow and lasts … forever and ever.

Thanks alone we give to God for working in us, for on our own we could not even start to follow Jesus, nor grow righteousness in our midst.


Or Freedom

Sunday, October 29, 2023

The Path Following Jesus is Narrow,

and Leads Us

to the Light of Life.

Isaiah 57:11

Whom did you dread and fear so that you lied, and did not remember me or give me a thought? Have I not kept silent and closed my eyes, and so you do not fear me?

Romans 8:15

For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’

Words of Grace For Today

Fear grows out of many different kinds of circumstances. Perhaps the worst is real fear from people and circumstances that will kill or maim one’s loved ones.

In slavery everything about one’s life circumstance is determined by an other. Today things may be quite tolerable. That holds no promise for tomorrow.

That can drive one to real fear.

Being a slave to sin, a slave to the Evil One, is as high as the stakes can get, for not only is life here on earth at risk, but all life, after death and eternally, as well as life of one’s spirit, which normally can thrive even as one’s body does not.

This slavery is a valid, urgent, and critical reason to run through life in fear.

Caught in that slavery, as we all are born into it, leads to to no end of absolutely terrible things we do to try to deny that slavery, or to counter it’s effects on us and our loved ones. All our efforts are in vain, but the Devil has many ways of getting us to hide that truth from ourselves.

This is not that for which God created us to live, that we would run ourselves and others ragged out of fear, lying and deceiving even ourselves about the reality of life in God’s creation.

Hard to get that message across to us thick-headed humans, God sent Jesus, God’s own Son, to teach, heal, and guide us, and to be an example of love, even love so profound that one sacrifices oneself so that others can live, and live well.

Adopted into Jesus’ disciples we are at baptism, and then …

well life goes on and unfortunately so many of us forget all God has done for us, and we allow the Devil to consume us with fear,

and we lie

to ourselves and others

and destroy others and ourselves and those we love


it seems that nothing is better than before God adopted us in baptism as God’s own children.

Thank God, God knew we’d do that, and planned for that, so that Jesus’ forgiveness applies to us anew each day, each hour, each minute, freeing us once again from that fear and all fear that would drive us back into the Devil’s devious and destructive hands.

So we are free.

Free to follow Jesus’ example of

being slaves to God’s Will for us,

that we would love one another as God loves us,

even to sacrifice ourselves so that others will live, and live well,

live abundantly,

and joyfully.

Many have done this for us, so we live abundantly,

and can joyfully give all God has given us so others may live abundantly and joyfully.

For this we were created and given even this day.


Listening and Speaking To Breath

Thursday, October 26, 2023

Like Smoke From the Fire,

Always Present, Always Needed,

The Holy Spirit’s Breath Voices the Word of Christ

Each and Every Day.

Isaiah 50:4

The Lord God has given me the tongue of a teacher, that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word. Morning by morning he wakens— wakens my ear to listen as those who are taught.

Acts of the Apostles 16:14

A certain woman named Lydia, a worshipper of God, was listening to us; she was from the city of Thyatira and a dealer in purple cloth. The Lord opened her heart to listen eagerly to what was said by Paul.

Words of Grace For Today

In desperate times and circumstances we hope,

we all hope,

for we can only hope,

that someone will have a word to sustain us through our weariness.

We hope that someone has listened to the Word of Jesus, well enough, to understand how to provide a word that sustains us.


when others are caught in desperate times and circumstances they hope,

they all hope,

for they can only hope,

that someone, like us, will have listened well enough to the Word of Jesus that we will have a word to sustain them through their weariness.

Do we have ears to hear, and hearts to listen, and minds like Christs to understand?

Today, like each day, the Word of Christ is all around us. Will we listen as the wind-breath of the Spirit speaks to us?


God’s Work

Monday, October 23, 2023

The Cold and Hard of Winter Approaches.

Is That A Curse or a Wonderful Blessing?

Daniel 6:27

He delivers and rescues, he works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth; for he has saved Daniel from the power of the lions.

Ephesians 1:22

And he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church….

Words of Grace For Today

God certainly delivers.

And I would not take it away from Daniel, being rescued from being eaten by lions,

I’d just like to have been delivered from the ‘lions’ of today that consume other people with lies, deceptions, and greed.


of course,

the paradise I live in now may well be God’s rescue,


that is

how it is for us:

we miss that God

is at work for us

because …

well all sorts of reasons.

Today, time again to notice God’s work for us.

Anxiety Run


Saturday, October 21, 2023

The Ice is Coming!! The Ice is Coming!!

The Cold Hard Ice Days of Winter are Coming!!!

Jeremiah 17:7-8

Blessed are those who trust in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. They shall be like a tree planted by water, sending out its roots by the stream. It shall not fear when heat comes, and its leaves shall stay green; in the year of drought it is not anxious, and it does not cease to bear fruit.

Galatians 5:22-23

By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things.

Words of Grace For Today

To live a life filled with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control requires first that one is not anxious.

The gift of faith provides a foundation of living free of anxiety.

Free from being locked up in worry and concern for what might have been, what might be, and will certainly come to be.

So we breathe easy, deep, slow, calming

to start each day


as we start to take on each new challenge,

trusting that God will be with us, guide us, and save us,

so that the worst

that can befall us is that

we get to come home to Jesus,

with all the wonder that that will provide.

Breathe, and get ready to be filled with and giving everyone love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

There’s no law against such things, except the law that lets anxiety run wild.

When I Wake Up

I know who I am going to be!

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

The Moon Sets as the Dawn Breaks,

Who Will We Be This Day?

Proverbs 14:26

In the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence, and one’s children will have a refuge.

Romans 8:35

Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

Words of Grace For Today

Knowing who we are is a great start to any day.

Often our confidence in who we are is lost in delusions and dreams unreal.

There is only one identity that we can know of ourselves that will bring us life with each breath and that is …

Yet there is, before we speak of it, so much that would tear us from that identity.

Not least of all is our own drive and dreams to be something worth being.

Through hardships we forge ahead, proving we are worth the breath we breathe.

Through distress we dig deep, proving we are made of goodness.

Through persecution we deny our persecutors their satisfaction, proving we cannot be conquered (even as we sink deeper into the abyss.)

We try to survive through famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword, but then the course of nature claims us in our deaths.

Oh, how futile all our struggles turn out to be. And how foolish our enemies have made themselves out to be, as they sink faster into the abyss with each move made against us!

There is no confidence we can have, about anything, least of all about ourselves that will save us.

We are doomed, all of us.

The one confidence that we have is a confidence given to us, though we do not deserve it, not at all, not at all.

That identity is one given to us by Jesus: we are the bearers and sharers of Jesus’ love for the world and all people ever.

From this love, nothing can separate us,

because God gives it to us each day, each hour, each minute.


Breathe In

And Take Share in Adam’s Atoms Yet Again.

Friday, September 8, 2023

We Walk Short Distances,

But the Atoms from Our Breath Circle the Globe,

in a year.

Isaiah 26:19

Your dead shall live, their corpses shall rise. O dwellers in the dust, awake and sing for joy! For your dew is a radiant dew, and the earth will give birth to those long dead.

Hebrews 12:1

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,

Words of Grace For Today

When we breathe in we breathe in atoms that have been breathed in by all creatures who breathe up to about a year before we breathe. When we breathe out, in little more than a year, our expelled atoms will be breathed in by every living creature that breathes in air.

That’s a connection.

That’s a significant reliance.

That’s a dependency.

That’s … scary, considering what we are doing to the air around planet earth!

When we realize that the atoms we breathe in integrate into the bodies we are, which when we die decay back into the earth (one way or another), it is not difficult to acknowledge that when any new life is born or hatched or otherwise begun, it contains part of all who have gone before. So out of the dead rises new life, just not quite like themselves, usually.

This happens almost no matter what we do. Cremation or burial both lead to the same thing, just in different ways on different timelines. If we shipped our body off in a spaceship towards some distant galaxy, only then would our atoms not reenter the life stream on earth.

Laying aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, as the writer of Hebrews admonishes us to do, is on the opposite end of possible for us; it’s impossible on our own.

This we can only appear to do as the Holy Spirit accomplishes it for us. So we ‘run with perseverance the race’ before us, knowing that even putting one foot in front of the other is a gift from the Holy Spirit. Our place in the race is a rather humble one; God runs us for us.

For that we can be thankful this day, again.

Of course, we always have the choice to stop running. God does leave us freewill. Stopping God’s walking us is something to avoid each day.

But we don’t avoid it, not at all, not at all. So God needs to rescue us many times each day.

Thank God, God does rescue us; also this day, again, and again, and again.