Three Star Joy

Thursday 19 January 2023

In Our Darkness,

We May Only See The Evil,

as here the pollution

of an oil processing plant.

Job 28:24

For he looks to the ends of the earth, and sees everything under the heavens.

Matthew 18:14

So it is not the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost.

Words of Grace For Today

There are plenty of times-events when we can well wonder if God sees what is going on, if God cares about what is happening to us or to others, if God will ever intervene and stop the horrendous evils that are perpetrated against us or against others.

Just look at what men get away with doing to women. It’s all over the news. And then don’t forget to look at what women get away with doing to men. It’s not all over the news, and it should be. Instead women can freely lie to the courts, and just as effectively as men kill women, women kill men. It ought not be so easy, for men or for women to kill others. But that’s how it is. And no one seems to care that women are as effective at killing men through lies in the courts and outside the courts as men are at violently killing women with force!

Does God care?!

Just look at what rulers have done and are doing (like Putin among so many evil rulers) to people with their military. Bombing apartment buildings, city-cide, scorching the earth ahead and behind them, attacking electrical and energy delivery networks and systems … and don’t forget the forced conscription or abduction of young men and women into the military, swiftly brought to the front without sufficient training, fodder in their unjust wars.

Does God even notice?!

The atrocities are not new or suddenly present in our times. The atrocities are as old as human life on earth (maybe before!)

The scripture passages remind us that God does see everything that happens, good, bad, ugly, and atrocious. God cares and wills not that even one little person will die before their time.

We could go with that assurance and bury our heads, but …

But many little ones are being killed even this day, again! Many men (and women) will be killed today by violent or subtle means, many with courts, cops, and the community playing a part in their deaths and in the cover ups.

So what are we to do, say, or think?

As in all our responses to all evil, close at home and far away in place and time, we can but trust that God not only sees and cares, but accompanies us and all those who suffer, and when we die, God calls us home.

Having a home on earth is enjoyed by many, but it’s taken from many more, even this day, again. Having a home in eternal time (having begun before we were even born!) with God is a basis for great joy and thanksgiving in life, even this day … even if this day were the day that we would finally succumb to our enemies’ ongoing attacks against our lives.

With great joy and thanksgiving, then we go into this day and each day. What more can we ask of life?

Well, let me make a list … it’ll be a few hundred pages long so hang on to your hats.

Or …

We can rest in God’s blessings already given to us each day and again this day.

Christ’s Light Shines,

like three stars,

even in this darkness.

Lead Us Through Loneliness to …

Wednesday 18 January 2023


Alone or

in Solitude,

in the fog and

freezing drizzle.

Exodus 15:13

In your steadfast love you led the people whom you redeemed; you guided them by your strength to your holy abode.

1 Peter 3:18

For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, in order to bring you to God. He was put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit

Words of Grace For Today

During Covid we learned to live with minimal contact with other people … well some of us did. It is quite the thing to live separate from lots of human contact. Some of us can live that way much more comfortably than others. It’s called being an introvert.

Introverts know a lot about solitude, as opposed to loneliness. Being lonely implies that one is missing an essential part of life, contact with others. Finding solitude and enjoying solitude implies that one is relieved to be separate from the chaos of other people. Lonely is to be at a loss. Solitude is to live well alone.

For extroverts it is difficult to imagine being at peace separate from the chaos of others, because they gain energy from others, while us introverts ‘charge our batteries’ only when we are alone.

Different ways of being, both have their challenges and weaknesses. Extroverts can too easily get caught up in the ‘fake news’- ‘echo chamber’ – irreality that can lead to either trumplike idiocy with power or suicide bomber fanaticism. Introverts can too easily miss out on the joy of loving other people.

For us all, Jesus came and sacrificed himself, the only perfectly righteous person, and then came back to life; all in order that we might be free from the sins that drag us down, extroverts and introverts alike, into the pit of life-squandered-on-stupidities.

Instead, God leads us, not by force, but by weakness and mercy, to find the fullness of life in accepting forgiveness for our sins, and extending that same forgiveness to others.

In that steadfast mercy, we are ‘found’ again and again by God’s Spirit, and we find ourselves ‘at home’, in God’s abode,

which is this beautiful creation all around us.

With the Help of …

Tuesday 17 January 2023

All Paths Lead to The Point.

The point of life is to treasure

God’s Grace!

Psalms 119:11

I treasure your word in my heart, so that I may not sin against you.

2 Timothy 1:14

Guard the good treasure entrusted to you, with the help of the Holy Spirit living in us.

Words of Grace For Today

While we are given the ability to choose to love or to not love (sin), we do not posses the ability on our own to do all that is right. We are, by design, sinners.

But with the help of the Holy Spirit, who lives in us as is promised and demonstrated at our baptisms, we are saints, ones who do God’s will.

Now that is something to treasure!

It is the most precious gift ever possible.

And God gives it to us wretched sinners, so that we may live, with the help of the Holy Spirit.

Simple: Joyous Praise!

Monday 16 January 2023

Finding Our Way Is Simple,

and Simply Impossible

Without God’s Help.

Psalms 71:23

My lips will shout for joy when I sing praises to you; my soul also, which you have rescued.

Colossians 1:11-12

May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light.

Words of Grace For Today

The purpose of life has been proposed as many different things, and even said so often to be different for each person.

Yet, scripture and the saints often agree that the purpose of life is the same for us all, and that it is simple: give God praise with great joy.

The challenge is that life is often boring, overwhelmingly challenging, and unbearably painful, sometimes all at once. In order to be joyful and give God praise in the midst of all that takes … well it takes more than we have to give it often seems.

Only by the Holy Spirit enabling us can we endure all the boring, overwhelmingly challenging, and unbearably painful times of life, and still know at the beginning, end, and in the midst of each day to give God thanks for everything in life, and life itself.

For that we are created. For that God deals graciously with us. For that is simple, though seldom easy.

Do It Right! Or Else!

Sunday 15 January 2023

Our Sins, like dark trees,

always partially block OUT God’s Perfect Light,

which makes life


Proverbs 21:3

To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.

James 2:26

For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is also dead.

Words of Grace For Today

Sacrifice is given after one has done what is not acceptable to God (sin), to appease God, to win God’s favour, and to set things right with God.

Of course, we humans would think that, instead of sinning it would be better just to do what pleases God, wins God approval, and stays right with God.

James hits it right on the head: the body alone is not alive, not unless spirit inhabits the body, mind, and soul. Likewise faith without works is also dead, for works are the spirit that gives faith its life … right?

What James hits right on the head is the easiest perversion of faith, apparently the Devil’s favourite path to corrupt us away from God, for we take it up so often. It goes like this: we do, God rewards us, beginning and of story.

Thank God that is not the story of God’s will and Word for us. Not at all. God created us able to love and able to sin. That is God created us free to choose to love (otherwise it is not love) which requires us also to be free to choose to not love, which is to sin and turn away from God’s will for us.

God planned for all that.

God loves us, whether we choose to love and live out that love doing righteousness and justice, enlivening our lives of faith with works of love (and all that comes with it.)

God does not abandon us to our lives of sin, perverse, destructive, and full of suffering as they are. God, instead, reaches out to us with love and forgives us and renews God’s spirit in us, and sends us out to do the same for others.

That is God’s will and Word for us.

There are so many seemingly convincing arguments to live otherwise, to avoid the real beginning of our relationship with God in worship and the rest of life. The real beginning for us is confession of our sins, which is the acknowledgement that without God’s forgiveness and grace we are nothing good at all, not at all.

There are so many fully convincing arguments made that we are sinners but not really that bad after all, not like other terrible sinners. We are not wretched sinners, just sort of sinners. All that is the Devil’s work to pull us away from fully relying on God’s forgiveness and grace as the source of spirit in our lives, which is really life itself.

Thankfully God planned for that, too, graciously sending God’s own son to show us how wretched we are as sinners, and how forgiving God is, and we can be forgiving of ourselves and others, without avoiding our profound and desperate need to be forgiven in order to breathe and be alive each moment.

Yes, we ought to do it right or else. The else is, God will forgive us again, and again, and yet again, demonstrating that we can do it right only with God’s Spirit guiding us.

Oh, and God prefers neither that we do righteousness and justice, nor that we make sacrifices. God prefers that we live out and tell the story of God’s Grace enabling us to do God’s will for us all.

Only a Fool

Saturday 14 January 2023

Storms Threaten,

Evil People Even More So,

So What Are We To Do?

Psalms 139:16

Your eyes beheld my unformed substance. In your book were written all the days that were formed for me, when none of them as yet existed.

Matthew 6:25

‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?

Words of Grace For Today

Only a fool does not prepare for the cold and blustery storms and long dark nights of winter by working hard when the temperatures are warmer, gathering, cutting, splitting, and stacking wood, repairing the wood stove and chimney, repairing and improving insulation, doors and windows, repairing and upgrading supply- and waste-water systems, and inspecting and repairing vehicles.

Only a fool does not prepare for the storms and winds of spring, summer and fall when the skies are clear by working hard to repair and upgrade roofs, wind breaks, window and door shutters, and tools.

All this so that when the storms come, one has less work to do to survive. Since the storms are getting more fierce, more destructive, and longer one has to prepare in ways that were not imagined necessary just a few years ago.

(You will have to translate these preparations to your own situation, of course. Pity the person who does not have such preparations to make, who has everything done for them by others. They will always have opportunity to find something trite, mundane, or meaningless to worry about.)

When scripture so often admonishes us to have no fear, we often hear that we just ought to relax and let time march on, the world take its toll, and suffer what may come our way. Because every sane person knows that is the fast track to not surviving, we think we can just ignore the words to not fear.

God saw all that before we were formed, before God created anything at all of the universe.

So why does even Jesus tells us do not worry about your life? Is that all nonsense coming from Jesus, or from the writers about Jesus, and maybe Jesus never said such a thing?!

An aside: the shelter is warm next to the wood stove at 53⁰ and it’s only 16⁰ at my feet as I write, so I open the door to warm it up here, knowing my head will bake in 30⁰, but at least my legs and feet will warm up to about 19⁰. So should I worry about what I’m wearing. No, not at all. I prepared as best I can, by raising this area higher than the shelter so the heat rises into it, made sure there was a door to keep the blistering heat out or let it in as I needed, and spent lots of hours of hard work preparing wood … and I bought and wear long johns even inside so that my legs can withstand a bit of cold as I get older.

Which is exactly why I need not worry. What I can do, I’ve done, so that my situation is as good as it can be with the time, resources, and energy I have left in this old body-mind-life of mine.

Worry, or fear, is not a help when one’s situation is as good as it can be or even when one faces terrible circumstances like extreme storms like never before imagined possible in this part of the world.

So one does what one can each day, preparing as best as one can, and then in the thick of it when the storms hit one does what one can. Worry and fear are time-energy-life wasters in all circumstances … as long as one sees the world clearly around oneself and knows enough of what one faces.

The passage from Matthew goes one step further: one ought not worry about one’s food, clothing, etc, because life is more than all that.

And that is precisely it: life is determined considerably by the external things like air, water, food, clothing, and shelter. But even more of life is determined by one’s mind-spirit-body interpreting-dealing with-and responding to the externals.

If we always turn every circumstance into a panic, life will be ugly for us, and probably pretty short. But

even in the worst of circumstances, even ones that threaten one with death, life can be a wonderful miracle to experience.

So much of one’s circumstances are beyond one’s control, so living free from fear and worry (and all that entails, and steals from us) after one has done what one can do to survive the storms (and attacks by other people!) provides already the blessings for us that God saw were ours to enjoy, and so God created the universe for us to live and love and

try not to worry or fear the unknown so much that we lose life itself, even if we keep breathing.

There are always more than enough people who would do us in, given the opportunity. Fearing them gives them a win and us a lose even before that opportunity arises, and helps that opportunity come sooner. Still there is caution to be exercised concerning people of evil intent.

But God saw that before we were anything more than possibilities as time began. So we need not worry about that.

Only a fool would worry and fear things so that life is beyond this day’s possibilities. (And God saw that we would be fools many times over and God still created us. That’s the miracle!)

Be Reconciled

Friday 13 January 2023

Feeling like a useless, Dead Stick stuck in the Ice?

Fear not!

God lovingly planned

for that, too!

Isaiah 44:8

Do not fear, or be afraid; have I not told you from of old and declared it? You are my witnesses! Is there any God besides me? There is no other rock; I know not one.

2 Corinthians 5:20

So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

Words of Grace For Today

Be reconciled to God.

That sounds like we’ve got a lot of work to do, since, if we are honest with ourselves, we are so far from reconciled with God, others, or any of creation.

Might some definitions of reconcile help us understand what that work is? Definitions from The Free Dictionary (worth every penny)

Are we to:

1. To reestablish a close relationship between parties? Oh if we only could, but God is beyond our control, so try as we might, only God can do this!

2. To settle or resolve (a dispute)? Are we in a dispute with God? Sure appears that way given the list of our sins, our thoughts, words and deeds that go against God! So can we get rid of our sin, past, present and future. Not a chance!

3. To bring (oneself) to accept? Well, maybe this is getting closer to what we might be able to do, if it weren’t for those persistent, pesky sinful desires and wishes that drive us to reject God’s will for us, so I guess not this either!

4. To make compatible, harmonious, or consistent? Oh, if only. Nope, this requires that God makes us over again and again, into something different than we are, sinful, wretchedly sinful, persistently wretchedly sinful people.

5. To compare (one financial account) so that it is consistent or compatible with another? Nope, we cannot buy our way into God’s good graces, so keeping the books will not work. And nope: cooking the books will not work either.

6. To reestablish a close relationship, as in marriage. Well, marriages are full of all sorts of crap, and we bring enough with us wherever we go, so maybe we can establish a close relationship with God, as long as that includes relating to our sins on an up close and personal level. Is that really reconciling ourselves with God, though. That’s more like a bad marriage: dumping all our crap on our spouse, and saying it’s all their fault things don’t go well!

7. To become compatible, harmonious, or consistent as in balancing one’s bank account? Nope, our accounts are so out of whack that it’s not in the works to keep good books or cook ‘em enough to make us a fit for God’s goodness.


Thankfully when God created us, God planned for all that, and is loving and gracious with us and all our sins and crap like that, so that

God does the reconciling of us with God.

God does it all.

And we get to live free from fear, blessed to be a blessing to all we meet, so that all other people will come to know

God does it all for us.

We do not reconcile ourselves to God.

We are reconciled, to God, by God, thus ‘be reconciled’ is the phrase.

That’s not so much work, as giving up and letting God take over.

Now I can reconcile or resign or submit myself to that kind of Grace, as we all can.

Required Perfection

Thursday 12 January 2023

Oil Fuels Our Circumstances, and Destroys Creation.

Love Fuels Our Hearts and Heals Creation.

Deuteronomy 10:12

So now, O Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you? Only to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul,

1 John 2:5

but whoever obeys his word, truly in this person the love of God has reached perfection. By this we may be sure that we are in him:

Words of Grace For Today

The formula for life is simple, so people say: just do everything just and righteous, obeying God’s commands, and you will live perfectly, well, and blessed.

The formula for a terrible life is simple: do that and you are for sure going to suffer, suffer, suffer.

Even after Jesus’ story is there for us to learn and treasure, even after the light of the star of the Magi has come and gone and we can learn of it and treasure it, even after so many have ‘discovered’ the key to life and faith is God’s Grace and written, preached, and lived so that we can read their words and treasure them, we humans trundle back to our old and failing ways: we live as if it is all up to us and what we do is the key.

Doing, striving, and learning to do better, and even ‘discovering’ all we can about God’s love for us and all creation are certainly crucial parts of life. It’s just that when we place them at the top of our priorities and the top of the causation chain for how life should develop for us, then we are in for lots of miserable living. Oh, we may acquire riches, power, and fame, but our hearts will be miserable.

Our hearts determine more about our lives than our external circumstances. Our hearts guide us to strive for more and more for our greedy, selfish, perverted selves OR

our hearts can guide us to the key to living a blessed life: love.

First we realize and acknowledge anew that God loves us first and most powerfully, overwhelmingly so. Then we can acknowledge and confess again and again that we are greedy, selfish, and destructive people, greatly in need of forgiveness and a new start in life so that we can live free of our woeful sins (as they all are) and live to love others with God’s love, which is to love ourselves as well. Then we realize that even before we sin so terribly, God loves us, and graciously forgives us our past sins and our present sins and even our future sins, all so that we can live free of them, free to love God and God’s creation with all our hearts, minds, and strength.

Then we get to work, strive, learn and delve into making the circumstances of others’ lives better, as a demonstration of how God forgives us, and how God is ready to forgive them.

That’s the blessing of life, and the required ‘perfection’ of life: to rely not on our own sinful selves, but to rely on God’s forgiveness, and then to get working at making life right for others.

When we are unsure of our place with God, then we realize again and again, it is not up to us to fix it, for God has already done that. That is the security of life, the only security in life, the only thing that is sure. God has done it for us, done love extraordinaire though we deserve nothing of it at all, at all.

Give To Get??

Sunday 8 January 2023

If We Look to Give So That We Will Receive,

We Live Like Three Dead Sticks

Stuck in the Ice

in the Freezing Fog.

Deuteronomy 15:10

Give liberally and be ungrudging when you do so, for on this account the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake.

Luke 6:38

give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.

Words of Grace For Today

The order of causation is messed up.

We do not give so that we will get what we give and more of it.

First God gives us everything, including breath, life, love, and hope.

Because God gives us so much, we can give liberally all God has given us so that others will enjoy the life God has given them.

And that is how it works.

Trying to encourage people to give to others in order that they will receive what they want or need is a futile project as countless ‘Stewardship Programs’ give great witness to.

If we remember how it is that we are free from sin and able to live graciously at all, then that is a good beginning to any day.

Let it be so, also today with us.

Ice Time, Praise Time

Saturday 7 January 2023

The Quiet Morning Moonset

Over the Fishers’ Ice

Psalms 113:3

From the rising of the sun to its setting the name of the Lord is to be praised.

Romans 15:5-6

May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus, so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Words of Grace For Today

What are you going to do today?

What are you going to do this week?

What are you going to do this year?

What are you up to?

Planning on robbing a bank to settle an injustice that resulted in you and many others losing their pensions because of wilful mismanagement and corruption?

Planning on visiting an old folks home to sing golden oldies with the folks?

Planning on escaping the family gathered for the holidays by going fishing out on the ice, where solitude is king?

Planning on writing a novel about the things you know best?

Whatever you’re planning, whatever we’re planning, what God does for us is the beginning and end of every good thing in our lives and throughout all creation, so

however we go about what we go about doing, what God asks of us is that we go about it so that God’s name is praised.

Figure that in to your plans and just maybe it’ll require dropping some plans or at least modifying them substantially.

As for that solitude on the ice being so great, because it is freedom from the chaos of the family gathered, well …

Paul would wish for us all that we could live in harmony with each other, so that we go towards our things to do, and not from the people in our lives.

Tall order living in harmony with some people who bring chaos and unreal drama with them wherever they go, but God asks that we do our best, and

sometimes our best is to take a break from the chaos and drama, to rejuvenate our patience in the solitude on the ice, dangling a lure on a line so that maybe we catch a fish to enjoy eating later.

Wherever we are, God walks with us, and asks that whatever and however we do what we do, we do it to give God praise.