Thanks Giving

Monday, October 10, 2022

As We Stand

Wonderfully Coloured

In God’s Glorious Light,

We Always Cast a Shadow of Sin

Behind Us.

Leviticus 22:31

Thus you shall keep my commandments and observe them: I am the Lord.

Philippians 2:14-16

Do all things without murmuring and arguing, so that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, in which you shine like stars in the world. It is by your holding fast to the word of life that I can boast on the day of Christ that I did not run in vain or labour in vain.

Words of Grace For Today

Leviticus lays out rules upon rules before coming to this passage: Thus you shall keep my commandments … Just prior to this conclusion the offering of young animals is laid out in clear detail.

Now if these few rules were all it took to keep the Lord’s commandments, then we’d have a hope of being able to keep and observe them. They are, instead, voluminous even in scripture and interpretations fill seemingly endless volumes, often with contradictory rules and admonishments, so that keeping them is impossible.

Jesus pared the commandments down to Love the Lord your God, with all you heart, mind, and strength, and love your neighbour as yourself, even your enemy. And with that concise formulation it seems possible at first glance, but …

But only by denial of one’s own reality, one’s wishes, desires, yearnings, and actions taken to make it through life – only by denial of one’s own reality is it possible to think that one can keep this one commandment.

The simple truth is we fail at keeping the commandments, every last one of us. That does not mean that we ought to go about our days intentionally murmuring and arguing, or that we should remain oblivious to how our actions hurt others. We need make great efforts to help others.

We need not do all this in hope of satisfying God’s commandments. Rather we can only do this with hearts filled with gratitude in response to all God has done for us.

Obligation does not produce goodness from and in us.

Gratitude does.

Obligation seeks approval for what is already not good enough.

Gratitude seeks nothing except that other people will benefit from one’s words and actions.

We are not going to get out of life free from blemish. Trying to do so is futile and drags us down into the pit of despair, out from which we do not emerge on our own, though we all too often create a false narrative for our lives that tries to convince ourselves we are not stuck in the pit of our own sin, of our own making.

Rather gratitude accepts that we are all blemished, ourselves as much or more than others. Gratitude accepts that God alone transforms us, while we remain wretched, dreadful sinners, into saints who bring life abundant to others.

Thus, as we enjoy meals, and family, and time to relax, reflect, and give thanks (well some of us anyway, for many have none of that even this day), we remember that:

  • The value of life and of ourselves is a gift from God.
  • The joy of life is knowing to whom we owe thanks, and being able to give it.

So today we Give Thanks, as grateful people, as sinners-made-saints.

Different and Precious

Sunday, October 9, 2022

No Need To Be Stuck In The Rut.

God Calls For A Different Way of Living.

Deuteronomy 18:18

I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their own people; I will put my words in the mouth of the prophet, who shall speak to them everything that I command.

1 Thessalonians 2:4

Just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the message of the gospel, even so we speak, not to please mortals, but to please God who tests our hearts.

Words of Grace For Today

To hear God’s Word is precious, awesome, dreadful, life-giving, and demanding.

No one said is was a comfortable ride through life seeing God everywhere, hearing God always, listening to God all day and all night, and following God’s Word with thankful hearts.

Far to many people have interpreted and reported that God demands obedience to [fill in the blank with the current religious leaders’ wishes for controlling people] in order that we will live well and blessed. With this view to God’s Word, to which apparently neither the religious leaders nor their followers have bothered to listen – that is God’s actual Word, it is either an easy thing or an impossible thing to listen and follow.

So many paths have been taken. So many paths have been foisted on others. And so many of these paths lead to life wasted.

God’s precious Word demands not obedience, but a response of gratitude, service, dedication, and sacrifice for others.

God’s precious Word gives life by forgiving sins and making saints out of tremendous (that is wretched) and worthless sinners.

God’s precious Word is dreadful because it sees through all attempts we make to hide or obscure or minimize our sinfulness.

God’s precious Word is awesome because it outshines, out-sings, out-dances everything else in the universe.

Today, see, listen, serve and smile with gratitude, for this is how God created us to live.

It’s another day, more opportunities to serve, more opportunities to share God’s actual precious Word, and more opportunities to live life as God created us to live it.

Success in Faith?

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Those Days of Golden Light, Shine Already in Our Hearts, by Faith Alone.

Isaiah 52:9

Break forth together into singing, you ruins of Jerusalem
for the Lord has comforted his people, he has redeemed Jerusalem.

1 John 2:8

Yet I am writing you a new commandment that is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining.

Words of Grace For Today

We try so hard in life to succeed. And there are all sorts of ideas about how to succeed.

One of my favourites* is “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it. *though I cannot recommend the man to whom it is attributed – Charles R. Swindoll

Reba McEntire gives us: “To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funny bone.”

Pele the soccer star offered: “Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.”

Colin Powell put it plainly, “There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.”

Winston Churchill pointed out that it is always a process: “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

Out in left field: John Barrow said, “Music is 10% exhilaration and 90% utter disappointment.”

But what really counts in life is Faith

How can we succeed at faith?

Can we ever succeed at faith?

No, because Faith is not something we can do or succeed at.

Faith is a gift, a precious gift, that God gives us. It is the gift that sees us through the dark days of life that are so many and brings us to the days when the bright light of God’s Kingdom shines bright all around.

On those days we can Break forth together into singing, … for the Lord has comforted his people, he has redeemed us all.


Monday, September 26, 2022

Sometimes God’s Presence is Just There, Waiting for Us to Notice.

Jeremiah 31:18

Indeed I heard Ephraim pleading:
You disciplined me, and I took the discipline; I was like a calf untrained.
Bring me back, let me come back, for you are the Lord my God.

John 20:27

Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.’

Words of Grace For Today

It is so easy to wander.

To wander and find oneself lost.

To wander and find oneself lost and wonder why.

Why the need to wander and why did the result have to be that I am lost?

Lots of people, encounters, events, and circumstances help us find our way in life, often back from being lost.

God works in many ways to bring us back and to bring us home in the end.

Until then we will always have time to demand signs, beg for mercy, and experience the joy of bring brought home again.

No doubt about it.

God is always there, working to bring us back safely.