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.

It’s a drag or

What is lame is healed?

Wednesday 4 January 2023

The ‘yard’ with the drag,

before the last 1.5 feet of snow.

First Kings 19:7

The angel of the Lord came a second time, touched him, and said, ‘Get up and eat, otherwise the journey will be too much for you.’

Hebrews 12:12-13

Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.

Words of Grace For Today

As the years accumulate and take their toll on my body, more and more joints complain, some very loudly and persistently.

Whether it’s arthritis or decayed bones or broken tendons, muscles, and blood vessels, the complaining is voracious when it comes to consuming my time and abilities.

Ah, such is life past it’s best by date.

It’s not that the journey is over. There’s lots of time travelling (forward one day at a time) left. And I hear more than just angels telling me to get up and eat to strengthen my body, mind, and spirit for the day’s travels.

The 1.3 km path through the woods into the meadow is already providing challenges. With the snow already at the beginning of January as deep as it was at the end of winter last year, the coming and going is tricky to say the least. So much of my time and resources are spent (despite complaining joints) to make the path smooth, or at least smooth enough that I can continue to drag the route in with a piece of roofing tin supported by an odd assortment of screwed together wood. That beats the snow into a hard packed mess that makes it a bit easier coming and going, a bit, but not enough.

Now I would love to have the joints healed, and the road bed (the dirt, grass, and rock surfaces) make level so that snow clearing were so much simpler and coming and going when it all melts and turns to soft mud would be predictably possible. I haven’t seen that yet.

So I love this passage’s promise, but I just don’t see it happening.

Rather time travel steals more and more usefulness from my joints, and that’s just life, or at least life past one’s best by date.

Another day of challenges, meeting them as best as possible, trusting that God walks with me always. Do God’s joints complain when God walks with me? Kind of think they must, or at least something similarly, so that God has compassion and mercy and at least heals my spirit, one day at a time.

Freewill Offering of Ourselves

Thursday 8 December 2022

Finding one’s way past all obstacles, or walking through in all with God at one’s side?

Exodus 35:29

All the Israelite men and women whose hearts made them willing to bring anything for the work that the Lord had commanded by Moses to be done, brought it as a freewill-offering to the Lord.

1 Peter 2:5

… like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

Words of Grace For Today

It is one thing to offer up what one has, and then again another thing to offer up everything one has.

But is it a whole other kind of life to offer up oneself along with everything one has and is and can be.

That’s the offering we get to make in response to Jesus work for us.

So we are spiritual sacrifices, living sacrifices, all so that others may know that God is gracious with us and with them.

Not that it is exciting, necessarily, to be stones, even if living stones. For what the world measures as success is not something that stones can achieve. So we sacrifice everything the world would measure as success and trust alone in what God provides.

At-38⁰ one hopes that what God provides is sense enough to prepare well for the deep cold of winter, the hot heat of summer, the bugs, the coyotes, the squirrels and the thieves’ and liars’ intervention in an already difficult life, a life of solitude, off-the-grid peace, and wonder.

There’s wood. And a stove. And water. And food. And not quite enough insulation, but it’ll have to do. Things are freezing. The sun shines brightly.

And there is power to write, and warmth to rest by, and read of wonders wrought by God’s hands, here and in places distant, now and in times far removed.

So it is when God walks with us, never alone even in this wonder-filled hermitage.

And for the rest of y’all? What has God got to offer other than life abundant, free from things and dishonesty and strivings and ‘bettering the Jones’ and false pretenses.

If one but wishes a life, a difficult life, fully blessed, a life offered completely to God’s work of bringing grace and truth to all people.

So what’s on the agenda for today for you?

Arbeit Macht Frei

Saturday 3 December 2022

Oh, We humans work, and work, and

work wonders with our machines …


God works most wondrously,

also in us.

Psalms 102:18-20

Let this be recorded for a generation to come, so that a people yet unborn may praise the Lord: that he looked down from his holy height, from heaven the Lord looked at the earth, to hear the groans of the prisoners, to set free those who were doomed to die ….

John 8:36

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

Words of Grace For Today

Arbeit Macht Frei

(Work Sets You Free)

an infamous greeting for the prisoners at the entrances of Dachau, Auschwitz and other Nazi concentration camps.

And it was hardly true, unless the freedom promised was death. For working hard with barely enough nutrition to remain alive put on in the grave sooner.

God’s work among the prisoners, those doomed to die, is marvellously miraculous and not often enough,

for we humans keep multiplying the numbers of people imprisoned and doomed to die, even in Canada where capital punishment is not legal. We just do it surreptitiously, or indirectly, or ‘inadvertently’.

As in all God’s work, as in all our work for God, the purpose is less to save people from death (for death comes to us all eventually) but it is to bring others to see God’s Grace and saving work even for great sinners, so that all people will give God praise.

Our work is best centred on that purpose and goal as well: to give witness to the Grace that saves us and sustains us, and can save and sustain all people, so that more and more people will give God praise.

Another day, more opportunities to work for God to bring God praise. Another full day.

Our work cannot make us free, we are free already, no matter our circumstances, even imprisoned unjustly. For God walks with us, holding us up, and guiding us to live with peace, joy, love, hope … all given to us freely.

Cause and Effect

Wednesday 23 November 2022

Not Quite Roman Roads, but,

no matter how great or small our efforts are,

they are nothing compared to God’s work

for us.

Psalms 24:7

Lift up your heads, O gates! and be lifted up, O ancient doors! that the King of glory may come in.

John 1:12

But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God.

Words of Grace For Today

Cause and Effect: people always want to be in control of the cause and the effect, especially of their own lives and things important to them,

like being accepted by God.

So the one verse from John reflects (in the English more than Greek) that first 1) we believe in Jesus’ name and receive him.

Then 2) God gives us the power.

And 3) we use that power to become children of God.

And that is all backwards and dangerously so.

If we have that power, then we have the power in the end to tell others that they did not receive Jesus, and therefore they are not the children of God, and if not the children of God, then they are not our equals, and … well eventually that leads to us against them, and the killing starts, if not literally then figuratively at first and always in the end, literally. And that is hell. That is not what Jesus came to live on earth as one of us in order to make possible.

It just ain’t so.

In fact taken with the verse before and after we see even in English some very different cause and effect.

John 1:11-13

He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.

1) Jesus comes to his own, and 2) they do not accept him.

3) others receive him and believe in Jesus’ name,

4) Jesus gives these others the power to become the children of God,

5) but listen: that power is not worked out by us humans, because those children of God are born (not by blood or the will of humans) but by God.

The cause and effect is clear: God acts, we receive the blessings. We get to accept the blessings or reject them.

Regardless of how we respond, scripture shows again and again that God acts again and again, to move us to accept the blessings.

The Psalm can be misread as well.

Lift up your heads, O gates! and be lifted up, O ancient doors! that the King of glory may come in.

One could say we must life up the gates of our hearts, our world, our cities, in order that the King of glory may come in.


we know God comes whether we act or not.

We pray that God will bring us to lift up the gates, and give witness to the coming of the King of glory. That’s the part we sinners get to play in God’s effort to reach out to so many people who think they are in control

of the cause and effect

in God’s creation.

God’s in control of all the causes and effects and we get to believe, cooperate, and participate, Or not.

God’s still in control of all the causes and effects.

Thank God, for when we think we are in control, that’s when we build ‘towers of Babel’ and start wars to ‘conquer or kill off the unfaithful’ who are in our way for exerting our control in ‘our world.’

Another day to pray we learn also again today to believe, cooperate, and participate in God’s Will.