How do we commend ourselves?

Saturday, July 16, 2022

Some Guests Are Serene,

Soaking Up

the Peace of

This Consecrated Place

Psalm 138:7

Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve me against the wrath of my enemies;
you stretch out your hand, and your right hand delivers me.

2 Corinthians 6:4

As servants of God we have commended ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities.

Words of Grace For Today

To commend is to to entrust for care or preservation.

So how can we entrust ourselves to others for care or preservation.

Paul faced the hatred of Jewish leaders and communities (because he clearly threatened their power and control of their faith – Christianity being a new alternative away from and out of Judaism), but more so the Roman authorities who responded to the complaints of the people under their jurisdiction.

So Paul, needed funding and protection from hostile elements and authorities, entrusted himself to the various congregations he helped start, the one in Corinth included.

In this verse Paul commends himself not by proper teaching, or life saving teaching, or bringing Jesus’ Word to the people. He commends himself through his endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities …. And at that point one realizes one needs the larger context of what Paul wrote, for this is not quite right for Paul. So:

As we work together with him, we urge you also not to accept the grace of God in vain. For he says,

At an acceptable time I have listened to you, and on a day of salvation I have helped you.’

See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation! We are putting no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we have commended ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labours, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, holiness of spirit, genuine love, truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; in honour and dishonour, in ill repute and good repute. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet are well known; as dying, and see—we are alive; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything.

We have spoken frankly to you Corinthians; our heart is wide open to you. There is no restriction in our affections, but only in yours. In return—I speak as to children—open wide your hearts also.

So Paul uses his ‘track record’ of enduring great tribulations to seek the open hearts of the Corinthians. Not only his tribulations, though. The list is long on the work of the Spirit in Paul beginning with

purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, holiness of spirit, genuine love, truthful speech, and the power of God

and ending with

We are treated as imposters, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet are well known; as dying, and see—we are alive; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything.

Few have it as rough as Paul did, but many have had congregations like the Corinthians, or worse. Do everything and anything for them, caring for them, loving them, burying the dead and celebrating life with them, and they still come back at you to drive you to your grave … as if it is their God-given task to kill pastors (and lay leaders).

It is a great surprise that the RCMP, the lawyers, and the courts have tried their best to kill me as well, all without any cause that I can find … though the court records are full of reasons none of them are actually true, and it’s not difficult to know that.

Pests abound as well: mosquitoes, wasps, and the two legged kind who keep intruding past barriers and gates, stealing valuables and essentials for my survival, and with unnecessary noise pestering the peace, solitude, and holiness of this place.

To that I respond God help them, and for me I still live well, for

Though I walk in the midst of trouble, God preserves me against the wrath of my enemies;
God stretches out her-his hand, and her-his right hand delivers me.

With thanks I begin each day, as you can, too, for all God does to provide life abundant, and safety from one’s enemies, and peace from pests.

1/4 Turned and Twisted

Monday, May 9, 2022

When We Twist

God’s Grace

Even A Bit,

Life Is All Uphill.

Psalm 11:7

For the Lord is righteous; he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face.

Ephesians 4:23-24

For surely you have heard about him and were taught in him, as truth is in Jesus. You were taught to put away your former way of life, your old self, corrupt and deluded by its lusts, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to clothe yourselves with the new self, created according to the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

Words of Grace For Today

Ah Ephesians, Ephesians. So like so much truncated and 1/4 turn twisted faith. Jesus shows us we cannot save ourselves. The twist is simple: after Jesus saves us, then we are able to save ourselves.

Ha!

The world and people in it would have to be of an entirely different creator for that to be possible.

Yes, the Holy Spirit gives us the courage to recognize that we should, and by God’s grace sometimes do,

put away our former way of life, you old self, corrupt and deluded by its lusts, and to be renewed in the spirit of our minds, and to clothe ourselves with the new self, created according to the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

This is a marvellous miracle for us when God accomplishes this in us, and in those around us, or anyone on this planet … and then we go off the rails, back to our old ways

like Ephesians, thinking we can save ourselves, and not being able to at all, but making up story after story as if we can, have and will …

which is the devil’s fertile ground for all the destruction that follows in such self-delusions.

So we beg: God save us again,

and again,

and again,

and again without end,

so that we might reflect the power of your grace for us, so that others may know your grace for them.

Oh, God, give us a bit of righteousness, today, if you could. We certainly do need it. We all need it.

Dear To Christ, Always

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Dear Me Dear,

It’s Deer

Meat

Before Breakfast

Walking in the Meadow!

Deuteronomy 8:10

You shall eat your fill and bless the Lord your God for the good land that he has given you.

1 Corinthians 10:31

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.

Words of Grace For Today

I had guests for breakfast today, well actually before breakfast and … well they would have made a good lunch or 20 as venison, not so sure about breakfast.

They came, four of them did, a yearling playfully jumping about it’s doe, another doe, and a two prong buck. They came the did, to graze, to eat, and to enjoy the grass on the meadow. The grass used to be a barnyard so the ground is soft and spongy with old hay and manure deep below. The grass grows different, which means it must be a favourite for the deer come visiting quite often, and to visit now at this time of year, during hunting season when the wood smoke fills the air and there is every sign that a human is about, must mean the prefer this grass over other.

This is the land that the Lord has guided me to, as a refuge. I eat well enough here, and many animals do as well. A rabbit is often seen hopping about. Coyotes visit in the night. Bear come snooping around too often. Mice run in the grass and a bald eagle, a brown eagle, and an owl hunt here. The other day a moose and calf came tumbling through the underbrush as they are wont to do, making a great racket. I won’t mention the ants and wasps and flies and mosquitoes in such great numbers but there are dragon flies that hunt them, the robins that eat the worms, and the bats that come feasting on the plenty.

Then there are the Hornets and F-18s, and helicopters and troop transports, that fill the sky with their presents, which is more a deafening sound barrier broken (on departure) or afterburner (burning off and wasting fuel on approach) and thought stopping punch to the brain through the ears.

Canada really does need to upgrade to stealth fighter, stealth in sound, and maybe in the meantime (25 years or so it seems) conserve fuel by not burning it off on approach … for practice and climate change friendly habits, eh?

While the world busily turns about around me, with oil workers roaring their Ram diesels out of the stop sign, or the trucks pound the pavement steadily for hours each morning and evening as the workers in the oil installations around the corner northward progress like army ants to their allotted jobs, and the quiet neighbourhood cross-overs and SUVs head out to work in town, the drunks show up to drink, the addicts to buy and take a hit, and the randy show up for a shag in the bush, and the partiers show up in droves to break Covid restrictions and have a good old fashion bush drinking, drugs, loud noise they call music, and sex party (and then fill the ICUs in two weeks time) …

my work is all blessed by God’s walking with me. The relative quiet of the chainsaw, the gathering, cutting, splitting, and stacking of wood, the maintenance of the stove and chimney, the building in preparation for the cold of winter, the cooking of meals, the canoeing on the quiet lake, the walks in the woods fill my days after they start with celebrating the Eucharist, remembering how Jesus was betrayed, falsely accused, killed, and buried … and how God resurrected Jesus to give us Jesus’ story of how God forgives and loves and gives life abundant to us all … so that we can share it with others!

With this beginning every day is a blessing, a gift to enjoy.

Hard work or pleasant walks or quiet canoeing or writing or taking photos … all my time is blessed and a witness to all of God’s great glory, known to us all in God’s Grace … that gives us all we need starting with each breath.

Atem tief. Gottes Barmherzigkeit durchdringt tief in und aus allem.