Precious to Whom?

Sunday, July 18, 2021

In the Heat of (Climate Change Ever More Extreme) Summer

God Remembers Us

And the Many Paths Our Machines Have Made

In the Cool of Winter.

‘Chill’

God Recommends We

‘Chill.’

2 Samuel 7:22

Therefore you are great, O Lord God; for there is no one like you, and there is no God besides you, according to all that we have heard with our ears.

Revelation 1:17-18

When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he placed his right hand on me, saying, ‘Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, and the living one. I was dead, and see, I am alive for ever and ever; and I have the keys of Death and of Hades.

Words of Grace For Today

In this rough and wild world of self-interested cheats and liars all, it is good to know one’s friends well and to have friends in high places, very high places.

No better friend than God, for there is no one like God, no god besides God, whether we’ve heard it or not!

The trouble with human friends is that when they get to be in high places, they cannot be trusted not to turn on you for their own interests of staying in high places, or demanding dirty little favours of you to help them stay in high places.

God does no such thing. We need not fear that God will turn on us, or turn us into petty criminals doing God’s dirty work so that God can remain God. God has no such concerns, for God has not stepped up higher than is God’s place (like some friends do, and all people in high places have done!)

God does no such thing. Instead God assures us we need not fear God’s Power and Might. God has turned that all powerful, all-mightyful reality toward resolving all that would destroy us.

God chose to be born as one of us, weak and vulnerable to corrupt powers that pretend to be more than they are, just as many of our judges and police and politicians do today. God suffered a terrible death at their hands, and defied their ‘power’ and the real power of death and evil itself! All so that we can live free of such fears, of petty powers and of real destructive powers of evil and even of death itself.

That’s what a real good friend in the very high places (and the low places and everywhere in between) does for us.

We must be some extraordinary precious!

Breathe in that reality!

We are precious to the Ultimate Most Powerful One!

What a life!

What are we going to do with it, that’s the question for each of us each day!

Whether We Are On or Off, God’s Love Is Always On!

Saturday, May 29, 2021

The First Wondrous View Each Sunny Morning.

Wonders Never Cease

Whether We Notice God’s Miracles

Each Day Determines Much of Our Lives

Psalm 48:9

We ponder your steadfast love, O God, in the midst of your temple.

Ephesians 2:22

In Christ Jesus you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling-place for God.

Words of Grace For Today

God’s temple, that temple built by humans, is a great place to contemplate and ponder God’s great works.

God’s temple, that temple built by God – that is all of creation and especially the wildernesses untouched by human ‘domination’, development, and destruction – is the place to contemplate and ponder God’s great works visible and obvious before one’s eyes, if one will open them and notice what is there.

God’s temple, that temple, the body that God dwells in, in each of us provides no end of cause to pause, contemplate, and ponder all of God’s great works that give us breath and life, re-newed life, and hope.

God’s temple, that temple, the body of Christ made up of all the followers of Jesus the Christ, through all time and in all places, is the most remarkable opportunity to contemplate and ponder the great works of God, for in the gathering of Christ’s followers (not at all the greatest people ever) the evidence of God’s Grace is blatant to even the casual observer. Here, in those Christians alive now, great sinners we each and all are and by Grace God-made saints we each and all are, along with the sinner-saints of all times and place, give ample witness to God’s greatest work; that by Grace God claims us, walks with us (even when we sin, trying to ‘run from’ God), forgives us, renews us, and sets us free (sin-free, though we always choose otherwise) to live each day again. That marvellous Grace, for each of us, and that marvellous Grace among us, holds us alive, in body, mind, and spirit. That Grace does not cease when we try for the million-times-millionth time to ‘run from God.’ God’s Grace, miraculously accompanies us through all our lives and into eternity.

If the trees create remarkable shadows on the ‘dark side’ of the sun’s light, we humans cast a shadow far more obvious with our ‘trying to run from God’ efforts. The Grace of God, in the Light of Christ, does not fail to shine even on the cloudiest of days or the darkest moonless nights. Our sins make God’s Grace as blatantly obvious as the trees’ shadows on the dew lit grass of the early morning sun.

This Grace is God’s love, God’s steadfast love.

This Grace is God’s love, God’s steadfast love, also for you (no matter what you have done ‘running from God’, or how desperate your enemies are that attack you, or how lost in it all you may find yourself!)

This Grace is God’s love, God’s steadfast love, also for you, this day, this night, and your every tomorrow.

This is worth pondering, and being awestruck by once again.

God Walks With Us

Monday, May 17, 2021

Since the Sun First Rose

To Shine Light on Us

We’ve Had Many Paths to Choose From.

Many Have Chosen Evil as Their Path.

God’s Blesses Us, Walking with Us

Guiding Us on Paths of Righteousness.

Genesis 39:23

The chief jailer paid no heed to anything that was in Joseph’s care, because the Lord was with him; and whatever he did, the Lord made it prosper.

1 Corinthians 3:6

I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.

Words of Grace For Today

When God chooses to work with us, things work out well for us.

Joseph is in jail not because he did anything wrong, but because Potiphar’s wife wanted to have sex with him, he refused, she falsely accused him of sexual assault, and he was quickly falsely convicted and jailed.

Not much has changed through the many, many generations. Women can too easily make false accusations of a man and have him falsely convicted and jailed. Happened to me. The worse part of that was everyone knew the reports, charges, testimony, and judge’s decisions were all made up of material lies, obvious lies. Without the lies brought to the courts and those made up by the court there could not have been any convictions. The real damage is not to me, as it was not to Joseph. The real damage is done to the children who were in my care who learned that lies win in court. The real damage is done to those who lied, for to lie about such things, and for courts to produce blatantly false decisions and convictions, costs those people a huge part of their soul, their spirit, their health and well-being, which like cancer grows until there is nothing good left in the person.

Joseph, as I was, is noticed as different, honourable and honest, by his jailer. He is put in charge of many things and trusted with them. God is with him, and it is obvious to those around him. It is not that Joseph or I or the many falsely jailed people through history with whom God has walked are perfect. It is that we are blessed, in many and various ways.

There is a wide stream of hubristic Christian theology and practice that takes the blessing of God’s people, the prospering of our work, the growth of God’s Kingdom around us, BUT it changes this from a blessing to a claim to control God’s Will: namely this heresy claims that those whom God chooses for eternal life (and the rest of humanity is damned eternally) can be seen to be so chosen because they prosper, and by prosper is meant they become wealthy on the backs of other people. This is not God’s blessings at work for them. This is the Devil’s perversion of blessing into curse: Goodness is measured in material wealth, power, or position.

God’s blessings come in many and various ways. God’s blessings sometimes come most fruitfully, most obviously, when one suffers the lack of material wealth, power, or position. This does not mean, as some have turned it around backwards again by the Devil’s wiles to pervert God’s blessing, that one has to be poor, powerless, or an outcast among the homeless or nation-less in order to be blessed.

Paul struggled against great odds to bring the Gospel to everyone, even those not Jewish, and in so many places around the northeast Mediterranean. The congregations that he helped develop were not made up of perfect, or even nice people. A quick read of the Letters to the Corinthians makes this obvious. Yet Paul’s missionary work prospered and was blessed by God. Through his work and many other developments in the flow of time Christianity has become a recognized religion for the last millennium and a half; which is not a perfect development either, marred as it is by as much scandal and war as not.

Still, we say with Paul of his work for Christ and of ours: We planted, others (Apollos) watered, but God gives the growth.

Because God walks with us, and gives growth so that in many and various ways things prosper, we can say Julian of Norwich, even when the world is ‘going to hell in a hand basket’ that all will be well, all will be well, all manner of things will be well.

God Rocks! God Rules Everywhere!

Friday, May 14, 2021

God’s Glory Shines Everywhere!

Psalm 103:19

The Lord has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all.

Revelation 19:6-7

Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty thunder-peals, crying out, ‘Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.’

Words of Grace For Today

When the evil of those who are entrusted to be just and honest and good reaches arbitrarily into so many lives, destroying the old and the young alike, then we have pause to wonder:

Is God at all listening, watching, caring at all?!

Our travails are no greater than many humans have experienced through history. Truth is they are not as great as so many. We read the witness left by those who suffered so much more than we do today.

The witnesses through the generations are clear, wondrous and sure:

God has established God’s throne in the heavens, and God’s kingdom rules over all.

There will be many days that Evil will drive us to doubt God’s love, God’s promises and God’s deliverance. On those days, in those moments, the witnesses that have gone before us bring us back to trust the power of God, the Almighty, the All-Knowing, and the All-Loving.

We can join the chorus crying: ‘Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory!’

We, too, give witness for the generations that follow us, that God has given God’s heart to us in love, with a love that created us, rescues us, and sustains us!

No matter what comes our way with hearts filled with wonder we know that God has given us all lives of great challenge, love, and adventure!

Wise Choices OR the Usual?

Friday, May 7, 2021

No Matter How Nice It Appears,

When We Choose to Walk Away from God,

We Walk on Thin Ice.

We Choose Thin Ice

Too Often

Psalm 25:5

Lead me in your truth, and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all day long.

1 John 5:15

If we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have obtained the requests made of him.

Words of Grace For Today

There are so many choices we must make each day or make by trying to not make the choices; they catch us no matter.

The wiser we get, hopefully before we get too old, the more we notice how little we know of everything we need to know. We see how desperately we need help.

So we learn to plead to God for help: lead us in your truth, and teach us.

Where else are we to ask for what we need?

Where else in this world of corruption from top to bottom are we to find truth, about us, about others, and about God?

We know when we ask God, God will provide what we need.

This is God’s promise, which we can trust.

There is no more we need from life than what God provides, for it give us everything worth waiting for; God’s truth that is irrefutable.

Trusting God’s truth gives us life in the face of so many lies about ourselves, about others, about what God is and is not.

Trusting God’s truth gives us life, life abundant.

Another Day

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

A Shadow of One’s Self;

God Strengthens the Whole.

Set for another day!

Psalm 138:3

On the day I called, you answered me, you increased my strength of soul.

Romans 10:12

For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and is generous to all who call on him.

Words of Grace For Today

Love is true,

Hope is strong.

Set for another day.

The eagle soars above,

the loons sing across the water.

Set for another day.

The water jug is full;

the bucket toilet emptied.

Set for another day.

Enemies have had their way,

God promises they are moot.

Set for another day.

The night brings freezing,

The day brings warmth.

Set for another day.

The soup has beans,

the milk stays cool.

Set for another day.

The visitors stay far,

the deer graze near.

Set for another day.

The wood is gathered,

the wood is split.

Set for another day.

The world does not want to know

that I breathe only by Grace, still

Set for another day.

The wind blows sleet

the sun hides above thick storm clouds, still

Set for another day.

The story is told;

no one listens, still

Set for another day.

I called on God.

God answered with true love.

Set for another day.

Love is true

Hope is strong.

Set for another day.

Chosen ‘Few’ OR Chosen ‘All’?

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

No Matter the Road Ahead of Us

God Chose Us

To Go and Bless All People

As God Has Blessed Us.

Isaiah 41:9

I took you from the ends of the earth and called you from its farthest corners, saying to you, ‘You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off.’

Romans 11:1

I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin.

Words of Grace For Today

The history is that God chose the Israelites, only the Israelites. Everyone else was unchosen and unclean. This we humans do to make ourselves special: we claim that we are chosen and all others are not. This does not make us special. It makes us typically self-centric, arrogant, and judgmental.

When Paul was converted after Saul went blind on the road to Damascus, he studied for years, held himself in retreat from activity. He underwent a profound change, from an effective, eager, persistent pursuer and persecutor of Christians, to a leading proponent of Jesus’ Way of living, i.e. by Grace.

Paul did not restrict sharing the Good News, which he encountered as Jesus’ Way of being God’s people, with just the traditionally ‘chosen’, the Israelites. Paul went out to share the Good News with anyone and everyone who would listen and wanted to be baptized in this Way of living.

That brought the obvious question: were the Jews wrong to claim God had chosen them, or had God changed God’s mind and rejected those God had earlier ‘chosen’?

Paul’s answer is simple: No. God’ choosing people is expanded, not ended. The Jews are still chosen, as are all other people who Christ calls to follow his Way.

History repeats itself. Many times God’s people have declared that only they are God’s chosen. As many times God’s message comes to bear on the mess this exclusive claim creates: God’s chosen are chosen, DOCH God does not choose only some people. God chooses all people.

Our human way of living does not make sense of this very well, if at all.

It does not need to. God still chooses all people and offers them abundant life. Not life in abundance (of wealth, things, etc.), but life filled to overflowing with blessings and the ability to share those blessings with others, all others.

God gathers us from the ends of the earth, from all corners of creation, claims us as God’s servants, does not cast us off, and sends us out to share the Good News. (Like Paul.)

What a life!

A Guide, A Sure Guide

Sunday, April 25, 2021

How Can We Find Our Way

Across Thin Ice

To Where God Wishes Us To Be

Psalm 48:154

This is God, our God for ever and ever. He will be our guide for ever.

Philippians 1:6

I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ.

Words of Grace For Today

There is work for us to accomplish each day. We can sometimes easily ignore it, or pretend that life does not demand that we accomplish anything …

… as long as someone else is providing our lunch and lodging.

The real challenge is to keep moving towards getting something good accomplished, and first to know what is the good thing to do.

If we try to calculate that on our own, we will inevitably fail.

Only God can guide us to know what is truly good, and what we can accomplish this day that will be truly good.

God starts with us, and no matter how much we try to run and go it on our own, we need God to guide us toward the good we can accomplish, that God would have us accomplish this day.

Thankfully, God will be our guide for ever.

We are not in this alone.

The one who began a good work among us will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ.

Angels vs Upheaval

Monday, March 22, 2021

No Matter the Obstacles in Our Path

God’s Angels Encamp around Us,

Guiding Us

Psalm 34:7

The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them.

Luke 11:10

For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.

Words of Grace For Today

There are enough challenges to everyday,

even ordinary everyday days.

Through in upheaval like a pandemic, or injustice focused at oneself, or … [fill in the extraordinary upheaval that meets every life] the challenges can seem to be a bit overwhelming.

Then it is good to know that God’s Angels ‘encamp’ around we who fear and love God.

Then it is good to know that when we ask, God provides (what we need, not necessarily what we ask for). When we search, God guides us to find (what we need, not necessarily what we thought we sought). When we knock, God opens (the door that God knows we need to have opened, not necessarily the door we were banging away on).

To fear and love God.

To fear and love God is the beginning of everything good.

To fear and love God is the beginning of every good day, every good hour, every good minute.

To fear and love God is the beginning of every good relationship, project, or yearning.

Help us, we pray, to fear and love God before all else, (more than all the things that threaten to and do upend our lives.)

Help us, we pray, to trust God’s Angels are with us, (no matter what threatens to and does upend our lives.)

Proud or Humble

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Call it as you will.

For Us

God’s Wonders of Grace

are Everything.

Genesis 16:13

So she named the Lord who spoke to her, ‘You are El-roi’; for she said, ‘Have I really seen God and remained alive after seeing him?’

Luke 18:13

But the tax-collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!”

Words of Grace For Today

God is Great.

We are Not!

Knowing who God is and who we are is the foundation of all wisdom.

Not knowing and living out who God is and who we are is the foundation of all sin and evil.

With wisdom one can live well, even in abject poverty, under terrible injustices, and even in ill health.

Without this foundation of wisdom informing one’s daily living, we are all lost.

We would do better to stand far off from those acceptable hypocrites who pretend to control governmental or church power.

Their illness is their lack of any real wisdom, which they spread to as many people as they can.

We do better humbling ourselves before God, for our sins are great (just not those sins and crimes the gaslighters lie and say we have committed.)

But by God’s Grace alone we would have no life worth living at all.

With God’s Grace pouring out over us … life’s wonders never fail to inspire us to graceful thoughts and acts for others.