Us-Them, We(eds), or All Together.

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Whether we see others as ‘weeds’ in our lawn of life

God sees us each as precious and

God shines Light on each of us,

the light of love and life.

Isaiah 56:7

These I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt-offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.

Colossians 3:11

In that renewal there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all!

Words of Grace For Today

We humans keep building walls, us and them.

God keeps telling us and showing us that God is for all people, without any us or them.

Christ is all and in all … and for all peoples!

Christ is even for me, and for you, sinners though we be, God has claimed us a God’s children and made us saints, able to share God’s light with all people …

without any ‘us’ or ‘them’

or

walls

or

judgments

or

condemnations,

just

Grace for all.

It’s a wonderful dance of love, this life is (at least as God intends for us, and makes possible for us to live it.)

Ready or not here it comes, one day at a time, one hour at a time, one minute at a time … one decision at a time.

Set a place for Elijah, keep an eye for the poor at your gate, invite in the homeless …

This is God’s day, and out day to give everything back to God, one decision in one minute at a time.

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.

Melodies Disparate and Haunting

Friday, May 21, 2021

Woods, Meadow, Mountains or Plain

We are Always Hungry in the Wilderness

Nehemiah 1:6

Lord, may your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer of your servant that I now pray before you day and night for your servants the people of Israel, confessing the sins of the people of Israel, which we have sinned against you. Both I and my family have sinned.

James 5:16

Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective.

Words of Grace For Today

The smoke at first curls and twists around and down to the ground as the fire starts to burn. The song birds’ melodies from the woods mix with the loon wails across the water. A distant dog barks always hungry that one. Then as the fire develops coals the hotter smoke, still grey and white, takes a straighter path upwards and away. Seagulls in a flock scream and screech across the meadow. The distant dog barks always hungry that one. Two solo geese fly over honking, their mate on the nest keeping an egg, maybe two or more, warm in the sub-zero pre-sunrise cold. Without notice or care the smoke turns transparent, so hot the smoke particles become invisible, until six feet up from the homemade chimney rain cap it cools to become visible grey again. In the distance the dog still barks, always hungry that one.

Our voices rise to God, sometimes in melodies sweet with praise, sometimes sorrowful wails, sometimes honking, calling attention to ourselves (at our best it is not just hubris but to provide a tiny bit of safety for the vulnerable, as the parent ducks and geese do), sometimes in screams and screeches desperate it seems though it too often is not so, and sometimes like smoke our voices rise to God full of all that our lives have consumed, too cool to rise, hot and clouded, or searing hot and invisible.

Always our voices rise to God because we are hungry, always hungry … for the bread of life, the living water, the light of the universe … for love

and we do not understand how to receive all that is already provided to us

so we are always hungry.

Then without notice or care God’s Grace permeates our living, we see the awesome wonders of God’s Love and will for us and all creation and

we are exposed,

so exposed,

exposed

as the sinners, the unfit creatures in a marvellous creation, that we are.

Our response can only be to lift our voices to God with Nehemiah:

Lord, may your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer of your servant that I now pray before you day and night for your servants the people of [fill in your people], confessing the sins of the people of [fill in your people], which we have sinned against you. Both I and my family have sinned.

We cannot confess other’s sins. We confess the sins in which we have participated with others and benefited from, namely the sins of our people of [fill in your people]. We acknowledge our shared sins, and our family sins … and our own personal sins.

This is the first step of becoming aware of God, yet once again, as we traverse our days on the side of God’s holy mountains, in God’s holy plains, and in God’s holy woods and wildernesses.

Confession brings healing so that we then are ready to do what we are called to do,

God’s work bringing abundant life to all people.

And our voices rise to God once again in melodies disparate and haunting … in profound thanks

for all God has provided for us.

Snow – Sing, Baby, Sing

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Green and Snow

You Never Know What God Has for Us

Next!

Nehemiah 9:5

Then the Levites, Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabneiah, Sherebiah, Hodiah, Shebaniah, and Pethahiah, said, ‘Stand up and bless the Lord your God from everlasting to everlasting. Blessed be your glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise.’

Ephesians 5:19

Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts.

Words of Grace For Today

Singing seems to be in the passages for now, and on our lips. Why not?

Two days ago the green of spring had sprung . The grass was growing wildly, trees were budding fully, and the wild rose and raspberry so abundant in this area had started to throw their leaves outward.

Then the usual of spring in Alberta fell from the sky: snow, heavy, wet and grand covered the ground and green with inches of white on top that grass and all those buds.

The return of snow and cold puts the increase of pollen and the beastly bugs on a hold and/or delay for a few days or, if we are lucky, a week or two. There’s always an up side. Even when things are so terrible they cannot get worse: the only way to go is up!

When we recognize for the million-times-millionth time how gracious God is to us, though we certainly do not deserve any of it, we have all the reasons we need to sing. We can sing almost any song, the old songs, the new songs, and even all the off-the-wall songs we can find or make up, just as long as they help us tell once again the old, old story of Jesus and his love.

The melody of telling Jesus’ story resonates with the harmonies of the universe

for God created it so.

So let us sing

even as the snow falls on the greening of spring, let us sing

for God created us so.

So … sing, baby, sing.

Now!

Thursday, May 13, 2021

You Can Tell Spring to Arrive

But Only God Sets the Time!

Zephaniah 3:19

I will deal with all your oppressors at that time. And I will save the lame and gather the outcast, and I will change their shame into praise and renown in all the earth.

Acts 1:6-8

So when they had come together, they asked him, ‘Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?’ He replied, ‘It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’

Words of Grace For Today

Oh, what assurance it gives to us this day, to be able to look forward with full trust that God will deal with all our oppressors and the oppressors of all people in all time!

Yet, we want God to act on our timetable, Now, please!

Or at least we want to know the time when God will act, so that we can fully trust God’s deliverance from our enemies who seek our death!

God provides no such time.

God provides a Promise.

God promises that we will receive power from the Holy Spirit.

God promises that we will be God’s witnesses, here at home, in the neighbouring countryside and countries, and to the ends of the earth!

That will require everything we are and have and can be – which is only possible as the Holy Spirit makes us able.

So we pray, discipline ourselves, and see and speak with God each day.

What an adventure life is!

By Grace … Still Why Us?

Sunday, April 18, 2021

There are fault-lines everywhere,

no more than in each of us.

Why then does God bless us with Grace?

2 Samuel 7:18

Then King David went in and sat before the Lord, and said, ‘Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far?

1 Corinthians 15:10

By the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace towards me has not been in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them—though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.

Words of Grace For Today

To live is good!

To live blessed by God is wonderful!

To live aware that all the good one can do is not from one own self, but possible only by the Holy Spirit working in and through one is most wonderful!

To live aware that God has brought us thus far by grace, making us what we are is to live with gratitude… and that is awesomely wonderful.

Being aware of God’s blessings and grace does not relieve us of the necessities of working hard. This awareness drives us to work even harder to play our small parts in God’s Kingdom come for all people.

Hard work is sweet and wonderful, when one works for God’s purposes: to bring the blessings of God’s Kingdom to all people. Some would say it is the sweetest, most wonderful sweat of all life.

Even with such Grace prodigiously poured over us, we must wonder, God, ‘Why us?!’

Help us Lord! We are so far from your kingdom even though you have brought it here long ago.

Thursday, January 28, 2021

We are as fragile as grass in the deep freeze of winter snows.

And more precious than platinum to God.

Genesis 32:11

Deliver me, please, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau, for I am afraid of him; he may come and kill us all, the mothers with the children.

Luke 19:9

Then Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham.’

Words of Grace For Today

Jacob, the trickster, who stole the birthright and inheritance from his brother, cries to God. Jacob is rightfully afraid that his brother has every right to respond and not kindly. That he will kill everyone in Jacob’s family is a possibility.

So Jacob cries for God to deliver him from his rightful punishment.

If any of us think we are in a different situation before God, we are real fools. Think again.

No one is righteous before God. All of us deserve punishment for our sins. All of us ought to humbly cry to God for deliverance, deliverance from our enemies that we do not deserve.

God responds to Jacob’s cry.

God responds to our cries.

God responds, graciously, mercifully, lovingly forgiving us and delivering us … maybe not from our enemies, but from the Devil and from us losing our souls (heart, mind, body in one whole big loss of our lives).

For we too, by faith in God’s Son, Jesus the Christ, so marked with this faith as a gift given to us freely by God, are also counted among the children of Abraham, God’s own people.

Humble pie.

Desperate pleas!

Gracious Deliverance!

We are in this together: this life, this pandemic, these challenges, … all of it.

God’s creation is a wonderful place to live and share life abundant with others.