We Are Self-Made and Successful! … Quatsch!

Saturday, July 31, 2021

As God Brings Roses to Bud

so God alone Brings

Wealth and Prosperity to Us.

Deuteronomy 8:18

Remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, so that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your ancestors, as he is doing today.

John 3:27

John answered, ‘No one can receive anything except what has been given from heaven.’

Words of Grace For Today

George was retired, having raised two children, succeeded in business, and married a very good woman. He continued to his last days to call Rena ‘my princess’.

Rena was impressive, more so than George. She was a bank manager, then a retired bank manager, living in the suite above the bank with a view out over the ocean … past the pulp and paper mill with all it’s terrible smell until the very last years of her life when it ran cleaner, though hugely cut back – a loss to the one-industry local economy.

Both George and Rena continued to be generous with their property, sharing the lake cabin with many people, us included. The cabin was on the lake, literally floating on the lake. That’s a wild idea for any Canadian who sees all the lakes freeze and freeze hard every winter. It was possible because they lived on the west coast, the lake never froze and in the days when they established their cabin cedar logs as floats were to be had.

George and Rena contributed generously to the local church, where we got to know them. They made modest financial contributions. Their real contributions were their talents. Rena served as treasure, cleaning up some real problematic messes made by less than clear headed councils, pastors and treasures and one treasure that was obviously less than honest about separating his own and the congregation’s money.

George was a available most any time, helping in every way possible. He welcomed everyone who came and helped them to want to keep coming back. He gave people room to make mistakes and be forgiven; he gave everyone another chance. Sometimes he was gruff but you never had to guess what he was thinking. Rena was gentle, always able to make the best of any situation. Together they became good friends to many people, us included.

While many other people have contributed in so many ways and many of them have given much of themselves and their wealth, few have demonstrated so clearly that their success is not dependent on their own efforts alone, or even majorly. They knew and clearly demonstrated that everything they had was a blessing from God and their duty was to share it with as many people as possible.

Which leads us to ask (as the readings do as well), what do we have and how do we share it?

(Quatsch is a German expression close to BS! in English.)

Truth is Blessed. The Wicked are Tormented By Their Own Sins.

Friday, July 30, 2021

The Blessings Of God

Bring Serenity

To Those Who Trust God

Accepting Forgiveness Readily

And Sharing Blessings with All People

Like the Reflection of a Destructive Storm

Those Who Destroy Others

Are Tormented Always

By Their Own Sin and Evil

Psalm 32:10

Many are the torments of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds those who trust in the Lord.

Romans 5:5

Hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.

Words of Grace For Today

When Arnold had finished with Tina, having sent her to jail for crimes that she did not commit, he still suffered the terror jags. With all his lies about Tina he had created, or rather constructed, a wholly fictional character, which he’d applied to Tina and presented to the church, the courts, and even the children. That character had very little that was true about Tina. Almost all of the terrible things in that character came from Arnold’s own sins and crimes many of which haunted him out of his terrible past. The church, community, and courts, able to know very well that it was only fiction about Tina, had accepted the fiction nonetheless as true about Tina. They continued to do so even as it was more and more clear that they had added their own lies in order to convict, ostracize and ban Tina. Their increasingly worse sins were bound, to be judged by God. They church and judges continued to protest that they had done nothing wrong. It was impossible to have them accept the terrible truth about what they had done, thus they were in God’s hands. Every denial of the truth set them further and further apart from reality, from a healthy life, from the goodness of creation, from all of God’s blessings, from God’s love, and from all hope.

Tina, forced by poverty to live homeless in the wilderness, with help from friends that loaned her enough to get by on each year, lived in the middle of the goodness of creation beside a small lake. There reality was an unavoidable part of every day. Life threatening cold in the winter, and mosquitoes, wasps, and heat in the summer did not allow for any denials about reality. Wood needed to be collected, cut, split and burned to create a warm and safe space in winter. In the summer grass needed to be cut to minimize the mosquito population, wasps deterred or nests destroyed to allow use of the small and very old borrowed camper, and shade needed to be sought and created around that camper in order to mitigate the searing heat that made midday activities dangerous to impossible. Surrounded by the peace of nature, for the most part left alone by other people as a holy mystic, and required or at least able to exercise sufficiently most every day Tina’s health recovered from the terrible cost of suffering Arnold’s abuse, the gaslighting joined in on by the police, community, churches and the courts, and the life threatening ‘medical’ treatment provided by some doctors and nurses.

Tina saw the goodness of creation in the ebb and flow of the seasons as the lake sang and then moaned in bass tones as it froze and then quietly thawed and in a day or two was cleared of ice by a strong wind, the birth of new robin chicks and the care the parents provided the one that too soon glided out of the overfilled nest, the arrival of fawn’s and beaver pups, the fruit of the various berries in their own seasons, and then the welcomed night freezings that cleared the air of all mosquitoes and wasps, the ground of all ants and pine beetles, and the arrival of snow deep enough to ski far beyond where one could walk in a day.

With nothing but her clothing still sufficient for each season, a tent and good sleeping bag, and a bicycle, Tina counted her blessings as friends and family loaned her, gave her, and provided for her more than enough to survive on; she lived and thrived and wrote and took photos … and every morning gave God thanks. Life was reduced to the basics and it had not been so good for a long time. She saw God’s blessings each day, poured out on her and she shared them with the few people she saw during each week.

In spite of everything, all the terrible lies told about her, all the challenges she faced nearly every day to live, Tina knew like no other time in her life that God sustained her and that she had every reason to hope … for hope had not disappointed her at all.

She was able to trust God fully (well almost), and she counted on God’s love surrounding her, pouring over her, flowing freely to the few people she spoke with each day. She knew better than at any other time in her life that the Holy Spirit guided her, that Jesus was present all around her, and that God created and sustained her in everything.

Arnold chose to force his success in life at everyone else’s cost. Tina was only one of his victims. And he paid dearly, daily with the terror jags that disabled him, with the fear of any criticism, with the profound self-doubt that haunted him along with his unshakable knowing the truth of his own terrible treatment of Tina and so many other people. His past haunted him. He knew someday it would catch up with him, one way or another.

Tina lived blessed, not perfect though forgiven, and free … all a gift from God that she knew she did not deserve, and which would never be taken from her, not by all her enemies nor even by all the evil in the world.

Proof: for Fear yes! For God no, sorry.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

The Dark Master

Or the Conqueror of Fears?

Isaiah 44:24

Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb: I am the Lord, who made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who by myself spread out the earth.

1 Corinthians 8:6

For us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.

Words of Grace For Today

God is the creator of all things, and is the one for whom we exist.

There is no proof of this basic statement of faith. Any attempt to prove God exists or that God is the creator of all things or that we live solely for God’s good pleasure and God’s good pleasure is that we live abundantly and for each other … any attempt to prove most anything of God or that God exists at all requires that we first accept the result of the proof as the beginning of the proof.

Fear now … there is all sorts of proof that it exists, that we have it in abundant measure, and that it digs deep inside us and directs our ways and days.

Wasps decided, as wasps decide, to establish nests through out the insulated and not insulated tarps of my shelter, and in the spare tire for the camper I borrow.

Taking down the skirt around that small borrowed camper I took a hit, a hard hit right on the top of the wrist. It forced me to drop everything in my hands and run. I realized I was stung by a wasp, maybe a bee, but the force was like that of a wasp.

I watched as yellow jackets stormed around the spare tire I had moved past to pull away the insulated tarps that form the skirt there. When they quieted down I reached in for my things that I had dropped and was rewarded with a second hit just as hard as the first. It hurt worst than the first even though I knew what it was and there was not much surprise. After all I saw the wasp this time an instant before the pain-shock hit my brain.

For a good week my wrist hurt, then itched out of control, and then ached so bad it was hard to use that hand.

I went looking for wasp killing spray foam. None was to be found or even ordered on line for delivery sooner than three weeks down the road. Even after the ache subsided when I heard a wasp nearby an echo of the jolt of the sting hit me again. Each day I tried to work elsewhere until finally I was tucked inside the camper waiting for time to pass. I realized I was living in fear, having stopped all progress on the necessary repairs that could only be done in warmer weather.

Fear.

Fear requires no proof, though there is plenty of it, that fear exists and that fear will stop us in our tracks.

There are answers to fear. Fear that is not real requires we redirect our thinking until it no longer lands us in the clutches of fear. Real fear requires action. But before action it requires calm and calculated plans on how best to act, how to eliminate the source of the fear.

Degreaser detergent is supposed to kill wasps. I had a good size jug of it.

Vinegar is supposed to repel wasps. I got a good size jug of it.

Peppermint oil is suppose to kill wasps. It was too expensive to even consider.

Even though the sprayer would stop working after 5 pumps, I sprayed a full half jug of vinegar around, to no effect.

I dumped water detergent mix on the nest I could sort of get at, to no effect.

I went on line and tried to order more wasp control foam, but it would take even longer to arrive.

More and more wasps buzzed all around. If I did not act it would get worse and could get so bad that I could not get in and out of the camper or even come near to it.

So I got up early one morning, found a piece of fibreglass screen material left over from repairing ripped screens, got a rainjacket, jeans, another pair of nylon pants, rubber boots, thick leather gloves, and of course duct tape.

I filled the sprayer with detergent and water mixed thin enough so that the sprayer would spray.

After two hours of spraying, refilling, spraying, using a long pole to knock down and out a nest, and stomping it to a flat mess, I had killed a number of those hard-hitting wasps, destroyed three nests, and knew that this would not be the last of it. Too many wasps survived after the nests were gone. They would rebuild and regain numbers and become a problem again, maybe real soon.

Then I would use detergent and the protective gear again, until the foam killer spray arrived to kill enough that they would go away and not come back.

Fears can be dealt with, one way or another.

The only way to deal with the underlying fear of death and destruction by our enemies is to either destroy them first (which is a hell of a way to live – and is everything God tries to tell us is NOT how to live) or to trust God’s promises and grace and love for us.

Trusting God we can overcome all the fear the Evil one and other destruction-seeking people serving the Evil one can put into us. We can live free.

For we believe and therefore for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.

More of the fear conqueror’s suit

Fears, fears of real dangers, help us prepare to avoid our destruction.

Why Lord, Why?!!

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Lord, Why When the Light is Right in Front of Us

Do We Still Seek the Darkness?

Isaiah 61:1

The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners.

Galatians 5:1

For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

Words of Grace For Today

God, why …?

God why is it so hot!

Sweat pours down my back and arms and all over dripping all my work in stinky wet.

My jeans stick to my legs as I try to move. My shirt tugs back at all my efforts to move. It’s hard to get anything done, and when I do I feel like someone has wrung me out like a sopping wet towel and left me still soaking and stinking.

Ok, God, I can get used to the heat, it’s not easy but I’m adapting to it, but

God why are there so many miserable mosquitoes ready to bite me at all hours and at dawn and dusk they swarm so thick it’s hard not to inhale more than a few just walking a few feet from the door. When they bite it hurts, and then goes away, just to come back with a terrible itch that simply will not go away and will not be ignored! What’s that about anyway. If I try to ignore them and merely wash the itch away with ammonia in the glass cleaner, that sort of works until I get itchy all over inside my eyes, my nose, my throat and my ears and I start to have a severe allergic reaction that starts to take my breath away. Really, does it have to be so bad all summer long!? I have to wear long jeans and long sleeves, thick socks and a hat with flaps down my neck and over my ears soaked in DEET to keep them away. Then every night I have to wash all that DEET exposure away before I sleep which takes water which is expensive to haul here to have to wash with. Fortunately I have friends who have loaned me the things needed to shower each night and haul water often enough from town that I can shower on the hot days before sleeping.

So God I guess I can get used to the mosquitoes, but God, I mean really: does there have to be so many black gnats that dive bomb into my face, my eyes and ears and take little chunks away as prizes for their kamikaze efforts, which because they are so many they usually survive better than I. I end up breathing them into my lungs at least once a day. I have to constantly wave my hand in front of my face to keep them away, which sort of works and they only seem to be out in certain places while I am mowing grass. So it’s not all the time, thankfully.

So God I guess I have figured out how to survive even the kamikaze gnats.

But God why are there so many wasps, not just ready to bite me when I try to work on the tarps that shelter me from the cold in winter. They did sting me, hard sending shock waves through my body and brain freezing out all other thoughts or impulses except to run. Not just once, but twice, and they hurt unbearably for hours, then itched and ached for days. The memory returned fresh each time I stepped outside and the sound of a wasp buzz reached my ears. I live in fear everyday of being smashed into panic again. I cannot have that. I cannot work. I have to huddle in fear inside.

That just cannot be. So I’ve made a suit to protect me from head to toe, even a piece of screen left over from repairs to guard my face, all duct taped together with no gaps at all. I’ve read on the internet that dish soap will suffocate wasps. I cannot find any prepared wasp control/killer spray, so I’ve filled a spray bottle with a water soap mix and I’ve destroyed the nest on the tarps, and three in the woods so close they wasps swarm around the camper each day.

So God I guess I’ve figured out how to deal with the fear created by being stung by wasps, and in the fall they will all dies off. Next spring I know what to do to keep them from creating nest here again. It’s simple if I am ready.

But God I really don’t know what to do with the people that gaslight me, that scapegoat me, that bear false witness against me, and the judges that lie about the evidence before them in order to convict me and deny me true justice. How can a society survive such barbarism anyway. It’s like the truth does not count for anything and whatever someone makes up for the courts and whatever the courts want to make up for themselves will be taken in the worse possible way for me, and I’ll pay and pay and pay until I have nothing left and still I’ll be driven into debt, further and further and further, and made to give up even the most common decent truths about myself. I have had to celebrate the Eucharist each day to remember that you too were betrayed and scapegoated and convicted and … well you were crucified. I have not been killed. I have found your blessings in each day in the most profound and simple things, like having enough to eat, and a good cup of coffee with fresh milk in it in the morning, and having medications I need, and having reason and opportunity to work hard to survive, and write and dream and use photography to speak about the wonders of your creation.

So God, I guess I have gotten used to evil all around in the most trusted, honoured places in society in this adopted country of mine. I have to remember how much you forgive me, so that I can remember that you may forgive these people as well, though now I cannot say their sins are forgiven, for they have not admitted they did and still do this same thing to others, and it is horrendous for the children. So I have bound their sins so that they might fear that they will answer to you, though with you I hope for a double victory, now that they provide justice based on truth, and that they join your people in celebrating all your gifts, encouraging others to do the same.

But Lord, it’s so hot, there’s so many mosquitoes and gnats and wasps and so many enemies of goodness, kindness, truth, and love. How can I deal with all of them all the time.

So I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep

and if I die before I wake, least I won’t wonder how much is still at stake

for the dance of life is more than a dance, gracefully, graciously partaken in.

It is also a feast and celebration with you, God, with all your people, in thanks for all you’ve suffered to do good things for us all.

So I guess I can wait for the cold, when the sweat will not run freely, the mosquitoes will be done for another year, the gnats will disappear and I can breathe easy, and the evil people are kept at bay by the cold and snow.

But God why does it have to be so cold and stormy, and why does there have to be so much snow.

I mean I like to have my peace and be able to ski ….

So Lord I pray, give me your peace, in the sleep of the righteous and pure, graciously so made a saint of your light by your own choice and by grace through faith alone.

Another simple normal summer day.

When does autumn start to arrive?

But Lord, why do the bears start to come around in the fall …..?

Lord, whatever it is that holds me captive, free me. Whatever it is that blinds me, give me sight. Whatever it is that robs me of joy while serving you and sharing the good news of your Grace with others, take this from me so that

because you give me life

I can be one of the saints who bring good news to the oppressed, who bind up the broken-hearted, who proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners.

Help me live in the freedom you have so preciously bought for me; help me not return to the slavery that I know so well and feels so comfortable … until it binds me so close to evil that life starts to shrivel right out of me leaving me alone with my fears.

Whose Story Do Our Lives Tell?

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

It’s hot!

It’s so hot that I put out six eggs, cheese, and spices

by the outside propane stove.

Then I went inside to get the iron skillet for making scrambled eggs

and they were hard boiled before I could crack them

and the cheese was burned to charcoal.

The spices were still good.

We are to be like the hot spices for life!

2 Samuel 14:14

We must all die; we are like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be gathered up. But God will not take away a life; he will devise plans so as not to keep an outcast banished for ever from his presence.

Luke 5:30-31

The Pharisees and their scribes were complaining to his disciples, saying, ‘Why do you eat and drink with tax-collectors and sinners?’ Jesus answered, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick [do]!

Words of Grace For Today

The secret to life really is to recognize how screwed up everyone is, how far from God’s good books we all behave and remove ourselves. We like to cast others out, out of God’s house, out of civilized company, out of our lives. In fact the ones who do the casting out are usually the ones most deserving of being cast out. They not only are so screwed up and so far from behaving justly, lovingly, and with gratitude for God’s gifts; they also deny they are anything but perfect or maybe just slightly flawed.

GUFFAW

The other part of the secret to life is to recognize that nothing can help us, especially not ourselves, and not even chocolate or coffee or scotch (or any variation on those themes.) Nothing can help us except God. Knowing God, fearing and loving God, frees us to recognize that God WANTS us! God works all kinds of miracles to convince us that God actually forgives us! God freely and generously gives us forgiven, redeemed, and renewed life, again and again and again and … without end.

God wants us to know God walks with us always.

God does not banish us. Other people pretend they can, but God remains by our side. When we get tossed onto the garbage heap of life and even tossed out into the darkness of hell itself, God walks with us, and keeps us walking right out of that darkness back into life abundant.

Jesus came not to care for those who thought they were healthy. Jesus came to show us that we were all sick, and that Jesus was ever ready to heal us of our every illness.

Death will come to us all. That will end the injustice done by many. Still God does not abandon us, nor give us our enemies’ deaths as the only hope for a better life. Already today God gathers us into Paradise with all the saints in light, if we will only see and recognize all that God does for us! At our deaths God keeps walking by our sides and gathers us still into Paradise with all the saints in light, who have accompanied us on our sojourn each day, hoping for us, hoping that we will also be the saints who share Jesus’ wonderful healing presence and promise with those the world casts out, and those who cast others out.

God continually devises plans so as not to keep an outcast banished for ever; God sends Jesus the physician of the universe to all who are sick; God sends us to heal the sick in heart, spirit, and body with Jesus’ Word and Jesus’ story.

Blessings in All Things!

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

The Blessing of Winter is there are no Mosquitoes

The Blessing of Summer is …

You can say what you will about summer.

I’d say, it is that

winter will come again

so there will be no heat (except in the furnace)

and no mosquitoes!

Psalm 103:15-16-17

As for mortals, their days are like grass; they flourish like a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more. But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children.

Romans 5:2

Our Lord Jesus Christ is through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God.

Words of Grace For Today

We always like to think we are more than we are.

It’s almost built into our DNA.

We strive to achieve more, to become our own godlets, to no avail.

We are but like grass, here one day for a short season, and blown down, mowed to nothing, overtaken by weeds, eaten up by even vegetarians, and the gone, just gone with only a few people who perhaps remember us to live on after us.

Short and brutish … that’s how life is described by poets and philosophers and even wise theologians and priests … though the last along with other wise people do not stop there.

They also go on to give God thanks for the greatness of creation we are privileged to participate in, and especially God’s Grace which gives us more than meets the eye, or rather just as can meet the eye of a faithful mystic, one who looks and sees God at work in the most common things of every day life.

Jesus brings us the story that tells us this Grace is ours to live in, to enjoy, to trust … and to share.

It is this steadfast love of God that gives us breath even when we should not be still alive at all. It is God’s steadfast love that promises that everyday common and usual events and things are much, much more … and we can see them as works of God’s steadfast love.

As we fear and love God, God is able to show us that we live in, work from, and can prodigiously share God’s steadfast love with all people.

Hot long daylight days, short ferocious loud and destructive storms, and cool calm after the heat of the day … all are blessings from God.

I’m not sure about the mosquitoes that just devoured me while I was outside for a few minutes … okay even they are blessings from God. I was driven back in to write and give God thanks.

This is God’s blessing – that we know how, can, and do give God thanks for all things … so much so that we pray for our enemies unceasing, that they may be a part of a double victory for Christ.

Let the storms come, let the heat come … even let the mosquitoes come in droves. There is calm after the storm, there is cool after the heat … and there is ammonia based glass cleaner to dry out the itchy poison the mosquitoes inject to get blood to flow to their bite. Itch, itch, itch. Itch to distraction, endless itch .. until the ammonia works it wonder and the bites settle finally to a comparatively marvellous calm. Thankfully there is no malaria here!

And the night settles in, the day is done. The only thing to do is give thanks, wash up, and sleep deeply in God’s embrace. Tomorrow promises to be another marvellous day, all in all.

Seeing the Light, Being the Light

Monday, April 12, 2021

No Matter How Dark

Our Horizons Seem

God’s Blessings Abound for Us

Jeremiah 33:9

This city shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and a glory before all the nations of the earth who shall hear of all the good that I do for them; they shall fear and tremble because of all the good and all the prosperity I provide for it.

Luke 2:29-32

Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.’

Words of Grace For Today

God’s blessings …

God’s blessings are named by us humans in many and various ways.

God’s blessings often are equated with prosperity and power, independence and might, progress and children.

Except for the children, all this seems to be a complete misapprehension of God’s way of providing for God’s people.

God, rather (as so often made clear in Jesus’ story and people’s reaction to him and his story) blesses us with salvation, which God prepares in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to God’s people.

This salvation rarely looks like worldly prosperity.

It is a life coloured first with gratitude, humility, service, and grace … oh, and the wisdom to recognize God’s blessings as salvation, i.e. forgiveness (freedom from the bondage to sin) and sanctification (making us holy, set apart, to be the presence of God for all people … as the people of light who exercise God’s Grace and love for all people.)

God’s creation has a greatness in it, and we as part of creation share in that grand wonder: that God provides this as a way, place, time for us to exist and be awestruck.

God provides.

We get to receive and share …

and hope that also tomorrow will bring opportunities to be bedazzled by God’s love.

God’s Glory

Strikes Awe

into All Who See

Fleeting Sunshine on Smoke or Light of Life

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Much of life is fleeting as sunshine on smoke.

God’s blessings are sure and forever.

Psalm 71:9

Do not cast me off in the time of old age; do not forsake me when my strength is spent.

2 Corinthians 4:16

So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day.

Words of Grace For Today

What used to take little effort and next to no time or thought, now takes great effort and forging onward through pain, dealing with lack of clear sight, and being exhausted way too soon each day.

Fear makes it worse.

There is almost no resolution.

‘If you have your health that is everything.’

It’s a nice sentiment, though the truth is more clearly ‘if you do not have your health, then nothing else can compensate for that. Life is a finite experience, and without health (as old age takes if from us piece by piece) that finite experience becomes smaller and shorter and smaller and shorter and then will soon end.

Our real comfort is that God does not ‘unbless’ us as we get old and ill.

Even as our bodies and minds seem to waste away, God renews our faith and trust, and thus we are able to continue on, blessing others with all we have left in life, of life itself.

Anything else is a mirage.

Do You Listen?

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Look and See.

Listen and Understand.

Job 33:13-14

Why do you contend against him, saying, “He will answer none of my words”? For God speaks in one way, and in two, though people do not perceive it.

John 18:20-21

Jesus answered, ‘I have spoken openly to the world; I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all the Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret. Why do you ask me? Ask those who heard what I said to them; they know what I said.’

Words of Grace For Today

Listen.

God created us able to love. It is what life is about. It is what God is about for us.

Listen.

God created us able to listen. Able to hear God’s Word and Grace and Love for us.

Listen.

God also created us able to refuse to listen, refuse to love, and to refuse to understand what life is all about.

Whether we listen or not, God speaks clearly, loudly, and demonstratively obviously … in many and various ways, and in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus most obviously.

Life abundant is available to those who listen. It is part of listening that we come to know the abundance of life is not in material things, nor the absence of material things, or in having more than others.

There are more ways to get through life than living an abundant life, loving God, self, others and all creation as God created us to live and love. None of the other ways is worth pursuing. The Devil collects payments all along the way until there is no life left.

Living by lies eats at you, until there is nothing left.

Living by injustice eats at you, until there is nothing left.

Living by greed eats at you, until there is nothing left.

Listen.

Living by love feeds you, until you realize life is wonderful, most wonderful when it is spent giving life abundant to others.

That’s the truth.

Listen or not, lies always remain lies, injustice always remains injustice, greed always remains greed: that is the truth.

Listen or not, God loves us unconditionally and wishes us to share that with all people.

Listen.

Furnace or Grace, What Do You Say Today?

Monday, March 15, 2021

God Speaks Clearly.

So

what do you say with your life today:

‘Into the furnace!’

or

‘Welcome to the Light of Christ!’

Daniel 3:17-18

If our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire and out of your hand, O king, let him deliver us. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods and we will not worship the golden statue that you have set up.

Acts 4:20

For we cannot keep from speaking about what we have seen and heard.

Words of Grace For Today

When God speaks, there is no one who ….

Well, that cannot be true, because people react on the full spectrum from loving worship to full our rejection that God exists, yet alone speaks clearly to people … for people to hear.

God is not a puppeteer, pulling the strings of control over humans, or any part of creation. Yet when some people hear God speaking, clearly, lovingly, they and we cannot keep from speaking about what we have seen and heard. That is the life of a sacramental mystic, who encounters God talking at every turn in creation, even in and among those most dangerous of animals, the two-legged kind that speak every kind of word on the spectrum from life-giving truth to life-robbing, evil lies.

What kind of word do you speak this day?

Amidst a pandemic, do you speak truth that supports, enhances, and inspired people to life healthily and abundantly, blessed by God.

Or are you off worshipping another kind of godlet, one who demands strict adherence to reality denying lies, controlled thoughts and expressions, and (like the king who is ready to throw Daniel and his companions into the furnace), the painful death of anyone who will not ‘fall into line’ worshipping your life-sucking godlet.

The powerful king who demanded Daniel worship his godlet, had not encountered God, Daniel’s God, who may or may not deliver Daniel (and us) from the fiery furnace of destruction (the actual fires of burning or the fire of lies that destroy our reputations.) Whether God chooses to deliver us does not deter us from remaining faithful. For we will not begin to worship a godlet who takes life from so many people, promising the greatest life, and delivering it’s followers into a long life more painfully greedy and selfish than death in a fiery furnace ever could be.

We have seen. We have heard. We have known. God is gracious, unconditionally loving, and prodigiously generous. We need nothing more than God’s blessings and opportunities to worship and serve God … with every word and breath … even if it be our last.

On the spectrum from life-giving, self-sacrificial, unconditionally loving (reflecting God’s Grace for us all) to the Devil’s empty promised, self-made life at the expense of others’ lives:

What kind of word do you speak this day?

From the outcast homeless poverty captured person to the most powerful ruler or judge of the day, God allows a simple question to sit before us each day:

What kind of word do you speak this day?