Singing Amidst the Going to ‘Hell in a Hand Basket’

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Life Throws Lots of

Curve Balls.

God’s Light Still Shines

On Us.

Psalms 84:2

My soul longs, indeed it faints
for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and my flesh sing for joy
to the living God.

Matthew 18:20

For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.

Words of Grace For Today

Devastation.

Unjust wars taking foreign lands, causing millions exile and thousands death.

Extreme heat, storms, rains and floods, droughts, earthquakes, and you name the new extremes of climate change.

Illnesses old returning in force, new ones racing through the 7 billion people plus on earth.

Corruption in courts, cops, and councils.

Violence next door and at home.

Lack of housing, clean water, food security, adequate clothing, employment opportunities.

Selfish and destructive strivings, yearnings, and desires.

The world is going to ‘hell in a hand basket’ quickly enough. Why do we have to help it along it’s way so effectively?

How are we to deal with all this?

We need to understand the root causes and work to end or at least mitigate them!

We need to work to mitigate the ‘downstream’ effects on so many lives as much as we can.

We need to get our own ‘houses’ in order, our own hearts, minds, and souls in order, except that is impossible without God cleaning, organizing, and renewing us from the inside out.

This God does through Jesus, the Christ, moving us from thinking we can earn our way forward, to relying wholly on God’s grace each day anew. God heals our weary, embattled souls.

For this we give God thanks, as we gather, knowing God is present with us always, also where we gather. God listens, so we beg and pray for help and healing and resolution and mitigations, and freedom from destruction from without and from within.

Because God not only promises us exactly that healing, but also pours it over us prodigiously each day, we return God thanks in our songs of joy.

The world may be going to hell in a hand basket quickly enough. We do our part to impede this progress as we are able and we trust God that Evil and Hell will not triumph in the end; not in our lifetimes, and not in the time of humans in the universe.

On with the day’s work that promises to be enough or more for the precious time given to us.

Mercy Me, Now Ain’t We All One of Them?!

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Stumped, Cut Off, Dead:

That’s Us and All Creation,

Until/Unless

God Has Mercy On Us.

Daniel 9:9

To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against him,

Luke 15:1

Now all the tax-collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to him.

Words of Grace For Today

We would like to believe that we are good people.

Honesty escapes us when we fall into the trap of not just liking to believe, but actually lying to ourselves and convincing ourselves that we are good people.

God looks down on the devastation that we have collectively brought down on the earth and, seeing into the future, sees a void as bleak as it was before creation. God is angry and sends a dry, life-sucking wind across all we have done, drying it of all water and life and hope, until it is returned to the dust of what it was before we were created.

So it is with all we humans do. We undo the creating that God does. God sees it, and burns it away, back to as it was before we existed.

Thankfully that is not the end of the story of our lives on earth.

God sees us with mercy.

God sees us with mercy, forgives us, and welcomes us in to God’s Kingdom, not because we deserve it, but because God ‘don’t create no junk’ and we are precious to God, every last one of us!

God sees us with mercy and sets the table for us in celebration that we are found, and carried back home.

God sees us with mercy and Jesus sits with us ‘tax collectors and sinners’ at the table.

So it is we get to eat each day, and celebrate with thanks all that is, all that we can do, and all God does through us to welcome in every last lost soul.

Now ain’t we all one of them!

Amazing this Mercy God has for us. It’s not at all what we expect of each other. It is what makes life so precious and wondrous.

Another day, another miracle or a million.

As The Sun Rises…

Saturday, September 3, 2022

It’s a New Day. What Will We Make of It?

Deuteronomy 29:28

The Lord uprooted them from their land in anger, fury, and great wrath, and cast them into another land, as is now the case.

John 17:26

I made your name known to them, and I will make it known, so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.

Words of Grace For Today

God’s anger, fury, and great wrath have been held responsible for all sorts of misfortune.

That is the If-Then perspective evident in the Deuteronomic passage for today. The truth behind it is that faith in God, or not-faith in God, will not save us from disaster. Sometimes there is nothing that can save us from such disasters.

Climate change brings plenty of disaster to plenty of our doorsteps these days. There is nothing we can do to stop climate change. Maybe we can slow it’s rate of increase, but only slightly. It’s effects are with us for decades if not centuries and millennia! We may be able to mitigate some disasters, but certainly not even most and definitely not the worst.

How do we live in such times?

As always, we start by confessing our sins, our inability to earn God’s favour, and our total dependence on God for all things good. In the end we trust Jesus will bring us home after our deaths. In between we give our all fearing and loving God, loving our neighbours as ourselves, and loving even our enemies, as we share all God gives us with those in need, which is pretty much everyone. Physical needs are many, and spiritual needs endless.

So we live, loved and loving. How else?

The Clock is Ticking …

Thursday, July 28, 2022

How Long Before The Light Goes Out …

Forever?

Jonah 2:9

But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you; what I have vowed I will pay. Deliverance belongs to the Lord!

1 John 2:17

And the world and its desire are passing away, but those who do the will of God live for ever.

Words of Grace For Today

From the belly of the fish Jonah cries to God and promises ‘what I have vowed I will pay.’

Then the rest of the story of Jonah’s previous resistance to God’s call to enter Nineveh with God’s call to repentance or face destruction. God has planned a great calamity for Nineveh’s near future.

Then the people turn from their evil ways and God changed his mind.

Now that’s something one does not experience every day, as a city that takes 3 days to walk across turns from it’s evil ways, the king ordering everyone to fast and don sackcloth and cry mightily to God and turn from their evil ways. And rarer yet is that the people obey their king, not just in appearances but so that God knows they have turned away.

The real wonder is being able to watch God change his mind.

That gives us hope for the world today.

We are not in the belly of a fish, having resisted God’s call to proclaim the coming end for our city. We are in the belly of angry planet whose environment is imploding in on itself because of our arrogant abuse of the planet’s resources, all for greed and luxury.

Jonah had it kind of unpleasant in the slime in the fishes belly, acidic slime at that, slowly eating at him. The clock ticking.

We sit in luxury and comfort, those of us who control the destruction underway, while others (billions) sit in discomfort and despair as their world fails or rebels around them with floods, droughts, destructive storms, wildfires, earthquakes, heat waves and deepening cold snaps … and melting ice that has been ice for millennia.

The desire of this world, to live in comfort no matter the cost to others is passing away, becoming impossible, backlashing on all the people, not just those in control, those having chosen this path for us all.

The only desire that will remain is the desire to serve God, and follow God’s will. May we be quick about it, or at least quick enough, as Jonah eventually was, that we may be saved.

Remember and Be Confounded, and Never …

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Remember Simple Tornadoes

and God’s Promise;

Listen Up!

Be Alert!

Ezekiel 6:62-63

I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall know that I am the Lord, in order that you may remember and be confounded, and never open your mouth again because of your shame, when I forgive you all that you have done, says the Lord God.

2 Corinthians 7:10

For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation and brings no regret, but worldly grief produces death.

Words of Grace For Today

God establishes a covenant with us, since ages ago.

God does this so that we may remember all our sins, and then be confounded and shamed into silence, awestruck at what God does for us, forgiving us all our sins.

Does God forgive us our attack on the planet which is responding with extreme weather, in a phrase climate change?

There are numerous people caught in worldly grief for all that we now suffer across the angry planet as a result of our huge contributions to climate change. It does no good. It brings us close to, and into death.

What God provides is a reminder of our true sins, true repentance, and all sorts of ways to change what lays ahead of us in the next decade, in the next half century and all time after (if we survive as a species that long!) God’s promises are trustworthy; those baptized will see their salvation, and be welcomed home to new life after leaving this life on this planet. Salvation is not the question. Our species survival as well as the survival of life on earth are very much in question.

So what shall we do this day?

We shall pray for the Holy Spirit to continue to guide us that what we do will be according to God’s will and love for all people and all creation.

We shall get busy listening to the Holy Spirit, doing what we can to reduce if not remove our carbon footprint from our lives on this good earth, and bringing God’s mercy, love and hope to other people … so that more and more people will listen

to

God’s

Good Word

and live, guided by the Holy Spirit!

Lordy, Lordy, what have we done!!?

Wildfires

Lightning and Thunderstorms

Droughts (and Floods)

Ice and Snow Storms

Psalm 119:114
You are my hiding-place and my shield; I hope in your word.

Matthew 8:8
The centurion answered, ‘Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only speak the word, and my servant will be healed.’

Words of Grace For Today
Can we hope at all?

This from the CBC MorningBrief Newsletter yesterday:

Europe is living in a disaster movie.
Unprecedented temperatures — 47 C in Portugal over the weekend; nearly 40 C in parts of Britain on Monday — have killed 1,000 people. Roads in France are under threat of literally melting. Rail lines are in danger of buckling. Runways at airports are forced to shut down. Wildfires are spreading across several countries as thousands evacuate their homes.
‘In some southwestern areas, it will be a heat apocalypse,’ meteorologist Francois Gourand told the news agency AFP about the heat wave in France.
At one time, this may have sounded like hyperbole, but the fact is every year countries around the world break long-standing temperature records — as was seen in B.C. last year — and then thousands die.
All of this should come as a shock to no one. Climatologists have been sounding the alarm for decades, warning of the increasing frequency and intensity of heat waves and droughts.
When asked if this type of heat wave comes as a surprise to him, climatologist Michael Mann said in an email: ‘Sadly, not. We have seen a recurring pattern of a very wavy jet stream this summer. That pattern is associated with the extreme events we’re seeing right now in the U.S. and Europe.’
When the first Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was released in 1990, it addressed the potential increase in heat waves, stating: ‘Some scientists believe that in a warmer climate the earth can be expected to experience more variable weather than now, with a likelihood of more floods and drought, more intense hurricanes or typhoons, and more heat waves.’
There have been four more assessment reports since then, with the language growing stronger and stronger about how the world needs to limit warming to 1.5 C above the pre-industrial average or it will face dire consequences.
But those reports aren’t just talking about the future — at roughly 1.2 C of warming right now, we’re already seeing the effects of climate change, particularly in the summer months.
The worst part, Mann said, is that climatologists may have underestimated the long-term predictions of heat waves.

Lordy, Lordy, what have we done!!?

It is one thing to hope in God’s Word, and hide under the shield of God, and to call on Jesus to but speak a word and we will be healed, but …

but we’re not listening! We have not worked to change. We have barely begun to speak correctly, sort of acknowledging what we’ve done. It’s harder and harder to find reasonable people who deny that climate change is a result of our own actions as humans on earth … and still it is not impossible to find those crooked-thinker (Querdenkers) in one’s own backyard.

Actually it’s real easy to find those people in my ‘backyard’ since they congregate here for relief from the heat and burn their gratuitous campfires all evening and night, and run their generators for hours and hours each day to supply electricity to their air conditioners, TV’s, microwaves, and who knows what else?

We complain mightily when it climbs above 25⁰ or 30⁰ or heaven helps us 35⁰ during the day and stays above 15⁰ at night. We are hard pressed to find our comfort. Oh, man save us we cry if it gets above 40⁰ and stays there for a few days! Here we are next to a cool lake. What are people able to do in the concrete-paved-over-barely-green-anywhere-tall-buildings cities?

Lordy, Lordy, what have we done!!?

So we cry: Oh, God, can you even save us? Save us now if you can!!
Listen though! God has for decades sent us word, word about how we are bringing climate change with it’s new extremes and more ferocious storms each year and how we can stop it. God has sent us clear warning in the past five years of obvious, undeniable new extremes and extreme weather to warn us to stop our CO emissions (along with lots of other fossil-fueled-industrial activities.)

How many of us have really listened and then acted to change our lives?
Well now it’s changing our lives, and not for the better. Will we start to change in good ways?

History repeats the answer to that question asked of every generation, ‘What? We don’t understand, so no.’

God help us!

God help us this day to do everything we can to learn what we must do to do our part!

Is there no balm in Gilead?

Monday, July 18, 2022

The New Kind of Storm,

The Backside is

More Tumultuous

Than the Front

Jeremiah 8:21.22

For the hurt of my poor people I am hurt, I mourn, and dismay has taken hold of me.
Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there?
Why then has the health of my poor people not been restored?

Luke 10:8-9

Whenever you enter a town and its people welcome you, eat what is set before you; cure the sick who are there, and say to them, “The kingdom of God has come near to you.”

Words of Grace For Today

God has a plan.

The world is crazy with falsehoods, driven into so many corners and minds that many believe them to be truth, which is a danger to the survival of our species.

God has a plan for that, though.

The people hurt, God hurts, and other people are responsible, directly and indirectly, for the hurt and worse for the death of so many people.

God has a plan for that, too!

Our health care systems, as we are so privileged to have, are overrun and ground into near uselessness, by a virus, a pandemic, but most of all by the falsehoods that so many propagate, so much so it is difficult to imagine how this is. The effect is that across the globe the virus is levelling the ‘playing’ field, and our expectations of whether we will live another 5 years or not!

God has a plan for exactly that.

God’s plan is that the workers for God’s Kingdom spread across the globe entering every village and remote place where people live, to eat what is locally provided, to cure the sick, and to proclaim simply that ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ And to bring, share, and leave God’s peace everywhere.

So what is your day going to look like?

God has a plan for that,

and it is that you will be one of the workers for God’s Kingdom, ready or not!

Just saying, it’s another day for the saints.

Plus Minus on God’s Scale

Friday, July 15, 2022

Yesterday, 10 am

2022 February 2

Psalm 5:10-11

Make them bear their guilt, O God; let them fall by their own counsels; because of their many transgressions cast them out, for they have rebelled against you. But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, so that those who love your name may exult in you.

Romans 5:1

Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Words of Grace For Today

This Psalm sits in stark contrast to yesterday’s reading from Matthew. Love your enemy!

So which is it?

Life is filled with challenges.

In the winter the thermometer reads below zero. Not a problem really if one is prepared to create and retain as much heat as possible … and there is enough wood (or fuel).

In the summer the thermometer reads above zero. Not a problem really if one is prepared, one has sought to repel and shed heat in many and various ways and there is plenty of shade, wind, ways to endure the inevitable hottest times of the day.

But when the thermometer registers outside the 40⁰’s plus or minus, then preparation is essential, but no preparation is sufficient, unless one is rich and willing to expend huge amounts of fossil fuels and other resources to secure one’s own comfort at the cost of others’ lives (if not immediately then eventually as climate change makes the plus minus challenges reach outside the plus minus 50⁰.)

As if meeting one’s own challenges, and guaranteeing one’s own comfort were all that life is about, we plow a head and … Life Just Gets Harder for Everyone … and more people die, directly or indirectly from our luxurious expenditures (which we may even measure as necessary!)

There is only one way to meet the challenges of each day, of climate, of extremes, or lacking life necessities, of greed (ours and others’), of … well of every kind of challenge. And that is to begin each day remembering what God has done for us:

That we are justified by faith, and therefore we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

When we know that we have peace with God, we need not panic, nor go to destructive lengths to ‘save our own skins’

firstly because we are not afraid, and not even afraid to ‘meet our maker’ (actually that will be a marvellous day!) nor

secondly because we remain thoughtful and actively engaged helping others meet the challenges of their days, and therefore we remain aware of the cost our efforts to ‘save our own skins’ has for other people, and we gladly forego our security for their having the basics of life …

and thirdly because, at peace with God, we see security in a completely different light. Security in this life is nothing other than knowing God walks with us. More is futile, frantic, and destructive efforts to ‘outsmart’ God.

Let us simply take refuge in God’s presence, always joyful, always grateful, always singing and dancing – even as we face the challenges of extreme days.

What else did God create us for?

Getting Out There

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

It’s hotter at 9 am today than the hottest moment yesterday,

Climate change in a day (yesterday’s extreme is today’s normal),

So maybe it’ll help orient us if we get reminded

that winter is coming and it’ll be blessed cold.

Isaiah 66:19

I will set a sign among them. From them I will send survivors to the nations, to Tarshish, Put, and Lud—which draw the bow—to Tubal and Javan, to the coastlands far away that have not heard of my fame or seen my glory; and they shall declare my glory among the nations.

Mark 16:15

And he said to them, ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation.

Words of Grace For Today

So many people want to stay in their own little bubble of the world, safe, comfortable and sure of what will come tomorrow – and if what comes tomorrow is something different then they have great ability to lie to themselves and others to day what happened is not different, but it is still what they know how to handle.

So the people are done with Covid before the third wave, and now we face the seventh wave. Covid is not done with us. So many people may refuse to behave responsibly, protecting others by wearing masks, keeping physical distance, and providing ventilation indoors. We all may want to be done with Covid. It’s just that might just kill us, and if it will not kill exactly the fools that indiscriminately get infected and share that everywhere they go, it’ll kill so many of us, even us who are wise about our exposure and protection.

To be other than wise about Covid requires that one live in a bubble of foolish denial of reality. And that’s where so many people live, about Covid, about their rights and others’ rights, about justice and truth, about climate change, about God’s blessings and their obligations to the strangers.

God knew this would be so, and in every generation has sent faithful, wise people out into the world to be remnants, giving witness to God’s good creation, truth, and the challenges we actually face, living on this planet.

So which are you going to be today: a comfort seeking, reality denying, self-protecting-other-endangering, bubble living parasite,

or

one of the remnant of witnesses who remember and preserve the truth of God’s good works in every generation, as well as the honest reality of life on planet earth?

Today, in small ways we each will choose, though God will do everything to guide us

to be one of those who are Getting Out There.

Crying Out “Let the thirsty, come!”

Saturday, July 9, 2022

Take the Steps to the Water,

the Reflection of God’s Glory Awaits.

Isaiah 48:21

They did not thirst when he led them through the deserts; he made water flow for them from the rock; he split open the rock and the water gushed out.

John 7:37-38

On the last day of the festival, the great day, while Jesus was standing there, he cried out, ‘Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink.

Words of Grace For Today

While climate change has brought us to experience first-, second-, and internet-hand drought like never before, and likewise floods, wildfires, hurricanes, tornadoes, drechos, and disasters like glaciers and mountains collapsing on pristine areas, towns, and people, Jesus still stands up in the busy festivals and market places and cries out to us:

Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you that have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Come all you who are thirsty, come drink your fill.

Right, that was not Jesus, that was Isaiah 55.1.

The theme of thirst and of God providing water is often repeated in scriptures, as well it may be since water is essential for life and it is a symbol of God’s providing for us in all ways (not just physical water) when we are in need.

Isaiah 48 recounts how God provided water for the people during the Exodus, their fleeing from slavery in Egypt into the wilderness. Rocks usually do not provide water, but with God all things are possible.

So, how do you thirst this day?

For Justice?

For Truth?

For water or hunger for food?

For a faith strong enough to see past this day’s challenges and pitfalls to the blessings God pours over you?

However we thirst, God provides what we need.