Foolhardy or Courageous?

Friday, May 27, 2022

More Often Than Not,

The Challenges We Face Are Unseen,

Like the Mosquitoes on the Lake

and

the Wasps Nesting

in That Tree

1 Samuel 17:37

David said, ‘The Lord, who saved me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, will save me from the hand of this Philistine.’ So Saul said to David, ‘Go, and may the Lord be with you!’

1 Peter 4:11

Whoever speaks must do so as one speaking the very words of God; whoever serves must do so with the strength that God supplies, so that God may be glorified in all things through Jesus Christ. To him belong the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

Words of Grace For Today

Going into battle with nothing more than trust in God is wholly foolhardy.

David has brought provisions from their father to his brothers who serve in Saul’s army, now facing the Philistines. He hears of Goliath’s challenge. He witnesses the Israelis cowering in fear. He speaks up that facing such an enemy and putting him to defeat would surely win the king’s favour.

That just gets his brothers angry with him for his seeming foolishness.

David’s words reach Saul’s ears, he is summon, and David offers to be the one to fight Goliath. Saul rebukes him. David is just a boy. Then the verse above is David’s response. He has faced down lions and bears. Certainly he can face down one man. Saul, with few other options, sends David as a last hope, or rather as a meaningless sacrifice to let Goliath demonstrate his battle powers.

Saul dresses David in Saul’s own armour, and David takes it off because he cannot move in it. Instead he takes staff and 5 smooth stones from the wadi.

The rest is history.

Goliath falls. David rises to become the celebrated king of Israel.

Most of us, fortunately, will not have to go into battle, nor serve as king. Instead our battles will be less fatal by all appearances. Our callings will be varied, and God sends us out to be as courageous (not to be confused with foolhardy) as David in what we do.

Most of all, just as David relies fully on the little skills he has and the great faith that he has in God, so we are to rely on our God-given skills and more so on the great faith God gives us.

It is our attitude of gratitude (for God saving us and giving us renewed life each day) more than anything else that will carry us through adversity.

God did not create us all so that we can seek our own glory. God created, redeems, and renews us so that all people will know how great God’s mercy is, how abundant God’s grace is, and how beautifully unconditional God’s love for us is.

That’s something to start the day with: knowing that we, whatever we are called to be and do, do it all as God’s people.

What’s On Your Invitation?

Thursday, May 5, 2022

This Was On My Latest Invitation.

I Keep Accepting Them.

This was one to a wood gathering party!

(The Parties are the BEST. I do the sweaty labour, God does the drinking, Works out the best for us all!)

And I Keep Getting New Invitations!

Isaiah 42:6

I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness, I have taken you by the hand and kept you;
I have given you as a covenant to the people, a light to the nations.

Ephesians 3:12

We have access to God in boldness and confidence through faith in Jesus.

Words of Grace For Today

When Sheila gave gifts they always spoke loudly of the strings she attached to them. She gave her husband, a high school math teacher, two airline tickets to Hawaii one Christmas, and a membership in a local fitness club. It went without saying that she expected him to get fit to show himself off in a bathing suit by the middle of February when they would be on their way to the sun and beaches and the surf.

Sheila gave her three kids full scholarships to the university of their choice along with memberships in the local chapter of the conservative political party. It went without saying that she expected each of them to pursue a career that would gain them recognition so that their contributions to returning the conservatives to government happened sooner rather than later. When her oldest daughter decided to major in philosophy, political science, and economics she was pleased. She was not as happy that her daughter chose the university most noted for it’s liberal, even socialist, professors. She didn’t know about the anarchist movement among the PPE students. When her daughter decided to continue on to law school, her mother was so proud. She even offered to pay for law school. Her daughter graduated at the top of her class and passed the bar in three provinces. And she accomplished the extraordinary: she passed the bar in three American states as well. About that time her second daughter was just finishing her degree in education. Her mom didn’t say much. But when her oldest, the lawyer, took work with the innocence project and then her second daughter started teaching in an inner city school, both living, working and contributing to political parties not their mother’s conservatives, she demanded they repay her for their education costs.

Both thanked her again for her generous support, and told her there was no way they would think of trying to repay her.

About then the youngest, Sheila’s only son, looked at what his mother was demanding of his older sisters. He passed on university and his plans to double major in architecture and engineering. Instead he took an apprenticeship. He figured he could work 5 years and save enough for his first year of university and maybe figured it out on his own from there to get his degree. He had no plans to owe his mother for anything, and he had no plans to join any political party. He volunteered at the local food bank and helped out at a weekly soup kitchen. His long term plan was to design and build low cost housing that promoted healthy living, but he’d never dared tell his mother that.

Sheila’s husband graciously accepted the airline tickets for two, visited the ‘fitness club’ of his choice, and in February took that trip to Hawaii with his ‘fitness’ club’s owner, who was two years younger than he was, but about as committed to nothing as anyone Sheila knew. After the first 5 hours he and the ‘fitness club’ owner agreed to go their separate ways. Sheila’s husband didn’t need to put on a swimsuit once during the vacation and he enjoyed every minute of it out in the sun and inside in the air conditioning. He’s filled for divorce and never looked back.

God gives us greater gifts. There are no hidden, unspoken expectations. There are no performance reviews, or right political party to join (though there may be a few not to join). God provides everything we need, and only asks (and asks clearly for anyone to hear who has ears to hear) that we share everything God gives us (less things and more so Grace, forgiveness, love and life abundant) with everyone we possibly can figure out how to share them with.

Most importantly God takes us by the hand and guides us, if we but listen. We are not on our own, ever. Secondly, God does not deal with us so graciously so that we can hide it all under a bushel basket in the back yard and pretend that life is somehow the same. Everything is different, not because we have earned it or changed, or done the right things, or not even that we’ve believed the right things. What changed is that we have acknowledged that God is there with us.

God presents us, like any proud parent would, to the world. God is not bragging about us, but showing off what God can do … with sinners like us. God invites the nations into God’s kingdom of grace. God puts us on the invitations as examples of how life is good for those who acknowledge, with boldness and confidence through faith in Jesus, all that God has done for us!

Have you seen the invitation with your name on it, or are you still trying to ignore it? First God wants to give you everything that life has to offer and then God wants to show you off as a covenant to the people, a light to the nations.

Get used to it, it’s not about you.

It Only Takes …

Saturday, January 22, 2022

It’s quite simple to be

the Light of Christ

For those caught in Darkness.

Smile.

Isaiah 9:4

For the yoke of their burden, and the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian.

Luke 1:78-79

By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.

Words of Grace For Today

It only takes a smile …

It only takes a smile to express the greatest things in life …

It only takes a smile to express the greatest things in life, which are to know that God has delivered us, and will deliver us,

for God has broken the rod of the oppressor. With tender compassion God has brought light to those who live in darkness and those who live in the shadow of death. God guides our feet (and our whole being) into the way of peace.

It only takes a smile to express thanks to God,

especially when that smile is given freely to strangers in need of hope,

especially when that smile comes flowing from the heart,

especially when that smile is followed by the hand and feet of the body of Christ freeing, and moulding, and assembling all that is needed to provide the basics of life to those who have nothing,

especially when that smile carries a promise that God’s favour is forever and always present in the generous, gracious gifts that share life abundant.

It only takes a smile that flows from the heart to the other person’s heart to say

I love you

and

God loves you.

Free up a smile or two or ten thousand today, add a twinkle from your heart … and make the world bright with hope.

Teach Us Your Way

Sunday, December 5, 2021

We See It All, Right?

Yet What Is Most Important Among

Everything We See?

Sand, Water, Ice, Trees, Grass, Sun, Clouds?

Or That God Created It All?

Psalm 86:11

Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart to revere your name.

John 14:6

Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’

Words of Grace For Today

No matter who we are, what history we have, how many sins we have piled up, and no matter how many times God has forgiven us and the Holy Spirit has inspired us to live as God’s saints spreading God’s unconditional and steadfast love to all people …

No matter what challenges we face in our past and in our present and in our future …

No matter anything, God’s Grace pours over us in abundance …

and we still know we need Jesus’ way, truth and life more and more for our hearts are divided between serving Christ and serving our own selfish needs, and so are our decisions each minute.

Decisions.

We make decisions every day, every minute.

We make decisions by engaging in various steps:

1. we asses what the situation is

2. we consider what choices we have

3. we discern what choice best serves our self interest

4. we make the decision by acting on it.

Recent modern thought is that step three is the most important. Thus the common assumption behind modern society brings us to serve our own, greedy, selfish interests, thinking that is the most important thing to do.

Philosophers and thinking people of all generations have long since realized that step one is actually the most important.

Who we are and what we think, how we view the world, is the most important step. Therein we determine what the ‘problem’ is, and that determines everything about what choices we come up with, choose and act on.

When we know that first and foremost when facing decisions our only hope to do something good for us and for other people is to consider everything from the perspetive that God gives us: that God created, we all are free to love (and therefore sin, that is to turn from who God created us to be), that God forgives us our sin and calls us back to ‘see the world’ (and our ‘problems’) as God’s gift to us including our own lives, and then …

then we have some hope of choosing what is in our best self interest, which is always then in the best interest of all people.

It all depends on us knowing God’s creation as God created it to be, and us in that creation as God saves us and inspires us to be: God’s saints.

So we pray: Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart to revere your name! knowing that Jesus is the way, and the truth, and the life.

Judgment Day’s A’coming!

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Fog Starts to Roll In

As God’s Mercy

Continues to Fill Our Days

With Thanks, Love and Hope

Isaiah 26:8

In the path of your judgments, O Lord, we wait for you; your name and your renown are the soul’s desire.

2 Corinthians 5:10

For all of us must appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may receive recompense for what has been done in the body, whether good or evil.

Words of Grace For Today

The morning wakening after long hours of sleep, enough to repair and rejuvenate the body, blossom into pure joy, simple joy. The fire is still warm, stoked to last again for hours. The door opens to frosty grass (suppressing the last of any bugs or wasps which would have been ready to buzz about), and fog has settled over the lake, making for great photos (or so, anyway). The smoke from the beast well-fed, meanders over the meadow into the trees. The fresh pressed coffee wafts clean inside with plenty of blueberries to top the morning cereal. Prayers include thanks for precious people, a large number of my families, now and of origin.

Then as breakfast satisfies the hunger and thirst of the night (cutting back to lose weight for better health outcomes) the fog descends over the meadow encasing it in a white glow that ends visibility just at the tree lines.

All this on a day that promises progress to prepare for winter. Old logs are ready to cut up and stack for firewood. A few new pieces of lumber wait a bit of construction before the tarp goes up to provide shelter from the rains and snow, and a few simple sewing jobs will improve the comfort on cold nights.

What more could a person want?

Well, I have a long list. Anyone who dreams of making life better has a list of things that would help the small and large improvements to one’s life, to the lives of others close and even for strangers.

So what are we to make of this life? Is it just the daily grind, the daily joys, the obtuse strangers and the warmth of friendships, the lies of enemies and the powerful trying to protect their privileges, and the small kindnesses one shares and receives with so many people?

God walks with us.

That is a double edge sword, cutting for us against all evil and fabrications by enemies … and it is the edge that cuts the sin and evil of us as well. It is promise to save and promise to put to an end: good is saved and evil is sent back to primordial void, right?!

Yes! Justice will prevail, and our enemies will be exposed, our sin will be cut from us, and we will be left pure and unmolested by our enemies baseless attacks …

except …

except read Jesus’ story! There one discovers anew that God’s judgment is not bent on destroying us but on saving us, forgiving us, setting Jesus’ record in place of our own at our judgment day, renewing life in us (a spirited, passionate life of commitment to being God’s unconditional love for others), and sending us out to live a life abundantly full of and spreading God’s Grace everywhere.

Like the fog that settles in, God’s mercy and wholehearted love for us and all people, covers us. Then God’s forgiveness provides our ‘daily bread’ like heat, breakfast, and opportunity to give God thanks for our family (some who love us good and always, and some who find hate and lies and fabricating blame for others as their way through life). Before the day is too far spent, God then blesses us with the golden sunlight dancing on the fog, dispersing it into the trees and beyond, as God’s promises give us hope … hope that today all will be well, and tomorrow all will be even better!

Wealth and the Golden Rule

Friday, October 15, 2021

See God’s Goodness

Everywhere

In

Everyone

Leviticus 19:13

You shall not defraud your neighbour; you shall not steal; and you shall not keep for yourself the wages of a labourer until morning.

Luke 6:31

Do to others as you would have them do to you.

Words of Grace For Today

This sounds a lot like labour rights, or as they are written in Leviticus, limits on the wealthy. The problem with limits on the wealthy is

everyone identifies ‘wealthy’ to mean someone with more money than they have.

The person with an income of $10 million a year but does not have a jet for personal use, may be isn’t wealthy, right?

The person with an income of $1 million a year but does not have a fancy house on the lake with their own boat house and pontoon boat, is not wealthy, right?

The person with an income of $200,000 a year and owns their own home but does not have enough to travel more than two times a year to Europe and one other trip to warmer climes in the winter, is not wealthy, right?

The person with an income of $50,000 a year, a small home, and an inexpensive economical car, but cannot travel more than to the mountains a few times a year, is not wealthy, right?

The person with a minimum wage job, who rents a two bedroom apartment, has a nice truck, and a small family of four who eat well, but cannot manage to save a down payment to own their own home, is not wealthy, right?

The person with an office job that pays $5.00 a day, has their own bicycle, and a rented small cubical sharing a kitchen and bath with 30 other cubicle residents in a high-rise, but cannot afford their own shower, like those on the top 10 floors of the high rise, is not wealthy, right?

The beggar who sits on the street morning and evening, usually receives enough to feed their family of three living in a tin shack and washes in the river at mid-afternoon when it is not too full with other people, is not wealthy, right?

The orphan child, orphaned by the latest virus, like millions others, has enough strength to beg for food and eats every other day, maybe, but has not stable place to live, is not wealthy, right?

The war-orphaned child, starving like 100s others in their village suffering famine for a fifth year, who will die today, is not wealthy, right?

No matter who you are, no matter your wealth, these laws of life apply: You shall not defraud your neighbour; you shall not steal; and you shall not keep for yourself the wages of a labourer until morning.

More clearly prescribed for us all:

Do to others as you would have them do to you.

There are so many people in this world suffering illness, violence, and maltreatment caused by humans, and even more who are tormented by their inability to find a good purpose in this messed up world we make for ourselves and the next generations.

There is no way to make it all better.

There is no way to even start small and hope that one can make it right, from the richest sharing enough, so that the poorest have a life to live.

The only way to begin each day is to know that all people, from the wealthiest to the poorest, are God’s creatures, whom God loves, whom God sends us out to love.

We start loving all God’s people when we realize how much God has given us, not by our own merit, but undeserved Grace, which makes us the richest people on earth, for we live with God’s favour and blessings … which blessings can never be measured in material possessions, or power, or fame.

God’s blessings are measured as immense by the heart that sees …

God in everyone, everything, always, in all places, and knows

that God created it all, blessed it all, and walks with us all each day.

Therefore all is well, all is well, all manner of things are well.

The Lord Has Anointed Us …

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Sent into the Darkness

To Reflect

Christ’ Light

(as a star-planet reflects the sun)

Isaiah 61:1-2

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; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn.

Luke 1:30

The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God.’

Words of Grace For Today

To be sent.

To be sent to bring good news.

To be sent to proclaim liberty and release, and the year of the Lord’s favour.

[To be sent to proclaim the day of vengeance of our God. Set this one aside for now.]

To be sent to bind up, and comfort.

The first part seems easy enough, just go out and speak loudly. Today that is easy enough with all the social media available to anyone who wishes to pontificate.

There may be some blow back, but that’s social media for you.

The tough part starts to be clear when it’s not just words, it’s actions. Actions that take every ounce of life we have to give to them, actions like binding up the broken-hearted, comforting those who mourn.

If you’ve ever endeavoured to bind up the broken-hearted, you will know it is an impossible task, and one only makes headway through day after day persistently being with the broken-hearted with all sorts of grace, unconditional love, forgiveness and hope.

If you’ve ever endeavoured to comfort those who mourn, you will know it is an impossible task and one never makes headway. At best one can be with the person mourning, and sometimes leaving the mourning person alone to grieve in their own way. Grief is what we experience when the foundation of our lives are ripped out from underneath us so that our lives make no sense at all anymore. There is no foundation, no connection with the present since the past is ripped from us, and the future is a hopeless jumble of chaos that threatens to consume us and all we are, or so some say. Grief is actually not definable nor curable. At best one can exercise all sorts of grace, unconditional love, forgiveness and hope as a model for how life can be organized into something of meaning for the past, for today, and for the future.

This is what the Saviour is called and sent to do … for the whole universe, and as Christ’s disciples (followers) we are called and sent to do this today for all people, and for creation itself!

Mary is called and sent to bear the Saviour of the universe as her own son. This is more than most get sent to be and do. There is only one way for her not be consumed by fear. There is only one way for us who are sent to be the instruments of Christ in today’s world. This one way is to know and trust that God has chosen us, called us, and sent us as God’s favoured ones. Only protected by God’s favour can we think of doing, yet alone actually do, what God calls and sends us out to do with our lives.

Then there is that last thing: to proclaim the day of vengeance of our God.

If we somehow let ourselves be blind to the blow back that will be and is aimed at us, (which is so more than words on social media, it is words and actions meant to destroy us and all we stand for, since what we proclaim and do certainly upsets the status quo of power, privilege, and control exercised in today’s world), then this proclamation ought to make it clear: we stand to proclaim that God will act against also those of power, privilege, and control made possible by the Great Deceiver’s lies.

We bring good news …

Doch the good news will disassemble the status quo of injustice and evil, of everything based on lies and deceptions (which is a huge portion of what humans do to each other!)

The good news is good for the blessed things of God, and terribly bad for the evil things that stand against God.

And that is how we will be dealt with, as the full force of lies and destruction will be aimed at us (as they have been aimed at us) to disrupt the Good News. Only the foolish or stupid would brave such evil at the hands of so many people … or those who know they are sent by God as God’s favoured ones.

So we are called and sent … to be ‘little Christs’ to all people.

Perishing and Surviving (for real!)

Thursday, August 12, 2021

We can arm ourselves

as much as we wish.

Only God’s Blessings

Can Save Us From the Real Enemy.

Psalm 9:3

My enemies turned back, they stumbled and perished before you.

Ephesians 1:3

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.

Words of Grace For Today

There are wonderful words to be able to speak about the challenges of life and the enemies that would do us in, such as:

My enemies turned back, they stumbled and perished before you.

Or even less concrete, though much more valuable:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.

We need more than enemies that stumble and perish, we need more than the physical results of force that cost our enemies their lives. We need … well we need God on our side, or rather we need some hope that we can be seen by God to be on God’s size. Well, more than seen … we need to know that God has us on God’s side.

What we know, in our honest moments, is that there is no way on this blessed earth that we even know how to be on God’s side all the time, or even sometimes for more than a moment or two, if that.

So how can we even hope that God will ensure we are on God’s side?

We have only God’s word, God’s promises, and Jesus’ story, which is as much as we will get, and

more than we need.

God walks with us. We are not doing what God wants us to do all the time. God ensures we do God’s will as much as God can guide us to do so, sometimes in spite of us or what seems to be by accident by us. God certainly does get wondrous works out of us saints.

The greatest work begins as we confess and give God thanks that Jesus has brought God’s grace to bear on us. This great work is oft repeated, as many times as we stray from God’s will for us, which is so many times we cannot count them even those in one of our days. This work is completed when we show God’s grace to others so that they may know God as the One who walks with them, graciously bringing them to abundant life.

When we do that we know once again without a doubt that God

has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,

and God has blessed us in Christ with every creaturely blessing in the concrete earthly places that God gives us to walk in and through for our days in God’s blessed creation.

The world is after all God’s and God blesses us to live in it, to life abundantly in it, as God’s Grace-made saints.

Sunscreen or Sonscreen?

Wednesday, June9, 2021

The Golden Light of Christ

Shines in Every Darkness

Bringing Breath

and

Life Abundant

Isaiah 60:17

Instead of bronze I will bring gold, instead of iron I will bring silver; instead of wood, bronze, instead of stones, iron. I will appoint Peace as your overseer and Righteousness as your taskmaster.

Hebrews 2:1

Therefore we must pay greater attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it.

Words of Grace For Today

Isaiah 60 begins:

Arise, shine; for your light has come,
   and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
For darkness shall cover the earth,
   and thick darkness the peoples;
but the Lord will arise upon you,
   and his glory will appear over you.
Nations shall come to your light,
   and kings to the brightness of your dawn.

That is the context of the advancement that God will provide to the people, no longer merely stones, doch God will provide also iron. No longer merely iron, doch God will provide also silver. No longer merely wood, doch God will provide also bronze. No longer merely bronze, doch God will also provide gold.

The story continues through history as God provides more and more materials, until alloys, plastics, composites, rare metals, and oil abound in our lives.

We want more and more. By our wanting more and more, using and burning more and more oil for example, we will bring upon ourselves the darkness that will cover the earth.

Isaiah could not have foreseen what we would do, though Isaiah saw clearly what people are capable of. The story of God’s people was and is and always will be that the people are blessed by God with an abundance beyond our basic needs, we exploit the blessings, perverting it into all that is against God and God’s creation – and against the people, even God’s people, us! So we turn from God. We lose God’s blessings and end up in exile, ruled by others who are perverse and evil.

God does not leave us there. God’s love is steadfast, even if, and especially when, our love of God and God’s creation is so fickle. God comes to forgive us.

That is the message of Isaiah. The people are in exile, ruled and exploited and assimilated by other people of other power.

They hear Isaiah’s words.

The darkness is coming over all the earth, doch God will bring light to God’s people and all the people of the earth will search for, and come to bask in, that light. For it is the Light of life.

Again and again God’s Word sets God’s people free, as the Word of Life, Jesus the Christ did for those who believed in him in those early generations after his crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension. So also Jesus frees us that we may live abundantly.

We need no more than the very bare basics of life. Sometimes we live more abundantly with no extras, no luxuries, none of the usual comforts that so many see as ‘givens’ for life today in the western world. Without the extras we must focus on the necessities, and we soon learn that while the physical requirements to stay alive are significantly important (especially to the billions who do not have them), the requirement of life abundant is not more and more and more.

It is to give, to give, to give to God and God’s people.

It is to serve, to serve, to serve God and God’s people.

It is to love, to love, to love God and God’s people.

It is to forgive, to forgive, to forgive, and to forgive even more all of God’s people.

It is a true blessing from God when we are able to remain fully cognizant of that, even while we are so easily distracted struggling for the basics of life, or more fully distracted by the false promises of a ‘good life’ achieved by having more and more and more.

So we pray that we will give greater and greater attention to what we have heard of the old, old story of Jesus and his love, so that we do not drift away from being the ones who share that Good News with all people, bringing the Light of Life into the darkness that has descended upon so many people in so many places, in so many hearts consuming so many minds. We are to revive those hearts lost to darkness, those minds consumed by the dark.

The Light of Life is here. See it. Receive it. Share it. Bask it in. No sonscreen is needed.

Adversity and True Strength

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Life is a series of reflections

on us.

What have we,

What will we,

do

for others to enjoy an abundant life?

Isaiah 48:10

See, I have refined you, but not like silver; I have tested you in the furnace of adversity.

Luke 6:22-23

Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you, and defame you on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice on that day and leap for joy, for surely your reward is great in heaven; for that is what their ancestors did to the prophets.

Words of Grace For Today

This life may be terrible and even horrendous, but it will be all right in heaven, so this is all right, too, right?

What doesn’t kill you, makes you strong, right?

Too often these rather stupid simplifications of valid ideas are used as excuses to allow psychological or physical violence and abuse to continue. The truth is there are scars from many things that do not make one stronger.

Perhaps the worse use of these is to justify that some people can enjoy great wealth, privilege, and comfort, while others struggle to stay alive, and others die very ignoble deaths, all in order to make the ‘chosen’ few able to be wealthy, privileged, and comfortable.

God did not make creation for us to live in a while and then escape from it’s injustices to heaven. God made all of creation, saw the accomplished work of creating, and said, “It is Good!”

Life for all people is designed to be GOOD!

GOOD does not mean without pain or suffering evil, for then there is also no possibility to love and experience joy. Pain and suffering – and – love and joy are part and parcel of the kind of life God created us for.

We live and love and experience joy. Some day the people we love will suffer and die. We will then also suffer and experience pain.

And it is all Good.

It is true that those who enjoy wealth, privilege, and comforts now at the expense of others being able to live abundant lives will, for eternity, suffer their choices to be blind and deaf to what they do to others.

It is also true that those who suffer and know only pain, will for eternity be released from that horrible kind of experience and they will know joy forever.

Our lives here and now are not to simply accept all suffering and pain as necessary. It is to work as hard as we can to mitigate and minimize all pain and suffering, to provide an abundant life for everyone!

That’s a life full and long of hard, dedicated work of love, not the sentimental kind of love, the real kind of love that puts one into action and pulls one to sacrifice so that others can live well.

What makes us strong, truly strong, is to know that even as we suffer and are in pain God walks with us, still creating, still seeing all that God does through us, and God says, “It is Good.”

Therefore we know that already today all will be well, all will be well, all manner of things will be well.