God’s Time

Thursday, May 19, 2022

No Matter the Darkness We Face,

God Keeps an Eye On Us,

a Gracious Eye.

Psalm 77:9-10

Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has he in anger shut up his compassion?’ Selah

And I say, ‘It is my grief that the right hand of the Most High has changed.’

Romans 5:20

But law came in, with the result that the trespass multiplied; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more!

Words of Grace For Today

It hurts.

That sums up much of the evil that we encounter in life, whether we are the cause or others are the cause.

It hurts.

We cry to God, but it seems God does not answer.

Selah

[Selah is an unknown word in Hebrew that shows up as a refrain in the Psalms – ‘God be gracious!’ or ‘God hear us!’ … or it may mean ‘so it is’ … or it may just mean ‘Sigh!’ or some other onomatopoeia.]

There is nothing more hurtful than to have all the evidence before us that God has turned from us and condemned us, that God has ‘forgotten to be gracious and in anger shut up his compassion!

Were God to abandon us to our own ways and means and the Devil’s guile, deceptions, and seductions there would be no rescue, no respite, no release from such a terrible state.

In all circumstances, though, no matter who convinced we are otherwise, God does not abandon us. From all evil and the hurt it does to us people, God still reaps greater demonstrations of grace. While we dig ourselves deeper and deeper in the muck of life, God shows how powerful Jesus’ saving love is for us. God’s love is always more powerful than any evil we can make or be subject to.

A young man pulled a 32’ foot bumper pull camper in to the random camping area a few nights ago. He tried to pull it on the ‘Low Road’, through trees and turns that no one has ever even tried to pull a camper except for the first 30 feet, and that only with a 12’ camper. He did not smash the camper sides against any tree, though. Instead he caught the roots of the first tree with the hitch jack, bending it back 30⁰. Which means he probably did not have a weight distributing hitch in place. He left the foot by the root where it was ripped off the jack. The propane tanks were taken off and the regulator left hanging in disarray. The battery was missing as was the cover to the battery case. On one side half the lug nuts were missing on one wheel, and the lug nuts were loose on the other wheel (one barely still on it’s lug). A support set of boards, screwed together for stability was dropped 100’ away.

It had all the signs of being a stolen camper, though the young man and woman returned last night at 3 am, and ‘parked’ their big Ram truck next to the camper where they had left it, backed into Lake3 or Wet3, which is always soggy unless it’s near drought conditions. When they tried to pull out with the truck the front end sank into the soggy grass covered ground and (from the hours of the truck roaring ways) they spun it deeper and deeper into the muck.

This morning the truck sits on it’s oil pan and lower frame under the engine, a jack is set up half way back on one side, rocks and branches are on the ground or poked into the holes made by the wheels. A straight edge shovel stands poked into the soft ground.

He needs it lifted off the frame or a big tow truck to pull him out. By grace there are people who will help him, people who have big equipment. People who once helped me out of my folly of trying to pull a camper through soft sand. I had three days more to work my way out of that and the winch pulled the camper and truck back up on top the sand and out. The truck and camper were not bottomed out, though. I had enough sense not to keep spinning the wheels when there was no movement forward or back.

When we try to get ourselves out by spinning our wheels, they act as little shovels, round and round they go, digging a deeper hole in the muck of life, sending us deeper and deeper.

Selah.

Our only hope is help, help sent by God.

Grace abounds.

Love is more powerful than Evil.

God’s creative power flows through the universe, like a great big tow truck and winch, pulling us up out of the muck, healing and restoring us. The greater the mess we get ourselves into the more obvious the power of God’s great love becomes, as we are set free.

God’s right hand has not changed, neither God’s left.

Grace brings renewed life to us, every day and every moment that we need it, often before we know we need it so badly.

Be of good courage today, this is (another of) God’s time with us!

Dust and Ash Heaps

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

God Created Not One Person to Live In the Dust and Ashes

1 Samuel 2:8

He raises up the poor from the dust; he lifts the needy from the ash heap,
to make them sit with princes and inherit a seat of honour.
For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, and on them he has set the world.

John 1:1

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Words of Grace For Today

God creates the universe, and, though evil and the results of it are always a necessary possibility (so that we can choose to love) God did not create people to live in the dust and ash heaps of life.

God created all people to live with honour,

with respect,

with sufficient clean air, pure water, adequate clothing and shelter,

meaningful labour,

being loved and able to love.

This is God’s blessing for us, that creation provides more than plenty for all to enjoy the necessities of life all their days on earth.

Through history (and certainly today) human greed and self-righteousness have driven so many into the dust and ash heaps of our excesses. What are we to do? Shake our heads in disgust at those living in the dust and ash heaps? Develop religions and ethics that allow us to ignore those poor, those without the necessities of a blessed life? Arrogantly assert that God created us and by our own hard work and merit we have earned and deserved more than the necessities of life even though that has thrown so many other people on to the slags heaps of life?

No!

God’s blessing pour over us.

We need not fear that there is not enough, no matter what the world (that’s all of us) tells us. We can share, and sharing every person will have the necessities of life. That may as well free those caught in the despair of having too much, for having more than enough drives one’s mind and way of living to become unnatural, other than as God created us to live.

God’s blessings pour over us,

with more than enough for all people.

God Save Us! Do Not Forsake Us in Our Darkness!

Sunday, May 8, 2022

Oh, God, Save

Those Caught In The Darkness of The Bright Days

And Those Who Cannot See, Hear, or Imagine …

Isaiah 42:16

I will lead the blind by a road they do not know,
by paths they have not known I will guide them.
I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground.
These are the things I will do, and I will not forsake them.

1 Peter 2:9

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.

Words of Grace For Today

Jim sat in the darkness of the bright day.

He could not see the horizon out there where the sun should have been. Not that many years ago he’d met Beatrice and she swept him off his feet before he knew what was happening. She was in her mid-thirties. Jim was 8 years older. Then he’d fallen in love and given everything to her. They proclaimed their love for each other and promised their lives to each other, until death did them part. They were madly in love with each other and everything looked so wonderful.

Jim moved in with Bea in her grand house and he worked to turn it into their shared home. They travelled to France and then to the Maritimes. They went sailing in the Caribbean for a week. It was all a dream come true. Their second year together their twins arrived, a girl and a boy. As agreed he stayed home to raise the children so she could go back to work. He put his career on hold. That first year was a dream come true.

The honeymoon shine wore off soon after Bea became pregnant with twins. He did everything he could to support her. She flew off the handle at him and others, making wild accusations. Her screaming at him cut him to the quick and he’d be silent trying to ‘fix’ whatever Bea ‘needed fixing’. He interpreted everything she did in the best possible light and went out of his way to bolster her fragile ego. She tore strips of him, saw everything he did in the worst possible light and worse blamed him for things he had nothing to do with.

Jim tried valiantly to reconnect her to her parents and siblings, though she seemed to hate them for no real reason. He met them and they were pretty good people, and as in-laws they were very supportive of him, even in awe of him. Bea refused to have anything to do with his family or his friends. She’d have a wild tantrum, throwing things, and even beating on him every time he spent time on the phone with them. Visiting any of them was out of the question. Soon he gave up keeping any contact with them.

Then Bea started telling ‘stories’ about Jim to her family. They were things he had never done. Some Bea had done to him. When she told them that he was the one beating on her, they stopped talking to him all together. He heard from their daughter’s teacher at school that she said he was sexual with her. It wasn’t true but soon it was impossible to go to school with the children for anything. People at church started to avoid him.

That had been more than a year ago. Jim could barely sleep. The doctor put him on one drug, then another, then another until he was taking 5 medications besides his allergy medicine and the sleep apnea machine he wore at night. Every two weeks he got either a testosterone or a B12 shot. He was so dragged out he could barely get anything done. He would often sit down alone after everyone left for school and not notice anything until the bus arrived to deliver the twins home. He talked with two different therapists by phone, and once a month travel 3 hours to see one of them. His hair turned grey and already the first year with Bea he’d lost 50 lbs trying to please her. He just went hungry and did not eat. No one could tell him what the matter was with him. He prayed, he meditated, he gave Bea gifts for no special occasion. He had worked out at the gym for a year but gave up on it when he injured his shoulder. He tried to walk but it was slow going, nothing like the running he’d done when he was in his 20’s. He told his doctors and therapists that he felt like he was 85 or 90 and barely able to think, work, sleep or even exist.

Bea’s promise to him, and his to her, that they would love each other until death did them part, looped endlessly in his mind. The only sense he could make of anything was that he needed to die, to be free of the weight, to finally be accepted by someone somewhere. He already had a new bottle of sleeping pills. He bought 2 large bottles of the cheapest whisky he saw at the liquor store. He cleaned the house, sorted the garaged, and their two vehicles. He made sure the groceries were bought for the coming two weeks. The fridge was bursting. He even took the recycle bottles to the depot and the garbage and recycling to the transfer station. Months ago he’d made sure his life insurance was in order. There was nothing more he could do to make things better.

Jim sat in the darkness of the bright day.

There was no distance between the end of the horizon and his arms stretched out pleading in prayer. No one heard his voice. No one had heard his voice for longer than he could remember.

It was a Sunday evening. He read a story to the twins and said good night. He made sure everything was secure in the house. He grabbed his backpack with the whisky in it. He put the sleeping pills in his pocket, put on a warm jacket and walked a mile to the woods. He sat on his special log, took all the sleeping pills, drank one bottle and most of the second before he was numbed and so tired. Finally he would be able to sleep and be free and be home.

Jim knew well most of the Bible. He was familiar with Isaiah’s words: I will lead the blind by a road they do not know, by paths they have not known I will guide them.

He had to trust that this path he’d taken was the only one God had for him.

There were no shelters for abused men. People could not imagine that men are abused just like women are, not the therapist and certainly not the doctors or the teachers or their pastor or any of Bea’s family … or any one at all.

Not one single person could imagine a man being abused, not one person Jim had talked to in the last 9 years as he suffered … until he could not take any more.

Many of them may have been members of a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that they may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called them out of darkness into his marvellous light.

But no one thought they could help Jim find the light of life, because, well, women may beat on men, but they do not abuse them, not women. Reports are abuse kills ten times as many men than women, many of them by abuse that drives them to suicide. It is important to stop men abusing women, because it always ends in death for the abused. But, they say, men are not abused,

so they say.

So Jim is just another statistic that is ignored. And Bea will find another man to raise the children for her, and abuse him and the children. He will likely die, and they will become abusers if they survive.

But women do not abuse men or

so they say.

Oh, God, save us!

Save us all, though it is too late for Jim and millions like him, God, save us!

Turn the darkness before us into light, the rough places into level ground.

Do not forsake us!

Do not forsake the men who are abused to death!

Do not forsake the children who never have a chance to know what love really is.

.

Today, many men will sit in the darkness of the bright day. No one will see them. No one will hear them.

Oh, God save them and us who do not see and do not hear and cannot imagine the darkness of their reality of being abused.

Be Careful What Success You Pray For?

Saturday, May 7, 2022

See the Light,

And God’s Hand.

All Things in God’s Hands.

Psalm 118:25

Save us, we beseech you, O Lord! O Lord, we beseech you, give us success!

Hebrews 13:20-21

Now may the God of peace, who brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, make you complete in everything good so that you may do his will, working among us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Words of Grace For Today

What is success, that we ask God for it?

To save us is clear. We are in trouble (what’s new, mostly of our own doing) and we’ve exhausted our own ideas on getting ourselves back in the clear, so we turn to God, our last hope and refuge.

But to ask for success! That’s another huge step up the rung of audacity in begging from God!

Success as a Christian has always had the colour of offering oneself to follow in Jesus’ footsteps, which leads to a cross and sure death. Which, for most people, looks quite different than the success that we humans pursue in our short, cruel, and brutish existences on earth. Do we intend to ask for this success, that our lives be offered as a sacrifice so that others may live. NOT usually, unless …

unless the Holy Spirit guides us to understand and live out the love by which the world will know the followers of Jesus. This love is unconditional, self-sacrificial, life altering, powers undermining, universe transforming, living water love.

When that is the love we indeed live then the whole world is changed for us. The New Jerusalem is arrived and we are at home in it, and God dwells with us, and

wonders never cease.

For God has indeed made us complete in everything good so that we may do God’s will.

Examples are endless through the history of the saints.

Consider Chai-Shin Yu, who is an ordained (Korean) Presbyterian pastor and professor of Korean culture and religion as the University of Toronto. In 1950 the North Korean Communists invaded South Korea. Chai-Shin Yu, then a student and heavily involved in church work, managed to hide for some months, knowing that as a Christian he was a prime suspect. In September 1950, S. Korean and United Nations troops landed in Inchon Harbor and the N. Korean soldiers began to prepare their retreat. Yu was apprehended by the Chief of the Communist Intelligence Bureau and so began days of interrogation and torture. Finally, along with others, he was taken to what he was sure was the execution ground, for he could hear gunfire. Instead, he and the other captives were forced to carry arms & supplies for the retreating N. Korean soldiers! Day after day they were forced to carry heavy burdens, ever on the lookout for strafing American planes.

By early October they were deep in the mountains. They began to come upon wounded Communist soldiers abandoned by the side of the road. One wounded soldier was staring vacantly, his leg covered with clotted blood. But he seemed familiar, and Yu stopped to look in his face. He recoiled; it was the Chief of the Intelligence Bureau! “Move on,” Yu told himself, but a voice within replied, “no, his life can be saved if he gets some help.” So Yu argued within himself, until a voice said, “But don’t you believe in Jesus Christ? He told you to love your enemy. What would Jesus do if he were here?”

The Chief finally recognized Yu as the reactionary he had planned to kill. He closed his eyes, expecting to be killed in revenge. But Yu said, “Get on my back.” The argument raging inside him was resolved. After some persuading the wounded Chief crawled on his back. Yu’s feet were blistered and bleeding from 150 miles of dreadful walking, and he was exhausted. But he gritted his teeth and kept on. Once he tripped & they both fell. The Chief finally broke the silence. “Friend,” he said, “you know that I hated you and wanted to kill you, don’t you?” “Of course I do.” “Then why are you going to all this trouble to save me? All my fellow soldiers have deserted me. Why are you trying to save your enemy?”

After a long silence, Yu said, ” Love is stronger than hatred. Even though you planned to have me killed, I still love you. Love is stronger than death. I hate your hatred, but I love you as a person” The man wept and confessed, “I have killed so many people. I don’t deserve to be saved.” And they wept together.

They Yu took the Chief up again & moved on. Ten miles down the road he found an ambulance being repaired, & arranged to have his passenger taken to the Pyongyang Military Hospital. The Chief protested, “I won’t go to the hospital. I’d rather stay with you and die. Where ever you go, I want to go with you.” But Yu forced him into the ambulance. “You ought to live,” he insisted.

By the end of October Chai-Shin Yu & the others had walked 200 miles. During an attack by American paratroopers he escaped & walked all the way back to Seoul, and eventually was reunited with his family. (Source Unknown)

What Goes Around …

Friday, May 6, 2022

God Sees Everything,

Nothing is Hidden,

Not Even by Mountains

or Trees

or Darkness of Night!

Ecclesiastes 12:14

For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil.

Romans 14:12-13

So then, each of us will be accountable to God. Let us therefore no longer pass judgment on one another, but resolve instead never to put a stumbling-block or hindrance in the way of another.

Words of Grace For Today

Today I repaired a wire on the truck I borrow. Not a big deal, just a speed sensor for a wheel, without which the computer stabilizer to help avoid sliding (it’s the computer program that nearly threw me into oncoming traffic when the roads were icy!) , to supposedly maintain traction (when one or more wheels is wont to spin), and to determine when to use the ABS braking. Only the last is worth much, but still it’s best to keep everything in repair. One can turn off the other two if need be.

The thing is the wire to the speed sensor is not in a place where it can get caught on anything, and the wire did not wear through or break. It was cut, not just once but twice (so the wire did not hang down I would guess after the first cut!) Someone came out here while I was bicycling to town and intentionally cut the wire, twice. Talk about … well dirty dealing, sabotage, and something someone is going to answer for! Well, not because of me.

It’s just we always trust or at least hope that those that do dirty deals will eventually be caught and will pay for what they have done.

Our scriptural record tends to support that as well.

‘Even if other humans never know what you’ve done, God knows and you will have to pay for what you thought you got away with’, or so goes the thought. Much like the wall hanging I once saw and was caught off guard by enough to take a photo of it:

Karma,
I have a list of people
you seemed to have missed.
Come around again, please.

The list of popular sayings along this line are endless, for example:

What goes around, comes around.

Crime does not pay.

If you live by the sword, you will die by the sword.

Everyone gets what’s coming to them, eventually.

Except, despite all our wishes that it were so, this is not how God tells us God works.

Yes, what is hidden or secret will come to light.

Yes, though everyone else may not know, God knows. God knows everything.

Yes, there will be judgment for everyone.

Yes, yes, yes … except.

God’s clearest statement for us is in Jesus’ life, ministry, death and resurrection, by which it is clear that God’s foremost and consistent manner of dealing with us is grace, ie God judges us and forgives us our sins. God judges our enemies and all evil doers, and all people, and God forgives us all … except some sins God does not forgive … but we will never know what sins God will not and does not forgive.

We can bind or retain all the sins we deem worthy of such note, but we do not judge others. Only God judges, and God judges us all, as God knows all, sees and hears all, and reads every mind and heart.

Where does that leave us?

Should we toss every care to the wind and make our way through life of sin and evil with no care in the world, because God will, after all, forgive us anyway?

Should we not notice other people’s sins and care that their sins hurt not only us but many, many other people?

Should we just give up!

No, none of that, not no way, no how!

God graciously deals with us and equips us to love … to love ourselves, to love our neighbours all, and even to love our enemies.

Our task is to share God’s Grace, not to pretend we can judge others for God.

Yes each of us will be accountable to God.

But the best we can do is get out of God’s way, and not get in other people’s way of seeing God.

Let us therefore no longer pass judgment on one another, but resolve instead never to put a stumbling-block or hindrance in the way of another.

That is the tricky part: not being a hindrance to others, and not putting stumbling blocks in others’ way to seeing God’s Grace for them!

Tall order, for short people … but short people well equipped for the gift of life and grace for all.

Remembering Who We Are!

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

We are,

by Grace Alone,

Those Who Reflect

God’s Blessing for Us

to All People.

Joshua 23:8

But hold fast to the Lord your God, as you have done to this day.

2 Corinthians 3:5

Not that we are competent of ourselves to claim anything as coming from us; our competence is from God.

Words of Grace For Today

How does one remain focused, determined, clear headed, and adamantly sure of one’s identity when …

when one’s very physical existence is challenged each day by hunger (can faith feed one’s body?),

when one’s very physical existence is challenged each day by the struggle to survive in an environment that would do one in were one not vigilant, determined, and persistently at work preparing for the next challenge to life itself (can faith protect one from minus 40⁰ cold, plus 40⁰ heat, wasps, mosquitoes, bear, and coyotes?),

when one’s very physical existence is challenged each day by dependence on the good will of those who would strip one of any identity they cannot bear to acknowledge (can faith please the demands to be other than faithful, when those demands are made by those who provide the necessities of life?),

when one’s very physical existence is challenged each day by the overwhelming apparent ‘successes’ of those who have surrendered their identity to become other than God’s people and the overwhelming apparent ‘failure’ of one’s own life while maintaining one’s identity as God’s chosen, forgiven, restored, and sent messenger of Grace embodied in thought, word and deed? (Can faith provide success when there is none in the past, present, or future to be seen?)

Old Joshua, after years of leading the people to conquer and claim their place in the Promised Land, reminds the people to remember Moses’ Law and not to deviate to the beliefs of the foreigners taken into their midst and the ways of their new neighbours.

Paul reminds the cantankerous Corinthians to trust that their competence in all matters depends not on themselves, but on God’s work in and through them.

Does that help us maintain our faith and identity, when it is under siege? Will God send us a competent new ‘Joshua’ to lead us to claim a place in our ‘Promised Land?’ Is there a ‘Promised Land’ for us here on earth?

Will God provide clarity in Moses’ Law (interpreted through Jesus’ life, ministry, death and resurrection) for us so that we will receive justice when we stand before the courts that continually work from the lies presented to them, and the lies they add on to the pile of lies, to further rob the security of life that even the government would provide to seniors caught in poverty, a poverty created by the courts injustice?

Does Moses’ Law (interpreted through Jesus’ life, ministry, death and resurrection) or God’s competence build us sufficient shelter each season to protect us from the increasingly dangerous climate and the animals of the wilderness?

Does Moses’ Law (interpreted through Jesus’ life, ministry, death and resurrection) or God’s competence preserve our identity and continue to provide us the basics of life in the face of our generous providers who demand we become someone else, more like them as hypocrites who profess faith in God and yet live by lies and destruction of others to cover their sins, instead of accepting forgiveness and restoration and being that restored truth-justice-grace for all other people?

These all seem to be impossibilities that leave us vulnerable to the demands and challenges placed on us by the injustice based on lies worked against us.

This is not the end of the story! Not by any means!

God sends messengers to revive faith in us amidst the greatest challenges.

A scriptural passage, a devotion, a commentary, an insightful sermon, a soul probing song and melody, a book, a news report, a quote: all of these God uses to restore faith in us, to remind us of who (and whose) we are, and to rejuvenate hope in us, a hope that carries us forward through all challenges, blessed to be a blessing to all people.

Malala Yousafzai Malik is one such person. Her book, I Am Malala, is full of inspiration as she spoke out for education for girls (and boys). Wikipedia provides the following among many words about her that inspire one to persevere as God’s chosen:

She left Jon Stewart speechless when she described her thoughts after learning the Pakistani Taliban wanted her dead, saying:

I started thinking about that, and I used to think that the Talib would come, and he would just kill me. But then I said, ‘If he comes, what would you do Malala?’ then I would reply to myself, ‘Malala, just take a shoe and hit him.’ But then I said, ‘If you hit a Talib with your shoe, then there would be no difference between you and the Talib. You must not treat others with cruelty and that much harshly, you must fight others but through peace and through dialogue and through education.’ Then I said I will tell him how important education is and that ‘I even want education for your children as well.’ And I will tell him, ‘That’s what I want to tell you, now do what you want.”

Stewart visibly moved by her words ended the conversation saying: “I am humbled to speak with you.

Stewart would again have her as a guest on the show after the 2015 Charleston Church Shooting, in which he started the show citing no jokes saying, “our guest is a incredible person who suffered unspeakable violence by extremists and her perseverance and determination through that to continue on is an incredible inspiration and to be quite honestly with you, I don’t think there’s anyone else in the world I would rather talk to tonight than Malala so that’s what we’ll do and sorry about no jokes.”

In the face of violence that threatens her life, she would eschew violence of any kind and speak, offering education and then say ‘now do what you want.’

May we all acknowledge that we have the Peace of God, the competence of God, the guidance in the Law of Moses which we need in order to remain faithful, always, even in the face of those who would kill us, undo us, try to corrupt us, and name us as failures.

So we pray: Help us Lord, to remember the successes you have brought in our lives to many others, the faith you have shared with many through us, and the hope that you have poured through us to so many people. In gratitude we acknowledge all your people whose thoughts, words and deeds inspire us (and many others) to trust in your promises to walk with us, and, in the end, to bring us home with all the saints in light.

God is With Us and …

Sunday, March 27, 2022

What Will We Do,

With God with Us

Every Moment of Every Day?

Proverbs 14:31

Those who oppress the poor insult their Maker, but those who are kind to the needy honour him.

Matthew 25:40

And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”

Words of Grace For Today

When God says God will be with us, that is good news for us, and …

And it is not good news for those who would do us harm or those who have done us harm.

While so much is done that people will be accountable for, what people will be accountable and fully accountable for, is what they do to God.

There are no rules of evidence, perjury that accounts for anything at all, or half truths that can make any difference at all. God knows everything. No corrupt police or unjust judges or criminals (though they are all pretty much the same, aren’t they?) can do anything to deceive God.

Justice will be based all on truth, and on truth alone, as what is done is done to God’s people and God’s own self.

Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.

Only God’s Grace saves any of us. I’m not sure what God does to those who harm God, whether it’s Grace or Justice, that God chooses in their end.

It’s not really important, other than to trust God’s Grace for ourselves, and God’s wisdom to work against all evil,

For today is a wonderful day, a day to give God thanks for walking with us each step of our lives.

God asks that we honour the needy, and provide care and truth for all of God’s family, all of creation, and even all God’s wayward people who somehow think they can get away with harming God’s good people.

Quite a task for each day …

each wonderful, awesome day that God gives us breath, grace, life, and hope.

Do You Realize, Angels Take Us …

Saturday, March 26, 2022

What Gift of the Angels

Have You to Notice Today?

Be Awestruck!

Genesis 24:7

The Lord, the God of heaven, who took me from my father’s house and from the land of my birth, and who spoke to me and swore to me, “To your offspring I will give this land”, he will send his angel before you; you shall take a wife for my son from there.

Acts 12:8-9

The angel said to him, ‘Fasten your belt and put on your sandals.’ He did so. Then he said to him, ‘Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.’ Peter went out and followed him; he did not realize that what was happening with the angel’s help was real; he thought he was seeing a vision.

Words of Grace For Today

To be uprooted up from one’s homeland, sent far into the unknown world sparsely populated by people though plentiful with wild animals, some wondrous and docile to human, others deadly ferocious (ever faced down a hyena or a wild boar?), and to be told one must find one’s spouse among the foreigners of that land, and settle there and make a new homeland for one’s offspring, for God has given this new land to them …

To be freed from one’s chains, guided past two prison guards, and taken out into freedom through a miraculously opened metal gate, all while one is barely awake and can only apprehend these events as if they were a dream, a vision of what is righteous …

To be stripped of one’s wealth and set deep in debt by false accusations, false reports, and unjust judges, and left to live homeless either in the city or in the wilds – and then to be guided by angels to find a meadow beside a small lake in the bush, to be loaned the tools and resources needed to establish a camp of a kind, and to build one’s safety from cold, heat, bugs, and thieves (and Covid it turns out, as well) with just enough to survive when one’s resources are less than $100/month …

One is given in these circumstances clear opportunity to recognize God’s angels at work. One finds it not difficult to follow whether that is an angel that guides one to find a spouse among foreign people in one’s new promised land, or an angel that guides one to freedom and life, or to precious solitude in the bush, or in many other circumstances as well, where one needs an angel in order to stay alive.

To live a life without hunger, lack of shelter or transportation, and always with clean water and air, and plenty of meaningful labour and people to love and be loved by …

Well that is to be given the greatest challenge, for one has little reason to notice God’s angels for one seems to ‘take care of one’s self’.

There is no limit of evil perpetrated against people by people. There is no limit to the work of the angels to guide all people to follow Christ. There is only our chosen inability to notice angels’ work in our midst.

Were we to notice more often, we would be awestruck day in and day out, and it would leave us little room or time in our lives for greed, avarice, and all other sorts of ‘luxury sins’. We would be astounded into giving God praise and thanks. We would find ourselves surrendering our lives to be workers along with the angels, bringing God’s generosity, Grace, love and hope to as many people as we possible could in our short life-times.

Take a peek.

See the angels at work.

Be awestruck this day and start to pitch in.

There’s a wondrous life to be lived where the angels have brought you thus far.

Where Angels Lead Us,

Is Sometimes a Frozen Wasteland.

Be Awestruck!

Hello, This Is 911. What’s Your Eme….

Friday, March 25, 2022

We are more different than sticks in a pile of wood,

No Matter What we look like, inside or out,

God promises to respond to each of us with generosity.

Psalm 91:15

When they call to me, I will answer them; I will be with them in trouble, I will rescue them and honour them.

Romans 10:12

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

Words of Grace For Today

The number of not connected or dropped 911 calls increased dramatically during Covid restrictions, as people faced emergencies like never before, both in the kind of emergencies and in the quantity. For so many people who have come to count on help being just a phone call aways, dialling 911 and not getting any help (on top of the emergency their were facing) at all must have felt like their world was coming apart at the seams.

911 does connect us to a whole raft of services designed to help us given a whole raft of kinds of emergencies, at the best of the worst of times (could we put it that way?)

Heart Attack, Stroke, or Seizure? Call 911.

Fire? Call 911

Robbery in progress, vehicle accident, or burned supper? Call 911 (oopps, maybe call takeout for to deal with the burned supper – if you have the money!)

Cat stuck in the tree? …

You get the idea? Probably.

And normally someone answers, the call is recorded and transferred to the appropriate service (police, fire, or ambulance), who answers and dispatches someone to help you survive your emergency until life returns to ‘normal’, whatever that really is.

But when no one answers your call?

Lots of people through life have no 911 or 999 to call. No Police they trust to help. No fire department. No ambulance service. And if they have to pay for these services, there simply is no reason to make the call.

Whether we are used to a 911/999 service or not, for the real terrible emergencies in life we need to deal with it some other way. Some people think they are tough or that God does not exist and will try to muddle through on their own.

The large majority of humans through history, especially in emergencies, have called on God.

What if God simply were to break down like the 911 service during Covid? What would that be like? Even for the most faithful, when we call on God, God seldom answers in the expected manner.

God surprises us again and again with God’s power … power of self-sacrificial love and Graces, instead of tromping on the normality of the universe that God created and said it was good, thank you very much!

That’s why we need to hear again and again, each day is not too often, how God always hears and responds to those who call on God’s name for help. We need to hear that when the real shtako hits the fan God is there with us, God honours us, and God saves us. It simply is not the case that God only hears and responds to some people, to those with this language or this piety, or with this outlook on life. God hears and responds to all kinds of humans. God responds with generosity.

That’s a promise.

That’s a promise that is more sure than anything else in all creation, for God makes it to us, each of us, and to all of us.

That’s a promise that will fill the empty void in each and any life.

That’s a promise that we need to hear again and again.

Our Rock and Salvation!

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

The World Is Full of Challenges,

Doch

None Can Conquer Us,

for Jesus has Conquered the World.

2 Samuel 22:2

The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer.

John 16:33

I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world!

Words of Grace For Today

To whom do we look for security, for deliverance, for help in our distress?

If you, the reader think that you will not be persecuted, then either you are one who has chosen to be one of the persecutors, or you are simply blind, deliriously blind, to the reality of what others are doing to you.

All of the rest of us surely know we are persecuted, for our days are made more and more difficult by what others do to us, trying to ‘step on us’ to get ahead.

Ahh, what all the world does to us! It is best not to recount all the evil done to us. It is simply too depressing, unless …

We need not let ourselves sink into this dark reality, as if we were all alone in our misery (along with all the other people oppressed and stomped on into misery). For we know The Lord is our rock, our fortress, and our deliverer.

Even more so, though the people in this world may persecute us endlessly, we know that Jesus has conquered the world. In Jesus we have peace, peace in the face of everything evil that each day and all sinful people would ‘throw’ at us.

So we take courage. Unfaltering courage for each day, based on God’s protection and Grace for us.

Thus our recounting all the evil we experience is only a small part of the complete story of how God gives us life each day. For we know The Lord is our rock, our fortress, and our deliverer.