Bloody Lions? Not For Us!

Sunday, August 7, 2022

Against

the Dark Powers

That Would Devour Us,

God’s Light

Shines Golden Beauty!

Daniel 10:19

He said, ‘Do not fear, greatly beloved, you are safe. Be strong and courageous!’ When he spoke to me, I was strengthened and said, ‘Let my lord speak, for you have strengthened me.’

John 16:20

Very truly, I tell you, you will weep and mourn, but the world will rejoice; you will have pain, but your pain will turn into joy.

Words of Grace For Today

Do not fear.

This is often written in scripture, but not so often spoken in everyday life. Perhaps that is because in our lives we rarely, against what threatens us, take our stance on God’s Word, instead relying on what we ourselves can do. And what we can do is often so little compared to what must be done to secure our futures, so little, that the only thing left to do is to fear what will come our way.

Lions, hungry lions, all within the confines of a closed in space … and us put into that space so that our captures, false witnesses, tormentors, and ‘unjust’ judges can morbidly delight in watching the ‘animals rip bloody flesh from our bodies’ until we succumb and die, fodder for hungry beasts. This may not happen very often, literally anyway, since there are few lions in these parts, though figuratively it is happening yet this day, and not just to me. So how will we prepare for the ‘lions’ of this time and place?

There is no other way to prepare than to trust God’s Word: we will weep and mourn as the world around us rejoices, but our pains will turn to joy in God’s own good time. Trusting these words we are no longer captives to fear, but freed to live.

And to live by such powers that no ‘lions’ can devour us or make our blood flow.

And to live well!

This day we trust in God’s Word alone, and celebrate all of God’s wonders done for us, here in this time and place, and across all time and places that ever were or will be. Makes for a full day of celebration, as each day is.

BaalamBang? You Bet!

Friday, August 5, 2022

Our Enemies Are Cutoff

Like These Stumps

– Left To Rot.

Psalm 18:30

God’s way is perfect; the promise of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all who take refuge in him.

2 Timothy 1:7

God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.

Words of Grace For Today

God as shield stands between us and those who would attack, destroy, and bully us.

It matters not who attacks, though they may think they destroy us and kill us, though it may appear so to all who see their unjust attacks, God ensures that we live, and live well.

That is the promise God gives us in our baptisms, that we live with Christ, die with Christ, and rise again with Christ to eternal life.

Injustice will continue to abound, and in their due time, God will judge those who bring injustice upon others. They will forever be doomed, even as they are already. When they swing at us, we duck and their swing goes right around to impact them, even if they do not see it. BaalamBang! So much for doing us in!

Therefore we trust God, who gives us no reason for cowardice, and every reason for a powerful spirit of love, self-discipline, and hope.

It will be well, even this day, it will be well for us as we trust in God’s Promises.

Shine, Baby Shine!

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

https://www.nasa.gov/webbfirstimages#tab1-2

Light Of Lights, Beyond All Imaginations.

Stephan’s Quintet, a visual grouping of five galaxies, is best known for being prominently featured in the holiday classic film, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Today, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope reveals Stephan’s Quintet in a new light.

Isaiah 60:1

Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.

1 Thessalonians 5:5

For you are all children of light and children of the day; we are not of the night or of darkness.

Words of Grace For Today

It is in the darkness that we face our deepest fears.

It is also in the deepest darkness of our lives that God makes most clear for us God’s awesome power of love and grace.

Imagine you are far up north, on a clear, dark night.

Look up and around, and drink in the view of the sky, full of stars. These stars that have inspired so many humans to turn history to what it is for us today. Yet …

For all we do to ‘turn history’ to our liking, Forest Gump’s mom said it for us all

‘Life is like a box of Chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get!’

While the darkness may drive fear through our hearts more deadly than any spear or bullet, and while the light may show our failings in all too disastrous a view for all to see, in the end, what we get in life is not as important as what we give in life.

Whether we find ourselves in the brilliant, unforgiving light of day, or in the darkest moments of our lives, Christ’s light shines into our lives, our minds, hearts, and souls, and while that may illuminate our failings all too well, that light also shines grace and forgiveness over all our lives … and it brings us peace.

Look up and around, and drink in the view of the sky, this time though with so few stars. For this night the sky dances with waves of green and blue and purple.

How can we be anything but awestruck! And inspired.

God, once again (as whenever we need to be so inspired) dances the universe for us to see and believe, so that we might live in wonder and awe, willing to serve, guided by what we cannot see, but know only by faith.

Northern lights blazing over lake Thingvellir national park in Iceland

https://guidetoiceland.imgix.net/538317/x/0/the-northern-lights-reflecting-in-the-water

It’s Just A Bit of The Northern View,

God’s Word (Visibly)

for Us All.

Peace for All

Monday, August 1, 2022

What Carries Us Around Threats to Safe Waters,

to Days

and Nights

of Peace?

Isaiah 57:19

Peace, peace, to the far and the near, says the Lord; and I will heal them.

Romans 15:33

The God of peace be with all of you. Amen.

Words of Grace For Today

How Good it is to live, to live well!

Yet how many and powerful are the forces seen and unseen that would drive us from living well and from life itself.

In this piece of wilderness, which is hardly really wilderness as it is merely a lake surrounded by Crown land leased for grazing, leased for oil extraction, and private lands used and abused by hoards of intruders with noisy machines and …

and in the middle of it access is given to the public freely and without cost,

which is a bountiful wonder, especially for those too poor to be able to pay to camp in one of the many (ever fewer) campsites around the beautiful lakes in the area.

How Good it is to live, to live well!

Except …

Except here those people come who live in poverty, irresponsibly, ignorantly, destructively, to party and lose their minds in drugs, alcohol and who knows what all else.

Except here those people come who know not of respect for the land or the laws that would guide us to provide at least some care, so that their excrement and garbage litter the woods, their huge campers sit for months on end, destroying the ground under and around them, and their powerful, rugged treaded trucks grind away at the earth on the trails to and fro as they travel in and out each day.

Except here those people come who know only their own pleasure in camping within a few feet of the water and are oblivious to the law that prohibits camping anywhere within 30 metres of a body of water and apathetic to the destruction camping so close brings to the ground and and the water so that the lake will die faster, and not be a place to retreat to for future generations, and perhaps not even us in a few years.

Except here those people come who ply the water with gas engines streaming effluent and oils behind them in and on the water.

How Good it is to live, to live well!

Yet to live well is not to ‘steal’ the wonders of creation from others, present and future!

In Europe, as around the world, so many people suffer inflation to the point of struggling to remain alive. Around the globe in war zones and disaster areas, in drought, wildfire, flood, storm areas, and everywhere where people take the plenty available to all and keep it for themselves alone, people struggle to remain alive, yet alone know anything about abundance.

How Good it is to live, to live well!

Yet living well is not to ‘steal’ life from others, present and future!

Peace, we pray for peace in a world where so much un-Peace prevails.

How Good it is to live, to live well!

Yet living well is not to ‘steal’ peace from others, present and future!

How can we live, and live well, so as to bring others to respect and preserve all that God provides for us as for past generations, and for future generations? On our own we simply cannot.

Lord, you have given us bread from heaven to strengthen us.

By Grace through your Word, you enable us to live, and live well, now, as in the past, so that others will know your Word into the future, so that your Peace will prevail for all people.

Deceit and Mischief – Healed, Giving Thanks

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Is That a Barrier in Our Day,

OR

A Gift of Heat

for the Coldest of Days

Soon Coming?

Psalm 36:3-4

The words of their mouths are mischief and deceit; they have ceased to act wisely and do good. They plot mischief while on their beds; they are set on a way that is not good; they do not reject evil.

Luke 17:15-16

Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. He prostrated himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan.

Words of Grace For Today

Fools are too easy to find. People with mouths filled only with mischief and deceit are around every corner, if that far away. Actions of wisdom and goodness have long since faded from our landscape. The worries of the night when sleep evades them are filled with scheming how to do even more devious and evil deeds to try to achieve their own place in life. Evil is at their finger tips, pouring from the hearts and minds as readily as if they were the Devil himself.

Then … when one was about to drop dead from despair at the preponderance of evil all around with at least the hope that Jesus has prepared a room for us forever there … a stranger, a foreigner, a believer in other things, comes along, cured by Jesus, healed back to the fullness of life abundant and giving God thanks like we all ought to each day.

Which will we live out this day: out of the overwhelming deceit and evil that pours forth so freely from so many,

or

from the thanks and joy of one healed by Jesus’ Word?

We are, when we take care to look in a mirror of truth and wisdom, as much the producers of evil as any other.

We are, when we take care to look in a mirror of truth and wisdom, as much healed and capable of giving God thanks as any stranger.

So which will we embrace to start this day? And again throughout the day? And as we lay ourselves to rest for the coming night?

Feared Creator? Beloved Saviour!

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

The Fog Melds With the Clouds,

Bringing Heaven to Earth

for Precious Moments

Isaiah 12:4

Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name; make known his deeds among the nations; proclaim that his name is exalted.

Revelation 14:6-7

Then I saw another angel flying in mid-heaven, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth—to every nation and tribe and language and people. He said in a loud voice, ‘Fear God and give him glory, for the hour of his judgment has come; and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.’

Words of Grace For Today

It’s one of those nearly perfect mornings. After weeks of too much heat, it’s cooled off, and then this night brings quiet rains, fog lifting after sunrise, drips of the past rain everywhere off the camp and then leaves, and a quiet-stillness broken only by a few birds singing. A small sparrow hunts in the meadow grass, a robin listens and hops and listens and pecks out a worm and flies away to share the morning food.

A morning survey places in wait the pieces of a project that will be a huge step forward in security blocking possible CO out and capturing heat to warm the water hose so that water can run during the coldest days. A fire resistant, air tight membrane will arrive to move everything to the next steps. With tape measure in hand the next posts for a new wind-snow shield for preparing fire wood are measured out from the wood available. Plans move forward a step for work for today. Mouse traps are gathered readied to be baited and set out to ensure the mice of the meadow stay in the meadow and out of the camp.

Water is set to boil for coffee and washing, not in the camper where I will write and work today, which will help keep it cool through the day. The sun is already intense. The thermometer in the sun registers 24⁰ even though it’s a good 10⁰ cooler in the shade.

The wine (grape juice, since I cannot afford wine) and bread (crackers, since I can afford those, sort of) are set ready and the day begins:

With thanks for all that keeps me alive, the daily bread and the wonders of this place, and the amazing works of God walk with me each day.

With a petition for a young man suffering so much pain from small accumulative injuries from skate boarding that he can barely move.

With a petition for all the men who are abused, that God would make his presence obvious to them with kindness and love, giving them courage and protection, and a view to reality beyond their abusers.

With a petition of thanks that I am alive in spite of so many people’s unwarranted efforts to kill me.

The Eucharist celebrated, in Luther’s language, and the morning meal that sustains my body: creamy, smooth, sweet and bitter, cool and hot; all signs of the breadth of life that God intends for us each.

This is a morning to stand in awe at God’s wondrous works, evident in nature, in the wilderness, and in God’s sustaining life on planet earth despite our sustained attacks on it. We excuse ourselves saying it is progress, it is profit, it is energy, it is growth, it is a global economy. Still the attack is relentless and the planet becomes more angry, more wild, more extreme even beyond our own abilities to survive it’s wrath.

Are we to fear God?

Definitely, or we are patent fools!

In other words we would be airheads, birdbrains, blockheads, or dodos, dolts, donkeys, dopes, dorks, dumbbells, dummies, dunces, fatheads, ganders, goons, idiots, ignorami, imbeciles, know-nothings, knuckleheads, morons, numbskulls, pinheads, schlubs, schlumps, schnooks, stocks, featherbrains, scatterbrains, butts, dupes, laughingstocks, mockeries, monkeys, chumps, losers, schlemiels, crackbrains, crackpots, cranks, kooks, oddballs, screwballs, weirdos …

That should give at least an idea of who we would be.

If we only fear God, then we would be patent fools and … (same list.)

For God did not create all the wonders of the universe to create us who would fear our creator. God created the universe and holds it’s rhythm and rhyme together with divine love, so that we creatures could also participate in planting, growing, and producing love in every corner of this small planet earth.

To this end God created and gave to us such mornings as this!

To this end God created and gave to us such mornings as this, that in loving creation and creatures we might at least momentarily be the progenitors of wisdom, a counterpoint to our usual foolishness. As we fear and love God, God gifts us with the ability to be seers, mentors, and teachers who spread God’s steadfast love in kindness, listening, and healing.

From all these good works of God in us springs up in and among us the one thing that gives us breath: faith, hope and love.

[I know we usually count those three things, though here they constitute one. It’s math like Luther’s and the Trinity.]

What happened to your morning and the wonders that hold the universe together? Did you see God again? Right there … to be feared and loved?

As The Morning Dawns

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Morning Again

Can We Make It

Through

All The Brambles

Psalm 46:5-6

God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved; God will help it when the morning dawns. The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts.

Revelation 21:3

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘See, the home of God is among mortals.
He will dwell with them; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them’

Words of Grace For Today

God, almighty, melts the earth with a word, if God chooses.

God, almighty, melts our hard hearts and thick heads, if God chooses.

God dwells with us, and goes well with us, if God chooses.

God watches as kingdoms (and our small worlds) totter and fall, as hearts shrivel up and harden against all that attacks them and everything else as well, and as minds close down to consider only what fits so easily with a preconceived and shrunken concept of reality (though it may indeed be so far from reality.)

God is right there with us, and because God chooses, God does not abandon us to our tottering, hardening, closed down limits to life.

God strengthens our tottering worlds (oh in so many ways the world around us totters and falls into ashes and dust) so that they stand, not on our strength, but on God’s strength.

God melts the hardening of our hearts so that we can love again, so that they provide life for us and for all those we encounter.

God lifts the lids on our minds to let in the fresh air of hope so that we can see again beyond the horizons that were so close, so that we can see our neighbours’ needs and our abundance.

With that abundance, which God gives us and renews constantly, God showers the world around us with security for this day and all our days to come, security in God’s presence; God showers every heart around us with love, life-giving love; God showers our minds with curiosity and hope so that our horizons are beyond even our imaginations capabilities,

Because God so chooses, and choose again as each new morning dawns.

I command …! What?

Saturday, July 23, 2022

When We Face

The Dark Woods’,

We Can Be Courageous,

For

God Walks With Us

Joshua 1:9

I hereby command you: Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

2 Corinthians 12:10

Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.

Words of Grace For Today

Joshua’s words are a great example why military leaders are not great inspirational speakers: he can command all he likes, but deciding to be strong and courageous, not frightened or dismayed is a whole lot short of actually being, doing, speaking, thinking that way.

The gap is what most humans have trouble with. Filling the gap between deciding to be courageous and being courageous with commands does not work, not at all. In fact I’m not sure if I know one thing that does work.

Paul’s approach is confusing and maybe inspiring. It’s just saying when you are weak you are strong doesn’t say a lot. The rest of Paul’s writing fills it in better. When Paul is weak, his witness to Christ’s strength is most obvious, and in what Christ does for him Paul is strong. Borrowed strength as it were.

Joshua may not give great motivational speeches, but his ending or stated cause for our being courageous carries the day, the year, the millennium and really all time for all life: God is with us.

We can be courageous, not because we are strong, but because Christ is strong, and that strength never wavers. Christ is always with us so we can endure many hardships … and still live joyful lives.

This is a day to thank God, and dance on with a good life … good because God dances with us..

The ‘Complete’ Guide to the Rest …

Friday, July 22, 2022

Vegetation Takes a Winter’s Rest in Autumn,

As the Sun Does Each Night, and Sometimes the Moon

1 Kings 8:56

Blessed be the Lord, who has given rest to his people Israel according to all that he promised; not one word has failed of all his good promise, which he spoke through his servant Moses.

Hebrews 4:9

So then, a sabbath rest still remains for the people of God.

Words of Grace For Today

Rest.

One is at rest when one is not in motion.

Rest.

When one eats leftovers, one has rests.

And the cook did not have to cook to produce the food. Well maybe not, some cooks cook leftovers and call it rests.

Rest.

Rest is when one does not work to eat, survive, produce, profit, or gain in some way. One is a body at rest, without motion. Though for some people rest can also include some activities that are not part of their daily grind to ensure they can eat, survive, produce, profit, or gain in some way. A hike in the woods, if they still exist, i.e. not burned to the ground or brown with decay from drought and pestilence.

Rest.

When one’s soul is normally so worked up by the demands of one’s daily grind, a rest is needed to remind one that one is supposed to have a soul, a spirit, a life beyond the physical existence … and it should be a good life, though there are no guarantees.

Rest.

Rest is what those caught in battle wish for and rarely can afford.

Rest is what the burned out worker needs and even when motion stops cannot achieve.

Rest is God’s gift, a seventh day, a regular time to rest and to remember life is good.

Rest.

Today it’s time to take a bit of a rest, for as one gets older one’s body will not stay in motion all day without hurting and pinching and swelling and aching, so one’s body demands a rest. It’s good for the spirit, too.

Rest.

Today begins the Sabbath.

Today rest.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

The Rest.

Rest.

Rest is what’s left over when one does division, for example 12÷10 gives us 1 remainder 2. The two is what is left over. It’s the rest. While fractions can be important, and likewise results on the right side of the decimal point, a remainder, or what’s left, is sometimes more informative and exact. Take 4÷3 which produces 1.33333 to infinity or 5÷3 which produces 1.66666 to infinity. Where as 1 plus the rest, which is 1 or 2, is simple and to the point. Sometimes, as we live in God’s good creation, simple is the most accurate, the most honest, and the most truthful.

God keeps God’s promise that we shall have rest. God promises this each week. God promises this at the end of life. And that rest is not a number that can be reduced to a fraction or to a decimal at all, not at all.

Rest.

Rest is what a healthy body will have one way or another after a good day’s work. And even bodies that are ill will take rest sooner or later. We call it sleep and it is the best healthy maintainer we can avail ourselves of. With enough sleep, which varies from body to body (usually somewhere between 7 and 9 hours, though I seem to have known many people who actually needed only 5 or 6. There are many more who thought they needed much less than 7, and then they ‘paid the piper’, so to speak, with a heart attack or other grand illness or massive organ and body failure.)

Let us rest then, this night at least 7 hours, if God will grant it. And if not let us inquire of the information out there what we may be doing to interfere with our bodies getting what they need. Perhaps one needs to get out first thing in the morning into daylight for at least 15 minutes, or one needs to regularize one’s waking hour, eating hours, and sleeping hours to set one’ circadian rhythm, or give up on the stimulants like caffeine, tobacco, and drugs as well as the ‘downers’ like alcohol, pills, and trying to live with borderline personality disordered persons.

I’ve met more than my share of people who lived on meth for days, weeks, and months at different times in their lives. They cheated their body of the ‘need’ to sleep, staying awake and more than fully energized for days and weeks on end. Since meth hyped their bodies out of it’s normal ability to provide for itself, it literally ate at everything it could, starting with bones and teeth, in order to keep itself going through the abuse it was suffering. The meth-heads all had dentures, frail bones, and looked 30 to 50 years older than their years on earth would indicate, but all of them were knocking on death’s door rather emphatically. The rest for them was a measure of what was left, was their any ‘rest’ to their bodies and their lives.

Rest.

What do the rest of us have to do, to experience, to enjoy, to suffer, to endure, before God provides us rest from the wickedness of the ‘crazies’? We get to …

We get to rest.

We get to deal with the remainder of our days, the rest of them with gratitude and humility.

We get to hear and trust God’s promise that we will rest.

We get to take one day at a time, one night at a time, and one opportunity at a time to pray to God in thanks, and to work for God to bring life abundant to more and more people. The rest ….

Well, like Paul Harvey said too many times, ‘the rest of the story’ is what God promises all of creation: rest and life abundant.

Rest.

Taste and See … Yuck!

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

That’s Real, Up Close and Real, Down Low and Real;

Not-People Up-Close Are Everything But Real

Psalm 34:8

O taste and see that the Lord is good; happy are those who take refuge in him.

Acts 12:7

Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He tapped Peter on the side and woke him, saying, ‘Get up quickly.’ And the chains fell off his wrists.

Words of Grace For Today

O taste and see that the Lord is good!

Yes!

But in life for us there is so much that does not taste good, or right, or real.

Since I cannot eat meat anymore as my body deteriorates with age and needs special attention to continue on, at the food bank they keep giving me ‘interesting’ food. Most of it is harmless if useless when it comes to nutrition. I’ve long since given up on food needing to taste even good. I just watch for nourishing and helpful for a few more years, so anything in the Mediterranean diet always sounds good.

Last time I has handed a pack of frozen burgers, ‘no meat so they’ll be good for you.’ I couldn’t say no.

I fried them up the other day. They don’t really have any protein in them, just wheat and palm oil and spices and oils and things I can’t pronounce or remember. And they taste like … well I can’t afford to throw out food, but I stopped eating that meal before I was half-full. Couldn’t swallow any more of those not-burgers. It’s never happened to me before: I started to gag on each bite.

As at the times in my life when I’ve cooked for myself I eat lots of tofu, lots of beans, peas, vegetables, fruits. I like fish, though I’m not partial to other kinds of seafood that are, shall we say, slimy or gooey. I particularly like refried beans. I don’t need to eat vegetarian but I like it.

What I can’t stand is when food tries to be something it is not. Not-burgers are like not-people; you wish you’d never seen them. I don’t mean any disrespect, but there are people, too, who try to be something they are not. Along the way they forget truth and honesty, justice and mercy, love and hope. Instead they try to make up for losing these with fake charms, broken promises, and chemically induced happiness. They just are not authentic at all any more. Everything they say and do is based on lies. And you can smell trouble coming behind them.

I’ve met drug dealers, murderers, and thieves, all who have said up front exactly who they were and what they did. Can’t say I liked what they did, but they were not trying to manipulate or con or dishonour everyone in their wake. Not-people leave nearly everyone in their wake wondering what happened and who did it to them. When you figure out who’s been conning everyone it’s usually too late and most people do not want to admit they’ve been played, so there’s little help fixing anything, if anything could be made right.

Not-burgers are like that. They promise the world and then they taste terrible going down, they mess with your system going through, and they pass with a vengeance as if they had something to prove to the world.

The most destructive kind of not-people are those that cloak themselves in religion. They promise and pretend to be oh, so good, when really they are oh, so unbelievably evil.

We need angels to come and knock the chains off our wrists, minds, and hearts so that we can, all of us, taste and see the goodness of God’s truth for all creation. We need not try to be what we are not, or try to force others to what they are not or lie about others so that the world thinks they are other than they are.