Trouble, Trouble, Double Trouble

Monday, October 18, 2021

Looming Clouds Above,

Threatening Shadows Below.

Everywhere Trouble Awaits

For Minds Caught in Anxiety.

OR

Cast Your Anxiety On Christ

and

See the Beauty!

Psalm 50:15

Call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.

1 Peter 5:7

Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.

Words of Grace For Today

DO NOT WORRY!

Which makes one focus all the more on one’s worries.

Cast all your you anxiety on Jesus!

Now that’s a great collection of words that can foundationally change one’s life for the better. For we know that anxiety drives one into a survival, pre-rational thought option pattern of responding to the world (or at least to one’s imagined threats in the world.)

Those choices are not that helpful in most situations, and the likelihood that we imagine a threat that is not real at all or at least not as threatening as we perceive it is … well … it is so likely we can say it is the standard for most of life. This fear based reactions to life makes us vulnerable to those many evil people who use fear in others to control them, to move them to make decisions not at all in their best interests, but to the advantage of the one controlling them! It’s sop for despotic political leaders taking and maintaining power; after all democracy (or any form thereof that responds to the public needs and best interests) is not very efficient, or preferential to those who have or want to have position, power, and privilege.

So to be able to cast away our anxieties, not declaring them unreal (even if most are) sets us free from being controlled by fear. Then we are able to proceed through our days, using our God-given brains to think clearly and make choices that will benefit those around us.

The latest examples are all those people who read the fake reports about vaccine dangers and decided to not get vaccinated, or to wait. So they did not get vaccinated. Now they populate the ICU’s and hospitals and after that drain on our too-limited health resources, they live the rest of their lives with health compromises no one would choose, unless the other choice is death by Covid suffocation.

After we’ve cast all our anxiety on Jesus, then we are able to give God praise and thanks.

What a life God offers us, a life that responds to reality, instead of fabricated fears used to control us, destabilize our lives and the community life around us, and eventually the national security of our country and many other countries in the world.

By Grace Alone We Stand Firm

Monday, August 2, 2021

Even Against Wasps

And Other Enemies

That Would Kill Us

We Stand FIRM

Leaning on Christ

Exodus 14:13

But Moses said to the people, ‘Do not be afraid, stand firm, and see the deliverance that the Lord will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you see today you shall never see again.

Hebrews 10:23

Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful.

Words of Grace For Today

As we do repeatedly when threats arise against us, the people following Moses into Freedom, led by God no less, repeatedly complain that it would have been better if they had not up’d and left their ‘safe’ slavery in Egypt to follow Moses into the Wilderness, just to die.

This time Pharaoh’s army has caught up to them as the have crossed the Red Sea. They exit the path through the water to stand on the opposite shore, the ‘gateway’ into the wilderness. At the same time the horses and chariots and men of Pharaoh’s army, spears and swords ever ready, enter the same path through the waters.

Moses promises them that they should hold fast. They will never again see these soldiers, these Egyptians ever again. God has delivered them and it is not for nothing.

God is gracious and faithful. The people then watch as Moses takes his staff and the waters, which were pulled back to create their path to freedom, are let free to fall back in their course. The horses, chariots, and men are swamped and drowned in the returning waters. They will never be seen again by anyone.

God keeps God’s promises.

Later they people will run out of water. They will complain and say that it would have been better to live full lives in slavery rather than die of thirst. God remains always gracious and faithful. Moses will strike a rock with his staff and water will flow from it, the people will drink their fill, and they will move further into the wilderness.

Then they will run out of food. They will complain and say that it would have been better to live full lives in slavery rather than die of thirst. God remains always gracious and faithful. Quail rain from the sky at night for them to eat meat. In the morning the dew will leave a thin layer of bread, enough for one day (or two if the next day is the Sabbath.)

Then, while Moses is up Mount Sinai, they will run out of patience. They will turn to Aaron, give him all their gold and the will worship the calf made from it. God has provided for them in every way, and God will not leave the people to die in the wilderness that day. God remains gracious and faith even when the people are not. Moses smashes the tablets that the ten commandments are written into. The golden calf is melted away. Moses will go up the mountain to get a second copy of the ten commandments. (It will take a bit more than a good photocopier or printer-scanner to produce them, inscribed in stone as they are.) When Moses will come back down, the people now will return to worship God, who is gracious. As a consequence not one of the people alive that day at Mt. Sinai will cross the Jordan into the Promised Land. Their descendants will, but not them.

God is gracious and faithful and just.

So God is with us as we repeatedly complain and turn from worshipping God.

Freed from slavery to sin, we too often face challenges and think that we ought to return to be slaves of sin. God has other plans. Jesus continually forgives and renews us sinners so that we can also at the same time be God’s faithful people, the saints who share God’s grace with all people. We are the people who share the whole story of Jesus and his love, the old, old story. We are the people who do this only because God graciously makes us able, because God first loves us so that we can love all other people. Even our enemies who catch up to us just as we set foot in the freedom of the wilderness. It does not require much since we will never see them again;

God is faithful and gracious and just.

Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful.

God’s Own Blue and Beautiful

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

God’s Creation

Blue and Beautiful

Darkened Always by Evil.

Job 12:10

In God’s hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of every human being.

Acts 17:28

[God made then so that ]… they … search for God … though indeed God is not far from each one of us. For “In God we live and move and have our being”; as even some of your own poets have said, “For we too are God’s offspring.”

Words of Grace For Today

Even the writer of the Acts came to know the truth, that God created us all and we thus search for God in our own ways.

Even so God needs not to be searched for, for God is not far from any one of us. For we in God we live and move and have our being; we are God’s offspring.

While the life of every living thing and breath is in God’s hands, that certainly does not mean that God protects our lives from destruction by those that would do us harm. Indeed we suffer great destruction from the evil one and from those that would advance themselves at other’s cost.

Our consolation is that God is never far from any of us. No matter how terrible it gets at the hands of our enemies we need not search for God, God is with us. No matter how difficult it becomes as resources, circumstances, friends, church, family, and even hope abandon us and we feel we are left isolated to die on our own in the wilderness, God walks with us. God provides everything to us that we need to live abundantly. This is not that we will have an abundance of anything in life, except that we will live with God’s abundant Grace, Mercy, and Blessings.

It can always get worse.

It never gets bad at all, since God is with us.

It is most terrible for those who work unjustly to do us harm, for they disconnect themselves from God, even as God is so near to them. By their own doing they walk alone in their self-made hell and terror.

For us every day is a day of peace, with ourselves, with God’s creation, and with God.

For we are God’s own children.

Unending Complaints, or Enduring Grace

Choose for Yourself this Day

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Bright Light

Shines on Our Complaints

and

on God’s Generous Grace

Which Puts Life Back Together Again.

Exodus 16:11-12

The Lord spoke to Moses and said, ‘I have heard the complaining of the Israelites; say to them, “At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread; then you shall know that I am the Lord your God.” ’

Hebrews 10:36

For you need endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.

Words of Grace For Today

Hebrews is a book that often gets it backwards: if we do this then God will reward us with that.

The way God works is as God works for the people following Moses. They are enslaved, they do nothing to deserve their slavery or God’s blessings, yet God leads them (through Moses’ acting as God directs him) through the Red Sea and into the freedom of the wilderness.

Then they complain that they have nothing to drink. Though they show little appreciation for the priceless freedom God has already provided for them (they have not earned more from God at all, not at all!) God provides them with water that flows at the wack of Moses’ staff on a rock! They drink their fill that day and each day of their sojourn in the wilderness.

Then they complain that they have nothing to eat. This ragtag band of free people simply knows nothing about gratitude and everything about being slaves to their own bad attitudes and complaints.

They deserve nothing God has given them again and again, and still God again gives them what they ask for and need: meat at night and bread in the morning!

That’s how God works for us, and always has, and always will.

We screw up royally, and God does for us what we need having done so that we can get on with living life abundant (as God created us to be able to live!) Then we screw up and God continues to save and bless us … and repeat endlessly (ad nauseum!)

We receive from God blessings upon blessing, endurance among them, as we already today receive what God has promised us: an inheritance as God’s children, God’s presence with us each moment of our days, and eternal life that has started already long ago ….

Because God is so generous with God’s Grace for us, we have plenty of Grace to also be overly generous with all other people. That’s part of the abundant life: that we share all God gives us, especially with those who need the basics of life to be able to survive another day and another year, with hope for the future.

The atom bomb can blow the world apart at the atomic level; God’s love and grace puts the world and all that lives on it back together at the super-sub-atomic level, at the level of existence created.

God puts life back together for us, too, no matter how we ‘blow it up’ and apart for ourselves and others around us.

God is the only One who can put life back together again, even when ‘all the king’s men and all the king’s horses could not put Humpty Dumpty back together again.’

Grace, Tiger … Grace!

Sunday, July 4, 2021

Tiger Lily

Bright Orange on Green

God mixes colours just fine,

As God mixes us bad people in with creation and comes up with Grace and Wonders!

Psalm 71:16

I will come praising the mighty deeds of the Lord God, I will praise your righteousness, yours alone.

Ephesians 2:10

We are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.

Words of Grace For Today

It’s simple: God created us to do good works.

We sign God’s praises for God’s righteousness, God’s alone.

It’s all way too simple said this way and expounding on just these words will leave out the truth about God all together.

We will set ourselves up to have to praise God, and God alone. We will set ourselves us to do what we are created to do: to do good works. We will fail, and many of us will lie to ourselves and others in order to pretend we are not failing … so great is the cognitive dissonance when we cannot do the good deeds we think we are created to do.

Not that we should give up on doing good works and praising God alone.

On our own we can never do either.

How is life then ever at all good enough with us for God to even pay us any attention?

Simple in a word, and as complicated as the whole universe held together at the subatomic level, yet vulnerable to even the smallest parasites and viruses!

Grace is that Word. God acts first to forgive and renew us. Then, guided by the Holy Spirit (in spite of our wishes and understandings that would lead us astray) we are able by Grace to do good deeds.

Thanks be to God, for the greatest miracle is that God chooses to save us, again and again.

We start each day with prayers. We end each day with thanks.

All day long we are caught (if we stop to notice at all) by the wondrous miracles God does to forgives us and renew us … we are caught up on God’s Kingdom, and we share it, imperfect and ungraceful as we are, with others … who are also imperfect (needing forgiveness) and ungraceful as the like us bungle through life, as if we were wild elephants in a china shop.

Crash, Bang, Crash.

Tinkle, tinkle, tinkle

We keep breaking God’s heart of steadfast love. And God keeps on forgiving us and renewing us.

Now that is a simple word and as complicated as moving to live in the mountains and ensuring we can enjoy both sunrise and sunset; The way the world works, we are privileged if we can have either one or the other … but both, and new life? That’s a miracle for which we can give God thanks and praise each day.

The Words of Life

Friday, June 25, 2021

Fly Baby, Fly!

Psalm 91:4

He said, ‘If now I have found favour in your sight, O Lord, I pray, let the Lord go with us. Although this is a stiff-necked people, pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for your inheritance.’

John 8:31-32

Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, ‘If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.’

Words of Grace For Today

Finding favour in God’s sight, and continuing in Jesus’ word; there is nothing better in life, for though we are a stiff necked people, God has pardoned our sins, and given us the promise that we are God’s children, inheritors of all that God has to give.

While the world goes nuts with fake news, deception, and gaslighting of whoever can be had, Jesus gives us the truth and makes us free, free from the all our sins, and free from the losses from others’ sins, and most of all free from all the sheer craziness of life formed from lies, from the foundation on up to the latest addition of the day.

For that we can rest at night and dream of things unreal at night, because during the day all is tied clearly to reality.

So we ask:

Can

A

Canoe

Sit in the dark

And stand against the wind

Alone?

Or does it need company,

Security cameras,

Or chains

To hold it down.

‘Fly baby fly’

Might not

Be the mantra?

Rather the words

that give one heart

are ‘Come, let us see the loons,’

by which we mean the birds on the lake

not the two legged nutters

that waste life from sunrise to sunset.

‘Rest, baby rest,’

in Jesus’ hands

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

God Creates, We Make It Up, Doch Truth is Still Truth

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Seeing the Whole World

In the Tiniest Drop

Of Creation

Ecclesiastes 3:14

I know that whatever God does endures for ever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it; God has done this, so that all should stand in awe before him.

Romans 11:29

The gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.

Words of Grace For Today

There are plenty of awesome things that exist and events that happen in the universe that give us more than enough cause to pause and stand awestruck, observing what God has done. The moon eclipse this morning is just one small such event. That the planets and moons, sun and stars continue in movement around each other, in galaxies, and more: that super novas bring some of those stars and planets to their end, that black holes absorb even light, that tadpoles in such great swarms survive and grow to become frogs, minnows fish, and puppies full size dogs. The world is full of things marvellous and wonderful, standing for generations as the mountains, canyons, and lakes do, or living a generation as short as a day, or as long as ‘4 score and 20’ or hundreds of years as turtles do.

Our eyes and ears are given to us, made in such a manner, that we can experience the wonder.

Our brains are given to us, made in such a manner, that we can choose … well we can choose so many things, including whether or not to notice and protect as sustainable the things that have stood for generations and the living things that have but a generation on earth, however long that is for each.

The real miracle of God’s creating comes directly at us, us humans who have bodies and minds, and live with more, a spirit. This is something we can only tangentially observe. Though poets, artists, philosophers, theologians, mystics, and scientists of the ‘soft’ sciences make great efforts to give us evidence of what our spirit is, what our spirits are, we are at a loss to fully comprehend and be able to describe what a ‘spirit’ is, what our ‘spirits’ are, or even to definitively establish that ‘spirits’ exist.

Yet by faith we live, adopting well established patterns of thoughts about one person’s spirit, our collective spirits, so that we can proceed through our days with some kind of claimed purpose, order and meaning.

Faith as a living out one’s life as a member of a religion is also such claimed purpose, order and meaning. It is foolish hubris of so many ‘faithful’ people to claim that their religion, their brand of their religion, their particular expression of their religion or their individually tailored, customized, made up faith or spirituality is somehow THE ONE God gave to humans to live by. That foolishness and hubris has fuelled much religious fervour, many wars, and countless lives – and long before death it has cost people their spirit.

The healthy, faithful people know full well their religion is a human construct in response to God’s work and will, that it is fallible, sometimes seriously unhealthy, and always in need of reform yet as a religion that has stood the challenges of time it contains many kernels of life-giving beliefs, beliefs that encourage practices, which in the doing they bring holistic health to the doer and those around, that respect the Creation and Creator, and the many people of the same and of different faiths, whether healthy in their faith or not, yet they are still creatures of God.

In our faith we recognize that God calls every person to their own vocation, their way and manner of participating in the precious life that is given to us all. God does not set us out on into the ‘wilderness’ of the unknown without first well equipping us for the sojourn; God provides us each many of a variety of ‘gifts’, insights, abilities, skills and compassions so that we will find also in the ‘wildernesses’ of our journey’s the great variety of God’s Work, everywhere in the universe from the grandest scale to the tiniest of scale, and more so than in any other way, in the ‘spirit’ of each person.

God’s greatest miracles are always those that transform a human spirit from unhealthy, foolish, hubristic, to life-giving and sharing, wise, and humble … and faithful.

The order that we live with recognizes not all fiction is based on reality, that reality is a definite thing, and lies are lies as truths are truths; we are not lost or snaffle-baffled by corruption’s claims that reality is other than it is. Gone are the Trumpite fantasies, the Covidiocies, false testimony and convictions, and the denials of real science, like the denials of climate change and Covid19’s existence, deadly existence.

Always present are gratitude, generosity, truth, grace and real hope, from the tiniest view of the universe to the grandest view of God’s marvellous creation.

Thanks be to God.

Living by God’s Promise

Sunday, May 23, 2021

We Are Quite Small in All Creation and Time!

God Rules

over All

Daniel 4:31-32

While the words were still in the king’s mouth, a voice came from heaven: ‘O King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is declared: The kingdom has departed from you! You shall be driven away from human society, and your dwelling shall be with the animals of the field. You shall be made to eat grass like oxen, and seven times shall pass over you, until you have learned that the Most High has sovereignty over the kingdom of mortals and gives it to whom he will.’

Titus 3:6-7

This Spirit he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Saviour, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Words of Grace For Today

To those who wish to lord power and destruction over others, to try to build their place in God’s creation and in time, like Nebuchadnezzar, .. to all doers of evil against God, God’s people, and any of God’s creation, God brings judgment and humility. God drives them, like Nebuchadnezzar, away from human society, to dwell with the animals of the field … to eat grass like oxen. All time shall pass over them until they have learned that the Most High has sovereignty over the kingdom of mortals and gives it to whom he will.

The power that God gives to God’s people is not to ‘lord it over’ others.

Rather through Jesus our Saviour we are justified by his grace, so that we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

We live in that hope and promise that life given to us now is abundant, and knowing and trusting this we are freed to live out God’s love for all people, to exercise for all others the same grace that God exercises for us in and through the telling of the old, old story of Jesus and his love.

Living in that promise, no matter what befalls us, no matter what enemies attack us with violence or lies, no matter our health, no matter how we suffer Covid (with illness, threat, or stress of the restrictions placed on our lives, or the lengthening of the pandemic and unnecessary risk Covidiots add to our lives) … no matter our circumstances, we are able to thank God for all we are and have, and to sing each day, Take my life that it may be, consecrated Lord to thee.

Thus we know, trust and live out that all is well, all is well, all manner of things are well with us … for God walks with us and God has sovereignty over the entire universe.

Thanks be to God!

Challenges, Darkness, Light

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Light

Let Us Be Light

For Those In Dark.

Deuteronomy 32:11

As an eagle stirs up its nest, and hovers over its young; as it spreads its wings, takes them up, and bears them aloft on its pinions, so the Lord alone guided him.

Philippians 4:7

May the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Words of Grace For Today

The challenges we face everyday are not inconsequential.

On our own the Devil always gets us and has his way with us.

God does not abandon us.

Like an eagle providing care for it’s young, God looks after us. Like a loving parent God guides us all our days.

We need not panic, or lose heart, for the peace of God surpasses all understanding, guards our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, and guides us to be saints, the people of Christ’s light, Christ’s Grace, God’s love for all we encounter.

God’s peace is everything we need for this day, for each day … one day at a time.

Thursday, January 28, 2021

We are as fragile as grass in the deep freeze of winter snows.

And more precious than platinum to God.

Genesis 32:11

Deliver me, please, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau, for I am afraid of him; he may come and kill us all, the mothers with the children.

Luke 19:9

Then Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham.’

Words of Grace For Today

Jacob, the trickster, who stole the birthright and inheritance from his brother, cries to God. Jacob is rightfully afraid that his brother has every right to respond and not kindly. That he will kill everyone in Jacob’s family is a possibility.

So Jacob cries for God to deliver him from his rightful punishment.

If any of us think we are in a different situation before God, we are real fools. Think again.

No one is righteous before God. All of us deserve punishment for our sins. All of us ought to humbly cry to God for deliverance, deliverance from our enemies that we do not deserve.

God responds to Jacob’s cry.

God responds to our cries.

God responds, graciously, mercifully, lovingly forgiving us and delivering us … maybe not from our enemies, but from the Devil and from us losing our souls (heart, mind, body in one whole big loss of our lives).

For we too, by faith in God’s Son, Jesus the Christ, so marked with this faith as a gift given to us freely by God, are also counted among the children of Abraham, God’s own people.

Humble pie.

Desperate pleas!

Gracious Deliverance!

We are in this together: this life, this pandemic, these challenges, … all of it.

God’s creation is a wonderful place to live and share life abundant with others.