When Is Enough Enough?

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Looking and Seeing, In the Haze Everything Is Unclear.

Psalms 130:7

O Israel, hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with him is great power to redeem.

2 Corinthians 9:8

God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work.

Words of Grace For Today

Everyday we set our eyes on something. If we are fortunate we have the opportunity to set our eyes on a goal or more goals for the day, that may eventually lead to an achievement some future day, or solve a problem or challenge that sits like a heavy cement barrier in our path forward.

When we only see our own challenges, problems, and limitations our horizons shrink day by day until we live in a haze, barely able to see life as God gives it to us.

Into this all too often deep haze, Christ comes to shine the light of life with a great power to redeem on all that we are and all that the world is around us, with all the other people in it. Then the haze begins to lift. As we lift our heads and eyes and hearts to see others’ challenges, problems, and limitations, and respond with empathy, love, care, and mercy, then the light begins to shine on our visions of each day.

We can see that God gives us more than enough. We have plenty to share with others to help them see the light, the steadfast love of God, shining in through the haze of their troubled days with a great power to redeem.

In the blessed moments of wondrous light we can see our hopes for each day expand beyond our own small bubbles to include all the grandeur of God’s creation, and the spectacular gifts God has given us through other people, and the blessed possibilities God offers us through God’s steadfast love and great power to redeem it all and us all.

In the Light, We See What We Missed Before.

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?

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.

Just Right

Saturday, July 2, 2022

Fresh, Clean, Wet Morning

Psalm 139:9-10

If I take the wings of the morning
and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me fast.

Matthew 28:19-20

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And

Remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.

Words of Grace For Today

Some mornings the joy of life permeates everything (despite all the possibilities of so much shtako colouring the view)!

Everything is wonderful today. The monster has eaten it’s fill of dry wood and produces in return warm dry heat to dry out the wet towels and clothes that need drying every day. Outside the rain falls on and off heavy, pounding the air clear, washing the camp clean. The rain is cool. The air is fresh, refreshing coming in the windows, countering the intense heat available from the monster (the wood stove that eats so much wood in the cold winter weeks). I pull two spoons full from a newly opened can of coffee and the aroma fills the small living space. The water boils briskly on the monster so I need not spend propane for that this morning, a savings when every savings is life. Great creamy Silk half-n-half with coffee coffee in the mug warms my hands, minimizing the arthritic pains, and soothing my throat all the way down! Creamy tart berries wait on my cereal where every spoonful is both smooth and crunchy, sweat-creamy and biting with Vitamin C in the black berries.

It’s a new month. The start of the second half the year, so it’s a new log file, crisp and clean. The calendar pages get turned up and held with tape for the small calendar, and up and over the board for the large calendar.

Since it’s not cold outside freezing the living daylights out of everything, I need no monster heat to survive. It’s like grits, ‘its extra, only 25 cents.’ And that (the gathering of an armful of small wood sticks) I can afford today. Maybe not in four months, but today I’ll burn this resource, upon which my life depends in the winter.

The heavy rain lets up, the sun shines in the windows, the birds start to sing and the stupid squirrels (and 2-legged animals) are silent so far this day. All seems just right.

I’ll take it. It’s rare.

Today, a holiday weekend, I’ll take a break from ‘going to the nations, baptizing them, and teaching them to obey.’ Or maybe I’ll be able to, we will see what this day brings.

These are small celebrations of life, enjoyed fully, before it is taken, shaken, and made nearly impossible by my ex’s lies (added to by so many, even the judges) in court. (What illness, evil, and cruelty bring people to lie so profusely and then defend the lies as if they had become truth? Some say it is the necessity of relieving conflict by scapegoating innocent people. Some say it is as good as it gets. Some say the lies do become truth. Most people bury their heads in the sand, unwilling to realize that this kind of lying in court is what brings violence to the doors of governments and courts and individuals. When you live by the lie, unfortunately you will die by the lie as well. If you are to uphold justice and you dispense injustice based on lies, allowing that barbarism to play a part in so many people’s lives – those that benefit and those destroyed by your lies – really a barbarism in themselves – then it should be no surprise that those who are violent will rise up and cut out of society those liars and injustice-dispensers. Once barbarism is in play, it will dominate, as easily and surely as Omicron.)

But let’s set that aside for a few more days, and not let the evil of it ruin these days. It will have it’s deadly effect soon enough.

Now and always, I rest in the peace of knowing that Jesus is with me always, to the end of the age

This morning I’ll take the wings of the morning and sing with the Psalmist:

If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast.

Getting It Done

Monday, June 13, 2022

Ours is the Grass,

God’s are the Mountains

Psalm 65:6

By your strength you established the mountains; you are girded with might.

John 14:14

If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.

Words of Grace For Today

Consider God.

Not just a heavy weight champion for millennia and eons, God is the winner in all contests of strength, power, might, abilities, and smarts … oh, and wisdom.

The mountains and the oceans have always attracted humans to them, to be astounded by them, inspired by them, to be dwarfed by them, to be renewed by them … and to be made afraid by them.

God spoke a word, and the mountains and the oceans … and for that matter all matter and the universe itself, were created.

No contest, God is greater.

At least we are able to gawk and shudder at the immensity of God’s works.

Then we try to do marvellous things, building towers to the skies, flying through those skies, building cities that cover miles and miles of land, sending fragile ships across the oceans and into space, and writing and speaking words as if ours could possibly create a universe.

Our words alone can inspire and save lives, redirect civilization, capture memories to be marvelled at and used as guides by future generations (if they’d only read and understand!), and our buildings and cities are amazing, and our ability to travel around the globe in air, on sea, and in space are all astounding accomplishments

and they barely compare to what God does.

Forget about creation for a this moment,

but consider what God does with our sinful, burdened hearts, when God forgives, redeems, renews us, and sends us back into life to be God’s instruments of grace for other people.

That is more awesomely amazing than all God’s word of creating the universe.

And it cost God Jesus’ life. Not cheap.

Jesus promises then that if we ask for something in his name he will do it!

Carte Blanche, with just one proviso: that it be God’s will.

Ask this day, of the Creator and Redeemer and Inspirer, all that you need and want, and trust that God will do what God wills for you, and for us all.

Then it’s time to set about the day’s tasks, of life and of love and of being God’s blessing to others. It’s not nearly as awesome as God creating with a word, but it’ll have to do as today’s ‘blow my mind away’ thought to bring us alert through the 24 hours God gifts us, again!

Choose, Again!

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

The Spirit Guides Us

Each New Morning, Noon, and Night

To the Truth

Of God’s Love for Us

1 Samuel 2:7

The Lord makes poor and makes rich; he brings low, he also exalts.

James 2:1

My brothers and sisters, do you with your acts of favouritism really believe in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ?

Words of Grace For Today

While the rich continue to exert a ghastly disproportionate carbon footprint on the environment that everyone needs to sustain life …

While nepotism is exercised openly and in secret the world around usually as a means to ‘buy’ other people’s support and favour …

While last year’s extreme weather events become more normal this year (for every year of the previous decade it seems, and cumulatively so that this year’s normal is really extreme!) resulting in drought, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, drechos, wildfires, ice storms, heat domes, and all kinds of rare weather events that challenge our way of living …

While so many people seek to be exalted in so many different ways, always at the cost of someone else’s basic living …

While today is a gift of 24 hours …

How do we choose to live?

We can jump right out there and compete with everyone in our way while we struggle to get all we want out of life (whatever that may be, and often we have no clue about what we are striving so hard for … even when we name it with words like money, honour, stability, security …).

Or

We can disengage and justify ourselves as living outside the way the world works, self-righteously declaring that we are and/or have it better than everyone else.

OR

We can listen to the Holy Spirit guiding us towards the Truth about us, life, and all creation. Often we say that people cannot bear all the Truth all at once, so we receive glimpses of it through our lives. That may be. Yet Truth is not that hard to come by and not that hard to grasp, if one is willing to face the implications. The implications are drastic to us who have ‘made our way up in the world.’ The Truth reveals that what we think we have accomplished is actually useless and futile. The Truth has less drastic implications for those who subsist. For them it offers what they have never had possible through their own efforts, life abundant. None of us can achieve it through our efforts, it’s that the poor have less opportunity to delude themselves into thinking they have or can achieve it.

The Truth is God created us, filled us with free will to choose to love, and when we choose to not love all of creation, God comes to forgive us, redeem us, renew us, and restore our freedom to choose to love … or to not love. God gives us a free gift, again and again, abundant life, filled with all the love and all the security that is possible on this good earth.

So how do we want to proceed through these next 24 hours?

Life abundant, or futile scrambling and struggling?

Every day God gives us the choice, again.

1/4 Turned and Twisted

Monday, May 9, 2022

When We Twist

God’s Grace

Even A Bit,

Life Is All Uphill.

Psalm 11:7

For the Lord is righteous; he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face.

Ephesians 4:23-24

For surely you have heard about him and were taught in him, as truth is in Jesus. You were taught to put away your former way of life, your old self, corrupt and deluded by its lusts, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to clothe yourselves with the new self, created according to the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

Words of Grace For Today

Ah Ephesians, Ephesians. So like so much truncated and 1/4 turn twisted faith. Jesus shows us we cannot save ourselves. The twist is simple: after Jesus saves us, then we are able to save ourselves.

Ha!

The world and people in it would have to be of an entirely different creator for that to be possible.

Yes, the Holy Spirit gives us the courage to recognize that we should, and by God’s grace sometimes do,

put away our former way of life, you old self, corrupt and deluded by its lusts, and to be renewed in the spirit of our minds, and to clothe ourselves with the new self, created according to the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

This is a marvellous miracle for us when God accomplishes this in us, and in those around us, or anyone on this planet … and then we go off the rails, back to our old ways

like Ephesians, thinking we can save ourselves, and not being able to at all, but making up story after story as if we can, have and will …

which is the devil’s fertile ground for all the destruction that follows in such self-delusions.

So we beg: God save us again,

and again,

and again,

and again without end,

so that we might reflect the power of your grace for us, so that others may know your grace for them.

Oh, God, give us a bit of righteousness, today, if you could. We certainly do need it. We all need it.

Images of Blessings and Dangers to Life Itself

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Spring Snow Falls Heavy on Rust Leaves That Forgot To Let Go Last Fall

Are We Also Out of Sync with Creation

Or

Has God Blessed Us Beyond All Imagination or Image of Blessing?

Genesis 49:22-26

Joseph is a fruitful bough,

a fruitful bough by a spring;

his branches run over the wall.

The archers fiercely attacked him;
they shot at him and pressed him hard.

Yet his bow remained taut,
and his arms were made agile

by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob,
by the name of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel,

by the God of your father, who will help you,
by the Almighty who will bless you
with blessings of heaven above,

blessings of the deep that lies beneath,
blessings of the breasts and of the womb.

The blessings of your father
are stronger than the blessings of the eternal mountains,

the bounties of the everlasting hills;
may they be on the head of Joseph,
on the brow of him who was set apart from his brothers.

by the God of your father, who will help you, by the Almighty who will bless you with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lies beneath, blessings of the breasts and of the womb.

1 John 3:18-20

Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action. And by this we will know that we are from the truth and will reassure our hearts before him whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.

Words of Grace For Today

Images of God’s blessings reflect the world of the writer.

These passages from Genesis use the image of the bow held taut, arrows shot at one by one’s enemies who press hard against one (seeking one’s death), in counterpoint to God’s blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lies beneath, blessings of the breasts and of the womb, blessings that are stronger than the blessings of the eternal mountains, the bounties of the everlasting hills.

The bow and arrow are no longer common in the arsenal used to kill us by our enemies. Mighty warships with great guns, fighter jets with smart missiles, drones for surveillance and armed with missiles and guns, automatic rifles, RPGs, tanks and artillery, fighter helicopters, nuclear submarines, silent submarines, radar, sonar, anti tank missiles, anti-aircraft missiles, and propaganda. Closer to home the weapons are hunting rifles, shotguns, poisons, deadly-wrongly-provided health care, webs of lies and deceptions, and corrupt police, lawyers, prosecutors and judges.

The deadliest, the least detected or spoken of, are always the psychological assaults, most destructively spun by one’s who have pursued, won, and spoken of love, though love is so far from their capability. Their self-interests are everything to them, and the lies told never end until one is dead and gone and hopefully forgotten … for if and when the truth is known the false-love persons are most detested and shamed … for they attack under the guise of what all know (even if they pretend not to accept): namely that love is the one precious piece of life that God gives us so that we can overcome all other challenges to life, and with love press on to live honest, honourable, and holy lives.

So we say with the writer of 1 John: Let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action. And by this we will know that we are from the truth and will reassure our hearts before him whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.

In love we see God’s attitude toward us and all creation, and by love we are emboldened to live and live abundantly, blessed with all blessings ever imagined, including God’s blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lies beneath, blessings of the breasts and of the womb, blessings that are stronger than the blessings of the eternal mountains, the bounties of the everlasting hills.

Humble Hubris

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Falling

Snow

Should Take Our Pride With It

to the Ground.

Isaiah 40:13

Who has directed the spirit of the Lord, or as his counsellor has instructed him?

Romans 11:33

O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are God’s judgments and how inscrutable God’s ways!

Words of Grace For Today

I have often prayed for what I needed, or at least what I thought I needed. I have often prayed for more than I needed, for what I wanted, and I still do and will as long as I live. Sometimes I know the difference. I am sure sometimes I certainly do not.

It probably is that way for most people, to varying degrees. The variation in the degree of knowing the difference seems to astound me. Maybe people are astounded by what I do not know as well.

The bottom line is this: none of us know everything that we should, could, and would if only … if only we knew what we’ve been taught and what our ancestors have experienced and should have taught us. But that is how it is with us, we just do not learn all that we could by being alive in God’s creation.

The most challenging piece of wisdom to grasp, and nearly impossible to hang on to for very long, is how humble we really ought to be.

Listen to our prayers.

Listen to our wishes.

Listen to the words we write.

Listen to the words we speak in private and in public.

From the sum total of all that we humans have thought, prayed, said quietly and cried out loudly for all to hear … from this sum total (if we could grasp it all, so even a small slice of it will have to do as an illustration here) we would deduce that we humans thought we controlled the universe down to the last detail, or at least some of us do, and the rest are alive to suffer what the others determine for us.

God

did

not

create

us

so.

O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are God’s judgments and how inscrutable God’s ways!

Mostly, we humans seem to have the smallest of clues at best of what God chooses and executes for us and for all creation!

Yet we think we can control God. Fully name and explicate God. Roll down on others God’s commands and judgments!

But Who has directed the spirit of the Lord, or as his counsellor has instructed him?

None, not a one.

Only by Grace do we know anything at all about God, and through Jesus, the Christ, we know that God’s primary attitude to us in one of unconditional, forgiving, and restoring love.

Our place is not to understand God, or God’s ways. Our place is to exercise God’s primary attitude of unconditional, forgiving, and restoring love in all we do and say, so that others will know the little bit we understand of God.

Where are you this morning? Where is God this day?

It’s rained all night. The cold water streaming steadily on to the 3 feet of heavy snow covering the ground and the deep ice still on the lake. The smoke from the fire wafts this way and that, steamy in the damp morning light. Not another scent can penetrate the air. The green bows of the spruce trees, the tuffs of green grass showing in the few spots where the sun has burned away the snow pack lowered by shovelling my way through the winter, not even the Moose droppings next to the large spruce where it spent a frigid night alone.

It is as if the world is reduced to sights and sounds: geese arriving and staking out territories, the fighter jets smashing air aside as they return to base, wheels and flaps down, throttle set at half for full noise below the sound barrier, the drip of the water falling from the leaves and tarps around my camp, the steady stream of snow flakes dropping, dropping, dropping on to the rain-sodden snow pack, the music floating in my mind, haunting oboe, intricate turns of words of comfort amid ordinary and extraordinary disasters. Thankfully the fire continues to burn, contained and directed to provide a duration of heat, for warmth, for heating water to wash with, and for cooking.

In this morning, so ordinary, so extraordinary, how can one see and know God? How can one not?! For my enemies have long since sought my death, seldom directly, constantly indirectly. And if not my death then my exile to some far distant location from which I could not be heard to speak the truth. In this morning of rain and snow, quiet and solitude, beauty and wonder, that I breathe is a miracle provided by God.

Likewise, I think, it is for all of us, should we be able to notice all God does to bring us breathing into a new day.

For God is everywhere! And we are here in God’s creation … likely not as humble as we ought to be, but wondrously comforted by God with us and thus emboldened for all we can do this day.

Supper and Breakfast Together.

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

As Each Day Begins

It Begins as God’s Gift

In the Eucharist,

Christ’s Sacrifice For Us All.

Exodus 33:19-20

And [the Lord] said [to Moses], ‘I will make all my goodness pass before you, and will proclaim before you the name, “The Lord”;and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. But’, he said, ‘you cannot see my face; for no one shall see me and live.’

2 Corinthians 8:9

For you know the generous act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich.

Words of Grace For Today

God saves Moses by covering Moses’ face as the Lord, in all the Lord’s goodness, passes by Moses.

For all of us God’s great goodness becomes visible in Jesus, a living human being. The greatness and goodness of God is not as we might have expected, such greatness that it over powers all evil. Instead God’s goodness becomes visible for us all in that Jesus gives up all claim to greatness, is born into poverty, lives in poverty, dies in poverty … so that we might come to know God’s greatness lies in self-sacrificial love, everything given up so that we might live, forgiven and renewed, and filled with hope … hope that all will be well, for us and for all people.

In this gift of hope God shows us all mercy, mercy that we certainly do not deserve, but without which we could not live.

So we live … and love … and hope.