Clarity, Energy, and Relief!

Friday, July 29, 2022

Relief!

Proverbs 4:18

But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day.

1 John 3:2

Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is.

Words of Grace For Today

The path …

I’m not so sure anyone really knows what any ‘path’ looks like, until they have travelled it and since no human can travel the path of righteousness (righteousness is reckoned to us by God, as a gift, unearned, untraveled, perhaps hoped for).

We wish we could. We pretend we have. We write about it as if we have. We try to inspire others to choose to travel the path that we have not travelled.

We should instead inspire people to trust God to reckon righteousness to us, and to be alert to the path that God provides for us. Though we do not travel it, God hauls us on that path in spite of us and our constant rebelling, and false, arrogant claims that we, oh yes, we have and do travel the path of righteousness. That is like most of our human powered efforts: it’s bunk. Or as the writer of Ecclesiastes said, it’s all vanity.

Theologians and writers who claim to know how we will be like Jesus, and what Jesus will be like upon his return speak that same language of over-exuberance at least and often pure arrogance and goal of controlling other people, even though they can control so little of themselves and their own life.

Humility is our beginning point, our mid-point, and our reality all the way to the end. The only thing we can ‘boast’ of is God’s good work in us, and in all creation.

Like the sun rising, with the most beautiful light, until it rises clear of the horizon and burns heat and energy down on the day-lit-earth. From that we have learned to create solar electricity. And from that energy plants through photosynthesis live and thrive … unless and until the heat and energy from the sun becomes too much and they wilt, burned out of life by the very energy that gave them life.

So it is for us. We need the sun to live, vitamin D being the least of it. Until the sun becomes too hot, too intense, too powerful an energy that it burns life up around us, and us with it.

Today it will burn hot in the meadow, with a forecast 30⁰ it will climb to at least 35⁰ and likely 40⁰ or more as the heat gets trapped in the meadow.

Thankfully the evening comes and cools it right off, usually 5⁰ cooler than elsewhere. A regenerating time, not just for sleep but recovery from the intense heat.

What do people do without that relief? They suffer. They die.

What do people do without the energy (Love) of God entering their lives with the great relief from the evils of the world to revive them (Grace). They suffer. They die.

We pray that today God will exercise Love and Grace abundantly for us and make us clearly aware of God’s work for us, as clear as the noonday sun, with relief from the cool water of life in the shade of the tall and healthy tree canopy, where so many of God’s creatures know to find relief from the heat.

Plus Minus on God’s Scale

Friday, July 15, 2022

Yesterday, 10 am

2022 February 2

Psalm 5:10-11

Make them bear their guilt, O God; let them fall by their own counsels; because of their many transgressions cast them out, for they have rebelled against you. But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, so that those who love your name may exult in you.

Romans 5:1

Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Words of Grace For Today

This Psalm sits in stark contrast to yesterday’s reading from Matthew. Love your enemy!

So which is it?

Life is filled with challenges.

In the winter the thermometer reads below zero. Not a problem really if one is prepared to create and retain as much heat as possible … and there is enough wood (or fuel).

In the summer the thermometer reads above zero. Not a problem really if one is prepared, one has sought to repel and shed heat in many and various ways and there is plenty of shade, wind, ways to endure the inevitable hottest times of the day.

But when the thermometer registers outside the 40⁰’s plus or minus, then preparation is essential, but no preparation is sufficient, unless one is rich and willing to expend huge amounts of fossil fuels and other resources to secure one’s own comfort at the cost of others’ lives (if not immediately then eventually as climate change makes the plus minus challenges reach outside the plus minus 50⁰.)

As if meeting one’s own challenges, and guaranteeing one’s own comfort were all that life is about, we plow a head and … Life Just Gets Harder for Everyone … and more people die, directly or indirectly from our luxurious expenditures (which we may even measure as necessary!)

There is only one way to meet the challenges of each day, of climate, of extremes, or lacking life necessities, of greed (ours and others’), of … well of every kind of challenge. And that is to begin each day remembering what God has done for us:

That we are justified by faith, and therefore we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

When we know that we have peace with God, we need not panic, nor go to destructive lengths to ‘save our own skins’

firstly because we are not afraid, and not even afraid to ‘meet our maker’ (actually that will be a marvellous day!) nor

secondly because we remain thoughtful and actively engaged helping others meet the challenges of their days, and therefore we remain aware of the cost our efforts to ‘save our own skins’ has for other people, and we gladly forego our security for their having the basics of life …

and thirdly because, at peace with God, we see security in a completely different light. Security in this life is nothing other than knowing God walks with us. More is futile, frantic, and destructive efforts to ‘outsmart’ God.

Let us simply take refuge in God’s presence, always joyful, always grateful, always singing and dancing – even as we face the challenges of extreme days.

What else did God create us for?

Getting Out There

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

It’s hotter at 9 am today than the hottest moment yesterday,

Climate change in a day (yesterday’s extreme is today’s normal),

So maybe it’ll help orient us if we get reminded

that winter is coming and it’ll be blessed cold.

Isaiah 66:19

I will set a sign among them. From them I will send survivors to the nations, to Tarshish, Put, and Lud—which draw the bow—to Tubal and Javan, to the coastlands far away that have not heard of my fame or seen my glory; and they shall declare my glory among the nations.

Mark 16:15

And he said to them, ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation.

Words of Grace For Today

So many people want to stay in their own little bubble of the world, safe, comfortable and sure of what will come tomorrow – and if what comes tomorrow is something different then they have great ability to lie to themselves and others to day what happened is not different, but it is still what they know how to handle.

So the people are done with Covid before the third wave, and now we face the seventh wave. Covid is not done with us. So many people may refuse to behave responsibly, protecting others by wearing masks, keeping physical distance, and providing ventilation indoors. We all may want to be done with Covid. It’s just that might just kill us, and if it will not kill exactly the fools that indiscriminately get infected and share that everywhere they go, it’ll kill so many of us, even us who are wise about our exposure and protection.

To be other than wise about Covid requires that one live in a bubble of foolish denial of reality. And that’s where so many people live, about Covid, about their rights and others’ rights, about justice and truth, about climate change, about God’s blessings and their obligations to the strangers.

God knew this would be so, and in every generation has sent faithful, wise people out into the world to be remnants, giving witness to God’s good creation, truth, and the challenges we actually face, living on this planet.

So which are you going to be today: a comfort seeking, reality denying, self-protecting-other-endangering, bubble living parasite,

or

one of the remnant of witnesses who remember and preserve the truth of God’s good works in every generation, as well as the honest reality of life on planet earth?

Today, in small ways we each will choose, though God will do everything to guide us

to be one of those who are Getting Out There.

Heat, Spirit, and Cooler Days!

Thursday, July 1, 2021

No Matter the Heat,

No Matter the Evil We Face ,

Or the Doubt We Know,

God’s Promises Are As Sure

As The Coming of Winter

and the Return of Cooler Days.

Hosea 13:4

Yet I have been the Lord your God ever since the land of Egypt; you know no God but me, and besides me there is no saviour.

1 John 4:13-14

By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Saviour of the world.

Words of Grace For Today

If only all in the world would only know our God as generously gracious, loving and merciful, and always walking with us, all of us.

If only we could know our God so, and remember that … every day, no matter what.

We can know that God is with us, for even in our darkest hour, the story of Jesus saving the world and us in it can always convince us anew that God is with us and for us, just as God worked to save God’s people from slavery in Egypt, from the wilderness, and from all the temptations of the Evil One.

Spirit and spirit, God meets us as we are and as God is: always fully spirited, always able to follow in Jesus’ way, giving good words and God’s good promises to all.

Whose Story Do Our Lives Tell?

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

It’s hot!

It’s so hot that I put out six eggs, cheese, and spices

by the outside propane stove.

Then I went inside to get the iron skillet for making scrambled eggs

and they were hard boiled before I could crack them

and the cheese was burned to charcoal.

The spices were still good.

We are to be like the hot spices for life!

2 Samuel 14:14

We must all die; we are like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be gathered up. But God will not take away a life; he will devise plans so as not to keep an outcast banished for ever from his presence.

Luke 5:30-31

The Pharisees and their scribes were complaining to his disciples, saying, ‘Why do you eat and drink with tax-collectors and sinners?’ Jesus answered, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick [do]!

Words of Grace For Today

The secret to life really is to recognize how screwed up everyone is, how far from God’s good books we all behave and remove ourselves. We like to cast others out, out of God’s house, out of civilized company, out of our lives. In fact the ones who do the casting out are usually the ones most deserving of being cast out. They not only are so screwed up and so far from behaving justly, lovingly, and with gratitude for God’s gifts; they also deny they are anything but perfect or maybe just slightly flawed.

GUFFAW

The other part of the secret to life is to recognize that nothing can help us, especially not ourselves, and not even chocolate or coffee or scotch (or any variation on those themes.) Nothing can help us except God. Knowing God, fearing and loving God, frees us to recognize that God WANTS us! God works all kinds of miracles to convince us that God actually forgives us! God freely and generously gives us forgiven, redeemed, and renewed life, again and again and again and … without end.

God wants us to know God walks with us always.

God does not banish us. Other people pretend they can, but God remains by our side. When we get tossed onto the garbage heap of life and even tossed out into the darkness of hell itself, God walks with us, and keeps us walking right out of that darkness back into life abundant.

Jesus came not to care for those who thought they were healthy. Jesus came to show us that we were all sick, and that Jesus was ever ready to heal us of our every illness.

Death will come to us all. That will end the injustice done by many. Still God does not abandon us, nor give us our enemies’ deaths as the only hope for a better life. Already today God gathers us into Paradise with all the saints in light, if we will only see and recognize all that God does for us! At our deaths God keeps walking by our sides and gathers us still into Paradise with all the saints in light, who have accompanied us on our sojourn each day, hoping for us, hoping that we will also be the saints who share Jesus’ wonderful healing presence and promise with those the world casts out, and those who cast others out.

God continually devises plans so as not to keep an outcast banished for ever; God sends Jesus the physician of the universe to all who are sick; God sends us to heal the sick in heart, spirit, and body with Jesus’ Word and Jesus’ story.