Giving Thanks to God ….. not to godlets.

Saturday, July 10, 2021

Life is A Maze

an Amazing Maze of Wonders,

Gifts from God.

God is All Amazing.

No need to make small godlets.

Psalm 106:1

Praise the Lord! O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures for ever.

Colossians 3:17

Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Words of Grace For Today

Giving God thanks surely involves using our voices and God’s name, though when we use God’s name constantly in our communication with other people it is a grand misuse of God’s name, grace, and steadfast love.

Truly, in word and deed, doing everything in the name of our Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God is so much more than mere words of thanks, or constant mention of God’s name.

Giving God thanks is an attitude towards life that brings us to reflect God’s grace towards others.

It is to give of one’s self so that others will live, whether they accept and practice faith in Jesus Christ, or not, for all people are God’s creatures, God’s precious people, people God forgives.

Giving God thanks is to extend to all others the same grace that God first has given (and continually gives) to us.

More often than not it is to do it anonymously, so our names are not known or remembered, so that our God’s name is not known or remembered … rather that God’s grace towards us is experienced as God’s grace towards other people. We certainly are not to bring people to worship or adore us for our good deeds and gracious words. We certainly are not sent out into the world to bring people to worship a ‘small god’, a godlet of any kind even one they name Jesus.

There are enough people worshipping a godlet of some kind or another, and too often they call that godlet ‘Jesus’. It certainly is not.

The past president of Tanzania is one very visible example: Covid 19 hit and shut down country after country in Africa with restrictions and precautions. What did this ‘Lutheran Christian’ do? He prayed. Certainly good. Then he announced to the country that his ‘godlet’ ‘Jesus’ had cured all Tanzanians of Covid 19. There was to be no mention of any respiratory illness as Covid 19, though there were thousands of cases everywhere. His godlet Jesus caused the avoidable death and long term disability through Covid 19 (and long Covid 19) of thousands of Tanzanians. That kind of godlet, no matter what it is called, is certainly not the Jesus of Nazareth, Son of God, healer of our every ill, the creator, redeemer and sanctifier of the universe and all people in it.

Small gods, godlets, are made up every day by so many people looking for a way through life’s challenges.

God walks with us, seeing all we do, and still God’s steadfast love endures for ever for us and all people.

Because God is gracious to us, therefore we can be gracious with all the deadly covidiots out there, and all the abusers, and all those with power who abuse it, and all those who thought (and those that still think) residential schools were acceptable, … and all the enemies of life abundant for all.

Treating the enemies of life abundant for all is how we give thanks to God, for God’s grace worked first for us.

Happy 90th Birthday Celebration Dort!

Very sorry we cannot cross the border to be there to celebrate with you.

Snow – Sing, Baby, Sing

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Green and Snow

You Never Know What God Has for Us

Next!

Nehemiah 9:5

Then the Levites, Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabneiah, Sherebiah, Hodiah, Shebaniah, and Pethahiah, said, ‘Stand up and bless the Lord your God from everlasting to everlasting. Blessed be your glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise.’

Ephesians 5:19

Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts.

Words of Grace For Today

Singing seems to be in the passages for now, and on our lips. Why not?

Two days ago the green of spring had sprung . The grass was growing wildly, trees were budding fully, and the wild rose and raspberry so abundant in this area had started to throw their leaves outward.

Then the usual of spring in Alberta fell from the sky: snow, heavy, wet and grand covered the ground and green with inches of white on top that grass and all those buds.

The return of snow and cold puts the increase of pollen and the beastly bugs on a hold and/or delay for a few days or, if we are lucky, a week or two. There’s always an up side. Even when things are so terrible they cannot get worse: the only way to go is up!

When we recognize for the million-times-millionth time how gracious God is to us, though we certainly do not deserve any of it, we have all the reasons we need to sing. We can sing almost any song, the old songs, the new songs, and even all the off-the-wall songs we can find or make up, just as long as they help us tell once again the old, old story of Jesus and his love.

The melody of telling Jesus’ story resonates with the harmonies of the universe

for God created it so.

So let us sing

even as the snow falls on the greening of spring, let us sing

for God created us so.

So … sing, baby, sing.

Healing, Snow, Courage: All by Grace

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Hosea 11:3

It was I who taught Ephraim to walk, I took them up in my arms; but they did not know that I healed them.

2 Peter 3:15

Regard the patience of our Lord as salvation. … Our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given to him.

Words of Grace For Today

In time everything changes. This morning it’s a thing, quite  a thing, to go to bed with grass showing

grazed on by deer

and then

to wake at 3:00

to see the flakes flying in the flashlight

and to wake

before breakfast

to see the whole of everything and beyond covered

well by snow still falling.

But then that is life

and weather in Alberta by the lake.

Change is not always so survivable, especially not when it is evil, aimed at eroding or emptying our souls of unconditional love, forgiveness, grace, courage and hope.

Then we come to know that we need God every day, whether we see and know God or not, to heal us and to fill us with wisdom of living as those who have received salvation as a gift from God.

Only by grace are we able to live having received and sharing unconditional love, forgiveness, grace, courage and hope … with all people no matter what comes our way,

whether it is snow or Covid 19.

Share the Light or Loose It All.

Friday, January 29, 2021

Damned or Saved

It’s our choice.

How will we live out today, as saints or sinner?

Both always at the same time!

Daniel 12:2

Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.

Romans 6:23

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Words of Grace For Today

The world’s equations are simple and messed up. They speak of just rewards. The wealthy and ‘successful’ hold that they have earned their wealth and ‘success’, and the poor just have not worked hard enough!

Those in deep poverty don’t have time to waste on such equations: life demands everything of them just to survive another week, maybe even just one more day!

Those in between, afraid they may end up in deep poverty, buy into the work-reward equation as protection from sliding into desperate poverty (until they do, not a result of their own doing) and as a faint hope that some day, if they work hard enough they may climb up into better circumstances, even become one of the wealthy or ‘successful’.

God’s equation is not tied to our efforts, not efforts at good works, nor efforts at true belief, not efforts of right thoughts. God’s equation of ‘success’ requires only God’s acting on us, in us, and through us …. By grace alone we are saved.

So what do we do with these biblical texts and many like them that seem to throw us right back into the ‘our good efforts and good results net us eternal salvation or eternal damnation – so buck up pal and do good OR else!’ equation?

First of all: it is a life long challenge to remember and hold to God’s equation for our eternal salvation. Some hold (not us) that it’s all up to God, so what we do does not count at all! It’s just that our lives will reflect God’s choice of salvation or damnation for us: that is if we look like God has saved us it means we are and the other way around. In this way of living one falls right back into desperately trying to be or at least look good, so as to show in this life one is chosen by God to be saved! And that brings us right back into the futile equation of ‘it’s all up to us, so buck up pal Or else.’

Second of all: it is not up to us to get it right. We do not hold that we can save ourselves, but we certainly can ignore God’s good work in us and live like hell. Literally we can sin madly and never take claim of the gift of salvation that God has already given to us and constantly newly gives to us.

So our salvation is a result of God’s good work for us.

And our damnation is a result of our own evil work in creation.

A paradox, but what else is faith, than a tension beyond comprehension, requiring trust each day, each minute.

Before God we are all in deep poverty, needing God’s gift of redemption. We are all sinners.

Before God we are all given the greatest riches and real success, claimed as God’s own children. We are all saints.

So how to live each day: simple! Share God’s Grace with everyone.

As Jesus summed it up: love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and strength, and your neighbour as yourself, even your enemies!

That equation for each day is like the bright sun in the mild air on the cold snow returned after weeks of cloudy, snowy, deep-freeze weather: it’s filled with thanks for the light, love for creation, and hope for each new day!

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.

Life Is Always God’s Miracle for Us

Monday, January 18, 2021

Creative We Can Be Manipulating Existence

Existence and Life We Cannot Create

Only God Creates Existence and Life

Nehemiah 9:6

And Ezra said: ‘You are the Lord, you alone; you have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. To all of them you give life, and the host of heaven worships you.’

Romans 11:36

For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory for ever. Amen.

Words of Grace For Today

There is much that we can create:

Paintings, sculptures, pottery, photography.

Dance, theatre, film.

Novels, short stories, poetry.

Our spirit flows from us as we create, and as others take in our creation they certainly can be inspired. The spirit flows.

As parents we are privileged and responsible and accountable for nurturing, guiding and inspiring our children to become healthy adults. Teachers, coaches, and pastors/rabbi/priests are privileged to assist and participate in nurturing children. Yet we do not inspire life into children, we merely help God’s given spirit grow.

We cannot, no matter how hard we try, inspire, on our own, our creations to breathe. God alone can bring what is not alive, to breathe and come to life, to dream and envision the possibilities of joy and hope.

God, on the other hand, creates in such great quantity and quality that we can only be awestruck. So much in the universe does not breathe, does not carry and share spirit. God also creates things that live, that breathe, that smile and dream.

God gives that to each of us!

We can only respond by being awestruck. We can only appropriately respond by worshipping God, our creator. All the goodness we enjoy comes from God. As we remember that we are God’s creatures owing God everything, life is as God created us to live it: life is life abundant.

As we share with others what God has given us, so that everyone enjoys life abundantly, we enjoy more and more what God intended for us to experience: grace and love.

Another great thing about creation is that that God’s creation is held together by grace and love.

That makes for a wonder filled day … each day!

There’s ‘Snow Time . . . . . . Like Now Time

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Just a little of the snow stuck

but it’s heavy

weighing done the branches.

Are we like that, weighed down, instead of enjoying life!

Psalm 95:2-3

Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.

1 Timothy 6:14-16

He will bring about the manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ at the right time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords. It is he alone who has immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see; to him be honour and eternal dominion. Amen.

Words of Grace For Today

Sometimes there is little time.

Still,

Give God thanks.

A foot and half plus of heavy snow fell. I had a full day, with little time to write.

Still there were many things to be thankful for, many more to laugh at, and some I just had to shake my head at. One over-arching thing keeps getting proven over and over: God has a sense of humour and keeps hoping for us … why else would we humans be left to do such ridiculously, humorously, crazy things that both fill the news and are apparent right in front of one’s eyes … too often done by the one who the eyes belong to!

Patch Adams had it right: the unexpected joyful thing gets people to notice a bit more of life, and life is wonderful. There is every reason to be “excessively happy.” So why not be that for as many people as you can?

God is everywhere watching, a Light that powers the universe, a Light so great we cannot behold it, so we need not wait. Here and now (in each moment of each day) is the right time and place to make a joyful noise to God!

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – October 19

Monday, October 19, 2020

Out there … Alone.

Whether it seems we stand alone, like the tree, or the ice house, where everyone passes us by, or turns far away from us,

God created us all,

and we are ALL in this together!

Psalm 146:7

Who executes justice for the oppressed; who gives food to the hungry? The Lord sets the prisoners free.

John 8:36

So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.

Words of Grace For Today

Who executes justice for the oppressed, gives food to the hungry, and sets the prisoners free?

We should all do this each day!

Do we? Not many and not much! We leave this to God to do.

Who frees humans from their captivity, the real captivity that robs life from us, the captivity to sin (to turn away from God and try to make our way in life on our own, almost always at other people’s expense … so that people are oppressed by our efforts to get ahead in life, so that people go hungry while we are well fed and live in superfluous comfort, so that people are imprisoned for telling the truth as we lie in order to gain and retain our ill-gotten privileges and wealth!

Yes! Who executes justice, feeds the hungry and sets prisoners free when we are the oppressors, the one’s who take away food, and lie to have people imprisoned?

We leave it to God!

And God’s people step forward to undo the injustice, hunger, and falsely imprisonment that we cause … and ignore … or worse, celebrate, as if the one’s we’ve done these atrocities to are our enemies.

They are not. They are God’s people, on this sojourney in life with us.

Thanks be to God, God’s Son, Jesus the Christ, came to live, heal, forgive, die, and be resurrected that we might know God chooses to free us from our captivity to sin.

The Son frees us, and we are free indeed!

Free to be the one’s to bring true justice to the oppressed so no one need fear their neighbour or the authorities’ bullying, false arrests, and robbing of life; to feed the hungry so no one is hungry or without the basic necessities of life; and to set the prisoners free so that no one is falsely convicted or falsely imprisoned, and more …

so that all people will know that God’s Son has set us all free from captivity to sin … we can trust that God will bring out of us all the goodness that God created us and all of creation to be.

That’s such a fundamental revolution in the way people think, speak and write, and act that so many people resist this freedom.

And the injustice, hunger for daily bread, and false imprisonments continue and even increase.

It is no solution to turn on (and try to exterminate like the pests they are) the bullies, the oppressors, those who take, deprive others of, and hoard the daily food available in creation, and those who hold others in prison cells or poverty in a reserve or in a land distant and separate. Others will only replace those who are exterminated, and those who exterminated others simply become the oppressors.

God wants a victory for all, a double victory (as Martin Luther King Jr. called it), a victory where everyone is free. God does not delight in an evil person’s death. God delights in Jesus setting them free.

What else did we think God created all this universe, and us in it, for, but for us all to live, choose, love, and hope freely … all by Grace alone?

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – October 17

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Path to ?

Think you’ve seen this Path before,

Maybe, Still God Requires of Us

That We Bring Sojourn Through Life

Sharing the Fullness of Life with All People

Starting with Kindness, Truth, Justice, and Hope!

Deuteronomy 10:12

So now, O Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you? Only to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

James 1:22

Be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves.

Words of Grace For Today

God requires of us?

We must be doers of the word?

Luther described James as a straw Gospel. Like a straw house that the wind blows away with ease and fire burns quickly away. All chaff, no substance.

Before God requires anything of us, Before we ‘get’ to be doers of the Word, God acts.

God acts by creating us, making us able to love, which requires free choice, which means we sin and are bound to choose to sin, so God acts to forgive us, redeem us, and set us free to love, choose, sin, and God walks with us to forgive us, redeems us and set us free again and again to love ….

Always God acts first. Then we are enabled by the Holy Spirit to do what is ‘required’ of us:

to fear God, to walk in God’s ways, to serve God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength!

Make no mistake: it is everyone’s obligation to fear and love God, to walk in God’s ways, and to serve God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength: to be DOERS of God’s Word. We do not get a pass to sit on the sidelines of life and allow EVIL to have it’s way with us and others. We are to WORK against EVIL, in all it’s forms of injustice, violence, and degradation of life.

We do not get to sit on the sidelines like those in Hottelstedt who watched train load after train load of people in cattle cars and box cars pass through their town and not work to stop the obvious extermination of masses of people, genocide to provide for a ‘pure’ Aryan nation. After the war was lost, they excused themselves that they had no idea what was happening just a few kilometres away.

Our duty includes being curious about the work of evil around us, to speak up, to speak out, and to work to stop it. We use Grace and forgiveness, giving God opportunity to rejoice at the redemption of yet more sinners.

It’s not so easy as following rules. It requires everything of us! Thank God life, all of life, has an honourable and glorious purpose! To serve God and be the ones who bring God’s will to actuality here and now … by being the bearers of forgiveness, redemption, and freedom.

What a life!

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – June 7

Sunday, June 7, 2020

In the snow, in the wind, in the rain, under these skies …

Is God Coming

Down this Road

For me,

For us,

For all the young men

who die senseless deaths

at the hands of police?

Psalm 98:9

The Lord is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with equity.

Matthew 24:14

And this good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the world, as a testimony to all the nations; and then the end will come.

Words of Grace For Today

Protests and Police using tear gas killed one of my son’s long time friends.

It helps to read that the Lord is coming …

to judge the earth, to judge with righteousness (finally)

and equity.

George Floyd

did nothing to deserve to have a policeman kneel on his neck for 9 minutes while he struggled to breathe and stay alive, a struggle he lost.

.

This explodes into protest at this time because Covid 19 restrictions are not fair, not equitable. The poor are hit the hardest, many struggling anyway to find enough food each day, and now, if they go out for food, they face curfews, police harassment and arrest, incarceration and almost sure infection. Rich people are often not even inconvenienced, or bother to change the pattern of their lives.

This is not equitable.

Being poor is rarely the person’s fault. Being rich is rarely due to honest hard work.

Being black … being a young man …

none of this is a fault. Yet this brings fear that minority mothers teach their sons to be aware of, and to fear this irrational hatred, lest hatred of them would cost them their lives. Even then, too often, just breathing and being (themselves) alive, unjustly costs them their lives because someone with a police uniform and a heart full of hate takes it from them.

Where is equity in all this?

This is racism, misandry, and out of control hatred.

.

Protesting is the least one can do, to support those who live in fear everyday, for the hope that one day they might not have reason to live in daily fear for their lives.

I have a dream!

Do you!?!

What are we to say when protesting peacefully is responded to with police tear gassing the protesters, even when they claim they have not used tear gas. They use pepper bomblets, which even they designate as tear gas!

Tear gas.

And it kills, sometimes.

Yet the police still use it!

Then they refuse to allow those affected by their tear gas to retrieve a handbag to get their asthma puffer …

And another innocent protester dies at the hands of the police ….

.

Thank God, that God will come!

God will come to judge with equity!

Helps us.

Help us be as God created us to be, bearers and witnesses to the Peace that surpasses all understanding

even as we mourn the loss

of another good young person,

this time a young woman.