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.

The Clock is Ticking …

Thursday, July 28, 2022

How Long Before The Light Goes Out …

Forever?

Jonah 2:9

But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you; what I have vowed I will pay. Deliverance belongs to the Lord!

1 John 2:17

And the world and its desire are passing away, but those who do the will of God live for ever.

Words of Grace For Today

From the belly of the fish Jonah cries to God and promises ‘what I have vowed I will pay.’

Then the rest of the story of Jonah’s previous resistance to God’s call to enter Nineveh with God’s call to repentance or face destruction. God has planned a great calamity for Nineveh’s near future.

Then the people turn from their evil ways and God changed his mind.

Now that’s something one does not experience every day, as a city that takes 3 days to walk across turns from it’s evil ways, the king ordering everyone to fast and don sackcloth and cry mightily to God and turn from their evil ways. And rarer yet is that the people obey their king, not just in appearances but so that God knows they have turned away.

The real wonder is being able to watch God change his mind.

That gives us hope for the world today.

We are not in the belly of a fish, having resisted God’s call to proclaim the coming end for our city. We are in the belly of angry planet whose environment is imploding in on itself because of our arrogant abuse of the planet’s resources, all for greed and luxury.

Jonah had it kind of unpleasant in the slime in the fishes belly, acidic slime at that, slowly eating at him. The clock ticking.

We sit in luxury and comfort, those of us who control the destruction underway, while others (billions) sit in discomfort and despair as their world fails or rebels around them with floods, droughts, destructive storms, wildfires, earthquakes, heat waves and deepening cold snaps … and melting ice that has been ice for millennia.

The desire of this world, to live in comfort no matter the cost to others is passing away, becoming impossible, backlashing on all the people, not just those in control, those having chosen this path for us all.

The only desire that will remain is the desire to serve God, and follow God’s will. May we be quick about it, or at least quick enough, as Jonah eventually was, that we may be saved.

They Are Out to Get Even You, David and You, …

Monday, July 25, 2022

So Many Storms Threaten,

So We Pray,

Save Us!

Increase Our Faith!

1 Samuel 30:6

David was in great danger; for the people spoke of stoning him, because all the people were bitter in spirit for their sons and daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.

Luke 17:5

The apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith!’

Words of Grace For Today

There are times when all we know to do is to beg that our faith be increased for we cannot see our way clear of what others try to do to us and what the future certainly holds for us.

So we cry for more faith. Really we want God to stop our enemies from attacking us, and bring us a future full of promise, and justice and truth out of our past, and clarity for our children and communities and church, and those who have done this to us to have the light of Christ shone clearly on their deeds and for restitution to be made to those who have been made to so inexcusably suffer, most of all the children. That is the prayer for years, and less and less of that seems possible, so instead we pray for more faith.

And God answers.

David leads 600 soldiers against an enemy raiding the land. On finding the whole city of Ziklag burned and the women and children taken, the people are ready to string David up for not protecting them. Who said people are clear-headed about who to blame for what.

David, warrior king that he is, pursues the Amalekites, with the help of one of them left behind because he was sick. Given food and drink and promised safety he helps David find the Amalekites. And find them they do, celebrating their successful raids. David kills them all, except 400 young men who escape on camels, and he recovers everything that was taken, including two of his wives.

Well now there is some kind of justice, a kind that even to this day results in those 400 escaped young men growing up to return to exact justice on David and his people, and then David and his warriors will …. round and round and round goes the violence until there are not enough people to continue it.

We do not hope for such justice. We want truth to be told and known, and for God to win converts from among those who have done such terrible injustices so easily that one is sure they do it regularly to many, many innocent people. To wait is difficult. To hope for so long when it only gets worse is difficult. They are still out to get us, but paranoia gets nothing good of each day.

So we know the disciples’ prayer very well: Lord, increase our faith!

Remember and Be Confounded, and Never …

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Remember Simple Tornadoes

and God’s Promise;

Listen Up!

Be Alert!

Ezekiel 6:62-63

I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall know that I am the Lord, in order that you may remember and be confounded, and never open your mouth again because of your shame, when I forgive you all that you have done, says the Lord God.

2 Corinthians 7:10

For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation and brings no regret, but worldly grief produces death.

Words of Grace For Today

God establishes a covenant with us, since ages ago.

God does this so that we may remember all our sins, and then be confounded and shamed into silence, awestruck at what God does for us, forgiving us all our sins.

Does God forgive us our attack on the planet which is responding with extreme weather, in a phrase climate change?

There are numerous people caught in worldly grief for all that we now suffer across the angry planet as a result of our huge contributions to climate change. It does no good. It brings us close to, and into death.

What God provides is a reminder of our true sins, true repentance, and all sorts of ways to change what lays ahead of us in the next decade, in the next half century and all time after (if we survive as a species that long!) God’s promises are trustworthy; those baptized will see their salvation, and be welcomed home to new life after leaving this life on this planet. Salvation is not the question. Our species survival as well as the survival of life on earth are very much in question.

So what shall we do this day?

We shall pray for the Holy Spirit to continue to guide us that what we do will be according to God’s will and love for all people and all creation.

We shall get busy listening to the Holy Spirit, doing what we can to reduce if not remove our carbon footprint from our lives on this good earth, and bringing God’s mercy, love and hope to other people … so that more and more people will listen

to

God’s

Good Word

and live, guided by the Holy Spirit!

Lordy, Lordy, what have we done!!?

Wildfires

Lightning and Thunderstorms

Droughts (and Floods)

Ice and Snow Storms

Psalm 119:114
You are my hiding-place and my shield; I hope in your word.

Matthew 8:8
The centurion answered, ‘Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only speak the word, and my servant will be healed.’

Words of Grace For Today
Can we hope at all?

This from the CBC MorningBrief Newsletter yesterday:

Europe is living in a disaster movie.
Unprecedented temperatures — 47 C in Portugal over the weekend; nearly 40 C in parts of Britain on Monday — have killed 1,000 people. Roads in France are under threat of literally melting. Rail lines are in danger of buckling. Runways at airports are forced to shut down. Wildfires are spreading across several countries as thousands evacuate their homes.
‘In some southwestern areas, it will be a heat apocalypse,’ meteorologist Francois Gourand told the news agency AFP about the heat wave in France.
At one time, this may have sounded like hyperbole, but the fact is every year countries around the world break long-standing temperature records — as was seen in B.C. last year — and then thousands die.
All of this should come as a shock to no one. Climatologists have been sounding the alarm for decades, warning of the increasing frequency and intensity of heat waves and droughts.
When asked if this type of heat wave comes as a surprise to him, climatologist Michael Mann said in an email: ‘Sadly, not. We have seen a recurring pattern of a very wavy jet stream this summer. That pattern is associated with the extreme events we’re seeing right now in the U.S. and Europe.’
When the first Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was released in 1990, it addressed the potential increase in heat waves, stating: ‘Some scientists believe that in a warmer climate the earth can be expected to experience more variable weather than now, with a likelihood of more floods and drought, more intense hurricanes or typhoons, and more heat waves.’
There have been four more assessment reports since then, with the language growing stronger and stronger about how the world needs to limit warming to 1.5 C above the pre-industrial average or it will face dire consequences.
But those reports aren’t just talking about the future — at roughly 1.2 C of warming right now, we’re already seeing the effects of climate change, particularly in the summer months.
The worst part, Mann said, is that climatologists may have underestimated the long-term predictions of heat waves.

Lordy, Lordy, what have we done!!?

It is one thing to hope in God’s Word, and hide under the shield of God, and to call on Jesus to but speak a word and we will be healed, but …

but we’re not listening! We have not worked to change. We have barely begun to speak correctly, sort of acknowledging what we’ve done. It’s harder and harder to find reasonable people who deny that climate change is a result of our own actions as humans on earth … and still it is not impossible to find those crooked-thinker (Querdenkers) in one’s own backyard.

Actually it’s real easy to find those people in my ‘backyard’ since they congregate here for relief from the heat and burn their gratuitous campfires all evening and night, and run their generators for hours and hours each day to supply electricity to their air conditioners, TV’s, microwaves, and who knows what else?

We complain mightily when it climbs above 25⁰ or 30⁰ or heaven helps us 35⁰ during the day and stays above 15⁰ at night. We are hard pressed to find our comfort. Oh, man save us we cry if it gets above 40⁰ and stays there for a few days! Here we are next to a cool lake. What are people able to do in the concrete-paved-over-barely-green-anywhere-tall-buildings cities?

Lordy, Lordy, what have we done!!?

So we cry: Oh, God, can you even save us? Save us now if you can!!
Listen though! God has for decades sent us word, word about how we are bringing climate change with it’s new extremes and more ferocious storms each year and how we can stop it. God has sent us clear warning in the past five years of obvious, undeniable new extremes and extreme weather to warn us to stop our CO emissions (along with lots of other fossil-fueled-industrial activities.)

How many of us have really listened and then acted to change our lives?
Well now it’s changing our lives, and not for the better. Will we start to change in good ways?

History repeats the answer to that question asked of every generation, ‘What? We don’t understand, so no.’

God help us!

God help us this day to do everything we can to learn what we must do to do our part!

Is there no balm in Gilead?

Monday, July 18, 2022

The New Kind of Storm,

The Backside is

More Tumultuous

Than the Front

Jeremiah 8:21.22

For the hurt of my poor people I am hurt, I mourn, and dismay has taken hold of me.
Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there?
Why then has the health of my poor people not been restored?

Luke 10:8-9

Whenever you enter a town and its people welcome you, eat what is set before you; cure the sick who are there, and say to them, “The kingdom of God has come near to you.”

Words of Grace For Today

God has a plan.

The world is crazy with falsehoods, driven into so many corners and minds that many believe them to be truth, which is a danger to the survival of our species.

God has a plan for that, though.

The people hurt, God hurts, and other people are responsible, directly and indirectly, for the hurt and worse for the death of so many people.

God has a plan for that, too!

Our health care systems, as we are so privileged to have, are overrun and ground into near uselessness, by a virus, a pandemic, but most of all by the falsehoods that so many propagate, so much so it is difficult to imagine how this is. The effect is that across the globe the virus is levelling the ‘playing’ field, and our expectations of whether we will live another 5 years or not!

God has a plan for exactly that.

God’s plan is that the workers for God’s Kingdom spread across the globe entering every village and remote place where people live, to eat what is locally provided, to cure the sick, and to proclaim simply that ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ And to bring, share, and leave God’s peace everywhere.

So what is your day going to look like?

God has a plan for that,

and it is that you will be one of the workers for God’s Kingdom, ready or not!

Just saying, it’s another day for the saints.

Zip It? Or Open It!

Sunday, July 17, 2022

So Small, So Mighty

For Truth

Or

Falsehoods

Psalm 141:3

Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.

Ephesians 4:29

Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear.

Words of Grace For Today

The mouth, the tongue, the lips and one’s breath create words spoken or shouted, and

The fingers on keyboards or holding a pen or pencil create words written and published easily today for the world to read, and

There has never before been so much evidence that ‘it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles’ Matt 15:11b and ‘the pen is mightier than the sword’, as social media create so many falsehoods so widely and quickly propagated to be amplified and further perversions broadcast in a rolling ocean of waves of shtako … so much so that truth is a rare entity to encounter.

While it may be easy, as it always has been, to point to others’ efforts to destroy truth with their broad side attacks, one need be wise and ask for protection, for no one is immune from the disease of arrogance and self-righteousness that leads to one attacking truth with shtako, so we pray:

Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.

This day, let us give thought and action to preserving truth, and to creating words that are useful for building up, as there is need, ensuring that our words may give grace to all those who hear and read them.

Another day, full of opportunity, and words. Let them be blessed.

Would You Hand Me A Light!

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Bears May Hibernate in the Dark

Coming Out In The Spring,

But We Humans Live Through It

And Hope To See The Spring.

Isaiah 60:19

The sun shall no longer be your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give light to you by night; but the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory.

1 John 1:5

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all.

Words of Grace For Today

It sounds like an apocalyptic movie: the sun shall no longer be your light by day, and the moon will not give you light by night. Polar darkness, for ever.

Then comes our salvation: the Lord will be our everlasting light, and our God will be our glory.

John puts the words there that seal the deal for us: God is light and in him there is no darkness at all.

Thank God, because it was beginning to look like the darkness had taken a firm grip our our world leaving us just a short time before we would plunge into eternal darkness.

January 10, 2022 I wake to a rustle followed by a huge bang. Then more rustling of tarps and more bangs, loud, crisp, close and … the ground shakes. I reach for the light to switch it on, and nothing. The batteries are dead as a 100 year old mummy, and as cold as if the mummy were uncovered from melting polar ice. That’s not right, I remember thinking. The fire should still be quite warm. I try to see what the thermometer reads but cannot see. I zip open the door and wind blows in my face crisp and instantly freezing cold. That’s not right, there was a fire in the fire box sheltered from the wind by a frame hung with insulated tarps. I cannot see anything. I feel for something, anything. But there is nothing. I stumble around pulling on a parka, pants, boots, gloves. I step out to where there had been a wood stove when I went to bed just a few hours ago. I thought I’d stoke it, but it’s not there.

I walk a few steps and the piercing cold bites deep into me, so much so that as I turn I lose my bearings, I flounder around a bit. Trying to work this out, I take one step and feel in a circle. I take a step back and then one more back and feel in a circle. Then I step in each side direction. Nothing. So I repeat the search this time taking two steps. This time my hand brushes against something. I take one more step towards it, trying to ensure I know the direction I’ve come from. It’s the zipper door flapping in the wind. I crawl back into the tent.

A loud to no one I say in a prayer: Would You Hand Me a Light!

As I reach to climb into bed my hand brushes something hard, a flashlight.

I have a light. I turn it on and realize in my restless sleep I’ve turned myself all around so that I have gone out the ‘back’ door of the tent. I look through the zipper of the front door and there is the shelter and fire, dwindling to almost no heat.

I get dressed again and go out to stoke it, lay myself back down to sleep again, and thank God

… for being the Light of my Life.

Or I could have panicked and never found my way back in the tent.

In the morning I see evidence that a bear has taken on a tree not 5 feet from my tent, and the tree lost. It was left banging against the tree next to it. My night of banging waking me turned around. Thankfully God got me straightened around.

God leads us and lights our ways in so many and various ways, but always God lights our ways, even on this day to come.

Thunderstruck! & Well.

Friday, July 1, 2022

Storms May Pound At Us,

From Above and Within,

and From Others,

Thundering All Sorts of Threats.

God’s Word, Jesus,

Heals All That Ails Us,

and Calms All the Storms In Us.

Psalm 6:5

For in death there is no remembrance of you; in Sheol who can give you praise?

Matthew 9:22

Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, ‘Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.’ And instantly the woman was made well.

Words of Grace For Today

Life is full of challenges, suffering, and grief.

Life is full of memories for which we can give thanks, and praise God for God’s abundant goodness … even for us undeserving sinners.

Life is full of illnesses that divert all our energies from living fully, to trying to cope with this painful moment or that overwhelming demand on us, a demand we must meet if we want to survive.

God knows this. God knew this before God began to create the universe, and us in it.

God sends Jesus, and Jesus’ followers, to heal us, not just in body, but also in our minds and spirits, so that our faith will make us well.

Jesus and Jesus’ followers save us from death and from the places where/when we have no memories of God’s great works for us and our ancestors.

Like the woman, pushing through the crowd to get close to Jesus, to just ‘touch’ his garment, we often find ourselves pushing against the crowds of people that think they know all that is to be known about life and that they have the ‘keys to the cities’ or to the counties or countrysides (or as it is: municipal districts) in which we live. Then, when we finally reach through the mass of discontent and querdenkers and bullies, we feel the goodness and life-giving healing power of Jesus’ Word and Being.

We are instantly made well. Or sometimes over months or years we are made well. Or sometimes we get to go home to the dwelling Jesus has prepared for us, where no one forgets to give thanks and praise to God for all God’s goodness, grace, love, and mercy.

It’s a dance, to a lovely melody, with great harmonies in all the parts, with a great partner, with pauses when we get tired or stiff from arthritis, or simply tired of the foolishness of other people in this good creation.

So today, we dance on, to the beat of Jesus’ drum. (Some used to call it Thor’s hammer.)

Rains and Wind and Trees Down

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Trees Should Not Lean On Campers!

Psalm 121:8

The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time on and for evermore.

2 Thessalonians 3:3

But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one.

Words of Grace For Today

Yesterday the rains fell, the winds blew, and I slept, fitfully with wild dreams in tune with the ruckus outside.

I woke to see leaves against the back window of the camper. Winter tarps strung on frames quickly assembles as the cold set in, gave out around the camp. Tarps danced with anger in the wind.

I wandered out in rubber boots and my bathrobe to survey the damage. The top rain tarps were whipped back exposing the insulating tarps. The protection for firewood was mostly gone, and I freed the tarps the rest of the way to keep it from ripping itself any more. The tree, well … a tree was blown over onto the back of the camper. Thus the leaves at the window were that tree’s, yesterday a good 6 feet away, today up close and pressing on the glass.

I had hauled in wood the day before yesterday. The ‘ropes’ were still in the truck. I positioned the truck to pull a rope, wrapped around another tree (low for better leverage and less risk of pulling that tree over on to the camper) and on to the tree kissing the camper as high as I could reach (for better leverage on that wayward wood.) With a tug in low 4×4 the tree came upright, and then settled against another tree back towards the ‘pulley’ tree. I reattached the rope straight from truck to fallen tree, and backed up (praying the tree would not find it’s way back on to the camper just 6 feet away). It followed the rope and settled nicely in front of the truck (also a concern that I may not be far enough back and the tree would more than kiss the truck!)

A Kiss, Thankfully, Just a Kiss.

So it was: my morning. A day with plans to endure the rains. I’ve survived a flood, watching waters rise to within a metre of destroying a house that I build with my own hands, crossing up over the river valley to the plain away from town. Then travelling (instead of 3 km to town) back and around and over the dam up river (the only road still in tact over the river) 17 km to get to town, and hearing the rain each night, each day, and the reports that the dam was softened and shifting.

Real dread fills my bones still when heavy rains persist day after day.

This tree, this rain, did little damage that cannot be repaired. The tarps and their supports needed to be better designed and built before another winter. Now it will be done a bit sooner in the summer. A good thing at that.

So it is that I can heartily echo these readings:

The Lord will keep our going out and our coming in from this time on and for evermore and the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one.

It’s just another normal spring day (normal given climate change.) What will I do with it? What will you do with it?