Arrogant Bullies Meet God’s Word!

Sunday, October 31, 2021

God’s Word Exposes

All Bullies’


Like Smoke in the Trees

And Gives Us Life

Ezekiel 12:25

But I the Lord will speak the word that I speak, and it will be fulfilled. It will no longer be delayed; but in your days, O rebellious house, I will speak the word and fulfill it, says the Lord God.

1 Corinthians 4:20

For the kingdom of God depends not on talk but on power.

Words of Grace For Today

Paul writes to the congregation at Corinth, a very divided and problematic congregation, filled with strife and people seeking to gain power. Paul speaks to the issues through the letter, and here addresses the arrogant ones who are full of divisive talk. Paul speaks to the bullies.

While Paul has preached (spoken) about the grace of Jesus, forgiveness of sins for sinners as we all are, and renewal of life given as a free gift (grace) so that we can share the gifts God gives us each day with others who need what we have, here Paul uses his written words to move people to recognize that these promises given to us in Jesus’ story are not mere words. These promises carry the reality of the universe’s maker and all of God’s unlimited power in them.

Words carry God’s promises. The Word, Jesus the Christ, as John teaches, existed before the beginning with God, and God spoke to create all that is. Words are very powerful.

Words are also empty vessels of deceit and deception, of irreality, of things that are not, though corrupt people and the Devil wish they were, and with their wishing they give them a semblance of reality … but only a reality that dissolves like a holo program on a spaceship in a fictional story of the Star Trek series.

God’s power is in words that are fulfilled, even for a rebellious house, like Israel and like us all as we seek our own way through life. God’s power is in healing that relieves diseases of body, mind, heart and soul. God’s power is greater than anything else we could imagine and infinitely more! God’s Word creates all that is, all reality that does not dissolve but stands in time … and in hearts and minds … for bodies and for souls.

The arrogant bullies in the Corinthian congregation and all the bullies of all times and all places are no match for the power of God, the Word of God. So unsure of themselves, bullies present a false front of self-assurance and self-made power. Their so called ‘power’ and deceiving words dissolve in the face of truth, in the face of God’s Word, in the face of Grace, in the face of real power, in the face of sacrificial love, and in the face of hope that cannot be extinguished by evil.

Bullies everywhere: listen up! Bullies everywhere: stand down! Bullies everywhere: God will deal with you, will heal you, will send you out to be messengers of God’s Word that gives life (instead of the words you now use to destroy others’ lives.

Bullies everywhere meet God. God’s been with you through all time.

Bullies everywhere quake in fear, for God has spoken and your bulling days are coming to an end.

Obedience to Earn Healing? Doch!

Saturday, October 30, 2021

As Winter Cold Approaches

We Trust God’s Promises

To Heal Us Graciously

And Give Us New Life

With Christ’ Marvellous Touch

Exodus 15:26

He said, ‘If you will listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God, and do what is right in his sight, and give heed to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will not bring upon you any of the diseases that I brought upon the Egyptians; for I am the Lord who heals you.’

Luke 4:40

As the sun was setting, all those who had any who were sick with various kinds of diseases brought them to him; and he laid his hands on each of them and cured them.

Words of Grace For Today

If we are obedient to God, then God will not strike us with diseases, but will heal us. So reads the text from Exodus.

Any and all came with those who were sick with various diseases, and Jesus laid hands on them and cured them. So reads the Gospel from Luke.

God’s promises are always given as a statement of God’s stance towards humans, both righteous and waywardly sinful and evil humans. Jesus’ story is God’s communication to us of God’s stance towards us, which is in a word Grace. That is God saves us from our sin while we are yet sinful, not because or in response to what we have done right, but rather as a response to what we have done that is sinful! God not only saves us from our sins, but God cures us of our every illness, renews life in us, and then sends us back out into the world, that wretched place of evil and sin and corruption and greed and lies and destruction …. God sends us back out into the world, that wonderful place of God’s good creation, of beauty, Grace, love and hope. God sends us out to be, in the midst of all that evil, the one’s who embody God’s Grace, beauty, love, and hope for all people.

So why the conditional given in Exodus and so many other places in the Bible, both Old and New Testaments? Simply because Grace is such a difficult reality for arrogant humans to swallow that we turn it around, pervert it, into to something we can earn. That is the story we are accustom to living with and it is comfortable even in the extreme as we recognize that it is the ultimate illness and disease by which we will die, by which we are dying, by which we have died and yet still walk as shells of humans on earth.

It is also the religious story, so commonly used in so many traditions, by the ‘priests’ or those who pretend to lead others, in order to control their followers. It is exactly the means the Devil uses to corrupt and pervert us and live all around us.

Jesus comes to heal us and to live a story we can understand … so we can understand and trust (amidst all the sick evil around and in us) that:

Grace still abounds, as does beauty, love, and hope.

Thankfully these abound for all the children who have grown up by those so perverted they cannot see Grace at all, yet alone beauty, love or hope.

Thanks be to God.

What Measure?

Friday, October 29, 2021

How do we measure

all we see

and experience

and know?

What is the colour of the sunset?

It’s true measure is only Grace.

1 Chronicles 29:11

Yours, O Lord, are the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty; for all that is in the heavens and on the earth is yours; yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all.

Hebrews 4:16

Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Words of Grace For Today

How do we measure all that we measure?

How do we measure what angle the sun is at, so that the solar panels produce most efficiently through all the year (helping reduce our carbon footprint for everyone’s benefit, especially future generations), or so that we know when to wake up to be outside before dawn breaks to take photos of the magnificence of creation (to share and inspire others, who cannot see this beauty in person, to celebrate God’s blessings), or so that we know when to start our work for the most efficient use of our bodies’ capabilities since the warmth of the sun protects against injury and further degeneration of ‘this limited resource’ we each have?

How do we measure the wealth that we possess, or the wealth that others have, or the wealth that governments control (and waste through bungling and favouritism and fraud), or the wealth that is needed to deal with the challenges we personally, or collectively (in our local area, our country, or together in this whole wide world), face this day and can anticipate we will face in the coming days, weeks, months and decades (of climate change, breakdown of global supply lines, on-going pandemics)?

How do we measure the needs of our stomachs, our minds, our hearts, and our spirits?

We can choose many different ‘yard sticks’: our or other’s bank accounts as our/their worthiness of living and living in comfort; scientific facts and theories that inform us of creation and how it ‘works’; the needs (real and addiction created or imagined) we feel each day or each minute allowing them to dictate what we do to satisfy our ‘hungers’.

There is no measure that will give us life other than placing the universe or rather our perspective of it in order at the very beginning of each of our considerations:

Yours, O Lord, are the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty; for all that is in the heavens and on the earth is yours; yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all.

As Martin Luther wrote in the Catechisms again and again: We are to love and fear God so that ….

It is in that fear and love as the beginning point that all other measures make sense of life being blessed for us and for all other people.

There will be no end of need, dire need, on our part; our stomachs, our minds, our hearts, and our spirits all have needs that need be met for life to continue well for us. There is no end of evil and sin that permeates the world, disrupting the meeting of those needs for us and for all people. There is no end of hungry stomachs, minds, hearts and spirits; desperately hunger grips more of us than not at any moment!

Knowing that God rules over all though our best efforts, our best measures, our best science, our best collaborations, and our greatest wealth will be demanded of us to meet the hunger that grips all people. None of that will do much good, though, if we try to go it alone, and working with others requires something of us that we can barely generate on our own: cooperation with those so different than us. Before we begin then we needs must therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Grace, that is God’s attitude towards us and all people that has the power to overcome all challenges we will ever face. It can be our attitude on God’s behalf towards all people that we work with and for whom we work each day, ourselves, families and friends, our neighbours, strangers and aliens far from us, and even our enemies. God’s grace is sufficient for all people. And God equips us God-made saints to be those who spread it liberally everywhere, to all people.

As the sun continues it’s dance with the darkness and the moon do-si-do-s around the earth, all motion of bodies celestial and corporeal, all minds great and small, all hearts generous and restrained, all spirits of every colour … all motion of everything is a dance of Grace, a dance of Grace started by God at creation and continued each day as God creates new time and reality for us all.

Delusions Abound, Blessings Abound Even More!

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Even with the horizon tilted

This is the true beauty

of Life lived

for Christ

In response to God’s gifts.

Jeremiah 3:23

Truly the hills are a delusion, the orgies on the mountains. Truly in the Lord our God is the salvation of Israel.

Matthew 15:35-36

Then ordering the crowd to sit down on the ground, he took the seven loaves and the fish; and after giving thanks he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds.

Words of Grace For Today

There are always tempting-terrible ways for humans to try to make sense of the world so perverted by our attempts to live without God. In the hills the people gather to fill their senses to overfilling. It is their attempt to try to fill the void in their lives that living separate from God leaves. There is nothing that can be filled by the void of living a lie, telling lies to get ahead, and destroying others with lies.

Where did we go so wrong with the gift of life that God gives us? Wherever it is, it is an oft trod path. So people do stupid things, like gathering for ‘orgies in the mountains’! Mountains are a great place to retreat to celebrate life, but orgies! Sacrificing one’s soul to pleasure in order to fill a void that cannot be filled with anything other than God’s Grace, makes a very bad ending to life! Celebrating God’s Grace on the mountains makes for a blessed life and a blessed end to life, when Jesus gathers us in to a home with many rooms, and room for all. Mountains are for celebrating life. The plains are where life is lived with all its challenges and dangers.

The crowds have followed Jesus to the plain to listen to him, to be healed by him. When it is time to eat, they are afraid, afraid to bring out the little food they have brought with them. The fear is real and reasonable. There are a lot of poor people, hungry people gathered in that crowd.

In the face of this rightful anxiety (for food is required for life to continue) Jesus exercises boundless generosity with a mere seven loaves and a few pieces of fish. Jesus’ little demonstration overcomes the crowd’s collective fears (now that is a miracle!) and as the seven loaves and fish pass from one person to the next each person brings out their little supper to eat and to pass the extras along for the others to take from or contribute to … and everyone eats their fill.

This is the meal that fills the void in our souls. The food fills the crowd’s stomachs, and their sharing transforms the meal into a great blessed celebration. This is the feast of eternity that God provides for us whenever we are souls are hungry. This is the feast that results when we share the great blessings God has given us with each other.

What will we, what will you choose this day and each day you breath: ‘Orgies in the hills’ [our own ways of trying to fill our hungry souls], OR feasting with Jesus [humbly accepting the Grace and life that Jesus offers us]: there are many choices we make each day and they lead us to a greater void in our lives, or to thanking God for all the blessings of life

by sharing it with those who have less than we have.

What a wondrous life God gives us each day.

The Blessed, Beautiful, Fiery Monster

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

God’s Promises Are Sure!

After the coming winter, I will see another Spring

with all it’s sunsets

God’s Promises Are Sure!

After the coming winter, I will see another Spring

as surely as the sun rises!

Psalm 34:4

I sought the Lord, and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.

2 Corinthians 1:20

For in him every one of God’s promises is a ‘Yes.’ For this reason it is through him that we say the ‘Amen’, to the glory of God.

Words of Grace For Today

At 3:32 I wake and go out to stoke the fire. As the smoke clears from the shelter, I walk outside in the moonlight and the stars bright. A wondrous nightscape, an early morning, blows across this vision to the universe though there is nary a breeze or rustle as silent smoke paints a dark swath across the grass and tarp covering the stacked wood, all piled in order by diameter, scraggly pieces piled high by the door to be burned before hard cold gripes the meadow, tosses it out of the land of living things, and buries it from sight under frozen white water. For now in these mild autumn days and nights the deer feast on the lush grass growing from the old barnyard waste broken down by natures’ recycler into nutrients galore, and I smile and labour away gathering, cutting, stacking, and splitting wood, or rest my back strained and spasming in the chill.

All that in one moment’s view into the night’s semidarkness, before I return to the fiery monster devouring wood and belching smoke into the night air high and away, closing the ash door that once opened livens the monster, the shelter door that has let in fresh air, and the smoke vent that has expelled smoke to rise with the chimney pointed at the stars.

This will be my twice nightly routine for the next 4 to 6 months, rising to stoke the monster in order that the warmth it creates will save me from freezing. I give God thanks whether or not there is a spectacular view to the universe outside as I wait for the smoke to clear, the inevitable smoke that spews out of the monster into the shelter when the door is opened to feed it more wood, for this monster and the routine of feeding it is easier to deal with than bugs and mosquitoes and wasps, and the cold keeps the dangerous animals away, especially the most dangerous, unpredictable two-legged kind.

For I sought the Lord, and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.

And I know that I am delivered into the freedom of living as a God-made saint not on my own merit but by Grace, most generously and freely poured out on us all. In this I know, as all the saints know, that in Christ Jesus every one of God’s promises is a ‘Yes.’ For this reason it is through him that we say the ‘Amen’, to the glory of God.

This ‘Amen’ is as Martin Luther taught us, our saying to God and each other, ‘this is most certainly true!’

What visions of majesty and goodness God gives to us, so that we may know the promises given to us through Jesus the Christ are already true: God blesses me, God blesses all the saints, with beauty and the presence of God.

Even in the dark of night that could bring fears to be monsters that eat at one’s soul.

Even in the solitude that could be loneliness which opens the door to the Devil’s temptations.

Even in the poverty that is the result of others’ lies, that could lead to starvation.

Even in the homelessness, a result of other’s lies leading to poverty, that could lead to my freezing to death.

For God has provided all I need so that my enemies cannot kill me; God has provided even a fiery monster that consumes wood, so that I am not cold, even in the coldest night of winter.

Justly so, I say with all the saints: thanks and glory be to God!

What about you? What are you doing this winter in the middle of the spectacular nights?

So Great a Cloud of Witnesses

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

In the Heavens above

and the Waters Below,

First Light or

Last Light,

For the Saints

Always Christ’ Light

Psalm 20:8

They will collapse and fall, but we shall rise and stand upright.

Hebrews 12:1-2

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.

Words of Grace For Today

When we think we stand on our own, we are doomed to collapse and fall.

When we know we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, so great a gathering of God-made saints, then …

well then we are reminded how Jesus endured the cross, it’s shame, and was resurrected and ascended to sit at the right hand of God …

and we are inspired to set aside every weight and sin that clings so closely to us from our past, our present and our future

so that we can run with perseverance the race that is set before us.

That race is not at all trying to achieve perfection or earning God’s favour or saving our souls.

None of that is even remotely possible for any human.

No our race is against the Evil One who would keep us mired in our sin.

Our race is against time itself, to strive to share so much of what God has given us, in order that there is none left when we are taken home,

home to that house that has many rooms, and plenty of room for us all.

When we know that we are surrounded by such a cloud of God-made saints, witnesses to Jesus’ Grace and Love, then we know we live as God created us to live, in God’s own image, following Jesus’ example of serving others and giving all we have so that others may live.

Even if the first light of the day is the sun already set, and reflecting in the popcorn clouds, we know we live in the light of Christ.

When we know that we are surrounded by such a cloud of God-made saints, witnesses to Jesus’ Grace and Love, then we shall rise and live upright, honest and kind, gracious and generous, and filled with hope for each new day.

Save Us From the Time of Trial …

Monday, October 25, 2021

If You Lie All The Time

Then It’s Impossible to Tell



Your Shadow.

Psalm 83:2-3

Even now your enemies are in tumult; those who hate you have raised their heads. They lay crafty plans against your people; they consult together against those you protect.

Matthew 6:13

Do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one.

Words of Grace For Today

A murder mystery, fiction, true fiction, begins:

Everybody lies.

Cops lie. Lawyers lie. Witnesses lie. The victims lie.

A trial is a contest of lies. And everybody in the courtroom knows this. The judge knows this. ….

[Everyone] take their seats … and agree to be lied to.

Michael Connelly’s The Brass Verdict

I’m not sure if I had known this truth that it would have mattered one iota. I certainly did not know that everyone expected everyone else to lie.

I certainly did not lie, not at all, not at all.

That put me at a huge disadvantage, and that is the way this sad world works, the way people work with each other. It is part of what I have never understood about people, who speak lies, and expect others to lie, and are just fine with all that comes of it. I certainly cannot understand cops, lawyers, witnesses, and judges who choose to lie. I cannot understand how they can so lie as to put innocent people like myself in jail for crimes they certainly did not commit, while other crimes are committed against them by their lying accusers.

As for me, I certainly did not lie, not at all, not at all.

That puts me at a huge advantage, for I know what is and is not. I live in the reality of this world. This in the end is not sad at all, not at all, not at all.

If the price of being honest and kind is that I must be homeless, then I would always choose to be kind, though the choice is not mine to be honest, and I will live well as a homeless person.

So my enemies do not care if they lie. I certainly would care if I lied.

I know that by not lying I do not make myself better than others, the others who lie. I do know that I really have no choice … and those that lie do have a choice. I do not understand how they can make that choice, and that is their burden and what a burden it is.

That is not the greatest burden we can bear, the burden that we cannot survive, not on our own.

The trial that we pray God will save us from, is the trail where the Devil plays freely with us, and only God can save us from the Devil’s clutches.

Seems to me though, if one lives in lies always, then one is got one foot on the greased slide into the Devil’s clutches and the other foot is somewhere, but you cannot ever be sure where it is since it’s been so long since you lived in the truth.

All the other enemies we face are nothing compared to the Devil, and none of them, the Devil included, is anything compared to God.

God walks with me. As for them, I cannot be sure. As for you, you should know that yourself, or pray hard and long so that God will show you. Living homeless is common among all humans of all times, but life is no place to find oneself alone.

No matter what comes, enemy, lies, trials of all kinds, I know God walks with me.

Thanks be to God.

McCall & Brill. … Who?

Sunday, October 24, 2021

I like some of the Beatles’ music,

Maybe even Ringo’s.


I prefer God’s melodies

even at sunset,

for God’s Promises for tomorrow

are wonder-filled!

Haggai 2:4b-5

Take courage, all you people of the land, says the Lord; work, for I am with you, says the Lord of hosts, according to the promise that I made you when you came out of Egypt. My spirit abides among you; do not fear.

Romans 15:13

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Words of Grace For Today

It’s a good thing our lives are not dependent upon what other people do to us and around us.

Since what makes or breaks us

sometimes is the least expected

someone else messing with our lives with their irreality or their attempt to ‘climb to the top’, right?

From Under The Influence (Terry O’Reilly, really)

In the book titled Sound Pictures: The Life of Beatles Producer George Martin, written by Kenneth Womack, the author reveals a strategy behind Beatles records.

Martin and the band decided to have Ringo sing one song on every Beatles album. And it wasn’t just to be nice to Ringo. In the first wave of Beatlemania, Ringo was the most popular Beatle.

Years ago, comedian Mitzi McCall and her husband Charlie Brill were a comedy team called McCall & Brill. They were a nightclub act that finally got a big break to be on the Ed Sullivan Show. But that big break happened on February 9th, 1964 – the historic night the Beatles also appeared.

The comedy team came on right before the Fab Four’s second set that night, but they couldn’t hear each other while performing their sketch because the 14-year-old fans were screaming for the Beatles.

Seventy-three million people watched that night. It was their big opportunity – and no one remembered McCall & Brill. Their agent didn’t call them again for six months after that. They say they never watch the video of that night.

Later, McCall would share one funny moment.

She was standing with John Lennon before the show, looking out the window at the screaming crowd outside the theatre. She turned to Lennon and said, “Can you believe this is all for you?”

Lennon shrugged and said, “It’s not for me. It’s for Ringo, actually.”

And that’s why the Beatles always put a Ringo vocal on every album. As George Martin said, it was just good marketing.

As for us, what makes or breaks us is God’s Grace, and God’s promises are what give us hope for each day:

Take courage, all you people of the land! … Work, for I am with you, says the Lord of hosts, according to the promise that I made to you when you came out of Egypt. My spirit abides among you; do not fear.

No matter the challenges that we face this day we pray may the God of hope fill us with all joy and peace in believing, so that we may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Dear To Christ, Always

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Dear Me Dear,

It’s Deer


Before Breakfast

Walking in the Meadow!

Deuteronomy 8:10

You shall eat your fill and bless the Lord your God for the good land that he has given you.

1 Corinthians 10:31

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.

Words of Grace For Today

I had guests for breakfast today, well actually before breakfast and … well they would have made a good lunch or 20 as venison, not so sure about breakfast.

They came, four of them did, a yearling playfully jumping about it’s doe, another doe, and a two prong buck. They came the did, to graze, to eat, and to enjoy the grass on the meadow. The grass used to be a barnyard so the ground is soft and spongy with old hay and manure deep below. The grass grows different, which means it must be a favourite for the deer come visiting quite often, and to visit now at this time of year, during hunting season when the wood smoke fills the air and there is every sign that a human is about, must mean the prefer this grass over other.

This is the land that the Lord has guided me to, as a refuge. I eat well enough here, and many animals do as well. A rabbit is often seen hopping about. Coyotes visit in the night. Bear come snooping around too often. Mice run in the grass and a bald eagle, a brown eagle, and an owl hunt here. The other day a moose and calf came tumbling through the underbrush as they are wont to do, making a great racket. I won’t mention the ants and wasps and flies and mosquitoes in such great numbers but there are dragon flies that hunt them, the robins that eat the worms, and the bats that come feasting on the plenty.

Then there are the Hornets and F-18s, and helicopters and troop transports, that fill the sky with their presents, which is more a deafening sound barrier broken (on departure) or afterburner (burning off and wasting fuel on approach) and thought stopping punch to the brain through the ears.

Canada really does need to upgrade to stealth fighter, stealth in sound, and maybe in the meantime (25 years or so it seems) conserve fuel by not burning it off on approach … for practice and climate change friendly habits, eh?

While the world busily turns about around me, with oil workers roaring their Ram diesels out of the stop sign, or the trucks pound the pavement steadily for hours each morning and evening as the workers in the oil installations around the corner northward progress like army ants to their allotted jobs, and the quiet neighbourhood cross-overs and SUVs head out to work in town, the drunks show up to drink, the addicts to buy and take a hit, and the randy show up for a shag in the bush, and the partiers show up in droves to break Covid restrictions and have a good old fashion bush drinking, drugs, loud noise they call music, and sex party (and then fill the ICUs in two weeks time) …

my work is all blessed by God’s walking with me. The relative quiet of the chainsaw, the gathering, cutting, splitting, and stacking of wood, the maintenance of the stove and chimney, the building in preparation for the cold of winter, the cooking of meals, the canoeing on the quiet lake, the walks in the woods fill my days after they start with celebrating the Eucharist, remembering how Jesus was betrayed, falsely accused, killed, and buried … and how God resurrected Jesus to give us Jesus’ story of how God forgives and loves and gives life abundant to us all … so that we can share it with others!

With this beginning every day is a blessing, a gift to enjoy.

Hard work or pleasant walks or quiet canoeing or writing or taking photos … all my time is blessed and a witness to all of God’s great glory, known to us all in God’s Grace … that gives us all we need starting with each breath.

Atem tief. Gottes Barmherzigkeit durchdringt tief in und aus allem.

Parched. Wasps. … Or Blessings?

Friday, October 22, 2021

Wasp Nest

One of Two Nests Tina Found

A Stones Throw from Camp

Isaiah 58:11

The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your needs in parched places, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters never fail.

Philippians 4:19

My God will fully satisfy every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

Words of Grace For Today

Jane moved her old, really old, 5th wheel 40’ camper into the random camping area after Thanksgiving. It would be cold and the old camper was well equipped with a wood stove, at least until it froze hard and stayed there, well below freezing even during the day. That would make the water system to risky to use, which in turn would make life that much more complicated.

By then her ‘job’ for Arnold would be done, keeping a camera on the entrance to monitor ever coming and going, especially Tina’s. It was not really that difficult a job and Jane’s cover story was simple. She claimed she was homeless. (Tina actually was so she would relate to that.) Jane said she would stay just two weeks, since that was the legal limit, but it’d be easy to stay longer if Arnold wanted her to. Jane’s story was that she had lost everything in the oil bust and needed a place to stay.

Tina was not taken in. First because Jane claimed to lose everything in the oil bust of 2016, and the oil bust was in 2014. Second because if Jane really were homeless since 2016 that was 5 years living somewhere else just fine. So why appear right after the summer crowd stopped camping? Third Jane parked her camper where everyone coming in would see it, and where she’d be able (with the security cameras Arnold gave her) to see everyone coming in and going out. There were way better places to camp for so many reasons. The only reason to camp where Jane did was if someone wanted to camp with lots of other people in multiple units. But Jane was all alone.

Sometimes Arnold’s plans to make Tina’s life difficult were too transparent, and not all that effective. The real challenge was all the lies Arnold came up with. There was no way to prepare for those. Still Tina knew that goodness flowed in so many ways in her life and through her to other people. God had provided, through other people mostly, all that Tina needed (though Tina worked as hard as she could to provide security for herself through each challenging season. For the upcoming winter that meant gathering, cutting and splitting enough wood to ensure she stayed warm. That was hard work, and yet it was work that could be done. The other season’s challenges could not be met with more hard work. They were, thus, much more difficult to prepare for and to get through safely.)

More than once Tina had felt that even so close to a lake, and with rain pouring down on her, she lived in a parched place. God’s provisions helped those feelings pass quickly. Instead Tina watched as the blessing from God continued to pour over her and surprise her in new ways. She knew that God had made her bones, her heart, and her faith strong, strong enough to meet all that challenges that living homeless placed on her.

She gave God thanks, and prayed that God would help Arnold face his own demons instead of falsely blaming others for his own sin.

As the sun rose on the fifth morning since Jane’s arrival, Tina saw another blessing pour into the woods where she stayed. Out gathering wood she came across two huge wasp nests, and both were empty. She had made the correct decision to stay out of the woods while the wasps were so bothersome and so many. Where she found them gave her plans on how to minimize the wasps in the area next spring and summer if they became such a problem again. The forecasted cold La Nina winter promised to eliminate pests like pine beetles and wasps … and require more wood to stay warm.

The balmy days of autumn made for perfect weather for gathering wood. A blessing on top of a blessing from God who never failed to provide, as a good spring continues to provide water more than sufficient in quantity and purity.