I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being.
Are any among you suffering? They should pray. Are any cheerful? They should sing songs of praise.
Words of Grace For Today
Life is full of surprises.
Surprises that are good, and surprises that are bad.
Whatever life brings to us this day, we know that God claims us, forgives us, renews us, and sends us back into all that life is to be God-made saints, though we always remain sinners.
So we sing, and sing, and sing and dance giving God praise and thanks for all of life.
While we suffer, for there is no shortage of that in our lives as well, we pray, and pray, and pray to God, asking for deliverance, for forbearance, for endurance, and for hope … so that we can continue through the dark days as blessed God-made saints, to emerge into the light of life and joy and contentment … for all is from God,
so we sing and pray as long as we have being in this life,
and in the end we will return to God, still blessed as always, to live eternally with all the saints in light.
As for today … bring what may we are ready with our songs and our prayers … and the gifts God gives us to bring God’s Grace to bear on so many people’s lives.
For the yoke of their burden, and the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian.
By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.
Words of Grace For Today
It only takes a smile …
It only takes a smile to express the greatest things in life …
It only takes a smile to express the greatest things in life, which are to know that God has delivered us, and will deliver us,
for God has broken the rod of the oppressor. With tender compassion God has brought light to those who live in darkness and those who live in the shadow of death. God guides our feet (and our whole being) into the way of peace.
It only takes a smile to express thanks to God,
especially when that smile is given freely to strangers in need of hope,
especially when that smile comes flowing from the heart,
especially when that smile is followed by the hand and feet of the body of Christ freeing, and moulding, and assembling all that is needed to provide the basics of life to those who have nothing,
especially when that smile carries a promise that God’s favour is forever and always present in the generous, gracious gifts that share life abundant.
It only takes a smile that flows from the heart to the other person’s heart to say
I love you
God loves you.
Free up a smile or two or ten thousand today, add a twinkle from your heart … and make the world bright with hope.
There is no one who calls on your name, or attempts to take hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us, and have delivered us into the hand of our iniquity.
You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name.
Words of Grace For Today
All this reaching for …
… for viral posts,
… for glory,
… for fame,
… for wealth,
… for power,
… for … well for anything that will fill the emptiness in our being, an emptiness of being separated from God,
All of it is futile, and most of it fills us – not with what we want, but deceptive as it is instead we get filled right up with shtako, and it sucks the life right out of us as we reach ever more desperately.
Most futile of all are all the human efforts spent (wasted) reaching for God.
The games we create to try to convince ourselves that we have reached God: all the piety, all the restrictions on our lives, all the condemnations of others to make ourselves look good (in God’s eyes, as if!), all the hate for ourselves and others that builds and comes out as self-righteousness and bullying. All these games are so life-sucking that we are soon left as mere shells of the life that God created us to enjoy. And even then we reach and reach and reach for something, anything, to fill our overwhelming emptiness. All sorts of addictions follow: to alcohol (God’s gift so abused), to drugs (ingenuity of humans so perverted), to gambling (the gift of the necessities of life severely abused), sex (the gift of intimacy perverted by and into base self-indulgence and licentious promiscuity), work (the gift of labour perverted into an obsession that denies everything good in life), and on and on and on the addictions are numbered, not least of all the addiction to religiosity and piety (perverted from worshipping God, to worshipping one’s own efforts).
God’s gift to us of faith is exactly like the gift of life: only God can give it, we cannot reproduce it, nor even can we meet God part way to receive it. But oh, have we figured out ways to pervert, subvert, and deny it as God’s gift to us!
If God chooses to hide God’s presence from us then our prayers should well begin with Isaiah’s words, “There is no one who calls on your name, or attempts to take hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us, and have delivered us into the hand of our iniquity.” To which we should add: “SAVE US!”
So God is not.
As baptized saints we trust that Jesus came to demonstrate that we may often think God has abandoned us, Doch, God never does. God walks with us. God’s presence is not our choosing or in response to our doing or not doing, believing or not believing. God chooses us, to create us, to sustain us, to forgive us, to renew us, to make us saints able to be God’s Grace on earth.
As Jesus says, “You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last.”
This day, what fruit, what Grace, has Jesus led us to harvest from God’s great abundance, so that we have much to share with all around, especially the poor?
Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge.
He said in a loud voice, ‘Fear God and give him glory, for the hour of his judgment has come; and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.’
Words of Grace For Today
Day to day, and
Night to night …
There is a lot that comes at us day after day and night after night …
There are so many things by which we can orient ourselves as we face what comes!
Some promise a reward sometime in the distant future, some in the near future, some even in the just about to be present – almost instant rewards, but none live up to their promises and give us life, abundant life, except …
except when we orient ourselves first and foremost by a proper fear of God. It’s the kind of fear that gives God all the glory for everything good. God deserves our worship. We deserve to be people who give God glory and worship, along with all of creation.
except if we orient ourselves completely out of fear for God, we become pretty useless, reduced to fear responses for everything we do, which leaves us decaying into puddles of reptilian responses to everything: freeze, flight, or fight.
And these response do not involve our whole brain, our whole hearts, our whole being, all given to us by a God that loves us.
Martin Luther taught us well that ‘we are to fear and love God ….’
That love part gives us something by which to orient ourselves day and night, which bring our whole mind, heart and being in to play as we live, and by God’s Grace can choose to:
so that many, many other people can see how great life is when we live it oriented by our fear and love of God.
God’s judgment will come, day by day, night by night and
by God’s promise made to us in our baptisms we know that all our sins will be set aside and Jesus’ pure and righteous record will replace ours …
Those who mock the poor insult their Maker; those who are glad at calamity will not go unpunished.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
Words of Grace For Today
The forecast is for -30⁰ tonight, dropping there by sunrise or an hour after.
Now, at 17:30, after the golden sun spread its butter across the trees, snow, and ice, as the sun has set only an hour ago, the thermometer sits squarely pointing at -30⁰, meaning it will get significantly colder before the ‘warming’ (or shall we say more accurately ‘the freeking-cold-mitigating’) rays of the sun start the thermometer’s climb to levels where humans can survive and machines run and breath does not freeze before it’s in one’s lungs or constantly in one’s own face.
Cold, and the challenges it presses on those living in these climes, is nothing to mock or to celebrate when others suffer it .. but you, of course, you are so privileged because you do not have to (or get to) suffer the cold.
Those who are poor, (and I fit rather securely in that category not to emerge before my death, other than by some inexplicable miracle – thank you liars all and corrupt officials too many to count), know the cold better than those who can afford to find comfort even at the extreme ends of the climate … expanding lower and higher and more extreme in so many ways as those extremes are now with climate change. To us poor the cold is not a simple thing or a nuisance. It is life threatening, directly. Is there enough wood ready and available to keep the fire going hot enough to avoid freezing as I try to get at least some sleep? Is the grate from the street sewer warm enough to keep my sleep tonight to be not just fitful, but also not the last sleep I get as I comfortably freeze and shake off this mortal coil? Are my blankets warm enough for another night of nightmares and cold sweats and nausea? Will I wake? And if I do will my body be as whole as it is now, or will a limb or extremity be frozen solid or frostbit beyond salvation?
These considerations may be the focus of many people’s mockery: what did you poor thing do to earn poverty, for surely you deserve it, yes? Are you not smart enough to do better? If you had only worked harder when you were younger and able OR if you would have played along with the corrupt leaders, thugs and bullies, corrupt bishops and lay leaders included! Oh, you fool, for succumbing to addictions that will kill you sooner or later, so why should we be concerned if your death is a comfortable one today, costing us nothing in health care … rather than your death at a later date after huge costs to us all as you die from your addictions. It matters not, of course, that I and many other poor people have no addictions or perversions. Instead what informs the corrupt on lookers are the rumours and false stories about us, which are told to protect the hugely guilty people who have cheated us of finances and years of good life. Then of course, many others are driven to addictions to escape the cruelty of people in their lives, or to mental instability, or to plain outright madness, by the inexplicable cruelty of bullies, weak bullies, destructive bullies, pitiful bullies.
To us poor people be God’s mercy shown, should we be so blessed. As for me and so many others baptized as saints, we have discovered God’s mercy for us and all others. Therefore we trust that God, if no others, will deal with us … and indeed does deal with us … each day of our lives with mercy, love, forgiveness, and favour.
What’s your night look like, for the coming night of cold? Is it your heart that is cold? Or just the climate outside? Have you learned to respond to others, especially us poor, with mercy, and love, and
As Long as We Continue to Ask With Cold, Hard Hearts
What Will Happen to Me If …?
Then Our World Remains Skewed
Far From Christ’ Way for Us
And We Do Not Follow Jesus.
Shepherd your people with your staff, the flock that belongs to you, which lives alone in a forest in the midst of a garden land; let them feed in Bashan and Gilead as in the days of old.
When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice.
Words of Grace For Today
Yesterday was Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the US.
This snippet from
This past Monday was Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the USA. Hear a part of his last speech (the day before he died) as he spoke in support of 1300 sanitation workers who were striking for the right to form a Union. He introduces the parable of the Good Samaritan, and provides a number of explanations that have often been given for the Levite and priest’s passing by this man in need: that they are busy going to a church meeting, that the religious law forbade them to touch a human body 24 hours before leading a service, that they were going to organize a Jericho Road Improvement Association to deal with the root cause of the danger on the road. Then King continues:
“But I’m going to tell you what my imagination tells me. It’s possible that those men were afraid. You see, the Jericho Road is a dangerous road. (That’s right)
… “I can see why Jesus used this as the setting for his parable.” It’s a winding, meandering road. (Yes) It’s really conducive for ambushing. You start out in Jerusalem, which is about … twelve hundred feet above sea level. And by the time you get down to Jericho fifteen or twenty minutes later, you’re about twenty-two hundred feet below sea level. That’s a dangerous road. (Yes)
… you know, it’s possible that the priest and the Levite looked over that man on the ground and wondered if the robbers were still around. (Go ahead) Or it’s possible that they felt that the man on the ground was merely faking (Yeah), and he was acting like he had been robbed and hurt, in order to … lure them [over] there for quick and easy seizure. (Oh yeah) And so the first question that the priest asked, the first question that the Levite asked was, “If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?” (All right)
“But then the Good Samaritan came by, and he reversed the question: “If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?” That’s the question before you tonight. (Yes) Not, “If I stop to help the sanitation workers, what will happen to my job?”… The question is not, “If I stop to help this man in need, what will happen to me?” The question is, “If I do not stop to help the sanitation workers, what will happen to them?” That’s the question. (applause)
“Let us rise up tonight with a greater readiness. Let us stand with a greater determination. And let us move on in these powerful days, these days of challenge, to make America [we add Canada, and the whole world] what it ought to be. We have an opportunity to make America a better nation [we add Canada a better nation, and the whole world better world for all people]. (Amen)”
It would be easier to keep asking ‘what will happen to us if …?’
When Jesus gathers us out of the safety of our ‘sheepfold’ and calls us to follow him, we know that all our own self interest is set aside, as Jesus set aside his, and we cannot ignore the important questions of what will happen to other people if we do not follow Jesus providing to others life, and life abundant.
This means that we have an overwhelming plethora of images of our world, manipulated to look better than reality by software written and rewritten by programmers … so much so that our imagination of what the world is has been bent, skewed, and perverted to such an extent that experiencing the real world has become extra-ordinary. Some find it marvellous to experience the real world. Others (those so disconnected from reality through their reliance on digital ‘connections’) find it outright daunting and even frightening.
The music of the spheres, as it was named centuries ago, plays through the universe, from the deepest points in space to the tiniest piece of creation on earth …
we are privileged to be able to sing along
for the Creator of this magnificent creation
in which we were created to live, flourish, love, hope, and find connection with each other and with creation.
A great photo (in comparison to a snapshot or picture or video) uses all the tools at hand (in the camera and available to the photographer) and
the wonders that can be produced from a particular perspective of creation,
in order to create (as God made us able to be creative, not mere tools manipulated by software)
an image that speaks volumes
the Creator, us creatures, and this amazing planet we live on (and some of us are so privileged to have shelter to call home on.)
So we sing songs of praise that are fitting to the gifts God gives us, and we sing and make melody to the Lord in our hearts.
What will we do this day with all God’s gifts?
Will we selfishly destroy and destory other people’s connection to reality in order that we can ‘get ahead’ or
will we sing God’s praises?
What will you do this day with all God’s gifts?
Will you selfishly destroy and destory other people’s connection to reality in order that you can ‘get ahead’ or
will you sing God’s praises?
Choose as you will, but as for me and mine, we will serve the Lord, and sing and sing and sing God’s praises in our hearts and in all we do each day, as God makes us saints able.
He was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed.
2 Corinthians 5:21
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Words of Grace For Today
We can of course try really hard to make things right, for ourselves, and for others if we are so inclined to care, though I’ve met some people as I’m sure you have, who do not want to make it right for others at all, not at all. They make it as bad for others as they can, with lies, corruption, and false convictions.
Our efforts to make it right are simply not enough, not ever. We cannot make it right, not right enough, no matter how hard we try. God help us,
literally, for there simply is no other way to make it right, not right enough.
Jesus, though, has already made it right, very right, more than right, for Jesus makes everything right for us with God, and then …
then everything is right for us.
And those people who want to do us as much destruction as possible are kept far enough away that we are safe, as safe as ever, as safe as ever.
For our sake God made Jesus to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
So we are healed and made whole, for yet another day, another way, another life given to us again, though we certainly do not deserve it. So it is by Grace another gift of life, love and hope …
Made All That More Visible by the Wonderful Light,
So May the Light of Christ Make Obvious
the Fog of Evil and False Convictions
That Abound, Also Here!
The Lord has done great things for us, and we rejoiced.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.
Words of Grace For Today
Every day the only way to survive, after the evil that has been focused on me to bring about my undeserved destruction, is to remember that the Lord has done great things for me, and I rejoice!
Fridays, we remember all those people who are falsely accused, harassed by the police soliciting false reports about them, fabricating evidence, and falsely convicted by judges who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! (Isaiah 5:20) We especially pray for men who are falsely accused by their spouse or partner, for there seems to be no end to the false charges and convictions based on obvious lies by women about good, honest men.
We pray that the Light of Christ will come to bear on each false conviction and those that brought it to be, that God’s justice will come to be for the falsely convicted and come down on all those that contributed to the false conviction and the destruction of their lives.
We pray, that as it is for me it will be for all those falsely convicted: that God has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. And that those heavenly places will be where we are now on this planet earth.