‘Come,’ my heart says, ‘seek his face!’ Your face, Lord, do I seek.
Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
Words of Grace For Today
There is simply no command in all the universe that will stop someone from worrying.
To stop worrying can be pretty futile, even for us to try to move ourselves away from worry to another attitude, or waiting, or dreading, or enduring to some kind of an attitude not associated with worry or concern or anxiety.
The only possibility for worry, anxiety, concern, or dread to end is if we have our attitude about life adjusted.
God’s face can surely adjust our attitude. One would think at first to greater and greater anxiety, unless or until one recognizes the promise provided to us in Jesus’ death and resurrection. God could justifiably smite us out of the universe as if we never existed with a word.
God doesn’t. God instead takes all the time, effort and heartache (even grief) of being born as one of us, living, teaching, and healing, all so that we might notice God’s love for us. And since that cannot make up for our sins, Jesus sacrificed himself on a cross to remove sins from us on to himself. He died because of our sins. Then he was resurrected, and promises that we are resurrected with him.
That is a huge step away from the smite key installed on a control keyboard, a key that could be used quite often to end strife and conflict. Instead God promises to be with us always. Therefore we can sing Hallelujah always, Anyhow, no matter what.
What can we do to readjust our attitudes to remember God’s Grace for us: turn our concerns and worries into prayers for the God almighty to deal with. Seek a face to face with God.
Zoom during Covid 19 is only a foretaste of what face to face with God is like.
Then the king was exceedingly glad and commanded that Daniel be taken up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no kind of harm was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.
2 Corinthians 4:9
We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;
Words of Grace For Today
The challenges of this life, Covid-19 being a relatively small one, can kick the breath right out of us. Sometimes, like Daniel thrown into the hungry lions’ den, we get a small reprieve before our enemies’ tools/animals of destruction tear us apart and consume us limb, by limb.
Fewer times than we notice other miracles during our short lives on this marvellously created planet, sometimes we survive the tools/animals hungry for our pieces, together which make up our lives. At those times, like Daniel, it is good to have friends in high places with real power, like kings and queens.
When it comes to the challenges of life beyond this life, in the battle between the Devil and God, we have no chance at all to even be effective on the playing field, the stage or the battle arena. The Devil always gets his devouring ways with us – unless the Holy Spirit steps in and defends us.
At that time it is good to be baptized, because in spite of all the doubt the Devil and his minions can create in us, we have a sure sign that God steps in for us, we bear the Cross of Jesus on our foreheads, emblazoned their never to be erased.
That cross does not fend off discomfort, doubts, physical hardships, or assaults of enemies. It does guarantee us that God never walks away from us. We can even turn on God, trying to create our own way forward, and God is still there, carrying us, caring for us, nurturing us back to full health.
We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.
This is a two-fold promise: first that we will not be crushed, driven to despair, forsaken, or destroyed.
Second it is Paul’s full disclosure that following Christ, our enemies will afflict, perplex, persecute, and strike us down.
It’s good to have a cross on one’s forehead to remember, rely on, and especially to have a saviour in the highest places, as well as in the lowest places and everywhere in between.
Trust God. Everything else is a passing illusion. Trust God, no matter that you will not get out of this life alive; but you will live eternally, starting the day you were baptized.
I keep the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.
Jesus said to him, ‘No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.’
Words of Grace For Today
What roadblocks and earth-movers does the Devil and all his wiles, deceptions, and destruction threaten us with today?
Shall we be moved to join these forces pushing us and so many people up against the rock hard wall?
We pray to the Lord, as promised, may the Holy Spirit guides us, waling right beside us, left beside us, behind us, in front of us, under us and over us. Keep us surrounded so the earth-movers and rock hard places the Devil creates will not be able to distract us from the harvest work Jesus has sent us on all these years. Do not let the Devil’s power, which can eliminate planets and stars in a moment, detract from the greatest power of the Universe that guides us each moment, the power of self-sacrificial love graciously shared with all people.
Help us, to leave behind us the ground that we have gone over and prepared for the seed of God’s Kingdom. It is your soil, your harvest, and yours to bless or not as you choose, God.
Guide us, looking forward to the reward that is ours already and yet not yet.
Save us from drunken, stupid gatherings where not only is God denied but the reality of the Devil is ignored, as if Covid 19 does not kill people, innocent people of all ages, in all places.
Singing together we face the injustices of the people who serve the Devil, even as they pretend to call on Jesus’ name:
Set us free from this evil tyranny, set us free today. But your will be done Lord. All that we are and have is from you. We are your servants, from you we have our very breath.
Let no evil person, nor a devilish virus, take that from us!
God, remember your congregation, which you acquired long ago, which you redeemed to be the tribe of your heritage. Remember Mount Zion, where you came to dwell.
2 Corinthians 8:9
For you know the generous act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich.
Words of Grace For Today
Remember, God, your congregation.
Jesus’ Riches lost, to make us Rich.
There is a congregation where the council has presented, and persisted in presenting, to the congregation a vote to call a candidate for ordination, even though he has not even attempted to start the process to be approved for ordination in our church.
It’s an invalid motion at an illegal meeting of the council, presented illegally to the congregation, named as that by the Bishop, i.e. it is against their constitution in both spirit and the letter.
I am quite sure that the council has committed a whole series of criminal acts, bringing criminal liability and civil liability on themselves, and profoundly so.
Remember, God, this congregation, Hope Lutheran, Edmonton which is yours from of long ago, and save these leaders, Catherine Moir and Richard Grynas among them, from their brash, bullying, sinful selves, and the members who must participate in an illegal process to voice their disagreement with the process, yet alone the lack of qualifications by the not-candidate.
There is a congregation, where the lay pastor cooperated with the RCMP who were coordinating a Gaslighting operation to bring false charges against me. The lay pastor, in a pastoral care session with me not only interrupted me while I was crying to accuse me of threatening her, she disclosed the information she gained in those pastoral care sessions to the RCMP and others, which was perverted to further Gaslight me.
This lay pastor went to the congregational council and used lies from the RCMP and others to convince the council to ban me from the congregation, something that is impossible in our church if people behave according to our theology of the Cross and Grace. This lay pastor then went on to bald-face lie under oath in Court against me.
The judged used this pastor’s lies as grounds to convict me, but the lies were not enough. The judge had to lie about the meaning of the restrictions I was under in order to say I had broken them.
Remember, God, this congregation, Lakeland Lutheran, Cold Lake, which is yours from of long ago, and save us all from the crimes that lay pastor, Anne Zimmerman (now miraculously specially ordained) and council have committed against so many good people.
While these people and many more commit crimes and unethical acts in the name of Jesus, Jesus did nothing like what these people do. While he had everything, except our salvation, he came and emptied himself of everything allowing equally malicious, confused and evil people to call for his crucifixion. Then, as now, the judge knew true innocence, and still for fear of the power of evil religious leaders, the judge perverts justice and allows people, who pretend to be God’s righteous people, to kill an innocent person.
On the cross Jesus hung, and cried to God, Father forgive them for they do not know what they do. Then in desperation he plead, Father why have you forsaken me? before he gave up his last.
With that Jesus paid the full price, not merely every thing he had, he gave up every bit of life he had in him. Though he was rich, yet for our sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty we might become rich. That is Jesus gave up every thing, even his life, so that he could show us that God’s love provides everything for us including salvation, so that we can live in God’s grace and live abundantly, rich with all God’s blessings. There is nothing we can do to earn these riches and our salvation.
We can choose to walk away from those blessings, away from that salvation, away from that abundant life. We can do it in the smallest way, or in the most blatant and flashy way. Walk away is what we all do, and can do no other, each day. Then God exercises Grace again and re-invites us to the feast of life lived in Jesus name. Again and again.
What does God do when these congregation’s leaders and lay pastor/not-pastor turn deceit on others to bring them close to their deaths?
When does God no longer welcome these brash sinners, who even admit their sin, and in the same breath say they are forgiven, ridiculing God’s Grace as if it were a tool of theirs to wield according to their own will. Instead of confessing their own sins they make false accusations against innocent people to distract from their own terrible sins.
There are many horrendous sins one can read about in history, which one must believe the perpetrators will answer for as they stand in judgment before Jesus. As the chaff is burned out of them they will be entirely consumed into the void of the universe as they suffer that eternal fire.
Surely Jesus did not give up everything in order that people could, in his name, so cruelly deal deception, criminal lies, and destruction on other people, could he?
May Jesus correct all our ways that we will not be consumed by that eternal fire, but indeed act as his saints, confessing our unending sins and making restitution to any who we have sinned against, so that we may not be instruments so freely used by the Evil One to destroy God’s people.
Remember, God, each congregation, which is yours from of long ago, and save us all from the life destroying work of the Devil. Help us sing the Hallelujah Anyhow. Those we are poor, bankrupt according to the world’s standards as a result of the Devil’s work, as a result of Jesus’ sacrifice, we live as the most richly blessed people, with clear consciences. We have much work yet to accomplish, God’s Grace to offer to so many people, and such Joy to share as matches nothing else in life!
May you, too, find the riches of Jesus’ sacrifice, pouring into your lives, and the strength to stand up against blatant evils, to demand others be held to account for the evil they perpetrate on so many people.
There is no photo of justice observed and righteousness done at all times.
It cannot exist, except by GRACE
Happy are those who observe justice, who do righteousness at all times.
1 John 2:17
The world and its desire are passing away, but those who do the will of God live for ever.
Words of Grace For Today
The way the world teaches it’s children to live is not to observe justice and do righteousness – just do not get caught.
The desires that fuel that kind of thinking are endless, in number and because of our inability to satisfy them. Our living experience of them is that they continue, as sure as the rock under our feet as we stand on a high crested mountain west of Edmonton.
Yet from God’s perspective that rocky mountain is a fleeting feature of earth, along with us living on it, and the entire planet as it spins around the star we call our sun will soon pass into oblivion.
The question for us all is how do we live in this fleeting moment, that lasts generation upon generation for us.
Observing Justice and doing righteousness at all times.
First that is impossible, a dream for some, and for all of us mostly wishful thinking.
We are saved by Grace alone. None of us are able to do other than sin, and we wretched sinners can only hope that Jesus’s crucifixion and resurrection will save us, for there is no other hope for us.
So as long as we live, if we can always observe justice and do righteousness at all times, then we will be happy.
Since we cannot do that, is it true that we will never be happy?
I’d hope not, but …
… now is the moment when one needs to have prayed and trusted God, and paid a little attention in Confirmation Class.
We can be happy, because even though we cannot observe justice nor be righteous all the time, Jesus steps in for us, sets his record in place of our own.
Not on our own, but transformed by the Grace of God into saints, we can be happy, not just merely happy, but the happiest that we can ever be.
Able to observe justice and do righteousness always, only because Jesus steps in for us, the guarantee that we will be counted to have done exactly that cannot be more sure.
Happy hardly begins to describe how grateful we can be, relieved that we need not count on our own abilities, and exhilarated that life for us is wonderfully blessed by God.
Happy are we who have God doing justice, and observing righteousness, for us, for our record.
No matter our sins, as we trust God, we can join the many people who for so long have learned even amidst great grief to Sing Hallelujah Anyhow.
You shall know that I, the Lord, am your Saviour and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.
Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
Words of Grace For Today
You shall know …
Words of warning,
Words of promise
Words of hope.
Warning for those who assume that it will pass, this evil that infects us all. That is Covid 19, but worst it is the temptations of the Devil to ignore the pervasive and deadly effects of perverting truth, faith, love and hope in order to effect one’s own perverse will.
Promise for those who see the Light, even if dimly, and wait for truth to be upheld, for faith to remain purely focused on and nurtured by Christ’s Grace, love to be unconditional and universal, and hope …
Hope to draw us into a future directed by the Holy Spirit that is as God created us to be, in harmony with all God’s people, creatures, and creation.
No small feat.
and none of it is possible for us on our own. On our own we pervert truth, faith, love and hope as badly as the Devil himself does.
This is only possible after we surrender ourselves to Christ’s Word willingly sacrificing all our own desires and dreams that they may become those given by God,
And that surrender can only be done in us through the work of the Holy Spirit. If we think we can effect it or affect it on our own, we simply pervert it into evil itself …
which is what we constantly do.
So we can only pray that God will effect and affect the lives of those around us, through us, according to God’s Will, in spite of us and our pitiful efforts.
Let God’s glory shine through us, we can only pray. Otherwise the Devil will have his way also with us and ours. Covid 19 is child’s play compared to the full force of the Devil. Just watch as people rebel against limits and cautions, claiming the virus does not exist! And watch the virus to rebound in a second and third and fourth wave, leaving the rebels to rule and deal with it themselves.
For like Covid 19, we are in this all together. We cannot save ourselves. We can only share God’s Word, the Good News of Jesus, and help the Holy Spirit save others.
And trust and hope that God has already saved us in our baptisms.
For as the earth brings forth its shoots, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations.
A harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace.
Words of Grace For Today
Dandelions spring up everywhere, showing their pretty yellow faces. Their beauty is often appreciated by children who pick them as bouquets for their mothers or fathers. Their potential is realized by those who dare make wine of them.
Otherwise they are a foreign species with not enough natural deterrents, so that they overwhelm any piece of ground they grow in and they become an infestation that is difficult to remove without actions approaching ‘scorched earth’ results.
There is enough evil evident in the police. The real root is in the courts, which allow the tactics of the police to go unchecked. It is a pervasive hatred, a racism, a bigotry, a bias that can exist only as it is supported by the courts. The courts uphold this attitude in the practice of law and prosecution, which upholds this attitude in the police from top to bottom: it is an attitude of zero-sum thinking. If we are not holding the hoards in check they will take everything we have from us. It is the wealthy protecting themselves and the courts protecting the wealthy.
Against this powerful and destructive evil, God brings us, like dandelions, those that bear righteousness into this world where righteousness is so foreign an idea (except to be beaten down) yet alone a thing to comprehend, realize or nurture.
In the grass of God’s good creation, the dandelions of righteousness are not an invasive species out of their natural ecosystem.
God’s righteousness is the proper species of every part of creation, which always behaves in those areas where evil has flourished, as an invader, a conqueror, a re-claimer of life back to it’s creator.
We pray, may we choose today, no matter the challenges, risk or sure loss to ourselves, that we would be the agents, supporters, and advocates of God’s righteousness.
Covid 19 is real, really deadly to some, pervasively spread before the carrier is symptomatic; but Covid 19 is only a small attention-getter and warning, compared to God’s Word of righteousness that awaits us all. Be safe. Act wisely. Protect others,
from Covid 19 which can kill or maim the body, but even more so from the Evil that kills the soul, the light, the awareness of God’s Good Creation all around us, and therewith our hope of responding well to God’s awesome Grace.
He sends out his command to the earth; his word runs swiftly.
2 Timothy 2:8-9
Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, a descendant of David—that is my gospel, for which I suffer hardship, even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But the word of God is not chained.
Words of Grace For Today
People’s responses to God’s Grace can all too often be rejection and attack of the messengers.
God’s Word is not affected or restricted or limited or stopped. God’s Word permeates the universe like the strings that physicists theorize may make up the universe.
The Word, like subspace transmissions, travels faster than light, travels instantaneously everywhere.
Jesus Christ lives. Not even death can stop God!
God’s Word will where it wants, makes what it will.
We know, it wills not that we are enslaved, but that we remain free in God’s own good creation: free to choose to love instead of hate; free to choose to do righteousness for others instead of harm others striving for our own self realizations; free to choose to sacrifice ourselves in order that others may live, as Christ did for us; free to choose to live an abundant life, measured not by comfort, things, privilege or power, but measured by how many other people benefit from us reflecting God’s free, gracious, generous forgiveness, renewed life, and spirit (sometimes called chutzpah or gumption or nerve) to reflect the Light of Christ instead of our meagre attempts to shine.
travels instantaneously to where it is needed,
to strengthen the defences against the Devil and his evil perversions of good creation.
to heal our every ill
to renew life.
There is nothing else that is trustworthy other than God’s Word.
The pastures of the wilderness overflow, the hills gird themselves with joy
Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
Words of Grace For Today
Pastures of wilderness, hills of joy …
God’s unchanging Light gives all perfect gifts we receive and every act that is generous giving.
It is said since times of old ‘The root of X is Y.’
it is said since time of old ‘The root of all Evil is Money.’
Since before time the truth is the root of all everything is God, God is good, and God created everything good.
The root of everything is that it is good … until it is perverted to something else.
The force of evil is strong, the evil empires’ forces are large and powerful … and small and effective. It is all the way of the Devil, no matter the images we use to comprehend it and communicate it to others.
Hoards of powerful people carry this virus, the virus of the Devil’s empty promises. Those empty promises seem to be powerful for they have taken over the economies of all lands, some worse than others, where everything is described as freedom and equal human rights, but in reality hatred, racism, misogyny and misandry, and bigotry are used to slam down great numbers of people so that a few can pretend they reign at the top. They appear to reign with, riches, comfort, pleasure, and power. But they are more unhappy than any others, for their achievements are empty, requiring more and more sacrifice of their souls, their being, in order to fool themselves into continuing to believe that they have succeeded in life.
The simple and pure act of giving, giving generously, self-sacrificially, to another human symbolizes all that God does for us, for all of creation.
Every act of generous giving has it’s root in God’s goodness.
Therefore, where humans have not yet dominated, domesticated, exploited, in the wildernesses of creation the pastures and the hills overflow with God’s Goodness, and with all creation know they joy they were created to contain and share.
Let us pray that we may also be those who generously, self-sacrificially, participate in the simple and pure acts of giving others an abundant life.
As part of my preparation for next Sunday’s worship, I read the Lessons.
So I decided I would post them, recorded, as I read them.
The prophet Jeremiah spoke to the prophet Hananiah in the presence of the priests and all the people who were standing in the house of the Lord; and the prophet Jeremiah said, “Amen! May the Lord do so; may the Lord fulfill the words that you have prophesied, and bring back to this place from Babylon the vessels of the house of the Lord, and all the exiles. But listen now to this word that I speak in your hearing and in the hearing of all the people. The prophets who preceded you and me from ancient times prophesied war, famine, and pestilence against many countries and great kingdoms. As for the prophet who prophesies peace, when the word of that prophet comes true, then it will be known that the Lord has truly sent the prophet.”
Do not let sin exercise dominion in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions. No longer present your members to sin as instruments of wickedness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and present your members to God as instruments of righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. What then? Should we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that you, having once been slaves of sin, have become obedient from the heart to the form of teaching to which you were entrusted, and that you, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in human terms because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to greater and greater iniquity, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness for sanctification. When you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. So what advantage did you then get from the things of which you now are ashamed? The end of those things is death. But now that you have been freed from sin and enslaved to God, the advantage you get is sanctification. The end is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
[Jesus said to the twelve:] “Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward; and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous; and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple—truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.”
Note that a congregation which I attend or am a member may ask to use these audio recordings in an online worship, as if I were any other reader. The answer will be (after the request is made) yes, just give credit as usual.
Others may request permission and use the recordings if they ask in writing describing in detail how they will be used, and receive permission from me in writing. Thanks for being respectful.