A Humble Cottage Enjoyed … Or … Hellish Greed Suffered

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

The Humble Cottage View


Proverbs 23:17

Do not let your heart envy sinners, but always continue in the fear of the Lord.

Luke 23:34

Then Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.’ And they cast lots to divide his clothing.

Words of Grace For Today

Those who want more, demand more, comforts in life will always take short cuts and dishonest paths to get more, tramping down others to get and get and get … for such wants are never satisfied but always want yet another and another and another. It is a hellish way to live.

Reminds me of the fisher’s wife who always wanted more.

The fisher meets a magical fish who grants his wishes, as he repeats more and more his wife’s wish to have more than their humble fishing cottage, which becomes a mansion, then a palace, then a ruler’s grand house, the pope’s cathedral …

until she wishes to be God and live in God’s house

and he returns from that last visit to the magical fish to find his wife living happily (or not) in their original humble fishing cottage by the sea.

We are to continue to fear God, know our place, live everyday filled with gratitude for all we have, and work hard to provide others what they need to enjoy an abundant life (as God provides us). We start by forgiving them their sins (as God has forgiven us – when we did not know what we were/are doing.)

Struggle or Share

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Do We See

The Ice,

The Light,


The Trees.

Or That It’s All Tilted Like Our Lives.

Isaiah 9:5

For all the boots of the tramping warriors and all the garments rolled in blood shall be burned as fuel for the fire.

2 Peter 1:17

For he received honour and glory from God the Father when that voice was conveyed to him by the Majestic Glory, saying, ‘This is my Son, my Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.’

Words of Grace For Today

Passion Week.

The week we remember Jesus’ last week, with all its normal human agony, scapegoating, and corruption leading to innocent death … and God’s response to all human sin.

We humans struggle against each other for advantage and privilege and comforts, struggling until violence consumes us and blood covers the boots of those fighting for us, often covering our own boots as we try to provide our own future advantages.

God promises that those boots and the blood on them will be burned as fuel for a fire. The fire of God’s triumph over evil and our sinful ways.

We still struggle against each other no matter how much God promises, no matter how many blood covered boots burn. God sends his son, and blesses him. God is pleased with Jesus, for Jesus is a word that we humans can understand, a life, a death, a resurrection. God’s NO to scapegoating. God’s YES to life no matter what comes our way.

We still struggle against each other.

So we remember.

We remember the last week of Jesus’.

We remember how God gives everything to demonstrate to us how much God loves us, forgives us, and gives us renewed abundant life.

Every day we have the ability to share that love, forgiveness, and abundant life with all people.

What will we do today?

The Day of the Lord

Monday, March 29, 2021

The Glory of the Lord

is not only a ‘some day’ hope.

It is evident every day

in the simplest ways.

Zechariah 14:9

The Lord will become king over all the earth; on that day the Lord will be one and his name one.

Revelation 22:3-4

Nothing accursed will be found there any more. But the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him; they will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.

Words of Grace For Today

The Day of the Lord has many names. It is the day when all the wrong, sin, and evil that humans have perpetrated against each other and against creation and against God will cease and the after-effects will cease as well.

In human terms the rule of unjust humans over others will cease, and God will be king over all the earth and over all people; justice and truth, mercy and compassion, forgiveness and life-giving love will be the way humans will interact with each other.

In divine terms, all that is accursed will no longer exist. The city of God, the New Jerusalem, will be founded (or revealed to us). Jesus is the sacrificial lamb, given to convince us in terms we understand, that God forgives and loves us unconditionally – and that there is no limit to the lengths God will go to to forgive us and more, to convince us we are forgiven. Except God will not violate our freewill as beings capable of love. God will love us, forgive us, walk with us, stand by us, care for us, guide us … but God will not take away our ability to love ourselves, each other, all creation, and God.

This Jesus will no longer be a sacrificial lamb. He will be raised to the most exalted position, to sit on God’s throne, ruling with sacrificial love, over all the universe.

The Day of the Lord has many names and many images and many hopes expressed in them.

The Day of the Lord is the day when all that is wrong will be set right.

Those who benefit from the wrong that is now perpetrated and live lives of comfort will cease to live in comfort. They rightly fear and deny that the Day of the Lord will ever come.

The great majority of humans who have ever lived, and the great majority of those who live on earth now, will no longer suffer the ignominy of being forced to provide comforts and luxuries for others at the expense of the basic necessities of life, and even their lives. For the great majority of humans the Day of the Lord is the expression of hope that provides the little comfort available to them; on that day all will be set right, and those responsible and blithely benefiting from the wrong will no longer exist.

The Day of the Lord has been anticipated for generation upon generation … and is yet to come to be. Still we do not give up hope that God will set right all the wrongs that are done against us. We do not give up hope that God will set right the little wrongs (and not so little) that we do to each other.

Freedom. Hope. Life based solely on forgiveness and love.

We are not yet at the Day of the Lord.

For now, our sins give witness to God’s response to our failings: God forgives and loves and renews us.

For now, we get to be bearers of the Good News that God has placed before us in many and various ways, and in Jesus’ life, death and resurrection: namely that the substance of life is love, and the glue that holds it together, and the lubricant that makes it still move is unconditional forgiveness and love.

For now we have quite the life to live and to live that life in the full expectation of the Day of the Lord pulling us forward through each day’s challenges (including all that Covid 19 makes more obvious.)

Deliverance, Full Deliverance

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Sometimes by Fire

Sometimes by Water

Always God Delivers Us

Psalm 3:8

Deliverance belongs to the Lord; may your blessing be on your people! Selah

Matthew 9:35

Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness.

Words of Grace For Today

God delivers people … everyday …

and sends us who have been delivered out into the world

to deliver others

by proclaiming God’s Grace

and providing healing for all kinds of illness and disease (and dis-ease with God’s love as that which holds the world together.

Palm Passion Sunday and it’s been a year or more since we’ve had in person worship.

God delivers us …

from the anchors of old diseased habits of worship

and allows us a fresh start, thinking about what is healing in worship, what is proclaiming in worship, what is short term and long term ‘good order’ and instilling and inspiring of good faith in us.

What a challenge this last year has been, or rather what a collection of challenges, some overwhelmingly so.

What an opportunity this last year has been, or rather a collection of opportunities, some astoundingly, refreshingly life-giving (that is, healing of mind, body, and spirit.)

Thanks be to God, to whom deliverance belongs, and who has delivered us with love demonstrated at great cost … so that we might comprehend the vastness of God’s Grace and Love.

On that we can ground all hope, no matter the challenges that overwhelm us!

When we have eaten our fill …

Saturday, March 27, 2021

No Matter How Luxurious Our Homes

Remember with Thanks

That God Provides Everything Good for Us

Deuteronomy 8:12-14

When you have eaten your fill and have built fine houses and live in them, and when your herds and flocks have multiplied, and your silver and gold is multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied, then do not exalt yourself, forgetting the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.

1 Thessalonians 5:18

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Words of Grace For Today

When one lives in ones own land, owns a home, has possessions that provide food security and financial security (or the appearance thereof), and has seen increases from generation to generation then…

then it is all too easy to forget one’s past.

It is all too easy to forget one’s sins.

It is all too easy to forget God’s great miracles that have and still do deliver us all daily, because it may appear to us that we are captains of our own fate and that we have delivered ourselves and worked hard to earn all we have.

All possessions, position and power, security and safety can disappear in a minute.

There is no real life that forgets one’s past, one’s ancestors’ past, and God’s good works in the past … and in the present.

The only real life that is worth a moment’s participation is to live filled with gratitude for all God provides.


Breathe again.

Breathe deeply and slowly … and again.

That is God’s gift most basic: that we can breathe and their is air that sustains life. Everything else that sustains our lives are also gifts from God.

Real living is wonderfully experienced as God’s overly generous gifts for us, though we deserve none of it, and only because God finds that we are precious.

God finds all other people precious, and in our thanks for all God gives us, God asks us to be the conduits of God’s demonstrating to all others how precious they are.

Choice Stock, Broken Stock

Friday, March 26, 2021

Where Will This Day Take Us?

The First Step is Always

Confess, Repent, and Be Gratefully Gracious

Jeremiah 2:21

Yet I planted you as a choice vine, from the purest stock. How then did you turn degenerate and become a wild vine?

Revelation 2:5

Remember then from what you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.

Words of Grace For Today

Humble pie, these readings are for today.

God creates us good, choice vines from the purest stock.

We degenerate and become wild vines, producing little good!

We have fallen from the greatness that God created us to be, to live out in creation.

What are we to do?

The most common human response is …


No, we are not that bad. No, we have not fallen. No, God did not create us to be good only.

And on go our denials, some quite marvellous in their creativity.

What is God to do?

We expect that God will punish us, removing our lampstands, unless we return to being good and doing good works.

This expectation is more denial. It is not just that we have fallen. We cannot rescue ourselves or ever again but sin, behave as wild vines, fail to do the good works that God created us for to do.

Doch, God does not punish us. God has mercy on us and is prodigiously gracious with us. God forgives us. God promises to forgive us. God invites us to face reality. God invites us to repent.

To repent is to turn about: we cannot ‘turn about’ and be and do good; but we can ‘turn about’ our pride and arrogance that denies our prolific sins. We can acknowledge, confess, and rely solely on God’s forgiveness … and then move forward relying solely on God’s Grace each day, each moment.

We become humble, grateful, and gracious with ourselves and others.

We recognized that we are broken, somewhat repaired, vessels that carry in our brokenness witness to God’s overwhelming mercy, grace, and love for us (and for all people, and for all creation).

Creation needs our good hard work. We need our hard, diligent, and good work … for our own survival and for the survival of all other people … and more than survival we work to provide abundant life for all people.

This day has it’s fullness waiting.

Are we ready to repent … and let God guide us to (with joyful thanks) accomplish the work that is ours this day?

Out of the Valleys of the Shadows of Death

Thursday, March 25, 2021


The Obstacles in Our Way

Cannot Stop the Sun from Rising

Nor God’s Grace and Love from Reaching Us

Saving Us

Psalm 27:9

Do not hide your face from me. Do not turn your servant away in anger, you who have been my help. Do not cast me off, do not forsake me, O God of my salvation!

Luke 23:42-43

Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ He replied, ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.’

Words of Grace For Today

While the challenges of life and the challenges to life rise up against us, and enemies lay in wait and attack and remain ever ready to destroy us with violence, gaslighting, and/or false witness, there is no shortage of our own sins (having nothing to do with the false convictions made by false witness and dishonest, dishonourable, and lying judges, the gaslighting, or our enemies lies about us) which are the real threat to our very lives.

Others’ attacks can physically harm us and even end our lives on earth. Others’ gaslighting can nearly drive us mad as we grapple with what is actually real and what is not, which is a whole other kind of hell to live through. False witness and false convictions and judges’ dishonest rulings can put our lives in jeopardy in jail, ruin our reputations, and make life very lonely as friends turn their backs on us and even our pastors refuse to communicate with us.

These are all terrible.

Still the worst thing that threatens our lives is not from outside ourselves. It is always from within. It is our own sins which can lead us to doubt God’s grace and to fear that God will turn from us.

Our own sins bring on the valleys of the shadows of death that threaten not only our physical life, not only our sanity, but our very souls … so that there is nothing left of life, and indeed of us. These experiences are when we lose our love of God and fear that God no longer loves us … and we only fear God.

We cry out.

We cry out if we are even still that capable: Do not hide your face from me. Do not turn your servant away in anger, you who have been my help. Do not cast me off, do not forsake me, O God of my salvation!

The valleys of the shadows of death are no illusion. They are certainly the work of the Devil himself/herself/themselves [in these valleys the gender is irrelevant!]

Our fear of God is no illusion.

Our cries are not illusions.

Always, always, always God answers us as he answered the criminal that hung on a cross with Jesus and cried out to Jesus for help: Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.


No waiting.

No delay.

Today, though we suffer greatly in these valleys, today we will be in paradise with Jesus.

These are the words that again and again usher us out of the valleys of the shadows of death and back into the Grace which gives us life, light, and hope. These words stymie the wishes and efforts of all our enemies. These words usher us back into abundant life.

Thanks be to God.

Dominion & Deception vs Humble Temples

Wednesday, March 24, 2021


We Need Someone To Hold Us

Lest We Break Off

From All That Gives Us Life

Genesis 1:28

God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.’

1 Corinthians 3:22-23

Whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all belong to you [as God’s Temple, God’s Spirit dwelling in you], and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.

Words of Grace For Today

1 Corinthians 2:18 reads: Do not deceive yourselves. If you think that you are wise in this age, you should become fools so that you may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.

Blessed to have dominion over every living thing we humans have thoroughly deceived ourselves as if we owned and could do with the creatures and creation what we pleased, even if that meant ruining earth as a habitable planet for other species and even ourselves.

Everything is from God.

We are all God’s.

God’s Spirit lives in us.

We are blessed to be blessings to others, not to wreak havoc on others and the rest of creation.

Our dominion over anything is always as stewards, and stewards for a God that created everything, declared it GOOD!, and loves creation and all creatures in it.

It’s all about reality.

First and ultimate always is we are God’s.

We are not some other human’s possession or work.

We are not independent beings.

We are ALL in this together, as Covid 19 has taught us.

While we are not in the same boat, some are in a few people in each luxury yacht and some are bailing to save everyone in their overloaded leaky dinghies, and some are hanging on to flotsam for dear life.

God gives us dominion in order that everyone can live even through a pandemic (when the circumstances of life for each and all become more obvious) in a save boat.

We have lots to do, and always it is futile to proceed as if we were anything less or more or other than God’s stewards.

Be Strong Leaning on God’s Grace

Tuesday, March 23, 2021


Spring Will Bring Growth

Already & Always

God Makes Us Saints

Who Grow Daily

Joshua 1:9

I hereby command you: Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

2 Timothy 1:7

For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.

Words of Grace For Today

If we try and try and strive and focus and discipline ourselves and practice then can we be strong and courageous, not frightened or dismayed? Can we learn with practice and discipline to not be cowards but emanate a spirit of power, love and self-discipline?


We cannot pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and be anything better. Life is disappointing that way.

Doch, if we realize that God has already made us saints and there is nothing better, then leaning on God’s Grace instead of our own abilities (sinning boldly as Luther put it – which is not to just be great sinners, it is to serve God and know that doing so we will inevitably sin … and God will forgive, redeem, renew and guide us as saints) — then leaning on God’s Grace instead of our own abilities we can be (by God’s grace and only as God empowers us) strong and courageous. God’s Spirit of power, love and self-sacrifice and self-discipline will flow from God to us and over us, through us, and over all the people we interact with and more.

We are not alone; God is with us wherever we go, on that we can rely for everything in our lives. We work as diligently and consistently as we can, trusting that God will guide us. We spend time in prayer asking, praising, and … listening for God’s guidance that comes in the most mundane and surprising ways.

We are not alone; God is with us wherever we go, so that we are by God’s power, bold, courageous, strong, and remarkable saints.

There is nothing better we can strive to be or to improve ourselves in relationship to God’s love for us. What we can do is resist the temptation to not be what God has made us to be: saints … hardworking saints.

Trust God’s Grace. Love all people. God will show us the way forward.

It’s never boring, this life of discipleship, and never quite as we expect it to be; that’s being a God-made saint.

Angels vs Upheaval

Monday, March 22, 2021

No Matter the Obstacles in Our Path

God’s Angels Encamp around Us,

Guiding Us

Psalm 34:7

The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them.

Luke 11:10

For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.

Words of Grace For Today

There are enough challenges to everyday,

even ordinary everyday days.

Through in upheaval like a pandemic, or injustice focused at oneself, or … [fill in the extraordinary upheaval that meets every life] the challenges can seem to be a bit overwhelming.

Then it is good to know that God’s Angels ‘encamp’ around we who fear and love God.

Then it is good to know that when we ask, God provides (what we need, not necessarily what we ask for). When we search, God guides us to find (what we need, not necessarily what we thought we sought). When we knock, God opens (the door that God knows we need to have opened, not necessarily the door we were banging away on).

To fear and love God.

To fear and love God is the beginning of everything good.

To fear and love God is the beginning of every good day, every good hour, every good minute.

To fear and love God is the beginning of every good relationship, project, or yearning.

Help us, we pray, to fear and love God before all else, (more than all the things that threaten to and do upend our lives.)

Help us, we pray, to trust God’s Angels are with us, (no matter what threatens to and does upend our lives.)