Call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.
1 Peter 5:7
Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.
Words of Grace For Today
DO NOT WORRY!
Which makes one focus all the more on one’s worries.
Cast all your you anxiety on Jesus!
Now that’s a great collection of words that can foundationally change one’s life for the better. For we know that anxiety drives one into a survival, pre-rational thought option pattern of responding to the world (or at least to one’s imagined threats in the world.)
Those choices are not that helpful in most situations, and the likelihood that we imagine a threat that is not real at all or at least not as threatening as we perceive it is … well … it is so likely we can say it is the standard for most of life. This fear based reactions to life makes us vulnerable to those many evil people who use fear in others to control them, to move them to make decisions not at all in their best interests, but to the advantage of the one controlling them! It’s sop for despotic political leaders taking and maintaining power; after all democracy (or any form thereof that responds to the public needs and best interests) is not very efficient, or preferential to those who have or want to have position, power, and privilege.
So to be able to cast away our anxieties, not declaring them unreal (even if most are) sets us free from being controlled by fear. Then we are able to proceed through our days, using our God-given brains to think clearly and make choices that will benefit those around us.
The latest examples are all those people who read the fake reports about vaccine dangers and decided to not get vaccinated, or to wait. So they did not get vaccinated. Now they populate the ICU’s and hospitals and after that drain on our too-limited health resources, they live the rest of their lives with health compromises no one would choose, unless the other choice is death by Covid suffocation.
After we’ve cast all our anxiety on Jesus, then we are able to give God praise and thanks.
What a life God offers us, a life that responds to reality, instead of fabricated fears used to control us, destabilize our lives and the community life around us, and eventually the national security of our country and many other countries in the world.
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.
1 Peter 2:23
When he was abused, he did not return abuse; when he suffered, he did not threaten; but he entrusted himself to the one who judges justly.
Words of Grace For Today
The urge for all humans is to respond to attacks with attacks of ones own, but with a greater intensity.
This leads to wars on a personal scale in marriages, among family and friends, within communities, countries and between countries. It leads us into the worst that humans can bring to bear on one another, so horrible much of it is unspeakable.
What am I to do about the RCMP Jones who fabricated evidence and coordinated others to bring false reports, who did this just because she could, even though I was innocent and bewildered at why or how anyone would do such a thing?
What am I to do about my ex who created so many lies about our life together that life became unbearable, and no matter what I tried or sacrificed or gave her she only created more worse lies about me and our life together, and then created more and more lies for the courts, lies that I could not even imagine where they came from? Or the children who came to court to lie as well, trying to get me falsely convicted? Or the prosecutors who gleefully took the cases, presented the lies to teh courts and created more and more lies on their own for the courts to hear? Or the lawyers who were supposed to be my lawyers or work to inform me of the court processes, and simply did none of that, instead tried to make my testimony totally useless in court?
What am I to do with the judges themselves, who received these lies eagerly, and made ruling after ruling to enable a false conviction, and when all the evidence was in they still had to lie about the evidence in order to falsely convict me, and especially those who did it so cruelly, naming my kindness as something that had created fear, as if my kindness could at all create fear!? Or the judges who removed sections of testimony and then played games and made up more lies to ensure I spent $1ks with no hope of hearing the audio of the section that was removed from the transcripts?! And on and on go the inexplicably dishonest and cruel things that people with authority did in order to convict me and send me to jail for crimes that I did not commit, which left the children suffering cruel borderline personality disordered ‘parenting’!
What am I to do with the pastor, bishop, doctors, office managers, church council people, community leaders and many others who joined in the creating of lies about me, so that I am cut off from my church, cannot receive medical care even as my health requires more and more medical intervention, am not safe in the community as on many occasions people put my life at risk, some violently, some with reckless breaching of Health Orders, and some with threats to my person, well being, and survival?
My list is not complete even at that, and there is more and more that time reveals to me that I did not know of, and so much more that I will never know about, yet billions of people today and through history have stories that are so much worse!
What are we to do with such terrible evil directed at us, often (as is my case) with no rationale reason that it the evil be directed at us?! There is plenty of random, senseless destruction of life, but this is focused and directed evil against us, though there is no reason for us being chosen, except some insane perversion of reality. What are we, the victims of this destruction and evil to do? What are the rest of you people, who are not the victims of such senseless, useless, and avoidable evil, supposed to do?
What are we to do when it is impossible to judge 100% correctly who is doing what to bring about such atrocities against innocent people?
Jesus says forgive as we are forgiven. This brings us freedom from being victims to being blessed by God!
What if the sins are not even acknowledged by more than a handful of people, and otherwise the evil is continued by the same people, choosing new victims as the violence and destruction mounts and becomes systemic?
I have forgiven those who suffer mental illness, my ex, and the children effected by her.
I cannot forgive the others, especially those with authority and position, who are responsible to ensure this kind of injustice does not happen. I also cannot respond with increased vengeance or violence and destruction. I will not allow myself to become like them.
I have bound their sins, and made it known so that they have opportunity to amend their lives, and God can celebrate a victory first that their destructive evil is acknowledged and stopped, and God can celebrate a second victory, that they have received freedom from the Great Deceiver’s grip and begun to life a life of service to Jesus the Christ.
Binding sins is not to be judge over others. Binding sins is not to condemn others. Binding sins leaves the judging and the punishments or mercies to be in God’s hands. It makes known what has been done, even when it cannot always be known completely who has contributed knowingly or unwittingly participated.
Binding sins does bring the victim freedom from being a victim, and allows one to stand blessed each day.
The Suffering Servant of Isaiah, and Jesus (reported also in 1 Peter), do not even respond with a declaration of the evil done and the binding of sins. They suffer in silence the violence done to them. This may seem to some to be the better response. I cannot agree. One needs identify evil and hope that the perpetrators will amend their lives, or at least, as a ‘civilized’ society we will collectively recognize the evils done against so many innocent people.
One cannot live well and seek revenge, though.
Lies are lies forever, always without end.
Truth is truth, always and forever.
God’s Grace gives us boldness to be those who forgive and who bind sins. Without it we would be left breathless. With it we are given breath each day by the Holy Spirit.
Heating with Wood Helps One Engage in Reality, no ‘spin’
the wood must be fed into the stove regularly in order to stay warm, and to cook food.
There is no pretending one stoked the fire, if one did not.
There is no pretending one gathered, cut and split the wood, if one did not.
There is no pretending one maintained the stove, if smoke does not ascend the chimney.
Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God,
By your endurance you will gain your souls.
Words of Grace For Today
This verse from Luke out of context seems to encourage us to work hard, to endure all suffering that comes our way, so that we will save ourselves and gain our souls. This is perhaps an idea behind the writer of Acts-Luke, for often enough that writer turns Grace on it’s head. Instead of Jesus saving us though we deserve nothing, the writer encourages us, now that Jesus has shown us the way, to serve others and to endure suffering, so that Jesus will acknowledge us, be gracious to us, forgive us, and give us life abundant, life eternal.
Ah, so tempting this interpretation of God’s Grace is, though a complete denial of Grace it is. It perverts Grace into something that gives us an ability to earn God’s approval and our salvation, through Jesus the great inter-mediator, saviour, and Judge!
It is simply not God’s Grace that is proclaimed in such a way. God saves us. We do nothing to receive it or make it effective or real for us. All we can do is acknowledge that God is gracious to us, and then live out the response we are able to live out. Since it will never be enough, we rely on God’s Grace each day, to save us again and again, to rescue us from our sin, and give us life abundant … even as we trundle down the devil’s deceptions’ paths.
Luke’s readers had already experienced the destruction of the temple, and Luke writes of it as if it were yet to come. It is a word of encouragement to the followers of The Way (as Jesus’ followers referred to it) who suffered greatly at the hands of Jews and Romans, persecuted for their faith.
May we be saved from such suffering … though it occurs all around us even in Canada. The covidiots who dismiss scientific research, vaccinations and all, open themselves to whatever they want to make up, or accept that others have made up, about the world around them. Many, many people participate in this fabrication of an unreal description of reality, hoping to secure for themselves a more comfortable, more privileged life than they otherwise would have. People have been putting a ‘spin’ on reality since the beginning of time, though that does not make their perversions any less perverse. It does mean that honest and kind people, who follow Jesus’ Way, and who do not participate in the ‘spin’ that is going on around them, will be targeted.
Supposedly good and honest and kind and righteous people will dedicate themselves (at church) to understand and help others understand, and work diligently to help the people living homeless in their city … and at the same time perpetrate lies about other people knowing these lies have driven those other people to be homeless.
Supposedly honourable judges will accept all kinds of lies as evidence, reject so many truths as evidence, and bully those who are honest to give up their rights… and if those victims, those honest and kind people speak the truth to the judges, the judges will respond with lies trying to justify their dishonourable use of their power by accusing the honest people of trying to justify themselves (as if honest followers of Jesus ever needed to justify themselves. We are justified by Christ, and by Christ alone, and we know it!)
The result is a devil’s delight of chaos, even in a country supposed so just and fair as Canada, and the people who suffer are those, as it always was, is and will be, those who have not claimed power for themselves with their own ‘spin’ on reality.
So we suffer homeless, living in the woods, living on the streets, some of us driven right mad by the injustice done to us, some of us burying our souls in addictions trying to out-drink, or out-drug ourselves ahead of the perverse reality ‘forced’ on us.
This is when we need to endure, and by endure it is not meant that we need to make ourselves good. God does that. We need to rely on God’s Grace each day. Despite the devil’s chaos that whips about strangling so much goodness, we need to, or more clearly, we get to celebrate Christ’s presence with us each day. We get to respond with honesty and kindness to each person, friend, enemy, or covidiot (or any of the other forms the devil’s agents assume). We get to respond to all that comes our way with gratitude for God’s Grace that gives us breathe for each day. And we get to respond to the challenges of each season that would kill us with hard work to create a safe place for us to live each day.
Most of all we get to be agents of God’s Grace, no matter how that Grace is received.
Then the Lord called, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ and he said, ‘Here I am!’
One night the Lord said to Paul in a vision, ‘Do not be afraid, but speak and do not be silent; for I am with you, and no one will lay a hand on you to harm you, for there are many in this city who are my people.’
Words of Grace For Today
God calls us in many and various ways, each individually called and promised that God is with us already, and that God will walk with us each day of our lives.
We do not need to answer at all, and God will still walk with us. If we turn about towards God and follow Jesus, God will walk with us. If we turn away from God to follow some other hollow way of living, filling ourselves with all the variety of creation’s possibilities, God will walk with us still … and suffer what we do to ourselves and to others around us.
God calls us and knows that we will be afraid, and that we cannot help but be afraid. God asks that we order our fears under God’s promise to be with us: That ought to inspire a greater fear of God than any other fear possible in this world, even the fear of the Devil, the Great Deceiver, grasping at our very being with promises of all kinds, yet all of them empty of life abundant for us and for people around us.
Our fear of God, subsumed under God’s promise to walk with us, to protect us (even in death) from all harm, and to forgive us, give us new life, and send us out with the purpose we were created to fulfill (namely being God’s unconditional love for all people so that they have life abundant) gives birth to a more powerful love for God, more powerful than even our fear of God.
God calls us in many and various ways. When we say, ‘Here I am! Send me!’ we tell God nothing God has not known since before time existed. What we do with these words is recognize God’s wondrous reality for us: God walks with us and knows where we are all the time, and knows what plays in our hearts, what fears consume us, what nightmares haunt us, what evil shreds at our being …. Still God loves us, heals us, and sends us out scars and all …
to be unconditional love for others.
It is a small task that encompasses not only our whole lives; it encompasses the entire universe.
God calls us in many and various ways …. and we answer if we dare! No matter, God walks with us.
This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
Words of Grace For Today
What will you do, or have you done, for Thanksgiving this year?
Will your celebrations reach all in your family?
Will your celebrations reach anyone beyond your family?
Will you pause, reflect and consider why you celebrate as you do?
Will giving thanks be the centre of your celebrations, or just a small piece, or even an aside to all the other activities?
As we celebrate Thanksgiving year after year, it loses it’s meaning for many of us. Instead it takes on as its purpose, the immediate experience of our Thanksgiving foods, football games, and family gatherings. We learn to identify Thanksgiving with the warmth of these traditions, with the results of our own efforts. Giving God thanks has become an obligatory part of our weekend.
Doch, the true warmth of Thanksgiving remains the spirit on fire God gives us humble saints, so that, by our labours, we can share that warmth with those struggling to survive the coming cold, and all evil. (KAS sermon for Thanksgiving 2021)
(‘Doch’ is that wonderful word from German that means ‘but rather’, a word that encapsulates God’s response to our sinful ways.)
God’s Word will endure forever. God’s Covenant with us will survive forever even if heaven and earth come to an end. God will always be our God, and we will be God’s people.
Since God does this for us though we certainly deserve nothing, each day gives us opportunity to give God thanks in thought, word, and deed.
These Trees Will Soon Fall to Erosion by the Lakeshore
Shall We Consume Ourselves in Lament for Them?
Get about Bringing Climate Change to an End?
Shall We End Them
Before They End Us?
Then the Lord said, ‘You are concerned about the bush, for which you did not labour and which you did not grow; it came into being in a night and perished in a night. And should I not be concerned about Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who do not know their right hand from their left, and also many animals?’
Indeed we call blessed those who showed endurance. You have heard of the endurance of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.
Words of Grace For Today
We ought to be concerned (as God tells Jonah) not just for our little ‘tree’, our little corner of life. Rather we MUST be concerned for the whole nation, or rather, the whole earth.
Make that we ought to be alarmed in concern for the whole world.
Climate change is still denied by politicians, as if it would go away, as if is somehow not so clear that ‘the planet is angry at us’ as last year’s extremes are this year’s normals, and this year’s extremes are next year’s normals. Soon it will be last month’s extremes become this month’s normals … and on until we will have an impossible task of finding refuge on our own planet, anywhere.
The pandemic, Covid 19 is in it’s fourth wave in North America, and we seem to be preparing to suffer worse pandemics, perhaps even simultaneous pandemics, in the very near future … our future. No more of the ‘one pandemic in a century or so’. And we remain fully unprepared and unwilling to prepare and do what is necessary to prepare. We have leaders who ‘wish’ this Covid-19 away, and in doing so invite an even more brutal wave upon us all.
We can certainly trust that God is compassionate and merciful and we can use Job’s endurance as a role model. Doch! We ought not invite such great need for God’s compassion and mercy, nor for Job-like endurance, down upon so many of the earth’s whopping 7.4 billion and growing population.
We may not have planned this population overburdening of the planet, but we certainly knew it was coming and we collectively did very little about it, least nothing effective!
Sitting ‘where our bush used to give us shade,’ wallowing in our self-pity does no one any good. We need to get up and proclaim the Good News and God’s judgment for ‘Nineveh,’ whatever that will look like for us. We pray that we may see God at work as God worked through Jonah’s speaking to Nineveh!
No one would dare to venture on such a mission, without trusting God’s grace, abundant and endless, flowing for us all.
When the crowds found out [that, taking his disciples with him, Jesus had withdrawn privately to a city called Bethsaida], they followed him; and he welcomed them, and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed to be cured.
Words of Grace For Today
There is no shortage of people today who suffer unimaginable pain, hunger, thirst, and torture. Many of the suffer so at the hands of other people.
It has been so through all time.
Many people today suffer diseases, Covid -19 only one of the many that are deadly in horrible ways. Many suffer for lack of care or recklessness of other people. Many in Alberta’s health care sector, overrun and pushed to and over the brink as they are by Covid cases, refer to the fourth wave (the worst of all of them) as the Kenney-wave, since he recklessly pushed his ‘Open for Summer’ program through, which fuelled the fourth wave to be so huge and destructive, and deadly.
Is has been so through all time.
The greatest suffering by far is not measured by physical ailments or torture. The greatest suffering is what we humans experience in our souls, or spirits, or hearts and minds.
In the midst of all kinds of suffering, God is still present providing comfort, healing, and hope.
God’s unconditional love in action provides the most essential element of life for us: hope.
Hope that our yesterdays will be blessed.
Hope that today will be blessed.
Hope that our tomorrows will be blessed.
Hope that tomorrow will be at least in some small way better than the horrific illnesses, injustice, abuse that is today’s offerings for us.
Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God, and [Jesus] heals those who need to be cured.
How precious is your steadfast love, O God! All people may take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
Words of Grace For Today
Take refuge in the shadow of God’s wings, in the safety of God’s steadfast love. All other ‘security’ is an illusion, a deception, and a departure from God’s kingdom into the Devil’s realms. Under God’s wings, like that of a great bird of the sky soaring at will, God brings us to adventures we would not imagine, to places and understandings where life is abundant, and to challenges and work that fulfill all our yearning to participate in creation.
As autumn sets firmly in on the land, giving great respite from the bugs, the heat, and the huge influx of 2-legged animals in the wilderness (only some who are dangerous or greatly destructive to the land, scarring it with tire ruts, garbage strewn about, feces and toilet paper in the woods, and all sorts of materials half burned in the fire circles that sterilize the soil beneath and pollute the air above) …
As autumn sets firmly in on the land, we breathe easier.
As autumn sets firmly in on the land, great flocks of geese of 100s and 1000s, make a distant chorus, moving in V’s for days to traverse 1000s of miles from the waters of the north to the temperate winters in the south.
As autumn sets firmly in on the land, birds of prey, great hawks, owls, and bald eagles screech high as they circle for hours seeking their prey. Song birds like my neighbours the robins spend all hours out in the meadow hunting worms and bugs for food.
Whether autumn sets firmly in on the land or not, in all seasons and times, one has to wonder about these words of Jesus. For as God provides for the birds without their sowing or reaping into barns, first: their lives seem to be wholly directed toward finding food and avoiding being food; second: there are and were also in Jesus day so many people who neither sow nor reap and they worry most about what they will eat and what they will wear, for their choices are so many it is only as ignorant shame that they indulge such luxury as most of the world suffers without enough food, clothing, shelter … and now fresh water and clean air, yet alone meaningful work and people to love and be loved by.
The point is clear from Jesus’ words: our attention and concern should be less on all the required labour needed to survive (or luxuriate in over abundance.) Our attention and concern is better spent on understanding the mystery, freedom and peace that is available to us when we, our lives long, learn to seek refuge, meaning, and purpose in God’s steadfast love. For there, comforted, protected, and challenged, we can see life with clarity.
What we see with clarity is that our lives were designed by God and given to each of us by God in order that we can extend God’s steadfast love to others.
We simply cannot do that if our primary concern is providing for ourselves, for then we turn inward and bend reality from God’s great creation to our own insatiable appetites. We become instead of caretakers of creation, destroyers of creation. We become incapable of seeing others as Christ sees them: broken people in need of God’s love.
God help us when we make that turn away from God’s steadfast love as our only sure refuge.
Thank God, God always calls us, welcomes us, and renews us so that we can return to God (… home in God’s kingdom to be the ones who exercise God’s unconditional, steadfast love for all people) so that we can take refuge in the shadow of God’s wings, in the safety of God’s steadfast love. All other ‘security’ is an illusion, a deception, and a departure from God’s kingdom into the Devil’s realms. Under God’s wings, like that of a great bird of the sky soaring at will, God brings us to adventures we would not imagine, to places and understandings where life is abundant, and to challenges and work that fulfill all our yearning to participate in creation. … home in God’s kingdom we are the saints who exercise God’s unconditional, steadfast love for all people.
But you do see! Indeed you note trouble and grief, that you may take it into your hands; the helpless commit themselves to you; you have been the helper of the orphan.
It has often cast him into the fire and into the water, to destroy him; but if you are able to do anything, have pity on us and help us.
Words of Grace For Today
When I hear this ‘cast him into the fire and into the water [that place where uncreation bubbles up to border on and at times consume creation], to destroy him’ I think of the guy yesterday who jumped in front of me. The corner of No Frills where the milk coolers are was congested with at least 6 different people. So I stood a good 2 metres short of the pack, waiting patiently for them to move on. A few were visiting so it took a while. That’s when the guy came up from behind me and wedged his way less than a foot from me past me and another customer waiting to get at the cooler. The guy was an obese bear of a middle aged man. He quickly worked his way to the coolers, but then dwaddled getting his milk jug as if they had been moved since the last time, as if he could not find the right shelf of 2% which is always all the shelves behind door 2. Then he peered into the coolers dwiddling in the corner a few extra minutes before finally leaving.
I paused a bit, not too long, considering the other customers waiting politely behind me. When I stepped into the corner to door 1 to get skim milk it was clear the jerk had dwiddled to leave the air filled with flatus expelled through the anus, an aerosol that could be full of Covid virus.
The news is all full of Covid 19 fourth wave in Canada, fuelled by the Delta variant and 39 times more infecting the unvaccinated, though vulnerable (otherwise health compromised – read old or ill or young) vaccinated are still among those in hospital, ICU, and the morgue.
This jerk’s antics are a clear demonstration how aerosols hang in the air, filled with Covid virus, waiting to be breathed in, and how impossible it is to avoid doing so, except by staying in total seclusion … without milk.
The passage from Mark is not about this at all, of course. Covid 19 did not exist when Mark wrote his account of Jesus’ ministry. This passage is about the ‘demon’ who inhabits a young boy, which casts him into fire and water to destroy him.
Taken with the Psalm one could point to our work done to help alleviate the trouble and grief of the helpless and of the orphan. This is the work of the saints. Our courts commit themselves to taking the ‘best interests of the children’ as the first priority in family court … though they certainly do not! Quite the opposite. The courts commonly sacrifice children to be raised by the most dangerous of possible parents (most favoured are birth mothers, no matter the indications that the birth mother is a clear and present danger to the children!) Apparently the courts want more clients (criminals) in the next generations, which is the result of these dangerous parents’ parenting.
So with our prayers and our work as God’s voice, hands, and feet we say, “have pity on us and help us” You are the one who can take our trouble and grief into your hands. Do so now, for among the most vulnerable are the children (who cannot be vaccinated yet at all!)
Our future is at risk. There are so many idiots, jerks, antiscience idiots, anti-vac idiots and covidiots abundant enough to put us all at risk, to put the vulnerable at risk, to put our children and our future at risk.
You, Oh Lord, are the only one who can take our trouble and our grief into your hands, and heal us of these idiots and their destruction of life and future.
God With Us is a promise of an evening of great delight!
All is Well, All is Well , All Manner of things are Well.
For you shall not go out in haste, and you shall not go in flight; for the Lord will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your rearguard.
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also.
Words of Grace For Today
There are many reasons to run.
There are many reasons to run away.
There are many reasons to run for one’s life …
and to run fast, as fast as one can run.
When God promises to be with us, the reasons to run do not disappear, though we can be a whole lot less stressed, and have a whole lot less panic in us that rises into our throats, which panic leaves us only a choice to fight, flee, or freeze.
Instead when God promises to be with us, when God promises to be our rearguard, we can think clearly, without haste, for we can trust that God leads us in paths of righteousness.
When everything goes belly up, when the proverbial stuff hits the fan, we can trust that God has our backs. More than that we can be assured that when it seems that God leaves us, in fact God prepares a place for us, a place to call home, where God’s plan for us is always sure, even when we lose track of how God is with us.
Home, with God at our side, before us, behind us, promising to walk every step with us. Home, where our hearts are loved unconditionally by God.
Then, we can be at home where God brings us. No one can chase us away, and our enemies will be dealt with by God. We walk calmly through every hour, knowing that justice will be done by God. No lies, no deceit, no gaslighting, no false reports, no false arrests, no false testimony, no false convictions, no cover up. God sees everything, knows everything. For God a lie is seen and always remains a lie. For God the truth is always known and it always remains the truth.
Home, safe in God’s hands. Home where truth and beauty bring breath and life no matter the challenge. Home. Home in the wondrous creation God created for us to enjoy. Home safe and sound. Home where no one can chase us away and no evil can rule over us. Home.