The dullard cannot know, the stupid cannot understand this.
1 Timothy 6:15-16
God will bring about the manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ at the right time—God who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords. It is God alone who has immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see; to God be honour and eternal dominion. Amen.
Words of Grace For Today
We see things, organize things, and know things in comparison.
We like to compare ourselves to others, especially if we can find a way to look better than the others.
So we can say the dullard and the stupid. They do not understand what we can understand.
So great it is to compare favourable.
Then we try to compare anything, including ourselves, to God.
There is no comparison.
God alone has immortality, God has eternal dominion.
In terms of time, we get to live about 60 to 100 years. As our quality of life increases, which we somehow claim is our own doing, we live longer. So our 60 years is ‘our great accomplishment’ because we live longer than many who expect only to live 30 or 40 years.
God lives beyond time. By comparison to our 60 to 100 years, God has more years than we can even imagine!
God, who dwells in unapproachable light, chooses to adopt us as children.
We inherit life abundant in our 30-100 years, and then we inherit eternal life after our deaths in this wonderfully created universe.
So much for comparisons.
When we move beyond needing to falsely bolster our own status, we can claim to be the dullards and the stupid … compared to God.
Thankfully God speaks to us in many and various ways, most clearly in the life of Jesus Christ, whose light we get to reflect.
For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my spirit upon your descendants, and my blessing on your offspring.
For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him.’
Words of Grace For Today
Thirsty land. Dry ground.
Anyone who has lived even a tiny bit aware, knows of thirsty land and dry ground.
Anyone who has lived even a tiny bit aware, knows of God’s spirit, living water, and blessings, poured out on thirsty land and dry ground.
This is God’s promise to all us descendants of Abraham, and all of our offspring, and all the people God calls to exist in God’s creation, every single one!
God’s promises are sure.
So what are we doing living like there is only thirsty land and dry ground surrounding us, holding us hostage in life that is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.
Open our eyes, open our ears, open our hearts, open our eyes and open our lives. There is a reality right in front of us, all around us, that belies God’s intention for us. God intends us to be vessels, if fragile and precious pots, who bring God’s Grace to bear on God’s entire creation and all God’s creatures.
Choose: will you live on thirsty land and dry ground, making life all around you solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.
Or will you carry the goodness of God’s blessings, spirit and living water, overflowing, to all you encounter.
As for me, with no household or home, I have chosen long time ago, to be that fragile vessel, to know all I can of Grace, and to carry God’s Grace to everyone I encounter. God’s truth is not mutable or fickle. We can hold on to this immutable state of reality, God’s promises, and stare into the face of those who claim truth is relative.
That would be the thirsty land and dry ground, which would consume us.
Doch. God’s promises we will be blessing always. God’s spirit goes with us always. Therefore life is not solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, or short! Life is a great community of holy people, rich with the abundance of life, kind, loving, and eternal, if you so choose to but see clearly.
Sometimes bending low, we see more of our path ahead
in the woods
and in life.
Then we your people, the flock of your pasture, will give thanks to you for ever; from generation to generation we will recount your praise.
Through him, then, let us continually offer a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that confess his name.
Words of Grace For Today
Humble thanks and praise, these we have plenty cause to give to God. Not only for today, this day of -20⁰ and a bike ride home as it got colder and colder, for in the end all is well, all is well.
We have many things to give God thanks, in each generation, since the beginning of time, and for every future generation until there is no more time or a universe for us.
The thanks and praise we offer God is simple, and costly.
It is to give everything we are and have to respond to all other people as God has responded to us: with unconditional grace.
God has gathered us in, adopted us as children, and promised us life abundant. Life abundant is not one that overflows with comforts and luxuries, privileges and power, or ways and means. Life abundant is one that is lived fulfilling God’s purpose for us, which is to reflect God’s way with all people, to be Christ’s feet, hands, and voice for all people.
We confess our belief with words from our mouths, and it is affirmed by how we live. We do not live perfectly or better than others. We live for others.
It is like wearing a mask during this pandemic. One does it not for oneself, but for everyone else.
We do not live as God created us to be, so that we benefit, but that others benefit from God’s Grace.
That is simple and costly and priceless.
Like humbling oneself to give children affirming attention so that they understand they are valuable as people, we humble ourselves and give each person due attention and respect, so that all people understand that they are valuable as people, especially to God.
Trumpism, the manner of Gaslighting everyone to try to make some fiction become real, trying to get some advantage for oneself or ones own, has nothing to do with being in God’s flock. It is what destroys individuals, families, and countries. It is what threatens to sink the whole world into war.
From Nazis, to Stasi, to Trumpites, to those who bear false witness in courts, to those who defend their lies with more lies in daily life, and to lots and lots of others who work us woe: these are the way of the Devil.
When we humble ourselves and practice kindness, we start to see God’s way.
Kindness is at the root of due attention and respect; and clarity when one does something wrong.
Kindness, praise, and thanks: these fill our days with living beauty.
No pandemic, no -20⁰C weather, no gaslighting can change that.
God’s way is from generation to generation assured.
Better is a little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure and trouble with it.
For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life?
Words of Grace For Today
Remember lest we forget those who sacrificed that we might live without overt fascism!
Covid 19 is in it’s second wave, and it runs rampant through Alberta (as many other places). Officially the word is that people are partying. This can be taken to be true … and stupid if understandable. There is likely more … also stupid and somehow some of it is less understandable.
Caution is thrown to the wind in so many ways in Alberta. Premier Kenny refuses to do more than make suggestions to people in order to stop the wave that is well on its way to overrunning the health care system. Cities and local governments have led the way mandating masks.
In Cold Lake nothing is mandated by the city. Stores with headquarters elsewhere have mandated masks and hand sanitizing upon entry. Guides are in place for physical distancing and in some stores for one way aisles. Nothing is done to mitigate aerosol transmission, which evidence shows is a likely path of transmission. That means unless huge volume air ventilation systems are in place an infected person can spread the virus in the air for 10 or more metres and leave the virus hanging in the air for hours.
The measures in place are of little use since there is no enforcement past the entrance doors. People remove their masks when they are away from the door, wear their masks so as to cover just their mouths or just their chins. People regularly touch their masks pulling them up or down and then touch products they do not buy. Everyone, store staff included, walk wherever they please, against the one way arrows, with no thought of physical distancing, regularly passing within inches of other people.
The majority of people speak volumes with their reckless behaviour, and their tolerance of other people’s reckless behaviour: they are ready to forfeit their life, or rather someone else’s life.
God created us to live as Jesus set the example: with grace forgiving, healing, and welcoming all people, sacrificing ourselves in order to bring other the abundance of life that God has provided for all people.
After SARS in Canada the recommendation for future pandemics was clear: the government should act quickly, decisively, and strictly, long before the evidence is in what the minimum is that is required. Immediate, maximum restrictions should have been in place long ago.
Now with the second wave, again slow minimal responses continue to be the norm, and the new case numbers are skyrocketing. Why the slow ineffective responses, last January and now this fall? Because the maximum restrictions cost the economy hugely, and it’s all about money for the rich, though the story now is that it robs ordinary people of their income. That it does. But a quick decisive response costs everyone less in the long term than slow minimal responses do!
Decisive maximum responses can cost politicians in the polls, but the record shows that lack of action, like Kenny’s, costs them more.
So why this slow, ineffective response?
Who is to profit from it? What kind of dictatorial interests are at play to trade people’s health and lives for their profit, power, and privilege?
Then one reads today: what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? or rather our lives. – Though we understand clearly to forfeit others lives is to forfeit everything about one’s own life that God created us to be: reflectors of Christ’s Light.
It is simply better to live with very little, fearing and loving God; than it is to live with a great deal of wealth, power, influence, status, and/or fame and have a great deal of trouble with it.
So what are we to do. Dr. Tam almost said it: We should do EVERY LITTLE THING we can think of to protect ourselves, our loved ones, and EVERYONE ELSE.
We are in this together, and the virus does not distinguish it’s victims according to wealth, power, influence, status, and/or fame. It just needs a live human, and healthy, young, minimally affected are the best for transmitting it to many others.
Every live human counts equally.
We are all in this together.
So let’s ALL start behaving like there are a lot of LITTLE THINGS we can do, and start doing them!
Turn to me and be gracious to me; give your strength to your servant; save the child of your serving-maid.
My God will fully satisfy every need of yours according to God’s riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
Words of Grace For Today
There are so many things to ask God for.
There always have been so many things to ask God for.
There always will be so many things to ask God for.
Our pleas have filled the nights and days since we first imagined that God existed. From the comfort of our palatial homes, the likes of which Pharaohs, Caesars, Kings, and Queens could hardly dream, we plead with God for yet more.
In Palestine the church pleas for basic human rights, where a home is for most people a dream unattainable. Where refugee camps are the norm. Where violence and ensuing death is inevitable, it’s only a matter of when. Where clean water, nutritious food, adequate clothing and shelter, meaningful labour and the freedom to love and be loved unconditionally are all in short supply, if attainable at all.
God will fully satisfy every need of yours ….
This is blatantly not so, not today, not in all our yesterdays, and not for all our tomorrows.
God will fully satisfy every need of yours according to God’s riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
… ‘according to’ these are the modifying words that make this true, as part of God’s promise to provide for all God’s people.
God does not promise that everyone will receive the basic requirements of life, nor the recognition of their human rights. God promises to provide everything for us according to God’s riches in glory in Jesus Christ. Which means according to God’s Good News, that God loves us unconditionally, frees us from our sins so that we may live in grace and be that same grace for others.
God’s riches in glory in Jesus Christ are beyond our imaginations, and yet Jesus lived out them in his life, ministry of healing, welcoming all especially the outcast and sinners, and sacrificing himself so that the whole creation would be redeemed and re-newed, that is re-created pure and righteous and holy.
God does not come to save us from our trials. That happens rarely. God comes to save us in our trials, suffering with us, giving us God’s strength to endure and still be gracious, with ourselves and with others.
We may well wish others to evaporate from the face of the earth when they cause our suffering, and others’ suffering, especially when there seems to be no end or limit to the suffering. God prefers to save these enemies of ours, for they are also God’s creatures, just as we are.
Hang on then. Pray for everything we need. Hope for justice based on truth for all. Expect daily bread. Prepare for unending suffering.
We are all in this together, oppressor and oppressed, privileged and deprived, faithful and evil. Just as Covid 19 can get any of us, evil can take any of us under, and only God can save any of us.
God’s promise is that, through Jesus Christ, God saves us all, unconditionally.
Now we get to live out of that promise, bringing that promise to bear on the lives of everyone we encounter in anyway, every day.
I was ready to be sought out by those who did not ask, to be found by those who did not seek me. I said, ‘Here I am, here I am’, to a nation that did not call on my name.
For we hold that a person is justified by faith apart from works prescribed by the law.
Words of Grace For Today
Not only do we hold that a person is justified by faith apart from works prescribed by the law, but we believe that even that faith is not an act of a person, nor can it be. Faith is a gift created for us and given to us by God, and God alone. We do, say, think or believe nothing that contributes to this gift nor earns it in anyway.
We hold that we are justified only by Grace, which is God’s gift freely given to us.
How many times have we striven to reach God, with no success.
Our only hope is that God is ready to be sought out by those who did not ask, to be found by those who did not seek. Indeed God walks with us always, saying ‘Here I am, here I am’to us even when we do not call out God’s name.
This is the mystery of life: that God gives everything even when we deserve nothing. God promises to give us life abundant, even when we expect and experience everything but life abundant. God’s promises are sure, most often hidden in plain site.
God calls out, from the beauty of nature, through the unconditional love of God’s children, with the voices of those most in need of the basics of life.
Time to trust those promises and answer God’s call to enact God’s will with all our hearts, mind and strength.
Joseph said to Potiphar’s wife, who wanted to seduce him: ‘Potiphar is not greater in this house than I am, nor has he kept back anything from me except yourself, because you are his wife. How then could I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?‘
2 Timothy 2:1
You then, my child, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
Words of Grace For Today
Potiphar’s wife covets Joseph, and badgers him to sleep with her. He refuses. This is the right thing for Joseph to do, out of respect for all Potiphar has done for him, buying him as a slave and elevating him to be overseer and in charge of everything Potiphar has.
Potiphar’s wife eventually tries to force Joseph, grabs his robe, and he runs away leaving his robe behind, which she uses to accuse him of trying to rape her.
False allegations by women have cost men their lives since the beginning of time. It is still the case today. My financial and reputation lays in ruin because a woman lied, and then more women lied, and then those with authority lied, a lay pastor, lawyers, prosecutors, and judges.
It’s a common corruption that eats at the social contract that keeps barbarism at bay. It is the tip of the spear of barbarism that tears civilization to shreds.
It is a good example that Joseph sets for us, to resist overtures for evil’s pleasure. Temptations are everywhere. Resisting does not guarantee you will have a good life, only that you will lived blessed with the free conscience. Setting good examples and doing the right things can get you buried in jail and left there to rot like Joseph, and or driven into ruin like me (as millions before me and millions after). Right is still right. Lies are still wrong.
There are many things that tempt us, evil pleasures are but one.
We are not to give in to evil temptations,knowing that Jesus brings God’s grace to bear on all our sins, as if our gleefully sinning gave witness to God’s grace.
We are to live, unafraid of our sins, for God’s grace does save us continually.
We can, and we can expect others, to live righteously. And when we fail, we can and can expect others to forgive, trusting God has already forgiven … us and others.
Evil will persist, false allegations and convictions will continue, civilization will crumble into barbarism. Only God’s Grace saves us.
Pray it comes to bear before it is too late for those who bear false witness, and bring the curse of evil persistent in their lives.
Pray God’s Grace comes to bear before it is too late for each of us.
Evil is powerful, temptation is overwhelming, and we cannot resist, doch our strength is not our own, it is God’s who walks with us always. As the air that is blown in the wind, God is always with us blessing us. And God is always with those who choose to destroy us with lies and injustice, revealing their sins against the backdrop of Christ’s Grace.
There is nothing boring about this life that God brings us to live, unless we are like Potiphar’s wife, always adding more evil to our accumulated sins, so much that nothing is enough for us. Life remains boring for we try to be our own purpose; God has more than enough purpose for us.
Is your life boring or is it full of God’s blessings? Choose whom you serve and it has consequences … hardly those you expect or we expect. God’s forgiveness keeps reshaping the world we try to make sense of … into something new, re-newed, re-created. A miracle.
It is a miracle that we can be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
Those who worship vain idols forsake their true loyalty.
For God is not unjust; he will not overlook your work and the love that you showed for his sake in serving the saints, as you still do. And we want each one of you to show the same diligence, so as to realize the full assurance of hope to the very end, so that you may not become sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
Words of Grace For Today
While this passage of Hebrews descends again into the If we but do, think, or believe; Then God will reward us kind of thinking that perverts the Gospel of Jesus, namely that God saves us freely, through Grace, though we deserve only condemnation. True to Jesus’ way we hold up always as the measure of all things: Because God saves us, makes us God’s children, and equips us to be Christ’s feet, hands, and voice in the world, Therefore we can be grateful and active every day in every way to be just that.
It is always tempting to revert to IF, THEN theology. It appears to place us in ‘control’, instead of being always ‘beggars’ for God’s Grace and Mercy. It does no such thing for us. It is a deception of the Great Deceiver.
This is one of those vain idols that God’s people so often worship, which corrupts their hearts, minds and strength.
We all turn to worship vain idols, pursue corrupt and futile dreams, and turn from those around us that need our love, empathy and compassionate justice to reflect Christ’s sacrifice to save us all.
God remains true, walks with us even into the Hell that we create for ourselves and those around us, and guides us to keep walking back out into the Light of Christ, once again saving us from perdition.
God is just, merciful, and steadfast in love … for us and all creation. God does not overlook anything. God cannot reward us for the good we do … there is none, not without God being the agent that brings us to do the good that comes out of us poor miserable wretched sinners.
God rewards us for the record that Jesus places before God on our behalf, Jesus’ own unblemished record.
Now that’s some record, and some reward, considering everything about us! Our response, when we realize again what Jesus has done for us, is nothing short of more gratitude than we could have imagined ever possible for anything … and a re-dedication to reflect Christ to each person we deal with each day, and to reach out to and provide the basics of life and God’s Grace to the outcasts, the forgotten, the homeless, the disadvantaged, the ill, especially the mentally ill.
The evils of injustices, abuses, and perversions destroy people constantly everyday.
Our reflecting God’s Grace, love, and compassionate justice make the world a wonderful place to live, for they counter evil at every turn, providing hope based not on our fickle promises and actions, doch on God’s steadfastness.
What a reality to notice everyday! It makes this quite a miraculous place to live!
So that they may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is no one besides me; I am the Lord, and there is no other. I form light and create darkness, I make weal and create woe; I the Lord do all these things.
2 Thessalonians 3:5
May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.
Words of Grace For Today
The constant question that a thinking, self-aware, honest, and inquisitive mind asks is what are miracles?
Are they the power of God above all else, to form light and create darkness,or make weal and create woe, making God’s ultimate absolute power over reality known from the rising of the sun and from the west?
Or are miracles the power of God to transform hearts and minds so that we people actually do some good in our small lives?
The question is then also, do miracles happen, or are they just things of the past? Does God exist? or is God dead? or a figment of our imaginations? and are we creatures or mistakes or happenstance in an ever changing universe?
The answer depends much on what one wants in and from life. If one wants to play godlet over others, then God cannot exist or God is just an imagination used to control other people. This manner of living provides great rewards, if one can stomach the dissonance in one’s heart and mind and conscience.
If one wants to be what everyone says what they want; peace, love, happiness and true prosperity, or at least giving lip service to the idea, then one cannot greedily work to secure life and privilege and comfort for oneself. One needs be comfort, compassion, and breath for the most downtrodden, outcasts that the rest of the world would ignore.
One’s experience in life is determined by how we choose to live … at least until we notice God knocking at the door to our hearts, minds and strength … from the inside, asking us, begging us, to open up to the whole of creation.
That’s where true joy is hidden in plain site.
So where do you want to go today, tonight, tomorrow and each day and night thereafter? Into your own self created hell, or into God’s city and into the wilderness of miracles in every little mundane thing and event?
Wherever you choose, God walks with you, waiting for you to ask what you can do for God, carrying you when you cannot even walk, and reminding you of God’s love and Christ’s steadfastness.
Not one of all the good promises that the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass.
Now you, my friends, are children of the promise, like Isaac.
Words of Grace For Today
God speaks, the universe is created.
God promises, it comes to pass.
Jesus redeems us and makes us children of God, and we inherit the promises God has made through all the generations to all of God’s children, even Sarah and Abraham’s son Isaac.
The temperature floats above and below zero. Snow falls and covers the grass. The lake piles up ice on the shore and then freezes solid at the shore to the bottom, and covers the water with ice out over most of the lake, then melts it except in a band 50 feet or so along the shore. Snow melts, and freezes a hard crust over it all. It melts again to show the tallest grass, then corn snow falls and covers all but a few grass blades. The forecast is for deep cold in a few days, near -20⁰C and then a return to hovering around zero. This hovering above and below zero makes for dangerous driving, flying, and bicycling. It is also hard on plants and animals alike. We were not created to tolerate easily the freeze thaw cycle more than a few times a year, in the fall and then in the spring. This though is a deeper, longer cycle of freeze, thaw, hard freeze, big thaw every fall and spring. It killed more than a few trees last winter. It breaks down our resilience to everything, including Covid 19.
The challenge of climate change always before us, we expect the extreme weather of last year to be the norm for this year, and on for decades to come.
What new challenges will come at us this year, this month, this week, this day?!
Out of habit to preserve ourselves we too often force our old habits on the new reality.
A very mutually supportive group of pastors gathered each month before Covid 19. This week they met again in person in the city, a hot spot for Covid 19’s second wave! They gathered in a back yard with masks on, some keeping a good distance, to share stories of their work and challenges. Then the masks came off, to drink the provide coffee. Later they shared hot dogs roasted over the fire. One of the owners of the backyard survived a serious round of cancer last year, as it consumed everything about her life.
They could have met by Zoom, but chose in the middle of the second wave to do exactly what the health professionals tell us NOT to do, to unnecessarily increase our close contacts, share food and drink, and gather in person when we do not need to.
Dr. Tam said: “The balance between keeping the virus under control and keeping some of these important social, economic spaces open is a very delicate one,” Tam told The Current’s Matt Galloway.
“Keep that balance, and that see-saw in front of [your] frame of mind, and know that everything, every little thing that you do helps keep that balance in check,” she said. (CBC The Current)
To paraphrase that more succinctly: Do every little thing you can to protect yourself and everyone!
Some people wait for God to interrupt the laws of physics and biology with miracles in order to save us with miracles. For the longest time we held that Jesus fed the 5000 by miraculous physically multiplying fish and bread. The text does not exclude that explanation, but real world faith that gives life sees the text also supports the real miracle: Jesus transformed hearts from being selfish to being generous, even with strangers. Jesus miraculously finds the words and actions that motivate the people to reveal the bounty of food they collectively had brought and to share it with everyone.
The real challenge is for us not to sit back and wait for God’s promises to ‘somehow, miraculously’ come about. Rather, as children of God, God calls us, equips us, and sends us out to transform hearts and minds so that God’s will is done by billions of people!
All God’s promises come to pass.
Every little thing we can do!
That’s how all God’s promises come to pass!
Breathe. Trust. Act boldly, with kindness and grace.
Try not to be covidiots, but forgive yourselves and others who are, so that we all get back to doing every little thing we can do, to protect everyone from Covid 19, to make God’s will come about, and to make Grace the way we all interact with everyone.