Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – Sept 27

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Water

Little White Water

A pleasant water wave for children of Grace

Psalm 98:2

The Lord has made known his victory; he has revealed his vindication in the sight of the nations.

Acts 14:27

When they arrived, they called the church together and related all that God had done with them, and how he had opened a door of faith for the Gentiles.

Words of Grace For Today

God’s day of victory is a great day to celebrate,

for those whom God claims as children.

It is a day of reckoning and defeat for those who stand against God, for those who live a faith based on hate of others (the victims vary), for those who claim they make their own way without God, for those who have chosen their own rewards at the cost of others’ well-being and even lives, and for those who serve the Devil in so many a various ways.

Repeatedly God gives cause for celebration to God’s people as God opens up their understanding of God’s Grace to include more and more people, until all are included … or excluded by their own choices.

As the forecast has held steady in its predictions of strong winds, gusting winds, white water waves whipping winds, destructive winds the actual wind has been a light breeze or at most a steady, small wave making wind.

During these days I have taken particular notice, and been particularly grateful, for in preparation for the climate change’s last-year’s-extreme-become-this-year’s-normal storm and the new extreme storm, I’ve worked on setting two tarps to provide shelter in new ways. The work would have been challenging to design and construct with dried lumber of my choosing and materials that are offered for sale in any lumber yard store. I have none of that at hand. Only a few old tarps made from the skins of long since useless insulated tarps from which I’ve pulled the innards to work as insulation elsewhere and the dead trees killed by last winter’s thaw and freeze cycle.

I cobbled one tarp into place rather quickly earlier this week. It covered a nice area high enough plus about 6 feet. It has a nice airy feeling under it. Then there was only one day of winds 20 and 40 km/h gusting to 40 and 60 km/h. It whipped that tarp madly, snapped multiple strands of twine and even rope, and pulled stakes right out of the ground laying part of the tarp back down on the ground. I modified it for a temporary fix so that it would not all be ripped and shredded into nothing useful and waited for the winds to subside.

The forecast predicted strong winds with gusts for the next day as well. In the calm that came I was up a 12′ ladder made from 2×4’s long ago, with a chainsaw in hand, trying to delicately modify the top of a vertical support miscalculated to be a few feet too high to best withstand the winds, dragging tarps over new supports while standing a precarious perch 16′ feet in the air, and tying together tarps that are only tentatively anchored in place. Any strong gust could have put me on the ground, with a chainsaw running, or a small piece of twine wrapped around my hand or whatever.

I have been amazed how inaccurate the forecasts have become with climate change wildly playing havoc with historical precedents. These day’s I’ve been thankful, at least that the wind is not been as forecast.

Today, the tarps are in place, tied well (I hope), and staked solid. Now the winds are stronger, though still not the high gusts that were forecast. It’s a great test of the modified and improved protection by old tarps.

God’s Day of Vindication and Judgment is like that: we predict it to be ferocious, and destructive of many things we hold dear.

Those who dwell in the Word of Jesus, the Christ, have become accustom to Grace being God’s way with us, at the most unexpected times. It blows through us as a gentle breeze, in the quiet of calm, with the fragrance of fresh life.

God’s day of victory is a great day to celebrate,

for those whom God claims as children.

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – Sept 5

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Light Ice

Ice and Floods

Heat and Drought

Nothing compares to the Evil humans inflict on others.

Isaiah 25:4

You have been a refuge to the poor, a refuge to the needy in their distress, a shelter from the rainstorm and a shade from the heat, when the blast of the ruthless was like a winter rainstorm.

Revelation 2:8-9

May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Words of Grace For Today

Since Jesus’ record replaces ours, since our baptisms we have known and been able to trust even in the most horrific and trying times that our record before God will be sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Not even the miracles of God (or so we say) can (other than by replacing ours with Jesus’ record) keep our spirit and soul and body sound and blameless at all. We have and keep free choice, which in exercising we continually sin, i.e. we are hardly sound and blameless.

The question is not if we can be sinless. If it were no one would be acceptable to God, and the Kingdom of God would be empty forever.

The question, after God favours us and blesses us, what are we going to do with this ultimate favour and blessing?

Then we may pray earnestly that it can be said of us that when the blast of the ruthless was like a winter rainstorm, then we have been a refuge to the poor, a refuge to the needy in their distress, a shelter from the rainstorm and a shade from the heat.

There is no shortage today of the blast of the ruthless. Now is the time to act. It is the time to be the refuge to the poor, a refuge to the needing in their distress, and a shelter from all that comes, whether it is the vicious rain, hail, snow and windstorms of climate change (the ‘new normal this year is last year’s extreme weather‘), or the blistering heat, wind and locust of drought, or the flooding of rain that will not let up.

The real blast, as in every generation, comes not from nature, not even pandemics like Covid 19. The real blast comes from ruthless and evil people, possessed by the empty promises of the Devil. The two legged wild animals bring more disaster to more people, more quickly than any new weather storm.

The dangerous ones are those who say there is no danger. They claim with words and/or actions: There is no more Covid19. It’s back to normal. We’re done with Covid 19. There is none here. They likely will not die or be maimed by Covid 19 or any other real danger. They will be oblivious to the loss of life around them, unless it invades their own home, and some even then pay it no heed.

May God protect us. We may wish that we can be sound and blameless, but that is the first step to ignoring our place, station, calling and weaknesses as the two legged children of God that Jesus calls us to be.

We still wish for what is not possible, and then we pray: May God protect us. May God protect you.

Before it is too late.

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – July 28

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Seek the Light

It’s hot this end of July,

It’s cold that end of October,

No matter the challenge,

God is with us.

1 Samuel 7:12

Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Jeshanah, and named it Ebenezer; for he said, ‘Thus far the Lord has helped us.’

2 Corinthians 4:8

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair;

Words of Grace For Today

In the midst of Covid 19 challenges, easing restrictions, and great losses already it is not hard to feel the pinch of everything else in life that goes wrong or is done against one just that much more intensely.

Rates of infection climb in the US. Riots and violent confrontation with police continue. Lies continue to have devastating effects on scapegoats. Children get hurt, invisibly and visibly, by parents who disregard them as humans. Despots use anything, Covid 19 as well, for cover for their unjust efforts to maintain control and carry out their destructive plans in countries around the world and even in churches in the local community. Business people make plans to ‘contribute’, which is hardly contributing but will net them an unfair profit.

Even amidst all this, God has equipped Jesus’ followers with wisdom to see not only the truth behind the attempts to deceive and destroy. God gives us the wisdom to see the Holy Spirit at work all around us. Real efforts in many long term care facilities net joy and contentment as unusual plans and policies allow families to reunite for visits. From declining resources families find ways to ‘visit’ with each other across thousands of miles and just across town. Neighbours pay attention and chip in to ensure everyone has enough food, supplies, and regular conversation. Churches, stuck in the mud of privilege and wealth for decades, actually start to care for the homeless in their own communities. Parents develop summer opportunities for children to encounter nature in ways not possible before, now that the ‘regular’ summer activities are not possible.

God has even given us plenty of rainwater, and a cool July … until now!

(Well the last is from my perspective where anything over 25⁰ creates real hardships. Not that I’ll melt like chocolate. I just run out of steam, and the mosquito bites seem to be tiny neutron bombs irradiating the life right out of me.)

Thus far the Lord has helped us.

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – July 15

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

All Hail God’s Will, not our plans.

July 3

Mid-summer Night’s

Surprise

Proverbs 19:21

The human mind may devise many plans, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will be established.

1 Peter 4:7-8

The end of all things is near; therefore be serious and discipline yourselves for the sake of your prayers. Above all, maintain constant love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins.

Words of Grace For Today

We make all sorts of plans, but God’s will will be done.

We plan a vacation sailing. God gives us life, but a storm puts us in a life raft, lost at sea, surrounded by water, with tools to save ourselves long enough that a rescue is possible. (foreshadow of tomorrow’s words.)

We plan all that we may, like a young unqualified pastor to lead us to rebuild the glory of yesteryear. But Christ’s Church is not tied to yesteryear’s model of the church, nor of our models we may contrive and build today.

In the movie, About Time, Tim’s wedding is a joyous bust, rain and wind driving the reception from under the rented tent canopies to crowd inside his parent’s home. The best man’s toast is repeatedly a disaster going from bad to worse, each time Tim uses his special gift (of all the men in his family) to go back and replay/change portions of his life. He chooses various friends to be best man and each new best man stoops to new lows in the speech.

Finally Tim asks his father to be his best man.

The first time through his father’s speech is great. But his father has second thoughts, wants to include a comment about how he loves his son. Tim says it was a great speech the way it was, but the father replays it and proclaims his love for three men in his life, not his own father, but including his son, Tim. He is proud of him.

Still, the most profound words were not those written about the father’s love for his son. They were the advice Tim’s father provides to all who would consider getting married: find someone to marry who is kind! Everything else can be worked through or around, if one’s spouse is kind.

1 Peter said it as well: maintain constant love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins.

When we confess how much we require God’s love each day just to breathe, and live, and hope, then we can practice for others that same Gracious Love which save us and gives us life.

Love is not as complicated as we seem to make it. It is simply humbly recognizing God’s gifts, and out of endless thanks to extend that same attitude towards others.

Sin and Evil may seem powerful and omnipresent, destructive and unavoidable. It may seem we need to join in and get out of life what we can by taking from others what is for the taking.

Love is a far better way to live.

Love is the purpose of the Lord that will be established.

It is indeed good, right, and blessed that we do join in and get out of life all that God freely gives to us, so that we can share it generously with others.

Covid 19 challenges us and reveals whether we trust God’s love for us and all other people, and whether we comprehend that Jesus calls us, especially now, to be the people who are generous with all people.

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – July 10

Friday, July 10, 2020

Elijah’s Chair

Thankful for the Ice Break up.

Psalm 145:4

One generation shall laud your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts.

2 Corinthians 4:15

Yes, everything is for your sake, so that grace, as it extends to more and more people, may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.

Words of Grace For Today

We all sin.

That is a given.

God works to save us from our sin. There is no greater work of God than to save one person from sin.

These mighty acts God repeats innumerable times each day for each person. And each person that acknowledges this, who confesses those sins that are already forgiven, receives an overwhelming flood of gratitude.

There, into the cesspool of Hell, with it’s never ending fires, the stink, and the selfishness astounding even the most seasoned resident, each of us would quickly and permanently slide, if it were not for the Grace bought and paid for by Jesus on the Cross for all of us. See that terrible car crash where a truck T-boned the car mere feet in front of you. You live. They die. If one is not caught by survivor’s guilt, or perhaps even so, one celebrates life. Floods of gratitude and appreciation for all that life is, flow over one until one feels drowned back to life by life’s goodness. One makes calls and mends fences long broken. One re-organizes one’s priorities. One gives genuine thanks for life.

When one realizes the hell Jesus saves one from, a hell one clearly deserves, then one is more thankful than ever before in life.

Sin, Grace, Gratitude, for more and more people. For Christ forgives us and gives us new life so that we can share Jesus’ old, old story with more and more people.

Sing the Hallelujah again, and again!

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – June 24

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

The Word

The Weeds

and Us

Vs

Anti-Creation

Isaiah 61:11

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.

James 3:18

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.

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – June 6

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Bown Shaken but Not Down

Wind Blown Grass and Trees

God is not shaken

though the whole world be shaken off its axis.

Covid-19 shakes nothing when God stands still.

Daniel 4:3

How great are his signs, how mighty his wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his sovereignty is from generation to generation.

Hebrews 12:28

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us give thanks, by which we offer to God an acceptable worship with reverence and awe;

Words of Grace For Today

What shakes in your life?

When the wind blows and catches the solar panels on the roof this whole place rocks. The first time the 50 km winds did that, with 90 km winds in the forecast, I climbed out into the blowing snow and ice cold biting wind. I looked at what was shaking me in my boots.

It didn’t take long to figure out what was happening. Solid anyway I thought. Then I retraced the steps I had taken to face the solar panels into the winter sun that barely peeked above the treetops for a few minutes. I remembered how I had anchored everything solidly … and I remembered how the cold and the onset of dark had rushed me. While the front side was anchored solidly to the frame that held all the solar panels to the rooftop, and that was only probably solid enough to stand up to a 100 km wind, I had just left the back side resting on that frame of piping.

So was! The panels all together stood nearly vertically six feet above the roof and five feet wide. That’s a lot of sail force on that frame holding the panels.

It had inherent limits being on the roof anchored to the piping that held everything in place, AND the back side (in the direction the most powerful winds could hit – since there were trees disrupting the wind in the other direction) was just sitting there!

I was lucky it had not just up’ed and walked off the roof top smashing, twisting and ruining everything in its path!

So was!

I had found an abandoned 1″ thick rope a few months earlier. Not friendly to hands, it seemed tough enough, at least it looked tough. I grabbed it and let go of it right away. Then I put on my gloves first and grabbed it, ran out into sharp cold, and ran that rope from the top of the solar panel frame to the one tree that stood close on the side where the wind was blowing from. The next day I anchored it around both sides of the top of the panel and back to the tree. Done.

.

It still shook when the winds kicked up. I no longer was alarmed. Maybe I should have been? The whole set up is different now, but the rope is back in place, and when it shakes, I go right back to what I am doing.

Trust.

in an old rope.

in a tree, which is still alive, unlike it’s neighbours.

in my ingenuity … well not really. I’m just too tired to think how to make it better and then get out and make it so. Soon, one of these days. Maybe when the rain stops.

.

God’s Kingdom is not shaken. It does the shaking throughout the whole universe. Wisdom begins with fear of the Lord, and needs love of the Lord (based on the Lord’s love of us) to grow.

All around, even as Covid 19 shakes us, or it should, God’s wonders are worth being awestruck by. The rope may last another day or so, or a year. But God’s unshakability lasts forever. From generation to generation God rules the universe.

For this we can stand in awe and give God praise and thanks.

There is no wind, or virus, or evil that comes against us that God is not more powerful than.

Covid 19 has shown we can meet the emissions targets set by the U.N. Maybe, just maybe, we will learn to keep it up even as the economies restart, and hopefully grow.

Then the winds may not continue to become more and more ferocious. And we can stand in thankful awe of God’s power, instead of in awful fear of what we’ve brought the environment to do to try to be rid of our destructive ways.

We can

trust

.

God

..

above all else

and count our blessings … they never stop. God is not shaken as more and more blessings pour over us, for us to share with others.

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – May 28

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Water, Water, Everywhere

No one to bring me to the water

and it’s all frozen hard.

Help.

Help us all through the ice of sin and shame.

Psalms 25:16

Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted.

John 5:7-8

The sick man answered him, ‘Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; and while I am making my way, someone else steps down ahead of me.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Stand up, take your mat and walk.’

Words of Grace For Today

If ever there were a time when loneliness and afflictions were shared by so many people, even those who are not caught alone by the Covid 19 restrictions!

So we pray: God turn to us/to me, be gracious to us/to me. We’ve waited years for someone to carry us to the living water and immerse us in it so that our body, mind, and soul could be healed. Now we know, we only need Jesus to speak a Word, and we will be made whole again.

We are, since our baptisms, the hands, feet, and voice of Christ, anointed to bring the living Word to those in need.

Stand up, be counted among the saints, and speak.

Today speak with the holy healing whispers of the wind as the Spirit inspires you.

So many people thirst for the water that will make them whole.

Today speak of the water that overflows our cups giving all more than enough to drink.

So many people hunger to hear the word that will make them whole.

Today speak simple words of Jesus’ love renewed yet again in us, for all people.

Today, be God’s grace for others. ‘Pay the rent on the air you breathe’ today by doing Grace.

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – May 11

Monday, May 11, 2020

Tree of Life, Since Forever

From of Old

From of Now

From of Then

Psalms 44:2

We have heard with our ears, O God, our ancestors have told us, what deeds you performed in their days, in the days of old.

Luke 10:39

She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying.

Words of Grace For Today

We have received great gifts from God … many through other faithful people.

We have received the ability:

To listen …

To learn …

To listen to Jesus …

To listen to our ancestors …

What would happen if we could listen to the generations yet to come?

God has performed many great deeds, that we remember, that we can listen to as others tell the stories handed down for generations.

“In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, … God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good….”

“A wandering Aramean was my ancestor; he went down into Egypt and lived there …. When the Egyptians treated us harshly … we cried to the Lord…. The Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with a terrifying display of power, and with signs and wonders; and he brought us into this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey….”

“In the night in which he was betrayed, Jesus took bread and gave thanks …”

God has preformed many great deeds even in our time that we can share with each other and give time to listen to and learn from.

An elderly woman’s car would not start in the grocery store parking lot. Covid 19 limited the interactions others could have with her … still a man noticed her distress, walked over and offered to help. Diagnosing it as a battery too drained to start her car, he offered and then insisted that he would run home, grab some jumper cables and set it right. She suggested instead that she could call AMA. He said it was not necessary. Within minutes her car started and he advised her to take a drive to recharge the battery. It worked.

A long term care facility was, like all others, cut off from everyone except the workers coming and going. A staff person volunteered her iPhone to allow video calls to family and the staff started collecting contact numbers for each resident. Even though many suffer dementia they are afraid and lonely. Now they are connected again regularly with family.

With the increased danger of wild fires, a resident of a spread out rural community started noticing almost no one had ‘fire safe’ areas around their properties or homes. He organized a list of the elderly who needed the help first, a list of the properties that needed and wanted help fire-safe-ing, and a list of equipment available. Coordinating it all, with safe physical distances maintained, he organized equipment, people and locations to do the minimum fire-safe work. Almost done, he’s starting a list of more thorough fire-safe-ing and wide fire break paths to stop a wildfire from spreading over more than a quarter section. Of course that is getting organized as well. Everyone contributes. Everyone is safer. There is less risk that a wildfire will necessitate an evacuation, or if it does that any property will be damaged by anything other than smoke.

What stories of God’s great deeds can you share? What stories of God’s great deeds have you listened to and learned from?

What if we could also listen to those from future generations, looking back at our time, so that we could listen, learn, and live more responsibly.

Are we listening?

Are we learning?

Yearning 3

Yearning for Everythings to be put Right

In darkness of our enemies’ making
we are yearning for the light,
for the moon to shine,
for the end of night.

A Little more moon

We are yearning for things

Skewed by the Devil’s might

to be put back right.

Christ alone can douse us rags

in the Spirit’s precious light,

safe in God’s forgiving crags,

resetting all things coloured bright.

All Right?