God Blesses Us Despite What We Do!

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

A Beaver

Giving Warning.

Do We Heed God’s Warnings? NO!

Yet God Continues to Bless Us!

Psalm 91:14

Those who love me, I will deliver; I will protect those who know my name.

1 John 3:21-22

Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have boldness before God; and we receive from him whatever we ask, because we obey his commandments and do what pleases him.

Words of Grace For Today

Julie and Greg sought refuge from the heat, well over 35⁰ each day from 8:00 to 20:00 or later making sleeping difficult, and at best restless. The packed up their little camper behind the truck and headed out to a lake more than an hour away, since all the campgrounds at other lake closer were overfilled. There was no proper campground, just crown land where random camping was allowed.

They were hardly the first to arrive, and most of the possible sites were filled and overfilled with others seeking relief from the heat and being cooped up for more than a year with the covid19 restrictions. With luck, or was it a pure blessing, they arrived just minutes after another family left one of the furthest campsites, one set among birch trees on a hill more than 50 feet above the lake. They settled in and carried their canoe down near the four log steps to the water.

For a week they ‘enjoyed’ temperatures that did not climb above 32⁰ and nights that cooled off after sunset at 21:30 to the high teens, making sleeping a wonderful and restful reprieve. The first few days they recovered and found wonder in the relative cool nights, and the canoe outings during the hottest part of the day into the cooler air above the water. They knew that God had delivered them.

Then they became accustom to the reprieve, and noticed the challenges of camping: the swarms of mosquitoes morning and evening made being outside less than comfortable, the flies that chewed small chunks right out of their arms, checks and even eyelids, and the bees and wasps whose stings they were allergic to. Then there were the late night parties from the other parts of the campground that seemed to never end until the sun rose; a downside of uncontrolled camping producing loud music and fireworks at all late hours! The quads, dirt bikes, and side by sides chewed up the dirt right before their camper, blowing exhaust into their camper at any hour. They became complainers instead of giving God thanks.

Saturday afternoon all that complaining ended with a real danger. The emergency broadcast service rang out from their cell phones: a tornado warning! A funnel was sighted moving fast NW just 30 miles away to the SW of their precious campsite. There was no basement or building to hide in against the SW wall. They did what they could. They pulled their hand-made cedar strip canoe high away from the lake and secured it among some strong trees and bush. The parked the truck on the lakeside of the camper, opened it’s windows and all the windows on the camper (to prevent the severe drop and rise in air pressure from blowing up either the truck or camper.) Taking a larger tarp they found where a tree’s roots had been ripped out leaving a depression, laid down the tarp, sat and laid in on it, and covered themselves with the tarp to protect themselves from the rain that pelted sideways at them in the high wind.

The last thing they saw before covering themselves was a funnel approach the other side of the lake, tossing trees out of it’s path like toothpicks, and throwing a great blinding spray of water that hid everything from sight as it came across the lake. The deafening sound grew until it went totally quiet, not from lack of sound but from the pressure built in their eardrums that made hearing anything impossible. In their bones they felt instead of heard the roar, the explosions and earth shaking thuds, and then the stillness ….

When they uncovered themselves all the trees for 100 yards in all directions were gone, in their place were shreds of logs piled in places like matchsticks poured out of their box by a child playing with danger.

They walked back to where they had laid their canoe. Miraculously the trees were gone, but the bush remained covering their untouched, precious canoe. In that same moment they recognized behind a jumble of logs their camper, and then their truck, both untouched by the destruction.

In the rest of the random campground 4 people were killed, 10 others injured, and many vehicles and camping units were damaged or totally destroyed. Some trees, though not many, remained standing as before. The shoreline was hidden beneath a mess of bush, logs, and the remains of boats that had been in the water or on shore. Julie and Greg used their truck to transport 8 people to the hospital and then a second trip with the other 2 less severely injured and 2 bodies they had found.

For weeks after both Julie and Greg, knowing that their sins were many and varied, knew that many days they had done nothing to please God, yet God had delivered them. They were alive. Their precious canoe, truck, and camper were undamaged. They were the only family camping that completely escaped damage or injury of some kind. They did not deserve this, so they gave God thanks, with words each morning and night, and with acts of kindness for others, helping others recover property, and cleaning up the camping area as they could. Somehow the heat that had returned, the mosquitoes, flies, bees and wasps that continued to swarm, and the parties that people somehow continued to hold each evening made little difference.

The goodness of life itself outshone all the challenges, obstacles, and ugliness around them.

Julie and Greg knew that God blessed them not because of what they had done, or not done, but simply because God so chose to bless them. They learned, slowly as the blessed shock of surviving unscathed, how to reflect God’s blessings in their daily lives, how to maintain their gratitude for each breathe and moment of life, and how to shine undeserved grace to other people.

Even scripture, given to humans to write, can be wrong when it somehow conveys that God blesses us because we obey his commandments and do what pleases God.

First God blesses us. Then like Julie and Greg we slowly learn to obey and do what pleases God. And we inevitably revert to our old ways of complaining about life and doing all things only for ourselves, until God surprises us with an undeserved blessing, so that we slowly learn again to obey and do what please God…. Until we inevitably revert to our old ways … and God surprises us again and again with undeserved blessings.

Precious to Whom?

Sunday, July 18, 2021

In the Heat of (Climate Change Ever More Extreme) Summer

God Remembers Us

And the Many Paths Our Machines Have Made

In the Cool of Winter.

‘Chill’

God Recommends We

‘Chill.’

2 Samuel 7:22

Therefore you are great, O Lord God; for there is no one like you, and there is no God besides you, according to all that we have heard with our ears.

Revelation 1:17-18

When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he placed his right hand on me, saying, ‘Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, and the living one. I was dead, and see, I am alive for ever and ever; and I have the keys of Death and of Hades.

Words of Grace For Today

In this rough and wild world of self-interested cheats and liars all, it is good to know one’s friends well and to have friends in high places, very high places.

No better friend than God, for there is no one like God, no god besides God, whether we’ve heard it or not!

The trouble with human friends is that when they get to be in high places, they cannot be trusted not to turn on you for their own interests of staying in high places, or demanding dirty little favours of you to help them stay in high places.

God does no such thing. We need not fear that God will turn on us, or turn us into petty criminals doing God’s dirty work so that God can remain God. God has no such concerns, for God has not stepped up higher than is God’s place (like some friends do, and all people in high places have done!)

God does no such thing. Instead God assures us we need not fear God’s Power and Might. God has turned that all powerful, all-mightyful reality toward resolving all that would destroy us.

God chose to be born as one of us, weak and vulnerable to corrupt powers that pretend to be more than they are, just as many of our judges and police and politicians do today. God suffered a terrible death at their hands, and defied their ‘power’ and the real power of death and evil itself! All so that we can live free of such fears, of petty powers and of real destructive powers of evil and even of death itself.

That’s what a real good friend in the very high places (and the low places and everywhere in between) does for us.

We must be some extraordinary precious!

Breathe in that reality!

We are precious to the Ultimate Most Powerful One!

What a life!

What are we going to do with it, that’s the question for each of us each day!

Being God’s Message

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

One cloud alone

reflects God’s light

at sunset.

As Two Clouds

‘walk’ the sky ‘hand in hand’,

So we walk in God’s light

with others in love,

as God walks with us.

Psalm 79:9

Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of your name; deliver us, and forgive our sins, for your name’s sake.

1 John 4:10

In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.

Words of Grace For Today

The beginning of every moment, every event, every situation, every life, every day … of every every is God’s Love.

God’s Love that created a universe with life in it, and us as life self-aware in among the many forms of life,

God’s Love that gave us freedom to love, and therefore freedom to not-love (that is: to sin),

God’s Love that holds the universe together (whether it’s String Theory or particles and strings, it’s all God’s Love),

God’s Love that holds life together, even our lives, giving us our daily needs, including meaningful labour and the ability to love and be loved,

God’s Love that gives us God’s answer to our sins: forgiveness and renewed life,

God’s Love that walks with us each moment of each day, even when we walk ourselves into the hell of the Evil One’s influence (as God’s Love keeps us walking right out the other side of hell back into life abundant),

God’s Love … it is the every every of our lives.

God loves us not for our sakes as if we somehow became more valuable and the purpose of the universe just because God loves us. Rather God loves us for God’s name’s sake, for God’s message about God to be seen and heard by all people through God’s grace acted out for us in forgiveness.

God forgives us and we receive life again. The rest of all humans, those long since have lived on earth, those that live now, and those that will live, receive a clear message about God: God loves people. God loves us. And God loves them!

We get to screw our lives, because we are going to anyway, and because we become the raw material for God’s communication to all humans: God’s clear message that God loves us, and that God’s Love is the beginning of all, it is the every of all, and it is the end of all in all (the purpose and the result and the finality – the end of all time for each human as well as that for all humans.)

Until then we are privileged to be the message of God’s Love for all people: that we are forgiven and renewed, and that we can live for others, as Jesus lived for others, that all people may have life, and life abundant!

So it is that we enjoy the reprieve from the record-breaking, sweltering heat of climate change that sat over us last week with the cool more common in autumn.

So it is that we prepare for the next days of heat, hopefully not record-breaking.

So it is that we learn to enjoy winter all that much more, and especially autumn, after the bugs are gone and before everything freezes requiring more wood for a modicum of warmth inside.

So it is that we enjoy having an ‘inside’ that can be heated against the cold outside.

So it is that we enjoy everything about life, and find pure joy in a breath of fresh air, a stormy day, and a calm morning sunrise … as we wait for our last sunset that comes to harvest every mortal creature … knowing God’s Love walks with us each precious day and will walk with us also then.

Until that day our purpose is to be the message for all humans, that God loves us all!

In this is love, not that we loved God but that God loved us and sent God’s only Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.

Sunscreen or Sonscreen?

Wednesday, June9, 2021

The Golden Light of Christ

Shines in Every Darkness

Bringing Breath

and

Life Abundant

Isaiah 60:17

Instead of bronze I will bring gold, instead of iron I will bring silver; instead of wood, bronze, instead of stones, iron. I will appoint Peace as your overseer and Righteousness as your taskmaster.

Hebrews 2:1

Therefore we must pay greater attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it.

Words of Grace For Today

Isaiah 60 begins:

Arise, shine; for your light has come,
   and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
For darkness shall cover the earth,
   and thick darkness the peoples;
but the Lord will arise upon you,
   and his glory will appear over you.
Nations shall come to your light,
   and kings to the brightness of your dawn.

That is the context of the advancement that God will provide to the people, no longer merely stones, doch God will provide also iron. No longer merely iron, doch God will provide also silver. No longer merely wood, doch God will provide also bronze. No longer merely bronze, doch God will also provide gold.

The story continues through history as God provides more and more materials, until alloys, plastics, composites, rare metals, and oil abound in our lives.

We want more and more. By our wanting more and more, using and burning more and more oil for example, we will bring upon ourselves the darkness that will cover the earth.

Isaiah could not have foreseen what we would do, though Isaiah saw clearly what people are capable of. The story of God’s people was and is and always will be that the people are blessed by God with an abundance beyond our basic needs, we exploit the blessings, perverting it into all that is against God and God’s creation – and against the people, even God’s people, us! So we turn from God. We lose God’s blessings and end up in exile, ruled by others who are perverse and evil.

God does not leave us there. God’s love is steadfast, even if, and especially when, our love of God and God’s creation is so fickle. God comes to forgive us.

That is the message of Isaiah. The people are in exile, ruled and exploited and assimilated by other people of other power.

They hear Isaiah’s words.

The darkness is coming over all the earth, doch God will bring light to God’s people and all the people of the earth will search for, and come to bask in, that light. For it is the Light of life.

Again and again God’s Word sets God’s people free, as the Word of Life, Jesus the Christ did for those who believed in him in those early generations after his crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension. So also Jesus frees us that we may live abundantly.

We need no more than the very bare basics of life. Sometimes we live more abundantly with no extras, no luxuries, none of the usual comforts that so many see as ‘givens’ for life today in the western world. Without the extras we must focus on the necessities, and we soon learn that while the physical requirements to stay alive are significantly important (especially to the billions who do not have them), the requirement of life abundant is not more and more and more.

It is to give, to give, to give to God and God’s people.

It is to serve, to serve, to serve God and God’s people.

It is to love, to love, to love God and God’s people.

It is to forgive, to forgive, to forgive, and to forgive even more all of God’s people.

It is a true blessing from God when we are able to remain fully cognizant of that, even while we are so easily distracted struggling for the basics of life, or more fully distracted by the false promises of a ‘good life’ achieved by having more and more and more.

So we pray that we will give greater and greater attention to what we have heard of the old, old story of Jesus and his love, so that we do not drift away from being the ones who share that Good News with all people, bringing the Light of Life into the darkness that has descended upon so many people in so many places, in so many hearts consuming so many minds. We are to revive those hearts lost to darkness, those minds consumed by the dark.

The Light of Life is here. See it. Receive it. Share it. Bask it in. No sonscreen is needed.

Desires of Birds, Bees, Beasts, and Fish

Thursday, May 6, 2021

God’s Value

Is Everything.

God Values

Every Thing and Being

In Creation.

Psalm 145:15-16

The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season. You open your hand, satisfying the desire of every living thing.

Luke 12:22-24

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!’

Words of Grace For Today

I am not sure about this:

You open your hand, satisfying the desire of every living thing.

We humans have a way of ‘desiring’ so much more no matter how much we have.

Further the birds, bees, and beasts, and not to forget the fish, struggle under the effects of our ‘possessing the land’, ‘dominating it’, and destroying ecosystems that have taken millions of years to establish!

So?

The truth is God created the world quite capable of sustaining all the life created on it, satisfying the desire of every living thing. God promises to provide for the needs those desires are given to life of all kinds, in order that all life can continue on God’s good earth.

That includes our desires that God gave us so that we could continue to live among all the life on this planet.

How did we screw it up so badly!?!

Well, God loved us, wanted us to be able to love, which means we need to be able to choose to love or not, and …

Well so much of the time we humans have chosen, do choose, and forever will choose to do other than love! Youch, what a price!

We are destroying what provides us the ability to live on earth! It’ll take us maybe 100 or so, maybe only 25 or 5 years, to unmake the earth capable of sustaining life, something God created in 6 days, or millions of years measured in our time.

What power we have … to destroy!

And what power we have, as well, to love, when we so choose. Choosing to love is possible, for any one, for every one, of us … though only as God makes us able.

The beginning of God making us able is to promise that God values us greatly. Knowing that we can choose to act responsibly and responsively to that unconditional, life-giving and life-renewing love!

God willing and ‘the creek not rising’ (maybe it ought to be ‘the oceans not rising’) we may still live on planet earth in 1000 years and more!

God’s Word started this all. God’s Word sustains us all. Certainly God’s Word is able to bring us to that miracle of miracles.

So what are we going to do today, with God’s love?

Baptized Into Christ’s Death for Life

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

The Wild that Needs Taming

is not out there.

It’s in our minds and hearts.

We and the Wilderness and all Creation need healing!

Jeremiah 23:3

Then I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the lands where I have driven them, and I will bring them back to their fold, and they shall be fruitful and multiply.

Luke 15:4

Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it?

Words of Grace For Today

This past Sunday we celebrated the Baptism of Jesus, and our own baptisms. For what purpose are we baptized into God’s flock, into God’s family together as children?

What was God planning, when God gathered the remnant back into the fold and let them be fruitful and multiply?

Back then of course land was abundant, people scarce. Survival as a people required increasing the population enough to fend off enemies.

Now the earth is overrun by humans, multiplying out of control. Wild lands are difficult to find, precious when they are, and seldom well protected from being overrun by mining, oil extraction, clear cutting, paving over, filling in the swamps (nature’s water filtration system), and generally developing them so that they serve human short term interests at the cost of our long term survival.

Covid 19 is only nature’s latest reaction to us way-too-many humans putting un-survivable stress on the ecosystems of creation.

Very few of us have ever been close to having 100 sheep. The image still is clear. Even the most cantankerous, stubborn one among many is precious to God. So precious that God goes away from the flock grazing together in the wilderness in order to pursue that hard headed one … ok to be honest that ‘one’ is each one of us at some time or another – sometimes quite often.

Baptized, we are God’s people. It is too easy to write off people who stray from reality, God’s reality of Grace. It is very sensible to write off those who attack us to destroy us … better that than to go on the offensive to destroy all our enemies. (That policy relentlessly pursued always ends with only one survivor.) God does not let us abandon even our worst enemies. Instead God sends us, away from the flock, the safety we find in our lives, and God gives us the task of rescuing, with God’s Grace, the one stubborn, cantankerous one, even if that is our worst enemy.

God does not kill our enemies. God transforms them into one of God’s children … through our kindness and grace.

We can understand that Covid 19 is not God’s plan to reduce the human population by killing off so many of us.

It is surely a wake up call. Creation needs us to be responsible and work to reduce the human population and right now, to preserve what wilderness and swamps and forest lands and arctic tundra and rain-forest and savannas that are left … before none are left, and to save the many species who are threatened today with extinction.

Hard choices. Wake up. Help us all make them starting today, before there is no more today for us all. That certainly is not God’s choice for us, but God does not limit our choices; we are free to destroy ourselves and the earth’s ecosystems … and we are well on our way.

Or we can behave together as the baptized saints that God makes us to be.

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – November 5

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Ice on Shore

Shore is Solid Ice, Then it is Not.

Still we can trust God’s Promises

They are Solid

Joshua 21:45

Not one of all the good promises that the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass.

Galatians 4:28

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.

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.