Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – July 12

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Light

Light is a Gift

Like Salvation A Gift From God.

We See Salvation More Clearly When We Confess Our Sins,

Like Smoke Makes Light Obvious.

Daniel 9:7

Righteousness is on your side, OLord, but open shame, as at this day, falls on us all , those who are near and those who are far away, in all the lands to which you have driven them, because of the treachery that they have committed against you.

Ephesians 2:8

By grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.

Words of Grace For Today

It is good to confess one’s own sins.

It can be helpful to confess your people’s sins, in which you are part of that guilty community.

It is most helpful to confess that we are saved by faith through grace – and that our faith and the saving us is not our doing, but a gift (which is Grace) from God.

Most things in life that we receive are earned through work, some of it extremely hard work. The work can be ours or someone else’s.

The car in your drive, or the bicycle against the post: someone worked hard to have them.

The house you wake up in, or the ram-shackled shelter the wind rattles you out of in the morning, which keeps you somewhat dry and warm through the nights: someone worked hard for them.

The nutritious and balanced fresh food you put on your table from which you can choose a selection to enjoy, or the past-the-best-buy-date canned food from the food bank that may fill your belly and only get you a little sick: someone work hard for them.

The clothes in your closet from which you have your pick of styles, functions, and colours, all freshly cleaned, or the same old sweaty and stained jeans and dirty T-Shirt that you slept in last night: someone worked hard for them.

Salvation cannot be worked for, though. When we try, the results would be comical, except it is tragic how much harm we usually do others and ourselves in the effort. It’s like trying all day to find your glasses … which sit perched on your nose.

God’s Grace provides us salvation without effort or cost to us, but at great cost to Jesus.

After we confess, trusting we are forgiven, we can only extend that Grace to others, at whatever cost is required of us, in order that they can live life, and live it abundantly.

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – July 11

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Coming Together

Peace

One Piece at a Time

Psalm 29:11

May the Lord give strength to his people! May the Lord bless his people with peace!

Acts 4:13

Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John and realized that they were uneducated and ordinary men, they were amazed and recognized them as companions of Jesus.

Words of Grace For Today

God gives strength to the people of God’s Kingdom and blesses them with peace.

Peace is much more than the absence of conflict, and can enfold conflict as well. That seems contradictory, since we’ve ascribed the world’s application of peace (the absence of conflict) to God’s promises.

Caught in a war zone, literally or figuratively, one yearns for the end of conflict. Truth is the first casualty of war, then MIA are the children and the vulnerable. When the conflict starts to eat at one’s being, one’s conscience and heart, then one yearns for an end of the hostilities. Any other option, other than capitulation, would be welcomed by most reasonable people.

God’s promises are not about the absence of hostilities, though God surely is not much taken by our fighting. God’s promises are about peace. The kind of peace that surpasses all understanding, that guards our hearts and minds.

When we live with that kind of peace, then we approach the conflict that leads to open hostilities and killings differently, with hope. We approach the conflict that tears families apart differently, with empathy. We approach the conflict that tears communities apart differently, with compassion. We see that God never promised anyone the lack of challenges in life, one constant challenge being conflict. Conflict is an essential part of life. When there is more than one person involved, there will be conflict, or someone is being dishonest. Conflict, handled properly, motivates one to hope, empathy, and compassion for the other, and if one can operate with collaboration then one works for the other’s best interest, trusting they are working for yours.

The quick example is the poverty captive couple who each sacrifice their best in order to give to the other what the other would most treasure. She sells her beautiful long hair to buy him a chain to match his gold heirloom pocket watch. He pawns his grandfathers’, fathers’, and now his golden pocket watch to get her the jade hair combs she has adored in the shop window.

What is instructive from this example is that each cares for the other by giving what the other would most want. More importantly, though each ends up with combs without hair, and a chain without a watch, they end up with what is most valuable and cannot be taken from them: their love for and devotion to each other. With that they will face all challenges together, and even if they lose everything else, they will have each other.

That kind of love is why God created us!

God’s promises promise us that kind of love from God, which gives us an enduring peace which nothing can take from us. We know we are right with God, not dependent on what we do, but as a gift given to us, through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, so that, marked with that cross, we can face whatever life brings to us.

That is real peace.

That is the kind of peace that does not require an education to receive from God. That is the kind of peace that ordinary and not so ordinary people can all receive from God. Even well educated people can receive it from God.

So no matter your circumstance: may God’s peace be with you.

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Bearing God’s Peace is kind of like wearing a mask because of Covid 19. It does not benefit you directly, but helps protect others from you – which indirectly protects everyone, including you.

Wear a mask because Covid 19 exists, bear the Peace of God because the Devil is always active in and around us all. They protect others from what you could infect them with that would destroy their lives.

God’s peace always brings life with it.

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 – July 6

Monday, July 6, 2020

West

Middle

East

Psalm 103:12

As far as the east is from the west, so far he removes our transgressions from us.

Romans 5:20

Law came in, with the result that the trespass multiplied; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.

Words of Grace For Today

Look at the news of this world. People play stupid games, lying to the media, trying to turn what was not into something that supposedly was. Or they try to turn what was into something that was not. This ‘spin’, or clearly named, these blatant lies, have an immense destructive effect on us all. At the core of it all, truth is sacrificed over and over again to gain someone’s unfair advantage. Those lies always come back to bite their authors and adherents.

It is too easy to condemn those who play those games. How can they get away with the lies? What is wrong with people that they do this?

Closer to home, there are people who make such bald-faced lies, for their own advantage, sacrificing even their faith communities, in order to gain some empty advantage. How can people think they get away with these lies? How can others who participate in the lies justify what they do? Do they think that God does not see what they do? Do they think they are somehow exempt from their own judgment day before Jesus?

At home, we each live lies, little lies, sometimes big lies, with each other. We say it is to get along. We say it is necessary to keep the peace. We rationalize, justify, and hold ourselves to be correct, even when we know we are guilty as guilty can be.

I, of course, do no such thing. I am better than all that. And you either laugh at that false, self-righteous, self-justifying statement, knowing you wish it were so for yourself, or you quickly jump to judge me for lying about my lying. Layers upon layers pile up of us judging others in order to justify ourselves. There is no end, and like the Romans, under threat from others’ evil deeds we turn to more evil deeds ourselves, we ‘hire assassins’ to eliminate our enemies, until our ‘assassins are hired’ to eliminate us, and then those who ‘hired the assassins’ are eliminated, until only ‘the assassins’ are left to run everything, and when the ‘Goths attack’ there is no one to adequately defend our ‘Rome’, and we and it fall, and fall hard we do, into the dust of history that barely remembers our names or reality, either the truth of who we were or the lies we created to make ourselves into something we never were.

How can God save us from this vicious cycle of deception, scheming, lies and self-destruction?

God removes our sins from us, ‘as far as the east is from the west’. Since we understand that east and west meet on the other side of the planet, today’s image is: as far as one end of the universe is from the other (no ‘worm holes’ or time-space folds or faster than light travel allowed.)

The clarity of how bad we all are, clear and fair judgment on us all, and condemnation of us all is brought by the Law. The Law arrives and appears to increase our sins, though it only makes clear how corrupt we all are even before the Law. The weight of our sins in clear view overwhelms reality and drags us all down into the pit of hell.

Except or DOCH

God is not done with us. God brings the Law to make us all aware how hopeless we all are. Then God sent Jesus to give us his story, of love and grace, which even death cannot defeat. Jesus replaces our sins with his perfect record, again and again as we continue to sin. God does this without demand. God only tells us the old, old story of Jesus and his love. With that story God sets us free from the burden of our sins.

The more the Law clarifies and makes obvious our sins, Grace abounds even more, to set us free.

We are not absolutely free. We are free from our sins. We then can choose (again and again as Grace answers our sins again and again with forgiveness) to whom we will be slaves: to our own sinful will, owned by the Evil One, the Devil, OR we can choose to respond to Grace, by being slaves to Jesus’ will for us.

God created us to be able to choose, to choose to be slaves to Jesus, and therein to sacrifice everything we could or would claim as our own rights. We sacrifice, as Jesus did, in order that others will know God’s Grace is for them! God created us, precisely so that we could do this with every opportunity life provides to us.

Without sin burdening us, with the Holy Spirit guiding and enabling us, with Jesus’ example before us, and with God’s love overwhelming us, we can miraculously (by God’s power) actually choose and follow through with thoughts, words and deeds that allow God’s Grace to flow through us to others.

And sin has no bite in us anymore.

Such is Grace.

Until the next moment we must choose, and we choose to pretend, that of course it is not so with me, I am free from sin. And by that lie we enslave ourselves to sin once again, and God starts all over with us … and again God starts all over with us … and again God starts all over with us. God never abandons us, not even as Covid 19 increase the stress and challenges and our sins increase moment by moment. God never abandons us and God’s Grace overwhelms us.

Thanks be to God!

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – June 28

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Ominous

The Devil May Threaten

Because God is with us always

we will not be moved!

Psalm 16:8

I keep the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.

Luke 9:62

Jesus said to him, ‘No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.’

Words of Grace For Today

What roadblocks and earth-movers does the Devil and all his wiles, deceptions, and destruction threaten us with today?

Shall we be moved to join these forces pushing us and so many people up against the rock hard wall?

We pray to the Lord, as promised, may the Holy Spirit guides us, waling right beside us, left beside us, behind us, in front of us, under us and over us. Keep us surrounded so the earth-movers and rock hard places the Devil creates will not be able to distract us from the harvest work Jesus has sent us on all these years. Do not let the Devil’s power, which can eliminate planets and stars in a moment, detract from the greatest power of the Universe that guides us each moment, the power of self-sacrificial love graciously shared with all people.

Help us, to leave behind us the ground that we have gone over and prepared for the seed of God’s Kingdom. It is your soil, your harvest, and yours to bless or not as you choose, God.

Guide us, looking forward to the reward that is ours already and yet not yet.

Save us from drunken, stupid gatherings where not only is God denied but the reality of the Devil is ignored, as if Covid 19 does not kill people, innocent people of all ages, in all places.

Singing together we face the injustices of the people who serve the Devil, even as they pretend to call on Jesus’ name:

Set us free from this evil tyranny, set us free today. But your will be done Lord. All that we are and have is from you. We are your servants, from you we have our very breath.

Let no evil person, nor a devilish virus, take that from us!

Round and Round the Wonders Spread Everywhere

God’s Glory

Cannot be Denied

nor will we be separated from

God’s Love.

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – June 25

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Have you Energy, Spirit?

Finding Energy,

Value,

Love,

Hope

in the dead leaves.

Isaiah 60:16

You shall know that I, the Lord, am your Saviour and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.

Romans 8:35

Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

Words of Grace For Today

You shall know …

Words of warning,

Words of promise

Words of hope.

Warning for those who assume that it will pass, this evil that infects us all. That is Covid 19, but worst it is the temptations of the Devil to ignore the pervasive and deadly effects of perverting truth, faith, love and hope in order to effect one’s own perverse will.

Promise for those who see the Light, even if dimly, and wait for truth to be upheld, for faith to remain purely focused on and nurtured by Christ’s Grace, love to be unconditional and universal, and hope …

Hope to draw us into a future directed by the Holy Spirit that is as God created us to be, in harmony with all God’s people, creatures, and creation.

No small feat.

and none of it is possible for us on our own. On our own we pervert truth, faith, love and hope as badly as the Devil himself does.

This is only possible after we surrender ourselves to Christ’s Word willingly sacrificing all our own desires and dreams that they may become those given by God,

And that surrender can only be done in us through the work of the Holy Spirit. If we think we can effect it or affect it on our own, we simply pervert it into evil itself …

which is what we constantly do.

So we can only pray that God will effect and affect the lives of those around us, through us, according to God’s Will, in spite of us and our pitiful efforts.

Let God’s glory shine through us, we can only pray. Otherwise the Devil will have his way also with us and ours. Covid 19 is child’s play compared to the full force of the Devil. Just watch as people rebel against limits and cautions, claiming the virus does not exist! And watch the virus to rebound in a second and third and fourth wave, leaving the rebels to rule and deal with it themselves.

For like Covid 19, we are in this all together. We cannot save ourselves. We can only share God’s Word, the Good News of Jesus, and help the Holy Spirit save others.

And trust and hope that God has already saved us in our baptisms.

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 20

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Awe – Some – Awe

The Majesty of God

Is visible

Every day

We can live with and for God

or we die even as we yet stay above the ground.

Psalm 111:3

Full of honour and majesty is his work, and his righteousness endures for ever.

2 Timothy 2:19

God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this inscription: ‘The Lord knows those who are his’, and, ‘Let everyone who calls on the name of the Lord turn away from wickedness.’

Words of Grace For Today

The Lord knows those who are His.

Are you one of God’s, one of Hers or one of His?

Do you know that even those who call on the Lord’s name need, desperately need, to turn away from wickedness?

If you do not, where have you lived? Have you lived with blinders on? For those who gather in Jesus’ churches think, say and do as much wickedness as anyone else.

Where are you living your days? Wherever it is and with whomever you keep company, God’s work is full of honour and majesty. It is not cheap or deceptive. It stands clear in the open and those who keep secrets to develop schemes and cheap lies cannot stand with those who do God’s will. The righteousness of God endures, no matter the cheap tricks, secrets, and schemes that supposed good people pursue, as if theirs could ever be the work of God.

May we and our loved ones turn from the wickedness that tempts each of us. May we turn instead toward the goodness that we should all remember from at least a fog tinged memory. For God has not left any of us without an idea of goodness.

Let us enjoy and trust all that God does, in righteousness, honour, and majesty.

Washed in the waters of baptism we know God’s work is righteous.

The challenges of Covid 19 raise the background tensions so high that people are behaving madly, and still we know God’s work is righteous.

The challenges of Covid 19 are not the restrictions, lock-downs, and new practices we must follow. The challenges of Covid 19 are the mental-health-deficit-craziness that good people jump into without a sane reflection of what it will cost them, and us all.

Still we know that God’s work is righteousness, honour and majesty.

Let us pray that the Holy Spirit will keep us from this madness, and firmly rooted, humbly in God’s Grace, so that God can work through us … to bring righteousness, honour, and majesty to be also here, today.

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – June 19

Friday, June 19, 2020

God’s Road?

Is This Our Road?

Psalm 32:8

I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.

Ephesians 5:17

So do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

Words of Grace For Today

The myriad of choices that we make each day, determine what choices come our way for the rest of our day, and years.

Sometimes this is remarkably clear.

If we choose to marry someone we have fallen in love with, with no regard for what kind of a person they are, there may be hell to pay, especially if they are not a kind person.

If, on the other hand, you choose to marry someone you have not fallen in love with, even if they are a kind person, you may certainly not be. For there are good motives to marry not for love, though there are many more evil motives.

Who you marry, or choose to live with, makes and breaks all sorts of future options. There is not much good in the greed, jealousy, and pride that drives one’s spouse to abuse you for all you’ve got to give.

If you choose to lie, cheat, and break others of hope in order to get ahead, no matter the cost to others, your choices will sooner than later be hemmed in by the record you make for yourself. With little to no good choices left you feel obliged to continue to find your own way toward a future that ruins all who it will touch.

Sometimes this is remarkably clear.

More often it simply is not clear at all. In those times as we attempt to move toward a future that offers life to some, if not many, or maybe just one’s own greedy self, we need some guidance.

That is all foolishness, for God keeps His eyes on all that we think, say and do.

You can also say God keeps Her eyes on all that we think, say and do. We cannot apply gender to God, though our speech limitations often lead us to do exactly that. The foolishness is to think our limitations determine God’s being! Blimey foolishness!

If we are so inspired by the Holy Spirit to be righteous beyond normal days, and we seek a choice in each fork in our roads, that will bring life to people, all people, even if it costs us in the process, then …

Then where does one turn to find such abnormal choices forward?

One can find all sorts of supposed wisdom, how to make life better for oneself and a few others. One can find all sorts of supposed wisdom, how to make oneself better.

That is all foolishness.

Where can one turn to find the purpose of life fulfilled in one’s choices, so that the Will of God through oneself, if it be so granted by God, will be pursued?

Where does one turn to find truth and real wisdom, instead of foolishness?

Where else can one turn, than to God? And where does one find God, other than in the story of Jesus?

This we trust, that the Holy Spirit will guide us, and we will not be led astray. We will not find ourselves doing what is illegal, nor what is plain stupid. We will not need to do what is foolish by any standard or meaning of the word, like blatantly flaunt a constitution that governs our ways and means.

I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.

God help those who continue to walk down ways that are foolish.

God help us as we choose today what forks we will follow, God help us and those we love.

May they be all of God’s creatures, even our enemies.

What Is Energy?

Energy is Something, eh?

Wood Cut

Is energy what God stores, in places we’ve found, to extract to use to warm, power, and run our lives of greater and greater comfort.

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Small Pile

Can we store up energy, in a pile, or in tanks, in order to stay alive?

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White Birch Lovely

Does God Store Energy in Beauty?

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Fire Red

Does God Store Up Energy in the White and Red Clouds?

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Smoke and Cloud

Can We See the Energy That is There?

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Branch and Light

Certainly There is Great Energy in a Little Branch and Great Beauty

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Water Swirls Reflect Reality?

Sometimes Swirls of Clouds Reflected in the Greatest Reservoir of Energy is God’s Clue

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See the Light? Fear the Light as the Wicked, Or Rejoice in the Light?

The Light of the Sun has the Greatest Energy, other than its Maker

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It is the Maker that we reflect with hope and faith.