No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, ‘Know the Lord’, for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.
All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.
Words of Grace For Today
That day when all will know God, and no one will need to teach about God or learn about God will be the day
when all sin will disappear, when humans will no longer sin.
God has a different plan.
If sin disappears we will have lost our freedom to choose and with that our ability to love,
for love entails the commitment of self to another person, a commitment made as a free choice. Otherwise it is not love.
As our ability to choose to love persists, then we must (a priori) have the choice not to love, which is to sin.
As long as love exists, sin exists.
God does not end sin … and therefore love.
God allows us to love and to sin … and
God deals with our sins by forgiving them, exactly when we do not deserve that forgiveness.
This is Jesus’ story: that God so loved the world that God gave his only son that all who believe in him should be saved. This believing is not something we accomplish other than by the work of the Holy Spirit in us. Jesus saves us by grace alone.
Each day we breathe we have choices, and when we choose to love we, they people we love, and all of creation benefits. This is how God created us to live.
If we choose to not love, then God offers us forgiveness, free forgiveness and renewed life, renewed so that we can again choose to love … or not.
God’s love for us and mercy is unending. God continues to offer us forgiveness as long as we breathe.
And for now we need to use that breathe to learn and teach one another of God’s Grace, for it is a lesson we never quite retain.
Before I was humbled I went astray, but now I keep your word.
2 Corinthians 7:10
For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation and brings no regret, but worldly grief produces death.
Words of Grace For Today
To be humbled.
To be humbled is to be taken from a place one has unrightly claimed as one’s own (a place of honour, power, wealth, privilege and comfort) and to be brought down to earth.
To be humbled is to be returned from the lofty reaches of the Devil’s Deceptions to God’s Kingdom where all are equal, equally ‘nothing’s except for the value God gives us by undeserved love and grace.
To be humbled is to be as God created us, fully dependent upon God for our breath and lives.
It is an irreverently proud person who claims, though, to have been humbled and then claims to keep God’s Word. Such an accomplishment is only possible for the Holy Spirit to bring us to participate in. It is never us alone who can do such a great thing.
To repent is not a one time event for Christ’s disciples. It is a daily, even hourly, manner of living. Humbly accepting our own inability to be righteous, and relying totally on God to make of us saints who can carry God’s Word in our thoughts, spread God’s Word with our words and actions, and embody God’s Word with our love for others and our hope for our shared future.
To repent is to acknowledge one’s sins, one’s bondage to sin, and God’s promise to free us from this bondage.
It is like fishing, knowing that one will not likely catch a fish at all, but that it is a day well spent, basking in God’s creation. Should one catch a fish then it will not likely be large enough to keep. So one will return it to the lake to live and grow and reproduce. When the most unlikely occurs and one catches a fish that is large enough to keep, then it is kept, cleaned, filleted, fried, and eaten with wondrous gratitude for such a rare privilege (one to partake in seldom lest one poison’s oneself as the fish are from the fracking used to make oil possible to bring up out of the ground.)
So it is that we live each day, holding God’s Word in our hearts and minds, as the motivator of all our actions, knowing that it will be seldom that we actually become the saints who share God’s unconditional and self-sacrificial love with others. Yet we find ourselves grateful for the readiness we can participate in, and for those rare events when God uses us. We may lose much of our lives in those moments of being God’s saints, but we know that this is exactly what God created us to be and do with our lives.
The Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous.
With the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints.
Words of Grace For Today
Amid the pandemic that threatens our livelihoods and our very lives, we pray that God will cure us of the blindness that allows us to live unaware of God’s presence in, with, and among us.
Through all generations God has lifted up people who have been able to provide witness to God’s presence in, with, and among us , for the many people who remain blind to God’s presence. These are the saints in light, the Light of Christ.
The Light of Christ, the reality of God’s creation as blessed, shines through the saints, so that even the blind may know what they could see if they allowed God to heal them of their blindness.
This light shines as clear as the morning sun on a clear, blue-sky day. This light shines in all the dark corners where people would hide their sins and evil deeds.
This light shines clearly on the Covidiots, the Antivaxers, and those who intentionally spread false science. They spread the lies to create fear, for out of fear they are able to promise false solutions, and with false hopes they lead people into dark places from which they are able to be lead, giving their leaders power, dark power, power that would destroy faster than it heals or gives life.
Christ’s Light shines even today, especially today. For there is no shortage of saints, God-made-saints who see God in creation and give clear witness to God’s presence, and God’s guidance that would lead us all to life, and life abundant. For when we live, knowing that God is with us, we receive a hope that is beyond compare. This hope shines for us like a brilliant light through all the darkness of evil and sin in this world. This hope shines for us pulling us through the darkness of these days to a better future, a future that is blessed by God, where we can breathe clear, clean, uninfected air … even as we stand shoulder to shoulder with our sisters and brothers on earth.
This hope shines brightly for us each day so that we are able to pray (even mid the pandemic that threatens our livelihoods and our very lives) that God will cure us all of the blindness that allows us to live unaware of God’s presence in, with, and among us.
Do not go after other gods to serve and worship them, and do not provoke me to anger with the work of your hands. Then I will do you no harm.
The God who made the world and everything in it, he who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by human hands, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mortals life and breath and all things.
Words of Grace For Today
A pre-peer review study about the rate of inflammation of the heart following Covid-19 vaccination published a huge error in that rate, having begun with a hugely smaller number of vaccinations considered (25,000 instead of the correct 800,000). The inflammation is treatable without hospitalizations, and the correct rate is significantly smaller than the rate of the inflammation as a result of being infected by Covid-19.
The error was quickly caught by peer reviewers and immediately accepted by the authors, with apologies, and the study was withdrawn.
There are people who do not respect the order that God created, and the ability God gives us humans to explore, discover, and organize our knowledge of God’s order. Remember that science was possible only because of the religious faith that accepted God created an order that could and should be explored and better understood! So much for the simply stupid old antagonism between ‘science’ and ‘faith’. Both, pursued correctly, must depend substantially on the other!
In the midst of a pandemic (no it’s not over and able to be dealt with as an endemic, Premier Kenney, no matter what your supporters wish were so) science done correctly will always produce errors that need to be corrected. This study into the rate of inflammation of the heart after vaccination is one such. The process to correct the errors was pursued well by all involved.
So what’s the problem?
There are many, disingenuous people, who promote false ‘science’ in order to sustain a powerful and large enough antivax portion of the population. This error in this study has been spread like wildfire around the internet. There the correction has not been made. The error, honestly corrected by the authors, is intentionally left as if it were truth. This false science is spread as if it were true and people who have disconnected themselves from reality (wishing it were something it is not and will not ever be) are stupidly convinced to refuse to be vaccinated. The problem is that enough people refuse to be vaccinated so that the pandemic continues.
The same people who claim the pandemic is not real, that vaccines do not work, keep the vaccines from being used in enough people … and they make the pandemic continue. The poor, stupid people who wish there were no pandemic and who behave as if there were no pandemic, by refusing to be vaccinated, are exactly the people that allow Covid-19 to continue as a pandemic.
And the people who intentionally spread false science to promote these stupid opinions and actions know full well that they are a significant factor in continuing the pandemic. What kind of evil runs rampant in them?
These people have certainly gone after other gods to serve and worship them, and brought God’s anger down on themselves … and unfortunately on all of us, as the health care system is at a breaking point, running out of ICU beds, converting other beds (and the real and needed health care they would provide to ill people) to Covid-19 care beds.
At this time, when reality becomes worse because some people want it to be worse, and others refuse to accept that it is as bad as it is already, we need to remember that God is not contained in our shrines (of ‘small religion’ or false realities) doch, God gives to all mortals life and breath and all things.
God walks with us, even in these days when our very lives and livelihoods are threatened by Covid-19 and other more common diseases (from heart disease, strokes, cancer, and even the out of season cold and flu). God created us and all of creation with order which (because we are created in God’s image) we can discover with fertile, inquisitive minds working in reality within the capacity to organize our knowledge. God does not abandon us in this marvellous universe. God accompanies us, and gives us a history full of stories of how God has been present with people through all time. Jesus’ story is the most clear, as God became human, lived among us and healed our illnesses.
We pray, may God cure us of Covidiocies that prolong the pandemic and put us all at risk. May God protect us from the fools who hold Covid parties, sharing air and food with people with Covid in order to contract the disease intentionally, falsely hoping that they will have some immunity thereby – when what they do is fill up ICU beds and add to the death toll … and overburden the health care system with long-Covid symptoms for decades to come.
When the crowds found out [that, taking his disciples with him, Jesus had withdrawn privately to a city called Bethsaida], they followed him; and he welcomed them, and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed to be cured.
Words of Grace For Today
There is no shortage of people today who suffer unimaginable pain, hunger, thirst, and torture. Many of the suffer so at the hands of other people.
It has been so through all time.
Many people today suffer diseases, Covid -19 only one of the many that are deadly in horrible ways. Many suffer for lack of care or recklessness of other people. Many in Alberta’s health care sector, overrun and pushed to and over the brink as they are by Covid cases, refer to the fourth wave (the worst of all of them) as the Kenney-wave, since he recklessly pushed his ‘Open for Summer’ program through, which fuelled the fourth wave to be so huge and destructive, and deadly.
Is has been so through all time.
The greatest suffering by far is not measured by physical ailments or torture. The greatest suffering is what we humans experience in our souls, or spirits, or hearts and minds.
In the midst of all kinds of suffering, God is still present providing comfort, healing, and hope.
God’s unconditional love in action provides the most essential element of life for us: hope.
Hope that our yesterdays will be blessed.
Hope that today will be blessed.
Hope that our tomorrows will be blessed.
Hope that tomorrow will be at least in some small way better than the horrific illnesses, injustice, abuse that is today’s offerings for us.
Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God, and [Jesus] heals those who need to be cured.
How precious is your steadfast love, O God! All people may take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
Words of Grace For Today
Take refuge in the shadow of God’s wings, in the safety of God’s steadfast love. All other ‘security’ is an illusion, a deception, and a departure from God’s kingdom into the Devil’s realms. Under God’s wings, like that of a great bird of the sky soaring at will, God brings us to adventures we would not imagine, to places and understandings where life is abundant, and to challenges and work that fulfill all our yearning to participate in creation.
As autumn sets firmly in on the land, giving great respite from the bugs, the heat, and the huge influx of 2-legged animals in the wilderness (only some who are dangerous or greatly destructive to the land, scarring it with tire ruts, garbage strewn about, feces and toilet paper in the woods, and all sorts of materials half burned in the fire circles that sterilize the soil beneath and pollute the air above) …
As autumn sets firmly in on the land, we breathe easier.
As autumn sets firmly in on the land, great flocks of geese of 100s and 1000s, make a distant chorus, moving in V’s for days to traverse 1000s of miles from the waters of the north to the temperate winters in the south.
As autumn sets firmly in on the land, birds of prey, great hawks, owls, and bald eagles screech high as they circle for hours seeking their prey. Song birds like my neighbours the robins spend all hours out in the meadow hunting worms and bugs for food.
Whether autumn sets firmly in on the land or not, in all seasons and times, one has to wonder about these words of Jesus. For as God provides for the birds without their sowing or reaping into barns, first: their lives seem to be wholly directed toward finding food and avoiding being food; second: there are and were also in Jesus day so many people who neither sow nor reap and they worry most about what they will eat and what they will wear, for their choices are so many it is only as ignorant shame that they indulge such luxury as most of the world suffers without enough food, clothing, shelter … and now fresh water and clean air, yet alone meaningful work and people to love and be loved by.
The point is clear from Jesus’ words: our attention and concern should be less on all the required labour needed to survive (or luxuriate in over abundance.) Our attention and concern is better spent on understanding the mystery, freedom and peace that is available to us when we, our lives long, learn to seek refuge, meaning, and purpose in God’s steadfast love. For there, comforted, protected, and challenged, we can see life with clarity.
What we see with clarity is that our lives were designed by God and given to each of us by God in order that we can extend God’s steadfast love to others.
We simply cannot do that if our primary concern is providing for ourselves, for then we turn inward and bend reality from God’s great creation to our own insatiable appetites. We become instead of caretakers of creation, destroyers of creation. We become incapable of seeing others as Christ sees them: broken people in need of God’s love.
God help us when we make that turn away from God’s steadfast love as our only sure refuge.
Thank God, God always calls us, welcomes us, and renews us so that we can return to God (… home in God’s kingdom to be the ones who exercise God’s unconditional, steadfast love for all people) so that we can take refuge in the shadow of God’s wings, in the safety of God’s steadfast love. All other ‘security’ is an illusion, a deception, and a departure from God’s kingdom into the Devil’s realms. Under God’s wings, like that of a great bird of the sky soaring at will, God brings us to adventures we would not imagine, to places and understandings where life is abundant, and to challenges and work that fulfill all our yearning to participate in creation. … home in God’s kingdom we are the saints who exercise God’s unconditional, steadfast love for all people.
The Lord protects them and keeps them alive; they are called happy in the land. The Lord does not give them up to the will of their enemies.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
Words of Grace For Today
Yesterday’s headline was “Trouble in the Prairies as surgeries postponed in Alberta, Saskatchewan due to COVID’s hospital burden.”
For weeks now the reports are that the large majority of those people burdening the hospitals with their Covid crises are those that have chosen not to be vaccinated. Meanwhile there are protests against vaccine passports required in order to gain access to events that are perhaps safe, but not if unvaccinated people attend. They put both themselves and others at great risk of being infected, the transmission rates go up (or rather wild) as vaccinated people also spread the virus, and the hospitals are overburdened. The results are catastrophic for so many people. Those with Covid in hospital suffer and die or more likely suffer for years from long Covid (further burdening the health care system). The overburdened hospitals push ‘elective’ surgeries off to an unknown future time, and those they do not result in immediate death, many postponements do contribute to more severe suffering and then earlier death.
The real tragedy is that children under 12 cannot be vaccinated, they are (because of those over 12 who choose not to be vaccinated) infected in greater numbers, and their suffering and death – and the fear of suffering and death – increase dramatically, a fear shared by their families and friends.
One has to ask why we do not gather those who choose to go un-vaccinated, line them up, and shoot them …
the first thought is with lead,
but mercy would dictate that we use needles and vaccinations,
and then many of us realize that we ought only shoot them
with a camera, post their photos on the internet, and let the chips fall as they may.
there ought to be a Canada-wide mandate that Covid vaccination passports must be established by all provinces and territories, and those without passports or exemptions due to health be barred from gatherings or services or business that they could not access during the height of Covid 19 lockdowns.
We probably will do nothing like that, for the political fallout would be great, where as the political fallout for doing nothing (and refusing to accept scientific guidance) seems to be less (and in some parties it seems to win political support – for fools are in no shortage.)
In these Covid times, we do not need a personal enemy to have our lives put at great risk. The Covidiots are doing that with great efficacy to us all.
So we trust that God protects us and keeps us alive. We know that God does not give us up to the will of our enemies, therefore we are called happy in the land.
No matter the Covid fools that endanger us all. No matter the personal enemies that attack us based on lies told about us to cover the liars’ own terrible sins. No matter the real likelihood that, even vaccinated we will be infected and suffer long Covid in some form or another. No matter how poor health care becomes because the system is overburdened by Covidiots’ and their victims, both intentional and unintentional. No matter the real fear we suffer that our children will contract Covid and suffer or die.
No matter what comes our way, we remain ‘happy in the land’ because we know that God walks with us.
No matter what comes our way, we remain ‘happy in the land’ because we know that God is always merciful with us, and God enables and motivates us to be merciful to all other people.
We have many challenging days ahead (only some of it is responding to Covidiots) never leaving us an excuse to be at all bored. Thanks be to God!
God With Us is a promise of an evening of great delight!
All is Well, All is Well , All Manner of things are Well.
For you shall not go out in haste, and you shall not go in flight; for the Lord will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your rearguard.
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also.
Words of Grace For Today
There are many reasons to run.
There are many reasons to run away.
There are many reasons to run for one’s life …
and to run fast, as fast as one can run.
When God promises to be with us, the reasons to run do not disappear, though we can be a whole lot less stressed, and have a whole lot less panic in us that rises into our throats, which panic leaves us only a choice to fight, flee, or freeze.
Instead when God promises to be with us, when God promises to be our rearguard, we can think clearly, without haste, for we can trust that God leads us in paths of righteousness.
When everything goes belly up, when the proverbial stuff hits the fan, we can trust that God has our backs. More than that we can be assured that when it seems that God leaves us, in fact God prepares a place for us, a place to call home, where God’s plan for us is always sure, even when we lose track of how God is with us.
Home, with God at our side, before us, behind us, promising to walk every step with us. Home, where our hearts are loved unconditionally by God.
Then, we can be at home where God brings us. No one can chase us away, and our enemies will be dealt with by God. We walk calmly through every hour, knowing that justice will be done by God. No lies, no deceit, no gaslighting, no false reports, no false arrests, no false testimony, no false convictions, no cover up. God sees everything, knows everything. For God a lie is seen and always remains a lie. For God the truth is always known and it always remains the truth.
Home, safe in God’s hands. Home where truth and beauty bring breath and life no matter the challenge. Home. Home in the wondrous creation God created for us to enjoy. Home safe and sound. Home where no one can chase us away and no evil can rule over us. Home.
Yet now take courage, O Zerubbabel, says the Lord; take courage, O Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest; take courage, all you people of the land, says the Lord; work, for I am with you, says the Lord of hosts.
1 Corinthians 3:9
For we are God’s servants, working together; you are God’s field, God’s building.
Words of Grace For Today
These are great things, and they come to mind, to force, and to play in our lives so often … so how is it that life is this way as blessed by God?
Well, we may be lots of things and we may try to do lots of things, and when it really comes down to it, it is not at all what we do, or try to do.
It really comes down to is not on us at all. It all depends on what God does, and what God makes of us.
And then, God puts the work in front of us … and we have every need for every bit of courage … for the work is going to demand more of us than we can imagine.
So courage …
More courage than you can imagine
‘cause you’re going to need it.
Life is wonderful that way. It’s worth everything you can put in to it, and more.
Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations.
All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They said, ‘Is not this Joseph’s son?’
Words of Grace For Today
Is this not George’s son?
Is this not Katie’s daughter?
Is this not your Granddaughter?
Just ordinary people George, Katie, and you, right!? So …
So how can any real person so ordinary give rise (or rather birth) to a young person so spectacular as God’s chosen servant, one to bring justice to the nations, one who can speak so well that all are amazed at this person’s gracious words.
Wow, how can it be? First that there is such a person who can change the course of history, and second that this peculiar person, this spectacular person, comes from an ordinary family?
Which is that the best things about life, and the best possibilities in history, grow from a healthy family. Or at least we hope they do.
in reality the best things (or people) in life grow from families that are … well … the most screwed up and dysfunctional families ever. And then in reality sometimes the best things (and people) in life grow from the healthiest families ever … and all the kinds of families between the worst and the best.
Thank God, then, that we get to celebrate all that God gives us … including a chosen person who brings justice to all the nations, and more importantly, that God gives us the gifts and people who love us so much that all the world seems right … and is just right.