Facing Covid and All Our Enemies – With Grace!

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Christ’s Dazzling Light

Always Shines For the Blessed

Through All the Darkness

Jeremiah 12:1

You will be in the right, O Lord, when I lay charges against you; but let me put my case to you. Why does the way of the guilty prosper? Why do all who are treacherous thrive?

Matthew 20:10-12

Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received the usual daily wage. And when they received it, they grumbled against the landowner, saying, “These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.”

Words of Grace For Today

Why does the way of the guilty prosper? Why do all who are treacherous thrive?

Why, working for God, do they, who arrive at the latest hour, receive the wages of those who showed up to work at sunrise?

We think that the world is so that we can understand how it works? For example when we ski off a cliff we should plan that we are going to land down below where we took off from. Gravity is a thing that we can understand.

So is it with many things in our world. Things we do have consequences, consequences that we can prepare for, consequences that anyone with a clear working mind and heart understands very well.

But when it comes to how God works with us and with other people, it easily seems everything we know makes no difference.

God’s ways are opaque for us.

Until we start to comprehend Grace.

Grace is the upside down stuff of our normal lives. Grace is how God works in the world.

If we try to understand, then it seems the guilty prosper and the treacherous thrive, and it seems that our work for God ought to be paid according to our efforts and time invested.

Yet, it is not so in God’s creation.

Grace alone brings us to life, life as we were created to live.

According to Grace, God’s purpose for each and every person is not to reward us according to our efforts. God’s purpose is to bring each and every one of us, freely, to live abundantly.

Cars run on gasoline or diesel. Bodies run on nourishing food and good drink.

God’s creation runs on Grace, the best of everything is free. Everything is free, but like manna given to nourish the people in the wilderness, manna that was good only for a day, and could not be stored, all that God gives us freely cannot be hoarded for ourselves. The goodness that God gives us is only good when we give it freely to others, just as we have received it.

So …

What appears to be unexpected and up-side-down, is God’s Grace working for us … and we can be ready to share all God gives us with all those we meet. Though we give, give, and give, God’s blessings will never run out; they will always flow, pouring over us and to all around us.

Ahh, to understand God’s ways is beyond us, but blessings flow; for them we can be filled with gratitude … and that makes everything wonderfully different, even when our tit-for-tat mindset is surprised or frustrated that our wicked enemies seem to win forcing us into an early grave.

(‘Joke’ is on them. We get to live abundantly, thankfully, sharing blessings freely, loving and dancing with grace through life. Then as they continue to live on earth, futilely pursuing more and more worthlessness, we enter the heavenly home prepared for us, for eternity. – If they could only see the end of their gaslighting and corruption.)

God Promises, Amid Covid 19, to Heal Us at Our Core!

Friday, January 8, 2021

The Light

of Christ Will Reach Us, Save Us, Heal and Renew Us

Now what are we going to do to heal well?

What are we going to do with renewed health?

Psalm 62:7

On God rests my deliverance and my honour; my mighty rock, my refuge is in God.

Hebrews 12:12-13

Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.

Words of Grace For Today

Trump encourages his supporters to storm the Capitol to disrupt the democratic process of the Senate certifying the electoral college vote, giving Biden the presidency in 2 weeks and Trump the boot to face charges and lawsuits aplenty. It is Trump’s mess, his supporters’ mess, the whole country’s mess. Corruption has run rampant, and false news runs freely. This is the result: people who know there is corruption and who believe the false news about where and who is corrupt, so they support someone who is even more corrupt … and dangerous.

Fear is no way forward. It is what brings empires, dynasties, and families to their demise, while destroying so many as they fall.

It is all too easy to live, trusting one’s own cunning, strength, and position to ensure one’s own deliverance and the deliverance of one’s family and friends; or to blame oneself or others for one’s own and one’s family’s demise.

Surely there are enough enemies, if one has lived life with integrity, who will do one in.

The truth is, though, there is only one who can deliver us from all evil. This is our God, Creator, Redeemer, and Inspirer.

The pertinent pressing question for our living each day is, now that Jesus’ story affirms God’ Grace and Love for us, God’s adoption of us as children, God’s blessing us so that we can be a blessing to all people and all creation … the question is: what are we going to do!

There is not a one of us, having lived a few years with integrity and having endured the onslaught of enemies, who do not have the scars, the drooping hands, the weakened knees, and the staggered crooked gait to show for it. God promises are sure: God will heal us.

As we heal it is our task each day to raise our heads with gratitude, lift our hands to kind action, and lift other’s burdens to strengthen our knees. We need to practice walking straight, so that we will be well as God heals us.

Heal us God will, ready or not.

How then do we wish to be when we are healed: all lame and bent, or renewed with grace, kindness and love? It has less to do with our physical bodies, than with the shape of our hearts, thoughts and dreams.

What shape are you in today? What shape do you want to be when the sun sets, and night enfolds your ways and thoughts? What will you do this day, so that as God heals all that ails you, you will heal as a whole being, filled with grace, kindness and love?

Facing Covid – Seeking, Abiding – Being Found

Thursday, January 7, 2021

A Rose

In Winter

God Gives Every Reason

To be Filled with Gratitude

Our Wishes Become God’s Wishes For Us

Psalm 119:94

I am yours; save me, for I have sought your precepts.

John 15:7

If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

Words of Grace For Today

Ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you!

At first glance it looks like we get carte blanch requests; our every wish will be fulfilled!

That result flows from an equation that starts from life only as we might presume to know it, that everything about us is chosen and determined by ourselves or others working against us. In this setting God (supposedly) promises that our every wish can bring us fulfillment and life abundant.

That is not the start of the equation for God’s promise that all our wishes will be fulfilled.

The promise flows from blessed life as God created us to be alive: the ‘equation starts’ with a life of seeking to understand God’s Word, God’s precepts.

The ‘equation starts’ start with us abiding in Jesus, God’s Word of life.

That of course sounds like we need to earn our way into God’s favour and blessings.

Yet, we know very well that we cannot earn God’s favour and blessings, God promises us them first, as free gift.

Given God’s favour and blessings, we then can choose to respond with gratitude, and that is us abiding in God’s Word.

Full of gratitude, abiding in God’s Word, our wishes are not the same as when life is lived as if we or others determined everything about our lives.

Instead our wishes flow in line with God’s good will for us …

and then of course, all our wishes, being God’s wishes for us, will be done for us!

Wonders abound in so many ways.

The Day of Epiphany – Still Facing Covid … With Grace

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Whatever Light God Provides

By Grace

We Can Find Our Way

Home

to Love God

With All Our Hearts, Minds, and Strength

Psalm 84:12

O Lord of hosts, happy is everyone who trusts in you.

Matthew 2:10-11

When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure-chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Words of Grace For Today

The day we celebrate Epiphany, the revealing, the in breaking of the Light of Life, is today.

Happiness is something we can spend our lives trying to find or achieve … in vain.

It is something that we can receive, as a pure gift, as grace, from God. When the Holy Spirit inspires us to trust God, life may not appear outwardly to change, yet the inner workings of our lives are transformed. The criteria of happiness are not attached any more to things or money or comfort or shopping … nor even chocolate or 42.

Instead our brains are re-wired, our hearts along with them. We evaluate the whole of life according to the joy of being humbled before God and being able to give God praise … and being able to serve God by extending God’s Grace to all other people.

Wisdom of the eastern people guided them …

to know the meaning of a bright star, and the courage to follow … for hundreds of miles … the star into Israel, and later to find Bethlehem, and in Bethlehem a cow’s stable and in the stable the infant Jesus in a cow’s manager.

There they offer up treasure of great value to Jesus. It is the honour they have to give, a rare honour.

When we are inspired to trust God, we know happiness as it is only truly possible, as we are able to allow God to connect our hearts, minds and souls to Grace. In that we have courage to be a bit of what God created us to be, happy … for that is certainly part and parcel of life abundant.

12th Day of …

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

The Christmas Tree?

Pointing to the Light

and the Wonders All Around

Psalm 23:6

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long.

John 10:10

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

Words of Grace For Today

On this the last day of Christmas for this season, the Christmas Tree comes to mind again, as many prepare to (or already have) remove(d) it from the home. The decorations, reminders perhaps of friends who have given them as gifts in years past, are packed away, the star or angel on top brought down, and the lights carefully removed and coiled up for storage. Again: what is the meaning of all this in relation to what Christmas really is about?

Again from Wikipedia: The Christmas tree is considered by some as Christianisation of pagan tradition and ritual surrounding the Winter Solstice, which included the use of evergreen boughs, and an adaptation of pagan tree worship; according to eighth-century biographer Æddi Stephanus, Saint Boniface (634–709), who was a missionary in Germany, took an axe to an oak tree dedicated to Thor and pointed out a fir tree, which he stated was a more fitting object of reverence because it pointed to heaven and it had a triangular shape, which he said was symbolic of the Trinity.

While the challenges, losses, and joys of the coming days, weeks, months and years await us, we know (if we’ve been awake and alert at all) that we will many times need to be pointed back to Christ as the source of life for us, abundant life. When we remember from whom our very breath comes, and from whom all blessings flow over us, then we can live filled with gratitude. Filled with gratitude we can amend our lives to serve Christ more: we can ensure all people receive the requirements for life, abundant life.

Whatever and however we’ve kept Christmas this year, carrying on past traditions, adapting old traditions, creating new traditions: few if any of our traditions contain in themselves the essence of Christmas. It is in knowing how our traditions express, inform and strengthen our faith that we encounter the Christ, again and again, anew.

For that we may well adopt a tradition, if not this year, then next, where we gather together and, pointing to each item and pointing out each event of our traditions, we provide a short comment on that tradition’s history passed on to us, and how we have adopted it for ourselves to reflect the Light of the World.

Therein we can also proclaim again: Surely goodness and mercy shall follow us all the days of our lives, and we shall dwell in the house of the Lord our whole lives long.

11th Day of …

Monday, January 4, 2021

The Light (as a Child) is Here

To Guide Us

To Life

Life Abundant!

Deuteronomy 5:29

If only they had such a mind as this, to fear me and to keep all my commandments always, so that it might go well with them and with their children for ever!

Hebrews 13:9

Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings; for it is well for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by regulations about food, which have not benefited those who observe them.

Words of Grace For Today

Religious regulations abound. They have since the beginning of time as poor humans try to force others to keep ‘good order’ in religious ways, so that others feel they control everything from life to death and everything in between.

Many regulations indeed start out as wise practices to help people stay physically healthy. For example the ancient regulations for not eating pork, back when it was very difficult to prepare it properly and it killed many people. Better safe than sorry. Today through many shifts of diseases in pigs and in humans and in practices for raising, slaughtering and preparing/cooking pork, pork is as safe as any other meat.

What used to be an advantage for beef has been lost with all the dangerous raising practices and slaughtering practices which have made safe preparation of beef as demanding as any other meat.

There are other regulations, which from ancient times have been recognized by multiple, distinct cultures as basic for the protection of life, for oneself and one’s community. We call them the ten commandments.

God and many people have sighed in despair about their people and our people: If only they had such a mind as this, to fear me and to keep all my commandments always, so that it might go well with them and with their children for ever!

We do not keep God’s commandments, not even the ones that help us live well. And it does not go well for us and for our children. Though we know that breaking even one commandment does others and eventually us great harm, we (each and every one of us) finds ourselves compelled to excuse ourselves from having to obey. We say to ourselves: this does not apply to me, not now, not concerning this.

Exactly that kind of thinking is what the commandments could help us avoid, vigorously! Yet, we give in to temptations. Sinners we are, every last one of us!

Thank God, Jesus comes to demonstrate so clearly that exactly from this sin, our sin, God chooses to forgive us, redeem us, renew us, and send us out to do the same for all other people.

Most of us seem to get what God does for us, but that last bit: doing for others what God has done for us seems so hard to get to!

Jesus put it simply and clearly adding to the ancient command to Love God: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, and strength: Love your neighbour as yourself. Love your enemy.

Simple.

Now the doing. This is a good time to start! If not now, when?

10th Day of …

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Who are you this day,

on the path of life

that is given to you?

Who are any one of us,

If not God’s blessed saints?

Isaiah 58:10

If you offer your food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, then your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom be like the noonday.

Luke 6:36

Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

Words of Grace For Today

In history there were many of these people, and today we remember two, one of each:

There was a wealthy person, who had inherited great riches, position, and power. Working hard to manage all that was at her command, she increased her wealth through every means and method available to her. If her choices caused a great number of people misery, despair, or death, she took no notice.

It was her birthright, she claimed. She was going to increase her position for that is what she was born to do, just as her ancestors had done. She did not learn her history, though, and paid little attention to literature of any kind. She was interested in ways and means to increase her wealth, and only that. When something could serve her she researched, brought in expert advisers, and used everything to her own advantage. If something or someone did not serve her advantage she quickly got rid of it or them.

Those who knew of her prayed for her … to stay far away from them.

There was another wealthy person, who had inherited great riches, position, and power. Working hard to manage all that was at his command, he increased his wealth wisely.

Aware that his ancestors had worked hard to earn the wealth, position and power that was handed on to him, he learned their history, and as much of history as he could. He accepted that poverty, misery, illness and death would always be part and parcel of life, though he did not ignore the responsibility that was handed on to him, the responsibility to make a difference in many, many people’s lives; a good difference. He understood from his ancestors that all he had was a blessing from God, a blessing that remained a blessing only as long as he ensured it was handed on to others as blessings.

He did not stand in the limelight. Only a handful of people prayed in thanks for him by name. Very few people actually knew that what they received in time of great turmoil, illness or death came through various paths from him. Yet when people received assistance, opportunity or protection, they were also given a word: pay it forward. Because of his work many people prayed prayers of thanks.

With this wisdom this man of great riches, position, and power not only helped people, but what emanated from him was an ever growing web of gratitude and a sense of responsibility to share what one had, so that everyone in need received the help, exactly the kind of help, they needed in order to live thankful lives.

In this year 2021, which person would you wish to have living in your community, province, or country?

God has given us each great blessings so choose to be that person in your community!

Carry on and spread the tradition of immense gratitude for God’s blessings. First among God’s blessings is that Jesus saves us from sin and gives us abundant lives.

9th Day of …

Saturday, January 2, 2021

How can we teach others

To see the Light

to know Truth and Grace​?

Nehemiah 8:8

So they read from the book, from the law of God, with interpretation. They gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading.

Acts 28:30-31

He lived there for two whole years at his own expense and welcomed all who came to him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.

Words of Grace For Today

Teaching.

Teaching with all boldness and without hindrance.

God’s Word does not spread all on its own. God can, but very seldom does, intrude in the order of things, to make faith be in us against our will, with signs so dazzling and powerful as to overpower our own thinking minds and hearts. It does happen occasionally. God seldom interferes with our freewill.

Yet when we believe, no matter how it comes to us, it is not a choice of our own. God works in many and various ways to bring each person to faith. Without God’s work there is no faith in any person. Left on our own, we would have no faith.

This faith is something else. Faith is what carries us even when we think we can carry on no more, when the weight of Evil and Sin is heavier than the darkness that holds us down, or when the power of hell blows straight in our faces, minds and hearts robing us of any possibility of hope. Faith is what keeps us alive when so many enemies would wish us dead, and so many corrupt officials, liars and unawares simpletons would make their contributions to our slipping off this fragile mortal coil, or when tradition is evil and it is used against us to take life away from our very souls.

To teach.

To teach with all boldness and without hindrance.

To teach traditions, old and renewed, that give life to all.

This is God’s work carried on through us … as the Holy Spirit empowers us to be … to be saints reflecting Christ’s Light to all people.

People will understand … as the Holy Spirit gives them the ability to understand.

People will believe … as the Holy Spirit gives them the ability to believe.

Thankfully, God’s works are wondrous and powerful … so much more powerful than all sin and evil,

so that faith abounds.

8th Day of …

Friday, January 1, 2021

Looking to the Light

As Our Way Forward

Leviticus 19:11

You shall not steal; you shall not deal falsely; and you shall not lie to one another.

1 Peter 3:8-9

Finally, all of you, have unity of spirit, sympathy, love for one another, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or abuse for abuse; but, on the contrary, repay with a blessing. It is for this that you were called—that you might inherit a blessing.

Words of Grace For Today

There is much that could be done which we know is wrong, and there is much we can do that is right. We pray for the wisdom to know the difference, and the courage to follow our hearts to know what is right. Most of all to forgive ourselves and all other people when what we do is not the best we could have done.

This New Year Day and the 364 days that follow, like all of the years and days before, is an opportunity for us to consider time past, time to come … and

most of all the time that is now, the present.

We take time to make promises to ourselves in the way of New Year Resolutions, which we know …

which we know from lots of experience

we WILL try to keep

and fail to do so

and we WILL try to forget what we know about ourselves,

so that we will be able to fool ourselves in the days ahead about the reality of our own weaknesses

in order that we can on our own make our way forward or pretend to make any progress in our lives on our own.

Happy New Year.

Make the best you can of everything, there is nothing that you can make perfect, yet in trying to make things better than they are, you just might completely miss what is most important: that we are at our best when we know we can at most be humble before God.

God gives us everything we need. So there is so much to do, and so much to be thankful for, and so much to do for others, so that they may live an abundant life.

What a life?

So what are we going to do this new day?

May it be blessed.