I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being.
Are any among you suffering? They should pray. Are any cheerful? They should sing songs of praise.
Words of Grace For Today
Life is full of surprises.
Surprises that are good, and surprises that are bad.
Whatever life brings to us this day, we know that God claims us, forgives us, renews us, and sends us back into all that life is to be God-made saints, though we always remain sinners.
So we sing, and sing, and sing and dance giving God praise and thanks for all of life.
While we suffer, for there is no shortage of that in our lives as well, we pray, and pray, and pray to God, asking for deliverance, for forbearance, for endurance, and for hope … so that we can continue through the dark days as blessed God-made saints, to emerge into the light of life and joy and contentment … for all is from God,
so we sing and pray as long as we have being in this life,
and in the end we will return to God, still blessed as always, to live eternally with all the saints in light.
As for today … bring what may we are ready with our songs and our prayers … and the gifts God gives us to bring God’s Grace to bear on so many people’s lives.
Those who mock the poor insult their Maker; those who are glad at calamity will not go unpunished.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
Words of Grace For Today
The forecast is for -30⁰ tonight, dropping there by sunrise or an hour after.
Now, at 17:30, after the golden sun spread its butter across the trees, snow, and ice, as the sun has set only an hour ago, the thermometer sits squarely pointing at -30⁰, meaning it will get significantly colder before the ‘warming’ (or shall we say more accurately ‘the freeking-cold-mitigating’) rays of the sun start the thermometer’s climb to levels where humans can survive and machines run and breath does not freeze before it’s in one’s lungs or constantly in one’s own face.
Cold, and the challenges it presses on those living in these climes, is nothing to mock or to celebrate when others suffer it .. but you, of course, you are so privileged because you do not have to (or get to) suffer the cold.
Those who are poor, (and I fit rather securely in that category not to emerge before my death, other than by some inexplicable miracle – thank you liars all and corrupt officials too many to count), know the cold better than those who can afford to find comfort even at the extreme ends of the climate … expanding lower and higher and more extreme in so many ways as those extremes are now with climate change. To us poor the cold is not a simple thing or a nuisance. It is life threatening, directly. Is there enough wood ready and available to keep the fire going hot enough to avoid freezing as I try to get at least some sleep? Is the grate from the street sewer warm enough to keep my sleep tonight to be not just fitful, but also not the last sleep I get as I comfortably freeze and shake off this mortal coil? Are my blankets warm enough for another night of nightmares and cold sweats and nausea? Will I wake? And if I do will my body be as whole as it is now, or will a limb or extremity be frozen solid or frostbit beyond salvation?
These considerations may be the focus of many people’s mockery: what did you poor thing do to earn poverty, for surely you deserve it, yes? Are you not smart enough to do better? If you had only worked harder when you were younger and able OR if you would have played along with the corrupt leaders, thugs and bullies, corrupt bishops and lay leaders included! Oh, you fool, for succumbing to addictions that will kill you sooner or later, so why should we be concerned if your death is a comfortable one today, costing us nothing in health care … rather than your death at a later date after huge costs to us all as you die from your addictions. It matters not, of course, that I and many other poor people have no addictions or perversions. Instead what informs the corrupt on lookers are the rumours and false stories about us, which are told to protect the hugely guilty people who have cheated us of finances and years of good life. Then of course, many others are driven to addictions to escape the cruelty of people in their lives, or to mental instability, or to plain outright madness, by the inexplicable cruelty of bullies, weak bullies, destructive bullies, pitiful bullies.
To us poor people be God’s mercy shown, should we be so blessed. As for me and so many others baptized as saints, we have discovered God’s mercy for us and all others. Therefore we trust that God, if no others, will deal with us … and indeed does deal with us … each day of our lives with mercy, love, forgiveness, and favour.
What’s your night look like, for the coming night of cold? Is it your heart that is cold? Or just the climate outside? Have you learned to respond to others, especially us poor, with mercy, and love, and
As Long as We Continue to Ask With Cold, Hard Hearts
What Will Happen to Me If …?
Then Our World Remains Skewed
Far From Christ’ Way for Us
And We Do Not Follow Jesus.
Shepherd your people with your staff, the flock that belongs to you, which lives alone in a forest in the midst of a garden land; let them feed in Bashan and Gilead as in the days of old.
When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice.
Words of Grace For Today
Yesterday was Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the US.
This snippet from
This past Monday was Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the USA. Hear a part of his last speech (the day before he died) as he spoke in support of 1300 sanitation workers who were striking for the right to form a Union. He introduces the parable of the Good Samaritan, and provides a number of explanations that have often been given for the Levite and priest’s passing by this man in need: that they are busy going to a church meeting, that the religious law forbade them to touch a human body 24 hours before leading a service, that they were going to organize a Jericho Road Improvement Association to deal with the root cause of the danger on the road. Then King continues:
“But I’m going to tell you what my imagination tells me. It’s possible that those men were afraid. You see, the Jericho Road is a dangerous road. (That’s right)
… “I can see why Jesus used this as the setting for his parable.” It’s a winding, meandering road. (Yes) It’s really conducive for ambushing. You start out in Jerusalem, which is about … twelve hundred feet above sea level. And by the time you get down to Jericho fifteen or twenty minutes later, you’re about twenty-two hundred feet below sea level. That’s a dangerous road. (Yes)
… you know, it’s possible that the priest and the Levite looked over that man on the ground and wondered if the robbers were still around. (Go ahead) Or it’s possible that they felt that the man on the ground was merely faking (Yeah), and he was acting like he had been robbed and hurt, in order to … lure them [over] there for quick and easy seizure. (Oh yeah) And so the first question that the priest asked, the first question that the Levite asked was, “If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?” (All right)
“But then the Good Samaritan came by, and he reversed the question: “If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?” That’s the question before you tonight. (Yes) Not, “If I stop to help the sanitation workers, what will happen to my job?”… The question is not, “If I stop to help this man in need, what will happen to me?” The question is, “If I do not stop to help the sanitation workers, what will happen to them?” That’s the question. (applause)
“Let us rise up tonight with a greater readiness. Let us stand with a greater determination. And let us move on in these powerful days, these days of challenge, to make America [we add Canada, and the whole world] what it ought to be. We have an opportunity to make America a better nation [we add Canada a better nation, and the whole world better world for all people]. (Amen)”
It would be easier to keep asking ‘what will happen to us if …?’
When Jesus gathers us out of the safety of our ‘sheepfold’ and calls us to follow him, we know that all our own self interest is set aside, as Jesus set aside his, and we cannot ignore the important questions of what will happen to other people if we do not follow Jesus providing to others life, and life abundant.
Made All That More Visible by the Wonderful Light,
So May the Light of Christ Make Obvious
the Fog of Evil and False Convictions
That Abound, Also Here!
The Lord has done great things for us, and we rejoiced.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.
Words of Grace For Today
Every day the only way to survive, after the evil that has been focused on me to bring about my undeserved destruction, is to remember that the Lord has done great things for me, and I rejoice!
Fridays, we remember all those people who are falsely accused, harassed by the police soliciting false reports about them, fabricating evidence, and falsely convicted by judges who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! (Isaiah 5:20) We especially pray for men who are falsely accused by their spouse or partner, for there seems to be no end to the false charges and convictions based on obvious lies by women about good, honest men.
We pray that the Light of Christ will come to bear on each false conviction and those that brought it to be, that God’s justice will come to be for the falsely convicted and come down on all those that contributed to the false conviction and the destruction of their lives.
We pray, that as it is for me it will be for all those falsely convicted: that God has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. And that those heavenly places will be where we are now on this planet earth.
Alas for those who go down to Egypt for help and who rely on horses, who trust in chariots because they are many and in horsemen because they are very strong, but do not look to the Holy One of Israel or consult the Lord!
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
Today instead of looking to ‘Egypt of might and horses many and chariots strong’, not even when these things of might, many and strength in our lives are carried by so many and various ways of working, of securing money, favour, and power, of being our own people, today
We rest in the Promises of God,
The Gifts of God,
The Saints of God,
The Forgiveness of God,
The Grace of God,
The Generosity of God,
The Love of God,
The Faith given to us by God,
The hope, that
that all things will be well, all things will be well, all manner of things will be well,
All manner of things are already, today, by God’s Word that Creates, Sustains, and Renews,
by God’s Will, all things are already today well, quite well,
Even now, in fact, my witness is in heaven, and he that vouches for me is on high.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
Words of Grace For Today
It’s a quiet day ahead, for a cold winter Saturday, following many cold, cold days …
and not a little frustration with people who live by full disregard for truth, and who seek my death, sooner than later, but slowly so the suffering continues and they can be pleased with their sadistic efforts. It’s one thing to have one’s ex after you, it’s another to have the courts helping her. There is always more injustice than justice, more evil than good, and more death of good people (and not enough of evil people?)
How to remain hopeful that the future will be better?
Well, that is actually a futilely placed question,
for one cannot hope that the future will be better.
The only thing one can do is live well in the present, in the face of evil to be gracious and good. In the face of those who wish one dead, to live joyously.
The moments are not rare when the spectacular works of God can be seen here and now, they require only that one has ears to hear and eyes to see … and hearts to celebrate life with gratitude.
We have faith and hold to it as the future moves into the present and then the past. That faith is not something we conjure up or make or assemble … no in any way.
Faith is a gift … a gift freely given by God to us. Therefore it will never fail, nor succumb to evil of any kind or quantity.
Facing evil, God vouches for us saints, and there is no surer witness. More we do not need.
Therefore we see the future, not as something that need be better, but rather as more of the present gifts God gives us: that we are vouched for, and we can live gracious and gratefully and generously …
And Was Even as the Sun Set Golden Light All Over the Snow.
God is Exactly the Opposite:
Appearing Hard and Judging All,
God is Actually Gracious and Generous For All.
So acknowledge today and take to heart that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other.
For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.
Words of Grace For Today
The all in one package of God
Three in One, yet all One.
Acknowledge God and take it to heart that God is God. Simple
for us frail, sinful humans.
The real nugget in all that we can say about God is that Jesus is God’s clear statement that God is pleasedto reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.
Jesus’ story is not God making a special appeal to special people.
Jesus’ story is God making a very demonstrable appeal to all humans of all time: God wants to reconcile us all to God, no one is left out.
When God is pleased to do something so gracious and generous for all people, all people being so equally undeserving, then this is something truly awesome. It changes everything we thought we might have known about how life works.
We get to respond.
So do we respond by lying about others, framing them for our own sins and failings? Do we hide behind lies told by others, and corrupt practices, and the corruption of people in high places?
Do we start to exercise God’s grace and generosity for ourselves and for all other people?
I cry to God Most High, to God who fulfils his purpose for me.
From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.
Words of Grace For Today
This year I am going to keep my New Year’s Resolution. I’m so tired of always making the same resolution only to fail to keep it sooner than I care to admit.
I would prefer to:
One – be reliable, for myself anyway, and always be able to do what I say I am going to do.
Two – make the best decisions possible, given the circumstances and all I know at the time, and then not be remorseful at all even if things turn out completely terrible for me. After all I would have done the best I could, and no one has any right to demand more from anyone, especially not someone of themselves.
Three – always tell the truth, no matter the cost, because God knows no one else is telling the truth, so I might as well get the best from it all that I can.
Four – be able to find the best in every situation and share that with as many people as possible.
Five – be wealthy enough to have my own airplane, fly when and where I want, travel to take photos, and share them with anyone who would enjoy them, have enough land to live in quiet privacy near a lake, travel to the mountains often, visit with family and friends (I’l like a few good reliable friends),
Six – visit and take photos of the seven wonders of the world, whether they are A: the Egyptian Pyramids, the Grand Canyon, the Eifel Tower, the Amazon forest, the Great Wall of China, Mount Everest, K2, a ride into space, the Antarctic, Australia’s Outback, Canada’s Tundra, the fall leaves of the East Coast, Tibet’s mountains, … OR B: touch, sight, taste, smell, delight, joy, trust, love and hope.
Seven – take a ride into space for a day or at least a few hours, with a good camera and fly by the International Space Station.
Or at least
Eight – I’d prefer the beauty of the day to be visible to my heart and mind each minute.
So this year again I will make my New Year’s Resolution that I will not make a New Year’s Resolution. It’s one I can always keep and fail at merely in the making of it.
It is in keeping with the reality that I already do One, Two, Three, Four, SixB, and Eight. The others are good dreams to hold on to, but not worth sacrificing the others.
O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me.
By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.
Words of Grace For Today
By the tender mercy of our God …
Everything that is blessing and gift in this life is
By the tender mercy of our God.
By the tender mercy of our God we learn to treasure all that each day brings to us:
The sunrise, the sunset.
The COLD outside (-46⁰C), the HEAT of the furnace’s chimney (2000⁰C).
The relentless attack of our enemies’ (lies to destroy, destory, and kill us – by which we learn to trust God alone) and the gracious response of truth, both exposed by Christ’ light (by which we learn to hope only in God’s tender mercy).
New food allergies and intolerances (that increase our food costs and teach us with pain how to eat well) and the plethora of good and nutritious food available from the food bank and the grocery stores (from which we can choose how to deal with new dietary limits.)
The skills of many decades of capturing the good beauty of life in photos, of writing words that inspire hearts and minds to live better, to live well, the dancing steps to music and through the snow and woods and atop the roofs, the knowing of languages from ancient times, of foreign lands and using ‘artificial intelligence’, the piloting precision-decision-making over and under clouds, around obstacles on the ground, and between hills and mountains and leaving & returning to earth, the melding with machines to accomplish work and travel safely in all kinds of conditions, and the seeing God present walking with us each moment (good and terrible).
And most of all the miracle of being healed so that we are able to love those that love in return and those who return for love betrayal, who return for love hatred and evil, and even for those who corrupt justice for so many giving privilege to the wealthy and connected.
By the tender mercy of our God we live filled with hope for our tomorrows, and for theirs.
And still we live only by the grace and mercy of God,
that allows us to keep warm and
In the Light of Christ
Then the people answered, ‘Far be it from us that we should forsake the Lord to serve other gods; for it is the Lord our God who brought us and our ancestors up from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, and who did those great signs in our sight. He protected us along all the way that we went, and among all the peoples through whom we passed.’
But you, beloved, build yourselves up on your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves in the love of God; look forward to the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.
Words of Grace For Today
After a full generation wandering in the wilderness, and before that generations in harsh slavery in Egypt (that is the thanks Joseph’s people are given for his saving them all from famine!) Joshua puts to the people a choice, to serve God who has delivered them, or to serve others gods, the gods of the people of the lands they have entered and will enter.
The people respond with a choice that pleases God: they choose to follow Joshua and to follow God, their saviour, who has protected them all the way in every time.
Jude, as many before and since, present to his beloved readers, that they should act righteously, that they should build up their holy faith, that they should pray to the Holy Spirit, that they should keep themselves living and speaking and acting in the love of God, and they should look forward to the mercy of Jesus that will lead them to eternal life.
There is always much to do to be about doing God’s will, living out one’s faith, building up one’s faith, to pray in the Holy Spirit for all people and to keep oneself in the love of God … and to choose to serve the God who has been our Saviour through every generation, and will be our Saviour in every generation yet to come.
Ah, to always be able to make the right choices, and to always do God’s will, live out God’s love for all people, to build up our faith. It is never so with us.
Joshua’s people enter the Promised Land and their stories are just like our stories: we continually choose to do the right thing, to follow God … and then we go about the sinful and evil things, we serve other gods, the gods of the land we are in, the gods of consumerism, the gods of capitalism/greed for money, the gods of privilege and comfort at others’ expense, at the cost of other people’s lives.
The only thing that saves us is …
the mercy of God demonstrated to us in the story of Jesus the Christ.
The only thing that gives us any hope that God will continue to walk with us, to guide us, to love us … is that in spite of our sins, God continually comes to save us, to redeem us, to forgive us, and to give us new life in God’s love.
From this we hope that our enemies may also experience the truth of God’s mercy and relent from trying to kill us to save themselves (which cannot work for them anyway.)
For this we hope.
And with this hope we live, each day, blessed by God’s doing mercy for us, not our choices.