Yet I have been the Lord your God ever since the land of Egypt; you know no God but me, and besides me there is no saviour.
1 John 4:13-14
By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Saviour of the world.
Words of Grace For Today
If only all in the world would only know our God as generously gracious, loving and merciful, and always walking with us, all of us.
If only we could know our God so, and remember that … every day, no matter what.
We can know that God is with us, for even in our darkest hour, the story of Jesus saving the world and us in it can always convince us anew that God is with us and for us, just as God worked to save God’s people from slavery in Egypt, from the wilderness, and from all the temptations of the Evil One.
Spirit and spirit, God meets us as we are and as God is: always fully spirited, always able to follow in Jesus’ way, giving good words and God’s good promises to all.
It’s so hot that I put out six eggs, cheese, and spices
by the outside propane stove.
Then I went inside to get the iron skillet for making scrambled eggs
and they were hard boiled before I could crack them
and the cheese was burned to charcoal.
The spices were still good.
We are to be like the hot spices for life!
2 Samuel 14:14
We must all die; we are like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be gathered up. But God will not take away a life; he will devise plans so as not to keep an outcast banished for ever from his presence.
The Pharisees and their scribes were complaining to his disciples, saying, ‘Why do you eat and drink with tax-collectors and sinners?’ Jesus answered, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick [do]!
Words of Grace For Today
The secret to life really is to recognize how screwed up everyone is, how far from God’s good books we all behave and remove ourselves. We like to cast others out, out of God’s house, out of civilized company, out of our lives. In fact the ones who do the casting out are usually the ones most deserving of being cast out. They not only are so screwed up and so far from behaving justly, lovingly, and with gratitude for God’s gifts; they also deny they are anything but perfect or maybe just slightly flawed.
The other part of the secret to life is to recognize that nothing can help us, especially not ourselves, and not even chocolate or coffee or scotch (or any variation on those themes.) Nothing can help us except God. Knowing God, fearing and loving God, frees us to recognize that God WANTS us! God works all kinds of miracles to convince us that God actually forgives us! God freely and generously gives us forgiven, redeemed, and renewed life, again and again and again and … without end.
God wants us to know God walks with us always.
God does not banish us. Other people pretend they can, but God remains by our side. When we get tossed onto the garbage heap of life and even tossed out into the darkness of hell itself, God walks with us, and keeps us walking right out of that darkness back into life abundant.
Jesus came not to care for those who thought they were healthy. Jesus came to show us that we were all sick, and that Jesus was ever ready to heal us of our every illness.
Death will come to us all. That will end the injustice done by many. Still God does not abandon us, nor give us our enemies’ deaths as the only hope for a better life. Already today God gathers us into Paradise with all the saints in light, if we will only see and recognize all that God does for us! At our deaths God keeps walking by our sides and gathers us still into Paradise with all the saints in light, who have accompanied us on our sojourn each day, hoping for us, hoping that we will also be the saints who share Jesus’ wonderful healing presence and promise with those the world casts out, and those who cast others out.
God continually devises plans so as not to keep an outcast banished for ever; God sends Jesus the physician of the universe to all who are sick; God sends us to heal the sick in heart, spirit, and body with Jesus’ Word and Jesus’ story.
My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge, my saviour; you save me from violence.
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Words of Grace For Today
Covid 19 has brought many of the challenges to abundant living to the fore, making it impossible to ignore them. Poor care in (only some) senior care facilities, the real costs of homelessness (which we used to minimize by large social housing projects which were stopped decades ago, resulted in large homeless populations nearly everywhere, which we are only recently addressing and saving money doing so!), the huge percentage of our populations who have absorbed as the basis of their ‘rational’ thinking ‘Querdenken’, false-news, science-deniers, and wild conspiracy theories, which has fed racist and minority focused hate – this is possible since the powers that be have long since used propaganda, and all the above to rationalize their corrupt agendas and to remain in power. Fear mongering by politicians and power brokers and even courts has long term costs for a society and we are paying for it now, again, and will be for decades.
While the stress of isolation taxes each person’s resilience, the first step in responding to each new wave of stress is to relax. It is in fact the only healthy thing we can choose to do in the face of overwhelming stress.
Breathe deeply and slowly.
Breathe in the Holy Spirit’s presence to be in us. Allow it to cleanse and renew each fibre of our being.
Breathe out the effects of all evil and stress.
Breathe in deeply and slowly. Breathe out every source of stress.
Then we can remember who our rock and salvation is. Then we can remember the words of Paul which have sustained generations of God’s people:
Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
So assured, again, that God is with and for us, loving us, now we can return to providing that same unconditional love to those in need around us. We can start addressing, one by one, the ills of our society that Covid 19 has made more obvious. We can in fact bring an end to chronic homelessness. We can in fact provide better value (pay) for essential workers, and less for overpaid un-essential leeches on our society, like money brokers and stock market manipulators. We can ensure all people receive respect and care. We can deal with violence (physical and psychological) against all people by anyone, not just against women by men. We can begin to deal with the many who use religion to accumulate power for themselves, to hide their abuse of others, and to perpetrate violence against anyone who stands up to them. We have more than enough ‘wolves hiding in sheep’s clothing’ in our congregations. We can begin to deal with Querdenken and raw hatred based on religion, ethnicity, gender or any other measure by speaking truth, and protecting those who speak truth for us.
And we can begin and end each day thanking God: My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge, my saviour; you save me from violence.
… – – – … Cold Hard Reality … – – – … Our Own Sin … – – – … The Start of God’s Work for Us …. ..
Friday, February 12, 2021
The Sun Rises And Spreads Cold Cold Cold Light
God using the sun to draw smoke shadows on curves of snow
Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
All must test their own work; then that work, rather than their neighbour’s work, will become a cause for pride.
Words of Grace For Today
We become accustomed to life, unjustly lived, civilization’s thin veneer holding back barbarism, barely while so many wealthy, privileged, and powerful people utilize outrageous barbarism to hold on to what they value, i.e. their positions, corrupt as they are.
We become accustomed to life and are widely disturbed, our individual and collective mental health plummets, because a pandemic disrupts our customary living …
and we are left to face what truly lies beneath, behind, and beyond our ‘civilized’ habits. It is not pretty. It scares us. It drives us mad.
This is a small piece of the cost of living as if we could rise above fear of God. This is a small piece of the cost of pretending that we need not resist evil at every turn, lest we be dragged into the sea of it’s chaos, into it’s power to uncreate creation, dissolve all time, and possess life itself even as it all crumbles into non-existence.
Being wise in one’s own eyes is like the fool Trump, declaring himself to be so intelligent, even as he spouts idiocies that are easily proven to be false. Remember when he recommended that people drink bleach to eradicate Covid 19 from their systems. Bleach of course is a caustic poison easily eradicating life from anyone who drinks it!
Our own, your own, idiocies may not be so obvious to us, to you, though they probably are to others!
Daily we immerse ourselves in the old, old story of Jesus and his love; which starts with our past and continuing sins confessed and graciously forgiven by God.
We immerse ourselves in this story, not forgetting the beginning (our wretched inevitable sin) so that we do not forget how much we need to be saved from our sins, how much God does to save us, and how terrible our deserved damnation would be if God were not so undeservedly gracious with us. We do not forget our ongoing inevitable sins so that we do not rise to false pride.
Instead we readily accept the reality and confess our sins, knowing in that confession we also accept God’s forgiveness, which forgiveness enables us to also be God-made saints, simultaneously as we remain sinners. God has God’s way with us, and we love it!
We know our own works are pitiful. Our neighbours may look to be so as well. On our own nothing we do amounts to anything (valued by God’s criteria and measure). Aided, guided, and inspired by the Holy Spirit, God accomplishes great things through us. God saves others by giving them abundant life through our work.
Our pride in our work, and in our neighbours’ work, amounts only to pride in what God does through us. Though we last no longer than smoke we remain courageously, creatively humble as God uses us to paint Grace on this world. Meeting the new demands of Covid 19 pandemic and it’s dangers and restrictions is a mere trifle, measured by God’s criteria. It is another opportunity to see, receive, and share God’s unending blessings.
Long ago you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you endure; they will all wear out like a garment. You change them like clothing, and they pass away; but you are the same, and your years have no end.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever.
Words of Grace For Today
For many people alive today death is very close and has been most of their lives. They live constantly under threat of being ‘disappeared’, of being tortured and killed, of starving (too often intentionally by those with power to influence or determine such things), limited basic necessities of life (lack of clean air, clean water, nourishing food, adequate clothing, sufficient shelter, meaningful labour, and the ability to love and be loved), of dying of illness (inherited or acquired from the environment – sometime intentionally so by those who can do such things), or simply dying of despair.
For a large swath of the population on earth today these threats to life are removed enough that we can, with foolish efforts and often disastrous results, deny these threats apply to us, or at least most of them … and to assuage our consciences we delude ourselves into thinking that those who live under such threats deserve it. We develop habits and rituals to try to further push death from us. At funerals we do not say the person died, we say they passed, or went to sleep forever, or [fill in the many and various ways we push awareness of death aside with words and rituals.]
No matter what we do:
All humans live finite lives.
The mortality rate for humans remains always at 100%.
No one gets out of life alive.
Resurrection and incarnation and other life after death beliefs do not negate that all of this life ends with death!
Death is obviously something that humans push back against in order to live through the challenges of our days. It is … well it is to live foolishly or to pretend that one can be other than mortal, but it seems to make each day a little easier to live. It only seems. In fact if distorts life into something it is not. It distorts our thinking about ourselves as if we could be immortal in some way or another.
God alone is immortal. Jesus, the 2nd person of the Trinity is immortal. Even though he lived a mortal life, was tortured, crucified, and died, he then rose back to life, and lives eternally.
It is this difference that God is eternal, and we simply are not, that we try to deny when we deny death or cover it’s reality with pseudo phrases, or with practices of denying death’s inevitability for each and every single one of us, or simply with reckless living – whether that is bravado, addictions, or lies, deception and attempts to create a false (preferred reality) for ourselves. Trump was not able to proclaim the most obviously stupidities to be true simply because he wanted it to be so. He could do so only because millions upon millions of people did the same thing in their lives and wanted him to do so as their leader; they wanted and still want reality to not be what it is. This ‘reality illness’ does not end at the USA borders, nor did it just begin in this or the previous century. It merely became so painfully obvious that after the first year of Trump’s presidency even comedians could not parody it anymore. It was simply too far beyond belief, except that it was believed by millions.
There is nothing more dangerous than not perceiving reality as reality. One becomes mortally vulnerable to the simplest dangers. The present polar vortex cold, if not respected as real, can lead to frostbite in minutes for bare skin, and quickly to loss of digits and limbs and even life. Carnivorous predators, like cougars, wolves, and hyenas if not respected are not choosy about their next meal. Denying they are there in one’s environment makes one an easier meal than the next living piece of meat. Of course being cautious about hyenas when one lives in North American, or cougars if one lives in Africa leaves one vulnerable to other risks.
We worship often, using liturgy that imprints on our consciousness, with music that lifts our spirits, and hearing sermons that proclaim the Gospel of Grace (not works righteousness) so that we ‘remember’ more clearly in each decision we make every day what is what, and who is who, and what the future holds for us: God alone is eternal, we will die, Grace alone gives us life and compels us to share it with others. We remember clearly every future – since the beginning of time until the end of time itself – is in God’s hands.
Thank God, God is gracious, judges us not on what we sinners deserve, but enables us God-made-saints to live abundantly (which is to live giving life abundant to everyone possible – until all people have life abundant!)
It’s cold, very cold. Be cautious outside. Go out dressed to cover every piece of skin. Travel in vehicles only with shovels, tow ropes, and a booster battery … and good survival equipment including first aid kits.
It’s a mortal life we live, always mortal. Be bold everywhere. Go clothed in the Grace of God covering every sinful piece of our souls. Proceed through each day renewed in one’s own baptism, assured of one’s adoption as a child of God, with God’s Word always at hand and a good hymn ringing in one’s head. Ensure the tools of diakonia, the work of serving others’ needs, are in our backpacks or pockets. Always carry the warmth of the Holy Spirit’s guidance, the Light of Christ, and the healing power of our gracious Creator. Never forget to remain grateful for God’s gifts no matter the challenges that we encounter; remain calm and creative. Hard work is a blessing not to be avoided, and always the results are in God’s hands, so protect one’s faith in God from decay or destruction.
As we may help hundreds of people have enough food, shelter, and a helpful ear, a little candle lit each day to remind one of God’s Light in every darkness may be the most important part of our days.
Remember: we are saints, the people that reflect the Light of Christ to all people, in every dark corner of creation.
We remember: we are also simultaneously sinners, deserving damnation and receiving forgiveness and renewed life each day.
Every person, no matter how evil their sins, though they deserve condemnation, like us, can receive Grace through us, if we are creative and courageous enough.
Courage and humility. It’s cold, very cold with death only minutes away; AND
It’s the warmth of Christ’s Light that gives us breath.
In God I trust; I am not afraid. What can a mere mortal do to me?
2 Timothy 1:14
Guard the good treasure entrusted to you, with the help of the Holy Spirit living in us.
Words of Grace For Today
A great uncle of mine, Sven, arrived in the new land (at least so goes the legend), as many Swedish, German, Norwegian, Scottish, Ukrainian, and many others (from even more nations in later decades) also arrived in the new land to be given a quarter section to homestead. Arriving in early summer the first task was to make a temporary ‘home’. There were no RV’s, mobile homes, RTM’s or Atco Units. He felled a number of think pine trees with an axe and piled the pine boughs on an A-frame of pine poles to keep most of the rain out. The bugs could not be helped. He went hunting for meat. Then he cleared a small patch of land and planted a crop that might just produce potatoes, peas, beans and carrots before freeze up. He went hunting for meat. Then he dug out a hole and piled up the dirt around it as walls, covered it with pine poles at a sharp pitch, and wove pine boughs in four layers to hold out the rain and snow. He went hunting for meat. He put in the wood stove he had saved for, stacked up a great pile of firewood, and built a simple bed, chair and table. That would have to do to get him through the coming winter. He went hunting for meat. The bear skins from the bears he shot would be his blanket in the coldest of the coming cold nights.
Each night he gave God thanks for this opportunity to start a new life in a new land. Each morning he prayed for strength to work hard through the day, to prepare for the coming months. The -45⁰ nights that first winter nearly did him in. When thieves stole a tenth of his firewood that made him worry about the safety of everything and his survival. Still he gave God thanks, for he prayed with the Psalmist: In God I trust; I am not afraid. What can a mere mortal do to me?
Each year he cleared more land for the garden and for crops. In his third year, now with a simple log cabin and a shingled plank roof, his lovely wife, Brigitte, joined him from Sweden, children followed and he added each year to the cabin, a room, another room, a porch, an entrance with a better door.
When thieves struck again, raiding his garden and grain store and stealing half his wood, he was distressed. He prayed that night again in thanks, the next morning for strength. He knew he was tasked with guarding the good treasure entrusted to him, with the help of the Holy Spirit living in him. The treasure was not the firewood. It was not the crops. It was not even the land that supported his and Brigitte’s life together with their daughter and two sons. Sven and Brigitte prayed and in thanks and for strength, so that they would guard their faith, for that was the treasure that God had given them. With faith they could meet every challenge calmly and creatively, figuring out what to do each day to ensure their survival and more, that they would live well.
Covid 19 is not easy, comfortable, or predictable. Many of our habits for surviving are not possible. Other habits for surviving are required of us. Some are dictated, many others are left for us to figure out. God provides, and we, assured of the gift of faith, pray morning and night, with thanks and for strength to meet the challenges of each day.
We trust God to provide us the ability and opportunities to work diligently so that more and more people will have what is needed to live, and to live abundantly. It’s not predictable or comfortable or easy. Still we have everything we need to make each day better for everyone: it starts with faith and creativity. It concludes each day, as night enfolds us in the dark and bitter cold, with thanks.
How else can we live, but to follow the examples of our faithful ancestors following Jesus?
I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.
Now as he was going along and approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?’ He asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ The reply came, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.’
Words of Grace For Today
My father served as the first civilian doctor to winter over at McMurdo when it ceased to be a military base. He tells of being asked if he’d like to hop a ride with one of the specialists out on a snowmobile. The wonders of light against the ice and snow, the distant mountains in one direction, the ocean in the other, and the shear size all came through in the email to us ‘kids’. And it was cold, real cold.
Living then on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia the winters were cold and impossible for travel if it dipped below freezing and snowed. There were few if any snow tires on the vehicles there, and lots of balding summer tires, so the cars slipped and slid, jamming up the hillside roads, and even the gentle slopes along the coastal water. I could only remember cold from my previous ‘lives’ in Minnesota and Alberta.
Before he hopped on the back of the snowmobile, my father suited up covering every stitch of skin with protective gear. He did not say they travelled fast. It would be hard enough on the machinery at a reasonable pace. It was just that at -75⁰ C everything is a huge bit different…. He missed one small piece between a glove layer and a jacket (if I remember that location correctly). He felt nothing besides the regular cold and returned with a severe frostbit patch of skin. He was fortunate not to loose a piece of flesh to the cold-burn.
Cold, so cold that it burns skin dead with freezing very quickly. We can hear of it, but until one feels the cold it is hard to imagine how powerful the cold really is.
A hard deep cold has hit the prairies extending across the central US as well. It was down to -34⁰ here last night and will get colder yet through the next two nights if forecasts are to be believed. Still a short walk outside is easy, a longer work session possible, even a long walk is doable with the warmest clothing. Cold so cold it freezes skin without any pain is a whole other level of cold.
Like the jogger who went out in shorts for his morning 3 mile run in a deep freeze and returned to have both legs amputated they were so damaged from the freezing.
Saul is enthusiastic and powerful with letters to pursue, detain and punish heretics, followers of the crucified Jesus of Nazareth. Then Jesus shows himself first hand to Saul. That transforms Saul’s life of persecuting followers of The Way, to one of Jesus’ most dedicated disciples, spreading the Good News around the east and north of the Mediterranean Sea, which proves to be the birthing of the Christian Church beyond Jerusalem, which sets the ground work for the Gospel of Jesus Christ to reach us even in this millennium.
Job loses everything, wife, children, wealth, and even his health. His friends bring him encouragement to confess his sins. The widespread belief is that if someone suffers at all it is a result of that person’s own sins. There may be no relief from the suffering, so the only thing to do is to confess and beg God for forgiveness.
This belief is alive and well today under many guises. It is a handy way to blame those who suffer for their suffering, to avoid one’s own responsibility for others’ sufferings, and to convince oneself that one is above such misfortune (because one does not sin like ‘that’ person has!)
Job knows he has not sinned in such a way as to have deserved the horrific loses and suffering he has faced. Job has heard all about God, believes in God, and prays to God (and yells in defiance at God)!
Then God appears face to face with Job!
That changes everything!
Job responds: now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.
It’s deep freeze cold. We do not know cold though until we experience it in person.
It’s God’s creation. We can believe in God, and pretend we’ve earned our place before God. Then God appears in person to us and … we know how undeserving we are of God’s Grace and …
We know first hand how wondrous and life-changing God’s Grace is for us and …
We know God’s Grace is nothing if we do not share it with everyone, as freely and as graciously as God has shared it with us!
Then there is beauty in every piece of life, just as there is beauty in the cold of coldest deep freeze polar cold.
Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Words of Grace For Today
The world’s equations are simple and messed up. They speak of just rewards. The wealthy and ‘successful’ hold that they have earned their wealth and ‘success’, and the poor just have not worked hard enough!
Those in deep poverty don’t have time to waste on such equations: life demands everything of them just to survive another week, maybe even just one more day!
Those in between, afraid they may end up in deep poverty, buy into the work-reward equation as protection from sliding into desperate poverty (until they do, not a result of their own doing) and as a faint hope that some day, if they work hard enough they may climb up into better circumstances, even become one of the wealthy or ‘successful’.
God’s equation is not tied to our efforts, not efforts at good works, nor efforts at true belief, not efforts of right thoughts. God’s equation of ‘success’ requires only God’s acting on us, in us, and through us …. By grace alone we are saved.
So what do we do with these biblical texts and many like them that seem to throw us right back into the ‘our good efforts and good results net us eternal salvation or eternal damnation – so buck up pal and do good OR else!’ equation?
First of all: it is a life long challenge to remember and hold to God’s equation for our eternal salvation. Some hold (not us) that it’s all up to God, so what we do does not count at all! It’s just that our lives will reflect God’s choice of salvation or damnation for us: that is if we look like God has saved us it means we are and the other way around. In this way of living one falls right back into desperately trying to be or at least look good, so as to show in this life one is chosen by God to be saved! And that brings us right back into the futile equation of ‘it’s all up to us, so buck up pal Or else.’
Second of all: it is not up to us to get it right. We do not hold that we can save ourselves, but we certainly can ignore God’s good work in us and live like hell. Literally we can sin madly and never take claim of the gift of salvation that God has already given to us and constantly newly gives to us.
So our salvation is a result of God’s good work for us.
And our damnation is a result of our own evil work in creation.
A paradox, but what else is faith, than a tension beyond comprehension, requiring trust each day, each minute.
Before God we are all in deep poverty, needing God’s gift of redemption. We are all sinners.
Before God we are all given the greatest riches and real success, claimed as God’s own children. We are all saints.
So how to live each day: simple! Share God’s Grace with everyone.
As Jesus summed it up: love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and strength, and your neighbour as yourself, even your enemies!
That equation for each day is like the bright sun in the mild air on the cold snow returned after weeks of cloudy, snowy, deep-freeze weather: it’s filled with thanks for the light, love for creation, and hope for each new day!
We are as fragile as grass in the deep freeze of winter snows.
And more precious than platinum to God.
Deliver me, please, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau, for I am afraid of him; he may come and kill us all, the mothers with the children.
Then Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham.’
Words of Grace For Today
Jacob, the trickster, who stole the birthright and inheritance from his brother, cries to God. Jacob is rightfully afraid that his brother has every right to respond and not kindly. That he will kill everyone in Jacob’s family is a possibility.
So Jacob cries for God to deliver him from his rightful punishment.
If any of us think we are in a different situation before God, we are real fools. Think again.
No one is righteous before God. All of us deserve punishment for our sins. All of us ought to humbly cry to God for deliverance, deliverance from our enemies that we do not deserve.
God responds to Jacob’s cry.
God responds to our cries.
God responds, graciously, mercifully, lovingly forgiving us and delivering us … maybe not from our enemies, but from the Devil and from us losing our souls (heart, mind, body in one whole big loss of our lives).
For we too, by faith in God’s Son, Jesus the Christ, so marked with this faith as a gift given to us freely by God, are also counted among the children of Abraham, God’s own people.
We are in this together: this life, this pandemic, these challenges, … all of it.
God’s creation is a wonderful place to live and share life abundant with others.
Afterwards the Israelites shall return and seek the Lord their God, and David their king; they shall come in awe to the Lord and to his goodness in the latter days.
For it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
Words of Grace For Today
After, in the prophetic image of Hosea given to him by God, … after God ‘plays the lover of an adulteress.’ For Israel has wandered yet again from God’s love to the adulteress love of other ‘gods’ and other values and other everything. Israel is trying to play being godlets, or at least as if they could choose their ‘god’. So Hosea, as God commands him, takes a harlot as his ‘wife’, to demonstrate to the people how they have taken ‘gods’ and loves that are not God, that are not Love!
Thankfully God does not abandon Israel, nor us (for such wandering is commonly repeated even in these days). God has an afterwards for us. Afterwards is always a time of return to God, seeking God, and being in awe of God, so that we once again know God’s goodness in and among us!
This is the time that God’s gifts of the Spirit enable us to choose, to will and to work for God’s good pleasure … that all people have life, and life abundant!
Which time is this day for you?
Playing with other ‘loves’ and trying to hide from the love of God?
Seeking, walking with God (since God walks with you already), standing in awe of God’s work in and among us, and enjoying God’s goodness for all people?
The deep-freeze will arrive this day, staying minus 20⁰C ish day and night, going to minus 27⁰C at least one night, maybe even minus 30⁰C. A touch of cleansing cold.
Will our hearts become or stay so cold?
Or will we choose to will and work for God’s good pleasure?
As for me and my household (oops, no household, just me) we/I will choose to …
hope that the Spirit will overcome sin in us/me and bring God’s will to be among us, also.