At that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps, and I will punish the people who rest complacently on their dregs, those who say in their hearts, ‘The Lord will not do good, nor will he do harm.’
For you say, “I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing.” You do not realize that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. Therefore I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire so that you may be rich; and white robes to clothe you and to keep the shame of your nakedness from being seen; and salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see.
Words of Grace For Today
We are all wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.
Okay, I’m often of a different assessment of my situation. It’s not often that good.
Except I do keep myself clothed, mostly appropriately; and I do wear glasses, terribly scratched as they are, so that I can see clearly enough to prepare for winter and keep producing photos that are sometimes even good; and occasionally I have two quarters to rub together and use to fill the water tank (so that’s $25 to drive there and back) and I have not yet run out of water though it’s been close a few times; and while people may pity me, though I think it’s not many, as most cheer my unjust suffering, and I try to make a blessed case of my circumstances; but I’m caught on the wretched part. Don’t know how to change that, since I’ve confessed since I was a young child that I am a wretched sinner, needing God’s forgiveness.
I would guess everyone can produce a similar short accounting of how they are or are not wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. All of our efforts to say we are not simply help prove how so we are, and blind to the fact.
All too many people through all time have lived neither fearing and loving God, not caring, assured in themselves that God ‘will not do good, nor harm.’
There are and always have been the saints, people faithful to God, if still wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked, we are also humble or so about it all, and we turn our eyes and hopes to God.
In return God promises to walk with us. That makes God quite familiar with our wretchedness, pitiable-ness, poor-ness, blindness, and nakedness. God knows what God is getting into long before we realize where we are at, where people have been for so long. Why did God create and why does God continue to create such a universe with such people in it?
The Lord sets the prisoners free; the Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous. The Lord watches over the strangers; he upholds the orphan and the widow, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.
Then he ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground; and he took the seven loaves, and after giving thanks he broke them and gave them to his disciples to distribute; and they distributed them to the crowd.
Words of Grace For Today
The prisoners, the blind, those bowed down, the righteous, the strangers (you know the ones who are different than us, by colour, posture, or due to neurodiversity), the orphan, the widow… all these get special mention as those that God favours and blesses, exactly because the world generally denigrates, casts out, and ignores them as real people.
The more complete view is Jesus. It always is. This here today is Jesus teaching and healing the huge crowd gathered out away from any village or city. It’s been a long day. The disciples are hungry. And they, like many are afraid. They have enough for themselves, but they do not have enough to feed this huge crowd. Jesus is not afraid. He sits the crowd down, takes what the disciples have to eat and shares it with the crowd. And…
Yesterday, a regular summer ‘visitor’ showed up again, this time riding on a noisy quad, accompanied by an even noisier side by side with two older people in it. The man, slender and unpredictable, has arrived each summer to claim ownership of a camper left by a man who has disappeared. He and his buddies, one and sometimes two, rifled through the camp, took out a great metal tripod to hang a cook pot over an open fire, and who knows what all else. It was set up in a camp nearby for a month or so and then it all disappeared. Each summer he’s said he’d move ‘his’ motor van camper out in a few weeks.
The camper still sits there.
This time he arrived and claimed to own this piece of land that I am renting. His way of denying that I am renting the land. Well it’s an agreement between the actual owner and myself. He and others can deny it to be true, but that does not change the truth. His claiming to be the owner, for two weeks, sounded ridiculous. And it turned out to be just that. More lies claiming ownership of what is not his.
He also claimed ownership of the 45 foot camper bus that showed up months ago, parked behind the abandoned camper van.
He also told me to take down a barrier that keeps quads, side by sides, snowmobiles and vehicles of all kinds from running into the edge of the meadow. He had arrived on a road that has a barb wire gate across it. They had taken it down to get through and left it in the woods when they left. They also took a piece of firewood used to hold up the bottom wire.
Unpredictable. Liar. Thief.
People like this are as they appear, and as dangerous as they can be, they are not as dangerous and destructive as people who behave civilized and appear somewhat intelligent. They do not make claims to own what is not theirs. They work greater evil to take what they want so that it is legally theirs. They do not lie about what can easily be proven to be false. They lie with unprovable lies that destroy lives. They exercise power with wealth, political sway, and smooth talk, and they exercise it for their own benefit, damned be who it hurts, takes life from, or destroys.
These are the people and their ways that the Psalmist gives quick shrift: the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.
Except, the way of the wicked seems to continue, to prevail, and to destroy generation after generation. It is the hope that this would end, but (naive me for thinking I would be exempt from suffering at the wrong end of this wickedness!) it goes on and on, so commonly that most people hardly blink when they hear it is their own backyard. It’s as if they say, ah dahh! Why do you think we bow to the evil ones, and keep our heads down so as not to attract attention, and why do you think we do not listen to those the evil ones destroy?
Jesus says no such thing. In the crowd are certainly evil ones, like the unpredictable summer visitor liar thief, like the civilized destroyers, like the selfish power people, and like the ones who duck (which is it’s own kind of evil.) Jesus then takes what is his and the disciples for their meal, breaks it and blesses it and shares it with all. It’s a few baskets filled with bread and fish.
This miracle is it is enough to feed a crowd of over 5000. Some say that Jesus had the bread multiply in the baskets against all the laws of physics. Not impossible. That would indeed be a miracle. The greater miracle is what likely happened: as the crowd saw that food was shared for all, they pulled out their meagre portions, took what they needed from them and from the baskets passed along, and added back into the baskets what they did not need. Thus all the people ate. The good prisoners, the blind, those bowed down, the righteous, the strangers (you know the ones who are different than us, by colour, posture, or due to neurodiversity), the orphan, the widow as well as all the evil and wicked ones in the crowd receive their fill of nourishment.
The greatest miracle is that Jesus overcomes the people’s fears, and inspires them to generosity with each other.
Now that would be one way to put the wicked ways to rest.
What does God have in store for us this fine summer day, when the temperatures are forecast to rise beyond comfortable levels, but not into the dangerous levels? How can we be the ones to continue Jesus’ miracle of helping people overcome their fears and inspire them to generosity, especially with those the ‘civilized’ people would rather forget because the outcasts suffer because of their ‘civilized’ wicked ways?
Maybe today in a small way we can, by Grace, help even one such doer of wickedness to convert to Jesus’ generosity.
The people said to Joshua, ‘The Lord our God we will serve, and him we will obey.’
Pilate asked him, ‘So you are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.’
Words of Grace For Today
The people promise to serve God and obey him.
They break their promise over and over again.
Good thing the covenant God made with Abraham and with them is one sided: God makes it, God keeps it.
We just get to trust it, and return to trusting it when we decide (so often) not to trust God.
Pilate knows power. Jesus is to him an usurper, and a poor one at that, for he’s gotten himself caught by the ‘real’ power, and his life is in Pilate’s hands.
Well, not really!
Jesus is the real power, that holds the universe together since the beginning of time and before, even as the Webb Telescope gives us spectacular photos that reach back in time closer, closer to the beginning of time.
Jesus is the power, the king, the master of all people and of the universe, who bends down to serve us, to demonstrate how real power is exercised, that is with mercy and love.
What would history be like if all people exercised that kind of power?
What would our days be like if we exercised that kind of power?
Francis of Assissi, Clare, Abbess of San Damiano, Dominic, Florence Nightingale, Clara Maass, and a host of so many others show us what life can be like when we exercise that kind of power!
Live on today! Listen to the truth and to Jesus’ voice. Exercise your God given power … to serve others.
The Lord is good to all, and his compassion is over all that he has made.
You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy.” But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous.
Words of Grace For Today
Oh so glorious it is … to see finally poetic justice and real justice play out. A 23 year old American and his family decided that their hike up Mount Vesuvius should include a peak over the lip of the volcano with selfies to document their adventure … even though the trail was a prohibited area.
While taking the selfie, the young man’s cell phone fell over the lip into the crater. While reaching into the crater the young man slipped and fell down the crater.
Now one would think that that could well have been the end of him, but God is good and gracious, to this young man also that day. His fall ended about 50 feet into the crater, not all the way to the bottom 300 metres down, where he would have been toast. And …
And at the time four volcano guides were on the other side of the crater, saw the man fall, and rushed to his rescue. They lowered a team member down on a rope to retrieve the bruised and scraped up man
and waited with him (and his group) to be treated by the ambulance that arrived, and then to be taken eventually to the police station to be arrested and charged.
Meanwhile in Sri Lanka 62,000 people are in immediate life threatening danger and 6 million soon will be after the country no longer has money to import the necessities of life like food and cooking oil. This, it is said, is a result of fraud and mishandling of the country’s finances by the ousted president. Of course he could not have done it alone (if he was a player in creating the problem at all.) What is clear is that people will die because of other people’s greed.
So it is everywhere, and poignantly also here, where indigenous peoples, and people of ‘other’ races, creeds, and orientations are taken advantage of, and where the courts demonstrate a brash bias for the wealthy and privileged … routinely as if no one cared or noticed … or as if there were no consequences.
An American had money to travel to Italy, to hike to the lip of the volcano, and try to take a selfie there, to show off his exploits. Thousands of people slip on the verge of death because of greed and fraud.
And God is good to all, and his compassion is over all that he has made.
We are to Love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us, so that we may be children of our Father in heaven; for God makes the sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous.
It makes you want to protest and cry out at God for justice.
That is why Jesus had to make sure we heard clearly that we are to love our enemies, for God created and provides for them as well.
Makes us scratch our heads all too often.
Until we realize that trying to enact justice for God is impossible to get right and doing so destroys more of us and them than we can afford.
So we pray, Lord save those facing injustice and death because of greed and fraud, especially as it is done on our behalf … and save us from ignorance of your good creation and apathy to the troubles that so many people, creatures and your entire planet earth face this day. And we give God thanks that our troubles remain challenges that we can (so far, with care, skill, planning, and lots of hard work) be overcome.
There’s Lots of History, Everywhere, for Everyone,
Can You Be Thankful For Yours?
O Lord, my strength and my stronghold, my refuge on the day of trouble, to you shall the nations come from the ends of the earth and say: Our ancestors have inherited nothing but lies, worthless things in which there is no profit.
2 Corinthians 4:8
We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair;
Words of Grace For Today
As I started to contemplate that nations will come and say that their ancestors had left nothing but lies to inherit,
a big, old, fat fly started to disrupt my view. Caught my attention it did. Distracted me, until it was dispatched.
Flies are not good to have around food, eating spaces, sleeping spaces or any living space for that matter.
I suppose I ‘inherited’ plenty of flies and wasps from someone. I’m sure it was not my ancestors, though Grandpa Sam and Grandma Dorothy did have an outhouse above the lake cottage on Lake Wabedo, back when it was an isolated lake. After each used we’d scatter a cupful of ashes down the hole to deal with smell and flies. Still there were always a bit more of both than I cared for. I also remember once in my University days arriving and finding the parking spot I chose was free because everyone else arriving earlier knew there was a wasp nest on that corner of the garage. Flies and wasps: I’m sure that since Lake Wabedo is more than 12 hours by car away, and that was about 3 or 4 decades ago, those flies and wasps have no direct lineage or causation effect on the fact there are flies and wasps here.
My ancestors, that I know of, where respectable people. (Thank you Goldie, Dorothy, Sam, Dort, Dennis.) I have not discovered any lies, foundational or formational or simply for the lark of it that are part of the family heritage. I count my blessings. I have a hard time imagining how devastating it must be to grow up knowing or to discover later that one’s ancestors passed down a pack of lies and not much else. I have seen the parents and grandparents who are such people, but the children were unawares or unapologetic, as they began a life of lies themselves, without regret or awareness of their great loss in doing so.
I have noticed friends of our offspring being very appreciative of us parents, since by comparison I guess we measure up as pretty decent, or the only parents of their circle of friends who are kind, gracious, welcoming and generous. I feel for the adult children who have parents whom they would rather forget, for remembering is costly.
We certainly can say with Paul: We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair. It’s not like life has left us unscathed, unscarred or un-‘rewarded’ for the good we’ve done. Life has at times knocked the living daylights out of us, for sure.
We are afflicted, perplexed, not crushed, not driven to despair. And we remain grateful for all God’s blessings, even if I am homeless, living off the grid in the wilderness. People hear that and say they always wanted to do that- it must be fun. – No, it’s just hard, and then harder, and quite dangerous pretty much every day. Weather getting more severe is a greater portion of that danger, though the greatest danger still remains the two legged wild animals that are fuelled by unnatural things, like drugs and revenge (for nothing I’ve done) and jealousy (that I can survive in the wild.) The wonders I experience do not make it safer, but they do make it blessed.
In fact, by celebrating the Eucharist each morning, my time is blessed, and this space, this piece of wilderness, is consecrated and made holy. I get to live in a sacred place. Nothing beats that!
In the face of each life-threatening adversity and challenge that I face I am shown again and again that God is my refuge from trouble and my strength and stronghold in the face of every adversity and challenge.
Nothing beats that.
So another day starts, and though it will have it’s dangers in quantities most people would run from, I know that in this sacred place and wherever I go all will be well, all will be well, all manner of things will be well … so onward with the work to meet the needs and best preparations for safety in the coming months.
By your strength you established the mountains; you are girded with might.
If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.
Words of Grace For Today
Not just a heavy weight champion for millennia and eons, God is the winner in all contests of strength, power, might, abilities, and smarts … oh, and wisdom.
The mountains and the oceans have always attracted humans to them, to be astounded by them, inspired by them, to be dwarfed by them, to be renewed by them … and to be made afraid by them.
God spoke a word, and the mountains and the oceans … and for that matter all matter and the universe itself, were created.
No contest, God is greater.
At least we are able to gawk and shudder at the immensity of God’s works.
Then we try to do marvellous things, building towers to the skies, flying through those skies, building cities that cover miles and miles of land, sending fragile ships across the oceans and into space, and writing and speaking words as if ours could possibly create a universe.
Our words alone can inspire and save lives, redirect civilization, capture memories to be marvelled at and used as guides by future generations (if they’d only read and understand!), and our buildings and cities are amazing, and our ability to travel around the globe in air, on sea, and in space are all astounding accomplishments
and they barely compare to what God does.
Forget about creation for a this moment,
but consider what God does with our sinful, burdened hearts, when God forgives, redeems, renews us, and sends us back into life to be God’s instruments of grace for other people.
That is more awesomely amazing than all God’s word of creating the universe.
And it cost God Jesus’ life. Not cheap.
Jesus promises then that if we ask for something in his name he will do it!
Carte Blanche, with just one proviso: that it be God’s will.
Ask this day, of the Creator and Redeemer and Inspirer, all that you need and want, and trust that God will do what God wills for you, and for us all.
Then it’s time to set about the day’s tasks, of life and of love and of being God’s blessing to others. It’s not nearly as awesome as God creating with a word, but it’ll have to do as today’s ‘blow my mind away’ thought to bring us alert through the 24 hours God gifts us, again!
He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
Soldiers also asked him, ‘And we, what should we do?’ He said to them, ‘Do not extort money from anyone by threats or false accusation, and be satisfied with your wages.’
Words of Grace For Today
God chose to make a life for us, a life filled with peace, grace and love for all people.
We’ve turned it into an entirely different thing; it’s cruel, short, and disappointing. Instead of loving all people, we’ve learned to exert our will over others. Conflicts dominate couples, families, churches, cities, countries and the world.
Isaiah has seen it all. Actually Isaiah is more than one person of more than one generation, so ‘he’ has seen it all through multiple generations, from before Israel was conquered and exiled to Bablylon, during the exile when most of the leaders were in Babylon, and when the exiles return to rebuild Israel. Isaiah starts early on with the vision of God’s justice prevailing, so that, even as Israel is under attack by it’s more powerful neighbours, war will not exist any more.
It’s quite the hope-filled vision, one that we can easily claim as our own still today. We are still caught in the turmoil, suffering, and destruction of conflicts. Evil seems to win at every turn, and the best people suffer injustices they do not deserve. Canada, so proud, polite, and reserved as it may have a reputation of being, is no exception. Evil abounds, corruption prevails, the unjust accumulate more and more … and more and more people suffer trying to live on less, many without enough to subsist on.
Jesus comes promising God’s future is now. People want to see that play out in their daily lives. First they want the Roman rulers to give them independence. Then they want the religious leaders to be replaced with truly faithful priests. And they want prosperity for all people.
So we today would still wish for ourselves. The names of rulers and corrupt religious leaders and evil-doers have changed but the ‘game’ of this cruel, short, and disappointing life are pretty much still the same.
Jesus’ promise, though, is not to bring all that to be. Instead, Jesus leads people to a reform that starts within.
For example, there will still be soldiers. The will be just, not corrupted, and be true peace-keepers.
All our roles in life will be similarly reformed from within. Instead of holding our own interests first, we will celebrate God’s blessings by sharing the basics of life with everyone, ensuring that all people more than subsist. All people will live abundant lives, able to share God’s blessings with their neighbours.
Today, how is the Holy Spirit reaching into our lives to reform our hearts to see not the cruel, short, and disappointments of life, but God’s abundant blessings freely showered on us all?
Will we spend today again chasing after ‘our fair share’ of the limited resources of earth and life? OR
Will we remember all we have is free gift from God and be ready and eager to share these blessings with everyone in need?
Today. It’s just 24 hours. Everything happens within 24 hours. Today is ours to do with as we choose. What will we choose to be and do in these hours?
It sounds like an onomatopoeia deleted expletive, but
it’s lots worse!
It will be a word that puts the fear in anyone hearing a drecho is approaching!
It’s just one new word that goes with an angry planet striking back.
The righteous flourish like the palm tree, and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the Lord; they flourish in the courts of our God. In old age they still produce fruit; they are always green and full of sap, showing that the Lord is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.
So you have pain now; but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.
Words of Grace For Today
Here it is again just like a storm that is about to level everything in its path: the righteous flourish and in old age they still produce fruit, always green and full of sap.
Well let me set the record straight. Yes, the Psalmist often gives great words of wisdom for us, but this! No. The righteous do not flourish, not like palm trees, not like cedars in Lebanon.
The righteous usually go down in flames as the world attacks them because we humans cannot stand to have someone around that is better than us. The righteous usually do not reach old age, so forget about flourishing in old age. It’s like being a bold pilot. Being righteous keeps one from getting old.
But take another step back: there really are no righteous people. We are all sinners, bound to sin no matter what we do and righteousness is only something God gives to us, substitutes for us ‘for the record’ even though the truth is we pretty much stank at everything we’ve done.
Or so our Lutheran faith might lead us to believe.
A bit more accurately we can say that no one is righteous on their own. Only by God’s grace do we do anything good. God’s grace abounds, so there are plenty of people doing good things. It’s just none of us are righteous apart from God working in us, and overall we remain sinners our whole life long, no matter what. No matter what!
So no one is righteous. Forgiven, Accepted, Adopted, Blessed, Loved, and Sent, but not really righteous.
One of the favourites sins of people (of all time, the Psalmist included) is to judge people, oneself included, and to come up with the results that I and mine are good enough to be righteous and them there over there, those other people are certainly not righteous. Us being righteous means we get to claim certain benefits, yada yuda, ladida yado.
There is, though, a promise in the Psalmist’ words, and it’s not to be missed.
As God makes us righteous, we are planted in God’s court, and even in old age, the God-made-righteous will still produce fruit (that is, good works by God’s grace!)
Lots of things go by the wayside and are lost as one ages. Don’t I know, as I struggle to run with pained knees before I remember (I used to know this without remembering) that I’ve given up running to preserve my health and ability to walk into old age (though I feel it’s more like a slide on a banana peel right through old age into the gaping wide and deep grave.)
It’s nice to know, actually it’s about as precious as can be, that God keeps the grace flowing into and through us even as we age. Grace is not something we lose as we age, since it’s not dependent on us, but comes from God.
Jesus broadens the promise. Life is tough and there will be lots of pain, like in the knees and everywhere including the poor old heart ticking away -only sometimes taking a break for a few minutes to rest. – Through all the pain we shall survive and come to see Jesus again, and have our full joy returned to us.
That I can go for
and trust no matter what comes my way, even a drecho.
God knows there is enough shtako and sin coming right at me!
And at all of us!
Only because God by grace makes us righteous, we know to say:
God is our rock, and there is no unrighteousness in God.
That has to be more than enough to start off a new day!
Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has he in anger shut up his compassion?’ Selah
And I say, ‘It is my grief that the right hand of the Most High has changed.’
But law came in, with the result that the trespass multiplied; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more!
Words of Grace For Today
That sums up much of the evil that we encounter in life, whether we are the cause or others are the cause.
We cry to God, but it seems God does not answer.
[Selah is an unknown word in Hebrew that shows up as a refrain in the Psalms – ‘God be gracious!’ or ‘God hear us!’ … or it may mean ‘so it is’ … or it may just mean ‘Sigh!’ or some other onomatopoeia.]
There is nothing more hurtful than to have all the evidence before us that God has turned from us and condemned us, that God has ‘forgotten to be gracious and in anger shut up his compassion!
Were God to abandon us to our own ways and means and the Devil’s guile, deceptions, and seductions there would be no rescue, no respite, no release from such a terrible state.
In all circumstances, though, no matter who convinced we are otherwise, God does not abandon us. From all evil and the hurt it does to us people, God still reaps greater demonstrations of grace. While we dig ourselves deeper and deeper in the muck of life, God shows how powerful Jesus’ saving love is for us. God’s love is always more powerful than any evil we can make or be subject to.
A young man pulled a 32’ foot bumper pull camper in to the random camping area a few nights ago. He tried to pull it on the ‘Low Road’, through trees and turns that no one has ever even tried to pull a camper except for the first 30 feet, and that only with a 12’ camper. He did not smash the camper sides against any tree, though. Instead he caught the roots of the first tree with the hitch jack, bending it back 30⁰. Which means he probably did not have a weight distributing hitch in place. He left the foot by the root where it was ripped off the jack. The propane tanks were taken off and the regulator left hanging in disarray. The battery was missing as was the cover to the battery case. On one side half the lug nuts were missing on one wheel, and the lug nuts were loose on the other wheel (one barely still on it’s lug). A support set of boards, screwed together for stability was dropped 100’ away.
It had all the signs of being a stolen camper, though the young man and woman returned last night at 3 am, and ‘parked’ their big Ram truck next to the camper where they had left it, backed into Lake3 or Wet3, which is always soggy unless it’s near drought conditions. When they tried to pull out with the truck the front end sank into the soggy grass covered ground and (from the hours of the truck roaring ways) they spun it deeper and deeper into the muck.
This morning the truck sits on it’s oil pan and lower frame under the engine, a jack is set up half way back on one side, rocks and branches are on the ground or poked into the holes made by the wheels. A straight edge shovel stands poked into the soft ground.
He needs it lifted off the frame or a big tow truck to pull him out. By grace there are people who will help him, people who have big equipment. People who once helped me out of my folly of trying to pull a camper through soft sand. I had three days more to work my way out of that and the winch pulled the camper and truck back up on top the sand and out. The truck and camper were not bottomed out, though. I had enough sense not to keep spinning the wheels when there was no movement forward or back.
When we try to get ourselves out by spinning our wheels, they act as little shovels, round and round they go, digging a deeper hole in the muck of life, sending us deeper and deeper.
Our only hope is help, help sent by God.
Love is more powerful than Evil.
God’s creative power flows through the universe, like a great big tow truck and winch, pulling us up out of the muck, healing and restoring us. The greater the mess we get ourselves into the more obvious the power of God’s great love becomes, as we are set free.
God’s right hand has not changed, neither God’s left.
Grace brings renewed life to us, every day and every moment that we need it, often before we know we need it so badly.
Be of good courage today, this is (another of) God’s time with us!
Save us, we beseech you, O Lord! O Lord, we beseech you, give us success!
Now may the God of peace, who brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, make you complete in everything good so that you may do his will, working among us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Words of Grace For Today
What is success, that we ask God for it?
To save us is clear. We are in trouble (what’s new, mostly of our own doing) and we’ve exhausted our own ideas on getting ourselves back in the clear, so we turn to God, our last hope and refuge.
But to ask for success! That’s another huge step up the rung of audacity in begging from God!
Success as a Christian has always had the colour of offering oneself to follow in Jesus’ footsteps, which leads to a cross and sure death. Which, for most people, looks quite different than the success that we humans pursue in our short, cruel, and brutish existences on earth. Do we intend to ask for this success, that our lives be offered as a sacrifice so that others may live. NOT usually, unless …
unless the Holy Spirit guides us to understand and live out the love by which the world will know the followers of Jesus. This love is unconditional, self-sacrificial, life altering, powers undermining, universe transforming, living water love.
When that is the love we indeed live then the whole world is changed for us. The New Jerusalem is arrived and we are at home in it, and God dwells with us, and
wonders never cease.
For God has indeed made us complete in everything good so that we may do God’s will.
Examples are endless through the history of the saints.
Consider Chai-Shin Yu, who is an ordained (Korean) Presbyterian pastor and professor of Korean culture and religion as the University of Toronto. In 1950 the North Korean Communists invaded South Korea. Chai-Shin Yu, then a student and heavily involved in church work, managed to hide for some months, knowing that as a Christian he was a prime suspect. In September 1950, S. Korean and United Nations troops landed in Inchon Harbor and the N. Korean soldiers began to prepare their retreat. Yu was apprehended by the Chief of the Communist Intelligence Bureau and so began days of interrogation and torture. Finally, along with others, he was taken to what he was sure was the execution ground, for he could hear gunfire. Instead, he and the other captives were forced to carry arms & supplies for the retreating N. Korean soldiers! Day after day they were forced to carry heavy burdens, ever on the lookout for strafing American planes.
By early October they were deep in the mountains. They began to come upon wounded Communist soldiers abandoned by the side of the road. One wounded soldier was staring vacantly, his leg covered with clotted blood. But he seemed familiar, and Yu stopped to look in his face. He recoiled; it was the Chief of the Intelligence Bureau! “Move on,” Yu told himself, but a voice within replied, “no, his life can be saved if he gets some help.” So Yu argued within himself, until a voice said, “But don’t you believe in Jesus Christ? He told you to love your enemy. What would Jesus do if he were here?”
The Chief finally recognized Yu as the reactionary he had planned to kill. He closed his eyes, expecting to be killed in revenge. But Yu said, “Get on my back.” The argument raging inside him was resolved. After some persuading the wounded Chief crawled on his back. Yu’s feet were blistered and bleeding from 150 miles of dreadful walking, and he was exhausted. But he gritted his teeth and kept on. Once he tripped & they both fell. The Chief finally broke the silence. “Friend,” he said, “you know that I hated you and wanted to kill you, don’t you?” “Of course I do.” “Then why are you going to all this trouble to save me? All my fellow soldiers have deserted me. Why are you trying to save your enemy?”
After a long silence, Yu said, ” Love is stronger than hatred. Even though you planned to have me killed, I still love you. Love is stronger than death. I hate your hatred, but I love you as a person” The man wept and confessed, “I have killed so many people. I don’t deserve to be saved.” And they wept together.
They Yu took the Chief up again & moved on. Ten miles down the road he found an ambulance being repaired, & arranged to have his passenger taken to the Pyongyang Military Hospital. The Chief protested, “I won’t go to the hospital. I’d rather stay with you and die. Where ever you go, I want to go with you.” But Yu forced him into the ambulance. “You ought to live,” he insisted.
By the end of October Chai-Shin Yu & the others had walked 200 miles. During an attack by American paratroopers he escaped & walked all the way back to Seoul, and eventually was reunited with his family. (Source Unknown)