He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber.
1 Corinthians 1:4-8
I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus, for in every way you have been enriched in him, in speech and knowledge of every kind— just as the testimony of Christ has been strengthened among you— so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Words of Grace For Today
As the challenges of every day and of facing corrupt and even evil people continues without end, there is only one security available to any person. This security is that God walks with us, guides us (as much as we listen), and protects us. Before God we need not fear anything at all. Given that assurance is there anything we need fear?
Yet, as the scheming is underway to blame us again for what we have nothing to do with as guilty people are let run free to commit crime after crime, one rightly fears both those who claim to be agents of justice, and those who openly declare with words and deeds that they have no concern for their crimes. For history has shown they run far from truth to find someone to blame, guilty or innocent.
In the end, the unjust and evil will answer to God’s justice. And we will live always walking with God at our sides, suffering with us, bringing hope into every situation. That security has no equal.
So we take this one day at a time, preparing for winter, justly hoping it will not be as hard as last year.
Thanks we give for all the gifts God gives us, as they provide us avenues to see God, right by us.
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?
For the Lord will not cast away his people, for his great name’s sake, because it has pleased the Lord to make you a people for himself.
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.
Words of Grace For Today
Bill sat next to Janet after their dance. They’d danced a dance each day together for the last year, after they were married, both in their late 60’s.
Remembering as Bill did how wonderful it was to be chosen by Janet so long ago on the floor of the High School dance, in the semi-darkness, so lonely, so frightening, so foreign. Then Janet came along. Janet who had dated Ted for as long as anyone in their class dated, until they’d broken up three months ago. That Janet, who’d he’d always watched and admired and wished he were Ted, until they broke up and Ted started dating Daniel and Janet dated almost anyone she wanted and not many were chosen. That Janet asked him if he would dance.
She said she’d been watching him. Watching him watch her. For years she had seen him. For years she had wanted to watch him, to ask him out. It was so frightening.
That had been the start of a whirlwind of wonder and a world that was so colourful Bill barely had time to catch his breath. Senior year, she said she wanted to be with him for the rest of their lives. A week later Bill had asked her to marry him. She had stood up in shock and walked off … and never came back.
That Janet now was his wife, and he was her husband, after two separate lives of joys and sorrows, wonders and such deep loses. And they danced.
Always one or the other would ask, ‘Since I have chosen you, will you dance with me tonight?’ And always the other answered, ‘Since I have chosen you, there is no greater honour than mine to be able to dance with you.’
So God asks us, ‘Since I have chosen you, will you dance with me today?’
You rule the raging of the sea; when its waves rise, you still them.
I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him.
Words of Grace For Today
Janet Rogner sat in her rocking chair wondering what had happened. Where had all the time gone? It seemed like yesterday that she and Ted met every day, sometimes on the lake, sometimes on the river, more often at school or on a date. Marriage, 2 kids, divorce, marriage and one more kid. That’s what they told her anyway. She did not remember any of it. They told her about the accident that killed her 2nd husband and 2 kids, and how it had left her in a coma for years.
She remembered Ted, but they told her he had died of a heart attack. They had reached out to his wife and two children. They came to visit, but she did not know them at all, even when the son reminded her of how Ted would twirl his finger in the air, like directing music. They said he went on to become a band director like his father, and more. He was an engineer of something called computer science.
She’d seen those things, computers. But they made no sense to her at all. They said they set her’s up to just listen and respond to her. So she swore at it nearly every hour. It still did nothing.
Now she looked in the mirror as the sun rose. Another day. Who was that old woman in the mirror anyway?
Then one day the storm gates broke open with memories that sent her scurrying for her bed, where she curled up to hide from them, from all the wonderful and beautiful memories, the challenges she and her husband and her friends had met with varying success, and then she remembered the old woman in the mirror and the accident and the deaths of her husband and her children.
It was days that she spent curled up, trying to hide from the pain. Until one day her son, Bill, walked in. She recognized him and he sat with her. He said he had come for years every week, but then he had to move for work and his wife’s job and his two children’s schooling, in computer science. And Janet remembered she had been good with computers, though she never had a degree, she knew more than most programmers and technicians.
They talked for hours, as Bill helped her remember things that were just on the edge of her awareness. He had to go but he came back then every day for a week and then once a week. The memories flooded in, like an angry sea in a hurricane at first, and then they started to organize, settle, smooth out. She started to dance in the morning. She swore at the computer, for the fun of it, before she sat down to type in her journal.
One day she saw a photo on line. It caught her, bounced her up out of her chair and tossed her back against the furthest wall. She didn’t know why. As the raging storm settled, she dared to look again. It was a photo of a lake, like the ones her family lived on through her High School years. Memories flooded in, of her mom walking with her and Bill. He was her first love. She’d never told her husband that is why she insisted they name their son Bill. Ted was earlier and Bill was everything to her, and then nothing but pain.
The love, the wonders, the fights, the break up and unequaled pain and chaos of life for months in her senior year in High School. She’d met her first husband, Greg, at a grad party and escaped into his life, but he turned out to be abusive and unfaithful. She stuck it out with him longer than she should have. He should have been in the car accident instead of her 2nd husband, Roger, and her kids should not have been there at all. But Greg would not bring the kids back after their visitation time with him, so Roger and Janet had gone to pick them up … and the drunk driver who rear ended them into the oncoming train brought them all to an end. Except Janet sort of survived in the storm of nothing remembered, loved or lost.
That weekend when her son came to visit, he brought his two grown children with him and their spouses and their little kids … and Bill said he had a surprise for her.
Her Bill from senior year in High School walked in and time stood still. He an old man. She an old woman in a rocker with her family all around. And she remembered before he spoke that she was the one who broke up with him because he would not marry her. She’d buried that for years through all that pain that it brought.
Her family talked. Bill talked. Janet sat stunned, quiet. Then Bill’s family, all ten of them came in. His wife had died decades ago. He walked with a limp, turns out from a surgery that was not quite successful. His grandchildren and great grandchildren danced and played and mingled with her children’s children.
Her son put some music on, one of her favourite waltzes. He danced with his wife. Then Bill asked Janet to dance. She caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror, smiling for the first time in so long.
Today, may the wisdom of God be yours, that you may dance and smile and remember all that God has shared with you, the sorrows and the joys, as the water laps on the shore of the waters of memories.
Sing praises to the Lord, for he has done gloriously; let this be known in all the earth.
Acts of the Apostles 14:27
When they arrived, they called the church together and related all that God had done with them, and how he had opened a door of faith for the Gentiles.
Words of Grace For Today
Wonders never cease.
Faith based on God choosing us and not them is supplanted by God choosing them and us.
That can be very disconcerting when one has built one’s life on the assumption that ‘we’ are so much better than ‘them.’
And there we are, no better than them, and all chosen as equals to serve God … by serving others.
Things get messed around, so much so that pretty soon we’ve gotten people messing it around every which way to re-establish that their ‘we’ is the only good ‘we’ and every other ‘them’ is just not really human. And what that leads to is chaos, with ‘white supremacists’ [and many other flavours of racially based supremicists], religious intolerance and fanatical condemnation of other genders, colour, races, religions, and you name it … in various and sundry ways used to legitimate denigration, oppression, and ethnic cleansing.
Wonders never cease, and God responds to all this with mercy.
So we can sing praise of God’s great works for all to hear. Not that God has saved ‘us’ and condemned ‘them’, but that God saves us all.
Opening the door of faith to Gentiles is just a small sign of God’s inclusive stance towards humans. God welcomes us all, loves us all, forgives us all and sends us all out to do the same for all others.
Another day, when wonders will never cease to amaze those with eyes wide open to God’s great works.
Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations.
So Jesus called them and said to them, ‘You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant.
Words of Grace For Today
Since the beginning of time, those who people have looked to rule them, to protect them, to keep peace within and without, have lorded it over them instead and given the better portion to their chosen supporters, so that they would remain lords, who could enjoy power and comforts taken from others.
Since the beginning of time nearly every person has prayed that they would be free from being lorded over by others. The greater the power one holds the greater it is that someone more powerful lords it over one. Until the most powerful, who is ‘answerable to those hidden powerful people’, and wishes to be free from that hold those behind the scenes have over them.
God provides a different vision of those who might lead, protect, and keep the peace, namely that those who are the greatest and most powerful will be those who serve others in all things.
So God’s chosen servant comes to bring justice, to free people from being lorded over by others. And Jesus points his followers to how greatness is measured in God’s Kingdom and among them: by the ones who serve others.
As always we think ‘those others’ are the ones who lord it over people and us, though in the privilege and comforts we enjoy (even homeless in the wilderness), we ‘lord it over others’ through the economics and world powers that provide us things like electricity, clean water, tools of so many kinds, decorations to life of more kinds, and places of relative peace. These we enjoy only because they are ‘taken’ or ‘kept’ from others in the world’s arrangements that favour us.
So we pray this day that we would be profoundly thankful for all that we have, from the bottom of our feet, to above our heads, from the first minute of the day in the midnight darkness broken by our electric lights, to the rising sun and the breakfasts that nourish us, to the high noon sheltered from intense weather, to the setting sun and the comfortable beds that provide us a safe place to sleep, and everything in between and beyond.
So we pray each day, throughout the day, for all things.
At the command of the Lord the Israelites would set out, and at the command of the Lord they would camp. As long as the cloud rested over the tabernacle, they would remain in camp.
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Words of Grace For Today
Nomads moving according to the command of the Lord, moving only when the cloud over the tabernacle disappeared.
Doing everything in Jesus’ name, and giving thanks to God.
As our days fill with challenges, rewards, chance goodnesses and grace, kindness, and the ever-present traps of evil, this is the difference between living abundantly and struggling every day: how do we approach each moment?
Do we taken on the challenges, temptations, and take in the joys, goodnesses, and graces with the assurance that God walks with us, so that for everything we can give thanks.
Do we see our demise threatened after the next corner that even joy can bring us to round?
This is life abundant:
To know we are not settled, not ever, in a security provided by our circumstances in this world.
To know that we move through this world even as we do not take direction from God, then God accompanies us down into the messes and hell-holes we create for ourselves or other toss us into.
To know that our demise is not the end, it is not to be feared, and in it God will gather us home, to a home with all the blessings and security we wished for in this life.
To know that until then we get to share with everyone God’s promise to walk with us and show us how love, grace, and kindness bring goodness to life even in the dankest corner of our lives.
Happy are the people who know the festal shout, who walk, O Lord, in the light of your countenance.
As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.
Words of Grace For Today
How are we to live in this world that feels so much like a hell hole so many days?
Well it’s like this man who walks down the street, trips and falls into an open hole and cannot get out because the sides are so steep. He calls out for help but no one seems to hear him.
Finally a very wealthy man comes by and stands at the edge of the hole. Hearing the trapped man’s plea the rich man throws down a fist full of money and walks on.
Eventually a doctor comes by and stands at the edge of the hole. Hearing the trapped man’s plea the doctor throws down a prescription and walks away.
That’s what so much of our days look like. Either we are in the hole, or we are trying to help people stuck in holes, but there really is little change from day to day.
We all just keep walking on.
But there’s more. There is the rest of the Hole Story.
Remember that man in the hole unable to get out. His sage continues after the rich man tosses in money and the doctor a prescription. A lawyer tosses down a brief. A drug dealer spills in some smack. Finally a farmer hands down a bag of produce. Some of that helps a bit, some certainly not.
Hours later a friend of the trapped man comes by and stands at the edge of the hole. The trapped man says with some relief, “Thank God you’ve found me. Find a rope or a ladder and help me get out of here.” The friend instead jumps into the hole.
See that’s the surprise that God provides for us each day. God sends good friends to jump right in with us, if they are not in the hole already!
The first man exclaims: “How stupid! Now we’re both trapped.”
We are right there, how stupid can God be to walk with us or send others down here. We want out, not company in the ‘hell holes’ we’ve gotten ourselves into. Then comes the next surprise.
God, like the friend responds, “It’s okay. I’ve been down here before and I know the way out.” (story told on West Wing by Leo to Josh dealing with post trauma syndrome after he was shot. 2007 reworked and added rich man. Edited 2022)
So Christ calls us forgiven sinners made saints to clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.
Then we will walk in God’s countenance and know the festal shout well, for each day will be a celebration of all that God can do in spite of us, for us, and through us for others. Each day is not like the last, except that God’s Grace abounds again and again, in surprising ways.
My people will abide in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting-places.
So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone.
Words of Grace For Today
While not quite homeless, nor quite housed, I live in a wondrous place.
I cannot say that it is a secure dwelling against the heat and cold and rain and snow of normal years, yet alone the extremes of climate change, nor that it is always a quiet resting place, with all the drunken, drugged up parties that slice the peace to bits each summer, or the threats that wander in where they do not belong.
I can say that this place is holy, consecrated, set aside for life.
While a citizen for decades, I seem to be a stranger to normal people, meaning people who use vague language and deception to cover the evil of their days. They remain strangers to me anyway, no matter how many of them I encounter, for I do not ‘get it’ that people proceed everyday so inauthentically, and then scoff and condemn those few of us who actually speak truth with regular precision and intention, and hear/read exactly what others produce as words … and are amazed at what people say that is so far from truth or even possible!
Thankfully I am also a long time citizen of God’s Kingdom, one of the saints. We are at home with Jesus the Christ and all God’s wonders.
This is the way to proceed through each day: thankful for God’s wonder-filled universe in which we, sinners so great, are made to be saints, and thus are able to see, hear, and trust the truth, the foundation of the universe.
Hear, O my people, while I admonish you; O Israel, if you would but listen to me!
2 Timothy 4:17
But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth.
Words of Grace For Today
God does not give up on us.
While we wander away and ignore all God would give to us as wisdom, putting ourselves first and leaving others to fend for themselves against hopeless odds, God still cries for us: Hear, O my people while I admonish you! If you would be listen to me!
When we tune our ears to hear God’s Word to us each morning, noon and night, it is full of surprises what we will hear. We thought we’d hear God condemning us and or others for all the dregs of sin we toss around, at each other and at the planet.
We thought we’d hear God demanding reparations.
We thought or rather fully hoped we’d hear God giving it to our enemies with lots of ‘smote keys’.
Doch, God is prodigious with love, forgiveness, and mercy, especially for the likes of us, great sinners that we are. Ready to deny it at moment’s notice.
And God is prodigious with love, forgiveness, and mercy for our enemies that we think are so much worse than we are.
Well, they may well be by some scale of measurement of terribleness, though that scale is useless or even hugely damaging in God’s world.
So God is merciful to us all, each as we require to hear that we are invited back to the table at the banquet. All of us ‘saved from the lion’s mouth’ as it were.