Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – Sept 30

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Leaves of Gold

Leave it all up to God

Psalm 116:10

I kept my faith, even when I said, ‘I am greatly afflicted’.

James 1:12

Blessed is anyone who endures temptation. Such a one has stood the test and will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

Words of Grace For Today

Enduring temptation and keeping faith even during affliction; these things are ours to strive for in response to God’s Grace that gives us life, now and for eternity.

Here the half-faith concept of our relationship with God is presented: we do right then God rewards us with the crown of life. This is not faith based on Grace, or on Christ’ Cross.

This is like receiving an inheritance from one’s uncle who one did not know about. The inheritance comes at a time when financially one is about to sink into oblivion and likely death. It provides a better standard of living than one ever dreamed of.

Thereafter one lives striving to do the right things according to the dead uncle’s wishes, though one does not know exactly what they were since the will did not make any demands or requests. It just provided the inheritance.

One strives and tells everyone, including oneself, that since you have kept worthy of you uncles’ wishes, you have earned the inheritance, therefore you deserve it and need not share any of it with others.

We are the poor nephew, given the best inheritance. We are adopted as children of the living God, the creator of the universe.

Now, we are not clueless about God’s wishes for us. God calls us to imitate Jesus’ generous, unconditional, universal love for other people, especially our enemies, our neighbours and ourselves. Jesus lives a full life of sacrificial giving and healing others. We are empowered by the Holy Spirit to actually imitate Jesus. One our own it would be hopeless, but with the Holy Spirit giving us everything needed to imitate Jesus, we work the work of the saints.

What a life!

It is as beautiful as nature at the turning of the seasons, as gold carpets our paths and all our ways.

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – Sept 29

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Trees Reflecting the Light,

See Through the Trees

to the Living Water

Zechariah 8:19

Thus says the Lord of hosts: The fast of the fourth month, and the fast of the fifth, and the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth, shall be seasons of joy and gladness, and cheerful festivals for the house of Judah: therefore love truth and peace.

John 8:32

You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.

Words of Grace For Today

When people wish to deceive in order to gain and maintain power, wealth, status, and position, truth becomes relative to one’s perspective, because the actual truth cannot be admitted. If it were all the falsely gained power, wealth, status, and position would be lost.

In war the first victim is truth.

In greedy business practices in a world based on greed there can be no truth except what is made up to be claimed as truth after the fact.

Truth is a double edged sword, it cuts down everyone living out of lies, and on the back swing lays to waste everything built up based on those lies.

I’ve always had a hard time believing people actually expected others to accept as truth the lies and deceptions they practised and presented as truth. Yet not only do they expect, they demand, and even threaten ruin or death to those who do not accept their lies a truth.

From lies comes death to the one who lives by them. First comes death of one’s own soul, for there is no integrity between creation, one’s actual history, and what one claims supposedly happened. The gaps grow and rip apart one’s soul. One walks, breathes, and appears to live, but one has sacrificed the soul of one’s existence, the essence of being alive. One walks through life a shell of a full human, rotten in the core with a thin veneer of life surrounding one’s dead innards.

As one loses one’s soul one loses connection with God’s creation, which as an embodied human, a child of God, is one’s connection to God and to other people, as one of God’s creatures.

Quickly one becomes entrapped by one’s own lies as one caught in quick sand, until eventually the lies rule one’s life, relentlessly and ruthlessly.


What is one to do, if one has so died and yet still walks and breathes, or if one’s loved ones have chosen this path of walking dead, serving greed, money, power, or position, instead of acknowledging our place in God’s creation as one of God’s creatures?

The sad truth of human existence is that every person at times and in various ways sinks into living out lies that at first seem to be to our advantage, but then cost us everything good about being human.

How can one be freed from this enslavement to lies and falsehoods, to evil?

The first thing to do is pray.

The second and ongoing thing to do is seek out truth, absolute truth, in God’s Word and among God’s people, good people who strive to live by truth. Seek with all our being the truth of God, and the truth of God’s Grace for us creatures, and the great possibilities for our response to such prodigal dealings with us!

The Truth is that Jesus brought and brings to us, of God’s attitude towards us and all people being fundamentally Grace, bought at God’s Son’s own life. This is an absolute truth. No relative factor applies or can be applied to it. Jesus welcomes us though we do not deserve it at all. Jesus welcomes all people, tax collectors in his time like liars of all times. As Jesus has paid the price for us and all our sins, God frees us from our captivity to all sin, including our lies.

This is true freedom.

Then by Jesus’ invitation we get to be gracious (on behalf of Jesus) with all the people we encounter, especially those we would normally ignore or discredit.

The Truth sets us free, to be the kind of people God created us to be; to be kind people, filled with gratitude and grace for all the people we meet.

When we know this Truth, then even in months of fasting, and doing without, God blesses us and calls us to share the blessings joyfully with others.

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – Sept 28

Monday, September 28, 2020

Golden Light

Precious, Long Awaited, Saviour

All Around With Us

Ecclesiastes 12:1

Remember your creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come, and the years draw near when you will say, ‘I have no pleasure in them.

John 1:45-46

Philip found Nathanael and said to him, ‘We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.’ Nathanael said to him, ‘Can anything good come out of Nazareth?’ Philip said to him, ‘Come and see.’

Words of Grace For Today

To find something precious is a wonderful thing.

To find someone whom you’ve waited a long time to find is a life changing marvellous thing.

To find the one promised to bring God’s Promises to fruition for all people since times of old is fabulous, and even out of this world.

Knowing whom one is looking for is a place to start, so that when it comes time that one may meander down the right back alley and find this precious, this long awaited, or this Saviour of creation one would even know what one has found.

It’s like panning for gold. It sure helps to know what gold looks like before one spends a few years panning through tons of rock and sand looking for paydirt.

It is best, when one is looking for something precious, someone long awaited, or for the Saviour of the universe, that one start when one is young, for learning what these things are requires a young person’s fortitude, strength and quickness. It’s awkward in old age, when arthritis sets in and everything hurts when one moves, to have to run quickly through the gamut of possibilities in order to know what is precious, awaited or able to save creation.

After one, in one’s youth, has diligently sought for what is precious, whom is to be long awaited, or who can actually save creation, it is in one’s old age, when most of life is already spent, that one realizes the simplest and most common things are precious, like smiles and kindness. It is then that one realizes that the long awaited person is one that has always been there with you, and waiting is not what counts, nor in the finding, but rather it is in sharing kindness with that one becomes the one who is precious.

In one’s old age it is then that one realizes that the one who has saved creation, for it has already been accomplished, could not ever be found. For this one has walked with you from the earliest days of your youth through each day even into one’s old age when time moves so fast and things take so long to accomplish.

The Saviour of the Universe is the Creator of the Universe, is God’s own Son, Jesus. We need never say, ‘Come and See,’ for God is already here to be seen, known and heard.

Open your eyes and God can be seen. Open your ears and God can be heard. Open your heart and you will know God has been and ever will be with you.

No one is alone, not even with Covid 19 self isolation, for God is with us.

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – Sept 27

Sunday, September 27, 2020


Little White Water

A pleasant water wave for children of Grace

Psalm 98:2

The Lord has made known his victory; he has revealed his vindication in the sight of the nations.

Acts 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

God’s day of victory is a great day to celebrate,

for those whom God claims as children.

It is a day of reckoning and defeat for those who stand against God, for those who live a faith based on hate of others (the victims vary), for those who claim they make their own way without God, for those who have chosen their own rewards at the cost of others’ well-being and even lives, and for those who serve the Devil in so many a various ways.

Repeatedly God gives cause for celebration to God’s people as God opens up their understanding of God’s Grace to include more and more people, until all are included … or excluded by their own choices.

As the forecast has held steady in its predictions of strong winds, gusting winds, white water waves whipping winds, destructive winds the actual wind has been a light breeze or at most a steady, small wave making wind.

During these days I have taken particular notice, and been particularly grateful, for in preparation for the climate change’s last-year’s-extreme-become-this-year’s-normal storm and the new extreme storm, I’ve worked on setting two tarps to provide shelter in new ways. The work would have been challenging to design and construct with dried lumber of my choosing and materials that are offered for sale in any lumber yard store. I have none of that at hand. Only a few old tarps made from the skins of long since useless insulated tarps from which I’ve pulled the innards to work as insulation elsewhere and the dead trees killed by last winter’s thaw and freeze cycle.

I cobbled one tarp into place rather quickly earlier this week. It covered a nice area high enough plus about 6 feet. It has a nice airy feeling under it. Then there was only one day of winds 20 and 40 km/h gusting to 40 and 60 km/h. It whipped that tarp madly, snapped multiple strands of twine and even rope, and pulled stakes right out of the ground laying part of the tarp back down on the ground. I modified it for a temporary fix so that it would not all be ripped and shredded into nothing useful and waited for the winds to subside.

The forecast predicted strong winds with gusts for the next day as well. In the calm that came I was up a 12′ ladder made from 2×4’s long ago, with a chainsaw in hand, trying to delicately modify the top of a vertical support miscalculated to be a few feet too high to best withstand the winds, dragging tarps over new supports while standing a precarious perch 16′ feet in the air, and tying together tarps that are only tentatively anchored in place. Any strong gust could have put me on the ground, with a chainsaw running, or a small piece of twine wrapped around my hand or whatever.

I have been amazed how inaccurate the forecasts have become with climate change wildly playing havoc with historical precedents. These day’s I’ve been thankful, at least that the wind is not been as forecast.

Today, the tarps are in place, tied well (I hope), and staked solid. Now the winds are stronger, though still not the high gusts that were forecast. It’s a great test of the modified and improved protection by old tarps.

God’s Day of Vindication and Judgment is like that: we predict it to be ferocious, and destructive of many things we hold dear.

Those who dwell in the Word of Jesus, the Christ, have become accustom to Grace being God’s way with us, at the most unexpected times. It blows through us as a gentle breeze, in the quiet of calm, with the fragrance of fresh life.

God’s day of victory is a great day to celebrate,

for those whom God claims as children.

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – Sept 26

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Sun and Lake Reflected Sun

God’s Light

Reflects in All Creation

Jeremiah 30:11

For I am with you, says the Lord, to save you; I will make an end of all the nations among which I scattered you, but of you I will not make an end. I will chastise you in just measure, and I will by no means leave you unpunished.

2 Timothy 4:16-17

At my first defence no one came to my support, but all deserted me. May it not be counted against them! 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

Facing one’s sure end, due to enemies’ work against us though we are innocent, is about as dire as life gets.

To live,

To know God was with us,

To know God is with us,

To know God will always be with us,

To know that even if our enemies succeed in taking our life, we will live!

This is to know Grace.

And even under such threat, we live abundantly, blessed, breathing in the Spirit, and proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ, even for our enemies.

Just another day.

Tomorrow is another,

which will be filled


wonder and miracles and God’s presence revealing the marvels of the universe.

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – Sept 25

Friday, September 25, 2020

Long Way to the Light!

Covid 19, like most viruses,

sleeps fine when frozen, in stasis,

waiting to thaw and live down the road

to surprise you!

Psalm 119:165

Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble.

Colossians 3:16

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God.

Words of Grace For Today

Love God’s Law and you will have peace, for nothing will make you stumble, and let Christ’s words dwell in you, teach and admonish each other all wisdom, and with grateful hearts sing to God!

All this is providing care for ourselves, though none of it earns us God’s favour or Grace. God promises us God’s favour, righteousness in God’s eyes, even though we certainly do not deserve it. What God gives us we do not and cannot earn. It is all free gift!

Then we get to respond. That’s our time for loving God’s Law, and letting Christ’s word dwell in our daily lives, as we teach and admonish one another (note that it’s mutual, not an authoritarian telling others what is right or wrong – that kind of judgment is God’s and God’s alone.) The great thing we get to do (actually one of so many great things we get to do) is to sing.

Covid 19 is transmitted by micro-droplets of breath, and singing produces lots of them and spreads them great distances, much greater than 2 metres! So we do not get to sing in large groups. Not until the pandemic is finished.

Just because stupid people say they are not worried about Covid 19, or they are going to live, or they are done with it, does not mean Covid 19 is done with us. Singing in groups for now is just stupid. As is coming close to strangers when it is not at all necessary. Or shaking hands with strangers. Or not wearing masks and face shields (oh, that’s right, hardly anyone wears a face shield!) Or not leaving in ‘isolation’ purchases for 3 days before handling them, and refrigerated or especially frozen items should be washed with a strong bleach solution. (Cold and frozen temperatures preserve the virus, and waiting three days for something in the freezer does no good for letting the virus die of its own accord. Warm up that frozen or refrigerated item and bingo bango splat – any virus on it comes back to life to infect you.

All the precautions that we can take are good. Learn a few more each week and add them to your fall repertoire, before the 2nd wave hits us harder than the 1st!

It’s a long haul discipline, not a short sprint. So take care of you and yours. Make new connections (physically distant.) And sing. Go into the bathroom, turn on the ventilation fan and sing your heart out! Go outside on a windy day or a great distance (at least 10 metres) from others and sing your heart out. Who cares what people think! We all know we need to sing with grateful hearts every day.

Teach, learn and admonish one another to take new precautions and keep the old ones. Practice them more diligently. Voluntarily shrink the size of you ‘cohort’, which means start keeping 2 metres apart from people who used to be in your cohort, wear masks and wear them correctly! (how many people do I see wearing them not over their nose, not even over their mouth! or handling them as if they could never be full of the virus!) even at home except with the smallest number of people possible (your children and spouse, for example,) and buy a face shield and start using it, use hand sanitizer right away after every time you touch anything that could be contaminated, and frequently all through the day, at every transition. You know the drill. Practice it without one leak in the guard between you and Covid 19.

Be smart. Be wise. Be patient. Be kind. And this thanksgiving and every one from now on you will still be able to celebrate with the ones you love, knowing you did not kill someone else with your reckless or just sloppy Covid 19 prevention practices. Covid 19 prevention practices are part of God’s Law: Do not Kill.

Rather be at peace, knowing you have done everything possible and wise to keep you and others safe.

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – Sept 24

Thursday, September 24, 2020

We bear fruits

unless the stress of life puts us down,

like this once beautiful birch.

Jeremiah 6:13-14

For from the least to the greatest of them, everyone is greedy for unjust gain; and from prophet to priest, everyone deals falsely. They have treated the wound of my people carelessly, saying, ‘Peace, peace’, when there is no peace.

Luke 6:44-45

Each tree is known by its own fruit. Figs are not gathered from thorns, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. The good person out of the good treasure of the heart produces good, and the evil person out of evil treasure produces evil; for it is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks.

Words of Grace For Today

The good person … produces good and the evil person … produces evil.

Forest Gump quotes his mother: “Stupid is as stupid does.”

We like to paint the world in black and white, good and bad, yes or no. Binary absolute polarized categories are simpler to describe, identify, and judge. Polarized thinking is dangerous, and destructive to others and ourselves.

Christ calls us to a different view: He ate with sinners and tax collectors, welcoming in the women of ill-repute, the lame, the outcast, and even lepers.

Martin Luther clarified for us the view of humanity that Jesus calls us to embrace: that before God (in the ultimate judgment of us) we are all sinners, always, forever.

Only through Grace does Jesus step in and give us his impeccable record, not only before God, but also as the record we can live with as our past as we move into the future! Thus we are God-made saints.

Sinners we remain, God makes us saints, and it’s not sometimes one and then other times the other. We are simultaneously both saints and sinners. That goes for every last one of us! No exceptions for good or bad behaviour.

Pen-ultimately (of a 2nd order of significance) we know that how we live our lives effect others who live now on this earth and those who follow us. In other people’s eyes we can be seen to do good things, and be judged as a good person, OR to be seen to do bad things, and be judge as a bad person.

These orders of significance, the ultimate judgment of God, and the penultimate judgment of history about our lives, are not ours to make. There are other lower orders of significance where we may be able to judge ourselves as going good and being good, or as doing bad and being bad. They are the level at which we can understand Luke wrote about people being like trees: we produce the fruit that is of the kind we are. This image breaks when we realize that God made us all ready, able, and eager to only do good; yet we broke from the kind of people (‘trees’) that God made us to be, we sinned, and we have done evil things.

Jeremiah writes how everyone (but not Jeremiah or God’s faithful few) is greedy for unjust gain; and from prophet to priest, everyone deals falsely.

Sometimes it seems that everyone else has become evil. In a world economy that is based on greed it is difficult to see anyone conduct business not based on greed. Laws are written to ensure that CEO’s conduct business as greedily as possible for the shareholders.

In this messed up world, it is easy to see and to say that everyone has become greedy, taking from others what is not ours to take.

Stupid is as stupid does and everyone does stupid. There is no evil that is not stupid, yet not all evil is stupid. (Some stupid is not evil, it’s just stupid.) So perhaps better said: stupid evil is as stupid evil does, and everyone does stupid evil.

Saints are a miracle. Only by God’s Grace is anyone able to be seen as a saint, in spite of their stupid doings.

Only the paradox that Luther provides covers it: we are all simultaneously saints and sinners. God creates us Good. We all choose to be stupid by our (fallen) nature, and only by Grace are we ever made wise.

Thanks be to God for saints, like us. And Grace be to those terrible sinners, like us.

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – Sept 23

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Fall Arrives with Colours

in the Light.

There’s old stories in all that.

Isaiah 25:8

He will swallow up death for ever. Then the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces, and the disgrace of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken.

2 Corinthians 5:4

For while we are still in this tent, we groan under our burden, because we wish not to be unclothed but to be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.

Words of Grace For Today

In a word it’s done: God swallows up death, wipes our tears away, takes away our disgrace from earth!

While under this tent (the firmament, the sky) we groan burdened down. We wish not to be disgraced further by being stripped of everything of life. Rather we wish to be robed in Christ’s glorious robes, so that what is mortal, frail, and failing (sinful) in us will be swallowed by God’s Word, which gives us and all creatures and plants life, and indeed brought the universe to exist in its good order from nothing.

There is disgrace before other people, sometimes deserved, more often fabricated by others to destroy innocent people. This is difficult to bear, until one realizes that the fabricating of disgrace 1) has been going on since the first generation, 2) it does not constitute actual disgrace for us, but 3) it does constitute real disgrace for those who fabricate disgrace for us. Still this disgrace is a terrible burden to bear.

In the scheme of the universe created in good order disgrace before others (real or fabricated) is nothing compared to disgrace before God. Fabricating disgrace for others is only one way in which so many disgrace themselves before God. The Devil has his wiles in endless variety.

While disgraced before others we groan with the burdens of trying to survive each day. We seek relief in so many ways. So many require that we throw off life, what little we have left, and throw away all that is of value and joy in this mundane world. As if disconnecting ourselves from our bodies, from the grass, trees, and lakes and oceans, from other people whom we love and whom love us, and from other people who suffer like us and so much worse. Tossing away life given to us by our Creator cannot give us life. This is another wile of the Devil. It merely furthers our disgrace.

Disgrace seems to swallow up all of life, before others, and before God. Death pales in comparison and merely gives relief from disgrace.

God does not leave it to be so. God speaks a Word. With a Word (of might beyond our imagining) God removes our disgrace from all creation. God robes us in Christ’s glorious robes of unconditional love. Death is swallowed up by God’s giving us re-newed life, life in Christ’s name.

With a Word. God speaks and it is so.

Human masters can speak words and order others to make it so. God speaks and all of creation is so.

More power cannot be.

And this power clothes us in Christ’s righteousness, covering our sins, our disgrace, freeing us from disgrace fabricated by others, and we are able to engage fully in life, for ourselves and more. We are able to follow Christ, sacrificing all we are and have and can do in order that others will hear this Word of life.


This is the old, old story of Jesus and his love.

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – Sept 22

Tuesday, September 22, 2020


No Matter How Dark the Days

Christ’s Light Shines Each Day

Psalm 13:2

How long must I bear pain in my soul, and have sorrow in my heart all day long? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?

John 16:33

I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world!’

Words of Grace For Today

It is good to know that Jesus has won the war, because our enemies certainly seem to be winning a lot of battles, even when I refuse to fight any battles.

Now the Psalmist knows exactly what it is like, not just for me, but for so many people through the generations: our enemies seek the destruction of whatever and whomever gets in their way in order that they can pretend to be powerful, powerful enough to make their way without God. Once they start to ‘win’ by destroying others, they seem not to be able to stop.

This is the persecution that followers of Christ have faced in every generation.

Our hope is sure. Christ has conquered the world, and more so, Christ has conquered death!

What is a series of battles lost, when life eternal awaits us? Certainly we can survive …

though today in the middle of these huge losses, it feels more like the world comes to an end, at least for us already today.

Thank God, we are not on our own.

Through all our pain and sorrow, through all our persecution, we know we are not alone.

God is with us.

With God we can hope to survive these trials and persecutions.

With God we can hope with a sure hope that ALL God’s promises will come to pass, including that our enemies will be defeated, not by their defeat. Rather by the Holy Spirit transforming them into followers of Christ.

In the end, since Christ has conquered death and the world, everyone wins. Finally we will win, in God’s way of giving life abundant for all. We win life now and eternally.

For today we pray, and struggle to remain filled with gratitude.

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – Sept 21

Monday, September 21, 2020

Golden Sun

Living Water

Beauty and Life Forever

Psalm 88:9-10

My eye grows dim through sorrow. Every day I call on you, O Lord; I spread out my hands to you. Do you work wonders for the dead? Do the shades rise up to praise you? Selah

John 17:15

I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one.

Words of Grace For Today

Water. It is the basis of life, the cleanser, the thirst quencher ….

What can we do when our eyes water with tears of sorrow?

What can we do when we call on God, with upraised hands … and yet there is no answer.

What will come of us when there is no more life in us?

We will no longer be able to call on God, nor will God be able to answer us.

So while we live … yes, while we live we call upon God for all good things, with hearts filled with gratitude, and hopes of high expectations for all that God has promised.

The real challenge of life is not mere logistic chaos to organize, or engineering problems to designed to a resolution, or stories of lives that have gone amok, and not even the real lives that the stories represent. The real challenge in life is to face, with almost no expectation of relief, the deepest depths of the Devil’s work. For we knowing we could only be lost if we are left on our own.

Yet, there is no danger, for Christ is with us, not to take us out of the world to another place. No, Christ has stood with us each hour as the Devil works his terrible wiles, and protected us, and given us the best that life has to offer: Living Water. This is the water that quenches all thirst in life, and gives us life so abundant it carries us beyond all imagination.

Each day, drinking in the living water, we call upon God, knowing that Jesus hears our every word and the Holy Spirit guides us to be all that we can be, as God’s children.