Today is Wednesday, the seventeenth of March, 2021, in the fourth week of Lent.
Peace be with you!
Eighteen days until Resurrection Sunday
Today is St. Patrick’s Day. I will wear orange today, rather than green, because I am not Catholic.
S has successfully gotten her first dose of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine. According to C, Denton County has this down to an art at the Texas Motor Speedway. Everything is drive through, and you never get out of your car. The have about eight lanes, and hundreds of people on site. As expected, S says her arm hurts like crazy, this morning.
I see a TV show that I need to check out, on the SyFy (I have never liked that branding. . . looks like “siffee”) channel, called “Resident Alien.” It features Alan Tudyk, a favorite of ours because of “Firefly” and “Serenity,” the movie. So we will check it out. The premise, apparently, is that an alien crash-lands in a town and assumes a human identity to blend in. That’s all I know about it, so far.
We have thunderstorms in the area, this morning, and the temps will remain in the sixties all day, dropping down into the mid to lower forties, overnight. Nice Spring-ish weather. Spring officially begins Saturday, the twentieth of March.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
Giver of all good things, we thank you: for health and vigour, for the air that gives the breath of life, the sun that warms us, and the good food that makes us strong; for happy homes and for the friends we love, for all that makes it good to live. Make us thankful and eager to repay, by cheerfulness and kindliness, and by a readiness to help others. Freely we have received; let us freely give, in the name of him who gave his life for us, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen. (Giver of All Good Things, Thomas Ken (1637-1711)
Though we are overwhelmed by our sins, you forgive them all. What joy for those you choose to bring near, those who live in your holy courts. What festivities await us inside your holy Temple.
(Psalms 65:3-4 NLT)
Today I am grateful:
- for the forgiveness of all our sins
- that You chose to bring me near
- for Your marvelous, infinite, matchless grace
- for the admonition to not worry about what others do, say, or think
- for the admonition to walk by faith, not by sight
Scriptures and Prayers from Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year
LENT – DAY 25
The Lord is . . . patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
(2 Peter 3:9 NIV)
Take a moment to consider that you have been chosen to draw near to God; enjoy His presence and ponder His forgiveness.
Vindicate me, LORD, for I have led a blameless life; I have trusted in the LORD and have not faltered. Test me, LORD, and try me, examine my heart and my mind; for I have always been mindful of your unfailing love and have lived in reliance on your faithfulness.
(Psalms 26:1-3 NIV)
I wash my hands in innocence, and go about your altar, LORD, proclaiming aloud your praise and telling of all your wonderful deeds.
LORD, I love the house where you live, the place where your glory dwells. Do not take away my soul along with sinners, my life with those who are bloodthirsty, in whose hands are wicked schemes, whose right hands are full of bribes.
(Psalms 26:6-10 NIV)
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
(Ephesians 2:1-10 NIV)
DWELLING: SILENCE AND MEDITATION
As I enjoy the quiet presence of my Father, through the Son, and by the Spirit, I read the passages again, slowly, reflecting on any word or phrase that draws my attention.
In Ephesians 2, one of my favorite combinations of words in the whole Bible occurs. Granted, there are a few words between them, but the meaning is still the same. In verse 4, we see, “But . . . God.” Those two words together change the world; they change everything; they constitute, as it is popular to say in today’s culture, a “game changer.”
Paul has described our “pre-Christ” condition. Then he says, “But . . . God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ.” Aren’t those some of the most beautiful words you have ever seen?
And it all comes down to, as Paul says later on, to grace, that most marvelous of words. Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace.
Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,
Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt!
Yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured,
There where the blood of the Lamb was spilled.
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin!
Sin and despair, like the sea waves cold,
Threaten the soul with infinite loss;
Grace that is greater, yes, grace untold,
Points to the refuge, the mighty cross.
Dark is the stain that we cannot hide;
What can we do to wash it away?
Look! There is flowing a crimson tide,
Brighter than snow you may be today.
Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace,
Freely bestowed on all who believe!
You that are longing to see His face,
Will you this moment His grace receive?
Father, I praise You that You, in Your infinite mercy and grace, chose to make us alive with Christ. I owe everything to You! Help me to walk in that truth today!
Saving Lord, you save me from sin by Christ's death, but you also raise me with him to a new life. Because I am grafted into Christ, strengthen me this day to walk in that new life, producing good fruits of gratitude. Amen. (Heidelberg Catechism 64)
The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.
(Numbers 6:24-26 NIV)
Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load.
(Galatians 6:4-5 NIV)
A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.
(Proverbs 14:30 NIV)
Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before. Then people who are not believers will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on others.
(1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 NLT)
For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind.
(James 3:16 NLT)
Some good, and pointed, words, this morning, to remind us to mind our own business and not worry about other people and the things they do. The Internet and social media have made it all too easy to do the opposite in our culture. Everyone has their noses in everyone else’s business. The biggest recent example of this is, in my opinion, Oprah’s interview with Harry and Megan.
Maybe, just maybe, we in the U.S. should clean up our own backyard before we start trying to “fix” the U.K.?
Father, help me to live in this day, not by sight, the things I see, but by faith, the things I cannot see. Help me to not be concerned with what others do, say, or think, but only about the things that I do, say, and think. All glory to You, Lord!
Lord, I lift up all governments and leaders in this world, this morning. I pray for the unique needs of each people group, and ask for wisdom for all who are concerned with meeting those needs. I lift up the entire, ever-changing continent of Europe to You, today, that they would feel Your presence in their lives today. Let even those who do not acknowledge Your existence get a glimpse of Your grace, mercy, and glory today. I also pray for the homeless in every community, Father, that people who have resources would band together and work out ways to provide homes for the homeless, as well as mental assistance, where needed.
I pray for peace in our nation, peace in our world. I pray for racial injustice to end, and I pray for the pandemic to be over. Above all else, though, I pray for Your will to be done, on earth as it is in heaven. For Yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
(Romans 12:12 ESV)
Grace and peace, friends.