Marvelous, Infinite, Matchless Grace

Today is Wednesday, the seventeenth of March, 2021, in the fourth week of Lent.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,015

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.


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



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.


Of David.

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)


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.
(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.

Stone of Help

Today is Friday, March 17, 2017. Seventeen days until Opening Day!

Quote of the Day

“Decisions are made by people who have time, not people who have talent.” ~ Scott Adams, Dilbert, 10-26-07

Word of the Day

Effulgence ~ radiant splendor: brilliance. Reminds me of a poem I once heard.

“My heart,
Tis grown a bulge in it
Inspired by your beauty,
Effulgent” (William the Bloody)

Since celebrating “World Sleep Day” is pretty much out of the question, we will celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. St. Patrick is probably the most well-known of the patron saints of Ireland, and this is his day. To celebrate, we wear green. And somehow, a lot of beer got thrown into the mix.


Oh, fear the LORD, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack!
Psalm 34:9
Be to me a rock of refuge, to which I may continually come; you have given the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress.
Psalm 71:3
But I, O LORD, cry to you; in the morning my prayer comes before you.
Psalm 88:13
And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
Luke 9:23
The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away. 
Who considers the power of your anger, and your wrath according to the fear of you? 
So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.

Psalm 90:10-12

(From Daily Guideposts 2017)

Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen and called its name Ebenezer; for he said, “Till now the LORD has helped us.”
1 Samuel 7:12

Carol Knapp gives a brief summary of the story behind the above verse. Israel had been invaded. The ark of the covenant had been stolen and resided at Kiriath-jearim for twenty years. In 1 Samuel 7:3, Samuel told the people, “direct your heart to the LORD and serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.” All of Israel put away their false idols and gathered at Mizpah to pray. The Philistines decided to attack them at Mizpah. Israel continued to pray. Samuel prepared a lamb for a sacrifice. As Samuel made the sacrifice, “the LORD thundered with a mighty sound that day against the Philistines and threw them into confusion, and they were defeated before Israel” (7:10) Then Samuel placed the stone and named it “Ebenezer,” which means “stone of help.”

Carol writes of naming three boulders that surrounded a fire pit that they had. “The flat one was Sky for times of lying back and searching out God’s wonders in the sky. There was Story, a perch for the telling of tales around the fire’s embers. Sparrow got its name from a little fox sparrow that landed there, reminding me of Jesus’s words about His Father’s knowing even the sparrows (Matthew 10:29-30). Those rocks later became a circle of meeting where I cried out to God for help in a fierce battle of the soul.”

The stone in Samuel’s story is not the “main attraction.” It stands for God’s deliverance, which is the main attraction. Our lives can be full of such “Ebenezers,” if we simply pay attention. “Rescues from fear, sorrow, failure, disillusionment, regret–the list as elastic as human frailty.” Our “stones of help” stand firm.

I’ve never named a rock; never even considered it. I do have a memento, however, in a box in the garage, that represents the power of God’s love to me. Once upon a time, standing between some giant pine trees in the front yard of my Grandmother’s house, I asked God if I was really his child. His response was a flood of love so strong that I almost couldn’t stand it. It was as if he reached down and hugged me. I looked down and saw what I guess is a feather from a Blue Jay. I have kept that feather ever since, as a reminder. That feather is a “stone of help” to me. I didn’t name it, but that’s okay. I know what it stands for.

For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as the LORD our God is to us, whenever we call upon him?
Deuteronomy 4:7
Be to me a rock of refuge, to which I may continually come; you have given the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress. 
Rescue me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked, from the grasp of the unjust and cruel man. 
For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O LORD, from my youth.

Psalm 71:3-5

Father, you have, indeed, rescued me from many crises in my life. You have rescued me from fear, sorrow, failure, disillusionment, even regret. I praise you for your mighty hand in my life. For you are near to me, and all I need do is call out to you. Forgive me for when I’m too stubborn to do that, for the times when I think I can handle whatever happens on my own. I pray that your Spirit will make me more attentive to those “stones of help” in my life. Keep the eyes of my heart open, that I might see them every day. You are my rock of refuge, my rock and my fortress. I dwell in that fortress, O God! You are my hope and my trust.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

“Sorrowing I shall be in spirit,
Till released from flesh and sin,
Yet from what I do inherit,
Here Thy praises I’ll begin;
Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.” (Robert Robinson)

Grace and peace, friends.