Tag Archives: Psalm

Thursday Prayer — July 17

If There Is Righteousness in Your Heart

If there is righteousness in the heart,CelticCross1
there will be beauty in the character.
If there is beauty in the character,
there will be harmony in the home.
If there is harmony in the home,
there will be order in the nation.
If there is order in the nation,
there will be peace in the world.
So let it be

—A Scottish Blessing

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God’s Handiwork

If we seek Jesus, the word, we must be able to see Him in the created things around us—in the hills, the fields, the flowers, the birds and animals that He created, in the sky and the trees. We must be able to see him in our contact with nature. Nature is no obstacle to our contact with Him, if we know how to use it.

— Thomas Merton

Seeing God in creation is very natural for some and most challenging for others. The early church had a real problem with pantheism- the worship of nature as God. Fear of pantheism, fostered by well-meaning Christians, tends to negate the contribution of God’s creation to our spiritual development. Merton asserts that the created earth must be a vital part of our pilgrimage.

His most important statement is that nature is not an obstacle to our contact with God if we know how to use it. An essential challenge for us today is to relate God to His creation without making His creation our god. Far too manySwamp Christians see creation care as contrary to their spirituality. There is an unmerited fear that truly seeing God in a sunset or a beautiful flower is contrary to orthodox Christianity. Next time you see something beautiful, give God the glory.

The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.

–Psalm 19:1

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Filed under Art, Creation, Environment, Nature, Thomas Merton

Psalm 23

Psalm 23


The Lord is my Good Shepherd


These words imply that I live in an unpredictable, frightening, and even cruel world where bad things can happen to me.

These words imply that in this life I will need a shepherd.

I will need God to come and find me when I have lost my way.

I will need God to comfort me when my grief is too great to bear.

I will need God to encourage me when I am devastated.

I will need God to protect me from others and from myself.

I will need God to know my name when I feel all alone.


Because the Lord is my shepherd – I shall lack for nothing.

Because the Lord is my shepherd – I have everything that I need.

Because the Lord is my shepherd – His grace fills in the empty spaces in my life:

·          The dreams that never came true –

·          The goals that were never achieved –

·          The people I have lost and never stop missing –

·          Those times when not one other person can understand the ache in my soul.


I instinctively retreat outside to feel His presence.

My soul craves the colors of the sky and the trees and the flowers.

The company of his creation calms my spirit.


As water keeps my body alive, God leads me to that which sustains my life and my soul.

He stills the chaos in my life as Christ stilled the storm on the Sea of Galilee.

God’s stillness makes the world livable and melts away my anxious fears.


When I am so busy that I neglect my soul – God restores me.

When I am so beaten up by the world that my soul feels lost – God restores me.

When I selfishly repress the spirit God has given me – God restores me.

When my soul is so diminished by my own sin that it seems it is almost gone, by His grace and through my confession and repentance – God restores me.




I learn to trust the path that God shows me

Even if I wander in a round about way, He will bring me back to that straight path, and I will end up going in the right direction.

As I walk my path in trust; others may be drawn to Him as they witness His faithfulness to me.

God’s name will be glorified.


I know this shadow.

I fear death, but the remedy to this fear is that I am never alone, especially at death.

Knowing death is so hard for me; God shared it and experienced it for himself in the worst way.

When I lose someone I love, this valley is one I must walk through.

It is not meant to be my permanent home, and I dishonor God’s plan to go through the shadow when I refuse to walk with Him.

Even if I am crushed by life, I cannot stay in this seductive shadow where it is hard to leave, but impossible to live.

I walk through the valley with the Shepherd.


This means evil is a reality.

This means that I will face it.

Because I am a Christian I am not exempt, actually I may be even more confronted with evil.

The promise is that God is real and He is with me.

He is on my side and that makes all the difference.

I am protected from evil.

Light always overcomes darkness.

Good always overcomes bad.

I have nothing to fear – God is with me.


The shepherd’s staff of God helps, supports, and disciplines me.

It gives me strength and help when I fall, and corrects my path when I stray.

The rod and staff holds me accountable and reminds me that some behaviors dishonor God’s spirit and are toxic to my soul.

It comforts me to have the surety that I am supported so that my soul is not diminished, and God is not dishonored.

The shepherd’s rod gives me assurance that God does provide justice in the world and that ultimately evil does not win.




In contrast to the people around me who have disappointed me, turned against me, even tried to destroy me, You, Father, prepare a feast of blessing and love and joy for me.

Your banquet of blessings is so much more nourishing than anything negative my enemies prepare for me, that I can move on in my life strengthened by your abundance, not weakened by cruelty or disappointment.


As ancient kings were identified as the ones chosen and set apart to serve your people by the anointing with oil, so have you anointed me to serve you.

By accepting your anointing, I also must accept the responsibility that comes with such a special gift.

Help me to live up to the calling you have blessed me with.

Remind me of my task when the world distracts me.

Remind me of my joy when I am discouraged.

Remind me of your presence when I feel alone.

Let me put my hand on my head and touch again the oil of your anointing when my responsibility to serve you overwhelms my soul.


My basic response to your grace is gratitude.

My thankfulness for God’s blessing is rooted in the sense that life is a gift and that all good things come from God.

For all the blessings you pour in my cup, Father, I thank you, even for those gifts I never recognize.

I thank you because life is often hard – you have blessed me with all I need, you have restored my soul over and over, you have guided my path, you have held my hand and walked me through dark valleys, you have protected and corrected me, you have prepared a feast of blessings to nourish my soul and you have called me to know and serve you.  Truly the cup of my heart cannot hold all these gifts.


Because you are shepherding my life, I will feel good about living.

I will recognize your goodness everywhere – in your creation, in your protection and blessings, in your provision.

Every place I turn, I will see your goodness.

Because you are shepherding my life I will recognize your mercy everywhere in your forgiveness, in your discipline, in my unearned love from you.

Every place I turn, I will see your mercy.

Because you are shepherding my life, I will leave behind me goodness and mercy.

It will follow me

·          as I stop wanting and start giving

·          as I take care of your world

·          as I accept your stillness

·          as you restore my soul

·          as I travel along the straight path

·          as I live out my calling to your work

·          as I trust you to protect me from evil and enemies and the dark, shadowy valleys of life

·          as I acknowledge your abundant blessings…

I will leave behind me a trail of YOUR goodness and mercy.

You will bless others through me and the shepherd will be glorified.


God’s promise to me is not immunity from this world full of struggles with hurtful people or fear or my own spiritual battles – even death.

God’s promise to me is a home – HIS HOME FOREVER!

No wandering aimlessly, no loneliness, no solitary battles, no unfulfilled needs…

He shares with me His Home – where there is:

·          No want

·          Green pastures

·          Still waters

·          Restoration

·          Straight paths

·          Light

·          Courage

·          Protection

·          Correction

·          Comfort

·          Abundant blessing

·          Calling

·          And…PRESENCE

The presence of the Holy, Almighty God – My Creator, My Savior, My Sustainer




(Some thoughts for Psalms 23 from reading Harold Kuschner)

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Psalm 23 Re-visted

Psalm 23 is one of the best known portions of scripture in the world. I have seen it expressed in many version, and the one below is a very thoughtful for today’s times. Perhaps y0u may want to recite it s few times today. 

The Lord is my pace setter . . . I shall not rush

He makes me stop for quiet intervals

He provides me with images of stillness which restore my serenity

He leads me in the way of efficiency through calmness of mind and his guidance is peace

Even though I have a great many things to accomplish each day, I will not fret, for his presence is here

His timelessness, his all importance will keep me in balance

He prepares refreshment and renewal in the midst of my activity by anointing my mind with his oils of tranquility

My cup of joyous energy overflows

Truly harmony and effectiveness shall be the fruits of my hours for I shall walk in the Pace of my Lord and dwell in his house for ever.

I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.

—― Mary Oliver

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Our Faithful God

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...

As Americans we tend to get the idea that we can do anything. It is sort of a vision of invincibility. After all we took the lead in WWII, put the first man on the moon, saw the Soviet Union fall, led the cyber age and have the strongest economy in the world. With all those things on our side what can be against us?

The world seems to be filled with hate for the USA. Our utter disbelief and horror as we have endured one shock after another. The time has come for us to take stock of ourselves, to look deeply into our beings and to find the root of our strength. Long ago the Psalmist said: –

A hostile world! I call to God, I cry to God to help me. From his place he hears my call: my cry brings me right into his presence—a private audience (the Message) Psalm 18:6

We now find ourselves in a situation where all our ready answers are failing to fill the bill. The only answer for us is to renew that great faith that is within us. It is God’s will to bring good to us all. God created everyone with great potential. He created us in his own image. -“to be a little lower than God.” -He will hear our cry in our darkest times and give us a private audience. The time has come to request that audience.

God calls on us individually to come to the realization that He is waiting to hear from us. If we all call upon the God of grace and peace to guide us in these strange times we will wake up to a radically changed world. . A world that is no longer at the daily mercy of terrorist but in the loving arms of the creator of us all. A creator that is capable of bringing love to the heart of hatred that drives the people who rob us of the peace that Jesus came into this world to give us.

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Filed under Conflict, Evangelism, Faithfulness, Love of God, Missional Living