Psalm 23: 3b
He leads me in right paths
for his name’s sake.
This little snippet of the Psalm packs a powerful punch. God want to help us make right choices. If only we would spend time in prayer and listen to God. We don’t take the time and we wander off in the wrong direction. God wants us to behave in such a way that others will say “I want to be like you are. You are an example that I want to follow.” This is what brings people to God. Not the sermons or lectures about God but our behavior. Our actions are the things that influence others.
God, you will show us the right paths if we listen. Help us to be the example of your path in the world. AMEN
1 The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures;
This is probably the most loved Psalm. I have always found these beginning verses intriguing. “He makes me lie down in green pastures.” The word “make” implies that there is some coercion to get this to happen. It seems that we don’t want to. If you think about us humans this makes sense. We just keep going. We don’t want to let go. Yet God is telling us there is time for rest and we must use it. He does not mean watching TV or running a marathon. He was us to “lie down.” He not only wants us to lie down but in green pastures. A real resting place. One that requires us to rest our bodies and our minds. Remember this!
Lord, you want us take real “down time.” Help us to remember that we must have that refreshment of our souls. AMEN
11 Do not be far from me,
for trouble is near
and there is no one to help.
Some prayers begin “Intimate, infinite God. God is both with us every moment and a God beyond our understanding. He is always there for us. There is always help at hand. Depend on it!
Amazing God, you are always present for us during the good and the bad. Thank you for loving us so much. AMEN
6 But I am a worm, and not human;
scorned by others, and despised by the people.
7 All who see me mock at me;
they make mouths at me, they shake their heads;
8 “Commit your cause to the Lord; let him deliver—
let him rescue the one in whom he delights!”
Times are changing. Belief in God used to be the norm. Now we are sometimes mocked for our faith. We are treated with disdain. This is the time to hold fast. Time to strengthen our faith and depend on our God.
Dependable God, we trust in your love. Help us to withstand the pressures from outside and remain steadfast in you. AMEN
Psalm 22: 1-22
1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning?
2 O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer;
and by night, but find no rest.
This Psalm is used during lent. It is a cry for help. We also cry out to God for help and we don’t always see an answer. It is one of the difficult things that Christians deal with. Why would a God who loves us so leave us to suffer? It seems that either God is not there or not answering. I wish that I had a perfect answer to this problem. I don’t but I do trust that God loves us and wants the best for us. The best may not be what we expected.
I heard about a minister who was dying with a very painful disease. Everyone was praying for him to be spared. It did not happen. What did happen is that the pain stopped and the last days of his life were blessed to be pain free. For this he thanked and praised God.
Sometimes the answer to our prayers is not what we asked but it always is the answer of our loving God.
God of mercy, we know you hear our prayers and love us beyond measure. Help us to not expect to know all the answers. AMEN
7 Some take pride in chariots, and some in horses,
but our pride is in the name of the Lord our God.
8 They will collapse and fall,
but we shall rise and stand upright.
Some take pride in houses, some in cars, some in clothes, some in jobs, some in money. There are so many things out there to lure us away from what is important. Our culture expects us to want possessions. Those things will go away. As some say “you can’t take it with you.” But God’s love can never go away.
God of our fathers, help us to ignore the lures of possessions and remember what is important. AMEN
14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable to you,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
A lot of preachers use this verse before beginning a sermon. I imagine that most of the time they have a plan about what they will say. That is not always true of the rest of us. Too often we don’t think about what we are saying. The words just rush out and we often wish we could take them back. Our hasty words can injure others. My father used to say “put your brain in gear before you put your mouth in motion.” Wise words indeed.
Patient God, help us to think before speaking so that our words can be acceptable in your sight. AMEN
7 The law of the Lord is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the decrees of the Lord are sure,
making wise the simple;
8 the precepts of the Lord are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is clear,
enlightening the eyes;
9 the fear of the Lord is pure,
the ordinances of the Lord are true
and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey,
and drippings of the honeycomb.
God’s desires for us have always been there. Here they are in David’s words.We are so blind that we don’t see the truth. We don’t see how to live a life of love. Finally he sent us an example whose life we are to emulate. Do we get it yet?
Lord, open the eyes of our hearts. AMEN
Psalm 19: 1-4
1 The heavens are telling the glory of God;
and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
2 Day to day pours forth speech,
and night to night declares knowledge.
3 There is no speech, nor are there words;
their voice is not heard;
4 yet their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.
Everything is praising God. How wonderful if we could hear it all. The trees, the grass, the flowers are all crying out in praise. All the animals and insects. All things are praising God. Where are we in all of this? We go about our day and forget. We don’t join our praises with all the rest. We must praise and thank God!
Patient God, help us to remember to praise you at all times. Help us to join our voices with the rest of the earth. AMEN
Psalm 16: 11
11 You show me the path of life.
In your presence there is fullness of joy;
in your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
It is so easy to expect to find our happiness in the things of the world. The truth is our happiness is found inside us. It is in our ability to appreciate the things we have and know where our security is. By giving our life over to God we can rest in his promises. He doesn’t promise us things but his presence. He promises a full life and peace. Sometimes is it hard to see that in the midst of the turmoil of everyday life. Reach for God in your distress. In him there is joy and love.
Loving God, you have given us so much. Help us to seek you in all that we do. AMEN