Bible Book: Psalms

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When Ash Wednesday Falls On Valentine’s Day

In Psalm 103 there’s a profound relationship between our dustiness and our belovedness. Because God loves us, God sees us in all of our sinful, mortal dustiness, yet has compassion for us. Therefore, when we think of love as an attribute of God, we can make a connection between Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day. When we receive the imposition of ashes and hear it said, “You are dust, and to dust you will return,” yes, we’re reminded of our mortality. But we can also remember that God has compassion for us because we are dust. God’s love for us, the powerful, deep, abiding love revealed through the cross of Christ, is right there with us in all of our dustiness.

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A yellow rubber duck with big lips on a red background

Oh, Be Careful, Lips and Heart

The Psalmist is viewing God as his source for personal discipline in the middle of his circumstances as he asks God to discipline his speech and his heart. 

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A man standing and praying with his head and arms against a row of lockers

The Sacrifice of Brokenness

It would be easy for us to assume that what we offer to God when we have sinned is not only our sorrow, but also our intention to do better. We might think, “If I promise that I won’t sin this way again, then God will forgive me.” But Psalm 51 offers quite a different perspective. Notice that the sacrifice acceptable to God is “a broken spirit, a broken and crushed heart.” We don’t come before God with our lives all put together. We don’t come even with our hopeful promises to do better in the future. Rather, we come in our brokenness and pain. We come acknowledging how messed up we are and, therefore, how desperate we are for God’s mercy and grace.

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A heart locket padlocked to a fence over a river

Inner Work and Inner Renewal

Psalm 51 reminds us that honest inner work will help us to see things in us that are not so pretty, things that need cleansing, and ways in which we need spiritual transformation. Inner work doesn’t focus only on such things, of course, but it mustn’t neglect them either. The good news is that God will help us, not only to identify ways in which sin has corrupted our hearts, but also to have our hearts renewed by God’s grace. 

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A woman sitting outside at a cafe working on a computer

Inner Work, Truth, and Wisdom

The “personal process of ongoing inner-work” isn’t something we do by ourselves. Psalm 51:6 reminds us that God teaches us wisdom in our secret hearts. Thus, on the one hand, God helps us to identify and root out false beliefs through a variety of means, including the study of Scripture, Christian community, reflection, prayer, and experience. On the other hand, God teaches us the truth about the world, ourselves, and God’s own nature. As this happens, God also gives us the wisdom to know how best to use this truth in our life and leadership. 

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A sign reading "Repent: Say Jesus I'm a Sinner Please Come Upon My Heart and In to My Body And All That I Am" on Salvation Mountain, Calipatria, United States

The Inner Work of Repentance and Self-Discovery

Psalm 51 provides a striking example of a certain kind of inner work. In this psalm we see David dealing, not only with his sinful actions, but also with his sinful heart. When we have done what is wrong, we have the opportunity to do the inner work of repentance and self-discovery. But this sort of work takes courage. The Spirit of God will help us to deal honestly with both our actions and our hearts.

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Reflecting on God’s Wonders in Difficult Times

In times of crisis and suffering, our reflections will not be easy. Sometimes we may even doubt God’s faithfulness. But Psalm 77 teaches us to reflect, not only on our difficulties but also on God and God’s wonders. Sometimes we’ll sense a tension between our current experience and what God has done in the past. That tension may even seem irreconcilable at times. But remembering God’s gracious actions in the past will reassure us even when our questions remain. 

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A woman looking sadly out of a window through the blinds

Reflecting in Difficult Times

Psalm 77 is one of the most intensively reflective of all the psalms. It is also stunningly honest in expressing the psalm writer’s pain, doubt, and lament. This psalm reminds us that honest reflection will sometimes take us to unsettling places. But, as we’ll see tomorrow, it doesn’t leave us there. Still, the example of Psalm 77 encourages us to reflect honestly about all of life, even the difficult parts.

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The Weary Worker Rejoices

I am weary and so are you. I learned why from a treasured mentor. “The pandemic was not one crisis,” he explained, “it was four crises. We experienced a health crisis, an economic crisis, a racial crisis, and a political crisis all at the same time.” The crises washed over us like waves.

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Bunches of grapes hanging on the vine

Workday Prayers: Celebrating God’s Blessing in Our Work

We work in response to God’s blessing.

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A woman sitting in bed late at night in the dark working on a laptop

Workday Prayers: Worshiping Work

Our work can become an idol, something we worship rather than a way for us to worship God.

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Dawn breaking over a river

When the Soul Watches for Him, Part 2

The soul that is reminded by the word will point to life and light worth waiting for—light worth watching for in the darkness.

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A neon sign that says "Waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting"

When the Soul Watches for Him, Part 1

Out of an abyss of sorts the Psalmist makes a song of ascent.

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A father or grandfather holding a toddler on the beach

Workday Prayers: Seek God’s Presence Continually

God is present as you work. Pay attention and you’ll see God’s face.

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A reindeer in a stream

Workday Prayers: Celebrating God’s Work

God’s work satisfies us, fills us, nourishes us.

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