Devotions From The Book Of Psalms

Kyrie Eleison (Psalm 6)

by jpserrano on January 24, 2017 · 0 comments

“I am weary with moaning; every night I flood my bed with tears; I drench my couch with weeping.  My eyes waste away because of grief they grow week because of my foes.  Depart from me, all you workers of evil, for the Lord has heard the sound of my weeping. The Lord has heard my supplication; the Lord accepts my prayer” (Psalm 6:6-7a,8b-9 NRSV).

There are periods, sometimes long stretches, when all we can do is despair. We like the psalmist flood our bed with tears, drench our couches with weeping. We find ourselves in the mire of pain, hopelessness, and doubt about our current situation and we struggle with hope for the future. These low periods are not to be avoided. We need to enter into these places and deeply feel the pain of our circumstance. It is counterproductive to the well being our souls to cover over, push down, or ignore the darkness we’re in.

Jesus himself entered into despair before his crucifixion. He asked the Father, “If it is possible, let this cup pass from me” (Matt 26:49). Jesus wanted out of his situation but in great strength acknowledged that God’s will comes first. But, his submission was not without pain. Scripture tells us, “In his anguish [Jesus] prayed more earnestly, and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down on the ground” (Luke 22:44).

Let us never gloss over the fact that our Lord, God in flesh, was in anguish. “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted” according to Isaiah 53:7.

But, we must not hold on there. It is not healthy for our soul, nor is it productive for the Kingdom to stay in the trenches of hurt, doubt, and despair. Jesus himself entered into the darkest of humanities terrors, but he didn’t stay. He moved from death to life. His way forward is now a marked path. But, it’s not of our own volition that we come out from the suffering. We cry Kyrie Eleison, Lord have mercy, and because the Lords accepts our prayers, he will lead us out of it.

The hope that Jesus offers is that it will not always be this way. There will be an end to sin and their will be an end to the pain that sin brings.  In Jesus there is hope that we are not stuck but moving from death to life.

God, help me to look towards you in the midst of my pain.  Pull me out of the depths, and lead me to the way of your Kingdom. Amen.

 

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Independence and Dependence (Psalm 5)

by jpserrano on June 4, 2013 · 0 comments

“But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love, will enter your house, I will bow down toward your holy temple in awe of you. Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness.” (Psalm 5:7-8a, NRSV)

Dependence is a difficult thing to internalize because we are constantly pushed toward independence. For Americans independence seems to be the highest ideal. It is sung about in our national anthem, it is spoken of in national debates, and it is hailed on July 4.

From childhood we are rightly reared from dependence toward independence, but in adulthood dependence is seen as an arrested development.

Yet the Psalmist example shows us that dependence is the way of faithfulness. He cries out, “through the abundance of your steadfast love.” The Psalmist can act only because he is dependent on God as the originator of his action. He cries out, “Lead me, O Lord…” God acts first, and then continues to show the way. The way of faith is not independence but dependence that God will act first.

We are dependent from birth moving toward independence but we are called to move back to dependence in faith.

The way of faith is to rely on God as the first actor in our lives. God is the one who gives us trust. It is only through God’s abundant love that we are able to enter God’s presence. We need God to lead which means we rely on God and not ourselves.

The maturing of faith is the move from independence to dependence. We must abandon ourselves in order for faith to take hold.  God is there to catch us when we give up our independence and depend solely on Jesus.

Ultimately, God empowers us through steadfast love and we receive that love through dependence.

Holy God, remind me of my dependence on you, my neighbor, and your creation.  Create the faith within me to put myself aside and trust in you. Amen.

-jpserrano

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Set Apart (Psalm 4)

“But know that the Lord has set apart the faithful for himself; the Lord hears when I call to him.” (Psalm 4:3, NRSV) God takes notice of those who are faithful and sets them apart for God’s purpose. This is humbling and truly Good News for those who trust in God. Some may have a […]

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The Source Of Help (Psalm 3)

“You, O Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, and the one who lifts up my head.” (Psalm 3:3) Some things never change. We get the same message today as the psalmist received thousands of years ago. “There is no help for you in God” (Psalm 3:2). Today, we hear from assorted places that […]

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Taking Refuge (Psalm 2)

“Happy are those who take refuge in Him.” (Psalm 2:12, NRSV) Those who put their trust in God have a contentment that is rooted from the outside. God as one’s source of life is always renewing and giving. That person who believes in God has a spring that pours into their lives refreshing the soul. […]

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Sinner & Saint (Psalm 1)

“Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or take the path that sinners tread or sit in the seat of scoffers…” (Psalm 1:1, NRSV) Often i’ve read this psalm and thought, “Yes, I will not take the advice of the wicked, or follow sinners, or be a scoffer.” I prayed […]

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