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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Today’s Reading | Psalm 33

Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous.
     Praise befits the upright.
Praise the Lord with the lyre;
     make melody to him with the harp of ten strings.
Sing to him a new song;
     play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.

For the word of the Lord is upright,
     and all his work is done in faithfulness.
He loves righteousness and justice;
     the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord.

By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,
     and all their host by the breath of his mouth.
He gathered the waters of the sea as in a bottle;
     he put the deeps in storehouses.

Let all the earth fear the Lord;
     let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him.
For he spoke, and it came to be;
     he commanded, and it stood firm.

The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing;
     he frustrates the plans of the peoples.
The counsel of the Lord stands forever,
     the thoughts of his heart to all generations.
Happy is the nation whose God is the Lord,
     the people whom he has chosen as his heritage.

The Lord looks down from heaven;
     he sees all humankind.
From where he sits enthroned he watches
     all the inhabitants of the earth—
he who fashions the hearts of them all,
     and observes all their deeds.
A king is not saved by his great army;
     a warrior is not delivered by his great strength.
The war horse is a vain hope for victory,
     and by its great might it cannot save.

Truly the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him,
     on those who hope in his steadfast love,
to deliver their soul from death,
     and to keep them alive in famine.

Our soul waits for the Lord;
     he is our help and shield.
Our heart is glad in him,
     because we trust in his holy name.
Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us,
     even as we hope in you. (NRSV)


I was surprised to learn that the quote “God helps those who help themselves” is not found in the Bible. So it comes as a relief to me, a person of flaws and insecurities, to know that God is not a weapon-wielding, guilt-dispensing stern-disciplinarian, lecturing us and demanding we “suck it up” and “move on!” God comes to us with love and gives us not necessarily what we want but the help we need.


Dear God, when I am at my lowest and most vulnerable is when I am most reluctant to ask for your help. Due to my own folly at what I may have brought upon myself, grant me the faith to know you want to help me. And despite the fact, Lord, you want me to learn from my own mistakes, you will not abandon me but will stay with me and show me how to grow. Thank you for promising to be with me. I welcome your help today and every day. Amen.

Written by Louis K. Houkal Jr., member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

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