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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Thursday, October 10, 2019           

Today’s Scripture Reading | Psalm 111

Praise the Lord!
I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart,
   in the company of the upright, in the congregation.
Great are the works of the Lord,
   studied by all who delight in them.
Full of honor and majesty is his work,
   and his righteousness endures forever.
He has gained renown by his wonderful deeds;
   the Lord is gracious and merciful.
He provides food for those who fear him;
   he is ever mindful of his covenant.
He has shown his people the power of his works,
   in giving them the heritage of the nations.
The works of his hands are faithful and just;
   all his precepts are trustworthy.
They are established forever and ever,
   to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.
He sent redemption to his people;
   he has commanded his covenant forever.
   Holy and awesome is his name.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
   all those who practice it have a good understanding.
   His praise endures forever. (NRSV)

The psalmist created a poem that happens to address those times when we are feeling scattered with demands of everyday life, to bring us back into focus on what is most important: praising God. These words can instill new confidence and a sense of peace knowing we truly need not worry, as we are always loved and supported by God.

This year my husband and I have made big changes in our lives. We both retired, we sold our home, moved into temporary housing, and then moved across the country to a new home in a new town and into the next chapter of our lives. With these major themes there were many details and frequent sleepless nights making mental (and written) lists, prioritizing, worrying about missing something important, and managing an underlying anxiety of the unknown path we chose to travel. Often it seems overwhelming.

But reading this psalm is as if the psalmist is tapping me on the shoulder, reminding me what is most important and bringing clarity to my life. It reminds me to acknowledge God with praise and gratitude for the resources God has made available for me, as well as you, offering just a few of the major ways God has impacted all of us.

The writer extols us to understand that God is way bigger than we are and that to fear God is respectful—a wise and healthy way to live.

Dear God, you gave us these wonderful words. You gave us your Son to be our example. Guide me back to this song when I am unfocused, when I am fretting and unable to prioritize, that I may sing your praises freely and joyfully today and forever; in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Written by Ann Murray, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

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