Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Cast thy burden upon the Lord

Pile your troubles on God’s shoulders - he’ll carry your load, he’ll help you out. He’ll never let good people topple into ruin. (Psalm 55:22)

Kind Father, I cherish that verse. The Message seems to best capture the intent of “cast your cares on the Lord” and St. Peter distills the invitation:

Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you. (1 Peter 5:7)

…but I can’t seem to internalize this scripture. We are in a constant tug of war. I gratefully pile my troubles upon your broad shoulders - for a little while - and then I retrieve them. Why is that?

Maybe I’m not the good people noted in the Psalm, merely a part-time Christian. And I fall into that enticing trap of self-sufficiency, my strength rather than yours. And I make decisions without listening for your guidance, asking you to bless a path already chosen.

Lord Christ, I’m a slow learner. Explain it to me once more - that part from the Sermon on the Mount about the carefree birds of the air and lilies of the field:

If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers - most of which are never even seen - don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes. (Matthew 6:30-34)

Lose the guilt. Loosen my grip. Listen to the Spirit. Live by faith. That’s the cure for worry. Amen. 

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Friday, February 8, 2013

Guard Your Heart

As Valentine's Day nears it's appropriate to pray for your heart - not medically or romantically - but spiritually. In scripture, our heart is the muscle of faith. Elaine Storkey, writing for Scripture Union, explains that the heart is our source of wisdom:

The heart is where we gain understanding and where we make our response to God. That is why the psalmist asks God to search his heart (Psa. 139:23). We are asked to guard our heart (Prov. 4:23), to apply our heart to understanding (Prov. 2:2), to keep God's precepts in our heart (Psa. 119:69), and to love God with all our heart (Matt. 22:37). In the Bible, wisdom and understanding do not begin in the mind but in the heart.

Let's pray for hearts that beat for Christ, pure and strong:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart…
(Matthew 22:37)

Your words, Jesus. You want my heart, but other people and pursuits seem to claim my allegiance.

St. Paul prays for me across the millennia: I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. (Ephesians 1:18)

King David pleads on my behalf: Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139:23-24)

King Solomon makes an appeal: Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. (Proverbs 4:23)

Protect my heart, Lord Christ, that I may claim my inheritance of hope and power. Amen.

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