Tag Archives: proud

Straying from God’s Commands

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Psa 119-21 scroll

Straying from God’s Commands

We come to the abbreviated end of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s meditations on Psalm 119. Verse 21 was the last of these short comments into Psalm 119, the longest psalm in the Bible. I wish Bonhoeffer had been able to write more, because I get such insight from him. (both into his heart as well as into the psalm) Bonhoeffer truly loved the Word of God. With this acrostic psalm praising and lifting up God’s Word in every verse, it is little wonder that Bonhoeffer should have been drawn to it.

This verse 21 is a bit of a downer—more than a bit, actually. Let’s take a look at it:

You have rebuked the insolent;

Cursed are they who stray from Your commandments!

God hates the insolent, Bonhoeffer says. The self-satisfied, puffed-up ones. Even more, those “who care nothing for justice and mercy, who despise the Word of God and the faithful.” [1]

I get the feeling that Pastor Bonhoeffer really has distaste for these people. People who despise the God he loves and follows with all his heart, and who despise the Word of God and those who are faithful to that God, too. Bonhoeffer pins these self-satisfied people to the wall with a direct blow: “The cross of Jesus Christ, which shows that God is with the weak and the humble, is God’s rebuke to the insolent.” [2]

What a way to deliver an uppercut to the jaw. (Theoretically and metaphorically, of course.) Bonhoeffer truly believes that the cross of Christ is the remedy and the antidote to the insolent of this earth, humanity puffed up with pride and self-importance.

Of course, you and I know that oftentimes the innocent, the weak, the downtrodden are stepped upon by the powerful. These humble ones are wrongfully accused, oppressed, and abused. We see “the visible judgments of God remain hidden and obscure even for the faithful.” [3]

Yet…and yet…are these words only for others? Or, are the words of this verse for ourselves, too? Are you and I insolent, at times? Do you or I feel self-satisfied or proud? Do we stray from God’s commands—sometimes? I see myself in this mirror. Sometimes. Ah, Pastor Bonhoeffer, you have hit home. I bow my head, humbly asking God for forgiveness.

These words are so appropriate for this Shrove Tuesday, with Ash Wednesday tomorrow. God’s blessings to all as we start our Lenten journey to the cross, alongside of our Savior and Friend the Lord Jesus.



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[1] Meditating on the Word, Dietrich Bonhöffer, edited by David McI. Gracie. (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Cowley Publications, 2000, 133.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

In Which Friends Host A Bowling Fundraiser

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, June 23, 2016


In Which Friends Host A Bowling Fundraiser

I have a friend, Dilnaz. Her two sons are holding their family’s seventh annual fundraiser on Saturday here in the Chicago suburbs. A bowling fundraiser. This year’s charity is the Syrian Community Network. All proceeds will help benefit Syrian refugees in the Chicagoland area.

It began seven years ago. Pakistan had a drought, and this family wanted to help out, because of relatives there. One of their family friends suggested a bowling fundraiser – interactive and fun! I talked with one of the sons, Sawleh, who will be a sophomore at one of the local high schools. He gave me the background on this wonderful fundraiser.

The first year, their parents helped them with the fundraiser; in the following years, they said “you know what to do.” Sawleh said he and his older brother Mohsin have had excellent mentors. Mohsin said, “All proceeds go straight to the organization. Over the last six years we have raised over $50,000 to help people going through difficulties and challenges throughout the world. “

In past years, Sawleh and Mohsin’s family has donated to Oxfam, Water.org, Unicef, the Zakat Foundation, and IMAN Inner City Muslim Action Network. The bowling fundraiser gets the young people involved. During the fundraiser, there is a brief presentation on the charity of the year. It incorporates simple facts of how we all can help, physically and hands-on – not just writing checks

This fundraiser is a wonderful example of charity. This is the month of Ramadan, and charity is one of Islam’s best and most worthy deeds. Sawleh and Mohsin’s parents Dilnaz and Qaiser are very proud of their sons. The Syrian Community Network will appreciate the funds from the bowling fundraiser this Saturday.

May God bless the bowling fundraiser! I pray that Sawleh, Mohsin, their parents and extended family find much joy and fulfillment as they follow the way of charity, the best and most worthy of deeds. (The link to the bowling fundraiser’s GoFundMe page can be found here: https://www.gofundme.com/SCNfundraiserMW )


Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza  And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

Eyes Haughty? I Think That’s All Puffed Up.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, April 26, 2015

GENTLE be gentle with yourself

Eyes Haughty? I Think That’s All Puffed Up.

Too big for your britches? All that, and a bag of chips, besides? I suspect the psalm for the week is talking about exactly that.

As I read today’s lectionary passages, I couldn’t help but notice that thread in a few verses of the psalm text, Psalm 131. That was it. Just a couple of oblique allusions, but that was what I needed to hear.

All puffed up, proud and haughty. Sure sounds like someone seems to think very well of themselves. I don’t know whether you already saw a recent cartoon about this very attitude, but I think this attitude is definitely contagious. And discouraging to others.

Dear Lord, thanks for the cautionary word. Thanks for being there while I read the prayer book, Gracious God, help me to remember that You are a loving God, a powerful God, and a mighty God. No matter what. Amen, and amen.


Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And read #40acts sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .