Tag Archives: self-righteous

Keeping Pure through God’s Words

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, November 9, 2017

Psa 119-9 young man, words

Keeping Pure through God’s Words

How to stay clean? Pure? Unblemished? The psalmist of Psalm 119 says it’s by reading God’s words. Paying close attention to what God’s words have to say.

The more Pharisaic part of me says, “Of course! That is what we all need to do. What we all should do!” (Notice the “we” in this statement. Almost as bad as “you.”) That’s the elder-brother part of me, the righteous, goody-two-shoes part. Or—is it the self-righteous, judgmental part?

Let’s look at the verse for today, verse 119:9 –

How does a young man cleanse his way?

By keep to Your words.

The version I am more familiar with talks about the psalmist keeping “his way pure.” Very similar wording. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer says, this is not “the question of an older person looking at the evils of youth. This question grows out of personal experiences of temptation and personal encounters with the Word of God.” [1] This is certainly from a young man (as evidenced by vv. 99-100 of this same psalm).

Ah, but I am willful and prone to wander. So often, I am determined to do it my way! I know I am a great example of the younger brother from the parable from Luke, the Prodigal. (At least, I was a great example, some years ago. I like to think I’ve cleaned up my act a little bit.) There is a part—an uncomfortably large part—of me that sticks out my lower lip, crosses my arms across my chest, and turns away. Pouting adolescent, much?

Ah, Pastor Bonhoeffer, I admit it. I admit I do not want to learn about life and guilt from personal experience. Yet, how can I not help it when I run off the rails sometimes? Yet, “in asking the question about the cleansing of his way, [our psalmist] acknowledges the sin that dwells within him. Otherwise he would not need to ask.” [2]

Yes, indeed. Like the psalmist, I badly need God’s help to stay clean. Only God can help both of us, me and the psalmist, deal with sin. (Maybe God can help you, too.) God and God’s words can lead us and give us grace, day by day. One day at a time. Thank You, Jesus!



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

Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

[1] Meditating on the Word, Dietrich Bonhöffer, edited by David McI. Gracie. (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Cowley Publications, 2000, 114.

[2] Ibid, 115.

Praying with the Gentle and Lowly

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, August 27, 2015

God greater than our problems

Praying with the Gentle and Lowly

Another night of Evening Prayer, another night of reading through these helpful phrases. Some directly biblical, and others not. As I read down the prayers and passages, I came across this, from Matthew 11:

“Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

I think Jesus is so good and loving and giving. Imagine, to be able to say to His audience that He will come alongside, He will pull with you—with me, and help us to bear the load. It doesn’t matter what our burden is, because Jesus is bearing it with us. Alongside of us.

What is a yoke? Since most people in my area don’t work closely with animals any longer, I dare say they are often a little fuzzy on the meaning. A yoke is similar to a large collar, fitted to the necks of the animals pulling the plough, or another piece of farm equipment. Usually quite heavy.

Whether we think of the yoke of the Pharisees—the self-righteous straightjacket of legalism the Pharisees impose—or any other kind of yoke that’s difficult to bear, we can exchange that damaging, discouraging yoke for Jesus’ one. He will give us the strength to continue, one day at a time.

Thank You, God. You are so awesome! Thank You for coming alongside of me and so many others. Help us be aware that You are pulling right there, with us. And sometimes, You even take the role of the stronger animal, the best at pulling the heavy burdens.


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

Visit the website http://dailyoffice.org/ to find out more about Morning and Evening Prayer!

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