Psalm 11

In God I take refuge
Except, of course, for the parts of me that say
“There is no God, you’re on your own
Look how long you have struggled to ‘be good’
Have you ever managed?
Don’t the same ungenerous thoughts keep coming back and back?
Don’t you struggle still and always with envy and discouragement?”
Time and again the thoughts that I hate take aim to kill my peace of mind
Time and again my security is shaken to the foundations
Time and again I wonder what I can do to restore my tranquility
That’s when I have to remember:
God is on the heavenly throne
In the throne room of my interior castle
God can help me
God knows when I am in trouble of my own making
God loves me, God loves me, God loves me
My own failings can’t defeat me
Because God defeats them with righteousness and love for me
For God is righteous and God loves justice
And God loves me – and so we can meet face to face
Though God is almighty
And I am just me.
So I can take refuge in God.  Amen.

Psalm 12

Help me, God, I am too often unfaithful
Filled with doubt
Lying to myself
Flattering myself
Deceiving myself
Banish my lies
Silence my boasting
Help me to remember
That it is not by my worthiness that I am saved
But by Your grace
I trust You to arise in my mind and heart
I trust You to protect me from my own doubts
In You I find silver truth
In You I find golden strength
In You I find sweet safety
The answer to my neediness
The protection of my righteousness
So that I will not ever honor what is vile and useless
But will rest secure in Your protection forever. Amen.

Psalm 13

I come to You, God, having failed yet again
Failed in loving
Will this be my whole life?
Can I never love in imitation of Your love?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
And every day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will anger and hurt triumph over me?
Look on me and help, O God
Be Ruler of my life
Lighten my heart or this deathly heaviness will persist
I will be lost in my own dark thoughts
Spiraling ever down into resentment and judgment, impatience and anger
BUT, writes the psalmist – the but that I want so much to live
I trust in Your unfailing love
(So very different than my temperamental likes and pouts)
My heart rejoices in Your salvation
(So save me already from failing to live Your love)
Save me so that, with the psalmist I can say, shout, sing, live
So others can see that
I sing to God, of God, with God, by God
For God has been good to me.  Amen.

Psalm 14

When I am foolish, my heart tells me
“There is no God”
All I see is corruption, vileness
My world becomes a dreary and wicked place
I imagine God looking down on us
Wanting us to seek Her
I imagine God turning away in disgust
I imagine no God, I imagine nothingness
I turn away, feeling that I am as corrupt, as vile,
As lacking in goodness
As everyone and everything else
I forget, time and again
I fail to learn, I fail to remember
I stop calling on God
I let myself be overwhelmed by dread
But my forgetfulness, my fears
Cannot change the reality of God
God remains present, with all that is good and righteous
God remains the refuge of my impoverished understanding
My salvation comes from the usual place
From God—God who alone restores me. Amen.

Psalm 15

20140708_10God, when am I within your holy shelter
Lifted high by Your grace and righteousness?
When my walk is blameless
When I do what is right
When I speak the truth from my heart
When my tongue utters no slander
When I do no wrong to a neighbor
When I cast no slurs on others
When I don’t give in to my worst tendencies
But live a life that pleases You
When I keep a promise even when it hurts
When I don’t let go of my beliefs
When I give to the poor
When I support the innocent
And I believe I can live like this
With Your grace. Amen.