Scripture

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.

2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,

3 he refreshes my soul.


He guides me along the right paths


    for his name’s sake.

4 Even though I walk


    through the darkest valley,[a]


I will fear no evil,


    for you are with me;


your rod and your staff,


    they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me


    in the presence of my enemies.


You anoint my head with oil;
 

   my cup overflows.

6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me


    all the days of my life,


and I will dwell in the house of the Lord


    forever.

Reflection

This Psalm is often quoted in times of great need. But many find it a daily prayer and reminder that God is with us at all times, not just times of desperation. Yesterday we talked about our need for amazing grace. When our need is great, the grace is greater. But often, we forget about God in the every day, small sin realm. When we are not in great need of God, so we think, we fall back to reliance on ourselves. Abraham Lincoln once said, “Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.” Of course, God is always there, always ready with much grace and mercy, always reaching out to us. But we ignore. We rely on ourselves.

But being better each day really involves more and more dependence on God. It is counterintuitive to us, particularly in the United States. We take pride in our independence. But God invites us into a daily flow of life dependent on grace. When we begin to center our lives around God, we allow grace to be present in us every day. We see that God’s will is Christ living in us and through us. The grace in us spills over into every part of our lives. We become aware of God’s presence in everything. The “success” becomes truly meaningful because it is created with God. Don’t wait for the desperate need for Jesus in your life. Instead, recognize that you need Christ now, with you, guiding you, and offering you strength and wisdom for the journey.

Are you intoxicated with your own success in such a way that makes you think you don’t really need God today? Are you too self-sufficient to feel the need for daily grace? 

Prayer

Good and gracious God, you are the source of all I need. Plant me in your words. Nourish me with your wisdom and grace. Let me live an authentic life where others see your strength in my weakness. Transform my soul to your ways, and lead me to live a full life of love, joy, and peace. Thank you, Lord. Amen. 

About

The First 15 is a resource of First Methodist Church Mansfield and meant to grow and enhance your personal relationship with Christ on a daily basis by starting the first fifteen minutes of each day with scripture, reflection and prayer. For more information about First Methodist Church visit our website.