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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

What I Want

I'm in a new Bible study with some great friends -- some old, some new. We are reading Benedict's Way (by Homan & Pratt) together. It contains 30 readings on various aspects of Benedictine spirituality. The goal is to talk and pray together about spiritual depth, devotional discipline and balance in life. Topics like prayer, work, silence, hospitality, service, learning, friendship... it will be a feast.

Last night's topic was prayer. Here is a quote from the reading. It speaks for itself:
“O God,” I said, and that was all.

But what are the prayers of the whole universe more than expansions of that one cry? It is not what God can give us, but God that we want. (George MacDonald)
We ended the time together by praying through Psalm 34. I am re-reading it this morning in the Message. What a banquet to draw from in this psalm. Here is guidance as to how to push aside the stresses of the "now" and live today in the "not yet." Enjoy.

Psalm 34

1 I bless God every chance I get; my lungs expand with his praise.

2 I live and breathe God;
if things aren't going well, hear this and be happy:

3 Join me in spreading the news;
together let's get the word out.

4 God met me more than halfway,
he freed me from my anxious fears.

5 Look at him; give him your warmest smile.
Never hide your feelings from him.

6 When I was desperate, I called out,
and God got me out of a tight spot.

7 God's angel sets up a circle
of protection around us while we pray.

8 Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see—
how good God is.
Blessed are you who run to him.

9 Worship God if you want the best;
worship opens doors to all his goodness.

10 Young lions on the prowl get hungry,
but God-seekers are full of God.

11 Come, children, listen closely;
I'll give you a lesson in God worship.

12 Who out there has a lust for life?
Can't wait each day to come upon beauty?

13 Guard your tongue from profanity,
and no more lying through your teeth.

14 Turn your back on sin; do something good.
Embrace peace—don't let it get away!

15 God keeps an eye on his friends,
his ears pick up every moan and groan.

16 God won't put up with rebels;
he'll cull them from the pack.

17 Is anyone crying for help? God is listening,
ready to rescue you.

18 If your heart is broken, you'll find God right there;
if you're kicked in the gut, he'll help you catch your breath.

19 Disciples so often get into trouble;
still, God is there every time.

20 He's your bodyguard, shielding every bone;
not even a finger gets broken.

21 The wicked commit slow suicide;
they waste their lives hating the good.

22 God pays for each slave's freedom;
no one who runs to him loses out.