Week 18 Wednesday

From the Inside Out

Today’s scripture selection: Psalms 51-53

Key verses: Psalm 51:1-10


     David – the one known as a man “after God’s own heart,” was far from perfect.  He was a puzzle.  On the one hand, he could act with great courage; a mighty warrior for God.  As a boy he met Goliath when grown men trembled in the sight of the giant.  As a soldier he fought countless battles, some of them seemingly hopeless, and won.  As a king he ruled with justice over God’s people.  But he was also an adulterer and murderer.  To say that he was “far from perfect” is an understatement.

     According to scripture, when the prophet Nathan confronted David with his sin, the king repented.  And, with heartfelt prayer, he asked God for forgiveness and a fresh start.  The result, according to tradition, is the 51st Psalm.  It begins:

     “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.”

     They are among the most beautiful words in all of scripture; so heartfelt; so passionate; so honest.  They cut right to the heart of the matter.  There are some times when the time for rationalization is over.  There are moments when all one can do is fall on the mercy of God – there is nowhere else to go.  And so, the Psalm continues, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.”

     Do you notice David doesn’t pray

  • Clear up my thinking a bit and give me a fresh perspective
  • Look at the good in my life and overlook the bad
  • Let me pay off my debt by going to church and giving an offering
  • Let me “cash in” an IOU of forgiveness based on the good things I have done in the past

Nope – David knows he is beat.  All he prays is that God make a fresh start of him and clean him from the inside out.  A brand new heart and spirit – that’s what he needs and that’s what he boldly, but humbly, asks God to provide.

There are times when we need to pray that same prayer.  I know.  I’ve been there.  How about you?


Prayer: Father of mercy, cleanse me from within; create something new and right and beautiful for your glory.  AMEN.






By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. “Elpis” is the Greek word for “expectant hope.” He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, and a member of Spiritual Directors International. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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