Week 23 Wednesday

A Gracious and Known God

Today’s scripture selection: Psalms 66-69

Key verses: Psalm 67:1-2

     There is a lovely benediction of sorts at the beginning of Psalm 67:

     “May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine on us – so that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations.”

     It reminds me of two things about God.

     First, that He is a gracious God – not one that we must appease with offerings, like some pagan deity that threatens to blow the top off a volcano.  Our God is the One who understands us deeply and intimately, warts and all, and still loves us beyond our limited imagination’s ability to comprehend.

     Second, as we receive – and pass on – that divine grace to others, others come to know God as we know Him.

     The gift we receive is also the burden we bear – to spread God’s love in simple, sometimes small, but always profound ways.

     Perhaps I should not use the word burden.  It conjures up images of hardship; of a debt being repaid.  The fact is, Christian faith has always proclaimed that we could never “pay off” the debt we have to God.

     No, maybe we should stick to words like privilege; opportunity; joyful prospect – that’s what we have each day – the chance to merely express our love and praise of God by passing on the love and grace He so freely showers on us.

     So, may God’s face shine on us brightly.  Not so that we can just sit back and reap the benefits of our relationship with Him.

     But so we may find those who live in darkness – and show them the way – to the light.


Prayer: Merciful, loving God, help me to be a beacon of light, in your name.  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 meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. 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, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. 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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