Today’s Scripture Selection: Psalm 51:17

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.”

Does God want you to be heartbroken?

Not in the way you might first think.

Jesus, for example, speaks about coming so that we might live life to the fullest extent possible – and find the deepest joy possible in the process.

There are all sorts of examples in the Scriptures of how, in aligning ourselves with God’s will, we can find peace and joy and purpose.

But, there is also quite a bit said about a little thing called free-will.  And there is plenty of tension in all the stories of how people have “fallen short” of the glory of God – and God’s purpose for them.

So, what’s all this about broken spirits and contrite hearts – especially in relation to sacrifices that God will not despise?

I think it has to do with humility.

It’s a key ingredient to being willing to recognize God’s abundant blessings; God’s righteous character; God’s loving desire for us to follow in obedience; and God’s desire for us to lovingly sacrifice our individual wills to Him.

Sacrifice is never easy to make – that’s why it’s called sacrifice.

But it is the way to find God in a very special way.

And, if you find it difficult to do at times, just remember all God has already lovingly sacrificed for you – on the cross.

Prayer: Lord, may I be a living sacrifice to you, in grateful praise.  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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