The human struggle is often about finding a safe, secure place and then having a sense that one's life is worthwhile, productive.

So, where to find that safety? And how do you come to know that life is worth living?

The best place to start is at the source, in the presence of the Creator.

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"But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, 'God, be merciful to me, a sinner!' I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted."

Luke 18:13-14

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Today’s Scripture passage is the second half of a parable (we read the first half yesterday) that contrasts the prayers of a Pharisee and a tax collector. While the Pharisee recites his self-righteousness to God, the tax collector is so aware of his own sin that he won’t even come near the temple. Instead, from “far off,” he assumes the prayer posture of his day and begs God for forgiveness. He knows that nothing he can do, from fasting to paying his tithe, will save him.

Like the Pharisee, we all like to recite the list of things we believe make us righteous. But today, through a desperate tax collector, an outcast and a despised member of society, Jesus reminds us that only when we humble ourselves will we be lifted up.

Tracy Hartman

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God, be merciful to me, a sinner. Amen.

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As we work together with him, we urge you also not to accept the grace of God in vain. For he says,

“At an acceptable time I have listened to you,
and on a day of salvation I have helped you.”

See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation!

2 Corinthians 6:1-2

Tracy Hartman

Tracy Hartman is a professor of practical theology and homiletics at Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond. Tracy loves to hike and camp and is an avid knitter and quilter.

Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silent

Ken Medema

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