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Friday, September 18, 2015

Psalms

Pour out.  Pour it all out.  This is the lesson of the Psalms.  These written words, these songs--these questions, laments, celebrations--all urge us to do the same.  

Nestled deep into this inspired book, we read:
pour out your heart to Him, for God is our refuge.

Pour it out because He is our refuge.  He is a safe place to leave the contents of our hearts and minds, AND He is the one who can answer and transform you.  It doesn’t say “pour out your heart because God will make your life comfortable, say yes to your every wish, or help you live your best life now.” 

We pour because He can be trusted. 

His thoughts toward us don’t shift depending on what we tell Him; His love doesn’t wane.  When He sees our unattractive attitudes or motives, He doesn’t love us less or more because of what we pray.  He doesn’t get uncomfortable when we “overshare.”  His love for us has already been decided and determined, and guess what, it has nothing to do with our personality, actions, family history, or dignified prayers, but has everything to do with our belief and trust in Him.  Those embarrassing or shameful parts of us?  
He already knew the depth of them. 

When we read that the heart is deceitful above all things, who can understand it (Jeremiah 17:9), it doesn’t mean that our hearts deceive Him, but that they deceive us.  It is in the pouring that we are given a glimpse at what He already knew.  We can’t repent or ask for Spirit-enabled change for something that we are blind to. 
When we continue to forsake time in prayer, we can begin to think that we're ok, that we've gotten this holiness thing down.  

But then.  When we see below the surface, we're appalled at what we find—jealousy? self-righteousness? Prejudice? Hatred? Materialism? Bitterness?  He gives us a knowing look--this God before whom our secret thoughts are exposed (1 Corinthians 14:25)…before whom nothing in all creation is hidden from His sight.  Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. (Hebrews 4:13) says yes.

The Psalms are the pen and paper version of the pouring.  Among the countless prayers, there is also a lot of self-talk.  David doesn’t shy away from difficulty, but instead puts it on paper allowing us to watch as God molds his heart.  Sometimes God intervened and changed the situation but sometimes He changed David’s focus, reminding him of the truth and of God’s past faithfulness.  

The Psalms vividly show how God lifts His children’s heads.  The struggling Psalms are no less impactful than the praising Psalms--the struggle is relatable and beautiful, showing God for God and man for man—there is no confusion who the faithful, powerful, omniscient One is. 

When it feels like everything else is dried up, we look to find that God’s love remains.  His love and care for His own does not dissipate, but endures. When we are tired and only have words of complaint or fearful ramblings—God wants it all.  

It is in the pouring out that we bring our authentic selves to Him—not a calculated façade.  He works in vulnerability, molding the heart, the motives, the thoughts, and even the desires.  Many hours are spent in prayer devoid of real heart-to-heart connection with our Maker because we are presenting who we think we should be, while our Maker knows who we really are, even when we ourselves are unaware. 

Imagine a child wanting a piece of clay to become something more but withholding it from the potter.  In prayer, we are holding our clay to The Potter, because He is the only One who knows what to do with it. Time spent in prayer is not only time to speak with God, but also time to avail ourselves to the One who redeems all things and changes us to reflect His image.


So today, pour it out, pour it all out, before your loving Father.  And don’t be surprised when you notice a change in the contents of what you pour out…He is changing you; He is making you; He is remaking you.  Your God who makes all things new will transform you from the inside out.

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