August 21, 2016

Psalms - 
The Hebrews provided us with this prayer book that gives us a language adequate for responding to the God who speaks to us....

The impulse to pray is deep within us, at the very center of our created being, and so practically anything will do to get us started--”Help” and “Thanks!” are our basic prayers.  But honesty and thoroughness don’t come quite as spontaneously.  Untutored, we tend to think that prayer is what good people do when they are doing their best.  It is not...
Prayer is elemental, not advanced language.  It is the means by which our language becomes honest, true and personal in response to God, it is the means by which we get everything in our lives out in the open before God.                    

The Psalms in Hebrew are earthy and rough.  They are not genteel. They are not the prayers of nice people couched in cultured language....only as we develop raw honesty and detailed thoroughness in our praying do we become whole, truly human in Jesus Christ, who also prayed the Psalms.        

Psalms 1-6 - 
How well God must like you-- you don’t hang out at Sin-Saloon, you don’t slink along Dead-End Road, you don’t go to Smart-Mouth College.  Instead you thrill to God’s Word, you chew on Scripture day and night.  You are a tree replanted in Eden, bearing fruit every month, never dropping a leaf, always in blossom    

....Worship God in adoring embrace.  Celebrate in trembling awe.  Kiss Messiah!  You’re very lives are in danger, you know; His anger is about to explode, but if you make a run for God--you won’t regret it!    
God! Look!  Enemies past counting!  Enemies sprouting like mushrooms...Hah!  No help for him from God!  But you, God, shield me on all sides.  You ground my feet, you lift my head high; with all my might I shout up to God...I stretch myself out, I sleep.  Then I’m up again---rested, tall and steady, fearless before the enemy mobs coming at me from all sides.  Up God!  My God, help me....Real help comes from God...When I call, give me answers, God, take my side!...Complain if you must, but don’t lash out.  Keep your mouth shut, and let your heart to all the talking.  Build your case before God and wait for his verdict.                  

Listen, God!  Please, pay attention!  Can you make sense of these ramblings, my groans and cries?  King-God, I need your help.  Every morning you’ll hear me at it again.  Every morning I lay out the pieces of my life on your altar and watch for fire to descend... And here I am, your invited guest---it’s incredible!  I enter your house, here I am, prostrate in your inner sanctum, waiting for directions to get me safely through enemy lines....

Please, God, no more yelling, no more trips to the woodshed.  Treat me nice for a change; I’m so starved for affection.  Can’t you see I’m black and blue, beat up badly in bones and soul?  God, how long will it take for you to let up?...I’m tired of all this--so tired.  My bed had been floating forty days and nights on the flood of my tears... 

Philippians 4 - 
My dear, dear friends!  I love you so much!  I do want the very best for you...Don’t waver Stay on track, steady in God.

I urge Euodia & Syntyche to iron out their differences differences and make up.  God doesn’t want his children holding grudges.  An, oh, yes, Syzygus since you are right there to help them work things out, do your best with them... Celebrate God all day, every day.  I mean revel in him!

Don’t fret or worry.  Instead of worrying, pray.  Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns.  Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down.  It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by: filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious--the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse...Do that and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.    

I’m glad in God, far happier than you would ever guess---Actually, I don’t have a sense of needing anything personally.  I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances.  I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little...Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am....

You can be sure that God will take care of everything you need, his generosity exceeding even yours in the glory that pours out from Jesus.  Our Father abounds in glory that just pours out into eternity.  Yes Receive and experience the amazing grace of the Master, Jesus Christ, deep, deep within yourselves.