Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A Pleasure Almost Completed

Just over a year ago, I was challenged and felt impressed by the Lord in a Beth Moore study to pray the Psalms. Meaning that over the course of about 6 months, I would take a Psalm a day (or less, if it was really long), and say or write the words of the Psalm as though from my heart to God, not just reading them as someone else had written them. For example, Psalm 4:1-3 became:
Answer me when I call to you, O my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; be merciful to me and hear my prayer. How long will I and others turn your glory into shame? How long will we love delusions and seek false gods? I know that you have set apart the godly for yourself; you will hear when I call to you.
Well, I finished that right around June 30, and began asking the Lord what I should do next. His answer pleased and surprised me. Since I fully believe all scripture is inspired by God (God-breathed), and it is certainly reasonable to say God's words back to him in prayer, why not let God speak through those same Psalms to me from his point of view? So, Psalm 4:1-3 became:
I, your righteous God, will answer when you call to Me, Julie. I will give you relief from your distress; I will be merciful to you and hear your prayer. How long will you and others turn My glory into shame? How long will you love delusions and seek false gods? Know that I have set apart the godly for Myself; I will hear when you call to Me.
Doing this has enlightened and opened my heart and mind to aspects of his character that I'd never before thought about so deeply, and most importantly, has made my conversations with God through Scripture so personal. His promises actually have my name on them.

Now, it is true that not all scripture can be read this way. For example, when God told Moses to take off his shoes, because he was standing on holy ground, it doesn't mean that the spot in front of our fireplace is sacred. And when the angel told Mary that she would bear a son and he would save his people from their sins, it wasn't so I could assume that one day I'll give birth to a Messiah! Thus, in using this method of Scripture-reading, you have to be careful in applying things to yourself that were intended for that person alone. But overall, I've found it to be a delightful, pleasurable exercise in devotion, because I've been able to hear God speak to me, personally, through words he ordained thousands of years ago. I'll actually finish tomorrow with Psalm 150, but I thought I'd share some of God's words from Psalm 145 (from his perspective) with you:
I am gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. I am good to all; I have compassion on all I have made. All I have made will praise Me; My saints will extol Me. They will tell of the glory of My kingdom and speak of My might, so that all men may know of My mighty acts and the glorious splendor of My kingdom. My kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and My dominion endures through all generations. I am faithful to all My promises and loving toward all I have made. I uphold all those who fall and lift up all who are bowed down. The eyes of all look to Me, and I give them their food at the proper time. I open My hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing. I am righteous in all My ways and loving toward all I have made. I am near to all who call on Me, to all who call on Me in truth.
Can you hear his heart? :-)

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