A Psalm of Perspective

An Open Letter to
the Posers, the Pretenders, and the Petulant Prodigals
(Or, a note to self)

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Even before the sun stretches over the horizon

the lies pace like a pack of hungry jackals, preying

to devour your joy,  your hope, your peace. Your prayer

their prey. They attack from every angle. There

is no escape; their ranks closing, closing, until

light and air fade. Every effort, every movement

exhausting as every lie becomes truth, every

good thing, dust. Like ash, faith flakes, erodes,

dissolves through fingers clenched, hands balled

into fists, ready to fight the poser you see staring

at you from the bathroom mirror. But still,

you pray. Be still. Be still, you pray, wanting God

to still and stave off the jackals. Be still

and pray.

Selah.

“You’re not good enough,” a familiar voice whispers

within. “You can’t do this. You can’t do

anything.” You glance around, surreptitiously, hoping

nobody sees or hears these words that seep like truth

into your heart, your thoughts, your being. You doubt

your worth as much as your gifts. Who else knows,

you wonder. Who else knows you wonder what to do

or whether what you do matters. Do they,

like you, see you as a phony, pretending to be, pretending

what you do matters even a little to anyone. Even so, you know

one thing; you can do one thing without posturing, without

posing, without wondering. Because you know;

even now you know. Even stuttering, even stammering,

even incoherent words, raised up, whispered, wanting,

desperate, you know He hears you still. Be still

and pray.

Selah

Even before the sun stretches over the horizon

you itch, you need to run, to outrun the lies

as much as the truth of your lies, what you’ve done.

You left, you ran, you threw all caution, threw

brooding tantrums and demands, seeking what

you did not earn or deserve; you reaped it all

and now, with weeping, you know you have lost

your way as much as your worth. Everything

gone except one; except One, One who stands,

who waits, who seeks you with everything He

has starting with His love. You are lost

not to Him or His truth of You. But to find

what was lost, you must no longer hide, but seek

stillness and pray.

Selah

You, O Lord, provide the One

true reflection of me by Your truth;

yet in my being, I am loathe to succumb

to Your Word; even so

I long for Your provision, Your power,

and Your portion. When You my priority I make,

even halting words raise up my eyes

to You. I see clearly what darkness

seeks to hide. I see You

in me because I bear Your image

and I am no longer me alone. Not mine

alone. My words do not reveal

anything You did not whisper first

to me: masterpiece, delight, created

to know You when I come and sit

in stillness, pouring out the pain

and pretense in words or tears or groans;

You pouring out my next breath, and

one breath more, to fullness, abundance

simply by Your presence.

Let Your Power Come Through Prayer

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There is a richness to much of the text in Chapter 5 of the book of James, and it brings to mind the reason Jesus gave up His place with the Father and chose to step into the mess and chaos of this world. He is the living and breathing testimony to the compassion and mercy we so desperately need.

It intrigues me to view Jesus through words in books like James; ones that refer to Him, but may not necessarily seem at first glance to reflect Him as directly as the Gospels.

For example, the passage admonishing followers not to grumble against each other, lest we be judged. “The Judge is standing at the door!” verse nine declares. During His time in this world, Jesus was that Judge standing at the door, and in the synagogues, and on the dusty streets of Galilee and Nazareth and throughout Judea, and in the homes of sinners.

Even so, Jesus, as the One who should judge and can judge and will judge, He did not judge against His brothers. Nor did He grumble against them. Indeed, He did not refrain from letting His words convict the hearts of men, or challenging their motives, but His motivation was to redeem and not to condemn. He pursued relationships and hearts and He loved unconditionally.

I don’t believe I can say the same of me.

Yet Jesus beckons to me. He calls me over the chaos of life to come ever closer to Him. He invites me to follow Him and to learn from Him. And my heart cries, “Yes!” I look to Him to make me whole and to forgive me. Every time I falter and every time I grumble. Because that is why He came.

I am why He came.

My prayer on this first day of Lent is to unleash the power of my prayers and watch the wonderful results those earnest and heartfelt prayers produce as I seek Him first each day. Not just by my words, but through my actions and with my heart.

What is your prayer for today? For these next 40 days?