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Pouring Out and Receiving

Pouring Out and Receiving

Self; New You; Success; Live Happy; Happiful Magazine; In the Moment; Wellbeing; The Good Life.

The above are all titles to current magazines that appear to have a major theme in common: How to improve your life and do what’s best for you. And though there is validity to seeking to improve our selves, I’m wondering what this climate of self absorption has done to reduce sensitivities to issues that we’ve become insensitive to.

As usual, God has made us with balance. Too much of this and not enough of that will cause a wobble in our homeostasis. And we know when it happens. Something seems off, not right, out of alignment. This is true when we have too much of self absorption and not enough pouring out of ourselves…of our time, our resources, and our energy.

Have you noticed an exponential increase in dissatisfaction with life among so many who have so much? Suicides have increased among teenagers who have more gadgets and every creature comfort imaginable than any other generation! With phrases like “I’m bored” or “This sucks” or “It’s my body and MY choice!” we’re seeing a general sickening decline of gratitude and a kudzu-like growth of self-centeredness, choking out any life that Jesus desires to impart.

Consider the very words of Jesus. We don’t hear this preached often, but if Jesus said it, I suppose it’s at least worth discussing:

 “Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.” –Matthew 16:24-27

This, to me, is a pouring out of my self-preservation mentality and a wakeup call to soberly think about my vapor-like journey masquerading as life and comparing it to the boundless eternity that God is promising me. At this revelation, I can more easily “deny myself” here and now for the sake of the Kingdom of God, while removing my self from the throne and giving Jesus His proper place of honor in my life. I hear the sentiment of Paul (2 Timothy 4:6-8) as he writes his last words to Timothy that he was being “poured out like a drink offering” and yet he was able to say that he “fought the good fight…finished the race…kept the faith” as he remembered there would be a “crown of righteousness for him awaiting” (no, I don’t fully understand crowns, but it would be cool to obtain one, then cast it back to Him).

But the thing about being poured out and getting out of our self-indulgence is we need to position ourselves to receive. And that reception comes from the only King of kings and Lord of lords as He extends His glorious scepter to us and invites us into His chambers. It is there where we find our true sense of self and worth.

Listen, this world wants to convince you that you belong to it. It will tempt you with its pleasures to appease the appetites of the flesh. It will feel so right. But ultimately, when it pulls you down far enough and imprisons you in its evil clutches, it will spit you out and laugh in your shamed face. Find out who you are in Christ.

Jesus received His strength through His Spirit and His Father. Jesus escaped the crowds and spent time away with His Father, recovering from vigorous ministry…regrouping, if you will. Yet, He lived a poured-out life on behalf of the poor, the prisoners, the blind, and the oppressed (Luke 4:18-19). He gave until He bled to death.

The current culture is persuading us away from our God-receiving time with insane obsession with our egos (think “selfies”, “likes”, “friends” “thumbs-up affirmations”, etc). How much of our precious time is spent receiving from an imposter…a counterfeit god? Filling up on junk when God is offering me a gourmet meal of Himself? I can only pour out from the overflow of what I’m taking in. And if what I’m taking in is caustic, deceptive, and shallow, then that’s exactly what I’ll give out.

Maybe it’s time to examine our hearts and get real about where we’re getting our life energy, or what’s sapping it. Let’s get up on that mountaintop and meet with our Creator as He pours His river of life into our thirsty souls while simultaneously pouring out of us a river of love and healing upon a grievously broken society.

We all are in need of both.

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Lori Travers

Lori finds the Joy of the Lord to be her strength. Born and raised an Italian Jersey girl, she has finally settled in the south as Reynolda Presbyterian church became her new home. Ministry to women, reading, writing, cooking, and anything having to do with animals are her sweet spots. Having a background in cardiac testing, she chose to stay home and raise three incredible children who are now married, and currently has 2 precious granddaughters and one faithful husband of 34 years.

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