Well it's hard to imagine but we've come to the end of this amazing book. Jennifer Rothschild has lead us through our thought closet, we've learned to take our self defeating, negative, and condemning self talk and replace it with God's word. The words God has carefully picked out for us and written to us. He's also taught us in His word to take every thought captive, and to not let it in. If you haven't taken the time to read this book, take the time. It is well worth the time. I think I have officially read it 3 times, because I found myself rereading each chapter 3 times so I could just really meditate and pray about the material presented.
I also wanted to let all the ladies who participated I was fed even more with the thoughts and personal experiences you shared on your posts. Some of you I met last study, and some I just met with this book. I cherish the relationships we've built, all of your comments, encouragement, and prayers I feel God's blessed me with meeting so many Christian sisters through this world we call blogging.
This weekend, while at my women's retreat (I'll blog later on that) I had one of those moments that felt so intiment with God such an amazing time of Praise. We had quiet time after the morning session. The Suggested Devotional was Psalm 103 of David. I had just skimmed the first part of chapter 11, and I knew that when I saw the first two verses of the Psalm 103 started out Praise the Lord, O My Soul, that God had something for me. I read through the Psalm, and the material provided with it, and then on my heart came the word of the song East to West by Casting Crowns. I pulled out my ipod and headed outside for sometime completely alone with my Lord. It was cold on the beach about 50 degrees outside (be nice I'm a Californian). I stood on the outer walkway of the hotel over looking the beach, and listened to the song in amazement of the beauty and vastness of God's love for me. The wind was blowing, and I remember my body shivering, but I couldn't bring myself to go inside, I wanted to be outside and looking at God's creation, feeling the cold and the wind like it was God's breath all around me. I remember saying how unworthy I was, and then feeling such fullness of His love that it brought me to tears. I walked along the outer walkway of the hotel, listening to more of the songs that always draw me into a deeper worship with God. It was amazing.
I came home from Monetrey this weekend and read Jennifer's quote "Open the door of your thought closet and look inside. What consumes your thoughts? When you have an idle moment, where do your thoughts wander? When you talk to yourself, what are you usually saying?" Hmm I never thought about that way.
So what does consume my thoughts. My family, particularly my daughter lately as she is becoming more teen than girl. My husband battles with addictions, and remembering to continue to lift him in prayer. More praying for my daughter. Work and the economy. My quiet time, hobby, illness, my weight, my appearance much more emphasis on the last that I liked seeing. My friends, and how badly I am about communicating with them, oh yes and my blog what will I write today. How far behind I am in my to do list. Oh yes God He was in there too, but in a smaller place than I had realized. Then I hear the spirit say "yes but am I the first thought of your day, and the predominate thought of your day, and the last thought of your day.", Sheepishly I admit, "not usually Lord" Some days, but sadly not everyday. Over the last few months I have spent more time in my relationship with the Lord, but I'm not satisfied with it. I want more of God and less of me. I love to read and I love to read my studies, I believe these last two studies have really opened my eyes to how much more space I need to give to God.
He must increase, but I must decrease. John 3:30
I know fully what it's like to live my life with out God at the center of my focus, and boy does my life go out of whack when I do that. I love how Jennifer talks about when we really enjoy something or someone is important to us we talk about that thing, or that person constantly. Everyone who knows me knows that I think my little girl is amazing, and that I have a wonderfully loving and giving husband. They know that I love to scrapbook and alter things and create with my hands, and many figure out that purple is my favorite color. But do they know how much I love God? Is it evident that I love God and I am so grateful for Jesus and the redemption that He's sacrificed Himself for? I can say on many occasions yes they know I'm a Christian, but I don't really know if they have any idea of the depth of my love for Him. So how do we show that outwardly. PRAISE HIM!!!!
In God we make our boast all day long, and we will praise your name forever Psalm 44:8
Praising God is really about enjoying God. Praise is all forms, not just singing and worship songs, but reading His word and desiring to learn about Him, sharing Him with a friend, praying for yourself, and for others, going to church, talking about Him with your children, walking and looking at His creation, and the list can go on and on. "Conversely, when we shut the doors of our thought closets to the God who loves us, we are most cruel to our own souls. Lifting up self barricades us from true happiness. Ironically, our own selfishness deprives us from what we long for most."
How priceless is your unfailing love!
Both high and low among men
find refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house;
you give them drink from your river of delights.
For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light we see light
So our soul craves to praise our Lord, it's what keeps us on His path and connects us to God and makes it possible to hear His voice. When we are selfish and self focused we can't praise anyone but ourselves. I'm not sure about you, but that hasn't worked out so well for me.
So I'll end this book study with the quote Jennifer shared from C.S. Lewis, "As long as you are proud, you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you."
Keep looking up to the Heaven my friends,
Oh and of course Lelia has brought to us another wonderful book study, An Untroubled Heart, Finding a faith that is stronger than all my fears. Author Micca Campbell. So join us in the next study for more details head over to Lelia's blog Write From the Heart