Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Lift Up Thy Soul, Not Thy Self

With the end of this Self Talk, Soul Talk study, a chapter in our journey has closed. A chapter in this book has closed. But the chapter of learning will never be closed. Jennifer Rothschild has opened our minds and hearts to the concept and awareness of our thought closets. It contains good items, bad items, things out-dated, things desperately needing tossed. We are to take captive our thought closets. Take control and manage what enters and exits. Taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. 2 Corithians 10:5b

When we look for a house (anyone doing that?), closets are typically not our main focus or concentration. Any woman loves lots of closets to hold lots of stuff...stuff we can hide or stuff we can't seem to let go. Does that sound like anything else? Our thought closets maybe? Closets aren't a make or break item in a housing deal. However, we see how very important our thought closets can be. They can hold much negativity and drain our lives or they can hold positive thoughts that encourage, uplift, enrich, and strengthen. Just as it is my desire and mission of this blog to do those four things for each and every reader, I too, need to be concerned that my own thoughts bring those four elements to my own life.

Just as we should take better care of the closets in our homes, it is even more important that we give much care and concern over our thought closets.

Jennifer reinforces to us in chapter eleven (Lift Up: Praise the Lord, O My Soul) how important and vital it is to put others before us. We need to lift others up. As a result of lifting others before ourselves, it truly does help us more. We can think that putting ourselves first gains us much. But really, putting ourselves last gains us more than we could think putting ourselves first would do. Many who are first will be last; and the last, first. Matthew 19:30

Mother Teresa once said "A sacrifice to be real must cost, must hurt, must empty ourselves."

Jennifer says "When we lift others, we grow stronger, healthier, and happier." Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4

In addition to raising up others for our soul, we must raise our hearts and eyes to the Lord in praise. When our lives our Christ-centered we are more at peace, happier, healthier, and stronger. "Praise is a part of enjoying anything." I never really thought about that. When we enjoy good food, we are praising the cook's efforts. When we enjoy a good book, we are praising the author's skill. When we enjoy a gorgeous sunset or sunrise, we are praising the Creator's beautiful handiwork.

We know God wants us to praise Him. But, He also wants us to enjoy Him. Wow...to enjoy the Almighty, the King of Kings, and the Lord of Lords. He delights in us. He also delights in us delighting in Him!!

"Ironically, our own selfishness deprives us from what we long for most." Read that again. Being selfish and going after that "thing" we want so bad ultimately ends in our misery and unhappiness. Putting God, others, and selflessness before ourselves brings true reward and happiness to our souls. He must increase, but I must decrease. John 3:30.

I whisper that most mornings...Lord may You increase and I decrease today. (At least when I'm cognitive and conscious enough to remember.)

Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord. Psalm 19:14 Not necessarily pleasing but to just be acceptable...how glorious that is still. To simply be acceptable in the Lord's eyes, let alone pleasing.

To see what others have to say on this final chapter go to Lelia's.

Lifting My Soul to Him,

© Copyright 2008


Angela said...

For the last two years of my weight release journey, that has been my prayer..He must increase, I must decrease. As people started to come to me and ask, 'how have you lost the weight?,,,I would say to them alot of times..the more Christ increased in me, the more I decreased, literally on the outside,,and I see the evidence on the inside also....thanks for sharing this awesome devotional.

Laura said...

I have really enjoyed this book. Like you, I've never really thought about praise being a way to complete our enjoyment. I love the C.S. Lewis quote Jennifer cites about that very thing.

I'm praying for your offers and counter offers! God will take care of all the details.

Keep lifting Him up...

DeeDee said...

He must increase... I must decrease...

Continually my prayer..
Sweet post!

Beth in NC said...

Amen, let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart ...

My memory verse for this week is from Jeremiah 17:9, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and beyond cure. Who can understand it?"

So to fill our hearts with GOOD THINGS is a great task.

Bless you Paula.

LynnSC said...

Although I didn't do this book study with you guys... it has been great to read the many posts about it.

I'm praying for you.

Gail W. said...

Paula, I really enjoyed your thoughts on this last chapter. It truly is a wonderful book, but I have gleaned so much more by reading it in this lovely community. God bless you!

Beth.. One Blessed Nana said...

I love Jennifer Rothschild, but haven't read this book.

"He must increase, I must decrease" - that is so powerful a message in just 6 little words.

Thanks for sharing this - it speaks to my heart.


andi said...

I said I wasn't going to blog,,,,
but you know how it goes!!!! I am so excited to see what exciting things the Lord has in store for you! He is working FOR your good. Press on little soldier! You are so precious!

Carol said...

Hi Sweet Friend,
Seems like we had similar thoughts on this chapter. Yes I want to decrease and Christ to increase.

This was an amazing book, I'm so excited about the next study too. Seems like God is just leading us through so much.

I've Missed you too! I sent you a picture text from the beach. Thought you could use a view of God's beauty for some reason that moment.

I'm super excited for you, I laying low tomorrow so I'll write you one of my mini novel emails. Just so you know though God didn't open that conversation we were praying about. More later.

I love you my friend.