Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Silent Seduction of Self-Talk by Shelly Beach

The Silent Seduction of Self-Talk by an author/friend Shelly Jean Beach is one of those books that I read and re-read and read again and pick up and read the underlined parts again. And now....yes, I am reading it again. I love the way she lays it out to begin with...honestly, openly, all on the table. She calls us to be honest with ourselves through the Soul Search section at the end of each chapter...questions to think about, talk about, write about. She has another section at the end of each chapter called Facing the Seduction and this is devoted to Scriptures to read and ways to pray and exercises in how to listen to the Spirit and the Word. Lastly, is the section called Responding from the Heart, which is a prayer to the Lord. Oh, and how I love the appendixes!! Usually I just skip the appendixes, but not in this book. These are more helpful, interactive, exercises to help really open up what you are telling yourself.
One example of questions asked in the first chapter: What "bricks" can you identify in your wall of spiritual need? What attitudes, thoughts, sins, habits do you struggle to hide, even from yourself? What conversations do you have with yourself to justify or rationalize your actions?
The part that reads "struggle to hide even from yourself" hit me hardest. There are parts that I struggle to hide from myself. I just go on and pretend there is no struggle, no problem, no sin...but as I have found out how much He loves me, I know I can trust God completely with who I am. I do not have to "perform" for Him. He knows me. And when I am struggling, He knows it. So I just pray...and tell Him honestly what is going on...and then I wait until He gives me a way to deal with it, or I go on but honestly seeing it and living differently because of it.
Sharing the prayer because it is so real...
"Gracious and loving Father, i come to You admitting that I'm facing a wall of need. I know that more than anything, You want to have a closer and deeper relationship with me, and today I'm taking a first step toward You by asking You to change me from the inside out. Thank You for loving me as I am but for not leaving me in my brokenness.
"Please help me see the ugly parts of myself I've worked so hard to hide with self-talk. Show me who You created me to be, fully empowering me through Your Holy Spirit to become that person. Show me the roots of my self-deceptions, whether big or small. Help me listen to the conversations I carry on with myself, knowing they're a mirror to my heart, a key to my motives, and the source of my commitment to live out the double love command to passionately love You and others.
"Thank You for grace and for the gift of Your love as I turn towards You in humble obedience. More than anything, Lord, I want to have a heart that loves You more. Amen"

Sunday, November 27, 2016

The Basics...

I was looking for a new Bible study to do and I pulled out a book I had actually bought for someone else several years ago that is a Kay Arthur book called "Lord, I Need Answers".  It is subtitled "A 28-Day Journey to Growing Stronger In Your Faith"".   The subtitle was what drew me in.  I want to grow stronger in my faith.  I want to always be growing stronger in my faith.

So as I sat down to read Day 1 I realized it was starting from the basics.  "This is too remedial," I thought initially.  "But I still am going to complete it."

I read the first chapter which was Kay Arthur's son's testimony.  It read a lot like my own in certain ways.  He asked a lot of questions to think about...questions I have asked myself.  We spoke today in Sunday School about how we remember stories that have been shared from our elders to us, particularly as we were growing up, but as adults also.  Jesus taught the people by using stories. I scrapbook because I want my boys to have a tangible remembrance of the stories of their lives throughout their childhood and of how God has moved and taken care of us and taught us things.  I want to remember myself.  Stories and visible monuments (like scrapbooks and stories passed down) are ways to remind ourselves of who we are in Christ, who God is, what He has done, and what His character is.

I love hearing the testimonies of people who have come to know Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior!  Their testimonies inspire and encourage me!  And that was the "assignment" for this first day ...to write down my story.  How I came to know Jesus as my Lord and Savior.

I have shared my story many times but  it means something for me to write it down.  And the second part is to pray for someone to share it with.  God wants us to share our stories with others because think about it...if you are a Christian, what did He do for you?  Are you filled with thankfulness that you have eternal life in heaven?  Are you relieved from living a life of being controlled by sin?  Are you grateful for the grace that was shown to you by the God of the universe, the Almighty Father, the Creator of all?  Don't you want to share that with those who do not know Him so that they too might be able to participate in that love and grace and forgiveness and pardon?  Don't you want to share your story with other Christians so that they might be encouraged and lifted up and reminded themselves of what God has done for them? 

Today I heard the whisper of God in a reminder to go back to the basics....to remember where He brought me to and what He delivered me from.  As I reflect on that I become so grateful in my spirit that it is overwhelming.  I want to share this Scripture with you and a link to one of my favorite songs that reminds me of this Scripture.

"Since we have been justified (declared 'not guilty') through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand..."   Romans 5:1-2

I am thankful that the Lord allows me to stand in His grace because of what Jesus Christ sacrificed for me.