Monday, May 12, 2014

40 Day Challenge - Draw Closer to God & Your Hubby (Day 15: Pray Using Scripture)

Day 11 was all about the why of this challenge. I'm in the midst of rereading and learning the book of Romans. When I hit chapter 12:1-2 I was so overwhelmed with Paul's demand to present ourselves as a living sacrifice that I knew I needed a renewal of mind. I've been too consumed with the things of this world! John Piper and John MacArthur had MANY sermons on these two verses that when I listened to them (while washing dishes or folding laundry) I realized that my spillover was becoming negative, ungrateful, and all about "me-me-me". When John Piper summed up 12:1-2 with this one phrase,  "... thoughts, attitudes and actions are spontaneous. They are just spillover from what's inside." I realized I wanted my spontaneous thoughts, attitudes or actions to reflect CHRIST. The only way to do that was by recognizing God's GREATNESS through Scripture. Hence Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10!  

Day 12's challenge was to find ways to focus our mind on GOD'S GREATNESS. By renewing our mind with God's mercies found in Scripture we can better praise Him! I shared a few things that helped me, I'd love to see your list if you're willing to share.

Day 13 was similar to 12 in that we need to also focus on our husbands. When we understand what God has given us, even though we do not deserve it, we can apply that same principle to those around us - starting with our husbands. Like Christ we are called to give love, serve with all our hearts, apply the golden rule... not because we want to but because Christ has done the same for us. The challenge was finding ways to apply the same principle (of focusing on and getting to know God and praising HIM) to our husbands. The ultimate question was this: What are you going to do so your attitude, thoughts, and actions express a love for him that you may or may not feel? 

Day 14's challenge was to appreciate the God-given differences between men and women. When women are fully satisfied in God and our souls are at peace because of our faith in Christ, we can come beside our husbands and use our strength to help hold him up while he fulfills his role as leaders in our home, because we know God sees us as equal inheritors in His kingdom with different roles. As husbands and wives we are one flesh, with different gifts, working together to glorify God. You were asked to consider this important question based on your husband's unique preferences: How are you going to embrace your role as a woman and be your husbands helpmeet?

Day 15
Yesterday I wrote about my realization that in order to pray for and praise the husband God gave me, I needed to truly embrace my femininity. I realized this because of Romans 12:1-2 where all of my life should be consumed with Christ and if Christ is calling me to love on my hubby, well I'd better do it. Step one in doing that was getting over myself, loving Christ first and my hubby second. Step two was knowing him and the role God gave him. 

Apply the same principle to your relationship with God! Step one in doing that: get over yourself. Remember John the Baptists quote, "He must increase but I must decrease!" (John 3:30) and apply that same concept in our own lives, our own home, our own life's purpose. Step two is knowing God and what He says about Himself in Scripture! 

I talked about how women struggle to focus our minds and I challenged everyone to create a list of ideas that would help focus our minds on God and HIS greatness. Only then can we appreciate all that He is and worship Him as a result. If our life is consumed with CHRIST, our overspill will be Christ. 

One of the ways our pastor taught us to focus on praising GOD for HIS greatness was praying using Scripture. Basically you read a portion of Scripture and pray as it states (praise, recognize God's greatness, &etc.). It creates a prayer life focused on GOD rather than self. Let's use Psalm 150 as an example (bolded = scripture, italics = my prayer):

Praise the Lord!
Praise God in His sanctuary;
How thankful I am that You enlightened my heart to Romans 12:1-2 where I understand what it means to be a living sacrifice, consuming my life in spiritual worship. The church body is Your sanctuary  because YOU sealed us with the promised Holy Spirit. In all that we do we should praise You. How much more meaningful is this phrase because of Jesus Christ! Lord, You are awesome!
Praise Him in His mighty heavens!
I can think of no better place to worship You than Your creation. Your mountains reveal Your majesty. Your stars reveal Your greatness. Your blooming flowers reveal your beauty and they all sing Your praises and they're only a small glimpse of Your incredible qualities.
Praise Him for His mighty deeds;
In the last paragraph of John he states that Your works are so great that the world itself cannot contain them! So where do I even start? With saving the Israelites from slavery? Or how You guided them through the desert? Or fed them faithfully with manna? Or how that manna pointed to Jesus - our bread of life? Or how their sandals never wore out? The Bible is full of Your miraculous deeds! I could (and fully intend on) spending a life time praising You for them! Not to mention all the mighty deeds You've done in our life - deeds not mentioned in Your Word - but worth praising You for every day that I live!
Praise Him according to His excellent greatness!
Lord I think of what You said of Yourself in Job 38-41 where you described Yourself as so GREAT that You determined how big the earth to be, told the sea waves to stop where they stopped, made the clouds and darkness and set its limits, You commanded the morning and the dawn, You know the days of every man and beast, You have reserved hail and snow for days of trouble, You control the placement of each lightning bolt, You bring the rain, You placed Pleiades and Orion in its place, you guide the bear and her cubs to food, You hold the heavens in the span of Your hand, You give wisdom, You provide food for your creation, You created the months a mother carries her babies, You gave a horse its might, and at Your command the eagle makes its nest, You adorn Yourself with majesty and dignity and glory and splendor, You play with Leviathon like we would a bird, You made it clear in 41:11 that everything under the entire universe is Yours, and like Job in 42:2 help me to recognize that "YOU do all things and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted."
Praise Him with trumpet sound; praise Him with lute and harp! Praise Him with tambourine and dance; praise Him with strings and pipe! Praise Him with sounding cymbals; praise Him with loud clashing cymbals! 
What better way to praise you than through music? Right now the song at the forefront of my brain is "Sovereign Over Us" where I'm forced to realize You are wisdom unimagined, there's none who can understand Your ways, You are reigning high above the heavens reaching down in endless grace, and because You are a living God - true to Your word - I can rest in You - even in the valleys, even in the fire and the flood, even in my sorrow, my tears, my mourning, because You give endless amounts of grace and You are faithful and You are working in my waiting, sanctifying me. And it's all for YOUR GLORY.
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!
I can't help but think of Louie Giglio's sermon on how the whole universe - the stars, the whales, cries of newborn babies, that all of Your creation makes noise and Your Word states that those noises are praising You. I get goosebumps thinking about how every noise in the heavens and the earth meshes together perfectly in an effort to praise their Creator! Every waking second I need to join them because like Louie Giglio states, "I don't want to be out-worshiped by a whale!"

Now it's your turn. Let's take another praise Psalm, written for the purpose of the Israelites to praise God, and write out a prayer doing exactly what each line states. Start with Psalm 113 where Israel was reminded of God's greatness, of His sovereignty, that He is personal and that He gives and He takes away. Remember, the purpose of this activity is to focus your mind on praising GOD. If it helps, write it. Writing helps me focus my mind more than anything else.

I'm so excited you're willing to join me, but I encourage you to go in order: (there is a reason behind it all...)

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