Friday, September 26, 2008

Chapter 11 - Confident Sparkle

The Unwavering Strength of the Set-Apart Life

"I ask that God, out of His infinite supply of spiritual riches, would mightily supply your inner life with His Spirit's enabling power, so that Christ, your heavenly Prince, might make your inner sanctuary His sacred residence as you lean more and more on Him. And I also desire that you would be able to comprehend, along with all God's set-apart children, the extraordinary and life-altering dimensions of Christ's love. But even more than comprehending this love in your mind, I want you to know it experientially, deep within your heart, so that you may have every ounce of God within you that is humanly possible to have."

Ephesians 3:16-19 (Paraphrase)

The Applause of Heaven

"In this day and age of self-consideration, our society exhorts us to have plenty of self-esteem with inspiring statements such as "believe in yourself" or "be true to yourself". And yet the same society that encourages us to believe in ourselves also holds up unattainable standards of physical perfection in the form of flawless models and actresses who grace the covers of magazines or the screens of movie theaters...

Our Culture breeds insecurity."

But what gives women like Amy Carmichal their sparkle? What makes them not seem to care what the world thinks of them?

As Oswald Chambers would say, they have gotten rid of every peice of their self-focused hearts and built their lives around Jesus. Their Prince is all that matter to them. They dwell on Him and Him alone. They put Christ above all else. They aren't living for the applause of the world but only for the applause of heaven.

Practical Steps for Delighting in Our Prince

Developing A Quiet Mind

"Having a quiet mind is not a question of choice - if we are to go on at all, we must have a quiet mind. All too many Christians break down, not because of their circumstances, but because of a weary, fretting spirit too rushed to dwell in peace."
Amy Carmichael

From the time we are five and watching Sesame Street to our adult years of rushing around running errands and making phone calls our mind is trained to never be still. However, it is crucial to be still and listen to God's voice.

"I needed to keep my thoughts still enough to hear his gentle voice."

This takes practice, and in a world of non-stop action, it takes quite a bit of effort. Eric Ludy has a saying, "It is only when the waters are perfectly still that they can reflect the glories of the heavens." Its only when our hearts are peaceful and quiet that we can truly reflect a Christ-like spirit.

Cultivating a Heart of Worship

"Experiencing focused times of sincere worship helps us develop lifestyles of worship throughout our daily existence."

Leslie suggests taking time to worship God in private. Find songs that focus on God's attributes rather than your personal needs and desires. Make private worship a habitual practice.

Learning the Art of Biblical Meditation

Scripture memorization is super important, it fills our mind with truth. However, its crucial to take that truth and transfer it from our mind to our Hearts. That is where scripture meditation comes in. Actually breaking down the verse and understanding it. Digesting its message. Praying it. Speaking it aloud. Dwelling on it. Applying what it says to your life. That is meditation.

"The words of Scripture were not meant to just be quickly skimmed and easily digested - they were meant to change every aspect of our lives."

As we learn to walk through each day with our Prince, rather than just representing Him, we will be "...marked by an unshakable peace and unwavering strength - no matter what circumstances come our way."

I love the picture above of Bethany Dillon (singer). She seems to radiate the spirit of God. Do you see her confident sparkle?

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