10 May, 2017

Thoughts of Today





The brain is an amazing thing. I was thinking about some of the information my brain processes: what I’m learning about counselling, information and new skills for my job, interesting findings in Ezekiel, aspects of truth and love I’ve been studying in 2 John, research about a topic I’ve been pondering, and putting into action feedback my teacher gave me on my music. There’s the general planning of the week, deciding what to cook, talking about my family’s activities, and noticing the weather. And it still absorbs song lyrics, and replays them at random. How is that not incredible?! Information is coming from all different sources about all different topics, and my brain processes and remembers things. It applies them to circumstances and thoughts of the past and present, which affects my future thoughts and reactions. And for the most part, this is automated and subconscious. I can’t even comprehend it. 

I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. Psalm 139:14
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A few things I’ve observed recently: 

Things that make me closer to God
Prayer, conversational prayer
Reading or studying the Bible
Reading inspirational books
Choosing to think about Him
            Pondering what I’ve read in the Bible          
Looking for answers to hard questions
Talking to like-minded friends
Taking in creation/ being in nature
Doing something for others
Outreach
Counting my blessings

Things that make me further from God
Internet browsing (specifically Pinterest, YouTube, random irrelevant information, etc)
Storybooks, especially fast paced ones
Listening to music
Overeating
Worrying about the future
Small talk
Going to town/shopping
Thinking about other’s faults
Thinking about my inadequacies
Doing something I know is wrong
Compromising my standards
Not getting enough sleep 

Actually, I found this useful, because when I think about doing one of the activities mentioned, immediately my mind equates it with either taking from or towards God. 

~

I was reading something today, and I can’t remember where or what it was, but it reminded me: the glory of God is our number one priority. Not looking good, not having enough money, not satisfying our wants, not even enjoying life or doing something good for others. God’s glory comes first, and everything else finds its purpose in that. Really, the way to get the most out of life, satisfy our desires, and everything else, is by living for the glory of God.

I knew that (somewhere in the back recesses of my mind), but I haven’t been asking that question of my thoughts and desires and actions and plans. It’s powerful: if my life is all about the glory of God, it doesn’t matter a cent what direction my life takes or what people think. If I’m doing what God wants me to do to advance His glory, I have nothing to lose. The Almighty is on my side. Except, I’m actually on His side, and He’s already won the victory. 

~

What have you been thinking about these days? Have you observed anything particular draws you closer to God, or distracts you from Him? What are your thoughts on the complexity of our brains, or living for the glory of God? Let’s have a conversation! :)

16 comments:

  1. Amen! So convicting. I have a tendency to overindulge in things that distract me from God. Thanks for the reminder that "the glory of God is our number one priority."

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    1. Yes, it seems to be easy to do, doesn't it? Praise God - I need that reminder often too. :) Thanks so much for reading and commenting!

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  2. So true! Beautiful, encouraging words and photos! Thanks Jessica!

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    1. Thank you, Clara! Your comments are a blessing. I'm glad this was encouraging to you. :)

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  3. Absolutely, we should live for God's glory not our own. Sometimes I think we 'know' it, but it takes time for us to fully accept and live upon the knowledge. Thank you for sharing! <3

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    1. Yes, I think you're right. I guess that's where we need the Holy Spirit to help us apply it, and God's grace while we learn! Thanks for your sweet comment, Melissa. :)

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  4. Agh that Psalm just kills me every time. <3 <3 <3
    I loved this post so much!! I like the idea of that list a lot . . . I'm going to have to try it!
    Your words are always inspiring and these photos are fantastic.
    xx

    Sophy

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    1. Yes, isn't is so good?! You should try the list sometime - I was surprised at how helpful it was for me. Maybe it can be the same for you! Thanks a heap for your enthusiastic and encouraging comment, Sophy. xx

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  5. I read your post on bravery before, but it was a timely reread today. One of the things that takes me further from Christ can be fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of embarrassment, fear of disappointing someone. Worrying just comes naturally sometimes. But "Perfect Love casts out fear." As you wrote in your post, we can have courage in the fact that Jesus has overcome the world. If He is living in our lives, what have we to fear? But the harder step is to get that message from our brain into our heart. While our brains can process amazing things, so often we leave information there...instead of treasuring them in our heart. Jessica, how do you think we can transfer those Truths from head knowledge to treasure in our heart?

    Thank you for sharing those wonderful thoughts. =)

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    1. Wow, I like that point you brought up - fear keeps us from Christ. I hadn't taken my list that far yet. And that's a very good question.. because I forget so easily. I'm sure we can help ourselves remember by posting reminders in places we'll see, or by consciously thinking about it, or by sharing it with a friend or family member, but maybe the most powerful thing we could do on top of that is pray and ask God to help us understand and remember His truths. That's a few of my thoughts, but I'd really like to hear how you see things! Is there something that has helped you treasure and apply truths you learn?

      Thanks for reading and sharing, Hosanna! It's lovely to hear from you. :)

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    2. That's so hard, Jessica. It's easy to become excited and convicted, but truth often leaves before we take action upon it. I've found myself in that place so many times. It helps me meditate and remember truth by writing it down and rereading it throughout the day. If I am constantly thinking about something, I will more readily be applying it in my life and bringing it before God in prayer. But, as you said, the most important thing is to seek God in it - ask Him for continual reminders and wisdom.

      I appreciate you sharing here...it means a lot to me, and I love the conviction and thought it brings. =)

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    3. Yes, there are so many distractions, aren't there?! It's so encouraging to discuss these things with a like-minded friend, Hosanna. May we both continue to grow in Christ! Thanks for the discussion! :)

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  6. My phones a huge distraction as well as over eating haha. Church and Saturday masses are where I feel closet. I love this post though. I needed to think about these things. Thanks!

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    1. Oh yes, technology has a habit of doing that it seems. :/ That's great you have a church that brings you closer to God. Thanks for your comment, Vanessa! I'm glad this was timely for you.

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  7. What a handy couple of lists, Jessica! They've helped me asses patterns in my own life. Without even trying, I immediately recognized that some of those list items affect me in the same way. Choosing to think about God, talking with like-minded friends, counting my blessings - these undoubtedly draw me closer to Him. And on the opposite end of the spectrum, doing something I know is wrong, compromising my standards, small talk, not getting enough sleep all make me feel further from Him. Basically I'm just repeating back to you what you wrote... I just felt those list items resound so surely.

    Another thing that takes me away from God is doing something (almost anything) for an excessive amount of time. It seems to dull my passions for anything, especially for God. Do you find that to be true for you? And something that draws me closer to God is hearing the life testimony of someone who attributes all the glory to God.

    And besides a slower pace, what do you think it would take for a storybook to instead have the effect of drawing you closer to God, if it's possible? This is a question that has occurred to me over and over. Lo and behold, here it is again! I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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    1. I don't even know what prompted me to start those lists actually! But I'm glad they were a help to you. Hmm, I wonder how many of those things affect everyone in the same way?

      Yes, those are more good items to add to the lists! I do find doing things excessively has that effect (even sometimes good things - I found after doing 6+ weeks of outreach my personal spiritual life wasn't as vibrant simply because I wasn't putting as much time into it. Maybe it's more about keeping things balanced and making sure our personal relationship with God is always given priority.)

      Ah, that last question! I can see how relevant it would be to you as an author. I've been thinking about it over the last few days since you commented… I asked my sister and she said it comes back to portraying a real and honest relationship with God – not perfect, not shallow. I also think it varies depending on what place the reader is at in their walk with God, and on person to person. I know there have been fairly fast-paced storybooks that have definitely brought me closer to God, but maybe they wouldn’t have the same affect if I read them now. I’m not sure there is a clear answer! What have you come up with in your previous time pondering it? Do you think about it differently relating to writing books compared to reading them?

      And as always, thanks for reading and commenting. :) Your comments always spark thoughtful discussion, and I really appreciate them.

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