Thursday, November 28, 2013

My Chains are Gone


Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm thankful! Jesus Christ has set me free from self-hatred, people-pleasing, rage, depression, addiction and... myself!

In futility I struggled against my chains. For too long. I bloodied my ankles and wrists and writhed in pain as I worked to free myself. But skin and bone are no match for shackles of iron. I exhausted myself in attempts at freedom.

But upon my surrender, Jesus did what I could never do. He snapped the chains right off of me.

Are you feeling like a slave to some life-controlling issue? 
Surrender.
Not to that ugly mindset, substance or behavior.
Surrender to Jesus.

Freedom is in His hand, and I believe He is waiting full of anticipation for the moment when you finally cry out to Him. He is ready and waiting for that holy moment when He gets to snap your chains off!
Jesus came to seek and rescue the lost. It is His mission. 
It is no inconvenience for Him to free you... He wants to free you! 

Don't struggle against those chains.
You're not strong enough to break them.
You can't do it.
But Jesus can.
Whisper or say or sing or shout His name. 
Admit it - you can't free yourself.
Surrender your life to the One who can give you true freedom and life.



Yes, I am thankful today and always, for my strong God!
Praying He shows Himself strong on your behalf today when you call on His name.


Much love, 
*megan


Saturday, April 13, 2013

Girl Talk

This past week the local weather took a dramatic twist from the 50’s to 85 degrees in a matter of 24 hours, prompting me to write the following Facebook status:

“Well.
It basically turned into summer overnight.
Christian ladies (ALL ages!), please consider modesty and holiness in choosing your attire this spring and summer season.
We represent Christ. Let’s not let fashion or our own desire for attention keep us from representing Him well.
There will be a blog post about this… :)
Please wear clothes. Amen.”
 
This is part one of the post.
First of all, let me be honest: I’ve been putting this off for years. Years, because I know that when you speak out about something, you will be scrutinized and held to a higher standard. I also know that some people will get offended, and the last thing I want is for anyone to feel like I singled them out. But I’m at this point in my life where I realize that whether I like it or not, as a daughter of God and a leader in ministry, high standards & scrutiny are part of my life. So with humility and love I write to you today.
This post is for the Christian ladies. You are my sisters. I love you and desire to see you become the women God has designed and destined for you to be. I know this world tells us we need to look and dress a certain way to be beautiful. I know that the struggle against the mirror, the scale, the images in magazines and billboards can leave us feeling like we will never be enough. I know those feelings of “not enough” can drive us into all sorts of deception and bondage that keep us from walking in the truth of who God says we are. I pray that today truth will be shed like light on your heart. I pray that you will see that this post is not an attack; it is fueled by love and the desire to see you walking worthy of the call of God on your life! The call to Godly womanhood and holiness.
This post is for the Christian men. You are my brothers. I love you and desire to see you become the men God has designed and destined for you to be. I know that your struggle against lust and sexual temptation is real. I know it is a battle to walk in purity when you live in a world that is completely saturated with sexual perversion. I cannot even imagine the magnitude of your struggle. I pray that in my speech, my actions, my apparel and how I carry myself I would honor you and esteem you above myself. I pray that I would not hinder your walk with God, but that I would be a strength to you. I’m writing this post for every man in my life over the years that helped open my eyes to one of the greatest struggles you deal with as Christian men. Though this post is primarily written to the ladies, this post is primarily written for you.

Holiness
Ladies, though this post is about modesty, this post isn’t really about what you should or shouldn’t wear. This is about your heart. It is about holiness.
If you are a child of God, you have been called to live a holy life (1 Thess. 4:7) and Biblical holiness is this: “to consecrate, sanctify, prepare, dedicate, be holy, be separate.” As Christians we are called to be separate, set apart and dedicated to the Lord. Holy people look different than the culture in which they live. Since we belong to Christ we must daily choose to crucify our own desires (Gal. 5:24), and commit ourselves to a separated, holy life for the honor and glory of God. And we do all this by His grace at work in us, for “It is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose” (Phil. 2:13).
Holiness is a matter of the heart and spirit. It is an inner work, affecting our hearts, minds, attitudes, and emotions. When we respond to God’s call to live a holy and separated life, no area of our life will be left untouched. And what God does in our heart and spirit will be evident in discernible, tangible ways in our lives. In other words, what God does on the inside is visible on the outside!
And this is where modesty comes in, ladies. If we are committed to holiness in our hearts, minds, attitudes and emotions, it naturally will show in how we present ourselves.

What Women Want
As women we carry within us this deep desire to capture someone’s attention. That desire isn’t anything to be ashamed of! It has been placed in us by our Creator and is actually a reflection of His own character and personality; He desires to capture our attention, and for us to be captured by His. So this desire to captivate one’s attention is not unholy, but we do have the choice of whether we seek to fulfill it in a holy or unholy manner.
I will be very honest with you, for years I greatly mishandled my own desire for love and attention. Rather than spending my teenage years defining myself by the Word of God, I looked to media, culture, Seventeen & Cosmo to define me. [side note: I don’t care if you’re 15 or 55, single or married, don’t pollute your mind with that filth. Married or not, it is filth and it doesn’t belong in your life. Even within marriage, purity is worth guarding.] And rather than spending my teenage years pursuing the Presence of God, I spent them pursuing the attention of males.
I dressed and carried myself in a way that dishonored God, my own body and my brothers in Christ. I was wildly insecure and I desperately wanted to be noticed. What began as an innocent pursuit of attention didn’t stay innocent for long. I found that flaunting my body was a way to capture the attention of men, though it was certainly the wrong kind of attention. My desire for that attention became my idol, my drug; giving me a momentary high followed by feelings of guilt, shame, fear loneliness and ultimately emptiness. Like any addict I kept going back for a little more, revealing a little more, lowering my standards a little more, all the while creating a whole lot more bondage for myself.
Ladies, I had no idea how detrimental my behavior would be not only to me but to the young men I was attracting. I couldn’t truly love anyone I had a relationship with, because deep down I was seeking to gratify my own selfish desire for acceptance. I cared so little for these young men I “loved” that even after learning that one young man I dated was dealing with a pornography addiction, I continued to dress in a revealing manner to elicit his attention. I selfishly stood between him and the Lord. I was consumed by my lust for attention and appetite for affection.
Maybe some of you can relate to my experience. You dress for attention, you aim for sex appeal, and perhaps you think since you don’t plan on “actually doing anything wrong” that your actions are inconsequential. My dear sister, nothing could be further from the truth. Your actions will always affect others.
My sisters, how you dress and carry yourself speaks volumes about the state of your heart. If you are motivated by self, you will likely dress in a way that draws attention to yourself. If you are motivated by holiness, you will likely dress in a way that points people to the Lord. When I see women who dress immodestly, I find myself genuinely saddened and concerned. I pray that God will reveal to each of us as His daughters the truth of who we are in Him: redeemed, pure, valued, cherished. I pray we will be defined by who He says we are.
Some of you cannot relate to my experiences in my past, but I hope though that you will still allow the Lord to speak to you through part 2 of this post. If modesty is an area where you are strong, let this further strengthen your convictions and humbly give you courage to remain holy, set apart and shining brightly in this dark world!
Still others of you may be newer in your faith, and have never really given much thought to modesty yet. I want to encourage you to seek God in how you are to treat and present your body. You are worth so much!


As Christians, we are the body of Christ and we represent Him everywhere we go (1 Cor. 12:27). Let’s be sure that we are allowing Him to work in us on the inside, and reflecting that on the outside. Sometimes it’s going to be a sacrifice. For the sake of our sisters and brothers in Christ, we will have to lay aside some of things we are personally okay with. We won’t always be able to go where we want to, say what we want to, watch what we want to, and even wear what we want to. But even when it is a sacrifice, let’s choose to be like Jesus, doing “nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves” (Phil. 2:3).

Much love,
*megan

Monday, March 11, 2013

Anointing.


This is going to be quick. Ready?

Anointing > Talent

If you are feeling average or mediocre or are comparing yourself to others, be encouraged! God chose the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, and the weak things of this world to confound the strong (1 Corinthians 1:27). 

Be faithful- develop your character & diligently work to be the best you can be at whatever God has gifted you in. Be quick to give God glory for anything good that comes from your talent. Talent can get you in the door, but the anointing will open doors no person can open. 

Followers of Jesus, you can't manufacture anointing; but you can tap into the Anointed One who lives inside of you. 


That's all I've got. Maybe a bit scattered but it was on my heart. Much love!

*megan

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Words & Letters

Alright, so I made a mistake in my last post. I said my goals for this blog were to be authentic and edifying. I guess I wasn't 100% clear on the definition of edification. I think the appropriate word for what I'm going for is encouraging.

I truly desire to be someone who lifts others up. It certainly is not always easy. Encouragement can twist into flattery if it isn't authentic. Encouragement can prove challenging after being hurt and wounded by people. I think if anyone desires to genuinely encourage and build people up, they need faith. Faith not in people but in God, Who is able to work in and through any life that will yield to Him. 

I find sometimes that verbally encouraging others is difficult for me. If my mouth gets moving too quickly I can find myself saying things I don't mean. And that's definitely not okay. I need more of the Holy Spirit in my life, so that I can speak His words, His heart and His love over people. I also need His wisdom and understanding to know when to shut up. :)  Just because something is true doesn't mean it needs to be said. 

While I see great value in looking someone in the eye and speaking God's Truth over their life, my favorite way to encourage others is through writing. More than blogging, I'm talking about handwritten encouragement.

There are few things I appreciate more than receiving a heart-felt, handwritten letter or card. Can anyone else relate? A handwritten note shows that someone not only thought of you, but with intentionality and purpose they actually took time out of their day to express that thought to you. And that's just special!

Something else I enjoy about handwritten sentiments? I can read them over and over! I'll be honest, I don't have the sharpest memory. If someone speaks something encouraging over my life I try to write it down as soon as possible, because otherwise I'm likely to forget it. But when someone writes it I can (and typically do) read it again and again. I've re-read cards from 10 years ago that encourage me more today than they did when I first read them. Honestly. What sets these letters apart is the Truth of God's Word and the prayers that are written in them. 

I recently stumbled upon a letter that was written to me in 2005. I opened it up and began reading page 1 of 9 handwritten notebook pages. Written on these pages were words of encouragement, Scriptures, poems and thoughts, followed by more Scripture and words of life. I was in tears by the time I reached page 9. It was written by a brother in Christ who passed away last April at the age of 26. He and I were not close friends, in fact we were only acquaintances; but you'd better believe he made an impact on my life. 

This one letter to me was full of the timeless, precious Word of God. Reading it again reminded me that writing is a practical yet powerful way to leave a legacy.  Written words can be gifts that keep on giving if they are written in agreement with the Word and Spirit of God.

Next time a friend is on your heart, prayerfully consider writing to them. If God leads you to write, I encourage you to carve out some time to do so. If you don't know what to write, pray for God to bring a Scripture to your heart. God's Word doesn't return to Him void (Isaiah 55:11) so even if you feel like you have nothing eloquent to write, that's okay! Simply taking time out to show that you care can make all the difference in someone's day. 


Lord Jesus, I pray for myself and for everyone reading this post. Please Lord, teach us to encourage others as we should. Let our mouths be full of Your word, full of kindness, full of wisdom. Please give us understanding and discernment to know when to speak, and when to shut up. :)  Let our pens be guided by sanctified hands and hearts that are set on doing Your will. Use us, Lord, to encourage and build one another up in our faith in You. It's all for You, for Your glory! In Jesus' name, amen!


:)   Sorry if any of this is nonsensical or scattered. I had finished this post an hour ago but lost my internet connection. Then the computer froze. Then after rebooting, half of this post was gone. Sooooo I did my best to reconstruct. Hopefully (prayerfully) I have written what God wanted me to tonight.


Love and prayers,

*megan

Monday, January 28, 2013

Authenticity & Fear.

Authentic.
Edifying.

These are the words I cannot shake when I ponder and pray about my new season in the blogosphere. I love that my computer didn't put the squiggly lines under the word "blogosphere" btw... I actually didn't know it was a legit word... 


I want this to be a place where "real talk" can happen. Where I can be me, and you can be you. A place where you feel welcomed to share comments, prayer needs, what God is showing you about any topic that I blog about. 

One of my least favorite things about authenticity is that it generally requires a great deal of vulnerability. They're kindred spirits, as far as I can tell. Plainly stated: vulnerability isn't my strongest quality. I have struggled with a desire- what's more, a pressure- to appear "perfect and good" throughout my whole life. Of course I know that no one actually thinks I am perfect. But the pressure has been there still. Perhaps the most unnerving thing about this is that my ambition has never been to actually be perfect, but merely to appear perfect.

Scary, huh?

Yeah... For years (and I mean years) I didn't really know what the driving force behind this pressure was. I blamed my parents, church leaders and teachers who set the bar "too high". I blamed anyone who praised me only when I was "good". I blamed every youth leader I ever had for quoting 1 Timothy 4:12 to me over and over. I blamed "middle child syndrome". I blamed all the things I could see, without giving thought to praying to God, Who searches the heart and examines secret motives (Jeremiah 17:10). 

I recently read "The Fear of the Lord" by John Bevere. I would highly recommend that every Christian friend of mine take the time to read this gem of a book. [I will loan my copy to you if you promise to read it and return it, because it's one I intend to read again.] God's Holy Spirit, through this book, revealed much to me regarding the state of my heart, including the root issue of my perfection pressure: The fear of man. In case you're not familiar with the terminology, I'll give a very simple definition... "The fear of man" is the honoring of the opinions, praise and approval of people above the approval of Almighty God. It is idolatrous to the core, breaking the first commandment: "You shall have NO other gods before Me". When we value the opinions and seek the approval of people above obedience and reverence toward God, well, we have placed another god before Him. John Bevere states in this book, "If you desire the praise of man, you will fear man. If you fear man, you will serve him - for you will serve what you fear". The fear of man and the fear of the Lord are mutually exclusive. The fear of man enslaves, the fear of God liberates.

God is beginning to break me of my perfectionism, my high regard for the opinions of people. Fearing Him - reverencing Him and honoring Him and valuing His approval - it is setting me free. It's not that I no longer care what people think about me. I still care, but I'm caring less. And that "not caring" isn't about arrogance or proving myself, etc... I'm just seriously starting to care more about what God thinks about me! I feel like my understanding of this is still so small, but already it is freeing me to love and live and worship in a new way. A liberated way. 

Proverbs 9:10 says "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom..." which means I'm only at the start of this journey. I realize that I've been held back for many years because I made myself a prisoner to the opinions of others. No one can be blamed for this but me. But now by His grace, in learning to fear Him, I am free to grow in wisdom and understanding of His character and nature. So basically I'm just a newbie.



All this to say, authenticity will be a new standard here, by His grace. The fear of God is freeing me to be real. I will talk a little more about edification in my next post, Lord willing... but for now, thanks for reading, please feel free to comment or email me your thoughts. Praying for you all.

Much love,

megan





Monday, January 21, 2013

An Opportune Time


It’s been a whole year since I’ve written a real post for this blog. My silence was not so much a result of writer’s block as it was a change of season in my life. The silence has done me much good. A lot has changed in my life since I last was in the habit of posting regularly around here. Perhaps I will share a little bit about that in a future post. But for now, here’s what’s on my heart.

An opportune time…

For those of you who do not attend church with me, we are currently in our final week of 21 days of corporate fasting and prayer. This is our second year of joining together for three weeks of fasting.

I'm just going to be real with you here. Last year during the fast I really got off track, not only with my fasting but with my focus. Distractions came my way and I chose to look at them instead of setting my focus on God. I was tempted and tested and to be honest I absolutely failed these tests. Rather than praying about decisions and opportunities that came my way I just did what seemed right to me. If you read the Proverbs you know that "There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death" (Proverbs 14:12, TNIV).

That was the fast for me last year. A time of testing, trying, temptation... and failure. There's nothing like failing a test to be reminded that you aren't "all that." Honestly, I think that's what I needed since I would not willingly humble myself before the Lord. I must say I'm so very grateful for the Truth, that "You are forgiving and good, O Lord, abounding in love to all who call to You" (Psalm 86:5, NIV). Just because I screwed things up doesn't mean I have to live under condemnation (Romans 8:1). I've called on the Lord in repentance for my duplicity, and He has been so faithful to forgive and lead me forward!


All that is just back story, I guess...

Here's what is going on in my time of prayer and fasting this year: God is speaking to me, teaching me, leading me, growing me, and really it is wonderful. All glory to God for this! That being said, I've experienced very little temptation and for those of you who may be in the same boat, I want to share with you what God is teaching me about this...

Don't let your guard down! 

We are cautioned in Scripture, "Therefore let anyone who thinks he stands [who feels sure that he has a steadfast mind and is standing firm], take heed lest he fall [into sin]" (1 Corinthians 10:12, Amplified). Basically, it's really easy to be confident in ourselves and our own willpower, strength, abilities, etc. when we are on the mountaintop. We start to think we are beyond failure, but nothing could be further from the truth. If we are not living by the Holy Spirit's power, sooner or later we will gratify the lust of our sinful nature (Galatians 5:16). 

Jesus was tempted in the wilderness for 40 days and nights while fasting but He remained close to the Father and grounded in the Truth of the Scripture. You can read about it in Luke 4. One particular verse in this passage is very sobering to me during this time of fasting: "And when the devil had ended every [the complete cycle of] temptation, he [temporarily] left Him [that is, stood off from Him] until another more opportune and favorable time" (Luke 4:13, Amplified).

The devil finished tempting Jesus for a season, but he wasn't giving up; he was waiting for another opportunity, a more favorable one. If we are children of God, the devil is our adversary and he isn't going to give up easily or quickly on us either. We are told in Scripture that we are to "Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour" (1 Peter 5:8, NIV)

Sobering, eh? Even in times when we aren't experiencing a great amount of temptation, we must be self-controlled (a fruit of the Spirit, not a work of our own strength) and alert. There's more going on than meets the eye, there's warfare of a spiritual nature going down continually.


I am praying that in this season of my life God will firmly establish in me a total reliance on Him, on His Holy Spirit and His strength. I want to be holy, set apart and useful to Him for the sake of His Kingdom. I want to be closer to Him with each day I live on this earth. At some times it is much easier to walk with Him than at other times... I pray that in the easier times I will draw near to Him, diligently seeking His face during any reprieve from temptation I may experience. I pray that I will not fear the temptation and trials that will surely come my way, but will learn to walk in His grace each and every day as it comes. 

I pray this for myself and for you, my friends: that we may be found faithful and fearlessly confident in our God Who is able to keep us from falling and to present us faultless before His glorious presence with great joy (Jude v24).


Much love to you, my family and friends. Please email me if there's any way I can be praying for you.

*megan