November 24, 2014

Glorious Living w/ Coach Megan: Trusting God {a prayer exercise}

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Dear Megan,

Lately I have really been struggling with trusting God and I feel horrible about it. In my heart, I know what I need to do, but my mind is fighting me every step of the way. I don’t know if you can help, but I just don’t know where to begin.

~T

My dear T, we have all walked through these seasons and I am so happy you have reached out for help. In addition to being in the Word daily and having as much quiet time with the Lord as possible, I have found this prayer exercise to be very helpful in training my heart to work with my mind in letting go and trusting God with every single little thing. I pray this is a blessing to you.

Trusting God {a prayer exercise}

A five-minute exercise you can do anytime you need to.

Your heavenly Father promises relief from adversity for those

who honor him, have faith, and trust him.

A word from scripture:

Even in darkness, light dawns for the upright. Psalm 112:4 (NIV)

 ***

The way of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn,

which shines ever brighter until the full light of day. Proverbs 4:18 (NLT)

Meditation Guidance:

 1. Tell your Heavenly Father that you are looking to Him for relief, like the dawn, to come. Talk about your faith and trust in Him. Speak of your doubts also. Use these scriptures to shape your prayer:

I rise early, before the sun is up; I cry out for help and put my hope in your words.

I stay awake through the night, thinking about your promise.

In your faithful love, O Lord, hear my cry; let me be revived

by following your regulations.

Psalm 119:147-149 (NLT)

***

Desperate, I throw myself on you: you are my God! Psalm 31:14 (MSG)

***

To you, O Lord, I offer my prayer; in you, my God, I trust. Psalm 25:1-2a (GNT)

***

But even when I am afraid, I keep on trusting you. Psalm 56:3 (CEV)

***

Even if I go through the deepest darkness, I will not be afraid, Lord, for you are with me.

Psalm 23:4 (GNT)

2. Talk to your heavenly Father about the despair and darkness in your life. Cry out to God. Use these scriptures to help you:

O Lord, hear me as I pray; pay attention to my groaning.

Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for I pray to no one but you.

Psalm 5:1-2 (NLT)

***

Listen, God, I’m calling at the top of my lungs: “Be good to me! Answer me!”

Psalm 27:9 (MSG)

***

Hurry with your answer, God! I’m nearly at the end of my rope.

Don’t turn away; don’t ignore me!

Psalm 143:7 (MSG)

***

Look on me and answer, Lord my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death.

Psalm 13:3 (NIV)

 

3. As you wait for your heavenly Father to answer your prayer, meditate on these scriptures to strengthen you:

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him. Psalm 37:7 (NIV)

 ***

Only God gives inward peace, and I depend on him. Psalm 62:5 (CEV)

***

You, Lord, are my shepherd. I will never be in need. You let me rest in fields of green grass.

You lead me to streams of peaceful water, and you refresh my life.

You are true to your name, and you lead me along the right paths.

Psalm 23:1-3 (CEV)

***

I can lie down and sleep soundly because you, Lord, will keep me safe.

Psalm 4:8 (CEV)

 ***

I know that I will live to see the Lord’s goodness in this present life.

Psalm 27:13 (GNT)

4. Repeat as often as needed and let each and every word in the Scriptures penetrate the depths of your soul. Breathe  in the truth of God’s Word and let satan’s lies tumble on out.

Your assignment: give one thing over to God today to trust Him with.  It can be as small or as big as you want it to be…just give it to Him.  Once you do, it is not yours anymore.  Do this exercise to keep that thing out of your imperfect hands and safely in the magnificent hands of our Lord and Savior!

Blessings,

Megan :)

Glorious Living w/ Coach Megan: Changing Your Heart from Critical to Caring

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Dear Coach Megan,

God has really been working in my heart lately and, whether I like it or not, He has shown me that I have a really critical spirit with the people closest to me. I don’t like it and I want to do my part to change, but I’m not sure where to begin. Can you help?

~ DJ

Dearest DJ…

In my experience, anyone with a critical spirit is an expert at finding fault and focusing on it! Bless you for not only admitting this, but being willing to let God in and work on your precious heart to make an impact {in a good way} on all the lives you touch!  I pray that this blog post will be a blessing to you and your family, and I would love to hear how God fills your heart with His supernatural caring!

A critical spirit does not reflect the heart of the wise, nor does it reflect the heart of God.  Jesus said, “For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man  brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him”  {Matthew 12:34-35}.

A critical spirit is an excessively negative attitude with harshness in judging.  A person with a critical spirit gives unfair criticism by fault-finding, nit-picking, carping, quibbling, and complaining.  The Bible is clear about those who are judgmental:

Romans 14:10

You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister?  Or why do you treat them with contempt?
For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat.

On the flip side… a caring spirit is a thoughtful, attentive attitude with a heart to help.  One of the most important needs we all have is for someone to care about us; someone to be attentive to our dreams and disappointments, our joys and sorrows, our successes and failures, our strengths and weaknesses, our vices and virtues.  How blessed we are when we have caring people in our lives!  Those who have a caring spirit reflect the heart of our caring Savior.

Nahum 1:7

 The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him

How to change your heart from critical to caring:

Identify your shortcomings {Psalms 139:23-24}

  • Humble your heart to see your own sin, your imperfections, and your immense need for God’s mercy.
  • Help others see their significance in God’s eyes.
  • Pray: “Lord, may I see my sin as You see it…may I hate my sin as You hate it.”

Practice compassion for others {Colossians 3:12}

  • Look closely at the life of Christ to learn His compassionate way of confronting the truth.
  • Pray that you will not be a critical stone thrower, but a compassionate need-meeter.

Draw out the heartfelt needs of others {Proverbs 20:5}

  • Don’t listen to only what people say on the surface. Listen for the needs and feelings beneath the surface… feelings of being unloved or feeling insignificant or insecure.
  • Pray that God will give you a discerning spirit as you seek to draw others out.

Offer acceptance to others {Romans 15:7}

  • Realize that everyone has an innate fear of rejection and a deep yearning for acceptance.
  • Choose to be a channel through which God extends His acceptance to others.

See the God-given worth in others {Luke 12:6-7}

  • Treat every person, especially the one most problematic to you, as someone with God-given worth.  The truth judges our hearts, attitudes, and actions towards others.
  • Pray that the Lord will not allow you to despise anyone whom He created and loves.

Praise the positives in others {Philippians 4:8}

  • Avoid the temptation to try to catch people doing something wrong.  Instead, comment on what they are doing right.
  • Pray that you will see something positive in every person, then faithfully make that your focus.
  • Pray that you would see others as God sees them and value them as He values them.

Refuse to wound others with words {Colossians 3:16}

  • Consider the fallacy of the saying “talk is cheap.” Talk is costly when it tears others down. Prayerfully consider the possibility that what you are criticizing in someone may be something God wants to deal with directly, and that God may want you to pray and remain silent.
  • Before speaking words of criticism, ask a wise friend to evaluate the content and tone of your words.  Realize that after critical words are spoken, you can never take them back.
  • Inspire those who need to change by sharing with them your belief that they can change. Encourage them by saying “Don’t give up. Trust God to guide you in the way you should go. I know you can make the right decisions. I believe you can experience God’s best!”
  • Present your words to God as His instrument for good, and pray that He will put His words into your mouth.

See the unmet needs of others {Philippians 4:19}

  • Instead of judging the inappropriate actions of others, seek to understand the need behind each action.
  • Realize that people who speak forth cutting words reveal that they have unmet inner needs {for love, significance, or security.}
  • Realize that people don’t always mean what they say nor understand their own deepest needs.
  • Pray that your critics will allow the Lord to meet their deepest inner needs.

Rely on God’s Word and God’s Spirit for wisdom

  • Seek God’s wisdom by reading a chapter a day from the Book of Proverbs.
  • Write down every verse from Proverbs that pertains to the tongue.  Check your words against this list and see if you are being wise with what you say.
  • See God at work in every circumstance and trust Him for wisdom to know how to respond {wisdom is the ability to look at life from God’s point of view.}
  • Pray that God’s Spirit will teach you spiritual truths and lead you to speak these truths in love.

1 Corinthians 2:13

This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom 
but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.

Blessings,

Coach Megan :) 

Glorious Living w/ Coach Megan: Breaking Strongholds (w/ free download)

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2 Corinthians 10:4 
For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal,
but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.

Strongholds are birthed and dwell in deception (which are lies and false beliefs), so naturally the cure is to bring in the truth in God’s Word to defeat them once and for all.  You debunk the lies of the enemy with the truth that lies in the Word of God.

The Bible says that our weapons are mighty for the tearing down of strongholds (2 Corinthians 10:4, “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.”)  What is our primary offensive weapon?  The sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17, “…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”)  Truth dispels deception and lies, and therefore the more truth you bring into a situation, the more the darkness must flee.  This is where it’s important to grow in God’s Word, is because it is your primary weapon for tearing down the strongholds of deception that the enemy has been feeding you.

If you are not currently spending time in God’s Word every single day, please vow to make this a habit right now.  THIS is how God will most often speak to you and how you will grow in your relationship with Him like never before.  Please make this intentional time with the Lord every single day…ink {not pencil} Him into your precious schedule!

In John 8:31-36, Jesus tells us that we can be held in bondage due to strongholds in our lives. And His solution was to, “…continue in my word… and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (verses 31-32).  Strongholds are torn down as we meditate on God’s Word.

To help you with this, I have a FREE download for you today filled with stronghold-breaking meditations to help you on this journey to break free once and for all!   Click on the link below to download to your computer.

Stronghold-breaking Meditation Scriptures

Blessings,

Coach Megan :)

Glorious Living w/ Coach Megan: A Scripture Prayer on Decision Making

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I pray this is a blessing to you….

Proverbs 3:5-6

Lord, I trust in You with all my heart and I won’t rely on just what I understand.
In all my ways, I will rely on You, because You will direct me in the way I should go.

Psalm 32:8

Thank You for being willing to instruct me and teach me the right way to go… even to counsel me and watch over me.

Psalm 25:9

I humble my heart so that You will guide me and teach me Your way.

James 1:5

When I need wisdom, I will ask You for it. Thank You for not faulting me for asking, but rather wanting to make me wise.

Proverbs 16:9

Even when I plan my future, I’m so glad that You determine my steps.

Psalm 40:8

Oh God, I truly desire to do Your will.
Thank You for putting Your truth in my heart.

John 16:13

I yield myself to Your Spirit of Truth, who will guide me into all truth.

Matthew 6:10

I pray that whatever is Your perfect will for me in heaven will also be accomplished in my life here on earth.

1 Corinthians 10:31

And, Lord, may whatever I do be truly for Your glory… and Yours alone.

In Jesus’ name.  Amen.  <3

Click the link below for a free download of today’s prayer!

DailyPrayer

You will need Adobe Acrobat on your computer to open this PDF file. If you do not have this program on your computer, you can find a free download HERE.

Blessings,

Megan :)

Glorious Living w/ Coach Megan: Praising God…Even in the Hard Times

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More and more it seems that suffering and hurt are prevalent everywhere we look.  Maybe you have recently lost your job or you are living with a chronic illness….  Maybe you are grieving a loss or have recently been handed a major disappointment.  If you are hurting right now while reading this, know that your tender, loving Father has His arms open and He is always ready to hold you if you just let Him.  Many people who are hurting today are cursing God and some believers have abandoned God.  They did not have Christ as their solid foundation.  It is so important to have a strong faith through the best of times so when the winds blow, we will not be moved.  Trials and hard times come for a reason and that is to grow closer to our Father.  So, how can we praise Him during the darkest hours?  Let us look at scripture for some clear examples.

Remembering Christ 

2 Timothy 2:8-9 says, “Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal.  But the word of God is not bound!”   Remembrance of Christ and His death at Golgotha needs to be the centerpiece through which we praise God in the hard times.  When we suffer, we can remember that He suffered, and His suffering gave us freedom!  This is one reason some leave the faith…they forgot what even brought them into God’s loving hand.  Praise be to God, our Almighty King, that gave us the final sacrifice to atone for our sins!

Trials and hard times come for a reason and that is to grow us ever closer to our Heavenly Father.

Prayer 

Every time we connect with God in prayer, we are praising Him because we are acknowledging our need to set our burdens on His strong shoulders.  Isaiah 25:4a says, “For you have been a stronghold to the poor, a stronghold to the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat.”  These are things we can praise Him for while we are praying!  He takes care of His children!  Even in the darkest part of the storm, He is there as a stronghold to keep us standing against the crashing waves and raging winds.  A woman on her knees in prayer can stand before any tragedy.

Through Song

When you read Psalms, you can find so many verses about God’s children singing praise even in the midst of hard times.  David writes in Psalm 142:4b-7, “No one cares for my soul.  I cry to you, O Lord; I say, “you are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.”  Attend to my cry, for I am brought very low!  Deliver me from my persecutors, for they are too strong for me!  Bring me out of prison, that I may give thanks to your name!  The righteous will surround me, for you will deal bountifully with me.”  This particular psalm was a written prayer, but it could just as well be sung.  So many songs today are written straight from the Psalms.  One particular song that has always touched my heart on this issue of hard times and suffering is “There Will be a Day” by Jeremy Camp.  This song always brings tears to my eyes as it offers so much hope!  What songs speak to your heart as you praise your Father?

Time in the Word 

Anything that we do as Christians that focuses our time on God brings Him glory and praise.  When we look to His word for healing and guidance, we again are telling God that we need Him and we praise Him for His sovereign nature in all circumstances.  In Hebrews 4:15-16 it says, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.  Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”  This is a passage of love that speaks to all who are hurting.  Jesus was tempted in every way so we can be completely firm in our belief in Him.  My fellow sisters, write these verses on your hearts.  We can have confidence in our Father in all circumstances.  Stay in the word!  It can heal the brokenhearted.

Fasting

Fasting is an outlet that provides a spiritual and physical reliance on God.  Fasting is not set on any particular facet.  Many people fast from food for an extended amount of time, but fasting really involves giving up anything that means a lot to you in order to spend time with God instead.  This is a precious way to praise Him!  When you fast you stop “me” and focus on Him.  He has sustained me every time I have fasted.  The spiritual bond always grows with fasting because God is feeding that bond as you rely on Him…and you are creating the space He so desperately needs to move!

Forgiveness 

Forgiveness always reflects praise on the Father.  We forgive out of obedience to Christ.  We forgive because it is always the right thing to do.  There is real spiritual maturity and growth when we can look at specific people who have wronged us personally and forgive them.  This is because sin always comes from the devil and not from the individuals themselves.  There is massive spiritual warfare fighting for us every day.  Satan’s legion of demons are always hunting.  It is our job as believers to always forgive those who trespass against us.  The true fault is always against the devil and his wicked schemes.  Even Christ on the cross asked His Father to forgive those crucifying Him (Luke 23:34).  May we all strive to be like that!  Praise be to our Sustainer in all circumstances!  The next time you are having trouble with another person, remember that your battle is NOT with them and it is not of the flesh….  Your battle is a spiritual one and your Mighty Creator is BIG enough to guide you and sustain you to forgive.

I would love to hear all about how YOU show God praise through the hard times!  Please leave me a comment below all about how He is your Sustainer and Redeemer!

Blessings,

Coach Megan :)

Glorious Living w/ Coach Megan: Standing on God’s Promises

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Whether you are walking through a season of fear, doubt, frustration, disappointment, anxiety, or happiness and joy…it is always important to stand on God’s promises for you!  This is a wonderful exercise that you can either do all at once, or break it up and do one promise a day in your quiet time…. But I highly recommend that you have this mighty tool in your toolbox for when Satan’s lies try to creep in and steal your joy! I also recommend that you write them on 3×5 cards attached together with a key-ring to be able to easily reference them as often as needed!

I pray this is a blessing to you!

*********************

WHO I AM IN CHRIST!

The following is a list of Bible verses that reference who you are in Christ.

Look up each Bible reference in your preferred Bible translation (or even more than one…) and then below each reference, state in your own words how this reference specifically applies to YOU.

When you are finished, write a page or so about what you have learned and how it relates specifically to your future in trusting God with your whole heart and everything that you have.  Prepare for powerful revelations and blessings as you begin to believe and practice what the Word tells you!

It will take time, but it is so worth it, dear one!!! I read my list every morning out loud and Satan has NO CHANCE  in distracting me as I walk through my day!!

Example:

Colossians 2:10 (NIV)

 “…and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority.”

 ****I have been brought to completeness in Christ. There is no other power higher in my life.*****

 List of Scriptures:

1. Colossians 2:10

2. Ephesians 2:5

3. Romans 8:2

4. Isaiah 54:14

5. 1 John 5:18

6. 1 Peter 1:16 and Ephesians 1:4

7. Philippians 4:7

8. 1 John 4:4

9. Romans 5:17

10. Ephesians 1:17-18

11. Mark 16:17-18, Luke 10:17,19

12. Colossians 3:9-10

13. Luke 6:38

14. Philippians 4:19

15. Ephesians 6:16

16. Philippians 4:13

17. John 14:12

18. 1 Peter 2:9

19.  Peter 1:23

20. Ephesians 2:10

21. 2 Corinthians 5:17

22. 1 Thessalonians 5:23, Romans 6:11

23. 2 Corinthians 4:4

 24. James 1:22, 25

 25. Romans 8:17

 26. Romans 8:37

 27. Revelation 12:11

 28. 2 Peter 1:3-4

 29. 2 Corinthians 5:20

 30. 1 Peter 2:9

 31. 2 Corinthians 5:21

 32. 1 Corinthians 6:19

 33. Deuteronomy 28:13

 34. Matthew 5:14

 35. Romans 8:33, Colossians 3:12

 36. Ephesians 1:7

 37. Colossians 1:13

 38. Galatians 3:13, Deuteronomy 28:15-68

 39. Colossians 2:7

 40. Psalm 66:8

 41. 2 Timothy 1:9

 42. 1 Peter 2:24, Isaiah 53:5

 43. Colossians 2:12, Ephesians 2:6

 44. Colossians 3:12, Romans 1:7, Thessalonians 1:4, Ephesians 2:4

 45. Colossians 1:11

 46. James 4:7

 47. Philippians 3:14

 48. 2 Timothy 1:7

 49. Galatians 2:20

Blessings,

Coach Megan :)

 

Glorious Living w/ Coach Megan: Surrender

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Surrender yourself to the Lord, and wait patiently for him.

Psalm 37:7

Surrender isn’t a very popular word in our culture.  Even the first few definitions in the dictionary have some rather negative connotations related to that word.

  • “To declare to an opponent that he or she has won so that fighting or conflict can cease.”
  • “To relinquish possession or control of something because of coercion or force.”
  •  “To yield to a strong emotion, influence or temptation.”
  • “An act of declaring defeat at the hands of the opponent.”

God asks us to surrender our lives and everything we have to Him, but you will never see Him using coercion or force to get us to do so.  God asks, but our response is our choice.  It also doesn’t have anything to do with declaring defeat at the hand of an opponent because as God is always for us, He is NOT our opponent and surrender to God always leads to victory, not defeat.

Surrendering your life means:

  • Following God’s lead without knowing where He’s sending you
  • Waiting for God’s timing without knowing when it will come
  • Expecting a miracle without knowing how God will provide
  • Trusting God’s purpose without understanding the circumstances

Yikes…. Those are some pretty big statements but the good news is that they are ALL possible to proclaim with Christ living and breathing in us.  No, we could never fully surrender on our own with all of our flesh getting in the way; but with God in us, all things are possible…. We merely need to just get out of His way!

With that being said, I think it is also important to note that while it is impossible to only be half surrendered {sort of like you can’t really be half pregnant…}, we must constantly be striving toward full and complete surrender to the will of God.  It IS possible to live a surrendered life and you will know you are there when you rely on God to work things out instead of trying to manipulate others, force your agenda, and control the situation.  You let go and let God work.  You don’t have to always be in charge.  Instead of trying harder, you trust more.

You also know you’re surrendered when you don’t react to criticism and rush to defend yourself.

Surrendered hearts show up best in relationships. You are not self-serving, you don’t edge others out, and you don’t demand your rights.

Jesus is the supreme example of self-surrender.  The night before His crucifixion Jesus surrendered himself to God’s plan.  He prayed, “Father, everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me.  Yet I want your will, not mine” (Mark 14:36).  Jesus surrendered Himself to God’s will.  He prayed, “God, if it is in Your best interest to remove this suffering, please do so. But if it fulfills Your purpose, that’s what I want, too.”

What does this look like for us?  Genuine surrender says, “Father, if this problem, pain, sickness, or circumstance is needed to fulfill Your purpose and glory in my life or in another’s life, please don’t take it away!”  This level of maturity certainly doesn’t come easy. In Jesus’ case, He agonized so much over God’s plan that He sweated drops of blood.  Surrender is hard work.  In our case, it requires intense warfare against our self-centered nature…but it IS possible!

But HOW do I surrender to God, especially when the pull of the world is so strong in my being? Remember that your entire life is run by your thoughts.  Your thoughts are either submitted to satan and the things of this earth, or submitted to God and centered on heavenly things.  When you are in distress about anything, that distress takes place in your mind…in your thoughts. Distressful thoughts are not heavenly thoughts but rather they are thoughts about things on this earth.

Colossians 3:2

“Set your mind on things above, not on the things that are on this earth.”

Philippians 4:6-8

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God, and the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Finally, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, whatever is excellent, worthy of praise let your mind dwell on these things.

Whatever is on your mind and in your heart that causes you distress, just say to God:

“I surrender this to You.  Of myself, I can do nothing.  If anything is going to be done about this matter, you will have to do it.”

This process breaks satan’s power over your thought pattern that has held you in bondage to the problem.  To get started in the process of overcoming your difficulty, be SPECIFIC about what I would really like to overcome: {fear, anxiety, relationship difficulties, rage, eating disorders, depression, bad temper, anger, procrastination, job stress, pride, marital strife, drug addiction, smoking, fantasy addiction, etc.}  Now mentally take that situation and put it into the palm of your hands.  Just cup your hands in front of you and imagine that your situation is sitting in your hands.  Now take your cupped hands, lift your situation up and mentally put it into the outstretched hands of your Heavenly Father and pray:

“Our Dear Heavenly Father, I lift this situation up into the palm of Your hands.  I ask You to put a shield of protection around it that no evil can penetrate.  I put this matter solidly in Your hands, and I ask you to take care of it.  Thank You, Father, for taking care of this matter.  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”

(Did you ACTUALLY take the step of putting the situation in the palm of your hands, and then ACTUALLY lift up your hands, and put the situation into the outstretched hands of Jesus?  If not, please take the time RIGHT NOW to take that LIFE-CHANGING step of action.)

God tells us in Psalm 55:22:

“Cast your burden upon the Lord, and He will sustain you.  He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.”

If this is something you have been dealing with for weeks or months and have not been able to resolve it yourself, then you should feel comfortable with putting it into the hands of your Heavenly Father and leaving it there, giving Him the opportunity to take care of it.

Blessings,

Coach Megan :)

Glorious Living w/ Coach Megan: Financial Freedom {part 3}

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For the past two weeks, we have been talking about how to begin to have financial freedom in your life.  If you haven’t read the earlier posts yet, you can find them here and here.   The questions that we are discussing in regard to finances are:

How do you master money when you feel like money has actually mastered you?

How do I get in the black with my finances when I am always in the red?

How do I get out of debt?

For our last post in this series today, we will be working through living by a monthly budget and the HOW of getting out of debt. As you can imagine, they go hand in hand and I pray these steps will help you to begin to see a light at the end of the debt tunnel!

Last week, we talked about the Law of Stewardship where you were urged to resolve to live by a monthly budget. It is easy for someone to TELL you that is what you should do, but hard to put in place if you don’t know the HOW. Here are four steps to get you started:

  1. Determine your total monthly income: add up your salary, dividends, trust income, interest, or any other sources of fixed income.
  2. Determine spendable income: subtract your tithes and taxes.
  3. Determine your fixed monthly expenses (look at the prior year’s expenditures; divide yearly totals by 12 for approximate figures) and your discretionary expenses (money spent at your discretion.) Your total expenditures must not exceed net spendable income.
  4. Determine if you have a debt or surplus lifestyle.
  • Refuse to live your life drowning in debt
  • Debt is bondage to another
  • Debt dishonors God
  • Debt reveals lack of self-control
  • Debt brings God’s judgement

Now that you have done this, it is time to take a look at how to cancel debt. Proverbs 6:5 says “Free yourself, like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, like a bird from the snare of the fowler.”

First stop…. You must identify your debt situation:

Make an inventory of your assets:

  • What do you own?
  • What is the approximate value of the things you own (car, house, property, insurance policy… large items)?

Identify your income:

  • How much money do you make?
  • How much time per week do you work to obtain this money?
  • Do you have any investments?

Describe your debts:

  • What do you owe?
  • When is it due?
  • What interest rates are you paying on each debt?

Approximate your monthly bills:

  • What do you pay for utilities, gasoline/ transportation, food, phone, clothing, insurance, entertainment?

Next…. consider your lifestyle….

Be introspective:

  • Why do you live the way you do?  Is it for career advancement, to impress family or friends, or to live comfortably?
  • Were you brought up living this way?
  • How do your friends, family and co-workers live?

Consider what you could do without:

  • Do you have expensive items you don’t need that, after the initial purchase, have high maintenance costs?
  • Do you pay others to do something that you could do yourself?
  • Do you eat out when you could eat less expensively at home?

Look for what you can substitute:

  • Can you substitute less expensive items for premium products or services you currently use?

Reconsider gift giving:

  • Do you disregard budgets and savings plans during holidays and gift-giving occasions?
  • Can you give fewer and less-expensive gifts?
  • Does it mean that you love your friends and family any less if you live within your means?
  • Would your loved ones want you to go into debt to buy them presents?

Moving on to establishing financial goals

List future expenditures:

  • What future expenses do you anticipate?
  • Are you looking to buy a home, pay for a daughter’s wedding, or replace a vehicle?

Consider future career changes:

  • Are you considering going to school or starting your own business?
  • How will these plans change your financial situation?

Prepare for family changes:

  • Are you expecting a child?
  • Are children leaving the home?
  • Do you have elderly parents in poor health?
  • Prepare for how these changes will affect your finances

State your future financial goals:

  • Financially, where do you want to be five years from now? Ten years from now?
  • What are realistic expectations?

Finally, it is time to take action with your finances!

Pay extra on your debts:

  • Which debt has the highest interest rate?
  • What amount of money can you pay each month on that debt?

Stop feeding your debt:

  • What lifestyle habits contribute to your debt?
  • Have you stopped using credit cards and started paying cash?

Change your lifestyle:

  • What items can you do without that you really do not need?
  • What expensive assets can you sell that would be financially profitable to sell?

Establish a savings plan:

  • How much should you plan to give to God?
  • How much money are you setting aside to help those in need?

Proverbs 8:20-21

I walk in the way of righteousness, along the paths of justice, bestowing a rich inheritance on those who love me and making their treasuries full.

Remember…. just as the Bible has predetermined YOUR purpose… it has also predetermined your money’s purpose:

It is ALL for the glory of God!

Blessings,

Coach Megan :)

Glorious Living w/ Coach Megan: Financial Freedom {part 2}

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Last week, we began talking about how to begin to have financial freedom in your life. If you haven’t read it yet, you can find the post here.  The questions that we are discussing in regard to finances are:

How do you master money when you feel like money has actually mastered you?

How do I get in the black with my finances when I am always in the red?

How do I get out of debt?

…and today we will be working through the five principles for wise money management that the Bible lays out for us to help guide us as we work to get out of debt.  I pray this will be a blessing to you!

The Law of Contentment

  • Remember…God owns everything! {Psalm 50:12}
  • Recognize that God is our mighty source. He provides all that you possess. {Deuteronomy 8:17-18}
  • Realize that God wants you to be content with what you have. {Philippians 4:12}
  • Take a few moments and review what money means to you… (Security? Significance? Self-worth? Status? Power? Independence? A means to helping others? Other______?)
  • Once you discover all of the needs you expect money to fill, call Philippians 4:19 to mind…especially when you are tempted to spend needlessly.
  • Be sure to rest in God’s presence no matter what your financial circumstances.

Hebrews 13:5

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have,

because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

The Law of Self-Control

  • Start by transferring ownership of everything to God…mentally and emotionally. {Haggai 2:8}
  • Then you must separate yourself from the sin of greed.  You must repent and confess if your trust is in money.  Remind yourself of the consequences of financial bondage. {Luke 12:15}
  • Set a NEW goal for managing your finances.  Get counsel from someone with financial self-control and commit to staying on course with God’s plan for your finances.  {2 Corinthians 5:9}
  • Keep away from temptation by controlling your thoughts. Avoid thinking you can occasionally indulge yourself and avoid thinking that you can do whatever you want, self-sufficiently.

1 Corinthians 10:13

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.

But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

The Law of Stewardship

  • You must recognize your accountability to God for how you spend money.  What does accountability mean?  It means…. Knowing exactly what comes in, knowing exactly what goes out, knowing exactly where it goes (budgeting), knowing how to save (regardless of your income), knowing how to put your money to work for you (safe investment planning), and knowing when and where to give money to God and to others.
  • Return the first tenth of your earnings to God…this must be a commitment!  Many assume that tithing was taught only in the Old Testament.  However, Jesus gave full endorsement to the principle of tithing. {Luke 11:42}
  • Reserve an amount of your earnings for saving.  A wise steward plans ahead by establishing a habit of saving. {Proverbs 13:22}
  • Be sure to respond to the needs of others. When you allow God’s heart to have freedom in your heart, your attitude toward giving will change so that He will use your giving in the lives of others. {Proverbs 19:17}
  • Resolve to live by a monthly budget.  {We will talk more about this next week!}

The Law of Giving

  • Give confidently to God that which He has commanded.  {Malachi 3:10}
  • Give regularly to the work of the Lord.  {1 Corinthians 16:2}
  • Give sacrificially by giving up some of your own desires. {2 Corinthians 8:3}
  • Give cheerfully–not reluctantly or under pressure.  {2 Corinthians 9:7}
  • Give generously to the poor.  {Deuteronomy 15:11}
  • Give compassionately to those in need.  {Romans 12:13}
  • Give secretly without letting others know.  {Matthew 6:1}

The Law of Petition… How to Pray for Your Needs

The following are some conditions on which successful prayer depends:

  • Is your request within the will of God? {1 John 5:14}
  • Have you confessed and repented of any known sin in your life?  {Psalm 66:18-19}
  • Instead of desiring your own will, are you willing to accept God’s will with a submissive heart?  {Mark 14:36, Philippians 4:6-7}

Blessings to you,

Coach Megan :)

Glorious Living w/ Coach Megan: Financial Freedom {part 1}

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This week I have received several emails asking various questions about spending money- gaining financial freedom. I thought that the best way to handle this would be to break up this topic into several posts so as not to be too overwhelming and hopefully for it to be fairly easy to digest and put into practice! All of the emails I received had to do with the same questions….

How do you master money when you feel like money has actually mastered you?

How do I get in the black with my finances when I am always in the red?

How do I get out of debt?

Good thing for all of us that we CAN find financial freedom through sound Biblical principles for wise money management and solve all of our dollar dilemmas!

I don’t know about you, but my whole life, I believed societal myths about money and it wasn’t until I stacked them up against God’s truth that I was truly set free from them. Do any of these myths sound familiar? Let’s see how they stand up to God’s living truth!

Myth: Money is the root of all evil

Truth: No….. money can actually be used for great good. It is really the love of money that is wrong.

1 Timothy 6:10

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.

Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

Myth: If I just have enough money, I will be satisfied.

Truth: Satisfaction with your financial situation does NOT come from the amount of money you have, but wisely managing what you have.

Ecclesiastes 5:10

Whoever loves money never has enough;
whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless.

Myth: You must borrow money and pay it back in order to prove financial responsibility and establish good credit references.

Truth: Borrowing and paying back money is not always necessary to get credit. Most lenders are more than anxious to extend credit in order to collect inflated interest rates over an extended period of time. Why?

Proverbs 22:7

The borrower is slave to the lender.

The first aspect of this subject that I think is important for us to discuss is how to know whether you are trustworthy in the way you spend money. You must first desire to please the Lord in every way that you manage the financial resources He has given you. Before you purchase anything, it is good to ask yourself:

  • Is this purchase a true need or just a desire?
  • Do I have adequate funds to purchase this without using credit?
  • Have I compared the cost of competing products?
  • Have I prayed about this purchase?
  • Have I been patient in waiting on God’s provision?
  • Do I have God’s peace regarding this purchase?
  • Does this purchase conform to the purpose God has for me?
  • Is there agreement with my spouse about this purchase?

The Bible says:

1 Corinthians 4:2

Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.

Have you run your purchases through this filter? How would your spending habits be different if you did? I would love to hear all of your thoughts about this in a comment below. I think we would all agree that our money is not ours…. but it belongs to God and we are called to be good stewards of it. God is the owner of everything.  We are the managers of what He has entrusted to our care.

1 Chronicles 29:11

Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor,

for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, O LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all.

This scripture tells us that God is the owner of everything.  Stop and think about that for just a second.  How often do we insert the possessive pronouns of “my”, “mine”, or “ours” when talking about possessions?  It reminds me of a child who says: it’s “mine”, “mine”, “mine!”  But according to scripture house, cars, money and all possessions belong to God.

Most commonly the idea of people claiming money as “their” money leads them down the road of poor decision-making.  Think about all of the financially immoral acts in our society.  All of them typically occur because people make decisions with the perspective of it being “their” money versus it being God’s money.

  • When we acknowledge God’s ownership, every spending decision becomes a spiritual decision.  
  • We need to stop asking, “Lord, what do You want me to do with my money?” 
  • The question needs to be restated, “Lord ,what do You want me to do with Your money?”

Many blessings,

Coach Megan :)