November 18, 2017

How Can I Keep From Singing Your Praise

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There is an endless song
Echoes in my soul
I hear the music ring
And though the storms may come
I am holding on
To the rock I cling

How can I keep from singing Your praise
How can I ever say enough
How amazing is Your love
How can I keep from shouting Your name
I know I am loved by the King
And it makes my heart want to sing

I will lift my eyes
In the darkest night
For I know my Savior lives
And I will walk with You
Knowing You’ll see me through
And sing the songs You give

I can sing in the troubled times
Sing when I win
I can sing when I lose my step
And I fall down again
I can sing ’cause You pick me up
Sing ’cause You’re there
I can sing ’cause You hear me, Lord
When I call to You in prayer
I can sing with my last breath
Sing for I know
That I’ll sing with the angels
And the saints around the throne

 Chris Tomlin
written along with Ed Cash and Matt Redman

 *   ~   ♥   ~   ✞   ~  ♥   ~   *

My whole being shall be satisfied…and my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.
Psalms 63:5

To the end that my tongue and my heart
and everything glorious within me
may sing praise to You and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.
Psalm 30:12

Take a moment, please, and think back to last night as you laid your weary head down on your pillow…. Did your thoughts turn to praising the Almighty with joyful lips?  Did you remember the blessings and mercies and grace that He had given to you throughout the day?  Did you meditate and consider how very much He had helped you and guided you?  Did you recognize that He had protected you…and did you rejoice?  (I ask these same questions of myself!)

I think, for most of us, we DO thank God for the day that has just past.  But…then perhaps we get distracted thinking about all that has occurred during the day.  We remember conversations—good AND not-so-good.  We think about unfinished tasks and projects.  We add to the ‘to-do’ list we carry around in our heads.  Maybe we even start worrying over the next day that hasn’t even begun yet.  But there is a better idea!  Try thinking these things:

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true,
whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—
if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Philippians 4:8

So take another moment, please, and think about yesterday again….  Was there truth?  Were things right?  Can you remember something lovely that happened?  Did a friend do something you admired?  Did God’s blessings cause your heart to sing His praises?  I venture to say that yes…YES!…there were true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and PRAISEworthy things!!!  Thinking about these kind of things will cause us to praise our great God with joyful lips.  Remembering  the grace and mercy that He gave to us will give us much to meditate upon.  Dwelling upon the goodness of our God will lift our heart and we will rejoice!

Tonight, as you again lay your beautiful head down, sing and speak praises to Your Father!  Instead of worry and concern, allow all the truth, the right and lovely, the pure and admirable, the excellent, the PRAISEworthy things to fill your heart and mind.  Give praise to the One Who supplied your needs, Who protected you, Who led you and guided you.  Rest, my friend, in the comfort and blessing of His presence…and I am sure you will wake up in the morning, saying as the Psalmist did:

But I will sing of Your mighty strength and power;
yes, I will sing aloud of Your mercy and loving-kindness in the morning;
for You have been to me a defense and a refuge in the day of my distress.
Unto You, O my Strength, I will sing praises;
for God is my Defense, my Fortress, and High Tower,
the God Who shows me mercy and steadfast love.
Psalms 59:17 and 18

And, perhaps, singing the sweet words of this song…

How can I keep from singing Your praise?  How can I ever say enough?  How amazing is Your love?  How can I keep from shouting Your name?  I know I am loved by the King…and it makes my heart want to sing!’

*   ~   ♥   ~   ✞   ~  ♥   ~   *

Almighty God, You are Holy, You are Faithful, You are Sovereign, You are Love!  Please help us through Your Holy Spirit to remember to think on the true, the right, the lovely, the pure, the admirable, the excellent, the praiseworthy things…and to praise You, Lord!  We do sing out our praises…in Jesus’ precious name.  Amen.

 

The Positive

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Let them praise the Lord for His great love
and for the wonderful things He has done for them.
Let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving
and sing joyfully about His glorious acts.
Psalms 107: 21-22

My mom has been talking to me about what I focus on.  Basically, I need to stop focusing on the negative.

I’d call the season I’m in now one of discovery. I’m learning more about God and myself. And yet, when the road gets rocky and circumstances aren’t favorable, I’m prone to focus all my energy on the problem until it is solved.  Focusing on the negative is like having blinders on that stop you from seeing all the good in your life.

So, when I was told what our next devotional was going to be on, it’s no surprise the word “sacrifice” is what had my attention. (Nothing negative about that, right?) Forget that verse 21 says, “Let them praise the Lord for His great love and for the wonderful things He has done for them.” I was going to write about how obedience is much better than sacrifice, but something just didn’t feel right.

So, I waited. (Yay!)

For four days I pondered. Every time I went to write, I felt like I was being told to wait. Three of those four days I was drawn to Micah 6:8, “No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”

On the fourth day, I got curious! I went back to the beginning of Micah chapter 6. This chapter is about God bringing his case against the Israelites and Him asking them to bring their case against Him (verses 1-8).

God went first asking, “O my people, what have I done to you?  What have I done to make you tired of me?  Answer me!” (verse 3).  He then reminds them of good things He’s done for them.

The Israelites replied asking what sacrifice they could bring Him (verses 6 and 7). And then, verse 8 is God’s response.

I reread Psalms 107:21-22 and noticed that I’d completely missed the positive in the verses. And finally, it dawned on me, I am inclined to focus on the negative, even in God’s life-giving, hope-filled Word.

I’ve decided to focus on the positive and to be thankful in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18); to fix my thoughts on what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8). I know this is possible because God is working in me, giving me the desire and power to do what pleases him (Philippians 2:13).

* * * * *

Thank You, Lord, for opening my eyes and softening my heart. Thank You for Your faithfulness and for constantly loving me.  Amen.

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 🙂 

With Joyful Lips I Will Praise You

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My whole being shall be satisfied…and my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.
When I remember You upon my bed and meditate on You in the night watches..
For You have been my help, and in the shadow of Your wings will I rejoice..
Psalms 63:5-7

Take a moment, please, and think back to last night as you laid your weary head down on your pillow…. Did your thoughts turn to praising the Almighty with joyful lips?  Did you remember the blessings and mercies and grace that He had given to you throughout the day?  Did you meditate and consider how very much He had helped you and guided you?  Did you recognize that He had protected you…and did you rejoice?

I think, for most of us, we DO thank God for the day that has just past.  But…then perhaps we get distracted thinking about all that has occurred during the day.  We remember conversations —good AND not-so-good.  We think about unfinished tasks and projects.  We add to the ‘to-do’ list we carry around in our heads.  Maybe we even start worrying over the next day that hasn’t even begun yet.  But there is a better idea!  Try thinking about:

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true,
whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—
if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Philippians 4:8

So take another moment, please.  Think about yesterday….  Was there truth?  Were things right?  Can you remember something lovely that happened?  Did a friend do something you admired?  Did God’s blessings cause your heart to sing His praises?  I venture to say that yes…YES!…there were true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and PRAISEworthy things!!!  Thinking about these kind of things will cause us to praise our great God with joyful lips.  Remembering  the grace and mercy that He gave to us will give us much to meditate upon.  Dwelling upon the goodness of our God will lift our heart and we will rejoice!

Tonight, as you lay your beautiful head down again, sing and speak praises to Your Father!  Instead of worry and concern, allow all the truth, the right and lovely, the pure and admirable, the excellent, the praiseworthy things to fill your heart and mind.  Give praise to the One Who supplied your needs, Who protected you, Who led you and guided you.  Rest, my friend, in the comfort and blessing of His presence…and I am sure you will wake up in the morning, saying as the Psalmist did:

But I will sing of Your mighty strength and power;
yes, I will sing aloud of Your mercy and loving-kindness in the morning;
for You have been to me a defense and a refuge in the day of my distress.
Unto You, O my Strength, I will sing praises;
for God is my Defense, my Fortress, and High Tower,
the God Who shows me mercy and steadfast love.
Psalms 59:17 and 18

 * * * * *

Almighty God, You are Holy, You are Faithful, You are Sovereign, You are Love!  Please help us through Your Holy Spirit to remember to think on the truth, the right and lovely, the pure and admirable, the excellent, the praiseworthy things…and to praise You, Lord!   Amen.

Our Words and Meditations

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A redeemer is someone who frees or delivers another from difficulty, danger or bondage, usually by the payment of a ransom price. A rock is a foundation, support or refuge. With these definitions alone I can understand why David wrote,

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sights, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.
Psalm 19:14

A desire to please God comes naturally when you begin to seek His face.  When we begin to seek God, we grow.  I think our words and the meditations of our hearts are good indicators of areas that need God’s life-giving truth.

In Luke 6:45, Jesus said, “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart.  For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.”  The heart is one’s innermost character, feelings, or inclinations.  Our hearts are the core of who we are.  Our hearts are what God is concerned with changing.  The junk inside our core did not appear overnight.  No, the junk that is at our core grew over time.   How?

For as a man thinks, so he is.
Proverbs 23:7a

We let the junk in one thought at a time.  This is why we are called to renew our minds!  We need to pay attention to the thoughts that bounce around in our minds.

In Mark 4:24, Jesus said, “Be careful what you are hearing.  The measure [of thought and study] you give [to the truth you hear] will be the measure [of virtue and knowledge] that comes back to you- and more [besides] will be given to you who hear.”

At one point in my life, I had tons of thoughts racing through my mind…every waking second of every day.  You could ask me what I was thinking and I could not always tell you because, if I focused on my thoughts too hard, I’d often get nosebleeds.  I can remember sleepless nights due to the fact that my mind just wouldn’t be quiet.  That was a miserable time for me.

The Lord has shown me the power of my thoughts and given me new thoughts to think.  He has shown me that I can choose what I will think and He has shown me what is pleasing to Him.  This is a joyful time for me.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Phillippans 4:8

Don’t let negative thoughts consume you; you choose!  So, what are you thinking?

* * * * *

Thank You, Lord, for giving us Your word to overcome the negativity of this world.  May the meditations of our hearts be pleasing to You.  Amen.

Glorious Living w/ Coach Megan: Dare to Dream — Don’t be Stunted by Self-Doubt!

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Dear Megan,

God has placed some pretty big God-sized dreams in my heart, but I keep letting my self and all my doubts and fears get in the way of letting God work to help my dreams become a reality. Can you help point me in the right direction with combating this self-doubt?

~LB

Dearest LB,

…and you KNOW God specifically designed YOU to fulfill these dreams on earth to further His Kingdom! He so wants all of us to get out-of-the-way and give Him full reign over our dreams!  God wants you to rely on Him to guide you and give you strength…for ONLY through Him will you truly reach the potential He has for you!

Isaiah 41:10

So do not fear, for I am with you;do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Here are a few helpful tips when you find yourself coming across self-doubt:

1. Let go of the need to know HOW you will create your vision of what you want.

You likely do not know how you will create your dream, especially not in the beginning. That is the way it is supposed to be! Your intuition is how the Universe shows you the way to your dream! We often end up doubting ourselves when we can’t see how we can create what we want. Or, sometimes we think of one way to create it and think we aren’t capable of doing that. Let go of this kind of thinking and trust that, if you have a vision that excites you, you have within you what it takes to create it. And trust that you will be given what you need to make it a reality, when you need it.

Proverbs 3:5

Trust in the Lord with all your heartand lean not on your own understanding

 

2. Remind yourself of how important your dream is to you.

Give yourself 5 to 10 minutes of free time to spend focusing on your vision of what you want and how you will feel when you have created your dream. Let yourself feel these positive emotions and imagine that you have already created what you want and are living your vision. Let yourself get excited, these positive emotions will energize your vision and allow it come to you faster. This reminder of why your vision is important to you can help you set that doubt aside.

2 Timothy 1:7

 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 

 

3. Be a witness to the voice of self-doubt.

As you notice the voice of doubt coming up, watch the thoughts that come up rather than participating with it. Recognize that it is the voice of the part of you that wants to keep you the same and to keep you in familiar territory. Distancing yourself from this voice can help you to gain perspective so you are still in charge and the doubting self is not. Release the need to fight it, simply allow the doubt to be expressed and move on.

Philippians 1:6

…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

 

4. Get the doubts and fears down on paper and out of your mind.

In your mind, they tend to endlessly repeat themselves and keep you stuck. Get out a piece of paper and write out all of the doubts and fears that come to mind. On a new piece of paper write down positive statements around why you CAN create your vision. Maybe you are downplaying your strengths and abilities; list these on this second piece of paper as well. When you are done, read over the doubts one last time, then tear the paper into tiny pieces and throw it away. Read over your positive statements and let the positive emotions and a feeling of confidence take over. Feel free to read these positive statements whenever you need to remind yourself that you are capable!

Philippians 4:8

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

5. Repeat a personalized affirmation to yourself.

This will instill positive beliefs around your ability to create your vision. Make sure the affirmation feels good when you say it, and it is meaningful to you. The better you feel when you repeat it, the faster it can become your reality. Examples: I believe in myself; I deserve to have what I want; God put this desire in my heart; I am safe, etc. whatever resonates with you. You can also use the positive statements you created in #4 above.

 

Self-doubt is likely something that you will face on the path to your dream, but that is no reason to stop moving forward. Take a few minutes to readjust your focus using the tips above and you will be feeling better and more confident, ready to move forward to your dreams once again! God NEEDS this to be a priority to fulfill His purposes on this earth! 

 

Blessings,

Coach Megan 🙂