December 11, 2017

The Big Picture

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“For I know the plans I have for you” 
— this is the Lord’s declaration —
“plans for your welfare, not for disaster,
to give you a future and a hope.”
Jeremiah 29:11 HCSB

 *   ~   ♥   ~   ✞   ~  ♥   ~   *

H. O. P. E. =  Holding On Praying Expectantly

So many times we’re in captivity or we’re having great problems; we think, “Oh, God has forgotten me.  He is not thinking of me anymore.”  Oh, that’s not so. God is thinking of you.

“But God is always looking down at the end of the road.  Our common mistake is that we are always looking for immediate advantage, immediate fulfillment.”

– Chuck Smith (click here to read entire commentary)

I cannot begin to count the number of times I have jumped into something considering only the immediate results instead of thinking about the long-term consequences.  I wanted the problem fixed NOW and knew just what to do.  How many blessings have I circumvented?  How many additional problems have I caused simply because I didn’t see the big picture? How much different might things have turned out if I had just held on to hope and continued to pray expectantly?

And you will feel secure, because there is hope;
you will look around and take your rest in security.
Job 11:18 ESV

Hope gives us security.  There is no need to rush ahead, to solve the problem, or to  resolve the issue, without waiting for God’s instructions.  Because we have hope we can rest, secure in the knowledge that God has the perfect plan for us.  He sees the big picture and knows exactly what needs to happen and when.  His time frame, not ours.

When the Lord is our hope,

  • He becomes our Help and our Shield (Psalm 33:20)
  • He shows us mercy and love us steadfastly (Psalm 33:18)
  • He faithfully answers our prayers (Psalm 65:5) [just not always in the ways we think they should be answered]
  • He is our trust and confidence (Psalm 71:5)
  • We are blessed (Jeremiah 17:7)

The Lord is our hope.  We can have confidence that our future is secure in His hands.  God is always thinking of us.  He has great blessings in store for us when we wait patiently and follow His lead.  He sees the big picture and has our future all mapped out accordingly, as long as we don’t rush ahead.  So my prayer today is:

Let all that I am wait quietly upon only God.
May I silently submit to Him,
for He is my hope.
Psalm 62:5

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 🙂

“Life’s Healing Choices” – Getting Help – The Hope Choice

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In our first week, we prayed for God to give us the courage and willingness to admit we are powerless.  As you admitted you are powerless, how did it impact your life last week?  When I began admitting that I am NOT God and I am powerless, I went through a multitude of emotions: anger, sadness, guilt, relief and indifference.  Turning over the control of my life was taking the life, as I had known for years, and realizing it was a false system of belief.  I had to accept the changes I needed to make. This week we are going to talk about what happens after we realize those changes need to be made.  We may begin to mourn our past mistakes and even mourn the fact that we have turned our control over to God. Some of you may say, FORGET IT!! I will admit I am not God, I mean, everyone knows they aren’t God.  But this – it’s painful.

Let’s stop right here and look at the title to this chapter – Getting Help, The Hope Choice.  Ok, that sounds a little better.  Then go to the E in RECOVERY which is Earnestly believe that God exists ( yes I can do that) and the I matter to Him (so glad about that) and that He has the power to help me recover (I sure hope so).  It is at this point that we search and find access that He is the One that wants to fill our lives with love, joy and peace.  He wants us to feel His presence as we begin to let go of more and more of the hurts we have experienced by our habits or hang-ups. Matthew 5:4 is the scripture that tags this step – ‘Happy are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.’ It is His comfort we are seeking and only Him that will offer the healing and VICTORY over our hurts, habits and hang-ups.

One of the biggest issues I went through when I was letting go of my past was the guilt and shame.  I had enough ‘I wishes: I wish I hadn’t made my sons live in the environment I chose; I wish I hadn’t hurt my family; I wish I hadn’t left my marriage; I wish I hadn’t alienated myself from my friends and family; etc, etc. etc.  I could write a book on 1001 “I wishes” you don’t want to have.  But as I kept saying I wish, God kept telling me to quit wishing on my past and believe in His promise. Isaiah 61:7 says: ‘Instead of their shame, my people will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace they will rejoice in their inheritance; and so they will inherit a double portion in their land, and everlasting joy will be theirs.’  What an amazing promise to believe in God loves us so much, we are going to receive double our portion and have everlasting joy. He will comfort us, restore what we may have lost and give us joy.

When we continue to live in our habits or hurts, we are trying to drown out something in our lives or hide what we don’t want brought to light. We would rather sit back and ignore the issue.  The reality in the book about the fire alarm brought this home for me.  If the fire alarm went off, would I simply sit there and wait for it to stop, while everything around me disintegrated?  That is exactly what we do when we try to cover up our hurts, habits or hang-ups with food, alcohol, anger, work or other addictions. All the things around us disintegrate: relationships, finances, work, anything in our lives that stand in the way of our cover up.  I know for myself, when I was living the lifestyle I chose, I was a workaholic, single mom going to school and perfectionist within my home.  There was not an item out of place, my kids stayed involved (so I would have more to do), I was doing online classes for my degree and working 70-80 hours per week.  That way I had NO time to look at the addictions in my own life. And if someone said, “I am praying for you,”  I told them what for? I am fine – then would go into a long list of why my life was so ‘fine.’  I didn’t need anyone’s help and really did not need God’s help. I was choosing things of the world, not the things of my God.

I remember someone telling me, ‘the love of the world will squeeze out the love of the Father.’ That’s exactly what I was doing.  God had to get my attention.  And that He did.  I had gone through every one of the denial busters:  I was wound tight from over work, damaging relationships with family and friends and was beginning to have medical issues. I had to begin admitting I was not in control and turn it all over to Him.  I believed at the time, but had not let Him manage my life.  As I did, God started taking me from brokenness to completeness, from hurt to healing and then to Victory over all things in my past.  As we begin to admit, He offers hope for that change in our lives.  Don’t quit before His healing happens. The hope and help God offers is steps away – He will stay with us each step of the way until Victory.

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.” Philippians 1:6.

The hope we search for is found in Christ alone.

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Let’s Pray:

Father, we thank You so much that You are our hope. That by Your grace alone, we can find comfort and healing through our struggles.  Father, as we continue this week together, help us to continue letting You manage our lives.  Help us to find the strength to bring our hurts, habits and hang-ups and lay them at Your feet.  To be honest Lord, there are times when we may not feel like giving up our comfort or we may not understand what it is we are to give to You.  Bring clarity and peace to our lives Father, that peace that surpasses all understanding as we put our trust in You. We praise You for what You have done and are about to do in our lives.  We give all the glory and honor to You.  In Jesus Name, Amen

Assignment:

After reading this blog comment on below and/or go to our Facebook Group and comment on:  how you handle pain or disappointment.  Also, are there areas of your life you are now beginning to face reality and break your denial?  If so, what are those areas?



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Lady in Waiting: Spiritual Monitor

This year my goal has been to slow down. To take the time to seek God in all that I do and to not rush into words and actions; so when I read this section of the chapter I was excited because it lined up with my slowing down plan. However, I never thought that this plan would extend to my friends and how I reacted when I was listening to their excited stories. But there were a few points that stood out to me in regards to this.

  • “Encourage your friend, instead to wait until she sees how the friendship develops”
  •  Our excitement and the excitement of our friends can distract from developing the relationship with God.
  • Psalm 62:5 “my soul, wait thou only upon God; my expectation is only from Him”
  • Do not run ahead of the Lord in your relationships.

I think that learning these things ourselves first will help us to become spiritual monitors for our friends.

There are three other key things needed to become spiritual monitors, both for ourselves and for our friends. These are 1. A relationship with God, 2, prayer and 3. Love. If we try to reign ourselves in, and tame our tongues without these three factors included, we will not be successful.

Talk about an eye opener for me. I always thought that my excitement for my friend’s stories is what made me a good friend. I thought that sharing the magical what if’s with my friends was what I needed to do to support their dreams and desires. But, in reality I need to be encouraging them to spend time with God and encouraging them to work on developing their relationship with Him, while He develops their relationship with others.

Thousands of needless tears,
Produced by careless cheers,
Assuming that Boaz is finally here,
When the arrival of her prince is not even near…
~JMK

Yes we can encourage our friends, and be excited from them. But we as spiritual monitors should make sure to remind our friends in love that their lives are in God’s hands and to not let their excitement distract them from the one relationship that truly matters.

With Love,
Tonya Ellison

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Let’s Pray:

Dear heavenly father, you have placed people in our lives to be our spiritual monitors. You have place d these people here in the times that our emotions are high and in times when we may not be seeing clearly. Thank you for a loving person to remind us when we’re becoming distracted. Please open our eyes and hearts to their wise words. Please remind us to focus on our relationship with you and trust that you will and that you are working on our behalf in all situations.  In Jesus’ name, Amen

Your Assignment:
Do you have a spiritual monitor? Or have you been a spiritual monitor to a friend? Share with the benefit of this person in your life and how their words blessed you in your situation.

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For the “Lady in Waiting” Bible Study, you will need the book, your Bible, pen or pencil, a highlighter and a quiet place. You can order the book right through our website by clicking the “sign-up here” button at the top of our webpage; which is also where you can sign up to participate in this awesome bible study!