November 18, 2017

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)

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

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

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

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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)

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

Psalm 27:9 (MSG)

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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)

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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)

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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: 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 🙂

“Esther” Chapter 1:10-15

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“But when the attendants delivered the king’s command, Queen Vashti refused to come” (Esther 1:12, NIV).  Here we see the pivotal action that paved the way for Esther to come onto the scene in the next chapter.  Disobedience or a refusal to submit.

I’ll have to admit…for a long time I’ve sided with Queen Vashti!  What was so wrong??  I wouldn’t want to be the only woman in a room full of men that have been drinking for seven days (really, seven days??), would you?  According to some Jewish historians, Vashti was to appear wearing only her crown.  To me, her refusal seemed appropriate, if not a way to protect herself.  I would bet that for any number of women that have read this story, each one would have thought of a reason that the Queen’s actions were justified.  However, Darlene makes a great point, and this is the kicker: “…the scripture doesn’t give us any valid reason she didn’t.  So making excuses for her would be speculation at best” (page 13).  So there it is.  If the Bible wanted the Queen’s actions to be justified, then a valid reason would have been given for her refusal, but we don’t have one.  The simple truth is: Vashti was given a command which she refused.  We see later in the chapter that she is punished – stripped of her role and privileges.

This made me wonder.  How often does God give us a command that we don’t want to obey?  Just like reading about Queen Vashti, we want to justify her disobedience and ours through the filter of our own wishes.  God commands us to submit – to our husbands, to the will of Jesus – and we give reasons (excuses, really) of why we shouldn’t.  I know many of us have difficult husbands! Some of us have husbands that are abusive, indifferent, not in line with the will of God.  Many of us see God as a difficult taskmaster, a commander, one who is angry with us.  It’s hard to willingly allow ourselves to submit to the will of someone who may not have our best interests at heart, isn’t it?  On the other hand, some of us are simply not interested in being submissive!  It feels “archaic,” as if we are supposed to be weak doormats to be walked on, when we are strong, liberated, independent women – right?  I’m my husband’s partner, not his slave.   All justifiable feelings, ladies, but let’s look at the Scripture again.

“But when the attendants delivered the king’s command, Queen Vashti refused to come.”  The King commanded.  She refused.  We really do treat God the same way.  He gives us commandments.  Some we obey…some we flat out refuse.  Can we be honest with ourselves?   If we don’t want to do what God commands, then we don’t do it.  I’m not trying to be harsh, it’s just the truth!   If we want to improve, if we want to become less so that God can become more within us, then we have to start thinking about submission from God’s perspective, and not from the world’s perspective.  Here’s more truth for you – GOD LOVES YOU!!!  All day, every day.  He wants what is best for you. He wants you to have a beautiful, joyful, powerful, abundant life. When you can really wrap your head around the fact that God loves you, then it makes it much easier to submit to His commands – because they are not burdensome (I John 5:3); they are in your best interest!

Consider the ultimate example of submission, Jesus.  He obeyed, even to the point of death (Philippians 2:8)! Would you consider Him a doormat?  Weak?  A slave?  I would think not. Was His life free from conflict?  No.  Did he have to do things He would have preferred not to do?  Yes.  Jesus lived His life as an example for ALL of us – so that we can pattern our lives after His. Submitting our lives to the will of God does not make us weak, mindless puppets – it’s an act of courage and strength!  In fact, when we submit to God, our submission brings us rewards – here and in heaven!  In James 4:6 and 7; James writes: “‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ Submit yourselves, then, to God.”  (He also says in verse 7 to resist the devil and he will flee from you, further proof that in submission to God you have the power and authority of God residing in you – I’d say that’s a reward, wouldn’t you?)  A heart obedient to the will of God is beautiful!

Let’s vow today to live lives of daily submission.  In areas where it seems difficult (if not impossible!), let’s ask God for strength, courage, and a willingness to do as He asks. Let’s not sit in the seat of the skeptic.  Let’s not view submission like the world does.  Vashti’s disobedience knocked her out of a place of privilege – let’s not follow her example!  We’ll see in the days and weeks to follow how submission to the King brought honor and reward to Esther and how submission to our King (God) will bring honor and reward to us!  Let’s try it today – when the King summons us, let’s throw on our crown and run to His presence – “Here I am!”

May God reward you for your obedience today!

Let’s Pray:

Holy God, thank You for Your abundant love and provision for us.  Thank You for wanting to have a relationship with us, and that You give us direction out of a desire for our well-being.   Holy Spirit, help us to live our lives in submission.  Help us where we are reluctant to obey.  Help us to love, respect, and follow our husbands – and You even more so.

Lord, open our hearts and our minds to a deeper understanding of You.  Help us to receive the teachings and blessings that You want to bountifully bestow upon us.  Guard our minds, protect our families, heal what is broken, and lift us up when we fall.  I thank You, Lord, for every woman taking part in our study – may she feel Your arms wrapped firmly around her today.

Fill us with Your Spirit, Lord; help us to be salt and light.  In the blessed name of Your Son Jesus.

Amen.

Glorious Living w/ Coach Megan: Guarding Your Heart

 

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Dear Megan,

I am really struggling lately and everywhere I turn I hear “guard your heart,” but I don’t feel like I really know what that means. I want to just shut my heart down so it won’t hurt anymore, but I know that isn’t what God is calling me to do. HELP! Any guidance would be appreciated!

~S.

This is such a great question, S, and it is so important to get our heart around it to truly be living the abundant life God calls us to! Thank you for reaching out!

So….What does it really mean to “guard your heart?”

I keep coming back to the same verse: “… and the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).  There’s so much meat in this verse; but today I want to talk about a particular piece – “guard your hearts.”

It seems to me, the best way to protect ourselves in this world, in relationships, jobs, dreams, or whatever, is to keep our expectations in check.

There are two verses people often quote with regard to guarding one’s heart. The first is Proverbs 4:23. In the NIV it reads “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” The King James and the NASB, however, choose a slightly different word than “guard.”  NASB says “watch” and KJV says “keep.” And we must remember that in the Hebrew, “heart” actually means far more than the seat of our emotions. It’s our mind, our soul, our inclinations, etc.

When we consider this, and look at the verse in context, it’s not telling us to guard, in the sense of how we might use this word in modern English. It’s not telling us to clamp down, be closed off, walled apart…it’s just telling us to be wise.  Solomon is imparting wisdom to his son and is telling him to remember his words, embed them in his heart and try to keep himself from going astray. It means that we should pursue the truth of scripture, such as that God loves us, is trustworthy, and is for our good, so that we make wise decisions. I don’t believe it means we’re to tense up in self-protection…. But that is what we tend to do, isn’t it?

If we only consider this first verse, we might be inclined to actually forget the truth of God’s ways, His sovereignty, and His love, and take too much into our own hands. We’ll try to desperately control our environment, and every thought and emotion, thinking we’re doing the right thing. We are told to take every thought captive, but here’s where that, in excess, falls apart and ceases to be of God.…

How much angst and stress are you putting into trying to figure out how to guard your heart?

How crazy are you making yourself trying to figure out what to do and not do, so that you won’t get disappointed or disappoint someone else?

 That is not God’s will for you. God wants you to trust Him, be in the moment, and seek His wisdom and guidance ALONG the way…not build a fortress around you so you can’t experience anything! Do you realize that if you guard your heart too much…you may actually miss what God has for you? You may entirely sideline His will and plan because you’re too busy protecting yourself. We need to learn to be okay with uncertainty and just go with it, maybe even open our hearts up a little, remembering that God is good no matter which way things go.

This is where we bring in the second verse. Philippians 4:6-7 reads “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” This is a little different than in the first verse, and they have to be taken together.

Here, it is God’s peace that guards your heart. It is a work of God…not a work of you. God doesn’t want us to live in anxiety and worry. And uncertainty sure causes this, doesn’t it? But instead, God wants us to lay our requests at His feet, thank Him for who He is and what He has already done…and leave it at that, knowing He’ll continue to do good in the future.

We don’t pick it up again. We let the peace of laying it down guard our hearts. This submission is based on that constant insistence that God loves us and is for our good. I’ll say it 1000 times because it IS the most important thing for us to EVER understand. God loves us with an immeasurable love. God loves us so much in fact, that we may not get our way, because He knows better. He will do what is for our good. Pray this deeply into your heart. Confess and release all your fears that are keeping you from this truth in the wholeness of your life. That is where you’ll find peace and how your heart will be guarded in a way that you can experience all God has for you, in wisdom, joy, and grace.

You see…the enemy wants us to miss out on all the good things God has for us by getting us to worry and doubt. Sometimes we need to sit in uncertainty when we want to RUN!!!! But if we run, we will miss God. We will miss what He wants to show us in the situation, things He wants to teach us, ways He wants to bless us, and ways He wants to use us to bless others. God just wants us to believe Him and go with it. He wants us to have the freedom to experience what He has for us without fear. That may mean living in a lot of uncertainty, but don’t wall yourself up to avoid getting hurt. Just be at peace, let God be God, and take it all one day at a time.

Where might you be wrestling with expectations today? Is it a struggle at work? A living situation? A family situation? A relationship that you just don’t know which way it’s going to go?

Release it.

It’s going to work out exactly as God has planned and it WILL be good, any which way. Just enjoy today. Enjoy God. Enjoy the process. Enjoy the uncertainty with great expectations of what God will do through it. Submit to trusting God, ask Him for discernment in wise actions, and leave the rest to Him. Remember, His ways are not our ways, so we probably won’t be able to figure it out anyway.

AMEN!….. and blessings to you,

Megan 🙂

Glorious Living w/ Coach Megan: Discerning The Will of God

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Dear Megan,

How can I discern God’s voice from my wants so that I can be in His will? 

I know that God will open the right doors, but in the meantime trying to wait and not push what I want to have happen is so hard.  Sometimes it is so hard to discern His voice when our desires are so strong and the enemy starts to make us doubt, plot and plan, and he makes us think that we are in God’s will when we are really just doing what we want. Looking forward to your thoughts!

Blessings!

~C

 

My dear C, this is one of the questions I get asked most as a Christian Life Coach and I am so excited to discuss it with you and a few friends here today!

One thing I know for sure is that the more you are in the Word, and have a consistent, deeply intimate relationship with the Lord, the more your will will be aligned with His and the easier it will be to discern His voice through your wants.

I think it is important to begin this discussion with a few Biblical facts about the will of God:

1. God’s will for you was prepared in advance:

Ephesians 2:10

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works,

which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

2. God desires to reveal His will to you in a personal way:

Acts 22:14

“The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know his will.”

3. God reveals His will primarily through the Spirit of God and the Word of God:

John 16:13

“…the Spirit of truth will guide you into all truth.”

Psalm 119:105

“Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path.”

4. God sees the whole big-picture of your life…past, present, and future. Discovering God’s will for you is like unrolling a scroll….  He unrolls it one line at a time:

Psalm 32:8

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
    I will counsel you and watch over you.”

5. Sometimes God’s will for our lives includes sorrow and affliction. Suffering gives us compassion for others and allows us to see God’s sufficiency as we learn to depend on Him:

Psalm 119:71

“It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees.”

Okay! Now that we have that background established, let’s move forward and discuss what decisions are pleasing to God. One thing I know is that God doesn’t play hide-and-seek as you try to discover His will! As you sincerely place HIS desires above YOUR desires, He will be faithful to point the way. Let THIS be the prayer of your heart:

 Psalm 40:8

“I desire to do your will, my God;
    your law is within my heart.”

In His Word, God states that He blesses decisions that…

 

He initiates (Proverbs 4:11)

line up with His Word (Psalm 119:33)

accomplish His purpose (Philippians 2:13)

depend on His strength (Philippians 4:13)

result in giving Him glory (1 Corinthians 10:31)

promote justice, kindness and humility (Micah 6:8)

reflect His character (Romans 8:29)

come from faith (Hebrews 11:6)

consider the interests of others (Philippians 2:4)

are bathed in prayer (1 Thessalonians 5:17)

My friend C… I so wish that I could just tell you exactly what to do and what decision to make, but we all know that is not possible (and you probably don’t even want that)!  I do know, though, that God is guiding you each and every day as you discern which path to take:

  • through your spiritual gifts, talents and abilities
  • through your understanding all facets of this decision
  • through impressions God is making on your spirit in the form of convictions and  establishing truth
  • through knowing that God placed certain desires in your heart for a reason
  • through advice from trusted sources who God so divinely places in your path who are grounded in the Word, who are mature in godly wisdom and who might also have overcome similar circumstances in their own lives
  • through the possible necessity of the situation (like having to move because of a sick parent, etc.)
  • through seeing beyond circumstances (Proverbs 16:9)
  • through the elimination of options which you discern are not the best options (1 Corinthians 10:23)

I pray that this has helped you to have a better understanding in your current situation and know that even if time has run out on this decision and you still don’t know what to do, you can still pray!

 

Dear Heavenly Father,

Because You know everything, You know the decision before me and the way I should go. I want only YOUR will, Father. Because I no longer have the option of waiting, I will choose one option. If this decision is not right in Your sight, I ask Your Spirit in me to put a heaviness in my heart. If this is the right direction for me to walk, please confirm it with Your peace that surpasses all understanding. I am willing to take whatever detours You decide to put in my path, as long as I reach the destination You have for me. In Your Son’s matchless name, I pray, Amen. <3

 

Blessings,

Megan Smidt, CCLC