megmariem

a heart, longing for more of it's Lover.

Archive for the category “Conviction”

Editing People

I am a photographer. I see beauty in things that many others cannot see. I am told so often that I am crazy for stopping to take a photo of a specific scene and when I turn my camera (or phone) around with the captured moment, there is an instant of wonder in the eyes of the beholder as they see what I had to stop and photograph. This happened yesterday as I quickly pulled over at the lake to capture such a moment. I saw the sun rays spilling onto a patch of yellow flowers and stopped. My friend followed me, bewildered, and watched as I stooped down onto the ground to freeze the moment of God’s glory.  When I showed him the photo – he was beside himself with the beauty…and kept exclaiming how crazy it was that I could “see” the shot before I pulled over.

Image

I do not say any of this to portray myself as a fabulous photographer. In fact, the more I learn about photography, the more I find there is to learn! I am still a newbie. I say this because as I was editing earlier, I had a thought. I’d like to share it with you.

Photographers not only “snap” your shots in your session. We do a lot behind the scenes that you may not know about. When I slip the memory card out of my camera and into my computer, there are a plethora of choices I must make – edits I must apply to turn the raw images into beautiful shots that will resonate in the heart of the client. I can soften the image, smooth out wrinkles, brighten eyes, whiten teeth, bring the vibrant colors to life, or change colors to black and white or sepia. Many other changes can be made to the photos to impress the viewer.

Sometimes in life we encounter people who think they are like the photographer. They try to “edit” people, if you will. Do you know what I mean? I am talking about the people who try to change others to fit into what THEY think is an acceptable lifestyle. I may be able to make touch-ups on a person’s photo, but I CANNOT change a person’s inside. I cannot tweak a personality, fix a person’s spiritual life, or change someone’s lifestyle. Nor is it my place to try to do so. Ultimately, it is the Holy Spirit of God who has the power to do this, and it also relies in part on the person’s cooperation and willingness to allow the Holy Spirit to do His work in their life. Condemnation and judgment is NOT our purpose.

That being said – we ARE to encourage people in the ways of the Lord. I hear it said SO often, “The Bible says not to judge, so don’t tell me that what I am doing is wrong.” Whoa. The first part of that statement IS true. We are not to judge. But what about Galatians 6:1, when it says; “Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.” The key here is “gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path.” The difference in judging and what this verse is speaking of?

Love.

Love makes all the difference. If we operate in the love of Christ, we will not be condemning. Christ Himself hung on the rugged cross and asked God Almighty to forgive His condemners. If we strive to align our lives with the life of Jesus, He will continue to teach us how to operate in His perfect love…and we will find that instead of being judgemental – or even being completely “hands-off” to avoid being judgemental – we will have opportunities to point people to the One who redeems. The One who saves. The One who can change them. Then all of a sudden they ARE willing and cooperative with the Holy Spirit. He can “edit” them and conform them to the image of Christ.

You see, when we try to do the work of God instead of rely on His Spirit to do it, we become instruments of destruction to the Kingdom of Heaven. When we strive to be true followers of Christ – aligning our lives with the instructions in the Word of God – our lives become instruments of peace and love that are used by the Holy Spirit to increase and bless the Kingdom of Heaven.

What kind of instrument are you? Are you detrimental to the work or are you a vital part?

Sometimes God lets us feel His heart for a moment…

I don’t know how else to explain what happened to me yesterday morning at church (2-24-13). I am on the worship team at my church and have been on this journey of seeking God about the severity and seriousness of consecration. Consecration (or sanctification) is not something that ended when Christ died on the Cross and brought the New Covenant into play. If it had, that would mean that something in God’s character had changed. We know that He NEVER changes…He is the same yesterday today and forever…so consecration is just as crucial now as it was before the Lamb of God fulfilled His purpose on the Cross.

So — that’s where I have been. I have been asking the Lord to teach me how to live a consecrated life unto Him. It hasn’t been an easy journey, but it’s been fulfilling thus far as I have been learning from the Holy Spirit and the Word of God.

Yesterday, I was on the platform for the second time that morning, singing with the others in the praise team after the Lord had delivered a powerful word about true worship through our music leader. As we sang the words “You are holy, oh so holy, You are holy, Lord of all,” I asked the Lord to let me see Him in His glory. I wanted to know Him deeper. I wanted to be overcome by His Presence.

In a moment, I was on my knees. I do not know how to express in words what happened inside of me, except that I was overwhelmed with the holiness of our Sovereign God. I saw Him as the One who sits on His throne and the train of His robe filling the temple, with the angelic beings around Him crying out “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord God of Hosts.” Praises flowed from my lips in awe of Who He is. At some point, I moved down to the altar and found myself looking up at the cross that adorns the wall behind the worship team. While I was praying there, I literally began to weep uncontrollably. I was overcome by the grief that is in God’s heart for how we (His children) defile ourselves. We allow so much sin into our lives without even fighting it. And not even just sins, but we tolerate things that we have become desensitized to (like dirty movies or television shows) to flow into us every single day for hours at a time. Then, when it’s time to go to church, we go to the Lord and plead His blood over us – asking for His forgiveness…rushing into the Holy of Holies to talk to God for awhile, and then go back home to willfully sin and tolerate more and more of things that break His heart. More than that – things that defile the holy state that we are to strive to live in!

Friend – this cannot be! The lifestyle of a Christian is to be 100% for Jesus Christ. It is all or nothing. ALL. Every single last moment of our lives should be weighed to be sure that it reflects the glory and majesty of a Holy and Just God.

Let me encourage you. Ask God what you are allowing in your life, what things you might be tolerating without even being aware. Then ask Him to help you strip it away. You will be able to run that much faster after the Lord. The sacrifice may be great — but if you are measuring the sacrifice, you have not yet seen His worth. There is no sacrifice too great.

Love and blessings.

Obliteration

Obliterate. This word came up in something I was reading today and it seemed to jump off the screen into my mind. I’ve heard this word before but it’s not a normal part of my vocabulary. I looked it up.

According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, to “obliterate” means;
1.) To remove utterly from recognition or memory
2.) To remove from existence : destroy utterly all trace, indication, or significance of
(empasis mine)

Interesting how the top two definitions listed include the word “utterly.” Strong words used here. “Remove,” “destroy,” “utterly,” “all trace, indication, or significance.” Basically, to wipe the existence from ever being known, seen, heard, or experienced.

As I have mulled over this word and it’s meaning I couldn’t help but think what I would like to have “obliterated” from my life. Sure, I could say something like “I would like for my terrible past with my father (or lack thereof) to be obliterated. Wiped from my memory and my heart…leaving behind no trace of pain or any scars from a shattered heart.” Or I could request for my bad choices to be the object of obliteration. “I want the decision I made to gossip about that person to be obliterated. I’d like to capture those negative words and remove them from existence.” In all honesty, those would probably have been answers I would have given a couple of years ago, but I’m learning (still learning) that those are the ways that God brings Romans 8:28 to life. “He works all things together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.” Without those afflictions, or the consequences of my bad choices – heartbreak, and trials — I would not be as close to Him as I am…and I would not be an effective witness of Who He is; for if I had always had an easy life, how could I tell you that God is a Father to the fatherless? How could I tell you that He truly IS the Friend who sticks closer than a brother? How could I testify to you that He is Healer, Provider, and Savior? Comforter, Peace, Strength, Steadfast Hope, and Love is this God and I can only tell you this because I have been in the desperate moments where He was all I had.

So, no. I do not wish for those things to be obliterated.

I will tell you what I have decided I would obliterate if given the opportunity. The old man. Colossians 3 speaks on these things. (Especially vs 9-10.) We are commanded to put off the “old man.” The old sinful nature. When we become children of God Almighty, we are made new. New creations. New men. Why would we choose to carry around death and sin with us when Jesus already bore them for us and we can walk in His freedom and victory? Yet, we are flesh. We are failing human creatures. To die to the old sinful nature is a decision and choice that we must make multiple times a day.

I do not think that complete obliteration of the sinful nature will be complete until the day that He calls us home — but we should strive to make the choices that will starve the flesh and feed the spirit every single day…being ever thankful for His grace and mercy when we fail…and being ever thankful when we make the right decision…because even the obedience is done in the power of His Holy Spirit. It’s all about Him!

Oh, to choose to die to self and thrive spiritually is not easy, but so, so very worth it. There is nothing sweeter than dwelling with the Word. Jesus.

He is all in all. Everything that we need. Glory to Him.

We are preposterous!

I’m realizing that we never “arrive” to the place which we (followers of Christ) strive for until the Lord calls us home or He comes back to receive us unto Himself. This truth is used as an excuse by some, “Well, I know that this is wrong…but I am not perfect. I’m human.” How horrifying that I have allowed that to escape my lips on some
occasions in my life. This is not to be used as any kind of excuse!!! Instead of allowing our fleshly weaknesses to become an excuse to fail, they should push us on to cling to the Savior even more tightly! In those moments we should see our desperate need for Christ! It is then that we should realize even more just how flawed we are and that He is all we have!

Why do we insist on walking away from the One who is all we need to attempt to fill ourselves with the temporal, draining offerings of this world? We scoff and shake our heads at the Israelites who turned from God multiple times even after seeing Him do miraculous works when we are just the same! Our culture is rampant with drugs, sexual immorality, pornography, divorce, affairs, & the lust of the flesh! But as soon as something bad happens, we turn to God and act as if we have been seeking Him with our whole hearts all the while! Why should we expect Him to respond with compassion when we have ignored Him and lived as we pleased until disaster struck?

I cannot imagine how we break God’s heart and even frustrate Him when we walk away from all that He holds out in His hands for us, His children, to pour things into our souls that He knows will damage us tremendously. Can you picture it? The Father, holding love, joy,
peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control in His hands – His hands that are outstretched towards those whom He loves so very much. Healing, provision, stability in Him. Comfort and strength. The child looks into His hand and then turns and reaches for the ways of the world. The empty promises posed by culture that ultimately destroy. The child drinks deep and is eventually overcome
by the pain and brokenness that comes with the consequence. All the while, the Lord is there – still waiting for the child to choose His way…heartbroken because He loves you so and despises the pain you are in because of your foolish decision. Yet He is always a gentleman, never forcing Himself upon any of His children.

Seek to cling tighter to Him. Ask for wisdom and discernment to know what empty cisterns you may be running to – even unaware. You will be surprised what you find with the illumination of the Holy Spirit. The miracle in it all? His unfailing mercies that are new every morning. His love that is unshakable. His promise to never leave or forsake you. His faithfulness in giving you strength each step of obedience that you take along the way.

Glory to God.

Love and prayers.

All or Nothing.

All or Nothing.

I keep coming back to this scripture. “All or Nothing” is a familiar and cliche phrase that we hear from a very young age. However, when the Lord adds that into His Word through the pen of a man inspired by the Holy Spirit, He doesn’t mean it lightly or cliche at all.

How often must I have overlooked this before. This is saying that we either give 100% or we give in vain. Your 87%? It doesn’t matter if it was completed in good efforts…it is in vain. Your 99%? Sure, in math, that rounds up to 100%…but in God’s eyes, it is nothing. If you do not give Him all — you choose to give Him nothing.

Conviction.

God, teach me how to live a life of 100% devotion to You. I want to honor You with every part of my being and all of my life! You are so worthy — and there is none beside You! Change my heart, Oh God. Make it completely transparent and fully on fire for You alone! Be glorified in me! This is my heart’s cry!

What does it look like to love?

Focus first on your need to change, not on hers or his. It may be that your spouse is sinning against you far more than you are against him or her. But you will not give an account for that to the Lord Jesus. You will give an account for your responses to it. That is the great battle. Will you change?
– John Piper

Wow. Conviction all over me as God uses this quote, posted on a fellow sister’s blog, to take what I posted about last night a step further.

I realize that this quote specifically speaks of marriage, but in all reality, the truth in the second half of this quote applies to us all, in every acquaintanceship, every friendship, every family relationship, and every marriage. Every-single-one. We are not held accountable for the wrong things they do — we are held accountable for how we respond in every moment of that relationship.

Pride must disintegrate as we move forward in life. The less pride we carry, the easier it is to respond in humility and with grace. I suppose this is one of those things that we will never master while we are in our mortal bodies. Only the Holy Spirit can enable us to overcome the pride that so easily and naturally rises in us. Though we will never perfect this — it is something that we must strive for, always.

My dear friend whom I referenced earlier addressed this; that we should not try to remove the speck from our fellow brother’s eye before removing the plank from our own. (Matthew 7:3) I agreed with her words wholeheartedly. How often do we say or do things that are out of line while trying to correct someone else? More so, how often have I had negative thoughts about someone because of their decisions or actions? How is this edifying to the Body of Christ? It is not. I cannot control the person, but I CAN (by the power of the Spirit) control my RESPONSE, and THAT is what I am going to be held accountable for on the day I stand before the King of Kings.

And — if you think about it, as the person to whom you aren’t judging…the one to whom you are so careful of every response to…the one who expects you to treat them like everyone else does…as he sees you responding differently, with grace and mercy, he will see Christ in you. You will be making eternal impacts on those lives, instead of causing destruction.

Which goes back to my last post. Love never gets different than a choice.

Love brings life. Pride brings death.

Does love (loving the way the Bible outlines) ever get any easier?

A question I posed to a sweet mentor of mine late last night. Her answer? “Megan, it never gets any different than a choice.”

It all comes back to love. Every-single-time. This is why Christ said,

“‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40)

As I allow my mind to sink into this, I have realized the truth of it. Does not every single call of the Christian life require and ultimately come down to love? 1 Corinthians 13 (specifically vs. 1-3) speaks about this. If we have all abilities and possessions but lack love, they profit us absolutely nothing. Where love lacks – pride reigns.

“By pride comes nothing but strife…” (Proverbs 13:10a)

“Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall. Better to be of a humble spirit with the lowly than to divide the spoil with the proud.” (Proverbs 16:18-19)

Love brings life. Pride brings death.

We cannot love with our own love the way the Scriptures call us to. We are flawed, therefore everything that we manufacture on our own is flawed. The amazing thing is that by the power of the Holy Spirit of God, we can love with His perfect, unfailing, unchanging love.

While it is true that He gives us the power to love in this way, we STILL must CHOOSE to love…to love in a way that is above our own ability.

Loving this way is often a challenge and sacrifice. Loving the unlovely is at times extremely difficult. It’s inconvenient. It requires time, devotion, and sometimes material possessions. This brings me back to my question, and my mentor’s answer.

Does love (the way the Bible outlines) ever get an easier?

Friend, it never gets any different than a choice.

We are to grab …

We are to grab every moment & squeeze as much life out of it as possible. Christ made us for such things!

– Paul Washer

We were made to…

We were made to participate in real life; not to be passive observers of another’s imagination, communicated through advanced technology.

– Paul Washer

We have become …

We have become a people who sit mesmerized by the make-believe of media whe life passes before us unnoticed.

– Paul Washer

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