megmariem

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

The man who disowned me…

is in the hospital. I am not sure how to even feel about this. He is in ICU. The doctors say he will not ever leave. He can’t survive without an oxygen machine. Apparently he has been having strokes and no one knew…and he has begun over dosing on his meds — not realizing he had already taken his medication dosage for the day because he was so disoriented…and my brother found him passed out from a major stroke on the couch last Sunday. 

My father disowned me when I was a child and has abused me mentally and emotionally deeply for years. He abused my mother for years in every sense of the word. 

I don’t hurt at all because he is in the hospital…I haven’t cried tears over him being in critical condition. But I am concerned for his eternity…as I have never seen fruit that has shown he is a child of God. He has said he belongs to Christ at one time in his life but he has never lived like it — and the Bible is clear that if we are true followers that our lives WILL bear fruit. 

If this is true…(and we know the Bible is the infallible Word of God) then my father is not saved. So, I am concerned for the security of his eternity in spite of the way he has hurt so many over his lifetime. I have spent this week burdened about that. I don’t advertise or push my blog…and I don’t blog often. But if you see this…I covet your prayers for his salvation, and for my family. 

I should be working but…

I’m in a nostalgic, hard-to-put-into-words kind of mood. I also think the music playing over the speakers in the coffee shop right now is causing me to slip into a blogging, introvert, reflective state of mind. My mouth yearns to speak no words but my heart is full of many thoughts and desires. Parts of me are hurting. Some confused. Some numb…unsure how to feel. Other parts of my heart are thankful. Others still, quiet, content. I seem to feel a conglomeration of feelings…all conflicting with one another, yet all somehow seemingly in harmony. 

Please do not ask me to explain, for I do not know myself how to explain, I only know that I am feeling all of these things and I need to allow them out in some way…and they just managed to find their ways out through the tips of my fingers. 

I need You more…

I need You more
More than yesterday
I need You more
More than words can say
I need You more
Than ever before
I need You more
I need You Lord

More than the air I breathe.
More than the song I sing.
More than the next heartbeat.
More than anything.
And Lord as time goes by,
I’ll be by Your side
Cause I never want to go back to my old life!

I need You more
More than yesterday
I need You more
More than words can say
I need You more
Than ever before
I need You more
I need You Lord.

This song is my heart tonight. 

Journal Entry: Immovable Rocks

immovable rocks

I went to the lake today to be alone with the Lord. After spending some time talking with Him sitting on top of a picnic table, I wanted to put my feet into the water. I walked around the edge of the lake until I found a place low enough to sit and dangle my feet.

I marveled at the Lord for awhile. I was reminded that the One who controls the waves is the One who gives me life.

The waves were pretty strong today, and I began to focus on how they hit the bank and shot up into the air before receding back into the lake. I was being soaked from my feet all the way up to my knees. Then my attention turned to some rocks on my other side, at the base of the land. The waves hit them with just as much intensity…but even the strongest waves that slammed into the rocks didn’t even cause them to budge. The rocks were immovable.

My mind immediately went to the passage in James that my bible study group has been dwelling in for the past couple of weeks.

“My bretheren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have it’s perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double minded man, unstable in all his ways.” 
James 1:2-8

The waves were like the trials and temptations in life. But he who is aware that those trials produce what we need to be sharpened and asks for wisdom in the trial, in FAITH…he will not be overtaken by the waves. He will be firm. Steadfast. Immovable.

Well, then my mind began to think logically about what my eyes were seeing. Realistically, these rocks weren’t EXACTLY immovable. Over time, as the waves continue to press down, the rocks are slowly worn down, layer by layer. Then my mind went back to the beginning of chapter 1 of James.

“Knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have it’s perfect work that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”

Those waves are slowly wearing down the rocks but what is being taken away is temporal. When we are in the storm, standing firm in the waves, what the waves wear off of us are the parts that are not perfect and complete…the temporal and fleshly nature. What will be left will be stronger and sanctified — if we keep our eyes on the One who is in control of the waves. He will not allow more than we can handle with the power of His Holy Spirit! ( 1 Corinthians 10:12-13)

So buckle down and be strong. Put on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6) so that you can be firm in the toughest storm….and when you are in the storm, trust that God is refining you into a more sanctified and stronger follower of His. If you need wisdom, ask Him. He’ll give it to you. Memorize the promises God gave you in His Word. Then stand on them. That’s why He gave them to you…to help you be firm. He has given you everything you need to be strong. You just have to take advantage of those things and put them to use.

Love and prayers, dear friends!

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?

God Almighty will NOT be mocked!

I have been reading through some old testament books over the past week or so. I am reading through 1 Samuel currently. Though I have made it past chapter five, I still periodically go back in my mind to a story in that chapter. I LOVE the truth posed in that passage. God will not be mocked. He alone is God and there is none, ABSOLUTELY NONE, beside Him!

“Then the Philistines took the ark of God and brought it from Ebenezer to Ashdod. When the Philistines took the ark of God, they brought it into the house of Dagon and set it by Dagon. And when the people of Ashdod arose early in the morning, there was Dagon, fallen on its face to the earth, before the ark of the Lord. So they took Dagon and set it in its place again. And when they arose early the next morning, there was Dagon, fallen on its face to the ground before the ark of the Lord. The head of Dagon and both the palms of its hands were broken off on the threshold; only Dagon’s torso was left of it. Therefore neither the priests of Dagon nor any who come into Dagon’s house tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod to this day.”

Dagon was a god whom the Philistines worshiped. He was part man and part fish. He is said to have been the “chief god” of the Philistines. Imagine the shock that these people had when they found their god on its stony face before the ark of God Almighty! God is Holy and He alone is worthy of worship and praise. 

Again, these people sat their god up, next to the presence of the God of the Israelites, and the very next morning, not only was their god bowed down before God Almighty once more, but they also found Dagon broken into pieces.

Dear friend, our God will not be mocked. He is Holy, Righteous, and Matchless. Anything that we put more time, devotion, money, love or passion into besides God becomes an idol. All idols will be torn down. All idols will fail in comparison to the One who created you and I. Are you worshiping something or someone that is finite? Are you pouring time, money, emotions, and love into something that will one day pass away? If you are (and most of us, if we are honest with ourselves, are.) then you are not only setting yourself up for loss and heartbreak, but you are not fulfilling the purpose for which you were made and THAT will keep you from ever finding a true peace or happiness.

What were you and I created to do? We were created to worship. This is why it is so natural for us to cling to people, famous or not, or to things. This is why it is so easy to pour everything you have physically, mentally, and emotionally, into a person, job, degree, or money. We were created to worship. But we were not created to worship the temporary things of this life. We were created to worship the ONE TRUE LIVING GOD. When we worship anything less than Him, we will be hurt and unstable in this life. 

What are you holding in a higher position that the Lord? I do not have to hear your answer to be able to tell you that it’s not worth it. It’s not worth it! Ask the Lord to help you re-position your priorities so that He is the greatest in Your life. (This prayer brings pleasure to His heart and He WILL answer. It may take awhile, but if you are fervent and you do your part, then you WILL see Him change your heart!) Do not simply try to fit Him in. Place Him where He is supposed to be. Dead center. Then everything else that is supposed to be in your life will fall into place. And as you worship, He will fulfill your every need and desire. I am speaking from the sweetest experience. The cost may seem great — but He is worthy at any cost…because He has willingly and most lovingly paid the highest cost for us! 

The richest man on this earth is the poorest man if he does not have a true relationship with Jesus Christ. What you gain as you seek to put Christ where He belongs in your life will outweigh any riches of this world. 

And He opened their understanding…

“And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Word.”
(Luke 24:45) 

The disciples were full of doubt when Christ was buried after the crucifixion. Mary and the other women who witnessed the empty tomb and delivered the angel’s message couldn’t convince the men. Neither could Peter, who ran to see if the women were telling the truth. Not even the men who encountered the Lord Himself on their journey to Emmaus! Jesus finally appears to the disciples all together – and even with them standing around Him, He STILL had to prove He was alive! After the men had touched their fingers to His hands and feet, and watched Him eat some food, they finally believed that their Christ had risen from the dead. Jesus begins explaining to these men the Gospel and the fulfillment that His life became for all the prophecies concerning the Messiah…

…”And He opened their understanding…” 

I love this so much. Can you imagine how Christ felt as He explained the Master’s perfect plan in the greatest detail for His followers to completely grasp the Victory that His Death and Resurrection purchased for their souls at Calvary? The wonder and amazement that had to fill the eyes of the disciples as they FINALLY realized the perfection in His plan must have brought much joy to the heart of Christ! Oh, the cost He had paid for these men and for every man who will ever set foot on this earth! IT WAS ACCOMPLISHED!

All too often, people do not understand the Scriptures and give up, all too easily defeated. If Satan can keep believers from reading the very Word of God, they cannot accomplish much, if anything, for the Kingdom of Heaven, so he (Satan) is not worried at all.

Many of these who do not understand the Word struggle because they don’t realize that our understanding can be opened!

“And He opened their understanding, that they may comprehend the Word.”(Luke 24:45) 

Jesus has ascended into Heaven and is sitting at the right hand of the Father, but He did not leave us to try to live this life (or understand His will and His way) on our own! He has given us His Holy Spirit (when we choose to follow Him) and HE opens our understanding to comprehend the words of the Bible. We MUST ask for the Holy Spirit to speak to us and help us understand so that we will know the spiritual things that God intended to show us when He inspired it’s writing!

The Word of God is ALIVE. We can gain knowledge by reading a book with our intellect. But when we are depending on the Holy Spirit to be our Teacher, the words in the Bible convict us. They change us. They encourage us. The Holy Spirit administers hope, joy, peace, strength, and more as we dwell and meditate on the Word.

We will not understand every mystery of God. He is infinite and we are not. When you arrive at a passage in the Word that does not make sense, ask the Spirit for revelation and wisdom.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.”(James 1:5-6) 

If after awhile of TRUE seeking, (not half-hearted seeking) then you could ask for some guidance in understanding from a strong believer that you know. You also should study other portions of scripture. That passage may be brought to light in your understanding at a later time by the Holy Spirit. Whatever you choose to do, do not forsake the Scriptures. Do not close and stack your Bible on a shelf because you do not understand it or are discouraged. That is one of the worst possible things that a follower of Christ could choose to do. It is your “sword of the Spirit” according to Ephesians 6, and without it, you will not accomplish anything or become any stronger in the faith.

Ask Him for wisdom. It brings Him pleasure to answer that cry. You will be changed.

Blessings and prayers, friends.

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.

Loneliness

My struggle with loneliness has been something God has been helping me to overcome over the past couple of years as I have been learning about the fullness of the Holy Spirit. Tonight though, I was overcome with the familiar yearnings that come with the pangs of loneliness once again. I pulled up http://www.desiringgod.org and did a search on loneliness in the blog portion of John Piper’s site. Tears began to stream down my cheeks as God redirected my gaze from my plight to His face. Below, I am going to share the notes I jotted down from this blog post.

Jesus Christ knew loneliness much earlier in His life than the night He spent in Gethsemane. All was not harmonious in His life, especially in His home. He had sinful parents and sinful siblings. Self-consciousness had to have arisen with Jesus’ brothers and sisters as they realized His perfection. He was the target of much criticism among his peers as well.

NO ONE ON EARTH COULD IDENTIFY WITH CHRIST. Not one person could tell Jesus that they knew what He was going through. How many times have I asked God why I was so different? How many times have I longed to be “normal?” Oh how thankful I am to know that Jesus knows. He KNOWS.

Jesus reached the climax of loneliness when He became sin for us on the cross and His Father (God) turned away from Him. Jesus went from estrangement for being sinless to estrangement for being sin. Jesus knew supreme rejection and loneliness.

He can sympathize with you and me. (Hebrews 4:15)

Jesus does not just understand our loneliness! He is DEMOLISHING it! Because He was alienated from God and man, we will enjoy the full family fellowship of God and all redeemed saints forever!

Take heart, dear one. He has already known your loneliness and mine. Now? He sits with His Father, praying for you and I. Who better to pray for us than the One who knows our pain better than we do ourselves?

I know it has been awhile — but I’m still alive :)

So much in my heart and spirit to share with you. First, a personal update.

I have been wanting to sit and blog for awhile, but with working a full time job for my friend’s parent’s business, my photography business, my church, and family issues, I have barely had time to sleep…much less blog. 🙂 The job has finished for the season, so things have drastically slowed down.

God is blessing my photography business. All glory to Him for the sessions scheduled in my planner! Oh how grateful I am for a God who loves and cares for us down to the smallest details in our lives which are as a vapor.

My church family is beyond a blessing and gift from God. The encouragement, growing, learning, laughter, tears, conviction, fellowship, strength, and power that God brings me through the Body of Christ that He has planted me in is changing and challenging me to run harder and faster after Him.

As far as the family, the last three weeks have been tough. My aunt, who is not a follower of Christ, had surgery difficulties. She had a surgery of the stomach and esophagus. She went home, and was feeling pain. When she finally went back in, they found that the tissue wrapped around her stomach had died, and stomach acids were leaking out. Organs were damaged and failing. She had also developed a disease of the blood. My uncle called my mother and the next night she was on a flight to VA. That was almost three weeks ago. The fatigue and disappointment in my mother’s voice is unmistakable over the phone. My aunt began to get better…numbers get better…organs begin healing…and my aunt relapsed. Back in ICU again. Flat-lining without the respirator. She is slowly beginning to respond again, but has no hope. She’s not fighting. Mom says she isn’t herself. Prayers are so very coveted — more than anything, for her salvation…her eternity.

So there’s my update. The good, bad, and ugly – as they say. But glory to God, there is peace in spite of it all. He is that amazing. Joy unspeakable is mine, because my God is in whom my joy rests, and He never changes. Hallelujah.

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