Faith, Uncategorized

A Treasure in the Trash Pile

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“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:17, NIV)

On a typical Sunday morning, I sat in church and grabbed my purse digging through the cavernous interior for a pen. As I was placing my purse back on the floor, I noticed the broken zipper, worn spots on the exterior, and a few small tears. I said in my head, “Lord, this looks really bad. I need a new purse.” And that was it. I didn’t give it another thought.  

Two days later my boys had just arrived home after one of their many outings. Dylan let me know they found some stuff at the neighbors curbside “free” pile. This house had been vacant for years and the owner was there cleaning things out, and left a sign to take the free items. If you know my boys they don’t pass up opportunities like that. They grabbed some random potential treasures and came home.

Dylan said he wanted to show me a purse he found. I thought it would be disgusting, and would need thrown out. He hands me this large, black, nice looking handbag. Still skeptical, I tell him to bring it inside to get a better look. We start to look it over and see a designer name on it, and notice it looked brand new. I still doubted this handbag was an actual treasure and say, “It must be a fake.” But no, after a serious examination from both myself and Dylan, and some online research, we realized that the fancy black handbag was indeed a genuine designer, made in Italy creation.

After a few minutes, I was reminded of my tiny little comment to the Lord just two days before. “Lord, this looks really bad. I need a new purse.” It wasn’t even a prayer. Just me sharing a moment with God. He always hears and is full of surprises. I know it’s just a purse. And I know there are bigger, more important prayers. I have so many seemingly big prayers that I am still waiting for answers on. But in this unexpected moment the Lord said, “This is from me. I hear every one of your prayers. I have answers for those burdens you’ve got. Trust me. Keep praying. Keep asking. Enjoy this blessing.”

I would never spend this kind of money on myself, especially for a handbag that costs hundreds of dollars. That’s just not me. So it took me a while to accept this gift. At first I didn’t know what to do with it. I used it a few times then put it in my closet. About a month ago I decided to sell it, even though I knew God wanted me to keep it. I thought, “I don’t need it and could use the cash.” I put the handbag on one of those designer consignment sites and it sat there for about a week. Message received. I took it off the site and have accepted this gift from the Lord.

The other day I used my fancy lady handbag to meet a friend for lunch. On the drive there the handbag was on the passenger seat. The lord spoke to me, “Why do you have a hard time accepting gifts from me?” I felt so convicted. I’m supposed to enjoy this surprise blessing, but instead I’m telling God, “I don’t need it nor do I deserve it.” How many times have I done this with God? With practical blessings, material blessings, spiritual blessings. I have rejected His perfect gifts for me, thinking, “I don’t deserve this.”

Grace is unfair, and my awesome God is all about giving me and you what we don’t deserve. I will never be good enough or worthy on my own for His perfect gifts. But the gifts won’t stop. God is not a person. He’s not human. I’m looking for fairness, and worthiness. He’s looking out for you and me, no matter what. He will pursue us and our hearts until the end. Not because we are worthy, but because of Jesus, who is so worthy!

What gift from God have you rejected?

Do you accept His love?

Do you accept His forgiveness?

Have you accepted His free gift of salvation?

Maybe you’ve thought that you are not worthy for such extravagance. Guess what? You’re right. We are not worthy, but God is. Accept these beautiful gifts from Him! He loves you with an everlasting love!

“I have loved you with an everlasting love;
    I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” (Jeremiah 31:3, NIV)

Love you all,
Meghan

 

 

Bible, Faith, Jesus, Uncategorized

What’s Your Nickname?

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Meghan Magoo was my dad’s chosen nickname for me. It eventually morphed into Magoochi. Strange. I know. That’s how nicknames are. Whatever the particular name is, it’s meaning is something special to the giver, and the receiver. The message that’s being sent is you are special. Upon hearing my nickname from my dad, I knew it was a sign of affection.

We’ve got nicknames for our children, spouses, and pets. We love them, so the standard name just won’t do. An adorable name must do the job of saying, “I love you.” Bubbies, Bubba, Boo Boo, Dilly, Dilly Jo, Joshy, Joshaboo are just a few of the names my husband and I have given our sons over the years. These cutesy names say, “you are adored.”

Jesus was known to give out a few nicknames as well. He changed Simon’s name to Peter, which in the Greek means rock or boulder. Peter is The Rock. That is a super cool name. You can’t get a much better nickname than that. To be clear, Jesus Christ is the Rock, and Peter was used by God as a small pebble atop that foundation.

16 “Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:16-18, ESV)

Jesus saw more than just Simon the fishermen. He called him Peter because He was calling him to something different. Peter was the first leader of  the early church, and he didn’t get there overnight. It took a lot of mistakes and maturing in his faith along the way for old Pete. He thought he knew better than Jesus and rebuked Him (Mark 8:32). He loses faith (Matthew 14:30). And, Peter denied even knowing Jesus (Luke 22:61-62). But Jesus calls him to greatness before Peter was even ready. Jesus knew Peter’s potential and He sees our potential too. He’s calling each of us to something greater than ourselves.

The Son’s of Thunder were brothers James and John.

“and to James the son of Zebedee,
and to his brother John,
He gave the name “Boanerges”
(that is, “Sons of Thunder”);” (Mark 3:17 HCSB)

Once again, Jesus is calling them into what they will become. These two had a lot to learn as well, before they were up for the challenge of leadership. James and John’s mother asks Jesus to have her sons sit on his right and left in His kingdom (Matthew 20:20-21). The brothers also asked Jesus if they should call fire down from heaven to destroy a Samaritan village (Luke 9:54). Not exactly signs of maturity.

Peter, James, and John were the only disciples to experience the transfiguration of Jesus (Matthew 17:1-9). With all of their mistakes and shortcomings Jesus still calls them to greatness for His kingdom. It gives me hope. I can be used by God in spite of myself and so can you.

There are other instances of name changes in the Bible.

Abram becomes Abraham. (Genesis 17:5)

Jacob becomes Israel. (Genesis 32:28)

Saul becomes Paul. (Acts 13:9)

These name changes signify a change in their calling, and identity. Abram, Jacob, and Saul each were given a new mission. They had encounters with God that changed them.

Have you had an encounter with God that changed you? Are there old habits or old ways of thinking that need to go? Do you have a nickname that’s negative? Maybe a parent gave you an awful nickname, or a sibling, or teacher, or fill in the blank. It was long ago, but that name comes in your head, and you believe it.

If you know Jesus as Lord and Savior, then you are a son or a daughter.

“I will be a Father to you,
and you will be sons and daughters to Me,
says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:18, HCSB)

Sons and daughters of God are chosen, forgiven, set apart, free, accepted, loved, protected, blessed, and highly favored. Sons and daughters have a new identity in Christ, no matter what nickname has been given to us negatively. God loves you and is fiercely committed to you. He’s calling you and I to something greater than ourselves. Let’s answer that call as His children.

“See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands.” (Isaiah 49:16a, NLT)

 

Love you all,

Meghan

 

 

Photo credit: BRRT from Pixabay

 

 

Faith, God, Jesus, Prayer, Uncategorized

My Prayer Closet

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Joshua made this card for me at church when he was seven. I love it because he made it, and because of the misspelling of “Lord”. That makes it all the more beloved. It shows the pureness of his heart. No spellcheck. No concern over spelling errors or perfection. It’s about the message, “Wait for the Lard”….I mean, “Lord”. He handed it to me with pride and joy for Mother’s Day. That’s the stuff that melts a mama’s heart. This precious card sits at the top of the bulletin board in my closet. I see it every single day.

My prayer closet is my actual closet. That sweet card sits among a few other little treasures that encourage me as I kneel and pray. There are pictures of my boys as toddlers, a picture of me and Tom as newlyweds, a few special cards from my husband, and a card or two from friends and family. It’s my hideout where I close the door and talk or cry out to God.

I have been flat on my face in deep pain asking God where He was. I have lifted my hands in praise thanking Him for His faithfulness. I have asked for wisdom, answers, direction, help, mercy, and forgiveness. I have laid on my back with tears streaming down my face. Looking up. Hoping for something from God to relieve the suffering. There’s plenty of room for me to stretch out. It’s all my space since Tom has his own closet.

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” (Matthew 6:5-8, NIV)

The Greek word tameion means “an inner chamber”. This doesn’t mean we all need to have a prayer closet or special “prayer room”. It means you need to be in a quiet, uninterrupted place. Praying to the Father requires focus and no distractions, if possible. There are plenty of times when we pray in crazy moments of chaos. We can and should pray at all times. “Pray continually,” (1 Thessalonians 5:17, NIV).

It’s important to set aside some time each day to pray. You can use a “prayer closet” if you’ve got the space, or almost anywhere can become that sacred space. When I commuted to work years ago before having children, I would pray in my car. Some people walk and pray. Many times I sit in my living room. Supposedly John Wesley’s (founder of the Methodist movement) mother, Susanna, would pull her apron over her face and pray.  The point is not where, it’s who you’re talking to.

When we first moved to Texas over six years ago we stayed in a hotel. There was no privacy, so I would go into the tiny bathroom to pray. Not pretty, but God knew my heart. He wants our heart. Not perfect, beautiful “prayer rooms” with the right Christian words in our prayers. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” (Matthew 6:7-8, NIV) Be honest with God when you pray. He already knows what we need and we can be simple and direct in our words with humility.

I have several scraps of paper on my bulletin board in my closet. Each with a Bible verse I scrawled out during our two months in the hotel. They remind me what God has done in the past and what He will do again. That is a nice benefit of having a designated prayer space. You can personalize it with scriptures or whatever is needed to keep focused on God. I also have a list I keep written out of things Tom and I are praying for that’s taped to the wall in my closet. I cross things out as they get answered.

The point to all of this is pray. Pray. Pray. Pray. And then pray some more. When we quiet ourselves before the Lord we have the marvelous opportunity to hear His voice. Listening to God is just as important as talking to Him. Expect an answer in His time. That’s always the hardest part of praying, at least for me it is. I want an immediate answer. We have to wait. Just like Joshua’s card, “Wait for the Lord”. So many times I have been praying for the same thing, and waiting, and waiting. Then I look up and see that card with the faith of a child and I’m encouraged.

Love you all,

Meghan

 

 

 

Bible, Faith, God, Jesus, Trials, Uncategorized

The Storm

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August 24, 2017 we were dropping our oldest son off at college, about 5 and half hours north of our home. I was eating breakfast at the hotel and the news was on. I saw weather maps, and the words “hurricane” and “Houston” got my attention. Wait a minute, that’s where I live. “This is real?” I thought to myself. Everything quickly changed from focusing on getting Dylan settled in his dorm, to focusing on buying water and supplies to survive the impending storm, before we left his little college town. I hated saying goodbye to my son but knew he was in God’s hands. We had to get back home and prepare for a historic hurricane. My first ever. There were large lit up signs along the freeway, “Avoid the Texas Gulf Coast”. Unavoidable for us. We live in the Gulf Coast Region. We were headed straight for the storm.

The storms we face in life can be unexpected or we can see them coming from miles away. It doesn’t seem to matter how much warning we get before life’s storms, they still can cause so much pain as the winds and rains beat down on us. When will it end? How much damage will we experience? Why God? Have you forgot about us? Do you hear our cries for help?

     “That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”

    He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

     He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

      They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”

(Mark 4:35-41, NIV)

The disciples and I have more in common than I would have thought; Fear and doubt at times. I am surprised that the disciples, who had already at this point witnessed many miracles by Jesus, were so terrified. He healed many sick, diseased, and demon-possessed people, (Matthew 4:23-24). A leper was healed by Jesus, (Matthew 8:1-4), and he healed the Centurion’s servant, (Matthew 8:5-13).  A paralytic man was healed by Jesus, (Luke 5:17-26), a widow’s son was brought back to life by Jesus, (Luke 7:11-17). The disciples were with Jesus when he was performing all these miracles. They must have had amnesia when the storm hit their boat.

A squall comes down on the lake and it’s frighting for these guys. The waves are coming up over the boat and they may have thought, “This is it. We are all going to die.” Things were looking pretty bad. The boat is filling with water and about to sink, or so they thought.

Jesus was not afraid. He is never afraid. He was sound asleep on a cushion, in the stern of the ship. That’s not the picture of a worried, stressed out person. He knows who is in control and He knows there is no need to fear the storm.

The disciples aren’t too happy that Jesus is sleeping through the storm. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” (Mark 4:38). They are in full blown panic mode and assume that Jesus doesn’t care what happens to them.

“He got up, rebuked the wind, and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm,” (Mark 4:39). Only Jesus can do this. Only Jesus can calm wind, waves, and raging seas with His words. He is God. Infinite in power.

“He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (Mark 4:40). Jesus knows our hearts. He knew they were doubting what He could do even after seeing so many miracles before they ever got on that boat. He still loved them. Just like He still loves us when we have doubts. He patiently teaches us and shows us who He is and what He can do.

Ultimately the disciples are so scared at what just happened they don’t know what to think. “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” (Mark 4:41). I can relate to them. I have times where I forget what God has done in my life and the storm is raging. “Don’t you care Lord?” I have asked. But my God always, always is faithful. He always shows up, always makes a way. He either stops the storm or He gives me peace in the storm.

As Christ followers we belong fully to Jesus. That means He promises to take care of us and all of our needs. “So we say with confidence, The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:6).  Storms will rage and sometimes we will have losses, and sometimes He will calm our storms. There is a bigger purpose in our storms. He wants us to grow in our faith, just like the disciples. And the only way we grow is through struggle. We need Jesus to get through the storms in life.

When I look at the satellite image of Hurricane Harvey it’s menacing. It appears to want to swallow up all of Texas. When we focus on the size of our storm and how much damage can possibly take place we will stay afraid. If we focus on Jesus and that He is bigger than the biggest hurricane, our faith grows and the storm gets smaller.

We can’t control the storms but we can control how we respond to them. Who is Lord of your life? If it’s Jesus then give it all to Him. Write down every time God has taken care of you in the hard times or when He has stopped the storm completely. When the rains and the wind are coming down remember His faithfulness.

 

 

Dear Lord,

Thank you for your faithfulness. You are perfect and your power is unlimited. You’re love for us is overwhelming. I lift up all those who are in the middle of storms. Remind them that they are not forgotten by you. Give them peace and calm their storms, and may their faith grow. Comfort them, protect them, and provide for their every need.

In Jesus mighty name,

Amen

 

 

Love you all,

Meghan

 

 

God, Trials, Uncategorized

God Never Sleeps

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I couldn’t sleep. After tossing and turning for a while, I got up. It didn’t seem fair to wake my husband and include him in my insomnia. I went down the hall to the guest room and looked out the window. The moon was bright and beautiful. I grabbed my phone and headed outside to take a picture of one of my favorite things. It was calm. Peaceful. My anxious heart was soothed.

The moon always makes me smile. It reminds me of God’s purpose in everything and His awesome power. The moon helps set the tides in the oceans. True to God’s style, it’s beautiful, and bonus, is a light for the night sky. That’s pretty awesome. When I look at the moon it reminds me that God is still in control, even when I think He has forgotten me.

God never sleeps. When I was wide awake with an overactive, over thinking, trying to figure everything out mind, God was working. He doesn’t sleep because, well, He’s God. He met me in my worry. Through the still night and the illuminated moon God whispered, “I love you. I have a plan. Trust me.”

God is always at work in your life and in mine. Sometimes, we can’t see the progress. Sometimes, it’s night, and we are wide awake with worry. It can be so quiet that we assume He’s not doing anything. That is a lie. Sometimes, He is doing His most important work on our behalf, at night. Isaiah 64:4 “Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him” (NIV). 

Do you feel like it’s been continually night for a very long time? Are you waiting for the sun to rise on your circumstance or in your heart? Take courage. God is working out something fantastic for you in your night time. There are wonderful things occurring at night. Rest. Restoration. Growth. Healing. Miracles. There is beauty at night. The moon. The stars. Quietness. As you wait in your night time, remember that God never sleeps and is at work for you.

During the night talk to Him. Psalm 42:8b “at night his song is with me- a prayer to the God of my life” (NIV). The night can be a great time to have an honest conversation with your Heavenly Father. There are no distractions. Just your thoughts. Use those night time moments to give it all to Him.  Even if fear or stress is keeping you awake, God is still there waiting for you. He can give you peace. He wastes nothing. Not even a sleepless night.

Psalm 8:3-4 “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor” (NIV).

God set the moon and stars in place. He loves you and me, and cares for us! We are so important to God that He crowned us with glory and honor. If He keeps the moon in place than He can handle whatever is concerning you today. Whether it’s a sleepless night, or you are in a season of perpetual night, waiting on the Lord. Be encouraged. The morning is coming! Hold on tight to Jesus. He’s already holding on to you.

Love you all,

Meghan

Bible

My Bible

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My Bible is well worn, much like me. The binding is starting to separate. A few pages are torn and about ready to fall out. I’ve got book marks, and post it notes, and little scraps of paper all over the place. Many verses are underlined and highlighted. Every mark and scratch on the cover have their own story. I have poured over, and cried, and prayed while reading this book. Sometimes tears of joy and other times not. This truly is my favorite book. But it’s not ordinary. The words are alive, because they are God’s words.

This Bible has a past. It was the beginning of my mom’s faith journey and ultimate road to salvation. Here’s where it all began. It was the early 1980’s. We were a Catholic family but my mom had questions about a lot of things regarding faith. She was invited to a Bible study and gladly accepted the invitation thinking it was a social gathering. When she arrived at the woman’s house she was surprised to see they all had Bibles. So she thought “I need one too”, and went and purchased the above Bible. The group was studying Acts and my mom was excited, and learning. The words came alive to her.

In a short time we left the Catholic Church. My mom went forward at our new non-denominational Christian church and accepted Jesus Christ as savior, and got baptized. One week later my dad went forward, accepted Jesus Christ as his savior, and got baptized too. It was a huge ripple affect. One of my older brothers accepted Christ and got baptized. Then myself and three other siblings followed suit the next year. So, my parents and their five kids all accepted Jesus Christ as savior within a year or so. All because a woman invited my mom to a Bible study. I have never met that woman and probably never will. When I meet her in heaven I will hug her and say “Thank you”.

When my mom bought this New International Version Bible she also bought my little sister and I Kid Bible’s. We were excited to have our own Bibles and even happier that there were some colorful pictures inside. After a few years my mom bought herself a new Bible and gave me this one. That’s been at least thirty years ago and the beginning of my own faith journey and going deeper. I love this 1978 NIV Bible. It’s still my favorite version and my go to for most verses. Occasionally I use other versions of the Bible for a blog post or my own study. I really don’t want to start marking up a new Bible. Also, I love that every so often I come across my mom’s handwriting in the margins. What a sweet reminder of where it all began.

I personally don’t care what version you are reading. That’s between you and God. Just read it. I know it can be difficult to know where to start. If you have never read the Bible the book of John is a good place to begin. God wants to speak to you. And one very powerful way He does that is through His word. Probably most American homes have a Bible collecting dust on a shelf. Pick it up and start. Pray and ask God to speak to you and reveal Himself. He will. There are Bible apps, online versions, audio versions, podcasts. Start somewhere. It is like no other book you will ever read. Hebrews 4:12 “The word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (NIV).

I am grateful that I live in a place where I don’t have to hide my Bible or fear it will be confiscated. I have the absolute privilege to be in the word of God daily. Not because I am a super Christian. No, that’s far from the truth. I am super desperate for Him in my life. I am weak and useless without Jesus. So I hold my beat up Bible tight and cling to the very words that at times jump off the pages. I even hug it sometimes. Yep, I know. I’m one of those weird Christians. I’m happy to be weird.

If you have questions or need prayer please message me through my contact page or email: meghanewhiteauthor@gmail.com. I am happy to pray for you anytime! I am not an expert, just a regular person that’s being held by Jesus.

Love you all,

Meghan

P.S. Thanks Mom for following God’s lead!