Feeling Stuck?

Do not be anxious about anything, 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 understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

(Philippians 4:6-7 ESV)


Imagine this:

Complete darkness.

You can’t stand, because the place you’re in is too narrow. You can only crawl. You can’t see up ahead, and there’s not enough space for you to turn around if you wanted to. The only direction to move is forward, even though you have no idea where you’re going.

One Way_Blog Featured Image
Photo: Brendan Church

Not ideal? Yeah, I know.

When I was in elementary school, I went to a science museum with my brothers, and we experienced the Touch Tunnel. Eighty feet of pitch-black darkness, and the only way to move through was to crawl. The purpose of the tunnel was to show the significance of sight in our experience of the world.

All we had now was ourselves and our ability to feel our way through a strange abyss.

I may or may not have been afraid of the dark, but one consolation was the employee’s voice that came through the speakers any time we stalled in the tunnel: “Stay to the left, the left, the left…”

(Try not to think of Beyoncé’s lyrics. Okay, now you’re thinking about them. Anyways…)

That was the key to escape: Keep left. There were alternate routes that could lead us off course, but because we listened to the voice, we were out in no time and free to enjoy the rest of our day at the museum.

Looking back, I knew I would escape (of course), but the feeling of being stuck in a cramped place was uncomfortable.

We like our freedom. We like to know we can move around whenever and wherever we want. We like to know we can show up when we want and leave as we please. We like the lights on to see, and we like to turn the lights off when we’re done.

When something comes in and restricts us or takes away what we always had, it’s not only shocking, it can be devastating.

Maybe your top university rejected your application or you didn’t get the job at the only company you could see yourself working. Perhaps you lost a relationship that was dear to you or experienced the death of a loved one. Your finances didn’t improve the way they needed to or an important event you were waiting on got canceled. You didn’t get the score to pass that exam or you weren’t qualified enough for that program.

Disappointments can come in many forms: rejection, betrayal, failure…you name it. Each case leaves the same feeling: You had a wonderful grasp on your future, and now it’s gone. The future fell far out of your hands before you could even reach out and rescue it.

You did your best. You’ve exhausted all your efforts. Now you don’t know where to go.

So, what do we when we’re stuck?

Continue reading “Feeling Stuck?”

Vision for 2018: Blog Updates, Future Videos, and More! | Video

And just like that…2017 is almost done! It’s been a good, memorable year–with its ups and downs–but God has been with me through it all. I have so many things planned for the blog in 2018. Curious to know what’s next?

SUBSCRIBE to my YouTube channel and FOLLOW my social media accounts to keep updated on all things happening next year. You don’t want to miss it.

The Reason You Are Unfulfilled

But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. 

(Revelation 2:4-5a ESV)


I’ll tell you a juicy secret.

I’m guilty of something. And I realize that every believer is guilty of this, too, at some point in their faith.

In the midst of all the losses and gains in our lives, we forget our first love. standing alone_edit

A fulfilling relationship with Jesus Christ can easily stop at the moment of salvation. By that, I mean we invite Christ into our hearts, acknowledging our need for Him for eternal life. This saves us and secures us for heaven. But we need to know that salvation doesn’t stop there. It continues now in our relationship with Him. Just as you desperately needed God to save you from sin, you still desperately need him to be everything–above any earthly desire you currently have.

Are you finding it difficult to really give something to God? You can pray and pray over and over, submitting it to the Lord. And you should. We’re taught to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18), to come boldly before the throne (Hebrews 4:16), to test every spirit–any thing or person that comes our way–to see if it is really from God (1 John 4:1).

But if you’re struggling with unfulfilled desires and deep longings that seem to remain unmet time and time again, you may be missing a crucial thing.

Continue reading “The Reason You Are Unfulfilled”

Beyond the Flesh: Thoughts on Forgiveness

Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.

(Romans 12:16-18 NKJV)


How would you evaluate your interactions with others? shaking-hands_black-and-white

Sin often gets between our relationships, because Satan wants us to live contrary to the way God has called us to live. He wants us to be angry, unforgiving, jealous, and judgmental. Many of these emotions emerge as part of our sinful nature, especially when we face difficult situations, but these reactions are traps that cause destruction, brokenness, and distraction.

Even if we don’t react outwardly in negative ways, our inner heart is still visible to God:

“I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings” (Jeremiah 17:10 KJV).

…And somehow, what’s inside will come out in public. Numbers 32:23 says, “But if you do not do so, then take note, you have sinned against the Lord; and be sure your sin will find you out” (NKJV).

Of course, God doesn’t leave us hopelessly stuck in our weaknesses–He provides a solution. I love looking at the Fruit of the Spirit, because it sets standards for our character that we should follow:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law (Galatians 5:22-23 KJV).

The Lord wants us to grow and be transformed–to do away with the wrong things we might say or think (see Colossians 3:8). Practicing the Fruit of the Spirit can transform who we are and how we treat others.

It’s important to see the reality behind our human struggles. Ephesians makes it clear that these fleshly battles are spiritual ones underneath:

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places (Ephesians 6:12 KJV).

There is an invisible battle around us in which the enemy is trying to tear people apart, stealing lives that have potential to glorify God. However, we can choose forgiveness and a Christ-like mindset. When we reject our sinful ways, we are fighting the enemy, opening eyes to Christ, and winning lives for the Kingdom–and it’s all possible through Him.

When we respond in fear of people or focus on the wrongs they’ve done, we can be wasting precious time. Dwelling in the past is a time-waster, a joy-killer. There’s a reason that God values relationships, families, and friendships. There’s great power in just two or three people coming together for Christ (see Matthew 18:20). The more godly connections, the more He shines.

Satan tries to manipulate relationships, because he knows he is no match for the body of Christ. I believe he tries to distract us from our mission and purpose on this earth with these earthly battles. Losing sleep over people is not part of God’s plan. Separation and pain caused by grudges, bitterness and anger are not part of God’s plan. Fallouts and unnecessary disagreements are not part of God’s plan.

The devil is your enemy, not people. 1 Peter 5:8 states, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:” (KJV).

Although situations can come into our lives without our control, without being our fault, we must remember that God restores. He has the power to replace what has been taken unjustly, and He has the power to provide better things from what has gone away. Don’t allow the enemy to lock you in the past, but also don’t allow him to control your actions in the future.

We have authority in Christ! Guard your heart, and respond with maturity and Christ in mind when it comes to personal conflicts. God has something greater for us to do than be distracted by Satan’s schemes.


Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.

(Proverbs 4:23 KJV)

Let’s Catch Up | Blog Updates

Hello readers!

2017 is right around the corner, and it’s been a couple months since my last post. I decided to write a quick update about what I’ve been up to this past fall and what’s up ahead:

I’m halfway done with senior year!

This is probably one of the main reasons why I’ve been absent from my blog. College takes up so much time, but by God’s grace, I’m almost done. It was a challenging semester with classes, working, and making future plans, but God has been faithful. I’m excited to share what He’s taught me over the past few months in later posts.

I was featured on College Girls for Christ! CGAC November 2016.PNG

College Girls for Christ is a wonderful ministry that supports young women who are serving the Lord on their college campuses. I was featured on their Instagram as a College Girl After Christ for the month of November 2016, which you can see here:

Check out their website here: http://www.collegegirlsafterchrist.com/

I’ve been contributing to NO COMPROMISE Magazine!

NOCO Magazine is a new Christian magazine for millennial believers. Every month’s issue  includes articles on a variety of faith-based topics that are relevant, thought-provoking, and encouraging. I’ve been writing articles throughout the fall for the past few issues, and if you’re interested in reading them, check out the magazine’s website here.

Last but not least, there’s more LizMargaret content to come!

Stay connected by following by blog, which you can do by signing up with a WordPress account or by email–just look for this ↴email-signup

Also, follow and share my social media for weekly content and updates:

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If you have any suggestions for future blog posts or YouTube videos, please contact me here

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned x

Does Prayer “Work”?

Do not be anxious about anything, 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 understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

(Philippians 4:6-7)


Does prayer work?

Short Answer:

Yes.

Here’s the long answer:

What exactly do we mean when we ask the question: “Does prayer work?”

Most likely, it means, “If I pray to God, will He give what I want?”

If this is why we come to God in prayer, I’d like to encourage us to reevaluate our thinking.

Don’t get me wrong–in prayer, of course we can ask God for things. Philippians 4:6 says to let our requests be made known unto God. In short, God wants to fulfill our needs and desires. As our Heavenly Father, He loves us and wants to supply our needs, and He doesn’t want us to suffer.

I should say–BUT He doesn’t want us suffer.

This means that although we have our own desires, ultimately God knows what we need in our lives and what will harm us beyond human comprehension. The things that may harm us the most may be what we are asking for.

Understand that God’s answer to our requests may not be what we have in mind. The good news is that His answer is always better than what we have in store–even if we don’t see it yet.

It comes down to trusting God. Do you believe God is who He says He is? A loving Father, an all-knowing, all-powerful God? If so, rejoice and be glad, because anything He gives will be a gift that will allow you to be shaped into His image of love, wisdom, and strength. He gives GOOD gifts.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. (James 1:17 ESV)

So what happens when we pray?

Through God, I’ve been shown and fully understand that prayer is a powerful weapon. It is (and should be) our #1 weapon, our first decision–not the last resort.

God has changed my heart and transformed my life through prayer. He restores, He heals, He listens, and He answers. I’ve experienced, seen, and felt these things all through communicating with Him. I like to think prayer is having a dialogue with God, and I still am left in awe of thinking about it this way–to be able to have a constant conversation with an all-knowing God is amazing, especially knowing how weak and limited I am as a human.

I want to invite and urge you to take prayer seriously. This is your answer. You will never go wrong in seeking God.

Just being able to pray to Him is a journey in itself–watch as He will transform your life and how you will learn to surrender and trust Him. Spend time with God.

You might be thinking:

“How can I improve my prayer life?”

Here’s a list of practical things that I do that has dramatically changed my prayer life:

 

Pray.

No more “I know I need to pray more.” No more “I would pray more if my morning wasn’t so busy.” Instead of thinking or saying these things, actually PRAY. It can be on your walk, in your office desk, in the lecture hall. You have free access to God anywhere and anytime. Unfortunately, today we idealize and idolize “busyness.” Who says you have to be busy 24/7? Society. Maybe parents. Peers. Coworkers. Yourself. But the Bible reminds us about the importance of being still (not restless).

Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. (Psalm 46:10 KJV)

(I actually wrote a post on stillness here).

Of course this doesn’t mean don’t do anything you have to do. We have busy schedules, and that’s okay. What’s not OK, is being “too busy” for God. If you feel like you’re at this place, reevaluate some things. Check your heart. What’s the purpose behind the things you “have” to do? Truth is, you’re just too busy with the wrong things.

Be intentional in prayer. Be active in prayer. Be diligent in prayer. Do you love God? Do you want to know what He has in store for you? Do you want to lay down your life for Him? Put Him first. No more excuses.

If ye love me, keep my commandments. (John 14:15 KJV)

 

Keep a prayer journal.

This is actually something I have been meaning to do for a long time, and I finally did this week. It doesn’t have to be anything special–I’ve taken an ordinary notebook and started jotting down prayer requests–as well as how God has answered these prayers.

It’s been amazing to keep track of what and who has been on my heart to pray for–and even more amazing to see how God answers these requests. A prayer journal serves as encouragement for us to look back and see how God actually is working in our lives.

Remember his marvellous works that he hath done; his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth; (Psalm 105:5 KJV)

Also, it is so important for us to keep others in prayer. This is true love–for us to ask God to redeem others and to intervene on their behalf–so that they might have the full life that only He promises–and most importantly that they might have eternal life in heaven.

The Bible encourages us to love others as we would like to be loved. Think about how overwhelming it is when we know someone else has been praying for us. Remember to pray consistently for others–those you know and don’t know. Pray by their name, pray specifically about their situation. See how God works.

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, (1 Timothy 2:1 ESV)

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. (James 5:16 ESV)

 

Incorporate Scripture in your prayer.

There is power in the Word of God. It is the source of truth, life and freedom–learn and study His Word to access these things.

For the word of God is alive 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. (Hebrews 4:12 NIV)

When we recite Scripture in prayer, we are affirming what God has already said. In Micah 3:6, God affirms that He is Lord and does not change. That means all the promises in the Word that He has said is YOUR portion!

Memorizing Scripture is a lifeline, especially when the enemy attacks you with doubt. Responding with the Word of God is encouraging to us and also will make the enemy flee from you. Why? Because God is powerful, and He has already conquered evil and death.

As for God, his way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him.

(Psalm 18:30 NIV)

Not only do we affirm God’s promises by incorporating Scripture in prayer, but we affirm who He is. That is, that He is almighty and capable of answering our prayers and directing us in His perfect plan.

I like to think of studying the Word as a heart-check. Learning the Word allows us to submit to what God says–and knowing that God is good, we know that doing this is the right choice. But In order to find out who God is, we must go to the source that reveals who He is–the Bible.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

(2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV)

So, does prayer “work”?

Absolutely. Prayer works on hearts. Prayer works on lives. Prayer pleases God.

I urge you to pray. Cast your cares to God. Let Him heal you and show you wisdom. Praise and acknowledge who God is through prayer.

“Give It Up” for 2015

As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his foolishness. (Proverbs 26:11 NLT)


As winter break comes to a close, I’ve found myself worried when I think about spring semester.

For me and other college students, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by upcoming classes/workload, applying to internships, and other future-related things. On top of that, it’s easy to compare our successes with others, who seem to have it “better” than we do. These two habits are quite addicting but are such a destructive combination — they set a negative attitude that can last for hours of our day to weeks, months, and even years. We can chain ourselves in a prison through our thoughts alone without even realizing it.

A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon Proverbs 26:11 (above) in my Bible reading, and it stuck in my mind.

There’s so much depth in comparing “foolishness” to “vomit.” Vomit is unpleasant and putrid. It’s something that was once in you, but has been purged. It’s no longer a part of you–in fact, it’s so vile that you shouldn’t even want a part of it. It makes no sense to even think about wanting it back.

Our “foolishness” (aka sin) is something vile and putrid as well. We should want no part in it. Unfortunately, because we are sinful in nature, we are drawn to these sinful “pleasures.” The funny thing is, they are actually harmful to us and have no value. They steal our relationship with Christ.

When I finished reading this verse, I asked myself: What is something in my life that I keep returning to even though it harms me?

The first thing that stuck out to me was fear. I have a habit of letting fear seep into my thoughts. I never even thought to consider fear as the same “foolishness” described in this verse, but I soon realized how necessary it was to do so.

God promises us countless times in His Word to trust Him, and that He will never leave us. I read online that the phrase “Fear not” is stated 365 times in the Bible! And yet, despite these promises, I continue to fear when stresses come my way. If God Himself wants me to know that I have no reason to be afraid, then it’s foolish–simply useless–for me to continue.

Of course, it’s hard not to fear when we don’t know the future–when we’re faced with obstacles that seem IMPOSSIBLE to overcome. Like any other harmful habit we indulge in, fear steals our hope and faith in Christ, and it blinds us to what He is doing and going to do in our lives.

Nevertheless, when we choose to walk away from our “vomit”–whether it is fear, temptation, etc.–we are choosing to embrace a beautiful, fulfilling life. God loves us, and He wants us to live our lives fully in peace in whatever state we are in (see Philippians 4:11.)

So, for 2015, I’m choosing to give up fear.

What are you planning to give up for the New Year?