www.meganjoychapman.com

Author of Lion Heart & Alessio: The Victory Ride Series

Spiritual Pruning | Psalm 1 The Tree of Life Dance Devo

A large Ficus tree forms a vast canopy over our front yard. This particular species I’m told is part of the banyan family and known as a Sacred Fig. It has winding branches and curving roots that grow along the surface of the ground. For over 20 years I’ve stared at this tree in wonder, gleaning inspiration because it’s beautiful.

Sacred Fig Tree, Megan Joy Chapman

This class is tolerant to various climates and soil. However, its tough nature causes invasive roots. To keep roots from causing damage, they have to be cut back periodically or removed. If planted too close, the roots can wreak havoc on septic systems and driveways. Something Chap and I are familiar with (sigh). But oh . . . this tree! I love this tree.

Pruning

After filming my dance devo of Psalm 1 The Tree of Life (shown below) I had a dream where I was pruning a sagging branch from our Sacred Fig. Struggling to pull it free with bare hands, I shook and tugged fully determined to get it loose. Once I finally yanked the dead part free and tossed it, the pruned part of the branch grew at an accelerated pace. It shot straight up to the sky, lush with greenery, farther than I could see.

Convinced God was speaking about spiritual pruning, the next day I searched out John 15:2 where it says, He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.

Pruning is performed to protect a tree or shrub. The Bible illustrates in John 15 God’s desire to prune, or protect us, from anything that may be hindering a healthy growth pattern. When we remain in His loving care and engage in the cleansing process (even when it’s uncomfortable) He promises overflowing joy and a fruitful harvest as a result.

Jesus The True Vine

In 2006 my pastor and his wife hired me to work in the church office as an administrative assistant. The first task assigned was transcribing a sermon series called Standing on the Promises of God. Due to unpredictable (and at the time undiagnosed) health circumstances, I wasn’t able to dance, teach, or run my design business effectively. So, they graciously offered me flexible hours so I could earn some money. I basically worked when I could, sat at a desk, and listened to the Word.

My health struggle, along with several other hardships at that time, became an extended pruning season for me. Although I had received Jesus eight years prior, I still lacked wisdom and had strongholds that had carried over from my rebellious past. Unhealthy thought patterns and past wounds needed to be uprooted before I could experience the full healing God desired for me. Although God did not cause my pain, He was calling me to abide in Him through it. As I immersed myself in the Scriptures, God challenged me to not just believe what I read but to also obey what I learned.

This spiritual pruning time was the longest and hardest season of my life, but also the most pivotal in my growth and maturity as a Believer. Through it I learned that faith requires obedience. A relationship with Jesus is a solid commitment that requires hearing His teachings and practicing them daily. And although I fail at times to do His will perfectly, Abba’s love and mercy always leads me back to Him.

Deeply Rooted in the Word of “I Am”

No one can escape hardships, but we can learn to be reshaped through them. The hope is that we come out better on the other side, and that we don’t remain deadwood or stuck in old patterns. God is more concerned with the condition of our hearts than He is about changing circumstances on our timetable. Nevertheless, if our passion remains deeply rooted in the Word of “I Am,” then we will be fruitful and prosperous in every season of life. Whether on the mountaintop or in the valley, no matter what we go through, when we abide in the true vine, God promises us a victorious conclusion.

Psalm 1 The Tree of Life Dance Devo

This is my attempt at feeding the lake of creativity. Video was taken during the April quarantine. May all who watch receive a double blessing of fruitfulness and prosperity.

Scriptures

John 15, Galatians 5:22-23, Ephesians 5:27, 1 Peter 6-8, 1 Peter 1:13-16, Isaiah 40:8, Hebrews 12:1-12, Revelation 2:7 , Mark 4:14-20, 3 John 1:2

Art Speaks When We Listen To The Work | Divine Turnaround

When the artist is truly the servant of the work, the work is better than the artist . . .When the work takes over, then the artist is enabled to get out of the way, not to interfere. When the work takes over, then the artist listens.

–Madeleine L’Engle, Walking On Water

Mixed Media Art on Canvas, Divine Turnaround Word for Worship, Megan Joy Chapman

On September 9, 2019 I completed a mixed media canvas inspired by worship. I collected a variety of photos of my art, writings, scriptures about worship, and dance pieces. I printed them on paper, adhered them to canvas and then splattered paint over the pictures. To tie it together I sealed metal letters on top spelling out the word WORSHIP.

I hung the piece in my kitchen to the left of the sink to cover up an eyesore-wall that’s awaiting new cabinets. The canvas had been hanging in my kitchen two whole days when I’m standing there doing dishes, look over my shoulder to admire my masterpiece 😊 and to my horror realize I had sealed the letters on the wrong way—the pictures were upside down! In my defense I had put some filters on the photos so they wouldn’t be super vivid. Still, in that moment my heart sank thinking it had been ruined.

Art Speaks When We Listen To The Work

But before I spiraled into a tizzy over my error, I heard God speak to me within my spirit. I’m standing there with sudsy dish gloves staring at it and hear, worship will be turned upside down. It will be turned on its head.

I knew it was God because I immediately felt His peace wash over me. It was kind of funny because as soon as I heard it, I was like, OK, God. If You say so and went right back to doing the dishes. Not typically the posture I take when things don’t turn out the way I envision. Especially when I’ve worked diligently a few months to complete something.

When I was done with the dishes, I took the painting down and wrote the word I heard on the back of the canvas so that I wouldn’t forget it. A couple weeks later, I shared my experience with some friends and we laughed about it, and I admitted to them that I had no idea what God meant by turning worship upside down. But somehow, I felt excited and expectant. Could He be hinting that His Spirit was about to fall on our worship like we’ve never experienced before? If that’s true—sign me up! But as I pondered, I still wasn’t fully clear. When God speaks, He only reveals part of the whole picture. So, all I knew was He said it, I had peace, and I would have to wait and see.

Role Ready Positioned to Listen

Full disclosure, at the beginning of 2020 I had completely forgotten the word I received about worship (the one I had written down on the back of the canvas so that I wouldn’t forget). I guess I was distracted because my year started off pretty stinky. We had to cancel our New Year’s plans because Chap (my husband) got sick. Then, about a week later I started feeling not myself and situations in my life felt very chaotic. Many things seemed to be going faster than I could wrap my head around. Let’s just say I didn’t feel role ready for the new season, yet I didn’t really know what I was supposed to be ready for. My hopes had been high for a blessed 2020, but in January I had an uneasiness in my spirit that I couldn’t shake.

Long story short, in February I decided to take a pause from all activities outside of work. I had a deep sense that God wanted to realign me, to go deeper in my trust for Him, and to help me understand, more fully, the humility of Jesus—and what that was supposed to look like in my current circumstances. As I allowed God to pinpoint the places in my heart that were not bearing healthy fruit, I was able to release control over the things that had been causing fear and weighing me down.

During that time of intimacy and repentance, I had no idea that God was actually preparing me for the shaking that was lurking in the shadows. He’d been strengthening me for the coming battle, Covid19. He wanted me to have the right mindset for what was ahead so that I could weather the storm. While fear gripped many, my month of refueling had brought an unusual sense of calm. God had positioned me so that I could be a vessel of His peace. And rather than worrying, I was clothed in His presence and role ready to encourage others. My time with the Lord had brought clarity to know my part in the big picture and where I was to focus my energy in the coming weeks.

Divine Turnaround Word for Worship

By March, the world as we knew it had turned upside down. A global quarantine was ordered and for the first time in history, Christians around the planet were (and as I write this still are) gathering to worship on the airwaves. Worship has literally been turned upside down! It seems like every newscaster has used the words upside down to describe the Covid crisis. And then, suddenly in April, it dawned on me—my painting!

Worship will be turned upside down. It will be turned on its head.

Please don’t misunderstand. In no way do I believe God sent Covid19. It is the enemy, the devil, who comes to rob, kill, and destroy. However, I do believe God is using this time to release His glory in and through His people to accomplish His will upon the earth—the harvest of many souls. What the enemy planned for evil, God is overturning for the good of His creation. God is always willing to bestow beauty for ashes when we humbly set our hearts on Him. I believe God’s people, uniting around the world offering their worship in spirit and truth, is literally turning the devil on his head.

Are You Role Ready Positioned to Listen?

The stage is set for Divine Turnaround. The greatest awakening the world has ever seen is about to be released. Jesus is the star and we are the co-stars. As co-creators, we all have a part to play in His miraculous production. We all have unique gifts to share for the good of God’s Kingdom. But we must be positioned and prepared before the curtain goes up. With repentant hearts, we must let go of fear and be clothed in His presence. Don’t miss your call!

Creative Arts Worship Video

Here’s a short video of my painting process from September 2019. I mixed in some dance clips that were taken during the May 2020 quarantine.

Scripture References

John 4:23-24, 1 Corinthians 13:9, Proverbs 25:2, 1 Peter 2:9, Isaiah 61:10, Matthew 24:44, John 10:10, Genesis 50:20, Psalm 7:15, Psalm 16, 2 Chronicles 7:14, 1 Corinthians 2:7–14, Colossians 1:27, Philippians 4:6-8

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