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

A Crown of Beauty for Ashes-Double Portion-Corona Means Crown

To all who mourn . . .
    he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
    festive praise instead of despair.
In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks
    that the Lord has planted for his own glory . . .

Instead of shame and dishonor,
    you will enjoy a double share of honor.
You will possess a double portion of prosperity in your land,
    and everlasting joy will be yours. –Isaiah 61:3,7 NLT

Mixed Media Art by Megan Joy Chapman
Acrylic Paint, Printed Photos on Paper, Melted Crayon, Wood, and Ashes on Canvas. Measures 12″ x 12″

Isaiah 61 has always been one of my favorite passages in Scripture because it infuses me with hope. It reveals God’s creative nature and His heart for justice towards His children. It also demonstrates God’s extravagant love for humanity. A promise keeper through the ages, God declares a double portion eternal blessing of joy and bliss for those who remain faithful to Him through life’s burdens and temptations.

I created this painting as a testimony of God’s healing power over my life and how He has been faithful to bring a double portion of joy and strength to combat brokenness.

This canvas incorporates filtered, black and white photocopied prints from my youth through adulthood. Some pictures represent great triumphs and some bring up memories of deep suffering. I speckled ash over the photos using acrylic medium. Melted crayon bark broken into pieces represents childlike faith as well as God’s many colors of grace and glory deposited throughout my life.

Dust and Adjust Your Crown!

A few months ago I had a sore tooth and visited my dentist. The hygienist said that the upper part of my crown looked like it needed a good cleaning. Some plaque build-up was probably irritating the gum.

As she went to town on the upper part of my crown full vigor, she commented, “wow, this is really stubborn!” I kept praying she wouldn’t slip and take out my eye along with my tooth. She was really going for it!

But then with excitement she said, “Did you feel that? A big deposit just came off! I think you’re going to feel a lot of relief from this.” She was right. My tooth and gum healed up immediately after the cleaning.

The next day I kept hearing God say to me, “Dust off your crown! Don’t you know who you are?”

Like many, I was expectantly believing 2020 to be a year of double portion blessing, favor of God, and 2020 vision. But as the struggles of life came in like a flood, I became distracted from that promise. Fear began robbing my faith. Can you relate? So, when God spoke to me about dusting and adjusting my crown, I was all ears. I received His gentle rebuke and started researching the word crown. Here’s what I discovered:

A dental crown is described as a covering for the upper part of a weak tooth to protect it from breaking.

God is our covering authority. When we place our faith in Jesus, He becomes our protector, strength and shield (See Psalms 28 & 91).

A head crown is a circular ornamental headdress worn by a monarch as a symbol of authority, usually made of precious metals and jewels. Or a wreath of flowers worn as an emblem of victory, achievement, an award. The top or highest part of something. The upper part of a cut gem.

The Word of God declares that Jesus, the King of kings, was given all authority in heaven and on earth. In turn, He crowned mankind with glory and honor, giving them charge of everything He made and has put all things under the Believers’ authority (Matthew 28:18-20, Psalm 8). When we receive Jesus as our personal Savior, His Holy Spirit lives inside us. His Spirit unites us fully to Him making us one with Him, which gives us authority over every evil (Colossians 2:9-10). But it doesn’t stop there! God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms! (Ephesians 2:6)

Can you picture that? As royal sons and daughters of the One True God, we are crowned with glory and honor, co-seated with Jesus in heaven. We have been given the authority of Christ to accomplish great achievements for His glory. We are living from a place of victory, not for a victory, because Jesus already won the battle for us on the cross.

All we have to do is believe it! If we truly believed our identity and purpose is co-creating with Jesus from a position of victory, our lives and our world would look radically different. We’d be consistently confident, effective in love, and would never fall for the lie that is fear.

When a baby crowns it means the baby is emerging from the womb.

This is God’s heart for His church in this hour— The Army of God rising up with humble confidence to take its position against the spiritual forces of evil (Ephesians 6:12). As the Bride of Christ makes herself ready, praying, believing, and obeying the Word, may she emerge as a generous radiant church operating in faith (with wisdom) not fear, and resting in God’s love. May we humbly serve to build His Kingdom united together for His glory.

Throughout the coming ages we will be the visible display of the infinite, limitless riches of his grace and kindness, which was showered upon us in Jesus Christ. For it was only through this wonderful grace that we believed in him. Nothing we did could ever earn this salvation, for it was the gracious gift from God that brought us to Christ! So no one will ever be able to boast, for salvation is never a reward for good works or human striving.

We have become his poetry, a re-created people that will fulfill the destiny he has given each of us, for we are joined to Jesus, the Anointed One. Even before we were born, God planned in advance our destiny and the good works we would do to fulfill it! –Ephesians 2:7-10 TPT

And to my surprise I realized halfway through writing this post that corona, in light of our global pandemic, means crown! referring to the crownlike spikes on its surface.

When we place our faith in Jesus, He promises to bring beauty from our ashes— or life from death. Right before Jesus went to the cross to take the punishment for our sins, His accusers put a crown of thorns on His head to mock Him. The crown of thorns represented the curse of sin and death that was placed on Jesus so that we could be freed from that curse (Matthew 27:28-31). Jesus’ death brought us eternal life. Salvation in Jesus is ultimately our crowning inheritance.

A Crown of Glory for A Crown of Thorns

I don’t believe in coincidences. Corona means crown. I believe God is speaking loud and clear to anyone who will listen. As we face this global shaking during the coronavirus, God is calling people everywhere to pause and draw near to Him. He’s inviting us to remember all Jesus won for us on the cross and to reflect His character on earth.

Romans 8:28 says, And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

Therefore, the double portion blessing promised for 2020 still stands! Through this trial, I believe families are being restored, marriages revived, and visions renewed. What seemed important before may not seem as important now. Or vice versa. Either way, may this time of testing become a time of resting—a new normal where people unite and become more intentional about praying together and interceding on behalf of our nation.

May our prayers and praise fill God’s throne room so we can receive His favor and see justice poured out upon the earth. And may we all live by faith, not fear, because if your faith remains strong, even while surrounded by life’s difficulties, you will continue to experience the untold blessings of God! True happiness comes as you pass the test with faith, and receive the victorious crown of life promised to every lover of God! –James 1:12 TPT

In Conclusion

Circumstances change, but God’s character never changes. No matter what we face individually or globally, God is on the throne. He’s not worried. But He longs for His bride to return to Him. As we invite Jesus to be our covering crown, He will bind our wounds and heal our brokenness. As we allow childlike faith to abound in our hearts, His light will shine through the darkness and we will receive a crown of beauty for ashes – the double portion blessings described in Isaiah 61!

. . . And they lay their crowns before the throne and say, “You are worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory and honor and power. For you created all things, and they exist because you created what you pleased.” – Revelation 4:10-11 NLT

 

An Invitation to Salvation

If you have never placed your faith in Jesus for the forgiveness of sins, and would like to know what it means to have a personal relationship with Him through the Holy Spirit, consider praying this simple prayer:

Father God, I admit that I’ve sinned against You. I’m sorry for the things I’ve done wrong and I want to do better. I believe that when Your Son Jesus died on the cross, He took the punishment for my sin. But He didn’t stay dead. He rose from the dead and is now seated in glory at Your right hand. Jesus, please come into my life and fill me with Your Holy Spirit so that I can receive this free gift of salvation and spend eternity with You in heaven. Amen!

If you prayed that prayer wholeheartedly, congratulations! You have been adopted into the family of God. A crown of victory has been placed on your head! Your life is now sealed in Christ and you have an inheritance that will last forever. Below are a few recommendations to help you along your journey.

  • Make sure you tell someone. Speaking out your commitment helps to seal your faith
  • Find a Bible believing church and get connected.
  • Receive prayer. Feel free to contact me. I would be honored to pray for you.
  • Start reading the Bible. If you don’t have one, Bible Gateway is a good place to start.
  • If you are in the Kona area on the Big Island of Hawaii and need assistance during the coronavirus, go to Living Stones Church Help Project.

Full Passage of Isaiah 61, Good News for the Oppressed

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me,
    for the Lord has anointed me
    to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted
    and to proclaim that captives will be released
    and prisoners will be freed.
He has sent me to tell those who mourn
    that the time of the Lord’s favor has come,
    and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies.
To all who mourn in Israel,
    he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
    festive praise instead of despair.
In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks
    that the Lord has planted for his own glory.

They will rebuild the ancient ruins,
    repairing cities destroyed long ago.
They will revive them,
    though they have been deserted for many generations.
Foreigners will be your servants.
    They will feed your flocks
and plow your fields
    and tend your vineyards.
You will be called priests of the Lord,
    ministers of our God.
You will feed on the treasures of the nations
    and boast in their riches.
Instead of shame and dishonor,
    you will enjoy a double share of honor.
You will possess a double portion of prosperity in your land,
    and everlasting joy will be yours.

“For I, the Lord, love justice.
    I hate robbery and wrongdoing.
I will faithfully reward my people for their suffering
    and make an everlasting covenant with them.
Their descendants will be recognized
    and honored among the nations.
Everyone will realize that they are a people
    the Lord has blessed.”

10 I am overwhelmed with joy in the Lord my God!
    For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation
    and draped me in a robe of righteousness.
I am like a bridegroom dressed for his wedding
    or a bride with her jewels.
11 The Sovereign Lord will show his justice to the nations of the world.
    Everyone will praise him!
His righteousness will be like a garden in early spring,
    with plants springing up everywhere.

Lion Heart & Alessio: The Victory Ride, An Adventure Series for Kids 8-12

Read together as a family and share the good news. Check out Lion Heart & Alessio: The Victory Ride, my Spirit-filled family redemption story!

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