Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Song in My Heart

"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer." ~ Psalm 19:14

Have you ever thought about the word 'meditation'? I mean, really thought about it? I have just learned that the Hebrew word for 'meditation' is higgayon (hig-gaw-yone') which refers to a musical notation, like a hymn. Think about that for a minute. Whatever I am thinking of is like a hymn before the Father. Is it a hymn of praise? Is it a hymn of gratitude and loveliness? Or, is it a cacophony of noise to His ears?

The book of Psalms is actually a book of hymns, songs reflecting the outpouring of David's (and others) heart. Songs. Hymns. Meditations.

It's root word is hagah (haw-gaw) meaning to ponder, imagine, roar or study. I especially like the idea of roar. When the meditations of my heart are not what they should be, the characteristic sound is that of a roar. Can I get a witness?

The Message translates this verse, "These are the words in my mouth; These are what I chew on and pray. Accept them when I place them on the morning altar, O God, my Rock, God, Priest-of-My-Altar."

"These are the words I chew on..."
Are the meditations of my heart something I would place on the morning altar? Do the words of my mouth delight the Lord? Does the meditation of my heart resonate as an offering?

Not always. Some days, I am ashamed to say, the meditation of my heart is a stench in the Lord's nostrils - NOT a pleasing aroma or a hymn of praise. But, I am learning. As I understand more and more about His authority, as I allow Him more and more access to the dark crevices in my heart, I find that the meditations of my heart are more about praise and less about my failures and disappointments.

I find that I have a song in my heart - hopefully a song that blesses my Lord.

Father, teach us to consider You in all things. Help us be mindful of the things that we ponder, of the things that we allow to consume our hearts. We desire that the words of our mouths and the meditation of our hearts be a pleasing offering to You, Lord. You, O Lord, are worthy of our praise.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Change Is A-comin'

Morning Glory is undergoing change. As I told a friend of mine earlier today, change and development is good, stagnation is not. The Lord is stretching and polishing me; He is molding me into a vessel for His glory.

I am so honored to be part of your life - I am thrilled that you visit Morning Glory. It is my desire that your walk with Him will be strengthened and enlightened by the words of my heart.

I will post the traditional Morning Glory (bible study) on Tuesdays and Thursdays. In addition, there will be frequent postings throughout the week where I share my heart with you - observations, lessons learned, God's whispers. I am excited about this transition. As always, I cherish your prayers.

May I pray for you?

Father, I appreciate you so much. Your faithfulness means the world to me. I lift my precious readers to You. I ask that You reveal Yourself to them in special ways. I ask that You meet their needs, that You pour out Your grace in tangible ways. Awaken their hearts to the sound of Your voice. Bless them Father. Return to them one-hundred fold for their love and encouragement towards me since the inception of Morning Glory. And, Lord, thank You for Morning Glory. I pray that You will continue to be glorified through its message. I love You, Father and I give You praise.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Just What Does 'In His Image' Really Mean?

"God said, Let Us (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) make mankind in Our image, after Our likeness...So God created man in His own image, in the image and likeness of God He created him; male and female He created them." (Genesis 1:26,27, Amplified Study Bible)

I learned something so awesome this morning. A new friend gave me a book, Discovering Jesus in the Old Testament by Nancy Guthrie. I hope you'll enjoy my discovery as much as I did.

When God created man, sin had not yet entered into the equation. A very Holy God desired fellowship with mankind. He created us HOLY and RIGHTEOUS. (That had never dawned on my before.) Think about it. Mankind had to be holy and righteous or God could not have walked in the garden with them. I had always limited "the likeness" to spirit, but there is so much more. The Message says it this way, "God spoke: Let Us make human beings in our image, make them reflecting our nature."

When sin came on the scene, mankind was forever changed. No longer could a Holy God dwell with them. Generation upon generation has been separated from Elohim, the Creator of the Universe, because of the original sin.

That's where the transformation comes in.

Romans 8:29 reads, "For those He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren."

1 Corinthians 3:18, "But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord."

Do you feel those goosebumps yet? Mankind started out holy and righteous.

Let's repeat that one more time, just for the fun of it: Mankind started out holy and righteous!

God is continually working in us to RESTORE us to that original creation of holiness and righteousness! We are His workmanship. He wants to bring us full circle.

The Holy Spirit is shaping us and molding us into the righteousness of God so that we might KNOW Him fully. Notice that this is not something WE do, it is something we receive. It is GOD who is at work in us.

Eternal purposes? Yes, ma'am, I think so.

Oh what a mighty God we serve!

Father, It is so fun to learn something new. Thank You. I think deep inside we had an understanding, but now we can SEE the plan more clearly. You are always working in us, restoring us to fellowship with You. We are so grateful for this. You are an amazing God. We love You, Lord.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A Voice From the Darkness

"So it was, when you heard the Voice from the midst of the darkness, while the mountain was burning with fire, that you came near to me, all the heads of your tribes and your elders. And you said: 'Surely the Lord our God has shown us His glory and His greatness, and we have heard His voice from the midst of the fire. We have seen this day that God speaks with man; yet he still lives."
(Deuteronomy 5:23,24)

Moses is speaking to the children of Israel. He has just received the Ten Commandments from the Lord and has called an assembly to share God's instructions. God has shown them His glory and His greatness. He has shown them His consuming fire and He has allowed His children to hear His voice.

They heard His voice out of the darkness.

It was the same Voice Moses heard.
It was the same darkness Moses experienced.
Yet, the people were afraid.

Why wasn't Moses frightened?

Moses knew the One in Whom he had believed. He was in a relationship with El Elyon, the Most High God. For Moses, the darkness was because of God's brilliant Presence behind the shield of a cloud. God's radiance created the dense shadow in the cloud, thus the darkness.

For Moses, the darkness was affirmation of God's presence.

Perhaps, for the Israelites, the darkness magnified the schism between them and their God. After all, their relationship with Him was marred by repeated rebellion. Their relationship wasn't bathed in love. It was birthed in fear - afraid kind of fear, not reverential.

The Hebrew word for darkness used in this passage is choshek (kho-shek). The literal translation means darkness, night, obscurity. But the figurative definition is misery, destruction, death, ignorance or sorrow (Strong's Hebrew and Greek Dictionary).

In my own life there have been times when the darkness around me felt like misery, destruction and great sorrow. But as I think about it, those were the times when I was placing my hope in people, not God. Those were the times I was doing my own thing, times when I had lost my first love - Jesus.

I am learning to press in daily. I am learning to make my quiet time with the Lord non-negotiable. It must be priority in my life. And as I allow my heart to give way to His gentle whispers I have found that the darkness is comforting and secure. When I am in an intimate relationship with Him the darkness affirms His Presence in my life. I am secure in the shadow of His wing.

During these times of darkness - which surely will come -I can hear His voice calling to me, "Nan, come near. Do not be frightened; I am with you. Is anything too difficult for Me?" The brilliance of His presence casts a shadow over me and blankets me with His love.

Think about your times of darkness.

Remember, you are a child of the Most High God. Walk with Him. Pour out your heart to Him and listen as He comforts you. The darkness will surround you as an embrace; it can no longer threaten you with accusations of doubt and misery. As you focus on the Lord your God, your spirit will recognize His Spirit, His presence. Your eyes will be opened to behold His remarkable Light behind the veil of darkness, casting His shadow over you and bringing you peace.

"So the people stood afar off, but Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was." (Exodus 20:21)

SELAH. Pause and think about it.

Father, Thank You for teaching us the mysteries of who You are. You are beyond comprehension, Your love is more than we can imagine. Open the eyes of our heart to understand that when we walk closely with You, the shadow of Your presence will overtake any dark reflection of evil that would threaten to invade our lives. Thank You for Your mercy, Lord and thank You for Your grace. We love You.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

God is Faithful

Thank you so much for stopping by Morning Glory today. During the month of May I am not posting daily because I am preparing for a Virtual Christian Writers Retreat and a prayer retreat I have been asked to lead. Morning Glory will appear every Wednesday during May.

Please use this time to explore. Do you need a touch from God? Some encouragement? How about a heaping spoonful of grace and hope? Whatever you are in need of our Father is able. Know this, you are precious to Him. Let Him embrace you with His love today.

Sweet blessings to you!
Nan Jones

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

His Eye is Upon You

"Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, on those who hope in His mercy, to deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine. Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. For our heart shall rejoice in Him, because we have trusted in His holy Name. Let Your mercy, O Lord, be upon us, just as we hope in You."
(Psalm 33:18-22)

"The eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him..."

To "fear" the Lord is to have reverence for Him. Okay. But what does that really mean? I wanted to have a better understanding of this because, honestly, the word "fear" has always bothered me. To me, it holds negative connotations.

So, I looked it up in my thesaurus and this is what I found.

To fear (revere): admire, adore, appreciate, be in awe of, cherish, exalt, honor, love, magnify, respect, treasure, worship. (Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus)

Whoa! Now that makes sense...
The eye of the Lord is on those who adore Him, who are in awe of Him, who cherish and magnify Him. The eye of the Lord is on those who worship Him as the Sovereign Lord.

Oh precious child of God! Allow the Holy Spirit to resonate this truth within you: The eye of the Lord is on you, guarding you, keeping you, knowing all there is to know about you. Oh my goodness. Our God is El Roi, the God Who sees. Nothing - no thing - comes your way without God your Father knowing it. His eye is upon you.

His eye is upon you...

Verse nineteen touched me in a special way. It reads, "To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine."

"...and to keep them alive in famine."

Think about that for a minute. More than likely this is referring to an actual famine which was not uncommon during David's time. God's provision for the physical needs of His children is well documented. But, consider this. Have you ever had a famine of your spirit? Have you ever felt like your faith was just hanging on by a thread, by sheer guts alone?

I hear some amens out there.
I have felt this many times, also.

But because of God's grace and mercy I survived with my faith intact
. God knew that my spirit was in a famine - His eye was upon me. That's why I survived. I was not left to fend for myself. God found me in my weary state. It was as though He knelt beside me and gently placed His hand behind my head, raised me up and offered me a life-saving drink of Living Water. Just a little at first, tenderly - just enough to revive me. He refreshed me with His love. He fed my famished spirit with His Word.

God, my Father, kept my spirit alive.

Behold, His eye was upon me and He saw my need.
He responded with mercy and love.
He responded to my adoration.

Father, I find such comfort in knowing that You see all things that concern us. Even before we call out to You, You know our need. Thank You for Your great mercy and love, for Your faithfulness to Your children. We adore You, Father and we give You praise.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Sweet Blessings to YOu!

I am so thankful you have decided to visit Morning Glory daily devotions today. I will not be posting daily during the month of May. I am participating in a Virtual Writers Mentoring Retreat and leading a prayer retreat during this time, requiring vast amounts of preparation. I will, however, post on Wednesdays and will market it as usual.

I would love for you to use this time to explore older posts. You will find treasures of faith, kisses of love and the warm embrace of grace. It is my desire that Morning Glory will stir up a hunger for God's Word within your spirit. It is my prayer that the Father will whisper tenderly to you, encouraging and strengthening you through the words of my heart.

Sweet blessings to you!
Nan Jones