Thursday, July 28, 2011

Praise His Name!

"Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; His is my God, and I trust Him." ~ Psalm 91:1,2

It seems that so many of my friends are suffering. Just this week a family in our community lost their son along with all their earthly belongings in a house fire. I ran into someone at WalMart who was overwhelmed as the caregiver for her mom, debilitated by Alzheimer's. Earlier today a precious friend of mine emailed me for prayer. Their construction company is hanging by a thread because of the economy. Last week a family promised to sign a contract which would carry the company a little farther. Today, the family called and said they had gone with another builder. My friend's heart was broken and she had to battle fear because her job continues to be on the line.

Wayward children.
State of the Nation.

Friend, the Lord hears our cries. He sees our brokenness and He stands ready to wipe our tears. You are not alone. Yes, it feels like it some days, are not alone. When you walk with the Lord, when you hold Him near, when you call Him your God...when you are in relationship with Him, then you can be sure that the darkness you feel is but the shadow of His wing.

The shadow of His wing.
Think about that for a minute.
Let it course through your soul and bring you peace.

Though the storm swirls about you, He is with you. He is sheltering you, protecting you, comforting you. But you must acknowledge His Presence. Call upon His name...Jesus. Jesus. There is no sweeter name on this earth. And as you call, give Him praise.

Praise will set you free. It will grab hold of your hand and lead you straight to the shelter of His wing.

Bless You, Lord. You are worthy to be praised. You are high and lifted up, mighty in power, glorious in majesty. We love You, Lord. Teach us to praise. Teach us to come into Your Presence in the presence of our enemies. There we are safe. There we find hope. There we are loved. We love You, Lord.

If you received Morning Glory by email, please go to the Morning Glory page to watch a powerful music video: Sheri Easter singing, "Praise His Name".

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

But by the Grace of God

"But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain."
~ 1 Corinthians 15:10, NKJV

I lifted the soft, downy coat from the box precariously perched on the top step outside the soup kitchen. It was the color of grandmomma's tea rose blushing in the sun by her porch. I held the coat high, making eye contact with the woman standing near the street. She appeared older than her actual years, her stringy chestnut hair fell about her face attempting to hide her hazel eyes, saddened by life's defeats. She stood wrapped in a thin, tattered blue floral blanket soiled by the city's grime.

I approached her and smiled. Her eyes darted back and forth before settling on the sidewalk at her feet. "Ma'am," I said. "Could you use this coat? It would look beautiful on you with those sweet hazel eyes."

She shuffled her feet, still looking down. "Here, let's try it on," I tried again.

This time she glanced in my direction and reached for the coat. "What's your name?" I asked. "Jenny," she whispered. "My name is Nan," I said. Together we removed the blanket. I held the coat for her and she slipped her arms in. Perfect fit.

I noticed Jenny stood a little taller and brushed the hair from her face. "May I give you a hug?" I asked. With a bit of awkwardness, we embraced. As I moved to release the hug, Jenny held me tighter. "Thank you," she quietly said. I felt the wet warmth of a grateful tear against my cheek. "No, thank you Jenny," I said. "You are very precious to God. Please, let Him love you."

Jenny let me pray with her. I have never forgotten those hazel eyes with flecks of gold. Perhaps the seeds of righteousness planted that day have been reaped for the purpose of eternity. Perhaps her golden flecks will now reflect the streets of gold in the heavenly places.

"But by the grace of God go I," the Apostle Paul said.

But by the grace of God...

The Message says it this way, "But because God was so gracious, so very generous, here I am. And I'm not about to let His grace go to waste."

Sweet friends, this is the cry of the Master's heart. We cannot, we must not, let His gift of grace go to waste. Brennan Manning, author of the Ragamuffin Gospel, said, "We have the power to believe where others deny, to hope where others despair, to love where others hurt. This and so much more is sheer gift; it is not reward for our faithfulness, our generous disposition, or our heroic life of prayer."

God's grace is a gift. We must not let it go to waste. We must share it with a hurting world.

Father, How can we fathom the depth of Your love and grace? How can we tell You how much we love You? You are an amazing God. From the deep recesses of our hearts we say, "Thank You, Lord. We love You. You are our everything."


If you received Morning Glory by email, please go to the Morning Glory page to watch a music video.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Stand Amazed

"Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; And His greatness is unsearchable. One generation shall praise Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts. I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty, and on Your wondrous works." ~Psalm 145:3-5

Sweet friends,

I am sharing a video with you today that will bless you beyond words. A friend sent it to me. I'm not sure who to credit this fabulous work to, but the name on the video is Andie's Isle Magnificent.

I pray that you will meditate on the glorious splendor of God's majesty and His wondrous works today. Let Him fill you to overflowing with the glory of His Name, with the strength of His power and the tenderness of His love.

Stand amazed before your God.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Dare to Believe

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take." ~ Proverbs 3:5,6,NLT

Corrie ten Boom tells the following story:

"When God tells me to visit a country, I obey His direction. So when I saw that a clerk in a travel agency had changed my route, I telephoned her back immediately.

"'Why must I go from Sydney to Tel Aviv and then to Cape Town, instead of from Sydney to Cape Town?'

"'I am sorry, but there is no refueling spot in the Indian Ocean.'

"'Well, I cannot change my plans. I will just have to pray for an island!'

"In only a few minutes' time she telephoned me again, saying she had received a telegram from Qantas (the Australian airline) announcing that they had arranged a refueling place in the Cocos islands so that there was now a direct flight from Sydney to Cape Town" (Each New Day, World Wide Publications, 1977).

Are you grinning? I believe Miss Corrie got a God-wink! Can you imagine the faith of this little woman? She dared to believe God - no qualms about it. Corrie's response to her dilemma? "Well, then, I'll just have to pray for an island!" And she did. And God did. End of story.

Oh that we would take God at His Word and dare to believe.

Father, We believe. Help us with our unbelief. You are such an amazing God. Nothing is too difficult for You. We say that with our lips, Lord. Help us say it with our hearts, with our knower. You are great and mighty, full of power. I so appreciate that You hear us when we call out to You with our needs. Thank You for Your faithfulnesss.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Bird Set Free

"Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 'This shall be the law of the leper for the day of his cleansing: He shall be brought to the priest. And the priest shall go out of the camp, and the priest shall examine him; and indeed, if the leprosy is healed in the leper, then the priest shall command to take for him who is to be cleansed two living and clean birds, cedar wood, scarlet, and hyssop. And the priest shall command that one of the birds be killed in an earthen vessel over running water. As for the living bird, he shall take it, the cedar wood and the scarlet and the hyssop, and dip them and the living bird in the blood of the bird that was killed over the running water. And he shall sprinkle it seven times on him who is to be cleansed from the leprosy, and shall pronounce him clean, and shall let the living bird loose in the open field." ~ Leviticus 14:1-7

Okay folks. You might want to roll up your sleeves and grab a shovel. This might be a little deep but I'm trusting the Lord to help me understand this enough to offer it to you. I'm praying the Lord will open my ears to hear His voice and together, we are going to be blessed. Are you ready?

I absolutely love how the Old Testament supports the New, how the New Testament fulfills the Old. I have learned that to the ancient Jews, leprosy was considered sin acting in the flesh.

Leprosy was considered sin acting in the flesh.
(I knew ya'll were letting that sink it.)

With that in mind we can easily parallel Leviticus to our walk to the cross. I'll show you how:

The leper was an outcast from the children of God. He or she was considered to be unclean and could therefore not associate with the things of God or His people. When the leper felt that his disease was healed and the time of cleansing had come, the priest went to him outside of the camp.

The leper had a knowing, a need for cleansing. He asked for the priest.
The sinner has a knowing, a need for cleansing, and he asks for Jesus.

The priest went to the leper.
Jesus meets us right where we are.

In the Old Testament, the priest would then prepare for the purification ceremony. Taking two living birds, cedar wood, scarlet, and hyssop, He would then command that one of the birds be killed in an earthen vessel over running water. Can you see the image of the blood mixing with the water in preparation for the cleansing of this individual? Now, think about how this relates to Jesus. When Jesus died on the cross, a soldier pierced His side and "out of His pierced side came water and blood" (John 19:34)

The water and the blood within this vessel had significance in the cleansing of the leper. Look at the next verse, verse six: "As for the living bird, the priest shall take it, the cedar wood and the scarlet and the hyssop, and dip them and the living bird in the blood of the bird that was killed over the running water." According to Jewish Law, the living bird, with a bunch of hyssop was tied to the cedar stick with a scarlet thread. Then, according to verse seven, this "bundle" was then dipped in the water and the blood and the leper was sprinkled seven times.

Are ya'll getting excited yet? The bird was secured to the cedar with a scarlet thread. Jesus was secured to the cross, His scarlet blood - the blood of the sacrifice - held Him there. But why hyssop? Why was hyssop part of the combination that was submerged into the water and blood and then used to sprinkle and cleanse the leper? Do you recall anything else about the hyssop? Remember during the Passover? The children of God were instructed to take the blood of an unblemished lamb and, using hyssop, smear the blood over their doorposts so the angel of death would pass over them and they would live. I have learned that hyssop is a member of the mint family. Its leaves have a very strong aroma. The symbolism I see? A leper had a terrible stench from rotting flesh. A sinner has a terrible stench in the nostrils of a holy God. The hyssop represents the removal of that stench.

Once the leper was cleansed, the priest took the living bird and set it free in the open field so it could fly away. Free. Free from the sting of death. Free from its captivity. Free to soar into the heavens.

According to the theologian, Matthew Henry, the bird that was killed typifies Jesus dying on the cross, held by our sins. The bird set free is the resurrected Lord.

But, I can't help but think that I was that bird set free. My old man was separated from God because the stench of my sin could not contaminate the holiness of God. But Jesus met me where I was and led me to the cross where I was cleansed by the water and blood pouring from His pierced side. He washed me in the blood. The aroma of Christ dissipated the stench of my flesh and the stench of my sin. Because my cleansing was complete I was set free to ride on the wings of the wind with my Lord.

Down through the ages, God made a way to set us free.

Father God, From generation to generation You have yearned to cleanse Your child and bring them into the fold. Thank You, Lord. Thank You for Your steadfastness in pursuing us. Thank You for Your love.

If you received Morning Glory by email, please go to the Morning Glory page to hear Janet Paschal sing, Written in Red.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Flap, A Flurry and a Flutter

"And when the vultures came down on the carcasses Abram drove them away."
~Genesis 15:11

A few evenings ago, right about dusk, I was walking Blue (our Mastiff) down a winding dirt road near the house. Peep frogs were singing their lullabies to the moon while fireflies kept the rhythm with their tail lights. It was a gorgeous summer evening. I was singing praise songs as we walked along, "Shout to the Lord all the earth, let us sing! Power and majesty, praise to the King..." Life was good.

Blue and I stepped beneath a canopy of interlocking pine boughs. My praise continued, "Mountains bow down and the seas will roar, at the sound of Your Name! I sing..." Out of the sunset arose a flap, a flurry, a flutter and gobbles all over the evening sky! My praise had frightened a gang of wild turkeys out of the pines where they had roosted for the night. You never heard such a commotion! I hollered. Blue barked. And God smiled. He was about to teach me something.

The Lord reminded me about the covenant He made with Abraham - the same covenant that is now ours. The account is found in Genesis, chapter fifteen. In order to seal the covenant between Almighty God and, ultimately, all of mankind, there had to be a blood sacrifice. God told Abraham to bring Him a heifer, a female goat, a ram, a turtledove and a young pigeon. Abraham was to cut the animals down the middle and place each piece opposite the other. God and Abram would then pass between the animal sacrifice to covenant with each other. Remember? "I will be your God, and you will be My people."

Verse eleven reads, "And when the vultures came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away."

Vultures. Vultures that wanted to destroy the evidence of the covenant agreement between God and man. Abram had to drive them away.

How many times do the vultures of Satan circle around waiting for the opportunity to swoop down and destroy a promise God has spoken to our hearts? Do we sit back and watch, or do we drive them away?

Well, turkeys may not be vultures but I venture to say that they are just as ugly. My praise frightened the turkeys away. They tucked in their tail feathers and flew, gobbling all the way over the mountain ridge. Praise did that.

Could it be that praise will drive the vultures away from God's promises too?

Now that's something worth pondering.

Father, You tickle me when You show me things like this. Those turkeys scared me to death! Thank you for using them to teach me more of Your truth. You are so awesome. I love You, Lord. Teach us to praise. Teach us the power of praise and the joy it brings You. And teach us to understand the fear it puts in the vultures of Satan. Bless You, Father.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

He Will Declare it to You

"However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you." ~John 16:13,14

The Holy Spirit is so very important to us. I believe we have the understanding that at the moment of our salvation, we are filled with the Spirit of God, but what then? Does He just take up a secluded corner in our heart and hang a sign out that says, "This one belongs to Jesus"?

The Holy Spirit is the conduit for the power of God. He is the means by which Almighty God speaks to us, comforts us and guides us. The Holy Spirit reveals Jesus to us - He opens our eyes to see Him, to know Him, not just about Him. Listen to what Anne Graham Lotz (Billy Graham's daughter) has to say about the Holy Spirit. This poem is found in her book, My Heart's Cry: Longing for More of Jesus:

"Without the Holy Spirit to clarify the truth to our minds and confirm Who Jesus is in our hearts, we would "see" Jesus as just...
a man,
or a holy man,
or a prophet,
or a great prophet,
or a teacher,
or a revolutionary,
or a religious icon,
or a symbolic figure!
But the Holy Spirit opens our eyes to see and our minds to know and our hearts to receive that Jesus is more than just a man...or a prophet...or a teacher...or a revolutionary...or an icon...or a symbol. Jesus is...
the Messiah of Israel,
the Lamb of God,
the Son of David,
the Son of Man,
the Son of God,
the Savior of the world,
the Truth incarnate,
the risen Lord,
the reigning King...
God Himself in the flesh!"

Amen? Truth incarnate! The reigning King! God Himself...

SELAH. Pause and think about it.

Father, Open our eyes that we might see Who You are in Jesus and take hold of that amazing Truth. That is so hard for us to fathom. Give us understanding, Lord. We want to KNOW You, to take nothing for granted. You revealed Yourself to us through Jesus. We accept that Truth and can wrap our minds around it, but there is more, isn't there? The Holy Spirit is like the looking glass that removes the veil to our heart so that we can see Your lovely face and recognize Who You are. Awaken in us an appreciation and recognition of the Holy Spirit. Help us understand that He is a PERSON of the Trinity, not just a great concept. Help us understand that the Holy Spirit is YOU. Now, that is wonderful. Thank You, Lord.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Shout to the Lord!

"Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous! For praise from the upright is beautiful. Praise the Lord with the harp; Make melody to Him with an instrument of ten strings. Sing to Him a new song; Play skillfully with a shout of joy." ~Psalm 33:1-3

As I work hard to finish up my first book proposal, I stand amazed at the faithfulness of God to "shore" me up through the process. The manuscript for Let It Rain: A Journey to Know His Presence Through the Storm is complete, an editor is waiting its arrival with the proposal, and still I think, "God, how could you use little ol' me to do a work like this?" It baffles me. It honors me and definitely, it humbles me.

Today's Morning Glory is a page from Beth Moore's book,Praying God's Word Day by Day (B & H Publishing Group, 2006). This message touched me so much this morning, I wanted to share it with you:


"Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, Your faithfulness to the skies. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains. Your justice like the great deep. O Lord, You preserve both man and beast. How priceless is Your unfailing love!

"Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of Your wings. I want to feast on the abundance of Your house; I want to drink from Your river of delights. For with You is the fountain of life; in Your light I want to see light (Psalm 36:5-9).

"You are the Lord; that is Your name! You will not give Your glory to another or Your praise to idols (Isaiah 42:8). You, my Lord, are a warrior: the Lord is Your name (Exodus 15:3)."

Powerful, isn't it? The Lord is worthy of our praise.Worship with me today...

Father, You are amazing. Thank you for Your love that transcends understanding. Thank You for Your determination to reconcile us to You. You, Lord, are our all in all. We love You, we glorify Your Holy Name and we give You praise. Bless You, Father!

If you receive Morning Glory by email, please go to the Morning Glory page to view the music video. Sweet blessings to you!