Thursday, May 31, 2012

Scriptures of Encouragement ~ By Faith

"By faith, we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.

"By faith, Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek him.

"By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family.

"By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.

"By faith, the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land, but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned.

"By faith, the walls of Jericho fell, after the people had marched around them for seven days." ~ Hebrews 11:3,5-8,29,30

By faith, my friend climbed her way out of a deep depression.

By faith, a sweet couple conceived, not one, but two little darlings when the doctor said there was no way.

By faith, a young woman was able to let her daddy die in peace, knowing that she would see him again one day.

By faith, out of nowhere, a totally perfect job came to a man in a totally imperfect job market.

By faith, my son dared to love again.

By faith you, dear reader, reached out your fingertips in the darkness, groping for the hand of your Deliverer.

By faith...

"But dear friends, use your most holy faith to build yourselves up, praying in the Holy Spirit. Keep yourselves in God's love as you wait for the Lord Jesus Christ with His mercy to give you life forever." ~ Jude 20,21, The Inspirational Study Bible

Father, Although the walk of faith is difficult at times, its footing is always sure. Your Word fails not. Your promises are true. And Your power? Your power is astonishing. Help us dare to believe that You are who You say You are. Give us courage to walk this walk of faith, enjoying each blessing, each kiss of favor, each miracle - big and small. We love You, Lord.
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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Scriptures of Encouragement ~ As Sure As the Sunrise

"I remember it all - oh, how well I remember - the feeling of hitting the bottom. But there's one other thing I remember, and remembering, I keep a grip on hope. GOD's loyal love couldn't have run out, His merciful love couldn't have dried up. They're new every morning. How great is your faithfulness! I'm sticking with GOD (I say it over and over). He's all I've got left." ~ Lamentations 3:19-24, The Message

Has God ever made you aware of your rebellion towards Him? It's not a pretty picture, is it? Many times I have wandered out from beneath the shadow of His wing because I chose to slosh around in a pool of sorrow and frustration. Yes, I chose to  take matters into my own hands. I chose to take my eyes off the One who has never failed me. And I hit bottom. Wandering alone, I quickly became discouraged and overwhelmed. Through the tears, though, I could make out a blurred image of my Heavenly Father watching over me. I could hear Him affectionately calling my name. Even in the midst of a rebellious heart, God never left my side and because of this I was able to "keep a grip on hope."

Sweet friend, He has never left your side either.

The Hebrew word for hope in this passage is yachal. Yachal means to "steadfastly expect His mercy, His salvation, and His rescue, and while waiting, not take matters into one's own hand" (Spirit Filled Life Bible). Expectation is of utmost importance here.

When I was pregnant with each of our three children I lived in constant expectation. I knew that I knew that at the appointed time I would hold my child in my arms. Faith is like that. Hoping in the Lord, yachal, is like that. When we develop our relationship with God in such a way that we know Him, then our fears can quickly give way to expectation. Like Jeremiah, we are able to know and remember His steadfast love. We can remember God's mercies, His faithfulness. We can remember because He has shown Himself to be steadfast, immovable - faithful. Oh my goodness, now faithful is our God!

And when we remember, we can keep a grip on hope. The Good News Bible reads, "The Lord's unfailing love and mercy still continue, fresh as the morning, as sure as the sunrise" (Lamentations 3:23)

As sure as the sunrise...did you feel your heart skip a beat?

Father, What would we do without Your mercy and Your love? For sure, we would have been consumed by now. But, because of Your faithfulness we can grip hope. We can wait expectantly for Your intervention. Forgive our stubborn ways. Cleanse us of all pride that causes us to try to handle life in our own strength. We love You, Father, and we stand in awe of Your goodness.
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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Scriptures of Holiness ~ The Lord of Everything

"And there shall be stability in your times, and abundance of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge; the reverent fear and worship of the Lord is your treasure and His. " ~ Isaiah 33:6, Amplified Study Bible

The kids skipped along the rocky path that meandered through the mountain glen. Hemlocks bowed their lacy branches while tall pine trees made a beeline to the sky. Regal red oaks playfully tossed acorns at my children's feet.

"Treasure! Mom, I found a treasure!" they each squealed as acorns and pine-cones, white quartz and feathers were carefully placed in our basket.

Their precious treasures were much sought after. Young eyes scanned the trail as they walked along. Anticipation - expectation - gleamed in their expressions of hope and the thrill of the hunt. Treasure hunting was a big deal in our family.

Still is.

Isaiah said, "...the reverent fear and worship of the Lord is your treasure and His." 

Your treasure.

Do we seek after the Lord with anticipation and expectation of finding Him worthy? Are our eyes open to see Him all about us - in the simple things, in the complex the amazing moments of our lives? Do we approach Him as a treasure trove abounding in wisdom and knowledge and goodness and love - Someone we must find?

I asked the Lord to help me behold His glory, to understand His majesty and His Holiness. It was there that I found my treasure. It was there that I gained a glimpse of how great our God is. Jehovah God holds the seas in the hollow of His hands. He rides along the wings of the wind; the clouds are but the dust of His feet. And even so, He cared that my children found acorns and pine-cones and white quartz and feathers to thrill their little hearts.

And He cares that we find our treasure in Him - the Lord of Everything.

Father, Help us to behold Your glory, to understand Your majesty, to revere Your Holiness. Stir up a hunger within each of us to know You more. We long to drink of Your Living Water and to be changed from glory to glory into the image of Your Son Jesus. Please grant us wisdom and knowledge in our search for Your hidden treasure. Open our eyes to see You in all things. Thank You Lord. You are more beautiful than words can say. We love You Lord and we give You praise.
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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Scriptures of Comfort ~ His Song in the Night

"The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night His song shall be with me - A prayer to the God of my life." ~ Psalm 42:8, NJKV

I have been drawn to this scripture all day. 
Seeking understanding. Praying for wisdom. Grasping revelation.

Wanna know what I thought of?

The word "command" intrigued me and caused me to think of God's spoken word - the very Word that spoke the world into existence. His command - His spoken Word - is powerful. It is intentional with purpose. And it does not return to Him without accomplishing that for which it was spoken.

God commands His lovingkindness towards His children. This is a reference to mercy (chesed in Hebrew) which refers to God's covenant loyalty, love and faithfulness - His kindness. In other words, because of who He is, and because of His great love, we are bathed in His goodness, His faithfulness, His provision, His protection, His comfort, His Fatherly discipline, His strength...whatever is needed at any moment of any day. His spoken Word is that of lovingkindness.

In the daytime, we can see the Lord working in our lives.
In the daytime, everything is falling into place.
In the daytime, our souls are at peace and laughter comes easy.

But what about the night?

"In the night His song will be with me. It will be as a prayer to the God of my life."

Although darkness may fall about us, His song, His praise, His Presence will always be with us - unless we choose to walk away. Unless we choose to sit and sour. Unless we choose to turn our backs on the One Who loves us in spite of ourselves.

His song will be with us in the darkest of nights. In fact, I have learned to open my ears to hear His song when the night threatens me with fear. And in that moment, as His song draws near, I realize that the darkness is but the shadow of His wing.


I know many who are searching in the night for His great love. Please join me in prayer for those who are struggling to hang on, those who are reaching through their darkness for the Hand that rescues. Call them by name to El Roi - the God Who Sees and knows all about it. Please share this with someone who needs to hear His song.
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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Scriptures of Encouragement ~ This Rose Will Endure

"He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and gently lead those who are with young." ~Isaiah 40:11, NKJV

The sweet fragrance of the crimson rose consumed me. I closed my eyes and rested in its beauty, refreshed by its calming perfume. My spirit longed for the reassurance of God's Presence. I knew He was with me because of His promise, but at that moment I needed a reminder in my knower.

And then the Lord opened my eyes to see.

This rose survived a tumultuous beginning. It has been dug up several times by our four-legged family members. It was the main course at a summer feast hosted by invading Japanese beetles.  And the winter of 2011 dared this exquisite flower to stand strong and survive the brutal storms.

But survive it did. My crimson rosebush is thriving. Life flows through its stems and branches regardless of what it looks like on the outside. Its strength is within. The source of its beauty is within. No matter what life throws its way, this rose will endure.

Kind of like me.
Me and God, that is.

He cares for me. He carries me in His arms when the journey becomes too difficult. He leads me as a shepherd, guiding me through the rough terrain.

And because of His great love I survive the storms. The Japanese beetles. The ones trying to dig me up by the roots.

And because of His Spirit within me I always find a way to bloom again.

Can I get a witness?

Father, Thank You for loving us always. Thank You for carrying us in Your arms when we are too tired or frightened to go on. You are an amazing God. We love You Lord. You are our everything. We praise Your Holy Name!
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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Scriptures of Holiness ~ I Am

"And God said to Moses, 'I AM WHO I AM...'"  ~ Exodus 3:14, NKJV

I learned something new this weekend.
It involves a coy fish.

Did you know (drumroll, please) that if you put a coy fish in a fishbowl it will grow to about 2" in length, but, if you put that same coy fish in a pond or river it will grow to at least 20"? The same fish.

That got me to thinkin'.
I got to thinkin' about God.

How many times do we put God into our little fishbowl that we can watch and maintain and control? Or how many times do we take God out of the fishbowl and set Him free to be who He really is in the River of Life and watch Him grow exponentially in the realms of our understanding and in the depths of our relationship with Him? No matter how much we try to define who God is or where He will dwell in our lives...HE IS STILL GOD.

Let me say that again. He is still God: Elohim, the Creator of the Universe. Jehovah-jireh, the God Who Provides. Jehovah-rapha, the God Who Heals. El Roi, the God Who Sees. Jehovah-tsidkenu, The Lord Our Righteousness.

The Great I Am Who I Am.

We cannot change who He is. We can only change the role He plays in our lives. We can try to diminish His majesty in our own minds by defining Him according to our understanding or we can magnify His Presence in our lives by opening our eyes to see.

But we cannot - we must not - try to change Who He is.

He is God alone. The One True God. Maker of heaven and earth. There is none like Him. If we put Him in a fishbowl or if we put Him in a river...there is still none like Him. 

He changes not.
And we must not try to change Him.

Father God, You are too marvelous for words. We cannot contain the fullness of Your glory. We cannot grasp the depth of Your love. You are an awesome God. Thank You for loving us. Thank You for Your mercy, Your faithfulness. Open our eyes that we might see how great You are. Awaken our hearts to love You and to revere You as God - the One True God. You are God alone. We love You Father. We praise You and we glorify Your Holy Name.
I pray that this message will cause each of us to examine our hearts and our relationship with the Lord our God. Are we guilty of making Him fit our requirements or are we seeking to recognize His holiness and His majesty? Tough questions, I know. God is calling His people to open their eyes to see Him, to love Him and to exalt Him. May we all bow before His throne and proclaim, "Hallelujah to the King of kings and the Lord of lords." Whew...glad I got that off my chest. Sweet blessings to you.
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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Scriptures of Encouragement ~ Blessings Like Raindrops

"Therefore I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; My God will hear me. " ~ Micah 7:7, NKJV

The windshield wipers swished from side to side, splashing the rain that imitated the tears bathing my cheeks. Charcoal-colored clouds hung low, obscuring the mountaintops I love so much. My worried thoughts flung themselves through my mind: "What about this? Or this? Or what if...? I couldn't help but think that heaven was crying right along with me.

Or was it? Was the Lord weeping over my pain? 


But that is not what He whispered in my heart.

As the wipers moved methodically back and forth reflecting my anxious thoughts, I caught myself singing, "What if Your blessings come through raindrops? What if Your healing comes through tears? What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near? What if the trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise?"

You may recognize these words. It is the chorus of Laura Story's, "Blessings". She wrote this song on the heels of her husband surviving a massive brain tumor. You see, he survived, but he was left severely disabled.

And yet Laura Story praises her God. She praises Him even though life is difficult. Laura  finds Him in her pain. And she opens her eyes to see God's eternal purposes in all things concerning her life.

This woman waits for the God of her salvation. 
And in her waiting, she trusts Him.

Selah...pause and calmly think about it. 

Did Morning Glory minister to you this morning? It is my prayer that it helped you, my precious reader, find God's Presence in the midst of your difficulty. If you know of someone who would be encouraged by this message, please share it with them. Thanks. Sweet blessings to you!
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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Scriptures of Comfort ~ Winter's Song

"I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing." ~ John 15:5, NKJV

Our ancient grapevine is a tangled mess - a brown tapestry of woven branches clinging to the original vine the size of a young tree trunk. Winter's chill sent it deep into itself. Everything turned inward. There was no outward sign of growth. Of life. Of fruit born from its life-flow. Winter's chill sent its roots searching for water, grappling by instinct for that which would preserve life.

Its brown coat belies the strength within.

As the cold, harsh winds of winter give way to the call of spring, our grapevine responds. It doesn't dive-in full throttle, at least according to outside appearances, but with surety of purpose, buds begin to appear, evidence of the life flowing within. Tiny leaves, the color of baby lima beans appear on the branches closest to the sun, the ones stretching out of the brown chaos of tangled branches. Each leaf unfurls, revealing  a blush of red tingeing its edge. A male cardinal, clothed brilliantly in feathers of crimson, hops from branch to branch, singing and calling to the luscious fruit that lies dormant within each branch.

Something occurred to me.

Throughout the winter months I watched this same cardinal stand sentinel over the vine. It appeared daily, bobbing its head back and forth, its glorious red defying the bleak brown of the branches. Repeatedly - faithfully - he came. His song rang out over the barrenness.

And the branches responded with new life.

Jesus is like that. His love calls to us, willing us to step out of winter's chill into the warmth of His embrace.

Yes, my Jesus is like that.

Father, I know our lives have seasons just like Your splendid creation and I know each season has a purpose - it's part of Your plan. Open our eyes to see and understand the seasons of our lives. Open our eyes to see You in every season - ever watchful, ever faithful. Open our ears to hear Your song calling to us from the depths of winter's chill. We love You Lord and we give You praise.
If Morning Glory ministered to you today, please forward it on to a friend who needs to be reminded of God's Presence regardless of the season of our life. And please feel free to leave a comment. Comments make me do the happy dance **grin**
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Thursday, May 3, 2012

Scriptures of Encouragement ~ Renew Me

"Then the apostles gathered to Jesus and told Him all things, both what they had done and what they had taught. And He said to them, 'Come aside by yourselves to a solitary place and rest a while.'" ~ Mark 6:30,31

A.J. Russell's, God Calling, is a devotional that has spoken to me often over the years. Wednesday's devotion was so timely and powerful, I could not pass up the opportunity to share it with you. Please pray for me as I take a few days to rest in the arms of my Jesus.

"Never doubt. Have no fear. Watch the faintest tremor of fear, and stop all work, everything, and rest before Me until you are joyful and strong again.

"Deal in the same way with all tired feelings. I was weary too, when on earth, and I separated Myself from My Disciples, and sat and rested on the well. Rested - and then it was that the Samaritan woman was helped.

"Times of withdrawal for rest always precede fresh miracle-working. Learn of Me. To accept the limitations of human flesh is to be subject, except as far as sin is concerned, to the same conditions as man.

"I had to teach renewal of Spirit - force, rest of body to My disciples. Then, as your Example, I lay with My Head on a pillow, asleep in the boat. It was not, as they thought, indifference. They cried, 'Master, carest Thou not that we perish?' and I had to teach them that ceaseless activity was no part of My Father's plan.

"When Paul said, 'I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,' he did not mean that he was to do all things and then rely on Me to find strength. He meant that for all I told him to do he could rely on My supplying the strength.

"My Work in the world has been hindered by work, work, work. Many a tireless, nervous body has driven a spirit. The spirit should be the master always, and just simply and naturally use the body as need should arise. Rest in Me.

"Do not seek to work for Me. Never make opportunities. Live with Me and for Me. I do the work and I make the opportunities."

Dear one, Jesus is waiting for us to sit at His feet and adore Him. I hope to see you there.

I pray Morning Glory has inspired and strengthened you today. Please share it with friends who may be feeling overwhelmed by the busyness and stress of life. Thank you. Sweet blessings to you! 
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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Scriptures of Comfort ~ His Secret Place

"Oh, how great is Your goodness, which You have laid up for those who fear You, which You have prepared for those who trust in You in the presence of the sons of men! You shall hide them in the secret place of Your Presence from the plots of man; You shall keep them secretly in a shelter from the strife of tongues." ~ Psalm 31:19,20

"Grandma!" my grandson said. "Come see my secret place."

Jamison took me by the hand. As fast as his little five year old legs could carry him, he led me to his secret place. We hurried across the backyard. He was bursting with excitement. The closer we got to the creek, the faster he walked. There was a huge fallen oak along the creek's edge. Blackberries and honeysuckles clung to its silvered wood. A deep thicket obscured a small opening.

"Do you see it, Grandma? It's my secret hiding place," Jamison said. "It's a fort!"

"Oh," I said, my eyebrows raised in doubt.

I saw a tangled mess of vines and thorns. I could see the curvature of the fallen tree trunk. Honestly, I didn't see a fort. But then my precious grandson opened my eyes to see. "Come on, Grandma! I want to show you." 

We bowed down to make our way into his secret place. Thank goodness sunlight streamed in through a break in the thick foliage camouflaging this magical place from the world. "Look Grandma! Isn't it awesome? Nobody can find me here. I can sit over here and eat my snacks. There's room over here for me to lay down and take a nap. If somebody is trying to get me I can see them, but they can't see me."

The more I listened to Jamison share his heart, the more I could see. The veil that clouded my sight to see only the natural fell from my eyes. Indeed, we were hiding in his secret place.

Isn't the Lord like that? The secret hiding place of His Presence is right before us. It is camouflaged from the world, but it is available for His children if we would only open our eyes to see.

Selah...Pause and calmly think about it.

Father God, Open our eyes to see You in all of Your glory. Open our hearts to recognize Your Spirit all about us. Open our ears to hear Your gentle whispers of love, affirmation and comfort. Thank You Lord. Teach us to run to You and to snuggle deep within Your secret place whenever we are afraid. You are so awesome! You are the Mighty King, the Maker of heaven and earth! You are our Redeemer and friend. You are the Lord Most High. Praise Your Holy Name!
Do you know someone who needs to be reminded that they are not alone in their pain? I would love for you to share this with your friend and send along my blessings. Thank you so much.
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