Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Scriptures of Encouragement ~ The Lesson of the Hummingbird

I sought refuge on our front porch. Surrounded by the velvety scent of crimson roses, I rocked in the swing, soothed by its swaying motion. I pictured myself cradled in the arms of my Daddy God. Oh, how I needed His comfort and the reassurance of His care. I needed, once again, to know in my knower that He is, indeed, God.

I rocked in silence. Riding in on the gentle breeze was a tiny hummingbird. I watched as he hovered beside the sweet nectar of his feeder. He cocked his head back and forth in obvious delight.

And then I noticed a very important detail.

As the hummingbird approached the feeder, he seemed to bow. Really. His back arched and, if you could imagine a waist on the little guy, that is where his body bent forward. That simple motion put him in the perfect position to receive his nourishment.

Hmmm....I think there is a God-moment here.
Maybe there's something to that bowing position.
I began to think.

Am I humbling myself before a Mighty God? In my frustration and despair am I questioning the redemptive work of the cross? Am I discounting Who my God is? OR - this is a tough one - does my frustration and despair paint a picture of a prideful heart? Does it reflect a hidden arrogance questioning why God isn't fixing my problem?

I know. Ouch!

"Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. ~ James 4:10

The Greek word for humble is tapeinoo (tap-eye-nah-oh). It "describes a person who is willingly submitted to God and His will" (commentary, Spirit Filled Life Bible).

As I watched the tiny bird, my spirit awakened to God's lesson. I cried out, GOD, forgive me. Forgive me for submitting to Your will with my mouth, but not entirely with my heart. Forgive me, Lord. Tears filled my eyes. Forgive me, Lord.

The hummingbird zoomed away. I followed it with my eyes and there, before a backdrop of glorious magenta, coral and sunflower yellow, the little guy perched on an electrical wire in front of the house. All I could see was his silhouette against the evening sunset. This tiny little creature stood in stark contrast to the greatness of His Creator. And yet, it was His great Creator that cared for him and met his every need.

But he had to bow before he could receive his sustenance.

Do you know someone who is struggling? Please share this message with them. It is my prayer that the words of my heart will be an encouragement to others.
If you received Morning Glory via email, please visit the Morning Glory page. I found THE most beautiful worship song ever! :)  It's called "Lord I Offer You My Life" by Hillsong. Powerful. Just sayin'...

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Scriptures of Encouragement ~ Hold on to Your Britches!

So much uncertainty. It's everywhere, don't you think?

Fear of the future grips the unemployed. Global economy is crashing all about us. Disillusionment of our young abounds. Recession. Depression. Obsession...for everything except for the One Who sees all and knows all.

For a couple of years now, the Lord has been teaching me about His sovereignty. Sovereign is defined as "one who exercises supreme authority" (Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary). I am learning that if I truly believe He is sovereign, then I must believe He is the absolute authority in my life. I must believe that He knows everything that concerns me long before it happens. Nothing takes my God by surprise.

Well, hold on to your britches, because I'm about to blow you away.

A friend of mine posted an article about the Aurora, Colorado theater massacre. It was the story of a miracle. Long story short: A young Christian woman was shot three times in her arm and once through her brain. The bullet entered through her nose, traveled through her brain and rested against the back skull. If she survived the surgery, doctors feared there would be enormous brain damage.

Boy, were they in for a surprise.

Unbeknownst to the patient or her family, the young woman had a birth defect. A "channel" traversed the entire length of her brain which allowed for extra fluid to travel. The bullet entered through her sinuses and followed this channel out to the other side. There was no scattered brain matter. There was no ripping and tearing of the brain. This was a miraculous provision against an attack of the evil one. (To read this inspiring story, click here.)

Even as this young woman was formed in her mother's womb, the Sovereign Lord knew that on July 19, 2012 there would be an assault on her life - an attempt to kill her before her days on this earth were scheduled to end. Isn't that amazing? Even in her mother's womb a way of deliverance was made for that fateful day!

This past Sunday I settled into my pew at church. It felt comfortable and inviting. As my husband preached I connected two amazing dots in our lives. Before I identify the "dots", you need to know that we have only been at this precious church for about two months. We feel safe there. And loved. We don't sense power struggles or hidden agendas. This tiny sanctuary is filled with the love and Spirit of God. That, in itself, is amazing.

Ready for the "dots"?

My husband, David, was involved in a serious car accident on December 14, 2011 that changed the direction of our lives. Prior to the car accident we were actively involved in a church plant. The accident stopped our momentum. Our vision dimmed. Our spirits lagged with disillusionment and confusion about how God wanted to use us in ministry. The very same week of David's accident, the pastor of this little mountain church was killed in a tractor accident. The congregation was left reeling in grief, traumatized by the sudden shock.

If there is anything David and I do well, it is overflow with the love of God into the lives of His people.
If there was anything this sweet congregation needed, it was the healing power of God's overflowing love.

During the second week of December, 2011, God set His sovereign plan in motion and joined our hearts together in His perfect provision of love.

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" ~ Jeremiah 29:11. NIV

Are you left reeling by a sudden turn of events? Are you having a hard time making sense of the puzzle pieces in your life? Know this: Our God is Sovereign. He knows all things that concern you. He orchestrates our lives into a beautiful symphony of purpose, peace and provision. Charles Spurgeon once said, "God is too good to be unkind. He is too wise to make a mistake. So, when you cannot trace His hand, you can always trust His heart."  Be encouraged sweet friend. If God be for you, and He is, then who can be against you. You are the apple of His eye, His precious treasure.

God bless you sweet friend. I am praying for you. If you need special prayer you may contact me at nan@jubilantlight.com. I would be honored to pray with you.
Do you love Alison Krauss? Then, if you received Morning Glory via email, you will want to visit the Morning Glory page to be encouraged by her song, "I know Who Holds Tomorrow".

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Scriptures of Encouragement ~ TESTING. 1.2.3.

My husband made a very profound statement in his sermon Sunday morning. Wanna know what it was? He said, "Look at the first four letters of the word testimony. What does it spell? T-E-S-T. Test."

Now that got this old girl thinking.
How can we have a testimony of God's greatness without the test?

In Exodus 14, the children of Israel were preparing to cross the Red Sea. The Egyptians were in hot pursuit and without God's intervention, the Israelites would be destroyed. Many of us know the end of the story: the walls of the Red Sea rolled back so that God's people could cross on dry land. When the Egyptians followed, the sea crashed over them, killing them all. End of story.

But do you know the beginning of the story?

"Then I [The Lord] will harden Pharaoh's heart, so that he will pursue them; and I will gain honor over Pharaoh and over all his army, that the Egyptians may know that I am the Lord." ~ Exodus 14:4

Did you catch that? The LORD caused Pharaoh to pursue His children! Oh my goodness! Why would He do that? So they would have a TESTimony! Exodus 14:31 reads, "Thus Israel saw the great work which the Lord had done in Egypt so that people feared the Lord, and believed the Lord and His servant Moses." Not only did the miracle of the Red Sea teach the Egyptians Who they were messing with, but God's people saw and believed. No more could they doubt that God was for them.

Witnessing God's faithfulness creates milestones in our walk of faith. God knows this. I believe He loves to show Himself strong in the lives of His children and thus allows difficulties - tests - so that we can behold His power and love. He doesn't desire to trip us up, to get us off track. That would be called a temptation. God does not tempt His children, but He does allow tests or trials to come our way so that we will believe and trust Him more and so that we will stand amazed at His power.

"Count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience (or endurance). But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing." ~ James 1:2-4, NKJV

Are you facing a trial? Are difficulties crashing over you like the Red Sea and you're trying to stay ahead of the deadly waves? Stop. Take a deep breath and listen to the words of Moses, "Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today" ~ Exodus 14:13.

Praise You Father! We glorify Your holy Name! Lord, I am so thankful that You have a plan for each of Your children and nothing or no one will stand in Your way. Enlighten the eyes of our hearts to understand that our trials have eternal purpose and our trials are an opportunity for You to show Yourself strong on our behalf - if only we would trust and obey Your guidance. Nothing is impossible with You, Lord. Nothing. I ask that You would encourage my readers today. Fill them with overflowing faith and hope, knowing this: that the trying of their faith working patience and when patience completes its work we will find ourselves with mature faith, lacking nothing. Please open our eyes to see Lord. Thank You for Your faithfulness.
If you received Morning Glory via email, please visit the Morning Glory page to be encouraged in the Lord as the Crabb family sings, "He'll Make A Way".

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Scriptures of Encouragement ~ They're B-A-A-A-C-C-K!!

I sat at my writing desk beneath the study's window. Out of the quiet came the shrill mocking tones of crows. Yep, they were back. Laughing once again.

Or were they?

I stood up to peer out the window towards my garden. Beside the corn stood three crows chattering back and forth. They cocked their heads toward my young corn and then faced each other in conversation, Caw! Caw! Their discussion appeared to be argumentative. I believe it was about the string placed strategically above the corn rows, **wink**. And then? The three scoundrels took flight.

It occurred to me: Satan is just like that.

If you recall, two weeks ago I wrote about having to completely replant my corn crop because of some gluttonous crows. (See Morning Glory: Those Laughing Crows, June 26, 2012.) The story goes, as the kernels were dropped tenderly into the soil for a second time, a group of crows sat in the surrounding treetops cackling as if to say our work were pointless. But this time we had a weapon. This time Audrey and I secured string right above the corn rows. The string would keep away the crows and we would have the last laugh.

In the same manner, the Name of Jesus will keep away Satan.
God's full armor will defeat the foe.
Praise will set the scoundrel running.

These are weapons of our warfare, just like the string in the garden.

As I watched the crows fly away, I thought of Satan's tactics - how he roams the earth as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). 

He is always on the periphery. 
Always scheming against us. 
Always mocking our attempt to walk this journey of faith.

But here is the good news, the grand news.

"For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, 'Abba, Father'" ~ Romans 8:15

Today I wrestled with several insecurities - anxious thoughts, fearful imaginations. Then my sweet Jesus reminded me that I did not receive a spirit of bondage again to fear! He is my Daddy God - my Abba Father. The blood of His precious Son, Jesus, covers me. He surrounds me with His Presence. He song of praise fills me in the dark places.

Satan may be roaming about desiring me for dinner, but my Daddy God's got this. His love has set me free.

Do you know someone who is facing some steep mountains? Would you consider sending them this message? It is my prayer that my readers will be strengthened for the battle through the words of my heart.
This past weekend I was honored to be featured on Inspire A Fire, inspirational blog. Click here to view "Just Give Them Jesus", a true story of life and death at the Rocking 777s Horseback Ministry in Ashe County, NC.
If you received Morning Glory via email, please visit the Morning Glory page. You will be taken to the heights of heaven as Kari Jobe sings, "What Love is This".

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Scriptures of Encouragement ~ My God is For Me

"There is no one like the God of Jeshurun who rides on the heavens to help you and on the clouds in His majesty. The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. He will drive out your enemy before you, saying, 'Destroy him!'" ~ Deuteronomy 33:26, NIV

I've got a hard head. A VERY. Hard. Head. And the farther into the fifties I go, the harder my noggin seems to get. Just ask my husband. **grin**

Time and time again the Lord shows me His faithfulness.
Time and time again He demonstrates His power and bathes me in His grace.
And time and time again I take my eyes off of Him and walk away from His gift of peace.


Why oh why do I do that? And why do you do it too?? ( I know you do, right?) We are a stubborn lot.

For years I have prayed, "Lord, open my eyes to see You, open my ears to hear You." The Lord has honored my prayers and done just that. It's like I have a radar that is tuned in to recognize God's Presence - not a twilight, creepy sort-of-thing - but a beautiful awareness that my Father is, indeed, with me always. I can see Him in the sunsets. I feel Him in a friend's laughter when I know she is burdened with pain. I find Him in the pure trust of a child's eyes and in the comfort of a gracious hand wrinkled with age. 

My God is with me! And...He is for me. So why do I worry and thrash about on my pillow during yet another sleepless night?

Because...I want to know what, when, where, how and why! That's why I worry.

But wait a minute. 
I know the what: My God is for me.
I know the when: Every moment of every day.
I know the where: His Presence surrounds me and dwells richly within me.
I know the how: By the power of His might through the precious Blood of Jesus.
And I know the why: His love for me knows no bounds.

And, for this old hard-headed girl, these answers are enough.

Now if I can just get my flesh to line up with my spirit. Know what I mean?

Father, it's true: we are a stubborn lot. Forgive us for taking our eyes off of You and focusing on those things that cause us stress. You have never failed us. Never. Stir up faith within each of us - a faith that holds fast when the strong winds of adversity blow. Fill us to overflowing with Your vast supply of peace. You are amazing God. We love You so much. You are precious to us. Thank You for caring about every minute detail of our lives. Yes, thank You.
Have you been there, too? Do you know someone who needs to be reminded of the what, when, where, how, and whys? Please feel free to share this message with them. I pray that it will spark a fire of faith within all who read it.
I am now booking fall and Christmas speaking engagements. I would love to spend some time with you and your ladies. For more information, please visit my website by following the tabs at the top of Morning Glory or contact me through email: nan@jubilantlight.com. I look forward to hearing from you.
 If you received Morning Glory via email, please visit the Morning Glory page to worship and be lifted up above the fray as Gateway Church sings "God of My Days".