Thursday, December 27, 2012

Scriptures of Worship ~ Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh

The late afternoon sun cast shadows across the simple home where Mary cared for baby Jesus. Joseph stood looking out a window towards the setting sun. His thoughts visited the events of the past several months - the journey he and Mary made to Bethlehem to pay taxes to Ceasar, the remarkable night of Jesus' birth where angels sang, "Glory!" and shepherds bowed in wonder as they beheld the Christ Child. He turned his head slightly to look on Mary as she kissed the soft, chubby cheeks of her child - the Son of God.

 "El Shaddai, Almighty God, You have visited us. How can it be?...yes, how can it be?" Joseph's voice trailed off as he, too, was consumed with wonder.

Hooves pounded in the distance. Joseph riveted towards the window. Dust billowed just over the knoll. As he watched, three camels appeared on the horizon. They were mounted by men clothed in rich silks and turbans - colors and clothing of royalty. The camels were bedecked with jewels and golden chains. The men stared upward towards the early evening sky. Simultaneously, the camels slowed. The men looked at one another and smiled and then broke out into a hardy laughter - pure joy! They commanded the camels to kneel. As the men dismounted, they hugged one another boisterously.

And then they grew silent.

Joseph met them at the doorway, his eyes wide with anticipation. The men looked past him and focused their gaze on the Christ Child. The small room became aglow with heavenly radiance. A holy hush fell upon the entire room.

"And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh." ~ Matthew 2:11, NKJV

Gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Three symbols of worship in the ancient Tabernacle.

All of the vessels and furnishings in the Tabernacle of the wilderness were made of pure gold - God's finest. Frankincense was burned on the altar of incense to create a sweet aroma of prayer as the priests interceded for the children of Israel. On the Day of Atonement, the priests carried frankincense behind the veil into the Holy of Holies to evoke the Presence of God in their quest for forgiveness. Myrrh was the basis of the anointing oil used to consecrate - to set apart - men for the priesthood. It was also used to prepare bodies for burial.

Gold. God's finest.
Frankincense. Adoration of prayer and praise.
Myrrh. Set apart to share in His sorrows and those of the world.

Oh, what can we bring Him in this fast approaching new year?
I pray that my heart would overflow with an abundance of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

Father God, What can I bring You? I'll bring You my heart - a heart set apart for prayer and praise, a heart set apart to carry Your love into a hurting world. I will bring You my finest, Lord, all that I am and all that I hope to be. I love You, Lord. You are my God and I worship You.
If you have received Morning Glory via email, please visit the Morning Glory page to worship with Cloverton as they sing, "A Hallelujah Christmas". This will bless you beyond measure!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Scriptures of Encouragement ~ Through The Eyes of A Child

Wide-eyed wonder. Spirit and mind like a sponge soaking in all the goodness God has to offer. No analysis. No intellectual debate. No personal agendas. Just pure faith. Pure trust. Awe.

This is the heart of a child.

Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me." ~ Matthew 18:2-5, NIV

And now that you're smiling, here's one more. It comes complete with goosebumps and tears.


If you received Morning Glory via email, you REALLY MUST visit the Morning Glory page to experience Christmas through the eyes of a child. Merry Christmas to each of you! I count you among my treasures from heaven.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Scriptures of Hope ~ Joy in the Bleak Midwinter

In the bleak midwinter
     Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
     Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
     Snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter
     Long ago.

Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him
    Nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away
     When He comes to reign:
In the bleak midwinter
     A stable-place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty
     Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, whom cherubim
     Worship night and day,
A breastful of milk
     And a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels
     Fall down before,
The ox and ass and camel
     Which adore.

Angels and archangels
     May have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim
     Thronged the air,
But only His mother
     In her maiden bliss,
Worshiped the Beloved
     With a kiss.

What can I give Him,
     Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
     I would bring a lamb,
If I were a wise man
     I would do my part,
Yet what can I give Him,
     I'll give Him my heart.
               ~ Christina Georgina Rossetti

"Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep My judgments and do them; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God." ~ Ezekiel 11:19,20, NKJV

Father God, Thank You for Jesus. Thank You for the joy He brings to a fallen world. Thank You for the hope He brings to desperate hearts. And thank You for His amazing grace that saved a wretch like me. I love You Lord.
If you received Morning Glory via email, please visit the Morning Glory  page to enjoy James Taylor singing, "In The Bleak Midwinter". You're gonna love it!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Scriptures of Comfort ~ Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People...The Sandy Hook Tragedy

"Peace on earth, good will to men," the angels proclaimed.
"Do not fear, for lo, I am with you always," comforted Jesus.

Hope. Fear.
Comfort. Despair.


Televisions everywhere carried the horrifying news of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The internet  buzzed with accounts of terror. Vile. Repulsive. Appalling images of a world gone crazy.

I gazed at the nativity scene nestled beneath our Christmas tree. Its serenity whispered hope to me, but the television screamed fear and gut-wrenching sorrow. Yet, the scene of my Savior's birth is as real to me as the gruesome scenes from Sandy Hook where the lives of precious children were snatched away. How can I resolve the disparity here? How can you? Why do bad things happen to good people?

I don't know that I have the answers, but I do have some thoughts.

There is a pat answer among Christian circles: We live in a fallen world. Yes, that is true. And yes, to some degree, that is the answer to beat all answers...our world is full of sin. But, somehow, that answer does not satisfy me. Some questions need more than a pat answer.

This is what I know: My God is sovereign. My God is good and faithful. My God is eternal. We are physical beings living in a physical world, but our GOD is all about eternity. Every moment of every day is monumental to us. Every moment of every day is important to the Lord because it concerns us, but our days and the circumstances therein are but a snap of His fingers. His primary concern is that we spend eternity with Him in close, intimate fellowship. The fallen children of Sandy Hook Elementary School are now with Him. These parents and families are surrounded by His love. Was His Presence known in Sandy Hook on Friday morning? I think so. I believe His ministering angels held each of these children as they passed from this sin-filled earth into the waiting arms of their Heavenly Father. I believe He wept. I believe the power of His Presence penetrated the evil snare harboring Adam Lanzo's heart and begged him to yield to the Father's love. But the shooter would not. That's the thing about our God. We all have free will. The shooter chose his free will that day.

This is what I know: Our God promises to work everything for our good when we love Him and are called according to His purposes. Everything. Even evil when it comes against His children. This I know.

In Deuteronomy 1:31, Moses is reminding the children of Israel of God's goodness and faithfulness, even in the bad times, "and in the wilderness where you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a man carries his son..."

In our darkest moments, God reveals Himself in clear details. His tender mercies flow from His love into the desperate places of His people. His mercy brings hope. And life. And peace. His shadow covers and shelters us from the brutal storms that rage against us. I have learned that when we walk close with the Lord, the darkness immediately surrounding us is but the shadow of His wing because His Presence is so near.

This I know: The Lord our God holds us until our hearts beat as one - until our hearts reverberate with the strength to face a new day.

If you received Morning Glory via email, please visit the Morning Glory page to be comforted and encouraged as Natalie Grant sings her infamous song, "Held".

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Scriptures of Endurance ~ Rambling Towards Endurance

I'm going to share some rambling thoughts with you today, but they're good ones. I promise.

Consider Moses. "By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible" (Hebrews 11:27, NKJV).

"...for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible."

Moses endured because He knew in his knower that Almighty God was with him. Even though the Lord was not visible to the naked eye, by faith, Moses could see Him. He felt His touch guiding him. Comforting him. Calming him.

Now let's jump ahead many, many generations to Matthew 1:23 which reads, "Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which is translated, 'God with us.'"

God with us. Say it out loud with me, GOD WITH US!

Beloved, the Most High God, Maker of heaven and earth is with us through the power of His Holy Spirit and because of His Son, Jesus Christ. Immanuel. Wonderful. Counselor. Prince of Peace. Almighty God. Everlasting Father.


What are you facing this Christmas season? Is it a terminal illness? Loss of income? A prodigal child? Are you facing a divorce? Depression? By faith, I want you to close your eyes and picture Jesus standing next to you. His long robe is rippling in the breeze. A royal blue stole drapes His broad shoulders, the color immediately reminding you that He is the One True God. He looks you square in the eye, examining, pondering, searching for a response from you. Tenderly, Jesus brushes a stray lock of hair from your face and caresses your cheek, wiping a single tear that has escaped. And then? Then He takes your hand, and without saying a word, Jesus holds your hand tightly and begins walking the path beside you. Oh, He's been there all along, but now you have the eyes to see.

Moses endured because he opened his eyes to see the Presence of the Lord.

Surely, you and I will do the same.

Father, open our eyes that we might see and behold Your glory. Awaken our hearts that we might recognize the touch of Your hand on ours. Thank You for being with us. Always.
If you received Morning Glory via email, please visit the Morning Glory  page to worship with David Crowder as he sings, "Only You."

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Scriptures of Encouragement ~ Shackled

True story.

Blonde, curly tendrils hung low over her piercing blue eyes. She wanted to hide, to run away from the despair threatening to consume her spirit. Her young faith clung to the Truth that God would never leave her nor forsake her - that He, alone, is the constant in her rapidly changing world.

But could she hang on or would she simply let go of her dreams and watch them slowly drift away from her grasp?

The Israelites encountered something similar.

In Exodus 6:7 & 8, the Lord is speaking, "I will take you as My own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. And I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob. I will give it to you as a possession. I am the Lord."

Promises. Sweet, sweet promises for the child of God. Promises we can stake our life on. 

But look at verse 9:
"Moses reported this to the Israelites, but they did not listen to him because of their DISCOURAGEMENT and cruel bondage."

The Israelites were blinded to the goodness of God because of their very real and justified discouragement.

Life comes at us hard, rocking our world with confusion, anxiety, and fear. Discouragement sets in - if we let it - if we allow it to whisper failure and despair into our weary souls. Yes, discouragement will set in. You can bank on it. 

But the promises of God do not submit themselves to discouragement. He changes not. His love is from everlasting to everlasting. His hand is upon His child - the sheltering shadow of His Presence a lasting place of refuge.

My friend  made her choice. With every ounce of determination she could muster, she fell to her knees and cried out, "Lord! me. I choose You Jesus. You are my Rock, my constant. I choose You. I belong to You...You are mine."

Her circumstances did not change, but she changed in the midst of her circumstances. Hope flowed through her and opened her eyes to see God in her midst. Inexplicable peace settled upon her, wrestling the fear to the pits from which it came. Her thoughts became filled with things worthy of praise - good things, things of good report. And her feet, once shackled by chains of discouragement now danced free.

All because she fell to her knees.

Father God, We belong to You...YOU! The Creator of the Universe, the Maker of heaven and earth! That reality is beyond our comprehension. Lord, open our hearts to know and take hold of this Truth, this promise. Thank You for loving us so very much. Grant us understanding of Your sovereignty in our lives and, through this knowledge, obtain Your perfect peace. In all things. In all ways. Fully. Create in us a clean heart God. Restore unto us the joy of our salvation. Renew a right spirit within us and fill us to overflowing with Your love and joy. Thank You, Lord. We love you.
If you received Morning Glory via email, please - you really MUST - visit the Morning Glory page. I found a music video by Jonathan David Helser titled, "Abba". From what I can gather, this song was a spontaneous moment of worship that occurred during a recording session. You will be SO blessed by this. I know you will experience God's sweet Presence as you listen. I love you my precious readers. God be with you...

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Scriptures of Encouragement ~ The Lord is My Portion

I had such a sweet time with Jesus this morning. He reminded me of His love, His purposes in and for my life. He reminded me that I am not alone in my struggles.

He wants to remind you of the same...

"Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. 'The Lord is my portion,' says my soul, 'Therefore I hope in Him!'

"The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him.

"It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord." ~ Lamentations 3:22-26

Father, Your love amazes me. Thank You. Thank You for Your grace, Your mercy and Your faithfulness. I believe in You, Lord. I belong to You. You are the reason that I live. Use me, Lord. Mold me into the woman You desire for me to be. Thank You for opening my eyes to see Your glory. I love You, Lord.
If you received Morning Glory via email, please visit the Morning Glory  page. I'm featuring a beautiful, POWERFUL oldie goldie from Hillsong, "With All I Am". It's gonna bless your socks off and blow your burdens away. **grin**

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Scriptures of Encouragement ~ What Am I?

Our country road was quiet this morning except for the occasional chatter of a bluejay. Long shadows criss-crossed our path as we hastened beneath the pine grove that stood as a strong sentinel against the vast wilderness beyond. 

The leash pulled taut as Blue and I rounded a curve. A stiff breeze whipped against my face. Thoughts tumbled through my restless mind: How are we going to make ends meet? How will we provide for our family this Christmas? How will I register for Writer's Boot Camp? What if the surgeon finds something when he checks me next week? How? Why? What if? Auurrgghh! I wanted to scream.

The wind picked up. Through tears, I looked up into a royal blue sky. I stood still long enough to let the rush of wind wash over my troubled spirit. My thoughts turned to Jesus. "Jesus...Jesus," I whispered. I felt His Presence in the wind. Peace settled over me like a fuzzy cloak of love. 

Following the Holy Spirit's lead, I looked at the tangled mess of brown underbrush growing along the road's edge. Much of it was broken and splintered. Several stalks of wild flowers, now brittle from winter's chill, leaned into the wind, refusing to lay down. 

And then I saw what He wanted me to see.

Mingled and woven into this prickly brown landscape were arches of cerulean blue, a bit frosty in nature, with undertones of scarlet. They were everywhere, looping through the bleak, tangled nod to winter. What is that? I wondered. I leaned in for a better look. "Oh my goodness!" I hollered at no one in particular. "These are the stems of the wild primroses. Wow!"

I scraped a bit of the frosty coating from one of the blue stems, revealing a deep scarlet color. I stood in awe as I recognized the symbols of God's Presence in my life: the gorgeous blue announcing  that He is the One True God - Maker of heaven and earth; the scarlet undercoating reflecting the Blood of Jesus - the One who died to set me free from these struggles. Even the thorns along the blue stems spoke loud and clear, reminding me of my Savior's love. 

All about me were long strands of blue, woven through this dismal sea of brown foliage.
All about me was the evidence that my God is near.

Psalm 8:3 & 4 reads, "When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, what is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You give attention to him?"

The Apostle Paul once said, "If God be for me, then who can be against me?" (Romans 8:31). Indeed! If God, Who made the heavens and the earth, is mindful of little ol' me and gives attention to my needs, then who am I to walk in the company of anxiety and despair?

I choose to walk with Jesus. 
I choose to walk with thanksgiving as I consider the wild primroses proclaiming the glory of my Lord.

If you received Morning Glory via email, please visit the Morning Glory  page to worship with Shawn McDonald as he sings, "Beautiful". This song will reach down and lift you out of the miry clay that keeps you bound. I promise.