Thursday, October 31, 2013

Scriptures of Encouragement ~ After I Go and Pray

The broom raked across the hardwood floor, scattering breakfast crumbs in its wake. My body went through the motions of daily routine, but my mind was wandering through the stratosphere searching for God. Trials of life were taking their toll. Hope for a secure future raced down a road leading through dark shadows and angry branches of despair.

"Nan," I heard Him say. "Come and sit with Me awhile."

I increased my sweeping speed hoping the busyness would drown out the Holy Spirit's prompting.


My head dropped. Shoulders shrugged. Sweeping stopped.

"Yes, Lord?"

"Come and sit with Me."

I leaned the broom against the counter, stepped over the pile of crumbs, and shuffled into my study. I curled up on the loveseat and opened my bible - one of those flop-it-open-and-see-where-it-falls kind of openings. 

(I know you're chomping at the bit to know where it landed, aren't you?)

"For thus says the Lord: 
After seventy years are completed at Babylon, 
I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, 
and cause you to return to this place. 
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil to give you a future and a hope. 

"Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, 
and I will listen to you.

"And you will seek Me and find Me, 
when you search for Me with all your heart. 
I will be found by you, says the Lord,
 and I will bring you back from your captivity..." 
~ Jeremiah 29:11-14

Well...okay, then.

Right in the middle of that clump of verses - right after the one we LOVE about the future God has prepared for us, and right before the one we LOVE about searching for Him and finding Him - is this verse: "Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to You."

Call. GO. Pray.

Have you ever noticed the word go in that verse before? Me, either. But that was the lesson the Lord wanted to teach me.

God emphasized to me, right there on my cozy loveseat, that He knew of my captivity to despair and, therefore, He would be faithful to complete the good work He had begun in me, and He would set me free. He also wanted to remind me that He would show me great and mighty things of which I did not know - things that would give me a future and a hope.

But here's the clincher: He will be found by me and I will be released from my captivity after I GO and pray. In other words, He wants to be my first love. He wants me to GO - to set myself apart from busyness to search for Him with all of my heart. With no distractions. With no agenda. Just loving Him.

For it is in Him that we live, and move, and have our being. In Him. But if we are too busy or too complacent to place Him first in our long list of priorities, then I'm afraid it's like standing in a river dying from thirst because we won't take a drink. It's like being held in chains while the key to freedom is in our pocket.

At least, that's what I learned while sweeping up breakfast crumbs this week.

That road leading through dark shadows and angry branches of despair just came to a fork in the road. I think I'll take the fork to the right.


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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Scriptures of Encouragement ~ Contentment Fertilizer

I considered our ancient grapevine as my thoughts drifted through the windowpane. The once supple, green leaves were now brown and crumbly, exposing the tangled tendrils of the vine.

As odd as it may seem, I saw contentment. Imagine that. I recognized contentment in the knowing-of-the-leaves that this was but for a season - their lives were in the vine. Although the time of growth and grapes and all things green had come to an end, the brown, crumbly leaves winked at the sun beating down on them. I didn't see death; I saw life - life as God sees it, life that keeps on living because its source was found in the vine.

Jesus said, "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).

This is the lesson I'm getting in my knower. 

I'm also learning about fertilizer. Do you want to know what the best fertilizer is for the grapevine - the fertilizer that causes it to endure through all seasons and produce luscious fruit? The best fertilizer is contentment. Yes! Who knew?

I'm learning to find contentment in all things.

Paul wrote in his letter to the Church at Philippi:  

"Not that I speak in regard to need, 
for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 
I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. 
Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and suffer need. 
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
~ Philippians 4:11-13

I find it interesting that, in the past, I was prone to pull out the last verse, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." I can imagine you've done that also. By all means, this is an extraordinarily powerful verse. But now, because of the winter season I've been living in for several months, my eyes have opened to view this Truth in a new light. 

Being hungry is not easy. Living without is very humbling. Finding strength to face each day is exhausting. But....did you catch what I just said? "Finding strength..." Jesus is my strength. I have found Jesus anew. He is my life-source, my vine. Because of His magnificent love I can do all things - I can endure hunger. I can do without. There's no need to worry about tomorrow. There's no need to squander my energy living in fear. There's no need because I have found HIS strength. Not rhetorically. I have found His strength because I have found His Presence.

Contentment. The best fertilizer for growth.

You'll find it on aisle 7 in the grace department, right next to worship.

*Photo Credit: Roberto A. Sanchez

Father God, You are my everything - my all in all. Thank You. Thank You for opening my eyes to see this Truth. Help me to walk in it consistently, for its power is great. You have said that Godliness with contentment is great gain. Yes, Lord! You have shown me favor by revealing this mystery to me. Thank You. You amaze me with Your love.
If you received Morning Glory via email, please visit the Morning Glory  page. I'm featuring Rita Springer singing, "All I Need". This song will lift you into a few moments of worship. Wouldn't it be nice to just close your eyes and enter into the Presence of the Lord? Join me, won't you?

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Sunday Glimpses of God

O Lord, how majestic is Your Name in all the earth! Your power astounds me - Your greatness reaches to the highest mountains. I take great comfort in the knowledge that You are my God. Thank You for loving me and for making a way for me to know You. Thank You for your tenderness that bids me come when I need the touch of Your hand. I feel safe with You, Lord - safe and sound, cherished and accepted. How can I ever express my gratitude? I adore You, Lord. Blessed be Your holy Name!

*Photo credit:
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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Scriptures of Encouragement ~ The Parable of the Pine Needles

Rusty gold pine needles carpeted the winding mountain road. The gusts of wind from an approaching cold front came strong and sure, buffeting the needles, sending them swirling into the underbrush where they settled for a cold winter's rest.

I felt the nudging of the Holy Spirit. "Lord, what is the message here? What are You trying to show me?"

I stood still, bracing myself against the wind. As I watched the pine needles, I pondered the ways of God. I thought of His eternal purposes in all things. I thought of His resurrection power. I thought of how we must die in order to live...and then I thought of Ecclesiastes Three:

"To everything there is a season, 
     A time for every purpose under heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die;
     A time to plant and a time to pluck what is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
     A time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; 
     A time to mourn, and a time to dance..."

A time for pine needles to feed the tree, 
     And a time for them to gather to insulate the earth;
A time to make regular deposits in a bank,
     And a time to trust God for every morsel of food;
A time to minister to the needs of others,
     And a time to receive ministry from those who love us.

To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven - an eternal purpose in all things.

In their deadness, the rusty gold pine needles surrendered to the blustery wind and settled where it commanded. In their own little pine needle way, they embraced their purposes for this season. It's because of their deadness, their brokenness of falling, and their promenade at the hands of the wind - it is because of those circumstances the pine needles carry on their purpose. For the winter season, their steadfastness in God's plan will blanket the earth against the bitter cold, protecting and preparing the soil for the new growth come spring.

I'm learning to surrender to the blustery wind of winter - the wind who carries the voice of the Lord into my broken, dead places. It's in the surrender that we find the purpose. It's in the surrender that the brokenness protects and prepares our hearts for the new growth come spring.

It's in the surrender. SELAH

*Photo credit:

If you received Morning Glory via email, please visit the Morning Glory page to listen to a really cool song by Tim Hughes. It's called "Ecclesiastes" and it will bless you tremendously.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Scriptures of Hope ~ Captivity

The walls of the pit were sheer with nothing to cling to. The few stray roots snaking out of the clay broke off into my hand when I grabbed them in my desperation to escape. Night was closing in as hope seeped from my heart like the underground spring feeding the clay squishing between my toes.

Fear gripped me.

Hopelessness taunted and jeered at me.

I leaned against the cold confines with - as we used to say - my back against the wall. No where to go. Caught between a rock and a hard place. 

I tossed my head back and looked up. The setting sun, peering through the small opening of my captivity, reflected in the glistening tears escaping down my cheeks. Amethyst sky with apricot ribbons appeared as a stained glass window adorning the edge of heaven. I watched as the clouds parted and a ball of flame lit up the heavens.

"Behold Me," the God of Angel Armies said. "Behold Me, for I AM your Deliverer, your Refuge and the Rock of your salvation."

I gasped. My eyelids flew open and I sat straight up in the bed, pulling Grandma's quilt up under my chin. My hands trembled with the realization that I had been reducing the Lord of Heaven to the confines of my captivity and now I stood face to face before Him. Rather than seeing the power of His majesty, I allowed my circumstances to cast me into a horrible pit that reduced Him to a small stained glass window framed with gnarly underbrush.

I was looking at Him through my circumstances rather than looking at my circumstances through Him, in Him, with Him.

There's a huge difference.

The psalmist said, 

"I waited patiently for the Lord; 
And He inclined to me, and heard my cry. 
He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, 
and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps. 
He has put a new song in my mouth - Praise to our God..." 
~ Psalm 40:1-3a

In Him. That's where I long to be - surrounded and immersed in His Presence. From the place of the Rock that is higher than I, the troubling circumstances, the impossibilities, and the places of despair become very, very small. Their power is lost in the light of His love.

I'm learning that  "it is in Him that we live, and move, and have our being." * 

In Him.

Now, if I could only take that to heart...I enjoy looking through stained glass windows of amethyst skies and apricot ribbons.

*Acts 17:28

If you received Morning Glory via email, please visit the Morning Glory  page to be inspired and strengthened by Chris Tomlin's song, "Whom Shall I Fear?" Now, that's some good stuff  **wink**

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Sunday Glimpses of God

Father God, Life is difficult at times. Barren. Harsh. But You, Lord, are my constant and for that I give You praise. You are Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, and the Prince of Peace. You are King of kings and Lord of Lords; You are El Roi - the God who sees and knows all about it. For that, I give You praise. I wash my praise in the tears of offering, for I desire to give to You Lord - to express my gratitude for being my God. When everything else has fallen apart, You have held me together. You have been my peace, my joy, my hope, and my great provider. I pray that you find my sacrifice of praise holy and acceptable to You. You are an awesome God, worthy to be praised.

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If you need personal prayer and encouragement, please feel free to contact me at I would be honored to pray with you.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Scriptures of Encouragement ~ A Quiet Glory

One thing is for certain: life goes on. Moments become hours, then days, months, years. The mundane hits smack dab in the middle of exhilaration, sorrow dares to consume our joy, fear debilitates our peace. The rhythm continues and the cycle spins on.

All because the Most High God gives His command.

Winter gives way to spring. Spring gives birth to summer. Summer sunshine sets the forest ablaze with the coming of fall, and fall lays down for winter's rest. The rhythm continues and the cycle spins on.

All because the Most High God gives His command.

The Lord opened my eyes to see something beautiful this week - something from His perspective regarding life cycles. I was walking along our mountain road in a shower of falling leaves. I stopped to allow Blue a minute to check out the whereabouts of the nearest chipmunk. As I waited for him, I looked up at the canopy of trees sheltering me - the very canopy releasing the golden shower. Brilliant colors clung for another moment, perhaps another day, before spiraling into their free-fall. Bare branches stood in their wake, naked and vulnerable, hunkering down for the winter's chill.

The naked, vulnerable, hunkering down came after the glory.

The restful dormancy came after the glory.

The life sustaining root-growing came after the glory. In the winter's chill. 

Is it possible that the moments of glory - of unspeakable joy, hope, and peace - are meant to sustain us through the winter's chill? Like the leaves ablaze with a prism of color, our moments of glory feed our spirits. But, like the leaves whose tree severs them so roots will grow, does the Lord end the seasons of joy so the roots of our faith will grow and sustain life?

Or, consider this...

Is it possible to hold fast to the joy of the glory-moments, yet find purpose in their ending? Rather than lamenting the winter season, perhaps in its rest, we should find a quiet glory. 

A quiet glory...

"[He gives us] beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that [we] might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified" ~ Isaiah 61:3.

In the quiet of winter's chill, the noise of blazing glory fades and our ears open to the One who loves us from everlasting to everlasting.

That He might be glorified. 

In us.

Father God, You are indeed beautiful and we love You so. You are Holy. Your love is beyond comprehension. Thank You for Your love and for Your purposes in all things. Open our eyes that we might see You in our midst and open our ears that we might hear Your sweet, sweet whispers of love, comfort, wisdom...whatever our soul needs. We desire to glorify You in all things. Use us, Lord. Mold us and shape us for Your glory. In Jesus' Name I pray, amen.
If you received Morning Glory via email, please visit the Morning Glory  page for a few minutes of worship. Kari Jobe will carry you to His throne of grace as she sings, "Beautiful".

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Scriptures of Encouragement ~ Magnificent, Holy Love

His shoulders sagged, bent from months of distress and worry. The light in his eyes grew dim. Silence became his new language.

And depression born of unemployment, rejection, and outright despair consumed him.

Friends prayed. Family prayed. Yet, door knocks remained door closed. 

The prayers of the righteous continued, reaching towards the heavens, upholding the arms of the one too weary to raise them himself. 

And then it happened. 

The Lord God responded.

"I removed his shoulder from the burden; His hands were freed from the baskets. You called in trouble, and I delivered you; I answered you in the secret place of thunder; I tested you at the waters of Meribah [Contention]" ~ Psalm 81:6,7.

Out of the glorious heavens the Lord reached down and touched him with grace - that beautiful undeserved favor set ablaze through the Cross. Redemption secured the downtrodden to his Father's mighty hand. Magnificent, holy love lifted him above his enemies and nestled him beneath the shadow of God's wing.

Peace flowed. Laughter followed. And hope rose from the ashes of despair.

An absence of employment remains and rejection still stings a bit, but no longer are the shoulders sagging from the weight of the burden. The Lord carries that which is too much for the man. The Light of Jesus shines through the once dimmed eyes and is reflected in the man's renewed language of praise. Out of the thunder the Spirit of God booms, "My child, I am with you. Do not be afraid. Rest in Me. Trust Me. I have given you a future of hope and well-being. My plan is unfolding and, even now, has great purpose. Rejoice in Me always. You are Mine."

Beloved, He speaks to you also from the secret place of His thunder. He gives the healing and grace your heart hungers for. He offers hope when you've lost your way.

And with great tenderness He reaches from heaven and lifts the yoke from your shoulders - the weight that seeks to break the back of even the strongest child of God.

Be still and know that He is God. If God be for you, who can dare to be against you?

If you received Morning Glory via email, please visit the Morning Glory  page to worship with the Women of Faith as they sing, "Wonderful, Merciful Savior". It will carry you to the heights of heaven. I promise.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Sunday Glimpses of God

       Father God, All of creation sings Your praise, acknowledges Your Presence and Your power. I ask that You open our eyes to see You. Open our heart to know You like never before. When we stumble and fall, help us to recognize Your strong hand lifting, supporting, and comforting us. You are simply amazing. Your love knows no ends. Your faithfulness reaches to the highest mountain; Your mercy to the lowest valley. Thank You for Your love. Thank You for Your Presence with us. Always.

* Photo credit: Gerald Wykes

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Scriptures of Encouragement ~ Unending Praise

Bursts of copper and ruby red mingled with the green boughs of the hemlocks. Russet colored leaves blanketed the path, crunching and crackling beneath my feet. A bluejay bounced from branch to branch, chatting as he went. I watched him flick his head back, stretch his robe of cobalt blue, and proclaim to the heavens that his Creator lives.

A gust of crisp autumn air caught the outstretched arms of a maple. In unison, its flaming fingertips swayed back and forth, back and forth. The worship was tangible. The occasional clap could be heard from the gathering of trees shadowing the one caught dancing before the Lord.

I walk this path--this magnificent country road--daily. And daily I catch the Lord's creation giving Him exuberant praise. 

On a foggy fall afternoon, praise resounds.

In the steady drizzle of a summer shower, praise rises above the rain.

In winter's cold and barren shades of brown, praise still finds a way.

Sapphire skies of sunny spring days declare glory and honor to Adonai, the Lord over all the earth.

Unending praise. Forever praise. Praise that caresses life itself and interjects the Presence of God. For in our praise, the eyes of the lowly are opened to behold Him. In our praise, the brokenhearted melt into the hands of the Comforter. In our praise, the heart of His child joins in the wonder that the Creator of the Universe knows her by name.

Unending praise. Through all seasons. Through the fire and the wind. Through the joy and brokenness.

Unending praise for the One who alone is worthy.

"Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name; 
Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness." 
~ Psalm 29:2

If you received Morning Glory via email, please visit the Morning Glory  page. I'm featuring a video by Louie Giglio that allows us to witness stars and whales worshiping God. I'm not kidding! You have got to see this one. It's amazing.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Scriptures of Encouragement ~ A Message In The Wind

I stood beneath the pine grove at the crest of the hill. Autumn leaves boogied on the wings of the wind. Floating. Twirling. Submitting to the authority of the breeze. Storm clouds pressed eastward leaving an October indigo sky in its wake. 

I closed my eyes. The crisp air blew against my face, running its fingers through my hair. My world stood still, but for the wind. The gentle persuasion of the breeze continued. It wooed me. It beckoned me to remember my God.

"'Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' said the Lord of Hosts."*

By My Spirit...

My Spirit...

I considered what the Lord was telling me. The Hebrew word for Spirit is ru'ach meaning breath, breeze, or wind. There was a message in the wind.

David and I had just experienced devastating loss due to three years of unemployment. We were broken. Humiliated. Fearful of our future.

And then, almost as naturally as the wind blew against my face, the oppression lifted. Our circumstances didn't change--and still haven't--but our spirits came alive again. The breath of God breathed on us and returned joy and hope. The breath of God breathed on us and bathed us in His perfect peace. 

And now I walked in that peace. 
Beneath the pine grove. 
With the fingers of the October wind tousling my hair.

The breath of God.

Like the autumn leaves boogieing on the wings of the wind, my spirit danced in the Presence of the Lord. His breath of life refreshed me, lifting me up from the darkest pit.

With outstretched arms--there beneath the pine grove--I twirled and spun before the Lord, an offering of praise to the Giver of life.

*Zechariah 4:6b

Father God, You are awesome and mighty. You are the Giver of life. You are faithful and true. We worship You Lord and glorify Your Holy Name--the Name above all names. Breathe on Your children, Lord. Let the power of life escape Your lips rising up from Your heart that hears Your crying child. Speak life over us, Lord. Speak hope. Peace. Joy. Thank You for Your sweet Presence that makes all things new. We love You Lord. Blessed be Your Name.
Guess what? I'm guest blogging today over at Heart Thoughts by Marcie Warner Bridges. Click here if you'd like to read my poem, Beauty From Ashes. I hope you enjoy it.
If you received Morning Glory via email, please visit the Morning Glory page. I'm featuring a live worship video, "Great Is Thy Faithfulness" by Brian Doerksen. This will encourage you in the Lord. No matter what you're facing, our God is able and He is faithful. I'm praying for you sweet friend.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Scriptures of Encouragement ~ O What A Beautiful God

The thunder romped across the heavens, rolling, barreling to its end. Lightning pierced the night sky bathing the trembling earth in sharp light. Wind. Hailstones. The Scripture tells us that smoke went up from His nostrils, and devouring fire from His mouth.

This image of a Holy, Sovereign Lord is painted in Psalm 18. What is beautiful to me is that this is the Lord's response to David (or more specifically to David's enemies) when David cried out to Him, "I will love You, O Lord, my strength. I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised; So shall I be saved from my enemies."

David goes on to say, "In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried out to my God; He heard my voice from His temple, and my cry came before Him, even to His ears."

The very next phrase is, "Then the Lord..." God showed up in all His glory and power. He threw around His might and His authority and, quite effectively, destroyed the enemy and set David free.

Pretty cool, huh? Now let's juxtapose this fiery, powerful image of Almighty God to that of Abba Father, loosely translated as Daddy God. Dear One, we are loved by a magnificent, powerful, TENDER God.

Genesis 2:6,7 reads, "but a mist went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground. And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being."

First, the Lord moistened the earth with a mist--a dew--as He poured out His favor on the land, much like His grace that rains down from heaven. In His mighty hand, God swept the moisture into the dust of the earth. Intentionally--with great purpose--He swirled the droplets of grace into the dead dust creating a perfect clay. God then shaped and formed His child, Adam. 

Gently, the Lord cupped Adam's head and face. He bowed over His creation and placed His lips over Adam's parched lips and breathed the breath of life. One breath. The Lord pulled back and looked at His child who lay limp in His arms. Again, He breathed and this time Adam's chest began to rise and fall. Adam opened his eyes, blinking to clear his vision. Eyes locked. Father and child met one another in the reflection of great love. Tender. Gentle. Everlasting.

Recently, I felt as though I was but the dust of the earth. No life. No joy. Just being blown around by the passing breeze. But, God.

But God swirled refreshing grace into the dead dust and created the perfect clay. He repaired this broken vessel, making me strong and pliable. Then He held my face in His gentle, yet mighty hands and breathed life into His child. 

Eyes locked and I found myself in the reflection of His great love.

As I lay resting, basking in the Truth of His love, He sent the thunder rolling and the lightning piercing to scatter my enemies. Smoke flared from His nostrils and the earth quaked at the sound of His voice. He rode upon the wings of the wind and sent out His arrows to destroy my foe.

O what a beautiful God! He is mighty to save, faithful to deliver. Great is His love and His tender touch.

If you received Morning Glory via email, please visit the Morning Glory  page to worship with Shawn McDonald as he sings, "Beautiful". Shawn is a young man that knows firsthand the power and beauty of God's grace. God delivered him from a drug addiction and a self-destructing path. You'll hear it in his voice.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Scriptures of Encouragement ~ Dandelion Wisps of Love

Marshmallow clouds melted into a frothy veil of fog upon the mountain ridge. The thick white blanket settled softly, blurring the line between heaven and earth. Dandelion wisps of vapor moved in and out of the forest's edge--the contrast of light and darkness exaggerated, spotlighted. Understood.

Indeed, there is a contrast.
This mystery of Light and darkness.

The Light of God settles softly upon His child, blurring the line between heaven and earth. Wisps of His love move in and out of my life, contrasting the darkness, exaggerating His Presence. Like the mountain forest wrapped in vapors of foggy light, I walk in the veil of His glory, wrapped in the beauty of His love.

And I understand.
At last, I understand.

"When His lamp shone upon my head,
 by His light I walked through darkness." ~ Job 29:2

*Photo courtesy of

Lord, thank You for Your Presence with us always. Thank You for Your joy, Your love, Your grace. You are amazing Lord. You are faithful and good. We sing Your praise to the highest heavens. We take Your love to the depths of the darkest valley. Hold us tight, Lord. Open our eyes to see You in our midst. Blessed be the Name of the Lord!
If you received Morning Glory via email, please visit the Morning Glory  page to watch the music video. Amy Grant has a new song out called, "Here". It's beautiful. I believe it will remind you of how much you are loved by a magnificent God.