Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Finding God's Presence ~ When He Calls Us To Rest

by Nan Jones   @NanJonesAuthor

I want to thank my faithful readers and visitors for your love and prayers. You are phenomenal in your encouragement, offering me strength for the journey.

I'm stepping away from the Christmas chaos, simplifying my life, and resting in the arms of my Savior for a couple of weeks. I need it desperately. I'll be praying for you and thinking of you - I'm always thinking of my readers. **wink** You're very precious to me.

Take a few moments while you're here to worship along with Elevation Worship in the video below as they sing, "Jesus, I Come". Peruse the archives for nuggets of gold the Lord has shared with me. These messages are all about opening our eyes to see the One who loves us, the One who promises to never leave nor forsake us. Sometimes we feel alone in our struggles, but I've learned that when I feel abandoned by the Lord, that's when He's the closest. What greater time to discover this Truth than through the sunrises and sunsets of the Christmas season.

Oh come let us adore Him!

May I pray for you?

Father, Your love is amazing. It reaches to the highest mountains and softly flows to the lowest valleys, cradling us with Your embrace. Thank You. We rejoice in You, Lord. My friends and I come before You asking that You would anoint us anew with Your joy, with a song in our hearts and a hardy laugh in our bellies. Set us on fire to serve You, Lord. Stir up the realization that You are with us always, holding our hands, carrying us when the journey is too difficult. I pray for those who are seeking Your Truth. Awaken their listening ear to recognize Your sweet whispers of affirmation and acceptance. I know You delight in revealing Yourself to Your children. Open the eyes of my friends to see You in their midst. Fill each of us with the wonder of Christmas. Immerse us in Your Holy Spirit and return to us the joy of our salvation. Lord, we welcome You into our lives. Take control. As we fall to our knees in worship we are struck by the awe of Who You are. Bless You Lord! We praise You for You alone are worthy of our praise. You are the One True God, our Deliverer, Our Savior and Prince of Peace. We love You Lord. Blessed be Your holy Name.

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A Tweetable to Encourage Others 

Are you seeking God's Presence this Christmas? @NanJonesAuthor will encourage you. (Click To Tweet)



Sunday, December 14, 2014

Where Is God? Sunday Glimpses

by Nan Jones   @NanJonesAuthor

Father, You are my light and salvation. Of whom shall I be afraid? You are my Rock, my Refuge. You are the Lord of all the earth and worthy of all praise. Bless You, Lord. I lift Your name on high. 

Hide me beneath the shadow of Your wing until these calamities pass me by. Hide my friends as well. So many things are coming against Your children. Struggles. Temptations. Hardships. Our weariness grows, our despair deepens. It's frightening Lord. But then I remember...YOU are my light and my salvation. Of Whom shall I be afraid? Yes and amen! 

You are making this so real in my life. Thank You Lord. Awaken the hearts of my friends to experience this Truth also. What better time to walk in these Truths than at Christmas when we celebrate and remember why You came to earth. You came to be our Light in the darkness. You came to be our salvation. You came to be our peace. Wow, Lord. I'm so appreciative. We rejoice in Your Presence and Your love. We clap our hands at the thought of Your grace. We lift our voices at the thought of Your mercy and faithfulness. You alone are worthy of our praise, Lord. You, alone. 

Help us focus on You this Christmas - the Giver and not the gifts. Make us holy as You are holy. Transform us into Your likeness that we might bring Your light into this world of darkness. Use us for Your glory. Help us bring Your love, joy, and peace into this weary world. Thank You, Lord. We love You with all that we are.

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A Tweetable to Encourage Others

How can I find Jesus in the Christmas chaos? @NanJonesAuthor offers a glimpse. (Click to Tweet)

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Would you like for me to pray for you? You may contact me directly at nan@jubilantlight.com

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Finding God's Presence ~ Out of The Cold Struggle of Darkness

by Nan Jones   @NanJonesAuthor

Night had fallen. 
In the hearts of men. 
Across the face of the earth.

Out of the cold struggle of darkness came a warm and radiant Light. The embodiment of Almighty God. Immanuel. God with us.

There in a rough-hewn feeding trough, cushioned with hay, blanketed in love, lay the Christ child - the Light of the world.

The Light of the world ... How can it be? How can this tiny baby boy be the Light in our darkness? How will His soft cherub face grow to be the face of righteousness for all of mankind? How could anyone possibly believe He was the Son of God?

I believe those who recognized Immanuel that holy night were those who were searching for Him - searching for Truth. They wanted to know God, know Him intimately, personally. They wanted to walk with Him and talk with Him. Every day. All day.

That's how they recognized the Christ child.

That's how we recognize Him also.

The Lord reveals Himself to those who seek after Him, those who storm heaven with difficult and sometimes obnoxious questions. Our questions honor God because our questions remove all forms of religiosity. Our questions make God a personal God, yet our questions recognize His authority over all the earth.

Christmas has become something it's not. It's not chaotic. It's not commercial. Blingy. Loud. The true spirit of Christmas is still. Quiet. Holy.

The soft cherub face lying on a bed of hay reflected His Father's love in all its glory. His eyes drew others in as they marveled at the miracle within the rustic manger. His eyes still beckon us to come. To know Him. To worship and adore Him. 

It's easy to adore a child.
It's important and life-sustaining to worship our King.

Oh come let us adore Him.

"Fear not, for I am with you; 
Be not dismayed, for I am your God. 
I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, 
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand." 
~ Isaiah 41:10

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A Tweetable to Encourage Others

Where is God in my darkness? @NanJonesAuthor offers a glimpse. (Click to tweet)



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If you received Morning Glory via email, please visit the Morning Glory  page. I'm featuring a wonderful Christmas song called "Hallelujah! Light Has Come" by BarlowGirl.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Finding God's Presence ~ Can You Hear His Footsteps?

by Nan Jones   @NanJonesAuthor

His robe swayed rhythmically, stirring the dust as He walked an often lonely trail. He walked seeking the lonely, the hurting. He sought those who lived as outcasts in the community. I can imagine His eyes searching, looking for those who needed to be encouraged.

There was nothing grand or lovely in His appearance - nothing that would draw the people to Him, nothing but His heart of exception. His heart for the abandoned. The broken. The defeated. His heart that opened wide to receive His people.

When I think of the manger and Jesus' birth, I know there is no pretense with our God. The pretense would have been found at the inn that had no room. The pretense would have been in the hustle and bustle of the streets demanding special attention and a grand procession on that Holy night.

And have you ever thought about how Jesus came to earth in the dark? I can assume this because the wise men and shepherds followed the great star to find Him. It must have been in the dark, or at least twilight. Or maybe the dawn. 

It's always darkest before the dawn.

I love that.

Yes, perhaps night had fallen on this earth when Jesus was born. Certainly, in the hearts of man night had fallen. Separation from the Father God left a void, an emptiness of unparalleled proportions. He yearned for our love. We yearned for His touch. His Presence.

And so Jesus came.

He came to the unclean, the unholy. 

He came for the broken, the unworthy.

He came for the wounded, the hurting, the lost, and the lonely.

He came.

And He still comes today.

Can you hear His footsteps?

"Arise, shine; For your light has come! 
And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. 
For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth 
and deep darkness the people; 
But the Lord will arise over you, 
and His glory will be seen upon you." 
~ Isaiah 60:1-2

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A Tweetable to Encourage Others

Can you hear His footsteps? @NanJonesAuthor helps us hear them. (Click to Tweet)



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If you received Morning Glory via email, please visit the Morning Glory  page. I'm featuring a fantastic song, "Let Us Adore" sung by Elevation Worship. Wow!!! What a great way to encourage yourself in the Lord today.


Sunday, December 7, 2014

Where is God? Sunday Glimpses

by Nan Jones   @NanJonesAuthor

Lord, I so desire to love you with ALL my heart, ALL my soul, and ALL my strength. That is my heart's desire and yet on day's like today my actions do not reflect that desire. Please forgive me for pushing You aside in my thoughts. Please forgive me for pushing You aside to take care of everything else before taking time to sit with You awhile. I'm so sorry. I know that in Your Presence is where I find peace. I know that in quietness I will find strength and courage. I know these things, and yet I allow my flesh to override the desires of my spirit. I offer my praise to You as a sacrifice of thanksgiving - as a recompense for not putting You first this day.

I know I'm not alone in my struggle. I pray for my brothers and sisters who recognize the same conflict and grieve over their choices. Help us to recognize the deception of the heart and stir within us the desire to overcome it. Help us to see Your heart when we willingly push You aside because, in that moment, we feel like other matters are more pressing. Lord, forgive us! Forgive us for putting You on our to-do list. Forgive us for not heeding Your quiet whisper beckoning us to come and sit with You awhile. What an amazing miracle that is! The Lord of the Universe wants to spend time with us. That's amazing. How can we be so obstinate as to hush that voice within? Awaken our hearts to love You more Lord. Reveal Your mercy and grace to us evermore. Become to us as real and necessary as the air we breathe.

You are the Mighty God, our Refuge, and strength. Thank You for Your love and Your faithfulness. We love You, Lord. You are an awesome God.

A Tweetable to Encourage Others

Where is God when I'm overwhelmed? @NanJonesAuthor offers a glimpse. (Click to Tweet)

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Please don't carry your burdens alone. I would be honored to pray with you. You may contact me directly at nan@jubilantlight.com

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Finding God's Presence ~ The Melody Within

by Nan Jones   @NanJonesAuthor

I hooked Blue's leash to his collar and grabbed a jacket. I absolutely had to step out and away for at least a moment. Fresh air would do my restless spirit good. A bit of sunshine might dry my tears.

As Blue and I walked past the meadow and beneath the canopy of pine, a melody played over and over in my spirit. I couldn't recall any words to match the music, but the melody I recognized. Wiping my tears I said, Lord, what is this song? Why have you brought it to my attention?

Blue and I walked a little farther. The fragrance of Christmas trees wafted through the air as one by one they were felled in the nearby fields. Tree workers chattered among themselves. Dried leaves crunched beneath our feet. A stray crow cawed in the distance.

And the melody continued to play.

Blue and I turned to come back home. A cool, crisp breeze came from the north and blew across my face. We stopped. I tilted my head toward heaven and closed my eyes. Deep in my spirit came the words to the melody and I began to sing: 

Breath of heaven, 
Hold me together, 
Be forever near me.
Breath of heaven. 

That was it! Mary's Song, Breath of Heaven was the song rolling around and through my heart.

I stood in awe. Then I remembered more words: 

Breath of heaven, 
Lighten my darkness, 
Pour over me Your holiness,
For You are holy.
Breath of heaven.

Fresh tears streamed down my chilly face. The embrace of God's Presence soothed me and beckoned me to focus on Him once again. I hurried home, anxious to find the song on youtube and search the words for meaning. 

In the song, Mary is overcome with the realization that the Holy Child is within her. The journey is frightening. The burden is great. She questions why the Lord chose her to carry His Son and, if in a world as cold as stone, why must she walk alone? Mary beseeches the Lord to help her be strong.

We, too, carry the Christ Child - the Resurrected Lord - within us. We are called [chosen] to carry His Light into the cold corners of a darkened world. We are called [chosen] to overflow with His love into a broken and hurting world. We are called [chosen] to be holy as He is holy.

But it's difficult, this journey. It's frightening when the way seems confusing and the flesh is weak and everything inside screams for reprieve from the burden of His plan. And yet, like Mary, we walk on in total surrender bathed in trust and wonder because we love our Father God.

He is amazing, isn't He?

I'm thankful for the breath of heaven that breathes new life into His hurting children. I'm thankful for the One who sent His Son Jesus to lighten our darkness and hold us together.

Breath of Heaven, I offer all I am for the mercy of your plan. Help me be strong.

"Thus says God the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread forth the earth and that which comes from it, who gives breath to the people on it, and spirit to those who walk on it: "I, the Lord, have called You in righteousness, and will hold Your hand; I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the  people...'" ~ Isaiah 42:5-6

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A Tweetable to Encourage Others

Where is God when the journey is hard? @NanJonesAuthor offers hope and healing. (Click to Tweet)
 



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Many have commented on the photography I use for my posters. My friend, Mid Stutsman is the gifted photographer. She has recently created calendars and cards with her work and powerful writing. These are being sold at her cost plus postage. For more information you may visit Mid's facebook page at Mid Stutsman or write her at midspoint@hotmail.com. Christmas is just around the corner. Just sayin'...

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If you received Morning Glory via email, please visit the Morning Glory  page for a special treat. I found an interpretive dance performed to Mary's Song, Breath of Heaven. It's powerful! You might want to have some tissues handy.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Finding God's Presence ~ The Imperfect Christmas Tree

by Nan Jones   @NanJonesAuthor

I stood on a chair to attach a rough-hewn star - a handmade gift from my son - to the top of our tree. Minutes earlier we had traipsed through the Christmas tree field next to our house. This year I looked for a tree that wasn't perfect - one that needed some love, one that reflected the struggles of endurance. I found it growing near the creek that courses through the property.

I couldn't imagine bringing down the two large bins holding 31 years of Christmas memories - each memory hung so carefully year after year on the perfect Christmas tree. This year would be different. This year I would hike along our mountain road seeking God's perfect ornaments: dried flowers, staghorn sumac, rosehips, pine cones and the buttery shade of dried sweet pea vines stretching into pine branches nearby.

I scattered the white lights across the branches and began placing God's gifts throughout my imperfect tree. I stepped back to take it in. It looked beautiful, but something was missing. 

Grapevine.

In the sepia tones of a cloudy dusk I clipped long, graceful tendrils of grapevine growing in the lower corner of our yard. I drug them inside and began coiling them around my imperfect tree.

And that's when it hit me. Jesus!

The grapevine curled around the tree like the twisting and turning of a crown of thorns pierced into Jesus' scalp as He hung from the old rugged cross. From birth to death to resurrection power He came that I might have life.

Into my spirit came the recollection of Isaiah 9:6, 

"For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given ...  And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."

Tears began pooling in my eyes as the incredible loss I'm experiencing became remarkable gain - the gain of understanding Christ as Wonderful. Counselor. Mighty God. Everlasting Father. Prince of Peace. In my sorrow He has revealed Himself in each of these ways. He has embraced me with the wonder of His love. When I don't have the courage to make important decisions or there is so much noise in my mind I can't think, Christ has become my Counselor. Time and again He proved Himself mighty as He battled the enemy for me. My Everlasting Father has picked me up from the floor as I lay crumpled in a soggy mess of tears. There He held me until I felt secure again. And His peace? His peace that has no understanding has protected my heart and given me the strength to go on.

As I looked at my imperfect tree laden with God's gifts, wrapped in a coiling grapevine, I rejoiced in the faithfulness of my God. Because of His grace I can celebrate the birth of my Savior who wrapped imperfect me in His love.

Holy and precious is the Name of Jesus. 

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A Tweetable to Encourage Others

Where is God when it hurts too much to celebrate? @NanJonesAuthor shares personal pain. (Click to Tweet)



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Many have commented on the photography I use for my posters. My friend, Mid Stutsman is the gifted photographer. She has recently created calendars and cards with her work and powerful writing. These are being sold at her cost plus postage. For more information you may visit Mid's facebook page at Mid Stutsman or write her at midspoint@hotmail.com. Christmas is just around the corner. Just sayin'...

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If you received Morning Glory via email, please visit the Morning Glory  page. I'm featuring a powerful song by Francesca Battistelli called "Be Born in Me".

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Where Is God? Sunday Glimpses

by Nan Jones   @NanJonesAuthor

Lord, You're beautiful, awesome in power, faithful in Your love. Thank You. Thank You for teaching me to look  - to seek Your face. When my eyes are on You, I SEE You and my circumstances grow dim. When I look on Your face, Your grace abounds to me. The same is true for my friends.  

Lord, My friends need Your touch like I do. It seems there is an onslaught of difficulties for Your children. The brighter Your Light gets, the darker the darkness gets. It's easy to forget that as Your children, we are the Light-bearers. As Your children, the enemy has us in his sights. But You, O Lord ... You are the great God, mighty in power, doing wonders. And if You are for us - which You are - then who can dare to be against us? 

I find comfort knowing that nothing comes our way without Your knowledge. I take comfort in the knowledge that Your eyes roam to and fro across the earth seeking those who are devoted to You who need to be strengthened. That is amazing. Your intimate, personal care is mind-boggling. Enlighten the eyes of our hearts to recognize Your tender care, Your absolute involvement in our lives. Teach us all to walk in the knowledge of Your Presence being with us always. We praise You, Lord, for You alone are worthy of our praise. Bless the Name of the Lord!

Tweetables to Encourage Others

Where is God when the enemy has me in his sights? @NanJonesAuthor offers a glimpse. (Click to Tweet)

What does amazing grace look like? @NanJonesAuthor offers a glimpse. (Click to Tweet)

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Please don't carry your burden alone. If you would like for me to pray for you, you may contact me directly at nan@jubilantlight.com

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Finding God's Presence ~ Embracing Thankfulness When the Valley is Deep

by Nan Jones   @NanJonesAuthor

My restless spirit is volatile with emotions. Raw. Vulnerable. My flesh is jealous of those who give the appearance of the perfect family, the perfect life. My heart is broken in a million pieces and lays bare before a world of celebration.

But my spirit is quietly thankful for Jesus. 

Therein lies the conflict.

How can there be conflict? Conflict in thankfulness? God is constant in my life. His love carries me, strengthens me, holds me in my brokenness. The world can't take that away. And, although I don't know what my future holds, I trust the One who does, the One who has never failed me. 

For that I am very thankful.

Are you discouraged or facing the holiday season with dread because of significant loss in your life? Me, too. The Lord encouraged me with the song I want to share with you. It dropped straight out of heaven as I cried out for peace in my pain. I pray it will encourage you also.

PRESS ON
by Selah

When the valley is deep
When the mountain is steep
When the body is weary
When we stumble and fall

When the choices are hard
When we're battered and scarred
When we've spent our resources
When we've given our all

Chorus:
In Jesus' name, we press on
In Jesus' Name, we press on
Dear Lord, with the prize
Clear before our eyes
We find the strength to press on

When we can't praise God for our circumstances, we can always praise Him for who He is. We can offer thanks for His love, His grace, His faithfulness.

And in Jesus' Name, we will find the strength to press on.

"I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving, 
and will call upon the name of the Lord."



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If you received Morning Glory via email, please visit the Morning Glory  page to be strengthened by the message in "Press On" by Selah. I pray it will encourage you as much as it has me.



Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Finding God's Presence ~ When the Journey is Too Great

by Nan Jones   @NanJonesAuthor

There, in the moonlight, a large cleft in the rock-face of the mighty mountain appeared. Boulders stood like sentinels by the crevice's edge, small shrubs cropped up along the beaten path leading to the hiding place - a cave - within Mt. Sinai, the mountain of God. 

I can only imagine the fatigue of the man of God.

His name was Elijah.

Just six weeks earlier - forty days and nights - Elijah had battled 450 prophets of Baal for the glory of God. It's a great story. You might want to visit 1 Kings 18 to experience this remarkable challenge...our awesome God won, by the way.

But this post is about the sweet tenderness of our God. Personable. Intimate. Engaging. The kind of God needed when you're worn out, overwhelmed and weary.

Elijah was running for his life from Jezebel who was bent on killing him because he had defeated and killed her prophets of Baal. He made it as far as Beersheba and then traveled one more day into the wilderness. There Elijah sat beneath a broom tree and told God he had had enough! He was done and was ready to die! Then he collapsed into a deep sleep of despondency.

Have you ever felt that way after being engaged in a strong battle? Maybe the faith journey has become too difficult to want to go on. I understand that. So did Elijah. Sweet friend, the Lord sees and knows all about it. Our struggles do not go unnoticed by the One who loves us.

Let's continue.

The Angel of the Lord suddenly touched Elijah and said, "Arise and eat." There beside him was a loaf of bread and a jug of water - just what Elijah needed for sustenance. He fell back asleep. A second time the Angel of the Lord touched him and said, "Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for you."

...the. journey. is. too. great. for. you. 

I love that.

The Lord knows our weaknesses and hastens to our side, giving us the strength to carry on. And carry on, Elijah did. The bread and water sustained him for forty days and nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God, otherwise known as Mt. Sinai, the place where God revealed Himself to Moses and the children of Israel.

And, once again, imagine the fatigue of the man of God.

Elijah had just traveled 200 miles on foot. There in the moonlight he spotted a cave - a cleft in the rock alongside the mountain. Dirty and worn, I imagine he lay on his belly and crawled into the space to hide from his enemies and rest. He slept. Exhausted. Protected. 

And the Word of God came to him and said, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"

Elijah rubbed the sleep from his eyes. Sitting up on the cold, damp earth he pulled his cloak around him and responded,  "I have been very zealous for the Lord God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life."

Then Elijah was told, “'Go, stand on the mountain before the Lord.' And behold the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; And after the fire a still small voice." ~ 1 Kings 19:11-12

Can you imagine? The Lord God of the universe, full of power and might, chose not to reveal Himself to Elijah in the magnificent ways He had shown Himself to Moses. The Lord tenderly reached out to His discouraged, despondent old prophet with gentleness - with a delicate whisper.

That's how He reaches out to you and me too. 

When the journey is too great, He sustains us. 

When we crawl into the cleft of the Rock to hide from our enemies, He protects us.

When our weariness embraces despondency, He speaks to us in a delicate, gentle whisper so we know we are not alone.

And when we are not alone, the journey is no longer too great.

Selah. Pause and think about 

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A Tweetable to Encourage Others

What does the tenderness of God look like? @NanJonesAuthor offers a glimpse. (Click to Tweet)



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If you received Morning Glory via email, please visit the Morning Glory  page. I'm featuring the Gaither Vocal Band singing, "He is Here". This song will comfort you with the Presence of the Lord.





Monday, November 24, 2014

Where Is God? Sunday Glimpses

by Nan Jones   @NanJonesAuthor

Father God, I gaze into the heavens and marvel at Your handiwork and remember how tender is Your love. Thank You for Your tenderness. My broken spirit responds to and needs Your tender touch, the touch of my Daddy God. Hold me, Lord. Hide me beneath the shadow of Your wing where I am safe from the onslaught of the enemy. Nothing that happens to me goes unnoticed by You. I find comfort in that. Thank You for teaching me to rest in Your sovereignty. Thank You for teaching me to wait and not rush ahead of You as if You don't have a clue what's going on. Thank You. 

I lift up my friends to You, my family, my readers - those who are searching for You in their doubts and fears. Open their eyes to see You, Lord. Awaken their hearts to understand that You are drawn to our pain like steel to a magnet. You promise to light our darkness, to make the crooked ways straight. You promise us streams in the desert places - miraculous places of refreshment and renewal. I pray these things for my friends. I ask that You move mightily in their lives bringing health, provision, and assurance of Your presence and love. There is no God like You. You ride the wings of the wind to come quickly when we call on You. What blessed assurance that brings to me. Thank You, Lord. I praise You. I exalt Your Holy Name and I cherish Your love.

A Tweetable to Encourage Others

Where is God when life is confusing? @NanJonesAuthor offers a glimpse. (Click to Tweet)

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Please do not carry your burdens alone. If you would like for me to pray for you, you may contact me directly at nan@jubilantlight.com.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Finding God's Presence ~ And Still I Stand

by Nan Jones   @NanJonesAuthor

The windswept branches snaked around the body of the tree, curling, grasping. Weather-beaten, the tree defied all odds. It stood its ground. Roots dug deep, clinching their fists into the rocky soil of the mountain ridge, challenging the gale-force winds in battle after battle. 

And stood it did. 

Evidence of the battles reflected courage and endurance in the twisting of the branches that flexed in the wind, rather than breaking in the torment. The tree leaned a little to the left, bent from the onslaught of relentless storms. Bare branches protruded from the gnarly trunk.

But stood it did.

It's interesting to me that the Lord gave me this image today of the weather-beaten tree as I read from Exodus 15:

"With Your unfailing love You lead the people You have redeemed. In Your might, You guide them to Your sacred home ... You will bring them in and plant them on Your own mountain - the place, O Lord, reserved for Your own dwelling, the sanctuary, O Lord, that Your hands have established" (vs. 13 & 17, NLT).

These verses are part of the Song of Moses - the beautiful, triumphant song of praise sung by Moses and the children of Israel after miraculously crossing the Red Sea.

I thought of my own battles, those relentless gale-force winds beating me down, twisting and turning me. I thought of how my roots of faith have clinched their fists into the crevices of the Rock along the ridge of God's holy mountain...that place where He has led me and planted me in His sanctuary.

Yes, I'm worn. I'm weary, battered and bruised. But I still stand.

And so do you.

We  
stand before the One who made us, the One who died for us so that we could dwell forever in His Presence. And when that glorious day comes, and the blinding storms can no longer touch us, our souls will be clothed in a raiment of white linen, our faces reflecting the brilliance of His Light. 

Gone will be the effects of the storms. 

Gone will be the broken and bent pieces of our hearts. 

Gone will be the fatigue of having stood another day.

We will stand in righteousness like the great oaks the Lord has planted for His glory and life eternal will spring from the roots still clinching their fists in the crevices of the Rock.

Selah. 

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A Tweetable to Encourage Others

Where is God in my storm? @NanJonesAuthor offers a glimpse. (Click to Tweet)



If you received Morning Glory via email, please visit the Morning Glory  page.  I found a new song, "Tree" by Justin Rizzo. I think you'll love it's simple message.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Finding God's Presence ~ Out of The Darkness Came a Song

by Nan Jones   @NanJonesAuthor

Out of the darkness came a song - a battle cry across the hills of Jerusalem. Singers, trumpets, tambourines and harps offered praise to the Lord as the soldiers marched into the enemy's camp.

Praise led the way. 

Praise ushered in the Presence of God. 

Praise offered the assurance of victory against overwhelming odds.

Isn't that true for us? When we follow the Lord's instruction to praise Him in the battle, it confounds the enemy, welcoming His Presence into our circumstances. Always.

That's exactly what happened to King Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles 20:

Tiny Israel was surrounded by a multitude of armies bent on destroying them. After seeking the Lord, Jehoshaphat called an assembly. Together, they proclaimed the greatness of God, "O Lord God of our fathers, are You not God in heaven, and do You not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations, and in Your hand is there not power and might, so that no one is able to withstand You? (vs. 6).

God's response was, "Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God's (vs. 15).

"And when he [Jehoshaphat] had consulted with the people, he appointed those who should sing to the Lord, and who should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army and were saying: 'Praise the Lord, for His mercy endures forever.' Now when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were defeated" (vs. 21-22).

The children of God chose to take the Lord at His Word. As they began to sing and praise God, they expected Him to fight for them simply because He told them He would. As they offered Him praise, God went before them and set ambushes against the enemies - He fought the battle for them. 

Should we be surprised? God inhabits the praises of His people and works miracles on their behalf because of His great love.

I've been surrounded lately too. Have you? Armies of doubt, fear, brokenness, and overwhelming despair have had their targets set on me, but God has taught me to praise Him for who He is when I can't praise Him for my circumstances.

Out of my darkness comes a song - a battle cry across the hills of the Blue Ridge Mountains offering praise to the One who goes before me, to the One who fights my battle.

He is all we need.

"When everything falls apart
Praise His Name
And when you have a broken heart
Just raise your hands and say
Lord, you're all I need
You're everything to me
And you'll take the pain away..." (Sheri Easter, Praise His Name)


Are you surrounded by a multitude of enemies? The Lord is no respecter of persons. What He does for me, He will do for you.

Won't you praise Him with me?

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Tweetables to Encourage Others

Where is God when the enemy has a target on my back? @NanJonesAuthor might help. (Click to Tweet)

What does praise have to do with it? @NanJonesAuthor offers insight. (Click to Tweet)



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If you received Morning Glory via email, please visit the Morning Glory page and turn up the volume really loud. I'm featuring Sheri Easter singing, "Praise His Name". Oh. My. Goodness. If you're in a battle, this is the song for you.

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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Where Is God? Sunday Glimpses

by Nan Jones   @NanJonesAuthor

Lord, I'm overwhelmed with the thought of You, Your love, Your tender care. Thankfulness runs free in my spirit - not thankfulness for my circumstances, but thankfulness for You. What peace I find when I think of You. My broken and wounded spirit can rest when I focus on You. My fears subside. My questions. My doubts. My confusion abates in Your Presence. In Your presence a glorious Light shines into my darkness consuming its power. Lord, I praise you for this remarkable gift of being with us always. Thank You. 

I bring my friends before your throne of grace. As we kneel before You I ask that You fill our hearts with the knowledge of Your love. Awaken our hearts to worship You. To trust You. To dare to take You at Your Word. You promise to provide for us. To protect us. To Deliver us from evil. And You do! You are not a man that You should lie. Cause faith to rise anew in our hearts. Restore a childlike trust in You as our Abba, Father - Daddy God.  Awaken the joy of our salvation that is buried beneath the struggles of the journey. Please pour out Your grace and mercy on my friends who need to know that You are near. Bless You, Lord. You are an amazing God. You alone are worthy of our praise.

Tweetables to Encourage Others

Where is God when the journey is hard? @NanJonesAuthor offers a glimpse. (Click to Tweet)

How can I be thankful for this? @NanJonesAuthor offers insight. (Click to Tweet)

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Please do not carry your burdens alone. I would be honored to pray for you. You may contact me directly at nan@jubilantlight.com 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Finding God's Presence ~ And Yet I Stand

by Nan Jones   @NanJonesAuthor

I stood at the base of a tree looking straight up towards the heavens. The tree's bare branches, silvered with age, stood stark against the sapphire sky of fall. Sunlight glistened its reflection on these silvery branches standing bare. Exposed. Somewhat dead. In the reflection of sunlight I imagined the silvery, bare branches stretched wide in surrender to their Creator. 


Outstretched arms of trust and adoration. 

Outstretched arms grasping for the hand of the One who made them.

I feel like that tree. 

I'm a bit silvered around the edges now. My branches stand bare. Exposed. And yet I stand, sustained by the Vine. I stand with arms stretched wide, lifted up to the One who made me - the One who loves me. His Light reflects in my vulnerabilities, my complete dependence on Him. His love overflows into the broken crevices of my heart.

Yes, I'm like that tree.

I still stand.

"The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me ...to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified." ~ Isaiah 61:1,3

Sweet friend, the Lord God is with you also. He stands ready to pour the oil of His Holy Spirit over and through all of the broken places, to give you beauty for your ashes, to fill you with praise in spite of your circumstances.

When you don't know what else to do, just stand.

Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord.

Stand in His Presence and offer Him praise.

Just stand.

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 A Tweetable to Encourage Others

How do I find God's Presence when I'm hurting? @NanJonesAuthor offers insight. (Click to Tweet)



If you received Morning Glory via email, please visit the Morning Glory page. I'm featuring Kathryn Scott singing, "I Belong". Grab a cup of coffee, close your eyes, and soak up the faith-affirming words of this beautiful song. Hope you enjoy.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Finding God's Presence ~ And My Restless Heart Stilled

by Nan Jones   @NanJonesAuthor

I lay crumpled beneath my blanket. Still. Worn. Depleted. My spirit sighed with the agony of burdens, with the sorrow of brokenness. In my stillness I silently screamed to the Lord, Oh my God! Help me...help me, Lord.

I opened my eyes to face the window. Dawn burst forth with its glory. Magenta and tangerine ribbons waltzed across the sky proclaiming God's faithfulness. A cardinal's song broke through my silence, bringing remembrance that God is good and worthy to be praised.

From deep in my spirit arose a well-loved psalm. With tears sliding down my cheeks and dripping onto my pillow I spoke these words:

"Oh God, You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water."

I began to praise my Redeemer, to thank Him for who He is. I thanked Him for His mercy and faithfulness. I thanked Him for His precious Spirit that enfolds me and shelters me in my pain. 

And my restless heart stilled.

Psalm 63 goes on to say, "Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise You. Thus I will bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name ... When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches, because You have been my help. Therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice. My soul follows close behind You; Your right hand upholds me." ~ Psalm 63: 3,4,6-8

The Hebrew word for praise as used in this text is shabach (shah-vahch) meaning, not only to adore or to glory in something, but shabach means to still or to quiet. I love that! In Psalms 65:7 and 89:9, the Lord used shabach to calm the tumultuous seas. In Proverbs 29:11, the word shabach is used to refer to hushing things stirring within someone's heart.

When I choose to give the Lord praise, regardless of my circumstances, His peace settles upon me and calms my fears. Praising Him reminds me who He is and who I am not. Praising Him ushers me into His Presence where I am comforted and sheltered beneath the shadow of His wings. 

Will you praise Him with me? Will you glory in the Lord your God, thanking Him and cherishing His magnificent love? His love never fails. His mercy endures forever. 

I'm learning that when it seems my life has been cast onto a tumultuous sea that threatens to destroy me - I'm learning that if I will but praise the One who tells that sea how far it can go, I will find peace.

My restless heart will be stilled.

Blessed be the Name of the Lord.

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Tweetables to Encourage Others 

What does praise have to do with it? @NanJonesAuthor shares personal stuff. (Click to Tweet)

When I choose to give God praise, regardless of my circumstances, His peace settles upon me & calms my fears. (Click to Tweet)



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If you received Morning Glory via email, please visit the Morning Glory  page to fill your heart with praise. I'm featuring an oldie, but goodie - "My Redeemer Lives", by Nicole C. Mullen.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Where is God? Sunday Glimpses

 by Nan Jones   @NanJonesAuthor

Father, Your love amazes me. Your faithfulness reaches to the heavens, Your mercy and grace touches my heart. How can I thank You for caring for me so deeply? Who am I that the Creator of the Universe should know my name? And yet You do. Thank You for Your tender care and compassion for all that concerns me. I find my rest in You.

Many are the afflictions of Your children - You know this well. Encourage my friends who need to feel the embrace of Your Presence through the midnight of their soul. Remind them that it is always darkest before the dawn. You hold us in the palm of Your hand. Nothing comes to Your child without Your knowledge. Praise You, Lord for Your goodness. Cause praise to rise up within our spirits as we think of You and Your faithfulness. You have never failed us, Lord. Never. You are our constant. Our sure place. Give us courage to stand on Your Word for You are not a man that You should lie. Thank You for Your steadfast love. You are an awesome God. We love You and we give You praise.

A Tweetable to Encourage Others

Where is God in the midnight of my soul? @NanJonesAuthor offers a glimpse. (Click to Tweet )

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Please do not carry your burden alone. I would be honored to pray for you. You may contact me directly at nan@jubilantlight.com

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Finding God's Presence ~ You are Still Good

by Nan Jones   @NanJonesAuthor

The apricot-colored leaf swirled on the breeze as it drifted to the ground. I watched its gentle descent, marveling at the goodness of God. This leaf had once shared a blaze of glory on the trees of autumn, its color brilliant against the sapphire sky of October. 

Now it was falling, its time of glory over for a season.

The gentle breeze of God lowered it tenderly to the waiting earth where it would rest and blanket tender vegetation until the coming spring.

I see myself in the apricot-colored leaf...

I've shared the glory in prominent places reflecting the Light of Christ against the sapphire sky.

In my autumn season, I've felt the tenderness of the Lord cradling me as I drift from the spotlight to rest at the foot of the cross.

And I've learned that in all things God is good. He is faithful and true, merciful and kind.


YOU ARE GOOD
by Point of Grace
When the sun starts to rise and I open my eyes
You are good, so good
In the heat of the day with each stone that I lay
You are good, so good

With every breath I take in
I'll tell You I am grateful again
When the moon rises high before each kiss goodnight
You are good

When the road starts to turn around each bend I've learned
You are good, so good
And when somebody's hand holds me up, helps me stand
You are so good

With every breath I take in
I'll tell You I'm grateful again
'Cause it's more than enough just to know I am loved
And You are good

So how can I thank You and what can I bring?
What can a poor man lay at the feet of a King?
So I'll sing You a love song, it's all that I have
To tell You I'm grateful for holding my life in Your hands

When it's dark and it's cold and I can't feel my soul
You are still good
When the world is gone gray and the rain's here to stay
You are still good

With every breath I take in
I'll tell You I am grateful again
And the storm may swell even then it is well
And You are good

So how can I thank You, what can I bring?
What can a poor man lay at the feet of a King?
I'll sing You this love song, it's all that I have
To tell You I'm grateful for holding my life in Your hands

So I'll sing You a love song, it's all that I have
To tell You I'm grateful for holding my life in Your hands
You are holding my life in Your hands

"Deliver me, O Lord, from my enemies; In You I take shelter. Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God; Your Spirit is good. Lead me in the land of uprightness. Revive me, O Lord, for Your name's sake! For Your righteousness' sake bring my soul out of trouble." ~ Psalm 143:9-11

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Tweetables to Encourage Others

If God is good, why am I in turmoil? @NanJonesAuthor offers insight. (Click to Tweet)

What does a falling apricot-colored leaf have to do with me? @NanJonesAuthor will inspire you. (Click to Tweet)



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If you received Morning Glory via email, please visit the Morning Glory  page to hear Point of Grace singing "You are Good." I know you will be blessed.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Finding God's Presence ~ Your Light Shall Break Forth

by Nan Jones   @NanJonesAuthor


I pulled my jacket tighter around my face to ward off the chill. The meandering path led through a forest glen. Beauty surrounded me with leaves of burnished gold, persimmon, and burgundy velvet. The trail led into a valley deep with underbrush. The forest canopy grew thicker, preventing the sunlight's penetration. Dark, ominous shadows teased me with their lurking plan of demise. Briars stretched their thorny fingers across the ground beneath me, catching my jeans, causing me to stumble.

Fear called to me. I resisted, knowing I was not alone. Lord, I know You are with me, but where? I can't see You ... Lord?

My heart raced as the valley grew darker and the path succumbed to thorns and stones. My legs grew weak with fright and uncertainty. Out of the shadows came the sound of heavy breathing. Snorting. A bewitching howl sounded in the near distance. Screaming, I ran tearing my way through the underbrush.

I jerked awake, sitting upright in bed. My eyes darted around the room seeking orientation. My reality was not reality at all. It was a nightmare of epic proportions.

Or perhaps the nightmare was my reality. The reality of my spirit dimmed and frightened by the enemy's assault.

I lay my head against the pillow. A moonbeam streamed in through the bedroom window, illuminating the space around me - illuminating the space around my heart. I pulled the blanket of red up under my chin and willed the thumping in my chest to settle. The Presence of the Lord embraced me with His love. I was no longer afraid nor lost in the foreboding shadows that had fallen across my path.

Lord, how do I go forward? I want to glorify You in my life, not live in fear of the shadows hiding the briars and thorns that cause me to stumble. I want to please You, to walk with purpose and not be afraid.

This is how He responded:

"Is this not the fast that I have chosen: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; When you see the naked, that you cover him, and not hide yourself from your own flesh?

"Then your light shall break forth like the morning, your healing shall spring forth speedily and your righteousness shall go before you; The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; You shall cry, and He will say 'Here I am.'" ~ Isaiah 58:6-9

The Lord is my Light and my salvation. I need not be afraid. And neither do you. He illuminates our darkness with the light of His Presence seeping into the emptiness of our broken places. Before our prayer escapes our lips He answers, "Here I am."

As we cling to the hand of Almighty God, rising to greet Him with thanksgiving in our hearts, our healing will spring forth, the shadows will flee.

Selah 

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A Tweetable to Encourage Others

God, where is Your Light in my darkness? @NanJonesAuthor offers answers. (Click to Tweet)



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If you received Morning Glory via email, please visit the Morning Glory  page. I'm featuring Kristyn Getty singing, "What Grace is Mine" sung to the tune of "Danny Boy." It will make your heart smile.