Thursday, December 31, 2015

Finding God's Presence ~ Look Behind You. Goodness and Mercy Are Following

by Nan Jones   @NanJonesAuthor

Finally! Sunshine streamed through the pine canopy along our country road. Days of rain had dampened everyone's spirits, and even though a warm, rainy December didn't feel like Christmas in the mountains, this bright sunshiny day felt grand.

Blue and I strode along enjoying each other's company. Like most everyone these days I pondered the things of this past year and wondered about what lay ahead for me. I knew God had carried me through the troubled waters. Like He promised, I didn't drown. And through the flames, I wasn't burned because He was with me.

How amazing is that?

But I still felt some trepidation about my future.

Blue stopped to sniff out a deer trail. As I stopped with him, I turned slightly. The sight took my breath away. There along this beaten path my shadow lay quietly below me. Elongated silhouettes followed my every move. Had I not been thinking about the Lord I may have missed it - the lesson He wanted to show me. My shadow accompanied me all along the country road as I faced the sun and kept moving forward. I instinctively knew the Lord was speaking to me.

"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow you, Nan, all the days of your life; And you will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."*

Goodness and mercy. God's mercy (chesed) is His unfailing, steadfast covenant love for His children. His love never fails. It bears all things, endures all things, and holds within itself a perfect hope for us - a hope of good things to come. A hope of never walking this journey alone. A hope of provision and protection born out of His great love.

Goodness and mercy.

Following closely every step of the way.

Selah. Pause and think about it.

*Psalm 23:6

A Tweetable to Encourage Others

Where is God when I step into my future? @NanJonesAuthor offers a glimpse. (click to tweet)



Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Finding God's Presence ~ Lost!

by Nan Jones   @NanJonesAuthor

Guest blogger, Carol Heilman   @CarolHeilman

It's a joy to share Carol Heilman with you again. We've never met in person, but I just love this woman. She offers much wisdom through her sense of humor, making the lessons digestable - if you know what I mean. She is a treasure in the Body of Christ. Carol and I pray that the words of her heart will encourage you and give you strength for the journey.

Welcome Carol!

Have you ever been lost and not know which way to turn? Since I was not blessed with a sense of direction, I have been lost many times—especially before cell phones and GPS. I can get turned around inside a building; I have learned to make a mental note of the shopping-mall door I enter, so that when I exit, I can find my car.

On a recent trip to Kentucky, my husband and I thought we were following road construction detour signs correctly, but two hours later we were almost back to where we started from: near our home in North Carolina. Talk about confused!

We didn’t want to get in the same traffic jam again, so we created our own plan, which included traveling narrow, curvy back roads toward Hot Springs, NC. It was further than we thought, but in several more hours we arrived in this tiny town. We were desperate for a restroom, and choices were limited. When we spotted a restaurant, we rushed inside. The ladies room was for one, and had a line, which I quickly joined. A very pregnant lady zipped in behind me. When I asked her if  she wanted to move ahead of me, she smiled and shook her head. I could have hugged her.

On the road again, our plan was to follow Highway 25, a two-lane road, into eastern Kentucky where we would pick up the Interstate again. All went well until we reached Middlesboro, where we stopped for a mid-afternoon hamburger. Our waitress said we could go no further because the road we needed to travel was totally blocked by an overturned tractor-trailer. The road was closed, and probably would be for hours. She gave us directions, and we thanked her profusely.

We thought we followed her instructions, but we ended up in Tennessee, on a mountain road, literally in the middle of nowhere, that had to be the worst road ever. Finally, we pulled over, engaged our GPS, and arrived in Jellico—where we found the Interstate. By this time, we were low on gas and crept though a heavy rainstorm to find a station.

We arrived in Midway, Kentucky nine hours after leaving home. Our trip normally takes five. We were thankful to be there.

At different times in my life, I have not known which way to turn, or which path I should choose. Sometimes I use my own logic and reasoning and run down one or the other. Other times I don’t even think about what I should do, but take the path that looks the easiest or the most attractive. I don’t always consult the Lord or pray for Him to guide me. 

When I’m left to my own devices, I can make some terrible choices, and end up traveling in the wrong direction.

Each day you and I face a myriad of decisions that will ultimately determine the paths we take in our lives.

Buster Brown, a pastor in Charleston, South Carolina, once said, “Spend time with me (the Lord) and I will restore your sense of direction.”

Spending time is not a quick-fix. It’s reading His Word, praying, abiding in His Presence, giving Him honor, and thanking Him for always being beside you. Our Lord is better than any GPS ever invented, and His way is always the best one.

A favorite Scripture: Proverbs 3:5 & 6 (English Standard Version)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.

A Tweetable to Encourage Others

Meet Carol:

Carol Heilman, a coal-miner s daughter, married a farmer s son, her high school sweetheart, over fifty years ago. She and her husband live in the mountains of Western North Carolina. Their children and grandchildren live near the east and west coasts where they often visit. Carol enjoys traveling, reading, writing, hiking, and cooking for friends. She is a recipient of two Carrie McCray Awards for writing excellence. To find out more about Carol, visit:
Agnes Hopper Shakes Up Sweetbriar 
by Carol Heilman
Summer's steamy haze coats North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains, but feisty Agnes Marie Hopper discovers the heat isn't the only thing causing her blood to boil. After a kitchen fire destroys her home, Agnes moves in with her daughter, Betty Jo. Three months later they come to an understanding: neither can tolerate living with the other. So on a sultry August morning, Betty Jo drives Agnes and her few belongings to Sweetbrier Manor, a local retirement home and former house of ill repute.
And this sets the stage for a hysterical, yet tender, story that will delight you on every level.
Agnes Hopper Shakes Up Sweetbriar is available on Amazon


Sunday, December 27, 2015

Where is God? Sunday Glimpses

by Nan Jones   @NanJonesAuthor

Bless the Lord O my soul and all that is within me bless His holy Name! You, Lord, are worthy of our praise. I offer You my heart of worship, my life of service. I want to magnify You in all I do. Thank You for reminding me to never lose the wonder of Your birth, Your salvation, the miracle of Your love. You are remarkable Lord. Absolutely remarkable. Thank You for carrying me through the storm. Thank You for working to heal my broken heart, for putting the crumbled pieces of my life back together again. For that, I am very thankful. Thank You for giving me laughter in the midst of my tears, hope in the midst of my despair, and Your perfect peace in the midst of it all. You are wonderful, Lord. I love you.

Pour out Your peace on my friends who are troubled or struggling. Anoint them with a spirit of praise that reaches deep into the murky waters of a troubled heart and taps into Your Living Water that flows in spite of it all. Cause praise to rise and slip from their lips and brush against the tears on their cheeks. Cause praise to break the chains that hold them captive to the hurts that life has hurled their way. Open their eyes to see You carrying them through the storm as well. Thank You Lord.

I ask for a fresh anointing of Your Holy Spirit to do the work You have called each of us to. Stir up compassion for others, hunger for Your Word, and a hardy thirst for Your Presence. We praise You Lord and rejoice in who You are. Bless You Lord.

A Tweetable to Encourage Others

Where isGod when I choose praise? @NanJonesAuthor offers a glimpse.(click to tweet)


Thursday, December 24, 2015

Finding God's Presence ~ May We Never Lose the Wonder

by Nan Jones   @NanJonesAuthor

Silent night, holy night,
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon virgin mother and child!
Holy Infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace,
Sleep in heavenly peace.

Silent night, holy night,
Darkness flees, all is light;
Shepherds hear the angels sing,
"Alleluia! hail the King!"
Christ the Savior is born,
Christ the Savior is born."

Silent night, holy night, 
Son of God, love's pure light
Radiant beams from Thy holy face,
With the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth,
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth.

Silent night, holy night, 
Wondrous star, lend thy light;
With the angels let us sing
Alleluia to our King;
Christ the Savior is born, 
Christ the Savior is born.

"The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; 
He will save
He will rejoice over thee with joy;
He [we] will rest in His love,
He will joy over thee with singing."
~ Zephaniah 3:17

Oh Lord, may we never lose the wonder of Your great love!

A Tweetable to Encourage Others

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Finding God's Presence ~ How to Find Healing in Forgiving

by Nan Jones   @NanJonesAuthor

Guest Blogger, Asuka Chinonso Igwegbe @igwegbechinonso

I'm delighted to share my friend, Asuka Chinonso Igwegbe, with you. Chinonso and I met on Twitter last spring. He has a heart for leading others in a closer walk with the Lord and helping them over the hurdles life sometimes puts in our paths. Today's post is about forgiveness. How appropriate to share this message at Christmas, for it's because of the Christ child who came to earth to bear our sins upon the cross that we can find the grace to forgive those who have hurt us. Chinonso and I pray that the words of his heart will touch you and bring you to a place of healing this Christmas season.

Welcome Chinonso!

Forgiving someone who hurt you does not mean you later realized the person was right and you were wrong. It does not show weakness or acceptance of defeat. Forgiving people that hurt you does not mean you are tired of bearing grudges. When you forgive someone who wronged you, you are not helping the person, but yourself, because as long as the grudge is there, it’s a burden to your soul. Forgiving the person frees your heart from the load you laid on it.

Here is a life testimony of a lady a preacher shared with us whom God healed of HIV when she decided to forgive the people that infected her (though it was not that easy to forgive). She was a decent girl who vowed to remain a virgin til her wedding night. But during her university days, there was a fateful night some set of cultists stormed her room and raped her one after another. When she went to hospital, it was discovered that they infected her with HIV.

She vowed to revenge, but day after day she was emaciating to the extent that those who knew her before could not recognize her again. She was nursing a grudge against those people and determined never to forgive them.

God was so kind to her, There were two Christian brethren that went on hospital visitation in that particular hospital she was. After preaching to her and were about to pray for her, God spoke to them not to pray for her until she forgives the cultists. She tried to convince them to pray but they insisted that until she obeys the instruction, they would not pray. At this point, she had two options to choose from: either to harden her heart or to freely forgive those that infected her with HIV and leave the revenge for God.

She was wrestling with her mind on whether to forgive or not, she reluctantly made up her mind to forgive them and that was when they prayed for her. That night, she had a dream where a man in a white robe appeared to her with a nurse. He gave the nurse something which she injected in her and both vanished. When she woke up that day, she started convalescing and her body responding to treatment.

That was when she started having the joy she lost for a very long time. Everyone around her noticed dramatic changes in her life. Surprised by the great changes in her, the doctor conducted series of tests and the tests showed negative and that was when they knew that God had healed her.

"If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.
~ John 20:23, NIV

You never can tell what will happen when you forgive people that hurt you. Unforgiving spirit robs you a lot of things in life. God is not asking who was right or wrong, all He’s asking you today is to forgive those that hurt you. I know it’s not that easy to forgive, but ask Him the grace to forgive and He will make it available for you. God is not asking you to forgive them because they have realized their mistake, but because forgiveness brings healing. When you forgive, it frees your heart from the burden you laid on it.
Before today ends, make sure you forgive those that wronged you. Why not pick your phone and call that person to tell him that you have forgiven him? While there is time, somebody needs your forgiveness and do that while you still can.

A Tweetable to Encourage Others

How to find healing in forgiveness. Guest, Chinonso Igwegbe @igwegbechinonso shares via @NanJonesAuthor. (click to tweet)

Meet Chinonso:

 Azuka Chinonso Igwegbe is a Nigerian motivational speaker, a writer, and a life coach who has a passion in touching lives positively in any possible way, especially through writing and speaking. He has authored several inspirational books that bring encouragement to a lot of the discouraged souls, confused minds and the depressed hearts.

Author of

The School of Life, Be Still, The Endless Journey, The Right Thinking Mind, Crushed But Not Destroyed

You can find Chinonso's books on Amazon

Contact Chinonso:

Phone: +2347031187606, +2348163800029,