Thursday, April 30, 2015

Finding God's Presence ~ What Can Happen When We Bump Crazily Into One Another?

by Nan Jones   @NanJonesAuthor

Guest Blogger, Sally Matheny @Sally_Matheny



My guest today is Sally Matheny, a friend I met several years ago at Writer's Advance Boot Camp. She is a remarkable woman full of grace and confidence, whose spirit is clothed in kindness. Sally's post today deals with a very important subject: forgiveness. I am personally struggling with this right now and found her words of wisdom to be very inspirational. I pray that for each of you who may have been greatly hurt or harmed by the words and actions of others - I pray that the words of Sally's heart will give you strength for the journey and carry you closer to the Lord's throne of grace.

Welcome Sally!

After several days of cold and rainy weather, a sunny afternoon enticed me to sit on the back porch. Enveloped in the warm rays of sunlight, I closed my eyes. A faint, peaceful ting-ting stirred from the metal, wind chimes. 
 
Burdened for a Christian family struggling to find peace, I began to pray. I did not know all the details, but apparently years ago, their miscommunication hurt the feelings of some of their friends. The family has sought forgiveness but the offended friends will not give it.

The most troubling part is the miffed ones are professing Christians as well, yet they will not let go of their grievances towards the family who upset them.

Oh, Lord, please give both families peace and restore the broken relationships. How can Your people harbor anger and resentment towards one another for years?  Help us to see this does not glorify your Son and the sacrifice He made for us all. Lord, no matter what the situation, remind us that through Your power and strength we can forgive others. Protect us from Satan convincing us otherwise.

A gust of wind suddenly caused the ting-a-ling of the chimes to crescendo. I opened my eyes to see the metal tubes bumping crazily into one another. Yet, no matter how forceful the wind, each chime continued to produce pleasing sounds. 

I sat listening, pondering how the chimes never ring a sour note. High, middle, and low tones work in unison to produce beautiful harmonies.

Oh, dear friends, God can do that. He created each of us with unique characteristics and yet the abilities to complement one another. Just as the metal chimes are bound together, so also we Christians are united by the love of Christ.

Trials will come as surely as the wind blows. Let us bear with one another and work together to produce a beautiful offering to our heavenly Father. As soon as trouble begins to brew, address it with prayer and wisdom. Pray for a heart of patience, humility, and grace. As the storms press hard against us, only through love and forgiveness will we be able to orchestrate a magnificent concert of praise.
 
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”   Colossians 3:12-17

A Tweetable to Encourage Others

Where is God when it's hard to forgive? @Sally_Matheny shares via @NanJonesAuthor (Click to Tweet)

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Meet Sally:

Encouraging others is Sally Matheny’s mission in life.
She enjoys “reflecting on ordinary life under God’s extraordinary Light.” 

A freelance writer and blogger, Sally’s writing is published in Appleseeds, Clubhouse Jr., Homeschooling Today, Practical Homeschooling, Keys for Kids and many other publications.  She serves on the leadership team for the Write2Ignite! Christian Writers’ Conference and loves encouraging others to use their talents for the Lord. 

A former public school teacher, she’s homeschooled for over fifteen years. She and her bi-vocational pastor-husband have three children and live in the foothills of North Carolina.
Visit Sally’s blog to receive encouragement for Christian living. You can also find her on Twitter, Pinterest, and facebook.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Finding God's Presence ~ Waiting for God's Appointed Time

by Nan Jones   @NanJonesAuthor

Daylilies and irises burst through the crusty earth, long before the threat of frost had passed. My grass took on the color of emeralds. Buds on the old apple tree began to unfurl like crisp white linen.

But the grapevine lay dormant. Waiting. Content to rest until its appointed time. I watched it morning by morning wondering when its tiny buds would appear.

An early spring cool-snap crossed the mountain. Some of the iris fronds tinged brown. I held my breath for the tender apple blossoms, wondering if they could survive the chill. Their sweet fruit would be in danger if frost crowned the cool air.

But the grapevine still lay dormant, waiting for its appointed time ... its sweet fruit safe from a killing frost.

I wonder how often we are content to wait for God's appointed time to produce our fruit after a long, cold winter of the soul? It's hard to wait, isn't it? But I'm learning that the more I trust in God's sovereignty - His authority - the sweeter the fruit of my life and labor will be. If I push ahead of the Lord, taking matters into my hands, my fruit is in danger of being snuffed out by an unexpected chill.

God's timing - His appointed time - is perfection in motion.

The cool snap passed, taking some tender apple blossoms with it. The spring sun warmed the earth with persistence, stabilizing the temperatures. Within several days of the last frost I noticed tiny buds beginning to bulge along the grapevine tendrils. They reminded me of tiny rosebuds rich with promise, tinged with the blush of spring. Their timing was perfect.

Just as the grapevine waited patiently for its appointed time to bud, I'm learning to wait.

After all, God's appointed time for all things is perfection in motion.

"For the vision is yet for an appointed time; 
But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie.
Though it tarries, wait for it; 
Because it will surely come. 
It will not tarry." 
~ Habakkuk 2:4

A Tweetable to Encourage Others

@NanJonesAuthor shares how to find God's Presence while waiting for His appointed time. (Click to Tweet)



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If you received Morning Glory via email, please visit the Morning Glory page. I'm featuring Brandon Heath singing, "Wait and See." I think you'll love this song. It's message will encourage you to wait on God and trust in His faithfulness.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Where Is God? Sunday Glimpses

by Nan Jones   @NanJonesAuthor

Father, I'm so thankful that in my weakness You are strong. I'm depending on this, Lord, because I know I can. You are faithful and true. Your grace is sufficient for me. I ask that You pour out Your grace upon me ... grace to strengthen my body, clear my mind, and fill me with kindness and laughter. Thank You Lord. It is so wonderful to know I can depend on You to give me just what I need right when I need it. How can I ever thank You enough? I give You praise.

I know many who are overwhelmed like me and I know that You, Lord, are no respecter of persons. What You do for me You will do for my friends. I ask that grace would pour out on them like a flood ... grace so deep they have to swim in it. Cause them to laugh ... deep, jaw-hurting, belly laughs. Replace their despair with Your hope, their fear with Your courage and peace. Give my friends the strength to face tomorrow. Thank You Lord.

You Lord, are our Rock. Our Refuge. Our peace ... yes, Lord, YOU are our peace. We praise Your Holy Name!

A Tweetable to Encourage Others

Where is God when I'm too weak to face tomorrow? @NanJonesAuthor offers a glimpse. (Click to Tweet)

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

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Finding God's Presence ~ In This Moment

by Nan Jones   @NanJonesAuthor

Guest Blogger, Marcie Bridges  @Marcie_Bridges

Many of you know that I have been in a personal crisis for the past several months. Never have I been so broken, so fragile, and so totally dependent on the Lord. My dear friend Marcie Bridges, poet extraordinaire, wrote the following poem for me. I received it on a day I was consumed with sorrow and despair. I loved the poem so much that I asked if I could share it. Much to my delight Marcie wrote a devotion surrounding the beautiful thoughts In This Moment illustrates. I'm praying that you, my reader, will be strengthened for the journey by the words of Marcie's heart.

Welcome Marcie!


“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

"But He knows the way that I take; When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold." Job 23:10
IN THIS MOMENT

Of all the precious little moments in life
Lord, You chose this moment to teach —
To use me and mold me as a potter and clay.
You have given me insight into treasures
Rare, deep, smooth yet rough and steep.
I may not understand all You are showing me
But I choose to dwell here, right now, present
In this moment of truth even though
The way is dark and the future seems bleak.
Of all the hours, minutes and seconds
In the years that I have lived
Lord, Your mercies overflow more abundant
Than I could ever imagine they could.
So here today I rest in You with every little care.
I choose today to live in You,
Trusting You know what is best.
Worries cease, confusion ends, troubles leave the way
Because I find when in You I hide
Peace descends like a dove on wings of grace.

~Marcell Warner Bridges
©April 2015


There are times in life when

just like the potter must push down on the clay to mold it into a special piece of usable pottery, or the carbon is fired and polished to create a beautifully crafted diamond, or the farmer must trim, prune and throw out the old vines to make new ones that will grow delicious fruit

so must God do the refining and renewing in our lives. Yes, it hurts.  It is hard and it is rough. There is no round about way to get to where God wants us at that moment. This season of life is often dark and rocky

BUT GOD —

Gives us the strength to handle it. He brings new mercies every morning to help us get out of bed and plant one foot in front of the other. Even if every step we take that day, the next day and the next is a hard fought one, we are able to take those steps because God has given us the grace to do so.

There are so many days in our lives when we don’t see God working in the background, but He is. He’s always working. Always engaged in finishing and fashioning what He has started in us. Then there are times when He must do a harder work to draw us to Him. To show us we really do need Him. And this is when we become that perfect piece of pottery, the most precious diamond and the most delectable fruit because we chose to let Him do the hardest work in us.

Live in the moment day by day with God. Watch what He will do in and for you and see how He will use you when you let Him craft your spirit and mold you into the person you should be for Him.

A Tweetable to Encourage Others

Where is God in my fiery trial? @Marcie_Bridges offers a glimpse via @NanJonesAuthor. (Click to Tweet) 

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Meet Marcie:
 
Marcell Warner Bridges is wife, mother, and currently a student at Lenoir-Rhyne University studying for her Bachelors of Arts in English. Marcell has been writing poetry since a young age and desires to encourage others in their walk with Christ through the written word. Marcell has been published in several anthologies and frequently shares her work through her blog: Heart Thoughts http://marcieheartthoughts.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Finding God's Presence ~ The God of the Mountain is Still God of the Valley

by Nan Jones   @NanJonesAuthor

Dreaded feelings of captivity washed over me  ... the imaginary chains yanked on my ankles, keeping me bound in dark and painful circumstances.

My circumstances were hard to understand.
Confusing.
They seemed to have no end.

I asked the Lord to lift me above the fray. I imagined His strong arm stretching forth from heaven and taking hold of my hand that grasped desperately for Him.

And then the sweetest thing happened.

With my eyes closed and my spirit stirred, the Lord allowed me to see things from His perspective. In my mind's eye, He hoisted me onto a massive rock high upon a mountain overlooking the valley below. The view was gorgeous. We sat down together. My legs dangled over the side like a child exploring the heights with her Father. The mountain ridges rolled in layers of blue and purple on the horizon. Far, far below lay the valley ... the very valley from which He lifted me.


From the rock, the valley appeared lush, not desolate as it had seemed. Mountain streams trickled down the slopes feeding the river that coursed through the vegetation, quenching its thirst.

From high on the rock I couldn't see the thistles and thorns I had stumbled through the day before. 

And from the rock I realized the muddy pit I had been stuck in was nestled in a quiet cove with a meadow of wildflowers just around the bend ... magnificent beauty barely out of view from the miry clay. 

While in the valley, the glorious colors of the landscape blanketing my path had no impact. I couldn't appreciate the vitality of life all about me. But from high above ... from God's perspective ... I could see the beauty of the valley. I could see how the base of the mountains merged into the valley's edge in one continuous stroke of God's hand. There wasn't a separation of the two ... there was a joining, leading the traveler from one landscape to another.

The valley never looked so lovely. I could see it as part of a whole. I could see God's hand of provision in the flowing of the river and His gift of grace in the beauty of the wildflowers. Sitting with the Lord on the mountaintop, I understood His care as He oversees the details of my life.

And for that I am thankful.

Things in life are not always as they appear.


"For we walk by faith, not by sight." 
~ 2 Corinthians 5:7

A Tweetable to Encourage Others





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Ladies, do you need a speaker for an upcoming event? I would love to chat with you about it. All the information you need is found on my website: www.NanJones.com. You may contact me directly at nan@jubilantlight.com. I travel from the mountains of North Carolina.
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If you received Morning Glory via email, please visit the Morning Glory page for a wonderful opportunity to strengthen your faith by giving Him praise along with Jason Crabb as he sings "God of the Mountain."

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Where Is God? Sunday Glimpses

by Nan Jones   @NanJonesAuthor

Father, what an amazing God You are. You astound me with Your love, Your mercy, and might. Thank You for loving me in spite of myself. Your grace lifts me from the miry clay and places me on Your Rock. I can see that, Lord ... in my imagination I can see Your love reaching through my brokenness and raising me up to stand once more. I'm so thankful You are my Rock. My Refuge. My Strong Tower. I feel safe with You.

I ask that You encourage my friends, filling them with hope and a resurgence of faith. Stir up a hunger within them to devour your Word, for it is in Your Word that our faith grows and our spirits are strengthened.

Thank You for the gift of praise. Teach us to praise You in all things, recognizing Your sovereignty over all that concerns us. I find such comfort in that Truth. You've taught me so much about trusting You. I pray that my friends will gain the knowledge of this trust also. Just knowing that You have absolute authority in my life is setting me free from those things that keep me bound. I desire this for my friends also.

You, Lord, are the One True God. Thank You for loving us with Your never-failing love.

A Tweetable to Encourage Others

Where is God when I can no longer stand? @NanJonesAuthor offers a glimpse. (Click to Tweet)

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Please don't carry your burdens alone. If you need prayer I'm only an email away. Contact me here: nan@jubilantlight.com