Sunday, January 31, 2016

Where is God? Sunday Glimpses

by Nan Jones   @NanJonesAuthor

Lord, I'm restless - restless all the way down to my bones. I feel like I'm being tossed to and fro by strong winds and angry waves. But You Lord ... You have given me deep roots of faith. You have shored up my foundation and made me strong. Sturdy. I am Yours Lord. And though uncertainties seem to come with each new day, You are my Sure Place, my Strong Tower. You are my Rock. Draw me into the cleft of Your Rock where no harm can befall me, where no fear nor doubt can assail me. You are the Mighty God, Maker of heaven and earth. I feel safe in Your arms. Secure. Loved.

I lift up those who, like me, find themselves on shifting sand. Let them feel the clasp of Your hand holding and steadying them. I ask that You guide them safely through the difficult places. Fill their hearts with the peace that passes all understanding. Give them a fresh anointing of Your Spirit that they might find renewal in their souls.

Thank You for Your Presence in our lives. Thank You for Your faithfulness that baffles me at times because of its incredible reflection of who You are. Thank You for Your grace so undeserving and Your love that knows no bounds. You are amazing Lord. We love you. 

A Tweetable to Encourage Others

Where is God when I'm restless? @NanJonesAuthor offers a glimpse. (click to tweet)

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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Finding God's Presence ~ Consider the Bluebird

by Nan Jones   @NanJonesAuthor


I saw a bluebird today. 

Its regal blue wings swooped from the treetop to light upon the crest of the snow. Because God has taught me to search for Him in all things and to be aware of His Presence, I stood still. Watched. Pondered.

Flecks of diamond dust glistened on the earth's white blanket. The bluebird hopped about, stopping at times to survey the scene. He sang into the gentle breeze that surrounded us. 

The imagery was magnificent.

But there was more.

The snow was beginning to melt. Muddy patches of dirt drenched in frigid water peered through the beauty. Trickles of dirty water coursed along the edge of the road bumping into piles of snow along the way. In the distance a clear, periwinkle sky lay next to the mountain draped in a cloak of iridescence, its beauty camouflaging the ugliness of the melting snow. 

I thought about sin. Yes, I know the world has made a mockery of this word and people don't like to hear it spoken. But sin, in its simplest form, is anything that separates us from a holy God. He desires rich fellowship with His children, but because He is holy, He must separate Himself from anything within us that has not been sanctified - set apart and cleansed by His righteousness. Little things we hold onto create a riff between us and our God, not because He desires the separation, but because the temptation or behavior or desires cannot be part of who He is.

Little things like running to food for comfort instead of Him.

Little things like pushing Him aside because we don't want to stop what we're doing and spend time with Him.

Little things like occupying our time with television when we could spend it serving others or studying His Word.

And though He responds immediately to our call and covers us with His garment of righteousness and makes our sin white as snow, sometimes we allow complacency to settle in and the hem of the garment begins to get muddy. We seem to think that from a distance, the iridescence of His beauty camouflages the ugliness of the sin, but the reality is that the sin creates muddy water whether we see it from a distance or not. 

Whether we acknowledge it or not. 

Whether it's what we consider a blatant sin, or something small and insignificant.

My thoughts continued as I considered the bluebird

Blue is one of the colors the Lord instructed Moses to place within the Tabernacle in the wilderness to remind His people that He is the One True God. Like the bluebird swooping onto the snow's surface and hopping about to survey the landscape, our God does the same. The scriptures tell us that "the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him" (2 Chronicles 16:9).

The Lord pursues us with His love. He yearns to make His Presence known to us, to bathe us in the iridescent beauty of His righteousness so that we might know Him in His fullness.

He also desires that we surrender the little things to Him before they muddy up the hem of our garment.

He indeed is a very good God.

SELAH 

A Tweetable to Encourage Others

Where is God when I have sinned just a little? @NanJonesAuthor offers a glimpse. (click to tweet)

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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Finding God's Presence ~ Why Would I Fly a Kite in a Snowstorm?

by Nan Jones   @NanJonesAuthor


"Let's go fly a kite, up to the highest height..."

The familiar tune played spontaneously through my mind as Blue and I trudged through a foot of snow.

"Let's go fly a kite, and send it soaring..."

This song was hugely out of place in our winter wonderland. Kites are for March winds, summer play days -  not for a winter storm named Jonas. It's not unusual for me to sing as I walk Blue. Praise to the Lord always tumbles from my lips as we take our daily trek up our mountain road. But, "Let's go fly a kite...?" 

How odd.

I felt a nudge of the Holy Spirit and recognized His sweet voice. Listening intently, I surveyed the landscape. Snow and ice surrounded me. The earth lay quiet - dormant - beneath its opulent quilt fashioned in shades of white. Trees stood like skeletons, stark silhouettes against a dim sky.

"Up through the atmosphere, up where the air is clear. Oh, let's go fly a kite!"

And then I understood.

The Lord was showing me a picture of hope. Though the earth lay dormant, it's time of new birth will come.

Though my life seems dormant and quiet while in a season of waiting, my time of new birth will come too.

It's all about hope. Finding my hope in Christ alone. Finding my hope in the promises of His Word. Finding my hope nestled beneath the shadow of His Wing.

"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; Many will see it and fear, and will trust in the Lord." ~ Psalm 40:1-2

The God of the Universe establishes our paths and sets the fulfillment of His purposes in motion. Can we learn to place our hope in Him even when our lives lay dormant?

Let's go fly a kite and send it soaring!

A Tweetable to Encourage Others

Where is God in my winter season? @NanJonesAuthor offers a glimpse. (click to tweet)

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Sunday, January 24, 2016

Where is God? Sunday Glimpses

by Nan Jones   @NanJonesAuthor


Lord, draw me nearer - ever nearer to You. I want to know all about You. I want to walk with You with an unwaivering faith. I want You to be my first thought in the morning, and my last thought at night. I love You Lord and I need You desperately. Thank You for making a way for me to know You. You are high above the earth and worthy of all praise. You are Almighty God, El Roi - the God who sees and knows all about me. I rest in that knowledge. Praise You Father.

I bring my friends before You and ask that You encourage them. Strengthen them in their walk with You. Let them feel the touch of Your hand as You grasp theirs and lead them on. Catch them when they fall. Comfort them with they're hurting. Let them hear You rejoicing when they are victorious in a trial. 

You are awesome God. I stand in awe of You and Your goodness. Thank You for being my Father, my Savior, and my Lord.

A Tweetable to Encourage Others

Where is God when I seek Him? @NanJonesAuthor offers a glimpse. (click to tweet)

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Thursday, January 21, 2016

Finding God's Presence ~ Could Grace Be Like Snow?

by Nan Jones   @NanJonesAuthor

I stood beneath the shelter of the tree as snowflakes drifted all about me. All around was silence. Stillness. Peace permeated my spirit as I felt blanketed in God's love.

His grace is like that, especially when we need comfort. His grace drifts tenderly from the heavens to find His child who is hurting. Moment by moment God's grace touches us, and like the snowflakes that lay upon the earth, we are blanketed in the sweet Presence of His love.

I've often heard God's grace compared to rain, and yes, I can understand that image also. But rain is noisy and powerful. It's not tender and soft.

I need grace like rain when I'm in danger of being harmed by the enemy.

I need grace like rain when my back's against a wall and there's no way out.

I need grace like rain when I'm cowering in a pit, swallowed up by the world's trials.

But I need grace like snow when I'm broken. Grief-stricken. Shutting down with depression.

That's when I need grace like snow, and that's when He gathers it in the heavenlies, opens the palm of His hand, and gently releases grace to drift and settle upon my wounded spirit.

Tender. Soft. Delicate. 

Love handed down from the Father above.

"This is what the Lord says:
'The people who survive the sword
    will find favor in the wilderness;
    I will come to give rest to Israel.'
 The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying:
'I have loved you with an everlasting love;
    I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.'"
~ Jeremiah 31:2-3, NIV 

A Tweetable to Encourage Others


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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Finding God's Presence ~ Have You Ever Heard the Garments of God Brushing Past?

by Nan Jones   @NanJonesAuthor

Repeatedly, this sentence by George Matheson circled through my mind: "God's voice demands the silence of the soul. Only in the quiet of the spirit could Isaac hear the garments of his God brush by him."

Isn't that beautiful? Can you see the image of God's garments brushing past Isaac as he finally found rest from a tumultuous time in his life? I love this. I love it for many reasons.


It speaks to me in my brokenness.

It speaks to me in my famine of spirit and soul. 

It speaks to me in my restlessness that wants to leap over obstacles and hurry on my way.

But God demands silence of the soul if we want to hear His voice.

Stillness.

Rest.

And then in the beauty of the night, God comes near and whispers, "I am the God of your father Abraham; do not fear, for I am with you..." (Genesis 26:24a).

In that moment, like Isaac, the glory of His Presence washes over me. Like a mighty rushing wind He makes Himself known - the motion of His love rippling His stream within me. Stagnation departs. Peace resumes. Rest occurs.

And I bow in worship, overcome with gratitude that once again my Father came to me in the night and gave me strength to continue my journey.

Only in the quiet can I hear the brush of His garments passing me by.

Yes, only in the quiet.

SELAH 

A Tweetable to Encourage Others

Where is God when I need Him? @NanJonesAuthor offers a glimpse. (click to tweet) 

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Sunday, January 17, 2016

Where is God? Sunday Glimpses

by Nan Jones   @NanJonesAuthor


Spirit of the Living God, fall fresh on me. Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me, Lord. Yes, please use me. Thank You for reminding me of this sweet melody that holds such Truth, for how can You use us unless you melt and mold and shape us as a vessel for Your glory - a vessel prepared to pour forth Your Living Water? I love that visual Lord. I don't love the Refiner's Fire that has been melting me, but I do love the touch of Your hand that tenderly holds the molten liquid and shapes me into a woman of faith and a vessel of honor for You. Thank You. Thank You for helping me see the whole picture.  

I know many who are in the Refiner's Fire also. It's painful Lord. It's hot and messy. It's causes fear and doubt as the person and world that we've known melts away.  Help my friends recognize Your Presence in the midst of the fire. Help them find Your reasoning - Your purpose. Help them embrace the vessel You are creating as they yield to the touch of Your hand.

You are amazing Lord. Wonderful. tender, yet mighty in power. Thank You for Your faithfulness. We love You Father and we give You praise.  

A Tweetable to Encourage Others

Where is God when I'm in the Refiner's Fire? @NanJonesAuthor offers a glimpse. (click to tweet)

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Thursday, January 14, 2016

Finding God's Presence ~ Did You Get the Memo From Heaven?

by Nan Jones   @NanJonesAuthor

"The bullet didn't kill President Garfield," he said. "The probing around searching for the bullet time and time again is what caused the president's death."

Whoa! I didn't see that memo from heaven coming.

That Sunday morning found me curled up on the couch in my pjs surfing  church services on television. I had chosen to stay home because, once again, the night before I had gotten very upset over a personal loss that held gargantuan pain. Pain I kept recycling. Pain I held onto because it was mine and I wasn't ready to let go.

So here I sat fully engaged in my very own pity-party on a Sunday morning when the Lord rudely (or could that be mercifully) interrupted my tears with a very important announcement : "The bullet didn't kill President Garfield. The probing around searching for the bullet time and time again is what caused the president's death."

The probing ...

I had been guilty of probing, always searching for ways to validate my pain, to refresh it's torrent of tears.

And it was slowly killing me. The wound couldn't heal because I kept opening it up over and over again.

I knew it was time to let go. Let go of the love lost. Let go of the betrayal. Let go of the continuous searching (probing) for information to validate my angst.

Paul very wisely exhorted the Church at Philippi, "Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy - meditate on these things."*

Thinking on things worthy of praise does not involve probing for a bullet that I survived.

Thinking on things worthy of praise will lead me (and you) to the foot of the cross where His love was written in red, where His acceptance washes over us with a tidal wave of grace.

Thinking on things worthy of praise establishes us in the midst of His peace surrounded by His precious Presence and guards our hearts like a sentinel.

A heart guarded by God's phenomenal peace will heal and find strength to go on.

Have you found yourself guilty of the same thing? Probing? Digging around for the bullet until it kills you?  

Sometimes it's better to leave things alone. If we're always probing around our hurts, our wounds, and our failures, our pain will stay so stirred up we will never heal. 

Sometimes we have to read the memo from heaven and choose to obey. 

*Philippians 4:8

A Tweetable to Encourage Others

Where is God when I'm having a pity-party? @NanJonesAuthor offers a glimpse. (click to tweet) 

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Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Finding God's Presence ~ Shock Absorption

by Nan Jones   @NanJonesAuthor

Guest Blogger,  Jamie Britt   @britt_jamie


I'm excited to introduce my precious friend, Jamie Britt to you. Jamie and I met online about five years ago and have loved each other ever since. She is an amazing young woman full of compassion for others, and sheer grit when it comes to following the call of God on her life. You see, Jamie was born completely blind. How she does the things she does on her computer, I will never understand. Like I said, she is amazing. Jamie and I are praying that the words of her heart will encourage you and give you strength for the journey.

Welcome Jamie!


As I came in from church one Sunday afternoon a few years ago, I was called by my mom to join her in our living room.  At this point, I suspected nothing.  In the next few moments, my mom would share with me that she and my dad would no longer be together.  To say I was utterly shocked would be an understatement.  After the initial shock wore off, depression and longing began to set in.  I had the longing for things to return to normal.   

During the next year, I learned more about my relationship with God than ever before.  There were days when the enormity of the situation brought me to my knees.  That was where I began learning what pressing in to the Lord really meant.  Did my circumstances change? No.  My parents unfortunately didn't get back together.  My life as I'd known it for the last twenty-one years would never be the same.  Did I grow spiritually? Absolutely.  As I pressed in, something happened that I didn't think was possible.  I began to have peace once again.  It was an unexplainable, but sweet peace.   

What in your life had you in such shock that there was nothing else you knew to do other than cry out to God? Maybe it wasn't the news of an impending separation and divorce.  Maybe it was a death.  Maybe it was an unexpected medical report. Let me encourage you during those times; really press in to God like never before.

"Draw near to God and He will draw near to you." 
~ James 4:8



Father, I pray for my reader.  Lord, give her the strength to overcome the shock waves of her situation.  Show her what it means to press in to You during this painful time.  In Jesus Name, Amen.

A Tweetable to Encourage Others


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Meet Jamie:

Jamie Britt is a devotional writer living in NC.  Her ministry is centered around helping women know that no matter how badly they've been hurt, God is able to redeem anything.  She also wants women to realize that her insecurities don't make her any less of a person in God's eyes-in fact, it's just the opposite.  Every person is treasured by the Lord.  She's a four-time graduate of the Writers Advance Boot Camp and a 2011 graduate of the NCompass writers retreat.  Currently, she's working on her first book with the tentative title of: Turning A Blind Eye: Overcoming Offense and Insecurity.  To learn more, you may visit her at: 
encouragingwomen-strength.blogspot.com. For prayer requests, you may contact Jamie directly at jamiebritt2006@gmail.com

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Sunday, January 10, 2016

Where is God? Sunday Glimpses

by Nan Jones   @NanJonesAuthor


Father, In Your infinite wisdom You gave us the gift of laughter. Thank You for that. I often picture You getting tickled right along with us at the shenanigans Your children find themselves in. What joy to know that chains break at the sound of laughter. Shadows retreat at the slightest giggle. Tears transform from shards of sorrow to melodic notes in songs of joy. Blessed by Your Name Lord God. That is a miracle and a testimony of Your amazing love.

Help us find Your joy, Lord. Wash over us with abundant grace that allows us to find You and Your joy in the midst of our pain. Open our ears to find the humor. Open our hearts to laugh at ourselves. And let us find healing in the power of joy-filled laughter. We love You Lord and appreciate all that You do for us. Your tender care is so comforting and reassuring. Thank You for Your sweet, sweet Presence in our lives.

A Tweetable to Encourage Others

Where is God when I need to laugh? @NanJonesAuthor offers a glimpse. (click to tweet)

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

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Thursday, January 7, 2016

Finding God's Presence ~ How to Find God When You're Hurting

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

*first posted on December 9, 2014

A Tweetable to Encourage Others


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