Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Master Knows

"Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried and chosen you in the furnace of affliction." ~ Isaiah 48:10, Amplified Study Bible

"I have tried and chosen you in the furnace of affliction."

Oh. My. Goodness. Have I got a treat for you!

Let's begin with words that signify affliction: pain, grief, misery, sickness, loss, calamity, distress, suffering...can I get a witness?

I know we don't like to think about these things and we certainly don't associate these things with the abundant life we signed up for, right? But, the reality is that life on this earth is difficult. I want to encourage you with this: God has eternal purposes for all things that concern us...ALL things.

Now, I want you to imagine something. Ask the Lord to open the eyes of your heart to see and understand the powerful beauty of the image I am going to paint for you...

The silversmith wiped the sweat from his brow with the back of his calloused hand. The flames leaped in the bowels of the furnace, licking the air for oxygen, preparing to devour anything not pure enough to withstand its sweltering fury.

Carefully, the old gentleman filled his stone "smithing" bowl with slivers and filings of discarded silver - throw-aways carefully chosen for the vessel he would craft. He placed them "just so" into the bowl and then eased it into the center of the flames where the heat was greatest. This was necessary to burn away anything impure. Only the finest silver would do for the vessel the Master silversmith would shape after the refining fire.

The old man reached for his chair. His fingers, black with soot, grasped the carved back and pulled it closer to the furnace. He sat down, never taking his eyes off the silver which was now beginning to melt and swirl in the inferno. The silversmith knew the exact moment to remove the silver - a moment too long and it would be destroyed.

He kept a careful eye watching, waiting - looking for that moment when the impurities were gone.

At last, the dross pulled away from the silver. The silversmith eased the stone bowl out of the flames. He peered into the liquid luster. Reflected back to him, as in a mirror, was his very own image. The old gentleman knew the refining fire had completed its work. The silver was pure. It shone with the brightness of the morning star. It reflected its Master's image. Now the vessel for which it was intended could be shaped and molded by the Master's hand.

Sweet friend, are you in the throes of suffering? Is the anguish of your heart threatening to suffocate you? The Master knows. He is keeping a careful watch over you, governing the trial, adjusting the flame so that you will not be injured or destroyed by its pain. He is a Holy God who desires to dwell richly with His people. Impurities of soul prevent Him from doing so. Impurities of soul prevent us from becoming the magnificent vessel intended for His glory.

I like to think of the flames of the refiner's fire as the consuming fire of my God, surrounding me and protecting me by the power of His Presence.

I would say to you, "Look up. Look up and see the face of the Master. There is love in His eyes. You are His special treasure, the apple of His eye. You are not alone. There is purpose in your pain."

Father, this is such a hard lesson to learn. You promise there is fellowship in our suffering - an intimacy with You that is born out of our pain. Open our eyes that we might see Your eternal purposes in all things. Help us to trust You when we can't see outside the furnace of affliction. Hold us. Hide us. Remind us of Your love. You are an amazing God. Thank You for Your mercy, Your love, Your grace. Thank You for being with us always.
If you received this Morning Glory via email, please go to the Morning Glory page to worship along with other Believers as they sing "Refiner's Fire".

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Diamonds in the Light* Virtual eBook Tour

The eBook is out! Diamonds in the Light will inspire you to reach deep into your soul and discover the God-given gifts within. It will instill courage to say "yes" to the calling of God. Jewel Williams, founder and "sister-extraordinaire" of Jeweled Ministries, has worked hard to shine a light on several of us who are leading ladies in ministry. Diamonds in the Light not only showcases us, but features writings from each of us that will encourage you to step out in faith to embrace the purposes of God on your life. Diamonds in the Light is free and may be downloaded at http://tinyurl.com/diamondsinthelight

Jewel answered a few questions for you:

What inspired you to collaborate with these specific eight women to create Diamonds in the Light? Each of these women is a community leader, author and/or speaker whose desire is to give to their community using their personal resources and knowledge-base to help other women to be empowered and successful. For about a year, these ladies represented Jeweled Ministries as Reigning Jewels because they truly take to heart the meaning of living the life of Royalty according to the word. Moreover, these ladies are women who demonstrate faith and strength in their everyday walk leaning not on their past but moving forward to help others.

Why did you name the ebook Diamonds in the Light?
Diamonds in the Light, reminds me of what it takes to be considered a diamond. All of the physical jewels in the world are mined and their purity is determined before they can achieve the name of a diamond, sapphire, ruby, etc. A diamond must be pure in nature and must meet specific qualifications. These ladies have met the ultimate qualification of being Christian; they truly work (mine) daily to reach many other women. They use the “light”—God’s word—as their guide.

Describe briefly the eight pieces of work contributed in the compilation.
Their writings include a personal testimony, story, or poem to give encouragement to other women. In their work they demonstrate that you don’t have to have a fancy title, book, or media platform to be a Reigning Jewel; you can just live by the Word and continue to have faith in all that you do.

What do you want the readers to receive from Diamonds in the Light? I want the readers to receive their ultimate gift…the appreciation of life. Too often the focus is on what one has not accomplished, but what we need to see and appreciate is that we have accomplished much through our unwavering faith by believing that no matter what…we are here for one purpose and that is to be true vessels that can be used to spread the good word. And that is what these ladies have done in their writings as Diamonds in the Light.

Where can one purchase the ebook? The ebook is FREE. You have heard it right! The book is free, because these ladies and I want to have women across the nation and internationally to be empowered by their words and achieve success with unwavering faith. You can download the book at http://tinyurl.com/diamondsinthelight and if you would like to learn more about Jeweled Ministries, you can visit, http://www.jeweledministries.com.

I participated in this blog share on a complimentary basis to share my blog site with the author on her blog, and I received the free eBook. This blog share is managed by Jeweled Ministries (www.wiseducators.com)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

He Will Carry You

"The Lord your God, who goes before you, He will fight for you, according to all He did for you in Egypt before your eyes, and in the wilderness where you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a man carries his son, in all the way that you went until you came to this place." ~ Deuteronomy 1:30,31. NKJV

I can sense in my spirit that many of my brothers and sisters are crumbling beneath the weight of finances, illness, loneliness, broken relationships, shame...

Dear one, you are not alone. Let me say it again...you are not alone. The Lord Most High is with you. Can we fathom it? Can we allow the eyes of our heart to see ourselves lifted into the arms of the One who loves us? His love knows no bounds. He loves us so much that He sent His only Son to die for us so that we could know Him.

Father God carries you in His arms of love.

Dare to believe this awesome truth. The world would want to mock you for believing such an impossibility, but I would say to you: I know in my knower that I have been carried by my Lord. In my darkest moments - my deepest despair -I felt His Presence, I knew His love. When I felt like my heart would literally break in two, He lifted me and held me near to His heart.

Do you feel faint from your burdens? Do you feel you can't go on? The Lord promised us He would never leave us nor forsake us. When you feel as though you are all alone in your pain, that is when He is carrying you.

Father, Your love astounds me. Thank You - from the bottom of my heart, thank You. Help each of us grasp the Truth of Your love. Open the eyes of our hearts to see and experience Your strong arms lifting us above our burdens and carrying us until we get to the other side. You are an amazing God. We love you Lord.
If you received Morning Glory via email, please go to the Morning Glory page to be blessed beyond measure as Lynda Randle sings, "He Will Carry You" at a Gaither concert. Sweet blessings to you.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Just Give Them Jesus

"The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed and qualified me to preach the Gospel of good tidings to the meek, the poor, the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up and heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the physical and spiritual captive and the opening of the prison and of the eyes of those who are bound...

"To grant consolation and joy to those who mourn in Zion - to give them an ornament (a garland) of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, the garment of expressive praise instead of a heavy, burdened, and failing spirit - that they may be called oaks of righteousness (lofty, strong, and magnificent, distinguished for uprightness, justice and right standing with God), the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified." ~ Isaiah 61:1,3, Amplified Study Bible

The day started out dreary. Intermittent showers fell from the heavens. A stiff breeze caught the horses' manes and flicked their golden locks onto the young girl's cheeks as she nuzzled her four-legged friends.

Chelsea* had come a long way from her troubled childhood. Through the horses' unconditional love she was beginning to trust, to heal from a young life marred by the unspeakable. She felt acceptance. She felt valued. And she was beginning to open her heart to the Savior's love.

So was her mom.

Finally, after years of despair, Chelsea's mom was finding the courage to parent her troubled daughter. She was finding joy as she noted a twinkle returning to Chelsea's playful glance. Indeed, God had heard her prayers.

This beautiful miracle of God was taking place on a horse ranch nestled among the gentle hills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. A Christian couple had said "yes" to the Lord when He asked them to provide a place for His people to come who needed healing from life's traumas. He asked them to rescue abused horses which He would, in turn, use to rescue hurting people.

The miracle in Chelsea's life was evident.
And then the unthinkable happened.

Chelsea and her mom arrived at the ranch for their Sunday afternoon ride. Chelsea's countenance beamed with joy and new-found confidence. Her mom beamed with gratitude for what God was doing in her child's life. While Chelsea enjoyed her horse's company, her mom walked down to the barn. The ranch's owner, Sara*, was there waiting for Chelsea to return. Suddenly, Chelsea's mom said, "Sara. Something's not right." She reached out to Sara and then collapsed. Chelsea heard the commotion and raced into the barn. There, in a heap within Sara's arms, lay her mother fighting for her last breath. Chelsea fell back against the wooden wall and slid down into the hay-strewn barn floor. Her eyes locked onto her mom's and for a second, mother and daughter held each other's gaze.

And then her mom was gone.

Her mom was gone.

Where was the miracle of God?

Chelsea ran out of the barn and fell, weeping, into the grass. Sara began to pray. She cried out to her Sovereign Lord for answers, for wisdom. Questions flung into the afternoon sky like dust from the galloping hoofs of her beloved horses.

And then an undeniable peace settled on Sara. She knew God was with them and she knew she had to find Chelsea. Peering around the corner of the barn, Sara found her young friend crumpled against the soggy earth, wet with heaven's tears. Without saying a word, Sara took Chelsea in her arms and rocked her. Swaying back and forth, back and forth, she prayed over this baby girl whose mom had just taken the hand of Jesus and left this earth. Sara didn't have answers for Chelsea, but she did what she knew to do: she gave Chelsea Jesus.

Sara cradled Chelsea in her arms and allowed the love of God to overflow through her and spill over into Chelsea's broken heart. There was nothing complicated about it. She was merely a vessel for God to work through. Although Sara could not possibly meet the needs of this distraught child, she knew the One who could.

How often do we surrender to the taunting of our inadequacies and fail to embrace the opportunities God places before us - opportunities to heal the brokenhearted, to set the captives free? How often do we miss an opportunity to lift up the burdened and failing spirit of someone - a neighbor, a co-worker, a family member?

I know I have failed many times. But I think this is what the Lord is showing me: I don't need to know all the answers. I don't need to know the right things to say. All I need to do is give them Jesus.

His love will take care of the rest.

*Names have been changed.

Father God, How magnificent is Your love! How amazing is Your grace poured out on Your hurting children. Teach us to yield to You as we learn to take Your love into this painful world. Take away our fear. Open the eyes of our hearts to understand that it is not by might, nor by power, but by Your Spirit that we can minister to others. Each of us are called to minister. Help us to walk in this knowledge. We love You, Lord. Use us for Your glory.

If you received Morning Glory via email, please go to the Morning Glory page to experience Fernando Ortega singing "Give Me Jesus". The venue is the memorial service for Ruth Graham. What a fitting example of two people, Ruth and Billy Graham, who gave their lives to tell others about Jesus.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

This Is My Prayer

As the deer pants and longs for the water brooks, so I pant and long for You, O God. My inner self thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and behold the face of God?" ~ Psalm 42:1,2, Amplified Study Bible

It is my prayer that as I walk this earth, climbing to the highest mountaintops, descending to the lowest valleys - IT IS MY PRAYER that I would long for and thirst after the living God.

Not yesterday.
Not later.
Not when it's convenient.

But as naturally as I take my next breath.

I want my heart to skip a beat as His Spirit calls to me from the depths of my soul. I want to be filled with anticipation as I ponder the promises of God and realize that each promise is for me simply because He loves me.

Not for who I am.
Not for who I will become.
He loves me because I am His child.

And He loves you.

You are the apple of His eye, His special treasure. Nothing, absolutely nothing, can separate you from the love of your Heavenly Father.

Jesus would say to each of us, "Come, all you who are thirsty. Come and drink of the Living Water and you will never thirst again."

Lord, we love You so much. Stir up a hunger and a thirst within us that only You can satisfy. Draw us to You by the power of Your Holy Spirit. Awaken our hearts to love You more, to desire You with all that we are. You are the One True God, Maker of heaven and earth. You are the Lord of my heart, the Savior of my soul. Thank You Lord. Thank You.
If you received Morning Glory via email, please go to the Morning Glory page to worship along with Kari Jobe as she sings, "Beautiful". Bless you sweet readers. I am praying for you.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Redemption's Story

"Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow." ~ Isaiah 1:18, NKJV

The morning dawned with a soft blanket of snow. The heavenly, downy-like comforter warmed the mournful cry of winter's chill, covering her bleakness with purity and light. Twinkling ice crystals glistened, reflecting the brilliance of the Creator's glory. All was made new.


Redemption's story.

I looked towards the morning sky. The storm clouds began to dissipate, unveiling the clear blue of the heavenlies. I thought of my sin - those things that separate me from God. And I thought about the faithfulness of His Redemption. Just as surely as the winter wind ushers in our mountain snows, the Lord of my heart will make all things new within me now and forever. He will cover me with the downy comfort of His wings, just as the snow covers the barrenness of the winter's soil, bringing light and reflection of His glory.

And He will do the same for you.

Are you heavy-laden with the cares of the world? Do you struggle with making Him Lord over ALL things that concern you? Do you wrestle with the world's intrigues, its desires and demands? Just as the blanket of new-fallen snow lays pure and clean beneath the feet of the Creator, so is the life committed to Him. He will make all things new for you.

Can you hear Him calling your name?

Father, Your Redemption is so pure, so complete, so merciful. Thank You, Lord. I pray for my friends who are burdened, who feel distant from You. I think we all feel that way sometimes. But Your love is constant, Your forgiveness sure. You wait for Your children to run to You. You rejoice over us with singing. You carry us in Your heart. We love You Lord. Thank You for Your mercy and grace.

If you have received Morning Glory via email, please go to the Morning Glory page to experience Kathryn Scott singing, "At the Foot of the Cross." Nothing is beyond God's redeeming touch. Bless you my precious reader.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Surrounded by His Presence

"And He said, 'My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.'" ~ Exodus 33:14, NKJV

"I look behind me and You're there, then up ahead and You're there, too - Your reassuring Presence, coming and going. This is too much, too wonderful - I can't take it all in!" ~ Psalm 139:5,6, The Message

God's Presence. Dare we close our eyes and try to visualize this? Can we open our hearts to receive this knowledge? Not just in concept, but in Truth.

Truth: God's Presence - His Spirit - dwells within us. His Spirit surrounds us.

Have you ever thought about John 15:4? "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me."

I have loved this verse for many years, but I feel as though I am seeing it with fresh eyes. "Abide IN Me, and I IN you." Do you see the exchange? The dynamics? I have often wondered what the Lord means by "abiding IN Him".

Is it possible that the Lord is referring to His Presence surrounding us at all times and thus challenging us to open our eyes and see? We know that, as Believers, the Holy Spirit comes to live in us, giving us power and wisdom and guidance and comfort. How awesome is that? But, is it possible that God wants us to understand His Presence in a broader sense? The Scripture tells us that His Presence goes before us and is also behind us. He leads us onto paths of righteousness. He keeps us from falling. He carries us when the pain is too much to bear. I love this picture.

Is He stirring your spirit with understanding? Oh, I pray so! Remember, He walks on the wings of the wind. The clouds are the dust of His feet. His glory and majesty shine as the bright and morning star! He longs for us to open the eyes of our heart to recognize Him all about us.

His Presence will give you rest.

Rest. nu'ach (noo-ahch). "Settle down; to be soothed or quieted; to be still; to dwell peacefully." (commentary, Spirit Filled Life Bible)

Again, I say, His Presence will give you rest.

Father, open our eyes to see Your glory all about us. We want to know You more. We want to walk in the knowledge of Your love in a deeper way. I ask that You enlighten the eyes of our hearts to understand. Thank You Lord. You are the Mighty God, Master of everything. We love You. We praise You and we glorify Your Holy name.
If you received Morning Glory via email, please go to the Morning Glory page to experience Kathryn Scott singing, "Child of God". You just might ascend on the wings of angels :) Sweet blessings to you!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Expect A Miracle

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning." ~ James 1:17, NKJV

Exhaustion pummeled my body. All I wanted was for everything to be done - fixed, completed, taken care of - and off my shoulders! Yes, the very shoulders that were not created to carry the weight I insisted on bearing.

Time was running out to replace the vehicle that had been totaled three weeks earlier. Business had to be taken care of, but all I wanted to do was rest. Dread filled my heart.

The warm water of the shower washed over me soaking me in refreshment. I lifted my voice and began to sing, "Cause me to come to Thy river, O Lord. Cause me come. Cause me to drink. Cause me to live." I felt God's cleansing touch - the mist of His grace creating a clean heart, a right spirit within me.

"Nan,why are you dreading this? You should be expecting good things from Me. Am I not your God? Are you not My child? I am the Father who delights in giving good gifts to my children. Now, expect Me to work!

The silent voice was clear. The silent voice was firm. And the silent voice was right.

"Forgive me Lord. I believe. Help me with my unbelief. Somehow I know You will take this impossible situation and put the pieces together for us."

David and I spent the afternoon test-driving car after car. None produced the aha moment we were looking for. Actually, the car we drove two days earlier was the one that fulfilled that requirement, but it was priced $1300 more than we had. We have been unemployed for a year now. Our savings are gone and every penny counts. We told the salesman that we could not give them what we didn't have, and we were not going into debt to replace our paid-for car. We also told them that if God wanted us to have this car then, against all odds, it would still be sitting there in a few days and they would come down to our price, even though, by all standards, it was a VERY low number.

Did I mention that our God is GREAT??

We arrived home mustering all the "expectation" we could and, guess what? The phone rang. It was our car salesman. Can you guess? Yes! The manager agreed to come down to our price!! Not only were we able to pay for it in full, but we are now driving a better vehicle than the one that was totaled! Crazy, isn't it?

Our God is able. He is waiting to open the windows of heaven to pour out blessings greater than we can contain. Oh, if only we would believe!

Dear friend, the Lord our God is for you. He will never forsake you. He delights in giving good gifts to His children. Won't you trust Him today? Won't you dare to believe that He is just waiting for you to expect your miracle? Put your hand in His. He will never let you down.

You are an amazing God! Thank You for Your faithfulness, for Your patience as we learn to trust You with a whole heart. And thank You for our car. We love it. Lord, I ask that You encourage my friends with the same hope and expectation that You filled me with. Pour out Your favor on them Lord. Lead them and guide them. Go before them and make a way where there seems to be no way. Thank You Lord. We love you.

If you received Morning Glory via email, please go to the Morning Glory page to experience Kari Jobe singing "You Are For Me". I promise you will be blessed.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Behold Your God

"O Zion, you who bring good tidings, get up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, you who bring good tidings, lift up your voice with strength, lift it up, be not afraid; say to the cities of Judah, 'Behold your God!'" ~ Isaiah 40:9, NKJV

"Mrs. Jones? Your husband has been in an accident. It's serious."

Tears coursed down my cheeks echoing the pain of my heart. My son couldn't get me to the hospital fast enough. My hands shook violently as I tried call after call on that darn cell phone that kept losing service as we raced down Highway 16. I had to get hold of the rest of the kids. I had to call friends to start a prayer chain, I had to call family, I had to call...

My mind couldn't keep up with the panicked thoughts. At times, I found it difficult to breathe. How could this be happening?

My son gently reached across the truck seats and clasped my hand. His tenderness calmed me. I looked up at him and, as I did, the setting sun captured my attention. Ribbons of golden amber danced around chunks of lavender and cerulean blue as the firey sun crept behind the mountain ridges. A blanket of glory covered the evening sky.

I stared into the brilliance.
"Nan, behold your God!"
I recognized the still, small voice. He spoke again, "Nan, behold your God!"
"Yes, Lord. Oh! Yes, Lord!"

His Spirit embraced me, reassured me, gave me comfort.

I knew at that moment that my God was with me. I knew that my faith stood firm upon the Rock that is higher than I. I knew in that moment that everything was going to be okay. My life - David's life - is surrendered to a Sovereign Lord. He knows all things that pertain to us. He weaves the tapestry of our lives with careful attention.

And He knew my precious David had been in a serious car accident.

As I watched the kaleidoscope of glorious color unfold before me, I knew that my God is real. He is Truth and He is faithful.

As I beheld Him, He wrapped me in a blanket of love and wiped my tears.

I love You Lord. Thank You for being my God, my Savior and my Lord.
If you received Morning Glory via email, please go to the Morning Glory page to experience Sandi Patty singing, "We Shall Behold Him". It will knock your socks off :)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

I Will Seek You, Lord

"But even there, if you seek God, your God, you'll be able to find Him if you're serious, looking for Him with your whole heart and soul." ~ Deuteronomy 4:29, The Message

Seeking God.
We say it so casually.

I looked up the word seek in the Roget's Thesaurus. Are you ready? To seek is: to be after, beat the bushes, chase, dig for, go after, hunt, inquire, investigate, leave no stone unturned, look high and low, pursue, run after and search for.

Seeking God...

He has been stirring my spirit about this. He has been whispering to me, gently prodding me to go deeper. And I know in my knower that when I respond with obedience, the reward will be great.

I want to share a page out of Frances J. Roberts', Come Away My Beloved. You may recognize some of this as I have shared bits and pieces over this past year. But here, in its entirety, is Quiet Pool:

Wait upon Me.
Let your life be as a deep, quiet pool.
Let your heart rest in My hand as a bird in a nest.
Let your eyes be still. Let your hands be free.
For then I shall fill all your vision, and then I shall take your hands into Mine and My power shall flow forth into you.

If you would only make yourself a place apart, yes, removed from the pressure and turmoil, and there I will meet you. Yes, I wait for your coming. For I long to pour out My blessings upon you, and I long to give you My fullness.

Only be still before Me.

Never let the toils and cares of the day rob you of this sweet fellowship with Me.

For I know what you need, and I am concerned about your duties and responsibilities. You will find your cares vanish, and your load is lightened by an unseen hand. I would have you bring Me your love, and even as you are bringing Me your love, I shall in turn bring to you My power, so that I work for you in a twofold measure.

I will give you the power to discharge your duties with greater efficiency. I am actively engaged in working for you in ways you cannot see, to make your path clear, and to bring about things you could never accomplish, and which would otherwise absorb your energies and wear out your patience.

So I say again...Rest in Me. Wait upon Me.
Come apart with Me. Seek My face. Seek My fellowship.

My answer to Him is, "Yes, Lord. I'm coming."
Will you join me?

Father, Forgive us for being so deaf to Your voice beckoning us to come. Stir up hunger and thirst for Your Word within us. Stir up a fresh love, a fresh relationship. We love You, Lord - for that there is no doubt. But the cares of the world sway us and distract us, robbing us of precious time with You. Please take the indifference from us and open our eyes to see Your face. We want to sit at Your feet, drink from the cup in Your hand and feel Your heartbeat. We want to know You more! We want our praise to be a sweet aroma to You. Hear our cry O Lord for we want to bless You and honor You with our lives. Thank You Lord. You, alone, are worthy of our praise.
If you received Morning Glory via email, please go to the Morning Glory page to experience Kari Jobe's song, The More I Seek You. I would love for you to leave a comment while you are there. Sweet blessings to you!