Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Scriptures of Encouragment ~ Safe Thus Far

A shaft of sunlight burst through the storm clouds, streaking radiance through the sanctuary window. I felt its warmth move across my shoulder as the congregation stood and lifted voices in song:

"Through many dangers, toils, and snares, I have already come;
 'Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
 And grace will lead me home."

The words on the page came alive. My lips continued to move through the words, but my spirit caught its breath. The Spirit of God rose within me and gave me understanding. Grace. God's grace...a gift too deep for words.

I thought of Christmas morning. Love and laughter filled our home. Little boys and big boys ran around engaged in a nerf-gun fight creating the grace-filled chaos of family.  We all got tickled to find gifts like Pringles and peanuts, homemade cookies and hot chocolate mix, under the tree - anything I could buy with emergency food stamps. 

Just a few days earlier I had wept the entire day. Disillusionment met failed expectations. Fear of "less than" met an empty bank account. But then God's grace poured out and wiped my tears and I moved forward holding His hand, only to welcome Christmas day with a home filled with laughter and love. I learned the lesson of CHRISTmas.

Grace. God's grace.

"For the Lord God is a sun and shield; 
The Lord will give grace and glory; 
No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly."
 ~ Psalm 84:11

My thoughts blurred through the joyful tears and returned to the words of this familiar hymn:

"The Lord has promised good to me, His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be 
As long as life endures."

Dear one, cling to the One who loves you. Seek Him and you will find Him. Draw near to Him and He will draw near to you, for you are loved.

God's grace has brought us safe thus far and His grace will lead us home.

Photo credit:www.wallsave.com
Tweetables to Encourage Others 

Grace. God's grace...a gift too deep for words. (Click to tweet) 

Fear of "less than" met an empty bank account. But then God's grace...(Click to tweet)

If you received Morning Glory via email, please visit the Morning Glory  page. I'm featuring Fernando Ortega singing, "Jesus, King of Angels". It is simply beautiful and is sure to calm a restless spirit, bringing you peace.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

How Do I Find God? Sunday Glimpses

Father God, Thank You for Your presence. Open our eyes to see You in our midst. Teach us to rest - to cease our striving and "fixing". Either we believe You are God, or we don't. I choose to believe, Lord. I believe You are Sovereign. I believe You have all authority over my life. And I believe that nothing comes my way without Your knowledge. Be glorified in me, Lord. Teach me Your eternal purposes. Because You are good, because You are God, I trust You. You are merciful and kind, faithful and true. I love You, Lord.

Photo credit: all-free-download.com
Would you like for me to pray for you? Please don't carry your burdens alone. You may contact me directly at nan@jubilantlight.com

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Scriptures of Encouragement ~ A River of Weariness Meets Joy

The stars shone crisp against the inky sky. A chill in the air wrapped around me, teasing me with its accompanying shivers, but I didn't care. I stood mesmerized. Pulling my hands out of my pockets, I clasped them to my chest, slowly tilted my head back and stared with awe at the night sky. 

It was Christmas Eve.

Oh, Lord! Could the night You were born have been anything like this?

The air was still. Silent. But I heard music deep within my spirit. It was the words of a familiar Christmas carol:

Oh holy night! The stars are brightly shining. 
It is the night of the dear Savior's birth! 
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Til he appeared and the soul felt its worth

A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices, 
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!...

Oh my goodness! The Lord reminded me of the tears from the day before - tears of stress. Tears of "less than". Tears of...weariness. Yes, that was it. I cried a river of weariness.

But, under this starlit sky, a peace that passes all understanding washed over me. My soul felt its worth in the arms of my Savior. I could rise above the weariness and rejoice - truly rejoice because the Light of Christ was shining brightly in my darkness.

Is your world weary? Are you at your wit's end?

"Through the tender mercy of our God, 
with which the Dayspring [Messiah] from on high has visited us; 
to give light to those who sit in darkness 
and the shadow of death, 
to guide our feet into the way of peace." 
~ Luke 1:78,79

He is with us. Jesus - Immanuel - has drenched our darkness with the glorious Light of the presence of God. In the face of Jesus is the Glory of God. He is with us. He is for us. He preserves us, and upholds us, and sustains us with His love.

I put my hands back in my pockets and searched the heavens with an awakened heart. Lord, open my eyes that I might see and know the power of Your love. I imagined the stable with its heavenly light. I imagined the cry of the infant Jesus. And I imagined the exultant Gloria Deos ringing out across the heavens - a cacophony of joy. God's presence warmed me, reassured me, and gave me strength for the journey.

The weary world rejoices! Yes, and amen.


Jesus has drenched our darkness with the glorious Light of the presence of God. (Click to Tweet)

The weary world rejoices! Yes, and amen. (Click to Tweet)
If you received Morning Glory via email, please visit the Morning Glory  page. I'm featuring a music video of Josh Groban singing "O Holy Night" while the listener views film footage from the movie, "The Nativity Story". Sure to pull some heartstrings!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Scriptures of Encouragement ~ How Can This Be?

by Michael W. Smith

Son of God, pure as light.
Lord on high is here tonight,
Stepping through this sacred sky.
Suddenly our eyes behold,
Heavens perfect plan unfold.
Son of God.

Son of God, love divine.
Timeless One, steps in to die.
Who could dream of such a thing?
With us now, the King of kings.

Men and angels sing!
Singing Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
We're singing Gloria Hallelujah!
We're singing Gloria Hallelujah!

Our God is with us.

"Then Mary said to the angel, 'How can this be, since I do not know a man?' And the angel answered and said to her, 'The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also that holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.'" ~ Luke 1:34, 35

Father God, What an amazing God You are! We love You, Lord. Thank You for Your gift of Jesus - YOUR Word made flesh so that we might know and understand who You are. Thank You for pursuing us with Your love. Awaken our hearts to love You, Lord. Open our eyes to see You in our midst. Blessed be the Name of the Lord
I want to wish each of you a very Merry Christmas! Thank you for your faithfulness to read the words of my heart and for your generosity of love, prayers, and encouragement. Sweet blessings to you! Nan
If you received Morning Glory via email, please visit the Morning Glory  page. I'm featuring the music video of Michael W. Smith singing Son of God. It is an opportunity to worship the Lord on this crazy busy day. This song is amazing. 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

How Do I Find God? Sunday Glimpses

Jesus, I need Your peace, Your perfect peace, Your peace that the world cannot take away. Thank You for Your peace. Thank You for giving me the understanding that You, Yourself are my peace. How amazing is that? The Prince of Peace resides in me! Lord, open my eyes to see! Awaken my heart to embrace this Truth. My peace is not dependent on my circumstances - not if You're my peace. And You are. Peace is a gift. I need only to open the gift and accept it - not try to figure it out - just accept it, embrace it, and walk in it as I hold Your hand and walk with You. Thank You, Lord. Your peace is eternal. Your peace has been bought with a price just for me. Thank You for Your gift. I love You Jesus. Forgive me for when I take my eyes off of You.
Are you heavy-laden this Christmas? Please don't carry your burden alone. I would be honored to pray with you. You may contact me directly at nan@jubilantlight.com

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Scriptures of Christmas ~ Gifts of Worship

The camels plodded along the stoney trail. With every step, dust from the dry and thirsty land blurred the edges of their hooves. The night sky, vast and translucent, held the veil between heaven and earth. Stars, like sequins, glimmered. A silence wrapped the Magi in a holy hush - a knowing, a pondering of the faithfulness of their God.

Steady they went; the star in the east their compass. Its brilliant light-beams cascaded over the earth beckoning these men of wisdom and insight and worship to seek the Newborn King. Saddlebags draped over jewel-toned blankets, bulged with gifts fit for the long awaited Christ Child. Gifts befitting royalty. Gifts of worship.

From the crest of the hill overlooking the valley below, the Magi searched the heavens. And there it was! The sign! The cascading light-beams from the brilliant star touched the earth, pointing to the Messiah. Shouts of joy rang across the land as the men proclaimed their journey's end. Hearts raced with anticipation. Spirits leaped within from the overpowering Presence of God.

The men of wisdom bolted towards the Light, dismounted, and doubled over in awe. Tears streamed. Smiles beamed. And their knees fell hard against the earth as they bowed in worship before their King.

One by one the Magi unwrapped their gifts for Jesus. 
One by one the gifts reflected God's perfect plan.

Gold. The royalty of Jesus. A gift befitting the King of kings.

Frankincense. The priestly role of Jesus. The sweet aroma drifting from the altar of incense in the Tabernacle where prayer flowed to the Father. Resin harvested by stripping the bark from the tree in a process called striping. The resin flows from the wounds, hardens, and is deemed the tears of the tree.

Myrrh. The anointing oil for Jesus' death. Resin from a small, thorny tree. The tree is beaten repeatedly to cause the the resin to bleed out. Myrrh was used to embalm the dead.

Like Mary, I ponder these things of God. I find myself awestruck at the intricacies of His plan of salvation - the complexities of design and purpose.  I wonder at the sweet aroma created by the prayers of the righteous before the Lord and the fact that the Magi must have realized the significance of their gift being harvested by stripes and tears. I am in awe that myrrh was chosen as the third gift - myrrh, whose very source is laden with thorns and must be beaten to release the fragrant liquid.

I think on Jesus and His touch upon my life.

"Lord, I cry out to You; 
Make haste to me! Give ear to my voice when I cry out to You. 
Let my prayer be set before You as incense, 
the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice." 
~ Psalm 141:2

As I seek the Christ Child this Christmas, dust from my dry and thirsty land blurs each step. But, I seek Him still. His Word is a lamp unto my feet, a brilliant light cascading from heaven pointing directly to Him. I cry out to Him, my prayers a sweet aroma, pleasing and acceptable to the Lord because He loves me. 

And because He loves me, I will worship Him.

I will worship and adore Him because He is the Lord.

Tweetables to Encourage Others

The night sky, vast & translucent, held the veil between heaven & earth. (Click to tweet)

Because He loves me, I will worship Him. (Click to Tweet)

If you received Morning Glory via email, please visit the Morning Glory  page to worship with Amy Grant as she sings, "Breath of Heaven". The video features actual footage from the movie, The Nativity Story. Oh. My. Goodness!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Scriptures of Encouragement ~ Gaining Christ at Christmas

I snuggled under the woven afghan - the one that reads, "The Lord Is My Peace". (Yes, seriously it says that and I love it.) The den was dark except for the Christmas lights on the tree and the glow of white lights under the snow of our Christmas village. A candle twinkled beside the manger scene, illuminating the reminder that God is now with us.

The house was quiet. I basked in the solitude and pondered the things of God. My eyes focused on the Christ Child lying in His manger as the flickering candle cast shadows that bobbed in and out of the soft glow in the room.

Jesus. Immanuel. God with us.

How can we fully comprehend this? Is it possible? I cry out often, "Lord, open the eyes of my heart to understand the gift of Your love," and He does - a little bit at a time. Perhaps to gain the full knowledge all at once would be more than we could handle. Perhaps it's in the journey that the understanding comes.

As I looked on the Christ Child lying there before me, I thought about the Apostle Paul. He said to the Church at Philippi, "Yet, indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ."

counted ALL the things he lost as rubbish because it meant he had gained Christ. Wow!

I'm beginning to understand this. Remember? Maybe it's in the journey that the understanding comes?

I'm learning that the world can take away my job. It can take away my insurance, my health, my home, but it can never take away my Jesus. He is mine and I am His and nothing can ever change that. And in that knowledge, I have everything I need. I have peace that money cannot buy, I have joy that makes no sense and resonates deep within, I am complete - there is no broken place that the Spirit of God cannot and has not infused with His glorious Presence. And in those moments I break down and weep, I have a God who comes near, holds me, and tenderly wipes away the tears.

Can I put a price on these gifts of love? Can I count their worth?

I love what Peter said:

"In this you greatly rejoice, 
though now for a little while, if need be, 
you have been grieved by various trials, 
that the genuineness of your faith, 
being much more precious than gold that perishes, 
though it is tested by fire 
may be found to praise, honor, and glory 
at the revelation of Jesus Christ." 
~ 1 Peter 1:6,7

The Message paints a powerful picture of this same verse: "Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine. When Jesus wraps this all up, it's your faith, not your gold that God will have on display as evidence of His victory."

Isn't that good?

I pulled the afghan up closer around my chin. My thoughts settled around me like my daddy's arms when I was a child.

"What can I bring You, sweet baby Jesus? I'll bring you my heart."

Photo Credit: www.smscs.com

If you received Morning Glory via email, please visit the Morning Glory  page to worship with Michael Card as he sings, "Immanuel, God Is With Us!" The imagery used will touch your spirit and give you strength for the journey.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

How Do I Find God? Sunday Glimpses

Father God, teach us to behold You - to consider You, to contemplate Your goodness. Teach us to sit with You and learn of Your ways. Forgive us for the mere glance we make in Your direction as we busy ourselves with Your birthday celebration. Forgive us for the stench of busyness, when it forgoes our time to behold You. Lord, I see Your light in my darkness. I hear Your whispers, perhaps Your shouts from over the hill trying to get my attention. Help me find my peace in You. Set Your grace on fire towards me and towards my friends who desire the knowledge of Your love, the actuality of Your peace and Presence. Thank You for Your love. Thank You for Your gift of Jesus so that we might know You and walk with You and live with You forever. Through Your gift we find our peace. We are complete in You, Lord. Nothing more, nothing less - in You and You alone. Please stir within us the desire to behold You and find newness of life. You are wonderful, Lord. We give you glory and honor and praise.

Photo credit:  www.culut.com

Please do not carry your burdens alone. I would be honored to pray with you. You may contact me directly at nan@jubilantlight.com
If you received Morning Glory via email, please visit the Morning Glory  page. You will be blessed by Mark Schultz singing "When Love Was Born".

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Scriptures of Encouragement ~ You Belong to Him

I sloshed the dish water with brisk flips of my wrist. Bubbles bubbled. Warm water soothed. The scent of lavender vanilla relaxed the tension infusing my thoughts. 

As I ran the dishcloth over each plate, my mind wandered through the windowpane, over the grassy slope, down to the old apple tree by our shed. Naked branches reached towards the heavens, silhouetted against the setting sun. In that moment, my hands stopped their sloshing. My head turned curiously to the right and I leaned into the counter to get a better look. I could see several small apples hanging in the shadows of the tree - small globes, ornament like.

Yes! Ornaments. Apples making a statement.

These apples were shriveled and brown, but they remained - stoically reminding the world who they are. Apples. Tart, crunchy, mountain apples. 

Even though this is not the season to bear fruit, they are still apples clinging to the apple tree.

And their silhouette appears as an ornament, an adornment, a declaration of God's purpose for their existence.

Tears began to flow freely. Oh, Lord, remind me who I am. Remind me that I belong to You and that my life has purpose, a plan. Remind me that You are with me and You have everything going according to plan. I want my life to be an adornment - a proclamation made from the shadows, stoically refusing to be anything other than what You created me to be - a daughter of the Most High God. Let my life reflect Your glory and Your faithfulness. Restore me, Lord. As I rest in Your shadow, silhouetted against the setting sun, remind me who I am. I am Yours, and You are mine. Yes, Lord, I belong to You.

Dear one, you, too are a child of the Most High God - an heir to His throne. He has an eternity of blessings prepared just for you. When the world screams, "Where is your God?", you can answer with certainty that He is right there with you, holding your hand, comforting your heart, turning your darkness into the brilliant light streaming from His presence. He will never abandon you, nor forsake you. You are His and He is yours.

You belong to Him.

"Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me. If I say, 'Surely the darkness shall cover me,' even the night shall be light about me; Indeed, the darkness is not dark with You, but the night shines as the day; the darkness and the light are both alike to You." ~ Psalm 139:7-12


If you received Morning Glory via email, please visit the Morning Glory  page. I'm featuring Jason Gray singing, "Remind Me Who I Am". If you've never heard this song, you are in for a treat - an awesome reminder that you belong to the Most High God.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Scriptures of Holiness ~ Like Cut-Glass Prisms

As winter settles in with the deep freeze of an arctic blast, my spirit stands strong against its own blast of harsh, frigid, raw emotions.

The similarities astound me.

Our mountain ridges glisten with a coat of ice. Brittle branches that venture away from the sturdy trunk creak and crack with the wind. Foliage bends under the crushing weight.

And yet, arresting beauty is before me.

Glowing ice casings enclose the smallest of twigs. Like cut-glass, the ice reflects the light breaking through the clouds. Prisms of rainbow color proclaim the glory of the Lord...in the storm. In the destruction. Beneath the crushing weight.

I'm learning my spirit is like the fragile branch robed in ice. My spirit is sealed - enclosed - in the Holy Spirit. Kept. Secure. Like delicate cut-glass reflecting a prism of rainbow colors, the harsh, raw emotions transform in His Presence. His beauty abounds. His purposes are made known.

I am at peace.

"It's God's breath that forms the ice, 
it's God's breath that turns lakes and rivers solid. 
And yes, it's God who fills clouds with rainwater 
and hurls lightning from them every which way. 
He puts them through their paces - first this way, then that - 
commands them to do what He says all over the world. 
Whether for discipline or grace or extravagant love, 
He makes sure they make their mark." 
~ Job 37:10-13

The ice storm rode on the breath of God, under His guidance.

The breath of God sustains my life. His Spirit enfolds me, calms me and, like the ice storm, His Spirit brings beauty from destruction. Like cut-glass prisms, my life, too, will proclaim glory to the Lord. 

And, you know what? Your's will too. There in your ice-laden wilderness, God is waiting for you.

Father, I pray for my friend. I ask that You embrace them with Your love in very personal, tangible ways. Open their eyes to see You in their suffering. Fill them with hope. Pour out Your grace on them so that it's so deep they must swim in it. Use this difficult time for Your glory, for Your eternal purposes. Enlighten the eyes of their hearts to know and understand the depths of Your love. Thank You Lord. Thank You for Your peace, Your mercy, and Your Presence. You are mighty, God. We love You.
If you received Morning Glory via email, please visit the Morning Glory  page. I'm featuring a beautiful music video of Michael Card singing, "Come Lift Up Your Sorrows". Come find the worth of God that only the suffering see...

Sunday, December 8, 2013

How Do I Find God? Sunday Glimpses

Father, You promise us that Your song will be with us in the night. That means so much to me. Thank You. I'm learning that in Your Presence the light of Your love for me permeates my darkness, overtaking it, conquering it, and making it new. Your love transforms the shadows into the Shadow of Your wing. You are my hiding place. You keep me warm and comforted when the winds of my winter season come against me. Thank You for Your comfort and Your reassurance. I praise You, Lord and bless You from the depths of my being. Blessed be the Name of the Lord.

Photo credit: www.w8themes.com
Please do not carry your burdens alone. I'd be honored to pray with you. You may contact me directly at nan@jubilantlight.com.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Scriptures of Christmas ~ Crimson Praise

                      A splash of crimson upon branches bare,
                           Singing praise to the Creator there.
                      The ancient oak, gnarled with age
                           Had succumbed to winter's bitter rage.

                      But the splash of crimson on its branches bare
                           Singing praise to the Creator there,
                      Hopped and fluttered and brought delight;
                           Its songs of joy made all things right.

Crimson's song. Crimson's praise.
                           Crimson Blood, my redemption pays.
                      It came to pass with Emmanuel's birth
                           God with us, peace on earth.

He walked among us bringing love and light.
                           No more darkness, no more night.
                      I cried, "I am His and He is mine!"
                           Branches are we and He the vine.

He the vine? Oh, let it be!
                           He is my life-source sustaining me.
                      When winter rages and life becomes torn
                           Hold fast the day my Savior was born.

When branches are bare and gnarled from strife
                           When despair seeps in because of life.
                      Look up! Look up! Find the Crimson there
                           Singing praise...
                                    bringing hope...
                                              to your world of care.

"You are a chosen generation, 
a royal priesthood, a holy nation, 
His own special people, 
that you may proclaim the praises of Him 
who called you out of darkness 
into His marvelous light!" 
~ 1 Peter 2:9

Father God, You are with me...You are with us...HALLELUJAH! Thank You for making a way for us to know You and to walk with You on this earth. Thank You. We take the Blood of Jesus for granted sometimes - I know I do. It's so familiar. It's common Christian lingo. But, God, what a gift of love. Thank You for Your gift. Awaken our hearts this Christmas season to acknowledge Your sacrifice once again. In our suffering, help us find Your fellowship of intimacy with Your hurting child. Thank You, Lord. We praise You, Lord. You alone are worthy of our praise. You are wonderful, Lord.
If you received Morning Glory via email, please visit the Morning Glory page. Maybe you could spend a few minutes in the Presence of the Lord as Kari Jobe sings, "O The Blood". I know it will give you the wings of eagles to rise above the storm and give you strength for the journey. Blessings to you sweet friends!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Scriptures of Encouragement ~ Preserved in the Shadows

In the cool of shade, in the shadows of the north-facing slopes, the snow remains. Meadow brush, brown from winter's chill, surrounds the small blanket of white. The shadow's edge is blurred, but the contrast of winter brown against the glistening strength of heaven's white is sharp. Distinct.

As if a beam of Light broke through the veil of heaven carrying whispers of insight, I understood. I thought of my winter season. I thought of the shadows, and I remembered the barren brown of winter.

But my focus became the strength of heaven's white.

Isn't it interesting that the snow is preserved in the shadows, regardless of the heat of day?

Like the preserved strength of heaven's white, is it possible that the heart of thankfulness - the continued acknowledgement of God's grace - occurs when we abide in the shadow of His Presence? Is it possible that the recognition of His love coming down into our broken places is preserved when we remain close to Him?

"At this also my heart trembles, and leaps from its place.
    Hear attentively the thunder of His voice, 
And the rumbling that comes from His mouth. 
    He sends it forth under the whole heaven, 
His lightning to the ends of the earth. 
    After it a voice roars; 
He thunders with His majestic voice, 
    And He does not restrain them when His voice is heard. 
God thunders marvelously with His voice; 
    He does great things which we cannot comprehend. 
For He says to the snow, 'Fall on the earth'; 
    Likewise to the gentle rain and the heavy rain of His     
He seals the hand of every man, 
    That all men may know His work." ~ Job 37:1-7

does great things which we cannot comprehend. He sees our need, and sends His grace. He sees our pain, and sends His gentle love. He sees our weakness and sends His strength from heaven.

Grace. Love. Strength.

All preserved in the cool of shade, in the shadow of His Presence where the glistening strength of heaven's white is sharp and distinct against winter's barren brown.

If you received Morning Glory via email, please visit the Morning Glory  page. I found a new song (to me, at least) called "Love Comes Down" by Kerrie Roberts. I think you'll love it!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

How Do I Find God? Sunday Glimpses

Father, Your love still amazes me. Forgive me for when I take it for granted. You are teaching me that no matter what is going on in my little world - even when it feels like You've abandoned me - Your love is steadfast. I can depend on Your love. You are merciful and true. You are good, Lord. So good. Thank You. Thank You for Your love that holds me close, that binds up my wounds, that gives me hope for a better tomorrow. You are an awesome God. Hide me in the shelter of Your wing until these calamities pass me by. Hold me close so I can hear Your heart beat steady and sure, reflecting Your love and Your mighty power. Open my ears so I can hear Your sweet whispers of love and reassurance. I trust You, Lord - really, I do. Thank You for showing Yourself on my behalf. I love You, Lord.

Photo Credit: www.gdefon.com
Are you facing a trial that is overwhelming you? I would be honored to pray for you. You may contact me at nan@jubilantlight.com