Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Finding God's Presence ~ Notes of Grace

by Nan Jones   @NanJonesAuthor

I'm honored to feature my friend Marcie Bridges as a guest blogger today. She is a poet extraordinaire, a devoted follower of Jesus, and a vessel being used for His glory. Marcie shared this poem with me last week and I scooped it up as fast as I could. Its words are rich. True. Thought-provoking. They resonate deep within me as I hold fast to the Lord's hand and crawl inch by inch out of a pit of miry clay. Isn't His grace amazing? Yes, simply amazing


There is a grace that flows on notes
whispered in love. Floating from
skies that lash and rainbows arc
mysteries we see only in the dark.
You might not feel it, might not
know it. It comes in ragged flashes
a spark that dies then comes back to
life. It jolts. It beckons. It draws us
toward something we knew deep
down existed but never wanted to
explore. The cavernous hole that
empties into our toes. Grace gently,
softly, releases as red and gold leaves
fill the void of the grass on the lawn.
Hush, hush, settle down. Life is too short
and guilt too long to stay hidden
in the clouds. Grace extends its arms
and soothes the parts that feel too
raw, decayed and dead. Winter is over,
Spring renews and herein lies our
hearts. Our buried secrets. Our ugly
parts. Whispers of love flow down
and grace, yes, grace is there to
pick us up and help us lay our burdens

~Marcell Warner Bridges
©27 September 2014

Thank you so much Marcie. This is beautiful.

I'm praying for you my sweet friends. I'm praying that you will be bathed deeply in God's love today. I'm praying that grace will beckon you to its shelter. I'm praying that grace will pick you up and help you lay your burden down.

"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 

Tweetables to Encourage Others


Learn More About 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/


If you received Morning Glory via email, please visit the Morning Glory page. I'm featuring a young woman named Hayley Westenra singing Amazing Grace and it is amazing!!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Where Is God? Sunday Glimpses

by Nan Jones   @NanJonesAuthor

Lord, I yearn to be holy as You are holy. I yearn to live a life that glorifies You in all things, that casts away the influence of the world and dwells richly in You. I want the Light of Jesus to shine brightly in me, to dispel the darkness clouding the lives of those around me. I know to bear fruit, the seed must first die. I know to become a vessel for Potter, the clay must be pliable in His hands, molded, shaped, and placed in the Refiner's fire. These things I know. I ask for the continued courage to submit to the work of Your hands. Awaken my heart to love You fully. Earnestly. With fervency. 

I pray for my friends who find themselves in the Refiner's fire also. Though the flames be hot, we will not be burned. Your eye is upon us while in the fire to shelter us from harm, to only allow the impurities of spirit to burn away. I love the reward of having gone through the fire - the reward of knowing You intimately, the reward of abiding in the Presence of a Holy, magnificent God. That is astounding, Lord. Your pursuit of us astounds me also - how You never give up on us, how You are so tender in Your ways towards us, yet so fierce in Your protection of us. How can we thank You for such love? Such grace? 

Draw my friends close. Stir up a hunger within them to know You more, to seek Your face knowing that when they seek You with a whole heart, they will find You. I have found You, Lord and my life will never be the same. Thank You from the bottom of my heart. You are wonderful, faithful and true. I love you, Lord.

Tweetables to Encourage Others

WHERE IS GOD? SUNDAY GLIMPSES @NanJonesAuthor leads you by the hand. (Click to Tweet)

Do you want to know God more? SUNDAY GLIMPSES might help. (Click to Tweet)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Finding God's Presence ~ Let Go. Into the Purposes of God

by Nan Jones   @NanJonesAuthor

It was the unthinkable.

A mother's heart torn. Absolute anguish. A baby boy cries incessantly while being lowered in a bulrush basket through the tall, swaying reeds into the great Nile.

To save his life, the mother had to let Moses go.

Let go. Into the purposes of God.

I'm learning to let go. To trust fully in my God. In His sovereignty. His mercy. His love. I'm learning to let go so that I might live. My circumstance - my marriage - is out of my hands. It's bigger than me and oh so frail. The devastation of a filthy affair seeks to destroy me along with my marriage. But this I know: it will not destroy me.

"So Pharoah commanded all his people, saying, 'Every son who is born you shall cast into the river, and every daughter you shall save alive.' And a man of the house of Levi went and took as wife a daughter of Levi. So the woman conceived and bore a son. And when she saw that he was a beautiful child, she hid him three months. But when she could no longer hide him, she took an ark of bulrushes for him, daubed it with asphalt and pitch, put the child in it, and laid it in the reeds by the river's bank." ~ Exodus 1:22-2:1-3

Pharoah's plan of destruction was death by river.

God's plan of purpose was life by river.

What Satan means for evil, the Lord God will use for good.

The very thing Pharoah thought would destroy the children of God was the very thing the Lord God used to save Moses and ultimately His people. The very thing! Does that take away the anguish his mother felt? No, and neither does it take away my anguish. But does that remind me that greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world? Yes and amen.

I trust the Lord.

Even when I don't understand what He's doing or how He will reconfigure a life after horrible choices made, I still trust Him. He is a good God. He is faithful. He sees all, knows all, and weaves the horror beget by selfishness with His amazing grace and produces a beautiful woven cloth of purpose.

Moses' mother rushed away from the riverbank, holding her face in her hands, tears streaking uncontrollably. Her anguish surrendered to the peace that wanted to rise - the peace born of trusting the Lord.

The peace from letting go.

A Tweetable to Encourage Others

Do you need to let go of something or someone? @NanJonesAuthor can help you. (Click to Tweet)

If you received Morning Glory via email, please visit the Morning Glory  page. I'm featuring a fantastic song by Hillsong called, "Glorious Ruins." Wow! It's great.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Finding God's Presence ~ Smudges and All

by Nan Jones   @NanJonesAuthor

The periwinkle blue of the sky winked at me through the panes of glass. Branches of oak and elm boogied in the breeze - the gentle blowing breeze coming up over the ridge. Cool mountain air streamed in through open windows guarded by screens, smudged a little with the need to be cleaned. I experienced the fall day from afar - I could see it. I could feel it. I could smell it. And yet, as long as I stayed inside my home there were barriers to its beauty.

I think the Lord is like that. We can see Him. We can smell the sweet aroma of His Presence. We know the cool breeze when He is near and yet we maintain the barriers that keep us at a safe distance. A distance that forbids intimacy. A distance that forbids devotion.

But in the distance we miss His glory. The beauty of His holiness is right there. Through the dirty window panes. Through the screen that separates. Beyond the veil. But we miss it when we fail to see and know that just as He is in us, we are also in Him. We are surrounded by His presence.

Jesus said, "Abide in Me, and I will abide in you."

I'm learning to look beyond myself to see the Lord all about me. How else could I abide in Him? I can see His majesty and His power. I can sense His wonder in the beauty of creation - His attention to details that most certainly overflows into my life. I'm trying to understand His holiness, because it is His holiness that sets Him apart as the One True God, and it is His love that covers us in a robe of righteousness that we might be holy also. But is it His holiness that we use to keep ourselves at a distance? How could a holy, magnificent God want to engage with us throughout the day?

That takes me back to the screen and the dirty window pane.

I don't want to view the Lord through a veil of smudged window panes. He doesn't see the smudges that I use to separate myself from Him. He sees the robe of righteousness placed gently on my shoulders by Jesus.

But I see the smudges.

And it breaks my heart.

I cry out to the Lord to draw me closer, to press through the deceiver's lies. The lies that tell me I cannot or should not believe that I can dwell richly with Elohim, the Creator of the Universe because of imperfections in my life. The lies that tell me I'm not worthy to be loved by such a great God. The lies ... yes, the lies. Pure and simple.

But here's the Truth:

"We all with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory just as by the Spirit of the Lord." ~ 2 Corinthians 3:18

That means no more smudges. No more screens that separate.

No more lies.

It means running to His embrace - His holy, magnificent, tender embrace. 

Smudges and all.

A Tweetable to Encourage Others

How could a holy, magnificent God want to engage with me? @NanJonesAuthor offers insight. (Click to Tweet)

If you received Morning Glory via email, please visit the Morning Glory page for a special blessing. I'm featuring Addison Road singing, "What Do I Know of Holy". I think it will bless you and strengthen you for the journey.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Where Is God? Sunday Glimpses

by Nan Jones   @NanJonesAuthor

Blessed be Your Name, O God! Blessed be Your Name. For You are the great God, the Maker of heaven and earth, and yet You comfort me and take personally every tear I shed. I'm humbled by that thought. Humbled and reassured. Your love sustains me. It blankets me with a peace that only You can give in the midst of daunting and painful circumstances. For that I am grateful. Your Presence means everything to me.

Many are the afflictions of the righteous, Lord. The righteous. Your children. And yet, You carry us through them all. You do not abandon us. You deliver us and bring restoration and healing. I bring my friends before Your throne of grace. As we bow together before You, I ask that You receive our offering of  bruised and weary hearts. We offer this anguish to You because we trust that in Your perfect love You will make all things new. Through our crushing we trust You will illuminate the evidence of Yourself in our lives. Comfort my friends. Fill them with hope. Sustain them with Your strength. Thank You Lord. Thank You for responding when we call out to You. Thank You for Your faithfulness. You are an amazing God.

Tweetables to Encourage Others

Where is God when my world falls apart? @NanJonesAuthor offers a glimpse. (Click to Tweet)

Through our crushing we trust You will illuminate the evidence of Yourself in our lives. (Click to Tweet)

Please don't carry your burdens alone. If you would like personal prayer, feel free to contact me directly at nan@jubilantlight.com

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Finding God's Presence ~ Break Free the Shackles

by Nan Jones   @NanJonesAuthor

I found myself fighting discouragement this morning. Determined not to surrender to its torments, I put on some praise music, an assortment from Pandora radio. I know in my knower that praise will break the shackles that keep us bound, but sometimes we prefer the pity-party. Can I get an amen? 

I pushed through and heeded the voice of the Lord.

This is how He blessed me:

All the Way My Savior Leads Me
by Chris Tomlin
(original lyrics by Fanny J. Crosby, 1875)

All the way my Savior leads me.
Who have I to ask beside?
How could I doubt His tender mercy,
Who through life has been my guide?

All the way my Savior leads me,
Cheers each winding path I tread,
Gives me grace for every trial,
Feeds me with the living Bread.

You lead me and keep me from falling,
You carry me close to Your heart.
And surely Your goodness and mercy will follow me.

All the way my Savior leads me.
O, the fullness of His love!
O, the sureness of His promise
In the triumph of His blood!
And when my spirit clothed immortal
Wings its flight to realms of day,
This my song through endless ages
Jesus led me all the way.
Jesus led me all the way.

All the way my Savior leads me
All the way my Savior leads me

Sweet tears fell and dampened my cheeks. The Presence of the Lord surrounded me with comfort and peace. How precious is our Savior?

Dear one, are you, too, walking through a season of brokenness? Is Your heart overwhelmed with despair or justifiable anger and disbelief? This I know: Our God is a sure place, a constant. His love knows no bounds. His grace is more than enough. Really.

But we must choose to let Him into our struggle. He won't barge in uninvited - He stands ready to help us, to strengthen us.

How could we ever doubt His tender mercy?

"For the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them
 and lead them to living fountains of waters. 
And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes." 
~ Revelation 7:17 

Tweetables to Encourage Others

Where is God in your brokenness? @NanJonesAuthor offers hope. (Click to Tweet)

This I know: Our God is a sure place, a constant. His love knows no bounds. (Click to Tweet)

If you received Morning Glory via email, please visit the Morning Glory  page to hear the song that inspired this post, "All the Way My Savior Leads Me" by Chris Tomlin. I pray it blesses you as much as it did me.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Finding God's Presence ~ Mercy, Goodness, and All Things Darkness

by Nan Jones   @NanJonesAuthor

Gravel crunched beneath my feet as I walked with my face to the afternoon sun. A thought kept circling through my mind: surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. It dropped out of nowhere, so I knew to pay attention. I knew in my spirit the Lord wanted to teach me something. So on I walked, pondering His words.

The sun was a bright shining beacon before me. I was vastly aware of its light. Then I became aware of the shadow it produced - the shadow of myself following every move I made. If I stepped left, the shadow followed. To the right, the shadow was right there. Even when I stood still, the shadow remained because of the light of the sun.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life...
  • The Lord Himself is good.
  • Mercy is His steadfast, unfailing love - the love born of covenant. 
  • The idea of following is to pursue, to follow after.

So, the Lord Himself, with His unfailing love, pursues me all the days of my life, just as He pursues you. He is with us on the mountaintops and He is with us through the deepest valleys. The darkest of dark. The vilest of vile. He is with us.

                                 "For You are my lamp, O Lord; 
                         The Lord shall enlighten
my darkness 
                                        ~ 2 Samuel 22:29

What a beautiful thought: Even in the darkness, there is light. 

The Light of His presence. 
The Light of His goodness. 
The Light of His love.

Blessed be the Name of the Lord.

Tweetables to Encourage Others
Where is God in my darkness? @NanJonesAuthor helps you find Him. (Click to Tweet)

How does God light up my darkness? @NanJonesAuthor offers insight. (Click to Tweet)

If you received Morning Glory via email, please visit the Morning Glory  page for a special treat. Do you remember the song, "Surely Goodness & Mercy Shall Follow Me" that was popular in the 70s and 80s? Well this is a reggae version!! The singer is Israel Houghton. I think you'll love it.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Where Is God? Sunday Glimpses

by Nan Jones   @NanJonesAuthor

Father God, You are so good, You are so faithful to all generations. Your holiness astounds me. Your might, coupled with Your great love, makes me feel safe and at peace. I trust You Lord. Even when I detest my circumstances, I trust You because You are good and because You love me. 

Thank You for teaching me to focus on You - to see You - instead of the mountain before me. But also, I'm so appreciative You are teaching me that the mountain looming ahead leads me to You. So, even when the way is hard, even when the path is steep and covered with stones, the path leads me to Your throne on high, when and if I embrace You in my pain. Thank You for such insight, Lord. I love Your mercy. 

I pray for my friends who are stumbling on the rocky, steep path. Open their eyes to see You with them. Help them feel the touch of Your hand on theirs guiding, protecting, and catching them when they fall. Teach us all to keep our minds stayed on You, Lord and not on our circumstances, not just in righteous rhetoric, but in actuality - to really discipline our mind and thoughts to remain on You. You are teaching me that this is a key to survival when the fire is hot and the torments of the enemy are relentless. 

Yes, Lord, You are the Mighty God, the Maker of heaven and earth, and yet You know me by name. Thank You for Your great love and for Your strength when I am oh so weak. You are precious Lord. I love You with all that I am.

Tweetables to Encourage Others

Where is God when life overwhelms? @NanJonesAuthor offers insight. (Click to Tweet)

Lord, You are the Mighty God, the Maker of heaven & earth, & yet You know me by name. (Click to Tweet)

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

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Finding God's Presence ~ Healing Comes in the Giving

by Nan Jones   @NanJonesAuthor

Hot water showered down across my naked body, my raped soul. Anguish deeper than the deepest pit ravished me. Consumed me. Betrayal had carved a cavernous hole in my heart that only the Lord could fill...if I would let Him.

Salty tears dripped into my mouth with each miserable cry. How could I go on? How could I possibly walk in the path the Lord has called me to - the one of helping Christian women struggling with their faith because life is so hard? 

Ironic, isn't it?

Deep inside me, the Lord whispered, Healing comes in the giving.

"What? I have nothing left to give, Lord. I am depleted, struggling to survive."

Again He spoke, Healing comes in the giving.

His tender words swirled through my mind as I watched the soapy water empty from the tub. I carried them with me in thought as I dressed, grabbed my coffee, and curled up in my rocking chair.

You're not going to believe what happened next!

I opened the pages of my devotional, Streams in the Desert by L.B. Cowman and (are you ready for this?) today's devotional began with Psalm 138:8, "The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me." I just about dropped the book.

It went on to say, "There is a divine mystery in suffering, one that has a strange and supernatural power and has never been completely understood by human reason. No one has ever developed a deep level of spirituality or holiness without experiencing a great deal of suffering ... when the suffering has accomplished its blessed ministry ... the pain of the crucifixion has begun to weave itself into a crown...It is in this experience of complete suffering that the Holy Spirit works many miraculous things deep within our soul. In this condition, our entire being lies perfectly still under the hand of God; every power and ability of the mind, will, and heart are at last submissive; a quietness of eternity settles into the entire soul..." (p. 344-345)

Isn't that powerful?

Am I enjoying this season of suffering and turmoil? No. But is the Lord revealing Himself to me through it all? Is He reminding me of His eternal purposes? Yes! As much as I detest the evil that has invaded my home, I know in my knower that the Lord will take the pain and weave it into a miraculous crown for my good and for His glory.

Simply amazing.

I determined today that I will pursue the calling on my life. I will continue to give of myself to help others, and on the days that I desire to remain sobbing while in a fetal position on the floor, I will remember that healing comes in the giving.

Sweet friend, I want the same for you. If God is for us (and He is), then who can be against us? If God is with us (and He is) then we will never walk alone. You are loved by a magnificent God who shelters His child in the midst of the fiercest storms.

He wants to weave your pain into a glorious crown too. Will you offer your pain - your life - to Him? 

Healing comes in the giving.

"Though I walk in the midst of trouble, 
You will revive me; 
You will stretch out Your hand against the wrath of my enemies, 
and Your right hand will save me. 
The Lord will fulfill 
that which concerns me..." 
~ Psalm 138:7-8

A Tweetable to Encourage Others

Where is God in your suffering? @NanJonesAuthor offers encouragement. (Click to Tweet)

If you received Morning Glory via email, please visit the Morning Glory  page, especially if this post resonated with you. I'm featuring Twila Paris singing "I Will Listen." Oh. My. Goodness. I think Twila wrote this song for such a time as this in my life. Maybe yours too.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Finding God's Presence ~ Rest In His Steadfast Love

by Nan Jones   @NanJonesAuthor

I felt the Lord's gentle nudging as I watched the sunrise from the comfort of my porch swing. Another sleepless night had led me to the humble sanctuary - a place of refuge from my troubled thoughts. 

Tangerine currents of His faithfulness flowed through the indigo sky, lighting up diamonds of morning dew throughout the earth. I realized that I expected to watch the sun come up over the mountain ridge. I didn't doubt it for a minute. Never had. The symphony of color always soothed me and reminded me that He is God and I am...well, I am just Nan. 

I found myself lost in the moment.

This is how My love is for you, Nan. Indeed, for all of My children. It is steadfast. Never-changing. You can find rest in the assurance that nothing will ever separate you from My love. Just like the sunrise, My mercies for you are new every morning. Without fail. I will never leave you, nor forsake you. I will carry you through this fierce storm with beauty and grace, with surety and safety. Rest in My steadfast love.

I need this certainty in my life right now. I don't know what to do with circumstances that are sucking the very life out of me. But this I know: If God be for me, who can be against me?

Yes! Sweet friend, if God be for you, who can be against you?

You too, are loved by a merciful, magnificent God. His love is steadfast. Enduring. Stubborn. Relentless. His mercies are new every morning. I promise. Just as the sun comes up over the mountain ridge and the dew refreshes the earth, so His love for us is unwavering. 

The Lord our God is faithful to His children.

 But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear [reverence] Him,
    on those whose hope is in His unfailing love,
 to deliver them from death
    and keep them alive in famine.

 We wait in hope for the Lord;
He is our help and our shield 
In Him our hearts rejoice,
    for we trust in His holy name.
May Your unfailing love be with us, Lord
 even as we put our hope in You. 
~ Psalm 33:18-22, NIV

Tweetables to Encourage Others

Where is God in my chaos? @NanJonesAuthor shares from her life. (Click to Tweet)

The symphony of color reminded me that He is God & I am...well, I am just Nan.(Click to Tweet)

If you received Morning Glory via email, please visit the Morning Glory  page to spend a few minutes allowing the Lord to reassure you with Steven Curtis Chapman singing, "Be Still and Know."