Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Finding God's Presence ~ When He Calls Us To Rest

by Nan Jones   @NanJonesAuthor

I want to thank my faithful readers and visitors for your love and prayers. You are phenomenal in your encouragement, offering me strength for the journey.

I'm stepping away from the Christmas chaos, simplifying my life, and resting in the arms of my Savior for a couple of weeks. I need it desperately. I'll be praying for you and thinking of you - I'm always thinking of my readers. **wink** You're very precious to me.

Take a few moments while you're here to worship along with Elevation Worship in the video below as they sing, "Jesus, I Come". Peruse the archives for nuggets of gold the Lord has shared with me. These messages are all about opening our eyes to see the One who loves us, the One who promises to never leave nor forsake us. Sometimes we feel alone in our struggles, but I've learned that when I feel abandoned by the Lord, that's when He's the closest. What greater time to discover this Truth than through the sunrises and sunsets of the Christmas season.

Oh come let us adore Him!

May I pray for you?

Father, Your love is amazing. It reaches to the highest mountains and softly flows to the lowest valleys, cradling us with Your embrace. Thank You. We rejoice in You, Lord. My friends and I come before You asking that You would anoint us anew with Your joy, with a song in our hearts and a hardy laugh in our bellies. Set us on fire to serve You, Lord. Stir up the realization that You are with us always, holding our hands, carrying us when the journey is too difficult. I pray for those who are seeking Your Truth. Awaken their listening ear to recognize Your sweet whispers of affirmation and acceptance. I know You delight in revealing Yourself to Your children. Open the eyes of my friends to see You in their midst. Fill each of us with the wonder of Christmas. Immerse us in Your Holy Spirit and return to us the joy of our salvation. Lord, we welcome You into our lives. Take control. As we fall to our knees in worship we are struck by the awe of Who You are. Bless You Lord! We praise You for You alone are worthy of our praise. You are the One True God, our Deliverer, Our Savior and Prince of Peace. We love You Lord. Blessed be Your holy Name.

A Tweetable to Encourage Others 

Are you seeking God's Presence this Christmas? @NanJonesAuthor will encourage you. (Click To Tweet)

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Where Is God? Sunday Glimpses

by Nan Jones   @NanJonesAuthor

Father, You are my light and salvation. Of whom shall I be afraid? You are my Rock, my Refuge. You are the Lord of all the earth and worthy of all praise. Bless You, Lord. I lift Your name on high. 

Hide me beneath the shadow of Your wing until these calamities pass me by. Hide my friends as well. So many things are coming against Your children. Struggles. Temptations. Hardships. Our weariness grows, our despair deepens. It's frightening Lord. But then I remember...YOU are my light and my salvation. Of Whom shall I be afraid? Yes and amen! 

You are making this so real in my life. Thank You Lord. Awaken the hearts of my friends to experience this Truth also. What better time to walk in these Truths than at Christmas when we celebrate and remember why You came to earth. You came to be our Light in the darkness. You came to be our salvation. You came to be our peace. Wow, Lord. I'm so appreciative. We rejoice in Your Presence and Your love. We clap our hands at the thought of Your grace. We lift our voices at the thought of Your mercy and faithfulness. You alone are worthy of our praise, Lord. You, alone. 

Help us focus on You this Christmas - the Giver and not the gifts. Make us holy as You are holy. Transform us into Your likeness that we might bring Your light into this world of darkness. Use us for Your glory. Help us bring Your love, joy, and peace into this weary world. Thank You, Lord. We love You with all that we are.

A Tweetable to Encourage Others

How can I find Jesus in the Christmas chaos? @NanJonesAuthor offers a glimpse. (Click to Tweet)

Would you like for me to pray for you? You may contact me directly at nan@jubilantlight.com

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Finding God's Presence ~ Out of The Cold Struggle of Darkness

by Nan Jones   @NanJonesAuthor

Night had fallen. 
In the hearts of men. 
Across the face of the earth.

Out of the cold struggle of darkness came a warm and radiant Light. The embodiment of Almighty God. Immanuel. God with us.

There in a rough-hewn feeding trough, cushioned with hay, blanketed in love, lay the Christ child - the Light of the world.

The Light of the world ... How can it be? How can this tiny baby boy be the Light in our darkness? How will His soft cherub face grow to be the face of righteousness for all of mankind? How could anyone possibly believe He was the Son of God?

I believe those who recognized Immanuel that holy night were those who were searching for Him - searching for Truth. They wanted to know God, know Him intimately, personally. They wanted to walk with Him and talk with Him. Every day. All day.

That's how they recognized the Christ child.

That's how we recognize Him also.

The Lord reveals Himself to those who seek after Him, those who storm heaven with difficult and sometimes obnoxious questions. Our questions honor God because our questions remove all forms of religiosity. Our questions make God a personal God, yet our questions recognize His authority over all the earth.

Christmas has become something it's not. It's not chaotic. It's not commercial. Blingy. Loud. The true spirit of Christmas is still. Quiet. Holy.

The soft cherub face lying on a bed of hay reflected His Father's love in all its glory. His eyes drew others in as they marveled at the miracle within the rustic manger. His eyes still beckon us to come. To know Him. To worship and adore Him. 

It's easy to adore a child.
It's important and life-sustaining to worship our King.

Oh come let us adore Him.

"Fear not, for I am with you; 
Be not dismayed, for I am your God. 
I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, 
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand." 
~ Isaiah 41:10

A Tweetable to Encourage Others

Where is God in my darkness? @NanJonesAuthor offers a glimpse. (Click to tweet)

If you received Morning Glory via email, please visit the Morning Glory  page. I'm featuring a wonderful Christmas song called "Hallelujah! Light Has Come" by BarlowGirl.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Finding God's Presence ~ Can You Hear His Footsteps?

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

A Tweetable to Encourage Others

Can you hear His footsteps? @NanJonesAuthor helps us hear them. (Click to Tweet)

If you received Morning Glory via email, please visit the Morning Glory  page. I'm featuring a fantastic song, "Let Us Adore" sung by Elevation Worship. Wow!!! What a great way to encourage yourself in the Lord today.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Where is God? Sunday Glimpses

by Nan Jones   @NanJonesAuthor

Lord, I so desire to love you with ALL my heart, ALL my soul, and ALL my strength. That is my heart's desire and yet on day's like today my actions do not reflect that desire. Please forgive me for pushing You aside in my thoughts. Please forgive me for pushing You aside to take care of everything else before taking time to sit with You awhile. I'm so sorry. I know that in Your Presence is where I find peace. I know that in quietness I will find strength and courage. I know these things, and yet I allow my flesh to override the desires of my spirit. I offer my praise to You as a sacrifice of thanksgiving - as a recompense for not putting You first this day.

I know I'm not alone in my struggle. I pray for my brothers and sisters who recognize the same conflict and grieve over their choices. Help us to recognize the deception of the heart and stir within us the desire to overcome it. Help us to see Your heart when we willingly push You aside because, in that moment, we feel like other matters are more pressing. Lord, forgive us! Forgive us for putting You on our to-do list. Forgive us for not heeding Your quiet whisper beckoning us to come and sit with You awhile. What an amazing miracle that is! The Lord of the Universe wants to spend time with us. That's amazing. How can we be so obstinate as to hush that voice within? Awaken our hearts to love You more Lord. Reveal Your mercy and grace to us evermore. Become to us as real and necessary as the air we breathe.

You are the Mighty God, our Refuge, and strength. Thank You for Your love and Your faithfulness. We love You, Lord. You are an awesome God.

A Tweetable to Encourage Others

Where is God when I'm overwhelmed? @NanJonesAuthor offers a glimpse. (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, December 4, 2014

Finding God's Presence ~ The Melody Within

by Nan Jones   @NanJonesAuthor

I hooked Blue's leash to his collar and grabbed a jacket. I absolutely had to step out and away for at least a moment. Fresh air would do my restless spirit good. A bit of sunshine might dry my tears.

As Blue and I walked past the meadow and beneath the canopy of pine, a melody played over and over in my spirit. I couldn't recall any words to match the music, but the melody I recognized. Wiping my tears I said, Lord, what is this song? Why have you brought it to my attention?

Blue and I walked a little farther. The fragrance of Christmas trees wafted through the air as one by one they were felled in the nearby fields. Tree workers chattered among themselves. Dried leaves crunched beneath our feet. A stray crow cawed in the distance.

And the melody continued to play.

Blue and I turned to come back home. A cool, crisp breeze came from the north and blew across my face. We stopped. I tilted my head toward heaven and closed my eyes. Deep in my spirit came the words to the melody and I began to sing: 

Breath of heaven, 
Hold me together, 
Be forever near me.
Breath of heaven. 

That was it! Mary's Song, Breath of Heaven was the song rolling around and through my heart.

I stood in awe. Then I remembered more words: 

Breath of heaven, 
Lighten my darkness, 
Pour over me Your holiness,
For You are holy.
Breath of heaven.

Fresh tears streamed down my chilly face. The embrace of God's Presence soothed me and beckoned me to focus on Him once again. I hurried home, anxious to find the song on youtube and search the words for meaning. 

In the song, Mary is overcome with the realization that the Holy Child is within her. The journey is frightening. The burden is great. She questions why the Lord chose her to carry His Son and, if in a world as cold as stone, why must she walk alone? Mary beseeches the Lord to help her be strong.

We, too, carry the Christ Child - the Resurrected Lord - within us. We are called [chosen] to carry His Light into the cold corners of a darkened world. We are called [chosen] to overflow with His love into a broken and hurting world. We are called [chosen] to be holy as He is holy.

But it's difficult, this journey. It's frightening when the way seems confusing and the flesh is weak and everything inside screams for reprieve from the burden of His plan. And yet, like Mary, we walk on in total surrender bathed in trust and wonder because we love our Father God.

He is amazing, isn't He?

I'm thankful for the breath of heaven that breathes new life into His hurting children. I'm thankful for the One who sent His Son Jesus to lighten our darkness and hold us together.

Breath of Heaven, I offer all I am for the mercy of your plan. Help me be strong.

"Thus says God the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread forth the earth and that which comes from it, who gives breath to the people on it, and spirit to those who walk on it: "I, the Lord, have called You in righteousness, and will hold Your hand; I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the  people...'" ~ Isaiah 42:5-6


A Tweetable to Encourage Others

Where is God when the journey is hard? @NanJonesAuthor offers hope and healing. (Click to Tweet)

Many have commented on the photography I use for my posters. My friend, Mid Stutsman is the gifted photographer. She has recently created calendars and cards with her work and powerful writing. These are being sold at her cost plus postage. For more information you may visit Mid's facebook page at Mid Stutsman or write her at midspoint@hotmail.com. Christmas is just around the corner. Just sayin'...


If you received Morning Glory via email, please visit the Morning Glory  page for a special treat. I found an interpretive dance performed to Mary's Song, Breath of Heaven. It's powerful! You might want to have some tissues handy.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Finding God's Presence ~ The Imperfect Christmas Tree

by Nan Jones   @NanJonesAuthor

I stood on a chair to attach a rough-hewn star - a handmade gift from my son - to the top of our tree. Minutes earlier we had traipsed through the Christmas tree field next to our house. This year I looked for a tree that wasn't perfect - one that needed some love, one that reflected the struggles of endurance. I found it growing near the creek that courses through the property.

I couldn't imagine bringing down the two large bins holding 31 years of Christmas memories - each memory hung so carefully year after year on the perfect Christmas tree. This year would be different. This year I would hike along our mountain road seeking God's perfect ornaments: dried flowers, staghorn sumac, rosehips, pine cones and the buttery shade of dried sweet pea vines stretching into pine branches nearby.

I scattered the white lights across the branches and began placing God's gifts throughout my imperfect tree. I stepped back to take it in. It looked beautiful, but something was missing. 


In the sepia tones of a cloudy dusk I clipped long, graceful tendrils of grapevine growing in the lower corner of our yard. I drug them inside and began coiling them around my imperfect tree.

And that's when it hit me. Jesus!

The grapevine curled around the tree like the twisting and turning of a crown of thorns pierced into Jesus' scalp as He hung from the old rugged cross. From birth to death to resurrection power He came that I might have life.

Into my spirit came the recollection of Isaiah 9:6, 

"For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given ...  And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."

Tears began pooling in my eyes as the incredible loss I'm experiencing became remarkable gain - the gain of understanding Christ as Wonderful. Counselor. Mighty God. Everlasting Father. Prince of Peace. In my sorrow He has revealed Himself in each of these ways. He has embraced me with the wonder of His love. When I don't have the courage to make important decisions or there is so much noise in my mind I can't think, Christ has become my Counselor. Time and again He proved Himself mighty as He battled the enemy for me. My Everlasting Father has picked me up from the floor as I lay crumpled in a soggy mess of tears. There He held me until I felt secure again. And His peace? His peace that has no understanding has protected my heart and given me the strength to go on.

As I looked at my imperfect tree laden with God's gifts, wrapped in a coiling grapevine, I rejoiced in the faithfulness of my God. Because of His grace I can celebrate the birth of my Savior who wrapped imperfect me in His love.

Holy and precious is the Name of Jesus. 

A Tweetable to Encourage Others

Where is God when it hurts too much to celebrate? @NanJonesAuthor shares personal pain. (Click to Tweet)

Many have commented on the photography I use for my posters. My friend, Mid Stutsman is the gifted photographer. She has recently created calendars and cards with her work and powerful writing. These are being sold at her cost plus postage. For more information you may visit Mid's facebook page at Mid Stutsman or write her at midspoint@hotmail.com. Christmas is just around the corner. Just sayin'...

If you received Morning Glory via email, please visit the Morning Glory  page. I'm featuring a powerful song by Francesca Battistelli called "Be Born in Me".