Thursday, February 26, 2015

Finding God's Presence ~ 'Tis So Sweet to Trust

by Nan Jones   @NanJonesAuthor

Guest blogger: Marcell Warner Bridges   @Marcie_Bridges

I'm so tickled to share my friend, Marcie Bridges, with you. Like you and me, Marcie wants to know the Lord more. She wants to understand His thoughts and ways even though such things seem far from reach. Yet, Marcie is learning that when we press into the Lord, He delights in revealing Himself to us. Marcie took a gamble and exposed the vulnerable parts of her heart to us with transparency and grace. I'm sure you'll be touched by her willingness to offer us strength for the journey.

Welcome Marcie!

So I'm sitting here with tears streaming down my face. I had been putting off doing my Bible study in Freefall to Fly.* I think in my heart I knew I didn't want to encounter those things that may be painful. I wasn't ready yet. And I was right.

This particular day's chapter was all about our fears. It asked us to list them specifically one by one and give them to God. Hey! Did you know that you can be a Christian for 36 years, know most of the answers, give them to others, think you are actually trusting and believing, and ACTUALLY NOT?

Yeah so, getting real with God and yourself is really, really, really hard. 

And now my heart sits in all of its utter ugliness written in my own handwriting in that book. Every fear. Well, almost every fear. I'm certain I didn't think of every one of them. 

I've always told people, "Living in fear is not living at all." You know what's so funny about that?  How much fear I walk in. I sit condemning myself for being such a hypocrite realizing the same truth Rebekah Lyons writes in this chapter, "Somehow in our distrust for people we have a lack of trust in God."* 

I didn't know I was questioning God's love for me. In my piousness I boasted that I've never questioned His love for me because I know I'm going to Heaven. "Sometimes our circumstances or struggles may cause us to question God's love for us, but Scripture reminds us again and again that we can trust His love."* When I read that, I knew the truth of those words in my gut. Somehow, somewhere along the way I quit truly trusting that God could take care of me and help me through my struggles. Maybe not consciously, but it is there just itching to be taken out and whipped ... um, redeemed. Here's what I wrote in the journal at the end of the chapter:

When I live in fear, when I live in insecurity, then yes, I am questioning God's love and sacrifice for me. Because I'm telling myself and God that He isn't good enough either. When I live in my insecurities, I am slapping Him in the face telling Him He's not able to do all He said He would do.

I've also realized I care so much for other people that I've forgotten to care about myself. I've forgotten to pray for myself. I pray for other people all the time. I realized the other day I couldn't remember the last time I had repented of sin in my life. And you know what's funny about that? Yep, it's in this chapter too. A dear friend recently, on more than one occasion, said to me that God is bringing out all of the hurts in my life so I can be rid of them and trust God to establish my steps.

So yeah, I'm just a mess, but a good mess. You know? Nothing like a few salty tears and prayer to make a heart feel better. Don'tcha think?

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, 
but of power and of love and of a sound mind." 
~ 2 Timothy 1:7

*Freefall to Fly: A Breathtaking Journey Toward a Life of Meaning, by Rebekah Lyons

A Tweetable to Encourage Others

Where is God when I feel afraid? Guest, Marcie Bridges offers insight. (Click to Tweet)


Marcell (Marcie) Warner Bridges is a wife, mother, and currently a student at Lenoir-Rhyne University studying for her Bachelors of Arts in English with the goal of becoming an Editor. Marcie began sharing her love of the Lord and His Word through poetry at a young age. Portraying difficult or emotional topics through poetry she deeply desires to encourage others in their walk with the Lord through the written word.  Marcie has been published in several anthologies and frequently shares her work through her blog: Heart Thoughts  Marcie can also be reached through email at

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Finding God's Presence ~ Melting Away the Chill of a Heart Grown Cold

by Nan Jones   @NanJonesAuthor

Finally! We exited the chaos of the interstate, leaving the rat-race behind. Turning left at the stoplight, my heart began to still. The entrance to Billy Graham's Conference Center, The Cove, was in view. Two stone pillars stood as sentinels guarding the passage onto the holy grounds.

Perhaps there are angels at the stone pillars of The Cove standing guard to keep the enemy out -  standing guard and seeking those who need to find Jesus once more, for such is the realm of Holy ground.

My spirit stirred within me as I traveled the road cutting through this earthly piece of heaven. To the left a flock of wild turkeys grazed near a small creek that traverses in and out of the surrounding woods. Evidence of winter's chill lay within the patches of snow and ice left from yesterday's storm and, although I'm reminded of my own winter of the soul, I can feel the warmth of God's presence penetrating, restoring, and melting away the chill of a heart grown cold. Slowly. Steadily.

The warmth of God's presence.

The power of His consuming fire - the fire that delights in the offering of an obedient heart and lays waste the work of the enemy.

I'm reminded that even though The Cove is a remarkable place high on a mountain overlooking the Blue Ridge valleys below, the holiness of its refuge comes not from the lumber and mortar that creates its lovely existence. The holiness of its refuge comes from the offering of obedient hearts seeking and serving and worshiping God on its premises. The Spirit of God being magnified in the lives of the visitors and staff emit the sweet fragrance of Christ that permeates these hallowed grounds. The Spirit of God overflowing like a fountain of love blankets The Cove and melts away the chill of a heart grown cold.

Oh, that I might worship Him in the beauty of His Holiness and walk in a manner that releases the sweet fragrance of Jesus wherever I go. May I yield to His words thundering quietly from the midst of the consuming fire.

And as I continue to worship and stand in awe of Him, even when circumstances would dictate otherwise, may the warmth of His presence continue to melt away the chill of a heart grown cold.

"You were shown these things 
so that you might know that the Lord is God; 
besides him there is no other. 
 From heaven he made you hear his voice to discipline you. 
On earth he showed you his great fire, 
and you heard his words from out of the fire.  
Because he loved your ancestors and chose their descendants after them, he brought you out of Egypt by his Presence 
and his great strength, 
 to drive out before you nations greater and stronger than you 
and to bring you into their land to give it to you for your inheritance, 
as it is today.

"Acknowledge and take to heart this day 
that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth below. 
There is no other." 
~ Deuteronomy 4:35-39, NIV

 A Tweetable to Encourage Others

Where is God when my heart grows cold? @NanJonesAuthor offers a glimpse. (Click to Tweet)

Have you ever experienced a time when nothing made sense, but the presence of God covered you with His love and filled you with His peace? I would love for you to share with our readers.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Finding God's Presence ~ While I'm Away

by Nan Jones   @NanJonesAuthor

The Lord has made a miraculous way for me to attend the Writers Advance Boot Camp this weekend at The Cove, Billy Graham's conference center. This is my fourth year to attend. In fact, this conference is where I won my book contract for The Perils of A Pastor's Wife, scheduled to release on June 30th. I'm so excited to learn about all things writing and I'm looking forward to basking in the Spirit of God with other Believers. Because I'm traveling, my blog schedule will be interrupted. I expect to post again next Tuesday, February 24th.

But since you've stopped by, I would absolutely love for you to poke around in the archives. My messages will help you find the Lord regardless of your circumstances. He is a mighty God. Faithful. True. Full of mercy and grace, and He loves you very much. 

Here's a few to get you started:

This post is recent, but it soothes my heart each time I read it: The Gift of the Moments.

Are you brokenhearted? Do you need to experience the rain of His grace? Prisms of Great Love

Are your burdens becoming too great? This will encourage you: Burden-Bearer

I would like to ask you to pray for me as I step out in faith to follow the Lord's leading. I am so grateful to the Lord for moving heaven and earth to get me there. Please pray that I will hear His voice and rest in His Presence. My fibromyalgia is also a concern, so please pray for my stamina and strength. 

And now, may I pray for you?

Father, You are such a great God. Thank You for loving us and caring for us so intimately. Thank You for directing our steps and putting all of the pieces of our lives together to mold and shape us for Your plan and for Your glory. I pray for my precious friends. You know their needs. You know their hearts. I ask that You move mightily upon them this week. Open doors for them that no man can shut. I ask that You put food on their tables and provide payment for electricity bills. I ask that You touch diseased bodies by the power of Your Holy Spirit and bring healing. Thank You Lord. Encourage them by Your Presence in their lives. We love You Lord. We praise You, for You alone are worthy of our praise. In Jesus' Name I pray, amen.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Finding God's Presence ~ Beyond Human Endurance

by Nan Jones   @NanJonesAuthor

Not the beginning.

Not the long stretch where you find your stride.

The divine moment of the race is when the goal is in sight and courage is waning, nerves are tensing, muscles are giving out and the heart wants to give up ... THAT is when the Lord exchanges His strength for our weakness. THAT is when He gently lifts our chin, looks into our eyes and says, Child, do not be afraid. I am with you and I will help you.

"And then He told me,

'My grace is enough; it’s all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness'.

Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! 
And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become." 
~ 2 Corinthians 12:9,10 The Message

A Tweetable to Encourage Others 

Exciting things are happening! My first book, The Perils of a Pastor's Wife, is slated to release on June 30th. This morning my publisher sent me an email with a possible cover design. It took my breath away. I am beyond thankful. 

As the calendar marches closer to June, I'll be sharing more and more about Perils. I believe it's message will minister deeply to the pastor's wife in your little world. I cherish your prayers. Thanks.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Where is God? Sunday Glimpses

by Nan Jones   @NanJonesAuthor

Father, You are so good. Throughout the day You have caused a song of praise to slip through the crevices of my broken heart. My songs to You may not be exuberant, but they are heartfelt. It's easy to give You praise. Thank You for holding me, for noticing my tears and drawing even closer to help me. You are an amazing God ... so grand, and yet so personal. So magnificent and yet so approachable. Thank You for Your desire to know us. Thank You for Your tender care.

I lift up my friends to You. Many are barely getting by. Many, like me, are brokenhearted, confused, and filled with sorrow. But Lord ... YES, You O Lord are more than enough for all of our needs. Your grace is sufficient. Teach us to open Your gifts of grace and peace. Teach us to walk hand in hand with You at all times, understanding the miracle our relationship with You represents. No matter what is coming our way, You go before us and You hedge us in from behind as a rear guard keeping us safe. I feel safe within Your love. Thank You that nothing - no thing - can separate us from Your love. Help us focus on You and not our circumstances. Let Your face be all we see. Thank You Lord, for Your promises are true. We love You and we give You praise.

A Tweetable to Encourage Others 

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

Please do not carry your burdens alone. I would be honored to pray with you. You may contact me directly at

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Finding God's Presence ~ How Does God Become Everything I Need?

by Nan Jones   @NanJonesAuthor

I'm struggling. Really struggling. But in my struggling I'm learning who the Great I AM is, not just in rhetoric ... in reality. In my desperation I am pressing into the Lord more than ever, and in that pressing  I'm gaining a deeper understanding of who He is.

Pressing in. That's the key. He cannot be my all in all if I keep Him at arm's length. He can't reveal Himself to me if I don't take time to ask for the unveiling and then take time to listen.

In my brokenness I'm learning to do both.

But it must be an intentional seeking of His face.

When Moses encountered God, it was intentional and because Moses responded, the Lord revealed Himself as I AM WHO I AM.

Here's the scoop:

Moses was tending the flock of Jethro on the far side of the desert. As he and the sheep journeyed, they came to Mt. Horeb, the mountain of God. Moses was just going about his day. "And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed. Then Moses said, I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn."

Moses made a decision to turn.

God responded.

"So when the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, 'Moses, Moses!' And he said, 'Here I am.'"

As their meeting continued, the Lord explained to Moses that He had seen the oppression of His people in Egypt and was planning a deliverance for them. He also explained that Moses was His plan, to which Moses basically said, "You've got to be kidding. I can't do that." He then sarcastically (my opinion) asked the Lord who should he say had sent him when the people of Israel asked.

"And God said to Moses, 'I AM WHO I AM.' And He said, 'Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you.'" ~ Exodus 3:2-14

I AM whatever you need Me to be.

Try to let that sink in...

When my world is falling apart, HE IS my sure place.

When my heart is shattered into a million pieces, HE IS my healer.

When I am afraid, HE IS my courage.

When I don't know what to do, HE IS my wisdom.

When I am drowning in despair, HE IS my hope.

When I can't breathe for crying, HE IS my joy.

When I am overwhelmed by life, HE IS my peace.

IF I press in and, with intention, seek His face, ask Him to let me see beyond the veil, and then listen for His response ... then He becomes everything I need.


A Tweetable to Encourage Others

How does God become everything I need? @NanJonesAuthor shares personal stuff. (Click to Tweet)

If you received Morning Glory via email, please visit the Morning Glory  page to spend a few moments worshiping the Lord. I'm featuring Matthew West singing "You Are Everything."

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Finding God's Presence ~ A Strong Message of God's Love

by Nan Jones   @NanJonesAuthor

I held the warm coffee mug, cradling it with both hands as I stared out the window, thoughts swirling where they shouldn't go. Deep thoughts of anxiety and fear had no place in my mind that was learning to yield to the transformational renewing of Christ, but days like today I succumbed to the invisible crooked finger beckoning me to come and dwell in misery. So, without a thought of Jesus and His unfailing love, I stood at the window cradling a warm coffee mug and let my thoughts have their way.

My gaze landed on the grape arbor standing alongside our home. Winter's barrenness clung to the ancient vine. Russet brown tendrils wove in and out of the supportive frame, tangled  and wrestling for a spot to grip their bare fingers. I thought of my life that, lately, had seemed barren and tangled as I gripped my bare fingers around the foundation I had worked hard to build. My foundation stood, but did I have the strength to continue gripping while all around me lay shards of a broken life? 

Would the One in whom I placed my trust flow through my dormant spirit and bring new life?

A flash of dusty blue motion caught my attention. It stopped at the far end of the grape arbor. Could it really be a bluebird? No. Surely not. But then a brighter cobalt blue darted toward the birdhouse on the arbor's post. He poked his head into the circular opening, turning his head back and forth. His dusty blue mate joined him, taking her spot on the perch and looking inside. The birds took turns hopping from the perch to the roof and back to the perch again. 

I felt elation.

Out of the corner of my eye I watched as not one, but two male cardinals also darted in and out of the tangled grapevine, their crimson coats brightening the dismal gray of the day. I leaned forward to get a better look. There on the backside of the arbor were muted shades of blush scampering across the russet brown ... two female cardinals following their mates

O Lord, You really do love me with a tenderness that takes my breath away! Thank you. Thank you for the hope of new life among the barren, russet browns of this winter season. All of creation sings Your praise and declares Your glory. I, too, will sing praise to Your Name. Color me with joy as I find my way through this barren landscape. Flow through my dormant spirit and bring new life.

And as if this wasn't a strong enough message of God's love, He had another gift of hope for me. There on the side of a stump made planter gripped a red-headed woodpecker! I felt tickled to no end. God in His infinite goodness knew how to make me smile.

Within minutes of my discovery, the birds were gone. 

But their blessing remained. 

The One in whom I placed my trust flowed through my dormant spirit and gave me hope for a better tomorrow.

"Sing, O heavens! Be joyful, O earth! 
And break out in singing, O mountains! 
For the Lord has comforted His people, 
and will have mercy on His afflicted." 
~ Isaiah 49:13

A Tweetable to Encourage Others

Would you like to be a guest blogger on Morning Glory? I'm looking for those who would like to share how you found God in your darkest moments. Contact me at and I'll send you the guidelines. I look forward to hearing from you.
If you received Morning Glory via email, please visit the Morning Glory page to worship along with David Crowder as he sings, "Oh How He Loves Us." What a wonder it is to spend a few moments offering praise to the Lord.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Where Is God? Sunday Glimpses

by Nan Jones   @NanJonesAuthor

Father, I need You, oh how I need You. You are my Rock. My Anchor. My Refuge in the storm. My heart lies exposed and vulnerable to the taunts of the enemy. His lies strive to penetrate the very essence of who I am. But You Lord are my Shield. My Strong Tower. I run to You, Lord and I'm safe. And I'm sound. And I remain. I remain in Your love because You are my constant in this difficult place I find myself in. Thank You for Your faithfulness. I appreciate You so much. Please put me back together again. Fill my broken places with the golden flow of Your love. Strengthen my heart.

Strengthen my friends too. I ask that You cup their broken hearts in Your strong hands and hold them together until their hearts beat as one with You. Hold them until they can step into their tomorrows again. Bathe them in Your peace. Your peace is a perfect peace. It's not contingent on our circumstances. Your perfect peace is a gift from You. YOU, Lord are our peace --- our Prince of Peace. In Your Presence we find our peace. In Your Presence we find the strength to go on. Thank You for Your love.

A Tweetable to Encourage Others

Where is God when I can't go on? @NanJonesAuthor offers a glimpse. (Click to Tweet)

Please don't carry your burdens alone. It would be an honor to pray for you. You may contact me directly at

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Finding God's Presence ~ Who Am I?

by Nan Jones   @NanJonesAuthor
Nancy LaPointe, Guest blogger   @NancyLaPointe3

Have you ever struggled with wondering who you are? Have you found your identity in Christ or have you chosen to stand your ground and try it alone? What is our identity in Christ, anyway? My friend, Nancy LaPointe shares her struggles to answer these thought-provoking questions. Her testimony will challenge each of us to reflect on heart attitudes that determine the direction our lives will take. I know your heart will be impacted by the transparency and gained wisdom of her testimony.

Welcome Nancy!

Slowly coming fully awake, I scanned the sterile, white hospital room. I began to have the realization that my recent dream of peacefully walking beside a lake was as far from reality as one could wander. The truth was that my life was in shambles and my inner desire was more apt to be a vision of myself jumping into that lake, rather than walking calmly beside it. It's sometimes ironic to look at life's history and choices and compare that to logic. I was raised well. I was taught strong morals, ethics and Christian values. Somewhere in my early adult years, I allowed the enemy of my soul to partner with the weak things of my flesh and lead me down a path of destruction.

Why do we find that taste of rebellion to be sweet and the lure of the world to be so much more exciting than the narrow way of Christ? It's a malady not restricted to the young. Some of us just have to learn things the hard way. It's not all about intentional sin though. What I learned, and am continuing to learn, is that it's also about a deeper emptiness that draws comfort from anything that fills the vacuum. When I cannot fully believe in myself or the promises of God about who I am ---in Him---I am literally choosing to go it alone.

Understanding my identity in Christ has changed my life. When my doctor came into the room that morning and sat down to talk, he will never know what influence he had on the frazzled young woman in that bed. He basically said to me that I was facing a defining moment, where I would either take one path or the other, and the choice was up to me. But, if I chose the wrong one, I might not live to see my child grow up. My health was seriously challenged from stress, fear, abuse, lack of sleep, eating poorly, and the tensions of my spiritual battle within.

I praise God that His hand was never off my shoulders. He allowed me to be abused, even to become quite ill. Some people might deny God's part in that, but, as the all knowing and all loving Father that He is, He allows us to learn from our mistakes, while He gently guides us back on track. When I made the decision to turn things around, He brought new people into my life who helped me begin to understand that my identity with Jesus in me gives me the power to overcome anything. As Christians we carry that power inside us, but if we don't comprehend its value and potential, we will not appropriate it to the point of walking in victory over our darkness.

We must know Him on an intimate level, not just know about Him. He longs to guide our decisions, our passions and yes, even our battles in the world. He never leaves us or forsakes us. It is a partnership in many ways. He is Sovereign, He is in control, but our surrendered soul must cooperate by joining with Him as He lifts us out of the mire. We can quote verses about our confidence in Him, but only our daily lives reveal the level of which we really believe it. We are created with purpose and a future which He already has planned. It's our choice whether to align ourselves with that power or not.

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened  
in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, 
the riches of His glorious inheritance in His holy people, 
and His incomparably great power for us who believe. " 
~ Ephesians 1:18-19

Tweetables to Encourage Others

Nancy LaPointe is a retired pastoral counselor and ordained pastor. She has written for newspapers, newsletters, blogs, and magazines for about twenty years, always with a focus on the power of God’s healing. Leading women’s retreats and Bible studies, she is passionate about helping people find emotional healing and learning to walk in freedom. Nancy enjoys living with her family in the beautiful mountains of New Mexico.

Links for Nancy's books or to follow on social media:

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Finding God's Presence ~ Is God Calling You to Holiness?

by Nan Jones   @NanJonesAuthor

Sunlight breaking through the canopy of trees warmed my face as Blue and I trudged along the winding road.The blue sky was a welcome sight after several days of storms lashed through our mountains.

Storms have been lashing through my life too.

A walk in the sunlight was a wonderful reprieve.

I heard a roar coming up over the ridge. Treetops swayed. Branches bobbed in rhythm to the wind. Crossing the road in front of us were dry and brittle tumbleweeds riding on the blasts of chilly air - clumps of dried, dead field grass. Each of them rolled across the road in haste, tumbling, twirling, landing in the ditch where all things useless end up.

I thought about chaff, the hard shell that surrounds a grain of wheat. It's useless and has to be separated from the grain in the harvesting process. 

This scripture came to mind:

"His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn." ~ Matthew 3:12a

Lord, is this what's happening in me? Are You cleaning out the things that hinder my love for You? Is the mighty wind of Your Spirit blowing across my heart, carrying away the dead and unfruitful broken places - those places that are not rooted in You? May it be so, Lord.

Life is hard sometimes - difficult at best. But I'm learning that God has eternal purposes in all things that concern us. Our life is but a snap of the fingers to Him, but eternity is from everlasting to everlasting. The Lord, in His great mercy, wants to perform the work of righteousness in our lives that we might dwell richly with Him through all of eternity. The work of righteousness involves ridding our hearts of the chaff. I believe that is His focus - the reason for the Refiner's Fire, the reason for the winnowing fan: He longs to unite with us in the beauty of His Holiness.

Is God calling you to holiness too? Is He calling you to a place of righteousness before Him? Then perhaps you, too, can find purpose in the difficulties, a plan in the fiery trial. 

A yielded heart will release the tumbleweeds into the power of His mighty wind.

Tweetables to Encourage Others

Where is God when my heart is not clean? @NanJonesAuthor shares.(Click to Tweet)

Is God calling you to holiness? @NanJonesAuthor shares part of her journey.  (Click to Tweet)

Would you like to be a guest blogger on Morning Glory? I'm opening it up on Thursdays to other writers who would like to share their story of finding God in their darkest hour. If you are interested, email me at and I will send you the guidelines. Hope to hear from you.

If you received Morning Glory via email, please visit the Morning Glory  page. I'm featuring a totally AWESOME song that is sure to encourage you today. The song is, "Called Me Higher" by All Sons and Daughters.