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Monday, 21 December 2015 00:00

The Gift of Presence

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I'm happy to welcome this week's guest blogger, Marcie Bridges, a gifted poet. I know you'll be blessed by her work, as I am.  NL

 

The Gift of Presence

 

Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.

Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.  John 14:27

 

 

 

It’s been a rough year. For many of us.

 

I’ve watched throughout this year as several friends have gone through heartache and heartbreak

that just crushed my heart for them. There were no words to say. Except, I’m so sorry. And just

when it seemed things would settle down and they could catch a breath, another tragedy, another

loss, another set of bad news befell them. One step forward, 1,000 steps back.

 

They are the brave ones. The friends who still smile, they still love, they show us how to

continue on when it feels like life is choking the stuffing out of you. I admire them so. I love

them even more.

 

Someone recently asked me what I want for Christmas. And after much thought, here are my

greatest wishes: 

 

WHAT I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS

I want everyone to know my Jesus

the One who died for you and me

For everyone to have the gift

that truly sets us free.

I want to see my family

all gathered round the tree

To not just give each other presents

but the love and grace we need.

I want to see those hurting

find a peace only God can give

So that on this Christmas Day

Their hearts won’t be so sad and dim.

I want to be the person

that reaches out to those in need

Extends the hand of forgiveness

even when it is not asked of me.

I want my dearest friends

who’ve had the ache of loss

To feel our Savior’s arms

around them through this sorrow.

I want so many things like this

it is hard to make a list

But mostly I want for all of you

A very joyful Christmas!

 

~Marcell Warner Bridges

©2014

 

 

The greatest desire of my heart is that during this Christmas season and through whatever lies

ahead for each of you, is that you will feel the gift of God’s presence each and every day. That

you will know how wide, how long, how high and how deep the love of Christ is in your life. I

pray you will feel His peace and His comfort in every hard situation, and you will rest in His

loving arms always.

 

The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth.

Psalm 145:18

Merry Christmas with Love,

Marcie Bridges

 

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

http://marcieheartthoughts.blogspot.com Marcie can also be reached through email at

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mwbheartthoughts

Twitter: https://twitter.com/marcie_bridges

Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+MarcieBridges_writer

 

Friday, 11 December 2015 00:00

Jesus is the Reason

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Tuesday, 08 December 2015 00:00

Will Judgment Purify Us or Destroy Us?

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Seek the Lord, all who are humble, and follow his commands. Seek to do what is right and to live humbly. Perhaps even yet the Lord will protect you---protect you from his anger on that day of destruction. Zeph 2:3

 

“Zephaniah warned the people of Judah that if they refused to repent, the entire nation, including the beloved city of Jerusalem, would be lost. The people knew that God would eventually bless them, but Zephaniah made it clear that there would be judgment first, then blessing.This judgment would not be merely punishment for sin, but it would also be a means of purifying the people. Though we live in a fallen world surrounded by evil, we can hope in the perfect Kingdom of God to come, and we can allow any punishment that touches us now to purify us from sin.” (Life Application Study Bible)

 

We can have faith that our God will protect us from the evil that befalls a nation, our own nation. But, many are nonchalant and think that they can live in sin, call it something else and be blessed by God. It doesn’t work that way. We have been given warning after warning to repent, to get right with the Lord, and live holy lives. It seems to fall on deaf ears. There is always a more tolerant, more politically correct way to get around sin and still call oneself a Christian. Where is the awesome fear of Almighty God? It has been reduced by people to a wishy washy state of grace that excuses everything because after all, we are not supposed to judge. What a very slippery slope this nation is on! Refusing to repent and call sin what it is, will result in God’s judgment. Scoff all you want, there will not be any joking when that judgment hits. Oh how foolish to ignore the powerful magnificent God who created us and think He will just sweep things under the rug. Make no mistake about it--His rug is woven in purity and holiness and the ugliness of sin cannot reside underneath it.

 

Judgment---and then the purifying. Judgment’s effects will purify us and cause our hearts to tremble at His Word, at His Name, and in His Presence. Then and only then will we be in the place of readiness to receive all He has prepared for us---all He longs to share as He blesses, protects and refines.

 

Read the book of Zephaniah. It offers a parallel to today’s Babylonian systems. The people were terrified as the judgments fell, but in the aftermath the ones who remained realized a rising Hope, grounded in the knowledge of God’s justice and His deep love for His people. He said “I will remove all proud and arrogant people from among you...those who are left will be the lowly and humble, for it is they who trust in the name of the Lord.” (3:11-12)

 

The Lord is our Redeemer, Restorer and our only Hope. We must wake up and ready ourselves for His work of refining and purifying His people. “Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.” James 4:10

 

Wednesday, 02 December 2015 00:00

Holiday Harmony--Fighting the Blues

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Well, December has arrived and we are now bombarded with sales ads, nonstop Christmas music, and wish lists. There are so many beautiful facets of winter, December and holidays. I feel such gratitude for all God has blessed us with this past year. I’m thinking of having a little evergreen tree with the ornaments being things that signify all of God’s miracles and blessings we’ve enjoyed in 2015.

 

I’m going to make a confession. For many years, I have not liked Christmas and sort of gritted my teeth, prayed and sludged through it, looking forward to the new year. I have celebrated it mostly to please and appease my family. I do try to make it fun and special, though my heart tends to yearn for the end of the season. Don’t get me wrong, I love to celebrate the birth and life and resurrection of Jesus. I simply do not like the commercial hype, going into debt, and on and on.

 

This year I’m attempting to do some things differently. We always have our nativity as the focal point.This year I hope to garner more passion from all my family on gratitude for our blessings and giving only things from the heart that encourage thankfulness and praise to God. Family is so important and I think showing each one what they mean to us is more special than unwrapping expensive techie items.

 

For those of you who find the holiday season difficult from losses this year, financial stresses or other factors that block your joy, I want to pray for you. I think that instead of allowing depression to seep in and set up camp, it’s imperative that you go to the Lord and openly pour out your heart to Him. Release your tears, shout your anger, whisper your fears---whatever you need to share with your Lord. He knows it anyway. You will find healing in placing them all in His capable hands. Then, make a decision to leave them there. You can. It’s a matter of will.  Trust Him even when you don’t feel like it.

 

I hope you will then get up, dust yourself off, and set your face like flint, to focus on Jesus. Make a list of things you usually don’t do during the holidays that you would enjoy or that would bless you and your family. Give that list to Him as well. Figure out which things you can go ahead and begin working on. Do just a small thing each day toward your goal. New ideas will come. Make an intentional decision to make this year different….and good. New traditions can be inspirational for all those in your circle. If you have no family, step out of the boat and make your home a sanctuary that brings you peace, then reach out to others who might be in your same or a similar situation. Invite someone from work or a neighbor or other person God brings to mind. Or, stop being stubborn and accept invitations from families who want to include you. Whatever your case, decide that this year you are taking the reins and making a blessed holiday happen. Yours does not have to look like anyone else’s. It’s special to you.

 

These suggestions are what I have done for myself. I’m still a work in progress. If you need prayer, please contact me. I will be happy to pray for you. We can do this folks!! Because...we can do all things through Christ Who strengthens us! We’re celebrating His birthday, so it should be a happy and fun celebration.

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Thursday, 19 November 2015 00:00

God's Solution to the Refugees?

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I’ve tried not to voice an opinion on the refugee situation. It’s not that I can’t take criticism or am trying to avoid dissention. It’s that I’m praying about it diligently and trying to find God’s will in it.

 

I’m saddened and I’ll admit, irritated, by those who always are quick to post anti-Christian sentiments, (some even claiming to be Christians themselves). Calling Mary and Joseph refugees is a pretty hard stretch. Then comparing Muslims to Jews again is a ridiculous argument when the situations have almost nothing in common. When people see something that sounds good, they just jump on it without researching anything. Then there are those who quote scriptures (out of context, of course) or do their best to make the question either liberal or conservative. Lately I’ve seen posts of non-Christians who are pontificating all about God’s will and Jesus’ words, and so on. Those people win the grand prize, since almost everything on which they purport to be experts, is drivel.

 

After much prayer, I still don’t have a concrete sense of what is the right thing to do. There are truthful stances on both sides. As Christians, we need to be reaching out to unbelievers with the gospel. These people need Jesus desperately. I’m ready to do my part to share the love of Jesus and even open my home if the Lord leads me to do so. However, what makes us think we will even have that opportunity? The countries such as Germany who have taken in millions, are suffering terribly already for their decision. The outcry there from the refugees is that all people need to bow to their religion and practices.

 

If a family needs my help, no matter where they came from or what baggage they have along with them, I will always pray for discernment and wait for God’s leading as to what I should do to help. There are many deceivers (yes, and many scriptures warning about that; funny, I haven’t seen that on facebook) and we need divine wisdom to make good decisions.

 

If “refugees” have an agenda to take over and destroy “infidels,” the only way we will have a chance to love on them or share Jesus with them is when God arranges divine appointments for that purpose. It is quite naive and even foolish to turn a blind eye to the negative possibilities. This cannot intelligently be explained away with one scripture verse or one lame comparison to the plight of the Jews.  It is not all about fear. It is much more complex. And many of us have examined the Quran and seen those verses that would cause us to be cautious. Perhaps common sense is a thing of the past.

 

My thinking today is that we have not thoroughly thought this through, prayed for God’s direction or gained enough knowledge of facts to make a sound decision. People seem to love bashing those that disagree so they jump on the bandwagon because something sounds good at the moment. Since we’re now told that we are not a Christian nation, then it makes it pretty difficult to think that our leaders will seek God’s direction. It’s being made into a political issue, of course, which again divides us as Americans, just like every other big issue that arises.

 

Oh how different things could be, if only we could all work together instead of constantly fighting one another. But then, that’s pretty idealistic in itself. I’ll keep praying today if you will. God just might have a solution that’s not what either side of this conflict has ever considered. I’m counting on that!

Thursday, 05 November 2015 00:00

The Spirit Realm is Stirring

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Do you sense a change in the air? It’s not just the autumn breezes and golden leaves. I feel something in the atmosphere around me that’s different. I know that the spirit realm is alive and active, whether we can visually see it or not. We spiritually discern the angels warring, protecting, standing watch. At times I sense evil, though I see or hear nothing at all. The Lord is moving, my friends. He is calling out to us to get up and get busy about His business---Kingdom business. Do you comprehend the magnificence of being a child of the King?

 

Everyone these days is watching the stock markets, scouring the economic reports from all over the world. We know that change is coming. We have lived far above our nation’s ability to sustain the lifestyles to which we’ve become accustomed. We watch the news in shock at the crime, the perversion, and the wickedness that is a stench in the nostrils of our God.

 

At times I grieve over this nation and this world. At times I cry out for God’s mercy, and at times I lose myself in the internet so I can avoid the pain of the truth. Are you numb? Have you heard about so many shootings or wars that you just mentally check out because it’s too much? I fear that we as believers have joined the world in turning our heads and hearts away because it’s too overwhelming. Or maybe we’re just complacent because our job or family or hometown is not affected...yet.

 

Sisters and brothers, please believe me that the Lord is calling you in this hour. The spirit realm is bustling about, preparing for what’s to come. The Holy Spirit is prompting you to step up to the plate now---because time is short! He is grieved when we ignore His leading. There are lost souls all around us who need to know Him. He’s prepared those whom He knows are ready. and arranging divine appointments for us to utilize. If we’re playing video games, living on facebook or watching TV, that soul could be lost forever. Pray for boldness! Pray for sharper discernment to be aware when these divine appointments are in front of you.


I’m preaching to myself friends! But God is pushing me, reminding me, stirring up His Presence inside me, to be alert. He wants me to push you as well. Take a deep breath as the Fall winds blow, listen with your spiritual ears and wait attentively to receive what He is leading you to do. The time is short. You have a mandate to live out His plan, follow His directions, and spread His message!

Tuesday, 27 October 2015 00:00

Forever...God is Faithful

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Today is a day of gratitude. Many of you have prayed for my husband throughout this journey with cancer.  This trial of over four years has been one of sadness, disappointments, sickness, changes in our household, in our marriage, and in our thinking. I would guess that we will be realizing the lessons from it for years to come.

 

First, I want to say thank you to all of you for your constant encouragement, prayers and love. You will never know what a few kind words can mean on the darkest days. I love you and I appreciate you in countless ways.

 

My husband has been declared in remission! We’ve learned that malignant melanoma, stage 4, is usually a death sentence, especially when it goes to the brain. However, our God is more powerful than melanoma!! Yes He is.  We give Him all the glory!

 

From one day to the next, none of us ever knows what trials we will be asked to endure. One phone call, one blood test, one letter in the mail….life can turn upside down. If you believe you are immune, think again. Those who claim that God doesn’t bring or allow these things don’t really know God. His plans and purposes for us go so deep that only He knows what will change our hearts or conform us to the likeness of His Son. And these refining fires spread to our family and friends as well. We are always a work in progress. And we know that God works all things together for good for those who love Him and are calling according to His purposes. (Romans 8:28)

 

One night, instead of pleading for my husband’s life and healing, I simply surrendered him to God. I told God that no matter what His decision, I would accept it and praise Him and be thankful, for I know His purposes are always best. I meant it. When I released that fearful pleading, a peace flooded my soul.

 

The beauty of living with the Spirit abiding inside us is that His power moves and conquers devils and diseases. The battle is the Lord’s. We can rest in Him, knowing that no matter what comes He will sustain us. Not only will He sustain us, but He will meet all our needs according to His riches in glory. Why would anyone choose to live without Him? I can’t imagine.

 

 

Monday, 12 October 2015 00:00

Welcome Fall

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Monday, 12 October 2015 00:00

How are you really doing today?

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How are you doing these days? Today I feel the need for a personal check-up. One would think that since I spent years as a counselor I would stay on top of these things but truthfully, I get bogged down just like everybody else. As I examine myself and force my vision to focus in on the uglier things, it’s not fun. Maybe it’s time for you to do an assessment for yourself too. Sometimes I’m listening to someone spewing out all their resentments and hurts and I think to myself how much better off they would be if they would only let it go. Then, while pointing that finger, I have to see those three fingers pointing back at myself. It’s so easy to identify dark issues in others, but when it comes to ourselves we are full of defenses.

 

Since we know how emotions affect our health, we need to do a self-evaluation on a regular basis. How do I define regular? At whatever interval keeps you in a state of peace with God, yourself and most others. You maybe wondering how to do that assessment. The other day I heard someone on the radio say, “What is deep within you that you know, but you won’t allow yourself to recognize that you know it?” Interesting question. I began to ask myself that, asking God as well, and really soul searching for the answer. The result was that I dredged up some emotions that had been eating on me, but I was avoiding dealing with them.

 

Here are a few questions to guide your introspection: (Honesty with yourself is mandatory)

  1. Who have I not forgiven fully? And why haven’t I let go of it by now?

  2. What is the real reason for my irritation or frustration in some identified area?

  3. When I’m sleepless or stressed, what is the bottom line reason?

  4. What am I afraid of?

  5. Am I eating healthy? Am I getting enough exercise to be healthy? Why not?

  6. If I could do anything I wanted today, I would _______________

  7. What is the real reason I’m not doing that now or planning for it?

  8. Am I continuing to dream and/or set goals for myself? Why not?

  9. How am I my worst enemy? What are 3 steps I could take to change that?

  10. Have I spent time with God to invite Him to help me with these issues? Why not?

 

These are only a few guiding questions, but they do assist me in identifying where I am losing ground and why. It takes some brutal honesty because if you blame others or money or even God, more honesty is needed.


Remember that we are body, soul and spirit. When one part is ailing, the other two suffer as well. I’m writing this to remind myself. I’m in a season of being a caregiver which drains my energy. Therefore, I must make an intentional effort to keep body, soul and spirit balanced and as healthy as possible. It doesn’t just happen on its own. I must humble myself before God and others to admit I’m not superwoman or super-Christian and accept help and keep my eyes on the prize. I am fully aware that “I can do all things through Christ Who gives me strength.” Phil 4:13

 

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My dear brothers and sisters, you are not thinking clearly. I see your posts and wonder how you can so easily forget the scriptures you have grown up learning. Why oh why would you applaud and glorify a man who proclaims himself a man of God, yet speaks words that are totally contrary to the Holy Word of God? Some of you I’ve known for years. I know you have attended church faithfully, memorized scripture, prayed for the lost and given yourself in community service. You love the Lord. Yet, you publicly esteem a man in white robes who says one does not need to believe in God to go to heaven; that everyone is going to heaven. Then why did Jesus have to suffer and die on that cross?  Does the charisma and hype surrounding the events blind your eyes?

 

Jesus Himself said that the world will hate us because of Him.(Mark 13:13) The world is worshiping this man, proclaiming love, admiration and devotion to him while he speaks words contrary to Jesus’ own words. I simply cannot understand how you can do this?

 

Yes, he appears to be a good man. He does many good works, lives humbly, and says what everyone wants to hear. One among many of his statements is that we can live however we choose and still spend eternity with the Lord.

 

My friends, dust off your Bibles! Over and over again we are instructed in God's ways, which are not popular with the world--not at all! We answer to our Lord alone, not a man. We must repent of our sins. (We do sin!)  Matthew 7:13: "You can enter God's Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way.”  The gate is narrow into heaven. That means following God’s ways requires us to be disciplined, submitting to His ways, and surrendering our self-life to live as He desires us to live---not just as we please.

 

When I saw how the whole world was not only praising this man, but many actually worshipping him, I began to question. Never before have I seen protestants, catholics, atheists, liberals, conservatives, black, white, young and old all agreeing in holding up a person to love, praise and admire. The world sees this as wonderful. Unity. Do you remember what the book of Revelation (among others) portrays about this particular scenario? Maybe it would be wise to read it again. For that matter, perhaps read the whole New Testament.

 

I am deeply concerned for those who throw aside all they’ve learned from the Bible to jump on the bandwagon with non-believers just because something sounds good and on the surface looks good. Please spend time with the Lord and allow the Holy Spirit to direct you. In these tumultuous days in the land, deceivers abound. If it were possible, even the elect would be deceived. (Matt 24:24)  I’m praying it won’t be possible, but what I’m seeing is disturbing, to say the least.

 

Ask the Lord to take any blinders off, give you sharp discernment, and a focus on the true and living God. His Word still stands. It has not changed just because our world has.

 

 


Welcome to my website!

"Living in God's Rest...At Peace in a Chaotic World" "Masked in Deceit,"  and Faith's Illusions are all available now.  Living in God's Rest can be purchased from any of your favorite booksellers online or in stores. Masked in Deceit and Faith's Illusions, Christian novels, are available from Amazon. All books are offered in ebook versions as well.  I always appreciate reviews on the seller's sites.  Just click the books below and you will find links to purchase.

 

 

My newest book:

faith illusion coverfront

Have a blessed day!
 - Nancy

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