Monday, December 28, 2015

MY END OF YEAR PRAYER FOR US ALL


You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. 
Deuteronomy 6:5 
Dear Lord,

here we are — it’s the end of the month
we come with open hands, grateful hearts
for all the ways You’ve seen us through
every moment, each joy, tear or struggle
we thank You dear Lord
for grace upon our weary hearts
blessings that flowed to each and every part
mercies cascading from Your haven
wish we knew how to truly give thanks.
In quiet meekness, simple, authentic worship
all we know to do, offer as our gift
is our heart, soul and mind fully as we
move forward into this Christmas time and new year.

~Marcell Warner Bridges
©2015, All Rights Reserved.
As I reflect back on this year I am so grateful for every single aspect of it. There’s not a single thing I can think of that I am not thankful for. Even in the hard places—the times when I struggled or when someone dear to me was struggling.
 
I started the year with something I had never done before and that was to ask God for one word that I would focus on for the year. One word He would give me that I would let God teach and instruct me in how it applies to my life and my heart but more than that, my relationship with Him. (See January's post My Word Focus for 2015 )

I felt God wanted me to learn what it meant to commit myself to Him and so for this very first word focus, my word for the year was commit. Boy did I have a lot of learning to do! Here it is, December 28th and I still feel like I have a lot more learning in this area. God took me from that one single word, commit, and transformed it into: I cannot commit if I am not fixing (focusing, giving all of my attention to) my eyes on Jesus, humbling myself before Him and obeying Him in all areas of my life.

Perhaps I will always be working on what it truly means to commit myself to Him. Not just my writing and editing career or even my health and weight issues, but my whole life. My WHOLE being. The very inner parts of me that I don’t want to expose to anyone and especially not to God. God has made it clear He wants every single part.

I do not have a word to focus on for 2016 yet. I cannot say if I will take this same focus into the new year or if God will show me something else He wants me to grab onto. But whichever way it goes, I know that He plans on weaving it all together and by the end of 2016, I will have a deeper understanding of who He is and who He wants me to be.

 
I hope you will pray and ask God for a word focus for 2016. It has truly enriched my life and my relationship with God and I know it will with yours too. And when you do find out what your word for 2016 is, will you share it with me? I would love for us to pray together as God instructs us in all wisdom and understanding of His Word into the very inner parts of our souls and beings.

Monday, December 21, 2015

NO ROOM

@Marcie_Bridges

And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. 
Luke 2:7

NO ROOM

My heart hammers in staccato beats
www.pixabay.com
staring up at the figure on the cross.
I cannot believe this is the boy
that I fell in love with as a child.
I remember like yesterday that baby boy...

We passed by the stable and I peeked inside
instead of food for the animals to my surprise
there lay a baby in the manger surrounded by
a man and a woman and a strange light.
The sheep, goat and donkey all lay around
they didn’t seem to mind their trough taken up
with a bundle of human sleeping so sound.
I wanted to get closer but my mother wouldn’t stay
and we walked off in a hurry the other way.

I saw glimpses of him for a couple of years
I watched as he learned to walk and talk
Google Image
he was like no other child I’d ever known.
So many times I tried to get near to him
circumstances kept me away and unengaged
thought maybe I’d get to play with him one day
until they left unexpected — was he afraid?

I’ve thought about him often, that little cherub face
there was such a special something I never seemed to place.
And here I stand so grief-stricken as I look up amazed
that the little boy I admired, is being treated this heinous way.
I know it’s him — I’ve never forgotten the babe
I can see it in his eyes as he looks down upon me with such grace.
My heart feels so much compassion, so much love
I cannot bear this sight of him
hanging on that rugged cross by Jews and thieves condemned.

I was such a little girl when I spied that tiny peaceful  miracle
always wondering why he was born in a dirty, rugged stable
my pondering turns sudden and anew
why didn’t that innkeeper give him a room?
And could it be that’s all he wants from me and you?
A room within our hearts, a place into our lives
not just a stable behind the scenes
but a home in our hearts to dwell and abide.

~Marcell Warner Bridges
©2015 All Rights Reserved.



Have you any room for Jesus?  Or will you relegate Him to the stable of your life this season? Will you place Him on a shelf for display or make Him the focal point of all you do and say? 

I pray we will all find room in our hearts for Jesus each and every day—not just on the celebration of His birth. 

From My Heart to Yours
Merry Christmas
Marcie 




 

Monday, December 14, 2015

HIS NAME SHALL BE CALLED EMMANUEL


“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, 
“God with us.”  Matthew 1:23


Emmanuel
God with us
wherever we go
His presence
within us
around us
before us
behind us.

Emmanuel
I am with you
always
today
tomorrow
when you rise
when you sleep.

Emmanuel
come
dwell within us
be among us
Your tabernacle
is with men
You let us
dwell in Your land
and You
Emmanuel
God with us
gives us
peace.

~Marcell Warner Bridges
©14 December 2015
This Christmas season I pray you will be filled with Emmanuel. God's gift to us, wrapped up in love and laid in a manger. His name is Jesus and when we confess with our mouth's and believe in our hearts that Jesus Christ is Lord, He comes to live...abide...in us. In the form of His Holy Spirit. 

Emmanuel...God with us. 

Now. Tomorrow. Always. 

He has come to bring you peace. Will you accept His free invitation to receive His salvation today? 

From My Heart to Yours,
Marcie 

for further reflection:
Genesis 28:15; Exodus 33:14; Leviticus 26:11-12; Psalm 46:7; Isaiah 7:14 & 8:8; Haggai 2:4; Matthew 1:23; Revelation 21:3



 

Monday, December 7, 2015

WISE MEN STILL SEEK HIM


 
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, 
they presented gifts to Him: 
gold, frankincense, and myrrh.    
Matthew 2:1-2 & 9-11
 
Wise men three
you came from afar
seeking a king
you followed a star.

I can’t help but wonder
why did you go
what really compelled you
to seek him so?

The perfumes you brought
fit for a king
you gave them away
to a small babe.

Did you understand
who he would become
did you even realize
who he really was?

Wise men three
you traveled so far
lighted by a star
falling on bended knee
you honored The
King of kings.

If wise men still seek Him
I wonder how far
we will go seeking
our One True Star?

At Christmas time
(or all year through)
will we go out of our way
to seek the Christ child anew?
How far will we go
to follow Your light?

The only present — our hearts
a perfume of worship to give
so precious, so perfect
our only true gift
presented on bended knee
in our quest of Him
just like the wise men three.

~Marcell Warner Bridges
©6, December 2015

 
I started thinking about this last Christmas but never quite followed through on my inquisitiveness until now.

Why did the wise men seek Jesus?

These men were seeking the one they had heard would be the King of the Jews. They were looking for The Messiah. What is interesting is that these three men were not Jews. They were Gentiles and yet, they sought after the One who would be king.

Don’t miss this fact: Jesus lived in Bethlehem for 2 years and His own received Him not. The Jews didn’t honor Him, they didn’t look for Him and didn’t pay Him any attention. Yet, three men from another country desired so much to know this King that they pursued Him with all of their hearts, giving up all they had, until they found Him.

In Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Matthew chapter 2 we read this: “With ourselves, we must give up all that we have to Jesus Christ; and if we be sincere in the surrender of ourselves to him, we shall not be unwilling to part with what is dearest to us, and most valuable, to him and for him; nor are our gifts accepted, unless we first present ourselves to him living sacrifices.” ¹

I want to be a wise (wo)man. I want to seek after God with my whole heart so that in my worship to Him, it will be a most precious ointment of sacrificial worship to Him.

It’s a high calling but so worth the living. Will you become a wise man and seek God too?
 
From My Heart to Yours,
Marcie  
 
 
 
 
 

Monday, November 30, 2015

HEART PROBLEMS

@Marcie_Bridges

Come, and let us return to the Lord; For He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up. Hosea 6:1 

How can I praise You Lord
when my sins are ever before me?
How can I speak Your Name
when my eyes are focused on worldly things?
How can I even begin to hear You
when my heart is full of darkness?
Mine enemies are always upon me Lord
my wickedness engulfs my inner being
I come to You, LORD, with a contrite spirit
seeking Your forgiveness and redemption
so my countenance can be as radiant as the sun
my heart whiter than blankets of snow
I bow low, prostrate to the ground a sacrifice of
praise rupturing from the pit of my soul
in thanksgiving as I hear You, quietly say,
“My daughter, it is finished. You are redeemed.”

~Marcell Warner Bridges
©29 November 2015
All Rights Reserved.
 

By now you may have come to realize how much I am enjoying Anne Graham Lotz's devotional book, Fixing My Eyes on Jesus. Lately God has really been impressing on my heart my need for learning what it truly means to obey Him. Anne's words are nudging me even closer to that understanding and the need to recognize the signs Satan throws my way to distract me from obeying God—keeping my eyes focused on Him so I do not sin. Here's her devotion from this week (November 27th). Please read it slowly, thoughtfully and carefully. I believe it will have a big impact on your spiritual life as much as it has mine.

LIVING HEART HEALTHY


Above all else, guard your heart, 
for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23

"One of my children recently had some issues with her heart that landed her in the hospital emergency room. As a result, I did a little research on the Internet and discovered that physical heart attacks usually occur when a clot blocks the flow of blood through a coronary artery, damaging or destroying part of the heart muscle. Heart attacks can be fatal because people often don’t take the symptoms seriously. They confuse them with a minor illness like indigestion and thus delay going to the hospital. So recognizing the symptoms becomes critical.

    My daughter’s issues have been addressed, but her rather frightening episode made me think of spiritual heart attacks. While they may not be fatal to our eternal life, they can cause us to lose heart so that we are rendered ineffective in service. Instead of experiencing victory and joy, we plunge into defeat and despair, trudging our way through the Christian life as though walking through heavy mud. 
     Don’t live with a spiritually damaged heart. Take it to Jesus. Ask Him to reveal the “clots” of sin that may be blocking the flow of His Spirit within; confess them, and ask Him to cleanse you so that you can say with the psalmist, “God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Psalm 73:26)." ~Anne Graham Lotz, Living Heart Healthy, page 352 

From My (Our) Heart to Yours,
Marcie 

How do I keep my heart spiritually healthy? (click to tweet) Tweet: How do I keep my heart spiritually healthy? http://ctt.ec/1bQ1U+ @AGLotz @Marcie_Bridges #heart #devotion #poetry 

Do you know the signs of a spiritual heart attack? (click to tweet) Tweet: Do you know the signs of a spiritual heart attack? http://ctt.ec/cd4I0+ @Marcie_Bridges #christianencouragement #poetry


Monday, November 23, 2015

THANKSGIVING THROUGH MERCY, GRACE AND PEACE

by Marcie Bridges, @Marcie_Bridges

Bless the Lord, O my soul; 
And all that is within me, bless His holy name! 
Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits: 
Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, Who satisfies your mouth with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. 
Psalm 103:1-5


 I am so very thankful for the mercy, grace and love God bestows upon me every day. 

Days when I forget that I've sinned against Him and I don't understand why I don't have any peace within me. 

Days when I consistently think about all of the hurts and scars that I have instead of thanking Him for how He has healed me from them. 

And yet, He loves me anyway. He loves me unconditionally. When I falter, He is faithful to forgive me and to cleanse me so that the peace I've been missing, becomes a pool of serenity. Sanity. The worries cease and my spirit calms taking my breath away because I'm in awe of this gift that He so freely gives. 

The gift of peace. 

I pray today you will find thanksgiving and peace within your heart too. 

From My Heart to Yours,
Marcie 

For Further Reflection: 
Ephesians 2:8-9; Lamentations 3:22-23; John 3:16; 
John 14:27; Philippians 4:6-7





Monday, November 16, 2015

A SOLEMN PRAYER...FOR PARIS...FOR ALL THE WORLD

by Marcie Bridges,@Marcie_Bridges

Praise be to the Lord, for he has heard my cry for mercy.
The Lord is my strength and my shield; 
my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. 
My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him. 
Psalms 28:6-7

Photo by Tee-Tee Barnes, 2015

O LORD, on this solemn day
how can I sing Your praise?
My heart cries out in pain
for the loss of so many today.
I am grateful to You Lord
for this day I've made it through
the protections You've given me
O LORD, I fall to my knees.
Please God, don't be angry
when my gratitude is not all it should be
as my heart and my soul they bleed
for those who cannot feel so free
to honor and glorify Thee.

~Marcell Warner Bridges
©13 November 2015
All Rights Reserved

Photo by Tee-Tee Barnes, 2015
How do we praise God in the midst of this tragedy we’ve witnessed this past week? How do we thank God for everything, when we watch such wrongs unfold and so many people hurting as their loved ones die? 
 
I’m not going to pretend I have all of the answers because I’m as stunned as you are. I’m as horrified and saddened as you are.  
 
It is so hard to feel like thanking God for anything when we witness such awful events. But that’s the thing about giving thanks. It lifts our spirits. It brings us to a more peaceful place. Rested from restlessness.  
 
Maybe it’s that we just give Him praise for who He is. Be thankful that He is the God who knows all, sees all, and as Anne Voskamp so aptly wrote in her blog post For Paris: 
 
“...we fall to our knees before the Wounded Healer who cups His hands to catch every falling tear and sparrow and breaking heart in His palms, palms that have our names engraved right into Him far deeper than any of earth’s sorrow.

We pray for Paris, pray to You Who catches everything falling so we don’t fall apart,

pray that the City of Love feel our fierce love, and the courage of a globe of prayers, and the rising Light

that cannot be overcome by the dark,


that cannot be afraid of the dark,

that will always, always, always crush the dark.

In Jesus’ name… Amen.” ¹ 



Yes and amen. We fall on our knees in prayer for those who are needing God’s light and we thank God for being the light in our world that never dims.

What is falling apart in your world where you live today? I encourage you to go to a quiet place, fall on your knees, humble your heart before the Lord, and thank Him for who He is and for just being with You. Perhaps that is the only way to give thanks in such a time as this.
 
From My Heart to Yours,
Marcie

 
For Further Meditation: Psalm 28; 56:8; John 8:12; 1 John 1:1-10

¹Go here to read Ann Voskamp's post FOR PARIS 


 How do we thank You Lord when our world is hurting?
O LORD, on this solemn day how can I sing Your praise? 

Monday, November 9, 2015

LOVE NOTES FROM GOD

by Marcie Bridges, @Marcie_Bridges

The grass withers, the flower fades,
But the word of our God stands forever. Isaiah 40:8 


Love Notes From God 


A scrap of paper
Nothing special about it
Fluttering around
Looking for a place to land. 
A hand reaches out
Stopping its ascent
With the wind
Eyes of curiosity
Read its simple message.
Tear drops as rain drops
Smear words of grace
But the message lives on
In a heart grown too cold.
Somewhere inside a spark of
Hope strikes into a flame
Burning as bright as a warm
Fire in a fireplace.
Little scrap of paper
Takes flight once again
Soaring on the wind
For a new hand
To rescue it from flight
Its message of love
Waiting to ignite
Another heart yearning
For God’s light.

~Marcell Warner Bridges
©2015, All Rights Reserved 


God's Word is sure. It is steady and unwavering. His Word will never fade, nor dim.

It gives life to the lifeless, strength to the weary, conviction to those who are searching, and comfort to those who are hurting.

It is timeless, seamless, and a gift to us beyond compare of any gift we could even imagine receiving.

Today may we stretch out our hands and receive God's Word allowing it to light a flame once again into our hearts so we can live a life of thanksgiving to our Lord. 


From My Heart to Yours,
Marcie


For Further Reflection: Isaiah 40:8; Hebrews 4:12; James 1:17

 

Its message of love Waiting to ignite Another heart yearning For God’s light. 


This year for Thanksgiving I am writing a poem a day in the month of November. If you'd like to follow along you can view them at my poetry page on Facebook: Marcie Bridges Poetry Writer
 
*Top picture of leaves is property of B&G Photography used with permission (Thank you Gabby!)
*Second picture from Pixabay.com

Monday, November 2, 2015

BECAUSE I LOVE YOU

by Marcie Bridges, @Marcie_Bridges

“Behold, happy is the man whom God corrects; 
Therefore do not despise the chastening of the Almighty.” 
Job 5:17
 
Tee-Tee Barnes Photography, 2015
Sometimes we have to say the hard things. No matter how it is said, you know it is going to hurt that friends feelings. You say it with as much love as you possibly can but it still stings them.

We’ve all been there. But the truth is, that is what being the best friend you can be is. Telling the truth in love and prayer. 





BECAUSE I LOVE YOU

Because I love you
there are things I need to say.

Because I love you
there are words you will not
want to hear.

Because I love you
there are times when my silence
will speak louder than words.

Because I love you
there will be times when
encouragement will sound
more like discouragement.

Because I love you,
so dearly, not saying them
would be so unfair.

~Marcell Warner Bridges
©2015, All Rights Reserved
Tweet: Because I love you, not saying them would be so unfair http://ctt.ec/is9dF+ @Marcie_Bridges #Godislove #devotion #poetry  Because I Love You

 
Tee-Tee Barnes Photography, 2015
Sometimes God has to tell us the hard things too. Sometimes He has to show us in ways we are least expecting that we are not following the right path. They are extremely hard lessons to learn but the thing is, we have the opportunity to see what blessings we receive from obeying Him when we repent of our errant ways and turn back to Him.

I started out this year thinking I was going to learn what it meant to commit my writing to the Lord. But oh how I have learned so much more.

Committing my work to God involves so much more than just my writing. It involves every area of my life. It means learning to focus on Him and on who He is. It means obeying Him in every area of my walk with Him. You see, we can’t commit unless we are focused on Him and we can’t see the benefits of our commitment unless we are walking in obedience to God.

The hard words are never easy. The chastening we receive from God is never fun. But it would be so unfair for God to not do these hard works in us because then we wouldn’t produce the best relationship we could with Him, without His loving guidance.

“Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11
 
Tee-Tee Barnes Photography, 2015
From My Heart to Yours,
Marcie


For Further Reflection: Job 5:17; Psalm 51; Hebrews 12:10-11;
1 John 1:9; Revelation 3:19  

Sometimes God has to tell us the hard things (Click to tweet):   Tweet: Sometimes God has to tell us the hard things http://ctt.ec/Mdel4+ @Marcie_Bridges #FaithfulGod #poetry #encouragement   

Monday, October 26, 2015

MEET ME HERE LORD

@Marcie_Bridges

 “Am I a God who is near,” declares the LORD, 
“And not a God far off?
“Can a man hide himself in hiding places So I do not see him?” declares the LORD. 
“Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?” declares the LORD.
Jeremiah 23:23-24 

WHERE CAN I FLEE?
Sitting in the corner
curled up into a ball
invisible to everyone
but the One who created all.
Bridgescreations, 2015

Pulling covers tightly
covering every inch
hiding from the day
He sees me where I am.

Closet doors shut out
the wind and storm outside
darkness overtakes me
from Him I cannot hide.

God’s presence will be with us
no matter where we are
we can’t escape His nearness
as we seek Him with our heart. 
Bridgescreations, 2015

When you’re feeling lonely
or when you fear the night
take comfort in His presence
His love in you abides.

Even when the storm’s not raging
and quiet consumes all around
be still with God your Maker
He’s here with you even now.

~Marcell Warner Bridges
©2015, All Rights Reserved.

Bridgescreations, 2015
It’s been one of those weepy weeks.

Tears of joy. Tears of sorrow. Tears of fear. Tears of change.

Devotions in the mornings blurred one into the other leaving me to wonder what I was missing.

Empty. That’s the only word for it. Just an emptiness combined with dread.  If ever there was a week I needed Jesus, it was this week but He didn’t seem to be there.

Maybe that’s why today has been so special. This morning spent just with my Lord. I asked Him to meet with me. To speak to me. I needed to hear His voice.

And meet me He did.

“Flowery words won’t get God’s attention any more than simple everyday language. The promise that David gives us here is that “my God of mercy shall come to meet me.” That’s what you need to know. Then talk to God like you believe it. He is present, right there, listening and talking to you.”  ~Darlene Zschech, Revealing Jesus, Psalm 59:10 ¹

So I read that...He is present, right there...got teary eyed... then read a blog post on God’s presence. Here’s my favorite part of it (link at the bottom of this post):

“Here is what the CHRISTIAN must remember . . .
Bridgescreations, 2015



God is around you, God is by you, and God wants to be in you. He wants to put his presence inside of you. And here’s why: Because when you feel these pressures coming from the outside of worry and loneliness and discouragement, you need an equal pressure from the inside fighting against them to save them all.” ~Mike Scott, What Do the Scriptures Say? ²

Well that set off the water works. God is already here. God is with me. God is with you. So the next time we begin to feel empty, let’s find a quiet place and fill the emptiness with our Abba Father. He’s only a Hello away...

From My Heart to Yours,
Marcie


For Further Meditation:
Jeremiah 23:23-24; Psalm 59:10; Psalm 139:7-12; Psalm 16:1-11: Psalm 62:8;  Isaiah 43:1-2; Hebrews 13:5-6

Tweet: God's Presence is Always with Us http://ctt.ec/Y4lK3+ @Marcie_Bridges #poetry #devotion #GodsPresence  God's Presence is Always with Us


 
¹Darlene Zschech, Revealing Jesus: A 365 Day Devotional, ©2013. October 25, God Will Meet Me.
²Mike Scott, What Do the Scriptures Say, http://www.scripturessay.com/gods-omnipresence/