Monday, May 30, 2016

PRESSING ON WITH YOUR GOD-SIZED DREAM

by Marcie Bridges, @Marcie_Bridges

“Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. 
Is there anything too hard for Me? Jeremiah 32:27

 Sometimes callings from God unfold in a miraculous instant. But more often callings happen within a million slow moments of revelation and maturation. ~Lysa TerKeurst 


As Charlie Brown says in the recently released Peanut’s Movie, “I have a sudden case of inadequacy”. Following our dreams can be hard sometimes. 
 
Over the past 7 years I have been following a dream that I thought I would never see the end of. A dream that some people didn’t understand and didn’t support. A dream that many others found brave and encouraged me and prayed me through. 

But I finally walked across that stage and received the degree I’ve been working for. It took a long time, but I did it.

Dreams can take a long time to achieve. Some start very early in life, some late in life, but no matter how long it takes to achieve our goal, it is worth the effort.

Do you have a God-sized dream? Holley Gerth explains a God-sized dream this way: a desire in your heart for more of what God has for you.

Just because I have met this one, doesn't mean I stop dreaming. I now have a new dream in its place. It’s just as big and may take just as long but I know my God can help me achieve it because He has been faithful to help me this far. A meme on Facebook I recently shared says, “God hasn’t brought you this far just to bring you this far.”

So dear friends. Keep dreaming and keep taking steps toward that dream. There will be many times of discouragement. Many times you will feel like quitting. Don't give up! Instead, while you’re dreaming, give it to God. Commit it to Him, fix your eyes upon Jesus, and He will establish your steps. Nothing is too hard for God. 


PRESSING ON

Hold on
Don’t let go
Keep striving for the goal.

Don’t forget
Always remember
What you really want.

Find a way
Reach for the star
Climb over the rainbow
 And there is your pot of gold.

Can’t quit
Can’t give up
Gotta go on
Press for the mark.

Now that you have found it
Keep and cherish it
Treasure and love it
Use it for the best you know how and
Enjoy the reward of achieving that goal.

It is now yours to have and to hold
From this day...
                  Forward.

~Marcie Warner Bridges
© 1991

 From My Heart to Yours,
Marcie  



Monday, May 23, 2016

SEEING THE LESSONS ~ GUEST WENDY MACDONALD

Guest Wendy L. MacDonald, @wendylmacdonald
With Marcie Bridges, @Marcie_Bridges

One of these days I'm going to travel to Canada. There are parts of Canada I've always wanted to see. And while I'm there, I'm going to visit my very special friend, Wendy. Wendy and I have been friends on Facebook for about a year now and I admire her poetry and prose, especially because she can say so much in so few words. Besides her poetry, her photography is absolutely beautiful. I am so grateful and thrilled to have Wendy share with us this week. 

WELCOME TO HEART THOUGHTS WENDY! 

 “I have heard their groaning and have come down to set them free.” Acts 7:33 NIV  



“Like Joseph, let us be more careful to learn all the lessons in the school of sorrow than we are anxious for the hour of deliverance.” ~ Streams in the Desert

In my younger years, before I knew the Lord, I often took to my bed to avoid emotional pain. Sleep was my escape. Nowadays my family is alarmed if they discover I’m under my bedcovers in the middle of the day. I have to be pretty much incapacitated to land anywhere near beddy-bye-time before nine.

Instead, stressful events now cause me to dig deeper into my Bible and prayer at an earlier hour than normal (and more often too). I still remember the Sunday school song that says God answers prayers in the morning, noontime, and evening. So I take Him up on His offer, plus I throw in some middle-of-the-night entreaties when I wake up with a pounding heart. I also write longer journal entries when I’m worried. And that’s exactly what I did during a recent family emergency. I told God I wasn’t impressed with what was going on. I reminded Him of my past, and I shared my thoughts about how it wasn’t fair to be going through as much turmoil as before. I mean—haven’t I already been dished out enough pain? Tears streamed down my face as I scribbled down my woes.

And here’s what I sensed He replied back to me:

First God seemed to smile with warmth and compassion in His eyes. He was probably relieved I wasn’t hiding under my blankets or under the cover of religiosity; I was facing the situation and uncovering my heart before Him (don’t you love it when someone you care about shares from the heart? I think God likes it too). Then I sensed He wanted me to focus on His love, power, and the lesson I could learn in this situation. And when I changed my focus, peace covered my heart as cozily as freshly washed bedding.

And then I wrote down my petitions, praise, and the main points I was learning during the trial. 

Seeing the Lessons
After we’ve closed our eyes to pray
For God’s deliverance to come our way
May we open them while we wait
To see the lessons within each day

For though earthly sorrows cut us deep
We must not live as though asleep
For the Lord does care and sees us weep
And every promise He will keep.

Wendy/ 2016

From Our Hearts to Yours,
Wendy & Marcie



Wendy L. Macdonald is a Canadian, inspirational writer/blogger who also loves to photograph nature. When she's not writing, drawing, or sewing, she enjoys hiking in the beautiful parks of the Comox Valley with her husband of 32 years. She homeschooled her children and believes all those years of reading aloud helped develop her love of story telling and writing. Wendy invites you to visit her blog where you will find nature photography and links to her" Daily Bread" style Facebook page etc. at www.wendylmacdonald.com


TWEET TWEET!  
  




Monday, May 16, 2016

SCARLET NAILS

@Marcie_Bridges

“Everyone who hears my words and obeys them is like a wise man who built his house on rock. It rained hard, the floods came, and the winds blew and hit that house. But it did not fall, because it was built on rock. Everyone who hears my words and does not obey them is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. It rained hard, the floods came, and the winds blew and hit that house, 
and it fell with a big crash.”  
Matthew 7:24-27 (NCV)


SCARLET NAILS

Foundations of obedience laid
through scarlet paint
strokes of love captured in red.

Your words secured in my heart
held fast through clear coated glossing’s
red stains brushed clear of sin and shame.

Deep is the well of salvation
obedience dipped in confession
nails coated red in submission
sealed in waters clear baptism.

There is no solid foundation
without scarlet drops
their imperfected cracks and crevices
removed by acidic cotton balls
of redemption’s blood.

~Marcell Warner Bridges
©May 2016
All Rights Reserved.


Nan and I laughed together as I pulled my birthday presents out of the gift bag. Cotton balls, nail polish remover, and 2 bottles of polish. One named Scarlet and the other a clear coat to go on top. Leave it to Nan to pray about what to buy and present to me such a precious gift.

A few months earlier I spent two days on a retreat by myself in a hotel to spend time with God. While there, I took the time to paint my fingernails. Then I did my toenails—something I’ve never done in my life. Nan said this special gift is to remind me of my time on that retreat.

Sitting on the bed in the hotel room I read my Bible and prayed for hours. All electronics turned off so I could hear the Lord clearly without distraction or disturbance. During this time He gave me a “nail polish message”:
 
 
God-sized dreams must be built on The Rock. 
When there is disobedience, the house collapses. 
It cannot prosper. It will fail.

BUT! Choosing the better option: committing, giving the right response (obeying), trusting God to provide, is the wise man’s choice which builds on The Rock. 
A firm foundation.
 
Putting on nail polish requires a steady hand otherwise it turns into a mess that we have to remove before we can put a new coat of foundation on. My Christian walk is the same way. When I don’t walk in obedience to God, I do not have a sure foundation to keep my path steady and I cannot make the proper decisions in my life. I must build my foundation on Christ!

This weekend I sat waiting with a group of graduates to receive our diplomas. As I looked down at my scarlet polished fingernails I smiled remembering two very important lessons: I have a wonderful, precious friend in Nan who always points me to Christ and I have a great foundation in Christ Jesus through His precious sacrifice of blood.

How about you? Have you built your faith on The Solid Rock?

From My Heart to Yours,
Marcie  

Tweet Tweet!
 

How does nail polish symbolize my Christian walk?



Monday, May 9, 2016

HEAVENLY FLOWERS ~ GUEST KAREN 'GIRL' FRIDAY

Guest ~ Karen Friday, @FridayKaren
With Marcie Bridges, @Marcie_Bridges 

Not long ago Karen Friday and I met here online and at first we just liked each others status's on Facebook or shared each others blog posts. But one day I was feeling extremely down about myself and some things going on in my life and as I was watching video's on YouTube one that she has put together popped up as a suggestion to watch. After watching it and crying for a bit, I sent Karen a message to let her know how it touched my heart. Karen's reply was such an encouragement to me and I just think the world of this lady. This week it is an absolute joy and grace to have Karen as my guest. 

WELCOME TO HEART THOUGHTS KAREN 'GIRL'!  

Even the wilderness and desert will rejoice in those days; the desert will blossom with flowers. Yes, there will be an abundance of flowers and singing and joy! The deserts will become as green as the Lebanon mountains, as lovely as Mount Carmel’s pastures and Sharon’s meadows; for the Lord will display his glory there, the excellency of our God.
Isaiah 35:1-2 TLB
 
I’m nostalgic with the celebration of Mother’s Day.

I grew up in the foothills of Big Stone Gap, Virginia. Small town America nestled in a valley and surrounded by the Appalachian mountains known for historical museums and coal mining.

My grandparents lived nearby. A long, curvy, uphill driveway led to their home. Childhood memories fill my mind of the trek up and down the driveway by foot or bicycle.

America Maxfield, my maternal grandmother, displayed godly faith during my formative years. When she passed away, I gathered humorous and notable pieces of her life to share as a tribute.

There’s a prevalent snapshot that won’t escape me. Beautiful, colorful flowers lined both sides of her driveway. A picturesque landscape. A milestone.

Flowers weaved my words to the memories of her—America the beautiful. Flowers, as if painted on a canvas, displayed my grandmother’s driveway and captured her essence.

HEAVENLY FLOWERS

Creeping Phlox Flowers lined my grandmother’s driveway. White, pink, and purple, a colorful array.
An exquisite burst of bright gleaming,
reminds me of her life’s meaning.

White signifies pure, good, and clean,
seen in her while on the everlasting arms she’d lean.
Now she’s clothed in a white robe of Christ,
offered to her in heaven because of His sacrifice.

Pink like her rose colored blush neatly brushed on each cheek.

Joyful heart for the Lord she would seek.
Pink’s born from the color red or crimson,
the blood of Jesus given for her ransom.

Purple, the color of royalty, fit for her a queen.
Now she’s crowned by God, her Savior and King.
America, a royal priesthood, holy nation,
you accepted Christ, His salvation.

Wife, mother, and grandmother . . . roles she would play,
nothing negative of her anyone could say.
Wise, fun, and witty,
now she lives in the heavenly city.

Creeping Phlox Flowers lined my grandmother’s driveway.
White, pink, and purple in a colorful array.
An exquisite burst of bright gleaming,
reminds me of my grandmother’s life and special meaning.

~Karen 'Girl' Friday

 ©May 2016

I’m thankful for memories of my grandmother, living in small town America, and a heritage in Christ—who’s the driveway—leading to an eternal home in heaven. "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 ESV

I grew up in the breathtaking view of the Virginia foothills. Today, I am growing up in the Lord. Following Jesus to the foothills of God. One day, the heavenly view will take my breath. I will bow at his feet, crown Him with everlasting glory, and worship the Most High for all of eternity.

Will flowers line the streets in heaven? I’m not sure, but my grandmother will be there and so will Jesus.
 
From Our Hearts to Yours,
Karen & Marcie  
 
TWEET! TWEET!
 


Karen Friday is a pastor’s wife and lover of words through writing, blogging, and speaking. For over a decade, she has balanced the busy life of church ministry with working from her home office in marketing. Karen earned a communications degree and has experience in a broad spectrum of business services where she is frequently referred to as Girl Friday. A blogger, Karen ‘Girl’ Friday engages a community every week, Hope is Among Us, expressing scriptural truths as life happens. She has published a number of articles and devotions in both print and online media. An inspirational speaker, Karen addresses a wide variety of audiences. She is passionate about mentoring women and discipling followers of Christ to live with authentic faith. Karen and Mike Friday reside in East Tennessee and have two grown children. The entire family is fond of the expression, “TGIF: Thank God it’s Friday!” They owe Monday an apology.
 
Here's the link to her video that touched my heart so much:
 
 

Monday, May 2, 2016

TRUE ~ GUEST EMILY WICKHAM

Guest Blogger ~ Emily Wickham, @emilywickhamPH
with Marcie Bridges, @Marcie_Bridges

God leads us to people in such extraordinary ways sometimes. Emily and I met online through my brother's family and though we have not actually met in person (which is kinda funny since we live so close to each other), we are looking forward to meeting each other here in a few short weeks at an up-coming writer's conference.  To say I'm thrilled to have Emily as my guest this week is an understatement of great proportion. 

WELCOME TO HEART THOUGHTS EMILY! 


“And we know that the Son of God has come, 
and has given us understanding, 
in order that we might know Him who is true, 
and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. 
This is the true God and eternal life.” 
1 John 5:20, NASB  


Dear Friends,

Sometimes we plan our words and actions, but the Holy Spirit re-directs. I love when He does that, which perfectly applies to my guest post today. I intended to share a different message, but the Spirit pointed me to this love poem about my Jesus.

Constantly I’m reminded of God’s faithfulness and everlasting love. I pray these words of mine will resonate with you and increase our passion for Christ. He is worthy.

In Christ’s Love,
Emily
 
TRUE

He sits with me, listens—
Reminds me He is near.
Here
In my heart, my life.
Never leaving or abandoning
He remains.

Jesus, my Beloved
The One who lifts my head.
Mine
Strong, steadfast, secure.
Never ignoring or forgetting
I am His.

My Savior, faithful Friend
He ever strengthens me.
True
Life exists in Christ.
Never failing or disappointing
He’s alive.

Do you know this Jesus?
His tender touch, His care?
Love
No one else compares.
Never refusing or rejecting
He redeems.

©30, April 2016
All Rights Reserved.
  
 TWEET! TWEET!
Jesus is my Beloved the One who lifts my head Guest @emilywickhamPH 

Do you know this Jesus? His tender touch, His care? 

My Savior faithful Friend He ever strengthens me True Life exists in Christ



Passionate about stirring hearts toward Jesus, Emily Wickham writes for Journey Magazine. She also blogs at www.proclaiminghimtowomen.com, and contributes material to other publications. She speaks at women’s events and anticipates the 2016 publication of her book, Reaching for Righteousness, Spanish Edition. Emily, a NC resident, welcomes connection via Facebook, Twitter, and e-mail.