SHEPHERD OF MY HEART


My heart is so heavy. I have had this “weighed down spirit” for a week now. Not because of anything in my own life that is causing me problems, but for other people. Other friends who are going through such struggles I know they are having a hard time getting up in the morning and maybe they are even on “life support”.  Every breath they take is such a struggle for them because they are not sure what awaits them around the next corner and I know that feeling. I know that wait. The one where we know God is at work but we must wait on Him to show us His answers. It can be a long one and the longer we sit in the waiting room the more anxious we become.

As I sit here this morning looking through files on my laptop trying to find a blog I thought I wrote for future use (which it turns out I didn’t actually type up but I did hand write while eating lunch one day) I ran across a letter I wrote to some friends a few years ago. I hope they don’t mind if I revise it a little and share it today. I think some other friends might need this. 

I so love God’s imagery in His Word when He calls Himself our Shepherd.  This picture hangs on our wall right above our television. I bought it when I was engaged to Mark and it has hung in the same spot these 18 years. I love it because it brings me such comfort in knowing that I belong to God and that He is my Shepherd. He takes care of me in so many special ways. And especially when I feel so overwhelmed I know I can go to Him and find comfort in His arms. 

Just last night I was staring up at it and this verse came to my mind….

He tends his flock like a shepherd:

   He gathers the lambs in his arms

and carries them close to his heart;

   he gently leads those that have young.

Isaiah 40:11 (NIV)

            There are so many verses in the Bible that relate to God being our Shepherd but I so love this verse. I know you have had it rough for a while now. Rest assured that God has you in His arms and He will keep you close and safe through all God is leading you in. Psalm 23 reminds us that He leads us to still waters and refreshes our soul.

A Psalm of David.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
 He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.
 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil; For You arewith me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
Forever.

Psalm 23:1-6 (NKJV)

 John 10 assures us that we are His sheep and He is our Shepherd and He knows each one of us by name and He won’t let us go.

“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me” John 10:14 (NIV)

One final thought:

 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30 (NKJV)

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 (NKJV)

I know you are weary and you are overwhelmed. My hope is that in the days ahead you can find some time to be still, quiet and just rest in the arms of His love. May you find God’s peace with you this day and through this week.   ~Marcie 

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WHEN WORDS FAIL A WRITER

<!–[if supportFields]> SEQ CHAPTER \h \r 1<![endif]–><!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>Sometimes we just don’t know what to say.  We watch a tragedy happen and all we can do is cry or shake our heads. There are no words to say. Only raw emotion at the sight of what we are seeing. Sometimes we cannot comprehend the depth of what we are seeing simply because we have never witnessed it first-hand. Sometimes we do not comprehend it because it is so deep and disturbing that it does not fully sink into our brain.  We try to put words to it, but we fail miserably because there are just no words to say.  This is where I am right now. This is what I am feeling.

 I have had loss in my life but compared to the tragedies of this year around the country, my losses are so insignificant I feel almost ashamed that I ever cared so much or cried so much over those things in my life that to me at the time were so big and significant.  So the truth of it is I feel that my words would be meaningless that I would, or could write, if I had words to write, about the tornadoes, the bombings, the shootings.  I could echo words of sadness and say how sorry I am that these people have had this happen to them. I could quote a Bible verse or two to try to explain how I feel or provide encouragement. I could say a few fluffy words that might bring a small smile. But would any of it mean anything to any of them? I don’t know. It is like going to a funeral and trying to put words to a person for how sorry you are for their loss but all they can do is nod and say thank you when you know inside of yourself it really meant nothing. There is nothing that can make them feel better right then. I never know what to say to someone in those moments, so I wonder if not saying anything is really the better idea. I guess part of me thinks everybody else has already written articles and sentiments on it all, what is there left to write?

But I really wanted to write something so I kept asking God what to write. I told Him I wanted to write something of value. Something that would give someone a little something to hang their hat on in this time of need. Then the lyrics of this song came to mind and began playing over and over in my head and my heart.  It is called “Hope Now” by Addison Road:

(Verse 2)

When my life is like a storm

Rising waters all I want is the shore

You say I’ll be ok and

Make it through the rain

You are my shelter from the storm

(CHORUS)

Everything rides on hope now

Everything rides on faith somehow

When the world has broken me down

Your love sets me free

(Bridge)

I am not my own

I’ve been carried by you my whole life

Our hope is in the Lord. Our help is in the Lord. Our strength is in the Lord. And with every storm we encounter, He will either quiet it for us by telling it to be still or He will carry us through it until we are able to walk on water with Him through eyes of faith.

May you find His peace and His help and His strength today.  ~Marcie

PSALM 40:1- 3,16 & 17

I waited patiently for the Lord; And He inclined to me, And heard my cry.

(2) He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, Out of the miry clay, And set my feet upon a rock, And established my steps.

(3) He has put a new song in my mouth—Praise to our God; Many will see it and fear, And will trust in the Lord. …(16) Let all those who seek You rejoice and be glad in You;Let such as love Your salvation say continually, “The Lord be magnified!”

(17) But I am poor and needy; Yet the Lord thinks upon me.  You are my help and my deliverer; Do not delay, O my God.

Dear God, Most Precious Heavenly Father, please be our hope and our strength today. For those who have lost loved ones and lost everything they have please be their shelter in this storm and the provision they need as they look around them wondering how they will go on from here. Forgive me Lord, for being selfish in my thoughts of complaint and worrying over what I think I need or for worrying over the things that to me are so important. But You, O God, have provided not just for today but for tomorrow. May we look to You, no, SEEK YOU, with our whole hearts for the rest and peace and care we need. In Jesus Name Above All Names, Amen.

ONLY HIS

ONLY HIS

Where are You God
in the midst of this?
When my soul thirsts
my fists are clenched,
my faith is weak,
and I feel so alone
Where are You God?
Where did You go?

I’ve searched the skies
the wind, the rain,
searched valley’s deep
and mountain peaks
looked everywhere
but cannot see
Where are You God
in my time of need?

And then I heard a
still, small voice
like water dripping
on parched earth.
I heard it loud and clear
But soft it falls onto my ears.
“I’m here,” He said.
“I’ve never left,
You’re in My hands where you’ve always been.”

I felt the peace
only He can give
No longer lonely
Only His.

My troubles did not cease from there
and yet I found from one small prayer
Strength and healing
Only He can give
No longer struggling
Only His.

– – Marcell Warner Bridges
© 2007, 2013 Marcie Bridges

IS YOUR BANK EMPTY?…A Quick Share of Encouragement

My mother gave me a book of poetry she had that I love to sit and read. It is filled with poetry of all sorts of themes. But here is one of my absolute favorite poems and I hope you find encouragement from its words:


“God’s Bank Ain’t Busted Yet”

The bank had closed; my earthly store had vanished from my hand;
I felt that there was no sadder one than I in all the land.
My washerwoman, too, had lost her little mite with mine,
And she was singing as she hung the clothes upon the line.
“How can you be so gay?” I asked, “Your loss don’t you regret?”
“Yes, ma’am, but what’s the use to fret?
God’s bank ain’t busted yet?”

I felt my burden lighter grow; her faith I seemed to share;
In prayer I went to God’s great throne and laid my troubles there.
The sun burst from behind the clouds, in golden splendor set;
I thank God for her simple words: “God’s bank ain’t busted yet?”

And now I draw rich dividends, more than my hand can hold.
Of faith and love and hope and trust, and peace of mind untold.
I thank the Giver of it all, but still I can’t forget
My washerwoman’s simple words: “God’s bank ain’t busted yet!”

Oh, weary ones upon life’s road, when every thing seems drear
And losses loom on every hand and skies seem not too clear,
Throw back your shoulders, lift your head and cease to chafe and fret,
Your dividend will be declared: “God’s bank ain’t busted yet!” 

by Alice P. Moss

I know many of you are going through hard times, especially financially, and this poem has always encouraged me when we have felt the strain of such hardships. But this poem does not just speak of financial hardship, it also encourages us to look to God when we feel burdened in any area of our lives.

Lord, we thank You that You are JEHOVAH-JIREH the One who provides for us in every circumstance. We love that we can come to You with empty hands and hearts for you to fill them to overflowing with Your everlasting love, grace and mercy.  Thank You for providing friends and family to share in our burdens when possible and for being a God who cares for us and provides the hope we need to continue on in life’s journey.  I pray that we learn to store our treasures with You and not here on earth.

“I have been young, and now am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Nor his descendants begging bread.”  Psalm 37:25

THE ULTIMATE COOKIE MONSTER

“Just one bite…just one little nibble…what will it hurt?  Just one. It won’t make you gain any weight.  Just one, or two. It’ll be fine. Come on. You know you want to take a bite. Look at me sitting here just waiting for you to enjoy my deliciousness,” and on went the taunting, teasing of that Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Chick-Fil-A cookie all nicely wrapped in a brown paper bag, moist and hot just calling my name and whispering its goodness to me over and over. I sat there looking at it and seriously, aside from my own homemade chocolate chip cookies, if I’m going to buy one, this is what I’m buying. It lay on the table still shut tight with its big, round, red seal on the back innocently enough – yet my mouth watered with great anticipation for every single 320 calories of it.

Already 9:00 in the evening the day had held such celebration for me and I felt in all innocence I could justify consuming that whole entire cookie at that time of night. I had already pretty much gone off my “diet” for the day so what did it matter? And I just wanted one, or, maybe two, bites. It would obviously be unhealthy to eat the whole thing in one sitting no matter when I ate it but what could just a couple of bites hurt?

Isn’t that just like Satan? Isn’t that the way sin works? We see something we want, or we hear about somewhere we want to go, or maybe, we sit and dream about something that on the outside looks like a fun thing that even in our hearts, we know it is wrong, we know the consequences of those actions, but still…just one little bite? What could it hurt? So we take a nibble and ohhhhhhhhhhhh how wonderful that tastes!!!! Oh. My. Word.!!  Okay, so just one more nibble. That’s all I’m going to take then I’ll put it away.  Nibble, chew, swallow….that was even better than the first bite!  I’ll just tear off one more piece then… and so it goes until we have eaten the whole entire cookie. And then we realized we had gone so much further than we meant to. We even dabbed at each little morsel and crumb and made sure it was all gone.  But then, what happens? Yep. The guilt sets in. We feel bloated and tired and soon wish we had not even taken that very first nibble.    

Psalm 1:1-2 “Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.” (NIV)

I once heard a pastor describe the verses this way. First we begin to walk toward the sin, then we stand there and begin to just look at it (kind of like being in a museum and staring at a painting analyzing it…), then finally we sit in its company and listen to it mock us until we give in –  UNLESS (vs 2) we delight in God’s Words and we flee that temptation. This verse pretty much says it all. We cannot even let that temptation begin to draw us toward its goodness, its beauty, its tantalizing-mouth-watering aroma because once we do, oh how hard it is not to give in and to sit down and eat of its delight. 

Dear Friends, here is the best news of this whole ordeal.  You don’t have to live with that guilt and shame from whatever cookie you ate. You don’t have to harbor bitterness and stay in the loneliness that comes from even giving into that very first nibble. You know what? You can go to Jesus, RIGHT NOW, right where you are and you can ask for Jesus to cleanse you and to forgive you of that sin. 1 John 1:9 promises us this, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (NIV)  Jesus shed His precious blood on a cross for YOU so that you can be free from the burdens and cares that weigh you down so heavily.

Will you come to Him today, just as you are?  There’s no need to dress up or look your best. God just wants you to come. Will you give that cookie to Him? He’s waiting with open arms to welcome you and say, “I love you, you are forgiven and you are free”.   ~Much Love, Marcie

If you’ve never accepted Christ as your Savior, I pray you would ask Him to reveal Himself to you this very day and you would make this the day you begin a life worth living.  If you have given your life to Christ, but you need His forgiveness for anything, would you come to Him today and be set free? I would love to hear from you if you have any questions about this and especially if you have prayed to receive Christ.

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DOES JESUS REALLY CARE?

Meniere’s Disease is a complicated mess of symptoms that just like Fibromayalgia is hard to diagnose. The symptoms are wide ranging and it affects each person who has it differently. The main symptoms of it are fullness and ringing in one or both ears, tinnitus (from mild to severe), hearing loss, vertigo (quite different from dizzyness), sensitivity to certain foods, migraines, and the ability to help gravity at the oddest moments for no reason at all, for example, tripping over nothing and falling flat on our faces. Some people are so affected by it, they are disabled and cannot work or drive or even spend time with their loved ones letting on take care of any children or even themselves. Others of us go into “remission” for a season but never know when it will show its ugly head and come crashing in on us.

I am a member of several support groups here on Facebook for this disease. We are able to rant and rave about the disease and how it is affecting us or we can share how we cope with it or what doctors have found out about it. If we need someone to cheer us up or just give us a virtual hug that day, we have friends to go to on these pages. But tonight, I read a post from one member that made me sad, then made me angry!  His original post talks about how he has this MM disease but recently was also diagnosed with cancer. He told us about how he has no family and he just needed some hugs. So many of us gave him some. But then, he said some people had messaged him and told him he needed to leave the group because this group page was only for Meniere’s Disease and he shouldn’t be telling us about his new health issue (which, by the way, will get substantially worse with medications and therapies for cancer).

I think it is obvious why I was so sad to read his post. Even without the cancer he needs help, support and friends for his MD but cancer is such an invasive thing! What made me so mad is that he needs support for all of it. Not just the MD. And if we can be that person to give it to him on particularly bad days, then, why shouldn’t he be able to tell us about it? I thought how selfish of people to be that way toward him. And now he is thinking of leaving the group.

Dear friends, what would happen if Jesus were that way with us? What would happen if He said, “Come to me about your good days, or your worship or about anything that is big but please, I can’t be bothered with the rest of it.  Just deal with it on your own. I don’t want to hear about the little things or the bad things.” How would you feel if God did that to us? The good news is, He does not say that to us. He does not tell us that at all. In fact, in 1 Peter 5:7 we read, “casting ALL your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”  Did you see that? Read it again… ALL!  Not some of it, not a little bit, but ALL…E-V-E-R-Y-THING!!!! God wants to know every detail of what you are going through. Why? So you learn to depend on Him to help you through every storm, heartache and even every joyful milestone!

So what are you waiting for? Cast every burden and care at His feet and let the peace of God that passes all understanding fill your heart and mind.

Matthew 11:28:  “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”