JOY, PART 1

F.R.O.G. : Fully Rely on God
P.U.S.H. : Pray Until Something Happens
WWJD : What Would Jesus Do?
G.R.A.C.E. : God’s Riches at Christ’s Expense
T.G.I.F. : Thank God I’m Forgiven!
We’ve seen these acronyms over and over through the years. Each letter of the word is to make a simple statement about our faith. What we believe. How we live as Christians, or rather, how we should live. There are many of them!  These are just a few I picked out that I really like.
When I was little, in the 1980’s, there was one that was used more than any others. It was the most popular one for years. I don’t hear it much anymore and that makes me a bit sad. It speaks so much of what we as Christians should be like. 
JOY
J.O.Y.

JESUS, OTHERS, YOU.

Or, Jesus first, Others second and You last.
This little acronym has so much life in it, it cannot be expressed in one sitting. There is much to say on it. We will begin with J.  Jesus First.
The basic principle in the Bible, the one commandment above all others is this:
Matthew 22:37-38 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment.”
God asks us to seek Him first. To put Him first in our hearts and our souls and our minds. To make Him first priority in all we do.  He doesn’t want us waiting until “all else fails” to ask for His help or His wisdom. He wants us to be continually living with and in Him so that we can discern daily what His will is for our lives. When we don’t make Him first in our lives, it gives way to temptations, doubts and depression. God’s will is for us to live fully alive for Him not despondent and discouraged.
Are you discouraged today? Are you feeling overwhelmed and depressed?  Jeremiah 29:13-14a, “And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by You, says the Lord, ….”  
AND
Matthew 6:33 “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”  You cannot have the joyous Christian life you desire unless you seek God first and make Him the priority in your heart, soul and mind.
J is for Jesus.
J is for Joy.
J is for JESUS FIRST! 
© Marcie Bridges, Heart Thoughts, 2013

 

MOMENTS IN TIME

              I walked into her room not knowing what to expect. My friend looked at me with eyes so sad and I didn’t know what to say. She couldn’t talk to me, but she tried, yet I failed at understanding what she was trying to say. I tried to read her lips but it is a skill I’ve not honed yet. I grappled with things to talk about but my mind stayed blank. Finally I understood one of her questions and was able to make some conversation. I also understood when she thanked me for coming and when she told me she loves me. Before leaving, I prayed with her but I left with my heart extremely heavy and many, many questions on my mind…
          What am I doing? Why am I wasting time on….???? Why am I letting such and such thoughts dwell in my brain? I feel down and depressed about a lot of things today but most of all I realize that I suddenly just want to savor the moments I have with my family and friends. Because I realize it could be me or one of my family members in that hospital room and here but by the grace of God go I. 

          Yesterday my girls asked me if I miss them being little. Sometimes I do. But mostly I wish I would have cherished it more. I wish I would have taken time to really enjoy certain moments in life. I can’t get those moments back but perhaps now my eyes have been opened to the life God really wants me to live. Jesus’ mother cherished the time she had with Him. Luke 2:19, “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.  I pray that we learn to do the same in our lives and hearts. 
A MOMENT IN TIME

I just want to listen to the falling rain as it pelts against my window.

I just want to drown in a book that takes me to somewhere else.

I just want to snuggle up in a warm, cozy blanket drinking hot cocoa.

I just want to savor this moment, this quiet, this calm.

The noise around me blares against my ear drums

It squelches all thought and ponderings that could be.

I hate it for it goes on and on and there is no ignoring it

The chaos about me seems to think it is free to make havoc upon my soul.

For even in the stillest silence it is not complete.

And now I sit. Waiting. Listening. Intently.

There it is. Can you hear it? Can you feel it?

Come, join me, and listen.

Listen to the rain as it beats down upon the roof.

Read and go to a land far away.

Snuggle in a warmth that melts your heart.

Savor the moment. It won’t last forever.

– – Marcell Warner Bridges

©8, December 2009

Dear Lord, let me remember to take the time to spend with my family and my friends and to be the friend I should be. Help me to not be so consumed with my own life that I miss opportunities with those around me to be the wife, mother and friend I need to be.  I love You Lord. Thank You for the life You’ve given to me and the life You’ve given me more abundantly in You. May I use it for Your glory and honor.  In Jesus Name, Amen.

 

 
  ©Marcie Bridges, Heart Thoughts 2013
pictures: © Bridgescreations, 2013

GOLIATH VS. ME…ME VS. GOLIATH


“Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hands.”
1 Samuel 17:47

                                        © Karen L. Murphy Photography, 2013

 GOLIATH VS. ME…ME VS. GOLIATH

            Sometimes in life we go through a time when the whole world seems to have crashed around us and no one understands the deep anguish and pain that accompany this.  They think we have completely lost all sense of self and some of them don’t want to have anything to do with you while you work through it all. While others are so kind to be there to hold you, cry with you, listen to you (even when you’ve talked about it every single time you have opened your mouth around them).

             It takes a special kind of fortitude to go through these times because that is when all you have is yourself and God to handle it. Sure, your friends and family can give advice and listen, but ultimately, you realize you have to find the answers yourself.

            This Goliath comes to you every day. He demands your attention and your time. He demands you deal with him each and every hour until you can no more get up and do what is required of you than you can take your next breath. The beating of your heart feels ten times heavier from the way it did a minute ago because with each passing moment, each passing thought, each passing tear, your heart burns like a paper cut just a little more and a little more, until one day it is underneath Goliath’s feet and he is laughing and stomping on it and mocking you. Your soul becomes bare and numb and you can’t even form a single thought.  Every prayer you pray feels empty as if it has just hit the ceiling and bounced back down shattering at your feet. You stare at it not knowing whether to sweep it up and try to put it back together or to let it lay there in a puddle. After awhile, you get tired of listening to Goliath taunt you with his fangs baring, dripping words of self loathing and incrimination so you go and find some armor to shield yourself from every evil vowel that is spilled out. The armor works for a while and even though it is so heavy and cumbersome, you wear it anyway, thinking that if you wear it long enough it will get easier and lighter. But one day you look around, you look down, you realize . . . no, this is not working. This is too much and you cannot take another single minute of feeling all of this disgusting, rotten circumstance. Getting up, you take off the armor feeling quite naked in its absence and you begin to put one foot in front of the other. Left . . . right. Left . . . right. And then you see it. Sitting there. Shiny and new. Just for you. A rock. No, not a rock. A stone. Smooth, flat. Perfect. You fashion a sling and  instead of walking you run . . . as fast as you can and with the biggest steps your body will allow.  To the point of gasping for the last breath you can muster and there you are, standing just feet from Goliath. He bares his evil grin and looks at you with delight as he smacks his lips for the meal he’s about to devour. He thinks he’s won. That he has absolutely beaten you down to nothingness and you will not fight anymore. But little does he understand, you have new strength. You have found the One that will bring you out of this horrible, stinking, dark abyss. Slowly you put the stone in the sling, raise it above your head and begin to wind it up. Faster, faster and then that stone flies through the air, it arches and the next thing you know, it has hit that Goliath right in the forehead and you watch with tear-soaked cheeks as he hits the ground with such force the earth quakes all around you. You look up and see Him in the most transparent blue sky you have ever set eyes on smiling and letting you know He’s been with you the whole time. Bravely, boldly you march up to that Goliath, you chop off his head and you toss it as far as you can because you know. You KNOW! This is it. You are ready to move on and make peace with yourself. To dream anew. To take new baby steps toward a future you may still be so unsure about but you know that you are not alone in going into the unknown. This wasn’t a death sentence. This wasn’t the end of being. This, THIS was a time to grow and find who you really are and who you want to be and what you want to be. Never mind that they didn’t understand. It wasn’t for them to understand. It was for you and you alone with God to go and face the giant in your life and win the battle . . . ONCE AND FOR ALL!

Now go…

Be who God has asked you to be

Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise

It isn’t up to them . . . It is up to you

Don’t just dream . . .

Dream big and succeed!

As a devotional to this why not go and read about David’s battle with Goliath in 1 Samuel 17. It’s one fantastic story!  No matter how big or small your circumstance, how insignificant you may feel, no matter if you feel like you are big enough  or not to defeat Goliath, look to God to fight the battle for you. He will give you the tools you need to go against your Goliath and with the faith of even a mustard seed, you will win with God on your side. God loves you and He is longing to help you through whatever trial you are facing today.
© Marcie Bridges, Heart Thoughts, 2013  

 

IS IT QUITTIN’ TIME?

Jeremiah 32:17  ‘Ah, Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You.
“I refuse to quit!” I threw my pencil across the room in my rage. I had taken this math class twice already. Both times I failed. This second time wasn’t as bad as the first, but still… Voices in my head reminded me of the people who doubted I could do it. They said, “How many times do you think it will take you to get the grade you need?” The bigger question became, how many times was I willing to try? I made the decision – – how ever many times it took I would succeed! No one was going to tell me I couldn’t do it. So, there I was once again, sitting in Math 080 class. Third time is charm? Right? YES! I MADE it so! Then two more semesters of Algebra and I had FINALLY succeeded! No more math classes! The weight on my shoulders had lifted and I was on my way to graduating with an Associate of Arts degree. See? I DID IT! 

            I am faced with the same challenge in a very different area of my life now. This is something I have tried over and over to accomplish but ultimate success has been extremely elusive. Yet, I. Must. Keep. Trying. Take the passion with which I conquered those math classes and use it to reach this new goal. Today I’ve taken my sword up once more and I’ve gotten back up on that horse. This time is going to be different though. This time it is going to be just between God and I. This battle I’m giving completely to God because I truly believe He is the only One who can really help me do this. Perhaps if I’d let God handle it completely in the first place I’d have been victorious years ago. But we all leave God out of things until nothing else works and I’m afraid this is one of those areas in my life I have done that with. But I am convinced He has forgiven me for putting Him last and He will graciously help me through it this one last time. 
   INSPIRATION

How many times have you gone down this road
have you walked this path
opened your soul?
How many times have you circled this mountain
have you gotten this far
to only turn back?
How many times have you tried again
have you started over
took two steps forward
only to retreat?
Fear of failure
whispers of doubt
have led you here
to where you are now.
You know you can do it if only you’ll try
Quit telling yourself , “I’ll start tomorrow”.
It is time to begin to take a first step
one foot in front of the other
this could be your final test.
Stop worrying stop waiting
stop believing the lies
You know you could do it
You just have to try.
I won’t tell you it is easy
it might be quite hard
it might just be the last time
you will have to go this far.
When you finish this task
when you get to the end
it will all be over
it will be worth it.
You’ll feel freedom and joy
you’ll let everyone know
I did it! I made it!
And you’ll see how it shows!
Giving in, giving up
is so easy to do
but you and I know
you must see this through.
So get started today
and you’ll never regret
this decision you’ve made
it will be your best yet!
Marcell Warner Bridges
©12, February 2009

 

Dear Friends, whatever you have in life that you feel like giving up on,  ask God to help you try it one more time. 

© Marcie Bridges, Heart Thoughts, 2013
Fall Field/Diploma Pictures © Bridgescreations, 2013  

 

CAN WE TALK?


CAN WE TALK?

 Conversation

Please, could we talk a minute

Just for a minute please?

It is not that important, no, not really

I’d just like some company.

How are you?

Good, I’m fine too.

Anyway, what is new?

Nothing really

I just wanted to say

“Hello, how are you, how was your day?”

And then be on my way.

Not much conversation

It’s just the idea

I like being around you

Even if it’s just for a minute.

Thanks for your time

It means much to me

Oh, I have to go now…

Until next we meet.

~Marcell Warner Bridges
©15, July 1993
As you can see I wrote this poem many years ago. I called a friend but she said she couldn’t talk and asked if it was important. I told her no, that I was just bored and wanted to talk to someone. She suggested I write a poem about it. 
 Dear Friend, God just wants to spend time with you. You are His child and He longs to have time just with you. Even if it is just for a minute or two and, even if it isn’t about “the important” things in life. He so longs hear you speak His name and to hear your voice. Of course, He never says good-bye to us and He never leaves us. He is always waiting for us to meet Him right where we are. Anywhere, anytime.  So…how about it? He’s waiting with open arms and a ready ear whispering your name…come.
                                                                             


James 4:8a:   “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.”

  © Marcie Bridges, Heart Thoughts, 2013
  picture of Lake by

© Bridgescreations, 2011

TAKE A HAPPY BREAK!

Red Ked’s. Tan strappy sandals with a slight wedge. Hula Hoops. Bicycles. Roller skating in our mobile home park.
A red frisbee that came with rolls of fruit flavored Lifesavors inside of it.  Jump roping. Jump Roping for Life. Striped gum. Hot, sticky summer days with the smell of newly cut grasses.  Camping in the Redwoods

 and camping at Deerlick where I fed deer from the palm of my hand.  Rolling down a steep hill at Deerlick scrapping my knees, shins, elbows and chin up. The smell of sulfur water cleansing those boo-boos.  Going to Old Sacramento and trying to eat huge jawbreakers that wouldn’t fit in my mouth.  Singing along with Sandi Patty in my bedroom or in the living room. Singing on stage in church.  Sitting with my dad talking for hours about the Bible. Vacation Bible School in the Castillo’s back yard.  Swimming, hiking, wading creeks and rivers. Sitting on the couch, snuggled under the afghan my Aunt Fay made me reading “Little House” books and “Nancy Drew” while the rain pelted the tin roof of our mobile home over my head.  Sitting around the campfire in the woods, sparks shooting into the cool night air while daddy played the guitar and we would roast marshmallows and sing songs together.

 Writing poetry.  Swinging upside down on the monkey bars; swinging high as a kite on a swing set at school then laying my head back to “float” through the air.  Pretending to be Wonder Woman.  Drawing, coloring, making toilet paper rolls into pencil holders out of scraps of cloth and giving them away to others (which to their credit they graciously accepted).  Listening to music on the record player. Pretending to lead children’s choirs while listening to children’s albums. Bubble Gum ice cream from Brock’s Ice Cream shop – – we’d pick all of the gum balls out first then eat the ice cream and save the gum to eat later.  Learning to play guitar with Pastor Irving. He was soooo tall and I was soooo small! Mr. Vaughan’s 4th, 5th, 6th grade classes all in one room. Playing with our dog Fluffy.

Christmas. I loved Christmas and still do! We got up in the wee hours of the morning to open our stockings and play with the gifts left open for us under the tree until dad and mom got up to open the rest. I would start listening to Christmas music in September!

These are all random (not in any particular order), fun memories from my childhood.  Every time I see the red Ked’s in a store I smile and think, “I want a pair of those!”   They remind me of my childhood.  Which is what started me down this happy, go-lucky road. Sometimes I think we don’t dwell enough on the happy parts of our lives. We live in the memories that are dark, hurtful, painful and we forget that there have been happy days at all. We tend to let the bad overcome the good.  BUT (there’s that word again ☺ ) God’s Word tells us, “A merry heart does good like a medicine” Proverbs 17:22.  And just like Mary Poppins sings, “A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down!”  I think God intends us to go to the fun times as medicine for our hearts.  Medicine is good for us because it helps us heal from illness and when we take the right kind for our disease, we become happy as we get better.  I think God wants us to remember the happy days in our lives.

Have you had your happy break lately? When was the last time your heart was made merry and you laughed just because you thought of something joyful?  I’d love to hear a happy, fun, silly memory from you.   ~Love, Marcie

The following song is just another fun memory all about being happy! Loved this album!

Photo of Redwoods by © Karen L. Murphy Photography, 2013 
All Other Photos are of myself and my family ©2013
© Marcie Bridges, Heart Thoughts, 2013  
 

PROMISES, PROMISES


PROMISES, PROMISES
© Karen Murphy Photography
          Sometimes children say things to us that prick our hearts so deeply we only stare in amazement that they would say such profound words. Then we realize they are speaking back to us what we have said to them. We didn’t think they were listening, but suddenly out of the blue there it is.  Spoken in the same words we had shared with them. And it hits home. Right to our hearts. If there was any doubt whether they were hearing us or not, now it is gone and it is too late to take those words back. Too late to say you are sorry or to correct it. I wonder… is it too late with God?

          It has occurred to me of late, how many times I have told God I promise to do such and such. Then comes a day that I realize I did not keep those promises. In Ecclesiastes we are told it better to not to promise than to make a vow and not keep it. (Ecclesiastes 5:4-6, “When you make a vow to God, do not delay to fulfill it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow. It is better not to make a vow than to make one and not fulfill it.  Do not let your mouth lead you into sin. And do not protest to the temple messenger, “My vow was a mistake…” (NIV)).  I’ve tried to live my life that way. I rarely make promises to anyone. Except…myself.  I’ve made promises over and over to lose weight, get my house clean, exercise, read my Bible and pray more often…the list goes on. And isn’t that the same thing as promising to God or others,  only doing it privately in your heart? 

 BUT I DON’T KEEP THEM.

          So now what do I do? I’ve broken my promises to myself and to God. Where do I go from here? I would suspect you would tell me to seek repentance, forgive myself and then go and do what I should have already been doing. Because to know to do right and not to do it is sin.  Correct?  (James 4:17, “If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.” (NIV)). 

God gives second chances but does He give third and fourth chances? I sure hope so.  I think I’ll take Him up on it and find out.

GOLD INTENTIONS

                       

The road to good intentions is paved with purest gold

it shines upon our faces filling us with wondrous hope

it can lead us on a pathway of strength, resolve and victory

but often times it only leads to guilt, despair and misery.

Time goes by paved with gold intentions

every day giving the gift of making good decisions

yet only in making the decisions that are right

will our gold intentions become reality instead of regret.

~Marcell Warner Bridges

©June, 2013

                                                                                                                                                        
 Dear Jesus, thank You that You keep Your promises to us. That You never fail us and You love us, ready to forgive when we ask. Thank You that You never give up on us.  

© Marcie Bridges, Heart Thoughts 2013