What are you reading this summer? Here’s my recommendations!

A breezy warm summer day is perfect for laying around the house reading.  I love nothing more that to snuggle on my bed with a bowl of cherries beside me, lost in the pages of a good book.  I guess I associate summers with reading, as I remember sitting up in my tree in the front yard as a child, a book in hand. If I am honest, there is nothing better than a good book and CHOCOLATE at your side, but I tend to eat the whole bag, so cherries are better. The pits slow you down!

I tend to read fiction during the summer to ease my conscious from reading only non fiction books that better me during the rest of the year. As a writer, I  love to read my friends’ books, or those recommended to me by them.  Long on my list has been to read

Ginny Yttrup’s book WORDS. I was a little worried about reading it as I had heard it was her story of sexual abuse as a child and having been a victim to it as well, I wondered if it would stir up bad memories.

Trusting the Lord, I opened it and began to read.  I was immediately intrigued with the author’s main characters, young Kaylee and motherly Sierra.  I was swept away into the Redwood Forests of Northern California where her story takes place, and where I make my home.  I felt the pain of Kaylee as she experienced her abuse; the fear, despair and shame. I too struggled with these most of my life.  I cried along with her, my tears on the page.  I identified with Sierra’s pain from the loss of her child due to her bad choices, something I too had experienced.

But mostly, I was carried along by the theme of God’s love and faithfulness to us when we step out in faith and follow His plan. I have found this to be so true in my life. Another theme in the book is our need to tell the truth in life, even in difficult situations and that “You shall know the Truth and the Truth shall make you free”. (John 8:32)  The truth the Scripture is referring to is Jesus, as He is Truth, and only He can set us free from our wounds, our addictions, our painful pasts.

As the character of Kaylee struggles to tell her story of truth, she finds peace in the process of doing so.  After reading the novel, I realized telling my own story of truth was the right thing to do, and finally found peace in my heart.  I write about my journey of wholeness from sexual abuse in my new book Finding God in the Midst of My Mess:  My Love Story with Jesus which I plan to self publish soon. Take a peek at my blog posts Happy Birthday to Me and Answered Prayer in the Most Unlikely Way where I share part of my story.

Do you need to tell your story of truth to someone?  Will you allow Jesus to come in and heal those dark places of fear and pain?  He promises to give us a new life in Him if we agree to follow His will for our life.  Only He can take our shame and replace it with His acceptance and love.  Don’t let the enemy of our souls, the Devil, keep you in silence anymore.  Tell a friend.  Contact a Pastor or Priest.  Find a Christian Counselor.  Leave me a confidential reply below or at miriam@giftsofhisglory.com and I will help you.  God doesn’t want you trapped in darkness.  He is the light and wants to bring you into that light.

In the novel WORDS  Sierra tells Kaylee how she can ask the Lord to come live in her heart and give her a new life in Him.  Would you like to do this too? If so, pray this prayer below:

Dear Jesus:  i ask you into my heart today.  Please come take my sins and give me a new life and relationship with you.  Heal my heart and wounds of the past as only you can do.  Fill my life with your love and Truth and lead me each day in your way.  Thank you Jesus.  Amen.

I recommend Ginny”s book WORDS to you as a great read on God’s love and redemption. Or pass it along to a friend who you know has suffered abuse and help them find healing. You can find it at ginnyytrrup.com.  I have already started reading her next book Lost and Found and can’t wait to read her third book Invisible.

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To see my Scripture art, click on ‘my art’ above or www.giftsofhisglory.com

 

 


Quilting by Faith

 

Faith.  It is the thing God requires of us and the thing that pleases Him most.  In the Bible it says: “It’s impossible to please God apart from faith. And why? Because anyone who wants to approach God must believe both that he exists and that he cares enough to respond to those who seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6 The Message) So in keeping with my faith and wanting to please God, I have decided to make a quilt by Faith.

What does this mean Miriam?  Well, I am trusting the Lord by faith to bring me a husband, ideally a Messianic Jewish one who believes in Jesus.  And along that cord, I am making my wedding quilt for my chuppa or canopy that will hang over our heads during the ceremony.  Once the wedding is over, it will be my gift to my husband to use when he goes into his cave or hideout, to wrap himself in and remember my love.

Being part Jewish myself, and a believer in Jesus, I chose to make a heart quilt that would use

recipe for chicken soup

both Jewish and Christian fabrics.  I had fun shopping online to find these patterns.  My favorite one was called “Making Chicken Soup” complete with recipe and “How to Find a Husband” which by the time the quilt is made and I am married, will be redundant, but it was fun to add.

Jewish stars. Christian crosses. A bird of peace representing the Holy Spirit.  Hanukkah candles. The nativity scene. Passover symbols. All representing the

merging of two people with Jewish and Christian backgrounds into one of faith in Yeshua (Jesus).

So last night I started sewing the quilt blocks of hearts.  After I finally figured out how to thread the bobbin, I applied my foot to the electric pedal and whizzed away.  There is

My vintage 1960s Singer machine

something so rhythmic to sewing and quilting.  You get lost in the motion and hum of the machine.

My favorite time to quilt is on a rainy winter day, but for some reason I find myself quilting in the springtime.  I was excited to be taking this step of faith, this act of love, very much like the Lord does with us.  He pieces the patterns of our hearts together, giving us a heart full of His love and peace.

Sometimes, our hearts are broken and He needs to sew all the broken pieces back together with His healing touch.  He is the master quilter.  Our lives become like a quilt, with one side showing all the tangled threads, the other side showing a beautiful pattern.

piecing one of my quilts together

The Lord has done much sewing on my heart over the past two decades since I became a born again Christian.  I had so much pain and trauma in my life, even from childhood.  Added to this were the messes I made with my own life through sin and bad choices.

But God has been faithful to show His love and heal me.  I think of this love as I sew the blocks together, adding the square patches to the pattern.  Just like my wedding quilt will be special and beautiful when it is finished, so the Lord will make a beautiful pattern of your life if you give him the chance.

If you want this faith, to step out and trust the Lord with your life, you can pray this prayer.  It will bring His salvation and healing presence to your life as He takes up residence in your heart through His Holy Spirit.  He will come take your mess and start sewing it into a beautiful quilt.

Will you ask Him for Faith today?

Dear Jesus:  I ask you for the gift of faith today. By faith, please come into my heart as my Lord and Savior.  By faith I believe you died on the cross for my sins and mess and rose from the dead three days later.  By faith I receive your free gift of eternal life by grace.  Please knit the broken parts of my heart and life back together and bring me healing, as you are the divine healer. Thank you for loving me enough to heal me.  I walk forward today with Faith in you.  Amen.

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Meeting God Amongst the Redwood Trees- My Week at Mt. Hermon Christian Writers Conference

My head hurts from all the talking and conversation.  I look up at the tall Redwood trees and take a deep breath.  Do I have the courage to approach one more editor or agent and have my manuscript edited or rejected again?  Can I eat one more bit of chocolate without exploding?  Should I self publish or go for a traditional publishing house?  Is my writing good enough for publication?  All these thoughts rolled around in my mind this past week at Mt. Hermon’s Christian Writers Conference in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California.

My critique partner Jenni Brummett and I arrived early Friday morning and checked into our cute cabin like rooms just up a little hill from the main conference center.  We were excited to see what divine appointments the Lord had waiting for us.

my roommate Laura at our room

We met up with my roommate Laura Bennet  and we quickly became the three musketeers. We would gather each evening in our room, and compare notes in our PJ’s, while eating the sugar confections they served us right before bed.  Did you hear how that one man used the phrase “watch out or you will go to hell” in the learning to write greeting cards class? I asked, as shock registered on all three of our faces. We burst into giggles, not believing a writer would write that!

The week flew by as I went from appointment, to workshop, to critique, to picking up my manuscript with its comments from editors.  One kind editor met with me and showed me that my life story had many books within it and I should break it up into three or four books.  WOW, that was an unexpected suggestion.  But as I met with my author friends such as Kay Marshall Strom and Joseph Bentz, I realized she was right.

Add more characters to your story, Miriam, and weave a universal theme throughout, Kay suggested.  Rewrite your first chapter starting with your time as a missionary in Israel and include the bombing story, to catch your readers attention, Joseph told me.  Your writing is publishing quality and you write better than some of our current authors we are publishing, one editor told me. Music to my ears, I broke out into a big smile at this news.  However, Miriam, a non fiction narrative like you are writing needs fiction techniques such as showing, suspense, characterization and dialogue, Liz told me.  I can do that, I thought to myself.  My head swam with suggestions and ideas.

But what to do with my original manuscript of my life story that I believe the Lord told me to write, that would help many people, especially woman, all over the world?  I couldn’t let go of my story, it was my baby. The Lord spoke through my roommate Laura.  Have you heard of Create Space, the self publishing arm of Amazon the popular online bookstore?  You can basically design and publish you book for free, it was started to help authors like us publish our own books, she shared.

Immediately, I felt a peace flood my heart and knew this was the answer to my prayer.  Unlike other self publishing companies where you are left with a garage full of books, Create Space allows books to be printed on demand and even have an ebook feature for their Kindle readers.  I felt a release to self publish the book and go on to write other books for the Lord through traditional publishing houses in the future.

Jenni and I networking at the dinner table

The Lord was faithful to answer each and every one of my prayers, from getting free head shots to meeting and inviting other non fiction writers to the writers group Jenni and I have started after last years conference.  Big smiles of happiness met my invitation to the group by fellow writers who would find encouragement and free critiques of their manuscripts there.

After our talented and funny speaker McNair Wilson spoke for the last time on

me amongst the redwoods

Tuesday morning, the leaders asked us to stand,  They prayed over us and commissioned us to go forth as writers for the Lord, bringing Him glory.  My heart beamed with joy realizing I have the privilege to minister to others through my writing, to express His love in our fallen world.

May you find His love for you this Holy week as we celebrate the redemption of the Lord through Passover,  Good Friday and Easter Sunday.  He came to save us from our sins on the cross.  Three days later He Resurrected so we too could have eternal life.

Resurrection Sunrise Cross Painting I Corinthians 1:18 www.giftsofhisglory.com

All it takes to receive His free gift of grace is to ask Him to forgive your sins and place your faith in Him.  You can pray the salvation prayer below to ask Him into your heart as your Lord and Savior right now.  Won’t you come join the family of God and have the promise and hope of eternal life this Easter week?

Pray with me:  Dear Jesus.  I ask that you take the darkness of my sin and replace it with your light to shine deep within my heart.  I believe you died on the cross for my sin and rose from the dead, with the promise of eternal life with you in Heaven.  I ask you to be my Savior and Lord over my life today. Thank you for loving me with an everlasting love and giving me peace with God through you. Amen.

Angels are rejoicing over you as you step into the family of God.  Welcome!

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To see all of my biblical Scripture art click on ‘my art‘ above or at www.giftsofhisglory.com.

 

 


Happy Birthday to Me!..My Birthday Adventure

Vineyards

January 3 is my birthday.  52 years ago (dare I say my age?!) I came bouncing into this world with bright red hair and blue eyes with an Irish twinkle in them.  I was born into a large Italian Catholic family and my three sisters and I spent all our holidays up in the wine country in Northern California, visiting my cousins, aunts and uncles and grandparents. The towns were  sleepy vintner towns, before the yuppies came and turned them into art, wine and mud bath havens for wealthy tourists.

On my birthday, I decided to have an adventure.  I drove up to my family’s home town in my bright red Zip car, for a fun day of celebration.  My plan was to bike around town and visit all the old sites.  My grandparents house, their graves and do a little wine tasting.  It had been 7 years since I had been back or seen any of my family members who resided there.

This town has a town square complete with gazebo and park benches, to sit and soak up the sun in. Around the square I was surprised to see art galleries and wine tasting rooms in number. I set out in the surprisingly freezing cold morning on my bike to begin my adventure.

I biked to my grandparents’ house across from the high school and stopped.  There was the orange tree I used to climb in front of the old house on the corner, where home movies show me toddling with my Easter basket to pick up Easter eggs.  I walked around the corner to the lot where my Papa had his garden.  It was completely gone and I felt sad. I used to love to hear Nana say “Go out and pick me some fresh green beans for dinner.”  She made the most delicious vegetable soup which we would eat with warm bread fresh from the bakery.

Memories flooding my mind, I biked the short distance to the cemetery behind the sports field.  Nana and Papa died within six months of each other, she at 90 years and he at 95.  I had only been to the cemetery once since they had passed and I was anxious to find the plot.  I pushed my bike through the crumbling gravestones, looking for the family name. I walked up and down trying to vex my memory as to where the plot was located.  I prayed, Holy Spirit, please help me find the graves.

As I was about to give up, I saw a plot in the corner by the fence.  Yes, I remembered this from the funeral.  And there it was.  Catherine and James, devoted wife and husband.  Someone had put a Christmas wreath on the grave and I added my remembrance stones, as was typical to put on a Jewish person’s grave.  My Jewish heritage comes from my father’s side, and Nana was my Jewish Italian grandmother, though it was never discussed openly.

I was completely surprised what happened next. As I was telling my grandmother how much I missed her, I  broke into tears.  I began to sob how I wished I could talk to her about how the family relationships had all fractured since I shared the abuse I survived as a child.  How she would be the one person who would have told me the truth about what happened and confirmed my memories for me, which had been repressed for many years.

I know it would have broken her heart to hear what had happened to me. I could have cried on her shoulder over the horrible pain and devastation I experienced from the sexual trauma that happened to me as a child, a secret I had been forced to keep quiet all my life to prevent family shame.

Nana was the one person who instilled in me her strong faith in Jesus and prayed for me constantly.  She passed the faith torch to me, and I was the first person in my family to become born again and receive Jesus as my Lord and Savior.  She struggled with my decision to leave the Catholic Church and join an evangelical one.  But she never stopped loving me, or praying for me. How I missed her phone calls always telling me I love you.

After awhile, my crying subsided. I prayed one last prayer, asking her to help heal our family from Heaven.  I then said goodbye to my grandparents and biked away toward the town square.  I visited three or four art galleries, talking with the local artists and enjoying their art.  I love to view art with an artist’s eye and I was not disappointed.  Beautiful landscapes of grape vines in fall colors exploded on canvases as I walked by each painting.

Bread pudding

Feeling hungry, I stopped at a seafood tapas restaurant and had barbecued bacon wrapped scallops, followed by the most divine bread pudding, for my birthday dessert.  I love trying bread puddings wherever I go and this one definitely pleased.  Croissants soaked in creme brulee sauce with a layer of bananas and melted chocolate on top.  Yum!

After lunch, I walked around the corner and tried one of the local wineries’ tasting room, that had food pairings with each glass of wine.  I was the only one present and a very knowledgeable and friendly host welcomed me.  Liking only white wine, he began to serve me six different tastings, each with its own cheese sample.

Oh, the smooth taste of a light white wine, coupled with cheese topped with sea salt and truffles.  My taste buds exploded all over the place!  I had to laugh as I saw Jesus in my mind’s eye next to me enjoying his own glass of wine, experiencing both the joy and sadness on my special day.

By now, the sun had come out and the town had come to life, as others joined me in the tasting room.  I strolled back to my Zip car, with a smile on my face and contentment in my heart.  It had been a day of memories and closure, a town I no longer had to avoid because of my pain, as my heart was now whole again.

Jesus had come during a New Year Eve’s church service a few days earlier and healed my shame and heart over my abuse.  I didn’t think it was possible to put together my shattered heart but He did it!  I was now able to receive the love of God as my Heavenly Father, an image that had been distorted by my own father’s actions.

Every year on my birthday, I ask the Lord for a special Scripture to commemorate my day, and for the year ahead.  This year he gave me Psalm 45:13-15.

All glorious is the princess in her chamber, with robes interwoven with gold. With many colored robes she is led to the King, with her virgin companions following behind her. With joy and gladness they are led along, as they enter the palace of the King.

Yes, I now felt like a special princess for the first time in my life. I had discarded the dirty robes of shame for a robe interwoven with gold.  Joy and gladness did indeed fill my heart as He blessed me with His love on my birthday.

Do you need healing from sexual abuse in your life? Confidentially reply to me at miriam@giftsofhisglory.com and I will share resources and help for you to find healing in your life.

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The Light of the World…The True Meaning of Hanukkah

Hanukkah Candles called a Hanukkiah - 8 candles plus the 'shemesh' or servant candle that represents Jesus (Yeshus) The servant candle lights the other candles giving 'light' to the world, as Jesus does.

 

As I write this post, the cold night air stings my face from my open window, allowing me to hear the Holiday Lights Celebration going on in my hometown of San Carlos, California. Soon they will flip the switch and the holiday lights crisscrossing above the main street will light up along with the Christmas tree in City Park.

Strains of “I wish you a Merry Christmas” float through the window as I hear the squeals of children playing in the artificial snow, even though we celebrated sunny, 70 degree weather today. I hear the ‘toot toot’ of the little train that will take them around the block.  I wish I could squeeze in a car and go for a ride too!

Toot Toot!

Reminds me of another “Festival of Lights’ that starts tomorrow night, December 8th, Hanukkah!  As a Jewish believer in Jesus, I celebrate Hanukkah as well as Christmas.  I believe in celebrating all the Jewish Biblical Feast days, as Jesus did, and he was Jewish too!  Jesus, or Yeshua as He was known throughout His life, celebrated Hanukkah, known as the Feast of Dedication.  We find the Scriptural reference in John 10:22-23:

“And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch.”

Every year at the Feast of Dedication, the huge menorahs (Jewish candle holders 70 feet tall) in the temple courtyard were lit and could be seen from all over Jerusalem, the glow was that bright. Some bible scholars believe Jesus said “I am the light of the world, He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness but have the light of life (John 8:12) as he walked in the Temple, the light from the huge menorahs overshadowing him.  While in the temple some of the Pharisees (Jewish religious leaders) questioned Him as to whether He was the Messiah. Jesus replied:

“I told you and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of Me.  But you do not believe, as you are not my sheep, as I said to you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.  And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any snatch them out of my hand.  My Father who has given them to Me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.”  (John 10:25-30)

That’s a lot of promises if we believe in Jesus as our Messiah, our Light of Life.

He promises to: Dispel the darkness we walk in through our sin and addictions.  Give  the light of His love and Word through Scripture.  Be a shepherd to follow like the stumbling sheep we are.  Allow us never to perish, or taste death, but to have Eternal Life.  To be forever in the presence of Him and our Heavenly Father.  To shine the ‘Light’ we receive for others stumbling  in the darkness.

Hanukkah is really about Yeshua being the “light of the world.” He represents the ‘shemesh’ or servant candle that lights the other candles on the Hanukkiah. For He gives us all light. He came as our Servant Messiah to offer us forgiveness for our sins through the cross. (Isaiah 53: 4-6))

Traditionally, when we light the Hanukkah candles for eight nights, we celebrate the great miracle of God that happened in Jerusalem during the Maccabean Revolt of the 2nd century BCE. The Syrians had desecrated the Jewish temple by sacrificing a pig, an unclean animal, on the altar.  When the Jews recaptured the Temple, the temple priests found only enough oil to last one day.   God did a great miracle by making it last for eight days, the time it took to clean and rededicate the temple back to God.  In Hebrew we say, Nes Gadol Haya Sham, “a great miracle happened there.”  And indeed it did.

Spinning the Dreidel, a Hanukkah game with the four Hebrew letters that represent the phrase "A Great Miracle Happened There"

A bigger miracle can happen in your heart and life right now. At Christmas time, we celebrate the miracle of the baby boy born in a manger in Bethlehem, who grew up to be the Savior of all, the Prince of Peace and Emmanuel “God with us.”  Will you dedicate the ‘temple’ of your heart to receive the light of eternal life in Jesus this holiday season?

Pray with me:  Dear Jesus.  I ask that you take the darkness of my sin and replace it with your light to shine deep within my heart.  I believe you died on the cross for my sin and rose from the dead, with the promise of eternal life with you in Heaven.  I ask you to be my Savior and Lord over my life today. Thank you for loving me with an everlasting love and giving me peace with God through you.

Angels rejoicing in Heaven

Angels are rejoicing over you right now if you prayed this prayer. Welcome to the family of God.  May you experience the true peace, the peace of Jesus, that comes at this season of miracles.

Please reply to me if you prayed this prayer and asked Jesus into your heart so I can rejoice with the angels over you!

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Blessings, Paintings and Spooks…Oh My!

 

Me and Michele Rickett of She is Safe

Halloween is not a favorite holiday of mine.  I hate how it celebrates the Devil and his works.  Every week right before Halloween I feel the intensified evil in the air as witches and satanists do their ritual sacrifices in the forest areas around my home. Spooky ghosts and goblins decorations on nearby homes sends a shiver down my spine. So this week I am celebrating how God used this season to glorify Himself.

It started Thursday night. Excitement was in the air as Michele Rickett of She is Safe, the ministry I advocate for, came to speak at my church to people who were interested in hearing more about human trafficking.  I was invited to show my art, as a percentage of my art goes toward the work they are doing in China with Aids orphans.  These are precious little girls who have lost parents to Aids and are in danger of being trafficked.

I call them ‘my girls’ as in “gotta sell a lot of paintings for my girls” and “Lord please bless my paintings and bring people to buy them for the girls” and “oh goody, sold another painting, more money for my girls.” I get so excited and can’t wait to make the donations via their website SheisSafe.org.

Michele’s speech was great and we had a good crowd.  As I stood in front of the group,  I shared how my goal as an advocate was to rescue one girl and support her for one year.  I imagine one little girl in East China around 6 or 7 years old, malnourished, living in poverty and unwanted because she is a girl.  She is vulnerable to being sold in child marriage by her family or to a trafficker and then brothel.

I imagine how the money I am raising will go toward the $1 day it costs to educate, feed, shelter and clothe her.  While it doesn’t seem like much to rescue one girl, this is one girl rescued from the ravages of darkness and the clutches of the Devil.  Just imagine if we all did this and rescued one girl, what an impact that would have on ending the evilness of human trafficking. And after that I will rescue another little girl, then another. (God was faithful and paintings were sold.)

“Miriam, what can I do to help?  It seems so overwhelming and impossible to stop?”  Here are some immediate ways you can help:

Purchase a Scripture painting on my website giftsofhisglory.com.  What says unique gift more than an original piece of artwork with Scripture in it? (think holidays around the corner)  $50 of each sale will go to help ‘my girls’. That’s 50 days of her being ‘safe’.

Forget Me Not Tulips Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me"

Donate money. Visit She is Safe’s website and click on donate.  What I love about SIS is that you can donate directly to a specific work or area of the world via their work page map.  So if you have a heart for helping former Muslim women in Indonesia learn a trade and become self supportive or want to reach out to children in India being tutored and taught about the love and value Jesus has for girls, visit this page.

Become an advocate like me. Click on Advocacy for ways to get easily involved. Consider hosting a Village Gathering party, where you host a group of friends in your home and sell jewelry made by rescued girls that goes to support them in their new lives in Jesus Christ.  Or organize a Run to Rescue to raise money through a walk or run sponsored marathon.  Better yet, get your children involved at home or in your Sunday school or classroom by doing Read to Rescue, raising money by reading books, yes reading books!

Rescue beads and earrings for your Village Gathering party

Subscribe to their blog and keep yourself informed on what is happening in the world of abuse and exploitation of women and the wonderful work SIS is doing. Then pray regularly for their work. You can also read the interview they did of my art ministry Gifts of His Glory.

Join an advocacy group in your area. I will be leading a new group on the San Francisco Peninsula soon.  We will raise money as a group for the China Aids orphans and study the book Forgotten Girls, written by Michele and my friend Kay Marshall Strom. For more information email me at miriam@giftsofhisglory.com. (Many people signed up to join!)

LIKE and TWEET this post below so your friends can hear about how they can help too!

SheisSafe.org

I recommend She is Safe because I love how they PREVENT girls from being abused and trafficked into sexual slavery.  Won’t you help through one of the above ways and make a difference in these precious children of God? They are suffering in the worst possible ways and are crying out to God and someone to help them.  Thank you!

 

 

 


The Holidays are here…Come see my Scripture art!

Fall Lancaster Tree Ecclesiastes 3:1 'For everything there is a season and a time and purpose under Heaven"

The Halloween decorations are up and the Christmas ornaments are on display, yes it’s that time again, THE HOLIDAYS!  However, this is good news for me. I look forward to the holidays as it is a time to feature my art in person and help sell it for a good cause.

Here’s your chance to see my art in person:  My biblical Scripture Art will be for sale at my church, Abundant Life Christian Fellowship in Mt. View, California on October 27 and 28th after each service. (call for times 650 625-1500) This is a fair that partners with Heavenly Treasures which sells arts, crafts and jewelry made by women and girls who are rebuilding their lives from trafficking, abuse and poverty.  It is a great place to come and do all your holiday shopping in one stop!

I have dedicated my art to supporting ministries that help victims of human trafficking.  I donate my paintings to these ministries for their auctions at their galas to raise money. I also have committed to donating 50% of each painting to She is Safe, an international ministry that prevents and rescues girls and women from slavery and exploitation in the hardest places of our world, like India, China and Africa.  They work to stop child marriage, female genital mutilation, selling girls into sexual slavery and infanticide of girls, to name a few of their wonderful deeds.

SheisSafe.org

SheisSafe.org

I am an advocate for them here in the San Francisco Bay Area and will be starting an advocacy group on the Peninsula where we will study God’s heart for exploited girls and women, pray, and raise money for a cause close to my heart:  orphaned girls in China whose parents have died from Aids and are in danger of being trafficked.

With our raised money, She is Safe’s partners in China will step in and shelter, clothe and feed the girls and most importantly send them to school so they can break the cycle of poverty and abuse.  We will pick one other country to support such as India, where transformation groups that empower women and teach them the love of Jesus, are being started. For more information on the group, contact me at miriam@giftsofhisglory.com

Cross at Sunset "And by His stripes we are healed" Isaiah 53:5

I ask you this holiday season to consider a purchase of a Scripture painting to be a part of God’s answer to the work of rescuing these girls and women from the darkness in their lives, allowing the love and light of Jesus to shine in.  Come on out to the holiday fair if you can or you can shop online at www.giftsofhisglory.com.  I ship anywhere in the USA and beyond! Remember each painting has a Scripture to bless the viewer whether if is hanging in your home, office or classroom. God’s Word will not return to His void. (Isaiah 55:11). And they make wonderful gifts for that seeking friend or family member.

(I know some of you are saying “Miriam it is hard to see what the paintings really look like online. I am afraid if I buy one I won’t be happy.”  Well, I assure you the paintings are more colorful and pretty in person! I have a seven day return policy for any reason. I will refund your money, minus the shipping fees. Just ship it back to me. The Scripture references in each painting are hand printed in gold or color metallic ink by me. Each collage includes textured paper, making them two dimensional).

Let’s remember those less fortunate than us this Holiday Season and bless them with the love of Jesus, as after all, He is the reason for the season!

To view my art, go to ‘my art‘ above or click here.

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A Miracle in my Heart

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A Miracle in my Heart

Today is Labor Day and like most, I celebrated by going to a local Greek Festival in my hometown of Belmont.  I wanted to spend the day with the Lord doing something fun and I love Greek food and music.  There were dancers in native costumes, homemade moussaka (eggplant casserole) to die for, art showing the beautiful blue of the Greek Isles and a wild shuttle ride where we all snapped our fingers and sang to Greek music on the way back to the parking lot.  But mostly, there was peace in my heart.

Peace in your heart Miriam?  What is so different about that?  You see on Sunday the Lord did a miracle in my heart.  He finally took all the anger, resentment and unforgiveness that was in my heart, over the pain and trauma of my life.  In particular these past 12 years since I came home from the mission field, wounded and ill.  I had been crying out to Him to help me take the anger I felt all the time when someone hurt me, when I had to protect my wounded heart by pushing them out of my life…with the anger at myself for making the wrong choices on the mission field that led to my being deceived into the occult and terrorized.  Of the betrayal of male family members when they sexually abused me as a child.  Of my mother’s abandonment and cruelty over the years due to her own pain and illness.

I had become a judgmental, self righteous woman, always pointing out others inappropriate or ‘non Christian’ behavior, in the effort ‘to speak the truth” and hold others accountable.  I cried out to the Lord for a new beginning, to start over, but to please take this anger out of my heart.

That Sunday morning at church, we had a communion service.  The worship singer sang of God giving us a new start, of coming and holding our hand, asking us to trust Him with our hearts and lives.  Tears ran down my cheeks as I told the Lord I so missed how I used to be able to trust Him and hear His voice clearly, how all the years of pain and illness had robbed me of that.

As I closed my eyes, I had a vision of Jesus in a white robe, kneel down besides me and take my hand.  He whispered to my heart “Child, I want to give you a new start, a new beginning.  Will you take my hand and trust me anew with your life? Can we start over again?  As I nodded my head, I felt the Holy Spirit start to do a new work in my heart, I felt the old shackles of anger and pain break off, as if the Lord was doing surgery on my heart.  I felt a wave of refreshment and then peace just flooded my heart and body.

The spiritual surgery continued all day as I basked in the peace of his healing.  I chose to forgive my family and all those who had hurt me over the years, particularly in ministry, and release them from their debts of sin against me.  He taught me through Colossians 3:12-16 to forgive those who hurt and offend you, to put on love, and to be a peacemaker.  I had been a conflict maker and now I felt His love fill my heart where all that anger had been.

How will I keep this peace?  I asked the Lord.  “My grace is sufficient for you” He replied. I understood I was to ask for His grace, his tender compassion, when I needed to forgive someone and He would give me the grace to do this, and subsequently, ‘the peace of Him will guard my heart and mind.”

So today, when I woke, I took Jesus hand in mine and told Him “Lord today I will trust you to take care of me, to lead and guide me with each step I take, and to spend time loving you and people through you today.  And I did.  And just for today, I was blessed with peace.  I got to start all over again.

Do you need to ask the Lord for a new beginning…to find the forgiveness in your heart to set yourself and others free?  It’s easy.  Ask Him into your heart to take your sin and give you a new eternal life in Him.  He is faithful and will do it.  After all He is the great Physician and Healer, and Savior of our souls.

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Colossians 3:12-16.

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