Why Are All the Santas Deflated?

This morning I awoke to bright sunshine and warm weather, typical of  Northern California at Christmas time.  I decided to take a bike ride through the neighborhood on my way to my favorite cafe, La Tartine, in the next town over.

As I pedaled my bike under a bright blue sky, I marveled at the Christmas decorations at each house-colorful ornaments hanging from tree limbs, dazzling in the sunshine, red and white candy canes lining the driveways and a slew of wire reindeer looking naked without their twinkling lights.

And then it struck me.  Many of the houses I passed had huge, inflatable Santas, faced down on the lawn. Why were all the Santas deflated? My mind raced.  Did someone pop poor old Santa as a prank?  But wait.  Frosty the Snowman was down also.  I grew more confused. Perhaps, I wondered, they were inflated with air each evening, only to dissipate like a melting snowman come light of day?

Then it dawned on me. We too are like those deflated Santas during Christmastime. We get all pumped up about the tinsel and gifts, the chocolate and peppermints, and the sparkling lights at night. Then we find ourselves depressed, with the air let out of us. Maybe, it’s an unkind word or act of meanness by our boss. Deflate.  Or most likely, that hurtful thing said by our dysfunctional family member.  Pop.   Perhaps, the school kids didn’t like our home baked cookies or even the Costco bought cookies  Flattened.

But there is good news!  We don’t ever have to be deflated again!  God fills us with His Spirit, the Holy Spirit, when we believe in His Son, Jesus, as our Lord and Savior.   He fills our hearts with Joy, Peace, Love, Patience, Kindness and Goodness. And hope. All the things Christmas is supposed to be about.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16.) 

“Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14.) 

Immanuel means “God with us.”  Jesus came to earth to dwell with us. He takes up residence in our hearts and promises to never leave us or forsake us. (Hebrews 13:5-6.)   We can ask him to refresh our spirits and He will do so.  He will comfort our pain, encourage our discouragement, and shed grace and light on our difficult situation. We never lose His presence in us and He is immediately there when we ask anything of Him.

Do you want His joy, peace and love in your heart?  Wouldn’t this be the perfect time to accept God’s free gift of salvation, knowing Jesus came as a baby, just for you, to forgive your sins and reconcile you with God?

Yes? then pray the prayer below:

Dear Jesus:  I know I am a sinner and ask you to forgive my sins.  I invite you to come dwell in my heart as my Lord and Savior.  I want to be filled with your Holy Spirit and know you as my God.  Thank you for coming down to earth to save me and for loving me so much.  I love you Jesus.

Do you know angels are rejoicing in Heaven right now because you’ve entered the Kingdom of God as His child?  Merry Christmas-you have received the most perfect gift of all!

And a special Merry Christmas to all my readers and followers. May you be transformed by the miracle of His birth this season…

To see my Scripture paintings and greeting cards go to giftsofhisglory.com or click on ‘my art’ above.


Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, I Want to Write Greeting Cards, How about You?

There are days that are just surprises. When the Lord throws you a curve ball and all you can do is laugh and say Really?   But watch out ,laughter got Sarah in trouble and one year later she had Isaac at 90 years old! (Isaac means laughter by the way) God had told Abraham and Sarah they would have a child in their old age. Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” Genesis 21:6.

“Miriam, I want you to write greeting cards for the Christian market” the Lord whispered to my heart. A loud chuckle slipped out of my mouth. Really, Lord?

I had just returned from Mt.Hermon’s Christian Writers Conference in Santa Cruz, California. While there, I took a workshop on How to Write Greeting Cards for XYZ Publishers (not their real name).  One of the largest Christian publishing houses for greeting cards, my critique partner Jenni Brummett had written some ideas for them which I helped edit. They liked what they saw and published a few of her ideas. Secretly I thought, if Jenni can do it, so can I (shh don’t tell her)!

So I found myself before a cracking fire with a group of other wannabes in the workshop, being led by the lovely editors. They explained writing Christian greeting cards is a ministry that serves to bring God glory and healing to hurting hearts through Scripture from the Bible. The editors told us, first, you need to pray and ask the Holy Spirit to give you the words and inspiration to touch the heart of someone in need. Encouraged to try my hand at a sample, I prayed and diligently started to write. I have a sensitive ear to the Holy Spirit, I think I will enjoy writing these.

This week I sat at my computer and began to write the words that flowed out of my soul.
-For the loss of a child….The Lord hears your cry and cares about your loss…He promises to be close to the brokenhearted and a bruised reed He will not break…the card went on. Hmm, that was fairly easy, I’ll try another…
-For a mother sending their child off to school…While our children are apart from us each day, they are in our heart and prayers….WOW, I am enjoying this. Four more flew out of my hands.

I sent them off to Jenni to critique and with her edits and encouragement, I forwarded them to the editor at the publishing house. Usually it takes weeks to hear back from a publisher but to my delight and surprise, there was an email waiting for me when I returned home.

I clicked the mouse on my email and…..Voila!  I found a rejection letter stating my ideas where too similar to other copy they had used for previous cards, but they were well written and please submit again. Ouch. A rejection. Wait.  Stop Miriam. Well written. Submit ideas again.  Encouragement filled my heart. I then began to laugh. Holy Spirit, these were your ideas….you need to come up with something more unique and different now if I am to get published.  I think He laughed too.  I know God has a sense of humor.

I felt a nudge to start writing cards for other publishers, including secular ones with a religious line, to earn some income. Oh no, I thought, you mean like one of those writer’s who is so poor he can’t eat and is waiting for his royalty check to come in the mail?   “Miriam, remember last night I reassured you that I would open doors for your calling?  And that I am calling you to have a wiring ministry?” Yes, Lord, I remember. “Start writing Child and I will meet all your needs as you step out in faith.” Gulp.

So this afternoon, I sat in the air conditioned library at my computer again, praying and asking the Lord to inspire me with words that touch a hurting heart and bring Him glory.  I obey because I love Him and I don’t want to end up like Sarah writing a book one day entitled My Isaac.

Do you have a dream of writing greeting cards?  As a small child I thought it would be a fun job and here I am doing it now!  The Lord promises to give us the desires of our hearts if we delight in Him.  (Psalm 37:4) Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you your heart’s desires.

Here are five things you can do to start pursuing your dream:

Pray and ask the Lord if He is calling you to write greeting cards. If you have a ‘yes’ or peace about it, give it a try. Don’t give up after a few rejections.  Rejections are part of the writing game.

Attend a Christian writers conference and take a workshop on writing cards like I did.  You will find them across the country (and world) and are a great way to meet editors and get your foot in the door.  My favorite and most renowned in America is Mt. Hermon’s Christian Writers Conference held each spring in the Santa Cruz Mountains of northern California.  The contacts you make will be immense and you can also find a critique partner there.

Read The Christians Writers Market Guide by Jerry B. Jenkins.  This is the Bible for writers and has a list of all greeting card publishers, including secular ones looking for religious cards.  It lists the writers guidelines, the types of cards they are looking for and what they pay.  You can buy it at amazon.com or online at www.christianwritersguild.com.  They are updated each year. (This is also a great help for book, magazines, and gift ideas publishing.)

Take a writing correspondence course on greeting cards.  You will find a list within the Christian Writers Market Guide listed above.

Join a critique group of other writers who can give you feedback on your writing and might be writing cards as well.  They are a great place to find support, tips and ideas from other writers, who are a unique kind of people!  Google critique or writers groups in your area to find one, or start one like I did.

Happy Dreaming and Writing!

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L’Shannah Tovah (Happy New Year)

 

Blowing the Shofar on Rosh Hashanah

One of my favorite parts of the Fall season is the Jewish High Holidays that usually start in September with Rosh Hashanah (Head of the Year), followed by Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) and finally ends with Sukkot (Feast of the Tabernacles).  My dream is to experience them in Israel one day.  They say it is a site not to be forgotten to see Sukkot or little tabernacles built in every front and backyard throughout the Land.  Jewish people celebrate the time that God provided for them in the wilderness with temporary shelters, Sukkot, so they build them and eat and sleep in them during the seven days of Sukkot. It foreshadows when we will ‘tabernacle’ with God again in Heaven and in His new Kingdom on earth.

What I love most is the promise of a new year and beginning that Rosh Hashanah brings.  This year the Lord blessed me at my women’s conference at my church Abundant Life Christian Fellowship in Mt. View, California on the Friday night two days before Rosh Hashanah started.  The theme was God’s Masterpiece and our first lady Ronda Hamilton spoke on doing God’s will.  She shared how God had called her to become a medical doctor when she least expected it and how we can step out into our callings that God has on our lives.

There was a time of prayer and healing and I went forward asking God for all He had for me and to start over in a new beginning with Him.  At one point Sister Hamilton asked “Women of God, do you want to be made whole?”  My heart leaped at the thought of being healed mentally, physically,emotionally and spiritually.  “Remember the man who laid at the pools of Bethesda for 38 years and Jesus asked him if he wanted to be made whole?.  Do you want that wholeness too?  My whole body came under the power of the Holy Spirit and I heard the Lord whisper to me “I am healing every molecule in every cell of you body.”  Then I felt heat throughout my head  and the words “I am healing your mind”.  My heart was next as I felt the Lord heal me from every hurt I had every experienced.  As I stood there shaking with the healing warmth of my Lord, I felt Him brake off the shackle of rejection on my heart I had experienced all my life and felt His love and acceptance flow over me. “You are accepted in the Beloved” ran through my mind from Ephesians 1:6 and I now could call Him Savior and Abba in a way I had never been able to do before.  I cried and cried thanking the Lord for loving me when others in my life would not and for healing me.

How can He top that, I wondered?  What else did God have for me this weekend? In anticipation of the Jews for Jesus Rosh Hashanah service two days later on Sunday, I picked up my Zip car and zipped up to San Francisco. I was looking forward to seeing old friends from my time as a volunteer with them doing street evangelism and others from our monthly Chaverah (Fellowship). The service proved to be as beautiful as I had remembered…the prayers and songs in Hebrew, the sound of the shofar (ram’s horn) being blown as it will be the day Jesus returns for us in the clouds, the humorous and engaging testimony of a young Jewish believer in Yeshua (Jesus), and the yummy honey cake and apples dipped in honey (for a sweet new year) at the Oneg (party) following the service.

But what touched me the most was the sermon on the books of God.  The speaker preached on The Book of Life and The Book of Remembrance.  I was struck that God was an author and writer just like me!  He wrote the bestseller ‘The Bible” (true?!) and to think He writes our names in the book of Life when we accept His Son Yeshua as our Messiah.  So when we stand in Judgement before Him one day, He will open His book and see our name and admit us to heaven to be with Him for eternity.

I don’t know about you, but I wonder…Does he use a quill pen?, What is the parchment like? Or does He have a laptop?  He must be very busy as He has recorded every day of our lives from before time began and records every tear we cry, happy or sad. That to me shows a God who cares, who knows our every move, and knows the day He will call us back home to Him.

Is your name written in the Book of Life?  Have you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, asking Him to take your sin and make you a new creation in Him? That is what Rosh Hashanah is all about.  Starting over with a new beginning.  On Yom Kippur, which follows 10 days later, we acknowledge the sacrifice and atonement (forgiveness) by Jesus when He died on the cross for our sins.

Cross with Rose Petals Romans 5:8

Would like to pray to ask Jesus into your heart and forgive your sins?  If so, you can pray this prayer and be born again.

Dear Jesus:
I admit I am a sinner and am in need of forgiveness.  I believe you died on the cross for me personally and that you were raised from the dead and am in Heaven right now.  I ask you into my heart to take control of my life and to be my Lord and Savior.  Thank you for loving me enough to lead me to repentance and show me my need for you.  Help me become the person  you intend for me to become and may your plan for my life come to pass.  I love you Lord and thank you for forgiving me today and giving me the gift of eternal life with you.  Amen.

Welcome to the Kingdom of God! Angels are rejoicing over you right now!  LIKE below and leave me a comment that you began a new life with the Lord today.  And I will rejoice with you and the angels as well! (smile)

Please LIKE or TWEET below to share this post with your friends…and help them get their names in the Book of Life…

Cross with Rose petals is for sale on my art website by clicking here or above at “My art”.