A Nudge from the Lord: Searching for God’s Truth.

Today, I visited a new church that is held in a local Jewish Temple. I felt a nudge from the Lord to find a church that is centered on the authority and truth of God’s Word, where salvation comes from being born again, by accepting Jesus as you Lord and Savior alone. The Bible says we must be ‘born again’, in fact Jesus himself said it in John 3:1-10.  We do not get ‘saved’ by attending church, being baptized as a baby, or serving faithfully in our church.

In fact, Jesus was quite clear that good works cannot save you, we cannot ‘earn our way’ into Heaven.  It is through accepting His free gift of grace, by His dying on the cross and shedding his blood for our sins, and rising from the dead, that we have eternal life. Romans 3:24. No other way.  Not Buddha, not crystals, not worshiping the moon or stars, or another false religion.  Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Light, no one comes to the Father, but through me.” John 14:6.

So this morning, as I worshiped with the light stemming through the menorah in the stained glass window, the symbol of light for the Jewish people, I felt like I had come home.  As a Jewish believer in Jesus, I love Israel and the Jewish people.  God has given me a burden to share their Messiah, Yeshua, (Jesus in Hebrew) with them whenever possible.  I have studied Hebrew, volunteered with Jews for Jesus, and shared the gospel in Jerusalem.  Don’t forget, Jesus was a Jew, who came for the “lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Matthew 15:24.

To further share my faith and testify of God’s healing power, I am now writing my life story which encompasses my travels as an evangelist to the Jewish people. It has a new title: Becoming Miriam:  A Life Transformed by God.

I just returned from Mount Hermon’s Christian Writers Conference in the Santa Cruz mountains of Califrornia.  There I received good feedback and direction on how to finish and publish my book. I am thrilled my book is almost complete,  a 21/2 year journey of hard work and trust. I believe it will bring healing and truth to many who are searching for the Healer himself. My message is that God can heal the most broken heart or wounded life, just like he did mine. “For He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3.

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If you need to find Jesus for yourself, you can pray the prayer below to 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 are 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 happen. I love you Lord and thank you for forgiving me today and giving me the gift of eternal life with you.  Amen.

After praying this prayer, it is important to tell someone else you prayed the salvation prayer, find a Bible teaching church and attend, and read your Bible every day. If you can’t afford a Bible, many churches will give you one for free.  Leave me a message and tell me you are now born-again 🙂

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Luck or God’s Grace?

Today, I was reflecting on St. Patrick’s Day which is tomorrow March 17.  Being part Irish, I am familiar with the custom of wearing green and pinching those who don’t.  My thoughts turned to how as a Christian, nothing is left up to luck, but God’s grace.

The Scripture that comes to mind is, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, but lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths (Proverbs 3:5-6).

It is by God’s grace, his unmerited favor, his love, his provision, that my life unfolds.  I have given my heart to Jesus as my Lord and Savior and I belong now to Him.  He promises to give us His free gift of grace, of salvation, forgiveness of our sins and eternal life.  If only we believe.

You might say it was ‘luck’ when in the throes of a clinical depression, at the lowest part of my life, that I found Jesus.  Or really, He found me. He saved my life and my soul from the darkness of a life of sin and deception.  When I surrendered my life to Him, I found my life, one I live by faith and trust in God now.  For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it (Matthew 16:25).

Which leads me to the Scripture in Proverbs.  When we trust God and turn over our problems and sorrows to Him, not counting on our own understanding about the issue, but acknowledging Him as the answer, He will direct our paths. I have seen this so many times in my life, once I gave up control of my life, and let Him lead.

Recently, I trusted Him to help me raise the money to attend this year’s Christian writing conference at Mt. Hermon Conference Center.  I felt his lead to write a letter to those close to me from my church family and God was faithful. I received the sponsors and donations I needed to go. In His timing and His way.

Do you trust God with your heart and your life?  Have you let go and surrendered your will to His will?  If you want the beautiful plan God has for your life, you need to do so.  If you are relying on ‘luck’, then you are at the mercy of this world, not of God, and He is the safest place to be.

Often, what you have thought of as ‘luck’ and coincidence has really been God operating on your behalf and goodwill.  You just didn’t know it. I even suggest it was not ‘luck’ that brought you to read this blog post, but God’s grace directing your path to find Him.

So, I am here to ask you today to consider how He has been wooing you to come follow Him, to allow Him to be your Lord and Savior. He has two beautiful gifts that don’t require any luck, just grace. A forgiven heart and a life spent in eternity with Him and your loved ones.

Can you trust Him right now?  If so, pray this prayer to turn your ‘luck’ into God’s favor in your life.

Dear Jesus:  I admit I am a sinner and need your free gift of grace.  I have been searching for luck when in reality I should have been searching for you.  I want to surrender my life to you as Lord and Savior, asking you to forgive my sins and give me eternal life.  I ask you to help me trust you and live by faith in you.  I trust your promise that by trusting in you, not in myself, you will guide my steps and life into your perfect plan.  Thank you Jesus.  Amen.

Congratulations!  Angels are dancing in Heaven to celebrate you being born again into the Kingdom of God!

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The Eyes Have It – God’s Healing Power Today

Today I get to share the good news of answered prayer.  Many of you readers will recall my earlier post where I talked about the problems I was having with my eye…the jelly part detaching and inflamation in my left eye.  A serious problem. (see My New Creation post earlier this month)

The best doctors at Stanford where concerned it indicated a autoimmune disease common in young women (well I am not THAT young, but the doctor thought so!).  They tested me for a lot of scary diseases including cancer.  I was wondering if I was going to Heaven earlier than I expected but I received the news the day before July 4th, that all the test were negative!  Yes negative!  What freedom to celebrate along with our National Independence Day here in America.

I was still worried though as the specialist had said chemo was the preferred treatment. However, as I waited to see my doctor again in a few weeks, a miracle began to happen.  My eye got better.  The floaters decreased. I was encouraged.

At my appointment, my doctor was surprised how well my eye scans looked and said, “Miriam, these look beautiful. Your inflammation is down and the floaters are less.”

“Well Doctor, I have had many people praying for me for divine healing. All my Facebook friends and blog  readers.  I put it in God’s hands because I knew I would never survive chemo and He is faithful to hear our prayers and answer them.”

He silently nodded along with me.

Now this is a very unexpected reaction from my doctor.  He is the top Eye Specialist in the country who feels he can heal anything, and says he is like God in that matter. I, of course, kid him and say, “oh get over yourself, you are too much. only God is God.”

He then said something else remarkable.  “Miriam, I want to give you some non steroid eye drops for the floaters and remaining inflammation.  They probably won’t work, but let’s try.”

As I pulled away in the cab, tears came to my eyes.  I cried for how good and amazing God is. I cried for how much He cares for us, even though we sin and mess up all the time. I cried for how faithful my friends and readers had been to petition God for me and how He is still our healer today.  I cried that I wouldn’t have to do chemo.

Once home, I prayed and asked the Lord to anoint the eye drops . I began to use them four times a day as instructed.  Another miracle happened.  My eyes got even better! The cloud of floaters kind of parted like the Red Sea. I can read words on the page now. I am trusting the Lord for total healing of my eye and that by next month’s appointment, the inflammation will be gone.

What healing miracle do you need today?  Do you know that Jesus healed all kinds of diseases and afflictions while He was on earth?  Read it for yourself in the gospels in the New Testament that record His deeds. Start with the Book of Matthew. His power to heal is still available to you today. Besides physical healing, Jesus can heal you spiritually by setting you free from sin and death and reconciling you with God.

All it takes is opening your heart to Him and asking Him to forgive your sins. His Holy Spirit will come and dwell in your heart and give you the gift of eternal life. The Bible says “If you confess with your mouth and believe on the Lord’s resurrection, you will be saved and live.”  (Romans 10:9) Now, that’s glorious good news. And I might add, a miracle of grace that only comes from God  If you want this free gift of spiritual healing and life forever in Heaven, please pray this prayer below:

Lord, I confess with my mouth you are the Son of God and came to die for my sins.  I believe you rose from the dead after three days and make your home in Heaven now.  I ask for a new life in you and the free gift of eternal life.  Please come heal my body, mind and soul from all my pain. I ask for a miracle of healing in you name. Amen.

If you prayed this prayer, do three things:

1. Tell someone you accepted Jesus into your life today.

2.  Find a Bible teaching church and start attending to be part of the fellowship of other Christians and learn God’s character and heart for you through hearing His Word preached.

3.  Get a Bible and start reading it a little every day.  Most churches will give you one if you ask or you can find them at a Christian bookstore where they can help you pick out one.

Leave me a reply if you prayed this prayer so I can rejoice along with the angels in Heaven who rejoice every time a person becomes born again in Jesus.

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When you are so mad you could spit!

What do you do when you are so angry you could spit?  Tonight, finding myself in this situation, I did three things,  I rode my bike (thing #1) under a bright full moon to McDonald’s with my flashing red and white lights warning others to stay away, to get a large diet coke, with lemonade in it.  To give you an idea how mad I was, I am not supposed to be drinking diet coke but I didn’t care.  To heck with it, I thought.

As I arrived I was greeted by one of the workers, a young African American man, whom I had met before and had given him my card as he was interested in my website and blog.  He greeted me warmly,

“Hi, I read your ENTIRE blog and I now know your entire life..how you stole cookie dough out of the refrigerator as a child, all your trips to Israel, and by the way, were you scared when you went there?” he asked me.

I laughed in unbelief to hear such a good report on my blog.  “No I wasn’t scared, I was fearless back then in my 30s, now in my 50s, it is another story” I exclaimed.  “What did you learn about Jesus from my blog” I asked him expectantly.

“That Jesus is the one and only Savior…I knew that already but your blog makes it real clear”.

The smile on my face was huge as I digested this news. I asked him if he had ever made it to my church.  He said he hadn’t been able to yet and asked me to write the name and address down.  Fumbling through my purse, I found an old receipt and borrowed a pen from the night manager.

‘I need to get some Sundays off, as I have to work Sunday afternoons” he said.

“We have an early service at 8:30am” I replied.

“You do, where is the church?” he asked me in return.

As it turns out he lives a few blocks away and can ride his bike.  Amazed how God can arrange a divine appointment in the middle of the night when I am in a foul mood, I had to laugh as I biked away with my drink.

The scripture from Psalm 4:4 “Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent” went through my mind as I contemplated sending another email to the person I was angry at.  It involved  not being able to show my art at an important function I was hoping for.  Disappointment, hurt and anger fed my soul.

Indignant thoughts ran through my mind “How can they not bless my art ministry as I am a MEMBER there?” I implored of the Lord.  “And they told me not to take it personally and I am an ARTIST, of course I will take it personally,” I screamed.  Crying in frustration I sobbed, “Lord how am I going to raise money for the poor girls in sexual slavery all over the world if you won’t open doors for me?  I try so hard, and yet so many people really don’t care about helping these poor girls who are raped 20 times a night, day in and day out, who die from the horror of it or from internal bleeding as they are too young to be raped” I lamented.  “And to top it off, I am overdue on writing my blog and have nothing to say.” Sniff, sniff.

Pinterest

When I got home, I felt better, but soon the hurt filled my heart again.  I played on Pinterest for an hour (thing #2), pinning all kinds of comfort foods that I wished I could eat right then and there, but had to settle for salivating over them and printing up the recipes, promising to try them tomorrow.  “Amish church noodles” and “Southern chicken and dumplings” made the list.  I had tasted the yummy Amish noodle dish on my last trip to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, two years ago and fell in love with it.  I had been blessed to eat the chicken and dumplings at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee,  during a trade show I was working way back in my corporate life in my early 30s. And yet I still remembered it fondly. Time to eat them again.

Amish church noodles

I decided not to send another email as I could see that was exactly what the Enemy wanted me to do and destroy a relationship.  I prayed very quickly the scripture “My grace is sufficient for thee” (2 Corinthians 12:9 ) asking the Lord to give me the grace to not take action.  This is a new thing for me to do, when I am angry or offended and need to forgive someone. And each time I ask the Lord for His grace, He miraculously gives it to me.

Finally, it being midnight now, I felt I needed to write out my feelings so I started writing this blog post (thing #3), having no idea where it would go.  As I typed, my anger dissipated as I laughed out loud at the absurdity of my situation, as I could clearly see God’s hand and salvation as the night wore on.  I realized it is painful at times when He says “NO” to a door opening.  Yet I see His blessing as I had been recently telling Him, and all my friends, how frustrated I was not knowing who was reading my blog or how it was affecting my readers. I get very few replies, most being spam.  And then I walk into McDonald’s in the middle of my funk and He rewards me with personal feedback by an enthused reader.  What are the odds?

HUGE SIGH: I am feeling better now, as writing always has a soothing effect on my soul and I believe I shared some important things tonight about anger, God’s grace and unexpected blessings.  I hope you will take these away and remember them the next time you are so angry you could spit!

PS My heart turns to praise as the Lord reminds me that I have on average 9000 views per month. He has given me a ministry of sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ to the entire world through my blog.  Now that is something to be thankful for!

Please do leave me a reply below…it means a lot for me to hear from you and how you have been touched by my blog…

To see my Scripture art, click here or on the ‘My art” tab above.  Consider purchasing a painting as 50% goes to rescuing girls in sexual slavery and abuse around the world. And they make lovely gifts for the upcoming holidays….I ship anywhere in the US or worldwide.

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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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Eternity in Our Hearts

Colorful Zinnias Ecclesiastes 3:11

He makes all things beautiful in its time….He places eternity in their hearts..
Ecclesiastes 3:11

Yes He does.  Jesus that is.  He is in the business of making all things new.  Including me and you.  We are his precious works in progress, once we accept His free gift of grace.  He forgives our sins.  He places the Holy Spirit into our hearts to restore and renew all our fuzzy places and sinful spaces.  He changes us into the image of Himself.  And to give us hope, He puts eternity in our hearts.
What beautiful Words.  I thought a lot about this Scripture as I painted my next biblical Scripture painting today.  As always, I prayed about what to paint as a subject and what Scripture to go with it.  This time it was the colorful zinnias in a patch at Filoli Gardens.  I was drawn to their colors and sizes and how beautiful they were in the sunshine, with their petals reaching upwards to the sun.  How we will be one day in the glory of the Lord’s brilliance as we step into Heaven.  I imagine His smile of happiness on seeing me will be so bright. And I will radiate happiness and light in my new glorified body. Halleluiah. Just like the zinnias.

Do you ever think about eternity in the day to day struggles and problems of life here on earth?  I have to be honest and admit it is a passing thought now and then but lately I have been thinking of it more,  Maybe its getting older.  Knowing my time and work here on earth is going to come to an end.  Thinking thoughts such as “Lord, I feel I am not making enough impact for the Kingdom here on earth.  It seems I spend so much time waiting on you (!) and so little time leading others to you. Will my life matter in the scope of things?”
And then He whispers this Scripture in my heart….”I make everything beautiful in its time”….and I realized just for today, I used His gift of creativity in me and made a beautiful painting of His creation to bring joy to someone else’s heart.  And my life was made more beautiful for today…and I realized eternity IS in my heart.  I imagine seeing my Nana again and my baby daughter Lynley who did not live past the womb.  I imagine talking to Jesus’ mother Mary, who is my namesake of Miriam, (the Hebrew way to say “Mary” ). I will ask her to tell me what Jesus was like as a little boy, how it felt to be used by the Holy Spirit for a miracle. I imagine what it will be like to live FOREVER in peace with no tears or weight gain!  To have my family all restored, no longer dysfunctional, and not talking to one another.  To have a pure love for my mother and father despite the abuse and shame done to me as a child.

Because that is the kind of God we have.  He cares enough about us and our times of despair and hopelessness to give us the hope of being with HIm in eternity.  Heaven is real.  All it takes is being like a zinnia, turn your face up to the Son, Jesus, and ask Him to come into your hearts and forgive you for your sins.  To be your Lord and Savior.  It really is that simple.  And He will come and give you His Holy Spirit to make you all beautiful in His time…and deposit a little piece of eternity in your heart as a safekeeping and promise.
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What do you look forward to most about eternity?  Leave me a reply..

I hope you enjoy my new collage “Colorful Zinnias”.  It is for sale for $100 at my art website.  Just click on ‘my art’ above or go to www.giftsofhisglory.com
Shalom and peace.