My Christmas Miracle…

Christmas Day.  The alarm rang at 9am and I looked outside.  Rain.  Lord, it isn’t supposed to rain till this afternoon, I complained. The thought of going into the City to Union Square to see the Macy’s tree and ice skaters, something I love to do each Christmas, in the cold and rain made me want to climb back into bed.  But no, I knew I had a divine appointment, so I dressed warmly and ran for the train.

Christmas Eve, I had visions not of sugar plums dancing, but of meeting my husband-to- be over the skaters park, perhaps a surprise rendezvous.  I had asked the Lord for a husband and a car for my Hanukkah/Christmas miracles, not necessarily in that order, and he had promised me a Christmas miracle the next day. I knew the time was getting short until He brought that special man into my life and hoped Christmas day would be it!

Cold, freezing winds met me at the San Francisco train depot. I pulled my jacket tightly around me and hopped on Muni (the bus). I got off at Powell Street, seeing a man peeing in the street, a typical sight in San Francisco’s panhandler area.  Merry Christmas, I thought to myself.

As I walked past the line of tourists waiting for the cable car ride over the hill, I began to see the beggars on the street.  Compassion started to fill my heart and I rustled through my change purse for some money.  I usually give a $1 and a Billy Graham tract entitled “Peace with God” as food for their soul.  What use is giving money when I can give the gift of Jesus and salvation instead?  I blessed the first young man with the lost look in his eyes, praying God would bless him that day.

I have been studying the concept of blessing in my Beth Moore Believing God Bible study. Today’s lesson was on using our tongue to bless God and others, not to curse, but to bless.  I wondered as I sat on the train watching the familiar scenery go by, why do we have to bless God?  Doesn’t He have everything He needs?  I know we are to praise Him, as He is our King and Lord, our Holy One.  So I pondered over this.  Beth states God SPEAKS His blessings over us, using our names.  I envisioned Him saying this morning:  Miriam, I bless you with meeting that special man today.  WOW, I could just picture it.  There is such power in our tongues and while we don’t have the supernatural power God possesses when He speaks, we can use our tongues positively by quoting Scripture and using Jesus’ name to move mountains and bless others. (Mark 11:23, James 3:10)

As I hurried up Powell Street to Union Square, looking for a place to get my hot cocoa to sip while I watched the ice skaters and waited on my husband, I glanced to my left.  There sat a dejected young man who looked on the verge of tears.  “Iraqi Vet, need some help” his cardboard sign said.  My heart was instantly pierced with compassion for him, but I was out of change.  I saw a Starbucks open up ahead and went in.  Miriam buy that man a sandwich and tell Him I told you to do so, I heard the Lord’s voice whisper to my heart.  I picked out a ‘grandma’s turkey and dressing’ sandwich, got my hot cocoa and returned to the young man.

Hi, what’s your name? I asked.

John, he replied,  He was shivering without a warm coat.

My name is Miriam and I am a Christian,  I said.

I am a Christian too, he replied.

God promises us we will not have to beg for bread, so what’s going on? I asked.

I lost my job and am living in my truck.  I need a master cylinder for my truck and I am trying to get the money together, he responded.

Here’s a turkey sandwich, the Lord told me to buy it for you. He looked gratefully down at the sandwich in his hands, placing it on top of his garbage bag belongings.

Do you know about City Impact, a Christian rescue mission nearby in the Tenderloin?  I asked.

No, he softly replied.

They have a breakfast of pastries and coffee with a service in the morning, and a homemade dinner in the evening, all free.  They have bible study in the afternoon and you can hang out there out of the cold. I used to volunteer there to pray for the homeless.  They are just over on Jones and Turk streets,” I told him. They are even having a big Christmas dinner today.

His eyes got big and he excitedly told me Thank you Miriam, I will go there.

He shared some more with me that he suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and had shrapnel from the war, with no family to help him.  Well, you have the family of God to help you John, and you were my divine appointment for today.  God heard your prayers and saw you sitting here, and brought me up from San Carlos to help you find your way.  Tears came to my eyes and his.  I offered to pray for him and then hugged him.  I went into the nearby McDonald’s and returned with a hot coffee for him.

Thank you again, Miriam.

Tell them at City Impact Miriam sent you! I cheerfully replied.

As I walked away it happened.  A small flame of fire ignited in my heart and the love and compassion of Christ flooded me. Contentment and peace filled my heart. The joy of Christmas exploded in my soul. I silently blessed the Lord for allowing me to be His hands and feet to bring a Christmas miracle of hope to this lost little lamb of His.

Ice Skaters at Union Square, San Francisco

As I stood in the drizzle watching the ice skaters go round and round, reflecting on the beauty of the tall Christmas tree with its gold and red bulbs, I realized God had given me the best Christmas present ever.

I am a missionary by calling, and there is nothing that makes me happier than sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ and reaching out to those lost in homelessness and mental illness.  I was once in that place myself, having returned from the mission field after being traumatized by people in the occult.  I fought a different type of war than my friend John, a spiritual battle and war with the enemy of our souls, the Devil.  I came home with a clinical depression and PTSD, lost in the blackness of my mind.

My family, not wanting to be financially responsible for me, dumped me on the County mental health system, abandoning me to a shelter.  Not just any shelter but a psychiatric shelter  Think drama. I share this part of my story in my pre-published book Running from the Witches:  How the Redemptive Love and Power of Jesus Christ Healed My Life.  Stay tuned for chapter 7 –  One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest)

I could relate to John’s mental illness, his being down on his luck, needing the hand of Christ to pull him up. God allowed me to go through that darkness and homelessness so one day I could help another in the same situation. What Satan meant for evil, God meant for good (You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. (Genesis 50:20))

Just last evening, I told the Lord how much I missed hands on ministry and praying for people one on one.  And then today, He gave me this opportunity with John.  Do I believe God had me get out of my warm bed just to go to the City to meet up with John and be the answer to his prayer?  Yes I do.  And in my faithfulness, I was blessed in return.  As I walked away after giving John his coffee, another homeless man begging for change said to me God bless you for doing that. I knew God had given me my Christmas miracle, I had indeed met a special man. I had set out to get a miracle, instead I became a miracle for someone else.  I got back on the train, thanking, and BLESSING my Lord, for now I understood the concept of blessing; a blessing will always comes back to bless you.

Will you pray for John and others suffering homelessness and mental illness? The next time you see one on the streets, take a moment and speak to them and find out their story.  Most are hungry and you can buy them a meal and be their blessing for the day.  After all, that is what Jesus would have done.

How has God blessed you this holiday season?  Leave me a reply…

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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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The Counterattack…The Devil Strikes Back

One of the lesser know facts about being a Christian, is that as we step out in Faith to serve the Lord in our ministries, we have an adversary, the Devil, who is not happy with our progress, particularly when we have a huge Victory for Jesus.  This was the case Halloween week which I shared on my blog how God gave me the Victory of raising money and advocates for She is Safe and the work they are doing around the world for abused and exploited women. (see Blessings, Paintings and Spooks….Oh My!)

Cross with Pearls Matthew 13:46

Not only did I sell quite a few paintings, but my blog post on how people could help stop human trafficking went viral!  I had over 100 views a day on my blog post and trafficking to my entire site was up well over 200 views.  Now that might not seem like a lot, but it is for me!  I only started this blog last summer and I have watched the Lord increasingly bring more traffic to my site and receive good feedback.

So I shouldn’t have been surprised when I came down with the flu/bronchitis/sinusitis with a vengeance, feeling like a bomb was dropped on me. The Devil loves to put illness on God’s Saints and I was down for the count.  I had just started a holiday job at Sees Candies (another blessing) and had to stop in the middle of training.

Would I lose my job?  Would I still be able to go to the Jews for Jesus Retreat the following weekend?  All these thoughts rumbled around in my feverish head, at one point wondering if I was going to be called home when my fever spiked to 104 degrees.  Getting this sick is scary for me as I am allergic to most antibiotics so it is a risk for me to take them.  I dragged my body to my Zip car and drove to the doctors (one of the worst things about living alone is getting sick alone) where my doctor played a guessing game of which antibiotic to give me.  “Let’s try Zithromax, I’ll give you a five day high dose that will last in your system for 10 days.”  “Alright” I nervously replied, hoping and praying this one would attack the virus.

As I tossed in bed with my fever, the Scripture “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me,” ran through my Spirit. (Psalm 23:4) Yes, I was at a breaking point for either life and healing, or death and eternal life.  I knew I was in God’s hands and was a peace with His outcome.  I had the assurance that I wouldn’t taste death, that my soul would go straight to heaven, and in fact, Jesus would come get me as He promises He will do. (John 14:3: And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.)

My fence and rail quilt

As I slowly got better, I sat on the couch covered in my rail-fence pattern quilt I had made, slurping chicken noodle soup and sucking on sugar free popsicles, all spacy on the codeine cough syrup, yet coughing, coughing, coughing.  I realized I was going to have to stay home from my retreat.  I had so looked forward to hanging out with my Messianic Jewish friends at the Jews for Jesus retreat, singing to the Messianic music, eating wonderful meals at Missions Springs Conference Center in the Santa Cruz Mountains and the divine appointments the Lord had for me.  I was sensing that this might be the time that I would meet that Jewish believing husband I have been waiting patiently (o.k. not so patiently!) for.  To hike in the beautiful redwoods, sit in on stimulating lectures and just be all around blessed and relaxed.

California Redwood Forest

So it made me start wondering, Lord why does it appear you let the enemy win this round and keep me too sick to go to the retreat, which I know was your will for me?  What He said to me surprised me: “You have been working too hard, and not having enough fun.  I have been missing spending time with you and now we have all week to snuggle together on the couch as you watch movies and hold you at night so you rest comfortably.” To be honest, I much rather spend that time with Him at the retreat but He is Sovereign and knows best. I trust He can cross my path with that future husband another way very easily.

Last night, I asked Him to reveal what He would have done for me at the retreat.   He showed me my low self esteem and the negative messages I tell myself, mostly about how unattractive I feel growing older, especially losing my neckline, which I laughingly tell my friends, is getting the “turkey neck”.  “I want a neck job as a wedding present” I tell them, but I am serious!  Having been a former beauty queen at age 18, Miss Belmont of 1979, my looks were always something that made me feel good about myself, as inside I felt such shame and ugliness from the abuse I suffered as a child.

Me modeling at Miss Belmont 1979 pageant, look at that hair!

I know Scripture tells us we are fearfully and wonderfully made in Psalm 139:14:

For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.

So I asked the Lord to let me experience His love for me in a more deep and personal way as I recover this next week, before I return to work at Sees.  Because this brokenness in me that let’s me see myself in this negative light, is my real sickness, my soul sickness.   God can turn what the enemy meant for evil (this flu sickness) and work it for good, (healing me by allowing me to see His viewpoint of me). “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good.” – Genesis 50:20.

Will you pray that the God who made us and knew us before the foundation of the world, who brought us together in the dark places of the womb, would heal our souls of the lies and wounds of the enemy, giving us Victory today over our pasts?  Do you need to ask God for this soul healing for yourself today?  If so you can pray this prayer along with me:

“Dear Lord:  I need to feel your love for me as your child.  I know I have believed the lies of my family, friends and the Devil, who have spoken negative things into my life.  I believe you created me in the innermost places and made me unique and like you.  Help me to let go of the shame and self hatred I feel, and replace it with your love and the way you see me.  Bright. Beautiful. Full of your Joy.  Accepted and Loved in the Beloved.  For this is truth and you are Truth and I ask you to pierce my heart with this truth today.  Thank You Jesus, I love you.”

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To view my art click on ‘my art’ above or here.

 


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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My devotion is published!…a love letter to the Lord..

My love letter to the Lord

My sweet Lord, such love and goodness happened this week. Your miracle of allowing me to show my art at my church’s mission holiday fair after all. And yesterday finding out some of my writing is being published on the national level.  Oh, and not to mention the possible job.

I love how faithful you are, that in the dry seasons of our life, when we are so anxious for you to open a door, you open three at once!  I love how you have a way of raining down blessings, and how I know from experience you wait till the last possible moment, yet your timing is perfect.  I have seen you come through when I am down to my last few dollars in my savings account and I don’t know where money will come from for next month’s bills.

From Pinterest

My heart overflows as I watch your perfect sunset of my favorite colors, pink and purple tonight.  I saw a pin on Pinterest today that said God is a designer. How true.  You are the ultimate Artist and Creator.  Every sunrise and sunset you paint a canvas of color for us, and every evening you hang the moon and stars in a navy blue sky.  I have enjoyed so much walking at night and riding my bike under the bright moon.

I have noticed I see things more clearly with an artist’s eye now, with your eye, such as how the seasons change and the beauty of each.  Fall, one of my favorites, brings baking, homemade soups, quilting while sipping pumpkin lattes and crunchy gold, red and yellow leaves on the ground.

This evening, I realized how blessed I am to do the things you do, be an artist and writer.  It took 51 years to get to this place but I love painting and I love being a writer, and now an author.  WOW, author.  It was nine months ago I picked up my pen and stated writing my book, on a rainy day in January at Peets Coffee.  Nine months of joy, frustration, rewrites, editing, critiquing, writer conferences, blogging, subscribers, plug ins, Facebook cartoons, statistics, submission, rejection and now finally acceptance.   An editor felt my devotion “Our Sweet Fragrance” was good enough to publish.  In a book.  That many will see, read and grow closer to you because of it.  WOW.

As an author, you write our names in your book , our tears in your book and our days in your book.  My art contains your Word in Scripture, knowing that my word that goes forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void. (Isaiah 51:11)  How is it I am growing to be more like you and your image everyday? (smile)

I am the rose of Sharon and the lily of the valleys - Song of Solomon 2:1

Thank you Jesus for being my sweet fragrance (2 Corinthians 2:15), and my Rose of Sharon (Songs 2:1). For giving me the words to write the beautiful devotion to you and the ability to paint a Scripture painting to go along with it, entitled Rose of Sharon.

For giving me a vision of you tossing dozens of red rose petals all over me as I rolled on my bed in glee, over finding out my devotion was accepted for publication in Penned from the Heart*.  Of confirming my dream and encouraging me in my journey with you. My heart is full of gratitude and love for you. Ani Ohevet atah Yeshua.
Your love, Miriam

Rose of Sharon is for sale on my website giftsofhisglory.com.  Click here or above on ‘my art’ to see all my Scripture paintings that make wonderful holiday gifts.

Yearly Christian devotional for 2013

*I am sorry I cannot publish my devotion here on this blog until after it has been printed and published in the devotional book.  Rules of the publishing game!  Devotional books can be ordered beginning in December for the 2013 version in which my devotion appears,  at www.gloriaclover.com.  Retail at $9.95)

Leave me a reply:  What dream has the Lord given you?

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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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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”.

 

 

 

 

 


Sharing my passion…an interview by author Kay Marshall Strom

New Press!  Read how you can use your passion like I did to make a difference!

I am interviewed by my friend Kay Marshall Strom, Christian author and speaker for her blog  www.kaystrom.com. Thank you Kay for this blessing and sharing my passions…

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What Can One Person Do? Ask Miriam Sarzotti~

Great things about writers’ conferences:  we learn, we share, we network, we gather ideas, we meet new people.  One of the people I met at Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference last spring was Miriam Sarzotti.  I invited Miriam to join us and talk about the way she found to promote her passion.

Welcome, Miriam.  When I first met you, I was immediately impressed by your passion. Tell us about that.

First and most important, I am passionate about my faith in God.  I do have a particular heart for Israel and the Jewish people. And I love Israeli ice cream! My most tender passion is being a voice for the voiceless who are trapped in sexual slavery. I’m doing that through my art, writing and advocacy ministry.

Ah, yes.  That’s where we really connected.  How does your art meld with your passion?

I have loved to paint since the age of three.  I mix my love of art with my passion of sharing God’s Word through my signature biblical Scripture art.  These collages feature God’s creation with Scripture woven in.  Each is a way of demonstrating Isaiah 55:11: “My Word will not return to me void.”

You have recently become associated with She is Safe (SIS).  Can you tell us about that?

At the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, you shared your heart with me for SIS.  Then I read your books Daughters of Hope and Forgotten Girls.  With my heart broken for the young girls in sexual slavery, I prayed and felt led to donate 50% of all my art sales to the work that SIS is doing around the world. Now, I am an advocate for them here in the San Francisco Bay area.

Those two books you mentioned, which I co-wrote with Michele Rickett of SIS, changed my own life.  When I wrote Daughters of Hope, it was difficult to find a publisher.  Everyone told me, “Americans don’t care about anyone outside their borders.”  I am so, so glad to report that we absolutely do care! Miriam, you are also writing a book. Can you tell us a bit about that?

Yes!  I am writing my first book of my memoirs that includes my time as a missionary in Israel. My goal is to bring hope to others by showing them how the redemptive love and power of Jesus healed my life from trauma in childhood and on the mission field. It offers self-help sections to show how He can heal your life too.

What words of wisdom do you have for people who are looking for a way to make a difference?

Start by finding YOUR passion. Ask the Lord to show you each small step to take. Then use your gifts, no matter how small, for the Lord. As Zechariah 4:10 states: Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.” You will be amazed how He will meet you and open doors for you.  Soon you might even be starting a ministry like I did, and being interviewed by Kay for her blog! (LOL!)

That just may be!  Any last message for us?

Please visit my website. If you purchase a painting, it will help rescue girls in slavery and abuse.  It is one small step you can take to make a difference!  The paintings make lovely gifts for home or holidays. View my artwork at www.giftsofhisglory.com.

Keep up the Good Work Miriam!


You can follow Miriam’s art and writing
journeys on her blog at
www.giftsofhisglory.com/miriamsblog. Please come follow me!

“Writing is my new passion, and I am grateful to the Lord for this gift that brings Him glory!”

Miriam Sarzotti


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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