Monday, September 28

The Faith Builder

The Bible tells us in Hebrews 12:2a, “Looking to the Author and Finisher of our faith, Jesus.” (The Received Greek Text)

The dictionary tells us that an author is an originator or creator, as of a theory or plan. So, let’s see what the Greek words tell us.

* The word ‘looking’ means to consider attentively, to turn the eyes away from other things and fix them on something.

* ‘Author’ also means captain, prince, chief leader, one that takes the lead in anything and thus affords an example, furnishing the first cause or occasion, a predecessor in a matter, originating, beginning, or founder.

Therefore, the Amplified expands the verse this way, “Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection].” (Heb. 12:2 Amp)

When a heart receives eternal salvation by accepting the sacrifice of Christ’s blood, righteousness is imparted into each heart, along with the seedling of faith. In order for that seedling to blossom and grow, it needs watering and, well, er, fertilizer.

What does the Bible say about the process through which faith grows?

James said, “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” (James 1:2-4 NLT)

* From the opening verse, the word ‘Finisher’ also means consummator, perfecter, completer, One who has in his own person raised faith to its perfection and so set before us the highest example of faith.

If Jesus is the Leader, Source, and Example of our faith, do we allow Him to put His finishing touches on our faith? Do we go through the testing trials of life with our eyes of faith on Him or on the afflictions?

Have you ever read Hebrews 11? I love that chapter. Of all the tribulations and heartaches that mankind has endured, this chapter tells me that, no matter what happens in life, I can make it. And so can you.

So, from the faith displayed in one suffering, it is built up and performed in the next circumstance. And so we live, as Paul tells us, “The just shall live by faith.” (Rom. 1:17b NKJV)

Does Jesus have say to us as He did to the disciples, “Where is your faith?” (Luke 8:25b NKJV) Are our eyes turned toward Him? Reminds me of the old hymn Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus…

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.” Amen!

May your eyes behold the glorious face of your Saviour, as His light dims the harshness of your afflictions, and may you know that the Lord is the Author and Finisher of your faith.


Sunday, September 27

Blog Tour for A Slow Burn

I am so happy to be a part of the book blog tour for Mary DeMuth, author of A Slow Burn. Please enjoy your time with Mary…

What would you say to someone who wants to become a published author?

Here’s the analogy you need to memorize and internalize: Beginning the publishing journey is like wearing a sweatshirt and toting a sack lunch at the base of Mount Everest, thinking, Hmm, this should be a breeze!

In addition: know you are called. Know you have talent. Know you’re full of tenacity. All three things will help you succeed along the journey.

Another idea is hang out at The Writing Spa and its corresponding blog WannabePublished. I tackle nearly every question a new writer would have. I offer weekly free critiques and I have guest authors cameo there. I evaluate the saleabilty of a book idea. Hop on by at

Where are you headed next?

I hope I see that I get to continue this writing dream—writing for the sheer joy of it, and also receiving compensation (a nice writerly dream!). I also pray that if things take off, I’ll keep my head on straight and constantly strive to point to the truly Famous One, Jesus.

I sense that more public speaking is in the future as well.

Here's a little snippet about the book...

She touched Daisy’s shoulder. So cold. So hard. So unlike Daisy.

Yet so much like herself it made Emory shudder.

Burying her grief, Emory Chance is determined to find her daughter Daisy’s murderer-a man she saw in a flicker of a vision. But when the investigation hits every dead end, her despair escalates. As questions surrounding Daisy’s death continue to mount, Emory’s safety is shattered by the pursuit of a stranger, and she can’t shake the sickening fear that her own choices contributed to Daisy’s disappearance. Will she ever experience the peace her heart longs for?

The second book in the Defiance, Texas Trilogy, this suspenseful novel is about courageous love, the burden of regret, and bonds that never break. It is about the beauty and the pain of telling the truth. Most of all, it is about the power of forgiveness and what remains when shame no longer holds us captive.

If Mary isn’t sewing, taking pictures, in the kitchen cooking, or in the garden, you can find her on one of her sites…


For a book trailer on A Slow Burn, click here.

A Slow Burn can be purchased at Amazon.


Wednesday, September 23

Three Kneelers

I once read the story of a woman’s dream in which she saw three women as they knelt to pray. I have often thought about this woman’s dream, being in the position of each of the pray-ers. I’ll try to retell it. See if one of the kneelers reminds you of anyone.

In the dream, as the women knelt, the Lord appeared and began walking toward them. Drawing near the first one, He bent down to her in tender care, smiling and speaking to her in phrases of sweet love.

As He approached the next one, He merely placed His hand upon her bowed head, giving her a loving look of approval.

And the third one? He quickly passed by her, never offering a word of encouragement or a touch of care.

In her dream, the woman thought to herself, “By His gestures, the Lord must have dearly loved the first kneeler. The second one, He merely patted her with acceptance but none of the recognitions that He gave the first one. But the third kneeler…did she do something to grieve Him that He spoke not a word or give her a passing look? What made the difference between them?”

As she pondered the actions of the Lord, He came and stood beside her, saying, “Oh, my sweet child. You have so misjudged Me and My actions. The first kneeling woman needs all My love and attention every moment, for without it, she would fail.

“The faith of the second kneeler is greater and her love is fuller, so I know she will trust Me no matter what comes her way.

“The one whom I seemed to neglect has faith and love of the choicest and most precious quality. Her intimate knowledge and trust of Me is so solid that she needs no words nor looks, no outward expression of My approval.

“The varying circumstances that I allow in her life do not impede her way. She trusts Me when all outward stresses bring discouragement and frustration, when all the agonies of life attack her sensibilities, attempting to cause her to rebel. She knows that I work My eternal purposes in her and all that she does not understand now, she will later. I am training her for My highest and holiest principals.

“My silence does not mean lack of love, for my love knows no bounds; it is not confined by mere words of approval nor expressions of acceptance. My silence goes beyond the human heart and mind to comprehend. In my finite reasoning, My intentions are perfect, for each child of Mine, that each may learn, in response to My love, to love and trust Me with all his or her heart, without any outward encouragement to bring it forth.”

Are you, precious child of God, going through some crushing blow, or heartbreaking sorrow, or bitter disappointment? In your prayers, are you looking for a word from your Beloved, a tender pat on the head, a look of approval, or longing to hear some sweet phrases of encouragement?

“The silences of Jesus are as eloquent as His speech and may be a sign, not of His disapproval, but of His approval and of a deep purpose of blessing for you.”

What if He answers you not a word? Which kneeler’s position will be yours?


Saturday, September 19


Suckers! No, not the kind you lick or those people that are easily duped or cheated.

These are tree suckers. What is a tree sucker?

Gardeners explain that a sucker is an effort by a tree to grow more branches out of its trunk or roots, especially if it is under stress. However, suckers are not good for the tree, or any other plant that develops them. Therefore, it is necessary to control the suckers for the health of the tree.

Controlling suckers…

Gardeners advise that it is better to try to prevent a tree sucker than to have to deal with its removal. Suckers threaten the tree’s health.

Some trees have shallow roots and others develop roots near the surface due to difficult growing conditions. This makes them more prone to suckering.

While suckers grow on non-grafted trees, they also will grow when two trees are spliced or grafted together. Gardening experts say that the top of the tree is happy, but the lower half of the tree is under some stress and is trying to reproduce itself.

Experts give some tips to help with sucker control…

Keep plants in good health.
Many times, tree roots start to grow suckers when under stress, which can be caused by drought, over-watering, disease, or pests.

Remove quickly.
A tree sucker will sap the energy and life away from the healthier and more desirable branches on top, so quick removal is necessary.

Prune regularly.
Pruning plants encourages more growth but not all growth is good. One gardening site said, “Suckers (branches growing from the base of the tree)…are never going to bear fruit.”

Let’s apply this personally, to our spiritual lives.

So, what causes the suckers in your life? What things drain the best of God’s Life out of you? What sucks the love, adoration, and worship of the Lord out of you?

* riches?
* power?
* friends?
* your job?
* addictions?
* your family?
* unrepented sin?
* doubt or worry?
* anger or hatred?
* poor self-image?
* unforgiveness or bitterness?
* depression or negative thinking?
* too many things listed on your calendar?

Are any of these suckers ruining your spiritual health, choking out the potential growth from the nutrients and nourishment of the Word of God? Do you notice that there are suckers in your life, or do they go unnoticed until you are in a spiritually unhealthy state?

Let’s apply the tips we learned for sucker control…

Keep spirits in good health.
Many times, life suckers grow when under stress, like when we go through trials that leave us spiritually parched, diseased, or when “pests” attack us.

Remove the life sucker quickly.
Before a life sucker has the chance to sap the strength and energy away from the health of our spirits, we need to spend time in prayer, asking the Lord to show us those areas that are draining us of His presence.

Prune your spirit regularly. We need to give ourselves regular checkups and prune away those extraneous life suckers. There will never be any spiritual fruit in our lives if suckers are allowed to remain.

Jesus said, “I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in Me and I in him bears much (abundant) fruit. However, apart from Me [cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing.” (John 15:5 Amp)

When we allow the sucker branches of circumstances, busy schedules, jobs, self-interests, people, worries, doubts, or unforgiveness to deplete us of our relationship with the Lord and cut off our vital union with Him, how will our spirits be nourished? Paul said, “Let your roots grow down into Him and draw up nourishment from Him,” (Colossians 2:7a TLB).

What sucks the Life out of you?


Friday, September 18

She Did What She Could

Today, I bring you Elisa Morgan. She is a nationally recognized speaker and the author of more than fifteen books, including the best–selling What Every Mom Needs and Mom's Devotional Bible.

Elisa has served as CEO of MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) International since 1989. She is also the publisher of MomSense and FullFill magazines and is a frequent contributor to Christianity Today.

Elisa is married to Evan (vice president of strategic development for RBC Ministries, known internationally for Our Daily Bread, and founder of They have two grown children and one grandchild and live in Centennial, Colorado.

In Elisa’s own words, she talks about her latest book She Did What She Could

Most of us care. We really do. We care about poverty and injustice, about orphans and the sick. And yet, weighed down by the everyday load of bringing home a paycheck, putting food on the table, and taking care of our family demands, we question our ability to make a difference. Bombarded by one celebrity help-the-world-athon after another, we shrug our shoulders in futility and do absolutely nothing.

Enter SDWSC (She Did What She Could). Based on the woman who anointed Jesus’ feet with expensive perfume in Mark 14, SDWSC provides overwhelmed, yet service-seeking, significance-starved readers a realistic response to the seemingly unmeetable needs around us.

Five letters. Unthinkable power.

Most of us care. We really do. We care about poverty and injustice, about orphans and the sick. And yet, weighed down by the everyday tasks of bringing home a paycheck, putting food on the table, and shuttling kids around, we question our ability to make a difference. Bombarded by one celebrity help-the-world-athon after another, we shrug our shoulders in futility and do absolutely nothing.

But what if we did . . .

Just one thing.

The thing that matters more than anything else in that one solitary moment.

What if we did just that? What if?


Five letters that have the power to change your life, free your spirit, and transform your world!


She Did What She Could can be purchased at…


Barnes & Noble

If you would like to have a chance to win Elisa’s book, please leave a comment on this post.


Tuesday, September 15

How Are You Dressed?

Each day you walk out your door into the elements of the outside world, you dress appropriately, right?

…shorts in the heat of summer
…sweater or jacket in the cool fall
…boots and heavy coat in the cold and snow of winter
…umbrella in the spring rain

You wouldn’t think of going out naked, well, I hope you wouldn’t anyway. You need appropriate covering.

And when you dress, especially for church, a party, or a wedding, you put on the appropriate garments, the best, clean clothes you have, right?

What about a bride? Would you consider her appropriately dressed for her grand day of aisle-walking if she were dressed as a frog, or Ronald McDonald, or perhaps in a nun’s habit? Silly, huh?

How about if her beautiful, pristine bridal gown were covered in mud or big blotches of stains? Would she be appropriately dressed? Would she want to greet her beloved in that condition? Heavens, no! A bride is immaculately dressed in the proper wedding attire, looking her absolute best for her bridegroom on their wedding day.

The Bible says, “Be prepared – all dressed and ready.” (Luke 12:35 TLB) While this is great advice for the flesh, it is even more appropriate and of utmost importance for the spirit.

Is the Bride of Christ dressed in her bridal finery and ready for Her day of divine marriage?

That’s you! If you are a Christian, you are part of the Bride of Christ. So, how will you be dressed? How will you appear to your Beloved when He comes for you? Will you have a mopey face, hair covered in the ashes of doubt and worry, breath smelling of negative words, and be wearing a ratty, old wedding gown of self-pity, ripped and full of the stains and dirt of the world?

What muddies or stains the Bride’s pristine garment? Doubt, worry, unbelief, strife, unforgiveness, murmuring, complaining, hypocrisy, bitterness, judging, gossip, speaking against others, lying, adultery, fornication, idolatry, hatred, selfish ambitions, envy, stealing, cheating, filthy language, covetousness, pride, impure thoughts and lust, internet porn, other addictions, or anything else that grieves the Holy Spirit?

Have these things diverted Her focus from Her Bridegroom? Has She forgotten to think about Her behavior and how it reflects on His Name and on His Home? Has She forgotten that the One Who created Her is joined to Her in the holy oneness of the covenant of divine marriage? God said, “Who are you…that you should forget the Lord your Maker? …For your Maker is your Husband.” (Is. 51:12,13, 54:5 Amp)

When the Father gives the Bridegroom the go-ahead to snatch away His Bride, you will not be afforded the luxury of having time to take a shower, change your clothes, or even look back and say goodbye. This will be an instant come-as-you-are party. Will your robe of betrothal be unspotted and ready for you to meet your Bridegroom?

So, if you knew tomorrow was your last day on earth, how would it affect your behavior today? Are you, as they say, good to go? Are you “a bride beautifully dressed for her husband,” (Rev. 21:2 NIV) adorned with a smile on your face, joy in your heart, songs of worship and praise on your lips, and dressed in a pure, white garment of holy betrothal?

I want to be good to go. I want to keep my divine wedding gown cleansed and ready, because I anxiously await my Bridegroom’s appearance, to see Him for myself, to see the One John the Revelator saw, the One “dressed in a robe reaching down to His feet and with a golden sash around His chest. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance…When I saw Him, I fell down at His feet like a dead man.” (Rev. 1: 13-16 NIV, 1:17 GNB)

In that day, I shall look upon Him, and my “eyes will see the King in His beauty,” (Is. 33:17a NKJV) and I shall fall down at His feet and worship Him.

“Behold, the bridegroom cometh!” (Matt. 25:6b KJV)

How will you be dressed?


Monday, September 14

Extreme Home Makeover

Today, I have another pleasurable presentation for you. I’m sure most of you, at one time or another, have watched Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. I remember watching the episode with the Woodhouses. I have just started reading Kimberley Woodhouse’s book Welcome Home: Our Family’s Journey to Extreme Joy.

I look forward to reading such chapters as: Trial by Fire, Joy in the Darkness, and When the World Falls Apart…Don’t Quit. Here’s a little about Kim…

Kimberley Woodhouse is a wife, mother, author, and musician with a quick wit and positive outlook despite difficult circumstances. A popular speaker, she’s shared at more than 600 venues across the country. Kimberley and her family's story have garnered national media attention for many years, but most recently her family was chosen for ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, The Montel Williams Show, and Discovery Health channel’s Mystery ER.

Welcome Home: Our Family’s Journey to Extreme Joy, released from Tyndale House Publishers September 1. In addition to her non-fiction, she also writes romantic suspense and children’s books. Kimberley lives, writes, and homeschools in Colorado with her husband and two children in their truly “extreme” home.

Overwhelming trials . . . met with overcoming joy.

Kayla Woodhouse is not your typical twelve-year-old. Due to a rare medical disorder, she feels no pain, doesn’t sweat, and needs protective cooling gear just to go outside. With her restrictive lifestyle, countless hospitalizations, including brain surgery, and the resulting mountain of hospital bills, what’s a family to do?

How the Woodhouse family has faced seemingly impossible challenges is a story that has captured the hearts of America.

Now Kayla’s mom, Kimberley, takes readers behind the cameras to reveal their family’s journey as never before told. From medical sleuthing to cross-country moves, from freak fires to battles with insurance companies, Welcome Home proves that truth really is stranger than fiction. This candid life story reveals both success and failure and demonstrates how, even during tough circumstances, to shift your life from heartbreak to extreme joy.

You can find Kim at her website:

Kim’s book can be purchased at…

Focus on the Family
Barnes & Noble
Parable Books


Saturday, September 12

Wooden Picks?

The other day, my husband, who plays the guitar, came across a site for guitar picks that are made of wood. Wooden picks, I thought? As he described the special wood that is used, I was intrigued and looked it up. The tree is called lignum vitae. I thought it was so interesting that I decided to share it with you. Here is what I found:

The tree’s wood was originally used and, in some cases, still used for…

* mallet heads
* axles
* bowling balls
* chisel handles
* other objects for absorbing great stress
* beer barrels
* propeller bushings, hydro bearings, ship bearings, saw blocks, other underwater applications for destroyers, submarines, mine sweepers, polar class icebreakers, and other large ship and unique products.

It is also used for medicinal purposes. Early in the 16th century, an explorer to the Caribbean heard about the tree and learned from the inhabitants that the tree contained curative properties for treating most ailments.

In recent times, scientists have found that two of the resin’s most active ingredients are effective as anti-inflammatory agents, local stimulants, and laxatives. The resin or balm also promotes circulation.

The resin is doubly useful for non-medicinal purposes and has one highly recognizable use. When it is mixed with an alcohol solution and sprayed on a surface, the mixture turns blue, revealing invisible blood traces by making it glow in the dark. This is the Luminol we see used as a forensic tool by the police and other investigators on television programs.

The lignum vitae tree, also called guaiac, has other very unique qualities, such as…

* it is highly durable
* if it burns, oil bubbles out
* it is slow-growing, broadleaf evergreen
* it is one of the hardest and heaviest woods
* it is exceptionally resistance to moisture and fungal attack
* it has a rich supply of fats and resins making the objects made from it contain natural lubricants and nearly impervious to water
* it offers extraordinary long life in what it produces.

The tree…

* is aromatic
* has no thorns
* is a strong structure
* is propagated by seed
* has a very showy trunk
* does not attract wildlife
* has no invasive potential
* is pest and disease resistance
* has blue flowers followed by golden fruit
* tolerates full sun or partial shade in a wide variety of soils
* its buds are heart-shaped and inside are the seeds of life and when it breaks open, it yields a red fruit.

Why do I bring you all this? For this very interesting point…lignum vitae is Latin for long life and has the name “tree of life.” I find that amazing!

Jesus is as our Tree of Life. This is what I see…

* He lubricates us with His oil of joy.
* He is Evergreen, giving us Eternal Life.
* He provides the golden fruit of the Spirit.
* His blood and grace are our precious balm.
* His Life is propagated by the seeds we sow.
* He is curative; His healing virtue flows through us.
* He brings extraordinary long life in what He produces.
* He gives us a rich supply of God’s grace and blessings.
* He bears the scars of the thorns that no longer surround Him.
* He is aromatic when the fragrance of His name is poured out.
* He keeps us hardened in order to withstand the storms of life.
* He makes us impervious to the penetrating waters of circumstances.
* He assists our growth, planting us in a wide variety of the soils of life.
* He is our strong structure, our high tower, our shelter from the enemy.
* He is our restorative oil of the Holy Spirit that life’s fiery trials attempt to destroy us.
* He sustains us to resist the infestuous pest and cures the venomous bite of the serpent.
* His balm produces the circulation in our spiritual veins necessary for living everyday life.
* He keeps us resistant to the spread of the spiritual fungi that attempt to attach to our spirits.
* He helps us tolerate the winds of adversity, the heat of the full sun in trials, and the shade of isolation.
* He is our anti-inflammatory agent, acting to reduce the inflammation of our hearts through pain and anger.
* Within His heart was that Seed of Life. When broken open, it yielded the scarlet fruit of salvation.

The Lord is the Tree of Life to us and “To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.” (Rev. 2:7 NKJV) Jesus said, “And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish.” (John 10:28 NKJV)

May you know all the precious qualities of Jesus as the Tree of Life. What other qualities do you, my precious readers, see in Jesus?


Thursday, September 10

Becoming a Family That Heals

I am privileged to bring to you a post by Dr. Beverly Rodgers, co-author of Becoming a Family That Heals (Focus on the Family, September, 2009).

Trusting God Can Be Hard for Those Who Have Been Abused

When I was twelve years old, I was saved in a little country church in the small Southern town where I grew up. I still remember sitting in the maple pews on those sultry summer days, with the entire congregation fanning their bulletins in rhythm to the impassioned preacher’s narrative.

I would stay late into the afternoon because I did not want to go home. It was safe there; safe from my mother’s mental illness and physical and emotional abuse. I never knew what would set her off. I could go unpunished for saying bad words to the neighbors and get beaten for spilling my milk. Living with a parent like this made the journey of faith harder for me.

Often I thought that if I could not trust my own mother, who was supposed to love me more than anyone on earth, how was I supposed to trust a Supreme Being that I cannot even see? Many times I doubted my Creator.

Many times I tried to do things in life my own way as a result. As I started studying Scripture, I learned that I was not alone. The children of Israel in Isaiah’s day had a similar problem.

Israel’s godly King Uzziah had died, leaving the people feeling abandoned and alone. This caused them to doubt God and His provision for them. They frequently lamented to God about their circumstances. Isaiah told his people, “Woe to him who quarrels with his Maker. Does the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you making?’”(Is. 45:9 NIV).

Well, if you were me years ago, the answer would have unfortunately been yes. I constantly argued with my Maker about the storms I experienced in life. But true to God’s character, He calls His children to repentance and He called me to His bosom as well. He said, “It is I who made the earth and created mankind upon it. My own hands stretched out the heavens; I marshaled their starry hosts . . . I will make [your] ways straight” (Isaiah 45:12-13 NIV).

I have read this passage many times in my years of walking with the Lord, mostly when I am having a tug-of-war over my life’s circumstances. I would tell God that I wanted things my way, and He would call me to repentance and tell me He was going to do things His way. I have learned over the years that it is fruitless, and even painful, to play tug-of-war with the Lord. He is the one who made the world and put the stars in place. Arguing with Him is futile. We all know that He will inevitably win, so the only way to be peaceful and healthy is to surrender to His plan. It is, after all, filled with His compassion and love even if we cannot see it at the time.

Perhaps you, like me, have suffered pain at the hands of those who were supposed to cherish you. Maybe you were wounded by the anger of a parent, the betrayal of a spouse, or a beloved child who made ungodly choices that caused you horrific hurt. You felt like you could not trust the Lord, so you went it alone and, in your flesh, tried to fix what only the Lord can repair. There is hope in surrender.

The Lord tells us that He can help us with our unhealthy behaviors. He reminds me regularly through His prophet Isaiah that he formed me in the womb to be His servant (Is. 49:5), and has called me by name (Is. 45:3). When I pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over me. When I walk though the fire, I will not be burned (Is. 43:2).

Time and time again, I return to the Lord’s loving bosom and He is there to greet me with His unconditional love, which makes the journey of faith just a little softer and a little easier until I am with Him in Glory.

Becoming a Family That Heals may be purchased through:


Thank you, Dr. Rodgers. May the Lord use your book to help hurting families.


Tuesday, September 8

09-09-09 is Here!

Join us for a 1-day fundraiser for the Born2Fly Project to stop child sex trafficking: 9,000 people each giving $9 on 9/9/09.

Each year more than a million kids are lured into modern-day slavery where they’re raped for profit 30 or 40 times a night—night after night. Some of them are just 4 years old. Many are right in the U.S. If that makes you angry, here’s what you can do about it.

Most kids are lured into sex slavery because they don’t know the deceptive tactics of traffickers. What if we could warn children and their parents ahead of time? What if we could teach them about the lies traffickers use—and how to stand up against them? The rate of trafficking would drop and millions of kids would never enter the dark world of trafficking.

That’s exactly what the Born2Fly Project is all about: educating kids and their parents about the dangers of trafficking, with the ultimate goal of ending it. The centerpiece of B2F is a wordless book that teaches kids to make wise choices—wordless so we don’t have to translate it into hundreds of languages. A companion curriculum will reinforce the important concepts in the book.

Born to Fly is at the critical moment. The books and curriculum are nearly complete. We need to print these strategic materials and give them to at-risk kids and parents around the world. The 1-day fundraiser will raise money to do that—and prevent millions of kids from being trafficked. Traffickers think kids are commodities. On 9/9/09, tell kids they’re priceless. All it takes is $9.

What you can do:

• Donate: Go to and use the Chip-in widget to donate $9.

• Email: Tell 9 people about 09-09-09 and send them to

• Blog: Post about 09-09-09. Include the logo (above) & Chip-in widget (see code below).

• Facebook: Talk about 09-09-09; include the logo and Chip-in widget.

• Twitter: Tweet about it. Follow @09_09_09. Add a Twibbon after you’ve donated:

• Updates: Check Diana Scimone’s blog for the latest:

To place the Chip-in widget onto your blog or Facebook, click the "copy" button on the widget below and paste it where you'd like it to appear.

Twitter: @DianaScimone and @09_09_09

I hope you will consider supporting this awesome ministry.

Sunday, September 6

Bent with Infirmity

“Now [Jesus] was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And behold, there was a woman who had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bent over and could in no way raise herself up.” Luke 13:10-11 NKJV

Bent over. Glaring at the ground, peering only at dirt, debris, and the passing of feet. For eighteen years. Caused by what? A spirit of infirmity. The Greek word used for ‘infirmity’ means lack of strength, weakness, frailty, disease, or sickness.

Years of physical affliction had constricted this woman into a permanent 45 degree angle, hindering her from being upright. The enemy had given her a swift kick in the back, leaving his footprints in her flesh as knotted muscles and pinched nerves.

How frustrating that must have been for her. Did this burden press so relentlessly against her body that daily duties escaped her touch? Did the stress sap her strength? Being unable to lift herself up, did she feel diminished in her usefulness? However, in spite of her condition, she still made her way to the synagogue to worship.

Read the above verses again, closely. Do you see it? Jesus is teaching, probably reading from the scriptures. As He tries to connect with the eyes of those sitting there, He notices a stooped-over woman. Her appearance diverts His attention from His teaching and He calls her out of the crowd to His side.

Think about this…Jesus stopped teaching and called her to come forward. How embarrassing. Despite the pitiful stares and whispers of others, she shuffled her way to the front.

As she stood before Him, surely she strained to look into His face, into those piercing eyes. Then, He gently laid His hands on her stooped shoulders, her place of misery. “Woman,” He said, “you are loosed from your infirmity.” (Luke 13:12 NKJV)

As if Sleeping Beauty awakening from her long sleep, the woman stretched her torso upright. As she did, eighteen years of heaviness and pain disintegrated from her back, quelling the effects of the enemy by the healing presence of the Lord. The Great Physician set the captive free from the grasp of a spirit of debilitation, making the crooked straight.

With a heart full of gratitude and tears streaming down her cheeks, she immediately lifted her arms toward heaven and began to praise God.

After looking up the definition of ‘infirmity,’ this scenario made me stop and think. I have had the pain and frustration of a physical condition for several years. This made me wonder…Does this infirmity cause me to be weak, spiritually as well as physically, constricting my life so tightly that it doubles me over in pain, like this woman?

There are those in a physically diseased or debilitated state or in a diminished capacity, those dependent on the use of medications or treatments, those confined by blindness or deafness, those supported by the use of crutches, braces, walkers, or wheelchairs, or those imprisoned by the rails of a bed.

Then there are those in a physically weakened condition because they have chosen to lean heavily on drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, or whatever, causing an addiction.

So what happens when we permit our spiritual health to get so far out of whack that it affects our physical health? Or what happens when our physical posture negatively affects our spiritual posture?

In order to answer those, we need to search our hearts and ask ourselves some hard questions…

*What hinders me from standing upright?
*Does some burden restrict me?
*Do I allow sin to depress me?

*Does lust or pride enslave me?
*Does misunderstanding by others disable me?
*Do I need some substance to support me?

*Do I lean on excuses for a crutch?
*Do bitterness and unforgiveness tie me in knots?
*Do fears paralyze me?

*Does envy or jealousy bind me?
*Does illness keep me hunched over?
*Does financial lack immobilize me?

*Does stress sap my strength?
*Does the enemy blind me?
*Does the world deafen me?

Do we let any of these things imprison us spiritually, barring us from obedience to God’s Word? Do we allow ourselves to be diminished in usefulness? Do these things keep us from seeking God’s presence to worship Him?

When we are weak and disabled either physically or spiritually, we know we can depend solely - and soully - on the Lord. In any of these instances, we can repeat the words of Paul, “Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size - abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.” (2 Cor. 12:10 Msg)

No matter what physical or spiritual condition causes us to hunch over, our appearance attracts the Lord’s attention. If we allow Him to take over, He will call us out of the crowd to come to His side, to heal us where it hurts, to place His powerful hands on our place of misery and free us from the enemy’s grasp of debilitation. Jesus is ready to straighten us up, whatever our condition.

After experiencing a healing, whether physical or spiritual, we lift our hands to heaven, praising the Lord that He has made us upright in His sight, in His presence.

“The LORD frees the prisoners. The LORD opens the eyes of the blind. The LORD lifts the burdens of those bent beneath their loads. The LORD loves the righteous.” (Ps. 146:7b-8 NLT)

Prayer: Lord, allow my suffering to not be in vain. May I lift it up that others may trust in You no matter what infirmity weakens them - body, soul, or spirit. May I not allow my back to be bent by burdens that come into my life but praise You no matter what my spiritual state of infirmity. Amen!


Friday, September 4

Waiting for Home

I am tickled pink to present a precious friend as guest blogger today. Please welcome Billy Coffey, story-teller extraordinaire! His story is so appropriate for Heading Home. I present to you Billy's story, Waiting for Home...

A father seldom thinks things through before asking his children what they want for their birthday. He just says it. He thinks their answer will be an easy one. A new doll, maybe. Or the latest action figure. But what he does not consider is that their answer may be something utterly different and much more difficult than having to run to the store the next day and plop something down in front of a cashier.

I learned all this over the weekend. “What do you want for your birthday?” I asked my daughter. Her reply?

“A sleepover!”

So. My wife and I played host to three six-year-old girls last night. Having such young children sleeping at your house and away from theirs for the first time was something for which I admit I was not prepared. For the screaming and yelling, yes. And the mess, absolutely. I was even prepared for the dent that some tiny body part knocked into the living room wall.

But I was not prepared for Curly Sue. Not one bit.

Susan was her given name. But the dark brown locks of hair that adorned her head demanded a temporary nickname. Curly Sue had never spent more than a few hours away from her parents. The likelihood of her actually staying the entire night was slim. But she was determined. Curly Sue stepped through our front door with a pillow, a sleeping bag, and a knapsack full of toys. She was there to stay.

All went well that evening. Until bedtime, that is. Then things began the sort of downward spiral that can happen when you have a house full of little girls.

It began with goodnight prayers. Girls in a circle, taking turns praying for mommy and daddy and for God to make their stomachs quit hurting from all the popcorn. When it came time for Curly Sue's contribution, though, there was only silence.

“Do you want to pray, Susan?” asked my wife.

A tiny nod.

“Okay, go ahead.”

More silence. Then, five words: “God, I wanna go home.”


Four phone calls to her mother later, and Curly Sue decided to be strong and stick it out. She didn't want to leave her friends, but she didn't want to stay, either. Could everyone go with her back to her house? she asked. It wasn't that she wasn't having fun. Curly Sue said she was having much fun. She loved our home and having her friends around, and she really loved all the popcorn. And there was so much to do! But as much as she was enjoying herself and her surroundings, she couldn't shake the feeling that she wasn't where she should be.

“It's just not home,” she told me.

The girls were asleep by eleven. By one, Curly Sue had appeared at our bedside twice. “I wanna go home,” she said. Both times.

Instinct woke me at six thirty when I rolled over and found no one beside me. I got out of bed and walked into the living room in search of my wife. I found her and Curly Sue in the rocking chair by the window, gazing out into the evaporating night.

“Just wait a bit,” my wife was telling her. “The sun's coming, you just wait and see. And when the sun comes, it'll be time to go home.”

Curly Sue smiled. Me, too.

Because I, too, am a little visitor in a big place, and I miss home. Oh, it's wonderful here. Beautiful. I have fun, I'm around people I love, and there's so much to do.

But it's just not home. No, my home is somewhere else. Somewhere on the other side of this life. Somewhere perfect.

Like her, I'm torn. I want to go home, but I don't want to leave anyone here, either. I want everyone to come with me so we can all have fun.

Some days, many days, I like it here. But there are days when the weariness of this world weighs on me. When I long for the day when laughter won't be so fleeting and hope won't be so hard to find.

Those are the days when I seem to sit by some unknown window and gaze out, trying to will the darkness to fade and the light to shine.

Because I know that when the Son comes, I can go home.

~~~If you enjoyed Billy's story, and I know you did, you can visit him on his blog What I Learned Today or catch him hanging around Twitter as @billycoffey.