Tuesday, January 31

To Leap or Not to Leap?

Standing on the edge, swimmies snug on the arms.
Ready, set, JUMP!
Caught by Dad.
Paddle to the edge.
Climb the ladder.
Stand on the edge again.
Ready, set, JUMP!

Those were the days when the kids were very young and we took them swimming. They loved to leap from the side of the pool and be caught.

But let’s back up a bit. Did they love jumping in at first? No way! In fact, they were quite apprehensive, even frightened. But with trust in their father, they leaped, recognizing the safety of his open arms, and their fears dissipated.

What about us? Are we ready to take a leap off that spiritual edge into the scary unknown of obeying some command or new action given by the Lord? Or do we believe it to be so difficult that we talk ourselves out of obedience?

Do we permit our past to shove us into the back of the closet of self-preservation? Do we accept the attempts of the Ol’ Fear-monger to paralyze us with fear, immobilizing us in our present?

We always have a choice. To get started in whatever task the Lord calls us to do, we must choose to overcome what holds us back and take that step or leap of faith.

However, the Lord never gives us courage for that first step. He leaves that initial decision up to us. He may nudge us a little, but we have to take that first step of faith, or leap of faith, as the case may be. Just as those down through the ages have done.

Noah stepped out in total faith. Actually, he took a giant leap! Build a what? Because it’s going to do what? What is rain? And what’s a cubit? Did others laugh at him? I’m most certain they did.

Has God led you to do something so outrageous that it appears ridiculous to you? Stepping out may seem laughable to you but it will cost you, and possibly others, dearly if you do not obey.

Did it seem impossible to the Israelites when they were hemmed in on all sides, the enemy’s rattling chariots closing in behind them, the mountain heights looming on either side of them, and the sea’s heaving waves in front of them?

No way out. Beyond the bounds of possibility, right? Has God asked you to do something that seems hopeless to accomplish? He will make a way, you know.

And there’s always Abraham. Obeying the Lord by leaving where he lived and going to an unknown land. “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he dwelt in the land of promise.” (Heb. 11:8-9a NKJV)

Not even knowing where he was going! But to activate that promise of God, Abraham placed one foot in front of the other. In my quirky mind, I hear the words to the song in the cartoon Santa Claus is Coming to Town...
Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you’ll be walking cross the floor
Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you’ll be walking out the door
Has God been nudging you to do something but you’ve hesitated? If you are apprehensive, even frightened to take that first step or leap of faith, trust in your Father, take the plunge, recognize the safety of His open arms, and your fears will dissipate.

To leap or not to leap? Go ahead! Take the leap! See what happens!


Sunday, January 29

Have You Lost Your Edge?

The year 2011 is over. Kaput. Though some unwanted stragglers roll over into the new year, last year has its headstone in the above image.

How did the year treat you? Did circumstances wear you down? How’s it going so far this year? Do you still have your spiritual edge or did you lose it?

In the Old Testament, the sons of the prophets grew in numbers and needed a larger place to live, so they decided to move beside the Jordan and begged Elisha to go with them.

When they reached their destination, they cut down trees to build their homes. As one man was cutting down a tree, the iron axhead flew off the handle and disappeared into the murky waters.

The man cried out to Elisha, “Oh, sir...it was borrowed!” (2 Kings 6:5b NIV)

Elisha asked, “Where did it fall?” After the man showed Elisha the place, Elisha cut a stick and tossed it into the water as a divine summons to rise again. Immediately, the axhead popped up!

“Grab it,” Elisha said, and the man recovered the sharp axhead.

Were you growing spiritually, but then, something happened and your passion for the Lord diminished? Has your spiritual edge grown dull? Maybe you lost it in the murky waters of life?

The enemy will tell you that your sharp, spiritual edge can never be reclaimed. He will convince you that your dream is gone, your gift is of no use to anyone, your desire has chilled, or your effectiveness is depleted.

Maybe it’s just that the trials of life have pulled you away from the Lord. Maybe your burning passion to serve the Lord has grown cold.

Don’t let the enemy or the difficulties of life keep you from reclaiming your fervor.

Last year’s borrowed edge may not work this year. However, you can recover that keen edge you once had; God can restore it for you. He still sharpens and strengthens His instruments and restores the passion and confidence.

Matthew Henry wrote, “God’s grace can thus raise the stony iron heart which has sunk into the mud of this world, and raise up affections naturally earthly, to things above.”

If you have found yourself amidst those muddy waters, God will raise you up. Scripture says, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time.” (1 Peter 5:6 NIV)

If your edge or passion has dulled, cling to this thought: “He will lift you up, encourage and help you” (James 4:10b TLB), and “make you to be a new, sharp, threshing instrument.” (Isa. 41:15 Amp)

My prayer for you: May the Lord be your first love, may you regain your spiritual edge, and may you be a sharp instrument in the Lord’s hands.


Saturday, January 28

Letters to Ethan blog tour

Today, I bring you a book tour interview for the book Letters to Ethan by author Tom McQueen. If you would like a chance to win the book, please leave a comment.

What sparked the idea to write Letters to Ethan?

One day, I started thinking about my own mortality and how I would want to be remembered by my children and grandchildren. I just didn’t want to die and leave them a memory, although positive memories are certainly important and valuable.

I wanted them to know that they’re here for a purpose, that God loves them; that I love them; and I wanted to share the mistakes and miracles of my own life with the hope that it would be of some benefit to them as they encountered their own challenges and opportunities in the future.

Why do you think it’s important for letters to be left behind?

I believe that it’s important to leave letters for your children and grandchildren to give them a perspective on life in general, your family traditions, the role that faith has played in your family as well as the wisdom that you’ve acquired over the years.

In addition, each letter is a ray of hope in that it communicates to the recipient that we all face challenges and obstacles in our lives and that with patience, persistence, passion, and purpose those challenges and obstacles can be overcome and result in a meaningful life.

Do you really think letters can have an impact on young people?

Absolutely. I’ve seen the results first-hand in adult children whose parents left legacy letters for them. When parents have shared letters with their adult children, the feelings of joy, contentment, and satisfaction have strengthened the bond between them immensely.

In addition, when a young person realizes that a grandparent took the time to write them a legacy letter, it has a definite impact upon their sense of self-esteem and self-worth.

What inspired you to start Legacy Nation?

Two events triggered my passion for Legacy Nation. First of all, I had two sets of grandparents --- one that I lived with growing up in a two-story flat in upstate New York and knew as well as my parents, and the other set of grandparents that I never met. I still remember the happiness that I enjoyed with the grandparents that lived upstairs and the sadness that I felt at now knowing anything about my paternal grandparents.

I saw Legacy Nation as an opportunity to bridge two worlds. Parents and grandparents could write letters to their children and grandchildren on an ongoing basis while they are alive, sharing their wisdom, experiences, trials and tribulations, joys as well as the faith, hope, and love that they have in their kids and grandkids. Their children and grandchildren then would have those letters as a legacy that they could learn from and continue to build for their children and grandchildren as well.

At the same time, our nation is hurting. We need a re-energized faith, a new hope, and a return to that family foundation of love and respect that our forefathers relied upon to build these United States of America.

Progress is wonderful, technology is great, and the speed of change is a fact of life. Unfortunately, traditional family values are feeling the pinch from our current economic crisis and the demands placed upon our time result in less meaningful interaction with our kids and grandkids. I’m worried about the future of my children and grandchildren.

I founded Legacy Nation as a means to return to those values that made our nation great as well as an admired and respected people, a beacon of hope to mankind, and a blessing to our children and grandchildren.

If you could offer just one piece of advice to the next generation, what would it be?

God gave you three priceless gifts: your emotions, your intellect, and your will. And if you remember this thought you’ll know what to do with them: “God said, ‘Let’s build a better world.’ And I said, ‘How? The world is such a cold, dark place and so complicated now that there’s nothing I can do.’ God in all His wisdom said, ‘Just build a better you.’”

Where can we find out about more opportunities for a free copy of this book?

Follow @ChristianSpkrs on Twitter.

~~I was given a complimentary copy of this book from the author in exchange for posting the author’s interview on my blog. This blog tour is managed by Christian Speakers Services


Wednesday, January 25

Runaway Wagon!

I love old westerns, especially those filmed in black and white. (I think I’ve mentioned that before!) I grew up on them. I watched one the other day that was 75 years old. Yeah, I know, I’m old! But not that old, yet!

In a typical old western storyline, the female lead is headed for town, riding peacefully in her buckboard, when something spooks the horses and they bolt, giving her a wild, bumpy ride which she cannot control.

Not too far off in the distance sits the hero upon his mighty steed. Hearing her screams for help, he gives his mustang a swift kick with his spurs and bolts off to rescue her. As the horse gallops alongside the runaway wagon, he jumps in and grabs the reins, yanking them under control.

She is so relieved to relinquish the reins and have someone else bring the situation under restraint that she gushes with thanks.

Makes me think of us as Christians. How often do we ride along peacefully in life when, suddenly, we encounter a startling and overwhelming situation? Something happens to jolt our smooth-going wagon of life onto a bumpy, runaway course and we can’t control it.

In our cries for help, our Hero, the One called “Faithful and True” (Rev. 19:11), our Savior on His mighty, white steed, comes galloping alongside us. If we surrender the reins of the situation to the Lord and allow Him to take over, He will bring it under control in His own way and in His own time.

No matter how a circumstance looks to us, God is always in control, especially when we surrender to Him.

This is my prayer; is it yours? “I entrust my spirit into Your hand. Rescue me, Lord, for You are a faithful God.” (Ps. 31:5 NLT)

May all your wagon rides be under control!


Sunday, January 22

Journey Chapter 1

“God has chosen you to be a special people to Himself...
because the Lord loves you.” (Deut. 7:6b, 8a Amp)

Today starts my monthly journey post. If you did not read my One Word for the year, which turned out to be four, and why I’m doing this, you can read it here.

The Lord is taking me back to the beginning of this writing adventure He has called me to undertake. After I became ill with fibromyalgia, the Lord whispered to me His desire that I take up my pen and write for Him. Dumbfounded, I obeyed.

God led me to write on the Hebrew/Jewish betrothal tradition and used it to show me how it is a representation of our relationship with our Beloved Bridegroom and how we are to live the Bride life.

This month’s journey: to remember I am chosen by God to be a part of His Bride. The Father chose each one of us to be a part of His Son’s Bride. If you and I embrace this relationship, then we need to understand the background.

Walk back with me through the years to those ancient times. Back to the day when the Hebrews practiced the betrothal process which consisted of twelve steps (actually, many Jews still celebrate it today).

(I wrote about some of this in another post entitled Your Maker is Your Husband, somewhat of an overview of the betrothal process.)

The first step of the betrothal is the selection of the Bride, called shiddukhin, or the match, which is a pre-arranged agreement. The bride is chosen.

Thousands of years ago, the family existed as the father’s own little kingdom, in which he ruled absolutely, constituting a patriarchal society. More than just a social order, the head of the household held a religious significance.

As God’s representative, the father acted as the priest of his household in order to carry out God’s purpose. Those within the family accepted the father’s actions on their behalf as though done for them by God Himself.

Therefore, the Hebrew fathers thought it their duty to provide a bride for their sons in imitation of God, as Father, Who provided a wife for Adam. The majority of the time, the father chose the bride for his son.

Just as a Hebrew father chose the perfect bride for his son, so this represents the precious picture of God’s love for His Son’s Bride, the perfect companion suited for the heavenly Bridegroom.

As the ancient, betrothed bride and groom were considered as one unit, the same truth exists when believers accept Christ’s proposal, for they become a part “of His body, of His flesh and of His bones,” (Eph. 5:30 NKJV) as a divine oneness.

As Paul explained it to the Ephesians, “This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.” (Eph. 5:32 NKJV) The mystery, the secret? “And this is the secret: Christ lives in you.” (Col. 1:27b NLT)

Paul said, “Long before He laid down earth’s foundations, He had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of His love,” (Eph. 1:4a Msg) and “[In His love] He chose us [actually picked us out for Himself as His own] in Christ,” (Eph. 1:4a Amp) “to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.” (Eph. 1:6 NKJV)

Accepted. That is, endued with special honor. Pursued with grace. Honored with blessings. Encompassed with favor. Beloved. Cherished.

To die for. “This is My body which is given for you,” (Luke 22:19 NKJV) Jesus said, relinquishing His life. And He says to us as He told the disciples, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you.” (John 15:16a NKJV)

This journey revisit reminds me not only to know that I am chosen but also to be cautious to live well as the Bride of my Beloved Bridegroom and to dwell much on this...

*I am chosen for my Beloved Bridegroom.
*I am accepted in my Beloved Bridegroom.
*I am endued with special honor.
*I am pursued with grace.
*I am honored with blessings.
*I am encompassed with favor.
*I am beloved, cherished, to die for.

And so are you! Hope today’s journey helped to remind you.

May you know how precious you are to the Lord and that you are chosen to be His!


Thursday, January 19

The Essentials guest post

Today, it’s my pleasure to bring you another post from my sweet cyber-friend Marja Meijers. Marja is one of my first online friends and subscribers. I know you'll enjoy her post. Please leave her some comment love! Here's Marja...

My husband walked in just as I sat on top of my suitcase, trying to cram one more shirt in there. A shirt I just had to bring on this trip. I tried to look as innocent as possible while I casually flipped the locks back and forth to show him it took no effort.

I could tell by the look on his face however that he had a different train of thoughts and was on the verge of teaching me a lesson. “Honey, we’re only going on a two weeks vacation. Don’t bring your whole wardrobe, just grab the essentials.”

The essentials. Bewildered I took a quick inventory of my room. Clothes everywhere, shoes, scarves, and bathing suits scattered around like wild flowers. What was I thinking?

I grabbed my checklist from the night stand and stared at it for the longest time. Books, goggles, insect repellant, sun block, sandals, clothes and more clothes. Why was it that every time I tried to get ready for a trip I ended up taking too much luggage with me?

I shamefully recalled the previous year; for two weeks I dragged stuff around that I never wore and never needed. I even managed to complain from time to time to my husband that we absolutely took too much luggage on our trip. Yes, with the emphasis on ‘we.’

At that time, he never said anything and I figured he didn’t care. Now, I know he simply made up his mind regarding future ventures: if she doesn’t downsize, I would rather stay home! And you know what, I think he was right.

We must learn to grab the essentials. My overflowing suitcase was a picture of the upcoming vacation and maybe even of the upcoming year. I had already planned too many activities for the next few weeks. I had already planned to read more books than I could and should possibly take with me.

Yes, my vacation had already been fully planned before it even began. Go see this, visit that, make a tour, go out for dinner. I had planned my recreation time like many people plan their regular agenda: too full, no emphasis on essentials and no time to really rest.

Re-packing my suitcase with the essentials turned out to be a great exercise in reflecting on the new year, too. After all, if I wasn’t able to reduce the luggage I took on a simple vacation, how was I going to downsize my luggage for a whole year?

I realized that, ever so often, we make the mistake of taking up too much to carry and then complain about the burden. We must learn to concentrate on the essentials! I believe that can be a great motto for 2012.

For starters, I made a checklist of some spiritual and natural essentials I want to grab a hold of in 2012. As you will see, faith and daily living are interwoven. I hope this checklist will help you to carefully pack your suitcase for this coming year.


While taking a yearly rest from daily chores and rituals is a good thing, it is much more important to take our weekly rest which the Bible calls Sabbath (Exodus 20:8). A day of rest after every six days of work is the prescription to prevent stress and anxiety. It has been for thousands of years and it will always be.

In preparation for that weekly rest, however, we should take our daily rest seriously, too. Our daily rest is our time alone with God and His word. Jesus offers us the blueprint for a quiet time in Mark 1:35, “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed.” (NIV)

We cannot expect to truly feel relaxed and refreshed once a year if we don’t know how to do it on a weekly and daily basis. We must learn to break down our resting periods in little segments which are more manageable and will inevitably turn out to be an essential part of our day.


While recreation is different for everyone, it should never end up on our ‘things to do list,’ whether it is hiking, bicycling, reading, or gardening. If we cannot do the things we love without seeing them as just another appointment on our calendar, we are missing the point.

Recreation is re-living the creation. Seeing that everything is good (Genesis 1:31), enjoying everything that is beautiful (Genesis 2:9), and being inspired to take on new projects (Genesis 2:15).


Regular reflection is necessary to make sure we are still on the set course of our life. It is very easy to get sidetracked and do things our way. The Bible says in Proverbs 3:6, “In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” (NIV)

It sometimes means letting go of tasks and delegating them to other capable people. It might involve reorganizing our work schedule and household chores in order to be more efficient. Reflection certainly includes looking back at accomplishments and blessings and the cultivation of an attitude of gratitude.

Thankful reflection recharges our batteries more than anything else!


Preparation for a new year, a new week, or a new day means purposely leaving room to move, purposely leaving empty spaces on the calendar. Being prepared does not mean being fully booked.

Preparation is a mindset. It means to be ready for something different and unforeseen, to be open for surprises, and to be willing to take on new assignments. First Peter 1:13 says, “Prepare your minds for action.” (NIV) We must be alert! A prepared woman, or man, has a teachable spirit, an ear to listen and a heart for the unexpected things of God!

~I hope you’ll take time to visit Marja’s sites, Fresh Insights on Ancient Truths and Life of Sorek, A Journey into Origin & Purpose of Spirit, Soul, and Body

...and be sure to check out her two books:

Grace of Giving

Breath of Life


Sunday, January 15

What is the M.O.M. Initiative?

Today, I have a very special post for you. There is a new website I'd like to tell you about. This is mainly for the ladies. However, men, I know there are ladies in your lives. Please let them know about this site.

While many women dream of being the perfect mom who has all the right answers, never raises her voice, and never has to count to three, we all know it’s not always easy being a mom. Those sweet, little bundles of joy don’t come packaged with instruction manuals or warning labels and moms are often left to figure it out on their own.

The M.O.M. Initiative
is an acrostic for Mothers On a Mission to Mentor Other Mothers. It exists as a group of moms and a package of resources to equip, enable, and support women as they experience Titus 2 in real life. We want to help moms become the best moms they can possibly be.

The website:

The M.O.M. Initiative
website offers virtual encouragement for real life moms. The website exists as safe place to grow as a mother, to gain a better understanding of what a mother is and what a mother does and to foster and support mentor/mentee relationships.

Along with practical tips, helpful tools, godly wisdom and informative insight on current issues, The M.O.M. Initiative website also offers a private chat room where a mom can connect with a virtual mentor and find help in times of need. The website offers help for the mentor as well as the mentee.

The articles on The M.O.M. Initiative website are provided by a wonderful group of moms who are passionate about ministering to the hearts of mothers. Some are writers, speakers, counselors, nurses, or experts in their fields, yet they all devote much time and effort to serving other mothers in whatever season of life they find themselves.

The workbook:

The M.O.M. Initiative workbook is being developed to serve as a tool in the hands of Christian moms to help foster mentoring relationships beyond the four walls of the church and take Titus 2 to the streets. It will be an eight week study containing five lessons per week.

Each day the mentee will be presented with biblical truths as well as mental, emotional, physical, spiritual, and developmental needs of a child. She will also gain insight through thought provoking questions encouraging her to implement proactive mothering techniques.

The workbook will also provide a M.O.M. mentor guide and a missional planning guide in the back of the book.

Summed up, The M.O.M. Initiative is a missional mentoring package of resources that will give Christian mothers an easy, hands-on approach to passionately pursue mentor relationships with younger mothers and mothers-to-be, and ultimately impact the next generation for Christ.

How Did The M.O.M. Initiative Get Started?

The M.O.M. Initiative
was birthed from founder, Stephanie Shott’s own story. At the age of nineteen, she was a single mom. Without Christ and without a mentor, she made a series of serious choices that affected her precious young son. After becoming a Christian five years later, she learned being a mom is much more than a three letter word and a handful of sacrifices. She also realized the significance of Titus 2:4-5.

What’s the Vision for The M.O.M. Initiative?

We believe that if the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world, then the church that mentors those hands will win it.

The primary vision for The M.O.M. Initiative is that it not only be limited to those who enter the four walls of the church, but that it also be used to facilitate mentor relationships in homes for unwed mothers, in low income housing projects, apartment complexes, homeless shelters, prisons, juvenile shelters, schools, hospitals, the mission field and anywhere young mothers can be found. (Planning guides for each of these venues will be available in the back of the book.)

The M.O.M. Initiative
is not just a book. It’s not just a website. IT’S A REVOLUTION!

We are mothers on a mission to mentor other mothers and we really want to change the world one mom at a time! Won’t you join us?

To learn more, you can visit our website at: The M.O.M. Initiative

To join the revolution and become a M.O.M. Mentor, please click here.

No matter what age you are, from very young mother to a grandmother, there is great take-away to use for yourself or to share with others. Hope you’ll hop over and take a look!


Thursday, January 12

Can Routine Affect Our Purpose? guest post

Today, I bring you a new cyber-friend, Naty Matos. Naty writes Christian fiction and non-fiction. Her first book, Growth Lessons, can be found on
Kindle and Nook.

I hope you’ll support Naty with a comment. Thanks!

Here’s Naty...

Routine is an element that could prevent us from embracing the new things that God wants to do in our lives. No matter how free-spirited our lives may be, the most disorganized of us has a routine. We get up, go to work or school, we have a hygiene routine, eating routine, a schedule.

After all the hours outside of our house, we then return and do mostly the same things: clean up, eat, and entertain ourselves (television, internet, games, Facebook). The day ends and we have not given God a minute of our time.

Some people have included God in their daily routine somewhat, but if something comes along that changes the things we usually do, we have the tendency to present resistance. I know that God has woken me up in the middle of the night with someone’s name. He usually wants me to go and pray for that person. I have to admit that I have not always been obedient to that call.

How many times have you ignored that voice when you know in your heart that you needed to do something for someone or in obedience to God?

This reminded me of the parable of the Good Samaritan, when people bypassed helping someone in need in order to make it to the temple on time. If you have not read it, I’ll share it with you.

It’s in Luke 10:32-34, “Jesus answered by telling a story. ‘There was once a man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho. On the way he was attacked by robbers. They took his clothes, beat him up, and went off leaving him half-dead. Luckily, a priest was on his way down the same road, but when he saw him he angled across to the other side. Then a Levite religious man showed up; he also avoided the injured man.

‘A Samaritan traveling the road came on him. When he saw the man’s condition, his heart went out to him. He gave him first aid, disinfecting and bandaging his wounds. Then he lifted him onto his donkey, led him to an inn, and made him comfortable. In the morning he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take good care of him. If it costs any more, put it on my bill—I’ll pay you on my way back.’” (The Message)

Stopping there would have affected their routine. I have found out that when I get out of myself and actually allow God to alter my routine, I get more blessed than any blessing I can be to anyone else.

Let’s decide today to give our daily schedules to God every day and let His will be done.

~~I hope you’ll visit Naty’s site The Rising Muse

You can also catch her on Facebook and on Twitter @NatyCMatos


Tuesday, January 10

Deliver Them from Evil

Are children abducted near you or even in your town for sex trafficking? Don’t think it just happens somewhere over in Southeast Asia. It happens everywhere. Here’s a link to check a map reposted by Human Trafficking (read their post) with documented cases within the U.S. The map is created and maintained by the Not For Sale Campaign, founded by David Batstone (more following).

I know I have written on this topic before, but I wanted to make you aware of it. Again. Because it is a very serious, worldwide problem.

January 11 is National Human Trafficking Day and the whole month of January is National Human Trafficking Prevention Month.

A large part of trafficking is sexual slavery. I can hardly bring myself to write this. My heart breaks with pain and my eyes flow with tears. I force myself to type this. These children are raped repeatedly, more than 30 times a day, just for profit. Just for someone’s twisted pleasure. Now, my stomach turns. One report says that the younger the children, the better for the trafficker. That means even under the age of six.

Human trafficking is the #2 fastest growing crime in the U.S. with 50% of the victims being children. The average age of those forced into sexual exploitation is 12-13 years old.

While statistics are hard to pin down, as no one really knows the exact numbers and each site lists different figures, it is estimated that trafficking amasses $7 billion dollars annually.

Two men found this ugly truth existing right in their hometown of Atlanta. Their search led them into the secret world of America’s modern slave trade and to a global undercover operation to rescue victims.

The two men, Dillon Burroughs and Charles Powell, wrote a book about it. Not in My Town: Exposing and Ending Human Trafficking and Modern-Day Slavery tells the story and provides many resources for those who care to stop the injustice. Together, these two men have founded Mercy Movement.

New Hope Digital has a great article entitled Ideas and Resources to Join the Fight Against Modern Slavery. It lists ideas of how we, John Q. Public, can help. One I especially like: buy free-trade products, which are 100% free of slave labor.

Another who is fighting this atrocity is David Batstone, of the site Not for Sale, and lives in the San Francisco area. One day, he read an article about one of his favorite Indian restaurants, which had been “trafficking women from India to wash dishes, cook meals and other tasks.”

David says, “This was happening in my country at a restaurant I frequented. My shock turned into a consuming passion that took me around the world to learn more about how slavery flourishes in the shadows...And I knew I had to do something. The Not for Sale Campaign combines technology, intellectual capital, abolitionist groups and a growing network of individuals like yourself – joined together to end slavery in our lifetime.”

A cyber-friend who also fights doggedly for this cause is Diana Scimone of Born2Fly. She has written a wonderful wordless book, so no translations are necessary, for children called Born to Fly which I told you about last month, in the article A Child is Born. The book helps at-risk children, “to educate kids, parents, and teachers about the dangers of child trafficking—with the ultimate goal of ending it,” says Diana.

A sister site to Born2fly is The Butterfly Project, which markets jewelry made by women and girls rescued from trafficking. Why not stop by and *like*
The Butterfly Project on Facebook? Better yet, support them with a purchase. I know you’ll be glad you did. You can contact Jané at gautieronfire@gmail.com and follow her on Twitter as @SireneduMississ.

Another cyber friend, Kathi Macias, an award-winning author of over 30 books and several ghost-written ones, has also joined in this fight by writing what critics call a superb novel on the subject. Deliver Me from Evil shines the light on this horrific injustice to humankind. She has been interviewed on the radio and speaks on the topic.

Gary Haughen, the founder of International Justice Mission, has written the book Good News About Injustice.

He says on his site, “International Justice Mission is a human rights agency that brings rescue to victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression. IJM lawyers, investigators and aftercare professionals work with local officials to secure immediate victim rescue and aftercare, to prosecute perpetrators and to ensure that public justice systems - police, courts and laws - effectively protect the poor.”

The National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC), a program of Polaris Project, is a non-profit, non-governmental organization that has set up a national, toll-free hotline that answers calls in the U.S. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year.

So many wonderful people lending a hand in whatever way they can to combat this atrocious crime that I couldn’t possibly get it all in this post. I know I have left out many worthy people.

Oh, my sweet friends, what will you do? Please, please do something! Even if it is only to pray.

~Lord, bring rescuers into the lives of these unfortunate ones who are at the mercy of wretched traffickers. Both the victims and the miscreants...Deliver them from evil!

~~A big thank you to Tony Marino of Alive in Christ Radio LIVE program for mentioning the awareness day last night on his program.


Friday, January 6

Just One Word?

I have never made New Year’s resolutions because I knew I would never keep them. This year, I kept encountering blog post after blog post by those who chose to do One Word for the year.

I googled it and found a site called My One Word. This is what they say...

“‘My One Word’ is an experiment designed to move you beyond the past and look ahead. The challenge is simple: lose the long list of changes you want to make this year and instead pick ONE WORD. This process provides clarity by taking all of your big plans for life change and narrowing them down into a single thing. One word focuses on your character and creates a vision for your future. So, we invite you to join us and pick one word in 2012 (click here to learn how)!”

They call it the un-resolution. They also have a blog, if you’d like to subscribe.

The more I saw others choosing a word, or having the Lord choose one for them, the more I liked the idea of clinging to one word for the New Year. So, I thought I would try it this year. But only if the Lord gave me the word. I didn’t want a word that I choose for myself.

I waited. And as I waited, I decided that, if the Lord gave me no word, I would have a backup. I would use this Scripture, “For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans of welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.” (Jer. 29:11 Amplified) A great Scripture for the year, right?

Then, without warning, came the first word: cautious. I decided to look it up. Cautious partially means: to be cautious is often to show wisdom. Webster’s Unabridged, New Edition, 1881, defines it as “attentive to examine probable effects and consequences of measures, with a view to avoid danger or misfortune.” Synonyms are prudent, guarded, wary, circumspect, watchful, and vigilant. Ooo...sounds good to me!

Unexpectedly, another word came: journey. Part of journey’s definition means passage or progress from one stage to another.

Even more unexpectedly came two more: dwell much.

Therefore, I will dwell much in the Lord and be cautious in my journey from one stage to another throughout the coming year.

The Lord, then, plopped an idea into my noggin. Throughout this year’s journey, I’ll be posting once a month on journey. More about this in an upcoming post.

You’re invited to come along with me. Will you join me on this journey and see what exciting things we encounter?


Thursday, January 5

Being a Magi guest post

"The Journey of the Magi" (1894)
by James Joseph Jacques Tissot

Today, it is my pleasure to bring you Staci Stallings, the author of Cowboy and ten other books currently available on Kindle and Nook. Staci enjoys writing books that touch readers deeply. Whether the story is about losing someone or fighting for what you believe in, you can bet it will hook you and not let go until you sigh as the ending slips in place in your heart.

Here’s Staci...

A long time ago, I read a book that said, “There is a reason you notice the things you notice. They come into your sight to tell you something.” (paraphrase)

I took that to heart and began actively noticing. That is, I notice when I notice something. Rather than going through life oblivious to the signs God is putting in my path, I either actively seek them or, at least, I get the message with only a couple of occurrences.

Much like the man in the flood who was standing on his porch as a boat went by. The people in the boat told him he could come with them. He shook his head. “God will save me if He wants to save me.”

Several hours passed, and now he was hanging onto an upstairs window. A second boat came by. The people in it said, “Come on with us!” But the man replied, “No, I love God, and if He wants to save me, He will.”

Hours past, and it grew dark. A Coast Guard boat with a search light found the man clinging to his chimney. “Come on! Get on!” they yelled. But the man refused. “I love God, and if He wants to save me, He will.” An hour later, the man appeared at the Pearly Gates.

St. Peter looked at him incredulously. “What are you doing here?” The man shrugged. “I guess it was my time. God didn’t save me.” To which St. Peter said, “That’s weird. We sent three boats!”

Several years after I heard this story, I heard Oprah Winfrey say something similar. She said (paraphrase), “To get your attention, God will send a breath. Then He will send a pebble, then a brick, then a boulder, then the whole house will come crashing down!”

Let me just say, for myself, I prefer to catch what God is telling me at the first boat, the breath, or at most the pebble. So, I have become very conscious of the messages God sends to me. And they are everywhere! In music, books, the Bible, conversations, on billboards, in magazines, sometimes even in dreams.

Recently, I’ve been preparing a project that is very close to my heart for which God has given many signs and messages since it was first conceived. For this one project, I have received messages ranging from videos depicting the story, songs, email messages, and even a tour bus following me down the road!

The ultimate (so far) message was that just before I mailed the project in, I was praying over it in the post office, and my oldest daughter said, “Look, Mom.” When I opened my eyes, she was holding a piece of paper about five inches from me in my direct line of sight. It said, “Your talents will be recognized and suitably rewarded.” I just started laughing because I get signs and messages, but most of the time they take at least a little bit of interpretation.

As I was recounting these events to my sister, she laughed, “You are such a Magi.” To which I said the only logical thing, “Huh?”

She went on to explain. “The Magi were astronomers. They spent their time looking for signs in the sky, signs of a new king, signs of a shift on the earth begun in the heavens. That’s what you do!”

I’d never thought of it quite like that, but I’ve got to say, it’s great fun to be a Magi. You should try it sometime.

© Staci Stallings 2006

You can find out more about Staci at her blog, Spirit Light Books, and more about her books at Staci Stallings.


Sunday, January 1

The Quest

“When you go, your way shall be opened
up before you step by step.”
(Prov. 4:12 free translation)

Henry Clay Trumbull once said, “The Lord never builds a bridge of faith except under the feet of the faith-filled traveler. If He builds the bridge a rod ahead, it would not be a bridge of faith. That which is of sight is not of faith.”

I seem to be reminded of movies lately. The above scripture and statement remind me of the end of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, as Indy (Harrison Ford) and his father (Sean Connery) are on a quest for the Holy Grail, the chalice of Christ, believed to contain healing power and everlasting life.

In Professor Henry Jones, Sr.’s journal, his notes to locate the chalice contain coded instructions and three challenges...

*Challenge one: the Breath of God: Only the penitent man will pass.
*Challenge two: the Word of God: Only in the footsteps of God will he proceed.
*Challenge three: the Path of God: Only in the leap from the lion’s head will he prove his worth.

In his quest, “Junior” makes it through challenges one and two and comes to challenge three. Indy stands on a ledge in a small opening in the rock, just big enough to squeeze through. Beyond that is a great abyss, a 100 foot drop to the rocks below and 100 feet across to the other side, a rough, stony cliff wall. He can see nowhere to cross.

Indy looks down into the grail diary and agonizes over what it is asking him to do. Standing on the ledge, he ponders how to span the great chasm, repeating the instructions, “Only in the leap from the lion’s head will he prove his worth.” Looking around, he notices inscribed into the rock above his head is the head of a lion.

Flashing back to Indy’s father, Henry calls out to his son, “You must believe, boy. You must...believe.”

Indy realizes, “It’s... a leap of faith. Oh, God.”

Even though he is petrified he will fall to his death, he slowly raises one foot and cautiously steps out into thin air…only to be surprised that a bridge is under his foot. Totally relieved, he safely passes to the other side.

I’ve always loved that part of the movie. It so reminds me that only when we step out in faith into the unknown does God place that solid Rock-bridge beneath our feet.

As we go on our quest through the New Year, we will...

*pass on when we are penitent to the breath of God
*proceed in the footsteps of God when we follow the Word of God
*prove our worth when we leap away from the lion’s head and continue on the path of God in faith.

Think about that. No, it isn’t always easy. We will all encounter frightening Indy-circumstances at one time or another during the year. Each situation we face will be bridged, for the ordained way has already been given to us. Christ is our bridge. Always.

How much faith will you have to step out onto the Bridge in the New Year? Stretch out that foot and put one in front of the other. Walk with faith on your quest through the year.

Just as Indy, we step out in faith for each day’s quest. As Paul said, “Our life is lived by faith. We do not live by what we see in front of us.” (2 Cor. 5:7 NLV) Therefore, as Jesus said, “According to your faith let it be to you.” (Matt. 9:29 NKJV)

May the Lord bless your New Year with faith, hope, joy, peace, and all that you need!

This post is part of the monthly blog chain at Christian Writers. This month’s topic is quest. Please visit the great posts of the month listed in the right sidebar.