Don’t Dread December!

I love this time of year! Christmas season. I’m not a fan of the snow unless I’m watching it fall from inside, then it’s beautiful. I try not to look at this month as “all the crap I have to get done” before the BIG DAY! 

I’ve learned to pick and choose what events and parties I go to so I’m not slammed with rushing. It really is okay to say, “I can’t make it.” 

I’ve also stopped all the shopping and baked a lot of my holiday gifts. People like sweets, ladies and gentlemen. Of course if you can’t bake…I have no real advice for you. But if you can, and you don’t suck at it. Holiday treat packages when made in bulk are actually less expensive and less time consuming than going into crowded shops and trying to figure out what so and so would like then settling on automated coin holders, dancing Santas, and snow globes. Unless of course you’re friends do indeed like those things. I would rather have an assortment of fudge, cookies, and candies. Fudge is not a candy. It’s in a class of its own.

Another tip, is I try to do some of my shopping online in one place for the free shipping. Especially, if I know what sizes etc… If you enjoy crowds and lines, by all means toss out the online shopping and go join in the stampeding happy bustling. 

In the last four years, December has become relaxing and I can focus on the important things: Like lit up mornings from my tree, my hot tea since my doctor hates me and said I can’t have coffee, my Bible and the reason for this season (yes that’s a cliche phrase but it’s still true). I can bake with my kiddos, watch Christmas movies till I want to gag–which is never because I love them, cheese and all. I can read tons of Christmas stories. Which are all on my Kindle! I can have lunch out with friends and not feel pressured to be busy. 

Sometimes less really is more. Especially, when it comes to keeping your sanity and enjoying the holidays. 

And one other thing I do that makes me enjoy the season, well two really. I take my son and we do a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child. It’s fun, it teaches my son to be a generous giver and I know it pleases God. Do you do this? Oh, you should. You should. It costs very little. 

And number two (yes I said number two) is we give to a ministry that is dear to our hearts. I can’t talk about it or write about it without crying. That is Project Rescue. 

A ministry to rescued trafficked women, girls really, from brothels in India. Not only do they rescue them but they provide an after care for the children of the women who are still in the brothels. If they have no place to go during “work” hours, then some of them may have to lie under their mother’s beds while they “work”!!! But Project Rescue provides a safe place where they can learn about Jesus. Have a meal. And sleep peacefully. They also teach the women how to provide for themselves! You can purchase gifts through Jubiliee Market. And they help them heal through creative outlets, like creative writing! I encourage you to give, if even $10 to this ministry. 

So scrape off the excess on your plate wherever you can, however you can and fill it with meaningful, lasting things like memories and providing hope and laughter to those who may not have a a drop of it this season. Look for ways to meet needs. Bring a smile. And show how much Jesus loves this world. Enough to die for us to give us abundant life. Let’s live it, shall we?

What is your favorite holiday dessert?

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My Own Personal Miracle!



said to him,”‘Feed My sheep.'” John 21:17 (Jesus
talking to Peter)

Tuesday,  I received a payment–a rather
large chunk–for my critiquing services. My husband came home, handed me an
envelope. I glanced at it. Another monthly packet from Voice of the Martyrs. I’d love to tell you I open it every month
and pray diligently for those who are being persecuted for the cause of Christ,
but I’d be lying. I might breathe a small prayer as I toss it out.
But this
night, I laid it on my desk and climbed up on my bed to chat with my husband
after he came home from Karate.
me that envelope, Jess.”
of the Martyrs? What do you want with that?” I grabbed it and held it up.
he said. “I thought it was Project Rescue. What’s Voice of the
I told
him. He pulled up Project Rescue’s site. “I know you support them and on
the way home God made it clear that the amount of money you received isn’t
ours. So I thought of PR. Giving it to them.”
course I was thrilled. Any chance to sow into Project Rescue (I have a page
devoted to this amazing ministry) makes me happy. But something stuck in my gut
and I focused on the packet from VOM (Voice of the Martyrs). I opened it up and
skimmed the booklet.
Tim, this says we can donate Bibles.” A knot in my stomach formed as I
prayed in my head. Lord, where should this
money go? I was just thinking how we take Bibles for granted. We give them away
at GoodWills and there are people who weep over wanting just one. Yet we ignore
the treasures for extra sleep or hobbies…But I also love Project Rescue–girls
forced into sexual slavery.
don’t really know about this ministry,” Tim said. I understand. These days
giving your debit card number over a website can be scary. And will those
people actually receive Bibles?
I wanted
to follow my husband’s lead. I’ve always prayed and asked God to increase us so
we can sow into the kingdom. One day I’d love to see a place on my novels that
says, “A portion of proceeds go to Project Rescue.”
decided to give part to Voice of the Martyrs and sponsor 10 bibles and give the
other portion to Project Rescue.
Wednesday morning, after I dropped my daughter off at school and got my little
sickie settled on the couch, I prayed about those Bibles. And I prayed about my
neck problems, asking once again for healing and then believing that if God
didn’t heal me, His grace would be sufficient.
My phone
dinged. Email. Naturally, I told God to hold up. I mean don’t we all do that?
Oh, it’s just me. I checked my email and it was two devotionals that I’d signed
up for at Bible Gateway. Now, I’d like to tell you I read them faithfully, but
I can’t. In fact, I normally delete them without even reading them. Why did I
even sign up? I deleted the first one, but…
I felt a
need to open the second one. I can’t explain it. Just a feeling I should. *Disclaimer: Just because your phone dings during prayer doesn’t mean you should
always check it.
This was
the title. And it was the devotional about persecuted Christians. Christians
like the ones I’d just sent Bibles to–or at least I hoped that was what my
money was actually going to.
As I
read, I thought God was speaking to me about my neck. It talked about Paul’s
thorn in his flesh that God didn’t heal him of, but His grace was sufficient.
And then
I read a story about a boy, named Abdul, who drowned and died for an hour.
(Normally, I think…oh here we go when I read death stories.) But I kept
reading. The angels that carried him, told him he still had work to do and when
he opened his eyes, alive, a pastor sat praying over him.
It went on to say, “This happened twenty years ago and
ever since, Abdul’s life has been changed. Even though Abdul only completed
fifth grade in school, he is currently the pastor of a small church in a very
poor village on the island of Mindanao in the Philippine Islands
. In his own
words Abdul says, “I don’t understand God’s purposes in my suffering, but I now
know the Lord.””
Something struck me!
. I know that place. How do I know that place? I’ve never read anything
about the Philippine Islands. I poked my lips out and scrunched my brows.
you do. You skimmed it last night.
I snatched up the
Voice of the Martyrs booklet/newsletter and opened to the editor’s page.
First paragraph:
“Our newsletter editor recently met with Christians on the Philippine
island of Mindanao
, where Christians are heavily persecuted. Her trip was well
timed because the Philippine government had just signed a preliminary agreement
with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (a rebel group) to create an Islamic
region in Mindanao called Bangsamore.” It went on to tell of horrible
persecutions to the Christians. Bombs. Fear. Theft. Vandalism. Beatings.
I had just read
about this place in my devotional I never read! But there’s more!
“When our
editor asked a pastor
why he stays in Mindanao when he could have a peaceful life in another part of
the Philippines, he said, “For me it’s not really difficult. We need to feed the sheep.”
He asked only for more Bibles, as many Christians families in his village do
not have one.”
Do I believe that
the boy who drowned is this man, “Arnel” (name changed due to
anonymity and security issues) is Abdul.
I do.
Do I believe that
when we listen, God speaks–even if it’s a whisper or thought?
I do.
Do I believe that
God is sovereign and is constantly working to spread a message of hope to those
who are dying in sin and begging for just a taste of His word?
I do.
Do I believe that
when we seek God’s will, but are unsure and ask for confirmation, that He gives
it? Even through devotions and newsletters we would normally never read?
I do.
Do I believe the
money I could have kept and saved for a writer’s conference is now going to
Mindanao to spread the gospel, to feed the sheep of Jesus Christ’s pasture?
I do.
Did I mention that
on the Wednesday night after all this happened in the morning, I was teaching
on Peter’s life and discovering God’s will for your life to my new &
growing believer’s class, that we were reviewing real living and relationships
that included giving with a cheerful heart as God purposes in our hearts?
I did.
Do I believe that
this was a practical application I could share and encourage them with?
I do.
Do I believe that if
God can orchestrate something so amazing as this, then He can also orchestrate
other things in my life and make good on promises such as writing, publishing,
teaching, family concerns, physical healing (or lack of), finances…?
I do.
I do.
I do.
“So let each one give as he purposes in
his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.”
2 Corinthians 9:7
If you are
interested in sowing into the Kingdom and feeding God’s sheep, please visit
Voice of the Martyrs. And as always, Project Rescue!
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Christmas Gifts That Keep On Giving!

Every day, girls as young as 12 are sold into sexual slavery. Exploited. Treated like animals.

Every night in the redlight district, small children crawl under their mothers’ beds while they “work” for a living. A job they never applied for. Many of those young girls lie under that bed and close their eyes, knowing they’ll never get out. Never get away and some day their children will be lying under their bed, while they “work.”

It’s something we don’t want to think about. We don’t want those thoughts in our minds. But it happens. It’s real. It’s hiding in plain sight.

However, there are Christians who are dedicating their lives to rescuing women and children from the brothels in India. Project Rescue is one of them. Headed by David and Beth Grant. Missionaries who’ve dedicated their life to the people of India. The following is taken directly from their website, which I encourage you to look at and read their blogs. In the dark clouds of sexual slavery, rays of hope do shine through! You can be a part of that HOPE.

Project Rescue:
“We exist to rescue and restore victims of sex trafficking through the love and power of Jesus Christ.
We believe that each child has been created by God with God-given purpose and the innate abilities to accomplish that purpose. We exist to help her discover that purpose and empower her to fulfill it.
We recognize the primary role of the local, national, and global community of faith in the restoration process and are committed to empowering them to fulfill it.
We provide global awareness and opportunities for concerned partners to help bring freedom and a transformed future to those imprisoned in sexual slavery.”

A testimony from Anita:
“When I was 12 years old a couple that I trusted promised me a job. They convinced me of a dream opportunity to work as a domestic helper along with the chance to pursue my studies. The idea of a secure job thrilled me, as it would any young girl in Nepal. Believing that I could trust this couple, I left my home in pursuit of a future.

After drugging me, the couple took me to a movie theater where a brothel owner met us.

Two hundred dollars was the price that sold me into forced prostitution. For the next 18 years I lived and worked in the red light district of Bombay.
It was here in the red light district that I first heard the Gospel from those involved with Bombay Teen Challenge. My brothel owner and I had a life changing experience by accepting Jesus into our lives. After this I soon decided to return to my home in Nepal.
Ten ladies, including myself, now live at the Kathmandu Home of Hope. God is continuing to work beautifully in each of our lives.

I am currently attending literacy classes and sewing classes and hope to one day have a tailoring shop of my own.”

You can help! You can pray and you can send donations!
In partnership with Project Rescue is The Jubilee Market. Young girls learn trades to help them become self-sufficient financially, when rescued out of brothels and sexual slavery. At this site, you can purchase items made by these young women!
What a great Christmas gift!
I emailed Liz Glover with Jubilee market and she said that they ship the items that day or the next, and priority shipping is 2-3 business days…which means you and I still have time!
Here are just a few of the hand crafted items, but there’s much more! How awesome to give a gift that really means something. Christmas is all about HOPE! By purchasing these gifts, for reasonable prices, you’re giving HOPE and an amazing story behind your gift. A constant reminder to PRAY!
Aren’t they fabulous!?
If you have problems clicking the link, a direct link is on the righthand side of my blogsite.
If you do choose to buy a gift, and I hope you do…drop a comment and share what you purchased!!!