Awaken My Heart

Awaken My Heart is set in 19th century Texas and tells the story of 18 year old Marianne Phillips, the daughter of a wealthy rancher, Weston Phillips. Weston is involved in a hostile struggle with Armando Garcia, the infamous rebel leader of the 'mestizos' who claim to own the land that Phillips has settled.

Marianne Phillips, the daughter of a wealthy rancher, has never agreed with her father's harsh treatment of the poor mestizos who first inhabited the colony of Texas. When rebels kidnap Marianne, in hopes her father will trade back their land for her freedom, she realizes her loyalty lies with her abductors, not her father, who plans to marry her off to the don of a nearby estate.

Armando Garcia is the locals' reluctant leader, but his people revere and depend on him. Knowing that without his leadership they'd be forced from their land, Armando accepts his role, but does not approve of the latest attempt to manipulate their enemy. When he learns that Marianne actually speaks his language, of her loyalty to his people, and of the faith that keeps her strong, Armando is faced with a difficult decision. Will his newfound love keep him from letting her go? Or will he set her free and risk losing their land forever?


I was surfing the net... something I don't get to do very often. Do people actually surf the net? I've heard of people surfing TV channels...

I've read mostly very serious concerns tonight everything from the mayor of Detroit's woes to Matthew McConaughey is going to be a daddy to the tragedy of Heath Ledger's early demise to a serious discussion of people's vanity. Being the opinionated person that I am, I was busily expressing my opinions of each of these concerns (not out loud, that would sound crazy) when it suddenly struck me that the tragedies of humankind are common to man.

And then I surfed through Michael Synder's blog and I found something unique that put everything into perspective for me. But I'll let Thursday's Guest explain it to you.

I'll be reviewing Michael's new book My Name Is Russell Fink in February. I got a sneak peek at it back in 2006 or was it 2005 when he wrote a very strange, but quite halarious short story.

His book is that story. I can hardly wait to dive into it. It's things like this that put the world into perspective. What is crucially critical to one person may be just a brief sojourn to another. What may be heartbreaking for some, may be juicy gossip to another. What may be a deep study of how we look to each other and to God, may just be an enjoyable read to another. We are all different and yet the same.


This is a rare and most delicious find. If you like twists and turns in the story you read... if you like believable and very human characters... if you love stories that you can't put down, but when you have to you can't wait to pick back up again... if you like stories that you think about every moment you are away from it and stories that leave you completely satisfied for at least a little while...

...Then Fallen is the book for you.

You won't be able to put it down and it is absolutely one of the most human and completely believable stories I have ever read. It is charming. It is fascinating. It is indelible. Don't walk, run to the nearest book store and buy this book... On second thought, order it today by clicking on the title of this post. I promise, you won't regret it. You'll be writing me and thanking me for telling you about it.

Jim was at work when his eyes drifted to the coffee shop visible from his office window. An attractive woman driving a Mercedes pulled up to the curb . . . and Jim’s married pastor emerged from the car. When Jim delves deeper into his pastor’s world, will he be able to handle what he discovers? Is he right to suspect that Dave is having an affair? Is Dave having an affair?

Do NOT read any other review because it will spoil the experience.

In the behind-the-scenes church battle that ensues, Jim is torn between duty to his church and a desire to show grace. A ripped-from-the-headlines drama of suspense that keeps you engaged to the last page. Fallen is the story about Jim’s relationship with Dave—how Jim tries to do the right thing to keep Dave accountable. Is that the right thing to do? Read it and see.

Counting pennies for the missing

(published in the Picayune Item, Picayune, Mississippi)

By Gina Burgess
Lifestyles Editor
In Jackson, across from the Capital, stands a bullet-proof glass case that is half full of pennies. It stands at the corner of the Baptist Building and is a Memorial to the Missing--missing babies that have been aborted since the 1973 Roe v. Wade case made abortions legal.

The case was designed to hold 50 million pennies which amounts to $500,000 and will weigh in, after it’s full, at 156 tons. That is about how much 75 elephants weigh or the same weight as Mickey’s Fantasia hat at Disney World.

"It’s not the 50 million pennies that are important," said Jimmy Porter, executive director of the convention’s Christian Action Commission. "It’s the 50 million children." Each penny is in memory of an aborted child.

"There is an abortion in this country every 20 to 22 seconds," Porter said. That equates to about 3,900 abortions per day in the U.S. or about 1.43 million abortions per year.
Jim Futral, the state Baptist Convention’s executive director/treasurer said, "The effects of abortion on children are well-known. But, since the Supreme Court legalized the practice in all 50 states, it has wrecked the lives of countless women who have had them and their extended families as well."

Futral went on to say, "I received a letter from a couple from out of state that was particularly moving. They were visiting Jackson and heard about the memorial. The letter said they came by and just stood there in awe for a while at the number of pennies inside. This couple had two daughters who between them had had three abortions. The wife asked her husband if he had any pennies. He had three pennies in his pocket and he went to put them in, but he couldn’t. He couldn’t let them go because they represented the three grandchildren they’ll never get to hold. Eventually they had to put them in together."

The U.S. penny is the most insignificant and unwanted piece of money in any person’s pocket or purse. Very many of them can weigh a lot and a penny doesn’t buy much. People just don’t bend over and pick up a penny in a parking lot any more because it is hardly worth the effort. Until now.

Mississippi Baptists, like the three women pictured, are not only bending and picking them up, they are bagging them and either shipping them or taking them to the Memorial in Jackson. Some are mailing in checks which are converted to pennies and added to the memorial.
In February, Charles Gibson, anchor for ABC World News Tonight, commented that Baby Amillia, who was born at 25 weeks and has survived, is a miracle. "The fact that she has survived and grown to more than four pounds, and is about to go home, is a miracle, yes, but a miracle that may have an effect on the debate over abortion. And it may change what people think about life."

Tony Perkins, with the Family Research Council, was interviewed by ABC for the story. "As we see, with the advancement of medical technology, we have children surviving outside the womb younger and younger," Perkins said. "It really brings into focus how valuable and how precious this human life really is."

The abortion debate is a political hurdle that some may use to try to stump a presidential hopeful indicated by a question posed to John McCain on his trek across New Hampshire last weekend.

"I am a pro-life person. That's been a solid 24-year record," John McCain said Sunday. "I have not changed my position. I have been an advocate for human rights -- having been deprived of them for a period in my life -- from Burma to Bosnia to China to Cuba, and I believe human rights also extend to that of the unborn," said McCain, who endured years of torture and deprivation as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam. Friday was the 34th anniversary of his release, he said.

ABC News reports that South Carolina lawmakers are considering legislation that would force women seeking abortions to see an ultrasound image of their fetus. The proposed bill has angered abortion rights groups, who say politicians in South Carolina are trying to interfere in a medical decision women should make with their doctors.

In Florida, doctors, school nurses or any health provider who finds that a girl under 16 is pregnant would have to tell the police, under a bill anti-abortion lawmakers are pushing in the Florida Legislature, reports the International Herald Tribune, 9 March 2007.

"This bill will scare young girls and their parents from seeking health care at the time they need the care the most," said Lillian Tamayo, president of the Planned Parenthood chapter in South Florida. "It criminalizes sexual activity among minors." The law already says a health care provider must report child abuse, she said. This bill has yet to be referred to any legislative committee to date.

The Bismark Tribune reported on March 12, that the lawmakers in the House of Representatives of North Dakota have passed a bill banning abortion with only loss of mother’s life as an exception. It includes a "trigger" which would activate it into law. What would trigger it is the rescinding of the Roe v. Wade decision.

Senate Majority Leader in North Dakota, Bob Stenehjem, R-Bismarck, invoked a rarely used procedure to table a bill that would grant citizenship to fetuses. "Bizarre," he called it, adding, "Nobody wanted to debate or vote on that bill."

The AP reports Pope Benedict XVI, insisting that the faithful hold firm to Church teaching, told Catholic politicians Tuesday they must support the Vatican’s nonnegotiable rejection of abortion and gay marriage.

Benedict also rebuffed calls to let divorced Catholics who remarry receive communion.
The Pope sent Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, to inaugurate an international conference in Mexico City on Friday. He is the Vatican’s chief anti-abortion proponent. This comes in spite of a constitutional law banning religious groups participating in politics. The bill under consideration is to legalize abortion within the first three months of pregnancy in Mexico. Currently, it is only legal if the mother’s life is in danger, or in the case of rape. The law does not prevent wealthy women to cross the border into the U.S. for an abortion, but poorer women are relying upon illegal, back-street operations. Advocates of the bill say legalization would make for safer conditions.

When Futral conceived the idea for the memorial in Jackson, the families of those who have abortions may not have been first and foremost in his mind. But today he is happy that the memorial is magnifying the problem beyond what was originally intended. "But the true weight of the problem and the weight of the loss – there is no way to calculate that," Futral said.

The Baptist Press reported last January the Memorial to the Missing will be collecting pennies until the 50 million goal is met, then the money will be invested in an endowment with the Mississippi Baptist Foundation to create a permanent fund for pro-life projects such as crisis pregnancy center operations and other projects for women with unwanted pregnancies. "No salaries or administrative costs will be paid for with the pennies," Porter said.

Sanctity of LIfe

Yesterday we Baptists looked at life as sanctified, taking a stand against abortion choice. We do this every year. As I heard yesterday, there have been approximately 50 million abortions in the U.S. That amounts to the population of Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Oklahoma, so I'm told.


I was delighted to hear today that there are greater results from adult stem cell research with no results to the good from embryonic stem cell research. I also heard on Friday that some (very unethical, in my opinion) scientists were "successful" in cloning a human embryo. They started with an egg, took out the genetic material from the center of it and inserted the genetic materail from a skin cell of one of the scientists.

Let's see... what about that is cloning? Yes, I know they call it that, but they take an already created egg and insert already created genetic material from an already created skin cell. Then after the cell divided and began to grow, they destroyed the embryo.

There is something incredibly wrong with this picture. Do we have the right to play with life like that? No. We do not.

Pro 6:16 These six things Jehovah hates; yea, seven are hateful to his soul;
Pro 6:17 a proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,
Pro 6:18 a heart that plots evil plans, feet hurrying to run to mischief,
Pro 6:19 a false witness who breathes lies, and he who causes strife among brothers.

I know these scientists do not know Whom they offend. I pray that God will show Himself to them, that they may ask forgiveness and receive it before it is too late.

Greatest Christian Writing Market Resource

This is an amazing resource and very well worth every penny! It is comprehensive and it has everthing you need to help you get published.

I love the fact that she has taken the guess work out of getting published.

The essential reference tool for the Christian writer, Sally Stuart’s Christian Writers’ Market Guide is now in its 23rd annual edition!
Check out the section on Blogging on page 69...the CFBA is listed!
Writers’ Conference listings, Book Publishers, Magazine Publishers, and a Bookstore filled with the resources you need to be successful in this business. Get a Book Contract or Manuscript Evaluation, and check out the Writer’s Resource links. This book has all you need to connect to all these valuable helps for the beginning, intermediate, or professional writer.

To keep you up to date with the latest marketing news, visit Sally Stuart’s new marketing blog, Christian Writers’ Marketplace, at
A new, updated version of the Christian Writers’ Market Guide is available about January 15 each year.

Of course, this only makes a difference if you are truly serious about getting your Christian fiction or non-fiction work published. There is even a section about eBooks. It's a good choice.

A father throws his children off a bridge

I put this story on BNN, but this story keeps getting more heartbreaking.

A father had an argument with his wife then leaves taking his two older children with him, then after awhile comes back and gets the younger babies, too. He then drives to the highest point of the bridge between Dauphin Island and the coast of Alabama, where he stops, takes each child and tosses them one by one over the side of the bridge. They plunge 100 feet to the water.

I cannot fathom the pain the mother is suffering right now. I cannot imagine the callousness and cold blood that runs through that man's veins. Everytime I think about that, I just cry and my heart bleeds. Why this particular story among all the others involving children pierces me so, I don't know.

Searchers have now found three bodies of the four. You can click the title of this post to read about that story.

I found that story most difficult to read.

The world is a cold place. Humans have come to the point that life is cheap.

Mat 24:12 And because lawlessness shall have been multiplied, the love of the many will grow cold.

This isn't the only prophecy. This could apply to latter Roman times, especially latter first century through about the third century when babies were put outside the city gates when not wanted, and prisoners were killed for sport reasons, and slavery was a way of life. It could also apply to the time during WW2 when blondes with fair skin were considered superior and all life of Jewish descent was worthless. Genocides by Lenin in Russia, more genocides in Africa, and more in Slovakia. All through the ages, the evidence of man's love growin cold is blatant.

Now, for the reason that God has said, the horror grows as Satan's anger burns because his time grows short.

2Th 2:7 That doesn't mean that the spirit of anarchy is not now at work. It is, secretly and underground. 8 But the time will come when the Anarchist will no longer be held back, but will be let loose. But don't worry. The Master Jesus will be right on his heels and blow him away. The Master appears and--puff!--the Anarchist is out of there

Blessing from sweet trust

Jesus is the physical side of God. He is the one that we can relate to so He is the one that we are betrothed to.

I am so in love with Him that I cannot fathom how deep my love is and where His love begins. I cannot fathom how His Spirit has made my soul so vibrantly alive that I am not alone for He is constantly with me. Power and Glory and Majesty is He, but more also is He. Only Jesus, only God can pour righteousness over me as fragrant oil...and through nothing that I do, it is just His love that makes me pure. He does this for me because He loves me.

He raises His sword and destroys all fear and conquers my insecurity.
He is my God, my King, my Beloved, Ruler of my heart--tender and sweet is He.
Because He wept at His friend’s grave, He understands my grief as my tears roll down His fingers and my trembling chin is lifted by His palm.
His eyes so full of love spread healing balm throughout my being. He is there because…
Because He had no place to lay His head, He knows the weariness of my body.
Because He walked with feet bare and dusty, He knows my pain in my feet.
Because He held a baby, He knows my love for my children.
Because He stilled the sea, He knows the storms in my heart.
Because He knew hunger, He knows my hatred for diets.
Because He built a chair, He knows why I must sit down.
Because He loves me, I am at rest.

Because He died for me, I can enter the throne room of God. That huge splendorous place filled with His train.

I tremble, I shake and at the Thunder from the Throne I fall to my face. So ashamed am I. So undone. I am so unworthy I cannot look upon His face. The Four Living Creatures protect me from His Glory or I shall cease to exist. I am mute with terror. I have no words for my defense.

Then suddenly, a warm hand presses my shoulder and soft white robe comes between me and the throne. I grab His robe and press my face deep into it. It smells so good, and so clean, and so fresh. It is warm because I feel Him through the soft cloth.

A low voice whispers tender words to me and my terror melts away. His hand slides across my back and He lifts me in His arms so strong, His strength stills the tremors of my terror like His breath stilled the wind and calmed the waves. He looks at The Father and simply says for all to hear, "Father, this one is mine."

"Oh how sweet to trust in Jesus, just to take Him at His word."

Happily Even After

What a joy to read a sassy book that isn't "too sassy". I like that sassy first person type of prose, but most new authors have way-over done it, such as the preacher going an hour over time and the roast is very crispy with smoke curls.

Marilynn Griffith is an accomplished author. She is so personable and her writing shows it, too.

Get this book. You won't be sorry.


Is there a power greater than that which raised Jesus from the dead?

Revelation 4:11 tells us that the LORD is worthy to receive all honor, glory and praise. No other was found to be worthy. The Lamb who was slain was found worthy. All things were created by Him and for His great pleasure. Everything belongs to Him because He created it, He was before it, He was, and is, and is to come.

Hebrews 11:6 tells us that our faith (belief) brings Him pleasure, without it no one can please Him. It is a simple thing, yet so hard.

It is easy to believe there is God. He created the heavens and the earth in all their glory. The universe is vast beyond our wildest imaginings, but the Bible tells us that it can be measured by his hand's breadth. A newborn's cry is a testimony to God's presence for He created life. His signature is in the stars for He named each one of the billions of billions of stars. Just look at some of the photos that the Hubble Telescope takes. The dogwood's flower gives testimony.

But to believe God. That is harder to do. When you don't "feel" the presence of God, how do you know He's there?

That is when we must go with what we know rather than our feelings. I love to remember the times we have had together and to draw my comfort from those things He has done for me, from the fact He has never failed me, ever. I know He will fulfill His promises because of all the promises He has already fulfilled. He made the sun stand still. He made the wet bottom of the sea dry as toast. He caused it to rain, and He caused the rain to dry up. He raised Jesus from the dead.

That kind of power flows through the mighty, awesome, marvelous God, and yet He is mindful of me. He knows my name and how many hairs are on my head and the number which are gray and the number which are brown. It matters not to Him how many wrinkles I have, for He has taken me Just As I Am.

Is there a power greater than raising Someone from the dead? Perhaps it is the power of changing lives, the power of forgiveness, the power of mercy, the power of grace. Without those, Jesus could not have been raised for He would not
have given Himself as sacrifice.


There are three letters that make us know that an action is in progress, that it is continnual. ING... running... jumping... swimming... believing...

Believing God is an action that must and always be continuous for the action to be effective. Once we stop believing God, all the lions and tigers and bears start crowding our thoughts, which leads to fear.

Fear is of Satan.

Gen 22:5 And Abraham said to his young men, You stay here with the ass. I and the boy will go over there that we may worship and may return to you.

Fascinating passage. God had just asked Abraham to sacrifice his son by his beloved wife Sarah, to put him on the altar as a burnt offering.

Fear could so easily have engulfed Abraham. So often we tell God "Your will, not mine, LORD." Then when God asks us to do something, we say... "Um, I know I didn't hear You correctly, LORD. I think you actually meant this and such." Or we tell God that we've decided to do something else altogether. Sometimes it may take a month, or a year, but those who really love the LORD will come to the realization that God literally meant what He said and we must do what He says.

What we so often forget is that God can do what He says He can do. He is the Creator after all. He is in control, if we let Him be in control. Things actually do turn out a lot better when He's director of our feet rather than an observer of our path.

Abraham did not say, "Uh... wait a second God. You just gave me this boy 15 years ago. He's the promised one to me and now you want me to do what???"

No. Abraham knew beyond any doubt that God would provide the sacrifice. He would follow through with the sacrifice exactly as God asked. He had the knife in his hand to slay his son and suddenly an angel cries out for him to stop.

Can you imagine Isaac's relief? Can you imagine the burgeoning joy that floods Abraham at the realization that he would not have to follow through with the sacrifice of his son. I do not know if Abraham thought that God would bring the boy back to life, of if Abraham thought that God would give him another son, or if he knew that God would stay his hand at the last minute. I do know, though, beyond any shadow of doubt that Abraham knew he and Isaac would return down off Mount Moriah, back to his men and the donkeys, for this is what he said before they ascended the mount.

That is Believing.

But, that is not the end of the story. Because of Abraham's believing and because of his unquestioning obedience both in deed and in thought, God blessed him.

Gen 22:16 And He said, I have sworn by Myself, declares Jehovah, that on account of this thing you have done, and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 that blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens, and as the sand which is on the shore of the sea. And your Seed shall possess the gate of His enemies.

Blessing follows obedience. It always has. Perhaps God asks the impossible of us, but He never fails to provide what He asks. Time, talent, money, children, family... God requires many precious things from us, and He is fully trustworthy with them. He never fails. He always prevails. Have faith in God... Have faith in God.

Sweet fragrance

(Gen 8:21 MSG) GOD smelled the sweet fragrance and thought to himself, "I'll never again curse the ground because of people. I know they have this bent toward evil from an early age, but I'll never again kill off everything living as I've just done.

I love perfume... the kind that smells nice. Why are there so many different kinds of perfume that stink? On me?


Body chemistry reacts with the chemicals in the perfume and causes either a pleasing smell, an odor most foul, or a non-smell.

But, I digress. We were talking about God smelling a sweet fragrance which caused him to promise never again to destroy all living things in the same manner... by flood. Was it really the smoking meat of the burnt offering that was sweet smelling to God?

No, of course not. It was Noah's obedience that was the sweet fragrance. God love's obedience. Just like a parent who simply cannot resist the child who is obedient. Lest we over step here, God does not love us because of our obedience. He loves us in spite of our sinfulness and ugliness. He loved us first, then He sent His Son. That was the greatest gift of all.

Of course there isn't anywhere in Scripture that says, Jesus was a Gift, but there numerous passages that refer to offerings, and what is an offering but a gift? What was Jesus but a wondrous sacrifice, an offering from God and the sweetness of the Messiah's obedience rose up as the sweetest perfume from anywhere on earth or in heaven. The cost of it was beyond price, the benefit of it has no price.

So the word of today is Obedience - a sweet fragrance to the LORD.


Lose weight
Read my Bible more
Walk more
Be kinder to my family

Why do my new year's resolutions always seem to be the same year after year?

Would it be because I keep trying to do these things all myself without the input of the Lord God Almighty?

Most likely. Last year I didn't make any resolutions. I was too busy with a new job and getting to know a most wonderful and charming new city, and all these lovely people.

What is the point of resolutions? To make oneself a better person, right? Then why don't we work on ourselves all through the year rather than waiting until January 1 to turn over that new leaf?

I think it is because we have this anticipation period... or this gearing up period which we need in order to change a habit. This resolve period is crucial for us to build up the resolve to make that decision to get on that jag to change a habit we consider deplorable.

Benjamin Franklin decided to work on one bad habit at a time for 30 days each. What he found out was that as soon as he had conquored one habit, several more cropped up. He found out it was an exhaustive endeavor.

This is why I will bring everything to God's altar. I cannot do it by myself. I don't even plan on trying.

Instead, we will go to the Beth Moore bible study we're beginning this weekend at church. we will curtail my eating to only the times that I am actually hungry. We will drink more water. We may even look for some sort of appetite suppressor. We will park farther away from the place We want to go, even walking downtown perhaps to the post office, wouldn't that be a great daily exercise trip?

I know I can't do this alone, therefore God and I will be in this together. We'll discuss it at great length while driving to work, or walking to the post office, or just before dinner. Putting it all in God's hands may sound like a cliche' or even easy. It isn't.

I must leave it and never pick it up again... for a Fixer, that is very difficult to do.

So, here, Lord, take it and plant it in this willing vessel, water it, and make it bear fruit. This cracked pot will then be good for something in Your hands.