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He who is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and He will reward him for what he has done Proverbs 19:17
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Journey of Hope
Hope is a Journey, in fact a life long journey. Without hope we would certainly despair. As the shape of the above title curves, so do our lives. We go from mountain top to valleys to mountain tops. It is when we are caught and constantly drawn down into a valley of despair we can be overcome. Then through the mist we reach out and grasp the hand of the one reaching out to you. Who is the one who has extended that hand? Well God uses different means, but mostly he uses ordinary people who put words into action. Love in action gives Hope.

New Birth - New Beginning

Reflections by Thea
Birthdays and Beyond
My Natal Birthday


I've had two of them.

Well, technically, I've had 57, since I was born in 1963 and, well, you can do the math.

I celebrated my natal birthday recently. According to my parents, I came home from the hospital with a cold, due to the frigid weather in which I made my arrival. The Lord saw fit to have me recover, so that I could live to see my spiritual birthday.

My Spiritual Birthday

This latter event occurred during my early years, somewhere between ages 10 and 12, as best I can recall. The story is simple. My mother had to have minor surgery that summer, and my aunt graciously took me off Mom's hands while she recovered. A local church in my aunt's neighborhood was offering a vacation Bible school for kids to attend, so my cousin and I were sent there for a few hours each morning, likely to keep us busy while Aunt Harriet tended to chores around the house.

One day during a craft activity, an adult leader casually asked if any of her rambunctious students needed to ask Jesus into their hearts. I had never heard of the idea, so raised my hand. She took me aside and presented the gospel in a way I could understand. She used a tool called the Wordless Book, which is something I have used many times in my own ministry with kids over the years. The leaflet is comprised of nothing but five colors: black, symbolizing the darkness of the sinner's heart; red, showing the blood of Christ which, when applied to that sinful heart, renders it w h i t e as snow; gold, depicting the streets of gold the transformed sinner can look forward to in heaven; and green, representing the growth the new believer can achieve through Bible study and prayer.

I believed the book's message of salvation, and kept the tiny felt pamphlet she gave me as a memento of my spiritual birthday.

My Spiritual Journey

Although I wasn't raised in a Christian home, the Lord planted a number of Godly influences in my life to help me along. My Aunt Edith took me to a Bible-believing church as a youngster. Somehow, I found my way to other church and para-church offerings, which taught me many basics (the names of books of the Bible in order, the Christmas and Easter stories, Psalm 23, and important church doctrines).

As years passed, I went through periods of spiritual stagnation and even rebellion, I'm sorry to say. However, time and maturity have kicked in (not completely - do any of us ever totally grow up?), and I feel hopeful about the spiritual course my life is on.

I've been blessed to sit under some exceptional teaching over the years. When my husband attended Dallas Theological Seminary's extension program at a local Bible college, the staff granted me the unparalleled privilege (well, except for God's gift of salvation!) of being able to audit his courses at no charge. I will always be thankful for that time of rich learning, even though my wise husband often had to practically drag his shortsighted wife to our weekend classes. I wanted to kick back on Friday nights and sleep in on Saturdays, both of which seemed more important at the time than studying the Scriptures. The foolishness of youth!

Various local churches have also added to my understanding of God's word. As a young teen, I attended a sound Presbyterian church and its youth group, which gave me the basic underpinnings of what it means to follow Christ. After my marriage, Rev. Dr. William Maurice Fain of Rockland Baptist Church in New York kept pestering a pair of newlyweds who had stopped in to visit his tiny church one day. Every Thursday following our visit, without fail, Pastor Fain showed up at our apartment to see how we were getting along. Finally, I asked why he kept stopping by when he could see we weren't coming back to his church! That quiet, sincere man donned a sly grin and replied that, when we told him we had found a solid church to call home, he would stop "bothering" us! Needless to say, we became regulars at his church until we moved to Pennsylvania two years later.

Over the next few years, I benefited greatly from the teachings at Spruce Street Baptist Church, Faith Reformed Baptist Church and Bethany Evangelical Presbyterian Church, all in southeastern Pennsylvania. In these fine institutions, I received instruction in the word and learned how to present the message of salvation to others.

Currently, I attend Bible Baptist Church in Upper Darby, PA, which is led by Rev. Steve Lyon, as humble and knowledgeable a shepherd as I've ever been blessed to know. I would be remiss not to mention the ministry of Rev. David Frampton and his wife, Sharon, whose loving example and outreach helped nurture my faith through some very difficult years. Finally, I owe a great deal to Jean Glatfelter, my spiritual mentor, whose "sola Scriptura" approach to the Bible has rubbed off on me and continues to inform my ministry to this day.

Musings: My Hope, My Goals and My Boast

Many wished me well on my special day, for which I'm most thankful. It's always nice to be remembered on one's birthday, and made to feel special.

However, no one ever celebrates my spiritual birthday. For one thing, as I've indicated, I can't be certain of the date, or even how old I was when my "second birth" occurred. But I suspect it's been recorded in heavenly annals, and when I enter the Lord's throne room, there will be celebrating beyond anything I can imagine.

As I take stock of my life thus far, I ponder what I have to show: a) for the 57 years I've been drawing breath on this planet; and b) for the nearly 50 years I've been following Christ.

My life has been enriched by two sons and their darling companions, and a beautiful grandson who will soon become a big brother to twin siblings! These folks and my family of origin are, without a doubt, my most cherished earthly resources.

Regarding professional accomplishments, I wandered many years trying to find a vocational home. The Lord's hand finally landed me in the field of education, which both challenges and fulfills me in many ways. My outside calling, writing, has produced a handful of works that have been published in print, but the vast majority have found their home online or reside on my hard drive. My magnum opus, Belabored, remains unread by most of the world.

On the subject of authorship, I've outlived my writing inspiration, Louisa May Alcott, who died at 56. She, however, had made a name for herself as a prestigious author before turning 40. While I can't boast of such a renowned career, neither could Alcott avail herself of social media to peddle her wares. She scurried hither and yon, seeking outlets for her work. I feel blessed that, while my readership may not be large, each and every person who checks out my blog gets the best I have to offer, and is part of the audience God has assigned me. I take that charge seriously, remembering that He does not despise small things.

I wonder how Alcott would have tackled the immense obstacles of modern-day publishing, with its mega-proposals and ad nauseam rewrites that serve as rites of initiation. Would she have continued to play the game, hounding agents and publishers, shelling out hard-earned dollars to attend conferences that often lead nowhere? Would she have scraped up the money to self-publish?

I ask myself these things only because Alcott's tenacity and pluck inspire me as much as her books did when I read them as a young girl. The real question is, what would God have me do with the novel that took four years to write? And what does He plan for some of my pieces for which a blog isn't the ideal forum?

I'm wrestling with these issues, realizing their resolution will come only through prayer and commensurate effort. Thankfully, my spiritual life is in reasonably good order, and I feel blessed to have a team of like-minded believers interceding for God's future plans for me.

So, in the wake of another birthday, while pondering the possibilities for this new year of life, I find peace in the fact that following the Lord is my most important calling, and sharing His gospel the best accomplishment I can boast.

"But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,
by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world."
~ Galatians 6:14


A Journey of Hope
A Journey of Hope
Is all about hope. "Hope is usually birthed in difficult times, when we grope in the dark for answers and look for reasons to carry on."
Canadian Author Grace Wullf - View at
A Journey of Hope

"Allow your Hurt - Grief - Loss
to Awaken in You a Deeper Desire for God Himself

Life's Ultimate Questions

Exploring the Stories that Shape Our Everyday
By Jake Wiens
This book is presented as “core-curriculum” for young adults and new believers alike, who wish to not only survive but thrive as Christians in our challenging, secular, atheistic culture. This five-fold foundation can help us stand as well as advance against today’s increasingly strong cultural headwinds.

A -Empowering spirituality in keeping with Christianity’s rich 2000 year history.

B -Exposé of today’s atheistic, materialistic culture.

C -Basic religious literacy (including atheism as a belief system).

D -A lay person’s strategies for validating foundational assumptions.

E-A dynamic encounter with the Bible’s Mother-Story.

Life's Ultimate Questions

The Purpose Driven Life
What On Earth Am I here For?

Despair is the Negative of Hope


Love In Action
My favorite Bible verse says: "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." ROM. 15:13.

From this verse I am reminded that Hope is not within me to give but it is a gift from God. When I look up to my God of Hope, He will fill me with joy and peace - but only if I put my trust in Him. It is so easy to trust in my own strength. But the fantastic message is:
Trust in God and he will fill you with an abundance of Joy and Peace, so full.......... that we overflow with the urge to give it away NOT BY MY STRENGTH OR POWER but by the power of God the Holy Spirit.

Dream Deeply!  -  He Will Fill You!


Those of you who have gone through a crisis or a dark valley where it seemed impossible to rise above and subsequently have found healing through the one and only source who gives true healing - Jesus Christ - please let me hear from you and share your story with others. The one who lives within me is far greater than the one who lives in the world.

I believe that sharing can be a very healing experience for those who often feel very much alone.

The Bible Gateway
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Thank you for Sharing Immaculee

Immaculée Ilibagiza was born and raised in a small village in Rwanda, Africa. She enjoyed a peaceful childhood with her loving parents and three brothers. Education was very important in her household, so it was no surprise that she did well in school and went on to the National University of Rwanda to study electrical and mechanical engineering. It was while she was home from school on Easter break in 1994 that Immaculée's life was transformed forever.

On April 6 of that year, the Rwandan President’s plane was shot down over the capital city of Kigali. This assassination of the Hutu president sparked months of massacres of Tutsi tribe members throughout the country. Not even small, rural communities like Immaculée’s were spared from the house-by-house slaughtering of men, women and children.

To protect his only daughter from rape and murder, Immaculée’s father told her to run to a local pastor’s house for protection. The pastor quickly sheltered Immaculée and seven other women in a hidden 3 x 4 foot bathroom. For the next 91 days, Immaculée and the other women huddled silently in this small room, while the genocide raged outside the home and throughout the country.

While in hiding, anger and resentment were destroying Immaculée’s mind, body and spirit. It was then that Immaculée turned to prayer. Prior to going to the pastor’s home, Immaculée’s father, a devout Catholic, gave her a set of rosary beads. She began to pray the rosary as a way of drowning out the anger inside her, and the evil outside the house. It was that turning point towards God and away from hate that saved Immaculée.

In addition to finding faith, peace, and hope during those three months of hiding, Immaculée also taught herself English. Immaculée was always a good student and already fluent in Kinyarwanda and French. Using only a Bible and a dictionary, she spent countless hours in that cramped bathroom learning her third language.

After 91 days, Immaculée was finally liberated from her hiding place only to face a horrific reality. Immaculée emerged from that small bathroom weighing just 65 pounds, and finding her entire family brutally murdered, with the exception of one brother who was studying abroad. She also found nearly one million of her extended family, friends, neighbors and fellow Rwandans massacred.

After the genocide, Immaculée came face-to-face with the man who killed her mother and one of her brothers. After enduring months of physical, mental and spiritual suffering, Immaculée was still able to offer the unthinkable, telling the man, "I forgive you."

In 1998, Immaculée emigrated from Rwanda to the United States where she continued her work for peace through the United Nations. During that time, she shared her story with co-workers and friends who were so impacted by her testimony they insisted she write it down. Three days after finishing her manuscript, she met best-selling author Dr. Wayne W. Dyer, who, within minutes of meeting her, offered to publish her book. Dyer is quoted as saying, "There is something much more than charisma at work here - Immaculée not only writes and speaks about unconditional love and forgiveness, but she radiates it wherever she goes."

Immaculée's first book, Left to Tell; Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust (Hay House) was released in March of 2006. Left to Tell quickly became a New York Times Best Seller. To date, it has been translated into seventeen languages and has sold over two million copies. Immaculée's story has also been made into a documentary entitled The Diary of Immaculée. She has appeared on 60 Minutes, The CBS Early Show, CNN, EWTN, CBS Evening News, The Aljazeera Network as well as in The New York Times, USA Today, Newsday, and many other domestic and international publications. She was recently featured in Michael Collopy's Architects of Peace project, which has honored legendary people like Mother Teresa, Jimmy Carter, Nelson Mandela and the Dalai Lama.

Immaculée has received honorary doctoral degrees from the University of Notre Dame, Saint John's University, Seton Hall University, Siena College, Walsh University and the Catholic University of America. She has been recognized and honored with numerous humanitarian awards including The Mahatma Gandhi International Award for Reconciliation and Peace, the American Legacy's Women of Strength & Courage Award and the 2015 National Speaker’s Assocation’s Master of Influence Award.

Left toTell has received a Christopher Award "affirming the highest values of human spirit," and was chosen as Outreach Magazine'sselection for "Best Outreach Testimony/Biography Resource of 2007." Left to Tell has been adopted into the curriculum of dozens of high schools and universities, including Villanova University, which selected it for their "One Book Program," making Left to Tell mandatory reading for its 6,000 students.

Immaculée has written six additional books in recent years - Led by Faith: Rising from the Ashes of the Rwandan Genocide, Our Lady of Kibeho, If Only We Had Listened, Visit from Heaven, and The Boy Who Met Jesus, and The Rosary.

Today, Immaculée is regarded as one of world's leading speakers on faith, hope and forgiveness. She has shared this universal message with world leaders, school children, multinational corporations, churches, and at events and conferences around the world, including a recent presentation to over 200,000 people in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

A major motion picture about her story is under production with an international release in theaters in 2018.

Over 750,000 hits have been generated since January - 2005

Nick Vujicic at Telford State Prison


My name is Nick Vujicic and I’m 33 years old. I was born without arms or legs and given no medical reason for this condition. Faced with countless challenges and obstacles, God has given me the strength to surmount what others might call impossible.
I'm totally in love with the awesome work Life Without Limbs is doing in the lives of inmates, inmate families, prison guards and prison staff through our jail ministry.

It all started last May when I spoke to inmates at the Barry Telford Unit in Texas.
I heard that the measure of success for a prison program is based on how many inmates get up to use the restroom during the presentation. God was good that day last May...not one inmate left the room for the entire time I was speaking. Not just that, but I could literally see their eyes smiling as the truth of God started to seep in through the walls of their hearts. Only God can do that!

Here's what one inmate told me, with tears streaming down his face...
"I've been in jail for 16 years and I'm getting out in two months. Before today, I was so scared! Now that you've shared the love of God with me, I know I will find a way to survive...because of Jesus. Thank you!"