Thursday, December 31, 2009

Limping Into 2010 -- with Faith

New Years Eve is a special time for my family. We write prayer requests for the coming year, and review those we wrote the year before. We look at what God has done. We rejoice in answered prayers – and those He has not answered in the way we had hoped. This annual review is a huge faith booster as there are always – always – some requests God has answered exceedingly above all we could ever ask or think.

This year, I’m stunned to see the precise way in which God has answered prayer. I’m equally amazed to see that some prayers I’ve prayed for years and, if I didn’t know better (doctrinally speaking), I’d think God was ignoring me. What I’ve noticed, though, is that over the years, my heart has changed. It has begun better aligning itself to God’s will, and ignoring (at least a little) my own.

This is because God does not always give me what I want. He doesn’t even always give me what I need – although sometimes He does. He gives me what He needs to give me to fulfill His purposes. And as I grow older, I love this.

As I look back over this year, even the past decade, I realize that I’ve been limping a lot. I have wounds. Life-stuff. People. Circumstances. Mostly just me. I am my own worst enemy because I get in the way of God’s plan when I don’t align my thoughts to God’s. But even though I limp a little, I am moving forward – by God’s.

This next year I want to move forward. I want to move Orphans First forward and move forward with my family, ministry, life . . . I want God to move me forward to be closer to Him. That will happen if I stop looking at myself and get up off the ground and, well, walk.

The best movie of the year was without question The Blind Side. I’ll see it next year again for sure.

One of my fave quotes this year is from a book I’ll be reviewing next year (uh, next year is almost here): The Bible is "the most rational, accurate, well-documented body of literature in the history of the world." --David Jeremiah.

2 blogs I've gleaned from (what the media won't tell you):
The Radio Patriot
One News Now

Here’s a video that inspires me to walk forward – a two-legged dog, Faith, who never gave up. Consequently, her life has been used to touch thousands. May God help us to be like Faith, and walk in faith.



Let’s meet again soon. Blessed New Year. I pray 2010 will be a year of more changes – changes where Jesus is exalted.

Janey L. DeMeo M.A.
December 2009 © Copyright
www.orphansfirst.org
www.Janey.DeMeo.com
Follow me on Twitter.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Eyewitness: The Life of Christ Told in One Story


Eyewitness: The Life of Christ Told in One Story by Frank Ball (WinePress Publishing)

Eyewitness reaches people who seldom go to church or read their Bibles.

Of the millions of Americans who don't go to church, 56 percent consider themselves Christian. If they knew what Jesus said and did, they would know the importance of networking and reaching out to help others. While Bibles sit on coffee tables and bookshelves at home, gathering dust, people pick up Eyewitness and don't want to put it down. Not only does it use language that is easily understood, it pulls readers into the story, almost like walking with Jesus in the first century.

The Bible has sold more copies than any other book and continues to sell year after year. Continuing in its footsteps is the Eyewitness series written for the average person.

Flash back to first century AD. One man appeared who shook up the world. Four men testified to what they saw and heard. The details of Jesus’ life were recorded by four of his closest followers. Each account is written from a different perspective and only one of the four tells the events in chronological order. Therefore, for centuries, the accounts have been told in out-of-sequence fragments.

Eyewitness compiles the information from the Gospels and hundreds of other Bible verses into one chronological story laid out like a story without reference or verse. The result is a seamless combination of the four gospel books that will appeal to customers across the board, even those who would not normally purchase a Bible.
Frank Ball

About the Author

Frank Ball was the Pastor of Biblical Research and Writing at Anchor Church in Keller, Texas, for three years. After thirty years of research and teaching the life of Christ, he began a twelve-year project to analyze every gospel story about Christ and put the events into chronological order. Ball meticulously considered almost twenty resources, including the Greek and Hebrew texts, the opinions of other Bible writers, and different translations, to make sure his translation was correct. Using the gospel of John as the chronological backbone, he determined an appropriate time setting for every event.

Ball believes there is no greater role model than Jesus. The better we know him, the more we can be like him. “It’s impossible,” he says, “to love someone you don’t know. The Scripture arranged in this easy-to-understand order helps us to know Jesus. It allows us to be more of an ‘eyewitness’ to the events of Christ’s life, and in doing so, to be more like him.”

Ball has always been a great student, especially in math and the sciences, but hated English. He excelled in high school; however, because his family was impoverished, he was unable to attend college. After high school he took a menial job that supported his parents and siblings. In 1968 he married Kay and they had three sons. Kay passed away in 2005. Ball currently lives with his family in Fort Worth, Texas.

When personal computers became available, Ball embraced systems analysis and business administration. He devoured reading material on the high-tech industry and was a successful business executive until he made a commitment to full-time ministry in 2002.

In 1995, despite his dislike of English, Ball believed God was redirecting his life, and he devoted himself to writing—which has, ironically, become his passion. Knowing the challenges he faced without a secondary education, Ball became self-taught by voraciously reading books as if they were college texts. He studied as if he were preparing for tests.

Ball says that this project wasn’t his idea at all. He just had an unexplainable desire to do this chronology, and along the way he realized that God had a plan. Using his Eyewitness Stories version of the Gospels as a foundation, Ball assembled the gospel information, as well as more than two hundred other Bible verses from the Old and New Testaments, to create what he believes is the accurate order of events. Ball believes the combined stories resolve some of the discrepancies that some say exist in the Gospels.

1. The gospel stories have existed for some two thousand years. Why put them chronologically together now?
Nine out of ten Americans own a Bible, but the people who most need to hear the message don’t often read the book. They believe Scripture is outdated and too difficult to understand. Would they read the story of Christ if it were presented as a single story that is easy to understand? Most of them say they would, so Eyewitness answers that need.

2. Why do the Gospels appear to have conflicting stories?
At a crime scene, eyewitnesses always have different testimonies about what happened. Because each gospel writer had his own point of view and spoke to a different audience, the information is actually complementary, not conflicting. The apparent conflicts disappear when we use each viewpoint to compile a complete and compelling story.

3. How was writing and recording events different two thousand years ago?
We now use a computer keyboard to rapidly type and edit text that prints on our laser printers. In the first century, writers had only their parchment scrolls in which every word was hand written, one character at a time. Cut-and-paste editing and simple rearrangement of details into chronological order didn’t exist. Writers naturally put down information as it came to mind, giving us a flow of thought that isn’t always in date sequence.

4. What is the significance of John’s gospel being the last one written?
If John were to introduce his book to us today, he might say, “Let me tell you the rest of the story.” There wasn’t much need to repeat what had already been written, so he gives us clarification of events that were already being told and retold, as well as eyewitness reports that are found nowhere else. Unlike the other writers, who were not always chronological, John unfolds most of his story in date sequence in relation to the Jewish feasts. This gives us a chronological guide for putting all the biblical information in order.

5. In what way do you think the readers of Eyewitness will have a clearer understanding of the nature of God?
Jesus said, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” If we can see what Jesus is doing and hear what he is saying, we become eyewitness of God’s nature. Because the words in Eyewitness are more like what we would read in a novel, readers are able to visualize themselves as present at the gospel events. It’s the next best thing to actually being there, walking with the other disciples.

6. How many different Bible translations were necessary to complete this project?
Hundreds of scholars have invested countless hours in the production of good translations. In the development of an easy-to-read wording for Eyewitness, translators’ handbooks and more than fifteen popular translations, as well as the Greek and Hebrew texts, were considered.

7. Is the Bible flawed in presenting the life of Christ in four separate books?
No, not at all. Each author’s report has its own perspective and meets a different audience need. Matthew points to the fulfillment of ancient prophecies to prove Jesus was the Son of God. Mark, the shortest of the Gospels, is the quickest to read. Luke, being a physician, gives many important details. And John adds clarity, chronology, and new information. Eyewitness was written for those who don’t read the Bible and for people who are helped by seeing how the story unfolded, chronologically.

8. Why do you think Eyewitness appeals to people who seldom attend church?
Even professed atheists and agnostics have questions about the meaning of life and what happens after we die. Eyewitness isn’t a book of difficult-to-understand rules that threatens punishment if we don’t do everything exactly right. The life of Christ is presented in a way so people can easily understand the value of loving our enemies and helping people in need.

9. Where can we find out more or purchase a copy of Eyewitness?
Please feel free to visit my web site at www.eyewitnesstools.com.

That's my post for today.

Janey DeMeo M.A.
Follow me on Twitter.
www.orphansfirst.org
www.JaneyDeMeo.com

Friday, December 04, 2009

How does the largest animal sacrifice relate to Orphans First?



What does the largest animal sacrifice in the world, Orphans First and tonight’s event here in Southern California have in common?

Recently, 250, 000 animals – including many bulls and lambs – were recently slaughtered in Nepal in some cruel frenzified ritual to appease one of the 300, 000 Hindu gods. Yep, this goddess requires blood.

And so does the real, Living God. Only He shed His own blood so that we could be free from the guilt of sin. The Lamb of God – Jesus, God’s son -- yielded His life to sacrifice so we could be saved by choosing Him. That is indeed freedom.

But what does this have to do with our special event tonight? Or with the work of Orphans First? To find out, read my latest article in Assist News Services.

Thank you for stopping by. New post again in a few days.

Janey L. DeMeo M.A.
Copyright © December 2009

www.orphansfirst.org
www.Janey.DeMeo.com
Follow me on Twitter.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Blind Side -- movie & true story

This now rates among my top, most favorite movies. FABULOUS. I warn you, bring a box of tissues. You'll cry (unless you don't have a heart).

Sandra Bullock gives a wonderful performance. She is simply brilliant. The story is true, and the way it's acted, it rings true. Personally, I thrive on this kind of stuff, this kind of motivational story. It makes me realize I could do so much more, if I lay more of me aside. If we all did the kind of thing we see in the movie and helped a child in need, the world would be very different. And so would we.

I've posted the trailer to whet your appetites. Let's think of helping change a child's life this Christmas. Join Orphans First and help needy children through our Orphans First Christmas Program. Thanks.



Read some pertinent reflections on The Blind Side from my friend, Dallas Jenkins here. He reminds us that there's a spiritual battle going on in Hollywood, that those who dislike true philanthropy -- Christ-centered sacrificial goodness -- scoff to discredit it. Let's all support this wonderful film and show that we believe in being Jesus' arms and legs here on earth. By His grace.

Janey DeMeo
Copyright © November 2009
www.orphansfirst.org
www.JaneyDeMeo.com
follow me on Twitter

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Christmas Miracles


Award-winning writer Cecil Murphey is the author or co-author of 114 published books, including the NY Times bestseller 90 Minutes in Heaven (with Don Piper) and Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story (with Dr. Ben Carson). He’s also the author of When Someone You Love Has Cancer and When God Turned Off the Lights, both 2009 releases. Murphey’s books have sold millions and have given hope and encouragement to countless readers around the world. For more information, visit www.cecilmurphey.com.

(Atlanta, GA) Many ordinary people experience Christmas miracles—those special moments during the season of giving and receiving when Christmas becomes more than just a holiday. In Christmas Miracles (St. Martin’s Press, October 2009), Cecil Murphey and Marley Gibson share the stories of those who have recognized the special moments that transcend daily experience and transform their lives.

In these stories, people overcome desperate situations through a miraculous twist of fate—all during the most wonderful time of the year. A young boy sits down to read a Christmas book and discovers that his learning disability has vanished. A woman stranded in a blizzard is rescued by a mysterious stranger who she suspects is an angel. And a woman living far from home gets an answer to her prayer in the form of an unexpected gift.

Bestselling author Cecil Murphey says, “We all face discouraging times, whether it's the lack of money, being stuck on a road in a snowstorm, feeling stress, or being hungry and homeless. But God's help is available. I want readers to see that miracles do happen—sometimes simple, unexpected blessings or those that involve the supernatural. We start by asking, and in strange and wonderful ways God tiptoes into our dark nights; we experience renewed joy in life and witness God in action through people and unexpected events.”


Interview with Cecil “Cec” Murphey by Marley Gibson

Co-authors of Christmas Miracles, from St. Martin’s Press

I am extremely privileged to have the opportunity today to talk to my friend and co-author, Cecil “Cec” Murphey, and to chat about our upcoming book, Christmas Miracles.

Marley: Cec, thanks for spending some time with me today.

Cec: Marley, it's great that you could take time away from important things like making a living to spend a little time with me.

Marley: I’m so jazzed about our Christmas Miracles book that’s coming out soon. I’ve had a lot of questions from folks wanting to know how we met, what brought us together, etc. So, I thought we’d do a back and forth on how it all came to be. Of course, I have to give props to our amazing agent and friend, Deidre Knight, for bringing us together. For those of you who don’t know, Cec co-authored the runaway New York Times bestselling hit 90 Minutes in Heaven with Don Piper.

Cec: I have to say thanks to Deidre Knight as well. Between Deidre and my assistant, Twila Belk, I've been able to sell quite a few books. 90 Minutes in Heaven has been my big book. I'm also proud of a book I wrote in 1990 called Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story. The book has never been out of print and has hit close to four million in sales. Early this year, Cuba Gooding Jr. starred in the made-for-TV film version.

Marley: That’s amazing! You are truly prophetic and definitely “the man behind the words.” Now, people ask how we teamed up. Sadly, there was a personal tragedy that brought Cec and me together as friends.

Cec: True. In early 2007, our house burned and our son-in-law died. Aside from the grief over Alan, we lost everything. Deidre and Jan, my-then-assistant, sent the word out of our tragedy without telling me. I'm immensely grateful for every gift people sent, but I probably wouldn't have admitted I needed help and wouldn't have asked. They taught me how much we need other people.

Marley: Deidre put out a call to other clients of The Knight Agency, to help Cec and his family out in any way in their time of need. At the time, my company was moving and we were cleaning house. We had a ton of office supplies that we were either going to throw away or give to some of the charities the company worked with. I got my boss’ permission to send a large care package to Cec…full of office supplies for him to re-stock his writer’s office. You name it…post-its, staples, paper clips, pens, pencils, markers, white out, ruler, scissors, paper, notebooks, notepads, envelopes, a laptop case, tape, glue, folders, binder clips…etc. A veritable potpourri of office delights. I was hoping that it would help Cec have a sense of getting his office back so he could keep working.

Cec: Marley's gift was the most unexpected I received. We hadn't met, although Deidre Knight had spoken of her many times and kept telling me she was wonderful. I wonder if you can imagine what it was like for me to open that box from someone I didn't know. I saw all those practical things for my office and yelled for my wife. I felt as if I were reading a first-grade book. "Look! Look and see! Oh, look!" I was overwhelmed by the gift and even more to receive it from a stranger. Those supplies were the most practical gift anyone could have given me. I'm still using black paper clips and red folders from Marley.

Marley: Awww…thanks, Cec! I didn’t have to think twice about doing it. Writing is such a solitary “sport,” but the writing community always astounds me with how they help their own. Not long after that, over plates of spinach and Gouda omelets, Deidre introduced me to Cec in person and I was thrilled to finally meet the man behind the words. Deidre knew we needed to work on a project together and thus began our brainstorming. What did you think of that first meeting, Cec, and cooking up the idea to work together?

Cec: Deidre and I had already spoken about a Christmas book and I had some idea about what it should contain, but nothing had come together. One day Deidre told me that Marley was coming to visit her and she wanted us to work together on a Christmas project. Marley and I talked before we ate and again during the meal. Everything felt right to me. I knew my strengths and Marley knew hers (and Deidre knew both of us). Everything clicked. Marley, a far better networker than I am, immediately sent out the word for submissions. Within days she had almost four times more than we could use. (She read every one of them!)

Marley: I was truly impressed with the submissions we received and it was hard narrowing it down to the ones we chose for the book. We’re fortunate to have such a go-getter agent in Deidre Knight. Cec, can you share how the whole idea of Christmas Miracles came about and what you thought of the project originally?

Cec: For me, it actually started while I was on the rapid-rail train from the Atlanta airport when I listened to teens talk about Christmas and it was mostly about gifts. I had the idea then, but nothing really came together. Months later when Deidre I and had a meeting, she brought up the idea of a compilation and mentioned my working with Marley. I've been Deidre Knight's client since 1997 and I've learned to listen carefully when she comes up with an idea. I said yes before she gave me all the information.

Marley: That’s the truth about Deidre! Getting back to those submissions, I want to say we got more than two hundred submissions for Christmas Miracles. So many wonderful stories to read through and select for the book. It was a challenge to pick and choose which ones were right for the book, but I loved every minute of it. After I chose the entries that would go into the book, Cec toiled long hours editing the works for a unified voice. What was the biggest challenge you found in the editing process, Cec?

Cec: I've been a ghostwriter and collaborator for twenty-plus years and this was a switch to give the book a unified voice—which was mine. It would have been easier to stay with each writer's voice, but the book—like many compilations—would have been uneven in tone and quality. When I discussed this via email with our delightful editor, Rose Hilliard, she was (to my surprise) familiar with my work. She told me she liked the warm tone of my writing and that I don't waste words. "That's the voice we want," she said. It still wasn't easy, but it was an exciting challenge. After Marley and I agreed on the stories and gave them that unified voice, our editor pulled six contributions. Although different, Rose felt they were too similar to other stories.

Marley: Can you give our readers a preview of the book? A favorite story perhaps…or one that moved you to tears? (I have to say the little boy who wished for nothing but to be able to read a book all the way through because of his stutter had me bawling when I read the submission.)

Cec: That's not fair! I liked them all. The one that touched me most, however, is the last story in the book, "Sean's Question." We had almost finished the book and I was teaching at a conference in Florida. I felt we needed one strong story at the end. Despite all the good ones, I didn't feel fully satisfied to conclude the book. On the last day of the conference, I met a conferee named Sara Zinn for a consultation. As we talked, I mentioned Christmas Miracles and that I still needed one more story. "I have a Christmas story," she said and told me about Sean. As I listened, tears filled my eyes—but, being the macho type I am, I was sure it was an allergy. Sara wrote the story, and it became the one I sought.

Marley: Oh yes…that one is an emotional one all right. It was meant to be in the book because of how you met at the conference. Now, you and I have both had challenges in our lives that others might have found too much to take, but we are both very strong in our faith and our relationship with God. How do you think Christmas Miracles is going to help others feel closer to God and experience His miracles in their own lives?

Cec: Awareness and appreciation are the two things I want readers to grasp. Awareness means for them to realize that they're never totally alone in life. Those unexpected, out-of-the-ordinary events remind us of that. Appreciation means to be thankful for what we already have. Too often, and especially at Christmas, we focus on what we'd like or what is supposed to make us happy. Christmas Miracles gently reminds readers of both.

Marley: In this day and age when our country is fighting two wars, unemployment is high, and a lot of people have a lack of hope and faith for their future, what do you want readers of the book to take away from Christmas Miracles and how can the stories in our book help provide comfort to those struggling?

Cec: I want readers to see that miracles do happen—sometimes simple, unexpected blessings or those that involve the supernatural (as in one of Marley's stories). I call myself a serious Christian. For me, the world's greatest miracle began with the birth of Jesus. Regardless of a person's religion, this book encourages readers to think about life during the Christmas season and see that life as more than gifts and celebrations. It's also a reminder that God loves us and hears our needy cries.

Marley: Beautifully put, Cec, and I couldn’t agree with you more. Can we share what’s next after Christmas Miracles? J

Cec: Why it's the Cec and Marley show, of course. Because of our go-getter agent and our enthusiastic editor, we've already received thumbs up for The Christmas Spirit. This will be stories of people who express the true spirit of Christmas by acts of love and kindness, for release in the fall of 2011.

Marley: And I can’t wait to start working on that project! Thank you so much for your time, Cec, and answering my questions. It was a privilege and honor to work with you and I look forward to our future projects together. You’ve helped me along during a trying time and I appreciate your friendship and support.

Cec: I liked this project because Marley had to send out the word, collect submissions, read them, and discard the weaker ones. I get to see only the better-written stories. (Don't tell her that I have the better job.) Although I mentioned only one story, all of those in the book touched me because of the poignancy of their situations and the miraculous answers. I won't say the stories increased my faith, but they increased my appreciation for the delightful mix of human need and divine intervention.

Marley: Thanks again, Cec! God Bless! And to our readers, please be sure to pick up a copy of CHRISTMAS MIRACLES, out October 13, 2009 from St. Martin’s Press. It’s a great stocking stuffer or gift basket filler. We hope you, too, will discover your own Christmas Miracles in your life.

Marley Gibson is a young adult author whose first published books in the Sorority 101 series were released by Penguin Group in 2008 under the pen name of Kate Harmon. She has a new Ghost Huntress series with Houghton Mifflin written under her own name. She can be found online at www.marleygibson.com.

Leave a comment for a chance to win the Christmas Miracles gift basket.
Wouldn’t you love to take home this amazing basket filled with Christmas goodies galore? This amazing gift basket contains everything you’ll need to make your Christmas holiday a success. Inside you’ll find a stocking stuffed with hard candies, kitchen towels and oven mitts, seasonal potpourri, holiday-colored candles, stuffed animals that talk, snowman candle, nutcrackers, Christmas ornaments, gift bags, gift tags, gift bows, ornament hangers, Christmas cookie cutters, a Merry Christmas doorstopper, a picture frame, Christmas cards, Santa ear muffs, and not just one, but two copies of Cecil Murphey and Marley Gibson’s Christmas Miracles

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Search for God and Guinness

Some Christians might wonder how The Search for God and Guinness: A Biography of the Beer that Changed the World by Stephen Mansfield fits in with Christian literature. Truth is, it’s much more than a beer story. It is a delightful history book plunging us back to Ireland in the late 1700s and showing us how one family changed the destiny of many.

While leading us step-by-step into the development of Guinness beer—a beverage discovered haphazardly and which provided a safe and healthy alternative to high-alcohol drinks and toxic waters—the author highlights the prolific achievements of the Guinness family.

The Guinness family affected every realm of society, partly because of their diverse career choices (brewers, bankers, preachers and politicians), but mostly because of their generosity. The family brewery business provided more than a healthful drink which would quickly became world-renowned: it also served as a springboard for numerous philanthropic undertakings.
The Guinnesses took great care of their workers—raising their standard of living considerably. And they also took care of the poor.

In spite of a few Guinnesses whose poor choices disgraced the family name, the family left a legacy of noble benevolence. And a healthful drink.

I’m a Thomas Nelson Book Review Blogger: http://brb.thomasnelson.com/

Janey L. DeMeo
Copyright © November 2009
www.orphansfirst.org
www.JaneyDeMeo.com

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Halloween – to do or not to do, that is the question.

It’s that awkward time of year. Awkward because gazillions of Christians don’t know what to do with this very-Americanized fave holiday – Halloween.

Parents are especially perplexed. Those who know the roots are satanic (and they really are which I’ll tell you about further down) the big dilemma of, “How can we keep our kids from feeling deprived and not honor a satanic ritual?” arises. And for those who don’t have a clue about the meanings behind Halloween’s rituals, simply can’t imagine what all the fuss is about.

Living in France for so many years, I didn’t face this problem. Halloween was no more significant than a spider’s web – excuse the metaphor!

Coming to America, I was stunned. So much money, so much hype and effort and time – for a “satanic” holiday. Then I came to my senses a little and realized that Halloween is a great time to just honor God and do His work, or have harmless fun without magnifying the works of darkness. A lot of churches (at least where I live) have caught on to that. They present Harvest Parties on, or around, October 31st. And they are one heck of a load of fun.

I’ve volunteered to do kids’ games at some of those parties. You get kids turn up as ghosts, witches etc. And you get others turn up as Bible characters. I love all the kids however they look and let them enjoy the game and candy. Sometimes I have an opportunity to share something about Jesus. Either way, the kids are there, at church, not out knocking on doors. So it’s a safe place and a good alternative—and they’re surrounded by good vibes.

If you want to learn of creative, fun ways to teach children during Holiday seasons of any sort, check out my book, Heaven Help Me Raise These Children!—Biblical Direction for Practical Parenting Issues.

Let me also introduce you to two great resources on Halloween. First, check out the DVD by Chuck Smith and Don Stewart at The Word for Today (see sample clip below).



And for some well-balanced tips on how to celebrate Halloween, check out the Precious Holidays blog.

Finally, if you like to dress up at this time of year, or anytime, try a rad temporary hair color (it washes out) and help charities at the same time. Check out Zach’s Wax.

See you again soon. And Happy Harvest.

Janey L. DeMeo M.A.
www.orphansfirst.org
www.Janey.DeMeo.com
Follow me on Twitter.

Monday, October 12, 2009

When God Turned Off The Lights by Cec Murphey



It's not often I get to present a book by someone who's impacted my life for years as a mentor and a friend--renowned author, Cec Murphey. Cec is a man of prayer, a realist and one of the finest writers I know. Before discussing his new book, When God Turned Off the Lights, here's some what you might want to know about the man behind the words.

Award-winning writer Cecil Murphey is the author or co-author of more than 100 books, including the "New York Times" bestseller 90 Minutes in Heaven (with Don Piper) and Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story (with Dr. Ben Carson). He's also the author of When Someone You Love Has Cancer and Christmas Miracles, both 2009 releases. Murphey's books have sold millions and have brought hope and encouragement to countless people around the world.

Is it possible that God would use a time of spiritual loneliness and isolation in our life as an answer to our prayer for "something more?" That's what happened with best-selling author Cecil Murphey. In When God Turned Off the Lights (Regal, September 2009), he openly shares from his journey that seemed to be stalled in darkness.

Murphey decided to write about his months of seeking God in the darkness because he suspected his situation wasn't unique. "If this happened to me, a rather ordinary believer, surely there are others out there who have wept in the isolated blackness of night and wondered if they would ever see God's smile again."

Murphey could have handled this topic as a theologian and given pages of heavy, hard-to-read advice, but he chose to write from his heart and expose it for the readers to see. He talks honestly and shares his skepticism and frustration. He asks hard questions. And he lays out the steps of healing that brought him back to the light.

When God Turned Off the Lights is a book for those of us who ask, "What's wrong with me? Why are others living in the sunlight while nothing but dark clouds and darkness envelop me?" Readers will learn:

* Why God turns off the lights
* Why we have to have dark nights
* Why asking "why" isn't the right question
* What's worse than going through the darkness
* How to feel worthwhile and accepted by God

Each chapter of When God Turned Off the Lights ends with an inspirational personal quote from Cec. Here's a sampling:

Although it may seem as if God is asleep when we go through deep darkness, could it be that God is most watchful in the moments of our despair?

Could it be that moving from why to what might take us one more step closer to the light?

Our task is to hang on. We wait until God takes us off hold and deals directly with us again.

God's provision is based on unconditional love - not on my faithfulness.

Here's more to whet your appetite for this great book.

What to Do When the Lights Go Out by Cec Murphey

If you sincerely desire to follow Jesus Christ, life won't always be easy. Many times the Bible promises victory, and you may need to remind yourself that there can be no victory without struggling and overcoming obstacles.

In my book, I used the image of God turning out the lights because that was how I perceived the situation. I felt as if I walked in darkness for 18 months. We all interact differently with God, and my experience won't be the same as yours. Even so, most serious Christians have times when God seems to turn away or stops listening. And we feel alone.

Perhaps it's like the time the Israelites cried out to God for many years because of the Egyptian oppression. "God heard their groaning, and he remembered his covenant promise...and knew it was time to act" (Exodus 2:24 NLT). God hadn't forgotten, of course, but from their perspective, that's how it must have seemed. It may seem like that to you if you're going through your own form of darkness.

Here are a few suggestions to help you:

1. Ask God this simple question: "Have I knocked out the lights by my failures? Have I sinned against you? After you ask the question, listen. Give God the opportunity to speak to you.

2. Don't see this as divine punishment (unless God shows you it is), but consider the silence an act of divine love to move you forward. This is God's method to teach you and stretch you.

3. Avoid asking why. You don't need reasons and explanations--and you probably won't get them anyway. Instead, remind yourself that this temporary darkness is to prepare you for greater light.

4. Say as little as possible to your friends. Most friends will want to "fix" you or heal you and they can't. They may offer advice (often not helpful) or make you feel worse ("Are you sure everything is right between you and God?").

5. Stay with the "means of grace." That is, don't neglect worship with other believers even if you feel empty. Read your Bible even if you can't find anything meaningful.

I chose to read Lamentations and Psalms (several times, especially Lamentations) because they expressed some of the pain and despair I felt.

6. If you don't have a daily prayer time, start one. Perhaps something as short as three minutes--and do it daily. Talk honestly to God. It's all right to get angry. (Read the Psalms if you're hesitant.)

7. Remind yourself, "I am in God's hands. This is where I belong and I'll stay in the blackout until I'm ready to move forward."

8. Pray these words daily: "But who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults" (Psalm 19:12 TNIV). Some versions say "secret sins." These are failures and sins of which you may not yet be aware. One of the purposes of your darkness may be to bring those hidden problems to light.

9. Ask God, "What do you want me to learn from this experience?" You may not get an answer, but it's still a good question. Continue to ask--even after the lights go back on again. If you're open, you will learn more about yourself and also about God.

10. As you receive "light" about yourself while walking in darkness, remind yourself, God has always known and still loves me.

When God Turned Off The Lights would made a great gift for anybody. Buy it now to add to your Christmas stockings.

Janey L. DeMeo M.A.
www.orphansfirst.org
www.JaneyDeMeo.com
Follow me on Twitter.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Floods in India -- Pray for Orphans First in India

The floods in Andhra Pradesh, India are lethal. I've not heard news from our children in Grace Home India (details under our page on Guntur, India on Orphans First website). I'm concerned. Please pray. Here's an Indian news clipping showing the gravity of the floods.



My article on Muslims buying people into Islam will appear on CBN.com's front page on Wed. Oct. 7th (today for some of you reading this).

Janey DeMeo M.A.
Copyright © October 2009
www.JaneyDeMeo.com
www.orphansfirst.org
Follow me on Twitter.

Monday, October 05, 2009

More about West Africa & the Islamic overtake -- & Orphans First


We are still working towards a new children's home in West Africa. This picture is of some precious slum children in Benin where Orphans First has a children's ministry -- but not yet a home. Details on the Orphans First website.

My article about how Muslims are buying people into Islam--something we discovered during our recent trip to Western Africa--has now been published as a reprint at CBN. Read it here.

As for the little deaf boy, Yohanes, he is now in school (not a school for the deaf, sadly, but a Christian school where he'll at least play with other children and eat once a day). I'll post pics of him soon.

Thanks for reading this blog and praying. I'll be posting some reflections and book reviews again soon also. If you want to be in the loop about Orphans First, my writing ministry or anything else that God has entrusted to me, follow me on Twitter.


Janey L. DeMeo
Copyright © October 2009
www.JaneyDeMeo.com
www.orphansfirst.org

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Expanded Bible: New Testament (NKJV)


The Expanded Bible: New Testament (NKJV) published by Thomas Nelson is a unique tool designed for people hungry to grasp the fuller meaning of Scripture while they read—without having to open a concordance or Bible notes. It simplifies Scriptural understanding by offering alternate wording to clarify. (Not to be confused with the Amplified Bible which focuses more on translation possibilities.)

The Expanded Bible weaves an expanded explanation of the Scripture within the actual NKJV text, yet the two are easily distinguished by the use of bold and non-bold type. This feature allows the reader to read either the Scripture only, or the Scripture plus the additional expansion of the text, depending on how far they want to open the passage. It also makes for easy readability, as does also the clean page layout and easy-to-read font.

The Expanded Bible is a comfortable size and the cover durable with a sober, scholarly appeal.

However, this Bible might not work for everyone. Some people may find the additional interwoven material—and the interacting change of typeface—interrupts the flow of their reading and makes it laborious.

I’d recommend this Bible for pastors and laity alike, but not good for someone who just wants to read Scripture uninterrupted.

Janey L. DeMeo
Copyright © September 2009
www.orphansfirst.org
www.JaneyDeMeo.com

I review for Thomas Nelson Book Review Bloggers

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Muslims Buying People to Islam in Africa

Yep, you read the title correctly. And I mean Muslims are literally buying Africans into Islam. Read more on that in my recent article published by Assist News Services.

Let's pray for Africa and indeed the entire world as Islam tries to take over with an aggressive strategy.

On a more positive note, I'm excited to announce that our contacts in Ghana have made the right connections for us to be able to provide schooling for the little, fatherless deaf boy we met (I wrote of him in earlier posts in July while I was in Africa). For $ 50 per month, we can provide his schooling. Let's pray God raises up a sponsor for him.

For more info on our work in Africa, India, Europe or any other parts of the world, please visit Orphans First and browse the pages.

Feel free to sign up to receive Orphans First Prayer Requests.

Thanks for stopping by.

Janey L. DeMeo
September 2009 © Copyright
www.orphansfirst.org / www.JaneyDeMeo.com
Follow me on Twitter.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Witches on the Loose

Over the past month or so, I’ve been to Ghana, Togo and Benin in Western Africa, to several states in the USA and to Mexico twice. (Yep, been busy!) I’ve seen a lot of sadness, poverty and evil in those places. But the weirdest so far was on Swami’s Beach in So California. Witches. Yep, you read it right. Witches.

I was sitting there with my Italian friend, Katia, chatting about the Bible when I spotted what I thought was a mirage. (After all, it was hot and the sun was shining brightly.) I squinted in hopes of adjusting my vision. But Katia confirmed I was seeing fine. This was no mirage. This was some weirdo dressed in a long black robe, with very long, jet black straight hair, a wand and some charms.

The “person” was marking territory and chanting – moving in a sort of frenzied jive as if animated by an overcharged battery. Seemingly casting spells.

I later saw the witch with a man dressed in white. He looked like another witch. They were further up the beach and had planted posts and strung charms on them. They were swishes the ground as if casting more spells. It seemed the white character was training the black one. Most bizarre! But then again, to be expected at Swami’s beach, right next to the Self Realization Center.

My friend was shocked. “How can there be witches?” she said. . “Why would someone willfully follow evil?” I couldn’t answer that. But I did explain that evil-followers are plenty – including well-known names. For example, Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin is a renowned follower of Black Magician Aleister Crowley. Allusions to the Greek god, Pan, refer to Lucifer. Songs such as Most High mock Jesus Christ and honor darkness. (More info here.

My friend was shocked and I wanted to put her mind at rest, remind her that she was a child of the Light. I explained that as a follower of Jesus, she had nothing to fear. The evil one cannot touch us unless we invite him. Greater is He who lives in the hearts of those who’ve invited Him to be their Lord and Savior than he who is in the world. We walk through the valley of the shadow of death here on earth, but we need fear no evil. But neither must we be naïve about its workings.

No, we must not be shocked that there are those who choose to follow darkness. Rather, we must be sure that we do not propagate it unawares, that we are not flirting with darkness by pushing boundaries, by taking liberties God doesn’t want us to take, by keeping a foot in the world, by embracing all that Hollywood produces and letting filth and evil through our eye gates.

How do we do this? Simply follow Jesus every day, one day at a time. We die to self daily, taking up our crosses to follow Him. Simply. Reading His Word. Praying. Seeking Him. Sharing Him. Inquiring of Him and asking Him to shed His light in the dark areas of our souls. We ask Him to help us. We cannot do it of ourselves, for our souls cling to the dust. But we can do it with Him and through Him. So let’s choose life.

“This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19).

If you’d like to know how to change children’s lives through prayer, browse the Orphans First website. And join the Orphans First Prayer Chain.

Janey L. DeMeo
August 2009 © Copyright
www.orphansfirst.org / www.JaneyDeMeo.com

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Orphans First on YouTube

This is it. The Orphans First DVD. It needs to be updated (any professional volunteers?), but it'll give you a better grasp of the diverse impact Orphans First is making--especially if you haven't yet studied the website. You'll see children we've worked with over the years, glimpses of the different lands where we work and me (still in France at the time).

So, enjoy. And please pray for Orphans First.



Janey L. DeMeo
August 2009 © Copyright
www.orphansfirst.org / www.JaneyDeMeo.com

Friday, August 07, 2009

Led or Driven?

It’s taken longer to get back in the saddle since Africa than I’d expected. One reason is just the ever-increasing number of emails that needed attention upon my return—not to mention other issues. I was also exhausted. Not sure if it was the bout of sickness that tried to kill me in Benin and was secretly lingering and lurking somewhere deep within. Or if I’m just getting old. Probably a bit o’ both. Anyway, I’m slowly getting back in that ol’ saddle, which is why I’m blogging today.

Many issues are on my mind, not the least of which is how stupid some people are. I know. Not very polite of me. Not kind. But it’s true. Some people make the most stupid and selfish decisions and the repercussions are disturbing. So what am I beefing over now? The children of course. The innocent victims of people’s poor choices.

There are really only two ways to make a decision: Either you’re led by God (which usually means you’ve come to Him in prayer, sought His will in His Word, perhaps asked counsel from godly people, waiting on the answer until it seemed in obvious alignment with God’s will . . . ). Or, you’re driven by the flesh. And, trust me, the flesh is a hard task-master.

I am learning that it’s always better to be led by God than driven by the flesh.

“This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19).

I like this verse because it makes choosing easy. There are different choices before us. But only one is right. The one that God has chosen for us. That choice leads to life.

I also like this verse because I believe that if God requires that we “choose life,” then He must obviously make that “choose life” option clear to us. Or how could we choose? He makes His will known through the Bible, Scriptures. It’s up to us to find out what His will is. That means putting aside self-interest with His help.

So, why do I get so upset by those who make stupid choices? Because they are anything but life-giving. Take, for example, kids from divorced families whose parents choose whatever makes their own lives easy, regardless of their kids’ needs.

Just today I witnessed such a case. A parent moves the kids around from place to place, always looking for something better. Meanwhile, the kids have a strong dose of bitterness festering in their hearts. Parents make selfish choices as if they didn’t even have kids’ lives to consider at all. That is a choice of death. And it seems the children pay for it.

But there is one good thing I’m still learning about people’s “death choices.” They may make wrong choices but the story’s not over. And when it comes to kids, I feel a strong sense of advocacy coupled with a sense of inadequacy because I can’t do a whole lot to change what others choose for them. Or can I? Well, I can go back to the advocate in me and put it to work. I can pray.

Prayer changes things. Oh, it might not instantly change the situation thrust upon those kids. But as we persist in prayer, things will change in time. The kids’ hearts will become more tender, for one thing, in spite of their guardian’s poor decisions. Or the guardian may surrender to Christ—which would change a whole lotta things for the kids. Or God may close a door, block a way, thus sparing the kids from worse suffering. Whatever it is that God does as a result of prayer, He’ll do what’s best. And we’ll get changed in the process.

Prayer is never in vain. So, instead of griping about the unfairness I see, and the wrong choices others make that affect innocent kids, I’d best get praying.

If you’d like to know how to change children’s lives through prayer, browse the Orphans First website. And join the
Orphans First Prayer Chain
.

Janey L. DeMeo
August 2009 © Copyright
www.orphansfirst.org / www.JaneyDeMeo.com

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

More News Fresh From Africa

“What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?”

This question is simmering in my mind with new insights into its profundity. I am more and more convinced that Western Christians have lost sight of God’s imprint on their own soul. It’s been squelched by “stuff.’ But more on that another time. For now, back to what’s happening here in Africa.

The above pic is of some children in the slums of Cotonou, Benin (one comes to our Orphans First children’s club; the other is his neighbor).

Seems like years went by since I last wrote my blog. Time in Africa is a different dimension. And so much has happened since we first got here, I could write another book. We’re now back in Ghana. Tonight I’ll teach the women at a church in Tema. But for now, I’ll share a few highlights of our trip thus far.

It took way longer to get to the border for Togo. Five hours actually. We did stop by at a small, Christian school but still . . . the trip was way too long. And then another hour or so through the borders into Togo—an experience I have never enjoyed on any of my trips to Africa.

The children in the school were beautiful, happy and taken care of, and I’m not going to talk about them here. Rather, I want to tell you about a little boy whose solitude tore my heart apart. (I’ll post his pic sometime once it’s downloaded from camera.)

I noticed him watching the school kids, wandering around in rags, scrawny and dirty. I tried to talk to him, but he looked at me blank. (Of course, I don’t speak Aiwai, but still, I figured he’d something.) Concerned, I inquired about him. He’s deaf and dumb. That’s why he’s not in the school. I’d like to do something about that. Please pray we can get this boy in school.

Going through the borders – Ghana, Togo, Benin, then Benin, Togo, Ghana – is like a trip into Hell. So much grime, pushing, bullying, poverty . . . and yet you can’t possibly help everyone. One old lady (looked to be 100 years old) walked with a huge, heavy basket of stuff on her head (that’s how women transport here, and often with babies on their back). Her flip-flops were ridiculously worn and she was skin and bones, draped in rags. The guards pushed her and bullied her as she tried to get through the borders. Louis told them, “Stop that. Let her through.” They did.

I wanted to catch her up to give her my flip-flops. I couldn’t get to her with the crowds pressing in. Oh well. My flip-flops probably wouldn’t have fit her anyway since my feet are small. I’ll find a kid here who needs them before leaving Africa.

African children are precious beyond words. The poverty is extreme and I pray we can step up the support and help many more children here via Orphans First. Some of the slums – I mean broken wood shacks maybe two & a half yards square – house families of seven. We visited several such slums and took photos which I hope to show on the website before long.

In Benin, we had to ride on the back of motorbikes to get to the slums. I knew my younger days as a motorbiker would come in handy some day. God wastes nothing. Anyway, the bikes were sort of fun in a scary way. I mean, they drive like they want to kill you. I knew we could die but then our lives are in God’s hands. But the most scary of all was to ride through filthy water left by the floods. Typhoid water. I can’t tell you how many times I wiped the splashes off thinking I might not live till the end of the week. But I did . . .

Louis preached in several churches in each country we were in. We ministered to hurting pastors and their wives, all very poor. I worked with kids, families, women. Much work to do here.

That’s all I have time for today. More later. Thanks for your prayers.

Janey L. DeMeo
Copyright © July 2009

www.orphansfirst.org
www.JaneyDeMeo.com
www.LouisDeMeo.com
www.twitter.com/JaneyDeMeo

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Fresh News From Africa (Orphans First)

So here I am in Accra, still feeling unusually tired (not a good sign, but oh well), staying in a $ 34 per night Baptist Guest House, and voilà—I have Internet access. Now how cool is that? (Not the bit about feeling tired, but the cyberspace connect.) The fatigue is probably just from traveling—hey, 4 planes over the weekend is a lot for me nowadays! Anyway, I want to thank all those who are praying for this trip. (Details can be found on the Orphans First Prayer Chain: orphansfirst.org).

As in India and most third-world countries, there’s always a love/hate struggle going on in my heart when I’m in Africa. Love because these Western Africans are lambs. They are meek and hungry for truth. Hate because of the squalor, filth, disease . . . It’s everywhere, of course, and unless you stay in a “normal” hotel (which we don’t), it’s in your face constantly. It always pinches my heart to think that these people live with nothing and we westerners have so much.

Tonight, Louis and I strolled up the street almost gagging on pollution from the cars, and trying to mind where we stepped because the rains have been heavy and just to step in water could give you typhoid. We came to a huddle of children and some adults. We asked if we could give the children some bread, which we did, and then gave a few other handouts to the adults. Nothing much really, but what was more significant is that we shared the Gospel and the response was positive. Seems it usually is in this part of the world.

Our pastor-friend from Benin traveled over two borders to meet us here in Ghana and will participate in a special pastor’s leadership conference tomorrow. While the men meet, I’ll probably spend time with the children in the Christian School in Tema, and I think I’m scheduled to teach the women. In the evening we have church. (Louis will preach). Then Wednesday, we plan to get to cross the border into Togo. Not a pleasant experience crossing borders. Sigh!

We first went to Togo some twenty years ago with folks from our church in France. I think it was there (or was it Ghana) that some mosquito set out to kill me. And kill me he almost did. I caught the worst strain of Malaria that exists, and almost died. (But since I’m here telling that tale, you know I didn’t.) Togo, like Benin and some twenty other countries in Africa, is French-speaking.

In Togo, Louis will preach at a few churches, and I’ll work again with children and women. Then, some time later in the week, we’ll go by foot again through the next border to Benin where Orphans First plans to start another children’s home and center. We’ll also teach, preach, work with children etc. But our main focus will be to look at potential land to start this new home. Prayers appreciated.

Well, that’s it for now. It’s likely I won’t have Internet access for the rest of the trip. Not sure. You know where to find me on Twitter (but I don’t think you can follow unless I accept you—and if I can’t get on the Net, I can’t do Twitter). If you don’t hear from me in a month, start worrying. Until then, just keep praying. And THANK YOU. A huge thanks for your prayers. (For recent prayer requests, go to www.orphansfirst.org and click on Prayer Chain.)

Janey L. DeMeo
Copyright © July 2009

www.orphansfirst.org
www.JaneyDeMeo.com
www.LouisDeMeo.com

Monday, July 06, 2009

God's Little Princess Devotional Bible by Sheila Walsh



I review books for Thomas Nelson publishers.

Here’s a book to show every little girl she is a princess in the eyes of Jesus. This delightfully bound gift book—adorned with a sparkly crown and gems—teaches little girls how to reign like royalty.

Walsh uses Scriptures, descriptive scenarios and suggested activities to teach little princesses how to represent and please King Jesus. They learn the importance of obedience, honor, inner beauty, humility, love, prayer, serving and true worship.

Simple illustrations in pastel colors, and pretty borders decorate each page. Children are encouraged to talk with God simply and often. Brief vignettes are creatively laced with Scripture and inspire little princesses to enjoy their role as Jesus’ princess.

Although I highly recommend this book, I am disappointed by its shortsightedness. The author emphasizes the parents’ role, but does not make allowances for the thousands of orphans and foster children in America (and indeed worldwide). I wish she had found a way of including them and making them feel just as important—even without parents. (Pity that was overlooked. The book could otherwise have helped many neglected children feel like princesses.)

Overall, this is an excellent book for little girls aged 4 – 7 years.

Janey DeMeo M.A.
Copyright©July 2009

www.orphansfirst.org
www.JaneyDeMeo.com

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Orphans First in West Africa



Well, here we go again. Africa. Orphans First already has a children's program in Benin (French-speaking Africa). Now we're looking to create an actual children's home there -- something similar to Grace Home in India or our orphanages in Romania or Siberia. It will take a miracle, but then it always does.

The above photo shows children in our children’s club in Benin. (Hey, I know the quality of the pic is awful, but that’s what you get from a cheap, African camera.- They all come from impoverished families. Orphans First helps some of them with food and schooling.

So, Africa, here we come -- again. (And please lock up your 'squitos. I already had Malaria once thanks very much!)

I'll keep y'all posted on my plans, blogreaders. Meanwhile, check out some details on the Orphans First website.

Janey L. DeMeo M.A.
Copyright © July 2009

www.orphansfirst.org
www.JaneyDeMeo.com
www.twitter;com/Janey DeMeo
Janey DeMeo at Shoutlife.com

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Defying Autism



Here’s a subject dear to my heart because it affects so many children: autism.

Autism is increasingly prevalent among children today. More and more parents are frustrated and overwhelmed because they have an autistic child and don’t know how to best meet his or her needs, and still meet the needs of other family members at the same time. This book could really help. For a glimpse of the heart behind it, enjoy this interview with the author of Defying Autism, Karen Mayer Cunningham.

You have a real mix of talents in addition to being an author. Will you please tell us about yourself?

I am a stand up comic and speaker with a passion to impart truth and hope to people and to remind them that God is still purposed to have them move into their destiny.

Your new book, Defying Autism, is about your son, James. Will you tell us a little about him?

James is my first born, the apple of my eye. He was born right on time, perfect in every way. He progressed and hit all of the appropriate markers ahead of time. He was one of those vey easy babies that you could pass to anyone and he was still a happy baby. He was pointing and babbling at a year, and into everything!

He sounds adorable! At what point, did you start to notice that something was wrong?

We took James in for his 18-month check up and shots, after which his behavior took a dramatic, turn for the worse. When we brought him home, he would run to the same spot in the hall and stand with his back to the wall and slam his head backwards into the sheetrock. To say this was upsetting was an understatement, but then I thought maybe this is the dreaded terrible twos, or little boys are rough. So we would redirect him and send him on his way. The redirecting stopped working; it was though he could not stop behaving this way. He had many other strange habits, obsessive behaviors that began to appear. He would eat the little pieces of sheetrock, where he had actually put a hole in the sheetrock, he pulled the wallpaper off and ate it, he pulled up the corners of the carpet and ate the foam underneath it, he ate the rubber lining out of our car doors, he watched videos for hours standing in front of the TV.

What did you do? Who did you go to for help?

First we went to other parents of children. I owned a salon so I had the free advice every hour from women who had “already been through it”. I wanted to believe as they all said, that this is a phase, this is the two’s, little boys do strange things. We then went to professionals, pediatricians, speech therapists, ENT specialist, pediatric specialist, state agencies, MHMR and of course our church for lots and lots of prayer.

What can you tell us about autism?

Autism is a severely handicapping disorder that begins at birth or with in the first two and half years of life. For many years autism occurred in 5 out of 10,000 births, however since the early 1990’s the rate is now calculated at 1 in 150 births. Most autistic children are perfectly normal in appearance, but spend their time in disturbing behaviors, which are marked differently from those of normal children. They may stare into space for hours, throw uncontrollable tantrums, show no interest in people including their parents, and pursue strange repetitive activities with no apparent purpose. They have been described as living in a world of their own. Some autistic children have remarkable giftings in certain areas such as music or mathematics, and all need help.

What was your greatest fear?

My greatest fear was losing my child at five or ten years, or as an adult, to an institution. I would watch the movie Rain Main over and over again and assume that would be the best outcome for my son.

What was a typical day like for you and your family?

A typical day for us would be James up before we woke with a video in and grunting for what he wanted. He would only eat a few foods, several times a day he would throw up to let you know he didn’t want or like something.

Crying, tantrums and fits filled the day from sun up to bedtime. His fits had no beginning and sometimes it felt as if there would be no end. In the spring of 2000, when he was almost 6, he was still in a diaper, on a bottle and only spoke 20 words.

Did school help James?

School did help James; he did much better with a strict structured environment. The opposite of that however, is that it is hard to duplicate that environment at home with a family. School helped James academically, but not emotionally or socially.

Did church help James, or you?

Unfortunately, church did not help James at all. My husband and I were music ministers and would fill-in at churches that were looking for a fulltime staff person. This meant a lot of changes every few months – new locations, new staff, and new strange glares inferring what a bad mother I must be for my baby boy to behave in such a way. Church turned into a place I dreaded and had been such a place of family and belonging before.

What was the turning point for you in this journey?

Having heard the weekly cry of my heart for help for my child, one of my clients recommended a ministry team, a deliverance team, Gospel Revelation Ministries. I didn’t know what deliverance was, but I had no doubt I needed some. I went through personal deliverance and then followed with James in the spring of 2000. I was terrified but they said that God said he was going to be healed, so I stood with their faith. As we brought James into to the room for deliverance, he began to thrash and point to the door to leave, he was ready to go. The team prayed and laid hands on him. They said that the first demonic curse would have to go in Jesus’ name to the dry places. With that, my son reached his hand out and screamed, “come back, come back, come back, come back!!!” He was calling out for the demons that were leaving him. That was the turning point!

So, what was next?

The first thing I did was the most difficult. I changed my mind.

I changed what I believed that God could –and would – do if petitioned. I changed what I thought about the stories in the Bible. I changed my belief in what is available to us, TODAY, by the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.

When I began to be open to the truth of the scriptures, and not just what someone else said I should believe, or someone else’s interpretation of the scriptures for me, then…the Word of God began to truly be a light unto my path.

That was several years ago. How is James today?

James is wonderful! He is 15 years old going in to the 9th grade. He’s six foot tall and an amazing athlete. God’s promise is that he will restore our minds daily and James has caught up with remarkable speed. He is still about 2 ½ years behind academically, and in three resource classes, but is making up lost ground daily. He is completely healed from the oppression of autism.

What do the professionals say?

Doctors say it is something, maybe higher than what they have in the medical field. It is nothing short of a miracle!

What can families hope for who have children with autism?

Families can believe and stand for their loved one’s healing. Jesus is in the miracle working business. He healed James.

James’ story could be anyone’s story. I was not the “good” Christian, but I stood, no matter what, believing for my child’s healing. Your healing may be through diet, environmental changes, behavioral changes, or even the way James was healed. However it comes, do not waver from the promises of God. Exodus 15 says, “I am the Lord your God who heals all of your diseases.” He is Jehovah Rapha, our God who heals. If it is in His name, it is in His will!

Karen, where can our readers get a copy of your book, or find out how to have you come and speak for their group or organization?

They can find out more about my book and speaking information on my website at KarenMayer.org. I would love to hear from any of you who are dealing with autism in your family or among your friends. I hope you are encouraged by our story – that there is hope, healing, and freedom for your situation.

--Thank you Karen. Hope my readers check out your book.

Janey L. DeMeo
www.orphansfirst.org / www.JaneyDeMeo.com

Monday, June 22, 2009

Vanish by Tom Pawlik



Here’s an adult supernatural suspense novel I thoroughly enjoyed: Vanish by Tom Pawlik (Tyndale). A real pager turner. Here’s the gist of the story (hopefully, without any spoilers).

The protagonist, lawyer Conner Hayden (known by his wife as Connie), sees bizarre, white-eyed people—or shadows that waft like ghosts. He can’t decide if he’s losing his mind, sick or if something really weird is going on.

Conner finds himself plunged back into familiar scenarios from his past. Haunting scenes of his family as it once was before he separated from his wife and before his young son drowned, unfold like a movie, but also seem real. The wispy creatures seem tangible—not at all like in a vision. Is Conner stuck somewhere between death and life?

Conner also discovers that the whole population has vanished except him. The stores are empty, no cars on the road, no sign of life . . . He later meets another man, then a few other people who are in the same predicament as he is. With the exception of finding one another – at least for a season – they too are all alone in an empty world. They have lost friends, even family members. And they too experience flashbacks from their past, and see the ghostlike creatures.

One key character Conner meets is a young boy who seems to be lost, or orphaned. The boy later plays a key role later in connecting the dots between Conner’s failed past (divorce, irresponsibility, guilt etc.) and his relationship to God.

More than just an intriguing plot, this book thrusts you forward through the characters and their discoveries about themselves.

Buy your own copy of Vanish here.
And buy its sequel, Valley of the Shadow here.

Check out Tom Pawlik’s website here. http://www.tompawlik.com/

Check out reviews by other CSFF bloggers:
Brandon Barr
Justin Boyer
Keanan Brand
Grace Bridges
Karri Compton
Amy Cruson
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Karina Fabian
Alex Field
Beth Goddard
Todd Michael Greene
Ryan Heart
Christopher Hopper
Joleen Howell
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Julie
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Margaret
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Eve Nielsen
Nissa
John W. Otte
John Ottinger
Donita K. Paul
Epic Rat
Steve Rice
Crista Richey
Hanna Sandvig
Chawna Schroeder
James Somers
Speculative Faith
Rachel Starr Thomson
Robert Treskillard
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Phyllis Wheeler

Janey L. DeMeo
Copyright © June 2009
www.orphansfirst.org / www.JaneyDeMeo.com

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

The American Patriot's Bible



The American Patriot’s Bible – The Word of God and The Shaping of America, NKJV provides a historical overlook of America’s heritage. This delightful book is laced with inspiring accounts and powerful quotes underscoring how the faith of our forefathers shaped America—all strategically woven within the pages of the Bible.

The Bible is an easy-to-use tool with special features including: full-color family record section, a list of godly values that birthed America, appealing layout and artwork, presidents’ photos, a section on monuments and their inspiring inscriptions citing the forefathers adherence to biblical values . . .

The stories in this Bible—and the way they intertwined with Scripture—moved me profoundly.

I see only two weaknesses: First, I noticed some typos. Second, some evangelicals may shun this Bible because of where the President Obama’s picture is placed—in the same section as Martin Luther King. Although most would agree that the election of a partially black president is the historical fulfillment of Dr. King’s fight for racial equality, others would argue that present governmental policies are far removed from the kind of freedom King advocated, and thus consider the placement of the two men in the same section controversial and confusing. Hopefully, though, people won’t let this deprive them of owning a book worthy of any household library.

I am a member of the Thomas Nelson’s Book Review Blogger program.
Click here for a YouTube video featuring The American Patriot's Bible.

Janey DeMeo -- orphansfirst.org / JaneyDeMeo.com

Copyright©June 2009

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Bible Study Shut Down by San Diego County Officials

Yesterday I posted a link to my article on Religious Freedom Again Attacked in France -- a subject close to my heart. (I lived in France 22 years and felt the anti-God atmosphere daily.) American members of congress are concerned about new reports and bills being issued in France which tamper with human rights issues. You can read my article here at Assist News Services.

But, as I've said before many times, America is in deep waters. Just look at what's happening here. This is scary.


Today I learned of a San Diego pastor who is being prohibited from holding a Bible Study in his home. He can have a poetry meeting or hang with a bunch of folks to watch football -- but not a Bible Study. At least not without paying thousands of dollars for a Municipal Use Permit. I won't attempt to botch up the details by repeating them second hand. Best you read story in the San Diego news source here.

So, while I'm worried about religious freedom in my beloved France, I'm more concerned about what happens in America because it is more shocking. Wake up America! (And I don't mean as in "Good Morning America.")

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Religious Freedom in France Again Under Attack

Religious freedom in France is again under attack. Preposterous government reports endanger the liberty of individual—with a particularly biased penchant toward Christians. Read my latest article on this subject here (doused with glimpses of my own experience living in France where my family, church and I were targeted of the anti-religious freedom reports):

Read my latest article, Religious Freedom in France Again Attacked here on Assist News. Services.

Janey L. DeMeo
Copyright©May 2009

Friday, May 08, 2009

A Miserable Mother's Day

For some people, Mother’s Day will be a very cruel day—one that reminds them of the some agonizing pain they bear in their hearts.

Many of the half million foster children in America are in this bracket. And then there are those who’ve lost a child. None could feel worse than those whose child was abducted.

3-year-old Briant Rodriguez was recently abducted from his home. Two men broke into a home in San Bernadino, California, tied up a mother and her four children, stole some trivia--and then grabbed three-year-old baby Briant. It is feared they took him to Mexico where he could be used for porn or who knows what. Please pray for Briant, his siblings who’ve now been left permanently traumatized, Briant’s parents. 

If you need tool to just imagine a wee bit how terrible it must feel for a child to be ripped from his family, scared and alone, wrap your mind around this YouTube of a scared 4-year-old boy, crying because his mom left him. This is really just a commercial but the boys tears are real. It helps us imagine how terrible it must be for little Briant, even younger than the child in the YouTube, and completely separated from his family.


Baby deaths in Benin (Africa)
Recently in the vicinity of our Orphans First ministry in Benin, a mother died giving birth. The baby was given to the family who left it to die. The baby died of willful neglect. This scenario is typical in Benin where, when a woman dies in childbirth in Benin, the baby is then considered to be the cause and is thereby cursed.

In another scenario, a woman was giving birth to twins. Because she was poor, the hospital refused to help her. After our church friends prayed, the hospital finally yielded, but by this time the woman was in a coma. She finally gave birth, but one baby was already dead. The woman survived. Orphans First has since provided a little financial help for this woman and her baby.

What do these stories tell us?

We must not give up praying for a children’s home in Benin, and even for a medical center. The needs are huge but God has already provided some of the elements we need to start another an orphanage. Please continue praying for this. Pray for:
*churches to partner with us on this project,
*the total funding needed,
*for the infrastructure we already have in place to be solid.

To see our children’s ministries and orphanages, visit www.orphansfirst.org.

Janey L. DeMeo
Copyright © May 2009

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Carry on Carrie -- A Higher Crown's at Stake

Most people think Miss California lost the crown. I say she didn’t. Oh, she may have lost the Miss America crown. But, I believe a greater crown is waiting for her-—in Heaven.

Carrie Prejean, Miss California almost became Miss America but . . . she lost her crown because she expressed her honest opinion—one that most Californians agree with but which irked the judges.

Prejean lost her crown because, when Perez Hilton, a gay activist, asked her view on gay marriage, she told him. Only her opinion differed to his, which angered him. She was not unkind, nor offensive and certainly not condemning. She expressed what she believes, that marriage should be between a man and a woman. And she represented the voice of most Americans from her state she’s representing. For that, she lost her crown.

Carrie’s story stirs up troubling issues. Issues I’ve mentioned previously on this blog. America is losing her freedom. She’s losing her saltiness.

Carrie has repeatedly stated that she holds no personal vendetta against gays. She simply stated her own convictions based on her own gut—and her faith. But that was unacceptable. It led to spouts of verbal aggression rising from those who disagreed with Prejean-—mostly gays and liberals. What’s their beef? Why are they so driven, so bent on imposing their opinions on those of us who think differently than they do? What about freedom of speech-—the right to believe as you wish, and express it?

As a European now living in America for five years, I’ve seen the pattern of erosion. Little by little freedom is being chipped away, and fewer and fewer people are standing up to fight for it.

When my husband and I lived in France, we were “persecuted” for our beliefs. We were victims of some serious hate crimes. But we wouldn’t be bullied. We fought for religious freedom, and won the battle in several arenas. But that’s another story for another time. My point here though is simple: Let’s not kowtow to the agenda-driven bullies. Let’s fight for freedom. Consider the movie Braveheart. William Wallace lived fighting for freedom, and died shouting, "LIBERTY!” I believe we should be ready to do the same And the way America is headed, it just might come to that.

If you think I’m an alarmist, or if you’d like to know more about what’s happening in America and how our freedom is being taken from us, check out this website: loyaltoliberty.com. It might open your eyes.

Watch Carrie Prejean stand up for truth on TV in the trailer below.


Yes, Prejean lost her crown, but she honored her convictions. And it’s my guess a higher crown awaits her. May she maintain her status as a voice of truth, and never forget that it’s a small thing to lose a mere earthly crown to gain an eternal one

“Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Rev.2:10b).

“Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? . . .” (Mat.16:24-26).

Janey L. DeMeo
Copyright © April 2009

Friday, April 17, 2009

Susan Boyle – Britian’s Got Talent, Fairystory Come True.

I love the story of Susan Boyle-—so much so that I’ve almost memorized her interview on Britain’s Got Talent word for word, gesture for gesture. I’m hooked. And here’s why.

47-year-old Susan Boyle represents the most ordinary—-maybe even less than ordinary—-unhollywoodish, plain Jane you could ever meet (I know, she’s Susan, not Jane). She’s never been kissed, can’t find a job, apparently doesn’t care to cover her grey hairs or follow fashion, and certainly doesn’t believe in plucking her eyebrows. She is not comely on the outside and you’d certainly not expect her to have any talent. But talent she has. Real talent.

The look on the faces of the judges when Susan opened her mouth to sing was worth a million bucks (eh, pounds). Clearly they were taken off guard. Totally stunned. And no wonder. Susan’s voice and presentation were stunning. Her talent transcends words.

What I loved also about her song, other than her flawlessly pitched voice, were the words. She sang “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Miserables. The song ends with the line, “Now life has killed the dream I dreamed.” But Susan’s dream is anything but dead since her performance on the show. She is the center of the latest talent buzz. And I have a hunch we’ll be hearing a whole lot more about her, and from her.

See Susan Boyle’s stunning performance here.

Susan reminds me of Paul Potts, now a household name for classic opera lovers.
See his performance here.

What I love – what we all love – is that these “nobodies” are really somebodies. On the outside they look plain. On the inside, they hide an immense talent—and they are beautiful. Isn’t that the same with each of us? According to the Bible, everyone has at least one talent. And although we may not be given the chance Susan and Paul were given, and be able to exteriorize our talent in front of large crowds, God sees it and it is precious in His sight.

“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us” (2 Corinthians 4:7).

The important thing is to do the best we can with what we’ve got. “For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away” (Matthew 25:29). And if we do just that, leaning on Jesus all the way, our dreams will come true and unfold in ways we never even imagined possible.

“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9).

Janey L. DeMeo M.A.
Copyright © April 2009