George Whitefield- The Commissioning of an Oil Painting

The Story of Making a Book Unique

The publishing world is always interesting, but this last book on George Whitefield was especially interesting. It was definitely a lot of work, but rewarding, I must say. Many of you know I am a publisher as well as an author. I have an interesting publishing story to tell, so bear with me as  I veer from my normal posts on children.

This book was different in many ways from our more typical children’s books. But one difference was how the cover came about. This was a first. Never before he had I commissioned an oil painting for the cover of a book. We originally acquired this book because it had been in the hands of another publisher who was unable to complete the publication.

margo's whitefield 2_2 Before I continue, let me tell you a little bit about the book so you understand my concerns. This book is a complete biographical work on the life and ministry of George Whitefield, by Dan Nelson. Some of you may know who Whitefield is and some may have never heard of him, but you have all seen the effects of his ministry as some have referred to him as the father of evangelism. He was born in Gloucester, England and lived in the 1700s, about the time of John Wesley. Despite having an unusual eye that was dark and partially closed and a very atypical upbringing, his ministry was widespread with a reach throughout Great Britain and North America.

George Whitefield’s story is quite engaging. Even getting into college at Oxford was not the typical admission. He was the victim of ridicule, yet he ended up being one of the great communicators of all time. This is why we wanted to communicate carefully from the time the reader first laid eyes on the cover.

But back to our main topic of this blog, how we commissioned the painting on the cover. Did you ever wonder where the images on book covers and other designed pieces come from? They are usually purchased from companies that sell royalty-free images. Different companies may have different requirements for the use of these images, but it is definitely illegal to take an image off of the Internet and use it for a book cover because someone owns that image (unless it is old enough to be in public domain.) The owner is usually the person who created it.

I usually don’t design the covers for the LifeSong books, but I decided to design this one.

Because Whitefield lived in the 1700s, there are no current pictures of him, but there are many portraits and drawings from his time. Now, if you are familiar with copyright law, you know that a painting from the 1700s is in public domain. That means the copyright has expired and it is free to be used. So we settled on a delightful painting that seems to portray what we wanted for the cover of this great work and appeared to be a portrait from the 1700s.

Working on George WhitefieldThe book was ready to go to print. All seemed well, but one night this was gnawing on my mind and keeping me awake. The problem was that I had not been able to locate where this painting came from or who painted it. Of course, this concerned me because I knew I did not want to break copyright law. One evening, I sat at my quiet kitchen table and searched for close to three hours for this image. It was all over the Internet, but no reference as to where it came from.

Then Voila! The whereabouts of the George Whitefield painting and artist’s name popped up. It was located in the John Wesley Museum in London. In one sense, I felt relieved that it actually was an old painting, but in another sense, I was concerned because the museum declared ownership and there would be a fee to use the painting. I emailed the museum and never heard back from them. It is possible that if I had used the painting on the cover, no one would have cared. But I didn’t feel right about it. Plus, there are so many overused pictures of this man, the cover wouldn’t seem unique.

So, I shared this situation with my husband, Tim, and he asked me, “Why you get somebody to paint it?” I said, “Yeah, right! Like I know a museum artist that could paint a portrait like this?” Then I thought for a minute. I have a friend who was taking a portrait class and I had seen a sketch of hers and I was totally amazed at her ability to capture the emotion of the subject. The more I thought about this the more I got excited about the potential!

The next day I called Margo Ewing, and explained the situation to her and that I needed a painting of George Whitefield. After thinking about it, she got back to me the following day and said she would try, but reserved the right to not let it be used if she didn’t think it turned out well. I said, “Sounds like a deal.” So we settled on a price and she began to paint.

Every week she sent me the progress and I continued to get more excited each week. She did not copy the picture that I originally showed her but rather took attributes of his from several pictures. She was even able to put a candle in the picture which was meaningful since the title of the book is A Burning and Shining Light: the Testimony and Witness of George Whitefield.

Everyone who has seen the book cover has loved it, and it is great fun to have an original, commissioned oil painting that was turned into the cover of the book– a book that does not have a front cover picture that is in public domain. And, I am delighted to have designed a cover about such a man of purpose.

George Whitefield coverThe book has been out less than a month so this is all very recent. If you are interested seeing the cover enlarged, you can check it out at

We have discounted the books 20% which will be available for a while longer. But you can find them many other places as well.

A publisher’s life is never dull! Especially when you’re dealing with interesting authors and interesting book characters! And you never know what God will lay in your lap and see you through!


Finding Rescue in Discipline

actually, finding rescue everywhere...

Kid’s love the theme of rescue. Have you noticed? Cartoons, movies, video games… We all love stories of rescue… fables of the knight in shining armor, the person who brings gas to us when we run out on the freeway, the person who stands up for us when we are unable to speak for ourselves. Maybe it taps into our inherent need for eternal rescue.




I ran into a friend when I was picking up my granddaughter from her school yesterday. We were talking about the “rescue” theme and she relayed to me a concept that she had adopted with her kids. She described the process of discipline as “rescue.” Through discipline, parents rescue their kids from the imminent dangers of bad behavior. I had not thought of that before. They are rescuing them from the potential physical danger such as getting hit by a car if they play in the street or getting burned if they move too close to a fire. They are rescuing them from emotional danger and guilt if they do something to hurt another person.

But they are not only rescuing them from consequences. When parents discipline, they are also rescuing them from spiritual danger if they are out of alignment with God’s will for them or if they reject God’s authority in their lives. They rescue their children from displeasing God. This rescue has a far more extensive implication.

The message of rescue is an extremely prominent one in the Bible. This message begins in Genesis when God promises that he well send a “Rescuer” in Genesis 3:15. Revelation points to Jesus as the Savior of those that have followed Him. And all the books in between show example after example of how God rescues those He loves. How many examples of rescue can you think of in the Bible?

God is a Rescuer! To know the God of the Bible is to know His rescuing nature. This was ever present in my mind as I wrote: “To the Rescue.” The first words of the book are:

Save, rescue, free
His children big and small.
Worthy words were woven,
Recorded for us all.

The theme of rescue in our world is can be nail-biting, scary and tense. But in the Bible, we see rescue as LOVE “on steroids.” Noah, Jonah, Peter, Shadrack, Meshak, and Abednego are only a few of the people who knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that they had been rescued by God. The rescue that God does for us is unmatched by any of the most exciting movies, television or games. And all of us, who are God’s children, get to participate. When we know the living God, we get to participate in the best rescue of all by the best Rescuer of all!


ps. This is such a great and timely message that I am giving you a free book! Buy To the Rescue before Easter or Mr. Blue- a Job for Youand you will receive the other one free! Yes!

The Morning After

the 2016 election

It has been a long road. We have endured much in this 2016 election campaign. I see everything from disgust to elation, from rejoicing to riots in my Facebook feed and on the news on this day after the election. But one thing is for sure, we are all tired.

This 2016 election was painful for very many. It was full of anxiety and passion. And now, we have a new president. Some are happy some are depressed. Some are saying, “He’s not my president.” Some are flying on a cloud. I read one post this morning that simply stated, Can we just stop hating each other now?

Here are some more thoughts. I need to preface them with answering a few questions. Did I vote? Absolutely! Did I think this election was important? Absolutely! Will I tell you how I voted? Nope! Do I think we are to pray for new president. Absolutely!

The Bigger Issue

But I believe that is not the bigger issue. So many of us have been so wrapped up in this election, that we have forgotten, or at least compartmentalized, something really huge — that is that there is another Kingdom. That Kingdom is unseen, eternal, and without error. The King of the Kingdom is always perfect, always in control, and loves without ceasing. No matter how we feel about our earthly president, no matter how much we trust or don’t trust our earthly president, he has failed and will fail us again in some way because his human.

Let me remind you of God’s character. He is perfect, the definition of love, all-powerful, all-knowing, and is everywhere. He is faithful, he is just, he is holy, and he is sacrificial. There is no king or ruler like him and he will never change.

While I will do what I can to love and support my country, I know it is still a temporary kingdom. But God’s kingdom is forever. So what is my first and greater passion? —To be a part, and be a contributing part, of God’s Kingdom.

How to Help Your Kids

I guess we all do that in a different way. But one thing that is really important is to teach our kids about the God of that perfect Kingdom. In that kingdom they will learn that:

  • that Ruler is perfect
  • in that Kingdom they are loved
  • in that Kingdom they are secure
  • in that Kingdom they are forgiven
  • in that Kingdom they have hope
  • that King will never fail them
  • that King will grow them in time

This is my hope and prayer for all kids, as well as all Americans, that they know this King and are part of His kingdom.

So no matter how you feel about the 2016 election, turn your passions, your energy, and even your frustrations to lead your kids into hope… the hope that does not disappoint.


Mr Blue Characters Have Different Gifts

Free Download

Mr Blue Characters Have Different Gifts and Personalities

Each of true Mr Blue characters has his or her own personality. They are all gifted differently and you will grow to love them!

I am offering a FREE DOWNLOAD of the colorful characters and a scenery page. There are so many things you can learn about and do with Mr. Blue and his friends. Here are just a few:

  • Make finger puppets to play and role play
  • Make a mini-theater with a shoe box and some cloth
  • Mount the characters on popsicle sticks for play and role play
  • Cover the characters in clear packing tape to keep them clean and protected
  • Make a shadow box of the characters and related items for wall decor
  • Send me your idea of what you did with the Mr Blue characters!

Mr Blue a Job for You

The Mr Blue Characters were born out of a book called Mr. Blue a Job for You. Do your kids ever compare themselves to others and think they are not as good? Do your kids ever feel they have nothing to contribute? Do your kids really know that God has a special purpose for them? The Mr. Blue story will show them the answers to these questions. You can get Mr. Blue here.

Now for the FREE Stuff! Here is your free PDF download of the Mr Blue characters as well a the scenery page. Have fun with it. If you come up with any new ideas, let me know and I will share them here so everyone can try it.

Mr Blue Characters

Click here for PDF of Mr. Blue Characters and Scenery

If you want further description of the Mr Blue message and to get more free bonuses, here is a video that you can watch where I describe my story of why I wrote it. I also offer several free tools with a book purchase that you can use to help you child learn to live out God’s purpose in his life.

Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 9.17.54 AM

God’s best to you as you strive to help the kids in your life know God’s Purpose!


Feast That Beats All Feasts

The Greatest Feast of All

Who doesn’t enjoy a fabulous feast buffet with so many choices of delicious foods! The long table is wonderfully pleasing to our eyes before we ever even get the food to our plate and then to the table. And then when we get the fork to our mouths, we want it to last and last because it tastes so good, but our poor stomachs just won’t hold any more. Have you ever had that feeling?

I listened to a wonderful description of the celebration of the greatest feast ever. I really thought you would also enjoy it, so I am giving you the link here to Joni Eareckson Tada’s beautiful description. The mp3 is only 4 minutes but it will change your perspective for a lifetime!

A couple of months ago, I shared the Intersection of 2 Special Passovers. It was one of my most popular blogs. If you didn’t get to read that blog you may want to go back and read it and get the free Passover Parallels chart. We received the gift of communion at a very special Passover celebration.

Communion Feast

Just as Joni says, “…that word “feast” is a greatway to describe it, because the Lord’s Supper is a means of grace, when we come to Him in humility, acknowledging our sins and looking for help, and when we take the bread and wine, He imparts His own strength and spiritual life and He does so with extravagant abundance. Communion really does represent something big and abundant, because when Christ offered Himself as Passover, He poured out His mercy in a huge way. His is a banquet of grace, a buffet where you find joy, peace, kindness, courage, compassion, goodness, gentleness, self-control, patience, tenderness; how about perseverance, long-suffering, endurance and contentment, pleasure and so, so, so much more; never ending.”

May you enjoy this feast in an new way!



Choice to Rejoice?

How Do You Rejoice When Bad Things Happen?

Choice to Rejoice?

When you find yourself in the midst of a trial, what is your reaction? Anger, weeping, hopeless? Do you believe it is your choice to rejoice? Read on to hear a song that you will love, that is full of hope!

There’s a story of a young, 17-year-old girl who was on a group outing. She was active, promising, and blossoming, with her whole life ahead of her. She was an avid horseback rider who loved life and everything in it. Some would say it was a tragic day when she and her friends were swimming in the Chesapeake bay and she took a dive in shallow water. She hit her head on the bottom of the bay and was permanently quadripeligic.

Helpless and dependent as a quadriplegic, she lay in the hospital striker frame, wanting to die. In fact, she asked friends to help her take her life. She couldn’t even do that on her own. She felt hopeless and purposeless. Until one day, a friend read Scripture and spoke to her. That day she found a seed of hope.

You probably know who I’m talking about– the well-known, Joni Eareckson Tada. It has been many years since those days. Yet, still trapped in her quadriplegic body, she has been able to write books, host a radio show, sing, paint with her mouth, and run an organization that sponsors family camps and delivers wheelchairs all over the world to those whose life is changed forever.

Joni Eareckson Tada rejoices in her affliction. She claims hope in Christ and finds Scripture to help her reframe her circumstances. Joni does not call her accident day a tragic day! It is her choice to rejoice! She praises God for the life He has given her. She sees what God has been able to accomplish through her. She knows the truth of God’s soverignty without a shadow of a doubt. She counts herself as one of many who have found the favor of God in their adversity.

Several years ago, before I ever met Joni, I wrote a song about when and how we should rejoice. Do we rejoice when things are going well? Yes! Do we rejoice in uncertainty? Yes! Should we rejoice in trials? The Bible says, Yes! Do we have a choice to rejoice? Yes! The song is called, Choice to Rejoice.

Click the happy kids below to listen to the song!
choice to rejoice

Click on this link.




I hope this has encouraged you this morning. If you would like to have this song at your fingertips, you can purchase it on the 4-Ever His! CD, along with 7 other songs of encouragement.

Keep your great ministry to your family, your church, and among your friends going!


P.S. Amy Hurtado sang Choice to Rejoice on this recording when she was 12. She now works for Joni Eareckson Tada!

Passover Lamb Stories- There are Two, Actually 3

Significant and Interrelated

Two Passover Lamb Parallels

I have two really special Passover Lamb stories I want to remind you of this morning and then I want to show how they are connected in a very special way. But first, here is a free gift. (Be sure to read the rest of the blog to explain its significance.)

*Click Here For Free Passover Parallels Chart

The Israelite Slaves

The first story is the the story of the Israelites as slaves in Egypt. They were made to work hard, building bricks, and their masters were cruel. But God had a plan to rescue them. Moses was chosen to be their leader. When he repeatedly went to Pharaoh and asked for him to free the Israelites, Pharaoh repeatedly said “No.” So God gave the plagues of Egypt to the Egyptians to show Pharaoh that God was in control. Although they were all powerful, the last plague was the most dramatic. God sent an angel to kill all the firstborn babies and the firstborn animals of the Egyptians. But He spared the Israelites.

Passover Lamb

They were to sacrifice a lamb (Passover Lamb) and put its blood on the door posts of their homes. When the angel came through to kill the firstborn children, he would “passover” those houses that had the blood of the sacrificed Passover Lamb on the door posts, and spared the Israelites. Following that, God commanded the Israelites to celebrate Passover as a remembrance of God’s rescuing them. Don’t you just LOVE that theme of rescue throughout the Bible!

Our Passover Lamb

Now I have another story I want to remind you of. It happened the night before Jesus was crucified on the cross. Jesus was meeting in the Upper Room with his disciples for a very special meal together. It was a very intimate time of sharing for many of them, but for Judas, it was the night he betrayed Jesus with 30 pieces silver. This is the night that Jesus gave them the wine and the bread and said “This is my body which is given for you. This is my blood which was shed for you.” Jesus was telling them that soon He would be sacrificing His life for them, so they could live forever with Him. This was the first communion and it is packed with meaning.

Now, here is the reason for telling these two stories together. They are intimately connected. You see, when Jesus met with his disciples for the Last Supper, the night before His death on the cross, they were actually celebrating Passover. They were celebrating God’s rescue of His people by way of the Passover Lamb’s blood painted on the doorframes. So Jesus death happened during the Passover celebration- resulting in our our death being passed over because the Lamb of God shed His blood for us on the cross! All while they were celebrating the Jewish Passover. WOW! And the most intimate of all events, the Last Supper, is the vehicle for displaying God’s grace and mercy on us through the sacrifice of His Son. Again given on Passover.

Looking back on this, it’s clear to see that Passover foreshadowed our salvation. The gift I referrred to above is a worksheet that your students can use to look up Scriptures that compare the Passover rescue to our rescue through Christ. It makes our rescue so much more memorable to see that God was working throughout history, preparing for our rescue. This chart is taken from The Lord Supper… Let’s Get Ready! where this is explained on the kids level in more detail in this workbook.

God’s rescue of His children and the Passover Lamb is foreshadowed over and over again throughout Scripture. To the Rescue is a picture book that I wrote to display how God has shown this throughout Scripture. This may also be a helpful tool.

If you missed it,  here is that free chart for you to download.

*Click Here For Free Passover Parallels Chart

Easter is around the corner! And before Easter comes Easter week. May you all have a wonderful preparation for Easter and rejoice in Jesus’ great sacrifice for you. This is such a great week to bring all of this together for the kids and parents.


*This chart is taken from The Lord Supper… Let’s Get Ready! You might find this a good tool to prepare your kids for communion, as well.

Baptism Class – Are Your Kids Ready?

Are your kids prepared for baptism? Here are some questions that will be a great tool for you to see if your kids are ready and to determine if YOU are ready! They will also be answered at my upcoming baptism class teleseminar. (

Baptism Class – Week 1:

  • When is baptism dangerous?
  • What are our goals?
  • What is the best class size, age?
  • Why is the character of God critical?
  • How are God’s attributes interrelated?
  • What makes your student/child unique?
  • What is the main take-away of session 1?

Baptism Class – Week 2:

  • Does your child understand why Jesus came to earth?
  • Why were we separated from God?
  • How do you lead a child to salvation without forcing him/her?
  • Why isn’t just asking Jesus into your heart the right approach?
  • How do you know if a child is really ready for baptism?
  • How do we prevent creating little Pharisees?
  • What is the attitude we want the child to have at the end of this session?

Baptism Class – Week 3:

  • Can the child know if he is ready for baptism and explain why?
  • Can the child find evidence in Scripture for his/her baptism?
  • What about God does baptism represent?
  • Can you identify the child’s motives for baptism?
  • Do you think you are attempting to influence the child if he/she is not ready?
  • How do you guide a child in writing their testimony?

Baptism Class – Week 4:

  • Can you explain “God’s Game Plan” for His children?
  • How do you help to guide the child’s reasons for obedience?
  • How do you help him understand what it means to “share Jesus” with his friends?
  • How can you help your student understand the joy and contentment that comes with being a Christian. (This is tied to all of the previous sessions.)
  • What will be different about his/her life?This is the content of an upcoming Teleseminar course I am leading beginning on Friday, February 5th. It is going to be live and jam packed with information including Q&A. Don’t miss it! You can receive more information or enroll now at

    Baptism class book- God Should I Be Baptized?

    God Should I Be Baptized?

The deadline to sign up for this course is Wednesday, February, 3 at  If you don’t make it in time, let me know and I will put you on the waiting list for the next offering.

Adversity Displays God’s Faithfulness

How Do We Know God Will Be There When We Struggle?

We live in a crazy, unpredictable and evil world, yet we can count on God’s love and presence in our lives continually. A true friend stands by you when life gets difficult, and Jesus calls us His friends (John 15:15-16).

Facing Adversity

Transforming STORMS of Life into Seasons of BLESSING

When life is going smoothly, we can reason intellectually that God is faithful. Our theology can be perfect. We may theoretically understand that God is Who He says He is.

But when adversity strikes we are able to experience first-hand God’s faithfulness in our lives. Our theories become tangible as the Lord personally carries us through the storm. As a result of walking through the storm with the Lord, we not only mentally know that God is faithful, we also know it “by heart.”

When we are in the middle of a painful episode in our life we need to be continually reminded of three principles regarding God’s faithfulness. Included are references to back them up.

God is always faithful.

  • II Timothy 2:13
  • Psalm 119:75

God’s faithfulness OFTEN delivers us from adversity.

  • Psalm 34:4, 6-7, 19
  • Isaiah 46:3,4

God’s faithfulness ALWAYS sustains us through adversity.

  • Psalm 23:1-5
  • Isaiah 43:2
  • Hebrews 4:16

These verses tell us that our wonderful Lord is always faithful to us through the trials of life. He is faithful in His attitude toward us, His actions toward us, and He faithfully works on our behalf during times of duress.

The Lord loves to carry us through adversity because He carries us close to him. God tells us in Isaiah 46:3, that he has carried us from the womb and even through our old age. He says, “I will bear you! I have done it and I will carry you; and I will bear you, and I will deliver you.” He carries us through our trials holding us close to his heart.

The Lord can quickly deliver us from our troubles, but he often allows her trials to endure for a long time as we cling to Jesus, he continues to demonstrate his faithfulness to us during those seemingly endless days. Though the Lord has not promised to keep us from stormy seas, he has promised that he will always bring us to safe harbor.

“My Own”
by Judy Gerry

I know every bird of the mountains. (Psalm 50:11)
All that moves in the meadow is mine; (Deuteronomy 22:6, 7)
Involved in each life I am counting- (Matthew 10:30)
Compassionate, loving and kind. (Psalm 145:16, 17)

I placed all the stars in the heavens, (Psalm 147:4)
I numbered and measured each light. (Jeremiah 31:37)
With care each name has been given. (Psalm 147:4)
In love they illumine the night. (Psalm 136:9)

So why cry this strange accusation
That you are abandoned, alone? (Matthew 28:20)
Concerned for each bit of creation, (Matthew 10:29-31)
I tenderly nurture my own. (Isaiah 49:14-16)

Just watch the birds fly in the morning, (Psalm 50:11)
And see the stars wink in the night. (Jeremiah 31:35)
View nature as objects for learning. (Matthew 6:26-33)
You can trust me with all of your life. (Psalm 71:5, 6)

This blog is an excerpt from Judy Gerry’s, Facing Adversity- Transforming the Storms of Life into Seasons of Blessings.  Facing Adversity is an 8-week Bible study endorsed by Nancy Leigh DeMoss (Wolgermuth), Tom Elliff, and Sammy Tippit.

If you found this post helpful, would you please share it? You can use the links at the top. Thanks!

Obstacles To God’s Will

and free downloadable resource list about those obstacles

Obstacles to God’s Will

Do you want God’s will for your life? Do you seek to fulfill God’s purpose? Do you find it hard? When we study Scripture and see what God asks us to do to fulfill His purpose, eventually we find there are obstacles to God’s will. In my two previous blogs, we takes about finding God’s purpose in our lives. (You may want to go back and review with these two blogs here and here.
 Obstacles to doing God's will

Scripture actually addresses many obstacles. I have come up with nine obstacles from Scripture and I know you can probably find more. When you think of more, you can add them at the comments section at the end of the online blog, here.

What Gets in My Way of Doing God’s Will?

  • I don’t think I have the ability.

2 Corinthians 1:21

  • I don’t want to do it because it is too hard.

Philippians 4:13

  •       I don’t know how to do it?

James 1:5

  •       I am lazy.

Proverbs 15:19

Proverbs 18:9

  •      Others will make fun of me if I do it.

Matthew 4:10

  •       I am afraid to do it.

Jeremiah 17:8

  •       I’d rather serve myself.

Luke 8:14

  •       There are other things more important to me than serving God.

Psalm 19:8-10

Psalm 119:10

  •       I try do do His will in my own strength instead of His strength and I fail.

Philippians 4:13

John 14:26

It is not too early to begin to teach this to kids, very simply. You might spend a week on each obstacle talking about what this might look like in their lives and then read and talk about the Scripture that goes with it. Talk to them about how God can help in each of the situations.

A Downloadable List of Scriptures

Click here for a downloadable resource list of Scriptures you can use to teach about these obstacles. These are taken from the Mr. Blue Worksheets which accompany the Mr. Blue- a Job for You picture book

Knowing God’s Will for Me

Some of you might be thinking, but I really want to know God’s will for me on the grand scale of things. I want to know whether I should make a certain investment or which ministry I should take on. He doesn’t tell us those in Scripture. But He does tell us plenty of things that he does want us to do. We need to start with those. If we are trusting Him, and following Him in the small things, then the grand picture will be obvious. And if it isn’t, then we can make any number of correct choices as long as we are following those things He does tell us to do.

If we look at the list above, we might find that most of the obstacles are self-induced. Identifying the reason/excuse for our not doing what is right is a great start. Then we can pray for God’s help and find others to hold us accountable. Doing God’s will is not always easy, but it will become easier as we practice, and overcoming obstacle to doing God’s will be easier when we face them.