Tuesday, December 25, 2007

A Christmas Speculation, Part Three

Part three of this series is posted today over at SUM. For those who read the two part series last year, please know I always know there would be a part three. I just had no idea it would take a year to be revealed.

But as in everything, I've learned God has a distinct purpose for all He does and the timing in every bit of it. Have a very Merry Christmas, a day full of the love of the Saviour, family and friends. And may 2008 be an even more promising year for us all. All for his glory!

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas

Celebrating the true meaning of the Christmas season, GRPR is proud to introduce to you the twelve days of Christmas. Twelve inspired devotional thoughts written by some of the best and brightest authors in the Christian industry.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me....

The Gift of Love

God's Gift of Love
by Kathleen Y'Barbo

Love. It seems as though everyone these days is either in desperate avoidance of it, in the heart wrenching process of losing it, or in the giddy throes of finding it. Some have given up on it while others believe they will know it when they see it. All of us hope when it’s our turn, the love we get - and give - will be unconditional.

But can flawed humans really offer unconditional love?

Oh, we try. If you’re a parent you know the depth of love you felt the first moment you saw that precious baby of yours. Then there’s the feelings you carried up the aisle to join your beloved at the altar. Or perhaps love to you is counted by the nights spent at a parent’s bedside. The thread of love winds through each of these, and yet it is the rare parent, spouse, or child who would admit to having loved perfectly. We are human and sadly flawed, even when we act with the best of intentions.

There is only one unconditional love that never fails. Only one love that never turns a blind eye, says the wrong thing, or procrastinates rather than acts. The love of the Father, our Heavenly Father, is perfect in every way. Not only is His love unconditional, but He also loves us in spite of who we are and not for what we are. How wonderful to know that the God of the universe loves us.

Not just love in the way we see it, the stars-in-our-eyes crazy-about-my-baby love, but a depth of feeling exponentially more than anything our flawed but well intentioned hearts could imagine.

So today, when you’re reminded of that tiny baby, Jesus Christ the Creator-made-flesh, think of the love it took to accomplish this holy miracle of unconditional love. To put on the fingers and toes of an infant and come to us as Savior was the beginning of a love story that has no end.

Kathleen Y’Barbo

Kathleen Y'Barbo is the author of Beloved Castaway and countless other books. For more information visit www.kathleenybarbo.com.

Monday, December 24, 2007

The Christ Candle

Welcome to the lighting of the Christ Candle.

All the candles are lit! Isn't it glorious!

Christmas Eve (after sundown or Christmas Day)
Color: White
Theme: Christmas
Suggested Scripture Readings: Luke 1:68-79, Luke 2:1-20

Lord, we praise you for this glorious day. Your Word came and became flesh in the tiny baby. You walked among us as a man and died for us as our Savior. You deserve all our worship, love, and praise. Mighty Counselor, Prince of Peace, Holy God, You are wonderful! We love you! Amen.

MERRY CHRISTMAS

OUR SAVIOUR IS BORN!

On the Eleventh Day of Christmas

Celebrating the true meaning of the Christmas season, GRPR is proud to introduce to you the twelve days of Christmas. Twelve inspired devotional thoughts written by some of the best and brightest authors in the Christian industry.

On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me....

The Gift of An Uncluttered Christmas

God's Gift of An Uncluttered Christmas
by Cyndy Salzmann

It was enough to curl my toes. And a quick glance at the other mother’s in the audience told me I wasn’t the only one who felt that way.

So what horrendous experience caused such a reaction from a room full of moms? A violent or sexually explicit movie? A challenge from Doctor Phil to “get real” and ‘fess up about our parenting faux pas? Or a pan of the audience spotlighting a really bad hair day?

Actually, the event that caused such a panic among this audience of mothers occurred during the Christmas program at my daughter’s school.

Things started innocently enough when the girls marched out onto the stage swinging colorful shopping bags. Of course, they were adorable and the apples of their mothers’ eyes. The trouble began when the girls opened their mouths and sang…

Hurry! Hurry! Hurry!

Scurry! Scurry! Scurry!

Worry! Worry! Worry!

Christmastime is here!

As I said, it was enough to curl my toes. Just the thought of all that hurrying, scurrying and worrying to prepare for Christmas gave me a full-blown a hot flash. No wonder depression peaks during the holidays. Faced with all that stress , I wouldn’t want to get out of bed either.

Once my hot flash ceded, I began to realize that this is just where Satan wants us – dreading the celebration of the most precious gifts to mankind – the birth of Jesus Christ. And frankly, it made my blood boil – almost bringing on another hot flash. I decided right then that he wasn’t going to get away with it.

We have a choice on how much hurrying, scurrying and worrying we do. And this year I hope you’ll make a commitment to join me in uncluttering your Christmas by jumping off the treadmill and keeping your eyes on the true reason for the season.

BTW- I have a tip sheet with practical ideas and advice to help you to simplify your holidays and focus on Jesus’ birth. Just contact me at cyndy@cyndysalzmann.com and I’ll email you a copy.

Cyndy Salzmann is the author of Crime & Clutter, book two in the highly acclaimed Friday Afternoon Mystery series published by Howard Books. As America’s Clutter Coach, Cyndy is a popular national speaker and radio personality. Cyndy, her husband and three children, live in Omaha, Nebraska. For more information visit http://www.cyndysalzmann.com/

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Fouth Sunday of Advent

Welcome to the fourth Sunday of Advent.

If you've created a wreath of your own for the first time this year, I hope it's a tradition you will hold onto. My first three candles have burned shorter. And now the fourth one is lit. Almost time to light the Christ Candle! May the Prince of Peace fill your year with new revelations of his presence. Be blessed!

Fourth Sunday of Advent
Color: Purple
Theme: Peace
Suggested Scripture Readings: Isaiah 9:6-7, John 14:27

Lord, thank you for sending your Son to be our Prince of Peace. We praise you for this wonderful peace you give us by the indwelling of your Holy Spirit. And mostly, we thank you for the promise of salvation, an eternity spent in the presence of Jesus Christ, our Saviour. All glory is yours, Amen.

On the Tenth Day of Christmas

Celebrating the true meaning of the Christmas season, GRPR is proud to introduce to you the twelve days of Christmas. Twelve inspired devotional thoughts written by some of the best and brightest authors in the Christian industry.

On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me....

The Gift of Memories

God's Gift of Memories
by Marlo Schalesky

Memory is a powerful thing. We hear a song from our high school days and we’re transported to sweaty school dances and blasting the radio in our first car. The smell of brownies baking takes us back to pigtails and ponies. We drive by the house we lived in as a kid and remember the swingset in the backyard and how that rotten kid from next door blew spitwads through the hole in the fence.

Ever gotten sick on a type of food? You’ll never want to have that again. And don’t even think about naming your child after that whiny little brat that sat behind you in the fourth grade, even if your spouse loves that name.

Memory. It’s why we treasure photos, display mementos, keep in touch with people from our past. It’s why God set up festivals for the ancient Israelites and told them to erect memorials at significant places in their history.

Memory. It’s why the sight of a stuffed stocking takes me back to those early mornings in my childhood when my brother and I would wake up before dawn, run to the fireplace, get our stockings, and race back to my parents’s bed. Mom was always ready. Dad pretended to complain. And together, with lots of giggling and the thrill of anticipation, we’d pull out the gifts from our stockings one by one. Simple things, boring really. Candy. A toothbrush. Some silly plastic toy. Things that would be used up or forgotten in just a few short weeks. And yet, opening stockings is my favorite Christmas memory from childhood.

Why? I think it’s because good memories are not necessarily made from the “big stuff.” Rather, they’re fashioned out of warmth and happiness and times together. They’re woven with laughter, colored with simple, plain joy. They come from times when you experience love.

So, this year, I’m thinking about the memories I’m making now, for my kids, and for myself. I don’t want those memories to be ones of a Mom who’s running around with too much to do and too little time to do it. I don’t want them to be of hustle, bustle, shopping, wrapping, cooking, cards, and gifts thrown under the tree. I don’t even want them to be of the cool stable-and-horse set that my girls will unwrap on Christmas morning. Or the cheap kid’s guitar for my oldest (age 7), or the new “ooo-ahh” (stuffed gorilla) for one of my 2-year-old twins.

Because the toys will break, get old, get lost, or they’ll outgrow them. But they won’t outgrow the happy memories of family times together. The memories of decorating Christmas cookies with laughter and joking – those won’t get old. The times we make a gingerbread house together, or sit down and watch the Grinch – those won’t break. The simple things make the best memories. Times when we’re together as a family, having fun, enjoying the traditions we’re building together.

So, that’s my goal this Christmas, to weave memories of peace, love, togetherness, because that’s the best gift I can think of to celebrate Jesus’ birth -- Memories that bring a smile to the face of children . . . and to the face of the King.

For more about the power of memories in our lives, check out Marlo's next novel, Beyond the Night, releasing in May. A woman in a hospital bed, a man sitting beside her, and between them, a memory that can set her free. Find out more at: http://www.marloschalesky.com/

Saturday, December 22, 2007

On the Ninth Day of Christmas

Celebrating the true meaning of the Christmas season, GRPR is proud to introduce to you the twelve days of Christmas. Twelve inspired devotional thoughts written by some of the best and brightest authors in the Christian industry.


On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me....

The Gift of Story

God's Gift of Dreams and Story
by Melody Carlson

A dream doesn’t always seem like a gift from God, but sometimes I’ll experience one so vivid and amazing that I can’t help but think God is at work. I remember a dream that woke me in the middle of the night about ten years ago. I was so moved that I felt compelled to write it down. In my dream I saw a sweet angel who was distraught that Jesus was about to leave heaven to be born as a baby on earth. So she volunteered to give up being an angel and God transformed her into a magnificent star to light the night sky for the Big Event. I won’t tell the entire dream, but simply let it be said that the ending surprised everyone—including me. The story became a children’s Christmas book called The Greatest Gift (which is currently out of print). But as a result of that dream, I began to pay even more attention to my dreams. Sometimes I think that God simply uses them to show me things about my own life and sometimes my dreams wind up in my books.

Melody Carlson is the author of Ready to Wed, (Guideposts Books 2007). This story also involves a dream! For more information visit www.melodycarlson.com

Friday, December 21, 2007

On the Eighth Day of Christmas

Celebrating the true meaning of the Christmas season, GRPR is proud to introduce to you the twelve days of Christmas. Twelve inspired devotional thoughts written by some of the best and brightest authors in the Christian industry.

On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me....

The Gift of Unexpected Blessings

God's Gift of Unexpected Blessings
by Angela Hunt

The arrival of our daughter from South Korea wasn’t exactly unexpected—we’d spent years longing for her, and then months praying for that little baby’s safe arrival in our arms.

And as I look back over the experience, I can’t help thinking of Mary, who must have had such mixed feelings when she held the infant Jesus in her arms. Great joy, for the promised child had arrived. Great responsibility for the fragile life in her care. And great dread for the difficulties and sorrows that would arise.

As a young mother, I knew there would be tough times, and I haven’t been disappointed. But through bad times and good, through loving moments and less-than-loving moments, I can see the hand of God’s sovereignty molding me, my husband, and my children into the people he intends us to be.

Christmas shines brightest in the eyes of children. But it resonates most deeply in the hearts of those who love them.

Angela Hunt

Angela Hunt is the author of Doesn't She Look Natural? (Tyndale Publishers). For more information visit www.angelahuntbooks.com

Thursday, December 20, 2007

On the Seventh Day of Christmas

Celebrating the true meaning of the Christmas season, GRPR is proud to introduce to you the twelve days of Christmas. Twelve inspired devotional thoughts written by some of the best and brightest authors in the Christian industry.

On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...

The Gift of Uniqueness

God's Gift of Uniqueness
by Tosca Lee

I used to hate my name. “Tosca” was too unusual. “Moon,” my middle name, was just downright embarrassing. “Lee” was all right, though it still set me apart from the rest of the Caucasian kids in my school. In an era when Christy Brinkley graced the cover of every fashion magazine, I did not wish to accentuate my different-ness.

The name I really wanted was Marie--probably because others had it and that meant I could at least buy one of those door plates for my bedroom door or license plates for my bike, which was my litmus test. As it was, they sure didn’t have plates for kids named “Tosca.”

In junior high, my friends called me “Weird Tosca.” I didn’t like that so much.

These days I teach about talent in my work as a consultant. I talk about the strange, quirky things that not only set people apart, but have the potential to make them great. A friend said to me once, “Stars have points.” He’s right. And when we blunt our points, we lose the defining characteristics of our unique mark in and contribution to this world.

Opportunities work much the same. It’s the unique ones that seem to hold the greatest potential impact. When my main character, Clay, bumps up against the opportunity to hear the story of creation from the viewpoint of a Demon, he is terrified--intrigued, but terrified. And so he resists. While his reaction might be in keeping with any sane person’s, it’s also a human reaction to the unusual. But in this case, it’s the unusual that might just might save his soul.

How has God revealed to you your uniqueness? And what, most importantly, is He telling you to do with it?

Weird Tosca

“You need to know something more about Elohim: he is the ultimate force of creativity. He is the author of diversity.” --Lucian, Demon: A Memoir

Tosca Lee is the author of Demon: A Memoir and of the upcoming Havah: The Story of Eve. For more information visit www.demonamemoir.com

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

On the Sixth Day of Christmas

Celebrating the true meaning of the Christmas season, GRPR is proud to introduce to you the twelve days of Christmas. Twelve inspired devotional thoughts written by some of the best and brightest authors in the Christian industry.

On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me....

The Gift of Unconditional Acceptance

God's Gift of Unconditional Acceptance
by Lisa Samson

Clearly God Incarnate wasn't choosy. He wasn't born in a palace, but to a simple peasant woman bearing the stigma of a pregnancy conceived out of the bonds of matrimony. He wasn't even born in his own town, but endured a long ride to Bethlehem in his mother's womb only to be born in a stable among the livestock. Even after his ministry began he owned one robe and proclaimed himself homeless when He said, "Foxes have dens, birds have nest, but the Son of God has no place to lay His head."

If we used some TV preachers' standards today, Jesus clearly wasn't blessed by God. He didn't have the finest clothes, transportation or housing. Even most of His disciples weren't exactly candidates for a PhD. Clearly He must not have had enough faith if that's all He was getting from His Father!

But Christ isn't choosy and that is good news for us. For there isn't a single human being who can impress Him into shining His light of grace upon them. The stockbroker on Wall Street stands level with the illegal immigrant who picks strawberries. The evangelist in fine suits or sparkly dresses looks eye-to-eye with the busdriver. And the homeschool mom stands shoulder to shoulder with the prostitute. His love demands He looks above the good and the bad, and His arms are always open, ready to receive us when we are ready to receive Him. Sometimes we run back into His arms many times in one day and He doesn't care if we've showered or put on the latest fashions, He's only looking for a contrite heart. That's it. A heart that says, "I'm sorry."

This Christmastime, rest in the fact that you can't impress Christ. He doesn't care about our beautiful cookies or the fact that our trees look designer coordinated. He isn't impressed we ran around to ten different stores to find the perfect present for Aunt Sue. He just wants us to love Him, just as we are, for when we do, we incarnate Him in the here and now, and there's no telling what He'll do through us.

Lisa Samson is the author of Hollywood Nobody (NavPress, 2007), For more information visit www.lisasamson.com

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A Christmas Speculation, Part Two

Part two of this series is posted today over at SUM. Part three will post Christmas Day.

I pray you're having a wonderful Christmas season. May your days be full of love and laughter, and your hearts full of love. May God bless you richly and keep your thoughts continually on his grace and the gift of his Son.

On the Fifth Day of Christmas

Celebrating the true meaning of the Christmas season, GRPR is proud to introduce to you the twelve days of Christmas. Twelve inspired devotional thoughts written by some of the best and brightest authors in the Christian industry.

On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me....

The Gift of Imagination

God's Gift of Imagination
by Jack Cavanaugh

Christmas is a holiday for the imagination.

Angels and shepherds and wise men (oh my!),
Tyrants and taxes and stars in the sky!
No room for a bed
As tidings were spread
And the Father looked down from on high.

It’s no wonder the story of the nativity thrills our hearts year after year. It’s a wonderfully creative event orchestrated by a Deity who loves using His imagination. Take the temple priest’s robes for example. When the temple was first built God assembled all the skilled craftsmen and gave them instructions (Exodus 35:10). The craftsmen designing the priestly robes were told to adorn them with images of blue pomegranates (Exodus 39:24).

Blue?

There’s no such thing as a blue pomegranate! What was God thinking? If this kind of creativity were to catch on we could end up with Christmas cards with images of green angels, pink Christmas trees, and a plaid star over the manger!

If blue pomegranates bothers you…get over it! We have a wonderfully imaginative God who frequently colors outside the lines. Go, and do thou likewise.

Wishing you an imaginative Christmas season.

Jack Cavanaugh is the author of Hideous Beauty: Kingdom Wars #1 and countless other books. For more information visit www.JackCavanaugh.com.

Monday, December 17, 2007

On the Fourth Day of Christmas

Celebrating the true meaning of the Christmas season, GRPR is proud to introduce to you the twelve days of Christmas. Twelve inspired devotional thoughts written by some of the best and brightest authors in the Christian industry.

On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me....

The Gift of God's Patience

The Gift of God's Patience
by Griffin Smith (written by Todd & Jedd Hafer)

Thanks for reading, everybody. My name is Griffin Smith. I’m in my second year at Lewis College (Go Eagles!) on the track team. Specifically, I run distance. Okay, I realize “distance” isn’t really specific at all. In high school I ran the 1600 and 3200 meters – that’s the mile and 2-mile for those of still holding strong in the anti-metric resistance.

As a runner and big-time sinner, the gift I am most thankful for this Christmas (and every day) is patience. Not my own, as my dad likes to say “looooong-suffering”. No, I could use a ton more. I routinely lose my patience in class, in races, in relationships – even with my little brother Colby who overcame the burden of being named after cheese to become the sweetest kid on the planet.

The amazing gift is God’s patience. His patience with me – the most unsweetened kid on the planet (and I know that is not the most grammatically sound phrase, but it’s tough for me to write about positive subjects, so, if we’re going to play ball, you’re going to have to indulge me).

Anyway, I constantly criticize myself, even punish myself (since we’re trying to be positive, I won’t get into that now), but God, He just keeps loving me. I try to squirm away, I even bend God’s fingers back, He just patiently holds on. I swear the guy must be double-jointed.

I’m definitely thankful for that grip though. I’d hate to think He’d ever let go.

The point is I know He never will. It’s just not in His nature. Good news for people like me!

You can read more of Griffin Smith’s ramblings about his surface life and his private pain in the novels Bad Idea: A novel with Coyotes and From Bad to Worse: A novel with Girls by Todd and Jedd Hafer.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Third Sunday of Advent

Welcome to the third Sunday of Advent.

I hope you've been blessed by this tradition so far. I love seeing the candles burn down, creating a kind of stair step effect circling our wreath. Our excitement grows with each week as we watch the flames and anticipate lighting the Christ Candle. What a wondrous season. I pray for you that these last days before Christmas are filled with the joy of our Savior!

Third Sunday of Advent
Color: Purple or Pink
Theme: Joy
Suggested Scripture Readings: Isaiah 35:10, Psalm 51:12, Hebrews 12:2, 1Peter 1:8

Lord Jesus, thank you for coming as a tiny baby so long ago so that we may know the joy of your salvation. Show us daily how to walk in obedience to your glorious and freeing ways, and to always be ready to share the source of this incredible joy with others. In Your Holy Name, Amen!

On the Third Day of Christmas

Celebrating the true meaning of the Christmas season, GRPR is proud to introduce to you the twelve days of Christmas. Twelve inspired devotional thoughts written by some of the best and brightest authors in the Christian industry.

On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me....

The Gift of Restoration

God's Gift of Restoration
by Rachel Thoene

When I was but a wee child, I had many opportunities to travel with my dad’s folks, Nonnie and Papa, on trips to the coast with their house trailer.

My Nonnie was religious about packing sandwiches, fresh home made cookies and fruit for the trip. She wrapped the cookies and sandwiches in wax paper… this was before the days of juice boxes and Lunchables… and the whole picnic was packed neatly into one or two sturdy shoe boxes for the trip. A thermos of coffee for she and Papa and one of milk for me. The trip to the coast was only about two and a half hours long, but about half way there, Papa would slow the rig to a wide spot in the road and we would have a “picnic” together before continuing on our way to the ocean.

I was asked to contribute some thoughts on the gift of God’s restoration vs. life’s destination. As I mulled a few thoughts over, it occurred to me that Nonnie’s “shoe box lunches” were a lot like God’s gift of restoration… Sure we had a destination in mind. It was exciting to get out of the valley and go spend time at the ocean with the sand and the waves and time all to myself with my Nonnie and Papa collecting shells… but the picnic lunch on the side of the road DURING the trip restored us and provided a brief respite in our journey.

Lately, my heart has been troubled and anxious as I have been caring for a friend with a very serious cancer. And I have found myself, head down, walking my campus during the day at work, talking to God about her condition and the outcome of all of this agony…And as I have conversed with Him on these strolls, I have picked up an amazing number of Pennies… every day… pennies… sometimes it’s only one or two, sometimes I’ve found 12 or more… but every day…pennies. And the curious thing is that every single one of those pennies says, “In God we Trust.” And I pick them up, put them in my pocket and say, “Thank you Lord. We are blessed today and we are whole, healthy, healed and restored…”

I believe that my friend is going to be well at the end of all of this, because God reminds me daily through those pennies to TRUST HIM”. And every penny draws me closer to Him so that I am focusing now on the moment and my conversation with Him, daily being restored in my faith and claiming her healing and I’m not any longer worrying about the destination or when we’re going to get there, because we have been given THIS MOMENT and in THIS Moment, I’m going to just pull my rig to the side of the road and have a picnic with Him in my heart.

Rachel Thoene is the author of The Vase Of Many Colors (Capstone Books, 2007), For more information visit www.thoenebooks.com

Saturday, December 15, 2007

On the Second Day of Christmas

Celebrating the true meaning of the Christmas season, GRPR is proud to introduce to you the twelve days of Christmas. Twelve inspired devotional thoughts written by some of the best and brightest authors in the Christian industry.

On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me....

The Gift of Simplicity

God's Gift of Simplicity
by Wanda E. Brunstetter

The Amish people I write about celebrate Christmas in a much simpler way than most of us do. There are no Christmas trees or colored lights in their homes. The gifts they give one another are simple and functional, not elaborate or expensive. Their emphasis at Christmas is on the birth of Jesus and the love they feel for God, family, and friends. Anyone can give the gift of simplicity, and it can be given any time of the year. A smile, a hug, a listening ear. . .these are the gifts of simplicity.

Wanda E. Brunstetter is the author of many Amish themed books including the latest A Sister's Secret (Barbour Books, 2007) , the first installation in the Sisters of Holmes County series. Watch for the second installment, A Sister's Test, in January 2008. For more information visit www.wandabrunstetter.com

Friday, December 14, 2007

On the First Day of Christmas

Celebrating the true meaning of the Christmas season, Glass Roads Public Relations is proud to introduce to you the twelve days of Christmas. Twelve inspired devotional thoughts written by some of the best and brightest authors in the Christian industry.

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me....

The Gift of Honesty














God's Gift of Honesty
by Mark Littleton

As a new Christian, I wasn’t really prepared for the stark truth about my previous life. Rummaging in my closet, I came across several shirts I had shop-lifted a couple of years before. I immediately remembered several items from the same heist.

Standing there trembling, I was unsure about what to do. I prayed, “God, what should I do about this?” It seemed the inner voice spoke immediately: “You need to return them to the store.”

I didn’t need to reflect much on it. I knew that was the right thing to do.

I packed up the items, drove to the nearby Bamberger’s store at the Cherry Hill Mall and found security. I explained what I’d done and offered to pay for the items. The guard smiled. “Every now and then we get one of these,” he said. “I’ll find out the prices and you can pay.”

A few days later, I got the call. Over sixty-five dollars in charges. In 1972 dollars, that was a lot of money. I sucked it up, though, wrote out a check and dropped it by. The guard thanked me for my integrity, saying, “I wish there were more like you out there. But shop-lifting costs us big-time. Just the same, I respect what you did.”

I went away feeling like I’d pleased God. There were other things I would return in the coming days, and it was always difficult. And costly. But the peace of mind and heart I received were all worth it. To say nothing of the witness to unbelievers, one of whom invited me to come visit him his family in Switzerland after I sent him back the stamps I’d stolen while babysitting his children years before.

Mark Littleton is the author of The Ten-Second Prayer Principle: Powerful Prayer As You Go (Howard Books, 2007) and many other books. For more information visit life-ology.townhall.com or www.winsunliterary.com.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

A Christmas Speculation, Part One

If you were around last year, you might remember a two part story surrounding the events of Christ's birth. I never did get to write the third installment. So, I'm reposting this series over at SUM, along with the third part this year. I pray it bless you as much as writing them did me.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I'm No Contest Diva

The wonderful ladies at The Seekers asked me to post about my writing contest experiences. I shared how I caught the eye of an editor in one contest and shared some pointers I picked up along the way. I hope you'll stop over and check it out!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Second Sunday of Advent

Welcome to the second Sunday of Advent.

Advent means "coming" or "arrival." So appropriate. And I just love the way each candle counts down the time to our Saviour's birthday. Both my girls were born in December, so it's a very special (and extremely busy) month. This tradition and an Advent Christmas tree quilt I created have helped my girls and I count down the days each December.

I've heard and read several interpretations of the wreath. Here are few of my favorite aspects:

  • The green of the wreath represents the eternal life we have in Christ.
  • The circular form of the wreath represents the unending love of God.
  • The purple of the outer candles represents the royalty of royalty.
  • The white of the center candle represents Christ's purity. (This candle is optional, by the way, but my favorite.)
  • The flames represent the light of God coming into the world through his Son.

Second Sunday of Advent
Color: Purple
Theme: Love
Suggested Scripture Readings: 1John 4:7-19, John 3:16-17

Father, you sent us the greatest gift and representation of your eternal love when you sent your Son as a tiny baby for the sole purpose of his sacrificial death. Help us to be shining examples of your love in a hurting world. And let us never forget this sacrifice and the amazing depth of your love. We love you so much. In Christ's Holy Name, Amen!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

A Hubby Brag Fest

Img_0087Let me tell you about my husband. He’s around six foot, salt and pepper hair, wears rectangular, black-rimmed glasses, and has a near genious IQ. (Yes, we are talking Mensa here.)

He’s the kindest, most loving man I have ever met. I’ve always felt cherished in our marriage. He’s a great dad, provider, and all around great guy. He’s affectionate, loves his girls to pieces, enjoys hanging out with his family, and actually saved a binky (a pacifier) from each of our girls as a memento.

He’s generous, quick to give of his resources, and wants only the best for not only us but for his extended family as well. Part of the reason I fell in love with this guy was because of his big and wonderful family.

He’s patient, never loses his temper. In twenty years of marriage, I can honestly say I’ve only seen him get really mad a few times, and even then it’s hard to tell. He’s even-keeled, passionate about his interests, loves his work, and is constantly stretching his mind.

In a nutshell, the guy has it all together. He's not perfect, but he's pretty wonderful.

Why am I telling in you this?

Read the rest at SUM.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

First Sunday of Advent

I love this tradition. In my churches in Memphis and Z├╝rich, we always had an advent wreath. I loved the lighting of the candles so much, that I adopted the tradition as my own. Each year, around Thanksgiving, I find the candles for our wreath.

Traditionally, the Advent wreath has five candles. Four purple or blue candles (sometimes the third or fourth candle is pink) and one white center candle. It's always a challenge to find the perfect center candle for the Christ candle. Our Lord and Savior deserves only the best.

Here's a picture of this year's Advent wreath. Each Sunday I'll post another picture of our wreath along with the meaning of each candle.

I hope you'll join my family and me in this wonderful tradition that exemplifies Jesus as the reason for the season.

First Sunday of Advent
Color: Purple
Theme: Hope
Suggested Scripture Readings: Isaiah 60:2-3, Romans 15:13, Titus 1:2, Hebrews 6:19

Precious Lord, we thank You for sending your son Jesus to be a light in a world of darkness, a light that never goes out or burns away. Teach us to place our hope in You and to share it with those struggling in hopeless situations. In Christ's Name, Amen.