75 posts categorized "Christmas"

There Once Was A Man Who Didn't Believe

There was once a man who didn't believe in God, and he didn't hesitate to let others know how he felt about religion and religious holidays, like Christmas. His wife, however, did believe, and she raised their children to also have faith in God and Jesus, despite his disparaging comments. One snowy Christmas Eve, his wife was taking their children to a Christmas Eve service in the farm community in which they lived. She asked him to come, but he refused. "That story is nonsense!" he said. "Why would God lower Himself to come to Earth as a man? That's ridiculous!" So she and the children left, and he stayed home. A while later, the winds grew stronger and the snow turned into a blizzard. As the man looked out the window, all he saw was a blinding snowstorm. He sat down to relax before the fire for the evening.... Read more →

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The Voice of Hope This Christmas

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” —Luke 2:8-12 Years of antiquity, long since passed, in a singular moment of time, a Prince was born. Conceived in holiness, brought forth and swaddled in lowliness. His name declared in the heavens with shouts of wonder, from the angels On High. The pride of His Father. His name,... Read more →

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Advent - Jesus Came to Bring us Life!

Image courtesy of samarttiw at FreeDigitalPhotos.net So here we all are. The week before Christmas with still lots to do. Work to finish off, shopping, cooking, cleaning, wrapping, travelling and hosting just to name a few things. It’s exhausting just reading that list. Besides all of this we may have the added stress of having family staying with us (we do) and/or going to stay with family. A quick tip, delegate things. Don’t try to do it all. Engage everyone in the doing. Yes, this can be a struggle and frankly I’m preaching this as much to myself as anyone. Because sometimes people don’t follow instructions well or try to take over. Breathe, Ian, breathe. Abundant Life “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10 NKJV) We all know this verse. At Christmas both parts... Read more →

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Christmas Blessing For Your Dinner Table

Merry Christmas SUMite Family, My heart is deeply moved for all of you. I realize that this time of year and Christmas day, especially can create in us dreams and expectations about how we want the holiday to unfold. I know that I often felt disappointment, anger, frustration when it didn’t follow the idea I held in my heart. Please hold the day loosely and before the Father in surrendered prayer. Realize that things will not go exactly as you hoped. And you may attend Christmas Eve service alone or a family member changes how you wanted the day to play out. I want to give you some tools to use to walk through this day with peace and love. Start by blessing yourself with peace. We are to model the life of Jesus, right? He blessed. Remember the sermon on the Mount? The Bible says to bless and do... Read more →

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Advent - God of Surprises

Image courtesy of nuttakit at FreeDigitalPhotos.net I sat chatting with my publisher. We’d only just met face to face for the first time and here we sat, an Englishman and an Aussie, having a cup of tea (as in hot) in a café in a Nashville hotel. We were attending a Christian Writers Conference, he prospecting for new content and I hoping he’d give me an update on my manuscript that I’d sent through to his employer three months previous. Unfortunately, Tony knew nothing about my manuscript. He was now a contractor to the business and so wasn’t involved in the day-to-day. I thought we’d end up having a nice chat about nothing in particular until he quickly changed the subject with the question: “Have you thought of writing non-fiction?” (for those of you who don’t know I write fiction). My heart jumped a little. I’d come to the conference... Read more →

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Advent - Sharing the Longing

Image courtesy of 9comeback at FreeDigitalPhotos.net One Bible story that I keep coming back to each Advent season is the one that features Zechariah and Elizabeth. I hadn’t spent a lot of time reflecting upon it until a few years ago when I began to observe Advent. Most of you will know their story is briefly told in Luke 1 before Mary’s story. I’d encourage you to read it again (v5-25) and as we’ve done in the past read it meditatively. Perhaps listen to it and put yourself into the story. Imagine you are Zechariah or Elizabeth or one of the crowd and see what the Spirit reveals to you. Longing This couple was probably in their late 50’s or early 60’s. He was a respected Jewish priest and would have been highly thought of within society. However, even though holding an elevated position in society they were probably looked... Read more →

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Advent - a Season to Remember and to Anticipate

Image courtesy of Gualberto107 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net We got the call that our son and his wife had left for the hospital. Our excitement increased thinking the next time we hear from them they will share the wonderful news of becoming parents for the first time. And we’d be grandparents. Yay! We went to bed believing we’d wake to receive the news. Morning came. Still in labour. Lunchtime. Still going. Staying focused on anything else was pretty difficult. The anticipation was thrilling. Words of encouragement for our son as he worried for the love of his life as she so bravely persevered. Evening came. All was quiet. We hoped and prayed for news and that they wouldn’t enter into a second night of labour. Just after dinner, the text arrived. How our hearts jumped into our throats. A son. A healthy boy. And mom is doing well after such a long... Read more →

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Need A Gift For Your Small Group, Bible Study Ladies, Special Friend?

I was on a walk-n-pray and God came up with this idea. Really! Every holiday season, as a Bible study leader, I would give a small gift to each of the ladies in my group at Christmas. I would give a gift to my friends at church and my neighbors, friends who I do life with. It was always a struggle to come up with a great gift and no go bankrupt. May I offer you a suggestion. You Are Loved, Bible study and Coloring book. This is a short, 24, page, fully illustrated, and written Bible study by our own, Dineen Miller. And right now through the end of November, you can order it for only $9.99. Add a box of colored pencils that you can pick up cheap at a discount store for .99 cents, tie a bow and add an ornament. Awesomeness. I would love to receive... Read more →

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Spending Time in the Secret Place

Image courtesy of alex_ugalek at FreeDigitalPhotos.net It’s fast approaching the Christmas season when life can get especially busy. In addition, for we in mismatched marriages can have extra challenges as a result of a desire to intentionally reflect on the reason for the season. Jesus. Whether it’s attending gatherings with the church girls (or blokes), the various services our Church’s hold or even decorating our houses with symbols of our faith, we can all get a little self-conscious of doing things that our partners may not enjoy. And not to mention that we may be away from the house more often which can cause stress. Often due to our busyness our time spent with the Lord may wane. There are only so many hours in the day, right? The Secret Place “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.... Read more →

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Fourth Week of Advent: Peace (and Christmas!)

Merry Christmas, SUMites! I’m finishing up my Advent series today, because Lynn and I will be taking next week off to have more time with our families. We love you and bless you with all the joy and gladness this season holds, dear friends. Enjoy your family, enjoy your friends and most importantly, ENJOY JESUS! He’s not only our Savior, but our very best friend and partner in this life and the one to come. We are about to enter the fourth and final week of Advent this Sunday, my friends. I’ve included a picture of what my Advent wreath will look like this Sunday as I light all four candles. This last candle represents peace, and as the Word says, Jesus came to bring us peace. Not the peace the world offers, but His peace. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the... Read more →

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THRIVE in your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and raise your children to faith. Our books are filled with practical experience and Biblical advice. -click or tap the photo-

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Wonder Gives Birth To.......

Please share more of your #WonderOfChristmas with me here in the comment, Facebook or email me. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. —Luke 2:9-10 Do you know what happens when we make time to notice the Wonder of our Savior? Do you know what can happen to our heart? To our soul? Do you know that fear will flee? Did you know that we are primed to learn a great deal when we begin to walk in child-like faith and notice our Savior speaking to us? Learning to notice the “wonder”... Read more →

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Third Week of Advent: Love

Hello, SUMites! We’re less than two weeks away from Christmas. Can you believe that? I’m almost done with my Christmas shopping…I think. How about you? And what’s on the menu for Christmas Day? What do I need to make? Who’s coming over? Need more lights up outside. I hope my mother loves her gift… I bet your mind is filled with thoughts like these, one after another tumbling after each other like dominoes. It’s totally normal, right? We do this every year and we go into it all with the best intentions. Doesn’t always work out perfectly, but we hope for the best. So what’s at the heart of all that? Love. We love our families and friends. We want the very best for them. And we want to enjoy them during the celebrations too. Doesn’t take much in my book. So far my favorite gift for a friend cost... Read more →

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#WonderOfChristmas - Who Needs Peace?

I received so many photos and tags on Social Media as our community captures the #WonderOfChristmas. Look at this one from Patty. Her son admiring the train set up at Macy’s. Priceless December can be so amazing and also hectic. I wonder how many of you need peace on this Friday? I continue to hear Jesus, the Prince of Peace, call out to each of us to catch the moments of wonder in our lives this December. Just as Patty’s young son marvels at the window display, Jesus is whispering to us, “Take notice of the beauty in the sky, in the clouds, in the sunsets and sunrises. Do you see the sparkle of the tree and how your face gleams in the reflection of an ornament? Your glorified face gleaming is how I see you ever day. Do you sense the angels that are in your home? Take a... Read more →

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Second Week of Advent: JOY!

Hello, SUM Family! We’re moving closer and closer to Christmas, and like you, I want to be intentional in enjoying the details of Christmas. Yesterday morning I went into my prayer room to pray for my own family and our SUM family here. I continue to pray and declare Jeremiah 24:7 over our spouses and am praying the Scriptures written on the beams of this house over you. They are such good words! JOY is also a very good word, my friends. And it’s the theme of the second week of Advent. As I searched for the word JOY in the Bible, I was struck by several verses that spoke of JOY. Then the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to see a beautiful flow and connection in these Scriptures. And connection is so instrumental to our relationship with God. As you can see in my picture I’ve lit the second... Read more →

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#WonderOfChristmas -SUMites This Is Our Season

Hello SUMite Nation, I’m going to save the Emotional Healing study for the new year. I think I need to have several uninterrupted weeks for this topic. It will be powerful. Today, I want to share with you what the Lord is speaking to me for the month of December. And it started with a phone call to speak at my church. Next Sunday I will be speaking at our Women’s event, Christmas Dessert. It is a great honor and I’m humbled to be asked. Truly! In preparation I went on a walk-n-pray and I asked Jesus this question, “Jesus, what do you want me to share with your girls?” Immediately I heard Jesus say, “Lynn, tell them about Me. Tell them what it’s like to live an ordinary day with me. Tell them how to see the wonder of this season where we celebrate My birth. Tell them that... Read more →

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THRIVE in your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and raise your children to faith. Our books are filled with practical experience and Biblical advice. -click or tap the photo-

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The Hope in Waiting … reflections on Advent

Photo courtesy of 9comeback/FreeDigitalPhotos.nety/FreeDigitalPhotos.net There’s something both exciting and tremendously nerve-wracking when an author presses the send button on the email that whisks their latest manuscript off to a publisher. Exciting? The project we’ve been working on has now reached a point of completion. In my case that project had consumed a lot of my mind space for the past three years. Nerve-wracking? Will they like it? Enough to publish it? What if they don’t? What will I do then? It’s a moment that is soon forgotten. And then we wait. And wait some more. A few months later an email arrives outlining your manuscript is still in the game. Being reviewed by some others. They liked it sufficiently to pass onto others. Great. And then we wait. And wait some more. As I shared with a writing friend recently: the Lord's got it in His big capable hands. Waiting... Read more →

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THRIVE in your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and raise your children to faith. Our books are filled with practical experience and Biblical advice. -click or tap the photo-

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My Unexpected Christmas

Happy (almost) New Year, my dear friends! I feel like I've been on a long trip and haven't seen my family in a long time. And now I've come back home. I've missed you! My shoulder surgery went well, and I've started physical therapy. This whole process has been much more difficult and painful than I anticipated, which has made working at my desk and typing next to impossible. But day by day I'm healing and am able to do more. Please be patient with me as I ease back into writing here and please know how much your prayers and words have helped encourage and sustain me. What I want to share with you today is about what God did in all this process. The day before my surgery I sat in my quiet time, sad and a bit fearful. Not about my surgery but about Christmas. I was... Read more →

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THRIVE in your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and raise your children to faith. Our books are filled with practical experience and Biblical advice. -click or tap the photo-

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There Once Was A Man Who Didn't Believe

There was once a man who didn't believe in God, and he didn't hesitate to let others know how he felt about religion and religious holidays, like Christmas. His wife, however, did believe, and she raised their children to also have faith in God and Jesus, despite his disparaging comments. One snowy Christmas Eve, his wife was taking their children to a Christmas Eve service in the farm community in which they lived. She asked him to come, but he refused. "That story is nonsense!" he said. "Why would God lower Himself to come to Earth as a man? That's ridiculous!" So she and the children left, and he stayed home. A while later, the winds grew stronger and the snow turned into a blizzard. As the man looked out the window, all he saw was a blinding snowstorm. He sat down to relax before the fire for the evening.... Read more →

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Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

THRIVE in your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and raise your children to faith. Our books are filled with practical experience and Biblical advice. -click or tap the photo-

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Christmas and the Spiritually Mismatched Conference

Hello SUMites: I’ve come to realize that I’m in a struggle to keep up with holiday demands, writing and serving this community. My heart is to really be available to all of you as we work through the series on loneliness. And December is proving to be impossible to do – well, everything. So Dineen and I talked and decided that we are going to delay the series until after our week of fasting which is January 4-8, 2016. I still want to reply to all of the comments and emails and will do my best to do so. Dineen is having surgery on her shoulder tomorrow so we have decided to take a writing break through Christmas, the end of next week. We will have a few random posts that may pop up but mostly we are going to spend some time in rest and quiet. Boy howdy, don’t... Read more →

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THRIVE in your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and raise your children to faith. Our books are filled with practical experience and Biblical advice. -click or tap the photo-

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The Promise of Christmas

One of my favorite traditions of Christmas is the advent wreath. I first observed this at our international church while living in Switzerland and fell in love with the candles and their meaning. Every year I’ve used or remade our wreath, searching for just the right candles each year. But this year wound up a little different than I expected (there’s that word again). I’d actually prayed a few times over the years for a really nice wreath and candle holder. This year I wanted to find something different. These were simple desires I thought about and left unspoken. And this is the year that Abba surprised me with a new one. The most interesting part of this story is that I wasn’t the one to find it. My husband did. How’s that for some Christmas humor and delight? We saw this candle holder in a store and both loved... Read more →

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Moments of Delight and Moments of Despair

The Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center. My friends, it’s great to be back with you! I had an amazing week in New York City with my mother and dear friend Sally, who is also my son-in-love’s mother. Definitely a family trip filled with special surprises and blessings that I know came from God’s heart to delight us. And I am moved and impressed by the heart of this city and and what it has endured. There is a sense of strength and unity there. I was profoundly moved by the 9/11 Memorial and took significant notice that majority of those around us on that particular day were from other parts of the world. They traveled to our country, to New York City, to specially see this memorial and museum. The most emotional part for us was to listen to our tour guide describe this day from her first hand experience.... Read more →

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THRIVE in your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and raise your children to faith. Our books are filled with practical experience and Biblical advice. -click or tap the photo-

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Holiday Aloneness

Christmas is only two weeks away, let’s begin our discussion about loneliness and take a look at aloneness during the holidays. And SUMites it’s not only our community that feels alone during this time of year. For different reasons, The Holidays punctuate loneliness in many hearts. Those of us who walk through life with a spouse that navigates life from a different world view, the Christmas season brings a new set of challenges into our homes and hearts. I know for me, there were many years in our marriage that this was the one time in the year that my husband would attend church, the Christmas Eve Service. In fact, his entire family would attend… I had tremendous expectations that each of them would be overwhelmed by the story of the birth of Jesus and thereby be saved. Yep, didn’t work that way. In fact, I think that the holidays... Read more →

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THRIVE in your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and raise your children to faith. Our books are filled with practical experience and Biblical advice. -click or tap the photo-

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Childlike in Anticipation - some reflections on Advent

I've always loved December. Living in Australia, it’s summer, the end of the school year so we always had our long summer break over December/January. It’s also my birthday month and … it’s Christmas. I still recall those days approaching Christmas when the presents used to begin to pile up under the tree. Most of them were for dad, he’s a doctor and all his patients bought him presents. Every year. But my sister and two brothers were more excited by what Santa would put in the pillow slips that sat at the end of our beds. We’d struggle to sleep we were that excited. But mom always warned us that Santa wouldn’t arrive until we were fast asleep. And then when we woke, far too early for mom and dad, we’d have to wait until they arose before we could open all the goodies in those magical pillowslips. We... Read more →

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Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

THRIVE in your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and raise your children to faith. Our books are filled with practical experience and Biblical advice. -click or tap the photo-

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There Once Was a Man Who Didn't Believe in God

There was once a man who didn't believe in God, and he didn't hesitate to let others know how he felt about religion and religious holidays, like Christmas. His wife, however, did believe, and she raised their children to also have faith in God and Jesus, despite his disparaging comments. One snowy Christmas Eve, his wife was taking their children to a Christmas Eve service in the farm community in which they lived. She asked him to come, but he refused. "That story is nonsense!" he said. "Why would God lower Himself to come to Earth as a man? That's ridiculous!" So she and the children left, and he stayed home. A while later, the winds grew stronger and the snow turned into a blizzard. As the man looked out the window, all he saw was a blinding snowstorm. He sat down to relax before the fire for the evening.... Read more →

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

THRIVE in your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and raise your children to faith. Our books are filled with practical experience and Biblical advice. -click or tap the photo-

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