95 posts categorized "Christmas"

Walking in Mary and Joseph's Sandals, Part 2

15540150_sMy friends, sorry for the delay in posting the rest of this series. I hope you’re enjoying exploring Scripture for more nuggets and details surrounding our Savior’s birth. I love how Abba’s Word comes alive as we do this. Did you discover new things as you read Luke chapters one and two?

What I noticed first as I read is that Luke, a gentile, tells the story more from Mary’s perspective. Makes me wonder if Joseph was still in the picture (these recordings were done after Christ’s death, as much as 30 years after, I believe). One commentary I read a while back suggested the possibility that Joseph may have died at some point as he’s not present at all after Jesus’ temporary disappearance at age 12 when he stayed behind in Jerusalem to be in his Father’s house.

Both Zechariah and Mary have encounters with the angel Gabriel—Zechariah regarding his son John’s conception and birth (Luke 1:11-22), and Mary being chosen to bare the Son of God (Luke 1:26-38). And don’t you just love what Gabriel says in verse 37? Powerful!

“For nothing will be impossible with God.”

There are four specific mentions of the Holy Spirit being active at this point (pre-resurrection). The first when Gabriel tells Zechariah he will soon have a son, who will be “filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother’s womb (Luke 1:15). The second when Mary visits Elizabeth. At the sound of Mary’s voice, John leaps in Elizabeth’s womb and she is filled with the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:39-45). The third comes at John’s birth when Zechariah’s voice is restored and prophesies over his son (Luke 1:67).

I want to interject here and say I wonder if Luke, being a physician, was being a tad ironic in verse 62 when the make signs to Zechariah about John’s name. The man was made mute, not deaf! Yet how often does that actually happen?

Okay, back to the Holy Spirit. The next mention of His presence comes in chapter two when Jesus is presented at the temple. Here we meet Simeon, who seemed to have many interactions with the Holy Spirit. I love that God heard this man’s dream to see the Messiah and grants it before his death (Luke 2:25-32). Simeon wasn’t a prophet but he did prophesy over Jesus. Then we meet Anna who is a prophetess and continues to give thanks and speak about the child (Luke 2:36-38).

Did you noticed there were not Magi mentioned in Luke’s account? And one of my favorite parts is when the angels appear to the shepherds—not to the kings and rulers of this time. To the shepherds who almost seem to be a prophetic symbol or resemblance to the humility and status that Jesus came into this world and continued to walk in it. And He would be called our great Shepherd too!

Now as a mom, I found two areas very tender and intriguing. First in Luke 2:19 and 51 where it says that Mary “treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.” Can you imagine? Those two mentions of her holding these truths about her son—the Son of God—in her heart, always stop me as I read. She’d spent nine months carrying this child and now she held the Son of God in her arms, kissed his brow, fed Him, changed His diaper…

And now she speaks prophetic words of what He would mean to a nation. Reading it or even knowing about it is one thing, but to be living it out is entirely different. Mary was a strong presence in Jesus’ life all the way to the cross.

And then we jump to Jesus at about age 12 when He is clearly aware of who and what He is (Luke 2:41-52). Did He always know? Or what point did He become aware of who He really was? Did Gabriel visit Him too? (Okay, that’s me being a little humorous—I’m sure Jesus could hear His Father just fine without the help of an angel.)

Seriously though, these are the things that get my brain moving and wondering what they thought, felt and perceived. Absolutely mind blowing when you think about it. I can’t wait to get to heaven and talk to all those involved!

So, my friends, this concludes our exploration of the birth of Christ. What parts stood out to you? Resonated with your heart in some way? Left you wanting to know more? Just listen the song below for awe inspiring thoughts! Wow, Mary kissed the face of God…

And finally, here is my Christmas gift for you. Using the NIV translation, I’ve taken parts from the books of Matthew, Luke and John to compile a chronological account of Jesus’ birth.  Click to download The Birth of Jesus. Enjoy!

Love you all so much! Merry Christmas!
Dineensig

Image credit: yupiramos / 123RF Stock Photo


More Than A Random Act of Kindness

Greetings SUMites. I hope you’re having a beautiful Christmas season filled with love and holiness. Today I have a special treat for you. What you’re about to read below was sent to me by a fellow SUMites, Cindy. This email arrived in my inbox on Saturday. However, I didn’t get to read it until late Sunday evening. I was utterly moved by this story, and by Cindy, and by watching her share the love of God. 

I pray you are moved to outrageous and generous acts of loving kindness for other people. Hugs, Lynn

 

Connecting with Someone Who Just Needed a Little Help.
By: Cindy Martina (Fellow SUMite) 

ManhomeWhile volunteering to feed the homeless a meal in Santa Ana, CA recently, the Lord moved me to help a man. I was serving punch when he came through the line. I noticed he was limping. When he came back for seconds, I asked him if he was okay. Tears started to fall and he said he had been hit by a car. 

I said, “Oh my goodness,” and I offered to pray for him. 

He said, “Thanks.” 

The next 20 minutes or were so very busy, finishing serving and then cleaning up that I was not thinking about him at all. However, when I went to my car to leave I saw him sitting on the curb. Seeing him there, I felt the “nudge” from God. I stopped my car, walked over to him and asked how I could help him. 

He began to cry. 

I was so moved (Holy Spirit ~ NO doubt) by this man. I offered my phone, but he had no one to call. Forgoing my plans to visit a friend, I sat down next to him and we tried to find him a place to spend the night. He had come to California with a carnival which had shut down. He stayed in a motel till his money ran out. He had been on the streets for three nights. All he owned had been stolen. I asked him if he drank. He said no. I asked him if he did drugs. He said no, he was Muslim. 

I hope and believe that I reacted like Jesus would have. I loved him. I drove him to the Salvation Army shelter, about four miles away. I prayed for him, in Jesus’ name, and praise God, when 3:30p.m. rolled around, he was able to get a bed. 

Two days later the Lord led me to offer to buy him a bus ticket home. When I offered this to him on the phone, he was overcome with gratitude. The next day I picked him up from the shelter, drove him to Greyhound and bought his one way ticket to Ft. Worth. I gave him plenty of reading material… Biblical articles comparing Christianity to Islam. A New Testament and some other little Christian booklets. I was able to tell him, in all sincerity, that God loves him, is pursuing him, and that God has a plan for his life. Then I sent him on his way with a prayer, a couple of hugs, and tears from both of us. 

Mostly Hawaii Jan 2013 Cindy M032I cannot put into words the blessing this whole experience was for me. I am just eternally grateful that God gave me this opportunity to be Jesus’ Hands and Feet. For one person. One person that I pray for daily and that I can’t wait to see again someday. And I expect to hear about all the marvelous works that God will do through his life.

Cindy <><

"...For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord..." ~Luke 2:11 (NKJV)


Weekend Worship — Dreams, Prophecies and Magi

“Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, “ God with us. — Matthew 1:23

15540148_s

Hello dear friends! I hope you’re enjoying this series about Joseph and Mary. Some of you left comments on Wednesday’s post with some great insights. Go check them out if you can—it’s great stuff! I’ve been looking forward to sharing all week what I felt the Holy Spirit wanted me to take notice of in Matthew 1 and 2.

Five Dreams
Joseph had a total of four dreams. The first when the angel of the Lord told him to not be afraid to take Mary as his wife (1:20). Joseph still could have walked away but it seems his desire to obey God was stronger than his fear of the imposed shame from others he most likely would face (both of them would face). I wonder if they told their parents the truth of what was really happening and if they were believed. Definitely one of those times in the Bible that I wish we knew more.

The second dream warned Joseph to escape to Egypt (2:13). The third dream told him to flee Egypt and go to Israel (2:19). And the fourth dream rerouted him to Galilee (2:22). And even the Magi were warned in a dream to not go back to Herod (2:12). They returned to their own country by another route. (I’m not sure how we wound up with three wise men because it doesn’t say how many in the Bible, but they were from the same country.)

Five Prophecies
A total of five prophecies were fulfilled in just these two chapters of Matthew alone.

  1. Matthew 1:22-23 — “Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear A Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.” This was prophesied in Isaiah 7:14.
  2. Matthew 2:6 — ‘And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the leaders of Judah; for out of you shall come forth a Ruler Who will shepherd MY people Israel.” This was prophesied in Micah 5:2.
  3. Matthew 2:15 — He remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:“ Out of Egypt I called MY Son. This was prophesied in Hosea 11:1.
  4. Matthew 2:18 — “A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children; and she refused to be comforted, because they were no more.” This was prophesied in Jeremiah 31:15.
  5. Matthew 2:23 — “…and came and lived in a city called Nazareth. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophets:“He shall be called a Nazarene.” This one doesn’t seem to have a direct mention in the Old Testament. My commentary said it may have been unrecorded or a reference to Isaiah 11:1.

Gifts of the Magi
Finally, I have always found the gifts the Magi brought so fascinating. I believe the gold represented who Jesus was—royalty. Gold is often a major part of the descriptions of heaven and Daniel 10:5 describes a man dressed in linen with a belt of the finest gold, and this man is most likely Christ in Daniel’s vision.

The frankincense represents the incense offered by the priests in the temple and over sacrifices. I believe also that this is two fold: one, of Jesus being the highest priest as in the order of Melchizedek (Hebrew 6:20) and two, that He would be the final sacrifice, the Lamb. And the myrrh seems to me to be a prophetic gift that foretells His death and what’s to come.

So, my friends, those are my observations. In two weeks (December 2) we will talk about Luke 1 and 2. So have fun reading and exploring Abba’s word for more tid bits about Jesus’ birth as we leave Matthew’s perspective from his Jewish heritage and enter Luke’s from his Gentile perspective. Fascinating stuff!

In the meantime, HAPPY THANKSGIVING! I am so thankful for each and every one of you! Love you dearly, SUMites!
Dineensig

 Image credit: yupiramos / 123RF Stock Photo


Let's Walk in Mary and Joseph's Sandals

“Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, “ God with us. — Matthew 1:23

15540148_sMy friends, can you believe Christmas is just five weeks away?!?! Right now I'm doing a series with my life group at church in preparation of Christmas this year. We're not following a book or script—we're just letting the Holy Spirit walk us through the story of Christ's birth and I'm discovering stunning details in the process. What a great way to walk into this blessed season with hearts focused on and full of the story of our Savior's expected and revelational arrival so long ago.

So, my heart is to share this with you too. It's a great way to set our sights on what really matters in the midst of all the preparations and celebrations, and I believe we will feel more like we've appreciated the truest meaning behind it all, along with valuable time with our loved ones.

Let's start with Matthew 1-2. Set aside some time and read through these two chapters and take notice of the people present and what they are doing. Who seems to be more in the forefront of the unfolding events? What is the turmoil surrounding them? How is God putting people and things into place? How is He communicating with the people involved?

As I read these chapters, I was stuck by how this time of anticipation over two thousand years ago seems so reflective of this time of anticipation that we are living in right now.

For hundreds of years, Jews had anticipated the coming of the Messiah. Their culture, rituals and the Pentateuch all pointed to this impending event. Then comes Mary and Joseph's generation and it actually happens. Take a moment and imagine what they may have felt.

Along with what I can imagine was a fair amount of doubt and wonderment, these two young people stood right in the middle of the biggest revelation of all time. All that they'd heard from their ancestors was now unfolding right in their very own lives.

The Messiah was coming?

Their anticipation was about to become a reality. Maybe not as they had imagined it—who but God would bring the Savior of the world into that same world as an infant first? Have the generations before who'd imagined His coming even contemplated this possibility? Did they assume He would arrive in full form more in a blaze of glory like Elijah left this world?

Now, bring those thoughts full swing to the here and now. This present generation stands in a time of acceleration. More things are being revealed and more signs and wonders are happening than ever before. It is entirely possible that just like Mary, Joseph and those who went before them anticipated the Messiah's coming and then witnessed it, that this generation in similar manner is anticipating the Messiah's return and could wind up witnessing that as well.

Unbelievable? Is it? I say astonishing for sure.

My friends, we stand in anticipation just as Mary and Joseph did. Who knows when Jesus will return—only Abba knows—but I find such striking resemblance right now between us and Mary. Many of us are carrying our hopes and dreams in gestation, waiting for Abba to bring them to term and birth. So let’s walk in Mary and Joseph’s sandals and stand in wonder of what this miraculous birth brought us and praise God for this and the many things He’s birthing in our lives too.

Now, go read the first two chapters of Matthew and take notes. Then come back here and share what stands out most to you. On Saturday, I’ll share some of my own insights as well. I can’t wait to read what you share! I know this will bless all of us too.

Holy Spirit, I ask for a deeper revelation of God’s Word for our community as we seek to draw nearer to Jesus during this time of remembrance and celebration of His birth. Also bring a fresh awareness and appreciation of Christmas to our hearts and inspire us with ways to share this with those around us. We love You so much, Jesus. You are truly the greatest gift we will ever receive. Amen!


Love being on this journey with you, my friends!
Dineensig

 Image credit: yupiramos / 123RF Stock Photo


Romans 8:15  For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 

I LOVE this verse lately. And it keeps coming at me from every direction. From teaching this morning. From email. I heard it on the radio. Whoa! Do you think God is being intentional with me? 

My friends, it’s Christmas eve. And I’m convinced that more than anything our Lord wants us to KNOW the truth of this verse. He wants us to know that He loves us and even more as my friend Susan recently shared, Jesus really “likes” us. 

Now receive this. He likes who you are. 

And because of tomorrow we celebrate that a child is given. A son is born. And because of that God has removed the orphan spirit form this world. He has place upon us a spirit of sonship, whereby we can say, Abba Father. 

And the amazing part of this verse? We are not of a spirit that makes us a slave to fear. 

Learning how much we are loved by our Great God changes our own love. So many of us struggle with loving ourselves. We can’t forgive ourselves for our past or even our current hang-ups. Well I can tell you that I still have hang-ups, sin that gets me bogged down and yet I have learned that God loves me. I so much want everyone of God’s people to KNOW this deeply in their heart. 

So today, receive this blessing from our Abba, Father: 

You are lovely
You are secure
You have a destiny
You have a purpose
God’s hand is upon your life. You will have great success for the Kingdom of God. Now hear these words:

“I love you.” Abba, Daddy.

 Merry Christmas. Dineen and I will be taking a break this week. But on Friday I plan to give you an update on the fantastic events that will be happening around here in January. If you want more of His Presence, His power, His purposes, His love and blessing, then stay tuned because I sincerely BELIEVE He wants to pour all of this into us who are part of this community. 

We love you so much, Lynn and Dineen

MerryChristmas-1


Weekend Worship — A Testimony

IStock_000017809995XSmallMy precious friends, I can't believe Christmas is so close! As the day draws closer, I'm trying to keep my heart and mind wrapped around the miracle that God brought so long ago and keep my eyes open for the ones He's doing right now. 

I want to share one with you. My rep at a magazine publishing group that I 've worked with sent me a Merry Christmas message by email, and I almost didn't reply back out of "busyness." I'm so glad I obeyed the nudge to reply back, because it opend a dialogue for a brother in Christ to share his story and offer encouragement to our SUM community. 

My friends, read this and receive the wonderful encouragement that God, our Abba Daddy, wants to you. I know this will speak to at least one woman out there who needs to read this. My friend, God brought you here to read this today for a reason. Believe it and know that your Lord has not missed a moment of your pain or your faithfulness. Whatever He is calling you to do, trust Him for the results. Just take that first step of faith and let Him do the rest.

And thank you to Jeff for serving God so faithfully and being willing to share so openly:

I saw the Q&A you did on FamilyFiction.com and your website www.SprituallyUnequalMarriage.com. As someone that put my wife thru HECK for a number of years till I surrendered to God. My heck was not normal heck—sexual addiction, anger issues, spiritual dysfunction issues. Encourage women that no situation is too tough for God. I was so far gone, yet it was my wife’s love and prayers and tough love that got me to the place I wanted real change to happen. The result is I am in Bible school at night, and we adopted 2 kids from Ukraine in 2010. That is the fruit of a life yielded and a marriage transformed!

God is so good! Is that not amazing? 

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. — Ephesians 3:20-21

Our Lord is Able!
Merry Christmas, my dear friends. I love you so very much!
Dineen 

 

Love this music video from Third Day. This song is actually based upon a true story. The song the man heard on the radio was a Third Day song!


When Love Abounds: Four Choices to an Intentional Christmas

IMG_1874We’d said farewell to precious friends and the turkey and fixings now resided in our fridge, along with the deserts, thank goodness! Our Thanksgiving Day drew to a close with a sweet contentment that warmed our hearts. My husband even commented that he thought it was his favorite Thanksgiving so far.

He and I worked to clean up the rest of the pots and pans, unaware that our two daughters and their sweeties sat at the dining room table, hooked into an action packed game of Catch Phrase.

Only when we’d finished our clean-up did we become fully aware of the momentous scene playing out.

How many years had I prayed and dreamed of such a day? For my two daughters to not just get along (with four years between them they often struggled to connect) but hang out and enjoy each other’s company? To one day see them with them as adults moving into their lives and witness the fruit of so many prayers?

I’m so glad I didn’t miss this moment, my friends, because even as I sat there, I knew this was a gift. A moment to ponder and hold in my heart, much like Mary did as she heard the shepherds and wise men sing the praises of the tiny babe she held close.

My husband and I whipped out our phones and snapped some shots to capture this moment because even he knew this time was special. To my chagrin, he even took a few pictures of me because “I looked so beautiful.”

I know without a doubt what he saw was my joy in the Lord for this time, for this rich blessing, for this sweet “kiss” from God telling me He’d heard every prayer and what I now saw was the promise of what was to come.

Love abounded. Great love. Great joy. A Great God.

Part of walking in God’s presence is staying aware of moments like these and staying in them. Right there, right in the moment. I could only sit on our couch and watch, soaking in every bit of it.

10563775_mAs we enter this Christmas season already full of events and family visits, it’s easy to miss special moments in the chaos so prevalent this time of year but therein may lay some of our greatest gifts of the season! Here’s what I learned last year in my determination to have an “Intentional Christmas:”

Intentional Choice #1: Reject the chaos. Decide how many “things” you and your family realistically have time for, pick a number and stick with it. Let your yes be yes and your no be no. Sometimes last minute “things” come up so do be flexible but factor in margins to accommodate those sudden events so that your plans aren’t totally thrown off. Spontaneity can visit but don’t let her roost.

Intentional Choice #2: Choose specifically. Which events and activities do you and your family want to partake in? Which relationships do you feel the need to invest more time in this year? Even make time for rest in your schedule. Have a super busy day planned? Make the next day one of rest and relaxation. Make it a Christmas movie day, a time to read stories and just enjoy each other.

Intentional Choice #3: Release expectations. We often walk into the holidays with unrealistic expectations. We can’t control everything. Let go of unrealistic expectations of yourself, your husband, your immediate family, your extended family, of others and even of situations that serve only to create conflict and resentment. Let’s face the reality that the Christmas season can bring the best and worst out of us. Extend lots of grace and enjoy those moments when things just seem to fall into place and go smoothly. Be Mary and give Martha the season off. Moments with loved ones are way more important than making sure all your dishes match. Take this from someone who knows (wink).

Intentional Choice #4: Accept whatever comes. Not as a passive gesture but as a willingness to let God surprise you. This is where not just the good stuff happens but the great stuff. Don’t miss a moment of it. Cover yourself and your family in prayer for God’s love to abound and bring His blessings in the most unexpected places. Look for opportunities to bless your family, your friends and even a stranger here and there. This is where we find true joy and share it with the world!

I’ll end here with a wonderful moment right from the Bible:

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. — Luke 2:16-19

Let’s ponder those moments of the heart together!
Dineen


A Charlie Brown Christmas For Me

Charlie brownI grew up waiting each Christmas season for two special TV shows to appear on our old television set. Yes, I grew up in the “Dark Ages”, according to my teenager. There weren’t video recordings nor hundreds of channels with millions of re-runs. You had one chance, once a year. That was it. I anxiously awaited, A Charlie Brown Christmas which was followed by The Grinch That Stole Christmas.

I would sit in the basement, next to the aluminum Christmas tree with the weird color wheel turning. Mom, would bring down the freshly popped corn which was coated with the most divine candy coating and we would make popcorn balls. With popcorn ball in hand, I sat criss-cross apple sauce on the floor and watch as Charlie Brown and the gang lit up our small television.

This is my personal testimony of the meaning of Christmas in my life. Join me at the Cafe Today.

Have a blessed week, Lynn


Weekend Devo — 'Twas the Week Before Christmas

IMG_0117I'm having an "ahh" moment with a cup of my favorite tea. The warm scent of English blend wafts across my nose and my eyes close in welcome relief. The stress in my shoulders seeps away as I settle into my comfy chair and on the matching ottoman I prop my aching feet. 

I'm tired but happy. My Christmas shopping is done. Next week promises busy moments with my family as we make ready for Christmas baking and fun. My oldest daughter will turn 22 and additional  presents will be under the tree for her new fiance (we always have a gift for this sweet guy but this year he's earned a few more!). We even have a stocking for him hung by the chimney for Christmas day.

My youngest (18 as of last week—yes, we have Christmas babies!) won't be with us—she's tucked snug with family in Florida, enjoying the fuss and attentions of my husband's big family. Nope, no sugar plums are dancing around her head but I'm betting she's having visions of what she'll buy with the gift card we sent for her birthday.

I settle down more into my soft chair (no kerchief for me, too many curls in my hair). The nativity scene on the sofa table catches the light from the twinkling tree. I smile to myself and thank Jesus for being there for me, even on busy and hectic days like these.

Another sip of tea and my heart settles into silent Christmas songs. Our newest member of the family (a hyperactive mutt we named River) races into the house with a clatter and stops in front of me. Her little brown nose wiggles as she sniffs and she tilts her head as if to ask, "Why are you sitting around?!"

With a scratch on her head and a pat on her back, she races out the back door after the cat. I return to gazing at the tree so brightly lit. Lights twinkle and blink and dance up the branches. Big bulbs of color glow inbetween ornaments each with a story that matches.

This one for our baby girl's first Christmas. That one for Dad's favorite movie, A Christmas Story. Another reminds me of our time in Switzerland and Christmas snow! And yet many more bring a parade of past memories of Christmas cheer and glow.

No Santa to bring presents this year—our girls are all grown. Just the sweet lingering essence of a baby promised long ago. I'm so thankful for our Savior—He's always so near. And though our family's changed and we're not all together, our hearts are forever tied with love and Christmas cheer.

Much to celebrate in the Miller home this year. So much to be thankful for—my heart just overflows. The trials of the last few years grow dim in the faithfulness and reality of God's plan. So from my heart to yours, I wish you the same.

Peace and many loved ones to be always near and the blessing of God's presence all through the year!

Merry Christmas, my friends!
Dineen 


A Christmas Legend??? I Believe

This story was written by Rev. Howard C. Schade, pastor of the First Reformed Church in Nyack, New York. By the time the story was anthologized in Alice Gray’s Christmas Stories for the Heart in 1998, Rev. Schade already had passed away in 1989 and could not be contacted to verify the details of the story, which is why Snopes calls this story a “legend.”

I choose to believe!

By Rev. Howard C. Schade

The brand new pastor and his wife, newly assigned to their first ministry to reopen a church in suburban Brooklyn, arrived in early October excited about their opportunities. When they saw their church, it was very run down and needed much work. They set a goal to have everything done in time to have their first service on Christmas Eve.

They worked hard, repairing pews, plastering walls, painting, etc., and on December 18 were ahead of schedule and just about finished. On December 19, a terrible tempest — a driving rainstorm — hit the area and lasted for two days.

On the 21st, the pastor went over to the church. His heart sank when he saw that the roof had leaked, causing a large area of plaster about 20 feet by 8 feet to fall off the front wall of the sanctuary just behind the pulpit, beginning about head high.

The pastor cleaned up the mess on the floor and, not knowing what else to do but postpone the Christmas Eve service, headed home.

TableclothivoryOn the way he noticed that a local business was having a flea-market type sale for charity so he stopped in. One of the items was a beautiful, handmade, ivory colored, crocheted tablecloth with exquisite work, fine colors and a Cross embroidered right in the center. It was just the right size to cover up the hole in the front wall. He bought it and headed back to the church.

By this time it had started to snow. An older woman running from the opposite direction was trying to catch the bus. She missed it. The pastor invited her to wait in the warm church for the next bus 45 minutes later.

She sat in a pew and paid no attention to the pastor while he got a ladder, hangers, etc., to put up the tablecloth as a wall tapestry. The pastor could hardly believe how beautiful it looked and it covered up the entire problem area. Then he noticed the woman walking down the center aisle. Her face was like a sheet….

“Pastor,” she asked, “where did you get that tablecloth?”

The pastor explained. The woman asked him to check the lower right corner to see if the initials EBG were crocheted into it there.

They were. These were the initials of the woman, and she had made this tablecloth 35 years before, in Austria.

The woman could hardly believe it as the pastor told how he had just gotten the tablecloth. The woman explained that before the war she and her husband were well-to-do people in Austria. When the Nazis came, she was forced to leave. Her husband was going to follow her the next week. She was captured, sent to prison and never saw her husband or her home again.

The pastor wanted to give her the tablecloth; but she made the pastor keep it for the church. The pastor insisted on driving her home, that was the least he could do. She lived on the other side of Staten Island and was only in Brooklyn for the day for a housecleaning job.

What a wonderful service they had on Christmas Eve. The church was almost full. The music and the spirit were great. At the end of the service, the pastor and his wife greeted everyone at the door and many said that they would return.

One older man, whom the pastor recognized from the neighborhood continued to sit in one of the pews and stare, and the pastor wondered why he wasn’t leaving.

The man asked him where he got the tablecloth on the front wall because it was identical to one that his wife had made years ago when they lived in Austria before the war and how could there be two tablecloths so much alike. He told the pastor how the Nazis came, how he forced his wife to flee for her safety and he was supposed to follow her, but he was arrested and put in a prison. He never saw his wife or his home again all the 35 years in between.

The pastor asked him if he would allow him to take him for a little ride. They drove to Staten Island and to the same house where the pastor had taken the woman three days earlier.

He helped the man climb the three flights of stairs to the woman’s apartment, knocked on the door and he saw the greatest Christmas reunion he could ever imagine.


Away in a Manger, Then a Tomb—The Humility of Christ

IStock_000007349205XSmall“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.” — Luke 1:34-37 (NIV, emphasis mine)

As I read the account of Gabriel’s visit to Mary above, that last line pulled me in and kept there for a while. Here’s the mighty Gabriel telling Mary what she needs to know most of all. In the 1984 version of the NIV, that line reads, “For nothing is impossible with God.”

This is a message for us too and reminds me of the promise in Philippians 4:13: “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”

God will never take us to a place of seeming impossibility and leave us there! He is faithful, true to His Word and will give us whatever we need to walk all the difficult paths in our lives. We don’t walk them alone. Emmanuel is with us, remember?

Now let me show you something so amazing, that one of my pastors (Thank you, Pastor Alvin!) showed us just this past Sunday. Read these two Scripture references below and let God bring a wave of fresh awe for his grand plan of salvation:

And she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. — Luke 2:7 (emphasis mine)

Then he took it [Jesus’ body] down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid. — Luke 23:53 (emphasis mine)

Jesus’ life and death are “wrapped” in the humblest of means and He willingly chose to do this for us.

Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross! — Phil. 2:6-8

Christ’s humility is the ultimate example of dying to self. He left the greatest place of power—the Son of God—and took on the greatest form of weakness—a helpless baby.

For all of us. ALL OF US! Believe God’s Word will never fail and trust Him to bring the answer to our prayers for our unsaved loved ones at just the right time.

Just as He brought his Son to Earth so long ago—at just the right time.

Praying and believing,
Dineen


Couple of Updates

Good Monday Morning.

My heart is full as I write to all of you my friends that meet here at SUM. This particular Christmas season offers a unique gift. I have watched God work through all the struggles, challenges and pain in my life and bring it all into perspective.

I have come full circle. And it is good.

I share my story in our December Newsletter. If you are not receiving our monthly e-Newsletter, Thrive in Love, please click over and sign up. Your email address is absolutely confidential and never shared with anyone.

Read this month's here and receive January's in your inbox.

I also want to announce the winner of the Thanksgiving Twitter prizes. Thank you for all who joined us in posting praises through Twitter #PraiseatSUM. The winner is: MamaCre8s. Heather Gafney. Heather, email me your mailing address. 

I'm signing off today as I have so much to do before I fly out of town tomorrow. But, I have a story that is still in progress about my daughter. It's a tough story and I'm waiting to see how God works in all of it. Stay tuned. 

I love you my friends. Press into Jesus and let this scripture fall fresh on your heart today. Be Blessed, Lynn

Luke 2:10-11And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

 


Weekend Devo — The Greatest Gift of All

IStock_000018130970XSmall“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.” Matthew 13:44-46

I love these two parables because they show a “sold out” mentality for Jesus. The man is willing to let go of everything to obtain the greatest treasure of all—the kingdom of heaven.

Our salvation is our most precious gift, but do we live like that? Do we live everyday in the awareness that we have been saved by the Son of God and now wear His righteousness as our own? It is all because of Jesus that we can embrace this most precious pearl as our own highly prized treasure. And nothing can take it away!

As we welcome Christmas into our homes and the Christ child into our hearts, sit on that thought a moment and let it seep into your heart and spirit. Wow...we already possess the most valuable gift of all. Priceless!

Jesus gave everything for us. Let’s live our lives as an offering of thanks to Him and a reflection of a heart sold out to Him.

Praying and believing,
Dineen


Give Yourself THIS Gift This Christmas

Christmas-giftOn Tuesday I was sitting in my office at Church. I love where our Women’s Ministry office is located. We are situated next to the receptionist, near the front door, one doorway away from the break room and at the apex of all foot traffic. Everyone passes by our office and I have candy on my desk so we have visitors often, even if they don’t want a Snickers Bar.

On any ordinary day, our office is smalish but on Tuesday, Christmas exploded in there with the remnants of all of our Christmas Dessert paraphernalia so it was also cramped. In addition, we are treated with a wall of windows, which is great for looking outside but makes for a sauna by 9 a.m. But, I wouldn’t trade our little humble abode for any other room in the place.

I have enjoyed, even marveled over some of the amazing conversations about faith that occur when people just “happen” to stop in. They stand in the doorway, as they are only stopping in for a minute (or at least they think that). And this past Tuesday did not disappoint.

Our Pastor of Group Life and Community Care (don’t you just love the titles we have in churches?), well he passed by the office. He popped his head in the door, you know, for just a minute that turned into almost an hour. I had been meaning to ask him about a topic I’m curious about, Pre-marital Counseling. I’m curious about what happens in pre-marital counseling as you might guess, because I didn’t ever experience it. Ahem, remember I’m unequally yoked.

He went on to explain what he does, the kind of couples he talks with and what results from his counseling. It’s not always what you might think. I was interested in this topic as something I might write about in the future so as the believing parent in our home, we may have more information to help our kids when they are at the marrying age. But, that’s a topic for another day.

What really was a mind-blow was the pastor’s salvation story. I was asking him what it was like to move out of the darkness and into the light. Listen in: (paraphrased)

Lynn: You know I think that I have always KNOWN God. He has always been with me even in my prodigal years. What was it like to really move out of darkness and into light? To be separated from God and then come to the realization of what you had missed?

John: Well it is interesting. I came to faith at a late age. Very unusual for an adult male at age 38 to become a believer.

Lynn: Yes

John: You don’t even know what you are missing. You come to Christ and an entire new life opens up. One you didn’t know existed. You know Lynn, I was very much like the Israelites who were freed from Egypt. What was supposed to be an eleven day journey to the promised land, took instead 40 years. They were rebellious and craved Egypt. And just like them, I actually became saved but then lived for eight long years wandering.

I literally had one foot in the world and one in my faith.

I was miserable.

It was only after eight years of living misery that I committed. I went “all in” and I have never looked back and I have never regretted it. Living “all in” is the only way to find the joy and peace that the Christ offers.
*****

Since Tuesday, this conversation has nagged me (Lynn). I haven’t been able to let it go. I can’t let it go because I hear God speaking through it. There are many who arrive at our website or through email who are miserable. They are miserable and suffering. Some of the many, suffer because of the actions of others but I wonder, is their misery because they are living like the Israelites in the wilderness?

Is one foot still in the world?

If this story sounds somewhat familiar to you then this Christmas give yourself the best gift ever. Step out of the world, go “all in”, and live for Jesus. I know this can be a scary prospect because you may be living with a spouse who is hostile to Christ but I can promise you, it is worth the risk.

I was that girl who lived with a hostile spouse, who hated any reference to God. But, I stepped into the full life and Jesus just came out of me. Not in an overbearing way but through love, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, self-control and the result is joy. Peace. Joy,

Peace…… Isn’t that what this season is all about? Give yourself the gift of living for Christ and don’t look back.

Just imagine what 2012 might hold for you.

That is the miracle of Christmas…… Jesus!

Be blessed, Lynn

Christmas_cross_ball


He Came Upon a Midnight Clear—For YOU!

IStock_000018440676XSmallMy Bible study group completed our study yesterday. We’d walked the past 11 weeks through the story of David with Beth Moore. On this last day she shared a powerful visual of a staff that had once been a vine. The bottom was straight but about half way up, the thick stalk rose upward in a tight spiral.

Beth Moore then showed how the vine would have grown around a branch, surrounding it, holding it, and referred to Jesus’s words that He is the vine and we are the branches (John 15).

It’s a visual that I will never forget because it so aptly shows how Christ is all around us, surrounding us. This vine that climbed from a small beginning. . .

She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”—which means, “God with us.” — Matthew 1:21-23

Then He grew up and up and around and around, His purpose clear and true. . .

“Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he was saying to them. — Luke 2:49-50  

Each year, each day, each moment—from a child to an adult, walking as a man on earth, yet fully God. . .

Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross! — Philippians 2:6-8

He twines around and through us, giving us breath and life. Giving life meaning and definition. . .

He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. — Colossians 1:17

And no matter what we do, He is always there either pursuing us or waiting for us to come to Him. His love never wavers, nor does his faithfulness. . .

If we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself. — 2 Timothy 2:13

Christ came to give us Himself. He is the ultimate culmination of God’s love for us and His goodness. . .

The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. —Romans 8:16-17

His love is unshakable and unending. His Word is His story from beginning to end, the promise of His coming, His arrival and His return.

He came for me. He came for you. Nothing can change that truth or take it away from you. . .

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. — Romans 8:38-39

In Christ we are adopted, accepted, blessed, chosen, forgiven and redeemed (Ephesians 1). And it all started with a baby who grew to a man, our God who is ever present, always with us, around us, and in us.

We are his, and He is ours.

Praying and believing,
Dineen


Creating Christmas Memories with your Kids on the Cheap

Holiday Traditions

Some of you know that I can be a bit wacky. With that said, my adventurous nature is in full gear during the Christmas season. And I AM, ahem, adventurous. And I share my escapades with my daughter. We have built memories that will last forever.

One of our favorite things to do at Christmas is decorate. Ya, ya, ya, blah, blah, blah, decorate (yawn)…. What else is new?

Yes, but we decorate in “Donovan” style. We always decorate the outside of our home. And it’s never typical. We like to create our decorations and we don’t do anything ordinary.

Read the rest of this story over at Sharing the Journey.

Christmas Traditions


These are some of our favorite holiday antics from the Donovan home to yours this season.

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Hope you have a chance to try one of them. Hugs, Lynn


Have Yourself a Merry "Intentional" Christmas

ChristmasTreeI don't know about you but I feel like Christmas has hit me unexpectedly these last few years. Sometimes we just get so bogged down with the demands and trials of life that we only have the energy to react to this season of decorating, shopping and gift giving.

Well, I've decided I want more this year. Actually, what I mean is I want less. I want this holiday to be different. I want to be intentional about it, not just roll along with the current and try to avoid the undertow.

Here's what I'm thinking:

1. I’m being intentional in my joy. This will be the first year that we wont have both our girls with us. My youngest daughter will be in Florida with our extended family. This is difficult but part of how families change. So, we will do at least two Christmas events this year. One will be to see a light show in a neighboring community. The other I assigned my older daughter and her fiancé (Yep, engaged!) to figure out. One idea is to go downtown this year (something I usually avoid) to see Christmas in the Park.

These are both low cost or free but great fun to do together as a family. What's in your neighborhood? Just planning a night to drive around to see the decorated houses is one of our mainstays. This is not about filling our schedule with activities. It’s about doing something that is intentional in the moment to be in the spirit and love of Christmas, and to share that with our precious family. Every moment is a gift and I want to live each day in appreciation of what Jesus has given me.

2. I’m being intentional in slowing things down. This is part of wanting less—less stress. After the chaos of the last few years, I'm a bit worn out. I sense God's gentle nudge to see things differently this year from a place of rest. So, I'm resisting the usual hurriedness of this time of year and am even planning ahead in my work schedule to have time to read a book by the Christmas tree as the lights twinkle and glow. To spend more time with God in my mornings and read the stories of Jesus’ birth. To really assess everything I'm doing with this question, "Does this please God and draw me closer to Him?" I'm even bringing my television viewing choices under this scrutiny.

3. I worshipping more intentionally. This is an area I really feel I need to develop more. Not out of duty but out of my love for God and desire to know Him better. That is my heart’s desire, to know God better everyday, every year. To grow closer to Him. When I expressed this to Him in the past, He spoke to my heart these words, “You will find Me in worship.” I want to find Him more. Right now, I’m totally loving Casting Crowns’ Christmas album, Peace on Earth. Break out your favorite Christmas music. Sing along out loud or in your heart or both! Let the gift of God’s Son, His greatest gift and the ultimate example of God working “for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28) fall afresh on your heart. Let God wow you!

4. I want to be a willing and intentional blessing. As much as I’d love to just make this month all about R&R for me, I don’t want to be selfish. I want to be a blessing to anyone God puts in my path. This means I will be intentional in staying alert when I go about my day to God’s “interruptions” and be ready to serve. I confess this is a challenge for me because I’m a “get ‘er done kind of girl” and have never been good about interruptions to my agenda. But God knows this and He knows my desire to change this area of my heart and life. He’s already given me couple opportunities recently. (One just yesterday in a MacDonald’s drive thru!) I’m looking forward to more.

These are some of my ideas. I hope you'll share yours too, so that we can help each other have an Intentional Christmas. This is not intended to bring more stress or create more duty. God doesn’t want our relationship with Him to be about duty. He came to give us life and joy (John 10:10).

So, whatever that translates to in your life, go for it. Be joyful and joyfilled. That is a gift we can give intentionally to our Lord and Savior because it reflects Him.

Your intentional servant,
Dineen


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.

Snow_church 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. Then he heard a loud thump. Something had hit the window. Then another thump. He looked out, but couldn't see more than a few feet.

When the snow let up a little, he ventured outside to see what could have been beating on his window. In the field near his house he saw a flock of wild geese. Apparently they had been flying south for the winter when they got caught in the snowstorm and couldn't go on. They were lost and stranded on his farm, with no food or shelter. They just flapped their wings and flew around the field in low circles, blindly and aimlessly. A couple of them had flown into his window, it seemed.

The man felt sorry for the geese and wanted to help them. The barn would be a great place for them to stay, he thought. It's warm and safe; surely they could spend the night and wait out the storm. So he walked over to the barn and opened the doors wide, then watched and waited, hoping they would notice the open barn and go inside.

The geese just fluttered around aimlessly and didn't seem to notice the barn or realize what it could mean for them. The man tried to get their attention, but that just seemed to scare them and they moved further away. He went into the house and came back out with some bread, broke it up, and made a breadcrumbs trail leading to the barn, but they still didn't catch on.

Now he was getting frustrated. He got behind them and tried to shoo them toward the barn, but they only got more scared and scattered in every direction except toward the barn. Nothing he did could get them to go into the barn where they would be warm and safe.

"Why don't they follow me?!" he exclaimed. "Can't they see this is the only place where they can survive the storm?" He thought for a moment and realized that they just wouldn't follow a human.

"If only I were a goose, then I could save them," he said out loud.Geese winter

Then he had an idea. He went into barn, got one of his own geese, and carried it in his arms as he circled around behind the flock of wild geese. He then released it. His goose flew through the flock and straight into the barn - and one by one the other geese followed it to safety!

He stood silently for a moment as the words he had spoken a few minutes earlier replayed in his mind:

"If only I were a goose, then I could save them!"

Then he thought about what he had said to his wife earlier. "Why would God want to be like us? That's ridiculous!"

Suddenly it all made sense. That is what God had done. We were like the geese - blind, lost, and perishing. God had His Son become like us so He could show us the way and save us. That was the meaning of Christmas, he realized!

As the winds and blinding snow died down, his soul became quiet and pondered this wonderful thought. Suddenly he understood what Christmas was all about, why Christ had come.

Years of doubt and disbelief vanished like the passing storm. He fell to his knees in the snow, and prayed his first prayer:

Mangercross "Thank You, God, for coming in human form to get me out of the storm!"

~Author Unknown

 


Your Teen and Christmas

It's pouring rain outside. 

I sit at my computer peeking at Facebook and see a post from my friend Pam Farrell.

The video starts. I call to my teen daughter, "Caitie, you are going to want to see this."

She strolls into my office.

I move over in my chair, she joins me. 

We watch.

We smile.

We awwww.

We "get" it.

 

 

Merry Christmas from the Donovan Clan


I'm Thankful

It’s two days until Christmas:

I’m thankful our house is clean.

I’m thankful that we had just enough to provide for Christmas.

I’m thankful that we had a tiny bit more to help a few others.

I’m thankful for my Christmas baby, my son Brad, age 28. He shares his birthday with Jesus.

I’m thankful for my husband. He is my hero.

I’m thankful for my teen daughter.

I’m thankful for my little Peanut who is still annoyed with me for tying a Christmas kerchief around his neck.

I’m thankful for everyone who has stopped in here to read and shared a part of themselves with Dineen and me.

I’m thankful for the grace and gift God has given that Dineen and I have a message arriving in February, that is from our heart and covered in prayer, our book Winning Him Without Words.

I’m thankful for Jesus.

I’m thankful and my mind boggles to conceive God would come as a man to save a messed up and needful me.

Christmas_cross_ball
I'm Thankful! Be blessed, This Season, Lynn

Visit Iris for more Thankful Thursday.

 

(If you are wanting to start 2011 with a close walk with the Lord, to discover God's will and understand His calling on your life in the next year, join us the first week of January for the Top 10 Exercise and a week of fasting. Read more here on Monday, December 27)

Let Us Adore Him

IStock_000014106078XSmall I was on a road trip over the weekend and listened to Third Day's Christmas Offerings (had to use headphones because hubby doesn't care for my music). I know we hear this one song a lot this time of year but maybe it was just time for me to hear it in a new way. Here are the words:

Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful
By: John F. Wade

Oh, come, all ye faithful,
Joyful and triumphant!
Oh, come ye, oh, come ye to Bethlehem;
Come and behold him
Born the king of angels:
Oh, come, let us adore him,
Oh, come, let us adore him,
Oh, come, let us adore him,
Christ the Lord.

Highest, most holy,
Light of light eternal,
Born of a virgin,
A mortal he comes;
Son of the Father
Now in flesh appearing!
Oh, come, let us adore him,
Oh, come, let us adore him,
Oh, come, let us adore him,
Christ the Lord.

Sing, choirs of angels,
Sing in exultation,
Sing, all ye citizens of heaven above!
Glory to God
In the highest:
Oh, come, let us adore him,
Oh, come, let us adore him,
Oh, come, let us adore him,
Christ the Lord.

Yea, Lord, we greet thee,
Born this happy morning;
Jesus, to thee be glory given!
Word of the Father,
Now in flesh appearing!
Oh, come, let us adore him,
Oh, come, let us adore him,
Oh, come, let us adore him,
Christ the Lord.


I guess I've always listened to most Christmas songs in terms of the Baby Jesus, but hearing the line "oh come let is adore him" spoke to me this time about the man/God who is our Savior. I felt a call in my spirit to adore my Savior.

If that's the one gift I can give Jesus, then I give it gladly. And not just at Christmas. I want to adore Jesus all year long.

Oh come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.

Have a wonderful Christmas, my friends!
Praying and believing,
Dineen


Christmas Gift Ideas

Gift_certificate Okay, I'm wondering if buying Christmas gifts for your husband is a challenge?

It is for me. My man really isn't in need of much. He doesn't want a bunch of stuff.

However, he is a geek. I say that proudly. I think most of you know he works in the high-tech industry. So when some new electronic gadget arrives on the market, he begins his research. And you can bet we will own one at some day in the future. Can you guess what intrigued him this year?

Blu-ray disc player.

Well he never waits to purchase his gadgets and by the time Christmas rolls around he owns one. I think he bought the Blu-ray in August. 

The man works seriously hard so if he wants to buy himself a Blu-ray in August, it's good with me. However, I usually don't have a clue what to give him to unwrap on Christmas morning.

It's usually small stuff.

I think this year I need to get creative. Personalized gift certificates may be the perfect gift. Here are some ideas:

  • Back rub
  • Dinner and movie (of his choice/ but no war movie *grin*) We laugh about war movies.
  • Prepare his favorite dinner
  • Make the run to the dry-cleaner
  • Model lingerie

Okay, these are some things my spouse might like.

Here are some ideas I have run across for men and/or women

  • Tickets to a sporting event/theater
  • Dinner at a nice restaurant
  • Cuddle by the fire
  • A sexy coupon
  • DVD movie at home/ pizza night

I found a site where you can type your own Christmas Gift Certificate. 

I would love some of your ideas. What is a creative gift certificate to give to your spouse?

Be blessed, Lynn

Right after Christmas we are going to begin a series of posts to help you bring the year 2011 before the Lord. We are declaring 2011 the year when god moves mightily in the lives of the readers here at Spiritually Unequal Marriage. Stay tuned for the amazing first week of January and also Your Top 10. You are going to want to walk with us on this journey. I'm so excited. Hugs, Lynn