Dianne Barker here, doing my favorite thing—spreading encouragement.

I’ve chosen my verse for 2017. “…Test me in this, says the Lord Almighty, and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it” (Malachi 3:10b). Read More →

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Dianne Barker here with a few thoughts about the presence of God with us. Long ago the prophet Isaiah wrote, “…The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14), which means “God with us” (Matthew 1:23). What difference does his presence make in an ordinary life? Read More →

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Kathy Collard Miller

Kathy Collard Miller

Hello from Kathy Collard Miller in the Southern California desert near Palm Springs where it’s finally cooling down. I’m looking forward to our “winter” that is never a winter wonderland, but still wonderful.

Years ago I created an Advent family activity I called, “Box of Blessings.” It helped our family’s thoughts focus on the true meaning of Christmas. Here are the directions to create it.

Wrap a large box with Christmas paper, wrapping the lid separate. Gather 24 visual aids, wrap each one individually, write out tags for each with an object lesson, Scripture and discussion question. (On each tag, write a number indicating the order it should be opened). Place the gifts in the box.

On December 1, open the large gift-wrapped box containing 24 small wrapped gifts, and read the enclosed tag: “Today we are beginning a Christmas project. We will open a different present for the next 24 days to help remind us of God’s most precious gift His Son Jesus.”

Here are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing for your own “Box of Blessings.” If you’d like to receive a full list of the 24 visual aids along with the object lesson, Scripture, and discussion question, reply to this email or email KathyCollardMiller@gmail.com and write “Box of Blessings” in the subject line. I’d love to send it to you.

Gift: Several pieces of any kind of food. READ: Does food always stay the same even after a long time? No, it changes when it gets old, doesn’t it? But Jesus never changes; He is always the same. (Hebrews 13:8) Why do you think it is important that Jesus never changes?

Gift: A heartshaped object. READ: Hearts remind us of love. We love others, but did you know that God loves us even more? (I Corinthians 13:47) How many things about love can we find in these verses? Read More →

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Kathy Collard Miller

Kathy Collard Miller

Greetings from Kathy Collard Miller in the Southern California desert near Palm Springs.

Imagine that you’re an orphan in a children’s home, desperately wanting to be adopted. One miraculous day a family arrives, they point to you, and say, “We want that child.” You cry with gratitude as the papers are signed and notarized. You climb into the car with your new family. It’s finally happened. You belong!

When you arrive at your new home, you’re astonished at how large it is. They show you a bedroom and it’s beautiful. “A room to myself?” you ask. They confirm it’s true.

That night as you lay in bed surrounded by warmth, you can’t believe what’s happened. But suddenly, you feel a sense of horror creep into your soul. “I don’t deserve all this. I shouldn’t be here so comfortable. I’m just adopted. I’m not like the ‘real’ children.”

With a sense of sadness, you climb out of bed, walk out of the house into the back yard. Wandering around, you find the doghouse and crawl in to lie beside the family dog. Shivering from the cold, you finally fall asleep, tears dropping onto the dirt floor. Read More →

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BobHostetlerBob Hostetler here, offering another prayer for writers:

Holy Spirit, cultivate and proliferate your fruit in my writing.

Let love permeate my words.

Help me experience joy in the writing, and let my readers experience joy in reading.

Use my writing to spread shalom.

Give me patience in the writing.

Let goodness characterize what I write, and gentleness how I write it.

Make and keep me faithful to you, to the publisher, and to the reader from beginning to end, and let God-given self control guide my every thought, impulse, and decision as I write, revise, edit, and review, in Jesus’ name, amen.

 

TRLPLBob’s latest book is The Red Letter Prayer Life, available now via Bob’s website or at fine Christian retailers everywhere.

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