When Larry and I arrived in Jakarta, Indonesia, our missionary hosts directed us to our hotel room and left us to freshen up. Larry plugged in his shaver but it didn’t turn on even though we used the adaptor we brought. I tried to plug in the coffee maker provided in the room and still no electricity!

“The room’s electricity must be broken,” I said and quickly dialed the front desk to tell them of the problem.

They said a repairman would be right up and within minutes, we heard a knock on the door. The man looked into the room and then pointed to a small fixture on the wall near the door.

In broken English, he said, “Put your room key in that.”

We slid the key into the fixture and tried the lamp. Bingo! It turned on! Electricity was supplied to the room!

We laughed as the maintenance man walked away, gently shaking his head at the silly Americans who don’t know how to turn on the electricity.

Yes, you now know that in Indonesia (and many other places as well since it was the same situation in Hong Kong) that you must plug in the key at the door to get electricity.

In a fresh way, I was reminded that if I don’t “plug” into the Holy Spirit’s power to do what God wants me to do, I’m not going to be “electrified.”

Let’s not even try to do God’s work on our own. Instead, seek His power by asking Him for His abilities through you.

Kathy Collard Miller

Kathy Collard Miller

Kathy Collard Miller loves to speak and write about how God’s children can trust Him more. She has spoken in over thirty U.S. states and eight foreign countries. She has over fifty published books including At the Heart of Friendship: Daughters of the King Bible Study Series. Larry and Kathy live in Southern California and are the parents of two and grandparents of two. Visit her at www.KathyCollardMiller and www.facebook.com/KathyCollardMillerAuthor and @KathyCMiller.

 

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Excerpt from Christmas Charity by Susan G Mathis

“I heard you were newlyweds from Canada. From Wolfe Island? It’s a mighty lot to adjust to, that’s for sure. But how’s you doing, dearie?”

Susan bit her lip and studied Mabel. Could she trust her, this stranger? Susan needed to talk with someone, especially since her mama wasn’t here. “It’s … all so sudden. Patrick is a good and kind man, but …” She looked toward the door and sighed. “I’m sure I’ll adjust … with time.”

Mabel took Susan’s hand in her tiny, wrinkled ones. “Change ain’t easy, I’ll give you that. But you can nudge it in the right direction. Charity is what you need, dearie. God’s love for that spitfire of a girl. I ’spect she be hurtin’ a mighty bit with all the goin’s on. She’s a child sneaking her way to womanhood I ’spect. You be a woman who must guide her along the path with a strong dose of charity.”

“That’s what my mama said. Not quite in those words.” Susan smiled and swiped a tear that had leaked out.

“We old folk knows such things. We’ve tried and failed many a time afore learnin’ the way. You’ll learn to, in time. But I feel in my bones that charity is the tool you need to use to crack that hard shell your girlie has formed around herself. What happened to her mother?”

“Died of pneumonia when Lizzy was seven, short of four years ago. Patrick and her had several stillborns and miscarriages before Lizzy came along, so Patrick …” Her words trailed off.

Mabel finished her thought. “Spoils her.” She grinned as Susan shrugged. “I could see it in her eyes the minute she cast her icy glare at ya.” Mabel chuckled. “She be a stubborn one?”

Susan sucked in a breath and nodded. “She hates me.”

“Naw. She fears you.”

Susan’s brow furrowed and she shook her head. “She doesn’t fear anything. I, on the otherhand, fear her.”

Mabel patted her hand. “Now you just stop that right now. You’s the grownup and mustn’t fear her. She’s but a child and needs you, dearie.”

Susan countered with a furious shake of her head. “She needs her father, not me. She despises me, and my marriage to him.”

“She’s just protecting herself, afeared to let you in, afeared you’ll take her daddy, afeared that she’d be betraying her mama, afeared that if she lets you in and loves you that you’ll die like her mama. It’s just the way them babes think.” Mabel touched Susan’s cheek and tenderly gazed into her eyes stinging with tears. “Now, be puttin’ away those tears and straighten that spine and fill that heart of yours with a boatload of charity for that prickly little thing. And do not fear! God will give you victory, dearie.” Mabel grabbed a towel that was lying on the table and wiped away her tears. Like her mama would have done.

Susan G Mathis is vice president of Christian Authors Network. She’s a multi-published author of stories set in her childhood stomping ground, the beautiful Thousand Islands on the St. Lawrence River in upstate NY. Her newest novella, Christmas Charity, her first novel, The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy, her Thousand Islands Gilded Age series, and her novellas will take you to a time and place few have gone. Susan is also author of two premarital books with her husband, Dale, two children’s picture books, seven stories in compilation books, and hundreds of published articles. Visit her at www.SusanGMathis.com.

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Jesus was a good son.  Bill and I recognize a good son, we enjoy having three good sons.

A good son carries out the will of his father.

A good son represents his family well and moves the family legacy forward. Good daughters would do the same.  We meet people each week and many of them are those

A Couples’ Journey with God
Harvest House

who value the heritage that have been handed to them and they build upon that strong foundation.

While writing our newest devotional book, A Couple’s Journey with God, we had the opportunity to stay on a beautiful farm. Within minutes of meeting John and Barb Schaller, we knew they had an unusual love. Barb found it easy to gush about how blessed and fortunate she found it to be married to John. John found it easy to compliment a wife he was obviously endeared too by the gleam in his eyes. They are our peers in marriage, married about the same amount of time as Bill and I, over three decades! When I asked Barb the secret of their long lasting love, she said, “My husband forgives easily. He is full of grace, mercy and forgiveness.” When we asked John the same question, his reply was similar, “My wife knows how to keep giving love when people are hard to love. She love unconditionally and tenaciously”.

Notice it is really just two sides of the same coin:

He loves without limits and she is limitless in her love.

They are the owners of Morning Star Dairy. They live in the home John was raised in. John is the youngest of  twelve so he had the good fortune to watch his parents have a lifelong love. Love is a rich heritage on Morning Star farm.  John describes his mother as a saint who loved lavishly, never uttered a harsh word, and had a servant’s heart. Her  heart of love was often expressed toward her husband as she darted about the kitchen waiting on him with an affectionately, “On the way Daddy Baby”.  And that legacy of love continues as one will sometimes hear Barb call John, “Daddy” and with a twinkle in his eye and sheepish grin he will tease back, “That’s Daddy BABY to you.”

How does one go about building a legacy of love that passes from generation to generation? Follow John and Barb’s pattern and the example they saw in action, simply out serve one another.

Love is an action verb and it is best expressed with a servant’s attitude. 

What is a servant’s attitude?  Phil 2: captures it best when it simply says:

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,  not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant . . .  (Phil 2:3-7)

This year, make the commitment to simply have a “you first” attitude and seek to place your mate’s needs as a priority on your heart. The plus side of having a servant’s attitude is your children are watching, and perhaps…

you will be laying a foundation of a family that all seek to out love the other!

 

Bill and Pam on their boat

Pam and Bill Farrel  are international speakers, relationship specialists and the authors of over 45+ books including best selling Men Are Like, Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti.  Find more information on the Farrels, their books, videos, audio and even free resources to help people be “Love-Wise” at www.love-wise.com

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Our annual church Christmas pageant gave me the impression the humble barn where Jesus was born was a quiet setting. The Nativity scene was the crowning moment of each extravaganza. Dressed in bed sheets and their fathers’ bathrobes, the children sang Silent Night.

Then I moved to the country, got a barn, and had my own birth in the stable.Kissing a Horse

Drought forced a farmer to sell a soft-eyed, pregnant mare.
 “She’s like Mary,” my teens implored. “She needs a place to have her baby.”

So this innkeeper found room in our stable. A baby monitor let us hear what happened in the barn at night. Birds in the rafters supplied a cacophony of twittering and mice scampered through hay. Once asleep, the horses passed gas so loud we thought the mare was giving birth, and dashed to the barn at 3:30 a.m.

Following weeks of false alarms, the baby was born on a night I was too sleep-deprived to tiptoe to the barn. What an exquisite wonder that morning to discover a newborn in the stable.

That’s why this year’s Christmas pageant is my favorite. “Let’s have live animals,” the music director crowed.

Opening night staging was elaborate. “Joy to the world,” the audience joined the choir as words appeared on the overhead. “Let men their sons employ.”

Choreographed to mask the noisy rearrangement of animals on stage, the pianist’s solo was a wasted effort. The keyboard was unplugged. From behind the curtains, the audience heard the trainer smooching at the donkey who was reluctant to come on stage and more reluctant to leave. The wise men bowed before the wailing Christ child. Mary and Joseph tried to look holy while goats nibbled their robes.

Suddenly, a runaway sheep dashed about the little town of Bethlehem. Engrossed by the drama, the drummer forgot to drum. The conductor looked up and paled as the speeding sheep fairly leapt into his arms.

By the second performance the “g” was added to sons, the keyboard found the plug, and fencing was added for the sheep. The rest of the pageants were without hitch, but my favorite was opening night. It seemed a better reenactment of what probably happened years ago in that starlit stable.

PeggySue Wells

PeggySue Wells

Homeless for the Holidays, by PeggySue Wells & Marsha Wright

Homeless for the Holidays, by PeggySue Wells & Marsha Wright

PeggySue Wells has two horses (because horses are like potato chips and your can’t have just one). She is the bestselling author of 28 books including Homeless for the Holidays, and Chasing Sunrise. Connect with PeggySue and find her books at www.PeggySueWells.com.

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While simplifying your holiday season, take time for relationships to thrive, not just survive the holidays.  Keep those relationships balanced with your holiday planning. People ARE more important than things at this time of year.  Here are some relationship principles using one of the familiar words of the holiday as an easy to apply acrostic:

 

  1. C enter your heart on the true, deeper meaning of the holiday season (Thanksgiving through New Year’s.) This will help everyone become easier to get along with because the heart of the holiday will remain intact.
  2. H ear what your friends and family are voicing as their stress, and listen carefully to them—a gift that will lower their stress.
  3. R each out as a family to help others in order to keep the proper perspective on what is really important in life.
  4. I nvest in memories, not material goods. Make time for family baking, tree decorating, or board games.
  5. S peak your love in words. The best gift you can give is for a person to hear their value and worth from your lips.
  6. T ake time for romance. The greatest gift you can give your spouse, children, and friends is a happy home.
  7. M ake time to reach out to extended family. Visit or call grandparents, aunts, and uncles. If possible, use modern technology like a Webcam to connect.
  8. A ssume nothing; ask those who are celebrating with you what their expectations are, and communicate the plan clearly so people feel informed.
  9. S tay flexible. Don’t be a Christmas Scrooge, ordering family around. Instead slow the pace, gather consensus, and give options so that you create an environment of connecting and sharing.
  10. ! Exclaim your joy with music, memories and by making the most of all your relationships!

 

Pam and Bill Farrel are relationship specialists, international speakers, and authors of more than forty-five books, including best-selling  Men Are like Waffles, Women Are like Spaghetti.

Visit www.Love-wise.com

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