“At that time the deaf will hear word-for-word what’s been written. After a lifetime in the dark, the blind will see” (Isaiah 29:18 The Message).

My husband Patrick has a little spot below his jaw line that he invariably misses when he shaves. Sometimes he misses it two or three shaves in a row, and then it isn’t just beard, now it looks like hair. That little patch of hair seems to hide in the shadows, difficult to detect, and then all of a sudden there it is.

I began thinking about those little spots in my life that hide in the shadows, difficult to discern, until they take over some area of my life, and I have to go in and hack them off.

Frustration, loss of peace, making excuses, defending myself, occasional slothfulness, tendency to gluttony. All of these are areas of my life usually under control, but they still show up occasionally. When I least expect them. When I’m least prepared for them.

I praise God for being willing to take me, unworthy as I am, and make me into His image. This week, as you seek God, ask Him to reveal those blind spots you may have in your life, and then to cause them to evaporate. Gone!  So that all that is left is Him reflected in you and your life and words and actions.

Leeann Betts

Missing Deposits cover

Leeann Betts writes contemporary romantic suspense, while her real-life persona, Donna Schlachter, pens historical romantic suspense. In the Money is the tenth title in her cozy mystery series, and together she and Donna have published more than thirty novellas and full-length novels. They ghostwrite, judge writing contests, edit, facilitate a critique group, and are members of American Christian Fiction Writers, Writers on the Rock, Sisters in Crime, and Christian Authors Network. Leeann travels extensively to research her stories. Receive a free ebook by signing up for their quarterly newsletter at www.LeeannBetts.com.

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The Christmas season is upon us, and with it comes non-stop shopping, gift-giving, and entertaining. Not to mention baking, bow-making, and balancing the checkbook. No wonder it’s hard to find peace in the hustle and bustle of what should be one of our happiest times of the year.

Often, in the midst of our hurry, we forget to count our blessings. One of the best ways to do that is to look around us and find someone with a greater need. Most likely we won’t have to look too far. It’s not just the poor, but the poor in spirit, who need a reason to celebrate life. Or, at least, life in the moment. We can help give them that reason with the gift of our time.

Angel trees, red kettles, and food kitchens are great places to lend a hand. But we should also minister to the widower in the back pew, the single mom who lives around the corner, and the frazzled caregiver whose elderly parent is lost in dementia.

The holidays are particularly difficult for someone who is already lonely or grieving. A smile, a hug, or a plateful of homemade cookies can go a long way toward making their day. An offer to clean their windows, or an invitation to dinner—even if it’s just to the fast-food restaurant down the street—can go even further.

Take a look around you this Christmas and count those to whom you can be a blessing. It will help you count your own.

 

Kathy Harris

Kathy Harris

Kathy Harris is an author by way of a “divine detour” into the Nashville music business, where she has worked for thirty years as a marketing director. Her latest novel, Deadly Commitment, released on October 14. Read Kathy’s blog or follow her on Facebook,  Twitter, and/or Instagram.

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Making Holiday Memories

Thanksgiving was a traditional family gathering at my in-laws’ home. The siblings came from near and far with their families. Entering the snowy driveway, we’d see the house with seven gables high on the hill.

Beautiful horse in the snow

Beautiful horse in the snow

The roar of snowmobiles coming from the fields nearby let us know nieces and nephews were enjoying Grandpa’s toys. Beautiful horses galloped in the fields near the red barn.

Approaching the house, we caught a whiff of the baking turkey; then Grandma opened the door and lavished us with hugs. As we sat at the table beautifully set with china and crystal, the golden turkey served as the centerpiece, and pumpkin pie provided a sweet ending to the feast. It was truly a Norman Rockwell scene.

I miss those gatherings. They are treasured memories now that many family members have entered eternity. The memories cause me to be thankful for the times past, and they make me conscious this holiday season of how short my time is on earth.

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, his love endures forever” (Psalm 107:1 NIV).

As the spirit of Thanksgiving ushers in Christmas, I’ll give thanks to the Lord for providing a way for me to have eternal life; for good health, family, and friends; and for so many other blessings. And yes, for making holiday memories.

God is so good! Enjoy His goodness throughout this holiday season, and make precious holiday memories this year.

Wishing you a blessed December, a Merry Christmas, and a New Year overflowing with God’s abundance.

 

 

Peggy Cunningham

Author Peggy Cunningham

Peggy Cunningham and her husband are missionaries in

Shape Your Soul 31 Exercises for Faith that Moves Mountains

Shape Your Soul 31 Exercises for Faith that Moves Mountains

Bolivia, South America. They work with the Quechua people and have a children’s ministry. Peggy is also an author of books for children and adults. Her latest book is Shape Your Soul, 31 Exercises for Faith that Moves Mountains, a women’s devotional.  www.Peggy Cunningham.com.

 

 

 

 

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Thanksgiving is an important part of the Christian life. It is the capstone to a life of prayer. The apostle Paul instructed the church in Philippi regarding prayer:

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6, NASB).

Carrying from Europe the tradition of a day of thanksgiving after a successful harvest, the Pilgrims gave thanks to God for the bounty of the harvest after a year of sickness and hunger.

The native Wampanoag tribe also had a tradition of giving thanks to the Creator for a successful harvest, and so they joined with the Pilgrims in a joyful outpouring of gratitude mixed with merriment and feasting.

After the Revolution, the first official presidential proclamation issued in America was George Washington’s 1789 Thanksgiving message:

“…that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks

for His kind care and protection of the people of this country…”

Later, during the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln also issued a thanksgiving proclamation:

“… to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to … fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it … to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.”

As our Forefathers did in the midst of their trials, let us also take time to seek wisdom and guidance from our Heavenly Father and to worship Him for His blessings. In faith, thank God in advance for all He is going to do in the year to come – because there is tremendous power in Thanksgiving!

 

Dr. Craig von Buseck is a popular author, speaker, and editor of www.inspiration.org.  His latest book is I Am Cyrus: Harry S Truman and the Rebirth of Israel. Learn more at www.vonbuseck.com.

 

 

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For fourteen years our home in Florida allowed me to escape the bitter Midwest winters. But due to a health crisis, my husband and I are now back in the Midwest, bracing ourselves for some bitter temps.

When I look out my kitchen window, I no longer see palm trees standing tall against a clear blue sky. I see a blanket of white on the ground and pine needles laced with snow crystals. I no longer see lizards scurrying across the backyard patio. Instead, I see squirrels gathering nuts for the long months ahead.

My environment has changed dramatically, but what hasn’t changed is my awareness of God’s presence and revelation through his creation. “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands” (Psalm 19:1).

No matter where I am in God’s Universe, his power and glory surround me. Whether it’s mountains or oceans, sunny skies or storm clouds, or a flock of noisy geese flying south, God’s handiwork is on display. He made all things and sustains all things—including you and me.

God is everywhere and his love follows us wherever we go. As all of creation praises him, let’s join the chorus and honor our Creator today.

“Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it. Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sing for joy” Psalm 96:11-12 (NIV).

Crystal Bowman

Crystal Bowman

Crystal Bowman is an award-winning, best-selling author of more than 100 books for children. She’s also written three books for women, including Mothers in Waiting–Healing and Hope for those with Empty Arms. She is a speaker and mentor for MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) and teaches at writers’ conferences throughout the U.S. She is a monthly contributor to Clubhouse Jr. Magazine and writes lyrics for children’s piano music.

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