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Christ-centered

Ideas for a Christ-Centered Christmas

December 8, 2017

What does a Christ-centered Christmas look like? December presents us a myriad of activities, and the combination of those can lead to exhaustion, not celebration.

However, I can’t stop thinking about the angel choir which announced the birth of the Savior. That’s the only place in Scripture God sent angels to create a glorious spectacle, and God never confuses his priorities. Imagine not one angel but thousands filling the night sky and singing. How beautiful angels voices must have been. Wow!  The birth of Christ was an occasion for the world. So, it makes sense Christmas should be Christ-Centered.

Consequently, we can conclude the message of Peace on Earth and Goodwill to Mankind takes center stage.  Just think, in a world destroyed by sin, broken, confused, groaning under the curse, God offered hope through the birth of one baby who would die for our sins. His birth and later death led the way to our reconciliation with God, revealed the nature of God, and brought the prospect of eternal life.  A huge blessing!

My guest is Peggy Sue Wells, author, and mother of seven. She will share ideas for creating the perfect Christ-centered Christmas. Check out her website.

Encouragement

Welcome December: The Final Month of 2017

December 1, 2017

Welcome December.  Over the past year, I have been uploading a clickable calendar themed around that month. Together we have celebrated, we have cried, we have prayed, we have had victory, and some of us, like myself, are still waiting for our prayers to be answered.

As we come together to welcome the final month of 2017 let’s not just come together as a “to-do,” but instead, let’s join in on living out a legacy and ask ourselves the daily question: What I am contributing to make the world a better place?

“Father in this month of Christmas and New Year,
may we grasp your greatness and power found in the
birth and salvation of Jesus Christ. In His Name, Amen.”

Download December “Others Centered” Calendar

Key

Finding the Key to Your Child’s Heart

December 1, 2017
Key

When I discovered I was pregnant the first time, I knew I wanted to be an excellent mother. How I longed to find the key to my child’s heart and never make the mistakes my own parents made, even though those blunders weren’t huge. However, as time passed, I had several children, five in all, and I made tons of mistakes.

I came to understand this job wasn’t easy and required careful thought, determination, self-discipline, planning, prayer, guidance, and more prayer. That’s no joke! Each child has a unique personality and may not respond to the techniques you used in the past. One may obey after a scold while others require sharper discipline. My husband and I tossed aside formulas and all the one-size-fits-all patterns. A parent needs to know the child, find the key to what motivates him. If you misunderstand the child’s motives, he will believe you treated him unjustly.

For instance, when I was in elementary school, I was on the see-saw with another girl. At one point, the other girl wanted down, and I agreed she could get off. I had no idea that being way up in the air meant I would fall backward when she got off. I tumbled to the ground and got the air knocked out of me. When I couldn’t breathe, I was terrified and drug myself to the teacher. She frowned and told me I was overreacting and to snap out of it. Her reaction horrified me because I was really uncomfortable and afraid I was dying.

All that to say, knowing your child is key to being successful. Today I have Gwyn McCaslin as my guest. In addition to being a special friend, she is a marriage and family counselor from Sugar Springs, Ohio and chatting with her is always a pleasure.

Harsh

When God Seems Harsh, Cold, or Distant

November 28, 2017

When I have gone through hard times, God often seems distant, even harsh or cold because I cannot sense his presence. Plus, if you read what God did in the Old Testament he appears harsh and brutal.

In Genesis six, the Bible records God became angry over man’s sin and chose to send a flood to kill mankind and animals: “…I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky, for I am sorry I have made them.”

When God gave the Ten Commandments from Mt Sinai, the people were terrified at his voice: “…if we hear the voice of the LORD our God any longer, then we shall surely die.” Deut. 5:25.

Look what he said to Moses in Exodus when Aaron made a golden calf for the people to worship. “Now let me alone that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them, and I will make of you a great nation.” Moses reminded him of his covenant with Abraham and Isaac, and God relented.

Compare that to Jesus in the New Testament who wanted the children to come to him. Imagine Jesus touching babies and toddlers. That presents a very different picture. Or what about the time he said, “Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me. . . for I go to prepare a place for you.”

In John fifteen Jesus said, “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do whatever I have commanded you.”

Today my guest is Cheri Cowell, and she has written 365 Devotions for Peace, which answered that question. You can find Cheri here.

1:20 Cheri talk to us about what God is like.

4:30 How long did Noah preach before the flood came?

 

Thanksgiving Ideas

Thanksgiving Ideas Making the Holiday Special

November 16, 2017

Mom, could you use some Thanksgiving ideas to make the holiday special? I have always found it hard to have a thankful heart because it’s easier for me to complain about the things in life I don’t like. However, I’ve interviewed so many authors who shared how they have praised God through tough times and felt the presence of God. Being thankful changes your perspective and gives you a humble heart.

I love Psalm 100. The focus is on God and that’s where it should be:

Shout joyfully to the Lord all the earth

Serve the Lord with gladness

Come before him with joyful singing

Know that the Lord himself is God,

It is he who has made us and now we ourselves

We are his people and the sheep of his pasture

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise.

Give thanks to him and bless his name.

For the Lord is good and his lovingkindness is everlasting

And his faithfulness to all generation.

Thanksgiving can be harder to celebrate since it surrounds a meal. I’ve invited Peggy Sue Wells to give us tips on celebrating today.  She’s an author who raised seven children, and she’s very creative.

Blessing Others

Blessing Others: Your Local Christian Bookstore

November 10, 2017

Philippians says we should consider folk around us as more important than ourselves, blessing other like Jesus did.

Philippians 2:3 Do nothing from rivalry or conceit but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.

Jesus left the glories of heaven to live amongst sinful men and die for us. However, until recently, I never considered employees at local Christian bookstore as people to encourage. Don’t misunderstand me, because I love books and everything associated with them. I often curl up in a wingback chair to read, but I shop online a lot because it’s convenient.

A few months ago, I joined Christian Authors Network and got a vision of their ministry to bookstores. Plus, I look back on my mother who worked at a Christian bookstore for many years. What an impact she had! She often ministered to hurting and frightened people who came in looking for answers. Today I want to challenge you to rethink the way you purchase Christian materials and even reflect on how you can bless others in ministry.

I’m delighted to announce Kirk Blank of Munce Marketing, and Bob Munce, the founder of Munce, as my guests this week. You’ll enjoy listening to their perspective on how you can touch lives nearby your home.

As part of their ministry, they compile MTLMagazine (More To Life), which you can find here.

Find a retailer you can bless here.

Bread

Karen Whiting: The Gift of Bread

November 6, 2017

Have you ever thought of Bread as a gift? If not, I hope I can change your mind. Let your mind wander back to those times you smelled it baking. The luscious fragrance makes your mouth water, and for many years people in Bible times thought bread and hospitality went together. In the Old Testament Abraham saw the angel of the Lord coming down the road, he told Sarah to start baking. She would have used the finest flour to create a special loaf for their visitor because they didn’t have guests often.

In addition, it has a spiritual significance because Jesus called himself the bread of life. We know he holds the universe together, but even more,  he provides eternal life. I love John 6:51 which says, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” Just thinking about Jesus’s death and how it provides eternal life excites me. When we take communion, we proclaim to those around and to the spiritual world we have life because of Jesus. What a gift!

Today I have Karen Whiting, and she has just completed a devotional-recipe book filled with great recipes and fun stories.

1:50 Why is bread so important in the Bible?

2:20 Share about its use in the Tabernacle.

3:15 Is a gluten-free diet valuable to everyone?

4:40 You compare the baking process to becoming more like Christ. Can you share that with us?

6:00 Share some of your family traditions.

Here’s Karen’s website.

 

Encouragement

Celebrating November, One Day At a Time…

October 31, 2017

Welcome November.   Grab your favorite tea and especially your favorite mug and let’s journey together, each day of this month…

“Father in this month of thanksgiving,
may I grasp your greatness and power
so I may praise you with my whole heart.”
—Cynthia L. Simmons

The Art of Living is #OthersCentered_November 2017

Restoration

Restoration: Getting Through What You Can’t Get Over With Anita Brooks

October 26, 2017
Restoration

I love Psalm 88, however, there’s a twist to it. All the other psalms end with joy even though they start off with sorrow. This one reflects pain throughout:

Oh Lord, the God who saves me, day and night I cry out before you.

May my prayer come before you. Turn your ear to my cry.

For my soul is full of trouble and my life draws near to the grave,

I am counted among those who go down to the pit.

        I am like a man without strength,

I am set apart with dead like who lie in the grave whom you remember no more who are cut off from your care.

In fact, the writer of this Psalm shows the symptoms of clinical depression. Why would God put that in the Bible? I think God knows there at times this is how we feel. Sometimes life overwhelms us.

Today I have Anita Brooks with me, and she has written Getting Through What You Can’t Get Over. She will share how God can restore after major depression:

Find Anita Brooks here.

 

Synced

Living Synced with Jesus

October 20, 2017
Synced

Have you ever seen athletes who swim synced? What a challenge! Doubtless, they practice for hours.  Even with cell phones, email, and texting, you have to put out effort to stay in touch with your spouse. And that’s really important when dealing with your children. I used to hate it when one of my children asked for a cookie and I refused only to hear him say his father gave him permission.

So how can we stay synced with Jesus? He’s in the spiritual world, and we can’t even see him. Jennifer Kennedy Dean believes we can, and her new book, Synced, has just arrived in bookstores.

Find Jennifer Kennedy Dean here.

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