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Cynthia Ruchti: Christmas and God’s Restoring Love

December 23, 2016
restoring Christmas

Cynthia Ruchti: Christmas and God’s Restoring Love

Psalm 51:12 Restore to me the joy of Thy salvation, And sustain me with a willing spirit.

  We celebrate Christmas because God came to earth as a baby to die for our sins. That’s a pretty huge event, very worth celebrating.For many people, it’s a painful time. You may have sustained a loss during the year or miss someone who died years ago.  We don’t often think about Christmas and restoration in the same sentence, but my guest, Cynthia Ruchti wrote a book, Restoring Christmas. What an interesting concept!  I looked up the word restore and found it occurred about seventy times. (depending on your translation, that may vary.)

After giving the matter some thought, I agree with Cynthia. Jesus came to earth to be our redeemer. He came to pay the price for our sins so we can have restored fellowship with God.  But what about all those other hurts we experience? Cynthia shares her heart on heartache during Christmas.

 

1:45 Share the basic story of the book

5:35 Did any event in your life prompt this story?

12:10 Talk about restoration for those hurting places.

19:50 Jesus is close to the broken-hearted. Share with people who may be there this year.

21:25 What about folks who are stumbling through Christmas with sadness or depression?

[tweetthis]I can’t unravel, I’m hemmed in hope[/tweetthis]

[tweetthis]Christmas is all about God’s love[/tweetthis]

Restoring

Cynthia Ruchti

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Learn more about Cynthia here.

 

 

Anger, Avoiding humdrum, Boundaries, Christmas holiday, Communication, Doing Family God's Way, Emotions, Family, Forgiveness, Guilt, Heart of the Matter, Love, Making choices, Parenting, People Pleaser, Responsiblity, Stress Reduction, Walking by Faith

Learn Ways to Handle Difficult Relatives that Make Christmas Miserable

December 9, 2016
Christmas

Get Along with Difficult Relatives at Christmas

Difficult relatives can make your Christmas miserable. Family can give us the most fulfillment when we actually connect with them, However, they can also cause the most heartache because we love them and long for their approval.  With the holidays coming, we all dread grumpy Uncle Bill or feisty Aunt Sally. Past hurts can also intensify the impact of uncomfortable encounters.

My father used to crack the same jokes every year and expect us to laugh. If I didn’t respond to his humor, he’d tease me about how my face looked, as if he thought I was holding in my response.

Mother would make a huge meal for Thanksgiving. I’d select certain foods, but not others, knowing I couldn’t eat it all. She would always point out what I missed, as if I overlooked that dish by accident. Plus she would attempt to get us all to eat more, even when we were full.

My grandmother would make snide comments with an innocent look on her face, and she’d do annoying things.  she favored boys over girls and she’d always make sure we knew how much she spent on the boys. If we asked her to do anything, she’d do the exact opposite.

Well, you know how it goes. Romans 12:18  says, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.”  Wow! That’s a hefty command.

Today I have two guests. The first is Angela Breidenbach. She’s a life coach and a terribly fun person. The second is Linda Rondeau. Both can give insight on this issue.

 

Learn more about Angela here.

Author and Speaker

Angela Breidenbach

3:10 Give us suggestions Angela.

4:00 Open ended questions

5:00 What can you do if your relative is unlikely to succumb to your charms?

7:00 How can we engage the elderly relatives?

7:50 Start  with good memories.

11:50 Ask questions about their stories

20:30 Use mad libs

20:55 How might coloring books help?

32:26 How do  secrets play into a difficult relationship?

34:00 Talk about forgiveness.

Learn more about Linda here.

Linda Rondeau

 

Christmas, Christmas holiday, Commitment to Christ, Encouragement, Hope, Keeping our focus, Praise, Putting Others First, Rest, Trust, Walking by Faith

Christmas Meditations: Words to Live by: Author Linda Gilden

December 4, 2016
Words to Live By
Linda Gilden

Linda Gilden

Christmas Meditations with Author Linda Gilden

Have you ever looked up the phrase Christmas rush?  I just did that. I saw pictures of people buried in lights that didn’t work, or under a pile of packages. One picture had Santa Claus pointing to a clock.  Another showed a distressed lady surrounded by piles of bows and ribbons. The one I liked the best was shoppers pushing carts heaped with gifts. One lady in the foreground is trying to hold a package in place as she hurried to the register. Shopping can be a huge distraction for me this time of year. After all, we are celebrating the birth of Christ. Right after Jesus arrival here as a baby, God saw fit to send an angel chorus to earth to sing:

Luke 2:14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

Without a doubt, this his message of peace was pretty important. God didn’t send angel choruses often in history. He was announcing hope for our broken world, yet sometimes I get forget and still get caught up in the craziness of the holiday. How can we keep our focus and not get obliterated by the holiday?

 

Author Linda Gilden shares thoughts from her newest book and meditations from her newest book, Words to Live By. 

Learn more about Linda here.

1:40 Discuss the word joyful.

3:45 How can we continue to rejoice despite the horrors going on around us?

6:05 Abide is often mentioned in John 15. Discuss how that word can impact our thoughts.

7:50 Romans 1 discusses how serious it can be to stop being thankful. Share how thankfulness can permeate our lives.

9:05 Things around us don’t last. How can we keep our focus on the eternal?

11:35 Share about a servant mindset

13:50 How can we celebrate Christ’s birth appropriately?

[tweetthis]Celebrate the Birth of Christ![/tweetthis]

 

 

Bible, Christian History, Christmas, Christmas holiday, Church, Commitment to Christ, Communication, Educating your children, Encouragement, Family, Heart of the Matter, Parenting, Time

Karen Whiting: Christmas Advent – Teach Kids While They Wait

November 25, 2016
Karen Whiting

Karen Whiting: Christmas Advent – Teach Kids While They Wait

As a child, Christmas was a magical time for me. I loved the lights, the color, the carols, the excitement. I have lots of fond memories. At our church, combined choirs would do parts of Messiah every year. What a feast for the senses! Mother always made us wait for a tree because she liked real trees, and she worried about the tree drying out. It seemed like we were always the last to get a tree, but the big day would always arrive.  Once the tree was up, she’d let us decorate. She’d hand us icicles, which were long, thin and shiny. She expected us to hang the icicles one by one one. I found it much more exciting to toss them on the tree. They always landed in interesting shapes which reflected the lights so nicely. However, I can remember how Christmas took forever to arrive.  I remember talking about the eve of the eve of Christmas Eve, and then the eve of Christmas Eve.

The Christmas 2016  has arrived. The baby in the manger can easily be overlooked in our digital world. Parents must work to keep the focus on the true meaning of Christmas rather than the commercials and ads that catch the children’s attention. What a challenge! While we are busy preparing for the holiday, our children may grow restless since time passes slowly for them. Karen Whiting has written a book called Christmas is Coming, but Waiting is Hard.  She has lots of ideas to share.

1:25 What are some activities that can help kids focus while they wait?

2:55 Do you cover the history of Christmas?

4:15 Share some traditions of the past and their meanings.

5:10 What is the peace candle?

7:01 What does red have to do with Christmas?

7:30 How about green?

8:00 What about the Christmas stocking?

9:15 How can you keep the new gadget or toy from becoming the focus of Christmas?

Learn more about Karen here.

[tweetthis]Christmas is the birthday of Jesus[/tweetthis]

Waiting is Hard

Karen Whiting

Bible, Christmas holiday, Church, Commitment to Christ, Emotions, Encouragement, Heart of the Matter, Hope, Leaving a legacy, Living through heartache, Love, Praise, Prayer, Trust, Truth, Walking by Faith

Consider Mary, Jesus’s Mother

December 25, 2015

Consider Mary, Jesus’s Mother:

Today I want you to put yourself in the shoes of Mary. Imagine with me. Picture the angel arriving. In many places in Scripture, people displayed symptoms of shock when an angel appeared, so it’s pretty incredible to see the supernatural. The angel started off by saying Mary was highly favored and said that she will be the mother of the promised Messiah. Wow! Imagine how that felt.

Think of all the frustration she faced when she informed her mother and father she was  with child. Maybe they guessed when she got back from Cousin Elizabeth’s house. Either way it wasn’t fun. Imagine her concern about  Joseph hearing the news and not understanding. Can you picture relatives rolling their eyes and saying they’d never heard that excuse.

Think about how she felt while riding to Bethlehem on a donkey when she was about the give birth. Nothing feels comfortable when you’re nine months pregnant.

Imagine how she felt giving birth in a stable and wrapping the child in whatever cloth she had and placing him in a manger. Remember that a manger was a feeding trough for animals. Not pretty and clean. Ugh!

 

Today I have Christy Fay with me, she wrote Reclaimed: uncovering your worth. It’s a Bible study about five women in the genealogy of Jesus.

What kinds of things had the Lord done to prepare her for this time?

How did he use these events in her life?

How does this impact our lives?

Learn more about Christy Fay and her ministry here.

Author and Speaker

Christy Fay

Adoption, Bible, Christmas holiday, Commitment to Christ, Communication, Divorce, Educating your children, Emotions, Encouragement, Family, Heart of the Matter, Living through heartache, Parenting, Respect, Responsiblity, Truth, Worry

Christmas and PTSD

December 19, 2015
Christmas and PTSD
Kathi Macias

Kathi Macias

 

Christmas is a time of joy, and it should be.  As believers we celebrate because we understand the hope we have. Jesus died to give us eternal life. When we come to know him we have a reason to live for something bigger than ourselves.

 

But it also important to realize that because our world is messed up, not everyone will be happy.

 

For instance, men who serve in the military often struggle with PTSD, which is post traumatic stress. It’s so important for us to understand this disorder so we can offer help.

 

There’s also a disorder for children called Attachment disorder. A child who has this is fearful of bonding with an adult. They crave it, yet they fear it too. They don’t have appropriate social behavior with others.

Kathi Macias wrote about PTSD and Attachment Syndrome in her latest book. She shares more about both and how we can minister to our solders who struggle to adjust to life after the horrors of battle.

 

Romans 12:15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.

Learn more about Kathi Macias here.

To learn more  about PTSD and how to help those who suffer. Go  here.

Bible, Boundaries, Christmas holiday, Church, Communication, Educating your children, Emotions, Encouragement, Family, Family Dinner, Guilt, Heart of the Matter, Hope, Laugh, Leaving a legacy, Love, Parenting, Praise, Prayer, Rest, Trust, Truth, Walking by Faith

Having Holiday Blues?

December 11, 2015
Dressed up Kitty

Having  Holiday Blues?

Walking through the neighborhood during December offers a feast for the eyes.  Lights twinkle everywhere, nativity sets grace the outdoors, lights sit in windows. Plus this year some people have an entire plastic garden of toys, complete with trains, Santas and moving figures. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and even guilty because you don’t put out the energy that your neighbors expended.

I’m sure you all recall the story of Mary and Martha in the New Testament. They were close friends of Jesus and he often stayed in their home.  On one occasion Mary worked hard to prepare a meal for the master. She became annoyed  that her sister wasn’t helping, and she requested Jesus to get her sister involved. His reply probably stunned her: “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

Some of us feel like Mary during the holiday season when we’re supposed to be celebrating the Savior’s birth. Our lives become a mad dash, and we often forget why we’re supposed to be joyful. It’s so easy to be tense and irritable during this season of rejoicing.

Author and speaker, Jennifer Slattery is my guest this week. She had learned to live with  chronic illness. and she’s going to give us some great ideas on remaining calm and focused.

Learn more about Jennifer here.

 

Bible, Christmas holiday, Commitment to Christ, Communication, Doing Family God's Way, Educating your children, Emotions, Encouragement, Family, Freedom, Heart of the Matter, Hope, Parenting, Responsiblity, Truth, Walking by Faith, World

Use Christmas to Teach Your Children

December 5, 2015
Birth of Jesus

Use Christmas to Teach Your Children

There’s nothing as precious as holding your new baby in your arms, but each time I gave birth, I also felt the enormity of the task before me.  We want our children to have a good life, and good parenting lays the foundation for that. They need to be loved and they need to be taught. In fact, I believe loving them means teaching them. I also believe every parent should teach their children rather than leaving it up to the church. The job it too important to pass off.

Christmastime, however, can be a huge distraction. I love the pretty lights that blink at us from everywhere. Santa and his elves appear everywhere, and you’ll see nutcrackers dressed up with ribbons in store windows. Getting up the decorations and hanging the stockings are all such fun. But none of the glitter our culture spreads about addresses our biggest task, teaching our children. A world broken by sin would have no hope. All the tinsel we could throw up in our homes would just hide the reality of our doom. Jesus came to redeem us, and if we embrace that, all the celebration is worth it. Because Jesus set us free, we need to sing about our joy at the top of our lungs. Psalms says “Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the LORD!”

There are, however, things to consider when we discuss doctrine with our offspring. If you think about the Old Testament, there are places that it’s x rated because God shows people as they are. You also need to consider varying maturity levels. A parent shouldn’t give a child more than they can digest emotionally. Pastor and author Marty Machowski offers suggestions on how to teach at Christmas and all year as well.

Learn more about Mr. Machowski here and learn more about his writing here.

 

Bible, Christmas holiday, Commitment to Christ, Communication, Emotions, Encouragement, Family, Love, Marriage, Parenting, Praise, Walking by Faith

Holiday Laughter

November 28, 2015
Writer and Speaker

Holiday Laughter with Jane Rubietta

Proverbs 17:22 A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

We think of medicine as the cure for our hurts, a way to get well, something we don’t need until illness overtakes us. However, let’s examine the other half of the verse. If we live with a crushed spirit, we’ll soon need some tonic.

We’ve come to the holiday season, which runs from Thanksgiving to New Years Day. It’s a month when we feel obligated to celebrate until we reach exhaustion. Sometimes we find it difficult to get in the spirit of the season, especially if we’ve suffered losses during the past few months. The year my father died, I didn’t want to think about parties. In such cases, that’s appropriate. “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.”(Eccl 3:1)

However, often we look toward this season and all its demands with trepidation. This year I’ve heard a few people say they’d like to skip Christmas. Looking at the world will bring anxiety, especially lately. Despite the freedoms the Constitution offers, voices around us say not to express our opinions or discuss our faith. Almost every day we hear of another terrorist attack or shooting. Our world is hostile to Christians. I was in Gatwick airport the day of the Paris attacks and witnessed a SWAT team hurry past. A bomb threat and an armed man brought security in force. How fun is that?

Despite all that,  I want to encourage you to cling to hope. A special family friend and mentor passed away recently. Prior to his death, I asked him how he handling his decling health. He told me he watched his thoughts. That answer is both simple and profound. Our emotions follow our thoughts. Let’s consider Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” That same friend, who is now in heaven, told me we can have confidence because we’ve read the last chapter. I love that. Yes! We have hope.

This week I interviewed Jane Rubietta and we discussed ways to keep joy in the holiday and ways we can laugh through the entire Christmas season. Listen and enjoy.

If you’d like to connect with Jane, click here.

 

 

 

Bible, Boundaries, Christmas, Christmas holiday, Communication, Emotions, Encouragement, Freedom, Guilt, Heart of the Matter, Hope, Love, Perseverance, Praise, Prayer, Respect, Surrender to Christ, Truth, Walking by Faith, Worry

Holidays: Loving Difficult Relatives

November 6, 2015
Judy practices in Tennessee

Holidays: Loving Difficult Relatives –

The holidays are approaching fast, and it’s such a busy time. Many of us will see relatives we love and a few relatives we don’t like. For some of us,  Thanksgiving and Christmas bring stress as we consider interacting with  that difficult person. Today we’re here to offer some thoughts to make those times easier.

I remember what Paul said in Romans. He advised us strongly to make our bodies a living sacrifice. I don’t know if you’ve noticed the change in language these days. But you’ll hear people talk about freedom of worship rather than freedom of religion. I think that’s deliberate. People who don’t understand our faith assume everything happens inside a church, but it doesn’t. A living sacrifice doesn’t crawl off the altar. In fact, that phrase is an oxymoron. That’s like saying that’s a hot ice cube. The word sacrifice entailed death.  In our case, however, we are to live all the time through Christ as if the old nature is dead.  That’s or service of worship. In that same passage in Romans Paul says, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” (Hebrews 12:14)  What a huge assignment, especially with the history we bring to our families.

Today we have Counselor Judy Herman to share ideas about demonstrating God’s love to those hardest to enjoy.

Learn more about Judy here.

Learn more about the topic here

 

 

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