Finding the Merry in Christmas

Looking for some Merry in your Christmas? Have your HO-HO-HO's turned to BAH-HUM-BUGS? We find the Merry in Christmas by peering into the face of Christ. Ah! the cherub innocence of a newborn babe! December 19, 2008, I witnessed the birth of my first grandson. What a glory to behold! Nothing could compare to this Technicolor experience. As one who is squeamish at the sight of blood, I knew early in life that I would never be a nurse or doctor. Yet, watching this babe emerge from my one and only child was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. The artist within was entranced by the color of it all: the white of the umbilical cord, the blue of the veins, the red of the blood. It magnified the miracle! The miracle of birth brought new wonder to my world. The miracle of the Child of Christmas was amplified in my heart. As I sang the Angels' songs, my heart rejoiced in depths I'd never known. "Joy to the world, the Lord is come!" I had just experienced great joy as a new grandmother. I wanted to proclaim it to the world! "O come, let us adore Him!" Peering into that baby's face was a far [...]

By | 2016-12-15T15:37:57+00:00 December 25th, 2014|, , , , , |0 Comments

A Day of REST

We could all use one! Sounds so good this time of year, doesn't it? By now we're all feeling a bit rough around the edges, rushing against the clock to pull things together for the holidays. Seriously! Who has time for a day of rest?  Rest is more than just a good idea. It's one of the original Ten Commandments of God for His people. “Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy." Exodus 20:8 Every age group was included. This command was not meant just for people over-the-hill! "the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you." Imagine: permission for everyone to just stop all the activity--even cooking--and JUST REST! No-guilt type of rest. Needed rest. Faith required rest. Commitment to rest. AHHH! Sounds so yummy, doesn't it? I'm trying to visualize the power of what it must have been like for an entire community to observe this at the same time! WOW! The Sabbath is a day of worship. The Sabbath is more than just [...]

By | 2016-12-15T15:38:00+00:00 December 14th, 2014|, |0 Comments

The Gift of Innocence

My daughter Nicole and I will be speaking this Wednesday, Sept. 3rd, at Licking Memorial Hospital to Break the Silence of Childhood Sexual Abuse. This article addresses the reason we are committed to sharing our story: to protect the innocence of children and to aid in the healing of those who have been robbed of their innocence.   by Dr. Morven Baker (Reposted from Jan. 2013) For several wonderful days this past week, I was blessed to hear “Nana” when a wee one woke in the middle of the night, knowing my name was safe in her mouth. Her grandpa and I just grinned at each other in the dark when she and her big sister found their way to our bed at the beach cottage, and snuggled in for giggles and whispers before the sun got up. Both of us were recipients of spontaneous hugs from fat little arms being wrapped around our necks, and we just drank in all the sweet little kisses and “I love you’s” …. our little ones felt safe and we treasured their innocence. It would be so pleasant to live in a bubble, believing that all little ones felt safe with their family members, that their [...]

By | 2016-12-15T15:38:12+00:00 August 31st, 2014|, |0 Comments

Stuck In the Storm

  _______________It's a joy to share this contribution of both image & writing by Christine W. Clippinger. Thanks Christine!   We realized before our plane landed in Atlanta on a Tuesday evening that the impending ice storm had grounded our connecting flight. Thanks to in-flight wi-fi, my husband Mike had gotten an email telling us this.  It was a shock to me, but Mike, a frequent traveler, went immediately into damage-control mode, booking us a hotel near the airport for the next two nights. After exiting the plane, we went to the nearest gate agent, and were second in line. While a departures board showed flights falling like dominos, the young woman ahead of us was freaking out. “What do you mean I can’t get out until Thursday? What am I supposed to DO?” What does God say we are to do when we are stuck in a storm?  Our reactions to the unexpected situations in life tell much about our relationship with God.  We can panic, be angry, have a melt-down, or we can trust God and relax. The fact is we are rarely able to change our circumstances, so the best thing we can do is to control our [...]

By | 2016-12-15T15:39:13+00:00 February 20th, 2014|, |0 Comments

Weavings: God Whispers

"Do everything without arguing or complaining, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe..." Philippians 2:14-15NIV1984  I can still remember the first time I discovered these first five words: "Do everything without arguing or complaining."  GOD WHISPERS! Pastor of a new church plant, I was leading our weekly prayer time when "Wham!" Someone read this passage and I was immediately convicted. Seven years later, I still remember it. How could such a small phrase carry such a powerful punch? I'm guessing because we seek, ask, plead, and beg God for direction. Yet, so often when He answers, it's not what we want to hear; not what we want to do. It's not the response we were hoping for. It usually requires US to do something, when we were really hoping God would "Just do it!" We expect God to reveal the Master Plan. When, all the while, the Holy Spirit is daily whispering in our spiritual ears to go here, go there.  Say these words to this person. Give a hug to that person. Send a note. Write a letter. Make a phone call. Tend to business. We [...]

By | 2016-12-15T15:39:34+00:00 January 23rd, 2014|, |0 Comments

Life and Death Decisions: Resolutions!

If given a choice between life and death, the decision seems pretty obvious. I still remember my first awareness, as a child, that death was a reality. What a horrible reality it was! When would it happen? How? Who would I be with? Would I die alone? Would I "die before I awoke"? I thought of all the people I would miss, all the things I wanted to do and to be. At the age of only six, eight, nine, I had goals of being a wife, a mother, having a career, changing the world. I'm sure this onslaught of thought about life came with my first experience with death. My great grandmother was a beautiful soul. She loved the Lord. She loved people. She was the matriarch of our family. The table was always set, just in case a visitor was hungry. If you weren't hungry when you arrived, her cooking and canning were certain to whet the appetite! To complete the perfect picture, you would find her in a creaky wooden rocker, tipping back and forth, with her long silver hair twisted like silk and perched upon her head. She lived a long full life. A blessed life. A life that blessed others. Moses was a great patriarch, chosen [...]

By | 2016-12-15T15:39:49+00:00 January 2nd, 2014|, |0 Comments

God Bless You ~Happy New Year!

 "God bless you!" We mouth these three simple words to people in passing, on greeting cards...even when someone sneezes! We've said it/heard it so often that it's become a hollow expression, limiting it's impact to a worn-out phrase, "Have a nice day!" But let me tell you, this is no trite cliché! Say it out loud, my friend. Give each word the weight it deserves. The entire Bible boasts of blessings...and it's opposition: curses. Disguised in these three little words is the power that moves mountains, sets captives free, breaks curses and changes lives for eternity! On this eve of a New Year, let's feast on these "blessings" from God. Don't expect to swallow them in one big gulp! They are quite a mouthful! It will take some time to digest them. After all, they proceeded from the very mouth of Jesus as food for thought in his Sermon on the Mount! You're blessed when you're at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule. You're blessed when you feel you've lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you. You're blessed when you're content with just who you are--no more, no less. That's the moment you find yourselves [...]

By | 2016-12-15T15:39:50+00:00 December 31st, 2013|, , |0 Comments

Let Your Greatness Blossom!

“Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice. Like Slavery and Apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. YOU can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.” ― Nelson Mandela   Nelson Mandella-- what a great man and example of fearlessly living your life's call. I had the privilege of touring his home while doing evangelism in South Africa. It was so very humbling to walk through that tiny home, viewing the many awards and accomplishments, skirmishes and battles that encompassed his life. His presence, his greatness was tangible and the presence of the Holy Spirit was in that place. It was like walking on Holy Ground: an experience I will not forget. "Let your greatness blossom" I love that simple statement! Greatness does not come through a title or position. It comes through being available to God and to people. It's actually just simply being obedient to whatever God asks you to do...no matter how crazy it seems! Will you? Let your greatness (His greatness in you) blossom? I certainly hope so! The world [...]

By | 2016-12-15T15:40:05+00:00 December 7th, 2013|, |0 Comments

Scribbles & Prayers: Fly Free!

Early Morning Scribblings: Fly FreeCynthiaStiverson.com     I want to share these early morning scribblings and prayers in hopes they will bring the freedom to your heart that God has brought to mine! I pray you will find the courage to identify the things that have clipped your wings. I pray you will FLY FREE!   The pain lingers in my shoulder with the simplest movement to reach for something. My immediate thought, "I shouldn't have reached!" But the truth is ~ I was using my arm, my shoulder for the very things that it was made to do: REACH, STRETCH, MOVE! These are things I have done all my life without thought, without pain. Now I am very aware of every movement...and it hurts! I try to protect it, to prevent the pain. It feels as if I have a broken wing. I am a one-winged bird no longer free to fly. I realize the pain in my shoulder stretches the muscle of my heart. It stirs my fear of growing older, of not being able to accomplish the things I feel called to do. It slows me down. I am grounded with the frustration of knowing I was created to fly. [...]

By | 2016-12-15T15:40:15+00:00 November 21st, 2013|, , |0 Comments

Freedom’s Key by Margaret Slabach

locked gatephoto by Margaret Slabach   Heart’s door locked within Holding the key to freedom… Will I insert it? The prison cell is locked.  You stand holding the key- trying to decide if you’ll insert it.  You know it’s the key to freedom but…. Freedom is risky.  Maybe it would be better to stay in the cell, at least you know what to expect, even though you are miserable. God stands outside, longing for you to open the door, to invite Him in, to make space for Him.  He won’t force it but He invites you to trust Him.  He understands how hard that is. BUT IT IS YOUR CHOICE. Yes, opening that door is risky.  But will you join me in choosing to believe that inserting the key will bring a life  we’ve only dreamed of…. that it will bring a love we have  craved? _____________________________________________________________ My sweet friend Margaret is the Office Manager at High Mill Church in Canton, Ohio. She and her husband Jim are celebrating 40  years of marriage. They have 3 children and 8 multicultural grandchildren. Besides being grandma, Margaret loves photography,  reading, studying, and writing. She has published Trickles from  the Soul, a [...]

By | 2016-12-15T15:40:26+00:00 November 2nd, 2013|, |0 Comments