Hope in Giving: A Christmas Devotional

christmas devotional

Editor’s Note: This is a guest Christmas devotional by contributor Maria Drayton (her last post can be read here.) Here’s Day 5 of the Diva Christmas Series, “The Best Christmas Ever!” I like Maria’s take here on the theme because it involves two Christmases! 

Want to catch up on the series? Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4

A little background info on our Diva Christmas Series: Every year I’ve been editor, I like to celebrate the Christmas season with a special series and theme. This is year 5!! This year’s theme is “The Best Christmas Ever” and I think you’ll enjoy the wide variety of posts everyone submitted! It was a pleasure reading them as they were submitted, and taking in everyone’s Best Christmases Ever. Submissions are closed, but if you’d like to read more about the series, here is my post announcing the series!

Hope in Giving

It was at an all-time high, the Mega Millions. So much so that it had created a buzz around my job and everywhere for that matter. It was the largest it had ever gotten and lines were long everywhere to get a ticket. Even at my job, a lottery pool had been created and everyone added their contribution. It wasn’t just the money that I saw but it was hope. It was hope that had been created. Hope, even if for a moment. It was the anticipation, the excitement, and the thrill of the possibility of winning something. The odds were 1 out of 353 million people but yet everyone that purchased a ticket had hope. Though it lasted for a short time it was a nice change. It was nice to see everyone buzzing with joy all over a possibility. Christmas time creates a similar hope (especially if you have children).

a christmas devotional

Hope in the time of the year that brings out the best in people, gift-giving, charitable donations, decorations, good food, family, etc. But Jesus died so that we could have hope every day, all year, even in the face of adversity. He died so that we can live, every day not just some days.

“And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.” (2 Corinthians 5:15).

One of my favorite things about the Christmas season is, I get another opportunity to give. I love to go shopping for others. I wait for the day they will open the gift that I meticulously picked out with only them in mind. Last year, I decided to give this same joy to my son. This hadn’t been the first year we had donated gifts, but this was the first year that I towed him along to do the shopping.

At first he wasn’t thrilled about shopping for other teens with their list in hand for things that he also wanted. But as we strode in the aisles at the first store, his posture began to change and he became more interactive. As I perused the lists he began selecting items he thought they would like. By the time we got to the last store not only had he picked all the gifts but I noticed the change in him. “That was fun!” He carefully reflected on our way home. I responded, “Yeah, its fun to give gifts to other people.” Not only did he enjoy his time but wanted to do it again this year. There is joy in giving.

“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6:38)

I used to think it was better to be on the receiving end of a gift but life has taught me that it’s definitely better to give than to receive. This year will be the Best Christmas ever not because of what I will get but what I decide to give.

“In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35)

No matter where you are in life, no matter what the season is, give. We’ve already received the ultimate gift, everlasting life.

“For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

Heavenly Father, Thank you for all you are to me. You are the ultimate gift and I am thankful for all you’ve done for and through me. Let me be reminded that it is better to give than to receive during this holiday season and throughout the year. I’ve already received the best gift ever, You. In Jesus name, I pray.

Maria Drayton

Maria Drayton, originally from Seattle, Washington is a graduate of Washington State University and has a degree in Communications with an emphasis in Journalism through the Edward R. Murrow School of Communications. Maria currently resides in Deptford, New Jersey with her husband and son. With a passion for the Lord, she desires to bring a young, fresh, new look into intimacy with the Lord. Purchase Maria’s newly released book, “The King and I: Steps for Living in Today’s World Through Intimacy with the Lord” on her website: www.mariadrayton.com !

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The Last Christmas with my Dad: A Christmas Devotional

christmas devotional

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by veteran Diva Heather Ream (want to read her last post? Read it here). Welcome to the 4th post of our 2018 Diva Christmas Series, “The Best Christmas Ever.” There was such a good mixture of stories submitted this year, and I tried to balance lighter and heavier posts throughout this series — this one is definitely heavier. Please be encouraged today by Heather’s Best Christmas Ever.

A little background info on our Diva Christmas Series: Every year I’ve been editor, I like to celebrate the Christmas season with a special series and theme. This is year 5!! This year’s theme is “The Best Christmas Ever” and I think you’ll enjoy the wide variety of posts everyone submitted! It was a pleasure reading them as they were submitted, and taking in everyone’s Best Christmases Ever. Submissions are closed, but if you’d like to read more about the series, here is my post announcing the series!

Want to catch up on the series? Day 1, Day 2, Day 3

My 6th grade year of middle school had been a remarkable one. I was 11 and felt as though I was experiencing the world for the first time. Thanks to some special teachers who were gracious with their time and attention, I learned that there were problems to be solved outside my tiny, blue-collar corner of Tennessee, and that one day, I might grow up and help to fix things.

As I gained confidence in my capabilities, my introverted nature diminished. I had an opinion now, a voice – and I used it as often and as loudly as any pre-teen is wont to do. I was especially ready for our extended family’s Christmas celebration.

Two gatherings were held: a party on Christmas Eve, followed by an early supper on Christmas Day. My grandmother’s house would be filled to capacity by dozens of family members and a table groaning with delicious Southern cuisine. Late on Christmas Eve, we would open presents, and soon Mammaw’s blue carpet would be covered with a rainbow of ripped wrapping paper. Sometimes an aunt or uncle, forgetting to buy ahead but feeling generous, would press a folded bill into my hand, filling me with delight.

My uncles and cousins would set up instruments and speakers and play old Ventures and Elvis tunes. Simultaneously, conversations would overflow from every room in the house, increasingly loud laughter punctuating most sentences. Every member of my clever, extroverted family was their most sunny and attractive at Christmas time, and I drawn to the sheer brightness of them.

I couldn’t wait to go to Mammaw’s house and show off the new, “sophisticated,” 6th-grade Heather. I was shocked when Daddy said, “Why don’t we stay here and celebrate, just the 4 of us?”

Immediately, I began to cry. We had never not gone to Mammaw’s house for Christmas. The mere thought of it upset me greatly, especially since I was so eager to show off. My mama and daddy tried to reason with me, but I could not be consoled.

After almost an hour of my tears, Daddy bent down in front of the couch and took my hands in his. His gentle brown eyes were sad and resigned. He looked as though he understood that he would experience many, many more adolescent outbursts in the years to come, and that each one would try his patience.

“We’ll go to Mammaw’s house, Heather Pooh,” he said.

I had a wonderful time at Mammaw’s house that year. It seems like we had more family at that celebration than any other I can recall. I remember vividly that Daddy ate a sandwich made with pumpernickel bread. He was the only one of us who liked it.

We were stunned when he passed away 6 days later.

He died suddenly at home in the early morning hours of December 30, 1989, a mere 144 hours after sacrificing his own happiness for the sake of his daughter’s.

Our Lord is so good and so faithful – although I suffered a terrible amount of guilt over that fact for years, He began to heal me as I matured in my own Christian walk. I came to understand that what my daddy did was leave me with a singularly important memory – an incredible, indelible example of sacrificial love.

Despite the loss, despite the pain, this remains my favorite Christmas.

Daddy modeled what I, as a believer, am called to do. His choice that night caused an influential and long-lasting chain reaction in my life. I believe what our Bible teaches about Heaven – that because I believe that Jesus hung on the cross in my place, I will one day see my daddy again, and I will one day meet our Lord. My daddy believed the same. He no longer has to believe because now he knows!

Perhaps Daddy will meet me one day as the gates to my eternal home swing open, and I can thank him for the best Christmas present he ever gave me. Perhaps I will slip my hand into his, as I did in 1989, and together, we will go thank our Lord for the best Christmas present He gave us, as well.

Heather Ream is an emerging writer from Knoxville, Tennessee. The Lord blessed her with an incredible husband, Ben, and a joyful desire to serve others in her community. You can follow her East Tennessee adventures at www.runningtowardthefire.blogspot.com.

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The Ultimate Gift: A Christmas Devotional

christmas devotional

Editor’s Note: This is a guest Christmas devotional by Missy Eversole. I so hope you’re enjoying the Diva Christmas Series this year. Everyone has such an interesting take on the theme, “The Best Christmas Ever.” Here is Missy’s story!

A little background info on our Diva Christmas Series: Every year I’ve been editor, I like to celebrate the Christmas season with a special series and theme. This is year 5!! This year’s theme is “The Best Christmas Ever” and I think you’ll enjoy the wide variety of posts everyone submitted! It was a pleasure reading them as they were submitted, and taking in everyone’s Best Christmases Ever. Submissions are closed, but if you’d like to read more about the series, here is my post announcing the series!

Want to catch up on the series? Day 1, Day 2

a christmas devotional

The Ultimate Gift

The aroma of Pillsbury cinnamon rolls filled our small ranch house on that Christmas Day in 1983. The tradition established by my mother was an easy breakfast to fix after the pre-dawn awaking of her children. By the time the rolls were in the oven, the sun was up, the gifts were all opened, and the excess of crinkled up wrapping paper was strewn across the living room floor.

This particular Christmas was different in that the anticipation of getting the one gift that I was hoping for had dissipated. I knew that the chance of me getting the hottest Christmas gift that year was slim to none. The toy had been sold out in stores for months, and to add to that, my father had just been laid off from work. I regretted even putting the toy on my Christmas list, but I prayed that a miracle would happen, and it would be under the tree.

As we sat engrossed in our new toys, my mother broke the silence, looked at me and said, “I think Santa left something in the closet for you!”

The closet? Why would my parents put a gift in the closet? At this point in my childhood, I was old enough to know the truth about Santa, but my five-year-old younger brother was still a believer of the jolly old man in every sense.

After seeing the confused look on my face, my mother said again, “I think you need to look in the closet, Missy.” There was no hesitation this time! I ran over to the bi-fold doors with eager anticipation. As soon as I saw the shape of it, I knew what it was! It was THE gift that I had been asking for! Taking it in my hands, I ran over to my mom and gave her a big hug.

“You don’t even know what it is!” she exclaimed.

I eagerly tore the wrapping paper off to reveal Petunia Marie. She was a preemie with a bald head, a toothless grin, and such a pleasant smell! I held her in my arms and looked at her

adoption papers. I was holding the most coveted and sought-after gift of the year, the Cabbage Patch Kid doll.

Unbeknownst to me at the time, my parents had gone without some vital necessities to save up the money to get me that one treasured gift on my list. As a parent myself now, I can empathize with my parents for wanting their children to have the best Christmas ever, only to realize that it may not be a reality due to circumstances beyond their control. For my parents to sacrifice as much as they did for that one gift, was beyond my comprehension as a child.

While I am humbled and thankful for my parents sacrifice that Christmas, the greatest gift in the form of the ultimate sacrifice came from the Lord, Himself.

The Bible says in Isaiah 9:6,

“For to us a child is born,

to us a son is given;

and the government shall be upon his shoulder,

and his name shall be called

Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

On that first Christmas Day, Jesus Christ, the Lord of Lords, King of Kings, and Savior, humbly stepped down from His throne and became human. He gave us the ultimate gift of all: His life.

Much like the joy of seeing our own children squeal with delight over getting that one present they asked for on Christmas morning, can you imagine the joy it brings to the Lord when His beloved children accept His Son, Jesus, as their Lord and Savior?

Christmas is a time to reflect back on memories of the past while having the expectancy of future Christmases. My mother is no longer with us, but I will never forget how she was just as excited as I was on that Christmas morning in 1983. It was indeed the best Christmas ever!

Missy Eversole is a writer from central Illinois. She is the wife of 18 years to Craig and mom to two teenage boys, Grant and Connor. She writes about her faith and family weekly on her blog: www.missyeversole.com. She is living proof that after being nudged by the Lord numerous times to further His kingdom, He will eventually shove you into doing it. When she is not cheering her boys on from the stands, she enjoys Bible journaling, reading, and anything Chick-Fil-A.

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The Red Sled: A Christmas Devotional

christmas devotional

Editor’s Note: This is a guest Christmas devotional by contributor June Titus (See her last post right here). It’s the second entry in our 5th Annual Diva Christmas Series with the theme, “The Best Christmas Ever.” Miss the last post? Catch up here with Day 1

A little background info on our Diva Christmas Series: Every year I’ve been editor, I like to celebrate the Christmas season with a special series and theme. This is year 5!! This year’s theme is “The Best Christmas Ever” and I think you’ll enjoy the wide variety of posts everyone submitted! It was a pleasure reading them as they were submitted, and taking in everyone’s Best Christmases Ever. Submissions are closed, but if you’d like to read more about the series, here is my post announcing the series!

The Red Sled

Seven-year-old girls have different Christmas priorities than their mature self. Back in 1944 it would be the same: different circumstances.

The country’s economy didn’t lend to fancy presents. The country was crawling out of the Great Depression, and America was at war. Although many fathers were serving overseas, mine was a farmer, needed on the Homefront. Much was rationed, but we raise our own food. We had it better than most.

Christmas gifts were not extravagant. My parents worked very hard make our Christmas enjoyable: tree, big meal, a few modest gifts, goodies in our stockings. Grandmother would give a box of candy. A friend in the city would send something. I didn’t want knit stuff or a book. I wanted a sled!

My brother and my sister had their own sleds, but I had a beat-up sled that had been brother’s. I didn’t want an old sled with a bad nick in one of the runners. I just wanted A RED SLED OF MY OWN!

The steep hill behind the barn was just right for sledding if I had my own new sled with smooth runners.

I dutifully got ready for Christmas: drew a picture of our house to give my parents; learned my lines for the school’s Christmas play; practiced my part for the Sunday school program.

Then I spied out Mother’s closet, even when I knew it was wrong. I just wanted to see if there was a big package that looked like a sled. But . . . The only thing with my name of it felt like a book. I didn’t want a book! I pouted.

Daddy and my brother cut and brought a real Christmas tree inside. We all decorated it. Beautiful! I especially liked the red lights . . . like the sled I wanted! But there wouldn’t be a sled. I knew it!

Hah! Search the farm for evidence of a sled. Just maybe. I had already looked inside. Now, I searched the barn, the shop, the hen houses. No sled. This was the worst Christmas ever.

a christmas devotional

Christmas morning. No snow. Well, no sled; who needs snow? I ran downstairs in my night gown and looked. Just one glimpse told me that there were only two small presents for me. But, my stocking was bulging, so I knew there would at least be candy.

A working farm means breakfast before presents. The men, up since before daylight working with the cows and other animals, would be starved.

Then presents. I don’t know what my brother and sister received, but mine was a book and a winter hat Mother made.

I said, “Thank you,” and smiled to mask my disappointment. That looked like the only Christmas for me.

And then Daddy said, “Thought there was another present.”

“No! That’s all.” Mother said.

“Uh Oh!” he laughed and sent my brother to the back porch. In a minute he was back with a . . . well, you guessed it: a beautiful red sled!

Big smile! A beautiful, bright red sled of my own!

There’s more to the story. I went outside and checked where we kept the sleds to make a spot for mine. My heart plummeted. The ugly little sled was gone. I realized that my beautiful red sled was old one I hated. I ran into the house and looked at my sled under the tree. On examination I saw the nick had been sanded in an attempt to smooth it. Just an old sled made new.

Mother was in the kitchen making dinner. Oh, what a grouch I was!

“Mother! It’s the OLD sled!” Well, you can imagine my little tirade.

Mother stopped what she was doing and sat down, taking me in her arms. With tears in her eyes, she loved on me as she talked.

She didn’t fuss about lack of money, or that I should be glad to have what other children would love to have. Instead she told me about being made new.

“June, your sled is just like people. You see, when Jesus comes into a person’s heart, that old heart is changed. Yes, it’s the same person, but Jesus gives that person a clean heart.”

It was not until I was much older and faith in Jesus as my Savior was born in me, I finally knew of the best present of all. He came to earth that very first Christmas to give me Eternal life . . . the BEST Christmas ever.

I am still me, including all the NICKS of my old self, but I am a new person in Jesus.

June Titus
Image courtesy of June Titus

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16

June Windle Bare

June W. Titus is a retired nurse and poet and mother and grandmother, living with her husband in southern Georgia. Now in her eighties, she remains active in her local church. Among other church responsibilities, she teaches a Sunday school class of her peers. She writes a weekly blog on Facebook, entitled “Monday Musings.” Prior to moving to Georgia, she was a regular contributor to “The Watauga Democrat” newspaper, and “all About Women,’ a monthly magazine, both in Boone, North Carolina.

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Christmas Joy and Waiting: A Christmas Devotional

christmas devotional

Christmas Joy and Waiting

Editor’s Note: This is a guest Christmas devotional by Monica Braun (a veteran Diva!). I’m pleased as punch to open the 5th annual Diva Christmas Series with Monica’s post. Since we are expecting a little one in January, I totally cried after reading! 

A little background info on our Diva Christmas Series: Every year I’ve been editor, I like to celebrate the Christmas season with a special series and theme. This is year 5!! This year’s theme is “The Best Christmas Ever” and I think you’ll enjoy the wide variety of posts everyone submitted! It was a pleasure reading them as they were submitted, and taking in everyone’s Best Christmases Ever. Submissions are closed, but if you’d like to read more about the series, here is my post announcing the series!

Without further ado…

Christmas brings so much joy…and waiting.

As children, we wait on Christmas Eve for Santa Claus to bring us gifts which we open on Christmas morning. As adults, we wait for Black Friday to arrive in order to get the best deals for Christmas shopping. We wait for our packages to arrive on our doorstep after we order gifts on Cyber Monday.  
Most importantly, Advent is a time of waiting for the most joyous gift of all, the birth of Jesus Christ. Mary and Joseph waited for the child Jesus to be born that beautiful and fateful night. I wonder what Mary was thinking as she waited to give birth to the Son of God. I sometimes contemplate this mystery. 
I, too, waited for my first child, Daniel, to be born in December. In fact, I waited my whole life for him. I would often lay in bed and wonder if I was ever going to meet the right man to marry so I could have children. I was aware of this space that was missing from my life. I longed for it with all my heart. 
I often wondered what God’s will was for my life. For many years, it was a mystery to me. 
And then, one Christmas season, I met my husband. We fell in love in downtown Chicago under the Christmas lights and falling snow. It was picturesque and perfect.
We got married, and then I waited to get pregnant.
And then I waited some more. We waited 9 months for the birth, to be exact. 
Every day I waited with anticipation to meet my baby. I prepared by creating a baby registry, celebrating with a baby shower, and decorating the nursery soft hues of yellow and white. And then we waited some more. 
And then finally, one frigid and beautiful night in December, he made his debut. My water broke at midnight on my due date and we drove to the hospital through gusts of wind and on icy roads. My excitement grew along with the pains of my contractions. 21 hours later I received the greatest gift I could have ever received. 
When the nurse lied him on my chest, I immediately felt a shower of love wash over me. I peered down at his tiny frame as he struggled to open his eyes.

The snow fell outside in the darkness and I bundled him close to me. We kept each other warm.  It was love in its purest and most joyous form. 
Jesus called Him by name: Isaiah 43:1.

And I knew that I was predestined to be his mama…“You knit me together in my mother’s womb” 

Psalm 139:13.

That space that once left me empty had now been filled.
Jesus taught us how to love when he was born to a virgin in a manger to save us from sin.  And He continued to teach me how to love with an effervescent, unconditional love when I gave birth to my son and I became a mother for the first time.  This love is a great mystery to me.  I navigate the lessons of it with the most overwhelming, all-consuming love I have ever felt. 
Now, as another Christmas season approaches, I will not be asking for any Christmas gifts because I have my little boy to celebrate with.
This Christmas, he will sit on my lap as we open Christmas gifts under the tree, and my heart will swell with love and gratitude to God, who is love itself.  
And then he will help his baby sister open her gifts.
With a little patience and faith, Christmas brings miracles. 
And true love.

Monica Braun has a bachelor’s degree in English from Michigan State University and a master’s in education from Aquinas College. She teaches High School English in Racine, Wisconsin, and is an aspiring writer. She has one son and is expecting another! She is a follower of Jesus Christ. 

Monica’s blog:https://monicabraunblog.wordpress.com/

Facebook: @embracingjesus
Twitter: @monicambraun 

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October Editor’s Note: My Big News

Hello, October!

Back in my June Editor’s Note (here), I kind of talked about surprises that change all your plans. There was a lot going on for me that time of the year, and I wasn’t prepared to share all of it then. 

As I wrote in that post, I went back to Iowa with my toddler in May after a nice deployment visit with my husband in Croatia. At that time, he was in the middle of a 6-month deployment.

Two days after we arrived in Iowa, my grandma suddenly died the day before Mother’s Day. It turned out to be a very melancholy Mother’s Day, especially for my dad. I was also putting things together for little O’s 3rd birthday party. I missed my husband, and everything just felt crazy. And it was about to get even crazier.

You might have already figured out the “big news” by now. 

On O’s third birthday, I went to the doctor for a check-up. And there, I found out we had another baby on the way. Certainly, after the loss of my grandma, this was a bright spot.

We are so happy and feel so blessed. But, as with O, I’ve had a bit of a difficult pregnancy. I would not be able to get through without our families! I am so, so grateful.

I have had to cut back on what I am doing in all areas of my life (even now that I’m back in Italy) and take care of myself. My mother-in-law is here helping me out too while Brandon is away again (again, thank God for family.)

That’s why this post will be the last until our Christmas series begins. And after Christmas, Devotional Diva will be on hiatus until sometime in the spring.

Because in addition to a new baby girl in January, we’re moving back to the US in February! 

I’m going to re-insert the scripture I included in that June Editor’s Note here. It’s the motto for my life right now!

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. 

Proverbs 3:5-6
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A Song in My Heart

Editor’s Note: This is a guest story by contributor June Titus. See her last post, What to Wear, for more encouragement!


I don’t know about you, but I am one of those fortunate people who have a melody constantly playing in my brain. Sometimes it is the same one for days on end; sometimes it is a tune my head makes up as it goes; sometimes it gets downright annoying, especially when I can’t connect the tune to the words or a title. Mostly, it is enjoyable.

Music has always been a part of my life since I was a tiny child. I could carry a tune by the time I was two or three and could harmonize at age five.

Music, too, has been a balm for me in trying times, bringing comfort to my hurting heart, producing needed tears when I needed to grieve, and lifting my spirits when work seemed overwhelming. Song lives in me and I am thankful.

I call to remembrance my song in the night;
I meditate within my heart,
And my spirit makes diligent search.

Psalm 77:6 (NKJV)

Recently a dear friend has been going through yet another heartache in her life. She, too, loves music and sings beautifully in the church choir. She quietly goes along in these difficult days with their important decisions, yet when it comes to singing in the choir, she is there. I can see the tell-tale concerns etched on her face, yet when the music begins, and she sings, her entire face lights up with the joy and praise in the anthem. The beauty of our Lord Jesus Christ is in her face.

I spoke to her later and told her how encouraged I was seeing her singing when I knew what she is going through in her personal life. She told me how difficult it was to sing that Sunday, although it was a simple song. It was not the choral arrangement that was so difficult; it was the words, Oh when I am alone, give me Jesus.” 

My friend knows from experience she is not alone in this struggle; Jesus is there, guiding, listening, healing.

What is it about music that can fill our hearts with joy, peace, courage, and hope? Psychology explains it in part—what the Bible has been saying for thousands of years—that chemicals are released in the brain for different emotional reactions. Soothing music will alleviate depression; pleasant music can help someone do a difficult task. Music can speed healing, increase creativity; improve memory; help us fall asleep. There are negative effects of music as well, such as: too loud, irregular beats, disharmony, and repetitive patterns. The result can be anywhere from learning disabilities and behavioral problems to anger and boredom—among others.

“Music absorbs our conscious and sub-conscious mind and directs those thought either in spiritual or unspiritual directions.”

If music itself has an emotional impact on us, how much more do the words of the music touch us in communing the attributes of Jesus to our soul. Those musical strains that run through my head, so long as they relate to meaningful words, might do me some good. My friend is working through her difficulties singing the lovely music along with the deep meaning of the words, and she is given courage, being blessed, and blessing others.

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped;
Therefore my heart greatly rejoices,
And with my song I will praise Him.

Psalm 28: 7

June Windle Bare

June W. Titus is a retired nurse and poet and mother and grandmother, living with her husband in southern Georgia. Now in her eighties, she remains active in her local church. Among other church responsibilities, she teaches a Sunday school class of her peers. She writes a weekly blog on Facebook, entitled “Monday Musings.” Prior to moving to Georgia, she was a regular contributor to “The Watauga Democrat” newspaper, and “all About Women,’ a monthly magazine, both in Boone, North Carolina.

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My Miraculous Morning

miraculous morning

My Miraculous Morning

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Patrice D. Wilkerson. Thank you so much for bravely sharing this story, Patrice!

Have you ever experienced something so miraculous that it changes how you view your life? On November 7, 2015, I was involved in a car accident that could have ended my life. I was surprised that I was able to walk away without a scratch. I thanked God the moment I was able to get out of my car because He saved me. This tragic morning changed my life forever and proved that miracles do happen.

Even though this happened two years ago, I can still remember every single detail. It was a wet, rainy morning. I woke up late and it seemed like everything was going wrong for me. After leaving my house, I realized I left my lunch sitting on the kitchen counter. Immediately, I turned around to go back home. As I was driving, my car started spinning out of control. Everything was happening so fast, I was afraid for my life.  After a few minutes of spinning, my car landed in the ditch. I couldn’t get out of the driver’s side door so I quickly tried to get out on the passenger’s side. As I found my way out of the car I took a moment to look around at what happened. This event was something that I could not explain. After looking around, I realized that it was nothing but God that kept me here. There was a tree that was so close to my car. What if my car had landed into that tree? What if another car was coming down the road while my car was spinning out of control?  In the blink of an eye my life could have ended but God allowed me to walk away from this alive. All I could do was just look up in the sky and thank Him for allowing me to survive this tragic event.

There were so many lessons that I learned throughout this tragic event. The first lesson was to appreciate life because you never know when it will be taken away. Even though I damaged my car, I was lucky to be alive. God could have made it so that I didn’t survive this accident. So for that, I praised God for keeping me safe. It is easy to take life for granted. God wakes us up in the morning and keeps us safe throughout the day and we don’t even give Him praise for that. You just never know how your life can change.

I also learned that God gives us a wake up a call. Throughout the day all I could do was blame myself for the accident. I thought of all the things I could have done differently. This taught me to not rush but take my time so that I can live a safer life. It also taught me to live a better life that is more pleasing to God. I thought about how I can serve God more and become a better person. I definitely want to be ready when God calls me home. Now I attend church regularly, study God’s word, and strive to be a better person.

Additionally, the fact that God saved me allowed me to realize that my life has a purpose. Just days before my accident, I felt down because I couldn’t figure out what my purpose was in life. I would constantly ask God to give me a sign of direction he wanted me to go in. The accident allowed me to see the direction I need to go in. I realized that God allowed me to survive this accident so that I can tell others about how wonderful and miraculous God is. Now my life is fulfilled because I love to tell others about the wonderful things He has brought me through. 

I’ve never been one to believe in miracles but my story is a true testament that miracles do happen. This miraculous morning brought so many wonderful lessons to my life and it has allowed me to become a more appreciative, spiritual, and fulfilled person. I love the Lord because He turned my miraculous morning into my marvelous testimony.

Patrice D. Wilkerson is a MBA graduate who loves writing poetry.  She’s written a collection of poetry entitled, “Through It All, I’m Going to Make It” which was published in 2010.  She loves the Lord and gives her testimony through her writing.

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Spiritual Self-Evaluation

Spiritual Self-Evaluation

Editor’s Note: This is a guest story by contributor Agnes Amos-Coleman. I don’t know about you, but I’ve definitely been in a position to do some spiritual self-evaluation lately!

My friends, whether you are employed, unemployed, own your own business or retired – you have probably been involved in some sort of performance evaluation, or self-evaluation of how you think you have performed during a given period.

Our Christian walk is no exception. As the year winds down, there is no better time than now, to conduct a spiritual self- evaluation of our walk with the Lord. If we are not doing so well, reset and start again because we serve a God that is gracious and merciful.

After spiritual evaluation comes a renewed focus to live for Christ.  How, you may ask?  The answer lies in the following:

  • Remembering the God that is head over heels in love with us– (John 3:16) reminds us of this great love that led Him to give His Only Son Jesus to die for us so we do not perish but have eternal life. This thought should give us great focus to live for Him and for the joy of eternity that awaits us.
  • Remembering who the source of our existence is – (Acts 17:28) always gives me great comfort knowing that we live, move and have our being in Him. It will help us to live and do right for Jesus, knowing that we are His children and He is there with us and for us.
  • Remembering to share the love of Jesus with others – (2 Peter 3:9) reminds us that it is not His wish that anyone should perish, but for everyone to come to repentance. We owe it to our circle of influence to share this love with them. We do so by our actions, attitudes, and behavior.  “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven”. Matthew 5:16.

Christ follower, choose to live for Jesus.  If you are currently not a Christ follower, don’t wait another day, Jesus is calling – come

All glory to God!

Agnes Amos-ColemanAgnes is a leader with proven business acumen in a variety of industries. She holds an executive MBA from the University of Hull, United Kingdom, and is also a Certified Meeting Planner (CMP). She is the author of Transforming Business with Godly Governance: Nine Characteristics for Workplace Success; God Cares for Me in Every Season: Godly Insights for Singleness, Marriage and Divorce; The Provisions of God: Insights from a Cat Named Mascot, and  Weekly Insights for the Workplace: A Devotional for Christian Professionals

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Are We Running to Win?

Are We Running To Win?

Editor’s Note: This is a guest story by Amy Frazier. Amy’s devotional today is based off of 1 Corinthians 9:24, which happens to be one of my favorite scriptures!

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize?  Run in such a way that you may win.

I Corinthians 9:24 (NASB)

I was running late for work again.  It was one of those mornings where everything that could go wrong did.  My husband and I just trained our three-year-old beagle, “George,” to be off his leash and walk around our backyard unrestrained.  We didn’t have a fence and we really wanted George to have freedom like the other dogs in the neighborhood.  We worked with George for two weeks setting with him the parameters and boundaries of the yard. He was adjusting quite well, and we were pleased that he was establishing our trust.  That morning I let George out like I usually do for his breakfast and bathroom break.  I walked out with him that day and watched him carefully.  As George rounded the corner of our backyard to the side of the house, he trotted along rather fast.  I yelled for George to come here, in a sweet tone, and maybe even told him I had a treat.  George didn’t care and at this point, started running down the street in front of our house.  I was now yelling, “GEORGE EUGENE FRAZIER, get over here RIGHT NOW!” As he heard me yell, he looked back at me for a brief second and stopped, it felt like a long minute, as if he was contemplating obeying or living free.  As our eyes met, my eyes were pleading with George to come home but George’s eyes twinkled with wanting his freedom.  Just after that stare, George took off again; however, this time running faster than Forrest Gump.  Fortunately, our neighbor was witnessing the entire scene and pulled over in her car to get him.

George’s disobedience reminds me of how much we want our freedom.  We are born with a sinful nature that always wants its way.  When we enter into a relationship with Jesus, we become a new creature, but we still battle our flesh.  We are called to run our race with determination, self-control and eagerness to win. When given our parameters and boundaries by the Holy Spirit, sometimes we fall, similar to George thinking that outside of those lines is where our fun begins, but in reality, it destroys us.  

In I Corinthians, Paul is writing to the church of Corinth, to encourage them and teach them how to live for Christ in their corrupted city.  Even though this was written for the Corinthian church, it also applies to us today.   In verse 24, Paul encourages us to run as if we are running to win, not merely being partakers to win a medal for participation or to be disqualified.

If we look further down this passage of scripture, we see that aim and determination is very important in finishing.  In verses 25-27 it states, 

“Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore, I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.”

Paul is stating that we compete in this race for a purpose, not merely just for the sake of running.  We must practice self-control in completing the race, making our bodies our slaves so that when we teach or preach to others, we are living out our faith and practicing what we preach.  We are not merely hearers of the word, but actual doers, therefore not being disqualified.  In I John 2:4-6 (HCSB) it is written,

“The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” without keeping His commands, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly in him the love of God is perfected. This is how we know we are in Him: the one who says he remains in Him should walk just as He walked.”

We know God by obeying Him and disciplining ourselves to walk as Jesus did.  But please remember, we must rely on the Lord’s help!  We cannot walk rightly on our pathway by our own efforts, only with Christ.

Let’s finish this race well, with our goal ever before us.

Amy Frazier is a traveling worship leader, singer/songwriter and blogger out of Oklahoma City.  She has been leading worship and writing music for the last fifteen years.  She has a passion to write for the church about real life experiences so others can relate as well as see God’s mighty hand in their circumstances.  Amy is always looking to sing/lead at your next church, women’s conference, or Sunday worship event.  For more information about Amy, please go to her website at: http://www.amyfrazier.com  Join her Facebook page for updates throughout the year at Amy Frazier Music.  You can also find her on Twitter at @amyfraziermusic

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