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Google has unique insight into the human condition, telling us everything from "what's that bug," to "how to boil an egg." What does Google have to say about love? What does it say about God? #godislove

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A Well-Lit Journey

A Well-Lit Journey
Walking in the dark isn’t easy—but as Christians, we don’t walk alone. God is with us, and he has given us torchbearers to walk alongside us and light the way.

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Let There Be Peace

Let There Be Peace

The hustle and bustle of holiday cooking and favored guests has quieted. The candles from the Christmas Eve service are packed away for next year’s opportunity to celebrate the birth of our King. Crumpled wrapping paper and bows with boxes emptied of shiny new toys and baubles are waiting at the curb for the trash collector even as I type (and what a blessing that is!).

 

For me, this Christmas brought joy and togetherness as we gathered with family and friends to mark the occasion—but now, a few days after the fact, a small disquiet casts a shadow amid the afterglow. I find myself listening to the news, pondering events around the world as I hear about mysterious plane crashes and tense conflicts half a world away, and then of tragedy closer to home in the form of the sudden passing of a kind boy I grew up with—who had become a father of five and was only 38 years old.

 

And as news of this nature continues in our fallen world, I am struck anew by how blessed I am to be in a warm home with the ones I love, with water and heat on demand, a reliable vehicle to take me where I need to go, family nearby to support us, a husband and children in good health…. I am overwhelmingly blessed. Blessed to a degree that I have the time and energy to ponder the people and places who do not have peace in this season and blessed enough to desperately want the struggle to end, for God’s peace to intervene in all things. A lofty goal, to be certain, but there it is.

 

This year, the belated Christmas gift I am hoping hardest for is peace on earth—and I hope you’ll join me in this prayer.

 

Would you consider dedicating a portion of your prayer time for the next thirty days to pray for peace? This isn’t a contest, a challenge, or something we’ll be tracking with an online ticker; this is a believing heart reaching out to say, “This world is crying out for peace. Let’s ask for it—together.”

 

Asking for peace might be for an end to military conflict, a resolution of racial tension, peace within your own family, peace for the struggling marriage of someone you know—peace in any form.

 

Here are a few verses to meditate on as you converse with God on the topic of peace:

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.                           —Luke 2:14 KJV

 

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.                                                                                       —Colossians 3:15 NIV

 

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

—1 Peter 5:7 NIV

 

Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.

—James 3:18 NIV

 

When a man’s ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.

—Proverbs 16:7 NKJV

 

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

—Philippians 4:7 NIV

 

Praying God’s peace for you as we approach a new year.

 

by Liz Sagaser

The Very Best Gift

The Very Best Gift

THE VERY BEST GIFT

Christmas circa 1986 was a good one at my house.

Growing up, my sisters and I always opened presents on Christmas Eve, with stockings to look forward to on Christmas morning. The Christmas Eve I was six, I was tucked into bed hugging a brand new Cabbage Patch doll - a baby girl named “Roxanne” with a single wheaten tuft of yarn hair atop her head. It was the mid-eighties after all, and Cabbage Patch dolls were the “it” toy that year.  

Christmas Day held greater wonder still. Beside the tree that morning stood a My Little Pony play house - pvc pipes with a plastic sheet fitted over the top, emblazoned in pink and purple ponies. I’m certain no store bought gift before or since has made a child happier than my ‘secret hideout’ made me. I was the Princess of Ponyland - queen of my diminutive domain. Big Sis was four years older, Little Sis three years younger. When I spied my gift that morning, I ceased for a moment to be the girl in the middle.

I was center stage, with a clubhouse of my very own to prove it.

In a way I couldn’t have expressed then, I knew in that moment - lost-in-the-middle child though I was - I was seen. I was known. I was loved. When I remember Christmas as a child, this is the one I think of, because those gifts spoke clearly to me, “You are special. You are unique. You matter to us.” Have you ever been given a gift like that? The kind of gift that gives you true confidence in the giver’s love for you, and your value to them?

As believers, we know the gifts under the tree are

representative of something far greater:

God’s vast love for us - and the miracle of the very first Christmas.

Jesus - a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes, born to a virgin mother and lying in a lowly manger, was the very first gift of Christmas. God’s only son arrived in the humblest of circumstances, despite the incredible purpose for his birth: to save all humanity.

There is no greater gift, no better holiday memory or tale, than this. 

 

My children are six and eight - fun ages for dolls and race cars, cool t-shirts and adventure books - and I’m excited to watch them open gifts. I am also embracing the opportunity to share - on Christmas day and all month long, the story of the very first Christmas, and the real reason we exchange gifts: in honor and remembrance of the best-of-all gift mankind has ever received: God so loved the world he gave his only begotten son, Jesus, to buy us everlasting freedom.

You are seen. You (yes YOU!) are known. You are loved.
And the miracle of Christmas? That is God’s gift for you.

 

by Liz Sagaser

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