Peace Beyond Understanding

David Justiss

 I will grant peace in the land, and you will lie down and no one will make you afraid. Leviticus 26:6, NIV

 Before Tricia’s hand reached the snooze button, the alarm clock flew off her bedside table. She watched the clock repeatedly slam itself against the floor until it was destroyed.

“Is someone invisible there?” Silence. Tricia waited to see if anything else would move on its own. “I don’t blame you. I hate the alarm clock too.” She had felt God lead her to take the cheap deal on this house. Now she wasn’t sure.

Tricia turned on “A Christmas Story.” Just as she got comfortable, the TV began to quiver. “Oh no,” Tricia jumped up. “It took me six months to save up for that.” When she grabbed the wobbling TV, DVDs flew off of her shelf, coming out of their cases. She muted the movie and the DVDs lay still.

“I get it. You don’t want me to watch this. Maybe you’d like some music?” She picked up her smartphone. It was December, so her current playlist was full of Christmas songs. “Away in a Manger” played followed by “O Come Emmanuel”. Halfway through the second song, DVDs started putting themselves back in their cases. Tricia felt God’s peace in the music. “Were you helping me?”

Her answer was the last DVD sliding back into its place on her shelf as “O Holy Night” played.



Father, thank you for providing ways for us to live in peace.

Posted in Christmas, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Treasure Beyond Gold

By Laura Aulenbacher

 They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold, sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb. Psalms 19:10, NASB

 When I was thirteen, still young enough to love presents at Christmas, my parents surprised me. They said that Christmas would be lean that year. Living frugally, I figured maybe underwear or trinkets. When we celebrated on Christmas Eve, under the tree was a box containing a note, which took me on a treasure hunt.

1. The note led me to my parent’s closet where, in a blue box, was a second note.

2. That note sent me under the kitchen sink.

3. This third note took me to the den. Under the built-instereo cabinet was a riddle.


close up of christmas decorations

Photo by on

The riddle led to the final location…the back of our station wagon. In those days, station wagons had bumper seats under the storage area that would fold open to provide tight seating for four tiny people. Inside, I found a red and white record player with two speakers. I was happy with the gift, but delighted at what my parents did.

Do you ever wonder how the wise men felt following the star of Bethlehem? How neat it was that God provided that star to lead them there. The person of Jesus Christ was and is more valuable than our journey. Jesus is truly more rare than fine gold. We have our being because of HIM.


Lord Jesus, may YOU and YOUR Word be all I seek.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A Father Like Jesus

By Douglas Nelson

… if I send them away hungry to their own houses, they will faint on the way… Mark 8:2 NKJV

The wooden pew was hard, but Mother’s shoulder was soft as I listened with one ear to Father’s sermon. After Jesus spoke, he told his helpers he wanted to feed the crowd so they would not fall over when they walked home. Jesus then prayed over a boy’s sack lunch making it so large that it fed everyone.

Before Christmas, my mom put toys on a small round table.

“Who is the little baby in the box?” I asked.

“Jesus,” she said.

“The one who fed all those people with a sack lunch?” I asked.

“Yes,” she said.

rawpixel-com-460971I wandered upstairs to my father’s study and watched from the doorway. In the middle of the room, sat my dad, with small brown sacks all around his feet. He busily put nuts and candy into each. Deciding not to bother him, I went into the next room, climbed out the window, down a tree, and went to play with my friends.

On Christmas Eve people came to sing carols and to hear the story of baby Jesus. When the service was over, I watched my father stand on the front steps of the church. wish each one a Merry Christmas, and hand them a sack of food, to give them strength so they could get home…just like Jesus did.


Thank you, Jesus, for a father who made people strong.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Help with the Little Things

By Jeff Posner

 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28, NIV


In each landfall of our around-the-world sailing voyage, my wife, Anne, and I would pray for help in finding places where we could give art and music ministry events. It may be a little thing, but through the Holy Spirit, God always put us together with the right people to make it happen.


20161216_161005.jpgIn Port Elizabeth, South Africa, He led us to make arrangements to conduct art and music ministry on Christmas Day at the M.T.R. Smit Children’s Haven, which provides care and housing to children who have been removed from their home when the children’s wellbeing was at risk. We felt especially blessed to be able to give each child toys, games, and an art supply kit, because the previous year, none of the children were given Christmas gifts. Watching the expressions on the faces of the children as they learned, through art and music, about how Jesus loves them, how they should love God and love their neighbor as themselves, and how they would be saved by grace alone, was a truly wonderful Christmas present for us.



Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for all of the little things You do that help us in all aspects of our life. Please help us to reflect Your light on Christmas and always. Amen.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

An Attitude of Gratitude

By Kendra L. Kaufman

Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. 1 Timothy 6:6 ,NLT


Even if you haven’t read Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, you’re undoubtedly familiar with its main character, Ebeneezer Scrooge. But there’s another character that often gets overlooked – whose attitude of gratitude should be admired and emulated by all; it is that of Scrooge’s poor clerk, Bob Cratchit.

Bob is over-worked, under-paid, and endures terrible working conditions. But he never complains. Instead, he’s grateful for the little he brings home to support his large family.

The Cratchits’ clothes were threadbare (no doubt they were hand-me-downs) and their shoes were badly in need of repair, but they found joy in each other’s company. Even when there was barely enough food on the table to feed the family, they still gave thanks for the “feast”.

gift wrapped

Photo by Lucie Liz on

How could they be merry amid such miserable circumstances? It’s possible because the spiritual head of the household, Bob Cratchit, knew wealth did not bring happiness, and earthly possessions did not bring peace. Scrooge proved it every day. Bob knew the only place to find true fulfillment and contentment is in our Lord, Jesus Christ.


Heavenly Father,

You are my strength, my protector and my provider. Help me, Lord, to be content in all circumstances, knowing that You are more than sufficient for all my needs. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Finding Joy in Laughter

By Esther Moe

Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength! Nehemiah 8:10, NLT


I look forward to Christmas Day as most people do, but I remember once when this wasn’t the case. My husband, Eric, came down with a stomach virus and felt absolutely lousy. As I dined alone, sadness and frustration got the best of me, and I was Mrs. Grumpy. Funny how things unfold when you have no choice in the matter.

After eating my meal, I sat on the couch, still disappointed. Eric tried to encourage me as he searched for something entertaining to watch on TV. I thought, maybe singing carols would help, so I pulled out the songbook. We sang all the words to “It Came Upon A Midnight Clear” and proceeded to the next song. As we got to the third stanza of “Oh Come, All Ye Faithful,” I burst into laughter. I found myself singing strange words which I don’t normally use. I thought, What am I singing? I never use the word “thither.” It was quite amusing. Even my ill husband couldn’t keep from chuckling a little.

rain of snow in town painting

Photo by Lisa Fotios on

From then on, the course of my day changed, and I felt nothing but pure joy. We spent the rest of the afternoon and evening watching movies, laughing, and enjoying each other’s company. What started out as gloomy turned out to be a wonderful, joyous Christmas day.



Gracious Father, thank you for your abundant joy! Amen.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Birth of Jesus

Luke 2:1-20

 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest heaven,     and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

  So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

nativity scene christmas decor

Photo by Bich Tran on

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Christmas Guinea Pig

By Helen Murphy

 … if you have faith as small as a mustard seed… Matthew 17:20, NIV

brown guinea pig with yellow leaves on top

Photo by Pixabay on

 It was difficult adapting to our first Christmas in Kiev, Ukraine. It was bitter cold and being from Florida our blood was shockingly thin. In the winter bleakness, my daughter Sarah received a guinea pig from a pastor a few weeks before Christmas. He brought much joy, and we affectionately named him ‘Viskers‘.

One day Sarah found Viskers laying on his side, listless, in obvious distress. With tears in her eyes, my daughter said, “Mom he’s dying!” His furry little presence had brought us such joy. It was a little thing but it meant so much especially at the holiday season.

I suggested we pray, and we knelt down next to the ailing guinea pig in the glow of our little Ukrainian Christmas tree. We prayed a simple, sincere prayer, “Lord, You’re concerned with everything in our lives, including the little things. Please restore Viskers and don’t let him die.”

With the confidence of knowing we had put dear Viskers in God’s hands, with a fresh piece of lettuce next to him, we went to bed.

The next morning we woke up to the sound of crunching noises! In the bin, there was Viskers munching on his lettuce and scurrying about healthy as could be.


Thank you Heavenly Father, that you care about the little things that bring us closer to you and mean so much.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

An Unforgettable Christmas

By Alfred W. Bates

 It is the blessing of the Lord that makes rich, And He adds no sorrow … Proverbs 10:22, NASB

During World War II my father left to serve in the Navy. Times were hard for Mother, and money was scarce to pay for rent, food, clothing, and gasoline for our Model A Ford. Things were not easy on the farm for my grandparents, either, but they insisted we move in with them until Father returned. Therefore, a couple months before Christmas my mother, brother, sister, and I moved into my grandparents’ home.

Preparation for Christmas was fun, including going with Grandpa to the woods and cutting a small pine tree. With Mother and Grandma’s help, we made paper chains, strung popcorn (ate some), decorated the tree, and hung stockings from the mantel of the kitchen fireplace.

boy beside christmas tree illustration

Photo by Jeswin Thomas on

Christmas morning, I jumped out of bed and hurried down the narrow circular stairway leading into the living room. I tore open my only package under the tree and was happy to find a Big Chief writing tablet and pencil. Excited to see if Santa Clause left anything in my stocking, I rushed into the kitchen and found two oranges and a few pieces of hard candy.

Those few gifts were only a portion of the rich blessings I experienced with my grandparents. Even now, the smell of an orange reminds me of the excitement I felt that unforgettable Christmas morning.


Heavenly, Father, help me recognize and give thanks for all blessings You provide.

Posted in Advent, Christmas, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Christmas On Board

By Anne Posner

 No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Joshua 1:5, NIV

 As my husband and I sailed our yacht around the world spreading the Gospel, God continually gave us the gift of His attention. We ministered to other believers on Christmas Day in Malaysia, where it is illegal to tell a non-Christian about Jesus Christ unless they first ask you about Him.


boat deck leisure ocean

Photo by Tatiana on

Therefore, we gave only certain boaters in the marina verbal invitations to attend a Christmas morning worship service on our yacht. Many attended. The planned 30-minute Christmas service lasted 1 1/2 hours because everyone testified how God was with them during good and bad times, at sea and on land, paying attention to even little things.


During the service, God showed His presence through His Word, and the encouraging words of believers. He did not leave or forsake any of us. He was with us all during difficult circumstances in Malaysia, on the sea, and everywhere.



Thank you, Heavenly Father, for your gift of paying attention to the little things in our lives, on land or sea, on Christmas Day or any day. We can lean on Your promise never to forsake us, even in difficult circumstances. Amen.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment