We have to store older things somewhere.  This looks like a good place!

One of the "joys" of Christmas is "Toy Assembly 101." Late Christmas Eve, you take "it" out of the box--whatever "it" is--read the so-called simple instructions ALWAYS including the magic words, "No assembly required" OR "Easy assembly instructions enclosed"--and the fun begins! You can't find all the parts, the parts don't fit together, you read and re-read and re-read the directions, you count and re-count and RE-count the parts, you hit your left thumb with the hammer held by your right thumb--you let out a scream--and the nightmare begins! Remember?

Two thousand years ago, a carpenter's life was turned upside down by the news that his betrothed was with child--not his! The child was the Son of God, promised by prophets of old, and Joseph was about to become the early caregiver of the Lord Jesus Christ. And loving caregiver, I can imagine, this carpenter was--can you see him making wooden toys for Little Boy Jesus? Can you see him patiently showing Young Teen Jesus the "tricks of the trade," so He too, could become a GOOD carpenter from Nazareth?

Jesus, the CARPENTER? - Joseph, you better forget the dreams you hold in your heart for this young charge--God has bigger dreams for Him!
But wait...those plans STILL include . . .
Ever go Christmas caroling--on a BUS? I remember bundling up, climbing aboard a church bus and trailing around the town--stopping at homes, gathering on front porches, singing our hearts out to happy listeners, climbing back on the bus and back to church for our well-deserved earthly reward--FOOD, of course! Whew! Long sentence--and lots of fun memories!

Then there was the morning I had my own personal, special delivery SOLO carol - placed in my heart by the Holy Spirit, who knew I really needed a song! It wasn't a Christmas carol you?ll find in your hymn book...but turn back a few pages to "The Name of Jesus." THAT's the song the Holy Spirit placed deep within my heart that morning...and THAT's what Christmas is all about!

You see, the trimmings and gifts, the shopping and food, the candles and trees, are just symbols--Christmas is celebrating the story of Jesus...when the angel told a lowly maiden, "...thou shalt...bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS." It's that Name we call upon in times of trouble; it's that Name we bless in times of thanksgiving; it's that Name that brings us love, joy, peace--and salvation.

Amidst the songs of the carolers on your porch and at your mall, let another song sing in your soul, ring in your rafters and hum in your heart--it rings TRUE--the powerful, lovely, wonderful, life-giving, all-powerful . . .
"Hail, O favored one, the Lord is with you!"
But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be.
And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Luke 1:28-30

In the sixth month of her cousin Elizabeth's pregnancy, Gabriel, the angel of God comes to Mary.
Like the shepherds who hear of Jesus birth, she is frightened.
No doubt.
Just think about it. Here is a teen age girl like any teen age girl going about her business. She was not a school girl, but would have been helping out with the household chores. Perhaps she was sweeping or doing laundry for her mother.
Maybe she was alone so the angel could talk with her privately. Perhaps on her way home from some errand, alone in her thoughts when the angel appears to her.
How would he appear? As an angel in glowing tunic, or like they did with Abraham and Sarah, as ordinary travelers?
However he appeared, what he said clearly frightened Mary. He says, "Greetings, you who are highly favored. The Lord is with you."
So you are a young girl going about your business and . . .
Was there water on Mars, and why is it so important to know?

The first of these questions can be answered with an almost certain "Yes". There is a lot of evidence which points to the conclusion that Mars used to have large amounts of water flowing about on its surface - as was reported at a recent Lunar and Planetary Science Conference where some 1,200 scientists gathered to compare notes.

The general picture is one of a planet once encircled by briny, acidic lakes and rivers.

Some general evidence includes layering of sediments, and what appear to be dried up river and stream beds, but these could have been formed by other forces.

Steven Squyres, lead scientist for the two Mars rovers (Spirit and Opportunity) spoke about what looked like the effect of water-flow at Meridiani Planum, and Gusev crater. He described the discovery of haematite (meaning red), a mineral usually found in the presence of water. Haematite forms as mineral-rich water flows through layers of loose sediments. The same mineral concretions have been found in the arid Navajo sandstone formations of Utah, where very briny . . .
I'm a romanticist at heart and learned this one, as you did, years ago...a traditional bride's outfit includes "something old, something new, something borrowed and something _______--BLUE!" You remember it too! Good--for we're about to replay that old rhyme of "good fortune" for the Bride of Christ and the coming new year!

You see, we've already got the "Old" and the "New" - God's Word of truth, inspiration, comfort and direction - for our year's journey. Claim God's promises--they are never OLD-fashioned; they are NEW each day-and each year!

And the "borrowed"? No way can we borrow the burdens from tomorrow and load them onto our shoulders today.....now we may each need to borrow a friend's shoulder to cry on--and that's OK--but let's "take our burdens to the Lord and leave them there!"--past, present AND future!

And the "blue"? It may be as light blue as a cloudless sky--it may be as dark blue as a stormy heart. See life through heaven's eyes, not your own--and your year will be a BRIGHT blue--as bright as the promises of God! And oh yes...another idea....when you're blue this year, surf on over to the BLUE ROOM at Peggie's Place and I dare you to stay blue very long! Blue's not your hue when you're here, for where the Lord is, there is "fullness of joy"--and He is here!

Bride of Christ, you've got God's . . .


Marcia Laycock is a pastor's wife and freelance writer living in Alberta Canada.  Her devotional book The Spur of the Moment has been endorsed by Janette Oke, Phil Callaway and others.  To order, and to view more of Marcia's writing, see her web site - www.vinemarc.com
Written By Richard Gunther.
Harris Dvores is a corporate lawyer in Orlando, Florida. But only from 9 to 5. For more than 20 years, he has pursued his passion to create: everything from Christian music and church skits, to Star Trek scripts and board games. His new website, www.harrisdvores.com, is a playground for the mind and spirit. A Jewish believer, Harris has been given truly amazing stories to share about the power of God.

Rev. Spence Laycock pastors at Church of the Open Bible, Ponoka, Alberta, Canada.

Pastor Bert Nieuwenhuis is the interim pastor at Somerset Bible Chapel, Manitoba, Canada.
Diane Davis, a former policewoman in Toronto, recently retired from a lengthy career as a civilian member of the Ontario Provincial Police.  Amongst many things, she is now turning her attention to writing, music, and her 5 grandchildren.  She is also Pastor Tim's mom.

Blog Writings by Melva Cooper.

Melva Cooper is a wife, mother and grandmother from Jonesboro, Arkansas. God has given her, in her retirement years, the ministry of writing for HIM. "Even in old age, you will still produce fruit" is a verse He has given her (Psalm 92:14). And it is her desire to serve Him all the days of her life.

Barbara, a Christian homemaker, began her Web Site through encouragement from her son, and a dream. It quickly became a ministry for the Lord. She began writing devotionals to encourage, inspire, and build up spiritually those coming to her site.  Barbara is a devoted wife, mother, and grandmother.

Writing poetry that brings glory to God is Sandra's passion.  No matter where she has lived, or what she has gone through, she has found that God is always there before her to lead her in His paths and to catch her when she falls.  Married, with two sons two granddaughters on the way, Sandra's future goals include writing more poetry trying her hand at writing short devotionals for children.

Dr. Harold McNabb pastors at Westshore Presbyterian Church in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

"Ever feel as though life is a lions' den and like Daniel, you're right in the middle of it all? Enjoy these "Devotions from the Den" (Lions 'n Life at Peggie's Place) and delight in God's promises of love, joy and peace for whatever is happening in YOUR den today!"

Miscellaneous archived items.

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