Sunday, December 27, 2015

A Step in the Write Direction--December 28, 2015--OK, one more Advent devotion

A Step in the Write Direction

December 28, 2015

Update: I sort of dreaded December 25 this year, my first Christmas without my husband. I thought it would be hard for me, as well as the rest of the family. But it was a good day. It was especially good to have our daughter and family back “home” from Texas. The only tears came from her as she was mashing the potatoes as “that was Dad’s job.” We opened presents, shared some humorous memories, and had a good meal together. Later that evening we watched “War Room.” So we survived! I knew a lot of friends were praying, so that really helped. Don’t ever think that your prayers are prayed in vain. They’re not!...We are really enjoying our new pastor at church. He has a real heart for winning souls, and we’re all looking forward to good days ahead.

Thought for the Day:  (some thoughts from this morning’s sermon, Pastor David Caudle)
·        Am I am better shape with God than I was a week ago, a month ago, or a year ago?
·        Jesus knew who He was and what He had to do. He knew what God’s mission was for Him.
·        God is love, and love listens. Sometimes we’re so eager to speak when God wants us to listen.
·        God’s healing goes as deep as our wounds.

Song for the Day:
We rejoice in the light, And we echo the song
That comes down thro’ the night From the heavenly throng.
Ay! we shout to the lovely evangel they bring,
And we greet in His cradle our Saviour and King!
            “There’s a Song in the Air,” Josiah G. Holland

Laugh for the Day: It was Christmas day, and we had all gathered for the holiday meal at the home of my husband's parents. After dessert, my mother-in-law left the table and returned carrying a bowl filled with slips of paper. Each adult was instructed to take one. Excited, we did so, wondering what surprise she had thought up for us. My slip of paper instructed me to dry the dishes; another person was told to wash them. Others had to do pots and pans. Then, with all the parents out of the way, grandma and grandpa went into the living room and enjoyed their grandchildren (Sheila Heil, The Gospel Greats newsletter, December 22, 2015).

Writer’s Tips:             (OK, one more Advent devotion)

The Year Christmas Was Late (8 years ago)

Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid (John 14:27) .

December 25—Christmas—and our family gathered around my husband’s bedside in ICU. I set up a tiny tree and a miniature Nativity set, and our daughter hung tinsel and a red bow
around the mirror. We opened one gift apiece, not wanting to tire him out.

On December 27 Gary had surgery. The doctors told us he was “very high risk” and “might not pull through.” Several days later my husband of forty-seven years looked up at me
and said, "I think it’s time.”

“What do you mean?” I asked him, fear gnawing at my stomach.

“Don’t you know what I’m trying to say?”

“I do, but I don’t want to.” I leaned over and hugged him, tears running down my face.

“I’m sorry,” he replied.“I love you more than life itself, but I’m just too tired. It’s time for me to go.”

But it wasn’t God’s time! Ten days later, on January 7, we brought my husband home, and the next day the family gathered again to celebrate Christmas a second time and open the rest of the gifts. This proved to us once again that it’s not the date, but the spirit of joy and peace that the holiday represents.

In his 1927 Christmas message to the nation, President Calvin Coolidge wrote:

Christmas is not a time or a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and
good will, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas. If
we think on these things, there will be born in us a Savior and over us will
shine a star sending its gleam of hope to the world.

Thank You, Lord, for that spirit of hope I have today because of the birth of Your Son, Jesus.

May God bless you in 2016 as you spread the
gospel through the printed page.

Monday, December 21, 2015

A Step in the Write Direction--December 21, 2015--Christmas devotion

A Step in the Write Direction
December 21, 2015

Update:  Had a good week. Finally got cards out (usually try to get them out by Dec. 1, but not this year (Christmas letter at end) and sent out packages—again a little late. Praise that our daughter and granddaughter who just moved back from Texas both got jobs at local schools. Other granddaughter still looking (she enjoys working with animals) and son-in-law looking for church or staff position at a church….On Wednesday we all saw the Zoo Lights at the Phoenix Zoo. Beautiful! One tree alone had 48,500 lights….I don't have a big tree (not much room in a mobile home), but have a flat one that hangs on the wall and twinkles, plus small Nativity sets on the divider, lighted electric candles in the window, and a Nativity set in the front yard that lights up….On Friday our family took flowers to my husband's grave at the Veteran's Cemetery, then picked up my sister on the way back and drove around looking at the Christmas lights in Mesa. Saw the neighborhood in Gilbert that won the $50,000 prize for the best decorations in the U.S. (was on TV the other night). Bumper to bumper traffic, but pretty to see….Wishing a Merry Christmas to all of you, and a blessed New Year!!

Thought for the Day: Christmas isn’t about how big the tree is or how many presents are underneath it. It’s about who’s gathered around it.
Song for the Day (for you who are tired of the holiday hustle and bustle):
Come, all ye weary and oppressed,
O come and I will give you rest;
I’ll bid your anxious fears depart,
For I am meek and lowly in heart,
For I am meek and lowly in heart,
And I will give you rest.
Ye that labor and are heavy laden, come to Me,
Come, come, come, and learn of me.
My yoke is easy, my burden is light.
My yoke is easy, my burden is light.
Come, come, come, and I will give you rest.
            “Come Unto Me,” Eliza E. Hewitt

Laugh for the Day: Four-year-old to her two-year-old sister: “Let’s play Christmas. I’ll be Santa Claus and you can be a present and I’ll give you away.”
Writer’s Tips:                                   Final Advent Devotion

Running for Help

Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened That it cannot save Nor His ear heavy, That it cannot hear (Isaiah 59:1).

It was the day before Christmas and our eight-month-old daughter, Janet, had a temperature of 104 and a croupy cough. This was just another of the series of events that had plagued her since birth. “Colic,” the pediatrician pronounced at our newborn’s piercing screams. “She should outgrow it in three months.” Four months later he said it could be a six-month colic.

Her crying had no pattern. Sometimes she would wake up screaming. Other times she would be playing, and without warning, she would break into a scream. Then she began losing weight, and at seven months, a specialist diagnosed her with a kidney infection. She also had symptoms of cystic fibrosis.“She might not live till kindergarten,” our doctor told us somberly.

Now this crisis. Our regular doctor was getting married that night so we took Janet to a friend’s pediatrician. It was noon when I walked into the office.

“I’m sorry,” the nurse said. “We’re closed.”

“Please,” I pleaded. “I know my baby has pneumonia. Her temperature’s 104.”

Her voice grew louder. “I said we’re closed!”

Just then I saw the doctor in the hallway. Bursting through the door I ran up to him. “I know you’re already closed and it’s the day before Christmas, but please, can’t you look at my baby. She’s so sick.”

He reached out his hands, took our baby, and held his stethoscope to her chest.“Call the hospital and reserve a bed,” he instructed the nurse. Then he told me, "She has pneumonia.”

So instead of celebrating at home with her brother, our little girl spent her first Christmas in the hospital in an oxygen tent.

I was so glad I ignored the nurse and insisted that the doctor see her. (P.S. This daughter is now married to a minister and has two girls of her own!)

Do you have a need this Christmas? Whether it’s physical, financial, or spiritual, God’s Son came to this earth to meet that need—and to bring life. Don’t let anyone stand in your
way. Run to Him today and tell Him, "I need help.”

Jesus, thank You that Your hands—those same hands that were nailed to the cross—now reach out to me in my time of need.

Goodrich Christmas Letter – 2015

     What I’ve Experienced This Year:
     “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints (Psalms 116:15).
·         Said good-bye to 10 friends, including 4 from our church, 3 neighbors—2 we’ve
 known since 1974, 2 from my hometown, and an extended family member.

·         Had mold removed from mobile home, which also required tearing up carpeting and replacing with laminate tile. Have to admit, I like it better.

·         Replaced air conditioner (which went out on a 115-degree day).

·         Daughter Patty and I both in the hospital with pneumonia and both tore rotator cuffs.
I got by with injections, but she had surgery and was off work 10 weeks. Is back now
on light duty at the hospital where she and Robert, our son, work.

·         Robert was off for 6 weeks with a heart problem, but tests turned out okay.

·         Daughter Janet, son-in-law Ned, and granddaughters Heather and Lindsay moved to Texas in June, BUT they moved back to Arizona on December 6. Lindsay
completed her first semester of college, and Heather will go back to attending Nazarene Bible College on-line.

·         Hardest of all, however, was on March 7 when I said good-bye to Gary, my husband of almost 55 years after complications from a fall in the driveway in which he split his spinal column open. He had a five-hour surgery, then 24/7 kidney dialysis, feeding tube, breathing tube, oxygen, etc. He was one of the kindest, godliest men I’ve ever known!

What I’ve Learned This Year:
“Jesus Christ the same yesterday; and to day and for ever” (Hebrews 13:8).
“Be strong and of a good courage, fear not…for the Lord thy God…will not fail thee, 
nnor forsake thee” (Deuteronomy 31:6). There has not been a time this year when I
hhaven’t felt God’s presence and an unbelievable peace!

“A friend loveth at all times” (Proverbs 17:17), and I’m especially thankful for my friends—
uknown and unknown (on Facebook)—who prayed for our family daily!

As Kirk Franklin’s song says, “With Jesus I can take it. With Him I know I can stand. No matter what 
may come my way, my life is in Your hands.”
II’m looking forward to 2016 and pray it will be a good year for all of you.

Donna Goodrich.

Monday, December 14, 2015

A Step in the Write Direction, December 14, 2015--Advent devotion

A Step in the Write Direction
December 14, 2015

Update: A good week: Christmas party with my critique group; finished proofreading a book for a publisher, had lunch with my sister, went shopping with my two granddaughters who just moved back from Texas, went shopping Friday with my daughter, and finished a 2012 income tax for a customer. Have most of my Christmas gifts wrapped, but cards not out yet (usually out by December 1) but envelopes addressed and letters ready. Just need stuffing and personal notes….Good service yesterday with our new pastor, but he announced that our minister of music is leaving to take a church in Kingman, Arizona. Also said good-bye to a couple who will do missionary work. But God is good. He has restored the joy I had sort of lost the last few months!

Thought for the Day: God will help us to be, then it’s up to us to do (Dr. David Caudle, our new pastor).

Song for the Day:
From God, our Heav’nly Father,
A blessed angel came;
And unto certain shepherds
Bro’t tidings of the same:How that in Bethlehem was born
The Son of God by name.
O tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy!
O tidings of comfort and joy!
            “God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen,” English Carol, 18th Century

Laugh for the Day: A minister was preaching his farewell sermon, and all during the service an elderly saint was in tears. At the door the pastor said to her, “Don’t cry, Sister. The conference will send you a better preacher.” “That’s what they said last time,” she sobbed.

New Book

I was surprised to receive copies this week of my children’s book Rhyme-Time Bible for little ones: 15 Bible stories all in poetry for preschoolers up to about 7 or 8. It wasn’t due for release until February. I sold out my first order at church this morning, but have more coming this week. Will make a great gift for parents or grandparents or Sunday school teachers to read to their children or students. $14.99, plus s&h (don’t know that amount yet, but I’m sure it’ll be less than the Step book which is $3.22).

Advent Devotion

(from Preparing Your Heart for Christmas)

The Joy of Giving

It is more blessed to give than to receive. (Acts 20:35)

I had always looked forward to Christmas but this year was special. Through the high school co-op program, I was allowed to leave school at noon and go to a job for which I received credit. Now I could buy gifts for others.

For one brother, I bought a used trumpet. For my older brother and his new wife, I gave a gift certificate to buy bricks for the house they were building. I bought a set of dishes for my sister’s family, and a chrome dinette set for my mother. I also had fun picking out toys for my nieces and nephews.

What a joy it was that Christmas morning. I was actually more excited watching everyone unwrap their gifts than I was opening my packages.

    I gave gifts…because I loved.

    God gave His Son…because He loved.

    Jesus gave His life…because He loved…

    And we’ve all been blessed.

Lord, may You be my example this Christmas—and all through the year. May I continue to give…because I love.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

A Step in the Write Direction, December 7, 2015--Christmas devotion

A Step in the Write Direction
December 7, 2015

Update: I’m celebrating tonight (Sunday) as my daughter and family arrived from Texas, coming HOME! Asking for your prayers that God will lead my pastor son-in-law to just the right ministry He has for him….I’ve been telling friends the last nine months (nine months today) that I have peace, but that I hadn’t reached the joy stage yet. I’m glad to report that I’ve now reached that stage. At the beginning people were surprised at how much I was doing. I don’t know if I felt I had to keep busy, but I did—sorting, cleaning, getting rid of stuff. Then came the hospital stay with pneumonia and the torn rotator cuff, followed by mold removal, new flooring installed, and a new air conditioner. After that it seemed there was a letdown, and some mornings I found it hard to get out of bed and face the day.

But this week, things took a sudden turn. Wednesday morning I woke up, and the first thought that came to my mind was, “This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” I jumped up, rarin’ to go, and that has continued all week. So I can say that mentally I’ve found joy again….Wish I could say the same for physically as the pollution level has been high which really has affected the COPD, but I’ll take the mental and spiritual joy over that any time. I know most of it is due to all my friends’ prayers for me and, believe me, I have felt them! Thank you all! Any of you who send prayer requests can be sure I’m praying for you too.

Thought for the Day:
His grace is great enough to meet the great things,
The crashing waves that overwhelm the soul,
The roaring winds that leave us stunned and breathless,
The sudden storms beyond our life's control.
His grace is great enough to meet the small things,
The little pin-prick troubles that annoy,
The insect worries, buzzing and persistent,
The squeaking wheels that grate upon our joy

Annie Johnson Flint (from Wes Tracy’s “Manna Morsels” 12/2/15)

Laugh for the Day: A wife texts her husband on a cold winter morning: “Windows frozen, won’t open.” Husband texts back: “Gently pour some lukewarm water over it and gently tap edges with a hammer.” Five minutes later wife texts back: “Computer really messed up now.”

Song for the Day
I know that I failed You, Lord, time and again,
But each time you always stayed true;
And that’s why I kneel at the cross once again,
And ask to draw Closer To You.

Lord, I surrender all that I am,
For whatever You’d have me do;
I’ve faith in Your promise, I know that You’ll show
A way to draw Closer To You.

Closer To You, Lord, closer I pray,
Help me draw closer to Your will today;
It doesn’t matter what others may do,
I want to draw Closer To You.
            “Closer To You,” Dave Clark, © 1978 Emmanuel Music

Writer’s Tips:             For this month I’m going to share some Christmas devotions

The Designated Gift Giver

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)

Although my mother didn’t have much money for Christmas shopping, she always seemed to know what gift to buy everyone—because she listened carefully all year. Her gifts
ranged from a sewing box for my niece who made her own clothes, to blank tapes for my songwriting nephew, and a piano bench for my sister.

Through the years, I’ve tried to carry on her tradition, and today I’ve taken on the enjoyable task of designated gift buyer for our writers’ group. I’ll search for hours—in stores,  in catalogs, and on the Internet—for just the right present for a particular person. Sometimes I buy things as much as a year early when I find the perfect gift. Then I wrap it in beautiful paper and give it to the only person that gift will fit.

I am acquainted with another Gift Giver. At the beginning of time, He looked ahead and saw millions of people who were in need of a gift. He listened to their cries, and thought, “What can I give them?” Then He said, "I know. I'll give the best Gift possible—My Son.” So He wrapped this Gift in swaddling clothes and gave Him not to just one particular person, but to the whole world. And the neatest thing about this Gift is that it fits everyone—even me!

Lord, at this Christmas season, may I remember the Gift and the Giver. Let me love as You loved—and give as You gave.

(Taken from my Advent book, Preparing Your Heart for Christmas, now half price--$5.)