Monday, December 14, 2020

An Early Christmas Glow

What do writers want for Christmas? Here's a hint: It's a four letter word starting with the letter b and ending with k. If you guessed a book pat yourself on the back. But writers don't want just any book for Christmas. Most of all, they want a book with their name on the front cover. Well, you might say Christmas came early to our house this year with the arrival of my newest book last week. I'm still basking in the sunrise glow. Continue reading for a quick introduction to this first volume in a three book set.

Why dig into the Psalms? The Psalms are a poetic feast for the mind, soul and spirit. In them, you will find intimacy with God. For a hundred generations, hungry souls have found nourishment there.

Psalms 365 is specifically designed to help you develop a life of worship and prayer like the biblical David. Let author David Kitz take you on a journey—a journey to a deeper understanding of God’s will and his ways for your life. Each daily reading provides insight and inspiration for practical Christian living, allowing the Good Shepherd to guide you to the center of his will.

This 265-page volume packs a punch. It's slightly larger than the standard paperback size allowing for the use of a larger font. The end result is a cover and print content that is very easy on the eyes.

In total, this volume has 120 daily readings, spanning Psalm 1 through Psalm 51. Volumes two and three will be released as 2021 progresses allowing readers to journey through the entire 150 Psalms in the span of a year, hence the title Psalms 365.

Now is an ideal time to commit to a daily, year-long, devotional journey through the Psalms. Psalms 365 is written by Word Guild award-winning author David Kitz, is published by Elk Lake Publishing, and is available through Amazon and other retailers.

Despite the difficulties, isolation, and setbacks of this year, I want to wish you a very merry Christmas and a new year that sets your heart aglow. May there be good booksinspiring booksunder your tree this Christmas.

David Kitz is the chair of The Word Guild, an avid blogger, and the author of several books.

Thursday, December 03, 2020

Immanuel and the Man on the Moon by Rose McCormick Brandon

 The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel (which means “God with us”). Matthew 1:23

Jesus, our Immanuel, is our very own God to love and cherish. Immanuel knows us, listens for our voice, hears our prayers, revels in our praises. He is always with us – in the uncomplicated days of youth and in the trenches when life gets tough. Wherever we are, He is there. If we could soar to the moon, as James Irwin did, Emmanuel would be there with us.

“I felt the power of God as I’d never felt it before,” Irwin said of his Apollo 15 mission in July 1971. From his vantage point on the moon earth appeared the size of a thumbnail. It reminded him of a fragile Christmas ornament hanging in space. “It was touching to see the earth from this perspective,” he said. Irwin felt God so near He looked over his shoulder expecting to see Him.

Prior to his moon mission Irwin was a self-described “bump on a log Christian.” Afterwards, he formed The High Flight Foundation and devoted his life to sharing the love of Jesus

On the moon Irwin felt inspired to quote from Psalm 121: “I lift up my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.”

Soar to the heavens. Immanuel is there. Sink to the depths. He is there (Psa. 139:8). Immanuel, God with us, fills the soul with wonder and takes the fear out of living.

No power can wield any strength against me when He is with me (Rom. 8:31).

Before lifting off the earth to return to His rightful place at God’s right hand, Immanuel spoke these unforgettable words: 

“I am with you always, to the very end” (Matt. 28:20).

Prayer: Today, my Lord, I take time to consider that You are with me, always and forever. I’m never alone.


Rose McCormick Brandon lives in Caledonia, Ontario with husband Doug. An award-winning personal experience and inspirational writer, Rose contributes to denominational publications and devotionals. She writes and teaches Bible Studies, authors biblical essays and is the author of the Canadian history book, Promises of Home – Stories of Canada’s British Home Children. Her book, One Good Word Makes all the Difference, contains stories of her personal journey from prodigal to passionate follower of Jesus. She is the mother of three adult children and grandmother of four. 

Tuesday, December 01, 2020

What Will a Covid Christmas Look Like? by Eleanor Shepherd


   I think we are all wondering what Christmas is going to look like for us this year.  It will be different from our usual customs in so many ways because of Covid and the way that it has impacted our lives this year.

                For many of us there will be sadness at the renewed realization that someone we love is no longer with us, snatched from us in a most ungracious manner by this disease or another. We will mourn not only the loss of their presence with us, but also an inadequate opportunity to pay tribute to their life and memory in the way we would have wanted to do. We have not been able to hear about their kind deeds and friendly acts from friends and colleagues in the way we so often do when we meet for a memorial service to honour their memory.

                We will also realize that there are living relatives that we hoped to spend this Christmas with, but because of the isolation imposed upon us by Covid we will not be able to meet together in our usual large family gatherings, because of the risk of us infecting one another and then having to bear the guilt of that particularly if older members of the family become the victims.

                Children and grandchildren will be robbed of time to hear the stories of past Christmases from parents and grandparents and laugh together at some of the fun times that were had and cry together about disappointments experienced. Does that mean that Christmas will be all doom and gloom this year?  

                I don’t think it has to be. We can choose. We can make the most of some of the positive aspects of a Covid Christmas. Are there some? Let’s think about it.

                Covid will force us to keep our gatherings smaller and more manageable and we will not have to run around until the last minute making sure that we have everything just right. Hopefully we have learned during our lockdowns, that we really do not need all that we have. Many of us have spent the time at home profitably in ridding ourselves of acquired goods and chattel that we really do not need. With the peace and calm the lack of clutter has brought into our living spaces, hopefully we can remember that more important than the things we have are those who are with us. Then we can focus more fully on relationship time, instead of trying to impress those who know us so well that we do not fool them. That would take so much of the fuss and bother out of our Christmas preparations. We will be able to enjoy the beauty of simplicity.

                We may also arrive at the day of our Christmas celebration, not bone tired from the obligatory attendance at so many festive events that have filled our calendar. They may have been spectacular and enjoyable but were also exhausting and we often found ourselves running on adrenaline. This year we will be able to watch them on Zoom or YouTube and relax in our homes at the same time with our family or a close friend. 

                 Perhaps this year the gift giving frenzy will also be diminished with purchasing just a few things that we think those we love will really appreciate. We have the option of going on line and ordering something for family who cannot be with us and can connect with them electronically to watch them open our gift. Reduced shopping fatigue and careful unhurried selection of gifts will also impact the headaches in January when the bills come in. This will enable us to begin 2021 in a more positive and hopeful frame of mind.

                Hopefully when Christmas is over and we are able to begin receiving the Covid vaccine we will be aware that there have been some significant benefits to this unusual and challenging time. Like most of the difficult experiences we have in life, in choosing to face up to the challenges we will discover within ourselves a new depth of character that makes us people who are more attuned to the needs of others. My hope is that we will realize that this growth was fostered by a divine purpose for our good, in negative circumstances, and we have not gone through this alone. The Christ of Christmas has been with us.  

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