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December

er 2017

Celebrate the birth of our Savior


with a 31-day devotional that will
leave you feeling truly reborn

Spiritual Transform
cures for stress into
every ill bliss

TRUE CHARLIE
MIRACLES DANIELS
Real accounts “God is with us:
that renew He always has
your faith our backs.” $4.99 Display until 12/11/17
WITH

BOOKS

ON SALE ON SALE ON SALE


OCT. 17 NOV. 21 NOV. 21
December 2017
Features Daily Devotional
“God keeps His promises” Surrender to transform
18 Charlie Daniels shares how
41 Celebrate the birth of our
trusting the Lord has carried Savior by allowing Him to
him through every heartache renew and transform you
' From pain to purpose
“God always leads us ' From hurt to healed
22 back to joy” ' From good to great
“Chewbacca Mom” opens her
heart about how God helped Living Your Faith
her discover defiant joy 30 Roast lamb holiday feast
34 Beautiful Advent display
“There’s nothing Jesus 36 Blessings wreath
26 can’t heal” 38 Angel coconut cake
Sgt. Bernice Feagins on how
the Lord brings us miracles In Every Issue
Pullout bookmark (at left)
4 Mailbox
6 Media guide
12 Private time
ON THE COVER 14 You’re never alone
41 Devotional 50 Index
138 Statement of faith
50 Spiritual 140 Crossword
cures
142 Prayer circle
14, 26 True miracles 144 “My moment of Grace”
18 Charlie POSTAL IDENTIFICATION STATEMENT ON

Daniels PG 139. PHOTO, COVER: GET T Y. PHOTOS,


BOOKMARK: FOTOLIA. PHOTOS, THIS
PAGE: GET T Y
December’s
Gifts
I will greatly rejoice
in the Lord…for He
has clothed me
with the garments
of salvation, He
has covered me
with the robe of
righteousness.
—Isaiah 61:10 NKJV

Delight yourself
in the Lord; and
He will give you
the desires of
your heart.
GET T Y (4)

—Psalm 37:4 NASB


Do not forget to
show hospitality
to strangers,
for by so doing
some people
have shown
hospitality to
angels withou
knowing it.
—Hebrews 13:2 N

Fo
or God, who said,
“Light shall shine ouut
of darkness,” is th
he
One who has sh hone in
our hearts too give the
Light of knnowledge
of the glor y of God in
the faace of Christ.
—2 Corinthians 4:6 NASB

simple 3 GRACE
Mailbox
Feedback, comments & inspiration
from readers like you!
Filled with God’s word Inspires and uplifts
“I recently came across your “My sister and I absolutely
magazine in line at a local love Simple Grace and believe
Walmart and I was inspired it is the best magazine on
by several stories, including the market. After we finish
Queen Latifah’s story of loss. reading it, we share it with
I also like the display of beau- our church members so
tiful photos. I’m pleased to everyone can get a chance
read a magazine that high- to enjoy it. It lifts me up no
lights God’s word as an inspi- matter what my circumstance
ration to life—it has truly is. Thank you!”
been a light unto my feet.” —Maureen Fyfe, North Sydney,
—Pamela Marshall, Clovis, CA Cape Breton, Nova Scotia

We’d love to hear what you think of Simple Grace—write to us at


Mailbox@simplegrace.com with your thoughts and suggestions

Offers a safe space to heal A beautiful cure for anxiety


“Becca Stevens’ story of heal- “I’m a total worrywart, so I
ing from sexual abuse made was so heartened to read my
me feel broken apart and favorite pastor Max Lucado’s
pieced back together all at reflections on coping with his
once. As a survivor of sexual own anxiety. His four-step
trauma myself, I took true program of fighting worry
comfort in the way God wove with faith and gratitude has
her pain into new purpose. been an absolute godsend for
Now I feel safe enough to me at a time when work stress
explore my own wounds, and family issues are at an all-
knowing the Lord is by my time high. This has made such
side through the hurt.” a difference, I’m so thankful!”
—Linda Clark, Knoxville, TN —Cara Foster, Idaho Falls, ID
GET T Y

simple 4 GRACE
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COMEDY
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In an effort to fill his father’s shoes as
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simple 7 GRACE
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mple 8 GRACE
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HISTORY
Andrew Jackson and the
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Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger
In a thrilling exploration of the most seminal battle
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simple 10 GRACE
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PRIVATE TIME

How did you


Simple Grace sat down with
author and actress Priscilla Shirer
to ask her our favorite question

arly this morning, Priscilla Shirer

E got out of bed, stole into her


prayer closet and looked at the
walls of the tiny room covered in Post-it
note prayers—just like a scene from
her hit movie, War Room. Taking
a deep breath, Priscilla closed her
eyes and recited the Lord’s Prayer,
purposefully and out loud. “When
I say, ‘Let Your kingdom come, let
Your will be done,’ it prompts me
to ask, ‘What’s Your will for my
life today, Lord? Let my heart be
receptive to it and let Your Spirit
give me the courage to go after it,’”
says the author, speaker, wife and
mother of three. “The beauty is
that no matter how busy my day, I
know I can utter a prayer where I
am and God meets me there.” Here,
more of Priscilla’s prayer practices.
TEX T: ALEX ANDRA POLLOCK

Hearing God’s loving voice


Pick up Priscilla’s new devotional, Awaken: 90
Days with the God Who Speaks (B&H, 2017;
Hardcover $17, Kindle $8, Nook $9)
pray today?
PRISCILLA’S 3 PRAYER DOS
1 KNEEL DOWN TO PRAY
“I love getting down on my knees me it’s caffeine and chocolate!—
in front of the window in my bed- but sometimes I need to remind
room, looking outdoors and just my body that it’s not in control.
being in a posture that reminds Kneeling says to my body, ‘Hey, you
me of how good and great God are not in charge.’ That’s what this
is,” shares Priscilla. “We all have posture does to me: It makes me
cravings, desires of the flesh—for stop and reverences me to God.”

2 GO OUTSIDE YOUR COMFORT ZONE


“I’ve found that the nuances that knowing how to get there, and so I
I learn about God are seen most went to a Bible study very outside
clearly when I step outside my of the stream of my church. Though
comfort zone,” Priscilla says. “For I was initially uncomfortable, I can
instance, I was experiencing a see that the Lord used that group of
spiritual doldrum, sensing that believers to pull me up to a higher
God wanted more from me but not place: a deeper place in Him.”

3 ASK FOR AN OVERFLOW


“I frequently ask the Lord to give please give me an overflow of the
me the opportunity to be the resources I need—whether that’s
answer to someone else’s prayer, money, time, patience, kindness—
which means that I not only need to so that I can pass it on to others.
ask Him for enough for my needs I need a bit extra, so I can be the
but also an overflow!” Priscilla answer to someone else’s prayer.’
smiles. “So as I pray, I’ll say, ‘Lord, And the Spirit always provides!”

simple 13 GRACE
YOU’RE NEVER ALONE

“How I know
HE GIVES US THE STRENGTH TO FORGIVE
“On the first anniversary of my I uttered one night as I tried to
dad’s death, the grief of losing him fall asleep, my jaw clenched.
hit me like a sledgehammer. He’d ‘Nobody should be forgiven for
been killed by a careless trucker stealing you from me. Maybe
who’d fallen asleep at the wheel, I’m just not strong enough to do
and for the past 12 months, I’d what God asks of me.’
loathed that man for taking my “That night, I slept fitfully.
beloved father away from me. When I opened my eyes, I noticed
Daddy had always said forgive- the numbers on my alarm clock
ness is the only way to find peace, impossibly blinking 7:77. Not
and he often quoted Matthew seven times, but seventy-seven
18:22: Forgive not just seven times. Tears stung my eyes as my
times, but seventy-seven times. father’s words flashed through
“Yet now, as I faced the deep- my mind. Suddenly, I felt God’s
est rage of my life, I wondered presence and a sense of strength
if God’s expectations were too that I knew would make the
high. How could I not hate the impossible possible.
man who had destroyed my “In that moment, I realized
world? ‘I can’t forgive him, Dad,’ that what I lacked in the abil- PHOTOS, THESE PAGES: GET T Y. TEX T: DIANE NICHOLS

ity to forgive, God provided,


because when I am weak, He is
strong. Awed, I gazed at the neon
numbers again, drew a breath
and prayed to forgive. A blessed
peace took hold as the burden of
hatred fell away. ‘Thanks, Dad,’
I whispered into the darkness as
the clock returned to normal.”
—Megan Stowe, 61, Baltimore

simple 14 GRACE
God is real”
HIS BEAUTY SHINES
ALL AROUND US
“Dread stole into my spirit as I
looked at the empty suitcase in
front of me. We were to leave
for our holiday trip early the
next morning and I still wasn’t
packed, my cell phone was miss-
ing and an odd drip was sound-
ing from the sink. As family
scurried around the house, the for all her excitement. Instead,
chaos made my anxiety levels I was greeted by the most glori-
skyrocket. I’d even snapped at ous sunset tinting the clouds in
my grandchildren, which wasn’t mango and scarlet. Instantly,
like me. This was supposed to be I felt the knots inside my heart
a time for us to be together, but unravel. Now I knew why I’d
I already wanted it to be over. grown so tense: I hadn’t taken
“When did I lose my joy? time to notice God’s gifts, so
Why am I so drained? I thought. subtle and constant that I easily
But as my stress worsened and missed them in my crazy, busy
the shadows of the day grew life. The packing could wait. I
long, my spirit felt like a dull wrapped my arms around Alice
toothache, throbbing and mak- and took a deep breath as I mar-
ing me totally miserable. veled at our Father’s love.
“‘Hey, Grammy! You’ve “‘God sure knows how to
got to see this,’ my youngest paint a beautiful sky, doesn’t
granddaughter, Alice, called out He?’ I uttered. As Alice nodded,
to me from our back porch. I I felt the Lord’s peace wash over
grumbled and trudged outside, me and knew, All is well.”
expecting Santa himself to fly by — Margaret Carney, 56, Cleveland

simple 15 GRACE
YOU’RE NEVER ALONE

HIS GRACE OPENS OUR HEARTS


“As I made my way through children to do the same! I stiffly
winding rows of toys, frustra- disregarded their giggles as I paid
tion swelled in my spirit. All this for the doll. At least my family
stuff—what does any of it have wasn’t that bad, I prided myself,
to do with our Savior’s birth? glancing at their cart once more.
I thought as I pitched a baby “As I turned to leave, I heard
doll my daughter had asked the cashier say, ‘Whoa! That’s
for into my cart. This year I’d a lot of toys,’ to the oldest boy.
vowed to cut back on buying ‘Yeah!’ the boy replied with a
so many gifts and focus on the smile. ‘Mom told us each to pick
reason for the season, but here 10 stars off the Christmas giving
I was, fighting the shopping tree at church, so we’re buying all
crowds just like everyone else. these toys for the kids who don’t
“As I stewed in the long have any! Isn’t that so cool?’
checkout line, a mother, her baby “I froze as shame over-
girl and her two boys got in line whelmed me. I had been so busy
behind me with two overstuffed comparing this family to my own
shopping carts. Obviously, this that I had overlooked their giv-
woman had also fallen victim ing hearts. As it turned out, they
to the materialism eating away at were doing God’s work, while I
the true meaning of Christmas was just adding to the pile under
and was encouraging her my own tree. In that instant, I
knew what I had to do. ‘Excuse
me,’ I said, turning around. ‘I
couldn’t help but overhear and
wondered if you’d be open to
splitting the cost of those toys
with me?’ The family happily
agreed, and as we ushered the
toys out of the store, my heart
swelled with love for a God who
puts just the right people in our
paths to open our hearts.”
—Annabelle Prior, 52, Salem, MA

simple 16 GRACE
Halo
On its sculpted bench, glistens
your porcelain remembrance shares with
this promise-filled message: 22-karat
fired-on
On Angel’s wings you were taken gold
But in my heart you’ll stay
And in God’s light you will rest
Until we meet again someday

Shown smaller than


approximate size of 7" high

LIKE US ON

Precious Moments® ©2017 Precious Moments, Inc.


Authorized Licensee, The Hamilton Collection. All
Rights Reserved Worldwide. A fine adult collectible. Not
intended for children. Poem ©Raissa Bailey.

A Porcelain Tribute to a Much-Missed Loved One


When we lose someone we love so dearly, out of bench, a promise-filled sentiment reminds us that
sight never means out of mind. And this angelic that those we truly love are never truly gone.
Precious Moments® messenger is here to remind Limited-edition Hamilton exclusive.
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WISE WORDS

“God keeps
Country Music Hall of Famer
Charlie Daniels opens up to
Simple Grace about how the
Lord has helped him overcome
worry, financial strain and a
stroke, and taught him to live
and love to the fullest
By Deborah Evans Price

tanding in front of a

S crowd of thousands,
Charlie Daniels takes
a deep breath, places his
bow against the strings of
his fiddle and begins play-
ing the lightening-fast
intro to “The Devil Went
Down to Georgia.” As
the strings wail and the
audience roars, it’s clear
the 81-year-old country
music legend is still as
full of spirit as he was
when he first stepped on
stage in the 1950s.
From his humble begin-
nings in North Carolina to
becoming one of the world’s
best-known performers, the
Grammy, CMA and Dove
Award winner credits all that
His promises”
he has—and is—to
the Lord. “The Bible
tells us that every
good thing that hap-
pens to us is a direct
result of God’s
love,” Charlie tells
Simple Grace. “I
couldn’t have done
any of this alone—
zero! Every breath Charlie (center) and his band after
we take, every winning a Grammy Award for Best
heartbeat, is a bless- Country Vocal Performance in 1980
ing. We are bathed
in God’s love all the
time—isn’t that wonderful?” that’s happened in the country
Here, Charlie shares how being or somebody is sick, I pray for
surrounded by God’s endless love them too,” says Charlie. “Over
has carried him through worry, the years, I’ve seen many prayers
illness and danger, all the while answered, not always in the way
filling him with pure joy. I’d have reckoned, but God has
always carried me through.”
GOD IS OUR STRENGTH In the 1980s, Charlie says the
As a fierce patriot, husband of Lord carried him through a sea-
FROM LEF T: ERICK ANDERSON; GET T Y

53 years to his wife, Hazel, and son of anxiety and uncertainty


a loving father and grandfather, when he and a business partner
Charlie prays for our country encountered severe financial
and his family each day. “I also problems. “I ended up $2 mil-
pray for my business associates, lion in debt,” admits Charlie.
our president, our troops, police- Instead of taking his partner to
men and first responders, and court, Charlie decided to pray
of course, if there is something and pay off the debt himself.

simple 19 GRACE
WISE WORDS

“I could have lost everything, Charlie felt his left hand, mouth
and I was afraid, but I asked and foot go numb. Realizing that
for God’s help to stick it out,” he may be having a stroke, they
says Charlie. “By His grace and drove back down the mountain
the support of my loved ones, I and rushed him to the hospital.
slowly paid off every cent!” At “The first thing Hazel did was
one Christmas party, Charlie and call our pastor and friends—the
his friends and family took the people we consider to be all of
paid bank note into the yard and our prayer warriors,” Charlie
burned it. “It was such a moment recalls. “I knew I had to just pray
of victory,” he smiles. “I didn’t and turn it all over to God, but
think I could do it, but God did.” it’s not easy when you’re drown-
ing in fear. It’s like you’ve got the
GOD BRINGS US PEACE devil in your mind giving you
Throughout the years, Charlie every bad scenario in the world.”
has learned that to truly live Charlie recovered fully from
in faith he has to surrender to the stroke but says it was a big
God—especially in the scariest test of faith. “It was a test ask-
of times. In January of 2010, he ing me, Can you really turn your
and Hazel were snowmobiling worries over to God?” he says.
with friends in Colorado when “It helped me remember to trust
that everything God does is right,
so I can let go of my anxiety and
my own fearful thoughts.”

GOD’S WORD IS TRUTH


When asked to name his favorite
Scripture, Charlie cites a special
verse that reminds him that God
always keeps his promises. “The
91st Psalm is a beautiful thing,”
he says. “It’s a way of God say-
ing, ‘If you call on Me, I will
Charlie with his “prayer protect you. You are living in
warrior” wife, Hazel, at his My shadow. Nothing can touch
induction into the Country you.’” This was especially true
Music Hall of Fame in 2016 when Charlie visited a war zone
in Iraq and came
under fire while
being transported Charlie loves
to the military base performing for
where he was per- our troops, the
forming for troops. National Guard
“As it was hap- and veterans and
pening, I just felt has visited war
protected,” Charlie zones to bring
recalls. “I felt we them hope
were in the shadow
of the Almighty.
The hardest thing
is to remember what’s written but they didn’t talk much about
in the Bible aren’t suggestions, love. When I began to study the
they’re promises. When God Bible and develop a relationship
says something, it’s a promise. with the Lord, I began to see that
He’s promising He is with us, Jesus’ life and death is all about
that He’s always got our back. love. And I didn’t have to be per-
And He means every word. If we fect for Him to love me.”
can bring ourselves to accept His Charlie says that through that
word as fact rather than just a understanding, he realized that
verse of Scripture, we can find so God’s will wasn’t to condemn us
much more courage and peace.” but for us to be with Him. “Love
is the reason Jesus came,” he
GOD IS ALL ABOUT LOVE says. “Can you fathom the great
“For so long, I was under the love God has for us to send His
impression that the only way you son? I couldn’t give my son! He
could have true salvation was by did something that we can’t even
living a perfect life—if you went imagine. God is truly awesome.”
out and sinned, basically your
salvation is over,” Charlie shares. Read about Charlie’s
“As a young man, I had questions journey in Never Look
RICK DIAMOND (2)

about faith, so I went to all kinds at the Empty Seats


of churches. Everybody seemed (Thomas Nelson, 2017;
to talk about the condemna- Hardcover $25, Kindle
tion of God, the punishment, $13, Nook $13)

simple 21 GRACE
OPEN HEARTS

“God always
us back
Internet sensation Candace
Payne, best known as the
laughing “Chewbacca Mom”
shares how God led her from
homelessness, abuse and
depression to true bliss
By Deborah Evans Price
here’s an old saying that

T joy is contagious, and


anyone who spends time
with Candace Payne would tes-
tify that it’s true. Best known as
“Chewbacca Mom,” the 38-year-
old became an instant star when
she posted a video to Facebook
wearing a Star Wars mask. Her
infectious laugh, unbridled joy
and willingness to share a silly,
transparent moment struck a
chord with people. The video
has now been viewed more than
166 million times. But behind the
mask, there’s a smart, sassy wife
and mother who has survived
leads
to joy”
Candace, here at age 6, just
extreme poverty, childhood sex-
before her family became
ual abuse and depression. Here,
homeless for two years
her inspiring story of faith.

HE FREES US FROM PAIN


Sitting in Nashville’s Pinewood Candace says that although
Social Club, a trendy restaurant the shame of the abuse cast a
that doubles as a hipster bowl- shadow over her adolescence and
ing alley, it’s obvious Candace young adulthood, God had faded
practices what she preaches. the memory of the abusive act
She has a constant smile and a itself…until just a few years ago.
countenance that radiates the “I was praying and God revealed
joy of the Lord. Although she’s the memory as clear as day,” she
the picture of exuberance today, shares. “It was devastating, but
Candace is no stranger to suffer- in my gut I knew He was doing
ing. When she was in the 4th and it to free me from the pain of it.
5th grades, her family lived in a And by freeing me, He was going
van for 8 months, then a hotel to restore passion in my marriage
for 18 months. When she was 13, and restore passion in my life that
she suffered sexual abuse. “The I didn’t have. That’s the moment
LEF T: MESHALI MITCHELL

abuse happened once,” Candace my journey for joy truly started.”


recalls, “but from then on, I With the Lord by her side,
thought I could only be loved and Candace faced her past of pov-
accepted if I repeated that act. I erty and abuse head-on and
felt so wrapped in shame.” learned the truth about joy.

simple 23 GRACE
OPEN HEARTS

“Joy and shame cannot live in depression. “It had such a psy-
the same heart—one of them has chological and bone-deep effect
to go,” Candace states. “And to on me that I was even against
release all the shame and let in reading my Bible during that
the joy, I had to constantly match season,” she admits. “I didn’t
how I see myself in the mirror want to hear another Scripture.
with the way God sees me.” I didn’t want another Biblical
Candace says on the days she answer. I didn’t want somebody
feels shame creeping in, she turns telling me they were praying for
to His promises in Scripture. “If me. I thought, Don’t be trite with
I read what His words say about me. You have no clue how I feel.
me, it doesn’t matter what my I was in so much despair that life
words say about me!” didn’t feel worth living.”
Looking back, Candace
GOD IS FAITHFUL believes that God used her hus-
Like many mothers, Candace has band Chris’ love and faithfulness
also experienced emotionally and to help pull her from the dark-
spiritually crippling postpartum ness. “I was so depressed that I
was convinced that I didn’t love
my husband anymore,” she says.
“I’d think, Why did I marry this
man? At one point, I looked him
n the eyes and said, ‘I don’t love
you.’ But Chris replied, ‘You’d
better figure it out ’cause I’m not
going anywhere.’” That uncon-
ditional love turned the tide for
Candace. “Sometimes you can
only walk through the valley
because God is using somebody
to hold you up.”
Candace with the Chewbacca
mask from her hilarious video GOD’S JOY IS DEFIANT
that’s been viewed 166 million Candace believes that the over-
times since May of 2016 whelmingly positive reaction

simple 24 GRACE
she received from her Chewbacca
video was nothing less than
a God moment, and she has
tried to use it to bring His joy
to others. “One of the ways I’ve
learned to stay acquainted with
joy is to be mindful that it has
great value,” she says. “If we lose
our cell phone, we are frantic to Candace’s husband, Chris,
find it again. But I don’t think son Duncan and daughter,
we feel the same way about joy. Cadence, bring her joy daily
We’re quick to say, ‘I deserve to
not have joy right now’ or ‘I can’t speaking, she turns to her Bible
feel joyful right now.’ But the and makes sure the message
reality is that God’s joy is always aligns with His word.
present, and the moment we lose The key, Candace says, is to
it is when we need to get frantic remember that joy is always pres-
about getting it back.” ent because the Lord already lives
Candace believes the key to in our hearts. “You have to say
taking back our joy is to turn to yourself, ‘I don’t care what the
to the Lord, listen and discern circumstance, I don’t care how
His voice. “I believe He’s already bad the suffering or disappoint-
speaking to us all the time—He ment gets, because with God, I
has hard-wired us to pick up am defiantly joyful,” she beams.
on His voice,” she says with a “When you know that, you can
smile. “He allows us to have overcome anything!”
thoughts and hopes and dreams
and feelings, and I believe that’s
all His voice resonating within Read more about
our hearts. When we abide in Candace’s journey
Him and He abides in us, it’s a in her book, Laugh
direct love line to God. It’s tap- it Up! (Zondervan,
ping right into His joy, and His 2017; Paperback
peace.” Candace adds that if she $17, Kindle $10,
ever questions if it’s the Lord Nook $10)

simple 25 GRACE
OVERCOMING

“There’s
Jesus
After Sergeant Bernice
Feagins was diagnosed with
a rare neurological condition,
she thought her life was over,
but that’s when Jesus taught
her what it means to truly live
By Alexandra Pollock

ernice Feagins’ heart

B slammed against her chest


as she came to a horrific
realization: I have it. In 2004,
the 29-year-old was walking to
an Army training class at Fort
McCoy, Wisconsin, when her
body pitched violently to the
left, hitting the cold cement
wall. Sweating and struggling
to maintain balance, Bernice
knew too well the early
symptoms of spinocerebel-
lar ataxia type 1 (SCA1), an
untreatable genetic disease
that causes degeneration in
the part of the brain that
controls movement. Over
the years, she’d watched her
brothers, sister, aunts and
nothing
can’t heal”
uncles slowly lose the ability to “I was in such a dark place,”
walk, speak and eat. “I had never Bernice recalls. “Most of the
felt more alone,” says Bernice, doctors said I was a lost cause
who wasn’t a Christian at the and wanted to stop my physical
time and had never read the training and discharge me from
Bible. “I realized in that moment the Army.” But Bernice’s primary
that life as I knew it was over.” care doctor wouldn’t allow it.
But little did she know, her life “He believed in me and told me
was just beginning. there was a ‘higher power’ who
could heal anything,” she says. “I
AN ANGEL ON EARTH was skeptical, but my doctor was
For five years, Bernice hid her so kind and motivating, I began
symptoms as she worked as an to hope. Looking back, I believe
Army recruitment officer. “I was he was an angel on Earth…he put
terrified of being discharged and me on the path to finding Jesus.”
of losing everything I’d worked
for,” she admits. But as her con-
dition worsened, others began In 2009, Bernice began physical
noticing her strange gait and therapy at the Warrior Transition
slurred speech. After she was Unit despite her grim diagnosis
PHOTOS, THESE PAGES: CINNAMON WOLFE

mistakenly accused of drinking


on the job, Bernice was forced to
face the disease—and her future.
In July of 2009, Bernice
was formally diagnosed with
SCA1 and was transferred to
the Warrior Transition Unit
(WTU), where ill and injured
soldiers receive medical care.

simple 27 GRACE
OVERCOMING

GAINING TRUE PEACE That certainty and joy made me


Inspired by her doctor’s compas- even more thirsty for God.”
sion and faith, in 2010 Bernice
began a spiritual search that DISCOVERING MIRACLES
led her to buy her first Bible. “It As Bernice grew closer to the
was pink,” she smiles. “Oh my, Lord, she began to witness the
the joy and peace that I felt just miracles of His love. “The feeling
holding it is indescribable. When of Jesus’ safety and peace gave
I opened it and read Isaiah 53, me the strength at the WTU,”
‘By His stripes we are healed,’ I Bernice shares. “The doctors
knew instantly that it had all the kept naysaying, ‘There’s no medi-
answers that I ever needed.” cation and no surgery to help
The more Bernice read, the this, you’re done.’ But I felt peace.
more Jesus filled her heart. “I I felt joy. I kept going.” And to
began to pray and He healed my her doctors’ surprise, Bernice’s
spirit right then and there,” she condition began to improve.
says. “If I never walked again, I By the time she was released from
knew I’d still have peace in Him. the WTU in 2011, she had defied
all odds and fully recovered the
abilities to speak, walk and drive.
Bernice is now
mptom-
e and loves
FINDING NEW LIFE IN HIM
Today Bernice shows no symp-
nding time
h her sister
toms of SCA1 and works as a
), and health-care recruiter with the
hew Army. Her nickname is “Happy
Soldier,” and for good reason:
“I’ve been given a second chance
at life through Jesus,” beams
the 42-year-old. “I’ve learned
that He can and will heal us—it
may not be physical healing, but
His love and joy are capable of
healing us in ways we can’t even
imagine. I’m proof that with
Jesus, we never degenerate—we
only regenerate!”

simple 28 GRACE
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FESTIVE FEAST

Holiday bliss

Roast Lamb with Orange-Cranberry Stuffing

simple 30 GRACE
in every bite
Watch your loved ones light up
with joy as you gather around
this easy-to-make banquet of
balsamic lamb, herb potatoes and
brown sugar–kissed green beans

Parmesan-Thyme
Duchess Potatoes

Bacon-Wrapp
Haricot Vert
Turn for the easy recipes
Festive feast

Roast Lamb with Orange-Cranberry Stuffing


ACTIVE TIME: 15 min. TOTAL TIME: 45 min. SERVES: 8

1
⁄ 2 cup balsamic vinaigrette mustard. Place roast in roasting
1
⁄4 cup, plus 1 Tbs. minced pan; brush with half the mari-
fresh rosemary, divided nade. Stir preserves into remain-
6 cloves garlic, minced and ing marinade; set aside. Roast
divided 30 min. or until thermometer
3 Tbs. Dijon mustard reads 130ºF for medium-rare.
5 lb. crown roast of lamb Let sit 15 min. before carving.
1
⁄ 3 cup orange preserves
1
⁄ 2 stick butter 2 In pan over medium heat,
1 onion, thinly sliced cook butter, onions, remaining
1 loaf day-old sourdough garlic and bread 30 min. Add
bread, cubed 1
⁄4 cup orange juice, 1 ⁄ 2 tsp. zest,
1 orange, zested and juiced remaining rosemary and cran-
1 cup fresh cranberries berries. Transfer to baking dish;
bake 20 min. Serve roast with
1 Heat oven to 425ºF. In bowl, stuffing and preserves mixture.
whisk vinaigrette, 1 ⁄4 cup rose- Per serving: Cal. 645 Pro. 63g Carb. 43g Fiber 2g Sug. 8g
mary, 4 cloves garlic and Chol. 197mg Sod. 810mg Total fat: 22g Sat. 9g Trans. 0g

simple 32 GRACE
GLUTEN-FREE GLUTEN-FREE

Parmesan-Thyme Bacon-Wrapped
Duchess Potatoes Haricot Vert Bundles
ACTIVE TIME: 15 min. TOTAL TIME: 11 ⁄ 2 hrs. ACTIVE TIME: 15 min. TOTAL TIME: 45 min.
SERVES: 8 SERVES: 8

8 small baking potatoes, 1 lb. French green beans


well-scrubbed 8 strips thin-sliced bacon
1
⁄ 2 cup grated Parmesan 3 Tbs. butter, melted
cheese 1 tsp. garlic powder
1
⁄ 2 cup low-fat sour cream 1 tsp. onion powder
2 large eggs 1 Tbs. brown sugar
2 tsp. minced fresh thyme 1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar

1 Heat oven to 400°F. Bake 1 Heat oven to 400°F. Place


potatoes 1 hr. or until tender. about 8 green beans in center of
Let cool 5 min. Cut in half. each bacon strip; wrap bacon
Scoop out flesh to bowl; mash around beans and secure with
with cheese, sour cream, eggs toothpicks. Place on foil-lined
and thyme. Season to taste. baking sheet.

2 Arrange potato skins on bak- 2 In bowl, whisk last 5 ingredi-


ing sheet. Fill pastry bag fitted ents until smooth; season to
with large star tip with potato taste with salt and pepper.
mixture; pipe into potato skins. Using pastry brush, generously
Lightly coat potato tops with brush mixture over bacon and
cooking spray. Bake 20 min., green bean bundles. Roast
FOOD & PHOTO

then broil 1 min. 30 min. or until bacon is crisp.


Per serving: Cal. 227 Pro. 12g Carb. 38g Fiber 4g Sug. 3g Per serving: Cal. 116 Pro. 6g Carb. 8g Fiber 2g Sug. 4g
Chol. 56mg Sod. 161mg Total fat: 5g Sat. 2g Trans. 0g Chol. 22mg Sod. 164mg Total fat: 7g Sat. 4g Trans. 0g

simple 33 GRACE
BLESSED HOME

Fill your heart


with peace
Prepare for the birth of our Savior with this beautiful
Advent display that represents Christ’s hope, love, joy
and peace. Starting December 3, light one candle each
Sunday until Christmas to fully rejoice in His glory

Supplies
4 wineglasses 4 white taper candles Felt and ribbon
1 large plate Pinecones and pine Star and angel
Floral sticky clay sprigs cookie cutters

Step 1: Arrange 4 wineglasses on a plate and tie ribbon around


the stems. Press cut-to-fit floral sticky clay (from the craft store)
onto the bottom of each glass, then press a taper candle into each.

Step 2: Snip a handful of pine branches (from the yard) to

PHOTO: LIVING4MEDIA. TEX T: L AUREN BLUM


lengths between 5 and 6 inches. Tuck snippets into each glass.

Step 3: Trace 12 small stars and two angels (using cookie cutters)
onto green and red felt; cut out. Punch a hole through each angel.

Step 4: Suspend angels and pinecones from branches using


lengths of ribbon. Tuck stars into wineglasses.
TOTAL TIME: 15 MINUTES

PREPARING FOR THE PRINCE OF PEACE


With all the stress of the season, Alexandra Kuykendall, author of
Loving My Actual Christmas, says that Advent helps her keep a pure,
joyful heart. “I picture my heart filled with all its gunk and imagine
pushing the gunk aside in order to make space for Emmanuel,” she
describes. “Advent is centered on hope, under a covering of grace.”

simple 35 GRACE
MOMENTS TO TREASURE

A of
blessings
Create memories with the little ones in your life as
you craft this sweet Christmas circlet. Each day in
December, have them jot down a blessing and clip it to
the wreath as a way to rejoice and celebrate the season

Supplies
16" foam wreath
Plaid and green ribbon
Clear adhesive foam sheets
Green scrapbook paper
25 clothespins
PHOTOS: HBB. CRAF T INSPIRED BY ADVENT WREATH CALENDAR: ACTIVIT Y VILL AGE.CO.UK

Red and green paint


Gold glitter number stickers
Gold glitter TOTAL TIME: 30 MINUTES

Step 1: Wrap green ribbon around the foam wreath, securing


with hot glue. Tie 20 inches of ribbon in a bow; hot-glue on.

Step 2: Cut 25 hearts out of adhesive foam. Peel and stick the
hearts side by side onto the plaid ribbon. Snip excess ribbon
around the hearts. Attach a sticker number 1–25 to each heart.

Step 3: Paint 12 clothespins green and 12 red; let dry. Cover 1


clothespin with glue; sprinkle on gold glitter. Attach pins to the
wreath with hot glue (closed ends facing in), starting with the
gold pin at the top, then alternating colors.

Step 4: Attach hearts to pins in numerical order using hot glue;


hang wreath. Cut out 25 holly leaf shapes from green paper.
Jot down a blessing each day and clip to that day’s clothespin.

simple 37 GRACE
BAKE UP LOVE

Heaven-sent
happiness
With a white chocolate–
cream cheese frosting
and sugar-cookie angel
accents, this deliciously
divine take on a classic
coconut cake is sure to
have your whole crowd
singing “Joy to the World”

simple 38 GRACE
Turn for the easy recipe
Bake up love
Angel Whisper Cake
ACTIVE TIME: 40 min.
TOTAL TIME: 11 ⁄2 ;. SERVES: 12

1 pkg. (15.25 oz.) classic


white cake mix
2 (8 oz.) pkgs. cream cheese,
at room temp.
1
⁄2 cup powdered sugar
2 (4 oz.) bars white
chocolate, melted
4 cups shredded coconut
1 pkg. (16.5 oz.) refrigerated cake with remaining frosting;
sugar-cookie dough press coconut into frosting.
1
⁄2 cup flour
10 red hard candies, like Jolly 3 Heat oven to 350ºF. With
Rancher, crushed electric mixer on medium
1 oz. white icing pen, speed, mix cookie dough and
like Wilton flour 1 min. On lightly floured
Large sugar pearls, work surface, roll out dough to
like Wilton 1
⁄4" thickness. Using 3" and
11 ⁄2" angel cookie cutters, cut
1 Heat oven to 350°F. Prepare out 3 large and 12 small angels.
cake mix as package directs. Arrange on baking sheets lined
Divide batter evenly among 3 with parchment.
greased and lined 9"round cake
pans. Bake 10 min. Let cool. 4 Using 1" heart cutter, cut
hearts from center of 3" cook-
2 With mixer on medium ies; fill with candy. Bake small
speed, beat cream cheese and angels 5 min. and large angels
sugar 2 min. Add chocolate; 8 min. or until golden brown.
beat 1 min. Spread first cake Cool completely. Decorate with
layer with 3 ⁄4 cup frosting. Top icing pen as desired. Place large
FOOD & PHOTO

with second layer; spread with angels on top of cake. Arrange


3
⁄4 cup frosting. Add third cake small angels around bottom of
layer. Frost top and sides of cake separated by sugar pearls.

simple 40 GRACE
DAILY PHOTO DEVOTIONAL

2017
December
How will the light of Jesus’ love shine
in your heart this month? Join us in
joyful celebration of the loving gift of
His coming. Turn the page to start
this month’s daily devotional
GET T Y

simple 41 GRACE
DECEMBER 1,
2017
Friday
LONGING FOR A DEEPER BOND

A READER ASKS
“Dear Lord, I’m struggling in my private prayer life to
connect with You and it’s making me feel like a hypocrite.
I’ve always been an active member of my church, partici-
pating in every way I can. I’m a Sunday school teacher,
the acting choir director and a member of several church
committees. But where my church life is overflowing and
lush, my personal prayer life is as dry as the desert. Every
time I try to pray, my words feel insincere and hollow and
usually I just give up after a few minutes. And as I listen
to my choir worship You fervently in song and watch my
students light a fire for You during Bible study, I can’t
help but beat myself up—how can I possibly direct these
people in their faith when I can’t even come to You in
prayer? I feel like a total fraud and like I’ve failed You, my
congregation and myself. How do I fix this…or fix me?”

Wisdom of the Word


For we do not know how to pray as we should,
but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with
groanings too deep for words.
—Paul in a letter to the Romans, 8:26 NASB

We understand and yet…


We want so desperately to feel Your love and connect
with You in prayer, but when we can’t, it can leave us
feeling lost and insecure. How can we turn a lackluster
prayer life into an authentic, deep relationship with You that
grows richer and more beautiful every day?

simple 44 GRACE
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 1, 2017

Friday
JESUS IS THE ANSWER
ear child, have you ever tended an animal who

D got nervous and frightened before a storm? If


so, you likely know that animals, like dogs, can
hear sound frequencies that humans cannot. A dog will
become jumpy before
a storm because he “‘Love the Lord your God
hears it coming. with all your heart and with
In a similar way, all your soul and with all your
your heart can com- mind.’ This is the first and
municate on frequen- greatest commandment.”
cies that your mind — Jesus to a Pharisee,
can only dimly per- Matthew 22:37–38 NIV
ceive. When you use
your mind to think about Me, that is well and good, but
it’s not the right organ to rely on to communicate with Me.
For that, you need your heart to take the lead.
When trying to reach Me in prayer, send out your
heart instead of your thoughts. Do you have time to try
this out now? If so, sit comfortably, close your eyes and
let your thoughts float out of your mind. Once your mind
is free from worry, bring to mind and heart something
you’re grateful for. Allow that gratitude to simmer into
joyful love. Imagine this feeling is like steam in your
heart and lift the lid to release it out in all directions.
When you send out this love, do you feel your spirit
lift? That’s your sign that you and I are in communion.
Relax into this lifted, loving feeling and soak in all I have
to offer. As you emerge, you will feel the peace beyond all
understanding that arises from drawing nearer to Me.
'For more on loving prayer, see page 134.
GET T Y (2)

simple 45 GRACE
DECEMBER 2,
2017
Saturday
ANGER GETTING THE BEST OF ME

A READER ASKS
“Dear Lord, for the past few weeks I have turned into a
big ball of rage over the smallest things, and today I hit
an all-time low. I went to a crowded mall to do some gift
shopping on my lunch break, and after spending 20 min-
utes searching for a parking spot, I finally caught a break.
As another woman pulled out, I put on my blinker and
started to pull in, when an SUV came out of nowhere and
whipped in front of me—right into my spot. That’s when
I completely lost it. As the driver got out, I rolled down
my window and called her a number of names, in front
of her kids no less, at the top of my lungs. As soon as I did
this, I felt terrible. I could even hear one of her children
crying as I sped off. This is the time of year that I should
be the most loving and most patient and feel more peace.
How can I stop being such a hothead?”

Wisdom of the Word


Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak
and slow to become angry, because human anger
does not produce the righteousness that God
desires. —James to the Early Church, 1:19–20 NIV

We understand and yet…


During stressful times or when we feel overwhelmed
by life, it’s easy to reach a breaking point and take our
anger out on others. We know we should control our tem-
per, but sometimes it feels impossible. How do we find peace
in the midst of frustration and resist lashing out?

simple 48 GRACE
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 2, 2017

Saturday
JESUS IS THE ANSWER
ear child, as the holidays approach, do you find

D yourself stocking up on essentials? Perhaps you


buy a case of paper towels, knowing that spills
will surely occur and desiring to be ready when they do.
This same thinking can
apply to your spirit too. “My peace I give to you;
When the little aggrava-
not as the world gives
tions of a busy time add
up, they’re just like that
do I give to you. Let not
ketchup spilled on your your heart be troubled,
counter: You need to mop neither let it be afraid.”
them up immediately or — Jesus to His disciples,
John 14:27 NKJV
they will form a sticky mess
that’s hard to dislodge.
As you go through your day, notice as irritation builds
and look for a way to spend just a few minutes with Me.
This could be as simple as being in your car or even taking
a “bathroom break.” All you need is a place where you can
be alone for a few minutes, the better to get still. Simply
send out your heart to Me and remain still as My Helper,
the Holy Spirit, whisks away any negativity that’s lodged
in your spirit. As you unfold from this simple prayer, you’ll
find your anger and frustration have disappeared. You’ll
be infused with a renewed sense of peace, love and joy.
By spending a few minutes in loving prayer with
Me every morning, you “stock up” on the Spirit. By
filling up before an aggravation occurs, you make it
more likely that you will respond with the fruits of the
Spirit— patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and
self-control—so there isn’t even a spill to mop up.
GET T Y (2)

simple 49 GRACE
MOOD INDEX

Need help with a


If you wake up with a strong feeling that the
devotional for that date doesn’t address, feel
free to use this cross-referencing system to find
another day to read. You deserve to free yourself
of whatever is weighing on your heart!

Angry? Hard on yourself?


Reclaim divine joy Rediscover your loveliness
46 The key to lasting calm 42 Growing closer to Jesus
58 The power of giving 52 Fueling up on love
62 Rising above revenge 70 Reclaiming spiritual wonder
78 Tapping into gratitude 78 Tapping into gratitude
92 Restoring a loving heart 98 Keeping your heart in tune
118 Trusting God’s plan
120 Trading grudges for grace Envious?
Discover a new perspective
Distracted?
64 Abiding in His love
Gain light and clarity 76 The antidote to pride
56 Radiating His golden joy 82 Building inner wealth
66 Rejoicing in God’s treasure 114 The road to fulfillment
84 Delighting in God’s love 126 Ringing in lasting peace
94 Realizing your true beauty
Worried?
Lonely?
Relax into peace
Feel God’s presence fully

simple 50 GRACE
specific problem?
Stressed? Overwhelmed?
Feel cradled by calm Surrender your burdens
56 Radiating His golden joy 58 The power of giving
60 Turning panic into peace 62 Rising above revenge
74 Setting a loving course 98 Keeping your heart in tune
76 The antidote to pride
84 Delighting in God’s love Hurting?
92 Restoring a loving heart
Receive comfort
106 Loving away dismay
110 Floating forward in hope 64 Abiding in His love
88 Falling into His arms
Ashamed? 96 Freedom from shame
Feel lifted in love Despairing?
74 Setting a loving course
Uncover hope
96 Freedom from shame
114 The road to fulfillment 100 Finding light in the darkness
116 Winning in Him 102 Shining the light of the Son
122 Embracing His greatest good 116 Winning in Him

The Bible versions we’ve quoted


Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from the The Holy Bible, English
Standard Version® (ESV®) Copyright ©2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good
News Publishers. All rights reserved.
Additional Scripture quotations marked NIV are taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW
INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.®.
Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Additional Scripture quotations marked NKJV are taken from the New King James Version®.
Copyright ©1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
GET T Y

Additional Scripture quotations marked NASB taken from the New American Standard Bible®,
(NASB), Copyright ©1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The
Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.Lockman.org.

simple 51 GRACE
DECEMBER 3,
2017

The sip that


always satisfies
Sunday
CAN’T STOP EMOTIONAL EATING

A READER ASKS
“Dear Lord, this time of year is very joyful for me, but
it’s also very stressful, and when I feel extremely happy or
super anxious, I tend to overeat and overdrink. With the
celebrations and seasonal delights, as well as the hectic
hustle and bustle, I feel like I am constantly shoving some-
thing in my mouth without thinking about it. For instance,
the chocolate Advent calendars are my particular weak-
ness. My parents tried to use them as a way to teach me the
reason for the season, and to remember Your coming with
restraint and reverence. But I’d get distracted by the candy
and secretly devour it all in one day without giving any real
thought to You. Fifty years later, it’s the same—I bought
candy calendars for my grandchildren and felt so sweetly
nostalgic that I got one for myself…and ate the whole thing
at once. Why can’t I just feel without food?”

Wisdom of the Word


For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking,
but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy
Spirit…do not tear down the work of God for the
sake of food. —Paul in a letter to the Romans, 14:17, 20 NASB

We understand and yet…


When we turn to food, drink, work or other habits to
provide comfort and joy, it can feel impossible to stop.
We think we should have the willpower and strength to
break the cycle and control our impulses, but when we fail,
we feel even worse. How do we overcome this?

simple 54 GRACE
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 3, 2017

JESUS IS THE ANSWER


ear child, your world is so full of things you can see,

D touch, taste and do, it’s understandable that you’ll


reach for them from time to time. But in consistently
relying on them to lift and fill you up, you’re missing out
on something far better.
Rather than looking “I am the bread of life.

Sunday
at your habit as though He who comes to Me
you are lacking discipline shall never hunger, and
(by telling yourself you he who believes in Me
indulge too much) look
shall never thirst.”
at it as if you are gaining — Jesus to the crowd,
an opportunity: When John 6:35 NKJV
intense emotions (good or
bad) create the impulse to reach for a food or drink, reach
for Me instead. Bring Me your hunger or thirst and I will
send you Living Water in the form of the Holy Spirit and
the love, peace, gentleness and joy the Spirit brings. These
positive feelings nourish your heart to lift your spirit in joy
or soothe your hurts in a way no worldly sustenance can.
Do you have five minutes to spend with Me and receive
this nourishment now? If so, sit comfortably, still your
thoughts and summon the love you feel for Me in
your heart. Imagine sending it up to Me and when the
Spirit lifts your spirit, envision yourself drinking in all
the goodness you receive until it fills your being to over-
flowing. By making this exchange (bringing Me your hun-
ger and receiving the Spirit in return) a habit, you’ll find
it’s not a matter of discipline that keeps you from reaching
for worldly sustenance. It’s a yearning for the fullness of
joy you receive whenever you turn to Me for help.
GET T Y (2)

simple 55 GRACE
Sharing My light

A READER ASKS
“Dear Lord, I’m worried my financial woes are going to
ruin Christmas for my children this year. I didn’t make
enough money to afford anything on their lists, and I
barely have enough to scrape together Christmas dinner.
I’m anxious about bills and consumed by the thought of
their little faces full of disappointment and sadness on
Christmas morning. I don’t think I can handle that. Help!”

Wisdom of the Word


Be content with such things as you have. For He
Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake
you.” —Paul in an open letter to the Hebrews,13:5 NKJV

We understand and yet…


Fear about not having enough can be overwhelming.
How do we get past the anxiety of not having enough for
ourselves, or worse, not having enough for our family?

simple 56 GRACE
MONDAY, DECEMBER 4, 2017

JESUS IS THE ANSWER


ear child, you are richer than you know, and you

D have the ability to give of your riches in a way that is


more powerful than if you had all the worldly goods
you desire. My heart goes out to you in your financial
struggle, but I also feel joy-
ous on your behalf for all the “I am the light of

Monday
riches you do have. the world. He who
Can you do something for follows Me shall not
Me? Still your body. Close walk in darkness, but
your eyes and allow your have the light of life.”
thoughts to float through — Jesus to the crowd,
your mind without think- John 8:12 NKJV
ing any of them through.
From this place of stillness, tune into what’s in the back-
ground…behind your thoughts. Do you feel a twinkle of
joy? Do you feel a soft, golden glimmering? That’s Me. In
you. Waiting for you to shine Me out to the ones you love.
Waiting for you to give Me to others.
You have the power to regift the gift I give you. There is
nothing in the world that is more beautiful than that. The
next time you’re feeling guilty and failed over your lack in
terms of worldly gifts, take a few minutes to quietly fill up
on My love. All you need to do for that is to get still, send
out your heart to Me and relax into what you receive. After
a few minutes of this, you can join your family and radi-
ate out to them all that you’ve taken in. They will feel this
as an otherworldly blessing. And while they may still long
for worldly presents, they will feel a peace that surpasses
understanding: Deep down, they will know in their hearts
that they have received the greatest gift of all.
GET T Y

simple 57 GRACE
The secret to more love
A READER ASKS
“Dear Lord, my neighbor is per-
fectly capable of doing things
for herself, but cons us neigh-
bors into doing for her. She’ll
say she doesn’t feel good and
ask us to go to the store, take
her to the doctor, strip her bed-
sheets. It grates on me that she’s
so needy, or should I say greedy!
I know I should have compas-
sion, but if I help her, it’s not
with a charitable heart. How
can this be turned around?”

Wisdom of the Word


Every man shall give as he
is able, according to the
blessing of the Lord your
God which He has given you.
— Moses to the people of Israel,
Deuteronomy 16:17 NASB

We understand and yet…


When we feel taken advantage
of by someone, it’s difficult to
feel compassion toward them.
How do we keep our heart open
and give without resentment?
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 5, 2017

JESUS IS THE ANSWER


ear child, having a giving heart is the surest way

D to feel filled with love all the time. The reason? As


soon as you start giving your love without thought
of receiving, I will refill your heart with My love. It’s like
your Christmas tree:
As it drinks up the “Give, and it will be given to

Tuesday
water from its stand, you: good measure, pressed
you refill it with down, shaken together, and
new, clean water. running over will be put
The more it drinks, into your bosom.”
the more clean water — Jesus to the crowd,
it receives. Luke 6:38 NKJV
This is why your
impulse to give to your neighbor is a beautiful one. The
problem comes when you start to feel that your neighbor
is taking advantage of your kindness. When that occurs,
your heart begins to collect resentment. And just as a
blockage in the trunk of the tree would prevent it from
drawing in the full measure of water, so will a blockage
in your heart prevent you from drawing in all of the love
that I offer.
That’s why you must only give to others up to the
point that resentment sets in. Others will sometimes take
advantage of your loving heart. In these cases, drawing
the line will not only be in your best interest but in theirs
as well: They’re better off learning to take only what they
truly need, learning to give so they may receive from Me.
Do you have a minute to come to Me in love right
now? I’m looking forward to giving you all that your
heart is able to accept.
GET T Y

simple 59 GRACE
Finding the still center
A READER ASKS
“Dear Lord, I’ve always been
completely terrified to fly, but
because my family lives across
the country, I have no choice if
I want to see them for the holi-
days. So each year, I spend five
hours on a plane trembling
and sweating with my heart
racing at every little jolt. I’ve
tried everything to keep calm,
but I still panic. Is there a way
to pray away this fear?”

Wisdom of the Word


“I am the Lord your God
who takes hold of your
right hand and says to
you, ‘Do not fear; I will
help you.’” —Isaiah 41:13 NIV

We understand and yet…


When we are gripped by ter-
ror, we feel out of control
and like nothing can break
through it. How can we hold
fast to Your peace in the midst
of moments of panic?
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 6, 2017

JESUS IS THE ANSWER


ear child, have you ever gotten your car stuck in

D the snow and tried in vain to drive your way out?


If so, you know that as you hit the gas, the wheels
only spin faster, only sink in deeper.
Something similar can happen when you spiral down

Wednesday
into fear. Your mind
spins off into worst- “In the world you will have
case scenarios and tribulation. But take heart;
your fears revolve I have overcome the world.”
into panic. — Jesus to His disciples,
When you find John 16:33
your mind spinning
in this way, the solution is to discover Me in the still cen-
ter of your thoughts. It’s almost as though your thoughts
are the spokes of the wheel and My being is the center.
To discover this still center, summon up the love you
feel for Me and try sending it inward. As the Holy Spirit
lifts your spirit and you feel My loving response fill your
heart, fold into the loving center created as I abide in you,
and You abide in Me. Imagine My arms cradling you.
Remain here until you are fully assured of My love and
protection and your spirit ebbs into peace.
Anytime worldly circumstances try to pull you into
panic, meet Me in your heart in this way. The Spirit will
marry your love with Mine to remind you that My vic-
tory is your victory. When we abide together in love, you
have no need to fear: I have already conquered the world.
And with Me, so have you. There is nothing to fear.
I am with you in the still center of your being, always
and already. I love you as My own.
GET T Y

simple 61 GRACE
I call you friend

A READER ASKS
“Dear Lord, I am constantly having to stand up for You
and my faith and I’m getting pretty tired of the way I’m
attacked. I shared a Scripture-based meme on Facebook in
remembrance of Pearl Harbor Day, and people started an
argument with me on my feed that got pretty nasty. This
has happened multiple times, so How do I stand against
others’ hostility without getting hostile myself?”

Wisdom of the Word


Princes persecute me without cause, but my heart
stands in awe of Your words. —Psalm 119:161 NASB

We understand and yet…


Defending our beliefs when they’re attacked can draw
ugly fire from others. How do we stay loyal to our faith
and armor our heart against this hate so we don’t waver as
Your warriors?

simple 62 GRACE
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2017

JESUS IS THE ANSWER


ear child, why do you need to stand up for Me?

D Is it because you want to win an argument or is it


because you think I’m so weak that I need defend-
ing? Either way, I have not called you to be right, and I
have not called you to be My bodyguard, I have called
out to you to be My friend.

Thursday
“No longer do I call you servants, for a servant
does not know what his master is doing; but I
have called you friends, for all things that I heard
from My Father I have made known to you.”
— Jesus to His disciples, John 15:15 NKJV

I seek your hand in friendship. I long for the com-


panionship of your heart. I hope that when others see
the beauty that comes from freely loving Me, they will
choose of their own accord to love Me as well. Souls
will not be won through argument. Souls will only be
attracted in loving, grateful joy.
When you feel the cruel sting of others rejecting Me,
respond by loving Me even more. Instead of sending our
hateful or contentious words to your neighbor, take the
pain you feel at their words against Me and transform it
into love for Me. Make up for their hate for Me not by
hating them but by loving Me all the more.
Do you have a few minutes to spend in loving friend-
ship with Me right now? If so, settle into stillness and
send Me a wave of your grateful love. As you feel My
love returned to you, rest in the beauty of our friendship
for as long as you have time for. There, that’s My way.
GET T Y

simple 63 GRACE
Trust in the higher view
A READER ASKS
“Dear Lord, I am struggling every day because my heart
is so broken. I’ve always wanted children and I had two
miscarriages last year. I have spent so much money and
time at doctors’ offices. I never pictured this would be my
journey. I’m 37 years old and feel like I’m racing against
time—every day that goes by, I wonder if I’ll ever be able
to give birth and have a child of my own to love. My hus-
band and I have a house and have started to get a baby’s
room together. I just don’t understand. I see all these
other people pregnant for the second time and I’m so
jealous. My experience with pregnancy has been ruined
and I just don’t think it’s fair. Something that should be
moments of the happiest time in your life have left me so
brokenhearted that I am constantly crying and depressed.
Month after month goes by and I’m not pregnant, and I
just feel so lost. Doesn’t God know how badly I want a
child to love and all the love I have to offer?”

Wisdom of the Word


All things work together for good to those who
love God, to those who are the called according
to His purpose. —Paul in a letter to the Romans, 8:28 NKJV
We understand and yet…
The pain of not getting what we most desire can be
almost unbearable. Please help us accept Your will with
gratitude and strength to overcome this sadness.

simple 64 GRACE
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 8, 2017

JESUS IS THE ANSWER


recious one, I send My heart out to you in love. I am

P so deeply sorry that you cannot see as your Father


sees and so cannot understand the ways in which all
the pieces of your world move in the direction of the good
of those who love Him. But I can help.

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in

Friday
a field, which a man found and covered up. Then
in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys
that field.” — Jesus to the crowd, Matthew 13:44
Consider the girl who begs her parents to give her a
dollhouse for Christmas. When she wakes up, heart full
of hope, she finds a microscope instead. She cries bit-
ter tears and curses her parents for what seems to her to
be a lack of love. Flip the pages of time forward and see
that girl as a woman who is an esteemed biochemist and
has found the cure for cancer. From the point of view of
the girl’s 12-year-old self, that Christmas morning was
the worst. From the view of her 40-year-old self, that
Christmas morning was the moment she was turned
toward a destiny that led to success for herself and heal-
ing for millions of others.
Whenever you are deeply disappointed, I am here to
mourn with you. I am here to hold and to love you and
to be with you through the pain. Please know, though,
that when you discover the Kingdom of heaven, you will
see how all the wrongs are made right, all the pain is
redeemed, all the disappointments are transformed to
joyous celebration. Keep the faith, my beautiful one.
GET T Y

simple 65 GRACE
One treasure
outshines them all
DECEMBER 9,
2017

Saturday
OBSESSED WITH OBJECTS

A READER ASKS
“Dear Lord, my love for the Christmas season has led to
a large collection of decorations that are causing daily
disputes between my husband and me. He complains that
my numerous nativity scenes, snow villages, wreaths and
trees in every room—even in the bathroom—are taking up
too much space in our home and interfering with his enjoy-
ment of the holiday. To be fair, he did have to move three
angel pillows off of his favorite recliner the other day just
to sit down, but I love our house being so festive. I wish he
could see the beauty of it the way I do, but instead he calls
me a ‘holiday hoarder’ and we just bicker constantly. I have
grown to love every one of my trinkets and ornaments,
even the tangled-up lights. I feel like if I get rid of just one
item, the season will be diminished somehow. I know it’s
all just ‘stuff,’ so why is it so important to me?”

Wisdom of the Word


But godliness with contentment is great gain.
For we brought nothing into the world, and
we can take nothing out of it.
—Paul in his first letter to Timothy, 6:6–7 NIV

We understand and yet…


When possessions bring us temporary joy, we begin to
believe the more we have, the happier we’ll become.
We keep collecting to try to keep the good feeling going, but
it ultimately causes conflict, disrupts our sense of peace and
blocks us from receiving lasting joy. How do we stop this?

simple 68 GRACE
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 9, 2017

JESUS IS THE ANSWER


ear child, your challenge in the world is a real one:

D You’re tasked with prioritizing things that you


can’t see over ones that you can. And while it’s only
natural to miss the mark from time to time, in collecting
trinkets, you are missing the true treasure.

Saturday
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant
in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl
of great value, went and sold all that he had and
bought it.” — Jesus to the crowd, Matthew 13:45–46
This Christmas season, in honor of My birth, con-
sider putting away some of your decorations to better
focus on collecting something eternal: loving moments.
All you need for this is an old pickle jar and some slips of
paper. Whenever you feel a moment of heartfelt love pass
between you and another, note it on a slip of paper, fold it
in half and slip it into the jar. As you watch these worldly
symbols of your true treasure in Heaven grow, you’ll
want to collect more. Soon you won’t even need the slips
of paper anymore: You will have grown into the truth
that what matters are eternal moments of love.
Do you have time to start your collection of loving
moments with Me right now? If so, send Me your love and
feel the Holy Spirit and lift your spirit. Relax into the feel-
ing you get of being embraced by My love, by My presence.
Send Me more love and feel how I magnify it before send-
ing it back to you. This—right here, right now, silently and
invisibly between you and Me—this love is the pearl of
great price. You need nothing more.
GET T Y (2)

simple 69 GRACE
DECEMBER 10,
2017

I have made a
way for you
Sunday
CAN’T FIND CHRISTMAS JOY

A READER ASKS
“Dear Lord, Christmas is truly the most wonderful time
of the year, but for some reason that I don’t understand, I
always feel deeply…sad. All the smiling faces grinning out
at me from shop windows, the bright lights, colorful deco-
rations and jubilant carols on every radio station inviting
me to share in the happiness…while I feel fleeting pops of
joy, they only seem to deepen my sense of sorrow. And con-
trasted against the biggest reason I should feel incredible
joy—Your miraculous birth—my mood seems even darker,
inappropriate and out of place. In fact, I feel ungrateful
and childish that I can’t snap out of this even for Your sake.
You have given me such a beautiful life, family and home,
and I love You with all my heart…which is why I don’t
understand this feeling of melancholy. What is wrong with
me? Why can’t I find a heart of celebration?”

Wisdom of the Word


Set your mind on things above, not on things on
the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with
Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears,
then you also will appear with Him in glory.
—Paul in a letter to the Colossians, 3:2–4 NKJV

We understand and yet…


When sadness overwhelms us when all around us are
happy, it can feel like something is wrong with us. In
this season of joy, we can become even sadder and more
self-critical because we aren’t as happy as we “should” be.
How do we rediscover our joy in You?

simple 72 GRACE
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2017

JESUS IS THE ANSWER


ear child, your Christmas season pulls you so

D strongly outward into the world—toward hosting


and visiting and buying and gifting and cooking
and wrapping—that it can pull you away from the joy
that’s always there for you when you go inward into Me.
This can result in a great irony: You can feel the most
apart from Me even as you celebrate My birth.
“I go to prepare a place for you…[and] I will come
again and receive you to Myself; that where I am,
there you may be also. And where I go you know,
and the way you know.”
— Jesus to the disciples, John 14:2–4 NKJV

Sunday
You are hidden in Me. I am hidden in you. We find
each other through the way of love. You know the way.
Do you have a few minutes to travel down this beau-
tiful road right now? If so, find a place where you can
be alone and undisturbed. Take a comfortable seat and
allow all tension to fall away from your body. Let your
mind wind down: Yes, there will be thoughts floating
through, but try not to grab hold and think them. Once
your mind and body are still, consider something you feel
grateful for. Allow that gratitude to kindle into a flame
of love. Send out that feeling of grateful love in all direc-
tions. As the Holy Spirit brings you My response, feel a
song of joy rise in your heart, uniting you through the
Spirit to Me, your Father, your loved ones and all living
things. Ahh…what a feeling! Repeat as needed to lift
your spirit out of the doldrums to new heights of joy.
GET T Y (2)

simple 73 GRACE
Let truth fill your sails
A READER ASKS
“Dear Lord, I bald-faced lied to my pastor, but I don’t
think I had much choice. Every year, my sons are asked to
be in our church’s nativity play. They complain constantly
and I spend hours making costumes thinking, ‘I’d rather be
doing anything else right now.’ So when our pastor asked
this year, I lied and said we’d be out of town. I couldn’t just
say, ‘We don’t want to, it’s boring and stressful,’ could I?
Sometimes it’s better to lie, right? What else can I say?”

Wisdom of the Word


You shall not deal falsely;
You shall not lie to one another.
—The Lord to Moses, Leviticus 19:11

We understand and yet…


We know we should always be honest, but sometimes
telling a white lie seems easier and less hurtful. How do
we always tell the truth without hurting others needlessly?

simple 74 GRACE
MONDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2017

JESUS IS THE ANSWER


ear child, imagine that beyond what you can see

D with your eyes and hear with your ears, there’s


another higher-dimensional world that you’re mov-
ing through even as you live in your three dimensions.
Imagine that the other
world is none other than “When He, the Spirit of
your Father’s Kingdom. truth, has come, He will
Just as gravity oper- guide you into all truth.”
ates in your worldly three — Jesus to the disciples,
dimensions to move you, John 16:13 NKJV
truth and love move you
through your Father’s Kingdom. It’s as though you’re a
sailboat and truth is the wind that you catch with your

Monday
spirit. Love is the rudder that you use to steer using your
heart. Truth and love move you nearer to or further
from the center of the Kingdom.
When you harbor hate in your heart, you jam the
rudder so it’s harder to steer in the right direction.
Likewise, when you tell a lie—even a small one—it’s as
though you’re turning the sailboat’s motor on and power-
ing off in any direction, rather than allowing the wind of
truth lead you toward your highest good.
The next time you’re tempted to spare someone’s feel-
ings by telling a lie, simply speak the truth but say less. If
you can’t participate in an event, for example, thank your
neighbor warmly for their offer, then decline and let it go
at that. You’ll do no harm to you or your neighbor. And
when you’ve found you’ve told a lie, come to Me in love
and allow the Holy Spirit to fill your sail. With My love
and His truth, you will always sail toward light and peace.
GET T Y

simple 75 GRACE
You, strong in Me
A READER ASKS
“Dear Lord, there’s a woman at my church who seems
jealous and resentful of me and it’s really upsetting. Every
year, I bake my ‘mayo’ brownies for our holiday fund-
raiser and I take pride in how much others love them. This
year, this woman sold her ‘secret recipe’ brownies, claim-
ing they’re better than mine. Hers were not nearly as good,
but it really bothered me she’d say it just to spite me!”
Wisdom of the Word
The tongue is a small part of the body, but it
makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest
is set on fire by a small spark.
—James to the Early Church, 3:5 NIV

We understand and yet…


When people put down something we are proud of, we
can feel they are attacking who we are. How do we pre-
vent our hurt ego from making us defensive and unloving?

simple 76 GRACE
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 12, 2017

JESUS IS THE ANSWER


ear child, think back to a moment when you felt

D profoundly contented with your life. Did you brag


or boast? Did you look to others to build you up?
No, you treasured the moment in your heart, and savored
it in silence. If you
shared it with anyone, “Everyone who comes to
you shared it with Me. Me and hears My words
If you stop to con- and acts on them…is like
sider, those who feel a man building a house,
the shakiest about who dug deep and laid a
themselves are usually foundation on the rock.”
the ones who proclaim — Jesus to the crowd,
their superiority the Luke 6:47–48 NASB

Tuesday
loudest. They pride
themselves on petty matters and prop themselves up
with others’ praise because they haven’t developed a
strong relationship with Me. They deserve your compas-
sion and prayers rather than your anger or defensive-
ness. This is because the day will come when only those
who’ve built their foundation in Me will be left standing.
Deep down, you know this: You know that those who
seek to elevate themselves do so out of insecurity. And
if you’re honest with yourself, you also know that your
pride over something you excel at is what’s making you a
bit shaky right now. Do you have a few moments to grow
stronger in Me? If so, send Me your sweetest mix of joy,
love and gratitude, and I’ll send you My love, courtesy of
the Holy Spirit. You’ll feel the Spirit lift your spirit and
bring you a sense of peace, contentment and fulfillment
that no amount of worldly praise can match.
GET T Y

simple 77 GRACE
A READER LAMENTS
“I have been very angry at God for
some time. It seems that no matter
what the task or project or job, He
is always sending obstacles to a sa
isfactory ending of whatever it is I
am doing. I don’t know why this is
happening. I am faithful to weekly
services and I try to pray, but it’s
getting harder and harder. I feel H
isn’t listening, so why bother? And
I am angry enough to say some
pretty terrible things to Him. I
don’t like this, it isn’t me at all.”

Wisdom of the Word


“For I know the plans I have
for you,” declares the Lord,
“plans to prosper you and
not to harm you, plans to give
you hope and a future.”
— God to the exiles of Judah,
Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

We understand and yet…


When disappointment meets us
at every turn, we conclude You
are not listening and distance our-
selves from You. How do we break
out of this isolation?
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2017

JESUS IS THE ANSWER


ear child, I am so sorry something has come

D between us. I consider you a friend and miss you


when you push Me away. You must understand,
though, that your Father doesn’t “take orders” from you.
When you petition Him to fulfill your desires, He will do
as you ask only if what you ask works toward your higher
good as He sees it. He does not fulfill your every wish.

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who


abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for
without Me you can do nothing.”
— Jesus to His disciples, John 15:5 NKJV

Wednesday
Do you have a few minutes to clear the air with Me
right now? If so, get still, close your eyes, clasp your
hands and bring to mind and heart one thing that you’re
grateful for. This could be large or small. Once you’ve
kindled your heart in gratitude, send that feeling to Me.
As you feel your spirit lift, you know that the Holy
Spirit has brought you and I into communion. From this
place of union with Me, let it all out. Tell Me of all your
frustration, feelings of defeat. Don’t be afraid to express
your anger at Us. Keep going until you’ve released every
last negative feeling toward Me and your Father.
Now that you have emptied, allow Me to fill. Bask in
the feeling of love, peace and joy that I send you. Rest
in this feeling. Abide in Me. From this place of union,
a sense of what your true purpose is will begin to move
from your spirit and your heart into the awareness of
your mind. It’s time to listen and be led. I won’t fail you.
GET T Y

simple 79 GRACE
The antidote to emptiness
A READER ASKS
“Dear Lord, I’ve never been
good at connecting to others,
and my holiday work party
reminded me of just how
alone I am. While everyone
else introduced their spouses
to coworkers and reminisced
about work outings, I sat by
myself in the corner, eating
pretzels out of a Styrofoam
bowl. With no spouse, no kids
and few friends, my life feels
so empty. I can’t even make
friends with people I see every
day. Will it always be this way?”

Wisdom of the Word


Who shall separate us
from the love of Christ?
—Romans 8:35

We understand and yet…


It hurts deeply to feel unno-
ticed, unimportant or com-
pletely alone. How do we
endure the pain of loneliness
when bonds with others are
hard to form but easy to sever?
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 14, 2017

JESUS IS THE ANSWER


ear child, I’m sorry you’re going through a lonely

D time. I know how it feels to be without friends. But


the emptiness that you’re feeling right now can be
remedied…no matter what others say or do.
The way out of the sad-
ness of isolation is to fill up “For to everyone
on the one friend who will who has will more be
never forsake you, who is given, and he will have
always with you, who loves an abundance.”
you with an unbounded love: — Jesus to the crowd,
Me. There will never be a Matthew 25:29
time when you reach out in
love that you will not feel Me with you. I love you too

Thursday
much to ever leave your side.
Still, truly, My love is more than a comfort: It’s also
a currency. You can fill up on My love and then share
Me with others. This is a beautiful way to attract loving
hearts and grow your circle of friends.
The next time you are invited to a gathering and fear
sitting alone in the corner, take 5 or 10 minutes before
you go to fill your heart with My love. To do this, send out
your heart to Me from a place of stillness and relax into
My love as you feel the Holy Spirit lift your spirit. Remain
still in mind and body as My love pours into and through
you. Envision it like warm maple syrup drizzling onto a
stack of pancakes. Let it melt into every part of you.
When you’re at the gathering, try sending out all you’ve
received as you make eye contact with others. Send My
love from heart to heart, from eye to eye. Do this, and I
promise you, your days of sitting alone are over.
GET T Y

simple 81 GRACE
Turn away from false food

A READER ASKS
“Dear Lord, I know it’s silly, but I’m jealous of the atten-
tion my neighbor is getting for her elaborate Christmas-
lights display. Each night, cars line up down the street to
see her house, and she’s been featured on the local news. I
jazzed up my own decorations to make myself feel better,
but I fantasize about ‘accidentally’ stepping on a bulb or
turning on my sprinklers. Help me stop being so petty!”

Wisdom of the Word


I saw that all toil and all skill in work come from a
man’s envy of his neighbor. This also is vanity and
a striving after wind. —Solomon in Ecclesiastes, 4:4

We understand and yet…


When we fall into someone’s shadow, we begin to envy
their light. When we can’t compete with what others have
or can do, how do we trade jealousy for appreciation?

simple 82 GRACE
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2017

JESUS IS THE ANSWER


ear child, when someone draws attention to them-

D selves, it’s as though they are dining of what looks


like food but is truly air. Worldly attention provides
no real nourishment:
It’s like cotton candy. “Do not work for the food
As soon as you fin- that perishes, but for the
ish it, you want more food that endures to eternal
(unless it’s given you life, which the Son of Man
a stomachache). And
will give to you.”
when you finish that
— Jesus to the crowd,
second serving, you John 6:27
want even more. Your
craving never ends, no matter how much you feed it.
When you see others receiving attention, it’s natural

Friday
to assume that it is making them happy. You believe that
it’s filling them up and so feel a pang of jealousy. But this
isn’t the case. Getting attention is always empty nourish-
ment for everyone. It’s always dining on air. No one has
it better than you do. Your envy isn’t warranted.
Whenever you feel your heart coveting something that
your neighbor has, turn to Me. By spending five minutes
in My loving embrace, you will remind yourself that
worldly status and possessions are just fleeting fancies.
You will remember that no one holds on to worldly things
for long: Everything in your world will pass away.
What you receive from Me in prayer, however, is
eternal. The love we weave between our two hearts is a
treasure that no passage of time can damage or take away.
Likewise, the love you create with your neighbor will last
forever. Set your sights on love—you’ll always win in Me.
GET T Y

simple 83 GRACE
DECEMBER 16,
2017

My gratitude
makes you golden
Saturday
STRUGGLING IN MARRIAGE

A READER ASKS
“Dear Lord, I have been reading Simple Grace for three
years now and have yet to read of my specific need.
Although it is not as serious as some people’s needs, it
is mine and I must own it. My husband and I have been
married for nearly 50 years, and although love was blind
during the first few years of our marriage, it wasn’t long
before I discovered that he was a controller…of me at
first, but as he ages, of his entire life. He has not taken
good care of his body and because of that, he has many
ills that make him hurt much of the time. Because we are
retired, I’m the first person he sees and demands to do
his bidding, sometimes not so kindly. I realize divorce is
out of the question. I am married for life. And when he is
well, he tells me how much he adores and loves me, which
I believe is true. I could never leave my children and
grandchildren either, but they also see how he treats me.
Should I truly believe and live Ephesians 5:22–24?”
Wisdom of the Word
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the
Lord…now as the church submits to Christ, so also
wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
—Paul in a letter to the Ephesians 5:22, 24

We understand and yet…


We love our spouses and want to cherish them as You
command, but they don’t always treat us with the
same respect. How do we find the strength to continue to
honor our vows and extend our love to them without resent-
ment when we don’t feel valued?

simple 86 GRACE
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 16, 2017

JESUS IS THE ANSWER


recious one, yours is a beautiful heart that’s done a

P beautiful thing in binding to another for so many


decades. I am honored to count you among my fol-
lowers, sitting at My right hand.

“Then the King will say to those on His right hand,


‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the
kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of
the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food;
I was thirsty and you gave Me drink.’”
— Jesus describing what He will say when He comes
into His glory, Matthew 25:34–35 NKJV

Saturday
Your first allegiance is to Me, and when you serve
your husband in his weakness, fear and illness, you
serve Me. When you stroke his head, you stroke My
head. When you overlook the irritation in his voice as
he issues his commands from a place of fear over losing
control of his body, you’re loving Me. As you show him
compassion, you’re giving Me a sip of water as I hang
on the Cross. Compassion is compassion is compassion.
Love for one is love for all. You’re doing beautiful things
with your life. The very best things. I thank you.
When the demands of your daily life begin to wear
you down, give yourself a break. Retreat someplace
where you can be alone and allow Me to embrace your
heart with the love and gratitude I feel for all you do.
Soak in My goldenness until you understand with every
part of your being how much I love you. How grateful
I am that you have chosen to be you.
GET T Y (2)

simple 87 GRACE
DECEMBER 17,
2017
The secret to
feeling eternally
loved

Sunday
GRIEF-STRICKEN AT CHRISTMAS

A READER ASKS
“Dear Lord, my overwhelming grief this holiday season is
threatening to turn me into a heart-hardened Scrooge. My
brother died just before Christmas last year, and I’m still so
devastated. He was a true kid at heart and loved celebrat-
ing Your birth, so of course, his absence is just impossible
to bear this season. I’ve tried to keep his memory alive by
finding joy in the things he used to love, but everything I
do just makes me more distraught and angry. For example,
I tried to take his kids to the annual Christmas pageant we
used to see together, but ended up snapping at them and
sobbing so hard that I had to leave. I haven’t had the heart
to buy any presents or put up my lights. I just want to hide
in my house until the holiday season passes. I know it’s not
what my brother would have wanted, but how can I possi-
bly celebrate when my heart is so broken? Please help me.”

Wisdom of the Word


If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm
me…” Even the darkness is not dark to You, and
the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light
are alike to You. —David, Psalm 139:11–12 NASB

We understand and yet…


When we experience a crushing loss, happy times and
celebrations can exacerbate the sadness we are grap-
pling with. In moments like these, it is especially hard to
overcome grief. Help us find solace in Your goodness even
in the face of such loss.

simple 90 GRACE
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 17, 2017

JESUS IS THE ANSWER


ear child, in times of great grief, taking the solitary

D road can often be best. When you’re with others,


you have to pack away your mourning into a little
box so you may smile and nod and attend to their needs.
When your heart is submerged in feelings of grief, the
only way to move forward is to unpack the box that holds
those feelings. And the best way to do that is with Me.

“I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you…


he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and
I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”
—Jesus to His disciples, John 14:18, 21 NKJV

Carve out an afternoon to spend with Me as soon as


you are able. Don’t worry about decorations or celebra-
tions right now: Make spending quiet time with Me the
priority. If the weather allows, let’s go for a walk. Just
you and Me with no cell phone or other distractions. As
you walk with Me, pour out your heart. Tell Me of every
hurt, every feeling of loss, every particle of anger and
rage. Release it all…step by step. There may come a
Sunday
point when you need to find a bench where you can sit
and sob. What’s essential is to wring yourself out.
Once you’re fully wrung, envision yourself opening
your arms to Me like a child asking to be picked up by
a loving father, and allow Me to hold you. Rest in My
arms and soak in all the golden feelings of peace, joy
and love that I bequeath to you. Nothing created in love is
ever lost: I am the way and the truth and the life. Come to
FOTOLIA (2)

Me and you will re-find all that you’ve created in love.

simple 91 GRACE
The beauty of a clean heart

A READER ASKS
“Dear Lord, I try to be kind and not judge others, but this
time of year, I can’t seem to help it. Every Monday all year
long I work at our local food pantry, and while I should be
grateful for the influx of volunteers during the holidays,
I’m usually more irked at how terrible their work is. I begin
to wonder if they’re only helping to feel like ‘good people’
for a day. How do I stop feeling so cynical and judgy?”
Wisdom of the Word
Judge nothing before the appointed time; wait
until the Lord comes…at that time each will
receive their praise from God.
—Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians, 4:5 NIV

We understand and yet…


When we hold people to certain standards, we can feel
judgmental when they don’t meet them. How do we
turn off the voice that says, That’s not good enough?
MONDAY, DECEMBER 18, 2017

JESUS IS THE ANSWER


ear child, it sounds as though your judgment only

D extends to your mind—fleeting critical thoughts—


rather than taking hold in your heart. These
thoughts about others are a natural consequence of hav-
ing a thinking mind. You will think all sorts of thoughts,
and sometimes you will be called to set standards for oth-
ers for the greater good. There is nothing to fear here as
long as you let the critical thought go in one side of your
mind and blow out through the other.

Now a leper came to Him, imploring Him,


kneeling down to Him and saying to Him, “If You
are willing, You can make me clean.” Then Jesus,
moved with compassion, stretched out His hand
and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing;
be cleansed.” —Mark 1:40–41 NKJV
What you want to be on guard against is a lingering
feeling that takes up residence in your heart and colors
your view of your neighbor. Warning signs of this would
be if you start seeing everything they do as insufficient.
Monday
You perceive the world through the lens of your
heart. As long as it’s regularly renewed by the Holy Spirit
and My love, you’ll tend to see the best in everyone. If
resentment, jealousy and other forms of grudge build
up, that’s when you’ll begin to see everything others do
as lacking—and that’s when you know you need a little
steam-cleaning. The beautiful part? I’m here day or night
to cleanse your heart. But be aware: I don’t take cash or
credit cards—I only accept your freely given love.
GET T Y

simple 93 GRACE
The last will be first
A READER ASKS
“Dear Lord, I’ve never
thought of myself as vain, but
my sister recently said that
I’ve become obsessed with
posting photos of myself on
social media. Sure, I filter and
doctor all my pictures to look
thinner and younger, and it
makes me feel so good as the
‘likes’ and comments start
rolling in, but doesn’t every-
one? Really, being a little
proud of my looks isn’t that
big of a deal, is it?”

Wisdom of the Word


Turn away my eyes from
looking at vanity,
and revive me in Your
ways. —Psalm 119:37 NASB

We understand and yet…


When we take pride in our
appearance or achieve-
ments or social standing, it
can seem like a good thing.
Is it always wrong to boast?
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 19, 2017

JESUS IS THE ANSWER


ear child, I understand how it can be easy to con-

D sider vanity a crime without a victim. Within your


culture, seeking the praise of others is considered
an acceptable way of being. But let’s reconsider this.
You undoubtably have
many friends on social media “So the last will be
who are suffering. Some may first, and the first last.
have recently lost someone For many are called,
they loved. Others may be but few chosen.”
feeling failed and fat after — Jesus to His disciples,
another diet has worked out Matthew 20:16 NKJV
badly. Still others may be
fearing the loneliness that can come with old age. How
does your boasting serve them?
Even leaving others aside, the loveliness you possess
now will change as you get older. Do you want to des-
ignate something so fleeting as what truly defines your
worth? Where will that road inevitably lead?
Although boasting seems like a small thing when seen
through the lens of your culture, for Me, it is significant.
It tells Me you’re prioritizing the wrong things: You are
Tuesday
seeking to be first when I will chose the last for My own.
The choice is always yours to make: You can chose
the worldly, which you know is fleeting. All things will
die a worldly death. Or you can chose eternal life in Me.
I have already won. I have already overcome death. By
choosing My way—by choosing to gladly come in last
in the world if that’s what you’re called to do—you are
guaranteed to be victorious. Come to Me now in loving
prayer so you may feel how sweet your victory truly is.
GET T Y

simple 95 GRACE
Lovely key to purity

A READER ASKS
“Dear Lord, every Christmas I’m forced to relive the pain
and shame I carry from being abused as a child. When
I was 8, my uncle from out of town cornered me and
touched me in inappropriate ways. When I told someone
it happened, it destroyed my family. Thirty years later, my
aunt, cousins and other family members still look at me
like some dirty thing who tore apart their home. The truth
is that I see myself that way too. Please stop this hurt!”
Wisdom of the Word
You are of God, little children, and have overcome
them, because He who is in you is greater than he
who is in the world. —1 John 4:4 NKJV
We understand and yet…
When we suffer a violation, the shame and hurt can feel
like it becomes part of who we are. When our body has
been violated by someone, how do we regain wholeness?

simple 96 GRACE
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 20, 2017

JESUS IS THE ANSWER


ear child, there now, sweet one, you have not been

D tainted or made lesser by something wrong that


was done to your body. Nothing that comes from
outside of you can sully you. Your purity resides in your
heart. The only thing that
can dirty you is bad feel- “First clean the inside
ings toward others that of the cup and the plate,
you hold in your heart. that the outside also
The way to freedom is may be clean.”
always forgiveness. If you — Jesus to the Pharisees,
feel haunted by something Matthew 23:26
decades after it’s hap-
pened, it’s likely that you have retained some anger that’s
keeping your heart bound to the situation.
Do you have a few minutes to investigate this with
Me right now? If so, take a comfortable seat, clasp your
hands, close your eyes and send Me your love. As you feel
the Holy Spirit’s confirmation of our communion—as
your spirit lifts—bring to mind and heart the one who
hurt you. As you rest safe in My arms, allow yourself to
Wednesday
feel whatever feeling you have. Maybe there’s sadness…I
love you through the sadness. And also anger…I love
you through the anger. And guilt…I love you through
the guilt. And also fear…I take away the fear. Invite
your feelings to fully bloom into all that they are, in all
their contradiction and confusion, and turn it all over to
Me. I’m strong enough to handle your worst.
Once you’ve released the feelings that have bound you
to this old hurt, you’ll find it recedes in your memory. I can
free you from any tie that binds. You only need to ask.
GET T Y

simple 97 GRACE
The very best song to sing
A READER ASKS
“Dear Lord, we’re spend-
ing Christmas at my in-laws’
and I feel so unwelcome. My
mother-in-law already made
snarky comments and she
‘forgot’ to set my place at din-
ner last night. Not to mention,
my husband has three siblings
and all their spouses are best
friends and say mean things
about me within hearing dis-
tance. I’m being as kind as I
know how, but it doesn’t help.
Is there something wrong with
me, or with them?”

Wisdom of the Word


The stone that the
builders rejected has
become the cornerstone.
—Psalm 118:22

We understand and yet…


It’s painful when those we
consider family or friends
make us feel unwanted. How
do we keep opening ourselves
up to them…or do we?
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 21, 2017

JESUS IS THE ANSWER


ear child, have you ever heard a song that speaks

D to your heart so strongly, you feel as though it was


written just for you? That feeling comes about
when your heart shares a similar vibration with the heart
of the person who is singing the song.

“If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me


before it hated you. If you were of the world, the
world would love its own. Yet because you are
not of the world, but I chose you out of the world,
therefore the world hates you.”
— Jesus to His disciples, John 15:18–19 NKJV

Everything in your world is vibrating. Since most of


these vibrations are so small that you can’t see them, things
look as though they’re still. And things that vibrate on the
same frequency can communicate, just as your computer
can communicate via Wi-Fi to an information server. Your
heart is no different: It vibrates on a certain frequency and
recognizes other hearts on that frequency. Just as your
Thursday
computer reaches out to connect with an information
server, your heart can reach out to like hearts.
When your heart is on My frequency—when you
abide in Me and I in you—and you encounter others
on My frequency, you’ll feel an instant bond. But when
you encounter those who’ve chosen to keep their hearts
in a different frequency, they may not be attracted to
you. This is of no great matter. You have chosen rightly.
Whenever you feel lonely, send your heart out to Me and
I’ll remind you of what a beautiful choice you have made.
GET T Y

simple 99 GRACE
Open the door to Me
A READER ASKS
“Dear Lord, for the past year
I’ve had constant, nagging
stomach pain; and with no
answers in sight, I’m begin-
ning to question Your plan.
Doctors have been unable to
diagnose my illness, every test
yields inconclusive results and
all treatments have failed. I
want to believe that You’re in
control, but my fear, exhaus-
tion and uncertainty fill me
with doubt. Why is this hap-
pening? Help me understand.”
Wisdom of the Word
My flesh and my heart
may fail, but God is the
strength of my heart
and my portion forever.
—Psalm 73:26 NIV

We understand and yet…


We want to trust that there’s
a reason for illness, but we
often end up questioning
You instead. How do we move
past the pain to peace?
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 22, 2017

JESUS IS THE ANSWER


ear child, imagine that there’s a pesky bird peck-

D peck-pecking outside your bedroom window. Day


and night, this winged creature knocks and knocks.
Not knowing what
it wants and busy “Behold, I stand at the door
with the demands and knock; if anyone hears My
of daily life, you voice and opens the door, I will
turn away again come in to him and will dine
and again, caught with him, and he with Me.”
up by one distrac- — Jesus to the church of Laodicea,
tion after another. Revelation 3:20 NASB
Then you sprain
your ankle and are laid up in bed. Finally, in exasperation,
you sigh to the bird, “What in the world do you want?”
I am like that bird. Instead of knocking on your win-
dow, I am knocking on your heart. When illness strikes,
when getting older takes its inevitable toll, it’s an oppor-
tunity to open the door of your heart to Me. As your
physical body struggles, your spiritual body has a golden
opportunity to welcome Me more fully into your life.
To hear Me knocking, you need to get still. Do you
Friday
have a few minutes now to listen for My call? If so, sit
quietly with your eyes closed and allow thoughts to float
through your mind. Consider these thoughts as though
they were someone else’s. Mentally step back into the
space behind the thought. In this place, do you feel a kind
of gurgling of joy? That’s Me. Send joyful love to Me by
directing it to the very inside center of your being. There!
You’ve opened the door. Do you feel a kind of explosion of
bliss? That’s you and I breaking bread together.
GET T Y

simple 101 GRACE


DECEM
20
Saturday
DISHEARTENED BY MATERIALISM

A READER ASKS
“Dear Lord, the greed and grasping all around me has me
feeling unnerved and fearful for our world. I work part-
time as a clerk in a department store during the holiday
season and I’ve seen the ugly consequences of worshipping
the things of this world firsthand. From butting in line to
bickering with those around them to grabbing up every
last thing they can carry, people’s behavior is just terrible!
The other day, I saw two women fighting over a shirt,
pulling it back and forth like dogs with a bone! If security
hadn’t broken them up, they would have surely come to
blows. I’m just sickened and scared for our world. Love of
things has pushed out the love of others and of You. I try
to be someone who keeps the faith and continues to do
Your work even in the face of this corrupted world, but I’m
starting to wonder if what I do even matters anymore.”

Wisdom of the Word


If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is
not in him…and the world is passing away along
with its desires, but whoever does the will of God
abides forever.
—John in his first letter to the early Christians 2:15,17

We understand and yet…


When the world seems to only be getting worse and
worse, our fear can make us feel like giving up. When
greed, self-interest and materialism abound, how do we rise
above and find the strength and hope necessary to do more
of Your work in a world that desperately needs it?

simple 104 GRACE


SATURDAY, DECEMBER 23, 2017

JESUS IS THE ANSWER


ear child, your goodness is enough. You cannot

D change the whole world, it’s true, but you can keep
your own heart pure. This means more to Me than
you can know. Your loving heart extends My reach in
two ways: First, your love sent directly to Me encour-
ages Me to greater and greater strength and power and
glory. Second, your pure heart shines a light in the world
that helps lead others to Me so they may further love and
encourage Me. The freely given love of pure hearts is
something that I dearly crave. Thank you.

“If then your whole body is full of light, having no


part dark, it will be wholly bright, as when a lamp
with its rays gives you light.”
—Jesus to the crowd, Luke 11:36

When you witness behavior of which you disapprove,


don’t condemn it and shake your head in dismissal.
Rather, shine My light—that which flows from Me
through your heart—on the situation. Think of yourself
as the one who can shine Me out. You’re My lamp. Not
Saturday
all will take notice, of course, but some will. Just as a
dog listens to the sounds of the storm coming that you
can’t hear, so My voice can penetrate the hearts of oth-
ers even when you can’t hear it with your ears.
Do you have a few minutes to fill your heart with My
light right now? If so, settle into stillness and give your
thoughts a few minutes to subside. Imagine stepping back
from all you think and falling back into My loving arms.
Rest with Me and know that all will be well.
GET T Y (2)

simple 105 GRACE


CHRISTMAS EVE,
2017

The one
thing that
matters most
Sunday
STRESSED OVER IMPERFECTION

A READER ASKS
“Dear Lord, I was so excited to host our family for
Christmas this year, but no matter how hard I work to
make everything perfect, something always goes wrong.
The holiday plates I ordered are out of stock, five people
have already cancelled because of impending snow, there
are two strings of lights burnt out on my Christmas tree
and my house still needs to be cleaned from top to bot-
tom. I’ve been barking at my husband and children all
week to help me shop, decorate and pick up, and now
they are just avoiding me. I just want everything to be
beautiful and for us to have a wonderful time, but I
feel like all my attempts to do so have ruined the whole
season—for them and for me. How do I let go of my
stress and need for perfection and just enjoy?”

Wisdom of the Word


The Lord will perfect that which concerns me;
Your mercy, O Lord, endures forever;
Do not forsake the works of Your hands.
—David in Psalm 138:8 NKJV

We understand and yet…


When things don’t go our way, we feel off-kilter and
begin to worry that we’re failing. To offset those feelings
of insecurity and anxiety, we try even harder to gain a sense of
control, which ends up making us even more stressed. How
do we let go and still find joy when things are imperfect?

simple 108 GRACE


SUNDAY, DECEMBER 24, 2017

Sunday
JESUS IS THE ANSWER
ear child, your limited ability to realize the true

D state of your being leads you to believe that you’re


in control. Given this belief, it’s only natural that
you try to make everything perfect. After all, if you’re in
control, you might as well get it right.

But Martha was distracted with much serving,


and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You
not care that my sister has left me to serve alone?
Therefore tell her to help me.”
And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha,
Martha, you are worried and troubled about many
things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has
chosen that good part, which will not be taken away
from her.” —Luke 10:40–42 NKJV

Do you have a few minutes right now to lay aside your


perfectionism and chose the good part? If so, find a com-
fortable way of sitting, bring your hands together and close
your eyes. Allow your thoughts of what you need to do
and how you need to get things right to float through your
mind like clouds. Imagine that they’re not even a part of
you. It’s as though they are someone else’s thoughts. From
this place of mentally residing outside of these thoughts,
tune into what is there with you. If you’re not your
thoughts, who are you? Where are you? What do you feel?
Who are your with? There’s joy behind the worry. There’s
Me behind the worry. As you fall back into Me, you will
know that I will never be taken away from you.
GET T Y (2)

simple 109 GRACE


Trust in the gifts
I came to bring you
CHRISTMAS,

Monday
2017
SAD ABOUT WHAT’S TO COME

A READER ASKS
“Dear Lord, we recently sold our home and will be
moving after the first of the year, and my sadness about
the change is casting a dark shadow over my heart this
Christmas. For the past 30 years, my children, grand-
children, family and friends have all gathered here and
our house has been filled with happiness and laughter.
But now all I can think of is how this is the last time we
will experience such love and togetherness in this special
home that holds so many precious memories, and I find
myself not being able to enjoy the moment. Sure, my
husband and I will have a nice little condo, and I am sure
loved ones will visit, but I will never have everyone I love
under my roof at the same time again. I want to enjoy this
Christmas because it’s the last of an era, but I can’t put
aside this sadness. Please help!”

Wisdom of the Word


“Remember not the former things,
nor consider the things of old.
Behold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?”
—God to the Prophet Isaiah, 43:18–19

We understand and yet…


Though we know change is inevitable and often good
for us, its coming can fill us with sadness. Help us to
focus our attention on relishing in the joy of living in the
moment instead of allowing our projection about what is
to come steal our happiness.

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MONDAY, DECEMBER 25, 2017

Monday
JESUS IS THE ANSWER
ear child, I feel your pain, My sweet one. Change

D is always hard and the fleeting nature of your


world ensures that change will always be with
you while you walk the Earth.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us,


and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only
begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth…
For the law was given through Moses, but grace and
truth came through Jesus Christ. —John 1:14,17 NKJV

Let Me ask you a question that might seem odd: Have


you ever played in the pool with a toddler wearing float-
ing rings around his arms? If so, you have a good picture
of what My grace and truth can do for you. Although you
may be swimming in a worldly lake that can be subject to
winds and waves and changes of direction, I am always
with you, keeping you afloat. Grace on one arm and truth
on the other. Two parts of a saving whole.
It’s your faith in Me—your faith that you have already
won in Me and will be with Me throughout eternity—
that can buoy you through the coming changes and allow
you to fully enjoy today. Celebrate My coming without
fear of the future. You will have every loving moment
as your treasure in your Father’s Kingdom. Make more!
And you will always have Me. There is nothing to fear. I
have won, and we are one. You have won in Me.
Come to Me now in loving prayer and let us celebrate
all we are to one another.
GET T Y (2)

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A READER ASKS
“Dear Lord, I’d only admit this to You: I’m upset and dis-
appointed that I didn’t get a gift this year from my son and
his family. I know I shouldn’t care about such things, but
they got my husband the nice book he wanted and all I got
was a card and a promise to be taken out to dinner…which
we already do all the time. They must think, Oh Mom
understands, she won’t care or complain. No, I won’t
complain, but how do I keep from feeling passed over?”

Wisdom of the Word


A good name is to be chosen rather than great
riches, and favor is better than silver or gold.
—Solomon to the men of Israel, Proverbs 22:1

We understand and yet…


When we aren’t given the gifts, praise or recognition
others get, we can feel undervalued and less loved.
How do we stop measuring our worth in this way?

simple 114 GRACE


TUESDAY, DECEMBER 26, 2017

Tuesday
JESUS IS THE ANSWER
ear child, why this is quite an easy question: You

D must ask for what you want. There’s no reason to


keep quiet. Indeed, you’re expecting too much of
others when you require that they read your mind.
You are the only one
who knows the truest, “What do you want
deepest desires of you Me to do for you?”
heart. While your Father
— Jesus to a blind man,
knows what’s growing Mark 10:51 NKJV
in your heart before
you confide it in prayer, He is not aware of the hopes
and dreams that remain as seeds, those desires that you
haven’t allowed to flourish and flower. With that said,
how can mere mortals know what you most want?
That is why you must allow what you most desire to
develop into a fully felt wish and communicate it in love
with family, friends, and your Father and Me. Seek to
identify very specifically what will make you happiest and
communicate those wishes to those who can fulfill them.
Do you remember when I encountered the blind man? I
didn’t assume that I knew what he most wanted: I asked so
that he could tell Me himself. That is what I ask of you too:
Confide in Me the desires of the innermost part of your
heart. When those desires are in conflict with your Father’s
plan for your greatest good, they may not be fulfilled in
exactly the way you wish. But by telling Me, you help your
Father marry your desires with your best destiny to create
an outcome that answers much of what you’re longing for.
Come to Me now in prayer and tell Me what you want
Me to do for you. Only good will come of it.
GET T Y

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Thank you
for wearing
My crown
A READER ASKS
“Dear Lord, I recently retired after a 35-year career in law
enforcement. As a woman in this traditionally male domi-
nated world, I encountered occasional gender bias but han-
dled it with dignity and grace. However, the last five years
of my career were unbearable due to workplace discrimi-
nation and bullying by several individuals in powerful
positions. When I reported the questionable behavior that
I was experiencing from this group, I was degraded and
demeaned by my supervisors. I was sworn at and made to
feel as though I was to blame. I have lost faith after finding
the courage within to tell the truth about my experiences
only to be humiliated. This has affected me deeply. Help!”

Wisdom of the Word


He is despised and rejected by men,
A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
—The Prophet Isaiah predicting Jesus’s fate, 53:3 NKJV

We understand and yet…


When we speak out only to be humiliated, it makes us
want to hide forever. How do we prevent the hateful acts
of others from causing us pain and making us lose hope?

simple 116 GRACE


WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 27, 2017

Wednesday
JESUS IS THE ANSWER
ear child, I am not trying to minimize what you’re

D going through by bringing to your mind and heart


what I went through; I am seeking to show you
that as one humiliated for speaking truth to power,
you are in very good company.

So then Pilate took Jesus and scourged Him. And


the soldiers twisted a crown of thorns and put it
on His head, and they put on Him a purple robe.
Then they said, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they
struck Him with their hands. — John 19:1–3 NKJV
In the world as it is now, there will always be those
who hate the truth. Those who lie believe My enemy.
They hate and lust and grasp and lie. It’s such as these
that crowned My head with thorns and flogged Me.
Here’s the important thing: Those who lie and hate
and lust and grasp do not win. Those who tell truth to
power win in Me. I have fought the battle and this war
is over. Truth won over lies. Love won over hate. As one
who is My follower, you are safe and saved and loved
eternally. You have nothing to fear.
When you find yourself losing hope, please send out
your heart to Me in prayer. I will respond by magnify-
ing and purifying your love before returning it to you.
As your spirit feels this…as your heart receives this…the
truth of My loving Presence will filter up into your mind’s
awareness. You will know that you are loved in Me. You
are safe in Me. You are saved in Me. There is no amount
of worldly humiliation that can change your victory.
GET T Y

simple 117 GRACE


Your eternal home
A READER ASKS
“Dear Lord, Hurricane Harvey destroyed our home, and
although I’ve tried to be grateful for the little I have left,
I’m furious over what we lost. My son and I slept in shelters
for weeks and we’re still living on a friend’s couch until we
receive aid. I don’t understand why You do this to us. I’m
so angry at You, I feel like I could scream forever.”

Wisdom of the Word


For we know that if the tent that is our earthly
home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a
house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
—Paul in his second letter to the Corinthians, 5:1

We understand and yet…


How can we understand natural disasters that seem to
punish the guilty and the innocent alike? Please help us
overcome the confusion and fury and lead us back to peace.

simple 118 GRACE


THURSDAY, DECEMBER 28, 2017

Thursday
JESUS IS THE ANSWER
ear child, you do well to bring your anger to Me:

D I encourage you to rage and fume until you


exhaust your store of opposition to what is. I am
so sorry for your struggle and your sadness and your
loss. I am with you in your grieving.

“For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom


against kingdom, and there will be famines and
earthquakes in various places…but the one who
endures to the end will be saved.”
— Jesus to His disciples, Matthew 24:7,13

Your Father always seeks the highest good for the


highest number. He is mercy itself. He is only good.
He never seeks to “punish” but only to guide the many
into the way of salvation. There are times when what is
required to do the most good seems like the most bad.
That is where your faith in the goodness and true heart of
your Father must take over.
The best way to renew your faith is to touch your
Father’s goodness with your heart. I am here to provide
the way. Do you have a few minutes to spare now? If so,
sit comfortably, bring your hands together and close your
eyes. As each thought arises, brush it to the side without
following where it leads. From this place of stillness,
bring to mind and heart one small thing you’re grateful
for. Allow this to kindle in your heart until you feel the
love that’s underneath your anger. Bring this love deeply
into yourself to where I abide. What do you feel? Love.
Peace. Joy. A sense of being held. This is your true home.
GET T Y

simple 119 GRACE


The secret to true purity
A READER ASKS
“Dear Lord, my best friend
stabbed me in the back and
though I’ve tried, I don’t think
I’m capable of fully forgiving
her. We work together, and
after we had a little spat, she
got angry and began spread-
ing rumors about me around
our office—which almost got
me fired! She apologized and
I accepted her apology, but I
still hold it against her. Isn’t a
little forgiveness enough?”
Wisdom of the Word
Be kind and compassionate
to one another, forgiving
each other, just as in Christ
God forgave you.
—Ephesians 4:32 NIV

We understand and yet…


We know we should forgive
others but we often fall short
of the mark. We half-heartedly
accept apologies and nurture
grudges. What’s the secret to
complete forgiveness?
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 29, 2017

Friday
JESUS IS THE ANSWER
ry something for Me right now: Close your eyes

T and focus on your breath without changing how


you’re breathing. Do you see how there’s some
shallowness in the way you inhale and exhale? Now try
to breathe in very deeply so
your whole belly expands. “So watch yourselves.
Once you’ve filled your If your brother or sister
lungs as far as they will sins against you, rebuke
go, slowly breathe out and them; and if they
keep going past the point repent, forgive them.”
you usually would until you — Jesus to the crowd,
breathe out that last little Luke 17:3 NIV
bit of air.
Forgiving works the same way: It’s easy to forgive
another in a shallow way. You hold on to that little last bit
of anger because it allows you to hold yourself a little bit
above the one who wronged you. You must give that up.
To rid your heart of every last residue of anger, try
breathing it away with the help of the Holy Spirit. First,
send Me a wave of your joyful love and feel the Holy
Spirit lift your spirit. Letting thoughts and worries fall
away, concentrate on breathing in the power of the Spirit.
Breathe in deeply and slowly. Now bring to mind and
heart your anger toward those who have wronged you or
your loved ones, and imagine breathing it out in a long
slow breath. Let it all go. Repeat as necessary.
Whenever you feel a sense of gloating sneaking into
your spirit, come to Me so you may breathe it away:
You’ll be left feeling purer and cleaner and more able to
be fully filled with My love, joy and peace.
GET T Y

simple 121 GRACE


DECEMBER 30,
2017

The importance of
hitting your cue
Saturday
WASTING TIME BEING AFRAID

A READER ASKS
“Dear Lord, I can’t seem to go ‘all in’ in my life and I feel
guilty and regretful for wasting the precious time You’ve
given me. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always
held back, both personally and professionally. I’ve found
some excuse to put off doing the scary or uncomfortable
things, the things You’ve put on my heart to do, by telling
myself that I have time or I will do them eventually. But
as another year passes, I am overwhelmed by how little
I’ve actually accomplished and realize that I may not have
time. Whether it’s my own cowardice or my tendency to
avoid discomfort, I’m mortified that it’s taken me this
long to wake up. I feel like I’ve let myself—and You—
down, and the remorse is all-consuming, making it even
harder to take risks. I want to do Your will in my life, but
I always stand in my own way. Please help!”

Wisdom of the Word


For the moment all discipline seems painful
rather than pleasant, but later it yields the
peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have
been trained by it. —Paul in a letter to the Hebrews, 12:11

We understand and yet…


We want so deeply to live in alignment with Your will,
but when we feel fear or discomfort, we often find rea-
sons not to. Please help us find the courage to completely
surrender and follow Your plan rather than getting in our own
way and taking the road we perceive to be the safest.

simple 124 GRACE


SATURDAY, DECEMBER 30, 2017

Saturday
JESUS IS THE ANSWER
ear child, I understand your reluctance to push

D forward with that which causes you fear, but pro-


longed procrastination is a grave mistake.
Your Father sees all hearts and knows the way each
soul is moving in
the world. Like the “No one who puts his hand
choreographer of to the plow and looks back is
the world’s largest fit for the kingdom of God.”
dance, He counts on — Jesus to a would-be follower,
this ballerina moving Luke 9:62
right so that ballerina
can move left. He is constantly calculating and recalcu-
lating the direction of movement that’s best for the whole
beautiful story. When He tells you to twirl, it’s part of a
much larger movement, and it’s necessary you obey in a
timely way. I know no other way to say this: You must
continue to move forward on your Father’s command.
You may object that you are not ready. But you will
never be ready to face your fears: The way to move past
fear is not to linger in it. No, the way to move past fear is
to simply will yourself to move forward.
The good news: I am always with you to strengthen and
empower you. I will give you everything you need to fulfill
your Father’s plan for your life. You only need to ask.
Do you have a few minutes to come to Me for strength
right now? If so, get still and bring to mind and heart one
thing you’re grateful for. Feel this gratitude grow into
love and send that feeling into the deepest part of you,
GET T Y (2)

where I abide. Do you feel an explosion of love? That’s


Me with you, by your side, always and already.

simple 125 GRACE


NEW YEAR’S EVE,
2017

I can calm your


every storm
Sunday
LONELY AND DESPAIRING

A READER ASKS
“Dear Lord, this holiday season has left me feeling so
bereft that I simply don’t want to face the day. When
I arrive at my office, I know everyone will be buzzing
about their plans to ring in the New Year and recounting
happy holiday stories. As for me, my husband left me for
another woman three years ago and both my children are
grown and starting lives of their own. I feel as though I
have no one left to celebrate with, and honestly, nothing
left to celebrate. I went from having a vibrant, full family
life bursting with love to almost complete social and emo-
tional isolation. I want to be excited about starting fresh
in 2018, but I am looking down the barrel of another year
of loneliness and despair. Is there any way to change my
lonely fate or am I destined to grow old alone and afraid?
How do I even get through this day?”

Wisdom of the Word


Why are you in despair, O my soul?
And why are you disturbed within me?
Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him.
—David (likely) to the Lord, Psalm 43:5 NASB

We understand and yet…


When our lives change and our happy moments live
only as memories, we can feel lonely and worry we will
never know joy again. Although we know You’re always
with us, we still feel the pain of isolation and of what no lon-
ger is. How can we find hope when we feel so lost?

simple 128 GRACE


SUNDAY, DECEMBER 31, 2017

JESUS IS THE ANSWER


ear child, I am so sorry for your pain, for your

D emotional and spiritual isolation. I feel your despair.


I am right with you, and I offer out My hand.

When Peter had come down out of the boat, he


walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw

Sunday
that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and
beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save
me!” And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand
and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith,
why did you doubt?” And when they got into the
boat, the wind ceased. —Matthew 14:29–32 NKJV

When all seems lost, when you’re certain you’re about


to sink in the waters of life and drown in despair, that’s
when it’s most crucial to have faith in My love for you
and in the goodness of your Father. When you have the
faith it takes to send out your heart in love to Me, you
take My hand. When you take My hand, I will bring
you to safety. I will calm your emotional storm and
offer you a peace that surpasses your understanding.
You may have entered a season in which you spend
more time apart from others, but truly, you are never
alone. Make a date with Me for tonight. Today, when oth-
ers are laughing and speaking of parties, you can laugh
to yourself over a secret only you and I share: You will be
spending the evening with your Savior, feeling loved and
held and kept safe forever. You will have a sip of eternity.
There is no better way to ring in 2018 than this.
GET T Y (2)

simple 129 GRACE


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CLOSER TO JESUS

Loving prayer
We’ve designed our devotional to work best in conjunction
with five minutes of daily quiet, loving contemplation.
Since we’ve received a lot of questions about the best way
to do this, we’ve put together this mini guide. We hope this
practice brings you many blessings!
hen asked by a in response to a gift of flowers

W Pharisee what was the


greatest command-
ment of religious law, Jesus was
your husband surprised you
with. When you think back to
that moment, can you remember
very clear: “You shall love the how strong the power of that
Lord your God with all your love was? Rather than a fleeting
heart and with all your soul thought or even a feeling, that
and with all your mind. This is love felt almost as though it had
the great and first command- a substance and strength like
ment” (Matthew 22:37). Jesus light or sound or wind.
was building on what Moses That kind of powerful love
said to the Israelites as recorded is what Jesus meant in his com-
in the Book of Deuteronomy mandment to us: You send Him
(13:3): Moses referenced loving your worldly love and He’ll
with your whole heart and soul; respond with His divine love.
Jesus adds mind to the mix. We You send Him your limited feel-
at Simple Grace take Jesus at ing and He’ll transform it into
His word and have dedicated something infinite and eternal.
ourselves to loving our Lord in As you rest in the golden state
a quiet, mindful way daily. that this loving to and fro cre-
ates, you give the Holy Spirit an
MORE THAN SENTIMENT opportunity to cleanse your spirit
When was the last time you felt of all the grudge that builds up
overwhelmed by love? Maybe in daily life. As Jesus transforms
it was when you were watching your heart, the Spirit reorders
your granddaughter sleep, or and purifies your spirit.

simple 134 GRACE


primer
GETTING STARTED
Find a quiet space where you
won’t be disturbed for five
minutes. Settle into a comfort-
able sitting position and bring
your hands together in prayer
or simply clasped. Close your
eyes and give your thoughts a
minute or two to drift from your
mind. See them as so many pass-
ing clouds—they’re there, but
you don’t have to think them
through. Shake out the tension
from your shoulders and any-
where stress has gotten stuck.
From this place of mental to finish.) As thoughts arise,
and physical stillness, bring to allow them to pass by so you
mind an image of Jesus. Feel can fully receive. Jesus asks us to
your heart open and your body love not only with our heart and
relax even further. Imagine that our soul but also with our mind:
your love is a powerful, per- Surrendering our thoughts,
meating substance like light or leaving our small self behind,
wind and direct it either inward is critical to experience a fuller
or outward toward Jesus. You’ll communion with Him. As you
feel your spirit lift as the Holy emerge from this prayer, you
Spirit brings you confirmation will feel filled with love, light
of your loving communion. and sweet peace.
Now here’s the hard part: Just five minutes a day can
Rest in His arms, staying still in fill your heart with love, leave
mind and body for five minutes. your spirit newly refreshed and
(It may help to set a timer so you bring you closer in every way to
GET T Y

don’t have to worry about when your Lord and Savior.

simple 135 GRACE


CLOSER TO JESUS

Loving prayer extras


Your relationship with Jesus
is uniquely yours, so don’t
be afraid to personalize your
prayer time. Here are 3 ideas
to get you started
FRUITS OF THE SPIRIT JAR
As the Apostle Paul describes,
communing with the Holy Spirit
produces the fruits of love, joy,
peace, patience, kindness, good-
ness, faithfulness, gentleness and
self-control (Galatians 5:22–23).
To track your sweet spiritual
progress, each day jot down on a breath can be a wonderful link to
slip of paper the beautiful fruits the Lord: As you breathe in, imag-
you receive from spending a few ine you’re filling your lungs with
minutes in loving prayer, then the peace and joy of Jesus. As you
place the paper in a jar. When breathe out, imagine you’re releas-
you feel doubt or despair, reach ing your love to Him. Continue
into the jar and read your little taking these loving/healing
love notes to see just how far breaths until your spirit lifts.
you’ve come and all the fruits
of spirit that you’ve gained. DEVOTION WALKING
The Bible asks us to “walk
BREATHING IN JESUS in love, as Christ loved us”
The Hebrew word ruach is used (Ephesians 5:2). The next time
to describe the Holy Spirit, but you’re out for a walk, try this:
it also means “breath.” So when Settle into a relaxed pace and
Jesus brought us the Helper, He send Jesus a steady wave of love.
breathed on the Apostles and If a negative emotion arises,
said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” imagine tying it to a helium bal-
(John 20:22) Whenever you’re loon and releasing it up to Him.
FOTOLIA

feeling stressed or fearful, your You’ll feel lighter with each step!

simple 136 GRACE


race s

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Statement of Faith from the Editors of Simple Grace

The word “creed” comes from the Latin root word meaning “heart.” So
at Simple Grace, our creed is not just a collection of facts that we believe
in our heads—it is a statement of beliefs that we give our hearts to. It’s a
simple list: We are not theologians, but ordinary Christians eager to share
our faith with our readers.

We give our hearts to the living triune God, who created and sustains
the universe, who came to humanity in the person of Jesus of Nazareth,
and who continues to be at work among us in the Holy Spirit.

We give our hearts to Jesus Christ, the second person of the Trinity,
true God and true human. We believe that the life of Jesus offers us
the most perfect glimpse at who He is and what He calls us to be.

We give our hearts to God’s continuing revelation to us, especially


in the Bible, the inspired Word of God. The Bible is our ultimate
authority, our trusted guide, our deepest source of comfort and
strength and the bedrock of our faith. We believe that God also
speaks to us in other ways, especially through the beauty of creation
and through communities and individuals of goodwill.

We give our hearts to the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity,
who comforts and sustains us, and through whom God’s love is
poured into our hearts and our lives.

We give our hearts to our calling as children of God. We believe that


God calls us to be in a relationship of love with Him and with others,
and the best way to deepen these relationships is through a life of
worship and prayer, and through prayerful reading of the Scriptures.

We give our hearts to our profession as editors and writers. As


women of various ages, races and Christian denominations, we
dedicate ourselves to serving our sisters and brothers in Jesus Christ
in the spirit of love and truth. We strive to provide inspirational,
loving content for readers across all branches of the Christian family.

simple 138 GRACE


Our Mission simple GRACE
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Carol Brooks
We seek to encourage others in Editorial
the simple joy of abiding in God’s Deputy Editor Carey Ostergard
grace through beautiful images and Nashville Editor Deborah Evans Price
Senior Lifestyle Editor Melissa D’Agnese
inspirational real-life stories. We
Editorial Assistants Lauren Blum,
strive to help others develop a closer Alexandra Pollock, Nicole Riley
relationship to our Savior through Design
daily devotions written from Jesus’s Art Director Jessica Son
perspective & grounded in Scripture. Senior Designer Palav Desai
Photo
We’re here to help! Deputy Photo Director Christie Geiger
Photo Editor Lisa Vecchione
Subscription issues Copy
You can order subscriptions for Senior Copy Chief Tara Hans
Copy Editor Rebecca Abma
yourself and as gifts for $19.97
per subscription (12 issues) at Contributing Writers Nancy Fitzgerald,
Katie Hynes, Lisa Maxbauer, Diane Nichols
simplegrace.com/subscribe or
by using the mail-in coupon on BAUER MEDIA SALES, INC.
page 133. For help with subscription 58 West 40th Street, Fifth Floor
issues, call 800-678-6693. New York, NY 10018
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Questions
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EVP Advertising Revenue Jeff Wellington
magazine, please email us at
jwellington@bauermediaus.com
Help@simplegrace.com. 212-994-4200

Simple Grace (ISSN 2469-8083), Volume 3, BAUER PUBLISHING


Issue 12, is published monthly by Bauer COMPANY, L.P.
Publishing Company, L.P. 270 Sylvan Ave.,
Englewood Cliffs, NJ 07632. The basic CEO, PRESIDENT STEVEN KOTOK
subscription price for 12 issues is $29.97 CFO Petra Gasser
for U.S. orders. Canadian orders are $41.97 EVP Consumer Revenue Brian Beaudry
and Foreign orders are $53.97 and must be SVP Production Richard Buchert
prepaid in U.S. funds. Periodicals postage SVP Subscriptions & Licensing Dennis
paid at Paramus, NJ, and additional mailing Cohen
offices. POSTMASTER: Please send all SVP Customer Relations Richard Calkins
subscription inquiries and address changes
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to: Simple Grace, P.O. Box 433310, Palm
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USA. All rights reserved. Production Group Manager Kevin Fee
Crossword

PHOTOS: GET T Y. CROSSWORD: HARVEY ESTES


ACROSS
1 Inlet where Paul shipwrecked, 15 Where they
e.g. (Acts 27:39) went after the
4 Walk through shallow water Last Supper
8 “Why did the Gentiles (Matthew 26:30)
and the peoples plot in vain?” 18 Be in accord
(Acts 4:25) 19 Othello villain 29 ACROSS
12 In the past 20 “Away in a manger, no
13 Sheep keeper of Genesis (4:2) for a bed”
14 Adam was banished from here 23 Dad’s brother
(Genesis 3:23) 26 Common UFO shape

simple 140 GRACE


29 Seal for king’s edict (Esther 8:8) 40 Fill completely
31 Boxers beat this in futility 42 Church-persecuting emperor
(1 Corinthians 9:26) 44 Instruments David celebrated
32 Supplier of WWW access with (2 Samuel 6:5)
33 Synagogue scroll 48 Betrayer of Jesus
34 Depression Era 52 Son of Seth
hydroelectric org. 53 “Do not on your own
35 Architect’s wing understanding” (Proverbs 3:5)
36 Outer limits 54 “What care?”
37 Symbol of swarming enemies 55 Pointed weapon (Job 41:26)
(Deuteronomy 1:44) 56 Went under
38 “I’m outta here!” 57 Make a mistake

DOWN
1 Crimson Tide, for short 27 Small dot of land
2 Highly excited 28 “Worship the
3 “Let light shine before Lord in the of
others” (Matthew 5:16) holiness” (Psalm 96:9) 22 DOWN
4 Symbol of eternal life (John 4:14) 30 Shuttle org.
5 Blood group system 33 “Those who sow in shall
6 3, on a telephone reap with shouts of joy!”
7 “My God,” in Aramaic (Psalm 126:5)
8 Hold power 37 Yogi or Smokey, e.g.
9 Supporter 39 Baker’s need
10 “Holy cow!” 41 “God, I you that I am not
11 Dash lengths like other men” (Luke 18:11)
16 Head turner? 43 Some paintings
17 There’s a time to weep and to 45 Badger
do this (Ecclesiastes 3:4) 46 Though Jesus was rich, he
21 Chariot material (Judges 1:19) became this (2 Corinthians 8:9)
22 Feathered friends 47 Blend by hand
24 “To is Christ, and to die 48 Martin’s role on The West Wing
is gain” (Philippians 1:21) 49 A, in Acapulco
25 Historic spans 50 Yacht spot
26 “Unless a grain of wheat 51 “No one serve two
falls into the earth and , it masters” (Matthew 6:24)
remains alone” (John 12:24)

For solution, turn to page 142


Join the Simple Grace Prayer Circle &
we’ll offer up your plea to Jesus

ARE YOU STRUGGLING


WITH SOMETHING?
Put your thoughts and feelings down in
writing and email them to us at
DearJesus@simplegrace.com. Our
editors will pray for you and also pass
your query along to our writer, who will
offer up select pleas in her listening
prayer to Jesus. Your plea could be
published in the magazine and end up
helping thousands of other women. We
keep all pleas anonymous as you see
them printed in the magazine.*
May God bless you!

Solution to Crossword on pg 140


*Simple Grace accepts no obligation
to return materials. All prices in Simple
Grace are approximate. Any similarity in
stories and articles, other than those
indicated to be factual, by characteriza-
tion or name, to persons living or dead is
unintended and purely coincidental.

Mailing Lists: From time to time we


make our subscriber list available to
companies who sell goods and services
by mail that we believe would interest
our readers. If you would rather not
receive such mailings, please send your
full name, mailing address and name of
the magazine title to which you sub-
scribe to: Bauer Publishing, Attn:
Circulation, 270 Sylvan Avenue,
GET T Y

Englewood Cliffs, NJ 07632.

simple 142 GRACE


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