Monday, December 27, 2010

End of the year book give-away

Sign up for a free copy of GRACE OF GIVING
One more week in 2010 and we'll find ourselves at the dawn of a new year. I am always excited about a new year: it brings new ideas, new opportunities, new travels and new people! I see it also as another great moment for a fun book give-away.
I learned from my previous give-away that some of you, my dear blogging friends and visitors have no favorite book on giving. Well, that made my heart jump for joy.. maybe you'll have one next year!! Grace of Giving will be released January 25th, 2011 and leading up to that release I am giving some copies away through this weblog as well as on
Okay, so what's the deal this time? I have decided to make it easy... in order to sign up for a free copy of Grace of Giving, all you need to do is:
  • mention this give-away on your blog or re-post/share it on any other social media, and
  • leave a comment in the box below and tell me if there is one thing you find difficult to give away freely. It could be money, a smile, compliments, your heart, anything!

I'll announce the winner next week! Happy year end blogging :)

PS: The winner of the previous book give-away was Susan J. Reinhardt, feel free to visit her awesome blog Christian writer/reader connection and leave her a comment.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Birth of the Word

Merry Christmas
In the beginning
was the Word
and the Word was with God
and the Word was God
He was with God
in the beginning
Through him
all things were made
without him nothing was made
that has been made
In him was life
and that life was the light of men
the light shines in the darkness
but the darkness has not understood it
From the Gospel according to John
Chapter 1, verse 1-5

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

What do virgin birth & rebirth have in common?

Holy child and holy life
A few weeks ago I was working on a Dutch article about the danger of calling certain biblical events myths; the virgin birth for example. The fact that we don't really understand how that happened is no reason to label it as fiction. While thinking about divine birth I began to wonder if the people who struggle to accept the virgin birth are the same people who have trouble with rebirth. Well, maybe they are not... but it made me think about the subject once again.
Rebirth is a difficult subject for many Christians and without doubt a weird concept for unbelievers. If, for whatever reason, the subject comes to the table we often end up pointing to the discussion Jesus had with Nicodemus. Nothing wrong with that scripture of course, but I believe the Bible has much more to say about the subject. During the following weeks I began to scribble some notes and corresponding schriptures in my journal based on 1 Peter 1:3, In his great mercy he has given us new birth... and I would like to share them in this blogpost, hoping it will help you to get a fresh perspective on the birth of Jesus as well as on your own new birth.
  • The apostel John wrote about Jesus and our rebirth in John 1:12-13, To all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God - children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.
  • In his first letter John made it even more clear, everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God (1 John 5:1). Naturally we are born of a human being, but spiritually we are born of God.
  • The apostel Peter had something to say about divine birth too, You have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God (1 Peter 1:23). We are born again of imperishable seed, that is God's seed, or the Holy Spirit.
  • In 1 John 3:9 we read the following, No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in him. There we have it again, God's seed, the same seed that conceived Jesus, remains in us.
As the Holy Spirit came over Maria she conceived the holy child Jesus. In Matthew 1:20 the angel of the Lord explained to Joseph how that happened, ...what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. In the same way the Holy Spirit will come over us and conceive new life in us, a born again spirit. Virgin birth is not a myth, it is a miracle from God and it is not too difficult to see how it runs parallel with spiritual rebirth. The virgin birth was necessary in order to conceive a holy child, our rebirth is necessary to conceive a new holy nature in us, Gods nature. I am forever thankful that Jesus went before me to make it possible for human beings to be born of God! What a rich and full Christmas message that is!

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Kindness as a gift

Attitude check....
Last Friday I spoke at a ladies Christmas dinner at Church of the Living Christ in Ojai. I recalled my very first Christmas in the USA, back in 1989.

Oh, how I marveled at all the gifts, the ribbons and the bows, I had never seen such things in my life... well, only in the movies! Over the years I have learned that, somehow, it is not all glamour and glitter around Christmas. I saw people running around in desperate search for the perfect gift for uncle Larry (who never says thank you) and for sister-in-law Lorna (who returns her gifts first week of January). I noticed stress levels going up in the month of December and traffic (at least here in Southern California) turning into a hectic stream of cars rushing by. I even heard people say (believe this or not): I'm glad when it's over.
Laughs from the audience...

It doesn't matter how we look at this, there is one thing we all know for sure: If this is the way we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, it does NOT please God! Just this week I received an e-mail from friends saying: skip the gift, let's give to charity. I am sure that is one way to make Christmas more meaningful and joyful. But maybe your family wants to do the gift giving, so let me suggest the three things I talked about that evening:
  1. God loves a cheerful giver. Not just when we give to Him, but also when we give to others. If you can't give cheerfully, don't do it! Grumpy shopping for your loved ones doesn't make sense. It is not the gift that counts, but the attitude behind it.
  2. Stop searching for the 'perfect' gift (whoever made that up needs urgent prayer!) for the people on your list. It does NOT exist! You tried for years... right? The perfect gift does not exist in the material world, no gift can make someone really feel better, or happy, or ease their pain or make them appreciative. We are like the little child playing with that FisherPrice toy, trying to push the square block into a round hole, it is not going to work! We are trying to fulfill emotional and maybe even spiritual needs with material stuff, it won't fit! Buy something you love giving! It is not the gift that counts, but the attitude behind it.
  3. Whatever gift you buy, add a personal note to it as an act of kindness. I don't care who you are and where you are in your life, every person on this planet needs a kind word! Write something like: I had fun shopping for you, Christmas would not be the same without you, thank you for your awesome cooking, thank you for opening up your house, I just love your humor... well whatever, anything that is kind and that comes from your heart and that shows love to the other person. I promise you it will change the atmosphere! It is not the gift that counts, but the attitude behind it!
Hope this helps!

PS: make sure to read Heather Sunseri's post on Christmas too!!

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

And the winner is...

Thank you ladies for participating! I enjoyed reading your comments and favorite scriptures on giving. I asked my husband Jan to draw a name and the winner of this book giveaway is... Susan Reinhardt! Please visit her blog at christian write/reader connection and leave her a note!
Susan, please e-mail me your adress at, and I will send you a free copy of my latest book GRACE OF GIVING! Congratulations!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Book Giveaway

Get a free copy of GRACE OF GIVING!
December is a good month for a fun book giveaway! Even more so when the title of the book is Grace of Giving :)
Grace of Giving is the fourth book in the Ten Commandments series and will be released January 25th 2011. Whether you use this book for personal or group study, it will surely help you to gain new insights on the 8th commandment. In my known step-by-step method I will explain how we go from merely obeying such a command to fulfilling it in our daily walk. As I unfold the New Testament thought behind this commandment you will discover that cheerful, abundantly and costly giving is the key to a life in all its fullness.
Make sure to join the fun by leaving a note in the comment box. All I am asking for is
  1. your favorite scripture on giving and
  2. the title of your favorite book on giving (if you don't have one, this is your chance to win one!)

Let me inspire you by giving my favorite scripture on giving: A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed (Proverbs 11:25). My favorite book on giving is Hidden Power by Tommy Barnett, that book changed my life! I will draw a name and announce the winner next week! You'll have your book just in time before Christmas!