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My True Love’s Gifts to be Featured at the 2018 Kentucky Book Fair

The Kentucky Book Festival will be held on November 12-17, 2018 and culminates with the 37th annual Kentucky Book Fair on Saturday, November 17th at the Kentucky Horse Park’s Alltech Arena.  My True Love’s Gifts will be featured at the Kentucky Book Fair.  Stay tuned for more information on how you can participate or visit the Kentucky Humanities Council at www.kyhumanities.org

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Hello, Indy!

If you happen to be attending the North American Christian Convention in Indianapolis later this month, please stop by and see our booth.  Copies of My True Love’s Gifts will be available for purchase in the Exhibition Hall.  As always, the net proceeds of book sales will be used to support compassionate ministries serving others across the United States and around the world.

Being Inspired

The Beatitudes – New Year’s Resolutions from the Sermon on the Mount

Start 2018 off right with the Beatitudes – a set of resolutions straight from the Sermon on the Mount.  Here’s a presentation that I was privileged to deliver on New Year’s Eve.

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The Cost of Christmas

 

The PNC Christmas Price Index was released recently.  For over 30 years, the folks at PNC have tracked the cost of each of the gifts in The Twelve Days of Christmas.  This year, the cost of giving each gift in the song just once would be $34,558.65.  That’s a 0.06% increase from last year.  The least expensive gift on the list is the eight maids a’milking, which will only set you back by $58.  But if you want seven swans a’swimming, be prepared to pay over $13,000.  Swans are in high demand these days.  If you were to give every gift that is given in the song (e.g. a partridge and a pear tree times twelve, eleven pairs of turtledoves, etc.), the total cost of Christmas would be $157,558 according to PNC.  Wow!

 

The PNC Christmas Price Index tracks the literal cost of Christmas, but we know that the actual cost of Christmas is much greater.  In My True Love’s Gifts, we find that the partridge and the pear tree is symbolic of Jesus Christ on a cross.  The only gift given on every day of the traditional Christmas season is the Savior of the World who came to be offered as a sacrifice for sin.  That’s an expensive gift.

And how much would you pay to know that God’s power is immeasurable and that His promises are always kept?  What’s the value of having generations of faithful Christians who have come before us, preserving and sharing the faith?  What sort of a price can you put on being able to walk on the streets of heaven one day?  Clearly, Christmas is about God’s loving generosity and, when we understand the symbolism behind each of the gifts in The Twelve Days of Christmas, we are reminded just how fortunate we are to be the recipients of the True Love’s real gifts.

It’s for this reason that Paul writes in Ephesians 3:17-19, “And I pray that you…may have power, together with all the Lord’s people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” At Christmas we see quite clearly that God’s love is priceless.

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Kirkus Reviews My True Love’s Gifts

 

Kirkus Reviews, the publishing industry’s leader in providing thoughtful critiques and analysis of new books has published its review of My True Love’s Gifts, calling it “a thought-provoking guide to a spiritually charged holiday tune.”  The review compliments the author’s writing style, stating, “Samford writes clearly and informally, carefully explaining both the song and its biblical references. This is not a scholarly study…but it still achieves exegetical seriousness.”  Check out the full review of My True Love’s Gifts and order your copy today!

Being Inspired

On your mark. Get set….

Are you ready for the fifty-five day sprint that starts every year on November 1st and ends on Christmas Day?  As you get out today, chances are that you will be reminded many times that Christmas is “just around the corner.”  Christmas music is on the radio.  Decorations are already up in stores.  Oh, there’s so much to do between now and then!

Here’s a tip.  The most important thing you can do today to prepare for Christmas is to…relax.  Close your eyes.  Take a deep breath.  The cookies will get baked.  The packages will get wrapped.  The stress associated with “some assembly required” will pass.  The true Christmas season doesn’t even begin until December 25th, so let’s not stress ourselves out in the meantime.

Make this the most meaningful Christmas ever by meditating on God’s loving generosity.  Discover His kindness in places you’ve never looked before.  See how great God is just by pausing and letting His grace surround you.  Realize, perhaps for the first time in years, that Christmas isn’t an event – it’s an attitude.

 

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Hope in Appalachia

cute little girl standing on stairs

Paul describes the characteristics of a servant of God in his second letter to the believers in Corinth.  One of the characteristics that particularly stands out is this one: “poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything”  (2 Cor. 6:10).  When I think of this passage, I’m reminded of the good work done by Appalachia Mission of Hope (AMoH) in McKee, Kentucky.  This compassionate ministry meets the practical needs of those who struggle financially by distributing food, clothing, furniture, appliances and other items.  Working through a network of local churches, AMoH spreads the love of Christ and cultivates a harvest of generosity, gratefulness and joy.  Please consider supporting this  important ministry through prayer, financial support and volunteer activities.AMOH LogoI’m excited that a portion of the net proceeds from the sales of My True Love’s Gifts will be given to this important ministry.  Order your copy today at Amazon, Barnes and Noble or Westbow Press and help support AMoH!

 

 

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Read a Book, Heal a Heart

One of the goals in writing My True Love’s Gifts was to give the net proceeds of the book to ministries that help meet practical needs while sharing the story of God’s goodness with others.  Refuge For Women is just such a ministry.  By offering a place of healing and restoration, Refuge for Women is changing the lives of women who have been victimized by human trafficking and sexual exploitation.  Through a faith-based process that focuses upon safety, identity and achievement, Refuge For Women is demonstrating the love of God in action.  And the results are very encouraging.  The vast majority of women who complete the Refuge For Women program emerge with a new identity in Christ, practical skills that enable them to succeed and be independent, and the knowledge that they too can share God’s love with others.  By reading a book, you can help heal a heart.  Please join us in supporting this awesome ministry.

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