Keep The Merry! (Guest post by Sarah Keith)

For a few years, American atheists promoted a “Christmas” message: “Keep the merry, dump the myth.” This jarring promotion showed a picture of a laughing Santa, next to the suffering face of Jesus wearing a crown of thorns. It is quite poignant that they didn’t attack the Christ Child, since that is what the merriment celebrates! No, they went right to the heart of the matter: Christ on the cross. You see for many people — apparently atheists included — it’s easy and okay to celebrate the joy of Christmas with the Jolly ol’ Man, the Elf on the Shelf, or Rudolf the Red-nosed Reindeer; there’s no commitment to God or call for repentance; nothing is required! (But we do spend a lot of money trying to have a merry Christmas!) The atheists’ promotion was revealing — they understood the implication of believing in the Baby in the manger — it’s beautifully stated in the hymn, Hark! the herald angels sing: “Born to raise the sons of earth; born to give them second birth.”

Atheists understand that the Baby grew up and died a terrible, bloody death on the cross. There isn’t anything “merry” about that picture! You see, to truly celebrate the Saviour’s birth, we must be willing to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Him. Atheists, of course, are not willing to do this. But are we, who celebrate the Babe in the manger, willing to submit to the crucified and risen One when the trials and suffering of life come our way? Do we trust that God is in control and that nothing happens in our lives apart from the will of the Father? It is during these difficult times that we may be tempted to give up and ask, “Where are You, God?” or even “Is there a God?”

 

2 Corinthians 5:21 – For our sake [God] made [Jesus] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (ESV)

In October of 2013, my husband survived a traumatic brain injury. I can’t imagine my family and me walking this path without the hope that God has a greater plan in mind. Admittedly, many days, I wanted to give up. Yet, where would I go? To whom would I turn? There is eternal hope in no one else!

Some of the fruit of our suffering has become evident: our family is closer, and we are grateful for the extra time to love one another. I also thank God for the body of Christ. For years now, we have been on the receiving end of love being poured out to us in a myriad of ways, all to show us Jesus-with-skin-on love! Over and over again, God has faithfully provided for us, teaching us that He is near and can be trusted.

Yes, the Christ Child is the reason for the season! His birth was for His death. His death was for our birth. In Him, we can find true Christmas joy!

Prayer: Dear Jesus, thank You for coming to earth to give us second birth. Help us to have merry hearts today, tomorrow, and in the coming New Year. Amen.”

Sarah Keith <sarah@sundayschoolnetwork.com

https://www.SundaySchoolNetwork.com
West Palm Beach, Florida, USA

Mantel Piece Living

I expect you have your nativity scene displayed already. If you decorate for Christmas, it is a requirement. After all without the birth of Christ, we wouldn’t be celebrating the holiday at all.

Do be kind enough to give him a bit of room on your mantel at least. Then take the time to investigate why there is a Christ in Christmas

FjdosChristnkought(Christ in it!)

Is that how your past year looked? Take another gander. No matter what happened there, Christ was in it, just as he is in the title of this devotional.

What will this coming year look like? I don’t know and you don’t either but the one thing sure as sure and forever is this. Christ in us the hope of glory! Colossians 1:27

The Big Red Chair-Nominated!! Please vote!!

Dear Brenda
I am pleased to inform you that your book, The Big Red Chair, is eligible for our book of the month awards. All winning books go on to be finalists in our book of the year awards.
Voting is now open at https://www.interviewsandreviews.com/november2019.html so make sure to let your readers know!
(Please take the time to vote!! Thank you!! Brenda

Cheese and Onion Pie

 

My dad used to call those bits before a meal as hor-dervies. He would have loved this recipe. Onions were his favorite food!

I gave you this recipe before but maybe you were foolish enough not to try it. Better luck this time!

Three ingredient Cheesy Onion Pie

Four cups of chopped onions

Four cups of grated cheese (I like Cheddar

Unbaked pie crust for a deep dish two-crust pie

Stir onions and cheese together. Pack into a deep pie plate lined with pastry. Add top crust, pierce it, and bake at 425 degrees F. for ten minutes, and then 350 degrees for another 30-35 minutes until onions are soft and crust is baked. Serve hot or cold.

For a larger crowd, use a 9×13 pan and a thinner layer of filling. Cut in squares to serve.

Just like my pie, some people find it hard to believe that Jesus, the Son of God, took human form, came to earth, was crucified for our sins and then was raised from the dead.

Are you willing to try my pie…and my Jesus?

But he was pie-rced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed (Isaiah 53:5, NIV).

 

 

 

 

 

Holiday Fear

We have already eaten a ton of our kids’ Halloween candy. Now the real trouble starts. Parties, teas, restaurant events and office showdowns are on the way.

HELP, God!!!

I’m watching my weight, Lord.I’m careful not to botch it.
My life is a bore for I have to watch it.
Others are chewing and swallowing sugars and fats
But me, I am left with food tasting like hats
Oh when will it end? The season goes on
Valentines till it stops and my fear is all gone!

Run Away Fast

I’m overwhelmed with sorrow, sunk in a swamp of despair! I’m like someone who goes to the garden to pick cabbages and carrots and corn and returns empty-handed, finding nothing for soup or sandwich or salad.

There’s not a decent person in sight. Right-living humans are extinct. They’re all out for one another’s blood, animals preying on each other. They’ve all become experts in evil. Corrupt leaders demand bribes.

The powerful rich make sure they get what they want. The best and brightest are thistles.

 

I am thinking you have a friend like this too…right? Run I say! RUN AWAY FAST! Folks like this just drag you down, don’t they? God calls us to joy—Where is yours?

“The joy of God is your strength!” (Nehemiah 8:10b, MSG)

Mechanic God

So you slipped back a bit. Who doesn’t on occasion? Consider this. You have a flat tire on your car; will you correct that by slashing the other three? Of course not!

One flat tire simply means a slight hold up while the mechanic repairs or changes it. Aren’t you worth more than a tire?

Let Mechanic God help you towards the right path again. He is faithful and he will do it!

North American Fear

 

Our generation lives in a state of food fear based on gluten-free, weight loss, organic, raw, vegan, and more. Let these verses help you decide what is right for you personally (and NOT right for you to shove down the throats of others.)

What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth that is what defiles them.” (Matthew 15:11, NIV)

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31, NIV)

No One Expected Me

 

Surprise in Heaven

I dreamt death came the other night
And Heaven’s gate swung wide.
An angel with a halo bright
Ushered me inside.

And there! To my astonishment
Stood folks I’d judged and labelled
As “quite unfit”, “of little worth”,
And “spiritually disabled”.

Indignant words rose to my lips
But never were set free,
For every face showed stunned surprise —
Not one expected me!

(Anonymous)