Christmas · Life

Without Christ in Christmas

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A heavy tray is extended towards you full of fluffy, golden brown cookies.

“Take one, please!”  your host offers.  “They’re Chocolate Chip Cookies, except they have no chocolate chips.  We just don’t do those.”

Odd.

The outside of the bookstore is inviting and charming.  Signs in the windows boast of new titles and the arrival of authors who will be in house soon.  A lover of good books, you step inside, anticipating lingering over the newly bound pages and reading in a comfy chair.  But your head jerks back and forth across the shelves that are…empty.
“You have no books?” you ask the clerk at the cash register.
“Oh, no.  We just like having a store.  We don’t do books.”

Image result for empty shelves at bookstore

Bizarre.

A jolly clerk at the retail store had to wait to finish ringing up my purchase, because a price check was needed.  The awkward wait was broken when he asked,
“Where will you spend Christmas this year?”
“Lexington, KY!  How about you? came my response.
“Oh, I’ll stay right here.”
I continued the dialogue,  “And how do you celebrate Christmas?”
“How? Oh, just with giving gifts – that’s all.”
My husband chimed into the conversation by asking, “Do you know the Christ of Christmas?”
“Oh, we usually don’t do the religious thing at Christmas” was his answer.

Don’t do the religious thing?  

Me either.  Rather, we Do Jesus.  He is the reason we have Christmas!  Without celebrating His coming to earth to die for my sins, there would be no Christmas, and certainly nothing to celebrate!

My first two scenarios in this post were totally fictional, but I use them to make a point. If you’re celebrating Christmas and leaving the worship of Christ out of your celebration, you have a far greater crisis than a chocolate chip cookie without chocolate chips or a bookstore without books!  You have life without meaning.  When the tinsel has lost its glow, the wrapping paper is stuffed into the trash can, the last cookie is eaten, and the final gift unwrapped, you are still left with that empty hole in your heart.  The void in your life will still be unfulfilled on December 26th, because without Christ in Christmas you…

  • have no meaning all the other 364 days of the year.
  • don’t understand the sacrifice Jesus made to come to earth for you.
  • have no hope for eternal life with God.
  • have no peace in your heart.
  • don’t understand true satisfaction and contentment.
  • have just another party.

But if you will receive the greatest gift – the gift of eternal life THROUGH Jesus Christ, you can celebrate the joy of Christmas every day of the year.

If Christ is your Savior, I challenge you to make Him the center and focus of your celebrations this year.  Without Him you’ll have just a plain ol’ holiday, but when you center everything around Him, you’ll have CHRISTmas!

Lovingly,

Denise Signature 150 px

 

 

 

Cleaning · evangelism · Fall · home · Home decor · Husband · Life

Things I’m Loving This Fall

Fall brings some favorite things we don’t have the rest of the year.  I thought I’d share some of the things I’m especially loving this fall (though they’re not all seasonally related).  Look for the ARROW in the picture to see my favorite thing!

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This Kroger Washing Machine Cleaner is really reasonably priced and does a GREAT job getting any residue out of the washing machine.  The rubber gaskets don’t get completely clean, but it’s much better.  Look at that shine inside! My mom recommended it to me, and I’m recommending it to you!
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It’s the time of year for the great flavored creams!  This one reminds me of Christmas because in years past, it was the only time you could get it.  Now it comes out in the fall.  Mmmm, it’s so good in my morning cup of coffee!!
favorites 2a
Yankee Candles have me all  smiles.  I love all their products!  I especially love their fall scents.  This one is Sugar and Spice and it goes great with any pumpkin scent I may have in another part of the house.  I love the apple burner.  You set a container into the burner, turn it on, and it melts in the plastic container.  So easy and no open flame.

 

favorites 4a
I’m still chalkboard crazy!  I had a mirror over my mantle all summer, but  I decided to put the chalkboard up and do a picture.  What is it about chalkboard art that makes a space so cozy?  I don’t know, maybe just the opportunity it gives me to be a little creative.  It might be tacky to some, but I love it on the mantle!

 

favorites 3a
My last love isn’t a thing, it’s a person.  It’s the man you see talking to our sweet neighbors that we love.  That man, my husband…loves people.  He has a burden for people.  Everywhere he goes, he’s looking to pour into people the love of Jesus, and I love that about him!  I snapped this picture from my laundry room window.  I loved looking out and seeing him chatting with the children.  They love him, too!

What are you enjoying this fall?  A new product?  A place you’ve visited?  A person who’s been a blessing?  I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

Have a refreshing weekend as you attend a church that preaches the Word of God in Truth!  Our church will be celebrating its 61st anniversary this Sunday, so it will be a special day, and I’m looking forward to it!

Lovingly,

Denise Signature 200 px

Encouragement · Life · trials

The One Thing You Can Change

If you could change one thing about your life right now what would it be?  If you could change that, do you think it would really alter your life?  Would it make everything better?  Maybe.  Maybe not.

Recently I was out and I saw a quote hung on the wall of the establishment.  The truth of it struck a chord in my heart.  I know it will encourage someone today as it did me then and as it does every time I remind myself of its message.  There is only one thing that we’re all really in charge of and able to change.  What is it?  Read on:

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Now think back to that thing you would change if you could.  What about if you simply changed your attitude about that instead? That alone could make the difference you’re really desiring.

Today try to be intentional about what kind of attitude you have, and ask the Lord to show you if you need to make a change. Only you are in charge of that!

Denise Signature 150 px

birthday · Christian growth · Christian Life · Family life · joy · Life · Uncategorized

Birthday Reflections

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Birthdays ~ we have one every year, and mine just happened to be yesterday.  To be honest, there are days when I sigh at getting older, but I’m finding that the way to beat the blues is to enter each year (and each day) with a thankful heart.

As I sat and reflected on my birthday, I came up with this list of SOME of the blessings that have fallen to me in this last year.

  • The blessing of getting to share God’s Word and speak to women.  This last year I spoke again at a Pastor’s wives retreat not long after my birthday.  You typically don’t get asked to speak when you’re still “green” in ministry.  But when you’ve weathered the storms and can still smile and love God with all your heart, you have validity in your message. I also had the blessing of flying to Michigan and doing a ladies’ retreat at a great church.  That was so wonderful.  The ladies encouraged my heart.  The time up north was beautiful as we looked out the windows at the drifted snow.  I am so amazed at the blessings and joys God gives me in allowing me to serve Him!
  • Thanksgiving with my parents. I am so blessed to be four hours from my parents and be able to spend time with them.  Family grows dearer with every day.  I realize more and more how precious a gift it is to be with them, to glean from them and show love to them.  This year was the first time it was just my husband and me with my mom and dad.  We put their Christmas tree up after dinner, watched Christmas movies with hot bowls of popcorn in our laps, and took drives in the country.  It sounds like its own kind of Hallmark movie, doesn’t it?  It was.
  • Days of retreat at a lake cabin.  To have dear friends who allow us time at their cabin that we might refresh ourselves is a blessing I cannot even describe.  We didn’t need as many days to rest up when we were younger, but to have a day away gives us new vigor for the ministry and refreshes our weary bodies!
  • Christmas with our grown children.  If you think Christmas with your little kids was fun, wait until they’re all grown and you see their faces with their spouses sitting around your dining room table. My heart was as full as my dining room table as we ate, laughed, reminisced, played games, opened the Scriptures, prayed and shared gifts.  Wow.  How sweet.
  • Enjoying a second trip to Israel.  This would never have happened in my younger days!  First, there was no desire to go.  But also, the demands of parenting wouldn’t have allowed it, nor would our bank account!  But God graciously provided in every way, and this second trip was even better than the first!
  • Special times away with my husband.  As in the prior blessing, our times away years ago were few and far between.  We enjoyed dates near home, and that was great!  But now we can go away for a night or an afternoon and not worry about homeschool, or schedules of children at home.  We went to DreamMore resort in Pigeon Forge for Valentine’s Day and had so much fun!  We’ve enjoyed Pigeon Forge Wyndham Resort a couple of times, as well.  Afternoons at Biltmore are a favorite for both of us as we stroll the gardens, forgetting pressures and concentrating on communication and time together.  We realize that every day we have together is a gift from God.
  • Becoming a (foster) Grandparent.  Though the twin boys my daughter and son-in-law are caring for are not our flesh, they were born in our hearts!  They’ve completely taken over every chamber and we are blessed to be a part of their lives and smother them with love!!  I had no idea how full this time in my life would be! Wow, just wow.
  • Ministering to children, both at home and church.  My weekly Bible club with my neighbor children is such a joy to me. What a gift to get to pour God’s Word into their hearts and minds.  Pioneer Club at church has been another way to get to serve God and minister to first and second graders!
  • Our first family vacation.  I shared about that here on my blog, but I can’t leave that out of my blessings!  It was so much fun!

This doesn’t include the times I’ve spent in God’s Word, hearing from Him, and talking to Him in prayer.  I’ve left out all the sweet hours of fellowship with friends and family, in our home, in theirs, at church, in restaurants and other meeting up sites.  Even on my birthday yesterday, we had “fellowship” in the hospital where my poor brother-in-law is recovering from surgery due to fall from a roof and subsequent severe injuries.  We gathered in the waiting area and prayed, read Scripture and waited together.  Those are not the planned kind of gatherings, but they do become sweet blessings because they add to the depth of my life as I reflect on the joy of having a family who can hold hands and run to God’s Throne together.  Years ago I may have regretted spending my birthday at the hospital, but not this year.  It’s a reminder that every day’s outcome is how you view it.  This was all orchestrated by God’s hands, allowing us to have planned a trip home at this particular time.  Only God knew why we needed to be here.

My birthday was filled with blessings and my heart is full.  One last blessing is the growth of my blog.  Thank you to each of you who read my posts regularly.  Thank you to those who have followed me recently. Thanks to those of you who comment and encourage me. I am amazed that others read what I’ve written, but I’m so very grateful!  I trust that as the year progresses, God will grant wisdom and help to make this worth reading each day.

What blessings would you recount on your birthday?  If you haven’t, start making a list in a journal today!

Another year older, but even more blessed,

Denise Signature 150 px

Christian Life · friends · Life · Refreshment

Refresh Yourself With Fellowship

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A week or so ago I found myself at a surprise birthday party for a friend.  Because it was a surprise, and everything was “hush-hush!” I had no idea who else had been invited.  I was delighted to find several other good friends were also there.  We were able to sit together and enjoy the fun of some fellowship that probably wouldn’t have happened otherwise!  We had a great time celebrating our friend’s birthday AND getting to share an evening together!  It was a reminder to me that we need to schedule those times of encouragement! 
When was the last time you got out and had fellowship with a friend or two?  Women tend to be so busy with life that they seldom make time for fellowship that will encourage and strengthen them as a Christian woman.  We need each other.

I love what Paul says in Philippians 3:17, 18 – ‘

Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ.  

This is a warning not to fellowship with the wrong people, as well as an encouragement to fellowship with the right people!  Paul is saying, “Walk with people like me and steer clear of someone who will take you down the wrong path!”  This is a reminder to me that we need the influence of strong believers in our lives.  

What a blessing it is to get together with another Christian woman, who loves God, loves His Word, and loves doing the things that will honor the Lord!  Can I encourage you to schedule time to get with a godly friend in the next week?  Share a cup of coffee and talk about what you’re reading in the Word. Share your burdens with one another.  Pray together.  It will refresh your heart and hers!

Be refreshed by a friend,

Denise Signature 150 px