Since it’s Cyber Monday, and you're looking for deals, I offer you our book Turning Guilt Trips into Joy Rides (soft cover). The book’s retail price is $17.99. But for today, we will discount that price to $12.99, tax and shipping included; for two or more copies, $10.99. And this offer stands for the whole month of December. You can get all your Christmas shopping done in one place. (See end of blog post for details on ordering.) Just think, you can give women a gift of inspirational reading that touches their lives every day for six months!
Guilt! She grabs you as you wander from e-mail to Facebook, from cooking to grabbing take-out. Women seem riddled with guilt. And it’s hard to know which guilt is legitimate and which is simply a product of our imagination. Kim, Janine and I wrote this book to shift our focus from guilt to the grace that Jesus offers. In fact, we organized the book according to the letters of the word G-R-A-C-E, standing for God, Relationships, Acceptance, Challenges and Emotions.
Here are sample readings:
Day 10 – G R A C E – God
Guilt Trip to Avoid: Forgetting about Jesus.
“Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him. Matthew 2:2
Missing Jesus by Janine
To celebrate Christmas, people in our town string lights along streets, hang wreaths on a gazebo, and erect a manger scene at the town square. The colorful lights remind me of the light that only Jesus Christ brings into our lives. But one year something troubled me. Baby Jesus was missing from the manger. I stopped and looked again. Where was Jesus?
Imagine my surprise and embarrassment when a friend told me that the Christ child figure is never placed into the manger until Christmas day, the day of his birth. I had never noticed that before. But then, I realized something else. I realized how often I don’t have Jesus in the manger of my everyday life, how easily I ignore his Presence in my life.
Jesus truly is the reason for the season. God, by his grace, sent his Son into the world to take the punishment for our sins and to bring salvation to the world. Knowing how I must hurt God each day when I don’t acknowledge him, tears filled my eyes. All I could do was ask forgiveness and thank God for his mercy.
Take the Joy Ride: Even wise men from another country were drawn to worship the Christ child. And if he is evident in our lives, people will continue to be drawn to him today. Jesus is not just a figure in a nativity set, but a vibrant Presence in the lives of Christians. How might you show others that Jesus Christ is in the manger of your heart and life?
Day 11 – G R A C E – God
Guilt Trip to Avoid: Failing to sense God’s love.
But now, once for all time, he has appeared at the end of the age to remove sin by his own death as a sacrifice. Hebrews 9:26
Gifts of Love by Shirley
Our children delight in giving us meaningful gifts. My husband, who has an ongoing battle with squirrels, sleeps in a tee shirt with a mug shot of a squirrel arrested for heisting birdseed. A tiny mailbox overflowing with cards hangs on our Christmas tree, representing Bill’s years as a mail carrier. I’ve received a teapot and teacups because I love tea parties. When I see such gifts around the house, I feel loved.
By his grace, God also gives us gifts with personal significance. That encouraging word from a friend. That warm contented feeling after a good night’s rest. That parking space that pops up. Such experiences help us feel God’s love.
Besides all that, God gave his Son to die to take the penalty for our sins. We need not drag bleating sheep and goats to the temple. We need not worry that our sins are covered only for a season. Christ wraps his snow-white fleecy robe of righteousness around us, throws his arm across our shoulders and ushers us into the presence of his Father. That is an expression of genuine, honest-to-goodness love we can sense right down to our toes.
Take the Joy Ride: The writer of Hebrews contrasted the old rules about worship with the new. We no longer have a need for high priests to plead for us by offering sacrifices at the altar. Christ has become our High Priest. The gift of salvation tops all other gifts in significance. Look around. Where do you see ways God is showing you his love and grace?
Day 22 – G R A C E – God
Guilt Trip to Avoid: Failing to pay attention.
So we must listen very carefully to the truth we have heard,
or we may drift away from it. Hebrews 2:1
Yellowfish? by Kim
I couldn’t believe Shirley’s e-mail. Bill’s goldfish had turned yellow! I told my husband, and we discussed at great length how this could possibly happen. Algae? Odd winter weather? Had Shirley tried to poison the fish so they wouldn’t compete for Bill’s affection?
The next time I visited, I asked Bill how his “yellowfish” were doing. He looked confused. Shirley laughed as she told me she e-mailed me about goldfinches that had turned from wintertime gray to springtime yellow. Good grief! I was in such a rush I hadn’t read my e-mail correctly. One little word changed the entire meaning of the message.
How often are we like that with God? Do we hear “go” when God really says “no”? Are we so sure we understand God’s message that we tell others what we heard as fact, but, in fact, we are only telling what we wanted to hear? Let’s get our messages straight, or we may need straightening out. And God’s grace can do even that for us.
Take the Joy Ride: Scripture reminds us to listen carefully to God’s truths as passed on to us by those who heard him speak. Even today, God speaks to us in many ways—if we only pay attention. His word offers guidelines for our daily lives. But we must read it. God speaks through other Christians. But we must spend time with them. God whispers encouragement to our hearts in the deep dark stillness of the night. But our thoughts must be focused on him. How might you become more attentive?
HOW TO ORDER: To take advantage of our special offer, good through December, just mail a check to: Shirley Brosius, 411 Berrysburg Road, Millersburg, PA 17061. Include a note with your address and the first name of the person to whom you would like the book inscribed. We love to personalize your gifts.
Have a blessed Advent season.
December 14, 3 p.m. – Friends of the Heart at Thompsontown UM for a Christmas Tea.
December 28, 8:30 a.m. – Shirley speaking at Hebron UM worship service.