November 30, 2017

A Christmas View of Love and Hope


When we moved to Dallas, Texas in 2008 after living in Houston, Texas for twenty five years, my husband and I had the opportunity to visit many churches week after week—large, small and everything in between. One of those church visits was a couple weeks before Christmas and it moved me deeply as I viewed a perfect demonstration of love and hope.

It was the video of an annual Christmas ministry that had just taken place the weekend before. The video began with showing the extremely long line of hundreds of people coming down a sidewalk and into this church to go through a “Christmas Store” that had been set up with new donated items of toys, clothes, blankets, and much more for the families in need in their community.

Parents were able to pick out gifts for every member of their family and then could go to specific tables set up to help with wrapping. As they arrived and lined up outside, you could see sadness and hopelessness etched deep on many of the faces. But in the room with the gifts and the volunteers, their sadness changed to excitement, hope, and joy. There was a great need, and the need was met above and beyond their expectations.

I honestly don’t know who was smiling the most. Was it the families as they received a provision of gifts for their children and loved ones? Was it the volunteers who tirelessly yet lovingly worked to wrap gifts?  Everyone was smiling in this room filled with hope! I smiled too and felt like crying at the same time (happy tears) as I watched this beautiful video.

My heart experienced a strong tugging as I was reminded to give more generously to people in need each Christmas season. This is something we can all do at Christmas …and throughout the entire year.

“By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35

November 28, 2017

Never Too Young, Never Too Old


Two of the details I love about the Christmas story are that we have a young virgin girl, Mary, and we have an elderly couple, Elizabeth and Zacharias, who have never had children because Elizabeth is barren.

Mary is surely too young to possess the special kind of qualities that would merit God’s glorious favor. Much older Elizabeth, surely she was at the point in life that she should have no expectation for God to do something powerful and life changing.

Yet, how does the story unfold? God miraculously blesses young Mary with the birth of Jesus and He blesses much older Elizabeth and Zacharias with the birth of John the Baptist.

What spoke to me as I read these passages this year in Luke 1 is that our age does not matter. We are never too young or too old to experience the work of God in our lives.

I have heard people say, maybe they are too young and I have also heard others say, they think they are too old now. I have even heard some older people say, “Maybe God is finished with me.”

Age is not a qualifier and it does not disqualify us. Age, whether it is young or old, also does not excuse us. Regardless of our age and circumstance, we need to always be open to what God is doing in our lives.

If we are breathing, we are a vessel God can use. What an honor it is that God wants to work in us and through us. From God’s perspective— His desire is for us to surrender our whole life to Him, every aspect and every stage of life.

When God calls us to a work He wants to do in our lives, we should answer yes as Mary did in Luke 1:38. Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.”

God is not looking for someone who is the “right age.” He is looking for someone whose heart has the “right answer” to His call. 

For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Philippians 2:13

November 26, 2017

Not a Cookie Cutter


A long time ago, probably early or mid-80’s, I was listening to a Sandi Patty cd. Or maybe it was a cassette tape? Yes. It was a cassette! It was a long time ago…

Between songs she spoke about the days she was going through voice training and her instructor asked her if she wanted to sing like Barbara Streisand or Karen Carpenter or someone else whose name I can’t remember. Sandi Patty said she wanted to have her own voice. She didn’t want to merely imitate someone else. She understood she had her own God-given individual and unique style.

That always stuck with me. Not because I have a singing voice, not at all. But every aspect of life can take you down that road of trying to be like someone else instead of being yourself.

Did you ever try to be a better mother by modeling someone else’s style even when it didn’t fit you? Ditto on being a better wife, better cook…being a better...fill in the blank__________. For me the blank would be being a better writer. I must resist thinking I should try to be like other more popular writers and stay true to the vision God has given me for my writing.

What it comes down to is being our own person. After we have measured ourselves against what others are doing and how they are doing it, we must realize that it is time to be ourselves and be good with that. 

It is time to appreciate how we have been made and what our strengths are. It is time to understand that our uniqueness comes from God and it isn’t going to look like anyone else’s uniqueness.

I am not the product of a cookie cutter creator. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I am a masterpiece, a workmanship created for good works. 

Psalm 139:13-14
For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well. 

Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Speaking of cookies, if you want an easy delicious cookie recipe for holiday gatherings, this is your cookie! I made this recipe myself because I didn’t want the more labor intensive version with all the flour and oatmeal and I wanted a quicker version without losing any of the cranberry taste. This cookie looks and tastes homemade from scratch. 


1 17.5 ounce Package of Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie Mix – mix according to directions which include adding egg and butter.
Add to cookie mixture:
¾ to 1 cup dried cranberries
¾ to 1 cup white chocolate chips
Bake according to directions on package. 
Recipe makes about 3 dozen cookies.

November 19, 2017

Real Faith in a Fake News World


I doubt you’ve noticed it (sarcasm tag needed?) but our world has grown increasingly more deceitful. The calls of fake everything are so loud now that I daily pray and ask God to keep me grounded in His truth.  

Witnessing events unfold in a society rapidly moving far away from God is astounding as lies and hypocrisy push the envelope so far and the scary part is the push back seems barely noticeable.

I find myself trusting people less and less, yet clinging to God’s word more and more. I am deeply thankful for God’s word in this now upside down world.

And why do I trust the Lord through it all? Why do I measure all I hear and all I see against the scriptures in my Bible? 

Why is my faith as strong today as ever before? 

I belong to Him and that is an invaluable truth that will never change. He has been immeasurably faithful to me and the relationship we have means more to me than anything or anyone else.

I am saved by the cleansing power of the blood Jesus shed for me and I have eternal life because He rose again after shedding the precious blood that washed away my sin.

My life was changed forever when He came into my heart. The faith by which I believed for salvation is the faith I live by every day.

Faith is this mystery I cannot touch, I cannot hold, I cannot see or hear. Faith is a gift from God that keeps me believing He is worthy of all my trust that’s placed in Him. 

For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 1 John 5:4

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

© 2017 by Kathy Cheek. All Rights Reserved.
Devotions from the Heart www.kathycheek.com