Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Thursday, February 27, 2014

How to Strengthen Your Family in One Easy Step

Photo by: criminalatt

Gymnastics, basketball practice, parents’ work hours, ballet lessons, clubs, music lessons, social obligations, church activities . . . . (Did I say church activities?) Monday night, Tuesday night, Wednesday night, Thursday night . . . . The family is busy!

On the weekend, Dad has planned an afternoon with the kids. But Johnny has a basketball game, and Suzie has a birthday party. It’s a no go. The family is more or less together at the game, since parents and Suzie go to cheer Johnny on, but they aren’t together, really—not all of them in one place. Another week slips by, and, except for time in the car, the family hasn’t been together at all.

Long ago, when life was busier but simpler—family farms and lots of work--people had time to be together. Most family time was spent around the table, enjoying good food, and discussing the day. Everyone was in the same place at the same time.

What happened to the family meal?

We snatch breakfast as we zoom out the door. Lunch is at a drive through, in a bag, or at best, in a nice restaurant. Supper is on the go, as we taxi the kids here and there and everywhere. Sometimes Mom and Dad work different shifts and hardly ever see each other, let alone sit down for a meal. What happened to home-cooked? The fine art of cooking has been relegated to weekend experiments, Grandma’s house, Pinterest boards, and nostalgia.

How can we reinstate the family meal? 
  1. Start small. Aim for one meal a day. (For some of you, that will be a gigantic step, not a small one. I truly understand.) Find a time each day that works for the whole family to sit around the table, eat, and visit. Plan an hour for the meal. (I hear you screaming already. An hour!) You need to have time for feeding your faces, for going back for seconds, and for real family sharing. Plan ahead for the cook to be able to make something yummy. If it’s breakfast, it can be as easy as a collection of cereal boxes in the middle of the table and bowls and milk. If it’s supper, make it nutritious and delicious.
  2. Keep that one meal’s time “sacred.” (The family meal can vary from day to day, if necessary. For example, you can nominate breakfasts on Monday and Thursday and suppers on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday.) Nothing, barring sickness or dire emergency, comes before your family meal. Free up the time. You owe it to your family.
  3. Plan your schedule. Plan for the vital family meal. When you are asked to add something to your schedule, make sure you only say “yes” if it doesn’t interfere with your mealtime. Never give up your family meal for something less important.
  4. Plan to cook. It doesn’t matter who does the cooking, but groceries need to be bought and the daily meal planned. You may want to start making a grocery list, especially if you’re used to eating out or doing sandwiches all the time. Try new things that you think your family will love.

Benefits of the family meal: 
  • Quality, non-pressured family time—This is when Mom and Dad can talk about their day. The children can tell what they did and what they learned. Everyone can enjoy being together, looking at each other’s faces, and eating. One of the great secrets of close families is mealtime. Statistics prove it!
  • Sharing and listening—Parents and children can speak in a totally non-threatening atmosphere. They learn to listen to each other and to express themselves to others. This is a very important life skill. Sometimes, mealtime will be hilarious, and sometimes, deep ideas will be discussed.
  • Teaching and learning good table manners—Children who learn manners at home do the right things later in life, automatically. Eating together provides the perfect platform for teaching correct manners to your kids. Table manners include saying please and thank you, passing food, making sure everyone gets some, and the obvious, like not slurping, burping, not eating with one’s mouth open or talking with one’s mouth full. They learn how to hold a fork and knife, which spoon to use, etc. Make sure you sometimes set the table more formally, with china, nice glassware, and more than one fork and spoon. (Birthdays are great for this!)
  • Facilitating family prayer—The “blessing” is an opportunity to pray for each person’s needs for the day. (Our family used to read the Bible after the meal, while everyone was still seated. That might work for you, too.)
  • Better nutrition—Home cooking is less processed, more likely to include a salad and veggies, lower in calories, and better all around than what you get in a restaurant. Your children will learn to love broccoli, cabbage, beans, and squash.
  • Your children might get interested in cooking—When children see their parents grilling or cooking, they will watch and learn. Our kids are the next generation. How wonderful if they—both boys and girls—learn to put together meals that look and taste good!

Do you want a closely-knit family? Do you want your kids to have an open relationship with both you and your husband? Do you want them to relate easily and openly to each other? Do you want to pass your Christian values on to your children?

Reinstate the Family Meal.

Blessed is every one that feareth the LORD; that walketh in his ways.
For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands:
happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee.
Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house:
thy children like olive plants round about thy table.
Behold, that thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the LORD.
(Psalm 128:1-4)

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Needy Church

Photo by: dan

They come in one by one. There are a few families. There seem to be a lot of singles walking through the doors. You can see on their faces that they enter carrying burdens. Some have baggage hidden deep inside, pasts they have tried to forget . . . but can’t. Some have lost a partner. Others carry sickness, sadness, and worry. A woman walks in after a lifetime of abuse, and another woman is currently abusing herself with drugs. Each person is a story. Each person represents a life, a soul. And, each one comes through the doors of the church looking for something.

One man only wants acceptance and to have stable friendships.

A woman desires true joy, and she finally found it in Jesus.

Another man has physical needs, and he needs compassionate, practical help.

A woman has marital problems. Her husband refuses to go to church with her, but he goes to a different church.

A man hides perverse fantasies.

A woman faces guilt every day over an abortion she had years ago. She still has nightmares about a floating baby.

A man is mistreated because of his physical challenges. People think he’s mentally challenged, but he isn’t at all. It’s just that he can’t get the words out. He’s frustrated, but he finds acceptance and friendship in church.

Some are divorced. Several are single moms.

This couple has a stable marriage and three nice kids.

They walk in.* Most are silent. All—every single one of them—are needy.


Back in the Apostle Paul’s day, all kinds of things were happening in the early church. When Paul got wind of some of the goings on (specifically Christian brothers taking other Christians to court) he sent one of the most issue-busting letters to the church in Corinth. We know his letter is the Word of God, and it’s relevant today.

The church people thought they were good and qualified to judge others.

Let’s read what Paul says: Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).

I can just imagine the Corinthians nodding their heads. “Oh yes,” they’re thinking, “those people don’t deserve heaven!”

And then Paul shares the Truth: And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God (1 Corinthians 6:11).

Did they forget where they came from?

“Yes, you guys,” says Paul, “there are a lot of scoundrels in the world. Not too long ago—before you accepted the grace of God through Jesus—you were just like them.”

And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) (Ephesians 2:1-5).


Are you needy?

When you walk into church, are you going because you need God?

Are you going because you need fellowship with God’s people?

Do you need encouragement because of your past?

Are you battling substance abuse or another addiction?

Do you need practical and compassionate help?

Do you need to be saved?

I love what Jesus said, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance (from Mark 2:17).

If you are going to a Bible-preaching church, and you find yourself surrounded by many others with issues, you’re in the right place!

We are all “sick.”

We are all needy.

We need what Jesus Christ can do for us.
  • He can save. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved (Acts 4:12).
  • He can restore. The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised (Luke 4:18).
  • He can come alongside us and give us strength to overcome. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you (John 14:26). But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:57).
  • He is always there. I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee (Hebrews 13:5b).
  • He answers prayer. And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive (Matthew 21:22).
  • He will do great things through us. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it (1 Thessalonians 5:24)

* My examples are completely fictitious. No one I know exactly fits these details.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Thinking About Clothes

Photo by: stockimages

Clearance racks are full with end of season sales. You might not find your size, but my bet is you will trudge around a mall at least once this month. You might have something you need in mind, or you might just be looking for that one little item that catches your eye.

In some circles, clothing is very important. Women compare themselves with the other ladies they know—even in churches. I hear phrases like: 

  • “Oh what cute earrings! Where on earth did you find them?”
  • “Don’t you just love Maggie’s new boots? She got them at __________. They were on sale for only $123.”
  • “I need a new black _________________.”
  • “Oh, that jumper looks tacky! Don’t you just know she had that for the last twenty years!”
  • “I’m so embarrassed! I think I wore this skirt to church last Sunday.”

Forgive me while I chuckle. You see, I’ve lived overseas for so many years that I’ve acquired a totally different philosophy about dress. Here, frankly, if you wore the same nice outfit every day of the week—clean, mind you—no one would even bat an eye. The people I associate with look nice, but they don’t necessarily think they need anything. And, we rarely talk about clothing.

Now, it’s not wrong to wear clothes, and it’s not bad to go shopping. It’s good stewardship to wait for sales and shop carefully. It’s especially pleasing to God when Christian women look for and buy modest, beautiful clothes.

Read this Bible passage, and think about clothing choices:
Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you (Matthew 6:25-33).

The first phrase that hits me is Take no thought. Does that mean we’re not to think about clothing at all? In the Greek, this word thought has the connotation of being anxious about, being worried or troubled about. So, this doesn’t mean we don’t care about clothes. It means we don’t get worried and anxious about our clothing. It’s about an inordinate concern with clothing.

Then, Jesus gives an illustration that almost blows my mind. He talks about how God clothes the lilies of the field. Have you ever seen a wild lily? They are absolutely gorgeous! They have a texture and color that is beyond belief. That’s how God clothes a plant!

The Bible says that Solomon—arguably one of the richest men of all time—didn’t have clothes that compared to the beauty of a wild lily.

Photo by: Susie B

Then Jesus says something totally amazing: Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?

In this passage, just like we trust the Lord for food and drink, we trust God for clothing. I love the conclusion: for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. God is sovereign. He absolutely knows our needs and delights in supplying them. He is a Good Father.

What is the condition for our needs being met? But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Seek the kingdom of God first. I wonder if we spent as much time, energy, and thought into our spirit—on personal holiness—as we put in planning our clothing, what kind of Christians would we be? If our conversation was filled with blessing, spiritual encouragement, and sharing God with others instead of statements like, “I love your purse!” I wonder what God would supply. If we quit coveting what we see on Pinterest, being worn by our friends, or in the exclusive store, and we worked more on our souls, spending more time in fervent prayer, and thinking more about how we could help others, maybe we would be seeking first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. And I think the Lord would help us to get clothing that is beautiful and honors Him, don’t you?

Lessons from Matthew 6:25-33:

  • We’re not to worry about clothes.
  • God can clothe us and do it beautifully.
  • God already knows our needs.
  • Put God’s kingdom first.
  • Trust God to meet our needs—including clothing.  

Friday, February 21, 2014

Why Did Jesus Combat Satan with Scripture?

When I read about the temptation of Christ, I always notice that Jesus uses the Bible to answer the devil.

Today, I was wondering why.

Jesus is God. Every word He speaks is the Word of God.

So, why did He use written Scriptures against the devil? He could have just told the devil to leave Him alone. His words would have had the same power.

Photo by Ikunl

Let’s first examine what happened when Jesus was tempted.

Jesus had fasted forty days and nights. We’re not sure why He did that, but there’s a clue in the first verse of the temptation passage: Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil (Matthew 4:1).

The whole purpose of His fasting must have been to prepare Him for the temptation. It was necessary, and it’s a model for us, when we face something very hard. God (the Holy Spirit) led Jesus into the wilderness, knowing He would face the devil.

The Bible tells us Jesus was hungry (4:2). Forty days and nights without eating would make a person very weak. This shows Jesus was fully human as well as fully God.

Satan suggested to Jesus that He make the stones become bread (4:3). There are two important things here. One is that the devil knew God could do it, no problem. After all, God had made the stones in the first place, and God had even created Satan. This temptation is couched in a taunt: If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. If.

Jesus is the Son of God, and He could easily have proved it by furnishing Himself a banquet of bread, had He wanted to. But He didn’t.

He answered instead with, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God (4:4, quoted from Deuteronomy 8:3).

Then, the devil put Jesus up on the pinnacle of the temple. Does this hit you as strange? The devil could never have done that, except that Jesus allowed it. Jesus Himself said, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above (John 19:11a).

Again the devil begins his temptation with the statement, If thou be the Son of God (4:6). Okay, the devil knows Who he’s talking to, but the whole temptation has to do with Jesus being God in the flesh. The devil is appealing to Jesus’ humanity, to His pride.

Cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.

The devil is getting smarter. He figured out that Jesus would answer with Scripture, so he—as he did with Eve in the garden—uses Scriptural facts wrongly in order to tempt. (This time, he quotes the Messianic Psalm 91:11, For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. Note that the devil knows this passage is about Jesus. He adds the part that it’s okay for Jesus to throw Himself down.)

Jesus quotes Old Testament Scripture: It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God (4:7, quoting Deuteronomy 6:16).

So, the devil moves Jesus again (by permission) to a very high mountain and shows him all the kingdoms of the world. I looked in the commentaries, and no one ventures an opinion about where this mountain may have been. So, we’ll take it at face value. It was a high place where the view was spectacular. Satan, in control of the kingdoms of the world, said to Jesus, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me (4:9).

There was no way that was going to happen! Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve (4:10). This is the strongest rebuke yet. Jesus’ response comes from Exodus 20:1-6 and 34:14. This is the First Commandment of the Law.

Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him (4:11). At the end of the temptation, the devil flees. The angels minister to Jesus, just as was promised in Psalm 91:11 and misused by the devil. How ironic!

So, why did Jesus use written Scripture against temptation? These are my ideas: 
  1. He knew the power of the written Word. For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).
  2. Jesus, the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy, quoted that same Word of God. In the New Testament, we often read the phrases it is written and as it is written, speaking of Jesus. Here, Jesus speaks verses from that same part of Scripture, lending His divine seal of approval to it.
  3. Jesus is a model for us. The best way to combat temptation is by prayer and meditation on the Word of God. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee (Psalm 119:11). Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak (Matthew 26:41).
  4. Jesus knew we would need to use the written Bible.
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine,
for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
(2 Timothy 3:16-17)

Why did Jesus use Scripture to combat the devil?

It was to teach us how to use the offensive weapon, the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (Ephesians 6:17b).

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Who's Number One? Seven Practical Suggestions for Wives

Illustration by: mapichai

“Look out for Number One.” (Anonymous)

“If you don’t treat yourself like number one,
then others will treat you like number two.” (Anonymous)

“Being the best is great; I’m number one. But being unique is greater;
I’m the only one.” (Anonymous)

“Don’t make me your number one; make me your only one.” (Anonymous)

 “I don’t want to be number one.
Being number one means there is a two and three.
I want to be the only one.” (Anonymous)

When I read quotes like these—all written by Mr. Anonymous, I notice—I am amazed at the egocentrism. Me first. It sounds like a three year old. Mine. It’s all about me and what I want, me and who I am.

What does the Bible have to say about who’s first?
  • I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. (Exodus 20:2-3)
  • My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him (Psalm 62:5).
  • And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment (Mark 12:30. Similar verses: Matthew 22:37; Luke 10:27).

God is Number One. He is the Only One Who merits that place. No one else or any thing takes that spot. It belongs to Him.

For the married woman, she has two Number Ones. Number One is God.

Her Number One Person is her husband. Let’s see how the Bible explains this.

1 Corinthians 7:34 makes the distinction between a single woman and a married lady, There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband. The single woman serves the Lord directly, and the married woman serves the Lord by pleasing her husband. Both are serving God, but the married woman yields herself to her husband’s wishes.

Proverbs 31 is the portrait of the Virtuous Woman. Here are a few verses about her relationship with her husband: Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her (10-12, 28).

Ephesians 5 gives us a good grasp on our role as wives. Please understand that the word submission means to willingly yield to someone who is higher in rank than you. It’s a word that expresses the soldier’s relationship with his superior. He arranges himself under the leadership of another. That’s what is meant by submission.

Keep that in mind as you read these verses: Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband (22-24, 33).

This next passage is perhaps less easily understood, since it is addressing two ideas at once. It’s about women’s clothing coupled with godliness and our respectful attitude towards our husbands.

Let’s read: Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement (1 Peter 3:1-6).

The key verse is verse 5, which says that holy women adorned themselves with a meek and quiet spirit and showed respect to their husbands. The example is Sara, Abraham’s wife. In Christ, we are children of Abraham by faith. (Galatians 3:7) In verse 6 of this passage, we are also Sara’s daughters!

How can we make sure our husband knows he’s Number One? Here are seven practical suggestions: 
  1. Each morning, ask your husband, “Is there anything I can do to help you today?” Whatever he answers becomes your priority. Get it done, if at all possible.
  2. Always kiss your husband good-bye when he leaves the house, and greet him when he comes home. Listen as he tells you about his day. Do not clobber him first thing with your hard day. That can come later, if necessary. Let him feel your eagerness to see him, and then let him chill.
  3. Be flexible. Make sure you have enough “wiggle time” In your own schedule, so you can do a few extra things for your hubby.
  4. Make your husband your top priority, not your children. Your children, especially when they are small, will take more of your time, but remember to give special attention to your marriage relationship, even while the kids are little. Your marriage is for life. The children are only with you for eighteen to twenty years.
  5. Resolve problems quickly and completely. Don’t wait days, months, or years to deal with something important that bugs you about your spouse. Talk it over sweetly, and make sure you do whatever is necessary to resolve the issue. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath (Ephesians 4:26). Don’t go to bed mad. Find a happy compromise. Many times, problems are just misunderstandings. Make sure you’re on the same page.
  6. Praise your husband verbally. Does he have muscles? Let him know you notice. Does he sing well? Tell him so. Did he do something to help at home? Thank him, and praise him for the good job. Is he a good father? Tell him so. Is he smart or funny? Let him know you think so. Does he work hard? Praise him for it. This is what the Bible is talking about when it tells the wife to reverence her husband. (Ephesians 5:33) Never, ever down your husband in front of the children or in public!
  7. Put your husband up on a pedestal and keep him there. Build him up. This can be verbally, or the way you look at him, or the way you defer to him in public. The Virtuous Woman knew how to do this. She did him good and not evil all the days of her life! (Proverbs 31:12)

God is Number One. He has your heart.

Your Husband is your Number One Person. Let him know it. You’ll never regret it!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Book Reviews: Create, Finding Christmas

Create: Stop Making Excuses and Start Making Stuff by Stephen Altrogge is a motivational book if ever there was one! Stephen urges the reader to get going on your creative idea, the one you stuffed back in your mind, the one you were wanting to get to . . . sometime. He encourages you to create and to learn in the process. He is realistic in that every song, painting, poem, book, and so on isn’t going to be the best in the world. But he says that if you do nothing, you don’t learn anything, and you don’t perfect your craft.

I loved his zeal, Christian focus—our projects should be done for the Lord—and his way with words. He knows how to motivate. I didn’t like a couple of crude words he used, and I would differ with some of the things he mentioned as being appropriate for a Christian who desires to glorify God. Aside from those two caveats, this is a great motivational book that will literally get you producing something creative.

Finding Christmas: Stories of Startling Joy and Perfect Peace by James Calvin Schaap is an edgy Christmas read. This book of eight stories (seven chapters plus a story at the beginning) isn’t your typical Christmas collection, but I loved it! Each story is independent of the rest, and each features a surprise wrap-up. There’s a hint of sarcasm in Schaap’s style. It’s not snarky or unkind, and frankly, I enjoyed it. The stories are thought provoking and inspirational. If you’re looking for a different kind of Christmas book with bite-sized stories, this is a good pick. If you are looking for hot chocolate with marshmallows, though, it isn’t. Schaap’s book is about social issues and love.