Christmas is a time that has been set aside to celebrate the birth of Jesus, but so often the meaning of Christmas is lost in the hustle and bustle.
God gave the ultimate gift of His son Jesus, so that we could have everlasting life with Him, and be called son’s and daughters of God (John 3:16-18, 1 John 3:1). This gift was given out of the heart of the Fathers great love for us, and it is too precious of a gift to keep to ourselves!
This year, instead of making Christmas all about the decorations, the treats, and the gifts (although, all of those things are ok in their proper place), let’s shift our focus onto sharing Jesus with others, by showing them God’s kind of love.
Jesus said that all men would know that we are His disciples by the love we show to one another. (John 13:35) If we truly want to make Jesus the reason for the season, let’s give the gift of God’s great love to others this Christmas!
Here are some fun ways you and your family can celebrate Jesus, and spread God’s love to those around you:
1. Make Jesus the focus of your Christmas celebration with your family. Before opening gifts, take time to pray together, and read the account of Jesus’ birth (Matthew 1:18-25, Matthew 2:1-12, and Luke 2:1-20).
2. Give the gift of joy to those around you by getting a group together to sing Christmas carols! Some of the best places to visit are nursing homes, hospitals, and even your own neighborhood!
3. Make a birthday cake for Jesus, and sing to Him! This is fun especially if you have little ones, and it puts the focus on Jesus’ birth, and celebrating Him, rather than the gifts and toys.
4. Give the gift of time by volunteering at your local food bank, shelter, or salvation army.
5. Find ways to bless families in your community. Whether you give the gift of toys, gas or grocery cards, or even make a warm meal for someone, a simple act of generosity can show the love of God in a powerful and tangible way!
6. Visit, send a card, write a letter, or call someone who may be lonely or experiencing grief during the holiday season. It may not seem like much to you, but this one simple act of kindness may be the brightest moment in that persons darkest hour.
7. Donate a portion of the funds that would typically go to buying Christmas cards (or gifts) to a charity. Someone I know introduced me to this idea a few years ago, and it has blessed my heart ever since!
8. Pay for someones meal, coffee, or groceries. You never know how this random act of kindness may make their whole day, and it will most likely leave a lasting impression of God’s love.
9. Go through your closet (or kids closet) and donate clothes, boots, shoes, and coats to local organizations or shelters.
10. Invite someone who may be lonely to one of your Christmas celebrations. Sure, it may be breaking tradition a bit by having someone new join, but I am convinced that there is no greater way to show God’s love than to bring them into a house full of love when people need it most!
I hope this filled you with some great ideas to show God’s love that you can incorporate this Christmas, and maybe even make some of them your new Christmas traditions! When we turn our focus to others, and care for them in simple ways, we are essentially giving them the ultimate gift- God’s love!
On a final note about giving, I want to take a moment to thank each one of you for your generosity! If you support Dashing Dish, you have been a part of giving this past year in a HUGE way! Last year, we started an extension of Dashing Dish, called Dashing Delivery. God put it on our hearts to put the ‘Dashing’ into Dashing Dish by delivering groceries and grocery gift cards to those in need. Thanks to you guys, we have been able to give over $6,000 in groceries and grocery gift cards to families in need in one years time! Every month, we pray and ask the Lord where to give, and He is more than faithful to connect us with families. We also donate to our churches food pantry on a monthly basis, who not only feeds the hungry, but shares Jesus with them! I am sharing this with you today, because if you have supported Dashing Dish you are also a part of this ministry. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of your support, and for helping us spread the love of God in a tangible way!
This holiday season, we’re offering our readers the chance to give the gift of a Dashing Dish Membership. Give friends & family an entire year of access to premium recipes & workouts, plus all the great features that come with the Dashing Dish Membership.
The membership fee for one year is $60, which you’ll pay upfront today. The gift recipient will receive a welcome email containing a personalized note & login instructions on the date you specify.
This is one gift that will keep on giving all year long…Especially in the New Year, which is when we will be debuting our new and improved site with tons of new features, and an i Phone app!
To purchase a membership for someone you love, click on the image below or directly to the gift membership page!
Whether you are looking for a healthier holiday treat to bring to a party, or you want something delicious and healthy to enjoy with your family, here are 25 of my favorite Christmas treats that are just as good for you as they taste!
The Fruit of Self Control
The holidays are officially upon us, which means a time for gathering with family and friends, and a time for feasts and treats! This wonderful time of year can also be a time of temptation to overspend, overeat, and over indulge. This may seem harmless in many ways, until January comes, and the reality of bills and weight gain sets in.
If this sounds familiar, I have good news…It doesn’t have to be that way this year, or ever again for that matter! If you have received Christ as your savior, then the Spirit of God lives inside of you. When he came to live in your heart, He came bearing gifts…a “fruit basket”, if you will! The fruits that the Spirit of God brought with Him are love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). That means that each one of us is able to have self-control in any situation if we choose to be led by the spirit.
God’s Kind of Self Control
Now, before I say anything else on this topic, I do want to clarify a few important things relating to this topic of self-control that could easily be taken out of context. First of all, I will say that I know from personal experience that for some people ‘self-control’ can be taken to dangerous levels when it gets over into a ‘controlling’ mindset.
If you have found that this is the case with you, be sure that you are aware that you are following the Spirit of God inside of you, and not just trying to ‘control’ things on your own. This can and will always lead to failure and can even be dangerous because God never intended us to depend on our own strength. Following the Spirit of God will produce ‘self control’ in a balanced way and it will never be based out of fear or obsession. Remember, god calls us to be balanced (1 Peter 5:8), which means we can enjoy all things in moderation, which means enjoying a cookie at times!
Not by Might but By the Spirit of God
Now that we got those two very important points established, you may be saying to yourself, “I just don’t have self-control in the area of eating and exercise, especially around the holidays. Every time I try to resist the Christmas cookies, it is only a matter of time before I end up eating the entire batch!” Or, in the area of exercise, you may be thinking to yourself, “I hate exercising. The moment that I begin an exercise program I do good for a couple days, and then fall off the wagon completely! There is no use in even starting!”
This, my friends, is where self-control comes in! Think about it…no one can make you eat something, or force you to sit on the couch instead of exercising! Only YOU have the ability to make the choice to be led by your ‘flesh’ or the ‘spirit’. When you make the choice to be led by the Spirit of God, the fruits of the spirit will then be produced naturally. It won’t be long that the fruit of self-control will be so abundant in your life that you won’t even have a problem saying no to that second or third cookie or yes to being active!
The great thing is, He is the one who strengthens us to walk in the Spirit! Ephesians 3:16 says “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being.” This is just one of the many promises that the lord will strengthen us by His Spirit when we depend on His power, rather than our own might.
Why Use Self Control?
Not only do we have the ability, but God’s word instructs us to use self-control! 1 Peter 13 says, “Think clearly and exercise self-control.”Proverbs 25:28 tells us that, “A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.” The Word even talks specifically about using self control in relation to food. Proverbs 25:16 says, “Do you like honey? Don’t eat too much, or it will make you sick!” It sounds to me that God wants us to use this gift that He has given us for our own peace and protection.
In addition, If we want to fulfill the purpose that God has for us here on this earth, we need to be in good health! In order to run the race God has set before us with full strength and vigor, we need to use wisdom on how we treat our bodies. This includes getting enough rest, eating a balanced diet, and getting regular exercise.
How do We Draw out the Fruit of Self Control?
Now, all this being said, how do we actually apply all of this? It comes down to making the choice to submit to God and be led by the Spirit of God that is in us every single day. (Romans 12:1) And believe me, it is a daily choice! Another way to do this is to build ourselves up in the spirit so that we do not easily give into the desires of our flesh. This can be done by praying, fasting, and studying and meditating on the Word of God (Romans 12:2). When we do this, the fruit of self-control will naturally be produced. We never have to ‘make’ the fruit appear or muster it up in our own strength, it will just grow as we grow in the Lord. The more we are led by the Spirit, the more that fruit will be produced…It’s that simple!
So in order to be led by the Spirit, we must first of all believe that He is inside of us and that He is leading and guiding us into all truth (John 16:13). By putting our trust in what God says about us in His word, making the choice to listen to that still small voice inside of us, and choosing to lean on His strength, we will walk by the Spirit. It can take some time to learn to walk by the Spirit if you are accustomed to giving your flesh whatever it asks for. Some practical tips on strengthening your ‘spiritual muscles’ are praying, spending time in the Word, and fasting- which is one of the most powerful forms of denying the flesh.
Now please hear me when I say it may not be easy to apply all of this, especially at first. The Bible tells us that, “Discipline is never pleasant at the time, but that in time it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it”(Hebrews 12:11). However, once you have made the choice to consistently be led by the Spirit, the fruit of self-control will be so abundant in your life that you will find that it is easy to resist eating that whole plate of Christmas cookies that was at one time screaming your name!
Progress Not Perfection
Having said all of this, it is important to note that we are all on a journey, and none of us are perfect. We will all have moments where we do not walk perfectly in self-control. So, what do we do if we do slip up and eat more than we should have, or one too many cookies? Do we have to go around guilty and depressed? Absolutely not! After all, the Bible tells us that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). Therefore, when we do “miss the mark” so to speak, we simply repent before the Lord and keep running our race with our eyes fixed on Jesus, rather than our past mistakes.
It is also important to note that our failures do not change the way that God sees us. The Word tells us that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us”(Romans 5:8). It is important to remember that God’s love for each one of us is unconditional and unchanging. He knows each of us individually and loves us with a love that has no beginning and no end, simply because He IS Love.
So, the message for today is that if you have found yourself trying to ‘work up’ self-control in the past only to find that you always seem to ‘give in’, just know that the Holy Spirit is ready and willing to lead and guide you in all areas of your life! All you have to do is make the choice to walk with Him and follow His leading! As you make the choice to be led by the Spirit, His fruit will grow and mature inside of you, and you will find that self-control will come without any effort! Remember, the Holy Spirit who is inside us has everything we need to live a victorious life. All we have to do is make the choice daily to believe this and choose to submit to His leading!
Prayer: Lord, I ask that you would help me to see my body as your dwelling place. Strengthen me to be disciplined and well balanced in order to properly take care of my body. Help me to make healthy choices and to be wise enough to know when I am no longer operating in the fruit of self control. Help me to be motivated to exercise and to get enough sleep and rest so I can have the energy needed to run my race with strength and endurance! In Jesus’ Name, Amen!
For more devotionals like this, be sure to check out my new devotional book: Devotions for a Healthier You!
If you have ordered a copy of my cookbook or devotional book for a Christmas gift… You can print off one of these gift-print outs so your loved one’s will know what is on the way shortly after Christmas day! :)
Click on the image below for the PDF downloadable gift print out for the Dashing Dish Cookbook!
Click on the image below for the PDF downloadable gift print out for the Dashing Dish Devotional Book!
The holidays are a special time of year filled with family, friends, and seasonal treats. Here are a few tips on enjoying the holidays in a balanced way!
1. Choose a Healthy Alternative- Eating healthy year round, (yes even during the holidays) can be done! It doesn’t mean giving up the foods you enjoy most, but simply swapping them with a healthier alternative! In fact, once you do so, you will notice how good you feel, and I can promise you will wonder why you ever even enjoyed those sugary treats to begin with!
2. Pick and Choose your Treats- The holidays are filled with special treats that only come around this season. There is nothing wrong with enjoying one or two of your grandma’s favorite cookies, or a piece of your mom’s famous pie…But the problem comes when people enjoy every holiday treat that is put in front of them. If you simply think ahead of time about what you REALLY want to enjoy this holiday season, it will keep you from having to work extra hard to take off those holiday treats in January! Plus, the added bonus is that you will truly savor and enjoy every bite of those holiday treats you do have much more when you only have a few of them!
3. Be Prepared- One way to prevent overeating is by eating small frequent meals throughout the day, and always having a protein rich snack before heading off to parties or holiday dinners. That way, when you finally sit down to eat a meal, you will be able to properly pay attention to your body’s hunger cues because you won’t be overly famished to begin with.
4. The party is about MORE than what is on your PLATE- Food is an element of a celebration, but not the defining factor, or the most important thing. If you keep this in mind when you’re on your way to a party, you can remind yourself that spending time with family and friends is the highlight of the event. This helps take the focus off the food and puts it back on the things that matter most.
5. It’s OK to say NO- During the holidays, many people are offering foods left and right as a gesture of love. I have learned that If I’m truly full, it is ok to be honest and politely say, “No thank you”. Most people will respect you when you politely say no. The great thing about this is, it allows you to say yes to the things you truly do enjoy this time of year!
6. BRING your OWN dish to pass- If you bring your own dish to pass, you can bring something that is tasty and healthy! The best part is, Dashing Dish offers tons of seasonal eats that are just as rich and delicious as the traditional dish, so no one will even know its healthy until you tell them!
7. Learn to Bounce Back- I find that one of the greatest downfalls when it comes to overeating is that it sets most people on a dangerous slippery slope. If you do overeat- don’t make that mistake! Remember, it is not one meal that will make you unhealthy so don’t let it get you in a defeated mindset! Just make the simple choice to bounce back. Start the next day by being active and make the choice to get right back on track with a healthy lifestyle! That is what balance is all about after all!
Add Leftover Turkey and Veggies to any of these Dishes. Simply Swap Out Shredded Chicken for Turkey!
I have big news! I took the suggestions and feedback from you guys and created three new meal plans that were designed to best suit your needs! I also designed them to serve both two and four people, so they are easy to adjust to your family’s needs!
If you order a new meal plan any time from November 25th-30th, you will receive a discount for 10% OFF ANY meal plan you purchase using the code: GIVETHANKS
Here are the three new meal plans being offered:
Month 4 Meal Plan: This all new Dashing Dish meal plan features a month’s worth of unique and fresh recipes for breakfasts, lunches, dinners, snacks, and desserts, and includes a weekly grocery list and calendar to keep you organized. This month was designed for those who love to cook! There are no leftovers or ‘dinners out’ in this meal plan.
Quick and Easy Dinners: This Dashing Dish meal plan includes a month’s worth of dinner recipes that are fast and easy to prepare. It features a weekly grocery list and calendar to keep you organized. This is the best meal plan choice for those who are busy but want to get a healthy dinner on the table in a reasonable amount of time.
Crockpot Dinners: This Dashing Dish meal plan includes a month’s worth of crockpot dinner recipes that are fast and easy to prepare, and the crockpot does the cooking for you. It features a weekly grocery list and calendar to keep you organized. This is the best meal plan choice for those who find that crockpot cooking works best for their lifestyle.
Also, if you purchase a meal plan in this time frame, you will be automatically be entered to win a signed copy of the Dashing Dish Devotional; Devotions for a Healthier You! On December 1st, I will announce the three lucky winners of the Dashing Devotional Giveaway, and ensure you receive them before Christmas!
Here are some ideas for some delicious (and secretly nutritious) appetizers, sides, and desserts for the biggest meal of the year!
First Let’s Start with Some Favorites from Previous Years:
And Now for Some New:
Stay Tuned for Even More Thanksgiving Recipes in the Next Couple of Weeks on Dashing Dish!