Cheri's Blog

When the Merry Goes Missing

finding Merry

When the Merry Goes Missing

Hi! And welcome to the first day in a four-day series right here during the holiday season. While most people are sporting their Ho, Ho, Ho sweaters with a grin uncomparable any other time of the year, there are those of us who struggle to be happy the season is here. The merry is missing, and you don’t know how to find it. Because this is a real issue, we need to take it to the only One who can help, and that is Jesus Christ.

You have permission to struggle here. Take your less-than-giddy self before the Lord. Ask Him to speak to you and help you find your merry.

Read the following passage from Hebrews.

For on the one hand, a former commandment is set aside because of its weakness and uselessness

(for the law made nothing perfect); but on the other hand a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God.

And it was not without an oath. For those who formerly became priests were made such without an oath,

But this one was made a priest with an oath by the one who said to him:

“The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind, ‘You are a priest forever.’”

This makes Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant.

The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office,

But he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever.

Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. Hebrews 7:18-25

Day 1: When the Merry Goes Missing

Christmas time can be void of merriment for many of us. Often life hemorrhages with burdens all year long beyond the energy you have to expend. This heaviness can’t be lifted with the Hallmark channel, a winning ugly sweater or your Aunt Susie’s eggnog.

Maybe you are having a season like my friend experiencing the holidays for the first time after the loss of loved ones. She can wear her old Christmas sweater but she isn’t welcoming this new normal.

Or you might understand my neighbor’s lack of holiday cheer who prefers the HOLIDAYS disappear. The pain associated with them is too great. Shortly after the unwanted divorce, an only child died of cancer. In such suffering and loss, the merry in Christmas can be sucked right out.

Impossible health diagnoses, catastrophic losses, and difficult relationship issues are just a few of the realities confronting people. How, then, with such suffering, can we experience the joy we desire for the season?

Recognize we have a Savior who does for us what we cannot do for ourselves. 

Jesus lives to intercede for us.

We find this principle in Hebrews where the writer explains how the Old Covenant with the Law, priests, and sacrifices represented the forerunner to the New Covenant. In the Old Covenant, the priests were chosen by God to offer sacrifices on behalf of the people and their sins, serving as mediators between sinful man and God. In the New Covenant, God’s Son became the perfect sacrifice, making Jesus, the priest and mediator for us.


Why can you and I be merry in the midst of our mayhem and imperfect circumstances?

Because Jesus is interceding on our behalf.

Maybe you don’t have the hoopla within for the seasonal festivities. There’s not enough strength. You might not have an inkling how you will even fake a smile, and you fear the emptiness is beginning to show. Remember this:

He is able to save to the uttermost, the one that draws near.

That means when you take your situation and your joyless predicament to Jesus, He is going before the throne, Himself. When you and I don’t have the wherewithal to get the twinkle lights untangled, or even utter a half-hearted “Merry Christmas,” He can go the distance on our behalf.

When you can’t yet find your merry, just draw near.

You can also find a version of this plan at or on the free YouVersion app.

with much affection,



The Blessed Hope

Day 21: The Blessed Hope

For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. Titus 2:11-14 NIV

The Blessed Hope

What I love about America World is their zeal for orphans. It doesn’t matter if adoption is not an option at the end of the trail. Their work and vision extend beyond the ordinary boundaries. They identify needs to do what is good for people who cannot care for themselves and have set out to meet those needs. Too often, obstacles stand in the way. Resources dry up. But this group of individuals comes together to pray for God to do what only He can. Then they put their feet to action. Their sight is not on profits or shareholders, but on the blessed hope—the appearing of Jesus. And for this vision, I am eternally grateful.

Allow me to invite you to be a part. This is what hope is all about. If you are considering adoption, let me throw both hands up in support of working with this team. Look no further. We have successfully completed three adoptions from two different countries, from an infant to special needs, and even a sibling set. Hesitate no longer.

But let’s say your interest is in orphan care. Perfect. One option is to go on a trip. There are several types available from construction to teaching children to a cultural experience. I highly encourage you to find a way to hold a baby that has no hope of receiving a family unless the God of the universe intervenes. Please do get your legs hugged to death by a herd of toddlers because you came and loved them for a day. And try to walk away without begging God to move on their behalf. This is part of the good we are called to be eager to do. Then sit with a group of stunning young women and listen to their fears resulting from all they have experienced. You will pray differently and more good will be accomplished because of your going.

But little gets done without resources. Please consider how you might participate financially in some capacity. Right now, I am aware of a Join the Rescue campaign, for Bete Hosanna, looking for $100 per month sponsorships. And soon, Joe Wilson will be providing more opportunities for you and me to participate. Stay up to date with the website.

if you like blessed hope you will like bete






It is my joy to encourage you in these areas. I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t benefit to some degree from what you and I have walked through these last few weeks. But it is a particular delight to partner with a group that is faithful to follow where the Lord leads. My prayer as we close is that together the Holy Spirit will continue His work in stirring this connection between us to awaken hope more and more.



Leave a prayer or response below so that we can participate together as we walk this journey alongside each other.

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Your God is For You

Your God is For You

Podcast #71


Welcome to the Podcast–God is For you

Remember, this podcast is moving soon from THE SHE YEARNS PODCAST to STIRRING FAITH WITH CHERI STRANGE. That means it will have a new RSS. If you are a subscriber you will need to subscribe to the new podcast. Stirring Faith will contain the same type of quality content and messaging — just in a more clear package to help people find it. Be looking for these changes to come by the end of November and into December. For now, we are headed into our latest episode, Your God is For You, right here at the same RSS, She Yearns Podcast. Thanks for listening and being a part of the community!

This is one of my favorite episodes to record lately, because I found it so inspiring, personally. Not only it is inspiring, but it links two activities I have been involved with together — the podcast and a reading plan I have developed called Awakening Hope. I hope you will check it out. I pray both are a benefit to you and someone you know.

Don’t forget about The Show Notes!

Just fill out the form and today’s note will go straight to your inbox. Every episode after you sign up should show up on the device of your choosing. What could be better?

How Awesome is Show Notes?

If you are already a subscriber to the She Yearns Updates, you will begin receiving a link to a pdf. But this is different. By signing up here, you will ONLY RECEIVE Show Notes for the podcast. There is nothing to download unless there is some sort of bonus offered.

You can also use this resource to take with you to coffee with a friend or sit with a small group and talk about the topic together. It’s a quick low prep to no prep way to have a deep discussion about relevant Gospel-centered topics that matter to your everyday lives. So don’t wait! Sign up today!

Besides Teach me, Lord,– Taste, and See is one of my favorite recent episodes. You can find it here if you are interested.

You can now check out the latest episodes from iTunes, GooglePlay, Stitcher, iHeartRADIO, or SoundCloud. Just click on the links below! As always, you can scroll down and listen right here!

soul care

soul care

And if you have not already become a subscriber to the podcast, allow me to invite you to become one for the She Yearns Podcast by going to any of the providers and signing up for the RSS feed to have it automatically updated to your device! It’s basically ONE CLICK! And it doesn’t use any extra memory and really makes life easier.

If you enjoyed this episode, Your God is For You, or found it helpful, please leave a comment or review in your hosting provider service. I also love it when you post below! It really helps us here and anyone who visits the page. We cannot do it without you! The only way the word goes out further is with your help. Please share it as you feel the leading.

Thank you for listening.



your God is for you

Hope Never Disappoints

Day 20: Hope Never Disappoints

Moreover [let us also be full of joy now!] let us exult and triumph in our troubles and rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that pressure and affliction and hardship produce patient and unswerving endurance. And endurance (fortitude) develops maturity of character (approved faith and tried integrity). And character [of this sort] produces [the habit of] joyful and confident hope of eternal salvation. Such hope never disappoints or deludes or shames us, for God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us. Romans 5:3-5 AMP

Hope Never Disappoints

Yesterday I sat with my extremely disappointed teenager. Her team was favored to qualify for the state cross country meet this year. Unfortunately, they missed the cut-off by fifteen points. She and her teammates trained for months, through early mornings, afternoons, rain, hills, and pain untold. Yesterday for the test of their strength and endurance, they ran their guts out and it wasn’t enough.

What if what you and I find ourselves in a similar predicament? Let’s say you are trusting God for something and it isn’t working out? Suppose I’ve tried my hardest, given my best efforts and still fall short of the goal? Maybe the relationship continues to go south. The doors refuse to open and the resources don’t pour in. A thousand setbacks and difficulties can interrupt our Awe-inspired mojo, yet the promise in Scripture is clear: hope never disappoints. How do you and I make sense of it all and continue to believe God for all we have entrusted to Him?

I fear it is right here many people lose their way on the path toward an awakened hope.

We just want to quit and hang up our running shoes. It’s just too hard and the pain too great.

Could it be, we misunderstand and even reject His purposes because we wouldn’t do it that way? Seriously: joy in suffering? Hardship-inducing hope?

Before you pack up your shoes and head to the beach, let’s take a closer look at Romans 5.

Paul wants his reader to clearly see meaning in what would normally derail us. If you look closely you will see that these difficulties you and I experience in life help make us into individuals who are more like Jesus. God has not allowed us access to Easy Street just because maybe we have prayed and asked for it. Maybe what we have requested is not easy. Either way, God is not so much into answering our prayers as He is into developing our character and some fortitude along the way. In this process, our faith will prove genuine and hope will continue to be awakened.

Just since trying to put this plan together, my father was rushed to the ER for a stroke. Then there were the suicide threats from someone close to us, behavior issues from one of our kids, and some major upheavals in our school situation. Oh, and let’s not forget my brand-new computer crashed just before we launched. It’s been three weeks, people. I’m sure you can relate.

In all of our adversity and pressures to endure, God is in the business of growing character that produces “joyful and confident hope.” That is His goal for us: awakened hope. Not a hope that is limited to what we see in front of us but a lasting, eternal one. I don’t know exactly what it looks like in your life, but these verses communicate that through mishaps and suffering (of which all of us encounter), God remains faithful, covering us with His love as we become more like Jesus.

This Blessed Hope

This is a hope that assuredly says, “Lord, I’m going to pray my guts out. Whatever needs to be done to be ready for You to move I’m going to do. Honestly, I don’t know how you are going to move, but I know that Your love is growing me through all the strains and crises. I am trusting that You know best, and I am confident in You.”



Leave a prayer or response below so that we can participate together as we walk this journey alongside each other.

To return to the beginning of the plan, click here.

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God is For Us

Day 19: God is For Us

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Romans 8:31-32

God is For Us

You know it’s not that we are needed. The God of the universe can transform people in dark places without you and me. He simply prefers to graciously give us the experience. Consider Adam Tyson. Here sat a relatively unknown pastor in California minding his own business of leading his congregation. One day a middle-aged man began attending services and asked if he could teach him more about God and the Bible. This pastor started meeting with him and a few others in Bible study. Tyson openly presented the Gospel message that every person has sinned and is in need of a Savior. Salvation comes through Jesus Christ alone and grace alone brings a person into right relationship with God. Somewhere in that messaging, the man was completely transformed. Then Tyson began helping this man learn how to love God and others and walk out his new faith.

Eventually, the new believer invited Tyson and other preachers to hold services on his property, drawing thousands of people in need of the Gospel. Kanye West gets most of the attention for being the middle-aged convert and drawing the astounding crowds. But what nobody pastor takes a heretic rap singer seriously, boldly pursuing he and all his friends and family in Truth? Only someone who still believes God is for us.

Another Someone

A few weeks ago, David Platt, the pastor of McLean Bible Church in Washington D.C., taught how Peter simply shared the Gospel message and the Holy Spirit moved over 3,000 people to believe and be saved. He confessed that as he prepared, he asked himself, did he really believe God could still move like that? Maybe He could save 1,000 in a year or more, or maybe the church could add numbers slowly. Platt could see God come through with those numbers. His church only boasts 1,000 in membership. Let’s not get crazy.

But over the course of thinking and praying, this man could not get away from this convicting truth: If God is for us, who could be against us? If the same Spirit that was in Peter is in believer’s today, then, what would stop God from moving any number of people? The problem was that they did not believe He could. Not really. Kinda sorta. But not enough to set in motion what would need to take place if they really believed people could be transformed by the Gospel.

For thousands of years, God has been placing His people in just the right location in exactly the situations necessary, exposing them to needs, hurts, atrocities, pain, and disparity. Why? For what purpose? So that we would pray and fast and beg him to move on their behalf. And so that we would be prepared for God to move.

We have been praying.

For weeks we have been praying. But like David Platt, we must ask ourselves, do we really expect God to do what we’ve asked? Are we ready for Him to do what is not humanly possible—to make a way for hope to be awakened in the darkest, bleakest situations? Because, if God is for us, who can be against us?

The people of McLean Bible Church went home, started inviting every person they knew who wasn’t a believer, set up baptistries in multiple locations on the campuses, and provided clothes and hairdryers. They tried to think of everything that would be needed IF their prayers were answers.

What about you?

Do you believe God is for you?

We’re not manipulating God here. He will do what He will do. But are there things that you need in place if God answered your impossible possibilities and those moon-sized prayers?

He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?

P.S. I believe McLean Bible Church is praying for 3,000 over the next year. That first week they baptized over 300. Check out the message for yourself.



Leave a prayer or response below so that we can participate together as we walk this journey alongside each other.

To return to the beginning of the plan, click here.

Click here to return to the previous day.

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