From the Word

Journey to Bethlehem

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” Therefore Israel will be abandoned until the time when she who is in labor gives birth and the rest of his brothers return to join the Israelites. He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth. And he will be their peace.” (Micah 5:2-5).

Notable Quotables

“Grace is the father in the parable of the prodigal son. Grace keeps the lamps lit and the door open.” (Paul Zahl)

“The father does not trade forgiveness for good behavior. He kisses the prodigal son before he gets his confession out of his mouth.” (Robert Capon)

“The great basis of Christian assurance is not how much our hearts are set on God, but how unshakably his heart is set on us.” (Tim Keller)

“It’s not what you are that holds you back, it’s what you think you are not.” (Denis Waitley)

“God save us from gloomy saints!” (Teresa of Ávila)

Around the Net

The Worst Time for Advent is the Perfect Time for Advent (Aaron Earls)
“Maybe you’re struggling to begin the Advent season. With all of the chaos happening nationally and globally, perhaps even locally and personally, is it difficult to transition into a time of reflection and festive preparation? But this is the perfect time to celebrate Advent because as we’ve seen it echoes the first Christmas. It seemed to be the worst possible time, but God called it the ‘fullness of time.’”

3 Prayers to Help You Be Hospitable This Holiday Season (Michael Kelley)
“Here we go, friends—it’s the holiday season again. And that means a lot of things, including an increase opportunity to practice hospitality. This is the season of the year when we tend to host more people in our homes and churches than most other times of the year. These few weeks, then, are a chance for Christians to take hold of this quality that characterized the New Testament church.”

The Likely Culprit behind the Increase in Teen Depression (Jean Twenge)
“Not only did smartphone use and depression increase in tandem, but time spent online was linked to mental health issues across two different data sets. We found that teens who spent five or more hours a day online were 71 percent more likely than those who spent less than an hour a day to have at least one suicide risk factor (depression, thinking about suicide, making a suicide plan or attempting suicide). Overall, suicide risk factors rose significantly after two or more hours a day of time online.”

Doctors Prescribe a Dose of Nature for Anxiety (Shamard Charles)
“Huddle’s treatment plan is part of a growing field of medicine called “ecotherapy”—nature-based programs and exercises that can help patients cope with mental and physical illnesses. Instead of prescriptions for more pills, doctors around the country are increasingly prescribing trips to the park for a range of conditions, including anxiety and depression, attention deficit disorder and chronic illness such as diabetes and high blood pressure.”

Something to Ponder

The King Will Be Seen for Who He Is

“The New Testament is indeed a book full of hope, but we may search it in vain for any vague humanist optimism. The second coming of Christ, the second eruption of eternity into time, will be immediate, violent and conclusive. The human experiment is to end, illusion will give way to reality, the temporary disappear before the permanent, and the king will be seen for who he is. The thief in the night, the lightning flash, the sound of the last trumpet, the voice of God’s archangel—these may all be picture-language, but they are pictures of something sudden, catastrophic, and decisive. By no stretch of the imagination do they describe a gradual process.

“I believe that the atheistic-scientific-humanist point of view is, despite its apparent humanitarianism, both misleading and cruel. In appearance it may resemble Christianity in that it would encourage tolerance, love, understanding, and the amelioration of human conditions. But at heart it is cruel, because it teaches that this life is the only life, that we have no place prepared for us in eternity, and that the only realities are those that we can appreciate in our present temporary habitation.”

– J. B. Phillips

The Glory of Creation

Winter’s Approach

winter-woods-sun-rays
Image Credit: @yasir553377

Into All the World

“The key is not to prioritize your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” (Stephen Covey)

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