From the Word

Journey to Bethlehem

“I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill.” I will proclaim the decree of the Lord: He said to me, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. You will rule them with an iron scepter; you will dash them to pieces like pottery.” Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him. (Psalm 2:6-12)

Notable Quotables

“Hope has a thick skin and will endure many a blow.” (John Bunyan)

“Trials without God will break you. Trials with God will make you.” (Unknown)

“It is crucial that in our darkness we affirm the wise, strong hand of God to hold us, even when we have no strength to hold him.” (John Piper)

“Some people are hurting so bad you have to do more than preach a message to them. You have to be a message to them.” (Unknown)

“A guilty conscience is more terrified by imagined dangers, than a pure conscience is by real ones.” (John Flavel)

Around the Net

The Night the Author Entered the Story (Dan DeWitt)
“For Hamlet to know Shakespeare personally, intimately even, the author would have to write himself into the story. As Lewis said, ‘Hamlet could initiate nothing.’ For the two to meet, ‘it must be Shakespeare’s doing.’ This is the basic claim of the Christian narrative. There is an author to our story, to our world. If ever we would meet him, it will not be of our own initiation. He must act. He must write himself into human history. And he has. As the Apostle John says, ‘In the beginning was the Word . . . and the Word became flesh.’”

When You Grieve a Prodigal’s Sin More Than He or She Does (Churck Lawless)
The parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15) has a happy ending. The wayward son comes home, and the father throws big feast for him. But what did the father do before do while he was away? “If it hasn’t happened to you yet as a believer, I suspect it will—that is, you’ll face a time when you grieve someone’s sin more than he or she does. When you walk in the footsteps of the father of the prodigal son, hang on to these thoughts.”

Stop Trying to Grow the Fruits of the Spirit (J. D. Greear)
“Some Christians approach spiritual growth like stapling roses to a dead rosebush. But stapling roses on a dead plant doesn’t fix the real problem. In the same way, you won’t grow spiritually by trying to add love, joy, peace, and everything else to your life. You can only do it by driving your roots deep into Christ. The more you embrace his love and promise in the gospel, the more spiritual fruits will appear naturally in your life.”

Faith and Healing One Month after Sutherland Springs (Silvia Foster-Frau)
Frank Pomeroy pauses outside his daughter’s room, unable to enter. He knows what’s inside: Annabelle’s bed, her One Direction poster, and various items in shades of purple—her favorite color. But Pomeroy and his wife, Sherri, can’t look in her room yet. It reminds them too much of the girl they lost. Four weeks after the church massacre, time stretches and snaps for people in this town of 600 south of San Antonio, shifting from fast to slow to fast again. One moment, it’s as if their loved ones were just there with them. The next, there’s a gaping hole, a monumental loss.

Just Say ‘Thanks’ (Zach Barnhart)
“Some of us have lost all of the thanksgiving in our Thanksgiving (and the days that follow), despite what the Instagram posts might say. But the Christian need not lose heart. Holidays, despite whatever they represent culturally, are powerful opportunities for us to remember, reflect, and, most of all, to recover Christian thankfulness, propelling us into the year to come. The same God who can make dry bones live can revive even a dead consumerist back to his glory and praise.”

Something to Ponder

The Awe-Inspiring Humility of God

“What we are in fact celebrating is the awe-inspiring humility of God, and no amount of familiarity with the trappings of Christmas should ever blind us to its quiet but explosive significance. For Christians believe that so great is God’s love and concern for humanity that he himself became a man. Amid the sparkle and the color and music of the day’s celebration we do well to remember that God’s insertion of himself into human history was achieved with an almost frightening quietness and humility. There was no advertisement, no publicity, no special privilege; in fact. the entry of God into his own world was almost heartbreakingly humble. In sober fact there is little romance or beauty in the thought of a young woman looking desperately for a place where she could give birth to her first baby. I do not think for a moment that Mary complained, but it is a bitter commentary upon the world that no one would give up a bed for the pregnant woman—and that the Son of God must be born in a stable.”

– J. B. Phillips

The Glory of Creation

Birds of a Feather

winter-birds-two-pine-branch

Image Credit: walpapersafari.com

Into All the World

“Hard work without talent is a shame, but talent without hard work is a tragedy.” (Robert Half)

 

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