From the Word

Journey to Bethlehem

“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as men rejoice when dividing the plunder. For as in the day of Midian’s defeat, you have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor. Every warrior’s boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.” (Isaiah 9:2-7)

Notable Quotables

“God gave us memories so we could have roses in December.” (Vin Scully)

“A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play.” (L. P. Jacks)

“My only hope is in the goodness, grace, and mercy of a God who knows everything about me and loves me anyway.” (Tullian Tchividjian)

“The real measure of our wealth is how much we’d be worth if we lost all our money.” (J. H. Jowett)

“People who are greatly loved usually got that way because they loved others greatly.” (Ron Edmonson)

Around the Net

8 Ways to Become More Humble (Jane Tooher)
“At every stage of our Christian development, and in every sphere of our Christian discipleship, pride is our greatest enemy and humility our greatest friend. Jane Tooher, Director of the Priscilla and Aquila Centre, an organization for the encouragement of the ministries of women in partnership with men, offers eight ways to become more humble. Some of them (e.g., confess your sins regularly, and be ready to accept humiliations) are quite challenging.”

Recovering from Burnout (Elizabeth Grace Saunders)
“You might think, ‘Everyone else is to blame for my burnout.’ But this victim mindset only blocks you from doing anything about your situation. . . . It’s far better to adopt an ownership mindset, that sounds like this: Others may have contributed to my situation, but I have the ability to make choices that can improve my present and future. Thinking in this way gives you the license to choose, even in small ways, to take action to recharge and build momentum. Realizing you have autonomy opens up hope for the future.”

7 Reasons to Trust the New Testament More Than a Blind Poet (Dan DeWitt)
“The Greek poet Homer was thought to be blind. He lived about seven or eight hundred years before Jesus. His writings, the Iliad and the Odyssey have more ancient copies than any other piece of literature from the distant past. Except, that is, for the Bible. But no one is praying to Homer or basing their lives on the Odyssey. Why do we treat the Bible differently than we treat Homer’s writings? They are both old. They are both classics. Why do Christians go one giant step further and say that the Bible is the basis for our beliefs and our lifestyles?”

Shaped by God: Thinking and Feeling in Tune with the Psalms (John Piper)
Free e-book on the Psalms by John Piper. “The whole Bible teaches truth and awakens emotions, but the Psalms are in a category of their own. They do not just awaken the heart; they put it in the foreground. They do not merely invite our emotions to respond to God’s truth; they put our emotions on display. . . . My aim in this book is God-centered, Christ-exalting, Psalms-saturated thinking and feeling. I believe this kind of thinking and feeling will bear fruit in the kind of living that cares for people and magnifies Christ.”

A Historian’s 5 Tips on Writing (Justin Taylor)
Kevin Kruse is professor of history at Princeton University. He is the author of two important works in American religious history: White Flight: Atlanta and the Making of Modern Conservatism (2005) and One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America (2015). At his Twitter account, @KevinMKruse, Professor Kruse did a series of tweets on writing advice. With his permission, they are reprinted here in a more permanent format.

Something to Ponder

A Visited Planet

“It is fifteen hundred years ago that the apparently invincible Roman Empire utterly collapsed, and all that is left of it is ruins. Yet the little baby, born in such pitiful humility and cut down as a young man in his prime, commands the allegiance of millions of people all over the world. Although they have never seen him, he has become friend and companion to innumerable people. This undeniable fact is, by any measurement, the most astonishing phenomenon in human history. It is a solid rock of evidence that no agnostic can ever explain away.

“That is why, behind all our fun and games at Christmastime, we should not try to escape a sense of awe, almost a sense of fright, at what God has done. We must never allow anything to blind us to the true significance of what happened at Bethlehem so long ago. Nothing can alter the fact that we live on a visited planet.”

– J. B. Phillips

The Glory of Creation

Winter Dusting

branches-berries-snow

Image Credit: Mario Mendes

The Friday Funny

Lucille Ball and Vivian Vance in the Chocolate Factory

Into All the World

“We might impress people with our strengths, but we connect with people through our weaknesses.” (Craig Groeschel)

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