From the Word
Journey to Bethlehem
“Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and that day that is coming will set them on fire,” says the Lord Almighty. “Not a root or a branch will be left to them. But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall.” (Malachi 4:1-2)
“Trying times are not the times to stop trying.” (Ray Owens)
“It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.” (Herman Mellville)
“To know that God knows everything about me and yet loves me is indeed my ultimate consolation.” (R. C. Sproul)
“The Spirit will certainly correct us, but this correction is kind and gentle—and leads to life.” (Winn Collier)
“Life is an adventure in forgiveness.” (Norman Cousins)
Around the Net
The Gospel (R. C. Sproul)
The gospel is good news. Watch this brief clip of R.C. Sproul through the years proclaiming the good news of the imputed righteousness of Christ to believers. And then remember Dr. Sproul and his family to the Lord in prayer today. Dr. Albert Mohler tweeted last night: “So many of you have been praying for Dr. R. C. Sproul. Please pray especially tonight. God is sovereign, and gracious. Thank you for praying for Dr. Sproul, Vesta, and the Sproul family.” Health updates are posted by Ligonier Ministries here.
Jesus’ Shocking Words at Hanukkah (Tom Hobson)
There’s a wing of the church that decries all celebrations of Christmas as “unbiblical.” My response has always been, “If you want to condemn me for celebrating an unbiblical holiday, you have to condemn Jesus, too.” Hanukkah was never commanded by God in Scripture, but Jesus observed it (John 10:22-33). And the words he speaks on that occasion at “the Feast of Dedication” are enough to make people’s jaws drop. Who does Jesus think he is?
Christianity Today’s 2018 Book Awards (Matt Reynolds)
Here are CT’s picks for the books most likely to shape evangelical life, thought, and culture. A top selection and award of merit are selected for each of the following categories: Apologetics/Evangelism; Biblical Studies; Children and Youth; Christian Living/Discipleship; The Church/Pastoral Leadership; CT Women; Culture and the Arts; Fiction; History/Biography; Missions/Global Church; Politics and Public Life; Spiritual Formation; and Theology/Ethics.
Life without God: Ecclesiastes and the Gospel (Tullian Tchividjian)
“When John Calvin claimed that the human heart ‘is a perpetual factory of idols,’ he meant that we turn virtually anything into a self-salvation project. Good things, bad things, big things, small things. The human heart is remarkably flexible in this regard. I realize it may sound defeating to write about life in these terms. The last thing I would ever want is to come across as cynical or negative. But the truth is, to speak honestly about ourselves is not defeating. It is not shaming to come clean about reality, or the limits of our potential to change it. What is defeating is the insistence that I can save or fix myself.”
The Work of the Holy Spirit and the Christian Therapist (Siang-Yan Tan)
Contrary to some caricatures, Christian therapists outside the biblical counseling movement also rely on the Holy Spirit in their practice. “The Holy Spirit is essential when it comes to the work of the Christian therapist. The Holy Spirit is called the Counselor, Comforter, Helper, or Advocate in John 14:16–17. The work and the ministry of the Holy Spirit can be understood as taking place in three major ways: the Spirit’s power, the Spirit’s truth, and the Spirit’s fruit. . . . Power without love can result in abuse. Power without truth may lead to heresy. But power based in biblical truth and steeped in Christlike love can produce renewal, revival, and deep healing of broken lives.”
Something to Ponder
On Your Knees before Jesus
“A small cathedral outside Bethlehem marks the supposed birthplace of Jesus. Behind a high altar in the church is a cave, a little cavern lit by silver lamps. You can enter the main edifice and admire the ancient church. You can also enter the quiet cave, where a star embedded in the floor recognizes the birth of the King. There is one stipulation, however. You have to stoop. The door is so low you can’t enter standing up.
“The same is true of the Christ. You can see the world standing tall, but to witness the Savior, you have to get on your knees! So, at the birth of Jesus, while the theologians were sleeping and the elite were dreaming and the successful were snoring . . . the meek were kneeling. They were kneeling before the One only the meek will see. They were kneeling in front of Jesus!”
– Max Lucado
The Glory of Creation
Image Credit: Lorne Campbell via Cristina Dobre
Into All the World
“Remember that you are unique. If that is not fulfilled, then something wonderful has been lost.” (Martha Graham)