4 Ways to Approach the New Year with Jesus – “Here are four important steps we can take, as we peer into 2017, to draw closer to Christ.”
Saturday, December 31, 2016
2016: The Bible in Review – “Based on over 1.7 billion pageviews and over 180 million unique visitors to Bible Gateway from December 2015 through November 2016, this data provides a glimpse at how people engaged with the Bible in 2016.”
Around the World, a Christian Is Martyred Every Six Minutes - This year, almost 90,000 Christians died for their faith, according to
an Italian research group.
an Italian research group.
Friday, December 30, 2016
4 Christian Principles For Making New Year’s Resolutions – “The Word of God gives us not only permission to make resolutions, it gives us good reasons for doing so. Various biblical passages seem to provide us with reasons for resolutions and examples of men of God who resolved to live for Him in a particular manner for a particular reason.”
If You Love Waiting, Raise Your Hand – “We must learn to embrace the waiting and use that time for His glory, no matter how hard it gets. We must all must wait, so let’s consider how God might use our waiting for the highest good of His glory.”
Do More Than Admit Your Sin – “Biblical confession involves more than admitting our sin. Sometimes we think fessing up to our sins is enough. ‘Alright, I’ll say what I’ve done, get my grace ticket, and go on my way.’ That’s a confession booth. That’s not biblical Christianity.”
Thursday, December 29, 2016
One Reason To Dedicate Yourself to Bible Reading in 2017 – Here’s just one more good reason to commit yourself to reading your Bible in 2017.
Freedom from Our Fears – “Like Adam and Eve, we hide. We bury pain and protect ourselves from feeling it ever again. We cover the blemishes. Gloss over the less-than-desirable parts. Avoid the shame-inducing. Guard our hearts. Whatever we may do, on our own we cannot escape our fears. We need rescue.”
Wednesday, December 28, 2016
My Prayer for Next Year – “Lord, teach me more about yourself than I already know, humble me again with all that I do not know, and make what I do know more alive and real in my heart and life.” Marshall Segal goes on to explain what he means.
Adoring Jesus and Being at Peace, Like Simeon – “Lord Jesus, it’s only because you embraced us in the gospel that we have a good measure of the same peace Simeon experienced; for you are God’s promised salvation for Israel, for Gentiles, and for us. In you we’ve found the consolation that cannot be found anywhere else…”
Tuesday, December 27, 2016
Does God Get Your Leftovers? – “Prayer is hard. It’s always been the spiritual discipline I struggle with the most. I blame it on all sorts of things — my busy life, my easily distracted mind, my loud children, my personality, how I’m better at communicating through writing rather than verbally — the list goes on.”
Monday, December 26, 2016
Why Oxford Dictionary’s 2016 Word of the Year Matters – “Oxford English Dictionary compilers recognized “post-truth” as the new Word of the Year.” Ravi Zacharias explains why it matters.
Sunday, December 25, 2016
The Unfettered Joy of Christmas Day – “Jesus, as we celebrate your 1st Advent, our passion for your 2nd Advent is intensified. We long for the Day when every knee will bow and every tongue confess that you are, indeed, Lord, to the glory of God the Father…”
For They Know Not What They Do… - “Today we celebrate the events that marked the beginning of Jesus’s life: The angelic announcement, the virgin conception, the difficult birth, the unexpected visits, the prophetic blessings. But even as we remember that Jesus came to live, we need to also remember that Jesus came to die. As we think about his birth we do well to think about his death.”
“And Them that Mourn” — Celebrating Christmas in the Face of Sorrow – “Is Christmas also for those who grieve? Such a question would perplex those who experienced the events that night in humble Bethlehem and those who followed Christ throughout his earthly ministry. Christmas is especially for those who grieve.”
Saturday, December 24, 2016
Why We Know So Little About Jesus’ Birth – “I probably would have drowned the story in detail. We see it often in the Bible: God does not give us all the details we want, but he always gives us the details we need.”
On Christmas Eve: The King Who Became a Baby – “Lord Jesus, whether or not you entered our world anywhere close to our December 25th is irrelevant. What matters is that you actually came from eternity into time and space—not as a metaphor, myth, or legend, but as our perfect Savior….”
Friday, December 23, 2016
The Fullness of God Dwelled in a Womb – “And here we are told that omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, utter eternalness and holiness dwelled in a tiny person. This makes Santa coming down a chimney seem a logistical cakewalk.”
Together, Let God’s Family Join the Angels’ Joyful Song This Christmas Weekend – “Perhaps this Christmas season is a difficult one for you. Perhaps it reminds you of loved ones who are no longer part of your life, due to death or strained relationships.”
Thursday, December 22, 2016
A Note to an Unbeliever, On Going to Church This Christmas – Here are some things worth watching for and leaning into this Christmas…whether you are a believer or not.
Why in the World Did I Leave America? – “Why in the world have I given all this up? Why not live in a place where my kids could have friends that grow up in Christian homes? Why not go to a great church and grow in my knowledge of the Word of God? Why not avoid the malaria, bugs, and intense suffering that is often at our doorstep?” This missionary and mom then answers her own questions.
You Can Share Your Faith With Your Family Without Making It Weird - How to keep it cool over Christmas.
Wednesday, December 21, 2016
A Christmas Quiz: How Well Do You Know the Nativity Story? – This short quiz is designed to help you find out!
What Grieving People Wish You Knew at Christmas – “While those of us who surround grieving people can’t fix the pain of loss, we can bring comfort as we come alongside those who hurt with special sensitivity to what grief is like during the holidays. Grieving people wish we all knew at least five truths, among others, during the holidays.”
New Heresies Are Rarely New (Video) – “At least once or twice every year—usually around Christmas and Easter—popular magazines and blogs seem to go out of their way to locate some shocking fact that supposedly debunks what Christians believe about Jesus. But this pattern of false claims ab out Jesus isn’t anything new! Even in the first few centuries of Christianity, a multitude of heresies and rival claims circulated, each one taking a different perspective on who Jesus was.”
Would You Want to Come Home to You? – “This Christmas week seems like the perfect time to examine ourselves and decide: Would I want to come home to me? If the answer is no, it’s time we make some changes and become the kind of spouse that is pleasant to be around. I think you would be surprised what a difference it can make in your marriage.”
Light for Those Who Sit in Darkness – “One reason we lack passion for Christmas is that we often fail to truly see God as holy, and our sin as serious. Therefore, we do not have as much joy in Christ’s coming as we could.”
Tuesday, December 20, 2016
How to Parent Without Regret – “What do you do after that next long, weighty parenting sigh? How do you parent without regret? Pray like you can’t save your kids but parent like you can, try to do the right thing, and rest in God’s sovereignty.”
Monday, December 19, 2016
Don't Spiritualize Christmas – “The danger in the seasonal celebration is that we cave to sentimentality and rote nostalgia and thus forget that the meek and mild baby in a manger was nothing short of the opening salvo in the kingdom of heaven revolution consisting in God personally invading earth.”
4 Times In Life You Should Expect To Face Temptation – We should expect temptation and resist temptation.
Why I Changed My Mind on Nativity Scenes – “Perhaps those outside the church who feel threatened by nativity scenes understand the meaning of Christmas more than those in our churches who feel very little about them.”
Sunday, December 18, 2016
God Made Every Part of You for Worship – “God gives us five senses to help us worship him: the sights, sounds, smells, textures, and tastes testify to the diversity of God’s gifts and to the depth of worship God deserves.”
Saturday, December 17, 2016
How to Make Sure You're Not Duped by What You Read - Because fake news isn't just Facebook's problem.
Friday, December 16, 2016
Dear Church: I Dare You to Trust Your Bible This Year – “I fear for you, that you have listened to so many voices that you no longer trust yourself to hear your Lord’s voice.”
Joseph Did You Know? – “Why was it necessary for Jesus to have an earthly father if He didn’t need a biological father? Isn’t it conceivable that Mary could have, with the help of family members, raised Jesus without a husband? It was necessary for Joseph to be Jesus’ adopted father” for a number of reasons…
When Babylon Withdraws To Lick Its Wounds – Lately I’ve been enjoying Stephen McAlpline’s reflections on culture. “What do we do when Babylon withdraws to lick its wounds? For that is indeed what we are experiencing – a temporary halt of the post-Christian/anti-Christian framework within the Western setting, as populist politics in 2016 sweeps the progressive agenda aside.”
9 Things You Should Know About Aleppo and the Syrian Crisis – “The recent struggle for control of the Syrian city of Aleppo has brought renewed attention to the ongoing war crimes that have devastated the Middle East nation. Here are nine things you should know about Aleppo and the Syrian crisis.”
5 Reasons to Read the Bible When You Feel Absolutely Nothing – “No glorious revelations of Shekinah glory. No deep sense of God’s abiding presence. No spiritual flashbangs or burning bushes. Did anything really “happen” during my reading? Did the Bible make any difference? Why should I even continue when it just feels like I’m going through the motions?”
Why Doesn't God Heal People We Love? – “It’s not that Jesus did not care about the cancer-ridden or the paraplegics, it’s just that their illnesses were not His main focus: the gospel was. Whenever people missed this – whenever they started coming to Him only to have their pains and problems removed – the Savior backed away.”
Thursday, December 15, 2016
10 Ways to be a Christian this Christmas – “But whether you love every nook and cranny about the holidays–or consider most of it “noise, noise, noise!”–there is no excuse to be grinchy and scroogeish. Here are ten ways we can remember to be Christians this Christmas.”
Why Are Jesus’ Genealogies in Matthew and Luke Different? – Mark Strauss offers up possible reasons why the genealogies differ, overlap, and seem to disagree.
The Greatest Need in Special Needs – “The danger for us is that we presume too much about disability. We may start to think that because someone can’t respond to us or fully articulate faith, that the gospel isn’t sinking in, when it may very well be! We may begin to believe they have no sin nature and don’t need the gospel. We may think that folks with cognitive disabilities and delays in our church are mainly there as some sort of object lesson to enable our spiritual growth, forgetting that God wants spiritual growth for all of us.”
No Gullible Bumpkins Here – “And speaking of Jesus, Mike McKinley discusses his virgin birth. “Mary and Zechariah and Elizabeth were not gullible bumpkins who didn’t know how babies were made and believed fantastical stories (nor, for that matter, were Luke and his original readers). They found the whole idea just as unlikely as you and I might, but that’s exactly the point!”
How to Help Your Children Become Better Sermon Listeners – Here are good tips for parents in a multi-generational worship experience.
Jesus Is Fully Human – “The seesaw oscillated back and forth in the early centuries of the church, and has for two thousand years. His opponents have rejected his deity, and too many of his worshipers have been slow to own the extent of his manhood.”
Help Grieving People Survive the Holidays with Hope – “Most people look forward to the holidays and the attendant family celebrations and traditions. But during the holidays, those who have lost loved ones will be even more potently reminded of their pain and grief.”
Is the Sin of Gluttony Really that Serious? – “The fact that we giggle about gluttony might reveal it as a most pernicious sin. The English word comes from the Latin and means “to gulp.” Gluttony idolizes food to feed our own self-love. The holidays being upon us, it’s a good time to ask the question. Is gluttony really that serious?”
Sorrow, Depression, & the Holidays - Depression and discouragement are not respecters of the holidays. For many reasons, the normal sorrow of life can reach a high point this time of year for some. Here are some helpful reminders.
Wednesday, December 14, 2016
Living in Light of Jesus' Return – “There are two days in my calendar: this day and that day,” quipped Martin Luther in reference to Christ’s second coming. We have come a long way since Luther’s statement, with most believers erring dramatically in one of two directions.
Atheists vs. Christmas: Two Lessons for Us – “It’s easy to denigrate those who reject the Child we worship. But that’s the exact wrong thing for us to do. Lost people act like lost people. So did we before we met Jesus. It’s up to Christians to act like Christ.”
The Other Christmas Birth – “The Christmas story contains the narratives of two miraculous births, both recorded in Luke 1 and both announced by the angel Gabriel. The births of Jesus and John the Baptist are intrinsically connected to each other in Scripture.”
Jesus Isn’t Threatened by Your Christmas Gifts – “Christmas falls on a Sunday this year and I think this gives us an especially good opportunity to see how all of Christmas integrates with our faith, with the Christian life.”
The One Thing No One Tells You About Getting Married - The work begins sooner than you think.
Tuesday, December 13, 2016
When God Goes Big And I Go Small – “The Bible speaks in broad words, in great sweeping statements. There are times to interpret those words and statements, to apply wisdom to them. But first we must deal with them as they are, to allow them to hit with all of their force, all of their impact. Then, and only then, do we ask our “what if” questions.”
What If I Don’t Want to Pray? – “Few aspects of the Christian life can cause God’s people more guilt than a lack of personal, private prayer. Few disciplines in the Christian life are as difficult as private prayer. And this struggle doesn’t just exist for immature Christians or those very weak in faith. The testimonies of even some great Christians verify that prayer is difficult.”
Monday, December 12, 2016
Just Drop the Blanket – The classic “Charlie Brown Christmas” has a much deeper story than some might realized. Have you ever noticed when Linus drops his beloved blanket? Jason Soroski explains when and why it happens. It may impact you more than you expect.
Giving: The Victory Over Materialism and Covetousness this Christmas – At this point in December, this is worth reading.
The Christmas Present in Lot’s Cave – “The cave seemed like the perfect hiding place but soon it became the setting for one of the most heinous scenes in all of the Bible. But even here amid the darkness of depravity God was laying the tracks for an especially shocking revelation on Christmas morning.”
The Christmas Miracle of the Incarnate, Omnipresent Word – “In the end, the Incarnation is not for analysis but for worship.”
New Research Debunks The Claim That Your Beliefs Can Kill Gay People – “Reducing another’s life by 12 years by failing to agree with his or her sexual desires is no small charge. But is it legit? New research says no.”
Saturday, December 10, 2016
7 Advent Practices That Will Make Your December Better – “And avoid some of the holiday stress, too.”
Friday, December 9, 2016
7 Privileges of Being a Child of God – “Feeling weary today? Distant from God? Anxious? Uncertain? In this article Tim Keller warms our hearts with seven breathtaking privileges of being a child of God set out by Paul in Romans 8:14-17…”
5 Ways We Stunt Our Spiritual Growth – “With a heavy heart, I realized that in the 168 hours that made up my week, I could hardly carve out one hour for communion with God. Does this sound familiar?”
Christ Came into Hostility – “Perhaps this Christmas, rather than joy and peace flourishing in your relationships, tensions are high and truth is a battle to be fought. Christ came into this world, freely and joyfully, and he walks closely with you in yours.”
Thursday, December 8, 2016
The Unseen Misery of Christmas – “The pain of broken relationships is more real for people at Christmas than at any other time of the year. Even while we enjoy the company of others around the table, we remember those who are not with us, because they have died or are distant from us.”
How God Became a Man: What Jesus Did for Thirty Years – “The third Gospel …captures three decades of the most important human life in the history of the world in remarkably simple terms.”
Wednesday, December 7, 2016
Husband, Pray For Your Wife – “Husband, do you pray for your wife? Not just a few words here or there. But do you really pour out your soul to God in desperate pleadings, fervent cries, and intercessory petitions on behalf of your most treasured possession on earth, your bride?’
How to Celebrate Advent When 2016 Has Been the Worst - Advent reminds us to wait with expectancy.
Tuesday, December 6, 2016
The Disciple-Making Parent – This is a review of a book by the same title. Several great quotes are included in this article such as – “As parents it’s easy to assume that if we give our children the right ingredients, keep out the wrong ingredients, and put them in the right environment for the right amount of time, we are guaranteed a certain result. Parenting doesn’t work that way.”
‘Tis the Season of Reflection – John Maxwell writes, “I want to give you three areas in your life that you can look back on for 2016, in order to determine where you grew, where you need to grow, and how you can capitalize on both moving into 2017.”
The Identity Beneath Your Identities – “The wisest thing to do in an identity crisis is to put our trust in the Lord. When we do this we will not dry up in the heat, but we will get our nourishment from putting our roots deep down into the water of the gospel in Christ.”
Lord, Deliver Me from Distraction – “Since the fall of man, people have had trouble staying focused, but we live today in an age of unprecedented distraction. Since you’re already reading this on some electronic device, I don’t need to elaborate.”
Monday, December 5, 2016
Christmas Spirit or Christmas Snob – “The Christmas spirit does not shine out in the Christian snob. For the Christmas spirit is the spirit of those who, like their Master, live their whole lives on the principle of making themselves poor–spending and being spent–to enrich their fellow humans, giving time, trouble, care and concern, to do good to others–and not just their own friends–in whatever way there seems need.”
What So Many People Don’t Get About the U.S. Working Class – Another helpful article in understanding the past election.
Saturday, December 3, 2016
The Best Day of the Week – “If we’re to use it rightly and call the Sabbath a delight (Isaiah 58:13), we need to think about how we can cultivate that delight instead of dread in our children’s (and our own) hearts on the Lord’s Day. Here are eight ways we can help our children view Sunday as being the best day of the week…”
Your Church Needs to Hear You Sing – “If we see our singing as part of our personal ministry to others, it will shape how we approach music at church in practical ways. Here are four suggestions to help press the implications of Paul’s command into the corners of our worship.”
4 Suggestions for Post-Election Listening – “Talking to one another about our responses to the election is important if we want to be a church where all believers express the love of Christ toward one another. We have a great opportunity to grow in our ability to love our neighbors in the manner we love ourselves, so that the world might see the truth of Christ at work in us.”
Friday, December 2, 2016
Christ Came into the World – “For the suffering, Christmas seems to carry with it a sharp edge and a sour taste. When the pain feels unbearable, the relationship unchangeable, the grief immovable, and the disasters irreparable, what we need most isn’t relief; we need a Savior who can enter into our pain.”
Repenting of Hurry – “ Heavenly Father, the Advent theme of “waiting” confronts me in every context of life. Why am I in such a hurry? Why the rush? At just the right time, you sent Jesus. Not a day too early, and not a day too late…”