- The Real Meaning of Christmas. Stephen Nichols writes “Yet, this child was the Son of God incarnate. He was Immanuel, which translated means “God with us.” According to the Apostle Paul’s account, this infant created all things. This infant created His own manger. And this infant, this King, brings peace on earth, ultimate and permanent peace.”
- The Magnificat. “The people of God may be weak, but He is not. In this brief video clip, R.C. Sproul draws encouragement from Mary’s Magnificat, showing how this song of praise extols the power of God to establish His kingdom and overcome all His enemies.”
- Free Audiobook from Alistair Begg. The December free audiobook download from Christianaudio is a good one – Christmas Playlist: Four Songs That Bring You to the Heart of Christmas by Alistair Begg. Download your copy here.
- 3 Reasons Jesus is Our Only Hope. Paul Tripp writes “The Advent story is a hope story because it chronicles the coming to earth of the One who is hope, Jesus.”
- The Child of Prophesy. John MacArthur writes “The prophetic message of Christmas is the good news of God’s answer to all the confusion, chaos, complexities, and conflicts of life. It is the gift of the newborn infant who is also the Father of all eternity. He is an innocent child, yet He is a wise Counselor and mighty King. He is God with us. Immanuel.”
- Spurgeon Broke with His Puritan Heroes on Celebrating Christmas. Ray Rhodes Jr. shares quotes from Charles Spurgeon’s December 23, 1860 sermon from Job 1:4-5 titled, “A Merry Christmas.”
- Christmas Music from the Gettys. Keith and Kristyn Getty have released Irish Christmas Festival. “This collection of songs reflects the full spectrum of response we can have to Christmas, all inspired by the Celtic sounds and folk traditions of Keith and Kristyn Getty’s native Northern Ireland. From the yearning of a dark and broken world to be made new to the unstoppable foot-tapping joy that breaks into our lives with the Savior’s birth, these songs help us remember why Christmas matters. Hear the call to “come let us adore him,” be stirred by the classic Irish folk melodies, and join in the song of the ages: Christ the Savior is born.” Listen to it here.
- Songs of Hope: A TGC Advent Concert. Watch the Songs of Hope: A Gospel Coalition Advent Concert featuring artists Sandra McCracken, Keith and Kristyn Getty, Shane and Shane and many more.
Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles
- Called to Lead. My book Called to Lead: Living and Leading for Jesus in the Workplace is now available in both paperback and Kindle editions. Read a free sample (Introduction through Chapter 2).
- Help! I Feel Like a Failure. In addressing a question from a reader who feels like a failure, Greg Phelan writes “We can find hope in our failure because God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness.”
- 5 Things I Learned About Work from Working Remote. Daniel Darling writes that since working at home during the pandemic God has helped him see work in new ways.
- Five Foundational Ideas About Work Taught in the Bible. Hugh Whelchel shares five foundational ideas about work taught in the Bible. Understanding these five ideas will help us build a solid, Biblical view of work, vocation, and calling.
- Good Work and the Gift of a Hobby. Steve Lindsey writes “Hobbies can be a great option for many reasons, not the least of which is their overlooked ability to enhance our regular daily jobs.”
Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:
- More links to interesting articles
- The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
- My Review of Master of One: Find and Focus on the Work You Were Created to Do by Jordan Raynor
- Snippets from Os Guinness’ book “The Call: Finding and Fulfilling God’s Purpose For Your Life”
One of the books that I used for my devotional reading in 2019 was New Morning Mercies: A Daily Gospel Devotional by Paul Tripp. I really enjoyed the book, and earlier shared 25 Great Quotes from the First Half of New Morning Mercies. Here are 35 great quotes from the second half of the book:
- When you’re weary with the battle, remember that the One who is your strength never takes a break, never needs sleep, never grows weary.
- Perhaps it’s not such a bad thing to come to the end of your rope if at the end of your rope you find a strong and willing Savior.
- God will call you to do what you cannot do, but will provide everything you need to do it.
- Hope for the believer is not a dream of what could be, but a confident expectation of a guaranteed result that shapes his life.
- When nothing else or no one else in your life remains and is faithful, you can rest assured that God will be both.
- How could we ever fail to respond in mercy to others when we have been given mercy that is renewed with each new morning?
- Why do we resist serving one another when the Lord of all things willingly came and served us even to the point of his death?
- Remember, what is out of your control exists under the careful control of the One who is all-knowing, all-wise, all-good.
- If you’re God’s child, the gospel isn’t an aspect of your life, it is your life; that is, it is the window through which you look at everything.
- It is true that when Jesus takes up residence in us, everything in life changes. Nothing remains the same.
- Why fear when God has already given you, in Christ, everything you need to be what you’re supposed to be and to do what you’re called to do?
- Grace means that when God calls you, he goes with you, supplying what you need for the task at hand.
- Hope is more than wishing things will work out. It is resting in the God who holds all things in his wise and powerful hands.
- I may not understand what is happening and I may not know what is coming around the corner, but I know that God does and that he controls it all.
- When you have hope that is guaranteed, you live with confidence and courage that you would otherwise not have.
- He is just as faithful to all of his promises on your very worst day as he is on your very best day.
- You will face loss, trouble, and disappointment, but nothing has the power to separate you from your Redeemer’s unrelenting love.
- Corporate worship is designed to make you thankful, not just for possessions and accomplishments, but for what you’ve been given in Christ.
- The reality is that if we followed Jesus for a thousand years, we would need his grace as much for the next day as we did the first day that we believed.
- The God of glory and grace, who calls his people to do his will on earth, always goes with them as they obey his calling. He never sends without going too.
- We were created to work, and not just for the good of our own lives, but in willing and joyful submission to the One who created us.
- Until grace has completed its work, we will tend to find work more of a burden than a calling and a joy.
- The life we couldn’t live, he lived for us. The death we should have died, he died for us. The new life we need, he gives to us.
- Peace is found in trusting the person who controls all the things that you don’t understand and who knows no mystery because he has planned it all.
- If your faith does not reshape your life, it is not true faith.
- Corporate worship is designed to remind you of your identity in Christ so that you won’t waste your time looking for identity elsewhere.
- It’s so easy to forget that God loves and accepts you no less on your worst day than he does on your best day.
- He does not wait for us to come to him; he comes to us. It is the way of grace.
- Today you can give way to fear-producing “what-ifs” or rest in the sovereign care of your wise and gracious Savior King.
- Corporate worship is designed to keep you humble by reminding you of your need and thankful by reminding you of God’s gift.
- God hasn’t promised to deliver what you desire, but he has committed himself to meet every one of your needs.
- It is only when God is in his rightful place of rule in our hearts that people are in their appropriate place in our lives.
- Worship is the inescapable occupation of every human being. The question is not if we worship, but what we give our hearts to worship.
- It is only when God is in his rightful place in my heart that I desire to live in a way that pleases him.
- On your very worst day and on your very best day, you are blessed with pleasures that come right from the hand of God.
If you are looking for a good devotional book, check out Paul Tripp’s New Morning Mercies: A Gospel Devotional.
Over the past three years, my wife Tammy and I have read these three Advent devotionals to prepare our hearts to celebrate the birth of Jesus; we would commend them to you. Here is a brief review of each of them.
Come, Let Us Adore Him: A Daily Advent Devotional by Paul Tripp
This year, I’ve been enjoying Paul Tripp’s devotional New Morning Mercies: A Daily Gospel Devotional. In this 2017 book of daily Advent devotional readings, he writes that the Christmas story is the story of stories, but for some it suffers from our familiarity with it. He writes that when we are familiar with things, we tend not to celebrate them as we once did. Familiarity tends to rob us of our wonder. As a result, he writes that many of us aren’t gripped by the stunningly magnificent events and truths of the birth of Jesus anymore. Many of us are no longer gripped by wonder as we consider what this story tells us about the character and plan of God. And sadly, many of us are no longer humbled by what the incarnation of Jesus tells us about ourselves.
During the busy holiday season other things capture and control our hearts. When that happens however, little room remains for wonder and worship. He writes that familiarity often means that what is very important may no longer exercise important influence over us in the way it should. He tells us that he wrote this book with the hope and prayer that God would use it to recapture our attention and reactivate our awe. Continue reading
One of the books that I am using for my devotional reading this year is New Morning Mercies: A Daily Gospel Devotional by Paul Tripp. I’m really enjoying the book, and would like to share 25 of my favorite quotes through the first half of the year:
- God reminds us that this is not all there is, that we were created and re-created in Christ Jesus for eternity.
- Next time you face the unexpected, a moment of difficulty you really don’t want to go through, remember that such a moment doesn’t picture a God who has forgotten you, but one who is near to you and doing in you a very good thing.
- If you have been freed from needing success and acclaim to feel good about yourself, you know grace has visited you.
- Your hope is not to be found in your willingness and ability to endure, but in God’s unshakable, enduring commitment to never turn from his work of grace.
- Your hope of enduring is not to be found in your character or strength, but in your Lord’s.
- God will remain faithful even when you’re not, because his faithfulness rests on who he is, not on what you’re doing.
- Don’t be discouraged today. You can leave your “what-ifs” and “if-onlys” in the hands of the One who loves you and rules all things.
- There is no greater argument for our need for grace than the ease with which our hearts fall under the rule of things other than God.
- True lasting hope is never found horizontally. It’s only ever found vertically, at the feet of the Messiah, the One who is hope.
- Why tell yourself that you know what you need, when the One who created you knows better and has promised to deliver?
- All the glories of the created world together are meant to be one big finger that points you to the God of glory, who made each one of them and is alone able to give you life.
- You no longer have to hope and pray that someday you will measure up, because Jesus has measured up on your behalf. How could you hear better news than that?
- Sure, you’ll face difficulty. God is prying open your fingers so you’ll let go of your dreams, rest in his comforts, and take up his call.
- In grace, he leads you where you didn’t plan to go in order to produce in you what you couldn’t achieve on your own.
- God’s grace not only provides you with what you need, but also transforms you into what he in wisdom created you to be.
- Quit being paralyzed by your past. Grace offers you life in the present and a guarantee of a future.
- All of what I look back on and would like to redo has been fully covered by the blood of Jesus. I no longer need to carry the burden of the past on my shoulders, so I am free to fully give myself to what God has called me to in the here and now.
- He always gives freely what we need in order to do what he has called us to do.
- Prayer is abandoning my reliance on me and running toward the rest that can be found only when I rely on the power of God.
- Rest is only ever found in trusting the One who has everything figured out for your good and his glory.
- There aren’t two things in all of life more important than these—that grace has purchased for you a place in God’s family and that, because you are in his family, God rules over all things for your good.
- You and I will never find inner peace and rest by trying to figure it all out. Peace is found in resting in the wisdom and grace of the One who has it all figured out and rules it all for his glory and our good.
- When he calls, he goes with you. What he calls you to do, he empowers by his grace.
- We don’t obey to get his favor; we obey because his favor has fallen on us and transformed our hearts, giving us the willingness and power to obey.
- Only grace can cause you and me to abandon our confidence in our own performance and place our confidence in the perfectly acceptable righteousness of Jesus Christ.
If you are looking for a good devotional book, check out Paul Tripp’s New Morning Mercies: A Gospel Devotional.
Rescuing Christmas: The Search for Joy that Lasts by Carl Laferton. The Good Book Company. 66 pages. 2017
The author tells us that while Christmas is a day of great enjoyment for many, sometimes he just finds himself wanting to get through Christmas day intact. Face it, the Christmas season can be both joyful and stressful. Christmas can also be a very sad time, reminding you of who you’ve lost or who you’ve never had, or of what you’d hoped to achieve or change this year but never did. Perhaps this year for a very good reason you’re simply trying to “get through Christmas”. In this short book, the author asks us to imagine whether Christmas could be rescued from the stress or sadness of just getting through Christmas. He asks us to imagine a joy that lasts and endures past Christmas. He tells us that indeed, Christmas does offer that kind of joy. He tells us that the people who experienced the first Christmas and understood its meaning found a joy that did not fade, and we can as well.
The author writes that if we get the meaning of the first Christmas this Christmas season, then we will get the feeling of joy, and find that it is a feeling that lasts. That’s the aim of this book, in which he focuses primarily on what happened after Jesus was born in Bethlehem.
He tells us about the Magi who came from the east to Judea. He states that the gifts they gave to the Christ child tell us why the meaning of Christmas can be summed up in the word “rescue”. He tells us that the gift of gold tells us what we are rescued from. The gift of frankincense tells us what we are rescued for. And the gift of myrrh tells us what we are rescued by. The author writes that these gifts tell you everything you need to get the message of Christmas, and to feel overjoyed by the message of Christmas, just as the Magi did.
The author states that we are rescued from our rejection of God, we are rescued for relationship with God, and we are rescued by the death of God’s son Jesus. He tells us that when we understand that the meaning of Christmas is rescue – a rescue from our rejection of God, a rescue for relationship with God, a rescue by the death of God – then we begin to see that true joy is found not in getting to Christmas, or in getting through Christmas, but in getting Christmas—in grasping its meaning and experiencing its feeling.
This small book is priced such that you can buy multiple copies to give to friends and family, and I would encourage you to do just that this Christmas season. Continue reading