Advent Reflections: Anticipating All of Jesus During Advent

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Today’s advent post is by Scott James, an elder at The Church at Brook Hills and the author of the advent devotional, The Expected One. Scott serves in the children and youth ministries at Brook Hills and is passionate about helping families grow together in Christ. 

For many people, the weeks leading up to Christmas serve as a rich time of spiritual reflection. The glorious truth of Jesus’ first advent—or coming—is certainly a worthy subject to meditate upon, especially during this time of year. In keeping with the spirit of the season, a common tendency is to focus our devotions exclusively on the nativity scene. But the incarnation is not intended to be viewed with tunnel vision. The glory of the nativity shines brightest when it is held within the larger context of redemptive history.

As we allow the whole counsel of Scripture to guide our devotional thoughts during the Advent season, we see that this holistic view of the incarnation is exactly what God communicated to his people from the beginning. Every Christmas, those excellent Old Testament prophecies pointing directly to the birth of Jesus are highlighted and celebrated (and rightly so!), but if we look further we’ll also see that God’s promises concerning his son were much more extensive:

“God didn’t just promise His people that a miracle child would be born. He also promised that this Child would grow up to be the loving Shepherd of His people, the place-switching Sacrifice, the resurrected Lord, and the righteous King who reigns in glory forever.”

The Expected One

The Old Testament is full of signs, types, shadows, and outright proclamations that come together to paint a multi-faceted picture of the person and work of Christ. By celebrating his birth in conjunction with these wonderful truths, we will appreciate it all the more. On the other hand, if we compartmentalize the truth of the incarnation we will actually diminish its brilliance. The nativity is best celebrated when found in the shadow of the cross. [Click to tweet!]

This Christmas, may your time in the Word lead you to dwell richly on the many promises that God gave concerning his son, the Messiah. By keeping the larger scope of Christ’s redemptive work in mind, you’ll find your heart better prepared to celebrate his miraculous birth for all that it’s worth.

Ultimately, the anticipation that is so readily brought to the surface during Advent reminds us that we are not merely concerned with redemptive history; we also eagerly await a redemptive future:

“There is yet another promise: this King is coming back for His people! As we celebrate the first coming of the Expected One during Advent, let’s also look forward in hopeful anticipation of His second coming. Let’s keep in mind the whole picture of who Jesus is, worshiping Him as the fulfillment of all of God’s promises to us, ‘For every one of God’s promises is “Yes” in Him’ (2 Cor. 1:20).”

The Expected One

***

Italicized portions excerpted from The Expected One: Anticipating All of Jesus in the Advent by Scott James (B&H Publishing Group, 2014)

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Today Only: Get 76% Off the John F. MacArthur Bundle

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Today we have another 24 Days of Vyrso deal! We’ve already had some amazing discounts this week and will have even more as we countdown to Christmas. For day 11, we have the John F. MacArthur bundle filled with ebooks by popular speaker and President of The Master’s College and Seminary, John F. MacArthur, Jr. These three ebooks offer the basics of what a Christian life is all about, daily applications for key spiritual foundations, and 12 landmark messages from Pastor John MacArthur.

We’re offering three ebooks for just $9.99—that’s 76% off!

The John F. MacArthur Bundle

Our Awesome God by John F. MacArthur, Jr.

Packed with Scripture references and day-to-day applications, this fascinating book points out our misconceptions, allowing us to witness the awesomeness of God through the eyes of the prophets, kings, mighty men of faith and God’s own son, Jesus Christ. It lifts the cultural blinders from our eyes so that we may see God for who he really is—in the fullness of his majesty and grace.

Building Your Leadership Resume: Developing the Legacy that Will Outlast You by John F. MacArthur, Jr.

In this book, Pastor John MacArthur thoroughly explores a multitude of biblical passages to reveal the riches of God in Jesus Christ—riches that will help us continue growing in both faith and spirit. This noted pastor and author takes readers back to the basics of what the true Christian life is all about, so that they can unlock the treasures God has for them in Christ.

Truth Endures: Landmark Sermons from Forty Years of Unleashing God’s Truth One Verse at a Time by John F. MacArthur, Jr.

Truth Endures commemorates that lifelong focus by bringing together 12 of MacArthur’s classic sermons, including “The Simple Gospel,” “The Purpose of Trials,” “Jesus’ Death Shows Us How to Live,” and “Making Hard Decisions.” MacArthur’s veteran years of ministry experience shine through in each Bible-centered sermon. 40 years in the making, Truth Endures is a landmark volume that will be prized by MacArthur readers everywhere. This collection of 12 landmark messages from Pastor John MacArthur provides a glimpse of the legacy of his lifelong ministry.

Get the John F. MacArthur Bundle for only $9.99. Download this bundle today—this offer expires tonight (December 11) at 11:59 p.m. (EST).

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Today Only: Get 77% Off the Professional Growth Bundle

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Today we have another 24 Days of Vyrso deal! We’ve already had some amazing discounts this week and will have even more as we countdown to Christmas. For day five, we have the Professional Growth Bundle aimed at helping you make an impact in the marketplace. These three ebooks offer advice on church and business leadership, lessons from leaders in the Bible, and how to serve in ministry and the marketplace.

We’re offering three ebooks for just $6.99—that’s 77% off!

Professional Growth Bundle

 

Leading from the Lion’s Den by Tom R. Harper

Leading From the Lion’s Den is a leadership manual , drawing on principles from each of the Bible’s 66 books. Author Tom R. Harper unpacks leadership concepts on conflict management, motivation, planning, psychology, passion, relationship-building, and more—all drawn from the Bible.

Building Your Leadership Resume: Developing the Legacy that Will Outlast You by Johnny Hunt

Hunt presents wisdom-focused lessons about investing in people, earning respect, living intentionally, daring to dream, and being courageous. Each five-to-six page entry guides readers toward becoming a selfless leader whose impact on others can be immediately rewarding as well as eternally significant.

God in the Marketplace by Henry & Richard Blackaby

Blackaby believes that just as Jesus had businessmen among his original disciples, so may God be calling out businesspeople today in preparation for a worldwide spiritual revival. This ebook will help businesspeople better understand what the Bible says about integrating their Christian faith with their work lives, and provide biblical answers to common, yet difficult, questions that are often raised for Christians at work.

Get the Professional Growth Bundle for only $7.99. Download this bundle today—this offer expires tonight at 11:59 p.m. (EST).

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Parenting Rule: Get on Your Knees and Make a Batch of Cookies

Parenting Rules

Today’s guest post is by Ryan O’Quinn actor, comedian, and author of the new ebook, Parenting Rules! His family-friendly, everyman approach to comedy gives him a unique voice to say exactly what most people are thinking. You can get his Parenting Rules! exclusively on Vyrso for just $2.99 through Thursday, December 4.

I was upstairs working in my home office when a blood-curling scream came from downstairs.

As a parent to small kids you hear screams all day long and shortly into parenthood you learn to distinguish the difference between “good screams” and “bad screams.” The good ones have about the same high pitch frequency as the bad ones but laughs and giggles will soon follow. The bad ones mean it’s time to stop what you are doing immediately and race to the scene of the soon-to-be crime to prevent bodily harm.

When I heard the scream, my brain did that Terminator-like thing where it paused, processed the volume, pitch and frequency of the noise coming from the four-year-old and decided it was time to run. It was there at the base of the stairs that I assessed the problem. The five-year-old was holding nothing above her head. Yes, you read that correctly. She was standing with her hand poised above her head holding absolutely nothing with a defiant smirk on her face while her younger sister begged for what she had in her empty hand.

Following some quick interrogation I learned that the older sibling did indeed possess something valuable . . . invisible cookies!

It’s this point in the story I shall reveal one of my parenting rules—you must always approach parenting with a sense of humor. In my book, Parenting Rules! The Hilarious Handbook for Surviving Parenthood I describe 150 rules you can count on happening to you as a parent. The things we do as parents often make absolutely no sense whatsoever. You get so accustomed to the insanity you often don’t realize just how ridiculous it is.

Well, that’s why I’m here. To remind you that, yes, it is crazy and that you are not alone! Time is one thing that we parents rarely have. But once in a while you just have to stop, evaluate the whole situation, and laugh about it.

Back to the story. My five-year-old ran the opposite direction with the invisible cookie. The four-year-old chased her down, tackled her, took the cookie and ran the other way. The older girl caught her, pinned her down and took it back. It was then that dad finally intervened.

I screamed, “Stop! Daddy will make more cookies!” Both girls looked up wide-eyed and waited patiently while I got on my knees in front of them and whipped up a baker’s dozen, doling out six to one kid, six to the other, and saving the last gooey, hot, delicious nothing for myself.

The almighty God of the universe created laughter and joy. He knows that it’s OK to pause and shake our heads at the crazy things we do as parents.

It’s normal to get on your knees to pray for your children that they would know him in a powerful way. It’s also normal to get on your knees to make a batch of invisible cookies to establish some peace in your household . . . at least for another five minutes!

Read more parenting stories, tips, and rules in Parenting Rules! by Ryan O’Quinn for just $2.99!

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Advent Reflections: God’s Government in Your Marriage

God's Government in Your Marriage

Today we’re starting a new advent series on the blog leading up to Christmas day. Our aim is to help you focus on Jesus throughout the busy Christmas season. Gary Thomas, author of many marriage books, will kick off our series with an Old Testament Christmas prophecy. 

The Bible is so powerful that one phrase can feed a hungry soul for days. The way God weaves words to nourish our spirits is truly astounding.

I thought of this when I came across a familiar passage used to celebrate Christmas, an Old Testament prophecy that speaks of the future Messiah. “There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace,” (Isaiah 9:7).

There is so much hope here for marriages and families. Let me explain.

God’s “government” is his rule, his sustaining influence and providential work over our lives and this world. Isaiah reminds us that this rule will never end. God, unlike a politician, doesn’t have to get re-elected. We’ll never see him standing behind a podium giving a concession speech. His words are eternal, forever binding. No one can vote him out of office and undo one of his decrees. We need never fear the veto or rule of another.

It’s not just God’s government that will never end, it’s the increase of his government that will never end. God’s government, his rule, spreads. That’s what it does, by nature, and it can’t be stopped. So, if you’re praying for a lost spouse or lost child, be comforted in knowing that the nature of God’s reign is to increase. It never stops increasing. You can have great hope that there is always room for one more soul to bow down and recognize God as Lord. There is no “quota,” no limit to which God’s authority is confined.

This promise gave me hope to write A Lifelong Love: What If Marriage Is About More Than Just Staying Together?If God’s government (his rule and influence) is on the increase, then my marriage doesn’t have to stay where it is. Allowing him to be the builder and re-builder of my marriage, we can submit ourselves to him and say, “Lord, we tried building a marriage and family our way, without you, or limiting you. It didn’t work. Will you take over? We submit to your rule and your influence.”

I was challenged by Jeremiah 31:4 where God promises Israel, “I will build you and you will be rebuilt.” Could this work for a dead or dying marriage? Or even just a stagnant marriage?

Yes, it can. When God’s influence increases in our lives through worship, through one or both marriage partners growing in their understanding and practice of love, and in submitting ourselves to intentionally follow through on our vows made before God, marriages can be and are being remade, renewed, refreshed and strengthened. In short, it’s about putting our marriages under God’s reign, influence, and government.

In other words, what many marriages need is to get more into God so that the couple can get more into each other.

Christmas marks God breaking into this world in a dramatic fashion. Experiencing the increase of his government is about opening up our marriages to receive more of God—we surrender to the increase of God’s government instead of our own selfishness; we surrender to God’s aim and purpose instead of our own desires; we recognize the daily authority of God’s presence over our words, our thoughts, and actions toward each other.

Marriage is about far more than just staying together—it’s about sharing God together, enjoying God together, growing in God together, and when we do that, the affection we feel for each other, the joy we have in each other, constitutes not just a lifelong marriage, but a lifelong love.

There is great security, peace, joy, and hopeful expectation when we surrender our relationships to God’s government. God didn’t come merely to save—He came to rule. And He wants to rule in and through you, beginning with your marriage.

Drink deeply of God’s reign this Christmas season. Feast on the security that God is in charge, and not just in charge, but in eternal charge. [Click to tweet!] When you return from this meditation to reconsider your family and marriage, you just might live with a lighter spirit. You’re not in this alone. You never have been, and you never need to be.

 

You can get many of Gary Thomas’ ebooks on Vyrso, including his bestseller Sacred Marriage and the newly-released A Lifelong Love: What if Marriage is about More Than Just Staying Together?

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Start Saving with the 24 Days of Vyrso!

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The 24 Days of Vyrso is back! We’re counting down to Christmas with a new 24-hour ebook bundle deal each day through December 24. Be sure to check Vyrso.com to stay up-to-date on new ebook bundle releases.

Day 1: save over $55 on The Wiersbe Bible Study bundle

We’re starting off the 24 Days of Vyrso with one of our best-priced bundles: the Wiersbe Bible Study bundle is just $13.99—that’s over 80% off!

Written in a personal, easy-to-understand style, join Dr. Warren Wiersbe, trusted pastor and respected Bible teacher, as he leads you on a journey to opening your mind and heart to the riches of God. Encounter the powerful messages of James’ letter to the church, Daniel’s resolution to be disciplined in prayer and diplomacy, and Peter’s encounter with the hope and grace found in Jesus. In the Wiersbe Bible Study bundle, you’ll get eight ebooks from Warren Wiersbe on the following books of the Bible:

  • Job
  • Daniel
  • Ephesians
  • Philippians
  • 1 & 2 Timothy
  • Hebrews
  • James
  • 1 Peter

For only 24 hours, get eight Wiersbe Bible Study ebooks for just $13.99 when you bundle and save with the 24 Days of Vyrso! Don’t wait, this bundle is only available until 11:59 p.m. (EST).

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7 Cyber Monday Ebook Picks From Vyrso

Cyber Monday on Vyrso

Cyber Monday marks the end of Vyrso’s weekend-long deals, but there’s still time to stock up on ebooks at great prices! Vyrso’s Cyber Monday sale is full of freebies, discounts, and an exclusive ebook bundle.

Need some recommendations on ebooks deals to download? Here are a few staff picks from Vyrso’s Cyber Monday sale:

The Façade The Portent bundle by Michael S. Heiser

 If you’re a fan of sci-fi, you’ll love The Façade and The Portent. Ancient-language scholar Michael Heiser combines sci-fi and historical fact to bring you a series packed with thrills, centuries-old conspiracies, UFOs, and biblical theology. Today only, you can get the entire series for just $2.99!

Crazy Busy: A (Mercifully) Short Book About a (Really) Big Problem  by Kevin DeYoung

“I’m too busy.” We’ve all heard it, we’ve all said it. In this ebook, Kevin DeYoung rejects the “busyness as usual” mindset, arguing that a life of constant chaos is far from what God intends. Get Crazy Busy for $5.99.

Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room by Nancy Gunthrie

This daily devotional will lead you through a short reading every day in December to help you fight the busyness of the holiday season and focus on God’s promise—Jesus. The ebook devotional is free through December 1.

What Happens When Women Say Yes to God: Experiencing Life in Extraordinary Ways by Lysa TerKeurst

Lysa TerKeurst, author of The Best Yes and president of Proverbs 31 Ministries, explores how honoring God produces a life of joy and purpose. When we say “yes” to God, we have a changed outlook on life, busyness, expectation, and more. This ebook is just $1.99 through December 1!

Splashing in Puddles: How to Be a Father to Your Daughter by David B. Van Heemst

Author David B. Van Heemst details what a father must do in order to give his daughter strong foundations in Christ. Drawing from his personal experience as a dad to five daughters, Van Heemst shows how fathers have a crucial role in developing a daughter’s relationship with God, herself, and others. Splashing in Puddles is $1.99 through December 1!

Mountain Man: Keepin’ a Slow Profile by Tim Guraedy (aka “Mountain Man”)

You might know Tim Guraedy (aka Mountain Man) from the A&E series “Duck Dynasty.” Whether or not you’re a fan of the show, this ebook is a good reminder to slow down and put faith first. Mountain Man discusses the importance of taking time to talk with others on a deeper level, helping those in need, eating together with your family, and staying positive when life is hard. Get this Cyber Monday exclusive for $1.99 through December 1.

Worldview by Greg Laurie

Everyone has a worldview. Worldviews determine almost everything about our lives—from morality to money to marriage to how you’ll vote in the next election. Greg Laurie unpacks what it means to have a biblical worldview, absolute truth in an age of moral relativism, and how to navigate today’s challenges to lead you into an eternity of joy. Get this ebook for free through December 1.

Want to see more Cyber Monday deals? Check out the rest of Vyrso’s Cyber Monday sale for exclusive deals, freebies, and ebook bundles.

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There’s Still Time to Get Black Friday Deals

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As we progress into Black Friday weekend, there’s still time to take advantage of huge savings. All weekend long, you’ll find ways to save—and build your digital library—with exclusive freebies, discounted ebook bundles, and over 100 titles under $3.99! One of the best ways you can save on ebooks this weekend is with our exclusive ebook bundles. While we love every hand-picked bundle, we’ve selected five of our favorites that we think you’ll love:

Ed Stetzer on Church Growth

These four ebooks from Ed Stetzer look at how churches form, transform, and grow.

You’ll get:

  • Comeback Churches
  • Transformational Church
  • Transformational Groups
  • The Mission of Today’s Church

Get all four ebooks for $9.99—that’s 76% off! Add this bundle to your cart right now!

Faith in the Family

Learn about nurturing faith in your family with this ebook bundle!

You’ll get three titles:

  • Family Driven Faith by Voddie T. Baucham Jr.
  • Family Vocation by Gene Edward Veith Jr. & Mary J. Moerbe
  • Adopted for Life by Russel D. Moore

Get three titles for $7.99. Add this bundle to your cart, right now!

The Greatest Stories Ever Told Series

This three-volume bundle depicts some of the greatest stories told in the Bible. Get immersed in the lives of men and women who wrestled with mountain-sized dilemmas, life-shattering tragedies, and stunning opportunities. Get all three volumes of The Greatest Stories Ever Told for $4.99Add this bundle to your cart right now!

An Introduction to the New Testament

Get 15 ebooks from Kay Arthur’s Inductive Study Series on the New Testament for just $32.99! You’ll be able to observe, interpret, and apply the gospel’s message with the help of these inductive studies. Each ebook is filled with daily exercises and tools to help you note key words, list important insights, and reflections on the text. Add this bundle to your cart right now!

The Power of Prayer

Understand the power of prayer and lead a dynamic prayer life with the help of this ebook bundle.

You’ll get:

  • History Makers by Dutch Sheets & Williams L. Ford, III
  • Praying with Authority by Barbra Wentroble
  • Secrets of a Prayer Warrior by Derek Prince

Get all three ebooks for $10.99—that’s 75% off! Add this bundle to your cart right now!

 

 You won’t find these ebook bundles anywhere else. Take a look at the rest of our exclusive ebook bundles during Black Friday weekend!

 

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Black Friday Roundup: Exclusive Freebies, Bundles, and Huge Discounts All Weekend!

Vyrso's Black Friday

Black Friday deals have arrived! Through December 1, get free ebooks, discounted bundles, big savings, and more!

Here’s a roundup of all the deals you’ll find on Vyrso:

Exclusive Freebies

All weekend long, we’re offering free ebooks by some of today’s leading Christian authors. You can get an advent devotional by Robert Morgan, a Christmas novel by Melody Carlson, and more!

Here are some of our exclusive free ebooks you can download today:

Check out all the other freebies available during Black Friday weekend!

Discounted Ebook Bundles

Save over 75% on ebook bundles from some of your favorite Christian authors. Through Cyber Monday, save on these hand-picked bundles:

Ebooks for $3.99 or Less

Save big on over 100 titles, including:

 

Get huge savings all weekend long with Vyrso’s Black Friday discounts!

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Save Over 75% on 30 ebooks from David C. Cook

David C. Cook Bundle

The David C. Cook bundle gives you 30 ebooks for more than 75% off. That’s right. 30 ebooks from authors like John C. Maxwell, Leonard Sweet, David Frost, and more for over 75% off.

Here are four reasons this bundle should be on your holiday shopping list:

1. You’ll save over 75%.
Black Friday is coming up, but you don’t have to wait to get a great deal! Normally you’d be spending over $450 for the 30 ebooks in the David C. Cook bundle, but at over 75% off, you’re saving $367.73. How many times can you say you bought anything for 75% off, let alone 30 books? Plus, with all that you save, you’ll have plenty left over to hit the rest of your list.

2. You’ll get insights and guidance from some of today’s best authors.
LeRoy Eims gives you tools for professional growth, John C. Maxwell shares his expertise on leadership and relationships, and Leonard Sweet equips you for spiritual growth. These are just a few of the many authors—see the rest.

3. You’ll spend less on books than coffee.
With the David C. Cook bundle you’re spending approximately $3.33 on each ebook. That’s less than what the average drink costs at Starbucks ($4–$5). Instead of lattes, get 30 ebooks that you can read and reference for years to come. The David C. Cook bundle costs less than a month of ordering a “grande, triple-shot, four pump, extra-hot, extra-foam, gingerbread latte,” and what you learn can last far longer.

4. You’ll never see this deal again.
The David C. Cook ebook bundle is only available until December 1. When it’s gone, it’s gone for good. Right now, these 30 ebooks are $99.97. After December 1, these popular titles will go their separate ways and be back to their individual prices.

5. You’ll get it right now.
When you purchase the bundle, you download it, and it’s yours. All 30 books. Instantly. No crowds of people. No lines to wait in. And you still get an amazing deal.

Get 30 ebooks for over 75% off with the David C. Cook bundle! Hurry, deal ends December 1.

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