Discounted Titles on Discipleship

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This week we’re discussing discipleship—you’ll have the opportunity to hear from some top authors on what discipleship means in the context of Lent. We have a discipleship bundle for men that’s just $12.99 (learn more here.)

There are also a handful of individual titles that you can get for 50% off or more for a limited time during Lent:

Apprenticeship with Jesus: Learning to Live Like the Master by Gary W. Moon—get it for 99 cents!

In this winsome book, Moon provides a 30-day apprenticeship with Jesus, where readers will actively practice being with Jesus day in and day out. Each day’s reading uses compelling stories and scripture to illustrate a point and closes with a suggested apprenticeship activity.

Get this ebook for 99 cents through March 7 at 11:59 p.m. (EST).

 

Loving God with All Your Mind: Thinking as a Christian in the Postmodern World by Gene Edward Veith Jr.—get it for just $7.00!

Loving God with All Your Mind shows us that the answer is neither wholesale rejection of intellectual life and culture, nor blind acceptance of it. The answer lies in understanding that Jesus is Lord of all of life and that everything in life must be carefully viewed in the light of what Christ’s lordship means. Gene Edward Veith unfolds a dazzling critique of the postmodern intellectual world and culture. He affirms the part that is good and true, but he also shows crucial weaknesses that have such a hold over contemporary thought. This book shows Christians how to survive and flourish in a postmodern world while affirming the truth of the Christian faith.

Get this ebook discounted through March 8 at 11:59 p.m. (EST).

 

Disciple Making Is. . . : How to Live the Great Commission with Passion and Confidence by Dave Early and Rod Dempsey—get it for just $6.00!

Grounded on a solid biblical foundation, authors Dave Earley and Rod Dempsey—both veterans of one-on-one, collegiate, small group, and local church discipleship—share their practical insights on how to best reproduce reproducers of Christ’s message.

Get this ebook discounted through March 8 at 11:59 p.m. (EST).

 

Breaking the Discipleship Code: Becoming a Missional Follower of Jesus by David Putman—get it for just $5.00!

Breaking the Discipleship Code, written by Putman with a foreword fromEd Stetzer, opens the door to a greater understanding of what it means to personally be a missional follower of Jesus in relation to every aspect of our changing world. Balancing cultural relevance with biblical faithfulness, the book invites ordinary believers, whether on Wall Street or in a Waffle House, next door or across the ocean, to begin having an extraordinary spiritual impact in their unique context.

Get this ebook discounted through March 8 at 11:59 p.m. (EST).

 

The Master’s Plan for Making Disciples: Every Christian an Effective Witness Through an Enabling Church by Charles and Win Arn—get it for $8.00!

The Master’s Plan for Making Disciples contends that individual Christians should focus on disciple-making as a part of their lifestyle, sharing their faith naturally within their own network of friends and relatives. After articulating principles for making disciples, the authors offer ideas for reaching friends and family, insights on how congregations can support evangelism, and suggestions for more effective incorporation of new converts into the church community.

Get this ebook discounted through March 8 at 11:59 p.m. (EST).

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Lent Devotional: Exalting Jesus in 1 & 2 Thessalonians

exalting-jesus-in-1-and-2-thessalonians

I believe that practicing discipline in our spiritual devotion causes a natural overflow of life into every aspect of our lives. Today’s post is an excerpt from Exalting Jesus in 1 & 2 Thessalonians edited by Mark Howell—which analyzes Paul’s letter to the Thessalonian church. We’ll be diving deep into a small portion of 2 Thessalonians 3 in today’s excerpt. Before we dive in, I’d like to mention that through Friday, March 6, at 11:59 p.m. (EST) you can get Exalting Jesus in 1 & 2 Thessalonians for just $2.99, exclusively on Vyrso. 

2 THESSALONIANS 3:6-10

In his letter to the Colossian church Paul sets forth an all-encompassing pattern for how Christians should conduct their lives:

Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men, knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord. You serve the Lord Christ. (Col 3:23-24)

Because Christ’s followers aim to please Him, they seek to live their lives and do their work with passion and excellence. Christians will thus be guided by a different set of convictions about why they work and a different standard for how they do their work.

Although Paul previously taught the Thessalonians these things, some in the fellowship had failed to take his instruction to heart. Even a cursory reading of this passage reveals Paul’s deep concern for how their poor work ethic was reflecting on the Lord and His church. As this passage vividly illustrates, Paul had little tolerance for lazy Christians. He tackles this matter head on by drawing their attention to two reasons why they should avoid laziness: the traditions they received and the example he set.

 

Be Informed by the Truth (2 Thess 3:6,10)

“The tradition” refers specifically to Paul’s previous teaching on the subject of work. In his first letter Paul gave them the following instruction:

But we encourage you, brothers . . . to seek to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, so that you may walk properly in the presence of outsiders and not be dependent on anyone. (1 Thess 4:10-12)

Considering the profound theological instruction found in the Thessalonian letters, we might wonder why Paul would devote such a significant amount of time on the mundane idea of work. For Paul, Christianity was worthless unless it found its way into the fabric of life. How the church lived said much about what the church believed. If we take God’s Word seriously, then we will take it to work with us. That is, how we do our work will reflect on the One we claim to worship.

So adamant is Paul that Christians should lead by their example that he reminds them of his previous injunction: “If anyone isn’t willing to work, he should not eat” (3:10). His use of the imperfect tense of the verb indicates the repetitiveness with which he previously issued this command. In the strongest words possible, Paul wishes to persuade the irresponsible Thessalonians to go to work. Those who refuse this directive must be subject to the discipline of the church.

 

Be Challenged by the Example of Others (2 Thess 3:7-10)

Added to their reluctance to heed Paul’s instruction was their unwillingness to learn from his example. With confidence that his life was patterned after God’s standard for how to live and work, Paul challenged the Thessalonians to “imitate” him (3:7,9). Morris notes the significance of such a claim:

No preaching of the gospel can ever be really effective unless the life of the preacher is such as to commend the message. Those who hear must feel that they are listening to one whose life shows his sincerity and the power of the message he brings. (Morris, First and Second, 254)

The Greek philosopher Aristotle described the preacher’s trustworthiness, sincerity, and credibility as ethos (Rhetoric and Poetics, 1356a, 1–21). The audience’s receptivity to a message is closely connected to the credibility of the one who shares the message. Paul makes clear to the Thessalonians that his credibility is not in doubt, and he appeals to their personal observation of his life to back this up:

For you yourselves know how you must imitate us: We were not irresponsible among you; we did not eat anyone’s food free of charge; instead, we labored and struggled, working night and day, so that we would not be a burden to any of you. (3:7-8)

In other words, Paul recognized the vital importance for the matching of his life with his words.

Avoid the temptation to move past these words too quickly. There exists today an unhealthy sense of entitlement among many who claim to be called to serve as ministers in God’s church. All too often, before considering a new pastorate, the first question many pastors ask is, “What’s in it for me?” While churches have a responsibility to care for those who serve (1 Tim 5:17; 1 Cor 9:3-14), those who are called to lead the church can learn much from Paul’s example. Paul, Silas, and Timothy provided for their own needs and at the same time poured their lives into the Thessalonians. Their willingness to support themselves and thus not to burden the church reveals much about the depth of their love for God’s people. One could imagine their diligent work at their jobs during the day and passionate preaching of the gospel at night. It is no wonder that Paul notes how they “labored and struggled” to keep from being a burden to the church (3:8). Such a commitment had to be exhausting. To have more concern for the people to whom they preached and the message they were charged to proclaim than for their own welfare reveals much about the character and integrity of these men.

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Get Exalting Jesus in 1 & 2 Thessalonians for $2.99 today! We’ve also discounted Exalting Jesus in Song of Songs for $2.99 through through Friday March 6 at 11:59 p.m. (EST).

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Lent Devotional: An Excerpt from “Revealing Christ”

revealing-christ-a-40-day-prayer-journey-for-lent

Today’s post is an excerpt from Revealing Christ: A 40-Day Prayer Journey for Lent by Charisma House. Based on insights and teaching from classic men and women of God, such as William J. Seymour, John G. Lake, Smith Wigglesworth, and others, Revealing Christ is focused on helping you find new revelations of Christ’s suffering and sacrifice, and his life, death, and resurrection. Through February 25 you can download this devotional for just $4.99.

 

THE BAPTISM OF A CLEAN HEART

 

Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness.

[Luke 4:1, MEV]

Jesus is our example. Upon His clean heart, the baptism fell. We find in reading the Bible that the baptism with the Holy Ghost and fire falls on a clean, sanctified life. For we see, according to the Scriptures, that Jesus was filled with wisdom and favor with God and man before God anointed Him with the Holy Ghost and power. For in Luke 2:40, we read, “[Jesus] waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.” Then in Luke 2:52, “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.”

After Jesus was empowered with the Holy Ghost at Jordan, He returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee, and there went out a fame of Him through all the region round about. He was not any more holy or any more meek but had greater authority: “And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all” (Luke 4:15).

Beloved, if Jesus, who was God Himself, needed the Holy Ghost to empower Him for His ministry and His miracles, how much more do we children need the Holy Ghost baptism today. Oh, that men and women would tarry for the baptism with the Holy Ghost and fire upon their souls!

—William J. Seymour

POINTS TO PONDER

Jesus was empowered by the Holy Spirit for ministry. Below is a list of the ways Luke’s Gospel says He was empowered by the Spirit.

Jesus was . . .

• Conceived by the Spirit (Luke 1:35)

• Descended upon by the Spirit (Luke 3:22)

• Filled with the Spirit (Luke 4:1)

• Led by the Spirit (Luke 4:1)

• Empowered by the Spirit (Luke 4:14)

• Anointed by the Spirit (Luke 4:18)

• Filled with the Spirit’s joy (Luke 10:21)

What Spirit empowerments have you experienced in your own Christian walk? How have you seen the Spirit at work in your life previously?

Are you doing anything in your life to hinder the Spirit right now?

How do you desire the Spirit to touch your life right now?

PRAY . . .

God, cleanse my heart with Your fire, that I may receive the baptism of Your Spirit. Amen.

 

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3 Resources to Help You Read the Bible During Lent

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Getting into the Bible on a regular basis can be a difficult habit to start. If you don’t have a daily Bible reading habit, starting and committing yourself to reading your Bible on a daily basis will be a valuable building block for your spiritual health this year.

If you’re intent on starting a new discipline of reading or studying the Bible during Lent, here are three resources to help get you started:

  • Visit everydaybible.com (or download the app) for a daily devotional and Bible reading plan that covers the entire Bible in one year. Accompanying the study are inspirational pieces of Bible artwork depicting a daily verse. You can share the artwork with your friends, save it as a background on your phone, or as an image on your desktop.
  •  Download the Logos Bible app or the Faithlife Study Bible and subscribe to a daily reading plan or devotional. You can even set up notifications to get a daily reminder if you need the extra reminder to read the Bible when life starts getting busy.
  •  Start a Lent devotional from a list of incredible authors like Charles R. Swindoll, Sue Mink, and Donna E. Schaper. Going through a set devotional this season of Lent is a great way to stay committed to daily study and reflecting on the life, death, and resurrection of Christ.

Personally, I love having a smartphone being able to access my Bible anywhere I go. Even with the demands of work, church, and family, I can take a few minutes in the morning, during lunch, or in between meetings to have an ongoing time of devotion.

How are you planning on being intentional with your Bible study this Lenten season?

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An Ash Wednesday Devotional

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Today is Ash Wednesday, marking the first day of Lent. To help you prepare for this season, we’ve pulled an excerpt from Lexham Press’ ebook 40 Days to the Cross a devotional edited by Jessi Strong and Rebecca Van Noord. If you’re still looking for a devotional to read during Lent you can get 40 Days to the Cross on sale for just $4.95 through February 28.

Ash Wednesday

Confession: Psalm 51:1–4

Be gracious to me, O God, according to your loyal love.

According to your abundant mercies,

blot out my transgressions.

Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,

and from my sin cleanse me.

For I myself know my transgressions,

and my sin is ever before me.

Against you, only you, I have sinned

and have done this evil in your eyes,

so that you are correct when you speak,

you are blameless when you judge.

Reading: Mark 8:27–33

And Jesus and his disciples went out to the villages of Caesarea Philippi, and on the way he asked his disciples, saying to them, “Who do people say that I am?” And they told him, saying, “John the Baptist, and others Elijah, and others that you are one of the prophets.” And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered and said to him, “You are the Christ!” And he warned them that they should tell no one about him.

And he began to teach them that it was necessary for the Son of Man to suffer many things and to be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and to be killed, and after three days to rise. And he was speaking openly about the subject, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning around and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan, because you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but the things of people!”

Reflection

If Peter. . .was called a stumbling-block by Jesus—as not minding the things of God in what he said but the things of men—what is to be said about all those who profess to be made disciples of Jesus, but do not mind the things of God? [What is to be said about those who] do not look to things unseen and eternal, (but mind the things of man) and look to things seen and temporal? Would they be seen by Jesus as a stumbling block to Him, and because they are stumbling blocks to Him, as stumbling blocks to His followers also? In regard to them He says, “I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,” so also He might say, “When I was running you caused me to stumble.” Let us not therefore suppose that it is a trivial sin to mind the things of men—since we ought in everything to mind the things of God.

—Origen

Origen’s Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew

Response

How are you mindful of the “things of people”? Are you harboring mindsets, possessions, goals, and desires that are incompatible with God and His kingdom? Make a list of these things and pray about them.

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The Meaning and Practices of Lent

Editorial Credit: m.bonotto / Shutterstock.com

Have you thought about Lent yet? Do you know what Lent is about? I’ll level with you, Lent has never been a big tradition in my family. My parents never talked about Lent and I never understood why people would fast for 40 days before Easter. Don’t get me wrong, I think fasting is important and valuable; the practice and discipline is incredibly useful in focusing our lives on Jesus. Maybe you practice Lent each Easter season and know the whole history. For those of you who—like me—know very little about the Lenten season, I thought I’d share some of my recent research.

I started my research on my iPhone with the Logos app and did a quick search. I found the Logos resource, Introduction to Christian Liturgy, by Frank C. Senn, and looked through his chapter on Lent.

Here is what I found about Lent in my research:

  • Lent was originally practiced as an imitation of Jesus’ 40 days of fasting in the wilderness.
  • Lent also served as time to elect candidates for baptism at Easter and for public penitents to be prepared for reconciliation on Maundy Thursday.
  • For many Christians, Lent is a period where people abstain from meat, eggs, and dairy products throughout the week and Sunday is a feast day.
  • Traditions vary among different Christian denominations, some believers abstain from food for an entire day while others abstain until 3:00 p.m.
  • Many modern Protestants consider Lenten fasting to be a choice rather than an obligation. Many decide to give up a favorite food, drink, or activity for the time period.
  • Depending on the tradition, Sundays are not included in the days of Lent—many believers treat them as feasting days—therefore Lent begins on a Wednesday to account for the 40 days before Easter.
  • Ash Wednesday comes from the practice of placing ashes on foreheads of the faithful as a sign of repentance. [1]

In my mind, regardless of where you go to church—if you’re a Catholic, Protestant, or don’t affiliate with a denomination—Lent is a time for you to prepare your heart for what is to come during Holy Week. Here at Vyrso, we’ll be spending the next 46 days discussing aspects of the Christian faith, discipline, discipleship, and the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

 


 

[1] Senn, Frank C., Introduction to Christian Liturgy. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2012.

photo credit: m.bonotto / Shutterstock.com

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Reading with Vyrso: One-Touch Bible References

With so many ereader apps out there, it can be difficult to know which one suits your ereading needs best. Vyrso was designed to help you read your favorite Christian ebooks side by side with the Bible, so you can gain further insight from your favorite authors and the Biblical text. One-touch Bible references set the Vyrso app apart from other ereading apps in this department.

With one-touch Bible references, it’s easy to see the full Bible verse an author references in your ebook. You don’t even have to leave your reading to open a new window. In the Vyrso app, just tap the linked Bible verse—they appear in blue text—and the verse will appear in a box right in your reading:

Vyrso One-Touch Bible References

 

If you’re looking to gain some context to the referenced verse and want to read the surrounding chapters of the Bible, tap, “Jump to reference” and the Bible will open up to the linked verse and chapter.

One-touch Bible references make it easy to transition into your personal Bible study, and they can be a great way to get ideas for daily reading or specific topics mentioned in the Bible.

Start reading with the free Vyrso app and get the most from your ebooks with one-touch Bible references!

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Last-Minute Super Bowl Dish: Cheesy Broccoli Bites  

cheese-broccoli-bites

Tomorrow the Seattle Seahawks will take on the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX. Wherever your loyalties lie—whether with the Seahawks, the Patriots, or the creative commercials—you’ll want to bring an incredible dish to your Super Bowl party. We’ve asked Dashing Dish blogger and Vyrso author Katie Farrell share an incredible dish that will wow your friends and family.

Cheesy Broccoli Bites

Estimated Time: 35 minutes

These broccoli bites are salty, cheesy, and almost too good to be true! I can honestly say this is one of the tastiest ways I have created, to date, to eat your veggies! These broccoli bites make for a delicious protein and veggie-packed light meal, side, or snack. Who knows, this may just be YOUR favorite new way to get your veggies as well!

3 cups frozen broccoli florets, thawed, steamed, and squeezed dry (or fresh broccoli, steamed)

1/8 cup low-fat cottage cheese

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 egg whites

1/8 teaspoon salt

Pinch of pepper, or to taste

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon dried minced onion

Optional:

Pinch of sweetener that measures like sugar

3/4 cup Mozzarella cheese for topping

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line 12-cup muffin tin with silicone or foil muffin liners. Spray muffin liners with nonstick cooking spray.  Chop florets into small pieces (no bigger than the size of a marble).  In a large bowl add the broccoli, cottage cheese, Parmesan cheese, egg whites, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and minced onion. Stir until everything is well combined.  Scoop 1/8 cup broccoli mixture into each muffin cup. Lightly press broccoli mixture down with fingers in each muffin cup.  Sprinkle each bite with shredded cheese, if desired. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until lightly golden brown on top. Remove from the oven and enjoy warm!

Yields 12 servings (1 broccoli bite per serving)

Nutritional Information: 20 calories (without extra cheese) per serving; 1 gram fat; 1 gram carbohydrate; 3 grams protein

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Get even more recipes to prepare for your Super Bowl party with a wide selection of cookbooks on Vyrso!

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Four Habits that Changed my Life: An Adventure in Healthy Living

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Have you made a big health resolution for 2015? Maybe you’ve resolved to go to the gym three times a week, lower your cholesterol by 10 points, or lose 20 pounds. Whatever your goal, changing your habits is key to making the change.

For me getting healthy wasn’t initiated at the beginning of 2014, but rather as a result of a six-month battle with a parasite. In total desperation, I gave up—I gave up trying to figure out what was wrong, I gave up wanting answers, I gave up hoping for a miracle, and I gave up the thought of a quick medical fix. Have you ever been in this sort of situation? Maybe you’re ready to give up on your resolution this year or give up on trying to be healthy. Instead of giving up completely, give up and let God. My health battle only started to turn when I gave up control and began to rest in scriptures like Psalm 46:10, Psalm 73:26, and Romans 5:8. If you begin to rest in scripture, I think you’ll start to see God change your heart and your habits. I made four key changes after I gave up my health battle last year and my health has dramatically improved.

Here are four habits worth changing for a healthier life:

Rest

Getting proper rest plays an important role in our overall health. With proper rest our brains begin to function at a higher level, our emotions improve, and our body is able to repair itself.[1] Rest gives us the time to recharge and get a clear picture of where we’re going. For me, getting rest has meant stepping down from a few volunteer roles, making sure I get a full eight hours of sleep, and not overworking myself.

Eat Smart

I’m learning that eating smart looks different for everyone, and changes as we age. Over the past six months I’ve cut out most dairy products, almost all sugary snacks, and soda. I’ve seen a number of friends make significant changes to their diets as well and their lives are changed. Some removed gluten, others cut out all sugars, and some avoid dairy. Whatever your view point, finding a healthy diet usually makes a huge difference in your physical health, your energy levels, and your attitude. If you’re looking to make changes to your diet, check out our health and fitness section for a plethora of resources to help you evaluate your diet and even cook healthy meals.

Get active

In my opinion, this habit is the hardest to change in the middle of winter. Finding options outside of classic exercises like running, biking, and swimming can be key to staying active in the dreary winter months. Here are just a few ideas for staying active: join a rec-basketball team, rock climb, dance with your kids, play soccer, shovel snow for your neighbors, or play table tennis.

Think positive

Dr. Caroline Leaf has a PhD in communication pathology specializing in neuropsychology—she studies how the brain operates—and often shares how our “thought life” is tied to our physical health. She has published numerous articles, speaks at nation-wide conferences, and has written a new ebook, Switch On Your Brain. In chapter one Dr. Leaf shares this astounding finding, “Research shows that 75 to 98 percent of mental, physical, and behavioral illness comes from one’s thought life. This staggering and eye-opening statistic means only 2 to 25 percent of mental and physical illnesses come from the environment and genes.” She goes on to explain that our thoughts actual influence our DNA and physical wellbeing. Needless to say, when I started thinking positively about my outlook my situation, both my health and actions started to change.

Whether you’ve resolved to make a big change, or maybe you—like me—hit a bump in the road, I hope you’re able to stick to your resolutions and keep some healthy habits all year!

 


[1] National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, Why Is Sleep Important, http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/sdd/why  (accessed January 19, 2015)

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How to Read Your Ebooks with the Vyrso App

Read Your Ebooks with the Vyrso App

You’ll find a selection of free ebooks on Vyrso.com and great deals on resources to enrich your faith. While you can read most Vyrso ebooks on Biblia.com or in the Logos app, you should read them with the Vyrso app

When you read with Vyrso, you’ll enjoy tools and features designed to make Christian ereading enjoyable. The Vyrso app comes with one-touch Bible references, making it easy to read verses mentioned in your ebooks without leaving the page. Cross-library search makes it easy to find ebooks, quotes, and passages within your library, which includes both Vyrso and Logos resources. Highlighting and notes allow you to keep track of and save passages from your reading. The Vyrso app also keeps track of your place in your ebook—it will automatically open to where you left off in any ebook.

If you don’t have the Vyrso app, make sure to download it. Vyrso is available on iOS, Android, and Kindle Fire.

Here’s how to start reading with the Vyrso app:

1. Download the ebook of your choice

Once you find the ebook you want to read on Vyrso.com, click “Add to cart” on the product page, then “place order” from your cart.

2. Open the Vyrso app

You may be required to enter your Faithlife username and password if this is your first use. Your purchase will automatically sync to your library.

3. Tap “Library” to find your ebook

Your downloads and purchases will display in a list, making it easy to explore your digital library. You can also search within you app to find resources, quotes, and topics of interest in no time.

4. Tap the ebook to begin reading

 Vyrso will remember your spot in your reading, so you don’t have to worry about losing your place!

 Download the Vyrso app today and start reading!

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