A Prayer for Those Serving

While My Soldier Serves

This Memorial Day, as we take time to reflect and remember the fallen, those serving, and the loved ones left behind, Vyrso is offering a prayer for joy in a soldier’s time abroad.

You can find many prayers for soldiers, including this one in the ebook While My Soldier Serves: Prayers for Those with Loved Ones in the Military.

Dear Lord, I know my loved one is experiencing things I can’t even imagine. Just the phrase “horrors of war” strikes such fear in my heart for him. My prayer today is that he can look beyond his circumstances and find joy. Not the stuff that’s fleeting but a deep abiding feeling that will carry him through the dark times.

Let him see the love we have for him here at home. Give him the certainty that what he’s doing is for a greater good, even if at times it seems pointless. Show him that his sacrifice has meaning.

Let him see You at work around him. Surround him with friends and buddies. Let them laugh together, and spend time cutting up and, yes, even playing. Show him glimpses of the difference he’s making in this world.

Surprise him with meaningful communication from home. Show him that he’s not forgotten and instead is missed and already celebrated for the hero he is.

Lord, only You can accomplish these things, and although it scares me to ask, I believe You can do this. I know You love my loved one even more than I do, and You will honor this plea. Amen

“You give him blessings forever; You cheer him with joy in Your presence.”—Psalm 21:6 HCSB

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Excerpted from While My Soldier Serves by Edie Melson © 2015. Published by Worthy Publishing, a division of Worthy Media, Inc., Brentwood, TN. www.worthypublishing.com. Used by permission. Tell us what you thought of this excerpt on Twitter: #SoldierServes @WorthyPub

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Get Bible Reading Plans with the Free Vyrso App

Discover a space dedicated to bringing you one of the best Christian ereading experiences when you download the Vyrso app.

Vyrso has it all to make your Christian ereading experience even better! [Click to tweet!]

From convenient one-touch Bible references as you read devotionals and Christian living ebooks to letting you jump into another world as you read your favorite Christian fiction novels to choosing from a  variety of pre-loaded Bible reading plans and access to an ESV Bible.

The Vyrso app was created so that you can easily spend time in the Word. It automatically syncs your ebooks, notes, and reading plans across all your mobile devices no matter where you go.

Get more out of your daily Bible reading.

Vyrso’s reading plans are centered around Biblical topics and themes. You’ll be sent to passages on relevant topics and discover what the Bible has to say on topics like marriage, faith, promises, and more.

Pick out a preset Vyrso reading plan today:

1. From the homepage, locate the “Today’s Readings” section.

2. Tap the + Add Item icon.

Reading Plans Tutorial 1

3. Choose “Bible Reading Plan”.

4. Tap “New Reading Plan”.

5. Select Private or Group Reading Plan.

6. Select a plan preset from the list.

Reading Plans Tutorial 2

Vyrso let’s you stay in the Word daily! Download the Vyrso app today and you’ll find the joys of Christian ereading right at your fingertips.

 

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Take Notes in Your Ebook with the Free Vyrso App

The free Vyrso app is a great tool to enhance your Christian reading experience.

Vyrso offers over 6,000 titles on Christian living. One of my favorite parts about reading these titles in my Vyrso app is that I’m able to highlight and take notes on specific quotes.

Gone are the days of having to flip through pages to find highlighted sections or even having to scroll through my ebook hoping to find my highlights and notes.

When I take notes with the Vyrso app, I don’t have to worry about losing them—the Vyrso app not only keeps all of my notes in one place where they’re easy to find, but I can see highlighted sections in individual ebooks I’m reading.

Here’s how you can highlight important quotes, write notes, and find them with ease in the Vyrso app:

1. Start by tapping and holding a word at the beginning of the quote, then drag your finger across the text to begin highlighting and lift it in order to stop highlighting the text.

2. After the text is highlighted you will be prompted to Copy, Share, Highlight, or Note the specific selection of text. In this example we want to add a specific note to the text selection, so you would tap, “Note.”

Highlighting Tutorial

3. When your note opens, the “Note Title” will be pre-filled with the selected text, but can be changed as needed.

4. Enter in your personal thoughts and notes in the blank note field (below the Note Title).

Highlight Tutorial

5. Next select the “Document” that you wish to store this note in. Documents are a great way to organize notes and highlighted sections of your ebooks. Simply tap on the document name to bring up your list of documents or create a new Document by tapping on the “+” symbol

6. When you’re finished, simply tap “Done” and the note editor will close. You will be able to view the note in the ebook.

 Highlighting Tutorial

7. If you’re looking for a specific note, but don’t want to scroll through your entire resource, you can access your notes document by tapping, “More” in the bottom right and then selecting the “Notes” option.

Highlighting Tutorial

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Get the free Vyrso app today!

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Happy Mother’s Day!

“An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life . . . Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.” —Proverbs 31:10-31, ESV

This Mother’s Day, don’t forget to take the time to thank the moms you know—including your own!—for all that they do.

Identify the Proverbs 31 women in your life—maybe it’s the busy mother, a soon-to-be mother, a new mom, or maybe it’s the woman who acts like a mother to you who supports you. Whoever she is, she demonstrates true beauty and value through her love for the Lord and those around her.

Watch and share this encouraging video with those you love and the women in your life:

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Hearing the Voice of God

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Today’s guest post is by Dr. Brian Simmons, the lead translator for The Passion Translation. He is also the author of I Hear His Whisper, 52 devotions to encounter God’s heart for you.

True prayer is a love relationship with God—it is enjoying a relationship, not enduring a religious activity. Prayer is the privilege of soaring to the very throne of God to touch His face. It is meeting with God Himself. Our souls are starved for this sense of awe . . . to speak and to hear from God. We must never forget that Father God loves to share His heart with His children.

Fellowship with God in prayer is meant to adjust us, not to adjust God to what we want. We must have frequent, intimate contact with our Father—the Daddy Abba Father of Galatians 4:6. Prayer is more than speaking to God; it is speaking with Him. We cannot build an intimate relationship on one-way speeches.

As I pray to God, I am aware of this: both of us will speak, and both of us will listen. When we practice two-way prayer, listening carefully and humbly, God will often speak. This prophetic interchange is not limited to verbal communication. We can expect to encounter God in various ways. However we hear Him, this divine encounter will always do two things: it will change us, and we will be given ammunition for spiritual warfare.

As we hear accurately from God, the church will begin to enter into prophetic praying. Prophetic prayer is praying with revelation and receiving God’s response. It is becoming a prayer partner with Jesus. God will not only speak to us, but He will also pray through us.

I encourage you to become one who hears from God in the secret closet where you are trusted with strategic prayer assignments. Instead of praying, “Speak Lord, your servant is listening,” it’s easy to fall into “Listen Lord, your servant is speaking!” Decide today that you will have a heart that will wait on the Lord and listen for His voice.

Your tools for ministry must include a consistent life of hearing from God. I love the words of Isaiah 50:4–5 (NKJV):

“The Lord God has given Me
The tongue of the learned,
That I should know how to speak
A word in season to him who is weary.
He awakens Me morning by morning,
He awakens My ear
To hear as the learned.
The Lord God has opened My ear;
And I was not rebellious,
Nor did I turn away.”

Ask Him for a listening ear! Marvelous revelations and a deeper understanding of Scripture await those who will ask for it . . . and linger in His presence to hear His voice. Our Lord is known as the great “Revealer of mysteries” (see Daniel 2:29, 47). There is much He has to say to the seeking heart.

Sometimes people ask me, “How do I know when it is God speaking? I don’t want to be misled. I only want to listen to the Holy Spirit.” Here are some simple guidelines for knowing God’s voice and discerning when it is the voice of the enemy:

  • Jesus is a gentle Shepherd; Satan is a condemning and accusing intimidator.
  • The Lord’s voice is often quiet and deeply internal; Satan’s is intrusive and vulgar.
  • The Holy Spirit calls and draws us; Satan threatens, demands, and drives.
  • Check the content—does it agree with the Scriptures?
  • God’s voice drips with mercy; He does not condemn our personal worth before Him.
  • The Lord’s voice will change you and touch you.
  • His voice is rooted in hope, not negativity or despair.
  • God’s Word is for now; Satan locks us into our past.
  • God uses the ordinary, not merely the spectacular.
  • His Word gives more hope, not more condemnation.
  • God’s voice inspires us to love, not to criticize others.
  • Peace comes from God; anxiety comes from Satan.
  • The voice of the Spirit will always glorify Jesus as Lord and point us to Him.

John 10:2–4 (TPT) gives us reassurance that we can hear God’s voice. Are you listening today?

“And the sheep recognize the voice of the True Shepherd, for he calls his own by name and leads them out, for they belong to him. And when he has brought out all his sheep, he walks ahead of them and they will follow him, for they are familiar with his voice.”

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Study the Significance of the Cross

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As we draw closer to Holy Week, we’ve taken the time to look intently at the death of Jesus. In Bill Giovannetti’s guest post, we looked at the pain that Jesus suffered when the nails went through his hands. In Bob Hostetler’s guest post, we explored the revolutionary that Jesus was in his day and how this echoes into our lives now. We’ve highlighted a few discounts to aid you in your study of Jesus’ death including:

Crucify! Why the Crowd Killed Jesus by Timothy J. Stoner—available for free through April 3, 11:59 p.m. (EST).

You can also get The Meaning of the Death of Jesus Bundle for just $20.99 through 11:59 p.m. (EST) on March 22. In the bundle you’ll get the following three titles in the bundle:

-The Day That Changed Forever: Twenty One Life Changing Experiences at the Cross by Tim Roehl

-Bought with Blood by Derek Prince

-Proclaiming the Scandal of the Cross: Contemporary Images of the Atonement by Mark D. Baker

Want to learn more about this exclusive ebook bundle? Check out our blog post from Monday this week, here.

Check back next week as we conclude the second to last week of Lent. We’ll be featuring content on the meaning behind the resurrection of Jesus. There will be guest posts by Karen Jensen Salisbury, Rita Schulte, Anita Agers-Brooks, Rebecca Greenwood, and Brian Simmons. You’ll find a new bundle and individual titles available at a discount to aid you in the study of Jesus’ resurrection.

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What Will You Preach Next Month?

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One month from today, Easter will be upon us. I’m hoping that the sun will be shining, that birds will be singing springtime songs, and that the weather will be warm. I also hope that those of you who are preaching will impart the beauty of the gospel to those around you. I hope that your message will be an engaging story of how the gospel intersects with everyday life. I hope that you have a plan.

As Greg Gilbert and Mark Dever argue below, a plan can have a big impact on your congregation. The following is an excerpt from Preach: Theology Meets Practice—you can get it today on Vyrso for $9.99.

The famous third-century preacher John Chrysostom told his congregation in his third sermon on Lazarus and the rich man, “I often tell you many days in advance the subject of what I am going to say, in order that you may take up the book in the intervening days, go over the whole passage, learn both what is said and what is left out, and so make your understanding more ready to learn when you hear what I will say afterwards.”

We think that’s a great idea, and we both try to follow that practice in our own churches by publishing a card that gives our preaching schedule—texts and titles—for the upcoming months. Doing something like that offers a number of benefits. First, like Chrysostom said, it gives your people time to read the passage in advance, to let the Holy Spirit begin to work in their hearts with the themes of that text, and to prepare their hearts to hear the Word of God preached on Sunday. That, in turn, can create a unique sense of excitement in the church. The people come with thoughts of their own, questions and insights about the text; and your words in the sermon are then able to interact with and catalyze with the thoughts they already have. Publishing a preaching schedule will give your people another tool for talking with their non-Christian friends and family about spiritual things. People take those cards, highlight or circle a particular sermon title they think a non-Christian friend might be interested to hear, and then hand it to that person as an invitation to come hear that sermon.

Sometimes people ask us if we think planning a preaching schedule so far in advance could squelch the Holy Spirit. What if something comes up in the life of the church that begs to be addressed? What if you get sick? What if something happens in the world such that your planned series seems out of place all of a sudden? Good questions all. But we don’t think planning a schedule in advance squelches the Holy Spirit.

For one thing we don’t think the Holy Spirit only moves “in the moment.” Of course He does that sometimes, but that’s not the only time He does it. The Holy Spirit also moves and directs months in advance when we are planning a preaching schedule. Both of us have been amazed at how people in our congregations have been impacted by a particular sermon or series in specific and time-sensitive ways. That’s not because we planned for that to happen. On the contrary, we believe the Holy Spirit worked it all together in His providence. Take a look, for example, at this church card from Capitol Hill Baptist Church for the fall of 2001, which included September 11, 2001.

That preaching schedule was made months in advance of the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. Nothing was adjusted; nothing was changed in the aftermath of the attacks. But look at God’s provision for this congregation right in the heart of one of the cities that came under attack: “The Quest for Justice,” “The Quest for Security,” “When Bad Things Happen: Questions and Confidence.” The Holy Spirit was planning, even months before, to feed His people with truth from His Word that would impact their lives and their needs directly and specifically in the aftermath of—and even in advance of—a world-shaking event.

Not only that, but adherence to a preaching plan doesn’t have to be slavish. Mark tends to stick to a preaching plan more doggedly than I (Greg) do. If Mark gets sick or something else intervenes, the church card is what the church card is—even if it means skipping a sermon in a series. I, on the other hand, have been known to pull all the sermon cards from our pews and print another batch.

We both have the same approach, more or less, to holidays. We both try to plan series in which the sermons that land nearest Christmas and on Easter won’t be utterly weird—though Mark preached once on Christmas Day an entire sermon on death! But we don’t insist that Christmas be from Luke 2 and Easter from Matthew 28. On Christmas Day 2011, I’m scheduled to preach on James 5:13–20, the prayer of the righteous for the sick. For Easter 2011, though, I shifted some things around so that I’d be preaching on Hebrews 8 rather than Hebrews 6. That was in the expectation that we would have an unusual number of visitors in the congregation who would attend church only infrequently, and I wanted a text that would have the gospel itself as the main point.

However you end up doing this, and however tightly you stick to a plan once it’s made, the point is that planning your preaching schedule well in advance can give your people a good tool both for their own spiritual growth and for evangelism.

So, how do you decide what to preach? Well, as we said before, everything should be done for the edification of the church. We would argue that preaching through entire books, preaching from both testaments and all genres of Scripture, preaching from varying altitudes, and publishing in advance what you’re going to preach will best accomplish that goal in the long run.

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Want more insight on how to preach? Download Mark Dever and Greg Gilbert’s ebook, Preach: Theology Meets Practice for just $9.99.

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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: An Excerpt from “Revealing Christ”

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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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