Because They Watched: A Christmas Reflection

An Endless Christmas

This advent season, check the Vyrso blog each weekday for advent reflections that will inspire and encourage you to reflect on the true reason for Christmas. You’ll hear from a variety of authors with original posts and featured excerpts from Christmas-focused ebooks.

Spend time reflecting with Cynthia Ruchti as she reflects on Luke 2:8. Cynthia takes the verse and breaks the meaning apart bit-by-bit.   

“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks by night.” Luke 2:8 KJV

This familiar line from the second chapter of Luke has shown up in every Christmas pageant, on Christmas cards, as the inspiration for Christmas ornaments, in homes that use it as an important centerpiece of their family celebrations, and in formal readings of the Christmas story from cathedrals to churches to chapels to A Charlie Brown Christmas.

In some ways, it’s served as a call to worship for my soul—calling me deeper into the story I know follows those well-rehearsed words.

This year has been no less crammed full of activities and deadlines, responsibilities and expectations. But it’s also been a year of observation, of tuning my heart to look more closely at things I’ve rushed past.

So, as the calendar, the weather, and the playlists on radio stations tell me Christmas is approaching, I’m taking that single verse more slowly to savor what it says, to see what I might have missed as I hurried past it. Nineteen short, ordinary words with a lifetime of reflection embedded in their message.

And there were

The “and” tells us this is continuation of a story already in progress. It adds to the rest already laid out in the earlier verses of Luke 2—that Mary gave birth to God’s Son in Bethlehem, wrapped him in swaddling clothes (somehow an important enough detail to include), and laid him in a manger (also a divinely appointed detail). Then comes the and. Connected to the rest of the story. Not coincidental. Not serendipitous. Not oh, by the way. And.

In the same country

Nearby. The closeness matters. It matters to you and me. Are we standing close enough for the miraculous to be visible when it happens? Are we in the same vicinity, so when the incredible unfolds we can be part of the story? What does that change in our Christmas preparations?

Shepherds

Why not musicians, who could add flair to the celebration? Why not scholars, who could instantly confirm the fulfillment of ancient prophesies? Why not the wealthy, who could help get the word out more efficiently and pull together a spectacle of a feast, maybe even throw some influence around to get Mary and Joseph a room and a handcrafted cradle? Why shepherds?

Part of the answer may lie further into the story of Jesus. He—following the pattern of His Father—often chose the least likely candidate for any of the tasks He assigned. (Click to Tweet!) Fishermen, tax collectors, the unconfident, ostracized, berated, shamed, broken, ordinary… You and I qualify.

Abiding in the fields

The first century’s homeless. Shepherds. Nomadic by nature and occupation. Living off the land, just like their sheep. Abiding. Making a life out of what they were given.

Keeping watch over their flocks

Ah. Not just abiding. Doing something productive, but not in the way we tend to measure productivity. They weren’t making a name for themselves, making the news, or making a fuss. And this is the connector that made me lean in. The announcement of their Redeemer’s birth came to them as they were “keeping watch.” As they stayed observant. Alert. Attentive. God didn’t have to tap them on the shoulder, pull them away from a project, or interrupt their schedule. Because they were watching, they caught the first glimmers of God’s glory, the first faint flutter of angel’s wings.

By night

Against a black sky, an inky backdrop, God announced the arrival of His Son to the world. And those watching the sky, far from the star-dimming commotion of the city, were quick to notice the dramatic contrast. Light for our darkness. Stark difference. An in-your-face message that illuminated souls even more than it lit the night.

Years ago, as I faced a similar in-my-face message about my greatest Christmas need—attentiveness, alertness, observation—these lyrics emerged:

You turned the nomad shepherds

To a path that led them to

A musty, dusty stable

You led them straight to You

You called the myriad angels

From tending other things

You turned their hearts toward shepherd boys

And toward an infant King

You turned the donkey’s head

As he bore his burden rare

You turned the woman’s moans to joy

As they split the cold night air

You even turned the Star away

From its accustomed route

Its light bore right through stable roofs

And shouted, yet stood mute

You turned the path of wisest kings

To journey toward the light

You drew them with bright cords of love

That pierced the black of night

And I will turn my eyes upon Jesus

Look full in His sweet infant face

And the things of earth will grow dim, so dim

In the light of His glory and grace.*

I stood under a star-bedazzled sky last night. Quiet. Still. With arms thrown wide, I whispered, “Here I am. Waiting. Watching. This is where I’ll be—abiding—when You make Yourself known this Christmas.”

———

Cynthia has written multiple ebook books on Vyrso, including Ragged HopeTattered and Mended, When the Morning Glory Blooms, and her newest release, An Endless Christmas.

*Poem written by Cynthia Ruchti, copywright 1999, revised 2015, (Helen H. Lemmel’s 1922 public domain lyrics incorporated in the last stanza)

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And He Is in the Manger Now: An Advent Reflection

Nativity Scene

This advent season, check the Vyrso blog each weekday for advent reflections that will inspire and encourage you to reflect on the true reason for Christmas. 

Take time to reflect today with a modified excerpt from Patty Kirk’s The Gospel of Christmas: Reflections for Advent, published by IVP, an ebook written to remind us that our hopes and fear are truly met in Christ. 

Prepare yourself: I am about to blaspheme. The divine mystery I am contemplating this Christmas is: that God needs us.

Now, before you start getting all hot under your clerical collar, let me first say that I know God is all-powerful, all-present, all-knowing and all-sufficient. He is mightier than any concept of power our word mighty can encompass. His authority dashes any we may claim.

That said, Scripture attests again and again to God’s desiring what he does not get from us. True mercy toward one another, not petty fulfillment of rules (Hosea 6:6). Cheerful giving to those with nothing, not mere exchanging of presents (2 Corinthians 9:6-11). Genuine love of those who hate us, not just conviviality with our friends and least objectionable relatives (Luke 6:27-36).

A friend of mine understands loving our enemies to mean actually liking those whom we most despise, an unrealistic demand on God’s part if there ever was one but thoroughly comprehensible if we consider the kind of sibling love we long to see exhibited by our own children.

We want them not merely to “love one another”—whatever that may mean in the context of sibling rivalry—but to get along, to play happily together, to think of their siblings as friends.

In Noah’s time, God longed so extremely for his children’s love and decency to one another that, when it turned out the earth was “filled with violence because of them” (Genesis 6:13), he “regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled” (Genesis 6:6). The original edition of the New International Version reads, “The Lord was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain.”

God’s attitude toward us, in short, is one of longing. Like the father modeled after him in Jesus’ story about those rotten prodigal sons, God our Father stands at the gate searching the horizon for our return. And, so often, we don’t return. Such unfulfilled longing, I would argue, presupposes need.

Which may be why—bear with me—God enters our world, our very consciousness as humans, in the very neediest of states: unequipped with wealth or name or station or any worldly endowment that might command others’ respect. Jesus—who is God himself—is born in a town where he and his family are utter strangers.

They know no one who can house them, it seems, no rabbi willing to give them quarter in their desperation, and there is no room at the inn. Jesus’ mother is thrown upon the backhanded mercy of an innkeeper apparently insensitive to her obvious need, in her last hours of pregnancy, for a place that is clean and comfortable.

Jesus came to us, in other words, not as the powerful king the Israelites desired and expected, not as a mighty warrior or even a grown man who could do as he pleased, but as a newborn baby, the epitome of neediness. (Click to Tweet!)

I cannot get my mind around this, really. I remember my daughters at birth. Their eyes squinched shut. Needing to be fed and cleaned and diapered and kept warm. Incapable, as yet, of making their need known beyond whimpering or mouthing the air to be fed. 

When Jesus and his family return to their hometown of Nazareth, they are surely looked down on by neighbors and family. The baby was born too early to his supposedly devout parents, the neighbors discuss. A bastard. From birth, as Isaiah prophesies, Jesus was likely “despised and rejected” by others (Isaiah 53:3)—not only by those neighbors but probably by the pastor of his church as well.

Imagine Jesus in the temple at twelve, a seventh-grader, amazing all the experts with his knowledge and his answers to their questions and astonishing his parents with his behavior (Luke 2:47-48).

The two words Luke uses in the passage, astonished and amazed, must be nearly synonymous in Greek, as the various English translations either interchange them or else substitute some other synonym, such as astounded or bewildered or overwhelmed, for one or the other. In any case, surely those teachers were not only amazed but outraged at this kid’s audacity, and his parents no less so.

As a parent and as a teacher, I have often found myself in need. I need patience. I need resources for their benefit. I need compassion and mercy and profound understanding of their peculiar perspectives on things. I long for their enthusiasm, their remorse when they mess up and their appreciation of being forgiven, their kindness to one another.

And for myself I desire, quite frankly, their love—love unadulterated by the fact that I am judging their progress or by their expectation that they will get something in return.

I believe, even if it is blasphemous, that God is like that. That, even though we are his creation and utterly powerless in comparison to him, he not only desires our love but needs it. Plain and simple. (Click to Tweet!)

Jesus says as much himself in his preview of the last judgment. “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him,” he declares, “he will sit on his glorious throne” and “separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats” (Matthew 25:31-32). And how will he judge them?

On the basis of their attention to his needs: “I was hungry,” he says he will tell us then; “I was thirsty. . . . I was a stranger. . . . I needed clothes. . . . I was sick. . . . I was in prison” (Matthew 25:35-36). He is referring—figuratively, of course—to the needs of those around us, but the resulting self-portrait of the deity is stunning. Even in his moment of greatest glory as the supreme power over all creation, Jesus characterizes himself as profoundly needy: hungry, thirsty, lonely, naked, sick, abandoned and desperate for our love and nurture.

That’s the Jesus I am worshiping this Christmas season: the one who not only loves us but so covets our love in return that he came as a whimpering, hungry, newborn baby—as needy and helpless as the very least among us.

———

Interested in reading more? Get Patty Kirk’s The Gospel of Christmas today.

 

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Christmas: A Call to Witness

Christmas, A Call to Witness

This advent season, check the Vyrso blog each weekday for advent reflections that will inspire and encourage you to reflect on the true reason for Christmas. You’ll hear from a variety of authors with original posts and featured excerpts from Christmas-focused ebooks.

Gain new insights from Andreas J. Köstenberger (PhD, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School), a senior research professor of New Testament and biblical theology at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina and the founder of Biblical Foundations, in his reflection on Christmas.

As a little boy, I was blessed to grow up in the small country of Austria, the land of “Silent Night, Holy Night” and of The Sound of Music.

Christmas was truly a special time of the year, and many Christmases were in fact white. My sister and I would leave our wish list for the Christ child on our window sill the night before Christmas (we celebrated on Christmas Eve), and then, on Christmas Eve, behind closed doors, we heard our Christmas tree being set up and decorated by (we surmised) angels.

Later that evening, we would enter our living room, and, lo and behold, find most of the presents we had wished for. What a joy for a child’s heart! Receiving presents! Little did it dawn on us that Christmas was not only a time to receive presents but, at least in the original instance, entailed a call to witness. (Click to Tweet!)

To bear witness, in turn, we must first check our sources to make sure they’re accurate.

Aren’t you glad we have the story of the incarnation on good authority? Matthew may well have heard it directly from Joseph, and Luke from Mary, and John was the closest disciple to Jesus during his earthly ministry. Each of these eyewitnesses bore testimony to Jesus’s true identity, sharing their experiences, perceptions, and perspectives on the significance of Jesus’s birth and even his preexistence.

But while the apostles’ witness is primary, based on their testimony we must bear witness as well. As Jesus told his first followers, “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning” (John 15:26–27).

We, too, must bear witness because we have received the apostolic testimony regarding the incarnation.

We recognize that, just as there was no place in the inn for God incarnate when he was born into this world, so we, like Jesus, must endure rejection as we identify with him.

We believe that, even though he is now exalted with God in heaven, Jesus is God with us, and his promise is true that he will be with us until the end of the age as we bear witness to him.

We behold the glory of God in his Son, whom he gave to die for us on the cross, and we long for our loved ones and others to catch a glimpse of his glory in and through us.

We understand that Jesus, while born as a Jew in a tiny Judean village, came as the light to the nations to enlighten every person, regardless of culture, race, or ethnic identity. And just as Jesus must be in his Father’s house, we believe that he has gone to prepare a place for us so that we will spend eternity with him in heaven. This is our glorious hope and expectation.

Even though my wife and I now have grown children, we still celebrate Christmas similar to the way we did when I grew up in Austria many years ago.

We still enjoy giving, and receiving, Christmas presents. But we realize that Christmas is not primarily about receiving. It’s about giving, and giving back.

In Jesus, joy came to the world, and now those of us who have received him, and have become children of God, like the shepherds of old, are called to pass on the joyous message to the world around us. Jesus came to give us the greatest gift of all—the gift of himself—not so we can keep it to ourselves, but so we can freely share it with others. (Click to Tweet!) As Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

This year, may our Christmas not be a self-centered one. May we answer God’s call to bear witness to the one who came and suffered and died so we can share his eternal glory. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

———

Andreas is the author of many ebooks on Vyrso and Logos, including Entrusted with the Gospel (with Terry Wilder), The Lion and the Lamb, God, Marriage, and Family, and more. Discover more about the story of the Jesus’ incarnation in Köstenberger’s most recent release, The First Days of Jesus.

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This Christmas, Don’t Miss the Big Picture

This Christmas, Don’t Miss the Big Picture

This advent season, check the Vyrso blog each weekday for advent reflections that will inspire and encourage you to reflect on the true reason for Christmas. You’ll hear from a variety of authors with original posts and featured excerpts from Christmas-focused ebooks.

Check out this excerpt from Scott James’ The Expected One, published by B&H Publishing Group, an ebook written to reflect on how to take a step back and focus on making Christmas a true time of worship.

We are a people of divided attention, and nowhere is this more evident than during the Christmas season. Despite our best intentions to focus on what really matters during the holidays it’s easy to become distracted by the commotion and festivities. (Click to Tweet!)

The repeated refrain to “keep Jesus the reason for the season” wisely reminds us not to lose sight of Christ amidst everything else. As cliché as this phrase has become, we still do well to heed it. In attempting this, however, there is also a danger of narrowing our field of vision a bit too much.

While celebrating the miraculous birth of the Christ Child, it’s possible to compartmentalize the nativity and, in doing so, diminish the cohesive beauty of the bigger redemptive picture. As wonderful and praiseworthy as the Incarnation is, its significance is integrally tied to the rest of God’s story of redeeming love.

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. But there is yet another promise: this King is coming back for His people! (Click to Tweet!)

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, worshipping Him as the fulfillment of all of God’s promises to us, “For every one of God’s promises is ‘Yes’ in Him” (2 Corinthians 1:20 HCSB).

This Christmas:

  • Be careful not to stunt your worship through tunnel vision that fails to connect the nativity scene to the rest of the story.
  • Prepare your heart to truly celebrate the glorious truth of the nativity by recognizing how the Christmas miracle fits into the larger scope of God’s redemptive promises.
  • Meditate deeply on the salvation promised and provided by God through Jesus Christ, the long-expected Messiah, and keep that Jesus the reason for the season.

———

Interested in reading more? Get Scott James’ The Expected One today.

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7 Reflections on Giving Thanks to God

Give Thanks

“. . .  give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

1 Thessolanians 5:16

The Bible clearly calls us to give thanks no matter our circumstance. However, it can be easy to forget to give thanks during hard times, and even good times. Often we blame God for our issues instead of thanking him for all of our blessings.

Reflect on giving thanks, no matter what your circumstances are, with the help of these insightful quotes:

“Only God is worthy to be praised. In all we do and all we are, our lives should pay tribute to God. Nothing else is good enough. Offer to God thanksgiving and praise, for He alone is deserving.”—Barbour Publishing, A Collection of Thanksgiving Blessings: Inspiration and Encouragement for a Season of Gratitude

“Jesus Christ went without comfort so that you might have it. He postponed joy so that you might share in it. He willingly chose isolation so that you might never be alone in your hurt and sorrow. He had no real fellowship so that fellowship might be yours, this moment. This alone is enough cause for great gratitude!”—Joni Eareckson Tada, A Thankful Heart in a World of Hurt

“The power of gratitude is the ability to see the good. More specifically, a grateful person is free to see the good. When we give thanks, our eyes are opened and our hearts can understand. Simply having eyes doesn’t guarantee sight. Eyes must be opened in order to see.”—Joshua Choomnim Kang, Spirituality of Gratitude: The Unexpected Blessings of Thankfulness

“Gratitude isn’t a drug to escape or ignore the reality of desperate circumstances. Instead, it gives us the courage to confront our problems, offering hope where hope cannot be found.”—Joshua Choomnim Kang, Spirituality of Gratitude: The Unexpected Blessings of Thankfulness

Even in our darkest hour, there is always something for which we can say thanks. It should always be in our hearts to bless God as He has blessed us”—Helen Steiner Rice,  Little Daily Graces: A Celebration of Thankfulness

We can be grateful that when the world is spinning, the heavenly Father is our anchor, our rock. What He says today holds true for tomorrow and the next day and the day after that. He will always love us.—Rebecca Currington, Everyday Thanks: Spiritual Refreshment for Women

“But nothing can affect how we live our lives more than forgetting the benefits of the Lord! When we forget what God has done for us in the past, we lose hope for the future and become discouraged. However, when we remind ourselves of how God has saved our souls, answered our prayers, and met our needs, our faith is renewed and our hearts overflow with thanksgiving!”—Karla Dornacher, Give Thanks

Now as you gather round the table with your friends and family this Thanksgiving holiday, you can spend time giving thanks by reflecting on all the ways God and his love have blessed you. Happy Thanksgiving!

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Improve Your Marriage with Matt and Lauren Chandler!

Mingling of Souls

On February 19–20, Matt and Lauren Chandler are hosting the Mingling of Souls Marriage Conference in Jacksonville, Florida to talk about God’s good design for love, marriage, sex, and redemption.

The Chandlers are dedicated to making their conference available to everyone, not just those who can afford to travel and attend the event in person, so they are extending the invite to couples, small groups, and churches with the option to virtually attend the conference.

Stream the live conferenceget your ticket to attend virtually, now

After you get your ticket, follow Matt and Lauren’s Mingling of Souls Faithlife Group. Here you’ll be able to stream the live conference, get free access to The Mingling of Souls ebook from January 15 through February 15, join a reading plan where you can interact with Matt and Lauren, and you’ll even be entered to win an iPad Air 2.

Join thousands of others from the comfort of your home or church to watch this event. There are a variety of ticket types available with prices based on the size of your church or group, making it affordable for all!

Here are the three ways to attend:

  • As a couple: up to two people can attend, watch the conference with your significant other or spouse from the comfort of your living room for just $19.99
  • As a small group: share the experience and host your friends to strengthen your marriage together, 1 house is only $69.99
  • As a church: transform your church campus into a host site. For just $2.00 per person (or less, depending on the church size) you can invite every couple in your church and watch the conference on your own schedule. Depending on church size your ticket price will range from $199.99$399.99..

Don’t wait—get your ticket today!

After you get your ticket, simply log in and go to the Faithlife Group on February 19 to stream the live event!*

*Your ticket is connected to the Faithlife account it was purchased through. Login to the specified Faithlife account to stream the event from the Faithlife Group.

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Five Ebooks to Help You Prepare for Advent

Advent Sale

Every Christmas, Christians all over the world celebrate the Advent season, recognizing the love, hope, joy, and peace that is found only in Jesus.

With a new Advent season coming quickly, it’s time to step away from the noise and into a quiet place of true intimacy with Christ.

Prepare your heart with reflections of God’s love this Advent season—these five ebooks from Vyrso’s Advent sale, available through November 30, are great places to start.

The Expected One by Scott James

Regular Price: $8.99

Sale Price: $0.99

In The Expected One, Scott James brings to light the many promises of Christ—from birth to ascension—that demonstrate his love for us during this Christmas season. This ebook is one of daily devotions, which are designed for both family and individual use, are timeless and moving reminders of the true gift of Christmas.

Same Love by Paul Balonche

Regular Price: $9.99

Sale Price: $1.99

In the spring of 2011, acclaimed worship artist and songwriter Paul Baloche released his twelfth album—The Same Love. Each new song was birthed from a genuine inspired moment, an experience Paul describes as an “other than” place. It was out of this place that he created lyrics and melodies designed to achieve his ongoing goal of building a legacy of graciousness. But there were also moments in between the songs where Paul felt there was more to be said. This book is that collection of moments, a progression of thoughts and prayers different from the lyrics but the same as the songs.

The Miracle of Christmas by Stormie Omartian

Regular Price: $10.99

Sale Price: $1.99

In bestselling author Stormie Omartian’s joyous tribute to the birth of Jesus, the events surrounding a baby born long ago in a stable come to life in stories the whole family will love.

Stormie gives the reader a warm and personal look at the age-old story of Christ’s birth. Each story provides an inviting glimpse of possible reactions, perceptions, and actions of the characters, and at the end of the chapter, Stormie provides a prayer for a modern-day audience that powerfully connects readers to the heart of a loving and compassionate Savior.

Yuletide Blessings by Nan Corbitt Allen

Regular Price: $9.99

Sale Price: $2.99

From the ancient biblical story to those modern holiday favorites we watch on television every year, for those who seek meaning in the chaos of Christmas, Yuletide Blessings gathers truths, myths, and legends that point readers back to “the reason for the season.”

A perfect companion for quiet nights by the colorfully lit tree, this cozy book of brief essays is topically arranged by author Nan Corbitt Allen. The biblical roots of Christmas are explored in separate entries about angels, shepherds, Mary and Joseph, the wise men, and the little town of Bethlehem. Next, we learn stories behind characters and traditions that followed: the little drummer boy, decorations, St. Nicholas, and more.

The Christ of Christmas by Calvin Miller

Regular Price: $8.99

Sale Price: $2.99

More and more people are now looking for ways to celebrate the Advent season. This modern favorite from Calvin Miller features brief everyday devotions for the entire month of December that bring readers back to the very first Christmas. Each devotion includes a full-page Scripture reading, main message, call-out quote, and written prayer. For anyone who desires a longer stay, there’s an additional passage to read from outside the Gospel accounts based on the day’s theme, as well as discussion questions that encourage group study or family time.

Prepare for Advent with these ebooks and more when you check out the Advent sale!

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Picturing Scripture | A Collaborative Verse Art Project

Picturing Scripture

19 different artists and 31 different writers contributed their talent to Picturing Scripture, Faithlife’s new coffee table book available for pre-order through Kickstarter!

Each designer worked hard to capture the essence of each verse in its historical and cultural context.

Then, after each design was complete, a writer reflected on each piece of art and the verse that inspired it.

The result is 100 pairs of art and devotional content that illuminate the words of Scripture.

Here’s an example of a reflection based on John 17:4 from author, Joey Cochran:

John 17:4

Reflecting on this all-encompassing, gospel-rich text, I was struck by Christ’s heaven-to-earth accomplished work. Humble he came to man as man, hanging out with stinky fishermen and dirty farmers. (Click to Tweet!) He fished and farmed like anyone else while on this heaven-sent-to-earth mission.

He knew water’s danger, the sure footing of land, and the soil’s richness. The woodwork he crafted, he did knowing timber would undo him. He taught fishermen to catch more than they could imagine—men unleashed for the great catch of souls. He told those farmers he would become broken bread for them to feed on, the grain of seed to die so the new seed might spring forth and a white harvest reaped.

In glorifying the Father, Christ reflects him to us. He exhibits humility and power: humility to do the stinky and dirty work and power that calms storms, nets massive catches of fish, and multiplies bread and fish. Am I learning to do earth-to-heaven work like Jesus’ heaven-to-earth work? Am I learning to glorify the Father and accomplish something eternal? 

Notable authors and artists that contributed to bringing the scripture to life through their designs and reflections include:

Artists

Jim LePage—freelance artist and designer. He founded Biblestock.co who sells digital Bible art, and he co-created Old & New, a collaborative Bible design project. He is the #1 search result on Google for “Bible reading idiot.”

Corbin Watkins—is a designer and illustrator with a love for mid-century modern design and children’s books. He runs his own letterpress shop in Bellingham, Washington, where he lives with his wife Alli, their son, Ulysses, and their dog, Eleanor Roosevelt.

Jon Deviny—is an illustrator and designer hailing from Spokane, Washington. By day he does art direction for video games, but he spends his nights in the studio screen-printing and creating art. He finds constant encouragement and inspiration with his wife and son.

Writers

Joey Cochran—Holds a ThM from Dallas Theological Seminary and is the pastoral assistant at Redeemer Fellowship in St. Charles, Illinois. He is the weekly resource reviewer for Lifeway’s blog for pastors.

Gwen Smith—Speaker, worship leader, co-founder of the Girlfriends in God blog on Crosswalk.com, and author of Broken into Beautiful.

Rebecca Van Noord—Editor-in-chief of Bible Study Magazine, and co-author of Connect the Testaments.

———

Reserve your copy of Picturing Scripture today by supporting the Kickstarter campaign!

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Five Passages in the Old Testament That Point to Jesus

Prepare for Advent

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.—John 3:16  

During the season of Advent, we are reminded of God’s love for us that is full of undeserved forgiveness and salvation. 

In fact, throughout the Old Testament, God stays true to his people and promised Jesus’ coming. We have pulled together five passages through out the Old Testament that reveal these promises of love and redemption!

God promised to send a savior:

I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.—Genesis 3:15

God promised the savior would bring peace:

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this. —Isaiah 9:6-7

God promised the savior would come with humility:

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. —Zechariah 9:9 (Click to Tweet!)

God promised the savior would come and conquer death:

He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the LORD has spoken. —Isaiah 25:8

God promised that the savior’s triumph is everlasting:

And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed. —Daniel 7:14 (Click to Tweet!)

———

Because of God’s love for us, he sent Jesus to come in humility, to bring peace, to conquer death, and to bring eternal life.

As you anticipate the Christmas season, we want to encourage you to take time, be still, and reflect on God’s love and faithfulness with discounted resources, through November 30, available in Vyrso’s Advent sale.

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Don’t Miss Exclusive Deals from Vyrso this Black Friday Weekend

Vyrso Black Friday

Black Friday is the start to a weekend of incredible discounts and deals from all of your favorite retailers. But with so many great deals and discounts, it can be hard to keep track of all the offers.

Find Vyrso’s Black Friday deals all weekend long with ease, and get ready for some exclusive, never-before-seen deals on Vyrso!

 

We are kicking off the weekend right—when the clock strikes midnight (PDT)—you’ll get secret deals sent straight to your inbox!

These deals will only be available via email, so subscribe today.

For more deals featured exclusively on Vyrso, you’ll want to bookmark Vyrso.com/BlackFriday and check back on 11/27 for featured deals!

Get Secret Deals in Your Inbox:


Then after a weekend of exclusive Black Friday savings, find more discounts on ebook bundles and resources for your digital library on Cyber Monday, 11/30!

You’ll want to follow @Vyrso on twitter for deals available only on twitter, and look for all tweets with #VyrsoCyberMonday!

Find offers posted throughout the day starting at 12:00 a.m. PDT!

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