VIDEO Advent in 2 Minutes

Nov 20, 2011

Not quite sure about the relationship between Advent and Christmas? Check out Busted Halo’s two-minute video that describes why we celebrate Advent and wait to celebrate Christmas.

The Red Hackle

They will still bear fruit in old age. Psalm 92:14

Several years ago I stumbled across a bit of fishing lore in a second-century ad work by the Greek writer Aelian. “Between Boroca and Thessalonica runs a river called the Astracus, and in it there are fish with spotted skins [trout].” He then describes a “snare for the fish, by which they get the better of them. They fastened crimson red wool round a hook and attached two feathers. Then they would throw their snare, and the fish, attracted by the color, comes up, thinking to get a mouthful” (On the Nature of Animals).

Fishermen still use this lure today. It is called the Red Hackle. First used over 2,200 years ago, it remains a snare for trout by which we “get the better of them.”

As the years add up, God’s faithfulness keeps multiplying.

When I read that ancient work I thought: Not all old things are passé—especially people. If through contented and cheerful old age we show others the fullness and deepness of God, we’ll be useful to the end of our days. Old age does not have to focus on declining health, pining over what once was. It can also be full of tranquility and mirth and courage and kindness, the fruit of those who have grown old with God.

“Those who are planted in the house of the Lord . . . shall still bear fruit in old age; they shall be fresh and flourishing” (Ps. 92:13–14 nkjv).

Lord, thank You for Your faithfulness throughout our lives. Help us finish our lives well in service to You and to remember that old age does not mean uselessness.

As the years add up, God’s faithfulness keeps multiplying.

By David Roper

Being Ready in the Tough Times

1 Peter 1:13-14

The apostle Peter knew hard days lay ahead for his fellow believers. So he reminded them about their security as children of God: They were chosen by Him, born into a living hope, given spiritual protection during this life, and guaranteed eternity in heaven with their Father (1 Pet. 1:1-5). Then, in today’s reading, Peter gave them specific ways to prepare for the coming trials. His words, divinely inspired by the Lord, can guide us as well.

His first instruction relates to our mind: What we believe has a direct impact on our response to life’s problems. If we trust that God is looking out for us, then we will feel less threatened by hard circumstances. But if we decide we must rely on ourselves, then we are more likely to react poorly to situations beyond our control. A negative attitude—whether from anger, fear, worry, or jealousy—can make a hard time worse. Preparation for the future starts with developing biblical thinking.

A second lesson from Peter is to be “sober in spirit”—in other words, to maintain our balance in the midst of crises (1 Pet. 1:13). That requires resisting quick fixes to problems and refusing to embrace ungodly ideas or philosophies. Our enemy Satan is quick to offer suggestions designed to trip us up or turn us away from God’s path. With the Spirit’s help, we can learn to stand firm in a crisis and steadfastly follow the Lord.

Our culture is increasingly distancing itself from Jesus Christ and opposing His followers. Are you preparing spiritually for whatever the future may bring?

The Devil Never Rests

“And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.” (Job 1:7)

This remarkable scene in heaven provides us a striking picture of Satanic activity. The devil, in his opposition to God and His program of salvation, evidently never rests. He is not omnipresent, like God, because he is a finite (though very powerful and brilliant) created being. To accomplish his goal, therefore, he is never at rest, but keeps going from place to place and working deception after deception, bringing everyone he can under his influence.

Therefore, God urgently warns us: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

The same is true of the demonic spirits who have followed the devil in his rebellion against God. They never rest until they can take possession of some person’s body and mind and then control that person’s behavior. “When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out” (Matthew 12:43-44).

This restlessness that characterizes the devil and his demons often also manifests itself in the unsaved, and this will be the ultimate state of those who yield to the pressures of these evil spirits. “They have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name” (Revelation 14:11).

True rest of soul is found only in Christ, with His forgiveness, cleansing, and guidance: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29). HMM

Tragic Blindness

For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? —Matthew 16:26

This is my position: let the scientist stay in his field and I will stay in mine. I am as glad and thankful as anyone for the benefits of research, and I hope scientists will soon find the cure for heart disease, for I have lost many good friends from sudden heart attacks.

But listen to me now about the difference in meaning between the short-term matters of our physical beings and the eternal relationships between the believer and his God.

If you save a person from diphtheria when he is a baby, or save him in his teens from smallpox, or save him in his fifties from a heart attack, what have you done?

If that man lives to be ninety and still is without God and does not know why he was born, you have simply perpetuated the life of a mud turtle. That man who has never found God and has never been born again is like a turtle, with two legs instead of four and no shell and no tail, because he still does not know what life has been all about.

Thank You, Heavenly Father, that You opened my eyes to see the purpose for my existence and the importance of focusing foremost on the things of eternity. May I be faithful to share the message of salvation today with others who are yet in blindness. Amen.

Live Solely for God’s Glory

That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 15:6)

It may be difficult for the average Christian to get hold of the idea that his daily labors can be performed as acts of worship acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

We must practice living to the glory of God actually and determinedly. By one act of consecration of our total selves to God we can make every subsequent act express that consecration. By meditation upon this truth, by talking it over with God often in our prayers, by recalling it to our minds frequently as we move about among men, a sense of its wondrous meaning will begin to take hold of us.

The New Testament accepts as a matter of course that in His incarnation, our Lord took upon Him a real human body. He lived in that body here among men and never once performed a nonsacred act!

Brethren, we must offer all our acts to God and believe that He accepts them. We should then keep reminding God in our times of private prayer that we mean every act for His glory. We thus meet the temptations and trials by the exercise of an aggressive faith in the sufficiency of Christ!

Success is certain when the Lord has promised it

Success is certain when the Lord has promised it. Although you may have pleaded month after month without evidence of answer, it is not possible that the Lord should be deaf when his people are earnest in a matter which concerns his glory. Delayed answers often set the heart searching itself, and so lead to contrition and spiritual reformation.

Reader, do not fall into the sin of unbelief, but continue in prayer and watching. Plead the precious blood with unceasing importunity, and it shall be with you according to your desire.