VIDEO Christmas In Just 50 Words

Dec 14, 2011

This mini movie captures the beauty of the events surrounding the Nativity through poem, all the while reminding us what Mary learned so many years ago.

Poem by Dana Livesay. The musical track “Solace” created by Brian Wurzell and TJ Hill.

Just Like My Father

It is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:16

My father’s dusty, heeled-over, cowboy boots rest on the floor of my study, daily reminders of the kind of man he was.

Among other things, he raised and trained cutting horses—equine athletes that move like quicksilver. I loved to watch him at work, marveling that he could stay astride.

Father God, we want to be just like You. Help us to grow more and more like You each day!

As a boy, growing up, I wanted to be just like him. I’m in my eighties, and his boots are still too large for me to fill.

My father’s in heaven now, but I have another Father to emulate. I want to be just like Him—filled with His goodness, fragrant with His love. I’m not there and never will be in this life; His boots are much too large for me to fill.

But the apostle Peter said this: “The God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ . . . will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast” (1 Peter 5:10). He has the wisdom and power to do that, you know (v. 11).

Our lack of likeness to our heavenly Father will not last forever. God has called us to share the beauty of character that is His. In this life we reflect Him poorly, but in heaven our sin and sorrow will be no more and we’ll reflect Him more fully! This is the “true grace of God” (v. 12).

Father God, we want to be just like You. Help us to grow more and more like You each day!

Through the cross, believers are made perfect in His sight.

By David H. Roper 


Not everyone has a father whose boots they wish to fill. Some of us don’t even know our father. But the Bible gives us real hope! We have a Father who welcomes us with open arms. And He tells us, “Be holy, because I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16).

We shouldn’t let that lofty challenge frighten us. Our loving Father gives us what we need to follow Him, even when we fail. Just look at Simon Peter’s life. Peter wrote to a church facing intense persecution, and he warned of a mortal enemy—the devil—who “prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (5:8). That imagery reminds us of Jesus’s warning to Peter before His crucifixion: “Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:31–32).

Jesus prayed for Peter. He prays for us too. Wherever we are today we can “turn back,” as Peter did, and find our Father’s welcome.

What hinders you from enjoying God’s acceptance and love?

Tim Gustafson

Live A Fruitful Life – Versed for Life

Live A Fruitful Life

Proverbs 3:5-12

God has created us with a longing to know that our presence in this world counts. He has also designed us to find the fulfillment of that desire through His Son Jesus Christ.

Dependence on the Lord is central to an abundant life. Trusting Him with all of our heart means giving Him control over our families, finances, jobs, and everything else in our life. Today’s passage emphasizes how essential trust is to a fruitful life: We are cautioned against being wise in our own eyes and warned not to lean on our own understanding. When faced with decisions, it is tempting to gather information and choose the answer we think is right. However, we can’t know all the facts or predict with certainty how others will respond. Our heavenly Father, on the other hand, is omniscient. He “reads” the heart and perceives our every thought (1 Chronicles 28:9). No aspect of life escapes His notice (Heb. 4:13), and He cares about everyone. That’s why He alone is certain which decision will be best for the circumstances we face in our life.

The abundant life also involves acknowledging the Lord in all we do. Speaking about Him is just part of what it means to give Him recognition. As His children, we are to have a marked resemblance to our heavenly Father—in thoughts, attitudes, and actions. Our priorities are to reflect His, and our plans should fit with His purposes.

Life becomes fruitful as we surrender ourselves to God and carry out His will. By allowing His Spirit to live through us (Gal. 2:20), we will find our life characterized by significance and satisfaction.

Versed for Life

Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9

What happens when you’re stricken with cancer at age fourteen? Carson Leslie responded by turning to Joshua 1:9. He claimed it not as his cancer verse but his life verse. “No matter how long I live, I want this verse on my tombstone,” he wrote in Carry Me. “And when people visit my grave, I want them to read the verse and think about how it got me through my struggles in life, and I hope others will see that this verse can offer them the same kind of comfort it gives me.”

Carson passed away at age seventeen, but the foundation and medical ministries established in his honor have touched thousands.

Carson’s story reminds us that Scripture has the power to bring us through hard times. No matter what comes, God has a verse, a promise, or a passage in the Bible to help us. His Word gives us the tools to defeat our enemies. Find a verse for yourself today, make it your “go-to” Scripture, and draw courage as you look to God’s Word for strength each day.

None of us know what life has in store… but it’s easy to have courage when you know the courage comes from God. Carson Leslie in Carry Me

The Earth Made New Again

“And he built his sanctuary like high palaces, like the earth which he hath established for ever.” (Psalm 78:69)

There are a number of passages in the Bible that state unequivocally that the earth, in some form, is going to continue eternally. “One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever” (Ecclesiastes 1:4).

However, this present earth and its atmospheric heavens must first be purged of all the age-long effects of sin and the curse, which now affect the very elements (or “dust of the earth”). Therefore, “the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up” (2 Peter 3:10).

Evidently, this fiery cataclysm is not an annihilation of the earth and its atmosphere but rather a great exchange of energies. The earth’s very elements will probably be converted into sound and heat energies by mass-energy nuclear-conversion processes, in order to burn out the great fossil beds and all other relics of sin and the curse. Then, however, God will reverse the process, converting these and other energies back into matter, thus “renewing” the primeval earth, which originally had been “very good” (Genesis 1:31). “We, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness” (2 Peter 3:13).

It is this new earth (that is, the earth made new) that will then continue forever. “For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain” (Isaiah 66:22). “Because the [creation] itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Romans 8:21). Then we shall forever “be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:17). HMM

Are there not with you sins against the Lord?”

2 Chronicles 28:5-15

Ahaz rejected the message of the Lord by Isaiah—

2 Chronicles 28:5

His enemies, though they could not take Jerusalem, were suffered by God to devastate the country, and so Ahaz gathered bitter fruit from trusting in man. The king of Assyria was slow in coming to his help, and meanwhile the confederate princes despoiled him.

2 Chronicles 28:7

So that judgment came home to the king, and death was busy in his own household; a due reward for passing others of his children through the fire to Moloch.

2 Chronicles 28:8

All suffered for the common sin, for “the children gathered wood, and the fathers kindled the fire, and the women kneaded dough to make cakes for the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink-offerings unto other gods, to provoke the Lord to anger.” God has ways of punishing sinners of all ages.

2 Chronicles 28:9, 10

With holy courage he confronted the host in the name of God who sent him,

2 Chronicles 28:9, 10

A humbling question for any of us when we are severe upon others. Is there no beam in our own eye? Why, then, are we so censorious concerning the mote in our brother’s eye?

2 Chronicles 28:11, 13

The prophet’s expostulation was thus backed up by some of the leading men, and speedily had a most delightful effect. If all who hold positions of influence would support the Lord’s servants by co-working with their ministry, a world of good would be effected.

2 Chronicles 28:15

This is one of the happiest incidents in the gloomy history of the ten tribes. It shewed a tenderness little to be expected, and makes us the more deeply regret that they had not grace enough to throw down the calves, and turn unto the Lord. Fine actions are sometimes performed by ungodly men, just as one now and then sees a lovely rose blooming upon a dunghill.


Lord, we all look up to thee,

As one favoured family;

May all strife between us cease,

As we love thee, Prince of Peace.


Free from all that hearts divide,

Let us all in love abide;

All the power of grace express,

All the heights of holiness.


Yes, Our Charter Is from God

Upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:18)

While we are right to thank God in appreciation for all of the great and good men in the history of the Christian church, we actually “follow none of them. Our charter goes farther back and is from a higher source. They were rightly looked upon as leaders, but they were all servants of God, even as you and I are.

Luther sowed. Wesley watered. Finney reaped—but they were only servants of the living God.

In our local assemblies, we are part of the church founded by the Lord Jesus Christ and perpetuated by the mystery of the new birth. Therefore, our assembly is that of Christian believers gathered unto a Name to worship and adore the Presence. So, in that sense, the strain is gone. The strain and pressure to abide by traditional religious forms all begin to pale in importance as we function in faith as the people of God who glorify His Name and honor His Presence!

If all of this is true—and everything within me witnesses that it is—we may insist that God is able to do for us all that He did in the days of the apostles. There has been no revocation of our charter!


A Wonderful Guarantee

“I will strengthen thee.” Isa. 41:10

When called to serve or to suffer, we take stock of our strength, and we find it to be less than we thought, and less than we need. But let not our heart sink within us while we have such a word as this to fall back upon, for it guarantees us all that we can possibly need. God has strength omnipotent; that strength He can communicate to us; and His promise is that He will do so. He will be the food of our souls, and the health of our hearts; and thus He will give us strength. There is no telling how much power God can put into a man. When divine strength comes, human weakness is no more a hindrance.

Do we not remember seasons of labor and trial in which we received such special strength that we wondered at ourselves? In the midst of danger we were calm, under bereavement we were resigned, in slander we were self-contained, and in sickness we were patient. The fact is, that God gives unexpected strength when unusual trials come upon us. We rise out of our feeble selves. Cowards play the man, foolish ones have wisdom given them, and the silent receive in the self-same hour what they shall speak. My own weakness makes me shrink, but God’s promise makes me brave. Lord, strengthen me “according to thy word.”


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