Daily Encouragement Net Header
The online Bible teaching ministry of Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.
Home   About Us  Archives   Free email subscription   ListenListen to these messages
Print Text only for printing

 See here for more info.
<Previous Message                                                    Next Message

Monday, November 30, 2009

Donegal Creek duck family, Lancaster County, PA
For many years we have observed this duck family in Donegal Creek near our home.

ListenListen to us share this message on your audio player.

"Ordinary People"

"But the angel said to him: 'Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John'" (Luke 1:13).

Yesterday Brooksyne and I held a Memorial Service for families and residents of Longwood Manor, a nearby assisted living facility where we serve as chaplains.  Seven residents had passed away over the past quarter and so we planned a service to honor them.  At the end of the service Brooksyne read "My First Christmas in Heaven". Afterward we went around the room and greeted those who were in attendance.  Brooksyne had a very interesting conversation:

I greeted Marian (not her real name) whom I've known for about eight years now through my hymn sings and chaplaincy at the facility. Marian has a disease that greatly impairs her mobility and makes her speech extremely difficult to understand.  If I really, really focus and with the help of others I can sometimes understand what she is trying to say.  Other times I don't understand but listen anyway to show her that I value her conversation.

She was most intent in communicating with me yesterday and I just could not understand her.  With great effort she used her arms to give me gestures that was helpful.  I thought she was referring to my playing hymns at the piano, but that was clearly not the message.  One word I finally understood was "image" and it helped direct me in my interpretation of her message.  After a lengthy time of playing charades (so to speak) I finally understood what she was saying.  When I had read the Christmas poem earlier, in her spirit, she saw an image of Jesus standing behind me.  Marian was so excited when I finally understood her message and she was clearly touched by what she'd experienced. Jesus had met her in a supernatural way during the reading of that poem and she wanted to convey that to me.

That brings to mind the Bible story where Zechariah resorted to using gestures to communicate.  Luke describes Zechariah and Elizabeth as an ordinary married couple who lived upright lives in the sight of God.  Elizabeth was barren so they had no children and "they were both well along in years."  He served as a priest at a time when God was about to break a long, bleak period of prophetic silence.  It had been 400 years since God had spoken through the prophet Malachi.

Yet Zechariah and his wife, like other godly Jews, fervently awaited the promised Messiah.  His routine assignment in the temple on this particular day changed him forever after his encounter with a representative of the living God, none other than the angel Gabriel! And what a blessed message he received!  "Your prayer has been heard."  I wonder if Zechariah's mind went into fast mode to consider which prayer Gabriel was speaking of.  Surely, he had given up on the request for a child many years earlier.  Possibly the answered prayer was the Messiah's coming and Zechariah would play a part in this prophetic fulfillment in a most remarkable way.

We encourage you to read the entire account from Luke 1:1-25 (link below). Zechariah wanted to be sure he was really hearing things right.  Do you blame him?  Due to his initial unbelief Gabriel told him that he would be unable to speak until the birth of his son.

Following his lengthy encounter with the angel, Zechariah went outside the temple and saw those who anxiously awaited his appearance. "They realized he had seen a vision in the temple, for he kept making signs to them but remained unable to speak."  I can't help but wonder what kind of signs Zechariah made to describe his supernatural encounter with the angel.  Did he look up toward heaven and shield his eyes to give the effect of a heavenly encounter with a dazzling, bright visitor?  Did he point to his mouth to indicate that the messenger gave him a message?  And how about the news of the coming birth….did he make a cradle of his two arms nestled together and rock an invisible baby?  Surely, the crowd would have to wonder if John, well up in years, might be having the first signs of Alzheimer's (or whatever term they used to describe the deterioration of aging brain cells.)

The next challenge would be communicating the miraculous news to his wife, Elizabeth.   I wonder if God had in some way spoken to her as well.  What did she think when her speechless old husband walked into their house that night at a quicker pace, his face lit up, and his hands talking a mile a minute?  We really don't know how God enabled Zechariah to communicate the good news to Elizabeth, but we do know that nine months later they rejoiced as they welcomed little John into the world.  Their son would "bring many of the people of Israel back to the Lord their God.  And he would go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."

Zechariah and Elizabeth were ordinary people touched by an extra-ordinary God who's very much at work today still touching and using ordinary people like you and me!

Just ordinary people, God uses ordinary people.
He chooses people just like me and you,
Who are willing to do as He commands.
God uses people that will give Him all.
No matter how small your all may seem to you.
Because little becomes much,
As you place it in the Master's hand." *

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, we are thankful for the miraculous birth of John the Baptist who prepared the way for the Lord Jesus who came as Savior to the world.  We also thank You for ordinary individuals living blameless, upright lives who help prepare unbelievers to  receive the gospel message.  By their godly example and their communicating the truths of the Bible they become Your earth appointed messengers directing people's hearts to Jesus who is the only way to the Father.  May we be among them.  In Jesus' name we pray.  Amen.

Today's Scripture portion: 
Luke 1:1-25

Rustic log cabin on Cold Spring Road in Lancaster County, PA
It was a beautiful sunny day late yesterday afternoon and driving through the country to the church for choir rehearsal we passed this little rustic log cabin on Cold Spring Road. It sure looked like a nice place to sit out and enjoy a pleasant Autumn afternoon!

Old well pump on Cold Spring Road in Lancaster County, PA
I have enjoyed old pumps since I was a child when there was one in front of my grandparent's home in Harwood, Missouri. I couldn't resist pumping this one to see if I could get water out, but alas was unable to get any.  As a child my sister Genelle and I would race to the pump and vigorously pump till the water surged out!

The two photos were taken here (Google map)

Laurie and Estella
Laurie and Estella visiting before our church service.
It's always a delight to see intergenerational fellowship among the believers.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

Click on the link to open and play.
(In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.)
"Ordinary People"  Video
 Sung by some ordinary people!

Send a message to Stephen & Brooksyne.

Sign up here for the free daily email encouragement.

Permissions: Please feel free to pass on, reproduce and distribute any material on Daily Encouragement Net, in part or in whole, in any format, provided that you do not alter the wording in any way or charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction. It is our desire to spread this material, not protect or restrict it. I do request that you keep the contact, copyright and subscription information intact.

Text only version for printing: To make a text only version for printing (without photos or any of the supplemental materials)
1) Open the basic text editor that comes with all computers (known as wordpad, textpad, etc.)  You can also use a program like Word and select paste text only.
2) Select and copy the text from the portion of the message you want to print.
3) Paste into the text pad. (The photos won't show up but you will have a brief text description of the photo which you can delete or just ignore.)
4) Format if you desire (change font, increase or decrease size, etc.)
5) Print!

Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

Daily Encouragement Net is an affiliate of Christianbook.com 
© Copyright 2009 Stephen C. Weber - All Rights Reserved
Daily Encouragement Net - 495 Kraybill Church Road - Mount Joy, PA 17552  USA

Contact us

"Living securely today anchored in God's solid foundation"