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Monday, December 14, 2009

Farm in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania
On Friday afternoon we passed this tidy farm on Mount Pleasant Road in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania

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"Jesus Is Knocking"

"Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me" (Revelation 3:20).

2009 Christmas Choir at Mastersonville

Three times in three different locations over the weekend our choir shared their musical presentation, "Hope Has Hands".  I'm sure they're somewhat tired today, but their hearts must still be stirred in the afterglow from the exhilarating message they shared in song. They did an outstanding job and I was genuinely blessed to see the cooperative labors of multi generations sing their praises to God.  There were singers from young teens to seniors in their 80's – in fact, there were  singers representing every decade in their varied age span.

Last night we held the presentation at the small country church in which I serve in a part-time pastoral capacity. Although we had to cancel our morning service due to icy roads we had a full house last night and a blessed time of worshiping the Lord. It was one of those exciting services where we had to set up extra chairs and gather additional hymn books from storage.  The parking lot was crowded with people parking every which way just to find a spot.  It's the kind of excitement that pastors and church leaders expectantly hope for and thoroughly enjoy.

This year Brooksyne combined two church choirs which made for a wonderful cooperative effort.  She provided an interlude for a devotional message which I shared followed by a challenge to follow Christ extended by our pastor friend, Bob Verno.

Just prior to our participation the choir sang a beautiful number titled "Come", which is a stirring invitation to come to Christ. They were completing the song by singing the compelling words, "Come" three times, each time getting softer, when out of nowhere there came a loud, deliberate, and rhythmic knocking. It was one of those experiences where everyone hears it, but out of respect for the setting, people try to stay focused and ignore the obvious which is what the choir and congregation did momentarily.  But then it persisted; the loud, deliberate, rhythmic knocking filled the entire sanctuary.

Brooksyne told me later, "After it persisted I began to wonder if it was God knocking, as my thoughts were being drawn to the time when the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall in the royal palace. As the mysterious knocking persisted, my knees were just about to start knocking together just like the king who saw the handwriting on the wall in Daniel." Well, finally the mystery was solved when a perceptive observer discovered that it was a child who had a toy hammer and was knocking on the Plexiglas that separates the nursery window from the sanctuary.  It sure served as an interesting beginning to my devotional calling to mind our daily text, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock..."

Child with stethoscopeOne more illustration comes to mind regarding this text about a nurse who worked on the pediatric ward.  Before listening to the little one's chests, she would plug the stethoscope into their ears and let them listen to their own hearts. Their eyes would always light up with awe, but she never got a response equal to four-year old David's comment.   Gently she tucked the stethoscope into his ears and placed the disk over his heart. "Listen", she quietly instructed. "What do you suppose that is?" He drew his eyebrows together in a puzzled line and looked up as if lost in the mystery of the strange tap - tap - tapping deep in his chest. Then his face broke out in a wondrous grin with big eyes as he curiously asked, "Is that Jesus knocking?"  Well apparently the little guy had heard a lesson on today's text or even more likely had sung the little children's song based on it.

A favorite song of mine during this season has a refrain that states, "O come to my heart Lord Jesus, there is room in my heart for Thee."

Jesus KnockingJesus is a persistent non-intruder. He has been described as "the perfect gentleman."  The daily text describes His work among the human race in the lives of millions and millions of people this very day.  The Apostle John received this remarkable revelation from the ascended Lord, "I stand at the door and knock."

The Greek tenses can be rendered, "I am persistently standing at the door and am persistently knocking."  An older, expanded translation (Wuest) states, "I have taken my stand at the door and am politely knocking."

And Jesus is doing just that.  Most of you have responded and are experiencing the blessing of fellowship divine, the wonderful fellowship with the One who promised, "I will come in and eat with him, and he with Me."

Some of our readers can sense His presence and knocking, but have not yet responded.  Why don't you do so today?  Following this message is a brief prayer that expresses faith in Christ and has been repeated by millions in opening their lives to the Lord.  This is absolutely life's greatest blessing!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Here's a common prayer that expresses faith in God's plan of salvation through Jesus Christ. If you have not done so already, I urge you to pray this prayer from your heart today.

Prayer of Faith: "Lord Jesus, I confess that I am a sinner.  I believe that You came to this earth and died on the cross as a substitute for me and my sin.  I place my faith in You and what You have done for me.  Forgive me of my sins and cleanse me from unrighteousness.  I receive You into my life and choose this day to follow You and serve You all the days of my life.  Thank You for hearing my prayer."

2009 Christmas Choir at Mount Pleasant
Here's a photo of the choir Saturday night at Mount Pleasant.

2009 Christmas Choir at Longwood Manor
Friday night we shared at an Assisted Living Center. I had a narration role as Simeon,
along with Wilma (in the forefront), who narrated the part for Anna.

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.)

"Thou Didst Leave Thy Throne"  Video  This is the song that has the wonderful refrain,
"O come to my heart Lord Jesus,
there is room in my heart for Thee."

"Behold I Stand At The Door And Knock, Knock, Knock"  Video of children singing.  I suppose there are a few of you who recall singing this song!

"Who At My Door Is Standing?"  Video The Cathedrals

"Mary Did You Know?"  Video

Tomorow we hope to have a couple of videos available of the musical that was recorded last night but here's one from a local church using the theme song, "Hope Has Hands"  Video  It includes the delightful imperfections that take place in most local churches.  Many lasting memories come from these experiences and last night following the musical Brooksyne and I were discussing a few such:

1) The sound man has a vital role in these musicals. Lee Kurtz did an outstanding job over the last three nights. In New England we had a man named Tony who did this with great proficiency and diligence, but one time his knee bumped the sound system and reset a song as it was playing, which certainly perplexed the choir and director, since Brooksyne didn't know just what to do. As I recall, they had to start the song over - a bit humbling, but very human!

Also while in New England we had a musical drama called “Little Christmas Lamb” about a poor orphan girl, played by Cleosa.  She wore ragged attire and worn-out shoes.  In fact the shoes were so worn out that the soles flopped up and down as the girl walked around on the stage during the drama!  The congregation laughed at the scene but Ester, who was only 4 years old at the time, was very upset when she thought people were making fun of the poor girl.  Brooksyne was still on the platform, involved with the children, when Ester spontaneously ran up to the front of the church at the end of the musical. She turned around to the congregation and shook her "Shame on you" finger and scolded them for laughing at this poor girl! She was so shaken by the incident that Brooksyne took her to the shoe store the next day and bought Cleosa a new pair of shoes.  Ester gave them to her for Christmas and it served as a wonderful lesson for her to see the proper Christian response to a person in need (even if it was a bit "staged".)

3) All the way back to our years in northern Pennsylvania we recall
a little girl, Tiffany, who had a role in a children's recitation. After standing awhile it finally was her turn and as she stepped up to the microphone for her small speaking part the only words that she bellowed out into the microphone were, "I gotta P" and then Tiffany ran down the middle aisle, holding herself the entire way!

Resources for
Christmas Celebrations

It is our desire to share online resources that may be a blessing to families and churches during this Christmas season. We will continue to post these resources through Christmas Day. As we find additional material that we believe will be a blessing we will add it to this list as well.

Christmas Memories  Here's a collection of Christmas memories sent in by daily encouragement readers several years ago, along with an opportunity to share your own story. 

"In Remembrance of Me" pdf  This is a passion-filled Scripture reading for two adults. Brooksyne and I have used this reading with great receptivity during Christmas Eve services many years.  We suggest, if possible, a musical background as the message is read. It is also a great lead-in to a Communion service. It should be thoroughly practiced and read with great feeling.

"When Christ Was Born" pdf This is an adaptation to the tune of "How Great Thou Art". It's a great song to sing as a congregation since most are familiar with the tune.

Responsive Christmas Scripture readings for church or family:
John 1:1-18  pdf
"O Come Let Us Adore Him"  

My First Christmas In Heaven  This is a blessed reminder for all who lost a loved one this year.  This is the poem that Brooksyne read and wrote about in this message.  

Christmas Knowledge Test

have also posted two Christmas carol quizzes here (scroll down).

re you Christmas shopping online?

Christianbook.comDaily Encouragement Net is an affiliate of Christianbook.com. Any orders placed to Christian Book Distributers using this link or any specific product link to a recommended resource in a daily encouragement message will help our Daily Encouragement ministry through a small commission on the sale. Thank you for considering using these links when purchasing online through CBD! Tip: If you are regular CBD customer consider bookmarking this link and using it whenever you shop.

Looking for a very special Christmas gift for your parents?  
"The Best Gift You Can Ever Give Your Parents"

Looking for a very special Christmas gift for your children?
"The Blessing"

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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."

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