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Friday, December 18, 2009

Labanon County PA farmhouse
Yesterday we passed this quaint old farmhouse in rural Lebanon County.  Brooksyne said it looks like a house where Grandma and Grandpa have decorated and are waiting for the children to come home over the Christmas holidays.  I agree!

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"Born A King"

"Where is the One who has been born king of the Jews? We saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him" (Matthew 2:2).

Pennsylvania Pork KingThe title of "king" is used a lot. There are certain countries that still have a palace with a king on the throne. I think of two deceased musical entertainers who are referred to as the "king of pop" or the "king of rock and roll". There's a popular beer brand known as the "king of beers". Gene Wenger is a friend of ours who is known as "Pennsylvania's Pork King" due to his very popular hamloaf mix!

Today I'd like to sift through the world's view of an earthly king and the trivialization of such a title. Instead I want to examine the true King taking a few moments to consider the phrase, "born King of the Jews".  The Magi from the east ask the question in our daily text, "Where is the One who has been born king of the Jews? We saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him."

Little is known about the identity of these Magi (or wise men).  I believe they were descendants of the Jews who had been taken captive to Babylon about 600 years earlier.  Although many returned to the land of Judah following the Babylonian exile, some did not. The existence of small pockets of exiled (and later dispersed) Jews throughout the world who kept their identity and faith is a wonderful sign of God's promise.

These Magi came to Jerusalem to make inquiry about a special birth. King Herod heard about it and was greatly disturbed.  He was threatened by the prospect of another king.  The rest of his response is well known. He feigned interest and sent the Magi to find the child so he too could worship Him (or so he led them to believe).

But the Magi's interest was earnest and after their worshipful encounter and offering of gifts to the baby King, they were warned in a dream to depart by another route.  Joseph was also directed in a dream to take his little family to Egypt.  Herod came down to Bethlehem and we have the record of the horrible carnage from the slaughter of all the infant boys two years old and under.
The contrast in the attitude between the Magi and Herod is representative of the response of the world, even 2,000 years later, to the King of kings.  Some will make great effort to worship and bring their very best gifts.  Others are furious and will go to any means to silence the King.  We hear new stories every year regarding those who want to do away with the nativity displays which would prompt viewers to think of the original Christmas setting.

What about you today?  What is your response to the birth of a King?  The truly wise still seek and worship Him!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, we worship You, the Lord of lords and King of kings.  We travel back in time to that original Christmas when You sent forth Your One and only Son to redeem the world from sin.  We are grateful for the amazing sacrifice You made on our behalf as we receive You into our heart, King of kings.  Amen.

Lebanon County PA red barns
These barns are just beyond the farmhouse used in the top photo.
The bright red barns are stunning along with the native stone.

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.)

We have been sharing videos from our Christmas musical, "Hope Has Hands" which was presented last weekend. Mike Martin, a friend in our church, spent a great deal of time getting these videos up on Youtube so we can share them with others.

Today we share three more songs and intend to share the remaining songs from the musical on Monday.

New! "Mary Rocks The Rock" is a creatively written song with an interesting play on words.  JoAnna Gardner has a solo in this song.  I had the privilege of conducting the wedding ceremony for JoAnna and her husband Mike nearly four years ago and rejoice as they continue to build a Christian home. They have a daughter who is almost two and are expecting their second child.  Video 

New! "Hope Has Hands" This is the signature song in the musical. These words really touch our hearts!  A young friend of Ester's, Renee' Buckwalter, has the solo in this song. Video

New!  "Mary Did You Know" This song has been very popular the last several years and is a powerful theological presentation causing us to consider just how much Mary was aware of her Son's significance. Video

Our church building, although built in 1878 has had some rennovations through the years and is overall in remarkable shape.  The sanctuary does not feel old at all (at least to me).  However the lower level  has a very low ceiling and due to the duct work I avoid it as much as possible since I've bumped my head numerous times! An interesting feature is a huge attic that people used to stay in for extended meetings with mutiple churches involved.  I doubt if you could find too many people interested in sleeping there in our current age!

Here's an interesting presentation concerning "The Star Of Bethlehem"

Golden Nuggets senior fellowship meeting
Yesterday Brooksyne and I shared at a senior program called "Golden Nuggets". This is a neat ministry out of a local church illustrating the true church at work in compassion.  Not only are the elderly people from the church invited to the monthly meeting, but also neighbors, widows and widowers.  We had as our main meat "Gene Wenger's Famous Ham Loaf"!

Golden Nuggets workers
Every function takes workers. These folks represent the millions serving Christ unheralded in local churches all over the world.

Coal Delivery
Our coal was delivered today.
Here's a photo collection for the terminally curious.

2009 coal delivery to Weber's home
We use Pennsylvania anthracite coal to heat our home.
The delivery man had to get up in the bed of the truck as it was being unloaded.  He has a hard job!
Anthracite is a hard coal that burns clean and efficiently.

Coal enters coal bin
The coal slides from the truck down the chute into the bin. The four tons I had delivered filled the bin and should last well into next year's heating season. I take the coal into the house in two large buckets once a day and fill a hopper behind the stove. From the hopper the coal is slowly fed to the fire. I also have to empty the ash pan and dispose of the ash daily. The stove essentially heats our entire home with a little electric heat assist on really cold days.

Coal stove burner
Inside the stove the coal on the burner plate is white hot.

Roxie and Dottie in front of stove
Roxie and Dottie enjoy laying in front of the stove.

Brooksyne at coal stove
When it's really cold Brooksyne enjoys working in front of the stove.
She regularly expresses appreciation for this warm spot in our house!

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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