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The online Bible teaching ministry of Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
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Friday, December 31, 2010

Martin farmpond
Martin farmpond in Lancaster County
Our friend Nancy Martin sent us this photo she took of their farm pond after a beautiful snowfall. This is a photo from several years ago. We still haven't had a major snowfall in our area and today it is clear and mild!
Click here to see a larger desktop-sized photo.

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"Special Year-End Edition"

"Encourage one another daily" (Hebrews 3:13).

Scene from "It's a wonderful life"
The other day we quoted a line from the end of the classic Christmas movie, "It's A Wonderful Life" when George Bailey receives a note from Clarence reminding him, "Remember, no man is a failure who has friends." We used this quote in our message Wednesday titled, "The Blessing Of Friendship".

"It's a Wonderful Life" is one of our all-time favorite movies. It's amazing how interesting the plot and dialogue is without swearing, violence, sexual scenes and crude humor that seems to be in most all modern movies.

Essentially, if you're not familiar with this movie, George Bailey runs a small Building and Loan Association that barely survives, in part due to George's generosity and compassion for others.  He's always threatened by the movie's chief antagonist, greedy old Henry F. Potter, who wants to drive George out of business for financial control of the village of Bedford Falls.

The movie opens with a scene of prayers rising to heaven for George who is discouraged to the point of despondency and suicide.  The angels discussing the situation call on a junior angel named Clarence who has yet to earn his wings.  He is commissioned to go to earth to encourage George Bailey. Much of the movie is an overview of George's life provided to help Clarence understand George in order to help him and remind him that his life is a blessing to many.

There's one early scene that always touches me.  When Clarence is first called he's told that George is in trouble and he asks, "Is he sick"? The senior angel says, "No, it's worse than being sick; he's discouraged."  Now certainly I don't vouch for the theology in the movie as the Bible doesn't teach that angels earn their wings or worse yet that they are humans who have died and returned to earth.  But I do believe there is great power in the prayers ascending to heaven for people in need and I know how debilitating discouragement can be.

The way Clarence helped George was to show him what it would be like had he never been born and this powerfully reminded George of the value of his life as he saw how many people his life had touched and this greatly encouraged him. That's an interesting motivation for how we want daily encouragement to be!

But in this special year end edition allow us to express a lot more administrative material than usual. Regular readers know that we generally keep the administration of the ministry behind the scenes but feel this overview may be of value.

We are grateful for the growth in this ministry during 2010 and the opportunity to provide a small, regular dose of daily encouragement and Bible teaching to many readers and podcast listeners around the world.

Our practice is to write these devotionals early each weekday morning or sometimes the night before. The goal from the very beginning is based on a verse from Hebrews 3 stating that we are to "encourage one another daily" (Hebrews 3:13).

Foundationally we want to remind you that one of the main things we want to convey in each devotional is the daily outlook of two very ordinary believers seeking to live another day faithful to Christ. Our email ministry began with a brief message to several friends in 1996. We wanted to offer a spiritual perspective. That remains our primary objective.

We are dedicated to Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and each devotional is written based on a commitment to Christ and His Word. Even though we may share glimpses of our own family life or that of others, or an illustrative or humorous story we want the major focus to be on our Lord Jesus along with a brief exposition of the daily Scripture text.

A variable is the delivery schedule. We normally try to get it off by Noon (Eastern Standard Time), but a phone call, technical problem or other interruptions can easily throw off our good intention. All devotionals are prepared fresh. However we do at times take previously written messages from years earlier and revise and refresh them.

From the beginning this ministry has been on a weekday basis. We purposefully do not prepare devotionals for Saturday or Sunday. We hope each of you, if physically possible, are active in a local church where the Bible is faithfully preached. We are opposed to the concept of a "cyber or internet church". (This concept calls for believers to essentially forsake the real life fellowship of a local church and be in "virtual" association with believers on the internet.) We believe God calls us all to be in regular fellowship with fellow believers in a local church congregation if possible. We affirm the ministry of each local pastor as he fulfills his call to "watch for your souls, as they that must give account" (Hebrews 13:17).

Administratively we want to be easy to reach if there are comments, prayer requests or problems. If you have feedback you can use the comments page.  However please use this and our email address only for personal, specific feedback. We do value brief notes of appreciation and prayer requests or comments prompted by a specific message and generally receive several daily. But please do not use the comments form or place our email address on your own group list for forwarded inspirational stories, virus warnings, free Disney trips, etc, etc. We kindly ask that you do not send these types of mail to us. We also suspect most who use email feel the same way!

Since most subscriptions are anonymous we have little information regarding the background of the vast majority of our readers. As it has grown we now know only a minority of you personally and of course this percentage gets smaller as the list grows. We do know our messages go to a wide variety of corporate addresses, educational institutions and countries all around the world.

For those who have subscribed to the email list we want the email to be easy to "unsubscribe" if you prefer to be removed from the mailing list. Just use the automatically inserted link below the footers for immediate removal.

A weekly version is available with Friday's message sent out along with the link to previous messages.  This may be a preferable subscription for those who check their email infrequently.  I especially appeal to those who know us personally to consider the weekly list if frequency is a motive for unsubscribing. We are so thankful for the hundreds of people we have maintained contact with through the years who are on this list and would hate to lose contact!

The daily mailing and the content of our website are offered as a ministry without any cost whatsoever. We do not use any advertising since in our opinion this would clutter and confuse our message. We merely rely on the Lord to provide for our needs and meet the expenses of this ministry as He leads people to support.  For any desiring information on support please see here.

We truly hope the daily encouragement devotional has been a blessing through 2010 and continues to be a blessing and source of spiritual strength and hope to each reader and listener in 2011! Our desire is that each of you are committed to Jesus Christ, that you stay faithful, and that you impact many others for Christ.

Be encouraged today and have a blessed New Year,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer: Father, we embark upon another year with Your guidance and presence in all that we undertake, all that we endure, and all that we accomplish.  May we be mindful not of ourselves first, but of those who journey with us day after day.  Let us be quick to encourage, ready to reach out, and faithful to pray for our brothers and sisters.  Above all, keep us growing in Your grace and knowledge this year of 2011.  In the name of Jesus we pray.  Amen.

For those who may desire to read more about our ministry and here is a revised personal ministry update. (Revised 12/31/10)

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.)

There are two hymns I enjoy singing at the dawning of a new year; "Another Year Is Dawning" by Frances Ridley Havergal and "God of the Ages"  by Margaret  Clarkson. I was unable to find suitable online versions of either of these songs but did find these two with the same title as the latter song:

"God Of The Ages"  Video  Liberty University Choir

"God Of The Ages"  Video  Jon Owens

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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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