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December 9, 2013

Martin pond, first snow of season 12/8/13

We had the first sticking snow of the season yesterday which began while we were in our church service. We stopped by to visit some friends on the way home and snapped this photo of the Martin farm pond just as the snow was starting to fall.

"Leaving The Splendor Of Heaven"

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"The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us" (John 1:14). "Christ Jesus: who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness" (Philippians 2:5-7).

Christmas season can be a very busy time for most. This Saturday we put up our Christmas decorations inside and out. As I prepare this message Brooksyne is making one of her favorite Christmas gifts, glazed mixed nuts. This coming week we have five different company Christmas gatherings to attend. The main focus for the earnest follower of Christ should not be the shopping, decorations, food preparations or parties. These are an enjoyable part of the holiday season (or at least they can be!) But we must seek to keep our main focus on the Lord, who left the splendor of heaven to redeem His fallen creation.

Mark is a friend we see regularly in the course of our chaplain work. He shared with me that his mother is the organist in her church in northern Pennsylvania and customarily plays the song, "If That Isn't Love" as a prelude to worship in the first advent service. She realizes it is not normally considered a Christmas song but certainly one of the expressions of God's love is seen in the incarnation, when, "the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us."

The song begins with this thoughtful line, "He left the splendor of heaven." At Christmas we focus on where Christ came to, planet earth. But this line reminds us of where He came from, the splendor of heaven.

He left the splendor of heaven
Knowing His destiny
'Twas the lonely hill of Golgotha
There to lay down His life for me

A message in Our Daily Bread drew this interesting comparison. "On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 astronauts landed on the moon. It was an unprecedented human achievement. Millions remember the words of Neil Armstrong: 'That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.'

Two thousand years earlier, the Creator of the moon made a giant leap of a vastly different kind. He descended from heaven to earth. God the Son, the eternal Word, stepped down from heaven to become fully human, while remaining fully God. It was an amazing 'leap,' which showed us God's heart of love. He became one of us so that He could die on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. By trusting Him as our Savior, we are forgiven."

God in the incarnation indeed left the splendor of heaven. In the powerful prologue to John's gospel we read,
"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us" (John 1:14). The apostle Paul, in his magnificent incarnation passage states, "Christ Jesus: who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness" (Philippians 2:5-7).

C. S. Lewis wrote so poignantly, "The Son of God became a Son of Man that sons of men might become sons of God". That's right! And remember this wonderful truth today, this season, and all your life!  Our lives and destiny are forever changed because God left the splendor of heaven and came to this earth. In response we look up to Him who came down to earth to give His all for us!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily Prayer: Jesus, You left the splendor of heaven to take on flesh and dwell among us as You became God in the flesh. In Your humanness You were victorious in the raging battle against the spiritual forces of evil when faced with temptations and trials common to all people. We stand in glorious victory as we follow Your example and hold to Your unchanging truths. How amazing, that You made Yourself nothing, being made in human likeness so that we could relate to Your human condition and partake of Your divine nature. We love You with all our hearts. Amen.

Christmas wreath on Weber barn door
Saturday afternoon we decorated our home for Christmas,
including this lighted wreath on our barn door.

Glazed nuts
In our message Stephen mentioned glazed nuts.....

Glazed Mixed Nuts
4 oz. (1/2 stick) butter, melted
5 Tbsp. maple syrup
4 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 & 1/4 tsp. coarse salt (3/4 tsp. or less if using salted nuts)
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 & 1/2 # (or 2 qts.) mixed nuts

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Mix first five ingredients in large bowl. Carefully stir in nuts until coated. Pre-spray cookie sheet with Pam or use parchment paper or nuts will stick. Spread out nuts on cookie sheet with sides stirring every ten minutes till done (about 30 to 40 minutes). Syrup should evaporate while baking, but if it doesn't fully, it will dry once you cool nuts. This is a sweet recipe. Good mixed nuts without peanuts are very expensive, as you already know. The least expensive I find are at Costco's if you have membership. Sam's are a good price as well. You could use one kind of nut such as almonds which are less expensive. Great treats to bag and place in gift coffee mug for Christmas presents.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"If That Isn't Love"  Video  The Isaacs  This is the song referred to in the beginning of our message that begins, "He left the splendor of heaven."

"The Word Became Flesh"  Video  Dave Morrow

"He Came"  Video 

"The Word Became Flesh"  Video  This song will be used in the Christmas musical, "Hope Has Hands" Brooksyne is directing this year. This video was made four years ago.

"There is Nothing Greater Than the Grace of Jesus"  Video   Marshall Hall

For fun today. As we state in our opening picture the snow arrived in our area yesterday morning. For football fans it was quite a game to watch in Philadelphia which is about 75 miles east of us, especially the third quarter when they had heavy snow falling and covering the field!

The snow didn't stop our border collie, Mollie, who loves to play. When we returned home from church we let her out of her crate and she was ready to play. Ester made this short video from an open window of her catching frisbee in the snow. Video  (Next time I'll remind Ester to turn the camera horizontally!)

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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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