The on line Bible teaching ministry of Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.
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Monday, December 23, 2013
The Turkey Hill cow at the Visitor's Center in Columbia is dressed for the holidays!
(Click on photo to enlarge)
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"For Unto Us A Child Is Born"
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given" (Isaiah 9:6). "In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days He has spoken unto us by His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, and through whom He made the universe" (Hebrews 1:1,2).
Yesterday our church service closed with our congregation singing the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's Messiah. We were assisted by an orchestra and choir which was projected on the screen. However most of the volume was from our own church as the people joyfully declared, "For Unto Us A Child Is Born", though it was fairly easy to sort out those who have sung it in a choral production from those who've simply heard this masterpiece over the years. Those more familiar belted it out while others sang it under their breath but all came together on the "Hallelujah's". It's one of those inspirational songs we are pretty sure we'll be singing in heaven and there all will sing out in confidence every inspiring word of this glorious musical!
Today we want to encourage you with the little phrase "unto us." It's often repeated throughout the season from the word of Isaiah the prophet who declares, "Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given" which Handel incorporated verbatim into the song.
The challenge during this season is to remember the real message of Christmas. It's not the gifts we give or receive from others. It's not the abundance of gadgets that retailers offer to materialistic America. If we base our estimation of Christmas on what we did or didn't get or what we gave or couldn't give we'll be missing the real point of the reason for the season. It's the gift of God's Son to an unreceptive, apathetic, undeserving, and mocking world.
The writer of Hebrews begins his rich epistle in such an interesting and powerful way. All other epistles except 1 John begin with some identification of the human author. Hebrews starts right off in a stately manner dealing with God's message to mankind and the absolute preeminence of His Son.
However let us notice just one tiny phrase in the daily Scripture text which really is a "Christmas" verse, "He has spoken unto us by His Son." Aren't you glad God has spoken and indeed continues to speak! I recall a book I read in college by the late Francis Schaeffer titled, "He is here and He is not silent." How very true.
He speaks to us in many ways, but primarily and fundamentally through His Son. What a great blessing it is that He has not ignored us! After the Fall He began His quest for us and called to Adam, "Where are you?" He's been speaking to His people and calling them ever since. Today He continues to lovingly hearken to the human race, but relatively few pay attention.
What about you? Are you listening? Are you responding in faith and obedience? Let us rejoice that God has indeed spoken to us!
Last night our Christmas musical had a powerful invitation song simply titled "Come"
If you're looking for hope, Hope is with us.
If you're searching for love, Love is here.
If you hunger for peace, Peace is waiting.
It is heaven's gift and it is near.
Come to all you long for.
Come to all you need.
Come now and see;
Come receive God's only
be-gotten Son, come.
You're ashamed of your past,
Yet He wants you.
You've refused Him before,
Still He waits.
You're afraid you will fail,
But He'll help you
If you only take a step of faith.
We urge each of our readers to come!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, even as You spoke to the prophets of long ago You still speak to the hearts of Your people. You've called us out from among the world to stand for righteousness in a godless society. You will not be silenced in a world full of noisy gongs and clanging symbols. As we contemplate the Christmas story young Mary is a prime example of one whose yielded heart withstood the ridicule and awkwardness of her special role in the conception and birth of the Savior of the world. You continue to speak to us who choose to fear the law of God rather than the law of man. Help us to turn our ears away from perishable and worthless noisy gongs. Instead captivate our hearts for all eternity toward Emmanuel, God with us.
We want to thank all who have financially supported our ministry this past year. We typically see a spike in giving at the end of the year for which we are most thankful. We realize there are many fine ministries and causes requesting support at this time but if the Lord would lead you we surely need and appreciate the financial support from our readers and listeners. Our ministry is comprised of half our time to Daily Encouragement and the other half to our chaplaincy ministry to companies (of course, this varies week by week). Each of these ministries essentially is the same as a part-time job (20+ hours weekly) for each of us. Our goal for many years is that each phase would provide half of our ministry expenses and income. If you would like to make a donation see here for more information or donate directly online here. Thank you!
This weekend Brooksyne directed our church choir twice in the Christmas musical
"Hope Has Hands".
Click on photo to enlarge.
Visit to WDAC
For over ten years we've had the opportunity to extend our written daily encouragement ministry over the airwaves of WDAC, a Christian radio station here in central Pennsylvania. Local businesses sponsor our Daily Encouragement Net minutes which run twice weekly. These are usually condensed versions of our daily messages which we record in our home office and send to the station through the internet. Last Friday we stopped by to visit the station and today we share several photos, for the benefit of our many local readers who tune into the same station.
Mike Stike (left) is the operations manager and host of the "Sonrise" weekday program. We regularly tune him in at 5:00 A.M. John Eby is the program manager who selects the inspirational music we hear everyday. He keeps three T's in mind as he selects from among the thousands of Christian songwriters and singers: text, testimony and tempo. We are uplifted daily by the selections and feature many of them via Youtube for you, our listeners. Mike has been with the station since 1979 and John since 1965!
WDAC has been on the air over 50 years and has a room for historical artifacts from the early days of the station. In the early years some conservative church leaders were wary of the impact of radio on their congregations but saw the value of Christian programming. WDAC came up with a solution: A "fixedtune" radio was sold in local stores that could only receive the WDAC signal.
In the early years recordings came on large reel to reel tapes as many readers will remember. When broadcasters sent a week's supply of their messages the tapes would occasionally arrive damaged. The late J. Vernon McGee of the "Thru the Bible" radio broadcasts decided to fix that problem once for all by shipping the tapes via specially constructed wooden boxes (as seen in the photo).
Brooksyne and John are looking through choral music. You can see part of the massive record library behind them.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Hallelujah Chorus" Video Of course there are many version of this on YouTube
"Come" Video This is the song we closed our message with today. We would expect due to the rich lyrics that many versions would be available on the internet. However, the only one we could find was when our choir did the musical four years ago in a small country church we interim pastored at that time. It is a pretty good recording considering it was recorded by an individual walking around with a hand-held camcorder. It has several features we were reminded about this morning when we watched it.
"Strange Way to Save the World" Video Mark Harris sings from the perspective of Joseph as he might have contemplated the angels' birth announcement of Jesus who would save the world.
"Once Upon A Christmas" Video Selah
WDAC website along with Listen Live streaming HD music link
Resources for Christmas Celebrations
(We will leave these resources posted below our daily messages through Christmas)
Each year we share several online resources that we have used over the years and that may be a blessing to families and churches during this Christmas season. As we find additional material that we believe will be a blessing we will add it to this list as well.
"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 and love the tune.
Responsive Christmas Scripture readings for church or family:
John 1:1-18 pdf
"O Come Let Us Adore Him" pdf
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
We have also posted two Christmas carol quizzes here (scroll down).
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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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