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Dawn over the Gulf of Mexico
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"The Dawn Of Redeeming Grace"
"The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God" (Mark 1:1). "He (Simeon) was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him" (Luke 2:25). "But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law" (Galatians 4:4,5a).
Silent night, Holy night
Son of God, Love's pure light
Radiant beams from Thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord at Thy birth. Jesus, Lord at Thy birth.
God had first promised the Messiah after Adam and Eve's transgression in the garden. Over the next several millenniums there was a growing body of Messianic promises that the Jewish people were given. The faithful lived out their lives waiting for this promise to be fulfilled, that which Mark in his gospel simply calls "The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God."
At the time of Christ's birth two elderly Jewish people are mentioned in Luke who had longed for the Messiah's coming. They represent the scores of devout people who had been awaiting our Lord's birth for centuries. Simeon had been "waiting for the consolation of Israel", and Anna "spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem."
In the third daily text the Apostle Paul is reflecting on the events of Christ's incarnation. He uses an intriguing phrase, "when the fullness of the time had come" to describe that wonderful moment in space and time when God acted on our behalf in sending His Son for our redemption. The long wait was over. The faith of devout people like Simeon and Anna and others like them had become reality. God kept His promise, "God sent forth His Son, born of woman, born under the law..".
God's purpose in sending forth His Son was "to redeem those who were under the law". It would seem that this is one of the Scripture verses that guided Joseph Mohr's thoughts as he penned these words, "With the dawn of redeeming grace".
Another more recently written song titled "Redeeming Love" states:
From God’s heaven to a manger,
From great riches to the poor,
Came the Holy Son of God,
To seek and save*
God kept His greatest promise and He continues to keep all His promises. He always will. On Christmas we have the faith-building perspective of looking back and seeing the fulfillment of the greatest of God's promises. This occurred after a long wait and in "the fullness of the time."
I come to an understanding of this verse better when I recognize that it's the fullness of God's time, not ours. Many of us are waiting for God's promises to be fulfilled in our lives. The wait is very trying. Many are living with an ongoing burden for spiritually wayward family members. Some have a long-standing physical ailment in their lives or in someone they love. Others are having a very hard time financially or are trusting God for reconciliation with a loved one. And there are those of you who have an ongoing struggle with laying down a besetting sin. Also on my heart this morning are so many of our dear brothers and sisters living in very oppressive conditions.
We consider the long wait for the Promised One who would come to earth and redeem His people. It finally happened, the dawn of redeeming grace! And now we all wait for that next great cosmic event when Jesus again keeps His last word to us as He declared, "Yes, I am coming soon."
God has fulfilled the biggest promise. Let us wait with faith and assurance that "in His time" He will also take care of the scores of other matters we all deal with, for He is faithful!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, we know that Your time table is pre-ordained in the events that make an eternal difference in our lives. A thousand years can be reckoned as a day and a day as a thousand years. We are a redeemed people because You gave Your only begotten Son so that we would not perish but have eternal life. Just as Simeon and Anna awaited the first coming of the Messiah, we await the second coming of Christ's return when we will be caught up in the air and will reign forever in the eternal heavens. May we be found steadfast, sober, expectant and alert awaiting the day of Your promised return. Keep us faithful and watchful until that glorious event takes place in the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
Note: We will not prepare a message on Christmas Day. A very blessed Christmas to all our readers!
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!
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Silent Night" Video Casting Crowns
"The Story Behind Silent Night" Video Narration by David Seifert
"Redeeming Love" Video Ernie Haase and Signature Sound
* Various versions of this song have different wordings of line, "To seek and save".
I found the lead photo of the Texas coast at dawn on the web while preparing for this message. "The story that had been circulated was that it was taken in 2004 during a Christmas snow storm in south Texas, an extraordinarily rare thing. It was supposedly taken by an unknown photographer at Port Aransas, TX looking out over the Gulf of Mexico during a Christmas morning snow storm. The significance of the shape of the light penetrating the clouds and the morning on which it occurred, transcends comment. However, Steve Browne from KSAT-TV, San Antonio, Texas who was my source for the photo is confident that there has been some Photoshopping done to the picture. And I believe he is correct. As you look off the coast of Texas, you would be looking eastward. And in early winter, the sun would be very low in the southern sky. But, the sun, based on its “beams” in this picture appears to be very high in the northern sky."
Finally today: "Angels We Have Heard on High" Video The Piano Guys
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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