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Thursday, December 17, 2015
"Light And Life To All He Brings"
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"In Him was life, and that life was the light of men" (John 1:4).
Hail the heav'n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings
Ris'n with healing in His wings
Last night I drove through Mount Joy and noticed how nice our community Christmas tree looks all lit up. It stirred up my memory of our annual family trip each Christmas season to view the Christmas lights at the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, MO. I also recall the music as we slowly drove through the area or got out and walked around the Plaza.
Around the Christmas season it seems there is always a variety of functions in church and elsewhere that includes the singing of Christmas carols. When I (Brooksyne) was a child my dad would hitch his large trailer to the tractor and load up as many as could squeeze on the trailer bed from our church in West Tulsa, OK. His putt putt tractor pulled us from street to street through the small community of Oakhurst as we sang aloud to the residents in their homes. Many came out to greet us, though I'm not sure it was our songs as much as hearing the putt putt of the tractor!
The other night, prior to presenting the concert at Longwood Manor, our choir gathered with the residents and sang the traditional carols. Last evening our church went caroling. We even sang a song at one of our company Christmas meals. We notice just how well-loved and familiar these Christmas hymns are even though they are generally only sung during a short season.
A single line from one of these carols will illustrate for many how well you know these songs, even though you very likely never conscientiously set out to memorize them. That line is "light and life to all He brings" and many of you will identify the carol from that single line, though you may have to hum the melody until you get to the identifying title. We post a version of the song in YouTube below.
Indeed the glorious message of the Incarnation is His incomparable blessing of "light and life to all He brings." Today let us consider how Christ brings light and life to all:
1) Christ brings light. In the daily verse He is described as the "light of men". His mission is described as "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it" (John 1:5). When He began His ministry He quotes the prophet Isaiah concerning Himself, "the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned” (Matthew 4:15,16). "This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil" (John 3:19). Later in John 8:12 Christ, in one of His "I am" statements asserting His deity, declares, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
2) Christ brings life. Paul in Ephesians 2:1 states, concerning our unregenerate condition, that we are dead in our transgressions and sins. He didn't try to delicately present our sin dilemma as some do in our time. You might hear this from some preachers today: He (or she) isn't really a bad person. He (or she) just does bad things. But the fact is, we were born into sin so we were born with a sin problem.
But the bad news precedes the good news that God sends to the unregenerate. Jesus said, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; but I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full" (John 10:10). Today this life is freely available to all of us in Jesus Christ. So many willfully reject Him, others shrug off this greatest of gifts and pay no attention, basing their focus instead upon the paltry substitutes the world offers. But the Bible declares: "Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God" (John 1:12,13). Will you receive the greatest gift today?
Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay
Close by me forever and love me, I pray
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Jesus because You came as light into the world we, the redeemed, are "children of the light." May we walk faithfully and earnestly in Your light so that darkness dissipates. May those still walking in darkness be drawn to Your light through the things we say and do as we represent You in the home, the workplace and wherever we roam. In Your Name we pray. Amen.
Special Year-end appeal:
We want to thank all who have financially supported our ministry this past year. 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. We typically see a spike in giving at the end of the year for which we are most thankful. Our ministry labor is comprised of half our time to Daily Encouragement and the other half to our chaplaincy ministry to companies for which we receive a fee (of course this percentage of time 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 to our ministry see here for more information or donate directly online through my chaplain account here. Thank you!
Please Note: Our chaplain agency is unable to provide a receipt if the donation is made through PayPal. However we provide this option due to the convenience, international supporters, and for those who may not be concerned regarding receiving an official receipt. Click here to donate using PayPal.
Everywhere we go there's a lot of food during this season and a company we visited yesterday had a baking contest. We were a bit early to be a part of the judging by sampling the assortment of foods but this Russian cake that Natalie made sure looks good!
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Hark the Herald Angels Sing" Video Chris Tomlin
The Country Club Plaza in Kansas City still has some of the most outstanding Christmas lights in the country. See here for information or here for photos.
From a question we asked about a hymn line in yesterday's message: The phrase "Tell them of Jesus the mighty to save!" comes from the hymn "Rescue The Perishing"
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.
"I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" Video Outstanding presentation with background story and touching photos (Artist not identified), but appears to be produced by a local church. This would be a powerful video to use in a Christmas Eve service.
"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 over the 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. This year we dedicate this to my Aunt Mary, who happens to me my last surviving aunt or Uncle on either side. Her husband, my Uncle Don, passed away early this year.
Christmas Knowledge Test
We have also posted two Christmas carol quizzes here (scroll down on this archived message)
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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 make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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