The online Bible teaching ministry of Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.
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Thursday, December 1, 2016
Our next door neighbor, Doug, took this stunning photo of a sunset across the road from where we live.
"How God Got Ready For Christmas"
Message Summary: This Christmas season let us, with thankfulness and joy, recall the wonderful love that God demonstrated for fallen humanity as He prepared a "body" attired in flesh and blood when He sent His only begotten Son to this earth. And our response to God's incomparable love and provision is to present our bodies as a living and holy sacrifice. Such a response is acceptable to God and our spiritual service of worship.
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"Therefore, when Christ came into the world, He said: 'Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me'" (Hebrews 10:5). "Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship" (Romans 12:1).
"Are you getting ready for Christmas?" That's a conversation starter we are already hearing as we usher in the new month of December. For many of us this means decorating, baking, shopping, special musical and drama events, parties, banquets then there's more shopping and a host of other events, family, church and otherwise!
Getting ready for Christmas can be busy. We have several company Christmas banquets and parties to attend in our chaplain role. This Saturday I plan to bring in the ornaments and other decorations we store in our barn loft. Ester and Brooksyne decorate inside our house and I decorate outside, hanging a star on our barn loft door and a wreath on the front of our brick home.
Have you ever thought much about how God got ready for Christmas? His preparations of course were quite different than ours. The Bible speaks of the "Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world" (Revelation 13:8). Isaiah prophetically looked ahead and says of Christ, "He was led like a lamb to the slaughter" (Isaiah 53:7). When John prepared the way for Christ's ministry he declared, "Behold the Lamb of God!" (John 1:36).
The miraculous incarnation of Christ is astounding. At Christmas we usually focus on the human dimension of "The Greatest Story Ever Told." We read the accounts in Matthew and Luke of Mary and Joseph, the angels, the shepherds and the wise men.
But it seems our daily text gives a view from Christ's perspective, "a body you prepared for me." That "body" in one sense began in the way we all begin with a normal gestational period and birth. The marvelous distinction in the preparation of the incarnate body of Christ is the mystery of His conception.
"But a body" contrasts the sacrifices of the bodies of animals with the ultimate, perfect sacrificial body, the Lamb of God, the incarnation of Jesus the eternal Son, which John Wesley said was "contracted to the span of a virgin's womb." This "body" ends the need for any and all animal bodies for sacrifices.
Now let us consider the most important way we can prepare for Christmas and, for that matter, it is the also the way we should live the remainder of our lives on this side of eternity. We ought to present our body as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is our spiritual service of worship (Romans 12:1).
This Christmas season let us, with thankfulness and joy, recall the wonderful love that God demonstrated for fallen humanity as He prepared a "body" attired in flesh and blood when He sent His only begotten Son to this earth. And our proper response to God's incomparable love and provision is to present our bodies as a living and holy sacrifice. Such a response is acceptable to God and our spiritual service of worship.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Jesus, though You would ultimately surrender Your life at Calvary, You willingly took on flesh and lived among a very imperfect human race in a fallen world. In great humility You stripped Yourself of the privilege, position, power and wealth You possessed in heaven. When You walked among Your people You experienced betrayal, misunderstanding, hatred and temptation, yet You were without sin. Even as You made necessary preparations to come to this earth and live among a sinful people, help us to prepare our heart, mind and soul to be among Your holy people that will make a spiritual difference on this side all the while growing our affection for our future eternal home. Just as You gave of Yourself so willingly help us to willingly give of ourselves as a fragrant offering to You and as a witness to this sin-darkened world. In Your name, Jesus, we pray. Amen.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus" Video Chris Tomlin and Christy Nockels
For additional study on today's text see this online commentary
Marlin with a kindly gesture
Stephen's First Goof (dumb): Awhile back ago Stephen inadvertently burned a big hole in our old wheelbarrow by placing some ashes in it that hadn't cooled down enough. He patched it up with a piece of sheet metal and the old wheelbarrow was good to go.
Stephen's Second Goof (dumber): Several weeks later, crazy as it may seem, the same thing happened again, but this time it took out the entire wheelbarrow. The angels were surely hovering over our burning wheel barrow since the fire didn't do any other damage, apart from the completely destroyed wheelbarrow. Marlin, a friend from a company we serve, had seen that I burned a hole in my wheel barrow earlier, took pity on me and gave us his used wheelbarrow with instructions not to put ashes in it! This "dumb" story will be referenced the next time I do something dumb if Stephen lacks understanding or does any "preaching" to me.
The first time it was very foolish as I had burned the fire the night before and, upon closer inspection, I would have seen the ashes were still warm when I rather mindlessly poured them into the wheelbarrow. The second time I placed the ashes in the repaired wheelbarrow several days after the original fire. The ashes appeared to be cooled off, however, somewhere deep in the ashes there must have been something smoldering! After I poured the "cooled" ashes in I gave it no more thought and headed to my office. Later I glanced out my window and saw the entire wheelbarrow on fire!
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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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