The online Bible teaching ministry of Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
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Wednesday, December 21, 2016
We never weary of passing this large Amish spread on Harvest Road in southern Lebanon County. Take a look at that clothesline!
(Click on photo for larger view)
Message Summary: This week we will consider a singular portion of Scripture that is at the heart of the Christmas story. Today let us consider the message of the angel to the shepherds, "good news of great joy".
Listen to this message on your audio player.
"But the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger" (Luke 2:10-12).
How great our joy! Great our joy!
Joy, joy, joy! Joy, joy, joy!
Praise we the Lord in heav’n on high!
Praise we the Lord in heav’n on high!
What brings you joy? One practically universal source of joy is babies. Regardless of culture babies bring joy! I was shopping at our local Lancaster Costco several weeks ago and overheard two older couples talking. One said to the other, "We just like to come in to see all the babies". Of course they see many different babies but especially predominant in this Costco are the many Amish babies you can almost always count on seeing as their mothers, sometimes accompanied by their dads, pack up the large shopping cart since most of them have large families.
We will have some variety in our home on Christmas Day as we will enjoy dinner with our Amish friends, Jesse and Anna Ruth and their six children, our Zimbabwean friends, Notsen and Tho and their two sons, and our long-time friends, Jim and Dorothy, who are now residents of Lancaster County. And yes, we will have babies in the house!
The joy a tiny baby brings is at the very heart of the Christmas gospel. The message the angel proclaimed to the shepherds is expressed in Luke 2:10, "I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people". Just consider the aspect of "great joy" these lowly shepherds received in the message of the Gospel.
This event had none of the normal trappings we associate with joy today. It wasn't available to just the Hollywood elite, the intellectual, the wealthy, or the big name politicians. The joy the angel spoke of wasn't related to flashy consumer goods, there was no big sweepstakes giveaway, no great buy at the mall.
Instead the angel spoke of joy that originates from an entirely different source. This great joy is the result of the birth of a baby. Not just any baby though, but Jesus who came to save all people who ask forgiveness for their sins. The angel's message went on to proclaim, "Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord."
We encourage you to look to the genuine Source of lasting, enduring joy. Let us express deep and abiding joy daily as a testimony of what Christ has done for us, what He has done in us, and what He wants to do through us. May the Lord fill your heart with great joy as you ponder the marvel and blessing of the birth of our Saviour.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, the story is so familiar to many of us since we heard it from the time we were old enough to be still and listen. Many of us participated in yearly church pageants where we dressed as an angel, a shepherd, a wiseman or maybe even Mary or Joseph. We memorized our parts from Matthew and Luke and can quote those Scriptures even today. It was exciting every Christmas to participate in the story of our Savior's birth. Because of familiarity we can lose the wonder, the mystery, and the excitement of Christ coming to earth. Would You fill our hearts afresh with great joy as we reflect upon our Lord Jesus coming to earth to show His love to us and to teach us Your timeless truths. Our Saviour cared for the unlovable. He healed the sick, raised the dead, and drove out demons. He died for our sins and rose again on the third day. Yes, the story of the baby wrapped in swaddling clothes is familiar, but we never want to weary of the daily impact Christ's coming to earth has on our lives and in our hearts. We love You and thank You for sending Jesus to us. Amen.
Special Year-end Financial 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. 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 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.
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Stephen & Brooksyne
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"How Great Our Joy" Video Haven
"Joy To The World" Video David Phelps
"All Is Well" Video Michael W. Smith
Usage of phrase "great joy" in New Testament:
As we begin our first day of winter and settle in for several months of rather chilly temps in our region I am reminded of warm places like this photo our friend Rick Caldwell showed me yesterday of his visit last week to Saint Thomas!
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.
"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. Here's a great Communion Hymn for Christmas (Video)
"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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We want to thank all who financially support our ministry. We realize there are many fine ministries and causes requesting support but if the Lord would lead you we surely need and appreciate the financial support from our readers and listeners. 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. Donations through my chaplaincy endorsing ministry are tax deductible and will be receipted directly by them. 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.
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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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