The online Bible teaching ministry of Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
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Thursday, December 22, 2016
Yesterday morning near Strasburg, PA we passed by this spacious Amish farm with the massive Sight and Sound Theater in the background. Perhaps this farm is home to some of the unusual animals used in the Sight and Sound presentations.
(Click on photo for larger view)
Message Summary: This week we are considering a singular portion of Scripture that is at the heart of the Christmas Gospel. Today let us consider the recipients of the message from the angel to the shepherds, "good news...for you, for all the people".
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).
This time of year we get included in a number of company Christmas parties. Last weekend we had three meals in two days; Friday lunch and dinner and Saturday dinner. It's sort of an occupational hazard since so much good food is available everywhere we go it seems! That's true for some of our readers as well.
Some of these gatherings include a an assortment of gifts available to the employees that vary in value. On the higher end of the scale there might be a large screen TV, iPad or other gift of similar value. There might also be some gag type gifts, humorous but of little value.
They are set up on tables and the company has a drawing to determine who wins the gifts. You might see employees' perusing the table prior to the gathering expressing interest in the gift they would like to win. In one case the method was the employee could take their pick based on when their number was called and of course the higher value gifts tend to go first! But when it's gone it's gone.
Today let us consider a gift of the ultimate highest value, far, far surpassing the greatest gift imaginable on this earth.
This gift is set on the table with a sign that states "For (fill in your name)" and "for everyone". In fact each one would see this message with their own name on the card. That really is the message of the Christmas Gospel!
1) The good news of great joy was for the individuals (shepherds) who heard it. "I bring you good news of great joy." Later in the message the angel states "there has been born for you a Savior." The Christmas Gospel is a message of good news to each one of us as individuals. It was initially to those unnamed shepherds who were outcasts and considered of little worth. The word "you" surely struck a chord with them. The first gospel presentation following the birth of the Messiah came to them, not to kings or to religious leaders, not to the wealthy or other movers and shakers. Each one of us can rejoice that this message is for us!
2) The good news of great joy was for everyone. However, even in this first individual announcement the angel makes it clear this is not an exclusive offer but rather for "for all the people". "I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people." In what is probably the most familiar verse in the entire Bible we read a little word "whosoever". Many of you recognize the verse I'm speaking of from this one word but just in case you need to check it out click here. Many of you already know that I like to wear ties with a Scripture theme and I do have a tie with this verse. However I also used to have quite a collection of lapel pins. One simply stated "I Am A Whosoever".
Today let us ever stand amazed as we consider and accept the greatest gift available to each and every one of us, the gift of salvation through Christ Jesus our Lord!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, the birth of Jesus, over 2000 years later, continues to fill the hearts of Your people, both young and old, with joy and excitement. But this baby is not like any other baby since Jesus was born to people from every tribe, tongue and nation. "In Him the fullness of the Creator dwells completely. On Him the world pins its hopes and dreams. Through Him we have access to You, our Father. To Him we offer our praise and thanksgiving. For Him we seek to do His work in the world. About Him we want to tell as many people as possible. With Him we reach out to others, offering them what Jesus came to give - forgiveness and peace with God!"* Truly, it is Good News for all the people, that Jesus came to seek and to save that which is lost, which includes me. Thank You for coming to earth for me! Amen.
*The Infant JESUS by John Gugel Copyright 2005
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
Our pets put up with a lot of bother when Ester gets in the holiday picture taking mood. Roxie, our 12 year old Basenji, is an excellent sport, kind of like, "Whatever!" Dottie, our 15 year old cat, is often sleeping and couldn't care less. Mollie, our 5 year old Border Collie, cannot be bothered with Ester's antics or ridiculous antlers headband, so this year's picture is a keeper since she finally captured Mollie for this photo. The teddy bear ears seem a little mis-matched, perhaps that's why she runs when Ester comes toward her with the antlers!
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Who Is He In Yonder Stall" Video The Collingsworth Family This is a lesser known Christmas hymn written by Benjamin Hanby who lived only 34 years. Interestingly, Hanby is much more popular for his Christmas classic, "Up on the Housetop...Click, click, click!" Hamby was an abolitionist and his Ohio family home was a stop for the Underground Railroad where he helped free slaves. In the last year of his life he wrote, "Who is He" which speaks of Jesus, the King of Glory. This arrangement sung by The Collingsworth family we dedicate to our Pastor, John Keefer, who recently shared how much this Christmas hymn has spoken to his heart.
"As we trace the life of Jesus on earth in the Gospels we see a Baby in a stable, whisked off to Egypt to avoid danger. We see a Man fasting in the desert; then He moves on after overcoming temptation. We see Him weeping at the tomb of Lazarus and then praying in Gethsemane as His friends sleep. We see Him die, rise, and ascend to heaven. 'In the vast sweep of history we catch only a short, though unforgettable, glimpse of Jesus. We may ask, "Who is He?"
This song answers the question in its strong refrain. Jesus is the King of glory, Lord of all. He was born, He served and taught, and He died and rose again "to heal and help and save" us.
- "Great Songs of Faith" by William and Randy Petersen
- "Hymns With a Message" http://barryshymns.blogspot.com
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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