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The online Bible teaching ministry of Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
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Monday, December 11, 2017

First seasonal snow 12/10/17
Our view early Sunday morning after our first seasonal snow.

"The Way Of Peace"

Note: Today's message is a bit later getting posted due to a dental appointment Brooksyne had this morning. Stephen is much stronger, for which we are thankful, but his voice is still weak. We greatly appreciate your prayers.

Message summary: Today our prayer as His followers should always be, "Guide our feet into the way of peace.”

ListenListen to our message on your audio player. (Mostly Brooksyne!)

"To guide our feet into the way of peace" (Luke 1:79).

Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me
Let there be peace on earth
The peace that was meant to be
With God as our father
Brothers all are we
Let me walk with my brother
In perfect harmony

This morning Ester ran down and told us to turn on the news, something we have come to dread, when presented in such a way, since mass slayings and terrorism is way too familiar these days. It was another Islamic-inspired bombing in New York, something in a sad way we have almost come to expect. Ever since Cain killed his brother Abel humans have been in conflict with one another. Mankind has also been pursuing peace for ages but peace seems so elusive.

Yesterday was the second Sunday in Advent. In our messages this week we will give consideration to the Advent theme for this second Sunday, which is peace. Peace is a major focus of the Christmas story and is reflected in a number of the great Christmas hymns. Saturday evening at the Gaither Homecoming concert we attended in Reading the group sang "O Little Town Of Bethlehem". We thought Bill made an interesting point when he highlighted just the phrase, "The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight."

Zechariah's voice had been silenced from the time of the angel's revelation that he and his long barren wife Elizabeth would bear a son. But following John's birth he again spoke and made a powerful prophecy in Luke 1:67-79. This prophecy concludes with the line from our daily text, "To guide our feet into the way of peace."

Zechariah's prophesy was given when his son John was born and 6 months before Christ was born. The first part of the prophesy deals with the role John would have as the forerunner to the Messiah, "And you, child (John), will be called the prophet of the Most High; For you will go on before the Lord to prepare His ways" (Luke 1:76).  This role is expressed in a quote from Isaiah
in the beginning of the Gospel of Mark, “Behold, I send My messenger ahead of You, who will prepare Your way" (Mark 1:2).

But Zechariah also referred to the Divine Mission of the then 3 month old Child growing in Mary's womb.

"Because of the tender mercy of our God, with which the Sunrise from on high will visit us, to shine upon those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

Today our prayer as His followers should always be, "Guide our feet into the way of peace.”

Let peace begin with me
Let this be the moment now
With every step I take
Let this be my solemn vow
To take each moment
And live each moment
In peace eternally
Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, it is our daily prayer, that You guide our feet into the way of peace, just as Zechariah prophesied over 2000 years ago. The world offers no lasting peace so we follow after Your Son, the Prince of Peace, who promises us peace within our hearts and a future peaceable kingdom for all eternity. But for here and now we are called to be peacemakers so that we can walk in harmony with those of like faith and guide others to the way of peace through Christ Jesus our Lord, the ultimate Peacemaker. It is in His name that we pray. Amen.

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Special Year-end Financial Appeal: We want to thank all who have financially supported our ministry this past year (and some for many years!). 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. Like many ministries, 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 approximately half our time to Daily Encouragement and the other half to our chaplaincy ministry to companies for which we receive compensation. 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.

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Thank you

Final song at Gaither homecoming concert, Reading, PA 12/9/17
This was the final song when the entire group of musicians came out and sang "O Holy Night"

We first heard the Bill Gaither Trio together on a date during our college days in Springfield, MO. At that time they were a trio with Bill and Gloria Gaither and his brother Danny. In 1981 the Gaither Vocal Band was formed and Bill has had a mentoring role with many younger musicians. In the nineties they began to have "Homecoming concerts" which included older Gospel singers. Here's how that began,  "On February 19, 1991, the Gaither Vocal Band had just wrapped up a recording session in a Nashville, Tennessee, working on an album called Homecoming, which featured many of the great voices of southern gospel music: The Speers, the Gatlins, Jake Hess, The Cathedrals, Howard & Vestal Goodman, Buck Rambo, Eva Mae Lefevre, James Blackwood, Hovie Lister, Jim Hill, and J.D. Sumner & The Stamps. After the session, the artists stayed around to chat, swap stories and sing old standards around the piano. The impromptu session was recorded on video and later published. The recording was so well received that Gaither began a series of professionally produced videos with larger gatherings of gospel musicians." Bill Gaither is now 81 and we are blessed by his steadfast service to the Christian community and frankly we also marvel that he can continue to keep such a schedule along with all the demands required to present such concerts!

Tho with Lynda Randall 12/9/17
We had planned to go to the Gaither Homecoming concert with our long-time friends, Jim and Dorothy Schmidt, but Saturday afternoon Jim called and due to severe knee pain was unable to go. So, with his blessing, we called our friend Tho (left in photo) who was able to take his seat and was so blessed by the concert and especially a visit with Lynda Randall, one of the musicians at the concert. Lynda is well known for "God of the Mountain" and Tho has just purchased her book and was delighted to meet her personally.

Choir at Gaither homecoming concert, Reading, PA 12/9/17 (Click to enlarge)
Some of you enjoy "Where's Waldo" books, and you have had fun looking for one of us when we feature a photo like this. Brooksyne was one of 140 voices of Calvary Choir & guests that backed up the Gaither Vocal Band and the Martins in several of their songs. The choir all dressed in black, as you can see. But can you find Brooksyne? Hint: her glasses may be a quick give-away and thankfully there is color in her face. She is not washed out like some of the faces due to our camera's limitations. (Click on photo to enlarge)

Calvary Church children's choir 12/10/17
Yesterday morning the King's Kids led the church in worship and the sanctuary was packed with extra family members who came to see their little loved one(s) on the platform.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Hymn Of Praise"  Video  Gaither Vocal Band
  This song really touched both of us with such a moving melody and rich lyrics. I wish we'd have known about this song during the Thanksgiving season.

"Mary Did You Know"  Video  Mark Lowry is the comedian at the concerts and Ester just adores him. It's hard to imagine if you have heard his silliness that he could write such a thought-provoking, serious song as Mary Did You Know!

Last week our theme was hope and we had an exposition on a verse that began "Joyful in hope" We also dealt with the second phrase "patient in affliction" so thought we should finish with "Faithful in prayer" (Romans 12:12). (This is from a Daily Encouragement message about 7 years ago.)

Prayer is a foundational expression of faith. We speak but cannot see the One to whom we speak. We listen, not with our sense of hearing, but rather the inner heart. Scripture says, "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth." The effects of our prayers are often not immediate and at times seem ambiguous, at least from our perspective. Bluntly we may wonder if prayer really does any good.

In Colossians 4:2 Paul offers a similar verse to today's text: "Devote yourselves to prayer." In fact in the Greek it is the very same phrase. The sense of "devote" implies a strong attachment, allegiance, and affection for someone or something; in this case prayer and the act of praying. It would include one's passion, time, and needed resources. One who is devoted is passionate in his commitment and consistency and will not be disloyal, inconsistent, or indifferent. This description should give us a mental picture of one who is devoted to prayer.

"Faithful" is in the present imperative which denotes that we are to continually, habitually follow this command! It is to be one's continual way of life (lifestyle). This Scriptural call is not a suggestion but a command to make it our habitual practice. Remember that whatever God commands of us He also provides for us the grace and empowerment through His Spirit to carry out.

Someone has well said that "Prayer is the breath of the Christian life and almost nothing decays so fast in the fallen human heart as the desire to pray." In other words, nothing is more vital than prayer in Christian existence, and few things are more vulnerable to neglect. We must come back to it again and again and stoke the fire lest, out of neglect, it becomes nothing more than useless cold embers.

Most Christians will confess the difficulty of maintaining a regular and effective prayer life. The reason is not difficult to discern. If Satan can keep us out of touch with God, he will not have to worry about any trouble we might cause for his evil kingdom.

Believing friend, when we are prayed up the allurement to sin is far less appealing, the spirit is strengthened, and our communion with God becomes our anchor that holds us steady in the daily stresses and major events of our life.

Finally today:
Reading Pagoda 12/9/17
Admittedly this is a poor photo taken through our windshield pulling out of the parking garage in Reading after the concert Saturday evening . We faced head on to the Reading Pagoda, an historic landmark in Reading PA.

Reading pagodaHere's a photo we took several years ago of the Reading Pagoda, which sits on a mountain ridge high over the city. It's lit up with red neon lights at night which we often see from the bypass on the other side of the city. This always struck me as a strange icon for an old northeast North American city!

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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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