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Monday, December 18, 2017

Bunnies for sale on Old Windmill Farm
Bunnies, when they aren't leaping for joy, rest in a metal tub on the Old Windmill Farm.

"Leaping For Joy"

This week we will be considering joy, the theme for the third Sunday in Advent.

Message summary: Today we will consider John "leaping for joy" in his mother's womb.

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"At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: 'Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her!'” (Luke 1:39-45).

Saturday we went out Christmas caroling with our neighbors on a tractor-pulled farm wagon, no hay so it wasn't technically a "hay ride" but we had nice benches to sit on! Our goal was to spread some Christmas joy, which the many little children made a great contribution to, as there are widows, shut-ins, and others who could benefit from some Christmas spirit without getting out of their homes.

Today's text concerns Mary who, shortly after her conception by the Holy Spirit, visited Elizabeth who was six months pregnant with her son John.

It's a great text revealing that Jesus, even in His earliest human development as a pre-born infant in Mary's womb, brought joy.

"When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit." John was just six months along but made his presence felt by his mother when leaping in her womb. He had also heard Mary's greeting and apparently had some Spirit-given knowledge of the significance of that greeting. The experience resulted in Elizabeth being filled with the Holy Spirit.

The Scripture highlights her excitement with the phrase, "
In a loud voice she exclaimed."

What follows is a powerful Scriptural assertion of the sanctity of life. Christ had been supernaturally conceived only a short time before this. He was
at most only weeks old.

Yet Elizabeth said to Mary, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?" Notice that she identifies Mary as "the mother of my Lord". Even at this early stage in prenatal development Mary is a mother!

In God's eyes I can scarcely imagine anything more cursed than the typical pro-abortion view that determines motherhood and the life of the infant in an arbitrary manner depending on whether the unborn child is wanted. Hellish organizations who advance this view like "Planned Parenthood" and the politicians and others who support them will surely face great judgment.

"As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her!” Once again we have a reference to the unborn baby John leaping but this time with the additional detail "leaped for joy".

Today may we all, like John, experience joy as we consider the blessedness of the incarnation of Jesus Christ.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer:  Father, like the pre-born baby, John, who leaped for joy upon hearing the voice of our Lord's mother, may we too experience unbounding joy as we read the Scriptures since they reveal the fulfillment of promises made to her and to all the world that she would be with child and bear a son, and she would call His name Emmanuel, which means God with us. Just as Mary was blessed because she believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her, we too are blessed in our daily lives as we trust You for the fulfillment of all Your promises, including the promise that our Messiah will return to earth and gather up the faithful to transport us to our future eternal home in heaven. It's the greatest joy of the season and for every day of our earthly dwelling. Thank You, Father, for making it possible through Jesus, Your Son. Amen.

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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

Old-Fashioned Christmas caroling

Tractor-drawn wagon Christmas caroling 12/16/17
Our transportation using the Brubaker wagon and driven by Leon Rutt on the 1934 Ferguson tractor his grandfather used to drive. The Rutts gathered with their grown children and grandchildren and invited us to participate.

Tractor-drawn wagon Christmas caroling 12/16/17
On Colebrook Road we sang to the elderly couple in the forefront who have raised seven children, all active on the missionary field.

Tractor-drawn wagon Christmas caroling 12/16/17
On Union School Rd. we sang to Deb and Doug, neighbors we met through our dailyecouragement ministry. Deb has MS and reads hours on end. Brooksyne has visited her several times and, though she is dependent on a wheelchair, she has a very uplifting victorious and uncomplaining attitude - an example for all of us, no matter the difficulty.

Personal Note: Ester has been doing so well physically for the past couple years and we are very thankful. So many of you write and ask us about her so here's the latest. I think I'll let our Facebook correspondence inform you, rather than my writing again of our eventful weekend that began late Friday morning.

From Ester Weber’s Facebook on Friday, December 15, 2017

What a crazy day it’s been. As some already know by now I was transported to Hershey Medical Center due to atrial flutter at 11:30 today. My folks were about an hour away so I went by ambulance since my heart beats over 200 bpm. I was cardioverted (the paddles) and returned to 70 bpm. But 20 minutes later I was in atrial flutter again and had to be cardioverted again. They are starting me on a new medication and keeping me for observation. So, obviously, the New York trip I had planned on has been canceled. But my mom and dad and I say it was better that I would have atrial flutter here at home than in New York.

From Brooksyne’s Facebook post on Saturday, December 16, 2017

Thank you for your many kind wishes and thoughtful comments, and mostly prayers. Ester Weber is home and recovering very nicely. “There’s no place like home” takes on new meaning when you’re returning home from a stay at the hospital. Thankfully, just over 24 hours But they seem much longer in a hospital setting. And yet we’re very thankful for the medical staff and good care they give.

Ester's Facebook page yesterday (I slightly edited it for content on our page):

I thought I would share with you about my weekend. I was in the middle of baking chocolate chip cookies late Friday morning and just got done putting the second batch of cookies in the oven. I was sitting on the bar stool waiting for them to be done while watching Jimmy Fallon on YouTube. I got down from the stool to get something when my heart went into atrial flutter which is over 200 bpm. I stopped for a moment thinking maybe I accidentally set it off and it should kick back into normal rhythm. I was home alone at the time and my parents were in New Holland doing their chaplaincy. What’s really interesting is during all of this my parents were having a discussion in car about how long it’s been since I’ve had atrial flutter so they felt it was safe for me to go to New York the next day on a bus trip with acquaintances.  But then 10 minutes later I called them and told them I was in atrial flutter. I wasn’t scared at all, I was calm and very much aware of what happened. My parents were actually headed to a Christmas luncheon for one of their companies. To make a long story short, I called 911 and talk to the dispatcher and told her what happened and she told me the ambulance was on the way. She also asked if I would like her to stay on the phone till they get there but I declined. I called my work to let them know I won’t be in that afternoon and our neighbors next door to let them know what happened. So I kind of quickly cleaned up the kitchen and went up to my bedroom and got some stuff to bring along with me while I’m in atrial flutter. I met the ambulance team outside of my house. They transported me to Hershey Medical Center and 15 minutes later I reunited with my mom. This story is very funny now because who would have thought that Jimmy Fallon and chocolate chip cookies would have affected my atrial flutter. Ha! Joking of course. Even when I was in the ER room they asked how did this happen. I told them and all the nurses what I was doing when this took place, baking chocolate chip cookies and watching Jimmy Fallon on YouTube, and of course they all asked “Ohh where are the chocolate chip cookies?” “Why didn’t you bring us any?” Oh, I am so grateful I can laugh about it now but in the moment it wasn’t easy. I don’t know how I could remain calm the entire time but I did by the grace of God.

Ester is catching up on her rest and will soon get over the soreness (from the paddles) that comes with having two cardioversions. She will see her congenital cardiologist on the 27th for follow-up.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Joy To The World"  Video  David Phelps

"How Great Our Joy"  Video  Haven 

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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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