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Monday, December 25, 2017
Christmas Day

From Doris High's blog
Doris High post on her photo blog.

"Mary Wrapped Our First Christmas Present"

Message summary: What's your response to the free gift of salvation? We urge you to receive it today and rejoice that you have been chosen by God to receive this grace gift of eternal life through salvation in Jesus Christ!

Note: Podcast not prepared today

"And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn" (Luke 2:7). "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23).

It is our custom to read the Christmas story together before we open our gifts. Normally I read from Luke 2 but this morning I chose John 1 and we followed with a prayer of thanksgiving for the free gift of Jesus Christ. We also remembered our brothers and sisters  undergoing persecution especially on this holy day, many of them separated from their loved ones at Christmas.

Today we want to focus on the words, "free gift". This translates the single Greek word "charisma", which is itself derived from "charis." Charis is a wonderful word normally translated "grace" in our Bibles. Of course many will recall the simple, yet descriptive definition of grace as, "unmerited favor." It would also be accurate to translate this as "grace gift” and should be our greatest focus this Christmas season and at all times. No other gift even comes close!

Today amidst the pile of gifts, inexpensive or costly, meaningful or meaningless, this one stands out. There are no catches and the offer stands ready at this very moment. There are no waiting lines or no limited supply. It is available to all ages, "to every nation and tribe and tongue and people" (Revelation 14:6). Millions now living and millions more, now with the Lord, can testify to its veracity and lasting value (for those who like to read reviews on products).

Near the very end of the Book of Revelation we read, "Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life" (Revelation 22:17).

What's your response to the free gift of salvation? We urge you to receive it today and rejoice that you have been chosen by God to receive this grace gift of eternal life through salvation in Jesus Christ!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer: Father, it’s a fact that the vast majority want something for nothing. If they get their wish it might bring temporary pleasure, but it cannot satisfy the soul’s longing and the item will have a perishable shelf life. When Jesus gave His all as a sacrifice for our sins You made available to us the free gift of salvation that is for all eternity. We cannot pay for our forgiveness nor can we repay Jesus for His sacrifice for our sins. We can’t save up for our real estate in heaven, nor do we hire a designer, for Jesus is there now providing and preparing a home for us. All we give in return is a heart surrendered to His plan for our lives here on earth that will be more fully experienced in the great beyond. May our hearts be set on things above where Christ is seated at Your right hand, rather than things on the earth. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Donate to Daily Encouragement Net
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.

If you would consider making a donation to our ministry see here for more information.

To donate directly online here. This will open to a page that designates the offering to: WEBER,STEPHEN CHAP, Specialized Chaplaincy Ministry ID: 700001-237376

Make A DonationPlease Note: We also provide this familiar option due to the convenience, for international supporters, and for those who may not be concerned regarding receiving an official tax deductible receipt. Click here to send an offering using PayPal. This will open to a page that states "Brooksyne Weber"

Thank you

Sand art at Calvary Church 12/24/17
Yesterday we had an interesting feature in our church's Christmas Eve service. Much like a chalk drawing, we looked on as Sue Charles designed a manger scene with her fingers in a box of sand and projected it to the screen while the worship choir sang a moving song "Noel" Video

Children playing piano
We had a busy day yesterday. Brooksyne, Ester and I joined with our friends Jim and Dorothy Schmidt and the Lapp family (all nine of them!), using both our vans to pick up our passengers (14 of us in all) for our Christmas Eve service at Calvary Church. Afterwards we came home for a Christmas dinner and hours of hearty fellowship. The four girls enjoyed "playing" the piano together! I also recorded the four school-aged children singing a song they sang last week at their Christmas program, "Beautiful Star Of Bethlehem" Video

Ester reading "The Crippled lamb" 12/24/17
Ester like to read to the children "The Crippled Lamb" while Brooksyne speaks the part of Abigail the Cow.

Brooksyne showing photos of "The Crippled lamb" 12/24/17
Brooksyne is showing the children the photos from the book as Ester reads. In our family room we spent hours playing games, reading and just having fun. Jesse is no longer milking cows which freed the family to stay till the later evening hours.

Jim Schmidt 12/24/17
Jim is comfortable horsing around with the children pretending he's taking the big dessert bowl all for himself. Jim has a wonderful testimony. Saved and delivered from alcohol over 50 years ago while he was in his early thirties he along with Dorothy have had a fruitful life of service for Christ and continue to bless many with their faithful witness.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Noel"  Video  Lauren Daigle

"Beautiful Star Of Bethlehem" Video  Amish children

Resources for Christmas Celebrations
(We will leave these resources posted below our daily messages through Christmas Day)

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 many 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.

"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

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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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