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Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Ford truck on Main Street, Mount Joy, PA
Ford Truck on Main Street, Mount Joy, PA
(Photo by Ester)

"This Is The Verdict"

Message summary: May this statement be true of us today, that we love light rather than darkness!

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

"The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone" (Isaiah 9:2). "This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil" (John 3:19).

Sadie with Christmas lightsThis is our first Christmas with our newest furry family member, Sadie, who is now 11 months old. Ester put up the Christmas tree last Friday and had Brooksyne help her with the lighting and garlands before hanging up the ornaments. It didn't take Sadie long at all to be drawn to the lights on the tree. In fact we now crate her when we leave the house as she is drawn to the lights and likes to bite into them - not good or safe as you well know.

Light is one of the great themes of the incarnation. Consider how many of the well-known Christmas carols include the theme of "light".

Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting Light
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in Thee tonight
(From "O Little Town Of Bethlehem")

Our first daily text referring to "great light" and "deep darkness" is an illustration of the battle that has long raged, what many have called opposing worldviews.

The Biblical worldview fundamentally asserts that:
1) The Almighty God is the Creator, Ruler, Redeemer and Judge over all the universe.
2) He has revealed His will for man through His Word.
3) He has established non-arbitrary laws governing the conduct of His creation.

By contrast the secular humanist worldview fundamentally asserts that:
1) God is merely a figment of the imagination or whatever one wants to believe, if anything.
2) The Bible is at best a collection of good stories, but not the rule of authority in our lives.
3) The rule of the Bible is arbitrary and subjective.

This ancient battle between these two opposing worldviews is rising to a fevered pitch.

VerdictToday let us consider a powerful verse that is in the same context as the very familiar John 3:16. Now that is indeed a great verse and we can understand why many tend to memorize it without noting the context. But just a few verses later we read, "This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil" (John 3:19).

"This is the verdict". The NIV begins this verse using a modern legal term. In law a verdict is the formal finding of fact. We have all heard the judge ask, "Does the jury have a verdict?" Our text's use of the word reveals God's verdict on the human race.

Versions vary in the translation of this word due to the depth and richness of the Greek word "krisis". The KJV says "the condemnation", while the NASV uses "the judgment". The Amplified Version (a version helpful for insight but cumbersome to read) states, "The basis of judgment (indictment, the test by which men are judged, the ground for the sentence) lies in this." For the diligent student here is a Bible Gateway listing of many English versions of this text.

"Light has come into the world." The Greek has the definite article "the" before light and we believe it to be very significant. In the Gospel and Epistles of John "the light" is Jesus Christ (see John 1:4-9; 8:12: 9:5; 12:46; 1 John 1:5). Light coming into the world is at the very heart of the Christmas message.

"But men loved darkness instead of light."  Again we have the definite article in the Greek prior to both light and darkness precisely reading, "But men loved the darkness instead of the light." (See here for Greek interlinear.) This is a matter of fact statement that explains much about human nature and the response to the Gospel. It was true when John first wrote these words late in the first century and it's true today. Overall the human race loves darkness instead of light. That explains a lot about the mess we are in!

"Because their deeds were [are] evil." For those of us living in the glorious light of Jesus Christ we marvel that anyone would choose darkness but many do. The next verse continues, "Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed" (John 3:20). Additionally, when they come into the light they must deal with their evil deeds, confess, and repent. And, of course, many are unwilling to do that so they continue to go "undercover" in the darkness of their soul.

Today, we encourage believers all over the world to join us as we live in the light of Christ and walk according to the light of His Word! May this statement be true of us today, that we love light rather than darkness! We come under the truth of Jesus Christ: "But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God" (John 3:21).

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, Your love comes like a light in the darkness, like the bright star in the east that burst forth in the Bethlehem skies. The hosts of heaven made it a song of joy and celebration as Jesus was born into the world, the Savior for all mankind. In the darkness of night the light of Christ appeared drawing people near and far, then and now. And at the same time there are many who are drawn to darkness like King Herod who sought to destroy the Christ child. We don't understand such thinking once we come into the light, but it was a reality then as it is now. Thank You for the freedom to choose, and Lord, we choose You! 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.

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 easy 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,

Stephen & Brooksyne

Ford truck on Main Street, Mount Joy, PA
Another view of the bright red Ford truck on Main Street, Mount Joy, PA
(Photo by Ester)

Christmas tree on Main Street, Mount Joy, PA
Community Christmas tree on Main Street, Mount Joy, PA
(Photo by Ester)

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"O Little Town of Bethlehem"   Video  The Living Stones Quartet

Consider how so many of the Christmas songs we love that have the theme of light somewhere in the song. Can you identify the song by the posted line dealing with light?

    "Disperse the gloomy clouds of night"
    "Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting light"
    "Son of God, love's pure light"
    "There shone a holy light"
    "Yonder shines the infant light"
    "Break forth, O beauteous heavenly light"
    'And to the earth it gave great light"
    "Light and life to all He brings"
    "One small light from the flame of a candle"
    "Led by the light of faith serenely beaming"
    "With a liberating light"

We'll post the hymn titles on Wednesday.

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 you, your family or church 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.  Brooksyne read and wrote about the poem in this message.  

Christmas Knowledge Test

We have also posted two Christmas carol quizzes here (scroll down).

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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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Daily Encouragement Net - 495 Kraybill Church Road - Mount Joy, PA 17552  USA


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