A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.
Tuesday, December 17, 2019
"Getting Ready For Christmas"
Message summary: This Christmas season let us, with thankfulness and joy, recall the wonderful love that God demonstrated for fallen humanity as He prepared a "body" attired in flesh and blood when He sent His only begotten Son to this earth. And our response to God's incomparable love and provision is to present our body as a living and holy sacrifice. Such a response is acceptable to God and our spiritual service of worship.
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"Therefore, when Christ came into the world, He said: 'Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me'" (Hebrews 10:5). "Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship" (Romans 12:1).
"Are you ready for Christmas?" That's a conversation starter we hear often these last several weeks leading up to Christmas. For many of us getting ready means decorating, baking, shopping, special musical and drama events, parties, banquets then there's more shopping and a host of other events, family, school, church, work and otherwise!
Getting ready for Christmas can be busy! We have had several company Christmas banquets and parties to attend in our chaplain role. This Thursday we have an event at the Star Barn sponsored by the Convene group we are affiliated with. Friday evening Brooksyne and Ester are volunteering at a Point Of Grace/Aaron Shust concert. In the days before Christmas we have various services to attend the final Sunday of Advent (Christmas Sunday) through Christmas Eve.
Have you ever thought much about how God got ready for Christmas? His preparations of course were quite different than ours. The Bible speaks of the "Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world" (Revelation 13:8). Isaiah prophetically looked ahead and says of Christ, "He was led like a lamb to the slaughter" (Isaiah 53:7). When John prepared the way for Christ's ministry he declared, "Behold the Lamb of God!" (John 1:36).
The miraculous incarnation of Christ is astounding. At Christmas we usually focus on the human dimension of "The Greatest Story Ever Told." We read the accounts in Matthew and Luke of Mary and Joseph, the angels, the shepherds and the wise men.
But it seems our daily text gives a view from Christ's perspective, "a body you prepared for me". That "body" in one sense began in the way we all begin with a normal gestational period and birth. The marvelous distinction in the preparation of the incarnate body of Christ is the mystery and miracle of His conception.
"But a body" contrasts the sacrifices of the bodies of animals with the ultimate, perfect sacrificial body, the Lamb of God, the incarnation of Jesus the eternal Son, which John Wesley said was "contracted to the span of a virgin's womb." This "body" ends the need for any and all animal bodies for sacrifices.
So let us consider the most important way we can prepare for Christmas and, for that matter, it is also the way we should live the remainder of our lives on this side of eternity. We ought to present our body as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is our spiritual service of worship (see Romans 12:1).
This Christmas season let us, with thankfulness and joy, recall the wonderful love that God demonstrated for fallen humanity as He prepared a "body" attired in flesh and blood when He sent His only begotten Son to this earth. And our proper response to God's incomparable love and provision is to present our body as a living and holy sacrifice. Such a response is acceptable to God and is our spiritual service of worship.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Jesus, though You would ultimately surrender Your life at Calvary, You willingly took on flesh and lived among a very imperfect human race in a fallen world. In great humility You stripped Yourself of the privilege, position, power and wealth You possessed in heaven. When You walked among Your people You experienced betrayal, misunderstanding, hatred and temptation, yet You were without sin. Even as You made necessary preparations to come to this earth and live among a sinful people, help us to prepare our heart, mind and soul to be among Your holy people that will make a spiritual difference on this side while also growing our affection for our future eternal home. Just as You gave of Yourself so willingly help us to willingly give of ourselves as a fragrant offering to You and as a witness to this sin-darkened world. In Your name, Jesus, we pray. Amen.
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
Please 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"
Stephen & Brooksyne
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus" Video Chris Tomlin and Christy Nockels
Star Barn at Christmas Video
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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