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Thursday, December 26, 2019

Red Ford pickup 12/22/19
We shared a photo of this bright red Ford truck several weeks ago during the daytime.

"A Trustworthy Statement"

Message summary: "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners", is the real meaning of Christmas and it is good news that is trustworthy and true!

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"I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people" (Luke 2:10). "It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners" (1 Timothy 1:15).

Church sign in Okay, Oklahoma
Several years ago we passed this church sign in the tiny eastern Oklahoma town of Okay. It would appear to be a sign where they are more interested in the message than in advertising their church name! (We assume the church name on the sign was blown off in a recent storm, as Oklahoma is notorious for its tornadoes.)

"Fake news" has been a popular phrase for several years now although fake news has been around a lot longer probably from the beginning. The angel's message to the shepherds was, "I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people". Today let us consider good news that is entirely trustworthy and true!

Over the last several days earnest believers gathered all over the world to give focus to the true meaning of Christmas. We worshiped through song, read Scripture, prayed, heard the Christmas narrative, partook of communion, in addition to other ways we honored our Lord. We gathered in churches, homes, classrooms, hospitals, rehabs, prisons, soup kitchens, and in many other settings to express our faith in the very heart of the Christmas story; "that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners".

Biblical truths are being mocked and ridiculed and sadly there are those in the visible church who feel we must compromise in disbelief to be accepted by the world. After all there are those who declare that the Creation record in Genesis is a legend, the Biblical miracles aren't real, and the Bible characters are myths. It should not surprise us that the critical events in the life of our Savior; His birth (specifically miraculous conception), death, and resurrection are similarly ridiculed.

The epistles give little emphasis to the birth of Christ. Apart from the historical record in the narratives of Matthew and Luke, and the prophecies foretold centuries earlier, we have no other information on our Lord's birth. It's not mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles or in the epistles with any detail. Actually there's no record of the early church celebrating Christ's birth as we do today.

But they certainly believed in it! Paul introduces a saying that appears to be an early creedal statement of the primitive church.
"It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners" (1 Timothy 1:15).

"It is a trustworthy statement" (literally a "faithful word"), Paul uses this phrase 5 times in the Pastoral Epistles to introduce a statement of special importance. It's easily memorized, and perhaps this repetitive method was used to teach and reinforce the most essential tenets of faith in earliest believers. "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners" is an absolutely trustworthy statement that impacts the lives of every human born into this world and is evident in those present during the time of Christ's appearing:
  • It was declared by Mary, during her visit to Elizabeth, in the Magnificat: "My soul exalts the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior" (Luke 1:46).
  • It was the reassuring message from the angel to Joseph: "She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:22)
  • It was the message of the angel of the Lord to the frightened shepherds: "For today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2:11).
  • When Simeon took the infant Jesus in His arms he declared: "For my eyes have seen Your salvation" (Luke 2:30).
"deserving full acceptance". Although most of the world's population has not accepted this truth; from its earliest declaration, to this day and throughout eternity it truly deserves full acceptance. We have fully accepted this truth, and trust that each of you have as well.

"Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners" is the real meaning of Christmas and it is always good news because it is trustworthy and true!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, how grateful we are that Jesus came into this world to save sinners; to turn despair to hope, darkness to light, and death into life. All that we have need of and presently rely on is abundance from Your generous Hand. You are worthy of our trust and deserving of our fully surrendered life. From the cradle to the cross Jesus is Lord of Heaven and Lord of earth. We celebrate the birth of Your Son, Jesus, our Savior and Lord, and we give thanks for all that it means to us. Amen.

Here are the other "trustworthy statements" in the Pastoral epistles:

1 Timothy 3:1: "It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do."

1 Timothy 4:8,9: "Godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. It is a trustworthy statement deserving full acceptance."

2 Timothy 2:11,12: "It is a trustworthy statement: For if we died with Him, we will also live with Him; If we endure, we will also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will deny us."

Titus 3:7,8: "being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy statement."

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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

Calvary Church Christmas service 12/24/19
On Tuesday we attended the Christmas service at Calvary Church. If you would like to watch this service it is posted here Video

Gas lanterns in Lapp home 12/24/19
After the Christmas Eve service we enjoyed the rest of the evening with the Lapp family where we visited, ate, and opened presents not by candlelight but by gaslight. (Ester snapped this photo.)

Opening gift at Lapps 12/24/19
In the midst of the noisy and busy evening there was a newspaper fight among the youngsters including our 30 year old "youngster". One Christmas gift was wrapped in a newspaper (probably Sunday size) and taped shut page by page. Each member of the family of nine had a part to open. It took quite a while to get down to what turned out to be a very small gift but one enjoyed by the whole family.

Sadie in her new Christmas bed 12/25/19
On Christmas we opened our presents and Sadie was probably the happiest of all, getting her very own her new bed! No coercing needed, she crawled in it right away and found it to be cozy enough to go right to sleep.
With just the three of us around our dining table yesterday, we used the grill and pulled it right outside the sliding door so Stephen could grill from inside out!

Couple photo at Star Barn 12/19/19 (Click to enlarge)
Christmas Greetings from the Star Barn.
(Click to enlarge)

Brooksyne's after Christmas greeting to our readers:

Stephen and I express our greatest appreciation and love to you, our faithful dailyencouragement readers. We have met so many fine readers from all walks of life and from all regions of the world and we are better for it in our spiritual walk and social life. We always enjoy your feedback and your stimulating comments that affirm or challenge us to think further on a subject matter. We're even glad for those of you who take the time to let us know a link is broken or a date is wrong, etc. If our messages were prepared for a blank screen and we didn't know any of you who read or benefit from our efforts, it would certainly be less fulfilling.

We are praying for those whose Christmas was unlike any in the past due to the heartache you are presently experiencing, and for those who suffer from significant loss in your life. May our faithful Lord meet you and bring a deep settled peace in your heart as you reflect upon Him as the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of peace.

Though Christmas is past we now look forward to the new year we can still have a celebrative and contemplative attitude during the 12 days of Christmas. The 12 days of Christmas is the period that in Christian tradition marks the span between the birth of Christ and the coming of the Magi, the three wise men. It begins on December 25 (Christmas) and runs through January 6 (the Epiphany, sometimes also called Three Kings' Day.)

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Christmas Gospel Song"  Video  Living Stones Quartet

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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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