A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.
Tuesday, December 15, 2020
We are blessed to see so many expressions of faith as we travel the backroads here in Lancaster County. Last Friday this inspirational sign caught our attention in Manor Township. Turning old pallets into signs is a great way to repurpose!
See here for a close-up photo which prompts today's message.
"The God Of Hope"
Message summary: Hope is one of the greatest of God's blessings and is a special focus during the Christmas season, one of the four themes of advent. Our relationship with God always involves faith, and active faith in Christ will always lead to hope. What richness we find in four descriptive words in the daily Scripture portion, "The God Of Hope".
Listen to this message on your audio player.
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit" (Romans 15:13).
While pastoring in Massachusetts we were blessed to know a godly woman named Hope Winchoba in our congregation, and I can say that she lived up to her name. Anytime we visited with her and John in their home on West Island near New Bedford, our conversation was filled with encouragement and the unfading hope of soon meeting Jesus in heaven which both of them are presently experiencing. Yesterday Brooksyne spoke to Jean, a reader from Hope, Maine where we traveled years ago while visiting a retired pastor friend. It's a small rural town near coastal Camden, which we feel is one of the prettiest towns on the entire east coast. It's especially famous for the stunning view of the town and harbor from Mount Battie. (See photos)
Today we consider the value of hope which is customarily included as one of the four themes during the advent season along with joy, peace and love.
Hope is one of the greatest of God's blessings. Our relationship with God always involves faith, and active faith in Him will always lead to hope. When our faith in God is weak, inactive or non-existent we will either have no hope or misplaced hope. But the depth of His riches will only be experienced when we unreservedly place our confidence in "the God of hope".
We always need hope but this year we can all use an extra dose it seems. Let us reflect on three blessings concerning our hope in Christ (though there are many more):
1) Our hope in Christ is a saving hope. "We have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe" (1 Timothy 4:10). Jesus foundationally was born into this world to save. Matthew West has written a new song reflecting the challenges of this past year and reminds us of this hope of Christmas:
You're still the hope of Christmas
You're still the light when the world looks dark
You're still the hope of Christmas
And You're still the hope of my heart
2) Our hope in Christ is a constant hope. The Psalmist wrote, "My hope is in you all day long" (Psalm 25:5). Our spiritual hope in Christ doesn't diminish or fluctuate due to the vagaries of life. "Where morning dawns and evening fades You call forth songs of joy" (Psalm 65:8). This verse is used in a Paul Baloche song many of us have sung titled "Your Name" (see link below).
3) Our hope in Christ is a strength-renewing hope. "Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength" (Isaiah 40:31). This is the great passage that speaks of mounting up with wings like eagles. The struggles and disappointments of life can be wearying and drain us of hope. So many are now experiencing this including some of you reading this. If we go forth in our own strength we will soon find it is not enough and we will fail miserably. But when our hearts are filled with Spirit empowered hope, our focus will bring images of heaven into clearer view helping to lift us above the present difficulties that deplete our strength, energy and faith. We will be stronger in our faith and in our firm resolve to be faithful to the end.
Surely some of you are facing very trying circumstances as this year ends. As we prepare this message we consider those in our own sphere of influence and pray for them. The ending of a year does not wipe out the challenges, trials, and losses experienced over the past 365 days. Some of those circumstances will carry over into the New Year, so we must cling tightly to the hope we have in Christ for that which we've already dealt with and for that which is yet to come in the coming year.
Today we encourage you to focus on the hope we have in Christ as we conclude our message with this thought-provoking saying: "Man's way leads to a hopeless end, but God's way leads to an endless hope." Amen!!!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit" (Romans 15:13). Father, our hope is steadfast and sure as we trust in You for everything we have need of, most importantly, our salvation through Christ. We are grateful for Your divine presence and daily provision as we meet the challenges of each new day and each new year. Our hope does not dwindle due to these challenges, for we depend not on our own strength, wisdom, or standing with man. Instead we depend on the One who provides us with hope that is ever secure, constant, and strengthening. In Jesus' name 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 click 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
"The Hope Of Christmas" Video Matthew West This is a new song written especially in light of the pandemic and challenges of 2020. It's reminiscing style will bless you since most people get sentimental about Christmases from their childhood.
"Hope Has Hands" Video This was from a musical presented in a small church we served in an interim role over ten years ago with Brooksyne leading the choir. Here's a studio version of the same song by Brentwood Benson Video
"Your Name" Video Paul Baloche (Christmas version) Video (Regular version which begins with "As morning dawns and evening fades")
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. This page was first posted in 2005 soon after my Mom passed away.
Christmas Knowledge Test
Outdoor decorations in the neighborhood, even some mailboxes get a celebratory look!
To receive the "Daily Encouragement" each Monday-Friday through email see this page to subscribe to our email list. You can also subscribe to the Wordpress rss feed or through a Wordpress email subscription. (See the email subscription on the right side after opening this page)
Permissions: Please feel free to pass on, reproduce and distribute any material on Daily Encouragement Net, in part or in whole, in any format, provided that you do not alter the wording in any way or charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction. It is our desire to spread this material, not protect or restrict it. We do request that you keep the contact, copyright and subscription information intact.
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."
© Copyright 2020 Stephen C. & Brooksyne Weber - All Rights Reserved
Daily Encouragement Net - 495 Kraybill Church Road - Mount Joy, PA 17552 USA
"Living securely today anchored in God's solid foundation"