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The online Bible teaching ministry of Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
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Thursday, December 17, 2020

Morning view from our home following the big snow storm!
Morning view from our home following the big snow storm!
(Click on photo for larger view)

"The God Of Joy"

Message summary: Joy is the deep-down sense of well-being that abides in the heart of the person who knows all is well with the Lord.

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord'" (Luke 2:8-10).

All is well all is well
Angels and men rejoice
For tonight darkness fell
Into the dawn of love's light
Sing Al-le
Sing Al-le--lu-ia

Anytime you talk with people before a forecasted snow storm it becomes the main topic of discussion. Some look forward with joyful anticipation, others with fear and dread. And such was the case yesterday! Workers in both companies we visited came in several hours early to get ahead of the soon coming snow, especially those in the shipping departments. We did get a big storm with lots of snow. Being able to stay home safe and sound with everything working (power that controls our heat and water) we are of the joyful camp, especially today after we've already been out playing in the snow. (Yes, those in their 60's can still play in the snow but not like 60 years ago, playing now is more like shoveling, clearing off the vehicles and snapping photos!!!)

Advent themesToday we consider "joy", the third of four customary themes  presented during the advent season along with hope (Tuesday's message), peace (Wednesday's message), and love.

Most anyone can offer you a description of joy but let's consider Merriam Webster who describes joy as "the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires." I tend to consider joy more like this alternative description offered: "Joy is the emotion that makes life worth living in the moment because it resonates with our core identity. It is associated with feelings of appreciation and meaning."

Look around you as we are nearing the Christmas holiday. Do some people-watching when you're out and about, though, with covid-19 permeating most every community, our preparations for Christmas may be quite limited. In a typical year, the malls, post offices, or even the faces of drivers on the road often exhibit more impatience, signs of stress or lack of consideration than the folks you see who demonstrate a deep, expressive joy! Greed, anger, jealousy, fear and other ungodly attitudes have filled the hearts of people since the fall of Adam and Eve.

But on the other hand the Christmas season also brings out the best in people regarding generosity, kindness, the sharing of our resources and time with others such as shut-ins  and others who have particular struggles in life (again, covid-19 has been hard-hitting in this typical outreach).

Joy is the deep-down sense of well-being that abides in the heart of the person who knows all is well with the Lord. Joy carries a deeper meaning than just the present circumstance of one's life. That can and should be our experience. Because of the coming of our Savior ultimately for those who accept Him, all is well, and that leads to inner joy even in dismal settings.

The very heart of the gospel is the message the angel proclaimed to the shepherds as expressed in Luke 2:10, "I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people". Just consider the aspect of "great joy" these lowly shepherds received in the message of the Gospel. It was certainly a night unlike typical night watches where shepherds move about in the dark, gathering stragglers and keeping watch for predators and other dangers.

This event had none of the normal trappings we associate with joy today. It wasn't available to just the Hollywood elite, the intellectual, the wealthy, or the big name politicians. The joy the angel spoke of wasn't related to flashy consumer goods; there was no big sweepstakes giveaway, no great buy at the mall.

Instead the angel spoke of joy that originates from an entirely different source. This great joy is the result of the birth of Jesus who came to save all people who ask forgiveness for their sins. The angel's message went on to proclaim, "For today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord'".

The foundational reason the shepherds found great joy that dark night was because a Savior was born for them
. That should be a reason for all, no matter how dismal the 2020 season may be for some, that we can have great joy.

 The joy we have in Christ is:
1. A great joy.
2. An enduring joy.
3. A pure and holy joy.

We encourage you to look to the genuine Source of enduring joy. Let us express deep abiding joy daily as a testimony of what Christ has done for us, what He has done in us, and what He wants to do through us. May God bless each one of you with great joy this Christmas season and every day!

All is well, all is well
Lift up your voice and sing
Born is now Emmanuel
Born is our Lord and Savior
Sing Alleluia
Sing Alleluia
All is well

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, how marvelous that an announcement made by an angel some 2000 years ago would bring great joy to the lowly shepherds and the people of that generation, but it continues to resound even to our generation and those that will follow. Your coming to earth brings great joy and provides eternal hope to all who believe on You. Today I will not walk under the cloud of bad news but I will soar above the clouds because my steps are ordered by You, rather than the news of the day. You are my strength, my hope and my deep, abiding joy! Therefore I will praise You all the daylong and rest in You during the night hour! Amen.

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Thank you,

Stephen & Brooksyne

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"All Is Well"  Video  Doxology Vocal Ensemble   This song brings to memory a church experience from some 30 years ago when we served in northern Pennsylvania. A lady in our congregation who had a beautiful singing voice was going through some personal struggles. She was singing a song like "All is Well" when she started weeping and her voice became strained and broken. The congregation sat frozen and silently prayed for her "recovery" but one courageous and caring woman named Nancy, went forward and placed her arms around the soloist to provide support which touched us all, perhaps more than the lyrics of the song itself.

"How Great Our Joy!"  Video  Haven

"Joy To The World"  Video  Traditional Choir

Some snow scenes from the Weber place!

Barn cupola in snow at night
Last night during the storm I took this photo of our lighted cupola on our barn.

Gazebo collapse
Our gazebo we've enjoyed in the summer months collapsed under the heavy weight of snow and freezing rain.

Leon with plow!
What a blessing this morning when our neighbor Leon showed up with his plow!

Leon with plow!

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

Finally today:

Molly playing in snow
Our border collie Molly is ten years old but never wearies of playing in the snow.
She flings these rings up in the air (since she can't get others excited about doing so in the wet snow). She then catches them and does it all over again! When she tires out she just lays down in the snow.

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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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