Daily Encouragement Net
The online Bible teaching ministry of Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.

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Thursday, December 9, 2021

San Diego home decorated for Christmas
Like many places a lot of people decorate for Christmas in San Diego. Since we associate Christmas with northeast winter it took a bit of getting used to seeing the decorations with the palm trees and mild weather! This home is along Sunset Cliffs Boulevard facing the ocean.
(Click on photo to enlarge)

"The Peril Of Boasting"

Message summary: The daily Scripture passage is a portion of God's Word that we need to regularly keep before us. I memorized it as a young Christian. Today let us just focus on one phrase, a special peril, "the boasting of what he has and does".

Listen to this message on your audio player.

"Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever" (1 John 2:15-17).

We live near enough to Philadelphia that we get a number of television stations in that market. Since it's on the border with New Jersey we also get commercials for New Jersey. Now some television ads are objectionable but we saw one that was particularly obnoxious, an ad for the gambling industry (the state sponsored lottery if I am not mistaken). It featured a show band gleefully singing the familiar holiday song, "We wish you a ...". If you were to complete the words "Merry Christmas" you would be wrong. No, in this commercial the words were changed to "a million dollars."

Now I realize most of us wouldn't consider this song as a sacred carol but the changing of the words is never-the-less one more of the many insults to the real reason for the season, particularly the greed-based wording and sponsorship by the gambling industry. It runs absolutely counter to the mission of our Lord's giving of Himself to save the world. The Christmas message for the believer should center much more on the giving than the receiving, for "it is more blessed to give than to receive".

The daily Scripture passage is a portion of God's Word that we need to regularly keep before us. I memorized it as a young Christian. Today let us just focus on one phrase, a special peril, "the boasting of what he has and does".

Consider just how much of our human nature is centered on boasting about what we have or what we do (whether an outward or inward boasting). Thus the appeal is there for the ad mentioned at the beginning of this message, "We wish you a million dollars".  I recall a simple song that has a tremendous contrasting message titled, "I wish you Jesus" by Scott Wesley Brown.

According to one of my study references the Greek word translated "boasting" in this passage has the sense of "the braggadocio which exaggerates what it possesses in order to impress the people."* Wow, that's the exact intent of what boasting is really all about!

"What he has" is the sense of personal value based upon our income and possessions. So many fall into this trap. Another song comes to mind, "My Worth Is Not In What I Own".

"What he does" is the sense of personal value based upon the type of job we have, our social position, amount of education, titles and so forth. People are ranked in each of these categories and this can lead to a source of pride and boasting.

But any boasting on these matters "comes not from the Father but from the world".

"The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever." May we supremely have a growing desire to do the will of God, knowing that the eternal impact of doing so far surpasses any temporary standing or perishable reward.

Centuries earlier the Lord spoke through the prophet Jeremiah, "This is what the LORD says: "Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight," declares the LORD" (Jeremiah 9:23,24).

Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, the love You offer stands in great contrast to the love offered by the world. No matter how many possessions I own or what title I earn from this life, these can never bring eternal joy or reconciliation with You. But a repentant heart does bring about reconciliation and a desire to do Your will brings great purpose for my life. As the world is fading away, and everything with it, I am storing up treasures that are not perishable, kept in heaven for me for that is where my heart is also. Amen.

* Linguistic key to the Greek New Testament

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"I Wish You Jesus"  Video  Scott Wesley Brown  It's nice to see these older musicians, who were popular (and young) when we were young, continue to express their faith as they age!

"My Worth Is Not In What I Own"  Video  Shane & Shane

Today we will share a few more photos from our visit to San Diego.

Sunset Cliffs
A view of the cliffs along Sunset Cliffs Boulevard.

Steps to sea
Due to the cliffs these steps to the sea are necessary for the surfers to have access. I walked down and it was quite a trek back up!

Fireplace by sea
Ester took this photo of us enjoying the fireplace with an ocean view. Falcon and Rosie seemed to enjoying hanging around with us, usually on our laps or the seat beside us.

San Diego beach from air
Ester took this photo from her seat on the plane after we took off. A couple of days earlier I had rented a bike and rode on the walkway beside the beach up to the distant pier. SeaWorld is at the far right in the photo.

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.  We posted this when my Mom died in 2005.

Christmas Knowledge Test

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

Finally today:

Steven Curtis Chapman
Ester was sad to leave California but also excited to get back so she could serve on the "security team" at a Steven Curtis Chapman concert last night here in Lancaster County!
"Going Home For Christmas"  Video  Steven Curtis Chapman

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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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