Devotional

“Jesus Christ, The Everlasting Light”

Piano top lights and figurinesChristmas carolers gathered around the piano singing “Peace on Earth”. Sadie Willow, the photo bomber, appears to be “howling” rather than singing with this group of carolers!
 
“Jesus Christ, The Everlasting Light”

Message summary: Let us all make it your prayer today, that Jesus Christ the everlasting light will shine through us, in both our words and deeds, and even in our countenance.

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness” (Genesis 1:3,4). “The LORD is God, and He has made His light shine upon us” (Psalm 118:27). “The LORD will be your everlasting light” (Isaiah 60:20). “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it” (John 1:1-4). “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6).

Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting Light
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in Thee tonight
(From “O Little Town Of Bethlehem”)
 
We enjoy the Christmas lights inside our home and outside as well. Over the years we have been gifted several sets of figurines that Brooksyne places on top of her piano and window ledge when she and Ester decorate. We have a variety of places all through our home which have lights partly due to Christmas clearance sales. We store them all year and then have something new the following year at a greatly reduced cost!

Yesterday we pointed out that light is one of the great themes of the incarnation. Light can be glowing, beaming, piercing, twinkling, dim or intense. There are many sources of light; in nature the sun, moon and stars in their courses above. In our homes we may have light from electricity, candles, gas lanterns (our Amish neighbors), burning firewood or in our case from our coal stove. But there is only one source of Everlasting Light.


Our first daily text shows the origin of light on the first day of creation. The first designation of “good” in the Bible is light.

A wonderful truth is so simply expressed in our second daily verse: “The LORD is God, and He has made His light shine upon us.” “The Lord is God” merely asserts the Biblical truth of the one true God revealed in Scripture.

“He has made His light shine upon us.” All through history the redeemed have been able to proclaim this truth. The great prophet Isaiah in a Messianic prophecy declares, “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light” (Isaiah 9:2) and later declares, “The LORD will be your everlasting light” (Isaiah 60:20).

In the Apostle John’s account of the incarnate Christ he writes, “In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.”

In this church age we look back on the full revelation of Christ and understand what the Apostle Paul meant when he wrote, “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6).

Jesus Christ came to be the Light of the world, to reveal the knowledge and glory of God, and to shine brightly in a world darkened and dominated by sin. Is He your Lord and God? Today are you experiencing the penetrating power of God’s light as it shines upon you? Are others seeing its revelation of truth and ray of hope as it shines through you? We sure hope so!

Let us all make it our prayer today, that Jesus Christ the everlasting light will shine through us, in both our words and deeds, and even in our countenance.

 
Hail the Heav’n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings
Ris’n with healing in His wings
 
 
Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, the radiance of Your holiness is revealed in the light of Your Son, Jesus, who came to dwell among us. We know that in Him there is no darkness at all. Satan, the prince of darkness blinds and deceives us, but Jesus, the Prince of Peace, illuminates us with wisdom and truth through His earthly life revealed by Your Holy Word. And now we have the light of Your Holy Spirit to guide us in a sin-darkened world as we sojourn below. May this light that burns within us brighten our countenance and be our power source for truth, holiness, and courageous witness to those who have been blinded by the darkness. Bring them into the light of Your salvation we pray. Amen.



Donate to Daily Encouragement Net
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


 
We enjoy the variety of sights we see here in rural Pennsylvania in the course of our local travels going about the course of our life.

Pond along 283 between Lancaster and Mount Joy

We regularly pass this pond between Lancaster and Mount Joy along 283
(Photo by Ester)
Click to enlarge

 
Penn Square, Lancaster, PA 12/6/19
Friday we passed through the heart of the city to make a hospital visit. Here’s a view of Penn Square in downtown Lancaster. The Soldiers and Sailors Monument was built after the Civil War and had been at the very center of the road prior to motorized vehicle traffic at which point it became an obstacle. They had considered moving it but there was local opposition so they rerouted the road around it. (From our friend Jerry Smoker, a local historian.) Jerry points out they also had the foresight to place a tunnel under the monument to run utility wires which were not yet in use but could be foreseen.
Conewago Lake 12/10/19 (Click to enlarge)
Very early yesterday morning we passed a quiet Conewago Lake near Mont Gretna in southern Lebanon County.

Click to enlarge
Snowy morning 12/11/19
We had a light snow overnight which has stayed on the ground this morning. Mollie and Sadie enjoy playing together outside in the snow!
 


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
 
“Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”   Video  Paul Baloche
 
Yesterday we shared a quiz about how so many of the Christmas songs we love that have the theme of light somewhere in the song. Here it is again. Can you identify the song by the posted line dealing with light?

    “Disperse the gloomy clouds of night”
    “Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting light”
    “Son of God, love’s pure light”
    “There shone a holy light”
    “Yonder shines the infant light”
    “Break forth, O beauteous heavenly light”
    ‘And to the earth it gave great light”
    “Light and life to all He brings”
    “One small light from the flame of a candle”
    “Led by the light of faith serenely beaming”
    “With a liberating light”

The hymn titles are posted below.

 


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).


Answers to Christmas song quiz from above (Hymn titles in bold)

1.  “Disperse the gloomy clouds of night” O Come, O Come Emmanuel
2. “Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting light” O Little Town of Bethlehem
3. “Son of God, love’s pure light” Silent Night
4. “There shone a holy light” Go Tell It On The Mountain
5. “Yonder shines the infant light” Angels From The Realms Of Glory
6. “Break forth, O beauteous heavenly light” Title same as this line!
7. ‘And to the earth it gave great light” The First Noel
8. “Light and life to all He brings” Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
9. “One small light from the flame of a candle” One Small Child
10. “Led by the light of faith serenely beaming” O Holy Night
11. “With a liberating light” Praise The One Who Breaks The Darkness
 
Finally today:

Boscov santa 12/10/19Yesterday following our chaplain visits I had our car serviced in Lebanon, PA. I sat down in a big recliner in Boscov’s while Brooksyne shopped. An off duty Santa walked by and I asked to see his shirt. We ended up conversing about 1/2 hour. Tim told me about his personalized approach to being Santa and the interest he has in children. He is a retired chocolate worker from Hershey Corporation who made Kit Kats!
Devotional

“This Is The Verdict”

Ford truck on Main Street, Mount Joy, PAFord truck on Main Street, Mount Joy, PA
This Is The Verdict”


Message summary: May this statement be true of us today, that we love light rather than darkness!

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

 
“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone” (Isaiah 9:2). “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19).
Light is one of the great themes of the incarnation. Consider how many of the well-known Christmas carols include the theme of “light”.
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting Light
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight
(From “O Little Town Of Bethlehem”)
 
Darkness and light expressed in our first daily text as “great light” and “deep darkness” is an illustration of the battle that has long raged, what many have called opposing worldviews.

The Biblical worldview fundamentally asserts that:

1) The Almighty God is the Creator, Ruler, Redeemer and Judge over all the universe.
2) He has revealed His will for man through His Word.
3) He has established non-arbitrary laws governing the conduct of His creation.


By contrast the secular humanist worldview fundamentally asserts that:

1) God is merely a figment of the imagination or whatever one wants to believe, if anything.
2) The Bible is at best a collection of good stories, but not the rule of authority in our lives.
3) The rule of the Bible is arbitrary and subjective.


This ancient battle between these two opposing worldviews is rising to a fevered pitch.

Today let us consider a powerful verse that is in the same context as the very familiar John 3:16. Now that is indeed a great verse and we can understand why many tend to memorize it without noting the context. But just a few verses later we read “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19).

Verdict “This is the verdict”. The NIV begins this verse using a modern legal term. In law a verdict is the formal finding of fact. We have all heard the judge ask, “Does the jury have a verdict?” Our text’s use of the word reveals God’s verdict on the human race.

Versions vary in the translation of this word due to the depth and richness of the Greek word “krisis”. The KJV says “the condemnation”, while the NASV uses “the judgment”. The Amplified Version (a version helpful for insight but difficult to read) states, “The basis of judgment (indictment, the test by which men are judged, the ground for the sentence) lies in this” For the diligent student here is a Bible Gateway listing of many English versions of this text.

“Light has come into the world.” The Greek has the definite article “the” before light and we believe it to be very significant. In the Gospel and Epistles of John “the light” is Jesus Christ (see John 1:4-9; 8:12: 9:5; 12:46; 1 John 1:5). Light coming into the world is at the very heart of the Christmas message.

“But men loved darkness instead of light.”  Again we have the definite article in the Greek prior to both light and darkness precisely reading, “But men loved the darkness instead of the light.” (See here for Greek interlinear.) This is a matter of fact statement that explains much about human nature and the response to the Gospel.

“because their deeds were [are] evil.” For those of us living in the glorious light of Jesus Christ we marvel that anyone would choose darkness but many do. The next verse continues “Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed” (John 3:20). Additionally, when they come into the light they must deal with their evil deeds, confess, and repent. And, of course, many are unwilling to do that so they continue to go “undercover” in the darkness of their soul.

Today, we encourage believers all over the world to join us as we live in the light of Christ and and walk according to the light of His Word! May this statement be true of us today, that we love light rather than darkness! We come under the truth of Jesus Christ: “But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God” (John 3:21).

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, Your love comes like a light in the darkness, like the bright star in the east that burst forth in the Bethlehem skies. The hosts of heaven made it a song of joy and celebration as Jesus was born into the world, the Saviour for all mankind. In the darkness of night the light of Christ appeared drawing people near and far, then and now. Love enters the hearts of  many as they contemplate the message of Christmas, that it is a message of love and provision; love for all and provision for our sins. Love has come to us; love that brightens our lives and fills us with hope now and for all eternity. And at the same time there are many who are drawn to darkness like King Herod who sought to destroy the Christ child. We don’t understand such thinking once we come into the light, but it was a reality then as it is now. Thank You for the freedom to choose, and Lord, we choose You! Amen.


Donate to Daily Encouragement Net
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


Ford truck on Main Street, Mount Joy, PAAnother view of the bright red Ford truck on Main Street, Mount Joy, PA
Christmas tree on Main Street, Mount Joy, PA
Community Christmas tree on Main Street, Mount Joy, PA
 


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
 
“O Little Town of Bethlehem”   Video  The Living Stones Quartet
 
Consider how so many of the Christmas songs we love have the theme of light somewhere in the song. Can you identify the song by the posted line dealing with light?

“Disperse the gloomy clouds of night”
“Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting light”
“Son of God, love’s pure light”
“There shone a holy light”
“Yonder shines the infant light”
“Break forth, O beauteous heavenly light”
‘And to the earth it gave great light”
“Light and life to all He brings”
“One small light from the flame of a candle”
“Led by the light of faith serenely beaming”
“With a liberating light”

We’ll post the hymn titles on Wednesday.


 
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 is the poem that Brooksyne read and wrote about in this message.  

Christmas Knowledge Test

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

Devotional

“The Last Message From Gabriel”

Victorian ladies in Wellsboro, PA 12/7/19Victorian Ladies, Main Street, Wellsboro, PA
The Last Message From Gabriel”


Message summary: Gabriel’s final message from heaven was “For nothing is impossible with God.”

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“The angel answered and said to him, ‘I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news'” (Luke 1:19). “Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth” (Luke 1:26). “For nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:37).

 
Calvary Church kid's choir 12/8/19

Yesterday in our church the “King’s Kids” choir sang. Every Christmas, in churches all over the world, children have a role in music and drama. During our years of pastoral ministry we had many children’s programs which prompted some interesting and often humorous memories.

Most Christmas programs will include a couple of children dressed as angels since angels have a vital role in the Christmas story. They’re abundant in both of the Christmas account narratives in Matthew 1,2 and Luke 1,2.

Gabriel visits DanielOnly two angels are identified by name in the Scriptures; Gabriel and Michael. Though both are customarily identified as archangels, only Michael specifically has the designation of being an archangel (Jude 9). Of course the fallen angel also has a name, one all too familiar for the chaos he has contributed to.

Gabriel is mentioned in the Old Testament at the time of Daniel some 600 years before Christ’s birth (Daniel 8:16, 9:21). His ministry in Scripture is delivering messages from heaven to earth. In the Old Testament he was sent to give Daniel a message concerning the meaning of a vision, also to provide insight and understanding.

Gabriel visits MaryIn Luke’s gospel only Gabriel gets the choice assignment to make two visits to earth during this time. These visits are six months apart and recorded in Luke 1. The first one was to aged Zechariah; the second one to young Mary. Both received a message regarding the birth of a son. Both were miraculous in nature.


Of course the remarkably unique message to Mary concerned the special work of God in her life in the supernatural conception of Jesus. “The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.'”

Aware that such an announcement was not in keeping with the “facts of life” she inquired, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”

Gabriel’s final words recorded in Scripture were not a technical answer to Mary’s question but rather an assurance of God’s almighty power, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you” (Luke 1:35). It was specifically directed to Mary, but speaks to all of us as well. This is the testimony of an angel who had been working as a top associate at God’s side through the endless ages. He should know. His final words in response to Mary’s question were, “For nothing is impossible with God.”

The immutable God has not changed. The testimony of Gabriel stands true today. It’s true for you and it’s true for me, “For nothing is impossible with God”.

These words not only spoke to Mary when she received news that just didn’t make sense concerning her special role in the greatest birth of all time, but it also speaks to perplexing situations in our lives when God is at work, but we don’t have full understanding. Certainly Mary didn’t have the full picture during the angelic visit. We have the wonderful advantage of reading the Scriptures that tell the entire story, from Christ’s birth to His death and resurrection. Her story was just beginning.

Mary received these words in faith as she responded, “I am the Lord’s servant, be it unto me according to your word” (v.38). Her words expressed a servanthood attitude where submission is fundamental and being a servant of God is foundational to our Christian walk. What an exemplary attitude for us to observe and to espouse!

This is the way God works in all of our lives as our stories are presently being written. What a joy it is to be a child of God; to trust Him in the major and minor details of our lives. His plan unfolds in our lives, one day at a time, and we do well not to try to get ahead of His revealed plan, lest we lean on our own understanding rather than His. May we, like Mary, each have this response to God, “I am Your servant, Lord; be it unto me according to Your word.”

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we read of Your supernatural workings throughout Scripture and we’ve witnessed it over the years as we’ve seen miracles of Your healing and saving power in the lives of others.  The power of the Most High overshadowed Mary and Joseph as she was chosen to conceive the Christ Child who came down from heaven to save us from our sins. When we lose sight of Your miraculous deeds in the daily grind of life and in the circumstances that baffle or discourage us help us to remember that You are a God of the impossible, nothing is too complex or broken that You cannot fix. Your mighty Spirit overshadows us day by day and You delight in us as we put our hope in Your unfailing love and miraculous power. Amen.
 

Donate to Daily Encouragement Net

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



This last weekend we went up to northern Pennsylvania to primarily visit Wellsboro, which had a special “Dickens Of A Christmas” festival on Saturday. My brother Pat and his wife Laverne joined us, meeting us in Williamsport for the day together on Saturday.
 
Pat and Laverne at the Dickens of a Christmas celebration in Wellsboro, PA 12/7/19The main street is closed off and there were many vendors, street musicians and people dressed in costume.
 
Dickens of a Christmas singers in Wellsboro, PA 12/7/19
Street singers.
 
Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania 12/7/19
We also stopped by the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon which Pat and Laverne had never seen.
 
Little League world series stadium, Williamsport, PA 12/7/19 (Click to enlarge)
On the way back we stopped by to see the stadium where the Little League World Series is played in Williamsport, PA
(Click to enlarge)
 
Jason and Rebekah Oberholser 12/9/19
This morning we had Jason and Rebekah Oberholser over for breakfast. They serve in missions among the Navajo in New Mexico. Rebekah grew up in a church we served some 30+ years ago in north central west Pennsylvania! Their six children stayed with Jason’s parents in Chambersburg allowing for a lot of “grown up” conversation as they shared their mission and we had a nice time of prayer as well.
 


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
 
“King’s Kids children’s choir”   Video  From yesterday’s service.
“Be It Unto Me”  Video  Don Moen
 

 
Finally today:
 
Hats at Yoder's RestaurantLast Friday we attended a company luncheon for the Val-Co company at Yoder’s
Restaurant in New Holland PA. My hat sort of sticks out!
Devotional

“Jesus The Messiah”

 

Main Street gas lights in Wellsboro, PA (from publicbroadcasting.net)Main Street, Wellsboro, PA
Jesus The Messiah”


Message summary: Jesus the Messiah was not and is not a mere myth who needs to be demythologized.

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

 
“This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah” (Matthew 1:1). “Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah” (Matthew 1:16). “For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty” (2 Peter 1:16).
 
Usually, at this time of year as well as Easter, we can count on the secular press presenting numerous articles questioning the authenticity of Jesus and the integrity of the Biblical record. Several years ago “US News and World Report” presented an article titled “The Jesus Code – America is rethinking the Messiah – again.”

Throughout the centuries many have been on a quest to “reinvent” Jesus, essentially making Him into their own image. You will hear scholarly-sounding phrases such as “demythologizing” or “discovering the historical Jesus.” Of course these endeavors begin with the assumption that the Gospels and New Testament record are unreliable.

When I read these articles I am always struck by the designations such as “scholars assert”, which tends to lend credence to these faddish theories. Those still seeking and those who may be newer in their faith or ungrounded may find their faith shaken. After all, they are the scholars and who am I? I consider another New Testament verse, “Professing to be wise, they became fools” (Romans 1:22).

The designation “scholar” is interesting and can be so misleading. Indeed there are many who are educated and attain the title “scholar” who do not have faith in Christ. Typically when these secular articles are written they seek out these unbelieving scholars. They are presented as objective but that’s far from the truth. It’s true not only in theology but in other fields as well.

 
But there are also many scholars who believe the Bible and stay true to the Faith.  Some have kept their faith in spite of the onslaught of cynicism and unbelief they faced while attaining a “higher education”.  And then there are others who, at one time did not believe, but eventually examined the evidence and by God’s grace turned in faith to the Lord!

Lee Strobel, a journalist who at one time was an unbelieving skeptic, came to believe in the Christian faith. He wrote the “The Case For” series. His first book (as I recall) was “The Case For Christ” written from the perspective of a skeptic searching for the truth about Jesus Christ. In it he interviews a series of world-renowned scholars who are recognized specialists in their field of study. I’m particularly blessed by the way he asks many of them at the end of the interview how their study had impacted their personal faith and life.

 
This week we began with the blank page in our Bibles between the Old and New Testament and then considered the very first verse in Matthew’s Gospel. Today we use the final verse in Matthew’s genealogy, a portion not often quoted; “Jacob, the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of who was born Jesus, who is called the Christ”. The genealogy of Christ, although not among the most exciting reading in Scripture, places our Lord Jesus Christ clearly in the historical record. Jesus the Messiah was not and is not a mere myth who needs to be demythologized.

I can learn of the historical Jesus in these sacred pages of Holy Scripture and I’m not interested in a reinvention, nor a reinvention of the reinvention, for when we dabble that’s what happens. I firmly believe that the Gospels present the truth about Christ and I rest my faith on this teaching rather than the fickle views of the latest “scholarly” musings.

I find great encouragement in the Apostle Peter’s straightforward reminder: “We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty” (2 Peter 1:16). Many years ago Brooksyne and I, before we ever came together, chose to follow “Jesus The Messiah” and this day, December 6, 2019 we once again make that declaration! We urge all our readers to do the same.

One day when heaven was filled with His praises,
One day when sin was as black as could be,
Jesus came forth to be born of a virgin—
Dwelt among men, my example is He!

Living, He loved me; dying, He saved me;
Buried, He carried my sins far away;
Rising, He justified freely forever:
One day He’s coming—O glorious day!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, there is much authenticity available through the annals of history and most importantly the written Holy Scriptures – that You sent Your Son, Jesus, to earth in the form of a babe to be born to a virgin maiden. Your Son was sent for the major purpose of bearing the sins of humankind upon Himself as He died in our place. Those unwilling to receive these facts based upon the Scriptures will constantly be searching and find only the ever-evolving explanations, rationalizations, clarifications, enlightenment, or whatever the current fad teaching is during their quest. When we come to You in faith we accept that which is written in Scripture and base our lives upon its teaching, putting to death our old sin nature and rising to life our spiritual nature. Thank You for this glorious transformation. Amen.
 


Donate to Daily Encouragement Net
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


 
Jean, a reader from Maine wrote concerning yesterday’s message: I just wanted to say that L.L. Bean has changed their “lifetime guarantee” (that people were abusing – I knew a man who took good shoes – that had worn well – back for years and years and kept getting a free pair.) They still have a great guarantee though. A one year warranty – but if there is evidence of inferior quality they will make it right. And they now require a proof of purchase. People were buying L.L. Bean clothes at lawn sales and taking them back!


 
Ed from northern, PA provided the answer to our initial quiz yesterday:

Albert Benjamin Simpson
Dwight Lyman Moody
Clive Stapes Lewis
Frederick Fyvie Bruce
Aiden Wilson Tozer
Charles Haddon Spurgeon
 
Harry S. Truman – The S. is only an initial, he did not have a middle name. The initial honors his grandfathers, Anderson Shipp Truman and Solomon Young.

 
Speaking of Bible scholars and those known by their initials I recently watched this thought-provoking video by N.T. Wright. He is a preeminent New Testament scholar, best known for his works defending orthodox Christian belief. His initials stand for Nicholas Thomas. In the video (5 years old) his concept of the danger of changing the meaning of words is very instructive, even more so today given the gender nonsense flooding our country.
 


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
 
“Glorious Day (Living He Loved Me)”   Video  Casting Crowns
 

 
Finally today:
Main Street gas light in Wellsboro, PA (from Pinterest, https://www.flickr.com/photos/stevecarroll/)A gas street light in Wellsboro, PA
 
Wellsboro is a small hamlet in northern Pennsylvania. This Saturday they have the “Dickens of a Christmas Celebration”. That’s why I posted the Main Street Wellsboro photo as our lead photo today. (They are real gas lights.) In our view Wellsboro is the prettiest small town in northern PA. It’s really kind of like Bedford Falls, the fictional town in “It’s A Wonderful Life”!
 
Here’s a description of the celebration from the website:

Are you looking for a getaway weekend to rekindle the old fashioned Christmas spirit? Then plan to join us in Wellsboro on Saturday, December 7th, 2019 for the 36th annual Dickens of a Christmas. Wellsboro’s Main Street and the surrounding side streets will be closed to traffic and will become an early Victorian marketplace featuring all types of delectable wares for eating and drinking, as well as delightful gift items for wearing or enjoying.
 
Beginning at 9:00 a.m., the food and craft vendors, strolling musicians and singers, dancers, and street corner thespians will spread up and down Main Street, extending on to Waln and Crafton Street, and a portion of Central Avenue. Performers and vendors will be appropriately costumed and decorated to create a Victorian atmosphere that fits so well with the Wellsboro Gas Lights. With the streets closed to traffic, you have the freedom to stroll and enjoy the festivities.
 

Wellsboro is located here on Google map

Devotional

“The Enduring Kingdom”

Colebrook Road in snow, Lebanon County, PA 12/4/19

Yesterday we had our first dusting of snow this season heading over to Lebanon County on Colebrook Road. It sure made for a pretty drive but we were watching for any ice as the temp hovered around 33 degrees!
 
The Enduring Kingdom”


Message summary: We have a living hope guaranteed forever in Christ’s enduring Kingdom.

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

 
“The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham” (Matthew 1:1). “Your house and Your kingdom will endure forever before me; Your throne will be established forever” (2 Samuel 7:16). “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3).
 
LL Bean boot (Doris High)Driving up Route 1 in Maine above Portland, you pass right by the flagship store for the L.L. Bean Company in Freeport. The big boot photo was taken by our friend Doris High. Don’t worry about when you get there since it’s open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and presumably 366 if it’s a leap year. Once when we lived in New England we were up that way and stopped on Christmas evening about 10:00 and plenty of people were walking through even at that time. Many probably like us, just going somewhere and needing a break.
 
It’s a huge store with many displays of stuffed and mounted skins of animals, live fish and lots and lots of merchandise.

What many people like about the L.L. Bean Company is the quality of their merchandise and their “enduring” guarantee expressed on an ad slogan which unambiguously states “Guaranteed – You have our word!” I understand people have taken them up on it and they do keep their word even after having the product for many, many years. That’s a real testimony in today’s business world. This statement was written on a catalog several years ago: “We guarantee everything except the weather.”
 
So today let us consider the greatest enduring promise, the Messiah.
 
Yesterday’s message examined a spiritual promise made to Abraham 4,000 years ago which was fulfilled in Christ that, “All peoples on earth will be blessed through you” (Genesis 12:3).

Today, as we continue to study the genealogy of Christ, let us consider the phrase, “Jesus the Messiah, the Son of David.” David and Abraham both received covenant promises in regard to their offspring. Today’s second verse concludes a prophetic message of an enduring guarantee from the Lord concerning David, “Your house and Your kingdom will endure forever before me; Your throne will be established forever” (2 Samuel 7:16).

Consider how devout Jews were to interpret this promise at the time of Christ’s first advent (coming). After all, about 400 years after David lived the nation was taken into captivity and the earthly aspect of his monarchy (kingdom) ceased. In fact even after the Jews returned from Babylon there is no record of the monarchy being reestablished and neither has it been to this day.

But devout Jews recognized this as a Messianic prophecy. This is clear from the context. Indeed through David’s offspring, Jesus Christ, His house and kingdom has endured and will endure forever. This truth is further emphasized; “Your throne will be established forever.”

This great promise brings wonderful assurance today. Instability and uncertainty surrounds us. We wonder, what’s next? Some of you are being battered about with issues in your own life. We can all sense the travails of the fallen creation in our families, communities and throughout the world.

But our focus must be on the ever enduring Kingdom of Jesus Christ. In the angelic announcement to Mary, prior to her miraculous conception we read these remarkable words concerning Jesus, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; His kingdom will never end” (Luke 1:30-33).

We have a living hope guaranteed forever in Christ’s enduring Kingdom.

Some 1,700 years after Christ’s first advent George Frideric Handel captured this truth in the most memorable portion of his epic work, “Messiah”.

And He shall reign forever and ever,
King of kings! and Lord of lords!
King of kings! and Lord of lords!
And He shall reign forever and ever,
King of kings! and Lord of lords!
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Hallelujah!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer:  Father, Scripture records that no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has conceived what You have prepared for those who love You. Even in our most vivid and God-inspired dreams we can’t begin to imagine all the joys and surprises that await us when we cross to the other side. It is there that we will join other ransomed souls around Your throne where Your kingdom has no end and You will reign forever and ever. Hallelujah! Hallelujah!! Hallelujah!!! Hallelujah!!!!  Hal-le-lu-jah!!!!!
 

Donate to Daily Encouragement Net
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



Black Angus in snow, Lebanon County, PA 12/4/19
These Black Angus cattle are feeding in a snowy field in Lebanon County. The trough caught our attention as it was made of a heavy duty wagon. (I, Brooksyne, couldn’t help but think of the manger where Jesus lay when I looked upon this scene.)



Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
 
“Hallelujah Chorus”   Video  Kim Collingsworth

“God, the Uncreated One (King Forevermore)”  Video  Keith & Kristyn Getty

 
“Our Song from Age to Age”  Video  Brooks Ritter
 
“Living Hope”  Video  Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir featuring Phil Wickham
 
Finally today:
 
The L.L. in L.L. Bean stands for Leon Leonwood Bean.

The following are known primarily by their initials. Do you know what their initials stand for?  (Actually the internet makes this pretty easy.)

  •      D.L. Moody
  •      A.W. Tozer
  •      F.F. Bruce
  •      C.H. Spurgeon
  •      A.B. Simpson
  •      C.S. Lewis
  •    Harry S. Truman (being from his hometown of Independence, Missouri and graduating from Truman High School, I had to use him!)
Devotional

“The Blessing To All People”

Poole Forge Covered Bridge, Lancaster County, PAThe Poole Forge Covered Bridge in Eastern Lancaster County is one of our many covered bridges
(Click on photo to enlarge)

 
“The Blessing To All People”


Message summary: This advent season let us remember the tremendous blessings we all have as spiritual children of Abraham through the work of the promised Messiah, Jesus Christ!

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham” (Matthew 1:1). “All peoples on earth will be blessed through you” (Genesis 12:3). “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” (Luke 2:10).

Yesterday afternoon I had a conversation with Ron, an older man who shared with me about his heart-breaking childhood. His father returned from the service after World War 2 a changed man and not in a good way. He was abusive and after a while his mom left him taking Ron, who was in 4th grade with her. Shortly thereafter his mother remarried and one night he overheard his stepfather tell her she needed to send Ron back to his father as he wanted to start his own family.

The very next day after school his father picked him up to take him to live with him and abused him daily till he ran away in ninth grade. After that Ron never saw his mother and father again. That’s a lot of hurt.

Ron told me he was determined not to be like his father. He married as a young man and has now been married 63 years with four children along with grandchildren and great grandchildren. But he also has a story of redemption when as a young adult he became a follower of Christ and as the old song states, “The Cross Made The Difference For Me”. He has experienced the Abrahamic blessing that “All peoples on earth will be blessed through you”.

I don’t suppose Ron has much interest in his own genealogy but many do and the internet has been a valuable resource for those trying to find their roots with popular sites such as ancestry.com. Now there are DNA tests which can pinpoint where you came from. There are those who can trace their lineage back hundreds of years and know who their ancestors are.

We have met a few people who have impressive ancestries. They can trace their family roots back to an ancient country or may have a famous family member. Of course, it’s more interesting if you’re a member of that family lineage!

But sadly in our broken world with so much immorality and fragmented families there are many like Ron, the older man I spoke to yesterday, including those who do not even know their own birth father, let alone their grandparents and previous generations.

A large portion of our society is so focused on the present and so disconnected to any heritage that they have no interest at all.

The New Testament begins with the genealogy of Jesus Christ, a detailed accounting of His ancestors going all the way back to Abraham. Luke has a similar record but his goes all the way back to Adam! These genealogies may not make for the most interesting reading but the entire Bible, including the genealogies, is inspired by God.

Matthew’s gospel begins, “The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the Son of David, the son of Abraham“. Today let us consider Abraham, the father of the Jewish nation and all who have faith in the one true God.

Abraham received a great promise during his original call; “all peoples on earth will be blessed through you” (Genesis 12:3). The apostolic preaching of the early church clearly identifies this promise as fulfilled in Christ (Acts 3:24-26). The apostle Paul in Galatians states that the Gospel was announced in advance to Abraham in this call. Galatians 3:9 states that, “those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham”.

This promise to Abraham was that “All peoples on earth will be blessed through you”. Wherever you are reading this you are among the “all peoples!” That’s true whether we have a famous ancestor or like most of us do not. Praise God! This is echoed in the angelic proclamation at the birth of Christ, who announced “good news of great joy that will be for all the people” (Luke 2:10). This advent season let us remember the tremendous blessings we all have as spiritual children of Abraham through the work of the promised Messiah, Jesus Christ!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, regardless of our birth genealogy, whether we’re born to peasant or royalty, whether we had loving parents or we didn’t, when we are born into the Kingdom of God we become Your children and all are on equal standing at the foot of the cross. We are not just born into Your Kingdom but we were purchased with the precious sinless blood of Jesus. There is no higher calling and no greater privilege granted to the human race. Thank You for the spirit of sonship that invites each of us to call You Abba Father. This is possible only because of Christ Jesus who gave His all that we might be born again and receive eternal life. Amen.


Donate to Daily Encouragement Net
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

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
 
“The Old Rugged Cross Made the Difference”  Video   Gaither Vocal Band
Devotional

“The Genealogy Of Jesus”

Come Thou Long Expected Jesus

 
The Genealogy Of Jesus”


Message summary: The genealogies in Matthew and Luke firmly place Jesus Christ in history. He is not a fictional phantom who appears out of nowhere.

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham” (Matthew 1:1).

Yesterday we shared about the blank page in our Bibles, representing the period between the Old and New Testaments. After this long period of revelatory silence we might expect the New Testament, from a human literary perspective, to begin with opening words like, “I’m back!” or “Now for the rest of the story”. To me it would be interesting if it began with yesterday’s daily verse, “But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son” (Galatians 4:4).

But not so. Instead the first words are, “The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham” followed by 16 verses of mostly obscure names. Now to be sure there are some interesting details, especially due to the four women mentioned in the genealogy; Tamar, Rahab, Ruth and “Uriah’s wife” (Bathsheba) each of which have a recorded story in the Old Testament.

Genealogies in the Bible are rarely anyone’s favorite portions and it would take real dedication to memorize them although some have. Their purpose is to ground the events of Scripture in real history. The Bible is not a make believe fairy tale as some assert but a record of real history.

The genealogy of Jesus is a perfect way to begin the New Testament serving as a bridge after those 400 silent years that the blank page in our Bibles represent.

Matthew was one of the original disciples and his gospel was primarily intended for those with a Jewish background. Thus Matthew’s genealogy begins with Abraham.

The genealogies firmly place Jesus Christ in history. He is not a fictional phantom who appears out of nowhere. There are names in His genealogy can be studied in the Old Testament.

The New Testament begins with the genealogy of Jesus Christ, a detailed accounting of His ancestors going back to Abraham. Luke has a similar record but his goes all the way back to Adam! These genealogies may not make for the most interesting reading but the entire Bible, including the genealogies, is inspired by God. Yet many of us would admit the genealogies are not among the more exciting or necessarily edifying portions of the Bible and we tend to skim over them, particularly the longest in 1 Chronicles 1-9!

The genealogies of Christ, in both Matthew and Luke, are in the context of the Christmas stories. But all Scripture is profitable and even these genealogies are inspired truth and have lessons for us.

The genealogy of Jesus Christ begins with the summary in the first daily text prior to filling in the detail: “The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham” (Matthew 1:1). In doing so Matthew mentions the two most significant names in our Lord’s human genealogy; Abraham and David. In our next two messages we will study a prophecy given to each of these two men.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we’re grateful for the inspiration of Scripture and for the records of those who lived and died over the centuries. Many are unknown to us, but some names are significant due to the contribution they made over their lifetime, either Christ honoring or otherwise. But the greatest name to be recorded in the genealogies is that of Jesus the Messiah. His is the Name above all names – a Name for all time and for every generation since Messiah’s kingdom has no end. His reign is forever and the amazing thing is that we who believe will reign with Him forevermore in His heavenly kingdom. Come Lord Jesus, come. Amen.


Donate to Daily Encouragement Net
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


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Prepare Him Room”  Video  Rebecca Elliott

“Lancaster at Christmas”  Video  The creative team at our church prepared this video of  drone shots over downtown Lancaster during the Christmas season with an Advent theme. Very nicely done!