“Little Crippled Lambs”
December 22, 2015
A peaceful scene along the Skyline Drive through Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. This route, along with the Blue Ridge Parkway, runs along the Appalachian ridge and is beautiful and far less travelled than I-81 in the valley. It’s among our favorite drives. But of course these parkways are way, way slower to travel than the interstate!
Please note: Yesterday I wanted to share two videos from our Christmas musical Sunday evening. But I had considerable difficulty uploading them to YouTube. I thought they would eventually work and provided links but they never uploaded and I had to cancel. Thus the links to the two songs in yesterday’s email will not work. Sorry to those who tried. (Once I send the email to the list it can’t be modified, although I can correct the other sites) Last night I managed to properly upload them to another service (Vimeo) and verified that these links do work! We post them below and welcome our readers to check them out. “O Holy Night” will surely put you in the Christmas mood, if you aren’t already.
Listen to this message on your audio player.
“On hearing this, Jesus said to them, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners'” (Mark 2:17). “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10).
When I served local churches in a pastoral role Brooksyne would always prepare a story for the children during the Christmas Eve service. Since we started in ministry at a very young age, (Brooksyne was only 20 years old in our first country church), there are “kids” who heard her read who are now in their mid-forties who can still recall her reading these stories. It’s a blessing that we have stayed connected to many of them.
“The Crippled Lamb” – Essence of the story: Joshua, the featured lamb, is crippled so the other animals leave him behind in the stable while they go out to find fresh grass to graze. His tears of disappointment and loneliness turn to joy, however, when he realizes that because of his difference, he is present when Jesus is born! From the classic art to the surprise ending, this tender story helps all children see that God has a very special place for them, including those whose lives are different than the norm.
The story reminds us that God has a special plan for each life in spite of whatever circumstance may “cripple” us. We may base the designation “crippled” on certain standards of what we perceive as normal and particularly apply it in a physical sense, but there is far more application. Some certainly have a lot more overcoming than others and there are many who bear a heavy load that I can only imagine.
As we consider the joy of this season our hearts go out to so many who are dealing with sadness for a variety of reasons. But in reality we are all sick and in need of the “Great Physician”, the only One who can successfully heal all our soul’s diseases.
Let us rejoice in the truth of the birth of God’s Son, Jesus Christ, who came to seek and to save that which was lost. We are all crippled lambs, and regardless of whatever may “cripple” us or to what extent, God will redeem those who turn to Him and rely on His guidance, wisdom, and strength.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, without the shed blood of Your Son, Jesus, we are weighed down by the shackles of sin. It spreads as a disease from our hearts to our minds separating us from our Creator and making us a bond slave to Satan. Thank You for sending Jesus, who by His intense love and sacrificial death, freed us from the sin that ensnared us. He turned our mourning into dancing as He lifted our condemnation replacing it with eternal hope. Thank You for the Christ of Christmas who shines His light for all to see and offers everlasting freedom to all held captive by sin. Amen.
Special Year-end appeal:
We want to thank all who have financially supported our ministry this past year. 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. 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 half our time to Daily Encouragement and the other half to our chaplaincy ministry to companies for which we receive a fee (of course this percentage of time varies week by week). 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 phase would provide half of our ministry expenses and income. If you would like to make a donation to our ministry see here for more information or donate directly online through my chaplain account here. Thank you!
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The first two videos below were taken at our church’s Christmas musical Sunday evening. Ester’s friend Stephen Meck did a great job as videographer using the iPhone 6s Plus.
“You Follow” Video Mount Pleasant Choir on Dec. 20, 2015
This was the song that prompted yesterday’s message. We had a full house that night and the audio picked up some children’s noise but that’s the real world! Hopefully you will get the excellent message from this song including these words…”you follow with Yes! and Amen! with a heart that surrenders again and again.” You’ll enjoy the tie-in with “I Surrender All”.
“O Holy Night” Video Mount Pleasant Choir and Congregation Dec. 20, 2015
After the musical was over Stephen Meck, who had videographed the “Breath of Heaven” musical, handed my camera back to me as Brooksyne led the choir and congregation in “O Holy Night”. The voices of the choir and congregation blended beautifully. I was sitting at the front and didn’t think to record till the final verse that begins, “Truly He taught us to love one another”. This is the type of church singing I especially enjoy and I believe it will bless you.
“Gentle Shepherd” Video Gaither Vocal Band
“I Lay My Sins on Jesus” Video Lem LeRoy adaptation of an old hymn by Horatius Bonar
This is not necessarily a Christmas song but I came across it searching for music related to today’s message.
The Story Of Christmas Videos These brief videos from Bible.com tell the Christmas Story.
The other day we drove down an alley in Palmyra PA past the smokehouses for Seltzer’s Lebanon Bologna. They had an exhaust vent that blew the smoke right into our van and it continues to emit that smoky, sweet aroma!
“I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” Video Outstanding presentation with background story and touching photos (Artist not identified), but appears to be produced by a local church. This would be a powerful video to use in a Christmas Eve service.
“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.
“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.
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. This year we dedicate this to my Aunt Mary, who happens to me my last surviving aunt or Uncle on either side. Her husband, my Uncle Don, passed away early this year.
We have also posted two Christmas carol quizzes here (scroll down on this archived message)