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Friday, December 19, 2014
"When Love Was Born"
Listen to this
"I call on you, O God, for You will answer me; give ear
to me and hear my prayer. Show the wonder of Your great love, You who
save by Your right hand those who take refuge in You from their foes"
(Psalm 17:6-7). "See what great love the Father has lavished on us!" (1 John 3:1).
The night is still
Shepherds watch from a hill
I close my eyes and see the night
when love was born
and Lu Kopp are friends whom we met shortly after moving to Lancaster
County in early 2001. In fact as I recall they were in our Sunday
School class the very first Sunday we visited the church we presently
attend. For many years Jay taught shop class at a Vo-tech school (now known as Lancaster County Career and Technology
Center). He now has a counseling type position assisting students one
on one. He shared
a recent discussion he had with a student that was overheard by an
He had been mentoring a young man who expressed his appreciation to Jay
by proclaiming in front of the entire class, "I love you man".
It rather surprised Jay but he took it as a teaching opportunity to ask the young man if he knew what
love meant. He explained that there are different kinds of love based on Greek
words ending with an explanation of AGAPÉ, the highest form of love; an unconditional love that will
sacrifice one's life for another. He said to the effect, "This is the kind of
love Christians believe that Jesus demonstrated in coming to the earth
and dying on the cross". From the back of the room a student shouted
Now isn't that a creative way to get in a public witness! Notice he
stated "Christians believe" which made his statement a third person
point of fact rather than stated as a personal testimony. That's creative!
Christmas is a time we should give special consideration to this AGAPÉ
love. Indeed it can be described as the time when love was born.
Emmanuel, Prince of Peace,
Love come down for you and me
Heaven's gift, the Holy spark
to light the way inside our hearts
May we be filled like David with the assurance of His steadfast love and faithfulness: "I call on you, O God, for you will answer me; give ear to me and hear my prayer." David wrote the Psalm during a time he was crying out to God for relief from "the wicked who are out to destroy me, from my mortal enemies who surround me" (v.9).
Don't you sometimes feel this way! And of course for many of our
brothers and sisters this is quite literal. Just consider the horrors
of the Islamic terrorists upon believers in Nigeria. Whenever I am
prompted to complain I ask the Holy Spirit to bring these fellow
Christians to mind turning my heart to prayer on their behalf.
The very heart of David's prayer request was, "Show the wonder of your great love."
Now surely David already knew of God's great love when he wrote this, yet he
cried out to God for a greater revelation or perhaps he was really
asking God to bring back the fresh "awe" and "wonder" that comes when
the great love of God is first revealed to us.
All throughout the Scriptures we have an abundance of truth that
discloses the love of God to us, yet we should make this our
request today as well. "Show me the wonder of Your great love."
The apostle John wrote much concerning this love: "How
great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be
called children of God! And that is what we are!" (1 John 3:1).
whatever way you may have been hurt or even now are hurting as you read
this. In whatever manner you have experienced the meanness of
this world. No matter what unexplained loss you may feel this
day, choose to rejoice in God's unsurpassed, eternal love and His
Today, let us consider how one of the most beloved Christmas songs
seems to use the first daily verse although it is not usually
associated with Christ's birth.
Nearly 300 years ago (in 1719) Isaac Watts wrote the classic
hymn, "Joy to the World" later compiled with the Christmas hymns.
When you sing or hear this classic Christmas
Carol, take note of the glorious refrain that follows the fourth verse
which magnificently expresses the wonders of God's love.
We wonder if Isaac Watts might have drawn inspiration from our first daily text?
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders of His love.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father,
we thank You for Jesus who came to this earth as a tiny baby with a
mission to die on the Cross as a sacrifice for our sins to reconcile us
to You. Not only are we
forgiven and reconciled to You, but we also are made joint heirs taking
on our new identity as "children of God." What an incredible honor and
selfless act of love that You would place us in Your Kingdom whose
reign is for all eternity. This is the wonder of Your great love for
all and the other wonder is that it is imparted to me personally. I can
express agape' love to others because Jesus modeled it, taught it
and the Holy Spirit graciously provides it through us as we lay down our own preference
in deference to Your perfect will! May we live the Christmas story
everyday as we serve others above ourselves through Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.
Special Note: We
want to thank all who have financially supported our ministry this past
year. We typically see a spike in giving at the end of the year for
which we are most thankful. 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. Our ministry (and support) is essentially comprised of half
our time to Daily
Encouragement and the other half to our chaplaincy ministry to
companies (of course, this varies week by week). Each of these
ministries essentially is the same as a
for each of us (20+
hours weekly). Our goal for many
years is that each phase would provide half of our ministry expenses
family income. You can donate by check, online or using PayPal. If you would like to make a donation see here
for more information or donate directly online here. Thank you! Note: We thank those who have contributed the last several weeks and due to a busy schedule are behind in our thank you's and acknowledgements.
Stephen's note: It's been
many years since my sister visited our area. Last night Genelle and her
husband Caesar came up from Florida. Today we are taking them to visit
Lancaster and see the Central Market and then to Longwood Gardens
for a special Christmas display. Sunday we will be in the Lehigh Valley
to visit my brother, Pat and his family. Three of the four Weber
siblings together for a meal! (Our oldest brother Mike lives in
California and will not be able to join us.)
Several weeks ago I was visiting with Brian, a young
man who works as a machine operator in one of our companies. He has
been setting up several new CNC machines and I commended him for his
proficiency in using his skills for a difficult task. He told me he had
learned from a great teacher and I thought he meant one of the older
men in the shop. When I asked him he told me he was referring to his high
school shop teacher, Mr. Kopp. Jay was his teacher over ten years
Gene is a colorful man we met in the
course of our chaplaincy ministry. He worked every work day, finally
retiring at 90 years old this year. He is a World War 2 veteran serving in the Navy on the aircraft carrier USS Wasp.
Last night we visited with him and his grand-daughter, who was also in
the Navy at a company Christmas dinner. We've mentioned Gene in
several daily encouragement messages through the years here, here and here.
Drop in company is always a pleasant surprise at
the Webers. Our friend Jim Gambini who is very busy as a Fed Ex driver
dropped by for a few minutes in the early evening along his route. He told us he was expecting to be working till
midnight! We refueled Jim with a fresh cup of coffee. He was our
pastor the first several years we lived in this area and we have
maintained a close friendship with Jim and his wife Wendy.
Music and Supplemental Resources
"When Love Was Born" Video Mark Schultz
"The Wonder of It All" Video Gaither Homecoming Singers with Doug Oldham (for fellow old-timers!)
"Joy To The World" Video Jeremy Camp
"When Love Came Down" Video Point of Grace
"When Love Came Down To Earth" Video Stuart Towend
"Christmas Offering" Video Casting Crowns
for Christmas Celebrations
Personal, family and church
(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
churches during this Christmas season.
"In Remembrance of Me"
is a passion-filled Scripture reading for two adults. We
have used this reading with great receptivity during
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.
Responsive Christmas Scripture
readings for church or family:
"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).
Are you Christmas
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to Stephen &
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am created by God to bring
Him glory. Through God’s Son, Jesus Christ, I have been
redeemed and I make it my life’s goal to honor God through my
faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for
Encouragement Net 495
Church Road Mount
C. Weber All
the weak things in the world,
That no flesh will glory
in His presence."