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Updated: 41 min 44 sec ago

“The Peril Of Being Led Astray”

4 hours 41 min ago

Stony Valley rail grade in rural Dauphin and Lebanon Counties PA
(photo taken from the open sliding door of our van)

“The Peril Of Being Led Astray”

Message summary: Be on your guard lest the peril of being led astray overtake you.

Listen to our message on your audio player.

“The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray” (Galatians 2:13). “Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you-guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us” (2 Timothy 1:14).

Yesterday we took an interesting driving tour along an old railroad grade about 30 miles north of us through Dauphin and Lebanon Counties. The Stony Valley railroad was developed in the mid 1800’s and abandoned during the Great Depression. It is now a very remote rail trail through state gameland designated for biking and hiking. The trail passes abandoned towns and other interesting features. Last spring we took a bike ride on the trail and shared several photos (here).

Once a year, which happened to fall on October 15 this year, the trail is open to vehicle traffic which provides a rather interesting experience. Once we entered from the west end we rode the trail over a 17 mile section making it virtually impossible to go astray. Though there were a few rugged logging type roads leading off the trail, to use spiritual imagery from the Bible, “the path was marked out for us” (Hebrews 12:1).

But in life’s spiritual journey, even with the path marked out before us, it can still be a perilous journey, and one can easily be led astray. Paul gives this warning in 1 Corinthians 10:12, “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall.”

When I read the Apostle Paul’s words of warning, I’m reminded of how easily one’s life course can get off the path if negligence, wrong influences, or poor choices are made concerning one’s goals in life.

For example I went to Bible College with a student who became a good friend of mine, in part because we were both Bible majors with the goal of becoming a minister of the gospel. Following graduation we went our separate ways and for several years stayed nominally in touch. However he progressively moved away from sound doctrine and godly living and the last I heard he was living in an apostate condition. We reconnected several years ago but from our conversation it was clear that we were not at all on the same page when it came to spiritual matters.

Our first daily verse is set in the context of Paul’s encounter with the Judaizers, a false religious group that insisted on the keeping of ceremonial aspects of the Jewish law as a condition to salvation. The “him” in the verse is the mighty Peter, who had also been affected by this doctrine and at least for a time appeared to have embraced it. But the part of the verse that grips my attention is the phrase, “even Barnabas was led astray”.

Barnabas is among my favorite Bible characters. He first appears in Acts 4:36 as “Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus”. But the apostles gave him the nickname Barnabas which means “son of encouragement”.

He was an early encourager to Paul (Saul at the time) and they developed a warm and lasting relationship. Barnabas had stood up for him when nobody believed the persecutor Saul could really be saved. They had gone on a missionary journey together.  They had parted company over a heated argument about a one-time deserter, John Mark. But as we read the Scriptures we see there had been reconciliation.

“The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray.” There’s something significant about the two word phrase “even Barnabas” which is found in virtually all standard translations (see here). Paul seemed surprised that the Judaizers had influenced Barnabas, even more so than he expressed regarding Peter’s involvement. What lesson might we find in this? Eventually Peter and Barnabas both resisted this error and each went on to have faithful ministry for our Lord. Praise God for that.

But consider that if two of the great leaders of the early church (Peter and Barnabas) could be led astray by error, how on guard we should be. I am astounded at the many false doctrines and practices that are impacting the church in our day. Paul encouraged Timothy to “Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you-guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us” (2 Timothy 1:14). We need to stay on our toes and be more in the Word than ever before! Be on your guard lest the peril of being led astray overtake you.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, with the help of the Holy Spirit, we seek to guard the truths and commandments entrusted to us through the Holy Scriptures. We want to be ever cognizant of the peril of being led astray. We don’t want to be swayed by man’s opinions and will not be if we are firmly anchored to the Rock which can’t be moved. We stand firm and strong when we, by conviction of Your Holy Spirit, embrace Your teachings and reject that which conflicts. Help us to be sober and vigilant as our adversary the devil seeks to divide believers and destroy their faith.  By the grace of God we will be strong, stand united, and overcome his attacks. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Study note: Each generation has a responsibility in guarding the good deposit of faith passed on by the preceding generation and in turn passing it on to the succeeding one. That’s at the very heart of what Biblical Christian faith is all about. In fact Paul set forth the pattern to Timothy, “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others” (2 Timothy 2:2). In a sense I am both receiving the torch and passing it on simultaneously. As I study the Bible I’m still reaching back and receiving from many believers in past generations who have guarded the good deposit. And I’m passing it on to those in our present generation who will also affect future generations. How about you?

  Scenes From The Stony Valley Rail Grade tour


Since the rail grade ran along a creek we passed many small mountain brooks trickling down to the creek.


Amish children playing in Stony Valley Creek which we crossed at one point on an old railroad bridge. Yesterday we saw many plain families out enjoying God’s creation. Whenever we walk on trails or explore natural sights in our area on Sunday afternoons we commonly see both Mennonite and less often Amish. Sunday mornings are set apart for worship but also for fellowship with church friends over lunch followed by relaxation and recreation. We saw quite a number of Mennonite youth yesterday.


In a few places the traffic bunched up but for the most part a natural view was visible. Of course there was no passing so we just followed the traffic flow. The trail was open from 9:00-3:00 so it appears a lot of people took it including some who have already contacted us. It took us about 2 hours to drive the 17 mile trail.


Ester is showing off her photographic skill by taking this photo outside our open sliding van door. We made much of the trip with both of these doors open for the natural feel since our speed was minimal.


At times the rail grade crossed the Appalachian Trail, one in which you can be led astray.


Driving the Stony Creek bike trail was a fun Sunday afternoon family activity.
The rail grade portion we were on yesterday runs from Ellendale Forge to Goldmine Road.
(See here on Google map)
BTW: Who can figure out how Google works and what this means to privacy. This morning I looked up this trail on Google map and it informed me “You visited yesterday”. I assume it must have gotten some data off my phone.


Yesterday due to the trail tour we visited a church in the Harrisburg area we attended forty years ago for a minister’s conference. We were especially blessed by the prelude by this gospel style pianist and soloist.


Sunday evening we attended a presentation by our friends who had gone on a mission trip to Zimbabwe last month. This photo is taken in front of Victoria Falls. (Click to enlarge) Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Find Us Faithful”  Video

“Preach The Word”  Video  Gold City  A special word to faithful preachers!

“Finish Well”  Video  Karen Peck and New River  An aspiration for us all.

“I Want My Stage To Be An Altar”  Video  The Akins  A very thoughtful song for all.


Send a message to Stephen & Brooksyne To receive the “Daily Encouragement” each Monday-Friday through email see this page to subscribe to our email list. You can also subscribe to the WordPress rss feed or through a WordPress email subscription. (See the email subscription on the right side after opening this page.) Ministry Update We want to thank all who financially support our ministry. We realize there are many fine ministries and causes requesting support but if the Lord would lead you we surely need and appreciate the financial support from our readers and listeners. 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. Donations through my chaplaincy endorsing ministry are tax deductible and will be receipted directly by them. Thank you!

Please Note: Our chaplain agency is unable to provide a receipt if the donation is made through PayPal. However we provide this option due to the convenience, international supporters, and for those who may not be concerned regarding receiving an official receipt. Click here to donate using PayPal. Advertisements (function(g){if("undefined"!=typeof g.__ATA){g.__ATA.initAd({collapseEmpty:'after', sectionId:26942, width:300, height:250});}})(window); var o = document.getElementById('crt-3550407'); if ("undefined"!=typeof Criteo) { var p = o.parentNode; p.style.setProperty('display', 'inline-block', 'important'); o.style.setProperty('display', 'block', 'important'); Criteo.DisplayAcceptableAdIfAdblocked({zoneid:388248,containerid:"crt-3550407",collapseContainerIfNotAdblocked:true,"callifnotadblocked": function () {var o = document.getElementById('crt-3550407'); o.style.setProperty('display','none','important');o.style.setProperty('visbility','hidden','important'); } }); } else { o.style.setProperty('display', 'none', 'important'); o.style.setProperty('visibility', 'hidden', 'important'); } var o = document.getElementById('crt-1388866284'); if ("undefined"!=typeof Criteo) { var p = o.parentNode; p.style.setProperty('display', 'inline-block', 'important'); o.style.setProperty('display', 'block', 'important'); Criteo.DisplayAcceptableAdIfAdblocked({zoneid:837497,containerid:"crt-1388866284",collapseContainerIfNotAdblocked:true,"callifnotadblocked": function () {var o = document.getElementById('crt-1388866284'); o.style.setProperty('display','none','important');o.style.setProperty('visbility','hidden','important'); } }); } else { o.style.setProperty('display', 'none', 'important'); o.style.setProperty('visibility', 'hidden', 'important'); }

“Created And Knit Together”

Fri, 10/13/2017 - 9:02am

We always enjoy this farm view near New Holland PA and especially during the fall season with the colorful mums in the foreground. Two wagon loads of mums were for sale at the end of their driveway.
(Click on image for larger view)

“Created And Knit Together”

Message summary: Today, let us marvel at the wonder of life; our conception, prenatal development and birth.

Listen to our message on your audio player.

“For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (Psalm 139:13,14).

My life began as a separate single cell 63 years ago. During the next nine months, as I grew in my mother’s womb, nothing new was added but oxygen and nutrition. My entire genetic makeup was contained in that single cell. Thankfully for me, and my parents who loved me, this process was not interrupted and after nine months of being “knit together in my mother’s womb” I was born on October 14, 1954. I never existed before and there will never be another me, contrary to what false religions might teach about reincarnation.

The initial fertilized cell from whence we all developed only weighed around .0000000015 pounds. But by the time we are born this one single cell became two hundred million cells and at birth we weigh some six billion times more than the fertilized egg. If this rate of growth had continued by my first birthday I would have weighed 72,000,000,000 pounds! (That would have been an extremely “heavy” burden for my Mom.)  If I’d continued to grow at this rate, one thing would be for sure, most people on earth would have heard of me by now.

When David wrote Psalm 139 some 3,000 years ago he had little knowledge of modern science but did have the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in declaring a statement modern science recognizes. But what he does write is accurate scientifically and medically. “For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb.”

May our response, like his, be “I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful.”

“I know that full well” What a blessing to know our origins! Today, let us marvel at the wonder of life; our conception, prenatal development and birth.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, we are amazed at Your creative process and marvel at the beauty of life. You knit us together in our mother’s womb and provided everything we have need of before our birth and have done so as well all the years following our birth. You will do so until You call us home and there we will lack for nothing as we receive our inheritance which can never perish, spoil or fade. Thank You for giving us life and providing for all our needs; physical, material, relational, and spiritual. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Some photos along our journey yesterday


New Holland Farm Equipment has a nice fall display in front of their headquarters.
(Click on image for larger view)


Pumpkin patches sure add color to the countryside.


We passed this interesting conveyance near Martindale, PA. It’s not often that we see the wheels of non-motorized vehicles with chrome fenders!

Farmer Jesse sent me a few new photos from the Old Windmill Farm:


Jesse offers a genuine horse-drawn hayride to guests on the Old Windmill Farm.
(Click on image for larger view)


These calves on the Old Windmill Farm are likely anticipating a bottle feeding!
(Click on image for larger view) Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Fearfully and Wonderfully Made”  Video   Matt Redman

“You Knit Me Together”  Video  Steve Green  A children’s song with a good message!

“You are Fearfully and Wonderfully Made”  An amazing video teaching by Louie Giglio

Here’s an interesting website dealing with the chronology of a new life.

This Sunday afternoon we expect to take the popular once a year Stony Valley rail grade driving tour. Some mid-state PA readers with some adventure may want to look into this.

Brooksyne will be singing with the Calvary Church choir at the Gaither Homecoming Christmas program at the Santander Arena in Reading PA on Saturday, December 9! One of the six songs they will sing, in backing up the Vocal Band, is one of our favorite recent songs “Chainbreaker” Video  (It’s amazing to watch this and realize that Bill Gaither is now 81!)

Finally today 1:


I saw this photo last night on Facebook. What a great blessing to see those you have ministered to staying faithful in ministry. Joey was in the church we served in New England in the 90’s and now is an ordained minister serving in Philadelphia.


As I consider the Lord’s work in Joey’s life I recalled a photo of him and my Mom taken in 2001 when he came down to visit us shortly after we moved from Massachusetts to Pennsylvania. Mom had such a love for people and I have no doubt that she prayed for Joey many times as well as many who were burdened for his family. Joey was saved, delivered and called into ministry where he is being used of God to reach others for Christ.

Finally today 2:


The Pierce family with a creative announcement we found in the Daily Encouragement archives. Ken is holding 2 year old Seth who is wearing an interesting shirt bearing the statement, “I Am a Big Brother!” We initially thought the boys had reversed their shirts since Seth’s older brother, David, is actually the big brother in the photo, but we soon heard “the rest of the story”.

Ken and Nila used Seth’s T-shirt to make the exciting announcement that they were expecting their 3rd child, Bethany, who recently turned 5. We appreciate the scientific and theological preciseness of “I am a big brother”, for indeed he was, from the moment of his little sister’s conception.


Send a message to Stephen & Brooksyne To receive the “Daily Encouragement” each Monday-Friday through email see this page to subscribe to our email list. You can also subscribe to the WordPress rss feed or through a WordPress email subscription. (See the email subscription on the right side after opening this page.) Ministry Update We want to thank all who financially support our ministry. We realize there are many fine ministries and causes requesting support but if the Lord would lead you we surely need and appreciate the financial support from our readers and listeners. 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. Donations through my chaplaincy endorsing ministry are tax deductible and will be receipted directly by them. Thank you!

Please Note: Our chaplain agency is unable to provide a receipt if the donation is made through PayPal. However we provide this option due to the convenience, international supporters, and for those who may not be concerned regarding receiving an official receipt. Click here to donate using PayPal.

“The Hope That Prompts Purity”

Thu, 10/12/2017 - 9:30am

A winding road in rural Lebanon County PA

“The Hope That Prompts Purity”

Message summary: We are to be transformed into the image of Christ. Our God calls us to a life of purity even as we live in an impure world. Let us indeed cry out today as His children, “Purify My Heart!”

Listen to our message on your audio player.

“Teach me Your way, Lord, that I may rely on Your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear Your Name” (Psalm 86:11). “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. Everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure” (1 John 3:2-3).

Jim Thorpe is a small mountain community in Pennsylvania’s anthracite coal region, the County seat of Carbon County. Several times a year we enjoy going up that way to ride our bikes on the Lehigh Gorge rail trail. In the photo Brooksyne is standing in front of a single chunk of Anthracite coal near the railroad station. It weighs nearly 8 tons which would be enough to heat our home for over two years! The small plaque at the bottom states that this big chunk of coal is black diamond and is 99% pure carbon. A genuine diamond is 100% pure carbon.

God calls us as His children to be pure. “When He (Christ) appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. Everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” May God give each of us the kind of hope that the Apostle John is speaking of, for this is the blessed hope of the Christian. The death of a loved one serves to crystallize such hope. The prospect of a glorious reunion with those who have gone before us prompts us to closely examine this type of hope and indeed can make it even more certain in our hearts.

May you find great assurance in the glorious phrase that has brought assurance and comfort to millions throughout the ages: “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”

This securely founded expectation of total transformation has practical implications now. Those who have this hope “purify” themselves. “Everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” The word for “purify” is derived from the same Greek word from which we get “holy”. Our God is absolutely pure and holy and His children who have the hope of seeing Him will continuously purify themselves. (The Greek is very clear in the tense here).

Jesus Christ is not only the pattern, but also the motivation and means for this purity. Today the world will seek to conform us into its image, so we must be alert and intentional in living our lives separate from the evil influences of the world.

We are to be transformed into the image of Christ. Our God calls us to a life of purity even as we live in an impure world. Let us indeed cry out today as His children, “Purify My Heart!”

An undivided heart, O Lord,
Is what we need each day,
For we are prone to compromise
And wander from Your way.
D De Haan

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, like the Psalmist, I pray that You will teach me Your way and that I will rely on Your faithfulness with an undivided heart. Give me a pure heart that I may fear Your name. When I’m tempted to compromise my faith help me to remember that You want a pure heart, one that is not trying to serve both God and man. I want Your favor more than the approval of others, so help me to stay true to Your principles and reject that which contradicts or lessens the full meaning of Your written truths. In Jesus name I pray.  Amen.


Harvest Road, Lancaster County
One of the interesting features of our rural drives through Lancaster County is you never know what you might see! Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Refiner’s Fire”  Video  Brian Doerksen

“Undivided Heart”  Video  Brian Doerksen

“Come Alive (Dry Bones)”  Video  Lauren Daigle

“Single Heart”  Video  Craig Smith

“Pure Heart”  Video  Craig Smith

“Give Me An Undivided Heart”  Teaching on Precept Austin online commentary


Send a message to Stephen & Brooksyne To receive the “Daily Encouragement” each Monday-Friday through email see this page to subscribe to our email list. You can also subscribe to the WordPress rss feed or through a WordPress email subscription. (See the email subscription on the right side after opening this page.) Ministry Update We want to thank all who financially support our ministry. We realize there are many fine ministries and causes requesting support but if the Lord would lead you we surely need and appreciate the financial support from our readers and listeners. 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. Donations through my chaplaincy endorsing ministry are tax deductible and will be receipted directly by them. Thank you!

Please Note: Our chaplain agency is unable to provide a receipt if the donation is made through PayPal. However we provide this option due to the convenience, international supporters, and for those who may not be concerned regarding receiving an official receipt. Click here to donate using PayPal.

“Watching Over Souls”

Wed, 10/11/2017 - 1:05pm

Early yesterday morning we passed one of our favorite Lancaster County scenes, this farm pond along Meadow View Road.
(click to enlarge)

“Watching Over Souls”

Message summary: We are called to witness of our faith in Christ and follow-up on those who are receptive to our message. Whatever type of service we are in for Christ, there is a sense that we are all “watching over souls”.

Listen to our message on your audio player.

“Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you” (Hebrews 13:17).

This last Sunday we heard a message by Pastor Mark Canada. His points were lessons he had learned and observed in running a Marathon as a parallel to the great race we are all participating in (Hebrews 12:1). (A link to the audio of Mark’s message is in the resource section below.)

Running the race is a theme I have used throughout my ministry since when I was in High School I was a long distance runner in track and cross country (but never a marathon). Five years ago we wrote a five part series on “Lessons from Life’s Marathon”. (Link below)

In one of his points Mark shared about towers along the route with trained spotters watching for any runners who may be in medical distress or in need of attention. He pointed out how we also need spotters in our race. And for many of us we will also have a spotter function for others as we “watch over souls”.

This month is Clergy Appreciation month. We served for 25 years in pastoral ministry (over 30 years including interim roles). Although Brooksyne did not feel a need to be identified as a “pastor” we nevertheless worked together as a team. We now serve in another form of Christian service (internet ministry and corporate chaplaincy) which finds us sitting out in the pews in a typical worship service so, as a former pastor, I have an interesting perspective on pastoral/lay relations.

Today’s text is speaking of spiritual leaders. “They keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account” (Hebrews 13:17b). The Amplified Version states the phrase as, “they are constantly keeping watch over your souls and guarding your spiritual welfare.” Although we believe this text is primarily speaking of the ministry of leaders in a local church, it does remind us of the interest we should all have in souls.

The Expositor’s Bible notes concerning this text, “Why is it so needful to continually keep watch over our souls? The Christian has not just one enemy but three incessant, inveterate foes, the world, the flesh, and the devil, each irrevocably, intractably determined to bring harm to our soul.”

Pastor Steven Cole of the Flagstaff Christian Center writes that…

Godly church leaders help church members by keeping watch over their souls (Hebrews 13:17). The Greek word translated “keeping watch” (agrupneo) means “to keep oneself awake,” and thus, “to keep watch, guard, or care for”.

The image was drawn from shepherds keeping watch over their flocks. Shepherds had to stay alert in order to guard their flocks from predators. They had to know the sheep and observe them carefully enough to know when a sheep was sick or missing. They had to go after the strays and try to restore them to the flock. They had to lead them to pasture and clean water (see Ezekiel 34:1-16).

These tasks require the discernment to know where people are at spiritually and when they are heading toward spiritual danger. Leaders must love God and people enough to have the courage to confront those who are drifting. While you can only lead those who are willing to be led, godly leaders must always make the effort. *

We are called to witness of our faith in Christ and follow-up on those who are receptive to our message. Whatever type of service we are in for Christ, there is a sense that we are all “watching over souls”.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, we pray for those who watch over our souls and care for our spiritual needs. May we be a source of blessing to them as we faithfully uplift them in prayer and in our conversation with others. When we find fault increase our desire to pray rather than maliciously gossip to others about our leader. Help us to attend worship services with an expectant attitude and find our place of service. May our minds be attentive so that our thoughtful responses will spur our pastor on as he looks out upon the congregation while teaching from Your Holy Word. Bless our pastor’s family, provide for their needs and guard them against the many temptations sent by the evil one. May they know by the fruit of our lips and good deeds that they are greatly loved.  Amen.

Here’s a prayer to publicly pray for your pastor. I encourage you to use a prayer like this, adapting it for each situation. It would be powerful to have the board gather around your pastor and offer prayer together. I can tell you from experience such a prayer would be a real blessing to your pastor and the congregation. (This is adapted from an actual prayer I prepared for our pastor at the time, about 15 years ago. I have left the name blank so it can be used by others and encourage further customization.

Additional note:

Writing, radio, TV, and Internet based ministries such as Daily Encouragement may be a helpful supplement in our Christian lives, but we believe it’s still God’s plan for believers to meet together regularly in worship as they did in the very beginning. In fact we both chafe at the term “internet churches” and those trying to set up a church over the internet seeking to simulate a local church. We believe everyone calling themselves a Christian should be in regular association with other believers in a local church with pastoral leadership and care. (However there are those who, due to confinement and political oppression, cannot attend services.)

One of the greatest sources of discouragement and grief for the pastor is dealing with criticism. I received my share of it during my years of pastoral ministry. I know all of my peers in ministry have as well. I heard a very candid message from H.B. London, a veteran pasto,r share a perspective on this.

I know of one dedicated minister who had a very effective ministry in a church he had founded and served faithfully. But after he left there was division in the church and a group arose that criticized both his appearance and speaking ability. The Corinthian church! In his second letter to the Corinthians he referenced this criticism made of his ministry gifts, “His letters are weighty and forceful, but in person he is unimpressive and his speaking amounts to nothing” (2 Corinthians 10:10). I sure bet those people feel foolish now!

Such criticism just goes with the job but can still be very personally painful. Pastors are often criticized in ways that are mutually contradictory such as “His sermons are too long/his sermons are too short”. I believe that most criticisms are merely personal preferences by members of the congregation. Another source is unfair comparisons.

Let me ask you. Does your pastor faithfully preach God’s Word and teach sound doctrine? Is he faithful to his wife and family? Does he care of the flock of God? Does he oversee the financial and business affairs of your church with honesty and integrity? If so you are blessed. Why don’t you pray for your pastor and let him know of your appreciation!


Yesterday morning we passed this recess at a one room Mennonite School in Lebanon County, PA. The kids were playing volleyball. We are invigorated by the scenes we view as we go about our work including so many not captured on camera. Yesterday we were going down a rural road when a tractor pulling two corn wagons weaving back and forth approached us. I pulled over to give room and a young Mennonite lady was driving the tractor!


Yesterday we walked a portion of the Appalachian Trail near Bethel, PA out to one of our favorite scenic overlooks. However it will be several weeks before we have the optimum foliage such as seen in this photo taken from the same spot many years ago.


The Bindnagle Evangelical Lutheran Church is a historic Evangelical Lutheran church located in North Londonderry Township, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania. It was built in 1803. We are not sure the church is in operation since the sign still posts the Christmas Eve service time!


We assume this home next to the Bindnagle Evangelical Lutheran Church had been the parsonage. We both like the full wrap-around porch.


We joined Ron and Bonnie Hoover and a group of friends for a cookout last night at their place. They have been friends for over ten years and have a very active role mentoring and encouraging many, including us. They both have some health challenges but keep such a positive faith-filled outlook and interest in others. They are examples of finishing well, although we hope they are far from finished! An interesting detail about Ron is that about twenty years ago he served as CEO for the Augat Company in Massachusetts, which was founded by the same man who started the church in the 1920’s that we pastored in New England.


Nice to still dine outside on a pleasant evening as we approach mid-October. Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Finish Well”  Video  Karen Peck and New River  Dedicated to a friend.

* Precept Austin online commentary notes on Hebrews 13:17

“Lessons From Running A Marathon” Here is the link to Mark Canada’s message from this last Sunday. I have enjoyed preaching and listening to messages drawn from running illustrations since early in my ministry. This is one of the best I have ever heard on this topic. He makes some very helpful points.

Pursue Growth By:

1) Setting a direction. (Ephesians 5:15,16)
2) Laying aside unneeded weight. (Hebrews 12:1)
3) Pacing yourself for a marathon not a spring. (Mark 1:35-37)
4) Understanding your stride. (Romans 12:3-6)
5) Inviting spotters into your life. (Hebrews 3:12-14)
6) Persevering through pain. (James 1:2-4)
7) Finishing the race. (Hebrews 12:2)

A five part Daily Encouragement series back in 2012, “Lessons from Life’s Marathon” began with this message.

Here are some resources in honoring your pastor:
Ministry Appreciation Gifts from Dayspring
Resources from Focus On The Family


Send a message to Stephen & Brooksyne To receive the “Daily Encouragement” each Monday-Friday through email see this page to subscribe to our email list. You can also subscribe to the WordPress rss feed or through a WordPress email subscription. (See the email subscription on the right side after opening this page.) Ministry Update We want to thank all who financially support our ministry. We realize there are many fine ministries and causes requesting support but if the Lord would lead you we surely need and appreciate the financial support from our readers and listeners. 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. Donations through my chaplaincy endorsing ministry are tax deductible and will be receipted directly by them. Thank you!

Please Note: Our chaplain agency is unable to provide a receipt if the donation is made through PayPal. However we provide this option due to the convenience, international supporters, and for those who may not be concerned regarding receiving an official receipt. Click here to donate using PayPal.

“Just To Know ‘Thus Saith The Lord'”

Tue, 10/10/2017 - 9:30am

Olbrich Gardens, Madison Wisconsin
(Photo by my cousin, Georgia M.)

“Just To Know ‘Thus Saith The Lord'”

Message summary: May You be satisfied with the God Who promises to be there for you and find rest in Your soul that He is there to help you all along life’s journey.

Listen to our message on your audio player.

“For He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5).

‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to take Him at His Word
Just to rest upon His promise,
Just to know, “Thus saith the Lord!”

Do you ever contemplate the number of hymns and songs you’ve sung all through your life, particularly those sung at church? “Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus” is one of the old hymns we can’t recall ever not knowing from our earliest recollections.*¹ We sang it in our worship service Sunday and on the way home Brooksyne and I discussed a line that jumped out at us in a way we had never considered before, “Just To Know ‘Thus Saith The Lord'”.

That Bible phrase and the surety given in the statement, “just to know” really is a blessing when you think about it!

We are accustomed to an ever growing variety of Bible translations (which in our view has been a good thing in some ways and not so good in others)*² but for many generations the dominant version was the King Kames Version (KJV). Almost certainly that would have been the familiar translation used by Louisa Stead who wrote the beloved hymn, “Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus” in 1882. The Lord gave her these words not long after her husband was pulled under trying to save a young boy from drowning in Long Island Sound.

As a widow with a little girl, and no husband to support her, Louisa struggled to provide for herself and her daughter. She told a friend, “I need faith and trust to believe that His providence is still at work, and that His hand can still guide me through the bleak, unknown future”.

One day the pantry was empty. Having no food to offer her little girl, Louisa and her daughter prayed for God to provide. When they got up the next morning they found a large basket of provisions at the front door and enough money to buy shoes for Lily. Louisa told her, “We trusted God, and He has not failed us.”

An examination of the lyrics reveal numerous Scripture references and allusion to Scripture.

There are 413 Bible references in the KJV of the phrase “Thus saith the Lord”, all found in the Old Testament. The phrase is most dominant in the Major Prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel. Other versions use phrases like, “Thus says the Lord”.

As we consider those 413 references to “Thus saith the Lord” what might Louisa Stead have been considering when she penned this phrase? Of course we can’t say for certain but here is one that sure brings assurance: “The LORD…doth go before thee; He will be with thee, He will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed” (Deuteronomy 31:8).

In the phrase, “Thus saith the Lord”, Stead may not be alluding to a specific Scripture text but rather the sense of the overall promises in God’s Word. If the Lord said it, who are we to question, doubt, or take away from His promises.

“Thus saith the Lord”, “It is written,” or “The Word of the Lord came unto me,” or “I, the Lord, have spoken it,” calls attention to specific statements, messages, and lessons from God. It is as though the prophet, or other spokesman, is telling us: “Now hear this! What I am going to say now, is not merely my opinion, or of my own wisdom, but ‘thus saith the Lord’—it is God speaking; these are His words.” This is a wonderful expression, and full of meaning for Bible students. We have a reverence for God’s Word; and a “Thus saith the Lord” is the end of all controversy with us. – (DawnBible.com)

May You be satisfied with the God Who promises to be there for you and find rest in Your soul that He is there to help you all along life’s journey.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, I find great comfort, peace and rest in Your many promises intended to reassure me that You are with me and will sustain me like Isaiah 54:10, “Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet My unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor My covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you”. Thank You for the hundreds of promises given to us through Your Son, Jesus, and the prophets of old as recorded in Scripture. Amen.

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus”  Video  Guy Penrod

Years ago Brooksyne made a series of audio teachings on hymn background stories including “Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus”. Audio

*¹ We have always pastored and attended churches that sing both old and new music (blended style) which is the case with the church we presently attend. But it seems many modern churches insist on singing only the latest, newest songs prompting an interesting perspective in a recent Babylon Bee satire post: Hopelessly Out-Of-Touch Church Still Playing Worship Song That Came Out Two Weeks Ago

*² Much has been written about translations and people have strong opinions from KJV only proponents to, in our view, acceptance of one man paraphrases like “The Message”.


Send a message to Stephen & Brooksyne To receive the “Daily Encouragement” each Monday-Friday through email see this page to subscribe to our email list. You can also subscribe to the WordPress rss feed or through a WordPress email subscription. (See the email subscription on the right side after opening this page.) Ministry Update We want to thank all who financially support our ministry. We realize there are many fine ministries and causes requesting support but if the Lord would lead you we surely need and appreciate the financial support from our readers and listeners. 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. Donations through my chaplaincy endorsing ministry are tax deductible and will be receipted directly by them. Thank you!

Please Note: Our chaplain agency is unable to provide a receipt if the donation is made through PayPal. However we provide this option due to the convenience, international supporters, and for those who may not be concerned regarding receiving an official receipt. Click here to donate using PayPal.

“I Will Sing Praise”

Mon, 10/09/2017 - 10:53am

Old Windmill Farm as viewed from a drone

“I Will Sing Praise”

Message summary: Make a renewed commitment to praise and trust God this day using the words of the Psalmist, “I will sing to the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. May my meditation be pleasing to Him, as I rejoice in the LORD” (Psalm 104:3,34).

Listen to our message on your audio player.

“The birds of the air … sing among the branches.”  “I will sing to the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. May my meditation be pleasing to Him, as I rejoice in the LORD” (Psalm 104:12,3,34).

We have an arborvitae tree near our front porch. Yesterday afternoon I was tossing a frisbee to our dog, Mollie, and heard a choir of birds buried deep in the tree’s branches singing. Brooksyne came out and we listened together. We don’t know how to determine the emotion of birds but they sure sounded happy and not one of them out of pitch! “This is my Father’s world, the birds their carols raise.” Singing birds are among the most pleasant natural sounds in our audio observation.

Maltbie D. Babcock revealed his great love for nature in the hymn text he wrote, “This Is My Father’s World”. Before leaving for his early morning walks he would inform his wife, “I’m going out to see my Father’s world”. Maltbie was a lover of nature, skilled athlete, accomplished musician, and ordained minister who died at only 42 years of age. We are indebted to his wife who published his writings so believers over the past century could be reminded of the beauties of our Father’s world including the singing birds that raise their carols in praise to their Creator.

Our first daily text notes that the birds of the air “sing among the branches” which is one of those Biblical nature observations that is practically universal. I stepped out this morning long before sunrise and all I heard were crickets. But just after sunrise the birds were back singing in the rain!

Psalm 104 is a majestic expression of praise, beginning with the exclamation, “Praise the Lord, O my soul!” Throughout the Psalm the Father’s greatness is exhibited in nature. We observe and proclaim with the Psalmist, “How many are your works, O Lord in wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of Your creatures” (104:24).

Yesterday Brooksyne sang with the Calvary Church choir a beautiful song titled, “I Will Sing Praise”. (A video link of the song, although from another church, is posted below). It has a very thoughtful and simple verse that really blesses us:

No matter the storms that come my way,
No matter the trials I may face.
You promised that You would see me through,
So I will trust in You.

We simply don’t know what storms may come our way or what trials we may face today, but we do have God’s promises to rely upon as He gives us yet another opportunity to trust Him. Praise and trust are two descriptive words used repeatedly throughout Scripture and both are directed toward God. Additionally, they can be used in a noun or verb form. So whether these compatible words require us to stand firm with assurance in our heart or actively praise and trust Him in the storms let’s be faithful as we serve the Risen King.

The chorus states:

I will sing praise, I will lift my voice.
I will sing praise, I’ve made my choice.
I will sing praise in all I do,
I will sing praise to You.

Have you made your choice? We make a renewed commitment to praise and trust God this day using the words of the Psalmist, “I will sing to the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. May my meditation be pleasing to Him, as I rejoice in the LORD” (Psalm 104:3,34). Will you join us?

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, our hearts are uplifted when we hear birds of the air raise their carols of praise to You. We can also be a blessing when we uplift others by raising our cheerful voice in thanks for all You are and the multitude of ways that You care for us. We want to sing praise and lift our voice expressing our trust in You even in the very midst of the trial we face. Since You keep every promise You make we can be confident that You will see us through, no matter the intensity of the storm or how long it endures. I will sing praise to You, my God, as long as I live. Amen.

See Proverbs 30:5, Psalm 134 Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“I Will Sing Praise”  Video  Prestonwood Choir I dedicate this to a family member who is going through serious trial, along with his family.

“Praise You In This Storm”  Video  Casting Crowns

“This Is My Father’s World”  Video  The Collingsworth Family

“Birds Chirping and Singing”  Video  Amazing all you can find on YouTube!

Finally today:

I found out that “Blood, Sweat and Tears” is still around. Some of you old-timers will recall this song from an age when secular music was relatively general and usually wholesome!


Send a message to Stephen & Brooksyne To receive the “Daily Encouragement” each Monday-Friday through email see this page to subscribe to our email list. You can also subscribe to the WordPress rss feed or through a WordPress email subscription. (See the email subscription on the right side after opening this page.) Ministry Update We want to thank all who financially support our ministry. We realize there are many fine ministries and causes requesting support but if the Lord would lead you we surely need and appreciate the financial support from our readers and listeners. 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. Donations through my chaplaincy endorsing ministry are tax deductible and will be receipted directly by them. Thank you!

Please Note: Our chaplain agency is unable to provide a receipt if the donation is made through PayPal. However we provide this option due to the convenience, international supporters, and for those who may not be concerned regarding receiving an official receipt. Click here to donate using PayPal.

“Sweeter Than Honey!”

Fri, 10/06/2017 - 9:30am
Bottle of honey at Costco

“Sweeter Than Honey!”

Message summary: The next time you open the Scriptures may you taste the sweetness of God’s Word, like a spoonful of honey.

Note: Podcast for this message not prepared due to very busy schedule.

“How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Psalm 119:103).

Yesterday aftrnoon following our chaplaincy visitation we shopped at Costco, a warehouse type store here in Lancaster County. We were picking up some items for our friend Anna Ruth who just had a baby. Brooksyne does most of the shopping, assigning me a few items she has confidence I won’t mess up like toilet paper and Dave’s Killer Bread. Otherwise I just mosey through the huge store testing the samples and looking for people to visit with.

I saw a large bottle of honey (photo above), read the label, and was pleased to see a Scripture verse on it. “Thy Word is sweeter than honey.” The truths of the Bible can be a source of edification wherever they are found. *¹

The label is also interesting with the description “Made By American Bees”. I suppose it never occurred to me that American Bees make better honey than non-American bees!

If you are like me when you consider bees you just might consider their God-given defense mechanism. I have been on the skin side of their sting several times and it sure isn’t pleasant!

But mostly when we think of bees we consider honey. The words of a popular song a few years ago came to mind, “Bees make honey and it sure tastes good…” (Link below)

Well, bees do make honey (although I would rather not dwell on the process) and honey sure does taste good.

Each worker bee only produces about 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey in its entire lifetime. The accumulation of such enormous stores of honey in a hive in one day are due to there being anywhere from 20,000 to 80,000 + bees in the hive at one time – all doing the work of nursing brood, cleaning ‘house’, guarding stores, and foraging for nectar. A bee goes out to forage for honey, visiting 100 flowers per each trip out of the hive, making approximately 10 trips per day, for each day of her whole life – as a forager. (Her life is only 42-45 days). She literally works herself to death for one to 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey. Consider this the next time you spread 1 or 2 teaspoons of honey on a piece of toast! *²

The great thing about the Bible is the universality of the illustrations. I don’t know this for sure but probably virtually any where people live they have bees and honey. David wrote today’s Scripture portion some 3,000 years ago and he was from a part of the world far away from Pennsylvania.

Psalm 119 in its entirety is a wonderful extolling of the Scriptures. David would have had far less of the written word than we have today, as much of the Old Testament and all of the New Testament were not yet written. Yet he declared, “How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” The next time you open the Scriptures may you taste the sweetness of God’s Word, like a spoonful of honey. May we all have this same attitude concerning His Words. Consider this the next time you enjoy some honey!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, when I examine the Scriptures I see just how good you are. How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth. The sweetest of all temporal things cannot be compared with the infinite deliciousness of Your eternal word. When I feed on the Bread of Life it fills me with that which satisfies not just for a day but it provides spiritual food that I can chew on day after day.  May I never neglect the daily refreshing Your words in Scripture bring to my hungry soul. In the name of Jesus I pray.  Amen.


Yesterday upon our arrival for a visit to a company near New Holland we spotted an interesting vehicle in the parking lot. It caught our eye so we set out to find which employee was the owner of the antique pick up. It didn’t take long to learn that Raymond, a mechanical engineer at Val-Co, acquired it just over a year ago and now has it in running condition. When we further inquired about the year it was built he informed us 1954. Well, folks, that’s the year I was “built”, so now I know why my body no longer looks like a showroom model anymore than this ’54 model stands out in the parking lot! But it sure is a stand out among the average cars in the parking lot!


At Val-Co we both enjoy visiting with Michael, a friendly Haitian whom we share faith with.


Lots of neck pumpkins are being sold all over the county! This photo was taken at the Village Farm Market east of Ephrata, PA


For many years I have enjoyed greeting Mike, a friendly greeter at Costco. Yesterday the cashier at our checkout line told me he was retiring so I set out to bid him farewell. Turns out the cashier was his nephew and it was a prank!


We saw this photo on Doris High’s blog and always enjoy seeing colorful canning jars! Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Goodness”  Video  From the Music Machine (has the line “Bees make honey and it sure tastes good…”

*¹ “Nature Nates” expresses faith on their website.

Honey bee facts

“Waiting For You To Get Home”  Video  The Browders A great song about father/son relationships


Send a message to Stephen & Brooksyne To receive the “Daily Encouragement” each Monday-Friday through email see this page to subscribe to our email list. You can also subscribe to the WordPress rss feed or through a WordPress email subscription. (See the email subscription on the right side after opening this page.) Ministry Update We want to thank all who financially support our ministry. We realize there are many fine ministries and causes requesting support but if the Lord would lead you we surely need and appreciate the financial support from our readers and listeners. 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. Donations through my chaplaincy endorsing ministry are tax deductible and will be receipted directly by them. Thank you!

Please Note: Our chaplain agency is unable to provide a receipt if the donation is made through PayPal. However we provide this option due to the convenience, international supporters, and for those who may not be concerned regarding receiving an official receipt. Click here to donate using PayPal.

“A Lesson From The Harvest Moon”

Thu, 10/05/2017 - 9:30am
View of Harvest Moon from our backyard.

“A Lesson From The Harvest Moon”

Message summary: Let us recognize the absolute awe and infinitude of God. We can’t see Him, but we see His work. We can’t feel Him, but we know His touch. We can’t hear Him but He speaks to us through the written Scriptures, His Holy Spirit and through godly people of every generation. We are a finite people but we serve an infinite God who neither slumbers nor sleeps, but is always working on our behalf, whether we can see it or not. Let us be thankful today!

Listen to our message on your audio player.

“He wraps up the waters in His clouds, yet the clouds do not burst under their weight. He covers the face of the full moon, spreading His clouds over it. These are but the outer fringe of His works; how faint the whisper we hear of Him! Who then can understand the thunder of His power?” (Job 26:8,9,14).

Today (October 5) at precisely 2:40 PM Eastern Daylight Time we will have a “Harvest Moon”. For several evenings the moonrise comes soon after sunset which results in an  abundance of bright moonlight early in the evening, which is a traditional aid to farmers harvesting their crops. Hence, it’s called the “Harvest Moon”! Our area is now buzzing with harvest activity and I am sure the farmers appreciate the extra “day” light.

Last night I stepped outside and viewed the almost full moon. It was a beautiful evening with the distinct crisp feel of fall in the air. As much as I enjoy photography I am limited by both equipment and skill. Today’s photo was taken from my backyard and is seen through the tall Pampas grass that was planted before we purchased our home 15 years ago.

The moon was created by God on the fourth day of Creation where it is called “the lesser light to govern the night” (Genesis 1:16). The moon is mentioned all through the Bible culminating with a reference toward the end of the Book of Revelation concerning the eternal city of God where John writes, “The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp” (Revelation 21:23).

A consideration of the moon is one of those topics sure to connect with all. After all, regardless of where we live we can see the moon. David, who spent much time tending his sheep by the light of the moon, considered the enormity of God’s universe and humbly stated, “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have set in place, what is man that You are mindful of him, the son of man that You care for him? (Psalm 8:3,4).

In today’s text Job has not only dealt with the severity of his affliction but was also responding to the intended encouragement of his friends. He launches into an astounding statement concerning God’s power and greatness. Job looks to the sky and gives us a mental picture of God at work in His vast universe and writes this interesting description, “He wraps up the waters in His clouds, yet the clouds do not burst under their weight. He covers the face of the full moon, spreading His clouds over it.”

Some four thousand years ago Job made a two-fold observation that any one of us can also make:

1) “He wraps up the waters in His clouds, yet the clouds do not burst under their weight.” According to the USGS, “One inch of rain falling on 1 acre of ground is equal to about 27,154 gallons and weighs about 113 tons. When we have a heavy rain it’s practically inconceivable how much water is in the clouds above us and how much weight they hold!

2) “He covers the face of the full moon, spreading His clouds over it.” The wispy clouds can completely obscure the moon and the sun as well!

God is sovereign and has created the cosmos (universe) that is orderly and harmonious with life on earth. “Cosmos” originates from a Greek term κόσμος meaning “order, orderly arrangement, ornaments,” and is the antithetical concept of chaos. Chaos speaks of the original dark void from which everything else appeared in God’s creation. Amazingly, He didn’t have or need a panel of experts to bring order into our world! But chaos also describes many aspects of our fallen world as mankind rebels against God.

The chapter ends with this spiritual gem: “And these are but the outer fringe of His works; how faint the whisper we hear of Him! Who then can understand the thunder of His power?” The NIV Study Bible notes concerning this passage, “What God has revealed of His dominion over nature and supernatural forces amounts to no more than a whisper. Job is impressed with the severely limited character of man’s understanding. If it is difficult for us to comprehend the little that we know about God, how much more impossible it would be to understand the full extent of His might.”

Let us recognize the absolute awe and infinitude of God. We can’t see Him, but we see His work. We can’t feel Him, but we know His touch. We can’t hear Him but He speaks to us through the written Scriptures, His Holy Spirit and through godly people of every generation. We are a finite people but we serve an infinite God who neither slumbers nor sleeps, but is always working on our behalf, whether we can see it or not. Let us be thankful today!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, before the mountains were born or You brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting You are God.  You care for all of creation, the order of the universe, all people from past generations to the present, and You work powerfully and invisibly in our hearts.  We are humbled by Your greatness and touched by Your kindness.  We give You thanks and trust You for that which we don’t understand. We see only the fringes of Your ways, but that reminds us that Your power is what creates the works established by Your hands.  You are my God, the Rock in whom I trust and take refuge.  Amen.

Here’s today’s final Scripture text from two other common versions:

“Behold, these are the fringes of His ways; And how faint a word we hear of Him! But His mighty thunder, who can understand?” (NASV)

“Lo, these are parts of His ways: but how little a portion is heard of Him? but the thunder of His power who can understand?” (KJV)

We received an email yesterday afternoon from Las Vegas from Dawn, a former resident of Lancaster County and a longtime friend and Daily Encouragement reader:

Hello Stephen & Brooksyne from Las Vegas.

Just wanted to relay my story of how God is working in my life (and so many others) during this tragic event.

When I moved here 6 years ago God led me to work as a transporter at University Medical Center.

I watched the shooting unfold live on FB and knew that I should go into work early the next day. When I arrived at 7:30am it was very quiet; just hospital personnel and police. (Outside the building were police blocking all entrances and lots of TV crews). I knew this was not going to be a normal work day.

I asked God for his guidance and help on this day. I did not assist in helping with the victims but I did make a few runs to Trauma OR and Trauma ICU to deliver blood or pick up specimens to take to the Lab.

Throughout the day donations of food and water were delivered to the hospital for the 1st responders and anybody at the hospital who was waiting on news about loved ones. Our hospital cafeteria (which normally closes at 1 a.m.) stayed open to give out free food to those at the hospital.

At lunch time I decided to take advantage of the free food. I could not believe here in “Sin City” the hospital lobby was set up with prayer tents. One prayer tent sign read, “Free Hugs and Free Prayers”.

There are so many other stories of Prayer Tents at Blood Donation centers. I was finishing a job when 4 youths from a local church group serenaded one patient with a hymn. One chaplain was leading a prayer circle, with 12 people, outside the Trauma unit. The list goes on and on.

It was a very emotional and tiring day for me but it lifted my spirits to see God in so many ways. He truly is amazing and has taught me and others that in the midst of evil He still reigns. Hallelujah and praise be to God.

I appreciate this thoughtful perspective I read from Gary Bauer in yesterday’s “End Of Day” report:

“Gotta Serve Somebody”

“You may be an ambassador to England or France.  You may like to gamble, you may like to dance. You may be the heavyweight champion of the world. You may be a socialite with a long string of pearls.

“But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes. Indeed you’re gonna have to serve somebody. Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord. ​But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.” — Bob Dylan

Twenty-two thousand people in Las Vegas were happily listening to country music three nights ago as one man peered down at them from the 32nd floor of a hotel.  Stephen Paddock, who would soon murder 59 people and wound more than 500, had no interest in religion, according to family members.

Among the thousands in the crowd, there were no doubt people of strong faith and of no faith at all. Before the night ended, everyone would “serve somebody.”

The killer served Satan, who Scripture tells us prowls around like a lion looking to devour someone. Many in the crowd chose to serve God. They gave their lives to save others.

Seldom is the choice between good and evil as stark as it was that horrible night. But every day, whether we are fully aware or not, we are all serving somebody. We will either serve the Lamb or the prowling lion seeking to devour us. In the end, the Lamb of God wins.

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Great Is Thy Faithfulness”  Video  Wes Hampton & Homecoming Singers

“Creation Sings The Father’s Song”  Video  Keith & Kristyn Getty


Send a message to Stephen & Brooksyne To receive the “Daily Encouragement” each Monday-Friday through email see this page to subscribe to our email list. You can also subscribe to the WordPress rss feed or through a WordPress email subscription. (See the email subscription on the right side after opening this page.) Ministry Update We want to thank all who financially support our ministry. We realize there are many fine ministries and causes requesting support but if the Lord would lead you we surely need and appreciate the financial support from our readers and listeners. 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. Donations through my chaplaincy endorsing ministry are tax deductible and will be receipted directly by them. Thank you!

Please Note: Our chaplain agency is unable to provide a receipt if the donation is made through PayPal. However we provide this option due to the convenience, international supporters, and for those who may not be concerned regarding receiving an official receipt. Click here to donate using PayPal.

“He Sees What We Don’t”

Wed, 10/04/2017 - 1:16pm
“He Sees What We Don’t”

Message summary: We are receiving this eternal kingdom! It’s an absolute certainty.

Listen to our message on your audio player. “See that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused Him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject Him who warns from heaven. At that time His voice shook the earth, but now He has promised, ‘Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.’ This phrase, ‘Yet once more,’ indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe” (Hebrews 12:25-28).

There are times in this life when fear is so heavy
And burdens weigh on your mind
You are weak in the knees and no strength can you find
Just hold on, help’s right on time, my Jesus is always on time.

In the course of our chaplaincy visitation we meet with people to discuss a variety of life’s problems. In the last several weeks we have mentioned speaking to employees with family in Puerto Rico and Mexico. We listen, sympathize, pray, provide counsel, encouragement and follow-up. As we drove home yesterday and I mentally considered the various issues discussed with employees it occurred to me that they were generally “run of the mill” burdens in light of the horrific shooting in Las Vegas. However it’s sure not “run of the mill” when you are the person going through it!

We consider our readers, both those we know and so many we don’t. Many of you are going through surprises and shakings in life, some for a long time and in severe ways. I have heard it said that reality ultimately consists of just two things; that which can be shaken and that which cannot be. All that we see with our physical eyes can be shaken or completely disappear.

The wonderful twelfth chapter of Hebrews ends with such a powerful, assuring truth expressed in our daily text. The apostle is writing to encourage faithfulness to God’s children who were enduring persecution. Their world was truly being shaken. And there are times when our world is being shaken as well! It is during such times of instability that we do well to look to Scripture for spiritual understanding and go to prayer in conversation with God. When we do so it will bring needed perspective and restore our hope as we consider our future “kingdom that cannot be shaken.”

After a similar tragedy years ago I heard an interview with one drastically affected person who spoke of how he intentionally sought to hear the voice of God in the midst of the tragedy. Spiritually speaking, I wonder how intentional we are in listening for the voice of God in the chaos and disorder of our world. Our daily Scripture portion begins with a timeless message from God. “See that you do not refuse Him who is speaking.” This brings to mind the title of a Francis Schaeffer book, “He Is There and He Is Not Silent”. Yet so very many refuse Him who is speaking.

I’ve seen his children walk thru the darkest of midnight
I’ve witnessed faith put to the test
And I have watched as the storms flew in with the thunder
But in each trial He knows what’s best
And I am so glad He knows what’s best

The daily Scripture text acknowledges the reality of the shaking of the created order that we experience in various ways. Consider your life for a few minutes and look back over those periods of severe shaking, whether it was personal, family or experienced on a national level. Though we prefer to live comfortably, without these brutal, unexpected, and life-altering interruptions, they are inevitable. But Scripture has a comforting future promise in the latter part of the daily text, “We are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken.”

We are indeed “receiving” this kingdom and the verb tense is quite significant. Jesus taught us to pray, “Thy kingdom come”. Our journey through this life is but a transition to the future Kingdom God has prepared for us. I am convinced that very early in eternity we will recognize just how brief life’s journey was, although since it’s the only thing we know it seems long and wholly significant. The apostle James wrote, “You do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes” (James 4:14).

Today we encourage each reader to keep this perspective: We are receiving this eternal kingdom! It’s an absolute certainty. So “Let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe!”

And though you may see a valley
He sees the mountain you’ll be standing on
When all you can see are the tears falling down
I’m so glad He sees what we don’t.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, help us to seek first Your unshakable kingdom and pray in the spirit so that we can live in victory even while encircled by conflict, danger, and evil. Shakings in this life can bring instruction, correction, and growing faith when we seek spiritual understanding. Though land, dwellings, and people are destroyed due to the hardness and evil within the heart of man, Your kingdom is indestructible. Scripture assures us that we who believe are receiving this Kingdom that cannot be destroyed, so we come with thankful hearts and worship You today with holy fear and awe, for You, our God, are a consuming fire.

In addition today, we pray for those enduring great shakings who suffered loss from the Las Vegas massacre on Sunday night. May they look to You, the eternal One, for strength to cope, for the ability to forgive and healthily grieve their loss from such inexplicable terror. We pray for those recovering from their physical injuries, those struggling with emotional turmoil from the horrible memories of the mass shootings. And lastly we pray for those throughout the land enduring personal shakings of their own. May they find You to be their strength and hope in the midst of their testings as they hold onto the unshakable kingdom that is promised to those who believe. In Jesus’ name we pray Amen.

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“He Sees What We Don’t”  Video  11h Hour  This is the thoughtful song quoted throughout our message today.

Although any attempt to understand or explain the evil in tragic events like the Las Vegas massacre will be deficient read here for an interesting perspective by Al Mohler.


Send a message to Stephen & Brooksyne To receive the “Daily Encouragement” each Monday-Friday through email see this page to subscribe to our email list. You can also subscribe to the WordPress rss feed or through a WordPress email subscription. (See the email subscription on the right side after opening this page.) Ministry Update We want to thank all who financially support our ministry. We realize there are many fine ministries and causes requesting support but if the Lord would lead you we surely need and appreciate the financial support from our readers and listeners. 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. Donations through my chaplaincy endorsing ministry are tax deductible and will be receipted directly by them. Thank you!

Please Note: Our chaplain agency is unable to provide a receipt if the donation is made through PayPal. However we provide this option due to the convenience, international supporters, and for those who may not be concerned regarding receiving an official receipt. Click here to donate using PayPal.

“Guaranteed Forever”

Tue, 10/03/2017 - 9:30am

We sure admire the persistence of the Morning Glories.
This one has managed to grow in our mailbox slot for papers. We haven’t planted morning glories here for about 12 years, but they just keep on comin’!

“Guaranteed Forever”

Message summary: We have a living hope guaranteed forever.

Listen to our message on your audio player.

“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, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade — kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:3-5).

A major consideration in the purchase of a product is the guarantee or warranty. We recently purchased a new dishwasher replacing the one we bought in 2004. The standard warranty is one year but our credit card extends it another year. Of course a warranty is only as good as the warrantor (the company that provides a warranty). If the company goes out of business you are out of luck.

Some items have a “lifetime guarantee” and I suppose you would have to read the fine print to find out just what “lifetime” means. Is that my lifetime or the lifetime of the product which ended as soon as it malfunctioned!

But the best warranty I ever saw was a tool set with this remarkable claim on the packaging “Guaranteed Forever”. Is that something I could take to heaven and use in my heavenly workshop? It was kind of humorous since many will know what I mean when I say it appeared to be the rather cheap, massively produced foreign stuff that normally breaks when you really use it.

But it did get me to thinking.  What is guaranteed forever?

Peter speaks of the living hope we have. Let us consider two phrases in our daily Scripture portion:

1) “Kept in heaven for you”. Now there’s a guarantee you can count on! As you face each day and the remainder of your life keep this in mind. You have a “living hope” guarantee valid forever! It’s secured by the finished work of Jesus Christ. His Credit has been applied to your account and there is no limit or expiration date. J.R. Miller writes, “The children of God are heirs to a glorious inheritance. It is not an earthly inheritance, but a heavenly. It is not given to them in full possession in this world, but is reserved for them in heaven. They could not receive it here – they have a pilgrimage to make to get to it.”

2) “Shielded by God’s power“. By faith we are shielded by God’s power. The keeping power of our Lord is as strong as His strength and as eternal as His person. No Christian should ever doubt this providential care of the Lord. We are constantly being kept shielded by the omnipotent power of God which guarantees every believer’s final victory.

That should bring blessed assurance!

“Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.”

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, how gracious and loving You are to make us heirs of Your salvation through the sacrifice of Jesus, Your Son. Because we are born of Your Spirit, washed in the blood of Jesus and and living by faith we are assured of eternity in heaven. In Your great mercy You have given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade which is kept in heaven for us. Everything on earth pales in comparison to our future inheritance and for that we are eternally grateful. Amen.


Brooksyne at Fanny Crosby tombstone in Bridgeport Connecticut several years ago.


These Amish youth are enjoying an outing on a beautiful early fall day.


Here is another photo of the Amish youth demonstrating our “on the fly” photography as Brooksyne took the photo with her camera as she often does (since she prefers the passenger seat and I prefer to driver’s seat). She actually got my camera phone in the photo where it rests on the dashboard.


This Amish mother had quite a load; one child on the back, one on the front and all the school lunches on her scooter. Wow!


Last week we shared a photo of a hay ride on the beach in Ocean City Maryland. We would rather see hayrides out in the country such as this setup for a Saturday evening Mennonite youth gathering at our neighbor’s place. It’s a special sight and happy sounds to see the tractor and wagon drive by in the dark (unfortunately it got too dark by the time the young people rode by so we couldn’t include a picture of them). Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Blessed Assurance”  Video  The Isaacs

“Mercy Walked In”  Video  Gordon Mote

“Fall On My Knees”  Video  The Browders

“Cornerstone”  Video  Brooksyne is enjoying singing this song in the Choir.

Finally today:


Ester doesn’t like having her photo taken these days but Brooksyne sneaked this one in when we stopped in at Darrenkamps. Her 2nd year anniversary is this month and she’s expecting a bonus from her dad. I will gladly pay up as she has been faithful in her work and has overcome some health difficulties in carrying out her duties. We’re very pleased!


Send a message to Stephen & Brooksyne To receive the “Daily Encouragement” each Monday-Friday through email see this page to subscribe to our email list. You can also subscribe to the WordPress rss feed or through a WordPress email subscription. (See the email subscription on the right side after opening this page.) Ministry Update We want to thank all who financially support our ministry. We realize there are many fine ministries and causes requesting support but if the Lord would lead you we surely need and appreciate the financial support from our readers and listeners. 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. Donations through my chaplaincy endorsing ministry are tax deductible and will be receipted directly by them. Thank you!

Please Note: Our chaplain agency is unable to provide a receipt if the donation is made through PayPal. However we provide this option due to the convenience, international supporters, and for those who may not be concerned regarding receiving an official receipt. Click here to donate using PayPal.

“He Welcomes the Beggar”

Mon, 10/02/2017 - 12:39pm

This unusual planter we pass each week along Habecker Road always catches our eye.

“He Welcomes the Beggar”

Note: Today’s teaching is a bit longer than most due to sharing the Bible text throughout the message.

Message summary: The beggar Lazarus’s perspective drastically changed! He was welcomed into heaven!

Listen to our message on your audio player.

“Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s bosom” (Luke 16:22).

He laid by the gate, begging a rich man for bread
Sores on his skin, some said he’s better off dead
But when that day came,
Lazarus closed his eyes, carried by angels to Abraham’s side

It sure seems like in recent years that we see more beggars. There was an abundance of them last year when we visited San Diego (often called pan-handlers). Many major intersections had one on each corner. They apparently vied for the best positions and used various signs to convey their condition and need. Recently we’ve seen an increase of this in Lancaster County as well.

Beggars exist in virtually all cultures and all generations. Jesus told a powerful story in Luke 16:19-31 often called “The Rich Man and Lazarus”. Since only Luke tells this story it may not be as familiar as the other stories repeated in the remaining three gospels. Jesus tells the story as an event that actually took place, although it’s often interpreted as a parable.

Essentially two men live out their lives: The first, an unnamed rich man had a wonderful life, “habitually dressed in purple and fine linen, joyously living in splendor every day” (v.19). He is traditionally named “Dives”, which is actually the Latin word for “rich” used in the Vulgate translation. The notion that this was the name of the man emerged in medieval times.

The other was a poor beggar named Lazarus who lived in horrible physical affliction and abject poverty. “And a poor man named Lazarus was laid at his [the rich man’s] gate, covered with sores, and longing to be fed with the crumbs which were falling from the rich man’s table; besides, even the dogs were coming and licking his sores.” (vv 20,21). The words “was laid at his gate” may imply that he had a disability and was unable to walk. Could the contrast be any more stark?

They both die and arrive in separate destinies. “Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried” (v. 22).

The rich man descended to hell where he was in great torment. “In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom” (v.23).

He sought some relief. “He cried out and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame'” (v.24). This dialogue indicates he knew who Lazarus was although he paid no attention to him when he laid at his gate!

But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us'” (vv 25,26).

He then pleads for Lazarus to go back to earth to warn his five brothers of their impending doom. “And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, that you send him (Lazarus) to my father’s house— for I have five brothers—in order that he may warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment'” (v. 27).

At death the rich man’s perspective had drastically changed. What once seemed so important now meant nothing and what once held no importance suddenly became vital. “Warn them”, was the urgent plea from the suffering rich man as he pondered the fate of his brothers who were presumably living in the same earthly manner as he.

Lazarus’s perspective also drastically changed! He was welcomed into heaven! A song by a group “11th Hour” captures this so well. (Link to video below)

Oh what a moment, when everything changes
Imagine the glory, the sound of the praises
When God, in His riches, lavishes treasure
And into His kingdom, He welcomes the beggar.

This story provides us with a perspective of what really matters in life. We are aware that most receiving this encouragement message are followers of Christ, having accepted His forgiveness through salvation, yet we feel compelled to warn all. At the heart of Peter’s Pentecost message was, “With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, ‘Save yourselves from this corrupt generation”’ (Acts 2:40). A powerful verse in the book of Hebrews warns, “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?” (2:3).

We urge you all to examine the state of your soul today. Are you saved from your sin and are you living to please the Lord? If so, are You shining your light for Jesus as He has commanded, “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify Your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:17). We must warn the lost in this life. It will be too late in the life hereafter since the kingdom of earth and the kingdom of heaven are eternally separate. Let’s spread the life-saving message of salvation to all who will hear, here and now.

To all of the poor, the bruised, the broken like me
There is a hope for the desperate, the lonely and weak.
There’s a day coming, I’m telling you now,
We’ll trade all our sorrows for our glorious crown.
Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, the story that Jesus shares about the rich man who took no thought for his life before his death is a picture of the majority who live only for “here and now”. They gather treasures that have no eternal value and dismiss the treasures that last for all eternity; those which can never perish, spoil or fade kept in heaven for the believer who will later claim their treasure trove. May this Bible teaching bring enduring comfort and peace of heart to those who suffer in this present life, much like Lazarus in the story Jesus told.  May they be reminded of the joyous life yet to come where there is no pain, sorrow, or alienation? Help us to be faithful in warning others to prepare not just for this temporal life, but for all of eternity.  Amen.

Further thought: Warning is an essential part of Biblical Christianity but it seems increasingly warnings, in the form of seeking to persuade people to repent of their sin and turn to Christ, are being seen as insensitive and even hateful. Yet such warnings are at the heart of the Gospel message as believers are compelled by Christ’s love and compassion to rescue people from eternal damnation and save them for everlasting life.


It was a blessing Friday afternoon when Wendy Gambini, our long-time friend, surprised us with a drop in visit – “all the way” from Elizabethtown, PA.


I received this special photo Saturday afternoon from two friends in Massachusetts. Both are involved in prison ministry. Rick (left) has been teaching a Bible Study at a state prison for nearly twenty-five years. He was saved while serving in the Navy. Tom (right) has also served in prison ministry for many years. He was a former Boston bar room bouncer prior to his conversion and has the stab wounds to show for it. They were both in the church we served in New England during the nineties and are showing a sign indicating they remembered at least one concept I shared as their pastor and continue to share with our dailyencouragement readers! And what a great joy that they both are staying faithful!!!


A lady named Deb sent this to me on Saturday taken in the Tendercrop Farm bathroom in Newbury Massachusetts. (Sent very low resolution but used since it’s the first John 14:6 Kember print I have seen.)


I have another print of this Scripture, (Mark 8:36) on a site posting these photos and their remarkable background (here), but I found the unusual placement of the framed Scripture in the photo I received rather unusual and interesting! (This is another photo from the Tendercrop Farm bathroom.) Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“He Welcomes the Beggar”  Video  Eleventh Hour  A powerful musical retelling of today’s Bible story. The lyrics are used throughout our message.

“Ivory Palaces”  Video  June Uhler and Tim Heitz  Tim is a friend of ours who works at JK Mechanical. We heard him preach in his home church last spring and he introduced us to June, his former youth leader, who is now 90. Forty years ago when Tim was 16 they sang a song together and just sang the same song again a couple weeks ago! (The photo above was taken last spring when we visited his church. Tim is considerably taller than June and is courteously kneeling beside her in the photo) Note: This video is a blessing especially due to the intergenerational honor. It was recorded with a phone. Fun photo today:


These dogs appear excited about going through the McDonald’s drive through yesterday! Brooksyne couldn’t resist snapping a photo though she only caught three on camera; there is a fourth dog in the small car as well. Imagine sitting on one of the seats and then showing up for work covered with a layer of white and brown hair.

Finally today: When we prepare these messages we do not base the topic on being “news driven” since virtually every day there is news to report and pray about. Today we are following the tragic events of yet another mass shooting and reminded of mankind’s fallen condition and how quickly life can change and end. As we are completing today’s message the death toll numbers 58 with more than 500 injured in the Las Vegas massacre. Our prayers are being uplifted for the families involved and for the state of our country as terror strikes yet again on unsuspecting victims. We also continue to pray for the people whose lives are devastated by the hurricanes and for the families still waiting to hear from their loved ones. We have so many needs to pray about. Let’s be faithful in upholding these needy people in our prayers.


Send a message to Stephen & Brooksyne To receive the “Daily Encouragement” each Monday-Friday through email see this page to subscribe to our email list. You can also subscribe to the WordPress rss feed or through a WordPress email subscription. (See the email subscription on the right side after opening this page.) Ministry Update We want to thank all who financially support our ministry. We realize there are many fine ministries and causes requesting support but if the Lord would lead you we surely need and appreciate the financial support from our readers and listeners. 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. Donations through my chaplaincy endorsing ministry are tax deductible and will be receipted directly by them. Thank you!

Please Note: Our chaplain agency is unable to provide a receipt if the donation is made through PayPal. However we provide this option due to the convenience, international supporters, and for those who may not be concerned regarding receiving an official receipt. Click here to donate using PayPal.

“Hope Does Not Disappoint”

Fri, 09/29/2017 - 9:30am

Yesterday we were refreshed as we viewed Plain Mennonite children sitting in the lawn having their lunch at the Linden Grove School near New Holland. “Plain” is a respectful term used for the old-order Amish and Mennonite groups. Plain people are characterized by separation from the world and by simple living, including plain and modest attire.
(Click on photo for larger view)

“Hope Does Not Disappoint”

Message summary: A steadfast hope in the promises of our faithful God dissolves disappointment. Our daily challenge is to keep our hope focused on the Lord. Indeed this hope will not disappoint. So I especially encourage my brothers and sisters in Christ today who are in the midst of a disappointing situation. Keep your hope in the Lord!

Listen to our message on your audio player.

“We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us” (Romans 5:3-5a).

We are all in some way familiar with disappointments, some far more profoundly than others.

We can have disappointments that are relatively trivial but still very emotionally painful. Last weekend I watched a college football game that went down to the final play with just 4 seconds left when one team snatched a victory with a touchdown. One team and fan base were utterly elated, the other profoundly disappointed. Throughout my life I have been on both sides of the elated/disappointed spectrum as both a fan and in my younger days, a player.

However in comparison to other disappointments in life sports losses are trivial. We’ve all had shattered dreams haven’t we? We’ve been disappointed by something that just didn’t work out as we had planned or hoped it would. Most likely each of us has had several profound disappointments in life and many lesser ones.

A phrase from a song written in the seventies speaks well,

“When grief has left you low, it causes tears to flow,
When things have not turned out the way that you had planned.
But God won’t forget you, His promises are true.
Tears are a language God understands.”

We don’t always understand the Biblical truth expressed in the daily verse. Specifically we have trouble rejoicing in suffering. But the equation is a continuum and interrelated: “suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” The last two characteristics character and hope result from the first two; suffering and perseverance. I desire godly character and eternal hope but they are the end result of suffering and perseverance. But during times of suffering and requisite perseverance we may face disappointment.

The sense is surely not that we rejoice because of suffering but rather we rejoice in it. A maturing spiritual outlook realizes that this is a part of God’s plan in forming the character of Christ within us. After all, if we want to share in Christ’s glory we must also share in Christ’s suffering (Romans 8:17).

In faith, cling to the last portion of our encouragement Scripture.  Read it slowly and appropriate it to your need today; “Hope does not disappoint us”. The ultimate hope we have in Christ will not disappoint! One thousand years into eternity no one is going to regret having placed their full confidence and hope in Christ. May God give each of us the awareness today that our times of suffering do indeed work for our good, providing us with deep assurance that “hope does not disappoint”.

A steadfast hope in the promises of our faithful God dissolves disappointment. Our daily challenge is to keep our hope focused on the Lord. Indeed this hope will not disappoint. So we especially encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ today who are in the midst of a disappointing situation. Keep your hope in the Lord!

I don’t know the story He’s unfolding
But, I know in His will, He has a plan
So every day my prayer is to surrender
Even when it’s hard to understand.

I choose Christ when everything around me says give up
I choose faith, I choose to trust
To believe He is good,
He’ll come through like He said He would
Every time, oh, I choose Christ.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father of all compassion, may each of us come to know the sweetness, the serenity, and the strength that comes from knowing You personally and fully trusting in the One who gives to us a “hope that does not disappoint”. When we lean upon You for all that concerns us we embrace eternal hope, the kind of hope that reminds us that much of this world’s problems and even our own troubles may not be fully resolved here and now. But eternal hope brings to mind that, even when all is not well on this side, we have a fixed hope that cannot be diminished by life’s trials. In fact it is in our suffering that we can choose to develop godly character and a persevering spirit. After all, it is those who share in Christ’s sufferings that also share in His glory. Be glorified in our lives we pray. Amen.

Note from Brooksyne: Though our desire in life is to live happy lives free from trouble, God’s purpose in redeeming us is to make us more like Jesus. I think of a dear sister named Jody who was diagnosed with cancer about twelve years ago. Her extremely difficult battle with cancer brought about tremendous spiritual growth and an intensified commitment to seeking God when medical doctors and health providers could not provide the needed solutions. I remember Jody, early on dealing with the “why me?” when the cancer just wouldn’t go away. Surgery after surgery did not stop the insidious cancer, but in the midst of this raging battle the Word of God began to feed Jody’s soul. I witnessed such a maturing and unswerving faith as she shared with me the truths God was speaking to her heart. She was quoting one Scripture after another and I was deeply touched by the growth I’d seen over the years. Yes, in the midst of her suffering, her unswerving perseverance brought about godly character which produced eternal hope.  And I am absolutely convinced that in heaven today she is saying to all of us who remain, “I’m in the presence of Jesus, and I assure you that my eternal hope in Jesus did not disappoint!” She left behind two young daughters and a husband. Several years later Darryl met a widowed young mother; they married and blended their families together. Romans 8:28 is such a consoling Scripture when it comes to extremely difficult matters such as the above story.

From yesterday’s travels….


We have had many ministry opportunities expressing care to people affected by recent hurricanes and natural disasters. These two brothers have not yet heard from their family in Puerto Rico. In another visit yesterday I spoke to a man whose wife was down there for her grandmother’s funeral and was unable to get out before the hurricane and he still has not heard from her.


Brooksyne is visiting with Maria from Mexico, who has shared with us about the deadly earthquake in her city.


Last week the barn burned down on this property and the Amish neighbors and friends banded together to quickly build a new one! Don’t you wish our government worked this well!


Moses and I played a game of horse at the barnside basketball goal.

Over the last several weeks we’ve shared several photos of Daisy, a baby goat born August 10 on the Old Windmill Farm. She is growing rapidly and now follows people around the farm.


Miss Daisy taking in the view from the barn loft.


Miss Daisy’s first time at the wheel. With only a permit she has to have the assistance of a licensed driver:), thus Stephen assisted her today. Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Tears Are A Language”  Video  Gordon Jensen

“I Choose Christ”  Video  Karen Peck & New River

“He Sees What We Don’t”  Video  11th Hour

“Life Goes On”  Video  The Talley Trio


Send a message to Stephen & Brooksyne To receive the “Daily Encouragement” each Monday-Friday through email see this page to subscribe to our email list. You can also subscribe to the WordPress rss feed or through a WordPress email subscription. (See the email subscription on the right side after opening this page.) Ministry Update We want to thank all who financially support our ministry. We realize there are many fine ministries and causes requesting support but if the Lord would lead you we surely need and appreciate the financial support from our readers and listeners. 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. Donations through my chaplaincy endorsing ministry are tax deductible and will be receipted directly by them. Thank you!

Please Note: Our chaplain agency is unable to provide a receipt if the donation is made through PayPal. However we provide this option due to the convenience, international supporters, and for those who may not be concerned regarding receiving an official receipt. Click here to donate using PayPal.

“Like A Mighty Sea”

Thu, 09/28/2017 - 9:30am

A view of the moon from Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk.

“Like A Mighty Sea

Note: Today’s message has some reminiscing about first ocean visits. The exposition portion starts below the photo of Brooksyne.

Message summary: A view of the ocean reminds us of the awesomeness of God’s power when we see the vast body of water and watch the great breakers crash into the shore.

Listen to our message on your audio player.

“The seas have lifted up, O LORD, the seas have lifted up their voice; the seas have lifted up their pounding waves. Mightier than the thunder of the great waters, mightier than the breakers of the sea– the LORD on high is mighty” (Psalm 93:3,4). “For I am the LORD your God, who churns up the sea so that its waves roar—the LORD Almighty is His name” (Isaiah 51:15).

We were both raised in the Midwest, far from any ocean. I didn’t see the ocean till I was twelve in Myrtle Beach SC and Brooksyne didn’t see the ocean till after we were married for several years. It was near Rehoboth Beach in Delaware following a church meeting in Baltimore. Somewhere we have a primitive selfie of a slender young couple on the beach. (Selfies back then meant setting the camera on a timer and running to get in the photo before the picture was taken!)

Ester, on the other hand, has seen the ocean regularly since she was just four years old due to our years of ministry in New England where we were very close to several shore points.

Many will have a first-time memory of seeing the mighty ocean. Our favorite memory of another first ocean sighting took place about 8 years ago when we took our Amish friends to the ocean in Ocean City, NJ. They had four children at the time who had not yet seen the ocean. As we approached the ocean we began to pass larger bodies of inland water and the older kids would excitedly say, “Is that it?!” Finally we had that first view and the kids were impressed.

The three older children sure liked playing in the water. After awhile their Mom wanted their younger son, Eli, who was about two at the time, to rest for a few minutes but he could hardly hold still saying, “I wanna go back in the big pond.”

Do you have a first ocean sighting memory?

Now that we live inland we find it a blessing to only be about 3 hours from a shore point where several times a year we can view the mighty ocean, walk along the sandy shoreline or boardwalk, and hear the crashing waves all the while experiencing other nautical sights, sounds, smells and fresh tasty seafood!

Monday morning before our return to Lancaster County I walked along the shore at Rehoboth Beach and a camp meeting type hymn came to mind that we sang in the old days. As I watched the pounding waves hit the shoreline the words to, “Like a Mighty Sea” began to form in my memory bank:

Like a mighty sea, like a mighty sea,
Comes the love of Jesus sweeping over me;
The waves of glory roll, the shouts I can’t control;
Comes the love Jesus sweeping o’er my soul.

But not everyone has the opportunity to see the ocean.

In our first pastorate in Southern Missouri a dear older lady named Beulah Sutherland played the piano and often requested this song, as it was her favorite. What I find interesting is that she and her husband Tracy had never seen the ocean. Their only distant trip was as far as Illinois, one state to the east, where their daughter lived. The photo shows Tracy and Beulah Sutherland with a very young 21 year old Brooksyne during the “big hair & perm” days. The Sutherlands were in their 90’s at this time. We were humbled that, with their combined ages they represented about 150 years of walking with God and yet lovingly sat under our ministry. We were still Bible College students in our very early 20’s and their sterling example has served us all these years later.

The mighty ocean has inspired quite a number of Scripture verses, hymns, and settings for writings; both fiction and nonfiction throughout the ages. The above Psalm portion extols the might of God. The sea referred to by the Psalmist was likely the Mediterranean Sea. Israel is small geographically and Jerusalem is not far from the Mediterranean Sea.

A view of the ocean reminds us of the awesomeness of God’s power when we see the vast body of water and watch the great breakers crash into the shore. The mysteries that lie below the sea only underscore the awesomeness and depth of God’s great power. Truly the waves are a fitting analogy of God’s ceaseless mighty power but the Lord on high is even mightier! How mighty is God? He’s mighty enough to rule the great universe, yet small enough to live within my heart.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, any words we speak or analogies we use cannot adequately describe Your infinite mighty power. It miraculously reaches beyond the heavens, is visible throughout all the earth, and is resident within our own hearts. It is only in experiencing a personal relationship with you that we begin to tap into the inexhaustible power and might that flows from You, Almighty God. Even as the waves of the ocean are powerful and wash up on shore may You fill our lives to overflowing so that Your mighty presence is visible in our lives and spills out to those around us. In Jesus’ mighty name we pray, Amen.

Today we share our final set of shore photos.


Last weekend we stayed in this house along Rehoboth Avenue, the main road through Rehoboth Beach to the ocean and less than a 1/2 mile walk to the boardwalk. Our friends Rick and Jackie allowed us to use it for several days since it’s now the off season, although a great time to go to the shore and we had a summer like weekend.


We enjoyed sitting on the screened wrap-around porch and watching folks walk by.


In the early evening a little girl wandered off the sidewalk to take in the fragrance of flowers that Rick planted in the early summer months. It took some serious persuasion for her mother to finally pull her away.


Monday morning the beach was not crowded with people but the seagulls were out in force.


It was interesting talking to this treasure seeker tell me about all the stuff he had found, coins of course, but jewelry, cameras and phones as well. He tries to locate the owner to return the items. His real goal is old coins which still are being found. Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Like A Mighty Sea”  Video  Cheryl and Steve Thomson, aka Strangers and Pilgrims


Send a message to Stephen & Brooksyne To receive the “Daily Encouragement” each Monday-Friday through email see this page to subscribe to our email list. You can also subscribe to the WordPress rss feed or through a WordPress email subscription. (See the email subscription on the right side after opening this page.) Ministry Update We want to thank all who financially support our ministry. We realize there are many fine ministries and causes requesting support but if the Lord would lead you we surely need and appreciate the financial support from our readers and listeners. 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. Donations through my chaplaincy endorsing ministry are tax deductible and will be receipted directly by them. Thank you!

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“Known By The Scars”

Wed, 09/27/2017 - 9:30am

Assateague Island Wild Horse

“Known By The Scars”

Message summary: It has been said that the only work of man in heaven, will be the marks of Calvary on the body of our exalted Saviour.

Listen to our message on your audio player.

“Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself!” (Luke 24:39).

We arrived at Rehoboth Beach late last Friday afternoon and even before unloading our van we walked up Rehoboth Avenue to the Boardwalk to see the ocean before sunset. We didn’t expect it to look any different from previous visits but predictability is in many ways a blessing in our increasingly unpredictable world!

It was getting dark when we walked down the busy boardwalk and I heard someone shout out “Steve Weber”. I looked around and the booming voice was from a hotel balcony facing the ocean five or six stories up. I couldn’t see who it was so he gave me a hint, “You visit me very Friday morning.” Well, since we see three company locations on Friday morning I asked which one till I finally identified the source of the friendly greeting. It was another Steve, the warehouse manager at JK Mechanical. He came down to see us and we visited for a few minutes.

Since it was getting dark I asked how he could identify me walking along on a crowded boardwalk in poor light. Frankly I slightly blushed as I considered it might be my weight and asked him. Whew! It wasn’t my pouch but rather my suspenders which made me feel a little less self-conscious. Several years ago this also happened as Joe, from a different company, was visiting Rehoboth Beach with his family and noticed a guy with suspenders, did a double take, recognized me and called out my name in the crowd!

That got me thinking. What else am I known for? My loud voice, saying “Stay faithful”, my big nose? But what spiritual qualities am I known for? I hope a consistent walk, being dependable, and so forth.

That is something for each of us to consider. How do people recognize you? What characteristics do you demonstrate to a watching world.

Today let us consider the distinguishing mark of the Risen Lord, His nail-scarred hands and feet.

When Ester was little she asked me an interesting question that sure got me pondering. She was very disappointed that I didn’t have the answer since I was a pastor. “How did they get the nails out of Jesus?” Of course I assume they just pulled them out, probably as they removed His body from the Cross and prepared it for burial. Removing the nails from the flesh of His hands and feet posed no problem but how did they get them out of the wood? Ester motioned with her hands what a claw hammer looked like and perceived, “They probably didn’t have those in the old days.”

Did the hardened Roman soldiers merely tear His flesh off the nails? Did they realize what they were doing? Or was this chore left to the friends burying the body who would surely want to remove the nails with tender dignity? If so it did take some special skill. Were any tears shed? Did they know that in just three days His dead corpse (if you will) would gloriously rise and live forevermore? Were they aware that the nail prints would distinguish our Lord for His redemptive work? Jesus said to His doubting disciples on the Day of resurrection, “Look at my hands and my feet.”

Resurrection evening he walked with two disciples on the Road To Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35). He sought to reveal Himself through the Scriptures but their eyes remained closed as to who He was until, “He was at the table with them, He took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him, and He disappeared from their sight” (30,31). Although not specified many Bible teachers have speculated that the sight of the nail prints revealed who He was.

And a week later He urged Thomas to examine this critical evidence. Jesus said to Thomas who had said, “Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” Jesus was pleased to meet this request when He was with the disciples a week later, “Then He said to Thomas, ‘Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.’ Thomas answered and said to Him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Jesus said to him, ‘Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.'”

It has been said that the only work of man in heaven, will be the marks of Calvary on the body of our exalted Saviour.

Yes I’m headed for a home
Built by God alone
Hallelujah praise the Lord I am
Where the only thing
That’s been made by man
Are the scars in the hands of Jesus

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, we are born with the sin nature, and though we die to our own self-will when we take on our spiritual nature, we still find ourselves at times filled with skepticism and doubt. Certainly, there is good reason to doubt and test certain criteria or suspect persons from day to day, but when it spills over to doubting Your Word, not believing Your promises, or ignoring Your teaching we only hurt ourselves. You instructed Your disciples that You would rise from the dead in three days, but they did not give careful attention to Your words, thus some of them were filled with doubt and skepticism at Your appearance. We want to be people of faith, filled with Your Spirit, so that we may have discernment based upon our understanding of Scripture and the Spirit of Christ within. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Saturday afternoon, after a long walk along the boardwalk in Ocean City, Maryland, we went to Assateague Island for a 12 mile bike ride, including a time of relaxation on the beach and actually fell asleep briefly. We saw wild horses all along our bike trail. Assateague Island is off the coast of both Maryland and Virginia. The southern herd is known as Chincoteague ponies and are managed by Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company. The Fire Company controls the herd size with a pony auction on the last Thursday in July. Each year tens of thousands of spectators come to watch the Saltwater Cowboys swim the pony herd from Assateague Island to Chincoteague Island. The northern herd (separated by a fence) are managed by the National Park Service and are wild.


We called this foal Eclipse since he was born on the day of the Eclipse last month, though as of yet he is not named!

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

 

“By the Mark”  Video  Dailey & Vincent

“Scars In The Hands Of Jesus”  Video  Ernie Haase & Signature Sound

“Known by the Scars”  Video  Michael Card


Send a message to Stephen & Brooksyne

To receive the “Daily Encouragement” each Monday-Friday through email see this page to subscribe to our email list. You can also subscribe to the WordPress rss feed or through a WordPress email subscription. (See the email subscription on the right side after opening this page.) Ministry Update We want to thank all who financially support our ministry. We realize there are many fine ministries and causes requesting support but if the Lord would lead you we surely need and appreciate the financial support from our readers and listeners. 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. Donations through my chaplaincy endorsing ministry are tax deductible and will be receipted directly by them. Thank you!

Please Note: Our chaplain agency is unable to provide a receipt if the donation is made through PayPal. However we provide this option due to the convenience, international supporters, and for those who may not be concerned regarding receiving an official receipt. Click here to donate using PayPal.


“What Is Better”

Tue, 09/26/2017 - 9:21am

Silver Lake at Rehoboth Beach is a beautiful fresh water lake only about a block from the ocean.
(Click on photo for larger view)

“What Is Better”

Note: Due to travel to the shore a message was not posted yesterday.

Message summary: “What is better” is sitting at the feet of Jesus listening to what He has to say. It’s focusing on the spiritual, non-visible realm.

Listen to our message on your audio player.

“As Jesus and His disciples were on their way, He came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to Him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what He said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to Him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:38-42).

I’m comin’ back to the heart of worship
And it’s all about You
It’s all about You, Jesus.

My (Brooksyne) sister, Elaine who resides in Texas, just celebrated her birthday which usually coincides with the first day of autumn. We’re close in age, only 13 months apart, and share many of the same interests, but not entirely.Our personalities and interests differ. I enjoy my spot in the kitchen baking for family and friends while Elaine has more of a business mind and is tech savvy. While growing up Elaine always volunteered for the outdoor chores while I elected to do the housekeeping.

If we were comparing ourselves to the two sisters of Bethany I would more likely resemble Martha, very busy in the kitchen, while Elaine would be enjoying a glass of tea, that I served on the front porch, conversing with friends and family. Like Mary and Martha, there were times when our personality differences turned into arguments though now we look back and laugh about such matters, but not so much then. Mom and Dad, intent that we learn to work hard, were never hesitant to assign duties in our home and we were better for it.

Both Mary and Martha had important duties in welcoming the Lord Jesus to their home. Martha was tending to physical needs (preparing the meal) while Mary was tending to spiritual needs (sitting at the feet of Jesus). Both were important but when one duty rivaled the importance of the other, Martha’s complaining whimper forced Jesus to address the attitude of her heart.

We easily identify with Martha’s attitude in the daily Scripture portion, spending way too much time in the “kitchen”, easily distracted by the stuff of life in the material, visible realm. Distractions constantly lull us away from “what is better”. Most of our readers will identify with our struggle. We generally prioritize visible accomplishments over inward attitudes of the heart. This can be seen in an obituary where titles, achievements, and interests of the deceased may be listed, but the person’s attitude toward life may not even be mentioned (though now that obituaries are far more personalized than in the past, we’re seeing more personality descriptions and not just accomplishments).

As we study this portion of Scripture especially consider the phrase, “Mary has chosen what is better.” She made a willful, purposeful choice to sit at the Lord’s feet, listening intently to His counsel, His teaching, and delighting in His friendship. She likely dealt with distractions since I can imagine Martha was clanging those pots in the kitchen just a little extra loud to get Mary’s attention as she surely muttered under her breath, “Why isn’t Mary in here helping me?”.

That muttering led her to appeal to the Lord; “She came to Him and asked, ‘Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!'”

Jesus addresses her “”Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” *¹

“What is better” is sitting at the feet of Jesus listening to what He has to say. It’s focusing on the spiritual, non-visible realm. It’s like another Mary, who following the birth of her son, Jesus, “treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” It includes reading, studying, meditating and memorizing the Bible along with praise, worship and prayer. What we store up in our hearts spills out to those around us making an eternal difference. It goes beyond impressing people to inspiring them to meet Jesus on a personal level. When we spend time with our Lord we experience the fulfillment and blessing that is at the very heart of living the abundant life.

But Mary chose to shut her mind to the daily routine and open her heart to the rare moments that she could personally spend in Jesus’ presence. Perhaps she was completely lost in his presence and simply forgot that Martha had need of her help. Both sisters learned the balance between a soul at rest and a body in motion, as they worked hard for Christ and worshiped at His feet.

But, in full disclosure, we confess the “kitchen” continually beckons and distractions abound. *²

“The Heart of Worship” is a song that reminds us of where our focus needs to be, although we realistically accept that distractions will continually beckon. Aren’t you thankful for God’s patience and grace! He has time and again called us back to the heart of worship and He constantly reminds us that this race on earth is really all about embracing Him spiritually during our earthly sojourn!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, You know the very intention of all that I say and do. As I invite You to examine my heart, I lay before You the people and pursuits that drive me further away from a heart of worship. You have not removed me bodily from this world, but You have raised me up spiritually to abide in Your presence even as I carry out my daily duties. As Your presence overshadows me it is there that Your love and faithfulness sustain me and gives me a true heart of worship. Even as a vehicle needs fuel to properly function, I need prayer to uphold and equip me for the day that lies ahead. Amen.

*¹  This is one of seven times in Scripture when God addresses a person by repeating their name twice (this is known as “Epizeuxis” which is the repetition of a word or phrase in immediate succession, for vehemence or emphasis.)

*² Of course we are speaking of the “kitchen” as an analogy for all the things that distract and take us away from the better choice. As we consider this subject here are some additional considerations:

1) Certainly some may be less easily distracted than others and some more spiritually focused but it can also become a dangerous source of pride.
2) Jesus is not teaching that all “kitchen work” or daily duties are wrong. We really need to consider a balance in Biblical teaching showing the importance and value of work and living responsibly.
3) We need to graciously recognize we have different callings from God, and not esteem one above the other or feel that others must feel as passionately about our cause as we do. This leads to arguments, jealousy, and resentment rather than expanding the kingdom of God.
4) Some distractions are ultimately God-ordained ministry opportunities.

“Tyranny of the Urgent” is the title of a small pamphlet I read many years ago. This booklet expresses the sense of urgency that overshadows us in the daily experience of living, and it examines how modern technology contributes to this urgency. When Charles Hummel wrote this in 1967, he identified the telephone as a great contributor to this sense of urgency. At that time, for me anyway, that would have been the black rotary dial phone mounted to our kitchen wall; the only phone in our home in Belton, Missouri.

Fast forward to present day where a majority carry cell phones and many have smart phones with instant and constant access to the internet in addition to every manner of distraction-inducing technology. Many can’t resist using their phone, even to the point of being rude or inconsiderate to others or worse yet making themselves a menace on the highway.

Tyranny is normally a term used to describe an oppressive government. In this sense the word is used to describe those conditions that oppress the soul. Tyranny of the urgent is essentially the oppressive compulsion that I must do it now. Due to our busy multi-tasking lives filled with numerous distractions this is a condition common to most and indeed it can be oppressive!

“Tyranny of the Urgent” pdf (only seven pages)

Scenes from the Delaware/Maryland shore.


On Saturday morning we walked the boardwalk in Ocean City Maryland. These sand sculptures are a great inspiration to passersby, as they see the gospel visually presented through sand sculptures. Randy Hofman is a local preacher and designs these sculptures. Tracts are often handed out by Christian volunteers as well. Also note the “Hay Ride” on the sand in the background! It was a special weekend at Ocean City called “Sunfest” and they had a huge craft show and other activities. We considered that our farming friend, Galen, in his retirement, might want to do this since we’ve ridden on many of his hayrides over the years, though not in the sand, of course! I’m sure his wife, Nancy, would be happy with such an arrangement.


This was a site you don’t see everyday. Too bad we couldn’t get close enough for a good photo of the white lab in the side car accessorized by sunglasses on his eyes and goggles propped on his head.


When we arrived at the shore Friday evening since no one was lifeguarding we climbed up the ladder and volunteered our services. The only challenge was that this lifeguard’s chair faced the eateries on the boardwalk rather than the ocean water. So we ended up eating rather than lifeguarding If this were cropped a bit more it looks like we are on a tall double rocking chair!


Our friends, Rick and Jackie Steudler, reside in Lancaster County and have a home in Rehoboth Beach as well. We attended church with them on Sunday morning and had wonderful fellowship over lunch. Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“The Heart Of Worship”  Video   Matt Redman

“I Miss My Time With You”  Video  Larnelle Harris

“Don’t You Think You Ought To Worship Me”  Video  The Wisecarvers

Finally today:

In Friday’s message we mentioned hospital visits we had made on Thursday to Luke and Stephen. Both went home on Friday; Stephen, an infant was discharged from the hospital to join Mom and Dad and six siblings at his first earthly home while Luke, an elderly man, went to his final home to be with the Lord. We visited with Luke and his family a few minutes on Friday afternoon prior to our trip to the shore and sang several of his favorite hymns with the family. His service is this morning and we have both been asked to participate. His son Ken became one of our first friends when we moved to Lancaster County in 2001.

Brooksyne’s note: I taught Middler Sunday School for a number of years and David, Luke’s grandson, was one of my students. I’m a stickler for Scripture memorization, so with the faithful assistance of his parents, David memorized his weekly verses which sometimes were passages from the Bible. Over the past year I taught them the 23rd Psalm (KJV) in its entirety and David, along with several other students, memorized it word perfect and shared it in front of the church. I had told the class when I introduced this Psalm that I learned it as a child in Sunday School and have quoted it far more times than I can remember at the bedside of an individual who would soon be in the presence of the Lord. I also told them that they too can memorize it and God will use them in the same way. Who would know that less than a year later David would stand next to me at his grandpa’s hospital bed, on the afternoon that he would cross over to glory, and help lead the family in this Comfort Psalm. It brought tears to my eyes and I’m sure it warmed the heart of his family and most especially his grandfather.


Send a message to Stephen & Brooksyne To receive the “Daily Encouragement” each Monday-Friday through email see this page to subscribe to our email list. You can also subscribe to the WordPress rss feed or through a WordPress email subscription. (See the email subscription on the right side after opening this page.) Ministry Update We want to thank all who financially support our ministry. We realize there are many fine ministries and causes requesting support but if the Lord would lead you we surely need and appreciate the financial support from our readers and listeners. 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. Donations through my chaplaincy endorsing ministry are tax deductible and will be receipted directly by them. Thank you!

Please Note: Our chaplain agency is unable to provide a receipt if the donation is made through PayPal. However we provide this option due to the convenience, international supporters, and for those who may not be concerned regarding receiving an official receipt. Click here to donate using PayPal.

“Your Martyr, Stephen”

Fri, 09/22/2017 - 10:30am

These Mennonite boys are enjoying the view from the back of a horse-drawn pickup truck near Martindale, PA. How many of our readers remember riding in the back of a pickup!

“Your Martyr, Stephen”

Message summary:  At Stephen’s death he likely had no idea that “someone” was listening to his testimony who would soon take up Christ’s commission and take the gospel to all nations. Today are you being faithful to God’s call? You really don’t know how many “Sauls” are watching you!

Listen to our message on your audio player.

“‘Lord,’ I replied, ‘these men know that I went from one synagogue to another to imprison and beat those who believe in You.  And when the blood of Your martyr Stephen was shed, I stood there giving my approval and guarding the clothes of those who were killing him'” (Acts 22:19,20).

We made two hospital visits yesterday, both to people bearing Bible names.

Early in the morning we stopped by Lancaster General Hospital to visit Luke, an elderly friend. He’s had a long season of life on this earth and informed us he was ready to move on when his time came, assured of his entrance into heaven due to his faith in Christ. He had a remarkable glow as he described to us a dream he had of heaven with flowers so beautiful they were beyond description. He was in a very weakened condition and our visit was brief but we shared together John 3:16 prior to our departing prayer. What a blessing to see his lips laboriously move as he followed along with the familiar Bible text.

In the afternoon we visited Ephrata Community Hospital to see baby Stephen. Stephen’s on the other side of life’s spectrum, born the night before to our friends, Jesse and Anna Ruth. Sadie, his older sister called us late Wednesday evening and informed me I had a namesake. At first I said “You mean the peacock?” since I knew they had named him Stevie after they purchased him at the Green Dragon, and we hauled him to their farm. “No” she said, “a real live human baby!”*

Of course I was deeply honored that they would name their seventh child Stephen and this prompted me to again consider the Biblical character we are both named after.

Both Bible characters, Luke and Stephen, have a role in today’s message since Luke is the author of Acts which includes the amazing story of the only Stephen mentioned in the Bible.

In our daily verse we have a part of Paul’s personal testimony before an angry Jewish crowd (Acts 22). Today, let’s consider the impact that Stephen’s martyrdom likely had on Saul.

In our text Saul (now named Paul) is relating his response to the Lord when he fell into a trance in Jerusalem shortly after his salvation experience in Damascus. The Lord warned him to leave Jerusalem because his testimony would not be accepted (v. 18). The Greek word for testimony here is “marturia”.

Paul responds to the Lord in our daily text acknowledging his own role in persecuting Christians prior to his conversion. Let us especially consider the phrase “Your martyr Stephen”.  Perhaps not surprisingly the Greek word for “martyr” here is “martus”. Paul readily acknowledges the testimony of the one he calls “Your martyr”.

I wonder how many times this final scene in Stephen’s life played over and over in Paul’s mind, both prior to and after his conversion: “But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. ‘Look,’ he said, ‘I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.’ At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ Then he fell on his knees and cried out, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them.’ When he had said this, he fell asleep” (Acts 7:55-60).

Only moments before Stephen drew his last breath he saw the Lord standing at the right hand of the Father. Surely, seeing the person of Jesus diminished the conflict, fear, and unbearable pain that he was about to endure.  At Stephen’s death he likely had no idea that “someone” was listening to his testimony, in fact, the very one who gave approval to his execution. This very one would soon respond to Christ’s commission and take the gospel to all nations. Today are you being faithful to God’s call? You really don’t know how many “Sauls” are watching you!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, we are called to share the message of the Gospel to those around us, and for some Your calling requires them to go to foreign soil to share with those who have not heard. Many of these “called” ones have seen the fruit of their labor but there are others who have laid down their lives that people might know Your salvation message. We are deeply touched by the sterling example of Stephen, his uncompromising message, his fierce bravery, and his incredible forgiveness directed toward those who conspired against him and brought about his death. Help us to remain faithful to You, forgiving to those who do us harm, and mindful that others are watching our lives. We want them to see Christ in us. It’s in His name that we pray. Amen.

Prayer for the suffering due to hurricanes and earthquakes:

Father, it seems that natural disasters continue to bombard people near and far as we witness the ongoing devastation from hurricanes and earthquakes; so many people cut off from their loved ones in great part due to power outages and others in danger of their lives due to safety issues related to their living conditions, lack of medical supplies, and the basic necessities required for living. How we pray for first responders and volunteers who are risking their own lives to rescue those in greater danger – grant them courage, physical and emotional strength, and the tools necessary to help those entrapped in dangerous circumstances. Bring comfort, peace, and a growing trust in You to those who have suffered the loss of a loved one(s) and loss of their familiar and comfortable way of life. May those who are reaching out to these very needy people be encouraged by the difference they are making. Bless the Christian teams who are providing relief as they lovingly share of their faith giving hope to those who otherwise feel their lives are hopeless due to their present circumstances. Provide the funds, the materials, and the people needed to rebuild and restore the lives of those adversely affected by the destruction and ruin. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Note 1: The natural disasters have given us ministry opportunities expressing interest and care to employees from Puerto Rico and Mexico. Yesterday I was speaking to a man from Puerto Rico and he informed me that his wife was from Mexico so they are bearing a double burden.

* Note 2: We can only imagine the smiles and excitement in the hospital room last evening as Jesse brought their six older children in to see their mom and baby brother, Stephen. This is their first child born in a hospital so the setting is much different than the familiarity of the home, but it’s the family bond that brings vibrancy, joy, and the Scriptural blessing God has for the family. Anna Ruth said the children had a hard time leaving her and the baby as they departed – and why not, since all children before were born in the home! But they will reunite today after her hospital discharge.

Some scenes from our travels yesterday


Driving through Intercourse, PA yesterday we passed this older Amish couple out for a pleasant ride in their spring wagon. We think she might have been “resting her eyes”.


Every summer these Cannas near New Holland are planted out in the farm field dressing up the landscape quite a bit.


This tidy white farmhouse near Martindale, PA caught our eyes.


Apples at the Village Farm Market
One of my favorite Autumn scenes is apples at farm markets!


Here’s a photo taken several years ago of Luke (mentioned in message) and his wife Anna Mae at Longwood Manor sitting with Ester and her friend, another Stephen! Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Stephen the Martyr”  Video  Brief drama presentation telling Stephen’s story

“Let Them See You”  Video  JJ Weeks Band

Study Note: Many years ago I did a personal study compiling a list of all of the named individuals that Paul interfaced with during his long ministry beginning with his first reference in Acts and those referenced in each of his epistles. There are approximately 115 different individuals specifically named that were associated with Paul! (I must say approximately, due to similar names some of them may be the same individual with a slightly different name or different individuals with the same name.) This does not include the many unnamed contacts like the Ephesian elders.


Send a message to Stephen & Brooksyne To receive the “Daily Encouragement” each Monday-Friday through email see this page to subscribe to our email list. You can also subscribe to the WordPress rss feed or through a WordPress email subscription. (See the email subscription on the right side after opening this page.) Ministry Update We want to thank all who financially support our ministry. We realize there are many fine ministries and causes requesting support but if the Lord would lead you we surely need and appreciate the financial support from our readers and listeners. 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. Donations through my chaplaincy endorsing ministry are tax deductible and will be receipted directly by them. Thank you!

Please Note: Our chaplain agency is unable to provide a receipt if the donation is made through PayPal. However we provide this option due to the convenience, international supporters, and for those who may not be concerned regarding receiving an official receipt. Click here to donate using PayPal.

“A Lesson From Hot Peppers”

Thu, 09/21/2017 - 9:30am

The grounds for the “Walk Of Love” this last Saturday were beautiful and this horse seemed to be happy showing off to the many families, perhaps a majority of them with adopted children.

“A Lesson From Hot Peppers”

Message summary: The challenge in the spiritual life is to “keep your spiritual fervor”.

Listen to our message on your audio player.

“Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord” (Romans 12:11). “Do not put out the Spirit’s fire” (1 Thessalonians 5:19).

Brooksyne enjoys planting a variety of peppers in the small raised garden in our backyard. Part of her enjoyment is the appearance with the colors and distinct shapes of different pepper varieties. But we both also enjoy eating a variety of hot peppers. For many years she has made a delicious candied jalapeño jelly that has just the right amount of sweet and hot and cans it for various dishes. She is especially famous (in our little world anyway) for her jalapeño pie (quiche) that uses this jelly.

But yesterday she had an interesting experience reminding her of just how hot, hot peppers can be! I’ve invited Brooksyne to share her experience:

I was washing tomatoes and peppers I picked from the garden and decided I’d test the red pepper for its capsaicin level. When I cut into it I licked my finger that held the pepper to get a clue as to how hot it might be. There was little consequence so I took a small chunk and put it into my mouth. The consequence this time was enormous! I only bit into it without swallowing and the burn on my tongue, lips and face surrounding my mouth was on fire!! The only thing I thought might help was the aloe vera plant. I broke off one of the long, slender leaves and smeared it on my lips, lower face and rubbed it on my tongue. It brought instant relief, though I had to get more and more aloe vera since I kept shredding the leaves after rubbing it so much. It took a good 20 minutes before I stopped burning. I also ate a slice of bread since I’ve been told that helps with too much burn from hot pepper but it brought little relief. Anybody interested in some hot, hot peppers? Free for the asking! We believe they’re habaneros peppers.

Stephen also recalls getting into some extra hot peppers about 15 years ago that brings back about his painful memory:

I was visiting with some men at Four Seasons, a produce wholesaler, and they wanted me to try a pepper. They told me with a twinkle in the eye that this was a rather hot pepper. I figured that was OK because I was tough and liked hot peppers, so I brought one home to Brooksyne and asked her to cut it up in my salad.

I should have known something was up when I heard her and Ester laughing as they prepared the salad. After sitting down at the dinner table, I took a small bite and my, oh my, oh my, was that ever a blistering pepper! I downed several glasses of water trying to quench the hot taste and cool down my flushed face. Later I called one of the fellows who gave me the pepper. As he chuckled he told me the name of the pepper was habanero, a little known pepper to most of us at the time. It’s many times hotter than the jalapeño.* My mouth was sure on fire.

“Being on fire” is an expression used to describe a real sold out, committed believer. The daily Scripture texts teach that this is how we ought to be. The underlying Greek word for “fervor” in our first daily text is “zeo”, which means, “to be hot.”  It’s used to describe the preaching of Apollos in Acts 18:25 who “spoke with great fervor”.

The challenge in the spiritual life is to “keep your spiritual fervor”.  I sure find a tendency for mine to wane and I need to regularly heed Paul’s words to Timothy “to fan into flame the gift of God” (2 Timothy 1:6).

We also need to heed that short word of exhortation expressed in the second verse and “not put out the Spirit’s fire”. Many of us are familiar with the way the King James Version words this phrase, “Quench not the Spirit.” The word for “quench” literally means “extinguish” and although I am thankful for fire extinguishers, as well as the extinguishing effect lots of water can bring after eating a hot pepper, we need to be very careful that we do not extinguish the Spirit’s fire!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, help us to stir up the fire of the Holy Spirit in our lives through faithful reading and application of the Scriptures. Though there are daily temptations and experiences that want to extinguish the fire of the Holy Spirit in our lives, we thank You that Your abiding presence in our hearts is greater than the foe that seeks to deter us. May we always be attentive to Your still small voice and the convicting power of Your Holy Spirit as we keep our spiritual fervor in serving You. Amen.


Black tomatoes. Anna Ruth gave me this heirloom plant early in the summer and we have thoroughly enjoyed the taste, texture, and performance of these dark tomatoes. It’s also called a chocolate tomato.

Pepper Jam! For our canning friends, today we share a series of photos of Brooksyne’s canning project making Pepper Jelly!


I’ve made Pepper Jelly in the past from scratch. Slicing 4 pounds of jalapenos, about 80 small peppers, is nasty work! The house is consumed with hot pepper vapors which burns the eyes and irritates the throat, in addition to the runny nose, and you can’t tend to the problem because you’ve had your hands in the peppers. So….this time I took the easy way out and used Mrs. Wages Pepper Jam kit. All the jalapenos and heavy duty spices are dehydrated in the kit. All I had to cut up were colorful bell peppers. What an easy difference it made!


After processing the peppers about 5 cups of juice is collected from the cheesecloth. (I froze the pulp for another use)


The pepper juice, pectin, and other seasonings are brought to a boil.


This is the water bath method using the steam canner (only 2 quarts of water in the bottom of the canner).


Pepper Jelly jars nestled on the canner rack ready to be steamed for ten minutes.


The lid properly fitted so that temp properly rises for steaming. The handle at the top has a handy built in thermometer.


The colorful results of Pepper Jelly sealed up in jars.


Tasty and sweet (but also spicy) results of home canned Pepper Jelly which happens to be one of Stephen’s favorite spreads that I make.
(I really like the Victorio Steam Canner since it is much easier to handle than the Water Bath Canner that requires a couple gallons of water for processing. The down side is that the rack is made to hold pints and quarts. The 8 oz. jelly jars are a bit more challenging to steady on the steam canner rack.)

Jalapeno Quiche

(A delicious recipe using pepper jam. It is very easy to prepare and is a crowd pleaser even for those who don’t usually like spicy foods. I never have leftovers.)

1 ½ C. Hot Pepper Jam
2# shredded sharp cheddar cheese
10-12 eggs, beaten
Chili powder, salt & pepper

In 9X13 dish spread jelly over bottom (heat in microwave if jelly does not spread easily.)
Sprinkle shredded cheese evenly over top of jelly.
Beat eggs, season with chili powder, salt and pepper (to taste). Extra jelly can also be stirred into eggs.
Pour evenly on top of cheese. Bake at 350 degrees 30 to 40 minutes until browned on top. Let it sit for five or more minutes for easy cutting. Freezes very nicely and reheats in microwave.

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Burn In Me”  Video   Paul Wilbur

“Let The Fire Fall”  Video  Perry Sisters

Note from Stephen: The photo of the sample jar of jalapeño jam in our message was not prepared by Brooksyne but is rather from the local Kitchen Kettle Village. Her jars are just too plain for a good photo since there is no label! But they taste just as good!

Brooksyne’s Note: Years ago I grew habaneros thinking I might be able to use them in a recipe. They were just way too hot. I couldn’t give them away until I remembered there were some Mexican workers at a machine shop where I served as chaplain. I took them in and the guys were so excited. I joined them in the break room just to see how they would eat them. They held the peppers in their hands and ate them like apples. No red face, no sweat coming out of their pores, and no running for water. They ate one after the other – no consequence except pleasure!

* Habanero Vs. Jalapeño: PepperScale Showdown


Send a message to Stephen & Brooksyne To receive the “Daily Encouragement” each Monday-Friday through email see this page to subscribe to our email list. You can also subscribe to the WordPress rss feed or through a WordPress email subscription. (See the email subscription on the right side after opening this page.) Ministry Update We want to thank all who financially support our ministry. We realize there are many fine ministries and causes requesting support but if the Lord would lead you we surely need and appreciate the financial support from our readers and listeners. 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. Donations through my chaplaincy endorsing ministry are tax deductible and will be receipted directly by them. Thank you!

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“Examine Yourself”

Tue, 09/19/2017 - 9:30am

The Star Barn and Fountain near Elizabethtown, PA
(Click on photo for larger image)

“Examine Yourself”

Message summary: Spiritual self-examination is important so that we can correct ourselves on a regular basis to make certain we continue to bring glory to God in the manner in which we live our lives.

Listen to our message on your audio player.

“But let a man examine himself” (1 Corinthians 11:28a). “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?” (2 Corinthians 13:5).

Each evening around dusk we have a familiar scene in front of our home. Our farmer neighbor, Mervin, slowly drives his John Deere Gator up the tractor lane adjacent to the farm field across the street from our home and eventually makes his way past our home. He regularly drives around the perimeter of his property, partly for enjoyment and partly to check things out, much like a cowboy riding his horse to check the fencing and livestock!

The other night I rode with Mervin on his “route” and he explained to me what he observes; the condition of his plants (corn and soybeans), water conditions, his sheep and baby lambs. He also looks for anything amiss that needs attention.

Mervin’s habit of examining his physical property is a reminder of a more important examination, a spiritual self-examination of our hearts.

“But let a man examine himself.” Today’s first Scripture verse is in the context of participating in Communion at the Lord’s Table. Before one eats and drinks of the emblems representing the broken Body and shed blood of Christ he is to “examine himself”. Of utmost importance in this personal exam is the answer to these foundational questions,

  • “Do I have saving faith in Christ?” (Romans 10:8,9).
  • “Do I have unconfessed sin in my heart?” (1 John 1:9).

“Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves.” In the second text Paul uses two words (“examine” and “test”) to emphasize his point. “Examine” is the Greek “peirazo” which conveys the sense of scrutinize and “test” (“prove” KJV) is the Greek “dokimazo” which has the sense of discernment.  It implies the expectation of approval and is thus a very positive function. We need to regularly (I believe daily) examine and test our spiritual walk. Let’s confess sin, express faith and practice obedience daily.

This vitally important exam asks this question, Am I “in the faith”? Then there’s a sobering follow-up question, “Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?”

In his article “The Place Of Self-examination” S. Lewis Johnson comments concerning this verse, “There are literally millions of professing Christians who need to pay attention to this statement of the apostle. They have entered into a shallow commitment to Christianity, they’ve joined the church, they’ve been baptized or they’ve done other things that might make them think that they are genuine believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. They’ve been encouraged to think that, by men who’ve not been careful to point out that there is more to becoming a Christian than subscribing to a statement. They don’t hate sin. They don’t love holiness. They do not pray. They do not study the word of God. They do not walk humbly with God. These individuals, so many of them stand in the same danger in which the Corinthians stood. And the apostle’s words, “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith, examine yourselves,” are valid words that each of us should ponder.”

Self-examination is important so that we correct ourselves on a regular basis to make certain we continue to bring glory to God in the manner in which we live our lives.

Colossians 1:10-12 provides a list of examination items for our consideration. We will phrase them as personal questions:

* Am I living in a manner worthy of the Lord?
* Am I pleasing Him in all respects?
* Am I bearing fruit in every good work?
* Am I increasing in the knowledge of God?
* Am I being strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might?
* Am I attaining steadfastness and patience?
* Am I joyously giving thanks to the Father?

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, I ask myself, “Am I living in a manner worthy of Your name? Do I seek to please You rather than myself? Does the fruit of my labor reflect the Spirit of Christ living within my heart? Do I have a zeal for the things of Christ and a desire to know Him better, to reflect His character every day in my life? Am I steady or do I sputter in my Christian influence?” Father, in all these things I want to be more like Christ, consistent in the ways that bring glory to Your name and growth in my spiritual nature. I want my spiritual walk to be the most important pursuit of my life as I journey here below so that I may influence as many as possible to live for Jesus. It is in His name that I pray. Amen.


This huge harvester which is working the fields chopping corn in our area is nicknamed Goliath, though the printed name is too small to show up in this photo!
After the corn was harvested we took Mollie across the road to play frisbee (scroll up if you didn’t see it). There were large patches and rows where they did not leave corn stalks which allowed Mollie to do a little running without landing on the stalks.


Got it!


But her favorite spot for frisbee catch remains in our front lawn.

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Search Me O God”  Video  Steve Pettit Evangelistic Team

“Lord, I Want To Be Like Jesus”  Video  Fernando Ortega

Our friend David Penley just posted an thought-provoking article that relates to today’s message: “What Will You Do with the Rest of Your Life?

Finally today:


Last week Pastor Ed and Gladys Berkey were in Lancaster visiting with our friends Jim and Dorothy Schmidt and celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary. Ed was my District Superintendent the first several years we lived in New England in the 90’s and was an early encourager of our Daily Encouragement ministry.


Send a message to Stephen & Brooksyne

To receive the “Daily Encouragement” each Monday-Friday through email see this page to subscribe to our email list. You can also subscribe to the WordPress rss feed or through a WordPress email subscription. (See the email subscription on the right side after opening this page.) Ministry Update We want to thank all who financially support our ministry. We realize there are many fine ministries and causes requesting support but if the Lord would lead you we surely need and appreciate the financial support from our readers and listeners. 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. Donations through my chaplaincy endorsing ministry are tax deductible and will be receipted directly by them. Thank you!

Please Note: Our chaplain agency is unable to provide a receipt if the donation is made through PayPal. However we provide this option due to the convenience, international supporters, and for those who may not be concerned regarding receiving an official receipt. Click here to donate using PayPal.


“Acting Redemptively”

Mon, 09/18/2017 - 1:17pm

The Star Barn Gazebo
Elizabethtown, PA
(Click on photo for larger image)

“Acting Redemptively”

Note: Today’s message is based on a real event. Although we have received permission to share the story we have purposely changed the names.

Message summary: God calls us to receive His grace and in turn express grace to others.

Listen to our message on your audio player.

“Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person” (Colossians 4:5,6).

Recently I was visiting with Curtis who happens to be a Christian and owner of a company.  He told me about a disciplinary matter he had to deal with concerning an employee whose persistent negative attitude was affecting other members on his team. Curtis called the employee into his office and when he walked in he had a look on his face like, “Uh-oh, I think I’m about to be fired.”

However Curtis had Rob sit down and kindly asked him about his upbringing and background and heard quite a story of pain. While still in his teens Rob’s mother died of an aneurism as he held her in his arms. He has a distant relationship with his father who  provided essentially no counsel, encouragement, correction or discipline as he grew up. And there were other factors that contributed to his pessimistic outlook on life.

Curtis compassionately listened to Rob describe his difficult upbringing but went on to explain to him the importance of living life with a purpose. He shared with him how we affect others with our attitude. Thankfully, he was very receptive. By coincidence I know Rob, had seen him recently, and he had already told me about the conversation before his boss shared it with me. With moist eyes Rob expressed to me that Curtis had treated him like the father he needed but never had. He actually missed the discipline and correction a loving father administers. (See Hebrews 12:9).

Our text today reminds us that believers have many opportunities to share the wisdom that God has granted us through the Scriptures, “Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity.” Our conversation should primarily be marked by Christian grace filled with compassion, but secondarily, it should be seasoned with salt so that it benefits those who listen by building them up according to their needs (Ephesians 4:29).

In our illustrative story the company owner was filled with compassion as he listened to his employee’s story, but the salient and redemptive moment came when he brought seasoning into their conversation by giving wise counsel that benefitted the employee. Of course, for the story to have a positive ending, it required the employee to be receptive and responsive to his boss, which he was.

Loving grace is offered to all of us by our heavenly Father. Many of our readers have accepted His grace and experienced the wonder of redemption; forgiveness of sins and a new life.

Today we will have many opportunities to act redemptively. Allow a guiding principle to be an awareness of the mighty grace you have received, so that you will naturally extend grace to others!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, how grateful we are for those who have made the most of their opportunities to share their wisdom; wisdom that comes from Your Word as well as those along the way who’ve been our role models and loving caregivers. We pray that our conversation would be full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that we might speak words that not only build others up but also benefits them according to their needs. At the time it might feel like salt being poured into their wound but You use salt for healing, and if the hearer is receptive and willing to make needed changes You guide them in doing so. May we help others even as You brought people in our lives who helped us. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Saturday morning we attended a special function called the “Walk of Love” at Ironstone Ranch, a beautiful function center near us. Two of the companies we serve as chaplains were sponsors of the event for Brittany’s Hope, a non-profit organization, dedicated to aiding abandoned children around the world through adoption grants, child sponsorship and orphan care.


Clark is a young man who began working at White Oak Display while still in high school on a work release program. He is a diligent worker. White Oak Display was one of the sponsors of the event with about 30 employees and family members participating.


Frank Castro also works at White Oak. It’s a blessing that God equips us with shoulders and two hands. Frank used them to hold onto both of his young children who accompanied him. Families traveled in from other states and we met some of them who had adopted several children from other nations, with matching grants from Brittany’s Hope.


The Sheldon Miller family.
Sheldon is the grandson of the founder of Smucker and Sons, another event sponsor. Both Sheldon and his older son ran in the 5 K race. The Millers have adopted two children from Vietnam and benefitted from the services of Brittany’s Hope for Lynn, their latest adoption, being held by Jenna. She is adorably cute, very smart and busy!


We also visited a few minutes with the Eric Martin family
Eric, who ran the 5K, grew up in a church we attended for many years and owns his own construction company, Legacy Builders. We are long-time friends with his parents, Galen and Nancy Martin. Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Grace Greater Than All Our Sin”  Video  Sovereign Grace Music

“Never Too Broken To Belong”  Video  Amy Lambert

“Chain Breaker”  Video  Gaither Vocal Band  The Vocal Band does a great job with this song!

“Redeemed”  Video  Big Daddy Weave

“He Won’t Leave You There”  Video  Jason Crabb

“Brittany’s Hope” is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to aiding abandoned children around the world.

Finally Today:


For nearly 25 years Brooksyne has been a choir director in various churches we have served or attended. Yesterday she sang for the first time in the Calvary Church Choir. If you are curious click on the photo for a larger view to see if you can find Elmo (I mean Brooksyne!)
Ester recorded a video of the main song “It Is Well”  Video
(While commending Ester for her recording the sound is not quite as clear as we would like. Here’s a video with very clear vocals as well as the lyrics.)
Following this song the entire congregation sang the classic hymn “It Is Well With My Soul” that brings such incredible assurance. Video  Homecoming Singers


Yesterday Pastor Beau presented the “Order of the Towel” to Linda, a dedicated servant, who has faithfully served in the church nursery for over 40 years, in addition to many other areas of service! “Order of the Towel” is a reference to the Upper Room foot washing where Jesus washed the disciples’ feet and instructed them, “Do as I have done for you” (John 13:15). For many years Calvary Church has awarded an individual or couple the symbolic “towel” with their name monogrammed on it as an example of outstanding service for the kingdom of God through their local church.


Send a message to Stephen & Brooksyne To receive the “Daily Encouragement” each Monday-Friday through email see this page to subscribe to our email list. You can also subscribe to the WordPress rss feed or through a WordPress email subscription. (See the email subscription on the right side after opening this page.) Ministry Update We want to thank all who financially support our ministry. We realize there are many fine ministries and causes requesting support but if the Lord would lead you we surely need and appreciate the financial support from our readers and listeners. 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. Donations through my chaplaincy endorsing ministry are tax deductible and will be receipted directly by them. Thank you!

Please Note: Our chaplain agency is unable to provide a receipt if the donation is made through PayPal. However we provide this option due to the convenience, international supporters, and for those who may not be concerned regarding receiving an official receipt. Click here to donate using PayPal.

“Crouching Sin”

Fri, 09/15/2017 - 12:44pm

Scene from the Farm Wagon Produce Stand on Weaverland Road, which offers many produce items, including flowers such as the fall mums in the foreground and zinnias in the garden background. A young Mennonite couple, or perhaps they are siblings, were cutting zinnias to add to the zinnia bouquets offered at their produce stand.
(Click on photo for larger image)

“Crouching Sin”

Message summary: Today’s message is based on God’s word to Cain when he became angry that his offering was not accepted. Today’s Scripture account is from Genesis 4:1-16.

Listen to our message on your audio player.

“The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering He did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast. Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it” (Genesis 4:4-7).

Our cat, Dottie, is now sixteen years old, by far the longest we have ever managed to keep a pet. She now lives in our utility barn where we depend on her to be a mouser and more recently a “chipmunker” (since chipmunks have found a home near our barn). She requires very little care but when making extended trips our neighbors look in on her to see that she has adequate food and water. But several summers ago she pulled quite a surprise.

After our neighbor, Marion, spent some time with her she walked toward the door preparing to leave. Suddenly out of nowhere she heard a loud swish and then felt the heavy pounce of Dottie, complete with clinching claws and teeth, that clamped like a vice grip on her leg. Marion concluded that Dottie didn’t want her to leave and she let her know it in the most unfriendly fashion. Interestingly she planned her attack when Marion was least expecting it with her back turned away. Now, when she or Doug looks in on Dottie they don’t turn their backs. They watch to see that she doesn’t position herself into a crouching position since they want no surprise attack again. Thankfully, Marion recovered quickly and nicely.

Dottie’s aggressive behavior, or the way she went about it, brings to mind our Scripture text where God warns Cain, “Sin is crouching at your door…”. It is the first recorded conversation God had with Adam’s descendants and is a timeless truth with perpetual application to our generation and those that follow. Every believer would do well to heed God’s warning and make this personal application:

“Sin is crouching at my door and Satan wants to have me.”

This is the first record of temptation and sin among Adam’s fallen descendants. It provides a pattern of how sin works in the lives of all of Adam’s children and reveals the tragic consequences for the transgressor, Cain.

As we note the progression we see a caution for our own lives as redeemed believers. We are again so powerfully reminded of the need to stand firm in my faith. We must call on God for His sustaining grace to resist the sin that results when we give into the daily temptations Satan hurls at us.

“If you do what is right” – God has revealed His will for our lives so we can know the right way.  We have many other Scriptures telling us the right way, “He hath showed thee…”  (Micah 6:8); “This is the way, walk ye in it” (Isaiah 30:21); “This is the will of God…” (1 Thessalonians 4:3). Truly His “Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105).

“Will you not be accepted?” Foundationally being accepted by God begins by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. This is God’s appointed means of beginning to “do what is right.” Then we pursue the things of God, growing in His grace and knowledge. “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is good” (Titus 2:11-14).

“But if you do not do what is right.” God’s warnings are expressions of His love. When we violate God’s will as revealed in His Word, we give the enemy a foothold in our lives for further activity and progression of sin.  A grim outcome is revealed in Ephesians that describes the latter stages of this progression: “Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more” (Ephesians 4:19). With the flood of evil, pornography and perversions of all sorts sweeping through our world many are at this stage. Deeper and deeper depths of depravity can be expected and the evil acts that accompany it.

“Sin is crouching at your door.” The word for “crouching” conveys the posture of a four legged animal as it prepares to attack its prey.  That’s the nature of sin and its crouched position is persistent. We must ever be alert, practice self-control, and stand firm, for our “enemy prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

“It desires to have you.” Sin continues its desire to enslave you and me. A foundational step in overcoming sin is realizing this. You do well to recognize the enemy’s tactic since he desires to have you as well.

“But you must master it.” In the New Testament Paul wrote, “For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14). In the pursuit of godliness we must, by God’s grace, master our sinful nature, something as descendants of Adam we all share.

We often hear the phrase, “No one is perfect” and, yes, that is true.  Only God is perfect. But we can be a righteous people if Christ lives in us, if we apply the Scriptures to our lives, and if we resist the “charm” or deceit of our enemy. Stand firm, my brothers and sisters. Resist the enemy who seeks to do evil and engage the Holy Spirit who seeks to mature us in the faith.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Jesus, thank You for Your indwelling Spirit that replaces my sinful nature with that of a spiritual nature. I no longer desire the temporary pleasures the world offers, but even as I walk in Your ways year after year, I’m keenly aware that sin is crouching at the door of my heart, always ready to make habitation if invited to come in. Alert my eyes to the strategic warfare of Satan. I want to be vigilant in guarding my heart against his cunning assault. I want to heed the many warnings You give us in Scripture as well as godly messengers who keep watch over my soul. With Your blood applied to the doorpost of my heart, I am purified by Your holiness, and want to stand firm to the end! Amen.

Some scenes from yesterday’s travels


We always enjoy seeing the open spring wagons.


The Farm Wagon Produce stand has quite a variety and unlike most farm stands even takes credit cards!


This week it seems we’ve moved into fall produce, though we also have one more week of warm summer weather.


We are edified when visiting Good’s Store to see the handwritten Scripture verses. Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Sin Shall Not Be Your Master” (Romans 6:14-15)”   Video  Integrity Scripture memory songs

“This Is My Desire”  Video  Reuben Morgan

Finally Today:


We came home from our chaplain visits this morning and saw that the field across from our house was being harvested. Ester captured this photo as she was watching them harvest the corn while we were at work. Just last night Brooksyne said, “Corn will soon be harvested and I don’t look forward to that. It’s so pretty glistening in the sunlight especially near the time of sunset.” Well, she was right and now we have a stark field for a few weeks but soon the farmers will plant a cover crop and we will have green!


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Please Note: Our chaplain agency is unable to provide a receipt if the donation is made through PayPal. However we provide this option due to the convenience, international supporters, and for those who may not be concerned regarding receiving an official receipt. Click here to donate using PayPal.

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