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“Greatest Of All Time”

Fri, 12/15/2017 - 9:30am
Please see below for our 2017 year-end financial appeal.

Yesterday we passed this Amish Farm near Strasburg, PA following a light snowfall last night.
(Click on photo to enlarge)

“Greatest Of All Time”

 

Message summary: Jesus Christ is truly the greatest of all time! Listen to our message on your audio player. (Mostly Brooksyne!)

“Great is the Lord” (Psalm 48:1). “He will be great” (Luke 1:32). “Your Name, O LORD, endures forever, Your fame, O LORD, throughout all generations” (Psalm 135:13).

Last winter I began to hear a new acronym. After the dramatic Super Bowl comeback people (especially New England fans) began to use GOAT to describe quarterback Tom Brady. That initially sounded disrespectful to me, as being called a goat seemed like a rather derisive term.

However GOAT is an acronym for “Greatest Of All Time”. Now of course there will be many opinions about who is the greatest quarterback of all time or the greatest of anything for that matter. But today let us consider One who is certainly the “Greatest Of All Time”.

Mary, who had not yet conceived, heard a startling message from the angel, Gabriel, concerning Christ: “He will be great.” And here we are over 2000 years later affirming His greatness! As we prepare this message today our hearts are full of exaltation to the One exclusively worthy of all praise.

A chorus we sang in our youth based on Psalm 48 had basically the same words as the graphic to the left. It’s one of the first Scriptures we recall singing!

Psalm 135 was written several thousand years ago. The human writer, unlike many of the Psalms, is not identified. It is a song of praise for God’s wonderful and enduring works. “Your Name, O LORD, endures forever, Your fame, O LORD, throughout all generations.” It contrasts His eternal value with the vanity and brief span of man-made idols.

The ancient people believed in gods whose power was limited to a particular region or locale. Their specialty was narrowed to being a particular cause such as a god for rain, a god for fertility, etc. Can you imagine what it would be like if God were only available in one location and could only intervene in one area of our life?

Thanks be to His wonderful Name this is not the case. Our Lord is omnipresent (all-present), omnipotent (all-powerful) and omniscient (all-knowing). He will be remembered forever, and He will be famous for all time. His wisdom is unsearchable, His kingdom has no bounds, and His reign has no end. He truly is the famous One who is known through all the ages, to believers of every generation and through eternity.

This day we unashamedly declare ourselves to be among two of Christ’s followers. Christianity is alive because Jesus Christ, its Founder, is alive! Jesus Christ is the central figure. He is great and He is the famous One in a class that stands way, way above any human classification. Join us in praising and serving Him today! He is truly the greatest of all time!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, You are exalted over all the nations and Your glory fills the heavens. You are great and greatly to be praised.  There is no other One who sits enthroned in the heavens and yet whose Spirit hears the very sigh of my heart. You hear my prayer before it is even whispered on my lips. You know my need even before I am aware of it and yet Your greatness never keeps me at a distance. Instead You invite me to approach the throne of grace and have audience with the King of kings and Lord of lords, both in seasons of rejoicing and in times of need. Thank You, Almighty One who exists from eternity to eternity. It is through Jesus that we approach You in prayer. Amen.

Special Year-end Financial Appeal: We want to thank all who have financially supported our ministry this past year (and some for many years!). We realize there are many fine ministries and causes requesting support at this time but if the Lord would lead you we surely need and appreciate the financial support from our readers and listeners. Like many ministries, we typically see a spike in giving at the end of the year for which we are most thankful.

Our ministry labor is comprised of approximately half our time to Daily Encouragement and the other half to our chaplaincy ministry to companies for which we receive compensation. Each of these ministries essentially is the same as a part-time job (20+ hours weekly) for each of us. Our goal for many years is that each would provide half of our ministry expenses and income.

If you would consider making a donation to our ministry see here for more information.

To donate directly online here. This will open to a page that designates the offering to: WEBER,STEPHEN CHAP, Specialized Chaplaincy Ministry ID: 700001-237376

Please Note: We also provide this familiar option due to the convenience, for international supporters, and for those who may not be concerned regarding receiving an official tax deductible receipt. Click here to send an offering using PayPal. This will open to a page that states “Brooksyne Weber”

Thank you
Another house we passed yesterday morning with the mighty windmill turning and clothes on the line blowing in the wind, such a common sight in Amish Country. With large families they’re bound to do a daily wash, but you’ll never see the clothes hung out on Sunday, which we greatly respect!
(Click on photo to enlarge) Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Great is the Lord”  Video   Maranatha Singers

“He is Exalted/Great is the Lord”  Video   Maranatha Singers

“Famous One”  Video  Chris Tomlin

“What A Beautiful Name”  Video  The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir

“Psalm 48”   Video  The Mai Girls  The way we recall singing this verse about 40 years ago!

“Teaching Lechery and Getting Lechers” Article  For several years I have appreciated the insight of Dr. Everett Piper, the president of Oklahoma Wesleyan University, which we visited this summer (the campus). This man really tells it like it is! Interestingly another meaning for GOAT is lecher.

Finally today:

In my younger years GOAT was also informally used to describe a sport’s car of the sixties, the Pontiac GTO!

My sister in law had a Pontiac GTO (a sixties “muscle” car). I was allowed to take it for a ride along with a friend. By this time I was confident in using a manual transmission. It was a powerful car with a huge engine and “four on the floor” manual transmission. I was excited to show my friend what the car could do so I drove out to the edge of town and pulled up to a four way stop. (I specifically recall it was the intersection of 39th Street and Lees Summit Road for those from that area!)

I looked ahead and to both sides. Then I took off, laying down rubber in each gear. We laughed as we zoomed along in fourth gear, but then I heard a siren and looked behind to see a police car chasing me. In my enthusiasm I had forgotten to look behind when I took off! Amazingly I got a very stern warning from the officer but no ticket. I am sure he had a good chuckle at such a foolish teenager and can only imagine the story he had to tell the other officers that day!

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“The Eternal God”

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 9:30am
Please see below for our 2017 year-end financial appeal.

I took this photo several years ago of the Christmas tree at the Rockefeller Center, NYC

“The Eternal God”

Message summary: Today join us in declaring, “The eternal God is my refuge and I have peace in resting in His everlasting arms!”

Listen to our message on your audio player. (Mostly Brooksyne!)

“The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deuteronomy 33:27).

Today we continue to give consideration to peace, the theme for the second Sunday of Advent.

We enjoy an old spiritual that many of us learned in Sunday School or Vacation Bible School titled, “He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands”. But the song also gets personal, “He’s got you and me brother in His Hands…” That’s a great source of peace!

Today’s Scripture portion is among the final words of Moses that he gave to the new generation just prior to his death, and prior to their move into the Promised Land. “The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deuteronomy 33:27). He wanted the Israelites to have a deep assurance of God’s protection and care at this major point of transition in their lives. Joshua would soon assume leadership and they would be crossing the Jordan River to their new home.

There likely was great comfort in Moses’ steady leadership and at the same time the future was full of uncertainty and uncharted territory. After all, the preceding generation had spied out the land and seen giants! But God had not led them out of Egypt to drift indefinitely through the wilderness. There was a long-standing promise to be fulfilled which went all the way back to Abraham.

Although this wonderful truth in today’s verse was initially given to the Israelites about 3,400 years ago, it has timeless application for all of God’s children in every generation.  This December 14, 2017 we have an assurance of refuge in an eternal God and security in His everlasting arms!

“The eternal God is your refuge.” I like to change the pronoun here as expression of my faith, “The eternal God is my refuge”. Refuge is a condition of being safe or sheltered from pursuit, danger, or trouble. Refuge is used most frequently in the Psalms such as the familiar “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). It is however used only once in the New Testament in Hebrews, “We who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us” (Hebrews 6:18).

“Underneath are the everlasting arms.” The phrase “everlasting arms” is theologically known as an anthropomorphism which is a figure of speech which represents God as having human characteristics, form or personality. This phrase “everlasting arms” is only found in this text.

Today we all need this same peace and assurance this truth surely gave the ancient children of Israel. But some do especially. Hardly a day goes by that we do not receive a call or email or personally see someone in distress. Some of you are facing very difficult circumstances. Perhaps you’re waiting for a call that may very well change the direction of your life. Others have lost a loved one and this Christmas will be especially difficult. Some of you are dealing with discouragement concerning hardships in life.

But today join us in declaring, “The eternal God is my refuge and I have peace resting in His everlasting arms!”

Many of you know this song. Sing or hum its melody today (even silently if you are unable to sing the words aloud) and be reminded of our eternal God and His everlasting arms!

What a fellowship, what a joy divine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms!
What a blessedness, what a peace is mine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms!

Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms;
Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer:Father, we identify with the Israelites who surely had concerns and fears regarding their future as they journeyed into uncharted territory. We are comfortable with the familiar and can easily worry about the unknown. But we find peace and refuge in You, our eternal God, when we experience the unfamiliar as we learn to trust You for all that concerns us. It is in Your everlasting arms that we find a place of reassurance, comfort, peace and rest. Your arms never grow weary nor do they turn us away as we come to You for strength and support.  Amen.

Special Year-end Financial Appeal: We want to thank all who have financially supported our ministry this past year (and some for many years!). We realize there are many fine ministries and causes requesting support at this time but if the Lord would lead you we surely need and appreciate the financial support from our readers and listeners. Like many ministries, we typically see a spike in giving at the end of the year for which we are most thankful.

Our ministry labor is comprised of approximately half our time to Daily Encouragement and the other half to our chaplaincy ministry to companies for which we receive compensation. Each of these ministries essentially is the same as a part-time job (20+ hours weekly) for each of us. Our goal for many years is that each would provide half of our ministry expenses and income.

If you would consider making a donation to our ministry see here for more information.

To donate directly online here. This will open to a page that designates the offering to: WEBER,STEPHEN CHAP, Specialized Chaplaincy Ministry ID: 700001-237376

Please Note: We also provide this familiar option due to the convenience, for international supporters, and for those who may not be concerned regarding receiving an official tax deductible receipt. Click here to send an offering using PayPal. This will open to a page that states “Brooksyne Weber”

Thank you Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Peace”  Video

“He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands”  Video  The African Children’s Choir

“Leaning On the Everlasting Arms”  Video  Homecoming Singers Advertisements __ATA.cmd.push(function() { __ATA.initSlot('atatags-26942', { collapseEmpty: 'before', sectionId: '26942', width: 300, height: 250 }); }); __ATA.cmd.push(function() { __ATA.initSlot('atatags-114160', { collapseEmpty: 'before', sectionId: '114160', width: 300, height: 250 }); }); (function(){var c=function(){var a=document.getElementById("crt-868262000");window.Criteo?(a.parentNode.style.setProperty("display","inline-block","important"),a.style.setProperty("display","block","important"),window.Criteo.DisplayAcceptableAdIfAdblocked({zoneid:388248,containerid:"crt-868262000",collapseContainerIfNotAdblocked:!0,callifnotadblocked:function(){a.style.setProperty("display","none","important");a.style.setProperty("visbility","hidden","important")}})):(a.style.setProperty("display","none","important"),a.style.setProperty("visibility","hidden","important"))};if(window.Criteo)c();else{if(!__ATA.criteo.script){var b=document.createElement("script");b.src="//static.criteo.net/js/ld/publishertag.js";b.onload=function(){for(var a=0;a<__ATA.criteo.cmd.length;a++){var b=__ATA.criteo.cmd[a];"function"===typeof b&&b()}};(document.head||document.getElementsByTagName("head")[0]).appendChild(b);__ATA.criteo.script=b}__ATA.criteo.cmd.push(c)}})(); (function(){var c=function(){var a=document.getElementById("crt-1098383227");window.Criteo?(a.parentNode.style.setProperty("display","inline-block","important"),a.style.setProperty("display","block","important"),window.Criteo.DisplayAcceptableAdIfAdblocked({zoneid:837497,containerid:"crt-1098383227",collapseContainerIfNotAdblocked:!0,callifnotadblocked:function(){a.style.setProperty("display","none","important");a.style.setProperty("visbility","hidden","important")}})):(a.style.setProperty("display","none","important"),a.style.setProperty("visibility","hidden","important"))};if(window.Criteo)c();else{if(!__ATA.criteo.script){var b=document.createElement("script");b.src="//static.criteo.net/js/ld/publishertag.js";b.onload=function(){for(var a=0;a<__ATA.criteo.cmd.length;a++){var b=__ATA.criteo.cmd[a];"function"===typeof b&&b()}};(document.head||document.getElementsByTagName("head")[0]).appendChild(b);__ATA.criteo.script=b}__ATA.criteo.cmd.push(c)}})();

“Prince Of Peace”

Wed, 12/13/2017 - 12:03pm
Please see below for our 2017 year-end financial appeal.
Hotel Hershey from the Hershey Gardens Conservatory
(Click to enlarge)

“Prince Of Peace”

Message summary: Today we continue our theme from the second Sunday of Advent with a message about the “Prince of Peace”.

Listen to our message on your audio player. (Mostly Brooksyne!)

“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. and His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).

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

Since last night we have had frigid, howling winds plaster against our house. We are thankful for our home and upon examination this morning all is well but it’s still howling and we have a projected high temperature today of only 29° with a RealFeel® of only 13°. We consider those who must work out in this weather or of course much worse in many cases.

But we also consider the times in life when it’s like a howling storm. It’s during these times when we really appreciate the peace of God! So as we consider our advent theme of peace this week let us again give consideration to the blessedness of peace.

Among the titles that the Messiah was prophetically given in Isaiah 9, “Prince of Peace” is among them. We don’t believe we will have “peace in our time” on earth in the political sense, not until Christ returns. However as individual followers of Christ we can have “peace in our time”.

The peace that Jesus brings has several dimensions that are presently available:

1. Peace with God (reconciliation) “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1). Bible commentator Harry Ironside summarizes the justified man or woman’s peace: “Peace, as used in Romans 5:1, is not a state of mind or heart. It is a prevailing condition between two who were once alienated. Sin had disturbed the perfect relations of Creator and creature. A breach occurred that man could not mend. But peace has been made by the blood of Christ’s cross. There is no longer a barrier. Peace with God is now the abiding state into which every believer enters. The sin question is settled.”

2. Peace with each other (relational) “Live in harmony with one another” “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:16a,18).  We believe this speaks of the local sphere in our lives, relational peace within our family, friends and church.

3. Peace within (spiritual/emotional) “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7). Peace in this context is a state without anxiety and worry about how and when our needs will be supplied. This peace is the result of going to Him and confidently committing everything into His trustworthy hands.

Peace within the heart is available to all believers, however there is no promise that in this present age there will be world peace in the geopolitical sense. In fact Jesus forthrightly declared in Matthew 24 that there will be wars and rumors of wars; nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. He said, “Such things must happen.” Such news may not be very encouraging if our focus in on this world’s kingdom, but the Bible does promise a future time of peace when the Lord returns!

In the meantime, as followers of Christ, we should seek to be peacemakers (Matthew 5:9). “As far as it depends on us we are to live at peace with all men” (Romans 12:18). But even as we live among these and future days of growing tribulation may our hearts be filled with peace, peace that comes not from our surroundings, but the peace that flows from within through the presence of the Spirit of God. Jesus reassures us with these words, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (John 14:27).

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, knowing that Jesus is the Prince of Peace I pray for His peace to fall upon many hearts in our land. We pray that they will turn to You today and accept the peaceful reconciliation You freely offer, for it is the first step to all other types of peace. We pray for relational peace among our countries, families, and churches. We pray for inward peace that comes from confidence in Your eternal plan, especially for our brothers and sisters displaced and greatly impacted by the brutality in war torn countries. It’s an overcoming type of peace that will steady us until the whole world will be at rest and in peace. But until that hour we serve You faithfully as we seek to be peacemakers for our own spiritual well-being and for Your glorious kingdom. Amen.

Special Year-end Financial Appeal: We want to thank all who have financially supported our ministry this past year (and some for many years!). We realize there are many fine ministries and causes requesting support at this time but if the Lord would lead you we surely need and appreciate the financial support from our readers and listeners. Like many ministries, we typically see a spike in giving at the end of the year for which we are most thankful.

Our ministry labor is comprised of approximately half our time to Daily Encouragement and the other half to our chaplaincy ministry to companies for which we receive compensation. Each of these ministries essentially is the same as a part-time job (20+ hours weekly) for each of us. Our goal for many years is that each would provide half of our ministry expenses and income.

If you would consider making a donation to our ministry see here for more information.

To donate directly online here. This will open to a page that designates the offering to: WEBER,STEPHEN CHAP, Specialized Chaplaincy Ministry ID: 700001-237376

Please Note: We also provide this familiar option due to the convenience, for international supporters, and for those who may not be concerned regarding receiving an official tax deductible receipt. Click here to send an offering using PayPal. This will open to a page that states “Brooksyne Weber”

Thank you Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“All Is Well”  Video  Point Of Grace  This is among my (Brooksyne’s) top five favorite Christmas songs though it can be played anytime. It speaks of an overcoming type of peace though circumstances may be everything but peaceful. Written by Michael W. Smith and beautifully performed by Point of Grace. I attended one of their concerts when Heather Payne sang this stirring song and I wept through the entire performance as I consider so many who needed to hear this powerful message.

“His Name Shall Be”  Video  Matt Redman

“Hark the Herald Angels Sing”  Video  Chris Tomlin  “Hail the heav’n-born Prince of Peace!” Advertisements __ATA.cmd.push(function() { __ATA.initSlot('atatags-26942', { collapseEmpty: 'before', sectionId: '26942', width: 300, height: 250 }); }); __ATA.cmd.push(function() { __ATA.initSlot('atatags-114160', { collapseEmpty: 'before', sectionId: '114160', width: 300, height: 250 }); }); (function(){var c=function(){var a=document.getElementById("crt-1145214449");window.Criteo?(a.parentNode.style.setProperty("display","inline-block","important"),a.style.setProperty("display","block","important"),window.Criteo.DisplayAcceptableAdIfAdblocked({zoneid:388248,containerid:"crt-1145214449",collapseContainerIfNotAdblocked:!0,callifnotadblocked:function(){a.style.setProperty("display","none","important");a.style.setProperty("visbility","hidden","important")}})):(a.style.setProperty("display","none","important"),a.style.setProperty("visibility","hidden","important"))};if(window.Criteo)c();else{if(!__ATA.criteo.script){var b=document.createElement("script");b.src="//static.criteo.net/js/ld/publishertag.js";b.onload=function(){for(var a=0;a<__ATA.criteo.cmd.length;a++){var b=__ATA.criteo.cmd[a];"function"===typeof b&&b()}};(document.head||document.getElementsByTagName("head")[0]).appendChild(b);__ATA.criteo.script=b}__ATA.criteo.cmd.push(c)}})(); (function(){var c=function(){var a=document.getElementById("crt-1977154524");window.Criteo?(a.parentNode.style.setProperty("display","inline-block","important"),a.style.setProperty("display","block","important"),window.Criteo.DisplayAcceptableAdIfAdblocked({zoneid:837497,containerid:"crt-1977154524",collapseContainerIfNotAdblocked:!0,callifnotadblocked:function(){a.style.setProperty("display","none","important");a.style.setProperty("visbility","hidden","important")}})):(a.style.setProperty("display","none","important"),a.style.setProperty("visibility","hidden","important"))};if(window.Criteo)c();else{if(!__ATA.criteo.script){var b=document.createElement("script");b.src="//static.criteo.net/js/ld/publishertag.js";b.onload=function(){for(var a=0;a<__ATA.criteo.cmd.length;a++){var b=__ATA.criteo.cmd[a];"function"===typeof b&&b()}};(document.head||document.getElementsByTagName("head")[0]).appendChild(b);__ATA.criteo.script=b}__ATA.criteo.cmd.push(c)}})();

“Heaven’s Flash Choir”

Tue, 12/12/2017 - 9:30am

A bush in our front yard packed down with small snow balls.

“Heaven’s Flash Choir” Note: For the first time in a couple of weeks we both plan to get out for our chaplain visits. Things are beginning to return to normal for which we are thankful.

Message summary: Today let us consider a special flash choir that was present at the birth of Christ.

Listen to our message on your audio player. (Mostly Brooksyne!)

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased” (Luke 2:14).

We both enjoy choir music, although Brooksyne more so. Brooksyne has directed choirs for many years and now enjoys singing in one. In my case (Stephen) from an analytical perspective I think it’s amazing, especially in a large choir, how the voices synchronize so that the words are clear, the blend musically is tight and sounds as one voice. It just seems if they all started even a fraction of a second before or after one another the words would sound blurry (which for the record I realize is not an official musical term).

Brooksyne has been invited to be a part of a “flash” choir at Lancaster’s Central Market to sing the Hallelujah chorus. You’ve probably seen videos of these such as the one we post below recorded at Macy’s in Philadelphia by the Opera Company of Philadelphia, which is colorfully called “A Random Act of Culture”. I like this version because several years ago we visited this huge store and saw the massive Wanamaker Organ – the world’s largest pipe organ.

These flash choirs are intended to be a surprise and the participants are often spread throughout the crowd lending additional surprise when that person standing next to you starts singing out in a beautiful voice that blends with other voices all around the room.

Today let us consider a special flash choir that was present at the birth of Christ. They joined the angel who had proclaimed the birth of Christ to the shepherds. “And suddenly (that’s the flash part!) there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:…” Now Scripture does not elaborate on how many were in this multitude but I think it was probably a pretty big group. I am also pretty sure they had a good sound that projected for all to hear (with no sound techs or sound equipment)!

The words in our daily text are the summary of praise of the heavenly host of angels to the Shepherds at the time of Christ’s birth. I use the word “summary” since I wonder if there was actually more to their message that Luke summed up as “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” If that’s all I heard a choir sing it would probably leave me wanting a just bit more singing than that!

Today we consider the phrase “on earth peace”. We associate Christmas with love, joy, and peace, but also in the same Scriptural narrative there is the written record of unimaginable evil. We know the story but it’s not a section of the Christmas narrative we choose to focus on. We might even prefer to skip over it since the backdrop seems to be unconducive to what we perceive as the proper setting for the Christ Child’s arrival.

King Herod, in an effort to destroy the Christ Child King, ordered his soldiers to kill “all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under” (Matthew 2:16). What a horrible time this must have been. Herod was an exceedingly evil man. We also consider the moral depravity of the soldiers in carrying out such an evil command. Even though we know Herod’s motivation there is no reason to believe the inhabitants of Bethlehem did.

We who believe in Christ still live in a fallen world with much evil and unrest. The peace of which the angels sang sure does not appear evident. Rather, all around we see strife. But the peace the angels spoke of is not the external circumstances that surround us. Rather it is the peace that Christ imparts within our hearts when we know Him as Savior and Lord. True peace in other ways will come when the Prince Of Peace returns. Ultimately a time when “the wrong shall fail, the right prevail.”

The peace reigning within our hearts is truly a gift from God that surpasses all tangible gifts.  Won’t you receive this peace and the Christ of Christmas today!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, just as the angels came for the purpose of praising to You at the arrival of Your Son on earth, we too want to unite our voices to declare Your goodness in sending Jesus to live among us, to provide a way for us to find salvation and thereby inherit Your peaceable kingdom; for now, it is within our hearts but it will someday be experienced in heaven for all eternity.

Special Year-end Financial Appeal: We want to thank all who have financially supported our ministry this past year (and some for many years!). We realize there are many fine ministries and causes requesting support at this time but if the Lord would lead you we surely need and appreciate the financial support from our readers and listeners. Like many ministries, we typically see a spike in giving at the end of the year for which we are most thankful.

Our ministry labor is comprised of approximately half our time to Daily Encouragement and the other half to our chaplaincy ministry to companies for which we receive compensation. Each of these ministries essentially is the same as a part-time job (20+ hours weekly) for each of us. Our goal for many years is that each would provide half of our ministry expenses and income.

If you would consider making a donation to our ministry see here for more information.

To donate directly online here. This will open to a page that designates the offering to: WEBER,STEPHEN CHAP, Specialized Chaplaincy Ministry ID: 700001-237376

Please Note: We also provide this familiar option due to the convenience, for international supporters, and for those who may not be concerned about receiving an official tax deductible receipt. Click here to send an offering using PayPal. This will open to a page that states “Brooksyne Weber”

Thank you
Coming home Saturday night after the first seasonal snowfall the wreath on the side of our home had this fluffy white adornment (not fake snow!)


Backyard view from our bedroom window.


Yesterday I passed this old red truck on Main Street in Mount Joy. Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Hallelujah!”  Video   Opera Company of Philadelphia flash choir

“I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day”  Video  Casting Crowns

Oren and Naomi are longtime local friends with a steady walk with the Lord and many examples of service to others. Here’s an excellent article about Oren’s uncle featured on Operation Shoebox that touched our hearts. It will amaze you! 100-year-old West Virginian Packs 100 Shoebox Gifts

“The Best Christmas Love Story” Article by David Penley (David is a Texan friend who writes thoughtful articles intended to strengthen marriages.) Advertisements __ATA.cmd.push(function() { __ATA.initSlot('atatags-26942', { collapseEmpty: 'before', sectionId: '26942', width: 300, height: 250 }); }); __ATA.cmd.push(function() { __ATA.initSlot('atatags-114160', { collapseEmpty: 'before', sectionId: '114160', width: 300, height: 250 }); }); (function(){var c=function(){var a=document.getElementById("crt-118491463");window.Criteo?(a.parentNode.style.setProperty("display","inline-block","important"),a.style.setProperty("display","block","important"),window.Criteo.DisplayAcceptableAdIfAdblocked({zoneid:388248,containerid:"crt-118491463",collapseContainerIfNotAdblocked:!0,callifnotadblocked:function(){a.style.setProperty("display","none","important");a.style.setProperty("visbility","hidden","important")}})):(a.style.setProperty("display","none","important"),a.style.setProperty("visibility","hidden","important"))};if(window.Criteo)c();else{if(!__ATA.criteo.script){var b=document.createElement("script");b.src="//static.criteo.net/js/ld/publishertag.js";b.onload=function(){for(var a=0;a<__ATA.criteo.cmd.length;a++){var b=__ATA.criteo.cmd[a];"function"===typeof b&&b()}};(document.head||document.getElementsByTagName("head")[0]).appendChild(b);__ATA.criteo.script=b}__ATA.criteo.cmd.push(c)}})(); (function(){var c=function(){var a=document.getElementById("crt-760059357");window.Criteo?(a.parentNode.style.setProperty("display","inline-block","important"),a.style.setProperty("display","block","important"),window.Criteo.DisplayAcceptableAdIfAdblocked({zoneid:837497,containerid:"crt-760059357",collapseContainerIfNotAdblocked:!0,callifnotadblocked:function(){a.style.setProperty("display","none","important");a.style.setProperty("visbility","hidden","important")}})):(a.style.setProperty("display","none","important"),a.style.setProperty("visibility","hidden","important"))};if(window.Criteo)c();else{if(!__ATA.criteo.script){var b=document.createElement("script");b.src="//static.criteo.net/js/ld/publishertag.js";b.onload=function(){for(var a=0;a<__ATA.criteo.cmd.length;a++){var b=__ATA.criteo.cmd[a];"function"===typeof b&&b()}};(document.head||document.getElementsByTagName("head")[0]).appendChild(b);__ATA.criteo.script=b}__ATA.criteo.cmd.push(c)}})();

“The Way Of Peace”

Mon, 12/11/2017 - 1:59pm

Our view early Sunday morning after our first seasonal snow.

“The Way Of Peace” Note: Today’s message is a bit later getting posted due to a dental appointment Brooksyne had this morning. Stephen is much stronger, for which we are thankful, but his voice is still weak. We greatly appreciate your prayers.

Message summary: Today our prayer as His followers should always be, “Guide our feet into the way of peace.”

Listen to our message on your audio player. (Mostly Brooksyne!)

“To guide our feet into the way of peace” (Luke 1:79).

Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me
Let there be peace on earth
The peace that was meant to be
With God as our father
Brothers all are we
Let me walk with my brother
In perfect harmony

This morning Ester ran down and told us to turn on the news, something we have come to dread, when presented in such a way, since mass slayings and terrorism is way too familiar these days. It was another Islamic-inspired bombing in New York, something in a sad way we have almost come to expect. Ever since Cain killed his brother Abel humans have been in conflict with one another. Mankind has also been pursuing peace for ages but peace seems so elusive.

Yesterday was the second Sunday in Advent. In our messages this week we will give consideration to the Advent theme for this second Sunday, which is peace. Peace is a major focus of the Christmas story and is reflected in a number of the great Christmas hymns. Saturday evening at the Gaither Homecoming concert we attended in Reading the group sang “O Little Town Of Bethlehem”. We thought Bill made an interesting point when he highlighted just the phrase, “The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.”

Zechariah’s voice had been silenced from the time of the angel’s revelation that he and his long barren wife Elizabeth would bear a son. But following John’s birth he again spoke and made a powerful prophecy in Luke 1:67-79. This prophecy concludes with the line from our daily text, “To guide our feet into the way of peace.”

Zechariah’s prophesy was given when his son John was born and 6 months before Christ was born. The first part of the prophesy deals with the role John would have as the forerunner to the Messiah, “And you, child (John), will be called the prophet of the Most High; For you will go on before the Lord to prepare His ways” (Luke 1:76).  This role is expressed in a quote from Isaiah in the beginning of the Gospel of Mark, “Behold, I send My messenger ahead of You, who will prepare Your way” (Mark 1:2).

But Zechariah also referred to the Divine Mission of the then 3 month old Child growing in Mary’s womb.

“Because of the tender mercy of our God, with which the Sunrise from on high will visit us, to shine upon those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

Today our prayer as His followers should always be, “Guide our feet into the way of peace.”

Let peace begin with me
Let this be the moment now
With every step I take
Let this be my solemn vow
To take each moment
And live each moment
In peace eternally
Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, it is our daily prayer, that You guide our feet into the way of peace, just as Zechariah prophesied over 2000 years ago. The world offers no lasting peace so we follow after Your Son, the Prince of Peace, who promises us peace within our hearts and a future peaceable kingdom for all eternity. But for here and now we are called to be peacemakers so that we can walk in harmony with those of like faith and guide others to the way of peace through Christ Jesus our Lord, the ultimate Peacemaker. It is in His name that we pray. Amen.

Special Year-end Financial Appeal: We want to thank all who have financially supported our ministry this past year (and some for many years!). We realize there are many fine ministries and causes requesting support at this time but if the Lord would lead you we surely need and appreciate the financial support from our readers and listeners. Like many ministries, we typically see a spike in giving at the end of the year for which we are most thankful.

Our ministry labor is comprised of approximately half our time to Daily Encouragement and the other half to our chaplaincy ministry to companies for which we receive compensation. Each of these ministries essentially is the same as a part-time job (20+ hours weekly) for each of us. Our goal for many years is that each would provide half of our ministry expenses and income.

If you would consider making a donation to our ministry see here for more information.

To donate directly online here. This will open to a page that designates the offering to: WEBER,STEPHEN CHAP, Specialized Chaplaincy Ministry ID: 700001-237376

Please Note: We also provide this familiar option due to the convenience, for international supporters, and for those who may not be concerned regarding receiving an official tax deductible receipt. Click here to send an offering using PayPal. This will open to a page that states “Brooksyne Weber”

Thank you
This was the final song when the entire group of musicians came out and sang “O Holy Night”

We first heard the Bill Gaither Trio together on a date during our college days in Springfield, MO. At that time they were a trio with Bill and Gloria Gaither and his brother Danny. In 1981 the Gaither Vocal Band was formed and Bill has had a mentoring role with many younger musicians. In the nineties they began to have “Homecoming concerts” which included older Gospel singers. Here’s how that began,  “On February 19, 1991, the Gaither Vocal Band had just wrapped up a recording session in a Nashville, Tennessee, working on an album called Homecoming, which featured many of the great voices of southern gospel music: The Speers, the Gatlins, Jake Hess, The Cathedrals, Howard & Vestal Goodman, Buck Rambo, Eva Mae Lefevre, James Blackwood, Hovie Lister, Jim Hill, and J.D. Sumner & The Stamps. After the session, the artists stayed around to chat, swap stories and sing old standards around the piano. The impromptu session was recorded on video and later published. The recording was so well received that Gaither began a series of professionally produced videos with larger gatherings of gospel musicians.” Bill Gaither is now 81 and we are blessed by his steadfast service to the Christian community and frankly we also marvel that he can continue to keep such a schedule along with all the demands required to present such concerts!


We had planned to go to the Gaither Homecoming concert with our long-time friends, Jim and Dorothy Schmidt, but Saturday afternoon Jim called and due to severe knee pain was unable to go. So, with his blessing, we called our friend Tho (left in photo) who was able to take his seat and was so blessed by the concert and especially a visit with Lynda Randall, one of the musicians at the concert. Lynda is well known for “God of the Mountain” and Tho has just purchased her book and was delighted to meet her personally.


Some of you enjoy “Where’s Waldo” books, and you have had fun looking for one of us when we feature a photo like this. Brooksyne was one of 140 voices of Calvary Choir & guests that backed up the Gaither Vocal Band and the Martins in several of their songs. The choir all dressed in black, as you can see. But can you find Brooksyne? Hint: her glasses may be a quick give-away and thankfully there is color in her face. She is not washed out like some of the faces due to our camera’s limitations. (Click on photo to enlarge)


Yesterday morning the King’s Kids led the church in worship and the sanctuary was packed with extra family members who came to see their little loved one(s) on the platform. Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Hymn Of Praise”  Video  Gaither Vocal Band  This song really touched both of us with such a moving melody and rich lyrics. I wish we’d have known about this song during the Thanksgiving season.

“Mary Did You Know”  Video  Mark Lowry is the comedian at the concerts and Ester just adores him. It’s hard to imagine if you have heard his silliness that he could write such a thought-provoking, serious song as Mary Did You Know!

Last week our theme was hope and we had an exposition on a verse that began “Joyful in hope” We also dealt with the second phrase “patient in affliction” so thought we should finish with “Faithful in prayer” (Romans 12:12). (This is from a Daily Encouragement message about 7 years ago.)

Prayer is a foundational expression of faith. We speak but cannot see the One to whom we speak. We listen, not with our sense of hearing, but rather the inner heart. Scripture says, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth.” The effects of our prayers are often not immediate and at times seem ambiguous, at least from our perspective. Bluntly we may wonder if prayer really does any good.

In Colossians 4:2 Paul offers a similar verse to today’s text: “Devote yourselves to prayer.” In fact in the Greek it is the very same phrase. The sense of “devote” implies a strong attachment, allegiance, and affection for someone or something; in this case prayer and the act of praying. It would include one’s passion, time, and needed resources. One who is devoted is passionate in his commitment and consistency and will not be disloyal, inconsistent, or indifferent. This description should give us a mental picture of one who is devoted to prayer.

“Faithful” is in the present imperative which denotes that we are to continually, habitually follow this command! It is to be one’s continual way of life (lifestyle). This Scriptural call is not a suggestion but a command to make it our habitual practice. Remember that whatever God commands of us He also provides for us the grace and empowerment through His Spirit to carry out.

Someone has well said that “Prayer is the breath of the Christian life and almost nothing decays so fast in the fallen human heart as the desire to pray.” In other words, nothing is more vital than prayer in Christian existence, and few things are more vulnerable to neglect. We must come back to it again and again and stoke the fire lest, out of neglect, it becomes nothing more than useless cold embers.

Most Christians will confess the difficulty of maintaining a regular and effective prayer life. The reason is not difficult to discern. If Satan can keep us out of touch with God, he will not have to worry about any trouble we might cause for his evil kingdom.

Believing friend, when we are prayed up the allurement to sin is far less appealing, the spirit is strengthened, and our communion with God becomes our anchor that holds us steady in the daily stresses and major events of our life.

Finally today:


Admittedly this is a poor photo taken through our windshield pulling out of the parking garage in Reading after the concert Saturday evening . We faced head on to the Reading Pagoda, an historic landmark in Reading PA.

Here’s a photo we took several years ago of the Reading Pagoda, which sits on a mountain ridge high over the city. It’s lit up with red neon lights at night which we often see from the bypass on the other side of the city. This always struck me as a strange icon for an old northeast North American city! Advertisements __ATA.cmd.push(function() { __ATA.initSlot('atatags-26942', { collapseEmpty: 'before', sectionId: '26942', width: 300, height: 250 }); }); __ATA.cmd.push(function() { __ATA.initSlot('atatags-114160', { collapseEmpty: 'before', sectionId: '114160', width: 300, height: 250 }); }); (function(){var c=function(){var a=document.getElementById("crt-482016366");window.Criteo?(a.parentNode.style.setProperty("display","inline-block","important"),a.style.setProperty("display","block","important"),window.Criteo.DisplayAcceptableAdIfAdblocked({zoneid:388248,containerid:"crt-482016366",collapseContainerIfNotAdblocked:!0,callifnotadblocked:function(){a.style.setProperty("display","none","important");a.style.setProperty("visbility","hidden","important")}})):(a.style.setProperty("display","none","important"),a.style.setProperty("visibility","hidden","important"))};if(window.Criteo)c();else{if(!__ATA.criteo.script){var b=document.createElement("script");b.src="//static.criteo.net/js/ld/publishertag.js";b.onload=function(){for(var a=0;a<__ATA.criteo.cmd.length;a++){var b=__ATA.criteo.cmd[a];"function"===typeof b&&b()}};(document.head||document.getElementsByTagName("head")[0]).appendChild(b);__ATA.criteo.script=b}__ATA.criteo.cmd.push(c)}})(); (function(){var c=function(){var a=document.getElementById("crt-663285271");window.Criteo?(a.parentNode.style.setProperty("display","inline-block","important"),a.style.setProperty("display","block","important"),window.Criteo.DisplayAcceptableAdIfAdblocked({zoneid:837497,containerid:"crt-663285271",collapseContainerIfNotAdblocked:!0,callifnotadblocked:function(){a.style.setProperty("display","none","important");a.style.setProperty("visbility","hidden","important")}})):(a.style.setProperty("display","none","important"),a.style.setProperty("visibility","hidden","important"))};if(window.Criteo)c();else{if(!__ATA.criteo.script){var b=document.createElement("script");b.src="//static.criteo.net/js/ld/publishertag.js";b.onload=function(){for(var a=0;a<__ATA.criteo.cmd.length;a++){var b=__ATA.criteo.cmd[a];"function"===typeof b&&b()}};(document.head||document.getElementsByTagName("head")[0]).appendChild(b);__ATA.criteo.script=b}__ATA.criteo.cmd.push(c)}})();

“Patient In Affliction”

Fri, 12/08/2017 - 11:29am
Please see below for our 2017 year-end financial appeal.

“Patient In Affliction”

Note: Stephen is recovering from a cold he has had this last week. His voice is partially restored but not strong enough to record, so Brooksyne has been podcasting our messages.

Message summary: Remember this the next time you look up at a giant oak tree: “Today’s mighty oak is just yesterday’s little acorn that held its ground.” Let us be patient through our affliction and hold our ground which is anchored in the Rock of Ages!

Listen to our message on your audio player. (Brooksyne only)

“Patient in affliction” (Romans 12:12b).

Do you find it difficult to be “patient in affliction”? For over a week now I have had a hard time shaking this cold, although I do believe I’m getting better, getting my voice back. Now using my own cold to illustrate affliction is a kind of embarrassing. After all, in light of what many are going through it’s a “nothing burger” (a folksy phrase we’ve heard a lot in the last year that essentially means it’s insignificant.)

Some are going through intense affliction, others are going through chronic affliction with no end in sight. I read a story about the Christians in the Middle East who are dealing with chronic and at times intense affliction. But one element in the story really broke my heart, after years of strife and persecution, they have little hope of their lives getting better (on this side of eternity).

Affliction can come in many forms although in the time that Paul wrote this verse he surely had in mind the affliction of persecution. Affliction can also be a physical condition, a struggling relationship, financial matter.

Today’s Scripture portion, just three words, describes a necessary outlook for the maturing Christian: “Patient in affliction.” Other versions render; “persevering in tribulation” (NASB), “patient in tribulation” (KJV), “Endure trials patiently” (EHV), “be steadfast and patient in suffering and tribulation” (Amplified).

We may wish or feel it’s our “right” not to bear afflictions but such a view is Scripturally void. The Psalmist candidly reminds us, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous” (Psalm 34:19). Peter writes, “Now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials…” (I Peter 1:6).  Jesus said, “In the world you shall have tribulation” (John 16:33).

In our associations afflictions are generally health related, financial troubles, unfaithful spouses, wayward children, unhealthy addictions, and the list continues. Our brethren over the centuries and many today face these afflictions. But many also deal with persecution which the Apostle Paul likely had in mind when he wrote the daily text.  Recently we have been praying concerning the chronically under reported persecution of Christians in Muslim lands.

The word “affliction” translates the Greek word thlipsis and conveys the idea of being squeezed or placed under pressure or crushed beneath a weight. According to the ancient law of England, those who willfully refused to plead guilty had heavy weights placed on their breasts and were pressed and crushed to death. This was literally thlipsis. Thlipsis thus refers not to mild discomfort but to a great burden that weighs heavily on one’s heart, mind, and soul.

Regardless of the manner or degree in which we are afflicted, today’s verse is instructive. We are called to endure patience in the midst of our afflictions. At times the source of affliction will lift speedily, at other times not so fast (never fast enough for most of us!) and some deal with affliction throughout their entire life. I like the KJV word for patience which is longsuffering, which of course means suffering long – not a short-term ailment.

May the Lord fill our hearts today so that we remain “joyful in hope” and triumphant in any ongoing affliction. Our hope-inspired joy should produce a courage which is able to hold up under the afflictions of this present age, which is passing away.  Someone has said, “Triumph is umph added to try.” We will endure much suffering in this life, but as a believer we also recognize that our suffering in affliction here is momentary and light in the context of eternity and it is producing for us a glory that far outweighs all pain experienced on this side of heaven.

Remember this the next time you look up at a giant oak tree: “Today’s mighty oak is just yesterday’s little acorn that held its ground.” Let us be patient through our affliction and hold our ground which is anchored in the Rock of Ages!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, we are called to persevere not just in the good times but also in times of affliction. We may suffer long but we know that in doing so the fruit of patience is being developed in us. Keep our hearts focused upward, so that we are “joyful in hope and patient in affliction” until the hour You call us home. It is then that we will see the rich and complete reward of our endurance in this life. Amen.

Special Year-end Financial Appeal: We want to thank all who have financially supported our ministry this past year (and some for many years!). We realize there are many fine ministries and causes requesting support at this time but if the Lord would lead you we surely need and appreciate the financial support from our readers and listeners. Like many ministries, we typically see a spike in giving at the end of the year for which we are most thankful.

Our ministry labor is comprised of approximately half our time to Daily Encouragement and the other half to our chaplaincy ministry to companies for which we receive compensation. Each of these ministries essentially is the same as a part-time job (20+ hours weekly) for each of us. Our goal for many years is that each would provide half of our ministry expenses and income.

If you would consider making a donation to our ministry see here for more information.

To donate directly online here. This will open to a page that designates the offering to: WEBER,STEPHEN CHAP, Specialized Chaplaincy Ministry ID: 700001-237376

Please Note: We also provide this familiar option due to the convenience, for international supporters, and for those who may not be concerned regarding receiving an official tax deductible receipt. Click here to send an offering using PayPal. This will open to a page that states “Brooksyne Weber”

Thank you Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Hold On”  Video  Selah Advertisements __ATA.cmd.push(function() { __ATA.initSlot('atatags-26942', { collapseEmpty: 'before', sectionId: '26942', width: 300, height: 250 }); }); __ATA.cmd.push(function() { __ATA.initSlot('atatags-114160', { collapseEmpty: 'before', sectionId: '114160', width: 300, height: 250 }); }); (function(){var c=function(){var a=document.getElementById("crt-1390715047");window.Criteo?(a.parentNode.style.setProperty("display","inline-block","important"),a.style.setProperty("display","block","important"),window.Criteo.DisplayAcceptableAdIfAdblocked({zoneid:388248,containerid:"crt-1390715047",collapseContainerIfNotAdblocked:!0,callifnotadblocked:function(){a.style.setProperty("display","none","important");a.style.setProperty("visbility","hidden","important")}})):(a.style.setProperty("display","none","important"),a.style.setProperty("visibility","hidden","important"))};if(window.Criteo)c();else{if(!__ATA.criteo.script){var b=document.createElement("script");b.src="//static.criteo.net/js/ld/publishertag.js";b.onload=function(){for(var a=0;a<__ATA.criteo.cmd.length;a++){var b=__ATA.criteo.cmd[a];"function"===typeof b&&b()}};(document.head||document.getElementsByTagName("head")[0]).appendChild(b);__ATA.criteo.script=b}__ATA.criteo.cmd.push(c)}})(); (function(){var c=function(){var a=document.getElementById("crt-788247381");window.Criteo?(a.parentNode.style.setProperty("display","inline-block","important"),a.style.setProperty("display","block","important"),window.Criteo.DisplayAcceptableAdIfAdblocked({zoneid:837497,containerid:"crt-788247381",collapseContainerIfNotAdblocked:!0,callifnotadblocked:function(){a.style.setProperty("display","none","important");a.style.setProperty("visbility","hidden","important")}})):(a.style.setProperty("display","none","important"),a.style.setProperty("visibility","hidden","important"))};if(window.Criteo)c();else{if(!__ATA.criteo.script){var b=document.createElement("script");b.src="//static.criteo.net/js/ld/publishertag.js";b.onload=function(){for(var a=0;a<__ATA.criteo.cmd.length;a++){var b=__ATA.criteo.cmd[a];"function"===typeof b&&b()}};(document.head||document.getElementsByTagName("head")[0]).appendChild(b);__ATA.criteo.script=b}__ATA.criteo.cmd.push(c)}})();

“Joyful In Hope”

Thu, 12/07/2017 - 10:04am
Please see below for our 2017 year-end financial appeal.

“Joyful In Hope”

Note: Stephen is slowly recovering from his cold but his voice remains very weak and is again unable to read today’s message for the podcast! We’re grateful for your prayers.

Message summary: Thank God today for the thrill of hope, a longing for many but a reality for the child of God who can abound in God’s eternal hope.

Listen to our message on your audio player. (Brooksyne only)

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer” (Romans 12:12).

“A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices.”

For many years we have prepared our business cards with a calendar on the back to share with the people we encounter through the year, especially in the course of our chaplaincy. We are told that even in this digital age many people still find value in a quick glance at a full year calendar. And it’s gratifying to us that many will have this posted at their workspace and in some instances a collection of these cards for several years back!

We hope the card makes us “sticky”, a concept I shared about 15 years ago when I had a management role over workplace chaplains here in south central PA. Being sticky does not mean taking that which doesn’t belong to you, but it means intentionally leaving evidence of your influence in tangible ways.

On these cards we try to have a brief spiritual message or Scripture verse. This year we used one of Brooksyne’s favorite verses, Romans 12:12. She has demonstrated her stickiness for many years by quoting verses to those undergoing trial. Romans 12:12 is a verse she’s written on Post-It sticky notes at people’s worksite that I’ve seen years later posted on their bulletin boards or above their computer monitors!

It’s a great verse but today let us only consider the first phrase, “Be joyful in hope”. Many versions render the phrase, “rejoicing in hope”. The Amplified states, “constantly rejoicing in hope [because of our confidence in Christ].” “Base your happiness on your hope in Christ” (Phillips).

Robert Morgan writes, “When we can’t rejoice in circumstances, we can rejoice in the anticipation of what God’s going to do with them, in them, through them, despite them, and because of them. On cloudy days the sun still shines as brightly as ever in the center of the solar system; and when we rejoice in hope, we’re saying, ‘Despite current conditions, the Son is shining for me as brightly as ever with healing in His rays’.”

Later in Romans we read, “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).

Today we began with a single line from a well-known Christmas hymn, “A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices.” Do you recognize where this comes from? We post the song below as a YouTube video.

Thank God today for the thrill of hope, a longing for many but a reality for the child of God who can abound in God’s eternal hope. This advent season may you truly rejoice in hope, specifically the hope demonstrated at the Incarnation of Jesus Christ! May the hope in us abound and be demonstrated to the world around us.

Come Thou long awaited one
In the fullness of Your Love
And loose this heart bound up by shame
And I will never be the same

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, one of the greatest emotions we can feel is that of hope. In celebrating the advent of Christ’s arrival to earth we are filled with hope. Jesus not only fills us with hope, He is our hope. Christ descending from heaven to earth gives us a thrill of hope that turns into a fixed hope lifting us from the weary struggles of this world and filling us with great anticipation of that which awaits us on the other side of glory. There is nothing on this side that can fill us with such joyful hope as our future eternal home. Thank You for preparing it and for providing it through Jesus our Lord. Amen.

Special Year-end Financial Appeal: We want to thank all who have financially supported our ministry this past year (and some for many years!). We realize there are many fine ministries and causes requesting support at this time but if the Lord would lead you we surely need and appreciate the financial support from our readers and listeners. Like many ministries, we typically see a spike in giving at the end of the year for which we are most thankful.

Our ministry labor is comprised of approximately half our time to Daily Encouragement and the other half to our chaplaincy ministry to companies for which we receive compensation. Each of these ministries essentially is the same as a part-time job (20+ hours weekly) for each of us. Our goal for many years is that each would provide half of our ministry expenses and income.

If you would consider making a donation to our ministry see here for more information.

To donate directly online here. This will open to a page that designates the offering to: WEBER,STEPHEN CHAP, Specialized Chaplaincy Ministry ID: 700001-237376

Please Note: We also provide this familiar option due to the convenience, for international supporters, and for those who may not be concerned regarding receiving an official tax deductible receipt. Click here to send an offering using PayPal. This will open to a page that states “Brooksyne Weber”

Thank you Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“The Thrill of Hope”  Video  Christy Nockels

“O Holy Night”  Video  David Phelps  This was recorded at one of the Homecoming Christmas shows that we look forward to attending this Saturday evening in Reading, PA.

“Noel”   Video   Lauren Daigle

Note: YouTube often places an ad before a video plays. Most are annoying but not objectionable. Some are humorous or inspiring. However the ad that played before one of the songs used today was in very poor taste. You never know what you will get but of course the ad is not a reflection on either the musician or us!

For further study: Commentary notes on Romans 12:12 Advertisements __ATA.cmd.push(function() { __ATA.initSlot('atatags-26942', { collapseEmpty: 'before', sectionId: '26942', width: 300, height: 250 }); }); __ATA.cmd.push(function() { __ATA.initSlot('atatags-114160', { collapseEmpty: 'before', sectionId: '114160', width: 300, height: 250 }); }); (function(){var c=function(){var a=document.getElementById("crt-1898427511");window.Criteo?(a.parentNode.style.setProperty("display","inline-block","important"),a.style.setProperty("display","block","important"),window.Criteo.DisplayAcceptableAdIfAdblocked({zoneid:388248,containerid:"crt-1898427511",collapseContainerIfNotAdblocked:!0,callifnotadblocked:function(){a.style.setProperty("display","none","important");a.style.setProperty("visbility","hidden","important")}})):(a.style.setProperty("display","none","important"),a.style.setProperty("visibility","hidden","important"))};if(window.Criteo)c();else{if(!__ATA.criteo.script){var b=document.createElement("script");b.src="//static.criteo.net/js/ld/publishertag.js";b.onload=function(){for(var a=0;a<__ATA.criteo.cmd.length;a++){var b=__ATA.criteo.cmd[a];"function"===typeof b&&b()}};(document.head||document.getElementsByTagName("head")[0]).appendChild(b);__ATA.criteo.script=b}__ATA.criteo.cmd.push(c)}})(); (function(){var c=function(){var a=document.getElementById("crt-655289620");window.Criteo?(a.parentNode.style.setProperty("display","inline-block","important"),a.style.setProperty("display","block","important"),window.Criteo.DisplayAcceptableAdIfAdblocked({zoneid:837497,containerid:"crt-655289620",collapseContainerIfNotAdblocked:!0,callifnotadblocked:function(){a.style.setProperty("display","none","important");a.style.setProperty("visbility","hidden","important")}})):(a.style.setProperty("display","none","important"),a.style.setProperty("visibility","hidden","important"))};if(window.Criteo)c();else{if(!__ATA.criteo.script){var b=document.createElement("script");b.src="//static.criteo.net/js/ld/publishertag.js";b.onload=function(){for(var a=0;a<__ATA.criteo.cmd.length;a++){var b=__ATA.criteo.cmd[a];"function"===typeof b&&b()}};(document.head||document.getElementsByTagName("head")[0]).appendChild(b);__ATA.criteo.script=b}__ATA.criteo.cmd.push(c)}})();

“Not Without Hope”

Wed, 12/06/2017 - 10:57am
Please see below for our 2017 year-end financial appeal.

Our friend Greg Schneider took this photo of a doe and her fawn on Cape Henlopen Delaware.

“Not Without Hope”

Note: Stephen is slowly recovering from his cold but his voice remains very weak! We’re grateful for your prayers.

Message summary: Let’s all spread the good news of our caring, loving God to a broken, hurting world and tell them of this hope!

Listen to our message on your audio player. (Brooksyne only)

“Remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12).

The First Sunday of Advent has a theme of hope so this week we are considering the wonderful blessing of hope. Regardless of where we live we encounter people that need to hear a message of hope. We all need a message of hope! The body of Christ is strategically distributed to share this message of hope everywhere they go.

Brooksyne had an interesting visit in the course of our chaplaincy ministry. We visit worksites and briefly interact with the employees as we look for opportunities to express interest and care in their personal lives, hopefully leading to a witness for Christ.

We have learned that often an effective discussion starter is to inquire about one’s family. Brooksyne met a visibly troubled woman in her early 30’s who was newly hired in a plastics plant that she visited in Lancaster a few years back.

“I could see that the new employee was very troubled by her sad countenance.  Knowing that she was hired as a temp I realized it might be my only opportunity to reach out to her since she would likely be gone next week.  I felt the urgency in my spirit to find out where she stood with the Lord and what brought on such sadness.

I asked about her family life and she didn’t answer right away except to tell me that she had no husband.  After a long pause she lowered her head and told me softly, ‘I did have four children.’ I picked up on the word ‘did’ and wrongly concluded that she had lost custody of her children and was broken up about not being able to care for them.  She kept her head low and said nothing for a little while. I eventually asked her if her children were in their father’s care and she shook her head.

“No,” she said in almost a whisper, “they’re all dead.” They had all died in a fire and she was carrying tremendous guilt since it was intentionally set by her feuding ex-boyfriend in a messy love triangle. In addition to the tremendous loss she felt from her children’s deaths her family had completely disowned her so she now had no one.

In my mind I immediately recalled this high profile story from the newspapers and media months earlier.  I also remember reading that she collapsed as the caskets bearing her children, ages 4 to 11, were loaded into the hearse. No wonder this woman was so terribly troubled and seemingly without hope.  She’d lost her own children and she’d also lost the family of her youth. I was able to pray for her and give her a hug along with the assurance that Jesus still loved her. It was the only time I saw her as she was gone the next week and I was unable to make contact with her again.”

We live in a world where so many face varying degrees of hopelessness. But today let us consider a context in Scripture that refers to universal hopelessness.

In our daily Scripture text the Apostle Paul reminds the Ephesian believers where they came from. As we read it two thousand years later it describes where we all came from apart from Christ. One commentator makes this observation: characterized spiritually by five “less attributes” – Christ-less, country-less, covenant-less, hope-less and god-less!

And due to our fallen human nature that’s where we all came from. Interestingly the phrase “without God” translates the Greek word “atheo” which is the foundation for the English words “atheist” or “atheism” and this is the only occurrence of the word in the New Testament.

But today let us just consider two words “without hope”. That is a most pitiable state to be in. Earlier in chapter 2 Paul wrote, “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest” (Ephesians 2:1-3).

But a major theme in Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians is grace. The terrible prognosis of Ephesians 2:1-3 is followed by this glorious truth “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us.” (Ephesians 2:4). That’s a verse I like to personalize.

Consider our inheritance as a believer in God in the spiritual realm as a result of God’s grace. Our past is forgiven, our present is abundant life in Christ, and our future is heaven, forever with Him. What could be greater than those blessings in addition to the fact that it’s available to everyone including those whose lives are wrecked! That is hope!

So this advent season let’s all spread the good news of our caring, loving God to a broken, hurting world and tell them of this hope!  There is no vessel too broken that God’s healing touch can’t restore. That which is impossible with man is possible with God!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, at times my cynicism limits my prayer of faith. I find myself expecting You to work in circumstances in the natural human way I work things out.  But then You remind me that You are Omnipotent so You work in supernatural ways to restore broken lives, mend broken hearts, and turn hopelessness into hope eternal. You do extraordinary things in those who’ve plunged into hopelessness due to the desperate messes of their own making. I place my loved one in Your hands again and ask You to reveal Your immeasurable, not for sale grace to his or her life, to restore hope and instill faith to believe just as You have shown me the way to forgiveness and freedom through faith. Through Christ we can learn to be “joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer” (Romans 12:12).  Amen.

Special Year-end Financial Appeal: We want to thank all who have financially supported our ministry this past year (and some for many years!). We realize there are many fine ministries and causes requesting support at this time but if the Lord would lead you we surely need and appreciate the financial support from our readers and listeners. Like many ministries, we typically see a spike in giving at the end of the year for which we are most thankful.

Our ministry labor is comprised of approximately half our time to Daily Encouragement and the other half to our chaplaincy ministry to companies for which we receive compensation. Each of these ministries essentially is the same as a part-time job (20+ hours weekly) for each of us. Our goal for many years is that each would provide half of our ministry expenses and income.

If you would consider making a donation to our ministry see here for more information.

To donate directly online here. This will open to a page that designates the offering to: WEBER,STEPHEN CHAP, Specialized Chaplaincy Ministry ID: 700001-237376

Please Note: We also provide this familiar option due to the convenience, for international supporters, and for those who may not be concerned regarding receiving an official tax deductible receipt. Click here to send an offering using PayPal. This will open to a page that states “Brooksyne Weber”

Thank you Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Sow Mercy”  Video  Gaither Vocal Band

“Hope For The Hopeless”  Video  Jeff & Sheri Easter

“Hope For The Hopeless”  Video  Sheila Walsh  (A song suggested by a reader)

“Worth”  Video   Jason Crabb

Story of baby Hope referred to in yesterday’s message. I suggest you watch the embedded video. I am also gripped by the extremely sad state of the drug addicted mother who at least in the video states she has given up. “I did give up, I just decided that this was going to be my life.” We hope that she finds deliverance and hope in Christ and freedom from her chains. We have worked with these kinds of addiction in the course of our chaplaincy, and though many remain drug dependent, there are others who finally find freedom from addiction. Advertisements __ATA.cmd.push(function() { __ATA.initSlot('atatags-26942', { collapseEmpty: 'before', sectionId: '26942', width: 300, height: 250 }); }); __ATA.cmd.push(function() { __ATA.initSlot('atatags-114160', { collapseEmpty: 'before', sectionId: '114160', width: 300, height: 250 }); }); (function(){var c=function(){var a=document.getElementById("crt-541981600");window.Criteo?(a.parentNode.style.setProperty("display","inline-block","important"),a.style.setProperty("display","block","important"),window.Criteo.DisplayAcceptableAdIfAdblocked({zoneid:388248,containerid:"crt-541981600",collapseContainerIfNotAdblocked:!0,callifnotadblocked:function(){a.style.setProperty("display","none","important");a.style.setProperty("visbility","hidden","important")}})):(a.style.setProperty("display","none","important"),a.style.setProperty("visibility","hidden","important"))};if(window.Criteo)c();else{if(!__ATA.criteo.script){var b=document.createElement("script");b.src="//static.criteo.net/js/ld/publishertag.js";b.onload=function(){for(var a=0;a<__ATA.criteo.cmd.length;a++){var b=__ATA.criteo.cmd[a];"function"===typeof b&&b()}};(document.head||document.getElementsByTagName("head")[0]).appendChild(b);__ATA.criteo.script=b}__ATA.criteo.cmd.push(c)}})(); (function(){var c=function(){var a=document.getElementById("crt-1340560399");window.Criteo?(a.parentNode.style.setProperty("display","inline-block","important"),a.style.setProperty("display","block","important"),window.Criteo.DisplayAcceptableAdIfAdblocked({zoneid:837497,containerid:"crt-1340560399",collapseContainerIfNotAdblocked:!0,callifnotadblocked:function(){a.style.setProperty("display","none","important");a.style.setProperty("visbility","hidden","important")}})):(a.style.setProperty("display","none","important"),a.style.setProperty("visibility","hidden","important"))};if(window.Criteo)c();else{if(!__ATA.criteo.script){var b=document.createElement("script");b.src="//static.criteo.net/js/ld/publishertag.js";b.onload=function(){for(var a=0;a<__ATA.criteo.cmd.length;a++){var b=__ATA.criteo.cmd[a];"function"===typeof b&&b()}};(document.head||document.getElementsByTagName("head")[0]).appendChild(b);__ATA.criteo.script=b}__ATA.criteo.cmd.push(c)}})();

“Hope For The Hopeless”

Tue, 12/05/2017 - 11:18am
Please see below for our 2017 year-end financial appeal.
Osorno Volcano in Southern Chile
Photo by Patricia Hormabazal, a Chilean friend we know from a company we serve.

“Hope For The Hopeless”

Note: I am still dealing with a severe cold. Brooksyne once again has gone out for our chaplain duties solo (although today Ester joined her). Also normally we work together on message preparation with Brooksyne being proof reader and editor so please be patient these last several days.

Message summary: “Even in the darkest moments, you never know when love and hope will reveal itself.”

Due to my vocal condition a podcast was not prepared today. I can’t speak louder than a whisper!

“Where then is my hope— who can see any hope for me?” (Job 17:15)

Sometimes you read a story that you just can’t wrap your arms around. So often this is in the context of evil but the story I share today is of practically unbelievable good. We have a link to the story below that includes a video that includes some police cam footage. But here’s the short version.

Police Officer Ryan Holets in Albuquerque New Mexico came across a couple doing drugs and noticed the woman was pregnant. He is stunned and informs her she is killing her unborn baby which she initially reacted to as a judgment.

However she is very broken and realizes he is really looking out for her baby’s best interests and she conveyed that she was willing for someone to adopt her baby. In a spontaneous leading from God Holets says, “I just felt God telling me, tell her that you will do it (adopt the baby), because you can.”

Three weeks later the baby was born and indeed Holets and his wife (who already had four kids) adopted the little girl and named her Hope. The story ends with this gripping line, “For Officer Ryan Holets, it’s proof that even in the darkest moments, you never know when love and hope will reveal itself.”

Think about that line in life, “Even in the darkest moments, you never know when love and hope will reveal itself.” Today let us consider a dark time in Job’s life when he asks an interesting question in one of those likely less considered portions of Scripture. He is responding to Eliphaz the Temanite, one of his “friends” who had attempted to give him some helpful counsel.

Job’s response conveys his desperation and even moments of apparent hopelessness. “Where then is my hope— who can see any hope for me?”

At that specific time Job would appear to have no hope at all but interestingly apart from the Psalms hope is mentioned more times in the book of Job than any other book of the Bible (16 times). Job’s real life experience some 4,000 years ago is an example for all who face apparent hopeless situations. Sometimes we may teeter on hopelessness but let us not stay there! Job’s sense of hope is expressed in one of the more well-known verses from. “Though He slay me, I will hope in Him” (Job 13:15).

But in my view Job’s greatest declaration of faith is this one, “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end He will stand on the earth” (Job 19:25). Later in the book there was a resolution to his situation that worked out well but Job made this faith statement before he knew that outcome.

The late Bible teacher James Montgomery Boice noted, “The God of the Bible is not weak; He is strong. He is all-mighty. Nothing happens without His permission or apart from His purposes — even evil. Nothing disturbs or puzzles Him. His purposes are always accomplished. Therefore those who know Him rightly act with boldness, assured that God is with them to accomplish His own desirable purposes in their lives.”

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, the day to day circumstances in our lives are not scripted so that we know ahead of time what will unfold. Some events will be welcomed and even applauded, but others will be perplexing and even beyond our grasp to control. You don’t expect us to have all the right answers or to fully understand all that concerns us, any more than Job who was hard-pressed when he tried to understand his multiple losses and hardships. You simply want us to trust You, as we hold on to Your unchanging hand, while You go before us making our crooked paths straight and extending Your right hand as we walk the steep mountains together. We join the Psalmist in proclaiming “For I hope in You, O Lord.” We have trusted You over and over throughout our lives, and today we pray for grace to trust You even more. It is in the name of Jesus that we pray. Amen.

Special Year-end Financial Appeal: We want to thank all who have financially supported our ministry this past year (and some for many years!). We realize there are many fine ministries and causes requesting support at this time but if the Lord would lead you we surely need and appreciate the financial support from our readers and listeners. Like many ministries, we typically see a spike in giving at the end of the year for which we are most thankful.

Our ministry labor is comprised of approximately half our time to Daily Encouragement and the other half to our chaplaincy ministry to companies for which we receive compensation. Each of these ministries essentially is the same as a part-time job (20+ hours weekly) for each of us. Our goal for many years is that each would provide half of our ministry expenses and income.

If you would consider making a donation to our ministry see here for more information.

To donate directly online here. This will open to a page that designates the offering to: WEBER,STEPHEN CHAP, Specialized Chaplaincy Ministry ID: 700001-237376

Please Note: We also provide this familiar option due to the convenience, for international supporters, and for those who may not be concerned regarding receiving an official tax deductible receipt. Click here to donate using PayPal. This will open to a page that designates the offering to: “brooksyne@dailyencouragement.net”

Thank you Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

Story of baby Hope referred to in today’s message. I suggest you also watch the embedded video. I am also gripped by the extremely sad state of the drug addicted mother who at least in the video states she has given up. “I did give up, I just decided that this was going to be my life.” We hope that she find deliverance and hope in Christ and freedom from her chains. We have worked with these kinds of addiction in the course of our chaplaincy.

For many years I recalled listening to James Montgomery Boice and his distinct voice. Here is a clip from a sermon “Bondage of the Will (part 1)” Video

“Chain Breaker”  Video  Gaither Vocal Band  We have shared this song many times in the last 6 months but it seems appropriate for today’s message. Brooksyne is looking forward to joining the Calvary Church Choir this Saturday evening in backing up the GVB on this song in a concert in Reading, PA. Advertisements __ATA.cmd.push(function() { __ATA.initSlot('atatags-26942', { collapseEmpty: 'before', sectionId: '26942', width: 300, height: 250 }); }); __ATA.cmd.push(function() { __ATA.initSlot('atatags-114160', { collapseEmpty: 'before', sectionId: '114160', width: 300, height: 250 }); }); (function(){var c=function(){var a=document.getElementById("crt-542967870");window.Criteo?(a.parentNode.style.setProperty("display","inline-block","important"),a.style.setProperty("display","block","important"),window.Criteo.DisplayAcceptableAdIfAdblocked({zoneid:388248,containerid:"crt-542967870",collapseContainerIfNotAdblocked:!0,callifnotadblocked:function(){a.style.setProperty("display","none","important");a.style.setProperty("visbility","hidden","important")}})):(a.style.setProperty("display","none","important"),a.style.setProperty("visibility","hidden","important"))};if(window.Criteo)c();else{if(!__ATA.criteo.script){var b=document.createElement("script");b.src="//static.criteo.net/js/ld/publishertag.js";b.onload=function(){for(var a=0;a<__ATA.criteo.cmd.length;a++){var b=__ATA.criteo.cmd[a];"function"===typeof b&&b()}};(document.head||document.getElementsByTagName("head")[0]).appendChild(b);__ATA.criteo.script=b}__ATA.criteo.cmd.push(c)}})(); (function(){var c=function(){var a=document.getElementById("crt-1818463667");window.Criteo?(a.parentNode.style.setProperty("display","inline-block","important"),a.style.setProperty("display","block","important"),window.Criteo.DisplayAcceptableAdIfAdblocked({zoneid:837497,containerid:"crt-1818463667",collapseContainerIfNotAdblocked:!0,callifnotadblocked:function(){a.style.setProperty("display","none","important");a.style.setProperty("visbility","hidden","important")}})):(a.style.setProperty("display","none","important"),a.style.setProperty("visibility","hidden","important"))};if(window.Criteo)c();else{if(!__ATA.criteo.script){var b=document.createElement("script");b.src="//static.criteo.net/js/ld/publishertag.js";b.onload=function(){for(var a=0;a<__ATA.criteo.cmd.length;a++){var b=__ATA.criteo.cmd[a];"function"===typeof b&&b()}};(document.head||document.getElementsByTagName("head")[0]).appendChild(b);__ATA.criteo.script=b}__ATA.criteo.cmd.push(c)}})();

“Hope For The Nations”

Mon, 12/04/2017 - 12:33pm
Please see below for our 2017 year-end financial appeal.
We are pleased to see Ester’s continued interest and seriousness about her photography. Last night she noticed an interesting moon and took the tripod and her camera out for this shot through a tree. We read in this article that this is known as a supermoon.

“Hope For The Nations”

Note: I am still dealing with severe cold and have essentially lost my voice today. Brooksyne took Ester to a dental appointment followed by a chaplain visit. Thankfully she is virtually through with the cold she had but I am still fighting mine.

Message summary: Today I urge you to consider the wonderful blessing of the hope we have in Christ. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul (Hebrews 6:19).

Due to my vocal condition a podcast was not prepared today.

“In His name the nations will put their hope” (Matthew 12:21). “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope” (Romans 15:4).

Yesterday was the first Sunday in Advent, a time when many churches begin their focus on the Incarnation of Jesus Christ (Christmas). The theme for the first Sunday is Hope. Yesterday I was scheduled to speak at a Teen Challenge men’s center and had prepared a message on hope that I was unable to use due to my cold so we will adapt it to this Daily Encouragement message!

According to a dictionary hope is a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen. Hope is an optimistic state of mind that is based on an expectation of positive outcomes with respect to events and circumstances in one’s life or the world at large. As a verb, its definitions include: “expect with confidence” and “to cherish a desire with anticipation”. However in reality when we speak of hope it is often a wishful thought.

But the word for hope in the Bible has a sense of being an absolute certainty, one of those early lessons from Bible College I have never forgotten!

It’s interesting to me that the word “hope” is not found in any of the traditional accounts of the birth of Christ in Scripture (Matthew and Luke) In fact it’s only found a few times in the Gospels.

In our daily text Jesus is teaching and quotes a portion from Isaiah concerning Himself (Isaiah 42:1-4) The portion ends with the powerful phrase, “In His name the nations will put their hope”.

In two thousand years of church history we see this being fulfilled. The Great Commission of Christ was to “go into all the world and preach the Gospel”. The church, being made up of redeemed people, surely has many flaws but thank God for the many who have taken this commission seriously and now all around this terrestrial ball in virtually every nation there are men and women placing their hope in Christ. Actually I believe there is now hardly a nation on the earth where Christ does not have a representative.

Today I urge you to consider the wonderful blessing of the hope we have in Christ. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul (Hebrews 6:19).

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Jesus, thank You for the great blessing of hope. Help me not to waste my time and energy in futile or wishful thinking. Instead I want to fix my thoughts upon the living hope I have in Jesus Christ my Lord. I anchor my soul in the bedrock of Your Holy Word so that when other viewpoints counter the truths prescribed in Your Word my anchor remains firm. When difficulties appear insurmountable remind me that I serve an extraordinary God who does not rely on natural solutions but works in the supernatural realm to meet each one of my needs. Your solutions to my problems are not subject to my scrutiny but rather I conform to Your leading and accept Your plan for my life. In doing so I am not tossed to and fro by wishful thinking but I am firmly grounded in the living hope of our resurrected Lord and Savior. It is in His name that we pray, Amen.

Special Year-end Financial Appeal: We want to thank all who have financially supported our ministry this past year (and some for many years!). We realize there are many fine ministries and causes requesting support at this time but if the Lord would lead you we surely need and appreciate the financial support from our readers and listeners. Like many ministries, we typically see a spike in giving at the end of the year for which we are most thankful.

Our ministry labor is comprised of approximately half our time to Daily Encouragement and the other half to our chaplaincy ministry to companies for which we receive compensation. Each of these ministries essentially is the same as a part-time job (20+ hours weekly) for each of us. Our goal for many years is that each would provide half of our ministry expenses and income.

If you would consider making a donation to our ministry see here for more information.

To donate directly online here. This will open to a page that designates the offering to: WEBER,STEPHEN CHAP, Specialized Chaplaincy Ministry ID: 700001-237376

Please Note: We also provide this familiar option due to the convenience, for international supporters, and for those who may not be concerned regarding receiving an official tax deductible receipt. Click here to donate using PayPal. This will open to a page that designates the offering to: “brooksyne@dailyencouragement.net”

Thank you Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Hope for All Nations”  Video  Karen Peck and New River

“Hope Has Hands!”  Video  Greater Vision

“What A Beautiful Name”  Video  Voices Of Lee


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.)

“Lying Lips”

Fri, 12/01/2017 - 11:09am

Due to my cold Brooksyne went solo yesterday for chaplain visits. She was rerouted around a large sawmill fire near Leola PA which can be seen in the distance.

“Lying Lips”

Message summary: Today we encourage our readers to “speak the truth in love”.

Note: I (Stephen) am dealing with severe cold and am homebound today. Brooksyne is largely recovered from a cold she had earlier in the week and has left for chaplain visitation. Due to my hoarse voice a podcast will not be prepared for this message.

“Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who deal faithfully are His delight” (Proverbs 12:22). “Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices” (Colossians 3:9).

Tommy Carpenter is a friend from Arkansas we met about ten years ago in a “chance” meeting in my chaplain supervisor’s office in Springfield, MO. Tommy has become a real source of encouragement through the year although we have only visited face to face a couple of times. He has one of the most spiritually edifying Facebook pages I have seen. Tommy is in his late seventies but maintains an energetic faith-filled outlook in life. He continues to lead mission trips to Belize where he had served as a missionary

Several weeks ago I saw a post on his Facebook page that initially seemed rather uncharacteristic of him. Using one of those bright colored backgrounds it stated, “Calling our home phone will go directly to voice mail to screen all calls. If you want us to call back leave a message.”  He went on to elaborate, “I don’t owe student loans, I don’t need insurance, I don’t need to extend the warranty on my vehicle, I don’t need to get my computer fixed and I don’t want to talk to a recorded call!”

I know the types of calls Tommy is referring to and get several a day in spite of being in programs that are supposed to block these calls. At least some of them now identify as “suspected spam” on the caller id. I think these callers get more and more “wise” to the system and  find ways to get around it, one being to fake the number being called from so you think it’s a local call. Due to our chaplaincy responsibilities we want to be accessible to people who may call us who may not be in our contact list.

Most of these calls, apart from being extremely annoying and disruptive, are essentially lies.

Lying sure seems to be increasing in our age with varying degrees of deceptive speech and so many ways to disseminate falsehood. A popular expression this last year has been “fake news”. Of course in so many cases the determination of what constitute “fake” depends on your ideology or really often what you want to believe. My observation is that there is a lot of lying going on regardless of whether one is on the left or on the right, with a view that the end justifies the means. This is an age that true followers of Jesus Christ need the gift of discernment.

The first lie in the Bible was Satan to Adam and Eve (Genesis 3) earning him the title “father of lies” (John 8:44). All through the Bible and human history people have had the propensity to lie. One of the Ten Commandments specifically addresses lying, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor” (Exodus 20:16).

Proverbs 12:22 speaks clearly about how God views lying, “Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord”.

A great verse to consider and apply from the New Testament is “Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices” (Colossians 3:9).

Today we encourage our readers to “speak the truth in love” a phrase from Ephesians 4:15.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, in an age where deception, trickery, scheming, and outright lying are prevalent in the government, media, marketplace, workplace, family, and sadly even in some churches help us to cease from lying to one another and instead speak the truth in love. Give us discernment that we may recognize lying tongues that come to us in so many ways in this information age. Help us to always speak the truth even if it may hurt. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.


Brooksyne saw this bench wagon being transported yesterday. These wagons hold the benches for the Amish church services that are rotated between member’s homes and barns. Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“To Tell the Truth”  Video  Sovereign Grace Ministries  A children’s song with a message for all ages!

Finally today:


A friend shared this photo with Brooksyne yesterday. His wife was in the Women and Babies Hospital following surgery and this buck was lurking outside and they took this photo. Apparently he wanted in and broke the glass in the attempt! Now that will be a memorable hospital visit.


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.

“We Do Our Best Work In The Dark”

Thu, 11/30/2017 - 9:30am

“We Do Our Best Work In The Dark”

Message summary: Just as it can be said of mushrooms it can also be said of Christians that “We Do Our Best Work In The Dark”. Now to be clear this is not to assert that we are to walk in darkness. As Christians we are called to walk in the light but since we live in this dark world we still do some of our work in the dark.

Note: Due to a hoarse throat condition a podcast will not be prepared for this message.

“They grope in darkness with no light” (Job 12:25). “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them” (Ephesians 5:8-11).

Our area, especially Chester County to the east of us, is a prime area for growing mushrooms. Mushrooms are kind of like honey in the sense you don’t want to give a lot of thought to how it’s made (honey) or grown (mushrooms). Several years ago we went to Kennett Square the “Mushroom Capitol of the World” for their annual “Mushroom Festival” and had a number of delicacies made with mushrooms including ice cream!

A mushroom growing operation emits a rather distinctive, quite unpleasant odor due to the medium they are grown in something you would probably rather not know.* Although mushrooms are classified as vegetables, technically they are not plants but part of the kingdom called fungi, which is something else you probably don’t want to think about when you are eating them!

Nevertheless, we both enjoy eating mushrooms such as mushroom soup, baked on a pizza, cut up into salads, as part of an omelet, etc. Mushrooms are also nutritionally good having many necessary vitamins (a 3 ounce portabella cap has more potassium than a banana).

Several weeks we saw a large truck that was transporting mushrooms for the To-Jo mushroom company which had an interesting slogan on it, “We Do Our Best Work In The Dark”. Mushrooms indeed grow in the dark so that’s a fitting statement.

But it can be said not only of mushrooms but of Christians that “We Do Our Best Work In The Dark”. Now to be clear this is not to assert that we are to walk in darkness. As Christians we are called to walk in the light but since we live in this dark world we still do some of our work in the dark.

Some of the most outstanding examples of witness are when Christ followers work in dark places. We consider those seeking to uphold Biblical moral standards in a dark world where good is called evil, and evil is called good, those who take a stand in regard to life in opposition to the powerful abortion proponents, those who work in rescue missions in “skid row” and in many other ways. These are dark places that need the light of Jesus Christ.

An ancient word from Job is so pertinent, “They grope in darkness with no light.” This verse deals with leaders. “He makes the nations great, then destroys them; He enlarges the nations, then leads them away. He deprives of intelligence the chiefs of the earth’s people and makes them wander in a pathless waste. They grope in darkness with no light, and He makes them stagger like a drunken man” (Job 12:23-25). This is certainly a portion worthy of further consideration and seems so incredibly descriptive of our own age.

The radiant light of God’s Holy Word exposes and dispels darkness. When God’s servants live as children of light, darkness is dissipated.

All of us, in one way or another, have some darkness around us. By God’s grace and through His might, as believers we want our light to shine brightly to expose and then dispel the darkness! We cannot dabble in darkness and still live in the light. God has not called us to blend in but rather we are to stand out as those whose lives are filled “with goodness, righteousness and truth”. When we try to blend in we are putting ourselves at danger since one force will eventually overtake the other.

We were once darkness but are now light in the Lord and thus we are to live as children of light. We must have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. At this time when crusaders of darkness are applauded and in some instances upheld as role models, let us hear the resounding call God has placed upon us to “live as children of light!”

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Jesus, You are the Light of the world. And because You reside in our hearts we are a reflection of Your holy light. The world we live in is dark and growing even darker as Satan’s sinister and deceitful schemes are being played out. Help us not to look the other way when darkness is spreading lest the darkness overshadow us in time. Instead would You empower us through the power of Your Holy Spirit to shine brightly in a wicked and decadent society. We come against the darkness by speaking against wickedness in all forms. And, Lord, help us to be consistent not only in what we speak but the manner in which we live. May the fruit of light be evident in all we do. It is in Your name, Jesus, that we pray. Amen.

* The mushroom itself is simply a ‘fruit’ of the mycelium that releases spores. The mycelium grows in a black compost of straw and horse manure.

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Light Of The World”  Video  Lauren Daigle

A Trip to the Alien Planet That Grows America’s Mushrooms “Chester County, Pennsylvania produces a whopping half of all the mushrooms in the United States, and its spooky farms don’t look like anything else on Earth.”

“How do mushrooms grow?”  Video

Kennett Square Mushroom Festival

To-Jo Mushrooms


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.

“God’s Supply Chain”

Wed, 11/29/2017 - 11:08am

Early yesterday morning I passed this tidy white barn on Colebrook Road approaching Lebanon, PA

“God’s Supply Chain”

Message summary: Today let us thank God for His supply chain and consider what part we may have in that chain.

Listen to our message on your audio player.

“And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).

Yesterday morning, since Brooksyne was sick with a cold, I alone visited the employees at “Your Heart’s Delight”, a large wholesale distributor of gift and home decor items. This company provides products to the gift shops that women especially like to shop at with items similar to what you find at the Cracker Barrel store gift section.

They had two full 45 foot container trailers to unload and I encouraged the men unloading them by informing them they were part of the “supply chain”. The supply chain is a phrase you hear a lot about. According to Wikipedia, “A supply chain is a system of organizations, people, activities, information, and resources involved in moving a product or service from supplier to customer. Supply chain activities involve the transformation of natural resources, raw materials, and components into a finished product that is delivered to the end customer.”

Supply chains are a part of how life works but we usually consider just the link in the chain immediately before us. When we thank God for our meal we may ask God to “bless the hands that prepared it”, which Brooksyne has always gotten a kick out of as she mentally pictures detached hands peeling vegetables and stirring foods on the stove, then laying out the food.

We may say we got our food at the supermarket. But there are many, many links in the supply chain prior to that. When I pray over our meals I often remember these chain links such as the farmer, the truck drivers, the distribution workers and so forth. But actually we consider how the chain really goes back even further to the people who make the agricultural equipment that the farmer uses and on and on.

Today let us consider “God’s Supply Chain”.  Perhaps many of you have memorized our text which is one of the great promises of the Bible: “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).

The apostle Paul was initially writing this to the Philippian believers in the context of being content with God’s provisions. “I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need” (Philippians 4:11,12). Many of you will know by memory the powerful verse that follows. Think about it first and then click here to confirm or inform!

Just as there is a tendency to overlook the links in a supply chain apart from the preceding link, the same is true in God’s supply chain. This chain has both supernatural and natural elements. God may supernaturally supply a need such as the manna in the wilderness or feeding 5,000 with a little boy’s lunch.

But God usually works through natural means in His supply chain with people acting diligently, resourcefully, and generously in doing their part. We should not only be an end link in this chain as recipients but we should function as other links as well. Today we consider a quiet man that probably has been a part of the supply chain for many of our readers. Ray works at a company (Val-Co) that manufactures watering equipment for the poultry industry. He assembles a regulator that is a critical component in this system used in both layer houses (eggs) and broiler houses (meat). He has been assembling these regulators since we started in this company in 2007 and many years before that. He has surely assembled hundreds of thousands of these regulators. So, if you’ve eaten eggs or chicken in the last 25 years Ray very likely had a part in that!

Today let us thank God for His supply chain and consider what part we may have in that chain.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, we thank You that in Your perfect design You have work for all of us to do, whether it’s at the beginning of the supply chain or at the end. You also skill people to promote or distribute these products so that they make helpful contributions to our daily lives. Whether it’s factory worker making equipment, the farmer who raises the poultry, the truck driver transporting the poultry, the employees at the factory who clean and process the eggs or meat, the butchers that safely stores the poultry before purchase, or the person who prepares it for others to enjoy at their dinner table many people have a role in the supply chain. Today we are grateful for the part we have in the work that we are given. May we do it heartily as unto You…for it is You that we seek to please and thereby we bless others as well. Amen.


We shared a photo of this stone farmhouse with last Friday’s message but yesterday when Brooksyne took her afternoon walk on the Donegal Springs trail she snapped this photo with the sheep in the foreground. Few sights are as peaceful as grazing sheep on a hillside. And when little lambs hobble along or nestle near their mothers it’s more than peaceful; it’s charming and brings a smile to even the hardest of hearts.
(Click to enlarge) Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“My God Shall Supply” (Philippians 4:19 & Hebrew 4:16)  Video  Scripture Memory Songs

“Our God”  Video  Chris Tomlin

“Family Chain”  Video  The Nelons

Further study: Philippians 4:19 is a rich verse to consider and for those who desire further study see this online commentary compendium.

“Your Heart’s Delight”

“Val-Co” Finally today:

We witnessed a baptism on Sunday and share Ian’s testimony with you today. Since the person being baptized is at quite a distance to most in the large sanctuary they pre-record a video of the baptismal candidate sharing his or her testimony. Just prior to the baptism the video is shared with the congregation. We sit near the front and on Sunday we noticed a large group of people we hadn’t seen before in the first couple of rows in front of us. It turned out to be the family of Ian Salisbury, the young man being baptized. After the baptism he returned to his front row seat but not before he hugged family members and Ester captured this extended and loving embrace of Ian and his mother from New York, (as we learned afterwards). We asked their permission to post it on our site. See here for Ian’s testimony and you’ll also see his face.


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.

“Spiritual Pest Control”

Tue, 11/28/2017 - 12:11pm

Mesa Arch, Utah
We’ve been sharing a lot of local photos so we thought today we would share a clearly non-local photo taken by our friend Howard Blichfeldt!

“Spiritual Pest Control”

Message summary: We are in the pest control business. I have to be wary of pests in my own life, as well assisting others deal with the pests in their lives!

Listen to our message on your audio player.

“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings” (1 Peter 5:8,9). “To write the same things again is no trouble to me, and it is a safeguard for you” (Philippians 3:1).

In our role as corporate chaplains we visit Safeguard, a company that builds live animal traps for the pest control industry. These traps are considered “humane” since the animal pest can be safely caught and then released unharmed in another area (presumably not near your neighbor’s house!).

In a recent visit I spoke to Kelly, the sales manager, about business conditions. The company normally has an uptick in sales in the fall as animals move closer to homes seeking warmth and calls are made to the pest control companies.

I told Kelly that in a sense I am also in the pest control business. I have to be wary of pests in my own life, as well assisting others deal with the pests in their lives!

These pests are the many attempts of the enemy to steal, kill and destroy (See John 10:10). These pests come in so many different forms. Today we will all inevitably deal with a variety of spiritual pests although we may not prefer to think in these terms! The daily Scripture text has a fitting word: “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (I Peter 5:8).

“Be self-controlled and alert.” That’s a short Scripture portion we all should memorize. D. Edmond Hiebert, in his Expositional Commentary, writes on this passage and the specific word translated “self-control”: “a condition free from every form of mental and spiritual loss of self-control; it is an attitude of self-discipline that avoids the extremes of the ‘reckless irresponsibility of self-indulgence on the one hand, and of religious ecstasy on the other.’ It inculcates a calm, steady state of mind that evaluates things correctly, so that it is not thrown off balance by new and fascinating ideas. Such ‘level-headedness’ is a constant Christian need.” Note: This level-headedness is really needed in these times!

“Your enemy the devil”. Perhaps Martin Luther had this verse in mind when he wrote his most famous hymn “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” with this line, “But still our ancient foe, doth seek to work us woe”. The Holman New Testament Commentary states concerning this phrase, “Wake up! Pay attention! We are involved in a spiritual battle. You need to know the enemy and his characteristics. You need to understand that we are in a life-and-death battle.”

“Prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” The dictionary describes the act of prowling as one who goes about “cruising, moving secretly, undercover, incognito, stealing, lying in an ambush.” It’s a perfect description of the tactics of our enemy the devil who lies in wait trying to steal that which is of most importance to us. The Spirit through Peter gives us sound advice that will keep us from being tricked, caught off guard, and entrapped by the enemy’s sinister schemes.

“Resist him, standing firm in the faith” Earlier in his life Peter had resisted the Lord and ended up submitting to Satan! But now many years later he is a stalwart defender of the faith.

“Because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”  Whatever we are facing others have faced it or are presently facing it as well.

Through our study and application of Scripture we can be wise to the many pests we face and to the devil’s schemes which will help us stand firm in the faith. We can also be consoled in knowing there are many others undergoing the same kinds of testings and yet have power through Christ to resist the enemy and endure the suffering that comes from such trials.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, through the knowledge of Your Scriptures, through the application of its truths, and through the power of Your Holy Spirit we can resist the enemy of our souls. When our faith is tested, which is of greater worth than gold, it is done so to test that our faith is genuine. Since faith that is not tested is faith that cannot be trusted, help us to remember that when the enemy is persistently prowling, You are inviting us to prove our faith to be genuine which will help fortify us for future testings and serve as a witness to others that we are who we claim to be; people of faith. Help us also to remember that not only are we undergoing trial, but believers all throughout the world are undergoing the same sufferings or far worse. We want to resist the devil, standing firm in the faith, knowing that the testing of our faith produces endurance and empathy for others who suffer. May we be found faithful. Amen.

Stephen’s Note: Virtually any time we use an analogy such as we did with the trap today there is a breakdown. In the case of the traps catching pests we stressed that they are live animal traps. But the best course for dealing with pests in our lives is, “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry” (Colossians 3:5).

Brooksyne’s Note: A recent example of one who is at last learning and practicing self-control came to me in the form of a text on Thanksgiving Day – a perfect timing for me to break down in joyful tears for this individual.

In my chaplaincy role I met a new employee, introduced myself, gave her my card and invited her to call me if she had need. And she did right away. We met over breakfast and she told me of her long history of drugs and alcoholism. She is in her early 40’s, has married and divorced twice. Her three children chose to break off their relationship with her as her life was such a mess for most of their lives.

It took only a week for me to see it in person as she went on a drunken binge and ended up in the hospital detoxing. I visited with her and with her approval began to make plans for her to once again deal with this life controlling substance abuse. To make a long story short and to make it sweeter her mother traveled over 1000 miles to gather her daughter and put her in a Christian program where she would receive the help she needed. The irony in this sad situation is that her mother has volunteered in prison ministries for over 20 years working with women who are drug dependent.

Sadly, the Christian rehab did not work out and I had my fears that this woman would once again return to addiction. I had only heard from her a couple times over the past year. Then I received the following text on Thanksgiving from her mother (edited and fictional name used):

“God’s blessings to you and your family now and days ahead. Cheryl and I think of you. Her oldest daughter spent ten days with her in October. Her second child is spending Christmas with her. I am thankful the Lord is working in their lives. Thank you for being in His calling on your life when the Lord put you in Cheryl’s life.”

Readers, never give up praying for your loved one who is caught up in Satan’s life controlling devices. Miracles happen everyday, but many of them happen one day at a time.

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Chainbreaker”  Video  Zach Williams  We indeed are in the business of pest control and a major pest is the drug scourge which we see in the course of our chaplaincy work. We want to see the chains broken.

Safeguard traps


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 __ATA.cmd.push(function() { __ATA.initSlot('atatags-26942', { collapseEmpty: 'before', sectionId: '26942', width: 300, height: 250 }); }); __ATA.cmd.push(function() { __ATA.initSlot('atatags-114160', { collapseEmpty: 'before', sectionId: '114160', width: 300, height: 250 }); }); (function(){var c=function(){var a=document.getElementById("crt-241305650");window.Criteo?(a.parentNode.style.setProperty("display","inline-block","important"),a.style.setProperty("display","block","important"),window.Criteo.DisplayAcceptableAdIfAdblocked({zoneid:388248,containerid:"crt-241305650",collapseContainerIfNotAdblocked:!0,callifnotadblocked:function(){a.style.setProperty("display","none","important");a.style.setProperty("visbility","hidden","important")}})):(a.style.setProperty("display","none","important"),a.style.setProperty("visibility","hidden","important"))};if(window.Criteo)c();else{if(!__ATA.criteo.script){var b=document.createElement("script");b.src="//static.criteo.net/js/ld/publishertag.js";b.onload=function(){for(var a=0;a<__ATA.criteo.cmd.length;a++){var b=__ATA.criteo.cmd[a];"function"===typeof b&&b()}};(document.head||document.getElementsByTagName("head")[0]).appendChild(b);__ATA.criteo.script=b}__ATA.criteo.cmd.push(c)}})(); (function(){var c=function(){var a=document.getElementById("crt-2067732497");window.Criteo?(a.parentNode.style.setProperty("display","inline-block","important"),a.style.setProperty("display","block","important"),window.Criteo.DisplayAcceptableAdIfAdblocked({zoneid:837497,containerid:"crt-2067732497",collapseContainerIfNotAdblocked:!0,callifnotadblocked:function(){a.style.setProperty("display","none","important");a.style.setProperty("visbility","hidden","important")}})):(a.style.setProperty("display","none","important"),a.style.setProperty("visibility","hidden","important"))};if(window.Criteo)c();else{if(!__ATA.criteo.script){var b=document.createElement("script");b.src="//static.criteo.net/js/ld/publishertag.js";b.onload=function(){for(var a=0;a<__ATA.criteo.cmd.length;a++){var b=__ATA.criteo.cmd[a];"function"===typeof b&&b()}};(document.head||document.getElementsByTagName("head")[0]).appendChild(b);__ATA.criteo.script=b}__ATA.criteo.cmd.push(c)}})();

“A Lesson From Fading Leaves”

Mon, 11/27/2017 - 11:51am

“A Lesson From Fading Leaves”

Message summary: Am I like an “oak with fading leaves” or like “a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither”?

Listen to our message on your audio player.

“You will be like an oak with fading leaves” (Isaiah 1:30).

We are blessed with many trees, those in our own yard and in our neighbor’s yards and along the farm fields across the road. We’re in the late-autumn season when leaves from the deciduous trees have changed their colors and texture. With the breezy weather in full force autumn leaves appear to be dancing all about the well-manicured lawns from this past summer. Red, yellow, orange, brown and all the hues in-between gather in piles at fence lines and among the bushes.

As the season progresses trees go through a process known as abscission; that is, … they drop their leaves. This last weekend I spent a lot of time raking leaves and cleaning up our lawn and landscape areas. My next chore was to dispose of them. Some I mulched into the lawn with the mower, some I placed in large bags for pick-up along the road which is a service of our rural township, others I placed along tree and field lines. I raked some into a pile and burned them, which emitted an aroma like decaying leaves and wood smoke! This morning I look out and, behold, we have still more leaves that have fallen or blown into our yard! I suppose if I posted signs in the yard “NO TRESPASSING” the leaves would just disregard them.

In contrast we have two oaks with an interesting characteristic. They tend to keep their leaves well into the winter, their crimson leaves stubbornly holding on for dear life, though they have little concern for the piles of acorns that drop into our yard. We’re glad the oaks keep their color in a season that can be rather bland. We shared a photo of one of these trees in last Friday’s message and you can even see the bagged leaves along the road ready for pick-up.

Today let us examine a rarely considered Bible text in Isaiah that draws an illustration from fading leaves.

The text is taken from a portion of Isaiah dealing with the rebellious nation of Israel. It’s a stunning chapter and includes this warning, “Woe to the sinful nation, a people whose guilt is great, a brood of evildoers, children given to corruption! They have forsaken the Lord; they have spurned the Holy One of Israel and turned their backs on Him” (Isaiah 1:4).

Various illustrations are used to describe Israel’s condition including today’s text, “You will be like an oak with fading leaves” (Isaiah 1:30). Now the meaning in context is speaking of the nation’s condition as the people rebel against God.

An oak is a splendid tree and is the first specific species of tree mentioned in the Bible, “Abram passed through the land as far as the site of Shechem, to the oak of Moreh” (Genesis 12:6). Although we realize that there is the God-designed process of trees, the fading and eventual dropping of leaves as part of the tree’s life cycle, there is also an untimely fading due to lack of water which is what Isaiah seems to mean when the verse continues “or as a garden that has no water.”

A healthy tree and a healthy spiritual life is like “a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither” (Psalm 1:3).

Today we can consider the text on the national level (wherever we may live) and wonder if our nation is “like an oak with fading leaves”. It’s an interesting analogy to consider.

However let us consider the verse on a personal level in an examination of our relationship with the Lord. Am I like an “oak with fading leaves” or am I like “a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither”?

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, I want to be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, fruitful in every season of my life. I don’t want to wither during the winter season as I grow old and more feeble. Though I may be more dormant I can still hold fast to the profession of my faith and not let it fade over time. I can do that by living a life above reproach, clinging to Your promises, immersing myself in the Scriptures and prayer, and trusting You for all that concerns me in every season of my life, knowing that You will provide for all my needs. Like a tree receives health by drawing from its water supply I remain spiritually healthy by drinking from the springs of living water. Amen.


Church traffic coming through Mount Joy yesterday. Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Still”  Video  Greater Vision

“Now I Know Him”  Video  Joseph Habedank

We appreciate so many others who blog and place helpful teaching on the web. In studying for today’s message I found these two posts related to Isaiah 1:30:
You will be like an oak with fading leaves, like a garden without water.
The Leaves Faded On Bilbo’s Oak Tree!


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.

“Two Fridays”

Fri, 11/24/2017 - 11:16am

Yesterday afternoon following our Thanksgiving meal we took a long walk along Donegal Creek and passed one of our favorite 1800’s stone farmhouses.
(Click on photo to enlarge)

“Two Fridays”

Message summary: Annually there are just two Fridays that most give special attention to. (We do not pay any attention to Friday the 13th!) Those Fridays are Black Friday and Good Friday.

Listen to our message on your audio player.

“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’ So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?'” (Hebrews 13:5,6).

Tuesday morning I was sharing a brief devotional with a group of employees when I noticed Brooksyne discreetly shaking her head back and forth with a slight anguished smile on her face, even as I heard a soft chuckling among the employees. I figured it must not be that serious so I just went on. Later in the van as we left the company she asked me if I knew what I had said. Well, I did remember what I said but couldn’t think of anything I said that was off topic. Then she told me that when I to referred to “Black Friday” I had misspoke and said “Good Friday” instead.

Well that got me musing. (Regular readers may observe it doesn’t take a lot to get me musing.) Annually there are just two Fridays that most give special attention to. (We do not pay any attention to Friday the 13th!) Those Fridays are Black Friday and Good Friday.

Our longtime friend Dave Zuchelli, whom we met shortly after beginning our ministry forty years ago shared about Black Friday in his blog article today (link below). Dave explains the standard reason given for why it’s called “Black Friday” is that “it’s on this day the retailers begin to turn a profit–going from red ink to ‘being in the black'”. So in this sense for retailers it’s also potentially a good Friday!

Black Friday is a prime day for materialism. Whether we’re buying gifts for others or for ourselves (although nobody probably really does that!) Black Friday is all about stuff and more stuff. All month long we’ve been seeing TV ads, newspaper ads, email ads, etc. about Black Friday deals too good to pass up. Of course for some stores Black Friday began on Thanksgiving and even before for some specials. Just this morning a selection of subject headers in my email were, “Ready. Set. BLACK FRIDAY!”, “Black Friday Online Shopping Deals Start NOW”, “Hurry! Black Friday Sale Ends Tonight” and many more.

How much is enough? Just a little more! It’s human nature to want just a little more. It goes back to the very beginning. Adam and Eve had so much, but they wanted just a little more. They wanted what they weren’t allowed to have. They weren’t content with the multitude of blessings God gave them in the Garden and that’s a condition that has afflicted the human race ever since.

How contemporary the daily verse is! Although, surely applicable to the initial readers and to believers of all generations, it seems to especially fit our prosperous age as our lives are loaded with stuff. Putting a positive spin on such matters there are many Resale and Thrift Stores that raise support for good causes due to our excess material goods being deposited at their redistribution centers. Brooksyne enjoys shopping at these stores and indeed has gotten some very good deals on slightly used stuff. Our local Mount Joy Thrift store is having its won Black Friday special with items 1/2 off.

The writer of Hebrews calls us to, “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have.” The real issue is being content with what we have, which is really one of the greatest blessings in life (being contented). This command is followed by a promise that frankly this does not read as I would expect it to or even necessarily desire. I would expect the basis of contentment to be something along the lines of a verse many of us have memorized from Philippians, “For God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus” which of course is a very valid promise (Philippians 4:19).

But here in Hebrews the call to contentedness is based on this foundational promise; “God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you’ So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?'”.  The basic foundation of contentedness is the realization that God’s presence in our lives is enough and He is our helper. Isn’t that great! If we really understand this promise and embrace its truth we will experience ongoing blessed contentedness. May the Lord help us all to do so today, this season, and all through life which will help us to overcome the tyranny of discontent so prevalent on many levels.

Finally today, the other famous Friday is “Good Friday”, the prime day for remembering the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ on the Cross to redeem all who place their faith in Him. That’s a gift that far exceeds any other gift.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, far too many live in a state of discontent where we find ourselves loving things and using people. It distorts our priorities and gives us temporary excitement with things, but leaves us with long-term dissatisfaction in ourselves and our relationships. Help us to enjoy and make useful material things but to place a higher value on greater pursuits such as growing friendships, solid marriage relations, growing godly character, giving without receiving and other worthy goals. We will be content as we rejoice in the fact that whether we are in want or whether we have plenty You have promised that You will never leave us nor forsake us. What a treasured promise for the believer both in times of need and in times of prosperity. We are content when we realize our all-sufficiency is in You, Lord. You will meet all our needs according to Your riches in glory. And we thank you for that other well-known Friday when Jesus died on the cross for our sins. Amen.


Stephen’s brother Pat and his wife Laverne joined us for our Thanksgiving meal yesterday afternoon.


We had a beautiful day and a pleasant walk following our meal. Here’s a photo of our house and barn from across the farm field. The rye grass they planted after the corn harvest is growing well and we have two oak trees that hold their leaves through much of the winter adding a splash of color during the bland days of winter.


A view of our colorful front yard oak taken this morning. Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“The Lord Is My Helper”  Video  Scripture Memory Songs In the nineties we appreciated a series of CD’s from Integrity Music that took Scripture verses and set them to music (contemporary at the time). We learned a lot of verses that way that we still recall. This song has a country style.

“How Dark Can it Be?” Dave Zuchelli’s Black Friday Edition blog article


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 Thanksgiving Scripture Reading”

Thu, 11/23/2017 - 7:54am

Amish farm in Lancaster County.
(Click on image to enlarge)

“A Thanksgiving Scripture Reading”

Note: Podcast not prepared for this message.

Today we will not send our regular format of a Daily Encouragement but rather a selection of Scriptures on Thanksgiving for either personal reading or with your family. In some cases the pronouns are changed to make the reading more personal. References are provided for faithful Bereans to examine in the version of your preference.

We will enter Your gates with thanksgiving and your courts with praise; we will give thanks to You and praise Your name (Psalm 100:4).

So then, just as we received Christ Jesus as Lord, we will continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as we were taught, and overflowing in thankfulness (Colossians 2:7).

We will give thanks to You Lord, because of Your righteousness and we will sing praise to the name of the Lord most high (Psalm 7:17).

Thanks be to God! You give us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:57).

The Lord is our strength and our shield; our hearts trust in Him, and we are helped. Our hearts leap for joy and we will give thanks to Him in song (Psalm 28:7).

We will give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for us in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

We will give You thanks in the great assembly; among throngs of people we will praise You (Psalm 35:18).

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:28, 29).

We give thanks to You, O God, we give thanks for Your name is near; men tell of Your wonderful deeds (Psalm 75:1).

Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!  (2 Corinthians 9:15)

We will give thanks to You Lord, for You are good; Your love endures forever (Psalm 107:1).

We give thanks to You Lord God Almighty, who is and  who was, because You have taken Your great power and have begun to reign Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength to our God for ever and ever. Amen! (Revelation 11:17, 7:22).

Be encouraged today and be thankful!

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

We pray all of our readers will have a blessed Thanksgiving Day whether or not it is an official holiday in your country. Stephen’s older brother Pat and his wife Laverne, who live in the Lehigh Valley about 2 hours from us, will be joining us this afternoon for our meal. It’s a beautiful but quite chilly day here in Lancaster County early in the morning when we prepare this but we hope to be outside some to enjoy the beauty of God’s Creation.

Each year we prepare a business card with a calendar on the back to distribute to our chaplaincy contacts in various companies and this coming year we are using the photo to the left taken at Hershey Gardens on Tuesday. We not only provide our contact information on the card but a short Scripture text that we hope people will consider. For our 2018 card our verse is “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” (Romans 12:12).


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 __ATA.cmd.push(function() { __ATA.initSlot('atatags-26942', { collapseEmpty: 'before', sectionId: '26942', width: 300, height: 250 }); }); __ATA.cmd.push(function() { __ATA.initSlot('atatags-114160', { collapseEmpty: 'before', sectionId: '114160', width: 300, height: 250 }); }); (function(){var c=function(){var a=document.getElementById("crt-814819582");window.Criteo?(a.parentNode.style.setProperty("display","inline-block","important"),a.style.setProperty("display","block","important"),window.Criteo.DisplayAcceptableAdIfAdblocked({zoneid:388248,containerid:"crt-814819582",collapseContainerIfNotAdblocked:!0,callifnotadblocked:function(){a.style.setProperty("display","none","important");a.style.setProperty("visbility","hidden","important")}})):(a.style.setProperty("display","none","important"),a.style.setProperty("visibility","hidden","important"))};if(window.Criteo)c();else{if(!__ATA.criteo.script){var b=document.createElement("script");b.src="//static.criteo.net/js/ld/publishertag.js";b.onload=function(){for(var a=0;a<__ATA.criteo.cmd.length;a++){var b=__ATA.criteo.cmd[a];"function"===typeof b&&b()}};(document.head||document.getElementsByTagName("head")[0]).appendChild(b);__ATA.criteo.script=b}__ATA.criteo.cmd.push(c)}})(); (function(){var c=function(){var a=document.getElementById("crt-354631559");window.Criteo?(a.parentNode.style.setProperty("display","inline-block","important"),a.style.setProperty("display","block","important"),window.Criteo.DisplayAcceptableAdIfAdblocked({zoneid:837497,containerid:"crt-354631559",collapseContainerIfNotAdblocked:!0,callifnotadblocked:function(){a.style.setProperty("display","none","important");a.style.setProperty("visbility","hidden","important")}})):(a.style.setProperty("display","none","important"),a.style.setProperty("visibility","hidden","important"))};if(window.Criteo)c();else{if(!__ATA.criteo.script){var b=document.createElement("script");b.src="//static.criteo.net/js/ld/publishertag.js";b.onload=function(){for(var a=0;a<__ATA.criteo.cmd.length;a++){var b=__ATA.criteo.cmd[a];"function"===typeof b&&b()}};(document.head||document.getElementsByTagName("head")[0]).appendChild(b);__ATA.criteo.script=b}__ATA.criteo.cmd.push(c)}})();

“God Blessed Them” (Part 3)

Wed, 11/22/2017 - 9:56am

The Hotel Hershey from Hershey Gardens Fountain
(Click on photo to enlarge)

“God Blessed Them” (Part 3)

Note: This is the final message in a three part series based upon God’s first words to humans following Creation.

Message summary: Today, especially tomorrow, and everyday let us make it our goal to thank the Lord for His many blessings!

Listen to our message on your audio player.

“Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to everything that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food”; and it was so'” (Genesis 1:29,30). “He makes grass grow for the cattle, and plants for man to cultivate— bringing forth food from the earth” (Psalm 104:14).

Today supermarkets will be especially busy as people do final preparations for Thanksgiving. My first job was as a bagger at Kroger Supermarket in Independence MO. I enjoyed the busyness of a holiday season when it seems people could just be a bit more friendly and joyful than usual. I still enjoy going into supermarkets and will probably join Brooksyne today as she picks up a few groceries in preparations for our meal tomorrow when my brother and sister-in-law will join us. As she shops I will meander around.

My favorite supermarket section is the produce department which reveals the vast variety of food God has provided the human race at Creation. This section is often the first one people see when they enter a store and many stores seem to go the extra mile in this section. As one trade article states, “When people first enter into the produce section are they so blown away by your product, merchandising, and marketing efforts that they cannot help but begin shopping?”

This week we have considered God’s first words to humans which express His blessings upon them (us). This should result in our thankfulness. Christian songwriter Matt Redman has a song many of us have heard and perhaps sung in our churches with the following stanza:

For all Your goodness I will keep on singing
Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find
To bless the Lord O my soul, O my soul
Worship His Holy Name

Actually there are far more than 10,000 reasons to bless the Lord but that’s sure a good start! Today let us just consider one; the wide variety of food that the Lord has created as a blessing to the human race. Depending on where we live some have more variety than others and certainly the abundance varies from location to location.* But today we hope all our readers count the blessing of food which God has provided.

Today’s first text follows the creation mandate. Genesis 1 gives an overview of all creation while chapter 2 focuses on the creation of the man and woman with more detail. Mandate means “an official order or commission to do something.” The Lord commissioned the man and woman to, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Genesis 1:28).

This mandate is followed by our daily text. Today we want to focus on this phrase, “I have given every green plant for food”. One of the common characteristics of living things is that we eat. This is one of those Biblical statements that, regardless of where we live on this earth, we can see it being demonstrated. We see cattle in a pasture feeding on the green grass. We see the birds feeding from the flowers or from our feeders. Our pets wait with anticipation for their daily meals. Ultimately all foods are dependent on the plant world. And even plants feed on water, air, receiving nutrition from the soil and energy from the sun.

Psalm 104 has this descriptive heading in the NASV, “The Lord’s Care Over All His Works”. It begins and ends with “Bless the Lord, O my soul” (Psalm 104:1,35). In this chapter we find today’s second text, “He makes grass grow for the cattle, and plants for man to cultivate— bringing forth food from the earth” (Psalm 104:14). This brings to mind a song we will close our message with.

There’s a roof up above me
I’ve a good place to sleep
There’s food on my table
And shoes on my feet
You gave me your love, Lord
And a fine family
Thank you Lord, for your blessings on me

Today, especially tomorrow and everyday let us make it our goal to thank the Lord for His many blessings!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, the Psalmist assures us that You provide food to those who fear You, to those who remember Your covenant. Moses admonished the Israelites to follow Your commands so that You would give them rain for their land in its season, the early rain for germination and the latter rain that grows and strengthens the plants. Through all generations You have supplied for all our needs and poured out Your abundance on us. We thank You for it through Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

* Of course there are areas of famine, sometimes as a result of natural disasters such as droughts but more often man’s sinfulness. The other day we watched a program about the horrific conditions in Yemen.

Yesterday following our chaplaincy visits to several companies we walked through the Hershey Gardens. Although the heavy frost has diminished any floral beauty outside the grounds were still beautiful. They’re making preparations to add lots of poinsettias next week!


Most deciduous trees in our area have lost their leaves but this one was still filled with changing leaves.
(Click on photo to enlarge)


The red in the Firebush, the evergreen and smaller yellow/green bush combine for a flurry of fall colors.
(Click on photo to enlarge)


Most butterflies have flown to warmer climates but we can still see them at the Butterfly House at the Hershey Gardens.


Jason works at the first company we visited yesterday morning. He was wearing this thought-provoking t-shirt using the element table as a witness for Christ. Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Thank You Lord, For Your Blessings On Me”  Video  Gordon Mote & Jason Crabb

“10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)”  Video  Matt Redman  This is the song mentioned at the beginning of our message.

An old hymn might have prompted the Matt Redman with the theme of ‘ten thousand’ reasons. The old hymn, “Come Ye Sinners Poor and Needy” the following stanza,

“I will arise and go to Jesus,
He will embrace me in His arms;
In the arms of my dear Savior,
O there are ten thousand charms.”

Some have criticized the concept of “charms” in the song due to its modern connotations but this word also has the meaning of “pleasing quality” or “blessings”. Here’s a nice video version by Fernando Ortega.

Special Thanksgiving Resources We offer these resources to families and church leaders to enrich the spiritual impact of the Thanksgiving holiday. We will post these resources through Thanksgiving Day here in the US (November 27).

“Thankful For The Thorns”: A family reading and exercise that is a wonderful way to give a thoughtful focus around your Thanksgiving Table. The Thanksgiving celebration typically includes family coming together for a huge meal and hopefully a heartfelt prayer of thankfulness. However it can often be difficult to have a spiritually oriented conversation. Why not add some stimulating discussion about the ways God has worked in your life over the past year! Some of you are not in charge and are only visitors at your Thanksgiving gathering, but if it is possible share together around the table the theme of “Thankful for the Thorns” (printable webpage).

“A Thanksgiving family exercise” (pdf) We have used this questionnaire as a stimulus for discussion among family members in the past in our home. We encourage you to share results around the table at Thanksgiving before or after the meal.

A Thanksgiving prayer: Written by Joe Sherer, a pastor friend of ours and shared as the benediction at our community Thanksgiving Eve service several years ago. (webpage) For those who enjoy written prayers this would be a beautiful prayer to read together at the Thanksgiving table.

A Thanksgiving Scripture reading: A selection of Old and New Testament readings dealing with thankfulness appropriate for church, family and personal readings. (pdf) (Suitable for printing out and copying.)

A Suggestion for a Family Tradition from our friend Bob Southard: After the turkey, the cranberries, the pie, we all get out our Bibles to read our favorite thanksgiving verse. From the youngest to the oldest we share God’s Word and tell why it is so special to us!

We appreciate singing the traditional Thanksgiving hymns. Here are several classics that you may or may not have heard this season.

“In Everything Give Thanks”  Video   Charlotte Ritchie, Jeff & Sheri Easter  This song will bring joy to your heart!

“Now Thank We All Our God”  Video  Best Loved Hymns

“Come Ye Thankful People Come”  Video  Traditional version
Contemporary version but thankfully maintaining same tune and lyrics Video

“Thanksgiving Medley” (We Gather Together, For The Beauty Of The Earth, Come Ye Thankful People Come)  Video  Studio Musicians

“Give Thanks”  Video  Don Moen

“Thank You Lord”  Video  Community Choir at a Lancaster Day of Prayer event in 2008.

“Thank You Lord For Saving My Soul”  Video  Holland Davis

“Be Magnified”  Video   Kim Hill

“Thanks”  Video  Marshall Hall and the Homecoming Singers

“I Want To Thank You”  Video  Karen Peck and New River  This is a song expressing thankfulness to the many people who impact our lives and also reminds us of the blessing of seemingly insignificant expressions of faith.  From the Gaither Homecoming series.

“Thank You Lord For Your Blessings On Me”  Video  Gordon Mote & Jason Crabb

“I’m Forever Grateful”  Video  Willow Creek

“When I Thank Him For What He Has Done”  Video  The Cathedrals

“Worthy Is The Lamb, Crown Him, Crown Him With Many Crowns”  Video  Travis Cottrell

“Thank You, Lord”  Video  Dennis Jernigan

“Thank You For Loving Me”  Video  Tommy Walker

“10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)”  Video  Matt Redman

“For These Reasons”  Video  Lincoln Brewster


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.

“God Blessed Them” (Part 2)

Tue, 11/21/2017 - 9:30am

Sunday afternoon Brooksyne passed this scenic farm north of Manheim, PA.
(Click on photo to enlarge)

“God Blessed Them” (Part 2)

Note: This is the second of a three part series based upon God’s first words to humans following Creation.

Message summary: This Thanksgiving week (here in the USA) let us thank God for the blessing of His creation commands to man concerning our stewardship of the earth and properly practice God’s command to subdue and rule over.

Listen to our message on your audio player.

“God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground'” (Genesis 1:28).

Today consider the blessing that plants and animals are to us. What if we were the only living creatures? Although I suppose we wouldn’t know any better that would sure be boring and there would have to be an entirely different mechanism for our nourishment!

Consider all that plants and animals add to our lives; flowers, lawns, medicines, our pets, trips to the zoo, a source of food and you can add to the list as you think about it.

Plants were created on the third day of Creation and animals (including fish and birds) were created on the fifth and sixth days of Creation.

Yesterday’s message considered the first part of the daily text: “God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number.” We believe the words “fill the earth” further completes the blessing and command to “be fruitful and increase in number.”

1) Man is commanded to subdue it (the earth). Most standard English translations use this word “subdue”. Other versions state, “subjugate it [putting it under your power]” (Amplified)

This command has been misinterpreted by some to assert that this indicated man is not to take care of the earth, even using it as an excuse to plunder it. Although in reality this is a “strawman” argument used to attack Christians who may have a different view on the specifics of how to care for the environment not whether the environment should be cared for. I have never met a genuine Christian who wants to destroy the environment!

An online commentary counters, “To think that God gave man carte blanche to plunder and destroy the earth is simply ludicrous. He is its Creator! Why would He immediately command Adam to ruin it? Would any woodworker, upon just finishing a beautifully stained piece of furniture, tell his son to break it up for firewood? No! Just as God desires for His creation, the woodworker would put his handiwork to use and also care for it by keeping it waxed and dusted to prolong its life.”

To subdue is better understood to have the sense, “take care of”. In chapter 2 man is instructed concerning the Garden, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it” (Genesis 2:15).

2) Man is commanded to “rule over” the animal kingdom. In this verse many of us are probably more familiar with the KJV rendering “have dominion” used also in v.26. Not only is there a Biblical distinction in the creation of man versus everything else created in the sense we are “made in God’s image” but also man is to rule over the rest of the creation.

Once again we must address that this verse “rule over” has been used by some to assert that the Bible and Christians call for animal abuse and cruelty. Such is not the case at all but rather the opposite is true for those who seek to be obedient. Rather than develop this defense I will point our readers to an excellent article from the GotQuestions website posted below.

This Thanksgiving week (here in the USA) let us thank God for the blessing of His creation commands to man concerning our stewardship of the earth and properly practice God’s command to subdue and rule over.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, just as You blessed the human race making them fruitful and multiplying their kind, You also blessed the vegetation, the fish, fowl of the air and every living thing that moves upon the face of the earth. You gave the human race universal charge of everything you made, putting all things within our authority; including the tilling of the land, making it subservient to our usage and for our good. May we honor You by being good stewards of that which is entrusted to us. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

For further study: I find this note from the “GotQuestions” online study helpful in regard to today’s passage:

The word dominion means “rule or power over.” God has sovereign power over His creation and has delegated the authority to mankind to have dominion over the animals (Genesis 1:26). David reinforces this truth: “You made [mankind] rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet” (Psalm 8:6). Humanity was to “subdue” the earth (Genesis 1:28)—we were to hold a position of command over it; we were placed in a superior role and were to exercise control over the earth and its flora and fauna. Mankind was set up as the ruler of this world. All else was subjugated to him.

God’s command to subdue the earth and the animal life in it is a command to have the mastery over all of it. A true mastery (of anything) cannot be accomplished without an understanding of the thing mastered. In order for a musician to master the violin, he or she must truly understand the instrument. In order for mankind to attain mastery over the animal kingdom, we must understand the animals.

With the authority to rule comes the responsibility to rule well. There is an inherent accountability in the command to subdue the earth. Man has a duty to exercise his dominion under the authority of the One who delegated it. All authority is of God (Romans 13:1-5), and He delegates it to whomever He will (Daniel 4:17). The word subdue doesn’t have to imply violence or mistreatment. It can mean “to bring under cultivation.”

Man is to be the steward of the earth; he is to bring the material world and all of its varied elements into the service of God and the good of mankind. The command to subdue the earth is actually part of God’s blessing on mankind. Created in the image of God, Adam and Eve were to use the earth’s vast resources in the service of both God and themselves. It would only make sense for God to decree this, since only humans were created in God’s image.

When God gave humanity dominion over the animals, it was in order to care for, tend to, and use those animals to their fullest potential in a just manner. At the time that God gave mankind dominion over the animals, humans did not eat meat (Genesis 1:29). Eating meat did not begin until after the Flood (Genesis 9:1–3), and it was at that time that animals started to fear humans. However, although God changed the way we interact with animals, in that they are now “meat,” we still bear a responsibility to treat animals humanely. Human rule over animals does not mean we have the right to mistreat or misuse those animals.

Having dominion over the animals should entail a humane management of them as the resource God has ordained them to be. We should consider that mankind was given the task (and blessing) of representing God in this world. We are the caretakers. We hold sway over all the earth, and we (bearing God’s image) bear a responsibility to act as God would. Does God misuse His creation? No. Is God unwise in His management of resources? No. Is God ever cruel or selfish or wasteful? No. Then neither should we be. Any misuse or mistreatment of God’s creation is the result of sin, not the result of following God’s original command. We must fulfill our duty to manage the earth wisely until that time when the wolf shall lie down with the lamb in the kingdom of Christ (Isaiah 11:6).

Some scenes on the Old Windmill Farm


It appears that Brooksyne is holding Daisy in a rare moment she is relaxing! (This photo was taken last Friday following her Pilgrim presentation to the school.)


Goats, pigs, chickens and two dogs were thought to be among the animals brought over on the Mayflower. Curious Daisy is checking out this piece of banana. She had already dug it out of the children’s lunch pail and peeled it. Now she’s smelling it and you know what comes next.


These blue heeler puppies should be ready for a loving home by Christmas. However their sibling in the background is demonstrating they are not weaned yet!


Not the typical pet store marketing photo with the empty dairy barn background but between the Lapp children and Old Windmill Farm guests these pups will have lots of handling and affection by the time they leave the farm! Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“All Creatures of our God and King” Video   Fernando Ortega

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

“Worth”   Video  Jason Crabb

Yesterday we shared a photo from Google maps of the Mast farm corn maze in eastern Lancaster County. Here’s the spot on Google maps.

Special Thanksgiving Resources We offer these resources to families and church leaders to enrich the spiritual impact of the Thanksgiving holiday. We will post these resources through Thanksgiving Day here in the US (November 27).

We appreciate singing the traditional Thanksgiving hymns. Here are several classics that you may or may not have heard this season.

“In Everything Give Thanks”  Video   Charlotte Ritchie, Jeff & Sheri Easter  This song will bring joy to your heart!

“Now Thank We All Our God”  Video  Best Loved Hymns

“Come Ye Thankful People Come”  Video  Traditional version
Contemporary version but thankfully maintaining same tune and lyrics Video

“Thanksgiving Medley” (We Gather Together, For The Beauty Of The Earth, Come Ye Thankful People Come)  Video  Studio Musicians

“Give Thanks”  Video  Don Moen

“Thank You Lord”  Video  Community Choir at a Lancaster Day of Prayer event in 2008.

“Thank You Lord For Saving My Soul”  Video  Holland Davis

“Thankful For The Thorns”: A family reading and exercise that is a wonderful way to give a thoughtful focus around your Thanksgiving Table. The Thanksgiving celebration typically includes family coming together for a huge meal and hopefully a heartfelt prayer of thankfulness. However it can often be difficult to have a spiritually oriented conversation. Why not add some stimulating discussion about the ways God has worked in your life over the past year! Some of you are not in charge and are only visitors at your Thanksgiving gathering, but if it is possible share together around the table the theme of “Thankful for the Thorns” (printable webpage).

“A Thanksgiving family exercise” (pdf) We have used this questionnaire as a stimulus for discussion among family members in the past in our home. We encourage you to share results around the table at Thanksgiving before or after the meal.

A Thanksgiving prayer: Written by Joe Sherer, a pastor friend of ours and shared as the benediction at our community Thanksgiving Eve service several years ago. (webpage) For those who enjoy written prayers this would be a beautiful prayer to read together at the Thanksgiving table.

A Thanksgiving Scripture reading: A selection of Old and New Testament readings dealing with thankfulness appropriate for church, family and personal readings. (pdf) (Suitable for printing out and copying.)

A Suggestion for a Family Tradition from our friend Bob Southard: After the turkey, the cranberries, the pie, we all get out our Bibles to read our favorite thanksgiving verse. From the youngest to the oldest we share God’s Word and tell why it is so special to us!

Today and all through this week we will share a selection of Thanksgiving music.

“Be Magnified”  Video   Kim Hill

“Thanks”  Video  Marshall Hall and the Homecoming Singers

“I Want To Thank You”  Video  Karen Peck and New River  This is a song expressing thankfulness to the many people who impact our lives and also reminds us of the blessing of seemingly insignificant expressions of faith.  From the Gaither Homecoming series.

“Thank You Lord For Your Blessings On Me”  Video  Gordon Mote & Jason Crabb

“I’m Forever Grateful”  Video  Willow Creek

“When I Thank Him For What He Has Done”  Video  The Cathedrals

“Worthy Is The Lamb, Crown Him, Crown Him With Many Crowns”  Video  Travis Cottrell

“Thank You, Lord”  Video  Dennis Jernigan

“Thank You For Loving Me”  Video  Tommy Walker

“10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)”  Video  Matt Redman

“For These Reasons”  Video  Lincoln Brewster


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 __ATA.cmd.push(function() { __ATA.initSlot('atatags-26942', { collapseEmpty: 'before', sectionId: '26942', width: 300, height: 250 }); }); __ATA.cmd.push(function() { __ATA.initSlot('atatags-114160', { collapseEmpty: 'before', sectionId: '114160', width: 300, height: 250 }); }); (function(){var c=function(){var a=document.getElementById("crt-959479437");window.Criteo?(a.parentNode.style.setProperty("display","inline-block","important"),a.style.setProperty("display","block","important"),window.Criteo.DisplayAcceptableAdIfAdblocked({zoneid:388248,containerid:"crt-959479437",collapseContainerIfNotAdblocked:!0,callifnotadblocked:function(){a.style.setProperty("display","none","important");a.style.setProperty("visbility","hidden","important")}})):(a.style.setProperty("display","none","important"),a.style.setProperty("visibility","hidden","important"))};if(window.Criteo)c();else{if(!__ATA.criteo.script){var b=document.createElement("script");b.src="//static.criteo.net/js/ld/publishertag.js";b.onload=function(){for(var a=0;a<__ATA.criteo.cmd.length;a++){var b=__ATA.criteo.cmd[a];"function"===typeof b&&b()}};(document.head||document.getElementsByTagName("head")[0]).appendChild(b);__ATA.criteo.script=b}__ATA.criteo.cmd.push(c)}})(); (function(){var c=function(){var a=document.getElementById("crt-597930647");window.Criteo?(a.parentNode.style.setProperty("display","inline-block","important"),a.style.setProperty("display","block","important"),window.Criteo.DisplayAcceptableAdIfAdblocked({zoneid:837497,containerid:"crt-597930647",collapseContainerIfNotAdblocked:!0,callifnotadblocked:function(){a.style.setProperty("display","none","important");a.style.setProperty("visbility","hidden","important")}})):(a.style.setProperty("display","none","important"),a.style.setProperty("visibility","hidden","important"))};if(window.Criteo)c();else{if(!__ATA.criteo.script){var b=document.createElement("script");b.src="//static.criteo.net/js/ld/publishertag.js";b.onload=function(){for(var a=0;a<__ATA.criteo.cmd.length;a++){var b=__ATA.criteo.cmd[a];"function"===typeof b&&b()}};(document.head||document.getElementsByTagName("head")[0]).appendChild(b);__ATA.criteo.script=b}__ATA.criteo.cmd.push(c)}})();

“God Blessed Them” (Part 1)

Mon, 11/20/2017 - 11:38am

Brooksyne was invited to share about the Mayflower Voyage of 1620 with 18 pupils, grades 1-8, at an Amish school last Friday. The plate on the right is filled with “hard tack”, a very hard cracker-like biscuit, she shares with her audience to demonstrate one of the staple foods 102 passengers ate on the Mayflower voyage, only the pilgrims did not have fresh hardtack. Theirs was filled with maggots and weevils. (The two Turkey Hill trucks represent the length of the 90′ Mayflower, about the same as two tractor trailer trucks end to end.)
(Click on photo for larger view)

“God Blessed Them” (Part 1)

Note: The first part of this week will be a short three part series based upon God’s first words to humans following Creation.

Message summary: Today let us consider the blessing in God’s design and determine we will be obedient to His commands. “In fact, this is love for God: to keep His commands. And His commands are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3).

Listen to our message on your audio player.

“God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number'” (Genesis 1:28).

Most all of our US readers are looking forward to Thanksgiving Day. In the course of our visits as chaplains to various companies and special holiday functions, this becomes a source of conversation that spans all racial, ethnic, religious, age or whatever else that often divides people. The concept of thankfulness is pretty universally understood (although not necessarily practiced). One our companies gave each employee a turkey and the Vietnamese ladies were especially excited, providing us a good connection point. All you have to do is draw with your hands the shape of a big fat turkey and they know just what you’re talking about.

In one company we sat next to an elderly Plain couple at a banquet and inquired about their family and Thanksgiving plans. They told us they have six children, 32 grandchildren and 32 great grandchildren. For their gathering they will meet in a school and expect to have over 100 direct family members for the meal (including in-laws). Another interesting aspect about this family is that, except for one grandchild, they all live within 15 miles of each other. They, and their children, have certainly followed God’s command to “be fruitful and increase in number”.

Let us consider the Creation account in the Bible and specifically the creation of humans. Following the creation act “God blessed them”. What a wonderful truth to muse upon. We all need to consider the manifold blessings of the Lord and Thanksgiving is a great time to focus on His blessings. Today let us consider the first blessing.

The Lord’s first words to humans was a command and a blessing. “Be fruitful and increase in number.” He had directly created the first humans, Adam and Eve, but had placed a capability within them to reproduce. We are all a result of that divinely designed reproductive capability!

This reproductive mechanism was designed by the Creator at Creation and is part of what He called “very good” in Genesis 1:31. As far as humans the first children were born after the Fall (Adam and Eve’s disobedience in the Garden of Eden). In my view this suggests the Fall occurred shortly after Creation. The incentive and result of being fruitful are both part of God’s original creation design.

The blessing of the incentive to being fruitful:

God created a powerful incentive to “Be fruitful and increase in number” by making the act of creating new life one of life’s greatest pleasures. The human sex drive is not a result of evolution or the Fall but is part of God’s design at Creation. But God placed specific and easily understandable restrictions on this act. Later in chapter two we read, “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). This forms the foundation of marriage and sexuality.

The Bible consistently and clearly teaches that marriage and sexual expression is solely to be between a husband and wife who are in a covenantal marital union.

Just as the tree was a test of obedience to Adam and Eve in the Garden, these restrictions have been an ongoing test to the human race. We see failure all throughout the Bible times and human history with no signs of abatement in our own. Actually, with mankind’s increasing rebellion toward God and His commands, we see an increase in these deviations from the original design to the point that evil is being called good.

The blessing of the result of being fruitful:

God created a powerful result of being fruitful and increasing in number by making children another one of life’s greatest pleasures. Psalm 125:3 states, “Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from Him.” When we visit with people a very common topic of conversation is children and grandchildren and the joy they bring, although most also acknowledge they deal with various challenges in raising a family, sometimes heartbreaking situations!

In God’s design He has instructed parents not only to be fruitful in having children but to care for them as well. Even before the first child was born God said, “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). In considering this verse we correctly tend to focus on the establishment of a new relationship, but “leaves his father and mother” teaches the pattern that a father and mother will care for their children.

Just as rebellion against God has severely marred God’s design for sexuality so has this rebellion severely marred God’s design in the intended blessing of children. This is seen in many ways from elective abortion, child neglect and abuse and many other ways.

Today let us consider the blessing in God’s design and determine we will be obedient to His commands. “In fact, this is love for God: to keep His commands. And His commands are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3).

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, Your commands to Adam and Eve included that of being fruitful and increasing in number”. They multiplied and here we are many generations later doing the same thing. Thank you for the blessing of our sexuality which is in your design that we be fruitful. We want to honor You and our mate by remaining devout and pure in our sexuality. As we consider our Thanksgiving blessings one of the first things we give thanks for is our family. Though few of us were raised in a family that was without its weaknesses, we’re thankful that our parents cared for us, placed a roof over our heads, provided for our childhood needs and helped prepare us for our adult responsibilities. Psalm 68:6 tells us that You “set the lonely in families”; it’s part of Your plan to fulfill our lives and serves as a model of Your loving and tender role as our Heavenly Father. May we love and serve our families well, for it is the greatest and most important responsibility we’re given while dwelling here below. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.


This last weekend Thomas and Percy were busy at the Strasburg Railroad. Ester took this photo on the way to the Amish school last Friday. When available Ester travels with Brooksyne to her Mayflower appointments and assists her in setting up and distributing the sample foods to the audience.
(Click on photo for larger view)


I enjoy geographically exploring using Google Earth. I found this corn maze in eastern Lancaster County which appeared upside down on the map, making it hard to read. So I copied it and turned it around. This is the Mast Farm but it’s too late this year for a visit to their corn maze!
(Click on photo for larger view)


Last Friday Jesse and Moses were baling corn fodder on a sunny Autumn day.
(Click on photo for larger view) Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“You Alone Can Rescue”  Video  Matt Redman  This was one of the songs Brooksyne sang yesterday as part of the choir as they led us in worship.

A Suggestion for a Family Tradition from our friend Bob Southard: After the turkey, the cranberries, the pie, we all get out our Bibles to read our favorite thanksgiving verse. From the youngest to the oldest we share God’s Word and tell why it is so special to us!

Finally today:
Friday morning I walked into the marketing department of “Kleen-Rite”, a company that sells supplies to the car was industry. They had just made a video promoting the newest Little Tree air fresheners and gave me two of the samples used in the video. So I suppose the little tree air fresheners hanging in each of our vehicles are famous. We like “True North” the best! Video

Special Thanksgiving Resources We offer these resources to families and church leaders to enrich the spiritual impact of the Thanksgiving holiday. We will post these resources through Thanksgiving Day here in the US (November 27).

“Thankful For The Thorns”: A family reading and exercise that is a wonderful way to give a thoughtful focus around your Thanksgiving Table. The Thanksgiving celebration typically includes family coming together for a huge meal and hopefully a heartfelt prayer of thankfulness. However it can often be difficult to have a spiritually oriented conversation. Why not add some stimulating discussion about the ways God has worked in your life over the past year! Some of you are not in charge and are only visitors at your Thanksgiving gathering, but if it is possible share together around the table the theme of “Thankful for the Thorns” (printable webpage).

“A Thanksgiving family exercise” (pdf) We have used this questionnaire as a stimulus for discussion among family members in the past in our home. We encourage you to share results around the table at Thanksgiving before or after the meal.

A Thanksgiving prayer: Written by Joe Sherer, a pastor friend of ours and shared as the benediction at our community Thanksgiving Eve service several years ago. (webpage) For those who enjoy written prayers this would be a beautiful prayer to read together at the Thanksgiving table.

A Thanksgiving Scripture reading: A selection of Old and New Testament readings dealing with thankfulness appropriate for church, family and personal readings. (pdf) (Suitable for printing out and copying.)

We appreciated singing the traditional Thanksgiving hymns. Here are several classics that you may or may not have heard this season.

“In Everything Give Thanks”  Video   Charlotte Ritchie, Jeff & Sheri Easter  This song will bring joy to your heart!

“Now Thank We All Our God”  Video  Best Loved Hymns

“Come Ye Thankful People Come”  Video  Traditional version
Contemporary version but thankfully maintaining same tune and lyrics Video

“Thanksgiving Medley” (We Gather Together, For The Beauty Of The Earth, Come Ye Thankful People Come)  Video  Studio Musicians

“Give Thanks”  Video  Don Moen

“Thank You Lord”  Video  Community Choir at a Lancaster Day of Prayer event in 2008.

“Thank You Lord For Saving My Soul”  Video  Holland Davis

“Be Magnified”  Video   Kim Hill

“Thanks”  Video  Marshall Hall and the Homecoming Singers

“I Want To Thank You”  Video  Karen Peck and New River  This is a song expressing thankfulness to the many people who impact our lives and also reminds us of the blessing of seemingly insignificant expressions of faith.  From the Gaither Homecoming series.

“Thank You Lord For Your Blessings On Me”  Video  Gordon Mote & Jason Crabb

“I’m Forever Grateful”  Video  Willow Creek

“When I Thank Him For What He Has Done”  Video  The Cathedrals

“Worthy Is The Lamb, Crown Him, Crown Him With Many Crowns”  Video  Travis Cottrell

“Thank You, Lord”  Video  Dennis Jernigan

“Thank You For Loving Me”  Video  Tommy Walker

“10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)”  Video  Matt Redman

“For These Reasons”  Video  Lincoln Brewster


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.

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