Daily Encouragement

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A daily message of hope and encouragement
Updated: 1 hour 28 min ago

“Please Forgive Me”

Fri, 08/18/2017 - 9:30am

Yesterday morning we dropped by to see our friends at the Old Windmill Farm and Brooksyne held the baby goat born last Thursday. You can take the girl off the farm but you can’t take farm out of the girl!

“Please Forgive Me”

Message summary: Today we urge you to make confession of sin a regular practice in your life. That’s the heart and substance of genuine Christianity.

Listen to our message on your audio player.

“Pilate … took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. ‘I am innocent of this man’s blood,’ he said. ‘It is your responsibility!'” (Matthew 27:24).  “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

Considering off the top of my head famous pilots some very well-known names come to mind; Orville and Wilbur Wright, Charles Lindbergh, Amelia Earhart, Chuck Yeager and most recently Sully Sullenberger, the pilot who deftly landed a large airliner in the Hudson River saving many lives (Photo).*

As a child I (Stephen) attended a church that regularly recited the Apostle’s Creed. When we recited the phrase, “suffered under Pontius Pilate”, for many years, I thought that we were talking about a pilot named Pontius! I suppose  that would make him the most referenced pilot in history!

In the course of our chaplain visitation we get many interesting inquiries since we see all types of people from the disinterested to seekers to believers in many stages of Bible knowledge and maturity. An employee who reads this encouragement series asked, “When we turn to Christ for salvation do we need to confess every sin we ever committed?” Now if that were the case many of us would never reach the Amen in the “sinner’s prayer”! We’d still be praying it when our name is called out from heaven!

I briefly explained that when we accept Christ we confess that we are sinners and accept God’s forgiveness for all the sin we have committed, although at the point of our conversion, we may also have a specific gripping sin we confess as well. Following our conversion, as a Christian believer, the indwelling Holy Spirit will continue to convict us of specific sins, and it is in these matters that we confess our sins to God, ask His forgiveness, and seek His power to remove besetting sin from our lives.

Please forgive me
I need your grace to make it through
All I have is you, I’m at your mercy
Lord, I’ll serve you
Until my dying day
Help others find the way
At your mercy, please forgive me

In the first daily text Pilate publicly washed his hands, but there’s no evidence that he privately cleansed his heart. He sought to absolve himself of his responsibility in Christ’s death, seeking to place that responsibility instead on the crowd.

But he couldn’t. The ancient Apostles’ Creed states, Christ “suffered under Pontius Pilate”. Pilate thought the symbolism of washing his hands was all that was needed. How typical of the world’s way, which so values symbolism over substance. That’s the way of false religions and even many distortions of Christianity.

Symbols have some value and can be helpful as reminders of inwardly held faith. After I accepted the Lord as a teenager I was baptized and publicly professed my faith in Christ in the presence of other believers in a church in Independence, Missouri. I regularly participate in the Lord’s Supper as commanded by Jesus before He died. I sometimes wear a cross on my lapel or a tie that has a witness for Christ. These are visual symbols of my faith in the Lord.

But I understand these symbols have value only to the extent that they reflect my commitment to Christ in the way I live my life. I find great personal value and often quote the second daily verse written by the Apostle John, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Now that’s substance! Joy wells up within me as I share this liberating truth with you today.

Three interesting observations about this verse:

1) The use of the first person pronoun by John, “If we…”. He’s not writing merely to them; he is one of them.
2) “Confess our sins” means “to agree with or say the same word.” When we confess we acknowledge God’s perspective concerning our sin problem. The word is in the present active indicating our need to continually confess our sins as well as our absolute dependence on God.
3) “He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” Now that’s surely one of the greatest promises in the entire Bible!

Today we urge you to make confession of sin a regular practice in your life. That’s the heart and substance of genuine Christianity.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, we confess our sins to You. You are the One who cleanses our hearts so that we stand righteous before You through Jesus Christ our Lord. It is not in ourselves that we are made righteous, for our righteousness is as filthy rags as described by the prophet Isaiah. It is in Jesus’ death and resurrection that we are forgiven of our sins. It is not by works of righteousness; it is not by doing that which is seen by others as commendable, but it is according to Your grace and mercy that we are saved, by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

* Indeed these pilots came to mind off the top of my head but I did need to check the spelling on several!

Some Scenes On Our Journey

People will often say to us “You sure travel a lot”. Although we do travel out of our home area, such as our trip to the Midwest last week, most of our photos come from right here in Lancaster or Lebanon County and we take them in the course of our chaplain visitation traveling from company to company.


After our first chaplain visit yesterday to Smucker and Sons we stopped by to see our friends at the Old Windmill farm where we took our lead photo of Brooksyne holding the baby goat. Here’s the rambunctious gal trying to get out of her pen. They probably reason early on the grass must be greener on the other side!


This bull calf was born the previous night.


Following a visit to Vallorbs, driving on rural roads north of Intercourse PA, we passed this family enjoying their spring wagon on a lovely summer day. The children must surely enjoy the open wagon as compared to being squeezed into the small box like buggy that has only one window in the back where the small children often peek through to wave at passersby.


We passed this harvest scene north of New Holland, after Brooksyne’s visit to Comfort Inn. We’re unclear what these boys were harvesting but they were having a good time throwing it at each other. (Brooksyne’s note: It reminded me of my childhood when Grandpa would gather my cousins and the neighborhood children and we would harvest his huge potato fields on the mountain in Arkansas. We’d pick up acres of potatoes that he sold at market. When we came across a rotten potato we’d often throw it at another picker; and then the potato fight would begin. We were already a dirty mess so what’s a few rotten potatoes coming at you! It made the hot and hard work a lot more fun.)


We sure don’t advocate for tobacco use but this was sure a pretty scene from the Val-Co parking lot. This Old-Order Mennonite family was working together with the mom driving the team. The dad and at least three children were picking up the leaves. (This photo will enlarge if you click on it) Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Please Forgive Me”  Video  Jason Crabb


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.

“Considering The Days Of Old”

Thu, 08/17/2017 - 9:30am

“The Days Of Old”
This photo will mean little to most readers but this is my mom’s family photo from August 1933. Mom’s parents (my grandparents) are in the front middle. She is on the lower left, twelve years old at the time, along with her older brother (top middle) and many sisters. When the youngest daughter, my Aunt Frances, passed away in 2009, it marked the end of this George Washington Steincross generation. Looking it over reminds me of the verse, “Generations come and generations go” (Ecclesiastes 1:4). Do you have a photo like this?

“Considering The Days Of Old”

Message summary:  May the Lord help each of us to see the presence of His hand along our earthly journey till we enter the Promised Land.

Listen to our message on your audio player.

“Remember the days of old; consider the generations long past” (Deuteronomy 32:7).

When we were in the Midwest two weeks ago we drove by some places where we had early experiences in our dating years, marriage and ministry; the Bible College in Springfield, MO where we first met as freshmen, Brooksyne from Tulsa, Oklahoma and me from the Kansas City Missouri area. We drove by the little church, now long closed where we first pastored as newlyweds, along with the tiny parsonage which was our first home as a married couple.

We saw friends and family from both sides and recognized absent family members reminding us of the cycle of life. Our recent experience brings to mind today’s verse, “Remember the days of old; consider the generations long past.” The “days of old” may represent the past in our own lives, something we all do well to remember and at times contemplate.

Moses preached a long sermon (Deuteronomy) just prior to his death and just before the Israelites entered the Promised Land under Joshua’s leadership. In fact Bible commentators consider the book of Deuteronomy to be a single message.

In Bible College we were required to read all 34 chapters of the book in one sitting to get the sense of it being a sermon rather than a book divided into chapters. We don’t suppose too many preachers would want to preach a message this long in these “tweeter” days. Many, if not most, would walk out way before the sermon ended and a “concerned” committee would plan a meeting to confront the Pastor about his way too long sermons.

In today’s short text Moses gives two commands:

“Remember the days of old.” Our roots are so important. I believe this verse refers to a recollection of how God has worked in the past as recorded in the Scriptures. In the specific context it likely refers to the history we read of up through that time in the Bible and more recent history for those people such as their long 40 year sojourn in the wilderness.  But it also has an application for our own walk with the Lord and our own “days of old”. As we look upon our past it is so important to consider the milestones in which the Lord has brought us along on our earthly pilgrimage. As we look back we have seasons of joy and seasons of sorrow. Each is part of the mosaic that makes us who we are.

“Consider the generations long past.” The people of God had a powerful oral history with accounts carefully passed down from generation to generation. Since Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible (the Pentateuch) all we have recorded prior to this was passed down orally or perhaps revealed to him by divine revelation. We now have the benefit of the Holy Bible and thousands of years of inspired written material. We need to consider each one of these generations and learn from their example, both good and bad.

The NASV Bible has this heading for 1 Corinthians 10, “Avoid Israel’s Mistakes.” In recounting some of their experiences Paul writes, “Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come” (1 Corinthians 10:11). Spanish philosopher George Santayana wrote, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” That’s true both personally and for a society at large.

Each of us has roots. Some memories that co-exist with these roots are pleasant while others are not. But as we look back we see God’s faithfulness in His provision, His direction, and His tender care. This gives us a faith lift for the situations we are currently facing and the various uncertainties that come to us from many different directions. May the Lord help each of us to see the presence of His hand along our earthly journey till we enter the Promised Land.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, as we consider the days of old we see Your faithful hand guiding us along life’s pathway, in our own lives and in the generations that precede us. Your deliverance from our sins, Your provision for our every need and Your guidance for our every step keeps us firmly anchored like a tree planted by streams of water. Keep us faithful and trusting until we cross over to the Promised Land.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

We shared several of these photos two weeks ago but will do so again since they relate to our message today and we also share additional information in the captions.


We met at a small Midwestern Bible College in the Fall of 1973, the year we had both graduated from high school. The campus was vibrant with over 1,000 students and bursting at the seams. At that time a Bible College education was considered adequate by many in our denomination and although some went on to seminary for additional study many, like us, embarked into ministry. We actually launched into ministry while still in college, marrying after our Junior year and then pastoring a small country church my senior year. For most now the trend is a general “liberal arts” education followed by seminary for ministerial training before you would ever consider entering ministry. Probably due in part to this trend through the years enrollment in the Bible College decreased to the point the school was closed about 5 years ago and the remaining students were “encouraged” to attend the church-run liberal arts college across town. In fact from what I read we are essentially retroactively graduates of this college! However we are very pleased that we were Bible College trained and were very saddened to see our former campus now closed.


The property is being auctioned off. We recall many memories of the Lord establishing His calling upon our lives as we attended this Bible School – daily chapel services, dormitory prayer groups, weekly mission services, godly instructors, lifelong friends. We  transitioned into adulthood in a Bible Institute setting where we were instructed and encouraged to grow in godliness. The focus was more on spiritual maturation than merely academic achievement.


This is Sunnyvale, the little church just outside of Springfield where we pastored the first year of our marriage and ministry in May of 1976. It was here that we met some of the finest Christians who were loving, supportive, and dedicated to God. It has been closed for a number of years now as a church was planted nearby and many of the people have attended there in recent years and some of the most dedicated attendees at Sunnyvale have been with the Lord for many years now.


Our first home as a married couple was this little parsonage right beside the church where we lived from May 1976 till we moved to Pennsylvania in August 1977. We were anxious to plant an Evangelical Church in an area where there were few churches and that’s what led us to Saint Marys, PA where we planted a church and resided for nearly 16 years.

Dinner on the grounds in Fair Grove, Missouri, 1976. Stephen was 21, I was 20 and we were married only a few months. The Sutherlands were in their 90’s seen left of the tree. (I am smiling as I type this caption since warm memories return of this special gathering when we brought our picnic type foods together and there’s no doubt that someone brought fried chicken to the picnic.)

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“When It’s All Been Said And Done”  Video  Robin Mark

“Leave A Legacy”  Video  Aaron Jeoffrey

“Monuments”  Video  Legacy Five

“Heroes Of The Faith”  Video  Legacy Five

Finally Today:

I (Stephen) am geographically inclined and Google Earth (or maps) provides an interesting way to reminisce about our past with either a satellite view or in many cases a street view of virtually anywhere on the earth. As a personal project I chronicled my life and Brooksyne’s using this with each link opening to a place of significance to us. I call it “My Personal Geography” Perhaps it’s something you might like to do.


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.

“Don’t Grow Weary!”

Wed, 08/16/2017 - 12:33pm

Yesterday we visited a few minutes with John and Faithe Keefer and saw their tall sunflowers and other healthy vegetation.

“Don’t Grow Weary!”

Message summary: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9). “Never Tire Of Doing What Is Right”

Listen to our message on your audio player.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers” (Galatians 6:9,10). “And as for you, brothers, never tire of doing what is right” (2 Thessalonians 3:13).

We could learn from our dog Mollie a characteristic we write about today. She never tires of playing, especially Frisbee toss. Anytime, day or night, all we have to do is say or spell F-R-I-S-B-E-E and from wherever she is she will come bounding ready to go. She is never “not in the mood”. After many tosses she may tire enough to plop down in the yard to chew on it for a few minutes before getting refreshed for another round. Inevitably her owners tire out before she does!

Yesterday in the course of our chaplain ministry Brooksyne and I talked to a friend who shared a burden with us regarding his children. He and his wife came to faith prior to their marriage and sought to raise their children for the Lord. However upon reaching adulthood two of their children have departed from the Lord’s ways, creating such a heavy, even sorrowful burden for them. We prayed with the brother and encouraged him to stay faithful and keep pressing on in the ways of the Lord.

Those of you who know me personally have likely heard my signature departing exhortation as I often repeat “Stay faithful to God”. I’ve said this for so many years that people now come up to me and offer, “I’m staying faithful!” or they look right in my eyes and ask, “Are you staying faithful?” Several weeks ago Rick, a pastor friend from New England, wrote “God bless and stay …” Yes, indeed, I am!

We all need to have this truth firmly embedded in our lives.

“Doing what’s popular is not always right,
and doing what’s right is not always popular.”

Much of that which is popular in the world is not right and too often doing the right thing will  not be popular with the world.

Today let us each personally consider the Scriptural call to, “Never Tire Of Doing What Is Right”.

In the daily text the Apostle Paul is concluding his second epistle to the young Thessalonian believers. The broader context of the passage has to do with some faulty notions these young believers had about the return of Christ. The immediate context deals with living our lives in the daily grind, summarized with the phrase of the daily text “And as for you, brothers, never tire of doing what is right.” That’s a good word for all of us.

The real stuff of the Christian life is choosing this particular day and every day to never tire of doing what is right.Bible teacher David Guzek comments: There are many excuses one might offer in explaining weariness in doing good, but they should all be rejected.

* “It takes so much effort to keep doing good” – but you will extend effort towards the things of the world.
* “It takes so much self-denial to keep doing good” – but it is worth it when we consider the reward.
* “It just brings me persecution to do good” – but your persecutions are nothing compared to that which others have suffered.
* “People don’t respond and there are little results when I do good” – but remember how slow you were to respond to Jesus Christ.
* “It doesn’t earn much gratitude when I do good” – but God sends many blessings even to those who do not thank or appreciate Him.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9). “Never Tire Of Doing What Is Right” “Don’t Grow Weary!”

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, we enjoy positive results and favorable comments when we do good. But there are many times that we do good or take a position, in accordance to the Bible, that results in our being ridiculed, mocked or even persecuted. Would You increase the importance of eternity in our hearts so that we don’t become weary of doing good and always expect reward here and now. Help us to remember, in many instances, the proper time that we reap a harvest will not be on this side but on the other side of eternity. Above all, remind us through Your Holy Spirit, that we choose to do good because it pleases You. May the fulfillment of pleasing You be of much greater importance than pleasing or impressing those among us. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Received this interesting perspective regarding yesterday’s message: “Your message today made me think of something that has been on my mind a long time. You spoke of the license and “liberty” that encroaches upon the church regarding alcohol in particular. The pastor and his craft beer blog set me to thinking. Several years ago, I attended an educational forum hosted by Veritas Academy in Pennsylvania. One of the evenings there was a cook out at a local park. The men in administration of this forum were all members of the Reformed faith (Calvinistic) and made much of their liberty to drink (not to excess, of course) and did so openly. They were beer snobs and incredibly obsessed with showing off to mostly tea totalers how cool they were utilizing this “Christian” freedom. This seems to have permeated many churches evidently. I do not personally consider having a glass of wine with dinner a sin, but Christians always need to be mindful of their witness before others and that they are never the cause of anyone stumbling. Thanks for listening. Susan”

It’s a blessing to consider those, whom we’ve had opportunity to impact, demonstrate the evidence of transformation and steadfastness such as expressed in this Facebook post yesterday from a friend of ours in New England:

“Seventeen years ago today I (Wayne) entered a program called Teen Challenge. Jesus Christ used this program to work out the character defects that made me an alcoholic and drug addict. I’m happy to say all these years later He is still working His character in my life. I’m so grateful for the awesome friends and the best leaders in the world that I met there. I’m also thankful for the amazing woman of God that He gave me for a wife who I also met there and who has encouraged me more than anyone over the last eleven years. God moved a mountain and I believe He’ll do it again.”

What a joy to talk to Wayne last night! He and his wife, Yvette, presently serve as a pastoral team in a church in Southbridge, Massachusetts. Yvette attended the church I pastored in Taunton, MA and I had to privilege of uniting these two in marriage over ten years ago. (Photo above taken during our visit in June 2016)


Yesterday we visited with Jesse and Wilma Dourte our ninety+ year old friends and took a look at their pantry. They had just canned over 40 quarts of apple sauce and gave most of it to family members. We hope to have that kind of ambition if we reach our nineties!


Jesse Lapp sent a couple more photos over from the Old Windmill Farm. He is a budding photographer with excellent composition in this photo!


Brooksyne sure would like to bring this little goat home, but we just don’t have the facilities to raise a goat, so we’ll just enjoy the visits and photos. Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Come Alive (Dry Bones)” Video  Lauren Daigle (This song is dedicated to the friend mentioned in today’s message and to all parents with prodigal children)

“Hills and Valleys”  Video  Tauren Wells

Duke, another reader recommended a recovery program I had not heard of before: Rurecover


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.

“Chain Breaker”

Tue, 08/15/2017 - 9:30am

“The cross we carry is never as heavy as the chains from which we were freed.”
(I took the photo above about ten years ago at a “Transport For Christ” trucker chapel in Omaha Nebraska)

“Chain Breaker”

Message summary: Today we consider those bound in various addictions and the blessing of the Chain Breaker.

Listen to our message on your audio player.

“But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them; and suddenly there came a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison house were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened” (Acts 16:25,26).

For several months we’ve been enjoying a song called “Chain Breaker”. We first heard the song by The Triumphant Quartet. According to the song writer, Zach Williams, it’s based in part on the daily text.

If you’ve been walking the same old road for miles and miles
If you’ve been hearing the same old voice tell the same old lies
If you’re trying to fill the same old holes inside
There’s a better life, there’s a better life

Today we consider those bound in various addictions. A very common topic of discussion in our chaplain ministry is addictions. In some cases we provide support to the employee who is dealing with an addiction but more often it is a family member. Alcohol and drugs continue to be a major scourge. This scourge is increasing as alcohol and drug use is legalized and legitimized even among many in the church. Within the modern church some leaders and lay members are now bragging about a newfound “liberty” that for many will become another source of bondage.

Especially on our heart as we prepare today’s message is a friend from one of our companies. His son has been in and out of addiction for some 20 years. For several years we have followed his story through cycles. For several months he will do fine only to lapse back into his destructive addiction. Several weeks ago I inquired of his father who sadly reported he had another fall and was in jail.

Not long ago Brooksyne worked with a woman who had lost her husband(s) and four children due to her alcoholism. Though she tried to reach out to her grown children they had given up on her. She relapsed and Brooksyne was notified and saw her through her transition to another state where she was yet placed in another rehab.

The song “Chain Breaker” addresses the addiction problem head-on in a powerful way. Consider these thoughtful lyrics from the second verse:

We’ve all searched for the light of day in the dead of night
We’ve all found ourselves worn out from the same old fight
We’ve all run to things we know just ain’t right
When there’s a better life, there’s a better life

Zach Williams writes that “Chain Breaker” was inspired by his reading the account of Paul and Silas in Acts 16. They had been bound in chains and imprisoned for proclaiming the Gospel, a risk of being obedient many still encounter in restricted areas of the world. The apostles did not despair but prayed and sang hymns of praise to God. God providentially ordained a great earthquake so that the foundations of the prison house were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were broken. Although Acts 16 was a literal account of Paul and Silas’ deliverance Zach sees the passage as figurative in another type of deliverance.

If you’ve got pain, He’s a pain taker
If you feel lost, He’s a way maker
If you need freedom or saving, He’s a prison-shaking Savior
If you got chains, He’s a chain breaker

Today we focus on two groups:

1) You may have come across this message and realize you are in bondage. It seems God is using this song to remind many that He is a chain breaker!!! We urge you to turn in faith to God. One response to the comment section of the website states, “I can totally relate to this song. I was drowning in addiction and depression, I’ve attempted suicide 3 times. I took 150 sleeping pills, but God WOKE me up. That’s just one of the many times God has kept me alive. He pulled me from death and gave me life. God is so good. I owe all to my prison shaking Savior, and I love Him so deeply. Thank you Jesus for what you’ve done, are doing, and for what you will do.”

2) Like our friend mentioned earlier in the message you may have a loved one fighting addiction. May the words of this song based on the truth of a chain breaking Saviour encourage you as you continue to pray and await that glorious day when your loved one’s chains are broken.

If you believe it, if you receive it
If you can feel it, somebody testify
If you believe it, if you receive it
If you can feel it, somebody testify, testiify
If you believe it, if you receive it
If you can feel it, somebody testify

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, that which You intend for our good the enemy seeks to use it for our destruction. You give us many commands and guidelines in the way we are to walk in accordance with Your will and for our own good. When we lose our way You seek us out and tenderly lead us home to where we find safety, refuge, healing, and an overcoming spirit to fight off the enemy that is seeking to devour us. We take up the shield of faith to defend us from the fiery darts of Satan, the helmet of salvation to protect us from the devil’s missives lodging in our thoughts and use the Sword of the Spirit for our weapon against the enemy for it is in the Word that we will find strength, wisdom, guidance and comfort to guide us all the days of our lives. Encourage our brothers and sisters who have family members living in addiction who need to come home and find that You are a chain breaker. For any struggling with drug or alcohol addiction or any other destructive addiction release them from their heavy chains as they surrender their all to You and find salvation to bring satisfaction and peace in place of the emptiness and destruction with which the devil has sought to destroy them. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Chain Breaker”  Video  Zach Williams   This is presented in dramatic form and is very moving.

The story behind the song  Video

“Chain Breaker”  Video  Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir

“Chain Breaker”  Video  Triumphant Quartet

“I Won’t Go Back”  Video  Brooklyn Tabernacle Singers

“Old Church Choir”  Video  Zach Williams This will pobably give you some uplifting joy!

Yesterday we referred to the tragic events in Virginia. Here are some helpful perspectives:

Gary Bauer writes, “The teachings of Jesus Christ are the balm that can heal the wounds and divisions that are growing in America. Broken families, broken lives, broken communities can all be made whole by the Man of Galilee.

Racism in any form by members of any race is a sin. The basis of racial reconciliation is the knowledge that all human beings are made in the image of God.

Our liberty comes from God, not government. He is our ultimate “national defense.” Our Founders believed that without a reliance on Him the republic was doomed. They were right.”

Sam Rohrer, president of the American Pastor’s Network writes,

“The deplorable circumstances in Charlottesville should indeed get the attention of all Americans. Yet, in the midst of this event, for which both sides share blame, these questions must not be overlooked: What has happened in America to produce such increasing hostilities and anger among our people? And can unity be achieved just by our leaders demanding it?

“In reality, we didn’t get to this place by accident nor overnight. The rejection of moral truth, healing and transformative power of redemption and forgiveness available only through Jesus Christ is where it started. The coarsening of society is assured where life in the womb is cavalierly discarded, where God’s plan for the family and human sexuality is jettisoned, where a ‘selfless others focus’ is replaced with a ‘selfish only focus,’ and where duty is replaced with ‘rights.’ Such it is today.

“Is unity again achievable? The answer is yes. But, for some, even this statement may be dividing—yet it is nonetheless the truth. Unity is not the goal but a by-product. Unity never demands full agreement in all things by all people. Yet what unity does demand is an agreement on a common body of truth. In the United States, that common body of truth was found in the Judeo-Christian Scriptures, where there is God who created life and then ‘endowed certain unalienable rights’ to the people, who ‘under God’ agree with God that He is perfect; that mankind is sinful and not naturally good.

“But that redemption and healing through faith in Jesus Christ alone can transform the mind and the heart, and heal families, communities and the nation. No one race, no one color, no one nationality has a claim to this truth. Yet, true equality, true justice and true unity can, in fact, result when people from all walks of life agree with God on these truths.

“Any nation or people who believes these things can experience peace, security and unity. Our nation once did—not ever perfect, of course—but overwhelmingly embraced this view, and God blessed it as no nation ever before it. We will now, in this time of increasing need, either look to God and agree with Him and do what He says and regain the freedom we so love, or we will look to ourselves, to government or to some man or woman and descend into the abyss of slavery and totalitarianism. There is no other choice.” See here.

David, a reader from Great Britain shared concerning yesterday’s message on “Ancient Words”.

Reminds me of the wording at the Coronation here in the UK.

“Our gracious Queen: to keep your Majesty ever mindful of the law and the Gospel of God as the Rule for the whole life and government of Christian Princes, we present you with this Book, the most valuable thing that this world affords. Here is Wisdom; This is the royal Law; These are the lively Oracles of God.”

However we wonder if this will still be used at the next Coronation.

Note regarding concessions: The acceptance of alcohol and drug use,including marijuana, is growing in the church since it is now “legal” in many places. Many younger millennials see this as an acceptable liberty and scoff at the old-fashioned notion of abstinence usually referring to it as “legalism”. Some time back I came across a social media post by a younger pastor announcing his craft beer drinking awards. It deeply troubled us as we’ve personally seen the lasting damage that comes when the acceptance and casual attitude toward alcohol consumption creeps into the church.

Finally Today:

Our friends Jesse and Anna Ruth recently had a nice write-up about their farm on the “52 Things 52 Weeks” blog titled “A Day In Amish Country”. They are getting excellent reviews for their authentic Amish farm tour. Today we share recent photos Jesse sent over.


Newborn goat on Old Windmill Farm
(Photo by Jesse Lapp)


Newly hatched duckling on Old Windmill Farm
(Photo by Jesse Lapp)


Newly hatched chick on Old Windmill Farm
(Photo by Jesse Lapp)


Watermelon on Old Windmill Farm
(Photo by Jesse Lapp)


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.

“Let The Ancient Words Impart”

Mon, 08/14/2017 - 12:37pm

Swallowtail Butterflies feeding on our butterfly bush
(Photo by Ester)

“Let The Ancient Words Impart”

Message summary: God has clearly revealed and imparted His will and and shown us the way through the person of His Son, Jesus Christ. We have an absolutely adequate instruction manual that is so often under-utilized or unread, even by believers, leading many to mock and ridicule His Word. Today in all the hustle and bustle of life consider and rejoice that the Almighty Maker of heaven and earth has spoken and made known His will to the human race. Are you faithfully reading and heeding His instruction manual?

Listen to our message on your audio player.

“And He made known to us the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment–to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ” (Ephesians 1:9,10). “So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts” (2 Peter 1:19).

This weekend we had another stark reminder of mankind’s fallen condition with the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. Yesterday our pastor alluded to the situation by reminding the congregation that the answer is in the Gospel of Jesus Christ which transforms the human heart.

Today let us consider the ancient words of Scripture. Two timeless Bible texts speak to the events of this weekend. “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you at the proper time” (1 Peter 5:6).

Ancient words ever true
Changing me, and changing you.
We have come with open hearts
Oh let the ancient words impart.

We are flooded with information more than any other time in history. We can now follow events anywhere in the world instantaneously but some information is more important, holds greater significance and begs our full attention.

Consider the degree in which the human race has ignored and continues to ignore the most important message of all time from the instruction manual for life inspired by our Creator. Of course it’s the Holy Bible I am speaking of. It is widely available and applicable to every generation since the beginning of time. If you are reading our message you almost certainly have access to it and so do all those around you. Yet for the most part the Bible’s instructions are ignored and considered irrelevant by the “enlightened” modern generation. And increasingly these timeless decrees are mocked by many.

Paul wrote his letter to the Ephesians almost 2,000 years ago from prison, bound to a guard while doing so.  Consider the effort he made to impart God’s truth “to the saints in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus” (1:1). It surely took a lot of time for the message to be delivered and read aloud as the people assembled in church.

Our desire today is like Paul’s and many, many others who have gone on before us and like those who presently serve as ministers of Christ.  We want to share a perspective from God’s instruction manual and especially focus on the phrase “And He made known to us.” What an extremely rich blessing this impartation is.

Thank God that He has spoken and made known to us “the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure.”  Primarily and fundamentally we have His Son and the written Word of God. “In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed Heir of all things, and through whom He made the universe” (Hebrews 11:2).

“You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:14-17).

God has clearly revealed and imparted His will and and shown us the way through the person of His Son, Jesus Christ. We have an absolutely adequate instruction manual that is so often under-utilized or unread, even by believers, leading many to mock and ridicule His Word. Today in all the hustle and bustle of life consider and rejoice that the Almighty Maker of heaven and earth has spoken and made known His will to the human race. Are you faithfully reading and heeding His instruction manual?

When you open the Scriptures join the songwriter, Lynn DeShazo, with these prayerful words, “Oh let the ancient words impart.”

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to Your Word. I delight in your Law. I will not neglect your Word. Show me Your ways, O LORD, teach me Your paths; guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long. As we see the rampage of hatred, violence, and bigotry in our day; the deliberate neglect and ignorance of the ancient words that Scripture imparts, help us to not lose hope, but be fervent in our study of Your Word, so that it changes us from the inside out and strengthens our resolve to live as light in this darkened world.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy. (Selected verses from Psalm 119)
(Prayer of St. Francis) Today we share several photos Ester took of butterflies feeding on our butterfly bush.

Today we also several photos from our home and neighborhood. This summer we have had good rainfall and here we are in mid-August with vibrant green lawns and some very healthy crops!


Brooksyne took these two last night along our country road.
Many of these soybeans plants stand 5 feet tall!


Notice the green corn and lawn.


While on vacation our tomato plants that stand over 6′ tall got a little dry but Brooksyne’s been watering regularly since our return and we’re enjoying the delicious vegetable/fruit every day.


As our tomatoes reach beyond their intended boundaries we’ve invited our neighbors to pick any tomatoes they spot on their side of the fence. (Of course, we’ve already shared with them from our larger stash of tomatoes growing on our side of the fence.) Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Ancient Words”  Video  Lynn DeShazo

“Break Thou The Bread Of Life”  Video   Not specified, sounds like Steve Green

“Mercy Walked In”  Video  Gordon Mote

Finally Today:

For local readers we saw this information for an interesting event here in Lancaster County.

The Compassion Experience at Lancaster Bible College August 25 – 28, 2017

This free event features an interactive journey through the true stories of children living in developing countries like the Philippines, Kenya, Uganda and the Dominican Republic. In over 2,000 square feet of interactive exhibit space, visitors will step inside homes, markets and schools — without getting on a plane. Each child’s story starts in poverty but ends in hope. If you live in the USA there may be an event near you.  See here.

On August 27 the final “Music In The Park” gospel concert this summer in Lebanon PA will feature  “Gold City”.  See here for information.

Here’s a couple of songs we both enjoy:
“Never Too Broken To Belong”  Video
“What Children Believe”  Video


Send a message to Stephen & Brooksyne To receive the “Daily Encouragement” each Monday-Friday through email see this page to subscribe to our email list. You can also subscribe to the WordPress rss feed or through a WordPress email subscription. (See the email subscription on the right side after opening this page.) Ministry Update We want to thank all who financially support our ministry. We realize there are many fine ministries and causes requesting support but if the Lord would lead you we surely need and appreciate the financial support from our readers and listeners. Our ministry labor is comprised of half our time to Daily Encouragement and the other half to our chaplaincy ministry to companies for which we receive a fee (of course this percentage of time varies week by week). Each of these ministries essentially is the same as a part-time job (20+ hours weekly) for each of us. Our goal for many years is that each phase would provide half of our ministry expenses and income. If you would like to make a donation to our ministry see here for more information. Donations through my chaplaincy endorsing ministry are tax deductible and will be receipted directly by them. Thank you!

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

“The Blessing Of Trust”

Fri, 08/11/2017 - 1:31pm

The New River Gorge as seen from the Visitor’s Center overlook

“The Blessing Of Trust”

Note: We arrived home from our trip to the Midwest late last night and we gratefully expressed thanks to God for our long safe trip (3,300 miles) and that all is well at home!

Message summary: What a tremendous blessing it is to place our trust in the Living God!

Listen to our message on your audio player.

“But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in Him” (Jeremiah 17:7).

Yesterday we made a purposeful diversion on our trip back home to drive across the New River Bridge in West Virginia. This is the highest bridge east of the Mississippi River and the third highest in the USA. It crosses the New River Gorge, which is known as the “Grand Canyon of the East”. The bridge deck is 876 feet above New River. (Photo to right is from NPS.)

Approaching the bridge you hardly notice you are crossing a gorge since the bridge is an arch construction with all the support below and there is no structure above the bridge. This is unlike many large bridges such as the Royal Gorge suspension bridge in Colorado, the nation’s highest bridge, which we visited 15 years ago. Crossing the bridge was actually a bit of a letdown since the outer lanes were in maintenance and Jersey barriers on each side limited the views over the bridge down into the deep gorge. However we saw some nice views from the Visitor Center on the other side. Once a year they have a bridge day when you can walk across the bridge, a huge event in West Virginia.

Although the New River Bridge is the most famous bridge we crossed during our trip we crossed thousands of bridges (when considering bridges over roads and small streams). We crossed long bridges over the Ohio, Mississippi, Arkansas and Tennessee Rivers without giving it much thought. But each one involved skilled engineering, quality materials, competent construction, diligent maintenance, and conscientious inspections.  Periodically there is a bridge failure such as one several years ago in Minneapolis over the Mississippi River.

Trusting the expertise of engineers and construction crews is one thing, but trusting God for all the variables in life takes an even greater leap of faith. You know what I’m talking about; those unexpected circumstances, the ones we wouldn’t purposely choose to include in our life’s journey. We’ve all had them.

Our daily text was written by Jeremiah in the historical context of the Southern Kingdom’s final years. God’s judgment was imminent and Jeremiah was one of the faithful prophets proclaiming this unpopular truth. But the terrible message of judgment also had within it a tremendous message of hope: “But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in Him.”

When we look around and consider all the things that are blessings in our lives we may fail to think of our trust in the Lord as a great blessing. People outside the faith would likely consider their possessions, health, family and other people as blessings in their lives. Those of us who believe and follow Jesus Christ would certainly consider these to be blessings as well, but we would put the tremendous dimension of our salvation in Christ at the top of the list and every blessing that follows our life changing decision. Of course that would make the list infinitely long! In fact God has “blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). That will take a lifetime of calculating our blessings!

What a tremendous blessing it is to place our trust in the Living God! The line from an old hymn declares, “Those who trust Him whol-ly find Him whol-ly true”.  Even as our trust in the reliability of the bridge was not an unproven trust, how much more so is the trust we have placed in the Lord and His Word. His claims can be tested and have been by millions throughout the ages. Indeed, “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in Him.”

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, the greatest blessing in trusting You is the confidence we walk in as we look to You for everything that we have need of. Jeremiah draws the contrast of those who depend on humans for strength and have stopped trusting in You. They don’t know about the good things that You can give because they are unwilling to surrender their all to You. But we who have walked across the bridge of salvation chose to place our trust in You. We have found You to be faithful. In place of cringing fear we walk in confident faith because it is not in ourselves that we trust but in the Living God who is trustworthy in all areas of our lives. Now, we ask for grace to trust You even more.  Amen.

Some Scenes From Our Journey


On Wednesday we took a break from our long trip from the Nashville area to the New River Gorge area by walking through the Ijams Nature Center in Knoxville TN. A wooded trail led down to the Tennessee River.


A boardwalk is built out over the river.


The boardwalk passed several natural caves into the bluffs.


Climbing back out we took the steep route and Ester did fine since we took plenty of breaks while ascending the natural but large steps!


When travelling the best information is often from the locals and this man sure looked local. He is a former deputy sheriff in Fayette County. After enjoying our Southern breakfast at “Biscuit World” this man, who left just before us, gave me good directions mixed with plenty of familiarity.


The bridge from the Overlook at the Visitor’s Center. The most dramatic and iconic bridge views are from the valley such as these. Due to the long trip home we only stayed briefly to explore the area and take in these awesome views.


Family photo at the New River Bridge overlook – proof that we were really there. Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“I Can Trust Jesus”  Video  The Collingsworth Family

“Trust In You”  Video  Lauren Daigle

Ijams Nature Center

New River Gorge Bridge

New River Bridge Day, which happens to be on Brooksyne’s birthday this year! For a gift I may buy here a BASE jump. This page has a neat HD video. Scroll down and view full screen but you will probably want to turn the music down!

Finally Today:


Our neighbor harvested several of our tomatoes while we were gone and put them on our kitchen counter. This morning we had our season’s first home-grown tomatoes and they were delicious.We are blessed by a variety of neighbors who watched over our property, took care of our pets, watered our flowers, even mowed our front lawn (we haven’t found out who did that big job yet, we’re still inquiring)! This morning Brooksyne baked fresh English Muffin Bread to take to the neighbors along with strawberry rhubarb jam but they were gone. Guess who got the treats instead!  I’m sure she’ll visit them when they return since she baked four loaves.

English Muffin Bread Recipe  This is one of the easiest and quickest breads to make since there is no kneading. If you only have regular yeast it will take two risings (mix regular yeast with the warm water and sugar before adding to the flour mixture). The bread stays fresh for several days, freezes nicely and is delicious toasted. Today I mixed 6 C. unbleached white flour and 3 1/2 C. white whole wheat flour, 1/2 C. ground flax. It’s a great recipe even for the novice baker resulting in four generous loaves of homemade bread. (It’s a very fast baking project if you have instant yeast.)


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.

“Persuasion”

Wed, 08/09/2017 - 9:31am

Crossing the Mississippi River into Memphis Tennessee we saw a huge pyramid which is now a Bass Pro Shops Store. We stopped in for a visit and break from our trip.

“Persuasion”

Note: Today we are leaving the Nashville area where we spent the night after a long drive from western Arkansas. Last night Brooksyne visited with her niece who lives in Nashville. Today we head toward home with an early start for a long trip to West Virginia where we will visit the New River Bridge and Gorge before heading home on Thursday. We do not expect to post another message till Friday from home. Due to travel we will not be preparing the daily podcast till we return home.

Message summary: Wherever we are today let us continue with our mission of preaching and persuading as we are compelled by Christ’s love.

“Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation” (Mark 16:15). “Then Agrippa said to Paul, ‘Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?'” (Acts 26:28). “Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men” (2 Corinthians 5:11). “For Christ’s love compels us” (2 Corinthians 5:14).

Last week we visited Voice of the Martyrs headquarters in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. Voice of the Martyrs focus their ministry on the persecuted church. We shared a message about that visit here. We normally think of persecution in regard to imprisonment, confiscation of property, physical harm and death.

However there is another form of persecution that has an appeal among many. On the surface it may seem acceptable as a way of keeping the peace. Some countries, most notably Muslim and Hindu, impose anti-conversion laws which restrict evangelism activity striking at the very core of the Great Commission.

Several years ago a reporter and photographer were kidnapped in the Middle East and finally freed when they feigned conversion to Islam. What an incredible contrast this reveals between the two largest faith systems in the world today.  Among the root causes of terrorism is a goal to “convert”, by any means, including force the rest of the world to the Islamic religion.

Christians have a similar goal but the methodology is not force but persuasion. Any notion of forced conversion has never had a place in legitimate Christianity as established by our Lord and demonstrated in the early New Testament church, although sadly through the church age there have been individuals or groups that have been forceful. However this was never God’s design as taught in the Holy Scriptures.

Consider the very perverse nature of what are known as anti-conversion laws. What a blessing genuine freedom of religion is. We think of it likely in the sense of freedom to attend church but it’s much more than that. What a blessing it is that we can choose to follow Christ or choose not to follow Christ. We are free to seek to persuade people to follow Christ and others are equally free to persuade otherwise.

The great commission of Jesus Christ to His church is “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation” (Mark 16:15).  Our call is to seek to persuade others to this way of life as is also the ambition of any worldview.  For example secular humanism is seeking to convert others to its outlook on life.

The issue is not the desire we have that others share our beliefs but rather the means of how we seek to convert. In Christianity it’s by our persuasion. We can’t force someone to become a Christian, since it involves transformation from the inside out initiated by a decision to believe and follow Christ.

Today in virtually every region of the world there are followers of Jesus Christ preaching this good news, praying for converts, even as they seek to persuade them to follow Christ. There are scores of followers who are expressing the love of Jesus Christ through acts of compassion accompanied by a verbal witness. Dedicated Christian believers in many parts of the world who share God’s love are imprisoned and their lives are imperiled. Their crime: merely witnessing for Christ.

The apostle Paul provides such a powerful example for us in this regard. He had at one time been an ardent persecutor of the followers of Christ, but after his conversion everything changed. He himself took on the great commission as he sought to persuade people to believe on the crucified and living Christ and become Christians. In Acts 26 Paul was sharing his faith with Agrippa when he responded, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?” Paul’s response should be ours as well; “Short time or long–I pray God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.”

Wherever we are today let us continue with our mission of preaching and persuading as we are compelled by Christ’s love.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, thank you for the freedom we have to share our faith. We seek to persuade others to follow You by showing that this all-surpassing power that guides our lives day in and day out is not from us but from Your Spirit who dwells within us. Your love compels us to reach out toward others to share the love of Christ in our conversations and show the love of Christ through our actions. Help us to be faithful in doing so.  Amen.

Here is a sample prayer that expresses belief and commitment to Jesus Christ: “Jesus, thank you for loving me.  I confess that I am a sinner. I believe You are the promised Messiah who came to die for my sins.  Please forgive me of my sins and come into my life. I receive You as my Savior and will follow You as my Lord. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer.  Amen”.

Some Scenes From Our Journey


My grandparents 200 acre farm is on table land with many beautiful vista views.

Lord, lift me up and let me stand,
By faith, on Heaven’s table land,
A higher plane than I have found;
Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.

When Grandma and Grandpa Sherrell went to be with Jesus they divided the 200 acres among their six children. Mom and Dad erected a cabin on their acreage which was 180 miles from their home in Tulsa. Daddy took an early retirement so they spent several years fixing up and enjoying their home away from home before they died in their mid sixties due to cancer.


As a child I, along with my siblings and cousins, enjoyed fishing and swimming in this clear mountain pond on Grandpa’s farm.


A bed of flowers on Uncle Carroll’s property!


Now that Uncle Carroll has retired from his chicken farm business (Tyson Chicken is a very large employer in the surrounding area), he spends much of his time brushhogging. That’s just what he was doing when we caught up with him on Monday morning. If you look carefully you’ll see the fencing at the top of the pasture that he erected to load his cattle when preparing to sell them. About three years ago he was loading a 2000 pound bull that somehow fenced him in. He was brutally attacked and would likely have died if his wife had not come upon the situation and opened the gate to release the bull. He was in the hospital and required plastic surgery to repair his very torn up face. He still suffers vertigo from the frightening ordeal. Carroll was my dad’s favorite little brother (his only one), and he always looked forward to visiting him when we’d visit the mountain in AR.


Later we enjoyed a good meal at the Oark General Store


Ester rode an elevator to the top of the pyramid and took photos of Memphis. It is the tallest free-standing elevator in the USA.


We sure hope she was holding her camera tight as she reached out to take this photo looking down! Notice the Bass Pro sign on the side of the pyramid.


I-40 bridge over the Mississippi River from Memphis Pyramid


The inside of the pyramid, which had been built as a civic arena, was huge. They also built a hotel inside.


There was plenty of space for displays such as this old GMC truck.


The first Bass Pro Shop we’ve ever visited with live alligators!


Our final break before heading into Nashville yesterday was a visit to the Casey Jones museum in Jackson TN. Do you remember the story and folk song? Video Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Tell Them”  Video  Andrae Crouch & The Disciples

“Go Ye Therefore”  Video  Leon Patillo


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.

“Power Transmission”

Mon, 08/07/2017 - 11:20am

Natural Dam, Arkansas
(Click to enlarge)

Power Transmission”

Note: Today we are in Arkansas where we will visit some of Brooksyne’s relatives from her dad’s side who live on a mountain top near Ozark Arkansas and visit the Oark General Store. Tomorrow we head toward home with an early start for a long trip to Nashville where Brooksyne will visit with her niece Tuesday evening. We do not expect the messages will be daily during this time but depending on our schedule, internet connection and so forth we hope to post several along the way. Due to travel we will not be preparing the daily podcast till we return home.

Message summary: Today His power is not cut off nor His ear deafened that He cannot hear our needs. He is still touching people’s lives with His healing power. He often uses human agents in the transmission of His power but He also works sovereignly and has a set purpose for each of our lives. May Christ be glorified in and through us today!

“At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from Him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched My clothes?'” (Mark 5:30).

We had severe storms in Oklahoma early Sunday morning which left thousands without power and also tornado damage in Tulsa, Brooksyne’s home town where we had stayed for the previous three nights. We were watching the weather reports before we went to sleep and saw the storms passing northwest of where we were lodging at Sequoyah Lodge on Fort Gibson Lake. Around 1AM flashes of lightning and booming thunder awakened us as the storm passed through the area. However we never lost power though man in that area did.

Transmission of power is something most of us take for granted. We flip a light switch on without thinking about the power transmitting through wires which makes the light come on. But today let’s examine an occasion where a transmission of divine power was released.

Today’s verse offers an interesting detail concerning the healing of a woman who had a bleeding issue for 12 years. Her condition would have made her a social outcast since the best medical care of her day was of no help. In fact she had exhausted her finances but her medical condition only worsened.

She heard about Jesus but, likely due to the social shame of her disease, did not choose to approach Him publicly. Instead she “came up behind Him in the crowd and touched His cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed” (Mark 5:27,28).

“Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering” (v. 29). Try to put yourself in her place and sense the tremendous joy and relief that flooded her spirit as she experienced the healing power of Almighty God.

“At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from Him.” The dispenser of healing power realized the uniqueness and urgency of this woman’s touch of faith. After all, many were also touching Him when He asked the disciples “Who touched My clothes?” The disciples must have wanted to scratch their heads at Jesus question when they responded, “You see the people crowding against you….and yet You can ask, ‘Who touched My clothes?’” A transmission of power had taken place from the Healer to the healed and Jesus wanted to convey a special message to the infirmed woman who touched the hem of His garment.

Today His power is not cut off nor His ear deafened that He cannot hear our needs. He is still touching people’s lives with His healing power. He often uses human agents in the transmission of His power but He also works sovereignly and has a set purpose for each of our lives. May Christ be glorified in and through us today!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: We praise You, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and God of all comfort who helps us in our daily trials and meets our every need. When we come up against afflictions and trials that exceed our own ability to endure we rely not on ourselves but on You, All-powerful God, who heals the sick and raises the dead, who delivers us from deadly peril. It is on You that we have set our hope, confident that You will continue to deliver us, that You will make a way where there is none. We trust in You, our sovereign, holy and all-powerful God for everything we have need of. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

(See 2 Corinthians 1:3-4) Some Scenes From Our Journey


We are happy to report that everything is OK in Okay, OK


A great message on a church sign in Okay, OK


Lot of colorful guitar displays on the streets, yards and buildings of Muskogee, Oklahoma where the song “Okie from Muskogee” originated. Cows are displayed in Lancaster County,  buffalos in Bartlesville, OK and guitars in Muskogee.


Stephen’s niece, Greta and her husband Dean, on an old iron bridge where we walked across the Arkansas River near Muskogee Oklahoma. We enjoyed our visit with his mom’s side of the family (Steincross) Friday through Sunday morning.


Another view of the expansive Natural Dam in Arkansas that is 200 foot wide on a natural ledge which runs across Mountain Fork.


A gravel mountain road in the Ozark National Forest.


Brooksyne’s Note: We’re staying in Clarksville, Arkansas and took a long walk through town last night. There is a get together tonight with my dad’s side of the family at a Mexican restaurant so, as we were passing one, Stephen suggested I step in and ask if this was the place we’ll meet. As I was asking the hostess if a gathering of the Sherrell family was planned for Monday night I heard my name called out from a person in a booth. Turns out my cousin, Ronnie, that I hadn’t seen for about 20 years was eating with his companion. For me that was an amazing coincidence since I NEVER run into family while out and about since we’ve lived over 1000 miles from my relatives since our marriage. Ronnie lives on the mountain and stands at 6’4″! I also have five aunts and uncles from the mountain. I will also visit my parents gravesite on the mountain as they both died of cancer in 2000 and 2001.

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Broken And Spilled Out”  Video   Steve Green

“Okie From Muskogee”  Video  Merle Haggard (Just for fun!)


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.

“Fearfully And Wonderfully Made”

Fri, 08/04/2017 - 12:35pm

Woodward Park Gardens Tulsa OK “Fearfully And Wonderfully Made”

Note: We are in the Midwest visiting family and friends and attending three family gatherings in Missouri, Oklahoma and Arkansas. We are still in Tulsa where Brooksyne had a family get together last night. Today we head to a lake in eastern Oklahoma where we will gather for the weekend with my cousins who still meet annually. We do not expect the messages will be daily during this time but depending on our schedule, internet connection and so forth we hope to post several along the way. Due to travel we will not be preparing the daily podcast.

Message summary: We profess our belief and surely praise God for His creation. What about you today?

“I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (Psalm 139:14).

So fearfully and wonderfully made,
How could they say there is no God?
Reminded every breath that I take,
It’s by Your hand I have been formed
So what am I going to do with this life You gave me?
What could I do but live for Your praise?

I read a news report this week on NPR’s “All Things Considered” regarding a new level of scientific and medical development that could have frightening implications. The article begins, “Scientists have been tinkering with the DNA in humans and other living things for decades. But one thing has long been considered off-limits: modifying human DNA in any way that could be passed down for generations.” *

Marcy Darnovsky, who directs the Center for Genetics and Society, a genetics watchdog group in Berkeley, California wrote, “I think it’s extraordinarily disturbing. It’s a flagrant disregard of calls for a broad societal consensus in decisions about a really momentous technology that could be used good, but in this case is being used in preparation for an extraordinarily risky application.”

We are thankful for modern medicine and each of us have each been the recipients of caring and competent medical professionals. It is very unlikely that Ester would even be alive without this. Valid medicine seeks to restore to God’s design.

But where is the line with medical technology on several fronts? Consider the fallacy of elective abortions being referred to as medical procedures. Or the currently faddish notion of surgically and/or hormonally changing one’s birth gender which is absolutely outrageous as well as being “transgender” or any of the other constantly expanding gender wannabes. This gravely violates the design which was clearly established at Creation. “So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27).*² Now we read of the possibility of transplanting a womb so a man can carry a baby.*³

This utter rejection of God’s design and plunge into moral anarchy prompts a consideration of the phrase, “God gave them over to degrading and vile passions” in Romans 1:26. When will the Creator God will say, “Enough is enough”?!

Today let us consider a wonderful verse from the Old Testament that many of us are familiar with from a Psalm of David. It reminds us of God’s design.

“I praise You.” Inspired by the Holy Spirit David makes a remarkable observation in our daily verse. We have so very much to praise God for, infinitely more then we can ever realize. David says “I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made”. There is so much to unpack in that statement that it will take each of us a lifetime to fully grasp the awe of God’s creative power within our physical bodies. And on a natural level, understanding the complexity of life due to the advance of scientific studies, we should realize this even more than David.

Doctors and scientists have studied this remarkable machine and found ever more remarkable evidence of just how fearfully and wonderfully we are made, yet many don’t have the faith of the shepherd, who continues the verse with  “Your works are wonderful, I know that full well”. We profess our belief and surely praise God for His creation. What about you today?

Your grand designs leave us amazed.
The wonders of the way we’ve been made
Speak of Your power, tell of Your grace.
So what am I going to do with this life You gave me?
What could I do but live for Your praise?

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, we are in awe as we consider the work of Your hands, for who on earth has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand or marked off the heavens with the breadth of his hand? Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket, or weighed the mountains on the scales and the hills in a balance? When we meditate on Your unsurpassed power we are humbled and eternally grateful that in Your marvelous creation plan You made man in Your own image, male and female You created them and gave them dominion over that which You created on earth. We are a grateful people and we express it well when we love You with all our heart, soul and mind and thereby dedicate our lives to You and to Your service. Amen.

See Isaiah 40:12, Genesis 1:27 Some photos from yesterday’s journey


Ester pretending to do doing something she’s never done for real at Utica Square, a historic urban shopping area in Tulsa similar to the Plaza in Kansas City.


We spent some more time on Route 66 near Tulsa in an area where Brooksyne grew up. This view is only a block from Daniel Webster High School she attended in the 70’s.


During her high school years she often ate at Carl’s Coney Island, a small hot dog shop we visited yesterday. The owner told me quite a story about this huge Longhorn rack. This was from his father’s prized longhorn bull. He had shot his first deer as a boy. Later they were unable to find his dad’s Longhorn bull and it turns out the bullet that killed the deer went through it and also hit the Longhorn in the head. (A powerful reminder to hunters: consider the background!)


We visited this historical park along Route 66 with old trains and this huge oil drilling derrick.


We were married in this church in Sapulpa, Oklahoma on May 8, 1976. Brooksyne was Children’s Church Director here during the summers when not attending Bible College.


Following our family gathering last night I snapped this photo of Brooksyne with her “baby brother”, Jody, whom she hadn’t seen for four years. They’ve enjoyed a close relationship, though distant in miles.


Brooksyne’s Memory: This oil pump is located very close to the house where I grew up. I was only four years old when we moved there from Catoosa, OK. During the night hours when I should have been sleeping (I’ve always struggled with insomnia) I could hear what sounded like drums methodically beating deep into the night. This went on for a many weeks, possibly months, and I envisioned Indians on their warpath preparing to attack us (in my childhood cowboys and Indians at war was the big theme of our play). The area where we had recently moved had a large population of full blood Indians so I let my imagination run wild and my fears overwhelm me. Perhaps due to my young age and immaturity I didn’t voice my fears to my folks for quite some time. When I finally told them about the drums I heard at night they explained that the drum beat was coming from this oil well. Finally I could rest at night and not fear getting scalped. (BTW I am part Cherokee Indian so I’m not purposely picking on the Indians.) Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

Yesterday’s lead photo was the Price Tower in Bartlesville, OK, the only skyscraper designed by arichitect Frank Lloyd Wright

* Scientists Precisely Edit DNA In Human Embryos To Fix A Disease Gene
The Perfect Pair of Genes?

Princeton Tests the Gender Limits

How a Man Could Get Pregnant Scientific American (Caution: bizarre)

“Fearfully and Wonderfully Made”  Video   Matt Redman (Is there any topic that you can’t find a song written by either Matt Redman or Chris Tomlin!)

Finally today:

Yesterday we showed a photo of Brooksyne wearing a t-shirt we had bought Wednesday during our visit to the Voice of the Martyrs. Unless you are up close all you see is “I am a criminal” which can sure send a wrong message but hopefully pique curiosity to read the entire message.


Thankfully we are not a criminal for wearing this in the USA
… not yet anyway.


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.

“Remembering The Persecuted Church”

Thu, 08/03/2017 - 11:49am

“The tree that escaped the crowded forest.”
Do any of our readers know what is distinct about this building?
Inform us if you know and we will provide the answer in tomorrow’s message!

“Remembering The Persecuted Church”

Note: We are in the Midwest visiting family and friends and attending three family gatherings in Missouri, Oklahoma and Arkansas. Last night Brooksyne enjoyed a gathering of friends (mostly former neighbors) from her Elementary years. We do not expect the messages will be daily during this time but depending on our schedule, internet connection and so forth we hope to post several along the way. Due to travel we will not be preparing the daily podcast.

Message Summary: Today help us all to remember the persecuted church around the world. Let us, like Peter, hear and heed the words Christ spoke, “Follow me.” We are all called to follow. Let’s do it, regardless of the cost! Are you prepared to be an ‘N’ Christian?

Listen to this message on your audio player.

“‘I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.’ Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then He said to him, ‘Follow me'” (John 21:18,19).

Yesterday we toured “The Voice Of The Martyrs” headquarters in Bartlesville Oklahoma. For many years we have appreciated this ministry that calls attention to and assists victims of persecution all around the world. We’ll share some photos from our visit with additional notes below today’s message.

The photo to the right is visible as you depart from the “Voice Of The Martyrs” property. It would be a good sign for all of us to remember the persecuted. It is a regular practice in our home to remember but it’s also easy to get caught up in our own “stuff” and simply forget. We often remember them when we express thanks to God and count our blessings.

We read this on their website: “In northern Iraq, radical Muslims (ISIS) spray-painted the Arabic letter ن, or “N” on the homes and businesses of Christians. (Such as seen on the photo.) The ن stands for Nasara or Nazarenes, a pejorative Arabic word for Christians. The property owners were publicly identified as Christ-followers and given a choice to convert to Islam, leave or die. The courageous believers refused to deny their faith, and more than 100,000 fled with little more than the clothes on their backs.”

Our daily text is the final recorded personal exchange between Christ and Peter prior to Christ’s ascension to heaven. Jesus told Peter how he was going to die.

I wonder how Jesus’ blunt and detailed revelation of truth might have affected Peter. Here he is, gloriously restored after his ignominious denial. He’s ready to take on the world. But our Lord’s final words to him were in regard to the troubling manner in which he would one day die! Yet Peter went on to live and faithfully minister for Christ another 30 years before he was crucified upside down (as tradition asserts).

Consider how the knowledge of his future death might have crippled him. He could have become an emotional basket case! But there is no hint in his apostolic preaching recorded in Acts or in his two epistles of this being a factor at all. In fact he never mentions it.

I wonder about this when I read the account of his imprisonment in Acts 12. His long-time friend and fellow apostle, James, had just been beheaded and Peter surely knew that Herod was in a killing spree mood. Yet he is soundly sleeping when the angel awakened him for his deliverance. Perhaps he had laid down his head and reasoned, “I’m not old yet so the death Jesus foretold will not take place at this time.”

The purpose of this revelation to Peter was that he might know the way in which he would glorify God in his death. Consider people who have glorified God in their death. I’m inspired each time I read of Stephen’s bold proclamation of faith at the very time of his stoning. Some of the greatest stories ever passed down are of those who remained faithful in their final hour, whether it was suffering at the hands of other people or suffering from the pain of death.

When I read their stories I’m all the more determined to remain true no matter the difficulties I might endure before I transition to the other side. It seems to me the right outlook is seeing death as merely God’s appointed means of transition from this life to the next. Surely this is a time when we can, as believers, indeed glorify God. Quite frankly as I see current conditions it seems that various types of persecution, and even death hitherto unknown in America, may be coming. Am I prepared to be an ‘N’ Christian?

Today let us, like Peter, again hear and heed the words Christ spoke, “Follow me.” We are all called to follow. Let’s do it, regardless of the cost! Are you prepared to be an ‘N’ Christian?

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Jesus, help me to determine in my heart that Your words, “Follow Me” will far surpass the importance of any other mission I am called to in my lifetime. Like the words of an old hymn, I am resolved no longer to linger charmed by the world’s delights. Things that are higher, things that are nobler these have allured my sight. I pray that my goals, achievements, and ambitions do not conflict with Christ’s calling in my life to deny self, take up my cross, and follow Him. I want to build a firm foundation where my faith will grow so that I bring glory to Your name, both in life and in death. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

Voice Of The Martyrs Tour

Yesterday we visited the headquarters of the “Voice Of The Martyrs” ministry in Bartlesville, OK.


Our tour guide did an outstanding job of explaining the exhibits.


This wall is on the outside of the building with an inscription for many martyrs.


Chet Bitterman was from Lancaster County.


Dirk Willems is well known to the Amish and other ana-Baptist groups. We wrote about him this spring in a message with a similar theme to today’s message.


Nigel Lee, a Chinese-American friend of ours, is related to Watchman Nee.
Nigel, along with his wife Laifong, are longtime recipients of our daily encouragements.


The Martyr’s wall only has a minuscule fraction of those martyred for Christ. One source states that every five minutes around the world a Christian is killed for their faith.


We were inspired by the powerful quotes of the founder of the ministry who himself was persecuted.


The exhibition area has many remarkable photos such as this actual example of persecution in Vietnam. The soldier with the baton is apprehending the man with his back turned. Some scenes in the display area are too graphic to share such as this one which is sobering.


This morning we had a colorful and joyful 72 year old petite server who was vibrant in sharing her faith, including singing “Everybody Ought to Know Who Jesus Is” while she worked! She referred to Brooksyne as Sunshine when she came to join me at breakfast since she sees the wife as sunshine to her husband. Brooksyne is wearing a shirt we each purchased yesterday at the Voice Of The Martyrs with a thought-provoking message. We will share more of what’s on this shirt tomorrow!

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

Voice Of The Martyrs

“We Stand As One”  Video   Greg Sykes  This is a powerful song used in the introductory video for our tour at “Voice Of The Martyrs” yesterday.

Some additional “Voice of the Martyrs” articles and videos:

“I Am N” Description of N Christians

“I Am N”  Video

“Sacrifice”  Video

Persecution Blog

Finally today:

Bartlesville Oklahoma is a small city about 50 miles north of Tulsa.


Home of Frank Phillips, founder of Phillips 66.


In our area painted cows are popular but Bartlesville has lots of painted Buffalo!


Leaving Bartlesville we saw a sign for Oklahoma Wesleyan University. I am not sure I ever paid much attention to this university till I read a short blog article by Dr. Everett Piper, the college president, titled, “This is Not a Day Care. It’s a University!  (A great read in light of the craziness going on at so many campuses including Christian ones!!!) May the Lord give us more leadership like this in Christian circles!


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.

“Friendship Blessings”

Wed, 08/02/2017 - 12:29pm

Crossing the Mississippi River into Missouri Ester took this photo of the majestic Gateway Arch in Saint Louis.

“Friendship Blessings”

Note: We are in the Midwest visiting family and friends and attending three family gatherings in Missouri, Oklahoma and Arkansas. We do not expect the messages will be daily during this time but depending on our schedule, internet connection and so forth we hope to post several along the way. Due to travel we will not be preparing the daily podcast.

Message summary: We thank God for our friendship collection. The really neat thing about this collection is that, unlike other earthbound collections, our friendship can continue throughout our eternal dwelling in heaven. All our friends who follow Christ will be among those with whom we spend eternity where we will continue to enjoy meaningful conversations which will surely include some delicious meals here and there!

“Thinking He was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for Him among their relatives and friends” (Luke 2:44). “Friends always show their love. What are brothers for if not to share troubles?” (Proverbs 17:17).

We are in Tulsa, Oklahoma for a couple of days. Without realizing it, when looking for a motel in Tulsa, I booked a Comfort Inn right next to Brooksyne’s Technical school where she attended her junior and senior years to study cosmetology. This evening she has arranged a gathering with friends from her elementary school, several which were also her neighbors growing up in West Tulsa. Monday evening we had dinner with David and Sandy Simpson. Dave is the friend I’ve had the longest contact with in life. His large family became our neighbors in Belton Missouri over fifty-five years ago when we both attended first grade. We went through grade school and Junior High before my family moved from the area. But Dave and I have stayed in contact all these years. It was interesting to reminisce together over dinner as the wives and Ester politely listened on.

Yesterday, on our way to Tulsa while traveling on the Will Rogers Turnpike, we made our usual stop in Carthage, MO to visit the Precious Moments museum, an incredible viewing of Sam Butcher’s gifting with the paintbrush as he painted hundreds of his teardrop characters within mural settings in the Precious Moments Chapel.  Brooksyne collected a few Precious Moments figurines in the past but we do very little collecting these days. Brooksyne would say cute collectibles inevitably become dust collectibles. So we’ve turned our attention more to collecting friends along life’s journey and we keep adding to our collection.

Of course since our marriage we have mostly mutual friends and for many years now we’ve been taking photographs of these friends. They are placed in a folder on my computer labeled “friends” and many have been placed up on this site. In fact, since around 2005 when we began archiving and posting photos on our site, we have over 1,200 photos in the “people” folder.

One of our more recent friends is Phil, whom we met this spring in our chaplaincy ministry. Yesterday he texted us a photo of himself with his son and grandson on Mount Bierstadt, a 14,065 “fourteener” they had just climbed in Colorado. It’s great that we can still make new friends even as we stretch toward our senior years!

It’s quite a collection and periodically I go through it and reminisce. If you join us for a meal in our home we’ll ask you to sign our guest registry (if we remember), and we’ll likely take your photo. It helps instill memories of past visits from friends and family over the years. We encourage our readers to keep a Guest Book since we regret that we didn’t keep one from the beginning of our marriage as some do.

We enjoy having friends visit our home, but perhaps you’ve travelled with a group of friends to events like CREATION, Family Camp or other settings where many out of town people are staying for several days. We look back at a time when Jesus was only a boy and did just that. He was twelve when the events concerning the daily verse occurred, “Thinking He was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for Him among their relatives and friends” after Jesus’ parents “lost” him after a trip to Jerusalem. Notice that His parents’ sought for Him among their “relatives and friends”. Of course we know that Jesus was actually back with the religious leaders, but the wording of the text indicates that it was Christ’s practice to spend time with relatives and friends. That’s where His parents assumed He would be so that’s where their search began.

I suppose we don’t think much about Jesus having friends as a little boy. But He surely did. It’s normal and healthy to have friends and the Scripture declares that Jesus “grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men” (Luke 2:52). Growing in favor among men would surely include developing lasting friendships.

Jesus considered His disciples to be friends. He said to them, “You are my friends if you do what I command” (John 15:14). Obviously, if they chose to walk away from Jesus’ teaching about God’s commands that would make them uncomfortable in being with Jesus and put distance between them. Later, after Christ’s resurrection, in one of His encounters with His disciples He has this exchange, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” (John 21:5).

The Apostle Paul was also blessed by many friends. I enjoy this rather obscure passage, “The next day we landed at Sidon; and Julius, in kindness to Paul, allowed him to go to his friends so they might provide for his needs” (Acts 27:3). Paul seemed to have friends wherever he went which means he was regularly making friends along the way.

We thank God for our friendship collection. The really neat thing about this collection is that, unlike other earthbound collections, our friendship can continue throughout our eternal dwelling in heaven. All our friends who follow Christ will be among those with whom we spend eternity where we will continue to enjoy meaningful conversations which will surely include some delicious meals here and there!

Perhaps you will consider your friendship collection today. Make an effort today to contact an old friend. You might also consider making a new friend. It will bless you and it will also bless your friend!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, we want to show our love to friends in regular conversation and in tangible ways as we reach out to them and express personal interest in their lives. Proverbs 17:17 teaches us that “Friends always show their love”, not only in the good times but we share together in times of trouble upholding, supporting, and bearing their burdens with them on life’s journey. As we mutually bear our burdens we are strengthened and encouraged together. Our lives are greatly enriched by the friendships we establish and grow from day to day. Amen.


Dave and Sandy Simpson have both been friends for many years since we met Sandy shortly after their marriage. Dave is a businessman who seeks to honor the Lord in his leadership as CEO of Holloway America. Sandy has a home-based business of her own. It’s a joyous blessing to have friends like them!


Yesterday I met up with Sharon Julian, my cousin three times removed, in Springfield, MO. We typically visit near the fireplace at the Bass Pro since she takes time off from work to visit. We have visited infrequently over the years since she grew up in Tucumcari, NM while I grew up in Tulsa. She and her husband, Ted, have raised three children and now enjoy several grandchildren, all living for the Lord. My dad would be pleased to know I met up with some of his family members and I am delighted in doing so as well.


In Indianapolis we stopped for a meal at the Weber Grill Restaurant (no relation but I’m sure glad they spell Weber “the right way”).


From Saint Louis To Tulsa we traveled mostly on I-44 but periodically got off and rode on old Route 66 in a portion of our journey to Springfield. We enjoyed a nice meal here at “Missouri Hick Bar-B-Que” near Cuba, MO.


Can you see Ester and Brooksyne on the huge rocker!


We drove by our former college. The campus grounds are still nicely maintained.


It was a sad sight as the college closed down several years ago and now the property is being auctioned off. Stephen and I recalled precious memories of the Lord establishing His calling upon our lives as we attended this Bible School – many precious memories of chapel services, godly instructors, precious friends, and maturing into adulthood in a Bible Institute setting where we were instructed and encouraged to grow in godliness.


Sunnyvale, the little church just outside of Springfield where we pastored the first year of our marriage and ministry. It was here that we met some of the finest Christians who were loving, supportive, and dedicated to God. It has been closed for a number of years now as a church was planted nearby and many of the people have attended there in recent years. And some of the most dedicated attendees our Sunnyvale have been with the Lord for many years now.


Our first home as a married couple was this little parsonage right beside the church where we lived from May 1976 till we moved to Pennsylvania in August 1977. We were anxious to plant an Evangelical Church in an area where there were few churches and that’s what led us to Saint Marys, PA where we planted a church and resided for nearly 16 years. Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Eternal Vacation”  Video  Dailey and Vincent   From Saint Louis To Tulsa we have traveled mostly on I-44 but periodically got off and travel old Route 66 on a portion of our journey to Springfield, we got off I-44. This music seems appropriate for old Route 66.

“Old Friends”  Video  Bill Gaither and his many friends (more than a few who are now with the Lord!)

“Friends”  Video  Michael W. Smith

“Old Friends”  Video


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.

“Philologus”

Fri, 07/28/2017 - 9:30am

Fruit tree art in lobby at JK Mechanical

“Philologus”

Note: Tomorrowmorning we leave for the Midwest where will be seeing family and friends and attending several family reunions in Missouri, Oklahoma and Arkansas. Brooksyne will also be meeting up with several friends from her school days in Tulsa. We do not expect the messages will be daily during this time but depending on our schedule, internet connections and so forth but we hope to post several along the way.

Message summary: May we be counted among those who love the Word of God and meditate on it all day long!

Listen to our message on your audio player.

“A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold” (Proverbs 22:1). “Greet Philologus, Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas and all the saints with them” (Romans 16:15). “Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long” (Psalm 119:97).

Our names are important to us. People like to be addressed by their name, they like to see it spelled correctly and hear it pronounced properly. In our chaplaincy work we seek to learn names and address people by their proper name. It can be somewhat insulting to be addressed by Pal, Buddy, or the endearing term “Hon” used by a waitress you don’t even know who serves your table. Maybe one of the worst ways to be addressed is, “Hey you!”

Our names identify us. Some names bring good memories. The first daily text reinforces the value of having a good name. “A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.”

I am named after the Bible character, Stephen. In my case it was not a family name up to that point but very purposefully the Bible character. Not surprisingly Stephen is one of my favorite Bible characters and his name means “crowned one.” Brooksyne’s name is a name originated by her mom so there’s not a special meaning behind it, except that it is a derivative of her father’s name, Brooklyn. She assists people with the pronunciation by saying, think of the “scene of a brook” but turn it around and say, “Brook scene” with the accent on the second syllable. One advantage (or for some a disadvantage) to such a name is how easy it is to find her using a google search! Very few people can be identified through google just by their first name.

The second daily text today is included in a long listing of Paul’s friends and ministry associates we’ve examined this week from Romans 16. In fact this chapter has 35 proper names! In this message let’s look at one more, Philologus, the only time he is mentioned in the Scriptures. Very little is known about him (I presume he was a male) but he has a neat name, a compound of two words; Philo meaning “love” and logos meaning “word.” Perhaps he was known by the abbreviated name, Phil, such as those today who have the name Phillip!

We can’t do more than conjecture but I wonder if this was a name with a meaning as was often the case in the Bible? If so Philologus means “lover of the word.” Or in this case it might have been, like Barnabas, a descriptive nickname based upon what others had observed. Barnabas means “son of encouragement” due to his encouraging characteristics. After he had acquired the nickname he is not again referred to by his birth name of Joseph (Acts 4:36). Perhaps in the case of Philologus others had observed that he was a diligent student of God’s Word and gave him this nickname!

Philologus will be an interesting person to meet in heaven and then we’ll find the story behind the name for sure. However, although I am quite certain very few, if any of us are named Philologus, each of us should have a lifelong love for God’s Word. The Psalmist declared, “Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long” (Psalm 119:97).

An interesting glimpse into the Apostle Paul’s life is seen in a request made to Timothy in his final letter as his time of departure was near. “When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, and my scrolls, especially the parchments” (2 Timothy 4:13). This was likely a request for the Scriptures which is also evidence of his love for the Word right up to his death.

May we be counted among those who love the Word of God and meditate on it all day long!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen and Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, clinging to Your Word is like holding tightly to a brightly lit lantern on a darkened path. I can’t see what’s ahead but the light shines bright enough for me to proceed step by step. I am strengthened, encouraged, convicted and challenged by the Holy Bible as I faithfully read and meditate upon the inspired words written by believers throughout the generations. Like Philologus I want to be a lover of the Word as I join with the Psalmist who proclaims, “Oh how I love Your Law. I meditate on it all day long. I have kept my feet from every evil path so that I might obey Your Word.” Amen.

Brooksyne’s Note: Before we left the St. Marys, PA area where we pastored almost 16 years I read in our local paper, “Congratulations on your second birthday, Brooksyne”. That was a bit shocking to my eyes since I’d never read about another “Brooksyne” in print. Since it was spelled the same as mine I wondered if the child was named after me, but she lived in a town ten miles away and I didn’t know how to find out. Awhile back I came across this name again and followed up since this young lady is on Facebook. I wrote her and asked about the origin of her name. She said her grandfather saw the name in a church bulletin over 23 years ago, liked it, and recommended it to his daughter so she named her new baby Brooksyne, but pronounces it, “Brook sin”. She was quite pleased by my contact through facebook since she had always wanted to find out more about her name over the years. Her grandfather died while she was a child which was her only lead up to that time.

List of proper names in Romans 16:

Phoebe, Priscilla, Aquila, Epenetus, Mary, Andronicus, Junias, Ampliatus, Urbanus, Stachys, Apelles, Aristobulus & household, Herodion (relative), Narcissus & household, Tryphena, Tryphosa, Persis, Rufus & his mother, Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas & brothers with him, Philologus, Julia, Neures and his sister, Olympas, Timothy, Lucius, Jason, Sosipater, Tertius, Gaius, Erastus, Quartus


Yesterday I visited with Nate, a young engineer at Val-Co working on a large feeder when I heard a rustling inside the feeder only to discover another young engineer intern* was working inside! We appreciate these young men learning a skill set that helps feed the world.
* In spite of what we shared in today’s message about the importance of names I can’t recall this young man’s name! In the course of a week we see some 500 people in our various companies and learning names is an ongoing challenge, more so since we’ve entered our 60’s. This man is a summer intern from Penn State.


Looking out a loading dock at Val-Co I saw this Mennonite farmer taking a break in the course of doing field work.


On the way home we passed this father and his children.


Dylan, a friend at Val-Co, showed me his new water feature he made using some repurposed materials. He placed an old wooden toolbox on an old barn door, put a spigot on the toolbox and runs up water pumped from the ponds to create an interesting effect with a nice soothing sound. He even has fish in the lower pool and plans to put stone around it covering the sides of the preformed pools and concrete block for a natural look. Neat idea! I just might try it. Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Word of God Speak”  Video   MercyMe


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.

“Energy People”

Thu, 07/27/2017 - 9:41am

An elk cow from Elk County, right after her calf was born, giving her newborn a loving bath.
(Marsha Nezimik, a friend from the church we served in northern Pennsylvania, shared this photo she captured as she and her grandson were only a few feet away from this memorable birth.)

“Energy People”

Note: Saturday we leave for the Midwest where will be seeing family and friends and attending several family reunions in Missouri, Oklahoma and Arkansas. Brooksyne will also be attending a class reunion in Tulsa. We do not expect the messages will be daily during this time but depending on our schedule, internet connections and so forth we hope to post several along the way.

Message summary: We encourage each of you to be an energy giver to those in your circle of influence on this day and every day!

Listen to our message on your audio player.

“Gaius, whose hospitality I and the whole church here enjoy, sends you his greetings” (Romans 16:23). “A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed” (Proverbs 11:25).

Popular new consumer items the last several years are products that supposedly give you energy such as “energy drinks” or “energy bars”. In partaking you supposedly get a burst of energy. These products must sell well since you see them practically everywhere.

Actually products like this have been around for quite a while, just different incarnations. When we were children a popular product marketed to the older people was “Geritol” which supposedly helped with “iron poor blood”. At that point in life we had lots of energy and just couldn’t imagine what in the world they were talking about. Now we are beginning to know, especially trying to keep up with 4 young energetic children on Tuesday at Knoebels Park!

Today let us consider a particular group of “energy people”; people who energize us not for just a few hours but over a lifetime.

Energy people will express personal interest in others and if you’re involved in a ministry they’ll likely express interest and offer prayer support. They’re quick to share the ways God has worked in their life. You know the kind of person I’m describing – one who knows how to listen and when to speak in conversation, one who’s more interested in others than talking about one’s self.

Brooksyne met such a person who’s pretty new in our neighborhood. She struck up several conversations with Ginger and visited shortly after they moved here. But just last week she arranged a morning walk with her and again this morning they walked four miles.  Brooksyne came home from the first visit and said, “Ginger is delightful. She talks a little, then asks questions about me. I talk a little and then ask questions about her. We became fast friends and conversation flowed so freely.”

Think about people like this whom you know. Some are “energy givers”, others are “energy drainers”. You’ve probably heard the expression, “Some people brighten a room when they enter, others when they leave.”

In his letters to the churches Paul often expressed heartfelt affection toward particular individuals who were like those we describe as energy people. They not only blessed and energized him in his work for the Lord, but also the rest of the body of Christ.

Most of the greetings in Romans 16 are from Paul to those in the Roman church. But today Paul sends greetings from a disciple named Gaius who had a hospitality ministry.

According to the daily text he and the whole church were enjoying the hospitality of one named Gaius. There are five different occasions Gaius is mentioned in the New Testament. First in Acts 19:29 andActs 20:4 where he is described as travelling with Paul. Gaius is one of the few believers that Paul baptized in Corinth (1 Corinthians 1:14). A Gaius is also mentioned in 3 John 1:1 as the recipient of John’s final epistle who may have been another man by the same name. However in my study and consideration I see no reason to believe that the other references to Gaius including our daily text were not the same person. Surely Paul had an outstanding, long-term relationship with this brother, who likely was also one of the first converts to Christ in Corinth.

He had stayed faithful and now opened his home to Paul while he stayed there. Gaius had distinguished himself for his hospitality not only to Paul but to the other believers in the Corinthian church, as well. In fact his name means, “I am glad”. He surely must have been an “energy giver”. Note especially the words in our text, “enjoy”. Isn’t that a great way for people to describe being with you? And through the years we’ve met quite a few people like Gaius. We enjoy being with them and just being around them uplifts us spiritually, mentally and even physically.

Sharing hospitality is a wonderful dimension of God’s plan for our lives. As Christians we often call it “fellowshipping together” and we maintain that an essential component of our Christian development takes place in the realm of fellowship, as we interface with one another in our homes, churches and other places of community with true believers.

We sure hope you have some folks in your life like Gaius! Brooksyne and I have so many, including many of you who read our daily messages, that we consider ourselves tremendously blessed.  We encourage each of you to be an energy giver to those in your circle of influence on this day and everyday!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, we want to be set apart as a people who care about others, regularly expressing care to them as we follow the Biblical mandate that each of us should look not only to our own interests, but also to the interests of others. Paul charged his readers to have the same attitude as that of Christ Jesus who is the supreme example of putting other’s needs before His own. May we be more interested in giving energy to others than taking it for ourselves, for when we refresh others, we ourselves are refreshed. We are replenished as we give to others, for Your reservoir never runs dry and we thank You for it in Jesus’ name. Amen.

See Philippians 2:4-7, Proverbs 11:25

Brooksyne’s Note: We’ve described in part what an energy giver is. Perhaps we should give the contrast meaning of what an energy drainer is: one who is very argumentative, monopolizes every conversation, finds fault with anything and everyone, only talks about him or herself, boasts endlessly about his achievements or possessions, feels his opinion is always the right one and worst of all, doesn’t take a breath between sentences to let you excuse yourself from the energy draining situation you’re stuck in! I’m sure you could add to the list. I hope and pray that I never fall into this category or if I should be headed in that direction that a caring brother or sister will alert me and pray for me, according to II Timothy 3:16, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness…”

List of proper names in Romans 16:

Phoebe, Priscilla, Aquila, Epenetus, Mary, Andronicus, Junias, Ampliatus, Urbanus, Stachys, Apelles, Aristobulus & household, Herodion (relative), Narcissus & household, Tryphena, Tryphosa, Persis, Rufus & his mother, Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas & brothers with him, Philologus, Julia, Neures and his sister, Olympas, Timothy, Lucius, Jason, Sosipater, Tertius, Gaius, Erastus, Quartus

Some Scenes From Anthracite Coal Country

Today’s selection of photos is a bit unusual and probably won’t interest everyone. For several weeks I have been studying the history of the Anthracite coal regions which begin about 1½ hours north of us. We have been through this area several times recently beginning with our trip to Rickett’s Glen State Park in June. It’s a very distinct geographical area and a very significant time in US history.


I passed the old Saint Nicholas coal breaker last Saturday on the way to Jim Thorpe for a bike ride down the Lehigh Gorge.
(Click on photo to enlarge)


The St. Nicholas Breaker was described as sounding “like thunder” during operation. Mined coal was sent to the top via a conveyor, processed into suitable sizes, and washed for distribution. It was capable of processing 12,500 tons daily!


Tuesday we passed this on the way to Knoebels.


The coal is transported over the highway near the Saint Nicholas breaker.


Coal miner display at Knoebels Park.
It’s hard to imagine what a dismal, dirty, and dangerous job this must have been.


This is a photo I took from the Anthracite Museum in Knoebels Park. I watched a long documentary on mining and one of the sad aspects was the exploitation of the immigrants and especially children. It’s sad whenever the Golden Rule is not practiced.


The churches in many of the mining towns are especially ornate in light of the stark surroundings. This Ukrainian Catholic church is near Gilberton. Towns had churches for each ethnic group and the churches were a source of ethnic pride among the immigrant miners who came from various regions in Europe.


Although many of the coal jobs have left, firetrucks are assembled at a large plant in Nesquehoning, PA. Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Show A Little Bit of Love and Kindness”  Video  Collingsworth Family

Grapple podcast  This message deals with the coal region, along with neat photos.


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.

“Apelles, Tested And Approved In Christ”

Wed, 07/26/2017 - 11:43am

This morning Ester took a photo of this yellow butterfly resting on our butterfly bush in front of our home.

“Apelles, Tested And Approved In Christ”

Message summary: Today we urge all of you who are enduring a testing to remember the highest goal of life is to be “dokimon en Christo” (tested and approved in Christ).

Listen to our message on your audio player.

“Greet Apelles, tested and approved in Christ” (Romans 16:10a).

During my summer breaks while in college I worked as a Quality Control inspector in a concrete company in Kansas. We made pre-cast, pre-stressed concrete; a product used in large construction projects such as decks in parking lots and bridges.

The concrete is poured into huge forms or beds which is the precast part. In order to increase the strength cables are run through the legs in the form and then stretched so they’re about as tight as a rubber band ready to snap. Then a device clamps down over the already tight cable and forces it down into the form several more inches.

One of my jobs was to reach into the form as the cable is being stressed and verify with a tape measure that the proper amount of stress was placed on the cable. If the cable snapped I would very likely be instantly decapitated! It’s a haunting memory that I’m happy to say is behind me, but my work was important since many of our products were used for bridges in Kansas. I had a role in seeing that the product was tested and approved prior to shipment. So if you’ve lived in Kansas since 1973 or if you’ve driven through the Sunflower state, you might just think of me when you safely cross a bridge!

Mike is a longtime friend who for many years was a quality control engineer in a large company. There are many kinds of quality control experts that test machinery, tools, parts, and other materials that must meet standards before they are put into operation. This is true not only for material items, but there is also a testing process that people undergo before they are used in a particular service.

Many of these interesting people can be found in the Bible though some are only briefly mentioned.

This week we are examining severalministry associates in Romans 16. Interestingly, it is very unlikely that Paul had even been to Rome at the writing of this book. Yet we have an abbreviated hall of fame of faith representing the many lesser- knowns who have advanced the Kingdom of God through the centuries. Today, let us consider one of them, a man named Apelles, who is mentioned only this one time in the entire Bible.

It must have been nice to be remembered! If Apelles had a written copy of the letter and a yellow highlighter I imagine this part would be highlighted. It must have given him great encouragement to see his name acknowledged in such a positive way.

Most versions use the word “greet” and a few use the word “salute”, but it’s interesting to me the word for greet is “aspazomai”, which means to “enfold in the arms”.  When Apelles heard his name spoken in Paul’s letter surely a big smile crossed his face as he recalled his warm friendship with Paul, who even at that time was a man of great renown.

But let us consider today the single bit of biographical data we have on this man. The NIV uses two descriptive words “tested and approved” to translate the depth of a single Greek word “dokimos”. The word means tested, thus reliable, and therefore esteemed. “Dokimos” was used for coins and metals that had passed the quality control tests of that time.

Apelles underwent testing as well although the details are not specified. Maybe he suffered great persecution. Perhaps he endured major health problems. He might have fallen into sin and now, after a time of careful examination, he was being reinstated. We’re not told the nature of his testing, but at this point he had proven himself faithful.  Apelles was “tested and approved in Christ”.  What a notable recognition coming from the apostle Paul!  Many receive the recognition and esteem of man, but of Apelles it is said that his approval is “in Christ”.

Today we urge all of you who are enduring a testing to remember the highest goal of life is to be “dokimon en Christo” (tested and approved in Christ).

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, there is great temptation to seek the commendation of those around us so that we might be esteemed in the sight of others. But there is no honor or reward in this life that compares with the commendation that Apelles received, to be tested and approved in Christ. Father, You know the very intent of our heart through each word we speak and each action we carry out. May we honor You in all that we do in the daily battleground of forming attitudes and making choices. May we, above all, be dokimon en Christo.  Amen.

I’ve never heard anyone named Apelles but this is also true of many of the names in Romans 16

List of proper names in Romans 16:

Phoebe, Priscilla, Aquila, Epenetus, Mary, Andronicus, Junias, Ampliatus, Urbanus, Stachys, Apelles, Aristobulus & household, Herodion (relative), Narcissus & household, Tryphena, Tryphosa, Persis, Rufus & his mother, Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas & brothers with him, Philologus, Julia, Neures and his sister, Olympas, Timothy, Lucius, Jason, Sosipater, Tertius, Gaius, Erastus, Quartus

Some scenes from our trip to Knoebels Park


Each week we share a brief devotional message at “Your Heart’s Delight”, a wholesale distributor of gift and home decor items near Lebanon PA, for employees who choose to attend. Yesterday’s message was on letting your light shine.


Following our chaplain visit we walked a portion of the Appalachian Trail that we passed on the way to Knoebels Park. (A very short portion on the Blue Mountain ridge south of Pine Grove!) I teased the children and they liked the idea, “How would you like to walk the entire width of the Appalachian Trail?” Their eyes were like saucers, then they processed the question and caught onto the attainable measurement, “width” rather than length:  8′ to 12′ vs. 2200 miles. They happily complied and now can boast that they’ve walked the entire width of the Appalachian Trail.


We arrived at the park before noon and stayed till about 9 PM, finally arriving home after midnight. The children slept practically all the way back.


Monday night the park closed at 7:00 PM due to heavy rains and flooding. But it was open as scheduled yesterday, although the creek that runs through it was still swollen. The park was very busy.


The kids had a great time and rode every thrill ride in the park including the “Impulse”.
On ride video
Off ride video


Everyone seems to enjoy the bumper cars, even Ester! Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Still”  Video   Legacy Five

Knoebels Park is an old-fashioned park nestled in the mountains with lots of trees. A great day trip!


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.

“Urbanus, A Fellow Worker”

Tue, 07/25/2017 - 9:30am

Buttermilk Falls is the tallest waterfall seen along the Lehigh Gorge trail.

“Urbanus, A Fellow Worker”

Note 1: Today following an early morning chaplain visit in Lebanon County, we will be taking our Amish “grandchildren” to Knoebels Park.

Note 2:This week we are sharing a series of messages based on five of the names in Romans 16. See introductory note to yesterday’s message for more info.

Message summary: Today consider genuine Christians you have known who have walked the road less traveled. Their heart’s desire was to devote their lives to Jesus and make a difference for Him in the lives of those around them. Thank God for the many people they touched, including your own!

Listen to our message on your audio player.

“Greet Urbanus, our fellow worker in Christ” (Romans 16:9).

Paul, whom we rightly recognize had a very close walk with the Lord, also had many people in his life.  Many years ago I did a study of proper names associated with Paul beginning at his conversion in Acts and referenced in each of his epistles. Over 100 separate names are listed from the familiar, like Timothy, to the obscure like Urbanus. Actually the majority are obscure and we know virtually nothing about them except they were faithful believers who had impacted Paul’s life. Several of his epistles, like Romans, end with greetings to these friends. Staying connected was important to Paul and their inclusion in the text, as part of Holy Scriptures, reminds us of the value that God places on long-term relationships.

It seems all too frequent that some nationally or internationally prominent Christian personality is exposed for being a fraud. In most cases when this happens I had serious reservations about their ministry all along and the reports were not surprising to me. But I consider the damage this leaves behind for people whom we seek to influence, especially those who are inclined to believe this represents genuine Christians. It’s great ammunition for those who claim “All Christians are hypocrites”.

But then I consider the ordinary people in each church I have served or attended and those I have worked with in various ministries.  Most of you would not know of them since they serve in relative obscurity, as have the vast majority of genuine Christians all through this two thousand year church age.

It’s unlikely that Bible readers have paid much attention to today’s text even though it’s in one of the most familiar books of the Bible. I will admit that I never preached on it. I knew a man named Urban Ginther from northern Pennsylvania but I don’t know whether he was named after Urbanus. I doubt that Urbanus is listed in the book of popular names for babies! Perhaps it would be a good name for a baby born in an urban city, kind of like the name Oceanus given to a baby boy born on board the Mayflower as it was sailing toward the new world in 1620.

Urbanus is mentioned only once in the entire Scriptures. He wasn’t one of the “major players” like Paul and other famous Bible characters. Most readers, even those who faithfully read the Bible, have probably never paused to consider his role at all. But Paul calls him a “fellow worker”, which is the sum total of biographical data we have on him.

Today consider genuine Christians you have known who have walked the road less traveled. Their heart’s desire was to devote their lives to Jesus and make a difference for Him in the lives of those around them. Thank God for the many people they touched, including your own!

Be encouraged today.

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, how grateful we are for those who roll up their sleeves and get involved in Kingdom work.  They help carry the burdens of those who are weighed down. They pray people through to salvation.  They visit the sick and imprisoned. They give generously of their resources. They take a stand for righteousness sake. They endure trial after trial providing an example for those who need to see what it is to remain faithful during times of testing. These fellow workers make the journey a little sweeter and a lot more enjoyable as we travel through to the other side. We give thanks for our fellow believers who come alongside us. And we give thanks for those whose kinship we feel through these daily encouragement messages. Bless our fellow workers in Your name, Lord Jesus, we pray.  Amen.

Brooksyne’s Note:  An old chorus comes to mind that I’ve sung many times around an altar with fellow believers who desired to be used of God in reaching others for the sake of the Gospel.  If you know this chorus why don’t you sing these words of consecration: “O to be His hand extended, reaching out to the oppressed. Let me touch Him, let me touch Jesus, so that others may know and be blessed.” If you don’t know the tune, make it your heartfelt prayer today: “Father, I want to be Your hand extended reaching out to the oppressed. Let me touch You, let me touch You Jesus, so that others may know and be blessed.”

List of proper names in Romans 16:

Phoebe, Priscilla, Aquila, Epenetus, Mary, Andronicus, Junias, Ampliatus, Urbanus, Stachys, Apelles, Aristobulus & household, Herodion (relative), Narcissus & household, Tryphena, Tryphosa, Persis, Rufus & his mother, Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas & brothers with him, Philologus, Julia, Neures and his sister, Olympas, Timothy, Lucius, Jason, Sosipater, Tertius, Gaius, Erastus, Quartus

Lehigh Gorge Bike Ride

Today we will share some photos of our favorite rail to trail bike ride, the Lehigh Gorge. For local readers this is a great day trip if you are within several hundred miles of Jim Thorpe.


The train going up the Lehigh Gorge from Jim Thorpe. This is the regular (non-bike) train I passed after I parked my bike in Glenn Onoko State Park (Brooksyne was unable to be with me so this was a solo adventure on Saturday.)


The bike train travels up the Gorge along the Lehigh River 25 miles from Jim Thorpe to White Haven. Here’s a photo from inside the train going around a bend. The two front cars are loaded with bikes. At White Haven they unload the bikes. Then you ride your bike down a gentle abandoned rail grade through beautiful scenery along the Lehigh River for 25 miles! This has probably become our favorite bike ride and we will probably run it again later this summer.


It was a hot summer day and there were lots of rafting and kayaking. A pleasant sound is the happy voices of rafters amplified up from the River, especially through the rapids.


The mountainsides along the Gorge are covered with Rhododendron and Mountain Laurel. Although the blooming season is well past prime I still managed to see some nice blossoms. Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“O to Be His Hand Extended”  Video  From a Salvation Army chapel service


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.

“Hard-working Mary”

Mon, 07/24/2017 - 10:55am

Sunflowers on the Old Windmill Farm
(Photo by Jesse Lapp)

“Hard-working Mary”

Note: This week we will share a series of messages based on five of the names in Romans 16. Romans is considered by many to be Paul’s”Magnum Opus”, a work regarded as the most important contribution of an artist or writer. (Example here). The Book of Romans sets forth so clearly the great doctrines of justification. Chapters 1-11 are deeply doctrinal while Chapter 12-15 are an expression of Christian life based on these doctrines. In chapter 16, although there are some very important spiritual truths presented such as the powerful Doxology, for the most part it is a very personal expression from Paul to the people. Most of these individuals are not mentioned elsewhere in Scripture. What can we learn from these very real, very ordinary people?

Those familiar with the Bible will readily identify Hebrews 11 as the “Hall of Fame of Faith”.  This chapter mentions many of the “famous” characters of the Old Testament such as Noah, Abraham and Moses.

But Romans 16 is another Hall of Fame, representing the scores of little known believers who have contributed to the advancement of God’s Kingdom throughout the church age.  Most of the names mentioned in this chapter (35 of them) are not referred to anywhere else in Scripture. Yet each made an impact on Paul’s life and upon many others as well.

Message summary: We’ve met a lot of people through the years like the Mary in Romans 16. In fact some have actually been named Mary! What a tremendous blessing they are; ordinary people using ordinary gifts to build up Christ’s extraordinary church. All over the world, unheralded and often underappreciated, they’re still a major part of God’s plan in getting the job done.

Listen to our message on your audio player.

“Greet Mary, who worked very hard for you” (Romans 16:6).

Today we would like to express honor to Veda. Apart from her own family, her local church and circle of friends in Taunton Massachusetts she is not well-known. (Which would be true of about all of us!!!) When I assumed the pastorate of a church in New England in the early nineties very soon I met the Shibilo family. Bill was on the church board and their son Greg played the organ. Veda led the choir and taught a Sunday School class among other duties, which in a short time included serving as my secretary. The Shibilos were a blessing and were faithful and supportive during our 7½ year tenure of service. Bill went on to his heavenly home in 2000 while we were there but Veda still remains on on this side. We saw her last summer at a wedding and she is still as pleasant as ever. She is Ester’s spiritual grandma and has warmed our heart over the years as she upheld Ester’s name in daily prayer right along with her own biological grandchildren.

Hopefully this will prompt a consideration of someone like Veda in your life. Today’s message is about an otherwise unknown greetee (yes, that is a word, see here) in Romans 16.

“Greet Mary.” It must have been special to hear your name read aloud when this letter was initially presented to the Roman church. It’s a blessing to be greeted.

Mention Mary in the Bible and one probably assumes a reference to the mother of our Lord or to Mary Magdalene. But today’s brief Scripture verse is the only Mary mentioned in any of the epistles, a dedicated local believer in the Roman church.

Her simple distinction? She “worked very hard for you.” We are not told what she did, but the Roman believers knew very well. Perhaps she was on the fellowship committee or coordinated the nursery workers. Those are sure two hard jobs in a healthy, active church!  Maybe she stayed around after a church meal to scrub the dishes. That had to be done back then as well.

Whatever she did, she worked very hard at it. The emphasis on “very” is purposeful. The KJV reads “bestowed much labor”.

Finally let us note the simple words “for you”. What a blessing she must have been to the church in Rome as she served others! What a reminder to us of the importance of appreciating our fellow workers in the Lord. Take notice of their contribution and express your appreciation often. You don’t know how that person may need to be affirmed in a ministry where they may lack confidence.

We’ve met a lot of people through the years like Mary. In fact some have actually been named Mary! What a tremendous blessing they are; ordinary people using ordinary gifts to build up Christ’s extraordinary church. All over the world, unheralded and often underappreciated, they’re still a major part of God’s plan in getting the job done.

Take note of the “Marys” within your congregation, people like Veda in our opening paragraph. Speak a word of appreciation to them as you notice what others might not. And if you happen to be a hard worker like Mary you will someday hear the words of greatest commendation from the Master Himself, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, as we diligently labor for You it is not to bring attention to ourselves, but it is to bring glory to Your name. Help us to find our place of Christian service where we can develop our gifts and expend our labors for the building up of the body of Christ. We are indebted to so many along life’s path who have stepped out of their comfort zone and said, “Yes” I will do what is needed to further the kingdom of God and bless others. Amen.

Brooksyne’s Note:  Do you know one whose labor is expended when others are not present, thereby it usually goes unnoticed. One such role is the janitor of a church who sees that the bathrooms are scrubbed, toilet paper and papers towel dispensers are filled, mirrors shine, floors are swept, glass doors are polished, etc.  We expect to see our church clean on Sundays and think little of it…… unless it is not clean or paper towels are missing, etc.  And then we might even get a little miffed.  Some people serve in a capacity that goes completely unnoticed until something is out of place.

Therefore when they’re doing a good job we rarely consider their valuable contribution and even more rarely let them know how much we appreciate their work.  In the past we had a part-time janitorial couple who were in their mid to late 70’s.  While I was a Sunday School teacher I had the children each write a note of thanks on our chalkboard so the they would see it while cleaning that week.  We also wrote notes of thanks another time and dropped them in their mailbox.  This couple attended some of our special services and each time we talked they always say, “You’re the one who thanked us for cleaning the church.”  They didn’t really know me personally but they recognized me by this small gesture that meant a great deal to them.  They no longer clean that church, in fact the husband of the team is now with Jesus, but they did a great job since they did it as unto the Lord.

Suggested Exercise: You might bless your church cleaning team by slipping a note of appreciation along with a Scripture verse under the plastic liner of a trash can (arrive early so you can do this before trash fills the liner). Usually there are extra liners stacked under the trash liner which saves the cleaner time and it’s on top of that stack that I did this in the past. Imagine the surprise when the janitors who are simply going about their routine work come upon a note addressed to them under the liner of the trash(es). It will likely put a smile on their face and fill a warm place in their hearts as they go about their weekly cleaning of the church building, and who knows it might even fill their hearts with a song as they run the sweeper that day.

List of proper names in Romans 16:

Phoebe, Priscilla, Aquila, Epenetus, Mary, Andronicus, Junias, Ampliatus, Urbanus, Stachys, Apelles, Aristobulus & household, Herodion (relative), Narcissus & household, Tryphena, Tryphosa, Persis, Rufus & his mother, Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas & brothers with him, Philologus, Julia, Neures and his sister, Olympas, Timothy, Lucius, Jason, Sosipater, Tertius, Gaius, Erastus, Quartus

Some Romans 16 people in our lives


We last saw Veda, referred to in the first paragraph of today’s message, in June 2016 when we were up in Newport, RI for a wedding. (This photo was taken outside in the dark night.)


It’s always a joy to see “Bunny” and Peg O’Hare whom we first met at conference in 2000 in Boston. We tend to run into the at BJ’s Warehouse. Bunny is a chaplain for Transport For Christ, a ministry to truck drivers.


In the course of a chaplain visit to the employees at a Holiday Inn Express Brooksyne visited with our long-time friends Don and Carole Musser. Don was probably the first self-identified Christian I met when I began serving as a chaplain in Lancaster County in early 2001.


Yesterday we heard in church that Haddon Robinson passed away Saturday. He and his wife have lived here in the Lancaster area during his retirement. We have appreciated his ministry for many years through RBC Ministries. Many of you have read his materials or heard him on the Radio Bible Class. I first met him at a course at Gordon-Conwell some twenty-five years ago. He was an overcomer having dealt with Parkinson’s Disease the last several years. Here is an example of his teaching (video). Recommended for all preachers! He was in his eighties when he preached this message. (Photo above was taken about 4 years ago when we saw him at the Central Market.) Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“The Chain Breaker”  Video  Triumphant Quartet  We sure enjoyed this song last night

“I Know Him”  Video  Triumphant Quartet


Last night the Pierce family joined us in attending the Triumphant Quartet concert in Lebanon. They are sitting in a light rain waiting for the concert to begin. Ken and Nila are also some fine Romans 16 type folks!


As the rain increased the concert organizer invited all who wanted to come sit on the stage since the quartet insisted they would still hold the concert. Most everyone did including Brooksyne and the Pierce family. I chose to enjoy the concert in the drenching rain (if you look carefully you will see me, sitting with my leg crossed, in the center of the photo under the black umbrella.) Brooksyne took this photo as she was sitting on the platform. As you can see the field that is usually filled with thousands of people was nearly vacant. Perhaps there were as many as 300 people in attendance as compared to the usual 3000 – 5000 attendees. We got 2″ of rain overnight at our house so you can imagine how wet it was during the concert.


The crowd on the stage got a rather close setting. It was a wonderful concert and a memorable one considering the circumstances. Music in the Park has been held every other Sunday for 27 years during the summer months and only 5 times before has this happened, as mentioned by the director. So we were there for the 6th time.


Send a message to Stephen & Brooksyne To receive the “Daily Encouragement” each Monday-Friday through email see this page to subscribe to our email list. You can also subscribe to the WordPress rss feed or through a WordPress email subscription. (See the email subscription on the right side after opening this page.) Ministry Update We want to thank all who financially support our ministry. We realize there are many fine ministries and causes requesting support but if the Lord would lead you we surely need and appreciate the financial support from our readers and listeners. Our ministry labor is comprised of half our time to Daily Encouragement and the other half to our chaplaincy ministry to companies for which we receive a fee (of course this percentage of time varies week by week). Each of these ministries essentially is the same as a part-time job (20+ hours weekly) for each of us. Our goal for many years is that each phase would provide half of our ministry expenses and income. If you would like to make a donation to our ministry see here for more information. Donations through my chaplaincy endorsing ministry are tax deductible and will be receipted directly by them. Thank you!

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

“I Still Serve An Amazing God!”

Fri, 07/21/2017 - 9:30am

Colossians 3:16 on sign in Good’s Store

“I Still Serve An Amazing God!”

Message summary: Today will you join us in acclaiming God? Let us shout the joyful sound and walk in the light of His presence.

Listen to our message on your audio player.

“Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim You, who walk in the light of Your presence, O LORD. They rejoice in Your name all day long; they exult in Your righteousness” (Psalm 89:15,16).

You want to hear the story of how I made it through,
When life is full of trouble, pain, and fear;
The answer may seem simple: though everything else crumbles,
One thing has remained through all the years.

What are you learning about today? We may associate learning primarily with our younger years but we both like the phrase, “life-long learner”. We have a number of interests; some mutual, others individual. Brooksyne continues to enjoy learning about plants and recipes, in recent years more “healthy” recipes. I enjoy history and geography, especially poring over a Google Earth and studying the history of an area based on the location. Lately I have been studying about the Anthracite coal regions of Pennsylvania.

Saturday we will be traveling through that region on the way to Jim Thorpe for a train and bike ride up and down the Lehigh Gorge.* On the way back we plan to explore some coal country and drive by the massive Old Saint Nicholas breaker (click on photo for larger view) to see if it is still standing. At one time it cleaned and sorted 12,500 tons of coal daily! (We burn about 4 tons of anthracite coal each winter to heat our home.) The coal region is very interesting to explore on Google Earth since it has a very distinct topography due to surface mining. (See here for Google map of the area around the Old Saint Nicholas breaker.)

Well, I’m sure you are learning something new each day, which keeps life interesting and our minds alert.  Today we invite you to consider a type of learning in which we should all be participants.

It’s included in our daily text, “Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you.”

The Hebrew “teruw’ah” for “acclaim” has the sense of “acclamation of joy”. Even more literally it means, “blast of the trumpet” or “shout of joy”.

Although we tend to associate the Psalms with David this Psalm is identified as “A Maskil of Ethan the Ezrahite” the only Psalm so designated. Ethan means “strong and optimistic, solid and enduring; permanent”. He is also mentioned in 1 Kings 4:31 as a wise man, yet not as wise as King Solomon, who “was wiser than anyone else, including Ethan the Ezrahite.”

Like Ethan I want to learn to acclaim God all day long. This seems to me to be a real key to living the abundant life in Christ. So many pressing matters will trouble us, so many clouds of uncertainty and instability can easily distract us.

The God who parted waters still makes a way today,
He’s always brought me through the troubled seas.
The One who fed the thousands, whose words could calm the tempest
He’s my Bread of Life, and He’s my Peace. But when we keep our focus on God by acclaiming Him we can live above the clouds. Paul and Silas acclaimed God from the dismal prison after being “severely flogged” and placed in stocks. In the hearing of the other prisoners they prayed and sang hymns to God. Certainly, things didn’t look too good on this side and the beaten men surely ached all over. But they had learned to acclaim God, even in the most undesirable circumstances.

Today will you join us in acclaiming God? Let us shout the joyful sound and walk in the light of His presence. Remember, we still serve an amazing God!

I still serve an amazing God,
He’s been with me every mile my weary feet have trod;
He still cares, He still hears;
He’s still mending broken hearts and drying tears;
This old world is about to change,
But I’m glad I know the One who always stays the same,
And my song will ever be,
Amazing God, You’re still amazing me.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, we want to be among those who have learned to acclaim You, who walk in the light of Your presence, who rejoice in Your name all day long and exult in Your righteousness.We have heard the joyful sound of the gospel and have chosen to obey it, so now we experience its power within our hearts. And now You bring forth good fruit into our lives for which we can grow and bless others as well. We are delighted and thankful through Christ our Lord. Amen.

(See Psalm 89:15,16)
We passed this nice country view yesterday near New Holland, demonstrating beauty and function with the Canna Lilies planted in front of large hay bales and field corn.


We serve as chaplains to the Val-Co Company, a manufacturer of agriculture equipment located north of New Holland. It is in an area with a lot of old-order Mennonites, which are a similar group to the Amish. We stopped yesterday at a family run roadside fruit stand for some fresh lima beans and saw this rather interesting father/son team. The young son was on a horse pulling a cultivator with his dad behind it. It was a very hot day so consider hard work like this as you eat your vegetables today!


Leaving Val-Co we saw this farmer driving a two horse team pulling an empty wagon along busy Route 322. His young daughter was watching for traffic from behind.


Such as this large truck carrying farm equipment! Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“I Still Serve An Amazing God”  Video  Triumphant Quartet  We sure hope to hear this song Sunday evening!

For local readers: This coming Sunday evening, July 23, The Triumphant Quartet will be in Lebanon, PA for the Music In The Park summer concert series. See here for info. This is a free concert! (A free-will offering is received). We plan on attending with our long-time friends Ken and Nila Pierce and their children.

* Finally today: Saturday we will be taking the bike train up from Jim Thorpe and then riding bikes back down the gorge on an abandoned railroad grade, a tremendous biking experience. Here’s a video.  Worth watching for the music!


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.

“Serving Out Of The Spotlight”

Thu, 07/20/2017 - 9:15am

Tim Morrison, always pleasant as he speaks to us in the workplace. He is supervising a team of workers who spread glue (as seen on his apron) on panels and then attaching various flooring patterns for display in retail stores – not an easy or pleasant job but someone has to do it and he does it very well!

“Serving Out Of The Spotlight”

Message summary: In our view the vast, vast majority of work being done for God is done by ordinary people doing ordinary things out of the spotlight.

Listen to our message on your audio player.

“God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them” (Hebrews 6:10).

Tuesday afternoon we visited with Tim Morrison (photo above), an employee at White Oak Display. He was excited to tell us about his previous week’s ministry when he served as a speaker at a summer camp. Tim has Bible College ministerial training and has served as a pastor in the past. He now works as a supervisor, usually making displays for flooring companies. He’s a few years younger than us but we are always heartened to talk to him due to his vibrant servant’s heart.

He sees his ministry right where he’s at, as well as serving in his local church and other opportunities that arise. He’s certainly not in any spotlight and that’s not what he seeks.

This week I listened to a podcast on “Breakthrough Pastors” with Doug Black who has an interesting ministry as a purposeful bi-vocational pastor in Philadelphia (he’s also a web designer). He makes an interesting point. “There are a lot of people trying to grab the spotlight in our world. The platforms that have no spotlight or that are far away from the spotlight are always empty so we need to find God right there.” I believe Doug is saying, look for ministry opportunities that don’t always have the spotlight on them.

When we were young and just beginning ministry we recall being challenged many times to “do something great for God”.

That was over 40 years ago and life is continually transitioning day by day, year after year. I don’t imagine any objective analysis of my life up to this point would warrant a claim that I’ve done anything really great. I’ve never pastored a large or nationally known local church. I never gained fame as a worldwide evangelist such as Billy Graham or D.L. Moody. For sure my name is not associated with recording artists! As a writer I don’t have any published books or best-sellers although I find satisfaction in preparing these daily messages since 1996. This, along with my service as a chaplain to some 500 employees in various companies, is now the way I serve and of course Brooksyne and I share both of these ministries together. We have appreciated gracious feedback over the years indicating that we have touched people’s lives but certainly make no claim to greatness or being in any spotlight.

The aspiration to do something great is commendable. Yet a sense of unworthiness can sweep over a person, who, after an honest assessment of their giftings or lack thereof, realize they’re simply unable to accomplish anything reckoned as great by others. Many have dropped the baton of service when their aspiring dream never fully materialized. They could only imagine worthiness of ministry if serving in a big way or in the spotlight.

We propose another aspiration that may initially seem rather uninspiring: “do something ordinary for God!” All of us can do that and faithfulness in the ordinary really does matter.In our view the vast, vast majority of work being done for God is done by ordinary people doing ordinary things out of the spotlight.

Now, praise God, sometimes the ordinary does become great, such as the young boy with the fish and bread that Jesus multiplied to feed the crowd. He simply offered the ordinary he had and Jesus performed the miracle. We read nothing more in Scripture of that boy again. We can assume he went on to live an ordinary life, hopefully in faithful service to Christ. Our aspiration should be to glorify God in our obedience and service to Him, not to make anything great of ourselves, let alone seek the spotlight.

Let us consider the daily verse, written to a group of people “The Hebrews”, none of whom we know by name. But as part of the Holy Scriptures we can read this verse applying it to our own lives.

“God is not unjust.” That’s a simple four word phrase we do well to memorize. Unjustness permeates our world and at times God’s ways don’t make sense, even tempting us to question His justness. But the infallible Word of God proclaims, “God is not unjust”.

“He will not forget your work.” Others may forget or not even notice, but God always sees and remembers!

“And the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people.”  How do we show our love for God? Surely through our praises, thankfulness, obedience and in many other ways.  But this verse specifies a way that goes to the very heart of ministry and it’s generally demonstrated in ordinary ways. In some wonderful way as we help and serve God’s people, we are actually helping and serving God. Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40).

“And continue to help them” The writer of Hebrews was confident that this help was active and ongoing, as he finished the sentence with this phrase.  Are you in active service for God and His people today?  If so, keep it up.  What a great blessing long-term, faithful, and dependable workers are in the kingdom of God. You may not be in the spotlight, in fact it’s likely you’re not. But He sees and will not forget your work. He generously rewards us in this life but His greater reward will be given in the life to come! Today do something ordinary for God so that He will use it for His extraordinary purposes.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, as You call us You also equip us to do that which You lay upon our hearts.  May we respond to those in need in whatever capacity we can help.  Certainly we can pray, we may need to write or call, and then there are the times we are to go and accomplish that which we are called to do. May our motive, in everything we say, do or think be to glorify You as we shine our light, not for our own glory, but always for Your glory and honor while also spotlighting the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Amen.

I want to tell you about someone only a few of our readers will know. I accepted Christ when I was a teenager and attended a small church in Independence, Missouri. Through the years I kept up with my first pastor and his wife as they aged. Pastor Howard died about twenty years ago. I last visited with Sister Howard in 2006 along with my brother. She insisted on taking us out for ice cream, which gave us an opportunity to thank her for the impact she and her husband had on our lives. They were great examples as they demonstrated Christ’s love and total dedication to the flock. Here’s a photo of Sister Howard and me taken during that visit. She and her husband are a vital part of my spiritual heritage.

Several years after this visit I tried to call her but got a recorded message that her phone had been disconnected.  I had a sense that she may have moved on to her eternal destination. On a hunch I typed her name and “obituary” into the search engine and sure enough she had passed away at 91 years of age. Her obituary had this descriptive statement, “As a minister for over fifty years, a published author and a teacher, she devoted her life to sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with others.”

Early in their marriage they faced a loss that required significant overcoming. While they were pastoring a church in Iowa their eleven year old son, while delivering newspapers, was killed by a drunk driver. When we visited her in 2006 she wept as she told us the details of her heartbreaking story, some 50 years earlier. Both she and her husband understandably had a very difficult time but by God’s grace they overcame and went on to touch

Here’s a “out of the spotlight” ministry opportunity:

Years ago we met Paul Popov* of Door of Hope International ministry, which has a special focus on the persecuted church. Just as we were doing the final work on today’s message this email came through:

Do you know that you can, from your own home, minister and help change hearts in foreign countries? Through simple email correspondence you can become a GlobalFriend and reach people for Christ in countries where the Gospel is very restricted.

Door of Hope International can provide you with a name and email address to begin your email correspondence.

We have hundreds of names and email addresses from people who live in Muslim countries waiting for a “PenPal.” They want to improve their English skills and learn about Western culture.

This is a great opportunity for Christians in the West to develop a friendship and share their faith in Jesus Christ with their new PenPal from the Middle East, Asia, North Africa, or the Gulf States.

It doesn’t cost you anything but a few minutes of your time.

There are two criterias to become a GlobalFriend:

  • You must believe that Jesus is the Son of God and salvation is found only through Him.
  • You must be proficient in the English language.

For more information click here and fill out the online application to become a GlobalFriend today!

Together in His Ministry,

Paul H. Popov

* Paul is not to be confused with Peter Popov! Paul is the son of Haralan I. Popov, a prominent pastor in Bulgaria, who was arrested and falsely accused of “being a spy” for the United States and Great Britain. Pastor Popov spent 13½ years in 16 Communist prisons and concentration camps for his uncompromising faith in Jesus Christ. His prominence as a devote Christian leader brought him severe physical torture at the hands of the Soviet KGB and their Bulgarian quislings. His amazing testimony of Christian courage is recorded in his autobiography, “Tortured For His Faith” (Zondervan Publishers).


Our friend Phil Huber from “Your Hearts Delight” shared this photo of Swatara Falls he had taken this last weekend. These falls are in a remote location but not really that far away. For local readers here is some information and location on Google map. It’s interesting that it is very near to some large surface mines. Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

Breakthrough Pastors podcast with Doug Black  (Caution: very loud at first!)

“Use Me”  Video  Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir

“Love Came Calling”  Video  Triumphant Quartet

For local readers: This coming Sunday evening, July 23, The Triumphant Quartet will be in Lebanon, PA for the Music In The Park summer concert series. See here for info. This is a free concert! (A free-will offering is received). We plan on attending with our long-time friends Ken and Nila Pierce and their children.


Send a message to Stephen & Brooksyne To receive the “Daily Encouragement” each Monday-Friday through email see this page to subscribe to our email list. You can also subscribe to the WordPress rss feed or through a WordPress email subscription. (See the email subscription on the right side after opening this page.) Ministry Update We want to thank all who financially support our ministry. We realize there are many fine ministries and causes requesting support but if the Lord would lead you we surely need and appreciate the financial support from our readers and listeners. Our ministry labor is comprised of half our time to Daily Encouragement and the other half to our chaplaincy ministry to companies for which we receive a fee (of course this percentage of time varies week by week). Each of these ministries essentially is the same as a part-time job (20+ hours weekly) for each of us. Our goal for many years is that each phase would provide half of our ministry expenses and income. If you would like to make a donation to our ministry see here for more information. Donations through my chaplaincy endorsing ministry are tax deductible and will be receipted directly by them. Thank you!

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

“The Original Identity Theft”

Wed, 07/19/2017 - 11:05am

Brooksyne thoroughly enjoys her evening walks in our neighborhood. The beauty of the Esbenshade soybean field captured her attention so she brought home this photo. With abundant rains so far this summer our farm fields are healthy and lush.
(Click on photo for larger view)

“The Original Identity Theft”

Message summary: Today we encourage you to turn fully to Christ and be ever vigilant against our deceptive enemy, the original identity thief.

Listen to our message on your audio player.

“The woman said, ‘The serpent deceived me, and I ate’” (Genesis 3:13). “He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44). “Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14).

About ten years ago I pastored a church in the Harrisburg area on an interim basis. We had a colorful senior nick-named “Red” in the church. During the Second World War Red served in the Navy in the Pacific while still a teenager. His aircraft carrier (the Hornet CV8) was sunk by Japanese kamikaze pilots in 1942.  Incredibly, he, along with three other men, clung to a log for seventeen days before finally being rescued.

In his late twenties Red accepted the Lord as His Savior. He later experienced heartache when his first wife died leaving him a teenage son to raise. Sometime later he met Elsie, a Christian woman, while he was driving her tour bus. After a time of courtship he and Elsie married and while I was their pastor they had been married for over thirty years. As a side note, after his military service, Red drove a tour bus for 55 years without a single accident.

One Saturday morning I joined several of the men for breakfast, including Red, and we had the above photo taken. Of course it didn’t really look like this as I had some fun with the photo by making everyone look like Red! (This was at a  time when I enjoyed puttering around with Photoshop.) Can you identify which one in the photo is the “real” Red?

We know people who’ve had her identity stolen. Identity theft has soared to one of the top modern crimes. Years ago a humorous commercial that ran on TV was a company that claimed to provide protection from identity theft. The ads show the actual person whose identity was stolen speaking in the voice of the thief declaring the real truth of how they would spend the stolen money. It was a humorous ad but the experience of having your identity stolen is not humorous at all.

Identity theft is a growing form of crime that primarily involves stealing vital information about another person and using that information to get credit cards and other forms of financial theft. But at times this information is also used by criminals in the commission of other crimes, so that the evidence trail leads back to the person whose identity had been stolen. And now there’s also medical identity theft!

Being a victim of identity theft is a very grievous experience. It’s not only time–consuming and expensive to resolve, but emotionally difficult as you seek to verify that you really are who you know you really are! It can damage a good reputation. Sin continues to abound in this fallen world, taking on new forms and depths of depravity. New technology is often at the forefront of facilitating ever newer forms of temptation and sin.

But there’s an ancient form of identity theft that we, as Christ’s followers, need to be on constant guard against.

From the very beginning Satan has used identity theft and disguise as a means of deception, as in the garden he disguised himself as a serpent. Today’s first Scripture recounts Eve’s response following the fall, “The serpent deceived me.” To her credit she recognized spiritual deception albeit after the fact. Satan, through the serpent, had presented himself as providing a better way than God which remains his primary strategy many millenniums later and, by the scores, Eve’s descendants are still falling for it, although he no longer deceives through the serpent.

Jesus, in His most lengthy teaching on Satan said, “He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44).

Today’s third Scripture forthrightly states, “Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.” Satan is the original identity thief. He seeks to steal the identity of an angel of light and then present himself as good. The word translated “disguises” is very interesting.  Other translations use the words “transform” or “masquerade” to translate the Greek word “metaschēmatizō”, which means “to change in fashion or appearance.”

A great line in the hymn “A Mighty Fortress” expresses it this way:

But still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe,
His craft and power are great and armed with cruel hate
On earth is not his equal.

Thank God for the balance of the great old hymn which reminds us of God’s provision to overcome our enemy, the original identity thief, through the infinitely greater power of Jesus Christ.  Today we encourage you to turn fully to Christ and be ever vigilant against our deceptive enemy, the original identity thief.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, we look to You and depend on Your Word to teach us spiritual discernment so that we can readily identify Satan when he regularly appears in disguise. Thank You for Your indwelling Holy Spirit that bears witness with ours when we test the spirits to see that which is from You and that which is from the enemy.  When we’re uncertain surround us with godly counsel and reveal to us Your truths as we prayerfully look to You for daily guidance.  Amen.


Last night’s sunset with the red rubber ball seemingly resting atop the cornfield. Yesterday we based our message on the predictability of each sunrise and sunset as evidence of the Creator God’s design and faithfulness. Tommy Carpenter, a friend from Arkansas, who just may be the most inspirational Facebook poster we know, read our message and shared an interesting perspective from Jeremiah 33:20-26. It refers to a promise God made with a covenant for the day and a covenant for the night, so that day and night will be at their appointed time, as a sign of His great faithfulness.


Lovely intermingling of black-eyed susan with crepe myrtle blooms.


This year we removed a larger garden we had used since we moved here in 2002 and made a small raised garden behind our utility barn. We had lots of composted material and our tomato plants are growing so tall, although we still aren’t harvesting ripe tomatoes! These plants are now over 7 feet tall making it difficult to stake them effectively.


Another soybean field, two houses to the north of us, in a photo Brooksyne took on her early morning walk. Such awe and beauty lies in the varying shades of green amidst the clear blue sky. Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

Here’s a daily encouragement we wrote many years ago about Red. He passed away several years back but we believe his wife Elsie is still living. Elsie went to Southwest Baptist College in Bolivar, Missouri near the time my cousin, Dub, also attended.

“A Mighty Fortress Is Our God”  Video  Large men’s conference

“O The Blood”  Video  Triumphant Quartet

For local readers: This coming Sunday evening, July 23, The Triumphant Quartet will be in Lebanon, PA for the Music In The Park summer concert series. See here for info. This is a free concert although a free-will offering is received.  Note: The last several days we had mistakenly posted this date as the 25th which is a Tuesday, probably because that is the day we plan to take our Amish “grandchildren” to Knoebels Park! Thanks to several alert readers who called this to our attention.

Finally today:


Here’s the original photo of the men at the men’s breakfast mentioned in today’s message with Red in front and left center. The guys sure had fun with the doctored photo I took to church the following Sunday.


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 Consideration Of The Greater Light”

Tue, 07/18/2017 - 9:30am

Sunset July 15, 2017
(Photo by Ester)

“A Consideration Of The Greater Light“

Message summary: Each predictable sunrise and sunset provides a witness to the truth of the creation account, which in part declares, “God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth.”  Today let us again faithfully serve the God of creation!

Listen to our message on your audio player.

“God made two great lights – the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth” (Genesis 1:16,17).

We have, in our admittedly biased opinion, outstanding sunset views from our front porch. We often share photos of what the Bible calls “the greater light” such as today’s photo which Ester took Saturday evening. For some reason it looks like the kind of photo you would see from Africa but indeed that’s an authentic Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, USA sunset!

The setting of the sun is a tremendously predictable aspect of God’s created order. It’s true that future sunrise and sunset times are precisely known many years ahead. For instance in 37 years, July 18, 2054 (the year I will turn 100) sunset in Mount Joy will be at 8:33 PM (just in case I want to plan ahead for any social gathering). See this site. Note: The date range on this widget only goes to 2099 so if you have plans beyond that year you will have to find your own site.

Isn’t it amazing to consider the great faith many people have that all of this is just a matter of random chance!

Consider what it would be like if just as the sun set it suddenly stopped and then began to rise again from the west.  (Of course I am aware that this would actually involve an abrupt reversal of the earth’s rotation and that would probably be rather painful.)  If this were to happen all the problems we presently have would be infinitely trivial in comparison.

Yet it’s really not something we worry about!  And sure enough this morning we had another sunrise, right on schedule at 5:52 AM. (Actually, due to an early morning chaplain visit in Lebanon County we had to prepare this the night before so we will need to correct this statement if the sun does not rise.)

Just as predictable as the sun that rises in the east and sets in the west we have a firm, unwavering belief in the Genesis creation account in spite of the relentless assault of modernism. We are aware that many mock our view and would call us simpletons for still believing the Bible. We believe this account forms an inviolable foundation for God’s redemption plan.

However we are aware that there are those who make a profession of faith in Christ, yet concede to the shifting whims of the world on this issue, many asserting the creation account is really not important but just part of a myth.  Many Christians may not be aware of the excellent resources available defending the Biblical record.*

“By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible” (Hebrews 11:3). Regardless of what view one has concerning creation and origins it takes faith.

Each predictable sunrise and sunset provides a witness to the truth of the creation account, which in part declares, “God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth.”  Today let us again faithfully serve the God of creation!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: The skies and the earth belong to You, Lord, and have sustained humankind since the time of creation. When You made the world You set everything in its proper place and in its proper timing. You made the moon to mark the seasons and the sun always knows when to set. You make it dark, and it becomes night. Lord, You have made many things; with Your wisdom You made them all. With my whole being I praise You, Almighty God.

A part of today’s text that always interests me is the phrase, “He also made the stars.” Consider the immensity of the universe and the growing number (in man’s estimation) of how many stars there are and yet the first reference in Scripture merely states concerning God, “He also made the stars.” What a mighty God we serve!

* Here are links to two sites that provide abundant resources in defending the Biblical account of creation:
Institute for Creation Research
Answers in Genesis

Today we share some photos we’ve each taken these last several beautiful summer days.


As Ester and I departed for a Sunday afternoon drive I looked back as I was leaving and saw Brooksyne tossing the frisbee to Mollie.


Later she took an evening walk in our neighborhood with her friend, Tho. They stopped to admire the beautiful flowers at the Brubaker farmhouse and snapped this photo.


We drove to Columbia with this view coming down Chique’s Hill. The Susquehanna River is in the background.


The majestic Columbia/Wrightsville bridge from the Wrightsville side.
(Click to enlarge)


Another view of the bridge from Wrightsville looking across the river to Columbia.


Ester caught this photo of a charter fishing boat, “Catch Your Own River Monster” on the Susquehanna River. Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“The Love of God” Video  Triumphant Quartet

For local readers: This coming Sunday evening, July 25, The Triumphant Quartet will be in Lebanon, PA for the Music In The Park summer concert series. See here for info. This is a free concert! (A free-will offering is received)

Finally today:


It appears this Amish grandpa took the grandkids with him to fill gas cans.
We both enjoyed going for rides with our grandpas! Brooksyne does not remember her grandpa ever driving a vehicle but remembers riding in the wagon when he drove the team of mules to large fields of pasture land where he was either plowing, planting or harvesting vegetables on the mountain in Arkansas. We look forward to visiting Mountain Top in just over two weeks.


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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