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“Life’s Bucket List”

Thu, 06/22/2017 - 9:30am

Hoffman Farm on Colebrook Road, Lancaster County, PA. We share photos below our message of this very tidy small farm which is about a mile from us. I, Brooksyne, met the older gentleman last year when taking photos. He is pleased to share with others the floral beauties and the yesteryear look around his farm.

“Life’s Bucket List”

Message summary: A Bible verse many of you know and have likely memorized declares, “This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24). What a blessing it is to not only ourselves but also to others when we live life each day counting our blessings and, thereby, experiencing lasting joy and gladness.

Listen to our message on your audio player.

“This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24).

The last several years now the term “bucket list” is used a lot. The other day I was visiting with an employee at “Your Heart’s Delight” and she had a “Bucket List For Summer” posted near her desk with items like “Go to a ballgame”, “Make S’mores” “Go to the beach”, etc. As I visited with her I read through the list and determined I had already fulfilled over half the items for this summer!

The term “bucket list” refers to places you have determined want to see before you die or some activity. Interestingly, I take the term in the sense of items in a bucket but also see some mean it in the sense of places to see and things to do before you kick the bucket (die).

One person’s bucket list location or activity is another person’s backyard and normal duties/privileges. Jesse, our Amish friend, gives tours of his dairy farm (Old Windmill Farm) near Strasburg. He told me the other day he had a city visitor taking the tour and while walking through the barn witnessed a cow in labor, ready to calf. The city man excitedly informed Jesse, “This is on my bucket list, can I stay and watch?”  Jesse had to explain to the visitor that the calving process could take hours, even days. So it’s probably still on the visitor’s bucket list!

There is a website called bucketlist.org which suggests over 6,236,633 goals to do before you die. I am pretty sure I am not going to make all these goals! My older brother Mike doesn’t really like the term (nor does Brooksyne). Now when Mike does something I know he’s wanted to do I say to him, “Now you can check that off your bucket list” just to teasingly annoy him, such as when he drove my lawn tractor several years ago. Since he lives in the city of San Francisco he enjoys helping me with country chores when he visits.

What’s on your bucket list? It’s fine to have certain trips or experiences we would like to do but some live as if their life won’t be fulfilled until they take care of their bucket list. That’s sure a form of bondage!

We want to encourage you to find joy in the Lord, your family, friends and, yes, even work. Count your blessings wherever you live, it’s part of God’s wonderful creation. I may never get to many exotic bucket list destinations as deemed essential by others but all around me we have God’s beauty to enjoy. As Christians we may have a desire to go certain places or do certain things which is not necessarily a bad thing but a fulfilling life should primarily be based on our relationship with Christ and others (family, church and friends).

A Bible verse many of you know and have likely memorized declares, “This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24). What a blessing it is to not only ourselves but also to others when we live life each day counting our blessings and, thereby, experiencing lasting joy and gladness.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Lord, You have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. From everlasting to everlasting You are God. A thousand years in Your sight is like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night. You sweep men away in the sleep of death; they are like the new grass of the morning though in the morning it springs up new, by evening it is dry and withered. The length of our days is seventy years– or eighty, if we have the strength; they quickly pass, and we fly away. Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, for as many years as we have seen trouble. May Your deeds be shown to Your servants, your splendor to their children. May Your favor rest upon us as You establish the work of our hands through Christ Jesus our Lord in whose name we pray. Amen.

Prayer of Moses (Condensed) – Psalm 90 Hoffman Farm


Larkspur is seen everywhere you look these days including our back yard where the birds or wind must have planted the seeds. I grew it in the front yard for years.


An interesting trough like planter surely requiring a good welder to create this attractive home for sedum, a trustworthy and easy ground covering for areas with lots of sun. I grow it everywhere I can since its evergreen both summer and winter.


More larkspur surrounding the tree trunk.


Notice the welding sign above the old gas pump. The owner has two corn cribs filled to the brim with wood rather than corn.


I find such pleasure in seeing wild flowers grow around fences and thought I’d include this photograph as well.


We received word that Chaplain Paul Scholtz has gone on to be with the Lord, after suffering from cancer a number of years. Paul and his wife Linda are friends from Bible College and served as chaplains to the rodeo circuit. This photo was taken at a chaplain conference several years ago. They both rode in the rodeo, with Linda performing many tricks on her horse. They have done this for 40 years, right out of Bible College! Paul was a colorful man, who on occasion would declare his agreement with a speaker in chapel by saying “Sick Em” (where we customarily say “Amen”.) His unique style always brought about a few chuckles throughout the chapel. He was the only student on campus who kept his saddle in his dorm room. Obituary here. Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Show A Little Bit of Love and Kindness”  Video  The Collingsworth Family  This is a happy song so needed in our world today.

“At Calvary”  Video  The Collingsworth Family

For local readers: This coming Sunday evening the Collingsworth Family will be in Lebanon, PA for the Music in The Park summer concert series. See here for info. We plan to go over with some friends and perhaps we will see some of you as we did two weeks ago with the Booth Brothers.

Finally Today:

We should also have spiritual aspirations and goals. One goal Paul had was to go to Spain. “Therefore, when I have finished this, and have put my seal on this fruit of theirs, I will go on by way of you to Spain” (Romans 15:28). I suppose you could say this was on his bucket list. His interest was not sightseeing but rather preaching the Gospel.  Whether he ever made this trip we’re not told, at least as far as recorded Scripture.

Perhaps we can encourage our readers to develop a spiritual bucket list. This may include spiritual growth goals but may be guided by that convicting phrase we have heard since we were young Christians, “Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.”


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.

“Fear Not”

Wed, 06/21/2017 - 11:57am

Fear Not, Pennsylvania

“Fear Not”

Message summary: God continues to speak, “Fear not”. We must act upon His loving command if we are to have deep abiding peace and growing trust in the One who truly cares for those who belong to Him.

Listen to our message on your audio player.

“After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward” (Genesis 15:1). “Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death” (Revelation 1:17,18).

Many things about tomorrow I don’t seem to understand.
Oh, but I know Who holds tomorrow.
And l know, oh, I know.
Yes, I know Who holds my hand.
Fear not tomorrow. God is already there.
Already there.

For many years I have wondered about how a town named “Fear Not” got its name (sometimes the two words are run together “Fearnot”). Fear Not is located in a remote valley about 60 miles north of us. Yesterday following an early morning chaplain visit we moseyed through the ridges and valleys of that region to find the town. This part of eastern Pennsylvania has distinct mountain ridges with rich farm valleys between them.

I knew the general location of the town but needed help finding it. The first place I asked was a post office in Tower City (which is not a city and I don’t recall seeing any towers). Actually it was named after Charlemagne Tower,  a New York–born lawyer who had come to Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania in 1846 to work with the legal issues regarding land claims to large coal and mineral deposits in that area. The lady behind the post office counter didn’t know where Fear Not was but suggested it was in the next valley. So we headed over another mountain and arrived in Hegins.  We spoke to a very colorful retired coal miner who directed us to Fearnot Road.

We found Fearnot Road (although it was spelled Fernot on this road sign) and drove through some outstandingly beautiful country for several miles and stopped at an Amish greenhouse for directions. The owner told us we had already passed it. We drove back and found a tiny hamlet of several homes. We stopped and spoke to several but no one knew how it got the name “Fear Not”.

According to Wikipedia “The origin of the name Fearnot is obscure”. According to a book, “The Origins Of Unusual Place-Names”, published in 1958, the name “Fearnot” stems from the frequent fighting in the neighborhood; the early townspeople were not afraid of anyone.

I first heard the name when it was used as part of a church name, which intrigued me. I have long conjectured and perhaps wished it was derived this way: The early settlers were going through a tough time and a preacher rallied them together and challenged them by using one or more of the 63 references of “Fear Not…” mentioned in the KJV Bible.* I like my explanation better than the other one!

Someone began collecting phobia words many years ago as a hobby and now has a list of 530 phobias! (Link below.) I am sure everyone will find something on the list they struggle with. After recent noteworthy fires in England and Portugal many will deal with a heightened sense of pyrophobia.

Certainly there are many situations that induce fear. Fierce storms, financial issues and terrorist threats number among so many other troubles that instill fear. Even dogs have phobias. Whenever we have a severe storm our younger dog Mollie is terrified!

There is a positive aspect of fear as well. We are told in Scripture to “fear God”, although this is different than all other kinds of fear, having more the sense of reverence and awe. I have preached a sermon on the healthy, holy fear of God, something lacking greatly in the world and even in the Church.

Fear itself is first expressed in the Bible shortly after the transgression in the garden when Adam said to God, “I was afraid” (Genesis 3:10). The remainder of the Bible is full of many expressions of human fear for a wide variety of reasons. It’s still that way today and people seem to keep coming up with new causes for fear!

I find great assurance in the tiny phrase found often in Scripture translated “fear not” in the King James Version (generally “do not be afraid” in many other versions). This “fear not” phrase is found from Genesis to Revelation. In today’s Scripture texts we have both the first and last occurrences in the Bible.

Today we encourage you to listen carefully for the voice of our heavenly Father. He speaks gently to your heart reminding you to put your confidence in Him. Some of you are really struggling with fear as you read this. It’s crippling you spiritually and emotionally and perhaps even physically. When I take the time to stop and really consider my emotions I realize that I experience fear and anxiety most when I’m not trusting in what God has said or what He has shown me through His character traits or what He has revealed to me through my fearful experiences in life.

God continues to speak, “Fear not”. We must act upon His loving command if we are to have deep abiding peace and growing trust in the One who truly cares for those who belong to Him.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, I will not fear for You have redeemed me and called me by name. You know when I pass through the waters and You have promised to be with me; when I cross through the rivers they will not sweep over me. When I walk through the fire I will not be burned for You walk with me. Though trials may engulf me and tempt me to be paralyzed by fear, I can overcome the enemy of fear just as Jesus overcame the power of death. May the resurrected power of Jesus subside my fears and doubts while building my faith and trust in the Holy One of Israel. Amen.

See Isaiah 43 Some scenes from our journey yesterday


As we approached Tower City we saw a large pond covered with water lilies and this is only 1/4 of the pond. We had never seen so many water lilies in one location.


A close-up of one of the many lilies on the pond.


The retired coal miner and enthusiast who gave us directions had set up a display at his home for coal mining. He worked with a number of men included on the “In Memory” plaque, one of three plaques that were exhibited. He indicated that a number of deaths were related not just to the dangers of coal mining but carelessness of the worker due to being in a hurry or taking a shortcut. It’s pretty sobering to read the many names.


The miner had displays of coal all around his home including this stove with Christmas lights to simulate the fire! We have the real thing and really appreciate the way it warms our family room downstairs.


A pleasant colorful view from Fisher’s Greenhouse near Fear Not.


A scene of the valley from Fear Not Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

Fearnot PA is located here (Google map)

* “Fear not” is found 63 times in the KJV using the Bible Gateway phrase search. A popular teaching is that there are 365 times in the Bible, one for each day that has this theme such as here. This short article provides a helpful explanation.

The Phobia List The longest phobia listed is “hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia” . You may think that must be a fear of Hippopotamus but you would be wrong! It ironically is the fear of long words. In my line of work I sure hope I don’t deal with many people who have “homilophobia” (fear of sermons).  But we should all have a healthy sense of “Hadephobia” If you are curious look that one up!

“Fear Not Tomorrow”  Video  The Collingsworth Family

“I Know Who Holds Tomorrow”  Video  Homecoming singers

For local readers: This coming Sunday evening the Collingsworth Family will be in Lebanon, PA for the Music in The Park summer concert series. See here for info. We plan to go over with some friends and perhaps we will see some of you as we did two weeks ago with the Booth Brothers.

Finally today Of course we see and post plenty of Amish conveyance photos from here in Lancaster County but this scene near Gratz, PA caught our attention yesterday as we passed this spring wagon. This little guy would be wise to sit down lest he be jostled out of the buggy!


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

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

“Hope In Christ”

Tue, 06/20/2017 - 9:35am
Old Windmill Farm

“Hope In Christ”

Message summary: Life is fragile and unpredictable. Now is the day of salvation. Place your hope in Christ, in this life and the life yet to come.

Listen to our message on your audio player.

“The name of the LORD is a strongtower; the righteous run to it and are safe” (Proverbs 18:10). “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men” (1 Corinthians 15:19).

Andraé Crouch, who passed away 2 years ago, was a popular Christian musician when we were young believers. He wrote “To God be The Glory” a song that we used in our wedding in 1976. Today I recall the words to another song as we reflect upon our daily text.

“But if heaven never was promised to me.
Neither God’s promise to live eternally,
It’s been worth just having the Lord in my life;
Living in a world of darkness,
He came along and brought me the light.”

I am truly edified by the words of that song and have a link to a recording below. I know what  Andraé Crouch is trying to convey regarding the joys and blessings of the Christian walk in contrast to the dark void of living without Him. Crouch’s thoughts expressed in this song are a sentiment that many believers would agree with.

When we were spinning out of control and had no real purpose for living, receiving Christ and His abundant plan for our lives turned our desperate situation into hopeful expectation. We are among “those who walked in darkness [who] have seen a great light!” Christ truly makes a wonderful difference in earth’s journey and indeed if this life was all there is His fulfillment and the order He brings is wonderful.

Having said all that, any allusion to heaven or eternity not being a part of God’s future plan for the believer is contrary to Paul’s statement in the daily text. In the greater context of 1 Corinthians 15 Paul is giving his great defense of the resurrected Christ.

“If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied” because, apart from the resurrection, the very foundation of our faith would be fatally flawed. The literal physical resurrection of Jesus Christ is the very foundation of our faith. Our hope of salvation hinges on Christ’s resurrection from the dead. In the very next verse Paul emphatically proclaims, “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead” (1 Corinthians 15:20).

However it’s not only for this life that we have hope in Christ! We all face death and loss, but what an astounding difference for those whose hope is solidly anchored in Christ. We do not grieve as those who have no hope because our hope is completely fulfilled beyond the grave (see 1 Thessalonians 4:13).

David Guzik writes, “If there is no principle of resurrection, then the whole Christian life is a pitiful joke! If we don’t have something beyond this life to look forward to, why hassle with the problems in being a Christian?”

Life is fragile and unpredictable. Now is the day of salvation. Place your hope in Christ, in this life and the life yet to come.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, we thank You for Jesus and His obedience in dying for our sins that we might be forgiven and experience eternal life. We’re so glad that You did not abandon Him to the grave, but instead You raised Him up on the third day so that we might have eternal salvation. We place our hope in You for all that concerns us in this life. We also look beyond the grave knowing that our greatest hope awaits us there. Keep us faithful in life’s journey so that our hope on this side will be fully realized on the other side. In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen.


Amish driving a tractor hauling a trailer with an advertisement for hunters.


Our drive-by snapshots aren’t always the clearest but we thought this precious “snapshot” would warm your hearts as it did ours.


Young entrepreneur Amish children using their skills to raise a little money. Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“If Heaven Was Never Promised”  Video   Andraé Crouch

“To God be The Glory”  Video  Andraé Crouch

“What’s Wrong With Living Right”  Video   The Cupps


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 Prayer For Christian Fathers”

Mon, 06/19/2017 - 2:30pm

Heavenly Father, may words of encouragement, comfort, and exhortation flow from our lips so that we may spur others on in the faith, most especially our own children. We pray that You would help Christian fathers everywhere to verbalize their faith and live in a way that honors You and shows others where their source of strength lies. Help them to be the spiritual leaders of their homes so that a harvest of righteousness and peace will be upon their households. Amen.

 

For this message, photos, links to music and other resources see our website.

 

 

 

 


“A Great Work”

Mon, 06/19/2017 - 10:34am

We had weekend guests and took them over to the Mascot Roller Mill Saturday afternoon. This photo could have been takin in 1930 except for our van parked in front of the mill.
(Click to enlarge)

“A Great Work”

Message summary: Fathers, what a powerful model is taught in our daily text. How are you at encouraging and comforting your children? Do you urge them to live lives worthy of God and show them by your own example? These are a big part of your Scriptural mandate as a father. Let us be found faithful in the godly task before us! That is a “great work” God has ordained.

Listen to our message on your audio player.

“I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and come down to you?” (Nehemiah 6:3). “For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into His kingdom and glory” (1 Thessalonians 2:11,12).

Yesterday was Father’s Day, a day when many people honor the Fifth Commandment  (including many who scoff at the notion of posting the Ten Commandments). Last week in my face to face ministry I encouraged people to honor their fathers and urged men to be good husbands and dads.

Yesterday the pastor shared an interesting challenge based on the first daily text. Nehemiah was being harassed as he was finishing the work on rebuilding the walls around the city following the Israelites return from their exile. A persistent harasser was Sanballat who did everything he could to thwart God’s work. In Nehemiah 6:2 he sought to derail the process by calling for a meeting but Nehemiah knew the intent was to bring harm. He sent messengers to Sanballat informing him, “I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and come down to you?”

Now this verse could be applied generally to any “great work” we do for the Lord but the pastor applied it to fathers and the many attempts to get them off track from doing the “great work” of being a father.

Nineteen years ago my dad went to be with the Lord. He was a big man of relatively few words yet, as I note the characteristics of fathers to which Paul was appealing in the second text above, I recall seeing them in my own dad. I sure miss him and look forward to seeing him in the ultimate reunion when I’m called home.

Paul never mentions his own father in any of his writings recorded in the New Testament and actually gives very little explicit teaching on fatherhood. Yet in the daily verse he presumes that his readers have an experience and knowledge of fathers. “For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children.”

He lists three characteristics of fathers as an example of his own ministry among them. As we consider the descriptive role of a godly father, let us ponder these three necessary character traits, “encouraging, comforting, and urging you to live lives worthy of God.”

Allow me to consider how I saw these three traits expressed by my father and perhaps it will prompt you to consider how they were expressed by your dad:

1) “Encouraging” – I had an accident at Bible College in which I injured my knee. This resulted in surgery and several days in the hospital followed by what seemed at the time to be a brutally slow recovery. I was very, very discouraged. Truth is I was wallowing in self-pity. I spoke to my dad on the phone and received some meaningful words of encouragement, along with a subtle rebuke as he shared with me a mature perspective on life’s trials. He told me I would have more trials and he sure was right!

2) “Comforting” – Of course both parents have these duties and in many ways we may associate receiving loving words of comfort more with our mothers. It’s harder for me to recall reassuring words or comforting gestures from my dad, but a memory comes to mind indicating my dad’s love for his wife and family. In 1967 Mom took my sister and me on a train to California to see my oldest brother Mike, his wife Billie and their new daughter Greta, the first grandchild. Dad stayed home to work and missed us a lot. I recall when he met us at the train station upon our return to Kansas City it was the first time I ever saw him cry. That was a side of him I had never seen and it has remained with me to this day. Perhaps his tears were a demonstration of love that was of special reassurance to me at the time.

3) “Urging you to live lives worthy of God” – My dad was skillful in various HVAC and related trades and was knowledgeable in many other areas. I recall going to work with him in the hot Kansas City summers when I was in high school. I really can’t recall many verbal lessons of a spiritual nature. But he sure demonstrated faithfulness, responsibility, and hard work in caring and providing for his family. Biblically this is certainly a component in living a life “worthy of God” and something we desperately need to see fathers modelling.

Do you see these characteristics in your own father? Though there are now many who cannot identify with this kind of father figure, there are others who’ve experienced a similar relationship. If possible, personally honor your father by recalling some instances when this happened and share it with him in person, by telephone, through a written letter or a personal tribute.

Fathers, what a powerful model is taught in our daily text. How are you at encouraging and comforting your children? Do you urge them to live lives worthy of God and show them by your own example? These are a big part of your Scriptural mandate as a father. Let us be found faithful in the godly task before us! That is a “great work” God has ordained.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Heavenly Father, may words of encouragement, comfort, and exhortation flow from our lips so that we may spur others on in the faith, most especially our own children. We pray that You would help Christian fathers everywhere to verbalize their faith and live in a way that honors You and shows others where their source of strength lies. Help them to be the spiritual leaders of their homes so that a harvest of righteousness and peace will be upon their households. Amen.


This weekend our long-time friends Mike and Kathy Matangelo were up from North Carolina to visit. They attended the very first service in our church plant in northern Pennsylvania in 40 years ago in September of 1977 and became a key family as that church developed. They are shown with their daughter Tina on the porch of the Ressler home at the Mascot Roller Mill. For many years now they have been involved in prison ministry and continue to let their lights shine. Mike and Kathy have impacted many lives including a number of you who know them and today before they left I asked that they each share a Scripture.
Mike: Psalm 118:24
Kathy: Ephesians 3:20-21


What a blessing that their son Nick and his family were also in the area for a Sight and Sound show and stopped by Saturday evening for a visit. Nick was born after we met the Matangelos and we visited him the hospital after his birth and I dedicated him to the Lord and saw him grow up in the church before we left that area in 1993. In the late nineties I went to California for one of his older brothers wedding. We both had the same red eye flight out of San Francisco and I arranged to sit together all the way to Pittsburgh. I found out later he told his Mom he was apprehensive about sitting next to me since I would probably preach to him the whole trip! I asked him Saturday evening if I preached to him and he smiled and said no although I probably did a little bit. I am known for urging people to stay faithful and it’s hard to imagine that I didn’t share some doses of faithfulness. He is now married with two children and faithfully serving the Lord, working on the lighting team in his church. Both of Nick’s older brothers, Brian and Doug, also serve the Lord and are serving in ministry in California.


Last night our Zimbabwean friends, Notsen and Toby Ncube joined the Matangelos and us and we went on a triple date; attending a hymn sing followed by a pleasant drive through the country, including a walk through the Pop-Up wildflower garden. There were many people there taking photographs as you can see in the background.


Lovely two tone red poppy


Rudbeckia Cappuccino


Brooksyne says walking through a field of flowers is a romantic setting. So afterwards we drove through the Schenck’s Mill covered bridge, and as is our custom, we stopped our van in the middle of the bridge and invited each couple to join us in kissing their spouse. And that was followed by a lot of laughter since it’s been about 100 years between the three couples since our pre-marital courting days! Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Good, Good Father”  Video  Casting Crowns Yesterday the pastor acknowledged Father’s day and in addition to addressing the fathers in attendance with thoughtfulness considered those who may be experiencing pain, either due to the loss of their father or in some cases having a far less than  ideal father. This song speaks of a good, good father we all have and was a fitting song for Father’s Day!

“Your Great Name”  Video  The People’s Church in Franklin, TN  This song also has a great line that we pray will minister to those with broken relationships.

All the weak, find their strength, at the sound of Your great name
Hungry souls, receive grace, at the sound of Your great name
The fatherless, they find their rest, at the sound of Your great name
Sick are healed, and the dead are raised, at the sound of Your great name

“Never Too Broken to Belong”  Video  Gold City  This song is on my heart today when I consider how many, undoubtedly including some readers, who have brokenness, especially with their father. We plan to prepare a message on this theme later in the week but today may you experience the blessedness of belonging. Here’s another version with graphic, very moving video clips.  I especially like the old pastor and the little country church. The song is based on the return of the prodigal son to his father in Luke 15, which happened to be the Pastor’s sermon theme yesterday.

“Still”  Video  Legacy Five

Forgiven Ministry  Video  Mike and Kathy are involved in this ministry which seeks to reconnect children to their incarcerated fathers (and in some cases mothers). This short video will touch your heart so you might want to have a tissue handy.


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.

“When The Former Things Pass Away”

Fri, 06/16/2017 - 11:33am

Stone barn on the Ironstone Ranch

“When The Former Things Pass Away”

Message summary: Today’s message is the fifth in a series based on Revelation 21:4 and that which we’ll not see or experience in heaven when “the former things have passed away”.

Listen to our message on your audio player.

“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4).

Today we will share the final phrase from a series of messages we have presented this week concerning the “no mores” of heaven. No more tears, no more death, no more sorrow, no more crying and no more pain. Won’t it be wonderful there! The verse ends with the reason for these blessed “no mores”, “for the former things have passed away”.

For now though we live in the season of what will be “the former things”. Yesterday we attended a Convene retreat at the Ironstone Ranch near Elizabethtown, PA. Convene is an association of Christian business owners and leaders who seek to help “each other excel at building better businesses, increasing leadership success and having greater Kingdom impact”. We especially like that last phrase, “having greater Kingdom impact”.

Christ taught us to pray, “Thy Kingdom come” and all over the world this day people who earnestly follow Christ are seeking to do just that, including many in the business world.

We are all called to have a Kingdom impact. When it’s all been said and done that’s what really matters. This present life is very temporary but it’s all we now know. From the perspective of Revelation 21:4 this life is called “the former things” which will pass away. A helpful outlook in life is to be constantly, intentionally and purposefully mindful of this. Whatever you are going through, pleasant or unpleasant, be mindful that one day these will be the former things.

When the former things pass away we will see clearly what really mattered all along.

Paul encouraged the Corinthians to live with an eternal perspective in their daily lives because “the time is short” (1 Corinthians 7:29). “The things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:17).

One of the reasons we are not to love the world is because Scripture reveals that which is in the kingdom of this world is often godless and ultimately transitory: “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:15-17).

Theologian Joseph A. Seiss wrote, “Man comes into the world with a cry; and goes out of it with a groan, and all between is more or less intoned with helpless wailing . . . But the hallelujahs of the renewed world will drown out the voice of woe forever.”

While still living in what will be an age of “the former things” let us all seek to make a greater Kingdom impact. A phrase many of us have used fits well as we conclude today’s message, “Only one life will soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.”

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, one of the greatest passages that describes the earnest believer’s mission statement is Matthew 6:33, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you”. We are to pursue Your eternal kingdom which includes righteous living, in stark contrast to the things of this world where many, as in the parable Jesus told of the young rich fool, say to themselves, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.”’ But [You] said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’” Any achievements, accumulation of things, or affections of this world will be wholly insignificant when the “former things of this world pass away”. I don’t want to experience the greatest rejection of all time, “Depart from me… I never knew you.” Instead I want to be among those that You dry every tear from their eyes; those who experience no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying and no more pain, since the former things have passed away. I long to hear Your loving words of invitation, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You were faithful over a few things; I will set you over many things. Enter into the joy of your master!” It is by the grace of God that we are saved through Jesus’ shed blood for which we give thanks. Amen.

Matthew 6:33
Luke 12:19-20
Matthew 7:23
Matthew 25:23 Some Photos From The Convene Retreat


Ron and Bonnie Hoover
Ron is chair of several local Convene forums and has been very encouraging and supportive of our chaplaincy ministry for over ten years now. We presently serve a number of Convene related companies. Ron and his wife Bonnie have a powerful mentoring ministry and have impacted many lives for God’s Kingdom, still going strong in their mid-seventies! Ron makes this point to business leaders: “When we stand before the Bema judgement (Judgment Seat Of Christ) — Christ will not be asking about our Balance Sheet and P/L–but He will be asking how we did caring for the people He gave us!”


Daniel and Alicia DeLeon
Convene has a variety of both business and ministry leaders in the groups. Yesterday we visited for a few minutes with Daniel DeLeon and his wife Alicia. Daniel has quite a story of redemption.

He was living on the streets of Lancaster as a homeless man in late 2007 and then for two years at the Water Street Mission where he was converted to Christ. Discipleship followed and spiritual fruit began to develop in his life. From Daniel’s testimony he writes, “From the outset of this process I knew that God was involved in leading me to this very point, and my new motivation was to live to the fullest for Christ. From the very beginning, a thought was implanted into my heart that I was not at the mission to get my life back; rather, I was there to give it up. Since then, my enduring focus has been on seeking the kingdom and His righteousness first.”

God delivered Daniel from a life of violence, drugs, alcohol and prison. He has since graduated from Lancaster Bible College and now is developing Recovery Houses to provide recovery discipleship to those with a similar background as his.


We gathered in a large barn that is used as a wedding and event venue. Our main speaker was Lance Witt who leads a ministry called “Replenish”.


This banner sums up the mission of Convene well!


Another view of the barn shown from a distance in our lead photo today which is one of the many barns on the Ironstone Ranch property. Business leader David Abel has developed the property and really likes old barns. He is restoring old historic barns including the Star Barn.


Guess who took this photo?


A photo in the Christmas Tree tunnel. Notice the tunnel lights up at night. This is a photo spot for weddings so we are over 41 years late in using it. Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Nothing Less (Great is Thy Faithfulness)”   Video  Charles Billingsley

“In a Moment”  Video   Charles Billingsley

“For Future Generations”  Video  4Him

Information about Convene

Ironstone Ranch

The Star Barn

Finally today:


Yesterday we shared a photo Brooksyne took Wednesday morning of a balloon over a farm near Strasburg, PA. Stephen, a friend from one of our companies. Upon seeing our photo yesterday he sent us his own photo he had taken the same morning of the same balloon over his rented farmhouse built in 1864.


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.

“No More Pain”

Thu, 06/15/2017 - 7:09am

Early yesterday morning as we arrived for our first chaplain visit we saw the bright colored hot air balloon flying over the farm across the street along Strasburg Pike.
(Click on photo to enlarge)

“No More Pain”

Message summary: Today’s message is the fourth in a series based on Revelation 21:4 and that which we’ll not see or experience in heaven when “the former things have passed away”. Today we consider pain.

Listen to our message on your audio player.

“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4).

There will be a day with no more tears, no more pain, and no more fears
There will be a day when the burdens of this place,
Will be no more, we’ll see Jesus face to face

Many years ago I read a book titled “The Gift Of Pain” written by Dr. Paul Brand, a medical doctor who worked with leprosy patients. Brand begins with the proposition “A world without pain, can such a place exist? It not only can—it does. But it’s no utopia. It’s a colony for leprosy patients: a world where people literally feel no pain, and reap horrifying consequences as a result.  His work with leprosy patients in India and the United States convinced Dr. Paul Brand that pain truly is one of God’s great gifts to us.

Dr. Brand probes the mystery of pain and reveals its importance. As an indicator that lets us know something is wrong, pain has a value that becomes clearest in its absence. The book provides a helpful perspective but when you’re experiencing pain it still hurts and it’s hard to conceive pain as a blessing!

Rather pain is something we seek hard to avoid. “Pain killing” medicines are big business.

The first Biblical reference to pain was following the transgression in The Garden of Eden when God said to Eve,  “I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth, in pain you will bring forth children” (Genesis 3:16).

We’ve all known pain and for some it’s a present reality. Hardly a day goes by in the course of our chaplaincy work that there’s not a discussion about pain. Many people go to work every day dealing with pain, often chronic in nature. There are many levels of pain as anyone enduring pain knows when visiting a doctor the nurse asks, “From 1-10 what is your pain level?” Of course there’s the dull pain, thumping pain, sharp pain, excruciating pain, unbearable pain and on and on the list goes.

We normally think of pain in the physical but there’s emotional pain, spiritual pain and relational pain. Most of us have experienced all the above. And then as you age you face yet a different kind of pain associated with the aging process! Bill and Gloria Gaither touch on this in the third stanza of their hymn, “Because He Lives”. They wrote, “…I’ll fight life’s final war with pain” speaking of the pain that comes on our death bed before we draw our final breath .

In a message from the “Our Daily Bread” devotional (July 21, 2011) we read:

“Where is God when it hurts? He has been there from the beginning. He designed a pain system that, in the midst of a fallen world, bears His stamp. He transforms pain, using it to teach and strengthen us if we allow it to turn us toward Him.

He has hurt and bled and cried and suffered. He has dignified for all time those who suffer, by sharing their pain. But one day He will gather the armies of heaven and will unleash them against the enemies of God. The world will see one last terrifying moment of suffering before the full victory is ushered in. Then God will create for us a new, incredible world. And pain will be no more (Revelation 19:11–22:6).”

One of the great features of heaven is summed up in the words “no more pain”. That’s hard to imagine but it’s based on the authority of God’s Word making it altogether true!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, there are many kinds of pain that we will endure over our lifetime. Physical pain is prevalent in the average person and tells us when all is not right in our bodies.  We thank You, Father, for the built in warning signs that come from our nervous system. We may not like its painful message but it’s part of Your plan to protect us and a guide to others, such as parents of young children, caregivers, and medical personnel as they administer appropriate treatment for the painful symptoms we endure. We look forward to the day when sin will be no more and we will have no more pain due to disease, accidents, violence, abnormalities, or aging. Give us coping skills to endure pain and faith to believe that You are with us in the midst of our pain. In many instances You use it to get our attention and as an example to those looking on as to how we, as believers, deal with these undesirable circumstances. It’s for Your glory and our growth that even pain can be used to draw us nearer to You. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Neuroscience for Kids  You may not like it, but we need pain. Pain acts as a warning system that protects you. Pain says, “Warning, Warning….stop what you doing and do something else”. For example, if you have your hand on a hot stove, pain tells you to stop touching the stove and remove your hand. In this way, pain protects your body from injury (or further injury if you have already hurt yourself). Pain also helps healing…because an injury hurts, you rest.

There are some people who are born WITHOUT the sense of pain. These people have a rare condition called “congenital insensitivity to pain”. Their nervous systems are not equipped to detect painful information. You may think this is a good thing….it is NOT. Without the ability to detect painful events, you would continue to cause injury to yourself. For example, if you broke a bone in your arm, you might continue using the arm because it did not hurt. You could cause further injury to your arm. People with congenital insensitivity to pain usually have many injuries like pressure sores, damaged joints and even missing or damaged fingers!

I (Brooksyne) have visited several times with a man, now in his thirties, institutionalized because he has “congenital insensitivity to pain”. He is self-abusive in large part because he feels no pain associated with his harmful actions. He swallows things that would be painful for us to swallow and many times it results in his having surgeries to remove the objects. Sadly he must be monitored continuously around the clock due to this major disorder. When I read the above description I thought immediately of this young man. And, yes, hard as it is for me to admit, my pain is truly a blessing and help to me in many ways.

Note: Although there are five “no mores” in the text we considered crying Monday in the message “No More Tears”.


Late yesterday morning when we arrived for our 4th company visit we saw this farmer leading his team. Look carefully and you’ll see a male and female helper sitting in front of him dropping plants into the freshly plowed field near New Holland, PA. Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Just Be Held”  Video  Casting Crowns

“When The Tears Fall”  Video   Newsboys

“There Is Coming A Day”  Video  The Talleys

“There Will Be A Day”  Video  Jeremy Camp

“He Giveth More Grace”  Video  Larry Ford  This song was written by Annie Johnson Flint in 1941. Annie is one who knew intense crippling pain from rheumatoid arthritis. Institutionalized most of her life she wrote many poems of inspiration encouraging those undergoing trial. Due to her severe arthritic condition she could not strike the keys of a typewriter with her fingers but used her fist to type the words to many of her poems. The most famous, “He Giveth More Grace” has inspired millions who deal with affliction and suffering.

We are always pleased to hear how our messages impact others. Yesterday we received this note:

Today you have encouraged me and my family beyond words. We have been sitting by the bedside of my father in his dying hours for 5 days now, and becoming overwhelmed by sorrow. In a moment of needing to break away and come back to reality I stepped outside to check my email. In a moment somewhere between falling apart and checking in on the rest of the world your email “no more sorrow” came across my inbox.

Your message of hope could not cut any deeper in our moment, in my sorrow, thru my pain. I’ve shared this incredible encouragement with my family today. Thank you so, so much for your amazing ministry.

Please join us in praying for this man and his family during this most difficult 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.

“No More Sorrow”

Wed, 06/14/2017 - 9:30am

Yesterday we walked some trails around beautiful Memorial Lake in Lebanon County PA.
Click for larger photo.

“No More Sorrow”

Message summary: Today’s message is the third in a series based on Revelation 21:4 concerning that which we’ll not see or experience in heaven when “the former things have passed away”. Today we consider sorrow.

Listen to our message on your audio player.

“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4).

Here we are so often filled with heartache
So many times we weep when loved ones pass
But there’s a place the gloom of death can’t enter
And someday it will be my home at last

This week as we consider the five “no mores” in the daily text it occurs to me that they sum up all that makes life unpleasant; tears (of sadness), death, sorrow, crying and pain. These are emotions we have all experienced and will continue to experience. What a blessing when we live in a time when these things are “no more”.

Today we consider sorrow. Other versions translate “grief”, “anguish”, “suffering”, “sadness”.  Oh, how we long for the day when these heartrenching emotions will be no more, but on this side of eternity they are a part of life. As an old Andrae Crouch songs states, “I’ve had many tears and sorrows”.

We experience sorrows personally. Do you remember your first sorrow? Probably not! But there are sorrows we each recall.

  • The death of a loved one.
  • A child’s departure from the right way.
  • An unfaithful spouse or friend
  • A broken relationship
Sorrows can affect us in many ways, often concurrently. They may emotionally, spiritually and physically weaken us. Some look for ways to block out sorrow such as alcohol and drugs which usually leads to more sorrow. Foundationally trust is tested during times of sorrow but it’s trust that is so vitally needed. As Bible teacher Warren Wiersbe writes, “Faith that cannot be tested is faith that cannot be trusted.” Times of sorrow are times we need to call out to God such as the Psalmist who cried, “My soul is weary with sorrow, strengthen me according to your word” (Psalm 119:28).

I have cried a river in the darkness
I have known the loss of precious dreams
But soon there will be perfect joy and gladness
All suffering will be gone from memory

We also experience sorrow when we  bear the burdens of others.

In ministry work there’s a danger that I heard years ago described as “compassion fatigue”. I heard it in a presentation by Dr. JoAnn Butrin, a long-time friend who has been in medical missions for over 40 years. She was describing the experience of her work following the Rwandan genocide in 1994 where an estimated 500,000–1,000,000 Rwandans were killed during a 100-day period. Called in to provide aid in the aftermath she shared how she was overwhelmed by human need and the sense of despair and hopelessness.

There are times we experience compassion fatigue in the course of our chaplain work as we serve out in the highways and byways of the workplace. We can tell you for sure; people don’t leave their sorrows at home! Of course those in ministry deal with this on a regular basis.

Whether our sorrows are a personal experience or whether it’s bearing the burdens of others our faith in God and His promises is crucial, especially today’s text which is a wonderful promise for those enduring sorrow. Let us consider it again but allow me to take a liberty in the translation and personalize it. “And God will wipe away every tear from my eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away”

When He calls me to that land of no tomorrow
Where grief and tears are gone without a trace
I’ll lay down all my trouble, cares and sorrow
And I’ll carry them no more
When He carries me away

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, we look forward to that land where there will be no more sorrow, for it will be a thing of the past. Since there will be no more dying, no pain, no disease, no sin at all there will be nothing to make our hearts sorrowful. For now, though, we deal with sorrow in this life. When our hearts are heavy we can call out for help like the Psalmist who prayed, “My soul is weary with sorrow, strengthen me according to Your Word.” We can be strong and courageous as we hold to Your righteous right hand. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“When He Carries Me Away”  Video  The Collingsworth Family  This is the song we quoted throughout today’s message. We expect to hear the Collingsworth family when they’re in our area June 25. We have enjoyed the Collingsworth Family for many years and have been to several of their concerts. It is a family comprised of a husband, wife and four grown children. Their harmonies are outstanding. Local readers may get more information about the concert here.

“Never Too Broken To Belong”  Video  Gold City  What a great reminder of God’s call for us to follow Him and His promise of acceptance regardless of how broken we are.

The door is open
Come on in as you are
All you need to bring is what
remains of your heart
I see the years of fear
and pain on your face , but
Take a step
Enter in
You are safe in this place

Refrain
You’re never too broken, to belong
Never too wounded
Never too far gone
Here you’ll find Jesus
And find your home
You’re never too broken, to belong

Come find the perfect love
That no one deserves
A peace so sweet it can’t
Be put into words
And grace that’s greater
Than the darkest of sin
Taste and see
Take His hand
Let the healing begin

“I’m Trading My Sorrows”  Video  Guy Penrod

Rwandan genocide

Yesterday we alluded to a statement of a tombstone and a reader sent in this one that will prompt some pondering!

“To follow you I’m not content
Until I know which way you went.”

Finally today:

Front porch in rural Lebanon County PA. We were held up by road traffic right in front of this home. The porch was so homey it looked like a place where the residing couple might invite you over for a glass of iced tea on a hot summer’s day or offer a piece of homemade blackberry pie with a cup of coffee.

The other day we heard a musing about a front porch, how people would just sit out and converse without the distractions of “personal devices”. We picture this on the old Andy Griffith show and have memories of the “old people” doing this when we were little although through our adult lives we’ve not experienced a lot of front porch visitation. Now we out on our front porch many evenings to watch the sun go down.
This cartoon from Bizzaro.com on Paul Wilkinson’s blog is far too true! My oldest living cousin, Anna Lee, insists that people put away their devices when eating with her so conversation is not distracted. Good idea!
Paul Wilkinson shares the image in a series “What We Will Do In Heaven”.


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.

“No More Death”

Tue, 06/13/2017 - 9:30am
This is a canal in Brugge, Belgium – called the Venice of the North.
Photo by Richard and Elnora Dresselhaus.

“No More Death”

Message summary: Today’s message is the second in a series based on Revelation 21:4 of that which we’ll not see or experience in heaven when “the former things have passed away”. Today we consider death.

Listen to our message on your audio player.

“The last enemy to be destroyed is death” (1 Corinthians 15:26). “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4).

Down the road from our house is an old cemetery established around 1800. We are blessed at expressions of faith on old tombstones, but this one actually posts a warning to passersby:

Remember, friend, as you pass by
As you are now so once was I.
As I am now so you must be;
Prepare for death and follow me.

Helen Keller describes death as, “No more than passing from one room into another. But there’s a difference for me, you know. Because in that other room I shall be able to see.”

Today’s message will be more sobering than most but does indeed end with a promise of encouragement. Each day some 151,600 people die.*¹ In fact we are sure that any reader old enough to realize the meaning of death likely knows someone who has died. My first cognizant memory of death was an Air Force plane that went down near our home when I was seven years old on December 19, 1961. My dad drove me out to the crash scene and said, “Stephen, those men had wives and children who will not see them on Christmas.” I just couldn’t believe that things like that really happened. Several years later the first of my grandparents went on and death became personal. Death is simply part of the present “order of things”.

We are regularly reminded of death; death in wars, famines, disease. So many violent deaths such as a recent murder suicide in our own area with a mother killing her two young children before killing herself. In the course of our chaplain visit last week an employee told me the ten year old girl killed was his granddaughter’s best friend. Today many in our spiritual family will die as a result of persecution. Just yesterday on Terror Monitor we read of a gruesome execution of 5 young Christian boys in the Philippines by Islamic terrorists. *² In each area of the world there will be accidents that take lives and of course diseases. Undoubtedly some reading this are presently feeling the “sting” of the recent death of a loved one.

Death is God’s appointed method of transition to the afterlife, just as conception and birth are His appointed method of transition into life as we now know it. As William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania, wrote, “For death is no more than a turning of us over from time to eternity.” Forthrightly the writer of Hebrews states, “Man is destined to die” (Hebrews 9:27). Of course we are aware of the supernatural departure of Enoch and Elijah, as well as the wonderful promise of the rapture for those living at that time, however the norm for most will be death.

In today’s first text Paul calls death the “last enemy”. We look for encouragement and comfort in the truths and promises of the Holy Scriptures. Death will one day be destroyed. The perishable will be clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. Death will be swallowed up in victory. When the old order of things has passed away there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain.

Meanwhile we continue to deal with death and grief, but not like those who have no hope, for we have hope based on the Bible’s promises. Therefore, we comfort and encourage you all with these words today. When the old order (life as we now know it) passes away, there will indeed be no more death!

The important thing we must each ask ourselves is this, “Am I ready to die”? “Have I accepted the glorious gift of salvation by faith in Christ” If you’ve answered “no” to the above soul searching questions we welcome you to say this prayer from your heart and begin serving Jesus, who declared, “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father but through me.”

“Lord Jesus, I confess that I am a sinner and ask You to forgive me of my sins. I believe that You came to this earth and died on the cross as a substitute for me. I place my faith in You and what You have done for me. I receive You into my life and choose this day to follow and serve You. Thank You for hearing my prayer.”

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Loving Father, some of our readers are grieving the death of a loved one. We pray that You speak peace to these dear folks and nurture their trust, even helping them to grow spiritually in the midst of their grief. May they see You at work even when the answers they seek are not the ones they are given. As believers we trust that You are working for our good, even when we don’t understand, for we know that all things work together for good to those who love You, who are called according to Your purpose. Help us to remember that our sorrows and disappointments have a larger purpose than simply to make us miserable. These often come so others can observe our response, to see if we bear witness to Christ’s abiding presence in our lives, in the hard stuff of life. Remind us that if we want to share in Your glory we must also share in Your sufferings (Romans 8:17). We don’t get to choose what sufferings we must go through, but we do choose our response; whether it glorifies You or glorifies our suffering. Help us we pray. Amen.


Another photo of the canal in Brugge, Belgium – called the Venice of the North.
We normally share photos we take here in our region of the world and where we travel. However we also enjoy periodically sharing interesting photos by friends. Today’s photos were taken in Europe by Richard and Elnora Dresselhaus.


Pipes from the organ at the large Grand Church or St. Bavo’s in Haarlem.  The organ has 5,068 pipes and was played by Mozart when he was 10 years old and later played by Handel.


The front of Corrie ten Boom’s home in Haarlem, Netherlands.  You will note there is presently a jewelry store on the main floor although there is no connection to the ten Booms. But that was where her grandfather opened his watchmaking shop in 1837 and her father carried on the business as well.

We met Richard and Elnora last year in California through a mutual friend. Richard writes a very thought provoking daily challenge here. Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“No More Night”  Video  David Phelps

*¹ Daily deaths statistic from here.

Terror Monitor  Monitoring terrorist groups globally. We are trying to develop this as a complete online to inform about terrorist outfits, activities and its impact worldwide.

In the course of studying for this message I came across a couple of sage quotes by William Penn so very fitting for our age.

“Men must be governed by God or they will be ruled by tyrants.”

“Right is right, even if everyone is against it, and wrong is wrong, even if everyone is for it.”


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.

“No More Tears”

Mon, 06/12/2017 - 1:55pm
We often pass this grazing horse near our home on Iron Bridge Road.

“No More Tears”

Message summary: Today’s message will be the first of what we project to be a series this week based on Revelation 21:4 and what we will not see or experience in heaven when “the former things have passed away”. Today we consider tears.

Listen to our message on your audio player.

“You have recorded my troubles. You have kept a list of my tears. Aren’t they in your records?” (Psalm 56:8). “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4).

Last night we attended “The Booth Brothers” outdoor concert in Lebanon, Pennsylvania. They sang one of our long-time favorite songs, “Tears are a Language God Understands” written by Gordon Jensen. It has touched our hearts for many years going all the way back to the mid-seventies when we were in Bible College. The words have ministered to many people undergoing grief, loss, or heartache.

Often you wonder why tears come into your eyes
And burdens seem to be much more than you can bear
But God is standing near, He sees your falling tears
Tears are a language God understands.

Physiologically tears are a healthy component to life. If you didn’t have tears your eyes would dry out. “In healthy mammalian eyes, the cornea is continually kept wet and nourished by basal tears. They lubricate the eye, and help clear it of dust. Tear fluid contains water, mucin, lipids, lysozyme, lactoferrin, lipocalin, lacritin, immunoglobulins, glucose, urea, sodium, and potassium.”

We actually produce tears every second of our lives, 10 ounces per day and 30 gallons a year. So at 62 years of age I have produced some 1860 gallons!!! Tears have three classifications: basal, reflex, and emotional.*

Today let’s just consider the emotional aspect of tears. These tears contain higher levels of stress, such as ACTH and enkephalin — an endorphin and natural pain killer — they can also work by directly calming the iris down while signaling the emotional state to others.

I doubt if too many of our readers have given much consideration on why we cry physiologically but we have all experienced the emotional aspect of tears; some positive and pleasant such as “tears of joy”. But we have also known the tears of grief and sadness. When the Bible refers to “tears” it is this type. One of the lesser considered but emotionally touching examples of this is when Paul writes to Timothy, “I am reminded of your tears, and I long to see you, so that I might be filled with joy” (2 Timothy 1:4).

For a long time I have wanted to write a series of thoughts on today’s text, initially prompted by the coming day when there will be no more pain which we will get to later in the week.

Tears are actually healthy on this side of eternity, even the emotional tears, although when it comes to tears of grief and sadness we would rather avoid these prompters!

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

But we can have an assurance that God understands our tears. The first verse used today is a Psalm with an interesting concept expressed: “You have recorded my troubles. You have kept a list of my tears. Aren’t they in your records?”

Today some of you are going through a hard time, a season of trouble. It may be an illness, a broken marriage, a wayward child, a financial or health crisis, the loss of a loved one. Perhaps you even shed tears as you consider the sorrows of others.

It’s a natural part of existence on this side of eternity in the present age which one day will pass away and be considered “the former things.” But a time is promised when “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes… and there will be no more crying.”

In the meantime may God fill your hearts with assurance of His love especially during times of tears.

God sees the tears of a brokenhearted soul
He sees your tears and hears them when they fall
God weeps along with man and takes him by the hand
Tears are a language God understands.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, You take notice when we offer to you our prayer of tears. You sense the agony within our heart that stifles our ability to speak aloud of that which troubles our minds leaving us with such emotions as grief, remorse, fear, and struggles with unanswered prayer. Job, in his ongoing trials described his prayer of tears as, his face was flushed from weeping; and deep darkness was on his eyelids. Yet our tears are not in vain since they communicate to You in a language that only you can fully understand and they relieve us of built up emotion. Thank You for weeping along with us and upholding us with Your righteous hand so that we do not fall into despair. But we continue to trust, believe, and we even cry since You hear every tear that falls. And one day crying will be a thing of the past since there will be no more crying, no pain and no sorrow on the other side. What a blessed relief! Amen.


The Booth Brothers  (From Left to R) Ronnie & Michael Booth, Paul Lancaster


It was a beautiful evening for an outdoor concert!


On Saturday afternoon we attended a picnic for one of the companies we serve as chaplains. SS Smucker and Sons is a home improvement company so we tend to see some rather strong men and they were sure competitive in the tug of war!


They had lots of fun games that pitted the various crews against one another.
In this case the wheelbarrow pusher was blindfolded!


Children always have a good time at picnics and it doesn’t take a whole lot to entertain them! Included in the children’s goodie buckets were bubble blowing kits. Noah had a good time blowing many bubbles when the wind didn’t disrupt. It was a warm but windy day which helped picnickers more comfortably tolerate the heat. Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Tears Are A Language God Understands”  Video  The Booth Brothers

“He Saw It All”  Video  The Booth Brothers  We enjoy how gospel music often shares a Bible story.

“He Heals”  Video  Legacy Five  The Gospel Music movement is really neat because the musicians tend to be friends and are often very complimentary to one another. Last night the group called up a now elderly Duane Nicholson who sang with the Couriers, a gospel group that got started in the fifties at the same Bible College we attended. They also may use some of the same songs! “He Heals” really touched us last night but we couldn’t find a suitable version online to share so we use this one by another group!

“Why Do We Cry? The Three Different Types Of Tears And Their Physiology” Short article quoted from in today’s message.

Note to local readers: The Collingsworth Family will be at the park June 25 in Lebanon at Coleman Park in the Music in the Park series. There is no charge for this service although a free-will offering is taken.  Perhaps we will see some of you at a future concert! It was nice seeing several friends last night and joining our friends John and Faithe Keefer. Also take note of additional concerts all through the summer.


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.

“Christ’s Glorious Trifecta”

Fri, 06/09/2017 - 9:30am
In our travels today a pastoral setting near Martindale was even more pleasant for viewing with the sheep dotting the landscape. We’ve been traveling weekly through Lancaster County for 16 years now with our chaplaincy visits and never weary of the beautiful country settings.
(Click to enlarge)

“Christ’s Glorious Trifecta”

Message summary: Trifecta is defined as “a run of three wins or grand events.” Today let us examine a text in 1 Corinthians that teaches Christ’s glorious trifecta; His death, His burial, and His resurrection.

Listen to our message on your audio player.

“For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3,4).

O to grace, how great a debtor,
Jesus saves, Jesus saves
All the saints who shout together,
Jesus saves, Jesus saves

Trifecta is defined as “a run of three wins or grand events.” Today let us examine a text in 1 Corinthians that teaches Christ’s glorious trifecta; His death, His burial, and His resurrection.

This is the only verse in the Bible where the phrase “as of first importance” is found. In these verses the apostle Paul provides a wonderful summation of the Gospel. What he himself had “received” he had “delivered to you”. This has been the God-ordained manner for the transmission of truth for nearly 2,000 years.

1. Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures
2. He was buried
3. He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures

The apostle emphasizes the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We believe these three together comprise the truth that is of “first importance”. But there is one phrase that deeply touches me and I pray it will do so for you as well.  Paul makes it very personal. “Christ died for our sins.”  Yes, we believe that. Praise God! His death was not meaningless or an accidental slip-up in the plan of redemption. No, Jesus Christ was born to die for our sins.

Earnest believers continue to receive and pass on this sacred message to our present day. Have you received and believed this message? Are you passing it on? At the heart of apostolic preaching is the proclamation of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We believe these three together comprise the truth that is of “first importance.” This is of first importance all through the church age and indeed through eternity. This is based on the authority of Scripture, “according to the Scriptures.”

Whatever you’re facing today, hold on to this glorious truth that is of first importance; Christ died, Christ was buried, and Christ Jesus was raised to life forevermore! The risen Christ states in Revelation 1:18, “I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.”

Rising up so vast and strong,
Lifting up salvation’s song
The redeemed will sing forever,
The redeemed will sing forever
Jesus saves, Jesus saves.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, it is of first importance to the Apostle Paul to declare that Jesus is risen from the dead and is alive forevermore. So it is also of first importance nearly 2000 years later for those of us who hold dear the sacred Scriptures. We joyfully declare to our own generation the miraculous news that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures. Jesus is the living One; He was dead but is alive forevermore! This factual knowledge and spiritual blessing helps to still my fears and reminds me that I serve a living, risen Christ who says to His followers, “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive forever and ever.” Because Jesus lives we live also! Blessed be the name of the Lord forevermore! Jesus saves! Amen.

Since so many of you enjoy the Amish photos we include them often and yesterday we visited with our Amish friends so we have more photos.  Eli was excited to introduce us to his new piglets. Admittedly they’re cute when they’re piglets, not so cute when they’re roly poly pigs but they sure do make good bacon and tasty ham!


This young boy is warming up the miniature ponies for tourist rides.


Tuesday we shared a number of photos of Amish families going to church. This view caught our attention yesterday. The brother holds the baby while the sister holds the baby doll!


It’s strawberry pickin’ time in Lancaster County. Perhaps these Mennonite children are heading to the strawberry patch since the school year has been over several weeks for the Plain community (Mennonite and Amish). Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Jesus Saves”  Video  The Booth Brothers  This is the song quoted in today’s message

“Masterpiece of Mercy”  Video  The Booth Brothers

“In Christ Alone”  Video  The Booth Brothers

Note to local readers: The Booth Brothers will present a concert this Sunday evening (June 11) in Lebanon at Coleman Park in the Music in the Park series. There is no charge for this service although a free-will offering is taken. We plan on attending with John and Faithe Keefer, our pastor friend and his wife. Perhaps we will see some of you there! Also take note of additional concerts all through the summer. The Collingsworth Family will be at the park June 25.

“Jesus Saves”  Video  The Booth Brothers and Collingsworth Family


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

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

“Lessons From Coach Shepherd”

Thu, 06/08/2017 - 9:30am

“Lessons From Coach Shepherd”

Message summary: We are all welcome on Coach Shepherd’s team and into God’s family…and this by His marvelous grace!

Listen to our message on your audio player.

“Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God” (Romans 15:7).

Ester told me a sad story the other day. She has a friend with a crippling disability. He spends a lot of time with his grandparents and Ester told us it’s because his brother does not accept him. Now that would be crushing. There may be more to the story, but on the face of it the circumstances are disheartening.

We visit several large distribution centers with “pickers” darting about the huge warehouses pulling products or loading pallets. Once I visited a company where one of the pickers had a large “Rejected” sticker plastered on her green jumpsuit (The rejected sticker was intended for use on boxes of materials that had been rejected.)  Apparently a co-worker had placed it on her jumpsuit as a joke and I don’t think she even realized it was there.

But it got me thinking. How many people often are or feel rejected by others? How many have experienced rejection by significant people in their lives? Though they don’t wear a visual banner declaring “REJECTED” it’s visible in their expressions, in their communication or lack of it, and they’re often accessorized by a downward cast. Certainly a lot of people have experienced rejection repeatedly, including some of you reading this today. Read this message carefully and receive encouragement from a powerful Scripture phrase.

Chris Maxwell is a friend of mine who also has a writing ministry. I sure appreciated a message he shared using an analogy from the sports world. I believe it will bless daily encouragement readers today as well.

“A team I play for is going to win. The Owner knew I wasn’t the best available free agent, but signed me anyway. He does that for many players. The team strategy is something like ‘Whosoever wants to play for us, we will sign.’

Critics have called our team many names; “Failures”, “Scrubs”, “Losers”, “Rejects”. But Coach Shepherd says our team name, “Sheep”, is a good fit. He treats us like we are really His Sheep. Our franchise has a promise of guaranteed eternal success! That fact can help us sleep no matter the score of any one game.

How do I know the eventual outcome? I read an advanced copy of the press release. “No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and His servants will serve Him. They will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever'” (Revelation 22:3-5). Cursed no longer. Cured. Let that be our team!”

Consider the phrase in the daily Scripture verse, “just as Christ accepted you”. What were we like before Christ accepted us? Romans 5 gives us a “thumbnail sketch” where Paul describes unbelievers as “helpless… ungodly… sinners… enemies”.

What a glorious truth it is to be accepted by Christ and become part of His family. Whether or not we have known the acceptance and support of a loving family or faithful friends, when we come to God in faith and repentance we are accepted. He has said, “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away” (John 6:37). We are all welcome on Coach Shepherd’s team and into God’s family…and this by His marvelous grace!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, You have shown us through the example of Jesus that we are to accept others in the same way that Christ accepted us. Show us ways that we can effectively reach out to others, especially those who feel rejected by family or society as a whole. Help us to show them genuine love and to initiate a friendship in the same way that You reached out to many people groups and befriended them. As we do this in obedience to your command and as we are led by Christ’s example Scripture indicates that we bring praise to You which is our heart’s desire. Amen.

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“I’m Accepted”  Video   DeGarmo & Key  An old song with a great message

“The People In The Line”  Video   The Talleys  A song reminding us to be aware of the hurting people around us.

“The Broken Ones”   Video  The Talleys

“She Still Remembers Jesus’ Name”  Video  The Booth Brothers  We dedicate this song to all who have a loved one dealing with Alzheimer’s Disease

“Tears Are A Language”  Video  The Booth Brothers  This was popular when we were in Bible College in the mid-seventies and was among the first “specials” Brooksyne ever sang

Note to local readers: The Booth Brothers will present a concert this Sunday evening in Lebanon at Coleman Park, part of Music in the Park series. There is no charge for this service but an offering is taken. We plan on attending with John and Faithe Keefer, a pastor friend and his wife. Perhaps we will see some of you there! Also take note of additional concerts all through the summer.


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 Royal Priesthood”

Wed, 06/07/2017 - 1:37pm
Last Saturday I went with a friend to the WW2 Air Show in Reading Pennsylvania.

“A Royal Priesthood”

Message summary: Today as we live out our earthly lives let us keep these truths in focus and show forth the praises of Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. In so doing the light of Christ can be seen in us.

Listen to our message on your audio player.

“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).

Yesterday I was visiting a company and conversed with some employees loading a truck. The truck driver was waiting for them to load so I greeted him and introduced myself as the “Company Chaplain”. The driver rather surprised me when he responded by telling me he was a priest. When I asked him what kind he answered, “I’m a priest in the order of Melchizedek.” (It turns out his priestly role had something to do with the Mormon religion but due to a falling out with his bishop some twenty years earlier he was inactive in his priestly role). I gave him one of our cards and perhaps he will come across this message!

But the conversation also spurred further consideration on the topic of Melchizedek and the priesthood.

Melchizedek is a rather mysterious Old testament character first revealed in Genesis 14:18, “And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; now he was a priest of God Most High.”

In a Psalm of David considered Messianic we read, “You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek” (Psalm 110:4). This is quoted in Hebrews 5:6 as applying to Christ. Jesus was not a descendant of Aaron (a Levite), and thus would not qualify for the Jewish priesthood under the Law of Moses. But he is a “priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”

When the truck driver identified himself as a priest I initially thought of the Roman Catholic and Anglican faiths that designate their clergy as “priests”.

But today let us consider a sense that all the redeemed are priests using the two word phrase from our daily text, “royal priesthood”. Peter is writing to ordinary believers at his time and he informs them what they are as a result of redemption. “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” Since this passage is from the Bible we can also use these words to identify our position in Christ.

In 1 Peter 2:5 Peter wrote that “You also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

What an incredible privilege New Testament believers possess in Christ. Bible teacher David Guzik writes, “The offices of royalty and priesthood were jealously separated in Israel, but Jesus, who is our King and Priest, has brought them together for His people.” In the Old Testament, even the kings of Israel did not serve as priests, and the one who tried was judged by God. No so for New Testament believers who are of royal lineage in Christ the King of kings.

C.H. Spurgeon wrote, “Ye” are to be like Melchizedek, in whom the two offices of priest and king were combined in one person. More than that, “ye” are to be like your Lord, in respect to His royal priesthood. That He should have “loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and made us kings and priests unto God and His Father,” seems to be an honor which is far too high for us. It appears to bring us almost too near our Lord, yet it is not so, for Peter wrote, under divine inspiration, “Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood…”

Today as we live out our earthly lives let us keep these truths in focus and show forth the praises of Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. In so doing the light of Christ can be seen in us.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer:  Father, in this world of darkness, we are tremendously blessed that You have called us out of darkness into Your marvelous light. And because of that we can walk blameless and pure as Your children without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which we shine like stars in the universe while holding out the word of life. As priests of the Most High we are Your chosen people and citizens of a holy nation. Conform us to Your likeness during our pilgrimage here as we make it our ambition to please You and walk in a manner worthy of You. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Today’s photos are taken from Saturday’s Air Show and reenactments from WW2 in Reading, PA.


Chaplain John Uhler is a friend who served as a WW2 reenactment chaplain (presenting as a WW2 chaplain to guests) as well as a chaplain to other reenactors. I visited with him awhile as he explained the duties of a WW2 chaplain and managed to witness for Christ in doing so.


Chaplain John Uhler’s WW2 field demo. John has really worked hard to acquire the necessary materials to present an authentic demonstration.


WW2 government issued New Testament with a presidential inscription. This note “commending the reading of the Bible” was signed by the president. In our age he would be sued by godless groups like the ACLU and Freedom from Religion Foundation. In addition the New testaments were printed by the government printing office.


Pursuit plane demos.


My most memorable flight was when I was in high school and had the opportunity to fly in a P-51 Mustang, the premier fighter of WW2. I could have taken a demo flight at the air show in a P-51 for 20 minutes at $1,595.00 but I think I’ll settle for my 45 year old memory! Bob Walker, my cousin’s husband, was an avid pilot and as a high schooler I was visiting my cousins in Tulsa (a year before I met Brooksyne) when he offered to take me for a ride in his P-51 (photo of that plane above). I excitedly agreed. The P-51 was the last of the prop fighters prior to the jet age and is a very powerful plane powered by a V-12 engine (sound here).

Bob (photo to right) handed me a helmet and a barf bag, sternly informing me if I messed up I cleaned up. (I didn’t need the bag!) What an experience it was including sharp turns and a low roll over Tulsa. I peered down and spotted my family waving up to me, and most thrilling was a high speed pass over the airfield in which he piloted the plane at full throttle buzzing the airfield just over the runway before shooting practically straight up. At that point I experienced the most G’s ever in my life. Afterwards he told me he could have done more such as flying upside down but didn’t want to scare me. Video of P-51 flying.


This is a B-25 bomber.
The show had many, many historic planes since it’s the largest WW2 air show.


“FDR” kept riding around in this car!


What a blessing to engage in a conversation with this 90 year old WW2 vet. He was in remarkable physical shape for his age and walked all over the sprawling show area. His grandson had brought him to the show and it was wonderful to see the esteem this man had for his grandpa. This has been designated “The Greatest Generation” and we esteem so many who lived through the Great Depression and WW2. Those who returned had terrible memories of the War. (The vet in the photo above didn’t want to speak of his two years in Europe). But those who returned had a lot of babies (known as baby boomers of which I am one). My dad and several uncles served in the war.

Now let me muse a bit more for any who may still be reading. In a message in the church we attended this last Sunday Evangelist Steve Wingfield shared that in the current wars there are now an average of 22 vets committing suicide every day. It is a crisis. We often hear of PTSD and indeed we have dealt with this in our chaplaincy with vets. Of course many vets from WW2 or any war would deal with this affliction as well.

I have been musing and discussing with others why so many were able to move along with their lives returning from WW2. (I would suppose at a much higher percentage than those returning from current wars.)

1) The WW2 veterans returned as heroes with great appreciation by our country. Contrast that with Vietnam vets, so many who have struggled through life. I just spoke to one at the airshow who recalls getting off the plane and the flight attendants (stewardesses at that time) turned their backs to him. I could see it still hurt. Thankfully vets returning from current wars are seeing demonstrations of appreciation.

2) Most of the WW2 vets married and established families taking responsibility for being faithful husbands and fathers and working hard since there was not nearly as much government aid available and there was a stigma about being a free loafer. I really saw this sense of personal and family responsibility in my dad.

3) The support of family, church, pastors, chaplains in an era when America was considered a Christian nation (not in the sense that every single American was or had to be a Christian which is a personal decision each individual must make). But in our society and schools there was an underlying framework of what is known as Judeo-Christian value system demonstrated by the presidential inscription in the NT given to soldiers. They actually still read the Bible and prayed in schools!!! Now entire generations have no knowledge of God and His ways. And sadly many military chaplains now face restrictions on presenting biblical truth unimaginable in the past.

4) Although abuse of alcohol and drugs has always been around, including following WW2, now we see such a growing acceptance of using these poisons. In fact I wonder how many vet suicides also have an alcohol/drug component.

5) Finally, in discussing this with my chaplain friend Mark he wonders to what degree demonic activity is involved especially for those returning from the Mideast.

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Shine”  Video  Matt Redman

“You Are a Chosen Generation”  Video  Steve Green

“Chosen Generation”  Video  Hosanna! Music

Yesterday’s message concerned FOMO and so many focus on their devices. On the way to our first company early yesterday morning Brooksyne read the message aloud from “Our Daily Bread” and coincidentally it had a very similar theme. Read here.

Our friend David Penley, who often shares insight, wrote: “Sabra and I walk several times a week. We walk in our city parks on sidewalks. We have talked many times about how sad that so many people miss God’s beauty around them because their face is looking down at their hands – the smart phones in them of course. As we pass them we always say “good morning,” but they rarely raise their heads to respond.

Often there are two walking side by side coming toward us, each on their phones. They don’t talk to each other, they don’t acknowledge us, and we have to step off the sidewalk so they don’t walk into us.

One of the saddest things I have seen happened just recently. A mom and dad were walking, both looking down at their phones, and he was pushing their child in a stroller. Neither of them were paying attention to each other, their surroundings, or even their child. Made me think of that Harry Chapin song, “Cat’s in the Cradle.” Video

I don’t have a smart phone, only a stupid one. I’m not condemning those folks who do. They can be used for much good. I only know if I had one I’d be doing just what they’re doing. I’m trying to follow Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 5:29-30 and keep out of my life things I know would lead me to stumble. Anyway, thank you for this teaching. I know I needed it. I’m sure God will use it in others’ lives also. Blessings. David

David is a professor at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and blogs here. We highly recommend his teaching.


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 Antidote To FOMO”

Tue, 06/06/2017 - 10:00am

These Amish folks traveling to their church service Sunday filled three benches.

“The Antidote To FOMO”

Message summary: Living with a “TITDTLHM” outlook is a powerful antidote to FOMO and ROMO!

Listen to our message on your audio player.

“This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24).

The other day we were out on a beautiful day with lots of pretty scenery. Not unusual these days but it especially struck me how many were walking along with their heads down focused on their device, usually a “smart phone”. Admittedly we both carry smart phones and they are pretty handy but especially when we are out in God’s creation they are tucked away.

I wondered why people look or play with their phones all the time, to the point of ignoring others or walking along without concern for their safety or that of running into others. Looking for an answer I searched Google with a phrase like, “Why do so many people stare at their phones?” Apparently others have wondered the same thing and Google gave me a compelling answer. An article attributes phone watchers to FOMO, which means “Fear Of Missing Out”. In fact if you google FOMO you can read for yourself. It’s defined as “anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on a social media website.”

However it occurs to me that “FOMO” is not merely technologically related. Many are afraid of “missing out” if they don’t have certain items such as a new home or vehicle or aren’t able to go to certain places on their “bucket list”.

There’s a form of FOMO that we can share from experience when we get to that point in life where we have more miles behind us than ahead. You realize there’s a lot you are not going to get done, you are going to miss out on. And this can lead to ROMO, an acronym I just made up, “Regrets On Missing Out”. You look back and see all you didn’t see or have or do.

But there is a Scriptural principle that deals with both FOMO and ROMO.

Many in the world have an acronym “TGIF” (you’ll be sick of acronyms by the end of this message!) as they look forward to the weekend. That means “Thank God It’s Friday” or “Thank Goodness It’s Friday” if you are bit more sanctified.

Well we believe our acronym (if we must have one) should be: “TITDTLHM”. Actually it would probably be easier just to memorize the phrase which many of you have already done so, “This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

Most of you have surely heard the verse put to music in a simple chorus and if you’re like us you’ve sung it hundreds of times.

Living with a “TITDTLHM” outlook is a powerful antidote to FOMO and ROMO!

“This is the day the LORD has made.” It’s a simple proclamation of truth that we can declare every single day. It’s always true; God rises the sun in the morning and the moon in the night. Every day is an act of His faithful creation. What blessedness results and faith arises as we recognize this marvelous act, acknowledge His daily loving kindness and joyfully declare that TITDTLHM.

“Let us rejoice and be glad in it.”  That’s a decision we make. No doubt some readers have great burdens today and issues which can potentially overwhelm. We may focus on these troubles and find ourselves down and discouraged.

Or we can instead make a volitional choice that today we will rejoice and be glad. The apostle Paul declared in his letter to the Philippians, “I rejoice greatly in the Lord” even though he was imprisoned and surely had distressing circumstances.  The real key is to focus on Jesus as we live our daily lives with an eternal perspective. This day let us seek to keep this focus!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Jesus, I rejoice in You as this new day unfolds. This is the day that You have made and I choose to rejoice and be glad in it.  I have assurance today that Your way is perfect and Your timing is flawless. Your ways are higher than any other and Your wisdom far exceeds that of man. You are a shield for all who come to You for refuge. You arm me with strength and You perfect my ways. You make my feet like the feet of a deer and enable me to stand on the heights. You give me Your shield of victory and sustain me by Your right hand. Therefore I rejoice in You and praise You Jesus, as You show Your unfailing love and kindness to me on this blessed day.  Amen.

Some photos from our journey to and from church this last Lord’s Day.


Yesterday we took this photo on the way to a church service as we passed through the heart of Amish country. We had many colorful scenes of church traffic very unlike what most of you experience on Sunday morning! In this photo it looks like two families joined together for this open air ride.


Two nice summer like country scenes; an old barn and carriage.


The same carriage shown above as we prepared to carefully pass.


After sharing about people’s obsession with staring at their cell phones we find these photos refreshing. The children are always looking around often waving at passersby.


Waiting to pass safely.


Kids aren’t being entertained in the car by playing a video game or watching a DVD. Instead they have a nice back window view and we in turn get an excellent view of them.


Many watch and wave.


This father is walking with his children (though I would advise him to walk on the other side)!


In the afternoon we took a different route on the way back home and this young man was probably going to a youth gathering maybe on his way to pick up his girlfriend.


We passed lots of young people out walking, mostly barefoot! It doesn’t matter the day of the week most walk barefoot. Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“This Is The Day”  Video

“I’m A Girl [phone] Watcher”  Video  O’Kaysons  For some strange reason this old song from the sixties came to mind as I considered a more common theme for today “I’m a phone watcher”! (This is posted for sentiment not spiritual edification!)

Here’s the Wikipedia article on FOMO

Young people use smartphones ‘every other minute’

Here’s an interesting article from a secular perspective with this true sub point “It’s your life you’re missing out on.”

Finally today:

We took a different route back through the county in the afternoon when we returned home and passed this schoolhouse. The most important key to meaningful education is contained in that verse!

Finally today (#2):

When I picked Ester up from her work at 9:00PM we followed our neighbor in what I will call a Conestoga buggy!
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.

“Breaking Bread From House To House”

Mon, 06/05/2017 - 12:05pm

On Sunday morning we visited with friends at a church in southern Lancaster County. Upon arrival we read a note on the entry doors alerting us that baby birds were nestled in a basket of flowers hanging on the door. In this photo I (Brooksyne) stood outside the door and captured four year old Eliza observing the nest of baby finches. Amazingly, Mama and Daddy Finch who obviously keep their brood well-fed weren’t around during the commotion before and after church. Perhaps they feel their babies are safe among the Christian family.

“Breaking Bread From House To House”

Message summary: Next time you get together to share a meal with brothers and sisters in Christ remember these early meals and aspire to the same kind of unity, gladness and sincerity within your church body.

Listen to our message on your audio player.

“Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved” (Acts 2:46-47).

Yesterday we attended Mount Vernon Christian Church in the southern part of Lancaster County. We had a brief period of ministry in this church nearly ten years ago and I was heartened when a man came up and told me he had remembered what I preached on! We also learned several read our daily encouragements so we were pleased to reconnect face to face with them.

A friend invited us for a special presentation at the church by Evangelist Steve Wingfield, who has a special ministry at the NASCAR races and was in the area due to the race this past weekend in Dover Delaware.

In his message he used the signal flags used during a race to correlate with the Christian race in a sermon titled “Winning The Race Everyday”. (See below for a link to sermon audio and notes.)

It was a very edifying message and we’d like to share a point that especially caught our attention. Steve recognized that many do not have the giftings or calling to do a work like his. He then held up the green flag which signals the racer car drivers to go and reminded believers of the Great Commission that calls us to “Go”. We are called to go evangelize and he encouraged those present to be involved in hospitality evangelism; that is, using your home and mealtime as a means of demonstrating the love of God, even as you share of His goodness and give a witness for the Lord.

Following the service yesterday we had a delicious chicken BBQ meal prepared by a member of the church along with other summer dishes brought in by church members. These types of potluck dinners are common in many churches and I doubt that any of our national readers need an explanation of potluck since everywhere we’ve lived potluck is popular. But for our international readers, potluck is a gathering where each family or individual contributes a food dish to be shared among the group. It results in a great time of fellowship and often an exchanging of recipes.

In my 40 years of ministry and during my childhood I never recall going to a bad potluck dinner. I suppose there have been individual dishes that I didn’t return for seconds but overall I’ve always enjoyed potluck dinners. I like the variety of food in addition to the warm fellowship.

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.)

But today let us consider a portion of the daily text in a more literal sense, “breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together.” While enjoying dinners at church this text seems to be speaking of the blessing of hospitality in the home around the table.

As we were listening to the message I looked over and saw Jim and Rosie Kreider, a couple that served us a delicious meal in their home when we spoke at the church in early 2008. In fact we took a photo at that time and posted it on Daily Encouragement. We recall not only the tasty meal but fellowship around the table.

I mused concerning all the meals we have had in homes through the years and how many we have had over for a meal. For a number of years we have kept a registry of house meal guests and are now on our second book. Too bad we didn’t keep a record from when we first got married! Likely there a few of you reading this message that can recall a meal around our table.

Steve made a point that when we die the things that matter most are faith (God), family and friends. That is so true. He shared that at his mom’s funeral many people approached him and said, “I had a meal your Mom prepared”. He also shared a colorful point of how his mom remained in ministry right up to the end. When she was 87 declining health required a move to a nursing home. During a visit he asked her how she was keeping busy and she told him, “I read to the old people”.

Whether you call it potluck at the church building or a meal at home sharing with others our daily verse gives us a glimpse of life in the early church shortly after it was established. I doubt that they called them potluck but they ate together often so I consider Potluck Dinners to be Scriptural!

A few verses earlier these four components are recorded by Luke, describing the early church in the days following the Day Of Pentecost and outpouring of God’s Spirit (a day we commemorated yesterday):

“They were continually devoting themselves:
* to the apostles’ teaching
* and to fellowship,
* to the breaking of bread
* and to prayer.”

It must have been a wonderful time with outstanding unity probably never seen since in the nearly 2000 year history of the church. “Day by day continuing with one mind”. What an interesting and compelling description of unity! “Breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart.” That’s a colorful, desirable description of meal time isn’t it.  It would also be a welcome description of homes all over the world where families sit down and eat together around their dinner table and express love, interest, and support toward each other.

Next time you get together to share a meal with brothers and sisters in Christ remember these early meals and aspire to the same kind of unity, gladness and sincerity within your church body.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer:  Father, times of refreshing and gladness of heart are present when we share with each other; whether it’s food, warm conversation, working together or sharing one another’s burdens. When we are in unity we become one in purpose and accomplish great things for Your kingdom. We want to be obedient to the teachings of the apostles, enjoy regular fellowship with one another and also faithfully pray for each other so that we are the kind of church that pleases You and is effective in our community. As we seek to reach others for Your kingdom help us to carve out time to invite others to dine at our table so that we have opportunity not only to share tasty food for the stomach but also satisfying food for the soul. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Potluck Musings

As a child in Belton, Missouri I recall enjoying the almond green bean casserole with mushroom soup that I figured came from a more high-class family than mine at that time (since almonds were expensive)! In the little country church near Fair Grove, Missouri where we pastored during our first year of marriage we often had dinner on the grounds. I can still recall the crusty fried chicken that Sister Moore brought in an old wicker picnic basket. In northern Pennsylvania I learned to enjoy the German sweet & sour three bean salad that I had no use for as a child. In New England it was the Portuguese dishes, especially those made with chourico or linguisa. Here in Lancaster County we also have a lot of great Pennsylvania Dutch foods, like pig’s feet, pork stomach and other delicacies although I haven’t developed a taste for all of them yet!

At a potluck when I was pastor I typically walked through and took smaller portions of dishes that looked interesting, sensitive that some are expecting the pastor to try their dish, also making an excuse to myself for over-indulging. (But, truthfully, I’ve had a few dear older ladies let me know they were hurt when I didn’t try their dishes.)

One Sunday I was eating my meal and especially enjoying a tasty pineapple dish. I thought to myself, “Hhmm, I need to find out who made this to see if Brooksyne can get the recipe.”

On the way home Brooksyne asked, “What was your favorite dish today?” Right away I responded, “Some kind of pineapple dish.”  She smiled at me and said, “Well, thank you. That’s sweet of you!” Only then did I catch on that she had made it.  I guess I wasn’t paying much attention to her food prep in the kitchen on Saturday!

Online I found this: The term potluck comes from the traditional practice (not that it’s entirely unknown among us moderns) of never throwing anything away. Meal leftovers would be put into a pot and kept warm, and could be used to feed people on short notice. This practice was especially prevalent in taverns and inns in medieval times, so that when you showed up for a meal, you took the “luck of the pot.” A related term found its way into French usage, as an impromptu meal at home is often referred to as pot au feu, literally “pot on the fire.”

Some photos from our experience yesterday.


Steve Wingfield assisting Ester as she climbed into the window of the race car. The steering wheel had to be removed for anyone wanting to sit in the front seat.


And here she is sitting in the driver’s seat!


Steve Wingfield next to the race car.


A replica of the original Herrs route truck.


Another photo of the finches in their nest hanging on one of the entrance doors to the church. We counted six nestled together.


Mark Pulliam invited us to the service yesterday. He has been a friend for nearly twenty years and at one time was my boss when I worked for Marketplace Chaplains. He now serves as a hospice chaplain. Mark holds to time honored Bible-based values and I always enjoy our conversations. I teased him that being old-fashioned he must drive this old car! His granddaughter, Eliza, is featured in our lead bird photo.


We had an interesting route to the church service yesterday, travelling through the heart of Amish country with many colorful scenes of church traffic very unlike what most of you experience on Sunday morning! Looks like two families joined together for this open air ride. Tomorrow we will share more of these photos. Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Winning The Race Everyday”  Evangelist Steve Wingfield  This is the sermon we heard yesterday. This page will open to a series of messages. Scroll down to the message for June 4, 2017. You can listen or look at the main points on a power point presentation.

Steve Wingfield ministries

This message has the photo of gathering around the Kreider table

“Come And Dine The Master Calleth”  Video  The Happy Goodman Family

It’s hard to find music related to today’s theme but this song came to mind. When I began pastoral ministry in northern Pennsylvania in the late seventies we gathered monthly with other pastors in our area for a fellowship meeting. David Selleck an older pastor was our presbyter (term for area leader similar to overseer depending on denomination). I think without exception he would begin each meal time with this song!

“Suppertime”  Video  Written by Ira Stanphill who pastored here in Lancaster PA in the early sixties. I once was on a plane out of Texas and sat next to a man who attended the same church as Ira Stanphill at that time. He testified of his real commitment to the Lord and what a blessing he was in his older years. Ira finished the race and went to be with the Lord in 1993.

My favorite song written by Ira Stanphill is “Follow Me”  Video  I like this version sung in earnest by Kelly Willard.

I traveled down a lonely road and no one seemed to care,
The burden on my weary back had bowed me to despair,
I oft complained to Jesus how folks were treating me,
And then I heard Him so so tenderly,
“My feet were also weary upon the Calv’ry road,
The cross became so heavy I fell beneath the load,
Be faithful weary pilgrim, the morning I can see,
Just lift your cross and follow close to me.”

“I work so hard for Jesus” I often boast and say,
“I’ve sacrificed a lot of things to walk the narrow way,
I gave up fame and fortune; I’m worth a lot to thee,”
And then I heard Him gently say to me,
“I left the throne of glory and counted it but loss,
My hands were nailed in anger upon a cruel cross,
But now we’ll make the journey with your hand safe in mine,
So lift your cross and follow close to me.”

Oh Jesus if I die upon a foreign field someday
‘Twould be no more than love demands, no less could I repay,
“No greater love hath mortal man than for a friend to die,”
These are the words he gently spoke to me,
“If just a cup of water I place within your hand
Then just a cup of water is all that I demand,”
But if by death to living they can thy glory see,
I’ll take my cross and follow close to thee.

Here’s a video tribute that includes several Ira Stanphill songs

Finally today:

This morning we had a service call from JK Mechanical for the annual precision tune-up on our Carrier heat pump. Nice to see Mike (left), an experienced service tech mentoring John, a summer intern from Thaddeus Stevens College, in a vitally needed trade.


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.

“Lessons From Barns” Part 2

Fri, 06/02/2017 - 9:30am

Passed this barn scene yesterday, typical of scenes we see passing throughout Lancaster County.
(Click on photo to enlarge)

“Lessons From Barns” Part 2

Message summary: Today’s message is the second of a two part series on barns. Our simple ongoing prayer should be, “Lord, help me to be rich toward God”.

Listen to our message on your audio player.

Then He said to them, “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.” And He told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man was very productive. And he began reasoning to himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?’ Then he said, ‘This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’ So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”” (Luke 12:15-21).

Yesterday we had a lesson about barns using the first Biblical reference to a barn in Deuteronomy 28:8. Today we will look at the portion using the final reference to a barn in a teaching by the Lord.

Brooksyne grew up on a small farm where they had a couple of smaller barns. Brooksyne’s brother, Jody, had the farm chore of cleaning up the cow and horse stalls. Though she does remember a few times doing the nasty chore for her brother, Jody, in exchange for his promise not to tattle on her if there was something she didn’t want her parents to know. I wonder if siblings still use blackmail to get out of doing their chores.

Jesus told a parable in Luke 12:15-21. A man had prospered in the things of this world. His “problem”: “The land of a rich man was very productive.” He had an abundant harvest, so much so, that he ran out of storage space. “And he began reasoning to himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?’”

“Then he said, ‘This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.'” His solution was to tear down the smaller barns and build bigger ones.

Most of our readers have been mightily blessed regarding temporal things. (Regrettably we tend to look around and compare ourselves with those who have even more rather than those who have less.)

We may miss the point of Jesus’ parable because we don’t literally tear down and build bigger barns. What’s more, that’s really not the point of the parable. At times a farmer may properly need to build a bigger barn such as a farmer who is expanding his operation or a businessman who is growing his business.

The main principle taught here is the focus of life. The rich man in the parable had his focus on the temporal rather than the eternal. This is a great ongoing stumbling block for many of us regardless of the amount of wealth we may or may not have. He sought temporal security and felt he had it: “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.'” Do you see the self-assurance and pride in that statement?

But God calls this man a fool and the man decisively found out who was in charge. “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’ ”

Today I desire to hear and earnestly heed the solemn warning our Lord concluded the parable with: “So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”  Our simple ongoing prayer today should be, “Lord, help me to be rich toward God”.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, You have shown the greatest example of what it is to be rich toward us in countless ways, but most especially when You gave Your only Son to be our Savior. You extended to us full forgiveness when we could do nothing to earn it. May we likewise be rich toward You giving ourselves fully in love, obedience, in our resources, and in loving others as we love ourselves. Rather than seeking first a comfortable and secure life here on earth, help us to remember that will come to us in heaven. Instead help us to seek first Your kingdom and Your righteousness and all that is needed will be given to us by Your gracious hand. We thank You for it in Jesus’ name. Amen.

It wasn’t until Brooksyne read the Scripture text for the podcast that I really considered the introductory statement prior to the parable, “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.” Amen!

Actually the final reference to barn in the Bible is a few verses after today’s parable but in the same teaching. “Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; they have no storeroom nor barn, and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds!” (Luke 12:24).


We often stop by the Village Farm Market east of Ephrata, PA on Route 322. It’s a store using the lower level of a bank barn with a group of old-order Mennonite and Amish women who sign “Made by _____” on each item. Yesterday I had a piece of strawberry pie!
(Click to enlarge)


Coming around a bend after leaving one of our companies I faced this work team head on.


A peaceful scene near Martindale


Last night we passed this large barn south of Mount Joy, PA
(Click to enlarge)


Brooksyne took this photo late yesterday afternoon of an Amish work team on Kraybill Church Road.


Pastor Rick Masciantionio
Rick is a long-time friend who, along with his family, was part of the church we served in Massachusetts in the 90’s. He was with us last night following a teaching conference down this way. For those interested here is his latest sermon (Audio) Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Everything We Need”  Video   Acapella

“It’s Amazing What Praising Can Do”  Video  Herb Capehart

Finally today:

This barn in Bird-In-Hand now houses two VW vans stored in style under a large hanging plant.


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.

“Lessons From Barns” Part 1

Thu, 06/01/2017 - 9:30am
Red barn in Juniata County PA
(Photo by Linda Trago)

“Lessons From Barns” Part 1

Message summary: Today’s message will be the first of a two part series on barns. Today we examine why it’s so vital to recognize where the blessings come from. In the Doxology we sing “Praise God from whom all blessings flow.” God continues to send forth his physical and spiritual blessings. Sadly, many reject the reality of this source or have an entitlement attitude. God owes us nothing and yet provides for all that we have need of.

Listen to our message on your audio player.

“The Lord will command the blessing upon you in your barns and in all that you put your hand to, and He will bless you in the land which the Lord your God gives you” (Deuteronomy 28:8).

Galen is a friend of ours who has a farm here in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. His ancestors first came over from Europe in the early 1700’s to escape religious persecution. His father Earl, a godly man who is now with the Lord, greeted us when we moved to this area with a prayer blessing and shoofly pie. For my 60th birthday Galen graciously allowed Brooksyne and Ester to use one of his barns for my birthday gathering and took us on a memorable hay ride.

We both like barns. Barns vary in size, design, color and even their intended usage. There are cattle barns, feed barns, equipment barns and many other kinds of barns. As a little boy I would play in my Uncle Gentry’s barn on his farm outside of Harwood Missouri. When the cousins would merge together during family gatherings we’d invent games that would require us to gather in the barn and  especially the hay loft. Occasionally Uncle Gentry would hitch a wagon to his Allis-Chalmers tractor and take us for a ride in the fields. Then we would hear the ringing of the dinner bell and go back to the farmhouse for Aunt Dora’s country fried chicken!

Many of the barns in that area of southern Missouri are now dilapidated much like the barn that we’d pass as we made the trip to my grandparents’ house. It seemed that with each passing year the timbers were more rotted and the entire barn was leaning more and more toward the earth. On each trip I’d eagerly watch for the spot to see if it had finally collapsed but it never did. Several years ago we saw a barn in Indiana in the same deteriorated condition. (photos below)

Lewis Evans wrote in 1753, “It is pretty to behold our back settlements where barns are as large as palaces, while owners live in log huts, a sign of thrifty farming.”

After we got married we lived for many years in areas where we rarely saw barns but since we moved to Lancaster County sixteen years ago we see the landscape dotted with barns and silos. We often use these photos on this site from our travel throughout the region in the course of our chaplain work.

Today’s verse is the first reference to barns in the Scripture and also a wonderful promise, “The Lord will send a blessing on your barns and on everything you put your hand to.” Barns, also called storehouses, could be a source of pride to farmers if they were not careful to acknowledge their abundance was from God.

“The Lord will send…”  It’s so vital to recognize where the blessings come from. In the Doxology we sing “Praise God from whom all blessings flow.” God continues to send forth his physical and spiritual blessings. Sadly, many reject the reality of this source or have an entitlement attitude. God owes us nothing and yet provides for all that we have need of.

“A blessing on your barns” indicates the agricultural way of life so common in the Bible period. In principle it surely also means your work or business, whatever that may be, that relates to the way we make a living today.

Note carefully that this Scripture expresses a cooperative relationship. God is faithful to bless. But notice the phrase, “on everything you put your hand to.” Farmers don’t just lay around just waiting for God’s blessing. They work hard, using the skills God has taught them over the years, often through the trials and errors of farming. Although most of us don’t work on farms the principle is surely the same in life.

Many tend to see work as a mere necessity to be avoided as much as possible. But God has called us all to “use our hands.” Consider these verses. “He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need” (Ephesians 4:28). Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you” (I Thessalonians 4:11). “We work hard with our own hands” (1 Corinthians 4:12).

Let us claim this promise and let us faithfully do our part in obedience to God’s commands!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, we are confident that You will provide for all our needs as we obey Your commands. You have instituted work from the very beginning so that we can provide for ourselves that which we have need of. Your blessings fall upon those who obey You, those who are not idle or wasteful. We lift up our brothers and sisters who are diligently looking for employment but are awaiting doors to open. Father, we pray that You would open the right door and provide for their needs in unconventional ways as You always care for Your own, no matter the circumstances. May it be a time of trusting and growing as they look to You for their provisions and for the open door. We also pray that they will find ways to be useful in helping others while they are flexible in their schedule. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Some favorite barn photos


The closest barn to our home is at the end of Kraybill Church Road.


I took this photo from our friend Galen Martin’s farm.
The silo and barn frame a colorful scenic view.


Years ago we passed this barn south of Nappanee Indiana and noted the huge vibrant clinging Trumpet Vine in passing. We turned the van around and went back to take some photos.

From the side of the house the barn looks pretty old but still standing and functional.

Here’s the other side of our Nappanee Indiana barn photo!
I think it’s had its better days!

Neff Round Red Barn in Centre County, PA (east of State College)


This farm on the Strasburg Pike here in Lancaster County is representative
of our beautiful Amish farms, many with red barns.
Did you ever wonder why barns are often painted red? See here.

Here’s an aerial photo of my Uncle Gentry’s farm near Harwood, Missouri.
The old farmhouse was built in the 1800’s and my grandpa was born there in 1882. It was in the family for over 100 years and before my uncle passed away it received the designation “Centennial Farm.” Notice how flat the land is. Harwood is located here (Google map) Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Blessings”  Video   Laura Story This version includes the story behind the song.  We pray that this message will touch hurting hearts today.

Here are some photos from my 60th birthday party in Galen’s barn.

* Note from Brooksyne:  The shoofly pie that Earl’s wife made us has quite an interesting story. Earl’s wife Helen (who is now also with the Lord), whom we hadn’t even met yet, sent the homemade pie with him to welcome us to their neighborhood. How nice it was to enjoy the taste of homemade pie when you’re busy unpacking and home cooking is next to impossible for the time. We stored the remainder of the pie in the fridge. The next day when I opened the refrigerator I noticed some of the pie was missing. Since it was only a nibbling I knew Stephen wasn’t responsible, but I was truly mystified by the strange intrusion in our fridge.  After much investigation we finally realized a mouse found its way in and out of our fridge and helped itself to the delicious pie. We renamed the famous Pennsylvania Dutch pie, “Shoo Mouse Pie.” It sounds impossible to have a mouse enter a refrigerator but we found the lining on the bottom of the door loose, leaving just enough space for a mouse to enter and enjoy a whole fridge smorgasbord.


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 Peril Of Hiding Sin”

Wed, 05/31/2017 - 10:04am
Photo taken at “Your Heart’s Delight”

“The Peril Of Hiding Sin”

Message summary: Today we urge you not to hide sin but rather confess it which results in one of the greatest promises in the entire Bible. “He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Listen to our message on your audio player.

“Be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23). “He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion” (Proverbs 18:13). “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).

On Tuesday mornings we visit “Your Heart’s Delight” a company that sells home decor items to the wholesale market, the kind of items you find in gift shops. Many of them are inspirational and thought-provoking. The employees have a brief devotional gathering for all who choose to attend and I share a brief message often using a prop from an item sold by the company as an illustration. Yesterday I held up the framed print of our lead photo. “My idea of cleaning is just putting stuff in less obvious places.” In this photo it looks like the chickies are gathering messy straw in their “living room” and stuffing it down the farmer’s boots!

Well, for some of us there is certainly a lesson here. We have several overnight guests coming in the next several weeks and we’ll be preparing our home for the visits. We especially deal with constantly growing clutter in the office area which tends to be the catch-all for everything coming into our house. Sometimes when we don’t manage to organize thoroughly I offer to help Brooksyne “clean up”. Now my way of a quick “clean up” is to grab an empty laundry basket, pile all the “extras” in it, and tuck it away in a less obvious place until we can get to it later. That’s not a very good way to clean up since it’s not really clean up at all. It’s really a concealed buildup of that which needs to be dealt with. Procrastination typically leads to more clutter and sometimes very important matters are forgotten about in the process which can come back to bite you later!

Even as I confess my default style of concealing clutter I want to apply a spiritual lesson as well. Consider the plainly spoken phrase in our second daily text. “He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper.” We may seek to clean up our lives by concealing or hiding our sin from others and from God. Of course this is very ineffective. The Scripture says it well, “Be sure your sin will find you out.” Somehow concealed sin has a way of oozing out through our attitudes and actions. Sin is always destructive; it has a way of destroying ourselves and destroying others. God sees and knows all things and we can’t conceal anything from Him.

Rather than conceal and hide Scripture tells us to “confess and forsake, “But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.”

One of the great texts of the New Testament are the words of John in his first letter. Many of you have memorized it and practice it regularly. 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).

Precept Austin commentary observes, “Confession results in experiencing divine compassion in Proverbs 18:13, divine forgiveness in 1 John 1:9. Secret sin without open confession leads to personal anguish (Psalm 32:3,4). Before sin entered the world, the only description given of Adam and Eve is in Genesis 2:25 where we read that “the man and his wife were both naked and not ashamed.” No sin. Nothing to hide. No shame. Genuine confession cannot totally recapitulate the sinless state of the Garden, but can come as close as is possible on this side of heaven. Confession of sins instead of seen as a “bad” thing, is in fact the best thing for a sinner to practice. Don’t miss your opportunity to experience the blessed state of no shame that comes from confessing your sins to God, who faithfully forgives and cleanses!”

Today we urge you not to hide sin but rather confess it which results in one of the greatest promises in the entire Bible. “He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Merciful 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. 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.

Last Friday morning we took a guided walking tour of the colonial section of Lancaster.


Cannon barrel repurposed as downspout. A DIY idea if have any old cast iron cannon barrels lying around not being used. Reminds me of the verse, “They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks” (Isaiah 2:4).


Our tour guide has been giving city colonial tours for 45 years!


This city flower garden is part of the Demuth Museum.


Exposed structural features are interesting, especially these roughhewn floor joists from a colonial home.


Central Market, a public marketplace, was deeded on this site in 1730 as part of the settlement of Lancaster. Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“If We Confess Our Sins” (1 John 1:8-9)  Video  Scripture Memory Songs.  We enjoyed this series from the 90’s which set Scripture verses to music, a powerful aid to memorization

“Search Me O God”  Video  The Cathedrals  “Cleanse me from every sin and set me free”

“Somebody Died for Me”  Video   Triumphant Quartet  We came across this song yesterday after posting our message. It goes well with a Memorial Day theme.

Yesterday we stopped by an old-order Mennonite discount store in Bethel, PA. These stores often have tracts and other Christian literature for customers to pick up as they leave. Yesterday the sermon rack had a printed message titled “You Cannot Sin Successfully”.  Online teaching

Excerpt: “Sin usually looks inviting and attractive at the beginning, and so it is man’s natural tendency to toy with it—but he finds out in the end that it doesn’t pay. The devil doesn’t tell people about the awful cost of sin. He only shows its attractiveness and its glitter—but someday those who listen to Satan discover with a bleeding heart that the price of sin has been extremely high.”

Commentary on 1 John 1:9 from Precept Austin.

“Your Heart’s Delight”

Finally today:

Several pianos are brought out each summer and placed in downtown locations for passersby to play. We rarely pass one that I don’t persuade Brooksyne to sit down and play it. Hopefully one of her songs will stir a heart.

Down in the human heart, crushed by the tempter,
Feelings lie buried that grace can restore;
Touched by a loving heart, wakened by kindness,
Chords that were broken will vibrate once more.


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

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

“We Will Remember”

Tue, 05/30/2017 - 9:30am

Flowers along Donegal Creek

“We Will Remember”

Message summary: Let us personally remember what God has done for us, offer thanks to Him and renew our covenant to serve and obey Him always!

Listen to our message on your audio player.

“The people said to Joshua, ‘We will serve the Lord our God and we will obey His voice.’ So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and made for them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem. And Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God; and he took a large stone and set it up there under the oak that was by the sanctuary of the Lord. Joshua said to all the people, ‘Behold, this stone shall be for a witness against us, for it has heard all the words of the Lord which He spoke to us; thus it shall be for a witness against you, so that you do not deny your God'” (Joshua 24:24-27).

We will remember, we will remember,
We will remember the works of Your hands.
We will stop and give You praise
For great is Thy faithfulness.

Yesterday, here in the U.S. was “Memorial Day” and we remembered those who gave their lives for our freedoms, especially service in the military, which was the original intent for Memorial Day. For many years I participated in the community Memorial Day parade and the solemn memorial service that followed in Saint Marys, PA. Every local service member’s name who had died in war was read aloud. It’s a practice that continues to this day over 20 years later and likely in many small communities.

But many of us also extend remembrance on this day to include all who have enriched our lives, whether they be family, friends or fellow believers. Although we don’t know if other countries have a day similar to this, wherever we live we can consider our heritage and remember those who have gone on before us.

But today let us consider the theme of “remembering our covenant”. In a covenant, the root concept is commitment. Marital vows are a covenant relationship between a man and a woman. In dedicating our children to God we make a covenant and church membership should properly be reckoned as a covenant. But the most important covenant is made between God and us!

God’s Word often calls us to remember this covenant. In fact it is at the heart of the Lord’s Supper observance, “Do this in remembrance of Me.” We often see this inscribed on Communion Tables.

When we walk through life’s darkest valley
We will look back at all You have done
And we will shout our God is good
And He is the faithful one

As Joshua’s life was coming to an end he called the people to Shechem and made a powerful appeal to serve God which includes a proclamation memorized by many Christians, “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord.” We, as a family, have concluded our prayers by reciting this verse together. Ester used to add the word “forever” at the end. It’s not in the original text but I certainly believe it is an appropriate expression!

After Joshua made the personal proclamation and challenged the people to do the same he then took a large stone and set it up in a place clearly identifiable to the people. He said the stone had “heard all the words of the LORD” and would be a “witness against us”.  The sense seems to be that of a memorial that would remind the people of their solemn commitment to follow the Lord. The root Hebrew word for witness carries the meaning “to duplicate or repeat.”

The oak tree at Shechem* is first referenced in Scripture in Genesis 12:6 where Abraham received assurance from God that He would keep His promises. Later, as Abraham’s grandson Jacob grew in his faith, this oak tree was the place where Jacob’s family made a firm stand for God in burying their false gods under it (Genesis 35:4). And many years later the oak tree at Shechem was a place where Joshua made a tangible memorial to the people concerning their covenant renewal to faithfully serve God. The large stone under the oak tree, next to the sanctuary, served as a reminder to the people of the commitment that they had made that day.

Today, let us personally remember what God has done for us, offer thanks to Him and renew our covenant to serve and obey Him always!

I still remember the day You saved me
The day I hear You call out my name
You said You loved, would never leave me
And I’ve never been the same

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, we read where Joshua placed a stone under the oak tree to serve as a witness against anyone who heard Your words spoken through godly leaders and yet chose to deny You. The stone under the oak tree in Schechem was witness to those who remained true and those who denied the faith. The stone was unchanging from day to day, year to year just as our promises should be. It was an inanimate witness unable to speak, but today we have living witnesses within our family, community, and church that can either speak up that we are people of truth or deny our claims. Our words will be demonstrated in our attitudes and actions and we will impact these eye witnesses in regard to their eternal future. No matter the consequence in this life, we never want to deny You in what we say or do. Amen.

* I realize that it cannot be stated with certainty that this was the very same oak tree in each instance.  However, given the lifespan of an oak tree and the clear landmark status of this oak tree in Shechem, it very well could have been. Here are the verses referenced above:

  • Genesis 12:6 “Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem.”
  • Genesis 35:4 “So they gave Jacob all the foreign gods they had and the rings in their ears, and Jacob buried them under the oak at Shechem.”

Yesterday we had our Zimbabwean friends over for a cookout followed by an afternoon of badminton.


First badminton game for the Zimbabweans and they were quite good!


Then the older adults took a long walk along the Donegal Trail.


Old stone farmhouse Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“We Will Remember”  Video   Triumphant Quartet

Finally today:

Ester has a good eye for classic and antique vehicles! She spotted this one at the grocery store where she works.


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 Veteran’s Prayer”

Mon, 05/29/2017 - 10:41am

Yesterday following our church service we stopped by a field of wildflowers.

“A Veteran’s Prayer”

Podcast not prepared for this message.

On this Memorial Day we want to share something a bit different. Yesterday in our church service Drew Johnson, a veteran of the Iraq War, had the opportunity to share a brief thought and then share a prayer which touched our hearts and gave an interesting perspective. He has given us permission to share it so we post it below. He prefaced his email to us with this note:  “My only request is that it would be posted in a way that all of the glory be given to God, none to myself.”

On this Memorial Day weekend, I remember my friend Michael Adams who died in Iraq on August 21, 2003, 20 days after his 20th birthday. Michael was an exceptional tanker and had a way of making us laugh no matter the situation. His death was hard to handle and 14 years later stills weighs heavy on my heart.

Celebrating Memorial Day is not about whether we agree with governments or if we agree with war. It is about remembering and honoring those who have died in service to the United States.

Prayer

Jesus in Your perfect wisdom You have told us that greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. We honor those who died, sacrificing their lives for their brothers and sisters in arms, for their family and friends at home, for the country that we all love.

Lord You have blessed America with great freedom and great responsibility. We especially thank You for the freedom we have which allows the Gospel of Jesus Christ to spread throughout our nation.

Over a million men and women have died in battle fighting for our freedoms. We take comfort Lord knowing that many of those men and women who died had secured their place in heaven by placing their faith and trust in you God. Our hearts are broken knowing that many of them died apart from You without the hope of eternal life.

We pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ who are serving today that you would raise them up to boldly and clearly proclaim Your promise of eternal life. Would You place a strong Christian in every unit in our military to preach the good news so that no one else will die in battle without having had the chance to commit their souls to You. We pray for the families of those who were lost who are still grieving today, we ask that they will find strength and comfort in you Lord.

Lord God, war is a direct reflection of our sinful and broken world. We know that no matter how many wars are fought more wars will come, that no matter how many have died more will die. But God you have not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with Him. For you Lord are good and your love endures forever; your faithfulness continues through all generations. Victory is already yours through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord. Thank You Jesus for Your sacrifice and unconditional steadfast love. May those who do not know You and Your love hear Your truth and come to know You as their Lord and Savior and experience Your amazing and endless love. For His honor and glory. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen

Tomorrow we will share a message about the importance of remembering.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

The Pop-Up Wildflower Garden in Manheim Township


An individual poppy bloom.
We wonder at any given time how many flower blooms there are in all the world?


This red poppy has a glossy appearance.


Blue-ish colored flowers are my (Stephen’s) favorite.


We read about the pop-up wildflower garden in Manheim Township in Lancaster County magazine and was especially intrigued with this photo. For local readers it’s at the corner of East Oregon and Kissel Hill Roads. Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

Note: We realize citizens of many different nations read our daily encouragement messages. The Scriptures speak regarding the future gathering of God’s redeemed: “I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands” (Revelation 7:9). On this side of eternity we have people living in various nations, tribes, peoples and languages. Regardless of where you may live  pray that God would bless the nation you live in and that people would turn to Him. Certainly the notion that God is blessing only one nation is fallacious but we should all be praying that God would bless the nation we have been providentially ordained to live out our earthly life. Note the text used above states that this great future gathering of a multitude will be from every nation. So even the darkest places on earth has a remnant of true followers of Christ.

Today we will be having our Zimbabwean neighbors over for a picnic. We pray that God will bless their nation. What a blessing when nations are blessed by God and have peace and prosperity. Citizens from every nation should be praying this. For citizens of one nation living in a country different than their own, for various reasons, Jeremiah states an interesting principle regarding those who have been taken into exile: “Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper” (Jeremiah 29:7).

“In God We Trust”  Video  Eric Horner

“In God We Still Trust”  Video

“Pledge of Allegiance”  Video  Lee Greenwood

“The Accurate Story Behind the Star Spangled Banner”  Video  A pastor friend sent this to me.

“Never Once”  Video  Matt Redman

Finally today:

Yesterday we passed this greenhouse that seemed to have green walls. Hard to see in this photo but these are huge tomato plants!


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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