Romans 1
“The Centrality Of Christ’s Resurrection
Raised By God’s Power!


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“Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning His Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by His resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of His name among all the nations, including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ” (Romans 1:1-6)

During the years following the French Revolution, there was a great turning away from the Christian religion similar to what we are witnessing today here in America and in other western nations. A certain man named La Revilliere concocted a new religion which he thought was far superior to Christianity, but he had trouble convincing others to follow him. Seeking help, he went to the great diplomat Charles de Talleyrand for advice.
Talleyrand’s advice was simple. “To ensure success for your new religion, all you need to do is have yourself crucified and then rise from the dead on the third day.”

This week we are examining the centrality of the resurrection as expressed in each major section of the New Testament. Today we examine the centrality of the resurrection in Paul’s epistles also known as the Pauline Epistles.

Pauline HardingI initially had to get used to that term “Pauline Epistles”. All through my childhood my Mom had a very good friend named Pauline Harding. In fact I am told she changed my diapers! That’s a photo of me with her when she was in her nineties shortly before her death. (Yes I am very tall and she was very short!) Years ago I wrote a message about the impact her husband had on my life simply titled “Mr. Harding”.*

Paul wrote thirteen epistles (letters) all beginning with his name, “Paul…” His first epistle, in the order of Scriptures, is Romans and it doesn’t take him long to state the foundation of the resurrection. In verse three he states, “His resurrection from the dead.” All though his teachings we have many references to the resurrection, a truth he considered “of first importance”.

In 1 Corinthians 15 he states the crucial necessity of Christ’s resurrection to the Gospel. “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins” (1 Corinthians 15:17). As William Newell states, “The gospel is all about Christ. Apart from Him, there is no news from heaven but that of coming woe!”

“The resurrection furnishes the most conclusive and irrefutable evidence of Jesus’ divine Sonship. By the demonstration of His ability to conquer death, a power belonging only to God Himself (the Giver of life), Jesus established beyond all doubt that He was indeed God, the Son.” (Precept Austin commentary)

The resurrection is in a sense God’s “exclamation point” to the good news of the resurrection life available in Christ Jesus through the gospel. Paul saw the resurrection as the foundation of our new life in Christ. “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory” (Colossians 3:1-3).

Today and every day let us proclaim the words of a song that we may tend to sing only on Easter Sunday but is always true:

He lives, He lives,
Christ Jesus lives today!
He walks with me and talks with me
Along life’s narrow way.
He lives, He lives,
Salvation to impart!
You ask me how I know He lives?
He lives within my heart.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer: Father, the permanence and sting of death was removed when You raised Christ Jesus from the dead. Had You sent ten thousand angels to rescue Him from the hands of His enemies and thwarted His execution on the cross we would not know of Your awesome power according to the Spirit of holiness by Christ’s resurrection from the dead. Though Satan plotted Your plan prevailed, and because of that, we who believe are now raised with Christ, who is seated at Your right hand. You have set eternity in the hearts of people and because of that we can set our affections on things above causing us to be homesick for a place we’ve never been. Where You are is where we long to be. In Christ’s Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.


Gary and Raleyne Conner 4/22/14
Yesterday afternoon we stopped by to visit with our friends Gary and Raleyne Conner whom we came to know when pastoring in northern Pennsylvania some 25 years ago. They now live in the Palmyra area close to White Oak Display, a company we serve as chaplains. We referred to Gary’s study in Acts in yesterday’s message. Raleyne taught school for 43 years, retiring just two years ago from the Milton S. Hershey School. Gary is retired from his practice as an orthopedic surgeon but continues to be an ardent student and is learning Aramaic, the language spoken in Israel at the time of Christ’s ministry here on earth. Gary showed me an Aramaic/English Interlinear New Testament which was very interesting. You read the sentences from right to left which takes some getting used to, kind of like driving from the right side of the car rather than the left when traveling in England.Marvin's arrival to America 1/89 with Conners

Brooksyne recalled this very meaningful photo with the Conners taken 25 years ago in January 1989 when they escorted some very ill children from Guatemala to the US for healthcare. Raleyne is holding a baby who was to undergo surgery for a cleft palate. Brooksyne is standing beside Marvin, a six year old boy who suffered from papillomas of the larynx. He was the second of four children we hosted from Guatemala (Ester coming along five months later and still with us today since she had no family.) We cared for Marvin for several months on two different occasions. We also met his mother and siblings when we visited his home in Guatemala. Marvin is now grown, married with children and faithfully serving the Lord! We have been in regular contact with him for about ten years now as he found us through Daily Encouragement after losing touch for many years. Marvin was not only frightened but very, very ill struggling for each breath and his airway was blocked by papillomas. The doctor thought it amazing that he was alive in his serious condition.

I called Raleyne last night to ask about the photo. She shared an experience she recalled when bringing him up from Guatemala and I requested that she write it out and share it with us!”This is my memory of Marvin.  It is very clear since I told his story to hundreds of school children when we studied about Guatemala.

My husband and I had combined a trip to Guatemala with acting as accompaniers to children flying alone to the United States for surgery. At the Guatemala Airport we met two families, one of which was Marvin’s. A slight boy, he was terrified of these strangers about to whisk him away from his family in a huge airplane. His relatives were there also to encourage him.

Marvin’s mother, a slim and lovely young woman stood with tears quietly running down her face. Dad, in pressed blue jeans, held his hand and walked him over to us. With Marvin beside us, we began to board the plane. After a few steps, Marvin looked back over his shoulder, floods of tears bursting out. Dad came running, kneeled down, held him in his arms and whispered to him. This dear child straightened up, nodded his head, wiped away his tears and sorrowfully but bravely continued on his way. So courageous. We waved good-bye as long as we could.

Because of his medical condition, Marvin had a very difficult time eating (swallowing).  When we arrived at the Dallas Airport, he must have been hungry. In the restaurant we all ordered hamburgers. When the plates were placed in front of us, I began to eat. Then I looked over at Marvin—All by himself he was giving thanks to God for his meal.  Hands clasped, head bowed, lips moving—depending on God.” How interesting in light of his inability to understand a word of English. It goes to show that in some instances our actions speak louder than our words.

Here’s a story we wrote about Marvin in 2011.
Marvin taught us “En La Cruz” when he heard us singing it in English, “At the Cross”


* “Mr. Harding”  A message about impact from Pauline’s husband.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

This week we will share songs that have blessed us about the resurrection of Christ.

“He Lives!” (song and hymn history)  Video

“Christ The Lord Is Risen Today”  Video  (traditional)  Video  (a bit more contemporary)

“Power Of The Cross  Video  Steve Green

“Easter Song”  Video  Matthew Ward

“See What A Morning”  Video  Getty/Towend team  I (Brooksyne)reallyappreciate the Biblical resurrection accountbeing recounted in such detail and colorfully presented in this song by the Gettys and Stuart Towend, one of 12 hymns they collaborated on, based on the core beliefs as articulated in the Apostle’s Creed.

“I’ll Rise Again”  Video  Dallas Holm

“Christ Arose”  Video  Daniel Thornton

“Because He Lives”  Video  Gaither Vocal Band

“He Arose”  Video  Stone Church choir

“He’s Alive”  Video  Don Francisco

“He Gave His Life”  Video  Vocal Union

“There Never Was A Pulpit Like The Cross”  Video  Vocal Union

Contact Us
Send a message to Stephen & Brooksyne

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Make A DonationAre our daily encouragement messages a blessing to you? We ask you to consider making a donation to Daily Encouragement Net so that we can continue to prepare and provide this daily resource which is accessed by believers and seekers all over the world. Daily Encouragement Net relies solely on the generosity and financial support of its readers and podcast listeners. See here for more information on supporting this ministry. Gifts are tax deductible.

"He Is Risen" Wissler sign
Our local Wissler auto dealership has a strong witness for our risen Lord!
“The Centrality Of Christ’s Resurrection
He Presented Himself Alive!


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“He presented Himself alive to them after His suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3). “This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses” (Acts 2:32). “But God raised Him from the dead” (Acts 13:30). “But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God” (Acts 7:55).

About twenty-five years ago Dr. Gary Connor was an orthopedic surgeon who attended our church in northern Pennsylvania. He had a strong conviction that apostolic preaching always centered on the Resurrection. He had studied the book of Acts extensively and noted the prominence of the resurrection theme in those early sermons. In fact he left his medical practice and moved to the Lancaster area to attend Lancaster Bible College to study the Bible. I called Gary, who still lives in this area yesterday and we plan to meet for fellowship later today. I haven’t seen him in about ten years.

The Book of Acts records the history of the early church following the resurrection of Christ. The prologue introduces the book with these words, “In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when He was taken up, after He had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom He had chosen. He presented Himself alive to them after His suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:1-3). The first book is the gospel of Luke. Theophilus is a name that means lover of God. It may be used here in a literal sense describing a person or it may be generic referring to all who love God.

This week we are examining resurrection truths from each of the five major sections of the New Testament. Yesterday we took a brief look at a familiar verse in Matthew concerning the first witness who declared concerning the risen Christ, “He is not here; He is risen, just as He said” (Matthew 28:6). Today we will look at several of the references to the resurrection in the book of Acts, the history of the early church. The early church was birthed out of the eyewitness experiences of the first disciples or apostles. These verses affirm the centrality of the resurrection of Christ.

Bible teacher Alan Carr has a message on this portion titled “Keeping The Main Thing The Main Thing”. Jesus Christ, crucified and resurrected from the dead, and about to ascend into Heaven gave His final lesson. He could have talked about anything in the world. But, His last words were a command and a commission to share the Gospel. If it was that important to Him, it should be equally important to us!

There are three prominent preachers in the book of Acts.

1) The first sermon was delivered by Peter on the Day of Pentecost. He had denied the Lord some 53 days earlier but now stood boldly proclaiming the Gospel of the resurrected Christ. Standing with the other eleven apostles (Acts 2:14) he states, “This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses” (Acts 2:32). Being a witness to the resurrected Christ was a requirement concerning the apostle who would replace Judas (Acts 1:22). This demonstrates the centrality of Christ’s resurrection in apostolic preaching.

2) Paul, who had been Saul witnessed the resurrected Christ in dramatic fashion at his conversion recorded in Acts 9. The risen Lord appeared to him. “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” And he (Saul) said, “Who are you, Lord?” And He said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting” (Acts 9:5,6). Paul of course went on to become an apostle and in his first recorded mission sermon preached concerning Christ, “But God raised Him from the dead” (Acts 13:30). Paul’s parting words to the Athenian philosophers was to declare that God had “fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man Whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead” (Acts 17:31)

3) The third major preacher in Acts was Stephen, one of seven church leaders who supervised care for individuals. Stephen explained and defended the gospel in the longest sermon recorded in Acts (7:2-53). He didn’t get to finish though. In boldly proclaiming the Gospel he got up to the point concerning Christ’s death when he was violently interrupted (see Acts 7:51-54). However he still testified to the risen Lord who appeared to him during the most intense and final testing of his life: “But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God” (v. 55).

The resurrection of Christ was a vital New Testament doctrine and central to apostolic preaching. The most convincing proof for the resurrection of Jesus Christ is that He lives within believers today in His resurrected life and transforming power.

Soar we now where Christ has led, Alleluia!
Following our exalted Head, Alleluia!
Made like Him, like Him we rise, Alleluia!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer: Father, we need the strength and boldness that comes through the indwelling resurrected power of Christ to proclaim, defend, and live the Gospel message day in and day out. It’s unlikely that we’ll ever be tested like Stephen, but we will be put to the test of defending our faith before unbelievers in this hostile world where the majority lack faith. We feel inadequate for the task, but we walk in the resurrected power of the Holy Spirit and look to You for courage, compassion, and clarity in the message You have commissioned us to share with unbelievers. That which we cannot adequately express, or clearly explain is provided in the Scriptures which we can give to those we reach. Not only do we thank You for the inspiration of the Scriptures, but we are so grateful that we have easy access to the Word. Amen.


New Holland sprayer 4/21/14
Evidence of farm activity is increasing in our area as farmers prepare for spring planting. This unusual looking farm machine passed me on the Main Street leading into Mount Joy. It is used for spraying.

Dottie in tree 4/20/14
Our cat Dottie will turn 13 next month, the longest we’ve ever had a pet. We don’t feature photos of her as much as our dogs since she’s generally content just lying in the barn. But she’s enjoying the warm weather and climbing our still barren oak tree.

Free Autumn Joy sedum 4/21/14
Yesterday Brooksyne thinned out the long row of Autumn Joy Sedum along the walkway leading to our front door. It is a beautiful, hardy, rapidly growing plant with almost no maintenance. Stephen took all the extra plants to the side of the road in front of our house in hopes that someone may be blessed by the free plants! They are still here this morning if any local readers are interested. Here’s a photo of the sedum in early autumn.


Technical help requested: For the last several weeks (perhaps longer) I have noted a formatting issue in regard to the way some photos display. Some display sideways! I am using the same photo editing and html software I have used for years. The only change I’ve made is that many of the photos are now taken with an iPhone. The photos look fine in the photo editing software and on the web editing page when I prepare the message and in some browsers and email programs. But they turn sideways on other browsers or when viewed individually by clicking on them. Any suggestions?  Respond here.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

This week we will share songs that have blessed us about the resurrection of Christ

“Christ The Lord Is Risen Today”  Video  (traditional)  Video  (a bit more contemporary)

“Power Of The Cross  Video  Steve Green

“Easter Song”  Video  Matthew Ward

“See What A Morning”  Video  Getty/Towend team  I (Brooksyne)reallyappreciate the Biblical resurrection accountbeing recounted in such detail and colorfully presented in this song by the Gettys and Stuart Towend, one of 12 hymns they collaborated on, based on the core beliefs as articulated in the Apostle’s Creed.

“I’ll Rise Again”  Video  Dallas Holm

“Christ Arose”  Video  Daniel Thornton

“Because He Lives”  Video  Gaither Vocal Band

“He Arose”  Video  Stone Church choir

“He’s Alive”  Video  Don Francisco

“He Gave His Life”  Video  Vocal Union

“There Never Was A Pulpit Like The Cross”  Video  Vocal Union  Brooksyne heard this on the radio Saturday and called my attention to it.  It’s a southern gospel acapella rendering of a powerful message within the song.

Contact Us
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.)


Make A DonationAre our daily encouragement messages a blessing to you? We ask you to consider making a donation to Daily Encouragement Net so that we can continue to prepare and provide this daily resource which is accessed by believers and seekers all over the world. Daily Encouragement Net relies solely on the generosity and financial support of its readers and podcast listeners. See here for more information on supporting this ministry. Gifts are tax deductible.

Donegal Springs, Lancaster County, PA 4/20/14 (Click to enlarge)
We had a beautiful Easter. In the late afternoon we took a long walk over to the Donegal Springs downhill from the Presbyterian Church.
(Click on photo to enlarge)
“The Centrality Of Christ’s Resurrection
He Has Risen!


ListenListen to us read this message on your audio player.

“He is not here; He is risen, just as He said” (Matthew 28:6).

Christ the Lord is ris’n today, Alleluia!


Yesterday Christians around the world celebrated the resurrection Of Jesus Christ. Milan, a Bosnian friend, informed me that Easter was observed on the same date on both the Eastern and Western church calendars this year. (I was unaware that Easter isn’t always celebrated on the same day worldwide).

The custom of celebrating Resurrection Day is an ancient ritual of the church. However in the New Testament itself there is no specific reference to it being celebrated annually, apart from the first Resurrection Day. The early Christians continued to celebrate the Passover and of course would have had the additional dimension of the resurrection of Christ in mind. The actual introduction of Easter Sunday appears to have occurred after Emperor Hadrian ruthlessly crushed the Barkokeba revolt (A.D. 132-135). However Christians, beginning on Resurrection Day itself, celebrated the resurrection each week on the Lord’s Day!

The New Testament uniformly teaches the centrality of Christ’s resurrection. Familiar to most are the accounts of the resurrection found in the gospels. That’s likely the message preachers preached on yesterday including our own pastor. Each of the four gospels end with an account of the resurrection.

But this week we also want to examine a resurrection truth from the other four major sections of the New Testament; Acts, Paul’s epistles, the general epistles and Revelation. Each affirms the centrality of the resurrection of Christ, what Paul calls of “first importance” (1 Corinthians 15:3). The Holman Christian Standard Bible states “most important”.

“First importance (protos) in this context refers to first in prominence, most important or foremost. The truth that follows is among first things. In primis. Not to time, but to importance. It is notable that this section presents the only summary of the Gospel that is found in the New Testament” (Precept Austin online commentary)

These essential truths of the gospel are of first importance…

  • Christ died for our sins
  • He was dead and was buried
  • He was raised from the dead
  • He appeared to many witnesses

The first verbal witness of the resurrection in Matthew’s Gospel is the angel who testified this simple, yet gloriious truth, “He is not here; He is risen”. And that remains the testimony of the faithful church and faithful Christians.

Love’s redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids him rise, Alleluia!
Christ has opened paradise, Alleluia!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer: Father, the announcement made by the angel at the tomb continues to echo throughout the centuries. Just as the women told the disciples that Jesus was not in the tomb, but He is risen, disciples of Christ have repeated the life-changing Good News to all who will hear. Though Jesus was dead He lives again. Though we were spiritually dead in our trespasses and sins we are set free and made alive through the saving blood of Jesus Christ. His resurrected power raises us up out of the dark tomb of our sinful despair, and promises us a home in heaven where darkness is banned. No light from a lamp or rays from the sun will be needed, for the Lord God is the Light of Heaven. Keep us looking to the everlasting light as we journey in a land where darkness reigns. In the name of Jesus we pray Amen.


Easter is mentioned in some versions of the Bible in Acts 12:4, although most versions use the word “Passover” in this passage: “And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people.” (Setting:  Herod had killed James and, seeing that it pleased the Jews, he then arrested Peter.)


Easter service at Longwood 4/20/14
Yesterday afternoon we conducted the Easter service at the Longwood Manor. Dale Singer, who likes to tout that he was “born a singer” faithfully visits his wife who is a resident.  At one time he sung professionally and yesterday he assisted Brooksyne with several songs. He continues to have a strong singing voice even in his eighties. It appears that he’s trying to start a new trend in wearing ties with his knit shirts!

Kember print
For many years we have made reference to the Kember Scripture prints (here’s the story) and periodically someone sends us a photo of one. Last Friday I received the above photo from Phil who grew up in the Chicago land area. “This hung in my father’s office as long as I can remember. It has been in my office now for 5 years. A reminder at what price we were bought, and also that we are covered by His blood and able to withstand the trials of this world.”

If you have or see a Kember print send us a photo to this email address with a brief description.

Geese couple 4/20/14
Alongside Donegal Springs we saw a goose nesting. She got up and joined her mate in the pool while we walked by. Her dip in the pool gave us a chance to snap a photo of the nest.

Geese eggs 4/20/14
Looks like a family of five based on the egg count! Are there ever duck twins?

Donegal Springs steps, Lancaster County, PA 4/20/14 (Click to enlarge)
The grounds are just beginning to green up and some of the spring bulbs are blooming. I officiated a wedding here two years ago and we rehearsed the wedding using this entry for the wedding party. The next day the guest chairs were arranged alongside Donegal Springs but suddenly the stormclouds gathered, the torrential rains fell and we ended up having the wedding inside the church. With windows on every side we still had a lovely view of the rose gardens and flowers, though a little drenched.

Easter cake 2014Ester requested an Easter cake that we saw in a magazine. I couldn’t resist though the calorie content was ridiculously high. It was a multi-colored 4 layer 8″ cake with frosting made of loads of marshmallow cream, butter and cream of coconut. We ate half of it over three days and sent the rest with Ester today. This morning the scales did not excuse the cake calories just because it was Easter.  Now I have to double down on my walking this week to compensate for the indulgence. Now that it’s beautiful outside it’s not a hard thing to do (the dogs are happy for the extra steps as well)!


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

This week we will share songs that have blessed us about the resurrection of Christ

“Christ The Lord Is Risen Today”  Video  (traditional)  Video  (a bit more contemporary)

“Power Of The Cross  Video  Steve Green

“Easter Song”  Video  Matthew Ward

“See What A Morning”  Video  Getty/Towend team  I (Brooksyne)reallyappreciate the Biblical resurrection accountbeing recounted in such detail and colorfully presented in this song by the Gettys and Stuart Towend, one of 12 hymns they collaborated on, based on the core beliefs as articulated in the Apostle’s Creed.

“I’ll Rise Again”  Video  Dallas Holm

“Christ Arose”  Video  Daniel Thornton

“Because He Lives”  Video  Gaither Vocal Band

“He Arose”  Video  Stone Church choir

“He’s Alive”  Video  Don Francisco

“He Gave His Life”  Video  Vocal Union

“There Never Was A Pulpit Like The Cross”  Video  Vocal Union  Brooksyne heard this on the radio Saturday and called my attention to it.  It’s a southern gospel acapella rendering of a powerful message within the song.

Crosswalk album cover (early eighties)
We post this LP album cover for those who follow us from our church in Northern Pennsylvania.  Crosswalk was a Christian band from our church. We came across this on Facebook and it took us back to “the good ol’ days….”.
Contact Us
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.)


Make A DonationAre our daily encouragement messages a blessing to you? We ask you to consider making a donation to Daily Encouragement Net so that we can continue to prepare and provide this daily resource which is accessed by believers and seekers all over the world. Daily Encouragement Net relies solely on the generosity and financial support of its readers and podcast listeners. See here for more information on supporting this ministry. Gifts are tax deductible.

“The Three Crosses”

April 18, 2014

Good Friday

Three crosses

“The Three Crosses


ListenListen to us read this message on your audio player.

“When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified Him, along with the criminals–one on his right, the other on his left” (Luke 23:33).

One of the blessings we have often seen as we travel, particularly in the southern states are three white crosses placed up on a hill or mountain that can be seen from the highway as a witness to the landowners’ faith. Normally Christians use a single cross as a symbol of their faith but the three crosses also have rich symbolism as a reminder of the three crosses on Mount Calvary.

Jesus hung on the middle cross, vicariously dying for the sins of all mankind. Two criminals, representative of the human race, were hanging on crosses on each side of Him. These three crosses each represent:

The cross of rejection. One criminal represents the masses that to the very end rebel against God and reject His plan of redemption. But rarely is such sneering so openly expressed, and this by a dying man as he hurled insults at Christ. This unnamed criminal is merely expressing the viewpoint of so many who reject God’s only remedy for our sin problem. This criminal died in his sins.

The cross of repentance. The other criminal represents those who repent of their sins and place their faith in God. He came to realize that he and the other lawbreaker deserved the death penalty and was quite frank when he spoke: “We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong” (Luke 23:41). His faith is humbly expressed in these words: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Our Lord’s dying words brought eternal hope to the repentant criminal as well as spiritual hope to millions throughout the centuries, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.” This criminal died to sin.

The cross of redemption.  On the middle cross Christ dies once for all time for all people. “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace” (Ephesians 1:7). “For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross” (Colossians 1:19,20). Peter, a witness to these things, stated, “For Christ died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust” (1 Peter 3:18a). Our Saviour died for our sins.

Today is a day of decision. For many it will be a reaffirmation of a decision previously made, for others this is a special day. The cross of redemption was singularly accomplished by Jesus Christ. Are you living your life in rejection of Christ or in repentance, acknowledging that, “we are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong” (Luke 23:41).

This Good Friday let us, through faith with thankful hearts, accept God’s only solution for our sin problem. Let us faithfully live for the One who died for us.

And can it be that I should gain
An interest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain?
For me, who Him to death pursued?

Amazing love! How can it be
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer: Father, thank You for the record in Scripture that makes us more than just curious bystanders during the crucifixion of Your precious Son.  Jesus’ recorded conversation with the repentant criminal helps us to see how immediate redemption for all humanity was being provided through His death on the cross. Thoughtful reflecting on this day brings about grief and sadness as we recall the rejection, pain, and suffering Christ underwent. In Luke 22:53 Jesus spoke to those who seized Him in the garden as a time when darkness reigns. Though He was speaking figuratively in the garden the next afternoon literal darkness fell upon the earth as He breathed His final breath. Surely all hope dissipated for those who stood by our Lord as He hung on the cross. But I’m so glad we don’t have to wait for the rest of the story to unfold since we know, through Scripture, the final outcome and the way of salvation Christ made possible for us. Thank you, Father, that You loved the world so much that You gave Your one and only Son to die for our sins, that whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. We call upon the Lord Jesus to save us, cleanse us from our sins, and to indwell our hearts. Amen.


Maundy Thursday Service

Last night we had a moving Maundy Thursday service recalling Christ’s sacrificial death for our sins and the events that took place the evening of His betrayal. A light meal was served followed by Communion, Hymns reflecting the cross, Scripture reading, Prayers and Testimonies. Pastor Jay presented a meditation based on John 13 when Jesus washed His disciples’ feet. After the footwashing Jesus commanded them, “Now that, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you” as followers of Christ, (John 14,15). Pastor challenged us, to have a servant’s heart and to be “People of the Towel”.

Ester took several photos that we share with you today. Those participating in the footwashing, whose photo was taken, gave us permission to share with readers.

Maundy Thursday service
The Communion Elements

Maundy Thursday service footwashing
Brooksyne washing and praying over a sister.

Maundy Thursday service footwashing
The mutual hug and blessing following the footwashing.

Maundy Thursday service footwashing
A grandmother washing her granddaughter’s feet while others in the circle sing hymns reflecting Jesus’ death on the cross.

Maundy Thursday service footwashing
And now the daughter’s turn to serve her mother!

Maundy Thursday service footwashing
Ester looked down the hall into the men’s gathering where they held their footwashing and snapped this photo.



Today’s Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources


“And Can It Be That I Should Gain?”  Video  Sovereign Grace Music

“The Man In The Middle”  Video  The Cupps

“Man In The Middle”  Video  Wayne Watson

“At The Foot of The Cross”  Video  Kathryn Scott

“Love Held Him To The Cross”  Video   Harvesters Quartet

“When He Was On the Cross”  Video  John Starnes

“It Is Finished”  Video  Gaither Vocal Band

“The Old Rugged Cross Made the Difference”  Video  Gaither Vocal Band

“The Old Rugged Cross”  Video  Gaither Vocal Band

“He Was Wounded”  Video



Major Events of the Passion Week


An astounding 30 of the 89 accumulative chapters in the four gospels cover the period beginning with Christ’s triumphal entry through His resurrection and post-resurrection appearances. Mathematically this means that approximately 33% of the written material in the Gospels deals with a mere .05% period of His life! In the providence of God we have a much greater proportion of Scriptural revelation dealing with God’s greatest act of mercy in providing our redemption.

Here’s an interesting chart from a Study Bible that may be helpful as you study the Bible this week. It sure helps me to have a sense of when the events took place and is inspiring to read these Scriptures in the daily sequence leading up to Easter.

Sunday

  • Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem: Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-10; Luke 19:29-40; John 12:12-19

Monday 

  • Jesus Clears the Temple: Mt. 21:12,13; Mk. 11:15-17; Lk. 19:45,46

Tuesday/Wednesday

  • Jesus’ authority challenged in the temple: Mt. 21:23-27; Mk. 11:27-33; Lk. 20:1-8
  • Jesus teaches stories and confronts the Jewish leaders: Mt. 21:28-23:36; Mk. 12:1-40; Lk. 20:9-47   
  • Greeks ask to see Jesus: Jn. 12:20-26
  • The Olivet Discourse: Mt. 24; Mk. 13; Lk. 21:5-38
  • Judas agrees to betray Jesus: Mt. 26:14-16; Mk. 14:10,11; Lk. 22:3-6

Thursday

  • The Last Supper:  Mt. 26:26-29; Mk. 14:22-25; Lk. 22:14-20
  • Jesus speaks to the disciples in the upper room:  Jn 13-17
  • Jesus struggles in Garden of Gethsemane: Mt. 26:36-46; Mk. 14:32-42; Lk. 22:39-46; Jn. 18:1
  • Jesus is betrayed and arrested: Mt. 26:47-56; Mk. 14:43-52; Lk. 22:47-53; Jn. 18:2-12

Friday

  • Jesus is tried by Jewish and Roman authorities and disowned by Peter: Mt 26:57-27:2, 11-31; Mk 14:53-15:20; Lk 22:54-23:25; Jn 18:13-19:16
  • Jesus is crucified and buried: Mt 27:31-56; Mk 15:20-41; Lk 23:26-49; Jn 19:17-30

Sunday

  • The glorious resurrection: Mt. 28:1-10; Mk 16:1-11; Lk 24:1-12; Jn 20:1-18
(This material is developed from an outline in the Life Application Bible)
Contact Us
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.)


Make A DonationAre our daily encouragement messages a blessing to you? We ask you to consider making a donation to Daily Encouragement Net so that we can continue to prepare and provide this daily resource which is accessed by believers and seekers all over the world. Daily Encouragement Net relies solely on the generosity and financial support of its readers and podcast listeners. See here for more information on supporting this ministry. Gifts are tax deductible.

Mississippi River Bridge (photo by Georgia)

Mississippi River Bridge
(Photo taken by my cousin Georgia)

“How Deep The Father’s Love For Us


ListenListen to us read this message on your audio player.

“But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure,
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure.
How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away,
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory.

Today is Maundy Thursday, the Thursday before Easter, observed in the Christian Church as a commemoration of the Last Supper when Jesus shared the Passover meal with His disciples on the night He was arrested and the eve of His crucifixion.  Maundy Thursday services are typically more solemn occasions marked by the shadow of Jesus’ betrayal. Some churches, like our own, might have footwashing, communion, a time of Scripture reading, hymns reflecting the cross, prayers, and testimonies. Maundy comes from the Latin word, “mandatum” meaning commandment or mandate. Throughout their last meal together Jesus gave several mandates to His disciples.

For nearly 2000 years now men and women, boys and girls have been turning to Christ, believing the Gospel and being saved. A minuscule percentage of those people were actual eyewitness to the Sacrifice. What an experience it must have been to literally behold the Lamb slain from the foundations of the world, wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities, seeing Him bear our sorrows and the stripes that bring our healing. All who have believed since that time have heard the message but were not eyewitnesses.

The daily verse should cause us to be in awe of what God has done in love’s supreme demonstration. So many events of life concern us today; from our unique personal and family problems to the rapid decline toward absolute moral decadence (particularly here in America it seems), to various explosive international situations. We must be intentional in keeping our hope fixed on Jesus lest these troubling matters lead us to despair.

Watchman Nee, a Chinese follower of Christ was persecuted for his faith and died in prison in 1972. He was a prolific writer but a single note found under his pillow after he died powerfully summarizes the simple essence of his faith: “Christ is the Son of God. He died to atone for men’s sin, and after three days rose again. This is the most important fact in the universe. I die believing in Christ.”

Today let us see with spiritual eyes the supreme demonstration of God’s own love for us. The underlying Greek word that is translated “demonstrate” is “sunistasin” which is in the present indicative active. This connotes a sense that God’s demonstration of love is ever a present event, although Christ’s literal death on the cross was a “once for all” atoning sacrifice; “Christ died for us.” The demonstration of His love is ever present, but the sacrificial death of Christ is final and complete. We now look to “Him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever” (Revelation 4:9).

The atoning death of Christ on the cross is the supreme demonstration of God’s love resulting in:
•    Our redemption from sin
•    Our reconciliation to God
•    Our restoration to wholeness

On this Maundy Thursday, of Passion Week, let us rejoice in the ultimate demonstration of Christ’s supreme love.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer:Father, how marvelous is Your love.  So many things in life are unobtainable, just beyond our grasp, but You make Your love available to everyone who calls on the name of the Lord. Your love and tender care mends the broken heart; it cleanses the sin-filled heart, and it encompasses the empty heart. How utterly amazing that You would pour out Your sinless, extravagant love on the vilest of sinners who truly believes. Incredible to comprehend, but nothing in all creation can separate us from Your gracious and compassionate love. Thank You, Father for loving me.  Amen.



Note: Due to an extremely busy day yesterday we were unable to post a new message.


This morning we passed these sites on Queen Street in Lancaster, PA

Lancaster, PA
Queen Street in Lancaster is a beautiful city walk

Store window, Lancaster, PA
We enjoyed this colorful spring display.



Today’s Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources


“How Deep The Father’s Love For Us”  Video  Phillips, Craig, and Dean

Behold the man upon a cross.
My sin upon His shoulders;
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers.
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished;
His dying breath has brought me life -
I know that it is finished.

I will not boast in anything,
No gifts, no power, no wisdom;
But I will boast in Jesus Christ,
His death and resurrection.
Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer.
But this I know with all my heart,
His wounds have paid my ransom.

“I Stand Amazed”  Video  Homecoming singers

“O The Deep, Deep Love of Jesus”  Video Sovereign Grace Music  This old hymn was written by Samuel Trevor Francis in 1875.  These outstanding lyrics will bless your soul and remind you of our great heritage as members of the Church Triumphant, written by one who is now experiencing glorious rest above! Samuel Trevor Francis (1834–1925) had a spiritual turning point as a teenager, contemplating suicide one night on a bridge over the River Thames. Experiencing a renewal of faith, he went on to author many poems and hymns and was a preacher in addition to his merchant career. The song compares Jesus’ love to the ocean in scope, emphasizing the limitless, unchanging, and sacrificial nature of God’s affections for the singer and all of humanity. The newer version is worded slightly different than the original and adds a chorus.

VERSE 1
Oh the deep, deep love of Jesus
Vast, unmeasured, boundless, free
Rolling as a mighty ocean
In its fullness over me
Underneath me, all around me
Is the current of Your love
Leading onward, leading homeward
To Your glorious rest above

CHORUS
Oh the deep, deep love
All I need and trust
Is the deep, deep love of Jesus

VERSE 2
Oh the deep, deep love of Jesus
Spread His praise from shore to shore
How He came to pay our ransom
Through the saving cross He bore
How He watches o’er His loved ones
Those He died to make His own
How for them He’s interceding
Pleading now before the throne

VERSE 3
Oh the deep, deep love of Jesus
Far surpassing all the rest
It’s an ocean full of blessing
In the midst of every test
Oh the deep, deep love of Jesus
Mighty Savior, precious Friend
You will bring us home to glory
Where Your love will never end


“I Am Redeemed “  Video  Brian Free and Assurance

Major Events of the Passion Week


An astounding 30 of the 89 accumulative chapters in the four gospels cover the period beginning with Christ’s triumphal entry through His resurrection and post-resurrection appearances. Mathematically this means that approximately 33% of the written material in the Gospels deals with a mere .05% period of His life! In the providence of God we have a much greater proportion of Scriptural revelation dealing with God’s greatest act of mercy in providing our redemption.

Here’s an interesting chart from a Study Bible that may be helpful as you study the Bible this week. It sure helps me to have a sense of when the events took place and is inspiring to read these Scriptures in the daily sequence leading up to Easter.

Sunday

  • Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem: Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-10; Luke 19:29-40; John 12:12-19

Monday 

  • Jesus Clears the Temple: Mt. 21:12,13; Mk. 11:15-17; Lk. 19:45,46

Tuesday/Wednesday

  • Jesus’ authority challenged in the temple: Mt. 21:23-27; Mk. 11:27-33; Lk. 20:1-8
  • Jesus teaches stories and confronts the Jewish leaders: Mt. 21:28-23:36; Mk. 12:1-40; Lk. 20:9-47   
  • Greeks ask to see Jesus: Jn. 12:20-26
  • The Olivet Discourse: Mt. 24; Mk. 13; Lk. 21:5-38
  • Judas agrees to betray Jesus: Mt. 26:14-16; Mk. 14:10,11; Lk. 22:3-6

Thursday

  • The Last Supper:  Mt. 26:26-29; Mk. 14:22-25; Lk. 22:14-20
  • Jesus speaks to the disciples in the upper room:  Jn 13-17
  • Jesus struggles in Garden of Gethsemane: Mt. 26:36-46; Mk. 14:32-42; Lk. 22:39-46; Jn. 18:1
  • Jesus is betrayed and arrested: Mt. 26:47-56; Mk. 14:43-52; Lk. 22:47-53; Jn. 18:2-12

Friday

  • Jesus is tried by Jewish and Roman authorities and disowned by Peter: Mt 26:57-27:2, 11-31; Mk 14:53-15:20; Lk 22:54-23:25; Jn 18:13-19:16
  • Jesus is crucified and buried: Mt 27:31-56; Mk 15:20-41; Lk 23:26-49; Jn 19:17-30

Sunday

  • The glorious resurrection: Mt. 28:1-10; Mk 16:1-11; Lk 24:1-12; Jn 20:1-18
(This material is developed from an outline in the Life Application Bible)
Contact Us
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.)


Make A DonationAre our daily encouragement messages a blessing to you? We ask you to consider making a donation to Daily Encouragement Net so that we can continue to prepare and provide this daily resource which is accessed by believers and seekers all over the world. Daily Encouragement Net relies solely on the generosity and financial support of its readers and podcast listeners. See here for more information on supporting this ministry. Gifts are tax deductible.

“Not Of This World”

April 15, 2014

Central Market, Lancaster, PA

The Central Market in Lancaster PA,  the oldest, continuously-operated farmers’ market in the United States.

“Not Of This World


ListenListen to us read this message on your audio player.

“And they sent to Him some of the Pharisees and some of the Herodians, to trap Him in His talk. And they came and said to Him, ‘Teacher, we know that you are true and do not care about anyone’s opinion. For you are not swayed by appearances, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? Should we pay them, or should we not?’ But, knowing their hypocrisy, He said to them, ‘Why put me to the test? Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.’ And they brought one. And He said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said to Him, ‘Caesar’s.’ Jesus said to them, ‘Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.’ And they marveled at Him” (Mark 12:13-17).

Today we will look at a lesser considered event that took place during the days following the Triumphal Entry of Christ into Jerusalem, the day we call Palm Sunday. It’s a very fitting message, especially here in the USA, as this is tax day. I happened to be early this year, getting all my returns off several weeks ago but doubtlessly some of our American readers have taxes on their minds. Perhaps today’s message will offer an interesting perspective!

We’ve all heard the old saying, “Nothing’s certain but death and taxes”. While we contend that there are other certainties in life it is definitely the case with death and taxes! Wherever you live you deal with some type of taxation.

Today’s Scripture portion chronicles the growing attempts by the religious and political establishment to trap Christ. In fact they came “to trap Him in His talk”.

They, being the Pharisees,  were primarily a religious group concerned for ritual purity while the Herodians were a Jewish political group that approved of Herod’s compromises with Rome. Normally the two groups had nothing to do with each other.

Let’s examine merely the underlined portion from the text: the two groups came together to trap Jesus in His words, knowing that a “yes” or “no” would get Him into trouble. They carefully prefaced their question with a; flattering comment, ‘Teacher, we know that you are true and do not care about anyone’s opinion. For you are not swayed by appearances, but truly teach the way of God. Their flattering observation is very instructive. Although they were likely insincere in their assessment they were nevertheless absolutely correct and these characteristics are a great example for each of us who follow Christ.

The reason I sense they were insincere is that if they really believed what they said why would they be trying to trap Jesus? Also notice that our Lord knew of their hypocrisy. But regardless of whether they were sincere or insincere they nevertheless spoke truth concerning the character of Christ.

1) ‘Teacher, we know that you are true and do not care about anyone’s opinion. Lesson for us: We should be more concerned about God’s truth rather than the world’s vacillating opinions, no matter how “expert” they are!

2) For you are not swayed by appearances, but truly teach the way of God. Lesson for us: We shouldn’t care about the outward appearances lest we take on any darkness or politically correct views from the world.

Anyone caught not paying taxes faced harsh penalties. The Jews hated to pay taxes to Rome because the money supported their oppressors and symbolized their subjection. Much of the tax money also helped maintain the pagan temples and luxurious life-styles of Rome’s upper class. The Pharisees and Herodians hoped to trap Jesus with this tax question.

The trap was related to paying taxes to Caesar. They thought they had Jesus on this one. Answer “yes” and it meant that Jesus supported Rome, which would turn the people against Him. Answering “no” would bring accusations of treason and rebellion against Rome and could lead to civil penalties (Life Application Bible Study Notes).  But Christ answered wisely and they marveled at Him. I find great truth in Matthew Henry’s comment regarding their response: “Many will praise the words of a sermon, but will not be commanded by its doctrines”. Jesus exposed their wrong motives and their self-interest. When we find ourselves bartering or arguing with God, if we search our hearts, read the Scriptures, and seek the heart of God our wrong motives and unyielding spirit are exposed as well.

Christ essentially reminded them (and us) that there are two Kingdoms. The kingdom of this world and the Kingdom of God. We have some rendering to this world, and this, in part, is paying our taxes.

Jesus told the leaders to pay taxes to the emperor whose image was on the coin. Likewise, we who bear the image of God in our lives, are to give full allegiance to Him whose likeness we bear. Are we giving that which rightfully belongs to Him?

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer:Father, the conflict remains between our loyalty to You and our duties to the world. We are to be in this world, but not of the world. On the eve of Jesus’ crucifixion He asked You to sanctify the disciples by praying, I have given them Your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world…..And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.” Like the Jews we too struggle paying our taxes to our government knowing that so much is used irresponsibly and at times immorally in opposition to principles taught in Scripture. But we are also called to obey our authorities. We also recognize the benefits we enjoy collectively and individually through the collection of our taxes so we ask for grace as we deal with this matter every year. Keep us honest and fair so that we maintain our integrity, for that matters to You. Just as the Jews were told to pay taxes to the emperor whose coin bore His image, may we likewise give proper honor and devotion to You whose image we bear in our hearts. Amen.



Central Market stand, Lancaster, PA
The Central Market is located right in the heart of Lancaster City and is made up of small stands, many operated by the Amish, such as Stoltzfus Home Style Bakery.

Whiteboard witness at JK Mechanical
Mike has an interesting means of sharing his faith using his old-school twitter feed.

Flowers growing on old tree stump 4/14/14
Yesterday we purchased some flowers from our Amish neighbors. I thought these flowers growing on the stump were interesting. They were actually planted in the rotting material on the stump by one of the children. Imagine their mother’s surprise when the flowers actually grew! Perhaps, in part, because of the wet spring we’ve had.


Yesterday’s mystery photo displayed at the top of our post was taken from inside the Pennsylvania State Capitol looking up at the rotunda! We had several correct answers including a man who works for the state in Harrisburg. However most guesses were the inside of a church, including Saint Peters in Rome. Of course, there are many historic churches who were designed in similar fashion, and their beauty is a sight to behold.



Today’s Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources


“I Surrender All”  Video

Major Events of the Passion Week


An astounding 30 of the 89 accumulative chapters in the four gospels cover the period beginning with Christ’s triumphal entry through His resurrection and post-resurrection appearances. Mathematically this means that approximately 33% of the written material in the Gospels deals with a mere .05% period of His life! In the providence of God we have a much greater proportion of Scriptural revelation dealing with God’s greatest act of mercy in providing our redemption.

Here’s an interesting chart from a Study Bible that may be helpful as you study the Bible this week. It sure helps me to have a sense of when the events took place and is inspiring to read these Scriptures in the daily sequence leading up to Easter.

Sunday

  • Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem: Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-10; Luke 19:29-40; John 12:12-19

Monday 

  • Jesus Clears the Temple: Mt. 21:12,13; Mk. 11:15-17; Lk. 19:45,46

Tuesday/Wednesday

  • Jesus’ authority challenged in the temple: Mt. 21:23-27; Mk. 11:27-33; Lk. 20:1-8
  • Jesus teaches stories and confronts the Jewish leaders: Mt. 21:28-23:36; Mk. 12:1-40; Lk. 20:9-47   
  • Greeks ask to see Jesus: Jn. 12:20-26
  • The Olivet Discourse: Mt. 24; Mk. 13; Lk. 21:5-38
  • Judas agrees to betray Jesus: Mt. 26:14-16; Mk. 14:10,11; Lk. 22:3-6

Thursday

  • The Last Supper:  Mt. 26:26-29; Mk. 14:22-25; Lk. 22:14-20
  • Jesus speaks to the disciples in the upper room:  Jn 13-17
  • Jesus struggles in Garden of Gethsemane: Mt. 26:36-46; Mk. 14:32-42; Lk. 22:39-46; Jn. 18:1
  • Jesus is betrayed and arrested: Mt. 26:47-56; Mk. 14:43-52; Lk. 22:47-53; Jn. 18:2-12

Friday

  • Jesus is tried by Jewish and Roman authorities and disowned by Peter: Mt 26:57-27:2, 11-31; Mk 14:53-15:20; Lk 22:54-23:25; Jn 18:13-19:16
  • Jesus is crucified and buried: Mt 27:31-56; Mk 15:20-41; Lk 23:26-49; Jn 19:17-30

Sunday

  • The glorious resurrection: Mt. 28:1-10; Mk 16:1-11; Lk 24:1-12; Jn 20:1-18
(This material is developed from an outline in the Life Application Bible)
Contact Us
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.)


Make A DonationAre our daily encouragement messages a blessing to you? We ask you to consider making a donation to Daily Encouragement Net so that we can continue to prepare and provide this daily resource which is accessed by believers and seekers all over the world. Daily Encouragement Net relies solely on the generosity and financial support of its readers and podcast listeners. See here for more information on supporting this ministry. Gifts are tax deductible.

Mystery photo

Reader’s Digest has an interesting feature called “See the world…differently” in which  a photo is featured in a context you do not expect such as a closeup and then an easily recognizable photo. I took today’s photo and wonder how many may recognize what it is?
If any readers want to venture a guess as to what this is respond here. I will identify the photo tomorrow.

Peter’s Song, Our Song
“He Looked Beyond My Fault And Saw My Need”


ListenListen to us read this message on your audio player. For any who may care to listen to the song that in part prompted today’s message here’s a video.

“And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how He had said to him, ‘Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.’ And he went out and wept bitterly” (Luke 22:60-62).

Amazing grace shall always be my song of praise,
for it was grace that bought my liberty;
I do not know just why He came to love me so,
He looked beyond my fault and saw my need.

Palm Sunday Yesterday we observed Palm Sunday, when Christians remember the Triumphal Entry of our Lord who rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. It also marks the beginning of Holy or Passion Week on the Church calendar. Intense redemptive activity takes place this holy week and the four gospels give a lot of information about this period.*

As a pastor there’s a lot of preaching material to choose from that is taken from the events that happened this week. On Palm Sunday I typically preached on the Triumphal Entry itself or the Cross since the following Sunday is Resurrection Day and all Bible-faithful preachers have a topic for that day!

Yesterday our pastor preached on a matter we especially contemplate during Passion Week; Peter’s denial of Christ. The denial is found in all four of the gospels and due to the details known only to Peter; it would have been his story. Our pastor felt it is was a story he often told.

Jesus had
actually prophesied that Peter would fail. Earlier that evening Jesus spoke directly to him using the interesting double repeat of his name, a feature known as “Epizeuxis” which is found elsewhere in Scripture.*

“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” Peter said to Him, “Lord, I am ready to go with You both to prison and to death.” Jesus said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow this day, until you deny three times that you know Me” (Luke 22:31-34). This prophecy is also found in Matthew 26:30-35, Mark 14:26-31, John 13:36-38. Notice especially Peter’s bold confidence, “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.”

The record of Peter’s denial is found in Matthew 26:69-75, Mark 14:66-72:, Luke 2:54-62, John 18:15-18. The account is rich with detail complimented by the accumulative observations in each gospel account. Pastor did a great job yesterday of drawing from these details, which is a mark of solid expository preaching.

Jesus looks at PeterLet’s look at one detail from the account in our message today. Immediately following the rooster crow (audio) we read a detail that only Luke provides, “And the Lord turned and looked at Peter.” This is a short phrase but rich in contemplative thought. Now since the recollection of the experience had to come from Peter he also apparently looked at Jesus. What silent message was conveyed in that brief moment of eye contact?

What went through Peter’s mind? Regret, sorrow, shame, embarrassment, a plea for help, etc.

What was our Lord thinking during this brief glance? I have a harder time speculating on what the Lord was thinking but consider His great love for Peter and the entire human race.

When pastor dealt with this part I leaned over and whispered to Brooksyne the line from today’s opening song that could have been Peter’s song, as he later reflected upon that look from his Lord, “He looked beyond my fault and saw my need.”

We know the rest of the story. After the denials Peter immediately “went out and wept bitterly”. But he didn’t stay down. He was active on Resurrection Day and through the 40 day post resurrection period where he had an interesting restoration recorded in John’s gospel. He went on to be a leader in the early church and wrote two letters recorded in our Bible.

We who have placed our trust in Christ also have a story. No matter our background or the depth of our sin, we all cry out, “He looked beyond my fault and saw my need.”

I shall forever lift mine eyes to Calvary,
To view the cross where Jesus died for me,
How marvelous the grace that caught my falling soul;
He looked beyond my fault and saw my need.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer:Father, because of Your marvelous grace You commissioned Your Son, Jesus, to die for an ungrateful, unreceptive and hostile people, and that includes me.  It’s easy to be critical of Peter who so boldly asserted that he would never deny Christ, but did so within hours and at such a critical moment. Yet Peter’s actions help us to view the tender grace You poured out on him at his lowest moment. His bitterness dissolved into brokenness. You are close to the brokenhearted, and deliver those whose spirit has been crushed. It is so instructive and encouraging to know that weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning. Peter, a fearful failure who grew into a faithful follower, eventually gave his life for the cause of Christ. May we too have such a resolve to follow you even if it means we may lay down our life for You. Thank You for Your amazing grace that looks beyond our faults and sees our need. Amen.



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

During Holy Week Jesus also addresses the name of a place twice: “Jerusalem, Jerusalem” Matthew 23:37 and He addresses His Father twice:  “My God, My God”  Matthew 27:46



Mount Pleasant praise team 4/13/14 (Palm Sunday)
Yesterday Brooksyne led our congregation in worship.
What a blessing to hear the congregation sing out on Palm Sunday!

Bill Longenecker 4/13/14In our Sunday School class Bill Longenecker shared about being a friendly church and making the church experience pleasant for guests. He is a retired pastor and now visits various churches sharing tips on being welcoming and friendly.

Bill was our neighbor on Risser Mill Road when we first moved to Lancaster County in 2001. He has a beautiful farm that has been in the family for generations. We have periodically shared photos from his farm over the years since he has a covered bridge over a pond and other interesting features.

We have moved about quite a bit in the course of life; from the areas we grew up, to college years, to northern Pennsylvania to New England and back to Pennsylvania. We regularly meet people who have lived their entire lies in one area.

Bill has an interesting distinction. He is 86 years old and told us he still sleeps in the same room he was born in having lived his entire life in the Longenecker farmhouse.

First spring planting 4/12/14
We had a beautiful day Saturday and Brooksyne began our spring flower plantings. I was working from my desk and observed her smile in doing something she so enjoys. She will be surprised to see this photo today. (Editor’s Note:  Yes, I was surprised!)

Pansies on wall 4/13/14
Pansies freshly planted in planters along our brick wall



Today’s Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources


“He Looked Beyond My Fault”  Video  David Phelps

“He Gave His Life”  Video  Vocal Union (acappella)

“Crown Him With Many Crowns”  Video  We sang this majestic hymn in our worship service yesterday.  As the instrumentation backed off and I heard the harmonic voices of God’s people singing out these thoughtful lyrics a powerful spirit of worship rose up in my heart.

“I Will Glory in the Cross”  Video  Michael Harris

“See the world…differently” Here’s a collection of photos from the Reader’s Digest.


Major Events of the Passion Week


An astounding 30 of the 89 accumulative chapters in the four gospels cover the period beginning with Christ’s triumphal entry through His resurrection and post-resurrection appearances. Mathematically this means that approximately 33% of the written material in the Gospels deals with a mere .05% period of His life! In the providence of God we have a much greater proportion of Scriptural revelation dealing with God’s greatest act of mercy in providing our redemption.

Here’s an interesting chart from a Study Bible that may be helpful as you read the Bible this week. It sure helps me to have a sense of when the events took place and is inspiring to read these Scriptures in the daily sequence leading up to Easter.

Sunday

  • Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem: Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-10; Luke 19:29-40; John 12:12-19

Monday 

  • Jesus Clears the Temple: Mt. 21:12,13; Mk. 11:15-17; Lk. 19:45,46

Tuesday/Wednesday

  • Jesus’ authority challenged in the temple: Mt. 21:23-27; Mk. 11:27-33; Lk. 20:1-8
  • Jesus teaches stories and confronts the Jewish leaders: Mt. 21:28-23:36; Mk. 12:1-40; Lk. 20:9-47   
  • Greeks ask to see Jesus: Jn. 12:20-26
  • The Olivet Discourse: Mt. 24; Mk. 13; Lk. 21:5-38
  • Judas agrees to betray Jesus: Mt. 26:14-16; Mk. 14:10,11; Lk. 22:3-6

Thursday

  • The Last Supper:  Mt. 26:26-29; Mk. 14:22-25; Lk. 22:14-20
  • Jesus speaks to the disciples in the upper room:  Jn 13-17
  • Jesus struggles in Garden of Gethsemane: Mt. 26:36-46; Mk. 14:32-42; Lk. 22:39-46; Jn. 18:1
  • Jesus is betrayed and arrested: Mt. 26:47-56; Mk. 14:43-52; Lk. 22:47-53; Jn. 18:2-12

Friday

  • Jesus is tried by Jewish and Roman authorities and disowned by Peter: Mt 26:57-27:2, 11-31; Mk 14:53-15:20; Lk 22:54-23:25; Jn 18:13-19:16
  • Jesus is crucified and buried: Mt 27:31-56; Mk 15:20-41; Lk 23:26-49; Jn 19:17-30

Sunday

  • The glorious resurrection: Mt. 28:1-10; Mk 16:1-11; Lk 24:1-12; Jn 20:1-18
(This material is developed from an outline in the Life Application Bible)
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