“Stay Faithful!”

October 24, 2014

Isaiah 40:28 with rural sunset (Photo by Doug Maxwell)
Kraybill Church Road Sunset
Photo by our friend and neighbor Doug Maxwell
(Click on photo to enlarge)

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“Stay Faithful!”

“When he (Barnabas) came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose” (Acts 11:23). “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth” (3 John 1:4).

Over thirty years ago Tom and Marsha, a young couple with two children at the time, came into a coffeehouse type ministry we had at our church in northern Pennsylvania and made a serious commitment to serve the Lord.  They experienced the marvelous transforming power of God and went on to become a part of our church and are very active in ministry as they faithfully serve the Lord to this day.

Jeanette Paradis All three of their daughters are married and serving the Lord as well. They have been blessed with grandchildren in recent years.

Last week I received a brief note from Jeanette, their oldest daughter who is married and has several children. She thanked us for a specific message that had touched her heart. I replied and commended her for serving in women’s ministries in her church.

She replied with a brief note assuring me that “We are staying faithful!”

For many years I have often ended a conversation with a fellow follower of Christ with the brief exhortation, “Stay Faithful”. It’s more than just a tag line I exchange in parting; it’s meant to spur my friend on in faithful service toward God. Today let us examine Barnabas, a Bible character that I aspire to be like, who in our first daily text also essentially stated, “Stay Faithful”.

His given name was Joseph but he received a nickname from the apostles and that name stuck. Very few, even diligent Bible students, would likely even recall his given name. Barnabas means “Son of Encouragement” and he is indeed one of the great encouragers of Scripture.

Due to persecution the message of Christ was spreading way beyond Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria by Acts 11. A group of disciples had reached Antioch (see here for map) telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. “The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord” (Acts 11:21).

When news of this reached church headquarters in Jerusalem they promptly dispatched Barnabas to the scene. The Scripture describes him as “a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith” (Acts 11:24). The daily verse succinctly describes what Barnabas encountered in Antioch, along with his response.  It is a good lesson for encouragers of any generation. “When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose” (Acts 11:23).

Let’s examine this verse phrase by phrase:

1) “When he (Barnabas) came and saw the grace of God.” Scripture doesn’t specify just what Barnabas saw. The NIV words it, “evidence of the grace of God”. That’s wonderful isn’t it?  We hope you have seen evidence of the grace of God in fellow believers. We also hope that we abundantly display that evidence in our lives!
2) “He was glad” – What makes you glad today? Ask yourself, does it have eternal worth?
3) He exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose.” That’s how Luke concisely describes Barnabas’ ministry and as an encourager that’s how we will conclude today’s challenge.

When he wrote the second daily text “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth”, the aged Apostle John was likely referring to his spiritual children; those whom he had impacted for Christ over many years of ministry. We have often used this “feel good” passage when I consider the growing blessedness of our impact on others over the long-term (one of the few blessings I can say that comes with aging). It’s a great joy to hear from someone like Jeanette whom Brooksyne and I first met as a toddler many years ago and to hear of her steadfast faithfulness to the truth.

Today Brooksyne and I encourage each of our Daily Encouragement readers to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose! Declare today, “I am staying faithful!”

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, there is gladness in our hearts when we express our praise to You. We don’t want a complaining heart that dwells on that which one does not have, but we desire a thankful heart that appreciates all that has been given to us. We have continuous evidence of Your grace in every area of our life including that of our fellow brothers and sisters who have forsaken the world and surrendered their all to You. May we be eager to reveal Your grace to others as You continue the lifelong work of replacing our old nature by transforming it into the likeness of Your Son, Jesus Christ. May we be found faithful with steadfast purpose all the days of our life. Amen


Display at Shady Maple 10/21/14
Display at Shady Maple 10/21/14

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Keep Me True”  Video  Jabu Hlongwane  (South African Gospel music)

“Find Us Faithful”  Video  Steve Green with the Gaither homecoming singers

“Little Is Much When God Is in It”  Video  Wes Hampton with the Gaither homecoming singers


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.

Atlantic sunrise (Photo by Doug Maxwell) Click to enlargeAtlantic sunrise
Photo by our friend Doug Maxwell
(Click on photo to enlarge)

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“Turning The World Right-side Up”

“So, being sent on their way by the church, they passed through both Phoenicia and Samaria, describing in detail the conversion of the Gentiles, and brought great joy to all the brothers” (Acts 15:3). “And when they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city authorities, shouting, ‘These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also, and Jason has received them, and they are all acting against the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus'” (Acts 17:6,7).

Each day there is breaking news reports, of course. Today the big topic are the terrorist acts in Ottawa Canada, which is about 500 miles due north of us. The terrorist is a recent convert to Islam and these kinds of conversions give the word a bad name. Some of the most repressive countries in the world have anti-conversion laws, which essentially keep people in darkness.

Genuine conversion to Christ however results in a wonderful transformation. In fact it turns our personal world upside down to that of right-side up! Our first daily text describes the great joy that results from turning away from sin and being converted to Christ.

Upside down globe

Many years ago the church we served in New England gave me a globe on a stand as a Pastor Appreciation gift. I have long wondered about something and have yet to find the answer. Globes and maps depict the northern hemisphere as “up” and the southern hemisphere as “down,” and of course that is the orientation we consider right-side up. But is there an objective reason this is so? I wonder from the perspective of outer space if there is an “up and down”?

I do know, because of our customary view, that it looks strange to see a globe upside down which brings to mind the second daily Scripture text.

This Scripture portion is set in Paul’s second missionary journey. Paul’s ministry in Thessalonica was received by some but opposed by most. One receptive Thessalonian named Jason had welcomed Paul and Silas into his home. He now paid a big price for that hospitality. He, along with some other brothers, was dragged before the city officials.

The charge they faced is so interesting. “These men (Paul and Silas) who have turned the world upside down.” From the perspective of this angry, unreceptive mob Paul and Silas and their followers were troublemakers, turning their world upside down. What a rebel rousing reputation they had, causing trouble all over the world!

Their accusers sum up the essence of the dangerous message in one phrase, “they are all acting against the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus”.

The “decrees of Caesar” are unspecified in this text but I believe they represent this worldly system.

Acting against (some versions say “defying”) the decrees of Caesar to the extent they are in opposition to God’s decrees, and saying that there is another king, one called Jesus remains the message of the true church, a message the world hates to hear but it’s also a message we must steadfastly proclaim.

That seems to be the pattern regarding receptivity to God’s truth all around the world and throughout the centuries. It certainly was true of Jesus’ ministry when He walked among a fallen people. And it is true today wherever God’s truth is being proclaimed. Certainly it’s becoming more and more true right here in America where we have been accustomed to religious freedom throughout my life.

Here in America there is such an increase in opposition to those who boldly proclaim Jesus and the teachings of the Scripture. In doing so the decrees of “Caesar” may very well be defied. For in many ways taking a stand for Christ defies the decrees of the modern Caesar. This is especially true concerning a number of “hot button” issues such as our origins, sexuality and abortion.

We’ve often heard the phrase, “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” The main thing is a consistent demonstration by word and deed, both individually and corporately, of the reality of another king, one called Jesus and another kingdom not of this world, God’s Kingdom.

Today let us who love the Lord faithfully proclaim this timeless message. If we are viewed as troublemakers and dangerous so be it! In reality we seeking to turn a world upside down due to sin right-side up. We serve a risen King whose kingdom is not of this world. We live, not just for a lifetime on earth, but for all eternity in heaven.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Jesus, we proclaim You to be the King of Kings and Lord of lords. Help us to boldly declare this glorious message, not only in a setting where we find receptive listeners, but also to a hostile world that is building its perishable kingdom here on earth. May we be full of conviction and infused with Your power as we courageously tell others “There is another King, one called Jesus.”  You’ve called us to be light in a world full of darkness. You’ve also enjoined us to be peacemakers. Sometimes when we take a stand for righteousness it does not bring peaceful resolution, but instead further conflict arises. Then we go through a surge of emotions and doubts begin to arise regarding our stand. Would You help us to be diligent in our study, prayerful about our stand, and immersed in Your Holy Word. May we not stand in our own strength or be led by aimless ambition. Lord, as we take a position against the evil tide of our land help us to be unapologetic in our stand, consistent in our Christian walk, and loving in our approach. May we, by example and word, say to the fallen world that we serve not the god of this age, but we serve a King who is ageless and eternal. In Your strength alone we stand. Amen.


Lancaster County, PA scene 10/21/14
On Tuesday we saw a simple sign on the left pole that caught our attention.
The homemade sign has a simple yet profoundly true message
AMERICA
OUR ONLY
HOPE IS
JESUS
(Click on photo to enlarge)
In the course of taking the photo we noticed the interesting steel wheeled John Deere towing the buggy!

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Jesus Is Still The Answer”  Video  Collingsworth Family

“Jesus, Only Jesus”  Video   Charles Billingsley, Guy Penrod, Michael O’Brien and Travis Cottrell

Answer to yesterday’s trivia question was John 6:66


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.

“No Compromise”

October 22, 2014

Amish scene with Psalm 16:11

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“No Compromise”

“That all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God; there is no other. Let your heart therefore be wholly true to the Lord our God, walking in His statutes and keeping His commandments” (1 Kings 8:60,61). “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up” (Daniel 3:16-18).

Make my life a prayer to You
I wanna do what you want me to
No empty words, and no white lies
No token prayers, no compromise
No compromise album cover

Younger readers may not recall the days of album art since the media for music has shrunk, with much smaller room for artwork on cassettes and CD’s. Now with downloaded music I suppose it’s pretty much a thing of the past.

But the big LP albums in the past had room for quite a statement! The photo to the left is from one of our all-time favorite album covers; Keith Green’s “No Compromise” album from the late 70’s. (Click on photo to enlarge.)

The photo depicts a scene where the people are required to bow before the passing king. But one brave soul, true to his convictions, remains standing in uncompromising, obedient defiance. A soldier on a horse is pointing him out. We are left wondering what consequence he faced for doing the right thing in the eyes of the One True King (Exodus 20:3-6).

BevI am not sure I’ve ever paid much attention to today’s first daily text although I am sure I have read it. For my 60th birthday last week, Bev, a thoughtful and very analytical friend, prepared a list of all the verse 60’s in the Bible! It was quite a labor as she went through the entire Bible one chapter at a time to discover all the chapters that had a verse 60!

As I read over her list today’s first text jumped out. It is from the Benediction in Solomon’s prayer of dedication of the temple. It’s also a powerful call to God’s people in any age. Especially grabbing my attention is the very politically incorrect phrase, “the Lord is God; there is no other.”

Solomon was calling the people to whole-hearted devotion to God without compromise. “Let your heart therefore be wholly true to the Lord our God, walking in His statutes and keeping His commandments.” Isn’t that a great word for the aspiring faithful in any age!

Today let’s consider Bible characters who stood faithful and wholly true when called to compromise such as the three Hebrews in our second Scripture selection They were required to fall down and worship a golden image King Nebuchadnezzer had set up but they refused to do so.

Brooksyne taught this lesson in her Sunday School class this last Sunday and one word that caught my attention, “But if you do not worship, you shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace” (Daniel 3:15). The Hebrews boys’ decision to stand faithful was deeply settled before the time of testing came; they had no time to deliberate or justify their actions should they choose to obey. The consequence of their actions did not drive their thinking. The answer came quickly because they had been making the right choices all along. Decisions, big and small, become easier when your will to please God outweighs your will to please those in the world, including authority figures. When one bases his life on Biblical principle, most of his decisions are already made.

Fiery furnaceIn one of the grandest statements of faith in the entire Bible the Hebrew boys courageously responded to King Nebuchadnezzar who “graciously” gave them a second chance to obey his orders. When given the choice between bowing down to the image of gold or being thrown in a fiery furnace they told him, “Be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up” (Daniel 3:18).

Since this is a famous Bible story many readers are familiar with the miraculous outcome and their supernatural deliverance from the fiery furnace. But their decision to be faithful and obedient was not contingent upon the outcome as to whether or not they saw deliverance on this side. Whatever happened, they were not going to compromise.

Here’s the lesson for today:

There is an ancient and ongoing contest between two opposing worldviews; one that is raging to this day and will do so until the return of the Lord. In fact we expect it will get far more intense as God judges the world and the compromising church. Today let us make a firm resolve that we will not compromise and we will remain obedient to God regardless of the consequences.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, it was faithful Joshua who issued this challenge to the Israelites: “Choose this day whom you will serve.”He reminded them that their fathers, before crossing over the Red Sea, lived among those who worshiped heathen gods in Egypt just as they now lived among the Amorites who worshiped heathen gods.  This passage serves as an example to those of us currently experiencing the results of a pluralistic society where God our Creator is being viewed as just one of the gods we might be devoted to. But we hold steady to the words of Scripture, “that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God; there is no other.” Like the followers in Scripture, “We want our hearts therefore to be wholly true to the Lord our God, walking in His statutes and keeping His commandments.” If it requires that we lay down our life for You, may we do so willingly, knowing that full obedience to You on this side brings great reward in the eternal dwelling that follows. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.


Brooksyne’s Birthday

Brooksyne's birthday 10/21/14
We all went over to the Shady Maple yesterday morning for Brooksyne’s “free” birthday breakfast. (Free as long as she was accompanied by at least one paying customer!)

Brooksyne's birthday 10/21/14
Browsing through the Shady Maple gift shop we came upon a display of humorous bumper stickers; some more true than we like to admit. At this point I (Brooksyne) still remember my name but am forgetting others. I accidentally corresponded with a friend I’ve known for 40 years this morning and referred to her husband as Gary rather than Mike. When she alerted me to my mistake I couldn’t help but think of this bumper sticker I’d just picked up yesterday.


More New York trip photos

(This will be the final set of Stephen’s photos from upstate New York this last weekend)

Amish flower garden in New York 10/18/14
The farm sat up on a high hill with wonderful views of the Mohawk Valley and Adirondack Mountains in the distance. Unlike many of the resettled farms with dilapidated houses and barns the Amish are buying in this area and in this case they built a house and barn on what had been farm land.

Amish harvest 10/18/14
An assortment of melon and squash beside the huge vegetable garden, evidence of a bountiful harvest.

Fresh milk for coffee 10/18/14
As the young men cut firewood one of my chores was making coffee for them (they figured it was a chore an older man can handle).  I drink mine black but Jesse wanted some milk so he just opened the tap on the bulk tank!

Amish clothesline pulley 10/18/14
A close-up view of the large pulley used for the long clothesline which stretches from the house all the way to the barn. We have often shared photos of these long lines. This post is used as a convenient hat holder as well!

Amish boy with well pump 10/17/14
I enjoy old pumps and when I saw this pump I thought it would make a great picture with the water gushing out. So I tried taking it by myself but just couldn’t take the photo fast enough to get the gushing. Moses saw my predicament and offered to pump while I took a photo!

Barn ghost sign near Portlandville, NY 10/18/14
On the way home we passed this barn ghost sign near Portlandville, NY
Can you read it?


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“No Compromise” (AKA “Make My Life a Prayer to You”)  Video  Keith Green – He was an incredible song writer, just consider the phrase, “it’s so hard to see when my eyes are on me!

“I Am Persuaded”  Video  Travis Cottrell  An outstanding song based on Romans 8: 38-39.

“God And God Alone”  Video  Steve Green

According to Bev’s study there are 21 chapters in the Bible with a verse 60. Can you find them?

Here’s an interesting trivia question. What Bible book has a chapter and verse 6:66 and what does it say?


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.

“Blessed Assurance”

October 21, 2014

New York maple 10/18/14
The fall foliage was past peak in central New York this last weekend but we still managed to see some pretty trees such as this maple at the Amish home we visited. See below for an observation about the colorful chairs under the tree.

Note: Due to busyness and weariness a podcast message will not be prepared for this message. We have early morning chaplain visits and a special treat for Brooksyne.

“Blessed Assurance”

“Let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith” (Hebrews 10:22).

Today we have two birthdays in our house. Fifty-nine years ago Brooksyne made her arrival into this world as a newborn baby. She is named after her father Brooklyn with her Mom developing the hybrid “Brooksyne” which she has often assisted people in pronouncing by stating, “like the scene of a brook, turn it around and it’s Brookscene.”

Today I would like to share a photo of Brooksyne that is actually several years old although at least in my eyes she hasn’t aged much! She is standing beside the tombstone of Fanny Crosby in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Fanny Crosby wrote more than 3000 hymns and poems which are still sung and beloved by many. In fact I am sure virtually all of our readers have sung a hymn written by Fanny Crosby. Yet perhaps summing up her life are the words to “Blessed Assurance” which of all her hymns was chosen to be on her tombstone.

Blessed assurance can be a testimony we all share but today on Brooksyne’s birthday we especially consider:

  • The provisions of God in our past,
  • The presence of God in our present and
  • The promises of God in our future.

A reflection on these truths does indeed lead to blessed assurance!

Fanny Crosby tombstoneBrooksyne with Fanny Crosby tombstone in Bridgeport, Connecticut
“Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of the Spirit, washed in His blood.”

The message from this hymn text is one that is such a blessing to hide deep in our hearts; a musical expression of praise and glory to God for His work of salvation in our lives. Crosby writes about the assurance Christ gives us of His redemptive work in our lives here on earth and a foretaste of the glorious rejoicing that will take place through all eternity.

In today’s text from the book of Hebrews we read a wonderful phrase, “Full assurance of faith”. What a great blessing this assurance is. Assurance, not a commonly used word apart from theology, comes from the word assure which in turn comes from the word, sure. It speaks of the certainty of our salvation “with no doubt as to our acceptance when coming to God by the blood of Christ”. (Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary) Clarke’s commentary states, “Being fully persuaded that God will accept us for the sake of his Son, and that the sacrificial death of Christ gives us full authority to expect every blessing we need.”

There is surely a sound Biblical basis for Fanny Crosby’s song. It’s one of the greatest blessings of life to have a full assurance of faith.  May the Lord fill your heart with His blessed assurance today.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, as heirs of Your salvation, we have been purchased with the sacrificial blood of Your precious Son, Jesus. He gave His all that we might be saved from the eternal consequences of sin and have our names written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. We have the blessed assurance that we are redeemed from sin and saved for eternity in heaven. Thank You for such wondrous love and abundant provision on our behalf. Amen.


Fanny CrosbyFanny Crosby is surely one of the most prolific hymnwriters in the history of the church. I am sure most of our readers regardless of language, nationality or even musical taste have sung her hymns. In fact this past Sunday morning we sang “I am Thine O Lord”, one of her many well-known hymns. Other hymns you may recognize are “All the Way My Savior Leads Me”, “Close to Thee”, “To God be The Glory”, “Pass Me Not O Gentle Savior, and so many others still sung in many churches.

Fanny Crosby is buried at the Mountain Grove Cemetery along I-95 in Bridgeport, Connecticut. The cemetery was designed by the famous circus founder PT Barnum. In fact his monument is very near that of Fanny Crosby’s.

Fanny Crosby tombstoneOn a small, very weathered stone at the foot of the grave that we assume to be the original tombstone we read these words, “Aunt Fanny…..She hath done what she could.”  Although blinded shortly after her birth she faithfully served the Lord. She overcame her disability to leave a lasting impact for Christ.  She once shared this remarkable outlook, “It seemed intended by the blessed providence of God that I should be blind all my life, and I thank him for the dispensation. If perfect earthly sight were offered me tomorrow I would not accept it. I might not have sung hymns to the praise of God if I had been distracted by the beautiful and interesting things about me.”


A reader sends this thoughtful response to yesterday’s message: I know you enjoy history and your message about “Obedient Disobedience” reminded me of a little known Lancaster County event in the fall of 1850. The Fugitive Slave Law which required that all escaped slaves were, upon capture, to be returned to their masters and that officials and citizens of free states had to cooperate in this law had just been passed. A group of local men gathered in the tiny village of Georgetown to discuss what their response to this law would be. After much discussion they drew up a set of resolutions which stated, “That the highest principles of justice and humanity, as well as the fundamental principles of Christianity, require that we should not assist in the recapture and return of a fugitive from slavery; and that in a choice between our obligations to these principles and to any law in opposition to them, we cannot for a moment hesitate to say we will obey no such law…. and that we will harbor, clothe, feed, and aid the escape of fugitive slaves in opposition to the law.” And then they had the audacity to sign the document and submit it to the Lancaster newspaper to be published.


Nigel & Laifong Lee familyThe other birthday: It was on Brooksyne’s birthday in 1996 that I wrote the very first daily encouragement message and sent it to two people, Nigel and LaiFong who remain friends to this day. I was there pastor at the time and have received over 4,500 messages from me! The first message was only a couple of sentences and a fledgling attempt to encourage. At that time I had no plans to write more but did the next day, and then the next and I just haven’t stopped. For about the first 8 years I wrote them with little input from Brooksyne but in 2005 she took on a greater role and now we essentially write them together.

Here’s a brief timeline:

October 21, 1996 – First email sent and over time developed into a list (which initially merely a group list added to manually one by one.)
1999 – The http://www.dailyencouragement.net website developed
2002 – Moved to professional listserve (automated list manager for large email lists) Subscribes and unsubscribes are user initiated as well as maintenance
2002 – Began one minute radio spots extracted from Daily Encouragement messages
2004 – Resigned from full-time job with chaplain agency
2005 – Developed html email (formatted with photos), began podcasting daily messages, set up blogs/RSS feeds, Brooksyne “officially” joined in the message preparation.
2006 – Received official endorsement as an “internet chaplain” from chaplaincy endorsement agency (I already had endorsement for corporate chaplaincy and Civil Air Patrol chaplaincy.)
Since 2006 we have essentially just kept on keeping on and that’s been enough of a chore writing fresh messages daily!

Support: We are thankful for those who support our ministry with their financial offerings. Some give monthly, others periodically or one-time. Our prayer has been that offerings would be essentially 1/2 of our family income since we work together. If any reader would like to consider supporting our ministry financially information is here.

Brooksyne’s Note: As we share the history of this web ministry I am reminded of our Lord’s faithfulness and the diverse giftings He gives to those He has called. It is extremely humbling to us that God’s Spirit speaks to the hearts of men and women all around the world through our daily messages. When we got our first computer Stephen and I would never have imagined the medium of computer technology giving us “a voice” to reach people all over the world. It continues to be a very exciting means for us to share messages from God’s Word as they are lived out in our normal daily lives. Your prayers, feedback, and support spur us on and challenge us to remain faithful in this writing ministry. Join us in continually giving thanks for His abundant blessings that far outnumber the grievous burdens of each day.


More New York trip photos

Amish children playing 10/17/14
As soon as we got out of the van Friday afternoon, after the 300 mile ride, the children began playing. Here’s an unusual pony ride!

Amish children jumping on trampoline 10/18/14
These children had a great time jumping on the trampoline and would jump off to see it on the tiny iPhone screen. The small cabin I stayed in is in the background.

Amish boys on hike 10/18/14
The older boys headed out to play in the woods.

Amish campfire chairs 10/18/14
A family spot around the campfire. I like the colorful chairs someone dropped off.

Wood stove in New York cabin 10/18/14
The wood stove in the cabin kept me plenty warm.

Amish propane lantern in cabin 10/18/14
No electric in cabin but I had a lantern light!


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Blessed Assurance”  Video  Homecoming version (traditional)

“Blessed Assurance”  Video  Matthew West (a bit more contemporary)


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.

“Obedient Disobedience”

October 20, 2014

Drive along Otsego Lake, NY 10/18/14
Scenic drive beside Otsego Lake heading toward Cooperstown, NY.
(Click on photo to enlarge)

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

Note: This week we have several messages on our hearts about taking a courageous stand in a decadent age.

“Obedient Disobedience”

“Peter and the other apostles replied: ‘We must obey God rather than men!'” (Acts 5:29).

This last weekend I drove two young Amish families up to central New York to visit family. There were nine young children on board the van, including a 6 week old baby. The two families from Lancaster merged over the weekend with another sibling family who has seven children so when we had meals together there were 23 around the long table, with a few sitting in chairs off to the side. What a pleasant sight to look at ten children along one side of the table scrunched together but having a great time. It was loud, messy, crowded and delightful.

We often mention how we enjoy and in many ways admire the Amish culture. Jesse and Anna Ruth are our main contacts and they asked me to drive them up, renting a big old van for the trip. (Brooksyne and Ester just aren’t into the degree of rusticness involved in this trip and had other commitments on the home front!) We met Jesse and Anna Ruth early in 2003 right after they got married and became our neighbors. Now they have five children and one on the way.* Anna’s sister and family joined us to visit a 3rd sister in New York. The three brothers-in-law cut firewood and I helped out a bit as well!

Amish men cutting firewood in New York 10/18/14

Early on plain children, like most English (as the Amish call non-Amish), are taught to obey; primarily God, their parents and spiritual authority. To the extent that it doesn’t violate other sources they’re also taught to respect and obey civil authority. But they also teach their children when it is proper to disobey, which is a powerful lesson that all who follow Christ and remain true to the Bible must understand and practice.

This type of disobedience was evident in the Bible and has been evident in some countries for centuries, but in North America it is more recent and clearly increasing as our religious freedoms are under assault. The winds of change are here, but sadly, they’re blowing in the wrong direction. Some politicians refer to it as “being on the right side of history.” But God’s Word determines the right side from the wrong side of history, not opinion polls or the prevailing philosophies of “so-called experts”. The right side of history prevailed before Adam and Eve partook of the forbidden. Thank God for Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross that made provision for the wrong side of history ever since.

Scripture teaches us that we are to submit to and obey our governing rulers (Romans 13). This is essential for order in society. However this is not intended to be a mindless or unconditional submission. When there is a confict with God’s law we must make a choice. Now is the time to firmly establish our convictions since making the right decision may be required very quickly. (We will deal with this subject on Wednesday.)

Peter and the other disciples demonstrated “obedient disobedience” in our daily text. They were being instructed to violate a command of God and their resolved decision was, “We must obey God rather than men!” Now, even here in America, pastors and dedicated lay people are increasingly undergoing persecution for faithfully proclaiming God’s Word and practicing their faith that stands contrary to the secular political climate.

Today we urge you to first and foremost remain faithful to Christ and the Holy Scriptures. Submit to human authority, as this pleases God.  But submit first and foremost to Your highest authority, and when there is a clash, always place divine authority over human authority.

May we, like Peter and the apostles, with great conviction declare, “We must obey God rather than men.”   God will give us the sufficient grace to deal with any consequence of making such an important decision.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer:  Father, You have placed authority figures in our lives from birth to our final days on earth. Some bless us greatly while others challenge us fiercely. In areas where You have given us the privilege of being an authority figure may we be responsible role models, for we know it is not just the talk that people hear, but the walk that people see.  As we are called to submit to our family, spiritual leaders, employer, and governmental leaders may we do so with cheerfulness so that we are a blessing rather than a grievous burden. But when those to whom we submit conflict with our supreme authority we pray for conviction and courage to stand for righteousness in obedience to Your commands, for we must obey God rather than men.  We pray for the fortitude to carry this out in the name of Jesus, our Lord and Savior. Amen.


* Big families: Moses is Anna Ruth’s father. He and his late wife had seven children; six girls and a boy. Thirteen years ago his first grand-child was born. How many grandchildren do you suppose he has now? (Answer below)

Over the next several days I will post photos from the trip to New York this last weekend. As mentioned the primary purpose of the trip was to assist in cutting firewood for the winter. We admire the Amish sense of family and community. My main role was driving but I had a good time as well and worked a bit but nothing like the young Amish men.

Work:

Cutting firewood in New York 10/18/14
We had three chainsaws buzzing and managed to cut a large pile of logs and branches.

Moving firewood in New York 10/18/14
Helping move the cut firewood over to the house was a chore out of the ordinary for me. We didn’t split the wood but John will do that later.

Play:

Trail horseride with Amish boys in New York 10/18/14
I joined the boys on a trail ride, snapping this photo atop my very old and very slow horse who really didn’t seem to want to go for a ride!
Trail horseride with Amish boys in New York 10/18/14
It was overcast so this photo is dark.
Note: The Amish children and adults had a lot of fun taking pictures of me.

Target practice in New York 10/18/14
Some target practice out behind the barn.

Meanwhile back on the Homefront:

Ladies Breakfast for Faithe 10/18/14
On Saturday morning I hosted 20 ladies from our church. They enjoyed a country breakfast, a hymn sing, and sharing Scriptures. It’s Pastor Appreciation month so we surprised our pastor’s wife, Faithe, with words of appreciation, a sunshine basket of gifts (only 1 a day to be unwrapped) and loving, supportive prayers as she continues to recover from major medical surgery as a result of her recent cancer diagnosis.

Pleasant View service 10/18/14
Last evening our church hosted an evening at Pleasant View Retirement Home. We had a hymn sing along with the Pleasant Passage Quintet singing the old favorites and an ensemble singing a medley of songs including “Follow Me” which I was introducing in this photo.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“To Obey Is Better Than Sacrifice”  Video  Keith Green

Moses now has 32 grandchildren and counting!


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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.

Vermont scene Photo by Jim Hain
Scenic rural view in Vermont
Photo taken by our friend Jim Hain

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“Honoring Our Father and Mother”

“That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24 – Creation mandate). “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you” (Exodus 20:12 – Fifth of the Ten Commandments). “For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’” (Matthew 15:3 – Jesus Christ). “Honor your father and mother”–which is the first commandment with a promise–that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth” (Ephesians 6:2,3 – Apostle Paul).

This week I had a painful conversation with a friend seeking to do the right thing. His parents are elderly and in great need and he is the only family member providing support. Yet he shared with me how he had a very abusive childhood and is quite torn emotionally. He wants to just walk away but in his spirit he is also compelled to do the right thing in spite of the painful memories. I listened and sought to encourage him based upon the principles of Scripture and the foundational, unconditional command to honor our father and mother.

Mom and Dad weeding photo, October 17, 1944But I really couldn’t identify with him at all. Today my father and mother, who are both with the Lord, would be celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary! To the right is their wedding photo from October 17, 1944.

They were great parents! They loved me unreservedly and I never once felt unloved or neglected. Part of that love included discipline, a sure sign of parental love. My love and appreciation for them has grown through the years and actually continues to do so since their departure. In fact I often think of things they did for me and wonder – “Did I ever thank them for that?” (I probably didn’t.)

It’s not Mother’s or Father’s Day but it’s always time to honor our father and mother. One of the dominant sins of our time is the failure to honor our parents.

So many of the elderly sit in nursing homes who have not heard from their busy children or other loved ones in weeks, months, even years. Of course many are estranged from their children.

I recall a TV program we watched several years ago on “Elder Abuse”. It described grown children who grossly neglected and abused their elderly, dependent parents. It was hard to stomach. The show indicated that it’s a growing problem and I believe it will likely worsen as we continue to reap the results of violating God’s holy law in this regard. After all how does a generation neglecting their parents expect to be treated when they are elderly by their own children? In fact that is one of the points I made to the friend I mentioned in the first paragraph. I told him, “It’s not just between you and your parents but others are observing, including your children.”

A fundamental law in the transmission of truth and order from one generation to another is the honor shown to the older from the younger and the blessing given to the younger from the older. So very often this is not the case. Parents who had no time for their children will increasingly find that their grown children have no time for them.

Do you need to call on your parents today? Are you able to visit them? Tell them you love them and appreciate all they’ve done for you! “Honor your father and mother — which is the first commandment with a promise — that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manFather, we honor our parents today, whether they’re living or deceased. You gave them to us so they could love, provide, nurture and guide us into maturity and independence. Help us to return our love to them as we thoughtfully and patiently respond to their changing needs. May they be able to depend on us even as we have depended on them throughout the years. When present circumstances make this responsibility extremely difficult give us the needed wisdom and creative means to still carry out the command to honor our father and mother.  In the name of Your Son, Jesus, we pray.  Amen.


The moral slide into abject decadence continues: I read that the US passport application will now be “gender neutral”, a term I only recently came across. Rather than Father and Mother on the application it will now ask for Parent One and Parent Two! A group with the same objective has materials for schools recommending not calling children boys and girls. Sadly, but really not unsurprisingly some school districts are distributing these materials. We are facing what I believe is a coming implosion of lunacy as standards of morality and decency based on the teaching of God’s Word, tradition, basic biology and common sense are reviled and cast aside. “So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27).


Early this morning I (Stephen) will take two young Amish families with about ten kids between them to upstate New York to visit relatives. It’s a trip I have made several times and always have a good and interesting time. They rent a large van but of course do not have a driver’s license so they use non-Amish drivers. Tonight I will be staying in a very rustic mountain cabin they built for guests. I really never know what to expect but that’s part of the fun.


Amish buggy 10/16/14
We enjoy when the back of the buggies are open and the children look back as your vehicle approaches them. We came upon this buggy yesterday on Rockvale Road. The little bot played some peek-a-boo with us.

Sam Smucker 10/16/14
We visited for a few minutes with Sam S. Smucker who started a home improvement company in 1960. The company is now managed by his sons and grandson but Sam, now in his mid-eighties, still keeps busy around the place mowing the lawn, picking up trash, etc. He’s happiest working!

Michael at Vallorbs 10/16/14
Michael is a Haitian immigrant in the states now for four years who already speaks very good English. He works at Vallorbs, a company we serve as chaplains, and I enjoy visiting with him.

Doc and Anna Mary Paglia 10/16/14
I visited with Doc and Anna Mary Paglia at a store after we finished our chaplain visits yesterday. Doc is 87 but remains active in ministry, speaking regularly in local churches all throughout our area and as a chaplain at Keystone Wood Specialties. Their son Doug, who is also a pastor, shares the same birthday as me; month, day and year.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Father”  Video  Jadon Lavick

“A Tribute to Mom – One Heartbeat At A Time”  Video  Steven Curtis Chapman

“Father’s Love”  Video  Bob Carlisle

“Everything to Me”  Video  Mark Schultz – dedicated to his birth mother and the most important gift she ever gave him… life.

“Man of His Word”  Video  Bob Carlisle  As I listened to this song this couple was also married in 1944!

“When You Come Home”  Video  Billy Gilman

“The One You Need”  Video  Shane & Shane

“Follow Me”  Video  Larry Ford  A powerful song of commitment.


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.

Vermont countryside (Photo by Jim Hain)
Scenic view in Vermont
Photo taken by our friend Jim Hain

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“Treasuring God’s Word”

“Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You” (Psalm 119:11).

Sherry Hoffman's BibleIn the course of our ministry at Longwood Manor we enjoy visiting with 90+ year old Warren who gets around using a walker with a tray mounted in front to carry his items, among which are Christian literature and his Bible. Then I picture my visits with Quintin, now retired, who was the president of a large corporation based here in Lancaster County. He had a Bible prominently placed on his desk as an expression of his faith. I can also envision a young man who carries a New Testament in his front shirt pocket in the same place many carry a pack of cigarettes.

This last weekend we had a visit from Sherry Hoffman, who served for several years as the secretary in a church I pastored in northern Pennsylvania. We gave her the parting gift of a Bible before we left in 1993 which she still has. She has a practice of saving notes, devotional booklets and other supplementary scriptural writings in her Bible and it is now 4 or 5 times thicker than the original. I am amazed that the binding holds up! Sherry certainly treasures her Bible!

Holy Bible, Book divine,
Precious treasure, thou art mine;
Mine to tell me whence I came;
Mine to teach me what I am.

Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible and is focused on the value and power of God’s Word. In fact each of the 176 verses has some reference to the Word using various synonyms such as commands, precepts, laws, decrees, promises, and so forth.

Psalm 119:11

Today let us examine just the first phrase in Psalm 119:11. “Your Word I have treasured in my heart.”  The spiritual discipline of treasuring God’s Word is an element greatly lacking among so many today. The Word is the sacred Scriptures and although we use our minds to read and absorb, we need to treasure it deep within our hearts. When we face temptation or discouragement; when we experience loss or need direction; when we want Biblical role models we can call to mind pertinent Scriptures, many which we have stored up in our hearts.

Old hands on old Bible1) Treasuring God’s Word begins with regular reading of the sacred text. Of preeminent importance is the text itself. This is a lifelong practice, for God’s Word is an inexhaustible treasure of spiritual wisdom. Paul indicated this when he wrote to Timothy, “How from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures” (2 Timothy 3:15). In the very next chapter in his final written words Paul asks Timothy “to bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, and my scrolls, especially the parchments” (2 Timothy 4:13). D. Edmond Hiebert writes, “Even as an old man facing certain death, the apostle has not lost his interest for study and mental pursuits. It presents a standing challenge to the minister to be an indefatigable student, especially of the Word of God.”

Mine to chide me when I rove;
Mine to show a Savior’s love;
Mine thou art to guide and guard;
Mine to punish or reward.

2) Treasuring God’s Word surely includes the study of the sacred text. There are many wonderful supplemental resources that are helpful and a blessing as we study the Bible such as devotional booklets, study guides, notes in study Bibles and so forth. The serious Bible student must be very careful to use these tools only as a supplement, never a replacement. Each morning as Brooksyne and I pray over these daily encouragement messages we pray that the various components would be a blessing; our stories, exposition, photos, personal reflections and music links. But we realize the most important element is the Scripture text itself. Above all else read the Scripture.

I also caution you about glossing over the familiar ones! Reviewing that which is familiar can bring fresh insight or reinforce that which you already know to be true. It may even stir up praise as You’ve seen how God has implemented its teaching into your life. Peter writes, “So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have.  I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body… And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things” (I Peter 1:12-15).

Studying Bible3) Treasuring God’s Word includes meditating on it after the example of David, who wrote in Psalm 1 concerning the blessed man, “But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.”  In my understanding meditation is taking a single verse or small portion of Scripture and thoughtfully pondering and considering it, turning it around over and over in the mind. Jim Gambini, my former pastor, used the phrase “masticating”, which is the technical term meaning “to chew” much like dairy cows and other ruminating animals chew their cud.  Contented dairy cows can chew their cud eight hours a day totaling 30,000 chews daily. Now, if we could turn God’s Word over and over in our minds throughout the day I believe we’d have a lot more victory. Joy would replace our complaining and it would certainly spill out to those around us!

Mine to comfort in distress;
Suffering in this wilderness;
Mine to show, by living faith,
Man can triumph over death.

4) Treasuring God’s Word should include memorization. That’s hard for many and frankly for me it has gotten harder as I grow older. We may have different giftings in this regard but I challenge each reader to at least memorize the Scripture that is your life’s verse. Early in my pastoral ministry I memorized many Scripture verses which are deeply hidden in my heart to this day. My life verse and the final challenge in today’s message is, “Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58).

5) Finally treasuring God’s Word is evidenced by a diligent, lifelong pursuit of application and obedience. At the conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount Christ taught of those who hear His words and  “acts on them” (NASV), “does them” (ESV), “puts them into practice” (NIV) would be like a man who built his house on the rock. (Matthew 7:24).

Mine to tell of joys to come,
And the rebel sinner’s doom;
O thou holy Book divine,
Precious treasure, thou art mine.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, Your Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.  I have hidden Your Word in my heart that I might not sin against You. Direct me in the path of Your commands, for there I find delight. Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to Your Word. Let me live that I may praise You and may Your laws sustain me. My heart is set on keeping Your decrees to the very end.  Amen.

(Prayer based on verses from Psalm 119)

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Ancient Words”  Video  Michael W. Smith

“Speak, O Lord”  Video  Keith & Kristyn Getty

“How Firm A Foundation”  Video  Chelsea Moon with the Franz Brothers

We were unable to locate a singing version of today’s hymn “Holy Bible, Book Divine”, which we quoted throughout the message.

Yesterday’s photo of a Scripture verse in a store was 1 Peter 2:9

Finally today:

Jesse Dourte and Mike Martin at BD gathering 10/12/14
Our friend Mike Martin shared this photo of him beside 91 year old Jesse Dourte at the small gathering I (Brooksyne) hosted on Sunday for Stephen. Jesse was outfitted like a Kansan since he pastored there many years ago. Brooksyne invited anyone who wished to come in western wear so Jesse decided this might be the only time he’d wear his western gear again. I think he looks purdy good and it took me back to my Oklahoma roots to see him dressed in western wear just like my dad and brother did for so many years.

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.

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