“There Is A River”

July 31, 2014

Pittsburgh bridge (photo by Howard Blichfeldt)

Roberto Clemente Bridge in Pittsburgh, PA
(Photo by Howard Blichfeldt)
“There Is A River!”
Note: Due to travel a podcast was not prepared for this message.

“There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy dwelling places of the Most High” (Psalm 46:4). “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water’” (John 7:38)

There is a river, that flows from deep within
There is a fountain, that frees the soul from sin
Come to these waters; there is a vast supply
There is a river, that never shall run dry.

Yesterday we visited Pittsburgh, PA, where we met up with our friends, Pittsburgh native Howard Blichfeldt and his wife Sharon (who is originally a Texan). Growing up my image of Pittsburgh was that of a gritty old steelmaking city with belching smokestacks and foul air.

When we moved to the northeast out of Bible College it was several years before we actually visited Pittsburgh. We first saw the city when we departed the Fort Pitt tunnel under Mount Washington coming from the west which ended with an outstanding skyline view on a beautiful clear day. It was a stunning sight. We went through the same tunnel yesterday. Immediately after departing the tunnel you cross a bridge over the Monongahela River and into the heart of the city.

We’re staying Washington County which has experienced tremendous economic growth through the development of their energy resources positioning it as “The Energy Capital of the East.” Pittsburgh has been revitalized in recent years and we were “wowed” by the views we saw during our tour yesterday as the Blichfeldts drove us through the city. One thing Pittsburgh is well known for is its rivers. At the tip of downtown the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers join to form the Ohio River. Pittsburgh is also known as the “City of Bridges” since there is a total of 446 bridges in the city.

Jerusalem has no major rivers running through it but of course just to the east is the Biblically famous Jordan River. But Scripture also uses the image of the river to communicate spiritual truth.

In our first daily text the Psalmist wrote, “There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy dwelling places of the Most High.” Spurgeon comments concerning this text, “Divine grace like a smoothly flowing, fertilizing, full, and never failing river, yields refreshment and consolation to believers. This is the river of the water of life, of which the church above as well as the church below partakes evermore.”

In our second verse Christ is speaking. “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water’.” The rivers of living water refer to the life-giving Spirit flowing from within as a result of belief in Jesus Christ. Matthew Poole comments, “The flowing of rivers of water, signifieth the plenty of spiritual influences with which believers shall be supplied; whether joy, knowledge, spiritual gifts, or graces. If any ask, where the Scripture speaketh this? I answer, in all those promises we meet with in the Old Testament, about pouring out the Spirit.”

Yesterday we wrote about having a “full life” which doesn’t depend on our being young, strong, or physically healthy. No matter our physical condition our lives can be like “rivers of flowing water” as we invite the surging power of the Holy Spirit to channel through us as we exercise the spiritual gifts God has dispensed for all His people.

You might feel beat down due to long work hours, physical pain, or a longstanding struggle that has squeezed out the vibrancy you once had in your walk with Christ. We encourage you to exercise today. Sure, we encourage you to physically exercise if you’re able, but far more importantly we challenge you to exercise the spiritual gifts available to all who follow Christ which will be a spiritual influence to those around you and it will give you a strength and vibrancy in Your walk with Christ.

Some of our older readers may recall this chorus:

I’ve got a river of life flowing out of me!
Makes the lame to walk, and the blind to see.
Opens prison doors, sets the captives free!
I’ve got a river of life flowing out of me!

Spring up, O well, within my soul!
Spring up, O well, and make me whole!
Spring up, O well, and give to me
That life abundantly.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, You want us to do more than just survive. You want us to thrive and therefore You provide, from our inmost being, flowing rivers of living water. The world seems to be filled with stagnant or dried up holes of water as we witness the rising surge of immorality, dishonesty, suicide, corruption and crime. But even as we journey through this troubled world rivers of living water can flow through us as we exercise the fruit of the spirit in our daily lives showing to others love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. We want to walk in the wisdom and knowledge of the Holy Spirit and joyfully declare that we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ which gives us surging, endless hope now and forevermore. It is in His name that we pray. Amen.


Some more scenes from Pittsburgh (All photos except the last one were taken by Howard Blichfeldt and used with his permission.)

Pittsburgh bridges (photo by Howard Blichfeldt)
Look at all the bridges!!!

Pittsburgh three rivers duck (photo by Howard Blichfeldt)
This area is known as the Point where the two rivers join to form the Ohio. Howard said the inflated Duck was a major tourist draw!

Pittsburgh skyline (photo by Howard Blichfeldt)
Skyline from Mount Washington above incline.

Pittsburgh incline (photo by Howard Blichfeldt)
The Duquesne Incline

Pittsburgh skyline (photo by Howard Blichfeldt)
Night-time skyline from the north shore.

Pittsburgh statue (photo by Howard Blichfeldt)
Who is this? (Answer posted below)

Pittsburgh skyline with Blichfeldts (photo by Ester)
On Mount Washington overlooking the city skyline. Ester included Sharon and Howard Blichfeldt along with her Mom and Pop in her selfie photo!

Today we are headed out to central Ohio and plan to visit the Longaberger Homestead.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“There Is a River”  Video  Gaither Vocal Band

“Spring Up O Well”  Video

“Thrive”  Video Casting Crowns reminds in this song that we can do more than just survive. We were made to thrive. Listen carefully to the lyrics that are posted on this song.

“Burdens Are Lifted At Calvary”  Video  Collingsworth Family Next week we will travel through Shipshewanna, IN where the Collingsworth family will be singing at the Blue Gate theater. We learned about it yesterday morning so Stephen called to see if we could get tickets. It was just in time since they had only three seats left. We’ll post photos next week as we enjoy this concert.

Here are some more photos from Pittsburgh that Howard took on his photography website. Howard has an interesting ministry opportunity that we will share about in several weeks. The “bigger than life” statue is Mr. Rogers in his own neighborhood!


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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.

“A Full Life”

July 30, 2014

Old wagon ready for road trip 7/26/14
Packing up for a summer family road trip.
Although actually we are not taking this vehicle!

“A Full Life”
Note: Due to travel a podcast was not prepared for this message.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).

Today our family heads out for our annual trip to the heartland. Although we moved to the Northeast shortly after our marriage we are both from the Midwest and have many relatives in that region of the country. My Mom’s side has an annual reunion and this year it’s in Wisconsin.

We enjoy travel and will make the most of seeing interesting things and meeting friends along the way. The ability to travel is a blessing that we don’t take for granted. We’re reminded of that when we hear from our Daily Encouragement readers who are homebound. They let us know how much they like to “travel with us” when we take our road trip. It’s as though they’re getting a scenic tour right from their living quarters.

As children we didn’t make many long trips. In fact Brooksyne never traveled beyond her native Oklahoma and the adjoining states until we married. I did make two long childhood trips to the east and west coasts but generally vacation meant going to see relatives in the Midwest and staying with them. At that time we only used a hotel if we didn’t have relatives within 500 miles! Now many children travel far more extensively than we do with the greater availability and affordability of air travel.

There are many ways we have a full life. The ability to travel is one along with family, health, our provision and then some. As the old song states “Count Your Blessings, Name Them One By One… And It Will Surprise You What The Lord Has Done.” But of course depending on a number of factors such as where we live, our means, and our health, these sources of a full life vary. Some are unable to travel, have little of this world’s goods, and may even have poor health. The greater sense of having a full life are our spiritual blessings and this is something we can all share equally.

Yet there are also many false notions of what constitutes a full life, those that essentially seek to replace the spiritual blessings.

When I was pastoring a church in New England I received an interesting “wrong number” prior to our midweek church service one evening. Usually when a church gets a call prior to a service it’s someone needing directions, asking the time of service, or a worker is delayed. I took the call hoping it was a visitor needing directions. I answered the phone by using the church name. The phone was silent for a moment and then a lady asked, “Is this Eagan’s Package Store?” (A “Package Store” in Massachusetts is a liquor store.)

I said “No, we are a church and the package we have to offer is quite the opposite of a package store.” We clarified the number she dialed which was off by one digit, and she said she thought it was interesting what I said about being the opposite. I gave her a brief witness, hopefully giving her something to think about. I ended the conversation by pointing out all the heartache I had seen the abuse of alcohol wreak. I don’t know whether she ever called Eagan’s or not!  And I don’t know if she ever visited our church.

The world’s offerings are broad and varied, but all lead down the same disastrous path. The work of the “thief” continues today. We don’t have to look far to see the horrible destruction do we? The enemy’s thievery, killing, and destruction are ruining lives everyday.

The massive alcohol industry is but one example. Those of us who enjoy sports on TV are inundated with commercials promoting drinking. The booze industry, with a huge advertising budget has some of the “best” commercials on TV. The glitzy ads proclaim with beautiful young models that “this is the life”, but we who know the full truth realize this is a lie.

Truth in advertising should require a scene from a deadly DWI traffic accident, abused spouses and children, homicides, shattered families and early deaths are but a few of the consequences of alcoholism. The thief takes all, bankrupting us of that which God is willing to give in abundance – His love, guidance, forgiveness and friendship.  The striking contrast to the thief’s objective which is to take life is seen in the person of Jesus who gives life, even His own life on our behalf.  He told his listeners, “I am the good Shepherd. The good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep” (10:11).

Jesus continues to actively work in all who will receive His offering of a full life. He said “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” The Greek word translated “to the full” (“abundantly” in the KJV) conveys the sense “superabundant” (in quantity), or “superior” (in quality).

Don’t settle for the paltry, destructive substitutes from the thief. Are you living for Jesus Christ today? He alone offers a truly full life and that offer continues to be freely extended to all who call upon the name of the Lord to be saved.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, thank You for Jesus who came that we might have life and have it in abundance.  We thank you so much for a full life. We’re grateful for Your grace that teaches us to say no to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age. We’re thankful that Jesus gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are His very own.  We realize that the one who sows to please the sinful nature from that nature reaps destruction, but we choose to sow to please the spiritual nature and from that nature reap eternal life. Keep us faithful in doing so.  Amen.


Last Saturday afternoon we attended a car show in Mount Joy, something Ester and I especially enjoy. In fact the photo of the old station wagon in our lead photo was taken at the show.

Mount Joy car show 7/26/14
The Mount Joy car show is a pretty big deal in our small community with 250 cars and trucks exhibited.

Mount Joy car show 7/26/14
Can you imagine hearing the siren and seeing this police car pull up behind you?

Mount Joy car show 7/26/14
We thought this ambulance looked ancient, something from the movie classics. Actually it is a 1973 model, the year we graduated from high school!

John Weidman 7/26/14
We saw lots of friends at the car show, including John Weidman, whom I met over 10 years ago in a service club. John is a retired Pioneer seed salesman. How I remember these Pioneer seed signs beside corn fields growing up!

We saw many interesting cars and trucks.
Mount Joy car show 7/26/14
We saw many interesting cars and trucks, some meticulously restored.

Mount Joy car show 7/26/14
Others in the rough!


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“John 10:10″  Video  Today’s verse set to music in The Scripture memory series

“My Jesus I Love Thee”  Video  Paul Baloche

Note: During our trip we are going to try to maintain a regular daily encouragement schedule but of course this may not be possible for a variety of reasons both technical, such as internet connectivity and personal such as being too busy or wanting to get an early start. We also may be unable to prepare an audio podcast version.


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 Other Name”

July 29, 2014

Acts 4:12

“No Other Name”
ListenListen to us read this message on your audio player.”Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
One Way sign 

It’s interesting to consider passing fads, including religious ones. Back in the early seventies there was a resurgence in Christianity known as “The Jesus Movement”. I reflect that I essentially was a part of the movement which had a powerful impact on my early days of discipleship. At that time a popular expression of faith was to greet one another in the hallways of our large public high school with our index finger raised signifying, “One Way Jesus”. Now in 2014 I cannot imagine walking through a public place like a mall and greeting people with an upraised index finger! But I remain steadfast in my belief in regard to what that gesture symbolizes.

One of the great issues confronting the true church is the exclusivity of Jesus Christ as God’s only appointed way of salvation, as taught in Scripture. Now the politically correct, seeming more loving, tolerant view is that Christianity is only one of “many valid ways” to get to heaven. Preachers who unwaveringly support the Biblical and historic position are now maligned as being unenlightened, hateful or intolerant.

In this age when tolerance has been elevated to a false god, we must have a solid foundation in what the Scriptures say about this matter and the Scriptures are unambiguous.  But sadly even some in the church are compromising on this issue and many others without a solid Biblical underpinning may be tempted to do so as well. After all, who wants to be considered “narrow-minded and ignorant”, as I heard an individual describe people that believe as I do.

The apostle Peter made the bold assertion in the daily verse, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” He may have been recalling the words of the Lord; “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Later the apostle Paul expressed the same truth in 1 Timothy 2:5,6, “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all men–the testimony given in its proper time.”

We who follow Christ must seriously heed the word from the apostle Jude, “Contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.” Our Lord Himself, as well as the apostolic preaching and teaching of the early church, make it very clear that Christ is God’s only appointed provision for salvation. Let us steadfastly and unashamedly resist the temptation to concede on this vitally important doctrine.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father,  we thank You for our salvation that is found in no one else but Jesus, for there is no other name under heaven given to us whereby we can be saved. It is in the powerful name of Jesus that demons are cast down, sinners are set free from the shackles of sin, and the sick are made whole. It is in the name of Jesus that every knee will bow, those in heaven, and those on earth, and those under the earth to proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of the Father. We gratefully proclaim that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior who has redeemed us through His shed blood that we might be forgiven our sins and be saved for all eternity. Amen.


Last Saturday evening we attended a Lancaster Barnstormers minor league baseball game with a special feature: Cowboy Monkeys! Ester got several good photos we share with you today.

Cowboy monkey rodeo 7/26/14 (Photo by Ester)
Tiny monkeys riding border collies who corralled bighorned sheep. They are not strapped on as was demonstrated later. Hilarious!Cowboy monkey rodeo 7/26/14 (Photo by Ester)
Throwing out the first pitch! (I never saw a baseball pitcher, minor or major, that looked anything like this pitcher!)Cowboy monkey rodeo 7/26/14 (Photo by Brooksyne)
At the end of the game the owner, Tim Lepard, walked around showing the 22 year old capuchin monkey, Whiplash. Ester was already there for a good photo. Brooksyne was a couple rows up and ended up with this photo of Ester as well!

Mark Pulliam 7/26/14 (Photo by Brooksyne)
We had dinner with our friends Mark and Carolyn Pulliam before we attended the Barnstormer game where they handily beat the Bridgeport Bluefish. Mark and I have been friends since the late 90’s when we both worked for the same chaplain service company.

Barnstormer stadium seat 7/26/14
We had five seats in the middle of a long row, the only seats available in that section when I bought them. In the second inning I noticed no one had taken the four seats beside Mark so I moved over to converse with him through the game. In the middle of the seventh inning I quipped to Mark, “I guess I can relax since surely the rightful seat purchasers are not coming.” Less than a minute later two couples showed up and kindly informed me that I was in one of their seats! They had me look at the seat number which had this interesting label, unlike others in the stadium, “Saints & Sinners. Local readers may check it out in Section 18, Row H. Turns out, 5 couples made a season purchase of these seats and tagged the section “Saints and Sinners” since there are several ministers among the group. Looks like Mark and I were in the right place after all!

Carolyn Pulliam 7/26/14 (Photo by Brooksyne)
Ester having a laugh with Carolyn.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“No Other Name”  Video

Cowboy Monkey Rodeo!  Video

I am blessed when I see believers praying together in a circle. We saw this photo on our friend Sabra Penley’s blog as we prepared the message.


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.

“Prone To Wander”

July 28, 2014

Mollie prone to wandering (photo by Ester)
Mollie is prone to wander
(photo by Ester)

“Prone To Wander”

ListenListen to us read this message on your audio player.

“Aaron said, ‘Do not let the anger of my lord burn; you know the people yourself, that they are prone to evil'” (Exodus 32:22). “With all my heart I have sought You; Do not let me wander from Your commandments” (Psalm 119:10). “My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins” (James 5:19,20).

Prone to wanderOh, to grace how great a debtor daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy grace, Lord, like a fetter, bind my wan-d’ring heart to Thee:
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it; prone to leave the God I love.
Here’s my heart, Lord, take and seal it; seal it for Thy courts above.

Our dog, Mollie, is prone to wandering. Our lead photo shows her jumping over the back yard gate to the front yard. Although border collies are smart Mollie lacks common sense and her compulsive behavior can lead her to remove all restraints, such as when she sees a squirrel and sets out to chase it across the road oblivious to the dangers. Today let us consider the theme of being prone to wander!

We’re spiritually indebted to hymn writers who have written heartfelt expressions of thanksgiving and praise to Almighty God. We find ourselves often limited in our human language and unable to verbally express what we feel emotionally. Then we find the very expression of our hearts described in the text of a hymn, and by singing those words with a genuine heart, we make it our own message to God.

We also appreciate the forthrightness of hymn texts that describe our fallen human condition. It’s all too easy to identify with Robert Robinson who in 1758, with blunt candor, writes about our faulty human condition.  Buried in the third verse of his famous hymn “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing” he describes the pulling of his heart strings, “Prone to wander how I feel it, prone to leave the God I love.”

Robinson’s proneness to wander and live for self rather than the God he professed to love is all too common among the redeemed. Each time I sing this line I’m reminded of the two natures that are always waging war within: the sin nature vs. the spiritual nature. It seems like sin comes crouching at the door of my heart all too often (Genesis 4:7).

Our first daily text describes the Israelites soon after crossing the Red Sea. Moses was on the mountain and the people grew impatient, demanding Aaron to construct a golden calf for them to worship. Aaron, who was surely complicit in the deed, blamed the people, making the observation that they were “prone to evil”. That surely describes the entire unregenerate human race!

The Psalmist in our second text expressed an inclination to wander from God’s commandments with a resolve to seek God with a whole heart. The way the Bible accurately speaks about the condition of our hearts is further evidence of the inspiration of the Holy Scriptures.

The third text speaks of wandering from the truth, surely the most severe form of wandering, that leads to death.

Jesus, by His grace and by the power given through the Holy Spirit, will give me the will to resist the temptation to wander into deadly enemy territory. There are times when Satan’s luring temptations turn into tortuous warfare, but we will remain firm in our faith if we choose to bind our wandering hearts to the God we love.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, with my whole heart I have sought You and made You my Lord and Savior. I have turned my eyes away from worthless things so that my life is preserved here and now and for all eternity. And yet there is a tug of war that battles within me from time to time as I journey here below; the lure of that which satisfies the flesh vs. that which builds me up in the spirit. May Your grace bind my wandering heart so that during times of temptation I hold steady and resist the enemy who seeks to endanger and lead me astray. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.


We had a busy weekend and over the next several days we’ll share some photos of our activities.

Rick Reinhart 7/27/14 (Photo by Ester)
Yesterday Ester and I drove up to the Lehigh Valley to attend an outdoor service and picnic my brother’s church hosted. (Brooksyne did not go since she had already committed to leading the worship service in our home church.) Since my brother has served as pastor there for over 20 years I’ve come to know several in his congregation. I enjoyed visiting with them, including Rick Reinhart, as we discussed the concept of our proneness to wander. Rick shared an interesting testimony I expect to write about in the future.

Faith Community prayer circle 7/27/14
The picnic was held in a pavilion in a public park where a baseball tournament was being held. Chris, a large, colorful man who had been an ironworker in NYC and was disabled in the 9/11 cleanup was grilling the meats when he met an out of town baseball team there for the tournament. He invited them to join in a circle of prayer and prayed over them and then invited one of them to pray in Spanish. Then they were all invited to have a meal. I suppose they just might remember that!

Larry and Tina playing quoits

I

In the Lehigh Valley they play a sport quite popular called quoits (pronounced “kwāts”). The photo above shows our friends Larry and Tina Kester who are competing against each other. Quoits are similar to horseshoes but as you can see in Larry’s hand they are small round disks. This game uses two one-pound rubber quoits per player, which are pitched at a short metal pin mounted on a very heavy 24x24x1 inch slab of slate 18 feet apart.

Playing quoits
Of course you strive for a ringer but disks that stay on the board can also count for points. The real skill seems to be getting the disks to land flat on the slate board without sliding or bouncing off! (photo taken last summer)

Tomorrow we will share some photos from the Lancaster Barnstormers baseball game we attended Saturday evening and a special feature, Cowboy Monkey Rodeo!  Video


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing”  Video  Fernando Ortega


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.

Steadfast Love Of God Psalm 36:5

“God’s Rich, Steadfast Love”

ListenListen to us read this message on your audio player.

“O give thanks to the God of heaven, for His steadfast love endures forever” (Psalm 136:26). “The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love” (Psalm 145:8). “Give thanks to the Lord of hosts, for the Lord is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!” (Jeremiah 33:11). “The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases” (Lamentations 3:22).

You’re rich in love, and You’re slow to anger
Your name is great, and Your heart is kind
For all Your goodness I will keep on singing
Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find

Tie with John 3:16 Scripture verseSunday afternoon we led a service at Longwood Manor, a local nursing home. As is often the case I wear a tie with a Scripture verse on it. Prior to the service an elderly resident approached me, looked at my tie and slowly read the verse (John 3:16). During my message I had the folks recite the verse together. A reminder of God’s love, regardless of our age or how long we’ve walked with God, is always a great source of encouragement.

Today let us consider God’s rich and steadfast love. Our daily verse makes a statement that I believe is often taken for granted even by devout believers. “The Lord is … rich in love”.  Perhaps when Matt Redman wrote his popular song, “Ten Thousand Reasons” that has the line “You’re rich in love” he had this verse in mind. Consider the multitude of ways that God’s attribute of rich or abundant love is extended to this world, waiting to be received.

Contrast God’s rich, steadfast love with the often fickle love that is expressed by humans. A couple may stand before the altar of the church being united in marriage, pledging their love to one another, “till death do us part.” But so very often that pledge just doesn’t hold. Surely marital love is to be the greatest form of human love, along with that of parents to their children.

In contrast we consider the searing pain in the voice of one who has been rejected. We’ve heard it more than once through our years of ministry. “He (or she) left and said, ‘I just don’t love you anymore’.” Due to the vacillations of human love we may tend to transfer that over to our understanding of God’s love.

But the Scriptures abundantly teach about the immutable character of God, as expressed in our fourth daily text, “The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases.” The verse has a repetitive impact for emphasis. His love is steadfast and it never ceases. Other versions translate:

“Certainly the faithful love of the Lord hasn’t ended.”
“The faithful love of the Lord never ends!”
“The Lord’s unfailing love and mercy still continue.”
“The Lord’s love never ends.”
“How enduring is God’s loyal love.”

God’s love is rich and steadfast. “The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.” Another version states “abounding in steadfast love.”

Today we know there are many reading this encouragement who have been deeply wounded by faltering human love. You may be an abandoned spouse or you may be a child who never knew the love of a responsible, caring parent. Sadly we have observed parents essentially abandoned by their adult children who are too busy to give them the attention they need in life’s twilight years. You may be experiencing the rejection of those whom you considered friends or even your brothers and sisters in Christ.

Hear the words of Holy Scripture today and rest in God’s rich, steadfast love. It is steady, sure and unfailing. He continues to express His love to us without ceasing, without vacillation, and without condition. “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness” (Jeremiah 31:3). No matter the troubles before us today, we can declare the praises of Him who is rich and steadfast in love toward those whom He created, and that includes you!

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases.
His mercies never come to an end.
They are new every morning, new every morning,
Great is Thy faithfulness, O Lord. Great is Thy faithfulness.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we are a blessed people because You choose to be “merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love” toward Your creation. These complimentary characteristics of mercy, grace, longsuffering and steadfast love are evident in Your choice to forgive those who repent and believe Your promises in Christ Jesus. If You had merely sent Jesus to teach us about Himself and serve as our example, that would have been far more than we deserve.  But You sent Him to die for our sins. He was rich in love toward us, not after we cleaned up the mess of our lives, but even while we were dead in our trespasses and sins. Such love is supreme, steadfast and unending in supply. Thank You for meeting our greatest need and caring about our smallest one. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.


The Psalmist asks “Has His steadfast love for ever ceased? Are His promises at an end for all time?” (Psalm 77:8).

“Satisfy us in the morning with thy steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days” (Psalm 90:14).

“Who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy” (Psalm 103:4).

“The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love” (Psalm 103:8).

“For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His steadfast love toward those who fear Him” (Psalm 103:11).

“But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children’s children” (Psalm 103:17).


Junnbug with Ester 7/23/14
Our longtime friend Junnbug surprised us with a visit this week. He now lives in his native Puerto Rico but came to visit family in this area. We met Junnbug over 10 years ago when we served as chaplains at Turkey Hill Dairy.

Nick Nichols & Dick Shellenberger 07-25-14
This morning we joined two friends for breakfast, Nick Nichols & Dick Shellenberger.

Lancaster County windmill (photo by Nick Nichols)
Nick Nichols took this photo of a Lancaster County windmill.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

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

“The Steadfast Love Of The Lord Never Ceases”  Video  Maranatha Singers

“If That Isn’t Love”  Video  The Isaacs An outstanding example of family harmony with a rich old song with a different arrangement common to the Isaacs style of singing.

“Remember O Lord (Psalms 25:6-7 & 36:7)”  Video  Scripture Memory series

“Satisfied (Hallelujah I Have Found Him)”  Video  GVB

“At Calvary”  Video  The Collingsworth Family

For fun! Tomorrow evening we are going to see the Lancaster Barnstormers minor league baseball and watch some Cowboy Monkey Rodeo!  Video  This is especially interesting to us since Ester has stuffed monkeys all over her room and the monkey cowboys ride on border collies, which we know from having Mollie, they can never get enough play, NEVER!


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.

Bee (photo by Mike Book)

This outstanding close-up photo of a bee collecting nectar was taken by our friend Mike Book. Notice the translucent wings!
Click here for a larger sized photo.

“Sweeter Than Honey!”

ListenListen to us read this message on your audio player.

“I have not turned aside from Your ordinances, For You Yourself have taught me. How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth! From Your precepts I get understanding; Therefore I hate every false way.” (Psalm 119:102-104). “He said to me, ‘Son of man, feed your stomach and fill your body with this scroll which I am giving you.’ Then I ate it, and it was sweet as honey in my mouth” (Ezekiel 3:3).

Honey on toasted breadAn apiary is the formal name for a bee farm. Several years ago we took a tour of an apiary and the process of bees making honey was explained to us. Especially interesting was the protective gear the beekeeper wore to tend to the hives. Bees are very busy at this season with Entomophily, which is the scientific word for pollination by insects.

But if you are like me when you consider bees you might first consider their God-given defense mechanism. I have been on the skin side of their sting several times and it sure isn’t pleasant! However for me it’s merely a pain followed by deep itching and a bit of swelling. For others the sting may trigger a dangerous anaphylactic reaction that is potentially deadly. But for the stinging honey bee the prognosis is death after it stings you, because its sting apparatus is pulled out, rupturing its abdomen.

When we think of bees we probably all think of honey. We recall a song sung years ago by Music Machine, “Bees make honey and it sure tastes good…” based on the sixth fruit of the spirit, “Goodness”. We both enjoy eating honey especially on piece of fresh toasted bread as seen to the left.

Well, bees do make honey (although I would rather not dwell on the process) and honey sure tastes good. In Biblical times with no availability of processed sugar honey was the standard for sweetness. The famous description of the Promised Land was, “a land flowing with milk and honey” (Leviticus 20:24).

Honey jarThe great thing about the Bible is the universality of the illustrations. I don’t know this for sure but I suppose that regardless of where you live you have bees and honey. David wrote today’s Scripture some 3,000 years ago and he was from a part of the world far away from where most of us live. Yet we can experience what David experienced. In fact we enjoyed some sweet honey on warmly toasted bread as we prepared this message!

Psalm 119 is a wonderful extolling of the blessedness of the Word of God. David would have had far less of the written Word than we have today, since much of the Old Testament and all of the New Testament were not yet written. Yet he declared, “How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!”  May we all have this same attitude concerning His Words as they apply to our lives. Consider this the next time you enjoy some honey!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, You bless those those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. The sweetness of Your Word is like sweet honey in our mouth that reminds us of Your faithfulness, Your goodness and Your mercy that overflows into our lives as You forgive us of our sins and provide us with an abundant life. Your Words are a sweet savor to our soul as we walk obediently according to Your Word. Amen.


Bee on day lily (photo by Doris High)
I can always count on our friend Doris High to have a recent photo related to our topic such as this bee on a day lily!

Amish cart on Carmany Road 7/21/14
Brooksyne took this photo on her neighborhood walk Monday night. (Click on photo for a larger view). We have heard the phrase “corn canyon” to describe the visual impact of a road with corn fields on each side. In late August when the corn is tallest and on some roads where the corn is planted right up next to the road it is indeed like a canyon!

Jerry Hess with corn 7/22/14
One of the blessings of country living is the good neighbors that surround us. Last night Jerry came over with some freshly picked corn to share. We visited for a few minutes and he shared a song he really enjoyed that I had never heard of simply called “Good” by Dave Barnes  Video  He drives a big rig delivering eggs all over the northeast and likes to listen to this as he travels!

Kreider truck
Jerry drives a truck for Kreider Farms, one of our large Lancaster County agriculture operations, and told me a full truck has 26,000 dozen eggs (that’s 312,000 eggs!)



A couple responses to our story yesterday about the blueberries:

From Sue: Hi!! Your story made me laugh. That type of thing happens on Long Island daily. It happens so often that store managers would know better than to change a sign. People would demand the case of blueberries, even if they have no idea what to do with them. I also shop at Aldi’s at times, and since I am headed in that direction later, I may stop there and see if they have the same special!!!

From Tina:  Very funny blueberry story!!!!!!!!! That was a case of stubborn wills!!


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Sweeter Than Honey (Psalms 19:8-10)”  Video   Bob Fitts from the Scripture memory series which we both enjoyed about 20 years ago. This was a series produced by Integrity Music which placed Scripture verses to music.

“The Law Of The Lord”  Video  Songs Of Worship  We have an even older memory of singing this!

“Honey In The Rock”  Video  Ralph Stanley And The Clinch Mountain Boys

“Bees Make Honey”  Video  Music Machine

“7 AMAZING BEE FACTS”  Video  I came across this as I searched for music.

Doris High is a local friend with a very active photo collection. Here’s another day lily photo.


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.

Sunflower 7/11/14
Brooksyne took this sunflower photo.
These sun-filtered petals should brighten anyone’s day and the round center will surely bring to mind the “Happy Face”.
“The Antidote To Worry

ListenListen to us read this message on your audio player.

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33).

Matthew 6:33 (Kember print)

Early this morning in checking my email I found a blessing. Someone had sent me the above photo of a Kember Scripture print. We have periodically referenced these simple prints, one man’s way of spreading God’s Word. In fact today I compiled a single web page of prints I have acquired over the years as readers send me photos. So I am going to take this as a prompt to share a message from Matthew 6:33!

I was speaking to a friend of mine who is dealing with some severe challenges in his business. I could tell he had a matter heavy on his heart. We both have faith in the Lord and he said to me, “We’re not supposed to worry are we?” He knew the answer to that but I believe was looking to me for some Scriptural encouragement.  Sometimes deep in our hearts we know something but need the reminder and perspective others have to offer.

One of the great kingdom principles is stated in this familiar verse. Jesus is preaching what we call the “Sermon on the Mount” and is summing up the portion dealing with worry (Matthew 6:25-34). Jesus addressed a condition so common to people of all generations. Though some worry more than others I’ve never met anyone who has never worried at some point in their lifetime! But Jesus emphatically states, “Do not be worried about your life” (Matthew 6:25).

Many years ago I read a short booklet by Jay Adams titled “What to Do About Worry”. He defines worry as “concern about something that one can do nothing about, and that he cannot even be sure about.”

I recognize that when I worry about a matter I am simply not trusting in God. At any given moment I could list a number of very specific issues in my life that are matters of worry to me. The underlying Greek word for worry is “merimnao”, which can have the sense “to turn over and over in the mind.” That’s just what I do, considering various courses and outcomes, turning the worrisome situation over and over in my mind.

Christ’s prescription for worry is very clear. “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.” His promise is equally clear, “all these things shall be added unto you.” “These things” refer to the basic essentials of life such as food and clothing. Another promise states, “My God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).

Today let us indeed seek first God’s Kingdom and His righteousness. He ever remains a “rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6). Finally let me share a portion that I committed to memory many years ago that so powerfully addresses this situation: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6,7).

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Jesus, You know my tendency to worry and fret about circumstances and people dear to my heart.  Thank You for giving me Scriptural wisdom in how to deal with this ongoing weakness that robs me of Your joy and peace.  As I seek first Your kingdom I will look to Your Word rather than the unending problems that lead me to a worrisome state of mind.  As I read Scripture over and over that pertains to my needs, it replaces the time spent worrying over and over about the problems at hand.  Meditation on Your Word is similar to worry in that I turn Scriptural promises over and over in my mind.  You replace my worried thoughts with divine wisdom and peaceful reassurance as my heart is open to You when looking for answers to my problems.  Help me to seek You above all else and trust Your overflowing provision for all that concerns me today. It is in Your name that I pray. Amen.


Blueberry cobbler prepared for our church picnicBlueberry Cobbler Brooksyne prepared for Sunday’s Church Picnic
A somewhat humorous blueberry story:  Last Thursday we briefly mentioned a shopping experience we had at a local store that was selling Jersey berries. Although we bought blueberries in New Jersey at a roadside stand the day before Brooksyne wanted even more since she plans to make several batches of blueberry jams and pie filling.  She’ll also freeze several bags for later usage. We were at Aldi’s, a discount grocery store, where they had fresh Jersey blueberries for only $1.00 a pint. We were very pleased at the low price and also the sign that said, “One case per customer”. So we bought a case which was ten pints and headed to the check out.

While we were paying for our items a lady who spoke very broken English (obviously, a second language for her) was next in line with two pints of blueberries, and that’s where things got interesting. Apparently, after we picked up our case of berries, management decided to place a limit (due to the truck not delivering until the next day). The manager had removed the “One case per customer” sign and posted in its place, “2 pint limit”. The cashier told us of the limit but when we explained the timing she was somewhat understanding and proceeded with the sale. During our transaction the lady next in line very forthrightly pointed at our case and demanded, “He get case, I get case.” When questioned if she’d seen the first sign as well, she quickly came back with, “Not matter about sign. He get case. I get case!”

She was so persistent the cashier called in the manager (who still had the original sign in her hand). Now it seems to us that the manager should have made an exception for her since she was right behind us and no one else seemed to have blueberries in the growing line. However the manager decided to enforce the 2 pint limit for the lady, who only became more belligerent. “Come back tomorrow when the truck will make another delivery” the manager told her. “I here today. I want berries today!” was her quick reply.

Then she probably broke every rule of managerial decorum by asking the shopper, “What are you going to do with a case of berries anyway?”.  The lady stared blankly, and then she pointed to us and asked, “Why do they need a case?” Turning in my direction the manager then asked me, “Why do you need a case?” Thinking it strange that we would be grilled about a legitimate purchase I defensively answered, “Because we can” (meaning “canning” in the sense of preserving jams and jellies). The shopper who probably had no idea what we meant by “can” gleefully stated, “He can! I can!”. In great frustration the manager marched off to pick up another case of berries for the persistent shopper.

She laid the case of berries on the conveyor belt, picked up the two packages the lady originally selected and in anger callously laid them down behind the register. Making sure she had the last word the shopper said coolly to the manager, “You mark ‘Damaged?'”. The manager, no longer trying to control her emotions, came back with, “What? There’s nothing wrong with these berries!” The lady responded with a smirk, “You just slammed them on the counter, and they’re fragile!” To say the least it made for an interesting shopping trip and an arrow prayer for the manager who commented to the cashier, “It’s only 10:00 in the morning. What a day this is going to be!”


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Seek Ye First”  Video   Maranatha Singers  This was one of the first Scripture verses set to music we learned as young Christians. We suppose many of you know this song and thus have actually memorized the Scripture!

“Why Should I Worry”  Video   Karen Peck & New River

“I’m Not Gonna Worry”  Video  GVB

Jay Adams lesson on worry is available as a pdf. (It’s just over 4 pages)

Compilation of Kember Scripture prints I have and others sent me. (Webpage)


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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