Mississippi River Bridge (photo by Georgia)

Mississippi River Bridge
(Photo taken by my cousin Georgia)

“How Deep The Father’s Love For Us


ListenListen to us read this message on your audio player.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

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



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


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

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

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



Today’s Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources


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

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

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

“I Stand Amazed”  Video  Homecoming singers

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

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

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

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

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


“I Am Redeemed “  Video  Brian Free and Assurance

Major Events of the Passion Week


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

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

Sunday

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

Monday 

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

Tuesday/Wednesday

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

Thursday

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

Friday

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

Sunday

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

To receive the “Daily Encouragement” each Monday-Friday through email see this page to subscribe to our email list. You can also subscribe to the WordPress rss feed or through a WordPress email subscription. (See the email subscription on the right side after opening this page.)


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

“Not Of This World”

April 15, 2014

Central Market, Lancaster, PA

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

“Not Of This World


ListenListen to us read this message on your audio player.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

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



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

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

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


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



Today’s Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources


“I Surrender All”  Video

Major Events of the Passion Week


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

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

Sunday

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

Monday 

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

Tuesday/Wednesday

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

Thursday

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

Friday

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

Sunday

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

To receive the “Daily Encouragement” each Monday-Friday through email see this page to subscribe to our email list. You can also subscribe to the WordPress rss feed or through a WordPress email subscription. (See the email subscription on the right side after opening this page.)


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

Mystery photo

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

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



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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Today’s Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources


“He Looked Beyond My Fault”  Video  David Phelps

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

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

“I Will Glory in the Cross”  Video  Michael Harris

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


Major Events of the Passion Week


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

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

Sunday

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

Monday 

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

Tuesday/Wednesday

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

Thursday

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

Friday

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

Sunday

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

Central Market one man band 4/11/14

A one man band entertained us this morning at Central Market in Lancaster PA.
He is gifted vocally as well as musically. He played drums by tapping his feet, also the harmonica, cymbals, tambourine and guitar – several at once! Quite the entertainer.

“The Cure For Sin’s Disease”


ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

 

There’s not a friend like the lowly Jesus,
No, not one! No, not one!
None else could heal all our soul’s diseases,
No, not one! No, not one!


Yesterday we mentioned a church sign we had seen near Hershey. These signs that convey thought-provoking messages always capture our attention, particularly those of spiritual significance. We have often referred to them in this series and have periodically posted a photo. These brief, thought-stimulating messages are on church signs, barns, silos and small road signs as we travel about our region.

We passed a church sign that read, “SIN IS THE DISEASE FOR WHICH CHRIST IS THE CURE.” I memorized the saying years ago and continue to reflect on this simple, yet profound expression of truth.

Sin’s disease is epidemic. It afflicts regardless of race, gender, income, nationality, or religion. It’s rural, urban and suburban. It varies in degree and symptoms. Some show little outward signs of the affliction raging inside, others are quite visible.

This morning we spent several hours in the city. Our van was being repaired and rather than take both our vehicles into the city we made chaplain calls by walking to our destinations. The mechanic who gave our van a mechanical facelift is Justin, a young Christian man, whose wedding ceremony I participated in last year.

While we waited for the work to be done we walked up to Lancaster General to make a hospital call and then just moseyed through the city of Lancaster. Lancaster is certainly not a large city but we saw plenty of evidence of sin’s disease; a mentally ill homeless man loudly rambling on about something (although now sometimes people with cell phones with Bluetooth can sound the same way), a young lady begging for her next fix, what appeared to be a drug sale transaction taking place (one block from the police station). We also saw the increasing bizarre expressions of sexual deviation.

We are all afflicted with a deadly spiritual disease. The Bible says “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23) and “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).  In fact the apostle Paul describes our condition before spiritual conversion in Christ as being “dead in transgressions and sins” (Ephesians 2:1).

However most live oblivious to this disease and its horrible consequences. But we see the effects of sin all around us from the city to the ongoing turmoil in the Middle East, Venezuela and scores of other places full circle back to our own personal troubles and need. Indeed the human race is diseased, but the great message of Scripture and the Gospel in expressing God’s redemptive plan is that there is a cure and the daily verse succinctly expresses this.

This weekend as we enter into Holy Week and especially consider the work of Christ on our behalf let us rejoice and express deep gratitude that “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.”

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer:Father, You made Jesus who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. Nothing within ourselves or our works could elevate us to such a lofty position nor could it open the door to salvation or obtain for us the eternal dwelling Jesus is preparing for all who follow Him. All our soul’s diseases are submerged in the life giving blood of the Lamb who was slain once and for all for our sins. We thank You for breaking the chains that bound us to an evil taskmaster and setting us free to live an abundant life here and now and even more fully in the hereafter. we thank You for Christ who made it all possible. It is in His name that we pray. Amen.

 



Gene at Mac-It 90th birthday!

Yesterday we attended an interesting birthday party for Gene, who works in one of our companies. Now, having a birthday anniversary is not all that unusual. After all we all have one each year! But Gene turned 90 today and still works 16 hours a week and would probably work more if his company had a five day work week! He is a World War 2 veteran having served on the aircraft carrier USS Wasp. He has some very interesting war stories. We wonder how many WW2 veterans are still working? Do you know of any? Gene is a friendly, spry man with a happy smile such as seen above.

 

Gene at Mac-It 90th birthday!
Gene was pleased with his ice cream birthday cake and the attention.


Associates for Biblical Research
Last night I went with several friends to a banquet sponsored by Associates For Biblical Research (ABR), a ministry committed to the integrity and trustworthiness of the Bible. Their major focus is archaeology and we heard reports of recent archaeological evidence for the Bible. We also heard a message from Gary Bates who leads a ministry affirming the Genesis Creation account called Creation Ministries. Open this site for a short video by Gary or watch it here.

 

Central Market witness board 4/11/14
We enjoy walking through the Central Market and buying fresh produce.
This stand holder always provides a faithful witness for Bible truth.




Today’s Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources


Brooksyne’s note: This Sunday I will have the privilege of leading our congregation in worship and prepared a dramatic Palm Sunday Scripture reading that we share with our readers who may be able to use it. (pdf)  We will also be singing the song, “The Power of The Cross”  Video   by Kristyn Getty.   This version includes the moving lyrics that  tell of the crucifixion story and the tremendous sacrifice Christ made on our behalf to provide for us His glorious redemption. Well worth your listen (at least once)!“God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

“No Not One”  Video  Lenny LeBlanc

Contact Us
Send a message to Stephen & Brooksyne

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

Berks County silos
We passed these silos in Berks County PA yesterday.
They appear to be growing right out of the barn!

“Today’s Forecast –
God Reigns, The Son Shines”


ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“God reigns over the nations; God is seated on His holy throne” (Psalm 47:8). “Hallelujah!  For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him glory!”  (Revelation 19:6,7).

After a long cold winter and a sputtering start to Spring it’s nice to have some beautiful weather in our parts. It was a beautiful day yesterday and even forecast to be warmer today, up to 70 degrees. We’re ready for that!

Church sign Years ago we passed a church on a busy highway outside of Hershey, Pennsylvania that has a very active sign ministry. A church member regularly changes the message and we have often been blessed with a rich nugget of Biblical truth as we drive by the Fishburn Church. The Christian workers who keep up with this “street ministry” have a great opportunity to influence passersby.  When I see changeable church signs it usually brings to mind our dear friends, Bill and Veda Shibilo, a senior couple, who for many years changed our church sign each week in Taunton, Massachusetts, rain or shine, snow or wind.

Due to God’s immutable (unchangeable) nature the Biblical forecast: “God reigns; The Son shines” is always true, not at all like a typical weather forecast which can change in the course of a day. But we can confidently declare, upon awakening each new day, “God reigns and the Son shines!”

What a great peace and deep sense of assurance the Lord’s reigning control brings to our lives. This wonderful truth is emphasized through the entire Bible. Consider the following Bible texts:

In the Old Testament after God’s remarkable deliverance from Egypt Moses and the Israelites sang a song that declares: “The LORD will reign forever and ever!” (Exodus 15:18). The Psalmist proclaimed in our first daily text that “God reigns over the nations; God is seated on His holy throne” (Psalm 47:8). The prophet Isaiah pronounced a central tenet of theology, “God reigns!” (52:7). At the very time the nation was going into Babylonian exile Jeremiah’s faith rises out of his despair and he asserts, “You, O LORD, reign forever; your throne endures from generation to generation” (Lamentations 5:19).

In the New Testament Mary received a powerful message concerning Jesus from the angel Gabriel when he announced her role in Christ’s birth: “He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; His kingdom will never end” (Luke 1:33). Our second daily text is a glimpse of the other side as we read this awesome description: “I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: ‘Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns!’”

Allow this truth to minister to you in regard to whatever may unsettle your spirit today. In each of the following examples we have some specific friends on our hearts that we hope will read this. The health matter that is so uncertain; The Lord reigns!  The job or financial situation that looks to you like a long, dark tunnel and you can’t even see the light on the other side; The Lord reigns! The family troubles that seem to only worsen, the troubled memories that don’t seem to go away, whatever may bring you worry or despair; The Lord reigns! 

Today as we contemplate the absolute truth of God’s reign, “Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him glory!” Following the message is a powerful video of the old hymn written by Samuel Medley titled, “I Know My Redeemer Lives” It puts life’s difficulties into perspective and reminds us of the steadfast love and care of a loving father. It’s a long hymn but we will insert the words below the resource section.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer:Jesus, You reign over all the earth and You also reign in my heart!  What an awesome blessing this truth brings to me today. As I consider that it is not by my might, nor by my power, but by the Spirit of the Lord of Hosts that my personal mountains are removed. Jesus, I know that most of the mountains that block my path are not moved by a simple prayer of faith, but these mountains are often the very essence of how You work through my life to reveal Your faithfulness and Your power in the midst of my struggles. You develop godly character as I am challenged to remain steadfast and faithful in my Christian walk. You make my feet like hind’s feet that enable me to walk upon high places. Help me to keep my gaze continually upward during the climb so that I see You reigning on Your throne as I bring You glory and honor!  Amen.


Due to an active week we have a lot of photos to share today.

First several for photos from the trip on Tuesday to our Pennsylvania State Capitol in Harrisburg. The Capitol complex has over 50 Scripture references

John 8:32 in Pennsylvania House chamber
This statement is on the back wall in the House chamber. I wonder how many know it is a verbatim Scripture verse from the King James Bible in John 8:32? Jesus is speaking about Himself.

1 Corinthians 3:10 in Pennsylvania Senate chamberFor some reasons photos were not allowed in the Senate chamber. But I found this small one online. This statement is directly behind the speaker’s chair in the Senate chamber. I wonder how many know it is a verbatim Scripture verse from the King James Bible in 1 Corinthians 3:10?

Ten Commandments behind bench in Pennsylvania House Supreme Court
Directly behind the table where the Supreme Court justices sits is this large mural of Moses with the tablets along with the text of the Ten Commandments.
"In God We Trust" in Pennsylvania Capitol rotunda
This explanatory display concerning the phrase “In God We Trust” was prominently displayed in the Capitol Rotunda.

Yesterday Brooksyne and I had a long travel day through Lancaster, Berks, Lebanon and Dauphin Counties and we share several photos of our ministry stops.

Don and Kathy Eaton 4/9/14
We visited Don and Kathy Eaton who operate Eaton Farms, a large commercial tree farm near Reading PA. We met Don about seven years ago through Convene, an association of Christian business owners who seek to build and operate their business using Biblical principles. About five years ago we helped Don establish a chaplain program for his business which is going very well.

Jars of jam The Lord provides in some unusual ways if you are resourceful. Many times we have shown photos of Brooksyne canning jams and other food products. As is our custom we took a jar of strawberry rhubarb jam to share with the Eatons. Kathy, knowing of Brooksyne’s interest, had a surprise for us. Their daughter, Colby, worked for Jimmy Buffet in Long Island over the summer. For the reception of a wedding they prepared centerpieces using new canning jars of various sizes with votive candles. After the wedding Colby, who’s getting married in the future, was invited to take all the jars leftover for her own usage. She brought hundreds of new empty jars (along with unsealed lids) to her folks’ house in Pennsylvania, knowing they could be put to use. Such resourcefulness should make a parent proud! So, if we give you a jar of jelly or jam it just might be one of these!

Eaton Farm mission statement
This mission statement hangs in the foyer and their core values are posted online.  What a blessing to see a company so visibly honor God!

Eaton Farm tree chairs
Don is constantly developing new product lines, in this case living trees, that will also function as a working chair. To his knowledge he is the only grower in the US doing this commercially so keep your eyes open for these in the next several years. We (Don and I) are both big and tall and he assures me these chairs will hold us!

Teen Challenge, Rehersburg, PA
We passed the Teen Challenge Training Center in Rehersburg, PA and I stopped to visit several friends who are on the staff. They were having a noon prayer meeting so I joined them.

Teen Challenge prayer meeting, Rehersburg, PA
Rich, a longtime pastor friend I first met in New England, led the noon prayer service. It was a blessing to hear the men pray out loud, knowing many of them were recently redeemed and delivered from life controlling addictions, powerful to hear a room full of men read the Scriptures aloud together. The center has over 200 men in the program. The leaders disciple them for Christ following their conversion. I was able to greet Al and Jack, two longtime friends as well as some longtime associates in ministry I hadn’t seen for many years such as Martin, the man in the foreground with the open Bible.



Today’s Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources

Brooksyne’s note: This Sunday I will have the privilege of leading our congregation in worship and prepared a dramatic Palm Sunday Scripture reading that we share with our readers who may be able to use it. (pdf)  We will also be singing the song, “The Power of The Cross”  Video   Kristyn Getty.   This version includes the moving lyrics that  tell of the crucifixion story and the tremendous sacrifice Christ made on our behalf to provide for us His glorious redemption. Well worth your listen (at least once)!

“He Reigns”  Video with lyrics  Newsboys

“My Savior Lives”   Video with lyrics  Aaron Shust

“I Know That My Redeemer Lives”  Video with lyrics  This is the old hymn by Samuel Medley mentioned in the message. It has eight stanzas. Not many churches today would have the patience to sing all eight, though each stanza carries a stirring message!

I know that my Redeemer lives;
What comfort this sweet sentence gives!
He lives, He lives, who once was dead;
He lives, my ever living Head.

He lives to bless me with His love,
He lives to plead for me above.
He lives my hungry soul to feed,
He lives to help in time of need.

He lives triumphant from the grave,
He lives eternally to save,
He lives all glorious in the sky,
He lives exalted there on high.

He lives to grant me rich supply,
He lives to guide me with His eye,
He lives to comfort me when faint,
He lives to hear my soul’s complaint.

He lives to silence all my fears,
He lives to wipe away my tears
He lives to calm my troubled heart,
He lives all blessings to impart.

He lives, my kind, wise, heavenly Friend,
He lives and loves me to the end;
He lives, and while He lives, I’ll sing;
He lives, my Prophet, Priest, and King.

He lives and grants me daily breath;
He lives, and I shall conquer death:
He lives my mansion to prepare;
He lives to bring me safely there.

He lives, all glory to His Name!
He lives, my Jesus, still the same.
Oh, the sweet joy this sentence gives,
I know that my Redeemer lives!

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.

“Time After Time”

April 9, 2014

Squirrel

In front of our home office we are often entertained and sometimes distracted by our frequent and colorful visitors. The squirrel is quite perplexed that he can’t manage to get into our bird feeder, though we welcome him to clean up the fallen sunflower seeds which he usually does. The pansies provide the delicate pastels of springtime in our planter.
“Time After Time”

Note:
Due to an early morning meeting today we will be unable to prepare an audio version

“In your compassion you delivered them time after time” (Nehemiah 9:28).

Hotel Viking, Newport RI This past Sunday Stan, our Sunday School teacher, asked class members to share of special instances in their lives where God, in His great compassion provided for them during a very difficult situation. Several members of the class spoke out and shared personal testimonies. Today we want to share one such experience stored permanently in our own memory bank from about 18 years ago.

Ester had a winter vacation day from school so we went to Hotel Viking in Newport, RI, for a little getaway which was only an hour from our home at the time. The Hotel Viking is a historic hotel that at one time had been the main guest lodging on the famous island where the rich and famous stayed. We enjoyed a nice dinner and the next morning we spent some time by the pool.

Hotel Viking pool, Newport RIEster, who couldn’t swim at the time, slowly made her way around the large pool by moving her right hand along the side of the pool and holding onto a round inflatable raft with her left hand. She’d done this many times before so we were comfortable with the arrangement. Brooksyne and I were fully dressed having no plans to swim that cold January day. I was relaxing in a lounge chair, half asleep while Brooksyne stood guard beside the pool reading an article in the newspaper. After a bit she looked for Ester but couldn’t find her and screamed for all to hear, “STEPHEN, STEPHEN”. I immediately looked for Ester’s whereabouts in the pool but couldn’t spot her, only the inflatable raft she’d been holding onto.

It’s amazing how quickly the body can react when alarm is sounded and the adrenaline kicks in. My Red Cross lifesaving course taken 25 years earlier suddenly came over me.  I dove into the pool fully clothed, glasses, hiking boots and wallet included, and swam underwater toward the raft. Thankfully an older man was also reaching into the pool from the other side as I lifted her up to him.* She had lost her grip of the side of the pool and instead of the raft saving her it flipped over on top of her and no one noticed what had happened. Though she tried to scream for help the water filled her lungs as the weight of the raft plunged her beneath the water.

Ester was extremely frightened and dealt with severe stomach cramps and for several hours she threw up the ingested water but, thanks be to God, she fully recovered from this potentially tragic incident.  My wallet was soaked and ruined. The house maid arranged for us to use a dryer so I could dry out my soaked pair of pants, shirt and underclothes. My sopping wet hiking boots were a bit stiff and cold that I wore home later that day. But so what!

Today we encourage you to consider the many times God has delivered you out of a hard spot in life. At times these are situations outside of our control. At other times we get there due to our own foolishness or disobedience. Just consider the countless times we’ve been delivered from situations that could have been devastating. Truly, as the daily text states, God, in His compassion, has delivered us time after time. I’m convinced that many times we are spared devastation and aren’t even aware of it.

Nehemiah Nehemiah 9 is a great portion chronicling God’s help to the children of Israel. He lived after the exile and ministered to the returning people. In this case the “time after time” goes back hundreds of years. Nehemiah is speaking to the new generation of returning exiles and encouraging them to faithfully follow the Lord. In chapter 8 he had read the Book of the Law, likely Deuteronomy in our Bibles, but perhaps the entire books of Moses (Genesis-Deuteronomy). This led to great conviction and a confession of sin. It’s a powerful portion of Scripture that can speak to the individual, family, local church and the church at large. This verse jumps out, “In your compassion you delivered them time after time” (Nehemiah 9:28).

However as we prepare this we also consider those who didn’t experience the same kind of deliverance we wrote about regarding Ester’s near drowning. And yet God’s grace is still at work, whether He delivers us from our trouble or He takes us through it. We say Amen to Job’s declaration, “Blessed be the name of the Lord who gives and takes away! For our Redeemer lives and in the end He will stand upon the earth.”

Brothers and sisters, today, let us rejoice in the many mercies of our Lord as indeed we can testify of God’s compassion in delivering us time after time!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer:Father, Your steadfast love never ceases and Your mercies are renewed daily. You deliver, heal, restore, and sustain us. Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning. In Your compassion You delivered the Israelites time after time and You do the same for us. We’ve grown to expect it and therefore we often take for granted Your kind provisions, Your delivering power and Your sustaining grace that guides us through each step of our journey. We can walk in confidence because we walk in step with Your Spirit, for Your Word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. We need not fear the future but trust You for everything we have need of. It is in Christ’s name that we pray. Amen.



In yesterday’s message we shared a quote from an atheist that I had read in the comments sections of an newspaper article. “There IS NO argument. I don’t have to ever wrestle with myself if I’m following ‘the right path’ by believing in science. I know that when I die I will go back to the void from which I came, and I’m not worried about it in the least.”

Sean, a thoughtful reader responded, “The atheist doesn’t realize it but he gave me a template for my personal mission statement; ‘there’s NO argument, I don’t have to wrestle with myself if I’m following the right path by believing in JESUS. I know when I die I will “win the prize for which God has called me heavenward” and I’m not worried in the least!’”



Note from Brooksyne: Ester still has the ruined wallet that Stephen had in his back pocket when he pulled her from the deep water. It continues to serve as a reminder of God’s protection and His deliverance, perhaps similar to the twelve stones the Israelites set up after crossing the Jordan. The wallet has served Ester as a memorial over the years of God’s mighty hand of protection. When we asked her if she still had it this morning she knew right where it was as she brought it out and reflected on that very frightening experience. * Ester can still describe the older man who pulled her out of the pool and even recalls what he was wearing.


Yesterday John Keefer, our pastor and I went to Harrisburg, our state capitol, for a meeting sponsored by the Pennsylvania Family Institute. This is an organization that seeks to stand for Biblical values. We had a guided tour of the Capitol, in part by a godly state representative. We’ll share several photos here as well as in the next couple of days. One of the interesting things about our Capitol is the stunning amount of Scripture verses that are used throughout, which surely must infuriate those who want to scrub our land of spiritual influence. But today we’ll share few photos from the journey!

Amtrak train at Mount Joy station
We took the train into Harrisburg from the Mount Joy commuter station. Along the Keystone line running from Harrisburg to New York City the trains may run what seems to be backwards with the engine in the back. This train is approaching us.

Old plane at end of Harrisburg airport runway
The train tracks run right beside the Harrisburg International Airport. I would like to know the story behind this old plane at the end of the runway! The huge cooling towers of Three Mile Island are visible in the background.

John Keefer and Stephen C. Weber at PA state Capitol 4/8/14
Here’s a photo of John and I at the state capitol in front of a statue of Abraham Lincoln.

Tomorrow we will share some photos of the Scriptures that are used throughout the capitol.


Today’s Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources

Pennsylvania Family Institute

“Blessings”  Video  Laura Story

Brooksyne’s note: This Sunday I will have the privilege of leading our congregation in worship and prepared a dramatic Palm Sunday Scripture reading that we share with our readers who may be able to use it. (pdf)  We will also be singing the song, “The Power of The Cross”  Video   Kristyn Getty.   This version includes the moving lyrics that  tell of the crucifixion story and the tremendous sacrifice Christ made on our behalf to provide for us His glorious redemption. Well worth your listen (at least once)!

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.

Pressing Toward The Goal

“Pressing Toward The Goal”

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13,14).

When the valley is deep
When the mountain is steep
When the body is weary
When we stumble and fall

When the choices are hard
When we’re battered and scarred
When we’ve spent our resources
When we’ve given our all

Journey bangleThe other day we were walking through the Park City Mall in Lancaster and Brooksyne showed me a piece of jewelry which stated, “It’s all about the journey Not the destination”. She handed it to me and observed, “Isn’t this the way so many live their lives?” Indeed so many live their lives giving little to no thought about their final destination. In fact a purely secular viewpoint would be, “You live, then you die, that’s all there is.”

Yesterday I read a comment by a committed atheist who asserted his faith with absolute certainty. “There IS NO argument. I don’t have to ever wrestle with myself if I’m following “the right path” by believing in science. I know that when I die I will go back to the void from which I came, and I’m not worried about it in the least.” Hmm, I didn’t know science answered the question about an afterlife!

Today let us consider the Biblical truth which is of first importance. Preparing for the afterlife is our final but never-ending destination.

MapNow Brooksyne and I like taking trips, though she would say I like it more. When we travel we want to enjoy the journey along the way. I try to find places that would interest both of us to break up the monotony of a long drive. We may even encounter some detours along the way and we do well to make the best of them. I recall a church sign we saw many years ago that stated, “Contentment is enjoying the scenery while on a detour.” *

We may very well enjoy this journey we call the Christian life. Perhaps that’s what Jesus meant, in part, when He spoke of His coming to the earth that we might have an abundant life. But viewing our journey through the lens of an eternal gps will greatly affect the perspective of our life’s journey that leads to our final destination.  Buzz Lightyear would say, “to infinity and beyond” (on a lighter note to Toy Story fans).

The Christian life is like a long journey and today’s Scripture portion teaches several key components to living this spiritual journey. The apostle Paul is writing to the Philippians (and through the Scriptures to each of us). He begins the verse, “Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.” In the context he has just stated his desire to attain to the resurrection of thedead (v.11). It seems he is focusing on a destination outlook. Notice later in the daily text, “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

This spiritual journey begins when we receive Christ Jesus as our Lord and Saviour and place our faith in Him and His plan for our lives. The earthly journey concludes at our death (or at the rapture for those living at the time of Christ’s return). Our spiritual journey continues and is no longer conflicted with the darkness that rules the earth. It’s a long, sometimes grueling, journey here below since the cloud of sin affects the entire human race, even those who are the redeemed. As the old hymn expresses and many of us have experienced, we will go “through many dangers, toils and snares”.

Philippians 3:13,14“But one thing I do.” This describes Paul’s singular focus. He breaks down this singular focus to several components.

“Forgetting what is behind.” Now certainly we remember our past, memories that are both pleasant and pain-filled. As people age most experience short term memory loss but for the most part, apart from a serious disease or brain injury, they remember longterm. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary notes that, “Forgetting did not mean obliterating the memory of the past (Paul has just recalled some of these things in 3:5,6,7), but a conscious refusal to let them absorb his attention and impede his progress.”

Runner pressing on“And straining toward what is ahead.” “Straining” conveys the intensity required in running this race. Visualize a runner seeking to lengthen his stride and thrusting his body forward with each step.

“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” “Press on” powerfully communicates the perseverance and steadfastness required for staying faithful and finishing well in this lifelong journey which is reaching the goal.

Fellow followers of Christ, today we do well to memorize these words of the great Apostle. How are you doing in your journey? Do you have the focused attention that Paul is describing in your spiritual journey? Or to ask it another way – What is your primary focus in life? What drives you? Where do you invest your time, energy, and talent? Paul said, “This one thing I do.”

One day we can say as Paul did late in life in his final letter, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7). Keep faithful in your journey today!

In Jesus’ name, we press on
In Jesus’ name, we press on
Dear Lord, with the prize
Clear before our eyes
We find the strength to press on

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer:Father, we find life’s journey to be enjoyable and entertaining in the straight stretches of life where we travel most of the time. Other times we learn to navigate life’s twists and turns, and must exercise steady endurance as we drive through the cavernous potholes that usually appear without notice. Through it all we keep our eyes on the goal of our faith, straining toward what lies ahead, the prize for which You have called us heavenward in Christ Jesus. We can press on, even when circumstances are grim, because our strength comes from You. As the Apostle Paul wrote, When I am weak, then I am strong. In our weakness You become our strength. You are the light that breaks through our gloom and guides our every footstep. We will fight the good fight, we will finish the race, and we will keep the faith as we remain faithful in our walk with You. It is in Jesus’ name that we pray. Amen.



“Many dangers, toils and snares”: Each day we consider those who are facing great hardships. Some deal with situations making international news such as the downing of an airplane, or victims such as last week’s shootings at Fort Hood. Others are more localized such as events that happen in our region, although we may not personally know the people involved. But sometimes it may affect us or we can sympathize in a very special way

A week ago Sunday we had inclement weather throughout our county. Joseph and Rose Ann Kuhns, along with their four children, lost control of their vehicle and had a terrible crash. An 11 year old daughter was killed and another is presently on life support. The mother broke her back and sustained other serious injuries. We read it in the paper and began to pray for this family as I’m sure other believers did as well. Not long afterward we got a prayer request from our church regarding this need since John, who attends our church, is an uncle to this woman. The daughter’s funeral was yesterday and I (Brooksyne) called Florence, John’s wife, to lend support and encouragement to them in the afternoon. She said the hospital escorted the mother to the funeral in her hospital bed. Can you imagine how heartbreaking this funeral service was! We’ve been praying that their faith will be strengthened through this time of extreme loss and hardship. I was encouraged as Florence said the husband is believing God for his wife’s full recovery and looking to Him for all they’re enduring presently. Their other daughter remains very critical and still on life support in Hershey while the mother, Rose Ann, is being treated in a Lancaster Hospital. Please remember this needy family in your prayers.


For several days we’ve been sharing old farm photos taken from old items in a friend’s barn here in Lancaster County. Yesterday’s photo was a hay hook, which was used by attaching it by a rope to a rail in the barn rafters to move loose hay from the wagon to the hay loft. A number of readers used a term I don’t recall hearing for the “hay loft”. They used the term “hay mow” (rhymes with cow). Either way it takes me back to some old memories such as when we first got married in 1976 and I had a job with a hay crew and when I was a child playing in my Uncle Gentry’s barn in Southern Missouri. I just can’t imagine how piddlin’ around with a video game could compare with playing in that big old barn and the other fun we had on the country farm!

Steincross farm, Harwood Missouri (click to enlarge)
Here’s an aerial photo of the farm. Last summer we visited this area and some more photos of how that generally abandoned rural area looks today. By the way the barn sure seemed a lot bigger when I was a kid!

Tractor with sled

Here’s an old photo of my Uncle Gentry showing some of us cousins a good time on the farm one winter day. My cousin Steve is driving the tractor and my sister and I and other cousins are on the makeshift sled.

Milk can and strainer
Since we’ve been showing old farm photos we’ll share this one we saw last week in our Amish friend’s farm kitchen. (I took it outside for the photo). Most readers will recognize the old milk can and probably deduce that’s a strainer over it. I don’t think they still use it but with the Amish you never know!


Today’s Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources


Brooksyne’s note: This Sunday I will have the privilege of leading our congregation in worship and prepared a dramatic Palm Sunday Scripture reading that we share with our readers who may be able to use it. (pdf)  We will also be singing the song, “The Power of The Cross”  Video   Kristyn Getty.
  This version includes the moving lyrics that  tell of the crucifixion story and the tremendous sacrifice Christ made on our behalf to provide for us His glorious redemption. Well worth your listen (at least once)!

“Press On”  Video  Selah  (This is the song quoted in the message)

“I Can Only Imagine”  Video  MercyMe

“There Will Be A Day”  Video  Jeremy Camp

“Finally Home”  Video  MercyMe

“The Motions”  Video  Matthew West

“Vrednic Esti Tu” (Revelation Song)  Video  Romanian Youth Choir
English version by Phillips, Craig and Dean and Kari Jobe  Video

Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
Holy, holy is He
Sing a new song to Him who sits on
Heaven’s mercy seat
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