White Heron on Donegal Creek 9/12/14 (Photo by Marion Maxwell)
Our neighbor Marion took this photo of a White Heron and ducks along Donegal Creek on the trail across from our house.
(Click on photo for larger view)

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“Be Sure Your Sin Will Find You Out!”

“But if you fail to do this, you will be sinning against the LORD; and you may be sure that your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23). “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight.  Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13).

Mollie, our three year old border collie, was pitifully whimpering because she got into a literal entanglement two days ago. Because she can jump over our high fence we attached additional wire fencing to discourage her frequent leaps to freedom. We also place wire border fencing like the one in the picture below along any openings in the lower part of our outer deck to prohibit her from digging the soil underneath it (as she loves to do).

Mollie caught in fence 9/13/14

But as usual no matter what we do to discourage her mischief she manages to find trouble. Two days ago Brooksyne hollered from upstairs, “Stephen, quick… get the camera and go outside to Mollie.” This time when she tried to get through the deck fencing it caught on her collar and, though she was dragging it through the yard hoping to get rid of the evidence, she finally confessed her bad doings through her whimper with a pleading look on her face that read, “Please get me out of this mess!” I could almost hear the song, “Please release me, let me go…”

Numbers 32:23I did release her after taking several photos (after all, you don’t have to get a dog’s permission like you do your spouse or child when you want to use them for a negative illustration). Though she’s a dog I couldn’t help but think of the Old Testament verse that applies to Mollie and to all of us, “Be sure that your sin will find you out.”

Let us examine the background to this verse. In Numbers 32 the new generation is camped east of the Jordan preparing to enter the Promised Land.  Leaders from the tribes of Reuben and Gad approached Moses and made a proposal to Moses that they would settle and consider as their inheritance the lands east of the Jordan, which they had already settled and found suitable for their livestock. Moses initially misunderstood their request, assuming they were attempting to dodge their responsibilities in the conquest of Canaan.

However, they further clarified their proposal, indicating that they would indeed be sending their fighting men to assist the other tribes and pledging that they would not return until the conquest was complete. Moses’ tone changed with the clarification and he accepted their proposal, but in the first daily text he reminded them of the consequences of failing to keep their word. Tracking through the history of the conquest we see they did indeed fulfill their commitment and were commended by Joshua for their faithfulness in Joshua 22.

There’s a lot of good teaching in this chapter but let me just focus on today’s first text which has a timeless spiritual principle. Moses cautioned the tribal leaders about the consequences of failure to keep their word: “But if you fail to do this (what they had promised), you will be sinning against the LORD.”  Ultimately Moses solemnly reminded them that the failure to honor their word in regard to their responsibilities to others is a sin against the Lord. The principle is the same for us and we do well to always keep that before us, especially when circumstances make it attractive to opt out.

Then Moses states, “and you may be sure that your sin will find you out.” It’s interesting the precise way this is worded, “your sin will find you out” and it is consistent in standard translations. We might expect it to read to the effect, “Others will find out about your sin” which is also the case. However the wording is significant due to self-deception. Sir Walter Scott stated it this way, “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.”

Galatians 6:7I consider a parallel of how it is in our dealings. We may very well think we are getting away with something but we can be sure our sin will find us out, sometimes sooner, other times later. Since the consequences of sin are not always immediate we may be under the illusion that all is well. But eventually our sin will find us out. The apostle Paul’s word to the Galatians is so powerful in this regard, “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:7-9).

Today let us live with the solemn realization that our sin will not go undetected by an all-seeing, all-knowing, all-present, holy God.  Indeed, “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight.”  But we also live with the solemn blessing of His forgiveness when we go to Him with a humble and contrite heart.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, Your Word shows us that obedience brings about blessing but disobedience brings about dishonor. I want to honor You with my life, for there is nothing hidden from Your eyes. Help me to uphold the standards of truth and honesty as revealed through Your unchanging Holy Word; not by the standards of this world that customize “truth” to suit their ever-changing whims, nor by my brothers and sisters of the faith who often come up short. When I’m confronted with my sin help me to have the fortitude and courage to deal with it. May I not cover it up, seek to justify it, blame others, procrastinate or deceive myself. Thank You for granting complete forgiveness to those who come to You in contrition willing to lay down sin and take up righteousness. Amen.


Today’s text is an example of what many have called sins of omission expressed in James 4:17: “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.”



Hot peppers
Brooksyne canned lots of peppers this year, a tasty mix of crisp hot and sweet that tastes great on sandwiches and in salads.

Friendly duck 9/11/14
I (Brooksyne) stopped at a neighbor’s house and was greeted by this friendly duck. The neighbors were gone but the duck walked right beside me down the long driveway, and escorted me back to my car, and everywhere I went. It was my first encounter with a pet duck and strangely after a while I felt like “waddling” right along with the duck.

Roxie with slacks
After seeing Mollie in her tangled mess Brooksyne recalled that years ago Roxie had her own entangling experience with the same look in her eyes (see here for story.)


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“What About Now”  Video  Booth Brothers A very thought-provoking song about how we live our lives each day.

“Broken and Beautiful”  Video  Mark Schultz


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.

Corner Acre Mums display 9/11/14 Corner Acre is an Amish owned farm at the end of our road that sells Mums and other autumn decorative items. We purchased mums on Friday and took this photo.

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“The Call To Continue Steadfastly”

“And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine” (Acts 2:42). “Watch your life and doctrine closely” (1 Timothy 4:16). “Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ” (Jude 1:3,4).

Today I have several on my heart. A nationally known Bible teacher whom I enjoyed listening to was recently removed from his teachng position due to an unspecified accusation. (He was recently restored to his position in the church he serves after a thorough independent investigation exonerated him; the accusation was determined to be false.)* Another friend took a bad turn in regard to drug use after years of being clean. Then I consider one who faithfully proclaimed the gospel truth for many years who has fallen into doctrinal error.

Apostle's Doctrine

“Continued steadfastly.” In musing over these matters I emphasize just these two words from our first daily text which is so greatly needed. It’s a description of the early church and a pattern we surely do well to follow. Just these words grip me, “And they continued steadfastly…” The Amplified version states, “And they steadfastly persevered, devoting themselves constantly.” The first on the list of what they continued to steadfastly practice was the “apostle’s doctrine”.

Apostle's DoctrineI believe as we devote ourselves to Jesus we also will continue steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine. I believe the Bible from cover to cover. I believe it is the authoritative, infallible, inerrant, wholly inspired Word of God. I sure don’t understand all of it and some of the accounts are difficult to comprehend, but I attribute much of this difficulty to my own limited comprehension. Also because it is the unfiltered, unphotoshopped glimpses of real people who lived out their life here on earth, some as excellent role models and others not so much. In fact the extremes of evil and goodness are portrayed all throughout the Book of books.

“Watch your life and doctrine closely.” That is how we live as we conduct our lives and watch our doctrine closely (what we believe). A major emphasis in 1 Timothy is the importance of maintaining a godly life and sound doctrine. My heart is heavily burdened when I see the slipping of godly standards of morality and sound doctrine, yet this has been a battle the true church has faced from its earliest years and these very issues were even dealt with in the New Testament church.

Today, wherever you are, whatever you do, keep careful watch over your life and keep contending for the apostolic doctrine. Hold fast to that which the Scripture teaches. Discern and resist the evil influences that would discredit the teaching of God’s Holy Word.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, Your Word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. Your Word is eternal and it stands firm in the heavens.  You give us understanding to learn your commands and the fortitude to apply these principles which is a life-changing process over our lifetime.  Help us to carefully exegete the Word of God as we contend for the faith once and for all entrusted to the saints. We will contend for the faith in a steadfast manner when we daily apply the doctrine of the apostles and live it out through the Spirit of Christ in whose name we pray. Amen.


Note: We were unable to publish a message last Friday due to a very busy schedule specifically the company community service day we write about below. We try to place a note on the main website if this is the case.


Harvest time in our area

Lancaster County Mennonite harvest scene 9/10/14
The other afternoon we were traveling along Harvest Road and came behind this wagon which was being used for some type of harvest work. Early on these boys are learning the value of hard work!

Lancaster County Mennonite harvest scene 9/10/14
And to snatch a brief nap whenever and wherever you can!

Amish children riding to school on wagon 9/11/14
Thursday we stopped by to see Amish friends. The children caught a rather unique ride to school on Dad’s wagon as he went to another farm to assist with their harvest.

Amish children riding to school on wagon 9/11/14
Sure beats a boring school bus!  I (Brooksyne) think back to my Junior High days when my dad wanted to teach us a lesson about humility. He insisted that we skip the school bus that day and ride with him in his 25 year old beat up, unpainted, and very loud pick-up truck. Turning a deaf ear to our pleading he loaded up my sister and me and proceeded to drop us off right in front of the school where all the cool guys and gals were standing. Elaine and I lowered our heads to the ground and quickly exited the dumpy old truck praying that Daddy would never do that again. Looking back, I know it was an excellent lesson for two daughters that were getting a little “too big for their britches” as my mom would say. It crossed my mind that these Amish children thought nothing of their “backward” mode of transportation. In fact they thought it was great to get a ride in place of their scooter they push with their feet for about two miles. We learn alot from our Amish friends.

Yelena serving at Val-Co Community Day 9/12/14
On Friday Brooksyne, Ester and I joined a local company in serving our community. Each year Val-Co closes down their operations for one day and the employees disperse throughout the community in a variety of service projects. A group went to two local nursing homes where the employees passed out flowers, sang, played games and just visited with the residents. They were a real blessing (Yelena visiting with resident).

Habitat for Humanity crew at Val-Co Community Day 9/12/14
Work crews also went to four separate building and renovation type projects. Here a crew serving at a new Habitat For Humanity house in Lancaster City takes  a break for lunch.

Ken Leaman in dunk tank 9/13/14
Saturday afternoon JK Mechanical celebrated 35 years in business by inviting hundreds of customers to their celebration as well as all their employees and families – a great spread of typical picnic food plus numerous games and prizes. Ken Leaman, the founding owner and K in the JK, got the “privilege” of being dunked by young and old alike. He was good sport. If they couldn’t hit the target they just ran up and pushed it so Ken was plenty wet plenty often.

Finally today:
Justin and Ashley 9/14/14
Yesterday we had some special guests visit our church that we hadn’t seen for awhile; Justin & Ashley Eberley. We met Ashley in a small church Stephen pastored for several years and Ashley faithfully assisted Brooksyne in leading worship and we came to love her like a daughter (that took a little adjustment for Ester after being our only child for 20 years). Ashley works in graphic arts for Hershey Foods and Justin is an auto service technician in Lancaster. Their love for the Lord is evident in all they do.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Keep Me True”  Video  Jabu Hlongwane South African Gospel music We recall singing this old song from our Bible College days as we recall or at least early in our race. It’s a great song of commitment and resolve!

* Ministers are especially prone to being falsely accused although certainly in far too many instances the accusations are true. Here’s an excellent article on the matter referred to today.


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.

“Hope Remains”

September 11, 2014

Pennsylvania mountain trail 9/6/14

A well-travelled path into the forest

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“Hope Remains”

“Man is a mere phantom as he goes to and fro: He bustles about, but only in vain; he heaps up wealth, not knowing who will get it, ‘But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you'” (Psalm 39:6,7). “Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope” (Lamentations 3:21). “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love” (1 Corinthians 13:13).

This last weekend on the men and boys campout I rode my bike through an abandoned Pennsylvania Turnpike tunnel. We drove to the tunnel prepared with our headlamps since we knew what to expect. It was a fun adventure and even though it was very faint we saw the distant light at the end of the 6,782 foot long tunnel even as we entered.

But at other times we face a tunnel experience with little warning and are ill-prepared for navigating our way through it. We may see no evidence of light at the other end. In fact we might not even know where the end will be.  These tunnels may be very personal such as a failing relationship, financial issues, or health problem. Or it could be a type of dark tunnel we mutually share on the national level.

Today marks 13 years since the terrorist attacks of September 11. If you live in the USA and are 18 or older you will recall that day. Evil has gone on unabated since the fall of the human race, but some calamitous days are noteworthy reminders. Most of us remember very graphically the events of 9/11 and live with the lasting impact.

I was in an outdoor meeting with a group of bus drivers in York County that morning. I noticed several large planes making an unusually rapid and steep approach into Harrisburg International Airport to the north, although at that time I had no idea why. I first heard of the events when I walked into an office and saw the live coverage on TV as a secretary wept uncontrollably. Initially, as I watched the burning trade center, my mind refused to believe this to be reality since we’re accustomed to dramatic graphic fiction on the television screen. But of course it was real.

As I drove home and crossed the Susquehanna River back into Lancaster County I began to wonder if freedom and the “good life”, as most of us had known it up to that point, was over. We had a chaplain leadership meeting that morning but our attention was so diverted and everyone wanted to gather with their families so our supervisor cancelled it after a short time. Most of us recall sitting in shock and disbelief in front of our TV’s the rest of that day and the days that followed.

The next morning I sent out a message on hope and today I have revised and added to that message. It indeed is still appropriate and always will be. It’s based on a study through the Bible using the key word “hope”.

Hope is one of the most necessary spiritual and emotional components of life. Without it we live in despair. In the book of Lamentations the prophet Jeremiah is living through the times of Judah’s final conquest. In the portion that precedes the second daily verse he describes the horrible, despicable events that accompanied this time and Jeremiah seems to be teetering on despair.

But we have one of the greatest transition verses in all of Scripture.  In the midst of this terrific despair Jeremiah writes, “This I call to mind and therefore I have hope.” What Jeremiah called to mind brought hope from despair and today some 2,600 years later, it will do so for us as we reflect on these immutable attributes of God.

The kingdoms of this world are temporal, self-serving, and polluted by the wiles of Satan’s strategies to steal, kill and destroy. It is headed for total destruction. But, as believers, we follow after Christ who brings abundant life as we renounce the world and enter into His kingdom of righteousness, peace and joy. Though the world may crumble around us, our hope remains fixed on the eternal kingdom not seen with human eyes. Such anticipation fills us with inexpressible and glorious joy as we await the day that Jesus Christ is revealed in all His glory, splendor and holiness.

Hope remainsThe apostle Paul concluded the Love Chapter with these words, “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.” Hope remains. The nature of the hope we have is foundationally a spiritual hope. The “good life” (peace and prosperity), as many of us have known it or desire it to be on this earth, is not guaranteed by God. So many, many of the heroes of the faith of the past and present testify to this. (Read Hebrews 11).

The hope that remains is the assurance that ultimately “in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose” (Romans 8;28). This is an enduring hope in which we can all be absolutely confident.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we solemnly consider the catastrophic impact that terrorists have permanently etched in our painful memories from events of 9/11/01. Though we witnessed mayhem and saw evil at its worst, mercifully, we also witnessed acts of goodness at their best.  We are not without hope, for we know that You are a God of hope that fills believers with all joy and peace as they trust in You, so that they may overflow with hope by the power of Your Holy Spirit. Help us to spread the overflowing, enduring hope that does not diminish in the midst of evil, but instead it focuses our hearts on the holy city, the New Jerusalem. The New Jerusalem where Your presence is with Your people. Where You will wipe away every tear from our eyes and there will be no more death, sadness, crying, or pain, because all the old ways are gone, for You will make all things new. Come, Lord Jesus, come.  Amen.

(See Romans 15:13, Revelation 21:1-5)

Here are several photos from our journey to and through the abandoned turnpike tunnel this last weekend.

Pennsylvania turnpike abandoned tunnel 9/7/14
You drive on back roads to get to the old turnpike right of way where you park. The way to the tunnels are blocked with these Jersey barriers to limit any vehicle traffic.

Pennsylvania turnpike abandoned tunnel 9/7/14
Approaching the tunnel from the east.

Pennsylvania turnpike abandoned tunnel 9/7/14
Coming out of the tunnel with our headlamps on.

The light at the end of the tunnel

Pennsylvania turnpike abandoned tunnel 9/7/14
On the way to the tunnels we had an adventure when a limb broke off a tree and fell right on the hood of Roy’s van.

Pennsylvania mountain barn 9/7/14
We passed this old mountain barn on the way back from the abandoned turnpike tunnel.

Pennsylvania mountain stone house 9/6/14
I’ve photographed this old farmhouse before and have wondered if it will ever be restored. Nelson who has a camp in that area claims that a legend is that George Washington stayed here. But then again it is claimed that George Washington stayed about everywhere in the northeast at some time!


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Because He Lives”  Video  Gaither Vocal Band

“I Believe in a Hill Called Mount Calvary”  Video  Gaither Vocal Band

“Sometimes I Cry”  Video  Jason Crabb

“Redeemer”  Video  Crabb Family

* Here’s the original archived message from 9/12/01

Here are some more tunnel photos and account from the trip I made with the men and boys in 2007.

History of the Pennsylvania Turnpike (article)


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.

Come and dine

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“Come And Dine, The Master Calleth”
“Jesus saith unto them, ‘Come and dine'” (John 21:12). “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with Me” (Revelation 3:20).”Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb. These are true words of God” (Revelation 19:9).

Jesus has a table spread
Where the saints of God are fed,
He invites His chosen people, “Come and dine”;
With His manna He doth feed
And supplies our every need:
Oh, ’tis sweet to sup with Jesus all the time!

The last couple of days I have drawn illustrations from a men and boys campout I attended this last weekend in the mountains of central PA. Our main physical activity is biking but if you include eating as a physical activity we did a lot of that as well!

All food is cooked outside by our own men of course (no women at this campout); most over an open fire, although one of the men brings along a propane griddle for pancakes. We eat real good but probably not the best food for long-term health since there’s lots of bacon and fried foods. I will share some representative photos below. Forewarning: it just might make you hungry.

An old phrase, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”, speaks of the value a man places on good cooking. Well, it seems that Jesus used food to reach people’s hearts on various occasions as well.

Come and dineToday we share three daily texts regarding eating. “Come and dine” is a literal invitation from Jesus during a post resurrection experience as He welcomed the disciples to join Him for a breakfast he had prepared over a hot fire beside the lake shore (John 21:1-14). Other versions state, “Come and have breakfast.”  It was the first men’s breakfast of note, a staple fixture in many churches these days.

Breakfast was followed by one of His final teachings prior to the Ascension. The disciples had been fishing all night and were surely very hungry. Any of us who have worked real hard know this type of hunger. How considerate of our Lord to meet their physical needs prior to ministering to their spiritual. When they got off the boat He had fish grilling over a fire and bread. “Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and the fish likewise” (v. 13).

The disciples came to land,
Thus obeying Christ’s command,
For the Master called unto them, “Come and dine”;
There they found their heart’s desire,
Bread and fish upon the fire;
Thus He satisfies the hungry every time.

Jesus knockingThe second text is a familiar passage from the Book of Revelation and is often used in an appeal for someone to open his or her heart to Christ.* In fact one of the most famous works in Christian art is based on this passage. Christ has promised He will come in and eat with anyone who opens the door, “If anyone hears my voice and opens the door.”

“I will come in and eat with him, and he with me”. Eating here conveys the idea of close fellowship (Luke 19:5-7; John 13). Jesus says He will “eat with him” through ongoing fellowship as we hear His voice and opens the door.

Our biggest and most important meal though is future, the promise of dining with Christ at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. “Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” Perhaps I will be seated right next to you or across from you on that day when we enjoy the feast of a lifetime and fellowship divine!

Great Banquet
Soon the Lamb will take His bride
To be ever at His side,
All the host of Heaven will assembled be;
O ’twill be a glorious sight,
All the saints in spotless white;
And with Jesus they will feast eternally.

Today we urge our readers to have living fellowship with our Living Lord. Experience the joy in the old song that states, “And He walks with me, and He talks with me, And He tells me I am His own; And the joy we share as we tarry there, None other has ever known.”

“Come and dine,” the Master calleth, “Come and dine”;
You may feast at Jesus’ table all the time;
He who fed the multitude, turned the water into wine,
To the hungry calleth now, “Come and dine.”

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, just as we enjoy the nourishment of food at mealtime to grow us physically, so we enjoy the nourishment of Your Word that builds us spiritually. We have tasted and seen that You are good. Fill us to overflowing through the reading and application of Your Holy Word and through the daily fellowship of Your Holy Spirit. We gladly accept Jesus’ invitation to come and dine at His table of forgiveness, compassion, humility, acceptance, and joy beyond measure. It is a table fit for royalty and peasant alike, for we are one and the same in the eyes of our Creator, the King of kings and Lord of lords. Amen.


Here are more photos from my camping trip to the mountains this last weekend. Today’s photos focus on our fine dining with sundry foods all cooked over open fires.

Men and boys campout 9/6/14 (Photo by Mike Book)
On a cool mountain morning there’s nothing like sitting around the fire with a hot cup of coffee. Not sure what’s in the skillet (Photo by our friend Mike Book)

Men and boys campout 9/6/14
A huge cast iron griddle being used in preparation for breakfast  (this is only one of them). Looks so good I could enjoy this meal again this morning.

Men and boys campout 9/6/14
Lee frying up the potatoes seasoned with sizzling onions and peppers.

Men and boys campout 9/6/14
An old tree stump provided a great foundation for a work table. Bill and Nelson are preparing to mix items for the griddle, including chicken of the forest mushrooms collected under trees.

Men and boys campout 9/6/14
Many hands make light work! (Many hands also make food disappear.)

Men and boys campout 9/6/14
Jay takes pride in his BBQ chicken. By the looks of this photo, he has earned the title of “Barbeque Poultry King”.

If you weren’t hungry when you opened Daily Encouragement you might be after viewing all these food photos!

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Come And Dine”  Video  Gary Chapman   Written by Charles B. Widmeyer 1906, wrote the song to go with a ser­mon he was pre­par­ing on John 21:12.

“The Marriage Supper Of The Lamb”  Video  The Hoppers

“In the Garden”  Video  The Mullins

“Power Of The Cross”  Video  Steve Green

* Some Bible commentators feel Revelation 3:20 should not be used evangelistically but in context refers to His knocking on the door of the lukewarm church. See here.


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.

“A Cistern Memory”

September 9, 2014

Cumberland Valley stone farmhouseStone farmhouse along the Cumberland Valley rail to trail route.

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

Note: Today’s message has a bit more personal reminiscing and illustrative material than usual. Skip down for exposition of Scripture text.

“A Cistern Memory”

“Then the king commanded Ebed-Melech the Cushite, ‘Take thirty men from here with you and lift Jeremiah the prophet out of the cistern before he dies.’ So Ebed-Melech took the men with him and went to a room under the treasury in the palace. He took some old rags and worn-out clothes from there and let them down with ropes to Jeremiah in the cistern. Ebed-Melech the Cushite said to Jeremiah, ‘Put these old rags and worn-out clothes under your arms to pad the ropes.’ Jeremiah did so, and they pulled him up with the ropes and lifted him out of the cistern” (Jeremiah 38:10-13).

This last weekend I attended a men and boys campout in the mountains of central Pennsylvania which I referred to yesterday. Among our activities were bike rides and I participated in three of them; one on a rails to trails route on the old Cumberland Valley Railroad line, another down a mountain, and a third through an abandoned Pennsylvania turnpike tunnel.

Our route along the rails to trails took us through beautiful farmland in the Cumberland Valley. We passed many old order Mennonite farms; one where I stopped to visit with a farmer who was driving his steel-wheeled tractor* out to cut corn. Another old farmhouse right along the trail especially caught my attention when I spotted a GEM water pump over a cistern alongside their house just like one my grandparents had beside their little house. That brought back childhood memories.

GEM cistern pump

Slamming screen doorWhile I was growing up in Missouri my parents were good about visiting my grandparents regularly. Following each long trip from the Kansas City area where we lived  to Harwood my sister Genelle and I would jump out of the car after we pulled up to my grandparent’s little white frame house. We would then race over to the pump situated right in front of the slamming screen door and vigorously crank the handle several times until water finally gushed out of the spigot. (The old pump in the above photo appears to be missing the crank handle.) Here’s a photo with a handle.

However we were told not to drink the water since it was merely runoff which had gathered in a shallow cistern under the pump. I never did get to see what that cistern looked like down inside, but I sure wouldn’t want to be trapped in it like the Bible character we write about today!

Today let us examine a famous Bible character who was intentionally imprisoned in a cistern. The story is found in Jeremiah 38:1-13. This took place in a period just before the fall of the Kingdom and Babylonian Exile.

King Zedekiah was certainly not favorably disposed to the prophet Jeremiah, viewing him as a pest with his discouraging, negative prophetical pronouncements though Jeremiah was merely proclaiming the truth.  Jeremiah summed up the king’s attitude this way, “If I tell you the truth, you will kill me. And if I give you advice, you won’t listen to me anyway” (Jeremiah 38:15).

At one point Zedekiah had Jeremiah brought to the palace where he asked him privately, “Is there any word from the LORD?” I suppose Zedekiah was expecting a favorable word. “Yes,” Jeremiah replied, “you will be handed over to the king of Babylon” (Jeremiah 37:17). Now that’s a bold, truthful prophet, the kind of preachers we need today!

The officials viewed the prophecies of Jeremiah to be demoralizing to the remaining soldiers who fought in this war. In retribution, and with the king’s consent, wicked men lowered Jeremiah down into an empty cistern to torment him. It wasn’t his first time to be held captive as Jeremiah had been whipped, imprisoned, put in stocks and ridiculed (Jeremiah 20).

In each of these instances he was finally released but here he is once again held in seclusion which would render his prophecies silenced and seemingly powerless. It would also lead to his eventual death as they withheld food from him while he sunk deep into the mud-filled cistern. Talk about claustrophobia! But one thing the evil captors could not do was keep Jeremiah from praying to God for release from his miserable captivity.

Jeremiah being lifted out of cisternGod had not forgotten nor forsaken Jeremiah. He began to nudge Ebed-Melech the Cushite to intercede for Jeremiah. It couldn’t have been easy, probably causing Ebed-Melech to lose some sleep over the matter.  He’s one of those obscure Bible characters whose brief story in Scripture is so easy to pass over as we read the narrative portions of God’s Word. Ebed-Melech means “servant of the king”.  He was a Cushite, which means he came from the region of present-day Ethiopia and was likely a black man.

Risking his life he approached the king and appealed for Jeremiah’s rescue. The two-faced king granted permission and and also sent thirty unnamed men to assist Ebed-Melech in lifting Jeremiah out of the cistern. (I certainly wonder why they needed 30 men!)

A small detail in the rescue itself is the source of today’s encouraging challenge. Note the consideration of Ebed-Melech in taking along old rags and worn-out clothes to pad the rope. Anyone who has ever held onto rope or been lifted with a rope knows how it can burn and cut deep into the skin if not padded. We aren’t told how long Jeremiah remained in the cistern but being deprived of sunshine and food his skin was likely even more sensitive to ropeburn. What an extra measure of consideration at such a time as this! Later after Jerusalem fell captive to the Babylonians Ebed-Melech received a very encouraging word of hope through Jeremiah’s prophecy (39:15-18).

Figuratively speaking, is there someone you know that needs a rope pull; someone sinking at the bottom of a muddy, stinky cistern? Ask God how you can be part of His rescue plan for this discouraged soul. Be sure to take along some “padding” to make the rescue less painful.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we are so grateful for the rope holders who’ve helped pull us out of despairing situations. Those who have given us an uplifting message, interceded in prayer on our behalf, given of their time and expertise to help us in our dilemma. We too want to be a rope holder and offer a word of encouragement, be a listening ear, and extend tender compassion and mercy to one in need. Help us to be Your hand extended to those in need we pray.  Amen.


Bible trivia quiz: What other Bible character was thrown into a cistern? Answer here.


Brooksyne’s Note: I also have a memory of outdoor water. My grandparents, who lived in the mountains in Arkansas, had no electricity or running water. When water was needed we were commissioned to go out to the hand dug well and bring in a bucket of freshly drawn water by lowering a bucket on a rope deep into the water. When the bucket hit the water it dipped and filled with water and then we pulled the rope up by hand. There were a few summers when the well went dry and then we had to walk about 1/4 mile to the spring and lug home a bucket of water. Since we were young we probably spilled half of it before we got back. I’m thankful for those memories and experiencing the value of hard work.


Here are some more photos from my camping trip to the mountains this last weekend.

Men and boys campout bikes 9/6/14
A handy trailer hauls our bikes to trailheads, mountaintops and tunnels.

Horse along Cumberland Valley rail trail 9/6/14

This horse was fenced right along the Cumberland Valley rail trail and had just run to the fence to greet another horse leading an Amish buggy.

Cumberland County farm 9/6/14
All along the trail we passed tidy farms.

Cumberland County corn harvest 9/6/14
Older equipment is used to harvest the corn by this old-order Mennonite farmer, unlike the huge equipment I saw across the road from our home last week. This corn chopper only had two heads.

Morning glories on fence post 9/6/14
Pretty morning glories were growing right along the trail.

http://www.dailyencouragement.net/archives/2014-09-10.htm
Men and boys campout 9/6/14 (photo by Mike Book)
Men preparing for the 5 mile ride down the mountain. You need to keep your brakes on practically the whole way down.

Mountain vista
Part way down the mountain where a power line clearing reveals the paved road far below.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“You Never Let Go”  Video  Matt Redman  “Oh, no, You never let go through the high and through the low…Oh, no, You never let go of me”. This song has been of particular blessing to us, as WDAC our local Christian radio station plays it often with different artists singing it. The lyrics are so pertinent for whatever in life might be troubling to you, reminding you that God will take you through. “Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you. He will never let the righteous fall” (Psalm 55:2). This is a powerful memory verse I taught children in Sunday School this past Sunday and it is has been speaking to me ever since. (Brooksyne)

Google map of campout and bike rides. I first made this map several years ago and revised it this morning to share the location of the rails to trails bike ride.

GEM pump letteringThe lettering GEM on the pump housing is made by punching holes in the sheet metal to form the letters. Searching the internet I see GEM was a very common pump maker. I wonder if any of our readers know what the initials stood for? For curious readers who, like me, enjoy understanding how things work, here is a page that explains how this type of pump works (scroll down for diagram)

* A particular sect of old-order Mennonites insist on using steel-wheeled tractors! (see here for more information) According to this article, “Use of steel wheels ensures tractors are not used as a substitute for automobiles to run errands or to make more extensive trips than are convenient with horse-drawn carriages. The steel wheel rule prevents large agricultural operations, reinforcing an emphasis on small farms that provide manual labor for all of the family members.”


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.

“Living Water”

September 8, 2014

Conodoquinet CreekConodoquinet Creek

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“Living Water”

“Now on the final and most important day of the Feast, Jesus stood, and He cried in a loud voice, If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink! He who believes in Me as the Scripture has said, From his innermost being shall flow springs and rivers of living water” (John 7:37,38).

This last weekend I joined a group of men and boys from our church in the mountains for a campout, although I had the comfortable arrangement of sleeping on a bed in a modern cabin! This is an annual event which many of us look forward to. It’s held along Conodoquinet Creek which provides a scenic backdrop, fresh water for swimming and bathing as well as a place for the boys to play, fish and of course catch crawdads.

Men and boys playing in Conodoquinet Creek 9/6/14

Conodoquinet Creek is a mountain stream that starts only a few miles above where we camped. The water flows steadily; it’s clear as glass and cold as ice water. But upon close observation you can find small still pools where the water has gathered. With no movement the pool becomes stagnant.

One of the earliest principles we learned in our walk with Christ was the importance of flowing water. We recall an analogy based upon stagnant water that illustrates a life that is not taking in fresh water and has no outflow.

Today’s Scripture text has the words of the Lord Jesus. He had stood to deliver a message at the last and greatest day of the Feast of Tabernacles. In a loud voice (one versions states “Jesus shouted to the crowds”) He gave the following invitation; “If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink! He who believes in Me [who cleaves to and trusts in and relies on Me] as the Scripture has said, From his innermost being shall flow [continuously] springs and rivers of living water”.”

"Living Water" bottle

Jesus used an analogy in His teaching that is completely cross cultural. “Streams of Living Water” is a concept that can be grasped by all people. That is what he intends to flow out of those who come to Him and drink from His eternal life giving supply. “Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.”  He certainly doesn’t say or intend that a stagnant pool of diseased water will flow from within him!

Just as water is necessary to sustain physical life (our bodies are made up of approximately 2/3 water), so the Savior and all that He teaches and represents are essential for eternal life.  We need to drink daily from His fresh flowing supply to sustain our spiritual growth and development.

In my personal study I often find value in comparing various Bible translations when I study a verse. BibleGateway.com is very helpful in this regard, although I have various print versions of parallel Bibles as well.  The Amplified Version states, “He who believes in Me [who cleaves to and trusts in and relies on Me] as the Scripture has said, from his innermost being shall flow [continuously] springs and rivers of living water.”

As believers in Christ we need fresh inflow and God’s Word provides an inexhaustible supply. Although the pure reading of Scriptural text should be the primary source there are many supplements such as Bible teaching, reading godly books, listening to uplifting music and so forth.

We also need an outflow; that is sharing His Word with others in various forms of ministry. In our current form of ministry we seek to continue to grow in the Lord and the knowledge of his Word and then share it through this online writing ministry, face to face, and through preaching as opportunities arise. Perhaps you are a Sunday School teacher, youth leader, worship leader, lead a ministry in the nursing home. There are so many avenues in which we are given opportunity to extend to others what God has instilled in us.

Today, let the streams of God’s living water flow through our lives to a parched, needy world!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, help us to accept Your invitation to come and drink freely from Your inexhaustible supply of life-giving water.  May it overflow to those around us as it springs forth in our words, our actions and in our thoughts.  Amen.

Brooksyne’s Note:  We never recall buying bottled water as children or even in our younger adult years, nor do you who’ve been around as long as us. Tap water was just fine! But bottled water continues to be a very popular commodity available in just about every retail store. Their prices vary based upon the name brand.  Of course, for those who are name brand conscious they’re willing to pay the big bucks to sip from their bottled water with the brand name exposed assuming it to be better water.  Due to a very shallow well in our agricultural area we fill jugs from a mountain spring for our drinking water now. Would there be a market for those who want to purchase “Living Water”?  Well, I don’t believe Jesus is going to get into the bottled water industry, but He does make Himself available for all who will “come and drink freely” from His life giving supply.  Are you sipping from His source throughout the day?


The next several days I will share some photos from my camping trip to the mountains.

Campfire smoke over Conodoquinet Creek 9/7/14

Yesterday morning we had breakfast prepared around the campfire. This is not mist but campfire smoke drifting out over Conodoquinet Creek.

Campfire smoke in trees 9/7/14
The early morning sunlight filtering through the trees and campfire smoke.

Boys playing with turtle 9/6/14
Three curious and energetic boys had nonstop play over the weekend and plenty of opportunity to observe nature. I’m sure glad the turtle was in the stew pot for play, not for turtle stew! (I think but knowing outdoorsmen Nelson it may have been a meal later)

Al playing with turtle 9/6/14
The boys weren’t the only ones playing!

Mike sharing at men and boys campout 9/7/14
Mike Gardner, our men’s leader and avid outdoorsman, shared a message yesterday morning drawn from trout fishing.

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“There is A River (Psalm 46)”  Video  Maranatha! Singers

“I Will Delight”  Video  Fernando Ortega

“Springs of Living Water”  Video  The Calvary Men’s Choir Magherafelt, N. Ireland Some of you old–timers will recall singing this happy melody!

“Wonderful Peace”  Video  Don Moen  Dedicated to friends who have recently entered a period of trial and found solace in this song.


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

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

“Spiritual Laws”

September 5, 2014

Rainbow over western Lancaster County 9/2/14 (Photo by Doris High)Tuesday evening we had a full rainbow over Lancaster County including a double rainbow for some viewers.
This photo is from Doris High’s site. Here’s a larger version from her site.

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“Spiritual Laws”

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

Yesterday I visited for a few minutes with Phil, who leads a local company that designs and manufactures agricultural equipment such as watering and feeding systems. Modern agriculture has become very hi-tech and this is seen in many areas.

Phil has an engineering background as well as being raised on a farm so he has a very good handle on the products his company makes. Through the years I have had many engineering friends who use physical laws to apply their work. These physical laws govern the physical universe and can be applied reliably and consistently to any product line.

My conversation with Phil prompted a memory from a teaching I learned many years ago: “Just as there are physical laws that govern the physical universe, so there are spiritual laws that govern your relationship with God.”

The physical laws that govern the physical universe are studied by scientists, applied by engineers and observed by all of us. Life as we know it works because these physical laws created by God are so reliable. Consider all that is dependent on this single Creation act, “God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night” (Genesis 1:16).

We live in a universe that functions by laws; predictable, repeatable, understandable laws. Dr. Warner Von Braun, the father of the space program, said: “The natural laws of the universe are so precise that we do not have any difficulty building a space ship, sending a person to the moon and we can time the landing with the precision of a fraction of a second.”

When I became a Christian and serious follower of Christ in the early seventies my early discipleship (training) was through a ministry called “Campus Crusade For Christ”. Many of our readers have heard of this ministry which has a worldwide impact. A foundational aspect of my training was learning to share my faith with others. Campus Crusade used a small booklet titled, “The Four Spiritual Laws” as an aid. We were expected to memorize this booklet and now nearly 45 years later I can still recite each of the laws.

The approach begins with a powerful statement quoted above. “Just as there are physical laws that govern the physical universe, so there are spiritual laws that govern your relationship with God.”

Spiritual laws are determined by God’s Holy Word, the Bible. They govern our relationship with God. Bill Bright, who founded Campus Crusade For Christ, summarizes these spiritual laws into four essential points concerning salvation:

Law 1: God loves you and offers a wonderful plan for your life.
Law 2: Man is sinful and separated from God. Therefore, he cannot know and experience God’s love and plan for his life.
Law 3: Jesus Christ is God’s only provision for man’s sin. Through Him you can know and experience  God’s love and plan for your life.
Law 4: We must individually receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord; then we can know and experience God’s love and plan for our lives.

Of vital importance is knowing and understanding the spiritual laws that govern our relationship with God. We urge all reading our message to examine your heart today. Today’s prayer is a type of prayer often used to help people with the words in accepting Christ. Does this prayer express the desire of your heart? If it does, we invite you to pray this prayer, either as a first-time expression of faith or as a means of rededication and affirmation.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Lord Jesus, I need You. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and receive You as my Savior and Lord. I ask You to forgive me of my sins so that I might have peace with God and experience eternal life in heaven. Take control of the throne of my life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be in accordance with Scripture and in imitation of Christ in whose name we pray. Amen.


I had considered going in a different direction with today’s message, the tampering of God’s physical laws which are especially evident in the social order of our day. As this tampering continues I predict it will get very ugly. (See Galatians 6:7-9)


Update on Ester:

Ester on jobsite 9/4/14

Ester Update:  Several have asked for an update concerning our daughter Ester.  She is volunteering at Free Geek Penn on Thursdays. She spends about five hours each week taking apart computers, radios, mouses, keyboards and many other things for recycling. She just took the front off this dual cassette player and is preparing to take it apart. Other volunteers (or perhaps they are paid) do the opposite and refurbish the products. After 75 volunteer hours Ester can earn a refurbished desk top computer. She really enjoys the work! Regarding her health: she is much, much better than three weeks ago when she landed in the hospital for several days. The digoxin toxicity was the culprit and she no longer takes digoxin which resulted in her coming home from the hospital with arrhythmia problems. A visit with her new cardiologist several days later resulted in her being put on a different beta blocker, metoprolol, which seems to be working for her. Thank you for your continued interest and prayers on her behalf, for you are very caring, compassionate readers and we are appreciative of that!


Here are several photos from our moseying through Lancaster County yesterday in the course of our chaplain visitation.

General store in Bird In Hand, PA 9/4/14
We stopped by the Bird In Hand General Store just up the street from a company we visit. I like these old weathered boards on the porch floor.

Mums for sale in Bird In Hand, PA 9/4/14
A sure sign of fall’s pending arrival is Mums for Sale!

Red Cannas on Amish farm near New Holland, PA 9/4/14
On Monday we shared a photo of red Cannas with bronze leaves. Brooksyne has been admiring several rows of them on an Amish farm we pass every week. Yesterday we drove back into the farm and inquired as to whether they might sell the canna bulbs after they’re dug up in the fall. Turns out they sell them at auction but Mary, the farmer’s wife, kindly arranged for Brooksyne to get them there at the farm.

Purple Martin bird house near New Holland, PA 9/4/14
Note the innovative way this large Purple Martin birdhouse is constructed on an Amish farm north of Intercourse PA.  You can raise and lower it like a flag to service it!

Amish father and children near New Holland, PA 9/4/14)
This Amish dad was out running errands with his children near New Holland PA.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“The Four Spiritual Laws” Video  A neat video of the Four Spiritual Laws with a song sung by Don Moen in the background.

“The Four Spiritual Laws” online in many languages  English 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.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 724 other followers