Willow Valley stone farmhouse first snow 11/14/14
Willow Valley Stone Farmhouse
Last Friday morning we had the first light snowfall of the season in our area, although we first saw it in Willow Valley, an area south of Lancaster City. No shoveling this time!

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This week we will share a series of messages on “Understanding The Present Times” from Romans 13:11-14.

“And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature” (Romans 13:11-14).

“Understanding The Present Time”
(Part 1)
“Living For What Really Matters”

“Men of Issachar, who understood the times and knew what Israel should do” (1 Chronicles 12:32). “And do this, understanding the present time” (Romans 13:11).

We are bombarded with information about the present time in which we live. I can turn on the TV or sit down at my computer and instantly get an update on significant or insignificant news from anywhere in the world. It’s amazing how much attention the clearly insignificant gets, especially the interest that is shown toward the latest shenanigans of popular celebrities. But understanding and discerning what truly is significant, what it means and how to respond is greatly needed.

There is an increasing intensity it seems; a sense I have in my spirit of some type of significant threshold being reached, a tipping point as some would say. I want God to give me wisdom to understand the present time and know how to properly respond.

Tabloid papers2 Timothy 4:3 states, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears. And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” There is a spiritual epidemic in the United States, affecting many with a malnourished gospel message. Untold numbers fall ill from its effects of false spirituality which is being packaged and marketed as 100% pure truth. Just consider the scores of people who get their information from the supermarket tabloids!

“Understanding the present time” calls us to:

  • cut through all the clutter,
  • practice clear-minded thinking,
  • Biblically-informed discernment and
  • guidance from the Holy Spirit.

We have a model to follow in the “men of Issachar”. Our only insight into these otherwise unknown men is a rather obscure passage from I Chronicles concerning those who joined David in Hebron at the time the kingdom was transitioning from Saul to David. It’s in a part of the Bible we may gloss over! (Just read this portion) There are some other powerful gems such as a description of those who had “helped David with an undivided heart”.)

Let us consider the spiritual discernment of these men of Issachar, “who understood the times and knew what Israel should do.” Issachar was one of Jacob’s sons and his descendants later became a tribe which had amazingly maintained their distinct identity for some 800 years up to the time of David. This verse is found in a section of Scripture chronicling David’s soldiers. Two qualities marked these men of Issachar and the special contribution they made during the time they lived. They “understood the times and knew what Israel should do.”

1) They “understood the times.” What a powerful statement!  “Understanding the times” involves spiritual discernment. We find contemporary events interesting yet often disturbing, frightening and even potentially despairing. But the fundamental focus on properly understanding the times is a steady, growing understanding of God and His Word. “The LORD is exalted, for He dwells on high; He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure” (Isaiah 33:5,6).

Daniel 12:10 2) They “knew what Israel should do.” As a result of spiritual understanding and godly discernment we need God’s direction in these times to keep our life, family and ministry on the right track.  A powerful apocalyptic verse at the end of Daniel states, “Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand” (Daniel 12:10).

I wonder if Paul had these men of Issachar in mind when he begins a section we will be studying this week, “And do this, understanding the present time.”

Proverbs 1:7 We want to be wise in the sight of God by interpreting and discerning the mindset of our present culture with Scriptural understanding. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline” (Proverbs 1:7). The Life Application study notes shed further insight on this familiar Scripture: “In this information age knowledge is plentiful, but wisdom is scarce. Wisdom means far more than simply knowing a lot.  It is a basic attitude that affects every aspect of life. The foundation of knowledge is to fear the Lord – to honor and respect God, to live in awe of His power and to obey His Word. Faith in God should be the controlling principle for your understanding of the world, your attitudes and your actions.”

Let us consider these qualities in our life today and pray that the Lord will help us to understand the present time and show us how to remain faithful and fruitful, as we press on for Christ and represent His Kingdom! Let us live for what really matters.

When It’s All Been Said and Done
There is just one thing that matters.
Did I do my best to live for Truth?
Did I live my life for You?

When It’s All Been Said and Done
All my treasures will mean nothing.
Only what I’ve done for love’s reward,
Will stand the test of time.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father of all wisdom, we who are children of the light, do not live as those in darkness. Instead You have shown us right from wrong, truth from error, and You have given us discernment to test the spirits to see that which is from You and that which is from the evil one. The foundations seem to be shaking as we are flooded with a tidal wave of twists and spins that seeks to confuse or demean the believer. We clothe ourselves daily with godly armor, both defensive and offensive weaponry since our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but rather the authorities from this world. Keep our souls untainted by the changing rhetoric and sliding standards from our decadent society as we stand against the spiritual forces of evil like the men of Issachar. Help us to walk boldly in the conviction power of the Holy Spirit today, we pray in Jesus’ name.  Amen.


Some photos from our weekend
On Saturday morning we attended a Christian radio recording by Haven Today ministries (formerly Haven of Rest). Charles Morris, the host, interviewed several Amish people here in Lancaster County who have been born again and testified of their faith in Christ and salvation by grace through faith.

Charles Morris interviewing two Amish men 11-15-14
Morris is interviewing these two born again Amish men who are still in the Amish church.

Charles Morris interviewing former Amish couple 11-15-14
This young couple has been excommunicated. They live here in Lancaster County and we will attempt to meet them in the future. They shared their experience with a powerful insight into genuine discipleship.

Kevin Kohler and wife at Haven event 11-15-14
At the Haven meeting we saw some Daily Encouragement friends we haven’t seen for many years. Kevin and his wife are from Maryland and visited our home for a barn sing about ten years ago.

Bethany with Operation Christmas Child box collection 11/16/14
Bethany is bringing in her Operation Christmas Child box to add to the collection.
Operation Christmas child provides small gift boxes to children in impoverished lands, along with a witness of Christ’s love

Operation Christmas Child box collection 11/16/14
Our church collected nearly 200 boxes and Pastor John invited the children to come forward to pray over the boxes. (Little Bethany is in the middle assisted by her dad, Ken.)

Pastor Keefer hugging Connie 11/16/14
Connie getting her pastor’s hug at the end of the service.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“When It’s All Been Said And Done”   Video   Robin Mark  A great song!

Haven Today with Charles Morris  is a radio program we have enjoyed for many years.

Haven of Rest Quartet playlist

“In This Very Room”  Video  Haven Quartet  This song brings back a special memory from 1986 when we gathered for the very first service in our newly constructed church edifice in Saint Marys, Pennsylvania. Bruce Jack began the service by singing this song! It is one of those times many will still remember the special presence of the Lord. (Bruce and his wife Cindy remain friends to this day)

Operation Christmas Child

Finally today:

Mount Pleasant church traffic 11/14/14
Pulling out from our church parking lot yesterday we had some slower traffic most of our readers don’t experience but let us know they always like the photos.

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.

Psalm 36:5,6 with rural scene in Lancaster County, PA 11/13/14 (Click to enlarge)
Rural scene in Lancaster County, PA 11/13/14
(Click to enlarge and for Scripture)

Poole Forge ironmasters mansion, Lancaster County, PA 11/13/14 (Click to enlarge)
Poole Forge Ironmasters Mansion, Lancaster County, PA
(Click to enlarge)

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“Man’s Sin; God’s Love”

“Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens, Your faithfulness to the skies. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the great deep. O LORD, Y’ou preserve both man and beast” (Psalm 36:5,6).

We often use photos as a visual reinforcement of the messages we share with readers such as today’s photo. Since we live in rural Lancaster County, Pennsylvania most of our photos reflect scenes in this area. When we travel we always try to get a different perspective as well as periodically using photos from several friends with their permission.

Awhile back we were in a gift shop that presented scenic views in the most interesting way. A very realistic window on the wall featured a pleasant view of the outside along with the expected sounds, but in reality it was a scenic video in a window frame. We viewed a bucolic pasture with cattle peacefully grazing that would periodically look up or even move toward the window. It was very realistic. We considered what a “window” like this would look like in a New York City highrise!

I suppose if I had one of these I would want changeable views, such as an ocean view, a mountain view and so forth. That would sure provide a lot of variety and transplant you to any geographic region that your heart so desired at the moment!

Today I invite you to press forward the video tape stored in your memory and contemplate your favorite mountain setting, breezes blowing, sun rising or setting, as we consider today’s text from Psalm 36, “Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains.” The photo below was taken in Cade’s Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. (This photo will enlarge.)

Cades Cove in Smoky Mountain National Park

Psalm 36 begins like this, “An oracle is within my heart concerning the sinfulness of the wicked:” The first four verses are an observation of man’s wickedness. Though David wrote this passage some 3000 years ago, it could easily be describing the conditions in November 2014 of the world in which we live. (I encourage readers to take a moment and read the entire Psalm today.)

Consider these characteristics of our sinful condition:

  • There is no fear of God before his eyes.
  • For in his own eyes he flatters himself too much to detect or hate his sin.
  • The words of his mouth are wicked and deceitful;
  • He has ceased to be wise and to do good.
  • Even on his bed he plots evil;
  • He commits himself to a sinful course and does not reject what is wrong.

But David interjects a remarkable proclamation concerning God’s love, faithfulness, righteousness and justice in the daily Scripture portion. “Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens, Your faithfulness to the skies. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the great deep. O LORD, Y’ou preserve both man and beast”

He goes on to state in the following verse, “How priceless is your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings.”

Today let us rest in the assurance of God’s steadfast love and care!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, there is no mountain we climb today where Your love, faithfulness, righteousness and justice will not prevail as we walk hand in hand with You. We are assured of this merciful blessing as we find sanctuary in the shadow of Your wings. It is Your protection and covering that helps us to process today’s events through an eternal prism with eyes of faith. You are our Refuge, our Strength, and our Covering keeping us safe and secure from all alarms as we walk in the shadow of Your Almighty wings.  Thank You for this wonderful assurance.  Amen.


Today’s photos were taken yesterday at the eastern side of Lancaster County along Route 23.

Poole Forge Covered Bridge, Lancaster County, PA 11/13/14 (Click to enlarge)
The Poole Forge Covered Bridge
(Click to enlarge)
Nestled into the hillside along the Conestoga creek, sets the once vibrant iron plantation called Poole Forge.

Antique barn, Lancaster County, PA 11/13/14
We stopped by an old bank barn that has been converted to an antique place.
I like the stone walls!


Daniel and Amos with patent plaque at Val-Co 11/13/14
In the course of our chaplain work we meet a lot of interesting people. Amos and Daniel, who work for Val-Co, a company that makes equipment for the agricultural business, are in this photo. Daniel is holding a plaque concerning a US patent on an invention he and Phil Risser developed, a feeder for baby chicks. In 1979 at 18 years of age Daniel left Vietnam as part of the boat people exodus. He was on a small boat drifting at sea for 21 days in desperate condition with many very sick and a fear they would all die at sea when they were finally rescued. He settled here in the US and eventually went on to study at Penn State. (He works with Amos, who is from northwest Arkansas and has visited the remote mountain where Brooksyne’s dad was raised. He is the only person in all our 15 years of chaplain visitation who would have any idea where that is! For the terminally inquisitive see this google map.)

Another Kember print:

Kember print Isaiah 53:5Yesterday a reader sent me the photo of the above Kember print and wrote: “I was unpacking our things and smiled as I brought this out and searched for the perfect wall to place it on. This hung on the wall at our home, I remember memorizing it at an early age. With the access to internet information I thought I would run a search and see what I could find.” She apparently found this page. Do you have a Kember print? Send me a photo and brief story to this address.

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Your Love, Oh Lord ”   Video  Third Day

Finally today:

Bunny and Peg 11/14/14
This morning we stopped by a store on the way home from chaplain visitation and ran into long-time friends, Bunny and Peg O’Hare, whom we first met about 15 years ago in New England. Bunny is a chaplain with Transport For Christ and they both have a vibrant witness for Christ. Bunny has a practice of greeting people by asking, “Has anyone told you today that Jesus loves you?” which is what he is saying to me in this photo.

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

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

“Life Row”

November 13, 2014

Train in Jim Thorpe, PA 11/2/14
Lehigh Gorge Railroad engine
Jim Thorpe, PA

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“Life Row”

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

Since Jesus Came Into My Heart“There’s a light in the valley of death now for me,
Since Jesus came into my heart!
And the gates of the City beyond I can see,
Since Jesus came into my heart!”

In church we recently sang, “Since Jesus Came Into My Heart.” When the above verse appeared on the screen, “There’s a light in the valley of death now for me” at first glance I mistakenly saw the words “death row” instead of “death now”.

To myself, I cried out, “Whew, I’m sure glad I’m not on death row”, a thought that had never crossed my mind before, nor the extent of the burden I would bear knowing my execution was scheduled. Suddenly, it was as though the Holy Spirit stopped me in my thought process and said, “But you were on Death Row”.

Romans 6:23

Romans 6:23 tells us “The wages of sin is death” – the wages I earned put me on death row.

But since Jesus came into my heart – I received the free gift from God – eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. Praise God, I am now on life row!

Let us focus on the words, “gift of God”. Gift translates the Greek word “charisma”, which is itself derived from “charis.” Charis is that wonderful word normally translated “grace” in our Bibles. Of course many will recall the simple, yet descriptive definition of grace as, “unmerited favor.” It would also be accurate to translate this as “grace gift”.

This gift stands out. There are no catches and the offer is extended to all. There are no waiting lines or no limited supply. It is available to all people, “to every nation and tribe and tongue and people” (Revelation 14:6). Millions now living and millions more who are now with the Lord can testify to its veracity and lasting value of this gift.

Near the very end of the Book of Revelation we read about this free gift again, “Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life” (Revelation 22:17).

Free gift What is this free gift? “Eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”.

What’s your response to the free gift of salvation? Rejoice that you have been chosen by God to receive this grace gift of eternal life through salvation in Jesus Christ! Have you asked Jesus to come into Your heart? If not, do so today and receive His free gift that keeps on giving – eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. Join us on life row.

Since Jesus came into my heart,
Since Jesus came into my heart,
Floods of joy o’er my soul
Like the sea billows roll,
Since Jesus came into my heart.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, when Jesus gave His all as a sacrifice for our sins You made available to us the free gift of salvation that is for all eternity. We cannot pay for our forgiveness nor can we repay Jesus for His sacrifice for our sins. All we give in return is a heart surrendered to His plan for our lives here on earth that will be more fully experienced in the great beyond. May our hearts be set on things above where Christ is seated at Your right hand. Thank You for not giving us the wages we earned and sentencing us to death row, but instead You give us eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Since Jesus Came Into My Heart”   Video  Homecoming singers

“Since Jesus Came Into My Heart”  Video  Canton Junction (a bit more bluegrass sound)

I took today’s lead photo of the engine on the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway several weeks ago when we stopped by Jim Thorpe on the way back from a visit to the Poconos.

Video of bike train  (My kind of background music!)


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.

Maple in Mastersonville, PA
Enjoying the last weeks of fall colors

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“Responsive And Open Hearts”

“Because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before God when you heard what He spoke against this place and its people, and because you humbled yourself before me and tore your robes and wept in My presence, I have heard you, declares the LORD” (2 Chronicles 34:27). “One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message” (Acts 16:14).

Open the eyes of my heart, Lord,
Open the eyes of my heart;
I want to see You, I want to see You.

Do you have people you are praying for to accept the Lord? I would expect and hope we all do! One aspect of praying is found in today’s passages with our petition that God make hearts open and responsive. Our first daily text is referring to Josiah who had a responsive heart.

LydiaThe second daily text records the story of a woman named Lydia and her response to the message of salvation. She was from the city of Thyatira, which is in modern day Turkey. She was “a dealer in purple cloth” indicating that she was a business woman. She was a “worshiper of God.” Perhaps she was a devout Jew or in a group of monotheistic Gentiles in the ancient world who worshiped the God of the Old Testament, similar to Cornelius in Acts 10 prior to his conversion to Christ.

“The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message” (the Gospel).  The phrase, “The Lord opened her heart”, has often intrigued me. It reminds me of the sovereign role of God in the salvation of individuals. We should pray in our evangelism endeavors that God will open the hearts of those to whom we share His message. In addition to our obedience in witnessing to others we should also consider the sovereign work of God in the salvation of souls. The word “respond” translates the Greek word “prosecho” which conveys the sense “to hold the mind towards, i.e. pay attention to”.  Isn’t that what we want?

We live in a world where most pay little or no attention to God and are careening toward a most certain judgment. We want them to stop and pay attention to God’s message. What about the loved ones for whom you’ve been praying for many years? They just won’t take you seriously. They may be like Lot’s foolish sons-in-law who thought Lot was joking when he warned of the impending destruction of Sodom (Genesis 19:14).  Or they may just evade the issue. As you pray remember to ask that the Lord open their hearts so that they respond to your witness for Christ.

There is another great spiritual truth when I consider this. We need to pray not only for others, but for ourselves also; that we will have open, soft and responsive hearts. I will admit that my heart is not always responsive. Sometimes hardness will come over me; certainly not hardness toward salvation at this point, but a hardness that blocks spiritual receptivity to the things the Spirit of God is wanting to do in my life. He may be wanting to purge the impurities that clog my heart or He may be challenging me to a new level of spiritual growth. Perhaps He wants to develop a new gift unnatural to the inborn talents I was born with and this requires an extra measure of trust.

Sometimes there can be “scar tissue” from past hurts, disappointments, failures and even deep-seated bitterness that contributes to this struggle. Of course most illustrations have a breakdown point and we know that God can heal broken-hearts and give us new hearts as well in our pursuit of following Christ.

But I also pray that God will keep our hearts open and responsive to His Spirit all through life as believers.

Soften my heart, Lord, soften my heart.
From all indifference set me apart;
To feel Your compassion, to weep with Your tears;
Come soften my heart, Oh Lord, soften my heart.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we lift up in prayer our loved ones who have yet to bow their knees and confess with their tongue that Jesus Christ is Lord. We never give up believing that someday they will come to faith through Christ Jesus. At the same time we pray for ourselves that You would make us pliable and yielding to Your touch which can happen only as we open our hearts to You. We want to be like clay in the hand of the potter and receptive to Your Spirit’s working. The process can be painful as impurities are removed and reshaping goes against the gravity of our sin nature. But the end result makes us vessels fitting for Your honor, useful for Your kingdom, and exemplary as a believer to those we are praying for. We desire to glorify You today as our hearts are open to Your Spirit.  Amen.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Soften My Heart”  Video  Maranatha Worship Singers   We used to sing this as a worship chorus and a call to consecration many years ago.

“Open The Eyes Of My Heart”  Video  Oslo Gospel Choir


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.

Psalm 33:5 with Lancaster County rural scene 11/8/14 (Click  for larger view)
A colorful autumn view in Lancaster County
Click on image to enlarge

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“The Stench Of Sin, The Aroma Of Mercy”

“But I have trusted in Thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in Thy salvation” (Psalm 13:5). “Who is a God like You, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of His inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy” (Micah 7:18). “Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)” (Ephesians 2:3-5). “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

Last night a horrible stench filled every room in our house. Brooksyne awakened me to advise me of the situation but she didn’t have to say a word; the foul odor streamed into the first stirring breath I took. Initially I was concerned that it was odorous vapors coming from a broken drain pipe, but when I opened the outside door my olfactory glands quickly informed me that the odor was coming from outside. A phone call Ester had from a friend about a mile from us also confirmed the problem was in the neighborhood, not in our house. All three of us had a hard time going back to sleep but the weariness of the day overtook us and we finally went to sleep.

Pig manure spreader 11/11/14Sure enough, this morning I drove by and saw that our neighbor had spread some organic fertilizer on nearby fields, thus accounting for the awful smell (far worse than any previous experience we’ve had with organic fertilizer over the past 13 years of residing in Lancaster County). The fertilizer came from a large hog operation about 1/2 mile from our house. Thankfully already this morning the odor is gone! I called another farmer friend this morning and he commented that it may smell awful to the non-farmer but to the farmer it smells like…money!

Today, we want to consider another stench: the stench of sin that fills our world. On the one hand this stench should sicken or grieve the hearts of dedicated believers. Proverbs 13:5 states, “The wicked make themselves a stench.” This stench should compel us to scour the Scriptures for discernment, direction, and strength to stand up for righteousness and against the forces of evil.

But, on the other hand, sin can creep in and over time deaden our spiritual senses incrementally. Essentially we get used to the stench and we no longer notice it but grow accustomed to its presence, to the point that some even accommodate it.

We who follow Christ have all experienced the heartache and stench of sin in our own lives, and have often observed the awful consequences others may have suffered due to sinful behavior.

“…We too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.” We, who are saved by grace, can easily relate to those who are still children of wrath, before the great transition took place in our own hearts. Notice the transitional verse that follows, “But God… ” Our own abilities, intellect and power made us dead in our transgressions. But God being rich in mercy,…..made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved).

Let us contrast the stench of sin with the aroma of God’s mercy. Micah 7:18 states that God “delights to show mercy.” In the places of greatest need God is still demonstrating His mercy. In fact it’s in places like this that His mercy is made more evident and further appreciated.

Some have made this distinction between mercy and grace: mercy is not getting what we deserve; grace is getting what we don’t deserve. We give thanks today for the complimentary aspects of God’s abundant mercy and overflowing grace.

Mercy; what an incomparable dimension of our Lord’s character! It’s extolled by writers throughout the Bible.  David declared “His mercy is very great.” Zechariah proclaimed the “tender mercy of our God.”  Paul says we are “objects of His mercy”, and that God is “rich in mercy.”  And James says, “The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.”  Praise the Lord whose mercies endure forever!  And He delights to demonstrate mercy to each one of us today.

Let us respond to God’s mercy by offering our life to Him. “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship” (Romans 12:1).

Beautiful! That’s how mercy saw me.
Though I was broken and so lost,
but mercy looked past all my faults.
The justice of God saw what I had done,
but mercy saw me through the Son.
Not what I was, but what I should be,
that’s how mercy saw me.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we thank You for the redeeming blood of Jesus that imparts mercy and pardon for my sins. Wretched as I may be, Your mercy is greater! Only a God like You chooses to delight in expressing mercy to the undeserving masses that defy Your Holy Name. Thank You for reaching me in the depth of my sin and raising me to the height of Your Holiness – it’s only through Your blood and it’s only through Your mercy that I come and You joyfully welcome me! Words cannot express my eternal gratitude for such indescribable love.


Reader’s Note:  I have numerous times mentioned how I am blessed by a Canadian, Walter Kember, who has distributed scores of calligraphed Scripture prints (see here). We received this email: “I just happened to put my father’s name into search and was a little surprised to actually come across as much information as you have disclosed about the near lifelong work that he was engaged in. In reading it, many memories were brought to me. For instance if we ever wanted to find my father we could always find him in the shop were the texts were made. Also as children we (9 children) always knew that it was important to keep busy at something and not be caught idle or we would end in the text factory for the rest of the day. Actually as I look back at it he did something that he was specially gifted to do. I thought that you might be interested in hearing from one who knew him personally. Yours by God’s grace”  – Dan Kember, South West Fence & Decks Lt
Here are some more photos of our drive through rural Lancaster County this last Saturday.

Amish one room schoolhouse in Lancaster County 11/8/14
Amish one room schoolhouses dot the landscape throughout rural Lancaster County. They’re tiny without electric and indoor plumbing. But alot of learning takes place in these one room schools that house 1st through 8th graders who learn altogether. We’ve visited our Amish friend’s school twice and were impressed by the excellent skills of the teacher, the visible respect from the students, and the inexpensive surroundings that neither took away or added to the learning that takes place in the classroom. We believe our educational establishment could learn a lot from these schools and teachers!

Amish one room schoolhouse in Lancaster County 11/8/14
Perhaps we should have this message, “Enter With a Smile” posted on the exterior doors of our homes, churches, classrooms and workplaces.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Mercy Saw Me”  Video  Calvin Hunt

“Mercy Said No”  Video  Greg Long

“Mercy Walked In”  Video  by Gordon Mote

“When Mercy Found Me”  Video   Rhett Walker Ban

“That’s Where His Mercy Begins”  Video  Steve Green

“Mercy Came Running” Video  Phillips, Craig & Dean


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.

“Clearly Seen”

November 10, 2014

Brooksyne with pet duck in Lancaster County 11/8/14
If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it’s probably is a _____. We stopped by our neighbors’ house yesterday afternoon to take a look at their pet duck (more photos below). Most of us are accustomed to hearing barking when we see pets in the front yard, but the Cookes’ are alerted to our arrival by a very boisterous “Quack, quack”.

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“Clearly Seen”

“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse”  (Romans 1:20).

We had a beautiful autumn weekend in our area. On Saturday we had breakfast with our friends Bob and Laura, and then took them on a tour on the lesser traveled back roads through scenic Lancaster County. “The universe declares your majesty”, is a line from the popular song, “God of Wonders” and these words come to mind in that outdoor setting. What a remarkable blessing to see God’s handiwork in His creation which is also a declaration of His majesty.

Friendly duck 9/11/14Bob and Laura have adopted some interesting pets in recent months. Early this summer two ducks wandered up from the Donegal Creek and planted themselves in the Cooke’s yard, essentially becoming domesticated. Sadly, the drake (male) was killed by a predator several weeks ago so they are very protective of the other one since they have become very fond of their new pet!

Now the duck will let you pick her up as you can see from our photo above with Brooksyne and Laura (of course it was due to Laura’s prompting).

Many of us have heard the expression, “If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it probably is _____.” You can fill in the blank accordingly. Ester likes to quote the blunt answer made by one of the Duck Dynasty men who fills in the blank with “dinner”.

Most would consider this statement to mean things usually are as they appear with the blank being filled in with the word, “duck”.

Consider this observation in regard to God’s creation and those things which are clearly seen as well as those present but invisible to the naked eye. Of course many now deny God and His creation but for others the reality of a Creator and His creation is, “clearly seen”.

Today’s Bible verse begins with a foundational statement consistent throughout the Scripture, “For since the creation of the world.” Indeed the very first words in sacred Scripture declare, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” In our daily Bible text the Apostle Paul speaks of God’s “invisible qualities” as “His eternal power and divine nature”.  Paul uses a very interesting Greek word for “eternal” in this passage. The word aidios means “everduring” (forward and backward). This power is constant; there’s been no diminishment whatsoever from eternity past and there will be no diminishment in eternity future.

On the one hand God’s qualities are invisible but on the other hand they are “clearly seen being understood from what has been made.”

I’ve read many of Max Lucado’s books and recall a story I read many years ago when he was serving in missions in Brazil. He records the arduous journey to a remote, barely accessible location to visit a Brazilian farmer. Upon introduction Max told the old farmer he was a missionary and explained that his work was to try to get people to believe in God. The farmer exclaimed what an easy job it must be to draw people to faith in God as he gestured to the massive evidences for creation that surrounded him. For him it was clearly seen. The farmer expressed a common sense and wisdom so lacking today in our age of unbelief.

The issues concerning origins are a source of major attack on the historic, Biblical Christian faith. Regrettably many feel they must concede in these areas in the face of seemingly apparent scientific evidence. The alternative views that are more “scientifically enlightening” compel many to look to man’s errant, finite knowledge rather than the God of the Universe who has unfathomable understanding and infinite creative power. I can think of nothing on this earth, seen by the naked eye, that has infinite (never-ending) qualities, thus it requires faith on our part to grasp this aspect of God’s character.

From Genesis to Revelation the Scriptures unwaveringly and unambiguously proclaim the work of the Creator.

According to the daily text and certainly in my observation God’s invisible qualities are “clearly seen, being understood from what has been made.” I pray that the Lord will open every reader’s eyes today to clearly see the glory of God and to believe and serve Him today. Indeed “God of wonders beyond our galaxy, You are Holy. The universe declares Your majesty, You are Holy. Lord of heaven and earth!

Today we respond by acknowledging the work of the Creator and say a solemn Amen to the apostle John when he wrote, “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by Your will they were created and have their being” (Revelation 4:11).

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father God, You physically reign in a place invisible to my eyes while Your Holy Spirit with His invisible qualities is at work deep within my heart. Though I cannot see You I recognize Your masterful handiwork. Though I cannot touch You I feel Your divine presence. Only a God like You is great enough to mastermind the universe, yet small enough to live within my heart. Father, You have made Your wonders to be remembered and appreciated. You are gracious and compassionate; Your presence is seen and felt everywhere. I acknowledge You as the Creator of the universe and the Light of my life, for You are my Lord and Master from eternity past to all eternity future.  Amen.


Cooke pet ducksI (Brooksyne) was greeted first greeted by the friendly ducks in early September. 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 them (at my age I’m probably doing so already). Sadly, the male duck which was the very friendly one, was attacked by a predator several weeks ago, and killed.

Cooke duck house
Bob put together this duck house which will also have fencing. The duck lays one egg every night so she will enjoy this shelter as the cool weather is closing in (in our minds, at least). They will soon get a male (drake) duck to be a companion to their present duck who is quite lonely without her long-time companion. After all, our friends have never learned duck language.

Bob and Laura Cook with pups in Lancaster County 11/8/14
Our neighbors, Bob and Laura Cooke, moved here from New Jersey just a few years ago and welcome any exploring in uncharted territory so we took lots of back roads and eventually stopped at our Amish friends’ house.  These Australian Cattle puppies, (Blue Heeler) are full of energy and adventure. They were squirming to get down.

Amish boy in Lancaster County hay loft 11/8/14
Moses opened the door to the barn loft at my request.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“God Of Wonders”   Video  Chris Tomlin

“He’s Everything To Me”  Video  Carroll Roberson


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.

Door in Jim Thorpe, PA 11/2/14
Arched Doorway in Krems, Austria
Photo by Chris Leaman

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“The Ultimate Blood Donation”
“For this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” (Matthew 26:28). “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace” Ephesians 1:7). “For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross” (Colossians 1:19,20).

Blood donor Brooksyne and I went to a blood donation drive held at Lancaster Bible College yesterday. As blood donors know, many personal questions are asked on a sign-up form to determine if candidates are healthy for donating blood. As we sat down to fill out our forms a medical technician approached me and asked, “Have you had anything to eat in the last four years?” Usually I’m quick to respond to simple questions but this one stumped me. I wonder if I really appeared that emaciated. I looked at Brooksyne to see if she too had a stunned look on her face, which she did.  The technician really should have been able to determine from my large frame that I’d had plenty to eat over the last four years. We all had a hearty chuckle, after she saw the quizzical look on our faces and rethought her question during the uncomfortable pause. (In her weariness she, of course, had mistakenly said years instead of hours.)

Blood donation 11/6/14After the questions and preliminary checkup I sat back in the very comfortable zero gravity type chair for the donation itself. I visited with those around me; a professor, who although very queasy with needles, was motivated to give because he has a rare blood type that is often in short supply. A young lady who had a drop in her blood pressure felt dizzy and I think was a bit frightened. A young man on the other side of me was giving for the very first time. I was blessed when the nurse was surprised that I finished giving quickly saying, “You’re finished already”; I suppose seeing that as a laudable accomplishment!

Blood donationDonating at the Bible College was sentimental for us since during our Bible College days 40 years ago Brooksyne and I started donating blood. (Actually I may have started in high school). We recall going together, in our dating years, to a community blood bank in Springfield, Missouri and lying on hard, flat, skinny tables. As Bible College students under rather tight restrictions going to donate blood was an approved date. The lounging conditions have certainly improved over the years. (I could just about fall asleep in the recliner they had yesterday.)

Blood donationI still find it inspiring to join others from all walks of life who are giving blood. No one looks too dignified laying back in the chairs. We’re willing to accept the disruption in our day, the “small pinch” and slight weakening knowing that our blood may very well help to save another life.

When Ester was little we took her with us and explained to her what this all meant since she had benefited many times from donors because of her multiple heart surgeries. To draw her into the experience we prayed for the people we’d never meet in person who would be receiving our blood donation. (In recent years Ester has asked if she can donate but has not been given approval at this point due to her health history.)

It’s also a good time for another lesson and consideration about an infinitely greater blood donation when Jesus Christ made peace for us through His blood, shed on the cross.

This bloBlood Of Christod donation involved God’s only begotten Son and was certainly not a source of minor pain or inconvenience. He agonized in great pain and died a horrific death when he voluntarily gave His blood for us.

When we give our blood at best we will extend another’s life for a few bleeps in the span of eternity. It has very limited power in regard to the extent it can help someone else. But the blood of Christ was instrumental in the reconciling of all things and the making of peace between man and God. This blood has unlimited power to save to the uttermost for “the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).

In order for my blood to do any good a recipient must accept it through a transfusion since it won’t have any effect sitting in a warehouse. Now Christ’s shed blood has already brought millions into reconciliation and peace with God who have by faith willingly accepted this provision.  Have you done so?

Lest I forget Gethsemane,
Lest I forget Thine agony;
Lest I forget Thy love for me,
Lead me to Calvary.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer:  Father, it is only through the sacrificial blood of Your Son that my sins are forgiven.  My guilty stains are plunged into the bottom of the ocean never to resurface again.  All the adjectives in one’s vocabulary cannot adequately describe the depth of my gratitude for such a complete and selfless act of love.  Your redeeming blood sacrifice frees us from the penalty of sin in this life and for all eternity.  We thank You for Jesus who freely shed His blood on my behalf.  Amen.


Morgan Forney, Director of Navigator ministry at Penn State 11/6/14
Yesterday I joined a group of men for lunch and to hear Morgan Forney share his testimony and ministry as director of the Navigator Ministry at Penn State. We are always pleased to see young people pursuing service for God. Morgan went to Penn State and earned a degree in engineering before working several years in the corporate world. The older man in the picture is 100 years old and still able to come out and show support for the work of Christ! We have been blessed by the Navigator ministry for many years and have used their study material in our churches.
Their purpose is simply stated, “To Know Christ and to Make Him Known”
Here is Morgan’s webpage.

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Lead Me To Calvary”  Video  Saskia & Andrew Smith  A beautiful version

“The Body and the Blood”  Video  Janet Paschal

“To God Be The Glory”  Video  Oslo Gospel Choir

“Behold The Lamb (Communion Hymn)”  Video  Keith & Kristyn Getty

“He Has Forgiven Me”   Video  Damaris Carbaugh

“One Voice/Where No One Stands Alone”  Video  GVB

In yesterday’s message we shared about Mark Whitacre, who has an amazing testimony we heard on Wednesday at Lancaster Bible College. He shared an on line version of his testimony with me that can be found here for any who may care to watch his entire testimony. It also serves as an evangelistic tool to be shared with one who might find his story gripping and at the same time be touched by its spiritual message.


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

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

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