“Strength To The Weary”

October 10, 2014

Baseball game at Mennonite school 10/9/14
Yesterday we passed these boys and girls playing baseball at an old-order Mennonite school near New Holland, PA. Look closely and you will see the teacher is pitching. Seeking to be less intrusive Brooksyne takes these photos from the passenger’s side of our van but through the driver’s window, and yet we can still get some pretty clear photos.
(Click on photo for larger view)

A podcast was not produced for this message.

Note: Today’s message is a bit different. It is especially written from our hearts and is based on our experience in seeking to do the work of the Lord. The first part may actually not seem very encouraging but if you hang in there we believe you will get a good dose of hope at the end.

“Strength To The Weary”
“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:29-31).

For nearly twenty-five years our ministry, which we both trained for in Bible College, was my pastoral role in two local churches; one in northern Pennsylvania and a second in New England. Of course Brooksyne worked right alongside me and since we teamed together in campus and community ministry even before we married, we have considered our work for the Lord similar to Aquila and Priscilla in the Book of Acts.

Since 2001 we have been involved in chaplain work among companies as well as writing these daily messages.* Between these two types of ministry, in addition to serving interim pastoral roles here and there, we keep very busy to say the least!

Most regular readers should have a pretty good sense of what our writing ministry involves, although many would not understand how much is involved in the underlying technical steps involved we post each day to our various outlets. Our daily encouragement ministry takes around 4 hours each for every message; sometimes more, sometimes less.

Our chaplaincy ministry primarily involves visiting various companies in our area. We have two long days of this and several shorter days. On the long days like yesterday we start very early in the morning and by the time we get home in the late afternoon we are very tired. In part because of the nature of traveling from location to location and walking through and talking to hundreds of employees. Yesterday we visited 6 separate work site locations and were on the road a total of 90 miles. Since we are both nearing 60 years of age we are just plain “pooped” when we get home!

Now to be sure we have many light moments with brief encounters that may not be necessarily spiritually oriented. We think of these as “bridge-builders” so people are comfortable in sharing their life needs with us. But we have also have many serious discussions based on several categories;

  1. Encouraging those seeking to do the right things in life such as working hard, being responsible, taking care of their families and so forth. We also want the employee to find fulfillment in their work. If we have identified the employee is a fellow Christian that of course opens up additional means of spiritual mentoring.
  2. Listening to the many ways people bear burdens from marital difficulties, family problems, health problems, deaths, addiction struggles and so many others. We of course pray for them and seek to give them counsel. At times these matters also lead to offsite visits as well.
  3. But frankly the weariest form is observing the extremely poor life choices so many, especially younger people, are making and they often seem blind to it. We meet many similar to the prodigal son before he came to his senses (Luke 15:17). Our specific discussions are confidential but these issues are so common such as immorality, substance use but assured by them not abuse, reckless use of their finances and many other issues.

This source of weariness is very spiritual draining. You listen and just realize the almost certain consequences of the path they are taking.

JoAnne Butrin I attended a chaplaincy conference this summer where I encountered the term “compassion fatigue”. Of course anyone involved in people work can experience this and some of our readers may realize they have or even are presently going through this.

I first heard the term in a teaching by a longtime friend from the early 80’s. Dr. JoAnn Butrin has served in medical missions for over 40 years with visits to over 90 countries, many of these being during times of crisis. She works in some of the most tragic of human conditions and illustrated her experience with compassion fatigue working among the Rwandan refugees during the horrific civil war. The movie “Hotel Rwanda” describes this awful period in human history. Currently consider the compassion fatigue of those serving in countries affected by the Ebola.

In the preliminary note I said this message would end on a hopeful note so please read on. Let us especially consider the words from our daily Scripture text. “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.”

The cure for compassion fatigue is receiving the strength the Lord has to offer to all who come to Him. He stated, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). We may understand this rest in a one-time sense of a sinner coming to the Lord and experiencing His rest in providing full salvation. But let us also consider the ongoing need to come to the Lord who continues to gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we thank You that You give strength to the weary and You increase the power of the weak. Though youths  grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall, those who hope in You will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Our wisdom, strength and discipline come from You who generously provides for all our needs. We ask that you would especially strengthen all who may be dealing with compassion fatigue as they deal with human needs all over the world in the Name of Christ. Amen.


* Since 2001 I’ve held several part-time interim pastoral roles at four churches accumulating about five more years of chaplaincy ministry, but for the last several years we have been able to devote our energies exclusively to chaplaincy and Daily Encouragement Net


We are refreshed during our journey between chaplain visits and see many interesting sights along the way.
Our opening photo today is children playing baseball outside a Mennonite one room schoolhouse.

Corn shocks in Lancaster County PA 10/9/14
Corn shocks near Martindale PA.

Painted horseshoes for sale near Gordonville, PA
We passed these painted horseshoes for sale in front of a house near Gordonville, PA.

Brooksyne with giant sweet potato 10/9/14
We stopped at a roadside produce stand near New Holland PA where Brooksyne is holding a huge sweet potato with a regular sized one for comparison. It would probably be suitable to set it up next to the big turkey on Thanksgiving, weighing in over 7 pounds.

Apples for sale 10/9/14
All through the countryside so many of the Amish and Mennonite farms have something for sale along the road. These apples for sale are near Martindale, PA. Coming home yesterday from Palmyra in Lebanon County we passed a farm with a table of small pumpkins and gourds for 10 cents each! Brooksyne picked out twenty and placed the money in the honor system tub as she saw out of the corner of her eye two very young Amish boys wearing their straw hats watching from afar. As we drove off we watched in our mirror as they dashed from the house and came running out to the table to collect the money! Perhaps their mom told them they could collect the proceeds and they were excited to see how much! Sadly people are increasingly stealing produce and money from these honor system stands.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Burdens Are Lifted At Calvary”  Video

“Lay Your Burdens Down”  Video  Chuck Girard

“Lay Your Burdens Down”  Video


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.

“The Narrow Gate”

October 9, 2014

Blood moon 10/8/14 (Photo by Ester)Lunar Eclipse 10/8/14
(Photo taken by Ester)

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“The Narrow Gate”
Rusty Gate and autumn view along Risser Mill RoadA rusty gate and peaceful autumn view along Risser Mill Road, Lancaster County, PA

Matthew 7:13,14“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matthew 7:13,14).

We have a fenced backyard with walkthrough gates allowing access from our front yard on each side as well as one that opens to the property behind our yard. It’s a very wide gate so that I can get my lawn tractor in if needed. Without gates I would have very limited access to the backyard and in today’s text gate is used in the sense of access.

“Gate” is a common word found all throughout the Bible from Genesis through Revelation. That’s not surprising since the Bible was written during a time when virtually every reader was familiar with agriculture and gates were used at the entrance to walled cities. In fact the word is used some 350 times depending on the translation according to my study on Biblegateway.com. This site features a handy word search that includes a total of times the word is used.

Two gates of access are revealed in a teaching by Christ in the Sermon on the Mount: “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matthew 7:13,14).

Quote In this age of religious pluralism, diversity, and one way tolerance these words of our Lord may seem harsh and even unloving. It’s deeply troubling to many that our country’s slide into decadence would be so great that a national memorial service opened in “prayer” by a pagan medicine man. As one editor put it, “he began the off kilter scene with his pseudo-blessing of rocks and trees, northern doors, and — well, whatever he was blessing, anyway.”

An increasing majority are raising a defiant fist of rebellion against God; His Word and time-tested standards of morality. We read that even the majority or very close to it are now accepting the radical redefining of marriage in absolute rebellion against God. But consider the solemn words of our Lord Jesus Christ, “For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.”

I address the faithful here; those who have “eyes to see and ears to hear” the words of our Lord. Let us enter through the narrow gate realizing that small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life. In a similar teaching Jesus said, “Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able” (Luke 13:24).

I am especially intrigued by Christ’s words, “and only a few find it.” One commentary shares this perspective:  “According to Christ Himself, most people will not be saved, in spite of the fact that He offers salvation as a free gift to all. Jesus clearly did not believe in the doctrine of universalism that is growing in popularity today, the belief that everyone will eventually end up in heaven.”

Let us faithfully adhere to the teachings of Christ revealed in the Holy Bible and let us enter through the narrow gate that  leads us to His paths of righteousness.

Rescue the perishing, duty demands it;
Strength for thy labor the Lord will provide;
Back to the narrow way patiently win them;
Tell the poor wand’rer a Savior has died.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, through Your righteous narrow gate we enter into the Christian journey. And with Your help and by Your mercy we will also stay the course. How grateful we are to be among those who enter since Jesus said “only a few will find it.” At times there is a compulsion to be aligned with the masses who walk the broad way because it is more acceptable to others and easier to align with those around us. But we know the end result will be eternal damnation later, lack of peace here and now, and friendship with the enemy of our soul.  Help us to remain faithful to You, zealous in our Christian walk, and ever mindful of those we need to bring along with us on the narrow path. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

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

“Rescue the Perishing”  Video  Billy & Cindy Foote


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.

“Do What It Says!”

October 8, 2014

James 1:22

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“Do What It Says!”

“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” (James 1:22).

Speak, O Lord, as we come to You
To receive the food of Your Holy Word.
Take Your truth, plant it deep in us;
Shape and fashion us in Your likeness,
That the light of Christ might be seen today
In our acts of love and our deeds of faith.
Speak, O Lord, and fulfill in us
All Your purposes for Your glory.

I recently gave counsel to a young man seeking to overcome an addiction. He shared with me some steps he had learned in a program and confidently informed me, “If anyone follows these steps he will not fall back into addictive behavior.” He knew the right course to take but by his own admission had stopped doing it. He’s again trying to get back on track as others encourage and pray for him. I am pleased that he appears to be doing well. Today’s lesson is vital in regard to any form of overcoming we have in life.

Our short Scripture passage was the memory verse in Brooksyne’s Sunday School class this last Lord’s Day. She’s a stickler with memory verses and we have proof of that as we occasionally hear from former students now in their 30’s and even 40’s, still recalling some of those verses. One of her most common techniques is putting the Scripture to music (including reference) as well as other creative means. Good Sunday School teachers have a pocket full of methods in this regard.

Today’s verse is, as we would expect from God’s Word, good counsel for all ages. It’s a truth we need to apply throughout life and always be on guard against any lapses. For preachers it’s a ready made three point sermon:

1) “Do not merely listen to the word.” When Brooksyne taught this on Sunday she explained to her young students what the word “merely” meant. That’s a big word for a third grader along with ‘deceive’. We are certainly to listen and pay attention as we hear and read the Word. But we must not stop there. There is a danger in churches where the Bible is faithfully preached, for many walk away with the mistaken concept that simply listening to a Bible-based message is sufficient and will result in their spiritual growth and living right. Never think you are “safe” and spiritually maturing simply because you are hearing the Word!

2) “And so deceive yourselves.” It seems many are deceived in this manner based on the number of self-described Christians in America who hold to and regularly practice unbiblical views. Old-time evangelist Vance Havner writes, “Away with the notion that it does not matter much how we hear! The man who hears and refuses to obey walks out of church having betrayed himself into deception. One cannot hear the truth and remain the same!”

3) “Do what it says.” The old hymn calls us to “trust and obey”. Jesus taught, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). We need to keep before us this question, “Am I doing the will of my Father who is in heaven?” Pastor Steve Cole comments, “Obedience should always be the bottom line of Bible study or biblical preaching. Correct application must always be built on correct interpretation.”

Teach us, Lord, full obedience,
Holy reverence, true humility;
Test our thoughts and our attitudes
In the radiance of Your purity.
Cause our faith to rise; cause our eyes to see
Your majestic love and authority.
Words of pow’r that can never fail—
Let their truth prevail over unbelief.

Remember, do what it says!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we don’t want to merely listen to Your Word and so deceive ourselves thinking that we have fulfilled the law of Christ. Instead we want to listen and apply Your truths, thereby obeying Your commands and honoring You in all we think, say and do. Take Your truth, plant it deep in us; shape and fashion us in Your likeness so that the light of Christ will be seen in us through our acts of love, our deeds of faith, and our words of truth. Fulfill in us Your purposes for Your own glory and honor we pray. Amen.

*Adaptation of “Speak, O Lord” in second half of prayer

Ron Hoover 10/8/14
Today following our chaplain visitation we stopped by a store and ran into Ron Hoover. We didn’t literally run into him and it’s a good thing with his shoulder surgery last week. Ron is the local chair for the Convene group and has a mentoring role with many local businessmen. Brooksyne is expressing her “sympathy” for the temporary loss of his right hand since he is right-handed.

Happy face tree stump
Here’s an idea if you have an unsightly tree stump in your yard!

Amish mules
These team horses are relaxing in the barn after a hard day of field work.

Pantry shelves at the Dourte house
A well-stocked pantry is colorful evidence of an abundant harvest!


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Speak, O Lord”  Video  Keith & Kristyn Getty

“Trust And Obey”  Video  Chelsea Moon w/ the Franz Brothers

“The Obedience Song”  Video  Here’s a good song for kids we came across.


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.

Pepper display at New Holland Fair 10/2/14
Display of peppers at the New Holland Fair
(Looks like an excellent variety of stir fry veggies)

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“A Call To Purity and Modesty”

“I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl” (Job 31:1). “And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty” (1 Corinthians 12:23). “Also, the women are to dress themselves in modest clothing, with decency and good sense” (1 Timothy 2:9).

Brooksyne and I have noticed, over our 38 year marriage and ministry, a marked decrease in those practicing the virtue of modesty, including those of the Christian persuasion. In recent years society has become increasingly immodest, both men and women. Most of us have seen men wearing shorts or pants that appear to be (or are) falling down with their underwear intentionally exposed as though it were a fashion statement (yes, I realize that some people think it is). Brooksyne can be pretty bold and in extreme cases has on occasion informed young men, “Hey, your pants are falling down.” She makes no apologies for it most especially when it’s an employee of a retail store. I suppose I could offer to lend my suspenders to those who appear to be in need as well!

This may be uncomfortably descriptive for some readers (uncomfortable to write, anyway). We have especially noticed more and more young women with flesh exposed in what has traditionally been covered up. In addition the latest craze has been to place tattoos on this exposed flesh. Of course, apart from the normal inclination that the eyes are drawn in a certain direction, now there is the additional curiosity as to what the tattoo says! After all isn’t that why they have them put there in the first place?

Modesty is defined as behavior, manner, or appearance intended to avoid impropriety or indecency. This matter was on my heart when I read an excellent article by Pastor Kevin DeYoung titled, “The Lost Virtue Of Modesty”. I would like to share his main points here in our message but encourage readers to open the article linked to below for a fuller treatment of each point.

1. Modesty protects what is intimate.
2. Modesty accepts that our bodies also live in community.
3. Modesty operates with the Bible’s negative assessment of public nudity post-Fall.
4. Modesty embraces the strong biblical admonition to refrain from sensuality.
5. Modesty demonstrates to others that we have more important things to offer than good looks and sex appeal.

At the time I came to follow the Lord there was a greater emphasis on modesty. There was also a type of preaching in some circles known as “clothesline preaching” where emphasis was given to clothing, mostly for women. This was never my experience but Brooksyne recalls this type of preaching when she grew up and yes, in our view, there were good intentions but there was also a legalistic approach to the important subject. Sunday evening I visited with an older man in a nursing home who, as a young man, recalled an entire sermon dealing with nothing but how women should dress! I wonder if men were addressed on this topic as well.

However the pendulum has swung far, far the other way. In our present generation few will even address the most blatant forms of immodesty. Our culture is now saturated with lewd and licentious dress, behavior, and entertainment. Apart from a Bible faithful church and godly family most other institutions no longer address the matter or require standards of modesty as in the past.

Previous generations developed boundaries in defining appropriate behavior, dress, etc. Some of these boundaries were based on explicit Scripture, others a Scriptural principle, some merely tradition or opinions of preachers. Some of the latter were prone to abuse and in many cases became too much of the focus.

But now in many ways the boundaries are removed and, an attitude of anything goes couched in spiritual sounding verbiage is the rule of the day: “We are not under law but under grace” (which is actually a Scripture portion often mangled from its context) or “we are free in Christ” used to approve virtually anything.

We both memorized this Scripture as young Christians. “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds” (Titus 2:11-14).

Suggestions:
1) Faithful pastors should address this topic as part of preaching the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27) using Scripture passages such as at the beginning of our message. Although the passage in Timothy is in a context dealing with women, the 1 Corinthian passage makes it clear the principle of modesty applies to both male and female.
2) Godly parents must teach this in the home. Godly, mature men and women must address these matters to our children, teens and young adults in the teaching ministry of the church.*

The counsel of God’s Word is timeless and far-reaching. Staying pure doesn’t just happen. It is purposeful and challenging. Our daily verses enjoin us to personal responsibility, both in what or how we view others and in what we wear. A personal covenant (contract) with the eyes is a powerful decision and needs to be renewed regularly, daily. Although in Job the covenant was specifically “not to look lustfully at a girl”, we all do well to make a covenant of purity.

The straightforward command of the Apostle Paul to “Keep yourself pure” can easily be memorized and recalled at the time of temptation and used as powerful guideline in our dress and behavior. Let us renew this commitment today and obey God. In doing so we take a stand against the tide of moral decadence in our land!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer:  Father, we know that Satan is a thief who “comes only to steal and kill and destroy” and millions fall victim to his enticements. Knowing our inclination to sin, help us to honor our bodies in such a way that we don’t purposefully arouse lust in others by our dress or behavior, nor do we feed on lust by gazing upon that which is dishonorable in Your sight. We desire purity and holiness as we daily pursue Your righteousness. Forgive us where we have resented, ignored, or disobeyed Your truths in this area of our lives. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.


* Brooksyne’s note: The subject of modesty has existed since the fall, otherwise it wouldn’t be addressed in the Bible. When I was a young teen, new in my personal walk with God, I was deeply touched by a Sunday School teacher who genuinely pleaded, as tears flowed from her eyes, with the young teen girls about their lack of modesty in dress. Miniskirts were very common and as you can imagine, when a girl sat or bent over it was a problem. When young girls prayed at the altar it was a distraction for others and awkward for the girls kneeling. I took her message to heart because she was a woman of God. It came across differently than if it were my parents telling me the same thing (which they did). I wish we had more bold and godly leaders like that in our churches today, when it’s done in love and based upon the Scriptures.


Color coordinated clothesline near Ephrata PA 10/2/14
Many of the old-order folks prefer the inexpensive, environmentally friendly, solar powered clothesline as a means of drying clothes. Brooksyne noted this lady arranged her towels on the line by color! Now that is an orderly housekeeper! (Click for larger photo)

Butternut squash harvest, Lancaster County, PA 10/6/14
Butternut squash harvest on Kraybill Church Road.
We shared several photos from this field last week. Yesterday Chris was filling the large cardboard boxes similar to those used for watermelons. He estimated that he would fill over 100 boxes this harvest! His neighbor is having a good cabbage harvest. As I visited with him he was preparing boxes for the Lancaster CSA (Community Supported Agriculture).

Amish corn harvest, Lancaster County, PA 10/2/14
All over the county farmers are busy with the harvest. In this photo they are gathering corn for silage. Note the woman driving the team which was not an uncommon sight as we drove through the county last week.

Amish children reading, Lancaster County, PA 10/2/14
We passed this scene but did not want to get so close as to be intrusive. At this Amish one room schoolhouse the teacher had three scholars on the porch practicing their reading. (Scholars is a term used for students. Notice the flying leaves in the photo.)

Amish children reading, Lancaster County, PA 10/2/14
The Amish teachers are usually young women who have finished 8th grade. We’ve visited these schools several times and the order in the classroom is so impressive. It’s presumable that about 25 scholars, grades 1-8, are inside the classroom working on individual assignments at their desks.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Slow Fade”  Video  Casting Crowns

“Holy Like You”  Video  Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir

“Take Time To Be Holy”  Video  The Collingsworth Family  (Note to local readers: The Collingsworth family will be in our area for a concert November 7. See here for information.)

“O For A Heart to Praise My God”  Video  Altar Of Praise Chorale

Here are some perspectives on today’s topic including the article from which we took the five main points in our message:

“The Lost Virtue Of Modesty”  Article  by Kevin DeYoung

“Modesty Matters”  Article  by Pam Hardy directed to women

“Uncovering The Truth About Modesty” Article by Melody Green

“What Guys Think About Modesty”  A powerful video teaching by CJ  Mahaney.


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.

“That’s Enough!”

October 6, 2014

Sunset over Susquehanna River 10/4/14
Sunset over the Susquehanna River 10/4/14
(Click on photo to enlarge)

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“That’s Enough!”

“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32).

Yesterday in our church service we sang an old hymn that, like so many, I would say is one of my favorites (I suppose I really have 100’s of favorites!). I wonder if our readers who know the hymns can identify it based on just this phrase, “our Maker, Defender, Redeemer, and Friend!”

Jesus provides so much; He indeed is our Maker, Defender, Redeemer, and Friend. He’s our Protector, Comforter, Physician, Healer of broken hearts, and Provider to name just a few. Have you found Jesus to be your all in all? If not, you can invite Him into your heart right now, and find that He IS enough!

Years ago, newspapers often carried the pastor’s sermon titles for Sunday services. As was his weekly custom, Pastor R.I. Williams called into the local paper and gave his sermon title, “The Lord is my Shepherd”. The newspaper employee asked, “Is that all?” Pastor Williams replied, “That’s enough.” The next day the church page carried his sermon title as, “The Lord is My Shepherd – that’s enough!”

Truly when the Lord is our Shepherd, that’s enough! A hymnwriter set out to express that very message in the following text:

I need no other argument,
I need no other plea;
It is enough that Jesus died,
And that He died for me.

From the beginning Satan has tormented the human race with the lie, “God is not enough”. This was portrayed when he slithered to Eve in the garden and crafted God’s very clear command as though it were a thought provoking question up for debate, “Did God really say..?” We have questioned God’s commands ever since, to our own demise. The outstanding beauty and sumptuous variety of vegetation God offered them in the Garden was suddenly not enough. Conversation with the devil stirred up doubts and discontent which led to disobedience. The lie, acted upon, led Adam and Eve to believe that God was actually withholding from them the best He had to offer.

Today we have an overabundance of things promising to fulfill; a special place that promises to be better, a new item that will thrill, and for many someone else to be that special person. Consider the practically constant advertisements for smart phones with the rivalry between Samsung and Apple. Samsung has a slogan that states they have, “the next big thing.” Get it and you will be satisfied. But there’s always a “next big thing”!

A survey was taken among teen Christian girls and 88% admitted that “God is not enough” though God promises to satisfy our needs, (Philippians 4:19). Three main things consistently rivaled God for being enough to satisfy: friends, material objects, and accomplishments.

All believers do well to take to heart the Apostle Paul’s confident assurance expressed in the daily verse, “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?”

We may tend to understand “all things” in the sense of material things. But James Denney in the  Romans 8 Commentary of the Expositor’s Greek Testament observes, “All things is usually taken to mean the whole of what furthers the Christian’s life, the whole of what contributes to the perfecting of his salvation; all this will be freely give to him by God.”

This is illustrated by the story of a poor European family who saved for years to buy tickets to immigrate to America. Once at sea, they carefully rationed the cheese and bread they had brought for the journey. After 3 days, their little boy complained to his father, “I hate cheese sandwiches. If I don’t eat anything else before we get to America, I’m going to die.”

Giving the boy his last nickel, the father told him to go to the ship’s galley and buy an ice-cream cone. When the boy returned a long time later with a wide smile, his worried dad asked, “Where were you?” “In the galley, eating three ice-cream cones and a steak dinner!” “All that for a nickel?” “Oh, no, the food is free,” the boy replied. “It comes with the ticket.”

Today I want to experience the assurance that “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, will also with Him freely give us all things!” Truly, that’s enough!

And all of You is more than enough for all of me
For every thirst and every need
You satisfy me with Your love
And all I have in You is more than enough

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, Your commands do not come with a question mark nor are they intended to provoke debate as to whether we think it in our best interest to follow or reject. Your commands are for our good and your provisions are all that we have need of. Just as you supplied the Israelites manna for food, fire by night, and the cloud by day You lead and provide for us through every season of our life, during the plenty and during the barren times. You are enough for all that we have need of, the greatest need of all being met through Jesus, our Lord and Saviour, who died that we might live forever. Thank You! Amen.


Ray Stedman in his devotional titled “If God Be For Us” writes, “He who has already given us the best, the greatest, the dearest, the most precious thing He has, and Who did so while we were sinners — while we were enemies, while we were helpless — will He not also give us some of these trivial, piddling little things that we need? If someone thinks enough of you to give you a costly, brilliant, beautiful, flawless diamond, do you think he will object when you ask him for the box that goes with it? If a mother will give up a baby, do you think she will object if they ask to take his clothes too? And if God has given us his own Son already, do you really think God is going to withhold anything else that we need? Paul’s argument is unanswerable: Of course he won’t. We can say with David in the 23rd Psalm, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want,”


Baseball season is in championship mode all across the USA. The Royals from my hometown of Kansas City and the Orioles from Baltimore, which is just down Interstate 83 from us, are beginning the American League Championship series. But Friday night Ester and I went to a Lancaster Barnstormer Championship game!

Ester with Cylo 10/3/14
The Barnstormers were playing in the Atlantic League Championship against the Sugar Land Texas Skeeters and led 2 to 0 in the best of five series. They had the opportunity to win the league championship that night! Here’s Ester before we entered the ballpark with a large inflatable Cylo, the team mascot.

Barnstormer championship celebration 10/3/14
It was an exciting game and began raining steadily around the seventh inning but they played on, the game tied at the end of nine innings. The Lancaster Barnstormers won the championship with a solo homer in the bottom of the 13th inning, raining from the seventh inning to the end! In my nearly sixty years this was the first championship baseball game I’ve ever attended. (Although I have watched a lot on TV.)

Ester with Mark Lowry 10/4/14
Saturday afternoon Ester and Brooksyne, along with our friend Fran, went to a concert at the American Music Theater and saw one of Ester’s favorites, Comedian Mark Lowry, and one of Brooksyne’s favorite singing families, “The Martins”.

Veterans Memorial Bridge over Susquehanna River 10/4/14
While Brooksyne and Ester went to the concert I went on a long bike ride following the new trail we started using this past week down the Susquehanna to Columbia and across the 1 mile Veteran’s Memorial Bridge to Wrightsville where I took this photo.

Amish church traffic 10/5/14
We encountered some slow traffic going to church yesterday morning.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“My Faith Has Found A Resting Place”  Video  Bobby Michaels

“Enough”  Video  Chris Tomlin

“Your Grace Is Enough”  Video  Chris Tomlin

“You Are My All In All”  Video  A very different style of music for David Phelps and the Gaither Vocal Band with orchestra. It is excellent and will be enjoyed especially by those who enjoy classical music.

The phrase, “Our Maker, Defender, Redeemer, and Friend!” comes from the hymn “O Worship The King” written by Robert Grant, which is also the name of a good friend I met in Bible College and still stay in contact with 40 years later. Robert Grant wrote this worshipful hymn in 1833! Here’s a nice version. Video

“He’s All I Need”  Video  The Kingsmen


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.

Dead To Sin”

October 3, 2014

Foggy morning in Lancaster County PA 10/2/14A foggy morning scene in Lancaster County.

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“Dead To Sin”

“In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 6:11). “Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh” (Romans 13:14).

All to Jesus I surrender;
Humbly at His feet I bow,
Worldly pleasures all forsaken;
Take me, Jesus, take me now.

Sleeping cat Brooksyne and Ester saw a cat lying in the field behind our home. It was visible from our deck and had not moved for hours. They took the dog out to investigate. When she lurched at the cat it still did not move and they assumed he (or she) was dead. (Note: photo to the left is not the same cat!)

We periodically glanced at the cat for several hours to see if it might move, but finally I felt it was time to dispose of the “dead” cat (after all, who wants to watch or smell a decaying animal?) I grabbed a shovel and proceeded toward the cat, but when I got close the cat’s eyes opened and he looked right at me. Next he saw the shovel and scrammed into the woods! I reckon the cat reasoned, “I’m not that dead!”

Figuratively speaking, God has called us to be dead to sin much like the cat in our story appeared to be dead to those around him. Today we have on our hearts several situations we are encountering in the course of our service as chaplains. We want to help people accept Christ and to get on the right path in life or in many cases equip them to grow in their walk with the Lord as believers. In yesterday’s message we shared Bible teaching from a quote posted on a bumper sticker that states, “Sin would be less attractive if the wages were paid immediately.” People often make wrong choices and yet don’t always face the consequences immediately. In a corollary truth when making good choices we don’t always see the benefits immediately. In both cases there is an indeterminate amount of time between reaping and sowing.

Our daily verse presents a vital daily principle for the believer, “In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” Notice its call to action and obedience on our part. “Count yourselves”; that’s a daily decision and commitment we need to make. Other translations render the passage, “reckon ye also yourselves” (KJV) and “consider yourselves” (Amplified). The single Greek word this translates is “logizesthe”, which conveys the sense, “to do this continually”.”

F. B. Meyer writes, “Reckon that you have died, and whenever sin arises, to menace or allure you, point back to the grave, and argue that since you died in Christ, you have passed altogether beyond its jurisdiction, for you have yielded your members as weapons of righteousness unto God. And having been crucified with Christ, you now no longer live, but Christ liveth in you (Galatians 2:20). Let it become your daily habit to place the grave of Jesus between yourself and all allurements of the world, the flesh, and the devil.”

Sin is a harsh taskmaster as illustrated by this little poem which would be a good one to memorize:

Sin will take you farther than you ever thought you’d stray
Sin will leave you so lost, you think you’ll never find your way
Sin will keep you longer than you ever thought you’d stay
Sin will cost you more than you ever thought you’d pay

Later in Romans Paul calls believers, “to offer your bodies as living sacrifices” (Romans 12:1). It’s been said that the problem with a living sacrifice is that it keeps jumping off the altar! How true. We need to regularly apply the truth expressed in our daily verse. A volitional choice to consider ourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Let’s make that choice today.

Consider this:

Before our regeneration
We lived in sin and loved it;
Since our regeneration
We may lapse into sin but we loathe it.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we thank You for Jesus’ death on our behalf making it possible for us to be forgiven and walk in newness of life. Our sin nature no longer dominates, but our spiritual nature becomes the driving force behind our thoughts, our actions, and our conversation. In earnest we seek to bring forth abundantly good fruit which brings praise and glory to You, Father. Seeking personal attention, applause, or praise for our fruit would be gratifying the desires of our sin nature turning our good fruits into rotting, infested, and stench-filled fruit fit only for the waste pile.  Because we love righteousness and loathe sinfulness we never want to live the reverse order again. Help us when we do fall and uphold us so we can stand against the enemy and not lapse into doing things the “old familiar” way. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.


Reader’s Note:  Yesterday we shared a video about the origination of the song, “I Have Decided To Follow Jesus”. David Penley, a Texan friend and seminary professor observes: The song, “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus” has long been one of my favorites. The video about how it was written was especially meaningful to me. The part of India he was talking about in the video is Nagaland. I had a student from Nagaland several years ago, who did his Masters degree in our program. His family and ours became friends. He stayed and did his doctorate, and I served as his supervisor for that. Today he is president of a Christian college in Nagaland. He invited me to serve on his college’s board (which I still do), and I went to Nagaland to teach at his college a few years ago. He told me the story of how his people used to be headhunters, and I went to museums that included this part of their history while I was in Nagaland. He also told me the story I heard in the video of how those committed missionaries gave their lives to bring the Gospel to them. Today it is the most Christian part of India. The people were all so loving and friendly. They are the most gentle and caring people you could imagine. What a difference Christ makes! I was blessed to hear how this song I so love is connected to these people I have come to so love.


Yesterday morning our local journey took us intentionally through Lancaster County back roads on our way to our chaplaincy posts.
When possible, and if I have the time, I never take the same road twice preferring to explore new areas.

Lime Valley covered bridge, Lancaster County, PA 10/2/14Approaching the Lime Valley Covered Bridge in southern Lancaster County, PA.

Lime Valley covered bridge window 10/2/14
A photo through the window of this covered bridge looks like a framed landscape picture!

Lime Valley barn and farmhouse 10/2/14
Penn Grant Road farm and barn
After driving through the Lime Valley covered bridge we saw this.
(Click on photo for larger view and see the yellow chairs on the deck overlooking the bridge.)

Tobacco shocks, Lancaster County, PA 10/2/14 (Click to enlarge)
Tobacco shocks
(Click on photo to enlarge)

Amish roadside stand with children, Lancaster County, PA 10/2/14
It seems every other Amish farm has a small roadside stand; some with just a few varieties of produce, others with large carts of produce and flowers. And there are still other large homemade structures that are filled with many shelves of fresh and home canned produce.

Strasburg Pike barn with quilt, Lancaster County, PA 10/2/14
This eye catching barn on Strasburg Road has a huge quilt design made of several panels attached to its side.
(Click on photo to enlarge)

Brooksyne taking photos from van, Lancaster County, PA 10/2/14
Oops! Brooksyne was not the intended subject of this photo but I (Stephen) decided to keep and post it since this is most often the way we capture our Lancaster landscape and people photos as we travel to our different chaplain spots. I’m doing the driving and Brooksyne is snapping the camera. (This time the mirror got in the way and ended up capturing a “selfie” of the photographer.)


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

Precept Austin commentary notes on Romans 6:11. (This is an outstanding resource for serious Bible students.)

“I Surrender All”  Video

“Knowing You”  Video  Graham Kendrick


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.

Matthew 6:24
Note: Due to weariness and a very busy schedule a podcast was not prepared with this message.

“The Peril of Serving Two Masters”

“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money” (Luke 16:13). “Elijah went before the people and said, ‘How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal is God, follow him'” (1 Kings 18:21).

I enjoy observing bumper stickers. You can tell a lot about a person’s values and outlook in life by the types of bumper stickers they place on their vehicles or sometimes through the driver’s personalized license plate.

Some are humorous such as “Honk if you love Jesus, text while driving if you want to meet Him”.

Others are thought-provoking such as one that states, “Don’t blame me, I didn’t drink the Kool-Aid”. Or this one:

"Sin would be less attractive if the wages were paid immediately"

Of course many are profane and that number seems to be growing. It’s amazing what people will allow to be seen publicly whether on their cars, their clothing, or these days it might be tattooed on their bodies.

Our hearts are uplifted when we spot a clear proclamation of faith in Christ. Here’s one that will make you think, “God without man is still God, man without God is nothing.” I suppose our favorites are those that merely quote a Scripture verse such as, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel”.

But yesterday we saw an SUV with a conflicting set of bumper stickers. One was a clear expression of faith in Jesus Christ, the other was a statement in support of one of the many Baal’s of our age. The two stickers essentially asserted loyalty to two masters. As I passed by I considered today’s first Scripture text and how we must heed these solemn words from our Lord. It’s a part of the Sermon on the Mount and is found in both Matthew’s and Luke’s Gospels.

Vernard Eller rightly said, “One’s ultimate loyalty must converge at a single point. To try to go two ways at once will rip a person down the middle.” We cannot serve two masters!

Mammon can refer to anything in which one puts his trust (which is really just another name for an idol, which in turn is a “false god”; in essence anything that gets between us and God so that we lose our focus on Him. Greed for example amounts to idolatry). I find the expanded sense in the Amplified Bible helpful, “No servant is able to serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will stand by and be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon (riches, or anything in which you trust and on which you rely).”

1 Kings 18:21 Elijah’s question and forthright challenge on Mount Carmel rings true through the ages: “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal is God, follow him.'”

“God’s people have always faced a choice. Religious pluralism is not a recent development. There have always been plenty of other gods clamoring for our attention, yet God has always demanded our exclusive loyalty.” (Philip Graham Ryken)

The one true God does not give us the option of wavering. The challenge issued by Elijah is to all, “If the Lord is God, follow Him.” Jesus Christ and the New Testament preachers did not tolerate a wavering commitment. They never ran after people to accommodate their wavering beliefs or double-mindedness. The once wavering Thomas, when confronted with the evidence, exclaimed, “My Lord and my God” and went on to live and die for his Master.

Today let’s recognize that we cannot serve two masters. Let us wholeheartedly serve God and boldly declare, “The Lord is God and I will follow Him!”

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, it seems in this pluralistic society that many people waver between two opinions, therefore dividing their loyalties. Elijah challenged the people of his day, “If the Lord is God, follow Him”. Father, help me to thirst and hunger for Your Living Word where I find convincing truths to assure me, “This is the way. Walk in it.” I want to keep my heart fixed upon You and my mind certain of Your truths in this age where false religions abound and the broad way continues to widen. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life and I gain entry to You, my Father, only through Jesus the Son. I’ve got a made up mind and I’m going to follow You during the good and the bad times, the lean and plentiful periods. Whether I stand with many or stand alone, I choose to wholeheartedly follow You. In the name of Jesus I pray.  Amen.


Creekside farm stand near Mount Joy, Pennsylvania
The Creekside Farm stand is an Amish run business near our home.

Creekside farm stand near Mount Joy, Pennsylvania

Creekside farm stand near Mount Joy, Pennsylvania
Expect to see a lot of kids when you shop at these roadside stands!
Last time we were there they had eight.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

The story behind “I Have Decided To Follow Jesus”  Video  Powerful!

“Follow Me”  Video  Kelly Willard

“I’d Rather Have Jesus”  Video   Crabb Family (Inclides interview with George Beverly Shea

“I’d Rather Have Jesus”  Video  Dallas Holm  A rich vocal version

“I Have Decided”  Video   Elevation Worship

For further study on this verse see the notes in the Precept Austin online commentary.

A.W. Pink a British Bible teacher who died two years before I was born characteristically has a way of reaching deep into a Scripture’s meaning. He comments concerning this passage that Jesus “refutes the common persuasion that it is possible for us to seek both, and lay up for ourselves treasures on earth and treasure in heaven as well. Men think to compound with God and the world, dividing their affections and energies between them; but Christ here exposes the utter fallacy of such an idea and the impossibility of such a course.

Our minds must be fixed supremely upon God in Christ, and the world sought only in strict subservience to Him. Our hearts must he given to the Lord, wholly or without reserve, and the eyes of our soul be fixed upon Him alone. Here, then, is the reason why spiritual blindness must inevitably be our portion unless both our eyes are fixed steadfastly on a heavenly Object: a man’s affections cannot be divided; if he attempts to love the things of the world as well as love God, he will certainly fail of the latter, for “the friendship of the world is enmity with God: whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world, is the enemy of God” (James 4:4). The serving of two masters is absolutely opposed to the single eye, for the eye will be at the master’s hand: “Unto Thee lift I up mine eyes, O Thou that dwellest in the heavens. Behold, as the eves of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the Lord our God, until that He have mercy upon us” (Psalm 123:1, 2).


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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