Pressing Toward The Goal

“Pressing Toward The Goal”

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

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



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

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


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

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

Tractor with sled

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

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


Today’s Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources


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

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

“I Can Only Imagine”  Video  MercyMe

“There Will Be A Day”  Video  Jeremy Camp

“Finally Home”  Video  MercyMe

“The Motions”  Video  Matthew West

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

Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
Holy, holy is He
Sing a new song to Him who sits on
Heaven’s mercy seat
Contact Us
Send a message to Stephen & Brooksyne

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

Flower baskets at Village Farm Market
“Hide it under a basket, NO!”
Various sizes of Baskets and Crates at the Village Farm Market near Ephrata

“Being The Light Of The World”

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven”  (Matthew 5:14-16).

We are called to take His light
To a world where wrong seems right.
What could be too great a cost
For sharing life with one who’s lost?

Yesterday Angelina, a young missionary, spoke in our church. She lives in London and seeks to build relationships with Muslim women as a means of expressing her faith in Christ. She had a very interesting presentation and encouraged the congregation to consider how we might build bridges with people of other faiths, especially Muslims. During her message I whispered to Brooksyne, “Do we see any Muslims in the course of our chaplain work?”  She couldn’t recall any who identify themselves as Muslim and neither could I.

We learned about the great sacrifice Muslims make if they convert to Christianity, including loss of family (both immediate and extended), income, recognition. In fact for many their lives are in danger as a result. Angelina spoke about a man who had come to Christ and didn’t know another individual from his nation who was a Christian. Perhaps Khalid, whose story we link to below, is representative of this kind of experience.

Following our service we went to a nursing care facility where we enjoy walking through the dining area during dinner and greeting the people table by table. While I visit Brooksyne plays the familiar hymns at the piano which the residents thoroughly enjoy, often singing along.

We noticed a new nurse on staff who was very pleasant and helpful. In fact she escorted a blind resident to the piano while Brooksyne was playing. He wanted to express his appreciation by telling her, “I just want to thank you for playing my song, which happened to be ‘All Hail the Power’”.

Afterward, as we were visiting a resident who has cerebral palsy, we were having trouble understanding her. Over the years Patty’s speech has worsened considerably due to the debilitating effects of CP, which she was born with. This nurse came alongside Brooksyne, and together they sought to understand Patty as she had some questions of a spiritual nature. Afterward Brooksyne was getting to know the nurse better and asked her some personal questions. She had recently moved to Pennsylvania and makes her home in the area. In the course of their conversation she learned that she and her husband are Muslim. So I suppose now we do know a Muslim in the course of our chaplain work!

In Sunday School we had a brief discussion about the impact of big churches. We attend a church of about 120 and many tend to think of large churches as being more impacting. But most impact for Christ takes place in a one on one, personal way as people who have been redeemed and transformed by Christ let their light shine in the course of their everyday lives. Whether we gather with many or only a few on the Lord’s Day we need to “fill our cups to overflowing” and let the overflow of God’s love, light, and truth spill out to those around us!

Today’s daily text is probably familiar to many readers. It’s the basis of the children’s song, “This Little Light Of Mine”.

“You are the light of the world.” Pastor Phil Newton comments, “Jesus uses the same language of Himself in John 8:12, “I am the Light of the world.” That passage speaks of light in an originative sense. He is the origin of such light so that He can add, “He who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” Christians are light in a derivative sense in that the light we have comes as a result of our relationship to Jesus Christ. We do not produce the light, but like the moon that reflects the light of the sun, we too reflect the light of His indwelling life.”

Today we need followers of Christ to take His light and spread it out in this world where darkness reigns.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer:Father, You have set in each of us a heart for eternity. We don’t think or act just in terms of our temporal lives but we also give our attention to our eternal dwelling. We can be sure of our future residence by confessing with our mouth that Jesus is Lord and believing in our heart that You raised Him from the dead. This results in a changed life as we repent of our sins and seek to live a life in obedience to You. We are saved from our sins and the penalty of those sins because Jesus bore them on the cross. Therefore we confess with our lips and believe in our hearts that You raised Jesus from the dead providing life evermore to those of us who truly believe. Thank You for Jesus in whose name we pray. Amen.



* Khalid Mansoor Soomro  Khalid tells his story of conversion to Christianity 24 years ago.


For several days we’ve been sharing photos taken at a friend’s barn here in Lancaster County. Friday’s photo was of a portable scale for weighing feed as several of you properly noted.

Mystery farm tool
Today we have another old piece from Galen’s barn for the consideration of old-timers and farm stuff buffs. Galen took me into the barn and explained to me how this had been used in the past. If you recognize what it is respond here.  We’ll post the correct answer tomorrow. For extra credit here’s a final photo from Galen’s old collection that is probably the hardest of the five we’ve shared. Anyone recognizing this should be counted in the Agricultural Hall Of Fame (There really is such a place west of Kansas City in Bonner Springs, Kansas!)


Today’s Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources

“This Little Light Of Mine”  Video  Soweto Gospel Choir  Probably not the way most of us remember singing it!

“Go Light Your World”  Video  Chris Rice

“Shine Jesus Shine”  Video  Graham Kendrick

“Shine Into Our Night”  Video   Sovereign Grace

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.

“Jesus Saves!!!”

April 4, 2014

Pansies at Village Farm Market 4/3/14
A hanging pansy/allysum arrangement at Village Farm Market near Ephrata, PA
A sure sign of spring we saw yesterday!
 

“Jesus Saves!!!”

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.


“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:14-15).“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (Hebrews 12:2,3).

Oh, to Christ, how great a debtor
Jesus saves, Jesus saves
Are the saints who shout together
Jesus saves, Jesus saves
Rising up so fast and strong
Lifting up salvation’s song
The redeemed will sing forever
Jesus saves


Jesus Saves For several days we’ve been studying the 2 Timothy 3:14-15 phrase by phrase. Today let us consider the phrase, “salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”

Bible teacher David Guzik comments, “many people are wise in many different things – wise for cars, wise for money, wise for health, wise for cooking, wise for computers – but are we also wise for salvation?  This is the most important wisdom one can ever have! Where does this wisdom come from? The Holy Scriptures, in and of itself, the Bible does not save us – but it is only through the Bible that we can receive God’s truth about Jesus, and place our faith in Him.”

Saving faith is trust in Jesus Christ as a living person for forgiveness of sins and for eternal life with God. This definition emphasizes that saving faith is not just a belief in facts but personal trust in Jesus to save me. The definition emphasizes personal trust in Christ, not just belief in facts about Christ. Because saving faith in Scripture involves this personal trust, the word “trust” is a better word to use in contemporary culture than the word “faith” or “belief.” The reason is that we can “believe” something to be true with no personal commitment or dependence involved in it. (Grudem, W. A. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine Zondervan)

Our second daily text begins. “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him…” To “fix our eyes” means to look away from other things and steadfastly or intently locus on a distant object, at that which fills the heart. The idea is to direct one’s attention without distraction.

Today let us consider three grand events in the life of Christ as expressed in the remainder of this verse:

1) Christ endured the cross. We have the accounts in the Gospels of His endurance as He was completing the mission His Father had sent Him to earth to accomplish; His sacrificial death for the redemption of the human race.  Endured literally means “to remain under but not simply with resignation, but rather with a vibrant hope”. It describes one who continues in an activity despite resistance and opposition. Jesus endured short-term pain because of the certainty of long-term gain.

2) Christ scorned the shame. I find an elaboration in the Amplified Bible helpful here, “ignoring the shame”. The cross at His time brought only shame (it was the most shameful of deaths, “yea, the death of the cross” Philippians 2:8). But Jesus ignored that and did His Father’s will by submitting to it.

3) Christ sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. The death and resurrection of Christ are not explicit in this passage but certainly powerfully taught. He who endured and despised the shame of the Cross, died for our sins, was resurrected, ascended into heaven and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. In fact the writer of Hebrews introduced Jesus with the description… “When He had made purification of sins (His work of salvation as the sacrificial Lamb of God was accomplished once and for all), He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Hebrews 1:3).

Jesus SavesWe are called to “consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men.” The word “consider” translates the Greek “analogizomai” which is used only here in the entire New Testament. (The English word “analyze” is related to this word.)  It means to carefully estimate and contemplate.

There’s a powerful reason for this consideration, “so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Encouragement is a prominent theme in the book of Hebrews. In fact regular readers may recall that the theme verse for this ministry comes from Hebrews 3:13, “encourage one another daily.”

Today we have this same need don’t we? By deeply contemplating these various aspects of Christ’s redemptive work, we receive encouragement and renewed determination to press on in our faith, even in the midst of opposition.  Jesus Saves!

 

Sing above the battle strife:
Jesus saves! Jesus saves!
By His death and endless life
Jesus saves! Jesus saves!
Shout it brightly through the gloom,
When the heart for mercy craves;
Sing in triumph o’er the tomb:
Jesus saves! Jesus saves!

 

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Jesus, we want to fix our eyes, our thoughts, and our affections on You, our blessed Redeemer.  Though You faced enormous opposition that would provide understandable excuse for altering Your redemption plan, nevertheless You endured the cross and scorned it’s shame. Thank you that you died for our sins and rose in victory and returned to Your Father to sit at His right hand. When we consider the depth of Your commitment we’re even more determined to be faithful in the night seasons of our Christian walk.  Help us to endure by keeping our eyes, not on that which is seen, but on the unseen future rewards that You promise to those who are faithful.  We pray this in Your name.  Amen.



We enjoy our role as chaplains to various companies here in the south central PA area. We meet a lot of interesting people and today will share some photos with you.

 

Mihad at Vallorbs 4/3/14
Mihad is from Bosnia. He asked me to take his photo to add to his collection of photos taken at work in other countries where he has lived.Mixaythong at Vallorbs 4/3/14
Mihaythong is from Laos. Even though we have difficulty communicating with her in depth, she  still seems to enjoy our visits and our efforts at expressing friendliness. She’s enrolled in an English class and making good progress!

Tom at Vallorbs 4/3/14
I visited for a few minutes with a celebrity (at least I’m making him one.)


Yesterday we shared a photo of an old farm tool from a friend’s barn. It is a seed potato cutter. Based on lack of any responses it appears this stumped everyone. As I recall Galen had not seen this used or at least not since he was a child.

Mystery farm equipment
Today we have another piece of equipment from Galen’s barn for the consideration of old-timers and farm stuff buffs. Let’s see how observant some of our readers may be for a clue. It’s not a hand cart or a sled! If you recognize what it is respond here.  We’ll post the correct answer Monday along with another photo quiz.



Today’s Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources


“Jesus Saves”  Video  (Newer arrangement)  Travis Cottrell

“Jesus Saves”Video  (The old hymn) Buddy Greene and Russ Taff

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.

Jeremiah 9:23,24

“Able To Make You Wise”

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:14-15).

God's Not DeadThe other night Ester and I went to see the movie, “God’s Not Dead”. It features an atheist philosophy professor who gleefully challenges the students to disbelief. The main character, Josh, refuses to bend and courageously refutes the professor! The professor carries himself in such a haughty way, mocking any belief in God. We’ve met a few people like that through the course of life!

It seems in recent years there is more and more mocking of the Bible and people of faith in an attempt to associate unbelief as being wise or elitist such as the professor in the “God’s Not Dead” movie.

What a mean, ugly, hateful trap! Sadly, young people are especially prone to falling for it. After all, the professor is much more educated and “wise” and he is provided a platform. It seems to me advanced education has become one of the gods of our age. Now certainly we may esteem those who have a lot of education and use it wisely. But any wisdom attained in this manner should not conflict but rather align with the wisdom dispensed from God above. There are those with brilliant minds who have degrees from Harvard, Yale and other elite type universities. The world clamors for their wisdom on all issues. Some have faith in God, including several longtime subscribers to our postings. Yet many also, to use a phrase  I recall my dad using, “just don’t have their heads screwed on right.” Indeed some of the most foolish notions come out of these elite places!

A powerful verse in this regard is from Jeremiah who speaks to people in all ages: “This is what the Lord says: ‘Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,’ declares the Lord” (Jeremiah 9:23,24).

For several days we’ve been studying the Bible text from 2 Timothy phrase by phrase. Today let us consider the phrase, “You have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”

People often wonder about the distinction between knowledge and wisdom and at times we use them interchangeably. The dictionary defines wisdom as “the ability to discern or judge what is true, right, or lasting.” This is a theme that is recurring throughout the Bible. Knowledge, on the other hand, is defined as having information through experience, reasoning or acquaintance. God wants us to have knowledge of Him, His Word and what He expects of us. But equally important is having wisdom, that is, “the ability to discern or judge what is true, right, or lasting.”

James 1:5 Knowing facts about God and the Bible is not all there is to having wisdom. Wisdom is a gift from God. James 1:5 states, “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” Wisdom is what God will bless us with in order for us to glorify Him with the knowledge we have of Him. (gotquestions.org)

Mankind has a great pursuit of knowledge and wisdom and we live in an age where so much can be easily researched from our own home via computer (or tablet or smart phone). Later this month we are visiting Texas and I am already learning about the places we will visit as I am mapping out an itinerary.

The Holy Scriptures are able to make one wise. For centuries people, even those who did not have faith in Christ, have acknowledged this and valued the Bible for the wisdom it conveys. It would be true to merely make the statement, “You have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise.

But we will study tomorrow the foundational purpose of this wisdom in the two words that follow, “for salvation”. From the spiritual and eternal perspective this is by far the most important and lasting type of wisdom!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer:Father, we are advised by the apostle James to ask for any wisdom we lack, and You will give generously to us that which we ask. So much wisdom is attained by carefully reading, studying, and applying the Scripture. Additional wisdom is granted through the experiences we go through in life and also observing others, their response to critical situations along with their life choices and the results that follow. There are many things we observe and learn as we go through life’s journey. Help us to hold on to that which will profit us, that which will benefit or broaden our understanding. Enable us to reject and dispense of that which is in direct contrast to Your Holy Word so that we are not led astray or misguided by teachings the world deems to be knowledgeable or wise. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.


Several days ago we discussed the importance of godly grandparents and alluded to Timothy’s faith which first dwelt in his grandmother and mother. A little boy described grandmothers like this:

“A grandmother is a lady who has no children of her own, so she loves everybody else’s. Grandmas don’t have to do anything but be there. If they take you for a walk, they slow down past leaves and caterpillars. . . . They can answer questions like why dogs hate cats and why God isn’t married. When they read to you, they don’t skip parts or mind if it’s the same story again. Everyone should have a grandmother because they are the only grown-ups who have time for you.”

Timothy is a prime example of how a young life can be greatly influenced by a grandmother, especially if she is a godly woman. He held a position of great responsibility in leading the congregation at Ephesus. It was a difficult assignment for a young man who was timid by nature. To help his young protégé stand firm, the apostle Paul reminded him of the faith of his grandmother Lois (2 Timothy 1:5). It isn’t hard to imagine her playing with him when he was little, teaching him Scripture passages, putting him to bed with hugs and kisses and childlike prayers, and in the process nurturing the faith of her grandson.

Haddon W. Robinson observed, “God is a wise Father who knows how to help grandmothers and all of us to influence young lives.”


Yesterday we shared a photo of an old farm tool. It is a dehorner used to dehorn cattle. A vivid memory I have from my Uncle Gentry’s farm in southern Missouri was the bawling sound from the cattle being dehorned! Nice job for those who responded and the very first was quite unexpected, from Wendy Gambini, with some help from her co-workers in a dental office.

Mystery farm equipment
Today we have another piece of equipment from Galen’s barn for the consideration of old-timers and farm stuff buffs. It might be a little more difficult. If you recognize what it is respond here.  We’ll post the correct answer tomorrow along with another photo quiz.



Today’s Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources

“Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise “  Video  Steve Green

“Perfect Wisdom of Our God”  Video  Keith and Kristyn Getty

“Wisdom Song”  Video  Sharon Irving

“The Power of the Cross”  Video  Keith & Kristyn Getty

“The Glory of the Cross”  Video  Sovereign Grace

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.)


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Hymnbook angel
Hymnbook angel
Yesterday I made some visits and then stopped by Root’s Outdoor Market. You need to come to Lancaster County to see what Root’s Market is since I’ve never seen any place like it except in Lancaster County where we have several. Essentially it’s a market open only on Tuesday selling about everything you can imagine and includes several simultaneous auctions. This booth had an interesting way to recycle old hymnals by making angelic choristers! (Unfortunately hymnbooks are way too scarce these days with churches doing away with them in exchange for power point.)

“Knowing The Holy Scriptures”

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“My son, keep my words and store up my commands within you. Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings as the apple of your eye. Bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart” (Proverbs 7:1-3). “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:14-15).

Holy words long preserved
For our walk in this world,
They resound with God’s own heart
Oh, let the Ancient words impart.

2 Timothy 2:22 Timothy is Paul’s final letter. When he wrote it he knew his departure from this life would come soon (2 Timothy 4:6) and he was passing his faith and a solemn charge on to Timothy. Earlier in this letter he wrote, “and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men (*1) who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2). All who earnestly follow Christ and His commission are a part of this stream of transmission of truth from one generation to the next. We have been taught and, as we mature in our faith, we should be teaching.

Timothy was a second generation Christian and thus Paul’s teaching to him is very important to us as well. The timeline of our existence requires us to rely on the eyewitness accounts and teachings of those who had seen and heard the Lord when He lived on this earth. Paul emphatically urged Timothy to continue in what he had learned and had become convinced of because he knew those from whom he learned it, and from infancy he had known the Holy Scriptures. Today let us consider the phrase, “known the Holy Scriptures”.

We may not all have had the blessing of knowing the holy Scriptures from infancy or even childhood. Some of you became a Christian as an adult and prior to that had little to no knowledge of the Bible. Two weeks ago when I was in New York I met a lady who began her faith journey in her sixties. Regardless of how old we were when we first believed we are all urged to continue in what we have learned and become convinced of.

In Timothy’s time the Holy Scriptures which Paul mentions would have referred to the Old Testament books of Genesis through Malachi. Perhaps he was also referring to parts of what we know as the New Testament as well, such as the Gospel of Mark, which was written early in the church’s history. Interestingly the Apostle Peter referred to Paul’s writings as the Scriptures. (2 Peter 3:16).

Early in the post-apostolic age the books of the New Testament as we know it were considered canonical. A canonical book is one that measures up to the standard of Holy Scripture. Thus, the canon of Scripture refers to the books that are considered the authoritative Word of God. *2

Today, like Timothy, we may know the Holy Scriptures. A couple of lines from another hymn come to mind. “How sure the Scriptures are! God’s vital, urgent word.”

Old man holding BibleLet us continue to grow in our knowledge of God’s Holy Word. It’s a lifelong pursuit. In the next chapter Paul implores Timothy to “bring … my scrolls, especially the parchments” (2 Timothy 4:13). Here’s Paul, toward the end of his life, asking for study materials! He was likely appealing for texts from the Old Testament, the Gospels, copies of his own letters and other needed documents. He had a heart to keep studying and growing in his faith. D. Edmond Hiebert writes, “Even as an old man facing certain death, the apostle has not lost his interest for study and mental pursuits. It presents a standing challenge to the minister to be an indefatigable [untiring] student, especially of the Word of God.”

What grips our hearts today? Do we have an ongoing hunger to know God through His Holy Scriptures?

Ancient words ever true
Changing me, and changing you.
We have come with open hearts
Oh let the ancient words impart.



Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer:Father, if we guard Your teachings in Scripture as the apple of our eye we will love and cherish them. We will read, honor and obey them, aligning all other input with Your Word. It must meet the sniff test by measuring up to unchanging Biblical principles or be rejected on that basis. You change the hearts and souls of men and women, boys and girls, and yet You are the changeless, everlasting Father whom we worship now and for all eternity. May we continue in what have learned and become convinced of because it increases our faith and anchors our spirit in this world where instability, fear, and distrust are the order of the day. Keep us true and growing in our faith, we pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.



*1 The Greek word “anthropoi” can refer men (male gender) or to both men and women (human race), depending on the context.

*2 Here’s a lesson about the canon of Scripture


Don Billett at Root's Market 4/1/14
I visited with Don Billett, a member of the Old-order River Brethren for a few minutes at Root’s Market yesterday. He was seeking to get in a witness for the Lord with a nature display.

Last week I shared several mystery photos and observed there are a number who told us they enjoy these quizzes. Galen, a farmer friend volunteered several items for our readers to consider. Like most farmers he has some interesting old tools and equipment in his barns!

Mystery farm tool
Can any readers identify what this tool was used for? Respond here
We’ll post the correct answer tomorrow along with another quiz.


Today’s Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources

“Ancient Words”  Video  Michael W. Smith  We periodically sing this song just before the message is preached.  It is a wonderful way to prepare our hearts for receiving the Word of God.

“Speak, O Lord”  Video  Keith & Kristyn Getty Here’s also a nice local church version by John Adams  Video

A-Z Bible verses poster (Webpage) Several years ago I attended the funeral service in the Chicago area of Grace Wolgemuth. She is the woman who developed this and taught it to her children. Her brother, Jesse Dourte, whom we often feature in our writings, is in his nineties and still an earnest student of the Holy Scriptures. This poster was developed by Grace’s son, (author and singer) Robert Wolgemuth. If you care to print it out, it prints out well on one sheet.

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.

“From Infancy”

April 1, 2014

Faith Community church, Easton, PA
Steeple surrounded by a cloud covered blue sky and bright sunbeams at Faith Community Church in Easton PA where my brother Pat is the pastor.
Photo taken by Barbara Davis.

“From Infancy”

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:14,15).

For the past few writings we’ve been gleaning truth from several verses in 2 Timothy 3. Today let us focus on a point that Paul made regarding Timothy’s earliest childhood education. He is urging Timothy to “continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it.”  Now he makes a point that is rich with meaning as he reminds Timothy that from infancyyou have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” Today let us just consider the words, “from infancy”.

Adoree as baby Infancy is a part of our childhood and many Bible versions translate “from childhood” in this verse. But there is a special significance in understanding the word more precisely as infancy, which we normally consider the period from birth to two years old. By that age we usually refer to them as toddlers (I suppose that’s because we toddle a lot at that age!).

Yesterday we shared a story that took place in our church on Sunday. It included Adoreé and I happened to find a photo of her laughing as an infant when we were in a home Bible study years ago. Children sure grow up quickly (she’s now in kindergarten)!

There’s a powerful truth related to this in our daily verse. Notice the phrase, “from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures.” Timothy had a godly mother and grandmother (2 Timothy 1:5). They apparently had taught the Holy Scriptures to Timothy even as an infant.

The word “infancy” is brephos, a very interesting Greek word. This same word is used in Luke 1:44 to describe John while he was in his mother’s womb.  When John’s mother saw Mary she said, “For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby (brephos) in my womb leaped for joy.” Thus in Scripture, infancy (brephos) includes preborn life as well as the period shortly after our birth till we begin to toddle.

Preborn baby How rich in this regard is the Psalmist’s statement in Psalm 139, “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”

There is such a devaluing of prenatal life which extends to all life. Several years ago “Consumer Reports” had an article dealing with birth control, which also touched on the subject of abortion. Abortion was identified as a procedure to remove “uterine contents.” Is that a new low in Orwellian doublespeak or what!

John was not “uterine contents” but a tiny developing baby, who grew up to make a mighty impact in fulfilling the purpose for which God had made him. Paul acknowledged that Timothy was impacted by the Holy Scriptures from infancy, which I certainly believe is prenatal development as well. Even many in the world recognize the intricate development that takes place in the womb, not only physically, but in many other ways as well.

Consider today the awesome power of God’s Word, the Holy Scriptures. Some of you, like John and Timothy, have known Biblical instruction from infancy, having a godly heritage. Others have come into this knowledge later and are the first generation in your line to have godly faith. Regardless, hold on to the divine truth that “you have known the holy Scriptures which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” (We will study this phrase over the next couple of days).

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer:Father, there is incredible blessing in the miracle of new birth and along with this gift of life comes extraordinary, lifetime responsibility for the parents. May we as parents realize the impact of imparting Scriptural teaching by instruction as well as example from the time of their conception. We’re grateful for our family, other Christian brothers and sisters, our church and Christian ministries that also inspire our children to live for You. We cannot force our children to walk in Your ways, but we can certainly show them the way to life everlasting and equip them with the Scriptural knowledge that will make them wise for salvation. May this always be our highest priority. In the name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.



Today’s Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources

“Let the Little Children Come”  Video  Steve Green

Seven Reasons To Serve In The Church Nursery

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.

Mount Pleasant choir 3/30/14
Mount Pleasant choir led in worship yesterday and started out with the great old hymn, “Satisfied”.

Those Whom We Know And Trust”

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it” (2 Timothy 3:14).

Come, young and old from every land -
Men and women of the faith;
Come, those with full or empty hands -
Find the riches of His grace.
Over all the world, His people sing -
Shore to shore we hear them call
The Truth that cries through every age:
“Our God is all in all”!

Yesterday in our church service we had a heartening and instructive experience as we sang a “modern hymn”, as the Gettys like to call their music, titled “Come Peple Of The Risen King”. Brooksyne was leading from the front and the congregation was heartily singing the words of the chorus, “Rejoice, Rejoice…”. The melody and words blended together in such joyous resound it made me think of what singing must sound like in heaven. About that time I, along with those around me, heard a very young angelic voice vigorously singing out on the refrain. I think she expelled all the lung capacity she had on the words, “Rejoice! Rejoice!” (Adoree’ in photo below with her arms around her brothers)
Rejoice, Rejoice
Let every tongue rejoice!
One heart, one voice;
O Church of Christ, rejoice!Children

A good old-fashioned testimony service followed which reflected the words of the second verse,

“Come, those whose joy is morning sun,
And those weeping through the night;
Come, those who tell of battles won,
And those struggling in the fight”

Different members stood to express praise to God and tell how He is working in their lives. An older member stood and passionately implored the young people to serve the Lord. A young mother stood and testified how she needed to teach her children about matters previous generations did not due to the rapidly spreading cultural rot since many are abandoning our country’s Biblical foundations. Another young mother stood and expressed deep appreciation for both younger couples and the elderly who are an inspiration to her as she and her husband seek to raise their baby in the ways of the Lord. In other words we not only teach by the truths we expound but we also teach by the way we live.

For the last several encouragement messages we have been examining a portion from 2 Timothy 3, studying it phrase by phrase. Today we want to consider the phrase in V. 14, “because you know those from whom you learned it”.

Paul was imploring Timothy to consider the character and integrity of those who had taught him God’s truth. We determine this character and integrity by knowing those who teach us. These days we use the word “know” in a very broad sense. We may speak of knowing someone because we have heard of them, read a book, listened to their music or saw them on TV. But surely the sense of the word, “know” Paul is speaking of here is very likely much more localized in the way we know one personally.

Ken with grandchildren The “whom” is plural.Paul might have been referring to Timothy’s grandmother and mother since he had mentioned them earlier in the book and commended their faith. Last week we challenged readers regarding the vital role parents and grandparents must fill in passing on the faith. Ken is a friend of ours who has this photo on his desk (left). It’s a gift from his children and a visual reminder of the great love grandparents can express to their grandchildren in addition to the godly example they can model as they live for Christ. I (Brooksyne) was greatly influenced to follow Christ because of my grandparent’s dedication to God.

Paul himself surely had a role in training Timothy as well. Earlier in the chapter he had written, “You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, persecutions, sufferings (2 Timothy 3:10,11). Of course there are likely others who had taught Timothy as well. That’s usually the case as we examine the many who influence our lives.

This was an observable sense of knowing so unlike the modern usage that often means no more than “I’ve heard about them”. Consider how so much of what we come to know now comes in such an impersonal way.

Earlier in the chapter Paul warned Timothy about false teachers. He encouraged Timothy to look to his past and hold to the basic teachings that are eternally true. Like Timothy we are surrounded by false teachings. But we must not allow our society to distort or crowd out God’s eternal truth. We need to spend time every day reflecting on the foundation of our Christian faith found in God’s Word, the great truths that build up our life. (adapted quote from Life Application Bible)

In studying a Bible passage I find value in the various ways it is translated, each version conveying shades of meaning. The Bible Gateway has a nifty tool in which you can look at a verse in all the online translations in their database. For 2 Timothy 3:14 it’s here. These two versions touch my heart, “Remember from what sort of people your knowledge has come” (Phillips) and “All you have learned comes from people you know and trust” (Voice). This is the basis of the title of today’s message.

Today let us consider those whom we know and trust and from whom we have learned the foundational truths of life as well as those who we have the blessing of impacting. Are we a good example and are we faithfully teaching by word and deed?

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer:Father, as we corporately worship we come together, both young and old, from various ethnic, social and spiritual backgrounds.  Some of us were raised by godly parents and early on chose to follow in Your ways; others more recently enlisting in Your service. There is so much to be gained from young and new in the faith. And we learn so much from the older. We learn from each other and we increase our faith as we continue in that which we have learned and become convinced of because we know those people from whom we learned it. We have seen the commendable results exemplified in their lives and aspire to implement the good into our own. Keep us keeping on in You we pray, in the name of Jesus. Amen.



Today’s Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources

“Come People of the Risen King”  Video  Kristyn Getty This is the song referred to in the message.

“Satisfied”  Video  Gaither Vocal Band  We also sang this song in our church yesterday. What great lyrics!

This weekend Ester and I went to see “God’s Not Dead” a faith-building film with a wholesome ending. We tried to go Friday night but it was sold out.  Last night I bought tickets online and the theater was almost full. At the end of the film we all clapped which I also remember doing at the end of “Courageous”. (See clip here) Ester wants me to play the song used in the movie by NewsBoys (Video). She didn’t understand that I kept trying to sing to an old children’s chorus. Here’s the way Brooksyne and I remember singing “God’s Not Dead”. (Children’s video) We suppose a few others will recall this!

Here’s a thoughtful blog post related to today’s message sent by Jim, a friend from Texas, titled Ageism in an Age of Hipster Christianity?

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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