Flower wagon at Blue Gate in Shipshewana Indiana
Flower wagon at Blue Gate in Shipshewana Indiana (Click to enlarge)
“Now Or Later, The Choice Is Yours”
ListenListen to us read this message on your audio player.

“Therefore God has highly exalted Him (Jesus Christ) and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11).

We arrived back home from our trip to Wisconsin Friday evening and are pleased to be home. Our pets and homestead are fine and we resume our chaplain visitation this week. It was good to be back in our home church yesterday where we regularly fellowship with our brothers and sisters.

Thursday evening we attended a gospel concert at the Blue Gate Theater in Shipshewana Indiana that featured a musical family we enjoy listening to. The Collingsworth family is comprised of a mom and dad, their four children, and a new daughter in law. Other family members work behind the scenes as well. We will share a selection of their music in our resource section below.

The concert concluded with a singing of the chorus derived from our daily text. You will likely recognize this chorus as many of us have sung it for decades:

He is Lord, He is Lord
He is risen from the dead and He is Lord
Every knee shall bow
Every tongue confess
That Jesus Christ is Lord

Phil Collingsworth, the group leader, mused that he would like to be within earshot of hearing members of the ACLU make this confession during this endtime event! I’d like to be standing right next to him. For non American readers the ACLU, along with another godless group from Wisconsin called the “Freedom From Religion Foundation”, are bent on stamping out the Christian faith in America from the public square. It seems any expression of Christian faith is a target, with a current effort to monitor Bible-faithful preaching through a filter of political correctness.

But one future day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. We can willingly make this confession now or join even the most hardened atheist and God-hater who will make it at the great judgment. At that time I am not sure “choice” is the right word but rather a stunning realization that life was lived all wrong on this earth and the Jesus who was mocked, scorned and ignored is Lord indeed.

You can make this confession now or later, the choice is yours. It is life’s most important choice.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, it is because of Jesus; His loving compassion toward us evident in His incarnation, His ministry, His death and resurrection, that we willingly and joyfully bow on our knees and confess with our tongue that Jesus Christ is Lord. We deny ourselves the world and all that it offers to make Jesus our Lord. For some of us it is a commitment without a great deal of fallout but for others it can ostracize them from their family, their village, or even cost them their lives. Whether in life or death we want to be among those who bear witness of the truth, and are willing to suffer death in the cause of Christ (Acts 22:20; Rev. 2:13; 17:6). We pray for our brothers and sisters in Syria and in others regions of this world who are undergoing persecution, many of them fleeing for their lives and others laying down their lives for the cause of Christ. How consoling to know that this is not the end but they have received the victor’s crown of eternal life where there will be no more hardship, no persecution, nor a trace of sin. Keep us faithful no matter what, in the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.


Brooksyne visiting with Phil Collingsworth 8/7/14
Brooksyne visiting with Phil Collingsworth, father of the singing group, during concert intermission 8/7/14.

Shipshewana Amish horse&buggy with trailer 8/7/14
We saw lot of interesting Amish means of conveyance in Shipshewana.
(Click to enlarge)

Shipshewana Amish bikes 8/7/14
Unlike Lancaster County the Amish ride bikes such as this young family out for an early evening ride. Our local Amish must use scooters rather than bikes.

Shipshewana Amish open wagon 8/7/14
More colorful scenes of the locals.
(Click to enlarge)

Shipshewana Amish open wagon 8/7/14
We saw a lot of these washtub carts including those with children in them being pulled by mothers on their bicycles!

Shipshewana Amish open wagon with boys 8/7/14
We took a ride through the countryside as well.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Every Knee Shall Bow”  Video   Ivan Parker

“He Is Lord”  Video  MercyMe

A Sampling of Songs from the Collingsworth Family

“God Can Do Anything”  Video

“At Calvary”  Video

“Burdens Are Lifted At Calvary”  Video

“If He Hung The Moon”  Video

“Show A Little Bit of Love and Kindness”  Video

“The Best of the Collingsworth Family – Compilation”   Video


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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.

Essenhaus flower wagon
Das Dutchman Essenhaus in Middlebury Indiana
“Be Prepared To Stop”

Note: Due to travel a podcast was not prepared for this message.

“‘Stop!’ Samuel said to Saul. ‘Let me tell you what the LORD said to me last night.’ ‘Tell me,’ Saul replied” (1 Samuel 15:16).

"Be prepared to stop" signToday we are in Shipshewana Indiana, a small tourist type town in the rural northeast part of the state. We will explore the area today and attend a Collingsworth Family concert at the Blue Gate Theater this evening before our long drive back home tomorrow.

Yesterday was mostly a travel day since we drove right through Chicago which, along with suburbs, goes on for miles and miles. We moved along pretty good since our city travel was not during rush hour. However we did encounter some road work and the inevitable warning signs that warn, “Be Prepared To Stop”.

“Stop” is not one of our favorite words and certainly not when you have a destination in travel and are stopped in a traffic jam or for road construction!  But as we grow older we recognize it’s packed with meaning and it’s a good word in our vocabulary. In our responsibilities in caring for children and pets we often use this word to redirect one’s behavior or for safety prevention. It’s an extremely important word and does not always have a negative connotation.

We need to go through life with an attitude of having our spiritual eyes on the “Be Prepared To Stop” signs.

In our daily text Saul had disobeyed God and Samuel’s response was that of judgment. On this occasion Saul did stop and reluctantly received the message. I consider today the many ways that God has provided His command to “STOP” as a loving warning to His children. The “STOP” may be a recollection of Scripture, a Holy Spirit prompting to our conscience, a spiraling consequence, or sometimes it’s a word spoken from another person. When tempted and tried we need to see these stops as a blessing.

Yet we are often torn between the desire to obey and the strong appeal to disobey. We pray for ourselves as well as each reader that we will recognize the loving and protective motivation behind God’s “stops.”  I’m thankful for the all-wise and caring God we serve who still says “Stop”. May our ears be quick to listen and our hearts be prompt to obey the voice of the Lord.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Jesus, would You help me to be quick to recognize and respond to Your promptings. Often You speak to me through Scripture, daily prayer, and other believers. You also speak to me through the undesirable consequences that come from acts of disobedience. May I see Your cautions and “stops” as part of Your loving way of keeping me from danger and redirecting me to that which will be of blessing in my life and to those around me. Amen.


Some scenes from our travel yesterday

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore along the southern shore of Lake Michigan.

Essenhaus flowers
A large flower arrangement at the Das Dutchman Essenhaus.

Essenhaus quilt garden
A “quilt” flower bed at the Das Dutchman Essenhaus.

Shipshewana Amish gathering
A large group of Amish were gathered at the open red barn in the background in Shipshewana last night. Later we had a steady stream of horses and buggies pass our hotel.

Shipshewana lake at sunset
Sunset over Shipshewana Lake

Tractor seats at Esh
This morning Brooksyne shopped at an Amish store which had all kinds of interesting items on the walls including these colorful tractor seats.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“The Best of the Collingsworth Family – Compilation”   Video  This is the group we will hear this evening.

Shipshewana Indiana is here (Google map)

Tomorrow we hope to get an early start to head home and will try to send out a daily message from our home late Friday or on Saturday.


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.

Geneva Lake Wisconsin
Lake Geneva Wisconsin
(Click on photo to enlarge)
“God’s Reliable Love”

Note: Due to travel a podcast was not prepared for this message.

“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us” (1 John 4:16).

Today we will head back toward Pennsylvania after our trip to our family reunion here in Wisconsin. We have had a great time but are always ready to be back home. We will drive through Chicago to spend a couple of nights in Shipshewana, Indiana.

MaMa and PaPa SteincrossLast night we had a farewell family gathering. We are now the aging grandchildren of our common family connection, George and Nellie Mae Steincross, who passed away in the early seventies (photo on right). Our connections began as little kids playing on a farm in southern Missouri over a half century ago. All of our parents have passed on and yet we cousins continue to gather each year to share our common heritage. New generations have come with one of us grandchildren now being a great grandmother!

Yesterday we took a mail boat ride on Geneva Lake and I visited with my cousin’s very gregarious six year old grandson twins. Somehow Brooksyne and I managed to get front row seats so they took turns sitting on our laps for a better view. Last night I saw them again and greeted them by name. One of them looked up at me like he had never seen me before. I reminded him about the morning boat ride and he responded, “You look different!” (I had changed clothes.) With wide eyed curiosity he eyed my suspenders and asked, “What are those?” I suppose to a child they may have looked like a medical device. I told him and then asked “What do you suppose they’re for?” At first he didn’t know but then ventured, “To hold your pants up?”

Indeed I use suspenders as reinforcement to my belt. With my present configuration a belt alone may not do the job, but used with suspenders both are sufficient to the task! People use accessories such as belts, suspenders and other more personal attire not for ornamental reasons but for functional purposes. In fact we depend on them. If you stop and think about it, there are lots of things we rely on day in and day out.

The dictionary defines reliability as “dependability or trustworthiness”. The reliable object consistently functions as designed. The reliable person can be depended upon because he is trustworthy.

Being a reliable person includes dependability, consistency and faithfulness. When something or someone is reliable we generally take that quality for granted but when dealing with unreliability that faulty trait quickly rises to the surface. In our interface with both people and machines reliability is necessary and is a genuine blessing.

Today’s Scripture text is a wonderful verse to memorize and hide deep in our hearts: “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.” The Amplified Bible elaborates, “And we know (understand, recognize, are conscious of, by observation and by experience) and believe (adhere to and put faith in and rely on) the love God cherishes for us.”

What a tremendous blessing that we can know and rely on God’s love.  Sometimes it is very evident to me. At other times it is an invisible expression.  I must also confess that there have been times when I’ve actually questioned His love for me. Sometimes I would like to see Him do things differently and there are times I even give Him ideas on how to do it. But there is a deep abiding assurance as we come to regularly rely upon His steadfast, unconditional love.

Perhaps you have seen the photo (or computer designed graphic) of a huge iceberg. Only the tip is showing above the water. That’s a good illustration of the love of God. Those of us in Christ know God’s love and realize it is so immense that it is beyond measure. As our faith grows we draw even closer to Him and we have an even greater sense of God’s love.  However I suspect we still just see the “tip” of His love!  Even though there is so much about God’s love I see and may even think I understand, there is a whole, whole lot I fail to see or comprehend.

Do you know God’s love today? Are you relying (trusting, believing) on that love? A.W. Tozer wrote: “God’s love is measureless. It is more: it is boundless. It has no bounds because it is not a thing but a facet of the essential nature of God. His love is something He is, and because He is infinite, that love can enfold the whole created world in itself and have room for ten thousand times ten thousand worlds beside.”

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we know Your love because You first loved us. You gave Your one and only Son to die for our sins so that we would not perish but spend eternity in heaven with You. As our roots grow down into Your love we gain strength, understanding, and maturity. Though we cannot grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, we can respond in love to You. Just as we rely on the love You have for us, may You find our love consistent and reliable. In the name of Jesus we pray.  Amen.


Some photos from our time here in Wisconsin

Geneva Lake mailboat
We took a tour on the mailboat on Geneva Lake which delivers mail to homes along the lake, many of them quite pretentious, as you might imagine.

Geneva Lake mailboat
Three of my cousins ready for the mailboat ride. The three children of our Uncle Gentry Steincross; Mazie, Dub and Anna Lee. (Jeannine, the oldest sibling, passed away in Dec. 2011.)  Anna Lee is now our oldest cousin as well as a great grandmother. It was on Uncle Gentry and Aunt Dora’s farm that we often gathered and have lifetime memories as grandchildren playing in the barn, riding the tractor, enjoying fresh food right from the garden. Aunt Dora’s delicious Blackberry Cobbler is still talked about at every family gathering .

Geneva Lake mailboat
The mail lady, a 2014 high school graduate, preparing for a delivery as well as a pick up of sweat shirts for the ship’s gift shop, from the three standing on the dock. Captain Neal has worked on the lake for 52 years.

Geneva Lake mailboat (photo by Ester)
She jumps off the boat, runs across the dock to place the mail in the mailbox, and then jumps back on – all while the boat moves along the dock! (photo by Ester) Video

Lake Geneva walking trail
We enjoyed the beautiful Geneva Lake Shorepath Walk. Here’s Brooksyne walking with my brother Mike.

Blue flower
The Shorepath walk had many exquisite flowers.

Geneva Lake mansion
A mansion along Geneva Lake. We sized it up, thinking perhaps our home will look something like this in heaven. See here for more info about the Geneva Lake mansions.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“The Love Of God”  Video  Gaither Vocal Band

Geneva Lake is here. (Google map)

Here’s a web page with lots of photos about a visit we made last year to Harwood Missouri, which now has a population of less than 50. Harwood is located here.

Finally today: One more photo from over fifty years ago we have shared before:

Tractor with sled
Uncle Gentry showing us all a good time on the farm one winter day. My older cousin Steve is driving the tractor. My sister and I and other cousins are on the makeshift sled.

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.

Black-eyed Suzans

Black-eyed Susans we saw at a community garden in Lafayette Indiana
“The Blessing Of A Blessing”

Note: Due to travel a podcast was not prepared for this message.

“The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn His face toward you and give you peace” (Numbers 6:24-26).

Today we are in Wisconsin where we are gathering with family for a reunion of the cousins on my (Stephen’s) mom’s side. We have eaten at a number of restaurants during our trip seeking a variety of cuisine, but mostly good old country cooking we both enjoy such as you find at the Crackerbarrel. Of course Brooksyne always enjoys their attached gift shop as well! However yesterday we did have a special meal at a restaurant we enjoy mostly because of the name, The Weber Grill. Now most think of the Weber Grill as what many have for outdoor grilling but the same company has several restaurants.

We were seated the other day at a restaurant in Lafayette Indiana and met a server who looked like she’d had a rough life. She was friendly but seemed a bit socially clumsy, untidy in appearance, and even a bit ungraceful in her skills as a waitress. I noticed another server giving her a dirty, besmirching eye as she glanced as her disapprovingly. Brooksyne and I both felt compassion for the woman and sought to express a greater level of kindness as she seemed to be a needy soul. As we departed the restaurant we discussed how there are so many people like her everywhere. In fact you likely know one or more people like the waitress we met. They need an extra measure of kindness and blessing from those of us who’ve experienced multitudinous blessings from God.

I (Brooksyne) typically read our local newspaper online for headlines and obituaries in Lancaster County and just this morning I saw the obituary for a woman whose last name is “Blessing”. It made me stop and consider what it would be like to have the last name “Blessing”, Brooksyne Blessing, for instance. I’m pleased to be a Weber, but wonder if my last name was Blessing, would I seek to be a greater blessing to others so I could literarlly live up to my name. Ester could quickly tell you my catch phrase every time she was invited to someone’s house as a child and admittedly even in her adult years I still say, “Be a blessing!”. How fun it would be if Blessing was actually your last name when you sent your child off with that admonition! Of course you’d likely get raised eyebrows and rolling eyes either way with the wincing look that says, “You’ve told me that a thousand times!”

Now that I no longer have small children I must confess I do remind our dogs when we leave them in the care of others such as our trip this week, “Mollie and Roxie, be a blessing to John and Joan!” They don’t raise their brows or roll their eyes at me. In fact they wag their tails and look me directly in the eyes with their big smile, tongue wagging. Of course they don’t understand what I’m saying either, but I guess it’s still the “mom” in me that makes me say it to them since I want their caregivers to have a pleasant experience. (I’ll be making a phone call today to see whether they are being a blessing, as I told them to be.) On a more serious note, today we want consider the blessing of a blessing.

Today’s text is known and the Aaronic blessing. The Full Life Study Bible states, “The imparting of God’s blessing is being assured of His protection from evil forces and all that is adverse to one’s spiritual walk in life. The shining of the Lord’s face indicates God’s favor and His unlimited grace directed toward His people. The turning of the Lord’s face toward those He blesses reminds us that God is always compassionate and giving heartfelt love toward those who look to Him.  The blessing also includes that of peace. The Hebrew word for peace is shalom, meaning far more than the absence of conflict. Its basic meaning indicates harmony, wholeness, soundness, well-being and success in all areas of life. To find peace within our own souls is the greatest expression of this blessing.”

Isn’t this indeed the timeless blessing we all desire to experience and impart to others?

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: “Lord, even as Moses instructed Aaron and his sons to bless the Israelites by praying this blessing I bless the readers of our encouragement ministry by pronouncing this very personal blessing upon each of them today: ‘The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn His face toward you and give you peace.’  In Jesus’ name, Amen.”


Movable cart
We stopped by a community garden in Lafayette Indiana and got this idea for a portable cart. Perhaps this would also meet some of our gardener friends’ needs when it comes to washing fresh vegetables outside or potting plants.

Creative flower arrangement
The Indiana State Fair had a display of creative flower arrangement such as this “vase”. Do you recognize what it is?

Fresh cow at Indiana Fair
This calf was getting fresh with a volunteer retired farmer! He or she was especially taken with his neckerchief. The farmer told us, “Last year a calf ate my good hat” (“good” meaning it was his very comfortable hat he had broken in for nine years.)

Scare crows at Indiana Fair
I’m not sure how far this farmer scarecrow will cart his scarecrow companion, but at least she is resting comfortably in the meantime.
RV on I 70
Never know what you may see on the road. We could be wrong but considered this to be a House on Wheels which is growing in popularity these days. The stained glass certainly sets this one apart from the typical wood houses. Readers, please set us straight if you know otherwise.

Scare crows at Indiana Fair
The Weber Grill was invented by George Stephen in 1952
He was working at Weber Brothers Metal Works in Chicago, Illinois, manufacturing marine buoys when he came up with an idea for a better grill. His invention: a dome-shaped grill with a lid to protect food from the elements, while sealing in that only-from-the-grill barbecue flavor. George Stephen cut a buoy in half, added some air vents and legs and, in the process, invented the grill that would spark a backyard revolution, backyard grilling.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Make Me A Blessing”  Video  Instrumental with lyrics

Weber Grill Restaurant  Listen for the sizzle when the page opens!

Today we are in Delavan Wisconsin visiting with family. We may be unable to send off a message tomorrow since we plan to take a morning boat trip on Lake Geneva.

Willow Creek ChurchYesterday we visited a huge mega church in the Chicago area we have often heard of (Willow Creek). A four lane highway leads from the state highway to the parking lot. As we typically do in our church we found seats about seven rows back in the huge auditorium. The service was a bit different for us and very loud, to us seeming more like a concert in a venue like the Giant Center. (My heart was throbbing at times.) The amount of audio and visual special effects was a bit overwhelming to our senses since we are not used to these such as spot lights that periodically came on right in our eyes and flashing blue strobes. We walked the campus after the service and they had a food court like a mall with a humongous sitting area. We realize many of our readers attend churches like this and are accustomed to what we describe but we are quite satisfied in our small country church and were heartened to receive a note from our pastor this morning that we were missed!!! Now that sure blessed us. We are so thankful for the congregational singing and the sound Bible exposition messages our pastor preaches.


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

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

“A Basket Story”

August 1, 2014

Basket made by the Weber family at Longaberger Homestead
A basket Brooksyne made at the Longaberger Homestead several years ago
“A Basket Story”
Note: Due to travel a podcast was not prepared for this message.

“But when she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she placed the child in it and put it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile. His sister stood at a distance to see what would happen to him” (Exodus 2:3,4).

Longaberger basket

Yesterday we visited the Longaberger Homestead and later passed by the Longaberger company headquarters about twenty miles away. Longaberger is a company known for making baskets and their headquarters is shaped like a gigantic basket. It is an amazing sight to see off the highway as we drove by! (For true scale visualization you have to remember those are full size trees next to the pictured basket.)

Baskets have been huge collector items over the years but based on our visit yesterday it seems the interest in Longaberger baskets is waning at the very least or simply a thing of the past. The place was practically deserted with a huge parking lot and only a few cars. The busy production area we had visited years ago looked closed. We overheard people (mostly older) commenting on how busy the place used to be. The whole store and all the shops were 50% off. This would be a good reminder concerning all popular fads which tend to come and go!

Some baskets are functional but many baskets are used for decorative purposes. In our home their main usage is for flowers, plants, and collecting vegetables from the garden as well as packing a meal for a family in need. Brooksyne really isn’t very interested in the heirloom quality such as Longaberger baskets offer.

Please note: Due to the historical background today’s message is longer than usual!

Woman with basket on head All throughout history baskets have had a practical function. They are first mentioned in the Bible in the Book of Genesis. (Genesis 40:16) When we visited Central America we saw women and children carrying baskets on their heads. When we visited the pre-European Cherokee Village in Tahlequah, Oklahoma we watched Cherokee women making baskets.  Today we want to consider a fairly well-known time in the Bible that a basket was used in a very functional way as a means of preservation and deliverance.

Crying baby Pharoah had decreed that all male Hebrew babies were to be destroyed, the first attempted holocaust. A Hebrew named Jochebed had a son and after his birth she tried to hide him. But at three months of age she could hide him no longer.  Babies have a will of their own and though Jochebed may have sung and rocked the baby to try to pacify his infant whimpers, surely they turned into loud crying as the child grew. All parents experience this with their healthy growing babies.

Moses in basket God could have intervened in this matter by silencing the baby but He didn’t work things out that way. So Jochebed came up with a plan of her own. She got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch (to make it waterproof and thus it would float) and placed him in the basket among the reeds along the Nile River. This must have been very hard for her to do, but perhaps she had seen firsthand Pharoah’s vengeance and her motherly instinct was to protect her baby.

I am intrigued by the actions taken by the baby’s older sister, Miriam, in the next several verses. Even a child had a part in God’s redemptive plan! After the basket was placed in the reeds beside the waters Miriam “stood at a distance to see what would happen to him.” I wonder what she was thinking? How much had her mother explained to her? How long did she watch and wait for something to happen?

In due time Pharaoh’s daughter came down to the river, found the crying baby and “had compassion on him.” Isn’t a motherly instinct wonderful whether or not a woman has actually given birth!

Miriam, who had been watching all along, boldly sprang into action with an ingenious plan. She cleverly volunteered, “Shall I go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?” Notice she doesn’t say “my mother” or “his mother” but “one of the Hebrew women.” That took some quick thinking. Perhaps she and her mother rehearsed several scenarios that might unfold should the baby be spotted in this most unexpected hideaway. Upon approval she sought out the baby’s mother, who essentially raised her own son at least for some time!

Of course this baby was Moses, destined to lead God’s people. It has long been my conviction that Moses’ later greatness is in part a result of the godly influence of his mother (and perhaps father from a distance) during that formative time. But Miriam also played a vital role in God’s plan.

In his book “The Invisible Hand” theologian R.C. Sproul points out, “The doctrine of concurrence refers to historical events in which the work of Providence has been acted out through human agencies. That means at the same time human agents are acting, God is acting in and through them.”

Today we need to understand that God is active in even the most seemingly mundane parts of our lives. Miriam made the most of an opportunity and we should do the same.  Do you suppose when Miriam acted on this occasion she had the slightest notion that her tiny role would be recorded for all to read nearly 3,500 years later? I wonder how often she viewed in her mind’s memory Moses, as a babe, hidden in the bulrushes. It must have been gratifying to see her little brother who was rescued from the Egyptian’s hands now rescuing his people from their hands and leading them to the Promised Land.

God is still working in the “mundane” today. Moses’ story should give us incentive to heed the words of Paul: “Be very careful, then, how you live–not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15,16).

Small, seemingly insignificant, acts of faith and obedience have a major part in the mosaic of God’s master plan for our lives. We may desire to do something great for God, but often His plan is the simple day by day acts of obedience in following His leadings, both large and small. We’ll just have to wait and see how it all fits together. May the Lord help us all, like Miriam, to do what is appropriate for the moment!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we’re grateful for the supernatural work You perform in our lives. Help us to follow Your leading in the small day to day promptings we receive from Your Spirit as we go about our activities. The way You cared for Moses is a great reminder that we are never without hope and our circumstances are never too grave when we walk in Your ways and trust You for that which concerns us. Amen.


Longaberger apple basket
World’s Largest Apple Basket at the Longaberger Homestead. The apples looked faded yesterday compared to a visit we made four years ago (See here)

Crawford Barn at Longaberger Homestead
Crawford Barn at the Longaberger Homestead. This huge barn was moved to the site in 1998 and rebuilt in an old-fashioned barn raising with 50,000 people in attendance.

.American flag at Longaberger Homestead (Photo by Ester)
What do you suppose this flag is made of?

Webers in basket at Longaberger Homestead (Photo by Ester)
I never thought we’d be able to stand in a basket as a couple, but we could easily fit into this one with much room to spare. It’s a little like a hot air balloon basket we once rode in at a company picnic many years ago.


A few more photos from our tour of Pittsburgh Wednesday afternoon during our visit with our friends, Howard and Sharon Blichfeldt:

Home in Pittsburgh
This stately entrance is on the north shore where the old steel barons lived.

Home in Pittsburgh
The variety of colorful flowers added even more appeal to this charming house.

Home in Pittsburgh
Howard drove us through Chatham Village, a beautiful residential area on Mount Washington. According to the website, “Since 1932 Chatham Village has provided a remarkably gracious way of life for its residents, combining the charm of an English country village with the convenience of modern urban living.” Note the little door on the front that Howard recalls climbing through it as a child. Do any of our readers know what these doors are for? (See answer below)

Today we will head into Indiana and plan to attend the Indiana State Fair this afternoon.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“When Trials Come”  Video  Keith & Kristyn Getty

Longaberger Baskets

The little doors were used for milk delivery.


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.

“There Is A River”

July 31, 2014

Pittsburgh bridge (photo by Howard Blichfeldt)

Roberto Clemente Bridge in Pittsburgh, PA
(Photo by Howard Blichfeldt)
“There Is A River!”
Note: Due to travel a podcast was not prepared for this message.

“There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy dwelling places of the Most High” (Psalm 46:4). “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water’” (John 7:38)

There is a river, that flows from deep within
There is a fountain, that frees the soul from sin
Come to these waters; there is a vast supply
There is a river, that never shall run dry.

Yesterday we visited Pittsburgh, PA, where we met up with our friends, Pittsburgh native Howard Blichfeldt and his wife Sharon (who is originally a Texan). Growing up my image of Pittsburgh was that of a gritty old steelmaking city with belching smokestacks and foul air.

When we moved to the northeast out of Bible College it was several years before we actually visited Pittsburgh. We first saw the city when we departed the Fort Pitt tunnel under Mount Washington coming from the west which ended with an outstanding skyline view on a beautiful clear day. It was a stunning sight. We went through the same tunnel yesterday. Immediately after departing the tunnel you cross a bridge over the Monongahela River and into the heart of the city.

We’re staying Washington County which has experienced tremendous economic growth through the development of their energy resources positioning it as “The Energy Capital of the East.” Pittsburgh has been revitalized in recent years and we were “wowed” by the views we saw during our tour yesterday as the Blichfeldts drove us through the city. One thing Pittsburgh is well known for is its rivers. At the tip of downtown the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers join to form the Ohio River. Pittsburgh is also known as the “City of Bridges” since there is a total of 446 bridges in the city.

Jerusalem has no major rivers running through it but of course just to the east is the Biblically famous Jordan River. But Scripture also uses the image of the river to communicate spiritual truth.

In our first daily text the Psalmist wrote, “There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy dwelling places of the Most High.” Spurgeon comments concerning this text, “Divine grace like a smoothly flowing, fertilizing, full, and never failing river, yields refreshment and consolation to believers. This is the river of the water of life, of which the church above as well as the church below partakes evermore.”

In our second verse Christ is speaking. “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water’.” The rivers of living water refer to the life-giving Spirit flowing from within as a result of belief in Jesus Christ. Matthew Poole comments, “The flowing of rivers of water, signifieth the plenty of spiritual influences with which believers shall be supplied; whether joy, knowledge, spiritual gifts, or graces. If any ask, where the Scripture speaketh this? I answer, in all those promises we meet with in the Old Testament, about pouring out the Spirit.”

Yesterday we wrote about having a “full life” which doesn’t depend on our being young, strong, or physically healthy. No matter our physical condition our lives can be like “rivers of flowing water” as we invite the surging power of the Holy Spirit to channel through us as we exercise the spiritual gifts God has dispensed for all His people.

You might feel beat down due to long work hours, physical pain, or a longstanding struggle that has squeezed out the vibrancy you once had in your walk with Christ. We encourage you to exercise today. Sure, we encourage you to physically exercise if you’re able, but far more importantly we challenge you to exercise the spiritual gifts available to all who follow Christ which will be a spiritual influence to those around you and it will give you a strength and vibrancy in Your walk with Christ.

Some of our older readers may recall this chorus:

I’ve got a river of life flowing out of me!
Makes the lame to walk, and the blind to see.
Opens prison doors, sets the captives free!
I’ve got a river of life flowing out of me!

Spring up, O well, within my soul!
Spring up, O well, and make me whole!
Spring up, O well, and give to me
That life abundantly.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, You want us to do more than just survive. You want us to thrive and therefore You provide, from our inmost being, flowing rivers of living water. The world seems to be filled with stagnant or dried up holes of water as we witness the rising surge of immorality, dishonesty, suicide, corruption and crime. But even as we journey through this troubled world rivers of living water can flow through us as we exercise the fruit of the spirit in our daily lives showing to others love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. We want to walk in the wisdom and knowledge of the Holy Spirit and joyfully declare that we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ which gives us surging, endless hope now and forevermore. It is in His name that we pray. Amen.


Some more scenes from Pittsburgh (All photos except the last one were taken by Howard Blichfeldt and used with his permission.)

Pittsburgh bridges (photo by Howard Blichfeldt)
Look at all the bridges!!!

Pittsburgh three rivers duck (photo by Howard Blichfeldt)
This area is known as the Point where the two rivers join to form the Ohio. Howard said the inflated Duck was a major tourist draw!

Pittsburgh skyline (photo by Howard Blichfeldt)
Skyline from Mount Washington above incline.

Pittsburgh incline (photo by Howard Blichfeldt)
The Duquesne Incline

Pittsburgh skyline (photo by Howard Blichfeldt)
Night-time skyline from the north shore.

Pittsburgh statue (photo by Howard Blichfeldt)
Who is this? (Answer posted below)

Pittsburgh skyline with Blichfeldts (photo by Ester)
On Mount Washington overlooking the city skyline. Ester included Sharon and Howard Blichfeldt along with her Mom and Pop in her selfie photo!

Today we are headed out to central Ohio and plan to visit the Longaberger Homestead.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“There Is a River”  Video  Gaither Vocal Band

“Spring Up O Well”  Video

“Thrive”  Video Casting Crowns reminds in this song that we can do more than just survive. We were made to thrive. Listen carefully to the lyrics that are posted on this song.

“Burdens Are Lifted At Calvary”  Video  Collingsworth Family Next week we will travel through Shipshewanna, IN where the Collingsworth family will be singing at the Blue Gate theater. We learned about it yesterday morning so Stephen called to see if we could get tickets. It was just in time since they had only three seats left. We’ll post photos next week as we enjoy this concert.

Here are some more photos from Pittsburgh that Howard took on his photography website. Howard has an interesting ministry opportunity that we will share about in several weeks. The “bigger than life” statue is Mr. Rogers in his own neighborhood!


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

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

“A Full Life”

July 30, 2014

Old wagon ready for road trip 7/26/14
Packing up for a summer family road trip.
Although actually we are not taking this vehicle!

“A Full Life”
Note: Due to travel a podcast was not prepared for this message.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).

Today our family heads out for our annual trip to the heartland. Although we moved to the Northeast shortly after our marriage we are both from the Midwest and have many relatives in that region of the country. My Mom’s side has an annual reunion and this year it’s in Wisconsin.

We enjoy travel and will make the most of seeing interesting things and meeting friends along the way. The ability to travel is a blessing that we don’t take for granted. We’re reminded of that when we hear from our Daily Encouragement readers who are homebound. They let us know how much they like to “travel with us” when we take our road trip. It’s as though they’re getting a scenic tour right from their living quarters.

As children we didn’t make many long trips. In fact Brooksyne never traveled beyond her native Oklahoma and the adjoining states until we married. I did make two long childhood trips to the east and west coasts but generally vacation meant going to see relatives in the Midwest and staying with them. At that time we only used a hotel if we didn’t have relatives within 500 miles! Now many children travel far more extensively than we do with the greater availability and affordability of air travel.

There are many ways we have a full life. The ability to travel is one along with family, health, our provision and then some. As the old song states “Count Your Blessings, Name Them One By One… And It Will Surprise You What The Lord Has Done.” But of course depending on a number of factors such as where we live, our means, and our health, these sources of a full life vary. Some are unable to travel, have little of this world’s goods, and may even have poor health. The greater sense of having a full life are our spiritual blessings and this is something we can all share equally.

Yet there are also many false notions of what constitutes a full life, those that essentially seek to replace the spiritual blessings.

When I was pastoring a church in New England I received an interesting “wrong number” prior to our midweek church service one evening. Usually when a church gets a call prior to a service it’s someone needing directions, asking the time of service, or a worker is delayed. I took the call hoping it was a visitor needing directions. I answered the phone by using the church name. The phone was silent for a moment and then a lady asked, “Is this Eagan’s Package Store?” (A “Package Store” in Massachusetts is a liquor store.)

I said “No, we are a church and the package we have to offer is quite the opposite of a package store.” We clarified the number she dialed which was off by one digit, and she said she thought it was interesting what I said about being the opposite. I gave her a brief witness, hopefully giving her something to think about. I ended the conversation by pointing out all the heartache I had seen the abuse of alcohol wreak. I don’t know whether she ever called Eagan’s or not!  And I don’t know if she ever visited our church.

The world’s offerings are broad and varied, but all lead down the same disastrous path. The work of the “thief” continues today. We don’t have to look far to see the horrible destruction do we? The enemy’s thievery, killing, and destruction are ruining lives everyday.

The massive alcohol industry is but one example. Those of us who enjoy sports on TV are inundated with commercials promoting drinking. The booze industry, with a huge advertising budget has some of the “best” commercials on TV. The glitzy ads proclaim with beautiful young models that “this is the life”, but we who know the full truth realize this is a lie.

Truth in advertising should require a scene from a deadly DWI traffic accident, abused spouses and children, homicides, shattered families and early deaths are but a few of the consequences of alcoholism. The thief takes all, bankrupting us of that which God is willing to give in abundance – His love, guidance, forgiveness and friendship.  The striking contrast to the thief’s objective which is to take life is seen in the person of Jesus who gives life, even His own life on our behalf.  He told his listeners, “I am the good Shepherd. The good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep” (10:11).

Jesus continues to actively work in all who will receive His offering of a full life. He said “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” The Greek word translated “to the full” (“abundantly” in the KJV) conveys the sense “superabundant” (in quantity), or “superior” (in quality).

Don’t settle for the paltry, destructive substitutes from the thief. Are you living for Jesus Christ today? He alone offers a truly full life and that offer continues to be freely extended to all who call upon the name of the Lord to be saved.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, thank You for Jesus who came that we might have life and have it in abundance.  We thank you so much for a full life. We’re grateful for Your grace that teaches us to say no to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age. We’re thankful that Jesus gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are His very own.  We realize that the one who sows to please the sinful nature from that nature reaps destruction, but we choose to sow to please the spiritual nature and from that nature reap eternal life. Keep us faithful in doing so.  Amen.


Last Saturday afternoon we attended a car show in Mount Joy, something Ester and I especially enjoy. In fact the photo of the old station wagon in our lead photo was taken at the show.

Mount Joy car show 7/26/14
The Mount Joy car show is a pretty big deal in our small community with 250 cars and trucks exhibited.

Mount Joy car show 7/26/14
Can you imagine hearing the siren and seeing this police car pull up behind you?

Mount Joy car show 7/26/14
We thought this ambulance looked ancient, something from the movie classics. Actually it is a 1973 model, the year we graduated from high school!

John Weidman 7/26/14
We saw lots of friends at the car show, including John Weidman, whom I met over 10 years ago in a service club. John is a retired Pioneer seed salesman. How I remember these Pioneer seed signs beside corn fields growing up!

We saw many interesting cars and trucks.
Mount Joy car show 7/26/14
We saw many interesting cars and trucks, some meticulously restored.

Mount Joy car show 7/26/14
Others in the rough!


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“John 10:10″  Video  Today’s verse set to music in The Scripture memory series

“My Jesus I Love Thee”  Video  Paul Baloche

Note: During our trip we are going to try to maintain a regular daily encouragement schedule but of course this may not be possible for a variety of reasons both technical, such as internet connectivity and personal such as being too busy or wanting to get an early start. We also may be unable to prepare an audio podcast version.


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

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

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