Church traffic 5/3/15We had some interesting traffic early yesterday morning. Both vehicles are headed to church. Although Amish buggies are a regular sighting in our area and they’re often out on the road early Sunday mornings we don’t usually see tractors being driven on Sundays. (Most farmers still honor the Lord’s Day as a day of worship and rest.) However yesterday a local church had “Tractor Sunday” and farmers were encouraged to drive their tractors to church, and they did!
Ester took this photo through our windshield.

“The Blessing Of New Life”

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“Go, stand in the temple courts,” he said, “and tell the people the full message of this new life” (Acts 5:20).

Porch light bird nest 5/4/15We really enjoy seeing the many signs of new life which is so plentiful in the spring. This morning Brooksyne excitingly called down to me from our upstairs bedroom. A resourceful bird is building a nest directly below our bedroom window on a porch light over our deck. She said, “We’ll soon be looking down on some baby birds!”
Children with baby chick 5/2/15Saturday afternoon Ester and her friend Rachel visited our Amish friends and the children were excited about new baby chicks that just hatched. Wherever you live we hope you also are blessed by new life.

Having a sense of new life this morning my heart was in awe of God’s marvelous blessings. I (Brooksyne) walked nearly four miles this morning with a neighbor on our trail and beyond. We saw so much of God’s untamed creation along the way. Squirrels ran along the limbs over our heads, ducks incubating their eggs, one tribe of goslings falling in line with their mom and dad as they swam the creek while newly hatched fish were waggling their little tails through the water. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and was in awe of God’s handiwork even as we pointed out the different things we saw.

We pray that you will find the “full message of this new life” in your surroundings today. It may be in your workplace, your neighborhood, even in the midst of a traffic jam. Perhaps this is the day when you will see your co-worker or family member experience the “full message of this new life”, new life that comes through receiving Christ Jesus as his or her personal Saviour. What a glorious celebration that would be!

The daily text is a message an angel gave to the apostles when they were miraculously delivered from jail. It’s actually a reinforcement of the Great Commission from the Lord they had received before He ascended into heaven. They were taking His command very seriously which is how they landed in jail in the first place. This message remains for all generations of the church age. It’s the gospel message earnest followers of Christ are to communicate with the world: “Tell the people the full message of this new life.”

We are called to tell the people the full message. Thank the Lord for the entire revelation of the Holy Scriptures which is so needed. Careful, faithful, Biblical presentation includes all that God has spoken through the Scriptures: “All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16, 17).

We are to tell the people the full message of this new life. This new life is known theologically as regeneration. It should never get old or become routine. I desire that Christ’s regenerating, transforming work continue in my life. I want to keep growing in the grace and knowledge of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I also want to continue to witness new life in others and maintain the same wonder of enthusiasm my farmer friend has as he watches the baby corn break through the soil every summer!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, we thank You for Jesus, for His finished work on the cross, and the provision He made for us to be saved. We tend to share this message with others in bits and pieces but when the opportunity is at hand help us to compassionately deliver the “full message of this new life” we’ve been given. It isn’t ours to store on a shelf for safe keeping, but we are to get out there and share about the hope we have in Christ, though we might be ridiculed or turned away. People are dying everyday without hope, many of them by their own hand, so we must share the good news of salvation that supplies us not only with forgiveness for our sins but also hope for this life and for all eternity. We want to be obedient in sharing the Good News through Christ Jesus our Lord, in whose name we pray. Amen.


Some Scenes from our Neck of the Woods

Mount Pleasant Men's Breakfast 5/2/15
Early Saturday morning I joined a group of men from our church for breakfast at Gus’s as we prepare to launch a Bible Study for men.

Kraybill Road tractor 5/2/15
On the way home from the men’s breakfast, as I turned down our country lane, I met our neighbor Leon who was planting corn. Ahhh, the seasonal changes are finally here and we are delighted! We enjoy the unusual traffic we encounter on our road!

Tractor Sunday 5/3/15
On tractor Sunday the platform has two tractors on it. A group of men from our church called the “Pleasant Passage” sang a great song called “Life is like a Farmer’s Parcel” written by Mike Book, to the tune of “Life is like a Mountain Railway” (This video was taken at our church last year.)

Tractor Sunday 5/3/15
The sign on the right says, “Drive your tractor to church”
The church had 100 tractors in the parking lot!


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Field Of Souls”  Video  The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir  A great song using an agricultural theme to share spiritual truths.

Finally today:

Our friend Lee sent us this photo captioned “Easy Living”. It appears the Amish man found a value at a yard sale and transported the item home giving his daughters a free ride along the way.

Amish children on traveling love seat (Photo by Lee Smucker)

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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.

Oversize load
“For Those Bearing An Oversize Load”

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“For my iniquities are gone over my head; As a heavy burden they weigh too much for me” (Psalm 38:4). “Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens” (Psalm 68:19). “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

Oversize loadWe’ve all seen the trucks with the caution sign, “Oversize Load”. I was visiting with some employees at Smucker Laser, a shop that cuts large sheets of metal using laser. They had made some oversize load signs for trucks and one had a defect and was now just scrap. I knew I could somehow use it for illustrative purposes so with the permission of management I took it home.

I used it as a sermon illustration several weeks ago and it is now on the side of our home as a decoration which I think looks great but I don’t think Brooksyne will let it stay there much longer, since her idea of decorations isn’t always in line with my creative ideas! And not just anyone wants to visit our home and be greeted by the sign, “Oversize load” which could lead to various speculations!

Speaking of “oversize load” we all have borne them and surely many of our readers do so now. Consider a person carrying the heavy metal “oversize load” sign on his back, slouched over, bearing the many burdens that weigh people down. We have had them ourselves but today consider the many we have heard through the years in the course of our ministry.

  • The father burdened to tears concerning his wayward daughter. He said to me, “Help me salvage this life.”
  • A mother burdened by her son’s ongoing addiction struggles.
  • A man struggling to overcome the fiery darts of temptation.
  • A grandmother weighed down by rebellious grandchildren.
  • A wife seeking to hold her family together with little to no support from her irresponsible husband.
  • Parents raising a special needs child. Last night at the ballgame my heart went out to an older man who had brought his significantly disabled adult son to the game. I observed his loving and tender care toward him.

In our chaplaincy a major job description could be “bearing people’s burdens”. Many days we come home weary from the heartaches we hear. It seems that some people’s troubles only go from bad to worse to seemingly unbearable.

My own experience in regard to my burdens is that I tend to set them down (trust) and later pick them up again (doubt). Many will identify with this!

Prayer at chaplain conference 6/25/14Our first daily text shares the heavy burden of sin. “For my iniquities are gone over my head; As a heavy burden they weigh too much for me.” Thanks be to God through confession and repentance this load can be lifted!

But what about the loads that are just part of life. And we all sure know about these burdens. Surely we can identify with the Lord’s statement that “each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:34b). These loads were known by the people in Scripture.

David wrote, “Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.” In Scripture God often emphasizes the unit of time we call the day. In fact it’s the very first unit of time mentioned in the Bible and the most frequently mentioned starting with Genesis 1:14. David was relieved and thankful that each day God bore his burdens. That’s a good model for us as well.

A commentary explains the further meaning of the text in this way: “God daily carries us as a manifestation of His protective and sustaining care.” Such an interpretation brings to mind a poem written by Mary Stevenson during her teen years in 1936 as she endured major obstacles in her young life, “Footprints in the Sand”.

What assurance His Word brings. Believing friend, God is bearing your burdens today. Through His Word He states, “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

He loves you and the trial you are presently enduring matters greatly to Him. He is faithful and He will see you through it! Don’t try to shoulder your burdens in your own strength and might, for the increasing load will surely break you. Instead lay your burdens down at the foot of the cross. Jesus will meet you there.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, our faith rests in the finished work of Jesus at Calvary. Because of His tremendous sacrifice our sins are forgiven and a place is reserved for us in heaven. We also find rest from our unending troubles in this life as we respond to Jesus’ invitation: “Come to Me all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” Help us to look to You for needed strength and an overcoming spirit as we daily encounter challenges and ongoing burdens. Our burdens are lifted at Calvary for that is where Jesus bore not only our sins but also our sorrows. Praise be to You, our Father in heaven, who daily bears our burdens.  Amen.


“Take Me Out To The Ballgame!”

Last night we attended the home opener for our local minor league baseball team, the Lancaster Barnstormers.

Barnstormer opening game 4/30/15
Nathan and Neville, our new friends from Zimbabwe, attended their very first ball game. The pace was much slower than soccer but they watched intently and enjoyed the experience.

Barnstormer opening game 4/30/15
There was lots of ceremony last night before the game since the Barnstormers won the league championship last year and the game was 45 minutes late in starting. That’s worked in our favor because the fans got free tickets for a later game since they had to cancel the fireworks!

Barnstormer opening game 4/30/15
Of course Ester had to take a “selfie”


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Jesus Will Meet You There”  Video  Steven Curtis Chapman An excellent video presentation of a song I (Brooksyne) heard for the first time this morning. It will touch your heart. Great photos with lyrics from the song and Chapman’s crystal clear vocal will speak to you and others you might drive to the site who are going through difficulty. He touches on many heartbreaking subjects such as failures, illness, imprisonment, etc.

“Tears Are A Language God Understands”  Video  Gordon Jensen This was a popular song when we were in college. Gordon Jensen is several years older than us. From a blog article written a couple of years ago I learned that “he averages about one hundred and fifty personal appearances each year. His tours have taken him throughout the United States, Canada, Great Britain, The West Indies, Scandinavia, Europe, Africa and India. After learning how busy Gordon Jensen is, I can tell you from the brief time I’ve talked with him, that Jensen is sincere about his passion for the Lord in his ministry. I started into this conversation a little on the nervous side, but by the time I ended the phone call it was like I was speaking with one of my best friends. It is an honor and privilege to do this article on one of the giants in Gospel Music.”

God sees the tears of a broken hearted soul.
He sees your tears and hears them when they fall.
God weeps along with man and takes him by the hand,
Tears are a language God understands.

Often you’ve wondered why tears come into your eyes,
And burdens seem to be much more than you can stand.
But God is standing near He sees your falling tears.
Tears are a language God understands.

When grief has left you low it causes tears to flow,
Things have not turned out the way that you had planned,
But God won’t forget you, His promises are true,
Tears are a language God understands.

“Lay Your Burden Down”  Video  Chuck Girard

“Lay Your Burdens Down”  Video  Great song, musicians not specified

“Burdens Are Lifted At Calvary”  Video  Collingsworth Family

“He Knows My Name”  Video  Tommy Walker

“I Cast All My Cares Upon You”  Video  Kelly Willard  We recall singing this chorus for many years. This version is especially nice as I sense the earnestness in Kelly’s voice.


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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.

Shock's Mill Bridge 04-29-15 (Click to enlarge)Shock’s Mill Bridge over Susquehanna River
Click on photo for large view

“Godly Parents –
An Endangered Species”

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“Bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).

Yesterday afternoon we took a five mile walk along the Susquehanna River. The walking trail passes the stately bridge presented in our lead photo.

Eagle watching 04-29-15We passed two eagle nests and saw an eagle in one of them. I didn’t have a camera with zoom but plan to return for our own eagle photo. A donated observation viewer is mounted alongside the trail and Brooksyne is examining for evidence of an eagle in its nest high up in the tree. Unfortunately it must have gone out for a walk (I mean, flight).

When we hear the term “endangered species” we may immediately think of the bald eagle. The bald eagle was declared endangered in 1967 and extensive efforts were taken to protect it which have been very successful. In 2007 the bald eagle was removed from the federal endangered species list. Now we have nests up and down the Susquehanna River and many other places in America. It sure is nice to see the progress made in saving the Bald Eagle but during this time something else needs to be placed on the endangered list.

I saw a bumper sticker that stated “Godly parents – An Endangered Species”. I can’t speak for the situation all over the world but I suspect it’s pretty similar to the conditions here in America everywhere.

We see so much evidence of this but this week many of us have been following the events in Baltimore, a city some 60 miles south of us. Although commentators differ on solutions based on their political and ideological persuasions all agree that the breakdown of the family is a major contributor. I strongly agree with one’s comment that government cannot fix this chaotic mess but families need a much greater role in the “faith community”. Faith community is the politically preferred phrase for “church”.

This weekend Ester was scheduled to attend “Acquire the Fire”, a conference in a church near the area where the rioting has taken place. But it, like many other events including the major baseball games were cancelled (the game took place yesterday but no fans allowed in the stadium – a 1st in history). We think of the restraining influence of these churches and God-fearing inner city pastors. Thank the Lord for inner city parents who resolve, against the forceful tide of mocking unbelief, to live by God’s pattern. I recently spoke to a young man in his early 30’s who lives in this kind of setting but is seeking to be a good husband, father, and role-model.

But there is a decreasing number who make their priority in life that of bringing up children in “the training and instruction of the Lord” which is at the heart of raising godly children and being godly parents.

Indeed there is an urgent need for godly parents, who will take the responsibility of raising their children according to Biblical standards. It requires sacrifice and perseverance and at times it seems no fruit comes from our labor. But, Parents & Grandparents, hold onto God’s Word and this reassuring promise through the apostle Paul “that our labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58).

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, as the state of the family declines year by year it also brings down our country. Many politicians, community leaders and individuals cry out, “Pour more money into education and community programs.” Others wring their hands and wonder what can be done to improve our neighborhood, city and country. Though the answers are found in Your Holy Word these same people ridicule and reject that which is of spiritual origin so the troubles continue and even escalate during times of crisis. Father, we need a heaven sent revival that will reveal who You are to those who know You not and revive those of us who do. Help those who are childrearing not to become discouraged but to persevere in bringing their children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. It’s in Jesus’ name that we pray. Amen.


A walk along the Susquehanna River

Shock's Mill Bridge 04-29-15
The river trail is a recent project we have enjoyed for several years. Previously, this railroad bridge had stopped the trail but they made this interesting walkway under the bridge right near the Susquehanna River, a portion we walked for the first time yesterday.

Wild flowers along River trail
Many beautiful wild flowers along the Susquehanna River trail.

Lancaster County farm Susquehanna 4/29/15
A secluded farm along the peaceful river trail.

Creekside greenhouse
We stopped by yesterday to see our Amish friends, parents of nine children, who run the Creekside Greenhouse. Wonderful to see the older kids helping out.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

An interesting plaque about bald eagles we saw along the trail. Among other factoids is that an eagle nest can weigh more than 2 tons!

“Find Your Wings”  Video   Mark Harris A powerful song for godly parents using an analogy from an eagle (or other bird) raising their young

“Learn To Let Go”   Video  Mark Schultz

“Train Up A Child”  Video  Rob Frazier

“Family Bible”   Video  Dailey and Vincent


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.

Buggy and barn
“Sing To The Lord A New Song”

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“Praise the LORD. Sing to the LORD a new song, His praise in the assembly of the saints” (Psalm 149:1).

We’ve visited many different kinds of churches with various music styles, the most unusual being the Sunday gathering at our Amish friends’ home. Their Sunday morning music is hundreds of years old, sung in German in a very, very slow syncopated tempo. A song might have 16 or more verses and take ten to fifteen minutes to sing it through. The plain people have no copyright issues due to their dated music and interestingly they manage to have church without using PowerPoint! But many of our “English” folk attend churches that use a lot of recently written music. A song just a few years old is considered by some to be “old”!

CCLI is a company that provides music copyright protection for churches and ministries. Many of you have seen the small copyright notice with a CCLI license on a PowerPoint slide. We used it in churches we served and our church presently uses it.

As of 2014 CCLI has over 300,000 Christian songs in their database and consider how many songs have been written since then! Of course many songs are written at the local level and never get registered in their database. We also wonder just how many songs have been written for the Lord through the ages that were used locally or just for a season that aren’t included.

Copyright permission is needed for music for a specific period of time. After that date it is in the public domain and out of copyright. Anyone using it does not need special permission nor is there a fee. But in reality virtually all the songs we sing in most of our churches are relatively new, written in the last 10% of the church’s history (since 1800). Of course now we think of “new” in terms of just years and even a song written in our lifetime may seem like an old song!

God’s people in the Bible sang both old and new songs. The daily portion encourages singing a “new song”. But the worship leaders under King Jehoshaphat, who lived many years after King David, repeated David’s common musical refrain, “Give thanks to the LORD, for His love endures forever” (2 Chronicles 20:21). Brooksyne and I have often wondered what hymn the disciples sang at the conclusion of the Last Supper (Matthew 26:30).

We enjoy both new and old music. We are grateful for the sense of heritage of an old hymn like “The Old Rugged Cross” and for the deep conviction it brings to our hearts. We’re also thankful for the spiritual vigor that stirs our soul when singing a recently penned song like “Ten Thousand Reasons”.  I encourage you to have an appreciation for both types, while acknowledging we all have our preferences in style.

The older songs, particularly classic hymns, remind us that our expression of faith is not merely a passing fad and we are part of a multi-generational movement. What a blessing it is when a particular hymn stirs one’s memory of a godly grandparent singing it in church. Our parents have been gone for many years but when one of their favorite hymns are sung in church we’re reminded once again of their Christian example. The more recent songs remind us that God is still actively at work in His plan of redemption today and gifting His people to write new songs.

I can’t sing well but I can sure hum or whistle and you’re just as likely to hear me making a joyful noise to the classic hymn, “Holy, Holy, Holy”, as well as the contemporary song, “Blessed Be The Name Of The Lord”, and I’m spiritually blessed by both of them.  New songs for the Lord are being written all the time and will continue till our Lord returns. And then amazingly we’ll be hearing some new music in heaven (Revelation 5:9).  Thank God for the gift of music! As you gather with other believers sing, “Praise the LORD. Sing to the LORD a new song, His praise in the assembly of the saints.”

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, the Word directs us not to get drunk on wine, but to be filled instead with the Spirit, speaking to ourselves in songs, and hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in our hearts toward You. You use these songs to teach us about Your truths, remind us of Your promises, comfort us in our grief, and refresh us in our spirit. No voice that is weak, hoarse, off-tempo, or out of pitch is rejected by You when we offer what we have with glad and sincere hearts. Help us not to be intimidated by those who have musical giftings, for our “joyful noise” can be a glorious symphony of praise when blended with thankful hearts to You through our musical worship. Amen.

Note from Brooksyne: One of the most natural ways of learning truths from God’s Word and their application to our everyday lives is by singing and memorizing the hymns. I also enjoy and learn a great deal from studying hymn backgrounds. There are quite a few books written that help us see everyday people who were inspired by God to write about what He was doing in their lives as they applied His truths to their Christian walk. Contemporary writers speak of what God is doing today while applying the style and language of our day. That’s the beauty of music because it is the very expression of the heart. I’ve worn the binding off of a book, “Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions” (366 – allowing for Leap Year). Mr. Osbeck writes a devotional based upon the hymn background and ties it into that period of history. I’ve been enriched and challenged spiritually when I read from this book and the many others in my extensive collection.


Niv at JK MechanicalWe enjoy meeting a lot of people in the course of our chaplaincy and hearing their story. Niv is a young man we visit at one of our worksites. He works as a service technician at JK Mechanical, an HVAC company and takes a strong stand for Christ.

He is preparing for his wedding this May and was excited to share with me a video of his proposal that has quite an unusual twist.

His fiancé had mentioned early on of her interest in one day sky diving. Romantic that he is, Niv kept this thought to himself over the years and then surprised her on her recent birthday.

Off to schoolOff to school on his scooter.

Mollie drinking from pump 4/28/15
Our cat Dottie will soon turn 14 and just enjoys drinking the “fresh” water from the fountain.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“I Will Celebrate”  Video  The Maranatha Singers “I will celebrate sing unto the Lord a new song.” (This “new song” is now some 25 years old!)

“The Old Rugged Cross”  Video  Gaither Vocal Band

“Ten Thousand Reasons”  Video  Matt Redman

“Holy, Holy, Holy”  Video  Singers not identified

“Blessed Be The Name Of The Lord”  Video  Robin Mark

CCLI


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.

Willows along Donegal Creek 4/26/15 (Clip to enlarge)The Willows along Donegal Creek
(Click on photo to enlarge)

“The Peril Of Man-determined Morality”

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“There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death” (Proverbs 14:12).

Today the Supreme Court begins dealing with the matter of redefining marriage. Our spirits are grieved to see it come to this. On Sunday we joined thousands of churches around the country as our pastor asked our entire congregation to bow before the Lord as he led out in prayer.

Powerful forces of evil in our land are bent on forsaking God’s clear pattern on the foundational institution of marriage which is under severe attack with radical, ungodly efforts to redefine it, contrary to its divine design.

Marriage is the oldest human institution, established by God Himself when He created Eve from Adam in the earliest chapters of Genesis. At that time the Holy Scriptures state, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). Jesus quoted this very verse in Matthew 19:5 affirming God’s original command. The wording is certainly not a suggestion to be tweaked according to one’s own preferred arrangement.

“Man-determined morality” is expressed in our daily text, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death” (Proverbs 14:12). It is an infection wreaking havoc on a society; rejecting God, His Word and standards. Mankind raises a defiant fist to God declaring, “I’ll do it my way”. But God will not be mocked and mankind will reap what is sown. (Galatians 6:7-9)

An interesting aspect of our daily verse is that it’s repeated twice verbatim in the book of Proverbs (see also 16:25). It seems that the Holy Spirit wants to make doubly sure we get this one right! It’s a clear and straightforward saying with a timeless truth.

“There is a way that seems right to a man.” The Benson Commentary states, “There are some evil actions or courses which men may think to be lawful and good, either through gross ignorance, or self-flattery, or through want of necessary diligence in examining them by the rule of God’s word.”

The spirit of lawlessness is growing rapidly in our time. Here in America we are dealing with issues practically unimaginable a generation ago (or for that matter, even twenty years ago!) These issues signal a return to the turbulent Biblical period of the Judges when the people became their own authority and acted on their own opinions of right and wrong. The writer portrays the spiritual climate with these words: “Everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25). It is also descriptive of our own time period today.

“But in the end it leads to death.”

We pray that God will give each reader deep discernment to understand the times and fill you with a firm resolve to remain faithful to God and His ways. In a remarkable prophetic statement in Daniel 12:10 we read, “The wicked will act wickedly; and none of the wicked will understand, but those who have insight will understand.”

Today let us stand up for marriage and pray for a Spirit sent revival upon our land where marriage is recognized, honored, celebrated, and preserved as God designed!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, we know there is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death. That’s why we cannot choose a man based law that stands in contrast to the Bible, for it will lead us to a spiritual death and we will ultimately spend eternity apart from You and all the untold blessings You have prepared for us in heaven. For those of us who hold to the traditional view of marriage as described and defined from the very beginning, help us not to cave in to cleverly invented arguments or allow the law of man to supersede the law of God in such a grave matter. We want to recognize, honor, celebrate and preserve marriages in general as designed by You, our Creator God. And we also do all that we can, in keeping with our own marital vows, to love, honor and cherish our spouse and preserve our marriage. Through Christ we come to You in prayer. Amen.

Here are some more prayer starters from Chaplain Pierre Bynum:

  • Lord, how far we have departed from the Founders, but more-so, we have departed from You! Sovereign God of History, please intervene to save us. Save our children and future generations who will be taught that evil is good and good is evil if you do not intervene hurriedly! (Dt 8; Ps 144)
  • Cause the lawyers presenting the case for natural marriage such persuasiveness as to overwhelm the opposition. May the Justices be deeply moved by your Spirit as You Lord stand among them. We look not to man to save us, but to You! (Job 37:1; Jer 17:5-10)
  • May the attorneys proposing a right to same-sex “marriage” be shockingly unpersuasive and may Your Spirit fill the room and every heart with conviction of sin, of righteousness and judgment! Preserve the justices and our nation from the delusion that comes upon all who “love not the truth!” (Is 5:20; 2 Th 2:10-13)
  • Use this assault on the very soul of America as a turning point. Preserve the blessed gift of marriage in our land for our children and their children. Send a Biblical awakening that will bring our nation to its senses; draw us to repentance and bring us wholeheartedly back to You! (2 Chr 7:14; Acts 2:38)

Donegal trail
Our favorite walking trail over to Donegal Creek.

Nesting Geese couple 4/27/15
An incubating geese couple along Donegal Creek.
She lays on the nest while he keeps a watchful eye.

Donegal Creek
Donegal Creek

Mollie catching frisbee
We often mention and share photos of our pets since readers often mention they enjoy them. (Thanks for your indulgence, non-dog followers.) Mollie is eagerly catching a frisbee thanks to Nathan, Neville, Ester and me. She’s not picky about how it’s thrown. She’s just happy to chase after them always with the goal of catching them, of course, though she’s great with the pick-up as well.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Perfect Union”  Video  Matthew Ward

“I Will Be Here”  Video  Steven Curtis Chapman

“When Love Comes Home”  Video  Matthew West

“The Other Side”  Video  Gordon and Kimberly Mote

“He Saw It All”  Video   Booth Brothers

“Wish You Were Here”  Video  The Kingsmen


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

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

“The First Excuse”

April 27, 2015

Pink heartbreaker redbud 4/26/15
Pink Heartbreaker Redbud

“The First Excuse”

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“The woman you put here with me–she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it” (Genesis 3:12).

Enoch with ChrissyDuring our first fifteen years of marriage we were foster parents to many children from our own country and several from overseas for medical care. This last Saturday one of them stopped by to visit with us.

Chrissy lived with us for 2 1/2 years about 35 years ago from ages 5-7. Here she is trying to comfort our troubled dog, Enoch, who had just gotten into a tussle with a porcupine and doesn’t look too happy. It was a nasty and painful job to pull the quills out of his mouth!  He had several porcupine encounters, this photo showing Enoch with only two quills, the most minor porcupine attack he endured over the years.

We recall a humorous way Chrissy would confuse words or explanations when she was first learning their meanings. When she did something by accident, she would take on a defensive posture and quickly blurt out, “I did it on purpose” rather than correctly stating “I didn’t do it on purpose.” Eventually she learned the correct expression which helped clarify the matter and greatly improved the consequences she was dealt.

We all look for ways or expressions that will quickly excuse us from negative consequences. When Ester was little she liked to pretend she was our waitress. She took down our food order on a tablet and then later served us.  One time as she brought out our meal she dropped a main food item on the floor and, before we could even say a word, she immediately cried out, “It’s not my fault!”

Brooksyne and I looked at each other and burst out laughing, “Then whose fault is it?” we asked simultaneously. Making excuses or blaming others for our own mistakes has a long history doesn’t it?  And if we’re open and honest we too must admit to having done it a few times ourselves, perhaps even made a pattern of it.

Adam offered the very first excuse shortly after his first transgression. God’s straightforward question to Adam following his transgression was, “Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”  That’s a yes or no question. But Adam replied, “The woman you put here with me – she gave me some fruit from the tree and I ate it.”

I’m particularly intrigued by the first phrase in Adam’s reply, “The woman you put here with me.”  Now certainly he’s blaming his wife Eve whom he rather bluntly calls “the woman”. And of course she was the first to partake of the forbidden fruit, but he was with her and, without hesitation, he also took of the fruit offered him and ate it.

In an attempt to shift the blame Adam words his defense carefully.  He shifts the blame not only toward Eve but also toward God.  He uses careful wording when he refers to his wife as, “the woman You put here with me.”  Indeed God’s first special gift to Adam at Creation was his companion-helpmeet.  Now Adam manages to blame both her and God for his willing act of disobedience!  This is the very first excuse in human history.

The world we live in today mirrors Adam’s attitude of making excuses for just about everything under the sun, whether it’s outright rebellion or an inappropriate response to the injustices from which one might suffer.

Taking responsibility is at the very heart of our relationship with God and each other. A fundamental component of restoration is not denial of the sin, but taking responsibility for it and then confessing it to God. David, when finally coming to repentance concerning his sin with Bathsheba, cried out, “I have sinned against the Lord.”  That’s essentially how we get restored when we make our initial “sinner’s prayer”, turning away from our sin and toward obedience. And as we grow in our walk with the Lord confession is a wonderful antidote to excuse making. Let us be quicker to make confession than we are to find excuses. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

Today let us live our lives responsibly and stop making excuses. That only prolongs or exasperates the growing problem. Whether we fail or fall God has graciously made a provision for our restoration and it begins with confession not excuses.  That’s good news!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, as we confess our sins we thank You that You are faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Help us to be honest enough to admit our sin, welcome Your cleansing, and invite the Holy Spirit to help us courageously deal with personal consequences from our sinful defiance. You are a gracious Father who does not cast us down in our failures, but You uphold us with Your gracious and loving hand. Amen.


Chrissy 04-25-15
Chrissy with Brooksyne on Saturday as they sat outside on a breezy afternoon. Chrissy was with her husband and 2 of their 3 sons. We are pleased they attend a Bible faithful church regularly pastored by a man I met before leaving that area.

Weber with Chrissy 11-80
Chrissy with us 35 years ago when we were in our mid-twenties. Those were the days of three piece suits and wide ties!

Gaither Homecoming concert, Hershey, PA 4/24/15
Friday evening we enjoyed a Gaither Homecoming concert at the Giant Center in Hershey. I first heard Bill Gaither as part of the “Bill Gaither Trio” in Kansas City as a teenager.  In the early 80’s the Vocal Band was formed and with a variety of personnel it has been together over 30 years. In the nineties Bill and Gloria Gaither, while in their middle-aged years began to have “Homecoming” concerts honoring the older members of the gospel music community. We went to our first Homecoming Concert when we lived in New England in the nineties. Even in that notoriously spiritually frigid part of the country they filled a large arena. Most of the Homecoming old-timers have gone on up yonder. Bill himself is almost 80 and good naturedly takes lots of joking about his age from the younger ones. Actually it’s amazing to me that he still has the will and energy to carry this on. As would be expected the overall crowd was older, but there were some younger families! Ester has come to enjoy the vocal band over the years, especially David Phelps and Wes Hampton.

Gaither Homecoming concert, Hershey, PA 4/24/15
Ester with Wes Hampton, one of the Gaither Vocal Band members.

Mike and Nicole 4/25/15
On Saturday, friends Mike and Nicole Martin, stopped over and we enjoyed fellowship over dinner. They are diligent workers for the kingdom of God; at Triple Tree Ministries, a biker ministry, and in our own church fellowship.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Excuses”  Video  The Kingsmen  How many old-timers recall this song!

“I Then Shall Live”  Video  Gaither Vocal Band This is a thought provoking, heart searching song of conviction the GVB sang on Friday night, written by Gloria Gaither.

I then shall live as one who’s been forgiven.
I’ll walk with joy to know my debts are paid.
I know my name is clear before my Father;
I am His child and I am not afraid.
So, greatly pardoned, I’ll forgive my brother;
The law of love I gladly will obey.

I then shall live as one who’s learned compassion.
I’ve been so loved, that I’ll risk loving too.
I know how fear builds walls instead of bridges;
I’ll dare to see another’s point of view.
And when relationships demand commitment,
Then I’ll be there to care and follow through.

Your Kingdom come around and through and in me;
Your power and glory, let them shine through me.
Your Hallowed Name, O may I bear with honor,
And may Your living Kingdom come in me.
The Bread of Life, O may I share with honor,
And may You feed a hungry world through me.

Amen, Amen, Amen

“You Are My All in All With” Canon in D [Live] Video  Gaither Vocal Band

“Yes, I Know”  Video  GVB

“Jesus Saves”  Video  Wes Hampton backed by orchestra and huge robed choir

The story of “My Dog Enoch”  This has been up for many years but we have many new readers and others may enjoy reading it again. Perhaps it will prompt a memory about a dog you have had.

“Success Or Failure?”

April 24, 2015

Scenic view in Strasburg, PA (Click to enlarge)
Early yesterday morning we passed this scenic view in Strasburg, PA across from the Strasburg Railroad. Our part of the world is really getting green!
(Click on photo for larger view)

“Success Or Failure?”

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“He (Uzziah) sought God during the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God. As long as he sought the LORD, God gave him success” (2 Chronicles 26:5). “But after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the Lord his God” (2 Chronicles 26:16).

How do we define success? A common formula is fame, power, prestige and money; ideally all of them for those striving for worldly success.

Today let us consider an Old Testament king who was identified as successful. King Uzziah is not one of the more famous kings but the entire 26th chapter of 2 Chronicles is devoted to his life. The Bible records the lives of these kings not only as history, but also for the lessons we can learn from them.

Uzziah began his reign as king at sixteen and ruled over Judah for fifty-two years. At the beginning of his reign he was under the instruction of Zechariah, who had a godly impact on the young king. Under his example and influence he sought the Lord and “as long as he sought the Lord, God gave him success”. Notice the nature of Zechariah’s teaching: “who instructed him in the fear of God”. Zechariah taught him that he had a God to whom he was accountable. That’s a lesson we all need to learn and hide deep in our hearts.

Uzziah’s success is described in verses 6-15. I like a tiny detail about his life: “he loved the soil” (v. 10). Another interesting verse states “In Jerusalem he made engines of war invented by skillful men to be on the towers and on the corners for the purpose of shooting arrows and great stones” (v.15a).

This section ends with this transitional phrase, “His fame spread far and wide, for he was greatly helped until he became powerful” (v.15b). He would likely have continued to do well (ie. have success) for a time after this, but eventually it caught up with him.

His life took a sad turn summed up in our second daily text: “But after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the Lord his God.” He even tried some spiritual shenanigans such as entering the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense, something he was strictly forbidden to do.

This is an excellent example of one who is filled with pride. When an individual gets to thinking he or she is above the law of God, pride is at work in that person’s heart.

Uzziah’s downfall led to isolation and death by leprosy as described in v.21: “in a separate house—leprous, and banned from the temple of the Lord.”

Uzziah reminds us that we should always seek the Lord. Do not let your success (or apparent lack thereof) deceive you. The presumption of God’s blessings based upon the appearance of “success” is one of the great deceptions of the modern church. The first call of God in our lives is to seek Him (Matthew 6:33). God ever remains a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, we consider the great honor granted Uzziah when he was crowned king at a young age. Due to the influence of Zechariah, he was taught in the ways of the Lord. You blessed, prospered, and honored him as he implemented godly principles and followed the commands of Scripture. But, much to his demise and that of the people he served, he took his eyes off Your truths and pride led to his downfall. Indulging pride entered his heart and its tentacles spread to his head giving him an inflated sense of self-importance which began the downward spiral. We’ve seen it many times when Christian leaders take their eyes off the Master they are serving and begin to think more highly of themselves than they ought. When pride creeps into our thoughts, help us to recognize it. Perhaps it will be a Scripture, a messenger sent from God, or a consequence resulting from our pride that will get our attention and get us back on track to recognize that all gifts, skills, knowledge and abilities come from You, not within ourselves. Keep us submitted to Your will and walking in Your ways all the days of our lives, in the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.


A Visit To The
Strasburg Railroad Maintenance Shop

Strasburg Railroad maintenance shop
Yesterday I had an “excuse” to visit the Strasburg Railroad Maintenance shop. Earlier in the morning I spoke to two roofers, Rodney and Ray, who told me they had an unusual roofing job; putting a new roof on a railroad car. I eagerly stopped by to greet them at their worksite.

Strasburg Railroad maintenance shop
Jeff is one of the engineers who also works in the shop. It was fun visiting with the employees, several who dressed like real old time rail yard workers, black soot and all.

Strasburg Railroad maintenance shop
The shop is restoring this old steam engine and has a full array of tool shop machines for the job. After all, you just won’t find these parts listed on EBay!

Strasburg Railroad maintenance shop
Big old rail wheels. Anyone believe they could bench press these!

Strasburg Railroad maintenance shop
Wouldn’t want to see this engine coming at me for real!

Amish seven mule tilling team near Bird In Hand PA 4/23/15
On the road again we passed this Amish farmer with a seven mule team tilling the soil.
We think Uzziah would have enjoyed this scene since “he loved the soil”!
(Click on photo for larger view.)


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

Last night we saw this video and must not forget! Recant or Else: Saeed Faces New Psychological Torture

“Glorious Freedom”  Video  Gaither Vocal Band  This evening we are going with a group of friends to a concert at the Giant Center in Hershey with the Gaither Vocal Band and several others and sure hope to hear this song!

“Grandpa (Tell Me ‘Bout The Good Old Days)”  Video  The Isaacs (Another group we will hear tonight)

“There Is A Way”  Video  The Nelons  We will also hear this group!

Strasburg Railroad  The Strasburg Rail Road Company is America’s oldest short line railroad, incorporated in 1832. It still hauls freight but is now mostly a tourist railroad.

For the enthusiast here’s a site for their repair shop or watch this video

A bike train in the Poconos we hope to take in several weeks! Neat video with great song!

Finally today:

Blue Heeler with new pups 4/23/15Yesterday we stopped by to see some friends and their Blue Heeler just had puppies!


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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