“Purity”

February 28, 2017

Baby goat on Amish farm 2/28/17
This morning we were trying to catch this baby goat on an Amish farm but he just didn’t want to be caught!

“Purity”

Message summary: Let us renew our commitment to moral purity today and obey God. In doing so we take a stand against the tide of moral decadence in our land and we practice purity within our hearts!

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl” (Job 31:1). “Keep yourself pure” (1 Timothy 5:22).

Ken Rinier 2/28/17This morning I joined a group of leaders at a company for a breakfast meeting. Rick Rinier, a plant manager, shared the challenge in finding supervisors with good communication skills and how easy it is to be misunderstood. He shared an illustration he had heard in a recent training meeting. A customer went to a Dairy Queen and said to the employee taking his order, “I want a hot fudge sundae with extra hot fudge”. The rather puzzled young man taking the order informed the customer, “It only comes in one temperature”. (The employee thought the customer’s request for “extra hot fudge” meant he wanted it at an “extra hot” temperature when instead the customer was merely asking for “extra” fudge topping!)

I had an experience last week in another plant that anyone overhearing the conversation might have easily drawn a wrong conclusion. An employee, whose father is a friend of mine, inquired, “My dad wants to know if you have the address for Triple-X”. I was taken back and wondered what he meant. To me Triple X conveys the rating on the vilest form of pornographic movies. Why would he be asking the chaplain for that information and how had I presented myself that he would feel comfortable in asking for such information from me! My mind was in a quandary so I had to clear things up right away.

And so we quickly cleared the matter up, in that he actually wanted the contact info for friends of ours, Mike & Nicole Martin, who lead a ministry to bikers called “Triple Tree”. Apparently his dad had confused Triple X with Triple Tree. We had a good laugh after the clarification!

A vitally important aspect in being a good witness for all of us is maintaining moral purity.

The late Christian author D. James Kennedy wrote, “There is an open sewer in our society today—an open sewer which is corrupting and polluting the hearts and minds of young and old alike—a sewer of pornography! Its vile flow comes from the hearts and minds of [those] who are depraved and degraded to the point past feeling, when they not only do those things of which they should be ashamed, but rejoice in those who do them and promote them throughout the land.”

To further substantiate Kennedy’s description of the world’s views on this subject I looked up Wikipedia for their take on the term Triple-X and here’s what contributors wrote, “As pornography began to become chic and more legally tolerated, pornographers placed an X rating on their films to emphasize the adult content.” Of course the more X’s the more sexually explicit. Many comedians and sitcom actors joke about pornography and view it as an acceptable or “chic” form of entertainment.

The counsel of God’s Word is timeless and far-reaching. Our first daily text speaks of a personal covenant Job made that godly men and women do well to make as their own today. In reading Job’s covenant I readily confess that I can’t conjure in my mind’s eye the sexual allurements that were common in his day; the seductive apparel, fragrance, mannerisms, voice, etc. since he lived during the patriarchal age some 4,000 years ago. But I sure know the way they come today and a covenant with my eyes remains a wise and prudent practice.

In Job’s time did they have anything near the equivalent of swimsuit editions of sports magazines, Victoria Secret store fronts, graphic billboards or lingerie ads? Today the internet, which I certainly believe is a powerful tool for ministry, is also a major, major purveyor of pornography that has ensnared many people, both young and old, male and female. Lust inducing images abound and may pop up when least expected or desired. But true followers of Christ must obey God’s call to purity and holiness, and resist the urge to look upon these images with a lustful heart.

Staying pure has always been a challenge.  Presently fashion trends that are a stumbling block to men include plunging necklines, rising skirtlines and form fitting (spandex) attire which can be too revealing to the opposite sex. In contrast while some clothes are uncomfortably tight some young men’s fashions include pants so baggy that the waistline drops to about knee level as his “fashionable” underwear is being revealed. Have you ever seen a man/boy run in this attire? It’s quite a sight, since they don’t look too manly but rather like they’re competing in a gunny sack race at a picnic!! Brooksyne has more than once said to one of these young men, “You’re about to lose your drawers” to which they look at her as though she was born in the patriarchal period. Interestingly, the dictionary defines underwear as you would expect: “clothes worn beneath outer clothes, usually next to the skin, and not seen in public.”

But all through the Bible we read candid reports of Bible heroes and their battles in this regard. Joseph ran from the temptress while David caved into temptation. Solomon was notorious for all his wives and concubines, in spite of the good counsel he offers in the Proverbs. Samson, strong in body was weak in spirit and was seduced by the seductress, Delilah. Judah failed miserably. All of these situations were met with consequences. Joseph is an example of one who resisted temptation and yet he too was declared guilty by his accusers. But, in his heart and in the heart of his scorned accuser, he was absolutely innocent. Yet he had consequences, but it was all a part of God’s overall plan to bring about a greater purpose for Joseph’s life though it was not yet revealed to him.

Both daily verses enjoin us to personal responsibility, both in what we view and what we wear. A personal covenant (contract) with the eyes is a powerful decision and needs to be renewed regularly, daily. The straightforward command of the Apostle Paul to “Keep yourself pure” can easily be memorized and recalled at the time of temptation and used as powerful guideline in our dress, our behavior and our thought life. Let us renew this commitment today and obey God. In doing so we take a stand against the tide of moral decadence in our land and we practice purity within our hearts!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we know that Satan is a thief who “comes only to steal and kill and destroy” and millions fall victim to his enticements. You created us to have an emotional desire for physical and sexual intimacy and in Your perfect plan it is to be fulfilled in a marriage covenant between a husband and wife. Knowing our inclination to sin, help us to carefully lay boundary lines where we are not feeding lust but are eliminating this destructive force in our lives. We desire purity and holiness as we daily pursue Your righteousness. Forgive us where we have resented, ignored, or disobeyed Your guiding principles in this area of our lives. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.


Vallorbs Fascnauts 2/28/17
A Lancaster County Tradition is Fascnaut Day, the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. Today a local company served their employees fauscnaut’s for morning break. See here for more info.

Red Caboose Motel 2/28/17
The Red Caboose Motel is made up of reclaimed cabooses for overnight lodging!

Hess barn roof repair 2/28/17
Yesterday we shared a photo of our neighbor’s barn roof, which had partially blown off in the storm we had Saturday. Here it is this morning!


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
“Create in Me A Clean Heart”  Video  Keith Green

“Refiner’s Fire, (Purify My Heart)”  Video

“Holiness Is What I Long For”  Video

“How Deep” Video  Sovereign Grace Music  Perhaps you’re caught up in the trap of pornography or other kinds of sexual immorality. This song speaks of Jesus being broken, cast off, and crushed that we might know how deep is God’s love, how high and how wide is His mercy.

Here are several more online resources that deal with the topic of moral purity.
Pure Life Ministries
Pure Intimacy
Pornography and Cybersex

The Purity Principle: God’s Guardrails on Life’s Dangerous Roads  By Randy Alcorn / Multnomah
Looking for a way to open up discussions about sexual integrity with your family—or at your church? Alcorn’s biblical, practical one-stop handbook deals with everything from teaching young children about sexuality to relationship principles for teenagers, older singles, and married couples; from special advice for those in ministry to transforming hope for those sorely tempted. 96 pages, hardcover from Multnomah.

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.)
Support Our MinistryWe want to thank all who financially support our ministry. We realize there are many fine ministries and causes requesting support but if the Lord would lead you we surely need and appreciate the financial support from our readers and listeners. Our ministry labor is comprised of half our time to Daily Encouragement and the other half to our chaplaincy ministry to companies for which we receive a fee (of course this percentage of time varies week by week). Each of these ministries essentially is the same as a part-time job (20+ hours weekly) for each of us. Our goal for many years is that each phase would provide half of our ministry expenses and income. If you would like to make a donation to our ministry see here for more information. Donations through my chaplaincy endorsing ministry are tax deductible and will be receipted directly by them. Thank you!

Make A Donation using PayPalPlease Note: Our chaplain agency is unable to provide a receipt if the donation is made through PayPal. However we provide this option due to the convenience, international supporters, and for those who may not be concerned regarding receiving an official receipt. Click here to donate using PayPal.

Praying man Father, we recognize Your handiwork in nature and we welcome Your handiwork in our lives, though it will include some days of stormy weather, including the painful pelting of grief, sorrow, loss and disappointment. But the good news is that the sun will rise again, we’ll see the dawn of a new day and our countenance will brighten with the eternal hope given to every believer. Help us to look to You and trust Your sovereign plan to unfold in our lives day by day, year by year while we look to You as our Solid Rock, our Hope and Stay!  It is the only real and lasting stability we have in our life’s journey. We pray this in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

 

For this message, photos, links to music and other resources see our website.

Sunset 2/26/17
After Saturday’s messy and powerful storm Sunday was beautiful though colder and we enjoyed another brilliant sunset.

“The Storehouses Of The Hail”

Message summary: Today let us keep our focus on God, whose voice thunders in marvelous ways as He continues to do “great things beyond our understanding.” He who works in the storm is also working in our lives this day. Often it’s in the precipitous storm that He is speaking. Be sure to listen. He is in control and will have the final say!

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways; He does great things beyond our understanding. He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth,’ and to the rain shower, ‘Be a mighty downpour.'” (Job 37:5,6). “Have you entered the storehouses of the snow or seen the storehouses of the hail?” (Job 38:22).

Sometimes He calms the storm
With a whispered peace be still
He can settle any sea
But it doesn’t mean He will

We had beautiful weather here in Pennsylvania all last week with unseasonably warm temperatures. On Saturday morning a friend came over to assist as I continue working on my backyard deck project. The morning was beautiful and calm but that afternoon everything changed in a matter of minutes. A powerful storm moved in from the west and plastered our area with high winds, sheets of rain and pounding hail, including a tornado touchdown of 90 MPH, only a few miles from our neighborhood. I think it was the worst hail storm I have ever witnessed. Marble and some golf ball sized hail pelted our house, in a horizontal sweep, due to the powerful winds. It lightly damaged our vinyl siding, destroyed our window screens on the west side of our house, and left some small dings on the hood of our new van. The northern part of Lancaster County experienced severe damage, mostly due to straight line winds.

It was a fast and furious storm followed by driving rain and colder weather. Taking Ester to work half an hour later the tell-tale signs of the storm’s destruction included a “relocated” playland at the end of our road and straight across from there half the roof of our neighbor’s barn was blown off. However the family and neighbors were already cleaning up the debris when we passed by. They were loading the metal roof scrap on a wagon for disposal (typical of rural neighbors coming together in times of need).

Hail is first mentioned in the Bible as one of the Ten Plagues in Egypt (Exodus 9) and last mentioned in Revelation 16 in a future plague, “From the sky huge hailstones, each weighing about a hundred pounds, fell on people. And they cursed God on account of the plague of hail, because the plague was so terrible.” Wow! I’m thinking being hit with golf ball-sized hail is painful, imagine 100 pound balls of hail!

Hail pouring down from the sky is one of the rarer weather phenomenon. As a simple child-like image, it makes me think of God taking a handful of marbles, shaking them up in His hand and dispensing them to land wherever they might choose. I recall walking to school as a storm was approaching with my friend, Dave, when we were in third grade. I looked up at the sky and commented, “It looks like hail.” Dave, who was raised a devout Catholic, scolded me: “You shouldn’t say that word!” In his innocent mind he thought I was saying “hell” as a curse word.

The first daily verse is part of the speech of Elihu, who spoke following the exchange between Job and his three friends. I enjoy reading Elihu’s perspective, although God certainly has the final word at the end of the book. Snow, rain and even hail are reminders of God’s providential ruling over all the earth.

“God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways.” Let us seek to have a perspective on life in which we hear God’s voice in the silent falling snow, the splattering rain, the mighty winds and even the occasional pelting hail that falls from the sky. Marvel at the variety of ways God speaks to us and provides for our spiritual and physical needs. Each element of nature has a divine and practical purpose.

We may speak of how it inconveniences our life, alters our schedule, damages much along its path, or even causes fatalities. Or like Elihu, we may simply remember this plainly spoken truth, “He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth,’ and to the rain shower, ‘Be a mighty downpour.'”  It’s His ways and we do well to recognize He sovereignly rules over His creation. Witnessing God’s almighty power puts mankind’s limited power into proper perspective.

“He does great things beyond our understanding.” This is a great verse to ponder. What He does is great although it may go beyond our finite understanding, leaving questions and mystery in our minds.  It might make no sense at all to us.

The second daily text states, “Have you entered the storehouses of the snow or seen the storehouses of the hail?” (Job 38:22). Our lives and this world are subject to His sovereign design, His eternal time table, and even His own hidden storage houses.

Matthew Poole comments: “Do you know where I have laid up those vast quantities of snow and hail which I draw forth when I see fit? Do you know the causes of them, and the way to produce them? But if you are unacquainted with these treasures, it is intolerable presumption to pretend that you know those treasures of wisdom which lie hidden in my own breast.” (Edited to modern English)

Today let us keep our focus on God, whose voice thunders in marvelous ways as He continues to do “great things beyond our understanding.” He who works in the storm is also working in our lives this day. Often it’s in the precipitous storm that He is speaking. Be sure to listen. He is in control and will have the final say!

Sometimes He holds us close
And lets the wind and waves go wild
Sometimes He calms the storm
And other times He calms His child

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we recognize Your handiwork in nature and we welcome Your handiwork in our lives, though it will include some days of stormy weather, including the painful pelting of grief, sorrow, loss and disappointment. But the good news is that the sun will rise again, we’ll see the dawn of a new day and our countenance will brighten with the eternal hope given to every believer. Help us to look to You and trust Your sovereign plan to unfold in our lives day by day, year by year while we look to You as our Solid Rock, our Hope and Stay!  It is the only real and lasting stability we have in our life’s journey. We pray this in Jesus’ name.  Amen.


Some Storm Photos

Hail "snow" 2/25/17
Front lawn view right after the first storm. After hail fell the second time the landscape was covered, looking like a blanket of snow rather than hail.

Hail "snow" on deck 2/25/17
Our deck only minutes after Brooksyne had carefully swept it!

Hail "snow" up close 2/25/17
The hail particles were marble sized, though some merged together the size of golf balls. Friends who live about 1½ miles away had mostly golf-ball size hail and more damage.

Flooding after storm 2/25/17
After the hail we had a heavy downpour of rain that flooded our yard.
Thankfully no water in our home!

Damage to barn roof 2/25/17
Yesterday, on the way to church, we surveyed the damage to our neighbor’s barn at the end of Kraybill Church Road. The storm took off an entire section of the westward facing roof and left one large section stuck in a tree (to the left).


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
“Peace Speaker”  Video  Geron & Becky Davis

“Sometimes He Calms the Storm”  Video   Scott Krippayne

“Till The Storm Passes By”  Video  Vestal Goodman

“I Will Praise Him Still”  Video  Fernando Ortega

Article about storm damage in Lancaster County with many photos.

Contact Us
Send a message to Stephen & Brooksyne

To receive the “Daily Encouragement” each Monday-Friday through email see this page to subscribe to our email list. You can also subscribe to the WordPress rss feed or through a WordPress email subscription. (See the email subscription on the right side after opening this page.)
Support Our MinistryWe want to thank all who financially support our ministry. We realize there are many fine ministries and causes requesting support but if the Lord would lead you we surely need and appreciate the financial support from our readers and listeners. Our ministry labor is comprised of half our time to Daily Encouragement and the other half to our chaplaincy ministry to companies for which we receive a fee (of course this percentage of time varies week by week). Each of these ministries essentially is the same as a part-time job (20+ hours weekly) for each of us. Our goal for many years is that each phase would provide half of our ministry expenses and income. If you would like to make a donation to our ministry see here for more information. Donations through my chaplaincy endorsing ministry are tax deductible and will be receipted directly by them. Thank you!

Make A Donation using PayPalPlease Note: Our chaplain agency is unable to provide a receipt if the donation is made through PayPal. However we provide this option due to the convenience, international supporters, and for those who may not be concerned regarding receiving an official receipt. Click here to donate using PayPal.

“Ananias”

February 24, 2017

Lancaster County Mennonite farm
We had a beautiful day yesterday and passed another of the many impressive farms seen throughout Lancaster County.

“Ananias”

Message summary: “Are there any scales that are blinding you or holding you back from following God wholeheartedly or giving your all in service to Him?” We do well to inventory our hearts, spend time in prayer speaking to God and also listening to what He has to say to us.

Note: Podcast message not prepared today due to early morning chaplain visits.

“In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, ‘Ananias!’ ‘Yes, Lord,’ he answered” (Acts 9:10).

Ananias is the man God called to minister to Saul (Paul) shortly after his miraculous conversion. He was initially quite reluctant yet he obeyed the Lord.  He had an essential role in welcoming Saul into the Christian fellowship.

Ananias is the first believer in Christ in whom we have information about his ministry to Saul.  (Remember that Saul was staying in the home of a man by the name of Judas.) In this early period of the church’s history the good news of Jesus Christ had already spread to Damascus, Syria, which was outside of the nation of Israel.  The Jews had earlier migrated to Damascus and established synagogues there. It is likely that Ananias was a Jew who had converted to Christ. The Lord spoke to him in a vision about Saul of Tarsus and he readily answered. Today as God’s children may we be ready to answer His call. He may or may not speak to us in a vision, but He is speaking.  We have the Word of God and he does desire to speak to us, so we are wise to be listening!

F. F. Bruce suggests that Ananias “has an honoured place in sacred history, and a special claim upon the gratitude of all who, in one way or another, have entered into the blessing that stems from the life and work of the great apostle.”

Today’s first verse describes a physical phenomenon at Saul’s conversion that surely has rich spiritual symbolism. He was blinded on the road to Damascus but when Ananias prayed for him, “Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he regained his sight.” I believe Luke is speaking literally regarding these scales. But we also consider the scales that blind spiritually. C.H. Spurgeon, in his sermon, “Scales Taken From The Eyes” lists the scales of self, ignorance, prejudice, unbelief, habit and worldliness. We consider adding pride, and religious blindness. What are some scales you can identify that keep people from seeing the “light of the gospel of the glory of Christ”?

“A certain Ananias, a man who was devout by the standard of the Law, and well-spoken of by all the Jews who lived there came to me, and standing near said to me, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight!’ And at that very time I looked up at him.  And he said, ‘The God of our fathers has appointed you to know His will and to see the Righteous One and to hear an utterance from His mouth. For you will be a witness for Him to all men of what you have seen and heard. Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.’ (Acts 22).

Today we ask you, “Are there any scales that are blinding you or holding you back from following God wholeheartedly or giving your all in service to Him?” We do well to inventory our hearts, spend time in prayer speaking to God and also listening to what He has to say to us.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, remove the scales of indifference, fear, skepticism, doubt, and unbelief along with any other unwanted attitudes or traits that would keep me from giving You my all. When the scales are removed I no longer see that which holds me back but I see Jesus who said, “….With God all things are possible.” When the scales are removed I find that Your power propels me into service, reaching out to the lost and showing the way to forgiveness and eternal life. Help me to have the courage of Ananias to reach out to those who seem hopeless, undeserving, and zealous in all the wrong ways like Saul. Just as Ananias had a tremendous role in mentoring the Tormentor Saul as he became the Preacher Paul, we too can make a difference in one’s life who is lost, hurting, and presently headed to eternity without You. Remove our scales and launch us forward in service to You, we pray. Amen.

Note: There are two other Bible characters named Ananias in the Bible, also found exclusively in the Book of Acts 5 (Ananias and Saphhira and 23 (a high priest)


Gideon Bible distribution
While visiting the housekeepers and staff at Comfort Inn in New Holland, during our chaplaincy visits today, we kept “bumping” into these men. Anyone venture a guess as to why they were there? See below for answer.

Ressler family home
The Ressler family home at the Mascot Roller Mill historical site on Stumptown Road.

Conestoga buggy
A Conestoga Amish buggy! Ironically the original Conestoga wagons were built near where this photo was taken at the headwaters of the Conestoga River.
The middle “pole” isn’t for fishing but our van antenna.

Shady Maple mural
Mural at Shady Maple


Photo of three men:  The men pictured at Comfort Inn were Gideons restocking Bibles in the guest rooms. We were so happy to see them and them know how much we appreciated their dedication in supplying Bibles. Many, many stories have been told of people who found Christ after picking up a Gideon’s Bible, often in a motel room; some even contemplating suicide and then they pick up the Bible and start reading which leads to changed lives.

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.)
Support Our MinistryWe want to thank all who financially support our ministry. We realize there are many fine ministries and causes requesting support but if the Lord would lead you we surely need and appreciate the financial support from our readers and listeners. Our ministry labor is comprised of half our time to Daily Encouragement and the other half to our chaplaincy ministry to companies for which we receive a fee (of course this percentage of time varies week by week). Each of these ministries essentially is the same as a part-time job (20+ hours weekly) for each of us. Our goal for many years is that each phase would provide half of our ministry expenses and income. If you would like to make a donation to our ministry see here for more information. Donations through my chaplaincy endorsing ministry are tax deductible and will be receipted directly by them. Thank you!

Make A Donation using PayPalPlease Note: Our chaplain agency is unable to provide a receipt if the donation is made through PayPal. However we provide this option due to the convenience, international supporters, and for those who may not be concerned regarding receiving an official receipt. Click here to donate using PayPal.

“I Will Sing To The Lord”

February 23, 2017

Interesting mailbox! (photo by Doris High)
Acoustic mailbox!
(Photo by Doris High)

“I Will Sing To The Lord”

Message summary: When we gather to sing unto the Lord may we do so with renewed vigor joining with our brothers and sisters in Christ as we sing to our King songs of praise.

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“I will sing to the LORD, for He has been good to me” (Psalm 13:6). “Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises” (Psalm 47:6).

There is a lot of variety in Christian music and people have various tastes as to what they find edifying and enjoyable. We both like a variety in musical styles although, admittedly, there are some styles of music we pass up when tuning in a radio station.

However we both enjoy good, old-fashioned congregational singing when the voices of the people are dominant. Since most churches these days use a lot of instruments and amplified voices it’s often hard to clearly hear the congregational voices.

One place you can still get this type of singing tends to be at the funeral of an elderly person. We recently attended the service for a 95 year old lady in our church and the singing was outstanding. Brooksyne was accompanying with the piano so I was sitting by myself. Knowing the singing would be good I made a recording by merely turning the video on with my phone and have posted a short video below of “Blessed Assurance”.

One of the great blessings of gathering with other Christians is congregational singing. Those of us who have served the Lord for many years may take this for granted. It’s an important time of worship giving opportunity for worshipers to express praise and thanksgiving in thoughts they store up in their hearts but feel inadequate to verbally express. But God uses poets/songwriters to write lyrics and music that express our feelings and we can espouse them as our very own when singing the words from our hearts.

We love to sing with God’s people. As I prepared today’s message I observed that music and singing is found all through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. Before the flood we read of Jubal who was father of all  who play the lyre and pipe. (Genesis 4:21)

The first lyrics recorded in a song of praise was by Moses and the Israelites, which brought glory, praise and thanksgiving for God’s mighty deliverance. Miriam, Moses’ sister, and other women played timbrels and danced joyfully after they crossed the Red Sea and the horse and enemy rider fell into the sea (Exodus 15). Following the first Lord’s Supper the disciples departed after singing a hymn. The epistles direct us to “speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:19). The book of Revelation makes it clear there is singing in heaven.

But the greatest concentration of references to singing in the Bible is spread throughout the Psalms. It’s rather fitting since the Greek meaning of Psalm is “A poem sung to the accompaniment of music.” Today’s daily texts are just two of many examples throughout the Psalms that refer to singing.

When we gather to sing unto the Lord may we do so with renewed vigor joining with our brothers and sisters in Christ as we sing to our King songs of praise.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, I will sing unto You, my Lord, as long as I live. I will sing praise to You, my King, while I have my being. My meditation of You shall be sweet, for I will be glad in the Lord. I will bless You at all times. Your praise shall continually be in my mouth and my soul shall make her boast in You, Lord, and the humble will hear thereof and be glad. May others magnify You, along with me, as we exalt Your name together in word and song. Amen.

Prayer based on several Psalms


Seltzer's Lebanon Bologna smokehouse, Palmyra, PA
Yesterday our visits took us to Lebanon County and we passed the smokehouses for Seltzer’s Lebanon Bologna in Palmyra, PA. The smoky aroma is outstanding!

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
“Blessed Assurance”  Video   Congregational singing in a small country church (the church we attend!)

“Sing To The King”  Video  Candi Pearson

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.)
Support Our MinistryWe want to thank all who financially support our ministry. We realize there are many fine ministries and causes requesting support but if the Lord would lead you we surely need and appreciate the financial support from our readers and listeners. Our ministry labor is comprised of half our time to Daily Encouragement and the other half to our chaplaincy ministry to companies for which we receive a fee (of course this percentage of time varies week by week). Each of these ministries essentially is the same as a part-time job (20+ hours weekly) for each of us. Our goal for many years is that each phase would provide half of our ministry expenses and income. If you would like to make a donation to our ministry see here for more information. Donations through my chaplaincy endorsing ministry are tax deductible and will be receipted directly by them. Thank you!

Make A Donation using PayPalPlease Note: Our chaplain agency is unable to provide a receipt if the donation is made through PayPal. However we provide this option due to the convenience, international supporters, and for those who may not be concerned regarding receiving an official receipt. Click here to donate using PayPal.

“Walking In The Light”

February 22, 2017

Historic home in Mount Joy, PA

One of many historic houses seen on Main Street in Mount Joy, Pennsylvania

“Walking In The Light”

Message summary: Today, as we “walk in the light” we will dispel the depressing darkness of sin. Sin will not penetrate our hearts when the light of God’s Word is hidden within which shines forth the brilliance of His glory.

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20). “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). “So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet” (1 Thessalonians 5:6-8).

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art
Thou my best thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Non-24Circadian Rhythm disorder (also known as “non-24”) is a condition common in people who are totally blind. Essentially due to the inability to see light they are unable distinguish night from day and thus may be sleepy during the day and wide awake at night. I first learned of this condition due to an advertisement for a medication that claims to be helpful.

According to an article on the condition, “The majority of people with non-24 are totally blind, and the failure of entrainment is explained by an absence of photic input to the circadian clock. These people’s brains may have normal ‘body clocks’, but the clocks do not receive input from the eyes about environmental light levels, as that requires a functioning retina, optic nerve and visual processing center.” *

I suppose I never would have given this disorder much attention if not for the advertisement that prompted consideration for further study. It’s certainly a reminder of another blessing we who have sight probably take for granted. But it also prompts a spiritual parallel:

Scripture describes the unregenerate condition of mankind to being blind: “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4). This spiritual blindness is expressed in the first verse of the great hymn, “Amazing Grace”, “I once was blind but now I see”.

One of the effects of spiritual regeneration is having spiritual sight or discernment. If you don’t discern this spiritual darkness you’re probably not spending enough time in the light of God’s Word! You see, just as our physical eyes can adjust to a dark setting and then are pained by a sudden bright light, so our spiritual eyes can become familiar, even comfortable in darkness. After prolonged exposure to darkness, the light (which we know is good), can actually be painful.

You probably know people who are living in darkness that don’t even know it.  They are so accustomed to the darkness that any reference to light (Christ) is very irritating to them. This is the challenge we have in witnessing to our unsaved friends and family. This was also the challenge the Israelites faced as they inhabited the Promised Land. God knew that they could not immerse themselves in the daily lives of the idol worshiping inhabitants lest they themselves lose sight of the great I AM. That’s why He empowered them to wipe out entire populations of major cities and villages. A hard part of the Biblical story but part of the record.

Seven "I Am" statements

The Gospel of John has seven “I am” statements. The phrase ‘I am’ refers to the time that God revealed His Name to Moses in Exodus 3. From the significant ways that Jesus used the “I am” phrase, we understand that He is essentially saying, “I am the full revelation of God.” This is why the Scriptures say that if a person rejects Christ, he rejects God.

John 8:12 Today’s second daily text is the second of His seven “I am” statements. “I am the light of the world.” This statement reveals Christ as the Illuminator, the One who brings the energy of light into our sin darkened world.  In the introduction of John, Jesus is described as “The true light that gives light to every man” (John 1:9). “The true light” stands in contrast to the many false sources of spiritual light. Only Christ is the true light!

Jesus directs the second part of the verse to His listeners and applies this spiritual truth to all His followers, including us: “Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” The simple stipulation Christ gives for staying in the light is directed to “whoever follows Me.” The Greek indicates that this is a present tense, meaning that we must have an ongoing, active relationship with Christ.

The wonderful promise is that we who follow Christ “will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” The Bible instructs us to “walk in the Light!” “But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).

Today, as we “walk in the light” we will dispel the depressing darkness of sin. Sin will not penetrate our hearts when the light of God’s Word is hidden within which shines forth the brilliance of His glory.

When we walk with the Lord
In the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way;
While we do His good will,
He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we choose to follow You all the days of our life. We find great assurance as we’re reminded that we will not be engulfed by the surrounding darkness of evil but instead Your radiant light will guide us to eternal blessing. Help us to walk by faith and not by sight holding onto Your promises as we continue to build a solid foundation through Your Holy Word. Help us to “walk in the light”. It is in the Name of Jesus that we pray. Amen.

Note: Although our study for today’s message only focuses on John 8:12 we included the other two verses since we feel they have an interesting relationship to our daily theme.

Another disease I had not heard about prior to seeing advertisements of a medication used to treat it is PseudoBulbar Affect. I am musing on a spiritual parallel to this condition.


Squirrel at bird feeder 2/22/17We’ve had these feeders about three years now and squirrels usually stay away from them. This morning we had a visiting squirrel that didn’t get the message from his friends that these feeders are not squirrel friendly.

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
“Trust And Obey”  Video  Mennonite singers

“Be Thou My Vison”  Video  Selah

“Open My Eyes That I May See”  Video

* Article about Circadian Rhythm Disorder also known as non-24 or this FAQ page

Finally today: Yesterday we received an interesting note from Glenn Babbitt, a friend who lives in New England. He resides in Connecticut and, when we pastored in MA his family would visit our church in Taunton on their way to Cape Cod for vacation.

He wrote: Today’s DE (our message on divinely appointed setbacks) strikes so close to home for our family. We have 4 kids – 2 “homemade” boys, and 2 “imported” girls from Bulgaria. The oldest daughter, Yana, is a student at Liberty University, and was signed to the track team for javelin. She made it to #2 in program history at LU before a weight lifting accident tried to leave her paralyzed. The doctor at the spinal rehab center in Atlanta, where she was transferred after surgery in Charlottesville, said that short of a miracle, she would spend the rest of her life in a wheelchair. Well, we know Someone who does those, and who did. Her accident was 10/24/2015, and on 12/18/15 I picked her up from rehab, and she walked out – no walker, no cane, no wheelchair.

The big challenge for her has been the continual back pain that she lives with since. Just last week, Liberty aired a 7 minute segment on her on their “GameOn” sports show, which goes out over local cable.  I figured I would add the link here; in light of your message today: “In the Midst of the Storm”  (Note from us: This is a very touching story of overcoming!)

Note: Glenn now serves in a church in Connecticut as a pastoral associate to Randy Shibilo, who grew up in the church we pastored in Massachusetts (before our time there). Randy’s mother, Veda and his late father, Bill, and older brother were a part of that church and a tremendous blessing to our ministry. See here for a tribute I wrote for Bill Shibilo (and see a photo of him and Ester as a little girl).

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.)
Support Our MinistryWe want to thank all who financially support our ministry. We realize there are many fine ministries and causes requesting support but if the Lord would lead you we surely need and appreciate the financial support from our readers and listeners. Our ministry labor is comprised of half our time to Daily Encouragement and the other half to our chaplaincy ministry to companies for which we receive a fee (of course this percentage of time varies week by week). Each of these ministries essentially is the same as a part-time job (20+ hours weekly) for each of us. Our goal for many years is that each phase would provide half of our ministry expenses and income. If you would like to make a donation to our ministry see here for more information. Donations through my chaplaincy endorsing ministry are tax deductible and will be receipted directly by them. Thank you!

Make A Donation using PayPalPlease Note: Our chaplain agency is unable to provide a receipt if the donation is made through PayPal. However we provide this option due to the convenience, international supporters, and for those who may not be concerned regarding receiving an official receipt. Click here to donate using PayPal.

The Lancaster Junction rail trail
Lancaster Junction Rail To Trail
We’ve had several nice warm days here in rural Pennsylvania with more on the way.

“It Didn’t Come To Stay; It Came To Pass”

Message summary: Whatever we are going through today, whether it seems fair or not, we must continue to walk with God and follow the timeless standards of His holy Word. Sometimes it might get us into “trouble” and stir up a little drama like it did for Joseph! We can have an assurance of God’s steadfast presence. Remember, the trial doesn’t come to stay, it comes to pass.

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“While Joseph was there in the prison, the LORD was with him; He showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden” (Genesis 39:20,21).

If I should live by sight I would be beaten down,
Because I can’t see past these walls of circumstance.
But faith will be my substance and my hope is in the Lord,
And He will turn my sorrow into dance.

If we were to sit down and write our autobiography we’d likely begin by breaking down our life’s story chapter by chapter. Of course we recognize these chapters in regard to our age progression such as infancy, childhood, teen years, followed by our young, middle, and senior adult years. Terms like “empty nesters” describe those whose children have grown and moved on. Although all chapters will have challenges some are certainly more challenging than others, no matter the age or season of our life.

When we read the stories of God’s work in people’s lives the Bible breaks them down into chapters or definite points in history. However many of the stories that spanned 20 or more years are summarized in just a few chapters or less. The drama of one’s adventurous life, including their many trials and uncertainties, can be read in just a few minutes. When we already know “the rest of the story” we tend to minimize what the Bible character was going through, although at the time they did not know what the outcome would be.

When we read the narrative of their lives we can be sure that they dealt with the same emotions we feel and the questions we ask such as:

  • “Why is God allowing this to happen to me?”
  • “It’s not fair!”
  • “Has God forgotten me?”
  • “How will this work out?”
  • “What if….?”
  • “If only…”

Surely you can add to the abbreviated list your own questions that surface during times of difficulty. It’s a reassuring thought that, although things are not always “fair” on this side for a variety of reasons, heaven, based on the character of God and absence of sin will be eternally and consistently fair! But unfortunately our distant view of heaven is often obscured by that which we deal with here and now.

When we read Joseph’s story in Genesis, chapters 37-50, we’re taken back by the injustice he was dealt. It wasn’t fair that his own brothers considered killing him. It wasn’t fair that they sold him into slavery. It wasn’t fair that Jacob was fed a lie that his beloved son was killed by a wild animal. The unfairness escalated in Egypt when Joseph had one disappointing setback after the other.

Moses is the author of the first five books of the Bible, which includes Genesis. Many years following these events God inspired him to record the lives of the patriarchs, including Joseph.

After the horrific rejection and betrayal by his own brothers it seemed he was putting his life back together in Egypt. He had a very prestigious position managing Potiphar’s business. But this ended abruptly not because of Joseph’s failings, but rather because of a divinely appointed setback*. Joseph took a stand against immorality when he was propositioned by Potiphar’s wife. He was falsely accused and imprisoned.

But the inspired Scriptures make an observation of great hope, “While Joseph was there in the prison, the LORD was with him.” I wonder to what extent Joseph was aware of the Lord’s presence at the time. Based upon his faithfulness and the information in the rest of the story I believe he did have this assurance of God’s steadfast presence.

“He (God) showed him kindness.” Even in the midst of this difficult chapter God bestowed His kindness on Joseph. What a blessing it is to experience God’s kindness in the midst of a suspenseful chapter of our lives.

“And granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden.” This sets up the manner in which God would deliver Joseph in His perfect time. Whatever we are going through we can be assured that God is always working things out for our good (Romans 8:28).

Whatever we are going through today, whether it seems fair or not, we must continue to walk with God and follow the timeless standards of His holy Word. Sometimes it might get us into “trouble” and stir up a little drama like it did for Joseph! We can have an assurance of God’s steadfast presence. Remember, the trial doesn’t come to stay, it comes to pass.

It didn’t come to stay; it came to pass.
The Lord will move that mountain if you’ll ask.
The trials that we see today won’t last.
It didn’t come to stay; it came to pass.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber:

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, in today’s text, we notice that You were with Joseph “while” he was in the midst of a tremendous trial, due to no fault of his own. In fact, he was suffering because of the strong, moral stand he took in being a trustworthy servant. You don’t forsake us when we’re undergoing trial but You are right there with us showing us Your grace and favor, though it may be obscured by the gloomy overshadowing trial. You use Scriptures, devotional thoughts, sermons and fellow believers to bring us encouragement, instruction, and inspiration. They help us to weather the howling storms of doubts and fears in the troubling chapters of our life.  Help us to trust You as step by step You lead us on our earthly pilgrimage. Amen.

Brooksyne’s Note: We encounter people undergoing trials most every time we enter the companies where we serve as chaplains. In some instances we quietly pray with them right at their desk or in a nearby empty room, depending on the circumstances. I often follow up with a Scripture passage and many times I have suggested that they look at their trial as though it were a chapter being written in their life’s book. By the time they get to the end of the chapter the trial will likely be resolved, but for now they must not give up hope but see what God is showing them through their trying circumstances. A verse I often write on my “prescription pad” and hand to them is from Romans 12:12:  “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” (NIV) Usually I see they posted the verse on their cubicle wall or bulletin board when I walk through the following week, and sometimes I see it still posted years later. God’s Word is timeless and its message is always relevant to whatever circumstances we’re dealt.

Consider this thought:  The most exciting books we read or movies we watch are those filled with suspense and drama. In fact, I will confess to peeking a few chapters ahead in a book to see how a matter is resolved because I just can’t stand the suspense. Why is it that we like to read about other’s suspense but don’t find it nearly as fulfilling or exciting when we are undergoing out own suspense or drama!


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
“It Came To Pass”  Video   The Martins

“I Know Who Holds Tomorrow”  Video  The Isaacs

“If There Ever Was A Time”   Video  The Crabb Family

“God Still Has a Plan”   Video  The Isaacs

“Whispered Prayers”  Video  Karen Peck and New River

* For further study: A brief article by John Piper can be found here where he speaks of Joseph’s “divinely appointed setback”. Joseph and Jesus: God’s Successful Setbacks | Desiring God

As we were preparing today’s message the daily message from Pastor Richard Dresselhaus’ blog, “One For The Road” seems appropriate! “The Passing Of Time”

Finally today, a note from a reader:

Freezer strawberry jam Thanks for the recipe, [for the English Muffin Bread] I can taste Mary’s homemade strawberry jam on it now….mmmmm!

Brooksyne: I smiled after receiving Ed’s email yesterday since I had made a batch of strawberry freezer jam earlier in the day, toasted a couple slices of English Muffin Bread and slathered them with the fresh strawberry jam. As you might imagine we didn’t stop with just one slice but indulged in a second piece.

Freezer jam is extra easy to make, extra delicious to eat and can be made anytime by anybody! All you need is:  1 package of Ball real fruit pectin,  sugar, and fruit. Wash and mash fruit, stir in sugar and pectin for 3 minutes, and in 30 minutes the jam is set. Freeze or refrigerate. Fruit Pectin is still available in the seasonal section of grocery stores along with canning supplies. The instructions are easy to follow and can be made for diabetics using splenda, truvia or other artificial sweetener.

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.)
Support Our MinistryWe want to thank all who financially support our ministry. We realize there are many fine ministries and causes requesting support but if the Lord would lead you we surely need and appreciate the financial support from our readers and listeners. Our ministry labor is comprised of half our time to Daily Encouragement and the other half to our chaplaincy ministry to companies for which we receive a fee (of course this percentage of time varies week by week). Each of these ministries essentially is the same as a part-time job (20+ hours weekly) for each of us. Our goal for many years is that each phase would provide half of our ministry expenses and income. If you would like to make a donation to our ministry see here for more information. Donations through my chaplaincy endorsing ministry are tax deductible and will be receipted directly by them. Thank you!

Make A Donation using PayPalPlease Note: Our chaplain agency is unable to provide a receipt if the donation is made through PayPal. However we provide this option due to the convenience, international supporters, and for those who may not be concerned regarding receiving an official receipt. Click here to donate using PayPal.

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