Old order open buggy, Lancaster County PA 8/27/15
We had a beautiful day yesterday as we made several chaplain visits to companies in eastern Lancaster County where we frequently encounter old-order traffic.

“Spiritual Troglomorphism”
(Part 3)

Note 1: Due to getting back late from our chaplaincy visits yesterday we dd not post a message.

Note 2: Our last two messages here and here have explored the concept of troglomorphism. “Troglomorphism is the morphological adaptation of an organism to living in the constant darkness of caves, characterized by features such as loss of pigment, reduced eyesight or blindness, and frequently with attenuated bodies and/or appendages.” Spiritual troglomorphism is essentially a loss of or diminishment of spiritual sight due to living in darkness.

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).

Alarm clockNyctophilia is a word describing those who love darkness. Now there may be some settings where we like it dark. For instance when I sleep I like the room to be dark. Even the light on an alarm clock or other artificial source may be disruptive to my sleep, although I am not bothered by the natural light of the stars or moon coming through our window. Some people actually prefer working the night shift or traveling at night.

But when it comes to spiritual things we should not be nyctophiliacs!

However many people love the dark side spiritually speaking and readily admit that this is the condition their heart is in. In Wednesday’s message the Bible text described those who love darkness instead of light because their deeds are evil (see John 3:19). Some even proudly flaunt their desire to live evil lives and shamelessly expect hell as their final destination. You’ve probably heard people unabashedly say, “So what if I go to hell; that’s where all my friends will be” or “Hell will be one great party!” Of course many admittedly serve the devil, the prince of darkness.

In communicating with people like this at least they recognize the difference between good and evil, right and wrong, light and darkness. They are living in darkness and proud of it. Although they may be very hard-hearted, in some ways it’s easier to communicate the Gospel to them than another type of people we will discuss today; those who have “substituted darkness for light and light for darkness”.

Through the years we have often gleaned insight from our daily text, typically focusing on the first phrase, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil”. For example see here. We and many others see this confusion between good and evil so much in our age. There once was a framework of Biblical understanding concerning what constituted good and evil, right and wrong. But now much of what was once practically universally recognized as evil is considered good and conversely that which was once practically universally recognized as good is now essentially seen as evil.

But today let us consider the second phrase in the text, “Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness” (NASV), Other translations render the phrase, “who put darkness for light and light for darkness” (NIV). “They think light is dark and dark is light” (ERV), “who turn darkness into light and light into darkness” (NOG).

I have a long-time friend who practically holds the the polar opposite of the worldview I hold in regard to our ideological and political outlook. Essentially he’s pro-____ where I’m anti-____ and anti_____ where I am pro-____! Yet he feels we are on the same side regarding our faith although admitting we are just a little different. Although I want to keep our relationship friendly I want to strongly assert, “No, we are not of the same faith at all; you substitute darkness for light and light for darkness!”

Biblically accurate The substitution of “darkness for light and light for darkness” has infected the church. Many who have essentially abandoned the faith as taught in the Bible and practiced through the ages of the church want to reduce “faith” to a few simple platitudes. We are especially concerned about the younger generation who is allowing more and more of the world to guide them. They will so easily cast aside historic Christian teaching in order to be accepted. There is culturally a greater and greater price for being a faithful Christian, living in the light and standing true to the faith once for all entrusted to the saints (Jude 3).

Chelsen VicariBut thankfully there remains those whom Chelsen Vicari, a young Bible-faithful believer herself, calls “Counter Culture Millennials”.

Referring to the beliefs of so many young people she writes, “Instead of faithful discipleship, many young Christians are starting to treat the Bible like a Shoney’s buffet line, picking and choosing which Scripture verses to follow and which ones to ignore. Much of the time their choices include cherry-picking Scriptures that align with liberal politics instead of the ethics and values outlined by the Gospel.” *

The apostle Paul wrote to the Ephesians, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light” (Ephesians 5:8). Living as children of light we will seek to distinguish that which is spiritual darkness from that which is spiritual light.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, as genuine Christians we have forsaken the darkness and choose to walk in the light of Christ. In doing so we must be very careful not to substitute darkness for light or light for darkness. Otherwise we are expecting You to alter Your commands to accommodate the errant principles and philosophies of every nation, culture, and generation. You are the One True Supreme God who established Your unchanging, inerrant truths and commands before the world came into being. We choose to obey You not because it’s popular, rather we choose to obey You because You created us and made it possible through Christ that we would spend eternity with You in heaven. Though shadows surround us they never conceal our Saviour and Guide; for He is the light, in Him there is no darkness at all as He is ever walking close to our side. Amen.


Here is the long selection of Scripture verses on this contrast between light and darkness we shared Tuesday:

  • “You, Lord, are my lamp; the Lord turns my darkness into light” (2 Samuel 22:29).
  • “He reveals the deep things of darkness and brings utter darkness into the light” (Job 12:22).
  • “You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light” (Psalm 18:28)
  • “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter” (Isaiah 5:20).
  • “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned” (Isaiah 9:2). (This was quoted by Jesus when He began to preach Matthew 4:12-17).
  • “But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matthew 6:23)
  • “When Jesus spoke again to the people, He said, “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).
  • “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness” (John 12:46).
  • “I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me” (Acts 26:17,18).
  • “The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light” (Romans 13:12).
  • “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14).
  • “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light” (Ephesians 5:8).
  • ‘You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness” (1 Thessalonians 5:5).
  • “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9).
  • “Yet I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining” (1 John 2:8).


We rode our bikes along a portion of the Conewago Recreational Trail and Lebanon Valley Rail-Trail through Lancaster and Lebanon Counties and passed many horses in pastures. Brooksyne took the following photos and comments accordingly:

Lebanon County horses 8/26/15
Beautiful horses in Lebanon County meadow with lots of grass to graze. This view made me wander back in my memories to my childhood home in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where we always had two or three horses in our pasture. My youngest brother, Jody, loved to ride but my siblings and I often rode as well. The most enjoyable ride on a horse is when it is galloping and the wind is blowing in your face. It’s like gliding in the air with no effort on your part.

Lebanon County horses 8/26/15
These two befriended me as they ran up to see what I had to offer. The camera didn’t smell like food but it still intrigued the dark horse to the point he was ready to consume it.

Log Cabin Produce, Farmersville, PA 8/27/15
We’ve seen many, many produce stands in Lancaster County and throughout other rural areas. Some are makeshift with beach umbrellas protecting fresh veggies, others in wheelbarrows, some in wagons, and on and on. But yesterday was the first time we saw a log cabin produce stand in New Holland. We purchased a half bushel of John Boy free stone peaches which I will be processing tomorrow. We’ll have some fresh peach pie or cobbler as well!

View at dusk 8/27/15
I bicycled through our neighborhood around 8 PM last night and was so moved by the beauty of the farm land that my heart and voice filled with praise to our Creator. This is the evening view of the Espenshade farm (notice the moon in the sky). Soybeans are in the forefront.

View at dusk 8/27/15
By the time I got home this was the view from our back yard.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

* Here’s the article on “Counter Culture Millennials” about Chelsen Vicari. She has also written a book titled “Distortion: How the New Christian Left is Twisting the Gospel and Damaging the Faith”  (See here)

“Christ was criticized, crucified, by the popular culture of His day because he was willing to be counter cultural for the sake of the whole world. Remember that, as the prophet Isaiah wrote, “Don’t be afraid, for the Lord promises He is with you. Don’t be discouraged, for He is our God. He will strengthen you and help you. He will hold you up with His victorious right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)

Don’t give up. Don’t get discouraged. Don’t get burnout. Don’t be silent. Silence does not spread justice, compassion, truth, or love. It is action that changes hearts and minds.

Trust me, it’s possible to be a counter cultural Christian who maintains her compassion and still holds fast to her traditional convictions. Not only is it possible; it’s essential for every Christ-follower.”

Several readers suggested some music dealing with light:

“Open My Eyes, That I Might See”  Video

“Open the Eyes of My Heart, Lord”  Video  Vertical

“Send The Light”  Video  Old Time Gospel Hour Quartet

“Heavenly Sunlight”  Video  Homecoming Singers

“Sunshine In My Soul”  Video  Chuck Wagon Gang  This is one of the happiest sounding hymns in the whole hymnal. In part due to the fact that Eliza Hewitt wrote it after walking outside in the sunshine after six months of being bedridden in a heavy cast for her broken spine.

Eliza Hewitt, born in 1851, was a school teacher who grew up in Philadelphia and taught at the Northern Home for Friendless Children. At age 35, she was struck by an unruly student with a slate, severely injuring her back. The doctors put her in a heavy cast for six months.

Can there be a purpose in a crippling ailment? Eliza Hewitt may have wondered that.

We acknowledge Eliza Hewitt today because of the hymns the Lord gave her while she was bed-ridden. Among the best known are “When We All Get to Heaven,” “Sunshine in My Soul,” “Will there be any Stars in My Crown?” and “More About Jesus Would I Know.”

Later Eliza’s well-being improved, although she suffered re-occurrences for the rest of her life. Despite her health problems, she was deeply interested in Sunday school work, and at one time taught a Sunday School class of 200 students!


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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.

Train going through Root's Market in Lancaster County PA 8/25/15
Train coming through Root’s Market right after we stepped out of our car.
I’m naming this engine, “The Dark Stallion”

“Spiritual Troglomorphism” (Part 2)


ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed” (John 3:19, 20).

Yesterday’s message introduced the concept of spiritual troglomorphism. “Troglomorphism is the morphological adaptation of an organism to living in the constant darkness of caves, characterized by features such as loss of pigment, reduced eyesight or blindness, and frequently with attenuated bodies and/or appendages.”

When reading about this I thought of a spiritual application, especially how that reduced spiritual eyesight or blindness can be a consequence of living in spiritual darkness. I did a Bible word study examining verses that contained both “light” and “darkness” and shared part of that list in yesterday’s message. (The list is also posted below.)

Today we want to consider an easily observable truth regarding spiritual troglomorphism; the grave consequence of living in darkness to the point that one becomes spiritually blind. Spiritual blindness is a natural condition of the human race but it seems in our age this blindness is intensifying. In fact it seems to us the state religion now increasingly seeks to diminish the light of Biblical truth.

John 3:16 on Kember print

John 3:16 is certainly one of the best known verses in the entire Bible. Most of our readers can quote it from memory and more than a few can go on and quote verse 17 as well, “For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved.”

However the understandable grandeur of John 3:16 may tend to diminish the rich, instructive material that follows. Bible students differ as to whether John 3:16-21 are the words of Jesus following His discourse with Nicodemus or whether these are the interpretive words of John when he wrote his gospel late in the 1st century. Either way they are God’s inspired Word!

Regardless of whether these are the words of Jesus or a part of John’s inspired teaching we should seek to understand this portion in its context. Today’s text is a macro assessment of the human race.

“This is the verdict.” (NIV)  Other translations render it “this is the judgment” (NASV, ESV), “The [basis of the] judgment (indictment, the test by which men are judged, the ground for the sentence) lies in this” (Amplified), “This is why people are condemned” (GW) The sense is that what follows is the explanation for man’s condition.

“Light has come into the world.” The Greek has the definite article “the” before light and we believe this is very significant. In the Gospel and Epistles of John “the light” is Jesus Christ (see John 1:4-9; 8:12: 9:5; 12:46; 1 John 1:5). The Light coming into the world is at the very heart of the Gospel message.

“But men loved darkness instead of light.”  Again we have the definite article in the Greek prior to both light and darkness precisely reading, “But men loved the darkness instead of the light.” (See here for Greek interlinear scrolling down to v.19.) This is a matter of fact statement that explains much about human nature and the response to the Gospel. Many people would prefer to live in the darkness rather than the light. This preference, a result of the fall, leads to spiritual troglomorphism.

“Because their deeds were [are] evil.” For those of us living in the glorious light of Jesus Christ we marvel that anyone would choose darkness but many do. The awful consequence of spiritual troglomorphism is that the more one spends in darkness his eyesight for spiritual things is diminished and he increasingly becomes blinded.

The next verse continues, “Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed” (John 3:20).  And, of course, many are unwilling to do that so they continue to live in the darkness. In fact they become spiritual nyctophiliacs who love the darkness.

When we come into the light we must deal with our evil deeds, confess, and repent. As we do so we experience another word with morphis in it, metamorphisis in Romans 12:2, which is translated transformed!

Today, we encourage believers all over the world to join us as we live in the light of Christ and walk according to the light of His Word! May this statement be true of us today, that we love light rather than darkness! We come under the truth of Jesus Christ: “But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God” (John 3:21).

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, Your love comes like a light in the darkness, the bright star in the east that burst forth in the Bethlehem skies. The hosts of heaven made it a song of joy and celebration as Jesus was born into the world, the Saviour for all mankind. In the darkness of night the light of Christ appeared drawing people near and far to follow Him, then and now. And at the same time there are many who are drawn to darkness who are indifferent or intolerant of anything that pertains to Jesus and the salvation He provided. And, tragically, there are those who once walked in the light who have entered into the caverns of darkness and taken on the attitudes and actions consistent with those who walk in darkness. We don’t understand such thinking since we who once were blind can now see, but we know it to be true. Thank You for the freedom to choose, and Lord, we choose You now and for all eternity! Amen.


Here is the long selection of Scripture verses on this contrast between light and darkness we shared yesterday:

  • “You, Lord, are my lamp; the Lord turns my darkness into light” (2 Samuel 22:29).
  • “He reveals the deep things of darkness and brings utter darkness into the light” (Job 12:22).
  • “You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light” (Psalm 18:28)
  • “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter” (Isaiah 5:20).
  • “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned” (Isaiah 9:2). (This was quoted by Jesus when He began to preach Matthew 4:12-17).
  • “But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matthew 6:23)
  • “When Jesus spoke again to the people, He said, “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).
  • “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness” (John 12:46).
  • “I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me” (Acts 26:17,18).
  • “The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light” (Romans 13:12).
  • “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14).
  • “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light” (Ephesians 5:8).
  • ‘You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness” (1 Thessalonians 5:5).
  • “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9).
  • “Yet I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining” (1 John 2:8)

Jerry and Marcy Cain 8/25/15
Yesterday we stopped by Root’s Market, one of Lancaster County’s largest farmer’s markets. As we were walking through one of the long buildings a couple approached us and called out our name, “Webers”. Since we didn’t recognize them we quickly assumed that they were dailyencouragement readers and they are. Marcie and Jerry Cain live in Columbia just a few miles outside of Mount Joy where we reside. We had a nice time visiting and learning more about them. They graciously allowed us to include them in today’s photos.

Tobacco barn on Amish farm, Lancaster County PA 8/25/15
We sure don’t appreciate the detrimental impact of tobacco as typically used by humans but do enjoy the colorful site of tobacco growing in fields or hanging in barns. Notice the ventilation flaps on the sides and front of the barn.

Mums growing on Amish farm, Lancaster County PA 8/25/15
Just beyond the barn this Amish nursery is preparing for fall with the mums, asters and other vibrant fall plantings.

Looking down through rows of corn, Lancaster County PA 8/26/15
On our road today the harvesting of corn is taking place. As we drove along we saw a view of the corn rarely visible when you drive or walk past a corn field. With several rows of corn cut away you could look down long, long paths made by rows of overarching corn. It sure looked like a fun field for children to play “Hide and Go Seek” and other such games, although the harvesting of the corn would prevent such fun.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources


We couldn’t think of any songs that go with this message. Any suggestions?


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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.

Windmill in Lancaster County PA
Functioning windmill

“Spiritual Troglomorphism”
(Part 1)


ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19).

Nippenose Valley, PennsylvaniaTwo weeks ago, on our way home from our bike riding weekend in the Grand Canyon area of Pennsylvania, we drove through the remote Nippenose Valley. We had never driven through this area before but in searching for variety on our ride home I decided to drive through it on PA Route 44. This is a closed, bowl-shaped valley surrounded by mountains; up over one mountain to get in and then back over another mountain to get out. It is a rich farming area with a lot of Plain people who reside there. I sometimes explore glancing backward; that is, I study an area where I’ve been after, rather than before, the visit. This is often due to my explorer tendencies that takes me off the beaten path!

Troglomorphic SculpinSo I looked up the Nippenose Valley and among my findings was that in 2003 Luis Espinasa, an associate professor of biology at Marist College, discovered a new species of fish in a cave, a type of troglomorphic sculpin. Well, I don’t know about our readers but troglomorphic sculpin is not a name I normally use so I had to look it up. Sculpin is a type of fish, but it’s actually the word, troglomorphic, that prompts today’s spiritual lesson.

“Troglomorphism is the morphological adaptation of an organism to living in the constant darkness of caves, characterized by features such as loss of pigment, reduced eyesight or blindness, and frequently with attenuated bodies and/or appendages.”

Two lines in this description jumped out at me; “living in the constant darkness of caves” and “reduced eyesight or blindness”.

That got me thinking Biblically how there is a parallel in the spiritual realm. I realize I need at least one more day on this topic so today we will primarily share a long selection of Scripture verses on this contrast between light and darkness:

  • “You, Lord, are my lamp; the Lord turns my darkness into light” (2 Samuel 22:29).
  • “He reveals the deep things of darkness and brings utter darkness into the light” (Job 12:22).
  • “You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light” (Psalm 18:28)
  • “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter” (Isaiah 5:20).
  • “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned” (Isaiah 9:2). (This was quoted by Jesus when He began to preach Matthew 4:12-17).
  • “But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matthew 6:23)
  • “When Jesus spoke again to the people, He said, “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).
  • “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness” (John 12:46).
  • “I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me” (Acts 26:17,18).
  • “The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light” (Romans 13:12).
  • “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14).
  • “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light” (Ephesians 5:8).
  • ‘You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness” (1 Thessalonians 5:5).
  • “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9).
  • “Yet I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining” (1 John 2:8).

Tomorrow we want to study an easily observable truth regarding spiritual troglomorphism; the grave condition of living in darkness to the point that one becomes spiritually blind.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, we thank You that we no longer belong to the night or to the darkness. Instead You’ve turn our redeemed hearts toward that which is bright, full of life, truth, and power placing eternity’s values in view. There is much that allures us to that which that which would engulf us in darkness again since the enemy is cunning, deceptive and persuasive. Help us to be stronger and wiser so that we are not prey to the devil’s tactics, because we have put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Through Christ we overcome darkness through His marvelous light and it is in His name that we pray. Amen.


Nippenose Valley: The region includes anticlinal karst Nippenose Valley part of the northernmost fold sequence of the Ridge and Valley Physiographic Province. Nippenose Valley is uniquely bowl-shaped and consists of a doubly plunging anticline. According to a research paper from the University of Akron, the center has been eroded, exposing carbonate rocks in the valley. There is an average total of about 470 meters of Lower to Middle Ordovician limestone and dolomite underlying the valley. The Reedsville Shale is stratigraphically above them, and overlain by the ridge forming Bald Eagle Sandstone. The valley has been intensely karstified, as evidenced by the numerous sinkholes, springs, caves, and disappearing streams. Within a number of caves in this valley a new species of fish, a type of troglomorphic sculpin, was identified in 2003 by Luis Espinasa, an associate professor of biology at Marist College. (From Wikipedia)

See here for location on Google map

An article about the Nippenose Valley in Country Magazine.


John Glick's watermelon
Last night we joined John Glick and his family for dinner, much of it coming from their garden. John is an Amish friend who has been reading our messages for many years at his work computer, and we finally met him and his family face to face. He was pleased to show us his 80 pound watermelon. Crimson Sweet watermelon (pictured) is famous for its high sugar content and great flavor. I wonder how many could be fed with an 80# watermelon.

John Glick's watermelon patch
We walked out to his watermelon patch and saw he has some good eating for several weeks yet!


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Here I Am To Worship”  Video  Chris Tomlin “Light of the world You stepped down into darkness”

“Send The Light”  Video  Link Union  Bluegrass from the Silver Dollar City stage!

“Send the Light”  Video  A more traditional version from the Altar Of Praise Men’s Chorale


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.

“All Over The World”

August 24, 2015

Butterfly on flower (Photo by Ester Weber)
Ester took this untouched photo in our zinnia garden but doesn’t know how she got the black background effect!
(Click on photo for larger view)

“All Over The World”

Note: Today’s message is a bit longer than many with both a personal memory and missions story. The main point is that the Gospel of the kingdom continues to be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations. We must remember this. Early this morning I read an update from Mission Network News, “ISIS sets date for open warfare; pastors push on“. Pastors are asking, “How can we be light in such a dark place?”

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“And this Gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14). “All over the world this Gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God’s grace in all its truth” (Colossians 1:6).

I have been interested in aviation practically all my life. I grew up near an Air Force base south of Kansas City (Richards-Gebaur) and our school had many base kids. I have an odd interest of chronicling every airport I have flown in and out of which now totals 44. About twenty-five years ago I was a Civil Air Patrol Chaplain and recall some flying lessons as I sat in the back seat listening in when a junior pilot was being trained in instrument rating. I got an interesting spiritual lesson from that experience I share here.

P-51My most memorable flight took place in a P-51 Mustang, a WW2 era fighter plane. Bob Walker, my cousin’s husband, was an avid pilot and as a high schooler I was visiting my cousins in Tulsa (a year before I met Brooksyne) when he offered to take me for a ride in his P-51 (photo to right). I excitedly agreed. The P-51 was the last of the prop fighters prior to the jet age and is a very powerful plane.

Bob WalkerBob (photo to left) handed me a helmet and a barf bag, sternly informing me if I messed up I cleaned up. (I didn’t need the bag!) What an experience it was including sharp turns and a low roll over Tulsa. I peered down and spotted my family waving up to me, and most thrilling was a high speed pass over the airfield in which he piloted the plane at full throttle buzzing the airfield just over the runway before shooting practically straight up. I experienced the most G’s ever in my life to this day. Afterwards he told me he could have done more such as flying upside down but didn’t want to scare me.

For many years aviation has been a great aid to missions. Of course we are now able to get mission workers to the field much faster. Also consider how many have been on short-term mission trips, a concept virtually impossible when it took several weeks to travel to and from distant mission fields. But small planes are also used to reach the most remote parts of the world using jungle landing strips with organizations such as Mission Aviation Fellowship, JAARS and others. Each August we have a special weekend here in Lancaster County featuring mission aviation. Many years ago I attended this and had a ride in a plane that could take off and land on very short runways.

But today we want to share a story about a unique way an airplane was used in preaching the Gospel!

Myrna Wilkins has served as an overseas missionary for 50 years. I first met her when I went with a group of men to Colombia on a mission trip in the early 90’s. She met us at the Bogota airport and took us to the small town of Fusagasuga about 50 miles south of Bogota where we assisted a local congregation in erecting their church building and I had the opportunity to preach. At that time there was guerrilla activity in the area and it was a bit disconcerting to get off the plane and learn that we would take an alternate route since the bridge normally used for our destination had just been blown up!

Myrna tells a story that I believe will encourage readers today and remind us that indeed, in our own lifetime, the Gospel of the kingdom is being preached all over the world. Of course some of the most remarkable stories come from the mission field and this story tells the amazing way the Cuna tribe first heard the gospel message. These people live in the San Blas Islands (Google map location) off the coast of Panama in the Caribbean.

Morris, a young boy from the Cuna tribe, moved to Costa Rica and was evangelized as he lived along the Caribbean coast. As an adult he felt called to take the Gospel to his own tribe, the Cuna people, and he used a rather creative means.

Missionary airplaneHe met missionary pilot Mike Hines, who had a slow flying Helio Courrier airplane fitted with a 7,600 watt loud speaker system capable of being heard from the air as the plane circled above. The plane flew out over the islands and, as it did so, Morris preached the Gospel in his native tongue to the tribes people below. There was a cloud cover so the natives could not see the plane, but only heard his voice. Afterwards the clouds lifted and Morris directed the people below, “If you would like to believe in Jesus Christ wave a white cloth or flash a mirror to indicate your faith.” As the plane flew over, scores of the natives waved cloths in the air and flashed mirrors upwards! It would be some time later that Morris learned that the people of his native land had a long standing legend that one day they would hear a message and it would be delivered to them from a voice in the sky!

He later went to the islands and developed churches among the people. Myrna met him in 1980 at a Bible School in Colombia and she heard the story first hand from him.

Indeed this Gospel is being preached and has been since our Lord Jesus Christ gave the great commission just prior to His ascension to heaven. He said, “And this Gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14).

The apostle Paul wrote to the Colossians some 30 years later, “All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God’s grace in all its truth” (Colossians 1:6). Today may this Gospel also bear fruit and grow in each of our lives. May we also see it reproduced and growing in those to whom we minister and through missionaries all over the world!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, we are grateful for the various means and the variety of people to whom You choose to deliver the life-changing Gospel message that gives us a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. As we have been tremendously blessed in receiving this gift of eternal life, stir us to action in reaching others with the same message of salvation so that they are snatched from the fire, bearing fruit and growing as we journey together here below. Bless our missionaries who use unconventional means to present the Gospel and protect them from enemy warfare. We do pray for our many brothers and sisters who are jailed, persecuted, and separated from family because they stand for Christ. Keep us strong in our spiritual walk as we experience growing ridicule and the passage of laws that mock our faith and strip us of our Christian freedoms. In the name of Jesus we pray.  Amen.


Ladies breakfast for Fran 8/22/15
Saturday morning we hosted a ladies breakfast. We also honored and prayed for Fran Book, centered 3rd from the left front row. Recently diagnosed with cancer which has spread we wanted to bless and remind her of our love and prayer support. She had family from out of town surprise her and it was a precious morning showering love on her.

Ladies breakfast for Fran 8/22/15
Hymn Sing: The first song the ladies selected was, “The Longer I Serve Him the Sweeter He Grows.” You might notice a number of seniors among us and this song could not have been more appropriate:

“Since I started for the kingdom,
since my life He controls,
since I gave my heart to Jesus,
the longer I serve Him the sweeter He grows. Chorus:

The longer I serve Him, the sweeter He grows.
The more that I love Him more love He bestows.
Each day is like heaven, my heart overflows.
The longer I serve Him the sweeter He grows
(Bill Gaither). ”

Do you find that to be true as you look back over your life in Christ?
“The Longer I Serve Him”  Video  Doug Oldham

Amish family coming home from church 8/23/15
Yesterday afternoon we conducted the service at Longwood Manor and on the way home passed our Amish neighbors returning from their church service.

Butterfly on flower (Photo by Ester Weber)
Another butterfly photo by Ester.

Conewago Creek 8/23/15
Conewago Creek
Last night we rode our bikes along the Conewago recreational trail just before sunset. The scented fields were full of fresh mown hay that I wish I could bottle up like a fragrant candle and take it home with us. It was heavenly!


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Freely, Freely”  Video  Maranatha Country Praise“Go Ye Therefore” Video Shower Power, one of Zimbabwe’s most resilient, original and versatile male acappella vocal Gospel groups. We have been so blessed having a Zimbabwean family in our rural neighborhood since early this year and we especially appreciate their commitment to Christ.

“So Send I You”  Video

In one of the ironies of divine providence Mike Hines, the missionary pilot referred to in today’s message, died in a plane crash in Honduras about 12 years ago. See here. He was flying a Helio Courrier, the same type of plane I rode in here in Lancaster at a demo.  Here’s a video of STOL.

Photos of P-51 and Bob Walker courtesy of his son, Scott Walker


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.

“Spiritual Vitamins”

August 21, 2015

Waterfall with doxology 8/16/15
A waterfall at the Pine Creek Rail Trail

“Spiritual Vitamins”

“You can’t break God’s promises by leaning on them!”

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and Your dominion endures through all generations. The LORD is faithful to all His promises and loving toward all He has made” (Psalm 145:13). “See to it that you do not refuse Him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused Him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from Him who warns us from heaven? At that time His voice shook the earth, but now He has promised, ‘Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.’ The words ‘once more’ indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe” (Hebrews 12:25-28).

Yesterday I received a prayer request from Jim, a friend whose world is suddenly shaking. His daughter had a fall and injured her head. While in the hospital her liver shut-down and is not functioning. He and his wife were headed to a distant city to be with her, uncertain of all that is taking place right now. How quickly life can move from routine to crisis!

VitaminsI have another friend who has an interesting perspective in describing encouragement. After a brief visit he stated that our conversation had been like a daily vitamin!

Vitamins are often considered supplements. That is, they supplement our main diet. However, regardless of the quality of our supplements they do not replace a good overall diet. We would be foolish expecting a daily vitamin to sustain all our dietary needs. We would also be very hungry!

It’s that way for our spiritual being as well. We are blessed with many spiritual supplements such as devotionals, music, quality radio programs and material on the internet. We hope our daily encouragement messages are like vitamin supplements to encourage and instruct you each weekday, by providing some vitamins and supplements for your soul. Vitamins, although in some cases therapeutic in nature, are generally intended to be more preventive and have the effect of strengthening us even when we are in good health and doing well.

One of the greatest perspectives we can have is a daily recognition of God’s faithful and abundant blessings and the absolute veracity of God’s promises. In the physical realm these blessings vary greatly among us. Some have better health than others, others more of this world’s goods, and there are those who have greater or more frequent heartaches. We especially consider those who deal with chronic matters such as a reader we periodically hear from who has two special needs adult children she cares for and others who have chronic and critical illnesses.

We also consider this in regard to our religious freedoms. Some may practice their faith with almost complete freedom, unhindered by any government restrictions. But others pay a great cost in practicing their faith with persecution their lot in life.

Because we live in the physical realm we inevitably tend to place our focus on the physical. Nevertheless, how quickly these things can change! Any security we have in the physical world is very tenuous.

We all know that the “steady” job can quickly vanish. An unfaithful spouse, a tragic accident or medical diagnosis can alter our present and future plans instantly.

Then we consider world conditions! This much is sure, we really have no guarantees of security in regard to the physical realm.

But in the spiritual realm our security is absolute with no deficiency whatsoever. These blessings are safe and abundantly adequate regardless of where we live or how “blessed” we happen to be in the physical realm.  My Christian brother or sister reading this in Africa, India or anywhere else on this planet is equally blessed with me in the spiritual realm. Just consider the horrific physical conditions of Christians in Syria and Iraq.

What a tremendously assuring truth is expressed in our daily verse. These are 3,000 year old words written by King David: “Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and Your dominion endures through all generations. The LORD is faithful to all His promises and loving toward all He has made” (Psalm 145:13). The first part of the verse is classic Hebrew parallelism, a great reinforcement of the reality of God’s eternal Kingdom.

  •  Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
  •  Your dominion endures through all generations.

The second part has two complimentary truths.

  •  The LORD is faithful to all His promises.
  •  The Lord is loving toward all He has made.

These statements may not always appear to be true in regard to our own experiences. But they are absolutely true in the spiritual realm and equally so regardless of the extent of our physical and material blessing or lack thereof.

For those like our friend Jim who are presently encountering a shaking that reveals the insecurity of this present world, we pray that today’s daily encouragement vitamin has a therapeutic impact. For those living in relative peace and security may it have a preventive impact, for a drastic shaking may come at any time.

Let us consider the altogether abundant blessings and promises of God: “He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all–how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32).

Declare with us today, “We will stand on every promise of God’s Word!”

Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms;
Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and Your dominion endures through all generations right down to our own. You are faithful to all Your promises and loving toward all that You have made so we rely on Your faithfulness and love to guide us and hold us firm when the world around us is shaking. When fear and doubt preoccupy our thoughts turn our minds instead to Scripture that speaks of Your many promises reminding us that You will never fail us and You will never forsake us but You will graciously give us all things to build us up and grow us in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For spiritual nurturing we feed daily on Your Word. And for vitamins we enjoy many other godly sources that strengthen our Christian sojourn here below. In the name of Jesus we thank You for all that You provide. Amen.


Today we share our final set of photos from our trip last weekend to Pennsylvania’s Grand Canyon.

PA grand canyon rail trail 8/16/15
These steps went up from the Pine Creek trail to the rim on a path called the Turkey Path.

PA grand canyon rail trail 8/16/15
Turkey Path – At the top of these stairs heading up to Turkey Path was this gentle and approachable three-level waterfall. If you were hot and sweaty, as long as you exercised great caution walking on the wet rocks, you could actually shower under the falls.

Do you enjoy the sound of moving water in a waterfall? We sure do!  Brooksyne took this short video of a small waterfall along the Pine Creek trail. I need to learn how to place this on a continual loop to sleep by!


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Leaning On The Everlasting Arms”  Video  Gaither Vocal Band and Ernie Haase & Signature Sound

“Standing On The Promises”  Video  Chuck Wagon Gang (dedicated to my pastor since this is his favorite group)

“Promise Of The Ages”  Video  Stuart Townend

“Every Promise of Your Word”  Video  Keith and Kristyn Getty


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.

Coreopsis Verticillata
Coreopsis Verticillata AKA “Pot of Gold”

“Remembering His Wonders”


ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“Remember the wonders He has done” (Psalm 105:5).

My, how life flies by! It was 42 years ago this month that we both began college as Freshmen at Central Bible College in Springfield, Missouri. We didn’t meet till October when I took her on a date to church. At that time local churches sent school buses to the campus since many students didn’t have cars. We were sitting on the bus waiting to leave when a friend of Brooksyne’s tapped her on the shoulder and said, “Brooksyne, Buddy’s here!” Well, Buddy was her high school boyfriend whom she had broken up with before leaving for college. He and his mother had driven up from Tulsa hoping to reconcile their relationship. (His Mom realized what a catch Brooksyne was.) She felt obliged to get off the bus and so I went to church alone that night. It’s a wonder we ever got together again, since I was pretty miffed, but it seems the Lord had a plan and that January we began dating and the rest is history since Buddy’s history with Brooksyne was over!)

Bob Grant But today’s message is a testimony of Bob Grant, one of the first friends I met in college, who remains a friend to this day (photo to right taken several years ago). Bob did not come from a Christian home but came to know Christ while in high school through the “Jesus Movement.” He was encouraged to attend Bible College and chose one in Springfield Missouri, although he lived in Connecticut. He rode out with some friends who were attending another college in town and spent the first week at the YMCA since CBC did not open for another week.

Bob had a rough, discouraging start at school. When he was registering for his classes he realized he didn’t have enough money to purchase textbooks and he had no financial support from home. He went back to his dorm room despondent and just didn’t know what he was going to do.

He was sitting in his room when his roommate walked in with a bag of books and said, “Here are your books.” Bob thought the roommate was taunting him and said, “They’re not my books!” The roommate told him he found them in the hallway by the door and when Bob opened the bag he found all the books he would need for the new semester! He examined the bag and saw his name, Bob Grant, written on it in small letters.

To this day Bob does not know how the Lord had worked this out or what fellow believer had the leading of the Spirit to meet this need. He had told absolutely no one of his financial dilemma.

Our daily text is a simple call to “Remember the wonders He has done.”

These memories of wonders can be faith building to us and to our children. We need to recall them and pass them along. We need to remember the wonders God has done not only in Creation, in Biblical history and through the age of the church, but in our own lives as well such as bringing Brooksyne and me back together after an initial jilting; like providing books for Bob. What memories do you have of God’s wonders in your life?

We encourage you to chronicle these memories; the wonders that God has done for you personally. Write them down; pass them along to your children and grandchildren; share them with others. This will build your faith and theirs as you “remember the wonders He has done.”

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Heavenly Father, it is in my hour of need that I see Your powerful provision in my life. When I’m in need of comfort, You are my Comforter. When I’m in need of courage You go before me. When I’m in need of friendship You are the friend that sticks closer than a brother. When I’m in need of stability You are the Anchor for my soul. When I’m in need of finances You own the cattle on a thousand hills. When I’m in need of peace You are the peacemaker. When I’m in need of food You are the Bread of Life. When I’m thirsty You are the living water that leads to eternal life. You are my Shepherd and I shall never be in want of anything. Thank You for meeting every need I have. Amen.”


Today we feature flowers we saw in Pennsylvania’s Grand Canyon and region during our visit last weekend. As best as we can determine these were all wild flowers except the last several.

Coreopsis Verticillata
Coreopsis Verticillata AKA “Pot of Gold”

Wild snapdragon
Wild snapdragon

Butterfly on thistle
Butterfly on thistle

Joepye weed
Joe Pye weed

Queen Anne Lace
Queen Anne Lace

Flowers in Wellsboro PA 8/15/15
After our long ride through the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon we had dinner Saturday evening in Wellsboro, a charming little town with an old fashioned, historic vibe with a sense of how small town life used to be back in the 1900s. The neatest feature is the real gas street lamps that line Main Street. Our photos did not do these street lamps justice so here’s a nice photo taken in the Fall or here’s a collection.

Flowers in Wellsboro PA 8/15/15
Many of the shops and restaurants had window boxes.

Playing street piano in Wellsboro PA 8/15/15
Brooksyne playing the piano in front of our restaurant in Wellsboro. She always tries to get in a witness whenever she plays a street piano (we also have them here in Lancaster City) by playing sacred music she hopes will tug at a passersby’s heart strings, “feelings lie buried that grace can restore”. (From the song “Rescue The Perishing”  Video  Billy and Cindy Foote)

College friends 3/74

These photos were taken during the spring of our freshman year at CBC when my three best friends I hung out with and I chose to be just a little goofy. We shortened our ties and parted our hair down the middle. Brooksyne took the first photo where I am on the far left in the very loud plaid slacks (I wasn’t being goofy with those and considered them to be very cool at the time). Bob is leaning back on the tree.  I apparently took the photo on the right probably so I could get Brooksyne in it, whom I had just started dating in January!


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“The Wonder Of It All”  Video  Doug Oldham And Gaither Homecoming Singers

“The wonder of it all, is that God loves me.”

As we are getting to be more and more “old-timers” it’s a blessing to see many in this video who are now with the Lord such as Doug Oldham, George Beverly Shea, Ruth Graham, and many others.

“God Of Wonders”  Video  Chris Tomlin

“Bless His Holy Name”  Video  Andrae Crouch

Finally today:

Multi-generational worshipThe fellowship of ministers I am a part of is celebrating their 100th anniversary. I find this creative photoshopped image quite interesting. On the left is a modern worship band with all the bells and whistles. On the right in a large tent is a gathering from perhaps the forties. I don’t suppose these folks would have known what to think about the music and how it’s changed!
(Photo will show larger if clicked)

It would be interesting to see the photo reversed. On the platform you would view a song leader and perhaps a choir dressed as they would have been in that period. In the congregation show a modern view with many people holding up their phones taking pictures, selfies, texting, etc.!


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.

“God People”

August 19, 2015

Morris PA 8/16/15
A wispy cloud in the tiny mountain village of Morris, PA

“God People”


ListenListen to this message on your audio player.
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul” (1 Peter 2:9-11).

Fresh air child In our forty years of service for Christ I have been described in a lot of different ways such as “preacher man”. For a number of years we hosted children from New York City as part of the “Fresh Air Fund” program during the eighties. This gave inner city children a brief respite in a rural area. Since our church had a number of host families in our community that was quite white our fresh air children who were mostly black or Hispanic were quite identifiable. One year we hosted a little boy who had quite a spunky personality. Someone asked him who he was staying with and, not being familiar with the term Pastor, he pointed to me and informed them, “I’m stayin’ with ‘da boss of ‘da church”.

Chaplain visit But on a recent chaplain visit we were described in a different way. As business chaplains our practice is to walk through a company and briefly visit with each employee right at their workplace, expressing personal interest and ongoing care. Most are very receptive and over time we build many lasting friendships.  But there are a few that are not interested in talking with the chaplain lest a fellow employee think they are getting “religious”. We are not pushy and when it is evident they prefer to keep a distance we respect their space. After all, the chaplaincy service is an optional benefit to the employees.

Chaplain visitWe recently visited a company that hires a lot of temporary workers depending on the work load. Brooksyne introduced herself to a new female who shared that she was going through a very difficult time. When Brooksyne offered to pray she eagerly accepted and they shared a brief prayer right at her work site.

The employee expressed appreciation and then told her that when another temp co-worker saw us enter the building she said to her, “Here comes the ‘God people'”. She came up with a work chore that took her to a different part of the building to avoid seeing us when we walked through! It’s hard not to take that personally since we want acceptance from everyone and many express to us how much they look forward to our visits. After all, what’s not to like about us? ;) But in reality there are various reasons some people avoid those who represent Christ while there are others who look to us for encouragement, direction, comfort, prayer and friendship.

“God people” is an interesting description. She would have been more Biblically accurate stating “God’s people” which we unashamedly are! Today’s Scripture text identifies us as just that. “Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people”. Other versions use the phrase, “people of God”. As God’s people we seek to “declare the praises of Him who called us out of darkness into His wonderful light.” Although we are not pushy or preachy and seek to sow seeds in a winsome manner we nevertheless still face rejection by some for various reasons.

1 Peter 2:10What is it about our presence that make some less than receptive or perhaps in some cases offensive? Of course in most cases we don’t know. This is a question those of us in ministry wrestle with from time to time.  The prophets sure faced rejection as well as the Apostles. Of course so did Christ (Isaiah 53:3).

But here’s a fundamental consideration: Our very presence is a visible reminder of God and may be troubling to those living in rebellion against Him. We will explore this next week in a message based on John 3:19 in which we contend that many people are affected by spiritual troglomorphism.

Billy Graham playing golf I recall a story I read many years ago concerning Billy Graham in R.C. Sproul’s outstanding book, “The Holiness Of God”. Billy Graham was playing as an amateur in a Pro-Am tournament. It just so happened that one of the more notorious bad-boy golfers on tour was matched to play with Billy Graham. A friend of the golfer thought this humorous and kidded with the PGA golfer about it. After the round, the friend saw the PGA player on the practice tee hitting balls in a furious anger. So he rushed out and asked him, “What did Billy Graham say that made you so mad?” The golfer replied, “He didn’t say anything!”

The point of the story was that sometimes our very presence, as a committed believer, can be a source of conviction to those living in rebellion against God. It is one of the ways we are salt to the world.

How do people describe you? How do you handle rejection?

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, once we were not a people, but now we are Your people; once we had not received mercy, but now we have received Your mercy. Because we are recipients of Your mercy we want to show mercy, kindness, and love to others who sojourn with us from day to day. The passions of the flesh wage war against our soul, but the passionate fire of the Spirit burns deep within our soul and ignites a desire within us to share Your Word that calls people out of darkness and transfers them into Your wonderful, everlasting kingdom of light. As people of God help us not to falter but to be faithful messengers of the gospel wherever we go. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen..


I also found this golf story about Billy Graham.

Billy Graham and Bob Hope were friends, and both had a passion for golf.

T.W. Wilson, one of Billy Graham’s associates, remembered walking along with Billy and Bob on the golf course. Both men had hit bad drives, and their golf balls were over the edge of the woods. Bob hollered out to Billy, “Hey, Billy, help! I’m in trouble!”

T.W. tells what happened next: “I’m not exaggerating a bit. Billy, whose ball was over in the edge of the woods, hit the ball, and it wasn’t a good hit. And it hit the water, and bounced off, and went right on the green about four to five feet from the hole, and of course Billy won the hole.”

That night Bob Hope said to an audience, “I played golf with Billy Graham today and he really taught me a lesson. His golf ball walked on water.”


More photos of Pennsylvania’s Grand Canyon and Pine Creek Rail Trail.

A Plain family on the Pine Creek Rail Trail 8/16/15
We conversed with many plain people over the weekend and turns out they were all from Lancaster County. This couple gave us permission to take their photo as they walked the Pine Creek rail trail pulling their youngest children in the wagon. They also assisted their older daughter as she was just learning to ride her bike!

Split rail fence along Pine Creek rail trail 8/16/15
These volunteer weeds catch your eye as they are blown about by a gentle breeze along the split rail fence that parallels the Pine Creek rail trail!

Red Church in Blackwell, PA
A little red church in Blackwell, PA

Pine Creek in Pennsylvania 8/16/15
View of Pine Creek from Rail Trail
(Click here for brief video taken by Brooksyne. One way to relax is to close your eyes and listen to nature’s white noise of flowing water and chirping insects!)


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“His Marvelous Light” (1st Peter 2:9-10)   Video   Scripture Memory Songs

“We Are God’s People”  Video  Unidentified choir

We are God’s people, the chosen of the Lord,
Born of His Spirit, established by His Word;
Our cornerstone is Christ alone,
And strong in Him we stand:
O let us live transparently
And walk heart to heart and hand in hand.

We are God’s loved ones, the Bride of Christ our Lord,
For we have known it, the love of God outpoured;
Now let us learn how to return
The gift of love once given:
O let us share each joy and care,
And live with a zeal that pleases Heaven.

We are the Body of which the Lord is Head,
Called to obey Him, now risen from the dead;
He wills us be a family,
Diverse yet truly one:
O let us give our gifts to God,
And so shall his work on earth be done.

We are a temple, the Spirit’s dwelling place,
Formed in great weakness, a cup to hold God’s grace;
We die alone, for on its own
Each ember loses fire:
Yet joined in one the flame burns on
To give warmth and light, and to inspire.

“The People of God”  Video  Wayne Watson, a popular “contemporary” song when we were young! I looked him up and he is still faithfully serving Christ. He’s just one week older than me (Stephen), so he’s still a “young man”!

With our lips, let us sing one confession.
With our hearts, hold to one truth alone.
For He has erased our transgressions;
Named us and called us His own, His very own.

We’re the people of God, called by His name;
Called from the dark; and delivered from shame.
One holy race, saints everyone;
Because of the blood of Christ Jesus, the Son.

So Hear us, O spirits of darkness.
So you will know where we stand.
We are His servants purchased with scars;
Bought by the blood of the Lamb, the blood of the Lamb.

“Another Time, Another Place”  Video  Amber Nelon Thompson & Michael English (Another Wayne Watson song)

Finally today:

Billy Graham childhood home
Today we shared a story about Billy Graham in an illustration. Lee, a friend of ours, whom we saw at our early morning chaplain visit told us about his recent visit to the Billy Graham Center in Charlotte NC. He and family members were greatly inspired by the powerful ministry legacy of Billy Graham and his co-laborers. This is a photo of his childhood home. The glass cross in the barn certainly stands out and also doubles as the entrance.

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