“O The Blood”

July 28, 2015

Bridge of Flowers, Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts (Photo by Georgia)
A view of the Deerfield River from “The Bridge of Flowers” in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts. (Photo by my cousin Georgia who, along with her husband Doug, is traveling through New England following our family reunion last week.)

“O The Blood”


ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“To Him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by His blood” (Revelation 1:5).

O the blood, crimson love
Price of life’s demand
Shameful sin, placed on Him
The Hope of every man

Blood donation 7/25/15This last Saturday we walked through Mount Joy to view antique cars at a car show along Main Street. While we were in town Brooksyne and I both made a blood donation using the Bloodmobile. We have been blood donors since our college days (perhaps even in high school as I recall). In fact that is one of the things we did together as a young couple dating!

About fifteen years ago I gave a designated blood donation for Andrea Higgins who was a member of our church in New England. A paraplegic, as a result of an automobile accident when she was only a small child, Andrea’s had some special overcoming in life. Over the years she has required numerous surgeries including the two surgeries when I donated blood on her behalf at a Red Cross center in the Boston area. Normally, such as last Saturday, our blood donations are not designated and we have no idea whom we may be helping.  But there’s also something especially rewarding about donating to a specific individual whom we know.

Let us consider another designated blood donation. Jesus did not shed His blood on the cross because of any wrong He had done. When we donate we may face a tiny sacrifice involving a a relatively short amount of time, a small pinch of pain when the needle is inserted and a short period of weakness that follows. We walked out of the bloodmobile none the worse for our donation and continued walking down Main Street to view the cars and visit with friends. Our blood is now replenishing and in about 8 weeks we will be eligible to donate again. It’s not in any way comparable to our Lord’s sacrificial donation which resulted in His death on the Cross.

Savior Son, Holy One
Slain so I can live
See the Lamb, the great I Am
Who takes away my sin

Blood donation 7/25/15The divine Son of God made a special designated donation on our behalf, infinitely greater than anything you or I will ever make. Christ died with His. I made mine as one redeemed sinful human for another, to extend Andrea’s life several years. His was made as the divine, sinless God/man to give us eternal life. Mine will have a finite physical benefit for one person. His has infinite spiritual benefit for the entire human race.

The Precept online Bible commentary states, “A bloodless gospel is an ineffectual gospel. For it is by the spilling of blood that God has chosen to atone for sin (Leviticus 17:11; Hebrews 9:22). Why did God choose blood for this purpose? Ultimately, we may never know, for the “secret things belong to the LORD our God” (Deuteronomy 29:29). Scripture reveals that the use of blood for atonement is related to its life-giving qualities (Genesis 9:4).”

O what love, no greater love
Grace, how can it be
That in my sin, yes, even then
He shed His blood for me

The prophetic book of Revelation begins with a clear reminder of the Gospel. “To Him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by His blood” (Revelation 1:5). What a blessing to be loved and set free from our sins through the Blood of Christ!

O the blood of Jesus washes me
O the blood of Jesus shed for me
What a sacrifice that saved my life
Yes, the blood, it is my victory

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, it is only through the sacrificial blood of Your Son that my sins are forgiven. My guilty stains are plunged into the bottom of the ocean never to resurface again. All the adjectives in one’s vocabulary cannot adequately describe the depth of my gratitude for such a complete and selfless act of love. Your redeeming blood sacrifice frees us from the penalty of sin in this life and for all eternity. We thank You for Jesus who freely shed His blood on our behalf.  Amen.


Additional notes on Revelation 1:5 from the Precept Online commentary: The “life of the flesh is in the blood” (Leviticus 17:11). “Life” in this verse is Hebrew נֶפֶשׁ [nep̄eš], the same term which is translated “soul” where Scripture records the once-for-all atonement made by Isaiah’s Suffering Servant: “Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin” [emphasis added] (Isaiah 53:10). By His blood atonement, Jesus was prophesied to “sprinkle many nations” (Isaiah 52:15), thus fulfilling the many OT types pointing to Him.

It was by blood sacrifice that the first man and woman were covered in response to their sin (Genesis 3:21). It was by blood sacrifice that the first men were to approach God (Genesis 4:4). It was by a blood sacrifice that God established His covenant with Abraham (Genesis 15:9-21). It was by blood placed on the door posts and lintel that the Jews were “covered” from the destroyer Who passed over Egypt taking the firstborn of each family (Exodus 12:23). It was by the sprinkling of blood that the Mosaic Law was ratified between God and the Israelites (Exodus 24:8). Ever since the bloodless offering of Cain (Genesis 4:3-5), man has attempted to approach God by some other means than that which God Himself has established. These would try to circumvent the single path which God requires: “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’ ” (John 14:6)

This necessity of blood offering is offensive to man, and we believe intentionally so. For it is a messy business and continual reminder of man’s lack of righteousness (Romans 3:23) and his desperate need of the “righteousness of God,” a righteousness which is freely given rather than earned (Romans 3:21-26; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Philippians 3:9). Yet many prefer to continue in the way of religion rather than relationship, offering up their own puny works in a vain attempt to justify themselves before a perfect and Holy God (Romans 10:3). Religion preserves our pride, whereas relationship requires us to cast it aside.


Nikki Higgins in Boston Marathon 2012So often our messages prompt personal memories and I called this morning to see how Andrea is doing. She and her husband Steve are in Washington DC doing advocacy for the disabled.

I spoke to their daughter Nikki who reported that Andrea is doing well.

Nikki is a runner and here she is several years ago in the Boston Marathon. In speaking to Nikki she recognized my voice and I had the opportunity to encourage her in remaining true to the Lord using a phrase I often use, “Stay Faithful”. She and her twin sister Jackie were teenagers in the church when we lived up that way but I suppose they are now in their thirties.


Mount Joy Car Show

Mount Joy car show 7/25/15
Ester has enjoyed car shows ever since we lived in New England.

Mount Joy car show 7/25/15
A huge car show with cars and trucks lining Main Street on both sides for several long blocks. We enjoyed seeing these beautifully restored vehicles. I believe this truck is called “Creamsicle” and is proudly displaying “Trophy” under it’s windshield wiper.

Mount Joy car show 7/25/15

Mount Joy car show 7/25/15
I didn’t take a close-up photo but there was sure a lot more room under the hood with these older vehicles compared to today’s models.

Mount Joy car show 7/25/15


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“O The Blood”  Video  Gateway Worship (This is the song with lyrics quoted through our message today)j

“The Blood Will Never Lose its Power”  Video   Selah

The Bridge Of Flowers (seen in our lead photo) is one of the lesser known attractions in Massachusetts but we sure enjoyed our visits. Location of Google map.


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Send a message to Stephen & Brooksyne
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Surging brook in Bushkill Falls, PA 7/21/15
Descending rapids on the grounds of Bushkill Falls in the Poconos.

“The Thief In A Tree”


ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“And with Him they crucified two thieves; the one on his right hand, and the other on His left” (Mark 15:27).

Peter and Helen Silumula 7/26/15We heard an interesting testimony in our church yesterday. Pastor Peter Silumula and his wife Helen are visiting the US from India for a conference. He has a Hindu background but came to faith in Christ as a teenager in 1969. After earning two degrees in non-ministry related fields he decided to attend a Bible College to increase his knowledge of the Bible, although he had no intentions of entering the pastoral ministry. Toward the end of his course of studies he was required to preach if he wanted to graduate. He informed the headmaster that he was only there for the Bible knowledge and didn’t see why a preaching assignment was important, but the headmaster insisted the requirement was necessary.

So Peter went into a forest intending to technically fulfill the requirement to preach but certainly not expecting to have any listeners. As he stood under a tree he preached about the thieves on the crosses next to Jesus and even concluded his message with an altar call. As he was finishing his prayer he heard a voice from high up in the trees shout, “Don’t stop”. This of course startled Peter as he looked around wondering if it was a voice from God. A man climbed down from the tree and confessed that he was a thief and murderer. He had been listening to the entire sermon and God had convicted his heart. He told Peter he went into the village at night to do his business but climbed up and hid in the trees during the daytime! Peter prayed with him for salvation. Peter’s first convert!

Today let us consider the two thieves that hung beside Jesus when He offered His life as a sacrifice for the human race.

Even in death, He remembered
The thief hanging by His side
Then he spoke of love and compassion
And He took him to paradise

These two human beings had an absolutely unique vantage point distinct from anyone else who ever lived. One was on a cross at Christ’s right side and another on a cross at His left. They represent the human race and the two responses to God’s act of mercy in redemption. Both were deserving of their punishment.  Both had initially “heaped insults on Him” (Matthew 27:44). Both were dying in their sins. But sometime during that six-hour period of shared agony a wondrous spiritual awakening occurred in one of them.  Luke alone records the brief exchange of words:

“One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at Him: ‘Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!’  But the other criminal rebuked him. ‘Don’t you fear God,’ he said, ‘since you are under the same sentence?  We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.’ Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into Your kingdom'” (Luke 23:39-42).

I call to mind a verse in a great hymn that says, “I know not why God’s wondrous grace to me He hath made known; nor why, unworthy, Christ in love redeemed me for His own.” The redeemed thief could very well be singing this song in heaven, for he received an astonishing message of assurance from Christ. “Jesus answered him, ‘I tell you the truth, today you will be with Me in paradise'” (Luke 23:43).

Three men on three crosses;

  • one dying in his sin,
  • one dying with his sins forgiven,
  • and One dying for the sins of the whole human race.

As we understand sin and the fall of the human race, we know that, like the thieves, we are punished justly and are getting what our deeds deserve. But Jesus, who has done nothing wrong, has died in our place. “For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18).

Today our Lord continues to respond to the simple expression of faith, “Remember me”. He continues to provide the wonderful gift of His redeeming grace as we earnestly call on His name.  Let us all renew that call today and if you, as a reader, have never done so please call out to Jesus, “remember me”. *

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, we see ourselves in the criminals who died on the crosses next to Jesus. We recognize that we were born with a sin problem, some of which we’ve exercised at great length and the potential for further sin is daunting. But You provided a way of escape, a way to unfetter our attraction to sin and lured our hearts instead to that which is holy and righteous. The vilest offender who truly believes in Christ’s salvation is instantly pardoned and assured of eternity in heaven. Thank You for paying in full my debt of sin! How marvelous, how wonderful is my Savior’s love for me! Amen

* Here’s a common prayer that expresses faith in God’s plan of salvation.  It’s often called “The Sinner’s Prayer”. If you have not done so already we urge you to pray this prayer from your heart today. “Lord Jesus, I confess that I am a sinner. I believe that You came to this earth and died on the cross as a substitute for me. I place my faith in You and what You have done for me. I receive You into my life and choose this day to follow and serve You. Thank You for hearing my prayer.”


More photos of our visit to Bushkill Falls

Main Falls at Bushkill Falls, PA 7/21/15
The Main Falls plunge 100 feet.

Forest walkway in Bushkill Falls, PA 7/21/15
A photo of our long hike along the trails at Bushkill Falls. It was almost like a rain forest.

Bridal Veil Falls at Bushkill Falls, PA 7/21/15
Apart from the main falls there are eight other waterfalls that you see as you walk the grounds. This one is called Bridal Veil Falls.

Bridesmaid's Falls at Bushkill Falls, PA 7/21/15
Bride’s Maids Falls


Val-Co 2015 workday orientation meeting 7/23/15
Several of the companies we serve as chaplains have an annual community service day. The entire plant shuts down and the employees are given several community service options such as home repairs for the needy, repairs to a mission or foodbank or visits to a nursing home. They receive their normal pay for the day. Last week we joined Val-Co, one of the companies, for a kickoff meeting for an event to be held this September.


Mark and Carolyn Pulliam 7/24/15
Saturday afternoon our long-time friends, Mark and Carolyn Pulliam, stopped by for a visit and we persuaded them to join us for a salmon dinner. Michael, Stephen’s brother, is still with us from San Francisco as well.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“I Stand Amazed”  Video  Amber Thompson, TaRanda Greene and David Phelps

“I Stand Amazed”  Video  Chris Tomlin

“If That Isn’t Love”  Video  David Phelps

Bushkill Falls website

Peter Silumula ministry website


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.

Butterfly in Poconos 5/20/15
“Generations Come, Generations Go”
ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“One generation passes away, and another generation comes” (Ecclesiastes 1:4). “A time to be born and a time to die” (Ecclesiastes 3:2).

Today’s message will be illustrated a bit personally but it may connect with many as we seek to fulfill the Scriptural command to “consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds” (see Hebrews 10:24).

The final night of our family reunion we typically have a meal where the entire family gathers. We share memories, photos of the past, and reconnect with those who live a great distance. We had about 55 this year ranging in age from infancy to the eighties. Our connection is being the grandchildren of George Washington and Nellie May Steincross, who lived in the tiny village of Harwood, Missouri. They passed away in the early seventies but their children (my mother’s generation) were determined to stay connected and thus began the family reunion in 1975, which Brooksyne attended even before we were engaged. She was included in a nice write-up in the small town newspaper, (however the article referred to her as Brookine).

Now all in my mom’s generation have passed on and most of the grandchildren who played together as children on the family farm are now in the senior age bracket. Carrying on the tradition we meet each year usually in the Midwest.

Over the years our number dwindles a bit although we had 11 of the 16 first cousins in attendance early this week. One has passed away and now several are no longer able to make it.

A touching event happened four years ago when our oldest cousin celebrated her 80th birthday. Her children honored her and her oldest son gave a moving tribute. None of us considered that Jeannine, a vibrant, healthy senior, would pass away within months. Her children did well in honoring her when they did. That’s why honor should be constant since we never know what tomorrow holds.

We illustrate by sharing the following message from a longtime friend and reader of daily encouragement who knew of our family reunion. Shortly before we had our final gathering with family on Tuesday evening she emailed us this note:

“Love on your family this week so you leave with memories that are very sweet. I have to bury another brother on Thursday who drowned in the Delaware River on Saturday. He was 41 and leaves a wife and 4 children-ages 17, 16, 12, and 8…. So every visit with family is a precious time.” (Interesting the drowning took place at the point where Brooksyne and I began our kayak trip.)

We shared her words of wisdom at our gathering making our brief time all the more sweet and well worth the investment of our time and resources to make it happen.

Based upon the forty-year generation cycle there have been some 75 generations that have come and gone since King Solomon wrote the words of our daily texts. That is quite obvious and indisputable. In your youth you think you’ll never get old. When you’re middle-aged your foolish youthful theory has been disproved as the clock ticks away. And when you’re in your golden years you especially realize just how fleeting life is.

Reunions are a reminder of how temporary life really is, how fast it passes, and the need to focus on that which really matters. Brooksyne’s and my parents have both gone to be with the Lord so our generation is next. At the death of a parent(s) you stare your own physical mortality head on.

Today I encourage you to examine your roots and your destination. Generations come and generations go.  You have come and you are most certainly going. According to James 4:14 we are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. The vital question for each of us is, “Where am I going and have I properly prepared for my eternal future?”

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer:  God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Your mercy endures to all generations. Your truths are timeless and Your provisions are abundant to those who call upon your name. Help us to gratefully declare Your faithfulness to our generation so that generations to follow will also call on the name of the Lord and be saved just as we see in the Scriptures. Generation by generation we proclaim the salvation that comes through faith in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Amen.


Reunion photos

Family walk in Poconos 5/20/15
One of the activities for some of the “older folks” was a 4 mile hike on a beautiful hilly trail along the Delaware River.

Family walk in Poconos 5/20/15
Brooksyne had a participation award for all who finished the hike and we had some very happy campers! For the curious they’re holding up a Stonewave dish used in microwaves which we use all the time.

Ester and friend in Poconos 5/21/15
A number of the younger folks took a float trip on the Delware River. Ester and her friend Nick shared a double kayak. Brooksyne and I also took a kayak trip and the views were stunning, especially through the water gap. (However I didn’t take my camera on the water!)

Steincross family members at Bushkill Falls 5/21/15
A group went to visit Bushkill Falls which required a lot of walking. We saw many beautiful sights that day adding up to the grand total of 20,000 steps (over nine miles of walking). After Richard, Stephen’s cousin several years older than us, said he bikes 71 miles in one stretch we realized we have a long way to go to catch up with his physical fitness!

Steincross family members at Bushkill Falls 5/21/15
A group at the base of Bushkill Falls.

Steincross family members at Shawnee Inn, Poconos 5/21/15
Family members enjoyed fellowship on the veranda in front of the Shawnee Inn.

Steincross "in-laws" at Shawnee Inn, Poconos 5/22/15
Brooksyne with Georgia: cousins-in-law, kindred-in-spirit.

Steincross storyteller at Shawnee Inn, Poconos 5/22/15
We got to talking about baseball and my second cousin, Dub, got a little excited and broke into a dramatic presentation of “Casey at the Bat” baseball poem to the enthralled crowd, including a 20 year old baseball enthusiast who was a greeter at the inn. As Dub began to recite the suspenseful story he said to a family member, “Give me that umbrella” which was sitting on the table. The umbrella became a bat and Dub was off to Strike One. I wish we’d recorded it, as it was an exciting ball game we watched until Casey eventually strike out.

Photo of us at base of Bushkill Falls, Poconos, 5/21/15
Enjoying a moment at Bushkill Falls
(Click on photo for larger view)

Steincross farm
“The Steincross Farm”
(click on image to enlarge)
The old Steincross farmhouse was built in the 1800’s and my grandpa was born there in 1882. It was in the Steincross family for over 100 years. My aunt and uncle lived there all through my childhood and early adult years. Before my uncle passed away it received the designation, “Centennial Farm”. I have many childhood memories of this farm as well as my grandparent’s small, white frame house in town about a mile away.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

Here’s the newspaper article about our first reunion in 1975 referencing Miss Brookine! I sometime wonder after being announced in a big-time paper that she was a “soon to be” family member she felt obligated to marry me!

“What Children Believe”  Video  Gold City  A thought-provoking song.

“The Son Shines Down On Me”  Video  Canton Junction  Just a song reminding us of our blessings!

“Casey at the Bat”  Video  poem read by James Earl Jones


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.

Note: Due to a family reunion we hosted in the Poconos this week we did not post messages on Monday-Wednesday.

Horses at Haiti Benefit Auction 7/17/15 (Click to enlarge)
Amish and Mennonite horses waiting for owners at Haiti Benefit Auction
(Click on photo to enlarge)

“Will He Find Faith?”


ListenListen to this message on your audio player.”When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8).

Late yesterday afternoon we returned from our annual family reunion held this year in the Poconos about 125 miles northeast of us. This is Stephen’s mom’s side (her children along with her nieces and nephews and their families). The Steincross family is mainly a Midwest family but we were pleased that we had over 50 in attendance with family attending from coast to coast.

One cousin and his wife, who are now retired, are traveling up through New England (a great idea in our view since we lived there 7½ years in the nineties). There’s a lot to see and do in New England and one of our favorites is “Old Sturbridge Village”, a living history museum that depicts life in a rural New England village and the surrounding countryside in the 1830’s. The characters dress in the costume of the period and when you visit, it’s as though you are walking right into an authentic village of that time period. The cobbler is making shoes, men are working at the sawmill, farmers are in their fields, women are baking on the open fire, etc. They are very proficient in describing the manner of life at that time.

Especially interesting to us is the village church where the organist describes the typical service and plays several hymns. We actually attended this church for a service when we visited the Village on Thanksgiving one year and heard an excellent Bible-based and doctrinally sound sermon that was written over 150 years earlier.

Let us consider followers of Christ who lived in that period. We wonder what obstacles to faith they experienced? We can be certain that they faced obstacles, for that has always been the case in one way or another for every generation. But historical evidence indicates that they did not contend with the overall culture of unbelief in that time period that we do today!

The basic moral fabric was strong and in those days it was based on the Bible. The little schoolhouse used the Bible and books like the McGuffy readers to instill spiritual and ethical values in the children. The emphasis was on the objective teaching of the three R’s.  Hard work and family life were the overwhelming norm. We found it very interesting the way in which the destitute were cared for which reflected both compassion and an expectation of personal responsibility.

Evidence of decadence in culture is by no means new. I consider how my generation’s parents and grandparents viewed some of the cultural expressions of the “younger generation” and how their parents did before them. Many were appalled at Elvis Presley’s dance style which was considered vulgar. But can the incremental regression into increasingly depraved expressions of decadence in our age really be denied?

My concern, personally, for my family and for all whom I have the privilege of impacting for Christ is the tendency to become desensitized to this decline into decadence. We get so accustomed to hearing and seeing the decadence that it loses its shock value. If the Bible’s standards are not the daily filter of that which we accept or reject, we eventually become accepting of the world’s value system which might have shocked our natural and spiritual senses years earlier!

Today in our generation a remnant seeks to stay faithful to God.  In the daily text the Lord Jesus asks a probing question. “When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” The question presumes a period of time before the Son of Man comes. I suppose the initial hearers would not have imagined that period of time being nearly 2,000 years (up to the time we now live).

But the question clearly asserts that the “Son of Man” (a term used for Jesus in Luke’s gospel) will come. He asks the question: “Will He find faith on the earth?”  The Greek word can also be translated “faithfulness.”

By God’s grace, which is altogether sufficient for our needs, we want to be among those in this generation who keep the faith in spite of the obstacles of unbelief, decadence and materialism that seem to flood our lives. We will even dare to be labeled “old-fashioned” if, by aligning our convictions with the One called the “Ancient of Days”, makes us appear to others to be “behind the times.”  Will you join us in staying faithful?

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, we look into the book of Daniel and see that the Babylonian society in which he was held captive, from youth through old age, was godless and hostile to those seeking to live in obedience to You. Nevertheless Daniel prayed openly and faithfully to You, never forsaking the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He did not seek to fit into the mindset of his society but was intentional in standing apart from the babylonian gods as a follower of the one true God. Today we have many brothers and sisters who follow Christ; we have the Scripture that teaches us to say no to ungodliness and worldly passions; we have living examples throughout Scripture and history of those who courageously remained faithful to the end, and we have the infilling of the Holy Spirit which strengthens us daily in our Christian walk. When the Son of Man comes back to find faithfulness on the earth, may we be among that number. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.


Brooksyne’s Note:  We write about the increasing evidence of decadence in our culture today that cannot be denied. One need look no further than Facebook to see those whose interests, quotes, pictures, causes, “likes” and profanity stand in stark contrast to Biblical teaching. We have been especially distressed to observe how many in the younger generations have abandoned the faith and values they were taught and are now proclaiming evil as good and good as evil.

However there are also many who further the cause of Christ as they share Scripture, inspirational quotes, and causes that align with Biblical teaching. We can shine the light of Christ in whatever format the Lord provides for us, whether in the neighborhood, at home or work, and even in cyberspace.

Let us ask you this: When people see your Facebook page or any other expression of your views is there any question as to where you stand?


Tomorrow we will share some photos from our reunion but today we share several photos from our visit last Friday night to the Haiti Benefit Auction in Bird In Hand, PA.Haiti Benefit Auction 7/17/15
These little Mennonite boys were having a fun time hanging on the back of a wagon.

Haiti Benefit Auction 7/17/15
We watched part of the auction, always a very colorful event. Since 100% of the proceeds went to the Haiti Missions many of the items went very high. We also heard a gospel music concert with a male quintet.

Haiti Benefit Auction quilts 7/17/15
Colorful quilts are always a feature in these types of auctions and many of them net top dollar, from $600.00 to well over $1000.00.

Haiti Benefit Auction 7/17/15
We enjoyed a chicken BBQ meal with all the trimmings that was available for a donation of any amount. Most in attendance were in one of our “Plain” groups (Amish, Mennonite, etc.) If you look real close you may see Brooksyne in the photo walking along with my brother Mike. They don’t necessarily blend in with the crowd!

Mike, Greta and Dean 5/18/15
This last weekend we enjoyed our visit with Stephen’s oldest brother Mike (left), along with his daughter Greta and son in law Dean who also went to the reunion along with their children. (They are not midgets, we just have really tall corn this year!)


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Courageous”  Video  Casting CrownsOld Sturbridge Village website

Haiti Benefit Auction website

Finally today:

As we were leaving Sunday afternoon for our trip to the Poconos we passed this family who were on their way home from church on Donegal Springs Road as we turned off our road.

Amish family 7/19/15

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.

Note: Due to a family reunion we are hosting in the Poconos next week we will be unable to post messages Monday-Wednesday next week. We expect to resume on Thursday, July 23.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Mennonite boy on cart 7/10/15
Getting around in Lancaster County!

“Peace In Our Time?”


ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“Such things must happen, but the end is still to come” (Matthew 24:6). “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9).

This week there has been much news concerning the nuclear deal with Iran. There are some who actually believe it will usher in an era of “peace in our time”, for others, including me, not at all. Meanwhile here in the states we had an ISIS attack killing four marines and shooting a police officer at a naval reserve center yesterday. Our leadership is in a deep slumber or worse and so many, many are deeply deceived. We sure live in interesting times. It seems like mankind seeking for peace is futile.

In fact Biblically it is futile although as individuals we are called to seek peace. But world peace will only come at the time of our Lord’s reign. As His kingdom is rejected to a greater and greater extent we see in our own age turmoil will only increase. Jesus’ teaching, concerning this turmoil in the days leading to His return, stated, “Such things must happen” (Read Matthew 24).

However followers of Christ have a promise of God’s peace in Christ who said, “I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

Instant access to news reminds us of the turmoil so many face today in much of the world. It’s a blessing to awaken in peace in our little spot on this terrestrial ball. This is true for many readers as well, although we may easily take it for granted though it could end very quickly.

We like to awaken to music that gives us a Godward focus. Today our alarm awakened us to “Ten Thousand Reasons” by Matt Redman. It has these words,

“The sun comes up.
It’s a new day dawning.
It’s time to sing Your song again.”

“Bless the Lord oh my soul
Oh my soul
Worship His Holy name
Sing like never before
Oh my soul
I’ll worship Your Holy name.”

It’s great to get that kind of theological perspective sung to a catchy melody when you first awaken in the morning.

But we continue to observe the turmoil and chaos in so many parts of the world. Some entire regions are beset by violence. Here in America the majority of our inner cities are wracked in violence. And regardless of where we live somewhere in our vicinity people are experiencing domestic violence.

We wonder what all this means. When it will be resolved, and when will it end? When will there really be “peace in our time”? Certainly earnest believers should pray for and pursue peace and sympathize with those who are suffering.

Among the titles that the Messiah was prophetically given in Isaiah 9, Jesus is declared the “Prince of Peace.” I don’t believe we will have “peace in our time” on earth in the political sense until Christ returns. However as individual followers of Christ we can have “peace in our time”.

The peace that Jesus brings has several dimensions that are presently available:

  1. Peace with God (reconciliation) “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1). Bible commentator Harry Ironside summarizes the justified man or woman’s peace. “Peace, as used in Romans 5:1, is not a state of mind or heart. It is a prevailing condition between two who were once alienated. Sin had disturbed the perfect relations of Creator and creature. A breach occurred that man could not mend. But peace has been made by the blood of Christ’s cross. There is no longer a barrier. Peace with God is now the abiding state into which every believer enters. The sin question is settled.”
  2. Peace with each other (relational) “Live in harmony with one another” “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:16a,18).  I believe this speaks of the local sphere in our lives, relational peace within our family, friends and church.
  3. Peace within (spiritual/emotional) “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7). Peace in this context is a state without anxiety and worry about how and when our needs (physical or emotional) will be supplied. This peace is the result of going to Him and confidently committing everything into His trustworthy hands.

However there is no promise that in this present age there will be world peace in the geopolitical sense. In fact Jesus forthrightly declared in Matthew 24 that there will be wars and rumors of wars; nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. He said, “Such things must happen.” That may not be very encouraging, but the Bible does promise a future time of peace in this sense when the Lord returns.

In the meantime, as followers of Christ, we should seek to be peacemakers (Matthew 5:9) and as far as it depends on us we are to live at peace with all men (Romans 12:18). But as we live among these and future days of growing tribulation may our hearts be filled with peace. Jesus reassures us with these words, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (John 14:27).

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, knowing that Jesus is the Prince of Peace I pray for His peace to fall upon our land. We pray that many will turn to You today and accept that wonderful reconciliation You freely offer. That is the first step to all other types of peace. We pray for relational peace among our countries, families, and churches. We pray for inward, emotional peace, especially for our brothers and sisters affected by these wars. We pray for those suffering loss from yesterday’s brutal attack at two military recruitment centers. We look forward to that time spoken of when the whole world will be at rest and in peace. But until that hour we serve You faithfully today as we seek to be peacemakers for Your glorious kingdom. Amen.


We are pleased to be a part of Christ’s church and join many in seeking to bring peace and blessing as much as we are able. This afternoon we plan to attend a Haiti Benefit Auction here in Lancaster County. If you are local or otherwise and may be interested here’s a brochure (pdf). It includes an evening meal followed by a Gospel concert. Many of our Plain communities (Amish, Mennonite, etc.) support this auction and our Amish friends invited us. In fact Anna Ruth is making 50 Whoopie pies and assisted other ladies in her church in sewing a quilt for the auction!


Family Visit

Family visit 7/17/15
Yesterday afternoon my oldest brother Mike, who lives in California came in for a visit along with his daughter Greta, son in law Dean and their children, Scott, Zachary and Carolyn who live in Saint Louis, Missouri. I snapped this photo this morning before they headed to Hershey Park. We will be visiting through the weekend after which we will all be traveling up to the Poconos on Sunday for a reunion with relatives from my mom’s side of the family. The three Weber brothers are hosting the reunion this year so we expect to be busy giving our extended family a memorable time! Due to this we do not expect we will be able to post messages on Monday-Wednesday. We do hope to resume on Thursday, July 23.

Some more local scenes

Old-order Mennonite on bike 7/16/15
The Mennonite man was pulling a cart with ears of sweet corn to a produce stand.
It must have been a heavy load as he was exerting quite an effort!

Costco Amish parking shed 7/16/15
It was a busy day yesterday at our local Costco which courteously provides a shed for the Amish customers to park their horse and buggies. I wonder if there’s another Costco store anywhere with this accommodation!

And some fun with our very active border collie Mollie

Mollie "climbing" tree 7/16/15
Mollie “climbing” a tree to get her frisbee. She is jumping about 6 foot 6 inches!
Watch the video (25 seconds) Ester recorded yesterday. This new ability Mollie has acquired for climbing should eliminate the need for trimming her nails!


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Ten Thousand Reasons”  Video  Matt Redman

“Fill This Place”  Video  Red Rocks Church


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.

“Remarkable Things”

July 16, 2015

Petunias around tree stump 7/12/15
An old tree stump adorned with colorful petunias

“Remarkable Things”


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“Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus (to be healed). When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus” (Luke 5:18,19).

In the course of our chaplaincy work we regularly visit with men in the roofing department at Smucker Home Improvement. Now roofing is hard work and when it’s hot it can be brutal. But we all know (or should know) the blessing of a solid roof and the consequences of a leaking roof. However it’s probably something we take for granted unless there’s a problem.

Many years ago Brooksyne was teaching a Vacation Bible School class about the paralyzed man in our daily text. She’s an imaginative teacher and thought it would be neat to illustrate the story by removing a piece of the suspended ceiling tile to give the kids a visualization of how they might have lowered the man into the crowded room.

Brooksyne with concrete chunkShe climbed up on a chair to remove the ceiling tile and as she was shifting the tile when all of a sudden, kerplunk! A big chunk of concrete dropped from the ceiling and bonked her right on the upper forehead! Thankfully she was not hurt, although she did let out a loud scream. After seeing the size of the rock and its weight I was quite surprised and thankful that she wasn’t hurt. (Note to builders and trustees: Do not leave concrete chunks above suspended ceilings). I suppose her experience might have been more memorable than the Bible story she was telling, due to the surprise personal illustration.

Men on roof

Today’s Bible story always brings a smile as I consider the circumstances, the setting, and the people involved. When I preach or write from this passage I normally focus on the men above who lowered the mat through the roof (See this message). Mark informs us that there were four of them 2:3. They are the kind of friends who “have your back”.

I see four descriptive character traits in them; faithful, loyal, resourceful and persistent. These are four character qualities we all need!

Man lowered through roofBut in light of Brooksyne’s experience I also consider the event from below the roof in the room where Jesus and the people had gathered. The room was likely crowded and hot. Surely the operation was not neat. I assume that it was a thatch type roof. Regardless some debris surely fell on the people as the men used primitive tools to cut the opening.

The noise from above would have distracted more than a few. I wonder if any heavy fragments or dropped tools might have hit someone on the head or if small pieces fell in their eyes as they observed the unusual distraction from above. I wonder how those who arrived early and waited their turn to be near Jesus felt about the major distraction?  After working so hard to get into the crowded room were the early birds annoyed that they were now forced to make room for the “late ones?” I have also pondered the reaction of the homeowner. I sure wouldn’t appreciate someone cutting a hole in my roof!

I wonder if Jesus smiled at this scene. (I think He did, perhaps He even laughed!)

But the focus of the story is not about the roof, rather the forgiveness and divine healing Jesus extended to the lame man and the praise He received. The story ends with this statement, “Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, ‘We have seen remarkable things today’.”  May the Lord open our eyes today to see remarkable things. Surely He wants to use us like He used the four friends of the paralytic to bring about remarkable things! Are you willing?

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, when we consider the zeal and creative way the paralyzed man’s friends brought him to Jesus we’re challenged to do likewise. This man was helpless and unable to reach the Healer on his own, but Jesus healed and saved him through the effort and faith of his friends. They cared compassionately and the barriers did not stop them from bringing him to his only Hope. Help us to be persistent in reaching out to those whose only hope for salvation is by bringing them to Christ. Amen.


Farewell Naomi

Naomi Wolgemuth (12/29/10)
When we served in an interim pastorate in a small country church in Mastersonville, PA several years ago we became acquainted with a dear woman of God and featured her on our site several times. Naomi was a school teacher very much loved by her students and she was a devoted worker in the church. For the last ten years or so she has resided at the Messiah Village nursing home so we visited her there and she always brought out her photo album which included pictures of flowers she and her mother planted on the front bank of their lawn on Colebrook Road. Every year for over 50 years they selected a different spiritual theme and arranged the flowers to spell the message such as “HALLELUJAH!” As I recall they planted white allysum and marigolds. Many times I sat at the piano and played hymns while she accompanied me with her harmonica, seeming never to weary. A remarkable woman of God who was ushered into His heavenly kingdom yesterday at 91 years of age!


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus”  Video  Casting Crowns

“Say A Prayer”  Video  The Crabb Family


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.

Flowers on barn side 7/12/15
Flowers growing along side of barn.

“The Value Of Spiritual Fitness”


ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“Train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come” (I Timothy 4:7b,8). “Build yourselves up in your most holy faith” (Jude 20).

Take time to be holy,
the world rushes on

Personal trainer Our neighbor is a personal trainer. Essentially personal trainers develop unique physical exercise programs for individuals to help them get in good physical shape and maintain it.

I realize the importance of keeping myself physically fit and admit that I am not in the shape I would desire. This summer we have been doing a lot of biking in an attempt to improve our physical health. The accumulative effects of sports injuries over the years are taking their toll, as well as my ongoing struggle with too much weight and the discipline of getting regular exercise. Sound familiar?

Stephen running track relay in high schoolWhen I was younger I focused a lot on physical fitness and was involved in a variety of athletic pursuits including track and cross country. The photo to the left was taken about 45 years ago when I suppose I was in optimum physical shape, running for a relay team at Truman High School in Independence, Missouri. I am preparing to receive the baton and run my leg of the relay.

Likewise there is a time we as spiritual leaders accept the baton in our younger years of ministry. As we age we in turn pass the baton on to those who follow us in contending for the faith.

Emphasis on exercise is not a new phenomenon. After all “Ancient Greek and Roman culture put a high value on physical exercise. Paul tells Timothy that the same work and commitment that others put toward physical exercise should be put toward the pursuit of godliness.” (David Guzik)

Today let us consider spiritual fitness, which is comparatively of much greater value than physical fitness. There’s a tendency, due to an emphasis on truths regarding our positional relationship with Christ, that we might assume our role in this spiritual fitness is merely passive. We’ve heard the phrase, “let go and let God”, and may assume any effort on our part is carnal. However, let us carefully examine the  two daily Scriptures. Both speak of an active responsibility on the believer’s part in developing and maintaining spiritual fitness.

1 Timothy 4:8In the first text the apostle Paul addressed Timothy (and every believing reader through the Holy Scriptures, including you and me); “Train yourself to be godly.”  The verb is active.  The NASV translates this phrase, “discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness”. The word for train and discipline is “gumnazo” from which we get the English words, “gym” and “gymnastics”.  The word is surely used in an athletic sense but, for the believer, the training’s purpose is spiritual godliness, which has comparatively much greater value both in this life and the life to come. After all, one can be in optimum physical condition here yet have no preparations at all for their life hereafter.

“For physical training is of some value.” Pastor Steven Cole comments, “Paul is not despising bodily exercise. Rather, he is making a comparison between bodily exercise and spiritual exercise. It’s fine to discipline your physical body; it will help you for a few years. But it’s far better to discipline yourself spiritually, because it will put you in good stead not only in this life, but also in the life to come. We ought to work much harder at godliness than we do at our games.”

You, as a loyal reader of this dailyencouragement ministry, are exercising spiritual discipline as you read our daily Bible text and the lesson that follows. As you pray and perhaps avail yourself to included Christian music or further teaching links, and most especially as you apply Biblical truths we present you are daily engaging in spiritual training.

Jude 20In the second text the apostle Jude, in his small one-chapter epistle, charges his readers to, “Build yourselves up in your most holy faith”.

What kind of spiritual shape are you in today? Although always important, given the increasingly evil days in which we live, we need to make a concerted effort to be spiritually fit. After all, we do want to finish the race well, don’t we!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, we build ourselves up in the most holy faith as we pray in the power of Your Holy Spirit. Spiritual training for the believer is not just for starters but it’s for all who come under the banner of salvation, from the child mature enough to recognize his need for a Savior to the most senior saint among us. As we submit ourselves to Your authority, Your leading, and Your commands we are training ourselves to be spiritually fit for the heavenly kingdom. Help us not to grow lazy or indifferent toward spiritual truths, instead shape us into the kind of believer that brings glory to Your name while it also builds us up in our most holy faith. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.


Yesterday we shared a message about “Friends On Earth And Friends Above”. Jim, a friend from Texas, sent this poem, which sadly reflects reality too often:

To dwell above with saints we love,
That will be grace and glory.
To live below with saints we know;
Now, that’s another story!

Colorful scenes in Lancaster County

Zinnia harvest 7/14/15
Yesterday on a bike ride down our road we watched the migrant workers harvesting Zinnias from the commercial flower farm down the road from us. We would have chatted but they didn’t speak English yet were pleased to have their photo taken.

Amish planting contraption 7/14/15
Anyone know what this Amish planting contraption is? We saw it yesterday in a field just beyond the commercial flower farm.

Cantaloupes for sale 7/10/15
Harvest season is well under way although the sign says “August is PA Produce Month”.
These cantaloupes sell for 50 cents each so you can probably guess what we’re having a lot of!

Outhouse and washtubs on Amish farm 7/12/15
A deactivated outhouse and washtubs, presumably also deactivated.

Old-order Mennonite farm 7/10/15
A tidy old-order Mennonite farm

Old-order Mennonite cart 7/10/15
We encounter such a wide variety of conveyance.
The fenders set this buggy apart!


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Take Time To Be Holy”  Video  Dallas Christian Adult Concert Choir

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

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

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