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Sunset 7/27/16
Sunset 7/27/16

“Presenting A Heart Of Wisdom”

Personal note: Today I am feeling a bit better regarding my very sore back. When I stand up I still start out hunched over till I loosen up and tend to weary very easily, probably because when I walk I stress a muscle to compensate for the pain. But progress is being made for which I am very thankful. Thankful also for the compassionate prayers being lifted on my behalf.

Message Summary: Let us also incline our prayerful heart toward God and the Holy Scriptures so that He will guide us in the experiences of life with needed understanding that only He can provide. Let us do this today and everyday and truly present to God a heart of wisdom!

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“So teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12). “Make your ear attentive to wisdom, incline your heart to understanding” (Proverbs 2:2). Acquire wisdom; and with all your acquiring, get understanding” (Proverbs 4:7).

We often write about the brilliant sunset view we enjoy from our front yard. Last night’s was certainly no exception. Due to a farm field our sunset views vary tremendously through the seasons. Our present view at sunset is a dense field of corn standing ten feet high with a couple of stone barns and tall silos in the background. The huge ball of orange fire glows high above the corn field. The sun’s rays light the tassels that top the corn stalks making them look like glistening icicles in the distance. A photograph really doesn’t catch the full splendor. Some sunsets look like an artist decided to pour out all his canvas paints in the sky resulting in dazzling colors that merge together bringing about a brilliant skyscape. It’s not uncommon to see people walking or driving by our house suddenly stop and point their cameras to the sky.

Psalm 90:12 Each sunset is a reminder that God is drawing yet another day to a close. I often get up in the morning as the sun is rising in the east, although we don’t have a good view of sunrise from our home. Sunrise and Sunset are like a pair of daily “bookends”, reminding us that the passing of our lives happens one day at a time.

We associate most of the Psalms with David but Moses wrote Psalm 90 and makes the petition found in our first daily text. “So teach us to number our days.” Indeed our days are numbered. Today (July 28, 2016) my numbered days since my birth are 22,569. (That’s 1,949,961,600 seconds, which happens to be about .1% of our national debt here in the US, just in case you needed a reminder.)*

TombstoneWe don’t normally reckon the passing of life in days or let alone seconds or we would really say “life is flying by”. We normally measure in years or trips we’ve made around the sun. But the Psalmist petitions “teach us to number our days”.

Old tombstones often specified days such as the one to the right of John Strickler, a man who died in 1837. We have many such tombstones in the cemetery on our street. Written on Strickler’s tombstone is this poetic truth, “Stop my friends and take a view, Of the cold grave allotted you, Remember well that you must die, And turn to dust as well as I.”

All of us have an allotted number of days. These days are in God’s hands. Certainly we have a responsibility in practicing safety and maintaining our health and can be very thankful for the role of modern medicine in prolonging life. But one day these allotted days will end for all of us.

According to this Scripture we are to number our days “that we may present to You (God) a heart of wisdom”. We usually consider wisdom a faculty of the mind but today’s text uses the term “heart of wisdom.” This wisdom is not one’s innate intellect or degree of education.

A dictionary definition of wisdom is “the knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action.” As I ponder this subject I personally describe wisdom as the ability to see the sequential consequences of actions and this is largely a benefit of the life experience that comes as we age. That’s why Scripture calls us to esteem the elderly, something there seems to be less of in our time, at least in our culture.

Proverbs 4:7Another helpful understanding of the word wise is “seeing and responding to life’s situations from God’s frame of reference.” That’s why we should seek the counsel of those who are older and/or more spiritually mature than ourselves in areas where we might need wisdom and guidance.

The “heart of wisdom” is living each day with the implementation of God’s eternal principles as we accumulate and process information. Let us also incline our prayerful heart toward God and the Holy Scriptures so that He will guide us in the experiences of life with needed understanding that only He can provide. Let us do this today and everyday and truly present back to God the heart of wisdom He has crafted in us!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, we earnestly seek You for wisdom regarding the daily circumstances of our lives. Help us to incline our hearts toward You for understanding all that You have to teach us. During the quiet sessions when Your voice seems silent help us to trust You knowing that You work all things out for our good and for Your glory. When we are called upon to help another in need of guidance may we draw from the ancient words long preserved for our walk on this earth; the words from Scripture that guide us not only for our earthly pilgrimage but truths  essential in guiding us toward our eternal abode in heaven.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“10,000 Reasons”  Video  Matt Redman

The sun comes up it’s a new day dawning
It’s time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes

“Perfect Wisdom of Our God”  Video  Keith and Kristyn Getty

“Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise”  Video  The Smucker Family

* Actually I really didn’t do the math for the days and seconds using a pencil and paper or even calculator. Here’s an online widget. However I had to use old-fashioned math to determine the part about the national debt.

Tommy Carpenter is a friend from Arkansas who sent me an interesting note:

“I picked up on your back problems a few weeks ago while you were at the Chaplains Conference. Even Ester requested prayer for you on Facebook. I placed you on THE HEALING LIST! THE HEALING LIST reaches beyond being just a prayer list, but a contact of Faith believing that God will perform a miracle of healing!!  My church member who triggered our Secretary to ask if he wanted to be on a HEALING LIST only wanted to feel better, but he was attempting to get on disability without much success. I know that you would rather be on THE HEALING LIST and I am expecting your recovery to be ministered by the HOLY SPIRIT!!”

“The HEALING LIST has over 300 names of those who are in need of healing, some are critically in need of a miracle, others are in process of recovery, then there are those who are in need of relief that only Jesus can give in His presence. Each day, in my devotions I pray for these precious people.”


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

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

Sunset at Kittyhawk (Photo by Doug Maxwell) Click to enlarge
Sunset at Kittyhawk, North Carolina
(Photo by our friend Doug Maxwell)
Click on photo for larger view

“What’s In Your Hand?”

Personal note: Today Brooksyne is again making chaplain visit’s solo as my back still hurts, although I feel I am on the mend. It’s especially tough when I first get up after laying or sitting awhile. I express appreciation to all who called, emailed and even visited during this time and for those who lifted me up in prayer. Today I considered a long-time friend named Chuck who apparently has a similar condition and one thing pain does is making you empathetic. As I hobbled about I prayed for him and others. Another thing pain does (and I am sure there are many “benefits”) is that it sure makes feeling well a blessing that we often take for granted.

Message Summary: What’s in your hand this morning? Of course I’m not speaking literally but spiritually. God still has a plan and He’s still using ordinary people and ordinary things to do the extraordinary. I enjoy witnessing ordinary people using their “hands” for God’s work.  People just like you and me.

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“Then the LORD said to him, ‘What is that in your hand?'” (Exodus 4:2). “Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need” (Ephesians 4:28).

Take my hands and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love.
Coffee in handWhat do you have in your hand? Of course many have their cell phone (likely the smart kind) in their hands at practically all times. We know many read our messages on mobile devices. Some reading this, if you are an old-fashioned computer user like me, will look down and realize you have a mouse (a computer mouse that is). Maybe you have a cup of coffee.

“What is that in your hand?” The Lord asked this question to Moses during his encounter at the burning bush. Moses had been called to deliver God’s people from bondage. Rather than jumping at the opportunity he’s reluctant and unsure of himself and he begins to make excuses.  “They won’t listen”, “I can’t talk good”, etc.  Sound like us?

But God had a plan and that plan was going to be fulfilled. Of course the all-knowing God knew the answer to His own question about what was in Moses’ hand, but He had an object lesson for Moses. He still teaches us through of object lessons.

Moses staffMoses answered, “a staff.” God wanted to teach Moses that He could use the ordinary to accomplish the extraordinary. Moses threw the staff to the ground and it became a snake and then back to a staff. Wow! Then God used a demonstration with Moses’ hand (see Exodus 4:6,7). Surely Moses would be ready to obey now. But a few verses later Moses said, “O Lord, please send someone else to do it” (4:13). Well, as you know, Moses finally obeyed and 3,500 years later is one of the greatest figures in history.

As I studied for this message another verse came to mind, actually just a phrase from our second text, “doing something useful with their own hands.” God enables us to take what’s in our hands to do something useful and beneficial and that varies widely. We often use the phrase “work with the hands” to describe manual labor but actually virtually all of us use our hands in our work unless prohibited by a disability. (What a blessing that there are accessibility aids for those who cannot use their hands).

What’s in your hand this morning? Of course I’m not speaking literally but spiritually. God still has a plan and He’s still using ordinary people and ordinary things to do the extraordinary. I enjoy witnessing ordinary people using their “hands” for God’s work.  People just like you and me.

“Just ordinary people, God uses ordinary people.
He chooses people just like me and you,
Who are willing to do as He commands.
God uses people that will give Him all.
No matter how small your all may seem to you.
Because little becomes much,
As you place it in the Master’s hand.” *

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, thank You for the physical instruments You supply when You created us. We have mouths to speak, ears to hear, eyes to see, feet to walk, and hands to work. We dedicate our lives to You and to Your service, whether it is related to evangelism and the church or whether it is the work we do in places of employment or in our community. May the work of our hands be sweet in Your sight, worthy of honor, and a blessing to others so that we all pitch in to make this world a better place to live, until we reach our eternal abode where sin will not be present nor will there be any more sorrow or sadness. And it’s all because of Jesus in whose name we pray. Amen.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Take My Life”  Video   Kari Jobe  “Take my hands and let them move, At the impulse of Thy love.”

“Ordinary People”  Video  Danniebelle Hall


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

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

Amish team on Strasburg PikeAmish team on Strasburg Pike
You need to pay attention in Lancaster County for this type of road traffic.

“The Danger Of Distractions”

Personal Note:  Stephen continues to improve a little each day. He walks with a cane for short distances and desires to stand straight or lay down fully outstretched but that will soon come. His pain level is easing somewhat. Thank you for the many prayers and the suggestions made by those who are chronic back sufferers. We’ve learned through this nearly two week ordeal that there are many who suffer most of their adult lives and others who suffer intermittently. Going through such discomfort and pain makes heaven all the more exciting.

Message Summary: Today, in the midst of many distractions let us heed the clear warning of Scripture and let us “pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away”  (Hebrews 2:1).

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away” (Hebrews 2:1).

Pokemon signIt seems I am always late on fads. No doubt I don’t seek to keep up with the latest like many. Driving along a multi-lane highway in Phoenix two weeks ago I saw these large signs above the highway stating, “Pokemon Go Is A No-Go When Driving”. What in the world does that mean, I wondered. I sat down to eat at a restaurant and asked my server, thinking it was probably something unique to that area. She explained it was a new game people played on their phones.

In retrospect I realize I must have seen it played several days earlier in Flagstaff when a group of young people were looking at their phones and excitedly talking about finding something. Actually it was only released July 6 so I am really not that far behind on this new “rage”. The concern prompting the Arizona highway sign is distractions. As many of you know distracted driving is a major danger these days due to texting, fiddling with electronics, adjusting dials or just reaching for a cup of coffee.

Karen Swallow Prior has written an article titled, “Are We Distracting Ourselves to Death?” I quote, “Not long ago, my community lost a beloved young member because of his repeated trespassing onto a dangerous train trestle to take selfies. He posted them with the hashtag #liveauthentic. His last time there, he died while trying to outrun the train. (People take such extraordinary measures to get selfies that so-called “selfie-related deaths” are a global phenomenon. Wikipedia now keeps a tally.)”

I recall while visiting the Grand Canyon all the people taking selfies even if someone was with them that could take their photo. That’s one place you sure want to pay attention! In fact there have been several deaths lately due to people falling but I don’t recall the specific details about their falls.

Paying attention is a practiced discipline of the mind. There are so many distractions in life and they seem to increase practically daily. In our electronic age there’s more than ever. Electronic gadgets continue to appear that should make us more efficient with our time, but in reality they tend to clutter our schedules and distract us even more than the pre-computer age.

View from the pulpit

I came across this illustrative photo several years ago in a minister’s magazine. Thankfully in my preaching I have never encountered inattentiveness as extreme as this, at least that which is visible to the eye, but it does illustrate the many distractive elements in modern life.

The Holy Spirit-inspired writer of Hebrews addresses distractions and states concerning our attention to spiritual things, “We must pay much closer attention.”

The focus of our attention is to be on “what we have heard.”  Of course in context this refers to spiritual truths. The Amplified Bible states, “the truths that we have heard.”  Prior to the printing press and certainly at the time of the New Testament having one’s own personal Bible was not possible. But they gathered and heard the Word. Today, most all of our readers can do both; gather with other believers to hear the Word expounded and also individually study the Scriptures in our devotional and prayer closet.

This warning from the book of Hebrews is so pertinent today. Paying attention is increasingly difficult no matter what age you might be. Those who know me know I am easily distracted.  I’m not alone.  I’m sure as a child I would have been quickly diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder, a relatively recently discovered psychological ailment. It’s popular now to assign this “disorder” to every problem child. I sure was hyperactive as they called it back then in the sixties. I still have the symptoms but refuse to see a psychological basis for it. Rather I believe I need to recognize the challenge and discipline myself to pay attention and overcome.

Since people like names for problems so I’ll devise one that I believe is very common today even among believers. Spiritual Attention Deficit Disorder (SADD). Not paying attention affects every area of our lives, but often neglected is spiritual attention. We believe one of the greatest marks of the revival described in Nehemiah’s time was the attention people gave to the public reading of God’s Word and their heartfelt response that followed.

The answer was not a medication or a therapist but a call of Scripture.  I like the way the writer uses the 1st person plural; “We must pay more careful attention.” That speaks of both the will and discipline. SADD is a sad excuse. God has called and equipped us to be overcomers. Depending on the issue some have more overcoming than others but God is able. Today let us heed the clear warning of Scripture and let us “pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away” (Hebrews 2:1).

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, Your Word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. Without it we would walk in darkness and be led astray. We acknowledge there are many distractions that can get us off course. We want to give attention to Your Word, respect its message, and follow its instruction so that we will not drift from the truth. We want to be just like the people in Jerusalem who listened carefully, gave reverence, and responded in repentance to the reading of the Scripture in Nehemiah’s time.  Amen.


Illustration: There’s a tendency to pay less and less attention to that which we are already familiar with as we grow older. But giving our undivided attention to spiritual truth really needs to increase throughout life if we are to be mature believers.

When we first moved down to Lancaster County in 2001 we sat directly behind an elderly couple in church. Al and Thata Book were veteran servants of Christ having served in missions and various other roles of ministry. They are both with the Lord now but I recall their very purposeful attentiveness and joyful receptivity as they would listen to the Word being preached. Brooksyne and I looked forward to sitting in their “shadow” so to speak, since their earnest response to God’s Word, though well-seasoned in their knowledge and teaching of Scripture, was contagious. In contrast there are those who subscribe to the attitude, “I already know that” as they grow older.  Such glum or haughty attitudes shut out the refreshing working of the Holy Spirit in one’s life.

A rather obscure verse in the Old Testament describes the people’s response to God’s Word during a time of revival as “Ezra read the Book of the Law aloud from daybreak till noon as he faced the square before the Water Gate in the presence of the men, women and others who could understand. And all the people listened attentively to the Book of the Law” (Nehemiah 8:3). A mark of genuine revival is giving proper respect and attentiveness to God’s Word!


A Scripture Reference Quiz

When Brooksyne teaches children Scripture she is very insistent that they always memorize the reference as well as the text. Here’s a quiz regarding well-known Scripture verses that I wondered how many might be able to identify simply by the numeric reference even without the book title. The answer key is posted below

Just as 3:16 brings to mind John 3:16 what well-known verses do the following numeric references go with?

  1. _____________ 8:28
  2. _____________ 2:8,9
  3. _____________ 29:11
  4. _____________ 1:1
  5. _____________ 6:33
  6. _____________ 1:8
  7. _____________ 16:31
  8. _____________ 10:10
  9. _____________ 3:23
  10. _____________ 40:31
  11. _____________ 13:1
  12. _____________ 11:6
  13. _____________ 23:1
  14. _____________ 6:8
  15. _____________ 119:105

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Holy Is The Lord”  Video  Chris Tomlin  Dedicated to our friend Neville and his family who are leaving today for a visit to Zimbabwe, their native country.

Are We Distracting Ourselves to Death?

Pokémon Go in a Fractured and Flattened world


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

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

Petunias in Silverton, CO 7/8/16Petunias in Silverton, Colorado

“Clinging To Worthless Idols”

Personal note:  I (Stephen) continue to have severe lower back pain. Walking, sitting, standing, or turning over, are temporarily huge mobility issues that I once took for granted. With Brooksyne’s assistance we are endeavoring to send out this devotional message today. Thanks to the many who are uplifting me in prayer until this affliction passes.

Message Summary: Good works are an outflow of God’s amazing grace, not a replacement! Accept God’s generous grace today and proclaim with the Palmist, “But with You there is forgiveness” (Psalm 130:4).

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs” (Jonah 2:8).

The verb, “cling” is used in a number of different contexts. During this time of year when fresh fruit is readily available it’s used to describe peaches which are “cling-stone” vs. those that are “free-stone”. With free-stone the pulp doesn’t stubbornly cling to the pit making the peach easier and quicker to eat (or cut up for a peach cobbler, should Brooksyne be so inclined). The cling-stone peach has a pit that clings stubbornly to the pulp.

Cling is normally not a desirable quality. Dryer sheets are used to keep clothes from clinging to one another. Even in human relationships the word “cling” has a rather negative connotation as we don’t want someone clinging to us unless it is our needy infant or toddler which they tend to when they are not feeling well.

We see the word “cling” used in yet another context today from the brief four chapter book of Jonah. It is part of the prayer Jonah prayed inside the whale prior to his “deliverance” in chapter 2:10.  He makes a powerful theological point using the word concerning, “Those who cling to worthless idols.”

What were the “worthless idols” Jonah was referring to in the daily text? Likely he meant the objects of worship that we normally associate with idolatry in the Bible. Bible commentator Albert Barne’s considers worthless idols as, “All people’s idols, idols of the flesh, idols of intellect, idols of ambition, idols of pride, idols of self and self-will. People ‘observe’ them, as gods, watch them, hang upon them, never lose sight of them, guard them as though they could keep them. But what are they? ‘lying vanities,’ breath and wind, which none can grasp or detain, vanishing like air into air.”

However in light of the current political season here in America, regardless of party, candidate or ideological position, many it seems place their hope in a person to make things right. I sure see, more so this year than I can ever recall in both parties, a tendency for many people to idolize their candidate. The first part of the verse is very descriptive, “Those who cling to worthless idols.”

But today we consider the verse in its context. There are those who grew up in church and in religious homes and yet have an inferior understanding of grace. They may be extra hard on themselves and judgmental toward others. They may have difficulty accepting God’s forgiveness or His assurance of their personal salvation that leads to peace and the abundant life.

Trying to attain righteousness with God through good works is a “worthless idol” that many cling to and thereby “forfeit the grace that could be theirs.” The clear New Testament teaching on this matter states, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8,9). This leads to truly resting in the all sufficient grace of Jesus and having a lasting and peaceful assurance of our salvation!

The Bill Gaither Vocal Band sings a great song, “Child, You’re Forgiven” which has a powerful expression in it: “I’ve traded performance for amazing grace.  What a relief, I can’t earn my way.” Do you identify with the expression, “What a relief, I can’t earn my way?”

The late Jerry Bridges notes, “God’s grace does not supplement our good works. Instead His grace overcomes our bad works, which are our sins.” Erwin Lutzer observes, “When the mask of self-righteousness has been torn from us and we stand stripped of all our accustomed defenses, we are candidates for God’s generous grace.”

Good works are an outflow of God’s amazing grace, not a replacement! Accept God’s generous grace today and proclaim with the Palmist, “But with You there is forgiveness” (Psalm 130:4).

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, as we experience amazing grace through Your forgiveness of our sins it compels us to show compassion to others who have not yet applied Your grace to their lives. As Jude writes, we are to “Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.” In reaching out to others who are still living in sin help us to be discerning, wise, and cautious, always loving the sinner but never embracing or justifying the sin. May our redeemed lives be living examples of the freedom we enjoy in this life after we forsake worthless idols in exchange for the grace that is ours through Christ Jesus our Lord, in whose Name we pray. Amen.

Musser and Dourte 7/3/16
During our years of living in New England people got excited about clam bakes, but here in Lancaster County people get excited about corn roasts. I, Brooksyne, took  Jesse and Wilma Dourte (front row) to a corn roast given in honor of Carole Musser’s birthday who’s standing next to her husband, Don, who happens to be Jesse’ nephew. What a great evening with lots and lots of delicious corn. Jesse, who’s a small man & 92 years of age, put away 3 ears of corn in a matter of minutes. I limited myself to two but could have enjoyed more. It was a lovely evening.

Flagstaff, Durango and Silverton

Today I will share the final set of photos from the trip I made to the Southwest for a Chaplaincy Conference in Phoenix two weeks ago.

Flagstaff Weatherford Hotel 7/5/16
Weatherford Hotel in Flagstaff

Flagstaff Monte Vista Hotel 7/5/16
Monte Vista Hotel in Flagstaff

Flagstaff train display 7/5/16
Train displays in Flagstaff.

Flagstaff train display 7/5/16

Mike with stage coach in Durango, CO 7/8/16
My brother Mike standing in front of a stage coach in Durango.

Flower wagon in Silverton, CO 7/8/16
A children’s wagon flower display in Silverton, Colorado.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Child, You’re Forgiven”  Video  Gaither Vocal Band


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

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

Praying manFather, we may experience peace because You are in control. We thank You for the Word of God which prepares our hearts for whatever time period You have ordained for us to live. “Therefore our hope is in You, for You are the one who does all this.” We must be diligent and faithful, serving You all the days of our life and all the while “testifying to the gospel of Your grace.” How blessed we are! Amen.

 

This Daily Prayer is from this Daily Encouragement message.

Monument Valley 7/9/16A view of the Monument Valley approaching from Utah
(Click to enlarge)

“Our Hope Is In You”

Personal note: For several days now I (Stephen) have had severe lower back pain, making walking very painful. Although we made our chaplain visits together the last three days today I am staying in, hopefully to give my back a rest and see the problem resolved (healed). Brooksyne is going solo today on our chaplain visits to two companies and I have done my best to see the message is editorially clean without her final read.

Message Summary: Today the immutable God is still at work controlling nature and everything else in all His creation. May this bring assurance to you today with all the uncertainty in our world, nations and in our own lives. In times past He has ordained periods of drought to come and remind mankind Who’s really in charge and certainly that could happen again. Indeed, let us all “praise God from whom all blessings flow” and acknowledge with Jeremiah the absolute source of our hope this day and every day. “Therefore our hope is in You, for You are the one who does all this.”

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“Do any of the worthless idols of the nations bring rain? Do the skies themselves send down showers? No, it is You, O LORD our God. Therefore our hope is in You, for You are the one who does all this” (Jeremiah 14:22).

We usually describe good weather as a sunny day with no rain. After all, who wants it to rain on your picnic? Of course about every day someone is having a picnic, going to the park or doing something in which they wish for good weather.

In our region we have rains scattered throughout the year so it tends to stay very green from the buds of Spring till the seasonal change in Autumn. Even in the winter the conifer trees and winter wheat stay green. In other regions they have specific rainy seasons and then a long period without or scarcely any rain. Then there’s the desert where it hardly ever rains.

Last week I was at a chaplain’s meeting in Phoenix and experienced the desert for the first time in my life. It was very hot. At one point the thermometer in my car read 119 degrees. Some say, “But it’s a dry hot” and then I heard this comment, “But a blow torch is also a dry hot!” I enjoyed the several days I spent in that region but was sure ready to return home. Although 4 million people live in the Phoenix area and it’s growing rapidly I don’t think desert living is for me. Rather I suppose the line from the old TV series comes to mind, “Farm living is the life for me” although I don’t really on a farm!

Looking down from a plane from Phoenix through west Texas it is mostly a brown parched landscape except for river valleys. As we moved east it got greener and greener and as we approached Harrisburg I looked down upon the rich, verdant farmland of Lancaster County and realized how productive the land is as I saw the farms from the air. What a blessing rains are! (In fact when I got home I found we had a rain storm the day before.)

One’s perspective on rain changes when you live near the soil. When living away from a farming area you are academically aware of the need for rain and may have some flowers, a small garden or a lawn that show the effects of dryness. But when you live near expansive fields of crops and interface with the farmers you are aware of how utterly dependent we all are on God’s gracious gift of rain. It is an example of what theologians call “common grace”, that is God’s manifestation of His grace and goodness to all regardless of faith.

Consider the prophet Jeremiah’s rhetorical questions in our daily text. “Do any of the worthless idols of the nations bring rain? Do the skies themselves send down showers?”  Of course they don’t. With all of our technology man’s various attempts to influence weather have been absolutely puny.

“No, it is you, O LORD our God” wrote Jeremiah. The Psalmist wrote, “He covers the sky with clouds; He supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills” (Psalm 147:8). The prophet Zechariah reminds us, “Ask the LORD for rain in the springtime; it is the LORD who makes the storm clouds. He gives showers of rain to men, and plants of the field to everyone” (Zechariah 10:1).

Jesus expresses this concept of common grace when He told His listeners that God “causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5:45).  And the apostle Paul in an evangelistic appeal at Lystra said, “Yet He has not left Himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; He provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy” (Acts 14:17).

“Therefore our hope is in You, for You are the one who does all this.” Today the immutable God is still at work controlling nature and everything else in all His creation. “Our hope is in You.” With all the uncertainty in our world, nations and in our own lives may these five words bring assurance to you today.

Let us declare:

In the crazy world of politics: Our hope is in You.
In a world that seems to be losing its mind: Our hope is in You.
In regard to that troubling family or personal matter: Our hope is in You.

In times past He has ordained periods of drought to come and remind mankind Who’s really in charge and certainly that or some other form of judgment could happen again. Today let us all “praise God from whom all blessings flow” and acknowledge with Jeremiah the absolute source of our hope this day and every day.  “Therefore our hope is in You, for You are the one who does all this.”

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, we may experience peace because You are in control. We thank You for the Word of God which prepares our hearts for whatever time period You have ordained for us to live. “Therefore our hope is in You, for You are the one who does all this.” We must be diligent and faithful, serving You all the days of our life and all the while “testifying to the gospel of Your grace.” How blessed we are! Amen.


Monument Valley

This week (except for yesterday) I have shared photos from the trip I made to the Southwest for a Chaplaincy Conference in Phoenix.

Weber Mountain Colorado 7/9/16
We passed Weber Mountain near Cortez, Colorado. I never realized there was a Weber Mountain!

Twin Rocks, Utah 7/9/16
We passed through a rather desolate section of Southwestern Colorado and Southeastern Utah but with some interesting scenes such as this bluff in appropriately named Bluff, Utah.

Twin Rocks, Utah 7/9/16
Twin Rocks

Twin Rocks, Utah 7/9/16
In case you missed the massive twin rocks above the trading post this truck guides you.

Mexican Hat Utah 7/9/16
The source of the name for the town, “Mexican Hat”.

Monument Valley 7/9/16
We approached the Monument Valley from the north driving through Utah.

Monument Valley 7/9/16
Agathla Peak, one of the towering monuments rising some 1,500 feet above the high desert in northeastern Arizona.

Concerning monuments: In May we wrote a message titled, “Where Are The Monuments?” that makes a spiritual application.

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
“Where Are The Monuments?”  Video  Legacy Five

“I Believe”  Video  Dailey & Vincent with Jimmy Fortune (This evening Dailey and Vincent have a concert here in Lancaster County)

“Too Much To Gain To Lose”  Video  Mark Trammell Quartet  What a great song of resolve to stay faithful.

“Green Acres” theme song  Video  “Farm living is the life for me”

More Monument Valley photos (Google)


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

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

Shed on Amish farm 7/20/16
A tidy Amish garden shed.

“Life’s Main Question”

Message Summary: Pilate’s question, “What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called Christ?” is the most important question each of us will answer. In one sense this question is dealt with when we receive Christ as our Savior, but there’s another sense that it’s an ongoing daily question. Today we have a choice whether or not to submit to the Lordship and Kingdom of Jesus Christ. We pray that each reader will choose to do so. We proclaim again today, “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord!”

Note: Due to a long day out on Wednesday and early morning and full day Thursday we did not prepare a podcast for this message.

“What shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” (Matthew 27:22).

Yesterday we had an interesting experience. Our Amish friends, Jesse and Anna Ruth, have been supplementing their income on their dairy farm by giving authentic Amish farm tours. I have assisted them by building them a simple website and provided counsel as well as ordering materials. It’s been going very well for them and yesterday they had their biggest tour to date. Three big coach busses pulled onto the farm with 200 orthodox Jewish girls from Brooklyn. Jesse had invited us over for crowd control. The girls had adequate chaperones so we left early. Jesse called me last night and told me things went very well.

The city girls were quite intrigued by the farm and of course had questions such as “Will the mule bite?” and “Does it hurt?” (to milk a cow).

Today we all deal with a lot of questions. Many are minor and routine. Some questions are addressed to us and verbalized by others. “Do you want sugar and cream?” “Paper or plastic?” “Do you want fries with that?” Some we ask or are working through on our own.  And the list goes on and on.

But there are huge questions that can easily be overlooked amidst the hustle and bustle of life. But today let us consider life’s main question. The biggest one of all.

The daily text is a question that Pilate asked the crowd at the time of the Lord’s trial. Pilate had seen the flimsy evidence. He had heard the cautions of his wife. In examining the text one can detect a wavering in Pilate’s own personal convictions. But rather than act on principle he polled the crowd (politicians haven’t changed much have they?) and the majority cried out, “Crucify Him!”

I consider Pilate’s question and see it as a fitting expression of a question every single individual must deal with. It’s life’s main question. It’s already worded in the first person singular so everyone merely needs to personalize it and make it their own question: “What shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?”

Pilate was confronted face to face with the divine Son of God. In one way or another all reading this are being confronted and probably have been many times. We will simply be unable to use the excuse, “But I didn’t know.”

Responses to this question, “What shall I do?” vary from outright rejection to ignoring, to procrastinating, to compartmentalized religious lip service. Do you relate to any of these responses?

The only acceptable answer that pleases God is to express the essence of Peter’s great confession of faith concerning who Jesus is, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” This genuine heartfelt confession will lead to a daily submission to the Lordship of Jesus.

Jesus came into the world “to seek and to save that which was lost” but was violently rejected by many and He continues to be rejected today, often violently. This is also true of His followers including some who are reading this today. The apostle John wrote, “He came to that which was His own, but His own did not receive Him” (John 1:11). And for the last 2,000 years men and women continue to be confronted with the choice whether to receive or reject.

Pilate’s question, “What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called Christ?” is also the most important question each of us will answer. In one sense this question is dealt with when we receive Christ as our Savior, but there’s another sense that it’s an ongoing daily question. Today we have a choice whether or not to submit to the Lordship and Kingdom of Jesus Christ. We pray that each reader will choose to do so. We proclaim again today, “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord!”

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, we have been given the gift of salvation through the birth, death and resurrection of our Savior. Thank You for the free will given to us that allows us to reject or receive this “Jesus, who is called Christ.” When given the choice we like Peter respond, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” We go to the Rock of our salvation, our hope for all eternity. Amen.


Orthodox Jewish Girls from Brooklyn NY Visit Lancaster County Amish Dairy Farm

Tour busses enter Jewish farm 7/20/16
What a unusual scene as the three big busses rolled down the long country lane carrying 200 girls from their summer camp along with their chaperones.

Tour intro to entire group 7/20/16
And the city girls stepped off the busses.

Tour intro to entire group 7/20/16
Jesse welcomed the girls and explained how the tour would work assisted by another Jesse, a local former Amish man who was on the TV show “Amish Mafia”. (Which for the record is a horrible and mostly fictional depiction of Amish life.)

Tour of farm fields 7/20/16
Jesse was assisted by another Jesse, a local former Amish man who was on the TV show “Amish Mafia”. (Which for the record is a horrible depiction of Amish life.) Jesse took a group out to the fields and explained the ways of an Amish working farm.

Jewish girls petting mule 7/20/16
Jesse stands guard while the girls take turns petting the friendly mule who had most surely never seen this many people before.

Jewish girls bottle feeding calf 7/20/16
Bottle-feeding a week old calf.

Jewish girls in milking barn 7/20/16
Observing the milking barn. Of course the girls weren’t used to seeing the cows frequently relieve themselves. I prefer to block that view from my memory when I consume dairy products!

Jewish girls milking cow 7/20/16
Some wanted to try milking a cow.
As the others watched they sang, “Old McDonald Had A Farm”

Tour of Amish home 7/20/16
A group getting ready for the house tour.

Huskie puppies 7/20/16
I climbed up into the barn loft trying to get a good view for photos and was greeted by these curious, friendly Husky pups.

Amish girls meet orthodox Jewish girls 7/20/16
A minor clash of cultures; city and country, Amish and Jewish, but actually they also have something in common in a very conservative expression and being counter-cultural.

Feeding station 7/20/16
The entrepreneurial kids have developed an interesting source of income.

Simple website I made for “Old Windmill Farm”.

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Without Him”  Video  Jake Hess, Wesley Pritchard, Woody Wright, George Younce and Hovie Lister

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

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

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