Sunset with 1 Corinthians 15:58 (Click to enlarge)Beautiful sunset across from our house.
Today we are getting a big snowstorm so it looks like we will have the blanket covered farm field a bit longer!
(Photo taken by our neighbor, Doug)
Click on photo for larger view.

“God Leads His Dear Children Along”

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“He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters” (Psalm 23:2). “The path of life leads upward for the wise” (Proverbs 15:24). “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).

Travis CottrellWe enjoy listening to a variety of Christian music finding it a means of reinforcing our faith. The other day Brooksyne heard an old hymn sung by Travis Cottrell and called it to my attention. We recall singing it along with many other songs that are rarely heard today. The song, “God Leads Us Along” reflects on God’s leading throughout the seasons of life, both good and bad. We provide a link to the Cottrell version below and encourage our readers to listen.

Sometimes on the mount where the sun shines so bright,
God leads His dear children along;
Sometimes in the valley, in darkest of night,
God leads His dear children along.

Our ministry has often taken us to the side of one’s deathbed. We may gather with the family or at times stand around the bed by ourselves. Brooksyne almost always quotes Psalm 23 and it is not unusual to have people recite it as well or at least part of it. She also softly sings a familiar hymn.

Harper HullOur most memorable experience in this regard was at the deathbed of Harper Hull. At 88 years of age Harper still worked full-time as an accountant at a business we serve as chaplains. As a young man, in 1949 he and his business partner purchased a boat company in New York and eventually moved it to Lancaster.  By 1968 it was one of the largest producers of inboard motor boats in the world, employing over 700 people. More importantly, Harper was a devout follower of Christ and had lived a life of integrity.

He was stricken with a brain infection and when we last visited him at Willow Valley we could see from his grave coloring, the amount of oxygen he was receiving, and his comatose state that his time on earth was soon coming to an end. His family, weary from the long struggle that ensued as they sat with him day after day, had just left to go home.

We picked up his well-worn Bible filled with his personal notes from sermons and his own studies and read a portion from it. Then Brooksyne, Ester and I unhurriedly quoted the 23rd Psalm knowing that if Harper could hear us he would recognize and find comfort in every precious word that flows from this famous Comfort Psalm.

Brooksyne then took Harper’s hand and began to sing, “Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus”. She often selects this hymn because of the last stanza that seems so appropriate when one’s soul is about to depart from this life.  It’s a hymn that she sung to my father and her father as they lay on their deathbeds and many others over our nearly 40 years of ministry, including two women over the past couple weeks who are now residing in heaven.

There was no evidence at all that Harper was even aware of our presence. But the last verse brought about an unexpected response that brings such a tender memory even as we consider our experience many years later.

As she sang the last verse,

“I’m so glad I learned to trust Him, Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend,
and I know that Thou art with me, Wilt be with me to the end”

Harper brought his lips together and mouthed to her the word, “Amen.” He didn’t use his voice nor did he even whisper. She would have missed his response if she had not fixed her eyes on his face as she was singing the hymn. In Harper’s “place of quiet rest” where only God’s Spirit could enter and, we are assured he heard every word, the prayer we prayed, the Scriptures we quoted, and the inspirational music God wanted him to hear.

What blessing his unanticipated response brought to our visit. As always, we who seek to refresh others in their time of need are ourselves refreshed. We commended Harper’s soul to Jesus before we left his room. The great heavenly transfer took place about ten hours later when Harper’s final war with pain and death gave way to everlasting victory. The shaded veil that hung between heaven and earth was lifted and Harper clearly saw the lights of glory and received his initiation into the house of the Lord where he now dwells forever!

Harper lived for Christ. As a result he experienced the wonderful truth that “to die is gain”. He could testify and surely is now from his heavenly residence that “God leads His dear children along”.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, we pray for those who are walking in the valley of the shadow of death with a loved one today. Give them deep abiding peace and calm assurance in place of worry and fear as they’re confronted with the circumstances that surround them this day.  We pray for their loved one who is waging war between life and death, that they will find a place of quiet rest near to Your heart, O God; a place where Your sweet Spirit ministers in ways where human words fall short.  Help us to trust You for that which we can’t understand and to search the Scriptures for that which You want us to more fully comprehend on this side about life and death.  In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen.


Don and Mary Weber 7/7/13 (Click to enlarge)I received word that my Uncle Don passed away this week. He was my last Uncle on both sides of my family. I wrote a message honoring Uncle Don and Aunt Mary in January. He happened to read it and later called me, leaving a voice mail that I now treasure. I returned his call and visited for few minutes. A little thing then, but now that memorable conversation will serve me for years to come. The photo to the left was taken during our last visit to their home near Louisville Kentucky in 2013. When Aunt Mary called me she was so pleased to inform me that several weeks ago they celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.

Let me encourage each reader in two regards:

1) Write a tribute to those you love and esteem. I have encouraged this for many years. Information on writing tributes is here.

2) It just happens I saved Don’s last voice mail. I was going through my voice mails last night deleting old voice mails from my phone and saw it. I had forgotten all about it. It is a blessing when a loved one passes away and we have a vocal reminder.


Diligent in BusinessThis is a plaque Harper had on a shelf in his office. We often discussed the phrase, “Diligent In Business… Serving The Lord.” It is based on a verse from Romans 12:11 that states, “Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord” (KJV). However I have not been able to find a translation that uses the precise same wording. I would conjecture that’s it’s either a phrase based on the verse or perhaps from a translation no longer used. Either way it sure is a Scriptural concept! I did find the phrase in a sermon by Charles Spurgeon titled “Serving The Lord With Gladness” (pdf). (Note also the model of the Conestoga wagon behind the plaque. The Conestoga wagon, used by scores of settlers heading west in the pioneer days, was made right here in Lancaster County, named after the Conestoga River.)

We wrote a daily encouragement message about Harper which tells more about him. Among many accomplishments he was the founder and long-time president of “The Trojan Yacht Company” here in Lancaster County.

Argonaught from Se Hunt (made by the Trojan Boat Company, Lancaster, PA)Interestingly the Argonaut yacht was the yacht featured in the weekly TV series of “Sea Hunt” from the early sixties. It was constructed by Harper’s company.

I recall how much Harper enjoyed talking about his hobby of racing remote controlled hobby yachts with his fellow residents at the Willow Valley Retirement Community.

Harper left a lasting impact on many and I am sure some reading this will know him. Rick Steudler, a friend of ours now in his sixties, spoke of Harper’s involvement in Sunday School when he was a boy. Harper served as a Sunday School teacher and superintendent. Indeed, “Only one life will soon be passed, only what’s done for Christ will last.”

Here’s the Wikipedia article about the company that Harper founded.

I preached a message at a nursing home and shared an illustration about Harper Hull. Afterward I walked through the room greeting the residents and one man told me he had worked for Harper. He fondly recalled that each day Harper left his office and walked out into the plant to greet each employee by name, and this was no small company. Another resident informed me that he had known Harper through his association with CBMC, a Christian businessman’s organization.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“God Leads Us Along”  Video  Travis Cottrell We really enjoy this version

“Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus”  Video   The Nelons

“He Leadeth Me”  Video  The Martins

“God Leads Us Along”  Video  Gaither Vocal Band (a more traditional version)

Hymn Background:  The author of this hymn, George Young, was a carpenter and a pastor.  He would often say, “He does the leading and we do the following.”  Mrs. Young would say years later, “Oh, sometimes we didn’t have too much of this world’s goods…but we always had so much of Jesus.”  He didn’t make much money in either profession.  Most of his life was spent in small farming communities.  Finally, however, he and his wife were able to build their own home, the fulfillment of a life’s dream. They moved in and  shortly afterwards left town to hold a revival elsewhere.  Upon returning to their dream home they found a heap of ashes. All their worldly goods and cherished possessions were gone. A thug, upset with George’s preaching, had set fire to their house, and it was reduced to ashes.

As George gazed at the ruins, he recounted the precious possessions fire could never destroy – his family, his relationship with Christ, his ministry, his eternal home. Then and there, the words to “God Leads Us Along” began forming in his mind. Within a few days, he had written all three stanzas, The year was 1903. The refrain reminds us that we all experience trials that vary in origin and in intensity but His blood provides for our greatest need which gives us all a song even in the night season:

“Some through the waters, some through the flood, some through the fire, but all through the blood. Some through great sorrow but God gives a song, in the night season and all the day long.”

Around 1942, Haldor Lillenas decided to track down George Young’s widow and find out more. He got an address in a small town and, driving there, he stopped at a gas station to ask for directions. When the attendant saw the address, he said, “Why sir, that’s the County Poor House, up the road about three miles. And Mister, when I say poor house, I really mean poor house!”

Not knowing what to expect, Lillenas made his way there. He found Mrs. Young, a tiny, elderly woman, in surroundings that were far from congenial. However, she radiated the joy of the Lord, and spoke of how He’d guided her and her husband over many years. Then, she exclaimed, “Dr. Lillenas, God led me here! I’m so glad He did, for you know, about every month someone comes into this place to spend the rest of their days…So many of them don’t know my Jesus. I’m having the time of my life introducing them to Jesus! Dr. Lillenas, isn’t it wonderful how God leads!”

(Story background pulled from several sources including Robert B. Morgan, “Then Sings My Soul”).

Finally Today:  It’s time for Snow Ice Cream. Here’s the recipe for those interested:

Preparing snow ice cream 2/6/10
A tradition in the Weber home after a big snow storm is snow ice cream.

SNOW ICE CREAM
1 can cold evaporated milk
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar (or to taste)
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. maple syrup (optional)
10 cups clean, cold snow (or to taste)

Mix evaporated milk on high till it whips and is thickened (as shown above).  Add 2 eggs and mix.  Add sugar and vanilla and maple syrup.  Add flavorings if desired, strawberries, chocolate, pineapple, coconut, nuts, etc.  Best when eaten immediately.  Freeze leftover and eat as soon as possible.

Preparing snow ice cream 2/6/10

After mixing the ingredients it’s ready to serve!  (This recipe works best with dry snow.  If it’s a heavy moist snow it melts quickly and compromises the overall quality of the ice cream.)

You could also substitute the evap. milke with sweetened condensed (delete the sugar in recipe). But the first recipe, in my opinion, is the best!


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.

“Not Everyone”

March 4, 2015

Bluebird (photo by Doug Maxwell)Bluebird with ruffled feathers on a wintry and windy day
(Photo taken by our neighbor, Doug. We teased  that it isn’t fair. They get blue birds and we don’t. Lo and behold, we spotted one just outside our office window today right before we posted our message. They are beautiful birds!)
“Not Everyone”

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness’” (Matthew 7:21-23).
David, a longtime reader and friend, came across our messages several years ago in the course of searching for photos of Pennsylvania, where he had once lived. He told us how, before accepting our teaching he read up on us; finding out who we were and what we believed. He thoroughly checked our teaching using the standard of Holy Scripture and I am sure he still does. That’s the kind of readers we want, similar to the Bereans who were commended in Acts 17:11.

Acts 17:11

There’s been a lot in the news lately about opinions and declarations about who is or isn’t a Christian. There are many who profess to be a Christian. The self-identified label “Christian” can be used by anyone and those with practically opposite worldviews may even seek to identify themselves as a Christian.

Wolf in sheep's clothingOur daily text is not an obscure passage but rather a part of our Lord’s famous “Sermon On The Mount”. Jesus is teaching the crowd that had gathered on the hillside about the necessity of judging between genuine and false prophets. “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:15-20).

In this context Jesus states emphatically, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven”. Just as there are false teachers, it is also true that there are false professors. Jesus goes on to say that many, on the grounds of a mere profession with their tongue, saying “Lord, Lord”, or even those who might demonstrate works such as prophesying in Your name,  casting out demons in Your name, and in Your name performing many miracles, would expect admittance into God’s kingdom. But the almighty Judge “will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’”

J.C. RyleJ.C. Ryle calls this “the uselessness of a mere outward profession of Christianity” pointing out that “The day of judgment will reveal strange things. The hopes of many, who were thought great Christians while they lived, will be utterly confounded. The rottenness of their religion will be exposed and put to shame before the whole world. It will then be proved, that to be saved means something more than ‘making a profession.’ We must make a ‘practice’ of our Christianity as well as a ‘profession.’ Let us often think of that great day. Let us often ‘judge ourselves, that we be not judged,’ and condemned by the Lord. Whatever else we are, let us aim at being real, true, and sincere.” (Expository Thoughts)

It won’t be the profession “Lord, Lord” or demonstration of works but rather, “he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.” Pastor Steve Cole comments, “Obedience should always be the bottom line of Bible study or Biblical preaching.” We need to keep before us these questions, “Am I doing the will of my Father who is in heaven?” “Am I professing and practicing?”

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, Your Word teaches us that the way to heaven  isn’t secured by what we say with our lips or the label we go by. Instead the way to heaven is found through surrendering our lives to Jesus Christ who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. As we surrender to Your will we will obey Your commands and live a life above reproach, conforming our will and desire to Yours. Spiritual showmanship will not assure us entry into heaven, for Jesus taught that some who cast out demons, perform miracles, and prophesy in His name did not gain entry into heaven since they were living double lives. Outwardly they performed great works in Your name, but inwardly they were sinful and disobedient. Hypocrites are usually exposed in time, but many will not be exposed until the final harvest. Help us to live humble lives, not seeking to impress others by our good works, but rather seeking to live earnest lives of obedience to Your commands with ever-increasing love for Your people and for the lost. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.


Exposition on Matthew 7:21, 22,23

What is the difference between discernment and being judgmental? A well-known passage at the beginning of chapter 7 states, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged” (7:1).  Here’s a helpful teaching. Another one here.

Judging Without Being Judgmental

“Lord, Lord,” Only four times in Scripture is the repetitive phrase “Lord, Lord,” used (two times in the daily Scripture portion). The other two are in Matthew 25:11,12, “Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us.’ But He answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’” and Luke 6:46 “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” Thus in each instance in Scripture the dual “Lord, Lord” is uttered by those who had not done the will of God.

A full sermon on today’s text.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Trust And Obey”  Video  Acappella choir

“Sorry, I Never Knew You”  Video   The Browns An old southern gospel song that addresses today’s theme. You’ve got to listen carefully for the words since the mix isn’t the greatest, but it’s worth the listen to hear the words of this song.

In the course of studying today’s message I also came across this old hymn based on our daily text that I had never heard before:

I NEVER KNEW YOU

When the King in His beauty shall come to His throne,
And around Him are gathered His loved ones, His own;
There be some who will knock at His fair palace door,
To be answered within, “There is mercy no more.”

Refrain

“I have never known you,
I have never known you,
I have never, I have never,
I have never known you.”

They had known whence He came, and the grace which He brought;
In their presence He healed, in their streets He had taught;
They had mentioned His name and their friendship professed;
But they never believed, for of them He confessed:

Refrain

Now the righteous are reigning with Abraham there;
But for these is appointed an endless despair;
It is vain that they call: He once knocked at their gate,
But they welcomed Him not; so now this is their fate:

Refrain

O sinner, give heed to this story of gloom,
For the hour is fast nearing that fixes your doom;
Will you still reject mercy? still harden your heart?
Oh, then, what will you do as the King cries, “Depart!”


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.

Valley Forge covered bridge 3/1/15
The Valley Forge Covered Bridge
Click on photo to enlarge

“Finding, As He Promised, Perfect Peace And Rest”

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“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee” (Isaiah 26:3).

Like a river, glorious
Is God’s perfect peace,
Over all victorious
In its bright increase;
Perfect, yet it floweth
Fuller every day,
Perfect, yet it groweth
Deeper all the way.

During a chaplain visit last week I walked through a factory and came upon John and Isaiah, two men whom I knew were Christians. I spontaneously gave them a quiz based upon their Bible names. I asked John, “What does John 3:16 say?” He correctly answered “For God so loved the world….” I looked at Isaiah and asked, “What does Isaiah 26:3 say?” Not surprisingly he was stumped, since it’s not nearly as familiar as John 3:16.

Photo from Bible CollegeDuring our young dating years in Bible College Brooksyne and I often exchanged Scripture verses in our written correspondence (long before email, texting, and cell phones were available). I often shared Isaiah 26:3 which we soon put to memory and have both found this passage to be a spiritual healing balm when going through troubling circumstances.

There’s a lot to dismay us, isn’t there? World situations, national tragedies, personal matters; they can all dismay, often concurrently. What dismays you today? What glorious truth our daily Scripture verse conveys!

Isaiah 26:3 Isaiah in chapter 26:3 shares a truth held dear by many believers: “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee.” This is the KJV, which we memorized it in. Other versions state, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in you” (ESV) and “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You” (NIV). For real comparison use this nifty tool.

“Whose mind is stayed on Thee”; that’s the key, and that’s where I suspect so many of us have the problem. We keep getting our minds and hearts off the Lord and onto the problem at hand. We approach the problem from every angle and get everyone’s take on it. We go to bed with the problem on our hearts and if sleep does come it may very well be diluted by a dream (or even a nightmare) that relates to the problem. We awaken and the same old problem looms over the new day!

However when we fully trust God problems will not dismay or overwhelm us, for dismay and trust simply cannot coexist. Trying to support both attitudes would be like rubbing coarse sand paper against the grain of fine furniture and expecting beautiful results. Certainly we’re tempted to be dismayed by our troubles, but the key to trust is to turn our hearts to the Lord in prayer as we stand on His promises.

Warren Wiersbe Warren Wiersbe reminds us that “The peace of God is not the absence of problems; it is the presence of divine sufficiency in the midst of problems.” George Morrison said, “Peace is the possession of adequate resources” and those resources come from the Lord when you yield your heart and mind to Him.

Our trust is in the One who is a tested and tried stone, the Solid Rock; the One who is a sure foundation.  He is ever trustworthy.  He is ever faithful.  Put your complete trust in Him today!

Frances HavergalLike Frances Havergal in her song, “Stayed Upon Jehovah”, we must fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. If we are “stayed upon Jehovah” we will remain steady even if the earth around us sways.

Stayed upon Jehovah,
Hearts are fully blest;
Finding, as He promised,
Perfect peace and rest.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, because we place our trust in You as our sovereign Lord we have an enduring peace that You are the Great Deliverer and that You work all things together for good to those who love You and are called according to Your purpose. We seek to glorify Jesus, our Solid Rock, who was put to the ultimate test and laid an unshakable foundation for our faith, as He remained true to His mission to provide for our salvation. Our faith is strengthened and our peace perfected as we keep our minds stayed upon You, not only on the bright, cheerful days but on the dismal days when the cloud of discouragement would otherwise obscure the brightness of Your promise to keep us in perfect peace if we keep our minds stayed upon You.  Amen.


On Sunday we drove through the Valley Forge National Historical Park in Valley Forge, PA about 20 miles northwest of Philadelphia.

Valley Forge encampments 3/1/15These are replicas of the original encampments used by the soldiers.

Valley Forge encampments 3/1/15

Valley Forge barns 3/1/15
Valley Forge Barns

Valley Forge covered bridge 3/1/15
We drove through the Valley Forge Covered Bridge (a very different design from the covered bridges in Lancaster County).

Lancaster County winter scene 3/1/15
As we drove into Lancaster County the snow had really picked up obscuring the beautiful views off Rt 23 near Churchtown.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Like A River Glorious”  Video  The Smucker Family

“Perfect Peace”  Video  Laura Story

“May the Peace of God”  Video  Stuart Townend

“Wonderful Peace”  Video   Gaither Homecoming Friends


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.

Hopewell Furnace ironmaster's mansion
We drove the rural roads to the Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site yesterday during a snowstorm which actually made for the wintery photo of the ironmaster’s mansion.

“My Faith Looks Up To Thee”

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“Give ear to my words, O Lord, consider my meditation. Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King, and my God: for unto Thee will I pray. My voice shalt Thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto Thee, and will look up” (Psalm 5:1-3). “Blessed are those who dwell in Your house; they are ever praising You” (Psalm 84:4).

My faith looks up to Thee,
Thou Lamb of Calvary,
Savior divine!
Now hear me while I pray,
take all my guilt away,
O let me from this day
be wholly thine!

At age 18 the Scottish preacher, Robert Murray McCheyne, had already begun his life-long habit of spending a quiet time with God each morning. He wrote in his journal on Feb. 23, 1834, “Rose early to seek God and found Him whom my soul loveth. Who would not rise early to meet such company?”

I was convicted as I read McCheyne’s journal entry since I’m more prone to hit the snooze button than to get excited about rising early to meet with God. The Psalmist also entreated God during the morning hours, “Give ear to my words, O Lord, consider my meditation. Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King, and my God: for unto Thee will I pray. My voice shalt Thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.”

We should pray earnestly in the morning before our minds get caught up in the day’s activities and inevitable problems. As we pray we also commit ourselves to God and wait expectantly for Him to guide us in all His ways throughout our day; in our activities, in our relationships, and in the midst of our problems as well.

Today let’s focus on just this phrase in our daily text: “O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.”  More specifically, “I… will look up.”

This speaks of a necessary, willful, upward outlook in life. Upon awakening each day we do well to make this our intentional focus. It’s easy to get lost and disoriented in the course of the day’s activities, planned or otherwise. There are many unknowns. There are scores of voices beckoning us. There are looming questions about what’s around the next bend.

As we look up and focus on God, may we follow His voice that clearly directs us, “This is the way, walk in it.”

Yes, indeed, we hold our heads high because we approach the throne of grace with confidence. But we also bow our hearts in humility as we recognize our position as humble servants of Almighty God!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, there is a place of quiet rest and spiritual uplifting when we draw near to You. So many activities, attractions, and affections rival for our attention. But when we prioritize by giving You first place we give opportunity for You to “show your love to a thousand generations of those who love you and keep Your commandments.” We continually offer to You a sacrifice of praise through our lips that confess Your name and through our lives that reveal Your transforming power at work within us; as we do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with You, our God.  We bless and praise You in Jesus’ name.  Amen.


This last Saturday we took Ester to the Philadelphia airport for a trip to see her Aunt Elaine (Brooksyne’s sister)

Ester departing Philly airport 2/28/15Saying farewell to Ester.

Church in Philadelphia
After dropping Ester off we drove through Philadelphia and passed this famous church. Does anyone recognize it? Two preachers we have appreciated served this church a combined total of 65 years! (Answer below resource section)

Boathouse row in Philadelphia (Click on photo for larger view)
Boathouse row along the frozen Schuylkill River.
(Click on photo for larger view)
We passed in the afternoon but this site is especially beautiful at nght.
(Click here for photo)

Hopewell Furnace wood stove
Yesterday we toured the Hopewell Furnace historical site in Berks County, PA where they built some of the first cast iron wood stoves.
It’s an interesting place


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“My Faith Looks Up to Thee”  Video  Homecoming Singers

“Psalm 5″  Video  Maranatha Singers

“Near To The Heart Of God”  Video  Evie Karlsson

“I Just Want To Be Where You Are”  Video  Don Moen

“Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus”   Video   Selah

“I Bowed On My Knees and Cried Holy”  Video  Charles Billingsley

“God Of The Ages”  Video  Charles Billingsley

The church photo is the Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia. The pastors some of you have heard of are Donald Grey Barnhouse and James Montgomery Boice.


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.

“Going Home”

February 27, 2015

Farm in southern Lancaster County PA 2/27/15This morning we passed this beautiful farm in southern Lancaster County.
(Click for larger photo)

“Going Home”

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“We live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please Him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it” (2 Corinthians 5:7-9).

Many times in my childhood when we’ve traveled so far
By nightfall how weary I’d grown
Father’s arms would slip around me and gently he’d say
My child we’re going home

I don’t have a lot of childhood memories of long trips. We lived in the Midwest and almost all of our travel were in states adjacent to Missouri. But we made two long trips. Once with my Mom and little sister to see our older brother Mike in California. He and his wife had just had a baby, the first grandchild, and we took the train out while my dad stayed home to work.

Children sleeping in carThe other trip was in a car with my mom and dad to see our other older brother Pat who was in the military and stationed in South Carolina. Looking back on that trip it’s hard now to imagine how many miles we travelled. My mom didn’t drive and my sister and I were too young to drive so Dad did all the driving. The last day we visited Washington DC and stayed in western Virginia that evening. Early the next morning we got up and headed home. Dad drove all the way about 900 miles so he could go to work the next day. I can’t recall anything about that leg of the trip and assumed I slept a good part of it (Please note: Photo is for illustrative purposes only and is not really my sister and me in 1967!)

“Who wants to go home?” is a question we often ask following a long trip or certainly after a stay at the hospital. Home generally conveys a message of comfort, warmth and safety where we envision just being ourselves, relaxing and shutting out the busyness of the world. Home for many of us is a haven. “It’s great to be home!” is what we say after being away for a while.

We love our home. Sure we enjoy our rural location and the house we live in, but primarily it’s the family God has given us that brings warmth and comfortable acceptance to our home. We hope many of our readers share that same sentiment.

Landis HomesLast Sunday afternoon I opened the service at Longwood Manor by sharing a story that took place shortly after we moved to Lancaster County in 2001. An employee had asked me to visit her grandmother who was dealing with cancer and lived in “Landis Homes” (one of the many huge senior housing complexes in our area). I located her room number and knocked on her door. She warmly welcomed me into her room where the Bible laid on her table which caught my eye immediately. After visiting a few minutes I shared a Scripture from her Bible and prayed with her.

Like so many of the elderly, she expressed how much she missed her own home but she made a great statement of faith with a contented state of mind. As we visited in her very modest, but tastefully decorated room, I complimented her living arrangements. Afterward she said with a tone of acceptance: “This is fine for now… after all, it’s not my permanent home.”

I knew what she meant. She didn’t anticipate returning to her own home or ever moving into a bigger apartment. Clearly when she referred to her “permanent home” she meant her eternal home in heaven. What a healthy spiritual outlook and example of contentedness! Although I have long lost contact I am quite sure she is likely in her permanent home.

Going home, I’m going home
There is nothing to hold me here
I’ve caught a glimpse of that Heavenly land
Praise God, I’m going home

We should all have a longing for our permanent home. Paul refers to it in our daily text as his preference: “To be away from the body and at home with the Lord.”

He’s including other believers in his statement (notice the personal pronoun “we”).  We are both confident we will be and indeed would prefer to be at home with the Lord. Paul is contrasting this with our present physical life where “we are at home in the body” (v. 9).

Bible teacher Erwin Lutzer writes concerning our arrival home with the Lord, “At death we cross from one territory to another, but we’ll have no trouble with visas. Our representative is already there, preparing for our arrival. As citizens of heaven, our entrance is incontestable.”

Now the twilight is fading, the day soon shall end
Lord, I get homesick, the farther I roam
But the Father has led me each step of the way
And now I’m going home

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, we’re abundantly grateful for our earthly dwellings where we find pleasure, companionship, comfort, rest and sustenance. If we’re not intentional, we will give more time and affection to our temporal home than our future eternal home. Perhaps it’s because we’re living in the here and now and the future seems so distant and unfamiliar. Help us not to fear the future nor foolishly think it will not come, but to embrace it so that we are prepared when that moment comes. May our heart’s yearning, our primary focus, and our physical labors also have heavenly goals each day as we seek to live for You daily.  In the name of Jesus we pray.  Amen.


Robert GrantObfuscation: Yesterday I shared a message about obfuscation and the need for discernment. I purposefully began with a true but misleading story to illustrate what obfuscation is (making communication confusing, willfully ambiguous, or harder to interpret”). I truly know Robert Grant, who is a friend from college and it is true that Robert Grant wrote the hymn “O Worship The King”. However as astute, discerning readers noted it is not the same Robert Grant!!! The first Robert Grant is my age while Robert Grant (photo to right), the hymnwriter, was born in 1779.

David Penley, a Texan friend and careful reader elaborates: “I have been a Southern Baptist from the cradle roll in my first church, and we have sung “O Worship the King” as long as I can remember. It is one of my most dearly loved hymns. So I wondered how the Robert Grant you knew could have written it. I did further research. What can I say? I’m a professor. It’s what I do. I can’t help myself. I have in my library a book entitled “Handbook of the Baptist Hymnal” which relates the story behind every song in our hymnal. The song was indeed written by Robert Grant – Sir Robert Grant. He was born in 1779, was a member of the British Parliament and Governor of Bombay when India was under English rule. He wrote the song in 1833, the year before he became governor of Bombay and was knighted. He died in India in 1838.”

Thanks to all who replied. We’re pleased to see that we have many “Berean” readers/students.


Today following a chaplain visit we drove through scenic southern Lancaster County.

Amish farm in southern Lancaster County PA 2/27/15
An Amish farm in southern Lancaster County.
(Click for larger photo)

Firewood wagon on Amish farm in southern Lancaster County PA 2/27/15
This Amish family was running out of firewood on these cold days.
(Click for larger photo)

Collie and wagon on Amish farm in southern Lancaster County PA 2/27/15
A collie peacefully resting on this beautiful but cold day. Somehow this setting reminds me of what we might have viewed from the old series, “Lassie”. Make sure you click to see the old tire swing.
(Click for larger photo)

Covered bridge and Amish buggy
Amish buggy entering into White Rock Covered Bridge.
There’s the distinct sound of the clickety-clack of horseshoes on the wooden bridge deck!

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Going Home”   Video   Bill Gaither with some of the old-timers, several who have gone on to their permanent home.

“Home Where I Belong”  Video  Mark Lowry


“But You’re Not Home Yet!”

This moving story took place about 100 years ago that makes us pause and consider where our home really is.

An old missionary couple who had been working in Africa for many years returned to New York City to retire. With no pension and broken in health, they were discouraged and somewhat fearful of the future.

They happened to be booked on the same ship as Teddy Roosevelt who was returning from a big-game hunting expedition. They watched the passengers trying to glimpse the great man, the crew fussing over him, photographers flashing their oversized cameras…

Back at the dock in New York locals squeezed into every available space, the band with their instruments positioned to break into celebratory music as the president departed the ship. Yet the missionary couple who had given their all to reach the African people for Christ slipped off the ship completely unnoticed.

That night, in a cheap flat they rented on the East Side, the man’s spirit finally broke. He said to his wife, “I can’t take this; God is not treating us fairly.”  His wife, no longer able to cope with his agitated spirit, suggested he go into the bedroom and speak to the Lord about that which he was feeling.

A short time later he walked out of the bedroom with a brighter countenance.  His wife asked, “Dear, what happened?”

“The Lord settled it with me,” he said. “I told Him how bitter I was that the president should receive this tremendous homecoming, when no one was present to meet us as we returned home.  And when I finished, it seemed as though the Lord put His hand on my shoulder and simply said, ‘But you’re not home yet!'”


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Amish hay wagon 2/25/15
Steel wheeled hay wagon on an Amish farm
Due to some thawing yesterday we walked through quite a bit of mud on the farm where we visited with our friends yesterday.

“Discerning Good From Evil”

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil” (Hebrews 5:14).

Today’s opening story is altogether true as well as an illustration.

Robert GrantRobert Grant is a friend we met in the Bible College we attended in Springfield, MO. He grew up in Connecticut where he still lives. We’re still in contact 40 years after we first met. Several years ago he stopped by our home to visit (photo to right). Many of you have sung a hymn that Robert Grant authored titled, “O Worship The King”. It begins with these stirring words,

O Worship the King all glorious above!
And gratefully sing His wonderful love,
Our Shield and Defender, the Ancient of days,
Pavilioned in splendor, and girded with praise.

We sure appreciate our association with Robert Grant along with his contribution to the church. *

Obfuscation and discernment are two words I’ve been considering a lot these last several weeks.

Obfuscation describes what is going on all around us, especially in government, education and media. The Merriam Webster dictionary defines obfuscate in this way: “to make (something) more difficult to understand”; “to be evasive, unclear, or confusing and uses this example, “Politicians keep obfuscating the issues.” Wikipedia describes it this way, “the hiding of intended meaning in communication, making communication confusing, willfully ambiguous, or harder to interpret.” Let me add that in many cases it’s outright lying, though we often hear the word, “mis-statement” in place of “lying”!

Discernment means “the ability to judge well”. In a Christian sense we apply discernment in obtaining spiritual direction and understanding. Bible teacher John MacArthur states, “In its simplest definition, discernment is nothing more than the ability to decide between truth and error, right and wrong. Discernment is the process of making careful distinctions in our thinking about truth. In other words, the ability to think with discernment is synonymous with an ability to think biblically.”

Hebrews 5:14 The daily text describes the spiritually mature as those “who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.” Other versions state, “have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil” (ESV) or “who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil” (NIV).

Conversion is the miracle of a moment, maturing takes a lifetime. As a maturing believer I want to be able to discern good from evil. The world is full of obfuscation and we so need discernment. We all have a part in this as we choose to regularly feed on God’s Word and apply it to everyday living. This is the sense of the phrase “who because of practice have their senses trained.”

The need “to discern good from evil” is ongoing and will surely increase as we deal with “a spirit of delusion” (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12). Our source and guide must be the unchangeable standards of God’s Holy Word, not the fickle opinions of others. Going with the latter would be much like a dog chasing his tail in circles. Don’t we see this a lot in politics, the media, education and, dare I say, even in religious settings?

The Holman New Testament Commentary makes this point, “Christians are able to distinguish between good and evil. The terms ‘good’ and ‘evil’ may have both a moral sense and a theological sense. Christians are those who can spot moral evil and avoid it. They can see moral good and attach themselves to it. Christians also can distinguish between true and false doctrine. They will turn aside from the false and faithfully follow the true. Living the Christian life demands the spiritual skills of stamina seen physically in a long-distance runner. Unswerving, relentless applications of Christian truth and practice will equip us for a lifetime of usefulness which will continue into eternity.”

Obfuscation is all around us.  How is your discernment today? Are you in regular training? Are you actively practicing your faith? Are you discerning good from evil?

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, just as we hunger and thirst for physical substance, intensify our hunger and thirst for godly discernment, spiritual knowledge, and righteous living. Jesus declared, “Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness.” Only as we regularly nurture our spiritual appetite will we delve into the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God. Through the daily grind of life the inexhaustible truths revealed in Your Word brighten our outlook and make certain of our eternal hope, while they also teach us discernment so that we know good from evil, those who are genuine from those who are impostors. Jesus is the living bread for hungry souls so it is our prayer that we look to Him to satisfy our spiritual hunger. Amen.


* How did you react today’s opening story? Any thoughts? (Respond here) and we’ll likely share some more tomorrow.


Phillip Hughes, in his Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews, comments, “Good and evil should not be understood merely in an ethical sense here as signifying good conduct and evil conduct, but more particularly, as the context requires, in a comprehensive theological sense, namely, of good and evil, or true and false doctrine, which would include moral teaching. The power of discernment is something very necessary in those who are “mature” enough to be “teachers,” and something to be expected of those who, like the recipients of this letter, have been members of the Christian church for a number of years.”


Our Visit To An Amish Farm

View of barn from Lapp farmhouse 2/25/15
Yesterday we stopped in with congratulatory gifts for the newest arrival in the Lapp family. Baby Sarah Beth is nearly two weeks old and her five siblings along with Mom and Dad were delighted to introduce their newest family member. Brooksyne took this photo from the window where the children gather and excitedly watch us come for a visit (if it’s cold outside). If you look carefully you’ll see the buggy parked right in front of the barn. We loaded boxes of goodies we brought along on the wagon in the forefront.

Coal stove in Amish farmhouse 2/25/15
The cast iron coal stove is in the dining area added a warm hue and toasty comfortable temperature to the dining room.

Pompsky pup 2/25/15
Holding a Pompsky pup.

Amish family at dinner 2/25/15
Because many of our readers tell us they enjoy reading about the Amish I (Brooksyne) include the following narrative about our visit yesterday:

Upon their insistence we joined the family at dinner time. Following our silent prayer we scooped right into a large pan of lasagna provided by Anna’s sister, Linda. I teased Anna that I think the reason for Amish praying silently is that the whole household suddenly quietens down to the sound of a pindrop. All joking, laughing, and loud chatter immediately stops for the approximate 45 second prayer before and the one following the meal (not that I was watching my watch, mind you. Typically Amish families chip in and provide meals for two to three weeks following the birth of a child. Also an extended family member will stay with the family during that time and essentially be a housemaid. Their fourteen year old niece from New York is staying with them and I was so impressed as she worked quietly in the background (no scowling but pleasantly) sweeping, setting the table, clearing and washing the dishes (with the help of the girls). Earlier in the day she had prepared a large batch of custard pudding and several dozen molasses cookies. Seeing the six year old standing on a chair as she washed the dishes reminded me of my childhood when my sister and I did the same, taking turns washing, rinsing and wiping the dishes as we cleaned up after meals. I find myself thinking back often to the “old days” when families ate together around the table on real dishes, cleaned up together, and played together. In our technological age children and parents, though they may be in the same room, often give more attention to their own individual smart phones or other technological devices than they do to each other. It makes visits to the Amish even more enjoyable where everyone comes together and we all visit together.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“O Worship The King”   Video


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

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

“Listening To God”

February 25, 2015

Winter view from our front window 2/15Winter view through our front window
“Listening To God”

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.
“Whoever is of God hears the words of God” (John 8:47). “I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me” (John 18:37).Tim Heitz 2/22/15This last Lord’s Day we heard Tim Heitz, a friend of ours, preach on “Listening to God” in which he shared a message from I Samuel 3:1-10. That’s when young Samuel was hearing the Lord speak. Tim began his message with an interesting illustration.
Back when the telegraph was the fastest method of long-distance communication, a young man applied for a job as a Morse Code operator. Answering an ad in the newspaper, he went to the office address that was listed. When he arrived, he entered a large, busy office. Seven other applicants were already in the waiting area which was filled with noise and clatter, including the sound of the telegraph in the background. A sign on the receptionist’s counter instructed job applicants to fill out a form and wait until they were summoned to enter the inner office.
 Telegraph machineThe young man filled out his form and sat down. After a few minutes he stood up, crossed the room to the door of the inner office, and walked right in. Naturally the other applicants perked up, wondering what was going on. They muttered among themselves that they hadn’t heard any summons yet. They assumed that the young man who went into the office made a mistake and would be disqualified.Within a few minutes, however, the employer escorted the young man out of the office and said to the other applicants, “Gentlemen, thank you very much for coming, but the job has just been filled.”The other applicants began grumbling to each other, and one spoke up saying, “Wait a minute, I don’t understand. He was the last to come in, and we never even got a chance to be interviewed. Yet he got the job. That’s not fair!”The employer said, “I’m sorry, but all the time you’ve been sitting here, the telegraph has been ticking out the following message in Morse Code: ‘If you understand this message, then come right in. The job is yours.’ None of you heard it or understood it. This young man did. The job is his.”The young man proved his worthiness for the job by having the ear to hear and understand the Morse Code. He did this amidst the cacophony of other noises in the busy office.We live in a busy world with a cacophony of sounds. Jesus in His teaching on truth in John 8 states, “Whoever is of God hears the words of God.”  We so need to hear the “words of God” amidst the noise.

John 18:37 Jesus said to Pilate at His trial, “I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

One of the great spiritual responsibilities we have is exercising discernment and teaching those whom we influence to do so as well. There is a cacophony of voices that call out to us to go against the truth. We are exposed to these voices at all ages, but our youth are particularly vulnerable.  We need to constantly commit to hearing the voice of God, foundationally through His authoritative, inspired, and inerrant Word, the Holy Scriptures.

Tim finished his message with these words, “When we hear or study God’s Word, when we pray about direction in our life, when we pray about direction in the life of our church, we need to be asking, what could God be trying to tell me through this? Because the closer you get to the Shepherd, the louder His voice will be.”

 

Be encouraged today,

 

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer:  Loving Father, we who claim to be Your children recognize Your voice and choose to listen and follow You. Many other voices beckon and personalities charm but Your divine love surpasses all earthly images because of Jesus, the Great Shepherd, who laid down His life for us. Your love so amazing, so divine demands my soul, my life, my all. I lay it all down, take up the cross of Jesus and follow after You through Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

 


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“I Will Listen”   Video  Twila Paris  “I don’t know the way to go from here, but I’ve already made my choice: this is where I stand, until He moves me on, and I will listen to His voice.”

“Open Our Eyes”  Video  Maranatha Singers  (This song has the line, “Open our ears Lord and help us to listen”)

“Come and Listen”  Video  David Crowder Band

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

“I Don’t Belong (Sojourner’s Song)”  Video  Buddy Green

“Voice Of Truth”  Video  Casting Crowns

“The Baby Box” Not related to today’s message but extremely moving. Hundreds of babies are abandoned each year in South Korea, prompting a pastor to build a special baby box for them to be left in. Video  This remarkable story is also a 3 day movie coming out soon called “The Drop Box”.


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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