Farm near Manheim, PA 11/19/17 (Click to enlarge)
Sunday afternoon Brooksyne passed this scenic farm north of Manheim, PA.
(Click on photo to enlarge)

“God Blessed Them” (Part 2)

Note: This is the second of a three part series based upon God’s first words to humans following Creation.

Message summary: This Thanksgiving week (here in the USA) let us thank God for the blessing of His creation commands to man concerning our stewardship of the earth and properly practice God’s command to subdue and rule over.

ListenListen to our message on your audio player.

“God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground'” (Genesis 1:28).

Today consider the blessing that plants and animals are to us. What if we were the only living creatures? Although I suppose we wouldn’t know any better that would sure be boring and there would have to be an entirely different mechanism for our nourishment!

Consider all that plants and animals add to our lives; flowers, lawns, medicines, our pets, trips to the zoo, a source of food and you can add to the list as you think about it.

Plants were created on the third day of Creation and animals (including fish and birds) were created on the fifth and sixth days of Creation.

Yesterday’s message considered the first part of the daily text: “God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number.” We believe the words “fill the earth” further completes the blessing and command to “be fruitful and increase in number.”

1) Man is commanded to subdue it (the earth). Most standard English translations use this word “subdue”. Other versions state, “subjugate it [putting it under your power]” (Amplified)

This command has been misinterpreted by some to assert that this indicated man is not to take care of the earth, even using it as an excuse to plunder it. Although in reality this is a “strawman” argument used to attack Christians who may have a different view on the specifics of how to care for the environment not whether the environment should be cared for. I have never met a genuine Christian who wants to destroy the environment!

An online commentary counters, “To think that God gave man carte blanche to plunder and destroy the earth is simply ludicrous. He is its Creator! Why would He immediately command Adam to ruin it? Would any woodworker, upon just finishing a beautifully stained piece of furniture, tell his son to break it up for firewood? No! Just as God desires for His creation, the woodworker would put his handiwork to use and also care for it by keeping it waxed and dusted to prolong its life.”

To subdue is better understood to have the sense, “take care of”. In chapter 2 man is instructed concerning the Garden, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it” (Genesis 2:15).

2) Man is commanded to “rule over” the animal kingdom. In this verse many of us are probably more familiar with the KJV rendering “have dominion” used also in v.26. Not only is there a Biblical distinction in the creation of man versus everything else created in the sense we are “made in God’s image” but also man is to rule over the rest of the creation.

Once again we must address that this verse “rule over” has been used by some to assert that the Bible and Christians call for animal abuse and cruelty. Such is not the case at all but rather the opposite is true for those who seek to be obedient. Rather than develop this defense I will point our readers to an excellent article from the GotQuestions website posted below.

This Thanksgiving week (here in the USA) let us thank God for the blessing of His creation commands to man concerning our stewardship of the earth and properly practice God’s command to subdue and rule over.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, just as You blessed the human race making them fruitful and multiplying their kind, You also blessed the vegetation, the fish, fowl of the air and every living thing that moves upon the face of the earth. You gave the human race universal charge of everything you made, putting all things within our authority; including the tilling of the land, making it subservient to our usage and for our good. May we honor You by being good stewards of that which is entrusted to us. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

For further study: I find this note from the “GotQuestions” online study helpful in regard to today’s passage:

The word dominion means “rule or power over.” God has sovereign power over His creation and has delegated the authority to mankind to have dominion over the animals (Genesis 1:26). David reinforces this truth: “You made [mankind] rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet” (Psalm 8:6). Humanity was to “subdue” the earth (Genesis 1:28)—we were to hold a position of command over it; we were placed in a superior role and were to exercise control over the earth and its flora and fauna. Mankind was set up as the ruler of this world. All else was subjugated to him.

God’s command to subdue the earth and the animal life in it is a command to have the mastery over all of it. A true mastery (of anything) cannot be accomplished without an understanding of the thing mastered. In order for a musician to master the violin, he or she must truly understand the instrument. In order for mankind to attain mastery over the animal kingdom, we must understand the animals.

With the authority to rule comes the responsibility to rule well. There is an inherent accountability in the command to subdue the earth. Man has a duty to exercise his dominion under the authority of the One who delegated it. All authority is of God (Romans 13:1-5), and He delegates it to whomever He will (Daniel 4:17). The word subdue doesn’t have to imply violence or mistreatment. It can mean “to bring under cultivation.”

Man is to be the steward of the earth; he is to bring the material world and all of its varied elements into the service of God and the good of mankind. The command to subdue the earth is actually part of God’s blessing on mankind. Created in the image of God, Adam and Eve were to use the earth’s vast resources in the service of both God and themselves. It would only make sense for God to decree this, since only humans were created in God’s image.

When God gave humanity dominion over the animals, it was in order to care for, tend to, and use those animals to their fullest potential in a just manner. At the time that God gave mankind dominion over the animals, humans did not eat meat (Genesis 1:29). Eating meat did not begin until after the Flood (Genesis 9:1–3), and it was at that time that animals started to fear humans. However, although God changed the way we interact with animals, in that they are now “meat,” we still bear a responsibility to treat animals humanely. Human rule over animals does not mean we have the right to mistreat or misuse those animals.

Having dominion over the animals should entail a humane management of them as the resource God has ordained them to be. We should consider that mankind was given the task (and blessing) of representing God in this world. We are the caretakers. We hold sway over all the earth, and we (bearing God’s image) bear a responsibility to act as God would. Does God misuse His creation? No. Is God unwise in His management of resources? No. Is God ever cruel or selfish or wasteful? No. Then neither should we be. Any misuse or mistreatment of God’s creation is the result of sin, not the result of following God’s original command. We must fulfill our duty to manage the earth wisely until that time when the wolf shall lie down with the lamb in the kingdom of Christ (Isaiah 11:6).


Some scenes on the Old Windmill Farm

Brooksyne holding Daisy the goat, Lancaster County, PA 11/17/17
It appears that Brooksyne is holding Daisy in a rare moment she is relaxing! (This photo was taken last Friday following her Pilgrim presentation to the school.)

Daisy the goat with banana, Lancaster County, PA 11/17/17
Goats, pigs, chickens and two dogs were thought to be among the animals brought over on the Mayflower. Curious Daisy is checking out this piece of banana. She had already dug it out of the children’s lunch pail and peeled it. Now she’s smelling it and you know what comes next.

Puppies, Lancaster County, PA 11/17/17
These blue heeler puppies should be ready for a loving home by Christmas. However their sibling in the background is demonstrating they are not weaned yet!

Puppy, Lancaster County, PA 11/17/17
Not the typical pet store marketing photo with the empty dairy barn background but between the Lapp children and Old Windmill Farm guests these pups will have lots of handling and affection by the time they leave the farm!


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“All Creatures of our God and King” Video   Fernando Ortega

“This Is My Father’s World”  Video  The Collingsworth Family

“Worth”   Video  Jason Crabb

Yesterday we shared a photo from Google maps of the Mast farm corn maze in eastern Lancaster County. Here’s the spot on Google maps.

Special Thanksgiving Resources
We offer these resources to families and church leaders to enrich the spiritual impact of the Thanksgiving holiday. We will post these resources through Thanksgiving Day here in the US (November 27).

We appreciate singing the traditional Thanksgiving hymns. Here are several classics that you may or may not have heard this season.

“In Everything Give Thanks”  Video   Charlotte Ritchie, Jeff & Sheri Easter  This song will bring joy to your heart!

“Now Thank We All Our God”  Video  Best Loved Hymns

“Come Ye Thankful People Come”  Video  Traditional version
Contemporary version but thankfully maintaining same tune and lyrics Video

“Thanksgiving Medley” (We Gather Together, For The Beauty Of The Earth, Come Ye Thankful People Come)  Video  Studio Musicians

“Give Thanks”  Video  Don Moen

“Thank You Lord”  Video  Community Choir at a Lancaster Day of Prayer event in 2008.

“Thank You Lord For Saving My Soul”  Video  Holland Davis

Thorns“Thankful For The Thorns”: A family reading and exercise that is a wonderful way to give a thoughtful focus around your Thanksgiving Table. The Thanksgiving celebration typically includes family coming together for a huge meal and hopefully a heartfelt prayer of thankfulness. However it can often be difficult to have a spiritually oriented conversation. Why not add some stimulating discussion about the ways God has worked in your life over the past year! Some of you are not in charge and are only visitors at your Thanksgiving gathering, but if it is possible share together around the table the theme of “Thankful for the Thorns” (printable webpage).

“A Thanksgiving family exercise” (pdf) We have used this questionnaire as a stimulus for discussion among family members in the past in our home. We encourage you to share results around the table at Thanksgiving before or after the meal.

A Thanksgiving prayer: Written by Joe Sherer, a pastor friend of ours and shared as the benediction at our community Thanksgiving Eve service several years ago. (webpage) For those who enjoy written prayers this would be a beautiful prayer to read together at the Thanksgiving table.

A Thanksgiving Scripture reading: A selection of Old and New Testament readings dealing with thankfulness appropriate for church, family and personal readings. (pdf) (Suitable for printing out and copying.)

A Suggestion for a Family Tradition from our friend Bob Southard: After the turkey, the cranberries, the pie, we all get out our Bibles to read our favorite thanksgiving verse. From the youngest to the oldest we share God’s Word and tell why it is so special to us!

Today and all through this week we will share a selection of Thanksgiving music.

“Be Magnified”  Video   Kim Hill

“Thanks”  Video  Marshall Hall and the Homecoming Singers

“I Want To Thank You”  Video  Karen Peck and New River  This is a song expressing thankfulness to the many people who impact our lives and also reminds us of the blessing of seemingly insignificant expressions of faith.  From the Gaither Homecoming series.

“Thank You Lord For Your Blessings On Me”  Video  Gordon Mote & Jason Crabb

“I’m Forever Grateful”  Video  Willow Creek

“When I Thank Him For What He Has Done”  Video  The Cathedrals

“Worthy Is The Lamb, Crown Him, Crown Him With Many Crowns”  Video  Travis Cottrell

“Thank You, Lord”  Video  Dennis Jernigan

“Thank You For Loving Me”  Video  Tommy Walker

“10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)”  Video  Matt Redman

“For These Reasons”  Video  Lincoln Brewster

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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Brooksyne with historical demonstration in a one room school 11/17/17 (click to enlarge)
Brooksyne was invited to share about the Mayflower Voyage of 1620 with 18 pupils, grades 1-8, at an Amish school last Friday. The plate on the right is filled with “hard tack”, a very hard cracker-like biscuit, she shares with her audience to demonstrate one of the staple foods 102 passengers ate on the Mayflower voyage, only the pilgrims did not have fresh hardtack. Theirs was filled with maggots and weevils. (The two Turkey Hill trucks represent the length of the 90′ Mayflower, about the same as two tractor trailer trucks end to end.)
(Click on photo for larger view)

“God Blessed Them” (Part 1)

Note: The first part of this week will be a short three part series based upon God’s first words to humans following Creation.

Message summary: Today let us consider the blessing in God’s design and determine we will be obedient to His commands. “In fact, this is love for God: to keep His commands. And His commands are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3).

ListenListen to our message on your audio player.

“God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number'” (Genesis 1:28).

Most all of our US readers are looking forward to Thanksgiving Day. In the course of our visits as chaplains to various companies and special holiday functions, this becomes a source of conversation that spans all racial, ethnic, religious, age or whatever else that often divides people. The concept of thankfulness is pretty universally understood (although not necessarily practiced). One our companies gave each employee a turkey and the Vietnamese ladies were especially excited, providing us a good connection point. All you have to do is draw with your hands the shape of a big fat turkey and they know just what you’re talking about.

In one company we sat next to an elderly Plain couple at a banquet and inquired about their family and Thanksgiving plans. They told us they have six children, 32 grandchildren and 32 great grandchildren. For their gathering they will meet in a school and expect to have over 100 direct family members for the meal (including in-laws). Another interesting aspect about this family is that, except for one grandchild, they all live within 15 miles of each other. They, and their children, have certainly followed God’s command to “be fruitful and increase in number”.

Let us consider the Creation account in the Bible and specifically the creation of humans. Following the creation act “God blessed them”. What a wonderful truth to muse upon. We all need to consider the manifold blessings of the Lord and Thanksgiving is a great time to focus on His blessings. Today let us consider the first blessing.

The Lord’s first words to humans was a command and a blessing. “Be fruitful and increase in number.” He had directly created the first humans, Adam and Eve, but had placed a capability within them to reproduce. We are all a result of that divinely designed reproductive capability!

This reproductive mechanism was designed by the Creator at Creation and is part of what He called “very good” in Genesis 1:31. As far as humans the first children were born after the Fall (Adam and Eve’s disobedience in the Garden of Eden). In my view this suggests the Fall occurred shortly after Creation. The incentive and result of being fruitful are both part of God’s original creation design.

The blessing of the incentive to being fruitful:

God created a powerful incentive to “Be fruitful and increase in number” by making the act of creating new life one of life’s greatest pleasures. The human sex drive is not a result of evolution or the Fall but is part of God’s design at Creation. But God placed specific and easily understandable restrictions on this act. Later in chapter two we read, “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). This forms the foundation of marriage and sexuality.

The Bible consistently and clearly teaches that marriage and sexual expression is solely to be between a husband and wife who are in a covenantal marital union.

Just as the tree was a test of obedience to Adam and Eve in the Garden, these restrictions have been an ongoing test to the human race. We see failure all throughout the Bible times and human history with no signs of abatement in our own. Actually, with mankind’s increasing rebellion toward God and His commands, we see an increase in these deviations from the original design to the point that evil is being called good.

The blessing of the result of being fruitful:

God created a powerful result of being fruitful and increasing in number by making children another one of life’s greatest pleasures. Psalm 125:3 states, “Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from Him.” When we visit with people a very common topic of conversation is children and grandchildren and the joy they bring, although most also acknowledge they deal with various challenges in raising a family, sometimes heartbreaking situations!

In God’s design He has instructed parents not only to be fruitful in having children but to care for them as well. Even before the first child was born God said, “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). In considering this verse we correctly tend to focus on the establishment of a new relationship, but “leaves his father and mother” teaches the pattern that a father and mother will care for their children.

Just as rebellion against God has severely marred God’s design for sexuality so has this rebellion severely marred God’s design in the intended blessing of children. This is seen in many ways from elective abortion, child neglect and abuse and many other ways.

Today let us consider the blessing in God’s design and determine we will be obedient to His commands. “In fact, this is love for God: to keep His commands. And His commands are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3).

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, Your commands to Adam and Eve included that of being fruitful and increasing in number”. They multiplied and here we are many generations later doing the same thing. Thank you for the blessing of our sexuality which is in your design that we be fruitful. We want to honor You and our mate by remaining devout and pure in our sexuality. As we consider our Thanksgiving blessings one of the first things we give thanks for is our family. Though few of us were raised in a family that was without its weaknesses, we’re thankful that our parents cared for us, placed a roof over our heads, provided for our childhood needs and helped prepare us for our adult responsibilities. Psalm 68:6 tells us that You “set the lonely in families”; it’s part of Your plan to fulfill our lives and serves as a model of Your loving and tender role as our Heavenly Father. May we love and serve our families well, for it is the greatest and most important responsibility we’re given while dwelling here below. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.


Thomas and Percy at the Strasbug Railroad 11/17/17
This last weekend Thomas and Percy were busy at the Strasburg Railroad. Ester took this photo on the way to the Amish school last Friday. When available Ester travels with Brooksyne to her Mayflower appointments and assists her in setting up and distributing the sample foods to the audience.
(Click on photo for larger view)

Mast Farm corn maze, Lancaster County, PA (from Google Earth) Click to enlarge
I enjoy geographically exploring using Google Earth. I found this corn maze in eastern Lancaster County which appeared upside down on the map, making it hard to read. So I copied it and turned it around. This is the Mast Farm but it’s too late this year for a visit to their corn maze!
(Click on photo for larger view)

Amish field work, Lancaster County, PA 11/17/17 (Click to enlarge)
Last Friday Jesse and Moses were baling corn fodder on a sunny Autumn day.
(Click on photo for larger view)


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“You Alone Can Rescue”  Video  Matt Redman  This was one of the songs Brooksyne sang yesterday as part of the choir as they led us in worship.

A Suggestion for a Family Tradition from our friend Bob Southard: After the turkey, the cranberries, the pie, we all get out our Bibles to read our favorite thanksgiving verse. From the youngest to the oldest we share God’s Word and tell why it is so special to us!

Finally today:
Friday morning I walked into the marketing department of “Kleen-Rite”, a company that sells supplies to the car was industry. They had just made a video promoting the newest Little Tree air fresheners and gave me two of the samples used in the video. So I suppose the little tree air fresheners hanging in each of our vehicles are famous. We like “True North” the best! Video

Special Thanksgiving Resources
We offer these resources to families and church leaders to enrich the spiritual impact of the Thanksgiving holiday. We will post these resources through Thanksgiving Day here in the US (November 27).

Thorns“Thankful For The Thorns”: A family reading and exercise that is a wonderful way to give a thoughtful focus around your Thanksgiving Table. The Thanksgiving celebration typically includes family coming together for a huge meal and hopefully a heartfelt prayer of thankfulness. However it can often be difficult to have a spiritually oriented conversation. Why not add some stimulating discussion about the ways God has worked in your life over the past year! Some of you are not in charge and are only visitors at your Thanksgiving gathering, but if it is possible share together around the table the theme of “Thankful for the Thorns” (printable webpage).

“A Thanksgiving family exercise” (pdf) We have used this questionnaire as a stimulus for discussion among family members in the past in our home. We encourage you to share results around the table at Thanksgiving before or after the meal.

A Thanksgiving prayer: Written by Joe Sherer, a pastor friend of ours and shared as the benediction at our community Thanksgiving Eve service several years ago. (webpage) For those who enjoy written prayers this would be a beautiful prayer to read together at the Thanksgiving table.

A Thanksgiving Scripture reading: A selection of Old and New Testament readings dealing with thankfulness appropriate for church, family and personal readings. (pdf) (Suitable for printing out and copying.)

We appreciated singing the traditional Thanksgiving hymns. Here are several classics that you may or may not have heard this season.

“In Everything Give Thanks”  Video   Charlotte Ritchie, Jeff & Sheri Easter  This song will bring joy to your heart!

“Now Thank We All Our God”  Video  Best Loved Hymns

“Come Ye Thankful People Come”  Video  Traditional version
Contemporary version but thankfully maintaining same tune and lyrics Video

“Thanksgiving Medley” (We Gather Together, For The Beauty Of The Earth, Come Ye Thankful People Come)  Video  Studio Musicians

“Give Thanks”  Video  Don Moen

“Thank You Lord”  Video  Community Choir at a Lancaster Day of Prayer event in 2008.

“Thank You Lord For Saving My Soul”  Video  Holland Davis

“Be Magnified”  Video   Kim Hill

“Thanks”  Video  Marshall Hall and the Homecoming Singers

“I Want To Thank You”  Video  Karen Peck and New River  This is a song expressing thankfulness to the many people who impact our lives and also reminds us of the blessing of seemingly insignificant expressions of faith.  From the Gaither Homecoming series.

“Thank You Lord For Your Blessings On Me”  Video  Gordon Mote & Jason Crabb

“I’m Forever Grateful”  Video  Willow Creek

“When I Thank Him For What He Has Done”  Video  The Cathedrals

“Worthy Is The Lamb, Crown Him, Crown Him With Many Crowns”  Video  Travis Cottrell

“Thank You, Lord”  Video  Dennis Jernigan

“Thank You For Loving Me”  Video  Tommy Walker

“10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)”  Video  Matt Redman

“For These Reasons”  Video  Lincoln Brewster

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.

“Grumbling Or Grateful?”

November 17, 2017

Thanksgiving display
The illustrative display Brooksyne uses at her Pilgrim presentation. The plate on the right is filled with “hard tack”, a very hard cracker-like biscuit she uses to demonstrate one of the staple foods the people ate on the Mayflower, only theirs was not fresh and most biscuits were filled with maggots and weevils.

“Grumbling Or Grateful?”

Note: Today’s message is longer than most since it has a lengthy historical section. Although we encourage readers to read the historical background the place the exposition begins is marked.

Message summary: In so many ways life has ongoing forks in the road. We can go down the road of grumbling or we can take the road of gratitude. The choice is ours!

Due to the length of today’s message a podcast was not prepared.

“Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!” (James 5:9). “In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The Israelites said to them, ‘If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death'” (Exodus 16:2,3). “These people are grumblers and faultfinders” (Jude 16a).

Brooksyne and Ester Pilgrim presentation c1997For some 20 years, starting during our years of living in New England, Brooksyne has been making a presentation to various public and Christian schools, church groups, and senior groups. It’s about the perilous journey the 41 pilgrims (separatists) made in 1620 along with 61 others they referred to as strangers who came to settle in the “New” England. Today she will share the presentation with the “scholars” (as the Amish call students) in a one room Amish schoolhouse where she expects to have a very attentive class of children from 1st through 8th grades.

Historical background:

The Mayflower voyage took 66 days since it was a sail boat entirely reliant on the winds for travel. Most all who boarded the Mayflower (which was a cargo ship, not a passenger ship) wore the same clothing the entire voyage. Often soaked from the treacherous storms (one so severe that the main beam in the boat was split and nearly caused the boat to sink), they were crowded into a cabin made to sleep 30 instead of the 80 who attempted to sleep there. The main cabin was only five feet tall where the pilgrims spent their long days at sea. Fleas and lice covered the passenger’s hair and wool clothing. Seasickness was the order of the day for most.

Their food consisted of hardtack, described as “hard as rocks”, dried beef, dried pork, salted fish, cheese which quickly molded, dried peas and beans. Rats, roaches, maggots and weevils had infiltrated the hardtack. The pilgrims sought to soften the hardtack by dipping it in their coffee, forcing the weevils to float at the top of their cups afterward. They decided it would be easier to digest their hardtack by eating after dark so they wouldn’t see the infested critters. The water quickly contaminated so beer was consumed both by adults and children to prevent dehydration. Sickness was rampant due to lack of hygiene. Privacy was non-existent. Does that sound like what you want on your next cruise?

MayflowerThe pilgrims were mocked and ridiculed by the 30 profane sailors on board. When they had prayers, read Scripture and sang hymns the sailors belittled their faith. They laughed and called them “glib-glabbety puke stockings” as they would often throw up when the sea was especially unsettled.

There is little doubt that many of them had to wonder if they had made the right decision to be pioneers in the new world seeking to find a place where they could worship God freely. All of them had left loved ones behind, even young children. In the midst of it all God was with them and heard their prayers. The Scriptures sustained them from day to day. They surely quoted together the Shepherd’s Psalm from Psalm 23 often. The hymns encouraged and inspired them and brought joy in place of sorrow and sickness.

Upon landing 66 days later in Provincetown at the tip of Cape Cod, rather than Virginia as was planned, they immediately offered a prayer to God. Gov. William Bradford describes the scene: “Being thus arrived in a good harbor, and brought safe to land, they fell upon their knees, and blessed the God of heaven who had brought them over the vast and furious ocean and delivered them from all the perils and miseries thereof…”

I wonder how much Christian character was developed during the long voyage of the Pilgrims.  They would either choose to grumble or to grow in their faith.  Interestingly, our witness to other believers and non-believers is most effective when they see us remain consistent during the hardships of life.  This was true of the pilgrims on board the Mayflower.

Remember when I told you the sailors taunted and ridiculed them over the 66 day voyage. They thought themselves stronger and better than the passengers on board.  But within a few weeks of landing they were among the many who would become very sick and laid right alongside the pilgrims in their makeshift hospital. The pilgrims prayed over the sailors and tended to their physical needs as some of them lay dying. The sailors’ attitudes changed and they admitted in the end, the pilgrims were very strong and brave people.

Exposition:

Today, we ask you, are you living with a healthy outlook, confident of God’s love and providential care, even during life’s inevitable seasons of “difficulty”? Or are you focusing on the hardship you face? If so, it will lead to grumbling and pouting. William Law, who lived in the early 1700’s, observed “Whenever you find yourself disposed to uneasiness or murmuring at anything that is the effect of God’s providence, look upon yourself as denying either the wisdom or goodness of God.”

Grumbling (or whining) is our reaction to a perceived unfairness. “I don’t deserve this” or “It’s not fair”, we may say or certainly think. But there’s a wonderful theological truth expressed early in the Bible by Abraham that we do well to hide deep within our souls. “Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Genesis 18:25). The answer to that question is always “Yes”.

Often our concept of fairness is based on how we perceive others are doing, especially if we think they’re doing better or they are not having a trial like we are. If they are doing better or not dealing with a trial we may say, “that’s not fair”. But we rarely tend to apply this sense of fairness when we are doing better than others!

Pastor Beau Eckert made an interesting point regarding fairness in last Sunday’s message.* He referred to this verse in Romans 5:19, “For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.” We may tend to focus on the perceived fairness of the first part of the verse, “For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners” and reason “that’s not fair”. But we should focus on the second part, “even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.” That’s certainly not fair either, that’s grace!

In so many ways life has ongoing forks in the road. We can go down the road of grumbling or we can take the road of gratitude. The choice is ours! Our spirits are encouraged when we remember that difficulties and hardships encountered in this life will be nonexistent when we enter our eternal dwelling in heaven. Neither death, sorrow, crying or pain will exist, for the former things have passed away. I’m looking forward to that day, but until then I want to be counted among the true and faithful, and the grateful people of God.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, it is impossible for me to give sincere thanks to You unless I have a grateful heart. Open my eyes to see and verbalize the little blessings that come especially when I’m walking through dark clouds of difficulty. My daily blessings, by far, outnumber my troubles. Good health, comfortable shelter, a loving family, steady work, caring friendships and many other blessings seem all too common so I often take them for granted. At times I even feel entitled to these blessings. It is when I’m deprived of a particular blessing that I choose to either grumble or suddenly recognize a blessing that I’ve overlooked. Father, I thank You for Your daily provisions.  Help me not to wait until trouble erupts before I look to You. Instead I want to be grateful for Your goodness toward me for past blessings and to remain confident that You will be just as faithful in providing for my future needs. And remind me to never take personal credit but realize that all good things are from You. In Your name, Jesus, I thank You today!  Amen.


"Thou Shalt Not Whine"

Although “Thou Shalt Not Whine” is not included in the Ten Commandments it’s certainly a good Bible-based rule to live by!

Brooksyne and Ester Pilgrim presentation 2010
Here’s a photo I took of Brooksyne and Ester before they left for a Pilgrim presentation in 2010. (I don’t suppose Ester still fits in her Pilgrim dress from her grade school years!)  Interesting note is that while dressing for this presentation in New England Brooksyne really stood out if we were to go to a store afterwards.  Here in Lancaster County we have such a variety of religious-based dress styles that her attire would not stand out among those who see our plain folks on a daily basis. People probably just assume she’s part of some Plain church group!

Your Heart's Delight Banquet 11/16/17
Last night we attended and participated in “Your Heart’s Delight” Christmas Banquet, where we serve as chaplains in Lebanon County. We enjoy these gatherings where we have opportunity to meet spouses and other family members. “Your Heart’s Delight” is a wholesale gift and home decor supplier.

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“That’s Just What Grace Does”  Video  Brian Free & Assurance

* We have been attending Calvary Church for the last six months and Pastor Beau Eckert is in a series taking the congregation through the Bible Story. Apart from being live streamed the messages are placed up for online viewing as well. Sunday’s message dealt with Genesis 4-11 and was titled “The Worst”. Here is a link to the entire message or to the part referred to in today’s message about fairness.

Special Thanksgiving Resources
We offer these resources to families and church leaders to enrich the spiritual impact of the Thanksgiving holiday. We will post these resources through Thanksgiving Day here in the US (November 27).

We appreciated singing the traditional Thanksgiving hymns. Here are several classics that you may or may not have heard this season.

“In Everything Give Thanks”  Video   Charlotte Ritchie, Jeff & Sheri Easter  This song will bring joy to your heart!

“Now Thank We All Our God”  Video  Best Loved Hymns

“Come Ye Thankful People Come”  Video  Traditional version
Contemporary version but thankfully maintaining same tune and lyrics Video

“Thanksgiving Medley” (We Gather Together, For The Beauty Of The Earth, Come Ye Thankful People Come)  Video  Studio Musicians

“Give Thanks”  Video  Don Moen

“Thank You Lord”  Video  Community Choir at a Lancaster Day of Prayer event in 2008.

“Thank You Lord For Saving My Soul”  Video  Holland Davis

Thorns“Thankful For The Thorns”: A family reading and exercise that is a wonderful way to give a thoughtful focus around your Thanksgiving Table. The Thanksgiving celebration typically includes family coming together for a huge meal and hopefully a heartfelt prayer of thankfulness. However it can often be difficult to have a spiritually oriented conversation. Why not add some stimulating discussion about the ways God has worked in your life over the past year! Some of you are not in charge and are only visitors at your Thanksgiving gathering, but if it is possible share together around the table the theme of “Thankful for the Thorns” (printable webpage).

“A Thanksgiving family exercise” (pdf) We have used this questionnaire as a stimulus for discussion among family members in the past in our home. We encourage you to share results around the table at Thanksgiving before or after the meal.

A Thanksgiving prayer: Written by Joe Sherer, a pastor friend of ours and shared as the benediction at our community Thanksgiving Eve service several years ago. (webpage) For those who enjoy written prayers this would be a beautiful prayer to read together at the Thanksgiving table.

A Thanksgiving Scripture reading: A selection of Old and New Testament readings dealing with thankfulness appropriate for church, family and personal readings. (pdf) (Suitable for printing out and copying.)

Today and all through this week we will share a selection of Thanksgiving music.

“Be Magnified”  Video   Kim Hill

“Thanks”  Video  Marshall Hall and the Homecoming Singers

“I Want To Thank You”  Video  Karen Peck and New River  This is a song expressing thankfulness to the many people who impact our lives and also reminds us of the blessing of seemingly insignificant expressions of faith.  From the Gaither Homecoming series.

“Thank You Lord For Your Blessings On Me”  Video  Gordon Mote & Jason Crabb

“I’m Forever Grateful”  Video  Willow Creek

“When I Thank Him For What He Has Done”  Video  The Cathedrals

“Worthy Is The Lamb, Crown Him, Crown Him With Many Crowns”  Video  Travis Cottrell

“Thank You, Lord”  Video  Dennis Jernigan

“Thank You For Loving Me”  Video  Tommy Walker

“10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)”  Video  Matt Redman

“For These Reasons”  Video  Lincoln Brewster

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.

“Dying Well”

November 16, 2017

Autumn beauty (Photo  by Dois High)
Autumn beauty
(Photo  by Doris High)

“Dying Well”

Message summary: The apostle Paul’s perspective on life and death is so liberating.

ListenListen to our message on your audio player.

“We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8).

My brother Pat shared an account concerning a friend of his who died following a long illness. At his time of death he was with his wife and family. After expressing his love to them he raised his hands and said, “To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord” just before he died.

Pat didn’t know whether his friend had purposefully planned ahead for this inevitable event and make his dying words a faith declaration or if it was a spontaneous Spirit-led declaration. Either way, what a confident, victorious way to depart this earth!

Bill BrightBill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade for Christ, had a significant influence in my life since I received much of my early Christian discipling through this ministry. In an interview toward the end of his earthly life he offers this perspective.  “The most important moment in anyone’s life as a believer is the last breath because the next breath is in heaven.  To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. A Christian can’t lose, if we live, we go on serving Him. That’s an adventure. If we die, we’re in heaven with Him, and that’s incredible.”

The verse my brother’s friend quoted is part of a teaching by the apostle Paul.  Notice how he introduces the concept with the words, “We are confident”. Of all things in which to be confident this is surely at the top, an assurance of our future home due to what Christ has done for us.

The present tense “are” describes Paul’s attitude as one of continuous, courageous confidence because of God’s express purpose and promise to bring Paul (and all believers) to glory and because of the Spirit who indwelt him and strengthened him to continually fight the good fight of faith. This courageous confidence was not a passing emotion for Paul but a continual state of mind. Paul’s courageous mindset enabled him to face death not with fear but with great confidence. (Precept Austin commentary note on 2 Corinthians 5:8)

The apostle Paul’s perspective on life and death is so liberating. After his conversion on the Damascus road he began experiencing the great joy that comes in living for Christ. In confidence he faces death, with a willingness “to be absent from the body”. Indeed at our death, though our body remains, our spirit departs to be with the Lord. We are “present with the Lord”.

Today, what a joy it is to follow Christ and have a deep, abiding assurance of His love. When the time comes for our departure we shed our frail, aging, and mortal body and abandon our residency in this world that is day by day sliding into decadence and destruction. We will “gain” and be better off by far with our immortal, ageless, and healthy bodies residing in a place that is timeless, ageless, and sinless. That’s what we live for! Praise the Lord, today I am a child of the King with my home address on earth, but some “tomorrow”, as a child of the king, my home address will be heaven. Won’t you join me there as we finish well here.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, as I live out my time here on this earth, I’m so glad that I belong to You. You hold my right hand and guide me with Your continuous presence and daily bread which is leading me to a glorious destiny. Whom have I in heaven but You and I desire You more than anything on earth. My health may fail and my spirit may even grow weak, but Father, You remain the strength of my heart and You are my portion forever. My Refuge, my Fortress and my Deliverer, I will joyfully tell of Your mighty works as I seek to finish well on this side. I long for the day that You call me to my eternal home, when I will be absent from the body on this side and present with You on the eternal side of glory. Amen.


Another touching death message:

In September we shared a message about a tragic vehicle accident in our area in which two men were killed. Tim, a minister friend of ours, was a friend with Bob, one of the two men struck and killed by a vehicle. He conducted the funeral service and shared with us how at the service Bob’s daughter expressed a very moving tribute to her dad.

She shared how growing up her dad had always insisted that every departure, even going to bed each evening, be accompanied by a verbal expression of “I love you” to one another in his family. He did this when his girls were young and continued to do so when they were adults. And of course he did so with his wife.

The accident followed his car breaking down along a busy 4 lane highway here in Lancaster County. Bob, the motorist, had called a tow truck driver who had arrived and loaded the car. Just as they were preparing to leave a drunk driver slammed into them, killing them both (Bob and tow truck driver).

Just moments prior to the accident he had texted his wife informing her of the breakdown. He took a photo and shared “I Love You”. Unknown to him, that would be his final message to the one he loved the most.


Cerwin and Doris HighToday’s lead photo of the Autumn scene was taken by Doris High. We met Doris and her husband Cerwin at a Transport For Christ retreat ten years ago and have often used her photos here on Daily Encouragement. She is a prolific photo blogger with regular posts of outstanding photos on her blog “My Journey“.

Cerwin and Doris have four married children and sixteen grandchildren. Two granddaughters are married and we have one great-grandson. They serve with Transport For Christ – a ministry to truck drivers – and love life in rural Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Finish Well”  Video  Karen Peck and New River

Special Thanksgiving Resources
Each year we offer these resources to families and church leaders to enrich the spiritual impact of the Thanksgiving holiday. We will post these resources through Thanksgiving Day here in the US (November 23).

Thorns“Thankful For The Thorns”: A family reading and exercise that is a wonderful way to give a thoughtful focus around your Thanksgiving Table. The Thanksgiving celebration typically includes family coming together for a huge meal and hopefully a heartfelt prayer of thankfulness. However it can often be difficult to have a spiritually oriented conversation. Why not add some stimulating discussion about the ways God has worked in your life over the past year! Some of you are not in charge and are only visitors at your Thanksgiving gathering, but if it is possible share together around the table the theme of “Thankful for the Thorns” (printable webpage).

“A Thanksgiving family exercise” (pdf) We have used this questionnaire as a stimulus for discussion among family members in the past in our home. We encourage you to share results around the table at Thanksgiving before or after the meal.

A Thanksgiving prayer: Written by Joe Sherer, a pastor friend of ours and shared as the benediction at our community Thanksgiving Eve service several years ago. (webpage) For those who enjoy written prayers this would be a beautiful prayer to read together at the Thanksgiving table.

A Thanksgiving Scripture reading: A selection of Old and New Testament readings dealing with thankfulness appropriate for church, family and personal readings. (pdf) (Suitable for printing out and copying.)

Today and all through this period we will share a selection of Thanksgiving music.

“In Everything Give Thanks”  Video   Charlotte Ritchie, Jeff & Sheri Easter  This song will bring joy to your heart!

“Now Thank We All Our God”  Video  Best Loved Hymns

“Come Ye Thankful People Come”  Video  Traditional version
Contemporary version but thankfully maintaining same tune and lyrics Video

“Thanksgiving Medley” (We Gather Together, For The Beauty Of The Earth, Come Ye Thankful People Come)  Video  Studio Musicians

“Give Thanks”  Video  Don Moen

“Thank You Lord”  Video  Community Choir at a Lancaster Day of Prayer event in 2008.

“Thank You Lord For Saving My Soul”  Video  Holland Davis

“Be Magnified”  Video   Kim Hill

“Thanks”  Video  Marshall Hall and the Homecoming Singers

“I Want To Thank You”  Video  Karen Peck and New River  This is a song expressing thankfulness to the many people who impact our lives and also reminds us of the blessing of seemingly insignificant expressions of faith.  From the Gaither Homecoming series.

“Thank You Lord For Your Blessings On Me”  Video  Gordon Mote & Jason Crabb

“I’m Forever Grateful”  Video  Willow Creek

“When I Thank Him For What He Has Done”  Video  The Cathedrals

“Worthy Is The Lamb, Crown Him, Crown Him With Many Crowns”  Video  Travis Cottrell

“Thank You, Lord”  Video  Dennis Jernigan

“Thank You For Loving Me”  Video  Tommy Walker

“10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)”  Video  Matt Redman

“For These Reasons”  Video  Lincoln Brewster

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.

“Honey In My Mouth”

November 15, 2017

Lebanon County farmhouse 11/14/17
Yesterday I passed this Lebanon County farmhouse on Spangler Road
(click to enlarge)

“Honey In My Mouth”

Message summary: The Psalmist wrote, “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” Throughout the day may we all taste of the goodness of the Lord as it lingers in our thoughts and thereby in our actions! Perhaps we all need a sign that reads, “Spiritual Munching Allowed!” or better yet, “Spiritual Munching Encouraged!”

ListenListen to our message on your audio player.

“How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Psalm 119:103). “My son, eat honey, for it is good, Yes, the honey from the comb is sweet to your taste” (Proverbs 24:13). “Then He said to me, ‘Son of man, eat what you find; eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel.’ So I opened my mouth, and He fed me this scroll. He said to me, ‘Son of man, feed your stomach and fill your body with this scroll which I am giving you.’ Then I ate it, and it was sweet as honey in my mouth” (Ezekiel 3:1-3).

Bit O HoneyOne of Brooksyne’s favorite candies is “Bit-O-Honey” a small, chewy morsel with a rich, creamy, honey-nutty flavor. It’s been around since 1924 so she even had it when she was a little girl! Preparing for a long trip we might buy a bag and share it among family members since “the chew” makes the long journey just a little sweeter (especially if we are caught in a traffic jam!).

Physically, munching can lead to over indulgence and undesirable weight gain. With the availability of single serving packaged foods, 24 hour convenience stores, and with food at our disposal most anywhere we go, munching abounds. Some wouldn’t even have a sense of what three square meals a day mean! But there is an area of life where munching is in fact a good thing because it contributes to spiritual growth.

I read that when a three-year-old child starts learning Torah in a Jewish school for the first time, it is customary to place a little honey on the letters of the alphabet, which the child then licks happily, so the child learns to associate the Torah with delight and good taste. What a great idea to sweeten God’s word to our children’s hearts!

The ability to partake of spiritual nutrition, such as meditative munching on God’s Word throughout the day, is healthy. It might be a Bible verse shared by a friend, a brief prayer at work with a fellow worker or an edifying Christian song we hear on the radio. We hope for many of you healthy munching on spiritual morsels throughout your day includes this brief Daily Encouragement message!

This morning Brooksyne read a passage of Scripture to me that she’s been meditating on for the past three days from I Samuel 12:20-25, especially the warning from Samuel, “Do not turn aside; for then you would go after empty things which cannot profit or deliver, for they are nothing” (v. 21). When she shared it she asked me where I thought it was from and I said Deuteronomy. I don’t recall ever giving attention to it so it will probably be a text in a future Daily Encouragement message

We need to “chew” on God’s Word much like dairy cows and other ruminating animals chew their cud. Contented dairy cows can chew their cud eight hours a day totaling 30,000 chews daily. Now, if we could turn God’s Word over and over in our minds throughout the day I believe we’d have a lot more victory and joy in our lives, it would prompt us to resist wrongdoing, and it would surely spill out to those around us either by our words or actions!

The Psalmist wrote, “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” Throughout the day may we all taste of the goodness of the Lord as it lingers in our thoughts and thereby in our actions! Perhaps we all need a sign that reads, “Spiritual Munching Allowed!” or better yet, “Spiritual Munching Encouraged!”

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, deep in my soul I have peace and reassurance as I “chew” on a particular Scripture verse throughout my day. You speak to me through Your Word and it refreshes and often challenges me as it lingers on my mind. It helps me to focus not just on the here and now, but on that which was spoken thousands of years ago or on our future dwelling in the promised land of heaven. Sometimes You use the words of a Christian song and it’s recurring tune to fill my thoughts as I go about my work. At times You bring to mind the words of a Christian friend or a written message that draws me from indifference or complacency and inspires me to meditate on the Living Word. You satisfy my hungry heart and fill my thirsty soul with Your living water. Help me to indulge regularly in life changing eternal truths from Your Holy Word.  Amen.


Brooksyne's Pilgrim presentation, Calvary Homes, Lancaster 2017
Yesterday Brooksyne shared about the 1620 Mayflower Voyage and the first Thanksgiving with a group of residents at Calvary Homes, a local senior living center. We will share more about this presentation in Friday’s message when she has a rather interesting place to share.

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“As We Speak”  Video  Greater Vision

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.

“Salt and Light”

November 14, 2017

Book backyard view
This beautiful country setting was captured in a photo by our friend, Kay Book, as she looked out over the fields past their yard on Mount Pleasant Rd., Mount Joy.

“Salt and Light”

Message summary: Let us each spread salt and let our light shine before men as we seek to live for Jesus. May they see our good deeds (a result of God’s grace) and praise our Father in heaven!

ListenListen to our message on your audio player.

“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:13-16).

Salt mill with light Brooksyne enjoys kitchen gadgets. One of her favorite stops when we travel is visiting a kitchen store. She enjoys cooking and baking and I provide ample evidence of indulging in her 41 years of culinary competence!

The other day she purchased a neat set of battery-operated salt and pepper mills. Push a button and the grinder comes on along with a small LED light shining on whatever you are seasoning! Salt and light; what a good combination! (Pictured is Brooksyne salting my tomatoes but unfortunately the light did not show up in the photo. She told me it looks like the shaker is dangling in the air, but she is actually holding it.)

In Christ’s teaching in the Sermon on the Mount, immediately following the Beatitudes, He uses two very common, recognizable illustrations; salt and light, to demonstrate the responsibilities His followers have in the world in which they live. What a tribute to our Lord’s wise teaching. He uses an illustration that His followers can always identify regardless of when or where they live. Indeed salt and light are universally recognized.

Today, all over the world faithful followers of Christ seek to be the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world”. We are all called to sprinkle liberally the spiritual salt and spread the light of Christ.

Christ teaching at the Sermon on the MountPastor David Guzic writes,

“A key thought in both the pictures of salt and light is distinction. Salt is needed because the world is rotting and decaying and if our Christianity is also rotting and decaying, it won’t be any good. Light is needed because the world is in darkness, and if our Christianity imitates the darkness, we have nothing to show the world. To be effective we must seek and display the Christian distinctive. We can never affect the world for Jesus by becoming like the world. The figures of salt and light also remind us that the life marked by the beatitudes is not to be lived in isolation. We often assume that those inner qualities can only be developed or displayed in isolation from the world, but Jesus wants us to live them out before the world. Jesus points to a breadth in the impact of disciples that must have seemed almost ridiculous at the time. How could these humble Galileans salt the earth, or light the world? But they did. Jesus never challenges us to become salt or light. He simply says that we are – and we are either fulfilling or failing that responsibility.”

A sprinkle of salt or a small dot of light may not seem to make much of a difference but the accumulative impact of hundreds of millions of Christ followers is making a massive difference although many who walk in darkness resent it. One day the world will see what it’s like without the presence of Christians and it will not be a pretty picture!

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12) and how wonderful that He would call each of His followers to spread His light.  Individually our call is not to light the entire world, but each of us is called to light our own God-ordained part. Individually the light we produce may seem negligible, but collectively we produce a lot of light!  It is simply not known how different things would be without the millions of believers that walk about daily reflecting the light of Jesus Christ.

Today let us each spread salt and let our light shine before men as we seek to live for Jesus. May they see our good deeds (a result of God’s grace) and praise our Father in heaven!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Lord Jesus, as I commit myself to You this day, I ask that You make me a glowing ember of Your truth, wisdom, and compassionate mercy. I want my light to shine for You so that all glory will be directed back to You, my source of light. If I find myself in the midst of a circle of employees engaged in ungodly conversation help me not to blend in. But rather I want the light of Your glory to be present in my conversation. May it be full of grace seasoned with salt, so that I will know how to respond to each person in accordance to Your Word. Remind me that it is for Your glory that I do these things, not for the praise of others nor for personal advancement. Lord, help me to reach just one today with an unexpected act of kindness or thoughtful word that will direct the recipient’s thoughts toward my Father in heaven. In Your name, Jesus, I pray.  Amen.

See Colossians 4:6

Blue Mountain ridge near Lickdale, PA 11/7/17
Last week when we visited Swatara State Park we saw this farm lane leading up to the base of the Blue Mountain ridge.

Color near Swatara Creek 11/7/17
Pretty colors along Swatara Creek


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“What the World Needs to Hear”  Video  Booth Brothers

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.

Old Windmill Farm 11/12/17 (Ester)
A beautiful Sunday afternoon on the Old Windmill Farm.
(Photo by Ester)

“Proclaiming The Name Of The Lord”

Message summary: Today, let us, like Moses, renew our covenant and faithfully proclaim the name of the Lord. Let us continually with joy “praise the greatness of our God” for who He is and for His remarkable, supernatural and steadfast presence in our lives.

ListenListen to our message on your audio player.

“I will proclaim the name of the LORD. Oh, praise the greatness of our God!” (Deuteronomy 32:3).

Sunday School craft project on skirtYesterday, following our church service, we were walking through the foyer preparing to leave when a little boy about 5 years old bumped into Brooksyne. A few minutes later as we walked through the parking lot she looked down and saw a piece of paper dangling on her skirt. She reached down to check and it was the little boy’s craft project, a multi-colored, heart-shaped presentation of the gospel made from construction paper. Apparently he had it in his hand when he bumped into Brooksyne and a staple had caught her skirt, kind of like a cockleburr.

It was too late to find the little boy, who probably wondered what happened to his Sunday School craft/book. If anyone reads this and knows a little boy named Brady who lost his Sunday School craft/gospel booklet*¹, we still have it and would be pleased to give it back to him!

But it did get us to thinking of our call to proclaim the name of the Lord. The little boy was inadvertently proclaiming the name of the Lord by sharing the gospel message. Many of our readers, including us, were exposed to the gospel message, through the wordless book either through Sunday School or VBS when we were children.

Wordless book As we grow older in our walk with the Lord there is a spiritual condition we must guard against. The teachings that we have known from an early age are no longer new to us.  We’ve seen just about everything (at least we may think we have). Some become bored in their walk, others run about seeking the latest fad teaching, spiritual experience, the coolest church, or popular worship songs. Sadly, there are those who succumb to what the apostle Paul called “every wind of strange doctrine” (Ephesians 4:14).

The daily text is a portion of a song that Moses recited to the people of Israel shortly before his death. Notice that Moses did not appear to have grown weary with the mighty God he served nor was he bored in his walk of faith. He had lived 120 years and this song was a renewed expression of what the latter 40 years of his life had been all about.

When he had dramatically heard from God at the burning bush he began a long journey of faithful service for the Lord. After repeatedly confronting Pharaoh, he led the people out of Egypt and through the desert and now gave them his final message on the plains east of the Jordan River.

Though Moses would not be entering the Promised Land, he accepts that bitter disappointment and maintains a positive, faith-filled outlook as expressed in the daily text where he declares before his audience, “I will proclaim the name of the LORD. Oh, praise the greatness of our God!”.

It’s a reminder to us of God’s call for each of our lives. It is also a reminder that we may not see every dream fulfilled on this side, but the joyous reality of heaven awaits the faithful. This is immeasurably more than the fulfillment of any dream on earth. *²

Today, let us, like Moses, renew our covenant and faithfully proclaim the name of the Lord. Let us continually with joy “praise the greatness of our God” for who He is and for His remarkable, supernatural and steadfast presence in our lives.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we proclaim Your greatness throughout the earth and we proclaim Your greatness in our lives. We who were once destined for eternal damnation, through the redemptive work of Jesus, now bow our knees and declare with our tongues that “Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father…. For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” And this hope leads us to life everlasting as we stay the course. Keep us faithful on our spiritual sojourn. In the name of Jesus, we pray.  Amen.

*¹ Wordless Book: The Wordless Book can be traced back to Charles H. Spurgeon in 1866. The little book attached to Brooksyne’s skirt had words included with the gospel message (color coded) put to the words of a poem:

  • My heart is black with sin until the Savior came in. (black)
  • His precious blood I know (red)
  • Has washed me white as snow. (white)
  • And in God’s Word I’m told, I’ll walk the streets of gold. (yellow)
  • What a wonderful, wonderful day, I’ll read my Bible and pray. (green)

*² Whenever our time on earth is done I suspect for most of us, like Moses, there is always something else we would have liked to have done regardless of how old we are. But when our appointed days are complete we gladly receive God’s call to heaven.


Old Windmill Farm Horse-drawn Hayride/Eagle Watch Tour

Old Windmill Farm eagle watch 11/12/17
Yesterday afternoon following church we drove over to the Old Windmill Farm to visit the Lapp family. Jesse wanted to take us out on a horse-drawn hay ride to see the eagles. Many eagles congregate on his property this time of year due to the Esbenshade Turkey Farm on the adjacent property. Esbenshade’s  is the oldest turkey farm in the US. Of course the turkeys are being dressed for Thanksgiving and there are a lot of tasty, easy picking morsels lying out in the field for the eagles to enjoy!

Horses watching eagles on Old Windmill Farm 11/12/17
During the ride the horses even seemed to be curious about the eagles.

Old Windmill Farm eagle watch 11/12/17
The eagles were resting in the trees around the property and Moses was on his pony trying to stir them up for some in-flight photos. However the combination of distance, being on a wagon and not having telephoto lenses resulted in less than optimum eagle photos.

Old Windmill Farm eagle watch 11/12/17
Daisy the goat seems to be in the middle of about anything that is happening on the Old Windmill Farm!

Daisy laying on cow 11/12/17
Daisy must have been tired after the bumpy hay ride. After we left Jesse took this photo of her resting after she found a nice, cozy, warm spot in the milking barn!

Old friends 11/11/17
Saturday evening we had some special friends over for dinner who were eating their dessert in this photo. Brooksyne invited our friends who are presently in pastoral service as well as two retired couples. They are seated across from their spouses: (starting in the foreground: Jesse & Wilma Dourte, John & Faithe Keefer, DJ (Doc) & Anna Mary Paglia. The Dourtes have been married 70 years; the Paglias for 69 years. The Webers and Keefers are the more recently married among the group:) Before our meal Anna Mary played the piano while we gathered in the living room and sang some of our favorite hymns. As the old saying goes, a fun time was had by all.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“It’s What He’s Done”  Video  Wilburn & Wilburn

“He Welcomes the Beggar”  Video   11th hour

An Old Windmill Farm guest prepared a video of their family visit to the farm. “I wanted to take the opportunity to thank your family for the wonderful experience over the weekend. My daughters had a fantastic time exploring and playing with the animals. I recorded parts of the trip and produced a small video for my daughter so she could share the experience with her friends.”  Video  (very well done!)

Bob Esbenshade, of Esbenshade Turkey Farm, talks turkeys  Video  (1 minute)

Finally today:

Eagle in tree on Old Windmill Farm 11/12/17
This is about the best we were able to do on cropping in to see an eagle up close!

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