Sheerlund Forest tree farm (photo by Mike Martin)
Sheerlund Forest Christmas tree farm near Reading, PA
(Photo by our friend Mike Martin)

“Strengthened, Faithful, Serving”

Message Summary: As we look back over 45 years of serving Christ we find great blessing in reflecting upon these three graces as well. When Paul experienced salvation on the Damascus Road he was given strength for a long record of faithful service to God. And thanks be to God for His outpouring of grace upon us, this is our testimony as well! And that is God’s promise for each reader. What a great joy to be appointed to His service!Note: Due to an early morning chaplain visit and long day of chaplaincy service we were unable to prepare a podcast for this message.

“I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that He considered me faithful, appointing me to His service” (1 Timothy 1:12).

In the course of our life’s journey we’ve met a lot of interesting people. Although the focus of our daily encouragement messages is spiritual we are blessed by people who live life faithfully and steadily. This last Wednesday I conducted a funeral service for Lavere, a man who was nearing 60 years of marriage and had worked his entire career of 45 years for the same company, both increasingly rare milestones. Today we will attend a retirement luncheon for a Jerry, a man who is retiring at 70. We will sure miss visiting with him in his office as he warmly welcomed our weekly visits.

It’s a joy to see people serving the Lord in a wide variety of ways. When we think of this service we may tend to consider those who have larger or famous ministries. Perhaps they pastor a large church, wrote best-selling books, have a television ministry and so forth. I could mention names here that many readers would immediately recognize.

Or we may consider those who have remarkable testimonies of deliverance from the ravages of sin and now live for the Risen Savior. I have met many from this walk of life and indeed we rejoice that God saves to the uttermost and will use all who submit to Him.

But the vast majority of Christ’s servants fit into neither of these categories. Of course all believers are redeemed from sin but a great majority have testimonies of preserving grace that restrained them from entering into a life of sin. They turned to Christ at an early age, usually due to the influence of godly parents, grandparents, and others in their life such as Sunday School teachers, youth leaders and so forth.

Oren and Naomi HofstetterMost of you reading this don’t know Oren and Naomi Hofstetter. They are an active ministry couple in our local church who serve the Lord in a variety of ways. Yesterday I am pretty sure I saw Oren passing me in his car and I just assumed he was probably out assisting someone in need. That’s the kind of people they are.

Oren and Naomi both turned to the Lord at an early age. They have a servant’s heart, much like Priscilla and Aquila, and demonstrate compassion in the way they care for hurting people.

As I observe the body of Christ whether in my present local church, churches that I have pastored, or churches that we visit we have been blessed by so many people like Oren and Naomi. Growing up I recall Joe and Pauline. In the early years of our pastoral ministry in northern Pennsylvania there were several families that greatly encouraged us as we planted a church in a community nearly 1000 miles from where we grew up. Sixteen years later in New England, an older couple, Bill and Veda, along with other good people were supportive and encouraging in our pastorate. And of course there are many, many others who come to mind as well.

What a blessing these folks are. I greatly appreciate pastors and other church leaders. I also appreciate the role the more famous members of Christ’s body have. I am grateful for those who have dramatic testimonies of great deliverance from sin.

But the backbone of our churches and in our daily lives are people like Oren and Naomi. We want you to consider your own church and community. You have folks like this and perhaps you might even blush to realize you may be numbered among them by your fellow brothers and sisters! We sure hope so.

Over the Thanksgiving season we especially emphasize an attitude of thankfulness and today’s Scripture expresses the highest form of thanksgiving; thanksgiving to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  In this text Paul specifies three graces he is thankful to Christ for:

1) He was given strength.
2) He was considered faithful.
3) He was appointed to service.

As we look back over 45 years of serving Christ we find great blessing in reflecting upon these three graces as well. When Paul experienced salvation on the Damascus Road he was given strength for a long record of faithful service to God. And thanks be to God for His outpouring of grace upon us, this is our testimony as well! And that is God’s promise for each reader. What a great joy to be appointed to His service!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we thank You for Your marvelous grace that was poured out in the sacrificial death of Your Son and is made available to all for salvation from sin. You want all men and women to be saved and come to knowledge of the truth. We’re grateful for those You raise up to be arms of compassion and instruments of blessing to others in the body of Christ and to those who walk in the ways of the world. Whether we were protected from the ravages of sin or we are experiencing Your restoring grace we thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given us strength; that He considered us faithful, appointing us to be His servants for the furtherance of the Gospel. Amen.

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
“Take My Life And Let It Be”  Video  Christ For The Nations

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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.)
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.

Kraybill Church Road sunset (Photo by Doug Maxwell)
Our next door neighbor, Doug, took this stunning photo of a sunset across the road from where we live.

“How God Got Ready For Christmas”

Message Summary: This Christmas season let us, with thankfulness and joy, recall the wonderful love that God demonstrated for fallen humanity as He prepared a “body” attired in flesh and blood when He sent His only begotten Son to this earth. And our response to God’s incomparable love and provision is to present our bodies as a living and holy sacrifice. Such a response is acceptable to God and our spiritual service of worship.

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“Therefore, when Christ came into the world, He said: ‘Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me'” (Hebrews 10:5). “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship” (Romans 12:1).

“Are you getting ready for Christmas?” That’s a conversation starter we are already hearing as we usher in the new month of December.  For many of us this means decorating, baking, shopping, special musical and drama events, parties, banquets then there’s more shopping and a host of other events, family, church and otherwise!

Getting ready for Christmas can be busy. We have several company Christmas banquets and parties to attend in our chaplain role. This Saturday I plan to bring in the ornaments and other decorations we store in our barn loft. Ester and Brooksyne decorate inside our house and I decorate outside, hanging a star on our barn loft door and a wreath on the front of our brick home.

Have you ever thought much about how God got ready for Christmas? His preparations of course were quite different than ours. The Bible speaks of the “Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world” (Revelation 13:8). Isaiah prophetically looked ahead and says of Christ, “He was led like a lamb to the slaughter” (Isaiah 53:7).  When John prepared the way for Christ’s ministry he declared, “Behold the Lamb of God!” (John 1:36).

The miraculous incarnation of Christ is astounding.  At Christmas we usually focus on the human dimension of “The Greatest Story Ever Told.” We read the accounts in Matthew and Luke of Mary and Joseph, the angels, the shepherds and the wise men.

But it seems our daily text gives a view from Christ’s perspective, “a body you prepared for me.” That “body” in one sense began in the way we all begin with a normal gestational period and birth.  The marvelous distinction in the preparation of the incarnate body of Christ is the mystery of His conception.

“But a body” contrasts the sacrifices of the bodies of animals with the ultimate, perfect sacrificial body, the Lamb of God, the incarnation of Jesus the eternal Son, which John Wesley said was “contracted to the span of a virgin’s womb.” This “body” ends the need for any and all animal bodies for sacrifices.

Now let us consider the most important way we can prepare for Christmas and, for that matter, it is the also the way we should live the remainder of our lives on this side of eternity. We ought to present our body as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is our spiritual service of worship (Romans 12:1).

This Christmas season let us, with thankfulness and joy, recall the wonderful love that God demonstrated for fallen humanity as He prepared a “body” attired in flesh and blood when He sent His only begotten Son to this earth. And our proper response to God’s incomparable love and provision is to present our bodies as a living and holy sacrifice. Such a response is acceptable to God and our spiritual service of worship.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Jesus, though You would ultimately surrender Your life at Calvary, You willingly took on flesh and lived among a very imperfect human race in a fallen world.  In great humility You stripped Yourself of the privilege, position, power and wealth You possessed in heaven. When You walked among Your people You experienced betrayal, misunderstanding, hatred and temptation, yet You were without sin. Even as You made necessary preparations to come to this earth and live among a sinful people, help us to prepare our heart, mind and soul to be among Your holy people that will make a spiritual difference on this side all the while growing our affection for our future eternal home. Just as You gave of Yourself so willingly help us to willingly give of ourselves as a fragrant offering to You and as a witness to this sin-darkened world.  In Your name, Jesus, we pray. Amen.

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
“Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus”  Video  Chris Tomlin and Christy Nockels

For additional study on today’s text see this online commentary

Finally today:

Marlin with wheelbarrow 12/1/16Marlin with a kindly gesture
Brooksyne’s note:

Stephen’s First Goof (dumb):  Awhile back ago Stephen inadvertently burned a big hole in our old wheelbarrow by placing some ashes in it that hadn’t cooled down enough. He patched it up with a piece of sheet metal and the old wheelbarrow was good to go.
Stephen’s Second Goof (dumber): Several weeks later, crazy as it may seem, the same thing happened again, but this time it took out the entire wheelbarrow. The angels were surely hovering over our burning wheel barrow since the fire didn’t do any other damage, apart from the completely destroyed wheelbarrow. Marlin, a friend from a company we serve, had seen that I burned a hole in my wheel barrow earlier, took pity on me and gave us his used wheelbarrow with instructions not to put ashes in it! This “dumb” story will be referenced the next time I do something dumb if Stephen lacks understanding or does any “preaching” to me.

Stephen’s note:

The first time it was very foolish as I had burned the fire the night before and, upon closer inspection, I would have seen the ashes were still warm when I rather mindlessly poured them into the wheelbarrow. The second time I placed the ashes in the repaired wheelbarrow several days after the original fire. The ashes appeared to be cooled off, however, somewhere deep in the ashes there must have been something smoldering! After I poured the “cooled” ashes in I gave it no more thought and headed to my office. Later I glanced out my window and saw the entire wheelbarrow on fire!

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.

“A Welcome Knock”

November 30, 2016

Autumn arrangement 11/13/16

“A Welcome Knock”

Message Summary: Some of you can sense His knocking presence but have not responded. We earnestly urge you do respond today by hearing His voice and opening the door.

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with Me” (Revelation 3:20).

Have you noticed the increase of intrusions in your life, often due to modern technology? In so many ways someone is trying to get in your face, usually trying to sell something. It sure does escalate more at this time of year. We’ve learned to tune many of these intrusions out but the intrusions just get louder, more persistent, and sometimes outlandish.

Such as the tele-marketer who now uses a recorded voice to pitch a product or service. For the last few days I’ve been getting calls from several different states from some outfit notifying me they had sent a packet in the mail informing me that my vehicle warranty is running out. It’s clearly a scam and I have been responding to the recorded voice “Stop lying to me” to no avail.

Intrusions come in many forms. I suppose you can think of a lot more. Spam email is a particular annoyance, although in recent years, filters do a pretty good job of keeping unwanted junk out of our inboxes. You’ve probably seen some of them like the email that begins, “We don’t want to waste your time or ours…” (they did) or “We were informed that you might be interested in our product.”  (I’m not and who informed them that I was, probably another lie.)

But Jesus is a persistent non-intruder. He has been described as the perfect gentleman. The daily text describes His work among the human race in the lives of millions and millions of people this day.

The Apostle John received this remarkable revelation from the ascended Lord, “I stand at the door and knock.”  The Greek tenses can be rendered, “I am persistently standing at the door and am persistently knocking.” I like an older, expanded translation (Wuest) which states, “I have taken my stand at the door and am politely knocking.”

And Jesus is doing just that in a spiritual sense.  I recall an early effort at personal evangelism when I quoted this verse and a man earnestly felt his chest and said, “I don’t feel it”.

A nurse on the pediatric ward had an interesting calming approach with children. Before listening to the little ones’ chests, she would plug the stethoscope into their ears and let them listen to their own hearts. Their eyes would light up with awe, though she never got a response equal to a little four-year old’s comment. Gently she tucked the stethoscope into his ears and placed the disk over his heart.

“Listen”, she quietly instructed……….”What do you suppose that is?” He drew his eyebrows together in a puzzled line and looked up as if lost in the mystery of the strange tap – tap – tapping deep in his chest. Then his face broke out in a wondrous grin with big eyes as he curiously asked, “Is that Jesus knocking?” Apparently the little boy had heard a lesson on today’s text or even more likely had sung the little children’s song based on the verse.

Some of you can sense His knocking presence but have not responded. We earnestly urge you do respond today by hearing His voice and opening the door. Following this message is a brief prayer that expresses faith in Christ and has been repeated by millions in opening their lives to the Lord. Most of you have heard His voice and have opened the door of your heart and surrendered your life to Him. You are experiencing the wonderful fellowship with the One who promised, “I will come in and eat with him, and he with Me.” And that is life’s greatest blessing!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Here’s a common prayer that expresses faith in God’s plan of salvation through Jesus Christ. If you have not done so already, I urge you to pray this prayer from your heart today.

Prayer of Faith: “Lord Jesus, I confess that I am a sinner.  I believe that You came to this earth and died on the cross as a substitute for me and my sin.  I place my faith in You and what You have done for me.  I receive You into my life and choose this day to follow You and serve You all the days of my life. Thank You for hearing my prayer. I will look to the Bible and find out what Your purpose is for my life. Amen.”

A knocking memory: A number of years ago Brooksyne lead a choir comprised of members from several churches in a Christmas Musical titled “Hope Has Hands”. I was genuinely blessed to see the cooperative labors of multi-generations sing their praises to God (there were singers from ages 14 to 84 – with people represented from each decade of life).

The choir sang a beautiful number titled “Come”, which is a stirring invitation to come to Christ. They were completing the song by singing the compelling words, “Come” three times, each time getting softer, when suddenly there came a loud, rhythmic knocking from the back of the church. It was one of those experiences where everyone hears it, but out of respect for the setting, people try to stay focused and ignore the obvious which is what the choir and congregation did momentarily. But the knocking persisted and filled the entire sanctuary.

Brooksyne told me later, “After it persisted I began to wonder if it was God knocking as my thoughts were drawn to the time when the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall in the royal palace. As the mysterious knocking persisted my knees were just about to start knocking together just like the king who saw the handwriting on the wall in Daniel.”

Well, finally the mystery was solved when a perceptive observer discovered that it was a child who had a toy hammer and was knocking on the Plexiglas that separated the nursery window from the sanctuary. It sure served as an interesting beginning to my devotional calling to mind our daily text, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock…”


Probably our last set of Autumn photos for this year!

Autumn arrangement 11/13/16
This and our lead photo was taken at the Eastland Alpaca Farm here in the Mount Joy area several weeks ago.

Smoky Mountain view 11/22/16
Newfound Gap at the peak of the ridge at over 5000 feet on the state line between Tennessee and North Carolina. It was getting dark and quite cold when we reached this spot last week!

Tennessee leaves 11/22/16
The foliage just kept beckoning me (Brooksyne) and I took many photos including this up-close in Centennial Park in Nashville.

Nashville maple 11/24/16
I caught Brooksyne admiring this stand out maple tree in Centennial Park in Nashville. The foliage in Nashville was a couple weeks later than here in Pennsylvania since most of our area trees have lost their leaves.

Pigeon Forge water/fire feature 11/22/16
We saw this neat fountain outside a restaurant in Pigeon Forge for those (like me) who like water and fire!


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
“Thou Didst Leave Thy Throne”  Video  A favorite song of ours during this season has a refrain that states, “O come to my heart Lord Jesus, there is room in my heart for Thee.”

“Behold, Behold”  Video   Cedarmont Kids  This is the children’s song referred to in the message

Bittersweet Answered Prayer: This past weekend the daughter of a college football coach died as a result of an accident. She had been in critical condition for several days prior to her death and of course her family had prayed for a miracle. Upon her death they donated her organs and the mother’s perspective is quite touching: “The miraculous healing we have been praying for is not FOR Elsie, but FROM Elsie.”

Brooksyne and I are both blood donors and organ donors (upon our deaths), as many of you are, so this is an interesting way to find comfort during such devastating loss.

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.

Mount Jackson Virginia water tower 11/29/16
In all of our travels the most striking water tower we’ve seen is in Mount Jackson Virginia with the round “basket” of red and green apples.

“Let’s Just Praise The Lord”

Message Summary: We encourage you to rest in the arms of our loving God and express your love for Him as you recall the ancient words of the Psalmist, “He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me.” As His children, may we offer up our praise and thanksgiving to Him today. So let’s just praise the Lord!

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me” (Psalm 50:23). “Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name” (Hebrews 13:15).

DottieWe have three pets in our lives. We often mention our dogs, Mollie and Roxie, but we don’t refer to our cat as much. Dottie is now 15 1/2 years old and still doing well. However she is content residing in our small utility barn. She was pleased to get out for awhile yesterday since we had just returned from Tennessee. She still likes to prowl around and occasionally will show us what she has caught, seemingly proud while Brooksyne is clearly grossed out. She doesn’t have a lot of personality like the dogs and is quite content with her daily treats and just a bit of attention. Pick her up and she’ll purr for a few minutes before wanting to get on with the mundane life she’s comfortable with.

Dottie has been a part of our family since her birth, the longest we have ever had a pet. Ester named her based upon her black and white coat. Her mother was a wild barn cat who surprised us with a litter of newborn kittens in a dilapidated summer kitchen attached to the 100 year old farmhouse we rented following our move down to Pennsylvania from New England in early 2001.

Since my childhood I’ve really enjoyed hearing a cat purr when stroked gently or held closely. Dottie seems to express affection by purring as I slowly stroke her back and face. Based upon my study of the topic it seems there are a variety of reasons cats purr, including a sign of contentment and appreciation. When you gently pet a cat it’s as if she is saying. “Ah, that is so nice.”

But I also find myself getting so much satisfaction when I hold a purring cat. Some have asserted that this is indeed therapeutic and has a calming effect. I suppose you could call it another form of pet therapy.

We hear a lot about therapy today. It seems the vast majority of people will undergo some kind of therapy; whether it’s physical therapy, psychotherapy, equine therapy, drug therapy, radiation therapy. Wikipedia even mentions duct tape occlusion therapy (used to remove warts), in its long list of therapies. In its simplest form, “Therapy involves an individual seeking an attempted remediation for a particular health matter, usually following a diagnosis.”

With that definition in mind if we go to the Bible to have our spirit diagnosed we would find that we were born into an imperfect world with a congenital sin problem resulting in a sin-sick soul. The spiritual “therapy” for such a troubling condition is to meet with the Great Physician to receive a spiritual transplant. He will take our terminal sins that are scarlet and transfuse us with His eternal blood, an exchange of our sin nature for His spiritual nature.

With such a supernatural and unmeritable transfusion our praise should be an involuntary expression of thanksgiving to our Great Physician, “He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me.” We express our contentedness and thankfulness when we lay aside the cares and distractions of the day and earnestly enter into praise and thanksgiving to the Maker of heaven and earth, the Redeemer of our soul! When we praise the Lord we rest in His presence, acknowledge His steadfast love and care, and thank Him for His redeeming grace.

Many have wondered, “What is the distinction between praise and thanksgiving?” It is commonly taught that praise is our worship toward God concerning who God is while thanksgiving is our worship toward God concerning what He has done. In practice though they are used interchangeably such as in our daily texts.

The writer of Hebrews ended his letter with the challenge issued to believers to praise the Lord. “Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.”

We encourage you to rest in the arms of our loving God and express your love for Him as you recall the ancient words of the Psalmist, “He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me.” As His children, may we offer up our praise and thanksgiving to Him today. So let’s just praise the Lord!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, as we give praise to You we are offering our heartfelt thanks for who You are and for all that You do on our behalf. As we mature in our walk with You we realize that there are many occasions when we must offer a sacrifice of praise since it doesn’t always come easily nor often enough. It is in those circumstances that we willfully choose to praise You out of obedient hearts desirous of pleasing You and glorifying Your name. May our words be fruitful and our thoughts praiseworthy in the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.


Today we share several more photos from our trip last week to Tennessee.

Smoky Mountain foliage 11/22/16
A view of the Smoky Mountain foliage with a split rail fence in the foreground.

Smoky Mountain foliage and Gatlinburg, TN 11/22/16
Another view with an overlook of Gatlinburg and the mountains in the background. We are so saddened to read this morning that this beautiful area is being devastated by wildfires even as we write.

Nashville Union Station 11/25/16
The Nashville Union Station has been magnificently restored and is now a hotel.

Decorative guitar in Nashville Union Station 11/25/16
We were impressed by this guitar that sat in the lobby made up of so many different instruments such as wrenches, padlocks, silverware, bolts, springs, hinges, scissors, etc.

Nashville Parthenon 11/24/16
The Nashville Parthenon is perhaps the most iconic scene in the city. It was built during Tennessee’s 100th anniversary of statehood in 1896 since Nashville is referred to as the Athens of the south.

Nashville skyline 11/24/16
We tried to take a “selfie” overlooking the Nashville skyline but just couldn’t manage so we used the old-fashioned method of asking a stranger to take our photo! This view was taken from a walking bridge over the Cumberland River.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
“Let’s Just Praise The Lord”  Video  Huge homecoming

“Doxology”  Video   David Crowder Band

“O Worship the King”  Video  Musicians not identified

“All I Have is Christ”  Video  Sovereign Grace Music

“In The Valley”  Video   Sovereign Grace Music

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.

Smoky Mountain park trail 11/22/16
An inviting trail to walk in the Smoky Mountain National Park as the trees shed their leaves. As beautiful as it is to walk in the summer where everything is green the leaves dropping to the ground makes for much more visibility of the deeper parts of the forest.

“The Blessing Of A Rich Welcome”

Message Summary: We can be confident based upon our belief in Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice for her sin, that we will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. That rich welcome awaits those who trust Christ.

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:10,11).

We returned from our trip to Tennessee late yesterday afternoon where we visited with Elaine, Brooksyne’s sister, and her daughter, Courtney. The odometer read 1852 miles so we gave thanks to God for our safety in travel and for the safekeeping of our pets and home. Mollie and Roxie greeted us heartily and, if they could, would surely have asked, “Why didn’t you take us with you?” Not only were they not invited to go along, but they caught on right away that we’d kept company with another dog. Sherlock is Elaine’s dog that clings to her like Roxie clings to Brooksyne. They’re still pretty excited to have us back home this morning.

Rich welcomes are such a blessing. Consider the rich welcome a soldier receives upon returning home after a long deployment, or a sport’s team coming home after a championship victory or a long lost family member who has come “home”, such as the welcome the prodigal son received from his father. But there is a wonderful “rich welcome” all who have placed their hope in Christ will one day receive.

This great promise of assurance is expressed in the daily Scripture text as we all face our impending death. Hide this promise deep in your heart both for your sake and that of family members and loved ones who know the Lord: “You will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (NIV). The Amplified Version states, “Thus there will be richly and abundantly provided for you entry into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

The apostle Peter wrote these words “to those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:1). Isn’t that a great reminder of the level ground at the foot of the Cross! What follows is a portion that describes the very essence of the Christian life, a portion that we memorized many years ago. (* see below for this text)

Peter writes, “Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure.” Making our calling and election sure should be the prime motivation in life. “For if you do these things, you will never fall.” “These things” refer to a list of godly characteristics found in the preceding verses namely, “make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.”

We can be confident based upon our belief in Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice for our sin, that we will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. That rich welcome awaits those who trust Christ. In fact let me close by expressing my faith in a very personal sense, which you can do as well.

“I will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” Doesn’t that do your heart and spirit good just to quote that verse using the personal pronoun, “I”! What a day, glorious day, that will be!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: God of all Comfort, just as You share in our sufferings You also share in our comfort.  How grateful we are that when sorrow flows over into our lives Your comfort overflows into our hearts.  Your comfort brings peace, assurance and a renewed sense of hope as we abide in You.  We place complete confidence in Your providential work in our lives and Your perfect timing.  How reassuring to know that nothing escapes Your notice, but You walk us through each life changing event.  No enemy, no loss, or difficult situation will defeat us as moment by moment You tenderly care for us. Thank You for being our Rock and Shield in whom we take refuge. The troubles of this life will soon be over and we’ll cross over on the other shore.  Lord, what unspeakable delight awaits us as we anticipate our rich welcome into Your eternal kingdom. We give thanks to You, for Your love truly endures forever!   Amen.

* 2 Peter 1:3-11: “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence, by which He has granted to us His precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

Brooksyne’s Note: I apologize to any of our readers who might have read my riddle before Thanksgiving about the turkey and didn’t have the answer by Thanksgiving. We didn’t have access to internet so my timing was off. Maybe you can remember it for next year!

Question: Which side of the turkey has more feathers? Answer: The outside!


Old Mill, Pigeon Forge, TN 11/22/16
The old mill in Pigeon Forge, TN is now a restaurant but is still used as a mill. Unfortunately the mill wheel was not operating while we were there.

Road in Smoky Mountain National Park 11/22/16
All through our trip we saw varying shades of foliage including this scene from the Smoky Mountain National Park. Some of the trees were still at their deciduous glory which kept us continuously watching for the next stunning view.

Manger scene, Dixie Stampede, Pigeon Forge, TN 11/22/16
We enjoyed going to the Dixie Stampede in Pigeon Forge for their Christmas show which included a very touching and realistic manger scene.

Steam engine 11/24/16
This huge steam engine is in Centennial Park in Nashville with plans underway to put the engine back into service.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
“Come Back To Me”  Video   Dailey and Vincent

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.

Cade's Cove water mill 11/21/16An old gristmill in Cades Cove, Smoky Mountain National Park

“Give Thanks To The God Of Heaven!”

Grasp, grace, gloryLast night this sign in a gift shop in Gatlinburg caught our attention.

Message Summary: Give thanks to the God of heaven, His steadfast love endures forever!

Note: We are in Tennessee in the Smoky Mountains and will be travelling to Nashville today to visit Brooksyne’s sister and niece for Thanksgiving. Due to travel and limitations we will not be preparing audio messages this week and will not be able to post messages daily. We also may not have internet access in Nashville where we will be staying in Brooksyne’s sister’s RV in an RV park!

“Give thanks to the God of heaven, for His steadfast love endures forever” (Psalm 136:26).

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day here in the USA. Canada has a similar day but we’re unaware of how many other countries set aside a day for Thanksgiving. In the course of my chaplain work I inquired of immigrants from several different countries in Eastern Europe and Asia who said they don’t have such a holiday in their native lands.

Here in the USA our Thanksgiving Day has a very specific historical beginning, October of 1621, and the focus of thanks was directed to God as it should always primarily be.

Governor William Bradford voiced the grateful spirit of the Pilgrims in November 1620 as they arrived in the new world after 66 days on board the treacherous Mayflower voyage: “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, again to set their feet on the firm and stable earth…” The only thing that could now sustain them was the Spirit of God and His grace, especially as nearly half of the men, women, and children would soon perish in their new world.

We give thanks for all our readers and hope our American readers will have a blessed Thanksgiving Day, especially focusing on thanks to God, which was the original intent for the day when it was a solemn day for the Pilgrims along with their Indian friends.

Today we want to share a selected Scripture reading from Psalm 136 that is very suitable for responsive reading, even for those with very young children who can simply respond, “His steadfast love endures forever.”

Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good.
His steadfast love endures forever.

Give thanks to the God of gods.
His steadfast love endures forever.

Give thanks to the Lord of lords:
His steadfast love endures forever.

To Him who alone does great wonders,
His steadfast love endures forever.

Who by His understanding made the heavens,
His steadfast love endures forever.

Who spread out the earth upon the waters,
His steadfast love endures forever.

Who made the great lights—
His steadfast love endures forever.

The sun to govern the day,
His steadfast love endures forever.

The moon and stars to govern the night;
His steadfast love endures forever.

To the One who remembered us in our low estate
His steadfast love endures forever.

And freed us from our enemies,
His steadfast love endures forever.

And who gives food to every creature.
His steadfast love endures forever.

Give thanks to the God of heaven.
His steadfast love endures forever.

Be encouraged today and give thanks to the God of heaven, whose steadfast love endures forever!

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: In thanksgiving we lift our voices of praise from grateful hearts, Father. We truly give thanks to the God of heaven whose steadfast love endures forever. Whether in seasons of prosperity or in seasons of want we find Your grace sufficient to meet each one of our needs. You guide us, protect us, and You provide for us as we journey here below. Every good and perfect gift comes from Your hand. We thank You, faithful Father!  Amen.


We have been in the Great Smoky Mountain region the last several days and would like to share some photos from our visit.

Cade's Cove view 11/21/16
Cades Cove is a beautiful isolated valley in the park.

Cade's Cove split rail fence 11/21/16
Split rail fencing is seen all through the park.

Cade's Cove home 11/21/16
The first frame house in the cove.

Cade's Cove trail 11/21/16
We saw lots of wildlife but especially catching our attention was this inviting walking trail.

Cade's Cove family photo 11/21/16
Ester, the “pro selfie” photographer took this photo at a historic non-working  mill.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
We appreciate singing the traditional Thanksgiving hymns. Here are several classics that you may or may not have heard this season.

“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. (printable 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.)

Finally today:

Poultry house, Joe Ulicny
Many of you will enjoy a turkey dinner tomorrow but we wonder how many will give any thought or thanks for the many people who got that bird to your table. This photo actually shows young chickens in a broiler house, eating and drinking from equipment made by the Val-Co company, one of the companies we have served as chaplains for over nine years. Our friend, Joe Ulicny, took this photo at a farm in Pennsylvania. (Click on photo to enlarge)
Here’s a question hosts can ask at the Thanksgiving dinner:  Which side of the turkey has the most feathers? (Answer will be posted in the next message)

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.

“Rise Up, O Men Of God”

November 21, 2016

Pocono lake at Twin Pines Camp 11/19/16 (Click to enlarge)
Pond at Twin Pines camp in the Poconos
(Click on photo to enlarge)

“Rise Up, O Men Of God”

Message Summary: Today we offer a Biblical challenge to all men reading this to rise up as men of God!

Note: Yesterday we had a long trip from Pennsylvania to the Pigeon Forge Tennessee area where will be visiting a couple days before travelling on to Nashville to visit Brooksyne’s sister and niece on Thanksgiving. Due to travel and limitations we will not be preparing audio messages this week and will not be able to post messages daily. We also may not have internet access in Nashville!

“But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.  Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses” (1 Timothy 6:11,12).

This last weekend I had the opportunity to share several messages at a Men’s Retreat in the Poconos. I have always enjoyed speaking at these kinds of events. The first message was around a campfire Friday evening.  I knew we wouldn’t have much light and the men would likely have a less than optimal attention span.

So I shared short message from the daily text. John, the men’s group leader, began by leading the men in singing “Rise Up O Men Of God” several times.

Rise up, O men of God!
Have done with lesser things.
Give heart and mind and soul and strength
to serve the King of kings.

I encouraged the men to rise up as men of God and shared these three truths taken from the text,
  1. The man of God is to flee
  2. The man of God is to follow
  3. The man of God is to fight

I ended the message by considering the latter part of today’s text, “whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses” I asked them to follow me in making this profession of faith and commitment to each other as one by one around the campfire we stated, “I am a man of God. I will flee, I will follow, and I will fight.”

Today we offer a Biblical challenge to all men reading this to rise up as men of God!

Lift high the cross of Christ!
Tread where His feet have trod.
As brothers of the Son of Man,
Rise up, O men of God!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father in heaven, we pray for men that they will pursue godliness above all earthly pursuits. We pray that they will resist the temptation to fall into the devil’s trap where foolishness and harmful desires will plunge them to ruin resulting in distrust, loss and heartache. Help them to flee from all this and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Help them to lead their families in the good fight of faith as they take hold of eternal life. Make them strong in their faith so that they throw away anything that hinders their spiritual walk.  In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen.


Faith Community Men's retreat 11/19/16
Men from Faith Community retreat.

Faith Community Men's retreat 11/19/16
These three young men enjoyed horsing around with the large mounted grizzly bear at the camp.

Faith Community Men's retreat 11/19/16
The retreat was held at Twin Pines camp which has quite a collection of mounted animals from both here in America and around the world such as this lion.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
“Rise Up, O men Of God”  Video  Maranatha! Promise Band

“For The Sake Of The Call”   Video   Steven Curtis Chapman

“Today I Choose”  Video  Brian Doerksen

Last Friday we shared a photo of a lot of buggies parked at an Amish farm. Many of our local readers realize this was a wedding. They are usually held on Thursdays in November!

Finally today:

Leon's bear 11/19/16
My neighbor Leon called me over Saturday evening to show me a bear he had shot here in Pennsylvania. He was quite excited about this since he has been hunting bear for 30 years and this is his first one! I wonder if this bear will be mounted!

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.