“Fear Not”

March 27, 2015

Hannah at Kaieteur Falls, Guyana
Kaieteur Falls, Guyana

“Fear Not”

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“After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward” (Genesis 15:1). “For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee” (Isaiah 41:13). “Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death” (Revelation 1:17,18).

Kaieteur Falls, Guyana Yesterday I was visiting with Mike, a project manager, in one of the companies we serve as chaplains. He was excited to show me photos of his daughter Hannah who recently returned from a missions trip to Guyana.

She was with a group of students serving from her high school seeking to reach students in Guyana with a message of hope through Jesus Christ and focusing on suicide prevention among the youth. Guyana has one of the highest suicide rates in the world. They held assemblies in 5 public schools and talked to students one on one.

In my years of pastoral service I led several groups on missions trips and to this day I would hope that many recall the impact these trips had on their lives. Often when making a missions trip groups take a day to visit the famous sights in the area and Hannah’s group visited Kaieteur Falls. Mike had a photo of her (seen above) on his computer screen which caught my attention. It preceded our discussion about her missionary endeavor and also the fear I have of standing on edges.

Hannah is standing on a rock overlooking the majestic falls. When I saw the photo it immediately prompted a mild attack of hypsiphobia.  Since I am sure a few of our readers may not know what that word is I will define it. “Hypsiphobia” is the fear of height, although more precisely I have a fear of edges with a drop off. I recall discussing this with our friend Kathy Matangelo many years ago and her making this distinction. Actually I am not afraid of the height itself; being in a tall building or at a high altitude doesn’t bother me at all. But if I, a loved one or anybody is on an edge with a big drop-off I really get a squirmy feeling. I told Mike I would never be able to stand near an edge like Hannah. I would have to get down on all fours and slowly crawl to look out over the edge, if I dare attempt it at all!

Someone began collecting phobia words many years ago as a hobby and now has a phobia list of over 500 phobias! (Link below) I am sure everyone will find something on the list they struggle with. After this week’s tragic airline crash in Europe many will deal with a heightened sense of Aviophobia.

Certainly there are many situations that induce fear. Fierce storms, financial issues and terrorist threats number among so many other troubles that instill fear. Even dogs have phobias. Last night we had a severe storm pass by and our younger dog Mollie is terrified of storms!

Keep Calm and Fear NotThere is a positive aspect of fear as well. We are told in Scripture to “fear God”, although this is different than all other kinds of fear, having more the sense of having reverence and awe. I have preached a sermon on the healthy, holy fear of God, something lacking greatly in the world and even in the Church.

Fear itself is first expressed in the Bible shortly after the transgression in the garden when Adam said to God, “I was afraid” (Genesis 3:10). The remainder of the Bible is full of many expressions of human fear for a wide variety of reasons. It’s still that way today and people seem to keep coming up with new causes for fear!

I find great assurance in the tiny phrase found often in Scripture translated “fear not” in the King James Version (or generally “do not be afraid” in many other versions). This phrase is found sixty-two times from Genesis to Revelation. In today’s Scripture texts we have both the first and last occurrences in the Bible.

Today I encourage you to listen carefully for the voice of our heavenly Father. He speaks gently to your heart reminding you to put your confidence in Him. Some of you are really struggling with fear as you read this. It’s crippling you spiritually and emotionally and perhaps even physically. When I take the time to stop and really consider my emotions I realize that I experience fear and anxiety most when I’m not trusting in what God has said or what He has shown me through His character traits.

God continues to speak, “Fear not”. We must act upon His loving command if we are to have deep abiding peace and growing trust in the One who truly cares for those who belong to Him.

Fear not my child I’m with you always,
I feel every pain and every tear I see.
Fear not my child I’m with you always,
I know how to care for what belongs to Me.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father I will not fear for You have redeemed me and called me by name. You know when I pass through the waters and You have promised to be with me; when I cross through the rivers they will not sweep over me. When I walk through the fire I will not be burned for You walk with me. Though trials may engulf me and tempt me to be paralyzed by fear, I can overcome the enemy of fear just as Jesus overcame the power of death. May the resurrected power of Jesus subside my fears and doubts while building my faith and trust in the Holy One of Israel. Amen.

See Isaiah 43

Kaieteur Falls, Guyana
Kaieteur Falls is a waterfall on the Potaro River in Kaieteur National Park, central Essequibo Territory, Guyana. It is 226 meters (741 ft) high when measured from its plunge over a sandstone and conglomerate cliff to the first break. It then flows over a series of steep cascades that, when included in the measurements, bring the total height to 251 meters (822 ft). While many falls have greater height, few have the combination of height and water volume, and Kaieteur is among the most powerful waterfalls in the world with an average flow rate of 663 cubic meters per second (23,400 cubic feet per second). (Wikipedia)

Mennonite greenhouse wagon 3/26/15
Yesterday we approached this young Mennonite boy with a team pulling some type of greenhouse on a wagon. We sure enjoy the interesting sights, sounds and even smells of rural Lancaster County. (I’m speaking of the chocolate that wafts through the air from Wilbur Chocolate and M&M Mars on some days!)

Spring flower cart 3/26/15
Another early sign of Spring when the flower carts are out again.

Storm coming 3/26/15
Last night at dusk we had a dark storm covering while Ester and I rode our bikes in the neighborhood.  Brooksyne was walking the dogs and took this photo before we quickly headed home just before heavy winds and rain descended upon us.

Storm coming 3/26/15
One more view of the dark clouds


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Fear Not My Child”  Video  Carman  This Saturday evening Brooksyne and Ester will be attending a Carmen concert here in Lancaster. They assist the concert promoters by selling merchandise.

“I’d Rather Have Jesus”  Video  Jason Crabb

“Gentle Shepherd”  Video  Homecoming singers

“Voice Of Truth”  Video  Casting Crowns

“I Can Trust Jesus”  Video   Collingsworth Family

The Phobia List  The longest phobia listed and a word I rarely use in my sermons is “hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia”. You may think that must be a fear of Hippopotamus but you would be wrong! In my line of work I sure hope I don’t deal with many people who have “homilophobia.” But we should have a healthy sense of “Hadephobia” See Matthew 10:28.


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

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

“God’s Great Love”

March 26, 2015

Donegal Creek, Lancaster County PA

Dusk along Donegal Creek

“God’s Great Love”


ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:11,12).

We are sure ready for some beautiful spring days and are especially looking forward to our long daily walks along the country lanes. We usually walk the dogs as well and they sure enjoy getting out. Both have experienced a shock when they brushed up against an electric fence without having the slightest idea what happened. This is an electric fence for livestock so they get quite a jolt. They shriek and quickly skirt back from the wire fence with their tails between their legs wearing an expression that seems to say, “WHAT WAS THAT!”

We understood what happened but of course they didn’t. How do you explain an electric shock to a dog! It’s that way with us many times isn’t it? We get shocked by a situation in life and we have no idea what hit nor did we understand why.

We’ve all probably heard or used the following expressions, “I don’t know what hit me” or “Where did that come from?” I can recall experiences like this in my own life and I’ve observed them in many others as well. I have a friend who’s going through one of these shocking experiences right now. We can’t predict or avoid these jolting experiences so that’s why we need to have a deep abiding assurance of God’s great love, care and provision for that which have need of.

The daily verse is one of the greatest expressions in Scripture extolling God’s love “for those who fear Him”. Consider the two figures of speech the Psalmist uses in the text.

First he speaks of the extent of God’s love as being “as high as the heavens are above the earth.” How high is that? In the Scriptures the expression “heavens” normally describes the universe as distinct from the earth. But how big is the universe? It seems this distance just keeps increasing with better telescopes and more research!

The study of astronomy interests me, although most astronomers ignore God’s revelation in the Scriptures. The Psalmist, in describing the infinite nature of God’s love and mercy, expresses the greatest truth. And sadly astronomers, looking in the wrong places, will never find this Truth!

Secondly, he speaks of the extent of God’s forgiveness: “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” How far is that? If he were to have written “north from the south” we could have measured the distance between the poles. But how far is east from west? It is not something we can measure! In His great love and mercy that’s how far He has removed our transgressions from us.

The Psalmist provided God’s greatest solution to life’s greatest problem in this Psalm. He covers both the vertical and horizontal reaching of God’s goodness to humankind. The boundless capacity of God’s love fills the vertical space from the heavens to earth. His unceasing capacity for forgiveness stretches horizontally beyond the measurable scope of humankind. Do we not serve a great God who is moved to action by our innermost needs! May you be filled with the fullness of God as He reveals Himself to You through His unlimited love and ongoing forgiveness.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Omnipotent Father, Your immeasurable love and unending forgiveness are characteristics that only a God like You can dispense, so much so, that even the vilest offender who truly believes will be pardoned by You. Because of Your tremendous example of love and forgiveness toward us, we can also extend our love and forgiveness toward others. As recipients of Your goodness may we be dispensers of Your blessings to those You bring into our lives. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.


Wrong Car: Yesterday Brooksyne shared about getting in the wrong van and we had a number of responses. One example is the following story: “I remember when I walked out into our old dental office parking lot and I got into what I thought was our car (same color and size). I sat there trying to figure out whose sunglasses were in the console and then picked up the vitamins and wondered when my husband Doug had started taking those vitamins…. Good thing I came to my senses and realized I was in the wrong car….and jumped out quickly, hoping the accountant who owned the car and had the office across the hall from our dental office wasn’t looking out the window, wondering why I was sitting in his car and looking at his vitamin pills!! All along Doug was sitting in the driver’s seat of our car, looking at me like I’d completely lost my mind!”


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“The Love Of God”  Video  Gaither Homecoming singers

“As Far As The East (Psalm 103:11-12)”  Video  Scripture Memory songs

“East To West”  Video  Casting Crowns

“As High As The Heavens”  Video  Hosanna! 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.)

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

Mollie with red bandana 3/17/11We had Mollie for two weeks when this photo was taken four years ago. She has not lost her spunkiness and we have to constantly remind her to behave.

“The Blessing Of Reminders”

Note: My computer crashed last night and I was unable to process the audio file

“So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have. I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things” (2 Peter 1:12-15).

Like many others, we often use terms such as “senior moments” to describe brief lapses in memory. A younger friend describes it as “data overload”. Years ago I was visiting in the office of Paul Hollinger, longtime general manager of WDAC, one of our local Christian radio stations. He was nearing retirement at the time and had a napkin on his desk that stated, “I Have CRS”. I inquired concerning what that meant and he informed me it stood for, “Can’t Remember Stuff”.

In Friday’s message I (Stephen) mentioned a pastor’s conference I attended last Thursday. Normally, Brooksyne and I do our chaplaincy walk-throughs together but after we made some early morning visits together, Brooksyne dropped me off at the conference and proceeded to make several more visits on her own. During these walk-throughs we greet the employees individually. Some share their burdens asking for prayer and at times seek our advice. At the very least we seek to be a friendly face giving them a brief diversion from what can be a very long, routine day.  At the end of our workday we are weary and might even be weighed down with personal data overload.

Maybe that explains why Brooksyne did something out of character last Thursday afternoon. After her visits she dropped off an item to be repaired and later returned to pick it up across from the Park City Mall. Here’s her version of the story:

After I picked up the repaired item I returned to the parking lot and looked for my van. I thought I had parked it closer since it was cold outside but, after spotting it at the far end of the parking lot, I dismissed the idea thinking to myself, “Good for you! You must have parked far away so you could get your 10,000 steps in today.”

Rather absent mindedly I opened the van door, sat down behind the wheel, and spotted a bag of mini twizzlers which I didn’t remember being there before. It was nearly 4 PM. and I hadn’t eaten lunch so I was very hungry. Without even thinking I reached into the bag and tossed a couple of them in my mouth.

Suddenly I awakened me from my stupor and looked more closely at the interior of the van. Shopping bags were strewn about that were not mine, the interior was different than ours and I instantly knew the twizzlers in my mouth were not MY twizzlers! I shot out of that van like a cannon ball and spewed the twizzlers out on the pavement immediately. Of course I looked around to see if the owners of the van were within eyesight. Thankfully they were not, so I hurried to my own van and quickly exited the parking lot. Later I couldn’t help but wonder what they’d think if they knew a complete stranger had fingered their twizzlers. And did they see the two twizzlers I spat out (I didn’t have enough presence of mind to pick up the evidence and destroy it.) Stephen’s note: If the owner of the van contacts us we will buy them a new bag of twizzlers.

As we get older we generally deal with short-term memory loss (like forgetting where we put our wallet, coffee cup, car keys, cell phone, wrong car, etc). We all need spiritual memory prompts to keep us on track.

The daily text expresses an attitude we should have when we are reminded of familiar truths. Peter was confident his readers not only knew the truths he had shared, but they were also established in their hearts and minds. Nevertheless he pledged to be steadfast in reminding them of these things. Today Peter might preface his message by saying, “I know I’m preaching to the choir. but….” He was determined to “make every effort to see that after his departure others would always be able to remember these things.”  That’s a faithful minister!

Do you receive the reminders of truth with joy? I recall the line in an old hymn that put it this way, “I love to tell the story, for those who know it best, seem hungering and thirsting to hear it like the rest.” May we never lose interest or find ourselves yawning when hearing or reading of the foundational truths of the Gospel, even if it is the umpteenth time! May it instead reassure and refresh our spiritual appetite.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, we thank You for the inspiration of Your Holy Spirit.  May Your Words be impressed upon our hearts as we give regular attention to them through reading and memorizing the Scriptures. We don’t want a casual attitude about Your Holy Word, but rather we want to be earnest students of Your Word genuinely contending for the faith. Help us not to be absent minded when approaching the gospel truths but rather be wholly present that we might partake of all that You have to teach and show us in Your Word. May we never weary of the basics of the gospel or lose the awe and wonder of seeing a life that is changed when redemption takes place. We want to hunger and thirst after righteousness and never lose sight of the old, old story that will be our theme throughout eternity. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.


Additional note from Brooksyne:  We lock our car doors – something else I didn’t even notice when entering the wrong van. Perhaps this should be a lesson for all who park vehicles in the public. If you don’t want people eating your candy be sure to lock your doors.


Yesterday we referred to a local eagle’s nest with a cam streaming. Since that time both eggs have hatched and the newly hatched eagle chick are now in the video. It was great source of conversation this morning in our chaplain visits! (I was told the frozen video is probably due to so many people getting on the site.)


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
“I Can Trust Jesus”  Video  Collingsworth Family


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

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

Carved eagle
Eagle Carving by Tom Jenkins


“Dwelling In The Shelter Of The Most High”

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’ Surely He will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart” (Psalm 91:1-4).

Eagle nest (Image courtesy of Pennsylvania Game Commission, HDOnTap and Comcast Business)There’s a lot of interest in our area concerning an eagle cam which live streams a video of a bald eagle nest across the Susquehanna River from where we live (link to this page below). Any day one of her two eggs is supposed to hatch. This is a matter of interest and a source of discussion among many of the employees we visit as their chaplains. Some have even made the eagle’s nest their home page.

The bald eagle, declared an endangered species for about 50 years, is now thriving here in Pennsylvania. A camera about the size of a soda can, is planted in the tree of a York County nest, and it provides a live streaming video of a bald eagle perched on her two eggs.

Before they hatch the eagle carefully protects her young from predators, extreme weather, or any other disturbance that would harm her future hatchlings.

This is also the image used in an ancient Psalm. Psalm 91 begins with this promise, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”

Headphones on airplaneOn our return flight from San Diego last week we flew Southwestern where seats are not assigned and we were unable to sit together. I (Brooksyne) sat between two young men who wore headphones and slept most of our flight so there was little conversation. But about halfway to San Antonio the man next to the aisle stirred, took off his headphones, and inquired, “Are you a nervous flyer?” Before I could respond he further commented, “I noticed you’ve been reading your Bible most of the flight.”

Inwardly I smiled since I thought neither passenger took notice of me. I went on to explain that I’m not a nervous flyer; I was actually memorizing all 15 verses of Psalm 91 (which at my increasing age it takes a lot more time than my younger years).

He countered, “Oh, I thought you might be a nervous flyer so you read the Bible when you fly. I actually pulled out the Lord’s Prayer and read it, before I boarded, which I do when I fly. It helps me to be less nervous.” Trying not too sound preachy I briefly elaborated, “As a believer in Christ I try to read the Bible daily because it helps me in every area of my life.” I was hoping for more of an opportunity to share my faith, but unfortunately his reinsertion of the ear plugs quickly ended the conversation.

Our brief exchange made me think of many who use the Bible or say a prayer only for special occasions, but choose not to “dwell” in the shelter of the Most High. To “dwell” means to linger, sit down, or “meditate” in the ascended place of the Most High. In doing so you rise above the madness, evil, and heartbreak down here below which leads to insecurity, doubts, reckless choices, and even despair.  To find reassurance for our soul we must dwell in the shelter of the Most High and thereby we will find “rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”  An old song states, “There is a place of quiet rest, near to the heart of God.”

In our daily text the Psalmist continues, “I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.'” This is a powerful profession of our faith we can likewise declare today and everyday, for God has not changed and will not change.

“Surely He will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence.” Two dangers are referred to here: the fowler’s snare and the deadly pestilence. (The fowler’s snare is like a net trap.) During every season of life we have dangers as expressed in John Newton’s hymn, “through many dangers, toils and snares.”  Our arch enemy “prowls around seeking whom he may devour”, but God will save us when we call on Him for help.

The Psalmist then uses an analogy from a nesting bird: “He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge.” Can you imagine a safer or more nurturing place in nature for the eggs or tiny chicks? Similarly the writer of Psalm 91 warmly describes our loving, heavenly Father as One who covers us with His feathers. We find refuge under His wings.

The section ends with this promise, “His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart”. The theme of God’s faithfulness runs through the Bible beginning in Genesis and all the way into Revelation, where Christ is identified as “Faithful and True” (Revelation 19:11). Most of us know what a shield is but the word “rampart” is less familiar. Rampart refers to a defensive wall or bank built for protection. Our American readers will recall this word since it’s sung in our national anthem, “O’er the ramparts we watched…”

As we dwell in the shelter of the Most High we need not fear since God commands His angels to guard and protect us (Psalm 91:11). If you’re feeling fear or insecurity today read Psalm 91, or better yet linger there for awhile, for fresh perspective on His enduring love and protection.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, like a nurturing eagle, You cover us with Your feathers so that we find refuge under Your protective wings. As we live in daily communion with You we are protected from the snare of the enemy. Therefore we need not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day. Because we have made the Lord Most High our dwelling You have commanded the angels to guard us in all our ways. You will be with us in trouble, You will deliver us and honor us. What greater blessing could we want than to know we are under Your protective, loving care. Thank You, Father, for being all that we need here and now, and providing for our hereafter. Amen.

See all of Psalm 91

Of course for many the most famous Bible passage dealing with the eagle is from Isaiah 40. “Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.”

Eagle reflection (photographer unknown)
I wish I could tell you I took this outstanding photo but I didn’t!
Several years ago my sister Genelle sent it to me in a collection of beautiful photos.

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Live Eagle Cam”  Video  For whatever reason the video on this page was not working at the time we checked our page just before distributing (although it worked fine earlier this morning). Perhaps the eagle got tired of being viewed by thousands of humans and kicked the camera down! Scroll down and they also have a time lapse version from previous days.

Brooksyne found this beautiful edition of Psalm 91 set to music  Video

“Near To The Heart Of God”  Video   Green Hill Presbyterian Church

“Til The Storm Passes By”  Video  GVB

“Wings like Eagles”  Video  Hosanna! Music Scripture Songs

“On Eagle’s Wings”  Video   Michael Joncas

“Eagle’s Wings”  Video

“I Cannot Tell”  Video  Songs of Praise  Next Sunday Brooksyne will be leading the church choir in this song, popular in Ireland.  A beautiful Instrumental version  Video

Finally today: When we visited California we saw this interesting name for a bakery shop in San Clemente!

3:16 Bakery Shop in San Clemente, CA

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

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

“At All Times”

March 23, 2015

Amish church service on Kraybill Church Road 3/22/15
On the way to our church yesterday we passed buggie traffic and I reasoned that the Amish were probably having church on our road. Sure enough yesterday afternoon we passed our neighbor’s farm on Kraybill Church Road and saw all the buggies parked. (The Amish have church services in the homes of their members.)

“At All Times”
ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe” (Hebrews 12:28). “I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth” (Psalm 34:1).

Yesterday afternoon we led the chapel service at Longwood Manor, a nursing home in Maytown, Pennsylvania. Brooksyne selects music familiar to the elderly and they sure sing out. A group attends from a memory care unit and we note how the old hymns are deeply embedded  in their memory. One lady who has greatly diminished memory loudly sang, word for word, as Brooksyne played the hymns before the service began.

I preached a message based upon our daily encouragement message this last Friday from Hebrews 12 concerning the shakings in life. I looked out over the congregation of about 40 residents, now in their “golden years”, and considered all the shakings they’ve experienced in life. Heartaches, brokenness, profound disappointments. Most have lost their spouses, certainly some have grieved the loss of a child. Of course further shaking will most assuredly come as we consider the words from a hymn, “I’ll fight life’s final war with pain”. *

I shared how we all have these shakings while at the same time, “we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken”. What an assurance this is for all believers but even more keenly felt by the elderly since their time of departing is more evident.  Our response, according to the Scripture, is to “be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe.”

Now this is a very attentive group. In fact I didn’t see anyone piddling with their phone during the entire service. But I still like to test for attentiveness and purposefully misquoted a Scripture (being prepared to immediately correct myself if my misquote wasn’t detected). I challenged how we were to live our life characterized by worship and praise and misquoted Psalm 34 by saying, “I will bless the Lord whenever I feel like it.” Well, immediately Dale Singer (and probably several others) quickly corrected me and quoted correctly, “at all times”.

Dale Singer 3/22/15Take some time to interface with these seniors who have so much wisdom to offer. Let me just share a bit about Dale. He’s very familiar with life’s shakings. His first wife died of cancer many years ago. He remarried and, for some time now, has lovingly attended to his second wife who has Alzheimer’s Disease. Of course I don’t know all the shakings he’s been through but, now in his eighties, he maintains a faith-filled outlook on life.

As a child he was raised in a God-fearing home but rebelled as a teenager and soon became addicted to alcohol. In the Navy he served on the Aircraft Carrier Midway during the Korean War. (He was so pleased that we had seen his carrier on our recent visit to San Diego and wanted to tell me just where he had been stationed on the huge ship.)

Jesus SavesWhile in a training meeting in Memphis he passed a rescue mission and recalls seeing the bright neon sign, “Jesus Saves”. He walked in and surrendered his life to Christ and his heart and life was changed! While reflecting on the goodness of the Lord his eyes welled up in tears several times.

Dale told me that sometime later, following his conversion, he returned home.  It was eerily quiet as he entered his house. Assuming his folks were away he walked into his bedroom and there he saw his mother kneeling at his bed praying for him.

Dale went on to Messiah College and, for many years, was a public school teacher as well as a preacher. He still teaches a Sunday School class in his church to this day.

Dale’s story should encourage readers who have been praying for their prodigal child(ren). Sometimes you wonder if the godly upbringing you gave them was in vain, or you might question where you went wrong. Be assured that Bible truths, taught and modelled, are deeply imbedded in your children. We pray that they will come to their senses once they’ve consumed enough of the devil’s poison, and they will know again of the good things the Lord has prepared for those who love Him.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, we want to bless You at all times. May our praise toward You continually flow from our tongues so that it brightens our outlook and even our countenance. May our lives, set apart for your glory, be as neon lights to this darkened world where so many have lost their way. They’ve become slaves to sin and need to be rescued and set free. Enable us to genuinely care for these needy souls, in their lostness and despair, to lovingly guide them to salvation through Christ. No one is too lost, or beyond hope, of find saving grace through Christ Jesus. So we continue to pray, believe, and trust You to save our loved ones before it is eternally too late. In the precious name of Jesus we pray. Amen.


Good neighbors! Last night we had three neighborhood families over for dinner and fellowship. We wanted to thank them for their blessing in our lives. One has been so kind to keep our driveway cleared in the winter using his big John Deere tractor, another cares for our dogs while we are away and still another, our cat. They are trustworthy people. We didn’t take a photo since we thought it might make some of them, who are part of an old order Plain group uncomfortable.


Keefer twins
Our pastor has an identical twin and yesterday we met his brother for the first time.
We had some fun with that, after our initial confusion, when they weren’t side by side!

Lancaster homeshow flowers
Saturday afternoon I went to the Lancaster Homeshow where vendors demonstrate their various home improvement services. These real flowers at a hardscape dealer’s display get us more than ready to enjoy our spring season!

Colander planter
A repurposed kitchen colander serving as a planter!


Friday we shared this photo of a very friendly squirrel we saw along I-5 in southern California. He was reaching up to us for a morsel and we asked our readers for suggested captions.

California squirrel“I need a hug.”
“Please hold me, I just want to be loved.”
“Let’s just praise the Lord.”
“Do you suppose I could borrow your toothbrush?”
“I thank You, Jesus, You have brought these kind people here to feed me!”
“Please, don’t hit me, I won’t steal any more bird feed!”
“Can I have some of those Crest Whitestrips?”
“Smiling for the camera so I have a treat…please.”
“Come on, come on, come on. Let’s eat.”

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

* “Because He Lives”  Video  Gaither Vocal Band

“Jesus Saves”  Video  Travis Cottrell

“Somebody’s Praying Me Through”  Video  Allen Asbury

One more touching scene from yesterday in our nursing home ministry: As we walked into Longwood to prepare for the service I noticed two women praying for Warren, an elderly man in his nineties. I placed my hand on their shoulders and joined them even though I didn’t know who they were. Afterwards it turns out it was Warren’s daughter and granddaughter.


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

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

Hebrews 12:27,28 with San Clemente sunset
Sunset over Catalina Island from pier at San Clemente, California
(Click for larger photo)

Note: Today is the first day of spring but we wrap things up early Friday afternoon it’s snowing!

“The Kingdom That Can’t Be Shaken”

ListenListen to this message on your audio player. (Note: I failed to update the link for yesterday’s podcast. The podcast for that message is here.)

“The words ‘once more’ indicate the removing of what can be shaken–that is, created things–so that what cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe” (Hebrews 12:27,28).

American Pastor's NetworkYesterday after a couple of very early morning chaplain calls I (Stephen) attended an all-day conference sponsored by the American Pastor’s Network, an organization equipping pastors and other Christian leaders, to stand faithful for Biblical teaching. It was a powerful day with many inspiring speakers including George Barna, David Barton and evangelist Sammy Tippet.

The last presentation was from Steve Scheibner, a speaker I had never heard of before who began his speech with “In My Seat”; one of the most powerful, moving videos I have ever seen. It includes a compelling presentation of the gospel. The video is on YouTube and, when you have about 15 minutes, it is well worth watching. The link to the video is below or here (but please return to read our message)!

Steve ScheibnerSteve is a pilot for American Airlines who was initially scheduled to co-pilot Flight 11 on September 11, 2001 from Boston to Los Angeles. “In My Seat” recounts the events leading up to Flight 11 and the subsequent death of Tom McGuinness who was in the pilot’s seat that should have been filled by Steve Scheibner.

That brought to mind an email I received shortly after 9/11/01 from Tom McGuinness’ wife Cheryl. She had been receiving the daily encouragements and wrote to thank me (at that time Brooksyne was not involved in the writing). She gave me permission to share her story which demonstrates the mysteries of God’s Providence. One Christian pilot was saved to live longer on this earth while another was promoted to heaven.

September 11 started out as a beautiful day when the usual morning routine began for Cheryl and her husband, Tom.  He kissed her goodbye and left for work very early that morning. Cheryl and Tom, along with their two children, had  committed their lives to Christ years earlier. A pilot with American Airlines, Tom had a routine transcontinental flight from Boston to LA. As he took off in the aircraft and headed west across Massachusetts they, along with all Americans, were about to experience a tremendous shaking.

You see, Tom piloted American Airlines flight 11 from the very seat that Steve Scheibner had initially been assigned to. Flight 11 was the first plane that flew into the World Trade Center before 9 AM that morning. Cheryl pointed out that it’s quite possible that Tom was the first of the thousands killed by terrorists on September 11, 2001.  His body was destroyed like all those on board the plane but, as a redeemed believer, Tom’s spirit was ushered into the kingdom that cannot be shaken.  Cheryl tells her story in a remarkable online testimony of overcoming and has written a book titled, “Beauty Beyond The Ashes”.

I have heard it said that reality ultimately consists of two things; that which can be shaken and that which cannot.  We can also narrow it down to this: all that we see with our physical eyes can be shaken.

The daily text acknowledges the reality of the shaking of the created order that we have all experienced, although some like Cheryl, in a far more stunning way. Consider your life for a few minutes.  Look back over those periods of severe shakings. Some surely have had more severe types and perhaps even a greater frequency of “shakings”.  However there will be very few reading this that can’t identify with the concept of being shaken. This morning I visited with a friend who lost a grandson in an auto accident several years ago and we recalled what a shaking time that was for his family.

Hebrews 12:28We so want to avoid the shakings, but a “no shaking promise” is not made in Scripture. Quite the contrary, Jesus warns that believers will have trouble in this world. But we can find comfort as we look at Scriptures that point to a future date when “shakings” will become a thing of the past.

In the latter part of the daily text we are greatly encouraged by these words, “We are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken”.  We must intentionally focus on the eternal, spiritual realm; on the “kingdom that cannot be shaken”. It’s in the everyday routine of life that we often come upon an unexpected shaking that will detour us from the smooth life we mapped out for ourselves. But as long as our life’s map is tucked into the palm of His hand no unplanned event, setback, conflict or major disappointment will foil our future plan of abiding forever and ever in God’s “kingdom that cannot be shaken.”

We are “receiving” this kingdom and the present tense verb is quite significant. Jesus taught us to pray, “Thy kingdom come”. Our journey through this life is but a transition to the future eternal Kingdom God has prepared for us, one that cannot be shaken. As we get older we are keenly aware of how quickly life passes, but I am also convinced that very early in eternity we will recognize even more so the brevity of our earthly journey. But for now it’s all we know, and during difficult periods, it seems long and wholly significant.

Today I encourage each reader to keep the eternal perspective. We are receiving this kingdom! It’s a definite certainty. Therefore “let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe”.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, today we are thankful for our journey here below. We also thank You for our future heavenly dwelling where we will live in an unshakable kingdom that has no end, where sin and its awful consequences cannot enter, where we will worship You with reverence and awe throughout the myriad of time. How good it is that we can also worship You here with reverence and awe, with thanksgiving and praise even as we live in the midst of a world filled with sin, even as we praise You from a heart that plays tug of war with the enemy of our soul. We want to be purposeful and focus on that which cannot diminish over time, that which has eternal value, and that which will grow our love and devotion to You, our loving Father and Redeemer of our soul. Amen.


More scenes from our visit in Southern California
Today we will share our final set of photos from our trip.

We realized that during our trip we rode in our car to get to the airport, on planes to get there and back, shuttle bus, rental car, train trolley, trolley bus, tour bus and SEAL boat. Thus we traveled by land, water and air! (The SEAL boat was much like the duck boats, commonly used in other areas. It travels on both land and water.)

Harbor Drive in San Diego
Monday we returned to San Diego from San Clemente for our final full day. This is the drive beside the harbor and we both noticed the beauty of the straight rows of palm trees.

Us on SEAL tour in San Diego 3/16/15
A photo of us taken by the tour guide during the SEAL tour

Naval ship leaving San Diego
We saw several large navy ships leave San Diego

Sea Lions in San Diego
Sea Lions sunbathing

Flyboard, new water sport
As we walked along the harbor we saw a most unusual sport called Flyboard.
We didn’t get a clear photo but, if you look carefully, you’ll see a man at the top of the surging water hose. Fascinating to watch, we even saw a couple doing it together. This is a fun sport for young bodies, a bit more unappealing for those of us who are not as limber in our growing years. The man in the photo even did flips in the air and came back up on the “flyboard”.

San Diego Harbor
San Diego Harbor. We were impressed with this thriving cactus that stood alone amidst hundreds of thousands of rocks all along the shoreline.

california_squirrel.jpg
We stopped at a scenic view along I-5 in Camp Pendelton and were mobbed by friendly squirrels and seagulls wanting a bite to eat.

Any ideas for a caption for this photo? Suggest here.

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“When My World Is Shaking”  Video  J.J. Heller

“In My Seat” – A Pilot’s Story from Sept 10th – 11th  Video (This is the video referred to in the message. We encourage you to watch it.)

Steve Scheibner’s ministry “Character Health” website

“Beauty Beyond the Ashes – Choosing Hope After Crisis”   Cheryl McGuinness ministry

American Pastor’s Network (The organization that sponsored the conference I was at yesterday)

Flyboard World Champion  Video  (This is the new water sport we saw in the harbor)

We had a wonderful time during our California visit and we met many nice people. Although the traffic was, as expected, very congested we even had good road experiences overall. Drivers seemed especially courteous of pedestrians (with a few exceptions!) It was interesting that motorcycles just ride between the traffic which seems like it’s already on narrower lanes than we’re accustomed to. At times I was concerned they would scrape our car. Some roads even had 8 lanes on each side! What a contrast from our Kraybill Church Road which can go a long time without any traffic and then it just might be a horse and buggie!

We did see a couple of interesting sights which struck us. I won’t show the photos on this page but if you’re interested (or just plain curious) you can go here and here and draw your own conclusions.


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

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

Flowers in San Juan Capistrano Mission
We saw these beautiful flowers at the Mission San Juan Capistrano
“There Is No Rock Like Our God!”
ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“There is no one holy like the LORD; there is no one besides You; there is no Rock like our God” (1 Samuel 2:2). “He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the LORD is the key to this treasure” (Isaiah 33:6).

LA skyscraper One of the challenges of building in California is that it lies along several fault lines and of course is prone to earthquakes. One of the main components of any building, especially skyscrapers, is the foundation. The engineers want to place the foundation of the building on solid bedrock. But the challenge in a fault zone is the bedrock is not stable!

During our tour of downtown Los Angeles, where the tallest skyscrapers are, I found it interesting when the guide spoke of the construction techniques used for stability in light of these conditions. Some skyscrapers have accordian like floors which can absorb the shock during an earthquake.

Likewise there are many “fault zones” we need to be aware of as we build our lives. We must build on a firm foundation through Christ and the Bible. That’s our daily challenge.

What a wonderful truth and rich assurance our ancient daily texts provide for the believer! Hannah, rejoicing at the miraculous birth of her son Samuel, prayed, “There is no one holy like the LORD; there is no one besides You; there is no Rock like our God” (1 Samuel 2:2).

Jeremiah 33:6We need to appropriate this truth deep within our hearts as we especially focus on the first part of the second verse: “He will be the sure foundation for your times.” The KJV uses the phrase “stability of thy times”. The Hebrew word that the prophet Isaiah uses here connotes “firmness, security, fidelity”.  Truly in God we have a firm foundation for all our times.

Life is made up of various times, all of which are ordained of God for His glory and for our growth. Much of our times are spent in abundant blessing. These are the times when we might say, “Life is going smoothly.” It is easy to take these “smooth times” for granted or worse yet, feel that we’re entitled to them.

However we can also all easily recall times of difficulty, the fault zones of life when we are shaken, right to our core. Life can get very bumpy! For some of you it’s that way as you read this. It may be a long-term illness, the loss of a job, a broken relationship or other types of shakings that can grip our hearts and fill us with fear. It seems that with constant threats of terrorist attacks and decreasing security our world is entering into a time of ever-increasing trouble and instability. The “perilous times” spoken of in the Scriptures may very well characterize the “last days” in which we live.  (See 2 Timothy 3:1.)

God and His Word provide the steady and sure foundation for our spiritual security and abiding peace. Consider again just the opening phrase in our daily verse: “He will be the sure foundation for your times.” What kind of “times” are you going through today?

We encourage you to focus on the immutable God whose Word has promised: “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in You. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal” (Isaiah 26:3,4).

Today, rest in the assurance that in God we have a sure foundation for all our times; the good, the bad, the easy, the difficult, the memorable and even that which we would like to forget. We serve a God of absolute stability; One of whom it is said, “There is no Rock like our God”.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, thank You for the treasure of Your riches; salvation, wisdom, and knowledge. This treasure which You invite us to partake of stabilizes our hearts when instability surrounds us so much so that even we feel the shaking, kind of like an aftershock. Your salvation, wisdom and knowledge surpass those passing and temporal treasures experienced in this mortal life.  We walk by faith and not by sight, so keep us steadfast in our times as we hold to You, our unshakable foundation, for there is no Rock like You, our God. Keep our eyes on the invisible God, for though we cannot see You we love You and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, as we await our future union in heaven. Amen.


Some more scenes from our visit in Southern California

We left the LA area last Friday afternoon and traveled back down the coast where we stayed several days in San Clemente, about 1/2 way between LA and San Diego.

Mission San Juan Capistrano
Sunday afternoon we visited the Mission San Juan Capistrano, established 200 years before we got married.

Bells at Mission San Juan Capistrano
We heard the pleasant ringing of these bells on the Mission throughout town (although there is another set of four bells as well they might have been ringing).

Buildings at Mission San Juan Capistrano
There are many interesting buildings at the Mission. Today is Saint Joseph’s Day and the official “Return of the Swallows Celebration” although a guide told us the swallows start coming in early March and actually, due to lack of nest building materials, no longer live on the mission. However we did see some fake nests demonstrating what they look like!

Mission San Juan Capistrano interior
Mission San Juan Capistrano Interior

Shoreline train in San Clemente California
A rail line runs along the shore through San Clemente. Saturday afternoon we rode a bicycle built for two on a path beside the ocean and this rail line. We don’t have a photo since we didn’t know how to take a selfie! However here’s one from a similar ride on a Delaware Shore trail.

Sunset in San Clemente California
Sunset in San Clemente California looking out over the long pier.
The small objects in the water are surfers!

Dusk scene in San Clemente California
We went for another walk in San Clemente Sunday evening. We did a lot of walking. Brooksyne wears an Omron Pedometer and calculates we walked nearly 50 miles during the course of our stay! Unfortunately we partook of way too much good food, as we ate out daily, which un-did alot of good we accomplished through our walking. Our food consumption outweighed our calorie consumption (no pun intended)!

Air Force One at Reagan Library
At the Reagan Library we toured the Air Force One.
The Library sits on a mountain and the cockpit faces a stunning view.

Tomorrow we will share our final set of photos from our trip. Today we resume our chaplain visits!

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“There Is No Rock Like Our God”  Video  Praise Band

Mission San Juan Capistrano

Bells ringing in Mission San Juan Capistrano


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

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

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