“The Crushing Word”

December 11, 2018

Kraybill Church Road manure spreading 12/10/18 (Click to enlarge)Our neighbor was out yesterday morning performing an essential farming task.
 
“The Crushing Word”
Note: This week we will consider how words can be a blessing and at times a great source of pain.
 
Message summary:  “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” But it didn’t take long in life for us to learn that words can hurt, sometimes worse than sticks and stones. Most of us have been on the receiving end of hurtful words and likely you may recall one or more specific instances as you read this. We both can.

Listen to our message on your audio player.
 
“How long will you torment me and crush me with words?” (Job 19:2).
 
Many of us recall this short ditty from our childhood, perhaps we even repeated it.
 
“Sticks and stones may break my bones,
but words will never hurt me”
 
But it didn’t take long in life for us to learn that words can hurt, sometimes worse than sticks and stones. Most of us have been on the receiving end of hurtful words and likely you may recall one or more specific instances as you read this. We both can.
 
Hurting wordsBut most of us have also likely been on the giving end of hurtful words, sometimes unintentionally but at other times quite intentional. Even as the times I have received them come to mind, so do the times I have given them, equally painful. Sometimes things were made right; at other times life went on, contact was lost and correction may seem impossible, but the memory lingers. In fact at this point in life I would say I am more pained about what I have given than what I have received.
 
Hurtful words can take on many forms.  Perhaps someone is mocking the physical or mental defect of another. A person may be targeted due to differences in race, faith, geography, education and many other areas. There are also many motivations. Yesterday’s message considered the blessing of kind words but today let us consider what we have all experienced, unkind words.
 
Job was enduring a trial of practically unimaginable misery. He longed to receive comforting words but in today’s text Job is responding to Bildad, one of his “comforters” who is adding to his affliction instead of helping to alleviate it. Rather than sensitively speaking words that might bring comfort, assurance and encouragement these words brought on torment to the point that Job says he was crushed with the words. Another version states, “Break me in pieces with words” (ESV, KJV).
 
Job might have despaired of his life, if his only outlook in the midst of his circumstances was based on the words of his “comforters“. But He had to look beyond their gloomy and accusing messages and grasp hold of his confession of faith which he does in verses 25-26:
 
I know that my redeemer lives,
and that in the end he will stand on the earth.
And after my skin has been destroyed,
yet in my flesh I will see God;
 
If you’ve had a visit from a “comforter/accuser” in your life with a message of “crushing words”, may you find peace, comfort and acceptance from God who is the Father of compassion.
 
When we’re hurting He’s right there with us, speaking to us through His Word and by His spirit. He listens to our heart’s cry and lovingly assures us that “I will never leave you nor forsake You.”
 
 
Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber


Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we know the oft repeated expression that “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is a mistaken message certainly not derived from Scripture. Harmful and hurtful words can do irrevocable damage that will not disappear through first aid or antiseptic. Harmful words have a way of playing over and over in our head and entering into the deep recesses of our hearts. The more we cling to them the greater we risk exaggerating their original message or the intent of the messenger. We build walls, become defensive and do little to resolve the problem. Help us to weigh our words carefully, put ourselves to the test of asking, “Are the words coming from my tongue pleasing to Your ears?” When we habitually put our words to this test we will not use foul language, engage in crude joking, gossip, point out other’s shortcomings, slander or make fun of others but we will instead choose to build one another up in love. Keep us faithful in doing so we pray in Jesus name. Amen.

 
Donate to Daily Encouragement Net

Special Year-end Financial Appeal


We want to thank all who have financially supported our ministry this past year (and some for many years!). We realize there are many fine ministries and causes requesting support at this time but if the Lord would lead you we surely need and appreciate the financial support from our readers and listeners. Like many ministries, we typically see a spike in giving at the end of the year for which we are most thankful.

Our ministry labor is comprised of approximately half our time to Daily Encouragement and the other half to our chaplaincy ministry to companies for which we receive compensation. 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 would provide half of our ministry expenses and income.

If you would consider making a donation to our ministry see here for more information.

To donate directly online here. This will open to a page that designates the offering to: WEBER,STEPHEN CHAP, Specialized Chaplaincy Ministry ID: 700001-237376

Make A DonationPlease Note: We also provide this easy option due to the convenience, for international supporters, and for those who may not be concerned regarding receiving an official tax deductible receipt. Click here to send an offering using PayPal. This will open to a page that states “Brooksyne Weber”

Thank you

 
Stephen & Brooksyne
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“The Kind Word”

December 10, 2018

Hershey Medical Center Christmas tree 2018Hershey Medical Center Christmas tree
(A blue and white Christmas for Penn State colors)
 
“The Kind Word”
 
Note: This week we will consider how words can be a blessing and at times a great source of pain.

Message summary:  Thank God for the blessing of a kind word!

 
Listen to our message on your audio player.


“An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up” (Proverbs 12:25). “Kind words are like honey— sweet to the soul and healthy for the body” (Proverbs 16:24).

Last Friday we visited with an employee who shared with us about her ongoing heartache concerning a young man’s suicide. He had been her grown son’s closest friend since kindergarten and took his own life in July. She keeps his memory alive by distributing small printed business size cards, with his photo, reminding people of the vital importance of extending random acts of kindness to others.

As we were talking I recalled an experience an employee from another company had shared with us several weeks ago when he was the beneficiary of a “random act of kindness”. His young son had a serious allergic reaction prompting a trip to the ER. He was finally discharged very late in the evening or early morning hour with a prescription that had to be filled. He went to CVS, the only 24 hour pharmacy in our area, and was shocked to hear the price of the medication. A man he had never met overheard him, saw his distress, and insisted on paying for it!

 

Epipen

Well, I was telling this story to the lady and couldn’t recall the exact medication but I said the first thing that came to mind. I told her that the young boy needed an epidural and knew, when it came out of my mouth, that it didn’t sound quite right. That was followed by an awkward silence and a “you did it again” expression from Brooksyne. Then the woman responded with a chuckle in her voice, “I don’t think he was having a baby!” Anyway I meant to say “epipen”!

Many (likely all at one time or another) have experienced the first part of today’s Proverb. “An anxious heart weighs a man down”. What a powerful word picture of the burden of anxiety. Someone once defined anxiety as “a small trickle of fear that meanders through the mind, cutting a channel into which all other thoughts flow”.

An inner battle rages between trust and worry. Trust dispels worry. But much like the popup figures in an arcade shooting gallery, worry just keeps popping back up!

The anxieties of this life really do weigh one down. Sometimes it seems they really press on the heart and you can actually feel it (the KJV says it “maketh it stoop”). We are sure most of you know what we mean. And we wouldn’t be surprised if some of you reading this are experiencing an anxious heart as you read this.

Proverbs 16:24Thank God for the blessing of a kind word! We have so often been the recipient of such words. An earnest “I’m praying for you”, a caring “How’s your health?”, or a sincere “I really appreciate you.” Kind words like these really cheer the heart and, in each of the above examples, we can recall a specific instance that we continue to draw energy from. In the second daily text the word for “cheer” is literally derived from a Hebrew word meaning to “brighten up.”

We hope you all receive some kind words today. If you’re like us you like to surround yourself with people who are kind; that’s understandable and normal.

But we also challenge you to be a dispensary of kind words and deeds. Don’t base it on whether the recipient deserves it; do it as an exercise of obedience to God. Is there one of us who deserves God’s kindness?

As you fulfill the Biblical principle of sowing what you desire to reap, you may be surprised at the result. Or maybe you won’t, but You will be growing, stretching, and exercising the fifth fruit of the spirit listed in Galatians 5:22,23. After all, it’s easy to show kindness in response to kindness, but the real fruit of people’s character is seen when they respond in kindness to an unkind word or act.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber


Praying manDaily prayer: Father, the cares of this world often press in on us and weigh our hearts down. It’s not your desire that we carry this heavy load because You are the Burden Bearer. You use the difficult circumstances of our lives to bring glory to Yourself as You bring spiritual maturity into our relationship with You. There are many situations where we’ve been dealt with unjustly, with unkind words thrown our way. But there are many other times we’ve received kindness when we didn’t seek it. Help us to seek out ways in which we can speak kind words or extend ourselves in thoughtful and generous ways that will brighten one’s day. Let us be as rays of sunshine to one who might be overshadowed by clouds of discouragement today.  Amen.

Observation: A verse in Genesis rather graphically describes the severely strained relationship of Joseph and his older brothers who were extremely jealous of him. “They hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.” What a heartbreaking description of a very dysfunctional family! Can you imagine such seething resentment that would leave the brothers unable to merely say a kind word to their own brother?

Brooksyne’s Note: The life of Joseph is found in Genesis 37-50. Though I’ve known this story since childhood I never tire of re-reading it and being reminded of the importance of forgiveness and reconciliation. If anyone could be filled with worry and fear, certainly Joseph was a perfect candidate. But God had a plan for his life that could not be changed though he was abandoned, enslaved, framed, falsely imprisoned, and seemingly forgotten. God’s plan was not thwarted in the midst of all that would seem to indicate God had forgotten Joseph. But the scene was only setting up in slow motion for great drama and uncontrollable emotion as Joseph rose to second in command in his adopted country of Egypt. I’m so blessed in reading of Joseph’s perspective to the extremely difficult circumstances of his life over the previous twenty years when he said to his estranged brothers, “God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives….so then, it was not you who sent me here, but God” (Gen. 45:7,8). We, like Joseph, need to recognize that God is working behind the scenes in every circumstance of our life – whether it is the workplace, family, the church, or any other uncomfortable matter that we are dealing with. If we want the spiritual maturity of Joseph we also must undergo the testings that brought him to such mature perspective. Ouch!



Donate to Daily Encouragement Net

Special Year-end Financial Appeal


We want to thank all who have financially supported our ministry this past year (and some for many years!).
We realize there are many fine ministries and causes requesting support at this time but if the Lord would lead you we surely need and appreciate the financial support from our readers and listeners. Like many ministries, we typically see a spike in giving at the end of the year for which we are most thankful.

Our ministry labor is comprised of approximately half our time to Daily Encouragement and the other half to our chaplaincy ministry to companies for which we receive compensation. 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 would provide half of our ministry expenses and income.

If you would consider making a donation to our ministry see here for more information.

To donate directly online here. This will open to a page that designates the offering to: WEBER,STEPHEN CHAP, Specialized Chaplaincy Ministry ID: 700001-237376

Make A DonationPlease Note: We also provide this easy option due to the convenience, for international supporters, and for those who may not be concerned regarding receiving an official tax deductible receipt. Click here to send an offering using PayPal. This will open to a page that states “Brooksyne Weber”

Thank you

Stephen & Brooksyne



Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
 
“Show A Little Bit of Love and Kindness”  Video  The Collingsworth Family

“Try A Little Kindness”  Video  Glen Campbell  Brooksyne’s note: This is not a typical artist featured in our suggested music but the song just seems to fit.  Back in my teen years this song was very popular and I was a big fan of Glen Campbell (had to play his album when Daddy wasn’t home cause Glen Campbell was not country enough for my die- hard classic country dad – Porter Wagoner, Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn, country fans will know the names.) There’s a good message in this song along with some nice imagery.
 
Finally today:

JK Mechanical truck
The tech who uses this JK Mechanical service truck stores his tools in good order using plastic pipe and clamps!
No More Excuses posterWe saw this poster in a local church.
 
“The Example Of The Centurion”
 
Message summary: In this very broken world people are still finding God and getting saved!

Listen to our message on your audio player.


“When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, asking for help. ‘Lord,’ he said, ‘my servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering'” (Matthew 8:5).
 
In our chaplaincy role Christian employees often share with us about their “prodigals” and enlist our prayer support. Yesterday an employee updated Brooksyne about her adult son who has strayed from his spiritual roots for quite a number of years, and yet he still finds himself surrounded by believers, evidence that God is still seeking him out.
 
The employee told Brooksyne that her “prodigal” son’s co-worker is a devout Christian, and sometimes the work they do can be quite challenging. The Christian co-worker is upbeat and usually has an encouraging thought regarding the matter at hand. Recently, he reached out to her “prodigal” son when he sensed that he was quite disturbed about a problem and asked if he could pray for him right there and then. He consented but did so very hesitantly.
 
Well, it just happens that we are also chaplains at the company where her son works and know the Christian co-worker she described. He is a solid believer, has an active faith, and often goes on mission trips. We pray that as he deals with his less than receptive fellow worker he will not grow weary in well-doing, and that one day the “prodigal” co-worker will tell him that he planted seeds that led him to a restored faith in Christ or perhaps he may even lead him to Christ.

The above story reminds me of yet another story I heard years ago. A Christian manager shared with me that he had the duty of dismissing an employee for just cause; a single man living a reckless lifestyle. As he was escorting him to the door he felt the Spirit’s prompting to ask the dismissed employee if he could pray for him and the employee consented. He prayed a brief heartfelt prayer and said farewell.

Many years later he was eating in a restaurant and the former employee came over to greet him. He was a changed man, now married with children and living a responsible life. He told my friend, “I found God”. Only the Lord knows what impact the Spirit-prompted prayer many years earlier had in his change of heart. That is something we just to leave to God. Our call is simply to obey God’s leading.

God calls us all to express care toward others. Real love is conveyed in expression, words and action which often includes some tangible form of caring.

 
Consider the centurion in the daily text. He had many working under his authority and was likely a man of considerable influence. He could have been too busy or felt he was too important to really pay attention to the needs of those who worked for him, particularly a servant. But just one of his “employees”, a servant, was in need. He sought out Jesus on behalf of this servant who was “paralyzed and in terrible suffering”. Wouldn’t you like to have someone like this for a boss!

Today we encourage each reader to be sensitive and observant. Look for opportunities to express God’s love and care to those in our sphere of influence; much like the centurion did for his needy employee.


Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber


Praying manDaily prayer: Father, I want to be Your hand extended, reaching out to those in need. Because we’ve been blessed by Your hand, Father, we want to reach out to others so that they too may be blessed since we can be an extension of Your love and kindness, Your mercy and grace. How grateful we are for those who saw us when we were in need, prayed for us, and then courageously, even sacrificially made themselves available to us. They were compassionate conduits for that which You wanted to do for us, in us, and through us as we surrendered ourselves to You for Your intended purpose for our lives. Amen.

 

Here’s the full context the daily text comes from:


When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering.” Jesus said to him, “I will go and heal him.” The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, “I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! It will be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that very hour. (Matthew 8:5-13)
 
Donate to Daily Encouragement Net

Special Year-end Financial Appeal


We want to thank all who have financially supported our ministry this past year (and some for many years!). We realize there are many fine ministries and causes requesting support at this time but if the Lord would lead you we surely need and appreciate the financial support from our readers and listeners. Like many ministries, we typically see a spike in giving at the end of the year for which we are most thankful.

Our ministry labor is comprised of approximately half our time to Daily Encouragement and the other half to our chaplaincy ministry to companies for which we receive compensation. 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 would provide half of our ministry expenses and income.

If you would consider making a donation to our ministry see here for more information.

To donate directly online here. This will open to a page that designates the offering to: WEBER,STEPHEN CHAP, Specialized Chaplaincy Ministry ID: 700001-237376

Make A DonationPlease Note: We also provide this easy option due to the convenience, for international supporters, and for those who may not be concerned regarding receiving an official tax deductible receipt. Click here to send an offering using PayPal. This will open to a page that states “Brooksyne Weber”

Thank you

 
Stephen & Brooksyne
 
Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
 
“Prodigals”  Video  The Steeles  Encouragement for all who have prodigals!
 
“I Got Saved”  Video  Corey Voss  When the former employee shared with my friend “I Found God” it reminded me of this song. In this very broken world people are still finding God and getting saved!
Stone farmhouse near Hershey, PA
This stately old stone farmhouse is near Hershey, PA.
 
“A Lesson From Keeping Cake”
 
Message summary:  We may not be able to keep “keeping cake” very long but “keeping grace” will always keep us!

Listen to our message on your audio player.

“Surely the LORD is in this place, and I was not aware of it” (Genesis 28:16). But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life” (Jude 1:20-21).

Keeping cakeDuring the holiday season Brooksyne enjoys baking for us and others. Yesterday she made English Toffee
candy from a recipe her aunt had given her when she was in Colorado last month. She had great incentive after her Aunt Mary made a delicious batch while she visited. In fact she tucked a few pieces of toffee away in her suitcase for me.
 
One of her favorite baking projects for many years has been “Keeping Cake” which she gives away at Christmas. It’s a combination of cranberries, brown sugar, glazed pecans, etc. She tries to make it early since the fruit mellows and blends over time. It will keep up to 3 months in a dry, cool place, thus the name “keeping cake”).
 
However in our home it doesn’t usually have the opportunity to improve over time since we tend to eat it too quickly. We don’t always practice the “keeping” but rather apply the “eating” aspect to this cake! But the recipe name does prompt a spiritual thought we’d like to consider today, keeping grace. We may not be able to keep “keeping cake” very long but “keeping grace” will always keep us!

One of the great joys in ministry is encouraging others based primarily upon the Scriptures, God’s most certain Word. Encouragement can come from all parts of the Bible as we will share in today’s encouragement.

The first daily text is from a story involving Jacob, who had just fled from his parent’s home. He was a real rascal at this time, having stolen the birthright from his older brother, Esau, and later deceiving his father, Isaac, in obtaining the blessing that should have gone to his firstborn son, Esau. He was fleeing in fear from his angry brother Esau, who had vowed to kill him. Traveling till the sun had set he finally laid down to sleep using a cold, hard stone as a pillow. Ouch! These are not normally the conditions conducive to hearing from God, let alone getting a good night of sleep. Jacob was surely not seeking any spiritual encounter that night.

But at this very time God spoke to Jacob in a vision, essentially assuring him of His plan for Jacob’s life which would also bring about the fulfillment of His promises to his grandfather, Abraham.  When Jacob awoke Scripture declares that he made the observation in our daily text, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I was not aware of it.”  The part of the passage that particularly intrigues me is the phrase, “I was not aware of it.” May we always be aware of the Lord’s presence, even when we can’t see Him at work in our lives!

Keeping grace plaqueNearly 4000 years later God is still speaking and meeting with His people today; not only in churches but wherever, whenever, and however He wants to get our attention. We have a much fuller revelation of God’s promises than Jacob and we know His Word declares some great assurances.

David spoke of God’s presence in his most famous Psalm, “Thou art with me.” Jesus assured His disciples before returning to heaven, “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  The writer of Hebrews reminds us that God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

Finally, today let us consider the simple word of “keeping grace” from Jude in our second daily text, “Keep yourselves in the love of God”. God is always faithful to do His part.

Today, receive these great promises with joy and anticipation, fellow believer! Whatever your circumstances, however difficult or even hopeless they may seem; remember, the LORD is always with us. May we always be aware of His presence, even in the night hour, along with His keeping grace!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber


Praying manDaily prayer: Father, I am very grateful for Your continual guidance in my life and for Your steadying hand when the foundations are shaken. Lead me to the towering rock of safety, for You are my safe refuge. In Your presence I find renewed hope, resurging strength and safety beneath the shelter of Your wings! Your unfailing love will uphold me and Your sovereign presence will never leave me nor forsake me. What joyous blessings these promises unfold in my life day by day as You will never lead me where Your grace cannot keep me. Thank You for Jesus in whose name we pray! Amen.

Observation: As I look back over my life it seems that God’s voice tends to be clearest in the tough times. Likely that’s because I am most sensitive to the Spirit’s leading in these situations. Although we want to avoid the tough times, I believe God providentially allows us to go through them so that He can instruct us and guide our lives. That’s why I so often pray for myself and others that God would give us grace and maturity to actually rejoice during hard times and when the doors seem closed.
 
Donate to Daily Encouragement Net

Special Year-end Financial Appeal


We want to thank all who have financially supported our ministry this past year (and some for many years!). We realize there are many fine ministries and causes requesting support at this time but if the Lord would lead you we surely need and appreciate the financial support from our readers and listeners. Like many ministries, we typically see a spike in giving at the end of the year for which we are most thankful.

Our ministry labor is comprised of approximately half our time to Daily Encouragement and the other half to our chaplaincy ministry to companies for which we receive compensation. 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 would provide half of our ministry expenses and income.

If you would consider making a donation to our ministry see here for more information.

To donate directly online here. This will open to a page that designates the offering to: WEBER,STEPHEN CHAP, Specialized Chaplaincy Ministry ID: 700001-237376

Make A DonationPlease Note: We also provide this easy option due to the convenience, for international supporters, and for those who may not be concerned regarding receiving an official tax deductible receipt. Click here to send an offering using PayPal. This will open to a page that states “Brooksyne Weber”

Thank you,

 
Stephen & Brooksyne
 
Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
 
“Surely the Presence of the Lord Is in This Place”  Video  Thapelo Makateng
 
“He Sees What We Don’t”  Video  The Carr Family
 
“O Come All Ye Faithful”  Video  Calvary Church worship team
 
Finally today: Here’s more about the “Keeping Cake”
 
I make these small loaves for food gifts at Christmas. One year, after baking and washing the rectangular ceramic dishes, I asked Stephen to put them away in the highest cabinet shelf to save me the extra time it takes to get a stool.  He willingly agreed and as he did so I heard this loud, crashing sound that just seemed to go on and on.  Imagining the worst I turned to see him using his hands as a shield to protect his face as the dishes tumbled forward onto him and then the ceramic tile floor.  The next thing you know Ester races into the kitchen with camera in hand flashing pictures of Stephen and the mess he had just made (she’s learned “quick camera action” from her dad.) It became a very laughable experience. Fortunately only two out of five dishes broke, probably because he became the padded buffer.

Keeping Cake (Single Recipe)


1 pkg. (12 oz. or 3 ½ C.) cranberries, separated – (6 oz. chopped)
¾ C. Granulated Sugar
½ teaspoon orange peel
½ C. (1 stick) butter or margarine
2 ½ C. All-Purpose flour
2 C. brown Sugar
½ tsp. nutmeg
½  tsp. allspice
½  tsp. cloves
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs
¾ C. Sour Cream
1 C. pecans, coarsely chopped
Crystal Like Sugar (optional)

tsp.= teaspoon

Prepare loaf pans by spraying with Pam.  In large saucepan combine 6 oz (1/2 pkg.) of cranberries, ¾ C. sugar and ½ tsp. orange peel.  Bring to boil, stirring constantly until berries pop and mixture thickens.  Remove.  Add  1 stick butter to melt and other 6 oz. of cranberries, chopped.  Cool.

Combine in large bowl 2 ½ C. flour, 2 C. brown sugar, spices, 2 tsp. soda and 1 tsp. salt.  Stir in 2 eggs with ¾ C. sour cream.  Add egg mixture to dry ingredients.  Stir in cranberry mixture and 1 C. pecans (glazed are excellent if you can find them.  (Diamond brand makes them.)

This will make about seven very small loaves or two large loaves.  Bake at 350 for about one hour or till done (less time for small loaves). Cool in pans for ten minutes before removing from pan and inverting on cake rack.  Wrap cakes in foil at least one week to age in cool, dry place.

I sprinkle unrefined raw sugar or large sugar crystals inside the sprayed loaf pan before pouring batter in pans and on top of the batter after filling the loaf pans. Keeps up to three months in cool, dry place. Freezes nicely as well.

From Leisure Arts, “Gifts of Good Taste”, P. 29. No Mixer needed for this recipe. I usually serve this more as a sweet bread with soft cream cheese than I do a cake. When I give this as gifts at Christmas it comes up a winner!!

Garment of Salvation (Artist not known)
 
“The Garments Of Salvation”
 
Message summary:  God made and God clothed.

Listen to our message on your audio player.

“The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them” (Genesis 3:21). “I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For He has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness” (Isaiah 61:10). “And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger” (Luke 2:7).

Stephen & Brooksyne at Longwood GardensWhat type of garments distinguish you? Of course the answer will vary depending on where you live, your customs, tastes, the climate and so forth. Here in Lancaster County we have various sects of old-order groups that can be distinguished by their clothing. It would be interesting to have a group photo of Daily Encouragement readers from all around the world and note the wide variety of colors, clothing, and still the basic similarity!

I (Stephen) regularly wear three articles of clothing that distinguishes me; suspenders and when it’s colder, a vest and hat. Brooksyne is a little less predictable but her wardrobe often includes a colorful vest or scarf. This photo on the right was taken last month at Longwood Gardens. One thing you can be sure of; you won’t ever see us wearing fig leaves!

The very first immediate consequence of the fall was that Adam and Eve became aware of their own nakedness and need for a covering. The Bible describes their pre-fallen condition as “naked and not ashamed”.

 

Mollie with hat (Photo by Ester)An easily observable condition to this day, regardless of where we live or our ethnic background, is the natural and unashamed nakedness in the animal kingdom. Our three pets, two dogs and a cat, run around all day without a stitch of clothing and think nothing of it, nor do we. However, Ester likes to place hats on the dogs for Christmas though they really don’t like it! But she does this every Christmas, for her “photo session” with them.

If animals are clothed it’s due to a novelty for humans such as putting sweaters on dogs or perhaps an assumption that they need additional warmth in severe climates. Even the “higher” animals, those that evolutionists claim are “more related” to us, do not clothe themselves. The need to clothe and the ability to do so is distinctively human and goes back to a consequence of the fall.


At the very moment of Adam’s transgression (interestingly not Eve’s) their eyes were “opened, and they realized they were naked” (Genesis 3:7). They crudely sewed fig leaves together to make coverings and sought to hide from God. But God initiated the very first search and rescue mission. The first question God asked fallen Adam was, “Where are you?”. Of course God knew where they were and why they were hiding!

He proceeded to pronounce judgment for their disobedience. But God also acted redemptively in serving as the first custom tailor. Consider the provision in the daily text: “The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them” (Genesis 3:21).


Garments of skinWhere did the “garments of skin” come from? Up to this point there had been no death in the Garden. Surely an animal or animals were slain to provide these skins. Blood was shed.  Perhaps it was a lamb, though it is not specified.

Did you notice the two verbs so rich in meaning in Genesis 3:21: God “made” and God “clothed“. There’s another wonderful covering God provides for all mankind mentioned in Isaiah 61:10. Isaiah proclaimed and so can we today, “I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For He has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness” (Isaiah 61:10).

We fast forward to the birth of Jesus Christ when Almighty God became the supreme expression of Deity to all humankind: “And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger.” Charles Wesley, in his first published hymn text, “Hark The Herald Angels Sing” reveals God’s greatest Gift to the world in the following words:

Veiled in flesh the Godhead see,
Hail the Incarnate Deity.
Pleased as man with men to dwell,
Jesus our Immanuel.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber


Praying manDaily prayer: Father, my soul rejoices in the wondrous Gift of Your Son, Jesus, who descended from the sinless atmosphere of heaven and clothed Himself in the garment of humankind. Prior to this marvelous undertaking You spoke to us through the prophets who revealed only a partial and preparatory revelation of the Triune God. But the perfect revelation of who You are is revealed in the Person of Jesus Christ which is made visible and understandable in human terms. For the Son is the radiance of Your glory and the exact representation of Your Being. As we have come to know Jesus, the Son of man, we also know You, Father, because Your character and power are revealed in the life and works of Your Son, Jesus. Thank You for mercifully adopting us as Your children and clothing us in robes of righteousness, for without this clothing, we cannot enter heaven. Amen.

Brooksyne’s Note: Many references from Scripture come to mind regarding the clothing that is not an outward adornment bringing glory to oneself. Rather I’m thinking of the clothing that dresses the inner self where the character of Christ is revealed to others as we converse and mingle with others throughout the day. Consider I Peter 3:1-6 where Paul speaks to wives regarding their inner dress. In Colossians 3:1-12 Paul tells believers to clothe themselves with humility, compassion, kindness, etc. Ephesians 6:10-17 reminds us of the ensuing battle of the enemy and the only way we will be victorious is by clothing ourselves in spiritual armor.

 
Donate to Daily Encouragement NetSpecial Year-end Financial Appeal


We want to thank all who have financially supported our ministry this past year (and some for many years!). There are many fine ministries and causes requesting support at this time but, if the Lord would lead you, we surely need and appreciate the financial support from our readers and listeners. Like many ministries, we typically see a spike in giving at the end of the year for which we are most thankful, and have come to rely on.

Our ministry labor is comprised of approximately half our time to Daily Encouragement and the other half to our chaplaincy ministry to companies for which we receive compensation. 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 would provide half of our ministry expenses and income.

If you would like to donate to our ministry see here for more information.

To donate directly online here. This will open to a page that designates the offering to: WEBER,STEPHEN CHAP, Specialized Chaplaincy Ministry ID: 700001-237376

Make A DonationPlease Note: We also provide this easy option due to the convenience, for international supporters, and for those who may not be concerned regarding receiving an official tax deductible receipt. Click here to send an offering using PayPal. This will open to a page that states “Brooksyne Weber”.

Thank you,

Stephen & Brooksyne


One Accord Choir 12/2/18On Sunday evening I had the pleasure of attending the One A-Chord Choir Concert at Mount Joy Mennonite Church, only a mile from our home. This choir is comprised of believers who unite in song on the National Day of Prayer which is how the choir came into existence several years ago. The singers come from all over the region representing about 50 different churches.
 
Dorothy Schmidt leading Calvary Homes women's group 12/3/18
On Monday, as Stephen was dealing with his stomach virus, I had a ladies day out with Ester and our dear friend, Anna Ruth Lapp. We went to Calvary Homes to “Women Connecting”. Dorothy Schmidt (pictured at the podium) is another very dear friend who launched a Women’s Ministry at Calvary Homes, where she is also a resident. It is very similar to Christian Women’s Club in which she served as president in the Ocean City, NJ area for many years. In addition she recruited women to serve as officers in CWC, lead Bible Studies and form other CWC’s. This was “Women Connecting”‘s second program and it was a blessing to attend with about 80 other women, mostly residents of Calvary Homes.
 
Calvary Homes Christmas tree 12/3/18
Stephen was taken back by the bright lights on the Christmas tree that took center stage on the platform. His mouth was wide open as he took it all in as though he were exclaiming, “WOW!”
 


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
 
“Immanuel”  Video  Charles Billingsley

“Hark The Herald Angels Sing”  Video  Boyce Vocal Band  We are so blessed to see so many great recordings coming out of colleges with enthusiastic young people such as “Carol of the Bells” by The Voices of Lee  Video or “Behold Our God” by the CBU University Choir and Orchestra Video
 
Finally today:

White Horse thrift store parking 12/3/18After Christian Women’s Club Anna Ruth, Dorothy, Ester and I went shopping at Costco and then traveled to “Country Gift and Thrift” in White Horse; a fun thrift store where we find many bargains and the funds are raised for missions. As I looked out the window of the upper floor into the parking lot I noticed this “horse and buggy”. It was a rather cold day so I hope the driver was dressed warm enough for the ride home!

Cross made of chain
“The cross we carry is never as heavy as the chains from which we were freed.”
“No Cross, No Shield, The Big Problem”
Message summary: The world may indeed believe “no cross, no shield, no problem”.
Listen to our message on your audio player.

“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18). “You have also given me the shield of your salvation” (2 Samuel 22:36).

Here in Pennsylvania, as in many states, for many years we had a major health insurance provider known as Blue Cross/Blue Shield. In fact it was our health insurance for most of the time when we lived in Pennsylvania from 1977 to 1993. In 2001Blue Cross/Blue Shield experienced some financial difficulties and split off to become two separate companies, which is the case to this day in our state. We have Highmark Blue Shield (which happens to be our present health insurance provider) and Capital Blue Cross and now they compete against each other! For 2019 I am leaning to using Capital Blue Cross.

No Cross, No Shield, No Problem billboard

Back in 2001 when they were having problems a rival company used an interesting slogan to advertise for new customers. One large highway billboard ad declared, “NO CROSS, NO SHIELD, NO PROBLEM”.

Well that sure got me thinking. That seems to me to be the attitude of many to a vitally more important cross and shield.

The cross is the historic Christian symbol, reminding us of what really happened on an old wooden cross nearly 2,000 years ago, when Jesus Christ died as a substitute for our sins. But to many at that time, to many throughout the ages, and to a multitude of people today it’s a message of foolishness. They scoff at the notion. But for those of us who are being saved it is indeed the power of God! “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18)

The shield, although not as common as the symbol of the cross, is nevertheless used in Scripture to describe our salvation. David wrote in one of his songs to the Lord, “You have also given me the shield of your salvation”. It’s interesting to me that the root Hebrew word used in this passage for salvation is “yesha'”, which is also the root word for the Name of Jesus.

The world may indeed believe “no cross, no shield, no problem”. But from the perspective of “the redeemed” man’s failure to glory in the cross and to appropriate the shield of salvation is a very big problem. Today join me in thanking God for what took place on the cross and for the shield of our salvation.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we are grateful for Jesus who provided the answer for the sin problem for all time. Without the cross there would be no redemption; no forgiveness for our sins; no hope for this life or the next; no sin-free eternity for the redeemed. That which was man’s greatest problem had no earthly fix, but You sent Jesus to be born in a hallowed manger to be the solution to our desperate condition. To those who have accepted Jesus as their Savior it is a joyous walk. The weight of sin is lifted and the shield of salvation empowers us, for Jesus is our Master. But to those who reject Jesus the weight of sin continues to dominate their lives and enslave them to the schemes of Satan who is their master. We lift high the banner of the cross of Jesus as we walk in His resurrected power, and it is also in His name that we pray. Amen.

 


 

Donate to Daily Encouragement Net
Special Year-end Financial Appeal
 

We want to thank all who have financially supported our ministry this past year (and some for many years!). We realize there are many fine ministries and causes requesting support at this time but if the Lord would lead you we surely need and appreciate the financial support from our readers and listeners. Like many ministries, we typically see a spike in giving at the end of the year for which we are most thankful.

Our ministry labor is comprised of approximately half our time to Daily Encouragement and the other half to our chaplaincy ministry to companies for which we receive compensation. 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 would provide half of our ministry expenses and income.

If you would consider making a donation to our ministry see here for more information.

To donate directly online here. This will open to a page that designates the offering to: WEBER,STEPHEN CHAP, Specialized Chaplaincy Ministry ID: 700001-237376

Make A DonationPlease Note: We also provide this easy option due to the convenience, for international supporters, and for those who may not be concerned regarding receiving an official tax deductible receipt. Click here to send an offering using PayPal. This will open to a page that states “Brooksyne Weber”

Thank you

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
Alert readers!
  • Yesterday I mentioned not feeling well but missed a word and stated “frankly I have been feeling well”. Well, Mel, a long-time friend picked this up! I am feeling better today but still a bit nauseous and stayed home. Brooksyne is making our customary Tuesday chaplain visits solo. I told her I wasn’t back to 100% and she informed me I am never at 100%!
  • A photo was shown that we thought were hay bales but Donald observed they were actually baled corn stalks. I don’t know Donald but I wonder if he is a farmer!
“The Christmas Cross”   Video   DeWayne Climer  An interesting song and message.
“The Power Of The Cross”  Video  Gold City
“Chain Breaker”  Video  Zach Williams  This is a very moving song and video. In our chaplain work discussions regarding various addictions are such a common topic that effect many. I heard a man last week tell me his son’s wife died of an overdose on heroin/fentanyl. Her last post on social media before she died was “I am as high as kite”.
Finally today:
Chaplain Dave HertleI took this photo of Chaplain Dave Hertle at a mobile truck chapel in Omaha Nebraska ten years ago. He is holding the heavy chain shaped in a cross with the links welded together. The links are welded together. The story is here. Dave is a chaplain with Transport For Christ, a ministry that has chapels with chaplains at truck stops.

“To Seek And To Save”

December 3, 2018

Amish hay wagon 11/30/18Harvest time is drawing to an end for this season but this Amish farmer was still hauling hay on Millport Road in Lampeter Township on Friday.
 
“To Seek And To Save”
 
Message summary: This is the very heart of the mission. Jesus “came to seek and to save the lost.” He accomplished that mission. Now all who call upon the Lord in earnest faith will be saved.

Note: Brooksyne had an early morning meeting today and frankly I have not been feeling well (upset stomach) so we forgo the podcast reading for today’s message.
 
“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10).

 
Yesterday began the first Sunday of Advent, a period when many churches typically begin to place a focus on the events concerning the birth of Christ. The first Christmas songs of the season may also be used and many churches use a series leading up to Christmas Sunday. Our church began one titled “Come Near”.
 
From a preaching perspective it can be a challenging time. People expect and we want to preach on this theme yet the Biblical narratives concerning the human dimension of Christ’s birth only take up several chapters in Matthew and Luke’s gospels and most people who have been in church are pretty familiar with that part of the Bible. So we seek to be creative yet Biblically faithful
 
You, oh Lord, have made a way
The great divide You heal
For when our hearts were far away
Your love went further still
Yes, your love goes further still


Yesterday our pastor preached from the account of Zacchaeus which he admitted seemed an unusual text to begin a Christmas series but by the time he was finished it was very clear how it was.

 
The entire account is found in Luke 19:1-10, a portion of the Bible dealing with Christ’s final journey to Jerusalem some 33 year after His birth. Now Zacchaeus, as many of you know was “a wee little man” who climbed a Sycamore tree to see Jesus as He passed by. He was a deeply loathed chief tax collector and perhaps the last person the crowd would expect Jesus to give any attention to. That’s sure what the observers thought. Jesus called Him out of that tree and invited Himself over to his house, which culturally seems very unusual to us!
 
Zacchaeus demonstrated his earnest desire to change and the portion ends with a great purpose statement by Jesus. “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10).
 
This is the very heart of the mission. Jesus “came to seek and to save the lost.” He accomplished that mission. Now all who call upon the Lord in earnest faith will be saved.
 
Zacchaeus in the nativity sceneThe pastor showed a graphic yesterday asking us to picture Zacchaeus in the nativity scene, one who Jesus had come to seek and save. I’ll go farther and urge you to place yourself in that scene. Jesus continues to seek and to save the lost.
 
He “gave Himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age” (Galatians 1:4). In virtually all search and rescue operations the one(s) being sought after are desperately wanting to be rescued. But in the divine search and rescue mission many choose to remain in their sins and lost condition. They essentially reject the outstretched Hand of rescue.

We can all say the words to John Newton’s great hymn. “I once was lost but now I’m found, I once was blind and now I see”!


You alone can rescue, You alone can save
You alone can lift us from the grave
You came down to find us, led us out of death
To You alone belongs the highest praise

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Loving Father, You rescued us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of Your Son in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Where would we be today without the redemptive work of Jesus who bore the pain and disgrace of our sins that we might be forgiven and receive eternal life. We give You praise now and forevermore through Christ Jesus our Lord in whose name we pray. Amen.



Donate to Daily Encouragement Net
Special Year-end Financial Appeal:
 
We want to thank all who have financially supported our ministry this past year (and some for many years!). We realize there are many fine ministries and causes requesting support at this time but if the Lord would lead you we surely need and appreciate the financial support from our readers and listeners. Like many ministries, we typically see a spike in giving at the end of the year for which we are most thankful.

Our ministry labor is comprised of approximately half our time to Daily Encouragement and the other half to our chaplaincy ministry to companies for which we receive compensation. 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 would provide half of our ministry expenses and income.

If you would consider making a donation to our ministry see here for more information.

To donate directly online here. This will open to a page that designates the offering to: WEBER,STEPHEN CHAP, Specialized Chaplaincy Ministry ID: 700001-237376

Make A DonationPlease Note: We also provide this easy option due to the convenience, for international supporters, and for those who may not be concerned regarding receiving an official tax deductible receipt. Click here to send an offering using PayPal. This will open to a page that states “Brooksyne Weber”

Thank you

 
Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
 
“You Alone Can Rescue”  Video    Matt Redman
 
Finally today:

Calvary Church worship team 12/2/18Like many churches Calvary Church seeks to control the drum volume by using a plexiglass enclosed _______ (whatever they call it). When I saw this yesterday I recalled a new Babylon Bee article titled, “Church Commits To Using Only Cage-Free Drummers By 2025”
(This is satire!)
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