“Rescued!”

June 26, 2017

Wisconsin Path 6/17/17 (Photo by Georgia M)
My cousin Georgia took this photo of an inviting walking path in Wisconsin

“Rescued!”

Message summary: If you come upon a person drowning you don’t toss them a pamphlet titled “How To Swim”. When someone is drowning they need rescued!

Note: Today’s opening illustration is longer than usual. Skip down to Scripture graphic for exposition only.

ListenListen to our message on your audio player.

“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forevermore. Amen” (Galatians 1:3-5).

O the blood, crimson love
Price of life’s demand
Shameful sin placed on Him
The Hope of every man
O the blood of Jesus washes me
O the blood of Jesus shed for me
What a sacrifice that saved my life
Yes, the blood, it is my victory

When I was in high school I took the Red Cross lifeguard training course providing me the opportunity to work as a lifeguard. I had occasion to apply the training a few times and it’s rewarding to know I may have saved a life from drowning. It’s a personal blessing to know I have the skills and I would hope that if someone called out “Help” while sinking in deep water I’d still be able to come to his or her rescue. Today we’ll share a story about my most memorable lifesaving experience which took place about twenty years ago when we lived in New England.

Hotel Viking, Newport RIEster had a winter vacation day from school so we went to the Hotel Viking in Newport, RI, which was only an hour from our home at that time. The Hotel Viking is a historic hotel that at one time had been the main guest lodging on the famous island where the rich and famous stayed. We enjoyed a nice dinner and the next morning spent some time at the luxury pool since Ester wanted to go in the water.

Ester, who couldn’t swim at the time, slowly made her way around the large pool by moving her right hand along the side of the pool and holding onto a round inflatable raft with her left hand. She’d done this many times before so we were comfortable with the arrangement. Brooksyne and I were fully dressed having no plans to swim that cold January day. I was relaxing beside the pool in a lounge chair, half asleep while Brooksyne stood guard beside the pool reading an article in the newspaper. After a bit she lowered the paper and looked for Ester but couldn’t find her. In a panic she screamed for all to hear, “STEPHEN, STEPHEN”. It startled and fully awakened me so I immediately looked for Ester’s whereabouts in the pool but couldn’t spot her, only the inflatable raft she’d been holding onto.

Hotel Viking pool, Newport RIIt’s amazing how quickly the body can react when alarm is sounded and the adrenaline kicks in. My Red Cross lifesaving course taken 25 years earlier suddenly jolted me into rescue mode. I dove into the pool fully clothed, glasses, hiking boots and wallet included, and swam underwater toward the raft. Thankfully an older man was also reaching into the pool from the other side as I lifted her up to him. She had lost her grip of the side of the pool and instead of the raft saving her it flipped over on top of her and no one noticed what had happened since her scream for help washed away with the weight of the raft plunging her beneath the water.

Ester was extremely frightened and dealt with severe stomach cramps and for several hours she threw up the ingested water but, thanks be to God, she fully recovered from this potentially tragic incident. The house maid arranged for us to use a dryer so I could dry out my soaked pair of pants, shirt and underclothes. My sopping wet hiking boots were a bit stiff and cold that I wore home later that day. But so what! The wallet was ruined but Ester still keeps it as a reminder. It was a life-saving rescue for Ester which prompts me to share about a lifesaving rescue for all people in our message today.

Galatians 1:4In yesterday’s sermon the pastor used the following illustration that caused us to think about Ester’s near drowning all those years ago: “If you come upon a person drowning you don’t toss them a pamphlet titled ‘How To Swim'”.

He was preaching from our daily text and highlighting the glorious truth concerning “the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age.”

Thank God that Jesus did not send a “How To” pamphlet but rather gave Himself for our sins and rescued us from our penalty of sin which is separation from God for all eternity!

J. B. Lightfoot writes that “the rescue strikes the keynote of Galatians. The Gospel is a rescue, an emancipation from a state of bondage to sin.”

Have you taken hold of the redeeming hand of Jesus who desires to rescue you from drowning in your sins? If not, please do so today.

Be encouraged!

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Merciful Father, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. Our dwelling place is not found in the kingdom of this world but in Your spiritual kingdom where our life saving rescue took place as Jesus died on the cross on our behalf. Because of His sacrificial death You have delivered us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of Your beloved Son in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of our sins. There is no greater or more lasting rescue that changes the direction of our lives here on earth and also the direction of our eternal destiny in the life hereafter. We will thank and praise You for our life transforming rescue for all of eternity. Amen.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
Church service 6/25/17

We’ll share a larger amount of music today since we were blessed by both the singing in yesterday’s church service and a concert last night!

“O The Blood”  Video  The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir  Yesterday we were mighty blessed to sing this song in our church service.  This version includes the lyrics.

“Redeemed”  Video   Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir

“You Rescued Me” (Original song)  Video

“You Rescued Me”  Video  Geoff Bullock

“Jesus Rescues Me”  Video   Southland


Collingsworth Family 6/25/17Last night we drove over to Lebanon with our long-time friends, Galen and Nancy Martin, to hear the Collingsworth family, thus we are prompted to share some of their songs today. For many years we have enjoyed their gifted harmonic voices as well as their instrumental giftings; piano, violins and trumpet.

“It Matters to the Master”  Video  Collingsworth Family

“I Can Trust Jesus”  Video  Collingsworth Family

“Wherever You Are”  Video  Collingsworth Family

“Redeemer of the Rain”  Video  Collingsworth Family

For local readers: On Sunday evening, July 9 The Brooklyn Tabernacle Singers will be in Lebanon, PA for the Music in The Park summer concert series. See here for info. This is a free concert! (A free-will offering is received) We plan to go over with some friends and perhaps we will see some of you.  Here’s a sample of Brooklyn Tabernacle Singers music.  “I Won’t Go Back”  Video  (The Singers are the travelling troupe of the more famous Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir)

Finally today:

Studying for these messages I often come across more material than used in the message itself and this study comment blessed me from the Precept Austin online commentary:

Phillip Ryken observes four significant truths about Jesus’ “rescue operation” on the Cross.

First, it shows the willingness of Jesus to go to the Cross. The crucifixion was a voluntary self-sacrifice. Jesus gave the most precious gift of all. He “gave Himself” (Gal. 1:4). He “gave Himself up” (Eph. 5:25), or He “gave Himself for us” (Titus 2:14). No one took Christ’s life away from Him; He freely gave it away: “I lay down my life”—Jesus said—”that I may take it up again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of My own accord” (John 10:17-18). This is also emphasized in the Gospel of Matthew, where an unusual phrase is used to show that at the moment of his death Jesus “yielded up His spirit” (Matt. 27:50).

Second, this verse shows the purpose of the Cross. The reason Christ gave himself away was “for our sins” (Gal. 1:4). A transaction took place on the cross. We were the ones who deserved to die because we owe God an infinite debt for our sin. But Christ took our place on the Cross. He became our substitute, our sin-offering. He gathered up all our sins, put them on His own shoulders, and paid for them with His death. Thus the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ was not merely an example of supreme sacrifice, but an actual atonement for sin. It enabled God to forgive us by satisfying His pure justice….

Third, this verse shows the effect of the Cross. Christ was crucified “to deliver us from the present evil age” (Gal. 1:4). When we think of the cross, we usually think first of the atonement. As we have seen, Christ died to pay for our sins. But Christ was also crucified to emancipate us from this evil age. The Gospel is a rescue, like being released from servitude or freed from prison….

Fourth, this verse shows the origin of the Cross. Christ died “according to the will of our God and Father” (Gal. 1:4). The execution of Jesus of Nazareth was not an unforeseen tragedy, a mere accident of history; it was part of God’s plan for the salvation of sinners. The apostle Peter said as much to the very men who nailed Jesus to the cross. In his famous sermon in Jerusalem, he declared, “This Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men” (Acts 2:23). (Galatians Reformed Expository Commentary- Philip Graham Ryken)

Finally today #2:

John and Faithe Keefer at Ark EncounterPastor friend John Keefer and his wife Faithe, along with his brother and sister-in-law visited the Creation Museum and Ark Encounter last week. Now that’s one big boat!

Contact Us
Send a message to Stephen & Brooksyne

To receive the “Daily Encouragement” each Monday-Friday through email see this page to subscribe to our email list. You can also subscribe to the WordPress rss feed or through a WordPress email subscription. (See the email subscription on the right side after opening this page.)
Support Our MinistryWe want to thank all who financially support our ministry. We realize there are many fine ministries and causes requesting support but if the Lord would lead you we surely need and appreciate the financial support from our readers and listeners. Our ministry labor is comprised of half our time to Daily Encouragement and the other half to our chaplaincy ministry to companies for which we receive a fee (of course this percentage of time varies week by week). Each of these ministries essentially is the same as a part-time job (20+ hours weekly) for each of us. Our goal for many years is that each phase would provide half of our ministry expenses and income. If you would like to make a donation to our ministry see here for more information. Donations through my chaplaincy endorsing ministry are tax deductible and will be receipted directly by them. Thank you!

Make A Donation using PayPalPlease Note: Our chaplain agency is unable to provide a receipt if the donation is made through PayPal. However we provide this option due to the convenience, international supporters, and for those who may not be concerned regarding receiving an official receipt. Click here to donate using PayPal.

Mill Creek dam at Mascot Roller Mill 6/17/17
Mill Creek dam near Mascot Rolling Mill

“Constantly Bearing Fruit”

Message summary: The gospel is bearing fruit and growing today!

ListenListen to our message on your audio player.

“We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love which you have for all the saints; because of the hope laid up for you in heaven, of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel which has come to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth”  (Colossians 1:3-6).

Our small garden is bearing fruit! This year we downsized our garden to a smaller raised bed. We now have tomatoes on the tomato plants and peppers on the pepper plants but not quite ready to harvest, although a pepper may soon be ready. Hopefully all through the summer and early fall they will constantly bear fruit and increase! As we travel about our work we are seeing more and more roadside stands with vegetables, fruit, and flowers especially through a region of Lancaster County known as “Garden Spot” (the area around New Holland) where we travelled yesterday.

But today we want to consider something else that’s “constantly bearing fruit and increasing”; the gospel of Jesus Christ. If I were to dwell only on the watered down gospel message that far too many are preaching I could easily become discouraged, but at the same time I’m reminded of the powerful message from Jesus Himself, “The gates of hell shall not prevail against My church.”

Inflatable globeOne year during a mission’s convention in New England we used a large, inflatable world globe to illustrate the work of Christ’s ministry taking place all over the world. We tossed the large globe through the congregation sort of like a beach ball, although it was much larger than that similar in size to the photo on the left. There might be several of our readers that would remember that particular missions service!

I have always liked maps and globes. One Christmas the church where I pastored gave me a very nice globe on a stand, which I thoroughly appreciated. I try to imagine the people living in various parts of the world and the continued impact of the Gospel even in the hardest to reach places, both spiritually and geographically speaking. I have also found this useful as a prayer guide.

For many years now I’ve done a lot of exploring on Google maps or Google Earth. I have examined portions of war torn countries like Syria and consider the persecution our fellow Christians are enduring.

The statement made in the daily text by the Apostle Paul to the early believers at Colossae illustrates the rapid spread of the Gospel in the first century. In fact it had extended into every quarter of the Roman Empire within three decades of Pentecost when the book of Colossians was written. Still today in an age some have called “post-Christian” members of my spiritual family are planting spiritual seeds all over the world.

It’s so fulfilling that readers of this devotional perspective come from all over the world and I am so blessed to receive feedback from these international readers. I am astounded at some of the countries readers come from, including many countries that are closed to traditional missions outreach. I have on my heart today a special encouragement for these readers.

We are citizens of a variety of different countries and there is a sense of national pride that most all of us experience. But all who accept Jesus Christ as their Savior have an infinitely greater citizenship. Paul, writing from a prison to believers in the Roman colony of Philippi, declares a citizenship we believers share and rejoice in today, “But our citizenship is in heaven” (Philippians 3:20). Although he found his Roman citizenship a helpful defense in a time of trial, undoubtedly he considered his heavenly citizenship of incomparably greater value. And so should we!

How Paul rejoiced as he wrote the daily text.  Indeed “in all the world also it (the Gospel) is constantly bearing fruit and increasing”. Paul didn’t just focus on those he had direct fellowship with as is evidenced throughout his many writings. He had a spiritual interest in all of God’s creation, local or distant, that the gospel would constantly bear fruit and increase in their lives. We, too, need to broaden our circle and embrace those of other nationalities, skin color, and culture. We should pray earnestly for those whom we may never meet on this side but will spend all of eternity with; those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ; those with whom we worship the One and only true God.

As we do so the gospel will be bearing fruit and growing in our lives today!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer:  In prayer we lift up our brothers and sisters from around the globe, asking You, Father, to fill them with the knowledge of Your will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that they may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please You in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in Your knowledge, being strengthened with all power according to Your glorious might so that they may have great endurance and patience. We joyfully give thanks to You, our Father, who has qualified them to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. Thank You, Father, that You have rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of Your Son whom You love, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Amen.

Prayer from Colossians 1:9-13: A prayer suitable for each of us to pray for our brothers and sisters in the faith.


Amish child with calf 6/22/17Yesterday Ester did a photo shoot for the Old Windmill Farm Facebook page and shares a number of photos from the farm including this one. Stephen was pleased to hear, during Ester’s visit, that little Sarah Beth asked her mother in Pennsylvania Dutch “Where is Steveweber?” (The kids always run his name together as one word). She’ll soon turn three but looks like a very experienced farm hand in this photo.

Ammon Graybill 6/22/17
Following our chaplain visits yesterday we stopped by Costco and visited with Ammon Graybill, a friend I met many years ago through CBMC. Ammon is a realtor and has had ministry in the business community since 1954! We commended Ammon for his faithfulness to God’s work.

Lancaster County farm 6/22/17
The corn is growing well on this Lancaster County farm! This view was a van stopper. I (Brooksyne) pulled out my camera ready to capture this photo near New Holland, but Stephen beat me to it as he pulled the van over. Oh, how beautiful it is as the crops are growing, the corn fields are glistening, and people are out and about everyday.
(Click on photo to enlarge)

Stumptown Road garden 6/22/17
We stopped by this beautiful garden yesterday on an Amish farm on Stumptown Road.

Garden on Stumptown Road in Lancaster County PA
The same garden in 2008
The Scripture reference is Isaiah 58:11.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“I Can Trust Jesus”  Video  The Collingsworth Family This is indeed a family; Mom, Dad and 4 children who have amazing harmonies.

“When He Carries Me Away”  Video  The Collingsworth Family

“Burdens Are Lifted At Calvary”  Video  The Collingsworth Family

“At Calvary”  Video  The Collingsworth Family

For local readers: This coming Sunday evening (June 25) the Collingsworth Family will be in Lebanon, PA for the Music in The Park summer concert series. See here for info. This is a free concert! (A free-will offering is received) We plan to go over with some friends and perhaps we will see some of you as we did two weeks ago with the Booth Brothers.

Contact Us
Send a message to Stephen & Brooksyne

To receive the “Daily Encouragement” each Monday-Friday through email see this page to subscribe to our email list. You can also subscribe to the WordPress rss feed or through a WordPress email subscription. (See the email subscription on the right side after opening this page.)
Support Our MinistryWe want to thank all who financially support our ministry. We realize there are many fine ministries and causes requesting support but if the Lord would lead you we surely need and appreciate the financial support from our readers and listeners. Our ministry labor is comprised of half our time to Daily Encouragement and the other half to our chaplaincy ministry to companies for which we receive a fee (of course this percentage of time varies week by week). Each of these ministries essentially is the same as a part-time job (20+ hours weekly) for each of us. Our goal for many years is that each phase would provide half of our ministry expenses and income. If you would like to make a donation to our ministry see here for more information. Donations through my chaplaincy endorsing ministry are tax deductible and will be receipted directly by them. Thank you!

Make A Donation using PayPalPlease Note: Our chaplain agency is unable to provide a receipt if the donation is made through PayPal. However we provide this option due to the convenience, international supporters, and for those who may not be concerned regarding receiving an official receipt. Click here to donate using PayPal.

Hoffman Farm, Colebrook Road, Lancaster County, PA 6/20/17Hoffman Farm on Colebrook Road, Lancaster County, PA. We share photos below our message of this very tidy small farm which is about a mile from us. I, Brooksyne, met the older gentleman last year when taking photos. He is pleased to share with others the floral beauties and the yesteryear look around his farm.

“Life’s Bucket List”

Message summary: A Bible verse many of you know and have likely memorized declares, “This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24). What a blessing it is to not only ourselves but also to others when we live life each day counting our blessings and, thereby, experiencing lasting joy and gladness.

ListenListen to our message on your audio player.

“This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24).

Summer bucket list The last several years now the term “bucket list” is used a lot. The other day I was visiting with an employee at “Your Heart’s Delight” and she had a “Bucket List For Summer” posted near her desk with items like “Go to a ballgame”, “Make S’mores” “Go to the beach”, etc. As I visited with her I read through the list and determined I had already fulfilled over half the items for this summer!

The term “bucket list” refers to places you have determined want to see before you die or some activity. Interestingly, I take the term in the sense of items in a bucket but also see some mean it in the sense of places to see and things to do before you kick the bucket (die).

One person’s bucket list location or activity is another person’s backyard and normal duties/privileges. Jesse, our Amish friend, gives tours of his dairy farm (Old Windmill Farm) near Strasburg. He told me the other day he had a city visitor taking the tour and while walking through the barn witnessed a cow in labor, ready to calf. The city man excitedly informed Jesse, “This is on my bucket list, can I stay and watch?”  Jesse had to explain to the visitor that the calving process could take hours, even days. So it’s probably still on the visitor’s bucket list!

Mike on lawn tractorThere is a website called bucketlist.org which suggests over 6,236,633 goals to do before you die. I am pretty sure I am not going to make all these goals! My older brother Mike doesn’t really like the term (nor does Brooksyne). Now when Mike does something I know he’s wanted to do I say to him, “Now you can check that off your bucket list” just to teasingly annoy him, such as when he drove my lawn tractor several years ago. Since he lives in the city of San Francisco he enjoys helping me with country chores when he visits.

What’s on your bucket list? It’s fine to have certain trips or experiences we would like to do but some live as if their life won’t be fulfilled until they take care of their bucket list. That’s sure a form of bondage!

Bucket listWe want to encourage you to find joy in the Lord, your family, friends and, yes, even work. Count your blessings wherever you live, it’s part of God’s wonderful creation. I may never get to many exotic bucket list destinations as deemed essential by others but all around me we have God’s beauty to enjoy. As Christians we may have a desire to go certain places or do certain things which is not necessarily a bad thing but a fulfilling life should primarily be based on our relationship with Christ and others (family, church and friends).

A Bible verse many of you know and have likely memorized declares, “This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24). What a blessing it is to not only ourselves but also to others when we live life each day counting our blessings and, thereby, experiencing lasting joy and gladness.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Lord, You have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. From everlasting to everlasting You are God. A thousand years in Your sight is like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night. You sweep men away in the sleep of death; they are like the new grass of the morning though in the morning it springs up new, by evening it is dry and withered. The length of our days is seventy years– or eighty, if we have the strength; they quickly pass, and we fly away. Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, for as many years as we have seen trouble. May Your deeds be shown to Your servants, your splendor to their children. May Your favor rest upon us as You establish the work of our hands through Christ Jesus our Lord in whose name we pray. Amen.

Prayer of Moses (Condensed) – Psalm 90

Hoffman Farm

Hoffman Farm, Colebrook Road, Lancaster County, PA 6/20/17
Larkspur is seen everywhere you look these days including our back yard where the birds or wind must have planted the seeds. I grew it in the front yard for years.

Hoffman Farm, Colebrook Road, Lancaster County, PA 6/20/17
An interesting trough like planter surely requiring a good welder to create this attractive home for sedum, a trustworthy and easy ground covering for areas with lots of sun. I grow it everywhere I can since its evergreen both summer and winter.

Hoffman Farm, Colebrook Road, Lancaster County, PA 6/20/17
More larkspur surrounding the tree trunk.

Hoffman Farm, Colebrook Road, Lancaster County, PA 6/20/17
Notice the welding sign above the old gas pump. The owner has two corn cribs filled to the brim with wood rather than corn.

Hoffman Farm, Colebrook Road, Lancaster County, PA 6/20/17
I find such pleasure in seeing wild flowers grow around fences and thought I’d include this photograph as well.


Paul and Linda Scholtz 7/1/15
We received word that Chaplain Paul Scholtz has gone on to be with the Lord, after suffering from cancer a number of years. Paul and his wife Linda are friends from Bible College and served as chaplains to the rodeo circuit. This photo was taken at a chaplain conference several years ago. They both rode in the rodeo, with Linda performing many tricks on her horse. They have done this for 40 years, right out of Bible College! Paul was a colorful man, who on occasion would declare his agreement with a speaker in chapel by saying “Sick Em” (where we customarily say “Amen”.) His unique style always brought about a few chuckles throughout the chapel. He was the only student on campus who kept his saddle in his dorm room. Obituary here.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Show A Little Bit of Love and Kindness”  Video  The Collingsworth Family  This is a happy song so needed in our world today.

“At Calvary”  Video  The Collingsworth Family

For local readers: This coming Sunday evening the Collingsworth Family will be in Lebanon, PA for the Music in The Park summer concert series. See here for info. We plan to go over with some friends and perhaps we will see some of you as we did two weeks ago with the Booth Brothers.


Finally Today:

We should also have spiritual aspirations and goals. One goal Paul had was to go to Spain. “Therefore, when I have finished this, and have put my seal on this fruit of theirs, I will go on by way of you to Spain” (Romans 15:28). I suppose you could say this was on his bucket list. His interest was not sightseeing but rather preaching the Gospel.  Whether he ever made this trip we’re not told, at least as far as recorded Scripture.

Perhaps we can encourage our readers to develop a spiritual bucket list. This may include spiritual growth goals but may be guided by that convicting phrase we have heard since we were young Christians, “Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.”

Contact Us
Send a message to Stephen & Brooksyne

To receive the “Daily Encouragement” each Monday-Friday through email see this page to subscribe to our email list. You can also subscribe to the WordPress rss feed or through a WordPress email subscription. (See the email subscription on the right side after opening this page.)
Support Our MinistryWe want to thank all who financially support our ministry. We realize there are many fine ministries and causes requesting support but if the Lord would lead you we surely need and appreciate the financial support from our readers and listeners. Our ministry labor is comprised of half our time to Daily Encouragement and the other half to our chaplaincy ministry to companies for which we receive a fee (of course this percentage of time varies week by week). Each of these ministries essentially is the same as a part-time job (20+ hours weekly) for each of us. Our goal for many years is that each phase would provide half of our ministry expenses and income. If you would like to make a donation to our ministry see here for more information. Donations through my chaplaincy endorsing ministry are tax deductible and will be receipted directly by them. Thank you!

Make A Donation using PayPalPlease Note: Our chaplain agency is unable to provide a receipt if the donation is made through PayPal. However we provide this option due to the convenience, international supporters, and for those who may not be concerned regarding receiving an official receipt. Click here to donate using PayPal.

“Fear Not”

June 21, 2017

Fear Not, Pennsylvania 6/20/17
Fear Not, Pennsylvania

“Fear Not”

Message summary: 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.

ListenListen to our message on your audio player.

“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). “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).

Many things about tomorrow I don’t seem to understand.
Oh, but I know Who holds tomorrow.
And l know, oh, I know.
Yes, I know Who holds my hand.
Fear not tomorrow. God is already there.
Already there.

For many years I have wondered about how a town named “Fear Not” got its name (sometimes the two words are run together “Fearnot”). Fear Not is located in a remote valley about 60 miles north of us. Yesterday following an early morning chaplain visit we moseyed through the ridges and valleys of that region to find the town. This part of eastern Pennsylvania has distinct mountain ridges with rich farm valleys between them.

I knew the general location of the town but needed help finding it. The first place I asked was a post office in Tower City (which is not a city and I don’t recall seeing any towers). Actually it was named after Charlemagne Tower,  a New York–born lawyer who had come to Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania in 1846 to work with the legal issues regarding land claims to large coal and mineral deposits in that area. The lady behind the post office counter didn’t know where Fear Not was but suggested it was in the next valley. So we headed over another mountain and arrived in Hegins.  We spoke to a very colorful retired coal miner who directed us to Fearnot Road.

Fernot Road, Fear Not, Pennsylvania 6/20/17We found Fearnot Road (although it was spelled Fernot on this road sign) and drove through some outstandingly beautiful country for several miles and stopped at an Amish greenhouse for directions. The owner told us we had already passed it. We drove back and found a tiny hamlet of several homes. We stopped and spoke to several but no one knew how it got the name “Fear Not”.

According to Wikipedia “The origin of the name Fearnot is obscure”. According to a book, “The Origins Of Unusual Place-Names”, published in 1958, the name “Fearnot” stems from the frequent fighting in the neighborhood; the early townspeople were not afraid of anyone.

I first heard the name when it was used as part of a church name, which intrigued me. I have long conjectured and perhaps wished it was derived this way: The early settlers were going through a tough time and a preacher rallied them together and challenged them by using one or more of the 63 references of “Fear Not…” mentioned in the KJV Bible.* I like my explanation better than the other one!

Someone began collecting phobia words many years ago as a hobby and now has a list of 530 phobias! (Link below.) I am sure everyone will find something on the list they struggle with. After recent noteworthy fires in England and Portugal many will deal with a heightened sense of pyrophobia.

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. Whenever we have a severe storm our younger dog Mollie is terrified!

There 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 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 (generally “do not be afraid” in many other versions). This “fear not” phrase is found from Genesis to Revelation. In today’s Scripture texts we have both the first and last occurrences in the Bible.

Today we 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 or what He has revealed to me through my fearful experiences in life.

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.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily 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

Some scenes from our journey yesterday

Water lily pond near Tower City, PA 6/20/17
As we approached Tower City we saw a large pond covered with water lilies and this is only 1/4 of the pond. We had never seen so many water lilies in one location.

Water lily pond near Tower City, PA 6/20/17
A close-up of one of the many lilies on the pond.

Coal miner memorial in Hegins, PA 6/20/17
The retired coal miner and enthusiast who gave us directions had set up a display at his home for coal mining. He worked with a number of men included on the “In Memory” plaque, one of three plaques that were exhibited. He indicated that a number of deaths were related not just to the dangers of coal mining but carelessness of the worker due to being in a hurry or taking a shortcut. It’s pretty sobering to read the many names.

Miner display in Hegins, PA 6/20/17
The miner had displays of coal all around his home including this stove with Christmas lights to simulate the fire! We have the real thing and really appreciate the way it warms our family room downstairs.

Amish farm near Fearnot, PA 6/20/17
A pleasant colorful view from Fisher’s Greenhouse near Fear Not.

PA farm valley 6/20/17
A scene of the valley from Fear Not


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

Fearnot PA is located here (Google map)

* “Fear not” is found 63 times in the KJV using the Bible Gateway phrase search. A popular teaching is that there are 365 times in the Bible, one for each day that has this theme such as here. This short article provides a helpful explanation.

The Phobia List The longest phobia listed is “hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia” . You may think that must be a fear of Hippopotamus but you would be wrong! It ironically is the fear of long words. In my line of work I sure hope I don’t deal with many people who have “homilophobia” (fear of sermons).  But we should all have a healthy sense of “Hadephobia” If you are curious look that one up!

“Fear Not Tomorrow”  Video  The Collingsworth Family

“I Know Who Holds Tomorrow”  Video  Homecoming singers

For local readers: This coming Sunday evening the Collingsworth Family will be in Lebanon, PA for the Music in The Park summer concert series. See here for info. We plan to go over with some friends and perhaps we will see some of you as we did two weeks ago with the Booth Brothers.

Finally today
Amish spring wagon near Gratz, PA 6/20/17Of course we see and post plenty of Amish conveyance photos from here in Lancaster County but this scene near Gratz, PA caught our attention yesterday as we passed this spring wagon. This little guy would be wise to sit down lest he be jostled out of the buggy!

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Send a message to Stephen & Brooksyne

To receive the “Daily Encouragement” each Monday-Friday through email see this page to subscribe to our email list. You can also subscribe to the WordPress rss feed or through a WordPress email subscription. (See the email subscription on the right side after opening this page.)
Support Our MinistryWe want to thank all who financially support our ministry. We realize there are many fine ministries and causes requesting support but if the Lord would lead you we surely need and appreciate the financial support from our readers and listeners. Our ministry labor is comprised of half our time to Daily Encouragement and the other half to our chaplaincy ministry to companies for which we receive a fee (of course this percentage of time varies week by week). Each of these ministries essentially is the same as a part-time job (20+ hours weekly) for each of us. Our goal for many years is that each phase would provide half of our ministry expenses and income. If you would like to make a donation to our ministry see here for more information. Donations through my chaplaincy endorsing ministry are tax deductible and will be receipted directly by them. Thank you!

Make A Donation using PayPalPlease Note: Our chaplain agency is unable to provide a receipt if the donation is made through PayPal. However we provide this option due to the convenience, international supporters, and for those who may not be concerned regarding receiving an official receipt. Click here to donate using PayPal.

“Hope In Christ”

June 20, 2017

Old Windmill Farm 6/17/17Old Windmill Farm

“Hope In Christ”

Message summary: Life is fragile and unpredictable. Now is the day of salvation. Place your hope in Christ, in this life and the life yet to come.

ListenListen to our message on your audio player.

“The name of the LORD is a strongtower; the righteous run to it and are safe” (Proverbs 18:10). “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men” (1 Corinthians 15:19).

Andraé Crouch, who passed away 2 years ago, was a popular Christian musician when we were young believers. He wrote “To God be The Glory” a song that we used in our wedding in 1976. Today I recall the words to another song as we reflect upon our daily text.

“But if heaven never was promised to me.
Neither God’s promise to live eternally,
It’s been worth just having the Lord in my life;
Living in a world of darkness,
He came along and brought me the light.”

I am truly edified by the words of that song and have a link to a recording below. I know what  Andraé Crouch is trying to convey regarding the joys and blessings of the Christian walk in contrast to the dark void of living without Him. Crouch’s thoughts expressed in this song are a sentiment that many believers would agree with.

When we were spinning out of control and had no real purpose for living, receiving Christ and His abundant plan for our lives turned our desperate situation into hopeful expectation. We are among “those who walked in darkness [who] have seen a great light!” Christ truly makes a wonderful difference in earth’s journey and indeed if this life was all there is His fulfillment and the order He brings is wonderful.

Having said all that, any allusion to heaven or eternity not being a part of God’s future plan for the believer is contrary to Paul’s statement in the daily text. In the greater context of 1 Corinthians 15 Paul is giving his great defense of the resurrected Christ.

“If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied” because, apart from the resurrection, the very foundation of our faith would be fatally flawed. The literal physical resurrection of Jesus Christ is the very foundation of our faith. Our hope of salvation hinges on Christ’s resurrection from the dead. In the very next verse Paul emphatically proclaims, “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead” (1 Corinthians 15:20).

However it’s not only for this life that we have hope in Christ! We all face death and loss, but what an astounding difference for those whose hope is solidly anchored in Christ. We do not grieve as those who have no hope because our hope is completely fulfilled beyond the grave (see 1 Thessalonians 4:13).

David Guzik writes, “If there is no principle of resurrection, then the whole Christian life is a pitiful joke! If we don’t have something beyond this life to look forward to, why hassle with the problems in being a Christian?”

Life is fragile and unpredictable. Now is the day of salvation. Place your hope in Christ, in this life and the life yet to come.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we thank You for Jesus and His obedience in dying for our sins that we might be forgiven and experience eternal life. We’re so glad that You did not abandon Him to the grave, but instead You raised Him up on the third day so that we might have eternal salvation. We place our hope in You for all that concerns us in this life. We also look beyond the grave knowing that our greatest hope awaits us there. Keep us faithful in life’s journey so that our hope on this side will be fully realized on the other side. In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen.


Tractor pulling trailer 6/17/17
Amish driving a tractor hauling a trailer with an advertisement for hunters.

Tractor pulling trailer 6/17/17
Our drive-by snapshots aren’t always the clearest but we thought this precious “snapshot” would warm your hearts as it did ours.

Flowers in shoes 6/17/17
Young entrepreneur Amish children using their skills to raise a little money.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“If Heaven Was Never Promised”  Video   Andraé Crouch

“To God be The Glory”  Video  Andraé Crouch

“What’s Wrong With Living Right”  Video   The Cupps

Contact Us
Send a message to Stephen & Brooksyne

To receive the “Daily Encouragement” each Monday-Friday through email see this page to subscribe to our email list. You can also subscribe to the WordPress rss feed or through a WordPress email subscription. (See the email subscription on the right side after opening this page.)
Support Our MinistryWe want to thank all who financially support our ministry. We realize there are many fine ministries and causes requesting support but if the Lord would lead you we surely need and appreciate the financial support from our readers and listeners. Our ministry labor is comprised of half our time to Daily Encouragement and the other half to our chaplaincy ministry to companies for which we receive a fee (of course this percentage of time varies week by week). Each of these ministries essentially is the same as a part-time job (20+ hours weekly) for each of us. Our goal for many years is that each phase would provide half of our ministry expenses and income. If you would like to make a donation to our ministry see here for more information. Donations through my chaplaincy endorsing ministry are tax deductible and will be receipted directly by them. Thank you!

Make A Donation using PayPalPlease Note: Our chaplain agency is unable to provide a receipt if the donation is made through PayPal. However we provide this option due to the convenience, international supporters, and for those who may not be concerned regarding receiving an official receipt. Click here to donate using PayPal.

Praying man Heavenly Father, may words of encouragement, comfort, and exhortation flow from our lips so that we may spur others on in the faith, most especially our own children. We pray that You would help Christian fathers everywhere to verbalize their faith and live in a way that honors You and shows others where their source of strength lies. Help them to be the spiritual leaders of their homes so that a harvest of righteousness and peace will be upon their households. Amen.

 

For this message, photos, links to music and other resources see our website.

 

 

 

 

“A Great Work”

June 19, 2017

Mascot Roller Mill 6/17/17 (click to enlarge)
We had weekend guests and took them over to the Mascot Roller Mill Saturday afternoon. This photo could have been takin in 1930 except for our van parked in front of the mill.
(Click to enlarge)

“A Great Work”

Message summary: Fathers, what a powerful model is taught in our daily text. How are you at encouraging and comforting your children? Do you urge them to live lives worthy of God and show them by your own example? These are a big part of your Scriptural mandate as a father. Let us be found faithful in the godly task before us! That is a “great work” God has ordained.

ListenListen to our message on your audio player.

“I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and come down to you?” (Nehemiah 6:3). “For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into His kingdom and glory” (1 Thessalonians 2:11,12).

Yesterday was Father’s Day, a day when many people honor the Fifth Commandment  (including many who scoff at the notion of posting the Ten Commandments). Last week in my face to face ministry I encouraged people to honor their fathers and urged men to be good husbands and dads.

NehemiahYesterday the pastor shared an interesting challenge based on the first daily text. Nehemiah was being harassed as he was finishing the work on rebuilding the walls around the city following the Israelites return from their exile. A persistent harasser was Sanballat who did everything he could to thwart God’s work. In Nehemiah 6:2 he sought to derail the process by calling for a meeting but Nehemiah knew the intent was to bring harm. He sent messengers to Sanballat informing him, “I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and come down to you?”

NehemiahNow this verse could be applied generally to any “great work” we do for the Lord but the pastor applied it to fathers and the many attempts to get them off track from doing the “great work” of being a father.

Nineteen years ago my dad went to be with the Lord. He was a big man of relatively few words yet, as I note the characteristics of fathers to which Paul was appealing in the second text above, I recall seeing them in my own dad. I sure miss him and look forward to seeing him in the ultimate reunion when I’m called home.

Paul never mentions his own father in any of his writings recorded in the New Testament and actually gives very little explicit teaching on fatherhood. Yet in the daily verse he presumes that his readers have an experience and knowledge of fathers. “For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children.”

He lists three characteristics of fathers as an example of his own ministry among them. As we consider the descriptive role of a godly father, let us ponder these three necessary character traits, “encouraging, comforting, and urging you to live lives worthy of God.”

Allow me to consider how I saw these three traits expressed by my father and perhaps it will prompt you to consider how they were expressed by your dad:

E.C. Weber in 19661) “Encouraging” – I had an accident at Bible College in which I injured my knee. This resulted in surgery and several days in the hospital followed by what seemed at the time to be a brutally slow recovery. I was very, very discouraged. Truth is I was wallowing in self-pity. I spoke to my dad on the phone and received some meaningful words of encouragement, along with a subtle rebuke as he shared with me a mature perspective on life’s trials. He told me I would have more trials and he sure was right!

2) “Comforting” – Of course both parents have these duties and in many ways we may associate receiving loving words of comfort more with our mothers. It’s harder for me to recall reassuring words or comforting gestures from my dad, but a memory comes to mind indicating my dad’s love for his wife and family. In 1967 Mom took my sister and me on a train to California to see my oldest brother Mike, his wife Billie and their new daughter Greta, the first grandchild. Dad stayed home to work and missed us a lot. I recall when he met us at the train station upon our return to Kansas City it was the first time I ever saw him cry. That was a side of him I had never seen and it has remained with me to this day. Perhaps his tears were a demonstration of love that was of special reassurance to me at the time.

3) “Urging you to live lives worthy of God” – My dad was skillful in various HVAC and related trades and was knowledgeable in many other areas. I recall going to work with him in the hot Kansas City summers when I was in high school. I really can’t recall many verbal lessons of a spiritual nature. But he sure demonstrated faithfulness, responsibility, and hard work in caring and providing for his family. Biblically this is certainly a component in living a life “worthy of God” and something we desperately need to see fathers modelling.

Proverbs 28:20Do you see these characteristics in your own father? Though there are now many who cannot identify with this kind of father figure, there are others who’ve experienced a similar relationship. If possible, personally honor your father by recalling some instances when this happened and share it with him in person, by telephone, through a written letter or a personal tribute.

Fathers, what a powerful model is taught in our daily text. How are you at encouraging and comforting your children? Do you urge them to live lives worthy of God and show them by your own example? These are a big part of your Scriptural mandate as a father. Let us be found faithful in the godly task before us! That is a “great work” God has ordained.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Heavenly Father, may words of encouragement, comfort, and exhortation flow from our lips so that we may spur others on in the faith, most especially our own children. We pray that You would help Christian fathers everywhere to verbalize their faith and live in a way that honors You and shows others where their source of strength lies. Help them to be the spiritual leaders of their homes so that a harvest of righteousness and peace will be upon their households. Amen.


Mike and Kathy Matangelo and Tina 6/17/17
This weekend our long-time friends Mike and Kathy Matangelo were up from North Carolina to visit. They attended the very first service in our church plant in northern Pennsylvania in 40 years ago in September of 1977 and became a key family as that church developed. They are shown with their daughter Tina on the porch of the Ressler home at the Mascot Roller Mill. For many years now they have been involved in prison ministry and continue to let their lights shine. Mike and Kathy have impacted many lives including a number of you who know them and today before they left I asked that they each share a Scripture.
Mike: Psalm 118:24
Kathy: Ephesians 3:20-21

Nick Matangelo and family 6/17/17
What a blessing that their son Nick and his family were also in the area for a Sight and Sound show and stopped by Saturday evening for a visit. Nick was born after we met the Matangelos and we visited him the hospital after his birth and I dedicated him to the Lord and saw him grow up in the church before we left that area in 1993. In the late nineties I went to California for one of his older brothers wedding. We both had the same red eye flight out of San Francisco and I arranged to sit together all the way to Pittsburgh. I found out later he told his Mom he was apprehensive about sitting next to me since I would probably preach to him the whole trip! I asked him Saturday evening if I preached to him and he smiled and said no although I probably did a little bit. I am known for urging people to stay faithful and it’s hard to imagine that I didn’t share some doses of faithfulness. He is now married with two children and faithfully serving the Lord, working on the lighting team in his church. Both of Nick’s older brothers, Brian and Doug, also serve the Lord and are serving in ministry in California.

Notsen and Toby Ncube 6/18/17
Last night our Zimbabwean friends, Notsen and Toby Ncube joined the Matangelos and us and we went on a triple date; attending a hymn sing followed by a pleasant drive through the country, including a walk through the Pop-Up wildflower garden. There were many people there taking photographs as you can see in the background.

Poppy flower bloom 6/18/17
Lovely two tone red poppy

Poppy flower bloom 6/18/17
Rudbeckia Cappuccino

Schenck's Mill covered bridge 6/18/17
Brooksyne says walking through a field of flowers is a romantic setting. So afterwards we drove through the Schenck’s Mill covered bridge, and as is our custom, we stopped our van in the middle of the bridge and invited each couple to join us in kissing their spouse. And that was followed by a lot of laughter since it’s been about 100 years between the three couples since our pre-marital courting days!


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Good, Good Father”  Video  Casting Crowns Yesterday the pastor acknowledged Father’s day and in addition to addressing the fathers in attendance with thoughtfulness considered those who may be experiencing pain, either due to the loss of their father or in some cases having a far less than  ideal father. This song speaks of a good, good father we all have and was a fitting song for Father’s Day!

“Your Great Name”  Video  The People’s Church in Franklin, TN  This song also has a great line that we pray will minister to those with broken relationships.

All the weak, find their strength, at the sound of Your great name
Hungry souls, receive grace, at the sound of Your great name
The fatherless, they find their rest, at the sound of Your great name
Sick are healed, and the dead are raised, at the sound of Your great name

“Never Too Broken to Belong”  Video  Gold City  This song is on my heart today when I consider how many, undoubtedly including some readers, who have brokenness, especially with their father. We plan to prepare a message on this theme later in the week but today may you experience the blessedness of belonging. Here’s another version with graphic, very moving video clips.  I especially like the old pastor and the little country church. The song is based on the return of the prodigal son to his father in Luke 15, which happened to be the Pastor’s sermon theme yesterday.

“Still”  Video  Legacy Five

Forgiven Ministry  Video  Mike and Kathy are involved in this ministry which seeks to reconnect children to their incarcerated fathers (and in some cases mothers). This short video will touch your heart so you might want to have a tissue handy.

Contact Us
Send a message to Stephen & Brooksyne

To receive the “Daily Encouragement” each Monday-Friday through email see this page to subscribe to our email list. You can also subscribe to the WordPress rss feed or through a WordPress email subscription. (See the email subscription on the right side after opening this page.)
Support Our MinistryWe want to thank all who financially support our ministry. We realize there are many fine ministries and causes requesting support but if the Lord would lead you we surely need and appreciate the financial support from our readers and listeners. Our ministry labor is comprised of half our time to Daily Encouragement and the other half to our chaplaincy ministry to companies for which we receive a fee (of course this percentage of time varies week by week). Each of these ministries essentially is the same as a part-time job (20+ hours weekly) for each of us. Our goal for many years is that each phase would provide half of our ministry expenses and income. If you would like to make a donation to our ministry see here for more information. Donations through my chaplaincy endorsing ministry are tax deductible and will be receipted directly by them. Thank you!

Make A Donation using PayPalPlease Note: Our chaplain agency is unable to provide a receipt if the donation is made through PayPal. However we provide this option due to the convenience, international supporters, and for those who may not be concerned regarding receiving an official receipt. Click here to donate using PayPal.

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