“Greatest Of All Time”

December 15, 2017

Donate to Daily Encouragement NetPlease see below for our 2017 year-end financial appeal.
Amish farm in snow 12/14/17

Yesterday we passed this Amish Farm near Strasburg, PA following a light snowfall last night.
(Click on photo to enlarge)

“Greatest Of All Time”

 

Message summary: Jesus Christ is truly the greatest of all time! ListenListen to our message on your audio player. (Mostly Brooksyne!)

“Great is the Lord” (Psalm 48:1). “He will be great” (Luke 1:32). “Your Name, O LORD, endures forever, Your fame, O LORD, throughout all generations” (Psalm 135:13).

Greatest Of All TimeLast winter I began to hear a new acronym. After the dramatic Super Bowl comeback people (especially New England fans) began to use GOAT to describe quarterback Tom Brady. That initially sounded disrespectful to me, as being called a goat seemed like a rather derisive term.

However GOAT is an acronym for “Greatest Of All Time”. Now of course there will be many opinions about who is the greatest quarterback of all time or the greatest of anything for that matter. But today let us consider One who is certainly the “Greatest Of All Time”.

Mary, who had not yet conceived, heard a startling message from the angel, Gabriel, concerning Christ: “He will be great.” And here we are over 2000 years later affirming His greatness! As we prepare this message today our hearts are full of exaltation to the One exclusively worthy of all praise.

Psalm 48A chorus we sang in our youth based on Psalm 48 had basically the same words as the graphic to the left. It’s one of the first Scriptures we recall singing!

Psalm 135 was written several thousand years ago. The human writer, unlike many of the Psalms, is not identified. It is a song of praise for God’s wonderful and enduring works. “Your Name, O LORD, endures forever, Your fame, O LORD, throughout all generations.” It contrasts His eternal value with the vanity and brief span of man-made idols.

The ancient people believed in gods whose power was limited to a particular region or locale. Their specialty was narrowed to being a particular cause such as a god for rain, a god for fertility, etc. Can you imagine what it would be like if God were only available in one location and could only intervene in one area of our life?

Thanks be to His wonderful Name this is not the case. Our Lord is omnipresent (all-present), omnipotent (all-powerful) and omniscient (all-knowing). He will be remembered forever, and He will be famous for all time. His wisdom is unsearchable, His kingdom has no bounds, and His reign has no end. He truly is the famous One who is known through all the ages, to believers of every generation and through eternity.

This day we unashamedly declare ourselves to be among two of Christ’s followers. Christianity is alive because Jesus Christ, its Founder, is alive! Jesus Christ is the central figure. He is great and He is the famous One in a class that stands way, way above any human classification. Join us in praising and serving Him today! He is truly the greatest of all time!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, You are exalted over all the nations and Your glory fills the heavens. You are great and greatly to be praised.  There is no other One who sits enthroned in the heavens and yet whose Spirit hears the very sigh of my heart. You hear my prayer before it is even whispered on my lips. You know my need even before I am aware of it and yet Your greatness never keeps me at a distance. Instead You invite me to approach the throne of grace and have audience with the King of kings and Lord of lords, both in seasons of rejoicing and in times of need. Thank You, Almighty One who exists from eternity to eternity. It is through Jesus that we approach You in prayer. Amen.


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!). 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 familiar 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
Amish farm in snow 12/14/17
Another house we passed yesterday morning with the mighty windmill turning and clothes on the line blowing in the wind, such a common sight in Amish Country. With large families they’re bound to do a daily wash, but you’ll never see the clothes hung out on Sunday, which we greatly respect!
(Click on photo to enlarge)

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Great is the Lord”  Video   Maranatha Singers

“He is Exalted/Great is the Lord”  Video   Maranatha Singers

“Famous One”  Video  Chris Tomlin

“What A Beautiful Name”  Video  The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir

“Psalm 48”   Video  The Mai Girls  The way we recall singing this verse about 40 years ago!

“Teaching Lechery and Getting Lechers” Article  For several years I have appreciated the insight of Dr. Everett Piper, the president of Oklahoma Wesleyan University, which we visited this summer (the campus). This man really tells it like it is! Interestingly another meaning for GOAT is lecher.

Finally today:

In my younger years GOAT was also informally used to describe a sport’s car of the sixties, the Pontiac GTO!

My sister in law had a Pontiac GTO (a sixties “muscle” car). I was allowed to take it for a ride along with a friend. By this time I was confident in using a manual transmission. It was a powerful car with a huge engine and “four on the floor” manual transmission. I was excited to show my friend what the car could do so I drove out to the edge of town and pulled up to a four way stop. (I specifically recall it was the intersection of 39th Street and Lees Summit Road for those from that area!)

I looked ahead and to both sides. Then I took off, laying down rubber in each gear. We laughed as we zoomed along in fourth gear, but then I heard a siren and looked behind to see a police car chasing me. In my enthusiasm I had forgotten to look behind when I took off! Amazingly I got a very stern warning from the officer but no ticket. I am sure he had a good chuckle at such a foolish teenager and can only imagine the story he had to tell the other officers that day!

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“The Eternal God”

December 14, 2017

Donate to Daily Encouragement NetPlease see below for our 2017 year-end financial appeal.
Rockefeller Center Christmas tree

I took this photo several years ago of the Christmas tree at the Rockefeller Center, NYC

“The Eternal God”

Message summary: Today join us in declaring, “The eternal God is my refuge and I have peace in resting in His everlasting arms!”

ListenListen to our message on your audio player. (Mostly Brooksyne!)

“The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deuteronomy 33:27).

Today we continue to give consideration to peace, the theme for the second Sunday of Advent.

We enjoy an old spiritual that many of us learned in Sunday School or Vacation Bible School titled, “He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands”. But the song also gets personal, “He’s got you and me brother in His Hands…” That’s a great source of peace!

Today’s Scripture portion is among the final words of Moses that he gave to the new generation just prior to his death, and prior to their move into the Promised Land. “The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deuteronomy 33:27). He wanted the Israelites to have a deep assurance of God’s protection and care at this major point of transition in their lives. Joshua would soon assume leadership and they would be crossing the Jordan River to their new home.

There likely was great comfort in Moses’ steady leadership and at the same time the future was full of uncertainty and uncharted territory. After all, the preceding generation had spied out the land and seen giants! But God had not led them out of Egypt to drift indefinitely through the wilderness. There was a long-standing promise to be fulfilled which went all the way back to Abraham.

Although this wonderful truth in today’s verse was initially given to the Israelites about 3,400 years ago, it has timeless application for all of God’s children in every generation.  This December 14, 2017 we have an assurance of refuge in an eternal God and security in His everlasting arms!

“The eternal God is your refuge.” I like to change the pronoun here as expression of my faith, “The eternal God is my refuge”. Refuge is a condition of being safe or sheltered from pursuit, danger, or trouble. Refuge is used most frequently in the Psalms such as the familiar “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). It is however used only once in the New Testament in Hebrews, “We who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us” (Hebrews 6:18).

“Underneath are the everlasting arms.” The phrase “everlasting arms” is theologically known as an anthropomorphism which is a figure of speech which represents God as having human characteristics, form or personality. This phrase “everlasting arms” is only found in this text.

Today we all need this same peace and assurance this truth surely gave the ancient children of Israel. But some do especially. Hardly a day goes by that we do not receive a call or email or personally see someone in distress. Some of you are facing very difficult circumstances. Perhaps you’re waiting for a call that may very well change the direction of your life. Others have lost a loved one and this Christmas will be especially difficult. Some of you are dealing with discouragement concerning hardships in life.

But today join us in declaring, “The eternal God is my refuge and I have peace resting in His everlasting arms!”

Many of you know this song. Sing or hum its melody today (even silently if you are unable to sing the words aloud) and be reminded of our eternal God and His everlasting arms!

What a fellowship, what a joy divine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms!
What a blessedness, what a peace is mine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms!

Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms;
Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer:Father, we identify with the Israelites who surely had concerns and fears regarding their future as they journeyed into uncharted territory. We are comfortable with the familiar and can easily worry about the unknown. But we find peace and refuge in You, our eternal God, when we experience the unfamiliar as we learn to trust You for all that concerns us. It is in Your everlasting arms that we find a place of reassurance, comfort, peace and rest. Your arms never grow weary nor do they turn us away as we come to You for strength and support.  Amen.


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!). 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 familiar 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

“Peace”  Video

“He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands”  Video  The African Children’s Choir

“Leaning On the Everlasting Arms”  Video  Homecoming Singers

“Prince Of Peace”

December 13, 2017

Donate to Daily Encouragement NetPlease see below for our 2017 year-end financial appeal.
Hershey Hotel from Hershey Gardens Conservatory
Hotel Hershey from the Hershey Gardens Conservatory
(Click to enlarge)

“Prince Of Peace”

Message summary: Today we continue our theme from the second Sunday of Advent with a message about the “Prince of Peace”.

ListenListen to our message on your audio player. (Mostly Brooksyne!)

“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. and His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).

Hail the heav’n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings
Ris’n with healing in His wings

Since last night we have had frigid, howling winds plaster against our house. We are thankful for our home and upon examination this morning all is well but it’s still howling and we have a projected high temperature today of only 29° with a RealFeel® of only 13°. We consider those who must work out in this weather or of course much worse in many cases.

But we also consider the times in life when it’s like a howling storm. It’s during these times when we really appreciate the peace of God! So as we consider our advent theme of peace this week let us again give consideration to the blessedness of peace.

Prince of Peace Among the titles that the Messiah was prophetically given in Isaiah 9, “Prince of Peace” is among them. We don’t believe we will have “peace in our time” on earth in the political sense, not until Christ returns. However as individual followers of Christ we can have “peace in our time”.

The peace that Jesus brings has several dimensions that are presently available:

1. Peace with God (reconciliation) “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1). Bible commentator Harry Ironside summarizes the justified man or woman’s peace: “Peace, as used in Romans 5:1, is not a state of mind or heart. It is a prevailing condition between two who were once alienated. Sin had disturbed the perfect relations of Creator and creature. A breach occurred that man could not mend. But peace has been made by the blood of Christ’s cross. There is no longer a barrier. Peace with God is now the abiding state into which every believer enters. The sin question is settled.”

2. Peace with each other (relational) “Live in harmony with one another” “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:16a,18).  We believe this speaks of the local sphere in our lives, relational peace within our family, friends and church.

3. Peace within (spiritual/emotional) “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7). Peace in this context is a state without anxiety and worry about how and when our needs will be supplied. This peace is the result of going to Him and confidently committing everything into His trustworthy hands.

Peace within the heart is available to all believers, however there is no promise that in this present age there will be world peace in the geopolitical sense. In fact Jesus forthrightly declared in Matthew 24 that there will be wars and rumors of wars; nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. He said, “Such things must happen.” Such news may not be very encouraging if our focus in on this world’s kingdom, but the Bible does promise a future time of peace when the Lord returns!

In the meantime, as followers of Christ, we should seek to be peacemakers (Matthew 5:9). “As far as it depends on us we are to live at peace with all men” (Romans 12:18). But even as we live among these and future days of growing tribulation may our hearts be filled with peace, peace that comes not from our surroundings, but the peace that flows from within through the presence of the Spirit of God. Jesus reassures us with these words, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (John 14:27).

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, knowing that Jesus is the Prince of Peace I pray for His peace to fall upon many hearts in our land. We pray that they will turn to You today and accept the peaceful reconciliation You freely offer, for it is the first step to all other types of peace. We pray for relational peace among our countries, families, and churches. We pray for inward peace that comes from confidence in Your eternal plan, especially for our brothers and sisters displaced and greatly impacted by the brutality in war torn countries. It’s an overcoming type of peace that will steady us until the whole world will be at rest and in peace. But until that hour we serve You faithfully as we seek to be peacemakers for our own spiritual well-being and for Your glorious kingdom. Amen.


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!). 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 familiar 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

“All Is Well”  Video  Point Of Grace  This is among my (Brooksyne’s) top five favorite Christmas songs though it can be played anytime. It speaks of an overcoming type of peace though circumstances may be everything but peaceful. Written by Michael W. Smith and beautifully performed by Point of Grace. I attended one of their concerts when Heather Payne sang this stirring song and I wept through the entire performance as I consider so many who needed to hear this powerful message.

“His Name Shall Be”  Video  Matt Redman

“Hark the Herald Angels Sing”  Video  Chris Tomlin  “Hail the heav’n-born Prince of Peace!”

“Heaven’s Flash Choir”

December 12, 2017

First seasonal snow 12/10/17
A bush in our front yard packed down with small snow balls.

“Heaven’s Flash Choir”

Note: For the first time in a couple of weeks we both plan to get out for our chaplain visits. Things are beginning to return to normal for which we are thankful.

Message summary: Today let us consider a special flash choir that was present at the birth of Christ.

ListenListen to our message on your audio player. (Mostly Brooksyne!)

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased” (Luke 2:14).

We both enjoy choir music, although Brooksyne more so. Brooksyne has directed choirs for many years and now enjoys singing in one. In my case (Stephen) from an analytical perspective I think it’s amazing, especially in a large choir, how the voices synchronize so that the words are clear, the blend musically is tight and sounds as one voice. It just seems if they all started even a fraction of a second before or after one another the words would sound blurry (which for the record I realize is not an official musical term).

Brooksyne has been invited to be a part of a “flash” choir at Lancaster’s Central Market to sing the Hallelujah chorus. You’ve probably seen videos of these such as the one we post below recorded at Macy’s in Philadelphia by the Opera Company of Philadelphia, which is colorfully called “A Random Act of Culture”. I like this version because several years ago we visited this huge store and saw the massive Wanamaker Organ – the world’s largest pipe organ.

These flash choirs are intended to be a surprise and the participants are often spread throughout the crowd lending additional surprise when that person standing next to you starts singing out in a beautiful voice that blends with other voices all around the room.

Today let us consider a special flash choir that was present at the birth of Christ. They joined the angel who had proclaimed the birth of Christ to the shepherds. “And suddenly (that’s the flash part!) there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:…” Now Scripture does not elaborate on how many were in this multitude but I think it was probably a pretty big group. I am also pretty sure they had a good sound that projected for all to hear (with no sound techs or sound equipment)!

The words in our daily text are the summary of praise of the heavenly host of angels to the Shepherds at the time of Christ’s birth. I use the word “summary” since I wonder if there was actually more to their message that Luke summed up as “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” If that’s all I heard a choir sing it would probably leave me wanting a just bit more singing than that!

Today we consider the phrase “on earth peace”. We associate Christmas with love, joy, and peace, but also in the same Scriptural narrative there is the written record of unimaginable evil. We know the story but it’s not a section of the Christmas narrative we choose to focus on. We might even prefer to skip over it since the backdrop seems to be unconducive to what we perceive as the proper setting for the Christ Child’s arrival.

King Herod, in an effort to destroy the Christ Child King, ordered his soldiers to kill “all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under” (Matthew 2:16). What a horrible time this must have been. Herod was an exceedingly evil man. We also consider the moral depravity of the soldiers in carrying out such an evil command. Even though we know Herod’s motivation there is no reason to believe the inhabitants of Bethlehem did.

We who believe in Christ still live in a fallen world with much evil and unrest. The peace of which the angels sang sure does not appear evident. Rather, all around we see strife. But the peace the angels spoke of is not the external circumstances that surround us. Rather it is the peace that Christ imparts within our hearts when we know Him as Savior and Lord. True peace in other ways will come when the Prince Of Peace returns. Ultimately a time when “the wrong shall fail, the right prevail.”

The peace reigning within our hearts is truly a gift from God that surpasses all tangible gifts.  Won’t you receive this peace and the Christ of Christmas today!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, just as the angels came for the purpose of praising to You at the arrival of Your Son on earth, we too want to unite our voices to declare Your goodness in sending Jesus to live among us, to provide a way for us to find salvation and thereby inherit Your peaceable kingdom; for now, it is within our hearts but it will someday be experienced in heaven for all eternity.


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!). 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 familiar option due to the convenience, for international supporters, and for those who may not be concerned about 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

First seasonal snow on wreath 12/19/17
Coming home Saturday night after the first seasonal snowfall the wreath on the side of our home had this fluffy white adornment (not fake snow!)

First seasonal snow 12/10/17
Backyard view from our bedroom window.

Old truck on Main Street in Mount Joy 12/11/17
Yesterday I passed this old red truck on Main Street in Mount Joy.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Hallelujah!”  Video   Opera Company of Philadelphia flash choir

“I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day”  Video  Casting Crowns

Oren and Naomi are longtime local friends with a steady walk with the Lord and many examples of service to others. Here’s an excellent article about Oren’s uncle featured on Operation Shoebox that touched our hearts. It will amaze you! 100-year-old West Virginian Packs 100 Shoebox Gifts

“The Best Christmas Love Story” Article by David Penley (David is a Texan friend who writes thoughtful articles intended to strengthen marriages.)

“The Way Of Peace”

December 11, 2017

First seasonal snow 12/10/17
Our view early Sunday morning after our first seasonal snow.

“The Way Of Peace”

Note: Today’s message is a bit later getting posted due to a dental appointment Brooksyne had this morning. Stephen is much stronger, for which we are thankful, but his voice is still weak. We greatly appreciate your prayers.

Message summary: Today our prayer as His followers should always be, “Guide our feet into the way of peace.”

ListenListen to our message on your audio player. (Mostly Brooksyne!)

“To guide our feet into the way of peace” (Luke 1:79).

Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me
Let there be peace on earth
The peace that was meant to be
With God as our father
Brothers all are we
Let me walk with my brother
In perfect harmony

This morning Ester ran down and told us to turn on the news, something we have come to dread, when presented in such a way, since mass slayings and terrorism is way too familiar these days. It was another Islamic-inspired bombing in New York, something in a sad way we have almost come to expect. Ever since Cain killed his brother Abel humans have been in conflict with one another. Mankind has also been pursuing peace for ages but peace seems so elusive.

Yesterday was the second Sunday in Advent. In our messages this week we will give consideration to the Advent theme for this second Sunday, which is peace. Peace is a major focus of the Christmas story and is reflected in a number of the great Christmas hymns. Saturday evening at the Gaither Homecoming concert we attended in Reading the group sang “O Little Town Of Bethlehem”. We thought Bill made an interesting point when he highlighted just the phrase, “The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.”

Zechariah’s voice had been silenced from the time of the angel’s revelation that he and his long barren wife Elizabeth would bear a son. But following John’s birth he again spoke and made a powerful prophecy in Luke 1:67-79. This prophecy concludes with the line from our daily text, “To guide our feet into the way of peace.”

Zechariah’s prophesy was given when his son John was born and 6 months before Christ was born. The first part of the prophesy deals with the role John would have as the forerunner to the Messiah, “And you, child (John), will be called the prophet of the Most High; For you will go on before the Lord to prepare His ways” (Luke 1:76).  This role is expressed in a quote from Isaiah in the beginning of the Gospel of Mark, “Behold, I send My messenger ahead of You, who will prepare Your way” (Mark 1:2).

But Zechariah also referred to the Divine Mission of the then 3 month old Child growing in Mary’s womb.

“Because of the tender mercy of our God, with which the Sunrise from on high will visit us, to shine upon those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

Today our prayer as His followers should always be, “Guide our feet into the way of peace.”

Let peace begin with me
Let this be the moment now
With every step I take
Let this be my solemn vow
To take each moment
And live each moment
In peace eternally
Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, it is our daily prayer, that You guide our feet into the way of peace, just as Zechariah prophesied over 2000 years ago. The world offers no lasting peace so we follow after Your Son, the Prince of Peace, who promises us peace within our hearts and a future peaceable kingdom for all eternity. But for here and now we are called to be peacemakers so that we can walk in harmony with those of like faith and guide others to the way of peace through Christ Jesus our Lord, the ultimate Peacemaker. It is in His name that we pray. Amen.


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!). 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 familiar 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

Final song at Gaither homecoming concert, Reading, PA 12/9/17
This was the final song when the entire group of musicians came out and sang “O Holy Night”

We first heard the Bill Gaither Trio together on a date during our college days in Springfield, MO. At that time they were a trio with Bill and Gloria Gaither and his brother Danny. In 1981 the Gaither Vocal Band was formed and Bill has had a mentoring role with many younger musicians. In the nineties they began to have “Homecoming concerts” which included older Gospel singers. Here’s how that began,  “On February 19, 1991, the Gaither Vocal Band had just wrapped up a recording session in a Nashville, Tennessee, working on an album called Homecoming, which featured many of the great voices of southern gospel music: The Speers, the Gatlins, Jake Hess, The Cathedrals, Howard & Vestal Goodman, Buck Rambo, Eva Mae Lefevre, James Blackwood, Hovie Lister, Jim Hill, and J.D. Sumner & The Stamps. After the session, the artists stayed around to chat, swap stories and sing old standards around the piano. The impromptu session was recorded on video and later published. The recording was so well received that Gaither began a series of professionally produced videos with larger gatherings of gospel musicians.” Bill Gaither is now 81 and we are blessed by his steadfast service to the Christian community and frankly we also marvel that he can continue to keep such a schedule along with all the demands required to present such concerts!

Tho with Lynda Randall 12/9/17
We had planned to go to the Gaither Homecoming concert with our long-time friends, Jim and Dorothy Schmidt, but Saturday afternoon Jim called and due to severe knee pain was unable to go. So, with his blessing, we called our friend Tho (left in photo) who was able to take his seat and was so blessed by the concert and especially a visit with Lynda Randall, one of the musicians at the concert. Lynda is well known for “God of the Mountain” and Tho has just purchased her book and was delighted to meet her personally.

Choir at Gaither homecoming concert, Reading, PA 12/9/17 (Click to enlarge)
Some of you enjoy “Where’s Waldo” books, and you have had fun looking for one of us when we feature a photo like this. Brooksyne was one of 140 voices of Calvary Choir & guests that backed up the Gaither Vocal Band and the Martins in several of their songs. The choir all dressed in black, as you can see. But can you find Brooksyne? Hint: her glasses may be a quick give-away and thankfully there is color in her face. She is not washed out like some of the faces due to our camera’s limitations. (Click on photo to enlarge)

Calvary Church children's choir 12/10/17
Yesterday morning the King’s Kids led the church in worship and the sanctuary was packed with extra family members who came to see their little loved one(s) on the platform.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Hymn Of Praise”  Video  Gaither Vocal Band  This song really touched both of us with such a moving melody and rich lyrics. I wish we’d have known about this song during the Thanksgiving season.

“Mary Did You Know”  Video  Mark Lowry is the comedian at the concerts and Ester just adores him. It’s hard to imagine if you have heard his silliness that he could write such a thought-provoking, serious song as Mary Did You Know!


Last week our theme was hope and we had an exposition on a verse that began “Joyful in hope” We also dealt with the second phrase “patient in affliction” so thought we should finish with “Faithful in prayer” (Romans 12:12). (This is from a Daily Encouragement message about 7 years ago.)

Prayer is a foundational expression of faith. We speak but cannot see the One to whom we speak. We listen, not with our sense of hearing, but rather the inner heart. Scripture says, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth.” The effects of our prayers are often not immediate and at times seem ambiguous, at least from our perspective. Bluntly we may wonder if prayer really does any good.

In Colossians 4:2 Paul offers a similar verse to today’s text: “Devote yourselves to prayer.” In fact in the Greek it is the very same phrase. The sense of “devote” implies a strong attachment, allegiance, and affection for someone or something; in this case prayer and the act of praying. It would include one’s passion, time, and needed resources. One who is devoted is passionate in his commitment and consistency and will not be disloyal, inconsistent, or indifferent. This description should give us a mental picture of one who is devoted to prayer.

“Faithful” is in the present imperative which denotes that we are to continually, habitually follow this command! It is to be one’s continual way of life (lifestyle). This Scriptural call is not a suggestion but a command to make it our habitual practice. Remember that whatever God commands of us He also provides for us the grace and empowerment through His Spirit to carry out.

Someone has well said that “Prayer is the breath of the Christian life and almost nothing decays so fast in the fallen human heart as the desire to pray.” In other words, nothing is more vital than prayer in Christian existence, and few things are more vulnerable to neglect. We must come back to it again and again and stoke the fire lest, out of neglect, it becomes nothing more than useless cold embers.

Most Christians will confess the difficulty of maintaining a regular and effective prayer life. The reason is not difficult to discern. If Satan can keep us out of touch with God, he will not have to worry about any trouble we might cause for his evil kingdom.

Believing friend, when we are prayed up the allurement to sin is far less appealing, the spirit is strengthened, and our communion with God becomes our anchor that holds us steady in the daily stresses and major events of our life.


Finally today:

Reading Pagoda 12/9/17
Admittedly this is a poor photo taken through our windshield pulling out of the parking garage in Reading after the concert Saturday evening . We faced head on to the Reading Pagoda, an historic landmark in Reading PA.

Reading pagodaHere’s a photo we took several years ago of the Reading Pagoda, which sits on a mountain ridge high over the city. It’s lit up with red neon lights at night which we often see from the bypass on the other side of the city. This always struck me as a strange icon for an old northeast North American city!

“Patient In Affliction”

December 8, 2017

Donate to Daily Encouragement NetPlease see below for our 2017 year-end financial appeal.
Patient In Affliction

“Patient In Affliction”

Note: Stephen is recovering from a cold he has had this last week. His voice is partially restored but not strong enough to record, so Brooksyne has been podcasting our messages.

Message summary: Remember this the next time you look up at a giant oak tree: “Today’s mighty oak is just yesterday’s little acorn that held its ground.” Let us be patient through our affliction and hold our ground which is anchored in the Rock of Ages!

ListenListen to our message on your audio player. (Brooksyne only)

“Patient in affliction” (Romans 12:12b).

Do you find it difficult to be “patient in affliction”? For over a week now I have had a hard time shaking this cold, although I do believe I’m getting better, getting my voice back. Now using my own cold to illustrate affliction is a kind of embarrassing. After all, in light of what many are going through it’s a “nothing burger” (a folksy phrase we’ve heard a lot in the last year that essentially means it’s insignificant.)

Some are going through intense affliction, others are going through chronic affliction with no end in sight. I read a story about the Christians in the Middle East who are dealing with chronic and at times intense affliction. But one element in the story really broke my heart, after years of strife and persecution, they have little hope of their lives getting better (on this side of eternity).

Affliction can come in many forms although in the time that Paul wrote this verse he surely had in mind the affliction of persecution. Affliction can also be a physical condition, a struggling relationship, financial matter.

Today’s Scripture portion, just three words, describes a necessary outlook for the maturing Christian: “Patient in affliction.” Other versions render; “persevering in tribulation” (NASB), “patient in tribulation” (KJV), “Endure trials patiently” (EHV), “be steadfast and patient in suffering and tribulation” (Amplified).

We may wish or feel it’s our “right” not to bear afflictions but such a view is Scripturally void. The Psalmist candidly reminds us, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous” (Psalm 34:19). Peter writes, “Now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials…” (I Peter 1:6).  Jesus said, “In the world you shall have tribulation” (John 16:33).

In our associations afflictions are generally health related, financial troubles, unfaithful spouses, wayward children, unhealthy addictions, and the list continues. Our brethren over the centuries and many today face these afflictions. But many also deal with persecution which the Apostle Paul likely had in mind when he wrote the daily text.  Recently we have been praying concerning the chronically under reported persecution of Christians in Muslim lands.

The word “affliction” translates the Greek word thlipsis and conveys the idea of being squeezed or placed under pressure or crushed beneath a weight. According to the ancient law of England, those who willfully refused to plead guilty had heavy weights placed on their breasts and were pressed and crushed to death. This was literally thlipsis. Thlipsis thus refers not to mild discomfort but to a great burden that weighs heavily on one’s heart, mind, and soul.

Regardless of the manner or degree in which we are afflicted, today’s verse is instructive. We are called to endure patience in the midst of our afflictions. At times the source of affliction will lift speedily, at other times not so fast (never fast enough for most of us!) and some deal with affliction throughout their entire life. I like the KJV word for patience which is longsuffering, which of course means suffering long – not a short-term ailment.

May the Lord fill our hearts today so that we remain “joyful in hope” and triumphant in any ongoing affliction. Our hope-inspired joy should produce a courage which is able to hold up under the afflictions of this present age, which is passing away.  Someone has said, “Triumph is umph added to try.” We will endure much suffering in this life, but as a believer we also recognize that our suffering in affliction here is momentary and light in the context of eternity and it is producing for us a glory that far outweighs all pain experienced on this side of heaven.

Remember this the next time you look up at a giant oak tree: “Today’s mighty oak is just yesterday’s little acorn that held its ground.” Let us be patient through our affliction and hold our ground which is anchored in the Rock of Ages!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we are called to persevere not just in the good times but also in times of affliction. We may suffer long but we know that in doing so the fruit of patience is being developed in us. Keep our hearts focused upward, so that we are “joyful in hope and patient in affliction” until the hour You call us home. It is then that we will see the rich and complete reward of our endurance in this life. Amen.


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!). 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 familiar 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

“Hold On”  Video  Selah

“Joyful In Hope”

December 7, 2017

Donate to Daily Encouragement NetPlease see below for our 2017 year-end financial appeal.
A Thrill of Hope

“Joyful In Hope”

Note: Stephen is slowly recovering from his cold but his voice remains very weak and is again unable to read today’s message for the podcast! We’re grateful for your prayers.

Message summary: Thank God today for the thrill of hope, a longing for many but a reality for the child of God who can abound in God’s eternal hope.

ListenListen to our message on your audio player. (Brooksyne only)

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer” (Romans 12:12).

“A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices.”

2018 calendar cardFor many years we have prepared our business cards with a calendar on the back to share with the people we encounter through the year, especially in the course of our chaplaincy. We are told that even in this digital age many people still find value in a quick glance at a full year calendar. And it’s gratifying to us that many will have this posted at their workspace and in some instances a collection of these cards for several years back!

We hope the card makes us “sticky”, a concept I shared about 15 years ago when I had a management role over workplace chaplains here in south central PA. Being sticky does not mean taking that which doesn’t belong to you, but it means intentionally leaving evidence of your influence in tangible ways.

Romans 12:12 artwork On these cards we try to have a brief spiritual message or Scripture verse. This year we used one of Brooksyne’s favorite verses, Romans 12:12. She has demonstrated her stickiness for many years by quoting verses to those undergoing trial. Romans 12:12 is a verse she’s written on Post-It sticky notes at people’s worksite that I’ve seen years later posted on their bulletin boards or above their computer monitors!

It’s a great verse but today let us only consider the first phrase, “Be joyful in hope”. Many versions render the phrase, “rejoicing in hope”. The Amplified states, “constantly rejoicing in hope [because of our confidence in Christ].” “Base your happiness on your hope in Christ” (Phillips).

Robert Morgan writes, “When we can’t rejoice in circumstances, we can rejoice in the anticipation of what God’s going to do with them, in them, through them, despite them, and because of them. On cloudy days the sun still shines as brightly as ever in the center of the solar system; and when we rejoice in hope, we’re saying, ‘Despite current conditions, the Son is shining for me as brightly as ever with healing in His rays’.”

Later in Romans we read, “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).

Today we began with a single line from a well-known Christmas hymn, “A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices.” Do you recognize where this comes from? We post the song below as a YouTube video.

Thank God today for the thrill of hope, a longing for many but a reality for the child of God who can abound in God’s eternal hope. This advent season may you truly rejoice in hope, specifically the hope demonstrated at the Incarnation of Jesus Christ! May the hope in us abound and be demonstrated to the world around us.

Come Thou long awaited one
In the fullness of Your Love
And loose this heart bound up by shame
And I will never be the same

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, one of the greatest emotions we can feel is that of hope. In celebrating the advent of Christ’s arrival to earth we are filled with hope. Jesus not only fills us with hope, He is our hope. Christ descending from heaven to earth gives us a thrill of hope that turns into a fixed hope lifting us from the weary struggles of this world and filling us with great anticipation of that which awaits us on the other side of glory. There is nothing on this side that can fill us with such joyful hope as our future eternal home. Thank You for preparing it and for providing it through Jesus our Lord. Amen.


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!). 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 familiar 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

“The Thrill of Hope”  Video  Christy Nockels

“O Holy Night”  Video  David Phelps  This was recorded at one of the Homecoming Christmas shows that we look forward to attending this Saturday evening in Reading, PA.

“Noel”   Video   Lauren Daigle

Note: YouTube often places an ad before a video plays. Most are annoying but not objectionable. Some are humorous or inspiring. However the ad that played before one of the songs used today was in very poor taste. You never know what you will get but of course the ad is not a reflection on either the musician or us!

For further study: Commentary notes on Romans 12:12

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