Amish family at harvest time 9/16/16 Friday afternoon we saw our Amish neighbor Eli and his family harvesting his field.
“There’s Too Much To Gain To Lose”

Message Summary:  Today we especially direct our message to those who have been in service for many years. Keep pressing on. We hope you hear some good reports, but we have a promise that has become my life verse. “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58). Indeed, there’s too much to gain to lose!

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me His own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained” (Philippians 3:12-16).

Too many miles behind me
too many trials are through
Too many tears help me to remember
there’s too much to gain to lose

Today I have been on this earth as a post-born entity for 22,621 days. The vast, vast majority of days I can’t recall what happened but there are those days that are especially memorable. Thirty-nine years ago Brooksyne and I left the Springfield, Missouri area where we had met in Bible College and headed to Pennsylvania to start a church. I was 22 and she was 21. We held our first church service September 18, 1977 without much fanfare. I recall there were 24 at that first service, most out of sheer curiosity, never to return again. However one young couple, Mike and Kathy Matangelo, attended who went on to be a formative part of that church plant and who have remained friends to this day.

September 18 is also Mike’s birthday so I called him last night and we caught up and reminisced some of our memories over the last 39 years. Their children are serving the Lord with two of their sons in ministry. But they have also generously poured into the lives of others and today both serve in prison ministry in North Carolina.

Mike shared a heartening story with me that will encourage other long-time servants as well. In the early 80’s we started a boy’s program in our church called “Royal Rangers” seeking to provide a wholesome activity for boys in the church but we also wanted it to be an outreach. Mike was the long-time leader. Like many boys programs, such as the Boy Scouts, the boys were taught knot tying skills using baling twine.

Early on, Jim, a young boy from outside the church began to attend. As I recall he had no spiritual background. But he stayed in the program all the way through achieving the highest award.

We moved from that area to New England in the early nineties and several years later Mike and Kathy moved to North Carolina. Jim also left that area after he grew up so contact was lost in the shuffle of moves. But the Matangelos received a letter from Jim with a report that he was doing well, raising a family in New Jersey (he is a volunteer firefighter and was involved in the 9/11 cleanup). He included a small piece of baling twine and informed Mike he was still serving the Lord.

Looking back on those we have encountered through the years we try to stay in touch with as many as we can. What a joy when we share mutual faith and they continue in the service of the Lord. Of course sadly some have dropped out of the race (Hebrews 12:1). And there are those we just lose track of. What a joy to hear a report like Mike received from Jim!

As we talked last night we alluded to our investment in God’s Kingdom and I told Mike we had too much to gain to lose. We acknowledge that we are on the latter part of our race, pressing toward the finish line, with many miles behind us. Certainly we are a lot closer to it than the starting line!

Today’s Scripture portion is one of my longtime favorites, especially the verse that states, “But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

But today let us focus on a final challenge in this section, “Only let us hold true to what we have attained.”

Bible teacher L.O. Richards comments, “The picture that emerges as we connect these passages is an exciting one. God does have a high calling for Christians. But we attain it, not by self-reliant attempts to live by the law, but rather by humble commitment of ourselves to Jesus, asking and believing by faith that He will give us the power to follow Him.” *

Today we especially direct our message to those who have been in service for many years. Keep pressing on. We hope you hear some good reports like Mike did, but we have a promise that has become my life verse. “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58). Indeed, there’s too much to gain to lose!

Too many sunsets lie behind the mountains
Too many rivers my feet have walked through
And there’s too many treasures awaiting over yonder
And there’s too much to gain to lose

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, when the valley is deep, when the mountain is steep, when my body is weary, when I stumble and fall. When the choices are hard, when I’m battered and scarred, when I’ve spent all my resources and given my all, it’s in Jesus’ name that I press on. With the prize of eternal life, clear before my eyes, I find the strength and courage to press on and I can do so through Christ Jesus who strengthens me. Amen.

Adapted – “lyrics of Press On” written by Dan Burgess

Some Scenes of Our Weekend

Amish family at harvest time 9/16/16
Another photo of our Amish neighbors. Looks like at least five of the children were helping Dad out, although one little girl paused to wave back at us.

Val-Co community service day 9/16/16
Friday we joined many of the employees at Val-Co for their annual community service day. This year teams went to five separate locations to serve; two nursing homes, an inner city church, a shelter for abused women and a home for troubled children. Brooksyne took the photo of this group she worked alongside in a nursing home while Ester and I visited the various groups who were working elsewhere.

Val-Co community service day 9/16/16
This team did work restoring a home that is used to provide services to troubled children.

White Oak Display community service day 9/17/16
On Saturday morning we participated in a “Walk Of Love” sponsored by “Brittany’s Hope” which aids abandoned children worldwide. We walked with the employees from White Oak Display, another company we serve as chaplains.

White Oak Display community service day 9/17/16
A beautiful walk through the woods near Elizabethtown, PA.

Sheldon Miller 5k race finish 9/17/16
There were many other individuals and groups participating in the event including Sheldon Miller, seen here finishing a 5k race. Sheldon works at Smucker Laser. He and his wife Jenna recently adopted a little girl from Vietnam, receiving assistance from Brittany’s Hope.

JK fathers at picnic 9/17/16
Saturday afternoon we attended a company picnic with the employees of JK Mechanical. This company has a lot of young men who install heating and air conditioning.  I regularly challenge the men to be good husbands and fathers.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Too Much To Gain To Lose”   Video   Jake Hess  This song just needs to be sung by an older voice and Jake provides that though he is now with the Lord.

“Press On”  Video  Selah

“Faithful One”  Video   Selah

* Richards, L O: Expository Dictionary of Bible Words: Regency

Finally today:

Sweetlife 9/16/16
The nature of our work takes us out a lot so when we get home we normally don’t get out again for pleasure. But Friday night we ventured into Lancaster City, which has maintained a vibrant downtown and heard Sweetlife, a couple from our area. Here’s a video sample of their music.
Lancaster Pressroom restaurant courtyard 9/16/16
Due to many special street musicians on Music Friday the city was especially busy with this inviting scene at the Pressroom Restaurant outdoor court. This coming Friday Ester is working at a “Newsboys” concert at the Lancaster Convention Center so we will be back in town again!

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber 4/17/16 (Click to enlarge)
Stephen and Brooksyne Weber
(Click on photo to enlarge)
About Us

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Support Our MinistryWe want to thank all who have financially support our ministry. 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. 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 or donate directly online through my chaplain account here. Donations are tax deductible and will be receipted directly by my chaplaincy endorsing ministry. 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.

“Daddy’s Hands”

September 16, 2016

Hands of older man
“Daddy’s Hands”
Message Summary: As you work with your hands rejoice in this act of obedience to God.  And pray that our country will return to its godly foundations, including a Biblical worldview of physical labor. Today as you go about your work duties remember the words of the Scripture and see your labor as an act of faith and obedience, indeed recognizing the sanctity of work.

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody” (1 Thessalonians 4:11,12).

I remember Daddy’s hands, working ’til they bled.
Sacrificed unselfishly, just to keep us all fed.
If I could do things over, I’d live my life again.
And never take for granted the love in Daddy’s hands.

Today all three of us will be using our hands at a company sponsored Community Service Day. Each year the Val-Co Company shuts down company operations and for one day they serve the community and yet the employees still get paid!

In a footnote to Tuesday’s message we mentioned hearing a song at Sam S. Smucker’s funeral Monday afternoon that was used when various photos of his life were projected on the screen. It was a Country type song that told the story of “Daddy’s Hands” (We will post a link to a video below). It was a way to honor hardworking Sam S. Smucker.

Ester with Eugene Clark Weber April 1992 But as I listened to it I mused concerning my own father, Eugene Clark Weber, who passed away in 1998.  I tried to picture his hands which was easier after Ester brought me the photo of her sitting on her Papa’s lap as seen in the photo. Several of the themes in the song seemed to fit my childhood experience. Today I want to especially consider that they were hard-working hands as expressed in the phrase from the song.

I remember Daddy’s hands, working ’til they bled.
Sacrificed unselfishly, just to keep us all fed.

I recall my Dad’s hands as big, rough and calloused. He was a large man who worked hard all his life. He and Mom married on October 17, 1944 while he was serving in WW2. I don’t recall that he ever received formal training for what he did but he learned by doing and he was driven by the sense knowing he needed to provide for his wife and family.

Through most of my childhood he did Heating and Air Conditioning and then later was a pipefitter. In his last ten years of employment before he retired he worked for large international companies and travelled to supervise large power projects as a Project Manager. I am sure even then he was a hands-on supervisor, demonstrating how something should be done. Most notably he was one of the first Americans into China in the mid-seventies and travelled to places where he was the first white man people had ever seen. Even in his retirement he worked with his hands and assisted several churches and ministries with projects.

When I was eight years old Daddy broke some bones in his hand due to grasping too tight a grip on a set of plyers. He continued to work while it was in a cast. Another memory was a labor problem in the Kansas City area in the late sixties which shut down his regular work for several months. He sought temporary, fill-in type work till the matter was resolved and since it was in the summer when school was out he took me to work with him.

Although I didn’t go into the same type of work he demonstrated and taught me many skills useful all though my life.

Our daily text is one of the great statements on physical labor in the Bible. Paul began the church in Thessalonica and the record of this rocky start is recorded in Acts 17:1-9. The fledgling church survived and the Holy Scriptures contain two letters written by Paul to these believers. Both letters contain a thought somewhat unique in Paul’s writings. In Paul’s second letter to them he develops this thought more fully in chapter 3:6-15. Possibly it was due to a problem that needed to be addressed in Thessalonica because of a mistaken view of the Lord’s return. Some felt they no longer needed to work since the return of the Lord was so imminent.

Paul reminded them of the value of work and the consequences of not working. Notice that  Paul was merely reminding them of his teaching while he was with them. “Just as we told you.” I believe this indicates that this teaching was an integral part of Paul’s ministry. He modeled it himself when he made tents in Corinth for a time.

Today we will focus on just one phrase, “Work with your hands.” Most of you work with your hands. Today we use that phrase for manual labor but virtually all types of work, whether deemed skilled and unskilled, require the use of our hands.*

As you work with your hands rejoice in this act of obedience to God.  And pray that our country will return to its godly foundations, including a Biblical worldview of physical labor. Today as you go about your work duties remember the words of the Scripture and see your labor as an act of faith and obedience, indeed recognizing the sanctity of work.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we make it our ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind our own business and to work with our hands, just as Scripture tells us. In doing so we provide for our families and tenderly hold them protecting them from harm’s way. We seek not only to win our family’s respect but also respect from outsiders who observe our Christian conduct. May the things we do with our hands and the ways we show love in our actions truly honor You and be a witness to others in the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.


Brooksyne’s special note about “Daddy’s Hands”: Not all who read this message today about “Daddy’s Hands” will identify with Stephen as he wrote about his dad nor will they relate to the dad in the song whose hands were folded in prayer or who patted his child on the back expressing affirmation. Perhaps they only knew “hands of steel” or hands of neglect, abandonment or abuse. If so, I want to assure you that if you had an earthly father who did not lovingly raise you, you can find reassurance and love in the Heavenly Father described by Jesus who has given us eternal life so that we will never perish. Our heavenly Father is so lovingly committed to us that He declares “No one can snatch us out of His hands” (John  10:27-30).  What warmth, reassurance and tender love we can experience when reflecting upon this verse describing Jesus as the Great Shepherd and keeper of our souls and our heavenly Father who holds us safely, lovingly, and tenderly cupped in His hands.

* I do not like the designation “skilled” and “unskilled” which often tends to rank people. Many “unskilled” workers actually have skills that “skilled workers” may not have.

Note: I suppose it’s happened to about everyone who uses a computer: I had put several hours of study in this message and walked away w/o saving my work. I prepare these messages on a budget html editor which I am very used to and it’s free. But it doesn’t have the auto save function like Word and better programs. The computer must have restarted to load some updates and when I reopened, guess what!!! I share that for any of you who might be having a day like that – just remember we all do from time to time.

Note regarding Wednesday’s message concerning “Wholesome Words“: Two preacher friends wrote who both recall having their mouths washed out with soap!


Yesterday we attended the Decision America Prayer Rally on a beautiful day in Harrisburg. Leading the rally was Franklin Graham, eldest son of 97 year old Billy Graham. Here are some photos from the rally.

Decision America prayer rally, Harrisburg, PA 9/15/16
A close-up view of the Pennsylvania state capitol. Prior to the rally, tours were given which revealed the many expressions of Christian influence in the capitol.

Decision America prayer rally, Harrisburg, PA 9/15/16
The Decision America team came in on several large busses with colorful markings. We caught this scene on the way to the rally with the crowd gathering behind us and this view of the Pennsylvania Capitol in front of us.

Decision America prayer rally, Harrisburg, PA 9/15/16
Amen!

Decision America prayer rally, Harrisburg, PA 9/15/16
The rally began at noon and lasted just 1 hour. People had come from all over the state.
The first part of the rally we prayed followed by some specific ways to make a difference, followed by a brief gospel presentation and invitation to follow Christ.

Decision America prayer rally, Harrisburg, PA 9/15/16
Here’s a view looking behind where we stood. Neither of these views capture all the people to each side of us. The rally was nonpolitical with absolutely no mention of parties or candidates apart from the clear statement that Graham made that no political party will get this country out of the mess we are in, to which we all said AMEN. The entire rally video is now posted on this website. Here’s a brief presentation by a local TV station.

Following the rally Brooksyne and I, along with our pastor, attended a luncheon with the Pennsylvania Family Institute which contends for Biblical and traditional values.

Father, we know the Scripture well and often quote Your promise to forgive: “If my people who are called by name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” We want to go beyond quoting and put into practice that which we ask of us so that You will do that which we ask of You through Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Daddy’s Hands”  Video  Holly Dunn  This is the song mentioned in today’s message.

I remember daddy’s hands folded silently in prayer
And reachin’ out to hold me, when I had a nightmare
You could read quite a story in the callous’ and lines
Years of work and worry had left their mark behind

I remember daddy’s hands how they held my mama tight
And patted my back for something done right
There are things that I’d forgotten that I loved about the man
But I’ll always remember the love in daddy’s hands

I remember daddy’s hands workin’ ’til they bled
Sacrificed unselfishly just to keep us all fed
If I could do things over, I’d live my life again
And never take for granted the love in daddy’s hands

Refrain
Daddy’s hands were soft and kind when I was cryin’
Daddy’s hands were hard as steel when I’d done wrong
Daddy’s hands weren’t always gentle but I’ve come to understand
There was always love in daddy’s hands


Finally today: In the category of “You’ve surely got to be kidding me” I came across this blog article titled “10 Ways The Ideology of ISIS And Franklin Graham Is Near-Identical” It is so bad that even many comments on the far left wing blog point out its absurdity. Turns out this man has an assortment of really whacky viewpoints. I came across the article due to an attempt to try to understand the direction so many of our younger people (millennials) are heading.

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.

“Using Wholesome Words”

September 14, 2016

Mountain view 9/11/16
View from Broad Mountain in Franklin County PA looking west.
That’s a road in the center of the photo.

“Using Wholesome Words”

Message Summary: “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer” (Psalm 19:14).

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer” (Psalm 19:14). “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear” (Ephesians 4:29). “Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving” (Ephesians 5:4). “But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth” (Colossians 3:8).

Washing Out Mouth sign

Several years ago we were at a festival with various craft displays and came upon a booth that sold home-made soaps. It had a long but interesting name, “Wash Your Mouth Out Soap Company” with the humorous tag line, “Soap So Good It’ll Make You Wanna Cuss!!!” For younger readers that may not know, it alludes to the threat of having your mouth washed out by soap if you swear, as was the custom of my youth.

I don’t know how many of our readers will identify but the soap sign sure brought back a memory from my younger teen years. I had just begun to use some cuss words in my attempt to look and sound “grown-up”. I tried to be careful and swear only around friends I sought to “impress”. But I still vividly recall the exact place in front of our garage in Belton Missouri where I slipped with a swear word within hearing range of my mom. I recall the precise swear word, which I will not and do not need to mention here.

Ivory soap bottle My little innocent mama, red faced with rage (as much as she was capable of mustering anyway), commissioned my older brother Pat  to wash my mouth out with soap, in this case a bottle of Ivory dish soap squirted full strength directly into my mouth. Pat, eight years older than I, loved the chore Mom assigned to him. He placed me in a tight bear hug grip as he applied Mom’s “therapy”. Pat is now a retired pastor who will soon celebrate his 70th birthday but at that time he had not been converted to Christ and took great pleasure in disciplining his little brother, although I am quite sure at that time he also used salty language from the world as well.

The soap was not tasty and I learned my lesson, at least to the extent of never swearing in front of Mom again. It was several years later that I was born again and invited the cleansing power of the Holy Spirit to clean up my vocabulary.  By the way, it’s been nearly 50 years since my mouth-washing experience and I am grateful for the discipline, although not surprisingly an online search now associates washing the mouth out with soap as child abuse!!!

Now we are flooded with a culture of profanity and coarse language, from prime time TV to popular music, from sports to news shows. Just walking through a store or any public setting we’re often assaulted by offensive language. But sadder yet is profanity in the pulpit that some pastors use in order to be “relevant” in seeking to connect with the world. Such strategy, in our opinion, is similar to youth using the salty language they hear from adults to appear “grown-up” or connecting with their peers.

I believe we need a restored sense of reverence, in our conduct and in our conversation.

The other day I got into a conversation with a man whom I have befriended. He is a big burly tattoo-covered ex-con. I asked him if he would be more receptive to my message if I began to use profanity and practiced some other “worldly” ways in order to make a connection with him. He laughed, giving me the look of “Are you nuts?” as he considered the absurdity of my suggestion.

This is also a good time to remind believers not only to guard their language regarding profanity but also to honor God’s name in their conversation according to the third commandment, “Do not take the name of the Lord our God in vain”. Using God’s name flippantly as part of a casual exclamation of excitement is certainly not using it with respect. How can we say, “Oh my God,” as simply a mindless exclamation when God is completely holy and righteous, the supreme ruler of the universe, the creator, our redeemer, and the judge of all?

Today’s text is easy to outline in regard to speech that honors God and is a blessing to others. Let us consider these four standards:

  • Wholesome Words “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth.” The Bible does not have a list of unwholesome words and of course, due to various languages and the way they change over time, this would be quite a list if it did! But we can let the Holy Spirit, along with the input and example from wise elders, guide us. As we mature we will be able to distinguish between wholesome and unwholesome words.
  • Edifying Words “but only such a word as is good for edification.” These are words that build up rather than tear down. We’ve all at some point been recipients of hurtful words that tore us down. Let us determine to use words and thoughts that are “good for edification”, that build others up. *
  • Profitable Words “according to the need of the moment.” These are the timely words that impact others in their time of need.
  • Grace-giving Words “so that it will give grace to those who hear.” Grace-filled words are so needed regardless of where we live. Elsewhere Paul wrote, “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone” (Colossians 4:6).

Here is another great Biblical standard for our speech, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer” (Psalm 19:14).

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

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


* Although not related to profanity we heard an interesting point about being an edifier Monday afternoon at Sam S. Smucker’s funeral. The service was held at one of our large mega churches (The Worship Center) which happens to be pastored by Sam Smucker, who is Sam S. Smucker’s nephew. Pastor Smucker pointed back to where he’d look for his Uncle Sam, as he usually sat in the same seat each Sunday in the huge auditorium. Pastor Sam told the congregation he got strength just from seeing him. He went on to say how there are certain people like that (edifiers) when you preach, which any preacher can identify with. With a chuckle Pastor Sam also alluded to certain people you choose not to focus on (drainers)! As I reflect back on my many years of preaching I could list many encouragers as well as a few notable drainers!


Today I would like to share a few more photos from my weekend campout in the mountains.

Men and Boys campout service 09/11/16
We had a service at camp Sunday morning around the campfire.

Fried potatoes over open fire 09/11/16
A hearty but probably not heart healthy breakfast includes potatoes fried over an open fire. Onions and peppers and who knows what else will be added! Another griddle will have pounds of bacon and sausage while another has eggs and pancakes. Better get some exercise after this breakfast!

Steel-wheeled tractor 9/11/16
Sunday morning after our service and breakfast a group of us loaded our bikes on a trailer, piled into a van and rode up to the top of Broad Mountain (see here) for a long speed ride down. When we were unloading our bikes we noticed this blue steel-wheeled tractor backing toward us. I walked up the tractor and talked with them. It turned out to be a young old-order Mennonite family. The father had driven the tractor up the mountain to have a picnic on a vista point overlooking the Cumberland Valley. I asked where he had come from and it was a town about ten miles away! This particular branch of Mennonites use a horse and buggy but also allow steel-wheeled tractors for farm use. I suppose this young farmer preferred to drive his family in the tractor rather than take the horse and buggie up the mountain! It was surely easier for the horse as well.

Cumberland Valley vista view 9/11/16
Here’s the vista view from Broad Mountain looking out over the Cumberland Valley to the east. This is the view the Mennonite family was looking for to have their Sunday picnic. About ten years ago I preached a sermon with this view as a backdrop.
Click on photo to enlarge

No children to spare sign, Orrstown, PA 9/11/16
I know there’s a spiritual lesson in this sign!
It brings to mind this verse: Romans 8:32


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Let The Words Of My Mouth”  Video  Fernando Ortega

“May The Words Of My Mouth”  Video  Christy Nockels

Here’s a message by Greg Laurie about profanity (Note: We are troubled when leaders feel the need to use profanity to effectively communicate with relevance inappropriate, whether written or spoken.)

We appreciate this thought: I am not suggesting we attempt to be irrelevant and uncool, but my question is “Have we traded reverence for relevance?”

We also feel another aspect in this matter is a mistaken notion of Christian liberty which seems to now be used to justify many forms of worldliness. For a bit of humor see this satire piece” “Casual Sex, Drug Use Now Covered Under Local Man’s Definition Of ‘Christian Liberty’”

“Sometimes I Wonder”   Video   Ernie Haas and Signature Sound

“That’s Why”  Video  Ernie Haas and Signature Sound


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.

“Hello After Goodbye”

September 13, 2016

Sam Smucker Bible
Sam S. Smucker’s well-read & underscored Bible
“Hello After Goodbye”

Message Summary: After the sorrowful “goodbye” on this side we can be assured there will be a joyful “hello” on the other side!

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:17).

There is a hello after goodbye, a blessed reunion, promised in time
We will be with them far longer than we were without
No doubt, no more tears in our eyes
In that beautiful, wonderful, hello after goodbye

Sam SmuckerYesterday we attended the funeral service for 88 year old Sam S. Smucker. It was a moving service with his large multi-generational family proceeding into the sanctuary as the service began. Sam had five living children, 16 grandchildren and some 29 great-grandchildren. With the “in-laws” walking alongside their spouses it made for a very large and impressive family group!

We met Sam about five years ago when we began serving the home improvement company he founded in 1960. Sam was already retired but we established a friendship and visited with him in his home when he was not wintering in Florida.

We never had the privilege of meeting Sam’s wife, Hannah, who died five years ago. And one son died in his youth many years ago. We have come to know several of his living children, including his two sons, Lee & Marlin, who now manage the company as well as Mary Ann who worked there up to her retirement a few years ago.

Sam and Hannah grew up Amish but made the very difficult decision of parting from the Amish group in the early years of their marriage. Though they were shunned they chose not to be bitter toward the things of God. They taught their children the ways of the Lord. Besides being a successful businessman for over 50 years, Sam was very active in his church and, as a Gideon, he placed Bibles in the hands of those who needed answers to life’s greatest questions through the written Word.

Prayer timeWe visited Sam several times the weeks before he died. When his time was nearing we made our final visit a week ago Friday, actually expecting that he might go very soon. Brooksyne quoted Isaiah 41:10 as we considered the loving and attentive family members who had been by Sam’s bedside 24/7 for a number of days already, “Do not fear for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Then we joined the family in quoting the 23rd Psalm before praying for Sam as he faced life’s greatest physical and spiritual transition. It was a tender setting with all five of Sam’s children around his bedside along with his sister, Priscilla, otherwise lovingly known as, “Aunt Cill”.

Sam had a strong heart and lived on several days after we visited with him while his family kept vigil. Throughout the time they had music constantly playing in the background as a source of comfort for Sam and likely for all the family members. Each time we visited with Sam in his home he always had the Christian radio station playing.

During his final moments as he lay dying on his hospital bed a hymn was playing that many of you will recognize:

My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine;
For Thee all the follies of sin I resign.
My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art Thou;
If ever I loved Thee, my Je-sus, ’tis now.

The song continued as Sam was nearing his final breath:

I’ll love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death,
And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath;
And say when the death dew lies cold on my brow,
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

As Sam breathed his last the music, which had been on a long playlist, inexplicably stopped. The lyrics could not have been more descriptive of Sam’s transition on this side to the next. What a precious gift God gave to his family when this verse ended leaving the room in holy silence.

Is it possible that Sam sung the last verse on the other side:

In mansions of glory and endless delight,
I’ll ever adore Thee in heaven so bright;
I’ll sing with the glittering crown on my brow,
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now!

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 is often considered the “rapture passage” although the word “rapture” is not used in the text. It describes a glorious future event when all who have placed their faith in Christ will meet in heaven. It ends with the phrase, “Therefore comfort one another with these words.”

Paul provided needed assurance for some who felt those who died may have missed this glorious event but he gives clear instruction regarding the fate of both the living and the dead. Today, let us consider just one phrase from the passage: “Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them (those who died in Christ) in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.”

This verse is a tremendous source of comfort, assurance and encouragement when we consider the death of a loved one. We who are alive at that time will be caught up together with them in the air. We indeed grieve on this side, a normal response, but we don’t grieve as those who have no hope!

“So we (those living at the time and those who have already died) shall always be with the Lord.”  After the sorrowful “goodbye” on this side we can be assured there will be a joyful “hello” on the other side!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we thank You that we don’t grieve as those who have no hope, after our Christian loved ones take up residency in heaven. It’s hard, though, because we’re unable to converse with them or hug them or even to lovingly help them when they’re in need. But we’re also reassured they’re in safe-keeping, in better surroundings than any of us can imagine on this side of heaven. They’re in better physical condition than that of a newborn babe for they’ve exchanged their decaying perishable body for a perfect, imperishable body that is disease free and ageless. To think of their access to the great apostle Paul or the courageous prophet, Daniel, to sit at the very feet of Jesus, to hear the angel choir filling the heavens with their worshipful hallelujahs. It’s more than the human mind can possibly grasp, yet it awaits us when we take our flight to our eternal home. Keep us faithful, hopeful, and full of anticipation for that great and mighty day when we will make that final eternal transition to where our inheritance lies. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen


Tommy Carpenter is a friend from Arkansas whom we became acquainted with through Daily Encouragement about ten years ago. He shares a similar story to today’s but with the gospel song, “Victory in Jesus” We shared it several years ago in this message but will post the pertinent illustration from the message here:

Tommy CarpenterTommy is a veteran minister of the Gospel and missionary. We have been blessed to have him as a guest in our home when he visited the area. Years ago he preached in the little country church where I served for several years as an interim pastor. He told a moving story that we’ll share in today’s message that he refers to is as “The rest of the story”:

Back in the early 1900’s singing schools were fairly common in the U.S., having had their origin in American History as early as the 1700’s. New systems of music notation, including shape notes, were developed by singing school teachers as an aid in learning to sing by sight without musical instrumentation.

Eugene BartlettTommy’s Uncle Carl was hosting songwriter Eugene M. Bartlett, the very popular songwriter and leader of a singing school, in his home in rural Arkansas in 1939. One morning Bartlett showed Carl the music and lyrics for a brand new song he had just written.

“I heard an old, old story, how a Savior came from glory…” He then went on to share the entire song that many of us know by heart as “Victory In Jesus”. Of course the song has become one of the most beloved hymns of the church and is found in most hymnbooks.

Eugene Bartlett died in 1941, at 55 years of age, just two years after he wrote this song. But his wife, Joan Bartlett, lived many more years, in fact, she renewed the copyright on “Victory in Jesus” in 1967.

When her time of death came the family and preacher gathered around her bedside. They looked on rather helplessly as she was in the final throes of death, her body ravaged and completely unresponsive.

Expecting to see her draw her final breath they were stunned by her sudden arousal as she broke into song:

I heard an old, old story, how a Savior came from glory,
How He gave His life on Calvary to save a wretch like me;
I heard about His groaning, of His precious blood’s atoning,
Then I repented of my sins and won the victory.
O victory in Jesus…

At first her voice was very weak, but as she continued to sing the words became clearer and her voice grew stronger. She then sang the second verse:

I heard about His healing, of His cleansing pow’r revealing.
How He made the lame to walk again and caused the blind to see;
And then I cried, “Dear Jesus, Come and heal my broken spirit,”
And somehow Jesus came and brought to me the victory.
O victory in Jesus…

Immediately after singing this verse and the chorus she died! The preacher, at a loss for words said, “I reckon she’s singing the third verse up yonder.”

I heard about a mansion He has built for me in glory.
And I heard about the streets of gold beyond the crystal sea;
About the angels singing, and the old redemption story,
And some sweet day I’ll sing up there the song of victory.

Sam Smucker 10/16/14
Sam started SS Smucker, a home improvement company, in 1960. The company is now managed by his sons and grandson but Sam, up till this past June, still kept busy around the business mowing the lawn, picking up trash, etc. He had that old-fashioned work ethic.

We heard a good incidental testimony about him. Brooksyne shared about Sam as his time drew near when she was leading worship in our church. At our men’s campout this last weekend Leroy Shonk, a truck driver now in his seventies, told me about meeting Sam when he worked as a driver for a roofing company nearly fifty years ago. He was a driver but must have seen Sam when he picked up materials and recalls how nice he was. Now it’s pretty neat when you can be remembered for being nice by someone you only saw several times fifty years later!

Smucker Family 6/29/12
Here’s Sam with the some of the Smucker family at a surprise retirement party for Sam’s daughter, Mary Ann, who had worked there since her youth. Sam’s sons, Marlin, (right) and Lee, (second from left) remain active in operating the company along with his grandson Sheldon (far left) who assumed his mother Mary Ann’s position. Several other grandchildren also work for the company! The company has a good reputation here in Central Pennsylvania and has a memorable jingle we heard just this morning on WDAC, our local Christian radio station, See here for video (30 seconds)

Sam Smucker using reading machine 12/4/13
In recent years Sam dealt with poor eyesight which affected his ability to read his Bible daily as he had been accustomed to. During one visit he was pleased to show us his new reading machine which greatly magnified the words on screen and made it possible for him to read the Scriptures again. Can you identify the Bible verse on the screen?

Sam Smucker funeral 9/12/16
Ester was touched by the service and wrote this on her Facebook page: “Attending a funeral for Mr. Sam S. Smucker. It was an honor and privilege to getting to know you even though you could never remember my name. You have also left a wonderful legacy for all of us to follow. You have impacted so many different people throughout your life. You will be truly missed by all of us.”


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Hello After Goodbye”  Video  Legacy Five  A very touching song. Today we dedicate the song to the Smucker family. May they find great comfort in the anticipation of a future hello, especially knowing there will be no more good-byes.

“My Jesus, I Love Thee”   Video   Traditional

“Daddy’s Hands”  Video  Holly Dunn  At the conclusion of the service yesterday the family had prepared a photo montage with several songs including this one. It sure made me consider my own dad who passed away in 1998 and may prompt a future message as I consider his hardworking hands.

“Knowing What I Know About Heaven”  Video  Guy Penrod Another song played at the service yesterday. After Guy became a solo artist, after leaving the Bill Gaither vocal band, this song became his signature song on our radio station. I never tire of hearing it!


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.

“Recalling 9-11”

September 12, 2016

Sunrise in the mountains 9/11/16
Morning Sun rising in the quiet forest setting on 9/11/16

“Recalling 9-11”

Message Summary: Today we encourage our readers to assert with confidence that the Lord is good and to live a life of trust in the Word of God.

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“For the Lord is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting and His faithfulness to all generations” (Psalm 100:5). “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).

This last weekend I went on a campout in the mountains of central Pennsylvania with a group of men and boys from our church. We had beautiful weather and meaningful fellowship in a very serene setting.

Yesterday we recalled the fifteenth anniversary of 9/11/01 which of course was not at all peaceful, although the morning of 9-11 sure began that way. Most people in the USA recall that day very specifically, just where they were and what they were doing when the news hit. I was with a group of chaplains in York County and noticed planes in a steep descent toward the Harrisburg airport. A little later I walked into a hardware store and saw the horrific images from New York City. I then realized, prior to seeing the news, I was actually seeing planes being grounded and landing at the nearest airport. But of course one of the planes up that day, United Flight 93, did not land but crashed only about 35 miles west of where we completed a bike ride on Saturday through an abandoned section of the Pennsylvania turnpike.

Tim Murray 9/9/16With three thousand people dying that day many hundreds of thousands lost a family member or friend in the mass murder. We didn’t personally know anyone who died but Tim Murray, a friend of ours, was a firefighter in New York in 2001 and lost 3 friends. Each year he wears the shirt that says “343”, the number of firefighters who died in the Twin Tower attacks.

Shortly after the terrorist attacks we visited the crash site where Flight 93 went down. The heroism of those on board that plane is well documented. At the time of our visit it was a makeshift memorial long before the experts and millions of dollars were spent for the present official memorial. Although we haven’t visited the permanent site we found our experience at the temporary memorial very moving.

We prayed at the site just before we left for family members and friends of those who were killed. We prayed for the safety of our country and for authorities confronting the evil that prompted such terrible attacks. Certainly the terrorist attacks and contemporary events dramatically remind us of the world’s troubles and the possibility that they can show up right at our own “back door”.

Consider how we often testify to God’s goodness when things work out a certain way. The following story demonstrates how circumstances, though frustrating and stressful at the time, turned out to be a blessing in disguise: “The Miller family were scheduled to be on Flight 93 but were delayed in traffic, missed their flight and were thus spared from death”. That’s normally the way we like the story to go and when that happens we rejoice and proclaim to others, “God is good.”

But His goodness is not always expressed in ways we clearly see or understand fully since we see through a glass darkly on this side of heaven.  Consider the Psalm we share above, “For the Lord is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting and His faithfulness to all generations” (Psalm 100:5). God is no less good in regard to outcomes we just don’t understand.

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).

In R.C. Sproul’s book, “The Providence of God”, he writes concerning Romans 8:28: “There’s no other text that demonstrates so clearly and magnificently the beauty of God’s sovereign providence. The text does not say that everything that happens to us, considered in and of itself, is good; rather, it says that all things that take place in our lives are working out with other things for our good. That is the master plan of God’s redemptive providence. He brings good out of evil. He brings glory out of suffering. He brings joy out of affliction. This is one of the most difficult truths of sacred Scripture for us to believe. I’ve said countless times that it is easy to believe in God but far more difficult to believe God. Faith involves living a life of trust in the Word of God.”

Today we encourage our readers to assert with confidence that the Lord is good and to live a life of trust in the Word of God.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, You have called us out as ambassadors for Christ, and in so doing, we make the proclamation of the gospel known not only with our words, but also with our lives. As we approach each new day we’re given a set of challenges. Some that will last only a day but others that will require endurance for years, even a lifetime. The way we deal with those “things” will bring You glory or may be a stumbling block to faith for those who observe.

We consider the thousands upon thousands of lives turned upside down after the terrorist attack of 9-11 fifteen years ago. Yesterday many read aloud the names of their mom, their dad, a loved one, that of a rescue worker, who were killed in the twin towers disaster at the Pentagon or on Flight 93. Such evil is barbaric, senseless and brings about grief that is unending all these years later. As believers we can still trust Your plan, that You are working out Your purpose in our lives for our eternal good and for Your eternal kingdom. But we pray for those individuals who are inconsolable on this side. May they  bring to You their wounded hearts, tell You of their unending anguish, and find consolation in the truth that earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal. Amen.


Note: Message is longer than usual but I kept coming across more information!

Most Americans would recognize the name, Todd Beamer. After his directive, “Let’s roll” was sounded to the other courageous passengers on board Flight 93, during the 9/11 terrorist attacks he went down in fame for his part in subduing the hijackers. Many believe his brave actions along with others spared a direct attack on the White House or US Capitol. Many of you are aware that Todd was a devout follower of Christ.

But today let us consider two other passengers, Don and Jean Peterson, from Spring Lake, New Jersey.

The crash site is in a very remote, rural location over a former strip mine. The memorial at that time was but a mere gravel parking area overlooking the actual site of the crash some 200 yards away. Local “ambassadors” volunteered for two hour shifts explaining the direction the plane came from, where it crashed, the initial local response, etc. At the time we visited, the farmer who actually witnessed the plane’s crash was also there to share his account.

The memorial itself was a vertical stand about 8 feet tall and 24 feet long, covered with Fire Company hats, news clippings, and white boards that visitors wrote on. These white boards were removed every few days and stored to be part of a permanent memorial. All around the memorial stand were other smaller memorials from all over the world. At that time people came and went throughout the day with about 20 there at any given time.

The most outstanding piece of information we heard about was something I don’t recall ever reading or hearing prior to our visit at the memorial site. The crash itself was of course horrific, with the plane hitting the surface at nearly 600 miles per hour and plunging deep into the ground (it’s thought the depth was in part due to the ground not being compacted because of the strip mining activity). The plane was so utterly destroyed that only a smoldering crater was found.

The first responders, who arrived shortly after the crash, found only two identifiable objects; a burning tire and an open Bible near the site. The Bible was completely intact, with the cover barely singed. It was open to a portion from 1 Kings 12 that deals with the division of the Kingdom.

Here’s something interesting I read titled “WHY THE PASSENGERS HAD TIME TO ACT”. Flight 93 was 41 minutes late leaving Newark Airport for its planned flight to San Francisco. This delay allowed time for the passengers on Flight 93 to learn of the other three hijackings via their cell phones, and realize their planned fate; being a passenger on a jumbo jet that would be flown into the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC, or perhaps even the White House.

As the Boeing 757 neared Cleveland, Ohio at 9:28am, it abruptly changed course and turned southeast. Just before 10:00am the plane was seen flying very low and erratically in the Pittsburgh area. While traveling at an estimated 500 mph, the 757 crashed at 10:03am into a reclaimed strip mine area in Somerset County, killing all 33 passengers, 7 crew and 4 hijackers.

We began this message by asking if any of you had ever heard of Don and Jean Peterson. Probably not. Research indicates that Don was the owner of the Bible. On Sept. 11 they had planned to take a later flight (Flight 91) to go to a family reunion at Yosemite National Park, but at the airport that morning they switched to the earlier less-crowded Flight 93.

Their Pastor, Jim Loveland, said, “I wasn’t on that plane, but I believe I know what happened. At the end, I’m sure they were praying and ministering with the others, encouraging them to be right with the Lord,” Loveland said. “That’s what their lives were about.” Their memorial service drew nearly 1,000 people they’d worked with, helped or counseled and had to be moved to a larger sanctuary nearby.


Abandoned stretch of Pennsylvania Turnpike 9/10/16
The Pennsylvania Turnpike opened on October 1, 1940 and was the first long-distance limited-access highway in the United States, leading to the construction of other limited-access toll roads and the Interstate Highway System. It had tunnels that went through the mountains but the four lane road became two lane at the tunnels which caused traffic jams and serious accidents that would close down the road. In the sixties engineers twin-tubed several of the tunnels and rerouted the turnpike around others. This abandoned section included two tunnels we rode through.

Abandoned Pennsylvania Turnpike tunnel entrance 9/10/16
Entering the abandoned tunnel
Last year we stopped in the middle of the tunnel for a brief church service, and I used an illustration on light (see here). I was heartened that this year little David remembered and asked if we were going to have another service in the tunnel!

Google map of abandoned turnpike area we rode on Saturday. You should be able to scroll through the route going east to see where the tunnels are. The longest tunnel is the farthest east with the present routing of the Turnpike above. At 6,782 feet the Sideling Hill tunnel had been the longest in the turnpike system.

River Riders 9/10/16
We met another church group along the abandoned turnpike route who are from the Harrisburg area, They make regular bike trips and seek to minister along the way, calling themselves the “River Riders” named for their church which is “River Of God”

Heisey guest house 9/10/16
The Heisey Guest House
Nelson Heisey owns the camp where we gather and made this spacious deer stand for his older brother who has Parkinson’s Disease and has trouble getting around. He wanted him to still be able to hunt. The stand is out in the woods and is large enough for a single cot so he dubbed the structure “The Guest House” and that’s where I stayed Saturday night to check it out. Plexiglass windows on all four sides open up for hunting and ventilation so it was a very pleasant sleeping experience in a natural setting with only God’s little creatures making noises through the night.  In the morning a brilliant sun arose and peered into the windows. The stand was completed on Saturday afternoon and Nelson’s son, Andy, made a brief video showing the process of lifting it. “Lifting the Guest House”


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“More And More Of You”  Video  Selah  This is a pretty new song with some heart probing lyrics. I, Brooksyne, awakened to the alarm and immediately turned on the radio. The following words in the song, “Oh forgive us of seeking Your hand and not Your face” prompted my thinking all day on Saturday. I hope it will stir your heart as it did mine.

“I Know”  Video  The Lebeaus  This is a very moving and thought-provoking song. My long-time friend Mike from North Carolina shared it with me.

For further study on Romans 8:28 we recommend the Precept Austin online study notes.

Here’s an excellent unofficial website about the Flight 93 crash with many photos from the makeshift memorial we saw.

Here’s the official National Park Service website

Here is a newspaper article about Donald A. Peterson and Jean Hoadley Peterson

“Amazing Grace”   Video   Andy Heisey on bagpipes at our camp breakfast

Finally today:

DJ Paglia with Stan and Caleb 9/11/16
Sunday Worship:  As Stephen had Sunday worship under the open canopy of the sky, powered by the sun, we enjoyed the typical enclosed church service, powered by electricity. Guest speaker and longtime friend of ours, D.J. Paglia, preached in Pastor John’s place since he and many of the men and boys were at the retreat. DJ and his wife, Anna Mae, now in their late eighties celebrated their 67th wedding anniversary yesterday. At the close of the service he invited people to come forward for prayer and the majority of families proceeded to the front. Before we departed DJ wanted to sing “Jesus Loves Me” since the children would know it by heart. Little Caleb was singing it with all his might so DJ invited him up on the platform to be his assistant. Caleb seemed to enjoy the spotlight and continued to sing but also needed a little reassurance from his Grandpa Stan as he did so.

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.

“Be Still My Soul”

September 9, 2016

Amish team horse 9/2/16
Amish team horse

“Be Still My Soul”

Message Summary: It is my prayer that each of us would find God’s peace and rest as our hearts, minds and souls declare today, Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him.” God calls us to “be still”. One version translates it as “cease striving” and that’s what I tend to do in my spirit. But, O the joy to truly rest in the presence of God; to know that He is God. “Lord please help me and each reader to experience stillness in our souls today.”

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise Him, my salvation” (Psalm 42:5). “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress” (Psalm 46:10,11). “Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him” (Psalm 62:5).

Be still, my soul; the Lord is on thy side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;
Leave to thy God to order and provide.
In ev’ry change He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul; thy best, Thy heavenly Friend
Thro’ thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Yesterday I read a blog article expressing a truth, that I already knew but it was interesting the way the writer presented it. Chelsen Vicari writes an article on the Institute of Religion and Democracy blog titled, “God isn’t Depressed by Politics, Even if I Am”.

Do you ever talk to yourself? I do at times and it annoys Brooksyne a bit, sometimes a lot. We work together in the same office and I find thinking out loud helpful. I suppose she sees it as a sign of aging and doesn’t relish having an old husband.

I also hum sometimes when I eat which is rather peculiar when I think about it. Brooksyne says I do it because I’m very happy when there’s food in my mouth. Generally I find that I’m humming Christian songs whenever Brooksyne points out that I’m humming so maybe that’s not so bad. However I hope I don’t forget myself out in public and hum while I’m eating around others!

Today let’s consider talking to our souls. I think that’s Biblical. That’s what the Psalmist seems to be doing especially in our first daily text. He seems to ask his soul a question and then he proceeds to answer it.

Soul’s question: “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?”  “Cast down” seems to describe emotions of despair and despondency while “turmoil within me” describes worry and anxiety.

Soul’s answer: Hope in God; for I shall again praise Him, my salvation.”

In 1752 Katharina Amalia Dorothea von Schlegel wrote the hymn we quote from today over 250 years ago yet her heart’s cry speaks to all generations:

Be still, my soul; thy God doth undertake
To guide the future as He has the past.
Thy hope, Thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul; the waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.

The second daily verse is such a spiritual gem.  The entire Psalm needs to be read to get the full sense, but verse 10 is in quotes. The eternal, immutable God is speaking: “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” That statement is not merely a one-time assertion but is absolutely always true. There are those who feel they are above God’s command; their time is too precious, their presence too valuable to take time away from others to be still before the invisible but powerful Almighty God. As we read this verse today, may we hear God’s voice speaking directly to us through sacred Scripture. May it direct us to a quiet place where we are alone with Him.

The latter part of the selection is the Psalmist’s response to this truth followed by his declaration of faith, “The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.”

The key is being in a state of stillness based upon our knowledge that the One we have submitted to is indeed God and He will be exalted:

Be still, my soul; the hour is hast’ning on
When we shall be forever with the Lord,
When disappointment, grief and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul; when change and tears are past,
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.

It is my prayer that each of us would find God’s peace and rest as our hearts, minds and souls declare today, Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him.” God calls us to “be still”. I’ve been described as a type-A person and being still is hard for me. One version translates it as “cease striving” and that’s what I tend to do in my spirit. But, O the joy to truly rest in the presence of God; to know that He is God. “Lord please help me and each reader to experience stillness in our souls today.”

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we regularly come to You asking for peace regarding situations that we don’t understand or have no personal ability to change. Way too often troubling circumstances capture our emotions and rob us of the peace promised to those who place their trust in You. Help us not to be tossed about by the changing circumstances of our lives, but to be steadfast as we discipline our mind to be fixed upon You. Only then will we know true life sustaining peace while sojourning here below. Amen.


Vietnamese friend 9/8/16
In one company we visit a lot of Vietnamese people who in most cases have limited English. They work hard and we do what we can to communicate. (We also occasionally have had a Vietnamese pastor friend come through.) Though I, Brooksyne, focus mostly on the women’s work roles I sometimes walk through the machinery where the men work. This Vietnamese man, Dienau always flashes the biggest smile when I walk through and waves most vigorously. Yesterday I told Stephen I wanted to meet him and let him know (using hand and facial expressions) that his shining smile is such a blessing. Stephen took this photo and texted it to my new acquaintance’s cell phone. We find that our other international friends are so pleased to receive a photo we take.

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Be Still My Soul”   Video   Selah (Traditional version)

“Be Still My Soul”  Video  The Imperials (not the hymn)

“Be Still and Know”  Video  Steven Curtis Chapman

“God isn’t Depressed by Politics, Even if I Am”


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.

Eaton Farms topiary 9/7/16
A selection of growing topiary trees at the Eaton Farm

“Only God Can Make A Tree”

Message Summary: Since we believe in a supernatural, miracle working God we, by faith and reason, choose to examine the evidence including the creation of trees on the third day. Along with many other evidences, both in Scripture and observed in science, we affirm our faith in the Creation account of the Bible! Won’t you join us? Remember, only God can make a tree.

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“Then God said, ‘Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.’ And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day” (Genesis 1:11-13).

When I was a young boy my mom recited a poem by Alfred Joyce Kilmer to us, probably one she had learned in school. I can still picture her smile as she recited it from memory.

I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day, and lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in Summer wear a nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain; who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me, but only God can make a tree.

Perhaps to my Mom’s disappointment in making me “cultured” I never gained much appreciation for poetry but I sure took an interest in trees!

Yesterday afternoon I visited a large tree and topiary farm about 50 miles northeast of us in Berks County PA. Don Eaton and his wife Kathy are friends we met about ten years ago through Convene. The family business, Eaton Farms, grows trees for the wholesale market, selling about 70,000 trees annually. The farm covers some 200 rolling acres where one can view hundreds of thousands of growing trees and other plants in various stages of development. The scale of Eaton Farms is best seen on a Google map.

I did something that makes me smile. I got on a golf cart and rode around the farm passing row after row of growing trees of many varieties. I just wonder if the extra oxygen in the air and the unhindered visual stimulation contributed to my joy.

Eaton Farms uses three planting methods; from seeds, graftings and rooted cuttings. Unlike plant nurseries that can grow many species of flowers or plants in a matter of weeks or months, most trees have a five to six year growing period before they’re mature enough to ship. Such a business requires a great deal of financial investment, endurance, patience, and labor. However Don and his team know that only God can make a tree!

Regular readers in this series know that we both like trees which have the interesting distinction of being referenced all through the Bible including the very first (Genesis 1) and very last (Revelation 22) chapter.

Today let’s go back to the beginning at the third day of creation to read the first reference to trees, that moment in space and time when God made the first trees. On this day God commanded, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.”

Note especially the phrase, “Trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it.” This reveals that at Creation the trees were created fully mature.

Weber front lawn oaks We have two large oak trees in our front yard that were planted as small trees in the eighties when our house was built on former farmland. We have seen the steady growth of the oaks since we moved here in 2002. Over the last several years these trees began to produce acorns (seeds). This is consistent with what we’ve read that oaks generally produce fruit (acorns) when they are 20-25 years old. They are now mature trees and, yes, we get the job of raking up acorns that the squirrels miss.

I’ve been considering this thought: if I cut a mature tree down I can see the years of growth in the rings on the cut surface of the trunk. That makes me wonder… if I were present at the time of creation and cut down a mature tree would I have seen these rings? Of course no one can prove this one way or another, but I believe that it, being a “normal” tree, would have had these rings since it was created as a mature tree.

Two thoughts here: You are reading this and I assume that you accept the Bible as the true Word of God:

1) Many of you, like us, accept the account of Creation according to Genesis 1. But those who hold this view are increasingly mocked and ridiculed. We want to give you something to think about today as you consider the trees around you, something virtually all of us will see at some point today, which also helps to build our faith.

2) However there are those who claim faith in God but feel they must concede to the naturalistic, secularist viewpoint of those who regard the Creation account as merely a myth, due to what is presented as overwhelming, even incontrovertible evidence for an evolutionary explanation of origins.

Think about the tree and other details of Creation which God created as mature. For instance, in regard to human creation, He created a fully developed, mature man and woman!

Since we believe in a supernatural, miracle working God we, by faith and reason, choose to examine the evidence including the creation of trees on the third day. Along with many other evidences, both in Scripture and observed in nature and science, we affirm our faith in the Creation account of the Bible! Won’t you join us? Remember, only God can make a tree.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we are so very grateful for the signs of life, color, beauty, shape and functionality that are evident in the plants and vegetation all around us; a result of Your creative handwork on the third day of creation. Though You are Creator, You have made us stewards and caretakers of that which You created. What a joy it is to plant a seed or seedling in the ground and watch as You also provide the oxygen, rain, and sunshine to aid its health and growth. We affirm once again in our writings and prayer that You are the divine Creator of the universe and all things are in submission to Your creative power and in accordance to Your will.  In the name of Jesus we pray these things. Amen.


Eaton Farms 9/7/16
We’ve had a hot dry summer and Don shared how we really need rain. Irrigation on the farm is quite conservation-oriented with large holding ponds. The water is pumped up for irrigation and then drains back into the holding ponds!

Eaton Farms living chairs 9/7/16
These trees are being shaped to be living chairs, one of Eaton Farm’s newest offerings.

Eaton Farms heart shaped trees 9/7/16
It’s kind of hard to see with so many in the background but this tree is being shaped to grow in a heart shape.

Don and Kathy Eaton
I took this photo several years ago of Don and Kathy Eaton. Their six children all work in the family business along with their spouses.


A couple of signs I passed along 322 east of Ephrata, PA yesterday.

Church sign 9/7/16
This church often has thought-provoking messages.

Road sign 9/7/16
Think about this one!


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Creation Sings the Fathers Song”  Video  Keith and Kristyn Getty

“God Of Wonders”  Video  Chris Tomlin

“Maker Of All Things”  Video  Tim Hughes

Eaton FarmsTheir first “core value” is “GOD HONORING – Our core values are aligned with God’s Word and reflect Christ. God has temporarily entrusted His company to us and we should honor Him in all that we do.” What a blessing it is to have an association with business owners who seek to honor God!

Finally today:
Yesterday I had lunch with Pat, my older brother, near Reading, PA. But no photo to share since taking selfies at our age just does not seem appropriate! For fun here is a cute satire article about this matter: “God Reveals Eighth Thing He Hates To Be Selfies”


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.