Smoky Mountain park trail 11/22/16
An inviting trail to walk in the Smoky Mountain National Park as the trees shed their leaves. As beautiful as it is to walk in the summer where everything is green the leaves dropping to the ground makes for much more visibility of the deeper parts of the forest.

“The Blessing Of A Rich Welcome”

Message Summary: We can be confident based upon our belief in Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice for her sin, that we will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. That rich welcome awaits those who trust Christ.

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:10,11).

We returned from our trip to Tennessee late yesterday afternoon where we visited with Elaine, Brooksyne’s sister, and her daughter, Courtney. The odometer read 1852 miles so we gave thanks to God for our safety in travel and for the safekeeping of our pets and home. Mollie and Roxie greeted us heartily and, if they could, would surely have asked, “Why didn’t you take us with you?” Not only were they not invited to go along, but they caught on right away that we’d kept company with another dog. Sherlock is Elaine’s dog that clings to her like Roxie clings to Brooksyne. They’re still pretty excited to have us back home this morning.

Rich welcomes are such a blessing. Consider the rich welcome a soldier receives upon returning home after a long deployment, or a sport’s team coming home after a championship victory or a long lost family member who has come “home”, such as the welcome the prodigal son received from his father. But there is a wonderful “rich welcome” all who have placed their hope in Christ will one day receive.

This great promise of assurance is expressed in the daily Scripture text as we all face our impending death. Hide this promise deep in your heart both for your sake and that of family members and loved ones who know the Lord: “You will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (NIV). The Amplified Version states, “Thus there will be richly and abundantly provided for you entry into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

The apostle Peter wrote these words “to those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:1). Isn’t that a great reminder of the level ground at the foot of the Cross! What follows is a portion that describes the very essence of the Christian life, a portion that we memorized many years ago. (* see below for this text)

Peter writes, “Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure.” Making our calling and election sure should be the prime motivation in life. “For if you do these things, you will never fall.” “These things” refer to a list of godly characteristics found in the preceding verses namely, “make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.”

We can be confident based upon our belief in Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice for our sin, that we will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. That rich welcome awaits those who trust Christ. In fact let me close by expressing my faith in a very personal sense, which you can do as well.

“I will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” Doesn’t that do your heart and spirit good just to quote that verse using the personal pronoun, “I”! What a day, glorious day, that will be!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: God of all Comfort, just as You share in our sufferings You also share in our comfort.  How grateful we are that when sorrow flows over into our lives Your comfort overflows into our hearts.  Your comfort brings peace, assurance and a renewed sense of hope as we abide in You.  We place complete confidence in Your providential work in our lives and Your perfect timing.  How reassuring to know that nothing escapes Your notice, but You walk us through each life changing event.  No enemy, no loss, or difficult situation will defeat us as moment by moment You tenderly care for us. Thank You for being our Rock and Shield in whom we take refuge. The troubles of this life will soon be over and we’ll cross over on the other shore.  Lord, what unspeakable delight awaits us as we anticipate our rich welcome into Your eternal kingdom. We give thanks to You, for Your love truly endures forever!   Amen.

* 2 Peter 1:3-11: “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence, by which He has granted to us His precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

Brooksyne’s Note: I apologize to any of our readers who might have read my riddle before Thanksgiving about the turkey and didn’t have the answer by Thanksgiving. We didn’t have access to internet so my timing was off. Maybe you can remember it for next year!

Question: Which side of the turkey has more feathers? Answer: The outside!


Old Mill, Pigeon Forge, TN 11/22/16
The old mill in Pigeon Forge, TN is now a restaurant but is still used as a mill. Unfortunately the mill wheel was not operating while we were there.

Road in Smoky Mountain National Park 11/22/16
All through our trip we saw varying shades of foliage including this scene from the Smoky Mountain National Park. Some of the trees were still at their deciduous glory which kept us continuously watching for the next stunning view.

Manger scene, Dixie Stampede, Pigeon Forge, TN 11/22/16
We enjoyed going to the Dixie Stampede in Pigeon Forge for their Christmas show which included a very touching and realistic manger scene.

Steam engine 11/24/16
This huge steam engine is in Centennial Park in Nashville with plans underway to put the engine back into service.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
“Come Back To Me”  Video   Dailey and Vincent

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.

Cade's Cove water mill 11/21/16An old gristmill in Cades Cove, Smoky Mountain National Park

“Give Thanks To The God Of Heaven!”

Grasp, grace, gloryLast night this sign in a gift shop in Gatlinburg caught our attention.

Message Summary: Give thanks to the God of heaven, His steadfast love endures forever!

Note: We are in Tennessee in the Smoky Mountains and will be travelling to Nashville today to visit Brooksyne’s sister and niece for Thanksgiving. Due to travel and limitations we will not be preparing audio messages this week and will not be able to post messages daily. We also may not have internet access in Nashville where we will be staying in Brooksyne’s sister’s RV in an RV park!

“Give thanks to the God of heaven, for His steadfast love endures forever” (Psalm 136:26).

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day here in the USA. Canada has a similar day but we’re unaware of how many other countries set aside a day for Thanksgiving. In the course of my chaplain work I inquired of immigrants from several different countries in Eastern Europe and Asia who said they don’t have such a holiday in their native lands.

Here in the USA our Thanksgiving Day has a very specific historical beginning, October of 1621, and the focus of thanks was directed to God as it should always primarily be.

Governor William Bradford voiced the grateful spirit of the Pilgrims in November 1620 as they arrived in the new world after 66 days on board the treacherous Mayflower voyage: “Being thus arrived in a good harbor, and brought safe to land, they fell upon their knees and blessed the God of Heaven who had brought them over the vast and furious ocean, and delivered them from all the perils and miseries thereof, again to set their feet on the firm and stable earth…” The only thing that could now sustain them was the Spirit of God and His grace, especially as nearly half of the men, women, and children would soon perish in their new world.

We give thanks for all our readers and hope our American readers will have a blessed Thanksgiving Day, especially focusing on thanks to God, which was the original intent for the day when it was a solemn day for the Pilgrims along with their Indian friends.

Today we want to share a selected Scripture reading from Psalm 136 that is very suitable for responsive reading, even for those with very young children who can simply respond, “His steadfast love endures forever.”

Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good.
His steadfast love endures forever.

Give thanks to the God of gods.
His steadfast love endures forever.

Give thanks to the Lord of lords:
His steadfast love endures forever.

To Him who alone does great wonders,
His steadfast love endures forever.

Who by His understanding made the heavens,
His steadfast love endures forever.

Who spread out the earth upon the waters,
His steadfast love endures forever.

Who made the great lights—
His steadfast love endures forever.

The sun to govern the day,
His steadfast love endures forever.

The moon and stars to govern the night;
His steadfast love endures forever.

To the One who remembered us in our low estate
His steadfast love endures forever.

And freed us from our enemies,
His steadfast love endures forever.

And who gives food to every creature.
His steadfast love endures forever.

Give thanks to the God of heaven.
His steadfast love endures forever.

Be encouraged today and give thanks to the God of heaven, whose steadfast love endures forever!

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: In thanksgiving we lift our voices of praise from grateful hearts, Father. We truly give thanks to the God of heaven whose steadfast love endures forever. Whether in seasons of prosperity or in seasons of want we find Your grace sufficient to meet each one of our needs. You guide us, protect us, and You provide for us as we journey here below. Every good and perfect gift comes from Your hand. We thank You, faithful Father!  Amen.


We have been in the Great Smoky Mountain region the last several days and would like to share some photos from our visit.

Cade's Cove view 11/21/16
Cades Cove is a beautiful isolated valley in the park.

Cade's Cove split rail fence 11/21/16
Split rail fencing is seen all through the park.

Cade's Cove home 11/21/16
The first frame house in the cove.

Cade's Cove trail 11/21/16
We saw lots of wildlife but especially catching our attention was this inviting walking trail.

Cade's Cove family photo 11/21/16
Ester, the “pro selfie” photographer took this photo at a historic non-working  mill.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
We appreciate singing the traditional Thanksgiving hymns. Here are several classics that you may or may not have heard this season.

“Come Ye Thankful People Come”  Video  Traditional version
Contemporary version but thankfully maintaining same tune and lyrics Video

“Thanksgiving Medley” (We Gather Together, For The Beauty Of The Earth, Come Ye Thankful People Come)  Video  Studio Musicians

“Give Thanks”  Video  Don Moen

“Thank You Lord”  Video  Community choir at a Lancaster Day of Prayer event in 2008.

“Thank You Lord For Saving My Soul”  Video  Holland Davis

Thorns“Thankful For The Thorns”: A family reading and exercise that is a wonderful way to give a thoughtful focus around your Thanksgiving Table. The Thanksgiving celebration typically includes family coming together for a huge meal and hopefully a heartfelt prayer of thankfulness. However it can often be difficult to have a spiritually oriented conversation. Why not add some stimulating discussion about the ways God has worked in your life over the past year! Some of you are not in charge and are only visitors at your Thanksgiving gathering, but if it is possible share together around the table the theme of “Thankful for the Thorns” (printable webpage).

“A Thanksgiving family exercise” (pdf) We have used this questionnaire as a stimulus for discussion among family members in the past in our home. We encourage you to share results around the table at Thanksgiving before or after the meal.

A Thanksgiving prayer: Written by Joe Sherer, a pastor friend of ours and shared as the benediction at our community Thanksgiving Eve service several years ago. (printable webpage) For those who enjoy written prayers this would be a beautiful prayer to read together at the Thanksgiving table.

A Thanksgiving Scripture reading: A selection of Old and New Testament readings dealing with thankfulness appropriate for church, family and personal readings. (pdf) (Suitable for printing out and copying.)

Finally today:

Poultry house, Joe Ulicny
Many of you will enjoy a turkey dinner tomorrow but we wonder how many will give any thought or thanks for the many people who got that bird to your table. This photo actually shows young chickens in a broiler house, eating and drinking from equipment made by the Val-Co company, one of the companies we have served as chaplains for over nine years. Our friend, Joe Ulicny, took this photo at a farm in Pennsylvania. (Click on photo to enlarge)
Here’s a question hosts can ask at the Thanksgiving dinner:  Which side of the turkey has the most feathers? (Answer will be posted in the next message)

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.

“Rise Up, O Men Of God”

November 21, 2016

Pocono lake at Twin Pines Camp 11/19/16 (Click to enlarge)
Pond at Twin Pines camp in the Poconos
(Click on photo to enlarge)

“Rise Up, O Men Of God”

Message Summary: Today we offer a Biblical challenge to all men reading this to rise up as men of God!

Note: Yesterday we had a long trip from Pennsylvania to the Pigeon Forge Tennessee area where will be visiting a couple days before travelling on to Nashville to visit Brooksyne’s sister and niece on Thanksgiving. Due to travel and limitations we will not be preparing audio messages this week and will not be able to post messages daily. We also may not have internet access in Nashville!

“But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.  Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses” (1 Timothy 6:11,12).

This last weekend I had the opportunity to share several messages at a Men’s Retreat in the Poconos. I have always enjoyed speaking at these kinds of events. The first message was around a campfire Friday evening.  I knew we wouldn’t have much light and the men would likely have a less than optimal attention span.

So I shared short message from the daily text. John, the men’s group leader, began by leading the men in singing “Rise Up O Men Of God” several times.

Rise up, O men of God!
Have done with lesser things.
Give heart and mind and soul and strength
to serve the King of kings.

I encouraged the men to rise up as men of God and shared these three truths taken from the text,
  1. The man of God is to flee
  2. The man of God is to follow
  3. The man of God is to fight

I ended the message by considering the latter part of today’s text, “whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses” I asked them to follow me in making this profession of faith and commitment to each other as one by one around the campfire we stated, “I am a man of God. I will flee, I will follow, and I will fight.”

Today we offer a Biblical challenge to all men reading this to rise up as men of God!

Lift high the cross of Christ!
Tread where His feet have trod.
As brothers of the Son of Man,
Rise up, O men of God!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father in heaven, we pray for men that they will pursue godliness above all earthly pursuits. We pray that they will resist the temptation to fall into the devil’s trap where foolishness and harmful desires will plunge them to ruin resulting in distrust, loss and heartache. Help them to flee from all this and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Help them to lead their families in the good fight of faith as they take hold of eternal life. Make them strong in their faith so that they throw away anything that hinders their spiritual walk.  In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen.


Faith Community Men's retreat 11/19/16
Men from Faith Community retreat.

Faith Community Men's retreat 11/19/16
These three young men enjoyed horsing around with the large mounted grizzly bear at the camp.

Faith Community Men's retreat 11/19/16
The retreat was held at Twin Pines camp which has quite a collection of mounted animals from both here in America and around the world such as this lion.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
“Rise Up, O men Of God”  Video  Maranatha! Promise Band

“For The Sake Of The Call”   Video   Steven Curtis Chapman

“Today I Choose”  Video  Brian Doerksen

Last Friday we shared a photo of a lot of buggies parked at an Amish farm. Many of our local readers realize this was a wedding. They are usually held on Thursdays in November!

Finally today:

Leon's bear 11/19/16
My neighbor Leon called me over Saturday evening to show me a bear he had shot here in Pennsylvania. He was quite excited about this since he has been hunting bear for 30 years and this is his first one! I wonder if this bear will be mounted!

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.

“What Love Covers”

November 18, 2016

Amish farm 11/17/16 (Click to enlarge)
As the trees lose their leaves and we will face the relative starkness of the winter season. But this crimson tree really stands out on this Amish farm near Intercourse, PA
Click on photo to enlarge.

“What Love Covers”

Note: We were unable to post a message yesterday (11/17/16) due to some unexpected problems that came up, including the illustration in today’s message. Although we may get started on a message several days beforehand we purposefully do the final work on the morning we post most of the time. Or if we’re out early for the day we prepare the evening before. We thus have a problem when we have busyness the evening before and an early morning out on the road.

Next week we will be visiting Brooksyne’s sister during the Thanksgiving season and may not be able to post each day due to travel.

Message Summary: May God help each of us to live in the power of God’s love and generously communicate that love to those nearby!

Due to a very busy schedule a podcast was not prepared for today’s message

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8).

Sink trapWe’ve had several busy days with some of those minor challenges that are just a part of daily living. Wednesday evening I stepped into our kitchen only to find the floor covered with water. It turned out to be the trap under our kitchen sink which had somehow been jarred enough to create a leak. Well, I am thankful that my dad was a plumber who demonstrated and taught me many basic home maintenance skills. I managed to make the repair myself with some new washers and we are good to go until the next problem comes around. It’s never a good thing when water from a plumbing leak covers your kitchen floor but today we focus on that which we want to cover – a multitude of sins. And what is that covering? Love!

Many years ago I heard a remarkable testimony at a chaplain’s conference in Texas from a veteran pastor who had served in World War 2. He went to Nagasaki Japan shortly after the A-bomb was dropped. Interestingly, his mission took place shortly after the Japanese surrendered when he provided care to the Japanese by going from house to house, checking on them and getting them out for medical care. That’s a lesser known story about how that kindness was displayed by Americans, even after the horrible events of war unfolded.

He was not serving the Lord at the time and was consumed with hateful feelings, especially toward the Japanese. His godly mother had been diligently praying that he would turn to Christ before it was eternally too late. She had given him a Bible before he left, which he never read. But the Lord was working on his heart and one Sunday, prompted by the Spirit, he decided to attend a small Japanese church.

He entered the back of the church with a sneering countenance and begrudging attitude. Can you imagine the mutual hatred held by both sides in that church? Being a Japanese believer and seeing an American serviceman shortly after the A-bomb was dropped on your city or being an American who had seen your own service buddies die before your very eyes at the hands of the Japanese.

Yet through the joint realization of the power of the blood of Christ, an overcoming aspect of love was demonstrated in that small church in 1945. When Communion was being served the Japanese believers did not pass up the American soldier, but they served him as well, and the process of healing and reconciliation in his life began.

1 Peter 4:8 Let us consider today’s verse. “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.” The Apostle Peter’s call was initially issued to persecuted believers whom he had called “God’s elect, strangers in the world” in the very first verse of the epistle. Now through the Holy Scriptures we believers of all time read:

“Above all, love each other deeply.”  Oh, how this command is greatly neglected but wholly needed in every sphere of life; in marriages, families, churches, communities, nations and of course all over the world.

“Because love covers a multitude of sins.”  Love still covers and overpowers sin. No matter the generation nor the depth of sin, foundationally the love of God expressed in Christ’s death on the cross, covers our sin.

And in some remarkable way the power of God’s love was at work in that Japanese church, covering sin right after the horrors of World War 2. Thirty years later the once bitter soldier, who became a redeemed minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, was invited back to Nagasaki to share his testimony and the power of God’s love that transformed his life.

That same power is not diminished one bit and is being expressed all over the world today. May God help each of us to live in the power of God’s love and generously communicate that love to those nearby!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we bow in prayer before You today, and ask that You, in Your great glory give us the power to be strong inwardly through Your Spirit. We pray that Christ will live in our hearts by faith and that our lives will be strong in love and be built on love. And we pray that we will have the power to accpet the greatness of Christ’s love – how wide and how long and how high and how deep that love is; it is measureless, and boundless, covering a multitude of sins. Christ’s love is greater than anyone can ever fully know, but we pray that those, who are struggling in their faith, would be able to experience that love, that they might be filled with Your fullness, Father.   Amen.

Rachel is a friend from our church who wrote the following prayer in regard to the divisions in our country, especially following the election:

Prayer for our post-election nation: Dear Lord, help each of us as we navigate the sea of varied responses to the results of the election. Please guard and guide our hearts, and move graciously in the church to help us to listen to one another, seek to understand each other, and talk with each other. Keep us from faulty generalizations, and from speaking in an un-Christlike manner. May we be humble and teachable. Let us earnestly seek Your face for wisdom and grace. May we pray passionately for the church to be filled with the Holy Spirit’s presence, to be filled with wisdom from you, and to express the truth, mercy, and grace of God to all. Teach us to learn from one another and to help each other as we journey on in our troubled world. Let us continually seek Your will and ways. Give us courage, strength, and peace to live as faithful disciples of Jesus, our Savior and Lord. May we do the work of Jesus in our homes, our churches, and our society. And may He be exalted and praised as we live our lives day by day. Amen.


Yesterday we had a pleasant journey through Lancaster County in the course of our chaplaincy visits and enjoy sharing some of the scenes we saw.

Amish school recess 11/17/16 (Click to enlarge)
Yesterday we passed several schools having recess that sure brought back some good memories for both of us.  Playing outside during recess, when we were in grade school, was the highlight of our school day. A healthy sound in a school setting is hearing children vigorously play at recess! The photo above is taken at an old order Amish schoolhouse. Looks like a group is playing volleyball and a group of younger boys are playing tag or perhaps hide and seek.
Click on photo to enlarge.

Mennonite school recess 11/17/16 (Click to enlarge)
Here’s recess at an old order Mennonite schoolhouse. Two groups, younger and older, were playing baseball. The Amish and Mennonite have distinct clothing that separates them in appearance. In each photo you can also see the teacher, who may be in her late teens playing right among the children.
Click on photo to enlarge.

Amish wedding 11/17/16
Early yesterday morning we noticed a lot more Amish buggy traffic than usual and passed several farms with lots of buggies parked out in the field.
Any reader want to speculate what this was all about? (Respond here)

New Holland Display 11/17/16
New Holland Farm Equipment has a healthy display at their headquarters in New Holland.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
“The Power Of Your Love”  Video

“The Love Of God”  Video  MercyMe

Finally today:

Phyllis, Costco 91 year old sample lady 11/17/16
I enjoy visiting with the people who serve food samples at Costco as I gladly partake of the snacks.  In this photo Phyllis is still preparing samples at 91 years of age and told me yesterday that she enjoys her work!

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.

Psalm 90:14

“The Blessing Of Satisfaction”

Message Summary: A lesson on satisfaction.

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“Abraham breathed his last and died in a ripe old age, an old man and satisfied with life; and he was gathered to his people” (Genesis 25:8). “He will give grass in your fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied” (Deuteronomy 11:15). “They all ate and were satisfied” (Matthew 14:20). “Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days” (Psalm 90:14).

No Satisfaction When I was in high school, like most youth of my generation, I listened to rock music. I don’t recall the lyrics or tunes to very many songs but one that easily comes to mind was “Can’t Get No Satisfaction” by the Rolling Stones. Many of you have heard it and some will also recall these lyrics,

I can’t get no satisfaction
I can’t get no satisfaction
‘Cause I try and I try and I try and I try

As I read over the lyrics to the entire song I really can’t get much understanding either! But it expresses a deep need we all have in regard to the many sources of satisfaction. And so many live unsatisfied lives. But the greatest need we have is spiritual and to be spiritually satisfied brings about the greatest fulfillment of life on this side of heaven.

As we approach the Thanksgiving season we often use the common expression, “We have so much to be thankful for.” And we really do! Consider our first Scripture text. “Abraham breathed his last and died in a ripe old age, an old man and satisfied with life; and he was gathered to his people” (Genesis 25:8). What a blessing to live and die, “satisfied with life”!

Cattle in pastureOne of our favorite rural sights is cattle peacefully feeding in pasture. The second daily Scripture text is a promise Moses gave the people of God prior to his death in his final sermon. “He will give grass in your fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied.” He was reinforcing the blessing of satisfaction they would receive when entering the Promised Land.

The third daily text is from the feeding of the five thousand recorded in Matthew 14:19-21. Before Jesus fed the multitude “He blessed the food, and breaking the loaves He gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds” (v. 20).

Matthew’s brief summary of the result was that “They all ate and were satisfied.” Thank God for the fullness of satisfaction in all of Christ’s provisions. Indeed, as the great hymn proclaims, “all have I needed Thy hand hath provided.”

A great easily memorized prayer is our final text. “Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.”

Hallelujah! I have found Him
Whom my soul so long has craved!
Jesus satisfies my longings,
Through His blood I now am saved.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, just as we received Your Son, Christ Jesus as Lord, we continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as we were taught, and overflowing in thankfulness. May our words, our actions, and our thoughts be full of praise as we consider all that we have and choose not to dwell on that which we have not. Above every other blessing is the gift of Your Son, Jesus, who came into the world to save us from our sins. And the greatest gift yet to come is the inheritance that awaits Your faithful saints when we cross the stormy Jordan banks to our peaceful dwelling in heaven. Our hearts are truly satisfied and filled with thankfulness to You. Amen.

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
“Satisfied”   Video  Here’s a traditional version by the Gaither Vocal Band

“Satisfied”  Video  Red Mountain Church  A more contemporary version using original lyrics. As one comment states, “The idea of “satisfied” here is the answer to the old Rolling Stones song, ‘I can’t get no satisfaction.’

All my life long I had panted
For a drink from some clear spring,
That I hoped would quench the burning
Of the thirst I felt within.

Hallelujah! I have found Him
Whom my soul so long has craved!
Jesus satisfies my longings,
Through His blood I now am saved.

Feeding on the husks around me,
Till my strength was almost gone,
Longed my soul for something better,
Only still to hunger on.

Poor I was, and sought for riches,
Something that would satisfy,
But the dust I gathered round me
Only mocked my soul’s sad cry.

Well of water, ever springing,
Bread of life so rich and free,
Untold wealth that never faileth,
My Redeemer is to me.

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.

“Victory Over Bitterness”

November 15, 2016

Front yard oak 11/10/16
The large oak in front of our home is at its peak in autumn color

“Victory Over Bitterness”

Message Summary: Praise God for the redeeming, reconciling, regenerative and restorative work of Christ! Today I urge any of you dealing with bitterness to nip it at its root. Bitterness is nipped when we practice forgiveness. Certainly, you’ve been hurt; some of you in horrendously painful ways. But Christ continues to redeem, reconcile, regenerate and restore! Today please turn to Him.

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice” (Ephesians 4:31). “See to it that …no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many” (Hebrews 12:15).

PersimmonsLast week I mentioned that the persimmon is my least favorite fruit. I have a faint memory of it having a bad taste when I was young. I rarely see persimmons and was not even sure what they looked like before Jesse gave me a couple of them last week. I told him about my unpleasant memory of the persimmon. “The key is that they must be very ripe”, Jesse explained.  Now in his nineties, Jesse advised me that they must be really, really ripe to avoid the bad taste many describe as bitter and sour, even creating a puffiness in their mouths. Before ripening, persimmons usually have a “chalky” or bitter taste.

Have you eaten something and said, “It left a bitter taste in my mouth” such as I experienced with the taste of an underripened persimmon. Well, today let us consider an even worse experience; having a bitter attitude in our hearts.

I recall an interaction I had with a man many years ago. I sensed his hard, grizzled face had a story but he was not very talkative.  Over months of brief greetings I tried to break through the hard shell.  He told me he was a Vietnam vet but little else.  One week I was passing out small witness cards with this message, along with the daily Scripture verse, “When you harbor bitterness, happiness will dock elsewhere” (attributed to Andy Rooney).

For some reason, likely prompted by the Holy Spirit, I handed him the card and said, “I sense this message is for you”. I hadn’t planned to say that, it just came out as I greeted him. Although my comment could have offended him he studied the quote and quietly nodded in agreement. I continued to see the man for some time and he seemed a bit more open but our paths stopped crossing and I really don’t know the outcome. Prayerfully a seed was planted.

Hebrews 12:15Bitterness can result from an unrelenting hostility or resentment you hold on to when you are hurt, offended or even disappointed by someone or by a tragic event. Sometimes bitterness can even be directed toward God. The hurt germinates in our heart and is characterized by an unforgiving spirit and generally negative, critical attitude. Bitterness and resentment are sinful attitudes that are self-defeating. Bitterness will impact your conscious and unconscious thoughts and actions. As one writer states, “Bitterness is unforgiveness fermented.” Allowed to fester, it will destroy and kill.

But so many people deal with bitterness, even Christians. In fact the daily Scripture portions are addressed to believers.  Bitterness indeed “causes trouble and defiles many”, primarily to the one harboring it but many others as well. Consider how one bitter family member can affect others.

Chuck SwindollChuck Swindoll writes, “Self-pity…. cuddle and nurse it as an infant and you’ll have on your hands in a brief period of time a beast, a monster, a raging, coarse brute that will spread the poison of bitterness and paranoia throughout your system.”

I am so thankful for the redeeming, reconciling, regenerative and restorative work of Christ! Today I urge any of you dealing with bitterness to nip it at its root. Bitterness is nipped when we practice forgiveness. Certainly, you’ve been hurt; some of you in horrendously painful ways. But Christ continues to redeem, reconcile, regenerate and restore! Today please turn to Him.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, help me to realize that bitterness results from my accommodation to deep seated anger for unfortunate circumstances usually beyond my control. When I choose to harbor anger and an unforgiving spirit I do the greatest harm to myself rather than my offender. The pain and grief related to my heartache grows into a poisonous vine that begins to entwine itself around my heart. Instead of seeing the abundant blessings that You shower upon me daily and the countless times You’ve forgiven me for my sinful behavior, I focus on the raging storms that have left destruction and debris along my path. Father, You want me to turn away from my bitter rage and choose to safely abide under Your wings of protection. Help me to find refuge in You instead of cultivating my pain. Only You can bring healing and restoration for my soul. Help me to release my bitterness and embrace Your balm of healing. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

  • Holding onto bitterness or anger is like drinking poison and expecting your offender to die.
  • Forgiveness – Forgiveness is a decision to release yourself from anger, resentment, hate or the urge for revenge despite the injury you suffered.
  • Forgiveness is letting go of hope for a different past.  Dr. Richard Dobbins

Persimmons: I, Brooksyne, finally coerced Stephen and a co-worker to try the ripened persimmon that I had cut up. All three of us agree that it is an excellent fruit. It’s a reminder that some experiences in the past that leave a lingering negative thought due to a bad first impression is often worth revisiting since a different impression or outcome may come about. This can be true of relationships as well.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
“Forgiveness”  Video  Matthew West

“The Root of Bitterness”  Video  A sermon by A. W. Tozer

Finally today:

Brian Conrad 11/15/16
The last several days we have seen some progress on our summer deck project which had been stalled due to lack of labor. Although I have been trying to do as much as I can as a DIY project I have needed some help. I met Brian Conrad in one of the companies we serve as chaplains and he is presently between jobs so he’s come over to assist me. Brian has an interesting background. He was in prison for 10 years and was released this last January. While in prison he was involved in the prison chapel services and worked with a chaplain friend of mine, Frank Lewis. Brian is now seeking to stay on the “straight and narrow”.

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.

“Standing In The Gap”

November 14, 2016

Eastland Alpaca farm 11/13/16Yesterday we visited the Eastland Alpaca farm open house near Mount Joy, PA

 

“Standing In The Gap”

Message Summary: Today we issue a call to stand in the gap.

 

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none” (Ezekiel 22:30).

Brooksyne dressed as Pilgrim 11/11/16Since 1999 Brooksyne has given an historically accurate presentation about the Pilgrims 1620 voyage on the Mayflower emphasizing their deep Christian convictions. This last Friday she shared at Willow Valley, one of our area’s large nursing care facilities. She spoke to both the elderly residents and preschoolers, which makes for an interesting pairing audience-wise. Breaking history down to children’s level makes it interesting to all – both children and adults, especially when she involves the children! (Here Brooksyne is showing a fish, eyes and all, illustrating that Squanto taught the pilgrims to use fish as fertilizer. Fish heads tossed among the corn seeds would make the corn grow stronger and taller.)

She began teaching about the Mayflower voyage 17 years ago in an Elementary school in Taunton, MA. Taunton is only 25 miles from where the pilgrims landed in Plimouth. It was so well received that she began sharing the remarkable story in Christian schools, homeschooling co-ops, churches, nursing homes and women’s groups over the years.

When she began telling the story to some 200 students in the public school, God providentially had some of them ask just the right questions throughout the presentation. With the Bible in her hands, for “that was the one treasured possession that pilgrim families would not leave behind in Holland”, she was able to speak repeatedly of their faith and how they treasured the Word of God using select portions of Scripture. She weaved in how its text would strengthen and guide them throughout the hardships, heartaches, and losses they would endure over the next several years.

We thank God for the unusual opportunity that has come her way to present the Biblical truth of the Pilgrim’s expedition. In a sense she is one among many devoted believers who are standing in the gap widened by secularist teachings seeking to revise or even eliminate solid historical truths associated with the Judeo-Christian foundations in our country.

God is always looking for people to take up the cause of righteousness. The Biblical prophet Ezekiel lived for God at the time of the fall of Jerusalem and the first period of the exile in Babylon about 2,600 years ago.

The daily text is a word of the Lord to Ezekiel: “I looked for a man among them.” Previous verses reveal the horrendous state of Jerusalem during its final days; they were desecrating the Sabbath, shedding innocent lives, sexually immoral, unjust, corrupt in leadership, and worshiping idols to name just a few of the serious offenses.

Fast forward to our generation and consider how much our society parallels Jerusalem just before its fall. I believe God is still searching for men (and women) who will hear and heed His call.

We see two requests here regarding the man God is looking for.  He is to “build up the wall” and “stand before me in the gap”. Although they did have literal fortified walls and gaps the image is surely spiritual. The walls were a means of protection and the gaps had to be closely guarded as entrance points. God looked for a man who would stand against the tide of spiritual apostasy, political corruption and social oppression so prevalent in the land.

City wall God is calling each of us to “build up the wall”.  The city wall was an essential aspect of protection in ancient times. We find it mentioned throughout the Old Testament. However, I believe Ezekiel is speaking figuratively here. One commentary observes “no one could be found to repair the moral damage done to the nation.” Are you standing bold and unwavering today? Are you rebuilding and repairing the broken walls around you? Are you exposing the shameful deeds of darkness? Let’s keep building and repairing the foundation wall of faith.

“Stand before me in the gap.” The second major element in the man that God is searching for is a man who stands in the gap. The gap is a breach or break in the wall. Ezekiel records that God is unable to find even one individual who, taking his life in his hands, will shout at the top of his lungs: “In God’s name and for God’s sake, stop!” The image is that of intercession, a godly man standing before God and the people. Moses filled such a role when he pleaded with God on behalf of the people. John the Baptist boldly confronted King Herod about his immoral behavior, though it cost him his life. Yet his testimony emboldens all who read the Scriptures even thousands of years later. Today such men are needed.  Thank God for those who speak out for truth, but many more remain silent out of a spirit of fear or compromise. Will you speak out today?

“But I found none.”  Surely this is one of the saddest verses in the entire Bible!  “None” should certainly not be taken as absolute. After all, Ezekiel himself was staying faithful to God, along with aged Jeremiah, young Daniel and others such as Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah (Daniel 1:7). But among the political leadership none was found who would meet these qualifications. And the land was indeed judged and the people taken into exile in Babylon.

Two lessons today:

1) Let us all determine that we will meet this call in our age. I want to be a man who will build up the wall and stand before God in the gap. I want to build up the wall by holding to God’s truth and His standards of righteousness. I want to stand in the gap regarding the moral filth that is far too prevalent.
2) Let us remember to pray for the godly remnant in leadership in each of our lands. They need our prayers to stand faithful!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, I am an ordinary person who has submitted my heart to You. But it is in the ordinary people that the infusion of Your power makes them extraordinary. Your Holy Spirit gives me boldness that does not come naturally to my personality. Thank You for giving me the strength to stand against the basic principles of this world when they conflict with Your eternal principles. Lord, help me to be a watchman for my family, my co-workers and my friends as I pray for their salvation or for their continued spiritual fruitfulness. I thank You that I do not stand in the gap alone but You, my Father, are with me so I stand in Your strength! And I find additional courage as I observe committed believers who stand up for You when others bow their knee to the idols of our day. Keep me faithful, I pray. Amen.


Brooksyne dressed as Pilgrim 11/11/16
The children from kindercare especially enjoyed crushing with a pestle four different herbs I harvested from my still fresh herb garden – rosemary, thyme, parsley and mint. The entire room smelled like an herb garden. We were demonstrating what the women and girls did at the first Thanksgiving held in October 1621. The men and boys hunted and competed in outdoor games while the women and girls prepared foods for the 50 pilgrims and 90 Indians.

Brooksyne dressed as Pilgrim 11/11/16
Since I also had chaplain visits among my duties on Friday I visited companies in my pilgrim attire which brought about a “stir” as I walked from employee to employee.

Eastland Alpaca farm 11/13/16
I wonder what these alpacas think during the Open House with total strangers leading them around the pasture!

Eastland Alpaca farm 11/13/16
We saw this newborn alpaca born only hours earlier.

Eastland Alpaca farm 11/13/16
Trying to get this alpaca to show off his pretty face and pompadour hairdo!

Operation Christmas Child collection 11/13/16
We had the Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Collection on Sunday morning. The children love to carry out boxes and load up the trailer after church.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
“Preacher Tell Me Like It Is”  Video   Greater Vision

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.