Yellowstone National Park (Photo by Howard Blichfeldt)
Yellowstone National Park
Photo taken by our friend Howard Blichfeldt

“May The Peace Of God My Father”

Note: Last Sunday we concluded our church service by singing the hymn, “May The Mind Of Christ My Savior”.  As I listened to the Biblical content of the six stanzas I considered they would be a good foundation for a week of daily encouragement messages. We’re using a verse from the hymn each day, although we’ll double up on the 5th & 6th stanzas. A video link to the song is posted below our message. The song was written by Kate B. Wilkinson, who sojourned on this earth from 1859-1928. The accompaniment is St. Leonard’s tune. Today we will consider the peace of God and how it forms a foundation so we may be calm to comfort others in this world of turmoil.

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Corinthians 1:2-4).

We consider recent and in some cases ongoing situations we deal with in the course of our ministry. Due to confidentiality we intentionally muddle some details here but it will give you a sense of the types of needs we regularly encounter in our workplace chaplaincy as well as from those who may write us with burdens.

  • A young lady (the daughter of a friend) is caught up in a form of perversion as she is living in a fantasy world. She is now homeless, has forsaken her child and husband, is addicted to her phone and living in a world of make believe. We have read articles that this “living in a fantasy world” is increasing and just yesterday read a sordid story about this in our newspaper (link below).
  • A man deals with his wife’s recent cancer diagnosis and is processing the forthcoming days of uncertainty.
  • A young lady confides to Brooksyne that she is pregnant and is being physically beaten by her boyfriend.
  • A man struggles as his son is in and out of rehab. Periods of abstinence leave him hopeful of his son’s full recovery only to be profoundly disappointed at the setbacks. (We can multiply this illustration numerous times with both genders as this is sadly a common problem among families within several of our companies.)
  • A young man recently took his own life due to an apparent state of depression. Of course those left behind are experiencing the worst kind of grief and confusion.

This is the real world we live in during the part of our sojourn we call “life on this earth”. This world is fallen and sinful and yet, in God’s divine providence, He leaves the redeemed here to demonstrate the love of Christ and His redemption message.

The third verse to the hymn, “May The Mind Of Christ My Savior”, has a powerful and much needed petition to God.

May the peace of God my Father
Rule my life in everything,
That I may be calm to comfort
Sick and sorrowing.

We especially consider the richness of the phrase “calm to comfort” today. Calmness comes from peace with God our Father by inviting His rulership over everything in our life. A synonym of “calm” I increasingly value is steadiness. This last Sunday a 92 year old woman in our church plaintively and earnestly stated, as we were discussing some new ambitions for our church, “What can I do?” Well, due to her age and frailty, there are many things she can no longer do, but after the service I spoke to her and her husband and reminded them of the value and blessing we receive from their steadiness in righteous living, which they model for others to see and imitate.

Paul predictably begins each of his epistles with a familiar salutation among the Biblical letters that specifically identify him as the writer, “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

In 2 Corinthians he follows this with praise: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort.” The four words, “God of all comfort” has surely been a source of enduring consolation through the years of the Church.

Paul forthrightly acknowledges the reality of affliction which we all experience to varying degrees, when he writes that God “comforts us in all our affliction.”

However there is a dual purpose for our suffering and affliction:
1) That we might share in His glory: “We share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory” (Romans 8:17).
2) That we might comfort others: “God comforts us in our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Corinthians 1:4).

When we endure affliction and experience God’s calming peace in the midst of it, we are propelled to provide comfort to others with the same comfort we ourselves received from God. We receive great satisfaction and inner joy when we’ve made a positive difference in one’s suffering.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, may Your peace rule our lives in everything, enabling us to remain calm and trusting in the midst of our own troubles, so that we might also reach out to others who suffer in sickness or in sorrow. We want to be Your hand extended to them so that they may know the God of all comfort. You are our Comforter who lifts us when we are downcast, who provides refuge from the howling storms of life, and the God of eternal hope when our circumstances seem hopeless. May we convey to others this wondrous uplifting message of comfort and hope to those whose life’s circumstances has hidden You from view. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.


Relating to yesterday’s message, Ellen from Michigan, wrote the following note: “I think a way that we can be assured that God’s word dwells within us richly is by the comments of others. More than once other people, particularly Christian friends, have commented that there is a “presence” of peace or spiritual comfort in our home and at our cottage as well. We desperately want to maintain that “presence” (of Christ) because it is our desire that even without words, a person can be comforted and blessed just by being with us in our dwellings. Years ago we began the practice of asking our pastor to come and bless our home as we move into a new dwelling. We are far from perfect but we believe that God, who dwells in us also dwells in our place of abode….”

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
“May The Mind of Christ My Savior”  Video  Jake Amerding  (Vocal and acoustic)

“May The Mind of Christ My Savior”  Video  Congregational singing

“Be Still My Soul”  Video  Kari Jobe

“Peace Speaker”  Video  Ron Jarman

“Wonderful Peace”  Video  David Baroni

“Wonderful Peace”  Video  Mennonite Hour Men’s Choir


Mom, boyfriend charged in ‘rape-murder fantasy’ death of teen   (Note: extremely sordid)


Finally today: I think this world of fantasy is having a huge impact and in some cases is being affirmed by the morally decadent but politically correct viewpoints in our time. But once you start down the road to fantasy the nonsense only increases.

I am self-employed (our income is through offerings to this online ministry and from companies we serve as chaplains). Therefore I need to purchase my own health insurance. Like many for the last several years I have had to purchase my health insurance though the government Orwelliantly known as the “Healthcare Marketplace” even though for years prior to that I purchased our health insurance privately w/o any problems in the real marketplace. In the last several years our premiums and deductibles have drastically increased. In fact it is essentially just catastrophic insurance now. Well, this new year our insurance changed again and I received a note from the new insurance company. I read the fine print on the back and share it with you:

“This Plan complies with applicable Federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex, including sex stereotypes and gender identity. The Plan does not exclude people or treat them differently because of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex assigned at birth, gender identity or recorded gender. Furthermore, the Plan will not deny or limit coverage to any health service based on the fact that an individual’s sex assigned at birth, gender identity, or recorded gender is different from the one to which such health service is ordinariliy available. The Plan will not deny or limit coverage for a specific health service related to gender transition if such denial or limitation results in discriminating against a transgender individual….”

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.

Colossians 3:16

“May The Word Of God Dwell Richly”

Note: Last Sunday we concluded our church service with “May The Mind Of Christ My Savior” a hymn that is essentially a 6 part prayer petition. As I listened to the six stanzas I considered the prayer set to music would be a good foundation for a week of daily encouragement messages. We’ll use a verse from the hymn each day, although we’ll double up one stanza since there are six altogether. A video link to the song is posted below. The song was written by Kate B. Wilkinson, who sojourned on this earth from 1859-1928. The accompaniment is St. Leonard’s tune. Today we will consider the Word of God dwelling richly within our hearts and a body of believers.

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (Colossians 3:16).

May the Word of God dwell richly
In my heart from hour to hour,
So that all may see I triumph
Only through His power.

We have lived in our present home now for nearly 15 years, the longest either of us has lived in the same home. We dwell here and this is our abode. This home is where we dwell physically.

But what dwells spiritually within us? We all have something dwelling within us and that is what we feed on. It guides our thoughts, principles, motives, instincts, dreams and ambitions.

Our volitional decision and call from the Scripture is to “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within me.”

“LET THE WORD BE AT HOME IN YOUR HEART”

Child reading Bible Bruce Hurt, compiler of the excellent online commentary Precept Austin exhorts, “Don’t read this passage too fast. Paul exhorts us to let. Will you invite His Word into your heart and mind? He won’t force His Word upon you beloved. You have to make the volitional choice to allow it entree and might I suggest not just a crack in the door and not with the chain on the door so it cannot open too wide. No, beloved, open widely the door to your heart and mind, and ask God’s Spirit to flood your soul so that your very being is saturated with His Word of Truth. You won’t regret such a simple prayer, I can assure you.”

Interestingly the quality of how the Word should dwell within us is specified in our text from Colossians 3:16; richly. The Wuest translations states, “in abundance” This is a high aspiration both individually and within our churches. Although we might normally consider this dwelling richly in regard to the individual let us consider how it applies corporately.

Bob SouthardBob Southard is a longtime friend who presently lives in North Carolina. He shares a story about what happens when God’s Word dwells richly within a body of believers:

“It was over 35 years ago that we lived in Connecticut, and we went to a small church. Within a year of our arrival, the church was bursting at the seams. We had to build, but that takes time! So we rented Danbury’s Elementary School for over a year. During that period the attendance spurted seven times over – YES – from 300 to more than 2000!

During our time holding services at the elementary school, there was an open door the size of a loading dock directly behind the auditorium stage. We hired a policeman every Sunday to “stand guard” to make sure nobody came to church by the ‘wrong door!’

The interesting thing was that the back curtain to the stage stopped about 6” from the floor, so we could see the officer’s feet. For some months he walked back and forth to stay busy. We grew to ignore this. But one Sunday one of our girls whispered, ‘Hey Dad, the policeman is standing up by the curtain.’ He apparently had heard enough to get curious and moved as close as he could without intruding.

Then came the day at the call for commitment to Christ when his feet ran to the end of the curtain. The curtain flew back, and down the few steps of the stage came our friendly ‘guard’– straight to the altar, kneeling with tears in his eyes!

Our Pastor, totally surprised but knowing what to do, went down beside him.  They prayed the Sinner’s Prayer together and hugged in a holy embrace! A new child of God had entered the Kingdom of Heaven! The congregation cheered, laughed and cried as they made their way to greet him! He still continued as our ‘guard,’ but everybody knew he was there as one of us throughout the service.”

Holding Bible Bob points out that the Word of God entered his ears and his spirit over probably six to seven months as it was a church dedicated to the faithful exposition of Scripture. As Paul wrote to the Romans, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17). The Word of God was richly dwelling in those growing in the faith and that rich dwelling impacted an earnest seeker.

Grant Richison writes that… “The word ‘dwell’ means to keep house. We should live in the Word of God like we live in our homes. We are familiar with our home where all the closets are, where we have items stored. We must thoroughly acquaint ourselves with the Word. The Word should become so familiar to us that we know it like the back of our hand. The idea is to let the Word of God dwell inside and live at home in our lives. The Word of God needs to inhabit us. This is more than just reading the Bible. God wants us to let the Word of Christ dwell in our hearts.”

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, may the Word of Christ dwell richly within me, since it is the very essence of Your Spirit. The majority of people will never read through the Bible or know of the wonderful truths contained therein. But they get a glimpse of the essence of Your Word through my joyful attitude, the kind words I speak and generous deeds I carry out in the name of Christ, by the love I show to others and by the biblical principles in which I live. As the Word of God dwells richly in my heart hour by hour others will see I triumph only through Your power. Amen.

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
“May The Mind of Christ My Savior”  Video  Jake Amerding  (Vocal and acoustic)

“May The Mind of Christ My Savior”  Video  Congregational singing

Precept Austin online commentary.

The powerful testimony of Dr. Bruce Hurt

Note regarding yesterday’s opening illustration from Ed Carocci, a pastor friend: “When a teenager, I used to make fun when the Pastor of the church talked about Antichrist controlling the world, making fun and saying, how can one man control the whole world, that’s silly. Now I look at technology, “Google Home” “Alexia” and the like, asking myself, hum-mm, when will home Bible Studies, Church services, etc, be monitored…? scary.”

Another reader, Duke, calls attention to the dangers of the worldly use of “mindfulness” and how it can impact the church. According to researcher and author Ray Yungen: “In recent years, a type of meditation known as mindfulness has made a surprising showing. Based on current trends, it has the potential to eclipse even Yoga in popularity. You will now find it everywhere that people are seeking therapeutic approaches to ailments or disorders. True to its Buddhist roots, mindfulness involves focusing on the breath to stop the normal flow of thought. In effect, it acts the same way as a mantra; and as with Yoga, it is presented as something to cure society’s ills.

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.

Church worship team 1/8/17

“May The Mind Of Christ My Savior”

Note: Yesterday we concluded our church service with a hymn that is essentially a prayer. As I listened to the six stanzas I considered the prayer set to music would be a good foundation for a week of daily encouragement messages. We’ll use a verse each day, although we’ll double up one stanza since there are six altogether. A link to the song is posted below, for your enjoyment and spiritual refreshing. The song was written by Kate B. Wilkinson, who sojourned on this earth from 1859-1928. The accompaniment is St. Leonard’s tune. Today we will consider heavenly mindedness.

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5). “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory” (Colossians 3:1-4).

May the mind of Christ, my Savior,
Live in me from day to day,
By His love and power controlling
All I do and say.
Google Home

What’s on your mind today? Early this morning I was working downstairs in our home office when I heard Brooksyne, who was upstairs in our kitchen utilizing her Christmas gift, Google Home. I overheard her as she asked, “OK Google, what’s the latest news?” The gizmo immediately gave her the latest news report which almost all the time is not a good way to start your day. Today it was news concerning the terrorist bombing in Israel, the airport shooting in Florida, moral decadence, political craziness, etc. I then heard Brooksyne say with some exasperation in her voice, “OK Google shut it off!”

“Mindfulness” is a newer word to us. I just read an article about it in a magazine. It is “the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something. A mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.” It’s sort of a faddish concept but it seems, as a follower of Christ, there can be some lessons here.

Colossians 3:2Today let us consider spiritual mindfulness specifically focusing on the part of our daily Scriptural text that states “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”

A pastor used a phrase that especially caught my attention. He prayed on behalf of himself and the congregation that God would “climatize us to the climate of heaven.” To climatize means to acclimate or become acclimated. We have some very cold weather now in our parts and working outside today on my chores I realize I am not climatized!

One of the great ongoing issues believers deal with in one way or another is holding on to the heavenly perspective in the midst of the stuff of life. Essentially our minds are naturally acclimated to the climate of this physical life, or as the text states, “on earthly things.”

But today’s Scripture portion is a strong call to what we’ll refer to as “heavenly climatization”. Spiritually we who have accepted Jesus as our personal Savior have been “raised with Christ”. This speaks of our present position. I take it to mean that we are to live with an ongoing awareness of the reality and power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Since we have been raised with Christ we are to set our hearts and minds on things above. This is an act of the will and must be an ongoing attitude in the life of the believer. The experiences of yesterday, however wonderful, need to be regularly refreshed.

We must seek to live with a heavenly perspective as we daily sort through any setbacks or losses that line our earthly path. Many years ago we both committed the daily Scripture portion to memory. Today we want to keep this heavenly perspective and we do so by personalizing today’s verse: “Since, then, I have been raised with Christ, I set my heart on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. I set my mind on things above, not on earthly things. For I died, and my life is now hidden with Christ in God.” Will you join us today?

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, since we have set our heart on things above, not on earthly things, we die to self and live unto Christ. As our lives are hidden with Christ in God we pray that the mind of Christ will live in us from day to day. By His love and power may He control all we do and say, so that we may decrease as He increases in our thoughts, actions, and words. We want this mind to be in us which was also in Christ Jesus. Amen.


Hershey Bears Hockey Game (Giant Center) 1/7/17
Saturday evening we joined the employees of White Oak Display, a company we serve as chaplains, at the Giant Center for dinner and a Hershey Bears hockey game.

Hershey Bears Hockey Game 1/7/17
It was Brooksyne’s first time to attend an ice hockey game.

Church greeters 1/8/17
Morning greeters
In nearly 30 years of pastoring many young families got involved in various ministries of the churches we served. Some of those commitments require families to come early, such as the Praise team who warm up an hour before Sunday School, so Mom and Dad “tote” the children as they carry out their responsibilities. (Other times it might require children to be the last to leave the church building.) As you may have noted, the foyer light is not yet turned on, the cars are few, and here are the Pierce children standing at the door waiting to greet any who will enter. (I, Brooksyne, couldn’t resist taking this unposed photograph.) We applaud those who are committed in their service to the Lord and are willing to make the extra effort it takes when young children are in the picture. And by the way, these children are happy and already learning the blessing of service.

Jake and Nancy Shenk 1/8/17
Jake and Nancy Shenk have served as missionaries in Africa since 1958! Like the old E.F. Hutton ad stated, “When Jake Shenk speaks people listen”


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
“May The Mind of Christ My Savior”  Video  Jake Amerding  (Vocal and acoustic)

“May The Mind of Christ My Savior”  Video  Congregational singing

Finally today:

Well drilling 1/9/17Our neighbor needed a new well so we’ve had some interesting scenery in our backyard. On Saturday, during very cold temps, the men worked diligently from early morning through the afternoon. Curious Stephen (a name that fits him since he asks many questions) headed over there after awhile and got acquainted with the workers. We have great admiration for hard workers and he was able to commend the men for their hard work. One responded, “I’ve gotta feed my family!” That is a Biblical truth and needs to be heeded by many who do not take responsibility as they should in properly caring for their own. Our neighbors are grateful to once again have running water since their well went dry just before Christmas.

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.

Windmill sunset (Photo by Ester)
Windmill Sunset
Photo taken by Ester from our front yard.

“God’s Enduring Love And Purpose

Message summary: A story of God’s love and forgiveness.

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“The LORD will fulfill His purpose for me; Your love, O LORD, endures forever” (Psalm 138:8).

Terri RobertsYesterday morning, at the invitation of our friends, Jim & Dorothy Schmidt, we attended the Christian Women’s Club meeting in Mount Joy. It is quite rare that a man attends such a meeting unless he’s the speaker, but the Schmidts have connections since Dorothy served Stonecroft Ministries, which heads up Christian Women’s Clubs, for 44 years as Chairman of the Ocean City, NJ club and served in other capacities in South Jersey reaching women for Christ and developing leadership.

She and Jim have traveled to many different CWC ‘s and given their testimony as well. They now live here in Lancaster County and are acquainted with Terri Roberts, (pictured right) the speaker at yesterday’s meeting, and felt that we would appreciate her message and besides, Jim needed another male in attendance amidst some 200 women! Brooksyne had recently read Terri’s book, “Forgiven”, that she wrote in 2015. In fact she read and shared much of it with me as we drove to our various companies making our chaplaincy rounds.

Terri is the mother of Charlie Roberts, shooter of the Amish girls at Nickel Mines, in October of 2006. The Amish actually refer to the event as “The Happening”. Terri tells of the unimaginable heartbreaking experience that she and her husband Chuck suffered at the news of their 33 year old son’s murderous rampage in the little Amish one-room schoolhouse. Terri wondered if they would ever find joy again and her husband wondered if he’d ever be able to face an Amish person again.

Their neighbors are Amish and Chuck was as an Amish taxi driver (very common in Lancaster County). Of course Terri weaves Scripture into her story and tells how they finally found peace and rest in God through the horrible ordeal, which began with the Amish neighbor paying a tender and loving visit the very evening of the tragedy. We provide some links so you can read more about Chuck and Terri’s story and how they rebuilt their lives as they were drawn by God’s loving-kindness manifested through various people and in multiple acts of love and forgiveness demonstrated toward them.

Psalm 138:8 Terri forthrightly shared of the deep hurt and the impossibility of understanding why something like this would happen. We may not understand but can still seek to find God’s purpose for our life. His promise is to work all things out for ultimate good for those who love Him. They work out according to His purpose and in His time. From sacred Scripture we all can have the assurance of David, who confidently wrote some three thousand years ago, “The LORD will fulfill His purpose for me.”

“Your love, O LORD, endures forever.” God’s nature has not changed. His enduring love is just as valid this day as when David first expressed it. And it’s valid for each one of us regardless of what situation we are dealt in life. Let’s believe and stand upon this truth in 2017!

As we turn to God in faith and repentance we can have confidence in God’s everlasting love and experience hope even though shifting sand is all around us.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, the tragic story of the Nickel Mines shooting,  other school shootings, or anytime there is the taking of innocent lives we would despair were it not for Your redemptive power to turn the worst of circumstances into opportunity for people to see and experience Your love, grace and forgiveness. The supreme example of this is seen in the crucifixion of Your innocent Son where it seemed that evil prevailed, Satan won and all hope was lost. Yet the resurrection took place just as You planned giving not only Jesus power over death, but it also provided salvation and eternal life for all who choose to believe on You. There is nothing the enemy can do to us that over-powers the good You bring about in Your redemptive plan. We see this in Joseph who chose to forgive the evil plotted against him declaring to his brothers, “What you intended for evil, God intended for good.” Enable us to hold steady in trust that You will fulfill Your purpose in us; Your love, O Lord, endures forever, for You do not abandon the works of Your hands. Amen.


Terri Roberts with Dot Schmidt 1/5/16

Terri Roberts (left) with Dorothy Schmidt
When I, Brooksyne, took this photo at the Christian Women’s Club yesterday I couldn’t figure out why the coloring had a reddish tint. I took several shots and still couldn’t get good coloring. After I sat down and examined my phone camera I realized the transparent red phone cover was on upside down which was covering up the lens.

Brooksyne’s note: Last year I read “Forgiven”, as our church library had acquired a copy of it and I had heard very good reviews. Terri doesn’t write so much about “The Happening” as you might imagine and that can be found in other books and documents. But she writes about her family’s experience of trying to grasp the horror of their’s son’s choice to plot and carry out such an evil act, in addition to his taking his own life. And, then, the overall theme of how they found forgiveness through the love and acceptance extended to them from the Amish community. It is an excellent read and would be a great book if you or someone you know is having difficulty with forgiveness, either giving or receiving it. Roberts also gives a perspective of one who must deal with the terrible fall-out from her son’s actions that neither she nor her husband was responsible for, but still must deal with those consequences.  Available here.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
“Joy Through Adversity” Terri’s website

“Mother of Amish school shooter granted unexpected forgiveness” A report on CBS news

“Forgiven” by Terri Roberts and Jeanette Windle – Chapter 1 audio

“There’s Always a Place At the Table”  Video  Gaither Vocal Band

Finally today:

Lancaster County farm 1/6/16Lancaster County farm 1/6/16
Overnight we received our first real snowfall of the season which made some nice views while we were out this morning.

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.

“Holding Unswervingly”

January 5, 2017

Conestoga River, Lancaster County, PA (Photo by Mike Book)Conestoga River in Lancaster County, PA
Photo taken by our friend Mike Book
(Click on photo to enlarge)

“Holding Unswervingly”

Message summary: Today’s message we consider the call to hold unswervingly to our hope in Christ.

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

Hebrews 10:23 plaque

“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23). “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised” (Hebrews 10:35,36). I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown” (Revelation 3:11).

Garbage truckToday is Trash Day, not a national holiday but a very important day for each of us. Last week I thought the normal pick-up would be delayed by one day, due to Christmas. I was mistaken and missed the trash day so instead I took out two weeks worth of trash last night. I’m especially mindful of the blessing of trash disposal when I see multiple bags pile up. What a mess life would be without it! Just consider the trash that piles up in cities if there is a strike. (Note: photo to left is not our trash truck – wrong era and wrong city.)

For many years I have had the family assignment of gathering the trash from the small individual trash baskets throughout our home, pouring them into a large bag and taking the bag out to the road for pick-up. It’s also my assignment to see that we don’t throw away something accidentally. I suppose we’ve all thrown away something we later regret. Ester, at a much younger age, threw out an item she thought no longer worked but in reality it wasn’t broken. It actually needed new batteries! A woman, from one of our former congregations, accidentally threw into the trash two large bags of her best clothing, intended for the dry cleaners. When she realized her mistake she went to recover them only to find the trash had already been picked up.

Mistakenly throwing out material goods is one thing, but we want to be absolutely diligent about holding onto key spiritual truths. The first part of today’s text is a forthright command, “So do not throw away your confidence.” I want this truth to be lodged deeply into my heart. When  teaching from the book of Hebrews I have taught that this single verse summarizes the book’s purpose in encouraging the initial recipients to remain faithful in the midst of the scorn and persecution they were enduring. That’s a vital word for each generation.

Hebrews 10:35This verse is a great truth for all readers to memorize. We all deal with different temptations and issues in life as we seek to stay faithful to Christ.  The believers addressed in Hebrews were facing persecution and were tempted to go back to their old way of life.  Perhaps part of the temptation was that in doing so their persecutions might ease. There are many believers today living under similar circumstances such as the Christian remnant in most Muslim dominated countries.

But going back to our old way of life remains a temptation to varying degrees for all believers, although for different reasons. For many readers it may be the busyness of life, affluence, the persistent barrage of godless, secular teaching and other issues we confront daily that lull us into complacency or pull us back into the world.

One that I have noticed is the heavy load that people bear as they overcome the consequences of many years of disobedience to God. It may have been tobacco, drug/alcohol abuse, sexual immorality or indebtedness due to wasteful spending. Turning to Christ does not immediately negate the long-term consequences of these past sins. Though some receive miraculous deliverance, there are those who will endure weaknesses and temptations that require diligent prayer and overcoming.

The enemy of our soul may persistently murmur, “What’s the use?” and tempt us to just throw away our confidence and simply give up.  Sadly, we know some who have done just that. A major theme throughout Hebrews is, “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess.” The word translated “hold unswervingly” is in the present active and conveys the ongoing need to actively participate in this “holding on” to our faith. Some translations used the word, “firmly”.

Today, this new year and for the remainder of our lives on this earth, let us all resolve to hold unswervingly to the hope we profess through Christ Jesus our Lord!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, the writer of Hebrews encourages us not to abandon our faith when difficulties arise. It is during these times of testing that we prove our faith to be genuine if we persevere. We choose not to shrink back and be destroyed, but we choose to be numbered with those who believe and are saved. We thank You for the present rewards that come with diligently serving You and by faith we look forward to the eternal rewards You promise to the faithful.  Amen.

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
“Hold On”  Video  Selah

“Hold On”  Video  The McKameys

“In Christ Alone”   Video  Mixed Quartet

Doris High explained that yesterday’s lead bird photo was actually a premade suet feeder with holes drilled for the suet pieces.

The photo of Stephen riding a “Zamboni” we posted yesterday was actually a factory floor cleaner!

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.

“I Believe”

January 4, 2017

Bird (Photo by Doris High)
Northern Flicker
Looks like Doris feeds the birds with broken up pieces of suet.
But how does she get them to stick to the tree?
Photo by our friend Doris High

“I Believe”

Message summary: Today’s message we consider the essence of belief.

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him” (Hebrews 11:1,6). “Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:8,9).

Lebanon County siloYesterday our travels took us through a very scenic rural part of Lebanon County with a lot of farms and expressions of faith on barns, road signs and even silos often seen in our area. This provides a witness of the farmer or land owner’s faith in God. (Click on silos for larger view of the farmer’s witness and interesting selection for Scripture text.)

But there is an increasing boldness and public “witness” among those who do not believe in God. An avowed atheist proudly asserts his view that “belief in God is a scam.” A recurring theme among modern atheists is a mocking of those of us who do believe in God as being foolish and simple-minded and that they have the sole correct position when using their intellect and reason. However the Scriptures have this to say about them in Psalm 14:1!

Notice we stated “those who do not believe in God”. Not believing in God is a belief, requiring faith. As proud and assertive as the atheist may be, he still is expressing a belief, a form of faith, however insistent he may be that faith is not in the equation. Several years ago a book was written with this interesting title, “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist.”

Hebrews 11:1 is a succinct definition of faith. “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Certainly the overarching theme in this chapter is faith in God, powerfully expressed in v.6, “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”

The life in Christ has always been a faith walk. This has been especially true since Jesus ascended back to the Father in Acts 1. Since that time His followers have not been able to see Him in a physical sense. During a very special period about 2,000 years ago some people had the wonderful privilege of seeing the Word become flesh and dwell among them. However even during that time many did not believe in who He was or what He stood for. Seeing does not necessarily mean believing.

The Apostle Peter, an eyewitness and close friend to Christ during His earthly ministry, wrote our third daily verse to those who “believed in Him” some 30 years after Jesus had ascended. These believers had not physically seen Christ in His earthly ministry but, like us, they believed. O, how we thank God for this belief that fills us with “inexpressible and glorious joy!”

We want to note a very significant verb tense in the text this morning.  Notice Peter says, “You are receiving” (not “you have received” or “you will receive”) “the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” We believe this is a vital ongoing truth in the believer’s faith life. While living, these fellow believers were receiving this goal. At their deaths they received it fully. The process is true for us today, fellow believer. Hold tight, for the best is yet to come!

This new year let us continue in our faith walk and remember the timeless perspective of the Apostle Paul as we “fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18). This takes a conscientious, purposeful, ongoing effort and spiritual perspective as we walk the narrow path laid out for us. Let us stay faithful to God today, throughout our journey in 2017, and for the remaining time God has allotted us on this earth!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, help me to walk faithfully with You day by day. As I earnestly seek You I will receive the reward You promise to those who do so. Daily temptations, recurring doubts, and fleeting distractions seek my heart’s affection but I remain wholly committed to You, my Lord and  Savior. Though I’ve not seen You physically Your Spirit indwells me and I am filled with Your glorious and inexpressible joy. No matter the mocking and undermining of my faith by the unbelieving world, I believe in You with all my heart, soul, mind and strength.  Amen.

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
“We Believe”  Video  Newsboys

“I Believe”  Video  Brian Free and Assurance

Doris High’s collection of bird photos 12/30/16

Finally Today:

Workplace ZamboniI always wanted to drive a Zamboni!*

* But this is not a Zamboni!

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.

“I Lift My Eyes”

January 3, 2017

"Fisher Towers and the Frozen Colorado" (Photo by Hoard Blichfeldt)
“Fisher Towers and the Frozen Colorado”
Canyonlands National Park, Utah
Photo by our friend Howard Blichfeldt

“I Lift My Eyes”

Message summary: Today’s message we consider the source of our hope.

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1,2).

Today’s message is in part prompted by a song by Laura Story titled, “I Lift My Eyes”. We’ll post a link below and encourage our readers to listen to it. It expresses a great truth to consider as we begin our new year.

I lift my eyes to the hills
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord my God
My maker, creator, my sustainer, protector
My defender, my Saviour forever

We both really like mountains. We were raised in the Midwest and didn’t normally see mountains growing up. Brooksyne is from relatively flat Tulsa Oklahoma but enjoyed childhood trips to the Ozark Mountains to see her grandparents. I grew up in the Kansas City area which is also pretty flat. Apart from trips to southern Missouri and the Ozark Mountains my first exposure to larger mountains was the Great Smokies when I was about 11 and the next year a train trip through the Rockies to California.

We see a small mountain ridge across the Susquehanna River from our front lawn. But as we move farther west or north we get into the mountains in the Appalachian ridge. We’ve travelled to the Smoky Mountains in North Carolina, the Rockies in Colorado, Mount Rainier in Washington and the Andes in both Central and South America.

But the most astounding mountain we have ever visited is Mount Washington in New Hampshire. Although it is not as high in elevation as many other mountains, it is very prominent since the difference in elevation at its base and peak is well over a mile. Anyone who has ever driven the auto road to the top is likely to remember it!  And for those who’ve climbed it, I would take my hat off to you if I was wearing one.

Any given day as we prepare these messages there are issues that concern or distress us. Some are at the personal level, such as the early morning call we just received from a woman in deep distress due to a terrible family tragedy. Family tragedies affect those closest to us, while others are international and impact all of us. Generally in our decision as to what to share in this encouragement series we do not let these issues guide us since essentially every day there is some current tragedy or crisis headlining the news.

Psalm 121:1,2 with mountain view The power of Scripture is that the message contained therein is of timeless value. Today’s text is an example. The human author of Psalm 121 is not identified, although it is often assumed that most of the Psalms were written by David. Some versions include this interesting designation in the heading of Psalm 121, “A Song of Ascents” or “Pilgrim Psalms” as do all the Psalms from 120-134.  Many Bible teachers believe that these Psalms were sung by those who journeyed to the temple in Jerusalem for the annual feasts.

In Psalm 121 the Psalmist begins by giving us a word picture in verse one, “I lift up my eyes to the hills.” This is something we all can do spiritually regardless of where we live or where our travels take us.

The Psalmist then asks a question that I believe he is prepared to immediately answer. “Where does my help come from?” This is one of life’s most important questions.

As the Psalmist lifted his eyes to the hills he may have been thinking about enemy invaders or those who were bringing slander against him (Psalm 120).  Allegorically speaking, we might also consider the steep hills we face and see the many potential and real forms of unwelcome invasion. We might also cry out: “Where does my help come from?” The answers vary greatly. For some it’s the bottle, for others it’s a pill. Some believe it’ll be that big hit at the casino, still for others it’s the miracle diet. And the list goes on and on.

The only correct answer has not changed. Whatever burden you face, whatever your trying circumstance, join with the Psalmist who is inspired by the majesty and splendor of God’s creation. He looks beyond the visible creation to the invisible Creator who gives the needed help when facing distressing times. Let us declare together, “My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth!”

My help comes from
The One who formed my heart
The One whose promise is forever, forever
For all my days I long to walk with You
Until this life is through, I’ll follow

Be encouraged today,

Stephen and Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, our assurance and hope is in Your protection day and night. You made the mountains and the hills, the valleys and the streams. You do not leave us to fend for ourselves, but Your help is constant and ever-sufficient for all our needs. Our help comes from You, the Maker of heaven and earth, who watches over us both now and forevermore. Amen.

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
“I Lift My Eyes”  Video  Laura Story

Howard Blichfeldt’s remarkable nature photos.

Contact Us
Send a message to Stephen & Brooksyne

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

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

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