“Watching Over Souls”

October 11, 2017

Meadow View Road pond 10/10/17 (click to enlarge)
Early yesterday morning we passed one of our favorite Lancaster County scenes, this farm pond along Meadow View Road.
(click to enlarge)

“Watching Over Souls”

Message summary: We are called to witness of our faith in Christ and follow-up on those who are receptive to our message. Whatever type of service we are in for Christ, there is a sense that we are all “watching over souls”.

ListenListen to our message on your audio player.

“Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you” (Hebrews 13:17).

This last Sunday we heard a message by Pastor Mark Canada. His points were lessons he had learned and observed in running a Marathon as a parallel to the great race we are all participating in (Hebrews 12:1). (A link to the audio of Mark’s message is in the resource section below.)

Running the race is a theme I have used throughout my ministry since when I was in High School I was a long distance runner in track and cross country (but never a marathon). Five years ago we wrote a five part series on “Lessons from Life’s Marathon”. (Link below)

In one of his points Mark shared about towers along the route with trained spotters watching for any runners who may be in medical distress or in need of attention. He pointed out how we also need spotters in our race. And for many of us we will also have a spotter function for others as we “watch over souls”.

This month is Clergy Appreciation month. We served for 25 years in pastoral ministry (over 30 years including interim roles). Although Brooksyne did not feel a need to be identified as a “pastor” we nevertheless worked together as a team. We now serve in another form of Christian service (internet ministry and corporate chaplaincy) which finds us sitting out in the pews in a typical worship service so, as a former pastor, I have an interesting perspective on pastoral/lay relations.

Today’s text is speaking of spiritual leaders. “They keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account” (Hebrews 13:17b). The Amplified Version states the phrase as, “they are constantly keeping watch over your souls and guarding your spiritual welfare.” Although we believe this text is primarily speaking of the ministry of leaders in a local church, it does remind us of the interest we should all have in souls.

The Expositor’s Bible notes concerning this text, “Why is it so needful to continually keep watch over our souls? The Christian has not just one enemy but three incessant, inveterate foes, the world, the flesh, and the devil, each irrevocably, intractably determined to bring harm to our soul.”

Pastor Steven Cole of the Flagstaff Christian Center writes that…

Pastor Steven ColeGodly church leaders help church members by keeping watch over their souls (Hebrews 13:17). The Greek word translated “keeping watch” (agrupneo) means “to keep oneself awake,” and thus, “to keep watch, guard, or care for”.

The image was drawn from shepherds keeping watch over their flocks. Shepherds had to stay alert in order to guard their flocks from predators. They had to know the sheep and observe them carefully enough to know when a sheep was sick or missing. They had to go after the strays and try to restore them to the flock. They had to lead them to pasture and clean water (see Ezekiel 34:1-16).

These tasks require the discernment to know where people are at spiritually and when they are heading toward spiritual danger. Leaders must love God and people enough to have the courage to confront those who are drifting. While you can only lead those who are willing to be led, godly leaders must always make the effort. *

We are called to witness of our faith in Christ and follow-up on those who are receptive to our message. Whatever type of service we are in for Christ, there is a sense that we are all “watching over souls”.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we pray for those who watch over our souls and care for our spiritual needs. May we be a source of blessing to them as we faithfully uplift them in prayer and in our conversation with others. When we find fault increase our desire to pray rather than maliciously gossip to others about our leader. Help us to attend worship services with an expectant attitude and find our place of service. May our minds be attentive so that our thoughtful responses will spur our pastor on as he looks out upon the congregation while teaching from Your Holy Word. Bless our pastor’s family, provide for their needs and guard them against the many temptations sent by the evil one. May they know by the fruit of our lips and good deeds that they are greatly loved.  Amen.

Here’s a prayer to publicly pray for your pastor. I encourage you to use a prayer like this, adapting it for each situation. It would be powerful to have the board gather around your pastor and offer prayer together. I can tell you from experience such a prayer would be a real blessing to your pastor and the congregation. (This is adapted from an actual prayer I prepared for our pastor at the time, about 15 years ago. I have left the name blank so it can be used by others and encourage further customization.

Additional note:

Writing, radio, TV, and Internet based ministries such as Daily Encouragement may be a helpful supplement in our Christian lives, but we believe it’s still God’s plan for believers to meet together regularly in worship as they did in the very beginning. In fact we both chafe at the term “internet churches” and those trying to set up a church over the internet seeking to simulate a local church. We believe everyone calling themselves a Christian should be in regular association with other believers in a local church with pastoral leadership and care. (However there are those who, due to confinement and political oppression, cannot attend services.)

One of the greatest sources of discouragement and grief for the pastor is dealing with criticism. I received my share of it during my years of pastoral ministry. I know all of my peers in ministry have as well. I heard a very candid message from H.B. London, a veteran pasto,r share a perspective on this.

I know of one dedicated minister who had a very effective ministry in a church he had founded and served faithfully. But after he left there was division in the church and a group arose that criticized both his appearance and speaking ability. The Corinthian church! In his second letter to the Corinthians he referenced this criticism made of his ministry gifts, “His letters are weighty and forceful, but in person he is unimpressive and his speaking amounts to nothing” (2 Corinthians 10:10). I sure bet those people feel foolish now!

Such criticism just goes with the job but can still be very personally painful. Pastors are often criticized in ways that are mutually contradictory such as “His sermons are too long/his sermons are too short”. I believe that most criticisms are merely personal preferences by members of the congregation. Another source is unfair comparisons.

Let me ask you. Does your pastor faithfully preach God’s Word and teach sound doctrine? Is he faithful to his wife and family? Does he care of the flock of God? Does he oversee the financial and business affairs of your church with honesty and integrity? If so you are blessed. Why don’t you pray for your pastor and let him know of your appreciation!


Recess at one room Mennonite School, Lebanon County, PA 10/10/17
Yesterday morning we passed this recess at a one room Mennonite School in Lebanon County, PA. The kids were playing volleyball. We are invigorated by the scenes we view as we go about our work including so many not captured on camera. Yesterday we were going down a rural road when a tractor pulling two corn wagons weaving back and forth approached us. I pulled over to give room and a young Mennonite lady was driving the tractor!

Appalachian Trail overlook 10/10/17
Yesterday we walked a portion of the Appalachian Trail near Bethel, PA out to one of our favorite scenic overlooks. However it will be several weeks before we have the optimum foliage such as seen in this photo taken from the same spot many years ago.

Bindnagle Evangelical Lutheran Church 10/10/17
The Bindnagle Evangelical Lutheran Church is a historic Evangelical Lutheran church located in North Londonderry Township, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania. It was built in 1803. We are not sure the church is in operation since the sign still posts the Christmas Eve service time!

Home near Bindnagle Evangelical Lutheran Church 10/10/17
We assume this home next to the Bindnagle Evangelical Lutheran Church had been the parsonage. We both like the full wrap-around porch.

Ron and Bonnie Hoover 10/10/17
We joined Ron and Bonnie Hoover and a group of friends for a cookout last night at their place. They have been friends for over ten years and have a very active role mentoring and encouraging many, including us. They both have some health challenges but keep such a positive faith-filled outlook and interest in others. They are examples of finishing well, although we hope they are far from finished! An interesting detail about Ron is that about twenty years ago he served as CEO for the Augat Company in Massachusetts, which was founded by the same man who started the church in the 1920’s that we pastored in New England.

Ron and Bonnie Hoover cookout 10/10/17
Nice to still dine outside on a pleasant evening as we approach mid-October.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Finish Well”  Video  Karen Peck and New River  Dedicated to a friend.

* Precept Austin online commentary notes on Hebrews 13:17

“Lessons From Running A Marathon” Here is the link to Mark Canada’s message from this last Sunday. I have enjoyed preaching and listening to messages drawn from running illustrations since early in my ministry. This is one of the best I have ever heard on this topic. He makes some very helpful points.

Pursue Growth By:

1) Setting a direction. (Ephesians 5:15,16)
2) Laying aside unneeded weight. (Hebrews 12:1)
3) Pacing yourself for a marathon not a spring. (Mark 1:35-37)
4) Understanding your stride. (Romans 12:3-6)
5) Inviting spotters into your life. (Hebrews 3:12-14)
6) Persevering through pain. (James 1:2-4)
7) Finishing the race. (Hebrews 12:2)

A five part Daily Encouragement series back in 2012, “Lessons from Life’s Marathon” began with this message.

Here are some resources in honoring your pastor:
Ministry Appreciation Gifts from Dayspring
Resources from Focus On The Family

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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Olbrich Gardens, Madison Wisconsin 10/1/17 (Photo by Georgia)
Olbrich Gardens, Madison Wisconsin
(Photo by my cousin, Georgia M.)

“Just To Know ‘Thus Saith The Lord'”

Message summary: May You be satisfied with the God Who promises to be there for you and find rest in Your soul that He is there to help you all along life’s journey.

ListenListen to our message on your audio player.

“For He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5).

‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to take Him at His Word
Just to rest upon His promise,
Just to know, “Thus saith the Lord!”

Do you ever contemplate the number of hymns and songs you’ve sung all through your life, particularly those sung at church? “Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus” is one of the old hymns we can’t recall ever not knowing from our earliest recollections.*¹ We sang it in our worship service Sunday and on the way home Brooksyne and I discussed a line that jumped out at us in a way we had never considered before, “Just To Know ‘Thus Saith The Lord'”.

That Bible phrase and the surety given in the statement, “just to know” really is a blessing when you think about it!

We are accustomed to an ever growing variety of Bible translations (which in our view has been a good thing in some ways and not so good in others)*² but for many generations the dominant version was the King Kames Version (KJV). Almost certainly that would have been the familiar translation used by Louisa Stead who wrote the beloved hymn, “Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus” in 1882. The Lord gave her these words not long after her husband was pulled under trying to save a young boy from drowning in Long Island Sound.

As a widow with a little girl, and no husband to support her, Louisa struggled to provide for herself and her daughter. She told a friend, “I need faith and trust to believe that His providence is still at work, and that His hand can still guide me through the bleak, unknown future”.

One day the pantry was empty. Having no food to offer her little girl, Louisa and her daughter prayed for God to provide. When they got up the next morning they found a large basket of provisions at the front door and enough money to buy shoes for Lily. Louisa told her, “We trusted God, and He has not failed us.”

An examination of the lyrics reveal numerous Scripture references and allusion to Scripture.

There are 413 Bible references in the KJV of the phrase “Thus saith the Lord”, all found in the Old Testament. The phrase is most dominant in the Major Prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel. Other versions use phrases like, “Thus says the Lord”.

As we consider those 413 references to “Thus saith the Lord” what might Louisa Stead have been considering when she penned this phrase? Of course we can’t say for certain but here is one that sure brings assurance: “The LORD…doth go before thee; He will be with thee, He will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed” (Deuteronomy 31:8).

In the phrase, “Thus saith the Lord”, Stead may not be alluding to a specific Scripture text but rather the sense of the overall promises in God’s Word. If the Lord said it, who are we to question, doubt, or take away from His promises.

“Thus saith the Lord”, “It is written,” or “The Word of the Lord came unto me,” or “I, the Lord, have spoken it,” calls attention to specific statements, messages, and lessons from God. It is as though the prophet, or other spokesman, is telling us: “Now hear this! What I am going to say now, is not merely my opinion, or of my own wisdom, but ‘thus saith the Lord’—it is God speaking; these are His words.” This is a wonderful expression, and full of meaning for Bible students. We have a reverence for God’s Word; and a “Thus saith the Lord” is the end of all controversy with us. – (DawnBible.com)

May You be satisfied with the God Who promises to be there for you and find rest in Your soul that He is there to help you all along life’s journey.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, I find great comfort, peace and rest in Your many promises intended to reassure me that You are with me and will sustain me like Isaiah 54:10, “Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet My unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor My covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you”. Thank You for the hundreds of promises given to us through Your Son, Jesus, and the prophets of old as recorded in Scripture. Amen.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus”  Video  Guy Penrod

Years ago Brooksyne made a series of audio teachings on hymn background stories including “Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus”. Audio

*¹ We have always pastored and attended churches that sing both old and new music (blended style) which is the case with the church we presently attend. But it seems many modern churches insist on singing only the latest, newest songs prompting an interesting perspective in a recent Babylon Bee satire post: Hopelessly Out-Of-Touch Church Still Playing Worship Song That Came Out Two Weeks Ago

*² Much has been written about translations and people have strong opinions from KJV only proponents to, in our view, acceptance of one man paraphrases like “The 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.

“I Will Sing Praise”

October 9, 2017

Old Windmill Farm from drone
Old Windmill Farm as viewed from a drone

“I Will Sing Praise”

Message summary: Make a renewed commitment to praise and trust God this day using the words of the Psalmist, “I will sing to the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. May my meditation be pleasing to Him, as I rejoice in the LORD” (Psalm 104:3,34).

ListenListen to our message on your audio player.

“The birds of the air … sing among the branches.”  “I will sing to the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. May my meditation be pleasing to Him, as I rejoice in the LORD” (Psalm 104:12,3,34).

Singing birdsWe have an arborvitae tree near our front porch. Yesterday afternoon I was tossing a frisbee to our dog, Mollie, and heard a choir of birds buried deep in the tree’s branches singing. Brooksyne came out and we listened together. We don’t know how to determine the emotion of birds but they sure sounded happy and not one of them out of pitch! “This is my Father’s world, the birds their carols raise.” Singing birds are among the most pleasant natural sounds in our audio observation.

Arborvitae tree 10/8/17Maltbie D. Babcock revealed his great love for nature in the hymn text he wrote, “This Is My Father’s World”. Before leaving for his early morning walks he would inform his wife, “I’m going out to see my Father’s world”. Maltbie was a lover of nature, skilled athlete, accomplished musician, and ordained minister who died at only 42 years of age. We are indebted to his wife who published his writings so believers over the past century could be reminded of the beauties of our Father’s world including the singing birds that raise their carols in praise to their Creator.

Our first daily text notes that the birds of the air “sing among the branches” which is one of those Biblical nature observations that is practically universal. I stepped out this morning long before sunrise and all I heard were crickets. But just after sunrise the birds were back singing in the rain!

Psalm 104 is a majestic expression of praise, beginning with the exclamation, “Praise the Lord, O my soul!” Throughout the Psalm the Father’s greatness is exhibited in nature. We observe and proclaim with the Psalmist, “How many are your works, O Lord in wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of Your creatures” (104:24).

Yesterday Brooksyne sang with the Calvary Church choir a beautiful song titled, “I Will Sing Praise”. (A video link of the song, although from another church, is posted below). It has a very thoughtful and simple verse that really blesses us:

No matter the storms that come my way,
No matter the trials I may face.
You promised that You would see me through,
So I will trust in You.

We simply don’t know what storms may come our way or what trials we may face today, but we do have God’s promises to rely upon as He gives us yet another opportunity to trust Him. Praise and trust are two descriptive words used repeatedly throughout Scripture and both are directed toward God. Additionally, they can be used in a noun or verb form. So whether these compatible words require us to stand firm with assurance in our heart or actively praise and trust Him in the storms let’s be faithful as we serve the Risen King.

The chorus states:

I will sing praise, I will lift my voice.
I will sing praise, I’ve made my choice.
I will sing praise in all I do,
I will sing praise to You.

Have you made your choice? We make a renewed commitment to praise and trust God this day using the words of the Psalmist, “I will sing to the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. May my meditation be pleasing to Him, as I rejoice in the LORD” (Psalm 104:3,34). Will you join us?

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, our hearts are uplifted when we hear birds of the air raise their carols of praise to You. We can also be a blessing when we uplift others by raising our cheerful voice in thanks for all You are and the multitude of ways that You care for us. We want to sing praise and lift our voice expressing our trust in You even in the very midst of the trial we face. Since You keep every promise You make we can be confident that You will see us through, no matter the intensity of the storm or how long it endures. I will sing praise to You, my God, as long as I live. Amen.

See Proverbs 30:5, Psalm 134


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“I Will Sing Praise”  Video  Prestonwood Choir I dedicate this to a family member who is going through serious trial, along with his family.

“Praise You In This Storm”  Video  Casting Crowns

“This Is My Father’s World”  Video  The Collingsworth Family

“Birds Chirping and Singing”  Video  Amazing all you can find on YouTube!

Finally today:

I found out that “Blood, Sweat and Tears” is still around. Some of you old-timers will recall this song from an age when secular music was relatively general and usually wholesome!

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.

“Sweeter Than Honey!”

October 6, 2017

Psalm 119:103Bottle of honey at Costco

“Sweeter Than Honey!”

Message summary: The next time you open the Scriptures may you taste the sweetness of God’s Word, like a spoonful of honey.

Note: Podcast for this message not prepared due to very busy schedule.

“How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Psalm 119:103).

Yesterday aftrnoon following our chaplaincy visitation we shopped at Costco, a warehouse type store here in Lancaster County. We were picking up some items for our friend Anna Ruth who just had a baby. Brooksyne does most of the shopping, assigning me a few items she has confidence I won’t mess up like toilet paper and Dave’s Killer Bread. Otherwise I just mosey through the huge store testing the samples and looking for people to visit with.

I saw a large bottle of honey (photo above), read the label, and was pleased to see a Scripture verse on it. “Thy Word is sweeter than honey.” The truths of the Bible can be a source of edification wherever they are found. *¹

The label is also interesting with the description “Made By American Bees”. I suppose it never occurred to me that American Bees make better honey than non-American bees!

If you are like me when you consider bees you just might consider their God-given defense mechanism. I have been on the skin side of their sting several times and it sure isn’t pleasant!

Jar of honeyBut mostly when we think of bees we consider honey. The words of a popular song a few years ago came to mind, “Bees make honey and it sure tastes good…” (Link below)

Well, bees do make honey (although I would rather not dwell on the process) and honey sure does taste good.

Each worker bee only produces about 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey in its entire lifetime. The accumulation of such enormous stores of honey in a hive in one day are due to there being anywhere from 20,000 to 80,000 + bees in the hive at one time – all doing the work of nursing brood, cleaning ‘house’, guarding stores, and foraging for nectar. A bee goes out to forage for honey, visiting 100 flowers per each trip out of the hive, making approximately 10 trips per day, for each day of her whole life – as a forager. (Her life is only 42-45 days). She literally works herself to death for one to 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey. Consider this the next time you spread 1 or 2 teaspoons of honey on a piece of toast! *²

The great thing about the Bible is the universality of the illustrations. I don’t know this for sure but probably virtually any where people live they have bees and honey. David wrote today’s Scripture portion some 3,000 years ago and he was from a part of the world far away from Pennsylvania.

Psalm 119 in its entirety is a wonderful extolling of the Scriptures. David would have had far less of the written word than we have today, as much of the Old Testament and all of the New Testament were not yet written. Yet he declared, “How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” The next time you open the Scriptures may you taste the sweetness of God’s Word, like a spoonful of honey. May we all have this same attitude concerning His Words. Consider this the next time you enjoy some honey!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, when I examine the Scriptures I see just how good you are. How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth. The sweetest of all temporal things cannot be compared with the infinite deliciousness of Your eternal word. When I feed on the Bread of Life it fills me with that which satisfies not just for a day but it provides spiritual food that I can chew on day after day.  May I never neglect the daily refreshing Your words in Scripture bring to my hungry soul. In the name of Jesus I pray.  Amen.


1954 Chevrolet truck
Yesterday upon our arrival for a visit to a company near New Holland we spotted an interesting vehicle in the parking lot. It caught our eye so we set out to find which employee was the owner of the antique pick up. It didn’t take long to learn that Raymond, a mechanical engineer at Val-Co, acquired it just over a year ago and now has it in running condition. When we further inquired about the year it was built he informed us 1954. Well, folks, that’s the year I was “built”, so now I know why my body no longer looks like a showroom model anymore than this ’54 model stands out in the parking lot! But it sure is a stand out among the average cars in the parking lot!

Val-Co Mike 10/5/17
At Val-Co we both enjoy visiting with Michael, a friendly Haitian whom we share faith with.

Village Farm Market neck pumpkins 10/5/17
Lots of neck pumpkins are being sold all over the county! This photo was taken at the Village Farm Market east of Ephrata, PA

Costco Mike 10/5/17
For many years I have enjoyed greeting Mike, a friendly greeter at Costco. Yesterday the cashier at our checkout line told me he was retiring so I set out to bid him farewell. Turns out the cashier was his nephew and it was a prank!

Colorful jars photo by Doris High
We saw this photo on Doris High’s blog and always enjoy seeing colorful canning jars!


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Goodness”  Video  From the Music Machine (has the line “Bees make honey and it sure tastes good…”

*¹ “Nature Nates” expresses faith on their website.

Honey bee facts

“Waiting For You To Get Home”  Video  The Browders A great song about father/son relationships

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.

Harvest moonView of Harvest Moon from our backyard.

“A Lesson From The Harvest Moon”

Message summary: Let us recognize the absolute awe and infinitude of God. We can’t see Him, but we see His work. We can’t feel Him, but we know His touch. We can’t hear Him but He speaks to us through the written Scriptures, His Holy Spirit and through godly people of every generation. We are a finite people but we serve an infinite God who neither slumbers nor sleeps, but is always working on our behalf, whether we can see it or not. Let us be thankful today!

ListenListen to our message on your audio player.

“He wraps up the waters in His clouds, yet the clouds do not burst under their weight. He covers the face of the full moon, spreading His clouds over it. These are but the outer fringe of His works; how faint the whisper we hear of Him! Who then can understand the thunder of His power?” (Job 26:8,9,14).

Today (October 5) at precisely 2:40 PM Eastern Daylight Time we will have a “Harvest Moon”. For several evenings the moonrise comes soon after sunset which results in an  abundance of bright moonlight early in the evening, which is a traditional aid to farmers harvesting their crops. Hence, it’s called the “Harvest Moon”! Our area is now buzzing with harvest activity and I am sure the farmers appreciate the extra “day” light.

Last night I stepped outside and viewed the almost full moon. It was a beautiful evening with the distinct crisp feel of fall in the air. As much as I enjoy photography I am limited by both equipment and skill. Today’s photo was taken from my backyard and is seen through the tall Pampas grass that was planted before we purchased our home 15 years ago.

Harvest moonThe moon was created by God on the fourth day of Creation where it is called “the lesser light to govern the night” (Genesis 1:16). The moon is mentioned all through the Bible culminating with a reference toward the end of the Book of Revelation concerning the eternal city of God where John writes, “The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp” (Revelation 21:23).

A consideration of the moon is one of those topics sure to connect with all. After all, regardless of where we live we can see the moon. David, who spent much time tending his sheep by the light of the moon, considered the enormity of God’s universe and humbly stated, “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have set in place, what is man that You are mindful of him, the son of man that You care for him? (Psalm 8:3,4).

In today’s text Job has not only dealt with the severity of his affliction but was also responding to the intended encouragement of his friends. He launches into an astounding statement concerning God’s power and greatness. Job looks to the sky and gives us a mental picture of God at work in His vast universe and writes this interesting description, “He wraps up the waters in His clouds, yet the clouds do not burst under their weight. He covers the face of the full moon, spreading His clouds over it.”

Some four thousand years ago Job made a two-fold observation that any one of us can also make:

1) “He wraps up the waters in His clouds, yet the clouds do not burst under their weight.” According to the USGS, “One inch of rain falling on 1 acre of ground is equal to about 27,154 gallons and weighs about 113 tons. When we have a heavy rain it’s practically inconceivable how much water is in the clouds above us and how much weight they hold!

2) “He covers the face of the full moon, spreading His clouds over it.” The wispy clouds can completely obscure the moon and the sun as well!

God is sovereign and has created the cosmos (universe) that is orderly and harmonious with life on earth. “Cosmos” originates from a Greek term κόσμος meaning “order, orderly arrangement, ornaments,” and is the antithetical concept of chaos. Chaos speaks of the original dark void from which everything else appeared in God’s creation. Amazingly, He didn’t have or need a panel of experts to bring order into our world! But chaos also describes many aspects of our fallen world as mankind rebels against God.

The chapter ends with this spiritual gem: “And these are but the outer fringe of His works; how faint the whisper we hear of Him! Who then can understand the thunder of His power?” The NIV Study Bible notes concerning this passage, “What God has revealed of His dominion over nature and supernatural forces amounts to no more than a whisper. Job is impressed with the severely limited character of man’s understanding. If it is difficult for us to comprehend the little that we know about God, how much more impossible it would be to understand the full extent of His might.”

Let us recognize the absolute awe and infinitude of God. We can’t see Him, but we see His work. We can’t feel Him, but we know His touch. We can’t hear Him but He speaks to us through the written Scriptures, His Holy Spirit and through godly people of every generation. We are a finite people but we serve an infinite God who neither slumbers nor sleeps, but is always working on our behalf, whether we can see it or not. Let us be thankful today!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, before the mountains were born or You brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting You are God.  You care for all of creation, the order of the universe, all people from past generations to the present, and You work powerfully and invisibly in our hearts.  We are humbled by Your greatness and touched by Your kindness.  We give You thanks and trust You for that which we don’t understand. We see only the fringes of Your ways, but that reminds us that Your power is what creates the works established by Your hands.  You are my God, the Rock in whom I trust and take refuge.  Amen.


Here’s today’s final Scripture text from two other common versions:

“Behold, these are the fringes of His ways; And how faint a word we hear of Him! But His mighty thunder, who can understand?” (NASV)

“Lo, these are parts of His ways: but how little a portion is heard of Him? but the thunder of His power who can understand?” (KJV)


We received an email yesterday afternoon from Las Vegas from Dawn, a former resident of Lancaster County and a longtime friend and Daily Encouragement reader:

Hello Stephen & Brooksyne from Las Vegas.

Just wanted to relay my story of how God is working in my life (and so many others) during this tragic event.

When I moved here 6 years ago God led me to work as a transporter at University Medical Center.

I watched the shooting unfold live on FB and knew that I should go into work early the next day. When I arrived at 7:30am it was very quiet; just hospital personnel and police. (Outside the building were police blocking all entrances and lots of TV crews). I knew this was not going to be a normal work day.

I asked God for his guidance and help on this day. I did not assist in helping with the victims but I did make a few runs to Trauma OR and Trauma ICU to deliver blood or pick up specimens to take to the Lab.

Throughout the day donations of food and water were delivered to the hospital for the 1st responders and anybody at the hospital who was waiting on news about loved ones. Our hospital cafeteria (which normally closes at 1 a.m.) stayed open to give out free food to those at the hospital.

At lunch time I decided to take advantage of the free food. I could not believe here in “Sin City” the hospital lobby was set up with prayer tents. One prayer tent sign read, “Free Hugs and Free Prayers”.

There are so many other stories of Prayer Tents at Blood Donation centers. I was finishing a job when 4 youths from a local church group serenaded one patient with a hymn. One chaplain was leading a prayer circle, with 12 people, outside the Trauma unit. The list goes on and on.

It was a very emotional and tiring day for me but it lifted my spirits to see God in so many ways. He truly is amazing and has taught me and others that in the midst of evil He still reigns. Hallelujah and praise be to God.


I appreciate this thoughtful perspective I read from Gary Bauer in yesterday’s “End Of Day” report:

“Gotta Serve Somebody”

“You may be an ambassador to England or France.  You may like to gamble, you may like to dance. You may be the heavyweight champion of the world. You may be a socialite with a long string of pearls.

“But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes. Indeed you’re gonna have to serve somebody. Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord. ​But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.” — Bob Dylan

Twenty-two thousand people in Las Vegas were happily listening to country music three nights ago as one man peered down at them from the 32nd floor of a hotel.  Stephen Paddock, who would soon murder 59 people and wound more than 500, had no interest in religion, according to family members.

Among the thousands in the crowd, there were no doubt people of strong faith and of no faith at all. Before the night ended, everyone would “serve somebody.”

The killer served Satan, who Scripture tells us prowls around like a lion looking to devour someone. Many in the crowd chose to serve God. They gave their lives to save others.

Seldom is the choice between good and evil as stark as it was that horrible night. But every day, whether we are fully aware or not, we are all serving somebody. We will either serve the Lamb or the prowling lion seeking to devour us. In the end, the Lamb of God wins.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Great Is Thy Faithfulness”  Video  Wes Hampton & Homecoming Singers

“Creation Sings The Father’s Song”  Video  Keith & Kristyn Getty

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.

Hebrews 12:28,29
“He Sees What We Don’t”

Message summary: We are receiving this eternal kingdom! It’s an absolute certainty.

ListenListen to our message on your audio player.

“See that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused Him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject Him who warns from heaven. At that time His voice shook the earth, but now He has promised, ‘Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.’ This phrase, ‘Yet once more,’ indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe” (Hebrews 12:25-28).

There are times in this life when fear is so heavy
And burdens weigh on your mind
You are weak in the knees and no strength can you find
Just hold on, help’s right on time, my Jesus is always on time.

In the course of our chaplaincy visitation we meet with people to discuss a variety of life’s problems. In the last several weeks we have mentioned speaking to employees with family in Puerto Rico and Mexico. We listen, sympathize, pray, provide counsel, encouragement and follow-up. As we drove home yesterday and I mentally considered the various issues discussed with employees it occurred to me that they were generally “run of the mill” burdens in light of the horrific shooting in Las Vegas. However it’s sure not “run of the mill” when you are the person going through it!

We consider our readers, both those we know and so many we don’t. Many of you are going through surprises and shakings in life, some for a long time and in severe ways. I have heard it said that reality ultimately consists of just two things; that which can be shaken and that which cannot be. All that we see with our physical eyes can be shaken or completely disappear.

The wonderful twelfth chapter of Hebrews ends with such a powerful, assuring truth expressed in our daily text. The apostle is writing to encourage faithfulness to God’s children who were enduring persecution. Their world was truly being shaken. And there are times when our world is being shaken as well! It is during such times of instability that we do well to look to Scripture for spiritual understanding and go to prayer in conversation with God. When we do so it will bring needed perspective and restore our hope as we consider our future “kingdom that cannot be shaken.”

Francis SchaefferAfter a similar tragedy years ago I heard an interview with one drastically affected person who spoke of how he intentionally sought to hear the voice of God in the midst of the tragedy. Spiritually speaking, I wonder how intentional we are in listening for the voice of God in the chaos and disorder of our world. Our daily Scripture portion begins with a timeless message from God. “See that you do not refuse Him who is speaking.” This brings to mind the title of a Francis Schaeffer book, “He Is There and He Is Not Silent”. Yet so very many refuse Him who is speaking.

I’ve seen his children walk thru the darkest of midnight
I’ve witnessed faith put to the test
And I have watched as the storms flew in with the thunder
But in each trial He knows what’s best
And I am so glad He knows what’s best

The daily Scripture text acknowledges the reality of the shaking of the created order that we experience in various ways. Consider your life for a few minutes and look back over those periods of severe shaking, whether it was personal, family or experienced on a national level. Though we prefer to live comfortably, without these brutal, unexpected, and life-altering interruptions, they are inevitable. But Scripture has a comforting future promise in the latter part of the daily text, “We are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken.”

We are indeed “receiving” this kingdom and the verb tense is quite significant. Jesus taught us to pray, “Thy kingdom come”. Our journey through this life is but a transition to the future Kingdom God has prepared for us. I am convinced that very early in eternity we will recognize just how brief life’s journey was, although since it’s the only thing we know it seems long and wholly significant. The apostle James wrote, “You do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes” (James 4:14).

Today we encourage each reader to keep this perspective: We are receiving this eternal kingdom! It’s an absolute certainty. So “Let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe!”

And though you may see a valley
He sees the mountain you’ll be standing on
When all you can see are the tears falling down
I’m so glad He sees what we don’t.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, help us to seek first Your unshakable kingdom and pray in the spirit so that we can live in victory even while encircled by conflict, danger, and evil. Shakings in this life can bring instruction, correction, and growing faith when we seek spiritual understanding. Though land, dwellings, and people are destroyed due to the hardness and evil within the heart of man, Your kingdom is indestructible. Scripture assures us that we who believe are receiving this Kingdom that cannot be destroyed, so we come with thankful hearts and worship You today with holy fear and awe, for You, our God, are a consuming fire.

In addition today, we pray for those enduring great shakings who suffered loss from the Las Vegas massacre on Sunday night. May they look to You, the eternal One, for strength to cope, for the ability to forgive and healthily grieve their loss from such inexplicable terror. We pray for those recovering from their physical injuries, those struggling with emotional turmoil from the horrible memories of the mass shootings. And lastly we pray for those throughout the land enduring personal shakings of their own. May they find You to be their strength and hope in the midst of their testings as they hold onto the unshakable kingdom that is promised to those who believe. In Jesus’ name we pray Amen.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“He Sees What We Don’t”  Video  11h Hour  This is the thoughtful song quoted throughout our message today.

Although any attempt to understand or explain the evil in tragic events like the Las Vegas massacre will be deficient read here for an interesting perspective by Al Mohler.

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.

“Guaranteed Forever”

October 3, 2017

Mailbox morning glories 10/1/17
We sure admire the persistence of the Morning Glories.
This one has managed to grow in our mailbox slot for papers. We haven’t planted morning glories here for about 12 years, but they just keep on comin’!

“Guaranteed Forever”

Message summary: We have a living hope guaranteed forever.

ListenListen to our message on your audio player.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade — kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:3-5).

A major consideration in the purchase of a product is the guarantee or warranty. We recently purchased a new dishwasher replacing the one we bought in 2004. The standard warranty is one year but our credit card extends it another year. Of course a warranty is only as good as the warrantor (the company that provides a warranty). If the company goes out of business you are out of luck.

Some items have a “lifetime guarantee” and I suppose you would have to read the fine print to find out just what “lifetime” means. Is that my lifetime or the lifetime of the product which ended as soon as it malfunctioned!

But the best warranty I ever saw was a tool set with this remarkable claim on the packaging “Guaranteed Forever”. Is that something I could take to heaven and use in my heavenly workshop? It was kind of humorous since many will know what I mean when I say it appeared to be the rather cheap, massively produced foreign stuff that normally breaks when you really use it.

But it did get me to thinking.  What is guaranteed forever?

Peter speaks of the living hope we have. Let us consider two phrases in our daily Scripture portion:

1) “Kept in heaven for you”. Now there’s a guarantee you can count on! As you face each day and the remainder of your life keep this in mind. You have a “living hope” guarantee valid forever! It’s secured by the finished work of Jesus Christ. His Credit has been applied to your account and there is no limit or expiration date. J.R. Miller writes, “The children of God are heirs to a glorious inheritance. It is not an earthly inheritance, but a heavenly. It is not given to them in full possession in this world, but is reserved for them in heaven. They could not receive it here – they have a pilgrimage to make to get to it.”

2) “Shielded by God’s power“. By faith we are shielded by God’s power. The keeping power of our Lord is as strong as His strength and as eternal as His person. No Christian should ever doubt this providential care of the Lord. We are constantly being kept shielded by the omnipotent power of God which guarantees every believer’s final victory.

That should bring blessed assurance!

“Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.”

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, how gracious and loving You are to make us heirs of Your salvation through the sacrifice of Jesus, Your Son. Because we are born of Your Spirit, washed in the blood of Jesus and and living by faith we are assured of eternity in heaven. In Your great mercy You have given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade which is kept in heaven for us. Everything on earth pales in comparison to our future inheritance and for that we are eternally grateful. Amen.


Fanny Crosby tombstone
Brooksyne at Fanny Crosby tombstone in Bridgeport Connecticut several years ago.

Amish youth in spring wagon 9/25/17
These Amish youth are enjoying an outing on a beautiful early fall day.

Amish youth in spring wagon 9/25/17
Here is another photo of the Amish youth demonstrating our “on the fly” photography as Brooksyne took the photo with her camera as she often does (since she prefers the passenger seat and I prefer to driver’s seat). She actually got my camera phone in the photo where it rests on the dashboard.

Amish on scooter 9/25/17
This Amish mother had quite a load; one child on the back, one on the front and all the school lunches on her scooter. Wow!

Rutt hay wagon for Mennonite Youth Group 9/30/17
Last week we shared a photo of a hay ride on the beach in Ocean City Maryland. We would rather see hayrides out in the country such as this setup for a Saturday evening Mennonite youth gathering at our neighbor’s place. It’s a special sight and happy sounds to see the tractor and wagon drive by in the dark (unfortunately it got too dark by the time the young people rode by so we couldn’t include a picture of them).


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Blessed Assurance”  Video  The Isaacs

“Mercy Walked In”  Video  Gordon Mote

“Fall On My Knees”  Video  The Browders

“Cornerstone”  Video  Brooksyne is enjoying singing this song in the Choir.

Finally today:

Ester's 2nd work anniversary at Darrenkamps Market 10/1/17
Ester doesn’t like having her photo taken these days but Brooksyne sneaked this one in when we stopped in at Darrenkamps. Her 2nd year anniversary is this month and she’s expecting a bonus from her dad. I will gladly pay up as she has been faithful in her work and has overcome some health difficulties in carrying out her duties. We’re very pleased!

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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