New River Gorge, WV 8/10/17
The New River Gorge as seen from the Visitor’s Center overlook

“The Blessing Of Trust”

Note: We arrived home from our trip to the Midwest late last night and we gratefully expressed thanks to God for our long safe trip (3,300 miles) and that all is well at home!

Message summary: What a tremendous blessing it is to place our trust in the Living God!

ListenListen to our message on your audio player.

“But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in Him” (Jeremiah 17:7).

New River bridge in fog (Photo on NPS)Yesterday we made a purposeful diversion on our trip back home to drive across the New River Bridge in West Virginia. This is the highest bridge east of the Mississippi River and the third highest in the USA. It crosses the New River Gorge, which is known as the “Grand Canyon of the East”. The bridge deck is 876 feet above New River. (Photo to right is from NPS.)

Approaching the bridge you hardly notice you are crossing a gorge since the bridge is an arch construction with all the support below and there is no structure above the bridge. This is unlike many large bridges such as the Royal Gorge suspension bridge in Colorado, the nation’s highest bridge, which we visited 15 years ago. Crossing the bridge was actually a bit of a letdown since the outer lanes were in maintenance and Jersey barriers on each side limited the views over the bridge down into the deep gorge. However we saw some nice views from the Visitor Center on the other side. Once a year they have a bridge day when you can walk across the bridge, a huge event in West Virginia.

Although the New River Bridge is the most famous bridge we crossed during our trip we crossed thousands of bridges (when considering bridges over roads and small streams). We crossed long bridges over the Ohio, Mississippi, Arkansas and Tennessee Rivers without giving it much thought. But each one involved skilled engineering, quality materials, competent construction, diligent maintenance, and conscientious inspections.  Periodically there is a bridge failure such as one several years ago in Minneapolis over the Mississippi River.

Trusting the expertise of engineers and construction crews is one thing, but trusting God for all the variables in life takes an even greater leap of faith. You know what I’m talking about; those unexpected circumstances, the ones we wouldn’t purposely choose to include in our life’s journey. We’ve all had them.

Jeremiah 17:7Our daily text was written by Jeremiah in the historical context of the Southern Kingdom’s final years. God’s judgment was imminent and Jeremiah was one of the faithful prophets proclaiming this unpopular truth. But the terrible message of judgment also had within it a tremendous message of hope: “But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in Him.”

When we look around and consider all the things that are blessings in our lives we may fail to think of our trust in the Lord as a great blessing. People outside the faith would likely consider their possessions, health, family and other people as blessings in their lives. Those of us who believe and follow Jesus Christ would certainly consider these to be blessings as well, but we would put the tremendous dimension of our salvation in Christ at the top of the list and every blessing that follows our life changing decision. Of course that would make the list infinitely long! In fact God has “blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). That will take a lifetime of calculating our blessings!

What a tremendous blessing it is to place our trust in the Living God! The line from an old hymn declares, “Those who trust Him whol-ly find Him whol-ly true”.  Even as our trust in the reliability of the bridge was not an unproven trust, how much more so is the trust we have placed in the Lord and His Word. His claims can be tested and have been by millions throughout the ages. Indeed, “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in Him.”

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, the greatest blessing in trusting You is the confidence we walk in as we look to You for everything that we have need of. Jeremiah draws the contrast of those who depend on humans for strength and have stopped trusting in You. They don’t know about the good things that You can give because they are unwilling to surrender their all to You. But we who have walked across the bridge of salvation chose to place our trust in You. We have found You to be faithful. In place of cringing fear we walk in confident faith because it is not in ourselves that we trust but in the Living God who is trustworthy in all areas of our lives. Now, we ask for grace to trust You even more.  Amen.


Some Scenes From Our Journey

Ijams Nature Preserve, Knoxville, TN 8/9/17
On Wednesday we took a break from our long trip from the Nashville area to the New River Gorge area by walking through the Ijams Nature Center in Knoxville TN. A wooded trail led down to the Tennessee River.

Ijams Nature Preserve, Knoxville, TN 8/9/17
A boardwalk is built out over the river.

Ijams Nature Preserve, Knoxville, TN 8/9/17
The boardwalk passed several natural caves into the bluffs.

Ijams Nature Preserve, Knoxville, TN 8/9/17
Climbing back out we took the steep route and Ester did fine since we took plenty of breaks while ascending the natural but large steps!

At New River Bridge, WV 8/10/17
When travelling the best information is often from the locals and this man sure looked local. He is a former deputy sheriff in Fayette County. After enjoying our Southern breakfast at “Biscuit World” this man, who left just before us, gave me good directions mixed with plenty of familiarity.

New River Bridge, WV 8/10/17
The bridge from the Overlook at the Visitor’s Center. The most dramatic and iconic bridge views are from the valley such as these. Due to the long trip home we only stayed briefly to explore the area and take in these awesome views.

At New River Bridge, WV 8/10/17
Family photo at the New River Bridge overlook – proof that we were really there.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“I Can Trust Jesus”  Video  The Collingsworth Family

“Trust In You”  Video  Lauren Daigle

Ijams Nature Center

New River Gorge Bridge

New River Bridge Day, which happens to be on Brooksyne’s birthday this year! For a gift I may buy here a BASE jump. This page has a neat HD video. Scroll down and view full screen but you will probably want to turn the music down!

Finally Today:

Fresh home-grown tomato 8/11/17
Our neighbor harvested several of our tomatoes while we were gone and put them on our kitchen counter. This morning we had our season’s first home-grown tomatoes and they were delicious.We are blessed by a variety of neighbors who watched over our property, took care of our pets, watered our flowers, even mowed our front lawn (we haven’t found out who did that big job yet, we’re still inquiring)! This morning Brooksyne baked fresh English Muffin Bread to take to the neighbors along with strawberry rhubarb jam but they were gone. Guess who got the treats instead!  I’m sure she’ll visit them when they return since she baked four loaves.

English Muffin Bread Recipe  This is one of the easiest and quickest breads to make since there is no kneading. If you only have regular yeast it will take two risings (mix regular yeast with the warm water and sugar before adding to the flour mixture). The bread stays fresh for several days, freezes nicely and is delicious toasted. Today I mixed 6 C. unbleached white flour and 3 1/2 C. white whole wheat flour, 1/2 C. ground flax. It’s a great recipe even for the novice baker resulting in four generous loaves of homemade bread. (It’s a very fast baking project if you have instant yeast.)

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.

“Persuasion”

August 9, 2017

Memphis Pyramid, Bass Pro Shops 8/8/17
Crossing the Mississippi River into Memphis Tennessee we saw a huge pyramid which is now a Bass Pro Shops Store. We stopped in for a visit and break from our trip.

“Persuasion”

Note: Today we are leaving the Nashville area where we spent the night after a long drive from western Arkansas. Last night Brooksyne visited with her niece who lives in Nashville. Today we head toward home with an early start for a long trip to West Virginia where we will visit the New River Bridge and Gorge before heading home on Thursday. We do not expect to post another message till Friday from home. Due to travel we will not be preparing the daily podcast till we return home.

Message summary: Wherever we are today let us continue with our mission of preaching and persuading as we are compelled by Christ’s love.

“Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation” (Mark 16:15). “Then Agrippa said to Paul, ‘Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?'” (Acts 26:28). “Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men” (2 Corinthians 5:11). “For Christ’s love compels us” (2 Corinthians 5:14).

Last week we visited Voice of the Martyrs headquarters in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. Voice of the Martyrs focus their ministry on the persecuted church. We shared a message about that visit here. We normally think of persecution in regard to imprisonment, confiscation of property, physical harm and death.

However there is another form of persecution that has an appeal among many. On the surface it may seem acceptable as a way of keeping the peace. Some countries, most notably Muslim and Hindu, impose anti-conversion laws which restrict evangelism activity striking at the very core of the Great Commission.

Several years ago a reporter and photographer were kidnapped in the Middle East and finally freed when they feigned conversion to Islam. What an incredible contrast this reveals between the two largest faith systems in the world today.  Among the root causes of terrorism is a goal to “convert”, by any means, including force the rest of the world to the Islamic religion.

Christians have a similar goal but the methodology is not force but persuasion. Any notion of forced conversion has never had a place in legitimate Christianity as established by our Lord and demonstrated in the early New Testament church, although sadly through the church age there have been individuals or groups that have been forceful. However this was never God’s design as taught in the Holy Scriptures.

Consider the very perverse nature of what are known as anti-conversion laws. What a blessing genuine freedom of religion is. We think of it likely in the sense of freedom to attend church but it’s much more than that. What a blessing it is that we can choose to follow Christ or choose not to follow Christ. We are free to seek to persuade people to follow Christ and others are equally free to persuade otherwise.

The great commission of Jesus Christ to His church is “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation” (Mark 16:15).  Our call is to seek to persuade others to this way of life as is also the ambition of any worldview.  For example secular humanism is seeking to convert others to its outlook on life.

The issue is not the desire we have that others share our beliefs but rather the means of how we seek to convert. In Christianity it’s by our persuasion. We can’t force someone to become a Christian, since it involves transformation from the inside out initiated by a decision to believe and follow Christ.

Today in virtually every region of the world there are followers of Jesus Christ preaching this good news, praying for converts, even as they seek to persuade them to follow Christ. There are scores of followers who are expressing the love of Jesus Christ through acts of compassion accompanied by a verbal witness. Dedicated Christian believers in many parts of the world who share God’s love are imprisoned and their lives are imperiled. Their crime: merely witnessing for Christ.

The apostle Paul provides such a powerful example for us in this regard. He had at one time been an ardent persecutor of the followers of Christ, but after his conversion everything changed. He himself took on the great commission as he sought to persuade people to believe on the crucified and living Christ and become Christians. In Acts 26 Paul was sharing his faith with Agrippa when he responded, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?” Paul’s response should be ours as well; “Short time or long–I pray God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.”

Wherever we are today let us continue with our mission of preaching and persuading as we are compelled by Christ’s love.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, thank you for the freedom we have to share our faith. We seek to persuade others to follow You by showing that this all-surpassing power that guides our lives day in and day out is not from us but from Your Spirit who dwells within us. Your love compels us to reach out toward others to share the love of Christ in our conversations and show the love of Christ through our actions. Help us to be faithful in doing so.  Amen.

Here is a sample prayer that expresses belief and commitment to Jesus Christ: “Jesus, thank you for loving me.  I confess that I am a sinner. I believe You are the promised Messiah who came to die for my sins.  Please forgive me of my sins and come into my life. I receive You as my Savior and will follow You as my Lord. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer.  Amen”.


Some Scenes From Our Journey

Arkansas mountain view 8/7/17
My grandparents 200 acre farm is on table land with many beautiful vista views.

Lord, lift me up and let me stand,
By faith, on Heaven’s table land,
A higher plane than I have found;
Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.

When Grandma and Grandpa Sherrell went to be with Jesus they divided the 200 acres among their six children. Mom and Dad erected a cabin on their acreage which was 180 miles from their home in Tulsa. Daddy took an early retirement so they spent several years fixing up and enjoying their home away from home before they died in their mid sixties due to cancer.

Arkansas mountain pond 8/7/17
As a child I, along with my siblings and cousins, enjoyed fishing and swimming in this clear mountain pond on Grandpa’s farm.

Arkansas flowers and cattle 8/7/17
A bed of flowers on Uncle Carroll’s property!

Uncle Carroll on tractor 8/7/17
Now that Uncle Carroll has retired from his chicken farm business (Tyson Chicken is a very large employer in the surrounding area), he spends much of his time brushhogging. That’s just what he was doing when we caught up with him on Monday morning. If you look carefully you’ll see the fencing at the top of the pasture that he erected to load his cattle when preparing to sell them. About three years ago he was loading a 2000 pound bull that somehow fenced him in. He was brutally attacked and would likely have died if his wife had not come upon the situation and opened the gate to release the bull. He was in the hospital and required plastic surgery to repair his very torn up face. He still suffers vertigo from the frightening ordeal. Carroll was my dad’s favorite little brother (his only one), and he always looked forward to visiting him when we’d visit the mountain in AR.

Oark General Store 8/7/17
Later we enjoyed a good meal at the Oark General Store

Memphis Pyramid, Bass Pro Shops GMC truck 8/8/17
Ester rode an elevator to the top of the pyramid and took photos of Memphis. It is the tallest free-standing elevator in the USA.

Memphis Pyramid, Bass Pro Shops 8/8/17
We sure hope she was holding her camera tight as she reached out to take this photo looking down! Notice the Bass Pro sign on the side of the pyramid.

I-40 bridge over the Mississippi River from Memphis Pyramid, Bass Pro Shops 8/8/17
I-40 bridge over the Mississippi River from Memphis Pyramid

Memphis Pyramid, Bass Pro Shops interior 8/8/17
The inside of the pyramid, which had been built as a civic arena, was huge. They also built a hotel inside.

Memphis Pyramid, Bass Pro Shops GMC truck 8/8/17
There was plenty of space for displays such as this old GMC truck.

Bass Pro Shops alligator 8/8/17
The first Bass Pro Shop we’ve ever visited with live alligators!

Train engine at Casey Jones museum 8/8/17
Our final break before heading into Nashville yesterday was a visit to the Casey Jones museum in Jackson TN. Do you remember the story and folk song? Video


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Tell Them”  Video  Andrae Crouch & The Disciples

“Go Ye Therefore”  Video  Leon Patillo

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.

“Power Transmission”

August 7, 2017

Natural Dam, Arkansas 8/6/17 (Click to enlarge)
Natural Dam, Arkansas
(Click to enlarge)

Power Transmission”

Note: Today we are in Arkansas where we will visit some of Brooksyne’s relatives from her dad’s side who live on a mountain top near Ozark Arkansas and visit the Oark General Store. Tomorrow we head toward home with an early start for a long trip to Nashville where Brooksyne will visit with her niece Tuesday evening. We do not expect the messages will be daily during this time but depending on our schedule, internet connection and so forth we hope to post several along the way. Due to travel we will not be preparing the daily podcast till we return home.

Message summary: Today His power is not cut off nor His ear deafened that He cannot hear our needs. He is still touching people’s lives with His healing power. He often uses human agents in the transmission of His power but He also works sovereignly and has a set purpose for each of our lives. May Christ be glorified in and through us today!

“At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from Him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched My clothes?'” (Mark 5:30).

Sequoyah Lodge 8/4/17We had severe storms in Oklahoma early Sunday morning which left thousands without power and also tornado damage in Tulsa, Brooksyne’s home town where we had stayed for the previous three nights. We were watching the weather reports before we went to sleep and saw the storms passing northwest of where we were lodging at Sequoyah Lodge on Fort Gibson Lake. Around 1AM flashes of lightning and booming thunder awakened us as the storm passed through the area. However we never lost power though man in that area did.

Transmission of power is something most of us take for granted. We flip a light switch on without thinking about the power transmitting through wires which makes the light come on. But today let’s examine an occasion where a transmission of divine power was released.

Today’s verse offers an interesting detail concerning the healing of a woman who had a bleeding issue for 12 years. Her condition would have made her a social outcast since the best medical care of her day was of no help. In fact she had exhausted her finances but her medical condition only worsened.

She heard about Jesus but, likely due to the social shame of her disease, did not choose to approach Him publicly. Instead she “came up behind Him in the crowd and touched His cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed” (Mark 5:27,28).

“Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering” (v. 29). Try to put yourself in her place and sense the tremendous joy and relief that flooded her spirit as she experienced the healing power of Almighty God.

“At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from Him.” The dispenser of healing power realized the uniqueness and urgency of this woman’s touch of faith. After all, many were also touching Him when He asked the disciples “Who touched My clothes?” The disciples must have wanted to scratch their heads at Jesus question when they responded, “You see the people crowding against you….and yet You can ask, ‘Who touched My clothes?’” A transmission of power had taken place from the Healer to the healed and Jesus wanted to convey a special message to the infirmed woman who touched the hem of His garment.

Today His power is not cut off nor His ear deafened that He cannot hear our needs. He is still touching people’s lives with His healing power. He often uses human agents in the transmission of His power but He also works sovereignly and has a set purpose for each of our lives. May Christ be glorified in and through us today!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: We praise You, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and God of all comfort who helps us in our daily trials and meets our every need. When we come up against afflictions and trials that exceed our own ability to endure we rely not on ourselves but on You, All-powerful God, who heals the sick and raises the dead, who delivers us from deadly peril. It is on You that we have set our hope, confident that You will continue to deliver us, that You will make a way where there is none. We trust in You, our sovereign, holy and all-powerful God for everything we have need of. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

(See 2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

Some Scenes From Our Journey

Okay, OK 8/5/17
We are happy to report that everything is OK in Okay, OK

Okay, OK church sign 8/5/17
A great message on a church sign in Okay, OK

Muscogee, OK guitar 8/6/17
Lot of colorful guitar displays on the streets, yards and buildings of Muskogee, Oklahoma where the song “Okie from Muskogee” originated. Cows are displayed in Lancaster County,  buffalos in Bartlesville, OK and guitars in Muskogee.

Dean and Greta on Arkansas River bridge 8/5/17
Stephen’s niece, Greta and her husband Dean, on an old iron bridge where we walked across the Arkansas River near Muskogee Oklahoma. We enjoyed our visit with his mom’s side of the family (Steincross) Friday through Sunday morning.

Natural Dam, Arkansas 8/6/17
Another view of the expansive Natural Dam in Arkansas that is 200 foot wide on a natural ledge which runs across Mountain Fork.

Ozark National Forest road, Natural Dam, AR 8/6/17
A gravel mountain road in the Ozark National Forest.

Ronnie Sherrell 8/6/17
Brooksyne’s Note: We’re staying in Clarksville, Arkansas and took a long walk through town last night. There is a get together tonight with my dad’s side of the family at a Mexican restaurant so, as we were passing one, Stephen suggested I step in and ask if this was the place we’ll meet. As I was asking the hostess if a gathering of the Sherrell family was planned for Monday night I heard my name called out from a person in a booth. Turns out my cousin, Ronnie, that I hadn’t seen for about 20 years was eating with his companion. For me that was an amazing coincidence since I NEVER run into family while out and about since we’ve lived over 1000 miles from my relatives since our marriage. Ronnie lives on the mountain and stands at 6’4″! I also have five aunts and uncles from the mountain. I will also visit my parents gravesite on the mountain as they both died of cancer in 2000 and 2001.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Broken And Spilled Out”  Video   Steve Green

“Okie From Muskogee”  Video  Merle Haggard (Just for fun!)

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.

Woodward Park gardens Tulsa OK 8/3/17
Woodward Park Gardens Tulsa OK
“Fearfully And Wonderfully Made”

Note: We are in the Midwest visiting family and friends and attending three family gatherings in Missouri, Oklahoma and Arkansas. We are still in Tulsa where Brooksyne had a family get together last night. Today we head to a lake in eastern Oklahoma where we will gather for the weekend with my cousins who still meet annually. We do not expect the messages will be daily during this time but depending on our schedule, internet connection and so forth we hope to post several along the way. Due to travel we will not be preparing the daily podcast.

Message summary: We profess our belief and surely praise God for His creation. What about you today?

“I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (Psalm 139:14).

So fearfully and wonderfully made,
How could they say there is no God?
Reminded every breath that I take,
It’s by Your hand I have been formed
So what am I going to do with this life You gave me?
What could I do but live for Your praise?

I read a news report this week on NPR’s “All Things Considered” regarding a new level of scientific and medical development that could have frightening implications. The article begins, “Scientists have been tinkering with the DNA in humans and other living things for decades. But one thing has long been considered off-limits: modifying human DNA in any way that could be passed down for generations.” *

Marcy Darnovsky, who directs the Center for Genetics and Society, a genetics watchdog group in Berkeley, California wrote, “I think it’s extraordinarily disturbing. It’s a flagrant disregard of calls for a broad societal consensus in decisions about a really momentous technology that could be used good, but in this case is being used in preparation for an extraordinarily risky application.”

We are thankful for modern medicine and each of us have each been the recipients of caring and competent medical professionals. It is very unlikely that Ester would even be alive without this. Valid medicine seeks to restore to God’s design.

But where is the line with medical technology on several fronts? Consider the fallacy of elective abortions being referred to as medical procedures. Or the currently faddish notion of surgically and/or hormonally changing one’s birth gender which is absolutely outrageous as well as being “transgender” or any of the other constantly expanding gender wannabes. This gravely violates the design which was clearly established at Creation. “So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27).*² Now we read of the possibility of transplanting a womb so a man can carry a baby.*³

This utter rejection of God’s design and plunge into moral anarchy prompts a consideration of the phrase, “God gave them over to degrading and vile passions” in Romans 1:26. When will the Creator God will say, “Enough is enough”?!

Today let us consider a wonderful verse from the Old Testament that many of us are familiar with from a Psalm of David. It reminds us of God’s design.

“I praise You.” Inspired by the Holy Spirit David makes a remarkable observation in our daily verse. We have so very much to praise God for, infinitely more then we can ever realize. David says “I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made”. There is so much to unpack in that statement that it will take each of us a lifetime to fully grasp the awe of God’s creative power within our physical bodies. And on a natural level, understanding the complexity of life due to the advance of scientific studies, we should realize this even more than David.

Doctors and scientists have studied this remarkable machine and found ever more remarkable evidence of just how fearfully and wonderfully we are made, yet many don’t have the faith of the shepherd, who continues the verse with  “Your works are wonderful, I know that full well”. We profess our belief and surely praise God for His creation. What about you today?

Your grand designs leave us amazed.
The wonders of the way we’ve been made
Speak of Your power, tell of Your grace.
So what am I going to do with this life You gave me?
What could I do but live for Your praise?

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we are in awe as we consider the work of Your hands, for who on earth has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand or marked off the heavens with the breadth of his hand? Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket, or weighed the mountains on the scales and the hills in a balance? When we meditate on Your unsurpassed power we are humbled and eternally grateful that in Your marvelous creation plan You made man in Your own image, male and female You created them and gave them dominion over that which You created on earth. We are a grateful people and we express it well when we love You with all our heart, soul and mind and thereby dedicate our lives to You and to Your service. Amen.

See Isaiah 40:12, Genesis 1:27

Some photos from yesterday’s journey

Ester in phone booth, Ithaca Square, Tulsa 8/3/17
Ester pretending to do doing something she’s never done for real at Utica Square, a historic urban shopping area in Tulsa similar to the Plaza in Kansas City.

Route 66 West Tulsa 8/3/17
We spent some more time on Route 66 near Tulsa in an area where Brooksyne grew up. This view is only a block from Daniel Webster High School she attended in the 70’s.

Longhorn rack 8/3/17
During her high school years she often ate at Carl’s Coney Island, a small hot dog shop we visited yesterday. The owner told me quite a story about this huge Longhorn rack. This was from his father’s prized longhorn bull. He had shot his first deer as a boy. Later they were unable to find his dad’s Longhorn bull and it turns out the bullet that killed the deer went through it and also hit the Longhorn in the head. (A powerful reminder to hunters: consider the background!)

Route 66 West Tulsa 8/3/17
We visited this historical park along Route 66 with old trains and this huge oil drilling derrick.

Sapulpa church we were married in 5/8/76 (photo taken 8/3/17)
We were married in this church in Sapulpa, Oklahoma on May 8, 1976. Brooksyne was Children’s Church Director here during the summers when not attending Bible College.

Brooksyne with her brother Jody 8/3/17
Following our family gathering last night I snapped this photo of Brooksyne with her “baby brother”, Jody, whom she hadn’t seen for four years. They’ve enjoyed a close relationship, though distant in miles.

Oil well near Brooksyne's home 8/3/17
Brooksyne’s Memory: This oil pump is located very close to the house where I grew up. I was only four years old when we moved there from Catoosa, OK. During the night hours when I should have been sleeping (I’ve always struggled with insomnia) I could hear what sounded like drums methodically beating deep into the night. This went on for a many weeks, possibly months, and I envisioned Indians on their warpath preparing to attack us (in my childhood cowboys and Indians at war was the big theme of our play). The area where we had recently moved had a large population of full blood Indians so I let my imagination run wild and my fears overwhelm me. Perhaps due to my young age and immaturity I didn’t voice my fears to my folks for quite some time. When I finally told them about the drums I heard at night they explained that the drum beat was coming from this oil well. Finally I could rest at night and not fear getting scalped. (BTW I am part Cherokee Indian so I’m not purposely picking on the Indians.)


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

Yesterday’s lead photo was the Price Tower in Bartlesville, OK, the only skyscraper designed by arichitect Frank Lloyd Wright

* Scientists Precisely Edit DNA In Human Embryos To Fix A Disease Gene
The Perfect Pair of Genes?

Princeton Tests the Gender Limits

How a Man Could Get Pregnant Scientific American (Caution: bizarre)

“Fearfully and Wonderfully Made”  Video   Matt Redman (Is there any topic that you can’t find a song written by either Matt Redman or Chris Tomlin!)

Finally today:

Yesterday we showed a photo of Brooksyne wearing a t-shirt we had bought Wednesday during our visit to the Voice of the Martyrs. Unless you are up close all you see is “I am a criminal” which can sure send a wrong message but hopefully pique curiosity to read the entire message.

I am a criminal t-shirt front

I am a criminal t-shirt back
Thankfully we are not a criminal for wearing this in the USA
… not yet anyway.

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.

Price Tower, Bartlesville OK 8/2/17
“The tree that escaped the crowded forest.”
Do any of our readers know what is distinct about this building?
Inform us if you know and we will provide the answer in tomorrow’s message!

“Remembering The Persecuted Church”

Note: We are in the Midwest visiting family and friends and attending three family gatherings in Missouri, Oklahoma and Arkansas. Last night Brooksyne enjoyed a gathering of friends (mostly former neighbors) from her Elementary years. We do not expect the messages will be daily during this time but depending on our schedule, internet connection and so forth we hope to post several along the way. Due to travel we will not be preparing the daily podcast.

Message Summary: Today help us all to remember the persecuted church around the world. Let us, like Peter, hear and heed the words Christ spoke, “Follow me.” We are all called to follow. Let’s do it, regardless of the cost! Are you prepared to be an ‘N’ Christian?

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“‘I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.’ Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then He said to him, ‘Follow me'” (John 21:18,19).

Voice Of The Martyrs exit signYesterday we toured “The Voice Of The Martyrs” headquarters in Bartlesville Oklahoma. For many years we have appreciated this ministry that calls attention to and assists victims of persecution all around the world. We’ll share some photos from our visit with additional notes below today’s message.

The photo to the right is visible as you depart from the “Voice Of The Martyrs” property. It would be a good sign for all of us to remember the persecuted. It is a regular practice in our home to remember but it’s also easy to get caught up in our own “stuff” and simply forget. We often remember them when we express thanks to God and count our blessings.

N Christian markingWe read this on their website: “In northern Iraq, radical Muslims (ISIS) spray-painted the Arabic letter ن, or “N” on the homes and businesses of Christians. (Such as seen on the photo.) The ن stands for Nasara or Nazarenes, a pejorative Arabic word for Christians. The property owners were publicly identified as Christ-followers and given a choice to convert to Islam, leave or die. The courageous believers refused to deny their faith, and more than 100,000 fled with little more than the clothes on their backs.”

Our daily text is the final recorded personal exchange between Christ and Peter prior to Christ’s ascension to heaven. Jesus told Peter how he was going to die.

I wonder how Jesus’ blunt and detailed revelation of truth might have affected Peter. Here he is, gloriously restored after his ignominious denial. He’s ready to take on the world. But our Lord’s final words to him were in regard to the troubling manner in which he would one day die! Yet Peter went on to live and faithfully minister for Christ another 30 years before he was crucified upside down (as tradition asserts).

Consider how the knowledge of his future death might have crippled him. He could have become an emotional basket case! But there is no hint in his apostolic preaching recorded in Acts or in his two epistles of this being a factor at all. In fact he never mentions it.

I wonder about this when I read the account of his imprisonment in Acts 12. His long-time friend and fellow apostle, James, had just been beheaded and Peter surely knew that Herod was in a killing spree mood. Yet he is soundly sleeping when the angel awakened him for his deliverance. Perhaps he had laid down his head and reasoned, “I’m not old yet so the death Jesus foretold will not take place at this time.”

The purpose of this revelation to Peter was that he might know the way in which he would glorify God in his death. Consider people who have glorified God in their death. I’m inspired each time I read of Stephen’s bold proclamation of faith at the very time of his stoning. Some of the greatest stories ever passed down are of those who remained faithful in their final hour, whether it was suffering at the hands of other people or suffering from the pain of death.

When I read their stories I’m all the more determined to remain true no matter the difficulties I might endure before I transition to the other side. It seems to me the right outlook is seeing death as merely God’s appointed means of transition from this life to the next. Surely this is a time when we can, as believers, indeed glorify God. Quite frankly as I see current conditions it seems that various types of persecution, and even death hitherto unknown in America, may be coming. Am I prepared to be an ‘N’ Christian?

Today let us, like Peter, again hear and heed the words Christ spoke, “Follow me.” We are all called to follow. Let’s do it, regardless of the cost! Are you prepared to be an ‘N’ Christian?

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Jesus, help me to determine in my heart that Your words, “Follow Me” will far surpass the importance of any other mission I am called to in my lifetime. Like the words of an old hymn, I am resolved no longer to linger charmed by the world’s delights. Things that are higher, things that are nobler these have allured my sight. I pray that my goals, achievements, and ambitions do not conflict with Christ’s calling in my life to deny self, take up my cross, and follow Him. I want to build a firm foundation where my faith will grow so that I bring glory to Your name, both in life and in death. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.


Voice Of The Martyrs Tour

Yesterday we visited the headquarters of the “Voice Of The Martyrs” ministry in Bartlesville, OK.

Voice of the Martyrs tour, Bartlesville OK 8/2/17
Our tour guide did an outstanding job of explaining the exhibits.

Voice of the Martyrs wall, Bartlesville OK 8/2/17
This wall is on the outside of the building with an inscription for many martyrs.

Chet Bitterman, Voice of the Martyrs wall, Bartlesville OK 8/2/17
Chet Bitterman was from Lancaster County.

Dirk Willems, Voice of the Martyrs wall, Bartlesville OK 8/2/17
Dirk Willems is well known to the Amish and other ana-Baptist groups. We wrote about him this spring in a message with a similar theme to today’s message.

Watchman Nee, Voice of the Martyrs wall, Bartlesville OK 8/2/17
Nigel Lee, a Chinese-American friend of ours, is related to Watchman Nee.
Nigel, along with his wife Laifong, are longtime recipients of our daily encouragements.

"Known But To God", Voice of the Martyrs wall, Bartlesville OK 8/2/17
The Martyr’s wall only has a minuscule fraction of those martyred for Christ. One source states that every five minutes around the world a Christian is killed for their faith.

Richard Wurmbrand quote
We were inspired by the powerful quotes of the founder of the ministry who himself was persecuted.

Voice of the Martyrs display, Bartlesville OK 8/2/17
The exhibition area has many remarkable photos such as this actual example of persecution in Vietnam. The soldier with the baton is apprehending the man with his back turned. Some scenes in the display area are too graphic to share such as this one which is sobering.

Brooksyne with PK 8/3/17
This morning we had a colorful and joyful 72 year old petite server who was vibrant in sharing her faith, including singing “Everybody Ought to Know Who Jesus Is” while she worked! She referred to Brooksyne as Sunshine when she came to join me at breakfast since she sees the wife as sunshine to her husband. Brooksyne is wearing a shirt we each purchased yesterday at the Voice Of The Martyrs with a thought-provoking message. We will share more of what’s on this shirt tomorrow!



Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

Voice Of The Martyrs

“We Stand As One”  Video   Greg Sykes  This is a powerful song used in the introductory video for our tour at “Voice Of The Martyrs” yesterday.

Some additional “Voice of the Martyrs” articles and videos:

“I Am N” Description of N Christians

“I Am N”  Video

“Sacrifice”  Video

Persecution Blog

Finally today:

Bartlesville Oklahoma is a small city about 50 miles north of Tulsa.

Home of Frank Phillips, founder of Phillips 66 Oil, Bartlesville, OK 8/2/17
Home of Frank Phillips, founder of Phillips 66.

Bartlesville painted buffalo 8/2/17
In our area painted cows are popular but Bartlesville has lots of painted Buffalo!

Eagle on Oklahoma Wesleyan University campus 8/2/17
Leaving Bartlesville we saw a sign for Oklahoma Wesleyan University. I am not sure I ever paid much attention to this university till I read a short blog article by Dr. Everett Piper, the college president, titled, “This is Not a Day Care. It’s a University!  (A great read in light of the craziness going on at so many campuses including Christian ones!!!) May the Lord give us more leadership like this in Christian circles!

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.

Gateway Arch, Saint Louis, MO 7-31-17
Crossing the Mississippi River into Missouri Ester took this photo of the majestic Gateway Arch in Saint Louis.

“Friendship Blessings”

Note: We are in the Midwest visiting family and friends and attending three family gatherings in Missouri, Oklahoma and Arkansas. We do not expect the messages will be daily during this time but depending on our schedule, internet connection and so forth we hope to post several along the way. Due to travel we will not be preparing the daily podcast.

Message summary: We thank God for our friendship collection. The really neat thing about this collection is that, unlike other earthbound collections, our friendship can continue throughout our eternal dwelling in heaven. All our friends who follow Christ will be among those with whom we spend eternity where we will continue to enjoy meaningful conversations which will surely include some delicious meals here and there!

“Thinking He was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for Him among their relatives and friends” (Luke 2:44). “Friends always show their love. What are brothers for if not to share troubles?” (Proverbs 17:17).

We are in Tulsa, Oklahoma for a couple of days. Without realizing it, when looking for a motel in Tulsa, I booked a Comfort Inn right next to Brooksyne’s Technical school where she attended her junior and senior years to study cosmetology. This evening she has arranged a gathering with friends from her elementary school, several which were also her neighbors growing up in West Tulsa. Monday evening we had dinner with David and Sandy Simpson. Dave is the friend I’ve had the longest contact with in life. His large family became our neighbors in Belton Missouri over fifty-five years ago when we both attended first grade. We went through grade school and Junior High before my family moved from the area. But Dave and I have stayed in contact all these years. It was interesting to reminisce together over dinner as the wives and Ester politely listened on.

Yesterday, on our way to Tulsa while traveling on the Will Rogers Turnpike, we made our usual stop in Carthage, MO to visit the Precious Moments museum, an incredible viewing of Sam Butcher’s gifting with the paintbrush as he painted hundreds of his teardrop characters within mural settings in the Precious Moments Chapel.  Brooksyne collected a few Precious Moments figurines in the past but we do very little collecting these days. Brooksyne would say cute collectibles inevitably become dust collectibles. So we’ve turned our attention more to collecting friends along life’s journey and we keep adding to our collection.

Of course since our marriage we have mostly mutual friends and for many years now we’ve been taking photographs of these friends. They are placed in a folder on my computer labeled “friends” and many have been placed up on this site. In fact, since around 2005 when we began archiving and posting photos on our site, we have over 1,200 photos in the “people” folder.

Phil with family on Mount Bierstadt 8/1/17One of our more recent friends is Phil, whom we met this spring in our chaplaincy ministry. Yesterday he texted us a photo of himself with his son and grandson on Mount Bierstadt, a 14,065 “fourteener” they had just climbed in Colorado. It’s great that we can still make new friends even as we stretch toward our senior years!

It’s quite a collection and periodically I go through it and reminisce. If you join us for a meal in our home we’ll ask you to sign our guest registry (if we remember), and we’ll likely take your photo. It helps instill memories of past visits from friends and family over the years. We encourage our readers to keep a Guest Book since we regret that we didn’t keep one from the beginning of our marriage as some do.

We enjoy having friends visit our home, but perhaps you’ve travelled with a group of friends to events like CREATION, Family Camp or other settings where many out of town people are staying for several days. We look back at a time when Jesus was only a boy and did just that. He was twelve when the events concerning the daily verse occurred, “Thinking He was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for Him among their relatives and friends” after Jesus’ parents “lost” him after a trip to Jerusalem. Notice that His parents’ sought for Him among their “relatives and friends”. Of course we know that Jesus was actually back with the religious leaders, but the wording of the text indicates that it was Christ’s practice to spend time with relatives and friends. That’s where His parents assumed He would be so that’s where their search began.

I suppose we don’t think much about Jesus having friends as a little boy. But He surely did. It’s normal and healthy to have friends and the Scripture declares that Jesus “grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men” (Luke 2:52). Growing in favor among men would surely include developing lasting friendships.

Jesus considered His disciples to be friends. He said to them, “You are my friends if you do what I command” (John 15:14). Obviously, if they chose to walk away from Jesus’ teaching about God’s commands that would make them uncomfortable in being with Jesus and put distance between them. Later, after Christ’s resurrection, in one of His encounters with His disciples He has this exchange, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” (John 21:5).

The Apostle Paul was also blessed by many friends. I enjoy this rather obscure passage, “The next day we landed at Sidon; and Julius, in kindness to Paul, allowed him to go to his friends so they might provide for his needs” (Acts 27:3). Paul seemed to have friends wherever he went which means he was regularly making friends along the way.

We thank God for our friendship collection. The really neat thing about this collection is that, unlike other earthbound collections, our friendship can continue throughout our eternal dwelling in heaven. All our friends who follow Christ will be among those with whom we spend eternity where we will continue to enjoy meaningful conversations which will surely include some delicious meals here and there!

Perhaps you will consider your friendship collection today. Make an effort today to contact an old friend. You might also consider making a new friend. It will bless you and it will also bless your friend!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we want to show our love to friends in regular conversation and in tangible ways as we reach out to them and express personal interest in their lives. Proverbs 17:17 teaches us that “Friends always show their love”, not only in the good times but we share together in times of trouble upholding, supporting, and bearing their burdens with them on life’s journey. As we mutually bear our burdens we are strengthened and encouraged together. Our lives are greatly enriched by the friendships we establish and grow from day to day. Amen.


With Dave and Sandy Simpson 7/31/17
Dave and Sandy Simpson have both been friends for many years since we met Sandy shortly after their marriage. Dave is a businessman who seeks to honor the Lord in his leadership as CEO of Holloway America. Sandy has a home-based business of her own. It’s a joyous blessing to have friends like them!

Brooksyne with Sharon 8/1/17
Yesterday I met up with Sharon Julian, my cousin three times removed, in Springfield, MO. We typically visit near the fireplace at the Bass Pro since she takes time off from work to visit. We have visited infrequently over the years since she grew up in Tucumcari, NM while I grew up in Tulsa. She and her husband, Ted, have raised three children and now enjoy several grandchildren, all living for the Lord. My dad would be pleased to know I met up with some of his family members and I am delighted in doing so as well.

Weber Grill Restaurant, Indianapolis, IN 7/30/17
In Indianapolis we stopped for a meal at the Weber Grill Restaurant (no relation but I’m sure glad they spell Weber “the right way”).

Missouri Hick BBQ, Cuba, MO 7/31/17
From Saint Louis To Tulsa we traveled mostly on I-44 but periodically got off and rode on old Route 66 in a portion of our journey to Springfield. We enjoyed a nice meal here at “Missouri Hick Bar-B-Que” near Cuba, MO.

Route 66 rocking chair, Cuba, MO 7/31/17
Can you see Ester and Brooksyne on the huge rocker!

CBC sign 8/1/17
We drove by our former college. The campus grounds are still nicely maintained.

CBC sign 8/1/17
It was a sad sight as the college closed down several years ago and now the property is being auctioned off. Stephen and I recalled precious memories of the Lord establishing His calling upon our lives as we attended this Bible School – many precious memories of chapel services, godly instructors, precious friends, and maturing into adulthood in a Bible Institute setting where we were instructed and encouraged to grow in godliness.

Sunnyvale 8/1/17
Sunnyvale, the little church just outside of Springfield where we pastored the first year of our marriage and ministry. It was here that we met some of the finest Christians who were loving, supportive, and dedicated to God. It has been closed for a number of years now as a church was planted nearby and many of the people have attended there in recent years. And some of the most dedicated attendees our Sunnyvale have been with the Lord for many years now.

Sunnyvale parsonage 8/1/17
Our first home as a married couple was this little parsonage right beside the church where we lived from May 1976 till we moved to Pennsylvania in August 1977. We were anxious to plant an Evangelical Church in an area where there were few churches and that’s what led us to Saint Marys, PA where we planted a church and resided for nearly 16 years.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Eternal Vacation”  Video  Dailey and Vincent   From Saint Louis To Tulsa we have traveled mostly on I-44 but periodically got off and travel old Route 66 on a portion of our journey to Springfield, we got off I-44. This music seems appropriate for old Route 66.

“Old Friends”  Video  Bill Gaither and his many friends (more than a few who are now with the Lord!)

“Friends”  Video  Michael W. Smith

“Old Friends”  Video

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.

“Philologus”

July 28, 2017

Fruit tree art at JK Mechanical
Fruit tree art in lobby at JK Mechanical

“Philologus”

Note: Tomorrowmorning we leave for the Midwest where will be seeing family and friends and attending several family reunions in Missouri, Oklahoma and Arkansas. Brooksyne will also be meeting up with several friends from her school days in Tulsa. We do not expect the messages will be daily during this time but depending on our schedule, internet connections and so forth but we hope to post several along the way.

Message summary: May we be counted among those who love the Word of God and meditate on it all day long!

ListenListen to our message on your audio player.

“A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold” (Proverbs 22:1). “Greet Philologus, Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas and all the saints with them” (Romans 16:15). “Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long” (Psalm 119:97).

Our names are important to us. People like to be addressed by their name, they like to see it spelled correctly and hear it pronounced properly. In our chaplaincy work we seek to learn names and address people by their proper name. It can be somewhat insulting to be addressed by Pal, Buddy, or the endearing term “Hon” used by a waitress you don’t even know who serves your table. Maybe one of the worst ways to be addressed is, “Hey you!”

Our names identify us. Some names bring good memories. The first daily text reinforces the value of having a good name. “A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.”

I am named after the Bible character, Stephen. In my case it was not a family name up to that point but very purposefully the Bible character. Not surprisingly Stephen is one of my favorite Bible characters and his name means “crowned one.” Brooksyne’s name is a name originated by her mom so there’s not a special meaning behind it, except that it is a derivative of her father’s name, Brooklyn. She assists people with the pronunciation by saying, think of the “scene of a brook” but turn it around and say, “Brook scene” with the accent on the second syllable. One advantage (or for some a disadvantage) to such a name is how easy it is to find her using a google search! Very few people can be identified through google just by their first name.

The second daily text today is included in a long listing of Paul’s friends and ministry associates we’ve examined this week from Romans 16. In fact this chapter has 35 proper names! In this message let’s look at one more, Philologus, the only time he is mentioned in the Scriptures. Very little is known about him (I presume he was a male) but he has a neat name, a compound of two words; Philo meaning “love” and logos meaning “word.” Perhaps he was known by the abbreviated name, Phil, such as those today who have the name Phillip!

We can’t do more than conjecture but I wonder if this was a name with a meaning as was often the case in the Bible? If so Philologus means “lover of the word.” Or in this case it might have been, like Barnabas, a descriptive nickname based upon what others had observed. Barnabas means “son of encouragement” due to his encouraging characteristics. After he had acquired the nickname he is not again referred to by his birth name of Joseph (Acts 4:36). Perhaps in the case of Philologus others had observed that he was a diligent student of God’s Word and gave him this nickname!

Philologus will be an interesting person to meet in heaven and then we’ll find the story behind the name for sure. However, although I am quite certain very few, if any of us are named Philologus, each of us should have a lifelong love for God’s Word. The Psalmist declared, “Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long” (Psalm 119:97).

An interesting glimpse into the Apostle Paul’s life is seen in a request made to Timothy in his final letter as his time of departure was near. “When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, and my scrolls, especially the parchments” (2 Timothy 4:13). This was likely a request for the Scriptures which is also evidence of his love for the Word right up to his death.

May we be counted among those who love the Word of God and meditate on it all day long!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen and Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, clinging to Your Word is like holding tightly to a brightly lit lantern on a darkened path. I can’t see what’s ahead but the light shines bright enough for me to proceed step by step. I am strengthened, encouraged, convicted and challenged by the Holy Bible as I faithfully read and meditate upon the inspired words written by believers throughout the generations. Like Philologus I want to be a lover of the Word as I join with the Psalmist who proclaims, “Oh how I love Your Law. I meditate on it all day long. I have kept my feet from every evil path so that I might obey Your Word.” Amen.

Brooksyne’s Note: Before we left the St. Marys, PA area where we pastored almost 16 years I read in our local paper, “Congratulations on your second birthday, Brooksyne”. That was a bit shocking to my eyes since I’d never read about another “Brooksyne” in print. Since it was spelled the same as mine I wondered if the child was named after me, but she lived in a town ten miles away and I didn’t know how to find out. Awhile back I came across this name again and followed up since this young lady is on Facebook. I wrote her and asked about the origin of her name. She said her grandfather saw the name in a church bulletin over 23 years ago, liked it, and recommended it to his daughter so she named her new baby Brooksyne, but pronounces it, “Brook sin”. She was quite pleased by my contact through facebook since she had always wanted to find out more about her name over the years. Her grandfather died while she was a child which was her only lead up to that time.

List of proper names in Romans 16:

Phoebe, Priscilla, Aquila, Epenetus, Mary, Andronicus, Junias, Ampliatus, Urbanus, Stachys, Apelles, Aristobulus & household, Herodion (relative), Narcissus & household, Tryphena, Tryphosa, Persis, Rufus & his mother, Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas & brothers with him, Philologus, Julia, Neures and his sister, Olympas, Timothy, Lucius, Jason, Sosipater, Tertius, Gaius, Erastus, Quartus


Redneck water feature
Yesterday I visited with Nate, a young engineer at Val-Co working on a large feeder when I heard a rustling inside the feeder only to discover another young engineer intern* was working inside! We appreciate these young men learning a skill set that helps feed the world.
* In spite of what we shared in today’s message about the importance of names I can’t recall this young man’s name! In the course of a week we see some 500 people in our various companies and learning names is an ongoing challenge, more so since we’ve entered our 60’s. This man is a summer intern from Penn State.

Old order Mennonite field work 7/27/17
Looking out a loading dock at Val-Co I saw this Mennonite farmer taking a break in the course of doing field work.

Old order Mennonite family transportation 7/27/17
On the way home we passed this father and his children.

Redneck water feature
Dylan, a friend at Val-Co, showed me his new water feature he made using some repurposed materials. He placed an old wooden toolbox on an old barn door, put a spigot on the toolbox and runs up water pumped from the ponds to create an interesting effect with a nice soothing sound. He even has fish in the lower pool and plans to put stone around it covering the sides of the preformed pools and concrete block for a natural look. Neat idea! I just might try it.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Word of God Speak”  Video   MercyMe

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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