“A Consideration Of Tabbed Thinking”

Lebanon County farm 4/9/19 (Click to enlarge)

Early yesterday morning we passed this Lebanon County farm.
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“A Consideration Of Tabbed Thinking”
Message summary: When our minds are stayed on God and we fully trust Him problems will not dismay or overwhelm us, for dismay and trust simply cannot coexist.

Listen to our message on your audio player.

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee” (Isaiah 26:3).

Too many tabsWe appreciate home decor items that make a thoughtful statement. Yesterday we saw this message on a small decorative blackboard at Audreys, “My Brain Has Too Many Tabs Open”. It’s a reference to having multiple tabs open on an internet browser known as “tabbed browsing. As a session of study, work or even just plain web surfing progresses, you may end up with lots of tabs open, a type of multitasking.

That’s a neat feature that can also become cluttered. Periodically I have so many tabs open I just shut down my browser to start fresh.

In life my brain can also have too many tabs open. That’s when I’ve got a lot on my mind and may lose focus, especially the focus on that which is most important. Illustratively we will call it “tabbed thinking”.

During our young dating years in Bible College Brooksyne and I frequently exchanged Scripture verses in our written correspondence (long before email and texting were available). I often shared Isaiah 26:3 which we put to memory. Years later we sang it to a tune which permanently attaches the words to our memory. Through the years we have both found this passage to be a guiding principle when we have too many tabs open. It is also a spiritual healing balm when going through troubling circumstances.

There’s a lot to dismay us, isn’t there? World situations, national tragedies, crazy politics, personal matters; they can all dismay, often concurrently. What dismays you today?

Isaiah 26:3What glorious truth our daily Scripture verse conveys! Isaiah in chapter 26:3 shares a truth held dear by many believers: “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee.” This is from the KJV, which we memorized. Other versions state, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in you” (ESV) and “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You” (NIV). For additional comparison in various versions use this nifty tool.

Today let us focus just on the phrase, “Whose mind is stayed on Thee”; that’s the key, and that’s where I suspect so many of us have the problem. We sure do! With all the possible tabs open we keep getting our minds and hearts off the Lord and onto the problems at hand. We approach the problems from every angle and get everyone’s take on it. We go to bed with the problems on our hearts and if sleep does come it may very well be diluted by a dream (or even a nightmare) that relates to the problems. We awaken and the same old problems loom over the new day!

However when our minds are stayed on God and we fully trust Him to be interceding on our behalf problems will not dismay or overwhelm us, for dismay and trust simply cannot coexist. Certainly we’re tempted to be dismayed by our troubles, but the key to trust is to turn our mind to the Lord in prayer and stand on His promises.

Warren Wiersbe reminds us that “The peace of God is not the absence of problems; it is the presence of divine sufficiency in the midst of problems.” George Morrison said, “Peace is the possession of adequate resources” and those resources come from the Lord when you yield your heart and mind to Him.

Our trust is in the One who is a tested and tried stone, the Solid Rock; the One who is a sure foundation. He is ever trustworthy and ever faithful. Put your complete trust in Him today!

Like Frances Havergal in her song, “Like A River Glorious”, we must fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. If we are “stayed upon Jehovah” we will remain balanced even if the world around us sways.

Stayed upon Jehovah,
Hearts are fully blest;
Finding, as He promised,
Perfect peace and rest.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, because we place our trust in You as our sovereign Lord we have an enduring peace that You are the Great Deliverer and that You work all things together for good to those who love You and are called according to Your purpose. We seek to glorify Jesus, our Solid Rock, who was put to the ultimate test and laid an unshakable foundation for our faith, as He remained true to His mission to provide our salvation. Our faith is strengthened and our peace perfected as we keep our minds stayed upon You, not only on the bright, cheerful days but on the dismal days when the cloud of discouragement would otherwise obscure the brightness of Your promise to keep us in perfect peace if we keep our minds stayed upon You. Amen.

Union Canal, Lebanon, PA 4/9/19 (Click to enlarge)

Yesterday we hiked along the tow path of the historic Union Canal in Lebanon County. Notice the white blooming tree in the far left background.
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Union Canal tunnel, Lebanon, PA 4/9/19 (Click to enlarge)
The Union Canal Tunnel is the oldest existing transportation tunnel in the US.
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Union Canal flowering trees, Lebanon, PA 4/9/19 (Click to enlarge)
Union Canal Flowering Trees
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Cardinal in Forsythia 4/9/19 Walter from White Oak
Walter, a friend at White Oak Display, has a great view outside his office window, especially when the Forsythia blooms in the spring and the Cardinal rests on a branch. Walter’s hoping that the cardinal might build a nest within his view. If so, I (Brooksyne) will make a pest of myself at his window during our weekly visits!

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
“Like A River Glorious”  Video  Stonebriar Community Church (Note: I had never heard of this church before but see it is where Chuck Swindoll now preaches. We have appreciated his ministry and books for many years and see that he is still going strong at 84 (Near Caleb’s age when he proclaimed, “I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then” (Joshua 14:11)! Here’s a video of his sermon from this last Sunday (which was over 1 hour!). I also appreciate this church posting a very comprehensive statement of faith on their website that candidly and Biblically deals with current issues.
“God Will Take Care of You”  Video  Antrim Mennonite Choir
“No Longer Slaves”  Video  Zach Williams
Finally today:
Burnt dozer 4/8/19The farmer who owns the land behind us had a crew clear some trees and level the land to expand his tillable land. The crew was rather careless in burning off the brush and not staying around to tend the fire. In fact they paid a very expensive price as this dozer was burned up that they had been using when it was left too close to the fire!

“Knit Together In Utero”

Larry Garber

Larry Garber
We have worked with Larry Garber for many years in nursing home ministry where he has a real burden for the elderly. He also has been a long-time pro-life advocate. Today’s quote from Scott Klusendorf is a portion of a letter he wrote to the editor of our local paper, Lancaster News. Larry is holding a model of a pre-born baby he uses for demonstrations. Today we honor Larry for his faithfulness.
“Knit Together In Utero”
Message summary: How many decades have you been living?

Listen to our message on your audio player.

“For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (Psalm 139:13,14).

Rick, a friend who leads a company, sent us a copy of his article for the company newsletter to preview. He wrote “now, in my sixth decade, I have a different perspective than I did as a younger man.” The “different perspective” viewpoint from which he now sees things is worthy of consideration and is certainly true for all of us who’ve been around for a while (at least it should be!)

But reading the phrase “now, in my sixth decade” at face value would lead many to deduce that Rick is in his sixties.

However Rick is in his fifties and, as a trained accountant, is merely acknowledging the first decade of his life; (0-9, 10-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59 means he is indeed living in his sixth decade).*

After reviewing his article I wrote back and told him that if he included the portion of a decade he had lived in his pre-birth existence he could accurately say, “now, in my seventh decade”. For Brooksyne and me it would be our eighth decade! (Note from Brooksyne: Stephen is quite comfortable in referring to our “eighth decade”, but I’m a little more sensitive about saying or doing anything that makes us sound older than we already are).

Unborn babyEach of us began our life as a separate single cell. During the next nine months we grew in our mother’s womb and nothing new was added but water, oxygen and nutrition. Our entire genetic makeup was contained in that single cell. We have never existed before and there will never be another of us. Thankfully for me and my parents, who loved me, this process was not interrupted and after nine months of being “knit together” of growth in utero I was born.
In developmental terms as measured by cell replication, we spend 90 percent of our lives in utero. From fertilization to natural death, there exists an unbroken continuum of human development during which we need only oxygen, water, and nutrients to live and develop physically.

By the time we are born this one single cell became two hundred million cells and at birth we weighed six billion times more than the fertilized egg. If we had continued at this rate of growth by our first birthday we would have weighed 72,000,000,000 pounds, which would have been an extremely “heavy” burden for our Moms.

Today’s Bible text is so powerful. Note what it says and doesn’t say.

It says “You knit me together in my mother’s womb.”
It doesn’t say “You knit the blob of tissue together in my mother’s womb that would at some undetermined time become me.”
Scott Klusendorf, author of The Case For Life writes,
“The science of embryology establishes that from the earliest stages of development, you were a distinct, living and whole human being. You weren’t part of another human being like skin cells on the back of my hand; you were already a whole living member of the human family even though you had yet to mature.

“There is no essential difference between the embryo you once were and the adult you are today that somehow justifies killing you at that earlier stage of development. Differences of size, level of development, environment and degree of dependency are not good reasons for saying you could be killed then but not now.”

So, how many decades have you been living?

Be encouraged today,


Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, thank You for creating my inmost parts: You knit me together in my mother’s womb and for that I praise and thank you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Everything in all of Your creation is amazing and perfectly formed for Your glory and for our good. While proponents of abortion speak in terms of inconvenience, death, and doing away with the very one You created, we who are pro-life speak in terms of nurturing, loving, and giving thanks for new life. Bless and empower those who sacrificially take a stand and lovingly raise their voice to affirm life and reject any law, politician, or other powerful lobbies that seek to present abortion as an acceptable form of birth control. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

* Of course “now, in my sixth decade” could also mean he has lived in the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, 2000’s and 2010’s.

Tug of warSadie likes to play but Mollie does not like to share her ring toss. Surprisingly the little pup doesn’t back down for either dog, though the big dogs weigh six times her weight.

Sadie and Roxie 4/8/19
Our older dog Roxie, who is now 14 1/2 years old really doesn’t want to play much anymore, just rest most of the time. But Sadie doesn’t understand that!

Sunday afternoon we took a historical walking tour of the Musselman-Vesta Iron Furnace Center and furnace ruins.

Musselman-Vesta Iron Furnace Center 04-07-19

Musselman-Vesta Iron Furnace Center, Marietta, PA
Musselman-Vesta Iron Furnace Center tour 04-07-19
On Sunday afternoon we toured the Musselman-Vesta Iron Furnace Center with a very knowledgeable local guide telling us about the furnace and grounds at the diorama. The center has been beautifully restored.
Musselman-Vesta Iron Furnace about 1910
The diorama shows how the furnace would have looked over 100 years ago. At the bottom of the diorama (not seen) is the Pennsylvania Canal where barges brought in anthracite coal. In the mid 1800’s there were seven such furnaces on a small stretch along the Susquehanna River where we now ride our bikes along the former rail line. Most have little visible remains.
Musselman-Vesta Iron Furnace piers 04-07-19
Present day ruins with the unloading piers still standing and factory housing in the background which is still used.

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
“Fearfully and Wonderfully Made”  Video   Matt Redman

“You Knit Me Together”  Video  Steve Green  A children’s song with a good message!

“You are Fearfully and Wonderfully Made”  An amazing video teaching by Louie Giglio

Here’s an interesting website dealing with the chronology of a new life.

“Until Then”  Video  Video from the concert Brooksyne sang in two weeks ago (about 4 songs were not recorded, unfortunately they were our favorites).
“A Few Good Men”  Video


Purple flowers, Doris High

This blooming purple spring bulb was taken by our friend Doris High.
Message summary: We rightly despair at our hopeless condition apart from Christ’s redemption. But what glorious hope we have in Christ!

Listen to our message on your audio player.

“David asked, ‘Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?'” (2 Samuel 9:1). Mephibosheth bowed down and said, “What is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me?” (2 Samuel 9:8). “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me'” (Matthew 25:40).

Sadie with cherry eyeEster received a new puppy on her birthday, a tiny
Shih Tzu / Lhasa Apso mix she named Sadie Willow. Sadie was a gift from our friends at the Old Windmill Farm. Ester had chosen Sadie from a litter of seven and several times had played with her on their farm until we brought her home March 1st. Like most puppies she has a colorful petality and has quickly become a loving part of our home.

Nine days ago we noticed a protruding red spot in Sadie’s eye which is called “cherry eye”. It’s not uncommon in small dogs including Shih Tzus, as we’ve learned from our new experience. When the Lapps learned about Sadie’s condition they were very disappointed like us as this was the first encountered in any of their adorable puppy litters. They very kindly told Ester she could bring Sadie back to the farm and get another puppy, since this was a disappointing turn of events. Ester took no time to think about her answer. Kind as their offer was she would hear nothing of it. “Perfect” or not she was now Ester’s puppy! She went on to remind us that people adopt pets with special needs and love them just the same.*

Ester came into our lives in 1989 at three months of age, barely surviving the flight up from Guatemala due to her critical heart condition. After much prayer, medical intervention and years of TLC she survived her many operations and recently celebrated her 30th birthday.

When she was 18 months old Brooksyne and I visited Guatemala to see some other children we had cared for. Our hosts were a wealthy Guatemalan couple. The wife had a burden for the orphans including Ester for whom she arranged the trip to America to get medical intervention. Her husband, an MIT educated leader in the country, did not feel the same way.

During a conversation with him, knowing of Ester’s health matters, he strongly discouraged us from proceeding with her adoption, not only due to her health problems but also because of her ethnicity. She is of Mayan Indian descent which was looked down upon by our host. I still recall his words, “You don’t want to adopt her. We can get you a child that has a perfect heart.” I suppose he meant well and made his suggestion with our interest in mind, but to us it reflected a devaluing of life, both of her ethnicity and fragile health. His frankness took us back and certainly did not deter our plans of adopting Ester.

Today let’s explore the story of a boy that would be described in our day as one with special needs. Mephibosheth is among our favorite lesser known Bible characters. Dropped as a very small child he was “lame in both feet”. His story is told in 2 Samuel 9 and, if you’re not familiar with his life, you may need to read this entire chapter and some study material about him. Today’s message is a summary.

He had a lot more than his share of problems and was now the sole surviving member of Saul’s family with David as the king. His personal esteem couldn’t sink any lower as he saw the importance of his life to be no more than that of a “dead dog”. Since dogs were not valued by the Hebrew culture (in the sense we do as pets) this self-description packs a double whammy, kind of like me referring to myself as “a dead skunk”.

Mephibosheth with DavidBut David models the love of God when he sought Mephibosheth out and made a place at the King’s table for him, “like one of the king’s sons”, not just for the evening but for the rest of his life. He gave him land and appointed servants that provided for his needs. This is an excellent illustration of generosity and grace exhibited in the Old Testament.

Many of you may not be able to identify with Mephibosheth at all. Life for you has been pretty good. Most importantly you have an assurance of God’s love and a network of family and caring people around you.

We encourage you to consider others who may need a lift today by your expression of personal interest or your gesture of kindness and generosity. David so powerfully illustrates God’s grace in the fact that he didn’t wait for Mephibosheth to cross his path, but actually made the necessary effort to locate him and then chose to personally bless him. How can you demonstrate that grace today to one who might be regarded as among “the least of these”?

There are others of you who readily identify with Mephibosheth. Life’s always been hard and you’ve wondered when and if things will ever flow smoothly. It’s been one hard blow after another and you could reckon the value of your own life as that of a “dead dog”. You question in your mind, “Does anyone love me? Does anyone really care?” And here you are reading this message. God wants you to hold onto this unchanging truth that is filled with eternal hope: God loves you and He cares about you.

The fact is, apart from the love and mercy of God, every one of us are as “dead dogs”. John Newton put it this way, “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me!” Or as the hymn “I Stand Amazed In The Presence” expresses it, “a sinner, condemned, unclean”. “At The Cross” has these words, “Would He devote that sacred head for such a worm as I?” We rightly despair at our hopeless condition apart from Christ’s redemption. But what glorious hope we have in Christ!

He calls us to endure the temporal difficulties while living our lives here on earth, but He’s invited us to enjoy the eternal delights of living our lives in heaven. He has saved the best for last, but that’s OK because that’s where we’ll be forever and always, long after the troubles of this life have faded from view! I’m sure glad it’s not the other way around, though, for those who choose not to enter the kingdom of God, it surely is!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, there is much that we don’t understand on this side; why some go through life seemingly with ease and little trouble, and others seem to be born with trouble that never goes away. It is not for us to understand Your ways for You are a God of mystery with greater purpose than we can comprehend, and yet You have made clear to us through Scripture that which we are to understand. Some of the very trouble we seek to avoid is what brings us to faith and causes us to live a life that is honoring to You and purposeful to others. Keep our hearts sensitive and compassionate toward those who are undervalued by the world’s standards. When we put ourselves in their place, we identify with their struggles and feel the deep hurt they experience when looked down upon and rejected by others. May we be Your tender arm of compassion and Your gentle voice of acceptance and unconditional love. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Context of today’s passage: 2 Samuel 9

* When Ester and Brooksyne took Sadie Willow on Monday to Dr. Albright for her distemper shot and wellness check up as a puppy, she recommended that when she is spayed at six months they will also suture the cherry eye back into its proper place. In the meantime Brooksyne is rubbing a steroid cream into her eye hoping that her condition might reverse. The vet prescribed the cream and said occasionally it is successful in reversing the condition.

Larry and Tina Kester with Curious George 4/5/19Friday morning we ate breakfast with our long-time friends, Larry and Tina Kester, who were visiting from the Lehigh Valley. Later we stopped by the Old Windmill Farm so Tina could see the new goat, Curious George. George is still the size of a small dog and still willing to be held, stroked and cuddled. In fact it seems he thrives on such TLC.
Bench wagon on Old Windmill Farm 4/5/19
Yesterday church was held at the Old Windmill Farm. This bench wagon is used to transport benches from house to house where services are held.
Dutch Country pretzel making 4/4/19
Throughout Lancaster County there are many small businesses such as Dutch Country Pretzels.

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Carried To The Table”  Video  Leeland  A song based upon the story of Mephibosheth and applying it to our redemption in Christ! Includes musician’s intro.
“There’s Always a Place At the Table”  Video   Gaither Vocal Band
“Build My Life/”I Stand Amazed In The Presence”  Video  Calvary Church worship team. I, Brooksyne, sure enjoy singing this song. The tune stays with you long after you sing the words. But, of course, it’s the text that really conveys the Biblical message of building our lives on Christ the solid foundation; great words and great tune, followed by a timeless hymn.

“The Rebound Principle”

Six horse team, Lancaster County PA 4/4/19 (Click to enlarge)

 Equine traffic on a rural back-road in Lancaster County.

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“The Rebound Principle”
Message summary:  Have you sinned? Have you stumbled? Have you fallen? Perhaps you are even down right now as you read this. God has provided a means for spiritual rebound with no additional conditions or limits. Just a straightforward promise based upon His character of forgiveness. When we confess our sins “He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” This really is good news and the best kind of rebound with the bonus of eternity spent in heaven. Joyfully accept His cleansing and forgiveness today.

Listen to our message on your audio player.

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

Basketball swooshThe last several weeks many have been following the NCAA college basketball tournament leading up to the Final Four games this Saturday evening and the national championship game on Monday.

In a basketball game solid play is required all through the game. Most of the attention goes to the scoring. But one key component of success is the rebound. However rebounds themselves are not scores.

In basketball a rebound refers to the ball being retained after a missed shot on offense and the offensive team having another opportunity to score. On defense it’s getting the ball back after your opponent misses a shot. Because even the best players miss shots, rebounding is an important component to having a good basketball team.

1 John 1:9Thank God for another kind of rebound of much greater importance and consequence. If you’ve been a Christian for a while hopefully you’ve memorized the daily verse: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). It’s one of those remarkable truths in the Christian life that form a fundamental principle that has been called “the rebound principle.” It describes the wonderful means that our gracious God has provided for us to rebound or bounce back after we sin.

The apostle John is writing late in the first century, perhaps sixty years after he had walked with Jesus. Peter, Paul and many of the other notable apostles died about thirty years prior to this writing. He’s surely very mature in his faith now. If anyone was ever expected to have fully made it in their spiritual journey and earned the right to point his finger and use a preachy “you” it would have been John at this point in his life. But I find encouraging significance in the personal pronoun he uses throughout the passage. It’s known as the first person plural.  John does not say, “If you confess your sins” but “If we confess our sins.”

Have you sinned? Have you stumbled? Have you fallen? Perhaps you are down right now as you read this. God has provided a means for spiritual rebound with no additional conditions or limits. Just a straightforward promise based upon His character of forgiveness. “When we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” This really is good news and the best kind of rebound with the bonus of eternity spent in heaven. Joyfully accept His cleansing and forgiveness today.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, I lay my sins on Jesus, the spotless Lamb of God. I’m so thankful for Jesus who bears them all and frees me from the accuser’s condemnation. I confess my sins to You, both big and small, so that my crimson stains are washed white in the blood of the sinless Lamb of God and not a stain remains. Thank You for providing Jesus as the Sinbearer who redeems me from the slimy pit of mud and mire, the Solid Rock on which I  stand. Upon my confession, You are faithful and just to forgive me of my sins and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. You put a new song in my heart and a hymn of praise and thanksgiving on my lips. It’s through Jesus’ wonderful name that we can pray to You, Father. Amen.

Today we share several photos from our drive between companies through eastern Lancaster County yesterday.
Lancaster County PA 4/4/19 (Click to enlarge)
A steel-wheeled John Deere tractor

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Mennonite farm, Lancaster County PA 4/4/19 (Click to enlarge)

Gardeners already have spring vegetables planted on this Mennonite farm. One of the first signs of spring are the blooming willow trees.
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Mennonite School, Lancaster County PA 4/4/19 (Click to enlarge)
 Mennonite schoolhouse next to the freshly plowed field.
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Val-Co football, Lancaster County PA 4/4/19 (Click to enlarge)
These Val-Co employees enjoyed a quick 15 minutes of pickup football during their lunch break. These days the majority of lunch rooms are filled with employees thumbing through their cell phones with little to no interaction among fellow employees.  This is a wholesome sight of employees building camaraderie while engaging in healthy exercise, amidst beautiful rural farmland. Only about three weeks ago this was all covered in snow.
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Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
“1 John 1:8,9”  Video  Scripture Memory Songs

“What Time Is It?”


These bright yellow Daffodils at Kleen-Rite remind us Spring has arrived!
“What Time Is It?”
Message summary: So what time is it? “Now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2).

Note: Due to a severe cold, the podcast was not prepared for this message.

“Now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2).

Each week we make a chaplain visit to the Kleen-Rite Corporation in Columbia, PA, a small town along the Susquehanna River about ten miles from where we live. It was once briefly in consideration for being the capitol of the US.* We are glad that didn’t go through as it would have increased the traffic in our area immensely!

National Watch and Clock MuseumColumbia doesn’t have any Smithsonian museums but it does have the National Watch and Clock Museum which is one of the world premier institutions on the record of keeping time. Horology is the study of time. *

Many years ago I visited the museum which has over 12,000 items related to timekeeping and the tour is quite extensive. The collection is international in scope and covers a wide variety of clocks, watches, tools, and other time-related items. The largest collection is of nineteenth-century (1800’s) American clocks and watches. However, additional collections include early English tall case clocks, Asian timepieces from Japan and China, and timekeeping devices from Germany, France, the Netherlands, and Russia. Chronologically, the exhibits take you on a tour through the entire history of timekeeping technology from early non-mechanical devices to today’s atomic and radio-controlled clocks.

Knowing the correct time is very important to modern life. Brooksyne always remembers to put her watch on though I often neglect to do so. Thus when I need the right time I might scramble to find it but it’s not too hard since mobile phones display the time as well as our computers, the radio, the microwave and just about every other electronic device that functions in our home. Now I just say, “Google, what time is it?” Or when all else fails, much to my wife’s chagrin, I call out “Brooksyne, what time is it?”

Our clocks and watches are set to a standard clock on the internet. However in Biblical times people weren’t as cognizant of the exact time as we are. In describing time we find phrases like “watch in the night”.  An hour did not mean a precise 60-minute unit of time, as ancient people neither had the means nor necessity to measure time that way.

But our busy, time-conscience lives can deter us from our most important divine appointment. Let us recognize and give thanks that we still live in “the time of God’s favor”. His offer of redemption is freely offered and through the apostle Paul He wisely counsels us, “Now is the day of salvation”.

M.R. De HaanDr. M.R. DeHaan, founder of the Radio Bible Class (which publishes the “Our Daily Bread” devotional), once preached on God’s judgment and the reality of hell. As he neared the end of his sermon, he stopped abruptly. For an entire minute he didn’t say a word. All that could be heard was the ticking of a large clock on the wall. The sound seemed to grow louder with each passing second. In fact, the steady “tick-tock” became almost deafening to those under conviction by the Holy Spirit.

Then with his commanding voice he reminded the audience, “You are now one minute nearer to eternity!” One woman in the congregation that day admitted that she was frightened. And even though she didn’t receive Christ that evening, the experience of hearing that ticking was so vivid in her mind that it ultimately led to her conversion.

This is our most important appointment in life. Have you dealt with it? It begins by earnestly saying a prayer like this from the heart. “Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner and need your salvation. I place my faith in you and ask you to forgive me of my sins. I make You the Lord of my life and will live seeking to please You according to the Bible.”

So what time is it? “Now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2).

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, how grateful we are that we live in the time of Your favor.  You favor us with Your goodness, love, and provisions. But most of all You favor us with redemption through the precious blood of Your Son, Jesus Christ.  Jesus paid the price and we are recipients of His love and forgiveness.  We give thanks for our salvation and we pray for any who has not made that divine appointment with You to make this the day of their salvation, for now is the time of Your favor and now is the day of their salvation.  Amen.

Goat and box of chicks 4/2/19
Curious George, the baby goat, and chicks.

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Now Is The Day Of Salvation”  Video  2 Corinthians 6:2 from the Integrity Scripture Memory series.

* In the spring of 1788, Samuel Wright had the area surveyed and formally laid out the town into 160 building lots, which were distributed by lottery at 15 shillings per ticket. “Adventurers”, as purchasers were known, included speculators from many areas of the country. Wright and town citizens renamed the town “Columbia” in honor of Christopher Columbus in the hope of influencing the new U.S. Congress to select it as the nation’s capital, a plan George Washington favored; a formal proposal to do so was made in 1789. Unfortunately for the town, when Congress voted in 1790, the final tally was one vote short. Later, Columbia narrowly missed becoming the capital of Pennsylvania; Harrisburg was chosen instead, being closer to the state’s geographical center. (Wikipedia)

* Hora is the Greek word translated hour. Horology is the study of time.

The National Watch and Clock Museum Other interesting attractions in Columbia are the Turkey Hill Experience and the Susquehanna Gateway Heritage Area. Here’s an interesting video.  We enjoy biking on the Northwest Lancaster County River Trail that begins at the Heritage Center and runs on an old railway bed up the river.


“Blest Be The Tie That Binds”

Jim and Dorothy Schmidt, 4/3/19The Schmidts walked into a surprise for their 64th anniversary celebration.
“Blest Be The Tie That Binds”
Message summary:  We hope each of our readers have the blessing of ties that truly bind!

Podcast not prepared for this message
“Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone'” (Genesis 2:18). “God places the lonely in families” (Psalm 68:6).

Blest be the tie that binds
Our hearts in Christian love;
The fellowship of kindred minds
Is like to that above.
Yesterday our friends, Jim and Dorothy Schmidt, celebrated their 64th wedding anniversary. Last night we took them “out” for dinner not telling them where, only that we needed to make a stop at the Old Windmill Farm before we would later dine together.  Jesse and Anna Lapp, along with their seven children are mutual friends with the Schmidts and secretly “schemed” with Brooksyne to host the Schmidts anniversary celebration at the Old Windmill Farm aka the Lapp’s home. We did indeed surprise the Schmidts and had a wonderful time of fellowship around the long table and later as we visited together in the living room.
In the course of life things don’t always go as we plan, even in the life of a believer (as you well know!).  Several years ago Jim and Dorothy’s younger son passed away taking a piece of their heart with him. Adding to their sorrow, they now have an estranged relationship with their remaining son, which brings on grief of a different sort. Making emotions even more conflicting for them is that their son celebrates his birthday on the same day that Jim and Dorothy celebrate their wedding anniversary.
We met the Schmidts at a conference in 2000 when we lived in New England before moving to Lancaster County. The Lapps became our neighbors in early 2003 and we introduced them to the Schmidts ten years ago. The three families have a somewhat unlikely friendship but mutually we help meet a relational need in each other’s lives when we’re altogether, since our four generations are much like that of a family setting where Great Grandparents, Grandparents, Parents and the Children gather to eat around the table, share together in fellowship, and express interest in one another’s daily lives. It’s an uplifting time to be with those who know you best and still love you most (a great line in the song, “I Am Loved” by the Gaithers).
Throughout Genesis 1 we have the repeated phrase, “And God saw that it was good” culminating with the phrase on the sixth day, “God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good”. But in Genesis 2 we observe the first “not good” in Scripture, “It is not good for the man to be alone”.   
Loneliness is a universal phenomenon that many experience in every culture, regardless of race, nationality, age, or any other factor. You can be in a huge crowd and still be lonely. From an old sixties song come these self-questioning words, “All the lonely people, where do they all come from? All the lonely people where do they all belong?” Another song says it well, “One is the loneliest number”.

The word “lonely” conveys such lonesomeness and isolation. Many lonely people are not necessarily distant from other people. In fact they may very well be surrounded by people in a city, office environment, or even their own family members. Even as the planet gets more and more populated and social media offers numerous formats for communication, it seems loneliness continues to spread.

Fundamentally it’s because people have tried replacing the divinely appointed order of our relationship with God, family, and the fellowship of other believers with a host of artificial replacements. Even the meaning of “friend” has changed. Now people collect “friends” on social websites; people they may not even personally know or have any significant relationship with.

In the beginning God and man had close fellowship and since that time many have had the wonderful assurance expressed by David in the Shepherd’s Psalm, “Thou art with me”. That’s the greatest antidote to loneliness! Hide deeply in your heart these words of our Lord Jesus Christ, “Surely I am with you always” (Matthew 28:20). “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).

In the beginning God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone” and made a helper suitable for him and thus ordained marriage. “God places the lonely in families” (Psalm 68:6). We may also refer to our church body or Christian friends as the “family of believers”. Jesus defined the meaning of the spiritual family when He expressed to his biological family in Luke 8:21, “My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it”. Right now there are people in our lives that I can easily relate to as a spiritual parent, a spiritual sibling or a spiritual child. Today I urge you to treasure and nurture your biological family ties as well as your spiritual family.

However as I conclude I still consider the precious souls reading this who are lonely today. It may be that you are separated from your companion or soul-mate by death. Perhaps you’ve been abandoned by an unfaithful spouse, or are dealing with estranged children. I don’t minimize your pain even though it is not presently my experience. Here are several considerations:

  • Lean heavily upon the steadfast love of the Lord that never ceases. You will find Him to be a friend that sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24b).
  • If you aren’t already, become active in a local Bible-believing church with a caring pastor and congregation. For even closer relationships join a small group fellowship.
  • Often the quickest way to end loneliness is to reach out to another who has a need.  When we put others needs first, God has a way of fulfilling our own inner need.
  • If you’re lonely due to past hurts and you remain guarded, seek God for healing and start giving of yourself again to cultivate a friendship. After all, Scripture says, “He who wants to make friends must show himself to be friendly” (Proverbs 18:24a). Take the first step by extending yourself as a friend; if a friendship is not reciprocated, reach out to another.

We hope each of our readers have the blessing of ties that truly bind!

I’m so glad I’m a part of the family of God.
I’ve been washed in the fountain, cleansed by His blood!
Joint heirs with Jesus as we travel this sod.
For I’m part of the family, the family of God.
Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, thank You for the many Scriptures that reassure us we’re never alone, such as the oft quoted comfort Psalm, “Thou art with me”.  It’s when we look solely to other people to cure our loneliness that we neglect the greatest cure which is looking to You and finding guidance and solace in Scripture which says, “Surely I am with you always” (Matthew 28:20). Jesus’ promise that He will never leave us nor forsake us enables us to endure even in the loneliest of circumstances. We are encouraged and strengthened by Your promises and by the presence of Your Holy Spirit which keeps us from being alone for all time. Amen.


We have been to the Old Windmill farm twice with friends the last several days and always enjoy sharing photos.
Brooksyne and Marsha with Curious George 3/31/19
Brooksyne and Marsha holding Curious George, the two week old goat that will be a farm favorite all summer like Daisy was two years ago. Little goats are much like little puppies, but even funnier. Their fur is still soft instead of coarse and wiry, their hooves are still tender not calloused, they don’t fight but let you hold them like a young puppy. (That’s Brooksyne’s description of why she can’t resist holding them while they’re small.)
Old Windmill Farm barnyard animals 3/31/19
The barnyard is a favorite spot for Old Windmill Farm tour guests.
Old Windmill Farm barnyard chickens 3/31/19
Barnyard chickens.
Old Windmill Farm, curious George with curious Stephen 3/31/19
With Curious George even I enjoy holding him!
Old Windmill Farm garden and shed 3/31/19

A gardener can appreciate this soil all ready for spring planting. Jesse used “green manure” (cover crop) through the winter. On Saturday he turned it over into the soil. In several months this will be an impressive garden filled with fresh vegetables and colorful flowers.

Jim and Dorothy Schmidt with cake, 4/3/19
Jim & Dorothy cut the first piece of cake before we all indulged. “Jim & Dorothy, 64 years of enduring love.”

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
“Blest Be The Tie That Binds”  Video

“Tune My Heart To Sing Thy Grace”

Strasburg steam engine from Casey Jones dining car 3/31/19

The Strasburg Railroad Steam Engine 89 built in 1910 passing by the dining car of the Casey Jones restaurant where we dined for lunch yesterday. (Photo by Ester)
“Tune My Heart To Sing Thy Grace”
Message summary: Our hearts need regular tuning as we are confronted with conflicting tones in various settings all throughout life. We need to constantly tune in to hear the voice of God, foundationally through His authoritative, inspired, and inerrant Word, the Holy Scriptures.

Listen to our message on your audio player.

“Teach me Your way, Lord, that I may rely on Your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear Your Name” (Psalm 86:11).

Come thou fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace
Streams of mercy never ceasing
Call for songs of loudest praise

Leavitt Keener piano tuning 4/1/19

Yesterday morning we had our piano tuned by Leavitt Keener, who has tuned our piano since we moved to Lancaster County in 2001. Brooksyne has been a bit negligent in getting her piano tuned and learned that Leavitt was ill, so put it off even longer. When he walked in today, his face glowed, as he said, “I received a miracle!” He has a testimony of being a three year survivor of pancreatic cancer. He undergoes chemo every three weeks and will need cancer drugs the rest of his life, but he is rejoicing that God spared his life, there is no presence of cancer in his body, and he is back to work, only taking time off to recover after his  chemo treatments.
Listening to Leavitt at work from our office downstairs, one could mistakenly think that a child was striking the keys, one note after another. I was tempted to holler up from our office, “Stop banging on our piano!”

In tuning our piano Leavitt initially uses a standardized Tune my hearttuning fork set to a very specific tone. This forms the basis for tuning each note on the piano. If he begins with the wrong tone it will adversely affect his entire tuning job. (Note to self: that would be a good illustration.)

The tuning begins near the middle of the keyboard. It’s the starting point and standard for the piano tuner’s work. He gets the pitch from a metal tuning fork that vibrates at a frequency of 440Hz. Its pitch is constant; it is never out of tune. Of course everything gets higher tech and Leavitt also uses some type of electronic meter as well.

You surely have heard the hymn and may just want to break out into song at reading these words, “Come thou fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing Thy grace.” What an unusual descriptive phrase the songwriter uses to petition God for dealing with one’s heart. We often pray for a softened heart, an undivided heart, a steadfast heart, a renewed heart, a loving heart, etc.

But today let us consider the notion of having our hearts tuned. We speak of not only tuning a piano but also an engine tune-up in a vehicle. We get a tune-up with the purpose of restoring the engine to optimum performance.

George Washington CarverOne of my favorite historical characters is George Washington Carver, a fellow Missourian. He was able to see the hand of God in nature. Carver said, “I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station through which God speaks to us every hour if we will only tune in.”

One of the great spiritual responsibilities we have is exercising discernment and teaching those whom we influence to do so as well. There is a cacophony of voices that call out to us to go the wrong way. We are exposed to these voices at all ages, but our youth are particularly vulnerable. We need to constantly tune in to hear the voice of God, foundationally through His authoritative, inspired, and inerrant Word, the Holy Scriptures.

Our hearts need regular tuning as we are confronted with conflicting tones in various settings all throughout life. The dissident tones of this world are ever tugging at our mind and can get us off pitch from our spiritual relationship with God, usually at a gradual rate, so that we might even be unaware.

Tuning up our hearts to the standard of God’s perfect pitch is an essential exercise for all believers. The best tuning “fork” in the Bible is found in Hebrews 4:12, “The Word of God is living and active, sharper than any double edged sword. It penetrates, even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

Today’s daily text is one of those treasures from the Psalmist: “Teach me Your way, Lord, that I may rely on Your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear Your Name.” We are especially gripped by the phrase, “Give me an undivided heart”. What a powerful description of a heart that is in tune with God’s heart!

Like the piano, when we tune into God’s voice and hear His message, there are other messages bombarding our minds and trying to take over or distort His clear, unambiguous message. I want to fine tune my heart to receive what God has for me not giving ear to that which distorts, revises, or adds to the truth of God’s Word.

Teach me some melodious sonnet
Sung by flaming tongues above
I’ll praise the mount, I’m fixed upon it
Mount of Thy redeeming love

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, I want my heart to be tuned to Your Truth and righteousness, for You are the Way, the Truth and the Life. I place my complete trust in You and reject the godless trends and vain philosophies promoted by the world.  May Your words be embedded in my heart and mind through the faithful study of Scripture so that I might not sin against You and I will easily recognize truth from error. Since I’m often prone to wander, I ask You, Father God, to mount my soul on Thy redeeming love and tune my heart to all that is good, righteous, and holy so that my attitudes and actions are harmonious with the Scriptures, in the precious name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

The piano tuning lesson today prompted a few other “piano” memories
Brooksyne playing Steinway grand pianoMany years ago Brooksyne played this Steinway baby grand piano at a friend’s home in Maryland. I snapped this photo from the balcony.

Brooksyne and Elnora playing Steinway grand pianos 10/17/16
Two years ago we visited Marilyn, the friend who had the piano in the first photo, in San Diego. She had moved the black Steinway into her beautiful home in San Diego and it now sits beside her other Steinway. While we were there another friend, Elnora Dresselhaus, stopped to visit. Since she’s also a pianist it was a perfect time for the two of them to play a duet. Their song of choice was: “How Great Thou Art” but it took only a few notes of their playing to realize the pianos are not set to the same tuning. It wasn’t quite the pleasant sound we had all hoped for. Brooksyne backed off since we wanted to hear the beautiful hymn as it should sound. Elnora is a very gifted pianist and has played on this piano over the years.

When Jesus played the piano!
  Here in Lancaster County we are blessed to have Sight & Sound, sometimes touted as the “Christian Broadway”, which has been dramatizing adventuresome Bible Epics for nearly 40 years, complete with story, song, and spectacular staging and effects. There’s also a Sight and Sound Theater in Branson, Missouri where we honeymooned in 1976.

We have enjoyed these outstanding presentations through the years, most recently one simply titled “Jesus”. Each one ends with a clear presentation of the Gospel. Of course, the actors are actually local “real” people known throughout the community and in area churches they attend.

A number of years ago Juanita, my mother’s longtime friend, shared the following story with us during a visit in her home located in the Branson, MO area. She and her late husband, Warren, had many contacts in the Branson area and were able to get us some free or discounted tickets to several shows and attractions. In fact in three days we attended five!

The attraction that stood out most was the presentation of a drama called “The Promise” which powerfully presented the message of the Gospel. Randy Brooks, the actor who portrayed Jesus, did an outstanding job and is himself a devout believer. In a remarkable way he really fit the stereotypical art image we have of Christ.

Juanita told me they had taken their grandchildren to see the play one Saturday evening and the next day Randy attended their church and was playing the piano. Their grandson in wide-eyed amazement pointed out, “Look, Grandma! Jesus is playing the piano!”

Old fashioned radio
Brooksyne’s Tuning Memory: Our message today takes me back to my childhood when my dad proudly brought home a second hand (probably third or fourth hand) radio console from the 1930’s era. It was solid wood with a veneer finish and had the typical dial tuner. As a family we were pretty excited about the “antique” radio and right away we tried to find our favorite radio stations. The problem was we couldn’t hear our station clearly without nearby stations trying to butt in. We would try to fine tune it but then we’d then run into static as we got further and further from the actual station we were trying to hear. But if we were patient and fine tuned it delicately and with much deliberation we’d finally get the station we wanted. Of course, anyone who then messed with the dial was in big trouble. Like the radio, when we tune into God’s voice and hear His message, there are other messages bombarding our minds and trying to take over or distort His clear, unambiguous message. I pray that I will regularly fine tune my heart to receive what God has for me which means I will not give ear to that which distorts, revises, or adds to the truth of God’s Word.

More photos from our weekend
Tom and Marsha Neizmik, Casey Jones dining car 3/31/19
On Sunday we were blessed to have our long-time friends, Tom and Marsha Neizmik, who had come to Lancaster County for the Sight and Sound show, join us in a church service and then share a meal at the Casey Jones Restaurant eating in an authentic railroad dining car. The Casey Jones restaurant is at the place where you can stay in restored cabooses at the Red Caboose Motel although now the cabooses are painted their original colors. Tom and Marsha came into the church we pastored in northern Pennsylvania nearly 40 years a young married couple. They were a great blessing to our ministry and have served the Lord in many ways. Most notably in our view is that together they have overseen and often lead a weekly service in a nursing facility for over 35 years starting in their early twenties.
Strasburg Railway train from Casey Jones dining car 3/31/19
The views from the dining car are interesting whether it be the train passing or pasture land or later viewing the tall corn fields.
Amish couple from Casey Jones dining car 3/31/19
A young Amish couple on an open spring wagon likely going to Youth Meeting.
Tom and Marsha at Casey Jones restaurant 3/31/19
Tom and Marsha remain fun-loving and youthful even after 40 years of marriage. Here they climb a ladder on a box car on the Casey Jones restaurant porch.

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing”  Video  Buddy Green, Jeff Taylor This is the song that has the line, “Tune my heart to sing Thy grace.”
“Yes And Amen”  Video  Calvary Church Worship Band
Once we had our piano tuned and had an interesting problem we shared about it in a footnote in this message.
Finally today:

Piano tunersChildren “tuning” our piano many years ago. Now Sadie, the middle child, is 13 and the two boys, David and James, are not too far behind in age!