“Hope For The Nations”

December 4, 2017

Donate to Daily Encouragement NetPlease see below for our 2017 year-end financial appeal.
Moon 12/3/17 (Photo by Ester)
We are pleased to see Ester’s continued interest and seriousness about her photography. Last night she noticed an interesting moon and took the tripod and her camera out for this shot through a tree. We read in this article that this is known as a supermoon.

“Hope For The Nations”

Note: I am still dealing with severe cold and have essentially lost my voice today. Brooksyne took Ester to a dental appointment followed by a chaplain visit. Thankfully she is virtually through with the cold she had but I am still fighting mine.

Message summary: Today I urge you to consider the wonderful blessing of the hope we have in Christ. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul (Hebrews 6:19).

Due to my vocal condition a podcast was not prepared today.

“In His name the nations will put their hope” (Matthew 12:21). “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope” (Romans 15:4).

Yesterday was the first Sunday in Advent, a time when many churches begin their focus on the Incarnation of Jesus Christ (Christmas). The theme for the first Sunday is Hope. Yesterday I was scheduled to speak at a Teen Challenge men’s center and had prepared a message on hope that I was unable to use due to my cold so we will adapt it to this Daily Encouragement message!

According to a dictionary hope is a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen. Hope is an optimistic state of mind that is based on an expectation of positive outcomes with respect to events and circumstances in one’s life or the world at large. As a verb, its definitions include: “expect with confidence” and “to cherish a desire with anticipation”. However in reality when we speak of hope it is often a wishful thought.

But the word for hope in the Bible has a sense of being an absolute certainty, one of those early lessons from Bible College I have never forgotten!

It’s interesting to me that the word “hope” is not found in any of the traditional accounts of the birth of Christ in Scripture (Matthew and Luke) In fact it’s only found a few times in the Gospels.

In our daily text Jesus is teaching and quotes a portion from Isaiah concerning Himself (Isaiah 42:1-4) The portion ends with the powerful phrase, “In His name the nations will put their hope”.

In two thousand years of church history we see this being fulfilled. The Great Commission of Christ was to “go into all the world and preach the Gospel”. The church, being made up of redeemed people, surely has many flaws but thank God for the many who have taken this commission seriously and now all around this terrestrial ball in virtually every nation there are men and women placing their hope in Christ. Actually I believe there is now hardly a nation on the earth where Christ does not have a representative.

Today I urge you to consider the wonderful blessing of the hope we have in Christ. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul (Hebrews 6:19).

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Jesus, thank You for the great blessing of hope. Help me not to waste my time and energy in futile or wishful thinking. Instead I want to fix my thoughts upon the living hope I have in Jesus Christ my Lord. I anchor my soul in the bedrock of Your Holy Word so that when other viewpoints counter the truths prescribed in Your Word my anchor remains firm. When difficulties appear insurmountable remind me that I serve an extraordinary God who does not rely on natural solutions but works in the supernatural realm to meet each one of my needs. Your solutions to my problems are not subject to my scrutiny but rather I conform to Your leading and accept Your plan for my life. In doing so I am not tossed to and fro by wishful thinking but I am firmly grounded in the living hope of our resurrected Lord and Savior. It is in His name that we pray, Amen.


Donate to Daily Encouragement NetSpecial Year-end Financial Appeal: We want to thank all who have financially supported our ministry this past year (and some for many years!). We realize there are many fine ministries and causes requesting support at this time but if the Lord would lead you we surely need and appreciate the financial support from our readers and listeners. Like many ministries, we typically see a spike in giving at the end of the year for which we are most thankful.

Our ministry labor is comprised of approximately half our time to Daily Encouragement and the other half to our chaplaincy ministry to companies for which we receive compensation. 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 would provide half of our ministry expenses and income.

If you would consider making a donation to our ministry see here for more information.

To donate directly online here. This will open to a page that designates the offering to: WEBER,STEPHEN CHAP, Specialized Chaplaincy Ministry ID: 700001-237376

Make A DonationPlease Note: We also provide this familiar option due to the convenience, for international supporters, and for those who may not be concerned regarding receiving an official tax deductible receipt. Click here to donate using PayPal. This will open to a page that designates the offering to: “brooksyne@dailyencouragement.net”

Thank you

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Hope for All Nations”  Video  Karen Peck and New River

“Hope Has Hands!”  Video  Greater Vision

“What A Beautiful Name”  Video  Voices Of Lee

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Send a message to Stephen & Brooksyne

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“Lying Lips”

December 1, 2017

Lancaster County PA farm scene 11/30/17
Due to my cold Brooksyne went solo yesterday for chaplain visits. She was rerouted around a large sawmill fire near Leola PA which can be seen in the distance.

“Lying Lips”

Message summary: Today we encourage our readers to “speak the truth in love”.

Note: I (Stephen) am dealing with severe cold and am homebound today. Brooksyne is largely recovered from a cold she had earlier in the week and has left for chaplain visitation. Due to my hoarse voice a podcast will not be prepared for this message.

“Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who deal faithfully are His delight” (Proverbs 12:22). “Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices” (Colossians 3:9).

Tommy Carpenter is a friend from Arkansas we met about ten years ago in a “chance” meeting in my chaplain supervisor’s office in Springfield, MO. Tommy has become a real source of encouragement through the year although we have only visited face to face a couple of times. He has one of the most spiritually edifying Facebook pages I have seen. Tommy is in his late seventies but maintains an energetic faith-filled outlook in life. He continues to lead mission trips to Belize where he had served as a missionary

Several weeks ago I saw a post on his Facebook page that initially seemed rather uncharacteristic of him. Using one of those bright colored backgrounds it stated, “Calling our home phone will go directly to voice mail to screen all calls. If you want us to call back leave a message.”  He went on to elaborate, “I don’t owe student loans, I don’t need insurance, I don’t need to extend the warranty on my vehicle, I don’t need to get my computer fixed and I don’t want to talk to a recorded call!”

I know the types of calls Tommy is referring to and get several a day in spite of being in programs that are supposed to block these calls. At least some of them now identify as “suspected spam” on the caller id. I think these callers get more and more “wise” to the system and  find ways to get around it, one being to fake the number being called from so you think it’s a local call. Due to our chaplaincy responsibilities we want to be accessible to people who may call us who may not be in our contact list.

Most of these calls, apart from being extremely annoying and disruptive, are essentially lies.

Lying sure seems to be increasing in our age with varying degrees of deceptive speech and so many ways to disseminate falsehood. A popular expression this last year has been “fake news”. Of course in so many cases the determination of what constitute “fake” depends on your ideology or really often what you want to believe. My observation is that there is a lot of lying going on regardless of whether one is on the left or on the right, with a view that the end justifies the means. This is an age that true followers of Jesus Christ need the gift of discernment.

The first lie in the Bible was Satan to Adam and Eve (Genesis 3) earning him the title “father of lies” (John 8:44). All through the Bible and human history people have had the propensity to lie. One of the Ten Commandments specifically addresses lying, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor” (Exodus 20:16).

Proverbs 12:22 speaks clearly about how God views lying, “Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord”.

A great verse to consider and apply from the New Testament is “Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices” (Colossians 3:9).

Today we encourage our readers to “speak the truth in love” a phrase from Ephesians 4:15.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, in an age where deception, trickery, scheming, and outright lying are prevalent in the government, media, marketplace, workplace, family, and sadly even in some churches help us to cease from lying to one another and instead speak the truth in love. Give us discernment that we may recognize lying tongues that come to us in so many ways in this information age. Help us to always speak the truth even if it may hurt. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.


Amish bench wagon 11/30/17
Brooksyne saw this bench wagon being transported yesterday. These wagons hold the benches for the Amish church services that are rotated between member’s homes and barns.

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“To Tell the Truth”  Video  Sovereign Grace Ministries  A children’s song with a message for all ages!

Finally today:

Deer outside hospital window
A friend shared this photo with Brooksyne yesterday. His wife was in the Women and Babies Hospital following surgery and this buck was lurking outside and they took this photo.
Broken hospital windowApparently he wanted in and broke the glass in the attempt! Now that will be a memorable hospital visit.

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.

Mushroom ad seen on truck

“We Do Our Best Work In The Dark”

Message summary: Just as it can be said of mushrooms it can also be said of Christians that “We Do Our Best Work In The Dark”. Now to be clear this is not to assert that we are to walk in darkness. As Christians we are called to walk in the light but since we live in this dark world we still do some of our work in the dark.

Note: Due to a hoarse throat condition a podcast will not be prepared for this message.

“They grope in darkness with no light” (Job 12:25). “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them” (Ephesians 5:8-11).

Kennett Square PA water towerOur area, especially Chester County to the east of us, is a prime area for growing mushrooms. Mushrooms are kind of like honey in the sense you don’t want to give a lot of thought to how it’s made (honey) or grown (mushrooms). Several years ago we went to Kennett Square the “Mushroom Capitol of the World” for their annual “Mushroom Festival” and had a number of delicacies made with mushrooms including ice cream!

A mushroom growing operation emits a rather distinctive, quite unpleasant odor due to the medium they are grown in something you would probably rather not know.* Although mushrooms are classified as vegetables, technically they are not plants but part of the kingdom called fungi, which is something else you probably don’t want to think about when you are eating them!

Mushroom soupNevertheless, we both enjoy eating mushrooms such as mushroom soup, baked on a pizza, cut up into salads, as part of an omelet, etc. Mushrooms are also nutritionally good having many necessary vitamins (a 3 ounce portabella cap has more potassium than a banana).

Several weeks we saw a large truck that was transporting mushrooms for the To-Jo mushroom company which had an interesting slogan on it, “We Do Our Best Work In The Dark”. Mushrooms indeed grow in the dark so that’s a fitting statement.

But it can be said not only of mushrooms but of Christians that “We Do Our Best Work In The Dark”. Now to be clear this is not to assert that we are to walk in darkness. As Christians we are called to walk in the light but since we live in this dark world we still do some of our work in the dark.

Some of the most outstanding examples of witness are when Christ followers work in dark places. We consider those seeking to uphold Biblical moral standards in a dark world where good is called evil, and evil is called good, those who take a stand in regard to life in opposition to the powerful abortion proponents, those who work in rescue missions in “skid row” and in many other ways. These are dark places that need the light of Jesus Christ.

An ancient word from Job is so pertinent, “They grope in darkness with no light.” This verse deals with leaders. “He makes the nations great, then destroys them; He enlarges the nations, then leads them away. He deprives of intelligence the chiefs of the earth’s people and makes them wander in a pathless waste. They grope in darkness with no light, and He makes them stagger like a drunken man” (Job 12:23-25). This is certainly a portion worthy of further consideration and seems so incredibly descriptive of our own age.

The radiant light of God’s Holy Word exposes and dispels darkness. When God’s servants live as children of light, darkness is dissipated.

All of us, in one way or another, have some darkness around us. By God’s grace and through His might, as believers we want our light to shine brightly to expose and then dispel the darkness! We cannot dabble in darkness and still live in the light. God has not called us to blend in but rather we are to stand out as those whose lives are filled “with goodness, righteousness and truth”. When we try to blend in we are putting ourselves at danger since one force will eventually overtake the other.

We were once darkness but are now light in the Lord and thus we are to live as children of light. We must have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. At this time when crusaders of darkness are applauded and in some instances upheld as role models, let us hear the resounding call God has placed upon us to “live as children of light!”

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Jesus, You are the Light of the world. And because You reside in our hearts we are a reflection of Your holy light. The world we live in is dark and growing even darker as Satan’s sinister and deceitful schemes are being played out. Help us not to look the other way when darkness is spreading lest the darkness overshadow us in time. Instead would You empower us through the power of Your Holy Spirit to shine brightly in a wicked and decadent society. We come against the darkness by speaking against wickedness in all forms. And, Lord, help us to be consistent not only in what we speak but the manner in which we live. May the fruit of light be evident in all we do. It is in Your name, Jesus, that we pray. Amen.

* The mushroom itself is simply a ‘fruit’ of the mycelium that releases spores. The mycelium grows in a black compost of straw and horse manure.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Light Of The World”  Video  Lauren Daigle

A Trip to the Alien Planet That Grows America’s Mushrooms “Chester County, Pennsylvania produces a whopping half of all the mushrooms in the United States, and its spooky farms don’t look like anything else on Earth.”

“How do mushrooms grow?”  Video

Kennett Square Mushroom Festival

To-Jo Mushrooms

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.

“God’s Supply Chain”

November 29, 2017

Lebanon County Barn 11/28/17
Early yesterday morning I passed this tidy white barn on Colebrook Road approaching Lebanon, PA

“God’s Supply Chain”

Message summary: Today let us thank God for His supply chain and consider what part we may have in that chain.

ListenListen to our message on your audio player.

“And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).

Your Hearts Delight supply chainYesterday morning, since Brooksyne was sick with a cold, I alone visited the employees at “Your Heart’s Delight”, a large wholesale distributor of gift and home decor items. This company provides products to the gift shops that women especially like to shop at with items similar to what you find at the Cracker Barrel store gift section.

They had two full 45 foot container trailers to unload and I encouraged the men unloading them by informing them they were part of the “supply chain”. The supply chain is a phrase you hear a lot about. According to Wikipedia, “A supply chain is a system of organizations, people, activities, information, and resources involved in moving a product or service from supplier to customer. Supply chain activities involve the transformation of natural resources, raw materials, and components into a finished product that is delivered to the end customer.”

Supply chains are a part of how life works but we usually consider just the link in the chain immediately before us. When we thank God for our meal we may ask God to “bless the hands that prepared it”, which Brooksyne has always gotten a kick out of as she mentally pictures detached hands peeling vegetables and stirring foods on the stove, then laying out the food.

We may say we got our food at the supermarket. But there are many, many links in the supply chain prior to that. When I pray over our meals I often remember these chain links such as the farmer, the truck drivers, the distribution workers and so forth. But actually we consider how the chain really goes back even further to the people who make the agricultural equipment that the farmer uses and on and on.

Today let us consider “God’s Supply Chain”.  Perhaps many of you have memorized our text which is one of the great promises of the Bible: “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).

The apostle Paul was initially writing this to the Philippian believers in the context of being content with God’s provisions. “I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need” (Philippians 4:11,12). Many of you will know by memory the powerful verse that follows. Think about it first and then click here to confirm or inform!

Just as there is a tendency to overlook the links in a supply chain apart from the preceding link, the same is true in God’s supply chain. This chain has both supernatural and natural elements. God may supernaturally supply a need such as the manna in the wilderness or feeding 5,000 with a little boy’s lunch.

Val-Co regulatorBut God usually works through natural means in His supply chain with people acting diligently, resourcefully, and generously in doing their part. We should not only be an end link in this chain as recipients but we should function as other links as well. Today we consider a quiet man that probably has been a part of the supply chain for many of our readers. Ray works at a company (Val-Co) that manufactures watering equipment for the poultry industry. He assembles a regulator that is a critical component in this system used in both layer houses (eggs) and broiler houses (meat). He has been assembling these regulators since we started in this company in 2007 and many years before that. He has surely assembled hundreds of thousands of these regulators. So, if you’ve eaten eggs or chicken in the last 25 years Ray very likely had a part in that!

Today let us thank God for His supply chain and consider what part we may have in that chain.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we thank You that in Your perfect design You have work for all of us to do, whether it’s at the beginning of the supply chain or at the end. You also skill people to promote or distribute these products so that they make helpful contributions to our daily lives. Whether it’s factory worker making equipment, the farmer who raises the poultry, the truck driver transporting the poultry, the employees at the factory who clean and process the eggs or meat, the butchers that safely stores the poultry before purchase, or the person who prepares it for others to enjoy at their dinner table many people have a role in the supply chain. Today we are grateful for the part we have in the work that we are given. May we do it heartily as unto You…for it is You that we seek to please and thereby we bless others as well. Amen.


Lebanon County Barn 11/28/17
We shared a photo of this stone farmhouse with last Friday’s message but yesterday when Brooksyne took her afternoon walk on the Donegal Springs trail she snapped this photo with the sheep in the foreground. Few sights are as peaceful as grazing sheep on a hillside. And when little lambs hobble along or nestle near their mothers it’s more than peaceful; it’s charming and brings a smile to even the hardest of hearts.
(Click to enlarge)

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“My God Shall Supply” (Philippians 4:19 & Hebrew 4:16)  Video  Scripture Memory Songs

“Our God”  Video  Chris Tomlin

“Family Chain”  Video  The Nelons

Further study: Philippians 4:19 is a rich verse to consider and for those who desire further study see this online commentary compendium.

“Your Heart’s Delight”

“Val-Co”

Finally today:
Ian baptism hug with mother 11/26/17

We witnessed a baptism on Sunday and share Ian’s testimony with you today. Since the person being baptized is at quite a distance to most in the large sanctuary they pre-record a video of the baptismal candidate sharing his or her testimony. Just prior to the baptism the video is shared with the congregation. We sit near the front and on Sunday we noticed a large group of people we hadn’t seen before in the first couple of rows in front of us. It turned out to be the family of Ian Salisbury, the young man being baptized. After the baptism he returned to his front row seat but not before he hugged family members and Ester captured this extended and loving embrace of Ian and his mother from New York, (as we learned afterwards). We asked their permission to post it on our site. See here for Ian’s testimony and you’ll also see his face.

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.

“Spiritual Pest Control”

November 28, 2017

Mesa Arch Utah (photo by Howard Blichfeldt)
Mesa Arch, Utah
We’ve been sharing a lot of local photos so we thought today we would share a clearly non-local photo taken by our friend Howard Blichfeldt!

“Spiritual Pest Control”

Message summary: We are in the pest control business. I have to be wary of pests in my own life, as well assisting others deal with the pests in their lives!

ListenListen to our message on your audio player.

“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings” (1 Peter 5:8,9). “To write the same things again is no trouble to me, and it is a safeguard for you” (Philippians 3:1).

Safeguard live animal trapIn our role as corporate chaplains we visit Safeguard, a company that builds live animal traps for the pest control industry. These traps are considered “humane” since the animal pest can be safely caught and then released unharmed in another area (presumably not near your neighbor’s house!).

In a recent visit I spoke to Kelly, the sales manager, about business conditions. The company normally has an uptick in sales in the fall as animals move closer to homes seeking warmth and calls are made to the pest control companies.

I told Kelly that in a sense I am also in the pest control business. I have to be wary of pests in my own life, as well assisting others deal with the pests in their lives!

These pests are the many attempts of the enemy to steal, kill and destroy (See John 10:10). These pests come in so many different forms. Today we will all inevitably deal with a variety of spiritual pests although we may not prefer to think in these terms! The daily Scripture text has a fitting word: “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (I Peter 5:8).

“Be self-controlled and alert.” That’s a short Scripture portion we all should memorize. D. Edmond Hiebert, in his Expositional Commentary, writes on this passage and the specific word translated “self-control”: “a condition free from every form of mental and spiritual loss of self-control; it is an attitude of self-discipline that avoids the extremes of the ‘reckless irresponsibility of self-indulgence on the one hand, and of religious ecstasy on the other.’ It inculcates a calm, steady state of mind that evaluates things correctly, so that it is not thrown off balance by new and fascinating ideas. Such ‘level-headedness’ is a constant Christian need.” Note: This level-headedness is really needed in these times!

“Your enemy the devil”. Perhaps Martin Luther had this verse in mind when he wrote his most famous hymn “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” with this line, “But still our ancient foe, doth seek to work us woe”. The Holman New Testament Commentary states concerning this phrase, “Wake up! Pay attention! We are involved in a spiritual battle. You need to know the enemy and his characteristics. You need to understand that we are in a life-and-death battle.”

“Prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” The dictionary describes the act of prowling as one who goes about “cruising, moving secretly, undercover, incognito, stealing, lying in an ambush.” It’s a perfect description of the tactics of our enemy the devil who lies in wait trying to steal that which is of most importance to us. The Spirit through Peter gives us sound advice that will keep us from being tricked, caught off guard, and entrapped by the enemy’s sinister schemes.

“Resist him, standing firm in the faith” Earlier in his life Peter had resisted the Lord and ended up submitting to Satan! But now many years later he is a stalwart defender of the faith.

“Because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”  Whatever we are facing others have faced it or are presently facing it as well.

Through our study and application of Scripture we can be wise to the many pests we face and to the devil’s schemes which will help us stand firm in the faith. We can also be consoled in knowing there are many others undergoing the same kinds of testings and yet have power through Christ to resist the enemy and endure the suffering that comes from such trials.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, through the knowledge of Your Scriptures, through the application of its truths, and through the power of Your Holy Spirit we can resist the enemy of our souls. When our faith is tested, which is of greater worth than gold, it is done so to test that our faith is genuine. Since faith that is not tested is faith that cannot be trusted, help us to remember that when the enemy is persistently prowling, You are inviting us to prove our faith to be genuine which will help fortify us for future testings and serve as a witness to others that we are who we claim to be; people of faith. Help us also to remember that not only are we undergoing trial, but believers all throughout the world are undergoing the same sufferings or far worse. We want to resist the devil, standing firm in the faith, knowing that the testing of our faith produces endurance and empathy for others who suffer. May we be found faithful. Amen.


Stephen’s Note: Virtually any time we use an analogy such as we did with the trap today there is a breakdown. In the case of the traps catching pests we stressed that they are live animal traps. But the best course for dealing with pests in our lives is, “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry” (Colossians 3:5).

Brooksyne’s Note: A recent example of one who is at last learning and practicing self-control came to me in the form of a text on Thanksgiving Day – a perfect timing for me to break down in joyful tears for this individual.

In my chaplaincy role I met a new employee, introduced myself, gave her my card and invited her to call me if she had need. And she did right away. We met over breakfast and she told me of her long history of drugs and alcoholism. She is in her early 40’s, has married and divorced twice. Her three children chose to break off their relationship with her as her life was such a mess for most of their lives.

It took only a week for me to see it in person as she went on a drunken binge and ended up in the hospital detoxing. I visited with her and with her approval began to make plans for her to once again deal with this life controlling substance abuse. To make a long story short and to make it sweeter her mother traveled over 1000 miles to gather her daughter and put her in a Christian program where she would receive the help she needed. The irony in this sad situation is that her mother has volunteered in prison ministries for over 20 years working with women who are drug dependent.

Sadly, the Christian rehab did not work out and I had my fears that this woman would once again return to addiction. I had only heard from her a couple times over the past year. Then I received the following text on Thanksgiving from her mother (edited and fictional name used):

“God’s blessings to you and your family now and days ahead. Cheryl and I think of you. Her oldest daughter spent ten days with her in October. Her second child is spending Christmas with her. I am thankful the Lord is working in their lives. Thank you for being in His calling on your life when the Lord put you in Cheryl’s life.”

Readers, never give up praying for your loved one who is caught up in Satan’s life controlling devices. Miracles happen everyday, but many of them happen one day at a time.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Chainbreaker”  Video  Zach Williams  We indeed are in the business of pest control and a major pest is the drug scourge which we see in the course of our chaplaincy work. We want to see the chains broken.

Safeguard traps

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.

Photo of Oak Leaf

“A Lesson From Fading Leaves”

Message summary: Am I like an “oak with fading leaves” or like “a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither”?

ListenListen to our message on your audio player.

Autumn leaves, Lancaster Country PA“You will be like an oak with fading leaves” (Isaiah 1:30).

We are blessed with many trees, those in our own yard and in our neighbor’s yards and along the farm fields across the road. We’re in the late-autumn season when leaves from the deciduous trees have changed their colors and texture. With the breezy weather in full force autumn leaves appear to be dancing all about the well-manicured lawns from this past summer. Red, yellow, orange, brown and all the hues in-between gather in piles at fence lines and among the bushes.

Burning leavesAs the season progresses trees go through a process known as abscission; that is, … they drop their leaves. This last weekend I spent a lot of time raking leaves and cleaning up our lawn and landscape areas. My next chore was to dispose of them. Some I mulched into the lawn with the mower, some I placed in large bags for pick-up along the road which is a service of our rural township, others I placed along tree and field lines. I raked some into a pile and burned them, which emitted an aroma like decaying leaves and wood smoke! This morning I look out and, behold, we have still more leaves that have fallen or blown into our yard! I suppose if I posted signs in the yard “NO TRESPASSING” the leaves would just disregard them.

Oak leafIn contrast we have two oaks with an interesting characteristic. They tend to keep their leaves well into the winter, their crimson leaves stubbornly holding on for dear life, though they have little concern for the piles of acorns that drop into our yard. We’re glad the oaks keep their color in a season that can be rather bland. We shared a photo of one of these trees in last Friday’s message and you can even see the bagged leaves along the road ready for pick-up.

Today let us examine a rarely considered Bible text in Isaiah that draws an illustration from fading leaves.

The text is taken from a portion of Isaiah dealing with the rebellious nation of Israel. It’s a stunning chapter and includes this warning, “Woe to the sinful nation, a people whose guilt is great, a brood of evildoers, children given to corruption! They have forsaken the Lord; they have spurned the Holy One of Israel and turned their backs on Him” (Isaiah 1:4).

Golden leavesVarious illustrations are used to describe Israel’s condition including today’s text, “You will be like an oak with fading leaves” (Isaiah 1:30). Now the meaning in context is speaking of the nation’s condition as the people rebel against God.

An oak is a splendid tree and is the first specific species of tree mentioned in the Bible, “Abram passed through the land as far as the site of Shechem, to the oak of Moreh” (Genesis 12:6). Although we realize that there is the God-designed process of trees, the fading and eventual dropping of leaves as part of the tree’s life cycle, there is also an untimely fading due to lack of water which is what Isaiah seems to mean when the verse continues “or as a garden that has no water.”

A healthy tree and a healthy spiritual life is like “a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither” (Psalm 1:3).

Today we can consider the text on the national level (wherever we may live) and wonder if our nation is “like an oak with fading leaves”. It’s an interesting analogy to consider.

However let us consider the verse on a personal level in an examination of our relationship with the Lord. Am I like an “oak with fading leaves” or am I like “a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither”?

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, I want to be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, fruitful in every season of my life. I don’t want to wither during the winter season as I grow old and more feeble. Though I may be more dormant I can still hold fast to the profession of my faith and not let it fade over time. I can do that by living a life above reproach, clinging to Your promises, immersing myself in the Scriptures and prayer, and trusting You for all that concerns me in every season of my life, knowing that You will provide for all my needs. Like a tree receives health by drawing from its water supply I remain spiritually healthy by drinking from the springs of living water. Amen.


Amish church traffic through Mount Joy, PA 11/26/17
Church traffic coming through Mount Joy yesterday.

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Still”  Video  Greater Vision

“Now I Know Him”  Video  Joseph Habedank

We appreciate so many others who blog and place helpful teaching on the web. In studying for today’s message I found these two posts related to Isaiah 1:30:
You will be like an oak with fading leaves, like a garden without water.
The Leaves Faded On Bilbo’s Oak Tree!

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.

“Two Fridays”

November 24, 2017

Donegal Springs farmhouse 11/23/17 (Click to enlarge)
Yesterday afternoon following our Thanksgiving meal we took a long walk along Donegal Creek and passed one of our favorite 1800’s stone farmhouses.
(Click on photo to enlarge)

“Two Fridays”

Message summary: Annually there are just two Fridays that most give special attention to. (We do not pay any attention to Friday the 13th!) Those Fridays are Black Friday and Good Friday.

ListenListen to our message on your audio player.

“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’ So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?'” (Hebrews 13:5,6).

Tuesday morning I was sharing a brief devotional with a group of employees when I noticed Brooksyne discreetly shaking her head back and forth with a slight anguished smile on her face, even as I heard a soft chuckling among the employees. I figured it must not be that serious so I just went on. Later in the van as we left the company she asked me if I knew what I had said. Well, I did remember what I said but couldn’t think of anything I said that was off topic. Then she told me that when I to referred to “Black Friday” I had misspoke and said “Good Friday” instead.

Well that got me musing. (Regular readers may observe it doesn’t take a lot to get me musing.) Annually there are just two Fridays that most give special attention to. (We do not pay any attention to Friday the 13th!) Those Fridays are Black Friday and Good Friday.

Our longtime friend Dave Zuchelli, whom we met shortly after beginning our ministry forty years ago shared about Black Friday in his blog article today (link below). Dave explains the standard reason given for why it’s called “Black Friday” is that “it’s on this day the retailers begin to turn a profit–going from red ink to ‘being in the black'”. So in this sense for retailers it’s also potentially a good Friday!

Black Friday is a prime day for materialism. Whether we’re buying gifts for others or for ourselves (although nobody probably really does that!) Black Friday is all about stuff and more stuff. All month long we’ve been seeing TV ads, newspaper ads, email ads, etc. about Black Friday deals too good to pass up. Of course for some stores Black Friday began on Thanksgiving and even before for some specials. Just this morning a selection of subject headers in my email were, “Ready. Set. BLACK FRIDAY!”, “Black Friday Online Shopping Deals Start NOW”, “Hurry! Black Friday Sale Ends Tonight” and many more.

How much is enough? Just a little more! It’s human nature to want just a little more. It goes back to the very beginning. Adam and Eve had so much, but they wanted just a little more. They wanted what they weren’t allowed to have. They weren’t content with the multitude of blessings God gave them in the Garden and that’s a condition that has afflicted the human race ever since.

How contemporary the daily verse is! Although, surely applicable to the initial readers and to believers of all generations, it seems to especially fit our prosperous age as our lives are loaded with stuff. Putting a positive spin on such matters there are many Resale and Thrift Stores that raise support for good causes due to our excess material goods being deposited at their redistribution centers. Brooksyne enjoys shopping at these stores and indeed has gotten some very good deals on slightly used stuff. Our local Mount Joy Thrift store is having its won Black Friday special with items 1/2 off.

The writer of Hebrews calls us to, “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have.” The real issue is being content with what we have, which is really one of the greatest blessings in life (being contented). This command is followed by a promise that frankly this does not read as I would expect it to or even necessarily desire. I would expect the basis of contentment to be something along the lines of a verse many of us have memorized from Philippians, “For God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus” which of course is a very valid promise (Philippians 4:19).

But here in Hebrews the call to contentedness is based on this foundational promise; “God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you’ So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?'”.  The basic foundation of contentedness is the realization that God’s presence in our lives is enough and He is our helper. Isn’t that great! If we really understand this promise and embrace its truth we will experience ongoing blessed contentedness. May the Lord help us all to do so today, this season, and all through life which will help us to overcome the tyranny of discontent so prevalent on many levels.

Finally today, the other famous Friday is “Good Friday”, the prime day for remembering the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ on the Cross to redeem all who place their faith in Him. That’s a gift that far exceeds any other gift.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, far too many live in a state of discontent where we find ourselves loving things and using people. It distorts our priorities and gives us temporary excitement with things, but leaves us with long-term dissatisfaction in ourselves and our relationships. Help us to enjoy and make useful material things but to place a higher value on greater pursuits such as growing friendships, solid marriage relations, growing godly character, giving without receiving and other worthy goals. We will be content as we rejoice in the fact that whether we are in want or whether we have plenty You have promised that You will never leave us nor forsake us. What a treasured promise for the believer both in times of need and in times of prosperity. We are content when we realize our all-sufficiency is in You, Lord. You will meet all our needs according to Your riches in glory. And we thank you for that other well-known Friday when Jesus died on the cross for our sins. Amen.


Thanksgiving meal 11/23/17
Stephen’s brother Pat and his wife Laverne joined us for our Thanksgiving meal yesterday afternoon.

Home scene 11/23/17
We had a beautiful day and a pleasant walk following our meal. Here’s a photo of our house and barn from across the farm field. The rye grass they planted after the corn harvest is growing well and we have two oak trees that hold their leaves through much of the winter adding a splash of color during the bland days of winter.

Front yard oak 11/24/17
A view of our colorful front yard oak taken this morning.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“The Lord Is My Helper”  Video  Scripture Memory Songs In the nineties we appreciated a series of CD’s from Integrity Music that took Scripture verses and set them to music (contemporary at the time). We learned a lot of verses that way that we still recall. This song has a country style.

“How Dark Can it Be?” Dave Zuchelli’s Black Friday Edition blog article

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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