“Knowing His Voice”

April 10, 2015

SheepPhoto by Doris High, a local friend.

“Knowing His Voice”

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“He calls His own sheep by name. His sheep follow Him because they know His voice” (John 10:3,4).

Anyone who uses a computer, and that’s probably all of us, knows the challenge of thwarting the many annoying, disgusting and malicious attacks that come in a variety of ways. We need firewalls, virus detection, content filters, spyware protection, junk email filters and no telling what else depending on how you customize your computer. In spite of varied types of preventive measures the attacks continue.

MalwareI am now dealing with an annoying pop-up that ominously states, “Your PC may be At Risk”. Sometimes it covers all my windows and I have to restart the computer just to get rid of it. Since I am the IT department for Daily Encouragement Net I am rather ill equipped to fix it.

These unwelcome intrusions are often revolting and relentless in its attempt to capture our attention and get us off the right path. And these intrusions come in many ways, not just the computer. It’s similar in the spiritual realm, where our “enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour!” (1 Peter 5:8).

Good shepherdJesus shared a parable in John 10 that would have really connected with His initial listeners. Many of them would be familiar with the life of the shepherd and the rich Biblical literature that describes God as our Shepherd, first mentioned in Genesis 45:18, and most familiar to many of us in Psalm 23. Later in this context Jesus states that He is the “Good Shepherd”.

However, the phrase we want to especially consider today is “They know His voice.” One of the most important ongoing lessons of life is the ability to recognize and distinguish the voice of the Good Shepherd amidst the clamor of other voices and noise. The times we live in call for great discernment. Yesterday’s message dealt with deception and in our age with so many data sources there are many forms of deception.

We hear “His voice” in various ways; through His Spirit, in our personal reading and study of the Scriptures, through prayer, through the proclamation of His Word in our churches, through godly relationships. But we have a choice regarding our response to the Shepherd’s voice. Really, it’s a daily choice.

Do we choose to listen carefully and heed His voice, separating His voice among the many other voices and noises that vie for our attention? We desire that this daily encouragement devotional be a little whisper, perhaps at an opportune moment such as a break at work, the lunch hour or toward the late evening.

Are you listening? Do you know your Shepherd’s voice?  Ponder this verse, “But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil” (Hebrews 5:14). Today, as we regularly partake of the solid food offered to us through the Word of God may we learn to distinguish the voice of the Master and heed His bidding!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, as I walk in Your truths, give me an undivided heart, that I may fear Your holy name and heed Your still small voice. Help me to walk uprightly and live more by faith, less by sight so that I don’t come to rely only on that which I see with my eyes, but I listen for the voice of the indwelling Holy Spirit. In doing so I am far more likely to follow the truths and principles of Scripture as learned throughout the Holy Word of God. Help me to be faithful, I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“The Voice Of Truth”  Video  Casting Crowns

“But the Voice of Truth tells me a different story.
The Voice of Truth says ‘Do not be afraid’.
And the Voice of Truth says ‘This is for My glory’.
Out of all the voices calling out to me.
I will choose to listen and believe the Voice of Truth.”

“He Knows My Name”  Video  Maranatha Singers

“Slow Down”  Video  Chuck Girard  A different sort of inspirational song that helps us check our daily pace in the world in which we live.

Whiteboard witness
Mike is a faithful man who works at a company where we serve as chaplains. He seeks to get in a witness using “Mike’s old-school twitter feed” whiteboard that he displays near his work area. I was blessed by this simple but direct statement.


Contact Us
Send a message to Stephen & Brooksyne
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Make A DonationAre our daily encouragement messages a blessing to you? We ask you to consider making a donation to Daily Encouragement Net so that we can continue to prepare and provide this daily resource which is accessed by believers and seekers all over the world. Daily Encouragement Net relies solely on the generosity and financial support of its readers and podcast listeners. See here for more information on supporting this ministry. Gifts are tax deductible.

Crocuses
Crocuses in Maytown”There Are Many Deceivers”

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.”Watch out that you are not deceived” (Luke 21:8). “Let no one deceive you with empty words” (Ephesians 5:6). “For many deceivers have gone out into the world” (2 John 1:7).

Adam JackAdam Jack grew up in the church we served over 20 years ago in northern Pennsylvania. We continue to stay connected with Adam through Daily Encouragement as well as his parents, Bruce and Cindy, who are longtime friends. Adam graduated from Grove City College and is a financial advisor who has had a very successful career assisting others in managing their finances. I recall speaking to him about seven years ago during the financial crisis and his earnest concern for his clients. We are so pleased that he is a devoted family man and continues to faithfully serve the Lord and remains active in his church.

We appreciate all the people who have a role in assisting us through the particulars of life such as our doctor, dentist, mechanic and many other professionals and non-professionals. We seek out those who are competent and trustworthy and find blessing in their services or counsel when they are helpful and prove to be trustworthy. We’ve also had some headaches and heartaches when that wasn’t the case! Our pastors have such a vital role in this regard as those who “watch over our souls”, an interesting description for ministry used in Hebrews 13:17.

I think of this when I watch a TV commercial that’s been running lately. Surely some of you have seen it and we place a video link below if you would like to watch it.

Deception illustrationA businessman is seated at the head of a big conference table in a spiffy office. He is offering people financial advice on their retirement. He is well-dressed and presents himself as a professional, appearing very knowledgeable, using big words like “asset allocation” that impresses his clients. After his presentation the people are asked if they would trust him and they wholeheartedly give their approval. By all appearances he is a competent financial planner.

However it turns out he is actually a DJ and has no financial training whatsoever! His polished appearance was deceptive.

DeceptionI see the ad as a good illustration on deception. We’ve all heard the quote “looks can be deceiving”. There are deceptions in many realms. There are financial deceivers. An early proverb (although not a Bible proverb) states, “A fool and his money are soon parted.” There are deceivers in medicine, jewelry, politics, carpentry and a host of other areas. Certainly there is a lot of deception in all forms on the internet.

But our greatest concern is that of spiritual deception since the consequences have eternal impact. After all Jesus said, “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:36).

In one of our Lord’s final teachings he warned, “Watch out that you are not deceived” (Luke 21:8). The apostle Paul likewise wrote, “Let no one deceive you with empty words” (Ephesians 5:6). There are many deceivers and deceptions out there and we are all prone to being deceived. We must always be on our guard. Satan is the master deceiver and he has many minions.

Charles Spurgeon wrote, “As the salt flavors every drop in the Atlantic, so does sin affect every atom of our nature. It is so sadly there, so abundantly there, that if you cannot detect it, you are deceived.”

There are many ways the deceiver is active and, as God’s people, we need to constantly be on our guard and practice discernment. A mark of the end times is that, “Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist” (2 John 1:7). This so true in our own age!

We need to be discerning and vigilant!

Some steps to take to guard against being deceived:

1)  Growing knowledge of the Word
2)  Stability in a Bible faithful local church
3)  Prayerful growth
4)  Being in service for the Master
5)  Recognition of God’s design and order
6)  Steadfast dependence upon the Holy Spirit
7)  Avoiding mob mentality (the mob is often wrong)
8)  Wariness of “new” teachings
9)  Observe and learn from those who are gifted with discernment to spot deception

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer:  Father, we pray for discernment, so that we make wise decisions since You warn us that deceivers have gone out into the world, and if we’re not on our guard, we will be taken in by their deceptive ways. As we read Your Word we learn of those things that are true, honest, good, just and virtuous and we also learn of that which is false, destructive, and misleading. We learn how to detect the enemy though he or she may be dressed in sheep’s clothing and even masquerade as a Christian. But in time their words and their works will reveal who they really are. Keep us on our guard so that we are not taken in by those who prey on undiscerning believers. Instead we want to expose the fruitless deeds of darkness and build up the Kingdom of God. It is in the name of Jesus that we pray for discernment. Amen.


Two more deception thoughts to consider:

“If the whole church goes off into deception, that will in no way excuse us for not following Christ.” Leonard Ravenhill

“Intellectual deception always follows moral rejection.”  Winkie Pratney


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

The DJ – Certified Financial Planner Board TV Commercial Ad  Video  This is the ad referred to in our message today.

“Keep Me True”  Video  Jabu Hlongwane

“Finish Well”  Video  Karen Peck & New River

“If There Ever Was A Time”  Video The Crabb Family


Contact Us
Send a message to Stephen & Brooksyne
To receive the “Daily Encouragement” each Monday-Friday through email see this page to subscribe to our email list. You can also subscribe to the WordPress rss feed or through a WordPress email subscription. (See the email subscription on the right side after opening this page.)

Make A DonationAre our daily encouragement messages a blessing to you? We ask you to consider making a donation to Daily Encouragement Net so that we can continue to prepare and provide this daily resource which is accessed by believers and seekers all over the world. Daily Encouragement Net relies solely on the generosity and financial support of its readers and podcast listeners. See here for more information on supporting this ministry. Gifts are tax deductible.

Romans 6:4

“Walking In Newness Of Life”

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“And with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all” (Acts 4:33). “Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4).

Today let us consider new life. We see it all around us; the greening fields, the young calves in their hutches, and even the unpleasant odor of manure as farmers begin spreading this ever abounding, renewable fertilizer resource! (it’s really smelled bad the last couple of days!)

Baby bird 4/7/15Yesterday I found a little bird in our barn and managed to pick him up and take him outside. He contentedly perched for a few minutes on my finger before flying away. Spring is a season of new life and what a powerful reminder it is today of God’s call for all who follow Christ to “walk in newness of life”.

Our first daily text describes church life shortly after Christ ascended. The church was newly birthed and filled with zealous believers: “And with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all.” It was all so new and exciting!

But new can become old and a new challenge emerges both for individuals and churches. How do you keep it new and fresh when it’s “old”?

I want to focus on a single phrase in the second daily Scripture portion. “So we too might walk in newness of life.” The apostle Paul is writing and by now is well along in his life as a Christian believer. Many years have passed since he was dramatically converted on the road to Damascus and he began his new walk with Christ. The major transformation that began that day initiated his growing journey of faith and active service for the Lord. But for him it was no longer new. That’s a healthy peril of staying faithful to what one hymn writer calls the “old, old story”.

The Father sent Jesus that we might have life. One of the great teachings of Christ was when he declared prior to His death, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).

Christ died for our sins and was indeed raised from the dead through the glory of the Father and He has ordained a new life for His redeemed children. The apostle Paul uses the 1st person plural indicating that this was a very personal experience for him, not merely an injunction to his readers. The sense of this “new life” is active and ongoing.  The Amplified Bible expresses it “so that we too may habitually live and behave in newness of life.”

Genuine conversion leads to a new life! The verb for live or walk is in the present tense. It seems we may have a tendency to see the “new life” as the time that immediately follows our conversion to Christ and it is indeed a real joy to experience this phase. But I accepted Christ over 40 years ago, some of you long before that, and others more recently. We may feel this “newness of life” stage is long past. O, how we are mistaken!

Let us consider these words from the apostle Paul, who is surely very mature in his walk at this time. He speaks of living (present tense) in newness of life.  So whether we are a new Christian or a seasoned veteran let us hear the words of the resurrected Lord and let us live this day in newness of life! My prayer for each reader and for myself: Lord, help us today to experience the new life you have given us!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer:  Father, as we embrace the cross of Calvary and apply Christ’s redemptive blood to our hearts we find newness of life. We are no longer bound by the chains that fettered us to sin. What great liberty and boundless joy to know that our names are written down in heaven. If we set our hearts on this world, or declare allegiance to those things which have no eternal merit, we will wear down and lose the joy that comes with newness of life. But as we set our hopes and joys on serving Christ, the joy of our salvation is ongoing, uplifting, and a testimony to all who seek answers that this world cannot provide. Like the early apostles may we, give testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. Thank You for raising Christ from the dead so that we can be redeemed and walk in newness of life everyday!  In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.


Mark Griffin 4/8/15This morning I visited for a few minutes with Mark Griffin, whom Brooksyne and I met in the course of our chaplaincy ministry. Four years ago Mark went through a time of transition and I recall meeting with him in the lobby of the Lancaster Marriott hotel to encourage and pray with him.

He felt the Lord’s calling to establish a Christian-based HR consulting firm to assist others who are seeking to practice HR using Biblical Principles and he established In HIS Name HR. Today we rejoiced at God’s blessings on his endeavor as he has assisted businesses seeking to honor Christ not only here in the states but in several overseas countries as well.

Mark was presenting a teaching on using LinkedIn at the meeting I was at this morning.

Dave BalisnkiI also visited with Dave Balinski who is our area director for CBMC, which sponsored the event. Dave has done a tremendous job of developing and overseeing CBMC groups here in central Pennsylvania where we now have 21 groups.

CBMC is a a group of people in the marketplace living out our faith in authentic relationships. The goal is to present Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord to business and professional men and to develop Christian business and professional men to carry out the Great Commission. We are grateful for the many ministries that seeks to present the message of Christ out in the marketplace.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Bring Back the New Again”  Video  The Worship Crew  Brooksyne recalled this old song from our early years written by Gordon Jensen.

“Because He Lives!”   Video  Wes Hampton

“Glorious Freedom”  Video  GVB


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.)

Make A DonationAre our daily encouragement messages a blessing to you? We ask you to consider making a donation to Daily Encouragement Net so that we can continue to prepare and provide this daily resource which is accessed by believers and seekers all over the world. Daily Encouragement Net relies solely on the generosity and financial support of its readers and podcast listeners. See here for more information on supporting this ministry. Gifts are tax deductible.

“He Lives!”

April 7, 2015

He Lives“He Lives!”
ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“The Lord is risen indeed” (Luke 24:34). “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead” (1 Corinthians 15:20). “It is the Lord Christ whom you serve” (Colossians 3:24).

Brooksyne telling storyWhat a joy to gather Sunday with other believers and proclaim our faith in the glorious resurrection of Jesus Christ. I still recall the powerful narration line in a song Brooksyne directed during an Easter musical many years ago that declares, “It’s not a fable nor a fairy tale but a true accounting of Jesus Christ, God’s only Son.” AMEN!

Ester is our “official” church photographer and enjoys taking photos to post on the church Facebook page. She does a great job (Dad’s honest, unbiased opinion!) and many have commented concerning enjoying her photos.

Following our Easter service she placed a number of photos up, including one that shows Brooksyne who appears to be scolding, even chastising the congregation with her pointer finger upraised. Hardly appropriate anytime but especially not on Easter! Brooksyne looked at the photo and said, “Wow! Why did I look so cross, and why would Ester snap that expression, and worse, why did she post it?” Then we recalled the moment that she took the photo and today we’ll share “the full story”.

The service ended with the grand old testimonial hymn, “He Lives”. My favorite line in this hymn is, “You ask me how I know He lives? He lives within my heart.”

As the choir assembled Brooksyne shared this background story about the hymn with the congregation.

Alfred AckleyIt was in 1932 that Alfred Ackley, a minister, met a Jewish man to whom he began witnessing in evangelistic meetings, but the man resisted the Christian faith. He asked, “Why should I worship a dead Jew?”

That statement played on Alfred’s mind as he prepared his Easter Sunday message. Rising early to prepare for the day, Alfred flipped on the radio as he shaved and was astonished to hear a famous liberal preacher in New York say, “Good morning – it’s Easter! You know, folks, it really doesn’t make any difference to me if Christ be risen or not. As far as I am concerned, His body could be as dust in some Palestinian tomb. The main thing is, His truth goes marching on!”

Old time radioAlfred wanted to fling the radio across the room. “It’s a lie!” he exclaimed. His wife rushed into the bathroom, asking, “Why are you shouting so early in the morning?”

“Didn’t you hear what that good-for-nothing preacher said?” Alfred replied. (Stephen’s note: Brooksyne says that sounds like something I would say when truth is being attacked- she’s right.)

That morning, Ackley preached with great vigor on the reality of Christ’s Resurrection and he did the same at the evening service. But later that night, he was still worked up about his friend’s question and the morning’s radio sermon. “Listen here, Alfred Ackley,” his wife said at last. (The above photo of Brooksyne shows her dramatizing Ackley’s wife as she tells him, “Listen here…”), “It’s time you did that which you can do best. Why don’t you write a song about it and then maybe you’ll feel better?”

Alfred went to his study, opened the Bible, and re-read the Resurrection account from Mark’s Gospel. A thrill went through him, and he began writing the words to “He Lives.” A few minutes later he was at the piano putting it to music, not dreaming it would become one of the church’s most triumphant Easter hymns still sung some 83 years later. (Story from “Then Sings My Soul” by Robert J. Morgan.)

Consider the words of that liberal preacher, “You know, folks, it really doesn’t make any difference to me if Christ be risen or not.” That’s a sentiment many hold today about the resurrection and many other core Christian doctrines. But most certainly it does matter!

The first daily text is an ancient declaration of faith which can too easily become a mere cliché. “The Lord is risen indeed.” In just five words it expresses the bedrock truth of Christian faith, “The Lord is risen indeed” and we, like Ackley, need to feel it with strong conviction deep within our soul. This is especially important as true believers testify of the message of their resurrected Lord to the world.

Some may smile and say regarding the message of Christ, “That is a touching story isn’t it?” Others, like the liberal preacher, think it doesn’t really make any difference whether it’s real or not. (In fact to many in our increasingly postmodern world truth doesn’t matter on many issues. We sure see that in politics.)

Many have “Easter faith” expressed by those who “believe” when they attend church on Easter or other such special holy days. But then they go about their lives ignoring God, at least until the next special church event!

But authentic, saving faith is life transforming in the lives of believers 365 days a year – for the resurrection of Jesus Christ is a genuine, historical event, validated by clear accounts of eyewitnesses. The Scriptures strongly denounce any notion of it being merely a touching story, a fable or a fairy tale. “And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.”

In yesterday’s message we referred to two early eyewitnesses who declared to the disciples, “It is true! The Lord has risen.” For forty days after His resurrection, He showed Himself and gave many convincing proofs that He was alive (Acts 1:3). And many years later a mightily transformed Peter reminds his readers that, “We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty” (2 Peter 1:16).

Today let us faithfully serve the risen Savior. Let us boldly declare to the world that our Lord is risen indeed as we walk daily in the resurrected power of our Lord Jesus Christ!

One more reflection: For many, many years I have appreciated the story of a young child who believed in the Lord Jesus. A proud and ungodly professor who said to her: “My dear little girl, you don’t know whom you believe in. There have been many christs. In which of them do you believe?” “I know which one I believe in,” replied the child. “I believe in the Christ who rose from the dead!”

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, Your Word declares that Jesus rose from the dead. The eyewitnesses to this glorious miracle were initially in disbelief but when they were face to face with Jesus they were filled with jubilant hope. It is because You live that we live also. You’ve put our sin nature to death and raised our spiritual nature to life. And one day our physical nature will give way to death but because of Your power over the grave we will be resurrected to eternal life. Praise be to God, the Lord is risen indeed! Amen.



Robert J. Morgan 11/30/14
Today we quoted a story from Robert J. Morgan’s hymn background book, “Then Sings My Soul”. He’s a prolific writer that we have enjoyed for many years. Last fall we met him at The Donelson Fellowship Church where he has pastored over 35 years, near Nashville Tennessee.

Easter choir 2015
Here’s the uncropped version of the photo of our choir Ester took on Sunday when Brooksyne is telling the hymn story.

Twizzler bites
Too funny!

As we finished our message today we both decided to walk to the mailbox (still trying to get in those 10,000 steps a day). A large envelope from a local friend/DE reader arrived with my name on it. What could Mary Ann be sending me, I thought! Upon opening the envelope I broke into uproarious laughter and Stephen joined me as well. Enclosed were two bags of mini twizzlers (one for each van). Included was this message: “Enjoy the twizzlers. Be sure to keep in your car for those days you are famished and remember to lock your car doors.” Obviously she read the message we shared here and succeeded in amusing us.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“He Lives! (I Serve A Risen Saviour)”  Video  Blue Rock Mennonite Youth

“He Lives”  Video  Local musicians from the Prestonwood Baptist Church

“I Believe in a Hill Called Mount Calvary”  Video  GVB

“The Easter Song”  Video  Keith Green

Our church Facebook page with Ester’s photos


Contact Us
Send a message to Stephen & Brooksyne
To receive the “Daily Encouragement” each Monday-Friday through email see this page to subscribe to our email list. You can also subscribe to the WordPress rss feed or through a WordPress email subscription. (See the email subscription on the right side after opening this page.)

Make A DonationAre our daily encouragement messages a blessing to you? We ask you to consider making a donation to Daily Encouragement Net so that we can continue to prepare and provide this daily resource which is accessed by believers and seekers all over the world. Daily Encouragement Net relies solely on the generosity and financial support of its readers and podcast listeners. See here for more information on supporting this ministry. Gifts are tax deductible.

“A Glorious Day”

April 6, 2015

John 19:30“A Glorious Day”
ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“It is true! The Lord has risen” (Luke 24:34).

One day the grave could conceal Him no longer,
One day the stone rolled away from the door;
Then He arose, over death He had conquered;
Now is ascended, my Lord evermore!

Did you gather with other believers to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ yesterday? I am sure we sang some of the same songs to honor the risen Christ. We’re also aware that some of our readers are unable to get out and be with others. We trust you experienced Easter in your heart, and possibly worshipped Him with other believers via television, online or some other valuable resource that brings live worship into your setting.

Daily Encouragement on TwitterUpon our awakening on Easter morning we already knew the familiar resurrection story. We can only try to understand the excitement of those first participants. At that time the news travelled so slowly compared to today. Likely today the news would first be disseminated with a tweet hash tag #Christarose. The disciples would then put their accounts up on their Facebook page and in no time someone would have a YouTube video posted that would most certainly go viral!

This makes me recall a memorable experience Cal Bacon a friend of mine shared when he was a young music minister in a church in Chicago. I knew Cal in the 1990’s in New England before he retired and moved to Florida. For several years he sent out a weekly email update and inspirational message to his family and friends prior to his home going (he died on a mission trip in Africa). He had many children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren and when I read his messages I sensed a type of modern patriarch, faithfully serving God and passing on the heritage to those behind him. One of his final messages was on Easter Sunday and he shared a remembrance from early in his ministry. It is a reflection from the past but a timely truth now and always:

Western Union delivery man“We celebrate RESURRECTION DAY! I shall never forget an event from the mid-fifties. I was on staff at the Stone Church in Chicago, Illinois as the Minister of Music and Youth. It was Easter Sunday Morning and as usual we were standing in the foyer of that great church welcoming the parishioners at they came in for worship. They were all dressed up with hats and corsages. At that time there was no communication from overseas except Western Union Telegraph. In through the front door popped a young man in a Western Union uniform. He handed the Pastor a yellow envelope. Pastor tore it open and it was from a missionary in Jerusalem. The words, written on 1/4″ tape and pasted on the yellow paper were read to the congregation: “HE IS NOT HERE STOP HE IS RISEN STOP HALLELUJAH”. (“Stop” was the word used for a period back then.) That made a tremendous impact on my young mind.  And the same message is just as real today as it was back then.  WE SERVE A RISEN LORD! HALLELUJAH!  Our God is different from any other god in the world. He was embedded into mankind and then killed, but He rose again and now reigns as King of kings and Lord of lords. Praise His Name! Let’s celebrate. GLORY!”

Emmaus Road“It is true! The Lord has risen” (Luke 24:34). Have you made this affirmation? It was initially made by the two disciples who encountered the risen Lord on the road to Emmaus. That’s the simple, straightforward report they brought to the eleven.

It’s at the very heart of the Christian faith, a matter of “first importance” according to the apostle Paul. In fact Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins” (1 Corinthians 15:17).

You see; our faith is grounded in objective historical fact, not religious myth. Peter wrote, “We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty” (2 Peter 1:16).

And now here we are, nearly 2,000 years later (1,982 years based upon the commonly held date of 33 AD for Christ’s resurrection). We write this early on a beautiful Monday morning looking out over a vast farm field.  You’re reading it in a variety of locations all around the world.  After Resurrection Sunday it’s back to work, back to living out the remainder of our allotted time on planet earth, back to what has often been referred to as “the daily grind.” Yet the reality of the resurrection is a dynamic truth that should impact and permeate every area of our life. It should invigorate our walk with Christ and renew our hope in the midst of the daily grind so that our spirit soars above the wear and tear of life’s demands.

One of the great evidences for the validity of the Christian faith is the changed lives of the disciples. From Resurrection morning onward they went forth as devoted servants of the resurrected Christ with many being martyred for their faith. The resurrection truth meant a deep, abiding commitment to the risen Lord for these early disciples of Christ and it has for believers in each subsequent generation, no matter the cost. The horrific murders of the 147 college students in Kenya last week by the Al Shabaab Muslim terrorists along with the 79 they left wounded has weighed heavily on our hearts. Based on the accounts consider the decision they had in their waking moments to either confess or deny Christ. Not only could they conjure in their minds the flash of martyrdom, they were seeing it firsthand as the victims lie dead all around them killed by gunfire, explosions, and even beheadings.

Today, hundreds of millions live for Jesus Christ and we are two of them. We earnestly hope you are as well. Yes, it’s true, the Lord is risen! And we believe, you as a reader will properly respond, “He is risen, indeed!” Let us show that with our words, our actions, and our courageous commitment to follow Him, no matter the cost.

Living, He loved me; dying, He saved me;
Buried, He carried my sins far away;
Rising, He justified freely forever;
One day He’s coming—oh, glorious day!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, the message “He Is Risen” resounds beyond the inner walls of the tomb where Jesus’ body no longer lay, for it resounds in our hearts and soars within our spirits nearly 2000 years later.  We serve a risen Savior who is in the world today, who dwells within our hearts, and who reconciles us to You, our Father in heaven. What a joyous and triumphant day we celebrate at Easter and everyday as we acknowledge our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ who died, was buried, and who rose again.  Amen.


Stephen and his sister Genelle, Easter around 1965
My sister Genelle is good at finding old photos.
This photo was snapped on Easter in the mid-sixties in our lawn in Belton, Missouri.
Looks like we had an Easter basket filled with eggs and candy.  I wonder if we had to wait till after eating our Easter dinner before indulging in the Easter candy. Mostly likely!

Easter choir 2015
Brooksyne leading our worship on Easter morning with our choir and congregation singing, “Christ the Lord is Risen Today!”.

Easter dinner 2015
Easter dinner with the Cnubes, from Zimbabwe, Africa now residing in our neighborhood while Notsen furthers his studies as a pastor. Ester’s friends, Katharine and Bella Cooke also joined us.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Glorious Day”  Video  Casting Crowns

“Going Home”  Video  Bill Gaither and Tanya Goodman Sykes

“Why Can’t We”   Video  The Isaacs


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Send a message to Stephen & Brooksyne
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“It Is Finished!”

April 3, 2015

Good Friday
“It Is Finished!”

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“It is finished!” (John 19:30). “For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18).

Today is “Good Friday” a day when we especially remember the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God. Christians commemorate in various ways depending on their traditions and many will gather today all over the world to essentially declare, “I believe Jesus Christ died for my sins.” There is so much to consider about what happened on this day but let us just consider three words.

It is finished, it is finished
Tetelesti
The Son of Man succeeding where I failed
The wrath of God now satisfied
In Jesus, my Emmanuel

John 19:30A reader sent us this note: “As I ponder what I am thankful for, I find many things, yet when I ask myself, what one thing am I most thankful for; three words from the Scripture tell it all. Three words that God gave us that have eternal meaning: “It is finished.”

Oswald Chambers wrote, “The greatest note of triumph ever sounded in the ears of a startled universe was that sounded on the Cross of Christ— “It is finished!”. That is the final word in the redemption of humankind.”

“It is finished! Jesus’ final word (tetelestai in the ancient Greek) is the cry of a winner. Jesus had finished the eternal purpose of the cross. It stands today as a finished work, the foundation of all Christian peace and faith, paying in full the debt we righteously owe to God.”  (David Guzik)

1 Peter 3:18In the second daily text, Peter, who at Christ’s death was at best a distant eyewitness to the Cross writes:

“For Christ also died for sins once for all”. Consider the phrase “once for all” (most prominent in the book of Hebrews). It speaks of finality and completion. When Jesus Christ died on the Cross it is very significant that He cried out “It is finished”. Sin’s price had been paid. The redemptive plan had been fulfilled. The sacrifice was wholly adequate.

“The just for the unjust so that He might bring us to God.”  Henry Bosch tells the following story:

A missionary was speaking to a remote tribe of people who had never heard about the life and ministry of Jesus. Seated in the front row, listening intently to all the missionary had to say, was the chief of the tribe.

As the story of Jesus came to its climax and the chief heard how Christ was cruelly crucified, he could restrain himself no longer. He jumped up and cried, “Stop! Take Him down from the cross! I belong there, not Him!” This chief had grasped the meaning of the gospel; he understood that he was a sinner, and that Christ was the sinless One that the just was dying for the unjust.

As you picture in your mind the Son of God hanging on the cross in agony, with blood flowing from His wounds, can you say from your heart, “I belong there!” Then go one step further and put your trust in Him as your Savior, so that you can say with Paul, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me” (Gal. 2:20). Jesus took our place and died in our stead. Because He bore our sins, He has opened the way for us to be brought into fellowship with the Father. If you identify yourself with Christ and believe that He died for you, God will identify you with Christ and give you His righteousness. Can you say, “I belong there!”

“God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Christ took our place. We deserved to die in our sins, but Christ died for our sins!

“That He might bring us to God”,  the wording is so important in this phrase. Christ has brought us to God.  He led the captives out. The earnest believer worships in grateful acknowledgment for what God has done. It’s a “done deal” and we can “draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith” (Hebrews 10:22).  Praise the Lord, It is finished! All peoples everywhere may now have salvation through faith in Christ, the forgiveness of sins!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, our hearts are stirred as we consider the extent of Your love in sending Jesus to die for our sins. As He wept over Jerusalem we see His tender humanity in relation to our sin problem. How grateful we are that Jesus yielded Himself fully to be used as a sin sacrifice, once for all, not just for Jerusalem but for peoples of every tribe and language; for all generations prior to His sacrificial death and for all who follow. We thank You, God, that You made Jesus who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness that You require in order that we might have forgiveness of sins and become joint heirs with Jesus. We walk in newness of life, in the power of the resurrected Christ, with the living hope of eternal life in heaven. Praise You, Father, for this finished work of Christ, that redeems our soul, once and for all! Amen.


Several scenes taken at our service last night

More children participated than in the past. It was especially meaningful as they entered in and experienced what the disciples experienced when Jesus washed their feet. Since Ester took the photos we only have the women and girls photos.

Maundy Thursday service 4/2/15
The ladies singing as a mother tenderly washes her daughter’s feet.

Maundy Thursday service 4/2/15
Another adult washing the feet of one of the youngest among us.

s
Granddaughter washing her grandmother’s feet.

s
Another young lady getting her feet washed while her mother and sister looks on.

The men and boys were in another room for their footwashing. We had two young boys in our group along with their dads. After we were finished we spontaneously sang several songs concerning Christ and the Cross. The men suggested songs as well as the little boys. One four year old requested, “Mary had a little Lamb”. The group kindly smiled as His grandpa thoughtfully brought in a spiritual lesson about the fact that Mary (Christ’s mother) did have a little Lamb, and then we proceeded to sing the time-old nursery rhyme.

Maundy Thursday service 4/2/15
We had a meditation shared by Jesse, at 91 years of age. His wife and daughter joined him for a hymn they sang acappella. The Dourtes have six children and for many years, when the children were young, they sang together as a family – all of them greatly gifted musically and dedicated to the Lord.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“It Is Finished”  Video  Jimmy Needham  A song I had never heard prior to this morning with tremendous lyrics.

It is finished, It is finished
Tetelesti
The beauty of the double meaning phrase
He ceased from His labor and so have I
Now resting only in His grace

“It Is Finished”  Video  Gaither Vocal Band

“It Is Finished”  Video  Scott Wesley Brown

“How Deep The Father’s Love For Us”   Video  Selah

“The Power of the Cross”  Video  Keith & Kristyn Getty

Behold the man upon a cross.
My sin upon His shoulders;
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers.
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished;
His dying breath has brought me life –
I know that it is finished.

“Blessed Redeemer”  Video  Casting Crowns

“Wounded For Me”  Video

“Wounded for Me”   Video


Gary BauerFinally today: As we were wrapping up our message I received an email from Gary Bauer, a strong contender for traditional values whom we appreciate:

“There is plenty of disheartening and worrisome news. On this day that Christ carried his cross through the streets of Jerusalem, 147 Christians are being mourned in Kenya. They were brutally murdered because they believed in Him.

Iran is on the way to a nuclear bomb.

Two women were arrested in New York who allegedly believed they could only please their god by killing us.

Here at home Judeo-Christian values continue to be pushed out of the public square.

But today we focus on the perfect Lamb.

It is a good time to reflect on Good Friday, the truth of Scripture and exactly what it is that we as Christians are celebrating! (It’s not chocolate bunnies or marshmallow chicks.)

Christmas tends to overshadow most holidays, but ultimately, it is not a birthday that we celebrate — it is the resurrection. It is Easter that makes us Christians!

If Christ had not risen from the grave, He would have been forgotten as a common rabble-rouser whose birthday would have no significance.

Today, on Good Friday, we think about the Cross and the sacrifice paid for our sins; the amazing love that took our place; and the grace we have been given.

Romans 5:8 tells us, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” While some worship a god who commands men to die (really kill) for him, we worship a loving God who gave His son to die for us. Thank God for the cross and the empty tomb!

With Christ’s resurrection, we have confidence. We have confidence in a caring Creator, rather than the chaos of the cosmos. We have confidence in a glorious future, rather than the finality of the grave. It is this confidence that sustains us in times of trial and tribulation – in times like these.

Why do we have such confidence? Because “It is finished.” Christ’s atoning work on the Cross is done, and we are saved.

On Easter morning, we do not gather to remember a martyr. We come together to worship the risen Son of God!

He is risen! He is risen indeed!


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.)

Make A DonationAre our daily encouragement messages a blessing to you? We ask you to consider making a donation to Daily Encouragement Net so that we can continue to prepare and provide this daily resource which is accessed by believers and seekers all over the world. Daily Encouragement Net relies solely on the generosity and financial support of its readers and podcast listeners. See here for more information on supporting this ministry. Gifts are tax deductible.

Maundy Thursday

Communion Table and feetwashing items
“Do This In Remembrance Of Me”

Maundy Thursday service
The Communion Elements

“Sharing A Precious Faith”

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:1).

Consider particular beliefs, customs or practices of Christians that seem strange to the world. In contrast the world has a lot of strange beliefs, customs and practices from my viewpoint!

Yesterday a Christian employee was sharing with Brooksyne some teachings from Scripture while another employee was working beside her. After their brief interchange the employee shook her head and declared, “You guys are crazy!” The employee professes to be an atheist and lives a hard life, yet through our chaplaincy service, she has become a friend though theologically they have nothing in common.

Most churches, in various ways, practice Communion or “The Lord’s Supper”. This ceremony seems strange to the world and sadly some churches have minimized the practice for this reason. But it was at this very time during Holy Week that Jesus established it and the Apostle Paul later stated, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26). We see in the New Testament it was a practice in the early church.

Maundy Thursday service footwashingOur church also practices a similar ceremony not as commonly practiced. Once a year we hold a “footwashing” service. The denomination I served during my 25 years of pastoral service did not practice this regularly in most of their churches, although it might have been done on retreats and special occasions. I had done so a few times as a sermon illustration regarding humility and servanthood.

Each year on Maundy Thursday we enjoy a light meal together, Scripture reading, singing, testimonies and sharing together in communion. The men and women are then dismissed to separate rooms where they gather in a circle and one by one wash the feet of the person sitting next to them. In the photo to the right Brooksyne is washing and praying over a sister. Each group not only prays one with another but sings hymns and choruses with the cross and resurrection theme. Finally we join together again and hear a brief meditation and share testimonies. It’s a wonderful evening of fellowship with one another and with our Lord Jesus who suffered on our behalf.

Christ washing disciple's feetThe first Biblical footwashing was held at the Last Supper and is recorded in John 13. Earnest Christians differ on the extent this should be continued which is a matter of interpretation of John 13:14,15 which states, “If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you.” Some churches, like ours, see this as a literal command. Others (actually most) see it as figurative, an illustration of service, which we also believe it is as well.

Peter, who most certainly was among the most prominent of Christ’s disciples, opens his final epistle by first asserting his servanthood even before his apostleship, “Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ”. Perhaps the kind rebuke of Jesus at the footwashing had really hit home. “I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him” (John 13:16). Regardless of what positions or titles we may have, like Peter, we must always remember that we are called to serve.

2 Peter 1:1The letter is written “to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” That’s us! The apostle Paul most clearly developed and articulated for the church the glorious doctrine of imputed righteousness, but Peter clearly expresses it here.

I find particular blessing in the phrase, “like precious faith.” Wow. What a unique advantage of faith Peter had. He had walked and talked with the Lord during His earthly ministry. But in this passage Peter is writing to second-generation believers. He had written in his first epistle: “Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:8,9).

We have received a faith as “precious” as Peter and the other disciples and apostles! The underlying Greek word for “precious”, means “of equal value or honor”. The NASV translates the phrase, “a faith of the same kind as ours.” Today among the inevitable challenges of life don’t forget this great gift!

I wonder if Peter had any possible thought that his words would reach generations some 2000 years after writing about the wonderful truths and experiences God has for us. Only the Scriptures bring about life changing messages that transform lives and prepare us for eternity. Just consider the opportunities we have to speak daily of our “precious faith” and allow the world to see this faith at work in our lives.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, we thank You for the many, many precious saints spread throughout the whole world, who have obtained like precious faith through Your righteousness and the righteousness that comes through our Saviour Jesus Christ. Though we have not seen You, we love You, and though we cannot see You now we are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy for we are among the redeemed who have an inheritance awaiting us in heaven, where no moth, rust or decay destroys. No matter the evil that surrounds us or the temptations that abound we seek to remain steadfast, immoveable and always abounding in the work of the Lord walking in the steps of our Saviour. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Prayer for Kenyan believers: Father, we pray for the family and friends of the 70 plus university students of Kenya who have been slaughtered due to their faith in Christ. While they were praying to You, the most holy God, in the pre-dawn hours, the radical terrorists were following the orders of Satan, the ruler of evil. We pray for those who are injured and suffering as well as those who have been captured, over 300 at last count. God, we need a miraculous intervention, a mighty sweeping of Your Holy Spirit of conviction and deliverance from evil that we might see a worldwide revival. Fortify other Kenyan believers so that they are not disheartened or paralyzed by fear or discouragement. Your Word says, “You will call upon me and I will answer you; I will be with you in trouble, I will deliver you and honor you” (Psalm 91:15). We seek Your help here and now, yet we also feel peace in our hearts, that if deliverance is not here, those who perish at the hands of evildoers are transferred into a place where sin does not abide, where rest is eternal, and the Crown of Life is awarded the faithful servant of Christ. Amen.


Maundy Thursday service footwashing
Ester looked down the hall last year into the men’s gathering where we held our footwashing and snapped this photo of the younger serving the older.

Footwashing service 03/28/13

Jesse and Jim, two of our retired pastor friends washing one another’s feet following the example of Christ, who washed the disciple’s feet.

Footwashing service 03/28/13

Following the footwashing the elder brothers pronounced blessing upon each other as, in the words of Paul, they also “greeted each other heartily in the Lord”. Jesse, age 92, will share the devotional in our service this evening.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“A Strange Way To Save The World”  Video  4HIM  Video  Mark Harris This actually a Christmas-themed song but the message is also appropriate during this season.

“As I Have Done For You”  Video   Dan Schutte

“As I Have Done For You”  Video   Alexander Barut

“It Is Finished!”  Video  Gaither Vocal Band  Later this month (April 24) we will be going to hear the Gaither Vocal Band and other Homecoming Singers at the Giant Center in Hershey, PA. Readers in central PA who may be interested see here.

Footwashing scene from “Second Chance”  Video  Powerful! Interesting in light of point made early in today’s message a comment states “this is crazy stuff!”

A brief teaching on footwashing and example  Video

Concerning the photo posted yesterday of our friend Rick with his tie tucked in Jim, a thoughtful reader from New Braunfels, Texas wrote, “When I was in the Air Force from 1952-1972, when we wore our tan uniform, the blue necktie was always tucked in to the shirt, as in the picture you posted. It was not just to keep it out of machinery, but was regulation, to make everyone look neat, and uniform, with no tie flapping in the wind. If you look at some WW2 pictures, you will see the same thing.


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.)

Make A DonationAre our daily encouragement messages a blessing to you? We ask you to consider making a donation to Daily Encouragement Net so that we can continue to prepare and provide this daily resource which is accessed by believers and seekers all over the world. Daily Encouragement Net relies solely on the generosity and financial support of its readers and podcast listeners. See here for more information on supporting this ministry. Gifts are tax deductible.

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