“My Permanent Home”


Lancaster County, PA horse and colt (Photo by Brenda Harry)
Horse and Colt in eastern Lancaster County, PA
(Photo by our friend Brenda Harry)

“My Permanent Home


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“Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands” (2 Corinthians 5:1). “We live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please Him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it” (2 Corinthians 5:7-9). “I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far” (Philippians 1:23).

We took a plant tour yesterday of Four Seasons Produce, a company where I, Stephen, served as a chaplain ten years ago. It’s a large company with over 500 employees and due to the nature of the business we weren’t able to visit as many people as we would during a regular chaplain visit. However I did see a number of familiar faces including one big Hispanic man who walked over to give me a bear hug. I was so pleased to visit for a few minutes with a faithful minister as well.

The visit also prompted some ministry memories from years past such as the time a father, deeply burdened in regard to his daughter’s rebellion said to me with tears, “Help me salvage this life.”  (“Salvage” is an interesting synonym he used for redemption.)

I saw another employee yesterday that also prompted a memory from over ten years ago. She had asked me to visit her grandmother who
was dealing with cancer and lived in “Landis Homes” (one of the many huge senior housing complexes in our area.) After I finally located her room number I knocked on her door and she warmly welcomed me into her room. The prominent Bible on her table caught my eye immediately. After visiting a few minutes I shared a Scripture from her Bible and prayed with her.

Like so many of the elderly, she expressed how much she missed her own home but she made a great statement of faith with a contented state of mind. As we visited in her very modest, but tastefully decorated room, she said with a tone of acceptance: “This is fine for now… after all, it’s not my permanent home.” I knew what she meant. She didn’t anticipate returning to her own home or ever moving into a bigger apartment. Clearly when she referred to her “permanent home” she meant her eternal home in heaven. What a healthy spiritual outlook and example of contentedness!

The Apostle Paul is speaking of our temporary home in the daily text. “Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.”  That’s a good verse to hide deep in your heart.  Elsewhere we read: “For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come” (Hebrews 13:14). The Apostle James describes this temporary home quite graphically: “What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes” (James 4:14).

It’s interesting that in the daily text Paul speaks of the “earthly tent” which underscores the temporariness of our present life. However our future abode is described as “a building from God, an eternal house in heaven.”

The ongoing challenge for all of us is not driving the stakes too deeply in our present “tent”. We must take care in not getting too settled nor should we ceaselessly strive for comfort on this side.  That’s particularly true for those of us who live in relative affluence, which can be such a seducing trap. One day we will be transferred to our eternal, permanent home which, regardless of how our lives have been on this earth, will be “better by far”.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer:Father, we’re mindful of the Scriptures that caution us not to fix our attention, energy, and finances solely on our temporary brick and mortar dwelling here on earth, for it will one day perish or be taken from us. Likewise we are to regard our bodies as perishable, like that of earthlytents. Ever since Adam and Eve ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil our bodies have taken on mortality. Our physical body is decaying day by day even though we try to delay the discomfort and limitations that accompany the aging process. But the most wonderful news for the believer is that these future resurrected bodies of ours are not built by human hands but by You, our Creator. And on Your appointed day our eternal spirit will be joined with our flesh that has taken on immortality. We will no longer groan from the painful anatomical effects of aging, for our new bodies will be perfect, disease free and ageless in the everlasting life. Knowing that such unending blessing lies in our future gives us hope and endurance for the ills of this present life. Amen.

For more study about the spirit and immortal body read I Corinthians 15:46-58


Baby robin 5/20/14
Several days ago we shared a photo of 4 robin eggs in a nest in our barn rafters. I have been checking regularly and this morning see one has hatched!

Four Seasons Produce air door

Nelson LongeneckerNelson Longenecker, whom I met a short time after moving to Lancaster County in 2001, led us on our tour. We went with our pastor John and his wife Faithe who is a lifelong friend with Debbie Hollinger, whose husband David founded the company 38 years ago. Nelson has a vast amount of knowledge about the produce business and a zeal for his work pointing out various ways the company has improved efficiency. One of the obvious features in working with produce is that it is perishable and the inventory moves and changes very quickly. We observed scores of forklifts zipping through the gigantic warehouse moving products here and there. Nelson shared about a new door that is invisible. In fact it looks like it’s open in the photo above. It’s an air door. If I understood Nelson correctly it is capable of maintaining room temperature on one side and a freezer temperature on the other separated by nothing but a curtain of air. I know there is a spiritual lesson somewhere in this! Maybe that will come to me in a future message.

Notice the blue light on the floor ahead of the forklift. Any idea what that is for?


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources


“Going Home”  Video   Bill Gaither and friends

“Heaven Is Better By Far”  Video  Haven Quartet

“Finally Home”  Video  MercyMe

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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.

“A New Life Is Mine!”

Lebanon County lighthouse
Heading to a chaplain visit at White Oak Display in Palmyra yesterday we passed the Lebanon Lighthouse, which sets far from any water at an eclectic antique store in Campbelltown, PA. We don’t know whether it’s available for sale or not but it would make a great lawn ornament of you had a really big lawn.

“A New Life Is Mine!


ListenListen to us read this message on your audio player.

“We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life” (Romans 6:4). “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:16).

I believe that the Christ
Who was slain on the cross
Has the power to change lives today
For He changed me completely
A new life is mine
And that is why by the cross
I will stay


Robin eggs in nest 5/15/14It’s always a wonder to see new life and evidence of it abounds out here in the country. We have four bird nests in the rafters on an overhang from our barn. Yesterday I took a step stool and lifted my phone camera up over the nest and voilà; today’s photo. Within days we expect to hear chirps of new life from this hid-away site.

Our local farmers are busy preparing their fields for planting. Some have already planted as well. Particularly wondrous is viewing row after row of tiny corn just sprouting. It’ll be 10 feet tall by harvest in early fall! Brooksyne planted some herbal seeds just days ago that are sprouting and she is as excited as a young child as she watches them pop up one by one out of the soil.

New life is exciting and worth celebrating. The Father sent Jesus that we might have new life.  Christ was raised from the dead to the glory of the Father and He has ordained a new life for His redeemed children. The apostle Paul uses the 1st person plural “we”, 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. New life does not necessarily mean young. We can experience new life all through the course of this earthly life. The Amplified Bible expresses the latter part of our first daily text as, “so that we too may habitually live and behave in newness of life.”

David stated, “I was young and now I am old” (Psalm 37:25). Yesterday I was visiting with two young men as they were clocking out at work
; one graduating from high school and the other in his early twenties. I recall from when I was their age how old they probably perceived me to be but they will find out life goes by very fast and it seems even faster as the years accumulate.

Our second daily text states, “Outwardly we are wasting away” (2 Corinthians 4:16). Hank Hanegraaff makes this interesting observation in his book, “Resurrection”: “Our DNA is programmed in such a way that at a particular point we reach optimal development from a functional perspective. For the most part it appears that we reach this stage in our twenties or thirties. Prior to this stage, the development of our bodies (anabolism) exceeds the devolution of our bodies (catabolism).  From this point on the rate of breakdown exceeds the rate of buildup which eventually leads to physical death.”

Yes, we are wasting away! Now in our late fifties we realistically realize that the rate of breakdown physically is on the increase and has been for some twenty years now!  It is evident not only in the physical signs such as sore joints and various aches and pains, but also in the increasing mental challenges as we may tend to find ourselves more forgetful these days.

We are also prone to saying things we may or may not immediately catch. Sunday as we were leaving our church service on Mother’s Day Brooksyne greeted a young mother in our parking lot and barely caught herself as she said, “Have a Happy New Year” (of course intending to say “Have a happy Mother’s Day”). I couldn’t resist saying, “Have a Happy Thanksgiving while you’re at it”.

But instead of getting gloomy about the increasing years, let’s hold on to this glorious thought today: “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. Inwardly our spiritual being is being renewed day by day! That should be encouraging whether you’re 9 or 90!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer:Father, though my mortal body is perishing and confined to this earthly dwelling, I rejoice in the energizing truth that my inward spiritual being is being refined and preparing me for an eternal dwelling where I will never grow weak, weary or old! Thank You for the renewing of my mind and my spirit as I hold fast to Your transforming truths this day.  Amen.


Responding to yesterday’s message on passwords Ed, a pastor friend wrote, “No passwords in Heaven, only our names “Written in the BOOK OF LIFE” Praise God!”


Golden Nuggets
Golden Nuggets
Yesterday we spoke to a senior group in our church known as the Golden Nuggets. I forgot to take a photo at yesterday’s meeting but found this one from several years ago. We shared a meal together and then Brooksyne shared background stories from favorite hymns and we sang them together. You sure meet some colorful folks at these meetings like an older lady who was asked how old she was. She answered, “I’m as old as my big toe but older than my teeth.”

Mastersonville Furniture showroom
Following our Golden Nuggets meal yesterday afternoon we stopped by to visit with Roman and Sadie, our Amish friends who operate a furniture store in the little hamlet of Mastersonville. They started the store just a few years ago but have expanded to a second level. Gas lighting is used in accordance with their practices.

Mastersonville Furniture wall
In remodeling Roman intentionally removed some of the plaster that covered the original brick in the old 1800’s building. This design reminds me of the old “One Way” sign from the seventies! (see here)

Mastersonville Furniture lift
In order to access the second floor Roman had this lift built. We really appreciate the hard work and ingenuity of the Amish. This young couple work right alongside each other as well as their young children, including a new baby.

Giant Lebanon bologna sandwich
We’ll use this photo of a giant Lebanon bologna sandwich sometime when we prepare a message on Deuteronomy 8:10!


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources


“I Believe in a Hill Called Mount Calvary”  Video   
Gaither Vocal Band

This Saturday evening we will have the opportunity to hear the Gaither Vocal Band live here at the American Music Theater in Lancaster. Local readers who may be interested in attending the concert see
here or here, although it looks like all the weekend concerts are about sold out.

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.

“Our Forever Family”

Turkey Hill cow at Kraybill Church School 5/8/14
This weekend a special fundraising auction was held on our street at Kraybill Mennonite School. The Turkey Hill Giant Cow was parked out front with its new makeover showing the many delicious Turkey Hill ice cream flavors. It would be hard to pick a favorite!
“Our Forever Family


ListenListen to us read this message on your audio player.

“Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that He and His disciples were not even able to eat.When His family heard about this, they went to take charge of Him, for they said, ‘He is out of His mind.’ He said this because they were saying, ‘He has an impure spirit.’ Then Jesus’ mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call Him. A crowd was sitting around Him, and they told Him, ‘Your mother and brothers are outside looking for You.’ ‘Who are my mother and my brothers?’ He asked. Then He looked at those seated in a circle around Him and said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother'” (Mark 3:20, 30-34).

Yesterday was Mother’s Day, in which we honor motherhood and for many it’s a day of gathering with family for many here in America. Our Italian neghbors next door, Frank and Maria, had a large gathering of extended family as is their custom. Next to them Mick and Fern had their three children and six grandchildren over. Seeing them depart was a tender scene as the families in their three vans lined up in the driveway as though in a processional. They backed out one by one and honked as they slowly drove away to their own individual homes.

Mother's Day meal 5/11/14The course of life has been different for us. Since our marriage in 1976 we’ve never lived near family. Our parents are gone and our siblings live all over the country, although I (Stephen) do have a brother about 100 miles away. Ester is visiting with her aunt in Texas for several weeks.

So yesterday it was just the two of us. After attending our church service and then some ministry at Longwood Manor we got home about 1:30 to have our Mother’s Day meal which was scaled down since we’re watching calories these days. No sooner did we get the kitchen cleaned up than some dear folks drove into our driveway.

Dourte's 5/11/14 Jesse and Wilma Dourte, whom we often feature in our messages, stopped by in a quest for watercress, which grows in nearby Donegal Creek. So we got in the van and went looking but found that watercress is a little late this season. We’ll have to wait a couple of weeks before we can get some clippings for them.

The Dourtes brought some hot dogs and asparagus, should they be invited to stay for dinner, which of course they were. As they often say, “There’s nothing like inviting yourself to dinner.” To which we respond, “There’s nothing like having ‘family’ over for dinner.”

In Wednesday’s message last week we highlighted the Psalm, “God sets the solitary in families” which is referring to our biological families. Mother’s Day is an endearing day set apart to remind us of the sacrifices our mothers made for us. But today we want to focus on our eternal or forever family.

A quick read of Mark 3 would make one think that Jesus is disrespecting His immediate family who had come to fetch Him.
From the reports they were being told about Him they declared, “He is out of His mind”. How many times have we said to our siblings while still living at home, “You’re out of your mind or you’re driving me crazy.” Though Jesus was divine He was also human and subject to the opinions of His siblings, both good and bad. Perhaps they feared that his great zeal for God had affected His mind.

Jesus was unconventional in His teaching, His lifestyle, and His miraculous power. People were talking, often unfavorably. Like all families, when one of our own is getting out of hand we lasso them in and attempt to bring them into compliance with the rules of the household and society as a whole. After all, it’s not just Jesus who’s being talked about but the whole family is surely under surveillance about their nonconformist family member.

The house was overflowing so they sent in a messenger to let Jesus know they’d come for Him. By this time His earthly father, Joseph, is no longer mentioned and most presume he has died. But Scripture reveals His mother’s presence all through His life and especially her presence at the Cross (John 19:25)  and in the Upper Room after His ascension (Acts 1:14).

Rather than excusing Himself and leaving with His family, He looks directly at those around Him and responds: “Here are my mother and my brothers!  Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.” Jesus was not referring to His biological family but to His spiritual family. It’s hard to write this, but we might find more kinship with a Christian brother or sister who does God’s will than a family member who walks in disobedience to God. It doesn’t minimize our love for our biological family, but we cannot comfortably talk about our love for Jesus, eternal principles and truths, or agree upon a Biblical lifestyle.

Jesus is referring in this passage to His eternal family. Surely you also can quickly call to mind older men and women of the faith who have been or presently are like spiritual parents to you, such as the Dourtes are to us. Likewise there are brothers and sisters of the faith whom we relate to as though we were raised together. And then there are younger people who walk in obedience to God that we look upon as our spiritual children. We lovingly refer to our Amish friends, who freely express their love and devotion to God as our children, and their children are like our grandchildren (much to Ester’s dismay). There is a spiritual connection that is even more powerful than a physical bloodline in some of our spiritual relationships.

In closing, Paul himself, expresses the sentiment we should have toward our spiritual family in Galatians 6:10: “As we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer: Father, we are grateful for our earthly human family; for our parents, siblings, and extended bloodline. So many warm memories and formative teachings have shaped us into the people we are today because of their personal sacrifices and loving infuence. We thank You also for our forever spiritual family who help us interpret life’s journey though an eternal scope. Because of our mutual love for Jesus we relate as a spiritual mother, father, brother or sister in a large family. We bear each other’s burdens, weeping with those who weep, rejoicing with those who rejoice. May we help to meet the needs of others which You have commissioned us to do, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. In the name of Your Son, Jesus, we pray. Amen.


Today’s message is from a passage which is very difficult to interpret and our exposition should be read as “food for thought” and an inducement to further study.


Brooksyne’s Note: We came to know the Dourtes when we they attended Discover Joy, a small country church we pastored several years ago in an interim role. The passage from Mark we share about today has been close to my heart for days and the visit from the Dourtes reinforced the message Jesus conveyed about our eternal family. Perhaps your mother or father are deceased or there is a great distance between you and your loved one. How wonderful that the Scriptures include this setting of Jesus showing love and kinship toward followers of God in the same way we show love and kinship toward our biological families.


Donegal Springs geese families 5/11/14
As we were out looking for watercress Stephen went to the geese’s nest of five eggs we featured in this photo. The nest was gone, but the goslings were present along with many others. There were three waddling couples along with their young.

Clarence and Alverta 72nd anniversary 5/11/14
Seventy two years of marriage & counting! Alverta and Clarence continue to amaze and inspire us. Alverta broke her hip about three months ago forcing her to stay in another facility for a few months. She recovered and returned to her husband who is thrilled to have her back at his side.

Baby dedication 5/11/14
What could make Mother’s Day at church more memorable and endearing than to dedicate a baby to the Lord! Little Micaiah Kopp resting before the Lord as Pastor John prayed a dedicatory prayer over her.




Please Pray: Ronn, a friend and longtime reader, writes from his heart concerning the kidnapping in Nigeria along with a personal connection:

I write to you briefly with heavy heart. Many years ago I spent 2 1/2 years in Northeastern Nigeria as a Brethren Volunteer Service worker. I spent most of my time in Garkida which is about thirty miles from Chibuk. I also spent some time in Chibuk with the missionary couple and nurse who lived at that out station, where we held an outdoor overnight camp for boys and had a wonderful experience. As best as I can tell, some of these kidnapped girls are granddaughters of the boys at that camp. The Church of the Brethren Mission in that area began in the 1920s and today has nearly 200,000 members (larger than the CoB church in the states). We have spent many years teaching these people how to live peacefully and how wrong fighting and killing is in God’s eyes and to have something like this happen is upsetting. Also, about ten churches have been torched by this radical Muslim group called Boko Haran. Not only were the churches destroyed but homes of members and murders by the score. I just heard that this same group attacked and killed over 100 two days ago following the kidnapping.

I am a great believer in prayer and I believe many of your readers are too.  It would be nice to encourage readers and listeners to pray without ceasing that the girls will be found safely and the fires and murders will cease. Our God is a powerful God and I know He wants the same thing. The burnings and murders referred to above were not all from our church in Nigeria, but many other faiths as well.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources


“The Bond Of Love”  Video

“Bind Us Together Lord”  Video

Erwin Lutzer

A powerful short audio message by Erwin Lutzer regarding the times we live in. (Just under 3 minutes) We have appreciated Erwin Lutzer’s faithful ministry for many years.)

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.

“The Centrality Of Christ’s Resurrection” Alive Forevermore!

Cameron Estate mansion 4/24/14

Late yesterday afternoon we walked through the grounds of the Cameron Estate Mansion about 1 mile west from our home. The huge red brick farmhouse was built in 1805.
“The Centrality Of Christ’s Resurrection
Alive Forevermore!


ListenListen to us read this message on your audio player.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty” (Revelation 1:8). “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living One. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore” (Revelation 1:17,18).

What great assurance the truth of Christ’s resurrection brings to the follower of Christ. Mysteries abound in this life. There is so much we just don’t understand and I am frankly convinced we won’t till the other side. Yesterday we heard the report of the three killed at a mission hospital in Afghanistan who worked with Cure International, a medical mission based not far from our home in Central Pennsylvania.

Let us consider John when he wrote Revelation. Tradition asserts that all the other original twelve disciples were martyred for their faith, the first recorded being James, who was beheaded in Acts 12. John is the only original twelve disciple to have died a natural death. Although we are unaware of the extent of communication at that time I wonder what John felt like being the last living disciple of the original twelve. Surely his eyewitness memory of Christ’s resurrection was a bulwark to his faith. Yet Jesus appears to him again and reminds him that He is alive forevermore!

As we prepare today’s message an old chorus comes to mind that some of our readers may recall.

Alive, alive, alive forevermore.
My Jesus is alive, alive forevermore.
Alive, alive, alive forevermore.
My Jesus is alive.


All this week we have been examining the centrality of the resurrection as expressed in each major section of the New Testament. Today we consider the centrality of the resurrection as expressed in the final book of the Bible, the book of Revelation.

We may not associate resurrection teaching with the Book of Revelation, a prophetical book that reveals the future. But since the resurrection is foundational to the Gospel we shouldn’t be surprised to see John, who also wrote the Gospel of John and three letters in the New Testament (1,2,3 John), revealing this truth early in the book. Actually the two verses used today are direct quotes from the forever alive Lord Jesus Christ, whom John describes as “the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth” (Revelation 1:5).

Henry M. Morris writes concerning the importance of the resurrection. “The bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the crowning proof of Christianity. Everything else that was said or done by Christ and the apostles is secondary in importance to the resurrection. If the resurrection did not take place then Christianity is a false religion. If it did take place, then Christ is God and the Christian faith is absolute truth.”

Today let us especially consider the phrase, “Behold I am alive forevermore“. Christ says, “behold,” emphasizing that His demonstration of life beyond the grave is of paramount importance, for Christ’s resurrection bears witness that those who trust in Him will likewise rise from the dead (John 14:19; Romans 6:8-9). If not for the fact of the resurrection—without the “Living One”—Christianity would be meaningless (1Corinthians 15:12-17).

He is alive forevermore! Other versions state; “alive forever and ever” (NIV) “alive for timeless ages!” (Phillips), “I am alive now and for all the ages—even ages to come” (Voice). The literal Greek expression is aionion to aionion (ages to ages or eons to eons). That sounds like a long time to me – without end!

Sing alleluia, sing alleluia,
My Jesus is alive forevermore.
Sing alleluia, sing alleluia
My Jesus is alive.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer:Father, we thank You for Jesus who conquered death and is alive forevermore. And because He lives we live also. What hope and assurance this brings to all who repent and believe, to all who receive Your Son, Jesus, as their personal Saviour. We worship “the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. For He is alive now and for all the ages – even the ages to come.” And we give praise, honor and glory to Jesus, the Alpha and Omega, who was and is and is to come. Amen.



Report of martyrdom from Afghanistan.This is such a sad story for the families of those martyred. Amazingly, in the very midst of their fresh grief, doctors would perform lifesaving surgery on the man who killed their colleague and two of his visiting family members, all medical doctors.

Personal note: Tomorrow we will be travelling to Texas to visit Brooksyne’s sister, Elaine, who lives near San Antonio. We hope to post several messages during our trip but we do not expect to post daily. We will not only see Elaine but also look forward to visiting several Daily Encouragement friends while we are there.

Technical note: Earlier this week I shared about a problem I am having regarding the orientation of photos as they appear on the web and in email. Although the photos are properly oriented when I edit them and build the page using html, some of them display sideways on the web. If you have a phone with auto rotate you will be chasing the photo around trying to get it to view properly! A thoughtful reader shared this website that addresses the issue. I think I figured out how to fix the problem by deleting the additional data that is included with a photo when I edit the photo if I remember. I believe this is called EXIF data. It would be my preference if I could just have a setting to not include this data in the first place. Any ideas?


Cameron Estate duck family 4/24/14)
We walked through the grounds of the Cameron Estate last night to see if the new gosslings from the eggs we showed on Monday had arrived. They had not but Mom was still nesting and Father goose was protecting by hissing at us as we walked by the other side of the Donegal Springs pool. Farther on the walk these three ducks came up to greet Brooksyne. Surprisingly they all turned in synchronization to the right and then later to the left, as though they were posing for their picture, but preferred a side view.

Sunset over Galen and Nancy Martin's pond 4/24/14
Ester went fishing with a friend at our friend’s farm pond and snapped this photo.

Donegal Springs road buckwagon 4/24/14
Our neighbor on Donegal Springs Road appears to be cleaning out his barn and must have found this old buckwagon he has now parked along the road. Brooksyne thinks it would be even more interesting with some flowers on the bench seat. We’ll see if the farmer’s wife comes up with the same idea!


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources


All this week we have shared songs with the Resurrection theme.

“Alive Forever, Amen “  Video  Travis Cottrell  (Newly posted today) A powerful more recently written Rerurrection song.

“Alive, Alive, Alive Forevermore”  Video  WorshipHouse Kids (This is the chorus we began our message with. It’s hard to sing it without smiling!

“He Lives!” (song and hymn history)  Video

“Christ The Lord Is Risen Today”  Video  (traditional)  Video  (a bit more contemporary)

“Power Of The Cross  Video  Steve Green

“Easter Song”  Video  Matthew Ward

* “See What A Morning”  Video  Getty/Towend team  I (Brooksyne)reallyappreciate the Biblical resurrection accountbeing recounted in such detail and colorfully presented in this song by the Gettys and Stuart Towend, one of 12 hymns they collaborated on, based on the core beliefs as articulated in the Apostle’s Creed.

“I’ll Rise Again”  Video  Dallas Holm

“Christ Arose”  Video  Daniel Thornton Sing alleluia, sing alleluia,
My Jesus is alive forevermore.
Sing alleluia, sing alleluia
My Jesus is alive.

“Because He Lives”  Video  Gaither Vocal Band

“He Arose”  Video  Stone Church choir

“He’s Alive”  Video  Don Francisco

“He Gave His Life”  Video  Vocal Union 

“There Never Was A Pulpit Like The Cross”  Video  Vocal Union

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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.

“The Ultimate Celebration”

Sunset cross 10/30/13
Last night’s sunset featured a cross like pattern in the sky.

“The Ultimate Celebration”

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“After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb” (Revelation 7:9,10). “After this I heard what sounded like the roar of a great multitude in heaven shouting: “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God” (Revelation 19:1).

Death’s chilly waters I’ll soon be crossing,
His hand will lead me safely o’er,
I’ll join the chorus in that bright city,
And sing up there forever more.


Last night the Boston Red Sox won the World Series. Having lived in New England and attending several games at Fenway Park I certainly can imagine the excitement at this World Series victory, although certainly not quite to the same degree as in 2004 when their last previous victory had been in 1918! However this was their first time winning a series at Fenway for 95 years.

Red Sox victory celebrationI enjoy the excitement of the game but I especially enjoy watching the postgame celebration. It’s pretty predictable with the players running to the center of the field and jumping all over each other. I have watched these since my childhood although rarely for “my” team. Growing up in Kansas City Missouri my home town has not exactly had a multitude of championships (one in football and one in baseball). My adopted cities have done better with Pittsburgh, the teams we followed while living in western PA and Boston having several championships.

I hope many of you have experienced similar times of excitement in life. It may have been due to the victory of your favorite sport’s team. Even non baseball fans should be able to identify with the excitement in Boston last night.

But we also consider the various occasions in life that are celebratory such as a birth, marriage, long sought reconciilation or other personal achievement. From the eternal perspective we consider the joy of one coming to Christ, a Christian baptism or victorious overcoming. Even a funeral service can be celebration for a life lived well.

Anyway, sports fan or not we have a celebration coming that will make any earthly celebration absolutely pale in comparison. Today’s Scripture portions give us a glimpse of this celebration. Indeed, as the old gospel song says,

“When we all get to heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be!
When we all see Jesus, we’ll sing and shout the victory!”
Revelation 7:10

Consider the great multitude in the glimpse of that celebration in our daily text.  People of faith comprise “a great multitude that no one could count from every nation, tribe, people and language.” Representation from every generation since Adam and Eve will be present.  Enoch will be there, along with Noah and Abraham, and all who have lived by faith throughout the ages.  We know the names of only a tiny fraction of this great multitude that happen to be recorded in Biblical history, church history or well-known people of faith in our own time.  The vast, vast majority will just be ordinary people like you and me.

The skin color of the redeemed next to us won’t matter.  Neither will their ethnic background or age.  Who knows, I might be standing near a black believer from Kenya who lived for God hundreds or even thousands of years ago!

We will be “standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb.”  This is a glimpse I can scarcely imagine. The Lord will need to make a transformation for me since I’m not drawn to large crowds but I am most confident that it won’t matter here. I will be engaged in worship to the only true God.

Frankly I don’t know how comfortable I’ll be wearing a white robe and holding palm branches in my hands.  But I know I’ll get over it, because the real focus will be toward the throne and the Lamb.

I have a loud voice and I’ll have no difficulty making the greatest declaration of all time as I stand with the redeemed multitude and cry out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb”!  That will be the ultimate celebration! Won’t you join me there for the ultimate celebration?

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we the redeemed declare that praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength belong to You, our God, forever and ever.  Never again will there be hunger, never again will there be thirst.  You will wipe away every tear from the eyes of those who have suffered making us long for that glorious eternal event that will take place in our lives. It is in the name of Jesus that we come to You in prayer. Amen!

(Prayer adapted from Revelation 7)


Today’s Suggested Music
and SupplementalResources


“Oh,What A Savior”   Video  Ernie Haase & Signature Sound

“When We All Get to Heaven”  Video  Homecoming

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.

“The Next Really Big Thing”

Bike with "truck bed" (photo taken in Intercourse, PA 10/25/13)
Last week we saw this interesting bike/cart in front of a store in Intercourse, PA.

“The Next Really Big Thing”

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“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope–the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is good” (Titus 2:11-14).

Baseball scorecard We have been enjoying the World Series, America’s baseball championship. I can root for both teams this season. Being from Missouri I am pleased a Missouri team is in and I can join many of my relatives in cheering for the Cardinals. My grandpa was an avid Cardinal’s fan and I recall him listening carefully from the crackly box radio in their small home in Harwood as he carefully tallied the box score.

Fenway Park, Boston Having lived near Boston for over seven years we have many friends in that area and have experienced the unique excitement of attending baseball games at Fenway Park, which is unlike any other professional stadium I’ve ever visited.

Winning the World Series is a really big thing for the team and city. The Red Sox are returning to Fenway with a 3-2 series lead and need just one win at home to win the series. The last time they won a world series at home was 1918 when Babe Ruth was on their team! So you can imagine the excitement in Boston! I lean a bit in favor of the Boston team considering the trauma and loss they experienced during the Boston Marathon in April of this year.

Today’s message title is inspired by an ad we see during the series promoting a tablet computer, which is touted as “the next big thing”. In technology there is always something new and supposedly better. I recall Tony, a hi-tech engineer who attended our church in New England, asserting that once a new tech product is introduced it’s no longer state of the art. (That was in the nineties and now you can imagine how short a life span tech products have for being “new”.)

We all have some very big things in life, some good and others not so good. Marriage, the birth of a child or grandchild, a new job or promotion are all big things in life. Of course, there are also big setbacks like an accident, disease diagnosis, or a major loss.

Today let us consider the next really big thing all who have accepted and follow Christ can look forward to. In fact it’s incomparable to any other big thing we experience in this present life!

Many of you will recall an old children’s song. If you can sing it out!

I am a C (spelling out the capital letters)
I am a C-H
I am a C-H-R-I-S-T-I-A-N
And I have C-H-R-I-S-T
In my H-E-A-R-T
and I will L-I-V-E   E-T-E-R-N-A-L-L-Y!
(Of course you speed it up each time you sing a round!)

The first daily verse states that “He (God) has set eternity in the hearts of men.” Frankly I am not sure what all this means but man certainly does have a sense of history past. We also have a sense of eternity future. As believers we sense that this temporal life is but a short moment within the span of our eternal existence. The next really, really, really big thing is when we experience the transition from this present earthbound life to eternal life in heaven.

Starry sky Perhaps my first sense of teaching on eternity was in this children’s song when we sang I will LIVE ETERNALLY. I recall as a little boy sitting out under the stars, looking up and considering eternity. Last night I looked up to those same stars on a very clear and cold night sky.

Today all of us have issues that trouble us. I’m one of millions caught up in the health insurance mess since our plan was canceled, effective Dec. 31st! There seems to be so much uncertainty and division in the world. We continue to live under the specter of terror. Consider God’s love for you and recognize that we just “cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. Indeed His blessings are unfathomable and unending!

Let us keep the faith as we await the next really big thing! “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope–the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is good.”

When we’ve been there ten million years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we first begun!

Be encouraged today!

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, You have set eternity in the hearts of Your people though it is impossible for us to comprehend all that You have done from eternity past to eternity future. Your existence spans eternity for You always have been and always will be. As Your children, we await the next really big event of Christ’s return and joyfully anticipate His appearing where He invites us to take our first step inside the pearly gates where we will view the home He has prepared for us and the New Jerusalem He has prepared for the saints of all ages. Ten million years later we’ll still be singing Your praise and giving thanks that there is no end to our days nor to our unbounding joy. It is through Jesus that we have this unending access to heaven and it is in His name that we pray. Amen.



Today’s Suggested Music
and SupplementalResources


“Amazing Grace”  Video  50 Different Languages (something different and a blessing to realize what a diversity of nationalities will be in heaven, though we will not be separated by language differences there! )

In my lifetime I have been to many thousands of church services and other meetings and heard a similar amount of sermons and teachings. I recall the specificities of only a few of them, but readily acknowledge that all exposure to truth has been extremely beneficial and helped build the foundation of my Christian beliefs. I recall when I was a young Christian in high school visiting the Sycamore Hills Baptist Church in Independence Missouri. While singing “Amazing Grace” the song leader got to the final stanza that says, “When we’ve been there ten thousand years” and stopped the musicians. He then instructed the church to replace the number “thousand” with “million”. So we sang, “When we’ve been there ten million years.” That first experience has stayed with me though I’ve sung it many times since then with “ten million”. It intrigues me that regardless of whatever gargantuan number replaces “thousand” it’s still true! That’s the nature of eternity.

Yesterday I read an interesting devotional based on “Amazing Grace” written by Joe Stowell who highlights the phrase “saved a wretch like me”.

“I Am Bound For The Promised Land”  Video  Jars Of Clay

“I am a C-H-R-I-S-T-I-A-N”  Video  Kids singing!

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.

“We Will See Each Other Again”

Oklahoma "see through barn" near Talequah
A “see through barn” near Tahlequah Oklahoma. We especially enjoy the climbing trumpet vine reminding us of another abandoned barn we saw last year in northern Indiana.

“We Will See Each Other Again”


ListenListen to this message on your aud
io player. We were able to prepare a podcast today
and expect to do so the next several days.

“But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).

Cherokee making arrows 7/12/13We visited the Cherokee Heritage Center near Tahlequah Oklahoma this last weekend. Since Brooksyne is part Cherokee it was interesting to observe a historic part of her heritage. We took a guided tour through “Diligwa” a 1710 Cherokee Village to observe what life was like at that time. Steve (left in photo), was our very colorful Cherokee tour guide who explained and illustrated various features of Cherokee life at that time.

He shared with us some of the Cherokee language explaining that the Cherokee word for “Hello” is o-si-yo! But he told us there is no Cherokee word for “Goodby” rather they use the expression, “We will see each other again” which is expressed do-da-da-go-hv-i when speaking to two or more people and do-na-da-go-hv-i when speaking to just one person.*

We are seeing a lot of family during this trip. Thursday-Saturday we were at a reunion at a lodge on Fort Gibson Lake from my mom’s side. Yesterday Brooksyne and Ester went to Arkansas to see many of her kinfolks on her dad’s side and tonight we will gather with family from her mom’s side.

Many times as we depart a reunion we use a phrase similar to the Cherokee expression, “See you next year.” But one inevitable feature of multi-generational family reunions is that at the next gathering you can’t be certain as to who won’t be present.

Our Steincross reunion began in 1975 after my grandparents died. Their children (my mom and her siblings) set up an annual gathering to stay in touch. Now that entire generation has passed on and two years ago we lost our oldest cousin, Jeannine, who was the first member of my generation. At the reunion the summer before she died we celebrated her 80th birthday and I recall the wonderful tribute her children gave her (she had been a widow for many years). Being in a family where many live in their nineties we didn’t expect this to be her last reunion on this side.

But for the Christian there’s a spiritual lesson in the same manner in which the Cherokees express at their time of departure, “We will see each other again”. Though in reality we can’t be certain that we’ll see each other again on this side.

One of the glorious truths in Scripture is expressed in our daily passage, which is often referred to as the “Rapture passage”, although the word rapture is not used in the Bible. This describes a future even when first those who have died in Christ (as His followers) and then those who are alive are “caught up in the air”. This teaching has been brought into disrepute by specific date setters but nevertheless is part of the Scripture report as to future events.

But today let us observe one comforting detail in the passage which was written as a means of assurance to those whose loved ones had died; “And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them” and even more specific those three words “together with them.”  Those living at the time will be together with those who have died.

So for the Christian we can part company with this expression, “We will see each other again!” And be fully assured that we will; if not here, then in the air.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, in the words of Paul we’re taught that we who are still alive when Christ returns will be caught up together with believers in the clouds to meet You in the air, and so we will always be with You. We encourage each other with these words of Scripture reminding us that as our Christian friends and family go before us we will see each other again at Your appointed time. Keep us faithful, hopeful and always watching for that glorious everlasting reunion. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.


Some scenes along our journey:

Anna Lee with Stephen at Steincross reunion 7/12/13
A photo with Anna Lee, my oldest living cousin from Tulsa, taken at our reunion on Fort Gibson Lake. Anna Lee, 80, was the oldest cousin at the reunion. Her older sister Jeannine is the one whom we referred to that passed away early last year. I was the youngest first cousin at the reunion this year and my sister Genelle who did not attend is 56 so we have quite an age span.

Group photo at Steincross reunion 7/12/13
A group photo of our Steincross reunion.

Cherokee archer 7/12/13
During our (90 degree plus) tour at the Cherokee Heritage Center we watched a full blood Cherokee elder skillfully make arrows and shoot them at a bull’s eye in a round bail of hay.

Cherokee turtle shell rattles 7/12/13
These turtle shell rattles (filled with small rocks) are tied around the knees of Indian women during Cherokee stomp dances which are still held in that area. This bundle has only 9 turtles where most rattles have 15. Just lifting these shells was a good 15# or more so you can imagine what 6 more rattles would add in weight. I (Brooksyne) don’t believe I could even raise my knees much less stomp my feet with these heavy, bulky weights.

Cherokee log cabin used in late 1800's
This log cabin is from a reconstructed village know as Adam’s Corner set in the 1890’s.

Fish's BBQ in Talequah, OK
Years ago my older brother Pat and I had some great BBQ in Tahlequah Oklahoma. I had a hard time finding the place again since it’s in an old auto body shop off the main road with very poor signage.  We found Fish’s BBQ after inquiring among the locals. They just left the overhead door on and the dining area is behind it. I suppose it relies on reputation among the locals since it does a good business. The BBQ meal was outstanding (one customer described it as “awesome”)!

Fish's BBQ in Talequah, OK
Fish’s BBQ had quite an interior decor as well.

John and Bonita Watts 7/14/13
Yesterday morning while Brooksyne and Ester were visiting her relatives in Arkansas I went to church in Tulsa with some Daily Encouragement friends, John and Bonita Watts.

Only Jesus... poster at Parkview Baptist Church, Tulsa OK
This powerful poster was in our Sunday School classroom.

Mike at Gilcrease Museum Tulsa OK 7/14/13
My oldest brother Mike joined me yesterday afternoon and we toured the Gilcrease Museum.


Today’s Suggested Musicand SupplementalResources


“If We Never Meet Again”  Video  Booth Brothers

“We Shall See Jesus”  Video  Ernie Haase & Signature Sound

“Cherokee Heritage Center”

* For a page about the Cherokee language see here.

Gilcrease Museum

 



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.

“One Hundred Years From Now”

Straw bales, Espenshade farm 7/4/13
This is the Espenshade farm view we see everyday at the end of our road.
They began harvesting yesterday and this was our 6 A.M. view today.
Click here for a larger view.

“One Hundred Years From Now”


ListenListen to this message on your aud
io player.

“Then he breathed his last and died and was gathered to his people, old and full of years. And his sons Esau and Jacob buried him” (Genesis 35:29).

In the early morning hours yesterday a deadly fire ravaged a house in Lancaster City, killing four and critically injuring several others. This morning as we drove by the location, now surrounded with police tape and all boarded up, we considered again how fragile life is. Tragically the house had no smoke alarms which may have prevented the deaths and injuries of all those who resided there. Nonetheless as this tragedy just happened yesterday eternity has been on my mind all morning since I consider that when these folks went to bed Wednesday night  it’s quite unlikely that they expected to wake up to eternity on the other side or a hospital bed where recovery will be slow, painful and filled with grief as they process their loss of loved ones.

A small church in Marietta, PA displayed a sign that asked, “Where will you be 100 years from now?” That really got me thinking.  A more familiar expression of this type is, “Where will you spend eternity?” But to me the 100 year question packs a very powerful punch. That’s a measurement of time I can comprehend.  I find it helpful to look back 100 years and perhaps you can do the same in your own family timeline. Since we will be traveling in the Midwest and visiting many family members on both sides over the next couple weeks I’ve been doing some thinking about my immediate and extended family.

MaMa and PaPa Steincross I consider my mother’s father, PaPa, whom I knew and loved dearly. He breathed his last when I was sixteen.  100 years ago in 1913 he was still a young man with many years of life ahead of him.  He was adventuresome, riding the rails across the west and he told all his grandchildren the story of his climbing Pike’s Peak one night.

By 1908 he had settled down, married and began raising his family.  His farm was in southwest Missouri and he was also president of the small town bank in Harwood Missouri. He saw his grandchildren and great-grandchildren before passing away when he was nearly 90.  In his lifetime he read of the first manned flight by the Wright brothers and nearly seventy years later saw a man on the moon.

But there came that time when PaPa, being old and full of years, was gathered to his people, and then buried on a windswept hill west of tiny Schell City, Missouri where my parents are also buried.

So, where I will be 100 years from now is not some esoteric question, since I personally knew someone who lived one hundred years ago.  And many of you do as well.

There are basically four different possible answers to this vital question, “Where will I be 100 years from now?”:

  • Perhaps with medical advances I will be living at 158 years of age!
  • The secular response is that I am merely a physical entity and when I die that’s it.  As a mere physical being my flesh, which is all I am will rot in the ground.  In this view there’s no spirit or soul to live on and certainly no future resurrection of the body.
  • The common dominant view held by many including those who should know better is that everyone (except the notoriously evil) goes to a very pleasant place at death. This view is based on sentiment, not Scripture and is often expressed by even the most ardent secularist at the death of a loved one. It seems to me humans have an innate sense that there is something more after death and this view basically asserts “the good in life probably always outweighs the bad and things work out all right in the end.”  However this view has no basis in Scripture.
  • That the Holy Scriptures truthfully informs of a coming judgment and two very distinct options at death depending on our response to Christ during our present lifetime.

I clearly and unashamedly hold to the fourth view. Though it goes against conventional wisdom, it’s not absolutely impossible that I may be alive 100 years from now. But it’s most unlikely!

The daily text is just a simple expression of the passing of a man (Isaac) who lived nearly 4,000 years ago. He was 180 years old and full of years. The powerful phrase “gathered to his people” is first used at the death of Abraham (Genesis 25:8) and is repeated throughout the Scriptures to the death of Moses (Deuteronomy 32:50).  One day you and I will most certainly be “gathered to our people.”

I want to be prepared to join the people of God throughout the ages, including those in my own generation.  I encourage each of you today to commit your life to Christ. Express your faith in His redemption plan, confess and repent of your sins, and choose this day and every day to serve the Lord Jesus Christ.

Be encouraged and prepared today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer:Father, daily there are questions looming; some trivial and others essential to our existence here on earth. But the most vital question we must answer in in a timely manner and in adherence to Scripture has to do with our eternal destiny. Just as the patriarchs of old lived long lives and then were buried by their children, our bodies too will return to dust, while our souls live on for eternity. We want to “be gathered to our people” who’ve made their pilgrimage here on earth with You as their Shepherd. We choose to commit our ways to You and follow Your commands so that our room and board is forever paid up in the great beyond where Christ sits at Your right hand. Keep us faithful till that day is fulfilled in our lives. In the precious name of Jesus we pray. Amen.



Hanging begonias 7/4/13
Our repurposed window frame is starting to fill in with begonias. It’s obvious that the left bag was planted a couple weeks after the right one. Hopefully it will soon catch up!

Baby cardinal 6/24/13
Walking through our lawn we saw this baby cardinal that had apparently fallen from the nest and was unable to fly. Mom and Dad cardinal were keeping a close eye and everytime the fledgling would move swooped down to protect.

Keith on Clark forklift 7/5/13
This morning I visited with Keith. I told him the Clark forklift had a sentimental value to me. My only Uncle who is still living worked for Clark his entire career following his service in the Korean War era. We expect to visit Uncle Don and Aunt Mary this weekend near Louisville Kentucky.

Mystery photo shared by Ken Leaman

Ken, a friend at work shared this photo. Do any of our readers have any idea what it is? (Venture a guess at this address and I will share the correct answer with Monday’s message.)


Today’s Suggested Musicand SupplementalResources


“Sometimes I Wonder”  Video  Ernie Haase and Signature Sound

 

 



Send a message to Stephen & Brooksyne

 


Free email subscription
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.

“Seeing The Bigger Picture”

Eternal perspective

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.
“Seeing The Bigger Picture”

(Note: Due to the historical detail that is in this study it is longer than normal.  The spiritual application is summed up in the last several paragraphs.)

“By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions about his bones” (Hebrews 11:22).

1) Opening Illustration

Faucet project 5/28/13Several years ago I noticed my lower shower faucet leaked even after it was turned off, beginning with a slight drip and then worsening to a slow stream. Since this was the hot water side I knew it would increase my electric bill. I intended to get it fixed but since I didn’t know how to repair or replace the faucet myself I cut a small hole in the wall behind the shower stall and placed two valves in the supply lines right before the faucet. For several years I have had to open these valves prior to taking a shower and also had to advise our guests to do the same, calling it our “innovative water saving system”.

Faucet project 5/28/13Since this hole can be seen when the door is closed we cover it with the picture (right) especially when others visit.

Faucet project 5/28/13 Rick, our friend who is visiting us from New England, has plumbing skills and told me he would replace the faucet. As we began working on the project he examined the small rectangular opening I had cut out and determined that he would need to make an even larger access cut. He then teasingly suggested that we might want to get a bigger picture to cover the even larger hole. Being spiritually minded he quipped, “It’s always good to see the bigger picture.”

I began to think about his words and considered that it’s easier to fix our eyes on the “smaller picture” that affects us personally and ignore the bigger picture that has more far-reaching effects. But we should be learning to focus on the bigger picture as our perspective matures over the years. Today we will draw a lesson from a little known ancient account concerning Joseph. Of all the accounts that describe Joseph’s unwavering faith this is the only one the author of Hebrews uses: “By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions about his bones” (Hebrews 11:22).

2) A Lesson From History

Desecration of Joseph's tombIn recent years Muslim extremists have desecrated a sacred Jewish site called “Joseph’s Tomb.” Up until this time I had not been aware that the location of the tomb of Joseph was even known or still had significance to devout Jews. (But I shouldn’t have been surprised!) Allow me the opportunity today to trace its history in the Bible. It’s one more incredible way in which the ancient events of the Bible have a bearing on modern man.

Joseph, the clearly favored son of the patriarch Jacob, is well-remembered for his coat of many colors. Many of us will remember from our childhood memories how the plain flannelgraph board suddenly brightened with many hues of color as the Sunday School teacher added the coat of many colors visual aid to help us remember and treasure this timeless story.

Joseph in prisonThe suspense builds as Joseph gets sold into Egyptian slavery by his jealous brothers and through a series of providential events including a time in prison he becomes the Prime Minister in Egypt, prospering immensely. But he never loses his identity and faith in God nor does his heart wane. Because of this, God raises him up for the deliverance of the fledgling people of God as recorded in the latter chapters of Genesis.

Joseph knew where his real home was and, just prior to his death, made this very explicit request: “And Joseph made the sons of Israel swear an oath and said, ‘God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up from this place'” (Genesis 50:25).  The truths of God were transmitted orally in those days, passed down from generation to generation before Moses first placed the Scriptures in written form.

I believe Joseph surely was aware of a very specific promise made by the Lord to his great-grandfather Abraham. “Know for certain that your descendents will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years.  But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions” (Genesis 15:13,14). This promise was made even before Abraham’s son Isaac was born!

Many years later Joseph died and the people of God were enslaved in Egypt. Moses, as their leader, was ready to pull out of Egypt during the Exodus, but he remembered this important request from Joseph and acted to fulfill it. “Moses took the bones of Joseph with him because Joseph had made the sons of Israel swear an oath. He had said, ‘God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up with you from this place'” (Exodus 13:19).

Somebody had to haul those bones around! First across the Red Sea and through the wilderness for 40 years under Moses, then across the Jordan River and all during the time of conquest under Joshua.  Finally, after Joshua died, they fulfilled an old promise by laying these bones to rest.  “And Joseph’s bones, which the Israelites had brought up from Egypt, were buried at Shechem in the tract of land that Jacob bought for a hundred pieces of silver from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem. This became the inheritance of Joseph’s descendants” (Joshua 24:32). And for some 3,400 years this tomb has been a place of remembrance for faithful Jews.

3) The Spiritual Application

What motivated Joseph? After all, when he made the request he had become very comfortable and prosperous in Egypt. He was revered by both the Egyptians and the Israelites, who were at the time of his death honored and welcome guests of the Egyptians. Bluntly speaking Egypt had been good to Joseph.

The answer is found in the only biographical statement made concerning Joseph in Hebrews 11, the great “Faith Chapter”. “By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions about his bones” (Hebrews 11:22). Joseph, by faith, saw the bigger picture. He knew where his real home was as a great-grandson of Abraham.

I believe one of our biggest faith challenges on this side of eternity is seeing the bigger picture and keeping it our major focus as we journey below.  This is true during the good and bad times.  By faith we who have trusted in Jesus are also children of Abraham (Galatians 3:7). Today, let us, like Joseph, get our focus on the bigger picture and align our priorities accordingly!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer:  Father, there are so many enticements this world has to offer that rival for my devotion. I must be careful not to let the  allurements this world has to offer deter me from the bigger picture; my eternal home in heaven or the promises that are yet to be filled. So that I don’t lost sight of the kingdom of God I desire godly discernment day in and day out in the choices I make that will help me remain faithful and fully committed to You in my Christian walk. I ask for Your help in the strong name of Jesus, my Lord and Savior.  Amen.


Stephen’s note: I have some interest in my genealogy and today there are websites to assist in this such as ancestry.com.  I wonder how many of us have any knowledge at all of our ancestors beyond three or four generations? In my case I knew my grandparents on both sides but none of my great grandparents, who had passed away by the time I came around. What little I remember about my great-grandfather is that he went back to visit his homeland in Germany on a steamship with my grandfather, as told by my mother. That would have been around 1900. I have been told on my father’s side I am an descendant of Abram Clark who signed the Declaration of Independence.

But incredibly Joseph lived and died some 3800 years ago! The Israelites were carrying his bones prior to his final burial in Shechem some 400 years after his death. Amazing!!


Rick Steudler with his mother Jeanette 05/29/13
Yesterday we had a time of fellowship with Rick Steudler, a friend of ours, and also visited with his 96 year old mother. We all enjoyed her resident duck who sings “You Are My Sunshine” which left us all with a sunny disposition. John Newton who wrote “Amazing Grace” was 82 years old and blind who said shortly before he died, “My memory is nearly gone, but I remember two things: that I am a great sinner, and that Christ is a great Saviour.” See here.

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber 05/29/13
Rick took our photo in Jeanette’s back yard while we were admiring her Chinese Dogwood.




Today’s Suggested Music
and SupplementalResources


“Going Home”  Video  Ernie Haase & Signature Sound

“There Will Be A Day” Video  Jeremy Camp

“No More Night”  Video  David Phelps

“Save A Place For Me”  Video  Matthew West



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“Better The House Of Mourning”

Sam Wagner Covered Bridge, Montour County, PA
A trip to northern PA Saturday gave us an opportunity to drive through the Sam Wagner Covered Bridge which is over the Chillesquaque Creek on the Northumberland/Montour County line.

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“Better The House Of Mourning”

“It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart” (Ecclesiastes 7:2,3). “Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him” (Hebrews 9:27,28).

Marian B. Myers (November 17, 1931 - December 23, 2012)On Saturday we drove up to northern Pennsylvania to attend the Memorial Service for Marian Myers, the mother and grandmother of friends of ours. The service was very uplifting and honoring to God from beginning to end. Though we had never personally met Marian, her pastor interweaved many written tributes by her children and grandchildren, so that we began to feel like we knew her personally. The recurring theme of written and spoken tributes described Marian as a godly woman, tenderhearted, and strong in Christian character.

An older pastor made some comments at the beginning of the service and shared a Scriptural thought I had not previously thought about. He merely alluded to a verse without giving the reference so I did some searching to see if it was really in the Bible! It is and it’s expressed in the first daily text: “It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart.”

Notice that Solomon, writer of Ecclesiastes, states, “It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting.”  This begs the question, in what sense is it better?

Church potluck dinnerActually, on first instinct, I would much prefer the house of feasting. Consider the family gathered around the table for a big Thanksgiving meal or joining together with friends to watch the Super Bowl and inevitably feasting on addictive snack foods such as guacamole dip with chips, chicken wings or spicy meatballs. We look forward to church fellowship dinners, especially the potluck variety, or a group of friends joining us for a cookout.

But let us consider the sense in which the “house of mourning” is better than the “house of feasting”. The Scriptures are so insightful. They go way beyond skimming the surface to exploring the depths of who we are and how our greatest needs can be met. The reasons that mourning is even more essential than feasting is listed in the following two phrases in the text. In retrospect as I consider the times we have experienced the “house of mourning” I fully understand the writer’s premise.

1) “For death is the destiny of every man.” In other words, death is inevitable. It’s part of the grand plan of how things work as a result of the original fall. Each time we go to the house of mourning this universal reality confronts us. We are reminded that life on this earth is temporary and that we all have an expiration date. Otherwise we might get so caught up in the “here and now” that we don’t make adequate plans for the “there and later”.

2) “The living should take this to heart” The “house of mourning” helps us to consider our heart’s condition and the state of our soul. Of course most of us have been to a variety of house of mournings, yet the tone of the memorial service and the variety of people who gather can make the setting as different as night and day.

I have attended memorials for those who lived outside of Christ where no hope in Christ was presented. I recall one with “Grateful Dead” music being played throughout the gathering. I found that experience to be a spiritually dark place! Anyone attending who might be giving thought to their eternal destiny would surely not find the proper answers to life beyond the grave in a setting like this.

Old hands on BibleHowever we consider the blessedness of being in the “house of mourning” of one who lived for Christ. In the service Saturday we heard godly music that lifted the soul, a pastor reminding all in attendance of the need to prepare for their eternal destiny (as requested by Marian who planned her own funeral service). Verbal tributes included a granddaughter who overflowed with tear-filled joy as she gave thanks for Grandma Marian who gave her a Bible and took her to church, where at 16 years of age, she surrendered her life to Jesus.

The second daily text also deals with the destiny of death but describes how Christ has made a way through His atoning sacrifice: “Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him.”

Keep living for Him who bore our sins and keep looking to Him who brings our salvation.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we rejoice in the feasting periods and reflect in the mourning periods of our life. The richest experiences that shape our character are from the great highs and the deep lows we encounter over a lifetime. Not only do we spend time reflecting, studying, and learning from these experiences, but they speak to us of the importance of who we are in the midst of those circumstances. In the house of feasting we rejoice in our accomplishments and those of others from year to year. But in the house of mourning we consider the lives of those who go before us, seeking to mirror the good we witnessed or experienced from their lives. It prompts us to assess our own hearts. Are we ready should You call us to our eternal destiny? We know that planning for this life is important, but planning for the next life is absolutely essential. We want to be ready by receiving Jesus into our life and living according to Your plan as revealed in the Bible. By Your grace we can do so through Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.


Farm in Northumberland County, PA
We have very little snow here in Lancaster County but traveling north we saw a lot more. This expansive farm in Northumberland County is near Milton, PA. Here’s a larger view.

Boat for sale in snow
We enjoy interesting sights when we travel and passed this boat parked in the snow. Seems like a pretty good price assuming it actually floats in water! We thought of Geno, a friend of ours who is looking for a used fishing boat and asked us to be on the lookout in our travels. This is the first we spotted!

No photo available, but yesterday we came up behind an Amish buggy with a small tag, kind of like a license plate stating, “I’d rather be riding a train”

Ray and Vickie Mancini 1/4/13
Our friends Ray and Vickie Mancini visited us Friday afternoon. They came down to Lancaster County to celebrate their 43rd wedding anniversary. They are originally from Queens, New York but for many years have lived in Phillipsburg, NJ.

Photo of Wolgemuth Tombstone
Yesterday our pastor preached on the second coming of Christ and referred to a longtime church member who passed away at 105 years old shortly after we moved to this area. Cecelia Wolgemuth has an interesting and very unusual distinction of living in three separate centuries (note the dates of her birth and death! Notice the powerful Scripture inscription, “For Me To Live Is Christ, To Die Is Gain”


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

Today we will share a larger than usual assortment of music dealing with today’s topic.

“When It’s All Been Said And Done”  Video  Robin Mark

“Faith Of Our Fathers, For The Beauty Of The Earth”  Video  Leaman family. Marian’s granddaughter along with her two young daughters played these hymns so beautifully. I believe the girls are 8 and 10 years old. They’re remarkable musicians for their age.

“Amazing Grace”  Video  Chris Tomlin

“All My Tears” Video Selah

“Going Home”  Video  Mark Lowery

“What A Day That Will Be!”  Video  Gaither Vocal Band

“Save A Place For Me”  Video  Matthew West

“If You Could See Me Now”  Video  Truth


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.