“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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“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.

“Eagerly Awaiting”

Union Mill fall display 10/9/13
An abundance of fall decorations at the Union Mill

“Eagerly Awaiting”

 


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“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ”  (Philippians 3:20).

CrackerbarrelWhen we travel we usually like to have at least one of our meals at the Cracker Barrel Restaurant. We both enjoy country cooking and Brooksyne likes to browse in the gift shop while I enjoy moseying around looking at the old stuff on the walls. We’ve been in Cracker Barrels all over the country and almost always have a good, predictable experience. (We’ve noticed the older you get the more you like “predictable”.)

We stopped at the Cracker Barrel at Rehoboth Beach, Delaware last weekend to have breakfast. We ordered and then enjoyed our coffee while we eagerly awaited our meal.

Baby in highchairBrooksyne deals with a tingling or burning pain in her hands especially in the early morning hours. Those who deal with the painful effects of carpal tunnel often find relief by shaking their wrists and wiggling their fingers. Brooksyne was doing this so she could do away with the numbness before her meal arrived and she could hold her utensil for eating.

The young server approached our table with my eggs and country fried steak along with Brooksyne’s buttermilk pancakes. She observed Brooksyne’s strange exercise and offered, “You must really be excited about your breakfast today!” We were taken back at first by her comment and then realized that she thought she was shaking her wrists out of excitement like a baby or little child excited about a treat they’re about to receive (kind of like the photo with the baby’s hand thrust in the air). We all had a good laugh when Brooksyne explained to the waitress the reason for her shaking her hands over the table.

What do you anticipate?

We both enjoy traveling and seeing God’s creation. We are anticipating a trip next week to the Southwest to see the Grand Canyon and several other national parks. I also enjoy engineering type projects such as the Hoover Dam. Brooksyne will join me in a tour deep inside the dam for a power plant tour. What a good sport she is!

But any excitement on this side of eternity should pale in comparison to a future event we should all be eagerly awaiting!

The apostle Paul, although a citizen of Rome, which was valuable at that time, made this statement to the believers in the Roman colony of Philippi, “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.”

“But our citizenship is in heaven.” I am a citizen of the USA. Our readers may be citizens of many different countries all over the world. But for those of us who have placed our faith in Christ and become His child our citizenship is also in heaven. We do well to see this as our primary citizenship since we will reside there far, far longer than we live on this earth!

My heavenly citizenship is a fundamental perspective I want to live with daily.  When I do so I find the reality of God’s promised peace.  However when my focus is on my earthly citizenship I find myself experiencing anxiety, even despair when I see the increasing wickedness. The disgrace of sin abounds, but the grace of God doth much more abound!

As I prepare this message I consider my maternal grandmother who died in the early seventies. As best as I can determine she is a strong link in my spiritual heritage. Could she even have imagined the spiritual apathy and moral decadence we are seeing today? The desecration of God’s order in marriage, babies slaughtered in their mother’s womb, vile programming across the airwaves. Like never before may we boldly assert, “This world is not my home!”

“And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.”  If you are a believer in Jesus Christ do you “eagerly await” the return of the Savior?  For many years we have sung, “When we all get to heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be.”  Do you believe that? As Paul said elsewhere, “I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far” (Philippians 1:23).

Who knows? We might just find ourselves shaking our wrists or jumping up and down when we catch sight of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, either in heaven or when He returns to this earth.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, citizenship affords many accommodations and provisions as well as their national identity. Most of us take our citizenship for granted since it comes to us when we’re naturally born into a particular country. But when we are born again we become citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives…for our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. It is in His name that we come to You in prayer. Amen.


Union Mill Acres fall display 10/9/13
The old wagon was decorated with an abundance of fall produce. The miniature gourds in the little Flyer Wagon is perfectly sized for the child size tractor.


Today’s Suggested Music
and SupplementalResources

“I Am Bound For The Promised Land” (On Jordan’s Stormy Banks)  Video   Indelible Grace

“This World Is Not My Home”  Video  Homecoming series

“How Great Thou Art”  Video  Chris Rice

When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation,
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart.
Then I shall bow, in humble adoration,
And then proclaim: “My God, how great Thou art!”

“Revelation Song”  Video  Kari Jobe

 

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.

“Mansion Builder”

East Point Lighthouse NJ (photo by Greg Schneider)
East Point Lighthouse NJ
(photo by Greg Schneider)

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“Mansion Builder”

“In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2). “For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God” (Hebrews 11:10). “Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).

Pat's RVIn the course of my work this last week I visited several who told me they were going camping this week. Now “camping” means different things to different people. The image we conjure up of camping varies greatly and is largely related to age and income level. The first several years of our marriage we camped in pup tents with several very memorable rainy nights. For several years we went to a large Christian festival in central PA called “Creation” and stepped up to a four man tent. Those “getting in touch with nature” days are over for us now; we can do that by sitting on our swinging bench on our back deck. However, a number of our peers now camp in motor homes, quite a step up from a tent you set up by driving pegs in the hard earth!

Lost boys of SudanA few years ago we became acquainted with William and Joseph who worked in one of the companies we served as chaplains. They had come to the states as refugees and had been among a group called “The Lost Boys of Sudan”. It is surely one of the saddest stories of human suffering in history and one day we hope to develop a message based on their testimony. We had them over for dinner and heard their story first hand. In relation to today’s message I recall their bewilderment at the very concept of finding any pleasure in camping. Forged by their own experience in “camping” they just couldn’t comprehend why anyone would to do this for pleasure!

I'm a child of the King t-shirt“A Child Of The King”, an old hymn of the church states, “A tent or a cottage, why should I care? They’re building a palace for me over there.” God is the Master Builder. “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible” (Hebrews 11:3).

He’s also at work in preparing a place that people of faith through the generations have been anticipating. In the first daily text I rejoice in the line that states, “if it were not so, I would have told you.”  Jesus always tells us the truth and just what we need to know.

Like Abraham the great man of faith, we also “look forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” We only have glimpses of what this “city” will be like, but we can be assured it will be indescribably wonderful. “For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come” (Hebrews 13:14).

He’s also at work building His church and transforming the individual lives of those who turn to Him in faith and obedience.

Today on the personal level some of you are dealing with what appears to be a lapse in the building program.  At times it may even seem that God has abandoned His building project in your life. Your prayers seem to be unanswered. Issues in your life aren’t getting resolved as you would like. There may be strife in your marriage and home. Some are dealing with a long-standing stronghold of pornography or other destructive addictions they’re seeking to overcome. Others are dealing with lengthy career transitions that have thus far not worked out as they had anticipated.

Whatever challenge you are dealing with, don’t give up. Hold to your faith in God!  Here’s a promise that we can all count on; “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion!” Fellow believer, wherever you live, whatever you’re going through; stay faithful to the Mansion Builder, for the Mansion Builder is ever faithful to us. “Do not throw away your confidence, for it will be richly rewarded” (Hebrews 10:35).

“Why should I worry, why should I fret,
Cause I’ve got a Mansion Builder
who ain’t through with me yet.”

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we thank you for the absolute truthfulness of your Word.  We rely on Your promises in Scripture concerning our future eternal home. Help us as we deal with what Your Word says are “our light and momentary troubles” and to recognize that they are “achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” Today “we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” Amen.

(See 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 for further inspiration)

“Call To Fall” Report: Yesterday our church participated in the Call to Fall prayer event we mentioned in last week’s encouragements. It was a solemn and moving time. Our pastor encouraged all who were physically able to bow on their knees as he led us in an impassioned prayer for repentance and called on God to bring about revival in our hearts and in our land.


Hymn sing 7/1/12
Following our church service we went over to the Longwood Personal Care home where Brooksyne often plays the piano during the resident’s dinner hour. During that time Ester and I visit the folks at their tables as they eat. Following the meal Brooksyne continued to play since several hymns since the residents meandered over and began to sing along and request their favorites. Verna (singing along) recently lost her husband after more than sixty years of marriage. He was a retired pastor in his nineties and we enjoyed our visits with him till his call to heaven. Ester has made many friends among the residents and shared this photo she took.

Smucker Family 6/29/12
This last Friday I attended a special retirement party for Mary Ann Miller, a friend of ours. Sam S. Smucker and Sons is a local family owned home improvement company we have the opportunity to serve as chaplains. Sam S. Smucker (2nd from the right in the photo) started the company and they have been in business for 52 years. Sam’s been retired many years and on Friday they held a surprise retirement party for Sam’s daughter Mary Ann who has worked there since her youth. Sam’s sons Marlin (right) and Lee (second from left) remain active in operating the company. Sheldon (far left) assumed his mother Mary Ann’s position and several other grandchildren also work for the company!

Here’s a Bible quiz: Can you think of a family run business in the Bible (father and sons)?  After giving thoughtful consideration here is the answer!

Barnstormer game 6/30/12
Saturday evening we attended a Lancaster Barnstormers baseball game along with other employees from the Smucker company at a company picnic. Lancaster has a beautiful minor league park that is immaculately clean and purposefully family friendly. The game was followed by fireworks and to top off a great evening, our team won!


This week we will be featuring photos from several Daily Encouragement friends in our featured photograph at the top of each message.

Today’s lighhouse photo was taken by Greg Schneider. Greg is a professional photographer we met when we moved to Lancaster County eleven years ago. He works for a newspaper as a sport’s photographer but, in sharing this collection for Daily Encouragement readers, he shares his real photographic passion, as described below for other Lighthouse Chasers:

“I am a lighthouse chaser and my life list is currently at 159 seen, visited, and/or photographed in Canada (2), Connecticut (13), Delaware (13), Maine (24), Maryland (10), New Hampshire (1), New Jersey (12), New York (42), Ohio (15), Pennsylvania (4), Rhode Island (17), Vermont (4) and Virginia (2). And, God willing, my wife and I hope to add about two dozen more this summer when we make a quick weekend run through Massachusetts, Martha’s Vineyard and Cape Cod. Karen (my wife) is actually just a lighthouse “tagalong” – not a “true” chaser (she likes them, but really just goes for the scenery, beaches (usually), restaurants, etc.). She has never accompanied me (and thinks I’m crazy for taking them) on one of my 700-800 mile, one-day jaunts to New Jersey, New York, Long Island, Ohio, etc. And, perhaps I am a bit touched, but I have to confess I really enjoy them. Sort of like a long-distance scavenger hunt for lighthouses. Finding them used to be a real challenge, but the GPS has made that part of the chase a lot easier, although you have to be careful. I put the longitude and latitude coordinates in the GPS and sometimes it gets really interesting considering the coordinates are often times actually in the water. My GPS babe has more than once given me some very unusual directions.”


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resource
“A Child of the King”  Video   Homecoming series

“Mansion Builder”  Video  Second Chapter Of Acts  A very popular group during our younger years. In fact we probably heard them at the Creation festival.

“I’ve Got A Mansion”  Video  The Cathedrals

Here is an article on “The Lost Boys of Sudan”  A movie has also been made.

East Point Lighthouse

Sam S. Smucker and Sons

Finally today:

Jim and Wendy Gambini 7/2/12
Our friends Jim and Wendy Gambini stopped by today. Jim was our pastor the first several years we lived in this area and they remain good friends. They both exhibit a faithful walk with Christ.
Send a message to Stephen & Brooksyne


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Ministry Update  (Revised 5/12)

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 Heavenly Reservation”

Amish Sunday traffic 5/20/12We had a beautiful day yesterday and attended a church in New Holland to witness a believer’s baptism. We had quite the traffic coming home.

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“Our Heavenly Reservation”

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:3-5).

Online hotel reservationOver the last several days I have been making online hotel reservations for some travel this summer. Many of us appreciate the online reservation system that most hotels offer these days. When you are tired from travel it’s great to have a room waiting and to know in advance just how much it will cost!

This prompts me to consider our most important reservation, the reservation for our eternal dwelling place! Today let us especially consider the phrase in our daily text, “reserved in heaven for you.” The word used for “reserved” has the sense “to guard by keeping the eye upon.”

Notice the last two words in the phrase, “for you.” Praise God! Heaven is not just about some remarkable doctrine. It’s not merely a colorful destination we can only dream about when things are turning ugly on this side. It’s not just a nice sentiment of comfort for those who attend funeral services. Peter said to his original readers and through the sacred Scriptures to all of us that it’s “for you”.  Praise God for His eternal provision!

Our future inheritance is reserved in heaven, solid and secure. It is “imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away.” Jesus said it’s where “moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matthew 6:20). Paul stated it’s “an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands” (2 Corinthians 5:1). The Revelator declared it’s where “there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:4). Heaven is a place that surpasses human vision and defies terminology!

Important notes about our heavenly reservation:

  • Reservations are required; unlike many restaurants and hotels where we can walk in unprepared and still get a meal or room we must prepare for heaven and make our reservations before we die!
  • Reservations are available to all who will call upon the Name of the Lord.
  • Reservations have been paid in full through Christ’s atonement.
  • Reservations are confirmed when we surrender our lives to Christ.

If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to make this most important reservation. God’s reservation system is always available!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we thank You for making us joint heirs together with the family of believers in this wonderful eternal inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade kept in heaven for us. We gratefully claim this inheritance and await the appointed date when we will experience in full the blessings it provides. Troubles in this life diminish our hope, but rejoicing in the life yet to be revealed gives us a glorious living hope!  Help us to fix our present hope on the future return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Thank You for making my reservation in heaven since it is only there that enemies such as disease, aging, pain and loss will not exist.  I want to keep this eternal perspective today! Through Jesus I come to You in prayer.  Amen.


A Special Baptismal Service!

Gesenia giving baptism testimony 5/20/12Gesenia sharing her testimony prior to her baptism.

Gesenia with Brooksyne 5/20/12Workplace Chaplaincy:  Brooksyne has visited Gesenia weekly at work for nearly four years and has a mentoring role in her Christian life. She requested our presence at her water baptism. We were delighted to witness her growing commitment to Christ in renouncing her old way of life as she shared in testimony about her new walk in Christ.  She joyfully celebrated her water baptism with a luncheon to follow at her home with a few friends.  Gesenia is of Puerto Rican descent and makes delicious empanadas, among other tasty Spanish dishes.  It was a wonderful afternoon fellowshipping with those of like precious faith, most of whom we met for the first time.

Baptismal testimony 5/20/12Death to the Old Man: We heard a touching testimony from a man who was baptized. Ron is his name, as I recall. He is a retired construction worker from New York City who moved down to the relative quiet of Lancaster County in recent years. Ron shared how the Lord led him to this church though he was not a believer at the time. Pastor Ritchey prayed with him and he accepted Christ as his Savior in recent months.  Ron shared that he had been full of anger and had a very bad temper most of his life, but after he received Christ he’s a new man.  He also told the congregation he overheard his wife of 46 years talking with their daughter on the phone. She asked, “Mom, is he treating you nicer now that he’s a Christian?” She indicated that he was.  “Too bad he didn’t do that a long time ago so he wouldn’t have been so mean to you all those years of your marriage” she told her mother.  Ron broke down several times weeping and used the towel you see on the podium to wipe his tears.  He also asked his wife in the congregation to forgive him for the many years he mistreated her. (I think quite a few in the audience could have used a towel to wipe their tears.) It was a moving testimony that indicated he was definitely ready to bury the old man and raise up the new changed man.

Late last week we spent several hours at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and will share some photos over the next several days.

Speed boat ride on Baltimore's inner harborWe took a speed boat tour of the harbor. A group of Amish youth from Lancaster County joined us; 7 boys and 7 girls. The girls are snapping photos of the boat prior to the trip using identical green disposable cameras they had apparently bought on the way down to Baltimore. Interestingly, the girls had disposable cameras but several boys had cell phone cameras.

Speed boat ride on Baltimore's inner harborWaiting to board the speed boat.

Speed boat ride on Baltimore's inner harborThis photo gives some idea of the speed when we got out of the no wake zone in the inner harbor at Fort McHenry and the captain really opened up the throttle! Notice the boy’s hair!  We sat in the row behind the girls and enjoyed watching their expressions such as the girl featured.

A google map of our visit to the Baltimore inner harbor is here. (We’ll share more photos the next couple of days.)


“I Can Only Imagine”  Video  MercyMe  This powerful song is a stirring reminder of what awaits us on the other side. I recall a moving memorial service when I heard the song in the context of honoring deceased ministers. There was a crescendo of praise in the congregation toward God as we reflected on what is ahead for all who are faithful in the Lord.

“Finally Home”  Video  MercyMe

Weber grilling book
We were shopping this weekend when Ester found a book and thought a picture would be nice. Actually this is from the more famous Weber grill people of whom I have no knowledge of being related!

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Ministry Update  (Revised 12/11)

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 Heavenly Reservation”

Amish Sunday traffic 5/20/12We had a beautiful day yesterday and attended a church in New Holland to witness a believer’s baptism. We had quite the traffic coming home.

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“Our Heavenly Reservation”

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:3-5).

Online hotel reservationOver the last several days I have been making online hotel reservations for some travel this summer. Many of us appreciate the online reservation system that most hotels offer these days. When you are tired from travel it’s great to have a room waiting and to know in advance just how much it will cost!

This prompts me to consider our most important reservation, the reservation for our eternal dwelling place! Today let us especially consider the phrase in our daily text, “reserved in heaven for you.” The word used for “reserved” has the sense “to guard by keeping the eye upon.”

Notice the last two words in the phrase, “for you.” Praise God! Heaven is not just about some remarkable doctrine. It’s not merely a colorful destination we can only dream about when things are turning ugly on this side. It’s not just a nice sentiment of comfort for those who attend funeral services. Peter said to his original readers and through the sacred Scriptures to all of us that it’s “for you”.  Praise God for His eternal provision!

Our future inheritance is reserved in heaven, solid and secure. It is “imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away.” Jesus said it’s where “moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matthew 6:20). Paul stated it’s “an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands” (2 Corinthians 5:1). The Revelator declared it’s where “there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:4). Heaven is a place that surpasses human vision and defies terminology!

Important notes about our heavenly reservation:

  • Reservations are required; unlike many restaurants and hotels where we can walk in unprepared and still get a meal or room we must prepare for heaven and make our reservations before we die!
  • Reservations are available to all who will call upon the Name of the Lord.
  • Reservations have been paid in full through Christ’s atonement.
  • Reservations are confirmed when we surrender our lives to Christ.

If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to make this most important reservation. God’s reservation system is always available!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we thank You for making us joint heirs together with the family of believers in this wonderful eternal inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade kept in heaven for us. We gratefully claim this inheritance and await the appointed date when we will experience in full the blessings it provides. Troubles in this life diminish our hope, but rejoicing in the life yet to be revealed gives us a glorious living hope!  Help us to fix our present hope on the future return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Thank You for making my reservation in heaven since it is only there that enemies such as disease, aging, pain and loss will not exist.  I want to keep this eternal perspective today! Through Jesus I come to You in prayer.  Amen.


A Special Baptismal Service!

Gesenia giving baptism testimony 5/20/12Gesenia sharing her testimony prior to her baptism.

Gesenia with Brooksyne 5/20/12Workplace Chaplaincy:  Brooksyne has visited Gesenia weekly at work for nearly four years and has a mentoring role in her Christian life. She requested our presence at her water baptism. We were delighted to witness her growing commitment to Christ in renouncing her old way of life as she shared in testimony about her new walk in Christ.  She joyfully celebrated her water baptism with a luncheon to follow at her home with a few friends.  Gesenia is of Puerto Rican descent and makes delicious empanadas, among other tasty Spanish dishes.  It was a wonderful afternoon fellowshipping with those of like precious faith, most of whom we met for the first time.

Baptismal testimony 5/20/12Death to the Old Man: We heard a touching testimony from a man who was baptized. Ron is his name, as I recall. He is a retired construction worker from New York City who moved down to the relative quiet of Lancaster County in recent years. Ron shared how the Lord led him to this church though he was not a believer at the time. Pastor Ritchey prayed with him and he accepted Christ as his Savior in recent months.  Ron shared that he had been full of anger and had a very bad temper most of his life, but after he received Christ he’s a new man.  He also told the congregation he overheard his wife of 46 years talking with their daughter on the phone. She asked, “Mom, is he treating you nicer now that he’s a Christian?” She indicated that he was.  “Too bad he didn’t do that a long time ago so he wouldn’t have been so mean to you all those years of your marriage” she told her mother.  Ron broke down several times weeping and used the towel you see on the podium to wipe his tears.  He also asked his wife in the congregation to forgive him for the many years he mistreated her. (I think quite a few in the audience could have used a towel to wipe their tears.) It was a moving testimony that indicated he was definitely ready to bury the old man and raise up the new changed man.


Late last week we spent several hours at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and will share some photos over the next several days.

Speed boat ride on Baltimore's inner harbor
We took a speed boat tour of the harbor. A group of Amish youth from Lancaster County joined us; 7 boys and 7 girls. The girls are snapping photos of the boat prior to the trip using identical green disposable cameras they had apparently bought on the way down to Baltimore. Interestingly, the girls had disposable cameras but several boys had cell phone cameras.

Speed boat ride on Baltimore's inner harbor
Waiting to board the speed boat.

Speed boat ride on Baltimore's inner harbor
This photo gives some idea of the speed when we got out of the no wake zone in the inner harbor at Fort McHenry and the captain really opened up the throttle! Notice the boy’s hair!  We sat in the row behind the girls and enjoyed watching their expressions such as the girl featured.

A google map of our visit to the Baltimore inner harbor is here. (We’ll share more photos the next couple of days.)



“I Can Only Imagine”  Video  MercyMe  This powerful song is a stirring reminder of what awaits us on the other side. I recall a moving memorial service when I heard the song in the context of honoring deceased ministers. There was a crescendo of praise in the congregation toward God as we reflected on what is ahead for all who are faithful in the Lord.

“Finally Home”  Video  MercyMe

Weber grilling book
We were shopping this weekend when Ester found a book and thought a picture would be nice. Actually this is from the more famous Weber grill people of whom I have no knowledge of being related!

Send a message to Stephen & Brooksyne


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Ministry Update  (Revised 12/11)

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.

“Remembering Where Home Really Is”

Friday, September 9, 2011

Grand Teton with hymn portion

Grand Tetons
Photo by Howard Blichfeldt
(click on photo to enlarge)

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“Remembering Where Home Really Is”

“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). “We are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8).About ten years ago the musical group MercyMe wrote a song that has ministered to many titled, “I Can Only Imagine”. It gives us a picture of what we might see or experience as we cross over to heaven. Several years ago they wrote another song titled “Finally Home” with a recurring line that states “When I finally make it home.”  In the last few weeks I attended two funerals, Paul, a middle aged minister friend and Mary, an older lady who was a friend to my Mom. They both had faith in Christ and thus finally made it home.

Today’s rather obscure first verse speaks powerfully regarding the imminence of death and the vital truth of knowing where our real home is.

As a youth Joseph was sold as a slave by his own jealous brothers. After some tough bumps and setbacks over a period of thirteen years, including a lengthy imprisonment, he rose to the position of Prime Minister in Egypt. He had power, wealth and prestige; a tremendous contrast to the years he spent in prison. Surely with these conditions Egypt, the dominant world empire at that time had become his home.

Yet on his deathbed he had something else in mind. Long before the Egyptian bondage even began he was speaking of the Exodus. In Genesis 50:25 he extracted this promise from his brothers; “God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up from this place.”  (From Egypt to the land of Canaan.)

Another rather obscure verse in Exodus reveals that this promise was faithfully kept over 400 years later!  “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).  Can you imagine… this oath was faithfully repeated from generation to generation until its fulfillment 400 years later!

Even though Joseph was a ruler in Egypt, he knew his home was elsewhere. He had last lived in Canaan as a lad of 17 but the teaching of his childhood had a remarkable, enduring impact on him. Although he had been the Prime Minister since he was 30 and died at 110, Egypt never really gripped his heart. He remembered where home was.

Where is your home today? Who has your heart?  Are you doing well in “Egypt”?  If you are that’s great, but be very careful.  We must remember where home is, where our true allegiance lies, and remember where our “bones” belong.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, because the Scripture tells us so much about our future eternal homeland, we find ourselves homesick for a place we’ve never been. Perhaps that’s because we’ve chosen to live as strangers in this world in reverential fear toward You, our holy God! Our hopes, our affections and our joys will be fully realized on the other side where Jesus will wipe away the tears from our eyes and we will know no sorrow, no suffering, no good-byes and no sin.  Can’t wait but will endure till you call us home!  Amen.

Ester's cake 9/4/11We continue to receive notes of support and inquiry regarding Ester’s recent move to New Life for Girls.  We challenged her with this theme from Jeremiah 29:11; sent her off with the Scripture plaque and enjoyed this cake last Sunday. Your prayers and encouragement are of great blessing to us!

More regarding all the rain: Yesterday Brooksyne tried to get out for some chaplain visitation but was unable to do so due to the flooding blocking us in from every direction. This shows our main route to Lancaster through Mount Joy over Little Chickies Creek (usually a small stream). The video was taken on Wednesday but Brooksyne still couldn’t get through yesterday.

Our area is still being plastered with the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee, although yesterday it let up. Due to early morning chaplain visitation this daily encouragement posting will be released prior to seeing whether we have a sunny day on Friday.  We sure hope so!  Due to all the moisture I should be able to make hay in my lawn.  Some of our readers from TX and OK requested that we send it their way…wish it worked that way. We sure have been praying for you folks.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“I Can Only Imagine”  Video  MercyMe

“Finally Home”  Video  MercyMe

“You Hold Me Now”  Video  This was the song used in the background during the video tribute for Paul, “Paul Grabill… His Life and Legacy”.

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Ministry Update  (Revised 12/31/10)

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“The Ultimate View”

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Fallingwater ultimate view
Fallingwater, “the ultimate view”

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“The Ultimate View”
“I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True” (Revelation 19:11).

“Fallingwater” is the name of a beautiful home in western Pennsylvania, perhaps most famous because it was designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright. It is indeed a very remarkable place, and worth the pricey fee for a tour, with its most interesting feature being that it’s built right over a waterfall. Our young tour guide was enthusiastic as he pointed out the various details of the house. (The detail I remember most was that the ceilings were very low and in several places I bumped my head!) Due to the concrete and stone construction and proximity to the stream it was also cold, dreary, and damp feeling even though it was a summer day.

Several times he pointed out to a small bluff where he urged us to view the home after the tour as he excitedly told us, “It’s the ultimate view.” We did and it was a beautiful view although, even in my rather limited travels, I would have a hard time calling it the ultimate view! In fact most any picture you’ve viewed of Fallingwater is from this particular view such as the one in the photo above.

I consider other “ultimate views.” I have traveled from coast to coast and from the tip of Florida to Canada and  several other countries. Some of my favorite “ultimate views” is an overlook on Mount Battie near Camden Maine that looks down over the harbor and out into the ocean. Or the Cades Cove area in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Steal a moment from your otherwise busy day and consider with me some of your personal favorite “ultimate views”.

The tour guide’s statement got me thinking. What is the ultra-ultimate view?  I’m quite certain it won’t be any view we designate as “ultimate” on this side of eternity! Will it be the view of Christ in all His glory? Or perhaps when we first see heaven? We must in faith wait, but the daily text grants us an eyewitness glimpse and I can’t read it without sensing the awe. Just imagine the scene, “I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True.”

Jesus on white horseAs I study heaven I note that no single extended Scripture portion gives us substantial information. Rather we have glimpses of what heaven is like. Today’s portion comes from the book of Revelation. It’s a tremendous comfort to believers. John had just received a remarkable revelation from an angel and had bowed down to worship the angel when he was firmly rebuked and told to “Worship God”.

Then he saw heaven standing open and what did he see? Actually not what we might expect! If the verse was not before me I would expect it to say something to the effect, “Jesus sitting at the right hand of His Father” which is indeed the most common place we see Him after the ascension. But John says he saw a “white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True”.  As you read on through the passage this is clearly a vision of Jesus.

Let’s examine and receive encouragement from the two titles given to Jesus Christ in the daily passage.

1) He is called “Faithful”. This translates the very common Greek word “pistos”, which objectively has the meaning of trustworthiness and reliability. This is one of the great attributes of God found throughout the Scriptures. Believers can join with Jeremiah in declaring, “Great is Thy faithfulness!”

2) He is called “True”. This word denotes real and genuine. It places Him in contrast to the antichrist who is also depicted on a white horse earlier in Revelation 6:2. While on earth Jesus had said in encouraging His disciples, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).

Warren WiersbeWe close with a powerful thought from Warren Wiersbe, one of our favorite writers, concerning this verse: “This description of Christ is thrilling! He is no longer on a humble donkey, but on a fiery white charger. His eyes are not filled with tears as when He beheld Jerusalem; nor is He wearing a mocking crown of thorns. Instead of being stripped by His enemies, He wears a garment dipped in blood, signifying judgment and victory. When on earth, He was abandoned by His followers; but here the armies of heaven follow Him in conquest. He comes to rule with a rod of iron (Psalm 2). He comes not to bear the wrath of God on the cross, but to tread the winepress of God’s wrath at the Battle of Armageddon. He is King of kings and Lord of lords!”

Wow, this will sure be the ultimate view!

It will be worth it all, when we see Jesus.
Life’s trials will seem so small, when we see Christ.
One glimpse of His dear face, all sorrow will erase.
So bravely run the race, till we see Christ.

Oft times the day seems long, our trials hard to bear.
We’re tempted to complain, to murmur and despair.
But Christ will soon appear, to catch His bride away.
All tears forever over, in God’s eternal day.

Sometimes the sky looks dark, with not a ray of light.
We’re tossed and driven on, no human help in sight.
But there is one in heav’n, who knows our deepest care.
Let Jesus solve your problem, just go to Him in pray’r.

Life’s day will soon be o’er, all storms forever past.
We’ll cross the great divide, to glory safe at last.
We’ll share the joys of heav’n, a harp, a home, a crown.
The tempter will be banished, we’ll lay our burden down.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, how blessed we are to view glimpses of beauty and awe on this side of heaven.  But with great anticipation we await the glorious day when we will behold the ultimate view; Jesus in all His glory.  This world with all its troubles and disappointments will vanish from our memory as we behold a new heaven and a new earth. Contemplating that ultimate view diminishes our heartaches and burdens of this life.  Keep us keeping on as we journey below so that we will ultimately reach our eternal resting place. In Jesus’ holy name we pray.  Amen.


Duct tapePS: The most interesting observation during the tour of Fallingwater to me was the duct tape. As a duct tape aficionado I was pleased to see duct tape visibly in use in one of the world’s most famous homes. Of course I had to inquire and the tour guide told me the tape was “temporary” but it sure looked to me that it had been on for a long time!


This morning I am going, along with two other pastor friends, to hear a preaching seminar by Haddon Robinson. Here is a message by him on the book of Philemon titled “Put That on Master Charge”.  (Video)  I really enjoy his sermons and he is a remarkable storyteller!


A faithful servant called home:  Many years ago I served a short interim role in a church and at that time met a former pastor who was in his nineties at the time. I specifically recall his sweet spirit. I just recieved word that Robert H. Shipp, 101, entered his eternal rest on May 17, 2011. He went to be with the Lord a month shy of his 102nd birthday!  His salvation dates back to 1925 at a church in Pittsburgh.  He received his licensed minister credential on August 12, 1941 and was ordained two years later.  Robert was married to Lillie, and they celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary on August 4, 2007.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
“Faithful And True”  Video

“My Redeemer Is Faithful And True”  Video  Bobby Michael

“It Will Be Worth It All”  Video

“It Will Be Worth It After All”  Video  Terry Terrell

“Anything That Costs Me Nothing”  Video  Bobby Michael  (Great song I haven’t heard for years!!!)

Fallingwater (it is one word!)

View of Camden Harbor in Maine from Mount Battie

My own Cades Cove photos

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Ministry Update  (Revised 12/31/10)

“The Heavenly Kingdom”

Maryland rural scene
A scene in rural Maryland.
Do you recognize the boxes in the field?
See below daily footers for answer.

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“The Heavenly Kingdom”
“My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36).

Today is Election Day here in the USA.  Though we have readers from all over the world I write particularly with the American election in mind, though our Biblical message is pertinent to every nation.

All over our country there are highly contested races, including several right here in Pennsylvania.  Throughout the autumn we have been barraged with campaign ads on TV and radio, through mail, road signs and phone calls. I note that many are also using the internet, apparently targeting me based on key words in a search.

Campaign signholders in Massachusetts

I recall a peculiar trait of New England campaigning when we lived up that way in the 1990’s.  For several weeks prior to the election supporters of each candidate gather at busy intersections holding political signs, waving, and flashing big grins at passing motorists.  It’s quite a sight.  I liked to wave and grin right back at them! However I never made my voting decisions based on how heartily someone waved, how big their smile was or the prominence of politician’s names posted on signs! Since our church served as a polling place campaign supporters gathered at the highway out in front grinning and waving as people came in to vote.  Now maybe that’s an idea for church greeters on Sunday mornings!

There are various reasons that people will choose to vote as they do today. Some simply vote along political party lines giving little thought or research about the actual persons they elect to office. Others base their vote on how they are told by an organization, but give little thought to the deep values that should be of utmost importance.

Two major competing ideologies divide our nation this election day. We will support the candidates we feel most closely uphold the Biblical position in regard to several issues we feel are vital to our nation’s survival, security, prosperity and moral wellbeing.  But we must keep in mind that politics is not the key to surviving as a nation.  We must remember where our real home is.

Although I am a natural born citizen of the US, born in Kansas City Missouri in 1954, my primary eternal citizenship was established in heaven in 1971 when I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.  And that’s where my first allegiance lies. *

The dominant system when Jesus was on this earth ultimately determined that His views were worthy of death.  At His trial before Pilate He calmly got right to the heart of the matter, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36). Earlier in an exchange with the religious leaders of His day He minced no words, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world” (John 8:23).

We want to have a perspective that reflects the words of Christ.  We want to remember where our ultimate citizenship lies.

The Apostle Paul said, “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20).  Let’s all remember that!  In doing so we will have an inner peace that does not change based on the circumstances of the day or whether “our side” wins or loses in this political election.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, we pray for our election today here in the U.S.  Many votes will be cast and it is our prayer that those who most reflect our godly values along with good leadership qualities will be elected to office.  There is much we can do to make a difference in the spiritual landscape of our country, and yet we live in a world where the prince of darkness rules.  Help us to remain vigilant as we live in this darkened world and choose not to partake of the world’s hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on the basic principles and practices of this world rather than on Christ.  It is in the powerful name of Jesus that we pray.  Amen.

See Colossians 2:8
This world is not my home; I’m just a passing through.
My treasures are laid up, somewhere beyond the blue.
The angels beckon me, from Heaven’s Open Door.
And I don’t feel at home in this world anymore!
* Brooksyne was born in Tulsa OK in 1955 and accepted Christ as a young teenager. We, of course share the same focus on our heavenly citizenship!

Today we will share an assortment of photos from our last breakfast stop in Pigeon Forge Tennessee at the Apple Barn restaurant and some visits we made on the way back north to Pennsylvania.

Apple Barn restaurant in Pigeon Forge TN 10/29/10
We enjoyed walking by this stately maple tree on our way to the Apple Barn restaurant where we had breakfast with my sister and her husband Friday morning before departing Pigeon Forge for our long trip back to Pennsylvania. We sure enjoyed the meal but especially the apple fritters that are complimentary to every meal!

Apple Barn cardinal in Pigeon Forge TN 10/29/10

The Apple Barn was all about apples and included this bird feeder with a carved cardinal!

Marilyn with Jesse & Wilma 10/30/10

On the way back we picked up our friends Jesse and Wilma, who had been staying with their daughter and family in Roanoke, VA. (We had dropped them off on the way down.) Jesse is a retired pastor and he and Wilma have a vibrant faith in the Lord and spread God’s blessing wherever they go. We hope we have as much energy as they have when we are in  our mid and upper eighties!

We drove up to the Washington, DC area to visit our friend Marilyn (center of photo). We met Marilyn through this ministry a number of years ago and have had several opportunities to fellowship with her. She prepared a very nice lunch and even provided a delicious birthday cake for Brooksyne. Lunch was followed by a spiritually enriching time as Wilma and Marilyn both shared their testimonies of how they committed their lives to Christ.

Brooksyne playing Steinway grand piano

Brooksyne enjoyed playing the Steinway piano in Marilyn’s home and it sounded beautiful as it’s rich tones resounded through the large open house. She was playing “Jesus Loves Me” as Jesse who stood on the balcony overlooking the piano and sang out in a clear baritone voice at 87 years of age.

Thompson family 10/30/10

Ester stayed the entire week with our friends Dean and Jill and their children while we were in Tennessee. They live on a farm in rural Maryland.  They are also friends through daily encouragement and Dean is Marilyn’s son. They have five children; ages 4,3,2, & 1 (doubled)!  Ester sure enjoyed driving the Gator shown in the left background.

Thompson farm 10/30/10

The Thompson farm.
Notice the bank barn on the left in the photo.
When I arrived Dean was building a fence for these.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
Click on the link to open and play.
(In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.)

“Today I Choose”  Video Brian Doerksen

The boxes in our top daily photo are bee hives. Our friend Dean is an apiarist (bee keeper)!

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Ministry Update

“Even Unto Death”

Amishman with hay rake at Mascot Roller Mill, Lancaster County , PA
Friday afternoon we passed the Ressler home and Mascot Roller Mill on Stumptown Road here in Lancaster Country.

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.
“Even Unto Death”

“For this God is our God forever and ever: He will be our guide even unto death” (Psalm 48:14).

Yesterday we visited with Tommy and Nelma Carpenter who reside in Little Rock, Arkansas. We’ve become acquainted with Tommy through Daily Encouragement over recent years, so it was an extra special blessing to have him and Nelma visit our home.  He also preached in our church service and shared a moving story that we’ll share in today’s message.  He refers to is as “The rest of the story”:

Back in the early 1900’s singing schools were fairly common in the U.S., having had their origin in American History as early as the 1700’s. New systems of music notation, including shape notes, were developed by singing school teachers as an aid in learning to sing by sight without musical instrumentation.  Tommy’s Uncle Carl was hosting songwriter Eugene M. Bartlett, the leader of a singing school, in his home in 1939 in rural Arkansas. One morning Bartlett showed Carl the music and lyrics for a brand new song he had just written:

“I heard an old, old story, how a Savior came from glory…” He then went on to share the entire song that we now know as “Victory In Jesus”. Of course the song has become one of the most beloved hymns of the church and is found in most hymnbooks.

Eugene Bartlett died in 1941, at 55 years of age, two years after he wrote this song. But his wife, Joan Bartlett, lived many more years, in fact renewing the copyright in 1967. When her time of death came the family and preacher gathered around her bedside. They looked on rather helplessly as she was in the final throes of death, her body ravished and completely unresponsive.  Expecting to see her draw her final breath they were stunned by her sudden arousal as she broke into song:

I heard an old, old story, how a Savior came from glory,
How He gave His life on Calvary to save a wretch like me;
I heard about His groaning, of His precious blood’s atoning,
Then I repented of my sins and won the victory.
O victory in Jesus…

At first her voice was very weak, but as she continued to sing the words became clearer and her voice grew stronger. She then sang the second verse:

I heard about His healing, of His cleansing pow’r revealing.
How He made the lame to walk again and caused the blind to see;
And then I cried, “Dear Jesus, Come and heal my broken spirit,”
And somehow Jesus came and brought to me the victory.
O victory in Jesus…

Immediately after singing this verse and the chorus she died. The preacher, at a loss for words said, “I reckon she’s singing the third verse up yonder.” *

What a way to go! And what demonstration of God’s presence and guidance even unto death.

Psalm 48 begins with the phrase, “Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised…”  This Psalm is written by a group of singers known as the “Sons of Korah”.  Most likely these were temple singers who lived during the period of the divided kingdom.

This Psalm extols God for His greatness, His deliverance, His unfailing love and other divine attributes. It includes a virtual Google Earth-like tour around the wall of the Holy City. “Walk about Zion, go around her, count her towers, consider well her ramparts, view her citadels, that you may tell of them to the next generation” (12,13).

But the Psalm ends with our daily text which empowers us as we transmit the life-changing message of God’s truths to our own generation.  Let us examine it today, consider its relevance, and receive its assurance:

“For this God is our God forever and ever.”  This is our great eternal God! This God is our “Maker, Defender, Redeemer and Friend.”  Consider His great acts throughout history.  Consider the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, of Moses, Joshua, Samuel and David; the God of Ruth, Esther, Mary, Isaiah, Jeremiah and Daniel; the God of Peter, Stephen and Paul.  Martin Luther, John Wesley, D.L. Moody, Jim Elliot and other contemporaries who stood the tests and finished well. The God of those, so many not recorded in history books, who have stood firm throughout the long history of the church.

In your own life consider those who have walked faithfully with God and impacted your own life.  Some are now with Christ; others still labor here below.  Let us together with one heart and one voice declare, “This God is our God forever and ever! He will be our guide even unto death.”

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, when we consider the saints throughout history and the marvelous saving power portrayed in their lives we’re encouraged by their bold example and their consistent enduring walk with You.  We recognize these “greats” of the past and those in our own generation who are faithful and powerful examples. They do not build their own kingdom or take credit for their accomplishments. Instead they recognize that it is God alone who deserves our truest praise, no matter our own personal sacrifice.  We gratefully declare to ourselves and to others, “This God is our God!  He will be forever and ever!  He will be our guide even unto death.”

*Interestingly the third verse of “Victory in Jesus” talks about “I heard about a mansion He has built for me in glory…….and some sweet day I’ll sing up there the song of victory.”  How fitting that the third verse would not be sung by Joan Bartlett on her death bed down here, but she would “sing up there the song of victory!” just as the lyrics were written and she would personally experience, from earth’s viewpoint!

Brooksyne’s further research on singing schools from an online encyclopedia:  Singing schools were often taught by traveling singing masters who would stay in a location for a few weeks and teach a singing school. A singing school would be a large social event for a town; sometimes nearly everyone in the town would attend and people would come for miles. Many young men and women saw singing schools as important to their courtship traditions. Sometimes the entire life of a town would be put on hold as everyone came out to singing school. In this way, singing schools resembled tent revivals.

Laura Ingalls Wilder related attending a singing school as a young lady in These Happy Golden Years, one of the Little House books. Her husband, Almanzo Wilder, courted her there.

One common tradition was the “singing school picture” taken of the teacher and students on the last day of school. Many old black and white photographs exist as records of these events from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries; genealogical researchers often find these records useful. The pictures were often taken in front of a blackboard with the name of the teacher and date of the school. Some of these pictures show small classes, while others record very large schools.

Singing schools underwent many changes as cities grew and the population moved away from an agrarian lifestyle. One of the most notable changes was the length of schools; at one time it was common for schools to last four weeks. This was shortened over time, and today most of the larger singing schools last for two weeks, though the Gospel Singers of America School of Gospel Music still lasts for three weeks.

Singing schools began to hold less interest for the general public as time went on and could rarely get attendance from an entire town. Instead, schools were attended by interested students from a much larger region. In the case of Sacred Harp singing schools, students usually attended because of their interest in the Sacred Harp singing tradition; in other schools, students attended because of an interest in vocal church music, especially for those churches that maintain an all a capella music tradition.


Here are some photos from our weekend.

Tom & Marsha Neizmik at the Cherry Crest Farm 10/8/10
Tom and Marsha Neizmik have been our friends for nearly 30 years and had a formative role in the establishment of the church we pastored in Saint Marys, Pennsylvania. They have three daughters, all married and serving the Lord and four grandchildren. They remain active in the church and in other ministries including overseeing a weekly nursing home service for over 25 years. They are faithful and steady, a great  blessing to have as friends and coworkers.

Tommy & Nelma Carpenter 10/10/10

I met Tommy Carpenter several years ago when I had a meeting at the office of Al Worthley, my chaplain supervisor in Springfield, Missouri.  We are connected through Daily Encouragement Net and I have often been blessed by a thoughtful email or phone call from Tommy. He and his wife Nelma are in the northeast for a missions conference and we were blessed by his powerful message from the Word of God yesterday. We had them over for dinner and then took them on some area sightseeing before they left to see an old college buddy from Central Bible College (where Brooksyne and I also attended).  It was Neal Enloe, whom some of our readers will recognize as one of the Couriers. Tommy and Nelma have three children all in ministry and grandchildren preparing for ministry. They are a very friendly, colorful couple and as a veteran preacher he’s had lots of interesting experiences.

Here’s one that he shared with us personally that I may also use in a future encouragement. They served as missionaries to British Honduras (now Belize) in the late sixties but a health problem prohibited him from continuing to serve on the mission field. He returned to the states and pastored for many years and then in 1994 became the Secretary/Treasuser of the Arkansas District.  The next year he was asked to join a mission team for a short-term trip back to Belize. They had a couple of weeks of fruitful ministry but the greatest blessing came as he was leaving. As he was departing to return to the States he went through security at the Belize airport and the agent looked at his name, then looked up at him and asked, “Are you Tommy Carpenter?”  Tommy responded, “Well, yes.”  The man told him that he had come to his village many years earlier (it would have been at least 25 years) and preached the Gospel and he had gotten saved at that time!


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
Click on the link to open and play.
(In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.)

“Victory In Jesus”  Video This is one of many versions available as a YouTube video.

“God And God Alone”  Video I am not sure Brookyne realized this but she quoted from this song in her prayer!

The original "Couriers"

We referred to the Couriers in a caption above. It’s quite inspiring for a group to be singing together for over fifty years. I took the above photo several years ago when they shared a concert at the Mount Joy Mennonite Church, where my friend Joe Sherer served as pastor at the time. The Couriers started singing together in 1955 at the same small midwestern Bible College that Brooksyne and I attended about twenty years later. They are now in their seventies yet could still belt out the music including their acapella rendition of the classic hymn, “I Sing The Mighty Power Of God”, which is perhaps my favorite of all their musical arrangements.

There’s something else that touches me in this photo. Shortly after we moved to this area in 2001 I met Craig Heisey, who worked in one of the companies that we served as a chaplain. Craig attended this church and made the stained glass cross seen in the background. Craig had a vibrant faith in the Lord and was a blessing to visit. Several years ago Craig passed away.

His son, Chris Heisey is now a baseball payer with the Cincinnati Reds and I saw him play in the playoff series that the Reds just lost last night to the Phillies!  I recall how Craig was so proud to watch his son advance in his baseball career but he never did get to see him make it to the major leagues on this side of eternity.

I took today’s top photo at the Ressler Mill

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