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Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Sunset May 7, 2007
Praise the Lord!
Last night's sunset from our home.

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"The Assurance For The Long Haul"
"Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain" (1 Corinthians 15:58). "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up" (Galatians 6:9).
Today I celebrate two anniversaries in my life. Both give me an opportunity for reflection upon God's blessings over the long haul of life. I was married to Brooksyne thirty-one years ago on May 8, 1976 and ordained for Christian ministry twenty-eight years ago on May 8, 1979.  During my marriage and ministry I have often found assurance in the two daily verses. As a young Christian I memorized them and I often quote them aloud as I preach or share with others. They are blessing me again as I quote them to myself in preparation for today's message!
The farther along I get in life I have a greater perspective in seeing God's hand at work during the inevitable "why" times. The "why" times are when we just don't understand the way God is working in our life and we wonder "Why?"  Or just as often we ask "How long?"  But as we grow in Christ and mature I am thankful for the perspective of the long haul. It's one of the good things about getting older!
I can look back at the times of dismay, discouragement, and a few times even despair.  I've been criticized, attacked and a few times even vilified. I've faced forms of temptation common to all men and forms rather unique to a minister of the Gospel. But God's Word says my labor in the Lord is not in vain and at the proper time I will reap a harvest, if I don't give up!
One of the wonderful perspectives that comes from the long haul is the many ways in which I am now reaping the harvest of seeds sown years ago. A blessed marriage, so many long-term friends now living all over the world, young people I dedicated as babies and discipled through childhood and youth now serving God faithfully. I know there are still aspects of the harvest that are yet future, and quite realistically more "why" times will come. But what a joy, as life progresses, to experience the reaping, although I certainly continue to sow as well. 
Here's my message for you today.  The assurance in these two verses is for all of Christ's followers regardless of the type of service you're in.  Your labor in the Lord is not in vain and you will reap a harvest, sometimes immediate, but more often it comes in the unfolding future of God's plan. So let me encourage you to continue on. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord and continue to do good as you serve the one true God.  Whatever your circumstances, however serious your situation, regardless of how long you've waited keep believing, obeying, and praying.  We will reap a harvest; that's the assurance we receive directly from Scripture for the long haul!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Faithful Father, I consider the many portions of Scripture that speak of fruit as an outgrowth of sowing good seed in various kinds of soil settings.  When I think of the horrible injustice that was done to Joseph, first by his brothers and then by his master's wife I'm empowered by his astonishing response. Instead of becoming disillusioned or embittered he continued to pour himself into work for You now in a prison among vile prisoners.  His two years of obedience in an undesirable prison setting brought about years of blessings he didn't anticipate at his time of faithful service to You in jail.  Help us to be faithful over the long haul so that we see Your multitude of blessings and answers to prayers unfold in Your timing and through Your plan.  We will never give up until we've won the race.  Victory is just ahead!

Update on Our Ministry

Sunset May 7, 2007For our many friends and those interested in our ministry let me take this opportunity to share a bit about our current personal ministry.
We continue to give a heavy focus to this online ministry and consider it our main ministry at this point in our lives. We believe we are in various ways touching many people all over the world and we are so grateful for the continual feedback we receive indicating this.

The entire daily project normally takes all morning to complete as we both work on it together in our home office on two separate computers.  I generally start studying and writing either the night before or very early in the morning. When I have the message essentially ready Brooksyne edits, adds her thoughts and comments as well as the daily prayer.  While she is doing this I work on the graphics, search for suitable audio supplements and possible resource links. It normally takes several hours to write and edit the message. Then we record it for the podcast which often gives us occasion for additional sharpening and edits. Then I convert the text to html and format the message as you will see it in the email and web. After this is done Brooksyne again proofreads it (mistakes are still looming, in part because we often seek to improve the message on the fly just before it's sent out!!!).  It takes another hour or so to complete all the technical work in the various means of distribution; website, email list, RSS feeds, three separate blogs and the podcast (audio edition).
Although we can't respond to each feed back we try to do so when a specific need is addressed and this is often done by Brooksyne.  It's an extension of the many years we pastored when she regularly listened to others who came with need.  She's also the typist, I'm the pecker!
We  have a growing number of local chaplain ministry opportunities and are seeking out additional companies who may welcome us to serve as chaplains (we serve as a team). We presently serve in seven separate companies and three nursing/assisted living facilities.  We recently met with two separate groups of business owners at Lancaster Bible College and were able to present the concept of using chaplains to serve their employees. We now have several follow-up opportunities.
We are not presently serving in an interim pastoral role and we don't know when that door will open again. We certainly have been blessed by these opportunities over the past two years.
Although my Amish stonemason friend Jesse has moved from our neighborhood I am still getting some opportunities to assist him with travel (I either haul him around in my vehicle or use one of his work trucks.)  I enjoy this work which gets me out and about and it provides some supplement to our income as well!
We want to thank those who have supported our ministry; either by telling others about our internet ministry, through your prayers for Daily Encouragement, or for your sacrificial gifts to our ministry.  Through April this year we have received $3,010.00 in offerings to Daily Encouragement from 27 separate sources. Some gifts are larger and some quite small, but each gift, no matter the size, reminds us of your faith in us and God's faithfulness in providing for our needs. We get note pad writings and lengthy typed letters.  One heartfelt message written on a bright pink sticky note we taped to the shelf that sits on top of Brooksyne's desk.  It brings a smile each time we see it.  It reads, "A dollar (what I can afford) for each week of the year that I am blessed by your ministry."  Included with the note was a $52.00 check from a couple who reside in Florida.  For some even this amount is just not possible with your limited income, so we thank those who can and do give to make it available for all who have a heart for this type of daily ministry.

Asking for financial support is not something we have ever felt comfortable in doing.  We choose never to whine.  God has always been good to us!!  We trust God to lay on the hearts of His people the desire to support our ministry according to the difference we've made in their lives along with a shared burden to reach others with this internet ministry.  We seek to be a blessing to all and never want financial giving be guilt driven, but rather a response of affirmation and support toward our ministry as the Lord directs.  If you would like to  donate to Daily Encouragement please see this page.

Finally we receive a small commission as an affiliate for Christian Book Distributors. If you order materials from Christian Book Distributors using our affiliate link or a link to any specific resource we periodically recommend this helps as well. Whenever you order materials from Christian Book Distributors consider using this link. You won't pay any more and we will get a supplement to our income! This link is included in the footers of each daily message.

Yesterday we shared a story concerning our dog Roxie frollicking in the wheat field that is alongside part of our walk and shared a photo. Here's an attempt at a short video!  (We have fun)  I took this with our regular camera and am not sure if it will work on all systems.

Note from Brooksyne:  A local reader inquired yesterday about the trail we talked about that starts right across from our house.  We're making plans to walk it together.  We extend this invitation to all readers to come on over for a walk on our favorite country lane!

Country lane

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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