Daily Encouragement Net
The online Bible teaching ministry of Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.

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Friday, December 31, 2021

Anchor for the Soul

"Ambassadors Of Hope"

Message summary: As we say farewell to 2021 and face a new year let us rest our hope in Christ "as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure". In 2022 let us resolve to be Ambassadors Of Hope to a world filled with hopelessness.

Listen to this message on your audio player.

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit" (Romans 15:13). "We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure" (Hebrews 6:19).

Bunny and Peg O'HareBunny and Peg O'Hare are longtime friends we first met when we lived in New England over 20 years ago. They now live here in Lancaster County where Bunny has served as a chaplain to truck drivers. I called them earlier this week and spoke to both of them. They express a vibrant faith and Bunny will always ask, "Has anyone told you today that Jesus loves you?".

Peg told me about a book she was reading that said Christians should be "ambassadors of hope". When I later shared this with Brooksyne we both agreed that our ministry theme for 2022 will be "ambassadors of hope". This morning I changed our email sig line to use this description along with the first daily verse, "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit" (Romans 15:13).

Hope is one of the greatest of God's blessings yet so many desperately need hope. It will be with us throughout eternity, "these three remain, faith, hope and love". Our relationship with God always involves faith, and active faith in Him will always lead to hope and hope is grounded in God's love. If our faith in God is weak, inactive or non-existent we will either have no hope or misplaced hope.

Today let us consider just the four words the second text begins with, "We have this hope". That's a portion of Scripture that most anyone can memorize. It's packed with present factual assurance rather than the usual sense of the word as a wishful optimistic outcome.

Let us reflect on six tremendous blessings concerning our hope in Christ, though there are many more:
Romans 15:13
1) Our hope in Christ is a fixed hope. "Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure" (1 John 3:2,3).

2) Our hope in Christ is an overflowing hope. "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit" (Romans 15:13).

3) Our hope in Christ is a living hope. "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead" (1 Peter 1:3).

4) Our hope in Christ is a saving hope. "We have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe" (1 Timothy 4:10).

5) Our hope in Christ is a constant hope. The Psalmist wrote, "My hope is in you all day long" (Psalm 25:5). Our spiritual hope in Christ doesn't diminish or fluctuate due to the vagaries of life. "Where morning dawns and evening fades You call forth songs of joy" (Psalm 65:8). This verse is the basis of a Paul Baloche song many of us have sung titled "Your Name".

6) Our hope in Christ is a strength-renewing hope. "Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength" (Isaiah 40:31). This is the great passage that speaks of mounting up with wings like eagles. The struggles and disappointments of life can be wearying and drain us of hope. If we go forth in our own strength we will soon exhaust our source of joyful hope and fail miserably. But when our hearts, filled with hope, are mounted in heaven we will be carried above the difficulties, and be stronger in our faith and in our firm resolve to remain faithful.

So many are facing very trying circumstances as this year ends. Yesterday along Rockvale Road we recognized a woman inserting her mail in the mailbox. We turned our car around to talk with her before she re-entered her house. She is bearing a heavy burden with a very ill daughter-in-law in the hospital. We were able to share God's hope with her as we offered a prayer, seeking to be ambassadors of hope.

As we prepare this message we consider those in our own sphere of influence and pray for them. The ending of a year does not wipe out the challenges, trials, and losses experienced over the past 365 days. Some of those circumstances will carry over into the New Year, so we must cling tightly to the hope we have in Christ for that which we've already dealt with and for that which is yet to come in 2022.

Today we encourage you to focus on the hope we have in Christ and having that assurance let us all be ambassadors of hope. Foundational for our effectiveness as ambassadors of hope is that first and foremost we are ambassadors for Christ, "Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God" (2 Corinthians 5:20).

Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, our hope is steadfast and sure as we trust in You for everything we have need of, most importantly, our salvation through Christ. We are grateful for Your divine presence and daily provision as You enable us to meet the challenges of each new day of each new year. Our hope does not dwindle due to these challenges, for we depend not on our own strength, wisdom, or standing with man. Instead we depend on the One who provides us with hope that is ever secure, constant, strengthening, and enduring. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

Special Year-end Financial Note

We want to thank all who have financially supported our ministry this past year (and some for many years!). We realize there are many fine ministries and causes requesting support at this time but if you would like to make a donation to our ministry see here for more information. Like many ministries, we typically see a spike in giving at the end of the year for which we are most thankful.

Our ministry labor is comprised of approximately half our time to Daily Encouragement and the other half to our chaplaincy ministry to companies from which we receive compensation. Each of these ministries essentially is the same as a part-time job (20+ hours weekly) for each of us. Our goal for many years is that each would provide half of our ministry expenses and income.

To donate directly online click here. This will open to a page that designates the offering to: STEPHEN & BROOKSYNE WEBER - 700001-237376 SERVING IN SPECIALIZED CHAPLAINCY

Make A DonationPlease Note: If you desire you can donate directly through PayPal using this link. This will open to a page that states "Brooksyne Weber".  We keep this option available due to the familiarity, convenience, international supporters, and for those who may not need an official receipt. You can also set up for recurring donations. You also can use PayPal on this link. 

Thank you,

Stephen & Brooksyne

David Lapp, Blessings of Hope
We got out yesterday for some chaplain visits and shopping, the first time we had been out in over a week. At the Shady Maple we visited with David Lapp, the CEO of Blessings Of Hope. This food distribution ministry, based here in Lancaster County, has grown immensely over the last several years. We know David through our association with Ron Hoover and Convene. He shared that Blessings of Hope had sent 23 semi-trucks loaded with food to the area in Kentucky stricken by tornadoes earlier this month, and their founders, Aaron and Barbie Fisher, have been there on site since the day after the tornado struck!

What a blessing to see Daniel yesterday. The last couple years we visited with him while he worked at a local grocery store but we hadn't seen him there in awhile. Well, he now works at Walmart on Fruitville Pike. This young man has such a pleasant disposition and is unashamed to be a follower of Christ! He wants to study business administration and run a company to glorify God.
Brooksyne's note: I was looking for some work shoes for Ester and didn't know where the shoe section was so I asked an employee. He pointed to the area, but then said, "Just follow me. I'll take you there". His courtesy took me back in my mind to the young Wal-Mart in the seventies when their protocol was: "When a customer is looking for an item don't just point, take them to the location". I told the young man about Wal-Mart's early history and, of course, he was unaware due to his age and Wal-Mart no longer being that sensitive to customers (due to its size and monopoly). We chatted along the way and then he said in parting, "God bless you!" What he said and the way he said it caught my attention immediately and I thought to myself, "This young man knows the Lord!" When I caught up with Stephen near the check-out Daniel was with him and then I realized it was Daniel under the mask. He said he recognized me but didn't say it at the time. The Lord gives each of us the opportunity to lift another's spirit by the words we say or the extra effort we might make in helping one who has a need, either big or small.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

Brooksyne with Calvary Church choir
"Living Hope"  Video  Calvary Church choir, orchestra and congregation from an Easter service several years ago. Brooksyne sings in this choir and I managed to get a screenshot of her singing, along with her soprano sisters! This version includes an introduction by Dave Ross, our worship leader.

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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, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. 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 make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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