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God's Dress Code

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  • Steve Hall
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ NOTES FROM THE VALLEY - April 7, 2000 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear
    Message 1 of 8 , Apr 5, 2000
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
      NOTES FROM THE VALLEY - April 7, 2000

      "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of
      death, I will fear no evil for you are with me." Psalm 23.
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      TOPIC: A BETTER WARDROBE - PUT ON LOVE

      We live in a sin filled world. Every day we suffer from the
      consequences of that sin. What some of you may not realize is, God,
      our loving Father, suffers right along with us. He feels every pain
      we feel, sees every tear we cry, and reaches out to us in compassion
      every moment of every day. His reaching takes many different
      forms. The "messages" in His Word are one of them.

      Invariably, the "messages" I receive when I read the Bible are aimed
      right at some problem I'm struggling with at the time. Sometimes
      it's a word of comfort to ease my pain. At other times it's a
      fatherly swat on the rear to encourage me to "get my act together"
      because I'm the one causing a problem. The message this week is not
      a new one. It's one of those "swats" He has to give me on a fairly
      regular basis. Misery loves company, so I'll pass it along to you.

      The "message" this week came from Colossians, Chapter 3. I like to
      call it "God's Dress Code for His Kids." The great things about this
      wardrobe are:

      - everything's already picked out, (no shopping)
      - everything fits perfectly and, (no dieting)
      - everything is paid for. (no bills)

      I just wish the same was true of our earthly wardrobe. Can I get
      an "Amen" from everyone? So here's the message: "So, chosen by God
      for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for
      you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be
      even tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an
      offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave
      you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It's the
      basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it."

      All of us have something in life that just sets us off. For me,
      it's drivers that aren't in as big a hurry as I usually am, but
      won't get out of my way. Now, I used to get rather vocal and
      animated towards these people. But not anymore. Can you guess why?

      We've got this little piece of chromed plastic in the shape of a fish
      on the rear panel of both our cars. I'm sure most of you have got
      one or something similar. But have you ever thought about what that
      emblem, coupled with your behavior, could be saying about Jesus. I
      didn't. And then one day the good Lord jerked me up on a short leash
      and made me realize what I'd just done as a representative of His Son
      and as one of His children. I felt so embarrassed by my behavior, I
      even went out and bought one of those license plate frames that
      says, "Christians aren't perfect - just forgiven" as a kind of
      apology to the past victims of my temper tantrum.

      For you, the trigger is probably something else entirely. Whoever
      or whatever it is, God expects us to respond to others the way He
      responds to us. And let me emphasize that these are not "optional"
      expectations on His part. Jesus tells a parable about the Master and
      the wicked servant who was forgiven his debt, but refused to forgive
      another servant's small debt to him. When the Master finds out about
      the servants unforgiveness, He is furious. His new sentence for the
      wicked servant is to have him turned over to the jailers for torture
      until he could pay his own debt. Jesus closes the parable with these
      words, "This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless
      you forgive your brother from your heart." (Matthew 18:24-35)

      I may not be one of the brightest of God's children, but I know an
      eternal sentence when I hear one. Like the wicked servant, our debt
      of sin is too large for us to ever repay. And I know the jailer and
      the place of eternal torture. I'm not interested in either. By
      comparison, our brother's debt to us is infinitesimal. Unforgiveness
      on our part is more than foolish; it is absolute folly. For our
      sins, God could have sent us to Hell out of anger. Instead, He sent
      His Son to the cross out of love. Having been forgiven so much, how
      can we be unforgiving?

      I remain as always, His servants and your brother in Christ,

      Steve Hall


      FORGIVENESS
      (Received from InspiringWords - Author Dick Innes)

      Some years ago during a visit to Yellowstone Park, one writer
      observed that the only animal that the grizzly bear would share his
      food with was a skunk. It wasn't that the grizzly wanted to share his
      food but rather that he chose to. With one swing of his powerful paw
      he could have crushed the skunk. So why did he allow the skunk to
      eat with him? Because he knew the high cost of getting even. Clever
      bear! Undoubtedly he learned the hard way. Strange that we humans
      often aren't as smart. Sometimes we carry grudges for years, often
      repressing them from conscious memory, and end up hurting ourselves
      more than the ones we would like to get even with. We fail to see
      how damaging an unforgiving spirit is.

      In his book, "None of These Diseases," Dr. S.I. McMillen
      says, "Medical science recognizes that emotions such as fear, sorrow,
      envy, resentment and hatred are responsible for the majority of our
      sicknesses. Estimates vary from 60 percent to nearly 100 percent."

      I read one report of an astonished patient who was told by his
      doctor, "If you don't cut out your resentments, I may have to cut out
      a part of your intestinal tract." Fortunately, the man took the
      doctor's advice. He had been nursing a bitter grudge against a
      former business partner. He went to see this man, resolved their
      differences, and forgave him. When he returned to the doctor, his
      physical condition had cleared up.

      That advice isn't new of course. The greatest physician who ever
      lived, Jesus Christ, pointed out 2,000 years ago the importance of
      forgiveness. When he encouraged us to "forgive seventy times seven,"
      he was thinking of our physical as much as our spiritual well-being.
      (Matthew 18:21-22)

      As Dr. McMillen says, he knew that a forgiving spirit would save us
      from "ulcerative colitis, toxic goiters, high blood pressure, and
      scores of other diseases." including ulcers, asthma, arthritis, neuro-
      dermatitis, and heart ailments--all possible effects of resentment.
      The Bible's advice is therefore just as relevant today as it was when
      written 2,000 years ago: "Be kind and compassionate to one another,
      forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." (Ephesians
      4:32).


      A LESSON IN GRACE
      (Received from Jim & Katie Laughlin via "LCNMfellowship)

      The boy stood with back arched, head cocked back and hands clenched
      defiantly. "Go ahead, give it to me." The principal looked down at
      the young rebel. "How many times have you been here?" The child
      sneered rebelliously, "Apparently not enough." The principal gave
      the boy a strange look. "And you have been punished each time have
      you not?"

      "Yeah, I been punished, if that's what you want to call it." He
      threw out his small chest, "Go ahead I can take whatever you dish
      out. I always have."

      "And no thought of your punishment enters your head the next time you
      decide to break the rules does it?"

      "Nope, I do whatever I want to do. Ain't nothin' you people gonna do
      to stop me either." The principal looked over at the teacher who
      stood nearby. "What did he do this time?"

      "Fighting. He took little Tommy and shoved his face into the
      sandbox." The principal turned to look at the boy, "Why? What did
      little Tommy do to you?"

      "Nothin, I didn't like the way he was lookin' at me, just like I
      don't like the way your lookin' at me! And if I thought I could do
      it, I'd shove your face into something." The teacher stiffened and
      started to rise but a quick look from the principal stopped him. He
      contemplated the child for a moment and then quietly said, "Today my
      young student, is the day you learn about grace."

      "Grace? Isn't that what you old people do before you sit down to
      eat? I don't need none of your stinkin' grace."

      "Oh, but you do." The principal studied the young mans face and
      whispered. "Oh yes, you truly do..." The boy continued to glare as
      the principal continued, "Grace, in its short definition is unmerited
      favor. You can not earn it, it is a gift and is always freely given.
      It means that you will not be getting what you so richly deserve."
      The boy looked puzzled. "Your not gonna whup me? You just gonna let
      me walk?" The principal looked down at the unyielding child. "Yes, I
      am going to let you walk." The boy studied the face of the
      principal, "No punishment at all? Even though I socked Tommy and
      shoved his face into the sandbox?"

      "Oh, there has to be punishment. What you did was wrong and there
      are always consequences to our actions. There will be punishment.
      Grace is not an excuse for doing wrong."

      "I knew it," sneered the boy as he held out his hands. "Lets get on
      with it." The principal nodded toward the teacher. "Bring me the
      belt." The teacher presented the belt to the principal. He
      carefully folded it in two and then handed it back to the teacher.
      He looked at the child and said. "I want you to count the blows."

      He slid out from behind his desk and walked over to stand directly in
      front of the young man. He gently reached out and folded the child's
      outstretched, expectant hands together and then turned to face the
      teacher with his own hands outstretched. One quiet word came forth
      from his mouth. "Begin." The belt whipped down on the outstretched
      hands of the principal.

      Crack! The young man jumped ten feet in the air. Shock registered
      across his face, "One" he whispered.
      Crack! "Two." His voice raised an octave.
      Crack! "Three..." He couldn't believe this.
      Crack! "Four." Big tears welled up in the eyes of the rebel. "OK
      stop! That's enough. Stop!"
      Crack! Came the belt down on the callused hands of the principal.
      Crack! The child flinched with each blow, tears beginning to stream
      down his face.
      Crack! Crack! "No please", the former rebel begged, "Stop, I did
      it, I'm the one who deserves it. Stop! Please. Stop..."
      Still the blows came. Crack! Crack! One after another.

      Finally it was over. The principal stood with sweat glistening
      across his forehead and beads trickling down his face. Slowly he
      knelt down. He studied the young man for a second and then his
      swollen hands reached out to cradle the face of the weeping
      child. "Grace . . ."


      THE PRISONER

      Years after her concentration camp experiences in Nazi Germany,
      Corrie ten Boom met face to face one of the most cruel and heartless
      German guards that she had ever contacted. He had humiliated and
      degraded her and her sister. He had jeered and visually raped them as
      they stood in the delousing shower. Now he stood before her with hand
      outstretched and said, "Will you forgive me?"

      She writes: "I stood there with coldness clutching at my heart, but I
      know that the will can function regardless of the temperature of the
      heart. I prayed, Jesus, help me! Woodenly, mechanically I thrust my
      hand into the one stretched out to me and I experienced an incredible
      thing. The current started in my shoulder, raced down into my arms
      and sprang into our clutched hands. Then this warm reconciliation
      seemed to flood my whole being, bringing tears to my eyes. 'I forgive
      you, brother,' I cried with my whole heart. For a long moment we
      grasped each other's hands, the former guard, the former prisoner. I
      have never known the love of God so intensely as I did in that
      moment!" To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover the
      prisoner was you."


      THE CARPENTER'S VISIT
      (Received from AWorthWhileLife - Author Unknown)

      Once upon a time two brothers who lived on adjoining farms fell into
      conflict. It was the first serious rift in 40 years of farming side
      by side, sharing machinery, and trading labor and goods as needed
      without a hitch. Then the long collaboration fell apart. It began
      with a small misunderstanding and it grew into a major difference,
      and finally it exploded into an exchange of bitter words followed by
      weeks of silence.

      One morning there was a knock on John's door. He opened it to find a
      man with a carpenter's toolbox. "I'm looking for a few days work" he
      said. "Perhaps you would have a few small jobs here and there.
      Could I help you?"

      "Yes," said the older brother. "I do have a job for you. Look across
      the creek at that farm. That's my neighbor, in fact, it's my younger
      brother. Last week there was a meadow between us and he took his
      bulldozer to the river levee and now there is a creek between us.
      Well, he may have done this
      to spite me, but I'll go him one better. See that pile of lumber
      curing by the barn? I want you to build me a fence -- an 8-foot
      fence -- so I won't need to see his place anymore. Cool him down,
      anyhow."

      The carpenter said, "I think I understand the situation. Show me the
      nails and the post-hole digger and I'll be able to do a job that
      pleases you."

      The older brother had to go to town for supplies, so he helped the
      carpenter get the materials ready and then he was off for the day.
      The carpenter worked hard all that day measuring, sawing, nailing.
      About sunset when the farmer returned, the carpenter had just
      finished his job. The farmer's eyes opened wide, his jaw dropped.
      There was no fence there at all. It was a bridge -- a bridge
      stretching from one side of the creek to the other! A fine piece of
      work -- handrails and all -- and the neighbor, his younger brother,
      was coming across, his hand outstretched.

      "You are quite a fellow to build this bridge after all I've said and
      done."

      The two brothers stood at each end of the bridge, and then they met
      in the middle, taking each other's hand. They turned to see the
      carpenter hoist his toolbox on his shoulder. "No, wait! Stay a few
      days. I've a lot of other projects for you," said the older brother.

      "I'd love to stay on," the carpenter said, "but, I have many more
      bridges to build."



      THE SIGN

      In my second year of seminary I worked as a dorm supervisor for the
      New Jersey School for the Deaf. On Sunday a worship service was held
      for the children remaining for the weekend. I remember the first time
      I saw the sign for "Jesus"--the right hand used the little finger to
      draw the letter J, then ending in the palm of the other hand to
      signify Jesus' nail imprint. The very name of Jesus tells us of
      Jesus' suffering and forgiveness of our sins! James Hewett,
      Illustrations Unlimited

      ________________________________________________

      Copyright � 1998-2000 by Stephen J. Hall - Weekly letters of
      encouragement to Christians written by Stephen J. Hall unless
      otherwise indicated. Notes from the Valley and Humor from the Valley
      are never intended to offend anyone. They're meant only to brighten
      your day and encourage you along the way. Most of "notes"
      and "humor" are a collection of items provided to me by subscribers
      and friends. Credit is given to both the contributor and to the true
      author, where known. If you are blessed by them, please feel free to
      make copies and pass them along to others. An archive of previous
      editions of "Notes" and "Humor" is available on our list's main
      page. For more information, please contact us at:
      sossteve@...
      ________________________________________________

      "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you . . . thoughts of
      peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope." (Jeremiah
      29:11) Then the Lord said, "There is a place near me where you may
      stand." (Exodus 33:21)
    • sossteve2001
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ NOTES FROM THE VALLEY March 28, 2004 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil
      Message 2 of 8 , Mar 29, 2004
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

        NOTES FROM THE VALLEY
        March 28, 2004

        "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
        I will fear no evil for you are with me." Psalm 23.

        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

        The "Notes" for this week come from Colossians, Chapter 3. I like to
        call it "God's Dress Code." The great things about this wardrobe are:

        - everything's already picked out (no shopping);
        - everything fits perfectly (no dieting); and
        - everything is paid for (no bills).

        In the Message Translation these verses read, "So, chosen by God for
        this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you:
        compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even
        tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense.
        Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And
        regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It's the basic, all-
        purpose garment. Never be without it."

        All of us have something in life that just sets us off. For me,
        it's drivers that aren't in as big a hurry as I usually am, but
        won't get out of my way. I used to get rather vocal and animated
        towards those people. But not anymore. Can you guess why? It's
        this little piece of chrome-plated plastic in the shape of a fish on
        the rear panel of my truck. I'm sure most of you have one or
        something like it. But have you ever thought about what that emblem,
        coupled with your behavior, could be saying about Jesus? I didn't.
        And then one day the good Lord jerked me up on a short leash and made
        me realize what I'd just done and what it said to others about Him
        and about His Son. I felt so embarrassed by my behavior. I even
        went out and bought one of those license plate frames that
        says, "Christians aren't perfect - just forgiven" as a kind of
        apology to the past victims of my anger.

        For you, the trigger is probably something else entirely. Whoever
        or whatever it is, God expects us to respond to others the way He
        responds to us. And let me emphasize that these are not "optional"
        expectations on His part. Jesus tells a parable about the Master and
        the wicked servant who was forgiven his debt, but refused to forgive
        another servant's small debt to him. When the Master finds out about
        the servants unforgiveness, He is furious. His new sentence for the
        wicked servant is to have him turned over to the jailers for torture
        until he could pay his own debt. Jesus closes the parable with these
        words, "This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless
        you forgive your brother from your heart." (Matthew 18:24-35)

        I may not be one of the brightest of God's children, but I know an
        eternal sentence when I hear one. Like the wicked servant, our debt
        of sin is too large for us to ever repay. And I know the jailer and
        the place of eternal torture. I'm not interested in either.

        By comparison, our brother's debt to us is infinitesimal.
        Unforgiveness on our part is more than foolish; it is absolute
        folly. For our sins, God could have sent us to Hell out of anger.
        Instead, He sent His Son to the cross out of love. Having been
        forgiven so much, how can we be unforgiving?

        Sheltered under His wings and overwhelmed by His love,
        Steve


        THE COST OF AN UNFORGIVING SPIRIT
        (Author - Dick Innes)

        Some years ago during a visit to Yellowstone Park, one writer
        observed that the only animal that the grizzly bear would share his
        food with was a skunk. It wasn't that the grizzly wanted to share his
        food but rather that he chose to. With one swing of his powerful paw
        he could have crushed the skunk. So why did he allow the skunk to
        eat with him? Because he knew the high cost of getting even. Clever
        bear! Undoubtedly he learned the hard way. Strange that we humans
        often aren't as smart. Sometimes we carry grudges for years, often
        repressing them from conscious memory, and end up hurting ourselves
        more than the ones we would like to get even with. We fail to see
        how damaging an unforgiving spirit is.

        In his book, "None of These Diseases," Dr. S.I. McMillen
        says, "Medical science recognizes that emotions such as fear, sorrow,
        envy, resentment and hatred are responsible for the majority of our
        sicknesses. Estimates vary from 60 percent to nearly 100 percent." I
        read one report of an astonished patient who was told by his
        doctor, "If you don't cut out your resentments, I may have to cut out
        a part of your intestinal tract." Fortunately, the man took the
        doctor's advice. He had been nursing a bitter grudge against a
        former business partner. He went to see this man, resolved their
        differences, and forgave him. When he returned to the doctor, his
        physical condition had cleared up.

        That advice isn't new of course. The greatest physician who ever
        lived, Jesus Christ, pointed out 2,000 years ago the importance of
        forgiveness. When he encouraged us to "forgive seventy times seven,"
        he was thinking of our physical as much as our spiritual well-being.
        (Matthew 18:21-22)

        As Dr. McMillen says, he knew that a forgiving spirit would save us
        from "ulcerative colitis, toxic goiters, high blood pressure, and
        scores of other diseases." including ulcers, asthma, arthritis, neuro-
        dermatitis, and heart ailments--all possible effects of resentment.
        The Bible's advice is therefore just as relevant today as it was when
        written 2,000 years ago: "Be kind and compassionate to one another,
        forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." (Ephesians
        4:32).



        THE PRISONER

        Years after her concentration camp experiences in Nazi Germany,
        Corrie ten Boom met face to face one of the most cruel and heartless
        German guards that she had ever contacted. He had humiliated and
        degraded her and her sister. He had jeered and visually raped them as
        they stood in the delousing shower. Now he stood before her with hand
        outstretched and said, "Will you forgive me?"

        She writes: "I stood there with coldness clutching at my heart, but I
        know that the will can function regardless of the temperature of the
        heart. I prayed, Jesus, help me! Woodenly, mechanically I thrust my
        hand into the one stretched out to me and I experienced an incredible
        thing. The current started in my shoulder, raced down into my arms
        and sprang into our clutched hands. Then this warm reconciliation
        seemed to flood my whole being, bringing tears to my eyes. 'I forgive
        you, brother,' I cried with my whole heart. For a long moment we
        grasped each other's hands, the former guard, the former prisoner. I
        have never known the love of God so intensely as I did in that
        moment!" To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover the
        prisoner was you."



        WHAT JESUS SAID
        (Author - Bruce Larson)

        Bruce Larson tells the true story of a Catholic priest living in the
        Philippines, a much-loved man of God who once carried a secret burden
        of long-past sin buried deep in his heart. He had committed that sin
        once, many years before, during his time in seminary. No one else
        knew of this sin. He had repented of it and he had suffered years of
        remorse for it, but he still had no peace, no inner joy, no sense of
        God's forgiveness.

        There was a woman in this priest's parish who deeply loved God, and
        who claimed to have visions in which she spoke with Christ, and He
        with her. The priest, however, was skeptical of her claims, so to
        test her visions he said to her, "You say you actually speak directly
        with Christ in your visions. Let me ask you a favor. The next time
        you have one of these visions, I want you to ask Him what sin your
        priest committed while he was in seminary." The woman agreed and
        went home.

        When she returned to the church a few days later, the priest
        said, "Well, did Christ visit you in your dreams?"

        She replied, "Yes, He did."

        "And did you ask Him what sin I committed in seminary?"

        "Yes, I asked Him."

        "Well, what did He say?"

        "He said, 'I don't remember.'"

        This is what God wants you to know about the forgiveness He freely
        offers you. When your sins are forgiven, they are forgotten. The
        past, with its sins, hurts, brokenness, and self-recrimination is
        gone, dead, crucified, remembered no more. What God forgives, He
        forgets.



        Forgiveness Is . . .
        (Author - George Roemisch)

        Forgiveness is the windblown bud which blooms in placid beauty at
        Verdun.

        Forgiveness is the tiny slate-gray sparrow which has built its nest
        of twigs and string among the shards of glass upon the wall of shame.

        Forgiveness is the child who laughs in merry ecstasy beneath the
        toothed fence that closes DaNang.

        Forgiveness is the fragrance of the violet which still clings fast to
        the heel that crushed it.

        Forgiveness is the broken dream which hides itself within the corner
        of the mind oft called forgetfulness, so that it will not bring pain
        to the dreamer.

        Forgiveness is the reed which stands up straight and green when
        nature's mighty rampage halts, full spent.

        Forgiveness is a God who will not leave us after all we've done.



        WHERE IS LOVE?
        (James Hewitt, Illustrations Unlimited)

        After eighteen months in the ministry, a pastor went to his file
        cabinet to pull out the "Love" file. He discovered he didn't have
        one. Impossible! It must be misfiled. He searched among Faith and
        Fasting, between Healing and Heaven. Perhaps it was sandwiched by
        Christology and Christian Ed. After all, these have to do with Love
        don't they? But it wasn't there, nor was it found after Money or
        ahead of Missions.

        When he stopped to reflect, the Holy Spirit solved the mystery. The
        Love file was scattered, yet not misfiled. Parts of it were found
        under Patience, Kindness, Humility, Trust, Hope, Loyalty, and
        Perseverance. But the pastor found the greatest part of the Love
        file, squarely-centered and deeply-seated, in Forgiveness.


        ______________________________________________________________________
        ______________________

        Copyright © 1998 - 2004 by Stephen J. Hall - Notes from the Valley
        and Humor from the Valley are meant to brighten your day and
        encourage you along the way. If you are blessed by them, please feel
        free to make copies and pass them along to others. If you have
        something you'd like to contribute to a future edition or would like
        to ask us a question or make a comment, please contact us at:
        sossteve@...
        ______________________________________________________________________
        ______________________


        Your love, God, is my song, and I'll sing it! I'm forever telling
        everyone how faithful you are. I'll never quit telling the story of
        your love . . .
        (Psalm 89:1-2 The Message)
      • sossteve2001
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ NOTES FROM THE VALLEY April 10, 2005 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil
        Message 3 of 8 , Apr 11, 2005
          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

          NOTES FROM THE VALLEY
          April 10, 2005

          "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
          I will fear no evil for you are with me." Psalm 23.

          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

          The "Notes" for this week come from Colossians, Chapter 3. I like to
          call it "God's Dress Code." The great things about this wardrobe are:

          - everything's already picked out (no shopping); - everything
          fits perfectly (no dieting); and
          - everything is paid for (no bills).

          In the Message Translation these verses read, "So, chosen by God for
          this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you:
          compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even
          tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense.
          Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And
          regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It's the basic, all-
          purpose garment. Never be without it."

          All of us have something in life that just sets us off. For me,
          it's drivers that aren't in as big a hurry as I usually am, but
          won't get out of my way. I used to get rather vocal and animated
          towards those people. But not anymore. Can you guess why? It's
          this little piece of chrome-plated plastic in the shape of a fish on
          the rear panel of my truck. I'm sure most of you have one or
          something like it. But have you ever thought about what that emblem,
          coupled with your behavior, could be saying about Jesus? I didn't.
          And then one day the good Lord jerked me up on a short leash and made
          me realize what I'd just done and what it said to others about Him
          and about His Son. I felt so embarrassed by my behavior. I even
          went out and bought one of those license plate frames that
          says, "Christians aren't perfect - just forgiven" as a kind of
          apology to the past victims of my anger.

          For you, the trigger is probably something else entirely. Whoever
          or whatever it is, God expects us to respond to others the way He
          responds to us. And let me emphasize that these are not "optional"
          expectations on His part.

          Jesus tells a parable about the Master and the wicked servant who was
          forgiven his debt, but refused to forgive another servant's small
          debt to him. When the Master finds out about the servants
          unforgiveness, He is furious. His new sentence for the wicked
          servant is to have him turned over to the jailers for torture until
          he could pay his own debt. Jesus closes the parable with these
          words, "This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless
          you forgive your brother from your heart." (Matthew 18:24-35)

          I may not be one of the brightest of God's children, but I know an
          eternal sentence when I hear one. Like the wicked servant, our debt
          of sin is too large for us to ever repay. And I know the jailer and
          the place of eternal torture. I'm not interested in either.

          By comparison, our brother's debt to us is infinitesimal.
          Unforgiveness on our part is more than foolish; it is absolute
          folly. For our sins, God could have sent us to Hell out of anger.
          Instead, He sent His Son to the cross out of love. Having been
          forgiven so much, how can we be unforgiving?

          Sheltered under His wings and overwhelmed by His love,
          Steve



          THE COST OF AN UNFORGIVING SPIRIT
          (Author - Dick Innes)

          Some years ago during a visit to Yellowstone Park, one writer
          observed that the only animal that the grizzly bear would share his
          food with was a skunk. It wasn't that the grizzly wanted to share his
          food but rather that he chose to. With one swing of his powerful paw
          he could have crushed the skunk. So why did he allow the skunk to
          eat with him? Because he knew the high cost of getting even. Clever
          bear! Undoubtedly he learned the hard way. Strange that we humans
          often aren't as smart. Sometimes we carry grudges for years, often
          repressing them from conscious memory, and end up hurting ourselves
          more than the ones we would like to get even with. We fail to see
          how damaging an unforgiving spirit is.

          In his book, "None of These Diseases," Dr. S.I. McMillen
          says, "Medical science recognizes that emotions such as fear, sorrow,
          envy, resentment and hatred are responsible for the majority of our
          sicknesses. Estimates vary from 60 percent to nearly 100 percent." I
          read one report of an astonished patient who was told by his
          doctor, "If you don't cut out your resentments, I may have to cut out
          a part of your intestinal tract." Fortunately, the man took the
          doctor's advice. He had been nursing a bitter grudge against a
          former business partner. He went to see this man, resolved their
          differences, and forgave him. When he returned to the doctor, his
          physical condition had cleared up. That advice isn't new of course.
          The greatest physician who ever lived, Jesus Christ, pointed out
          2,000 years ago the importance of forgiveness. When he encouraged us
          to "forgive seventy times seven," he was thinking of our physical as
          much as our spiritual well-being. (Matthew 18:21-22)

          As Dr. McMillen says, he knew that a forgiving spirit would save us
          from "ulcerative colitis, toxic goiters, high blood pressure, and
          scores of other diseases." including ulcers, asthma, arthritis, neuro-
          dermatitis, and heart ailments--all possible effects of resentment.
          The Bible's advice is therefore just as relevant today as it was when
          written 2,000 years ago: "Be kind and compassionate to one another,
          forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." (Ephesians
          4:32).



          THE PRISONER

          Years after her concentration camp experiences in Nazi Germany,
          Corrie ten Boom met face to face one of the most cruel and heartless
          German guards that she had ever contacted. He had humiliated and
          degraded her and her sister. He had jeered and visually raped them as
          they stood in the delousing shower. Now he stood before her with hand
          outstretched and said, "Will you forgive me?"

          She writes: "I stood there with coldness clutching at my heart, but I
          know that the will can function regardless of the temperature of the
          heart. I prayed, Jesus, help me! Woodenly, mechanically I thrust my
          hand into the one stretched out to me and I experienced an incredible
          thing. The current started in my shoulder, raced down into my arms
          and sprang into our clutched hands. Then this warm reconciliation
          seemed to flood my whole being, bringing tears to my eyes. 'I forgive
          you, brother,' I cried with my whole heart. For a long moment we
          grasped each other's hands, the former guard, the former prisoner. I
          have never known the love of God so intensely as I did in that
          moment!" To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover the
          prisoner was you."



          WHAT JESUS SAID
          (Author - Bruce Larson)

          Bruce Larson tells the true story of a Catholic priest living in the
          Philippines, a much-loved man of God who once carried a secret burden
          of long-past sin buried deep in his heart. He had committed that sin
          once, many years before, during his time in seminary. No one else
          knew of this sin. He had repented of it and he had suffered years of
          remorse for it, but he still had no peace, no inner joy, no sense of
          God's forgiveness.

          There was a woman in this priest's parish who deeply loved God, and
          who claimed to have visions in which she spoke with Christ, and He
          with her. The priest, however, was skeptical of her claims, so to
          test her visions he said to her, "You say you actually speak directly
          with Christ in your visions. Let me ask you a favor. The next time
          you have one of these visions, I want you to ask Him what sin your
          priest committed while he was in seminary." The woman agreed and
          went home.

          When she returned to the church a few days later, the priest
          said, "Well, did Christ visit you in your dreams?"
          She replied, "Yes, He did."
          "And did you ask Him what sin I committed in seminary?"
          "Yes, I asked Him."
          "Well, what did He say?"
          "He said, 'I don't remember.'"

          This is what God wants you to know about the forgiveness He freely
          offers you. When your sins are forgiven, they are forgotten. The
          past, with its sins, hurts, brokenness, and self-recrimination is
          gone, dead, crucified, remembered no more. What God forgives, He
          forgets.



          FORGIVENESS IS . . .
          (Author - George Roemisch)

          Forgiveness is the windblown bud which blooms in placid beauty at
          Verdun.

          Forgiveness is the tiny slate-gray sparrow which has built its nest
          of twigs and string among the shards of glass upon the wall of shame.

          Forgiveness is the child who laughs in merry ecstasy beneath the
          toothed fence that closes DaNang.

          Forgiveness is the fragrance of the violet which still clings fast to
          the heel that crushed it.

          Forgiveness is the broken dream which hides itself within the corner
          of the mind oft called forgetfulness, so that it will not bring pain
          to the dreamer.

          Forgiveness is the reed which stands up straight and green when
          nature's mighty rampage halts, full spent.

          Forgiveness is a God who will not leave us after all we've done.



          WHERE IS LOVE?
          (James Hewitt, Illustrations Unlimited)

          After eighteen months in the ministry, a pastor went to his file
          cabinet to pull out the "Love" file. He discovered he didn't have
          one. Impossible! It must be misfiled. He searched among Faith and
          Fasting, between Healing and Heaven. Perhaps it was sandwiched by
          Christology and Christian Ed. After all, these have to do with Love
          don't they? But it wasn't there, nor was it found after Money or
          ahead of Missions.

          When he stopped to reflect, the Holy Spirit solved the mystery. The
          Love file was scattered, yet not misfiled. Parts of it were found
          under Patience, Kindness, Humility, Trust, Hope, Loyalty, and
          Perseverance. But the pastor found the greatest part of the Love
          file, squarely-centered and deeply-seated, in Forgiveness.

          ______________________________________________________________
          __________________________

          Copyright © 1998 - 2005 by Stephen J. Hall - Notes from the Valley
          and Humor from the Valley are meant to brighten your day and
          encourage you along the way. If you are blessed by them, please feel
          free to make copies and pass them along to others. If you have
          something you'd like to contribute to a future edition or would like
          to ask us a question or make a comment, please contact us at:
          sossteve@...
          ______________________________________________________________
          __________________________


          Your love, God, is my song, and I'll sing it! I'm forever telling
          everyone how faithful you are. I'll never quit telling the story of
          your love . . . (Psalm 89:1-2 The Message)
        • Stephen J. Hall
          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ NOTES FROM THE VALLEY March 26, 2006 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil
          Message 4 of 8 , Mar 28, 2006
            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

            NOTES FROM THE VALLEY

            March 26, 2006

            "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

            I will fear no evil for you are with me." Psalm 23.

            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

            This week's "Note" comes from Colossians, Chapter 3. I like to call
            it "God's Dress Code." The great things about this wardrobe are:

            - everything's already picked out (no shopping);

            - everything fits perfectly (no dieting); and

            - everything is paid for (no bills).

            In the Message Translation these verses read, "So, chosen by God for
            this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you:
            compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even
            tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense.
            Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And
            regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It's the basic, all-
            purpose garment. Never be without it."

            All of us have something in life that just sets us off. For me, it's
            drivers that aren't in as big a hurry as I usually am, but won't get
            out of my way. I used to get rather vocal and animated towards those
            people. But not anymore. Can you guess why? It's this little piece
            of chrome-plated plastic in the shape of a fish on the rear panel of
            my truck. I'm sure most of you have one or something like it. But
            have you ever thought about what that emblem, coupled with your
            behavior, could be saying about Jesus? I didn't. And then one day
            the Lord jerked me up on a short leash and made me realize what I'd
            just done and what it said to others about Him and about His Son. I
            felt so embarrassed by my behavior. I even went out and bought one
            of those license plate frames that says, "Christians aren't perfect -
            just forgiven" as a kind of apology to the past victims of my
            anger.

            For you, the trigger is probably something else entirely. Whoever or
            whatever it is, God expects us to respond to others the way He
            responds to us. And let me emphasize that these are not "optional"
            expectations on His part. Jesus tells a parable about the Master and
            the wicked servant who was forgiven his huge debt, but refused to
            forgive another servant's small debt to him. When the Master finds
            out about the servants unforgiveness, He is furious. His new
            sentence for the wicked servant is to have him turned over to the
            jailers for torture until he could pay his own debt. Jesus closes
            the parable with these words, "This is how my heavenly Father will
            treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart."
            (Matthew 18:24-35)

            I may not be one of the brightest of God's children, but I know an
            eternal sentence when I hear one. Like the wicked servant, our debt
            of sin is too large for us to ever repay. And I know the jailer and
            the place of eternal torture. I'm not interested in either.

            By comparison, our brother's debt to us is infinitesimal.
            Unforgiveness on our part is more than foolish; it is absolute
            folly. For our sins, God could have sent us to Hell out of anger.
            Instead, He sent His Son to the cross out of love. Having been
            forgiven so much, how can we be unforgiving?

            Sheltered under His wings and overwhelmed by His love,

            Steve





            THE COST OF AN UNFORGIVING SPIRIT

            (Author - Dick Innes)

            Some years ago during a visit to Yellowstone Park, one writer
            observed that the only animal that the grizzly bear would share his
            food with was a skunk. It wasn't that the grizzly wanted to share
            his food but rather that he chose to. With one swing of his powerful
            paw he could have crushed the skunk. So why did he allow the skunk
            to eat with him? Because he knew the high cost of getting even.
            Clever bear! Undoubtedly he learned the hard way. Strange that we
            humans often aren't as smart. Sometimes we carry grudges for years,
            often repressing them from conscious memory, and end up hurting
            ourselves more than the ones we would like to get even with. We fail
            to see how damaging an unforgiving spirit is.

            In his book, "None of These Diseases," Dr. S.I. McMillen
            says, "Medical science recognizes that emotions such as fear,
            sorrow, envy, resentment and hatred are responsible for the majority
            of our sicknesses. Estimates vary from 60 percent to nearly 100
            percent." I read one report of an astonished patient who was told by
            his doctor, "If you don't cut out your resentments, I may have to
            cut out a part of your intestinal tract." Fortunately, the man took
            the doctor's advice. He had been nursing a bitter grudge against a
            former business partner. He went to see this man, resolved their
            differences, and forgave him. When he returned to the doctor, his
            physical condition had cleared up. That advice isn't new of course.
            The greatest physician who ever lived, Jesus Christ, pointed out
            2,000 years ago the importance of forgiveness. When he encouraged us
            to "forgive seventy times seven," he was thinking of our physical as
            much as our spiritual well-being. (Matthew 18:21-22)

            As Dr. McMillen says, he knew that a forgiving spirit would save us
            from "ulcerative colitis, toxic goiters, high blood pressure, and
            scores of other diseases." including ulcers, asthma, arthritis,
            neuro-dermatitis, and heart ailments--all possible effects of
            resentment. The Bible's advice is therefore just as relevant today
            as it was when written 2,000 years ago: "Be kind and compassionate
            to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave
            you." (Ephesians 4:32).





            THE PRISONER

            Years after her concentration camp experiences in Nazi Germany,
            Corrie ten Boom met face to face one of the most cruel and heartless
            German guards that she had ever contacted. He had humiliated and
            degraded her and her sister. He had jeered and visually raped them
            as they stood in the delousing shower. Now he stood before her with
            hand outstretched and said, "Will you forgive me?"

            She writes: "I stood there with coldness clutching at my heart, but
            I know that the will can function regardless of the temperature of
            the heart. I prayed, Jesus, help me! Woodenly, mechanically I thrust
            my hand into the one stretched out to me and I experienced an
            incredible thing. The current started in my shoulder, raced down
            into my arms and sprang into our clutched hands. Then this warm
            reconciliation seemed to flood my whole being, bringing tears to my
            eyes. 'I forgive you, brother,' I cried with my whole heart. For a
            long moment we grasped each other's hands, the former guard, the
            former prisoner. I have never known the love of God so intensely as
            I did in that moment!" To forgive is to set a prisoner free and
            discover the prisoner was you."





            WHAT JESUS SAID

            (Author - Bruce Larson)

            Bruce Larson tells the true story of a Catholic priest living in the
            Philippines, a much-loved man of God who once carried a secret
            burden of long-past sin buried deep in his heart. He had committed
            that sin once, many years before, during his time in seminary. No
            one else knew of this sin. He had repented of it and he had suffered
            years of remorse for it, but he still had no peace, no inner joy, no
            sense of God's forgiveness.

            There was a woman in this priest's parish who deeply loved God, and
            who claimed to have visions in which she spoke with Christ, and He
            with her. The priest, however, was skeptical of her claims, so to
            test her visions he said to her, "You say you actually speak
            directly with Christ in your visions. Let me ask you a favor. The
            next time you have one of these visions, I want you to ask Him what
            sin your priest committed while he was in seminary." The woman
            agreed and went home.

            When she returned to the church a few days later, the priest
            said, "Well, did Christ visit you in your dreams?"

            She replied, "Yes, He did."

            "And did you ask Him what sin I committed in seminary?"

            "Yes, I asked Him."

            "Well, what did He say?"

            "He said, 'I don't remember.'"

            This is what God wants you to know about the forgiveness He freely
            offers you. When your sins are forgiven, they are forgotten. The
            past, with its sins, hurts, brokenness, and self-recrimination is
            gone, dead, crucified, remembered no more. What God forgives, He
            forgets.





            FORGIVENESS IS . . .

            (Author - George Roemisch)

            Forgiveness is the windblown bud which blooms in placid beauty at
            Verdun.

            Forgiveness is the tiny slate-gray sparrow which has built its nest
            of twigs and string among the shards of glass upon the wall of
            shame.

            Forgiveness is the child who laughs in merry ecstasy beneath the
            toothed fence that closes DaNang.


            Forgiveness is the fragrance of the violet which still clings fast
            to the heel that crushed it.

            Forgiveness is the broken dream which hides itself within the corner
            of the mind oft called forgetfulness, so that it will not bring pain
            to the dreamer.

            Forgiveness is the reed which stands up straight and green when
            nature's mighty rampage halts, full spent.

            Forgiveness is a God who will not leave us after all we've done.

            _____________________________________________________________________
            ___________________


            Copyright © 1998 - 2006 by Stephen J. Hall - Notes from the Valley
            and Humor from the Valley are meant to brighten your day and
            encourage you along the way. If you are blessed by them, please feel
            free to make copies and pass them along to others. If you have
            something you'd like to contribute to a future edition or would like
            to ask us a question or make a comment, please contact us at:
            steveh.rbis@...

            _____________________________________________________________________
            ___________________



            Your love, God, is my song, and I'll sing it! I'm forever telling
            everyone how faithful you are. I'll never quit telling the story of
            your love . . . (Psalm 89:1-2 The Message)
          • Stephen J. Hall
            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ NOTES FROM THE VALLEY April 15, 2007 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil
            Message 5 of 8 , Apr 12, 2007
              ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

              NOTES FROM THE VALLEY
              April 15, 2007

              "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
              I will fear no evil for you are with me." Psalm 23.

              ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
              The "Notes" for this week come from Colossians, Chapter 3. I like to
              call it "God's Dress Code." The great things about this wardrobe are:

              everything's already picked out (no shopping); everything fits
              perfectly (no dieting); and
              and everything is paid for (no bills).

              In the Message Translation these verses read, "So, chosen by God for
              this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you:
              compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even
              tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense.
              Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And
              regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It's the basic, all-
              purpose garment. Never be without it."

              All of us have something in life that just sets us off. For me,
              it's drivers that aren't in as big a hurry as I usually am, but
              won't get out of my way. I used to get rather vocal and animated
              towards those people. But now I've learned to keep my mumbles to
              myself and my hands upon the steering wheel. Can you guess why?
              It's not because Cathy fusses at me about being "rude" and "childish"
              though she certainly had to do enough of that. No - it's this little
              piece of chrome-plated plastic in the shape of a fish on the rear
              panel of my car. I'm sure most of you have one or something like
              it. But have you ever thought about what that emblem, coupled with
              your behavior, could be saying about Jesus? I didn't. And then one
              day the good Lord jerked me up on a short leash and made me realize
              what I'd just done and what it said to the person I'd just passed
              about God and His Son. I felt so embarrassed. I even went out and
              bought one of those license plate frames that says, "Christians
              aren't perfect - just forgiven" as a kind of apology to the past
              victims of my anger.

              For you, the trigger is probably something else entirely. Whoever
              or whatever it is, God expects us to respond to others the way He
              responds to us. And let me emphasize that these are not "optional"
              expectations on His part. Jesus tells a parable about the Master and
              the wicked servant who was forgiven his enormous debt, but refused to
              forgive another servant's small debt to him. When the Master finds
              out about the servants unforgiveness, He is furious. His new
              sentence for the wicked servant is to have him turned over to the
              jailers for torture until he could pay his own debt.
              Jesus closes the parable with these words, "This is how my heavenly
              Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from
              your heart." (Matthew 18:24-35)

              I may not be one of the brightest of God's children, but I know an
              eternal sentence when I hear one. Like the wicked servant, our debt
              of sin is too large for us to ever repay. And I know the jailer and
              the place of eternal torture. I'm not interested in either.

              By comparison, our brother's debt to us is infinitesimal.
              Unforgiveness on our part is more than foolish; it is absolute
              folly. For our sins, God could have sent us to Hell out of anger.
              Instead, He sent His Son to the cross out of love. Having been
              forgiven so much, how can we be unforgiving?

              Sheltered under His wings and overwhelmed by His love,
              Steve



              THE COST OF AN UNFORGIVING SPIRIT
              (Author - Dick Innes)

              Some years ago during a visit to Yellowstone Park, one writer
              observed that the only animal that the grizzly bear would share his
              food with was a skunk. It wasn't that the grizzly wanted to share his
              food but rather that he chose to. With one swing of his powerful paw
              he could have crushed the skunk. So why did he allow the skunk to
              eat with him? Because he knew the high cost of getting even. Clever
              bear! Undoubtedly he learned the hard way. Strange that we humans
              often aren't as smart. Sometimes we carry grudges for years, often
              repressing them from conscious memory, and end up hurting ourselves
              more than the ones we would like to get even with. We fail to see
              how damaging an unforgiving spirit is.

              In his book, "None of These Diseases," Dr. S.I. McMillen
              says, "Medical science recognizes that emotions such as fear, sorrow,
              envy, resentment and hatred are responsible for the majority of our
              sicknesses. Estimates vary from 60 percent to nearly 100 percent." I
              read one report of an astonished patient who was told by his
              doctor, "If you don't cut out your resentments, I may have to cut out
              a part of your intestinal tract." Fortunately, the man took the
              doctor's advice. He had been nursing a bitter grudge against a
              former business partner. He went to see this man, resolved their
              differences, and forgave him. When he returned to the doctor, his
              physical condition had cleared up. That advice isn't new of course.
              The greatest physician who ever lived, Jesus Christ, pointed out
              2,000 years ago the importance of forgiveness. When he encouraged us
              to "forgive seventy times seven," he was thinking of our physical as
              much as our spiritual well-being. (Matthew 18:21-22)

              As Dr. McMillen says, he knew that a forgiving spirit would save us
              from "ulcerative colitis, toxic goiters, high blood pressure, and
              scores of other diseases." including ulcers, asthma, arthritis, neuro-
              dermatitis, and heart ailments--all possible effects of resentment.
              The Bible's advice is therefore just as relevant today as it was when
              written 2,000 years ago: "Be kind and compassionate to one another,
              forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." (Ephesians
              4:32).



              THE PRISONER

              Years after her concentration camp experiences in Nazi Germany,
              Corrie ten Boom met face to face one of the most cruel and heartless
              German guards that she had ever contacted. He had humiliated and
              degraded her and her sister. He had jeered and visually raped them as
              they stood in the delousing shower. Now he stood before her with hand
              outstretched and said, "Will you forgive me?"

              She writes: "I stood there with coldness clutching at my heart, but I
              know that the will can function regardless of the temperature of the
              heart. I prayed, Jesus, help me! Woodenly, mechanically I thrust my
              hand into the one stretched out to me and I experienced an incredible
              thing. The current started in my shoulder, raced down into my arms
              and sprang into our clutched hands. Then this warm reconciliation
              seemed to flood my whole being, bringing tears to my eyes. 'I forgive
              you, brother,' I cried with my whole heart. For a long moment we
              grasped each other's hands, the former guard, the former prisoner. I
              have never known the love of God so intensely as I did in that
              moment!" To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover the
              prisoner was you."



              WHAT JESUS SAID
              (Author - Bruce Larson)

              Bruce Larson tells the true story of a Catholic priest living in the
              Philippines, a much-loved man of God who once carried a secret burden
              of long-past sin buried deep in his heart. He had committed that sin
              once, many years before, during his time in seminary. No one else
              knew of this sin. He had repented of it and he had suffered years of
              remorse for it, but he still had no peace, no inner joy, no sense of
              God's forgiveness.

              There was a woman in this priest's parish who deeply loved God, and
              who claimed to have visions in which she spoke with Christ, and He
              with her. The priest, however, was skeptical of her claims, so to
              test her visions he said to her, "You say you actually speak directly
              with Christ in your visions. Let me ask you a favor. The next time
              you have one of these visions, I want you to ask Him what sin your
              priest committed while he was in seminary." The woman agreed and
              went home.

              When she returned to the church a few days later, the priest
              said, "Well, did Christ visit you in your dreams?"
              She replied, "Yes, He did."
              "And did you ask Him what sin I committed in seminary?"
              "Yes, I asked Him."
              "Well, what did He say?"
              "He said, 'I don't remember.'"

              This is what God wants you to know about the forgiveness He freely
              offers you. When your sins are forgiven, they are forgotten. The
              past, with its sins, hurts, brokenness, and self-recrimination is
              gone, dead, crucified, remembered no more. What God forgives, He
              forgets.



              FORGIVENESS IS . . .
              (Author - George Roemisch)

              Forgiveness is the windblown bud which blooms in placid beauty at
              Verdun.

              Forgiveness is the tiny slate-gray sparrow which has built its nest
              of twigs and string among the shards of glass upon the wall of shame.

              Forgiveness is the child who laughs in merry ecstasy beneath the
              toothed fence that closes DaNang.

              Forgiveness is the fragrance of the violet which still clings fast to
              the heel that crushed it.

              Forgiveness is the broken dream which hides itself within the corner
              of the mind oft called forgetfulness, so that it will not bring pain
              to the dreamer.

              Forgiveness is the reed which stands up straight and green when
              nature's mighty rampage halts, full spent.

              Forgiveness is a God who will not leave us after all we've done.

              ______________________________________________________________
              __________________________

              Copyright © 1998 - 2007 by Stephen J. Hall - Notes from the Valley
              and Humor from the Valley are meant to brighten your day and
              encourage you along the way. If you are blessed by them, please feel
              free to make copies and pass them along to others. If you have
              something you'd like to contribute to a future edition or would like
              to ask us a question or make a comment, please contact us at:
              steveh.rbis@...
              ______________________________________________________________
              __________________________


              Your love, God, is my song, and I'll sing it! I'm forever telling
              everyone how faithful you are. I'll never quit telling the story of
              your love . . . (Psalm 89:1-2 The Message)
            • Stephen J. Hall
              ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ NOTES FROM THE VALLEY April 13, 2008 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil
              Message 6 of 8 , Apr 11, 2008
                ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                NOTES FROM THE VALLEY
                April 13, 2008

                "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
                I will fear no evil for you are with me." Psalm 23.

                ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                GOD'S DRESS CODE

                The "Notes" for this week come from Colossians, Chapter 3. I like to
                call it "God's Dress Code." The great things about this wardrobe are:

                everything's already picked out (no shopping);
                everything fits perfectly (no dieting); and
                everything is paid for (no bills).

                In the Message Translation these verses read, "So, chosen by God for
                this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you:
                compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even
                tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense.
                Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And
                regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It's the basic, all-
                purpose garment. Never be without it."

                All of us have something in life that just sets us off. For me, it
                used to be drivers that weren't in as big a hurry as I usually was,
                but wouldn't get out of my way. I used to get rather vocal and
                animated towards those people. But now I've learned to keep my
                mumblings to myself and keep my hands on the wheel. Can you guess
                why? It's not because Cathy fusses at me so much about being "rude"
                and "childish" though she certainly had to do enough of that. No -
                it's this little piece of chrome-plated plastic in the shape of a
                fish on the rear panel of my car. I'm sure most of you have one or
                something like it. But have you ever thought about what that emblem,
                coupled with your behavior, could be saying about Jesus? I didn't.
                And then one day the good Lord jerked me up on a short leash and made
                me realize what I'd just done and what it said to others about Him
                and about His Son. I felt so embarrassed. I even went out and
                bought one of those license plate frames that says, "Christians
                aren't perfect - just forgiven" as a kind of apology to the past
                victims of my anger.

                For you, the trigger is probably something else entirely. Whoever
                or whatever it is, God expects us to respond to others the way He
                responds to us. And let me emphasize that these are not "optional"
                expectations on His part. Jesus tells a parable about the Master and
                the wicked servant who was forgiven his enormous debt, but refused to
                forgive another servant's small debt to him. When the Master finds
                out about the servants unforgiveness, He is furious. His new
                sentence for the wicked servant is to have him turned over to the
                jailers for torture until he could pay his own debt.
                Jesus closes the parable with these words, "This is how my heavenly
                Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from
                your heart." (Matthew 18:24-35)

                I may not be one of the brightest of God's children, but I know an
                eternal sentence when I hear one. Like the wicked servant, our debt
                of sin is too large for us to ever repay. And I know the jailer and
                the place of eternal torture. I'm not interested in either.

                By comparison, our brother's debt to us is infinitesimal.
                Unforgiveness on our part is more than foolish; it is absolute
                folly. For our sins, God could have sent us to Hell out of anger.
                Instead, He sent His Son to the cross out of love. Having been
                forgiven so much, how can we be unforgiving?

                Sheltered under His wings and overwhelmed by His love,
                Steve



                THE COST OF UNFORGIVENESS
                (Author - Dick Innes)

                Some years ago during a visit to Yellowstone Park, one writer
                observed that the only animal that the grizzly bear would share his
                food with was a skunk. It wasn't that the grizzly wanted to share his
                food, but rather that he choses to. With one swing of his powerful
                paw he could have crushed the skunk. So why did he allow the skunk
                to eat with him? Because he knew the high cost of getting even.
                Clever bear! Undoubtedly he learned the hard way. Strange that we
                humans often aren't as smart. Sometimes we carry grudges for years,
                often repressing them from conscious memory, and end up hurting
                ourselves more than the ones we would like to get even with. We fail
                to see how damaging an unforgiving spirit is.

                In his book, "None of These Diseases," Dr. S.I. McMillen
                says, "Medical science recognizes that emotions such as fear, sorrow,
                envy, resentment and hatred are responsible for the majority of our
                sicknesses. Estimates vary from 60 percent to nearly 100 percent." I
                read one report of an astonished patient who was told by his
                doctor, "If you don't cut out your resentments, I may have to cut out
                a part of your intestinal tract." Fortunately, the man took the
                doctor's advice. He had been nursing a bitter grudge against a
                former business partner. He went to see this man, resolved their
                differences, and forgave him. When he returned to the doctor, his
                physical condition had cleared up. That advice isn't new of course.
                The greatest physician who ever lived, Jesus Christ, pointed out
                2,000 years ago the importance of forgiveness. When he encouraged us
                to "forgive seventy times seven," he was thinking of our physical as
                much as our spiritual well-being. (Matthew 18:21-22)

                As Dr. McMillen says, he knew that a forgiving spirit would save us
                from "ulcerative colitis, toxic goiters, high blood pressure, and
                scores of other diseases." including ulcers, asthma, arthritis, neuro-
                dermatitis, and heart ailments--all possible effects of resentment.
                The Bible's advice is therefore just as relevant today as it was when
                written 2,000 years ago: "Be kind and compassionate to one another,
                forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." (Ephesians
                4:32).



                THE PRISONER

                Years after her concentration camp experiences in Nazi Germany,
                Corrie ten Boom met face to face one of the most cruel and heartless
                German guards that she had ever contacted. He had humiliated and
                degraded her and her sister. He had jeered and visually raped them as
                they stood in the delousing shower. Now he stood before her with hand
                outstretched and said, "Will you forgive me?"

                She writes: "I stood there with coldness clutching at my heart, but I
                know that the will can function regardless of the temperature of the
                heart. I prayed, Jesus, help me! Woodenly, mechanically I thrust my
                hand into the one stretched out to me and I experienced an incredible
                thing. The current started in my shoulder, raced down into my arms
                and sprang into our clutched hands. Then this warm reconciliation
                seemed to flood my whole being, bringing tears to my eyes. 'I forgive
                you, brother,' I cried with my whole heart. For a long moment we
                grasped each other's hands, the former guard, the former prisoner. I
                have never known the love of God so intensely as I did in that
                moment!" To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover the
                prisoner was you."


                What Jesus Said
                (Author - Bruce Larson)

                Bruce Larson tells the true story of a Catholic priest living in the
                Philippines, a much-loved man of God who once carried a secret burden
                of long-past sin buried deep in his heart. He had committed that sin
                once, many years before, during his time in seminary. No one else
                knew of this sin. He had repented of it and he had suffered years of
                remorse for it, but he still had no peace, no inner joy, no sense of
                God's forgiveness.

                There was a woman in this priest's parish who deeply loved God, and
                who claimed to have visions in which she spoke with Christ, and He
                with her. The priest, however, was skeptical of her claims, so to
                test her visions he said to her, "You say you actually speak directly
                with Christ in your visions. Let me ask you a favor. The next time
                you have one of these visions, I want you to ask Him what sin your
                priest committed while he was in seminary." The woman agreed and
                went home.

                When she returned to the church a few days later, the priest
                said, "Well, did Christ visit you in your dreams?"
                She replied, "Yes, He did."
                "And did you ask Him what sin I committed in seminary?"
                "Yes, I asked Him."
                "Well, what did He say?"
                "He said, 'I don't remember.'"

                This is what God wants you to know about the forgiveness He freely
                offers you. When your sins are forgiven, they are forgotten. The
                past, with its sins, hurts, brokenness, and self-recrimination is
                gone, dead, crucified, remembered no more. What God forgives, He
                forgets.


                Forgiveness Is . . .
                (Author - George Roemisch)

                Forgiveness is the windblown bud which blooms in placid beauty at
                Verdun.

                Forgiveness is the tiny slate-gray sparrow which has built its nest
                of twigs and string among the shards of glass upon the wall of shame.

                Forgiveness is the child who laughs in merry ecstasy beneath the
                toothed fence that closes DaNang.

                Forgiveness is the fragrance of the violet which still clings fast to
                the heel that crushed it.

                Forgiveness is the broken dream which hides itself within the corner
                of the mind oft called forgetfulness, so that it will not bring pain
                to the dreamer.

                Forgiveness is the reed which stands up straight and green when
                nature's mighty rampage halts, full spent.

                Forgiveness is a God who will not leave us after all we've done.



                WHERE IS LOVE ?
                (James Hewitt, Illustrations Unlimited)

                After eighteen months in the ministry, a pastor went to his file
                cabinet to pull out the "Love" file. He discovered he didn't have
                one. Impossible! It must be misfiled. He searched among Faith and
                Fasting, between Healing and Heaven. Perhaps it was sandwiched by
                Christology and Christian Ed. After all, these have to do with Love
                don't they? But it wasn't there, nor was it found after Money or
                ahead of Missions.

                When he stopped to reflect, the Holy Spirit solved the mystery. The
                Love file was scattered, yet not misfiled. Parts of it were found
                under Patience, Kindness, Humility, Trust, Hope, Loyalty, and
                Perseverance. But the pastor found the greatest part of the Love
                file, squarely-centered and deeply-seated, in Forgiveness.

                ________________________________________________________________

                Copyright © 1998 - 2008 by Stephen J. Hall - Notes from the Valley
                and Humor from the Valley are meant to brighten your day and
                encourage you along the way. If you are blessed by them, please feel
                free to make copies and pass them along to others. If you have
                something you'd like to contribute to a future edition or would like
                to ask us a question or make a comment, please contact us at:
                sossteve@...
                _________________________________________________________________

                "Your love, God, is my song, and I'll sing it! I'm forever telling
                everyone how faithful you are. I'll never quit telling the story of
                your love . . ."
                (Psalm 89:1-2 The Message)
              • Stephen J. Hall
                ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ NOTES FROM THE VALLEY April 26, 2009 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil
                Message 7 of 8 , Apr 28, 2009
                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                  NOTES FROM THE VALLEY
                  April 26, 2009

                  "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
                  I will fear no evil for you are with me." Psalm 23.
                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                  GOD'S DRESS CODE

                  The "Notes" for this week come from Colossians, Chapter 3. I like to call it "God's Dress Code." The great things about this wardrobe are:

                  everything's already picked out (no shopping); everything fits perfectly (no dieting); and
                  everything is paid for (no bills).

                  In the Message Translation these verses read, "So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It's the basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it."

                  All of us have something in life that just sets us off. For me, it used to be drivers that weren't in as big a hurry as I usually was, but wouldn't get out of my way. I used to get rather vocal and animated towards those people. But now I've learned to keep my mumblings to myself and keep my hands on the wheel. Can you guess why? It's not because Cathy fusses at me so much about being "rude" and "childish" though she certainly had to do enough of that. No - it's this little piece of chrome-plated plastic in the shape of a fish on the rear panel of my car. I'm sure most of you have one or something like it. But have you ever thought about what that emblem, coupled with your behavior, could be saying about Jesus? I didn't. And then one day the good Lord jerked me up on a short leash and made me realize what I'd just done and what it said to others about Him and about His Son. I felt so embarrassed. I even went out and bought one of those license plate frames that says, "Christians aren't perfect - just forgiven" as a kind of apology to the past victims of my anger.

                  For you, the trigger is probably something else entirely. Whoever or whatever it is, God expects us to respond to others the way He responds to us. And let me emphasize that these are not "optional" expectations on His part. Jesus tells a parable about the Master and the wicked servant who was forgiven his enormous debt, but refused to forgive another servant's small debt to him. When the Master finds out about the servants unforgiveness, He is furious. His new sentence for the wicked servant is to have him turned over to the jailers for torture until he could pay his own debt. Jesus closes the parable with these words, "This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart." (Matthew 18:24-35)

                  I may not be one of the brightest of God's children, but I know an eternal sentence when I hear one. Like the wicked servant, our debt of sin is too large for us to ever repay. And I know the jailer and the place of eternal torture. I'm not interested in either.

                  By comparison, our brother's debt to us is infinitesimal. Unforgiveness on our part is more than foolish; it is absolute folly. For our sins, God could have sent us to Hell out of anger. Instead, He sent His Son to the cross out of love. Having been forgiven so much, how can we be unforgiving?

                  Sheltered under His wings and overwhelmed by His love,
                  Steve


                  THE COST OF AN UNFORGIVING SPIRIT
                  (Author - Dick Innes)

                  Some years ago during a visit to Yellowstone Park, one writer observed that the only animal that the grizzly bear would share his food with was a skunk. It wasn't that the grizzly wanted to share his food, but rather that he choses to. With one swing of his powerful paw he could have crushed the skunk. So why did he allow the skunk to eat with him? Because he knew the high cost of getting even. Clever bear! Undoubtedly he learned the hard way. Strange that we humans often aren't as smart. Sometimes we carry grudges for years, often repressing them from conscious memory, and end up hurting ourselves more than the ones we would like to get even with. We fail to see how damaging an unforgiving spirit is.

                  In his book, "None of These Diseases," Dr. S.I. McMillen says, "Medical science recognizes that emotions such as fear, sorrow, envy, resentment and hatred are responsible for the majority of our sicknesses. Estimates vary from 60 percent to nearly 100 percent." I read one report of an astonished patient who was told by his doctor, "If you don't cut out your resentments, I may have to cut out a part of your intestinal tract." Fortunately, the man took the doctor's advice. He had been nursing a bitter grudge against a former business partner. He went to see this man, resolved their differences, and forgave him. When he returned to the doctor, his physical condition had cleared up. That advice isn't new of course. The greatest physician who ever lived, Jesus Christ, pointed out 2,000 years ago the importance of forgiveness. When he encouraged us to "forgive seventy times seven," he was thinking of our physical as much as our spiritual well-being. (Matthew 18:21-22)

                  As Dr. McMillen says, he knew that a forgiving spirit would save us from "ulcerative colitis, toxic goiters, high blood pressure, and scores of other diseases." including ulcers, asthma, arthritis, neuro-dermatitis, and heart ailments--all possible effects of resentment. The Bible's advice is therefore just as relevant today as it was when written 2,000 years ago: "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." (Ephesians 4:32).



                  THE PRISONER

                  Years after her concentration camp experiences in Nazi Germany, Corrie ten Boom met face to face one of the most cruel and heartless German guards that she had ever contacted. He had humiliated and degraded her and her sister. He had jeered and visually raped them as they stood in the delousing shower. Now he stood before her with hand outstretched and said, "Will you forgive me?"

                  She writes: "I stood there with coldness clutching at my heart, but I know that the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart. I prayed, Jesus, help me! Woodenly, mechanically I thrust my hand into the one stretched out to me and I experienced an incredible thing. The current started in my shoulder, raced down into my arms and sprang into our clutched hands. Then this warm reconciliation seemed to flood my whole being, bringing tears to my eyes. 'I forgive you, brother,' I cried with my whole heart. For a long moment we grasped each other's hands, the former guard, the former prisoner. I have never known the love of God so intensely as I did in that moment!" To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover the prisoner was you."



                  WHAT JESUS SAID
                  (Author - Bruce Larson)

                  Bruce Larson tells the true story of a Catholic priest living in the Philippines, a much-loved man of God who once carried a secret burden of long-past sin buried deep in his heart. He had committed that sin once, many years before, during his time in seminary. No one else knew of this sin. He had repented of it and he had suffered years of remorse for it, but he still had no peace, no inner joy, no sense of God's forgiveness.

                  There was a woman in this priest's parish who deeply loved God, and who claimed to have visions in which she spoke with Christ, and He with her. The priest, however, was skeptical of her claims, so to test her visions he said to her, "You say you actually speak directly with Christ in your visions. Let me ask you a favor. The next time you have one of these visions, I want you to ask Him what sin your priest committed while he was in seminary." The woman agreed and went home.

                  When she returned to the church a few days later, the priest said, "Well, did Christ visit you in your dreams?"

                  She replied, "Yes, He did."

                  "And did you ask Him what sin I committed in seminary?"

                  "Yes, I asked Him."

                  "Well, what did He say?"

                  "He said, 'I don't remember.'"

                  This is what God wants you to know about the forgiveness He freely offers you. When your sins are forgiven, they are forgotten. The past, with its sins, hurts, brokenness, and self-recrimination is gone, dead, crucified, remembered no more. What God forgives, He forgets.



                  Forgiveness Is . . .
                  (Author - George Roemisch)

                  Forgiveness is the windblown bud which blooms in placid beauty at Verdun.

                  Forgiveness is the tiny slate-gray sparrow which has built its nest of twigs and string among the shards of glass upon the wall of shame.

                  Forgiveness is the child who laughs in merry ecstasy beneath the toothed fence that closes DaNang.

                  Forgiveness is the fragrance of the violet which still clings fast to the heel that crushed it.

                  Forgiveness is the broken dream which hides itself within the corner of the mind oft called forgetfulness, so that it will not bring pain to the dreamer.

                  Forgiveness is the reed which stands up straight and green when nature's mighty rampage halts, full spent.

                  Forgiveness is a God who will not leave us after all we've done.

                  _____________________________________________________________

                  Copyright © 1998 - 2009 by Stephen J. Hall - Notes from the Valley and Humor from the Valley are meant to brighten your day and encourage you along the way. If you are blessed by them, please feel free to make copies and pass them along to others. If you have something you'd like to contribute to a future edition, would like to ask a question or make a comment, please contact us at: steveh.rbis@...
                  _____________________________________________________________

                  Your love, God, is my song, and I'll sing it! I'm forever telling everyone how faithful you are. I'll never quit telling the story of your love . . . (Psalm 89:1-2 The Message)
                • sossteve2005
                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ NOTES FROM THE VALLEY May 9, 2010 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil
                  Message 8 of 8 , May 7, 2010
                    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                    NOTES FROM THE VALLEY
                    May 9, 2010

                    "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
                    I will fear no evil for you are with me." Psalm 23.

                    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                    GOD'S DRESS CODE

                    The "Notes" for this week come from Colossians, Chapter 3. I like to call it "God's Dress Code." The great things about this wardrobe are:

                    - everything's already picked out (no shopping); - everything fits perfectly (no dieting); and
                    - everything is paid for (no bills).

                    In the Message Translation these verses read, "So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It's the basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it."

                    All of us have something in life that just sets us off. For me, it used to be drivers that weren't in as big a hurry as I usually was, but wouldn't get out of my way. I used to get rather vocal and animated towards those people. But now I've learned to keep my mumblings to myself and keep my hands on the wheel. Can you guess why? It's not because Cathy fusses at me so much about being "rude" and "childish" though she certainly had to do enough of that. No - it's this little piece of chrome-plated plastic in the shape of a fish on the rear panel of my car. I'm sure most of you have one or something like it. But have you ever thought about what that emblem, coupled with your behavior, could be saying about Jesus? I didn't. And then one day the good Lord jerked me up on a short leash and made me realize what I'd just done and what it said to others about Him and about His Son. I felt so embarrassed. I even went out and bought one of those license plate frames that says, "Christians aren't perfect - just forgiven" as a kind of apology to the past victims of my anger.

                    For you, the trigger is probably something else entirely. Whoever or whatever it is, God expects us to respond to others the way He responds to us. And let me emphasize that these are not "optional" expectations on His part. Jesus tells a parable about the Master and the wicked servant who was forgiven his enormous debt, but refused to forgive another servant's small debt to him. When the Master finds out about the servants unforgiveness, He is furious. His new sentence for the wicked servant is to have him turned over to the jailers for torture until he could pay his own debt. Jesus closes the parable with these words, "This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart." (Matthew 18:24-35)

                    I may not be one of the brightest of God's children, but I know an eternal sentence when I hear one. Like the wicked servant, our debt of sin is too large for us to ever repay. And I know the jailer and the place of eternal torture. I'm not interested in either.

                    By comparison, our brother's debt to us is infinitesimal. Unforgiveness on our part is more than foolish; it is absolute folly. For our sins, God could have sent us to Hell out of anger. Instead, He sent His Son to the cross out of love. Having been forgiven so much, how can we be unforgiving?

                    Sheltered under His wings and overwhelmed by His love,
                    Steve



                    The Cost of An Unforgiving Spirit
                    (Author - Dick Innes)

                    Some years ago during a visit to Yellowstone Park, one writer observed that the only animal that the grizzly bear would share his food with was a skunk. It wasn't that the grizzly wanted to share his food, but rather that he choses to. With one swing of his powerful paw he could have crushed the skunk. So why did he allow the skunk to eat with him? Because he knew the high cost of getting even. Clever bear! Undoubtedly he learned the hard way. Strange that we humans often aren't as smart. Sometimes we carry grudges for years, often repressing them from conscious memory, and end up hurting ourselves more than the ones we would like to get even with. We fail to see how damaging an unforgiving spirit is.

                    In his book, "None of These Diseases," Dr. S.I. McMillen says, "Medical science recognizes that emotions such as fear, sorrow, envy, resentment and hatred are responsible for the majority of our sicknesses. Estimates vary from 60 percent to nearly 100 percent." I read one report of an astonished patient who was told by his doctor, "If you don't cut out your resentments, I may have to cut out a part of your intestinal tract." Fortunately, the man took the doctor's advice. He had been nursing a bitter grudge against a former business partner. He went to see this man, resolved their differences, and forgave him. When he returned to the doctor, his physical condition had cleared up. That advice isn't new of course. The greatest physician who ever lived, Jesus Christ, pointed out 2,000 years ago the importance of forgiveness. When he encouraged us to "forgive seventy times seven," he was thinking of our physical as much as our spiritual well-being. (Matthew 18:21-22)

                    As Dr. McMillen says, he knew that a forgiving spirit would save us from "ulcerative colitis, toxic goiters, high blood pressure, and scores of other diseases." including ulcers, asthma, arthritis, neuro-dermatitis, and heart ailments--all possible effects of resentment. The Bible's advice is therefore just as relevant today as it was when written 2,000 years ago: "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." (Ephesians 4:32).



                    The Prisoner

                    Years after her concentration camp experiences in Nazi Germany, Corrie ten Boom met face to face one of the most cruel and heartless German guards that she had ever contacted. He had humiliated and degraded her and her sister. He had jeered and visually raped them as they stood in the delousing shower. Now he stood before her with hand outstretched and said, "Will you forgive me?"

                    She writes: "I stood there with coldness clutching at my heart, but I know that the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart. I prayed, Jesus, help me! Woodenly, mechanically I thrust my hand into the one stretched out to me and I experienced an incredible thing. The current started in my shoulder, raced down into my arms and sprang into our clutched hands. Then this warm reconciliation seemed to flood my whole being, bringing tears to my eyes. 'I forgive you, brother,' I cried with my whole heart. For a long moment we grasped each other's hands, the former guard, the former prisoner. I have never known the love of God so intensely as I did in that moment!" To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover the prisoner was you."



                    What Jesus Said
                    (Author - Bruce Larson)

                    Bruce Larson tells the true story of a Catholic priest living in the Philippines, a much-loved man of God who once carried a secret burden of long-past sin buried deep in his heart. He had committed that sin once, many years before, during his time in seminary. No one else knew of this sin. He had repented of it and he had suffered years of remorse for it, but he still had no peace, no inner joy, no sense of God's forgiveness.

                    There was a woman in this priest's parish who deeply loved God, and who claimed to have visions in which she spoke with Christ, and He with her. The priest, however, was skeptical of her claims, so to test her visions he said to her, "You say you actually speak directly with Christ in your visions. Let me ask you a favor. The next time you have one of these visions, I want you to ask Him what sin your priest committed while he was in seminary." The woman agreed and went home.

                    When she returned to the church a few days later, the priest said, "Well, did Christ visit you in your dreams?"

                    She replied, "Yes, He did."
                    "And did you ask Him what sin I committed in seminary?"
                    "Yes, I asked Him."
                    "Well, what did He say?"
                    "He said, 'I don't remember.'"

                    This is what God wants you to know about the forgiveness He freely offers you. When your sins are forgiven, they are forgotten. The past, with its sins, hurts, brokenness, and self-recrimination is gone, dead, crucified, remembered no more. What God forgives, He forgets.



                    Forgiveness Is . . .
                    (Author - George Roemisch)

                    Forgiveness is the windblown bud which blooms in placid beauty at Verdun.

                    Forgiveness is the tiny slate-gray sparrow which has built its nest of twigs and string among the shards of glass upon the wall of shame.

                    Forgiveness is the child who laughs in merry ecstasy beneath the toothed fence that closes DaNang.

                    Forgiveness is the fragrance of the violet which still clings fast to the heel that crushed it.

                    Forgiveness is the broken dream which hides itself within the corner of the mind oft called forgetfulness, so that it will not bring pain to the dreamer.

                    Forgiveness is the reed which stands up straight and green when nature's mighty rampage halts, full spent.

                    Forgiveness is a God who will not leave us even after all we've done.


                    ____________________________________________________________________________________________

                    Copyright © 1998 - 2010 by Stephen J. Hall - Notes from the Valley and Humor from the Valley are meant to brighten your day and encourage you along the way. If you are blessed by them, please feel free to make copies and pass them along to others. If you have something you'd like to contribute to a future edition, would like to ask a question or make a comment, please contact us at: steveh.rbis@...



                    Your love, God, is my song, and I'll sing it! I'm forever telling everyone how faithful you are. I'll never quit telling the story of your love . . . (Psalm 89:1-2 The Message)
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