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Struggling with the Truth

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  • Stephen J. Hall
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ NOTES FROM THE VALLEY January 27, 2008 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no
    Message 1 of 10 , Jan 31, 2008
    • 0 Attachment
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      NOTES FROM THE VALLEY
      January 27, 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.

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


      It seems "religion" is becoming an ever more popular topic of
      discussion among politicians and the stars of movies and television
      these days. But, invariably, when their conversations turn to
      matters of faith, there's a glaring omission in their professions.
      They firmly believe that "good" people who live "good" lives, loving
      and caring for others, are going to get into heaven. As if to
      validate their beliefs, a growing number of them are very active and
      vocal in charitable endeavors. But you seldom, if ever, hear any of
      them mention Jesus. It seems very few of them have any room for Him
      in their varied systems of belief.

      The fact is, this questioning, or at least omitting of the New
      Testament doctrine of salvation through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ
      seems to be spreading. The words vary, but the central theme
      remains, "How can God (at least the one Christians worship) say He is
      love and then condemn so many people to Hell on a technicality?
      Isn't that just plain hypocritical!" I don't doubt that some of you
      may have heard similar statements from friends or relatives and are
      struggling to give an answer. We've struggled to give those we love
      an answer too. What follows are the results of that struggle,
      prefaced by three things God set as the anchor points for His
      response:

      (1). God loves all of us, with a love that knows no
      boundaries in space or time.

      (2). His heart aches that we are struggling with His truth.
      And,

      (3). His desire, absolute and unchanging, is that NONE of us
      should perish.

      God's will for His children was the Garden of Eden. Children created
      in His image and likeness so the God who is love could pour out that
      love on them. Children who loved the Father in return as an act of
      their free will. Children unblemished by sin who could walk with Him
      in the Garden and talk about the wonders they discovered and enjoyed
      each day; the wonders He had created for them.

      But because of the deception of Satan, a serpent talked, a woman ate,
      and man made a choice. He chose to follow Eve rather than be
      separated from her by sin. Instead of standing on the authority he'd
      been given by God, which included the serpent and the sin, he bowed
      his knee to sin and gave his authority away.

      The loving God wanted to spend time with His kids in the Garden. But
      the just God knew that He could not. He had given them dominion and
      they had made a choice. Now the price of that choice had to be
      paid. Separation from Him and death. Not God's will - man's
      choice. But God loved us so much that He wasn't ready to let go of
      us so easily. He issued a promise at the instant of man's fall, to
      man and the devil, that He would recover that which was lost through
      the seed of a woman. A just God required that the price for sin be
      paid. A loving God provided the one who could pay that price in full
      for us all. Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of Man, the seed of a
      woman, became the fulfillment of that "seed" promise on the cross at
      Calvary. A free gift given for us and to all of us.

      Which brings us back to our beginning - man's free will and OUR
      choice. Do we accept the gift? Do we accept the sacrifice that was
      made for us on the cross at Calvary and the one who was that
      sacrifice? Or would we rather pay the price for our sin ourselves?
      The price is death. It's the law. It was the law in the Garden of
      Eden and it is the law today. And there aren't enough good deeds and
      kind gestures in any person's life that can equal the price of that
      payment. God knew that. Jesus knew that. They made their choice.
      Christ died on the cross and suffered three days in the grave to pay
      the debt in full. So now the choice is up to us..

      In the Garden of Eden, the serpent hissed "obedience or knowledge?"
      Man responded "knowledge."

      In the Roman courtyard, Pontius Pilate shouted, "Jesus or Barabbas?"
      Man responded "Give us Barabbas."

      Now, in men's hearts, God is whispering, "life or death, heaven or
      hell?"

      The father of lies and prince of this world argues that such a
      question is an unreasonable threat. I'm always amazed that people
      could actually buy into such warped logic. Can that which was
      created now turn and begin questioning the wisdom of the Creator?
      Can the clay pot question the skill of the Potter's hands? Of course
      not. But rather than the righteous anger we deserve, God the Father
      and the Prince of Peace respond by reminding us that it's not a
      threat, but an invitation sealed with their love and none who accept
      it will be lost. The sole criteria for where you will spend eternity
      is the response you give to that invitation. God has made His
      choice. What's yours?

      Sheltered under His wing and overwhelmed by His love,
      Steve



      WHO'LL TAKE THE SON ?
      (Author Unknown)

      A wealthy man and his son loved to collect rare works of art. They
      had everything in their collection, from Picasso to Raphael. They
      would often sit together and admire the great works of art. When the
      Viet Nam conflict broke out, the son went to war. He was very
      courageous and died in battle while rescuing another soldier. The
      father was notified and grieved deeply for his only son.


      About a month later, just before Christmas, there was a knock at the
      door. A young man stood at the door with a large package in his
      hands. He said,"Sir, you don't know me, but I am the soldier for
      whom your son gave his life. He saved many lives that day, and he was
      carrying me to safety when a bullet struck him in the heart and he
      died instantly. He often talked about you, and your love for art.
      The young man held out his package. "I know this isn't much. I'm not
      really a great artist, but I think your son would have wanted you to
      have this."

      The father opened the package. It was a portrait of his son, painted
      by the young man. He stared in awe at the way the soldier had
      captured the personality of his son in the painting. The father was
      so drawn to the eyes that his own eyes welled up with tears. He
      thanked the young man and offered to pay him for the picture. "Oh,
      no sir, I could never repay what your son did for me. It's a gift."
      The father hung the portrait over his mantle. Every time visitors
      came to his home he took them to see the portrait of his son before
      he showed them any of the other great works he had collected.

      The man died a few months later. There was to be a great auction of
      his paintings. Many influential people gathered, excited over seeing
      the great paintings and having an opportunity to purchase one for
      their collection. On the platform sat the painting of the son. The
      auctioneer pounded his gavel.

      "We will start the bidding with this picture of the son. Who will
      bid for this picture?"

      There was silence. Then a voice in the back of the room shouted. "We
      want to see the famous paintings. Skip this one."

      But the auctioneer persisted. "Will someone bid for this painting?
      Who will start the bidding? $100, $200?"

      Another voice shouted angrily. "We didn't come to see this painting..
      We came to see the Van Goghs, the Rembrandts. Get on with the real
      bids!"

      But still the auctioneer continued. "The son! The son! Who'll take
      the son?"

      Finally, a voice came from the very back of the room. It was the
      longtime gardener of the man and his son. "I'll give $10 for the
      painting." Being a poor man, it was all he could afford.

      "We have $10, who will bid $20?"

      "Give it to him for $10. Let's see the masters."

      "$10 is the bid, won't someone bid $20?"

      The crowd was becoming angry. They didn't want the picture of the
      son. They wanted the more worthy investments for their collections.
      The auctioneer pounded the gavel. "Going once, twice, SOLD for
      $10!"

      A man sitting on the second row shouted. "Now let's get on with the
      collection!"

      The auctioneer laid down his gavel. "I'm sorry, the auction is over."

      "What about the paintings?"

      "I am sorry. When I was called to conduct this auction, I was told
      of a secret stipulation in the will. I was not allowed to reveal
      that stipulation until this time. Only the painting of the son would
      be auctioned. Whoever bought that painting would inherit the entire
      estate, including the paintings. The man who took the son gets
      everything!"

      God gave His son 2,000 years ago to die on a cruel cross. Much like
      the auctioneer, His message today is, "The son, the son, who'll take
      the son?" Because, you see, whoever takes the Son gets everything.



      SOME FINAL WORDS

      "Our destiny is not determined for us, but it is determined by us.
      Man's free will is part of God's sovereign will. We have freedom to
      take which course we choose, but not freedom to determine the end of
      that choice." Oswald Chambers

      "Whoever is on God's side is on the winning side and cannot lose;
      whoever is on the other side is on the losing side and cannot win.
      Here there is no chance, no gamble. There is freedom to choose which
      side we shall be on but no freedom to negotiate the results of the
      choice once it is made. By the mercy of God we may repent a wrong
      choice and alter the consequences by making a new and right choice.
      Beyond that we cannot go." A. W. Tozer

      "This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I
      have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose
      life, so that you and your children may live" Deuteronomy 30:19


      ______________________________________________________________________
      _______________

      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:
      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 January 25, 2009 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no
      Message 2 of 10 , Jan 23, 2009
      • 0 Attachment
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

        NOTES FROM THE VALLEY
        January 25, 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.

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


        STRUGGLING WITH THE TRUTH


        It seems "religion" is becoming an ever more popular topic of
        discussion among politicians and the stars of movies and television
        these days. But, invariably, when their conversations turn to
        matters of faith, there's a glaring omission in their professions.
        They firmly believe that "good" people who live "good" lives, loving
        and caring for others, are going to get into heaven. As if to
        validate their beliefs, a growing number of them are very active and
        vocal in charitable endeavors. But you seldom, if ever, hear any of
        them mention Jesus. It seems very few of them have any room for Him
        in their varied systems of belief.

        The fact is, this questioning, or at least omitting of the New
        Testament doctrine of salvation through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ
        seems to be spreading. The words vary, but the central theme
        remains, "How can God (at least the one Christians worship) say He is
        love and then condemn so many people to Hell on a technicality?
        Isn't that just plain hypocritical!" I don't doubt that some of you
        may have heard similar statements from friends or relatives and are
        struggling to give an answer. We've struggled to give those we love
        an answer too. What follows are the results of that struggle,
        prefaced by three things God set as the anchor points for His
        response:

        (1). God loves all of us, with a love that knows no boundaries in
        space or time.
        (2). His heart aches that we are struggling with His truth. And,
        (3). His desire, absolute and unchanging, is that NONE of us should
        perish.

        God's will for His children was the Garden of Eden. Children created
        in His image and likeness so the God who is love could pour out that
        love on them. Children who loved the Father in return as an act of
        their free will. Children unblemished by sin who could walk with Him
        in the Garden and talk about the wonders they discovered and enjoyed
        each day; the wonders He had created for them. But because of the
        deception of Satan, a serpent talked, a woman ate, and man made a
        choice. He chose to follow Eve rather than be separated from her by
        sin. Instead of standing on the authority he'd been given by God,
        which included the serpent and the sin, he bowed his knee to sin and
        gave his authority away.

        The loving God wanted to spend time with His kids in the Garden. But
        the just God knew that He could not. He had given them dominion and
        they had made a choice. Now the price of that choice had to be
        paid. Separation from Him and death. Not God's will - man's
        choice. But God loved us so much that He wasn't ready to let go of
        us so easily. He issued a promise at the instant of man's fall, to
        man and the devil, that He would recover that which was lost through
        the seed of a woman. A just God required that the price for sin be
        paid. A loving God provided the one who could pay that price in full
        for us all. Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of Man, the seed of a
        woman, became the fulfillment of that "seed" promise on the cross at
        Calvary. A free gift given for us and to all of us.

        Which brings us back to our beginning - man's free will and OUR
        choice. Do we accept the gift? Do we accept the sacrifice that was
        made for us on the cross at Calvary and the one who was that
        sacrifice? Or would we rather pay the price for our sin ourselves?
        The price is death. It's the law. It was the law in the Garden of
        Eden and it is the law today. And there aren't enough good deeds and
        kind gestures in any person's life that can equal the price of that
        payment. God knew that. Jesus knew that. They made their choice.
        Christ died on the cross and suffered three days in the grave to pay
        the debt in full. So now the choice is up to us..

        In the Garden of Eden, the serpent hissed "obedience or knowledge?"
        Man responded "knowledge."

        In the Roman courtyard, Pontius Pilate shouted, "Jesus or Barabbas?"
        Man responded "Give us Barabbas."

        Now, in men's hearts, God is whispering, "life or death, heaven or
        hell?" The father of lies and prince of this world argues that such
        a question is an unreasonable threat. I'm always amazed that people
        could actually buy into such warped logic. Can that which was
        created now turn and begin questioning the wisdom of the Creator?
        Can the clay pot question the skill of the Potter's hands? Of course
        not. But rather than the righteous anger we deserve, God the Father
        and the Prince of Peace respond by reminding us that it's not a
        threat, but an invitation sealed with their love and none who accept
        it will be lost. The sole criteria for where you will spend eternity
        is the response you give to that invitation. God has made His
        choice. What's yours?

        Sheltered under His wing and overwhelmed by His love,
        Steve




        WHO WILL TAKE THE SON ?
        (Author Unknown)

        A wealthy man and his son loved to collect rare works of art. They
        had everything in their collection, from Picasso to Raphael. They
        would often sit together and admire the great works of art. When the
        Viet Nam conflict broke out, the son went to war. He was very
        courageous and died in battle while rescuing another soldier. The
        father was notified and grieved deeply for his only son.

        About a month later, just before Christmas, there was a knock at the
        door. A young man stood at the door with a large package in his
        hands. He said,"Sir, you don't know me, but I am the soldier for
        whom your son gave his life. He saved many lives that day, and he was
        carrying me to safety when a bullet struck him in the heart and he
        died instantly. He often talked about you, and your love for art.
        The young man held out his package. "I know this isn't much. I'm not
        really a great artist, but I think your son would have wanted you to
        have this."

        The father opened the package. It was a portrait of his son, painted
        by the young man. He stared in awe at the way the soldier had
        captured the personality of his son in the painting. The father was
        so drawn to the eyes that his own eyes welled up with tears. He
        thanked the young man and offered to pay him for the picture. "Oh,
        no sir, I could never repay what your son did for me. It's a gift."
        The father hung the portrait over his mantle. Every time visitors
        came to his home he took them to see the portrait of his son before
        he showed them any of the other great works he had collected.

        The man died a few months later. There was to be a great auction of
        his paintings. Many influential people gathered, excited over seeing
        the great paintings and having an opportunity to purchase one for
        their collection. On the platform sat the painting of the son. The
        auctioneer pounded his gavel. "We will start the bidding with this
        picture of the son. Who will bid for this picture?"

        There was silence. Then a voice in the back of the room shouted. "We
        want to see the famous paintings. Skip this one."

        But the auctioneer persisted. "Will someone bid for this painting?
        Who will start the bidding? $100, $200?"

        Another voice shouted angrily. "We didn't come to see this painting..
        We came to see the Van Goghs, the Rembrandts. Get on with the real
        bids!"

        But still the auctioneer continued. "The son! The son! Who'll take
        the son?"

        Finally, a voice came from the very back of the room. It was the
        longtime gardener of the man and his son. "I'll give $10 for the
        painting." Being a poor man, it was all he could afford.

        "We have $10, who will bid $20?"

        "Give it to him for $10. Let's see the masters."

        "$10 is the bid, won't someone bid $20?"

        The crowd was becoming angry. They didn't want the picture of the
        son. They wanted the more worthy investments for their collections.
        The auctioneer pounded the gavel. "Going once, twice, SOLD for
        $10!"

        A man sitting on the second row shouted. "Now let's get on with the
        collection!"

        The auctioneer laid down his gavel. "I'm sorry, the auction is over."

        "What about the paintings?"

        "I am sorry. When I was called to conduct this auction, I was told
        of a secret stipulation in the will. I was not allowed to reveal
        that stipulation until this time. Only the painting of the son would
        be auctioned. Whoever bought that painting would inherit the entire
        estate, including the paintings. The man who took the son gets
        everything!"

        God gave His son 2,000 years ago to die on a cruel cross. Much like
        the auctioneer, His message today is, "The son, the son, who'll take
        the son?" Because, you see, whoever takes the Son gets everything.



        SOME FINAL WORDS

        "Our destiny is not determined for us, but it is determined by us.
        Man's free will is part of God's sovereign will. We have freedom to
        take which course we choose, but not freedom to determine the end of
        that choice." Oswald Chambers

        "Whoever is on God's side is on the winning side and cannot lose;
        whoever is on the other side is on the losing side and cannot win.
        Here there is no chance, no gamble. There is freedom to choose which
        side we shall be on but no freedom to negotiate the results of the
        choice once it is made. By the mercy of God we may repent a wrong
        choice and alter the consequences by making a new and right choice.
        Beyond that we cannot go." A. W. Tozer

        "This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I
        have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose
        life, so that you and your children may live" Deuteronomy 30:19

        ______________________________________________________________________
        ______________________

        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 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)
      • sossteve2005
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ NOTES FROM THE VALLEY January 24, 2010 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no
        Message 3 of 10 , Jan 26, 2010
        • 0 Attachment
          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
          NOTES FROM THE VALLEY
          January 24, 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.
          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

          STRUGGLING WITH THE TRUTH

          It seems "religion" is becoming an ever more popular topic of discussion among politicians and the stars of movies and television these days. But, invariably, when their conversations turn to matters of faith, there's a glaring omission in their professions. They firmly believe that "good" people who live "good" lives, loving and caring for others, are going to get into heaven. As if to validate their beliefs, a growing number of them are very active and vocal in charitable endeavors. But you seldom, if ever, hear any of them mention Jesus. It seems very few of them have any room for Him in their varied systems of belief. And if one of them does mention Jesus, they are subjected to the worst kind of name calling and criticism (as witnessed when Brit Hume expressed his faith views on Fox News just last week).

          The fact is, this questioning, or at least omitting of the New Testament doctrine of salvation through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ seems to be spreading. The words vary, but the central theme remains, "How can God (at least the one Christians worship) say He is love and then condemn so many people to Hell on a technicality? Isn't that just plain hypocritical!" I don't doubt that some of you may have heard similar statements from friends or relatives and are struggling to give an answer. We've struggled to give those we love an answer too. What follows are the results of that struggle, prefaced by three things God set as the anchor points for His response:

          (1). God loves all of us, with a love that knows no boundaries in space or time.
          (2). His heart aches that we are struggling with His truth. And,
          (3). His desire, absolute and unchanging, is that NONE of us should perish.

          God's will for His children was the Garden of Eden. Children created in His image and likeness so the God who is love could pour out that love on them. Children who loved the Father in return as an act of their free will. Children unblemished by sin who could walk with Him in the Garden and talk about the wonders they discovered and enjoyed each day; the wonders He had created for them.

          But because of the deception of Satan, a serpent talked, a woman ate, and man made a choice. He chose to follow Eve rather than be separated from her by sin. Instead of standing on the authority he'd been given by God, which included the serpent and the sin, he bowed his knee to sin and gave his authority away.

          The loving God wanted to spend time with His kids in the Garden. But the just God knew that He could not. He had given them dominion and they had made a choice. Now the price of that choice had to be paid. Separation from Him and death. Not God's will - man's choice. But God loved us so much that He wasn't ready to let go of us so easily. He issued a promise at the instant of man's fall, to man and the devil, that He would recover that which was lost through the seed of a woman. A just God required that the price for sin be paid. A loving God provided the one who could pay that price in full for us all. Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of Man, the seed of a woman, became the fulfillment of that "seed" promise on the cross at Calvary. A free gift given for us and to all of us.

          Which brings us back to our beginning - man's free will and OUR choice. Do we accept the gift? Do we accept the sacrifice that was made for us on the cross at Calvary and the one who was that sacrifice? Or would we rather pay the price for our sin ourselves? The price is death. It's the law. It was the law in the Garden of Eden and it is the law today. And there aren't enough good deeds and kind gestures in any person's life that can equal the price of that payment. God knew that. Jesus knew that. They made their choice. Christ died on the cross and suffered three days in the grave to pay the debt in full. So now the choice is up to us..

          In the Garden of Eden, the serpent hissed "obedience or knowledge?" Man responded "knowledge."

          In the Roman courtyard, Pontius Pilate shouted, "Jesus or Barabbas?" Man responded "Give us Barabbas."

          Now, in men's hearts, God is whispering, "life or death, heaven or hell?" The father of lies and prince of this world argues that such a question is an unreasonable threat. I'm always amazed that people could actually buy into such warped logic. Can that which was created now turn and begin questioning the wisdom of the Creator? Can the clay pot question the skill of the Potter's hands? Of course not. But rather than the righteous anger we deserve, God the Father and the Prince of Peace respond by reminding us that it's not a threat, but an invitation sealed with their love and none who accept it will be lost. The sole criteria for where you will spend eternity is the response you give to that invitation. God has made His choice. What's yours?

          Sheltered under His wing and overwhelmed by His love,
          Steve



          Who'll Take the Son?
          (Author Unknown)

          A wealthy man and his son loved to collect rare works of art. They had everything in their collection, from Picasso to Raphael. They would often sit together and admire the great works of art. When the Viet Nam conflict broke out, the son went to war. He was very courageous and died in battle while rescuing another soldier. The father was notified and grieved deeply for his only son.

          About a month later, just before Christmas, there was a knock at the door. A young man stood at the door with a large package in his hands. He said,"Sir, you don't know me, but I am the soldier for whom your son gave his life. He saved many lives that day, and he was carrying me to safety when a bullet struck him in the heart and he died instantly. He often talked about you, and your love for art. The young man held out his package. "I know this isn't much. I'm not really a great artist, but I think your son would have wanted you to have this."

          The father opened the package. It was a portrait of his son, painted by the young man. He stared in awe at the way the soldier had captured the personality of his son in the painting. The father was so drawn to the eyes that his own eyes welled up with tears. He thanked the young man and offered to pay him for the picture. "Oh, no sir, I could never repay what your son did for me. It's a gift." The father hung the portrait over his mantle. Every time visitors came to his home he took them to see the portrait of his son before he showed them any of the other great works he had collected.

          The man died a few months later. There was to be a great auction of his paintings. Many influential people gathered, excited over seeing the great paintings and having an opportunity to purchase one for their collection. On the platform sat the painting of the son. The auctioneer pounded his gavel. "We will start the bidding with this picture of the son. Who will bid for this picture?"

          There was silence. Then a voice in the back of the room shouted. "We want to see the famous paintings. Skip this one."

          But the auctioneer persisted. "Will someone bid for this painting? Who will start the bidding? $100, $200?"

          Another voice shouted angrily. "We didn't come to see this painting.. We came to see the Van Goghs, the Rembrandts. Get on with the real bids!"

          But still the auctioneer continued. "The son! The son! Who'll take the son?"

          Finally, a voice came from the very back of the room. It was the longtime gardener of the man and his son. "I'll give $10 for the painting." Being a poor man, it was all he could afford.

          "We have $10, who will bid $20?"

          "Give it to him for $10. Let's see the masters."

          "$10 is the bid, won't someone bid $20?"

          The crowd was becoming angry. They didn't want the picture of the son. They wanted the more worthy investments for their collections. The auctioneer pounded the gavel. "Going once, twice, SOLD for $10!"

          A man sitting on the second row shouted. "Now let's get on with the collection!"

          The auctioneer laid down his gavel. "I'm sorry, the auction is over."

          "What about the paintings?"

          "I am sorry. When I was called to conduct this auction, I was told of a secret stipulation in the will. I was not allowed to reveal that stipulation until this time. Only the painting of the son would be auctioned. Whoever bought that painting would inherit the entire estate, including the paintings. The man who took the son gets everything!"

          God gave His son 2,000 years ago to die on a cruel cross. Much like the auctioneer, His message today is, "The son, the son, who'll take the son?" Because, you see, whoever takes the Son gets everything.



          Some Final Words

          "Our destiny is not determined for us, but it is determined by us. Man's free will is part of God's sovereign will. We have freedom to take which course we choose, but not freedom to determine the end of that choice." Oswald Chambers

          "Whoever is on God's side is on the winning side and cannot lose; whoever is on the other side is on the losing side and cannot win. Here there is no chance, no gamble. There is freedom to choose which side we shall be on but no freedom to negotiate the results of the choice once it is made. By the mercy of God we may repent a wrong choice and alter the consequences by making a new and right choice. Beyond that we cannot go." A. W. Tozer

          "This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live" Deuteronomy 30:19

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          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 or would like to ask us a question or make a comment, please contact us at: steveh.rbis@...
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          "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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