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  • Steve Hall
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ NOTES FROM THE VALLEY - May 5, 2000 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear
    Message 1 of 1 , May 3 11:26 AM
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      NOTES FROM THE VALLEY - May 5, 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.


      Reading the Bible has become more and more like visiting an old
      friend for me. Old lessons come to mind that have helped me in the
      past. New lessons are revealed to help me with some current
      difficulty. As I read the old and familiar text, a particular
      passage will really catch my attention. Certain words will just seem
      to jump right off the page at me. I feel compelled to read them
      again . . . and again . . . and again.

      And with each reading the words make more sense; their application to
      my current problem becomes more clear. The Bible says it's the Holy
      Spirit, opening the "eyes" of my understanding. The image I carry in
      my heart is of God, my Father, standing behind me, leaning over my
      shoulder and personally guiding me as I read His Book. God the
      Almighty, Creator and Ruler of the universe, taking the time to be
      personally involved with me; to teach me; to help me; to demonstrate
      His love for me. Helping me with my homework!

      The lesson He helped me with this week comes out of Matthew, Chapter
      6 (The Message Translation - personalized for emphasis):

      "What I'm trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so
      preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to My giving. People
      who don't know Me and the way I work fuss over these things, but you
      know both Me and how I work. Steep your life in My-reality, My-
      initiative, My-provisions. Don't worry about missing out. You'll
      find all your everyday human concerns will be met."

      When things aren't going just the way I think they should be going, I
      usually react by talking God's ears off. Lots of questions about why
      He's letting things happen the way they are and my opinions about
      what He needs to do about it to make things right. (Sound like any
      kids you know?). Fortunately when I start acting like that, He just
      waits quietly for me to wind down. If any of you are familiar with
      the Garth Brooks song "Unanswered Prayer," I'm one of those people
      God has richly blessed through unanswered prayer. Instead of giving
      me what I think I need, He waits until I'm ready to receive what He
      knows I need. And I'm so grateful that He does.

      My life's richest blessings, after salvation and my relationship with
      Him, have come because of my wife Cathy. As many of you have learned
      from our testimony, it took many years and a move across the country
      for us to find each other. And for each day of those years and each
      mile of that journey, I fussed at God. I can't tell you how many
      times I reminded Him of His words in Genesis when He saw Adam alone
      and said it was NOT good. I was living confirmation that for Steve,
      descendent of Adam, IT WAS NOT GOOD either! But He knew we had to
      wait. Wait until the day when He finished His healing work in both
      our hearts so we were ready for each other; ready to become
      vulnerable and trust in love again.

      While I was reading the passage above and remembering the many
      blessings I've received through unanswered prayers, God lovingly
      whispered in my ear that all the answers I will ever need are waiting
      for me in Him. He loves me. He knows every need I have. And He is
      ready to meet those needs perfectly. The world says if I have a
      need, I have to work harder to get. God says if I have a need, I
      should relax (trust Him) so He can give. What a surprise - the world
      got it backwards!

      What an awesome God. What a loving Father.

      I am as always - your brother and His work in progress,

      Steve Hall

      P.S. Articles from MornGlories by Kimberly Cook and Your Life
      Support System by Steve Goodier are featured in this edition. I'm a
      member of both these internet sites and find the daily devotionals
      they offer very helpful. Anyone desiring information on becoming a
      member of these sites, let me know and I'll be happy to send you the
      subscription e-mail address.

      (Received from Leianne - Author Unknown)

      "But Lord, I don't like it on the edge." I answered.

      "Come to the edge."

      "I'm afraid of the edge!"

      "Come to the edge."

      "But what if I come to the edge and I fall off?"

      "Trust me. Come to the edge."

      "I trust you, Lord."

      I went to the edge. . .and He pushed me off. . .

      And then. . .I flew.

      (A Daily Devotional eMail List)

      No unbelief or distrust made him [Abraham] waver (doubtingly
      question) concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong and was
      empowered by faith as he gave praise and glory to God, fully
      satisfied and assured that God was able and mighty to keep His word
      and to do what He had promised.
      ~ Romans 4:20-21 (amplified bible)

      God keeps His promises to us. Sometimes that's hard for us to
      believe, when we've been failed by man so many times. Promises today
      are easily broken, and lightly given. They don't seem to have any
      meaning anymore. The biggest promise of all, the marriage vow, has
      become nothing more than a casual 'commitment', easily entered into,
      and more easily broken. Parents abandon their families, in 'search'
      of themselves, leaving their spouse and children with little or no
      remorse.....In a world like this, it can be hard to believe in the
      promises of God. And harder to believe that He doesn't lie.

      Numbers 23:19 says, 'God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son
      of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do it? Or
      has he spoken, and will He not make it good?' God is worthy of your
      trust - He can be depended on to keep His promises, no matter what.
      Abraham chose to believe God's promise of a son, when he was 100
      years old and his wife was 90 years old. Impossible with man, but
      possible with God! He set aside his doubts and believed that God
      would keep His word, and God did.

      Right now, in whatever situation you're in, choose to cling to and
      believe the promises of God..."I will never leave you or forsake
      you"..."I am faithful and just to forgive you your sins"..."My God
      shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ

      "Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He
      who promised is faithful" ~ Hebrews 10:23

      Lord, thank You for Your promises that we find in Your word. Help us
      to trust You, to turn to You even though promises made by men have
      been broken in the past. Strengthen our belief. Help us to let go of
      our unbelief as we choose to trust You.

      Heal our hurts, help us to forgive those who have broken promises to
      us. Remove from us any bitterness that is keeping us from
      surrendering to You fully and completely. For those of us who are
      struggling, provide for us in a miraculous way. Fill us with Your
      peace as we pursue You, Dear Lord.

      In Jesus' name,


      THE ROPE
      (Received from Sari Cobb - Author Unknown)

      They tell the story of a mountain climber, desperate to conquer the
      Aconcagua, initiated his climb after years of preparation. But he
      wanted the glory to himself, therefore, he went up alone. He started
      climbing and it was becoming later and later. He did not prepare for
      camping but decided to keep on going. Soon it got dark...

      Night fell with heaviness at such high altitude and there was zero
      visibility. Everything was black, no moon, and the stars were covered
      by clouds. As he was climbing a ridge at about 100 meters from the
      top, he slipped and fell...falling rapidly and could only see
      blotches of darkness that passed in the same darkness and a terrible
      sensation of being suctioned by gravity. He kept falling.... and in
      those anguishing moments good and bad memories passed through his
      mind. He thought he would die.

      Nevertheless, he felt a jolt that almost tore him in half...Yes!
      Like any good mountain climber he had staked himself with a long rope
      tied to his waist. In those moments of stillness, suspended in the
      air he had no other choice but to shout, "HELP ME GOD", "HELP ME!"

      All of a sudden he heard a deep voice from heaven... "What do you
      want me to do?"

      "SAVE ME"

      "Do you REALLY think that I can save you?"


      "Then cut the rope that is holding you up."

      There was another moment of silence and stillness.
      The rescue team says that the next day they found, a frozen mountain
      climber hanging strongly to a rope...............


      How about you? Are you trusting in something like that climber's
      rope? ........Why don't you let it go? I tell you, God has great and
      marvelous things for you. Cut the rope and simply trust Him.

      FAITH IS . . .
      (Received via A_Gift_from_God - Author Unknown)

      Faith is: reliance on the certainty that God has a pattern for my
      life when everything seems meaningless...........

      Faith is: remembering I am God's priceless treasure when I feel
      utterly useless.......

      Faith is: depending on the fact that God is Love - not on my ability
      to figure out why in the midst of smashed hopes, reversal, and

      Faith is: keeping on when I am dog tired, discouraged, disillusioned,
      deserted, dusty and dry and I cast on His strength alone.....

      Faith is: realizing that I am useful to God, not in spite of my
      scars, but because of them.....

      Faith is: confidence that God is acting for my highest good when He
      answers "No" to my prayers.....

      Faith is: accepting the truth that, in spite of the wreckage and
      grief I've caused, God who has wiped the slate clean and delights in

      Faith is: recognizing that God is the Lord of time when my idea of
      timing doesn't agree with his.......

      Faith is: not a vague hope of a happy here after but an assurance of
      heaven based on my trust in Christ's death as payment for my sins.....

      Faith is: remembering that, though my way is dark as night to me, God
      can see and guides me unerringly........

      Faith is: doing the right thing regardless of the consequences
      knowing God will turn the ultimate effect to good.......

      Faith is: the conviction the Promiser keeps His promises.....

      (A Daily Devotional eMail List)

      Bring Your Umbrella . . .

      One summer, a drought threatened the crop in a small town. On a hot
      and dry Sunday, the village parson told his congregation, "There
      isn't anything that will save us except to pray for rain. Go home,
      pray, believe, and come back next Sunday ready to thank God for
      sending rain.

      The people did as they were told and returned to church the following
      Sunday. But as soon as the parson saw them, he was furious. "We
      can't worship today. You do not yet believe," he said.

      "But," they protested, "we prayed, and we do believe."

      "Believe?" he responded. "Then where are your umbrellas?"

      The story applies to all of us. There are those people who leave
      their umbrellas at home. Throughout their lives, they are merely
      hoping their wishes and prayers will bear fruit, but they expect
      little. Others expect their dreams and desires to come to pass. It
      is as if they journey through life always prepared for something to

      Today, how will you approach that which you are yearning for? Will
      you expect your prayers and work to bring about hoped-for results?
      Will you bring your umbrella?

      From ONE MINUTE CAN CHANGE A LIFE, by Steve Goodier

      (From Deborah at 1GodPrayerChain - Author Unknown)

      My brother Kevin thinks God lives under his bed. At least that's what
      I heard him say one night. He was praying out loud in his dark
      bedroom, and I stopped outside his closed door to listen. "Are you
      there, God?" he said. "Where are you? Oh, I see. Under the bed."

      I giggled softly and tiptoed off to my own room. Kevin's unique
      perspectives are often a source of amusement. But that night
      something else lingered long after the humor. I realized for the
      first time the very different world Kevin lives in. He was born 30
      years ago, mentally disabled as a result of difficulties during
      labor. Apart from his size (he's 6-foot-2), there are few ways in
      which he is an adult. He reasons and communicates with the
      capabilities of a 7-year-old, and he always will. He will probably
      always believe that God lives under his bed, that Santa Claus is the
      one who fills the space under our tree every Christmas, and that
      airplanes stay up in the sky because angels carry them.

      I remember wondering if Kevin realizes he is different. Is he ever
      dissatisfied with his monotonous life? Up before dawn each day, off
      to work at a workshop for the disabled, home to walk our cocker
      spaniel, returning to eat his favorite macaroni-and-cheese for
      dinner, and later to bed. The only variation in the entire scheme
      are laundry days, when he hovers excitedly over the washing machine
      like a mother with her newborn child. He does not seem dissatisfied.
      He lopes out to the bus every morning at 7:05, eager for a day of
      simple work. He wrings his hands excitedly while the water boils on
      the stove before dinner, and he stays up late twice a week to gather
      our dirty laundry for his next day's laundry chores.

      And Saturdays--oh, the bliss of Saturdays! That's the day my dad
      takes Kevin to the airport to have a soft drink, watch the planes
      land, and speculate loudly on the destination of each passenger
      inside. "That one's goin' to Chi-car-go!" Kevin shouts as he claps
      his hands. His anticipation is so great he can hardly sleep on Friday
      nights. I don't think Kevin knows anything exists outside his world
      of daily rituals and weekend field trips.

      He doesn't know what it means to be discontent. His life is simple.
      He will never know the entanglements of wealth or power, and he does
      not care what brand of clothing he wears or what kind of food he
      eats. He recognizes no differences in people, treating each person as
      an equal and a friend. His needs have always been met, and he never
      worries that one day they may not be.

      His hands are diligent. Kevin is never so happy as when he is
      working. When he unloads the dishwasher or vacuums the carpet, his
      heart is completely in it. He does not shrink from a job when it is
      begun, and he does not leave a job until it is finished. But when
      his tasks are done, Kevin knows how to relax.

      He is not obsessed with his work or the work of others. His heart is
      pure. He still believes everyone tells the truth, promises must be
      kept, and when you are wrong, you apologize instead of argue. Free
      from pride and unconcerned with appearances, Kevin is not afraid to
      cry when he is hurt, angry or sorry. He is always transparent, always
      sincere. And he trusts God. Not confined by intellectual reasoning,
      when he comes to Christ, he comes as a child. Kevin seems to know God-
      -to really be friends with Him in a way that is difficult for
      an "educated" person to grasp. God seems like his closest companion.

      In my moments of doubt and frustrations with my faith, I envy the
      security Kevin has in his simple faith. It is then that I am most
      willing to admit that he has some divine knowledge that rises above
      my mortal questions. It is then I realize that perhaps he is not the
      one with the handicap--I am. My obligations, my fear, my pride, my
      circumstances--they all become disabilities when I do not submit them
      to Christ.

      Who knows if Kevin comprehends things I can never learn? After all,
      he has spent his whole life in that kind of innocence, praying after
      dark and soaking up the goodness and love of the Lord. And one day,
      when the mysteries of heaven are opened, and we are all amazed at how
      close God really is to our hearts, I'll realize that God heard the
      simple prayers of a boy who believed that God lived under his bed.
      Kevin won't be surprised at all.

      "For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth comes knowledge and
      understanding. He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a
      shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of
      the just and protects the way of his faithful ones." Proverbs 2:6-8


      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. 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:

      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 - how you built the cosmos and guaranteed everything in
      it. Your love has always been our lives foundation, your fidelity
      has been the roof over our world. (Psalm 89:1-3 The Message)
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