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Why Did God Let This Happen?

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  • Steve Hall
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ NOTES FROM THE VALLEY - October 6, 2000 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will
    Message 1 of 4 , Oct 4, 2000
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      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
      NOTES FROM THE VALLEY - October 6, 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: WHY DID GOD LET THIS HAPPEN?


      On Monday, Cathy's Mom, Bea, called to let us know that the doctors
      have classified her cancer as untreatable. Oddly enough it was she
      who ministered to our pain during her phone call instead of the other
      way around. She loves the Lord so very much and feels a real sense
      of peace with whatever His will is for her. She is ready to go Home
      if He says it's time. She's also willing to stay here if He has more
      for her to do. She's placing herself entirely in His hands.

      Please pray for us all - may our tears of sorrow be mingled with
      tears of joy and thanksgiving for her salvation and place in God's
      heavenly kingdom.

      Mom - we love you.

      Bad things happen to good people. From where we sit, it's not right,
      it's not fair, but it happens all the time. And we want to know
      why. We turn our eyes towards heaven and ask God the question, "Why
      did you let this happen?" I know I've asked Him that question many
      times in my life - often in anger. Because of God's infinite grace
      and love, He has ignored my anger and ministered to my pain. I pray
      this edition will help Cathy, her brother Craig, and anyone else who
      is hurting, find God's answers to that pain filled question.

      Sometimes good, wonderful, people get hurt simply because they're the
      victim of another person's poor choices. Sometimes even their own
      poor choices. Someone, overcome by the hurts of this world, chooses
      to inflict his pain on others and violence erupts - innocent people
      are injured or die. As a people, we chose to ignore the dangers of
      pollution and now we've become its victims - as ingested and inhaled
      poisons kill the young and the old alike. Not spiritual death.
      Jesus clearly paid the price for that. But physical death for each
      sin committed in this physical world. Many people see God as the one
      dishing out those consequences. To them, He is a very stern and cold-
      hearted judge who watches every move we make and the minute we do
      something wrong, He's jumps on us with both feet. I don't want to
      get in a fuss with anyone about their beliefs, but that's just not
      the way God revealed Himself to me.

      God is most certainly the final judge of us all. He is most
      certainly omnipresent, so He sees everything we do. He judges us
      fairly according to the law and our choices. But He's not the one
      doing the jumping. The devil is. He's the prosecutor and the
      punisher. If we are foolish enough to bow before sin, as Adam and
      Eve did, the devil demands his due and God must release His covering
      over us while the devil inflicts on us the consequences of our
      choices. That's not what God wants. But He gave us free will and if
      we use it to make bad choices, then the consequences are ours as well.

      Sickness and suffering entered into this world when those in
      authority sinned and let the devil in. Sickness and suffering came
      with him. The same sickness and suffering that can drive someone to
      aim a gun at innocent victims and themselves and pull the trigger.
      The same sickness and suffering the devil will use to drive you away
      from God if you'll let him. Sickness and suffering were never God's
      will. God's will was obedient and abundant life in the Garden of
      Eden. God the just Judge is also God the loving Father. Even while
      we suffer at the devil's hands for our sins or the consequences of
      another's sin, God is moving on our behalf, working within the self
      imposed limits He placed on Himself as a condition of our free will
      and within our hearts to teach us and to recover us back under His
      protective and loving care.

      I know the pain Cathy and her brother Craig are feeling. I lost both
      my parents at an early age. I also know what anger at God did to me
      then. The terribly destructive power of anger and unforgiveness.
      The utter foolishness of chosing them over the outstreached arms of
      our Father - God. He offers us those comforting arms and so much
      more.

      It seems like every day the news is filled with violent crimes where
      innocent victims suffer or die. Or the news of some precious person
      who has succumbed to a deadly disease leaving a host of friends and
      loved ones mourning their loss. Roughly 2,000 years ago, the
      headlines read "Jesus is Dead! Nazarene crucified for claiming to be
      the Son of God!!" The prophet that had been welcomed with cheers and
      Hosannas just days before was gone. The one who had done so many
      miraculous things among the people and taught with such wisdom and
      power was no more. His disciples were scattered and in hiding, their
      hopes and dreams shattered. Those who followed Christ, who had heard
      Him teach and had believed, lifted their eyes towards heaven and
      asked the question "Why?" They could not yet understand that their
      apparent loss was actually their salvation - and the salvation of the
      world. They did not want Jesus to die. But if He hadn't, where
      would we be today? And therein lies our lesson for the tragedies
      that will confront us in this life: No matter how dark or senseless
      things may seem - God is always in control and will always keep His
      promise to lead us safely home.

      At various times in our lives, all of us will ask the pain-filled
      question, "Why?" In response, the devil will offer the bitter fruit
      of anger and unforgiveness. The Father offers the sweet, healing
      power of His love and grace. He intends for us to be the messengers
      of that offer.

      I remain a work in progress, sheltered under His wing, overwhelmed
      sometimes by tears, but forever overwhelmed by His love,

      Steve Hall



      THE WILL OF GOD
      (Received from Linda Layton - Author Unknown)

      The will of God will never take you,
      Where the Grace of God cannot keep you,
      Where the Arms of God cannot support you,
      Where the Riches of God cannot supply your needs,
      Where the Power of God cannot endow you.

      The will of God will never take you,
      Where the Spirit of God cannot work through you,
      Where the Wisdom of God cannot teach you,
      Where the Army of God cannot protect you,
      Where the Hands of God cannot mold you.

      The Will of God will never take you,
      Where the Love of God cannot enfold you,
      Where the Mercies of God cannot sustain you,
      Where the Peace of God cannot calm your fears,
      Where the Authority of God cannot overrule for you.

      The will of God will never take you,
      Where the Comfort of God cannot dry your tears,
      Where the Word of God cannot feed you,
      Where the Miracles of God cannot be done for you,
      Where the Omnipresence of God cannot find you.



      HOME WHERE I BELONG
      (Received from InspiringWords - Author Glenn A. Hascall,
      " Tales From The Rearview Mirror")

      "Do you see that one down there?" He asked.
      "The strong one?" Came a questioning response.
      "No, the frail one. She is the one that I want you to visit."
      "But she is weak and full of years."
      "That is why I need you to visit her."
      "She'll be coming to see You then?"
      "Yes."
      "Now I see."
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      "You just hang in there mom, you'll get better. We're praying for
      you," Jason spoke softly with a conviction he did not feel.

      She drew the water bottle to her lips and took a long slow sip before
      a weak reply, "Son, I love you with all my heart, but I haven't lived
      this long not to know that my time is short."

      "Don't talk that way mamma. We need you. Just keep fighting, you will
      get better." Jason held a tear just long enough for him to make his
      way from his mamma's hospital room.

      More and more these days she found herself in constant communion with
      her Father and His Son. It seemed odd to her that in all her years of
      life she had looked either backwards or ahead and could only see her
      role as mother, wife, grandma and great-grandma. At some point that
      all changed for her. Most people who talked of heaven spoke of
      golden streets, mansions, and crowns. Admittedly she had thought
      along those lines until recently. She had lived long enough to
      realize that possessions have little, if any, value. She had raised
      six children, lived through the depression, and had gone through the
      foreclosure of the farm and knew that things really didn't mean
      much. What she most looked forward to was being in the presence of
      God without pain, without fatigue, without tears. Her spirit drifted
      effortlessly into prayer while he stood unnoticed. The Father had
      allowed him to hear the unspoken prayer of this saint and he thought
      he knew why she was so special to Him.
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      "Do you see that one down there?" He asked again.
      "You mean the frail one?" The angel was sure he knew what the Master
      was speaking of.
      "No, the child. He's the one I want you to visit."
      "But Master, he is so young and full of life."
      "But I need you to visit him, he will soon be in My presence."
      "I don't understand."
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      "I get to go to Sunday School, I get to go to Sunday School," the boy
      chanted in a singsong voice as his grandfather started the car.

      "Tommy, make sure to buckle up," his grandpa told him as he backed
      out of the driveway. Another passenger remained unseen as the car
      rolled toward Bethel Chapel on 4th and Terrace. Since his parents
      death in a car accident three years ago Tommy seemed to have a hunger
      for Jesus. He wanted to read Bible stories, he memorized scripture,
      he told Jesus to make his heart a home two years ago and Tommy had
      become a spiritual sponge. Many children his age could not
      understand why he was so into that "Jesus stuff." Tommy was
      singing "Jesus Loves The Little Children," when it happened. Metal
      collided with metal, screams were heard and slowly all became quiet
      as a young boy was ushered into the presence of the One who made His
      home in a young heart.
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      Some might wonder - why Tommy? We can perhaps understand an elderly
      widow who has lived a full life finding a new home in heaven, but why
      Tommy?
      Why a teenager facing a gunman?
      Why a mother of four, who dies of an asthma attack?
      Why a family who can't get out of a burning car?
      Why a young grandmother who just wants to live long enough to see her
      grandchild born?
      Why?

      I don't know that anyone can adequately answer that elusive "why"
      question. God's Word does explain something that is not so
      elusive, "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His
      saints" (Prov. 116:15). Why would a Christian's death be precious
      to the Lord? He grieves with those of us left behind, but consider
      what those saints, young or old, experience in His presence. For the
      saints who are now home they find the God of all comfort is with them
      in a way they have never experienced. He removes all pain and
      sorrow. No more gunmen, no more car crashes, no more asthma, no more
      cancer, no more natural disasters, no more broken hearts, no more
      medicine, no more decay. Just peace and comfort in the arms of
      Jesus. Then they truly understand that they are "precious" in His
      sight.



      THE MESSENGER
      (Author Stephen J. Hall)

      God reveals Himself to us in ways we seldom see;
      Too wrapped up in our daily lives of earthbound reality.

      But children are a different lot, that's why He loves them so;
      Exploring life's curiosities wherever they may go.
      They feel His breathe in a summer breeze,
      see His face in a billowing cloud;
      And celebrate His sun-filled days
      with a joy expressed out loud.

      So when one of these little ones,
      a blonde-haired boy of three;
      Became perplexed at his Gramma's death,
      just guess where God would be.

      Through a brightly colored butterfly,
      the child's cheek softly kissed;
      From the Gramma up in heaven,
      to tell him he was missed.

      2nd Corinthians 5:17 says the old is reborn the new;
      A promise given in Jesus Christ and made to me and you.

      From a caterpillar to a butterfly,
      A symbol of Christ's rebirth;
      What better messenger of eternal love
      To the child still on the earth.



      GOD - I HURT!
      (The following was posted on the wall at the Oklahoma City bombing
      site)

      I said, "God, I hurt." And God said, "I know."
      I said, "God, I cry a lot." And God said, "That is why I gave you
      tears."
      I said, "God, I am so depressed." And God said, "That is why I gave
      you Sunshine."
      I said, "God, life is so hard." And God said, "That is why I gave
      you loved ones."
      I said, "God, my loved one died." And God said, "So did mine."
      I said, "God, it is such a loss." And God said, "I saw mine nailed
      to a cross."
      I said, "God, but your loved one lives." And God said, "So does
      yours."
      I said, "God, where are they now?" And God said, "Mine is on My
      right. Yours is in the Light."
      I said, "God, it hurts." And God said, "I know."



      WHAT'S ON THE OTHER SIDE?
      (Received from Alan Smith - Thought for the Day)

      A sick man turned to his doctor as he was leaving the room after
      paying a visit, and said, "Doctor, I am afraid to die. Tell me what
      lies on the other side."

      Very quietly the doctor said, "I don't know."

      "You don't know?! You, a Christian man, do not know what is on the
      other side?"

      The doctor was holding the handle of the door. On the other side came
      a sound of scratching and whining, and as he opened the door a dog
      sprang into the room and leaped on him with an eager show of
      gladness.

      Turning to the patient, the doctor said, "Did you notice that dog? He
      had never been in this room before. He did not know what was inside.
      He knew nothing except that his master was here, and when the door
      opened he sprang in without fear. I know little of what is on the
      other side of death, but I do know one thing: I know my Master is
      there, and that is enough. And when the door opens, I shall pass
      through with no fear, but with gladness."

      ________________________________________________

      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:

      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 - 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)
    • sossteve2001
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ NOTES FROM THE VALLEY September 11, 2001 Revisited - Part 4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of
      Message 2 of 4 , Oct 12, 2002
      • 0 Attachment
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
        NOTES FROM THE VALLEY
        September 11, 2001 Revisited - Part 4

        "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 following edition was originally posted on October 28, 2001. I'm
        reposting portions of it and other editions in remembrance of the
        events of 9-11-01.

        TOPIC: WHY DID GOD LET THIS HAPPEN ?

        The estimated death toll from the attacks of September 11th is now
        something over 4,700. The death toll from acts of terrorism against
        America, however, continues to grow. This week, two postal workers
        died from inhaled anthrax. The television news report on their
        deaths included an interview with the wife of one of the workers that
        I don't think I'll ever forget. This dear lady seemed oblivious to
        the questions she was being asked by the reporters. She just kept
        repeating, over and over again, all the ways her husband was a "good"
        man. I couldn't help thinking about how senseless was the loss of
        this "good" man. And I couldn't help but hear the unasked questions
        in the recital of her husband's virtues, "Why did this have to happen
        to such a good man - to MY man? Why did you let this happen God?"
        I'm sure there are thousands of families asking the same kind of
        questions right now about the loved ones they have lost.

        I think God must find the majority of us to be terribly frustrating
        children. Christians and non-believers alike. When things are going
        well, we're so quick to claim the credit for ourselves. During the
        recent economic prosperity of this nation, did anyone hear God
        mentioned as the source of that prosperity? Not likely. If
        anything, we were a nation intent on pushing Him away; on making sure
        God couldn't get into our schools, our courthouses, our legislative
        assemblies or anywhere else near the boundary we enforce between
        church and state. But when things go bad, the finger of blame is
        immediately extended by so many of us in His direction. Some
        people, I'm sure, blame Him because they're not prepared to admit
        their own responsibility for the fatal events. Others blame Him
        because they sincerely believe He's a very stern judge who, when we
        do something wrong, loves to jump on us with both feet. And still
        others blame Him because they just don't know who else to blame.
        Whatever the logic, we've really missed the mark and I'm sure it's
        breaking our Father's heart.

        "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created
        him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to
        them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue
        it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over
        every living creature that moves on the ground."
        Genesis 1:27-28 (NIV)

        God said to His children - subdue (conquer, vanquish, control) the
        earth.
        God said to His children - rule (exercise authority) over every
        living thing.
        (Parenthetical words from Webster's Dictionary).

        God is most certainly the final judge of us all. He is most
        certainly omnipresent, so He sees everything we do. He judges us
        fairly according to the law and our choices. But He's not the one
        doing the jumping. The devil is. He's the prosecutor and the
        punisher. God left us in control of this planet with authority over
        all living things in it (including the serpent). If we are foolish
        enough to bow before sin, as Adam and Eve did, the devil demands his
        due and God must release His covering over us while the devil
        inflicts on us the consequences of our choices. It's not what God
        wants. But He gave us our free will and if we use it to make bad
        choices then the consequences are ours as well.

        Sickness and suffering entered into this world when those in
        authority sinned and let the devil in. Sickness and suffering came
        in with him. The same sickness and suffering that can drive someone
        to fly a commercial jet liner into the World Trade Center or mail a
        germ filled letter to an unsuspecting official. The same sickness
        and suffering the devil will use to drive you away from God if you'll
        let him. Sickness and suffering were never God's will. God's will
        was obedient and abundant life in the Garden of Eden. God - the just
        Judge is also God - the loving Father. Even while we suffer at the
        devil's hands for our sins or the consequences of another's sin, God
        is moving on our behalf, working within the self imposed limits He
        placed on Himself as a condition of our free will and within our
        hearts to teach us and recover us back under His protective and
        loving care.

        Sometimes good people get hurt simply because they're the victim of
        another person's poor choices. We chose to ignore poverty and
        oppression in the world and "good" people suffer and die. Someone,
        overcome by those hurts and injustices, chooses to inflict their pain
        on others and those "good" people become additions to the growing
        list of victims. We chose to ignore the dangers of pollution in our
        environment. Poisons are ingested and inhaled until loved ones
        contract deadly diseases. More suffering and death. Not because of
        God's will, but because of our failings in exercising the free will
        He has given us.

        It seems like every day the news is filled with violent crimes where
        innocent victims suffer or die. Or the news of some precious person
        who has succumbed to a deadly disease leaving a host of friends or
        loved ones mourning their loss. Roughly 2,000 years ago, the
        headlines read "Jesus is Dead! Nazarene crucified for claiming to be
        the Son of God!!" The prophet that had been welcomed with cheers and
        Hosannas just days before was gone. The one who had done so many
        miraculous things among the people and taught with such wisdom and
        authority was no more. His disciples were scattered and in hiding,
        their hopes and dreams shattered. Those who followed Christ, who had
        heard Him teach and had believed, lifted their eyes towards heaven
        and asked the question "Why?" They did not want Jesus to die. But
        if He hadn't, where would we be today?

        And therein lies our lesson for the tragedies that confront us in
        life: No matter how dark or senseless things may seem - God is always
        in control and will always keep His promise to lead us safely home.
        At various times in our lives, all of us will ask the pain-filled
        question, "Why God?" In response, the devil will offer the bitter
        fruit of anger and unforgiveness. The Father offers the sweet,
        healing power of His love and grace. He intends for us to be the
        messengers of that offer.

        God bless you all.
        God bless America and her allies in the fight against evil that lies
        ahead.
        May we all remain sheltered under His wings and overwhelmed by His
        love,

        Steve Hall


        GOD - I HURT!
        (The following was posted on the wall at the Oklahoma City bombing
        site)

        I said, "God, I hurt." And God said, "I know."
        I said, "God, I cry a lot." And God said, "That is why I gave you
        tears."
        I said, "God, I am so depressed." And God said, "That is why I gave
        you Sunshine."
        I said, "God, life is so hard." And God said, "That is why I gave
        you loved ones."
        I said, "God, my loved one died." And God said, "So did mine."
        I said, "God, it is such a loss." And God said, "I saw mine nailed
        to a cross."
        I said, "God, but your loved one lives." And God said, "So does
        yours."
        I said, "God, where are they now?" And God said, "Mine is on My
        right. Yours is in the Light."
        I said, "God, it hurts." And God said, "I know."



        WHAT'S ON THE OTHER SIDE ?
        (Received from Alan Smith - Thought for the Day)

        A sick man turned to his doctor as he was leaving the room after
        paying a visit, and said, "Doctor, I am afraid to die. Tell me what
        lies on the other side."

        Very quietly the doctor said, "I don't know."

        "You don't know?! You, a Christian man, do not know what is on the
        other side?"

        The doctor was holding the handle of the door. On the other side came
        a sound of scratching and whining, and as he opened the door a dog
        sprang into the room and leaped on him with an eager show of
        gladness.

        Turning to the patient, the doctor said, "Did you notice that dog? He
        had never been in this room before. He did not know what was inside.
        He knew nothing except that his master was here, and when the door
        opened he sprang in without fear. I know little of what is on the
        other side of death, but I do know one thing: I know my Master is
        there, and that is enough. And when the door opens, I shall pass
        through with no fear, but with gladness."



        THE MESSENGER
        (Author - Stephen J. Hall)

        God reveals Himself to us in ways we seldom see;
        Too wrapped up in our daily lives of earthbound reality.
        But children are a different lot, that's why He loves them so;
        Exploring life's curiosities wherever they may go.

        They feel His breathe in a summer breeze,
        See His face in a billowing cloud;
        And celebrate His sun-filled days,
        With a joy expressed out loud.

        So when one of these little ones,
        A blonde-haired boy of three;
        Became perplexed at his Gramma's death,
        Just guess where God would be.

        Through a brightly colored butterfly,
        the child's cheek softly kissed;
        From the Gramma up in heaven,
        to tell him he was missed.

        2 Corinthians 5:17 says
        the old is reborn the new;
        A promise given in Jesus Christ
        and made to me and you.

        From a caterpillar to a butterfly,
        A symbol of Christ's rebirth;
        What better messenger of love
        To the child still on the earth.
        ________________________________________________

        Copyright © 1998 - 2002 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 meant to brighten your day and encourage you along the way. Most
        of "Notes" and "Humor" are a collection of items provided 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, would like to
        ask 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)

        The LORD is my light and my salvation - whom shall I fear?
        The LORD is the stronghold of my life - of whom shall I be afraid?
        When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh, when my enemies
        and my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. Though an army
        besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me,
        even then will I be confident.
        Psalm 27:1-3 (NIV)
      • sossteve2001
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ NOTES FROM THE VALLEY September 11, 2001 Revisited - Part 2 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
        Message 3 of 4 , Sep 18, 2004
        • 0 Attachment
          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

          NOTES FROM THE VALLEY

          September 11, 2001 Revisited - Part 2

          "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 following edition was originally posted on October 28, 2001. I'm
          reposting portions of it and other editions in remembrance of the
          events after 9-11-01.


          This week, two postal workers died from inhaled anthrax. The
          television news report on their deaths included an interview with the
          wife of one of the workers that I don't think I'll ever forget. This
          dear lady seemed oblivious to the questions she was being asked by
          the reporters. She just kept repeating, over and over again, all the
          ways her husband was a "good" man. I couldn't help thinking about how
          senseless was the loss of this "good" man. And I couldn't help but
          hear the unasked questions in the recital of her husband's
          virtues, "Why did this have to happen to such a good man - to MY man?
          Why did you let this happen God?" I'm sure there are thousands of
          families asking the same kind of questions right now about the loved
          ones they have lost.

          I think God must find the majority of us to be terribly frustrating
          children. Christians and non-believers alike. When things are going
          well, we're so quick to claim the credit for ourselves. During the
          recent economic prosperity of this nation, did anyone hear God
          mentioned as the source of that prosperity? Not likely. If anything,
          we were a nation intent on pushing Him away; on making sure God
          couldn't get into our schools, our courthouses, our legislative
          assemblies or anywhere else near the boundary we enforce between
          church and state. But when things go bad, the finger of blame is
          immediately extended by so many of us in His direction. Some people,
          I'm sure, blame Him because they're not prepared to admit their own
          responsibility for the fatal events. Others blame Him because they
          sincerely believe He's a very stern judge who, when we do something
          wrong, loves to jump on us with both feet. And still others blame Him
          because they just don't know who else to blame. Whatever the logic,
          we've really missed the mark and I'm sure it's breaking our Father's
          heart.

          "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created
          him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to
          them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue
          it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over
          every living creature that moves on the ground." Genesis 1:27-28 (NIV)

          God said to His children - subdue (conquer, vanquish, control) the
          earth.

          God said to His children - rule (exercise authority) over every
          living thing.

          (Parenthetical words from Webster's Dictionary).

          God is most certainly the final judge of us all. He is most certainly
          omnipresent, so He sees everything we do. He judges us fairly
          according to the law and our choices. But He's not the one doing the
          jumping. The devil is. He's the prosecutor and the punisher. God left
          us in control of this planet with authority over all living things in
          it (including the serpent). If we are foolish enough to bow before
          sin, as Adam and Eve did, the devil demands his due and God must
          release His covering over us while the devil inflicts on us the
          consequences of our choices. It's not what God wants. But He gave us
          our free will and if we use it to make bad choices then the
          consequences are ours as well.

          Sickness and suffering entered into this world when those in
          authority sinned and let the devil in. Sickness and suffering came in
          with him. The same sickness and suffering that can drive someone to
          fly a commercial jet liner into the World Trade Center or mail a germ
          filled letter to an unsuspecting official. The same sickness and
          suffering the devil will use to drive you away from God if you'll let
          him. Sickness and suffering were never God's will. God's will was
          obedient and abundant life in the Garden of Eden. God - the just
          Judge is also God - the loving Father. Even while we suffer at the
          devil's hands for our sins or the consequences of another's sin, God
          is moving on our behalf, working within the self imposed limits He
          placed on Himself as a condition of our free will and within our
          hearts to teach us and recover us back under His protective and
          loving care.

          Sometimes good people get hurt simply because they're the victim of
          another person's poor choices. We chose to ignore poverty and
          oppression in the world and "good" people suffer and die. Someone,
          overcome by those hurts and injustices, chooses to inflict their pain
          on others and those "good" people become additions to the growing
          list of victims. We chose to ignore the dangers of pollution in our
          environment. Poisons are ingested and inhaled until loved ones
          contract deadly diseases. More suffering and death. Not because of
          God's will, but because of our failings in exercising the free will
          He has given us.

          It seems like every day the news is filled with violent crimes where
          innocent victims suffer or die. Or the news of some precious person
          who has succumbed to a deadly disease leaving a host of friends or
          loved ones mourning their loss. Roughly 2,000 years ago, the
          headlines read "Jesus is Dead! Nazarene crucified for claiming to be
          the Son of God!!" The prophet that had been welcomed with cheers and
          Hosannas just days before was gone. The one who had done so many
          miraculous things among the people and taught with such wisdom and
          authority was no more. His disciples were scattered and in hiding,
          their hopes and dreams shattered. Those who followed Christ, who had
          heard Him teach and had believed, lifted their eyes towards heaven
          and asked the question "Why?" They did not want Jesus to die. But if
          He hadn't, where would we be today?

          And therein lies our lesson for the tragedies that confront us in
          life: No matter how dark or senseless things may seem - God is always
          in control and will always keep His promise to lead us safely home.
          At various times in our lives, all of us will ask the pain-filled
          question, "Why God?" In response, the devil will offer the bitter
          fruit of anger and unforgiveness. The Father offers the sweet,
          healing power of His love and grace. He intends for us to be the
          messengers of that offer.

          God bless you all.

          God bless America.

          May we all remain sheltered under His wings and overwhelmed by His
          love,

          Steve




          GOD - I HURT!

          (The following was posted on the wall at the Oklahoma City bombing
          site)

          I said, "God, I hurt." And God said, "I know."

          I said, "God, I cry a lot." And God said, "That is why I gave you
          tears."

          I said, "God, I am so depressed." And God said, "That is why I gave
          you Sunshine."

          I said, "God, life is so hard." And God said, "That is why I gave you
          loved ones."

          I said, "God, my loved one died." And God said, "So did mine."

          I said, "God, it is such a loss." And God said, "I saw mine nailed to
          a cross."

          I said, "God, but your loved one lives." And God said, "So does
          yours."

          I said, "God, where are they now?" And God said, "Mine is on My
          right. Yours is in the Light."

          I said, "God, it hurts." And God said, "I know."





          WHAT'S ON THE OTHER SIDE?

          (Alan Smith - Thought for the Day)

          A sick man turned to his doctor as he was leaving the room after
          paying a visit, and said, "Doctor, I am afraid to die. Tell me what
          lies on the other side."

          Very quietly the doctor said, "I don't know."

          "You don't know?! You, a Christian man, do not know what is on the
          other side?"

          The doctor was holding the handle of the door. On the other side came
          a sound of scratching and whining, and as he opened the door a dog
          sprang into the room and leaped on him with an eager show of
          gladness. Turning to the patient, the doctor said, "Did you notice
          that dog? He had never been in this room before. He did not know what
          was inside. He knew nothing except that his master was here, and when
          the door opened he sprang in without fear. I know little of what is
          on the other side of death, but I do know one thing: I know my Master
          is there, and that is enough. And when the door opens, I shall pass
          through with no fear, but with gladness."



          THE MESSENGER

          (Author - Stephen J. Hall)

          God reveals Himself to us

          in ways we seldom see;

          Too wrapped up in our daily lives

          of earthbound reality.

          But children are a different lot,

          that's why He loves them so;

          Exploring life's curiosities

          wherever they may go.

          They feel His breathe in a summer breeze,

          See His face in a billowing cloud;

          And celebrate His sun-filled days,

          With a joy expressed out loud.


          So when one of these little ones,

          A blonde-haired boy of three;

          Became perplexed at his Gramma's death,

          Just guess where God would be.

          Through a brightly colored butterfly,

          the child's cheek softly kissed;

          From the Gramma up in heaven,

          to tell him he was missed.


          2 Corinthians 5:17 says

          the old is reborn the new;

          A promise given in Jesus Christ

          and made to me and you.

          From a caterpillar to a butterfly,

          A symbol of Christ's rebirth;

          What better messenger of eternal love

          To the child still on the earth.


          ______________________________________________________________________
          ______________________


          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@...

          ______________________________________________________________________
          ______________________



          The LORD is my light and my salvation - whom shall I fear?

          The LORD is the stronghold of my life - of whom shall I be afraid?

          When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh, when my enemies
          and my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. Though an army
          besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me,
          even then will I be confident. Psalm 27:1-3 (NIV)
        • Stephen J. Hall
          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ NOTES FROM THE VALLEY September 23, 2007 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no
          Message 4 of 4 , Sep 28, 2007
          • 0 Attachment
            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

            NOTES FROM THE VALLEY
            September 23, 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.

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

            As my final remembrance of the events of 9-11-01 for this year, I am
            posting the following edition of Notes that was originally posted on
            October 28, 2001.

            This week, two postal workers died from inhaled anthrax. The
            television news report on their deaths included an interview with the
            wife of one of the workers that I don't think I'll ever forget. This
            dear lady seemed oblivious to the questions she was being asked by
            the reporters. She just kept repeating, over and over again, all the
            ways her husband was a "good" man. I couldn't help thinking about
            how senseless was the loss of this "good" man. And I couldn't help
            but hear the unasked questions in the recital of her husband's
            virtues, "Why did this have to happen to such a good man - to MY
            man? Why did you let this happen God?" I'm sure there are thousands
            of families asking the same kind of questions right now about the
            loved ones they have lost.

            I think God must find the majority of us to be terribly frustrating
            children. Christians and non-believers alike. When things are going
            well, we're so quick to claim the credit for ourselves. During the
            recent economic prosperity of this nation, did anyone hear God
            mentioned as the source of that prosperity? Not likely. If
            anything, we were a nation intent on pushing Him away; on making sure
            God couldn't get into our schools, our courthouses, our legislative
            assemblies or anywhere else near the boundary we enforce between
            church and state. But when things go bad, the finger of blame is
            immediately extended by so many of us in His direction. Some
            people, I'm sure, blame Him because they're not prepared to admit
            their own responsibility for the fatal events. Others blame Him
            because they sincerely believe He's a very stern judge who, when we
            do something wrong, loves to jump on us with both feet. And still
            others blame Him because they just don't know who else to blame.
            Whatever the logic, we've really missed the mark and I'm sure it's
            breaking our Father's heart.

            "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created
            him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to
            them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue
            it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over
            every living creature that moves on the ground." Genesis 1:27-28
            (NIV)

            God said to His children - subdue (conquer, vanquish, control) the
            earth.
            God said to His children - rule (exercise authority) over every
            living thing.
            (Parenthetical words from Webster's Dictionary).

            God is most certainly the final judge of us all. He is most
            certainly omnipresent, so He sees everything we do. He judges us
            fairly according to the law and our choices. But He's not the one
            doing the jumping. The devil is. He's the prosecutor and the
            punisher. God left us in control of this planet with authority over
            all living things in it (including the serpent). If we are foolish
            enough to bow before sin, as Adam and Eve did, the devil demands his
            due and God must release His covering over us while the devil
            inflicts on us the consequences of our choices. It's not what God
            wants. But He gave us our free will and if we use it to make bad
            choices then the consequences are ours as well.

            Sickness and suffering entered into this world when those in
            authority sinned and let the devil in. Sickness and suffering came
            in with him. The same sickness and suffering that can drive someone
            to fly a commercial jet liner into the World Trade Center or mail a
            germ filled letter to an unsuspecting official. The same sickness
            and suffering the devil will use to drive you away from God if you'll
            let him. Sickness and suffering were never God's will. God's will
            was obedient and abundant life in the Garden of Eden. God - the just
            Judge is also God - the loving Father. Even while we suffer at the
            devil's hands for our sins or the consequences of another's sin, God
            is moving on our behalf, working within the self imposed limits He
            placed on Himself as a condition of our free will and within our
            hearts to teach us and recover us back under His protective and
            loving care.

            Sometimes good people get hurt simply because they're the victim of
            another person's poor choices. We chose to ignore poverty and
            oppression in the world and "good" people suffer and die. Someone,
            overcome by those hurts and injustices, chooses to inflict their pain
            on others and those "good" people become additions to the growing
            list of victims. We chose to ignore the dangers of pollution in our
            environment. Poisons are ingested and inhaled until loved ones
            contract deadly diseases. More suffering and death. Not because of
            God's will, but because of our failings in exercising the free will
            He has given us.

            It seems like every day the news is filled with violent crimes where
            innocent victims suffer or die. Or the news of some precious person
            who has succumbed to a deadly disease leaving a host of friends and
            loved ones mourning their loss. Roughly 2,000 years ago, the
            headlines read "Jesus is Dead! Nazarene crucified for claiming to be
            the Son of God!!" The prophet that had been welcomed with cheers and
            Hosannas just days before was gone. The one who had done so many
            miraculous things among the people and taught with such wisdom and
            authority was no more. His disciples were scattered and in hiding,
            their hopes and dreams shattered. Those who followed Christ, who had
            heard Him teach and had believed, lifted their eyes towards heaven
            and asked the question "Why?" They did not want Jesus to die. But
            if He hadn't, where would we be today?

            And therein lies our lesson for the tragedies that confront us in
            life: No matter how dark or senseless things may seem - God is always
            in control and will always keep His promise to lead us safely home.
            At various times in our lives, all of us will ask the pain-filled
            question, "Why God?" In response, the devil will offer the bitter
            fruit of anger and unforgiveness. The Father offers the sweet,
            healing power of His love and grace. He intends for us to be the
            messengers of that offer.

            God bless you all.
            God bless America.
            May we all remain sheltered under His wings and overwhelmed by His
            love,

            Steve

            GOD - I HURT
            (The following was posted on the wall at the Oklahoma City bombing
            site)

            I said, "God, I hurt." And God said, "I know."
            I said, "God, I cry a lot." And God said, "That is why I gave you
            tears."
            I said, "God, I am so depressed." And God said, "That is why I gave
            you Sunshine."
            I said, "God, life is so hard." And God said, "That is why I gave
            you loved ones."
            I said, "God, my loved one died." And God said, "So did mine."
            I said, "God, it is such a loss." And God said, "I saw mine nailed
            to a cross."
            I said, "God, but your loved one lives." And God said, "So does
            yours."
            I said, "God, where are they now?" And God said, "Mine is on My
            right. Yours is in the Light."
            I said, "God, it hurts." And God said, "I know."



            WHAT'S ON THE OTHER SIDE ?
            (Alan Smith - Thought for the Day)

            A sick man turned to his doctor as he was leaving the room after
            paying a visit, and said, "Doctor, I am afraid to die. Tell me what
            lies on the other side."

            Very quietly the doctor said, "I don't know."

            "You don't know?! You, a Christian man, do not know what is on the
            other side?"

            The doctor was holding the handle of the door. On the other side came
            a sound of scratching and whining, and as he opened the door a dog
            sprang into the room and leaped on him with an eager show of
            gladness. Turning to the patient, the doctor said, "Did you notice
            that dog? He had never been in this room before. He did not know what
            was inside. He knew nothing except that his master was here, and
            when the door opened he sprang in without fear. I know little of
            what is on the other side of death, but I do know one thing: I know
            my Master is there, and that is enough. And when the door opens, I
            shall pass through with no fear, but with gladness."



            THE MESSENGER
            (Author - Stephen J. Hall)

            God reveals Himself to us
            in ways we seldom see;
            Too wrapped up in our daily lives
            of earthbound reality.

            But children are a different lot,
            that's why He loves them so;
            Exploring life's curiosities
            wherever they may go.

            They feel His breathe in a summer breeze,
            See His face in a billowing cloud;
            And celebrate His sun-filled days,
            With a joy expressed out loud.

            So when one of these little ones,
            A blonde-haired boy of three;
            Became perplexed at his Gramma's death,
            Just guess where God would be.

            Through a brightly colored butterfly,
            the child's cheek softly kissed;
            From the Gramma up in heaven,
            to tell him he was missed.

            2 Corinthians 5:17 says
            the old is reborn the new;
            A promise given in Jesus Christ
            and made to me and you.

            From a caterpillar to a butterfly,
            A symbol of Christ's rebirth;
            What better messenger of eternal love
            To the child still on the earth.

            ______________________________________________________________________
            _______________________

            Copyright © 1998 - 2007 by Stephen J. Hall - Letters of
            encouragement to Christians written by Stephen J. Hall unless
            otherwise indicated. 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@...
            ______________________________________________________________________
            _______________________

            The LORD is my light and my salvation - whom shall I fear?
            The LORD is the stronghold of my life - of whom shall I be afraid?
            When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh, when my enemies
            and my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. Though an army
            besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me,
            even then will I be confident. Psalm 27:1-3 (NIV)
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