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Finding Our Foundation

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  • Stephen J. Hall
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ NOTES FROM THE VALLEY July 9, 2006 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil
    Message 1 of 10 , Jul 11, 2006
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      NOTES FROM THE VALLEY
      July 9, 2006

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

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

      "Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into
      practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The
      rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat
      against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its
      foundation on the rock. " Matthew 7:24-25

      The Bible. It is the rock, the foundation, that God gave us to
      build our lives upon. In good times and bad times, God's Word is a
      constant source of help for whatever needs we may find in a day.
      Comfort, strength, joy, peace, love, and encouragement. It's all
      there. But you've got to put in some time reading God's Word if
      you're ever going to find them. And, for many people, that tends to
      be a problem.

      In Christian circles there's always plenty of wonderful advise about
      how to study the Bible. Everybody seems to have their own favorite
      study guide or system for digging into God's Word. And I applaud
      their enthusiasm and intent. But, for many, all the rules and
      supporting materials these well intentioned people require just to
      read God's Word must seem a bit overwhelming. I know it did for
      me. If that's what's been keeping you from getting into God's Word,
      please consider the following thoughts from a formerly reluctant
      student of the Bible.

      Always remember that the power is in God's Word. It is the
      powerful, two edged sword. So that's what God wants us to read.
      Reading what others have learned from reading the Bible is fine as
      long as it's not done at the expense of reading the Bible for
      ourselves. God wants to reveal Himself to each of us in a close,
      personal way through His Word. He has promised us His Holy Spirit
      as a guide to that revelation. But we've got to do the reading. So
      I encourage you, find an accepted Bible translation that you find
      easy to read and understand. Then set aside a little time each day
      to read it. It doesn't have to be a lot of time, but it does have
      to be a time when reading the Bible has the sole priority. Early
      morning works for me, but chose what works for you.

      I usually try to start my reading time with a simple prayer. I ask
      God to help me as I read His Word so I'll find what He wants me to
      learn for that day. Then, after I read a little, I say a simple
      prayer to Him about what I've read. I thank Him for His Word. I
      tell Him how I'll try to use the lessons He's given me to meet the
      challenges of the coming day. I ask Him help me in doing it. And I
      tell Him I love Him.
      I know my approach to reading the Bible probably seems overly simple
      to many. But I've never found God to be overly complex in what He
      expects from us or what He offers to us. I've never really
      understood why men try to make Him seem so complicated. We may be
      wrapped up in unlimited shades of grey, but He is a God of black and
      white.

      There is much about this complex world that I do not know, but what
      I do know is this: Life is tough. But no matter how tough things
      have gotten, I've always been able to find comfort, peace, and
      encouragement from our Father. I find it daily in the foundation
      for life that is His Word.

      I remain His grateful child and your friend,
      Steve



      SOME "BIBLE" THOUGHTS

      God did not write a book and send it by messenger to be read at a
      distance by unaided minds. He spoke a book and lives in his spoken
      words, constantly speaking his words and causing the power of them
      to persist across the years. A. W. Tozer

      The Bible is alive, it speaks to me; it has feet, it runs after me;
      it has hands, it lays hold on me. Martin Luther

      The Bible is my church. It is always open, and there is my High
      Priest ever waiting to receive me. There I have my confessional, my
      thanksgiving, my psalm of praise, a field of promises, and a
      congregation of whom the world is not worthy-prophets and apostles,
      and martyrs and confessors-in short, all I can want, there I
      find. Charlotte Elliot

      The Bible - banned, burned, beloved. More widely read, more
      frequently attacked than any other book in history. Generations of
      intellectuals have attempted to discredit it; dictators of every age
      have outlawed it and executed those who read it. Yet soldiers carry
      it into battle believing it more powerful than their weapons.
      Fragments of it smuggled into solitary prison cells have transformed
      ruthless killers into gentle saints. Charles Colson

      In regard to this great book, I have but to say, it is the best gift
      God has given to man. All the good Savior gave to the world was
      communicated through this book. But for it we could not know right
      from wrong. All things most desirable for man's welfare, here and
      hereafter, are to be found portrayed in it. Abraham Lincoln

      Its critics, who claimed it to be filled with forgery, fiction, and
      unfulfilled promises, are finding that the difficulties lie with
      themselves, and not the Bible. Greater and more careful scholarship
      has shown that apparent contradictions were caused by incorrect
      translations rather than divine inconsistencies. It was man and not
      the Bible that needed correcting. It is the blueprint of the Master
      Architect. Billy Graham

      One night I was so lonely I couldn't sleep. I decided to try
      meditating on Psalm 36. As I read the words, vivid images began to
      fill my mind. I pictured myself sitting at the edge of a beautiful
      flowing river of God's delights with a demitasse cup. I filled my
      cup and took a sip. It was wonderful. Then I heard the Lord
      say, "Carole, why don't you jump right in?" That night I found that
      when you ask God for daily insights from his Word, it's as if he
      taps you on the shoulder and says, "This is just for you today."
      Carole Mayhall, Can a Busy Christian Develop Her Spiritual Life?



      THE BIBLE IN 50 WORDS OR LESS
      (Contributed by Jeanarie of Heart-Prints)

      God made; Adam bit;
      Noah arked; Abraham split;
      Joseph ruled; Jacob fooled;
      Bush talked; Pharaoh plagued;
      People walked; Sea divided;
      Tablets guided; Promise landed;
      Saul freaked; David peeked;
      Prophets warned; Jesus born;
      God walked; Love talked;
      Anger crucified; Hope died;
      Love rose; Spirit flamed;
      Word spread; God remained.



      GUIDEWORDS ON BIBLE STUDY
      (Author - Paul Borthwick)

      I supposed I knew my Bible,
      Reading piecemeal, hit or miss,
      Now a bit of John or Matthew,
      Now a snatch of Genesis,

      Certain chapters of Isaiah,
      Certain Psalms (the twenty-third),
      Twelfth of Romans, first of Proverbs --
      Yes, I thought I knew the Word!

      But I found that thorough reading
      Was a different thing to do,
      And the way was unfamiliar When I read the Bible through. You who
      like to play at Bible,
      Dip and dabble, here and there,
      Just before you kneel, aweary,
      And yawn through a hurried prayer;

      You who treat the Crown of Writings
      As you treat no other book,
      Just a paragraph, disjointed,
      Just a crude, impatient look,

      Try a worthier procedure,
      Try a broad and steady view;
      You will kneel in very rapture
      When you read the Bible through.



      A FINAL THOUGHT FROM A CHILD

      While sitting next to my first grade daughter during our morning
      worship service one Sunday, I noticed her look down at my open
      Bible. In a low whisper, she asked, "Did God really write that?"

      "Yes," I quietly whispered back.

      Looking down at my Bible again, she said in amazement, "Wow! He
      really has neat handwriting!" Susan Wright, DeBary, FL.


      Editor's Note: This last one is good for a smile, but I also
      included it because it illustrates a very important matter of
      faith. Read the words of Jesus in Matthew 11:25 and Luke 18:16-
      17. Meditate upon those scriptures. Then, guided by the Holy
      Spirit, share a child's faith and amazement at the neatness of God's
      handwriting.

      _____________________________________________________________
      ___________________________

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


      Your love, God, is my song, and I'll sing it! I'm forever telling
      everyone how faithful you are. I'll never quit telling the story of
      your love . . . (Psalm 89:1-2 The Message)
    • Stephen J. Hall
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ NOTES FROM THE VALLEY July 22, 2007 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil
      Message 2 of 10 , Jul 26, 2007
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

        NOTES FROM THE VALLEY
        July 22, 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.

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

        "Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into
        practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The
        rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against
        that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the
        rock. " Matthew 7:24-25

        The Bible. It is the rock, the foundation, that God gave us to build
        our lives upon. In good times and bad times, God's Word is a
        constant source of help for whatever needs we may find in a day.
        Comfort, strength, joy, peace, love, and encouragement. It's all
        there. But you've got to put in some time reading God's Word if
        you're ever going to find them. And, for many people, that tends to
        be a problem.

        In Christian circles there's always plenty of wonderful advise about
        how to study the Bible. Everybody seems to have their own favorite
        study guide or system for digging into God's Word. And I applaud
        their enthusiasm and intent. But, for many, all the rules and
        supporting materials these well intentioned people require just to
        read God's Word must seem a bit overwhelming. I know it did for me.
        If that's what's been keeping you from getting into God's Word,
        please consider the following thoughts from a formerly reluctant
        student of the Bible.

        Always remember that the power is in God's Word. It is the powerful,
        two edged sword. So that's what God wants us to read. Reading what
        others have learned from reading the Bible is fine as long as it's
        not done at the expense of reading the Bible for ourselves. God
        wants to reveal Himself to each of us in a close, personal way
        through His Word. He has promised us His Holy Spirit as a guide to
        that revelation. But we've got to do the reading. So I encourage
        you, find an accepted Bible translation that you find easy to read
        and understand. Then set aside a little time each day to read it.
        It doesn't have to be a lot of time, but it does have to be a time
        when reading the Bible has the sole priority. Early morning works
        for me, but chose what works for you.

        I usually try to start my reading time with a simple prayer. I ask
        God to help me as I read His Word so I'll find what He wants me to
        learn for that day. Then, after I read a little, I say a simple
        prayer to Him about what I've read. I thank Him for His Word. I
        tell Him how I'll try to use the lessons He's given me to meet the
        challenges of the coming day. I ask Him help me in doing it. And I
        tell Him I love Him.
        I know my approach to reading the Bible probably seems overly simple
        to many. But I've never found God to be overly complex in what He
        expects from us or what He offers to us. I've never really
        understood why men try to make Him seem so complicated. We may be
        wrapped up in unlimited shades of grey, but He is a God of black and
        white.

        There is much about this complex world that I do not know, but what I
        do know is this: Life is tough. But no matter how tough things have
        gotten, I've always been able to find comfort, peace, and
        encouragement from our Father. I find it daily in the foundation for
        life that is His Word.

        I remain His grateful child and your friend,
        Steve



        Some "Bible" Thoughts

        God did not write a book and send it by messenger to be read at a
        distance by unaided minds. He spoke a book and lives in his spoken
        words, constantly speaking his words and causing the power of them to
        persist across the years. A. W. Tozer

        The Bible is alive, it speaks to me; it has feet, it runs after me;
        it has hands, it lays hold on me. Martin Luther

        The Bible is my church. It is always open, and there is my High
        Priest ever waiting to receive me. There I have my confessional, my
        thanksgiving, my psalm of praise, a field of promises, and a
        congregation of whom the world is not worthy-prophets and apostles,
        and martyrs and confessors-in short, all I can want, there I
        find. Charlotte Elliot

        The Bible - banned, burned, beloved. More widely read, more
        frequently attacked than any other book in history. Generations of
        intellectuals have attempted to discredit it; dictators of every age
        have outlawed it and executed those who read it. Yet soldiers carry
        it into battle believing it more powerful than their weapons.
        Fragments of it smuggled into solitary prison cells have transformed
        ruthless killers into gentle saints. Charles Colson

        In regard to this great book, I have but to say, it is the best gift
        God has given to man. All the good Savior gave to the world was
        communicated through this book. But for it we could not know right
        from wrong. All things most desirable for man's welfare, here and
        hereafter, are to be found portrayed in it. Abraham Lincoln

        Its critics, who claimed it to be filled with forgery, fiction, and
        unfulfilled promises, are finding that the difficulties lie with
        themselves, and not the Bible. Greater and more careful scholarship
        has shown that apparent contradictions were caused by incorrect
        translations rather than divine inconsistencies. It was man and not
        the Bible that needed correcting. It is the blueprint of the Master
        Architect. Billy Graham

        One night I was so lonely I couldn't sleep. I decided to try
        meditating on Psalm 36. As I read the words, vivid images began to
        fill my mind. I pictured myself sitting at the edge of a beautiful
        flowing river of God's delights with a demitasse cup. I filled my
        cup and took a sip. It was wonderful. Then I heard the Lord
        say, "Carole, why don't you jump right in?" That night I found that
        when you ask God for daily insights from his Word, it's as if he taps
        you on the shoulder and says, "This is just for you today." Carole
        Mayhall, Can a Busy Christian Develop Her Spiritual Life?



        THE BIBLE IN 50 WORDS OR LESS
        (Contributed by Jeanarie of Heart-Prints)

        God made; Adam bit;
        Noah arked; Abraham split;
        Joseph ruled; Jacob fooled;
        Bush talked; Pharaoh plagued;
        People walked; Sea divided;
        Tablets guided; Promise landed;
        Saul freaked; David peeked;
        Prophets warned; Jesus born;
        God walked; Love talked;
        Anger crucified; Hope died;
        Love rose; Spirit flamed;
        Word spread; God remained.


        GUIDEWORDS ON BIBLE STUDY
        (Author - Paul Borthwick)

        I supposed I knew my Bible,
        Reading piecemeal, hit or miss,
        Now a bit of John or Matthew,
        Now a snatch of Genesis,

        Certain chapters of Isaiah,
        Certain Psalms (the twenty-third),
        Twelfth of Romans, first of Proverbs --
        Yes, I thought I knew the Word!

        But I found that thorough reading
        Was a different thing to do,
        And the way was unfamiliar
        When I read the Bible through. You who like to play at Bible,
        Dip and dabble, here and there,
        Just before you kneel, aweary,
        And yawn through a hurried prayer;

        You who treat the Crown of Writings
        As you treat no other book,
        Just a paragraph, disjointed,
        Just a crude, impatient look,

        Try a worthier procedure,
        Try a broad and steady view;
        You will kneel in very rapture
        When you read the Bible through.



        AND A FINAL THOUGHT FROM A CHILD

        While sitting next to my first grade daughter during our morning
        worship service one Sunday, I noticed her look down at my open Bible.
        In a low whisper, she asked, "Did God really write that?"

        "Yes," I quietly whispered back.

        Looking down at my Bible again, she said in amazement, "Wow! He
        really has neat handwriting!" Susan Wright, DeBary, FL.


        Editor's Note: This last one is good for a smile, but I also included
        it because it illustrates a very important matter of faith. Read
        the words of Jesus in Matthew 11:25 and Luke 18:16-17. Meditate upon
        those scriptures. Then, guided by the Holy Spirit, share a child's
        faith and amazement at the neatness of God's handwriting.

        ______________________________________________________________
        __________________________

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


        Your love, God, is my song, and I'll sing it! I'm forever telling
        everyone how faithful you are. I'll never quit telling the story of
        your love . . . (Psalm 89:1-2 The Message)
      • Stephen J. Hall
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ NOTES FROM THE VALLEY July 20, 2008 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil
        Message 3 of 10 , Jul 18, 2008
          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

          NOTES FROM THE VALLEY
          July 20, 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.

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

          FINDING OUR FOUNDATION

          "Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into
          practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The
          rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against
          that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the
          rock. " Matthew 7:24-25

          The Bible. It is the rock, the foundation, that God gave us to build
          our lives upon. In good times and bad times, God's Word is a
          constant source of help for whatever needs we may find in a day.
          Comfort, strength, joy, peace, love, and encouragement. It's all
          there. But you've got to put in some time reading God's Word if
          you're ever going to find them. And, for many people, that tends to
          be a problem.

          In Christian circles there's always plenty of wonderful advise about
          how to study the Bible. Everybody seems to have their own favorite
          study guide or system for digging into God's Word. And I applaud
          their enthusiasm and intent. But, for many, all the rules and
          supporting materials these well intentioned people require just to
          read God's Word must seem a bit overwhelming. I know it did for me.
          If that's what's been keeping you from getting into God's Word,
          please consider the following thoughts from a formerly reluctant
          student of the Bible.

          Always remember that the power is in God's Word. It is the powerful,
          two edged sword. So that's what God wants us to read. Reading what
          others have learned from reading the Bible is fine as long as it's
          not done at the expense of reading the Bible for ourselves. God
          wants to reveal Himself to each of us in a close, personal way
          through His Word. He has promised us His Holy Spirit as a guide to
          that revelation. But we've got to do the reading. So I encourage
          you, find an accepted Bible translation that you find easy to read
          and understand. Then set aside a little time each day to read it.
          It doesn't have to be a lot of time, but it does have to be a time
          when reading the Bible has the sole priority. Early morning works
          for me, but chose what works for you.

          I usually try to start my reading time with a simple prayer. I ask
          God to help me as I read His Word so I'll find what He wants me to
          learn for that day. Then, after I read a little, I say a simple
          prayer to Him about what I've read. I thank Him for His Word. I
          tell Him how I'll try to use the lessons He's given me to meet the
          challenges of the coming day. I ask Him help me in doing it. And I
          tell Him I love Him.
          I know my approach to reading the Bible probably seems overly simple
          to many. But I've never found God to be overly complex in what He
          expects from us or what He offers to us. I've never really
          understood why men try to make Him seem so complicated. We may be
          wrapped up in unlimited shades of grey, but He is a God of black and
          white.

          There is much about this complex world that I do not know, but what I
          do know is this: Life is tough. But no matter how tough things have
          gotten, I've always been able to find comfort, peace, and
          encouragement from our Father. I find it daily in the foundation for
          life that is His Word.

          I remain His grateful child and your friend,
          Steve



          SOME "BIBLE" THOUGHTS

          God did not write a book and send it by messenger to be read at a
          distance by unaided minds. He spoke a book and lives in his spoken
          words, constantly speaking his words and causing the power of them to
          persist across the years. A. W. Tozer

          The Bible is alive, it speaks to me; it has feet, it runs after me;
          it has hands, it lays hold on me. Martin Luther

          The Bible is my church. It is always open, and there is my High
          Priest ever waiting to receive me. There I have my confessional, my
          thanksgiving, my psalm of praise, a field of promises, and a
          congregation of whom the world is not worthy - prophets and apostles,
          and martyrs and confessors- in short, all I can want, there I
          find. Charlotte Elliot

          The Bible - banned, burned, beloved. More widely read, more
          frequently attacked than any other book in history. Generations of
          intellectuals have attempted to discredit it; dictators of every age
          have outlawed it and executed those who read it. Yet soldiers carry
          it into battle believing it more powerful than their weapons.
          Fragments of it smuggled into solitary prison cells have transformed
          ruthless killers into gentle saints. Charles Colson

          In regard to this great book, I have but to say, it is the best gift
          God has given to man. All the good Savior gave to the world was
          communicated through this book. But for it we could not know right
          from wrong. All things most desirable for man's welfare, here and
          hereafter, are to be found portrayed in it. Abraham Lincoln

          Its critics, who claimed it to be filled with forgery, fiction, and
          unfulfilled promises, are finding that the difficulties lie with
          themselves, and not the Bible. Greater and more careful scholarship
          has shown that apparent contradictions were caused by incorrect
          translations rather than divine inconsistencies. It was man and not
          the Bible that needed correcting. It is the blueprint of the Master
          Architect. Billy Graham

          One night I was so lonely I couldn't sleep. I decided to try
          meditating on Psalm 36. As I read the words, vivid images began to
          fill my mind. I pictured myself sitting at the edge of a beautiful
          flowing river of God's delights with a demitasse cup. I filled my
          cup and took a sip. It was wonderful. Then I heard the Lord
          say, "Carole, why don't you jump right in?" That night I found that
          when you ask God for daily insights from his Word, it's as if he taps
          you on the shoulder and says, "This is just for you today." Carole
          Mayhall, Can a Busy Christian Develop Her Spiritual Life?



          THE BIBLE IN 50 WORDS OR LESS
          (Contributed by Jeanarie of Heart-Prints)

          God made; Adam bit;
          Noah arked; Abraham split;
          Joseph ruled; Jacob fooled;
          Bush talked; Pharaoh plagued;
          People walked; Sea divided;
          Tablets guided; Promise landed;
          Saul freaked; David peeked;
          Prophets warned; Jesus born;
          God walked; Love talked;
          Anger crucified; Hope died;
          Love rose; Spirit flamed;
          Word spread; God remained.


          Guidewords on Bible Study
          (Author - Paul Borthwick)

          I supposed I knew my Bible,
          Reading piecemeal, hit or miss,
          Now a bit of John or Matthew,
          Now a snatch of Genesis,

          Certain chapters of Isaiah,
          Certain Psalms (the twenty-third),
          Twelfth of Romans, first of Proverbs --
          Yes, I thought I knew the Word!

          But I found that thorough reading
          Was a different thing to do,
          And the way was unfamiliar
          When I read the Bible through.

          You who like to play at Bible,
          Dip and dabble, here and there,
          Just before you kneel, aweary,
          And yawn through a hurried prayer;

          You who treat the Crown of Writings
          As you treat no other book,
          Just a paragraph, disjointed,
          Just a crude, impatient look,

          Try a worthier procedure,
          Try a broad and steady view;
          You will kneel in very rapture
          When you read the Bible through.



          AND A FINAL THOUGHT FROM A CHILD

          While sitting next to my first grade daughter during our morning
          worship service one Sunday, I noticed her look down at my open Bible.
          In a low whisper, she asked, "Did God really write that?"

          "Yes," I quietly whispered back.

          Looking down at my Bible again, she said in amazement, "Wow! He
          really has neat handwriting!" Susan Wright, DeBary, FL.


          Editor's Note: This last one is good for a smile, but I also included
          it because it illustrates a very important matter of faith. Read
          the words of Jesus in Matthew 11:25 and Luke 18:16-17. Meditate upon
          those scriptures. Then, guided by the Holy Spirit, share a child's
          faith and amazement at the neatness of God's handwriting.

          ______________________________________________________________________
          ______________________

          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 August 2, 2009 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil
          Message 4 of 10 , Jul 30, 2009
            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
            NOTES FROM THE VALLEY
            August 2, 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.
            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

            FINDING OUR FOUNDATION

            "Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. " Matthew 7:24-25

            The Bible. It is the rock, the foundation, that God gave us to build our lives upon. In good times and bad times, God's Word is a constant source of help for whatever needs we may find in a day. Comfort, strength, joy, peace, love, and encouragement. It's all there. But you've got to put in some time reading God's Word if you're ever going to find them. And, for many people, that tends to be a problem.

            In Christian circles there's always plenty of wonderful advise about how to study the Bible. Everybody seems to have their own favorite study guide or system for digging into God's Word. And I applaud their enthusiasm and intent. But, for many, all the rules and supporting materials these well intentioned people require just to read God's Word must seem a bit overwhelming. I know it did for me. If that's what's been keeping you from getting into God's Word, please consider the following thoughts from a formerly reluctant student of the Bible.

            Always remember that the power is in God's Word. It is the powerful, two edged sword. So that's what God wants us to read. Reading what others have learned from reading the Bible is fine as long as it's not done at the expense of reading the Bible for ourselves. God wants to reveal Himself to each of us in a close, personal way through His Word. He has promised us His Holy Spirit as a guide to that revelation. But we've got to do the reading. So I encourage you, find an accepted Bible translation that you find easy to read and understand. Then set aside a little time each day to read it. It doesn't have to be a lot of time, but it does have to be a time when reading the Bible has the sole priority. Early morning works for me, but chose what works for you.

            I usually try to start my reading time with a simple prayer. I ask God to help me as I read His Word so I'll find what He wants me to learn for that day. Then, after I read a little, I say a simple prayer to Him about what I've read. I thank Him for His Word. I tell Him how I'll try to use the lessons He's given me to meet the challenges of the coming day. I ask Him help me in doing it. And I tell Him I love Him.

            I know my approach to reading the Bible probably seems overly simple to many. But I've never found God to be overly complex in what He expects from us or what He offers to us. I've never really understood why men try to make Him seem so complicated. We may be wrapped up in unlimited shades of grey, but He is a God of black and white.

            There is much about this complex world that I do not know, but what I do know is this: Life is tough. But no matter how tough things have gotten, I've always been able to find comfort, peace, and encouragement from our Father. I find it daily in the foundation for life that is His Word.

            I remain His grateful child and your friend,
            Steve



            SOME "BIBLE" THOUGHTS

            God did not write a book and send it by messenger to be read at a distance by unaided minds. He spoke a book and lives in his spoken words, constantly speaking his words and causing the power of them to persist across the years. A. W. Tozer

            The Bible is alive, it speaks to me; it has feet, it runs after me; it has hands, it lays hold on me. Martin Luther

            The Bible is my church. It is always open, and there is my High Priest ever waiting to receive me. There I have my confessional, my thanksgiving, my psalm of praise, a field of promises, and a congregation of whom the world is not worthy - prophets and apostles, and martyrs and confessors- in short, all I can want, there I find. Charlotte Elliot

            The Bible - banned, burned, beloved. More widely read, more frequently attacked than any other book in history. Generations of intellectuals have attempted to discredit it; dictators of every age have outlawed it and executed those who read it. Yet soldiers carry it into battle believing it more powerful than their weapons. Fragments of it smuggled into solitary prison cells have transformed ruthless killers into gentle saints. Charles Colson

            In regard to this great book, I have but to say, it is the best gift God has given to man. All the good Savior gave to the world was communicated through this book. But for it we could not know right from wrong. All things most desirable for man's welfare, here and hereafter, are to be found portrayed in it. Abraham Lincoln

            Its critics, who claimed it to be filled with forgery, fiction, and unfulfilled promises, are finding that the difficulties lie with themselves, and not the Bible. Greater and more careful scholarship has shown that apparent contradictions were caused by incorrect translations rather than divine inconsistencies. It was man and not the Bible that needed correcting. It is the blueprint of the Master Architect. Billy Graham


            One night I was so lonely I couldn't sleep. I decided to try meditating on Psalm 36. As I read the words, vivid images began to fill my mind. I pictured myself sitting at the edge of a beautiful flowing river of God's delights with a demitasse cup. I filled my cup and took a sip. It was wonderful. Then I heard the Lord say, "Carole, why don't you jump right in?" That night I found that when you ask God for daily insights from his Word, it's as if he taps you on the shoulder and says, "This is just for you today." Carole Mayhall, Can a Busy Christian Develop Her Spiritual Life?



            THE BIBLE IN 50 WORDS OR LESS
            (Contributed by Jeanarie of Heart-Prints)

            God made; Adam bit;
            Noah arked; Abraham split;
            Joseph ruled; Jacob fooled;
            Bush talked; Pharaoh plagued;
            People walked; Sea divided;
            Tablets guided; Promise landed;
            Saul freaked; David peeked;
            Prophets warned; Jesus born;
            God walked; Love talked;
            Anger crucified; Hope died;
            Love rose; Spirit flamed;
            Word spread; God remained.



            GUIDEWORDS ON BIBLE STUDY
            (Author - Paul Borthwick)

            I supposed I knew my Bible,
            Reading piecemeal, hit or miss,
            Now a bit of John or Matthew,
            Now a snatch of Genesis,

            Certain chapters of Isaiah,
            Certain Psalms (the twenty-third),
            Twelfth of Romans, first of Proverbs --
            Yes, I thought I knew the Word!

            But I found that thorough reading
            Was a different thing to do, And the way was unfamiliar
            When I read the Bible through.

            You who like to play at Bible,
            Dip and dabble, here and there,
            Just before you kneel, aweary,
            And yawn through a hurried prayer;

            You who treat the Crown of Writings
            As you treat no other book,
            Just a paragraph, disjointed,
            Just a crude, impatient look,

            Try a worthier procedure,
            Try a broad and steady view;
            You will kneel in very rapture
            When you read the Bible through.



            AND A FINAL COMMENT FROM A CHILD

            While sitting next to my first grade daughter during our morning worship service one Sunday, I noticed her look down at my open Bible. In a low whisper, she asked, "Did God really write that?"

            "Yes," I quietly whispered back.

            Looking down at my Bible again, she said in amazement, "Wow! He really has neat handwriting!" Susan Wright, DeBary, FL.


            Editor's Note: This last one is good for a smile, but I also included it because it illustrates a very important matter of faith. Read the words of Jesus in Matthew 11:25 and Luke 18:16-17. Meditate upon those scriptures. Then, guided by the Holy Spirit, share a child's faith and amazement at the neatness of God's handwriting.

            ____________________________________________________________________________________________

            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 August 1, 2010 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil
            Message 5 of 10 , Jul 30, 2010
              ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

              NOTES FROM THE VALLEY
              August 1, 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.

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

              FINDING OUR FOUNDATION

              "Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. " Matthew 7:24-25

              The Bible. It is the rock, the foundation, that God gave us to build our lives upon. In good times and bad times, God's Word is a constant source of help for whatever needs we may find in a day. Comfort, strength, joy, peace, love, and encouragement. It's all there. But you've got to put in some time reading God's Word if you're ever going to find them. And, for many people, that tends to be a problem.

              In Christian circles there's always plenty of wonderful advise about how to study the Bible. Everybody seems to have their own favorite study guide or system for digging into God's Word. And I applaud their enthusiasm and intent. But, for many, all the rules and supporting materials these well intentioned people require just to read God's Word must seem a bit overwhelming. I know it did for me. If that's what's been keeping you from getting into God's Word, please consider the following thoughts from a formerly reluctant student of the Bible.

              Always remember that the power is in God's Word. It is the powerful, two edged sword. So that's what God wants us to read. Reading what others have learned from reading the Bible is fine as long as it's not done at the expense of reading the Bible for ourselves. God wants to reveal Himself to each of us in a close, personal way through His Word. He has promised us His Holy Spirit as a guide to that revelation. But we've got to do the reading. So I encourage you, find an accepted Bible translation that you find easy to read and understand. Then set aside a little time each day to read it. It doesn't have to be a lot of time, but it does have to be a time when reading the Bible has the sole priority. Early morning works for me, but chose what works for you.

              I usually try to start my reading time with a simple prayer. I ask God to help me as I read His Word so I'll find what He wants me to learn for that day. Then, after I read a little, I say a simple prayer to Him about what I've read. I thank Him for His Word. I tell Him how I'll try to use the lessons He's given me to meet the challenges of the coming day. I ask Him help me in doing it. And I tell Him I love Him.

              I know my approach to reading the Bible probably seems overly simple to many. But I've never found God to be overly complex in what He expects from us or what He offers to us. I've never really understood why men try to make Him seem so complicated. We may be wrapped up in unlimited shades of grey, but He is a God of black and white.

              There is much about this complex world that I do not know, but what I do know is this: Life is tough. But no matter how tough things have gotten, I've always been able to find comfort, peace, and encouragement from our Father. I find it daily in the foundation for life that is His Word.

              I remain His grateful child and your friend,
              Steve


              SOME "BIBLE" THOUGHTS

              God did not write a book and send it by messenger to be read at a distance by unaided minds. He spoke a book and lives in his spoken words, constantly speaking his words and causing the power of them to persist across the years. A. W. Tozer

              The Bible is alive, it speaks to me; it has feet, it runs after me; it has hands, it lays hold on me. Martin Luther

              The Bible is my church. It is always open, and there is my High Priest ever waiting to receive me. There I have my confessional, my thanksgiving, my psalm of praise, a field of promises, and a congregation of whom the world is not worthy - prophets and apostles, and martyrs and confessors- in short, all I can want, there I find. Charlotte Elliot

              The Bible - banned, burned, beloved. More widely read, more frequently attacked than any other book in history. Generations of intellectuals have attempted to discredit it; dictators of every age have outlawed it and executed those who read it. Yet soldiers carry it into battle believing it more powerful than their weapons. Fragments of it smuggled into solitary prison cells have transformed ruthless killers into gentle saints. Charles Colson

              In regard to this great book, I have but to say, it is the best gift God has given to man. All the good Savior gave to the world was communicated through this book. But for it we could not know right from wrong. All things most desirable for man's welfare, here and hereafter, are to be found portrayed in it. Abraham Lincoln

              Its critics, who claimed it to be filled with forgery, fiction, and unfulfilled promises, are finding that the difficulties lie with themselves, and not the Bible. Greater and more careful scholarship has shown that apparent contradictions were caused by incorrect translations rather than divine inconsistencies. It was man and not the Bible that needed correcting. It is the blueprint of the Master Architect. Billy Graham

              One night I was so lonely I couldn't sleep. I decided to try meditating on Psalm 36. As I read the words, vivid images began to fill my mind. I pictured myself sitting at the edge of a beautiful flowing river of God's delights with a demitasse cup. I filled my cup and took a sip. It was wonderful. Then I heard the Lord say, "Carole, why don't you jump right in?" That night I found that when you ask God for daily insights from his Word, it's as if he taps you on the shoulder and says, "This is just for you today." Carole Mayhall, Can a Busy Christian Develop Her Spiritual Life?


              THE BIBLE IN 50 WORDS OR LESS
              (Contributed by Jeanarie of Heart-Prints)

              God made; Adam bit;
              Noah arked; Abraham split;
              Joseph ruled; Jacob fooled;
              Bush talked; Pharaoh plagued;
              People walked; Sea divided;
              Tablets guided; Promise landed;
              Saul freaked; David peeked;
              Prophets warned; Jesus born;
              God walked; Love talked;
              Anger crucified; Hope died;
              Love rose; Spirit flamed;
              Word spread; God remained.


              GUIDEWORDS ON BIBLE STUDY
              (Author - Paul Borthwick)

              I supposed I knew my Bible,
              Reading piecemeal, hit or miss,
              Now a bit of John or Matthew,
              Now a snatch of Genesis,

              Certain chapters of Isaiah,
              Certain Psalms (the twenty-third),
              Twelfth of Romans, first of Proverbs --
              Yes, I thought I knew the Word!

              But I found that thorough reading
              Was a different thing to do,
              And the way was unfamiliar
              When I read the Bible through.

              You who like to play at Bible,
              Dip and dabble, here and there,
              Just before you kneel, aweary,
              And yawn through a hurried prayer;

              You who treat the Crown of Writings
              As you treat no other book,
              Just a paragraph, disjointed,
              Just a crude, impatient look,

              Try a worthier procedure,
              Try a broad and steady view;
              You will kneel in very rapture
              When you read the Bible through.


              AND A FINAL THOUGHT FROM A CHILD

              While sitting next to my first grade daughter during our morning worship service one Sunday, I noticed her look down at my open Bible. In a low whisper, she asked, "Did God really write that?"

              "Yes," I quietly whispered back.

              Looking down at my Bible again, she said in amazement, "Wow! He really has neat handwriting!" Susan Wright, DeBary, FL.


              Editor's Note: This last one is good for a smile, but I also included it because it illustrates a very important matter of faith. Read the words of Jesus in Matthew 11:25 and Luke 18:16-17. Meditate upon those scriptures. Then, guided by the Holy Spirit, share a child's faith and amazement at the neatness of God's handwriting.

              _______________________________________________

              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@...
              _______________________________________________

              "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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