Archive for April 2017

Down in the Valley…

April 29, 2017

“Down in the valley, valley so low
Hang your head over, hear the wind blow
Hear the wind blow, love, hear the wind blow
Hang your head over, hear the wind blow.”

[Public Domain/Henry Marvin Belden-1909]

 

Step back in time; look down into the valley of Elah…

“Now the Philistines gathered their armies together to battle, and were gathered at Sochoh, which belongs to Judah; they encamped between Sochoh and Azekah, in Ephes Dammim. And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered together, and they encamped in the Valley of Elah, and drew up in battle array against the Philistines. The Philistines stood on a mountain on one side, and Israel stood on a mountain on the other side, with a valley between them.

And a champion went out from the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, from Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. He had a bronze helmet on his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail, and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of bronze. And he had bronze armor on his legs and a bronze javelin between his shoulders.  Now the staff of his spear was like a weaver’s beam, and his iron spearhead weighed six hundred shekels; and a shield-bearer went before him. Then he stood and cried out to the armies of Israel, and said to them, ‘Why have you come out to line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and you the servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves, and let him come down to me. If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will be your servants. But if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall be our servants and serve us.’ And the Philistine said, ‘I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together.’  When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid (1 Samuel 17:1-11 NKJV).”

The valley was a place of confrontation.

“Now Saul and they and all the men of Israel were in the Valley of Elah, fighting with the Philistines (1 Samuel 17:19 NKJV).”

The valley was the perfect place for a valiant young man.

“Then David said to Saul, ‘Let no man’s heart fail because of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine (1 Samuel 17:32 NKJV).”

The lad prepared to meet the giant.

“Then he took his staff in his hand; and he chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in a shepherd’s bag, in a pouch which he had, and his sling was in his hand. And he drew near to the Philistine (1 Samuel 17:40 NKJV).”

David relied on the LORD.

“Then David said to the Philistine, ‘You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.  Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hands.’

 So it was, when the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, that David hurried and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine. Then David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone; and he slung it and struck the Philistine in his forehead, so that the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the earth. So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him. But there was no sword in the hand of David (1 Samuel 17:45-50 NKJV).”

Victory in the valley!

 

 

 

 

 

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Listen!

April 20, 2017

‘Listen!’

Dr. Charles Stanley voices the command repeatedly.

Was the crowd listening to Apostle Peter that day?

Did they hear the truth?

“Men of Israel, listen to these words: This Jesus the Nazarene was a man pointed out to you by God with miracles, wonders, and signs that God did among you through Him, just as you yourselves know. Though He was delivered up according to God’s determined plan and foreknowledge, you used lawless people to nail Him to a cross and kill Him. God raised Him up, ending the pains of death, because it was not possible for Him to be held by it (Acts 2:22-24 HCSB).”

Death had no hold on Him. King David had prophesied…

“Seeing this in advance, he spoke concerning the resurrection of the Messiah:

He was not left in Hades, and His flesh did not experience decay.

“God has resurrected this Jesus. We are all witnesses of this. Therefore, since He has been exalted to the right hand of God and has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit, He has poured out what you both see and hear (Acts 2:31-33 HCSB).”

Did they hear; were they alert and listening?

“Therefore let all the house of Israel know with certainty that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah (Acts 2:36 HCSB)!”

 

 

 

Women, They Were First

April 14, 2017

                     {image:crosscards.com}

Resurrection morning is not scripted by any of the disciples…  
 
Before full daylight, faithful women begin a mission of love. Laden with spices to anoint His body, they approach the Master’s tomb contemplating how to remove the large stone barrier.  

Finding it open puzzles them. The stone lay off to the side, affording them access to the burial place. Consider the women’s frame of mind as they discover Jesus is not inside His place of burial. Where is He? 
 
Suddenly, they encounter two men dressed in radiant clothing. Fright grips them as they fall to the ground. The men ask a pertinent question.

“Why do you seek the living among the dead (Luke 24:5b NKJV)?” 

A messenger continues. “He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, saying, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again (Luke 24:6-7 NKJV).” 

But… They saw Jesus die. Three days have passed since His lifeless body had been placed inside the sealed tomb. Yet, hope and joy rise in their hearts as the rays of the morning sun.  

“So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word (Matthew 28:8 NKJV).” 

On their way with their witness, they meet the risen Christ who calms their fears.  

“Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. Go and tell My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me (Matthew 28:10 NKJV).” 

The message is true; Jesus is alive! 

In the current culture, prejudice against women prevails as they share their experience with the disciples. 

“And their words seemed to them like idle tales, and they did not believe them (Luke 24:11 NKJV).” 

The disciples receive their own affirmation of Jesus’ resurrection in the remainder of the 11th chapter of Luke’s Gospel. Jesus is indeed alive and the women’s message is verified. 
 
Don’t lose track of the women’s prized privileges. They are the first to see the open tomb, first to hear an announcement of His resurrection, first to behold the risen Savior. They are first appointed messengers to carry the gospel, the good news of Jesus conquering death.

Let’s Make a Deal!

April 1, 2017

Do you haggle over prices or financial debt? Look for compromise in relationship conflicts? 

Let’s make a deal!  

“Now He was also saying to the disciples, ‘There was a rich man who had a manager, and this manager was reported to him as squandering his possessions.  And he called him and said to him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an accounting of your management, for you can no longer be manager.’  The manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do, since my master is taking the management away from me? I am not strong enough to dig; I am ashamed to beg. I know what I shall do, so that when I am removed from the management people will welcome me into their homes.’ And he summoned each one of his master’s debtors, and he began saying to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ And he said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.’ And he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’ Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ And he said, ‘A hundred measures of wheat.’ He *said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.’ And his master praised the unrighteous manager because he had acted shrewdly; for the sons of this age are more shrewd in relation to their own kind than the sons of light (Luke 16:1-8 NASB).” 

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