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                                          Hannah prayed for a son.

“Deeply hurt, Hannah prayed to the Lord and wept with many tears.  Making a vow, she pleaded, ‘Lord of Hosts, if You will take notice of Your servant’s affliction, remember and not forget me, and give Your servant a son, I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and his hair will never be cut (1 Samuel 1:10-11 HCSB).”

The LORD God gave Hannah the desire of her heart.

“Hannah prayed:

My heart rejoices in the Lord;
my horn is lifted up by the Lord.
My mouth boasts over my enemies,
because I rejoice in Your salvation.
There is no one holy like the Lord.
There is no one besides You!
And there is no rock like our God.
Do not boast so proudly,
or let arrogant words come out of your mouth,
for the Lord is a God of knowledge,
and actions are weighed by Him.
The bows of the warriors are broken,
but the feeble are clothed with strength.
Those who are full hire themselves out for food,
but those who are starving hunger no more.
The woman who is childless gives birth to seven,
but the woman with many sons pines away.
The Lord brings death and gives life;
He sends some to Sheol, and He raises others up.
The Lord brings poverty and gives wealth;
He humbles and He exalts.
He raises the poor from the dust
and lifts the needy from the garbage pile.
He seats them with noblemen
and gives them a throne of honor.
For the foundations of the earth are the Lord’s;
He has set the world on them.
He guards the steps of His faithful ones,
but the wicked perish in darkness,
for a man does not prevail by his own strength.
Those who oppose the Lord will be shattered;
He will thunder in the heavens against them.
The Lord will judge the ends of the earth.
He will give power to His king;
He will lift up the horn of His anointed (1 Samuel 2:1-10 HCSB).”

 

 

 

 

{My Mom_ Betty Ferris Ford/ 1940’s picture}

The following article is creative non-fiction…

 

Wish I may, wish I might… gazing at the twinkling star I closed my eyes. I wish I could go to Hollywood

“Beth, turn out that light! Get in bed; you’ve got school tomorrow!”

“Yes, Mother,” The springs squeaked as I climbed up onto the bed, and wedged myself under heavy hand-stitched quilts.

Will winter ever end?

Gentle ticking of the wind-up clock soothed me to sleep. The following morning I slipped into my favorite frock; Deanna Durbin wore the fashion design in her last movie. I styled my wavy long hair like hers too, and relished the compliments when people said I resembled her.

My kid sister, Debby said, “Beth, get away from that mirror! Mother and Daddy are waiting at the breakfast table!”

“Just a minute! I want to put a matching bow in my hair.”

“Why bother? You’ll have to wear a kerchief in this snow storm.”

“I’ll fix it again after I get to school. There, that’s better.”

I kissed Mother and Daddy before sitting down. The aroma of Daddy’s fresh ground coffee gave me needed courage.

“There’s a school dance Friday night; all my friends will be there. Can I go?”

Daddy just continued stirring his steaming oatmeal. I hoped Mother would be agreeable.

She took a long contemplating sip of green tea, looked me straight in the eye and said, “You can go… if you promise to get up bright and early Saturday morning and do the floors. “

“I promise!”

I detested the cleaning of the varnish veneer oak floors in many rooms, but I would do anything to get out of the house!

Friday night I met my dreamboat. “Well, hello gorgeous!” Joe held me close and my heart pounded in rhythm with the jitterbug. We dated steady and planned the perfect life together. I quit school in my junior year of high school and became his wife.

The honeymoon ended and my nightmare began. How could I have been so naive? He wanted to see a pretty face when he sobered up from a binge. After a few years, I no longer could believe his promises to quit drinking. There was now a child involved.

“Divorce! Give me a divorce!”

There, I said it. I will swallow my pride and go home to Mother and Daddy.

I needed money to support my little girl, boarded the bus into the big city in search for work. It was not easy without a diploma, and I had no skills to list on applications. Help wanted ads included an opening for clerk in a prestigious photographer’s studio; I acquired the coveted position.

Moving to the city, Mother convinced me it would be best for Patty to stay with her. We both knew I could not afford childcare. Weekend visits flew by; it seemed like my pending divorce not only ended my marriage, but nearly severed my relationship with my daughter too.

The photographer noticed my interest in the business, and trained me in the art of coloring portraits with oils. He also noticed me… I posed for him on several occasions, and took great pride in his comments on how photogenic I was.

One weekend, back at home, my life took a dramatic turn. My Brother Bill’s friend, Freddy dropped by.

“Beth, glad you’re here. I’ve been thinking about you.”

I smiled. “Is that good or bad?”

Laughing, he said, “I want you to meet someone.”

“No blind dates for me!”

“This is different. You’ll like Paul.”

“What’s he like?”

“He’s got a head on his shoulders, Army man, close to 35, and never been married. My sister’s had her eye on him, but he’s not interested….kind of’ tall, dark hair. You’ll make the perfect couple, both look like movie stars!”

Movie stars… Has he been reading my diary? Maybe I should meet this guy….

He introduced us and we were inseparable; we pledged our love in a church ceremony immediately after my divorce became final. He adopted Patty and our family grew with one, two, three other daughters. We were developing our own chorus line! Paul finally got his boy; I needed to see it to believe it!

Tarnishing dreams of stardom hid dormant. Time passed, and I experienced the thrill of seeing Hollywood when visiting our son in California. Inwardly, I perceive I am young and beautiful, dressed in silks, luxurious furs, and attending movie premieres. I take a final glance at Paul before turning off the light. He is still my leading man.

“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!

 

 

 

 

 

Listen!

‘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)!”

 

 

 

                     {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.

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).” 

Trickle, trickle

I bet Tickle, tickle or ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star’ popped into your head. Right?

How about Trickle-down economics?

Surely you’ve had water trickle down your neck in the shower.

Old Testament priests had holy oil trickle down their bodies.

Trickle, trickle!

“How good and pleasant it is
when brothers live together in harmony!

It is like fine oil on the head,
running down on the beard,
running down Aaron’s beard
onto his robes (Psalm 132:1-2 HCSB).”

Consider the power and impact of Trickle down truth. God’s word trickled down from Ezra, to the Levites and to the people. Open your Bible…

“Ezra opened the book in full view of all the people, since he was elevated above everyone. As he opened it, all the people stood up. Ezra praised the Lord, the great God, and with their hands uplifted all the people said, ‘Amen, Amen!’ Then they bowed down and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground.

Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, and Pelaiah, who were Levites, explained the law to the people as they stood in their places. They read out of the book of the law of God, translating and giving the meaning so that the people could understand what was read (Nehemiah 8:5-8 HCSB).”

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