From Ben Fronczek... Mountain Top are Great But Valleys are Where We Live

Mountain Top are Great But Valleys are Where We Live

Last Wednesday afternoon was a beautiful clear day and my daughter asked if I would climb a mountain with her. So we climbed Buck MT which overlooks Lake George. After struggling to get to the top we were rewarded with a spectacular and beautiful clear view. There was hardly any wind, the sun was warm, and the lake below sparkled blue. I sat and recovered from the strenuous climb and enjoyed the stay on top of that MT for about an hour, but then we knew we had to leave that beautiful spot for the valley below.

Edward Viesturs is one of the few men who has accomplished what many have not. Maybe some of you know what the 8000’ers are. But for those of you who do not, there are 14 high peaks that are higher than 8000 meters, or 26200 feet. There are very few people who have been able to climb all of these mountains. But there is only a handful that have climbed to the top of all these mountains without bottles of Oxygen; Edward has. Doctors have studied him and have determined that his lungs are larger than any other human beings his size and body weight. It’s as though he had been built with the ability to climb in those high altitudes.

But sometimes great success over a life time is not about what you accomplish as much as knowing who you are, and knowing your own ability and limitations.

You see Edward has a different attitude than most. He is known as a judicial climber. He will sacrifice whatever must be sacrificed, not to reach the top, but to reach the bottom. As a matter of fact his life proves that. There have been two different occasions; one on Everest where he came within 300 feet of the top, but because conditions changed he turned around and descended, knowing he would have to climb it again. On another occasion while climbing another 8000’ers, (I can’t imagine this) he climbed to within 20 feet of the top and turned back knowing he would have to climb that MT again.  He knew his limitations, and was wise enough to retreat when in danger. This is a lesson we may all need to learn!

When we think about Mountain top experiences, we also think about those high points in our life. (The birth of a child, our wedding day, the day we become a Christian and put on Jesus in Baptism, a great vacation, or maybe a great seminar, an exciting mission trip like the one I just went on.) Those occasions can be fun, exciting, refreshing, even restful. It’s easy to look at those times as the best of times and value those occasions so highly that we fail to appreciate what’s is in the valleys below.

Transition: I think one of the biggest challenges that Jesus had was to get His disciples to see and think beyond this temporal, physical, earthly realm and open their eyes up to the eternal spiritual realm of God.

I heard someone say that teaching these guys was like trying to clean out a paint roller. Did you ever try to do that? I think that is where all the paint in America goes, it hidden in used paint rollers. It doesn’t all go on the walls. And when you try to clean them out, you rinse and you rinse, and you rinse more and the paint keep coming out.  Well the disciples were a little like that.

I wonder how many times as He worked with His disciples and wondered, ‘How long is it going to take you guys to get this. When are you going to understand that how temporary all this is.’ I keep talking about this but you aren’t getting it. It’s like they could only see things from a carnal, earthy point of view. (They liked the thought of having a kingdom, but they only imagined an earthly kingdom.  They loved the idea of having a king, but only imagined Him to be an earthly king.)

So Jesus more than once tried to get them to see beyond the physical.

On one particular occasion He took three of his closest disciples on a hike, to the top of a mountain, and they would have what I’d call a mountain top experience.  I believe it changed their life, as it should have.

In Mark 9 we read a story that is very familiar to us, usually title the Transfiguration of Jesus. Click on  and read Mark 9:1-13

But just before this account in Chapter 8 we read where Jesus informed His disciples that we was going to go down to Jerusalem where at the hands of the elders He would be mistreated, suffer and then be killed, but then He tells them that He would rise again.

But in response we see the earthly mentality of Peter surface again. He rebukes Jesus, probably telling Him that no way was that going to happen.

Jesus probably thought, ‘Why are you saying this Peter? Is it because you are such a good and spiritual man. Or, are you doing it because you are looking at this thru those selfish, temporal, carnal lenses again?’

Jesus was so offended by Peter’s narrow earthly view He spoke to him more harshly than almost anyone else we read about in scripture. In vs. 33 He called him Satan and told him in so many words ‘get out of MY face, and get behind me.’

He told him that he did not have ‘the things of God in mind, rather the earthly, carnal things of man.’

‘How long have I worked with you 12, and all you can think about is the here and now, the temporary things of this world.’

And then in Chapter 9:1 we read that, ‘six days later…’ Did Jesus let them ponder what he told Peter that day? (That all they thought about was the earthly, temporal things of this world?)

What about you? Are you only living for what you can get in the here and now? Are you oblivious to how temporary all this is?  Jesus one said, “What good is if you gain the whole world, yet lose your soul?”

So then Jesus took Peter, James and John up a mountain, and what an amazing story. The four of them got away from the valley for a little while.     It’s not so much about where they are, rather what happens there. In verse 2 it says, “There He was transfigured before them. 3 His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them.”  Matthews account said that His face shined like the sun.

This word ‘transfiguration’ is actually the word metamorphosis in the original Greek. It is also used in other passages concerning us. In Romans 12:2  it says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed (or morphed)  by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

And in 2 Cor. 3:18 lets Christians know that we are being transformed, (or morphed) into the image our of Lord with ever increasing glory.” 

Here Peter, James, and John were seeing Jesus transformed before their very eyes. They got a peak at His true glory as He temporarily transformed.

Not only that, then they saw and heard Elijah and Moses speaking with Jesus. Peter, James and John saw with their own eyes that these men were alive, they could recognize them, and could hear what they were talking about.

And what were they talking about? In Luke’s account, in Lk. 9:31 it said that they were talking about Jesus’ departure which would take place in Jerusalem. Just what Jesus discussed with them about 6 days earlier.

I want you to notice something here. Notice how they did not speak of His death from a sad earthly point of view, rather they describe death as a departure, when we leave here.

Much more could be said about this story, but this is what I want you see here today. Yes, Jesus was changed on that mountain top, but so too were those three men: Peter, James and John. Their eyes were more opened to the eternal spiritual realm of God than ever before.

I’m sure they would have loved to stay right there on top of that mountain with those who were before their eyes, but just like Moses had to come down from the MT top after speaking to God, we read in Mk.9:9 they also had to return to the valley. Sometimes it more important to come down off the mountain top and return to the valley below. And hopefully they returned, as refreshed change men,  taking something good with them to share with others.

Wednesday after Leah and I got home we shared our stories with Nancy, and then later I share some on my Facebook page along with a few beautiful picture we took. And likewise this experience probably had a huge impact on those men. They eventually shared what they saw on that MT that day. I am sure they excited, awed, and revitalized by their MY top experience.  I’m sure it changed their life and opened their eyes wider to the awesome eternal nature of the spiritual realm.

I am here to tell you today that these mountain top experience are not only important for us, they are beneficial.  We occasionally need to experience them if we hope to remain strong and effective.  More than once we read that Jesus went up and into the mountains to pray. It was a place He went to get re-focused, re-energized, and I believe it helped Him cope and deal with the stress of this world.

We need some mountain top experiences as well; times and places where we can get re-energized and get our minds re-focused on what is important. That’s why churches have seminars, Ladies Teas, Youth Rallies, Men’s retreats Area-Wide-Sings, and why some go to the sight and sound theater, and more; hopefully to get built up, to learn more and open our eyes to spiritual truth, to help you to change and morph into the image of Christ.  But then we need to come down to the valley where we can serve and share the good things that God has done for us with others.

There is too much work to do to stay on the Mountain tops. Too many people are dying without Jesus. So go to the Mt. top rest and get your priorities right, but come down ready for work and so that you can share your story of how and why God is so good.

For more lessons click on the following link:

From Jim McGuiggan... Is submission only for losers?

Is submission only for losers?

"Submission" is one of those words, isn't it? One of those words that has no life or spirit in it; it's a word for losers and those who've made up their minds they can't make it in life. You only submit because you can't do any better, because you aren't fit to do any better ('Yes sir, no sir, anything you say sir.'). If you had a hero in your soul, if you had any self-respect you'd step aside for no man, if you could at all avoid it. Can't you hear Friedrich Nietzsche screaming that at you?

But who are the people that Peter, again and again (1 Peter 2:13-14, 18; 3:1 and elsewhere) calls to submit to this or that? They're the chosen people of the sovereign Lord, the newly alive, resurrected, redeemed and gloriously joyful people! These aren't losers. As history has shown us, under Christ these are the people who conquered the world; and they did it, in part, by joyfully giving away their lives to redeem their captors and tormentors.

There must be something wrong with our view of "submission"!

On the other hand, it may have nothing to do with our understanding of the word. It may have to do with our disposition and attitude and agendas.

Here are some obvious truths I haven't always kept in mind.

Submission is a fact of life that people practice every single day—non-Christians as well as Christians. No one can get everything he/she wants everyday so we have to make do with something else. No one—well, no one I know—makes a drama out of every personal slight that happens to them. They don't have the time, the energy or the will to do that, so they just take it as part of living in a world of fellow-humans.

Submission is something we gladly choose every day. 

We submit to employers and give them what they pay us for; we submit to traffic (and a thousand other) laws that are for our benefit; we submit to the doctor's advice when we're ill, the teacher's instruction when we're at school, the plumber's advice when water's coming through the ceiling or a friend's advice when we're trying to make a decision we feel uncertain about.

Submission becomes more difficult as the level and the duration of pain or stress is increased. Just about everyone lives with lower level stress or pain that they barely notice because they're too busy with other things. If the level of pain rises to the point where it draws our attention away from our blessings then submission becomes harder. We do what we need to do to eliminate it.

Submission is easier or harder depending on the source of the stress or pain. Caring for a sick child can be filled with stress. If it's your own child the situation becomes ambiguous. The stress is increased because it is your own loved one and her pain is your pain but your love for the child strengthens you to carry the burden. Doctors and nurses are stressed out at anyone's sick child but it gets worse when the child is their own.

On the other hand, we'll make allowances for the occasional rudeness or thoughtlessness of a friend because it is our friend ("love covers a multitude of sins"). We find it more difficult to take rudeness from some stranger, say, a taxi driver or a bank manager.

Submission is easier or harder depending on whether we are choosing it or it is being forced on us. There are many situations where these two overlap. In the case of our sick child we don't choose the illness but we're more than willing to place ourselves under obligation to help. Sometimes we simply choose to put ourselves under stress to gain something we think is valuable (think of exercise, diets or studies). But there are times when we're bullied by circumstances or people into a situation we neither choose nor find satisfying.

When we think about submission, I suspect, we most often think of it in terms of this last category—we're called to submit to something that we haven't chosen and something we see as unrewarding.

One of the central truths of the Christian faith is that our Lord Jesus Christ chose to submit to injustice to accomplish God's redemptive purposes and to teach us how to live in this world.
It's true that our submitting to injustice must be looked at with care because there are times when it is important for others (not to mention ourselves) that we oppose the injustice rather than simply submit to it. We need to keep this in mind!

Nevertheless, it is sub-Christian to ignore the truth of 1 Peter 2:21-24 and to deny its relevance to the People of God today. The suffering and death of Christ has an atoning thrust at its heart but it also makes ethical demands of us. We are the people of the crucified and risen Lord and while it's legitimate for us to enjoy the rights that democracy brings, those rights and that democracy are not to blind us to the truth that we've been called to follow our Lord's redemptive purpose and strategy.

The first call on us is not the political structure we live under. Nor are our "rights" the matter of supreme importance. We know this is true when we see people leave for undeveloped countries and live there in poverty and under political oppression to bring a message of redemption to the citizens there. We know this is true when we see people—Christians and non-Christians—travel to impoverished nations to assist them in their poverty and hunger. In doing this—and we applaud them for doing it—they remind us that political or social freedoms are not the supreme values. They do that by graciously forfeiting freedoms and rights for others.

It will be difficult at times to know how to follow Christ's example in this area but that doesn't change the fact that we're obligated to do it! It's clear, too, that when we see people around us following Christ in this costly way that we're profoundly moved by it and feel in our bones that this is our calling too. When we see that we're sure that we're seeing Jesus lived out before us.
It's clear that Christians could and did enjoy full freedom in Christ while still being enslaved, while still suffering unjustly in some shape or form under some oppressor or other. I'm one of the many that would insist that the Hebrew—Christian truth has brought political and social freedom to vast areas of the world and that it was meant to do this very thing so I don't want to suggest that these freedoms are to be despised! But while these freedoms and blessings are the fruit of Hebrew—Christian truth they are not the essence of it; following that truth they can be forfeited for a greater good!

It would be a denial of the meaning of the lives of Moses and of Jesus who chose affliction if we were to say that true and ultimate "freedom" is only possible only where the social, political and cultural norms allowed it! What a poor specimen of freedom that would be. Today we hear people insist that the only way they can have full freedom in Christ is if they're allowed to enjoy all the freedoms that the Christian faith would logically lead to if it had complete sway in human society. Paul thought people were even freer in Christ if they chose to forfeit liberties that were theirs (see 1 Corinthians 9:15-23 and Romans 14:1-21). People like that placed themselves under Christ and subjected themselves to limits that the law didn't call for. The more a slave they made themselves to Christ the more inclined they were to forfeit rights when they thought love called for it.

They submitted themselves to the unenforceable.

Submission is almost always discussed under a cloud. It's almost always seen in terms of injustice, the diminishing of freedom and joy. A catalogue of images arises of people—men, women and children—who are oppressed by cruel, uncaring, insensitive clods. 

This is hardly surprising. Why would it be surprising?

The word itself seems to imply there are difficulties—doesn't it?. Very few would need to be urged to "submit" to eating ice-cream or to "submit" to making passionate and delirious love to his/her spouse.

When someone says, "submit," it usually suggests something like, "force yourself" as if we might not want to. So when Peter urges servants to submit to harsh masters or saints to submit to non-Christian government we think he has chosen the right word. It's something they might not want to do and we're tempted to think he's saying, "make yourself put up with it." I don't say that some of that might not be involved; but it's important for us to understand that that is only one aspect of submission. We all know people personally, and have known many by report down the years, who willingly and cheerfully placed themselves under tough conditions. They weren't bullied into it, they didn't have to do it but for one reason or another they gladly chose it.

This is a hard lesson to learn, but it's there to be learned: Motivations and attitudes and agendas transform situations.

We see this every day of our lives. There are medical people who spend all their vacation periods in lands where diseases rage and poverty is more than a matter of not having money. These helpers leave behind the comforts of home and, placing themselves at risk, going without rest and eating no more than others, they willingly spend and are spent.

You couldn't bribe people to live like that if they didn't want to and yet here we have thousands who beg for the opportunity to do it.

What gets your heart gets your energy and your resources. Whoever has your love has your service.

We have millions of care-givers in the world who daily give service to needy loved ones. Service that wearies them, physically and emotionally; and they give it for years without fanfare or complaint—or at least, with consistent cheerfulness.

Tell them they shouldn't put up with it and they'll give you a strange, long look. Tell them they ought to put "the burden" away from them, they ought to walk off from it and leave it to someone else and they'll not understand you at all.

These are lovers! They didn't choose the loss for their loved one but since it has arrived they choose to place themselves under the obligation that these harsh realities bring.

"You could easily walk away."

"I don't want to walk away."

"Does this daily grind not drain you?"

"Yes, at times, but what's that got to do with it? What has that to do with my walking away when the one I love especially needs me?"

"Is it not a burden?"

"Yes, and sometimes I wish I didn't have to bear it. And at the same time I wish she didn't have to bear it. But what's that got to do with my walking away when the one I love especially needs me?"

[I accept that sometimes a lover will place the one they love without measure into the care of those who can give them the kind of help that the lover isn't able to give. The decision to do that is also an act of love and sometimes it brings more pain than the personal caring ever did. Still, the lover will know that the welfare of their loved one takes precedence over his/her own desire to serve and after weighing all the advantages and disadvantages he/she might well commit the one they love to the care of others. I've seen some lovers who, to avoid feelings of guilt, held on to their needy beloved long after they should have let them go. At least, I think I have seen such cases.]

It's a common experience that when something or someone fills our hearts and lives with much joy we don't miss other rights. Lovers find themselves oblivious to things that irritated them before their beloved came into their life. Who hasn't found himself walking on air when something beautiful came into his life despite the fact that other tough conditions still exist for him?
Before they came to Christ these slaves suffered at the hands of harsh masters but now that they were in Christ and had a new place and a new identity in the world (1 Peter 1:1-6 and 2:4-10) nothing—not even slavery—was quite the same. "Submission" remained but it wasn't the same. You don't have to guess that's true; you only have to picture Jesus of Nazareth standing before Pilate. Go ahead; use your imagination.

From Mark Copeland... A Worker Approved To God ( 2 Timothy 2:14-18)

                    "THE SECOND EPISTLE TO TIMOTHY"

                   A Worker Approved To God (2:14-18)


1. What should be expected of a minister of the gospel of Christ?  This
   question is one...
   a. Every preacher, evangelist, teacher, should ask of himself
   b. Every congregation should consider as they evaluate those they

2. In 2Ti 2:14-18, we find qualities of a worker...
   a. Who is approved of God
   b. Who does not need to be ashamed

[While these verses do not list every quality, they certainly point out
that which should be true of all ministers of the gospel.  For example,
"A Worker Approved To God" is one who...]


      1. When he wrote his epistle to the brethren at Rome - Ro 15:15
      2. When he sent Timothy to the church at Corinth - 1Co 4:17
      3. When he wrote to Timothy himself - 2Ti 1:6

      1. Especially when he knew his death was imminent - 2Pe 1:12-15
      2. Knowing this was a way of stirring them up - 2Pe 3:1

      1. Reminding them of things they already knew - Jude 1:5
      2. Because of the dangerous influence of ungodly men - cf. Ju

[Repetition is needful; don't fault preachers and teachers for telling
you things you already know.  It is good for you, and may be news to
others.  "A Worker Approved To God" also...]


      1. Concerning their spiritual growth - 1Th 4:1
      2. Commanding them to withdraw from disorderly brethren - 2Th 3:6

      1. To observe things without partiality - 1Ti 5:21
      2. To preach the Word - 2Ti 4:1-2

[As long as what is being charged is from God's Word, don't fault
preachers and teachers for commanding you to do something.  "A Worker
Approved To God"...]


      1. Lest they fall short of their heavenly rest - He 4:1,11
      2. To make their calling and election sure - 2Pe 1:10
      3. To be found by the Lord in peace, without spot and blameless
         - 2Pe 3:14

      1. As Timothy was charged to "give attention" to doctrine - 1 Ti 4:13
      2. As he was commanded to "take heed" to the doctrine - 1Ti 4:16

[While this certainly involves "study" (cf. KJV), the Greek "spoudazo"
means "to exert one's self, endeavor, give diligence" (Thayer).
Applying proper diligence to the Word, "A Worker Approved To God"...]


      1. As translated by the NKJV, KJV
      2. The word (orthotomeo), found nowhere else in the New Testament,
         a. "to cut straight, to cut straight ways; to proceed on
            straight paths, hold a straight course, equiv. to doing
            right" - Thayer
         b. "to make straight and smooth, to handle aright, to teach the
            truth directly and correctly" - ibid.
      3. Other versions translate the passage:
         a. "handling aright the word of truth" - ASV
         b. "rightly handling the word of truth" - ESV
         c. "one who correctly teaches the message of God's truth" - GNB
         d. "handling the word of truth with precision" - ISV
         e. "accurately handling the word of truth" - NASB
         f. "correctly handles the word of truth" - NIV
         g. "rightly explaining the word of truth" - NRSV

      1. Understanding there is both old and new - cf. Mt 13:52
      2. Distinguishing between Old and New Covenants - e.g., 2Co 3:
         6-11; He 8:6-13
      3. Remembering that meat is for the mature, milk is for babes
         - cf. He 5:12-14
      4. Bearing in mind that some may be carnal, not yet spiritual
         - cf. 1Co 3:1-4

["A Worker Approved To God" will handle the Word like the "sword" that
it is (He 4:12); i.e., carefully and appropriately for the occasion.
Accordingly, he will be one who...]

V. SHUNS 'WORD BATTLES' (2:14,16-18)

      1. Such as:
         a. Striving about words to no profit - 2Ti 2:14
         b. Profane and idle babblings - 2Ti 2:16
      2. Leading to:
         a. The ruin of the hearers - 2Ti 2:14
         b. More ungodliness - 2Ti 2:16
      3. Exemplified by:
         a. Hymenaeus and Philetus - 2Ti 2:17
         b. Saying that the resurrection is already past - 2Ti 2:18
         c. They overthrow the faith of some - 2Ti 2:18

      1. Later in this chapter - 2Ti 2:23
         a. Avoid foolish and ignorant disputes
         b. That only generate strife
      2. In his previous epistle to Timothy
         a. Do not give heed to fables and endless genealogies that
            cause disputes - 1Ti 1:4-6
         b. Do not be obsessed with disputes and arguments over words,
            useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of
            the truth - 1Ti 6:3-5
         c. Avoid profane and idle babblings, false contradictions
            - 1Ti 6:20-21
      3. In writing to Titus - Tit 3:9
         a. Avoid foolish disputes, contentions, strivings about the law
         b. Such are unprofitable and useless


1. With so much error and false doctrine in the world, a minister of the
   gospel must walk a fine line...
   a. Diligent in his use of the Word to remind and charge the brethren
   b. Careful in handling the Word with the spiritually immature and
      those in error

2. Yet with the aid of such epistles as those written to Timothy and
   Titus, it is possible...
   a. To "present yourself  approved to God"
   b. To be "a worker who does not need to be ashamed"

May those who preach and teach ever be mindful of these things, and may
those whom we teach always encourage us to be "A Worker Approved To

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Gary... Bible Reading January 28

Bible Reading   

January 28

The World English Bible

Jan. 28
Genesis 28

Gen 28:1 Isaac called Jacob, blessed him, and commanded him, "You shall not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan.
Gen 28:2 Arise, go to Paddan Aram, to the house of Bethuel your mother's father. Take a wife from there from the daughters of Laban, your mother's brother.
Gen 28:3 May God Almighty bless you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you, that you may be a company of peoples,
Gen 28:4 and give you the blessing of Abraham, to you, and to your seed with you, that you may inherit the land where you travel, which God gave to Abraham."
Gen 28:5 Isaac sent Jacob away. He went to Paddan Aram to Laban, son of Bethuel the Syrian, Rebekah's brother, Jacob's and Esau's mother.
Gen 28:6 Now Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob and sent him away to Paddan Aram, to take him a wife from there, and that as he blessed him he gave him a command, saying, "You shall not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan,"
Gen 28:7 and that Jacob obeyed his father and his mother, and was gone to Paddan Aram.
Gen 28:8 Esau saw that the daughters of Canaan didn't please Isaac, his father.
Gen 28:9 Esau went to Ishmael, and took, besides the wives that he had, Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael, Abraham's son, the sister of Nebaioth, to be his wife.
Gen 28:10 Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran.
Gen 28:11 He came to a certain place, and stayed there all night, because the sun had set. He took one of the stones of the place, and put it under his head, and lay down in that place to sleep.
Gen 28:12 He dreamed. Behold, a stairway set upon the earth, and its top reached to heaven. Behold, the angels of God ascending and descending on it.
Gen 28:13 Behold, Yahweh stood above it, and said, "I am Yahweh, the God of Abraham your father, and the God of Isaac. The land whereon you lie, to you will I give it, and to your seed.
Gen 28:14 Your seed will be as the dust of the earth, and you will spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south. In you and in your seed will all the families of the earth be blessed.
Gen 28:15 Behold, I am with you, and will keep you, wherever you go, and will bring you again into this land. For I will not leave you, until I have done that which I have spoken of to you."
Gen 28:16 Jacob awakened out of his sleep, and he said, "Surely Yahweh is in this place, and I didn't know it."
Gen 28:17 He was afraid, and said, "How dreadful is this place! This is none other than God's house, and this is the gate of heaven."
Gen 28:18 Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put under his head, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil on its top.
Gen 28:19 He called the name of that place Bethel, but the name of the city was Luz at the first.
Gen 28:20 Jacob vowed a vow, saying, "If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and clothing to put on,
Gen 28:21 so that I come again to my father's house in peace, and Yahweh will be my God,
Gen 28:22 then this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, will be God's house. Of all that you will give me I will surely give the tenth to you."

From Gary... Little things

Little things

 (Click on the link to view)

This morning I was pleasantly surprised by a video that Bruce Arnold sent me in an email.  I enjoyed it greatly (and hope you will as well) and thought I would share it with  you.  Then, as I was thinking of a picture to go with this, I came across this picture of what only could be a "pre-me" newborn and remembered the number of babies this country kills each year in the name of "choice" and wondered what thoughts they might have before their entry into this world.  Now, I can't say when I had my first thought; that is, when I became sentient, but I probably had thoughts before those things I CAN REMEMBER.  I know this because of a passage from the book of Jeremiah and an associated verse from the book of 1st Samuel...
Jeremiah, Chapter 1
 1 The words of Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah, of the priests who were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin:  2 to whom Yahweh’s word came in the days of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his reign.  3 It came also in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, to the end of the eleventh year of Zedekiah, the son of Josiah, king of Judah, to the carrying away of Jerusalem captive in the fifth month.  4 Now Yahweh’s word came to me, saying,  5 “Before I formed you in the belly, I knew you. Before you came out of the womb, I sanctified you. I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.”  6 Then I said, “Ah, Lord Yahweh! Behold, I don’t know how to speak; for I am a child.” 

  7  But Yahweh said to me, “Don’t say, ‘I am a child;’ for to whoever I shall send you, you shall go, and whatever I shall command you, you shall speak.

1 Samuel, Chapter 3
  1 The child Samuel ministered to Yahweh before Eli. Yahweh’s word was precious in those days; there was no frequent vision.  2 At that time, when Eli was laid down in his place (now his eyes had begun to grow dim, so that he could not see),  3 and the lamp of God hadn’t yet gone out, and Samuel had laid down in Yahweh’s temple, where the ark of God was;  4 Yahweh called Samuel; and he said, “Here I am.”  5 He ran to Eli, and said, “Here I am; for you called me.” 

He said, “I didn’t call; lie down again.” 

He went and lay down.  6 Yahweh called yet again, “Samuel!” 

Samuel arose and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am; for you called me.” 

He answered, “I didn’t call, my son; lie down again.”  7 Now Samuel didn’t yet know Yahweh, neither was Yahweh’s word yet revealed to him.  8 Yahweh called Samuel again the third time. He arose and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am; for you called me.” 

Eli perceived that Yahweh had called the child.  9 Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down: and it shall be, if he calls you, that you shall say, ‘Speak, Yahweh; for your servant hears.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.  10 Yahweh came, and stood, and called as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” 

Then Samuel said, Speak; for your servant hears. 

  11  Yahweh said to Samuel, “Behold, I will do a thing in Israel, at which both the ears of everyone who hears it shall tingle.  12 In that day I will perform against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from the beginning even to the end.  13 For I have told him that I will judge his house forever, for the iniquity which he knew, because his sons brought a curse on themselves, and he didn’t restrain them.  14 Therefore I have sworn to the house of Eli, that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be removed with sacrifice nor offering forever.” 

  15  Samuel lay until the morning, and opened the doors of Yahweh’s house. Samuel feared to show Eli the vision.  16 Then Eli called Samuel, and said, “Samuel, my son!” 

He said, “Here I am.” 

  17  He said, “What is the thing that he has spoken to you? Please don’t hide it from me. God do so to you, and more also, if you hide anything from me of all the things that he spoke to you.” 

  18  Samuel told him every bit, and hid nothing from him. 

He said, “It is Yahweh. Let him do what seems good to him.” 
I firmly believe that God has a plan for each and every one of us.  Some of us will respond and others never will.  But God knows us and has known us before our birth.  Eventually, we, like Samuel, will have the opportunity to respond (providing of course, that we are not prenatally murdered).  Listen, look, learn and reply- God wants to use those who will do these things!!! Today, we have the choice to ignore God or listen; try the latter, you may just hear something wonderful.  One last thing- listen to the video again- you will be glad you did!!!

Your Friend,


PS. Thank you for sending me this video, Bruce!!!!  You absolutely made my day!!!!