“Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee;
in whose heart are the ways of them.
Who passing through the valley of Baca
make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools.”
- Psalm 84:5-6
Many of you have written and asked if my eyes are any better after all the surgeries and treatments I have had recently. So I wanted to take this opportunity to let you all know that my eyes feel good, I have no pain, and my vision is good. Thanks to all of you for your faithful prayers. Each and every prayer from the heart is precious to God. And He does hear, but He works on His time, not ours. Dr. Scott always said that God doesn’t have a clock. The Bible does tell us that His time and our time are not the same.
Anyway, I feel as though I have come out of a deep valley. It lasted at least two years, not knowing if I would ever see any better, or not. But God allows times like these to test our faith. Don’t forget, faith is the key. Without faith it is impossible to have victory through our trials.
Dr. Scott use to preach a sermon on Psalm 84 at least once a year, sometimes when he was facing difficult circumstances himself. The message was that blessed men go through valleys (tough times), but the key word is “THROUGH.” God does eventually bring us out of the valley. During the last two years (and still today), I have taken a lot of comfort from verses 5 and 6, especially verse 6: “Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools.”
My Bible has a short explanation of the word “Baca.” It says “not a literal valley, but any place of tears.” We all have been in “places of tears,” for one reason or another.
I know people (some in prison) who have been enabled by God to make a spring for others with their own valley experience. God puts us in a circumstance of His will and gives us the capacity to make our life a spring for others. Because as a believer our faith sees beyond
the circumstance, no matter how hopeless and seemingly endless that valley may be.
So why are there valleys? Why does a good God allow pain and tragedies to come our way? People who ask such questions need to study the Bible. All those questions are answered there. The prophet Jeremiah uses the purification of wine as an example, as to how God works on our soul. In Jeremiah He is speaking of people who settle in with a comfortable sense of “I’m okay, I don’t hurt anybody, I’m a nice person,” etc., but they are not aware of the dregs at the bottom of their self life. “Moab hath been at ease from his youth, and he hath settled on his lees, and hath not been emptied from vessel to vessel, neither hath he gone into captivity: therefore his taste remained in him, and his scent is not changed.” Jeremiah 48:11 Dregs are the sediment at the bottom of the container of wine. As the wine is poured back and forth from one vessel to the other the dregs are left behind and discarded. The wine becomes more clear and pure the longer this is done. That’s an example as to what God does to us through sickness, loss of loved ones, loss of finances, and sometimes prison.
Peter says “”Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.” 1st Peter 4:12,13 This does not mean that when some terrible sorrow comes into our life we are to jump with joy. Our flesh will rebel. Read Romans 7:15-25 and see that it is common to man for the flesh and the spirit to war against each other. But our spirit should rejoice that God is still dealing with us as His children and finding us worthy to be made more into the image of His Son.
This life is a school, a preparation period making us ready for the next life, where we will reign with Jesus. Revelation 20: 4-6 Reading these verses should bring some serious concerns and questions to your mind and heart. The thought that we would reign with Christ is staggering, and how many of us are worthy of that? I’m afraid that none of us are.
All of you who write to us regularly already know about Shirley’s new house. We are including a couple of pictures this month so that everyone can see how really nice it is. It’s just a little cottage in the woods where the deer walk right by the kitchen window on their way
to the corn feeders. It’s everything anyone would ever want, and Shirley feels blessed and so grateful to God. It was built by a lot of prayer and young carpenter who put his heart into his work, and went the extra mile with each and every part of the building.
This month we will have lived here on this mountain for 42 years. As Shirley was moving into the new house, and her and I were sorting thru her belongings, it brought back many memories to us: Days when my son Mark was growing up here, and we raised goats and he showed them at the fairs. We had horses, chickens, rabbits and pigs, lots of chores, and a very busy life.
And then there were all those beautiful Dobermans that we raised, and of course later Billie’s wolves. Billie has been gone now almost 9 years and so much has changed. Many old buildings have been torn down. They had become a hazard. And now Shirley’s old mobile home is coming down. Walnut is taking it apart piece by piece and salvaging everything that can be recycled.
I think that improving our property is something we should do. This mountain was special from the start. I remember feeling like I had come “home” during that first summer here. Billie has several times told of the lady who lived here before we bought the property. She saw angels one day as she looked toward the woods. They were in the trees and talking to each other. She’s been dead for many years, but we had no reason to question her. I have felt God’s protection here during the years, especially during times when we were attacked by the enemy, which you all should know is the devil. And he is every bit as real as God, though no one talks about him anymore, or even believes that he exists.
Most of you were around and will remember the attack from the IRS. There were other attacks on finances, as well. And everyone of us have at one time or another gone through a major illness, some more than once. Brian has had three major back surgeries, and a few years ago he fell off a ladder and broke his leg resulting in another surgery. It was a major blow to all of us, not to mention Brian’s suffering and what Gail had to go through.
But all this is permitted by God, and as believers we accept it as His will for us and the circumstances He has chosen “to exhibit the all-sufficiency of God’s grace.” Scofield Reference for 2 Corinthians 3:7
I ran across some letters and notes that Billie had written to me, and I realized her life had been a spring for me. She had gone through many valleys and her life had become a spring for others, at the cost of her own, I might add.
There is a cost to your self life that is not taught today. But the hardship of the valley should bring about those fruits of the spirit listed by Paul in Galatians: Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance. Galatians 5:22-23 These fruits of the spirit are what make up a spring.
I’m glad we continued what Billie started, and some day from eternity we will look back on today and Baca mountain, and then we’ll know if anyone found a spring at this place.
For Odessa Townsend (St. Louis, Missouri). She just buried two of her sons.
For Rodney Bracken (Menard, Illinois) who is experiencing pain in his right arm, shoulder, back, and lower extremities.
For Raymond (“Peanut”) Sanders (Beaumont, Texas) who is getting over food poisoning.
For Cody Campbell (Florence, Arizona), who has undiagnosed throat problems and hasn’t been allowed to see a doctor yet.
For Dennis Martin (Lexington, Oklahoma) who is having blood pressure and heart problems again.
For Francisco Ramirez (Tucson, AZ) who is starting a new way of life, and for his family in Mexico, for their health and safety.
For Jon Morgan (Menard, Illinois), for mercy on his clemency petition, and for peace and patience.
For Anthony Grayson (Shawangunk, New York), that his health gets better.
For Dolly Meneses (Illinois) who just had surgery.
For Johnny Carruthers (Florence, Arizona) who suffers from “Planter Fascitis” (inflammation to the tendons on the bottom of his feet).
For John Crutcher (in Oklahoma) who is still in need of a liver transplant.
For Jimmy Huff (Colorado City, Texas), for health. His legs are better and he is walking more now.
For Mike Long (Larned, Kansas), for health.
For Willie Scott (Grady, Arkansas), for health, and for spiritual growth and faith.
For Willie Clark (Iowa Park, Texas), who still wants to be transferred closer to Houston.
For Sister Ann & all the Carmelite Nuns in Little Rock.
For Frank Williams, Jr. (Death Row, Grady, Arkansas). He is waiting on the court to rule on the May 4th hearing.
For Freddie Lee Lott (Dixon, Illinois), to keep his healing and stay cancer free.
For Robert Heffernan (Grady, Arkansas), that DNA evidence will prove his innocence.
For Pastor Scott & her ministry (The University Network) in Los Angeles.
For Youcef Nadarkhani (Iran).*
For all of us at Wingspread.
*Excerpt from the Christian Post Reporter, by Katherine Weber:
Iranian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani is still alive and recent reports of his execution are false, according to the American Center for Law and Justice(ACLJ), which was able to confirm on March 26 that the imprisoned evangelical minister's death sentence for apostasy has not been carried out.
The ACLJ announced on Feb. 21 that a death order had been issued for the Iranian pastor, who has been imprisoned since Oct. 2009. Nadarkhani was initially arrested for protesting the mandatory teaching of Islam in his children's school, but his charges were later changed to apostasy and attempting to evangelize Muslims.
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