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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN

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Bad News, Then Good News

Nearly 20 years ago at the height of Operation Desert Storm, Ruth Dillow received a very sad message from the Pentagon. The message stated that her son, Clayton had stepped on a landmine in Kuwait and was killed. Ruth later wrote these words, "I can't begin to describe my grief and shock. It was almost more than I could bear. For 3 days I just wept. I expressed anger and loss. For 3 days people tried to comfort me but nothing worked ... the loss was simply too great.

But 3 days after she received that message the phone rang. The voice on the other end said, "Mom, it's me. It's Clayton. I'm alive." Ruth said, "I couldn't believe it at first. But then I recognized his voice and realized he really was alive." The message was all a mistake. She said, "I laughed, I cried, I felt like turning cartwheels because my son who thought was dead was actually alive. I'm sure none of you can begin to understand how I felt."

Perhaps not, but some who walked the pages of the N.T. would have understood how she felt because they experienced the same emotions themselves. One day they watched their best friend & teacher being nailed to a cross. They witnessed His pain as He cried out, "I thirst!" & "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

They listened as finally He bowed His head & said, "It is finished!" & "Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit." They watched as His body was taken from the cross & buried. All their hopes & dreams were buried with Him.

Friday & all day Saturday they mourned, until finally, on "the first day of the week, early in the morning," the scripture says, some women made their way along the path that led to His tomb, wondering who would roll away the stone for them.

But when they arrived, they found that the stone had already been rolled away. And an angel there told them, "You're looking in the wrong place. You're looking for Jesus among the dead. He is not dead. He is alive. He is risen, even as He said!"  He is risen!" That is what we celebrate this morning and every first day of the week when we gather together.

For His Cause,
Tim Woodward