The Last Walk | TBN

The Last Walk

Watch The Last Walk
February 14, 2021
27:29

Touching Lives is the international broadcast ministry of Dr. James Merritt.

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The Last Walk

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  • ...
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  • male announcer: This program ispaid for by the friends and
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  • partners of "Touching Lives."
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  • Welcome to the internationalbroadcast ministry of
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  • "Touching Lives,"with Dr. James Merritt.
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  • Here at "Touching Lives," ourmission is to touch the lives
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  • of the lost and enrichthe faith of the file.
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  • And now, here is Pastor, author,and speaker, Dr. James Merritt.
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  • ♪♪♪
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  • James Merritt: We're in a serieswe're calling "Pitch Perfect,"
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  • we're in the book of Psalms, the23rd Psalm, I invite you to turn
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  • to that where you'rewatching right now.
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  • We're in the 4th verse today,and there's this one stanza that
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  • echoes the good professor righton key, he says exactly the same
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  • thing thousands of years ago.
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  • Listen to what he wrote.
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  • "Even though I walk through thevalley of the shadow of death,
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  • I will fear no evil.
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  • For you are with me; yourrod and your staff, they
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  • comfort me."
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  • David hits us with two heavywords, evil and death.
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  • And too often, as we know, thosewords do go together.
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  • We face evil every day, and oneday, we're all going to face
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  • death, and between those twowords is that word fear.
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  • Now, I'll be honest with you.
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  • I find very few people who willadmit they're afraid of death.
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  • As a matter of fact, most peoplewill say well, I'm not afraid
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  • to die, well, I'm not afraid ofdeath, and I believe most people
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  • being honest.
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  • I can honestly say to you,I'm not afraid to die.
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  • But I think if we're all honest,we would say, you know, there is
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  • this fear of the unknownof death.
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  • Because let's face it, we onlyget to do it one time and we
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  • don't know what it's like untilwe do it and then we don't ever
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  • get to do it again.
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  • The eminent philosopher, thegreat, brilliant philosopher,
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  • Jerry Seinfeld, he said this.
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  • "According to the most studies,people's number one fear is
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  • public speaking, and numbertwo is death.
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  • That means to the average personif you have to go to a funeral,
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  • you're better off in the casketthan doing the eulogy."
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  • Now, that may be true, butwhether or not you fear death
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  • you do have to face it.
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  • And here's the cold hard truth.
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  • When we face death, we'rebasically going to face it one
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  • of two ways, with hope orwithout hope; you'll face it
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  • hopeful or you'll faceit hopeless.
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  • Either we believe in our heartsthat this life is all there is,
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  • or there is more to lifethan this life.
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  • And I want to be very candidparticularly if you're not
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  • a believer, if you're a skeptic,you're not into this
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  • Christian business.
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  • Let me tell you why I believeeverybody should at least stop
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  • and think and considerChristianity, because I don't
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  • know of any faith, any religion,any philosophy, any worldview,
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  • any spiritual concept that givesmore hope for death and more
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  • help for evil than Christianity.
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  • Because, if this verse is true,if what David wrote is true, to
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  • rephrase Winston Churchill,"Death is not the end, it's not
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  • even the beginning of the end,it's just the end of
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  • the beginning."
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  • I like to walk, Teresa and Ilike to walk our neighborhood.
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  • One of these days, we're allgoing to take what I call
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  • the last walk, and here'sthe bad news.
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  • Humanly speaking, you have totake that walk by yourself,
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  • nobody can take it with you,it's the walk with death.
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  • We don't know where, we don'tknow when, we don't know how,
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  • but we're going to takethat walk.
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  • So what I wanna do today, let'sdo what David did, let's look
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  • ahead to what that walk could belike and where that walk could
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  • lead, because here'sthe great news.
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  • If you know the God of life anddeath, the walk, the last walk
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  • you take will be the best walkyou'll ever take, and here's
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  • what David says.
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  • He says, number one, we walk tothe prospect of death.
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  • Every morning when you get up,you're walking closer and closer
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  • to death.
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  • Every morning when you get up,you're taking a step closer
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  • to death.
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  • So David says this, "Even thoughI walk through the valley of the
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  • shadow of death, I willfear no evil."
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  • Now you may not know this butI've been to Israel many times
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  • and there's actually a valley inIsrael, that's called the Valley
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  • of The Shadow of Death, it's asteep, dark, narrow canyon
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  • that's located about halfwaybetween Bethlehem and Jerusalem.
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  • This canyon, this valley is sodark that the sun can only reach
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  • it when it's directly overhead.
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  • As a matter of fact, this verseactually, literally says,
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  • "Though I walk through thevalley of deep darkness."
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  • I imagine David had been throughthat valley many, many times,
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  • and it's so fascinating to methat David compares death to
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  • walking through a valley of deepdarkness, and there's no doubt
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  • we're going to walkthrough that valley.
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  • You know, it's kind of strange.
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  • We have a little Boston Terrier,his name is Pocky.
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  • Pocky is 10 years old, she'sbasically blind, she has a lot
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  • of joint trouble now, andfrankly, she probably beginning
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  • that process of dying.
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  • Now, here's the strange thing.
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  • That little dog does not knowshe's dying but I know she's
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  • dying, and I know I'm dying, youknow you're dying, and the
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  • strange thing is human beingsare the only creatures on earth
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  • that realize they're goingto die, and we are.
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  • As a matter of fact, that word,though, "Even though I walk,"
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  • should be better translated,when, because death is not
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  • a question of whether, it isa question of when.
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  • Now keep this in mind, all we'retalking about this entire series
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  • is a shepherd and a sheep.
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  • And if you are a shepherd backin the day, you would really
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  • appreciate what Davidis saying here.
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  • Because there was a certain timeof the year when shepherds would
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  • lead their sheep from thelowlands up to the highlands.
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  • And the reason he would do thatis because, when it got hot, the
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  • snow on top of the mountainwould begin to melt and it will
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  • give fresh water and freshgrass, where the sheep could
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  • eat and drink.
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  • So there would be that certaintime of the year where the
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  • shepherd would know, alright,it's time to take the sheep from
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  • the lowlands to the highlands.
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  • Down through the valley, up tothe mountain, because down where
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  • they'd been for all thesemonths, the grass's now barren
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  • because of the summer sun,water had dried up.
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  • So he would take them up to thehighlands where it was cooler,
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  • where it was more refreshing.
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  • So the shepherd would lovinglyguide the sheep through the
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  • valley, up to the mountaintopwhere they could lie down beside
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  • green pastures and rest besidestill waters.
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  • Now, there's a reason why theshepherd always took the sheep
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  • through the valley; because thevalley was the only route to get
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  • to the mountaintop, the valleywas the only route to get
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  • to higher ground.
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  • You know, every mountainhas its valleys.
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  • If you've got mountains, you'veautomatically got valleys.
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  • And most of the time, if not allthe time, the best route, and
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  • sometimes the only route to thetop of the mountain is to go
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  • through the valley.
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  • That's why David said, "I walkthrough the valley."
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  • Now notice, he doesn't runthrough the valley, he doesn't
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  • run away from the valley, hecan't go over it, can't go
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  • around it, can't go under it, hehas to go through it, but here's
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  • what's interesting.
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  • He's in no hurry, he said,"I walk through the valley."
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  • Now, a valley is not a dead endstreet, it's not a cul-de-sac.
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  • You know what a valley is?
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  • Think about it this way.
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  • A valley is simply a tunnel thatis open at both ends, that's
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  • what a valley is; it has anentrance, it has an exit.
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  • Now listen to this nextstatement.
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  • Jesus said, "I am the light ofthe world," you say, what's that
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  • got to do with the valley?
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  • Well once you enter into thetunnel of death, listen, here's
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  • the Great News, you ready?
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  • Once you enter into the tunnelof death, if you know that
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  • shepherd, if he is your Lord,there's a light at the end of
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  • that tunnel and thatlight is Jesus.
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  • And David is not, now listen,David is not walking through the
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  • valley of death, he's walkingthrough the valley of the
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  • shadow of death.
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  • And you know what ashadow is, right?
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  • A shadow is an image withoutany substance.
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  • See, in a real sense, if you'rea follower of Jesus, this is
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  • such great news, if you're afollower of Jesus you will never
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  • face death, you'll only facethe shadow of death.
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  • That's why David can say, "Eventhough I walk through the valley
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  • of the shadow of death, I willfear no evil," because I'm not
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  • really facing death, I'm justfacing the shadow of death.
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  • David was saying death is justa shadow of its former self
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  • because of a risen Lord that hasconquered death once
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  • and for all.
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  • But here's the truth; we walkto the prospect of death.
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  • Folks say so what happens whenyou get there?
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  • We don't know when, don't knowwhere, we don't know how; maybe
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  • today, maybe tomorrow, but it'scoming; and all of a sudden you
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  • find yourself in the tunnel, youfind yourself in the valley.
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  • Then what?
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  • Now watch this.
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  • David says we not only walk tothe prospect of death, he says
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  • when we do, we walk in thepresence of the Lord, we walk in
  • 00:10:03.926 --> 00:10:08.297
  • the presence of the Lord.
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  • David is walking confidently tothe prospect of death, no fear
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  • of any evil whether it comesto life or death.
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  • How could he do that?
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  • How can he be so confident?
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  • How can he be so bold?
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  • How could he be so calm?
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  • Because of four words,here they are.
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  • "You are with me,""You are with me."
  • 00:10:27.250 --> 00:10:34.323
  • Now, I want you to notice theshift in David's vocabulary in
  • 00:10:34.323 --> 00:10:38.294
  • the beginning of this Psalmup to this point.
  • 00:10:38.294 --> 00:10:40.763
  • Because up until now, if youread that Psalm, go back to
  • 00:10:40.763 --> 00:10:43.666
  • the 1st verse and read the first3 verses, you and I are
  • 00:10:43.666 --> 00:10:46.836
  • the audience.
  • 00:10:46.836 --> 00:10:48.171
  • He's talking to us and he'stalking about God, God has been
  • 00:10:48.171 --> 00:10:51.307
  • the topic.
  • 00:10:51.307 --> 00:10:52.642
  • So we read the verses this way.
  • 00:10:52.642 --> 00:10:54.343
  • "The Lord is my shepherd," thirdperson, "He makes me lie down,"
  • 00:10:54.343 --> 00:10:58.314
  • third person, "He leads mebeside still waters.
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  • He restores my soul: he leads mein the paths of righteousness."
  • 00:11:01.184 --> 00:11:05.188
  • It's all in the third person,it's always about God.
  • 00:11:05.188 --> 00:11:09.225
  • So he's talking about theshepherd, he's talking to us,
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  • God is listening.
  • 00:11:12.929 --> 00:11:14.263
  • But in verse 4, he changes, hemoves from the third person
  • 00:11:14.263 --> 00:11:20.236
  • to the second person.
  • 00:11:20.236 --> 00:11:21.871
  • He's no longer talking about theshepherd, he's talking to
  • 00:11:21.871 --> 00:11:27.343
  • the shepherd.
  • 00:11:27.343 --> 00:11:29.145
  • He was talking to us and God waslistening, now he's talking to
  • 00:11:29.145 --> 00:11:34.050
  • God and we're listening.
  • 00:11:34.050 --> 00:11:37.220
  • He said, "You are with me."
  • 00:11:37.220 --> 00:11:40.957
  • See, David knew that sheep neverever go through valleys alone.
  • 00:11:40.957 --> 00:11:44.660
  • You know why?
  • 00:11:44.660 --> 00:11:45.995
  • You know why sheep don't don'tgo through valleys alone?
  • 00:11:45.995 --> 00:11:48.364
  • They'll never make it to themountaintop, they won't make it
  • 00:11:48.364 --> 00:11:50.967
  • through the valley,you know why?
  • 00:11:50.967 --> 00:11:52.301
  • They'll die, they're literallydefenseless, and the shepherd
  • 00:11:52.301 --> 00:11:56.606
  • is always the security and thesupply and the safety
  • 00:11:56.606 --> 00:12:00.843
  • of the sheep.
  • 00:12:00.843 --> 00:12:02.211
  • And remember, we're walkingthrough the Valley of the
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  • Shadow of Death.
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  • Let me go back to that wordshadow for just a moment.
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  • Have you everthought about this?
  • 00:12:08.184 --> 00:12:09.585
  • I'm looking at my shadow rightnow, I'm looking on the floor,
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  • I see my shadow.
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  • You know what that tells me?
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  • I'm surrounded by light.
  • 00:12:14.791 --> 00:12:16.559
  • You cannot have a shadow if youdon't have light, anytime
  • 00:12:16.559 --> 00:12:20.096
  • there's a shadowthere's a light.
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  • Have you ever heard of peoplewho are afraid of their
  • 00:12:21.998 --> 00:12:23.866
  • own shadows?
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  • If you're one of those kind ofpeople, you're just ,you know,
  • 00:12:25.234 --> 00:12:26.903
  • you're skittish, you're nervous,you're afraid of everything;
  • 00:12:26.903 --> 00:12:29.405
  • you're afraid of yourown shadow.
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  • The next time you get scared ofyour own shadow, let me tell you
  • 00:12:30.807 --> 00:12:33.142
  • what to do.
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  • All you have to do if you'reafraid of your shadow is real
  • 00:12:34.510 --> 00:12:37.046
  • simply, real simple.
  • 00:12:37.046 --> 00:12:39.949
  • Turn your back on your shadowand just look to the light.
  • 00:12:39.949 --> 00:12:44.187
  • Guess what happens?
  • 00:12:44.187 --> 00:12:45.521
  • The moment you turn your back onthe shadow and look to the
  • 00:12:45.521 --> 00:12:48.591
  • light, you're now looking at thelight before you and the shadow
  • 00:12:48.591 --> 00:12:52.195
  • falls behind you.
  • 00:12:52.195 --> 00:12:53.930
  • By the way, let me tell youanother great thing about
  • 00:12:53.930 --> 00:12:56.032
  • a shadow.
  • 00:12:56.032 --> 00:12:57.466
  • If you ever see your shadow thenyou already automatically know
  • 00:12:57.466 --> 00:13:01.470
  • something else has to be true:you're not walking in darkness,
  • 00:13:01.470 --> 00:13:04.974
  • you're walking in light, becauseyou can't see your shadow if
  • 00:13:04.974 --> 00:13:07.410
  • you're in complete darkness.
  • 00:13:07.410 --> 00:13:08.778
  • So anytime I see my shadow, Iknow I'm walking in light.
  • 00:13:08.778 --> 00:13:12.615
  • That's why it's always betterfor the sheep to be in the
  • 00:13:12.615 --> 00:13:15.885
  • valley with the shepherd than tobe on the mountaintop without
  • 00:13:15.885 --> 00:13:19.522
  • the shepherds.
  • 00:13:19.522 --> 00:13:20.890
  • Those four words are alwaystrue, David said, "You are
  • 00:13:20.890 --> 00:13:25.461
  • with me."
  • 00:13:25.461 --> 00:13:26.796
  • Those words arealways 100% true.
  • 00:13:26.796 --> 00:13:31.133
  • No matter where I am, God isalways with me; no matter what
  • 00:13:31.133 --> 00:13:35.738
  • I'm doing, God isalways with me.
  • 00:13:35.738 --> 00:13:39.108
  • If nature runs its course, ifthings go like I think they're
  • 00:13:39.108 --> 00:13:42.278
  • supposed to go and will go, oneof these days I'm gonna leave my
  • 00:13:42.278 --> 00:13:45.615
  • wife, one of these days I'mgoing to leave my boys, one of
  • 00:13:45.615 --> 00:13:48.818
  • these days I'm going to leave mygrandchildren, but God will
  • 00:13:48.818 --> 00:13:53.389
  • never leave me, Godwill always be with me.
  • 00:13:53.389 --> 00:13:56.993
  • No matter where you are, nomatter what you're doing, if you
  • 00:13:56.993 --> 00:13:59.862
  • know the shepherd, he is alwayswith you, he will never
  • 00:13:59.862 --> 00:14:04.033
  • leave you.
  • 00:14:04.033 --> 00:14:05.368
  • See, when you leave this Earth,you don't leave God's presence,
  • 00:14:05.368 --> 00:14:09.605
  • you take God's presence withyou, because wherever you go
  • 00:14:09.605 --> 00:14:13.342
  • he is the Good Shepherd.
  • 00:14:13.342 --> 00:14:15.311
  • Now let me tell you something'strue about a shepherd.
  • 00:14:15.311 --> 00:14:17.613
  • This next thing I'm about to saywill be worth you listening
  • 00:14:17.613 --> 00:14:19.949
  • today, you ready?
  • 00:14:19.949 --> 00:14:23.119
  • A shepherd will never lead thesheep where he has not
  • 00:14:23.119 --> 00:14:28.324
  • already been.
  • 00:14:28.324 --> 00:14:30.426
  • He will never lead the sheepwhere he has not already been.
  • 00:14:30.426 --> 00:14:36.232
  • I'm gonna tell you somethingthat I have preached all of my
  • 00:14:36.232 --> 00:14:38.634
  • life and I still don'tunderstand it.
  • 00:14:38.634 --> 00:14:41.137
  • I'm going to tell you somethingI have preached all of my life
  • 00:14:41.137 --> 00:14:43.239
  • and I believe it with all of mybeing but I still can't get my
  • 00:14:43.239 --> 00:14:46.108
  • mind around it.
  • 00:14:46.108 --> 00:14:47.443
  • I'm gonna tell you something Ipreached all of my life and I
  • 00:14:47.443 --> 00:14:49.712
  • will never deny it and you can'tmake me deny it, y'all, you
  • 00:14:49.712 --> 00:14:52.248
  • could kill me before I would,but I still sometimes
  • 00:14:52.248 --> 00:14:56.319
  • really don't get it.
  • 00:14:56.319 --> 00:14:57.653
  • You ready for this?
  • 00:14:57.653 --> 00:14:59.288
  • This shepherd, this God himselfwent before we through the
  • 00:14:59.288 --> 00:15:06.395
  • Valley of the Shadow of Death.
  • 00:15:06.395 --> 00:15:09.231
  • He did it, he went through theValley of the Shadow of Death.
  • 00:15:09.231 --> 00:15:13.336
  • That same valley that one daywe're going to go through, he's
  • 00:15:13.336 --> 00:15:17.840
  • going to go through, but he cameout on the other side.
  • 00:15:17.840 --> 00:15:23.212
  • Matter of fact, he came backphysically from the dead, and do
  • 00:15:23.212 --> 00:15:25.514
  • you know why?
  • 00:15:25.514 --> 00:15:26.882
  • Are you ready for this?
  • 00:15:26.882 --> 00:15:28.217
  • Because darkness can'thold light, light always
  • 00:15:28.217 --> 00:15:31.821
  • conquers darkness.
  • 00:15:31.821 --> 00:15:33.422
  • Jesus is the light of the world,who, right now, is staying in
  • 00:15:33.422 --> 00:15:39.595
  • us, who's shouting before us,who is standing with us.
  • 00:15:39.595 --> 00:15:43.432
  • That's why no believerever dies alone.
  • 00:15:43.432 --> 00:15:46.469
  • I was reading the other day,about a sad story really, about
  • 00:15:46.469 --> 00:15:49.739
  • a young mother who got thecoronavirus and she died, and
  • 00:15:49.739 --> 00:15:53.542
  • her family could not visit herand they said she died alone.
  • 00:15:53.542 --> 00:15:57.079
  • I was reading that onlinethe other day and I thought
  • 00:15:57.079 --> 00:15:59.915
  • to myself, "Not ifshe knew Jesus."
  • 00:15:59.915 --> 00:16:02.685
  • If you are a believer, if youknow the shepherd you never die
  • 00:16:02.685 --> 00:16:06.722
  • alone, God is always with us.
  • 00:16:06.722 --> 00:16:10.993
  • So yes, we walk to the prospectof death, don't know when,
  • 00:16:10.993 --> 00:16:15.731
  • where, how, but one day, I meanin the blink of an eye you're in
  • 00:16:15.731 --> 00:16:20.036
  • the tunnel, you're in thevision, you're in the valley.
  • 00:16:20.036 --> 00:16:24.273
  • But we walk in thepresence of the Lord.
  • 00:16:24.273 --> 00:16:28.444
  • Because I'm telling you Ibelieve more than even in this
  • 00:16:28.444 --> 00:16:31.080
  • life, the moment you take yourbreath, your last breath, you're
  • 00:16:31.080 --> 00:16:34.283
  • gonna experience the presence ofthe shepherd and this presence
  • 00:16:34.283 --> 00:16:37.053
  • of God like you've never felt itbefore; but it gets even better.
  • 00:16:37.053 --> 00:16:42.158
  • As we walk to the prospectof death, as we walk in the
  • 00:16:42.158 --> 00:16:46.162
  • presence of the Lord, here's whywe don't have to fear any evil,
  • 00:16:46.162 --> 00:16:49.832
  • watch this.
  • 00:16:49.832 --> 00:16:51.200
  • We walk with the protection ofthe shepherd, we walk with the
  • 00:16:51.200 --> 00:16:56.038
  • protection the shepherd.
  • 00:16:56.038 --> 00:16:58.607
  • See, there are two bookends toour days, which is why we should
  • 00:16:58.607 --> 00:17:03.446
  • never fear life or death, neverfear anything in life or fear
  • 00:17:03.446 --> 00:17:08.651
  • anything after life, never fearwhat we're going through in life
  • 00:17:08.651 --> 00:17:12.288
  • or even in death because notonly do we have the presence
  • 00:17:12.288 --> 00:17:15.691
  • of the Lord, we have theprotection of the Shepherd.
  • 00:17:15.691 --> 00:17:19.762
  • Listen to what he says.
  • 00:17:19.762 --> 00:17:21.297
  • He says, "Your rod and yourstaff, they comfort me."
  • 00:17:21.297 --> 00:17:29.371
  • Now a shepherd always carriedtwo things, he never went
  • 00:17:29.371 --> 00:17:35.845
  • anywhere without thesetwo things, never.
  • 00:17:35.845 --> 00:17:38.981
  • He always had a rod andhe always had a staff.
  • 00:17:38.981 --> 00:17:46.489
  • Now, a shepherd carried a rodbecause when a shepherd began
  • 00:17:46.489 --> 00:17:49.658
  • to guide his flock he would gointo the bush, here's what he
  • 00:17:49.658 --> 00:17:52.895
  • would do, he would cut down ayoung sapling and he would carve
  • 00:17:52.895 --> 00:17:58.167
  • it and he would widdle itand with great care.
  • 00:17:58.167 --> 00:18:01.470
  • And then he would take theenlarged base of that sampling,
  • 00:18:01.470 --> 00:18:05.307
  • this base right here where thetrunk would join the root, and
  • 00:18:05.307 --> 00:18:10.779
  • it would be shaped, he wouldshape it into this smooth,
  • 00:18:10.779 --> 00:18:13.482
  • rounded head of hardwood.
  • 00:18:13.482 --> 00:18:15.551
  • It'd be anywhere from one tothree feet long, something about
  • 00:18:15.551 --> 00:18:18.487
  • like this, and it would beshaped to fit the shepherd's
  • 00:18:18.487 --> 00:18:21.524
  • hand perfectly.
  • 00:18:21.524 --> 00:18:22.858
  • He could just walk, it was veryeasy to walk with it, he never
  • 00:18:22.858 --> 00:18:25.194
  • ever let it go, it wasalways in his hand.
  • 00:18:25.194 --> 00:18:28.464
  • That rod became an extension ofthe shepherd's right arm, it was
  • 00:18:28.464 --> 00:18:31.967
  • a symbol of strengthand a symbol or power.
  • 00:18:31.967 --> 00:18:35.104
  • Now what was thepurpose of the rod?
  • 00:18:35.104 --> 00:18:36.705
  • It only had one purpose.
  • 00:18:36.705 --> 00:18:38.073
  • The purpose of the rod was toguard the sheep to make sure
  • 00:18:38.073 --> 00:18:41.544
  • that no danger cameto the sheep.
  • 00:18:41.544 --> 00:18:43.679
  • As a matter of fact, sometimes ashepherd would take that rod and
  • 00:18:43.679 --> 00:18:46.982
  • he would go to the smooth part,he would drive pieces of metal
  • 00:18:46.982 --> 00:18:50.653
  • into that knob.
  • 00:18:50.653 --> 00:18:53.022
  • And just think about it, withthis weapon, he could kill
  • 00:18:53.022 --> 00:18:56.625
  • bears, lions, wolves, snakes,any kind of wild animal at all.
  • 00:18:56.625 --> 00:19:04.667
  • And whenever the sheep would seethat rod there'd be this
  • 00:19:04.667 --> 00:19:09.305
  • calmness, there'd be this peacebecause they knew that shepherd
  • 00:19:09.305 --> 00:19:14.343
  • could protect themfrom any evil.
  • 00:19:14.343 --> 00:19:15.978
  • They do that as long as theshepherd was there and he
  • 00:19:15.978 --> 00:19:18.881
  • had his rod, they wouldalways be protected.
  • 00:19:18.881 --> 00:19:23.452
  • But then the shepherdhad a staff.
  • 00:19:23.452 --> 00:19:27.823
  • Now, where the rod was to guardthe sheep, the staff was to
  • 00:19:27.823 --> 00:19:33.562
  • guide the sheep; the rod was toprotect the sheep, the staff was
  • 00:19:33.562 --> 00:19:39.301
  • to direct the sheep.
  • 00:19:39.301 --> 00:19:41.503
  • And he needed it because whensheep are going up the side of
  • 00:19:41.503 --> 00:19:44.240
  • a mountain, they'd be close to adangerous path or they'd be on a
  • 00:19:44.240 --> 00:19:49.078
  • difficult path, and theycould easily fall off.
  • 00:19:49.078 --> 00:19:51.614
  • And so again, here goes thesheep, he take maybe the sheep
  • 00:19:51.614 --> 00:19:55.484
  • and he just kind of guide thatsheep back, "Nope, you can't
  • 00:19:55.484 --> 00:19:58.220
  • go that way."
  • 00:19:58.220 --> 00:19:59.588
  • Now if the sheep were stubborn,and trust me, sheep
  • 00:19:59.588 --> 00:20:01.023
  • are stubborn.
  • 00:20:01.023 --> 00:20:02.358
  • If the sheep are stubborn, hecould just hook the crook of
  • 00:20:02.358 --> 00:20:05.494
  • this staff around the sheep'sneck and literally just pull him
  • 00:20:05.494 --> 00:20:08.897
  • back into line, becausesometimes a sheep would wander
  • 00:20:08.897 --> 00:20:11.934
  • off and they just didn'tknow any better.
  • 00:20:11.934 --> 00:20:14.236
  • So it was the shepherd's job tomake sure that they all stayed
  • 00:20:14.236 --> 00:20:17.606
  • together, so this was the toolthat he would use to do that.
  • 00:20:17.606 --> 00:20:22.011
  • Sometimes a sheep, you know, hecan't watch them all the time
  • 00:20:22.011 --> 00:20:25.447
  • you know, at every moment,sometimes that sheep might slip
  • 00:20:25.447 --> 00:20:28.617
  • and he might slip over steepravine or he might get tangled
  • 00:20:28.617 --> 00:20:31.520
  • in a thorn bush or stumbleinto a rocky creek bed.
  • 00:20:31.520 --> 00:20:34.790
  • And then that shepherd wouldjust very gently, very expertly
  • 00:20:34.790 --> 00:20:38.894
  • take this crook, he put it intothe belly of that lamb or that
  • 00:20:38.894 --> 00:20:43.032
  • sheep, he gently pull that sheepup, sometimes maybe by the nape
  • 00:20:43.032 --> 00:20:48.771
  • of the neck, and he pull himback into the fold.
  • 00:20:48.771 --> 00:20:52.074
  • He would make sure that thatsheep was taken care of and that
  • 00:20:52.074 --> 00:20:55.678
  • that sheep was protected.
  • 00:20:55.678 --> 00:20:57.246
  • Now, here's the point, here'swhat David was saying.
  • 00:20:57.246 --> 00:21:02.284
  • If you walk with God throughyour life, if you follow Jesus
  • 00:21:02.284 --> 00:21:08.857
  • as your shepherd, if you want tobe one of his sheep, he says
  • 00:21:08.857 --> 00:21:15.064
  • I'll walk with you through lifeand I'll walk with you in death,
  • 00:21:15.064 --> 00:21:21.003
  • and you don't have to fearanything on either side of
  • 00:21:21.003 --> 00:21:24.139
  • the valley because I've gota rod that's gonna protect you
  • 00:21:24.139 --> 00:21:30.045
  • and I've got a shepherd's crookthat's going to direct you.
  • 00:21:30.045 --> 00:21:33.449
  • You know, one of my favoriteverses in the book of Psalms is
  • 00:21:33.449 --> 00:21:37.286
  • Psalm 116:15, here'swhat it says.
  • 00:21:37.286 --> 00:21:41.824
  • "Precious in the sight of theLord is the death of his
  • 00:21:41.824 --> 00:21:46.695
  • faithful servants."
  • 00:21:46.695 --> 00:21:48.063
  • I want you to think about that.
  • 00:21:48.063 --> 00:21:49.398
  • "Precious in the sight of theLord is the death of his
  • 00:21:49.398 --> 00:21:53.235
  • faithful servants."
  • 00:21:53.235 --> 00:21:54.603
  • By the way, the word preciousthere, it doesn't mean, so much,
  • 00:21:54.603 --> 00:21:57.106
  • valuable, that word literallymeans carefully attended to
  • 00:21:57.106 --> 00:22:01.543
  • and watched over.
  • 00:22:01.543 --> 00:22:02.878
  • See, here's thebeautiful picture.
  • 00:22:02.878 --> 00:22:04.713
  • One of these days I'm gonna takethat last walk or one of these
  • 00:22:04.713 --> 00:22:07.082
  • days you're going to take thatlast walk, but when you do it
  • 00:22:07.082 --> 00:22:12.454
  • will be in God's time, it willbe in God's sight, it will be
  • 00:22:12.454 --> 00:22:18.227
  • with God's presence and itwill be in God's protection.
  • 00:22:18.227 --> 00:22:23.432
  • I want to close with this, thiswill be worth the whole price
  • 00:22:23.432 --> 00:22:25.934
  • of admission.
  • 00:22:25.934 --> 00:22:28.370
  • A thousand years after Davidwrote these words, another
  • 00:22:28.370 --> 00:22:33.842
  • Bethlehem shepherd came along,he was called the Good Shepherd,
  • 00:22:33.842 --> 00:22:38.480
  • he said this.
  • 00:22:38.480 --> 00:22:40.916
  • He said, "My Father's househas many rooms.
  • 00:22:40.916 --> 00:22:45.120
  • If that were not so, would Ihave told you that I'm going
  • 00:22:45.120 --> 00:22:48.390
  • there to preparea place for you?
  • 00:22:48.390 --> 00:22:50.959
  • And if I go and prepare a placefor you," now listen to this,
  • 00:22:50.959 --> 00:22:56.432
  • "I will come back and take youto be with me, that you also
  • 00:22:56.432 --> 00:23:02.137
  • may be where I am."
  • 00:23:02.137 --> 00:23:05.707
  • I want you to listen to whatJesus just said, you talk about
  • 00:23:05.707 --> 00:23:07.943
  • a promise.
  • 00:23:07.943 --> 00:23:10.479
  • He said I'm leavingyou right now.
  • 00:23:10.479 --> 00:23:13.482
  • By the way, you'll still have ashepherd, he's the Holy Spirit,
  • 00:23:13.482 --> 00:23:17.119
  • but I'm leaving you right now,I'm going to prepare a place
  • 00:23:17.119 --> 00:23:19.588
  • for you.
  • 00:23:19.588 --> 00:23:21.156
  • But he said when it's time foryou to leave this earth and come
  • 00:23:21.156 --> 00:23:25.561
  • home, I'm going to come backand take you to be with me.
  • 00:23:25.561 --> 00:23:31.567
  • If you don't think your death isa big deal to Jesus, if you
  • 00:23:31.567 --> 00:23:36.071
  • don't think your death isprecious in the eyes of God
  • 00:23:36.071 --> 00:23:39.675
  • think about it this way.
  • 00:23:39.675 --> 00:23:41.777
  • Jesus doesn't delegate this taskto anybody else, he says when
  • 00:23:41.777 --> 00:23:46.915
  • it's time for you to cross thevalley, he said I'll come
  • 00:23:46.915 --> 00:23:51.220
  • get you.
  • 00:23:51.220 --> 00:23:52.688
  • When it's time for you to enterinto that tunnel, he says, when
  • 00:23:52.688 --> 00:23:57.793
  • it's time for you to come homeI'm personally going to come
  • 00:23:57.793 --> 00:24:01.163
  • and pick you up.
  • 00:24:01.163 --> 00:24:04.533
  • The Lord may send a missionaryto preach to you, he may send
  • 00:24:04.533 --> 00:24:08.504
  • a teacher to guide you, he maysend a doctor to heal you, he
  • 00:24:08.504 --> 00:24:13.108
  • may send a friend to encourageyou but he doesn't send anybody
  • 00:24:13.108 --> 00:24:18.447
  • to take you home, he doesn'tsend anybody to walk with you
  • 00:24:18.447 --> 00:24:22.551
  • through the valley ofthe shadow of death.
  • 00:24:22.551 --> 00:24:25.420
  • He says you know what, I'mreserving that job for myself,
  • 00:24:25.420 --> 00:24:29.525
  • I'm going to do it with you.
  • 00:24:29.525 --> 00:24:33.095
  • So one day, when we take thatlast walk to death, we're going
  • 00:24:33.095 --> 00:24:37.866
  • to enter into this valley ofdeep darkness but the light
  • 00:24:37.866 --> 00:24:42.671
  • of the world will be with us;his rod will guard us, his staff
  • 00:24:42.671 --> 00:24:49.912
  • will guide us.
  • 00:24:49.912 --> 00:24:51.246
  • And oh, by the way, it's areally short walk, it's
  • 00:24:51.246 --> 00:24:56.919
  • only two steps.
  • 00:24:56.919 --> 00:24:58.954
  • One step, you leave this world,and the next step, you enter his
  • 00:24:58.954 --> 00:25:04.826
  • world, and because of Jesus,that last walk will be
  • 00:25:04.826 --> 00:25:10.399
  • the best walk you've ever taken.
  • 00:25:10.399 --> 00:25:13.902
  • male announcer: To watchan extended version of today's
  • 00:25:13.902 --> 00:25:15.837
  • message from Dr. James Merritt,go to TouchingLives.org.
  • 00:25:15.837 --> 00:25:22.311
  • James Merritt: Big question:have you and your spouse been
  • 00:25:22.311 --> 00:25:23.979
  • spending more time together thanyou thought possible these
  • 00:25:23.979 --> 00:25:26.715
  • last few months?
  • 00:25:26.715 --> 00:25:28.050
  • You have no doubt learned morethings about each other,
  • 00:25:28.050 --> 00:25:30.252
  • both good and bad.
  • 00:25:30.252 --> 00:25:31.787
  • Let's celebrate marriage, getaway for a time of renewal
  • 00:25:31.787 --> 00:25:34.890
  • in our relationships.
  • 00:25:34.890 --> 00:25:36.258
  • I want you to join me and mybeautiful wife, Teresa, as we
  • 00:25:36.258 --> 00:25:39.361
  • head to Gatlinburg, Tennessee,next spring to host the Reignite
  • 00:25:39.361 --> 00:25:42.831
  • Marriage Retreat.
  • 00:25:42.831 --> 00:25:44.199
  • We'll start on Thursday night,March the 25th, and finish by
  • 00:25:44.199 --> 00:25:47.035
  • noon on Saturday,March the 27th.
  • 00:25:47.035 --> 00:25:49.538
  • The entire weekend will takeplace at the Mills Auditorium in
  • 00:25:49.538 --> 00:25:53.008
  • the GatlinburgConvention Center.
  • 00:25:53.008 --> 00:25:55.377
  • We'll spend time in the Word ofGod learning about marriage,
  • 00:25:55.377 --> 00:25:58.981
  • we'll laugh a lot as comedianTim Loveless entertains us,
  • 00:25:58.981 --> 00:26:02.618
  • and we will leave refreshed andrenewed in our marriages.
  • 00:26:02.618 --> 00:26:06.088
  • The Reignite MarriageRetreat will have very
  • 00:26:06.088 --> 00:26:08.223
  • limited availability.
  • 00:26:08.223 --> 00:26:09.925
  • You can visit TouchingLives.orgfor all the details and
  • 00:26:09.925 --> 00:26:13.662
  • to purchase tickets.
  • 00:26:13.662 --> 00:26:15.097
  • Thanks for watching thebroadcast today, I hope to see
  • 00:26:15.097 --> 00:26:17.933
  • you in March in Gatlinburg forthe Reignite Marriage Retreat.
  • 00:26:17.933 --> 00:26:21.937
  • ♪♪♪
  • 00:26:21.937 --> 00:26:30.112
  • male announcer: This October,join Dr. James Merritt and
  • 00:26:30.112 --> 00:26:32.414
  • friends and beautiful Branson,Missouri, for the 2021
  • 00:26:32.414 --> 00:26:35.817
  • Mountain Top Conference.
  • 00:26:35.817 --> 00:26:37.386
  • This Ozark city offers somethingfor everyone: from world-class
  • 00:26:37.386 --> 00:26:41.657
  • dining and live entertainmentto unique shopping and outdoor
  • 00:26:41.657 --> 00:26:44.860
  • recreation, there is anadventure waiting for you.
  • 00:26:44.860 --> 00:26:47.663
  • This event will feature powerfulpreaching daily from
  • 00:26:47.663 --> 00:26:50.465
  • Dr. Merritt, and joining himwill be his friend, Bellevue
  • 00:26:50.465 --> 00:26:53.335
  • Baptist Church's,Dr. Steve Gaines.
  • 00:26:53.335 --> 00:26:55.070
  • You will also get to hear fromthe legendary "Oak Ridge Boys,"
  • 00:26:55.070 --> 00:26:57.906
  • when they stop by to sharesome of their story.
  • 00:26:57.906 --> 00:27:00.909
  • Enjoy incredible music fromGrammy Award-winning Guy Penrod,
  • 00:27:00.909 --> 00:27:05.781
  • and one of Christian music'sbiggest artists, Crowder.
  • 00:27:05.781 --> 00:27:09.651
  • Visit MountainTopConference.comfor all the details, and reserve
  • 00:27:09.651 --> 00:27:13.155
  • your spot today.
  • 00:27:13.155 --> 00:27:15.257
  • announcer: Touching thelives of the lost and enriching
  • 00:27:17.292 --> 00:27:19.795
  • the faith of the found, this is"Touching Lives" with
  • 00:27:19.795 --> 00:27:23.331
  • Dr. James Merritt.
  • 00:27:23.331 --> 00:27:24.700
  • This broadcast is made possibleby the grace of God and
  • 00:27:24.700 --> 00:27:28.403
  • your faithful prayers and gifts.
  • 00:27:28.403 --> 00:27:30.000