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Thursday, May 11, 2023
Message summary: Thank God for meeting our greatest need on Salvation Mountain. That is, Mount Calvary.
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"And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left" (Luke 23:33). "The death He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life He lives, He lives to God" (Romans 6:10). "We have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all" (Hebrews 10:10). “For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God” (1 Peter 3:18).
I believe in a hill called Mount Calvary
I believe whatever the cost
And when time has surrendered
And earth is no more
I'll still cling to the old rugged cross
Last week after visiting the desert area around Palm Springs we headed back to San Diego, although not by the most direct route. I wanted to see a place called Salvation Mountain in a funky off-grid place called Slab City. This required a less direct route down around the Salton Sea in one of the most desolate parts we've ever visited which rivaled Death Valley that we visited about five years ago.
Salvation Mountain is a result of many years of labor by Leonard Knight who went to be with the Lord ten years ago, yet his inspirational work remains.
The following info was adapted from Knight's biography on his website:
Leonard was visiting his sister in 1967 in San Diego. She was always talking about the Lord and it sort of bothered him. One morning to escape her sermonizing, Leonard went out of the house to sit in his van. He started repeating the Jesus, I'm a sinner... Sinner Prayer - "Jesus, I'm a sinner, please come upon my body and into my heart." It was on that Wednesday... at 10:30 in the morning... in his van... all by himself... at age 35... he accepted Jesus into his heart and he was a changed man. His passion was unwavering, his dedication intense.
He sought out various ways to express his faith which included a large balloon with lettering "God Is Love". He eventually settled in Slab City and began working on Salvation Mountain.
Again from the description on the website:
Forever trying to promote what was burning so deeply inside of him, Leonard decided to make a "small statement". Armed with half a bag of cement, he fashioned a small monument. One thing turned into another - days turned into weeks and weeks turned into years. Each day, Leonard would put a little more cement and a little more paint on the side of a forgotten riverbank.
As his monument grew taller and taller, he would pack old junk he found at the dump onto the side of his "mountain," fill it with sand and cover it with cement and paint. As cement was hard to come by, he would mix a lot of sand with it (too much, in fact). Leonard's mountain grew and grew - 30, 40, 50 feet and more. It was the same familiar patchwork of colors emblazoned with a big red "God Is Love" on a white background. Below that was the Sinners Prayer and a red heart. It was quite a spectacle out there in the middle of nowhere.
Now certainly this is a very unconventional means of witness but people still come from all over the world to visit this place (there were several last Thursday morning when we visited). It's a bit rundown now and requires constant maintenance by volunteers due to the harsh desert environment, with temps that soar to 130 degrees.
This Salvation Mountain is a reminder to me of Mount Calvary where God's dearest and best for a world of lost sinners was slain.
The word "Calvary" is only found once in the Bible in our first daily text in the King James Version. Calvary is the anglicized form of Calvarić from the Latin Vulgate. However the Greek word is actually "The Skull" to describe the place which most versions use. (Perhaps it was similar in appearance to the photo we shared yesterday). For that reason not all versions even use the word "Calvary" in this passage. See here for this text in an interlinear New Testament and here for a variety of Bible translations.
Calvary was the specific place where Jesus Christ offered Himself as the "once for all" sacrifice for our sins. The other three texts we use today each has this very significant phrase, "Once for all". This speaks of the completeness and finality of what took place on Calvary, God's salvation mountain.
Whatever problem you are dealing with today rest assured that there is absolutely no problem with Calvary, the cross was enough. “For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God” (1 Peter 3:18).
Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)
Daily prayer: Father, thank You for sending Jesus, Your only beloved Son, to die for my sins once for all, His righteousness for my unrighteousness, that I might present a fully forgiven and unblemished heart to You. I have complete standing before You right now because of the completed and perfect sacrifice of Jesus at Mount Calvary. Though the fierce winds and tumultuous storms assail me I am victorious because the Christ of Calvary is my hope, my strength, and my stay. Amen.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"I Believe In A Hill Called Mount Calvary" Click to listen on YouTube Gaither Vocal Band
Leaving the Palm Springs area we passed many date palm trees as this is the largest date producing area in the US. In fact Brooksyne stopped by our local grocery store last night and picked up a package of dates and sure enough they came from Coachella Valley, CA (See here)
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The Salton Sea has an interesting background.
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A guide told us that the man who developed the Salvation Mountain lived in the back of this truck and often slept on the couch in front. The springs remain from the bed in the back of the truck and the bench seat in the front of the truck. Later in life, due to his diabetes, he lost one leg. Given his living quarters, I think it's safe to say, he was just a bit eccentric!
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This is the vehicle at the base of Salvation Mountain that Leonard was driving when he first arrived in 1967.
How many of you had a station wagon when you were young?
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We wrote about Slab City is this message from last week.
Brooksyne expressed to me that she is not interested in moving here!
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