Glorious Hilltops and Shadowy Valleys



Hello Ironmen! 

    A few weeks ago we hosted a powerful and amazing youth camp that was themed, "FEARLESS". I was assigned to share the last message for the youth camp. The title of the message was "Fearless in the Face of Opposition." As I think back to the time spent with the students and young adults that attended the youth camp, it was such a glorious hilltop weekend. I give all the glory to God for using me and most importantly using others to reach the young minds with the gospel. 

    As I sit here, I can't escape drifting off to the next big glorious hilltop event  where I get to use the spiritual gifts God has given me to make another impact for Him. But I'm back in the valley! 

    I am reminded of a terrible lifestyle many of us live as Christians. Some only live for those glorious hilltops and neglect the daily walk with Jesus in the humble valleys. Some people live for the weekends, concerts, and vacations. We as Christians can also live that same way too! But it is not entirely what God wants us to do. God wants us to live through in the valleys too. In the humble valleys we are with Jesus, not in pursuit of glory or fame but in pursuit of God's will for us. Jesus warns us of a dark and scary reality check. 

    Jesus says in Matthew 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

   You see, many people live for prophesying, casting out demons, and performing miracles but fail to do the will of the Heavenly Father in their private daily lives. If there is one thing you can take from this blog post please take this: "Life is in the valleys!" 

    When you climb up to a hilltop, you will notice that there isn't much life growing at the top. When you climb higher to a mountain top, you will notice that there is no life at all up there. Barely anything grows on the mountain tops. But in the valleys, you see lots of life: animals, trees, and bush berries are all found in the valleys. 
    
    In a true sense, there is healthy competition for survival in the valley. It is the place where we face temptation and opposition. It says in Psalms 23:4, "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me." 

 The valleys are where we should face our oppositions. In the valley of the shadow of death, we find comfort in Jesus for He is with us so we fear no evil. We grow closer to Jesus in the valleys. Don't neglect the humble valleys. Find refuge and comfort in Jesus through the valleys. 

    We all know how to shine in the public limelight, but what really matters is what is going on in our private lives behind closed doors. Lots of people stay and live in the shadowy valley of death, but we are called to walk through it. Be fearless for Jesus is with you. His rod and staff comforts you. In the valleys lift up your eyes to Jesus who is your helper and guide. 

    Keep treading forward keeping our eyes on Jesus. Let us not neglect the valleys. Hilltops are great but it is in the valleys where we find personal growth in Jesus. The will of the Father is for us to go through the hills and valleys. I'm reminded of Tauren Wells' "Hills and Valleys" song. Likewise, God's grace is sufficient for us as we walk through the hills and valleys. 

    May God bless you on your journey ahead. Keep treading... Samuel Brooks

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