I remember when I first started to learn how to ski. Going up ski lifts and gondolas was fun. The scenery was beautiful, the snow on the mountains and trees was majestic, the air was clean and fresh, and everyone would be laughing and having fun.
But then I would have to balance my skis as I went down a mountain into a valley. It was the most terrifying thing I have ever attempted. I felt totally out of control! The only thing I was able to do to stop the speed of my descent was to go all the way into an area filled with gravel not far from the parking area! Of course, I almost broke my legs. I found out quickly that you can go from being on top of the world to the lowest valley in just a few seconds!
There are times in our lives when we feel like we are on top of the world. The movie “Titanic” portrays this in a scene with Leonardo DiCaprio standing on the highest point of the ship looking out toward the water as he screams “I’m the king of the world!” At that moment he was courting a beautiful rich girl and was on an emotional high. Not long after, DiCaprio ends up fighting a losing battle to save his life as the huge ship sinks into the water!
Texts: Mark 9:2-29; Exodus 24:12-18; 32:7-10
These passages of Scripture illustrate the peaks and valleys all of us go through as Christians. The peaks stand for when we are in the presence of God and it seems as though nothing can ever move us from our position of faith and power. The valleys represent the times in our lives when we are tested by situations, circumstances, and demonic forces that try to unravel us and get us out of faith. In the valley there is fear, doubt, unbelief, confusion, strife, a sense of hopelessness and even depression, isolation and loneliness!
**Read this article: Nearly 1 in 5 Americans had mental illness in 2009, published by Reuters on November 18, 2010**
What was the secret of Jesus’ life? How did He have the perseverance to go through all that He did without quitting? What was it about the mental and spiritual makeup of the crowds that, during the week of Palm Sunday, they were praising Him and welcoming Him as King in the city of Jerusalem, yet the very next week these same crowds were screaming out to have Him crucified?
The same occurred with Moses. One day he was with the children of Israel celebrating their victory over the Egyptians. Then, not long after, while Moses was on the mountain with God for 40 days, the children of Israel forsook the worship of the One True God and made idols of silver and gold and worshipped them!
What is it about human nature that we are so fickle and change our allegiances so quickly? What is it about Moses that he was able to stay faithful to God in spite of all the challenges of life?
I. Jesus went up the mountain to commune with His Father
Mountains in the Bible often stand for the stability that comes by trusting in the Lord. Read Psalms 125:1-2; 121; Isaiah 2:2-4; Matthew 28:16-20 (Jesus commissioned His apostles on top of a mountain); Isaiah 14:13 (God’s throne is on top of the mount of assembly in heaven).
The greatest sermon ever preached was delivered by Jesus on top of a mountain (Matthew 5:1-2). When we sit under the word we are on the top of a mountain near the throne of God.
This was the place of His strength and this is the place of our strength and peace!
II. Jesus often spent time alone with His Father
Mark 1:35; Luke 5:16
III. The secret of His power was His prayer life
This is why His disciples asked Him to teach them to pray; they didn’t ask him how to preach, cast out devils, or heal (read Luke 11:1). When we are filled with the Holy Spirit we are filled with the power (dunamis) of God (Acts 1:8)!
IV. Being filled with the Holy Spirit continually gives us the ability to be His witnesses and deal with the issues and challenges of life
This is instead of being like the rest of humanity that is inconsistent, unfaithful and flakey! Read Ephesians 5:18.
V. In the valley there was a crowd and chaos, arguing, confusion, and demonic activity resulting in a little boy being thrown into a fire at will by the devil!
His disciples could not cast out a certain demon (Mark 9) because they stayed in the valley. Many of us think we can make it as Christians with just coming to church once per week. We need to meet God every morning of every day like Jesus did (Isaiah 50:4-7). The reason why we are falling and making poor choices in our lives is because we are not starting our days in the power and presence of God, being filled with His Spirit and person! Read Ephesians 6:10-13; Matthew 26:41; Proverbs 8.
Jesus said this kind could only come out by prayer! Jesus never prayed long public prayers because He spent hours in private prayer. He would just speak a word or touch a person and they would be healed! He would just speak a word and demons would come out of people! He would just walk in a room and demons would manifest and cry out!
(For example, I once failed in deliverance because I didn’t take it seriously and feasted on three bowls of macaroni before I showed up to minister! Other times, in the presence of God, demons would come out instantly and quickly when I commanded them to leave!)
Jesus was able to rebuke the storm of the sea in public because of His time alone with His Father in private. Paul was able to stand on a boat in the midst of a storm and promise those on board that not a hair on their heads would perish because of what God spoke to him in private.
What are the valleys you are in now? You will not get out of the valley just by complaining or fretting but only by ascending the mountain of the Lord in prayer every single day! Don’t be like the typical up-and-down Christian whose attitude ascends upward to God but then descends downward to the level of the challenges before them in the world! We can walk into the valley without succumbing to its depths! God has called us to bring power into the valley!
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