Rough Side of the Mountain

Rough Side of the Mountain

2 Corinthians 12:8-10 (NLT)

Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

 

Somebody should have told me that being almost 50 came with some restrictions in life? They could have let me know that running, skipping and jumping with the kids was not a good idea. If they had been so kind, I would not have pulled a calf muscle and embarrassed myself as such. I feel so silly. Limping home from church, after a hot shower and killing a bottle of ibuprofen, I fell into bed hoping the Lord would see fit to come and release my poor leg from the trauma I foolishly have subjected it to. But when I woke up no such luck, so hobbling around attempting to feed the dogs and take them out was a task. Our back yard slopes a bit on one side where the dogs usually run to. Our toddler dog must be watched constantly as she tries to eat everything that does not eat her. Reluctantly, I headed down the hill after her. That wasn’t so bad. Yeah, not until I tried to come back up the same hill with an uncooperative leg. Oh my word, the pain. I had three options call out in the darkness to my husband inside the house. That wasn’t going to happen as being laughed at so early in the morning would only make me mad. Obviously staying there was not an option either. The only choice I had was to dig in and press back the pain to get up the rough side of the mountain. Now the mountain was only about two or three foot slope but it was quite difficult to transverse when I put pressure on my left leg. After a few attempts and a quick prayer, I made it to the top.

Obviously, my leg is not seriously injured just suffering a muscle strain but the pain is real. Ever since our son was sick, people who would share their hardships, pain and struggles would often compare it to our plight as insignificant. Friends, pain is pain. Trauma is not subject to levels but cuts through the heart. It doesn’t matter if in the eyes of this world your struggle is enough to balk about. It is your struggle. It is your pain. The Lord wants to help you today. He knows exactly what it will take to get you up and over this, but we must accept His Power to do so. His Power works best in human weakness. The pain in my leg makes me aware of its limitation today. The situation you are facing has drawn a line in your reserve. You now know the place where your faith gets a little shaky and fear threatens. This is not a sign that you have reached the parameters of God’s Love or that the end of His Grace is near. Mercy has not dried up and will still come each morning. No this is the place where impossible becomes possible. It is the end of human limitation as we enter true freedom of faith in Christ. We lose confidence in our own ability so we must reach for more. He is right there waiting. He was to carry you through.

Matthew 17:19-21 (NLT)

 Afterward the disciples asked Jesus privately, “Why couldn’t we cast out that demon?” “You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.’”

I want to move mountains with my faith. I don’t want to go over mountains and through valleys but live carefree in the Presence of God. Friend, only one of those things is possible because it takes a lifetime to develop our faith. There will be mountains in life. There will be valleys. The devil does not fight fair and will do whatever it takes to trip us up on the journey to Eternity called life. Life is not fair. Love has grown cold. Evil is all around us. Sin is rampant. I don’t like that anymore than you do. BUT nothing is impossible with God so our circumstances are always subject to change when submitted to the Power of God in Christ the Lord.

I imagine when the disciples could not cast out the demon that they felt pretty stupid in that moment. I mean seriously they were followers of Jesus and had given up their life for Christ. Why was this so challenging? Where was the Power they had been promised? The Power of God is released by faith. Faith is not a natural response but a disciplined choice. They were going through the motions and emotions but failed to receive the Truth. I can use the Name of Jesus any way I want but until I truly believe in the Power of His Name things may be a little rough. Our mind, soul and body must become fully submitted to faith. Conquering the battle of self will allow the Power of God to fill our life. So until we achieve such faith – mountains will rise before us and valleys sink around us. Why? The Lord is desperate to release His Power and everything associated it in our life. The struggle draws us closer to Him. The pain makes us call out His Name. It doesn’t have to be that way but too many times human nature demands it to be so.

Isaiah 54:9-10 (NLT)

“Just as I swore in the time of Noah that I would never again let a flood cover the earth, so now I swear that I will never again be angry and punish you. For the mountains may move and the hills disappear, but even then my faithful love for you will remain. My covenant of blessing will never be broken,” says the Lord, who has mercy on you.

 

Nothing can ever separate us from the Love of God. (Romans 8:38-39) Furthermore, it is so wide, long, high, and deep that we can never reach the end of it. (Ephesians 3:18-19) His Covenant of Blessing will never be broken because His Love for us is defined as unfailing and unconditional. His Love is better than life. (Psalm 63:3) It is faith in the constancy and consistency of God’s Love that keeps us pushing, pressing and pulling for better days and superior outcomes in life. The more we know Him the more we love Him. The more we seek Him the more we discover that this Love is a reality in our life and driving force of His Blessing. When we choose to align our life with His Love and make Jesus our Savior and Lord, things are going to change because of His Love.

Running up the rough side of the mountain is never easy, sometimes we make it harder than it needs to be with a stubborn heart and disobedient flesh but when we want this covenant of blessing – it is not an option to give up. For example, the last mountain that our family faced called cancer was a formidable foe. Not only effecting our son’s body but the hardship rippled through our family and life. Now do you think for one minute as we climbed to the top seeking victory, healing and wholeness that giving up or quitting was ever an option? Of course not! Our son’s life hung in the balance. We were not willing to go down without a fight. We took the Promise God gave us and held on like a pit bull in a fight. Nothing would stop us even on those days it felt like holding a thread of hope and crawling rather than climbing. The same Power of God that healed our son after five bouts of cancer so that he can celebrate remission by continuing to live God’s Plan for his life is the EXACT same power that lives in you today. God doesn’t save miracles and blessings for the big things. It is available in every single area of our life that we commit to Him.

Romans 5:2-4 (NLT)
Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.

 

Maybe you are thinking today, I don’t feel like I am a place of undeserved privilege today. Well, you are. We have the potential to share God’s Glory as He works in us to do what is pleasing to Him. This isn’t about a list of rules or regulations. It is called faith. Because of our faith… Let’s be real. Sin was not God’s Choice for our life – Adam and Eve made it the People’s Choice. There is pain, struggle and hardship in life that God makes into trials and tests which give each trouble and problem purpose. Through God’s Love and the Sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross, all these things have the potential to be turned around for our good. (Romans 8:28) Endurance is the key. It is looking at that mountain and decided you can go nowhere but up. It is stepping in the valley determined to walk through all by faith that God’s Word is true and that we do live in the undeserved potential of faith, hope and love through Jesus Christ.

Let’s take it one step forward, proverbially please as my leg still hates me. When we are able to rejoice in our hardship going up the rough side of the mountain, now we are getting somewhere. Praise is evidence that our heart sees more than our eyes do and believes. It is the evidence that our faith has turned into confident hope. I can list a thousand things in life that should concern me, but when I consider the Power of God that I have witnessed in our painful trials – it all becomes pointless. I have no need to worry. There is no room for fear. Doubt is a weight that keeps my feet on the ground. These things must be removed for me to have confident hope of my salvation. The most important thing to have in the end is faith. I cannot make into Eternity without out it. Mountains and valleys in life expose our human weakness allowing the Lord to fill it with His Power. My God must be bigger than any mountain and His Love deeper than any valley. He is. He must be that to me. Faith makes it so. When He doesn’t move the mountain it is because He is moving me…from Glory to Glory by His Grace.

Matthew 4:8-11 (NLT)

Next the devil took him to the peak of a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. “I will give it all to you,” he said, “if you will kneel down and worship me.” “Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him. “For the Scriptures say, You must worship the Lord your God and serve only him.’” Then the devil went away, and angels came and took care of Jesus.

 

No one understands the plight of humanity life Jesus. He came to this earth in the form of a man and lived life flawlessly going to the Cross to die for every sin, weakness and infirmity of those He loved enough to die for. He faced all the same testings that we do but did not sin. (Hebrews 4:14-16) When the devil took Jesus to the top of the mountain after fasting in the wilderness for 40 days and nights, he told Jesus worship me and I will give this all to you. Jesus had enough and rebuked the enemy telling him to leave. From that vantage point, many might think that it is God offering them the world but it’s not. Jesus saw past this world to Eternity. He knew what was on the other side of this life and the universe surrounding it. We find this out in the Presence of God. So that when the enemy comes offering us compromise and substitutions, we refuse accepting the struggle, pain and hardship of endurance just to know Him more. Worshipping God is contradictory to societal norm. It is not a socially acceptable choice anymore. There will be troubles, trials and testing associated with living as a disciple of Jesus Christ. We must decide is it what I want. Is living for Jesus for me? Will it be worth it to me? Nothing ventured nothing gained.

Romans 4:16-17 (NLT)

So the promise is received by faith. It is given as a free gift. And we are all certain to receive it, whether or not we live according to the law of Moses, if we have faith like Abraham’s. For Abraham is the father of all who believe. That is what the Scriptures mean when God told him, “I have made you the father of many nations.” This happened because Abraham believed in the God who brings the dead back to life and who creates new things out of nothing.

You cannot consider a mountain without thinking about Abraham. How long and hard the journey up the mountain must have been with no sacrifice other than his son? Yet by faith, Abraham went. He just kept walking up the rough side of the mountain because His Faith in God was bigger than that mountain. Abraham didn’t know what God was going to do or how He would do it, but He trusted God with His Life, His Promise, His Future, and essentially His Everything. When God’s Promise becomes bigger than our mountains in life and when His Person is greater than any giant we face and when our Persistence decides we won’t stop walking until we step into His Presence despite the pain, suffering, hardship, troubles and trauma of life, we will overcome and step into the Power of our God.

Abraham believed in the God who brings the dead back to life and creates new things out of nothing. That’s the God I want to know more and more day by day. I want to invest all of my faith and trust in the Lord and no one else. I want to choose God’s Outcomes over the conveniences and comforts of life. This is a heart decision that becomes a conscious choice. It is the part of our humanity that decides to live differently and expect a change in our life welcoming it when it thrusts us from our comfort zone. I want to live like that even if it means more mountains and valleys in life because I believe in the deepest part of my heart that it is worth it. Following Jesus is always worth it – though seldom a breeze. The more I get it the harder it gets. He is my strength. When I am weak – He is strong. His Grace covers me and carries me into the Presence of God. I need nothing outside of the Love of God to change my life. I must do nothing more than trust Him. Welcome to my mountain – care to join me while I climb!

Psalm 18:30-36 (NLT)

God’s way is perfect. All the Lord’s promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to him for protection. For who is God except the Lord? Who but our God is a solid rock? God arms me with strength, and he makes my way perfect. He makes me as surefooted as a deer, enabling me to stand on mountain heights. He trains my hands for battle; he strengthens my arm to draw a bronze bow. You have given me your shield of victory. Your right hand supports me; your help has made me great. You have made a wide path for my feet to keep them from slipping.

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