July 27

Today's Bible Readings
     Judges 10:1-11:11
     Acts 14
     Jeremiah 23
     Mark 9
''...But if You can do anything have compassion on us and help us. Jesus said to him, If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes." (Mark 9:22b-23)
Jesus had just been on the Mount of Transfiguration, in a glorious experience. We all love those mountaintop experiences, when the glory of God falls and everything in our circumstances are upbeat and exciting. The return to the valley, however, is inevitable. Jesus returned to the controversies among His own apostles, and the perplexing questions to answer. Now He was faced with the dilemma of a desperate father, with a boy who suffered seizures and was overcome by an unclean spirit. This was truly the valley - the same kind of valley most of us live in every day.
            We are learning in our pilgrimage that we learn more from the valley than we do from the mountaintop. It seems that after times of excitement and exultation, we are brought down with a sudden rush, and the things as they really are in this sin cursed world are neither beautiful, poetic, nor thrilling.
Often, the altitude and majesty of the mountaintop is measured by the dismal drudgery of the valley, but it is in the valley that we have to face the storms and live for the glory of God. We may see His glory on the mountain, but we never live for His glory there. It is in the place of humiliation that we find our true worth to God - that is where our faith and faithfulness are revealed.
            Most of us can be effective and successful if we are always at some heroic level of intensity simply because of the natural selfishness of our own hearts. God knows that we will not trust Him until we have to, so He sees to it that we have to.  It is in the drabness and drudgery of everyday living in the valley that our personal relationship with Him and our true success is tested. Peter thought it would be wonderful to stay on the mountain, but Jesus took the Disciples down from the mountain into the valley where the true meaning of the vision was explained.
            Our skepticism and doubts require the valley to remove them. It's easy to believe God and to trust His promises on the mountaintop. We can believe almost anything there, but what about when you are faced with the facts of the valley. Has God brought something into your life now that is a humiliation to you? It is in the valley of humiliation, suffering, pain, and adversity that the glory of the mountaintop will be manifested and revealed to you and to those around you. We must be able to “mount up with wings like eagles”(Isaiah 40:31), but we must also know how to come down to the valley. The power of the saint lies in the coming down and the living that is done in the valley. Paul said, ''I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."  (Philippians 4: 13)  What he was referring to were mostly humiliating things. The valley is tough, but that is where you will learn God's principles and be able to demonstrate to the lost world the glory of the mountaintop.
The Republic of Tajikistanin Asiahas a majority of RussianOrthodox adherents in the Christian community. The evangelical church is growing rapidly. In the last 10 years, the numbers have moved from two or three to several hundred. Since the majority of the nation professes to be Muslim, only a fraction regularly practices Islamic ritual.  This means there is  a great vacuum  where the Gospel  could make a great difference.   Pray for boldness  among  God's people at this time.
''LIFE is like music; it must be composed by ear, feeling, and instinct, not by rule."
Samuel Butler