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Hills and Valleys

Most everyone wants to live on the mountaintops of life: a good job, good family, good health, good finances, good faith... but the reality is that valleys are inevitable. The valley experiences of life are low points. There are times when things seem to be falling apart all around you. Think about it, you can't go from mountaintop to mountaintop without passing through a valley. In Acts 23, Paul has reached a new low. After a chaotic day in court, he went to sleep in the Roman fortress of Antonia where he was visited by the Lord in a vision who instructed him to "take courage." He told Paul that while the road ahead wouldn't be easy, He would be right by His side the whole way. One of the most comforting chapters of the Bible is Psalm 23. Verse four says, "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will not fear, for you are with me. Your rod and your staff comfort me." In the Middle East, when the sun goes behind the mountains it casts shadows. The sheep think it's nighttime and get afraid of the shadows and start to scatter. The shepherd has to guide them to keep going. When that happens to you. When things get dark and fear settles in it's important to remember that your Good Shepherd is there to lead, guide, and protect you through the darkness. You are safer in a dark valley with God than anywhere else without Him! Being in a valley reminds us that a mountain is just ahead. Be of good courage, the only place to go from here is up! Press on! Pastor Brian Richard

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