I used to do a lot of hiking. I remember one trip I took with Pastor Marion Clark to Matthew’s Creek, a pretty valley that lies in the shadow of Caesar’s Head State Park in Upstate South Carolina.
The hike is listed as one of the most strenuous in the entire park, and it lived up to its reputation! It was tough, rugged going. The trail led along the rocky base of Caesar’s Head, twisting and turning among the cliff ledges. Then it descended sharply and steeply down a narrow ridge towards the creek valley. And it was windy, which got scary for us as we made our way down, hoping we would not be blown off the side of the ledges. We made it to the valley, and after a creek-side lunch, we began the return trip.
The climb back out through the valley was much more difficult. The trail was so steep and tortuous, that we had to rest every 50 yards! We missed several turns because the trail markings were hard to find. Finally, we followed an old wagon road which was wider and easier to follow.
Upon returning to my truck, we drove over to Caesar’s Head. From its magnificent overlook view, the trail to the valley below did not seem hard at all! How different it appeared from the top of the mountain than it had when we traveled its tortuous way!
LIFE is like that, isn’t it! Our “mountain-top” experiences are great. But most of life is lived traveling in the valleys on twisting, turning, tortuous trails. Sometimes the trails are easy to stay on…other times they are not. Both the “views” and the “steep inclines” can take our breath away! And almost always, the wind is blowing! But Jesus is not just the Lord of the Mountaintop! He does not join us only up there when we are viewing the tough trails which we have walked. No, our Lord goes with us on our journeys through the valleys, giving us much-needed strength, companionship, aid, and guidance to help us keep on the right and narrow trail!
“Yea, though I walk through the valley…thou are with me!”
Thank you, Lord Jesus.
- Pastor Tom -
Luther's Morning Prayer
In the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen
I thank you, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Crist, your dear Son, that you have kept me this night from all harm and danger. And I pray that you would keep me this day also from sin and every evil, that all my doings and life may please you. For into my hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let your holy angel be with me, that the wicked foe may have no power over me. Amen.
Luther's Evening Prayer
In the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen.
I thank you, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, your dear Son, that you have graciously kept me this day. And I pray you, that you would forgive me all my sins where I have done wrong, and graciouly keep me this night. For into your hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let your holy angel be with me, that the wicked foe may have no power over me. Amen.
Father, I ask You to bless my friends, relatives, people of Faith and those that I care deeply for, who are reading this right now. Show them a new revelation of Your love and power. Holy Spirit, I ask You to minister to their spirit at this very moment. Where there is pain, give them Your peace and mercy.. Where there is self-doubt, release a renewed confidence through Your grace. Where there is need, I ask you to fulfill their needs. Bless their homes, families, finances, their goings and their comings.
Sometimes when you talk to God, in good times thanking him or in time of need, you wonder if he is listening or if he is with you.
One night a man had a dream........... He was walking along the beach with the Lord, and across the sky flashed scenes from his life. In each scene, he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand, one made by him, and one made by the Lord.
When the last scene of his life flashed before him, he looked at the footprints in the sand, and noticed that many times along the path of his life there was only one set of footprints. He also noticed that it happened at the worst times of his life.
This bothered him, so he asks the Lord about it. "Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you, You'd walk with me all the way. But, I've noticed that during times of trouble there is only one set of footprints. I don't understand why you left me when I needed you the most".
The Lord Replied,"My precious child, I love you and would never leave you...... During your times of trouble where you only see one set of footprints I was carrying you."