September 1, 2020
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My friend Andy used to pastor in West Virginia. The little town they lived in was situated in this long, narrow valley - actually a pretty dark valley, according to Andy. The sun didn't rise high enough to shine on that town until like mid-morning, so it was actually dark for quite a while each day. My friend said that the town itself was kind of a (well, in his words) a dingy, dirty place. It's the kind of a place where you often battle feeling down emotionally. But Andy used to love to go up on the mountain, he said, because it overlooked the valley, and from up there, he said the view was beautiful. Even the town looked really nice from up there!
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Getting Out of the Valley."
When you can get above the valley, that panoramic view makes everything look different. If you're spending some time in your own valley right now, that might be something you need to remember. And there's a simple six-letter word that represents that view from the mountain that changes how everything looks.
It's found in our word for today from the Word of God in Psalm 8 beginning in verse 1. "O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory in the heavens. Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger. When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care about them?"
Did you catch the word that changes the view? Praise; focusing on the size of your God instead of the size of your problems. Reminding yourself of the great things God is to you and the great things He has done for you, and celebrating who is really in charge in what's going on in your life right now. Praise actually has the power to "silence the foe and the avenger." If that refers to Satan, you need to know that Satan can't stand to be around you when you're praising your Lord. And praise takes away the negative attitudes and the discouragement that our enemy loves to exploit.
Discouragement and depression, they themselves are "foes" and "avengers" in our lives. And the darkness of the valley often causes us to succumb to our dark side, to emotional paralysis, or to giving up, until we make the choice to climb up on that mountain that takes us above all that - Praise Mountain. You may not feel like praising God, you probably don't. That's when you need to praise God the most. It's a conscious choice - not an emotion. It's a choice to begin saying and singing God's praises instead of your complaints.
Start celebrating the many ways God has worked over the months and the years. Look at the progress you've made - at how far you've come, not just how far you still have to go. Thank God for the things that didn't happen that could have happened. Praise Him for places you can see Him working in just the last 24 hours in spite of your difficulties. Start talking up the qualities that you love about your Lord, the qualities that you're counting on right now to get you through.
The problem is that we become focused on the sad situation right in front of us as if that's our whole life. It's only a small dot on a big canvas. Stand back and look at that big canvas and see the glorious things God has done in your life, many of which we can miss when we're all focused on the one thing we're battling right now. Every day look for God-sightings! They're everywhere if you look for them.
When you're in the valley and you're looking only at what's right in front of you, you're just going to get overwhelmed and discouraged. But as you start to look at your valley from the mountain of praising God, everything is going to look different. And you can have that awesome view anytime you choose to go there.