MARCH 20, 2022
Pastor Jean Owens 607-273-5682 firstname.lastname@example.org
Blood Mountain is located on the Appalachian Trail in the northern part of Georgia. It is the highest peak on the Georgia section of the Appalachian Trail and the sixth-tallest mountain in Georgia, with an elevation of 4,458 feet. It is located within the boundaries of the Chattahoochee National Forest and the Blood Mountain Wilderness.
There are various stories as to why it is called Blood Mountain. Before the coming of the white settlers, the Creeks and the Cherokees fought a disastrous and bloody battle in Slaughter Gap between Slaughter and Blood Mountain.
Hiking up Blood Mountain was a physical challenge. It is a steep and rocky climb up from the gap. I was getting winded about half way up when the beauty of the mountain drew my attention away from my fatigue. Around every switchback were huge rhododendron bushes, 15 and 20 feet high, covered with pinks and purple blooms. I felt a stir of excitement every time I turned a corner anxious to see what shade of color would explode in front of me. I was no longer thinking about the steep elevation. I thought, “This is what it will look like when one day I will raise up to Heaven’s heights.” We camped on an outcrop of boulders for the night in all that beauty.
Have you ever had a day that was so wonderful that you wanted it to last forever? Jesus’ disciples had days like that, too? I am reminded of the transfiguration.
One day, Jesus took Peter, James, and John with Him up onto a mountain to pray. As Jesus was praying, something very strange happened.
Matthew 17: 1-4 After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. 3 His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. 4 And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus. 4 Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”
The Bible says that the appearance of His face began to change and that His clothing became as bright as a flash of lightning. Then Moses and Elijah, two men who had gone to heaven a long, long time ago, appeared with Jesus. They were talking with Jesus about how He was going to die.
When Peter saw this, he could not believe his eyes. How could Moses and Elijah be here, standing and talking with Jesus. The whole thing was so incredible, Peter told Jesus that he thought that they should stay up there on the mountain and build three tents — one for Jesus, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.
Peter wanted it to last forever.
There are times in our life when everything is wonderful and God seems to be blessing us so richly.
Then there are times in our life when we feel alone, not sure where to turn, or how we will make it through the day.
Mountaintops are surrounded by valleys. A mountaintop wouldn’t be a mountaintop without valleys.
Jesus had mountaintops and valleys.
Mountaintop experience. Jesus was baptized. Matthew 3 16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
Valley experience. Soon after that Satan tempted him in the desert. Matthew 4 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.
Mountaintop experience. Jesus healed and blessed the lives of many. Matthew 4:23 Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.
Valley experience. Religious leaders question his authority. Matthew 21 23 Jesus entered the temple courts, and, while he was teaching, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him. “By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you this authority?”
Valley experience. No honor in his hometown Matthew 13: 54 Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?” they asked. 55 “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? 56 Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” 57 And they took offense at him.
Mountaintop experience. Flourishing ministry. Matthew 12:15 A large crowd followed him, and he healed all who were ill.
Valley experience. Finds out John was beheaded Matthew 14 6 On Herod’s birthday the daughter of Herodias danced for the guests and pleased Herod so much 7 that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she asked. 8 Prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist.” 9 The king was distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he ordered that her request be granted 10 and had John beheaded in the prison. 11 His head was brought in on a platter and given to the girl, who carried it to her mother.
Mountaintop experience. The Triumphal Entry. Matthew 21 7 They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. 8 A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,
“Hosanna to the Son of David!”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
10 When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?”
11 The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”
Remember that you are never alone on the mountain or in the valley.
Matthew 28:20 And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
He tells us, “I am with you always.” If you feel far from God, you moved.
Do not let your life become all about your valley, don’t camp there. God can use you whether you are on the mountain or in the valley.
Rejoice with those on the mountain.
Mourn with those in the valley.
Keep in mind that mountaintops and valleys are temporary.
Also, remember there is a mountaintop waiting for us that we will never have to leave. It is forever.
Revelation 22 tells us “And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.”
Heavenly Father, we thank You for all the wonderful experiences You allow us to enjoy as we walk each day with You. Help us to follow You wherever You lead us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.