Temple Baptist Church - 1-19-2020
1 Peter 1:1-9
A. I want to preach a message this morning on a subject that I am not an expert on: valleys or the hard places in life. As we begin the New Year, we all understand that there will more than likely be both good and hard times.
B. I have often said that life is hard and the older you get, the harder life gets! Growing old is not for “wimps!”
1. In Ecclesiastes 11:9-12:1, Solomon said, “Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment. (10) Therefore remove sorrow from thy heart, and put away evil from thy flesh: for childhood and youth are vanity. (12:1) Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;”
2. There is joy in youth because there are parents there to handle the problems but, when young people get out of the “nest,” the responsibility of handling problems falls upon their shoulders.
C. In these verses we find the age-old question: “If need be?” Valleys in life are hard places!
D. Hard places in life have both negative and positive aspects to them. The negative aspects are easy to identify!
1. Valleys of life are just that: valleys! Some deeper than others but all still valleys. Problems run from not so bad but aggravating to ones of deep sorrow. Problems vary in their depths but not one of us like valleys of any description!
Ecclesiastes 3:4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
2. Some valleys are more beautiful than others that are barren wastelands! Small problems still allow for the enjoyment of life in general while larger problems have a way of consuming the traveler.
2 Corinthians 7:5-6 For, when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears. (6) Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus;
3. Some valleys are short and some are long! There is a place out west called Ten Sleep Canyon. It took an Indian 10 days to get through it. Valleys always take the long way around the mountains because they are an indirect route. The shortest way is usually over the mountain.
Psalms 77:2 In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord: my sore ran in the night, and ceased not: my soul refused to be comforted. (Job went from seven days and nights to 42 chapters!)
E. Though we normally concentrate on the negative aspects of valleys in life, there are some positive things that come out of them.
1. Trials reveal of what sort our faith is. “The trial of your faith” Matthew 13:20-21 But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; (21) Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. (A faith that cannot be tested is a faith that cannot be trusted. Someone once said that troubles do not build character; they only expose it. A right faith in the Lord will get you through the valleys in good shape spiritually.)
2. Trails are places with the potential for Spiritual Growth. “being much more precious than of gold that perisheth” 1 Peter 5:10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. (We grow in the knowledge that when God is all that we have, it is then that we find that He is all that we need. We grow in the knowledge that God’s grace is always more than sufficient. We grow in the knowledge that He will never leave us nor forsake us.)
IT”S IN THE VALLEYS I GROW
Sometimes life seems hard to bear,
Full of sorrow, trouble and woe
It’s then I have to remember
That it’s in the valleys I grow.
If I always stayed on the mountain top
And never experienced pain,
I would never appreciate God’s love
And would be living in vain.
I have so much to learn
And my growth is very slow,
Sometimes I need the mountain tops,
But it’s in the valleys I grow.
I do not always understand
Why things happen as they do,
But I am very sure of one thing.
My Lord will see me through.
My little valleys are nothing
When I picture Christ on the cross
He went through the valley of death;
His victory was Satan’s loss.
Forgive me Lord, for complaining
When I’m feeling so very low.
Just give me a gentle reminder
That it’s in the valleys I grow.
Continue to strengthen me, Lord
And use my life each day
To share your love with others
And help them find their way
Thank you for the valleys, Lord
For this one thing I know
The mountain tops are glorious
But it’s in the valleys I grow!
3. Trials cause us not to take the good times for granted! “though it be tried with fire” Job 29:2-4 Oh that I were as in months past, as in the days when God preserved me; (3) When his candle shined upon my head, and when by his light I walked through darkness; (4) As I was in the days of my youth, when the secret of God was upon my tabernacle; (It is in the valley that we remember the mountains! Too often, we take good days for granted. Most of life is good and we should rejoice when it is.)
4. Trials give us opportunity to glorify God before the eyes of the world! “might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ” Isaiah 24:15 Wherefore glorify ye the LORD in the fires, even the name of the LORD God of Israel in the isles of the sea. (It is easy to be a good Christian when all is well but the world watches us closely when we are in trouble. It is in the hard times that our little lights become big ones as the world fastens their eyes upon us and glorify our Father in heaven.)
5. Trials deepen the child of God’s love for Him! “Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory” 2 Corinthians 8:2 How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. (Hard times in marriages either “make them or break them!” When a couple truly love one another, they will cleave to each more in the hard times and their love deepens. Thus, it is with the Lord. When we walk with Him in the hard times our love for Him deepens.)
6. Without trials, there would be no deliverance! “Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.” 2 Timothy 4:16-18 At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge. (17) Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. (18) And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. (Without valleys, there would be no mountains climbed or to be climbed. From the valleys, we view the mountains and from the mountains, we view the valleys. Both, when viewed from a distance become things of great beauty.)