“And may your hearts be fully committed to the Lord our God, to live by his decrees and obey his commands, as at this time.” — 1 Kings 8:61
Rock climbing is a growing sport, especially in the Pacific Northwest and Rocky Mountains. More and more colleges are offering climbing gyms for practice on campus. In a world where most things take a few minutes to do, mountain climbing involves a lot of time and expense. Rock climbers set aside a whole weekend or more to conquer a tall peak, requiring detailed planning in what they will pack to fuel and protect themselves. Because of the time involved in their quest, they may bring sleeping bags, tents and extra clothing, not to mention the essentials of ropes, pulleys, rappel devices, clamps and other equipment for a successful climb to the top of the mountain and back.
Rock climbing is no small task and requires great commitment to succeed. A lack of determination and commitment could leave you stranded on a mountain, or lead to a dangerous mistake that could affect other climbers around you.
Before Jesus sent His disciples to spread the Gospel and plant churches, He told them it wouldn’t be an easy task. They needed unusual courage to continue in the ministry God put before them. Jesus described the tall task as they approached the long climb of service for the Lord: “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues. On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles” (Matthew 10:16-18).
As Jesus predicted, the apostles were tested beyond their abilities, but God went with them every step of the way. Though Stephen (one of the first deacons) was stoned to death while sharing the Gospel, and James (one of the original 12 disciples) was beheaded for preaching the Gospel, Peter and other leaders persevered for a number of years to ensure the early churches marched forward despite many obstacles.
After Peter was arrested in an attempt to keep him from preaching the Gospel, his church congregation gathered in desperate prayer and the Lord did another miracle: As Peter slept peacefully in chains between two prison guards, an angel came and brought him out to climb another mountain for the Lord. “Peter followed him out of the prison, but he had no idea that what the angel was doing was really happening; he thought he was seeing a vision. They passed the first and second guards and came to the iron gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself, and they went through it. When they had walked the length of one street, suddenly the angel left him” (Acts 12:9-10).
The church was probably confused and startled when they saw Peter was freed from bondage, but Peter took it as a chance to take his ministry to new places. When God answers our bold prayers, are we ready to thank Him and act accordingly?
Peter knew his mountain to climb would be no small feat, but that it would be worth it if it brought God glory. He trained others and passed on his knowledge and wisdom so they could continue to build the Kingdom and climb their own mountains when called. He was determined and committed to his climb.
Are you taking on your mountain with confidence, training and relying on His direction? When you get tested beyond your abilities, do you rely on God to be with you every step of the way like the apostles? Are you committed to the journey God has called you on?
— Bill Kent, Pastor of Memorial Baptist Church, Sylvania, Georgia
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