North Santa Rosa

Living With Purpose 

    Many years ago I entered the so-called “real world” of professional employment. I was fresh out of graduate school and hired as a director of a YMCA in a small Alabama town. Attending a leadership and certification conference was the first directive given to me by my supervisor. This program school was held in the quaint high country town of Black Mountain, North Carolina.    My week-long training at the YMCA Blue Ridge Assembly was a “literal” mountaintop experience. The distance of the Black Mountain range, as the crow flies, is only 15 miles, but within these fifteen miles are 18 peaks climbing to at least 6,300 feet. Black Mountain is a sister peak to Mount Mitchell in the heart of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. My YMCA training turned into a spiritual milestone in my life, for it was then that I received clarity concerning my call to Christian ministry. Ever since, Black Mountain has held a special place in my heart. Not only that, the Baptist training and retreat facility called Ridgecrest is where I’ve also received training. It’s only a few miles down interstate 40 and encompasses the same mountain range.

    I purposely return year after year for business and pleasure. After every visit, I leave refreshed and Spirit-filled. I believe that as Christians we are made for the mountains. Jesus sought time alone with God in the mountains. This is where Jesus communed with God and learned of God’s will and received strength. Matthew 14:23 says, “After he (Jesus) dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray.” And again in Luke 6:12, “One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray and spent the night praying to God.” Other Scriptures that note his retreat to solitude for prayer are found in Mark 1:35 and Mark 6:46.

    It’s within the hills you find mountaintops and valleys. Both characterize the life of every person. Most all of our experiences fit into these two categories. When I sit on the steps of the YMCA lecture hall at Blue Ridge, I feel as though I’m looking up to the throne room of Heaven. Learning to overcome life’s greatest struggles is found in God’s throne room. Jesus said, “Those who are victorious will sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat with my Father on His throne” (Revelation 3:21).

    How wonderful it would be to stay on the mountaintop and bask in divine glory! But discipleship means denying self, taking up a cross, and following Christ, and you can’t do that and selfishly stay on the mount of glory.

    On a recent visit to Black Mountain, I read the following Scripture while overlooking God’s great and marvelous creation: “Before the mountains were born, before You gave birth to the earth and the whole world, from beginning to end, You are God” (Psalm 90:2). This magnificent view, along with God’s Word, inspired me with 5 powerful truths that can enable any person to overcome life’s difficulties and come out a winner:

    First, you must Prevail in Prayer. Christ portrayed the example of spending time alone with God in prayer. And you don’t have to be in the mountains to do it. You can pray anywhere! All our victories begin with prayer. Every failure and sin can be forgiven by asking God’s pardon. All our trials and troubles may be taken to God and left with Him. At the moment of your most burdensome testing’s, the wisest thing to do is to run to God’s throne room. Like the mountains, God’s throne is majestic, strong, and firmly established. Psalm 65:3-6 says, “Though we are overwhelmed by our sins, You forgive them all. What joy for those You choose to bring near, those who live in Your holy courts. You faithfully answer our prayers with awesome deeds, Oh God our Savior. You’re the hope of everyone on earth, even those who sail on distant seas. You formed the mountains by Your power and armed Yourself with mighty strength.”

    Next, you must Pursue the Promises. God’s promises are given for our salvation and his divine help in making it through our time on earth. They’re also given for our learning. Like training for your professional development, God’s promises, when claimed as our own, can disciple us so that we can find God’s will, instructions, and guidance. All of which helps us grow in our personal spiritual development.

    Thirdly, we must Persist in Patience. Most of us don’t have all the patience we need. God sometimes allows troubles and trials to come so our patience can increase. We learn patience by waiting on God. Some of the biggest trees in the South are found in the forests of the mountains. I can assure you, it takes time for an oak to grow or a pine to stretch above the landscape (Hebrews 10:36).

    The next truth to help us overcome is to Proclaim His Praise. Psalm 150:6 reads, “Let everything that breaths, sing praises to the Lord.” God hears our praise. It often moves His Spirit to act when nothing else can, and it enables us to overcome.

    Finally, we must Promote His Purpose. We do this best when we witness to the lost and seek to bring them to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. We promote God’s purposes when we faithfully serve Him with our time, talent, and treasure. We overcome by working for God.

    Whatever your state in life—whether it’s on a mountaintop or in a valley, know that God’s throne is majestic, strong, and firmly established. Reach out to Him as He is the rock of your salvation. Though it may seem everybody around you has let you down, you can depend on His love. Don’t focus on the threats around you. Rather, focus on the throne above you! Let your testimony be Habakkuk 3:18-19: “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights of mountains.”

• This bi-weekly column is written by Matthew Dobson. He’s a teacher, U.S. Army Chaplain, and the Pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church in the New York Community. His “Living With Purpose” Book series can be found and purchased on www. You can contact him at:

Posted by on Jun 4 2017. Filed under Church News, Churches, Living With Purpose, Local, Top News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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