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Through the Valley of Surrender
by Tom Goodman
September 9, 2009

A new semester of the Hillcrest Institute begins soon!
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Before we can get to the summit of victorious living, we have to go through the valley of a humbling surrender.

Tim Cahill knows something about this.  The adventurer decided to hike from the depths of Death Valley (282 feet below sea level), to the top of Mount Whitney, the highest point in the continental United States.

The park ranger told him that 90 percent of those who begin the adventure quit the first day, but Tim Cahill and a companion decided they could do it.

The first several days, their thermometer registered 113 degrees -- at dawn -- and topped out their thermometer at 150 degrees as the sun rose.  The heat caused their feet to swell and their boots to warp, and soon they were walking on painful blistered feet.  On the second day, they began to hallucinate.  On the third day, they began to come out of the oppressive environment.  Their swollen feet returned to normal size, and they replaced their ruined boots with new shoes.  On the fifth day, they even found a cool spring to plunge into.  On the sixth day, they made 20 miles overland.  Their strength was returning.  On the seventh day, they hiked 30 miles.  On the eighth day, they began hiking up the slopes of Mount Whitney.  Halfway through the tenth day, they reached the snowy summit and gazed around at the world.  Cahill and Nicholas had just joined a small and elite fraternity of those who have walked from the bottom to the top of America.

The only way to gain victory over the things that defeat us is to first admit that those things are defeating us.  Sometimes that admission of defeat is as punishing as a hike through Death Valley.  But it's the only way to come to that high point of victory.

The Bible says that the only way you and I can live the life God wants us to have is to first admit that we can't do it on our own.  "I have the desire to do what is good," Paul said in Romans 7, "but I cannot carry it out."

This is where it all starts for those working the 12 Steps of a recovery program:  "We admitted we were powerless" over the things that defeated us and "our lives had become unmanageable."

This Sunday, September 13, we'll begin a sermon series through the 12 Steps.  Even if you're not dealing with addiction, we all have things that defeat us.  As I said last Sunday, the church is a big recovery group!  And I've found that the Bible has a lot of encouragement and guidance regarding recovery.  Join us this Sunday at 10am as we begin our walk through the 12 Steps!

Weblog:  Check out my blog, "Get Anchored."  Some things to look for...

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