Wednesday, February 25, 2009

OnFire #178 Digging Out After the Storm

OnFire Encouragement Letter

Hi Folks:

I’m away this week at meetings of a board I serve on, but before leaving I had some thoughts for OnFire and was able to pull them together on some down time. My apologies if the text appears different or is not the regular size. I'm using my webmail and the options are not the same.

Mark is home sick with a sore throat and fever. We hope he’ll be feel better soon. On the weekend we had a supper with other international students and their families. This group is proving to be a real blessing to us as we get to know others outside of our church family. There are some neat people in the group.

Blessings for your week.

If you’re from Atlantic Canada, you know I spent a good part of Monday cleaning up after the latest snowstorm. It took three of us almost 2 hours to shovel our driveway, which is not long, but there are two lanes of roadway in front of our house. And so the end is always a lot deeper than the middle.

We watched the snow blowers go by and I could see the wishful look in my boys’ eyes. Hey, I thought different times about calling one of them in, but that would be to admit defeat.

Besides, I believe there is value in good, honest, old-fashioned hard work. I want my boys to be healthy and strong, and shovelling is great exercise. It is also character building. It takes stamina and perseverance to get the job done. Frustration and discouragement must be defeated. I want my boys to know that even a big job can be finished in due course if they just keep at it and not give up.

These are the sorts of things I was telling myself as we all watched our neighbour’s driveway being blown out. The powerful tractor hardly even strained through the heaviest and deepest of the snow. I think I was trying to convince myself more than anything. There is value in hard work... There is value in hard work...

This is the message of the opening words of the book of James. We’re no longer talking about shovelling snow, but we are talking about defeating discouragement and practising perseverance. "Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him." (James 1:12*)

There are things we can accomplish only by hard work and there are lessons we can learn only by difficulty. This is not to say that God brings them so that we will learn them. That’s like saying I wish for snowstorms so my boys will be strong. No no. That is not God’s nature. Rather, God turns trouble over by making it worthwhile for us to endure. The snowstorms of life may dump on us, but He rewards the hard work of the soul.

I hope this helps. Be on fire.


OnFire is a weekly letter on faith and character written by Troy Dennis. Troy is the Pastor of Family Ministries at Highfield Baptist Church, Moncton NB Canada. This letter published Feb 25, 2009. *Bible reference taken from the New International Version. To subscribe or reply, email Archives are located at Blog located at

No comments:

Post a Comment