Sunday, January 17, 2010

OnFire #212 This Week's Theme

OnFire Encouragement Letter
OnFire #212 This Week’s Theme

Some weeks develop themes. This week’s theme for us seems to be saying goodbye.

On Monday we held the funeral service for Jan’s grandfather. He was a good and kind man who gave his heart to Jesus in his later years, so we have hope in the resurrection. As Paul reminds us, we do not grieve like those who have no hope. (1 Thessalonians 4:13). Jan sang and did the euology. The boys read scripture and were pallbearers. It was somehow strange and yet right to see our boys dressed in their suits as young men.

At the funeral I also spoke and used some of the tools he had given me when he downsized. He was a carpenter and gave me a level, hand saw, and some clamps. I used these as reminders of our faith. Just as the bubble on the level ensures that walls and floors are true and level, we will never be quite right until the bubble of our lives is centred on Jesus. The Bible is able to penetrate deeply into our hearts and lives just as the handsaw cuts sharply and quickly through wood. And finally, we need to remain clamped to Jesus during times of trouble and trials.

Today, Thursday, also fits the theme of saying goodbyes, although thankfully a funeral is not involved. We just came back from the airport where we said goodbye to our Japanese student. He has lived as part of our family for the last 51 weeks. In that time we have eaten many meals, laughed and argued, travelled and loafed together, and so it is not surprising that the water level behind our eyes was a little high as we waved from opposite ends of the security area. We pray for him and hope he will do well in life and keep in contact with us.

Tonight we’ll take it easy and get used to being on our own again. We have a week before our next student arrives and we’ll enjoy this time together.

A few days ago I came across this passage while I read through 1 Samuel again and it seems to fit. "Saul's son Jonathan went to David at Horesh and helped him find strength in God. (1Samuel 23:16*)

David’s situation was dire. Afraid for his life, he hid in the dessert with a faithful band of men around him. But it was a good friend who came alongside to give him that extra encouragement he needed. We would like to think that we are strong, independent, capable, able to stand alone. But the reality is that we need the help of others at our side to find strength, comfort and encouragement, not only in ourselves, but in God also. Our faith in God is closely tied to our relationship with others. We need each other.

It was good to spend time with Jan and her family. We are family together, and prop each other up when needed. And it will be good to stay close tonight. This is good, and the way God intended, to give strength to each other and bolster our faith.

I write these things because it helps me to write. But also, I’m one of those people who likes to stand tall on my own. I like being independent and able. Somewhere along the way, however, I have understood that it is good to let people come alongside for strength and support. In fact, I need it. I would hate to see someone miss out on the blessing of strength and comfort by holding others at arms length.

I hope this helps. Be on fire.


OnFire is a weekly letter on authentic faith and character written by Troy Dennis. Troy is the Pastor of Family Ministries at Highfield Baptist Church, Moncton NB Canada. This letter published Jan 14, 2010. Scripture references taken from the New International Version. To subscribe or reply, email Archives are located at Blog located at  

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