Saturday, June 18, 2011

OnFire #261 Flick the Switch

OnFire Enouragement Letter

OnFire #261 Flick the Switch

“Don’t forget to turn it on,” a friend reminded me as he showed me how to start the chain saw.

I couldn’t imagine why he would tell me such a thing. After all, it seemed obvious that to begin I should flick the switch from its off position. And yet, since then I have forgotten (many times) and wondered why the machine wouldn’t start after at least 20 pulls.

Sometimes the instruction or advice we receive sounds so obvious we wonder, “Why would anyone need to say that?” Like the line in the chain saw manual operator’s manual which says, “Do not stop chain with hand.” But, I can tell you that there have been times after hitting a rock or nail when I thought about reaching down to check the chain, even though it was running at the time. Sometimes we forget the obvious.

After Paul was stoned and left for dead, he and Barnabas returned to some of the cities where they had preached in order to strengthen the believers and appoint elders. In Acts 14:22, Luke tells us they were “reinforcing the hearts of the believers, calling them to remain in the faith,” and saying that “through many troubles it is necessary to enter the kingdom of God.”

He had to tell them this? Wasn’t it obvious that life was full of hardship? And, how was this supposed to encourage and strengthen them?

This was the piece of advice that reminded me of my chain saw. We sometimes forget the obvious, that life brings troubles. There is something in us that makes us think our hardships should at least fade if we are faithful, but we should not be surprised when we face trials and difficulties.

How was this encouraging? Paul and Barnabas strengthened them by reminding them of their goal - to enter the kingdom of God. There would be much difficulty, but if they remained faithful through the trouble, they would enter the kingdom of God.

A friend once cleared some land but left some trees in the middle of a bog. “Take what you want,” he offered. I needed firewood, so I took him up on the offer. It was tough work, hauling and dragging it out by hand since I couldn’t get a truck in there and I didn’t have a four-wheeler. But the goal was a warm fireplace to relax in front of. I kept reminding myself it would be worth it in the end, and it was.

That difficulty was over in a day or two. Life’s trials often last longer, but Paul reminds us that it will be worth it in the end.

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 June 10, 2011. To subscribe or reply, email Archives are located at . Blog located at

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