Pastor’s Desk December 3rd

Scripture Passage:  “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto you are also called, and have professed a good profession before many witnesses.”  I Timothy 6:12
  Dear Friends,
     This morning finds me weary.  Weary because I have a cold.  Weary because I have had two tough funerals.  Weary because I have been dealing with hurting, needy people.  Weary from the strain of having a sick child.  Weary from being physically tired and exhausted.  People often ask me why I do not just take a day off and rest. The church allows me time off for vacation and would never question my taking a sick day to recuperate.  The problem lies with me, not the church.  I have two settings on my daily speedometer, able to go and not able to go.  There was a time it also had a fast and slow setting, but lately the “able to go setting” just contains the bulldog gear.  For those of you who do not understand this terminology, the old farm trucks had a very slow gear in them called the “bulldog gear” or “granny gear.”  It allowed the truck to move at a slow pace without being easily bogged down.  We would put up hay on one of these trucks without even having a driver in it.  Occasionally, someone would reach in and turn the steering wheel to keep it going straight.  At the end of the day you would not have accomplished your task as quickly as you would have liked, but you would have still achieved a lot.  I believe this is similar to what Paul was talking about when he told young Timothy to fight the good fight of faith.  Most spiritual battles are not fought and won quickly but slowly across a sustained period of time.  The victory is won by those who persevere. 
     Our fight of faith is a continuing battle.  I find very few days in my life where there is not a call to battle of some sort.  As I don my armor, sharpen my sword, and approach the enemy, I never know how long the battle is going to take and where I will end up.  I begin the fight with the understanding I must be prepared to wield the sword over the “long haul.”  There are several points I want to make as we apply the Scripture to our own personal lives.  First, if we do not believe in the cause we are fighting for, we will have a tendency to become slack or completely stop fighting the good fight of faith.  It is a good fight because it is for what is right.  You might say, “Who gets to determine what is right?”  If right is determined by human understanding or opinion it has opportunity to be errant.   If God is God, knows all things, and determines what is right, then the standard is set and unmovable because of His divine knowledge and perfection.  The soldier in the battle fights under the direction and command of the Commander-in-Chief.  He or she just continues to fight until the Commander gives the order to desist.  Periods of rest, sleep and healing come from direct orders given by “Someone Higher Up.”   Until then, keep on fighting faithfully.
     Secondly, we must remember who called us and where we are going.  My graduating class was the first class who was required to register for the draft after the Vietnam War.  I never was drafted, but would have gladly served if called.  I was called to be a soldier in the Lord’s Army and have tried to serve him faithfully over the past thirty-eight years.  The source of my strength has come from the One who called me and the incentive knowledge that I have been granted eternal life in Heaven.  I cannot be defeated only temporarily hindered or permanently reassigned to R&R with my Commander-in-Chief away from the battle field. I am a winner either way.
     Finally, while we are here we need to leave a trail of the professions of our faith.  When we were called by Jesus, we were sworn in and promised to faithfully uphold, protect and serve Him and His Kingdom.  The problem is a profession is only as good as the actions that back it up. Paul said our example to follow is Jesus Christ our Lord who had a good confession before Pontius Pilate and backed it up by going all the way to the cross.  (I Timothy 6:13)  I confessed Jesus Christ as Lord on May 7, 1972 and I have been professing him as I fight the good fight of faith all along the way.  There is no place to quit or turn back.  The secret to longevity is to listen to and follow the command of the Captain of our Salvation.
In Christ,
Pastor Johnny