Cheerful Giver



January Newsletter


Information and news from other PNC churches.




Rev. Stephen Snodgrass


Fighting to Finish

As the gate closes on an old year and we step into the new, the tradition is to set new goals and resolutions for ourselves in many aspects of life. I have already begun to receive the many advertisements promoting anything from exercise equipment to a new way to organize my garage. Now do not let me lead you to believe that I’m against any advancement in the direction to becoming more healthy or organized. I appreciate the many helps that we receive from the retailers. I also appreciate the opportunity to give things a “fresh” start.

The only problem that I see with the many “New Year’s” resolutions is the lack of “New Year’s” resolve. More emphasis is placed on the start and less is placed on the finish. I’m very aware that the one must start before he can finish, but we start so we can finish. A builder is not commended on the blueprinted that he had drawn up, but rather the finished product once the homeowner takes possession. An artist’s work is not fully appreciated, until the last stroke is placed on the canvas and it hangs for the scrutiny of the public eye. The surgeon’s job is not complete until the last stitch is tied and the patient is in recovery. The potter’s skill is not fully appreciated until his work has come through the fire. The savings account is never fully appreciated, until it is time for retirement. Starting is great, but finishing is goal.

When the Apostle Paul was coming down to the end of his course, he was able to write, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. (2 Timothy 4:7-8) Paul recognized early in his Christian walk that he would have to fight if he were to finish. Before you face the challenges of a new year, you must realize that there will be conflict. When you strive to spend more time in private devotions; know in advance that the devil will do his best to hinder you. When you commit to spending more time evangelizing in your community, be assured that with it will come setbacks. When you resolve to give more for the many worthy causes of the Kingdom, remember there will be times when it will require more sacrifice than what you imagined. But always remember that with conflict, we have a Heavenly Father, who has promised to be by our side in every situation.

The Christian life is right compared to a hotly contested race in several passages in the New Testament. There is a course that has been set before us. There are no shortcuts in this race. The course must be completed. Do you remember the times when playing with young players on a softball game and they had to constantly be reminded to touch the bases? Many would get caught up in the moment and run from first to third. The crowd and teammates would be screaming for them to go back to second and tag. I have seen Christians, try to get from start to finish without running the full course. They will try to cut a corner on doctrine and take a shortcut on biblical standards, but in the end, they always have to go back to where they deviated if they are going to finish the course. Running the course takes discipline and determination. To finish well, we must wage a constant battle against sin, the world, the flesh and the devil, and win victory by the power of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Recently the song leader of our local congregation, directed us in the Charles Wesley hymn, “A Charge to Keep.” While we were singing, the words seemed to once again penetrate my soul and give me new and fresh resolve.

A charge to keep I have,
A God to glorify,
A never-dying soul to save,
And fit it for the sky.

To serve the present age,
My calling to fulfill:
O may it all my powers engage
To do my Master's will!

Arm me with jealous care,
As in Thy sight to live;
And O Thy servant, Lord, prepare
A strict account to give!

Help me to watch and pray,
And on Thyself rely,
Assured, if I my trust betray,
I shall for ever die.

If you were to ask me if I have made New Year’s resolutions, my answer is yes! I have made a resolution to fight the good fight, to finish my course, keep the faith. I resolve to hear words spoken to me by the Father, “Well done they good and faithful servant, enter into the joys of the Lord.”

Past Articles

December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009