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Pastor's Corner: Build on the good stuff


Last updated 6/28/2020 at 12:55pm | View PDF

“Few men during their lifetime come anywhere

near exhausting the resources dwelling within them.

There are deep wells of strength that are never used.”

--Admiral Richard E. Byrd

Born in the later 19th century, Admiral Richard Byrd was one of those men given to adventure and the intrigue of the unknown. He was best known in my memory as the one who braved frigid temperatures for long periods of time as he explored the then-unexplored regions of the South Pole and Antarctica. However, he was also instrumental in the early stages of transatlantic flight.

Admiral Byrd was not the first nor the last to challenge men and women to dig deeper to find the strength and courage to plumb the depth of their inner innate power. Those of us who love sports cannot help but think of Vince Lombardi who said, “Man’s finest hour is the moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle victorious.”

Theodore Roosevelt, a man with a like passion for adventure and exploration, had this famous quote, “No man is worth his salt who is not ready at all times to risk his well-being, to risk his body, to risk his life, in a great cause.” Therein lies the secret … a great cause. That cause will vary from person to person, and can be fueled by love of family or country, or love for the Savior. That inner power often lies dormant until a spark flies from the flint of love and ignites the combustible fuel of desire.

Dr. Viktor Frankl and Corrie ten Boom were two such people whose deep love and devotion helped them to survive the atrocities of Nazism and the Jewish concentration camps of WWII. Both reached deep within to survive unbelievable living condition to come out stronger and more loving people. Dr. Frankl was a Jewish neurologist and psychiatrist who had a passion for the psyche of man. This passion allowed him to withstand the brutality of the camps by observing other prisoners’ attempts to cope with their challenges.

On the other hand, Miss ten Boom was a Dutch Christian who along with her family hid hundreds of Jewish families in their home, saving many families from the concentration camps. They were caught, and although Corrie was a Christian, spent many years detained in a concentration camp meant for Jews. Her deep love for Christ and the Scriptures allowed her to be a further witness for Christ while detained.

Her power came from an abiding belief in the absolute truth of Scripture. There was one in particular that she hung to, and it is one that you and I can grasp onto today as well and is found in I John 4:4b, “…for He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” (ESV). The question then is this, “From whence comes your power and strength?” Is it from the things of this world like fame, fortune, governmental system, education, your job or job title and the like? There is nothing inherently wrong with any or all of them -- they are just all flawed because the truth found in them comes from a flawed and fallen world.

Want hope today? It is our choice: We can either build our foundations on gold, silver and precious stone or with wood hay and straw. The difference is this when the fires of trials, temptations and tumultuous times come, and they will, one foundation will be refined and become purer and stronger; the other will “go up in flames” and -- poof – be gone.

So, build on the good stuff, although more costly they will last forever. Remember the old hymn of the faith as you build:

My hope is built on nothing less

Than Jesus Christ, my righteousness;

I dare not trust the sweetest frame,

But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;

All other ground is sinking sand,

All other ground is sinking sand.

Jim Neal is pastor of First Southern Baptist Church, Shafter.


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