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Three Meter Zone | JD's Bunker | Poetry | Chapel | American Journal


JOY UP AHEAD

 

The first sermon I had the privilege of publicly preaching to a congregation in a church setting was titled, “Take Heed of the Warning Signs.”  That took place on the third Sunday in October 1987.  

 

My Scriptural texts were taken from 1 Samuel 12:14-24 and Mark 13:3-8. 

 

On that day, I was a “soaking wet behind the ears” preacher.  I’d received my calling from God to His Gospel preaching ministry almost three months earlier (August 30, 1987) and I was happy and humbled to have the opportunity to give my “initial sermon.”  That’s what Pastor Arthur (“Art”) Cummings (my Pastor at that time) called it. 

 

In certain denominations in Christendom, a preacher’s first public sermon in a church setting is called a “trial” sermon.  Pastor Cummings called my first sermon an “initial” sermon.  He said, “When God calls someone to His work that person doesn’t need to have a trial.”

 

During that sermon I was directed by “Dad” (Romans 8:15, Galatians 4:6) to discuss several devices/signs used today to alert or warn.  Then I had to relate them to the warnings given by the prophet Samuel to the Israelites (following their request to adopt the ruling system of the world around them), and by the Savior to the four disciples with Him (and to all who will read and heed His words today) regarding His second coming.

 

Though a good amount of warnings are designed to keep us from harm (like the Surgeon General’s warning on the side of a pack of cigarettes), I used illustrations to show that not all “warning signs” are meant to prepare one for or protect one from dire circumstances (i.e. a bell that tinkles when a door is opened at a retail shop is used simply to “warn” the shop’s personnel that a customer has entered or exited the premises).

 

The main point and primary focus of the sermon was that all should “take heed” (pay careful and close attention) to the warning signs God gives and provides in life, because they are all and always for our good. 

 

Today, I’d like to share a “warning sign” that is definitely good news.  It’s akin to a sign you’d see on a highway during a road trip to alert (warn) you that your destination is close.

 

Each Thanksgiving, the Schneidmill family takes a road trip to the home of Dad and Mom Best in Raleigh, North Carolina.  As we cross the North Carolina state line and observe signs stating how close we are to our destination in terms of mileage, the children begin to rejoice in anticipation of seeing their grandparents and enjoying the fantastic meal Mom Best always prepares.            

 

When a woman about to give birth experiences labor pains, the pains are indications (warnings) that she is close to delivering a child (or children).  Though those pains can be excruciating (I’m told), the joy of anticipating the birth of the child often overshadows it and even is forgotten when the child is born. 

 

We could do a lot better in life if we would heed the following warning:

 

Whatever you’re experiencing or facing in your life, good or bad, there is joy up ahead when you put your trust in Christ.

 

Jesus knew He had to die to pay the sin penalty payment mankind had made that we were unable and incapable of paying for ourselves.  He knew the payment He would give out of His love for us would consist of immeasurable agony and ultimately take His earthly life, but the Bible declares that He endured it “for the joy that was set before Him…(Hebrews12:2)

 

All people, Christians particularly, will experience and face disappointment, mistreatment, pain, rejection, suffering, testing, trials, and some things we view as “good” as we journey through this life…but I must “warn” you:

 

If we remain faithful to God, come what may, there’s JOY UP AHEAD

 

Paul Schneidmill © Copyright 2005

 

 

NOTE:  I’ll be attending a 12-week course beginning May 16, 2005.  The curriculum may significantly impact my availability to submit these weekly writings.  However, I will do my best to continue to write them during this period.  Please pray for me and check the site periodically for submissions.