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Pastor's Devotional Thoughts

Here’s the cool story I shared with you on the pulpit a few weeks ago in writing.

A few weeks ago, I went bike riding with my good friends Kory and Atuhani on the Glacial Drumlin Trail. Our goal for that beautiful, cool morning was 40 miles. About 10 miles into the ride, I got caught in something and crashed. Kory was right behind me, and he tried his best to swerve around, but it was too late, and we both crashed. Atuhani had enough space to stop. Kory’s brake cable was torn, and I had road rashes all over my right side. It was painful, and after sorting things out, we decided to turn around and return.

This is where the cool story happens.

As we neared the first car road crossing, we heard a loud car crash sound: it was more like a pickup truck dropping its load on the road accidentally, but there was no way to tell by the sound. It was loud, and it didn’t sound right. Something happened. We slowed down to watch the traffic and halted at the crossing. We looked to our right, where the loud sound came from. We didn’t see anything. It was really odd. Then, to our left, we saw a Sheriff’s car stopping to let us cross the road. We waved at him to come over, explained what we heard, and asked him to go over and check it out.

We followed the Sheriff (we kept a good distance), and sure enough, this car was on the side, hidden in the trees. The officer immediately exited his vehicle, knocked on the driver's side window, and yelled for a response. Silence. We offered to help, but there was not much we could do. The officer had already called the first responders, and we heard the sirens within seconds. We left the scene to be out of the way for the first responders to do the job. The driver is safe.

I still wonder about that day and think about God's providence and timing. What if we didn't crash the bike? What if we decided not to return? What if the Sheriff's car wasn't there? What if we didn't bother the officer because we didn't see anything? I can't help but think that God had a hand in this to save this driver. “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 Each moment, we need to reflect on how God is using my situation for the good of His purpose. We should learn to submit ourselves so that God will use us for His cause, even when we do not realize it.

Swimming is quite a challenging discipline for many triathletes. Only a few come from a swimming background since youth. In fact, many learn to swim for the first time in their adulthood as they decide to take up on triathlons. I am one of those triathletes. 

Swimming is all about form and technique. Without proper form and technique, you will not only be slow, but lose a lot of unnecessary energy and time. With proper form and technique, you have the advantage of going fast with efficiency, and you will be able to ride the bike with fresh strength after the swim.

I took a swimming class in college 20 years ago, and that was it. I could barely remember what I learned. So when I started swimming for triathlons, I had to relearn everything. Of course, I went to YouTube to learn. I would visualize what I learned online, and put it to practice. Even after that, I wasn’t improving. The problem was, I didn’t know whether I had the proper form or not. So, I would ask the lifeguards or other swimmers to record me swimming. Then, I would send it to my expert friends to review and give me tips. Over time, I think I have improved some.

My point is, it takes training, discipline, repetition, and guidance to perfect the art of swimming. That’s what our spiritual life should be about. Paul tells us that we are all running the race. To prepare he says, “But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.” 1 Corinthians 9:27. Jesus promised the Holy Spirit to guide us. We should be trained and disciplined to effectively represent Jesus and share about Him. 

I take a few different routes when I run in the mornings. One of the reasons is that I won’t get bored of running the same route all the time. On this particular route I ran on this morning, there is a silo standing tall to the right side of the path. You can actually see it when you are driving on 164. I know I have passed by this silo over a hundred times, and every time I see it, I imagine what is stored in it. 

My daughters enjoyed watching their piggy banks fill up whenever they put coins in them. You get satisfaction when you see the level of coins rise to the top of the piggy bank. After a few hours of activity, you get to hear your stomach growl, and you will find comfort when you start consuming food in your stomach. I think by nature, we like to store things up.

King Hezekiah reflects that type human nature very well in 2 Kings 20:13 “And Hezekiah was attentive to them, and showed them all the house of his treasures - the silver and gold, the spices and precious ointment, and all his armory - all that was found among his treasures. There was nothing in his house or in all his dominion that Hezekiah did not show them.” The king filled up his storage and was very proud of it. (We know that this cost him his kingdom later on).

While storing things up is not wrong (as good stewards, we must be wise in saving up), we must also listen to the words of Jesus. “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21. 

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