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  • Pastor Ralph

More than Semantics

Updated: May 28, 2020

Semantics, in its broadest sense, is “the study of meanings.” Most often we use the term to describe the study of “word” meanings. Someone might use the phrase, “that is simply semantics” when they disagree over the meaning of a word or phrase. To me as a Pastor and as a student of scripture, semantics plays an important role in my life. I think words and the way we use them is of utmost importance.

One word I heard a great deal, growing up, was the word fortitude. I have not heard that word used much lately. In fact, I never seem to hear it anymore. I think it would have been a term to describe my parents as they lived the outcome of the accident we were involved in. I have also seen it, over and over again, in the lives of my flock, family and friends. Fortitude simply means “courage in pain or adversity.” I think people like the Apostle Paul and so many others lived lives of “fortitude” as they were slandered, physically persecuted and eventually even martyred for their faith. His life was not easy, at times, but God’s strength and His presence brought joy in the midst of perplexing circumstances. Paul understood that in his trials, God’s grace would be sufficient: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness’ (2 Corinthians 12:9). Like our 'Journey With Joseph’, we see these believers waiting on the Lord, trusting Him and seeing the ultimate victory they had in the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ. Again, remember, we must walk by faith and not by sight! (Hebrews 11)

For some, as you read this reflection, life will be going pretty great. Rejoice – praise Him. For others, you will be struggling with some issues. God’s message is hang on, focus on the positives and hold tight. The Saviour is with you! As Christians, we need to “rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” (Romans 12:15 NIV) Maybe there is someone today that you can phone and rejoice with. Maybe there is someone you can phone and encourage who is in need of a lift. A kind and caring word goes a long way towards hope and healing. As Paul says, we can empower others to "stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong.” (1 Corinthians 13:16 NLT)

I found this poem while doing some research this week. I want to share it with you in hopes that its words will encourage you. My prayer is that it will give those that need it fortitude. As one wise person has said, “Courage is grace under power!” Let His grace empower you!

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,

When the road you're trudging seems all uphill,

When the funds are low and the debts are high,

And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,

When care is pressing you down a bit,

Rest, if you must, but don't you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,

As every one of us sometimes learns,

And many a failure turns about,

When he might have won had he stuck it out;

Don't give up though the pace seems slow—

You may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than,

It seems to a faint and faltering man,

Often the struggler has given up,

When he might have captured the victor's cup,

And he learned too late when the night slipped down,

How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out—

The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,

And you never can tell how close you are,

It may be near when it seems so far,

So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit—

It's when things seem worst that you must not quit.

- Anonymous

As we close this reflection, we extend our deepest condolences and love to Maria Pacheco in the loss of her father Tuesday. To Maria, Arianne and family, you are in our thoughts and prayers. God bless you.

Keep safe and keep in the love of Jesus – Pastor Ralph

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