Posts Tagged ‘power’

FIFM

For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 2 Timothy 1:6

God spoke this verse to Allana and I back in 2003.  We had only been together a couple of years.  These were difficult years.  Allana had to adjust to being married, having two sons and caring for our little Sami.  Chayla was born in April and to top it off I was working crazy hours.  In the midst of all of that God was doing incredible things in our lives.  Fan Into Flame Ministries was born out of that crucible.  The idea would grow and be tempered over the years by moments of spirit led engagement and by intense personal suffering.  For Allana these days bore the fruit of True Beauty.  For me the focus became Hupomone (because I am a geek and Greek is cool) or Patience, Endurance, Perseverance.  Yet still, it continued to be at the core, the call to Fan Into Flame that gift, in ourselves and in others.

Let’s back track a little.

1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, according to the promise of life in Christ Jesus, 2 To Timothy, my beloved son: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. 3 I thank God, whom I serve with a clear conscience the way my forefathers did, as I constantly remember * you in my prayers night and day, 4 longing to see you, even as I recall your tears, so that I may be filled with joy. 5 For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well.

Paul takes Timothy down memory lane for a minute.  He reminds him that he is Paul’s son in the faith.  Why does Paul do this?  He wants Timothy to remember a very special moment in his life, the moment that he received Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.  The moment that God’s Gift was so graciously bestowed on a young man.  I have to wonder if Timothy didn’t tear up a little, thinking of his father in the faith facing death in Rome.  Perhaps he felt a little shame that the difficulties of ministry in Ephesus had worn him down.  Yet Paul tears all that away.  Striking to the core of Hupomone, without using the word, “Fan into flame the gift of God…”  There is nothing else that we can do to endure as children of God.

I have actually heard this verse taught as a call to utilize those very special and individual gifts that God has bestowed on each one of us.  However the context of the verses that follow this verse (not that He doesn’t desire each of us to serve him with all our gifts) make it clear that Paul is talking about one gift.  I will designate it the Gift.  The cool thing is that this Gift is the same for us all and yet manifests itself very differently in each of us.

7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

There it is, the Gift.  It is nothing less than God Himself given to each of us that believe and confess.  It is this Gift that makes us bold endowing us with power, love and self-discipline.  It is a special power available only through Jesus Christ.  It is power not as the world gives, or recognizes power.  It is the power to testify of Jesus and to stand with our brothers and sisters in Christ.  It is power that is inextricably joined to love.  Indeed 1 Corinthians 13 tells us that power without love is vain and useless.

8 So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God.

This Gift is one that empowers without limit, motivates in love and operates with self-discipline even as Christ Himself cried out in Gethsemane, “39 And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.” Matthew 26:39  In a moment that the whole world around Him saw as the greatest weakness, Jesus exploded the chains of sin and death with the greatest demonstration of power, motivated by love and operating in Self-discipline as only God himself could.

9 He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 10 but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.

HE HAS SAVED US!  And called us by grace, a grace that is eternal.  But he did not just call us to a holy life and leave us to our own pitiful attempts.  He provided the Gift.  It is the Gift of revealed Grace.  It is the Gift of revealed Life Eternal.  It is the Gift of the Truth, the Gift of the Good News and Great Joy which shall be to all People.  It is the Gift that endows us with the same power that confounded the law and threw the world into confusion.  How foolish would we be not to fan THAT GIFT into flame in our lives.

 

 

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Yes FM Morning Munch

Audio Link

(I had been editing out my pre-devotional banter but the segue would be awkward without it)

January 7thFan Into Flame

Good Morning! It another frigid morning; a shivery ride here!  So I noticed that as soon as I walked out the door yesterday you two let them close most of the schools.  Can’t leave you guys alone for a minute.  Jeff I am disappointed I thought you were going to keep Tommy in line.  But I totally understand with that breeze yesterday the cold turned frigid.  Good thing we are talking about Fanning a Flame this week!

The spiritual atmosphere in Ephesus was frigid too.  The Apostle Paul recognized that his young protégé leading the Church in Ephesus was struggling with his ministry in that very difficult mission field.  Just as with 92% of Americans who make a New Years Resolution, Timothy’s resolve to serve God in that heathen city was weakening.  Timothy was finding that as with any ministry that is having an impact for the kingdom, his was being assailed by the pagans and profiteers of Ephesus and from within the church by those teaching foolish and contrary doctrine, rejecting the purity of the Gospel message.  Paul himself is nearing the end of his earthly ministry, and he knows it.  “For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure.”  2 Timothy 4:6.  He searches for a message, an instruction not just to fix the current issues that Timothy is facing but that will carry him far past Paul’s own journey home to be with his savior.  Perhaps he thinks of his own conversion, of the hands of Ananias resting on his head, the rush of the Holy Spirit enveloping his whole being as his sight returned and the immense clarity of Spirit revealed truth that would become his enduring purpose in life.  He writes with love, with passion,

 I thank God, whom I serve, as my forefathers did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers.  Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy.  I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.  For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner.

He writes with purpose.  Fan the flame, Don’t be ashamed.  If you want to dim the fire of the Holy Spirit in your life be ashamed of the power, the love and the self-discipline that comes with God’s active presence in your life.  Jesus said, “Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.”  Matthew 5:15.  Yet when we are ashamed of the Holy Spirit, of the Gospel or even of our brothers and sisters in Christ we slam that bowl down over the very flame that should bring light, warmth and life to all those around us, even those that hate and persecute us.  “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline”.  When you are awash in your first love you don’t care what anyone thinks.  This is what Christ himself called the Ephesian Christians, and probably Timothy himself, back to in Revelation 2.  It is also a recurring theme for Paul, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.” Romans 1:16 and the writer of Hebrews reminds us that Jesus is not ashamed to call us His family, Hebrews 2:11.

So Today, Fan the Flame, Don’t be Ashamed.

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