Posts Tagged ‘spirit’

hupomone

Why Hupomone?  Is it just to sound cool?  Is it to demonstrate that I know a word in NT Greek?  Ok, I have to admit it is partly because it does just sound cool.  God spoke this word to my heart while I was forming a series of short devotionals for radio.  I was engaging the idea of perseverance when I noticed Paul using this word over and over.  If you add the verb form hupomeno, then it appears just short of 50 times.  As I began to dig deeper into the concept (not only used by Paul but also by Luke, James the brother of Jesus, Peter and John in Revelations) I realized that the words so often used in translation only captured part of the idea these men were conveying.  Indeeds sometimes the connotations that we attribute to those word contradict the very heart of the message. So by focusing on Hupomone I stripped away my preconceived notions of what all of those words mean.  This is what I encourage you to do.  God has a very special message for each of us buried in this fairly simple Greek word as it sits within the whole of the Word of God.

“But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance.”  Luke 8:15

Jesus in telling this wonderful parable of the Kingdom of God and the effectiveness of the Gospel tells us a little about those who have pursued the hupomone lifestyle.

  1.  They have heard the Word.  The Gospel is the basic unit of hupomone.  Without the Gospel hupomone does not exist.
  2. They are genuine.  Hupomone cannot be faked.  Hupomone requires an honest and good heart.  Many try to fake it.  They may even believe somehow that they are pursuing truth.  However in the end it is their fruit and the inconsistencies in it that betray them.
  3. They hold fast to the Gospel starting a positive “Crazy Cycle” (Eggerich, Love and Respect).  As the first point states the Gospel is the basic unit of hupomone.  It comes from the God of hupomone, the only one who can say that He is the same, “yesterday, today and forever”  This is the “crazy cycle” of hupomone.  The Gospel seeds hupomone in your life.  Then as you practice it by holding fast to the Gospel it grows, in turn your ability to hold fast grows, the Gospel Grows in you, in turn your ability to hold fast grows….well you get the picture.
  4. They produce fruit.  When all is said and done a hupomone lifestyle produces unmistakable fruit.  It is the fruit of the Spirit.  It is the fruit of life in Jesus Christ.  It is the litany of life qualities that Paul wrote to the Galatians encouraging them to get back on the hupomone crazy cycle.

Unlike so many other things in life, Hupomone is for everyone.  It may look a little different on each one of us but it will always start with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  It grows when that Gospel is engaged honestly from a good heart.  It creates it’s own crazy cycle of growth and maturity that results in an incredible harvest of Spiritual fruit.

     

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    Circumstance

    1. a fact or condition connected with or relevant to an event or action.
      “we wanted to marry but circumstances didn’t permit”
      synonyms: situation, conditions, state of affairs, position;
    2. one’s state of financial or material welfare.
      “the artists are living in reduced circumstances”
      synonyms: financial position, lot, lifestyle;

    We recently found ourselves through a series of conditions and facts (circumstances) short of the money that we needed to pay our bills.  To be truthful, some of the conditions were not avoidable, but some of them were of our own making.  I knew that when I examined the situation more closely we were going to find ourselves several hundred dollars short of the money that we needed to be current.  To make matters worse Allana was not really happy about a recent major purchase that I had made.  I was looking at having to tell her that now we were going to 1) be late on our bills and 2) really tighten up to get caught up, uncomfortably so.  There we have circumstances in a nutshell.  They are rarely simple.  They are often a mix of the unavoidable, poor decisions, right decisions with consequences and all the emotion and attitudes that human beings are prone too.  While this is not a piece on the theology of tithing, we have committed to that standard of giving.  Circumstances dictated that I should hold off on my tithe until we were caught up.  As I prayed over this situation the word hupomone (Biblical Perseverance) kept coming back to me.  All the cute Bible studies and all the nice character analysis are meaningless if hupomone does not impact my life where the rubber hits the road.  It is in the daily decisions and choices we make in the midst of circumstances that we choose the hupomone life.  Long story short I paid the tithe first as I knew that I should.  Then I went to look and see how bad it really was so that I could tell Allana.  As I surveyed our accounts, one that I rarely look at because I utilize it solely to pay the mortgage had several hundred extra dollars in it.  Believing it was an error I called the bank and they confirmed that I had received a refund from a miscalculation in the origination of our mortgage.  Bills paid with extra to spare.  The temptation is to say, even if I had not paid the tithe, the money still would have been there.  Perhaps that is true but hupomone living transcends circumstances.  The real victory is Spiritual not financial.  The flip side of it is that even if the extra money had not been provided and we ended up late and tight, the real victory is Spiritual not financial.  Hupomone living is about making choices guided by the Holy Spirit and based in the Word of God.  It is about living in our identity as children of God.

    Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.  I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.  I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.  Philippians 4:11-13

    Paul did not allow his circumstances to dictate his identity.  This is at the core of the hupomone life.  Onesimus was sent home as a runaway slave but his identity was a brother in Christ.  David was a shepherd boy, the least among his brothers, but his identity was the anointed king of Israel.  Hebrews 11 walks through a litany of hupomone men and women (study to come from Allana and her True Beauty Group). In His home town those who knew him spoke out of his circumstances and it blinded them to Jesus’ identity as the only begotten son of God.  The core nature of the hupomone lifestyle transcends circumstances.  It rests on the rock of Christ’s identity.  This is what anchors the house of the wise man and its lack causes the foolish man’s house to fall into the shifting sands.   Each of these men walked through the fires of circumstance, the facts and conditions that stood in the face of God’s will for their lives.   They were not perfect (with the exception of Jesus) but they trusted God and not circumstance.

     

     

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    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

    January 8th Fan Into Flame

    I am sensing a pattern here and if it continues I may just have to call in from home on Friday morning because the glaciers are coming.  There was an undercurrent of glee in the children’s classes at church last night as the kids anticipated another day off from school with temperatures and wind chills plunging well into the danger zone.

    In weather like this a flame can be the difference between life and death.  I recall a movie from my youth where one of the characters is desperately trying to kindle a flame with hand that have no feeling and a body that just wants to lay down and sleep.  Honestly I cannot recall if he gets the fire going or not.  However I do know this there have been times in my life as a child of God that I have felt just like that.  My spirit is numb and cold.  I feel like I fumble everything that I try to do.  I just want to lay down and sleep.  I have become convinced of my own ineffectiveness, shame overcomes my desire to serve, perhaps even my desire to live.  I have fallen prey to the lies of the enemy that tell me I am unloved, unworthy and will never amount to anything.

    It is definitely time to Fan Into Flame the Gift of God, to refuse to be ashamed to testify about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and to move on to Paul’s second step for Fanning into Flame the active presence of God in our lives.

    “Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God,”  2 Timothy 1:8

    Paul does not call Timothy to do something that he has not done or is unwilling to do. Here is one of those translation idiosyncrasies that just makes my day (yes I know that is pathetic but what can you do).  Our next step in Fanning the Flame is “Join with me in suffering” and in the Greek that is 1 yes count it 1 word…  soong-kak-op-ath-eh’-o  perhaps even better than hupomone (if you want to follow that rabbit trail you can look it up on fanintoflame.net or you can look through the past two years of Yes FM morning munches to find the series on hupomone) Ok off the rabbit trail and back to the suffering.  Paul tosses out this big word (which only he uses and only twice and only in this book) to give Timothy a key to Fanning that gift of power, love and self-discipline into a raging fire.  Join with me in suffering, in experiencing the rough stuff in all the irritations, inconveniences and yes sometimes flat out persecution that comes with being a child of the living God in an ungodly world.  You do not have to go it alone.  Jesus said “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”  Walk the path of hardship and do not be afraid to ask someone to walk with you or if your path is currently smooth do not be afraid to walk the path of hardship with a brother (or sister) and remember that no matter where you walk, Jesus is walking there with you.

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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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