Welcome to the Greene Street Letters. It has become my venue for sharing what is going on at Vineyard Recovery Church. Don't let the word Church scare you. The Greene Street Letters is a daily posting to simply say that there is more to life than what you see. More to life than "stuff". My simple take of 60+ years of following Jesus. Some days were good days...some days I managed to get off in the ditch. He is worthy of the pursuit, so that is what I do........I pursue Jesus in everything I do. Not the Jesus of the church. Not the Jesus of the denomination. Nothing wrong with those things, but Jesus is so much more. Thanks for dropping by and I hope you return from time to time to stop and ponder your own relationship with Jesus. God on you....mb
Friday, April 14, 2017
II Timothy 1:6-7
This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. For God has not given us a spirit of FEAR and TIMIDITY, but of POWER, LOVE and SELF-DISCIPLINE.
One of the things I see happen to people who turn their will and life over to the care of God is after a while the newness of everything wears off. The zeal and passion is replaced by the boredom and routine of everyday life. Things happen....unexpected circumstances pop up that seem to take the wind out of their sails. Situations from their past blind side them causing them to lose momentum in this new life with Christ.
They lose focus and direction.
I guess a more simply explanation is that they take their eyes and faith off of Jesus, and revert to old ways of thinking and acting. Truth be known, such behavior is pretty common for everyone, whether they are in addiction or not. Maybe that's why we told in Revelation 2 to "Remember our first love"....Remember Jesus when we first came to Him. Now I know it's not all about feelings....as my wife has said on more than one occasion, "Feelings aren't right...and feeling aren't wrong..they just are." But how can you not want to carry around that spiritually clean feeling when you were first saved?
In the II Timothy passage Paul instructs Timothy to not let his spiritual gift go cold. I think maybe Timothy's gifting was to be a pastor/shepherd over the people that he was taking care of. Paul realized how the day to day activity and affairs had the power to drain any spiritual life out of a person. He knew that Timothy would need to be a good steward of the gift he'd been given.
So, if you're going to fan into flames a fire that seems to be dying, what do you do? It takes movement and wind. Of course the obvious would be to use something as a fan...moving it back and forth over the dying embers creating wind currents that would cause the embers to glow brighter. As you do this, you'd need to add fresh kindling so that the embers would have fuel to ignite. As the fire grew, you would feed it with larger pieces of wood so that eventually you'd have a roaring fire. If you wanted the fire to remain, you'd need to keep feeding it with fresh fuel.Now how would this play out in the spiritual?
There would need to be a refreshing of the Holy Spirit in us. We'd need to stop and begin to pray, asking for the Holy Spirit to stir us up inside....awaken the old memories of our first encounter with Christ. Help us to recognize any growth that may have happened to us and in us. Taking, if you will, a spiritual inventory...being grateful for each step that we've taken. As the fire begins to burn in us....we need fuel. That would be the WORD of God. We need to take it in....slowly and deliberately reading verse by verse...letting the words soak down inside our heart and mind. Do not be in a hurry.
You can't rekindle a fire and do multiple tasks at the same time. If the fire is important...you pour yourself into taking care of it. The fire becomes a source of light.....of heat.....giving the ability to prepare food....or make coffee. So the fire of God that is being rekindled in me is a source of light, giving me the ability to see spiritually all that is happening around me. My decisions are no longer based on what I think I should do but rather on what has God shown me. The fire of God becomes a source of heat, or comfort, when the winds and storms of the enemy blow hard against me.
The fire of God becomes the source that burns away my sin and wrong behavior when I come to Him in confession with a penitent heart. If I am saved, then my life is a "living sacrifice" as we are told in Romans 12:1. The Roman's passage tells us to "OFFER YOUR BODIES" a living sacrifice. Sacrifice requires fire...you would never place yourself on God's altar if the fire was going out. When God directs me to rekindle His fire in my heart, those same flames, once dying now burning bright, consume all the sin and nastiness as I confess and repent.
I'm not sure if I have made good sense today in the writing or not.
I guess for myself, the bottom line is that in order to rekindle the things God has given to me, it requires me setting aside time to spend with Him. Time to pray ( I mean really pray)...time to listen for God....Time to digest His Word....Time to just be with Him.
Today, being Good Friday, would be a good time to pull aside and focus on what Jesus' death on the cross really means.
God on you...