Category Archives: Object Lesson

Waiting………….

 

By John Singleton Copley – abcgallery.com, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11222497

How good are you at waiting?  For most of us, we don’t want to wait for anything. Instant gratification!  That’s what we want.   We have been conditioned to think we have to have everything right now!  However, there are things in life about which we have no control!  If you can imagine that!  We also like being in control!  Instant gratification and control! Yes that’s the world in which we live.

We are waiting for our first great granddaughter to be born.  She will not arrive until sometime in October 2017.  We are planning and shopping and anxiously awaiting the precious moment when we will see her face to face.

 

I Corinthians 13:12  “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face.  Now I know in part, then I shall know fully, even as I have been known.

 

 

But for now we must WAIT.  We can pray for her and her mommy and daddy.  We can pray God will watch over her.  We can ask Him to help her grow into a healthy happy little girl.
WE WILL STILL WAIT!
WE WILL NOT FORGET ABOUT HER!
WE WILL NOT ACT AS THOUGH SHE ISN’T COMING.
WE WILL PREPARE FOR HER ARRIVAL.

Acts 1:1- THE former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, 2 Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: 3 To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: …..
9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. 10 And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; 11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
(The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Ac 1). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.)
The angels ask the disciples at the ascension of Jesus, Why are you gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as you have seen him go into heaven.”

Matthew 28:16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. 17 And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen
(The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Mt 28:16–20). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.)

Luke 24:50 And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. 51 And it came to pass, while he blessed them, departed from them, and carried up into heaven. 52 And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: 53 And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen.
(The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Lk 24:50–Jn). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.)

Mark 16:19 So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. 20 And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.
(The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Mk 16:19–20). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.)

This is the last of Jesus ministry on earth.  He commissioned the disciples to GO.  Teach. Baptize. Proclaim the good news until I come again.   He will return just as He said!
What did the disciples do? They worshipped Him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God.   They waited just as He told them for the Holy Spirit’s power to come.  They went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following.

Are we waiting with expectation?  Are we carrying on with the commission Jesus gave?

For now we see dimly through the mirror, but soon we will see him face to face!
Just like with our wonderful little granddaughter, we wait with expectation!  But we don’t sit down and do nothing.  We work.  Her parents are working.  There is much to do while we wait

Jesus is Coming Soon by Chris Tomlin

https://youtu.be/fFlPdNJAdOY

Let your anticipation be joyful.  God is still doing great things for us.

In Jesus’ words, “I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”  (The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Jn 14:2–3). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.)

Treading While We Wait with great anticipation

Freda Reynolds

Coloring Outside the Lines

 

 

Colossians 3:23 – And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.

(picture drawn by AMJ at age 4-rainbow/angel)

Several years ago, one of my Beauties represented our county in the state Jr. Miss Pageant (now Outstanding Young Woman).  She did not win because she told the judges straight up she did not “color inside the lines.”  I wish I could find my copy of her monologue.  She nailed it!  Her Dad knew he had witnessed a glimpse of all the future would hold for her.  My bestie from high school, who is active in politics and hears speeches all the time, had come to support my Beauty.  She and I will never forget the look on her face as this Beauty completed her thirty seconds (“lots of content in a short amount of time”).  I knew there would be no better soliloquy that evening whether she won the division or not.  Her spirit and God-given personality were shining in this moment for a watching world to see.  (Pardon the pride in this piece of my heart…you just had to be there.)

Coloring inside the lines is what society expects and when anyone is bold enough to dare to be different they are met with resistance from the establishment.   But, the ones oppressed by the system that was meant to protect, these the marginalized begin to wake to the hope of new possibilities.

Jesus did not color inside the lines.  In fact, He completely erased the lines.  He used uneducated, blue collar workers.  He called outcasts of society to join Him.  He went where no “good Jew” dare go.  He ate with sinners, forgave prostitutes, touched lepers, cast demons out of men and women, healed many, and raised long since dead folks.  He dared argue with the establishment and He scolded their prejudice, favoritism, and selectivism.   Yes, Jesus “stirred the pot” and did so knowing all the turmoil it would create and exactly what it would cost HIm and His band of misfits.

After the resurrection of Jesus and the giving of the Holy Spirit, His followers also began to color outside the lines.  Most would pay for this break with society with their lives just as Jesus did.  We see them doing what by conventional standards they were unprepared to do.  For example, Simon an uneducated fisherman becomes Peter the highly proficient orator, writer, and evangelist;  Saul the zealot persecuting Christians turned Paul the planter of churches and encourager of the faithful;  John the tender-hearted fisherman/disciple becomes John the courageous one boiled in oil, exiled to a desert isle to die a lonely death but writes a vision of heaven.  The stories of what the power of God working through a willing servant can accomplish are endless     All defied convention and colored outside the lines.  The Acts of the Apostles were God-sized!

God the Father loves His children who color outside the lines.  They are brave and bold for His kingdom.  He has been proving this since Noah!  Noah took one hundred years to build a boat.  Moses defied the very “father” who raised him to lead his own people out of slavery.  David used a sling and a stone to bring down a giant.  Solomon built a Temple to the Lord.  Samson destroys the Philistines.  Deborah judged a nation.  If God calls you to it, it will not make sense!  I think this is test number one for  “is this God speaking?”  IF it makes sense to our human perspective, it is not God because it is not God-sized.  For if it is not God-sized, we take the credit and the glory and He will share His glory with no one.  (Isaiah 42:8)  The enemy will certainly not encourage any activity which will bring glory to God or cause you to depend on God for strength, wisdom, and courage..

What is God calling you to?  You will know it is God when it is beyond your scope of knowledge, outside your “typical” personality, and exceeds your resources.  How do I know this?  You are reading the proof!  This is God’s idea.  I would NEVER be this vulnerable.  I NEVER believed what I might add to a conversation was needed or wanted or of any value.  I am sure my education (science not English) does not really contribute.  But for me the proof is this:  After nearly 21 months of writing God continues to provide inspiration and lays out the design, financial resources, content, and contributors week in and week out.  Has it panned out like I thought it would?  Not at all!    For me, I am truly coloring outside the lines because as a science major, I NEED parameters; I need a hypothesis to work from; I need expected outcomes; I rely on KNOWN results.  This gives me none of what provides me with security and courage to move forward.  Just this admission is HUGE!  I depend on Him for every single word and trust me when I tell you I am the most shocked by what ends up on these pages and who bothers to read them!

Today, coloring pages are very popular because they are relaxing.  The reason:  They are controlled and the only decision is what color do you choose.   I remember as a mom of young

children when they would scribble all over a page I would get frustrated.  I was part of the world attempting to mold them into citizens who color inside the lines for their “protection.”  They bucked me all the way to success on their own terms and I could not be more THANKFUL they did!  In order for them to follow God’s plan for their lives, they had to color outside the lines!  Now they bless others every day.

So for all of you who color outside the lines……………kudos!  I am standing on the sidelines learning from you every day!!!

 

htdaily devotiontps://youtu.be/-r88mz7vNT4

Treading in beautiful blue-green waters,

Dedicated to AMJ, I love you more than you could ever comprehend. Only God could love you more!  You taught me to color outside the lines and gave me courage to step out on the water!!!  Thank you for allowing me to share your story, and I thank the Father above for placing you in our family!   

Yvonne Jones

 

Tears

 

https://www.flickr.com/photos/mimischaefer/3153557089

 

Object lessons.  Object lessons are used to teach Bible truths to children and adults.  We all learn a bit differently.  It helps to have a visual.

I have used them often over the years.  Even recently I used an object lesson to teach about how the Holy Spirit gives gifts but we often do not “unwrap” these gifts, either out of fear, or apathy, or just not understanding it really is to be used not just look pretty sitting on the shelf or in the bottom of the closet.

One of my favorite verses of scripture is from the Psalms.  Psalm 56:8 says, “ Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book?”

Bottles Decoration Antique Glass Old Vintage

I am a weeping willow.  The waterworks turn on and off at will:  They have a mind of their own.  I told a friend of mine who is not a believer about all my tears being stored in a bottle in heaven and the response was, “You don’t have a bottle, you have a vat!”  True that!

I rejoice in the fact the Lord loves me so!

Are you hurting today?  Are the tears flowing like a river down your sweet face?  The Father sees each and every tear and He catches them, stores them in His bottle with your name on it and He will redeem every single one!    Tears to diamonds?  He turned water into wine.  He took five loaves and two fish and fed 5000!

I read once, “Don’t ever discount the wonder of your tears. They can be healing waters and a stream of joy.  Sometimes they are the best words the heart can speak.”

In fact, an article posted by beliefnet (http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/beyondblue/2011/02/7-ways-tears-and-crying-heal.html)

states the “seven healing properties of tears.”  Look at this impressive list:

  • Tears remove toxins
  • Tears lower stress levels
  • Tears build community
  • Tears release feelings
  • Tears kill bacteria
  • Tears elevate mood
  • TEARS HELP US SEE! (emphasis mine-because when you clear the toxins, lower the stress, release the feelings, gather a community of understanding, and improve the mood, suddenly the world looks less scary and we can hear God speak in His still small voice and see what He is up too.)

Scripture authenticated this thousands of years ago!  Just do a google search of scriptures on tears and be astounded.
The past week was emotionally difficult.  My bestie from high school became a grandmother, a soul sister was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, the home I shared with the officer and gentleman was shown by a realtor, and I experienced a flare-up of my autoimmune disorder causing pain in my joints making writing, typing, handwork, and opening cans difficult and me especially “sensitive.”  Yep, been some tears of joy, sorrow, frustration, and pain.  So, I am beyond thankful to know my heavenly Father caught EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.

Jesus cried tears and sweat drops of blood in the Garden of Gethsemane.  After He cried out,  an angel came to STRENGTHEN Him!  God caught the tears of Jesus.  AND………………..

He will catch yours too!  Let them flow sisters (and brothers)………….there is healing in these God-given drops of grace.

Treading in tears,

Yvonne Jones

If We Are Honest

 

 

If I am honest?  Forget about we.  This is all about ME.  The unadulterated version of me.  The (R) rated version of me.  The me Jesus sees and shakes His head in despair.  The me who has been a follower of Christ for more than 50 years and I still am no more than a teenager in how I behave:  You know teens—it is all about me!

Easter is fast approaching and I need it to be different.  I love the musicals at church and miss singing with the ensemble and choir I was privileged to be a part of.   I love the lilies adorning the sanctuary and the heavy fragrance.  I honor those who lie in wait in the cemetery for the resurrection and how we “decorate the graves” this time of year.  I love the southern tradition of Easter “parades” complete with hats, frocks, and baskets.  But the truth is Easter is NOT about any of this!  It is about remembering the price paid for my transgressions, failures, not enoughness, and brokenness.

Jesus paid with His life that I might have abundant life.  A life that can be made new.  A mind that can be “renewed” and transformed, and a heart that can be changed from bitter, hurt, angry, and undone to one that can love the unlovely unconditionally.

During the past year, the Holy Spirit has held up His mirror and asked me the question:  “Whose reflection do you see today?”  The answer is SUPPOSE to be “Jesus.”  This has not been my answer.  My answer on a good day is I see a version of me not the same as it was a year ago.  On most days I see just the same old me.  Some days, I see the version of me Jesus died for, the enemy’s face looming in the shadows of my reflection.  Rarely, have I seen Jesus.

Sigh………………………………The heaviness of sin tangible……………..sorrow……………

Proverbs 23:7 says, “as a man thinks in his heart, so he is.”  Matthew 15:18 tells us, “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.”  Seems the real me has been more obvious to others than myself.  Thankfully, the “fear of the LORD (awe, reverence, respect) is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”  Fortunately, I am not a fool.  I am in the school of the LORD and the test has been difficult to take.

I have had teenagers.  Three of them lived under my roof and I have coached, taught, and loved teenagers.  However, teens can be exasperating!  Talking to them is like speaking to a wall.  They are standing there, respectfully (?) staring at you, but you KNOW they are not hearing a word you say!  What my words were to them were:  WONK. WONK, WONK. WONK. WONK, WONK, WONK.!  “The light was on but no one was home” as the expression goes.  This is evidently what I have done to Jesus.  For I read His Word and it makes no impact on my life.  Or it hasn’t had as much of an impact as it could have had if I had “received His words and hid His commandments in my heart; if I had cried out for more knowledge and searched for wisdom and understanding.”  For if I had, His Word says “he gives wisdom liberally for those who ask” and like Job, I would have seen God!

God’s Word tells us what He loves and what He hates.  It is NOT rocket science.  It is plain.  It is simple.  It is straightforward.  It is NOT easy.

So what was this daughter’s wake up call?  An encounter.  An encounter with the world and my poor unChristlike response to it and being called on the carpet about it in no uncertain terms.

So, after wallowing in self pity because I was “so misunderstood” I decided I would do what I should have done before I opened my mouth:  I went to the Word to do some research.  My subject of interest was abominations.  Just what constitutes an abomination to the LORD.

Boy was I in for a shock!  I was guilty of all SEVEN!

Proverbs 6:16-19 reads “These six things doth the LORD HATE: yea seven are an abomination unto Him:

*A proud look (we call this “haughty” in the South, or “looking down your nose”)

*A lying tongue (you know those “little white lies” we tell each other to avoid hurt feelings)

*Hands that shed innocent blood (murder or even the thought of “I wish he/she was dead)

*A heart that deviseth wicked imaginations (“I need to rob a bank;” “I need to hire a hitman;” or “If Richard Gere would drive up in a DeLorean I will take up being a lady of the evening,” ummm you get the idea)

*Feet running to mischief (surely this needs no explanation)

*A false witness that speaks lies (slander, libel, gossip-yes, listening to it counts, false testimony, “sharing” on FaceBook)

*He that sows discord (moans, groans, gripes, complains, wants it “my way”, criticism of others and how they do what they do) among the brethren (this is the church).

Yes, I know we say a lot of things in “jest,”  “to vent,” or to “just add to the conversation,” but the cold hard fact is our words, my words, reveal my heart condition of lust, anger, jealousy, vengeance, pride, arrogance, and self-righteousness.  Did you notice what did not make the abominations list?  Not a single one of the “big sins!”

My life really is lived OUT LOUD!  Speaking volumes and a simple “the devil made me do it” or “I got up on the wrong side of the bed,” is an insult to Christ because it minimizes the price He paid for MY SIN!  I had a choice!

It is a wonder I have a single prayer answered.  There has been much unconfessed sin in my life.  I need to call this what it is.  Sin.

As a member of the body of Christ, as His Bride, I MUST stop pointing fingers at a world looking for answers.  The abominations we want to focus on are not the issue.  The issue is a heart that has not yet found JESUS.  If the church were to focus on Jesus and pointing the way to HIM, His Holy Spirit will “renew” them just like He is “renewing me” even as I peck out this confession.  My recognition of my sin is making me so uncomfortable, I do NOT want to do it any more!!!!!

The woman caught in adultery.  Jesus did not excuse her sin.  He forgave it.

The woman at the well with too many husbands.  He let her know he knew about it and then offered her His time, His compassion, and His acceptance–not of her sin but of who she was.

It was His love and lack of condemnation that drew them to Him.  Should we, who are as guilty of sin if not more so, not do likewise.  Zaccheus the tax collector  “owned his sin.”

The woman caught in adultery and the woman “living in sin” proclaimed their baggage.  The thief on the cross acknowledged he was indeed a thief.    I admire this.  They had no delusions of their quilt.  I have often excused mine away.

The truth is sin is sin is sin.  There is not a sin scale.  Every sin cost Jesus His life.

Colossians 3:8, Galatians 5:19-21 and I Corinthians 6:9-11 all remind us that apart from Christ there is no salvation and our one and only command was to LOVE.  They will KNOW we are Christians by our love.  Jesus is still in the business of redemption.  Some changes were instantaneous.  Most changes happen over time.  I will struggle til He calls me home.

Father forgive me for my pointing fingers.  It is the work of the Holy Spirit to convict of sin.  Give me a heart of compassion.  Thank you for letting me see myself as you see me.  It has put me on my face to seek Your grace.  May my mouth be filled with wisdom and kindness from this day forward.  It is In the NAME OF JESUS who gave me the right to come boldly that I ask, believing I shall receive.  Amen

 

Yes, for me, Easter will be very different.  His grace really is amazing.  It was my sin that was on the mind of Christ as He took His last breath saying “It IS FINISHED!”  My sin–all these abominations–were covered by His blood and in Christ there is no condemnation.

Treading in the ocean of His love,

Yvonne Jones

https://youtu.be/lDcTvtuuVU8

Francis Bastistelli

 

Desparate Times-Desparate Measures

#daily devotions

So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. Luke 19:4

You can find the story in of Zacchaeus Luke 19:1-10   Who would think the Bible would include the childhood pastime of climbing trees?  This is why I love God’s Word.  It is honest, real, and touches places in our hearts we have forgotten or sealed off.  It is a sword, a surgical knife:  “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.:  (Hebrews 4:12)

Here is the story of a short guy who desperately wanted to see Jesus so much he let decorum and social norms go flying out of the window.  He did whatever he needed to do to get the answer to his questions.  I wonder if he realized he let his inner child come out?  Did he understand this is where he had to be to “see Jesus?”  The Word tells us we must have the faith of a child (Matthew 18:2-4).  What are the characteristics of a child?  What traits did this short fellow exhibit?  It is worth the time to dig in and see.  We just might let some of our own inhibitions finally go when we see Jesus loved this!

Our short friend is Zacchaeus whose name means pure, innocent.  We learned songs about him in Sunday School as children.  Do you remember the words?  “Zacchaeus was a wee little man, and a wee little man was he.  He climbed up in the sycamore tree for the Lord he wanted to see….”

https://youtu.be/bkd-QFD7vMA
Zacchaeus was a wee little man.

Zacchaeus was a Jew but he was also a “publican” or tax collector for Rome which was tantamount to treason in the eyes of the Jews.  He was very wealthy because tax collectors charged extra for their own income in addition to the taxes Rome levied.  He is described as a “chief” and this is indicative of his position of the “bullies on the playground.”  So not only was he a tax collector he was a leader among this group and loyal to Rome.  This made him “small” in the eyes of his own people.   It is easy as a small person to feel overlooked.   The Word tells us he was short in stature and I know first hand the challenges of being less than 5’2” can cause.  Stairs are steep.  Pants are too long.  Crowds are difficult to navigate and getting lost in a crowd is easy!  If you want to see, you need to be sitting in the front.  And if you really want to see something, you have to arrive early to get a front row seat.  However, when you feel small and “less than” you often want to hide in the back or in the balcony.    This is Zaccheus dilemma.  He is curious about this Jesus.  Jesus is drawing a crowd and Zacchaeus wants to get a good look.  Obviously, Zacchaeus is athletic for he runs ahead and climbs a tree to get a “bird’s eye view.”  Since he is short, he probably had to do a bit of jumping to grab a limb and then do the equivalent of some gymnastics to get up into the tree.  A sycamore tree is known for its wide spreading limbs so Zacchaeus had to monkey walk out on the limb to get over the road.  Are you getting a mental picture?

Like a child, the focus on what Zacchaeus wants and his curiosity outweighs his “less than” feelings or sense of safety.  He is determined to at least get a glimpse of this one they call Jesus who has been doing some amazing things and some are saying He is the Messiah.  As a Jew, he wants to know!

His desperate measure is rewarded by the Savior.  Jesus comes by and stops!  He makes eye contact with Zacchaeus.  He calls him by name (they have never met before–at least not on earth!) and says “come down for I want to go stay at your house tonight.”  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

Now we discover, Zacchaeus is happy, hospitable, and gracious!  He could care less at this point what is being said!  Someone WANTS to spend time with him!  Remember, he is a Jewish outcast.  To be seen in the company of Zacchaeus would be like being seen with a leper.

Can you see in your holy imagination Zacchaeus jumping down off his perch and racing like a sprinter home to make preparations for his first ever dinner party?  He doesn’t give a rip what people are saying about him and he is thankful Jesus doesn’t care what they are saying about His choice of companions.

Climbing a tree was the best thing this man ever did!  He did what Logan Wolfram wrote in her book, Curious Faith: Rediscovering a Good God with Childlike Wonder, he “exchanged control for curiosity.”   And Froebel wrote in Education of Man, 1826,  “To climb a tree is for a child to discover a new world.”  Zacchaeus found a new life!  Just the Presence of Jesus in his home was conviction enough and Zacchaeus repented of his sin and put his new found FAITH into action by his statement: “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken anything from any man by false accusation, I restore to him fourfold.”  This statement proves he knew Jewish law! (Exodus 22:1) and is proof of his salvation for faith without works is dead.   (James 2:14-26)

Zacchaeus is sometimes contrasted with the rich young ruler (Luke 18:18-23) who could not part with his wealth in order to follow Jesus.  Zacchaeus proves Matthew 5:8  “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”

A little man with the heart of a child, saw the Savior and was forever changed.  All because he climbed a tree.  Do you have faith like a child?   I need to remember this when I am tempted to be “grown up” and follow Southern social expectations when Jesus is asking me to reach out to another.   Desperate times call for desperate measures!

Time to go climb a tree!  Time to be a kid.  I want to see Jesus!!!!  Do you?

https://youtu.be/VRFZ-Zhi1JE

Faith Like A Child by Jars of Clay

Treading like a kid,

Yvonne Jones

Time out by the fire

 

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. 7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.   II Timothy 1:6-7

And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.  Luke 24:49

Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit….   Acts 2:3

This Scripture jumped off the page at me.  I have been studying prayer, all that is available to us through Christ.  I am a former Girl Scout.  I started as a Brownie and ended as a leader of thirty of the best girls on the planet.  I know about building fires.  It is work and when left unattended they die down quickly.  The really amazing thing about a fire is just how long is required to “burn out,” and how rapidly they can spread out!   When you get up on a cold morning, the fire you built the night before looks cold and lifeless but needs only to be “stirred up” and new “fuel” placed on the embers and in no time at all, you can once more have a roaring bonfire, warming all who stand near.  The key is in the “fanning or stirring.”

The Word talks of the fire of the Holy Spirit.  The gift given to believers for power to proclaim the gospel and use with the Word to fight the enemy and bring down strongholds.  Paul is admonishing Timothy to “fan the flames of the Spirit of God” within himself to become bold and utilize this power, love, and disciplined living.  The gift given to Timothy was the Holy Spirit of God!  The same gift given to every believer.

Timothy had a good foundation.  His mother, Eunice, and grandmother, Lois, had nurtured him well.  (Deuteronomy 6:7 & II Timothy 1:5)  They had introduced him to the Savior, taught him the Scriptures, and provided  godly role-models for him to imitate.  Despite persecution, they had continued to follow the teachings of Christ.  Now, Paul is encouraging Timothy by preparing to take him on as a traveling companion to insure the continuation of the spread of the gospel.  Paul is “fanning the flame” with encouragement.  Lois and Eunice have “stirred up the flame” through their daily life, and it is now Timothy’s responsibility to use the bellows to fan his own flame.  It is time for him to eat the meat of the Word.  It is time for him to wield the Sword of the Spirit.  It is time for him to have boldness, courage, and do all the things he has been taught by example to do so the Kingdom can continue to expand geographically and numerically, and he will be transformed into the image of Christ.  (Hebrews 5:12)

As moms, grandmothers, aunts, sisters, co-workers, daughters, and girlfriends we can “fan the flames” for those we love.  We can share all the Lord has poured into us through others.  We can take the tinder, the young and old in search of a Savior, and add the heat of our passion for Christ (flame of the Holy Spirit) and as the fire takes hold and begins to smolder, add the next layer of fuel, the kindling, by praying for them and with them to receive the gift of salvation.  As the flames rise from the tiny branches, another layer of fuel is placed into their hands through the Word.  We must encourage feeding on the Word the way the flame feeds on the twigs and small branches now ready for the limbs of service.  (Psalm 39:3  My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned: then spake I with my tongue)   Through service the new found heat ignites the heart into a roaring bonfire warming those around and drawing them into the circle of love created.  Yes, the fuel is consumed and all that remains are the smoldering embers.  It is these embers used to ignite the next fire and the next and the next.  Only the glow of the Holy Spirit and the fire of His passion remains as all the dead and lifeless is burned away.  II Corinthians 3:17-18  “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate[a] the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”

https://youtu.be/-jqD6c1GXd0

Fan The Flame in Me

Without fanning our own flame, the embers look cold.  Only when stirred and the breath of God breathes on them once more will they begin to glow and be ready for a new assignment.

Are we neglecting our gift?  Are our embers nearly cold?  Do we need to get busy and stir up the fire?  Who around us needs the warmth of our fire?  Who needs a red hot coal from our fire to ignite their own?  Whose slowly dying flame do we need to bellow?  I pray we will be like Jeremiah who said:
“Then I said, “I will not make mention of Him,
Nor speak anymore in His name.”
But His word was in my heart like a burning fire
Shut up in my bones;
I was weary of holding it back,
And I could not.”  (Jeremiah 20:9)
May we be weary of being silent.  May we pick up the bellows and fan the flames of the church into revival beginning with our own fire first.  It only takes a spark to get a fire going……

http://www.wrcbtv.com/story/33814643/tema-4-suffering-from-severe-burns-thousands-evacuated

(The inferno in the Great Smoky Mountains 2016 started by small fire and conditions were perfect to allow the fire to spread quickly consuming 30,000 acres and interrupting the lives of entire communities.)

https://youtu.be/tadZ8nCLBsI

It Only Takes a Spark by Kurt Kaiser

Have you laid a foundation like Eunice and Lois and now the embers appear cold.  Do not give up!  Fan the flames of those embers back to life with the prayer of faith not doubting  (James 1:6).  Trust me I am preaching to self!

https://youtu.be/p3XD9BjMUXw

We Will Fan The Flame

Fan the Flames by Robert Gay

Treading in the glow,

Dedicated to Minta R. McDavid who fanned my flame.  

Time out to reflect and pray

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#newyear        #reflection        #prayer

Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed.  Mark 1:35

Ahhh, the holiday season is winding down.  Only one more hurdle into the New Year.  What will this year bring?  Will it be the year our Savior returns?  Will the tribulation begin?  For some the past year has been a year of tribulation and the thought of any additional trials is overwhelming.

How do we walk in confidence and without fear into the new year?  How do we face tomorrow and “sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear?”  (I Peter 3:15)

Could the answer be found in how Jesus started His day?  Starting the day with a time out?   The officer and gentleman was up before the chickens and when I finally pried my eyes open, I knew our family had been surrounded for the day by his prayers.  He started his day with the Lord.  I am more inclined to finish mine with my laundry list of needs as I collapse into bed.  Which of us walked/walks  in confidence and peace?  You guessed it!  He did.   I miss this prayer covering he gave us every single day.

As the new year approaches and the signs of the times are shouting of our Lord’s imminent return, I too desire to have this confidence and peace.  I need to follow the Lord’s example and BEGIN and end my day at His feet.  The needs my family, my friends, the body of Christ, and our nation are too great to neglect this.

Jesus spent time in fellowship with His Father.  He spent time with Him because He loved and missed Him.  Jesus was confined as we are by time, space, and his humanity and He longed to return to His Father.  I began to understand this when my own parents went to be with the Lord and even more so after the officer and gentleman joined them.  Who do you long to spend time with if only to sit in the same space and feel their presence.  This is the love Jesus shared with His Father and He desires to share with us.  The question is not does He desire to spend time with me, but do I desire (that means willing to do whatever it takes to get what I want) to spend time with Him?  This is the true test of my love for Him.  Am I only in this relationship for what I can get out of it–a one way ticket to Heaven instead of hell, or do I desire to be in this relationship because Jesus is my everything.

I have jumped through many a hoop to spend time with my loved ones in the past.  Can we remember a single time we were willing to do whatever it took to have time with Jesus?  This is the litmus test of our love for HIm.  He hates lukewarm love.  (Revelation 3:15-17)

I will be taking the next few days to prepare for a special celebration for one the officer and gentleman and I love very much.  As I prepare, I will be seeking His guidance for my new year, this wee blog I peck out each week, and to give thanks for His patience with this wayward bride of His.  Will I get up very early, long before daylight to pray?  Honestly, I doubt it.  But what I can tell you is this, I will start my day in thanksgiving for just who He is and all He has accomplished in me and I will daily ask Him to be with me throughout the day and guide my steps, filter my words, and continue to change me into He created me to be.  Prayer is talking to our Father through Jesus; He opened heaven’s door and said: “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrew 4:16)   This is an invitation I will not ignore.  My very survival depends on this one priority.

Happy New Year Treaders!

I am thankful you are here treading water til Jesus comes with us!