Stir The Flame: Igniting Your Gift From God Even In Difficult Times
Paul Encourages Timothy
"2 To Timothy, my dear son: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. 3 I thank God, whom I serve, as my ancestors did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. 4 Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy. 5 I am 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.
6 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. 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. 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," (II Timothy 1:2-9}
Light The Fire
It's a cold blustery morning here in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. Even though I have the kerosene heater in a nearby room, there is a chill in the air. I decided to make a fire using paper, cardboard and small sticks for kindling that I keep next to the fireplace.
I lit the small fire so I could get dressed without freezing. The fireplace sent out a blast of heat as the flames leaped up burning bright and hot. The flame went out after a time.
After I was dressed I noticed some small glowing embers in the ashes. I took the poker and began to stir the embers. A huge flame shot up and slowly filled the fireplace again and warmth filled the room. I was surprised there was so much heat and material still left to burn. As I stood there in front of the fireplace the Scripture from II Timothy 1:6 came to mind, “Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.”
Lately, I have been thinking about God's Word and the impact it has had in my life. I can see how reading His Word, remembering what He has done for us, singing praises to Him and putting my hands to the work He has given me to do all adds up to stirring up the flame in my heart.
When Paul wrote these words to Timothy, it was a difficult and discouraging time. Paul was imprisoned. Timothy must have felt a huge sense of loss knowing that his mentor was no longer free and not knowing when or if he would ever see Paul again. Not only did Paul encourage Timothy to stir up the flame or gift that was in Timothy. Paul immediately follows this with II Timothy 1:7 (KJV), “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” This shows us that Timothy was shaken and needed encouragement.
I Am Not Alone
Before our move to the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania, we belonged to a church where my husband was a minister. We lived near the church and constantly had people stopping by. I took care of many of the members’ children from time to time. I was always cooking for church members, especially on Fridays when I would fry fish from the local fish market.
Our apartment was located in Brooklyn with stores, parks, library and restaurants in walking distance. I lived in the same neighborhood for twenty years and could never walk outside my apartment building without meeting someone I knew.
Fast forward to being home with my toddlers as my husband works two jobs. He is rarely home. It's so cold and icy out so we are often stranded in the house during snowstorms.
We moved to a rural area where we know one family (also from our old church), from New York. Sometimes a whole day would go by without seeing a single car drive by (we have no sidewalks). At times, I feel loneliness and discouragement knocking on the door of my heart, trying to get in. I could wallow in loneliness and doubt as to whether we were really lead by God into this wilderness experience. But when I “stir up the flame” inside of me, I am able to walk in the joy of the Lord. I meditate on good thoughts. I know that even in hard times, He has made a way as He has so many times before. And because I know He has a plan and a purpose for me. I will not allow winter to get in my soul!
As I start breakfast and hear my children stirring in their beds, I put on gospel music and hum and sing. My heart is filled with joy and His peace as I look forward to what this day has to bring.
We have to continually stir up the gift that is inside of us if we want to be a light in this world