I love S’Mores. Even the word. Some-more. Seriously, who doesn’t love the gooey-warm sweetness of chocolate and marshmallows roasted over an open camp-fire flame? It’s fun to watch the kids roasting their marshmallows. It’s even funnier to see them catch on fire, sometimes losing them in the flame!


Think about that for a minute. It takes patience to carefully watch for just the right moment when to take it out of the fire so it’s perfect for the graham cracker and chocolate. The combination is mouth-watering!


It makes me think about what it takes to keep a good fire going. Did you know there are many techniques for building a campfire??


Fires are needed for warmth and comfort, to cook your food and can keep predators at bay in the great outdoors. But learning how to build a fire is just the first step.


If you want more than just a small flame, you have to build that fire up and there is more than one way to build a campfire.


There are things you should know like your surroundings, ensuring the area is safe, as well as selecting pieces of firewood and the ground or dirt where you’re going to be building a campfire.


There are ways to keep a fire going when it’s windy. There are ways to ensure a smokeless fire. There are ways to build a fire for cooking and to keep you warm while you are sleeping. You can even learn how to build a fire when things are wet.


But how do you keep a fire going?? You know how it begins to die down, then there are only small embers left glowing? There are ways to stoke the embers to make the fire come back to life.


Our commitment to our faith in God is sometimes like that campfire.

Sometimes it’s a little ember about to go out. Sometimes it’s a towering inferno, raging almost out of control. But this scripture says it’s up to us whether or not it can go out. We must keep stoking the flame of our faith.


2 Timothy 1:1–12

“I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you…”


What Paul is telling Timothy here is to keep feeding the flame of God’s gift — of speaking openly of Jesus Christ, about His coming, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension as King, Ruler and Lord over all creation.


Timothy is told to fan this flame! Because if you don’t, it will go out. The courage to speak openly about Jesus is a gift from God. Fan it till the embers catch fire. Fan it till it is all ablaze. Everything else in Paul’s message to Timothy is to commission that feeding the gift, enabling courage to tell others about Jesus.


Fan the Flame


There is a difference between hot and really hot. It’s like the marshmallow. It looks great and then suddenly, it’s on fire, charcoal black and falling off into the fire! Compare it to feeling hot in the summertime. You may feel warm but if you light a bonfire, and then your hand comes too close to the flame — that’s burning hot! What about when you are cooking and accidentally burn yourself? Or it's like when you drink your ultra-hot Starbucks too quickly...You definitely understand hot then!


Paul refers to being on fire in Romans 12:11: “Never be lazy in showing such devotion. Be on fire with the Spirit. Serve the Lord.” In other words, keep your spiritual fervor. The word for fervor means "to boil".


Paul wants Timothy on fire. Not just warm, but fire-hot.

Jesus Himself talks about how much he hates lukewarmness...He spits it out of his mouth (Revelation 3:16).


Keep Fanning


Paul tells Timothy to keep fanning the flame. Paul’s point is not that Timothy has grown cold. He is telling Timothy to keep feeding the flame inside him. The idea of “fan into flame” is a continuous, ongoing action. Feeding it means keep adding logs on. The fire consumes the wood and burns them into ashes. Flames go out without continuous fuel.


What also comes to mind is the old-fashioned fireplace air bellow. Bellows have two handles which, when pulled apart, force the chamber to "inhale," drawing air inside itself for storage. When the handles are pushed together, the air chamber forces the air out through the nozzle. Air blows out of the nozzle and onto a small fire or smoldering log to stoke the flames.


The Gift of God


There is also the idea that the gift IS the fire. The ongoing existence of that fire is dependent on Timothy’s obedience to verse 6: Fan it into flame over and over again. It will go out if you don’t — even though it’s the gift of God.


Our fanning the flame is dependent on God’s grace.

Verse 8 says, “by the power of God.” You are fanning, your flame is burning brightly and you tell others about Jesus — this boldness comes from God! You did it “by God’s power.” You acted, but it was His power that enabled you to do it.


Through the Laying On of My Hands


Timothy received this gift of unashamed courage to speak openly of Christ and to suffer for the gospel “through the laying on of my (Paul's) hands.” “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.” In 1 Timothy 4:14, Paul says, “Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you.”


Verse 4 says, “As I remember your tears, I long to see you, that I may be filled with joy.” I've wondered what may have brought these tears about in Timothy’s life. There is this extremely important moment of the laying on of hands, and having God Almighty, through one of the most powerful men: “Young man, against all your weaknesses and fears, you will speak for me unashamedly and courageously.”


How to Fan the Flame


By the power of God — the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit is what Timothy was supposed to use to feed this flame. The flame of your unashamed courage is sustained “by the power of God.” The next verse says, “You are given a spirit of power, love, and self-control.”


Through the Word of God


And 2 Timothy 2:1, "Be empowered by the grace that is in Christ Jesus. These are God’s words. “I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is powerful to build you up [in courage!] and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified” (Acts 20:32).


I compare the example of keeping the fire going in my marriage. My husband and I maintain our close relationship through going on date nights, overnights in the city, spending time together discussing our future, and God's word. The level of our intimacy is directly related to everything we deliberately do toward building it.


Here are some ways you can practically "Fan The Flame", the gift of God inside of you?

— Keep a prayer and devotional journal. Write down what God reveals to you in your quiet time.

— Be consistent in the Word. Read your Bible daily. Memorize scripture.

— Maintain accountability through Godly friendships. Be careful who influences you.

— Read books that will help you grow in your faith.

— Use worship music to edify and uplift you.

— Do not forsake the assembling of the brethren. Staying in community is important.


Have you made those New Year’s Eve resolutions where you plan to do better with health and nutrition? Work out more, eat better, get to sleep early, etc.? We all have! We make goals and then we fall off the wagon.


I have been so tired since January. All...year...long! I never felt like I would get better. Chronic fatigue, Fibromyalgia, Lyme Disease, Epstein Barr, Low Thyroid Disease. It was a string of illnesses that plagued me all my life.


I tried my best to be strong. I earnestly prayed for total healing. I’ve tried all types of medications, so-called healthy elixirs and whole food diets. Been there and done it all!


Friends on Instagram kept telling me about these products that were helping them with health and well-being. I’m pretty skeptical but after Covid-19 broke-out, I knew it was time to do something to get healthy.


Galatians 6:9 says, “So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.”


It was time. Time to buckle down, get serious, commit to something. God kept nudging me.


Everyone tells you to be who you were created to be. Resist the urge to live a life that is not the one you have been given by God. He created us in our innermost being; knit together in our mother’s wombs. We are fearfully and wonderfully made. ~ Psalm 139


Except, I felt like I could not break free from never feeling well enough to be faithful to who I was truly created to be! How could I be a blessing to others?


Romans 8:19 says, “For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are.”


There is an appointed time where we come into the fullness of the things God has had for us to be and do for Him. My whole life has been one event after another, bringing me to this point in time. He knew I would one day be speaking words of hope and faith to women who needed to hear them. But up until this point, there have been many moments of hardship.


I asked Him, “But how can I keep up? I have no strength.”


He said to me exactly what He said to Paul, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9


We need to have our wits about us these days. We need strength to keep running our race. I believe when I prayed, God answered me. The supplements were an answer He had for over a year but I never gave it a chance.


Sometimes, God will heal in ways that we just don’t understand.


Sometimes, He heals through medicine.


Sometimes, He heals miraculously.


And then sometimes, He uses a sweet friend you’ve never met that lives on the other side of the country to speak the truth to you.


In the last two months of using these products, I have had less pain and cravings, more energy making me able to exercise on my Elliptical for more than 40 minutes, losing 5 pounds! And now I'm helping others. I'm helping them on their wellness journey.


Listen friend, if you have any issues with gut-health or any illnesses, reach out. You never know how God will perform the miracle you’ve been asking Him for.


Rest assured though because you can stand on this promise:


Philippians 1:6, “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”


Amen!



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Goodness, gracious. All I hear is how everyone is "over" 2020. How they just want to see this year end. Looking at the social climate, I would have to agree. We're in the last quarter, the home-stretch and the end is in sight! One of the things that I battle with every single day is mindset. I battle with the negativity the media (social or mainstream) spins out of control, striving to keep us in. Do you feel run down by it all as much as I do?


Most of us are struggling. Over the last 30 years of ministry, I have never seen anything like it. Even my dearest friends in the faith that I consider strong in their walk with Christ seem tired.


We say the end is near, but is it?


Let's take a mental health check.

Do you find yourself:


  • Feeling stuck in your spiritual journey with Christ;

  • Living vicariously through other people’s faith;

  • Exhausted and lonely;

  • Allowing frenetic busyness to replace important tasks

  • Thinking everything is crashing in on you


“If things are tough, remember that every flower that ever bloomed had to go through a whole lot of dirt to get there.” ~ Barbara Johnson

It's hard everywhere. Kids homeschooled. Parents juggling work/home life. Pressures abound. Let me describe your typical day: You wake up only to be bombarded by negativity in your social media feeds. The radio is blasting it on the way to the kid’s school drop-off line. You’re waiting at the grocery store checkout or doctor’s office and it’s all over the TV. You simply cannot escape it.


Except, I’m here to tell you, you can. My daily affirmation has been, “I shall not be moved.” Here’s how I’m using it in my own life:


I’ve begun something called the “Daily Office”. It’s the practice of fixed-hour prayer time described by Peter Scazzero in his 40-Day, "Emotionally Healthy Spirituality Day By Day”. Think of it like this: you have an actual office, you sit at your desk and take time to be still. I’m devoting three moments in my day; First thing in the morning, afternoon and bedtime to just being still and listen.


I’m easily distracted by my wandering mind so I choose some ambient noise on YouTube like a crackling fire and thunderstorm sounds to keep me focused on listening.


After a bit of silence and stillness, I’ll listen in on a prayer call with some amazing women prayer-warriors. Then, I’ll spend a little bit of time in scripture and devotional reading, writing anything down that comes to mind.


I’ll follow these steps during my afternoon and bedtime Daily Office times as well. Developing a habit where you center yourself around God and learn how to "pray without ceasing" can be tough but once it’s solidified in your day, you will see what an impact it will have on your mood and mindset. Think of it like eating your three meals. If you go all day without nourishment, you will feel off. Your Daily Office time doesn’t have to be a lengthy period. Do whatever you feel is necessary to focus on what’s important. Then schedule it in and commit to keeping your appointments with God.


“When we face an impossible situation, all self-reliance and self-confidence must melt away; we must become totally dependent on Him for the resources.” ~ Anne Graham Lotz

A fellow blogger friend recently posted some great ideas that I have taken to heart.  I am committing to not opening up my social media first thing after opening my eyes. But boy, is it hard.


I am choosing to wait in the silence and listen.


I am spending the first hour with God. Then taking the time in the afternoon to reflect. My bedtime is an important part of my routine where I will choose to not fall asleep consuming garbage. I choose to be consumed by the All-consuming Fire.


I realize that everything I write flows out of my faith in Jesus Christ. Without staying in communion with the Father through these types of habits, I’m afraid we won’t last the onslaught for our attention.


Some scriptures that I have been meditating on to help me stay steadfast are:


Psalms 16:8 - ”I have set the Lord always before me; Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved.”


Acts 2:25, ”For David says concerning Him: ‘I foresaw the Lord always before my face, For He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken.”


Psalms 112:6-7, ”Surely he shall not be moved for ever: the righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance. He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord.”


Psalms 15, ”Who may worship in your sanctuary, Lord? Who may enter your presence on your holy hill? Those who lead blameless lives and do what is right, speaking the truth from sincere hearts. Those who refuse to gossip or harm their neighbors or speak evil of their friends. Those who despise flagrant sinners, and honor the faithful followers of the Lord, and keep their promises even when it hurts. Those who lend money without charging interest, and who cannot be bribed to lie about the innocent. Such people will never be moved.”


Psalms 62:6-7, ”He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory; The rock of my strength, And my refuge, is in God.”


So, will you join me in making small changes to resist the negativity that surrounds us?  Will you choose to not be moved during these very turbulent times? 


A prayer for you friend,


“Dear Lord, even when I am discouraged, even when my heart is heavy, I will earnestly seek You. You know the very intentions of my thoughts and heart. I will not be moved.”



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