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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Pentecost 20: Stir Up the Gift that is in You

The message of these verses can be summed up in this way:
Remember who you are, rekindle the gift in you, don't be afraid. There is no shame in suffering when it comes from trusting and obeying the Lord.
God’s message to you and to me is:
Remember who you are, rekindle the gift in you, don't be afraid. There is no shame in suffering when it comes from trusting and obeying the Lord.

1. Remember who you are:
Notice in these verses that Paul remembers who he is and he reminds Timothy who he, Timothy, is:
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, in keeping with the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus, To Timothy, my dear son: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. 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. Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy.  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.
We are people who are in Christ, just as Paul and Timothy were.
We have the promise of life that is in Jesus
We have grace, mercy and peace from God
We are people who pray
We are people who cry
We are people of faith
We are people who have ancestors (This was quite relevant to Timothy, whom Paul had circumcised as an adult because he had a Jewish mother)
So, remember who you are, and especially who you are in Christ

Paul goes on:
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. Rekindle the gift in you
.................So I ask you to make full use of the gift that God gave you when I placed my hands on you. Use it well......... That is why I would remind you to stir up (rekindle the embers of, fan the flame of, and keep burning) the [gracious] gift of God, [the inner fire] that is in you by means of the laying on of my hands [with those of the elders at your ordination]......Therefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God which is in thee through the putting on of my hands.....


There is a God-given gift in you…….do you hear that?

The Holy Spirit, the ruach of God that hovered over the waters of creation, has hovered over you, and been placed in YOU....the Gift of God….in YOU

That Gift of God is, so to speak, in your hands

Imagine a teaspoon of coffee placed on top of the hot water in a cup....perhaps add some sugar....even some milk.....BUT DON'T STIR anything.....how would that taste? Would you even try to drink it? If you did drink it, you would probably…..

We must stir up the gift that is in us!

It makes me think of some of Jesus' words (in a different context, but the message is the same)

God is in the habit of spitting out what tastes horrible…..He spat satan out of heaven, He spat Adam and Eve out of the garden, in an amazing way He spat evil out of His Kingdom and out of His people forever on the Cross.
If the gift of God in you and in me is not stirred up, not re-kindled, not aflame, we are not a very pleasant taste in the Lord's or the world's mouth..... and we will find ourselves spat out by both.
Remember who and whose you are and….

 Do you know the gift (the Spiritual Gift, not the God-given talent or ability, but the GIFT of God) that is in you…….and are you stirring it up, constantly rekindling it, keeping it aflame….all to the glory of God and so that His Kingdom may come and His will be done…..
This kind of talk often makes people afraid, so Paul immediately goes on:

3. Don't be afraid
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid/afraid/fearful, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
This is why God commands us 365 times in Scripture to “fear not”…..not because there is nothing to be afraid of, but rather because in the face of fear….we have a power that is much greater than whatever is coming against us, we have a love that truly can overcome anything, anyone or any obstacle, even death, and we have self-discipline/self-control as a fruit of the very Spirit that is within us….which is why Paul started where he did in saying Remember who you are ….and so we’ve come a full circle.
Brothers and sisters, in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,….
 Remember who you are, rekindle the gift in you, don't be afraid.


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