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Fan the Flames

2 Timothy 1:6-7, “This is why I remind you to keep using the gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. Now let it grow, as a small flame grows into a fire. God did not give us a spirit that makes us afraid but a spirit of power and love and self-control.”

Have you ever been camping? Not just in your backyard but camping in the woods or even at a campsite. One thing we all have learned if we've been camping is, the importance of fire. Fires don't just give light on the dark nights. Fires are used to keep us warm when the air gets cold, especially once the sun has set. Fires are used for cooking and heating our warm drinks (for those who camp with no electricity). Fires can also help keep the woodland creatures away. Fires are important for all campers if they want to enjoy their getaway. Yet with a fire you can't just light it and call it done. Fires need to be kept alive, so we must continually add wood to burn and spend time stocking the embers to keep them alive. If we don’t, they will simply burn out, extinguishing the light, and that's the last thing any camper wants.

Let me ask you this. Have you ever had a mountain top experience with God? Maybe it was a religious retreat or a seminar through your church. Maybe you found it through a revival or a great Bible study with friends. You know that feeling as if the presence of God was enveloping you and a passion for the Lord was ignited. You're so full of joy that you feel you're on the top of the mountain. You come away with a new fire for the Lord and decide you will commit to reading the Bible more, pray more, serve in the church more and spread the gospel with a new fire. Your heart is on fire for God.

Then you get back into your normal life and you fall back into daily routines and schedules. After time your Bible may not be opened as much, and you find more reasons why church has become a second thought and prayer time dwindles back to the quick prayers before bed and when you wake up. Have you ever been there? Do you feel your fire has been lost? Where you burned brightly, now the flames are barely burning.

No matter what is going on around us Jesus has told as we need to keep the fire burning- Romans 12:11, “not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.” Looking up the Greek word for fervent is ‘zeo’, which means to boil with heat. Paul tells us we need to keep our fire hot when it comes to serving the Lord and keeping Him in our hearts.

So, how do we keep the fire burning when it feels like lukewarm soda that's lost its fizz.

Stick to the basics and feed the flames with the word of God and prayer: No matter a new Christian or a seasoned Christian, no one outgrows the basics of God’s Word and prayer. Psalm 119:105, “Your word is like a lamp for my feet and a light for my path.”

Communicate with God, seek God, fellowship with God. Fully surrender to God and ask Him to help keep your fire burning. Ask Him to fill your heart with the desire and hunger for more. A blazing fire needs three things- fuel, oxygen, and heat. Prayer is the oxygen you use to stoke the flames and spending time in the presence of God is the air our soul needs to stay on fire. When you pray you are breathing, you are giving life to your soul.

“Prayer is the vital breath of the Christian; Not the thing that makes Him alive, but the evidence that He is alive.” -Oswald Chambers

Matthew 4:4, “Jesus answered, “It is written in the Scriptures, ‘A person lives not on bread alone, but by everything God says.’” Don't just do your duty as a Christian and sleepily read your devotion in the morning. Hungrily search the scriptures for the voice of the Lord in all its pages. Meditate on His Word and discover more about Him and His love for us. Let God’s word saturate your heart, soul and mind and learn the grace of God and how to navigate all of life’s circumstances.

“Through the seasons in life, communication with God is of vital importance to keeping that passion for Him burning. The primary way we communicate with God is through prayer and He also primarily speaks to us through His Word.” Patrick Mabiloy

Keep your flame burning with others: When a fire is blazing there are many coals to help keep it going. Have you ever noticed when you separate one coal from the rest it goes out and stops burning?

Our Christian life should never be lived alone we are called to be a community- 1 Corinthians 12. A community of like believers helps us in our daily walk. We can help each other keep God's Word alive and help with encouragement and discipleship. Fellowship with others and help build each other up and that keeps the flame alive.

Make sure you are at a church on fire for God, a lukewarm church can easily put out the fire you have.

Start making the fire useful; spread the flame: We are called to share the good news, and nothing gets the heart pumping again with excitement for Jesus then by talking about Him and sharing what He's done in your life or about what you've discovered. Use the gifts the Lord has given you to share and serve others.

We can afford to lose a lot of things, but not our fiery passion for God. As a believer, I encourage you to stay on fire for God. If you want to sustain the hope given to us through Jesus, our hearts need to be burning from within. Don't forget to put wood on the fire today. Challenge yourself this year to talk about your faith, share the good news, pray, and dig deeper in God's Word. Find your mountaintop again.

Many of us rely solely on SCRIPTURE MEMORY, or READING THE BIBLE IN A YEAR to get God's Word into our hearts and minds. The truth is God has revealed several ways to SATURATE OUR SOULS WITH SCRIPTURE. Are you taking advantage of all of them? When we spend time in the Bible we become filled more and more with Jesus and His character begins to develop in us and the world becomes dimmer and dimmer but it has to begin by opening the pages more than just a quick study to check of your to do list. I hope you are able to find time to read through the Bible with us as we are taking time to unlock all the chapters and verses with a quick study to help us along the way. Today let's continue with 2 Corinthians chapter 9.

Study 9, 2 Corinthians chapter 9-

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