ARE YOU KEEPING THE FIRE STOKED?
These questions may seem overly simplistic, or even sophomoric, BUT... - Have we ever wondered why God created the element of fire? - Have we ever considered the importance of fire ... Why it's so essential to life? 1) On a cold winter night, we place logs into the fireplace to keep us warm. 2) We use fire to cook our food. 3) We use fire to burn trash and lawn debris. 4) In days gone by, sailors stoked the flames in the ship's boiler with coal so the ship could continue to move forward. Q: "Are we stoking the fire in our heart so we can keep moving forward in Christ? 5) Fire is also used to purify or to prevent impurities from forming: (ex) Iron smelting, as explained in Wikipedia, is: "A process of applying heat to ore in order to extract a base metal ... It is used to extract metals from their ores, including silver, iron, copper, ... This prevents impurities from forming in the metal ... " So, fire is used to either purify or to prevent impurities from forming. Q: Are we stoking the fire in our heart ... -so, we can be purified? -so, we can prevent sinful impurities from taking a foot hold in us? -so, the leaven the enemy throws at us can be incinerated by the fire and do us no harm? In the the Book of Leviticus, chapter six, it was stressed 3 times to Moses and to the priests that the fire on the altar must be kept burning. When God stresses something two or more times in the same chapter, He considers it important:
Lev 6:9 says: " ... The burnt offering shall be on the hearth upon the altar all night until morning, and the fire of the altar shall be kept burning on it." Lev 6:12, "And the fire on the altar shall be kept burning on it; it shall not be put out." And in Lev 6:13, "A fire shall always be burning on the altar; it shall never go out." Each of us, as believers, has a spiritual altar within the confines of our heart. God commanded the Israelites ... and us, to keep the fire burning. The fire, as mature Christians understand ... is God's Holy Spirit abiding in us. As I was preparing this message, I came across this article from Renner Ministries: "In Second Timothy 1:6, Paul told Timothy to “stir up” the gift of God that was in him. It implies that the fire in Timothy’s heart had ebbed to embers on a low burn. Hence, Paul told the younger minister to passionately and rigorously begin again to stoke and stir up the gift of God in his life, just as one would stoke the embers of a fire in a hearth or fireplace. Paul was not just kindly suggesting that Timothy take action; the apostle was commanding Timothy to spiritually reach within and begin to rekindle the fire in his heart." "At the time Paul wrote this epistle to Timothy, this young man (Timothy) was surrounded by confusion resulting from the intense persecution (of Christians) that was taking place. Is it possible that he (Timothy) was exhausted and that his own fire was beginning to wane (go out)? Most likely the answer is yes. But regardless of Timothy’s current state, Paul told him to take action before the fire went out. Timothy was to open the door to his heart, look inside to determine the condition of his inward fire, and then take action to “put more wood on the fire” and stir up the gift of God inside him (the Holy Spirit). This would not occur accidentally but would require a proactive response. If Timothy would obey P