Wednesday, October 29, 2014, 7:20 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song, “Have Thine Own Way, Lord.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read 2 Timothy 1 (NIV84). Fan Into Flame Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, according to 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 forefathers 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 have been 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 God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. Paul wrote this letter to Timothy, a fellow worker (laborer) and servant of the Lord and of the (full) gospel of Jesus Christ. I believe the Lord Jesus has given me a practical understanding of this passage of scripture which can be applied to today, to both men and women, and for the purpose to encourage his faithful servants to keep pressing on in spite of severe persecution, opposition and abandonment, as well as to exhort the unfaithful to return to their Lord and to pure and unadulterated fellowship with him. The Lord Jesus, I believe, wants to encourage his faithful servants here that he is interceding for us, that he sees our tears, that he cares about what we are going through, and that he longs for us and desires fellowship with us even when humans abandon us. In other words, he will never leave us or forsake us, even if humans do. Thus, when we enter into that fellowship with him, he encourages and strengthens our hearts, and he fills us with much joy, as well as he finds great joy in our communion with him. He also encourages us to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in us. I believe he is referring to the Holy Spirit, and subsequently to the fruit and to the gifts of the Spirit. This may present a challenge to those who are suffering much persecution, even within the organized church, because they may feel that, since humans (even in the church) have forsaken or have rejected them, that God cannot use them. I remember a time in my life when I felt that way. But, God is not limited by humans’ limitations, prejudices, and roadblocks which they erect to halt the pure word of truth from getting into people’s minds and hearts. If humans put up roadblocks, then God makes another way. For example, in today’s modern church here in America, much of the church has gone the way of the world. They have turned the gospel and our times of worship of and fellowship with our Lord, in prayer and in his word, upside down, and they have reversed God’s plan of salvation to make it into something else, opposite of what it was. As well, they have added what is false to the foundation of our faith, in order to make the gospel “fit” with today’s culture. In other words, the church is supposed to be the body of Christ, with Christ as the head and as the chief cornerstone, and the gospel and our faith built upon the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. Instead, much of what is called church here in America is made up of businesses of humans, business marketing schemes, entertainment, and seeks to please the customers, and thus compromises the gospel to make it more acceptable. So, what this means is that the Holy Spirit is shoved out (kicked out) of most of our churches because they refuse to let him lead, and humans are in control, instead. Although the Lord invites them to his table to have fellowship with him, they ignore his invitation and they go their own way instead. So, what this also means is that the Lord’s servants, who are following the leading of the Spirit in their lives, and who are fanning into flame the gift of God within them, may find themselves ostracized, rejected, abandoned, ignored, and kicked out right along with the Holy Spirit. Yet, that doesn’t stop God, and it doesn’t mean the Lord is finished with those servants. He will make a way where there seems to be no way. For me, he sent me to the internet to share what he is teaching me through his word. That didn’t stop the persecution, but it is a place where, for now, I am able to use the gifts God has placed within me, and which he intends for me to fan into flame. Not Ashamed So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, 9 who 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, 10 but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. 11 And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. 12 That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day. So, when we are persecuted, rejected and ostracized or abandoned because we stand on the truth of the Word of God, because we follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, and because we proclaim the full gospel of Jesus Christ, we should never be ashamed to testify about our Lord, no matter how much we are mocked, criticized, falsely accused, betrayed, abandoned or rejected for our testimonies for Jesus Christ. Instead, we should accept the fact that we will be called upon to suffer for the sake of Christ and his gospel. And, we should rejoice that we are counted worthy to suffer for him and for his gospel. Yet, many within the church are ashamed of the gospel, or else they have been convinced that it is not polite or nice to confront people with the full gospel message. And, so much of today’s church is teaching, instead, that believers in Christ should immerse themselves in the culture, and that they should just be nice to people, and that suffices for their testimonies. And, yet even the unsaved can do that. Truly we are to love others, and we are to be kind, as Jesus was kind, and we are to show mercy, grace and compassion. Yet, we must also stand on the Word of Truth, we must stand against what is evil, we must confront what is false, and we must teach what is truth so that people can be saved. You see, we were not saved just so we could escape hell and just so we could go to heaven when we die. We were saved and called by God to a holy life. Holy means: separate (unlike; different) from the world and set apart to (like) God and to his service. Holiness is rarely taught anymore. Instead, the church is blending in with the world and the culture and so they are compromising truth in order to be acceptable and liked by the world, which is why, if you stand on the Word of Truth, they will not only be ashamed of the gospel, but they will be ashamed of you, too, especially if you are called of God to point these things out to them. Yet, Jesus died that we might no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave himself up for us. He died that we might die to sin and live holy lives pleasing to him (See: Ro. 6-8; 2 Co. 5:15; Gal. 2:20; Eph. 4:17-24; Tit. 2:11-14 and 1 Jn. 1-5). Sound Teaching What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. 14 Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us. You know that everyone in the province of Asia has deserted me, including Phygelus and Hermogenes. May the Lord show mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains. 17 On the contrary, when he was in Rome, he searched hard for me until he found me. 18 May the Lord grant that he will find mercy from the Lord on that day! You know very well in how many ways he helped me in Ephesus. Most of the church here in America has abandoned this pattern of sound teaching, and have, instead, gone after what pleases the masses. God has been calling to the church to return to him, i.e. to return to pure, unadulterated fellowship with him at his table, and to put away their defilement of the gospel and their quenching of the Holy Spirit in their midst. Yet, no matter how many times he calls, most have refused his voice. And, they have continued to walk in the ways of humans and of this world, instead. In fact, many leaders within the church partake in cords of sin, wickedness and deceit, which is why they do nothing to confront sin or to call for holiness or to support and defend the truth of God’s holy word and the Lord’s servants who are sharing the truth. Yet, as followers of Christ, we should keep the pattern of sound teaching as was taught us by Christ and the apostles, and we should abandon all that is false. We must examine everything we see, read and hear against the Word of Truth, and we must follow what is true, even if it is not popular. There may be times when we may feel as though we are standing alone, because all others may desert us and not stand with us because they don’t want to be rejected, too, yet we must continue to stand, realizing we are never alone. I guarantee there will be times when it will be hard to do that, especially when you are mocked, falsely accused, slandered and are rejected by the majority, and when the pressure is on to compromise because they try to convince you that there is rightness in numbers and wrongness if you end up standing alone. Yet, the Holy Spirit will help us to guard what has been entrusted to us, so that we do not falter. I know there are Christians throughout the world who are suffering severe persecution for their faith and for their testimonies for Jesus Christ, and that many are being put to death because they refused to compromise. I believe that many who are being persecuted have had their Bibles removed from them, and perhaps even their hymn books or song books, too, and they may feel lost without them. Yet, they cannot take the Holy Spirit from us or our faith or prayer, so we can continue to commune with our Lord and to worship him, and to praise his name, and to share his truth because his Spirit lives within us giving us all we need to live godly lives, holy and pleasing to God. We just have to trust him. Have Thine Own Way, Lord / Adelaide A. Pollard, 1862-1934 George C. Stebbins, 1846-1945 / Tune: ADELAIDE, Meter: 54.54 D Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way! Thou art the potter, I am the clay. Mold me and make me after Thy will, While I am waiting, yielded and still. Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way! Search me and try me, Master, today! Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now, As in Thy presence humbly I bow. Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way! Wounded and weary, help me I pray! Power, all power, surely is Thine! Touch me and heal me, Savior divine! Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way! Hold o'er my being absolute sway. Fill with Thy Spirit till all shall see Christ only, always, living in me!