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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

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"Spiritual Fervor"

"Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord" (Romans 12:11).

Caleb, one of the twelve who spied out the land of Canaan, stood before the Israelites and with bold confidence declared, "We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it" (Numbers 13:30).  Caleb's faith in God was energized by the great challenge that lay ahead as they set out to defeat the Nephilim who were giants.   He was a valiant young man of 40 years when he gave this daring challenge to the Israelites.

Did his faith and vigor weaken over the years? I'm glad Scripture gives us a glimpse of Caleb 45 years later in his senior years when he said these words, "So here I am today, eighty-five years old! I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I'm just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then!"  This Scripture doesn't show Caleb sitting in a rocking chair mulling over the unproductive thought, "If only I were young again."  In fact he's charged up ready to follow the Lord's leading even at 85 years of age. 
I memorized the daily verse, "Never be lacking in zeal…" many years ago in my early twenties. Although I'm now in my early fifties I want to mirror Caleb's attitude as he kept his spiritual fervor into his eighties. 

I shared today's message this last Sunday with our congregation and encouraged them to memorize Romans 12:11 as a prompt.  I told them, "Whether I'm 20, 52, or should the Lord tarry until I'm 85, I want the same zeal and fervor to be present."

Following the service a young man named Tony walked up and showed me what he had written during the sermon. In the front of his Bible it said, "Invite Steve Weber back in 33 years." I was impressed not only that he listened carefully to the message but his math was "right on" as well.  We had a good chuckle, but who knows, I just might get an invitation to return at 85 years of age and those still in the church will see if I've truly kept my spiritual fervor serving the Lord. 

"Never be lacking in zeal." The word translated "zeal" is one of my favorite Greek words.  "Spoude", which is an ancient relative to our English word "speed", connoting diligence and earnestness.  My, how I want that to be true in my life and ministry!  Paul knew how the cares of this life could overshadow our zeal causing our enthusiasm to diminish, although Scripture shows no evidence of any such lacking of zeal in his own life!

"Keep your spiritual fervor."  The word "fervor" literally means "to be hot, boil or glow."  The Amplified Version translates this phrase "be aglow in the Spirit."  One dynamic I've noticed in my own life and ministry is that keeping a spiritual fire going takes diligence on my part.  Paul warned against quenching the Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19).

"Serving the Lord."  Are you serving the Lord?  We have such a tendency to compartmentalize our service, which actually limits it.  Are you serving the Lord right now?  You should be, wherever you are and whatever you're doing.  Paul teaches "It is the Lord Christ you are serving" (Colossians 3:24b) and to "Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men" (Ephesians 6:7).

Perhaps you can take just a moment right now and earnestly pray, "Lord Jesus, help me to keep my zeal and spiritual fervor today as I serve You in whatever I do!"

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Brooksyne's Note: It's good to be home again with my family and in my familiar spot next to Stephen as he prepares the message for Daily Encouragement.  Thank you for the emails, cards, calls and most especially your prayers during our time of grief.  For those unaware my sister, Margie Satterfield, went to be with the Lord on Jan. 25. She was 57 years old. I was in Muskogee, OK for the past four days with her family and with my siblings.  It was a very special time and I will share more at a future date.  Again, I thank you for your kindnesses extended toward me over the past several days.

Here's a great song that we have never heard before (at least that we recall) It's called "Light The Fire"

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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