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Friday, February 8, 2013

Coal stove interior
The interior of our coal stove with a shiny new ash pan

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"Lesson From A Coal Stove"

"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. 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. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline" (2 Timothy 1:5-7).

The weather reports call for a big snow storm here in the Northeast, although it appears the more severe impact will be to the north of us. That was a source of conversation in a morning chaplain visit. This morning snow is on its way and its cold outside but our home is warm.

It's actually warm and toasty in the family room where our coal stove is hooked up. We're thankful for our coal stove, which burns anthracite (hard) coal. The photo above shows the heart of our system, a view many of our readers have probably never seen; the inside of a genuine Alaska coal stove! (Alaska is the name of the company that built the stove not the state. Actually the stove was made right here in Pennsylvania!)

The coal is loaded in a large hopper in the back of the stove which holds a couple of days supply. It is slowly fed into the stove where it ignites on the burn plate before the ashes drop into the pan. A key component to the system are the tiny holes in the burn plate that force air onto the coal. Anthracite coal is very hard to start but once I start the stove in the fall it will burn all winter as long as I keep the hopper filled and provided that we don't lose electricity necessary for the feeder mechanism and the tiny fan that forces the air on the coal. Of course I have to empty the ash pan daily and it's actually an early morning chore I enjoy.

Yankee Candle Fireside
We all enjoy the fire, especially on a cold winter evening although we must keep the stove door closed and merely feel the heat and see the glow through the glass. One thing we do miss is the aroma of a woodburning fire but a friend told us there is a Yankee Candle for that!

Today's opening illustration brings to mind a verse that I committed to memory early in my Christian walk; "For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God." In fact one of the very first sermons I ever preached was based on this passage, I suppose in part due to the phrase, "fan into flame." 

I recall my years as a Boy Scout and our many camping trips. We were taught to blow on the embers to get a fire going, especially to restart the smoldering embers of wood when we'd get up in the morning. Then we would gently fan the flame increasing the oxygen that fed the fire turning it into a blazing fire.

The key Greek word which is translated "fan into flame" is "anazopuro", which is in the present active indicating a continuing action.  The sense is to stir up smoldering embers into a living flame.

Other Bible versions vary slightly in the way they translate this word. The NASV states, "kindle afresh", the Amplified uses the phrase, "stir up (rekindle the embers of, fan the flame of,)" while the KJV merely states "stir up", which reminds me of when I would take a long stick and stir up the fire early in the morning! Clarence Jordon translates this verse, "I’m reminding you to shake the ashes off the God-given fire that’s in you."

The Holy Spirit uses the Word of God to build the fire of faith in our hearts. On the day Jesus rose from the dead He walked on the road to Emmaus with two disciples. After their eyes were "opened" they recognized who Jesus was and then He disappeared. They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:32).  A roaring fire emblazoned their hearts when they understood what Jesus taught them in the Scriptures.

Paul is urging Timothy to a necessary spiritual discipline. In the course of life the fire can burn down a bit or at times a lot. We need to continually be mindful of this and keep fanning into flame the gift of God. Elsewhere Paul writes in Holy Scripture, "Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord" (Romans 12:11). The phrase "spiritual fervor" literally means "in spirit burning."

Many years ago Keith Green wrote a song with this theme in mind:
Oh Lord please light the fire,
that once burned bright and clear.

Replace the lamp of my first love,
that burned with holy fear.

Today Brooksyne and I want to serve the Lord with renewed zeal and keep the fire burning within our hearts so that we are continually on fire for Christ. We urge each reader to do the same!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, I consider the depth of one's faith and how far-reaching it is when fleshed out in one's life. Timothy's sincere faith was due in great part to the influence of a godly grandmother and equally devoted mother. As we stay in communion with You through prayer and obedience to Your Holy Word we ask You to keep the flame burning within our hearts. It is not just compliance to Your Word, but also fervency in our spirit that will convince others of their need to walk in Your ways. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Coal stove exterior
Here's a photo of our coal stove I took last night. During the winter it goes a long way to heating our entire home although we also have a heat pump which supplements it.

Here are a couple of older photos:

Roxie and Dottie in front of stove
Roxie and Dottie enjoy laying together in front of the stove and now Mollie (our second dog) joins them but not sure we have a photo of all three of them together.

Brooksyne at coal stove
When it's really cold Brooksyne enjoys working in front of the stove.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Oh Lord, You're Beautiful"  Video  
Keith Green

Helpful online Greek interlinear New Testament  A study aid I use in the course of preparing these messages along with Precept Austin and of course others.

Yesterday I shared a photo of our friend Nick Nichols. A reader responded: "I thought your friend Nick was Billy Graham at first glance. Wonder if others thought that?"  I shared this with Nick and he replied: "It was through Billy's book WORLD AFLAME that I came to know Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior."

For any who may be interested more coal stove photos are here

JK whiteboard witness
I am blessed at Mike's continued efforts to provide a witness at work in the form of a whiteboard message.

Browser logosThese are articles we come across in the course of studying for these messages or just poking around the vast Internet. In most cases they are not necessarily related to the daily message but may be of interest to our readers. These articles will only be posted once and there will be new ones each post, assuming we come across material that we feel may be of interest. (To see previous links use the archive version.)

"An astounding message!" Dr. Ben Carson  An amazing speech at the National Prayer Breakfast.

"Gifted Hands" Video segment from the movie about Ben Carson. We purchased this DVD a few years ago and found it to be a great inspirational message, especially inspiring for a single mother raising children on her own. After all the ups and downs Carson proves to be a brilliant doctor, yet a very humble servant dedicated to his profession of helping those who have complex medical disorders.

"God Made A Farmer" I see the link to the Dodge Ram Superbowl commercial I posted Wednesday became inactive. Here's one that works at post time anyway.

a message to Stephen & Brooksyne

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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, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. 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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