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Friday, August 14, 2015

Butterfly and flowers 8/13/15
Butterfly and flowers on Amish farm.

"Fervent In Spirit"

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"Not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord" (Romans 12:11). "Fan into flame the gift of God" (2 Timothy 1:6).

Oh Lord, please light the fire
That once burned bright and clean
Replace the lamp of my first love
That burns with holy fear

We enjoy meeting people who are diligent in their work. According to Scripture our diligence in work is a means of honoring God. "Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men" (Ephesians 6:7). When I walk through a company I enjoy affirming those who work hard. Yesterday I spoke to a man who had a stroke several years ago and could tell he was in some pain. But his role as husband and father gives him the sense of responsibility in providing for his family. He immigrated several years ago from a southeastern Asian country so he has had much overcoming in many ways.

Brian 8/13/15 Today's lesson was spurred on by another diligent worker. Brian, seen in photo, is an HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) service technician with nearly 30 years of experience. He is quite knowledgeable and keeps up with the ever-changing technology in his field maintaining a passion for his work.

In a recent conversation he was trying to explain to me how a heat pump works. Essentially the device takes heat out of the air and can either provide cooling or heating. I find this amazing especially when it's below freezing and the "heat" from the air heats my home! In fact he told me there is some heat until the temperature is absolute zero, although thankfully it doesn't get that cold around here! (Absolute zero should not be confused with zero degrees Fahrenheit  - as Brooksyne did when she first edited this message informing me that it does sometimes get that cold around here!) Absolute zero is the physically impossible-to-reach temperature of zero kelvin, or minus 459.67 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 273.15 degrees Celsius), atoms would stop moving. As such, nothing can be colder than absolute zero on the Kelvin scale.

Brian shared a lesson from physics that I suppose I learned sometime in the past, informing me that essentially cold is just the absence of heat.
Another way to put it is that there's really not cold just less hot although I don't think I'll ever get Brooksyne to really believe that. When she's cold she's cold and there's no telling her otherwise!

There is a powerful spiritual application here. "Being on fire" is an expression used to describe a sold out, uncompromised, committed follower of Christ. The daily Scripture text teaches that we are "not to be lagging behind in diligence, but we are to be fervent in spirit, serving the Lord" (Romans 12:11). We both memorized this verse as young Christians and recite it regularly.

John Wesley has a famous description concerning his conversion, "I felt my heart strangely warmed." The challenge is keeping that warmth through life as we invariably encounter circumstances that seek to douse that spiritual fire drowning it out completely!

Each of the three phrases in this verse is rich in meaning but today let us consider just the second phrase, "fervent in spirit". The underlying Greek word for "fervent" is "zeo", which means, "to be hot." The English word zeal is derived from this word.

This word zeo is used to describe the preaching of Apollos in Acts 18:25 who "spoke with great fervor." This word suggests having plenty of heat to produce adequate, productive energy, but not so much heat that one goes out of control. The idea is not of being overheated to the point of boiling over and out of control but, like a steam engine, of having sufficient heat to produce the energy necessary to get the work done.

The challenge in the spiritual life is to maintain this fervency in spirit throughout life
. Another version states, "keep your spiritual fervor." I think all of us have to fight the tendency for our spiritual fervor to wane. The need for maintaining this fervor in our walk with God is of paramount importance. Jesus, in describing the last days stated, “because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold" (Matthew 24:12).

We all need to regularly heed Paul's words to Timothy "to fan into flame the gift of God" (2 Timothy 1:6). The Greek word translated "fan into flame" signifies the recovering of fire choked with ashes or decaying. It's kind of like stirring up a campfire early in the morning.

Back to Brian's lesson in physics that essentially cold is just the absence of heat. Isn't that true in our spiritual life as well? When our spiritual fervor wanes and our hearts grow cold we are no longer on fire but grow cold due to the absence of heat.

Let us conclude with a list of suggestions on maintaining your spiritual fervor:
  • Bible reading, study and application (obedience)
  • Prayer
  • Being in service for Christ
  • Faithful attendance to a Bible-faithful, God-fearing local church, small group.
  • Associating with those who have spiritual fervor since it is contagious.
  • Listening to Godly music, reading good books, etc. and abstaining from all which leads us astray.
  • Lastly, but not of least importance, we should be contributing generously to the cause of Christ, since "where our heart is, there our treasure is also."

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer:
Father, help us to stir up the fire of the Holy Spirit in our lives through faithful reading and application of the Scriptures. Though there are daily temptations, disappointments, and experiences that could easily extinguish the fire of the Holy Spirit in our lives, we thank You that Your abiding presence in our hearts is greater than the foe that seeks to deter us. May we always be attentive to Your still small voice and the convicting power of Your Holy Spirit so that we keep our spiritual fervor in serving You all the days of our lives. Through Christ we pray. Amen.

Today following several chaplain visits we are heading north to the Grand Canyon, that is Pennsylvania's Grand Canyon! (AKA Pine Creek Gorge). Tomorrow we expect to ride our bikes down through the gorge which traillink describes as one of the premier rail-trails in the Northeast.

Yesterday following our chaplain visits we stopped by our Amish friends, Jesse and Anna Ruth, to drop off some items. We always enjoy visiting the family and farm. The children really enjoy taking photos with our phone camera so today we have the lead photo and the last two photos taken by them!

Butterfly and flowers 8/13/15
We think God does a tremendous job with colors in His creation. He does not need our endorsement with His tastes, but He is pleased when we express our pleasure, and butterflies capture our attention wherever and whenever we see them.

Brooksyne with Lizzie 8/13/15
Unbeknownst to Brooksyne ten year old Eli took this photo of his four year old sister Lizzie running into her arms for some bonding time.

Black-eyed susans 8/13/15
Eight year old Naomi took this photo of her mother's flowers.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Oh Lord, You're Beautiful"  Video  Keith Green  This is the song the lyrics are quoted from in our message.

"Revival Fire Fall"  Video  Paul Baloche

"Revival"  Video   Robin Mark

"Send the Fire!!"  Video   Written by William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army

Finally today:

JK friends 8/13/15
Brooksyne, Connie, Sharon (L to R)
Yesterday morning, as I (Brooksyne) was making my chaplain walk-through at our first company, JK Mechanical, the three of us intersected and then chuckled as we noticed our black and white attire.  I entered the building about 7 AM and began to converse with Sharon (on the right) while standing to her side as she sat at her computer. Suddenly I noticed a spider quietly making its way down a single strand of web, but it was a fast one and within a couple of seconds it plopped right in front of Sharon's face. In less than a second she flew out of her seat and into the hallway looking for a quick escape. I looked for a tissue to go after the invasive critter but could find none though I did find an empty paper plate and it worked just fine for the needed weapon (though I suppose it was like using a cannon ball in comparison to the very tiny spider I was pursuing). After I convinced her the spider was dead she returned to her chair. The only thing I was missing yesterday was my white cape with SUPER WOMAN embroidered in black letters. I have no fear of spiders or bugs, but if it had been a mouse that darted in front of her I would have run into the hallway and would be calling for a different SUPER HERO!

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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 make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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