Let's Start A Fire (Guest Blogger Jim Strietelmeier - Moody Man)

The Apostle Paul told his disciple Timothy to “fan into flame the gift that he had received by the laying on of hands by the elders.” Praise God that He gives gifts to individual Christians. The Lord gives these gifts for the building up of the body of Christ. The Lord’s church is a gifted community! All of us, who know the living God have the privilege of God Himself taking residence in us. He empowers His family by His own strength. “Greater is He who is in you than He that is in the world.” Your position as a believe is one of power. You are already attached to the Greatest One. You are great because God is Great, and He is in you. You are gifted!

I am trying to fan into flame the gifts that God gave me. It is God’s command to Timothy and in my experience it is something that God calls all of us to. My gifts include mercy and faith. The gift of mercy means that the one who has it is like the Lord in this way, he is “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” But the Lord Himself said “blessed are the merciful they shall receive mercy.” I need God’s mercy. And I have had the merciful compassion of the saints poured out on me, my family, and our community. I am blessed. We are blessed.

Mercy is something that is fanned into flame easily. For the very reason of geography, mercy can become a raging fire of godly compassion. Every day, wether we plan it or not, just because of where we live, there is opportunity to express God’s mercy. This week the extraordinary has become our norm. A panicked twelve year old found refuge in our home after fearing for his life. A prostitute found new clothes and words of comfort because she knew there was help at the church building. Prayers for those who had threatened harm to themselves have been made. Food for the hungry has been handed out.“And the poor have had the Gospel preached to them.” Mercy is easy.

Faith, that is harder. Now, it is true that “without faith it is impossible to please God.” So all of us“must have the faith of a little child so that we can enter the kingdom of heaven.” But faith that moves mountains, or faith that sustains the martyr is the goal. This is true especially of someone who might be gifted in that area. Our Lord is the One who tells us that “all things are possible with God.”He tells us that if we “ask anything in His name and it will be done.” Faith, being the basis of our relationship with God, should be as common as water around the Great Lakes. Yet our Lord asks the question that rings over the present church. “However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” It may be because of the “faith healer” or televangelist who came in previous generations, it may be because the church has replaced faith with administration. But works without faith is the mark of the Pharisee class. Good works without faith are only filthy rags. No! Faith must be fanned into flame in this generation. I must see how big a fire can grow in me. Now, what about you? What gift are you going to fan into flame?

II Timothy 1:6, I Corinthians 12:28 Ephesians 4:7-12, I John 4:4, Romans 8:10, Isaiah 53:3, Matthew 5:7, 11:5, Hebrews 11:6 Matthew 18:2-4, Mark 11:23, Hebrews 11, Matthew 19:26, John 14:13-14, Isaiah 64:6

Chivalry: Part 16 - First Fan

“…let her works praise her in the gates."

There is never a greater sign of love and commitment to a wife than when her man is his wife’s biggest fan. A strong man is never afraid of a woman’s success or her strengths. One of the evidences that a husband has found his strength in God and is fully secure in that strength, is that he can cheer for all his wife’s wins. Godly and chivalrous men understand that often the greatest limelight to be enjoyed is when it’s shining brightly on his wife. The man who loves his bride will look for ways to promote her passions and celebrate her victories, he’s the first fan.

God wraps blessing in some of the most unexpected ways. When a man sets out to date his wife to be, he can only see a small slice of what she has inside her. The potential of any woman is brought forward by those who are close and love her most. When a man loves a woman he looks to bring out of her all the good gifts God has placed within her. This may require studying our wife and spending time to learn about all the dreams inside her. But the man who spends time to discover and help launch his wife into her dreams, will have the joy of standing back a watching her flourish. Every person needs at least one fan and as your wife’s man, you can be her first fan.

The woman described in Proverbs 31 was not held back and “her works” were noticed by those in the public square. This doesn’t mean that our wife has to be a high profile rock star, she just needs to fully express who she is, in the circle of influence that God has given her. Here’s a simple progression to be a great first fan.

Dream Fan - When a man hears his wife's dreams, we hold the power to squelch them or supercharge them. Chivalry is never intimidated by how different they may be from our dreams, but cheers for her to pursue whatever God has placed on her heart. 

Opposition Fan - Any great dream will face stiff opposition. It’s when challenges arise that a man must fan her with hope and courage so our wife’s dream won’t die. The smallest battle unit is a husband and wife and when a man is his wife’s fan in opposition, he’s doing himself a huge favor as well.

Gate Fan - There will come a time when a husband can take a seat at “the gates”. It will be  the culmination of being her biggest fan in private that gives a husband such joy as her gifts and talents are recognized in public. This is the payoff for a man who is not intimidated by his wife and truly wants her to win in life.

Chivalry has the joy and satisfaction of sitting at the gate one day and cheering on the outside while thinking on the inside “what a gift God gave me”.