2 Timothy 1.6-7 – Fan Into Full Flame

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 gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

Paul begins by saying for this reason, so we know we need to look back a few words. So, because of the faith that was in Timothy (v.5), Paul encouraged him to cooperate and communicate with the Lord and for this reason…fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands…It seems that Paul had prayed over Timothy, laid hands on him, and conferred and confirmed the Lord’s gifting in Timothy.

Paul then goes on to say that the reason Timothy should do this, the reason he should take the faith that lives in him and boldly fan into full flame the gifts God has given him is because God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control

David Guzik writes on this,

In 1 and 2 Timothy there are no less than 25 different places where Paul encouraged Timothy to be bold, to not shy away from confrontation, to stand up where he needs to stand up and be strong. Because of who Timothy was and the responsibilities he had to bear, this was what Timothy needed to hear.

The chain of connection is clear; faith > gifts > boldness > power-love-self-control.

The Word of God speaks clearly about the fact that we are all gifted by the Lord (Ephesians 4.10-16). This gifting is to be used boldly because God has given us a spirit of power and love and self-control.

The giftings of God are not to be hidden away – we have been given a spirit of power.

The giftings of God are not to be used to control others – we have been given a spirit of love.

The giftings of God are not to be abused and misused – we have been given a spirit of self-control.

Pause and think – what has God gifted you to do?

What are you good at? How do you best serve people?

I would encourage you today to think on this, then with the faith that dwells in you fan it into full flame with the spirit of power and love and self-control that God has given us. 

Thinking Beyond Christmas

What did Christmas bring for you?

Did you get everything you wanted?

Did you get everything you needed?

We said last week that our greatest need as fallen sinful people is forgiveness, and we were given a Saviour, but, what does that mean, what comes with that?

2 Peter 1.3-4 tells us that it comes with everything. Everything to live the life that God made you to live. The life of love. The life focused on others.

Mark 2.17 tells us that it comes with perspective. Christmas, the incarnation, God piercing the space-time journey that we are on to take on flesh and live among us and die to atone for our sins shows us that really, we are not naturally good, we are not naturally strong, we are dependent, we are broken in spirit, depraved in thinking, by nature bound to choose the poor choice left to ourselves, and that we need Him to be, truly, all that we were made to be.

Luke 2.25-35 tells us that it comes with salvation. To receive salvation, all we have to do is take Jesus as Simeon did; personally, with the proper perspective that He is everything we need.

What did Christmas bring for you?

Everything, perspective, and salvation.

Christmas Gifts

As a kid I was always excited to see what gifts would be waiting for me on Christmas morning, waiting to see what cool new stuff I could play with, or, at least, pretend to be excited about until I found something I really really wanted…encyclopaedia and shower gel, awesome…where’s the toys, the ball!

Then, when we saw my grandparents the next day, the whole thing would repeat; soap, wow, thanks Grandma, socks, awesome, thanks Grandad, super practical, but where is the new computer game?

But, little did I know, that those gifts which might have looked a little dull to me as a young boy were probably the most practical and useful gifts that were coming my way that particular Christmas. I didn’t know why I’d need a new set of compasses and rulers for school, or a pair of summer shorts when it was 2 degrees outside (that’s celsius, too) but someone did, didn’t they, otherwise they wouldn’t have bought them for me.

Think of the gifts that Jesus received from the wise men (Matthew 2.1-12); Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh. These gifts might have seen a little odd, but, they had a very practical purpose. 

Last time I checked, one ounce of gold cost around BD556, and in Jesus’ time, it would have been even more valuable.  

The spices (frankincense and myrrh) were also very valuable, and at this time, may have even been as costly as gold in terms of weight. So, very practical gifts. The family could have sold them and lived off the money. But, there is also a great deal of spiritual symbolism in the gifts offered.

What did these gifts represent symbolically,

prophetically, for the future?

Gold is associated with royalty and deity in the Bible, regular folks like you and me don’t have much gold hanging around at home (I don’t anyway) and it was a gift given to kings around the time of Christ’s birth. The wise men’s first gift of gold symbolised Jesus’ role as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, God of gods. Not only did the gold represent Christ’s deity, it also represented his Kingship. Gold is often associated with kingship and ruling authority in the scriptures.

Jesus Christ was, is, and always will be, fully God. 

After the resurrection Thomas  declared,

“My Lord and My God”

John 20:28

Frankincense was a type of incense burned as a sacrifice and used by priests during services of worship around the time of Christ’s birth. 

Frankincense is a strong smelling resin that you get from the bark on a certain species of tree. The most popular use of frankincense in the Bible was the burning of incense by the priests, so, the wise men’s gift of frankincense symbolised Jesus’ priesthood

In Exodus 30.34-36, God gave specific instructions for a special blend of incense to be burned exclusively by the priest.

34 The Lord said to Moses, “Take sweet spices, stacte, and onycha, and galbanum, sweet spices with pure frankincense (of each shall there be an equal part), 35 and make an incense blended as by the perfumer, seasoned with salt, pure and holy. 36 You shall beat some of it very small, and put part of it before the testimony in the tent of meeting where I shall meet with you. It shall be most holy for you.

The frankincense that the wise men gave to Christ symbolized His priesthood. The Bible plainly teaches that Christ is our High Priest (Hebrews 4.14-16). 

Myrrh is a gum-like resin, similar to frankincense, and it comes from a bushy tree.

Myrrh smells good, and it had many uses in Biblical times. Myrrh is most frequently associated, however, with suffering and death. It was often used as an embalming fluid since the strong smell would help mask the stench of a decaying body. At the death of Jesus we read this,

Nicodemus also, who earlier had come to Jesus by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds in weight.

John 19.39

The wise men’s gift of myrrh prophetically signified that Jesus was born to suffer and die. The gift of myrrh symbolised the ultimate purpose that Jesus would fulfil, His ministry, His mission here on Earth.

So, these were not random gifts; the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh carried prophetic meanings, they meant something very practical now, but, they were really gifts for the future, symbolising Jesus’ roles as a king, priest and sacrificial saviour

The wise men travelled far to give Jesus gifts.

  • They gave Him a gift of gold that symbolized his kingship and deity. 
  • They gave Him some frankincense that symbolised His priesthood, 
  • They gave Him some myrrh that symbolised His suffering and death, for us. 

Even before they set off, before they prophetically picked out His gifts, before they put them in a nice gift bag with a tag, ‘To Jesus love Magi’, there was an even better gift given. In the ultimate expression of His love for you, God gave His creation the gift of Jesus incarnate.

He is the gift of a clean slate before God, He is the gift of reconciliation, He is the gift of eternal life, He is the gift of the opportunity to have a right relationship with God. He is the gift of forgiveness from our sins.

As with my socks and shower gel, He knew that we needed that gift, even before we did.

All we have to do is take the gift. 

Will you take it? Have you taken it?

Will you take the free gift of salvation that Christ wants to give you right now? 

I pray you do, now, tomorrow, and every day.

Joy To The World

Do you remember when you were a kid and Christmas Day rolled around? You tore into something lovingly wrapped and discovered that thing you had been wanting for so long…oh the joy you felt! You could not, at that moment, have felt any happier. The joy you felt was indescribable; that someone loved you enough to give you exactly what you wanted, exactly what you needed, and they willingly paid the price for you to have it.

Joy to the World describes, essentially, this feeling.

Joy to the world
Joy to the world
Joy to the world, the Lord is come
Let earth receive her King
Let every heart prepare Him room
And Heaven and nature sing

The whole Old Testament in your Bible points forward to the coming of the Lord (if you don’t have a Bible read it here for free!). The New Testament documents the life and legacy of the Lord Jesus, and one thing constantly associated with Him is joy.

The song is filled with Scripture (Isaiah 9.6, Isaiah 11.10, John 12.15,  Revelation 17.14, Revelation 19.11-16, and Psalm 98.5-9 to name some!).

As we made room in our lives for that gift we ripped open on Christmas Day, possibly discarding old things to make way for it, this year let every heart prepare Him room, discarding old things and receiving our King