God Wants to Set Your Heart on Fire

This command I entrust to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may fight the good fight, keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith. (1 Timothy 1:18-19)

How long has it been since God’s Word has exploded in your heart, moving you emotionally, challenging your faith and rearranging your life priorities?  When was the last time God’s love, beauty, and goodness were so real to you that all you could do is weep with tears of joy and gratitude?  How long has it been since you have thought about all the promises God has spoken over you and the unique plans and purposes He has for your life? Are you excited for this daily journey we call life?

Many of us would have to confess that the answers to these questions, and others like them, is that is has been far too long. Having been subjected to the daily rigors of living in a fallen world and having endured the relentless attacks of the devil and his demons, we consider it a victory to simply get through the days.  We still believe but our hearts have grown cold, characterized by apathy, discouragement, and unbelief.  The end result is life on autopilot. 

God, out of His great love for each of us, is inviting us into a season of being fascinated with Himself.  Through a fresh study of His Word, focusing on the life and teachings of Jesus, to return to a child-like state where we are hungry to know Him as He truly is and we treasure every word He reveals to us.  God stands ready to do it but we must do our part by creating the right environment in our hearts so we might experience a renewing of our minds and transformation of our hearts.  Now is our time to receive from Him.

An essential part of creating that environment in our hearts is to practice the spiritual discipline of meditation.  In case you are not familiar, I will share some of my own journey over the years.  Meditation has been an essential part of my devotional life ever since reading Richard Foster’s book Celebration of Discipline back in 1985.  I started by following the Navigator’s Topical Memory System and committed to memory 60 verses which were related to 5 major topics.  Once memorized, I regularly reviewed them, thinking about how they applied to my life at that point in time.  I then added verses the Holy Spirit highlighted in my personal study and my times of making personal retreats.  As I grew more familiar with the person and work of the Holy Spirit, I learned to hear God’s voice through my dreams, through words of knowledge and words of wisdom and finally through the prophetic words spoken over me by those operating in the spiritual gift of prophecy.  Together, they came to form a rich deposit of God’s promises to me, along with personalized instruction on how to fulfill His plans and purposes for my life.  I continue to review all of them on a regular basis, meditating on the ones the Holy Spirit highlights for that season in my life.  

In the verses at the top of this article, the apostle Paul reminds young Timothy, who he has left behind in Ephesus to shepherd the churches he started, of the critical importance of remaining mindful of the “prophecies previously made concerning you.”  The Greek word for prophecies (propheteia) in this context refers to prophetic revelations or directions of the Holy Spirit related to his calling as an overseer in the church.  Specifically, Paul is saying Timothy can keep his faith and a good conscience, thereby avoiding suffering shipwreck of his faith by paying attention to the words God has spoken over him.  The warfare that surrounds our calling, whatever it might be, demands that we continually meditate upon the truth God has spoken and is speaking, over our lives. 

This admonition that Paul gives to Timothy is reminiscent of the Lord’s instructions to Joshua as he is about to lead the people of Israel into the Promised Land.  In Joshua 1:8 the Lord says to Joshua, “this book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will  make your way prosperous and then you will have success.”  Joshua was no doubt tempted to be fearful and/or discouraged given the difficulty and dangers of displacing the current inhabitants of the land but meditating on the Lord’s promises is the God-ordained way of maintaining faith.

As we look to enter the new year of 2020, a year filled with promise and opportunity, I would invite you to consider whether its time for your heart to burn again with the love and promises of God?  Are you tired of muddling along, feeling alternately anxious, or disenchanted with life?  The challenge of our individual callings, along with the increasingly hostile nature of our culture, puts us in Timothy’s place of needing to “fight the good fight” by meditating on the personal revelations and directions of the Holy Spirit (prophecies) that have been made concerning us.  Like Joshua, our prosperity and success are dependent on our meditating continually on the promises God has made uniquely to us.

To help us all fight the good fight in the new year, God’s Living Stones is offering three unique, but related, opportunities beginning in the month of January 2020. 

Revive Us Again

Our Revive event happening on Friday night, January 17, 2020, at Thanksgiving Church in Bellevue.  This dynamic community celebration will open with an extended time of worship.  Then we will look briefly at Psalm 119:25 and corporately ask God to revive us again according to His Word.  God wants to restore us to a conscious awareness of His continual goodness, beauty, and grace so that we can truly live the abundant life.  This happens as we purposely unite our receiving the Word of God with living out conscious awareness of the Holy Spirit’s activity in our lives.  Closing out the evening, there will be a time to receive a fresh promise from God, uniquely for you.

Prophetic Training and Words of Knowledge

On Saturday, January 18, 2020, we are hosting Walter and Ida Cowart of Armorbearer Ministry for another round of training in how to encourage others by learning to move in the spiritual gift of prophecy.  This hands-on, experiential workshop is for anyone, beginner or seasoned minister, and provides opportunities to prophesy to others as part of the training.  This event will also include a special emphasis on receiving words of knowledge and praying for physical healing.  These gifts, while sometimes misunderstood, are a source of tremendous encouragement for the body of Christ and often confirm God’s plans for both individuals and the church. 

Spiritual Life Coaching (Studying the Bible for Life Transformation)

Finally, on Saturday, January 25, 2020, we are launching a group spiritual life coaching experience where the focus will be on life transformation through a study of the Scriptures.  It is not a class or seminar, or even a workshop that is limited to covering or mastering content and methods.  Rather, in a small group environment, emphasizing doing over listening, the focus will be on mastering the principles and skills necessary to reading and studying Scripture for life transformation.  The coaching experience will also give each participant the freedom to apply the basic principles of interpretation in a way that reflects their uniqueness as a follower of Christ.  Along the way, we will examine many of the questions that emerge about the nature and character of the Bible, which are often obstacles to experiencing the transformational power of the Word.  Issues like the reliability of Scripture, the unique authority that resides in the Bible, and how to resolve apparent contradictions between the Old and New Testaments.  The Bible is not just a historical record of God’s activity with the people of Israel and the church but God speaks to us, clearly and specifically, about His plans and purposes for our lives today.

God wants to set our hearts on fire in 2020.  Will you accept His invitation and begin to live again?

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