Updated: Sep 1, 2021
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Getting Stirred Up
by Mary Alice McGinnis
What gets you stirred up? Someone making a derogatory comment toward you? Someone threatening your family or children? Watching the news? For most of us, this kind of getting stirred up often leads to frustration, discouragement, bitterness, anger, and maybe even retaliation.
What if there was some GOOD NEWS that could stir us up, but in a positive way?
Growing up, we had a wood-burning fireplace in our family room and my dad was the master fire builder. He would strategically pick the right “kindling” and make a teepee-like structure of these smaller pieces of dry wood. In the center of the wood teepee, he would place some paper that would light quickly. As soon as he lit the paper, the kindling would light up like a giant match.
Once the fire had a good start, dad would poke the fire, break it down a bit, and create a solid bed of coals. But he knew the sticks of kindling would burn up and quickly become a heap of ashes if left by themselves. So, at just the right time, he would wisely add a few larger, more dense logs to the fire, being careful to not extinguish the embers below. The key was keeping the embers bundled closely together, combined with enough airflow, which allowed the embers to ignite the larger logs, one after another.
When it seemed like the fire was beginning to die out, he would “poke” the fire with his long-handled iron poker, stirring up the embers to breathe new life into the fire.
My friends, we have such GOOD NEWS!
The God of heaven made a way for us to be with Him, ETERNALLY!
We can have confidence that He is FOR US, and not against.
Jesus became the perfect sacrifice and died in our place! We can hold unswervingly to this sure hope, with full assurance and joyful expectation.
Yet the reality is, life gets us down. It seems like just when we get through one fire, the next one looms even bigger and more frightening. We get worn down, become exhausted and weary. It is easy to think God is angry with us or has abandoned us, or that He doesn’t really care. We can soon find ourselves in a downward spiral of hopelessness and despair.
How do we combat this downward spiral?
When our faith is under attack, and the tempter’s lies try to discourage us, the author of Hebrews says, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. . .”
Just like a fire, we need the closeness of a Christian community to keep our fire burning brightly. We need the encouragement of others when our strength is growing weak. We need to “stir one another up,” and allow our encounters with our Christian brothers and sister to rekindle the embers of our dwindling flame.
Satan, the enemy, knows how important this is! That is why he tries to break us down, divide us, and isolate us one from another. That is his game plan to put out the fire of our faith and render us a heap of ashes.
So, my friends, do not give up! Read the Word of God. Call out to Him in prayer. Remember the Good News. But don’t be tempted to isolate yourself, thinking you can complete this journey of life alone.
Let us intentionally connect with those who can and will encourage us and strengthen our faith. Intentionally! That means we cannot leave it to chance. We need the warmth of God’s presence in the lives of others, combined with the free-flowing breath of the Holy Spirit working in and through them to help us persevere.
Dear Lord, help us to hold unswervingly to the hope of Your unfailing love for us, because YOU are faithful. Help us to not give up! Lead us to lean into our community of believers and never stop “meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as (we) see the Day approaching.”
Spoken Prayer – Out loud, pray for God to speak to you through your reading. Praise God for giving us His word. Ask the Spirit to help you read with faith, and to live out what you hear from God through the passage.