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Fan Into Flame

Daily Reading: Matthew 23

Scripture Focus: Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous...' (Matthew 23.29)

Devotional Thought: Biblical scholar Ralph Earle wrote this: "There are three stages in the life of every religious organization. First it is a movement, vibrant and vigorous, active and aggressive. Then it becomes an institution with 'more harness that horse.' Finally its vitality disappears and it becomes a museum, where the bones of the ancient leaders are put on display." (BBC)

For many in Jesus' day, their religion had become a museum: 'You build the tombs of the prophets...' That can happen in churches today as well. It can also happen in the lives of individual Christians.

How would you describe your Christian life today? Is it a museum, silent and stuffy, impersonal and obsolete? Is everything important from someone else's experience or from your experiences in the past?

Is your Christian life 'more harness than horse'? Are you more concerned with the outer trappings of religion than with the inner power and strength of the Spirit? Are you making sure that the appearance is right - how you dress, church attendance, etc. - while neglecting mercy, justice or humility?

Or, is your Christian life 'vibrant and vigorous, active and aggressive'? Is the life of Christ pulsing through your veins? Does it make a difference in the way you live, how you treat others, your attitude? Are you sharing your faith by loving your neighbor as yourself and giving people the reason for the hope that you have within you? Are your prayers fervent, your Bible worn, and your love hot?

I urge you - in the words of the Apostle Paul - "to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you" (2 Timothy 1.6).

Prayer: Lord, today I pray for new life to course through my spirit. In the words of the Psalmist, I ask, 'Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?' I present myself to you. Fill me with life and the Spirit. Amen.

Psalm of the Day: 1 I will sing of the steadfast love of the LORD, forever; with my mouth I will make known your faithfulness to all generations. 2 For I said, "Steadfast love will be built up forever; in the heavens you will establish your faithfulness." 3 You have said, "I have made a covenant with my chosen one; I have sworn to David my servant: 4 'I will establish your offspring forever, and build your throne for all generations.'" Selah (Psalms 89:1-4)

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