'Are We Losing Our Enthusiasm?'
by Travis Wiginton
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"Are we losing our enthusiasm?"
This is a perfectly legitimate question for anyone, but especially for us Christians.
In fact, after writing 106 articles, I asked myself this question.
You readers (by your numbers and some by your responses) keep us going!
Of course, the Holy Spirit (and a precious wife/helper) keeps me going.
But in the midst of over 50 years of notes all around me in my study,
I realize that I have to look HIGHER than all of the good therein.
I have to 'look up' and be inspired...and enthusiated.
S.D. Gordon wrote:
"Whenever God can reach down and do everything that He wants to do for us;
we can reach up and do everything through Him."
The word 'enthusiasm' comes from 2 Greek words: 'en' and 'theos' meaning 'In God'.
Vance Havner said, "We can not function....without unction'.
The favorite hymn of La Moyne's paternal Gr'Mother Harris was: "There is a Fountain".
When we think back on her life, we remember a joyous, upbeat, feisty lady who was always humming (usually it was the hymn, 'There is a Fountain')
This in spite of having a very difficult life!
She gave birth to 9 sons and 1 daughter, but her baby girl only lived a few hours.
Only 5 of her sons lived to adulthood...but 2 of those died before reaching 30 yrs. of age.
Although Gr'Mother Harris had a difficult life, when some neighbors down the road from their farm told one of their teenage sons that he had to move out as they couldn't afford to raise him, Gr'Mother Harris took him in!!
La Moyne said that one of the greatest compliments she ever rec'd from her Dad
(who was the youngest of the 9 boys)
was when he told La Moyne that she reminded him of his Mother.
La Moyne says that many times during the years when things might be difficult around our house, God would bring Gr'Mother Harris to her mind.
She said that she would think, "If Gr'Mother Harris could go through all that she went through....and still be a loving, kind, enthusiastic person, then I can too!"
We know there is a 'fountain filled with blood, drawn from Emmanuel's veins and sinners plunged beneath that flood, lose all their guilty stains'.
Christianity truly is 'the Book, the Blood and the Blessed Hope.
The Blood fountain is great, but the water (Spirit) fountain of God (John 7:37-39)
is a MUST for enthusiastic Christian living!
Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote:
"Every great and commanding movement in the annals of the world, is the triumph of enthusiasm".
We must be careful for as we age and the physical and mental wane....
we may lose some of our enthusiasm.
Someone once said, "I wouldn't want to go on a picnic with someone who couldn't get a little bit excited."
La Moyne and I had great Mothers, but we got a good dose of enthusiasm from our Dads.
In Ephesians 2:1-10, we are given what is involved in salvation:
1) Salvation is an experience - a spiritual birth.
"For by grace are you saved, through faith".
2) Salvation is an outward expression of the inner experience.
"We are God's workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works."
The word 'workmanship' is from the Greek word 'poima' from which we get the word 'poem'.
3) Salvation is 'an enthusiastic walk and talk WITH God'.....
then a 'walk and talk FOR God.'
In Rev. 3, the church at Ephesus had lost it's first love...
and the church at Laodicea was lukewarm.
One of my Seminary Professors, T.B. Maston wrote:
"To be a real Christian means to let that which was a potentiality in the initial experience become a living, dynamic reality in our lives." (Dr. and Mrs. Maston were a living example for us as they cared for a son who was born severely handicapped.)
By experience, I know that it is not enough to be 'in Christ' and 'Christ in me'.
We must express Him enthusiastically.
Our enthusiasm can be misplaced with new gadgets, TV, sports, etc. Those may be ok, but our deep enthusiasm must be:
"Seek those things which are above...where Christ sits at the right of the Father.
Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth." (Col. 3:1-2)
Jesus' own words in Matt. 6:33: "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness."
Bro. Lawrence (a monk who worked most of his time in the kitchen of a monastery) wrote a small book entitled: 'Practicing the Presence of God'.
Here are the main emphases of that book and his life:
1) "Walk as in His presence. Possess God at ALL times, as you do at the BEST times!"
Moses left Egypt for Moab, but God did not leave Moses. (Exodus 3:1-2)
2) "Establish ourselves in a sense of God's presence by conversing often with Him....
not just at a set time of prayer."
3) "Resolve to make the Love of God, the end of all of your actions.
Seek God only, not just His gifts. Please God rather than man."
4) "All things are possible to those who believe, who have hope, and who love.
Faith keeps open the channels between us and God."
5) "To keep your mind from wandering while in prayer...
be careful of it's wanderings when NOT in prayer."
6) "God often is nearer (and more effectually present) during sickness...
than in good health."
See all as proofs of God's love toward you. (Romans 8:28 and Philippians 4:6)
7) "The more you know of God, the more you will desire to know Him."
As I was writing this paper, we received an e-mail from a friend in China, telling us of his work with a man there. He entitled it 'A very rich poor man'.
"The man makes only $12 each month and has 5 children, but is faithfully sharing God's love with those in prison as well as outside the prison. He is always smiling. He is one of the richest men I have ever known. I sometimes wonder 'Am I rich in God?'"
I began to wonder how the prophet Isaiah could keep up his enthusiasm.
He prophesied for over 40 years (around 740 BC) during very difficult times for Israel.
These were years leading up to the captivity.
Here are a few Scriptures from Isaiah that helped me and hopefullly will help you also.
1) Isaiah 12:2-3: "God is my salvation, my strength and my song, so I will trust and not be afraid." This is my favorite...
and is the key to his life (and our's).
2) He understood salvation because of the experience of seeing the peoples' sins and then his own experience in Isaiah 6:
a) Contemplation: "He saw the glory of the Lord, high and lifted up". (Vs. 1)
b) Conviction: "He saw himself as a sinner" (Vs. 5)
c) Cleansing: "By God for his sins" (Vs. 6-7)
d) Commitment to God's Will: "Go and tell the people." (Vs. 8-10)
e) Continuance: Isaiah asked how long he was to serve and God said, "Forever".
3) Isaiah's prophesies of the coming of the Messiah:
Isaiah 53...He foretells that the Messiah would be the suffering Shepherd....
and the sacrificial Lamb.
See also: Isa. 61:1-3 and also Luke 4:16-21
4) Isaiah 26:3-4: "The Lord will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are fixed on God. Trust you in the Lord forever, for in the Lord is everlasting strength."
5) Isaiah 40 is a great chapter on 'Behold your God'.
While in Seminary, Carlisle Marney preached at chapel for a week on this chapter...
it is tremendous. Search it out for yourself.
6) Isaiah 45:22: "Look unto me and be ye saved, all ye ends of the earth."
This was the verse used when the great preacher, Charles Spurgeon, was saved.
7) Isaiah 46:4: "God will carry you even in old age".
This reminds me of Deut. 33:25, 27:
"As thy days, so shall your strength be...
for underneath are the everlasting arms of God."
8) Isaiah 54:17-55:13:
These are all precious promises that need to be read...and claimed.
I especially like Isaiah 54:17: "No weapon that is formed against you shall prosper".
Is your enthusiasm contagious?
It will be...
if you are enthusiastic about the things of God and bring His heart to the hearts of people you know....and even to those whom you meet along the way.
This is a humorous story that 'drives the subject home':
An elderly lady stopped overnight at an old fashioned hotel.
She was very fearful of fires, so she went out into the hallway to locate the fire escape in case of an emergency.
By accident, she opened the door of the men's bathroom...
as a man was taking a shower.
"Oh pardon me,' she said, 'I was just looking for the fire escape."
She had just gone a few steps down the hall when that bathroom door flew open.
The man (wet and clutching a towel) ran after her shouting, "Where's the fire??"
So you see, emotions ARE contagious!! (:o)
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Once again Travis, you have filled my heart with delight on reading this article, the thoughts of which will be with me throughout the day. These precious reminders of God's love revitalizes us and renews our faith. Thanks so much for sharing. Love to you and LaMoyne.
Thank you, Bro. Travis, I needed to read this tonight.
Amen Travis, we need to be all fired up for God for He is the best friend that any of us will ever have. He is absolutley the most precious person that I know. Thank you so much for this delightful article. Love and blessings, to both you and Lamoyne!!