Shaken But Not Stirred
by Nancy Smith

Most of our baby boomer generation would recognize this phrase as James Bond's preferred method of martini preparation. However, during prayer the thought came to me that this can also describe the state of mind of most people today, even God's people. Those who are without God have good reason to be shaken - look at the numerous natural disasters that have befallen many nations: massive earthquakes, tsunamis, typhoons, hurricanes, volcanic eruption, severe drought, overabundant water causing great damage. Consider the economic wreckage of our global economy causing the stock markets to veer as wildly as a driver asleep at the wheel. There is no hope that man has a solution to all these ills.

Sadly, people by the billions are shaken, fearful, frustrated and trying to cope, rather than resting in hope. We are caught up in the business of just feeding our existence. How can I pay for my child's college? Can I make next month's rent and buy enough food for my family? Thoreau said "most men live lives of quiet desperation." If that describes your life, then it's time to do a new thing - get stirred up. 2nd Timothy 1:6 tells us (NKJV) "I remind you `Stir up the gift of God' which is in you by the laying on of my hands."

God gives us many gifts, all of them good gifts. One of His greatest gifts is the presence of His Holy Spirit within us. Father, Son and Spirit live with us, but the Holy Spirit is special in that He is our Comforter and Guide - the One who shall teach us all things, and brings all things to our remembrance. He works with the spirit of man (the candle of the Lord) and gives us wisdom and insight beyond our own maturity and experience. But just as we must feed a fire to keep it burning, and feed it well (and continuously) to make it burn bright, we must feed our spirits and "stir them up" to allow the Holy Spirit to bring the light of Jesus into our world, and light up the darkness around us.

So how do we get stirred up? First, realize God said "YOU stir up the gift of God." He's already done all that He needs to do. Now it's our turn. Stir it up by spending quality time in Bible study. Stir it up by spending time in your prayer closet. Stir it up by spending time with people who belong to God and they are happy to talk about it, both in and outside church. Stir it up by sharing your faith with those who are in need and searching for answers. (You'll help stir them also). Start your day thinking about "who can I bless today, Lord"? Practice mercy and grace toward your family, your colleagues, your friends and perfect (or imperfect) strangers, like the fellow who cut you off on the highway. Under your own power it isn't easy. But the gift of God that you are stirring up will teach you, guide you and show you all things. You and I are vessels who can do all things through God, to whom is all glory and praise.

So if you're seeing no way out, look toward God with a stirred-up heart - Isa. 43:19 promises "I will do a new thing. I will make a road in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert." He can make a way for you, for me, for anyone who comes to Him in repentance and obedience, and none of us who trust in Him need ever be shaken again.