I have to confess to doing some smoking in my lifetime. I am grateful that I have not suffered any negative health consequences, in spite of my inability to quit. I have tried to cut back, but it is very difficult to do when my friends, and even my family, encourage me to continue, and even increase my smoking activities. I now expect I will continue to smoke for years to come. It seems impossible to stop.
If the previous paragraph has left you uncomfortable, confused, or concerned, let me set your mind at ease. I’m not speaking of consuming and inhaling cigarette, cigar, or pipe smoke: I am referring to smoking meat, fish, and poultry. While writing this, I am engaged in smoking two turkeys for our family Thanksgiving Celebration. I have been smoking away for several hours, and there are several more left to go.
THE CHIPS ARE DOWN
I have used several different types of smokers in my career. Four years ago, my family gave me an electric cabinet smoker which can be controlled by Bluetooth. I named it the “Glory Cloud”. I have the smoker app on my iPhone, and it allows me to remotely manage the progress of whatever eagerly anticipated items I am preparing. I can see the smoker temperature, the time remaining, and the internal temperature of whatever I am cooking. It is the most convenient and easy to use cooking equipment I have ever used, with one notable exception.
In order to produce smoke that will flavor the food, I must insert wood chips into a hopper. As the chips are converted into smoke by the electric element, gravity is supposed to draw additional chips down the hopper to contact the element. This arrangement is supposed to guarantee a hassle–free smoking experience, with no need to add chips for many hours. It is a truly wonderful idea, but does not function well in practice. As the chips are heated, they tend to swell and stick in the hopper, impeding their flow to the heating element. After an hour or so, the smoke stops, and I am forced to open the hopper and manually stir the chips so they will once again fall toward the source of heat. Once I stir them up, prodigious amounts of smoke are once again produced, reestablishing the proper cooking environment inside the cabinet. If I do not take the time to stir the chips up, no smoke will be produced, and the food will be adversely affected.
TAKE HOLD OF GOD
I have discovered that what I must do in order to keep the smoke flowing is also necessary to break through the resistance of satan in my life. He is always trying to stop the gift of God and His power in every one of us. Demonic interference attempts to hold up and block the progress of salvation, healing, deliverance, and prosperity in our lives. Just like the chips in the smoker hopper, we may feel “stuck”, and disconnected from the source of the fire. We know that Jesus lives in us, that He has defeated Satan, and that He empowers us to do the same. He said “I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.” (Luke 10:19) Even though we know and accept this as true, it may seem that we are “stuck” in our situation. When we find ourselves experiencing these feelings, it’s time to”stir it up”!
Paul wrote to Timothy: “Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you…” (2 Timothy 1:6j When David was experiencing times of loneliness and feeling down, he took action. “And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God”. (1 Samuel 30:6) The Hebrew word translated “encouraged” means to seize. David stirred himself up to take hold of God. When he did, God delivered his enemies into his hand, and he took back everything they had stolen.
DRAW CLOSE TO THE FIRE
Like the chips in my smoker, when we “stir it up” we move closer to the fire. Hebrews 12:29 tells us “…our God is a consuming fire”. As we stir ourselves up in God, we begin to burn with His fire, consuming every resistance, for ” Fire goes before him and consumes his foes on every side. (Psalm 97:3) That never works out well for Satan and his cohorts!
When we feel “stuck” in life and do not seem to be progressing, it’s time to “stir it up”. Let’s encourage ourselves in our God and draw close to the fire of His Word. When we do so, every resistance will be consumed, and we will move forward with confidence and holy expectation. I’ve been smoking a lot recently, and not just with my smoker. I am stirring myself up in God and burning with holy fire! Won’t you join me?