Stir It Up and Shake It Off
Junior Level

This week’s lesson is focused on what we must do in the midst of life’s trials and tribulations.  We cannot choose our circumstances sometimes, but by the grace of God we can choose how we react to them.  We can choose our attitude and we can choose to fight or give up.  By the help of the Holy Spirit inside us, we have all we need to fight the good fight.  All we must do is Stir it up!

Handout:  Stir It Up and Shake It Off

We will be taking our text today from 2 Timothy.  Please turn with me if you will to chapter 1 beginning with verse 5.

2 Timothy 1:5 “When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and they mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.  6. Wherefore I put thee in rememberance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.”
We know that 1 and 2 Timothy were both written by the Apostle Paul to his protégé Timothy.  Timothy became Paul’s protégé and pastor of the church at Ephesus.  As a young minister, Timothy faced all sorts of pressures, conflicts, and challenges from the church and his surrounding culture.  To counsel and encourage Timothy, Paul sent this very personal letter to him. 
Paul was facing death.  He sat in a cold Roman prison, because he was a follower of Christ and a preacher of the gospel.  Paul knew that he would soon be executed.  And so he wrote his final thoughts to Timothy, who he loved as a son.  Paul was passing the torch of leadership to Timothy.  In these letters Paul reminds him of what was truly important.  He encouraged Timothy in the faith, because he knew what he was facing.  Some of you reading today are facing great difficulty as you go forward to do the work that Christ has called you to do.  I pray that you are encouraged today to move ahead and step up higher just as Paul did in his difficulty and just as he instructs Timothy to do. 
This was the last message that Timothy would get from Paul.  Can you imagine how he must have hung on to every word written by his beloved mentor?  Paul begins the second letter to Timothy showing much affection. 
2 Timothy 1:2 “To Timothy, my dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.  3.  I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day.  4.  Greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy.”
We read in Chapter 3 of 2 Timothy, as Paul warns Timothy of the battle he would face from people who would use the church for their own personal gain and from those that would teach false doctrine.  He tries to prepare him for the opposition that he would face as he did the work Christ called him to do. 
Then Paul charges Timothy in all this to preach the Word.  He reminds him that is his purpose and the most important work. 
2 Timothy 4:1 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom.  2.  Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” 
He is reminding him to just shake off all these things that would come against him, and to let the Holy Spirit stir up what was already inside Him and just preach the word of God. 
This takes us back to the first chapter of 2 Timothy.  Let’s read it again shall we?
2 Timothy 1:5 “When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and they mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.  6. Wherefore I put thee in rememberance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.”
Paul is telling Timothy, look, I knew your grandmother and your mother.  They had this genuine faith, which they had instilled in Timothy as well.  Paul is reminding Timothy that everything he needed to fight the good fight of faith was already on the inside of him.  He was reminding Timothy that he was empowered by the Holy Spirit to do all things that he needed to do to complete the work that God had called him to do, and beloved so do we!
These letters were directed to Timothy, but God had an even greater purpose for the writings of Paul.  It makes me want to jump up and down in praise for the Father!  Oh He always has a plan; He is up to something great!  These letters were for you and me as well.   Our Father knew that we would face opposition from the enemy as well.  He knew that Satan would come against us and try to hinder the gospel of Christ from going unto all the world, so He placed these words in Paul to pen down.  I’m sure Paul had no idea how these letters would be used for generations to come!  Just as God had a plan for Paul, He also has a plan for you and me.  We never know how He will take our efforts and use them in ways we never even could imagine.  That is why we face such difficulty.  But today let me encourage you just as Paul encouraged Timothy.  Stir up the gift of God that is in you and step up higher.  Shake off the garbage the enemy throws at you, and move up higher!  Yes dear one, shake it off and stir up that which is in you by the Holy Spirit of Almighty God. 
Times get hard, but we can choose to trust God and let Him do that work through us that He has called us to do for His glory.  When you’re tired, when you’re weak, when you’re hurt, when you feel like you can’t go on, Stir it up!  Yes Dear one, You can make it by the help and mercy of God, Stir up that passion that is already in you, and move up higher. 
I read a story that I would like to share with you.  It has a very good meaning.  One day a farmer’s donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally he decided the animal was old and the well needed to be covered up anyway; it just wasn’t worth it to retrieve the donkey.
He invited all his neighbors to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone’s amazement, he quieted down.
A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well and was astonished at what he saw. With every shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up. As the farmer’s neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up.
Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and trotted off.
Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles is a stepping stone. We can get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping, never giving up! Shake it off and take a step upward!
You can choose to let the things of this world bury you, or you can choose to see hard times as being planted.  When a tiny seed is placed into the ground, the dirt that covers it weighs much more, but over time it begins to sprout and fight its way up and eventually it will spring to life through all that dirt.  It was not buried it was planted! 
We can refuse to be buried; we can stir it up and shake it off!
Matthew 10:14 “And whosoever shall not receive you, nor heart your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.”
There will always be people who will not hear you, who will try their best to hinder you.  Satan has people doing his work as well.  We must let Christ Stir up that passion inside us so that we can shake it off and move ahead toward our goal.  Know today believer, that you can make it.  By the help and grace of God you are more than a conqueror through Christ.  Whatever you may be going through today, know that the power inside you is always greater than any task in front of you; it is more powerful than any obstacle the enemy may place in front of you! 
Philippians 3:14 “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
It is my prayer today that this word gets on the inside of you and that when you feel as if you can’t go on you will be encouraged as you remember to Stir It Up and Shake it Off!  God Bless You all.  You are in my heart and in my prayers.
Dear Righteous, Heavenly Father,
Thank You for who You are and for the gifts that You have given us.  Thank You for placing Your Holy Spirit inside us the moment we believe and accept Your Son Jesus as our own personal Savior.  Father we thank You for empowering us to do the work that You have called us to do.  Father we ask today that You keep Your passion and the Fire of Your Holy Spirit burning inside our hearts and that You Stir It Up Daily inside us that we can press on and bear much fruit for Your glory and to further Your Kingdom.  When thank You that we can choose how we react to the troubles and trials that come in this life and that You comfort us.  Father please help us to shake off the dirt and the things that the enemy tosses upon us in hopes of weighing us down.  We ask for strength and courage that only comes from You.  Father we long to please You and to make You happy.  Help us to move forward, never stopping, never giving up for the Honor of Christ Jesus.  Thank You for Your Love, Mercy, and Grace.  Please watch over us yet another week and help us to serve You and others in the name of Your precious, and lovely Son.  In Jesus name we ask and pray, Amen.

June 7, 2009