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My First E-Book Now Available On Amazon

8 Oct

Book CoverGrief, pain, hardship and tragedy happen to all of us equally. God gives us all the same opportunity to come to Him through Jesus, His Son. There is a misconception that Christians should be free from pain and suffering. They should have it better than everybody else, and that if they are having problems there must be some deep dark sin in their lives.

God is often judged by the circumstances that affect the lives of His followers. If something bad happens to them, it might appear that God failed or that He is punishing them or teaching them a lesson. The misconception is that Christians are loved by God more and therefore He treats them better and gives them more.

God is frequently viewed as a mere option in our world today. Even some Christians view God’s participation in their lives to be necessary only if they are unable to handle something on their own – especially a crisis.

This series of books will visit many of the hard questions asked about God and what it means to be a Christian. Step by Step guidance will help the reader understand how to become a Christian, how to live daily walking and talking with God, and how to understand His will for your life.

Walking with God is a deliberate action taken by those who want to be born again into life everlasting with Him – it requires only believing in Jesus Christ, asking for His forgiveness of our sins, and learning how to live and walk daily with Him in your heart and at your side.

God is very real. He isn’t a figment of our imagination. He isn’t spooky or strange. He is loving and kind. He is good and loves each and every one of us more than we can even understand.

God doesn’t just love Christians. He loves every single person in the world. He doesn’t favor Christians. Christians aren’t better than everyone else. Knowing and following Jesus Christ doesn’t mean a life with no sorrows or pain.
The difference is in our hearts. Walking daily with God and talking to Him at any time you want to is better than having your best earthly friend by your side all the time,and even better than any other person you believe to have everything you want and/or need.

God is the peace you need, and the protection you need, He has the provision you need, and the guidance you need. He can and will direct every step you take, if you let Him. It’s not always easy. That’s where faith and trust come in.

God is the one thing in this life that has never changed and will never change. But, it doesn’t mean He is old fashioned or out of date. There is nothing on this planet that wasn’t already arranged by Him long, long before time, as we know it, began.

The first book in this series is part of my testimony. It starts about the time I graduated from high school. I was raised in a Christian home, went to church because my mother made me, and all I knew of God was that I was supposed to love Him and be good.

As it is said, “Life Happens”. I went to church from the time I was a little girl and accepted Jesus at a Baptist Camp at the age of nine years old, I didn’t really come to know Him until life started invading my space. Those were the times I began to “consider” God – wondering if He was really there and wondering what He wanted from me.

I am now 68 years old. I can tell you it has taken a long life of mistakes, pain, hardship, suffering and grief – just like everyone else I know – Christian or not. The only thing I would change if I had a “do over” would be that I would have worked harder at getting serious about my relationship with God and I would not have worked so hard at doing things my way. I would have spent the necessary time getting to know my maker and letting Him guide me rather than having Him constantly have to bail me out of my troubles and set me back on my feet.That’s life. After this one there’s one in eternity. Where will you spend yours?

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TRANSITION

11 Sep

The DicBlog Pixtionary describes transition as a period of changing from one state to another. Other meanings include:

  • change
  • passage
  • move
  • transformation
  • conversion
  • metamorphosis
  • alteration
  • switch
  • progress
  • development

This was Sunday’s message presented by Pastor Brett Jones,  one of our senior pastors at Grace Church  http://gracechurchlive.com/locations/humble-campus/.  I have been considering some major changes in my life for many months now. Actually, the seed was planted a few years ago, but I had so many doubts and pre-conceived ideas about making any changes. I was fearful that I was too old and just not qualified to do what I dreamed of doing. I lacked the faith to follow through. So, even though I never really gave up on the idea I did do exactly what the following message is going to speak to. God knows just what we need and when we need it!

It’s not always easy to make changes, and some of us don’t like change at all, so we decide to stay right where we are continuing to do just what we do. Pastor Jones referred to a Scripture in Exodus where God’s people were calling out for help – they were suffering – they were being mistreated. God told Moses that He had heard their cries and seen their suffering, and that He had a plan to rescue them. :

  • The people were suffering and cried out to God
  • God heard them and He was concerned for them
  • God had a plan to rescue them
  • God already had an answer waiting, and a place to take them

Pastor Jones explained to us that God had already set the destination – He had already made preparations for them. What had to happen next was that the people had to recognize God was directing them. He sent someone to help them and they struggled with recognizing  the man God sent because he was just an ordinary like you and me. So, they began to question, criticize and complain. (Sound familiar?)

Many times we have mind-sets and pre-conceived ideas about the way our situations should work out. We can get so focused on that one idea that we literally don’t see the forest for the trees. We are unwilling to look at any other options.  So, we prefer to stay in our comfortable little world because at least we are familiar with it, and we let fear convince us that anything different would be too uncomfortable and too much trouble.

The truth is that remaining in the same rut (Charles Stanley calls a rut an open-ended grave), is much harder t10623321_270154349848682_7235250059908727006_ohan stepping out in faith toward what God has already prepared for us. Most of our limitations in life are given to us by us, according to Pastor Jones. We just aren’t willing to adjust our capacity to take a step forward. We focus on our shortcomings, our failures and our limitations instead of what God can do, but God has plans for us that we can’t even imagine!

God doesn’t get in a hurry and we shouldn’t either. I am impatient much of the time, as I imagine many are in today’s world. However; I’ve learned (the hard way) that God doesn’t expect me to be stressed, always hurrying, frustrated because I’m not meeting my own goals, and sometimes just plain weary.

Pastor Jones told us that when God gives us an opportunity He expects us to follow through. God wants us to grow to our maximum capacity, and maximize our opportunities.  One of the most powerful statements he made was that if we don’t have the capacity to do something, we will pull it down to our level.

Pastor Jones explained it this way; he likened it to the Israelites wandering around in the desert for 40 years when they could have made their trip in less than a couple of weeks. Look at what they did:

  • They continually complained about their situation
  • They blamed their leader because he didn’t do more for them
  • They doubted God and Moses and continued to mumble about their situation
  • They saw miracle after miracle but it wasn’t good enough for them, they still doubted God
  • They continually wanted to go back to slavery because it was what they knew
  • They didn’t have the capacity to move forward and enlarge their vision

As a result, all of the Israelites under the age of 20 were not allowed to receive the things God had planned to give them. Even Moses, himself, didn’t get to enter the Promised Land because he became frustrated and angry, and struck a rock demanding water from it instead of waiting on God.

We are all subject to the consequences of disobedience and rebellion. We sometimes believe that the way things are just isn’t  our fault. We limit ourselves so much to our small world that we fail to look up and see that God can, and will, save us if we ask Him and then let Him.

We need to ask God today for help in maximizing every opportunity He gives us, and to help us look beyond our own finite world. (Finite means something has an end or finishing point.) Let’s don’t look around us and determine our lives are dull, stale, a waste – or finished! Let’s look to God, the author and finisher of our faith, and follow as He leads us to our destination – with the full assurance and expectation of achieving all He has for us.

Manifestations of the Holy Spirit

20 Oct

I have been writing about the many gifts God has given us so that we might minister to one another as needed. We are His body and we need one another. God intends for us to live in harmony and to reach out to one another as His disciples. Before I discuss what is sometimes called “the five fold ministry” (Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor and Teacher,  – Ephesians 4:11-13), I believe the next step should be in describing some of the manifestations of the Spirit.

God sometimes gives us a “Word of Knowledge” –

  • Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” I Cor. 2:12-13 KJV

As we seek God in prayer or in searching His Word, or as we pray with others, God’s Holy Spirit sometimes gives us what we call  “A Word of Knowledge”. This simply means that our all-knowing God promised to send His Holy Spirit to be our Helper and our Counselor among other things. As we search for God’s truth and His answers, He will sometimes supernaturally give us knowledge about something that only He knows. He tells us in a way that something inside of us leaps with excitement or joy – sometimes maybe even tears. He knows our inner most being. He knows things about us that we don’t even know about ourselves. Sometimes we can’t even put into words what we may be feeling or struggling with or searching for. God may show us in His Scripture or He may speak to us through another person or in any number of other ways. The point is, when He speaks to us – we know it has to be God speaking because no one else could possibly know.

Many times another person who may be praying for you or just talking with you about a concern will suddenly say something that touches you in a special way. You may even ask them “Have you been talking to someone about this situation?” Or you may be curious about how they knew how to say just what you needed to hear at that moment. Most of the time the person who spoke the “Word of Knowledge” may not even know exactly why they are saying to you what they are saying. This is one way God speaks to you in a personal way, through the Holy Spirit, to touch you deeply about what is on your  heart.

Another of God’s gifts, or manifestations of the Spirit, can (and usually does) work along with the “Word of Knowledge”. It is the “Word of Wisdom”.

  • This wisdom is an explanation of the mystery of God that centers in Jesus Christ – “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of Glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him.” Eph. 1:17
  • This wisdom is the result of revelation from the Holy Spirit – “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit; for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” I Cor. 2:9-10 KJV

As with the “Word of Knowledge”, God’s “Word of Wisdom” is something said or prayed over you that may give you the “wisdom” you need as an answer to the “Word of Knowledge” spoken about your situation.  As an example – A “Word of Knowledge” might be something like “God sees that you are struggling with . . . . and He wants you to know  . . . . ” In other words, the person praying with you may receive the knowledge of what you need to hear and then give you the answer as a “Word of Wisdom”.

This doesn’t mean God tells everybody your business. The person praying over you or speaking with you usually doesn’t even know why they are saying what they are saying. They just “hear” God’s Holy Spirit speak as they pray or as they talk to you and only you and God know what it means.

God is a personal God. It is not His nature to tell  your business to other people or to embarrass you, or to condemn you. His only motive is to love you and help you. Some of us have seen and heard of things that I call “Spooky Spiritual”.  This is when a person doesn’t walk in wisdom as the gifts of the Spirit begin to move in their lives. They try too hard to reach too far into things God doesn’t intend for them to know. Scripture tells us that we “see through a glass darkly”. This means that God doesn’t intend for us to know everything about every situation. As disciples of Christ, we walk by faith, not by sight. He will give us signs along the way and encourage us as we walk. But, He never intended for anyone to be spooky spiritual and tell us things that they have no business telling us.

This is where the two spiritual realms come into play. The spiritual world is real. Those who walk with God and know His Word, know how to hear his voice and can discern what God is saying. Those who are not submissive to the Holy Spirit of God and seek to know more (fortune tellers, psychics, etc.) can reach far  into places that God never intended for us to go. This doesn’t mean the “other side” has the information we need and God doesn’t want us to have it.   It means that the devil is just waiting for you or I to be vulnerable enough to believe his lies. Don’t forget, the devil comes to steal, kill and destroy you and he does not play fair! God has given us the power to be overcomers in this world. In order to do that we must know Him and know what His Word (the Bible) teaches us about Him.

God speaks to all his children. Some who try to talk to us about what God is saying don’t even know how to hear Him for themselves so they certainly can’t hear Him for you! Always be cautious. It is imperative that we know God’s Word so we can know God Himself. Then, the enemy won’t be able to deceive us.

At times, as we pray,

There Are Two Sides of the Spiritual Realm

16 Oct

Paul says in the 12th Chapter of I Cor. That the church, as the body of Christ, are believers, exercising various gifts, even as the human body have different functions and purposes. Paul describes how these members working harmoniously together, become the mystical Body of Christ on earth. Without the Gifts of the Spirit, the Church becomes something quite different from that which God intended. Instead of being a supernatural organism, the Church is then only another human organization.

  • There is no evidence whatever that the Gifts ceased because the Lord withdrew them. (Gordon Lindsay, All About the Gifts of the Spirit)

    A Scripture that has been commonly used by those who hold the position that the Gifts of the Spirit have ceased is I Cor. 13:8-10. Here we are told that prophecies, and tongues, and knowledge shall cease, or pass away. Just one glance at the Scripture shows however, that the period referred to is not this age at all, but the perfect age which is yet to come! (Lindsay)

    • 8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
    • 9  For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
    • 10  But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. (KJV)

    Many hold back in seeking the Gifts or even the knowledge of them. Some have decided (without Scriptural confirmation) that  the manifestations of the Spirit they see couldn’t possibly be “holy”, so they mistakenly decide that it must be from the devil himself.  We all have a little fear of the unknown but without knowing the facts it is like watching a football game without knowing there is a football on the field! We would just see big men, dressed kind of strangely, running around and knocking each other down! We would see part of it but not understand what it was all about because we didn’t know what the object of the “game” was.

  • We actually need the Spiritual Gifts to give us power in the battle – in our spiritual warfare. Scriptures give us means to test the spirits and discern which is not from God. Keep in mind that satan always attempts to counterfeit what God does. There will always be people in the world who prefer to believe in the evil side of the spiritual realm than the godly side. Why is that? If we can believe the things we read in God’s Word it should be evident that God doesn’t do things like man does. There is a touch of the supernatural in so many of the Biblical testimonies. God has not ceased to do His mighty works. The Scripture above does not mean that after Jesus came all the other miracles of God ceased! Just the opposite – Jesus came to fulfill those promises and magnify those gifts. If you read the verses again you will see that “when that which is perfect is come” — that means when Jesus comes to take us all home — He will take the place of everything we have known – He IS love and love (charity) NEVER fails.

  • Regular Bible reading is so vital to our spiritual growth! If we don’t study God’s Word for ourselves we will listen to so many untruths about God and His ways, including the gifts He has so freely given us to live in a world full of hate and evil. It seems obvious that we need His gifts in order to help us overcome our obstacles, as Jesus promised. Jesus also told us (in Scripture) that we would do GREATER things than He did (provided we are born-again believers).  We really need to relax a little about God’s spiritual gifts.

  • I heard a story about a man being given a tour of heaven after having just arrived. During the tour, he was shown many beautiful things. The angel  guiding him passed up one particularly large room with a beautiful door. The new resident of heaven asked why they passed it by without looking in. He was told that if he were to look inside the room he would become very sad. But, the new resident pleaded until he was granted permission. When the door was opened he saw a room full of unopened gifts – all sizes and shapes – beautifully wrapped. He asked the angel what all the gifts were for. He was told by the angel that they were gifts from God, intended for him while we was on earth but that they were never accepted.

  • Wouldn’t you just be heart-broken if you knew you were refusing to accept amazing gifts from your Heavenly Father? He won’t force them on us. He loves us enough that He gave us His only Son. Why in the world would He then offer us something that would hurt us in any way? God loves us so much. Think of how you have felt at a time when you wanted to give something special to someone you love and it was rejected. Remember how it felt. You were probably hurt and/or disappointed. But, you can’t force someone to accept a gift. A gift is just that – a gift. A gift is something given to someone to express love or appreciation.  It is usually something special, out of the ordinary.

  • What better way for God to express His love and appreciation for us and to reveal more of Himself to us than to give us Spiritual Gifts? God IS Spiritual – His gifts should be supernatural. He does give us all kinds of gifts in the natural – some we don’t even realize are gifts. God IS love – He desires to bless us. His spiritual gifts are one of the ways He does that. It is one of the ways He shows His love.

  • This is the season for Halloween – spooky – strange things. It is one of the largest holidays celebrated – bigger than Christmas to some merchants. People are curious about the supernatural – more so the evil side. They aren’t so willing to accept the godly side. Please understand that the spiritual realm is very real – both sides. We know plenty of the world’s carnal side – we need to desire more of God’s supernatural side. Our pride is usually what keeps us from it.

  • Pray about it. Study the Scriptures and ask God to open your heart to His truth. He won’t embarrass you. He won’t force anything on you. He wants you to have everything you need to fight the spiritual battle you face every day of your life. Trust Him.

    In addition to my own material I have included quotes from the following:

    • C. Peter Wagner “Your Spiritural Gifts”
    • Gordon Lindsay “All About the Gifts of the Spirit”
    • Adult Education and Discipleship Ministries – FBC – Garland “Gifts are for Giving”
    • Biblesoft Libraries
    • Sandy Trice
    • David Francis
    • KJV
  • Do You Ask Amiss?

    14 Oct

    It’s time to switch our focus a little to some of the other gifts given by the Holy Spirit. We have been talking about motivational gifts which are given to individuals so they can be used of God to meet the needs of others. I have summarized them below:

    Motivational Gifts found in (Romans 12:6-9)
    • Leadership/Administration – organizes and guides God’s people to attempt great goals –
    • Service/Helps – enables pastors, teachers, evangelists, etc., to have more time to study and leaders and administrators time for giving the church body purpose and direction
    • Prophecy – Proclaimers/God’s Loudspeakers
    • Exhortation – Encouragers – “How to” Persons
    • Teacher/Pastor  – Guardians of the Flock/Explainers
    • Mercy – Reaches out with genuine love which uplifts, soothes and  heals those who are hurting

    Discovering the gifts God has given us is a process. We aren’t mature, spiritually sensitive overnight. God is progressive. He will always be working with us and grooming us. We will be continually running our races until He calls us out of this world. We should be sensitive to the gifts God may have given us,  listen for confirmation from others. We should make the practice of our gift(s) a priority in our lives and be willing to work at the process of understanding ourselves.  We should be content with the person God is shaping us to be and careful not to  compare ourselves to others or covet the gifts and callings God has made evident in their lives. Keep in mind that to desire the gift or calling of another is to keep us from what God has planned for us and would keep them from the call of God upon their lives.

    We should expect a constant discovery of all that God has placed within us. We need to yield to Him as He guides us to the work He is preparing for us and should not isolate ourselves from others. We must be alert, not imitating others or trying to model ourselves after anyone other than our Creator. We have to be honest with ourselves about our likes and dislikes and be willing to face the areas in our lives that God wants to help us change. He doesn’t expect perfection from us. He wants our submission and our willingness to let Him lead us. He wants our friendship and our fellowship. He isn’t in a hurry. After all, we have an eternity with Him!

    We can be  hindered in finding our gifts or what God has for us. James 4:2,3 says, “You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you gt on your pleasure.” Our motives must be to honor God by edifying others, not to build up ourselves.

    Christians and non-Christians alike have been gifted with abilities and talents. Natural gifts usually edify the person and draw attention to them and their particular talent. Gifts from God are not inherited or earned. They are given freely by Him as He chooses and are evidence of the Holy Spirit being present in their lives. They have experienced the gift of salvation and made Jesus their Lord.

    God is the source of all gifts. He weaves them together with our personalities – our temperaments –  as we yield our lives to Him. God can use our natural abilities, and/or talents as a path for a spiritual gift.  He will make it clear as we follow Him.

    There are differing gifts, but one Spirit. Following are the Ministry Gifts found in Ephesians 4:11-13 which will be discussed in  our next series.
    1. –Apostle
    2. –Prophet
    3. –Evangelist
    4. –Pastor
    5. –Teacher

    There are also Manifestations of the Spirit – Operational Gifts as seen in I Corinthians 12:7 (listed below):

    REVELATION GIFTS
    • Word of Wisdom
    • Word of Knowledge
    • Discerning of Spirits
    POWER GIFTS
    • Faith
    • Healing
    • Miracles
    UTTERANCE – INSPIRATIONAL GIFTS
    • Prophecy
    • Tongues
    • Interpretation of Tongues

    In addition to my own material I have included quotes from the following:

    • C. Peter Wagner “Your Spiritural Gifts”
    • Gordon Lindsay “All About the Gifts of the Spirit”
    • Adult Education and Discipleship Ministries – FBC – Garland “Gifts are for Giving”
    • Biblesoft Libraries
    • Sandy Trice
    • David Francis
    • KJV

    Administration – The Visionary

    13 Oct

    SPIRITUAL GIFTS (24)

    Have you ever stood at the foot of a tall skyscraper and marveled about how the architect ever envisioned it? Or pondered how much coordination it took to get it off the ground or keep it from tumbling down?  Somebody “saw” that building a long time before construction ever began. Somebody understood the vision and translated it into plumbing, electricity, concrete, steel, glass,…Somewhere far away from the construction site, someone ordered the materials, filed the forms, made the decisions . . .
    And, of course – the building would have never been completed had it not been for the workers who actually delivered the materials and did the physical labor. To get the job done everybody had to do his or her assigned part. That’s how the church is supposed to work, too. The support gifts help the church get things done! Not everyone who has one gift in this area automatically has any other gift, yet people with gifts of serving, helps or giving are often called to leadership or administrative roles.
    Why? Because when people see their dedication to the task, desire to serve and love, and commitment to their church, servant models are asked to take on leadership or administrator roles. Sometimes they fit – sometimes they don’t.
    A person with the motivational gift of Ruling/Administration has the ability to see the overall picture and clarify long-range goals. This is the final gift mentioned in the series we are studying from Romans 12:4-8
    • 4 Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we who are many form one body , and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. 7 If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8 if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. NIV
    Of the great variety of men’s characters in the Church our method of serving God must depend on our capacities, endowments, position, and opportunities.
    –(from The Biblical Illustrator Copyright © 2002, 2003 Ages Software, Inc. and Biblesoft, Inc.)

    The Administrator:

    • Has the ability to see the overall picture
    • Can clarify long-range goals
    • Can see and understand what needs to be done
    • Knows who can do the job the best
    • Likes to appoint the individuals to do them
    -Administrators are able to visualize the final result of  a major undertaking. – Nehemiah visualized the goal of removing the “great affliction and reproach” of God’s people by rebuilding the walls (Nehemiah 1:2-3; 2:5)
    -They break down major goals into smaller, achievable tasks. – Nehemiah accomplished the huge task of rebuilding the walls by having many groups working on smaller sections. (Nehemiah 3:1-32)
    -They know what resources are available and needed to reach a goal. –  Nehemiah requested from the king resources needed to rebuild the walls: a certain time, letters of introduction, and timber. (Nehemiah 2:6-8)
    -They often remove themselves from distracting details in order to focus on the ultimate goal. – Nehemiah did not get involved in the building itself but removed obstacles which would hinder the workers, such as removing financial pressures (Nehemiah 5:1-13)
    -They are willing to endure reactions from others in order to achieve the ultimate goal. –  Nehemiah had opposition from within and without in his efforts to rebuild the walls. (Nehemiah 4:8-18)
    -They need loyalty and confidence from those who are being directed and served. – Nehemiah brought a great assembly of people against the nobles and rulers who discouraged the people. He required oaths of cooperation from them. (Nehemiah 5:1-13)
    -They inspire and encourage workers by cheerfulness, approval, praise and challenges. – Nehemiah had a cheerful spirit (Nehemiah 2:1). He was skillful in challenging and encouraging his workers. (Nehemiah 4:14).
    -They know what can be and what cannot be delegated to others. –  Nehemiah delegated the work on the walls, but he retained the responsibility of dealing with the enemies guarding the walls. (Nehemiah 4:13)
    -They are fulfilled by seeing the goal accomplished. – Nehemiah expressed his joy in the completed task by appointing singers and uniting the people in a revival and celebration. (Nehemiah 7:1-2; 8:1-18)
    Administration can be used in some of the following ways:
    1. –Records and Statistical Data
    2. –Church Finance
    3. –Financial & Budgeting Resources
    4. –Office Administration
    5. –Insurance Committee
    6. –Priority Planning
    7. –Church Council

    In addition to my own material I have included quotes from the following:

    • C. Peter Wagner “Your Spiritural Gifts”
    • Gordon Lindsay “All About the Gifts of the Spirit”
    • Adult Education and Discipleship Ministries – FBC – Garland “Gifts are for Giving”
    • Biblesoft Libraries
    • Sandy Trice
    • David Francis

    You May Have The Gift of Prophecy If . . .

    12 Oct

    SPIRITUAL GIFTS (23)

    The gifts we are discussing in this series are the Spiritual Gifts from Romans 12:3-8:

    • Rom 12:3-8
    • 4 Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we who are many form one body , and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. 7 If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8 if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. NIV
    • The word “Prophecy” can bring about many different reactions in people. The main reason is because it is misunderstood. Some of the misunderstandings include the belief that prophecy passed away after Jesus came. Others just simply believe that prophecy is not necessary today.
    • The dictionary gives us a couple of different definitions: 1) A statement of something that will happen in the future; 2) The power or ability to know what will happen in the future; 3) An inspired utterance of a prophet; 4) the function of a prophet; specifically: the inspired declaration of divine will and purpose. (Merriam-Webster)
    Inspiration is a technical term for the Holy Spirit’s supernatural guidance of those who received special revelation from God  . . .
    The end result  . . . the truths which God wants His people to know  (from Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary).
    Definition – PROPHECY, PROPHESY, PROPHESYING
    Propheteia ^4394^ signifies “the speaking forth of the mind and counsel of God”
    • • “Though much of OT prophecy was purely predictive, see <Micah 5:2>, prophecy is not necessarily, nor even primarily, fore-telling.
    • •It is the declaration of that which cannot be known by natural means, <Matt. 26:68>
    • •It is the forth-telling of the will of God, whether with reference to the past, the present, or the future, see <Gen. 20:7; Deut. 18:18; Rev. 10:11; 11:3>….
    • •(from Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words)
    • . . . But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.  (2 Pet 2:1) (KJV)
    • •The difference is that, whereas the message of the prophet was a direct revelation of the mind of God for the occasion, the message of the teacher is gathered from the completed revelation contained in the Scriptures.”
    • •(from Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words)

    More characteristics of the Motivational Gift of Prophecy:

    They can sometimes “see” something going on in someone else’s life
    They are  able to discern and foresee the consequences of that decision
    They are interested in correcting the decision – NOT their feelings -NOT their attitude
    They are NOT interested in whether they accept him/her or not. . .Just in getting that thing corrected in your life before you really blow it!
    They are NOT interested in the details – they want to keep you from making a mistake
    According to Strongs and Brown, Driver, Briggs “Discern” means:
    1. To know
    2. To perceive
    3. To perceive and to see
    4. To discriminate, to distinguish
    5. To know by experience
    6. To recognize
    7. To have knowledge, to be wise

    The person with the gift of Prophecy has a very strong sense of discernment. God teaches them how to discern truth. He uses His Word from Scripture to teach this discernment. The better a person knows the Word of God, the sharper their discernment will become.

    They have:

    • The capacity to identify, define and hate evil – Romans 12:9, I Timonty 3:7
    • The willingness to experience brokenness to prompt brokenness.
    • The dependence on Scriptural truth to validate their authority.
    • A desire for outward evidence to demonstrate inward conviction – I Peter 4:11
    • They look at outward expressions or verbal responses. – I Corinthians 14:25
    • They have a directness, frankness and persuasiveness in speaking.
    • They are honest and want others to be honest. (Titus 2:8)
    • They have a concern for the reputation and program of God
    • They have an inward weeping and personal identification with the sins of others.
    • They care for others.
    • They have a real love for the lost.
    • They have an eagerness to have others point out their blind spot(s).
    •(from Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words)

    In addition to my own material I have included quotes from the following:

    • C. Peter Wagner “Your Spiritural Gifts”
    • Gordon Lindsay “All About the Gifts of the Spirit”
    • Adult Education and Discipleship Ministries – FBC – Garland “Gifts are for Giving”
    • Biblesoft Libraries
    • Sandy Trice
    • David Francis

    The Motivational Gift of Prophecy

    5 Oct

    SPIRITUAL GIFTS (22)

    The gifts we are discussing in this series are the Spiritual Gifts from Romans 12:3-8:

      • Rom 12:3-8
      • 4 Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we who are many form one body , and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. 7 If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8 if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. NIV
    • The word “Prophecy” can bring about many different reactions in people. The main reason is because it is misunderstood. Some of the misunderstandings include the belief that prophecy passed away after Jesus came. Others just simply believe that prophecy is not necessary today.
    • The dictionary gives us a couple of different definitions: 1) A statement of something that will happen in the future; 2) The power or ability to know what will happen in the future; 3) An inspired utterance of a prophet; 4) the function of a prophet; specifically: the inspired declaration of divine will and purpose. (Merriam-Webster)
    • I am extremely interested in this particular gift because it is my Motivational Gift. As you might imagine, I don’t like being misunderstood, any more than anyone else. But, since I have lived it, I am hoping that I can enlighten those who many have questions about it.
    • We are not discussing the “Prophet” as in the ministry gift; nor or we discussing the ability of some to “prophesy”, as discussed in I Corinthians, 12:6-8. There are many gifts spoken of in God’s Word. We are discussing the motivational gifts as given to us by God so that we can help others. The gifts are all given by the Holy Spirit. They are given as God determines.
    • To clear this up a little more – a prophet was (and I believe still is, at times) called by God to speak of things to come. In the Old Testament, God used His prophets to speak to His people. The Priests were delegated the task of speaking to God for the people – and the prophet to the people from God. Today, as Christians, we can talk directly to God and His Word tells us He speaks to us. ( . . . my sheep hear my voice).  There are some gifted with the ability to prophesy (rhymes with amplify). This means that they are given a divine utterance by God to His people, usually in an unknown language (called “tongues”). If God calls on someone to prophesy, there should be someone to give an interpretation. The interpretation can come from the same person who gives the prophecy, or by another.
    • Our subject is somewhat different. We are talking about a different kind of gift when we talk about the motivational gift of prophecy. So, for now, that will be our focus. I will write more on the other gifts after we complete this series.
    • Now, for the Gift of Prophecy – it is one of the speaking gifts.  Today, it is associated more with powerful preaching and teaching. This doesn’t mean that every teacher or preacher has the gift of prophecy, nor does it mean that every person with the gift of prophecy is a preacher or a teacher.
    • The person with this particular gift goes “out of their way” to exercise one or more of these basic points:
      • An analysis of the current situation from God’s perspective
      • The consequences of continuing in that path
      • The need for change/repentance
      • The promise of God’s grace and restoration if the change in direction is made
    • A person with this gift, if they are dedicated to obedience to God, will do everything in their own power to walk in obedience to God. They will hunger for God’s Word and they will want to make sure that whomever they are listening to (spiritually) is staying in line with God’s Word. They will spend much time in God’s Word and it will become their standard for everything. (This obviously won’t happen over night!) Along with this gift is usually a strong gift of discernment – the ability to determine truth.
    • It is important to say that many of us have seen and/or heard of some things that are just not proper when it comes to things we see or hear in church. I believe that is why many are fearful when the word “gifts” or “prophecy”, etc. are used. In other words, we are all human. We are not supernatural – it is GOD who is supernatural. But, we are His body on this earth. We yield ourselves to Him and we walk with Him and learn of His ways. We are not just “all of a sudden” zapped with the ability to operate in God’s gifts. We also need to know that we cannot use these gifts from God just anyway we want to. There are definite characteristics of using God’s gifts in the Spirit or in our own flesh. If your Spirit is in tune with God’s Spirit, then He will help you and guide you. Your inner spirit will be taught of the Lord, by the Holy Spirit and through His Word. Also, the things you do will be in line with God’s Scriptures. If they are not – you are definitely not following the Spirit of God.That being said, let’s move forward.
      1. Prophecy does not usually involve foretelling – predicting the future – as much as it does forthtelling – forcefully speaking the truth.
      2. The word “proclaim” is perhaps a better word than preach to describe what a person with the gift of prophecy does.
      The person with the Gift of Prophecy will show obvious signs in the following ways:
      • Typically their ministry is a public one (Again, not every public ministry has the gift of prophecy).
      • They are not as comfortable in smaller groups as others
      • They prefer speaking to larger groups than ministering one on one as do those with other gifts
      •  They are tuned in to how God views situations, especially if evil or hypocrisy is present
      •  Issues-oriented; usually have an opinion about everything! Not fearful to tackle tough issues.
      •  Proclaim God’s truth with a passion, even if they must do so alone.
      • Their message is one of urgency; tend to expect an immediate decision or response (Repent NOW!)
      • Deeply concerned about the reputation of the church
      •  Quick to give advice; sometimes impatient with people and their problems
      •  Speak with authority, especially about the Bible
      • Sometimes viewed as negative; have to work to be positive
      • They edify (build up), encourage (exhort), and console (comfort)
      • Their message is incomplete if it stops short of these goals
      • This gift is intended primarily for believers, though an unbeliever who hears their message may come under conviction
      • Often accused of talking too much, but just can’t seem to help it!

      In addition to my own material I have included quotes from the following:

      • C. Peter Wagner “Your Spiritural Gifts”
      • Gordon Lindsay “All About the Gifts of the Spirit”
      • Adult Education and Discipleship Ministries – FBC – Garland “Gifts are for Giving”
      • Biblesoft Libraries
      • Sandy Trice
      • David Francis

    You May Be A Motivator If . . .

    27 Sep

    SPIRITUAL GIFTS (21)

    The gifts we are discussing in this series are the Spiritual Gifts from Romans 12:3-8:

    • Rom 12:3-8
    • 4 Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we who are many form one body , and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. 7 If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8 if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. NIV
    There are four speaking gifts
    • •Prophecy – Proclaimers/God’s Loudspeakers
    • •Teaching – Explainers/Guardians of Truth
    • •Exhortation – Encouragers/”How to” Persons/Concerned with the way we act
    • •Pastor/Shepherd/Teacher – Guardians of the Flock

    Now we are  looking into  the characteristics of the  Encourager – the gift of EXHORTATION.

    • They motivate people to attain their full spiritual maturity in Christ.  Paul’s goal was to “present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.” (Colossians 1:28-29)
    • They discern where a person is in their spiritual growth and are able to communicate on that level.   Paul saw the Corinthians as spiritual infants: “And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.” (I Corinthians 3:1)
    • They have the ability to see your potential and desires to motivate you to reach that potential. They give precise steps of action in urging people toward spiritual maturity.  Paul’s writings are filled with practical counsel and precise steps of action on how to grow spiritually.
    • They have a drive to explain truth with logical reasoning in order to make it accepted.  Paul’s writings on the resurrection in I Corinthians 15 are classic in logical thinking. Reasoning was his basic method when dealing with the Jews, the Greeks, King Agrippa and others (Acts 18:4, 26:28)
    • They are able to visualize spiritual goals for people and use this to motivate them to action. Paul was a master in picturing spiritual goals for his workers and his church. He reinforced goals by the example of his own life. (Philippians 3:17)
    • They desire a face-to-face discussion in order to insure a positive response. Paul’s longing to see his fellow believers was constantly reaffirmed. (I Thessalonians 2:17, 3:10; II Timothy 1:4)  He used personal conferences extensively (I Thes. 2:11-12)
    • They identify with people of different types and backgrounds in order to gain a wider hearing.  Paul explained, “. . .I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” (I Cor. 9:19-12)
    • They desire to bring harmony between diverse groups of Christians, and have an awareness that harmony is basic to spiritual maturity.  Paul worked constantly to resolve conflicts and divisions between individuals, churches, and groups. (I Corinthians 3:3,4; Philippians 2:2) The money raised united Jew and the Gentiles (II Corinthians 9:12-14)
    • They see how tribulation can produce spiritual growth.  Paul glorified in his infirmities, because he saw they they brought Christ’s power and a far greater weight of glory. (II Corinthians 1:5, 4:17, 12:9)

    More Characteristics recognized in the person with the gift of  Exhortation:

    • They have a desire to visualize achievements and prescribe steps of action.  (What are you doing to grow. . . Visualize the entire picture of what you are able to become)
    • They have a tendency to avoid systems of information which lack practical application. (What is the use of telling us how we missed it if we aren’t given steps of action about how to correct the situation) {Similar to Word of Knowledge and Word of Wisdom in action}
    • They have a dependence on visible acceptance when speaking to groups or individuals. (Check for visible response . . . Watching your reactions, reading your responses)
    • They use the discovery of insights from human experience which can be validated and amplified in Scripture.
    • They have an enjoyment of those eager to follow steps of action.
    • They are grieved when teaching is not accompanied by practical steps of action.
    • They have a delight in personal conferences that result in new insights.

    In addition to my own material I have included quotes from the following:

    • C. Peter Wagner “Your Spiritural Gifts”
    • Gordon Lindsay “All About the Gifts of the Spirit”
    • Adult Education and Discipleship Ministries – FBC – Garland “Gifts are for Giving”
    • Biblesoft Libraries
    • Sandy Trice
    • David Francis

    The Encouragers – “How To” People

    26 Sep

    SPIRITUAL GIFTS (20)

    The gifts we are discussing in this series are the Spiritual Gifts from Romans 12:3-8:

    • Rom 12:3-8
    • 4 Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we who are many form one body , and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. 7 If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8 if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. NIV
    There are four speaking gifts
    • •Prophecy – Proclaimers/God’s Loudspeakers
    • •Teaching – Explainers/Guardians of Truth
    • •Exhortation – Encouragers/”How to” Persons/Concerned with the way we act
    • •Pastor/Shepherd/Teacher – Guardians of the Flock

    Now we are going to look at the Encourager – the gift of EXHORTATION.

    Encourager – is another name for the exhorter. Encouragement to him/her  is more than “cheering you up” or assuring you everything will be “OK”, they will stand beside you and walk with you through very difficult circumstances.
    All Christians should seek to be encouragers. However, there are some who are especially equipped by God with the gift of exhortation. They usually make good counselors.
    Additional Traits of the motivational gift of EXHORTATION:
    • The word translated “exhortation” is a form of the word paraclete. The word literally means “one who is called alongside to help”. The exhorter has a dual role – One is the comforting role. The other is the counseling role.
    • They are good listeners
    • They show empathy and understanding
    • They never stop with “It’s OK. You’re OK”
    • They almost always encourage with a plan of action for moving forward to greater emotional and spiritual health
    • The gift exhorter knows when we need to be admonished or challenged
    • “Coach” would be a good modern word to describe the gifted exhorter
    • Good coaches have an uncanny ability to know when to get in a player’s face, when to give an understanding pat on the back when a player has messed up, when to show a player a better way to execute the plays, and when to help players develop the skills of their position
    • They often express their gift in writing as well as speaking – they may write terrific notes of letters and encouragement
    • They are big on application – they believe that Bible truth works in the lives of believers
    • They delight in showing individuals how to change, whereas the person with the gift of prophecy wants them to decide to change
    • They feel comfortable in small groups or one on one
    • They prefer dialog and discussion rather than lecturing
    • They prefer to help you “work it out for yourself” than just to tell you what to do or believe
    • They are spiritual “cheerleaders”
    • They desire to cheer on believers to walk in faith, whatever circumstances they face
    • They won’t just tell you everything is going to be OK. They will stay with you to work out a plan of action
    • They will stick with you during difficult circumstances to help you be strong and remain faithful to the Lord
    • Potential is a key word for the exhorter
      •They perceive potential in people who want to grow spiritually
      •They see potential for growth even in times of testing
      •They are more person centered than the teacher
      •They are more patient than the one with the gift of prophecy
    • They are likely to challenge persons to either get with the program or make room for somebody else!

    In addition to my own material I have included quotes from the following:

    • C. Peter Wagner “Your Spiritural Gifts”
    • Gordon Lindsay “All About the Gifts of the Spirit”
    • Adult Education and Discipleship Ministries – FBC – Garland “Gifts are for Giving”
    • Biblesoft Libraries
    • Sandy Trice
    • David Francis
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