Tag Archives: Holy Spirit

The Rewards of Obedience vs. The Cost of Disobedience

18 May

Obedience Or Rebellion?

1 Sam 15:22-23   22 But Samuel replied, “What is more pleasing to the LORD: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Obedience is far better than sacrifice. Listening to him is much better than offering the fat of rams. 23 Rebellion is as bad as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as bad as worshiping idols. So because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has rejected you from being king.” NLT

As God’s children we want to please Him. Our inner struggle is constant though it might not be prominent. There is a undurcurrent within us that we have become accustomed to. I don’t believe it is because we are bad or purposely rebellious. With me it’s more about sometimes not knowing for sure what the right thing is. Of course, many times it is very obvious what is right and what is wrong, but I want to speak to what is buried deep within our hearts at the root of our reasoning.

I have always been a confident person in most areas of my life. Even as a child I was compliant – always wanting to do the right things. To rebel was not in my nature, at least not to the point of being defiant. When I faced decisions that I believed were wrong, I somehow just couldn’t force myself to comply. In the few times I did, I was in constant turmoil until the situation was terminated.

As I am reaching the winter of my life I can see that even though I was unaware of it, God had a plan for me. (He also has one for you!) Here is proof in a few of my favorite Scriptures from Psalms 139, written by King David:

O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. 2 You know when I sit and when I rise;you perceive my thoughts from afar. 3 You discern my going out and my lying down;you are familiar with all my ways. 4 Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD. . .

13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;your works are wonderful,I know that full well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, 16 your eyes saw my unformed body.All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me,and lead me in the way everlasting.  NIV

Notice starting with verse 13 that God created our inmost being – His eyes saw our unformed body and all our days were ordained for us before one of them came to be! Selah – Pause and calmly think of that.

None of us are here by accident. God made us – He created us with a purpose and He knew today, right now, what you and I would be doing at this very moment. – No words can express the emotion for knowing that.

The Rewards of Obedience

It takes us a while to realize there is more to life that “me.” Seriously? It is human nature from the moment we are born into this world. We spend a lifetime struggling with ourselves vs. the good and the bad.

Recently I had an assignment from God. You might ask “How can you be sure it was from God?” I know because He instructed me clearly to do something I have said at least a million times that I would not do! The interesting thing is that He won’t force me to do it. It won’t even hurt me NOT to do it. In fact, it would be easier for me NOT to do it. After all, I could just chalk it up to “not being sure it was God.” Or, I could just stop thinking about it and move on.

Well, I don’t know about you, but God won’t allow me to do that. It’s that deep, small voice that continually woos me. I can make it go away – at least for a little while. Then, I sense it wooing me again. I then begin to get deliberate in praying about it to make sure I haven’t imagined the entire thing.

God is so good about giving us little sign posts along our journey. If we aren’t sensitive to the Spirit we might not recognize them. We might think “It’s only a coincidence.” God gave us the Holy Spirit to teach us and to counsel us and to lead us into truth. We have the choice as to whether we listen and follow His instruction or to just ignore it until it goes away.

God’s Instruction to Me

That brings me to my main point – My obedience to that still, small voice could be a life changing event for a child of God who is seeking desperately to find a solution to a great problem. My attitude, though I didn’t realize it was wrong, kept me from even considering offering my help. The reason? – I didn’t want to get involved. It was all about me and the price I wasn’t willing to pay to obey God. It wouldn’t really have hurt me, except that I would disappoint God by my disobedience.

No, that’s really not all my disobedience would do. God made it clear to me that to be disobedient could rob someone of a complete change in their life – a life free from hell on earth. I know it sounds drastic. In fact, it is.

Could someone else do it? I don’t know. That’s not the issue. The issue is will I choose to obey or not? Maybe I am the only person that could help. The consequences of my disobedience could be amazingly wonderful or disastrously terrible.

Think about that for a moment. I did. It kept me awake all night asking God if He was really asking me to do something I was adamantly opposed to doing. I’ve missed God before. Not always on purpose but because I am always still evolving (really). I’ve also missed Him out of ignorance of the Scripture or misunderstanding. Sometimes I’m just rebellious. Ugh! It’s hard to even say.

I learned from Charles Stanley that when God is speaking to you and you are struggling with what you think He is saying to you that peace will eventually develop and you will know God is leading you. If that peace does not develop, I call that a “red flag.” There isn’t a deadline that God can’t push back or overcome. Don’t look at the deadlines – look to the God who created you and made you for this day.

Send Me – Yes, No or Maybe?

God was searching for someone to send to His people and Isaiah said:

Isa 6:8  8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me !”
NIV

Have you ever said that? I have, however: I recently discovered that many times my “send me” reply is conditional on  my terms. Goodness! God really has a way to slap us on the wrist, doesn’t He?

I’m hoping you can see that our minds and hearts are so full of the busyness of the world that God’s voice doesn’t always make through to our hearts. It isn’t His fault. It has to do with the condition of our hearts and our natural instinct to rebel. Sorry to have to say it.

The Final Outcome

After struggling with myself and trying to determine whether I had simply lost my resolve or if God was actually trying to get through to me, peace began to develop. Let me add, the peace was in my spirit, not in my head. My mind was spinning with many doubts and questions and concerns about something I had been claiming as impossible for me to do for many years.

But, when I opened my heart and let God – He began to use His sweet Holy Spirit to speak to me in His ways by speaking to me of How Jesus would handle the situation and my purpose for being one of His disciples.

The Future? – What does it hold for this situation? – I don’t know. It’s a little scary. But I know the Creator of the Universe. He made me – formed me from a tiny seed planted within my Mother. He had a plan 69 years ago for what I would do this very day. He’s the One I look to, not the situation I dread. Do I have a plan? No. Do I know what the outcome will be or what will happen along the way? No. Am I nuts? – I’m not sure, but I don’t think so.

God has proved Himself to me over and over and over. As I heard from Sunday’s message by Pastor Scott Jones at Grace Church, not all of the amazing miracles and things Jesus did while He was on earth were recorded. I can identify with that because my Father God – My Friend, Jesus – and the Sweet Holy Spirit – are constantly present in my life doing things for me that are too many to count.

He is trustworthy – are you?

 

 

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God Speaks (Part 1)

9 Nov

D0Ib5j36RymFSNPX5X1m_darkoceanGod Speaks

One critical point to understanding and experiencing God is knowing clearly when God is speaking. If a Christian does not know when God is speaking, he is in trouble at the heart of his Christian life!

God speaks through the Holy Spirit to reveal Himself, His purposes, and His ways. He also speaks through the Bible, prayer, circumstances, and the church or other believers.

Many Different Ways

In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets and in other various ways (Heb. 1:1)

One truth that is evident throughout the Bible is that God speaks to His people. In the Old Testament, God spoke through:

Angels
Visions
Dreams
The use of the Urim and Thummin
Symbolic Actions
A Gentle Whisper
Miraculous Signs
And Others

How God spoke in the Old Testament is not the most important factor. The fact THAT He spoke is the crucial point. Those He spoke to KNEW it was God, and they KNEW what He was saying.

2 Tim 3:16-17  All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.  NKJV

The pattern in Scripture is that God may not tell you all you need to know in the beginning but He will tell you what you need to know to make necessary adjustments and to take the first step of obedience. What is your part?  – To Wait until the Master gives you instructions. That can be really hard because we want to make things  happen.

If you start DOING before you have direction from God, more than likely you will be wrong.  Bible examples: Noah knew the size, type of materials, and how to put the ark together.  When God told Moses about building the tabernacle, He was very specific about the details. When God called Abraham and said, “Go to the land I will show you” – that was not very specific. That required faith. But God said, “I will show you”. God always gives you enough specific instructions to do NOW what He wants you to do.

When you need more directions, He gives you more in His timing. If you do not have specific instructions from God in a matter, pray and wait.  Learn patience. Depend on God’s timing. His timing is always right and best. Don’t get in a hurry. Don’t skip over the relationship to get on with the doing. When we understand spiritual truth, it is because the Holy Spirit is working in our lives..

When we move from the Gospels to Acts and to the present, we quite often change our whole mind-set. We live as if God quit speaking personally to His people. We fail to realize that an encounter with the Holy Spirit is an encounter with God. God clearly spoke to His people in Acts. He clearly speaks to His people today. From Acts to the present, God has been speaking to His people by the Holy Spirit.

Spiritual truths can only be revealed by God. “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him’ – but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God . . . No one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.” I Cor. 2:9-12

Jesus said the Holy Spirit  “Will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” John 14:26

You never discover truth – truth is revealed.  The Holy Spirit reveals truth to you, He knows you personally and He knows how to speak to you so that you understand.

Mos of this was an excerpt from Henry Blackaby’s book “Experiencing God.” I highly recommend it.

“Thank You” Doesn’t Seem Sufficient

11 Nov

I’m not in a habit of posting my personal prayers here, but this morning my time spent with my Heavenly Father was an expression of love that I want all the world to experience. I pray that as you read this you will open your hearts to a real, approachable God who loves you and wants your love in return.

My Father – my Lord – my King, and my Friend; my Counselor – my provider – You are so good, and so kind. You are beyond earthly words. My heart overflows with love for You. You are so immersed in everything around me. I see You in all things. You are my anchor. I am tethered to You and that brings security to my heart and soul. I search for words to express my love and adoration, but I cannot find them. My  heart is filled with gratitude for the peace and joy You bring to my heart.

Thank You doesn’t seem sufficient. I am grateful that You can see my heart, and know my every thought. All I have, and all I am are because of You. I could do nothing on my own. You open my eyes to many new things – things I would not know – they are beyond my capacity and my abilities. You create in me new things each day. I want the world to know You. I want them to know You are a real, and personal God available on a level that no one else is. You give me a love the world cannot possibly give because it is beyond their ability.

Even through all my hurt and pain – my weaknesses – my faults – my mistakes – my habits – You still love me with a love I can’t understand or explain. You satisfy my every longing. My every fear melts away because I know You are there shielding me. Nothing can breach the barricade you have place around me.

In every sorrow I have experienced – in every loss – in every trial and tribulation – You rise above them. Your presence and Your Spirit engulf me. You put all the pieces of my broken heart back together. You replace all doubt and fear with faith and hope in the future.

No matter how weak and frail my mind and body might become, You hold me in the palm of your hand as I look to You, knowing You are not going to let anything touch me that will destroy my spirit. I will be with You forever, and forever – no matter the state of my body or my mind or my emotions. My Spirit is one with Yours, and nothing by any means can hurt me.

Thank You, My Father, for a love the world cannot give – for Your peace that far exceeds my understanding – for the assurance that I will spend eternity with You and all those who have gone before me, and who will come after me.

In the mighty, precious blood and name of Jesus, Your Son, I pray. Amen

NOTE: – I shared this prayer with you because I want you to know Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour and the Holy Spirit. There is no other love or thing in this world that can fill any void in your life except for Him. There is no other God – no pill – no drink – no sex – no material thing – no experience that will ever satisfy you like the love, joy and forgiveness given to you by God. All you have to do is ask Him. Ask Him to forgive you of your sins, your mistakes and anything that concerns you. It’s not difficult – He will meet you right where you are – just as you are. He will give you what nothing else in this world can give you – the love and acceptance you long for.

I pray for every soul that reads this prayer. I pray that through it you will gain a sense of God’s outrageous love for you – so much so that He really did sacrifice His one and only Son, Jesus, so that you and everyone in the world as the choice of everlasting life in heaven with Him over hell and damnation. He loves you so much that He wants you to love Him because you want to, not because He can make you do it.

This will be the most important decision you ever make. Your future depends on it.

May the peace of God that passes all understanding be with you.

A Done Deal

24 Jan

Following is my latest entry to a weekly writing challenge at FaithWriters.com:

Pat Robertson said, “The Bible is not only a book about an ancient people but also a book as current as today’s newspaper headlines.” I would add that the same goes for God. He is not ancient. He is just as relevant today as He was when the Bible was written.

Having said that, let me introduce you to the God of the universe whose being is endless – whose love is endless – whose understanding is endless – and whose forgiveness is endless. He is my creator – my redeemer – my constant companion and my friend. You can have all of this – His love and His friendship, too. God made it simple. All you have to do is ask!

There is no form to fill out, no special requirements, no ceremony required. You don’t have to change anything to make yourself acceptable. Your invitation for Him to come into your heart, and your request for Him to forgive your sins, is all that is required. He loves you just as you are and wants you as His own. He won’t turn you away.

We were all born into a world full of sin and somehow inclined to discriminate about it. We have the idea that there are some sins that aren’t as bad as others. That is just not true. To God, sin is sin.

From the moment – the very moment – you invite Jesus into your heart and ask Him to forgive your sins, it is a done deal! You have a brand new, clean heart and are instantly a part of the family of God – His child. The simplicity of it may be hard to accept. He is, after all, the God of the universe and everything in it.

Jesus paid an enormous price so we wouldn’t have to. He died on the cross to make it happen. I can’t explain it. But, I experience His love, His guidance and His friendship every day.

When you invite Him into your life, you may not feel any different, but you will be. Your heart will be cleansed of all sin and the Holy Spirit of God enters into your clean heart. He then becomes your teacher, your helper and your counselor. He speaks to you by making an impression in your spirit (your heart) of what is true and what is false.

God is a Spirit. We relate to Him with our spirits (hearts), not our souls (emotions), or our bodies (flesh). Being a child of God is all about faith. Living by faith means we don’t make decisions by what we see or by circumstances that may pressure us. We go to God in prayer, and apply our faith. We believe that He hears us and will guide us into all truth by His Holy Spirit as He promised.

The next step is to become acquainted with God. You can get to know Him intimately by reading the Bible. The deep things of God can only be understood by those who have accepted Him.

God inspired men long ago to record the events that were taking place before and after Jesus was born, so we would have examples to follow and could learn about His ways. In Bible times people were ordinary, like us. They made mistakes, big ones. But God loved them enough to use many of them to do great things. We too, can learn how to know God’s will and how to avoid making bad choices as we study His Word and the Holy Spirit reveals truth to us.

You can also talk with God any time – He is always listening. He will communicate with you and He will make certain you recognize His voice in your spirit. As you make decisions, the Holy Spirit will guide you through a situation with peace in your heart or the absence of it, depending on the course of action He wants you to take.

Knowing and experiencing God is like nothing you have ever known. Your relationship with Him will be unique. He will make Himself known to you so that you will experience Him personally and learn just how much He loves you.

Becoming a child of God doesn’t mean that you will have no more adversity. Indeed, you will. But, He will be with you every step of the way. He will never leave you or forsake you. He is yours and you are His through all eternity.

God Speaks Through Internal Peace

9 Nov

When God speaks to our hearts, He gives us a deep sense of internal peace to confirm the message is truly from Him. Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Don’t let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” John 14:27

When the deceiver speaks to us, he cannot give us peace in our hearts. We might experience peace, emotionally, but emotional peace won’t last. Only spiritual peace will last. When we try to solve things with our own reasoning, we cannot experience lasting internal peace. “The mind of the flesh (which is sense and reason without the Holy Spirit) is death (death that comprises all the miseries arising from sin, both here and hereafter). But the mind of the Holy Spirit is life and peace (both now and forever). Romans 8:6

One of my Mother’s favorite expressions was “follow peace”. God’s Spirit lives within us if we are born-again believers. One of His gifts to us is His peace if we are following His will. If not, that peace becomes disturbed. There is a fine line within us about recognizing God’s peace. We may have hardened our hearts to God’s Spirit. In other words, we may have trained ourselves to ignore that still small voice within us by giving way to the comfort of the flesh (our bodies) or our emotions (our souls).

Ignoring the peace within our Spirits to follow the peace within our souls (our emotions) can be very dangerous. The Scriptures tell us that our hearts are deceitful and that we don’t even know how deceitful. That is why we need the Holy Spirit within us to be our guide. Some of us have become accustomed to selective hearing and obedience. God didn’t intend for us to live like that. We must be deliberate about listening for the Holy Spirit and in walking in obedience. Our commitment to God should be deliberate and constant. We are to “acknowledge God in all things”. This indicates that we don’t sail along doing things our way and stopping to ask God when we feel like it. To walk in this way is like walking on a slippery slope.

If we want a true and real relationship with our Father, God then we must yield to Him in everything. He isn’t just a “Sunday morning God”. He is a “24/7/365” God. He lives IN us. He is WITH us at all times. Sometimes we feel like God doesn’t keep up with us. We get in a hurry and don’t take the time to ask Him about things that concern us. The truth is we are the ones not keeping up with God! We like things done in our time and in our way. God just takes too long sometimes – most of the time. So, we think we just don’t have time to ask Him about it.

I would go so far as to say that I believe that many of our problems would go away if we would take the time to wait for God’s direction. That being said, know that there are times when God directs and things still seem to go wrong. Recognize that when this happens God did not call us to a life free from difficulty and hardship. But He IS there to walk us through those things. To walk through them on our own is possible but with much more turmoil. When we are yielding to God, we can keep our peace and know that we can trust Him to guide us to our destination, shielding us from anything not acceptable to Him.

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

Who’s Voice Are You Following?

21 Aug
Spiritual Gifts (14)

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
PROPHECY, PROPHESY, PROPHESYING
Propheteia ^4394^ signifies “the speaking forth of the mind and counsel of God” (from Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words)
  • “Though much of Old Testament 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>.
  • “With the completion of the canon of Scripture prophecy apparently passed away, (1 Cor. 13:8,9)
  • In his measure the teacher has taken the place of the prophet. . .
  • 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)

Continued below are more distinctions of the person whom God has bestowed the Gift of Prophecy – They are:

  • 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
  • Often accused of talking too much, but just can’t seem to help it!
  • 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
The person God uses to serve with the gift of Prophecy is inspired by the Holy Spirit – if they are walking in the Spirit and not the flesh. 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)
  • Inspiration . . . is a statement about God’s greatness. God is intelligent and able to communicate with man, whom He created in His image. (from Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary)

God does not only give inspiration to those with the gift of Prophecy. His Word tells us that His sheep know Him and they hear His voice, and the voice of another they will not follow. I didn’t say it – God said it. To me this means that God is speaking to us but we may not be listening, or we may not realize we are hearing God speak to us.

It is important that we develop our hearing – we can do that. It’s like making a new friend and not yet recognizing their voice when they call you. You must get to know them better to immediately recognize their voice.

To know God’s voice it is vital to know His Word through the Bible. God’s voice is not the only voice we hear. If we are not acquainted with His Word to know His ways, we won’t always know where the voice in our hearts or our minds is coming from.

I believe that the person with the gift of Prophecy has a very strong desire to know God’s Word through the Bible. And, I believe that in giving this gift to a person, God causes them to yearn for truth and for understanding of His Scripture. Please understand that God wants this same thing for all of us. The person with the gift of Prophecy is not singled out for this blessing. We are talking about motivation. In order for God to reach us and minister to us, He puts stronger desires in each heart, customized if you will, to meet the needs of His people.

We are all very different – that is a given. We didn’t have to ask for the gift that God gave us, it is part of our personality. Remember, Psalms 139 tells us that God knew us before we were ever born. He knew all about us. He knew what our personalities would be and the circumstances that would surround us, that would influence us and that would define us.

God works all things for our good, if we belong to Him. That means that everything about us makes up our personality and affects us in some way. God takes all of life’s situations to create us into the person He wants us to be. Obviously, we don’t yield at times. But, if we truly love God and want His best for our lives, we seek Him and ask Him for guidance. When we pray for patience, how are we to learn it if we don’t experience situations where patience is needed?

Following God is not easy. But, it’s the most rewarding thing we will ever do. We will understand what true love is all about. He ALWAYS knows what is best for us. He knows our hearts much better than we do. It may take some time to adjust to things that happen in our lives but if we acknowledge Him in all we do (which we are told to do in His Word) we will be molded and shaped into the person He wants us to be.

About Spiritual Gifts. . . I Do Not Want You To Be Ignorant! I Cor. 12:1

11 Aug

SPIRITUAL GIFTS (13)

The words “Gifts or Spiritual Gifts or Ministry Gifts” as they relate to Scripture can cause some to squirm. These terms, along with others from Scripture, can cause confusion and bring up uncomfortable feelings. Some just don’t want to hear anything about them at all. Truthfully, I can relate. I was brought up around these things and I was uncomfortable much of the time.

I want to dispel some of those fears and misunderstandings, to the best of my knowledge and with the help of others who have written about these things.

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit.  God does not want us ignorant concerning these things. (1 Cor. 12:4) Because of all the confusion and fear surrounding the mis-use of these gifts and the fear surrounding the unknown, we allowed the enemy to steal some of God’s most valuable resources for our edification.

If you have had any of these experiences or have heard of them please realize that God never forces Himself on us. His gifts are given freely and are to build us up and to heal us physically, emotionally, spiritually – and in every other way.

The fears that have kept us from God’s best should be dealt with in prayer and in reading God’s Scriptures for clarification. I am going to do my best to explain these gifts, the way they differ and the way they are used today. There are many who believe that God’s gifts were only for Bible times and are not effective today. That is a big lie of the devil to prevent us from receiving God’s best for our lives.

  • 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)

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

Following are Scriptures relating to the other gifts God has given to us and we will discuss them in a future series.

  • Eph 4:9-13
  • 10 He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) 11 It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets , some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12 to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. NIV
  • 1 Cor 12:1-13
  • 12:1 Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant. 2 You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols. 3 Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.
  • 4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.
  • 7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.
  • 12 The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body — whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free — and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. NIV

The next Motivational Spiritual Gift we are going to discuss is the gift of PROPHECY. That’s one that turns some off. Many believe that prophecy is no longer relevant today. However; God still gives this gift to many and it is His will that they use it properly. To use it in any way other than directed by God is a very dangerous thing to do.  There are characteristics you will recognize by those with this gift and you will be able to discern whether they are using it properly or not.

We are not speaking of “Prophet” as in the ministry gift or  the gift of prophecy found in   I Corinthians 12, we are learning about the gift found in Romans 12:6-8.

The Gift of PROPHECY:

Today this gift is primarily associated with powerful preaching, however; all preachers do not have the gift of prophecy nor do all persons with the gift of prophecy preach.

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

I believe a person given this gift is tested to the max. They cannot be used effectively unless they are well versed in God’s Scriptures and have learned strict obedience to God.

God knows how to train us for the gift He has given us. That is one of the duties of God’s Holy Spirit. He teaches us to “hear” His voice as He speaks to our hearts. This is for everyone, not just a select few. God’s Word tells us that if you are one of His sheep, you hear His voice and the voice of another you will not follow.

  • John 10:26-27
  • 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. NIV

Some of the characteristics of the gift of PROPHECY are as follows:

  • Prophecy does not usually involve foretelling – predicting the future – as much as it does forthtelling – forcefully speaking the truth. Forcefully is a strong word. What it means here is that the Prophet motivated person wants to make sure God’s Word is understood and that there are consequences to disobeying it.
  • The word proclaim is perhaps a better word than preach to describe what a person with the gift of prophecy does
  • Typically their ministry is a public one
  • 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
  • The are Issues-oriented; usually have an opinion about everything! Not fearful to tackle tough issues
  • They 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!)

Were The Gifts to Cease?

23 Jul
SPIRITUAL GIFTS (8)
Are the Gifts of the Spirit for the Church Today?
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 and that all 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.
Spiritual Gifts are the products of the Holy Spirit’s residence in the life of a person. Only persons who have experienced the gift of salvation have Spiritual Gifts. When used with the proper motive, Spiritual Gifts edify others and bring honor to God and his church.
God is the ultimate source of both natural  gifts and Spiritual Gifts. He weaves them together with our temperament and personality when we yield all these components of our lives to him. (Rom. 12:1) God may use a natural gift as a vehicle for a Spiritual Gift.
Were the Gifts to Cease?
  • 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)
I Corinthians 13:8-10
  • 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)
There can be some hindrances to finding your Motivational Gift:
  • I don’t have time for this
  • I have too many other things to do
  • Maybe I can do this later
  • I probably don’t have any gifts anyway

Or feelings of unworthiness: 

  • God can’t use me
  • I don’t know enough Scripture
  • I wouldn’t know what to do or say
  • I need to get some things straight first
  • What would people say?
The purpose in seeking to know our Spiritual Gift is not just so we can take pride in ourselves or for any other reason other than to glorify God and to edify His church.
Some hold back some in seeking the Gifts because they are afraid of the “unknown”. However; we actually need the Spiritual Gifts to give us power in the battle – in our spiritual warfare.
Scripture gives us means to test the spirits and discern which is not from God:
  • –“If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? Or, if he ask a fish, will  he for a fish give him a serpent?. . . If ye the, being evil know how to give good gifts unto your children; how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” (Luke 11:11-13)
Added to what God has shown me personally, some of my material came 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

I’ll Let God Know When I Need Him

2 Jul

God wants all of you and all of me. Proverbs 3:6 says “In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your path”. Do you give Him more than a token five or ten minutes of quiet time? Do you acknowledge Him in ALL your ways? That means do you consider what God wants from you each time you make a decision? Or, just when you can’t come up with a solution?

God wants more than our church attendance and our participation on committees, and ministries that are self-serving by putting us in the spotlight. God wants a relationship with us! He has the answers we need. He is faithful.

God wants to be the Lord of our lives. He’s not our indulgent grandfather – too old to really understand the world we live in today. How could we even think that we are too far advanced for our God? Is it because He once used a small boy with a slingshot and three small stones to kill a giant?

Even though we may sometimes have a hard time accepting the fact that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit really are relevant in our modern world,predictions were made in the Bible concerning the marvels we are witnessing today.

There is so much knowledge available to us, at our fingertips. In truth, we’re just too busy – even with good things – to give time to the Lord and let Him guide us in every situation. We know He’s there and we know we can call out to Him when we’ve exhausted all our other resources.

Most of us may be satisfied just knowing God is around when we need Him. Then, if and when we truly get in over our heads, we’ll call out to Him. However; more than likely, we have probably already decided on a course of action. Let’s face it, we think we can manage on our own most of the time. The truth is in the message of one of my favorite songs, “I Can’t Even Walk Without Him Holding My Hand“.

“In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He Shall direct your paths”.
Proverbs 3:6

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