Tag Archives: Spiritual Gifts

2 Samuel 1; 1 Corinthians 12; Ezekiel 10; Psalm 49

David honors Saul and Jonathan’s memory with a funeral song.

Paul speaks of spiritual gifts–their diversity, necessity and purpose.

There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all. There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord. God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us.

A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other. (1 Corinthians 12:4-7, NLT)

Ezekiel describes the glory of God.

Psalm 49 reminds the fleeting worth of wealth.

The readings toggle two realms: here and hereafter.

Lord, this year especially has me sorting through so many thoughts of past, present and purpose. Help me to order my days in light of your calling on my life. It is a joy and honor to serve you.

Courtney (66books365)

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Leviticus 23; Psalm 30; Ecclesiastes 6; 2 Timothy 2

Holidays interrupt the ordinary activities of my life and give me an opportunity to revitalize my commitment to God or holidays can draw my spirit into contemplating my recurrent need to depend on God. Such interruptions can lead to restoration and hope of blessings. Leviticus 23 lists the times of many God-ordained holidays, reminders of God’s deliverance, provision, forgiveness, and mercy. His presence is the gift in the midst of community, and the same is true during Christian holidays. I didn’t know how much I missed community until this past Easter. I have felt like a nomad these last 10 years, moving from state to state, changing jobs, changing churches, leaving the bones of loved ones in strange lands.

Ecclesiastes 6:2, written by my soulmate, Solomon, says, “A man to whom God has given riches and wealth and honor, so that he lacks nothing for himself of all he desires; yet God does not give him power to eat of it…this is vanity, and it is an evil affliction.” Solomon contrasts this scenario with his earlier statement that every man to whom God prospers and gives the divine gift of enjoyment receives blessings, indeed. Holidays have a way of slowing down my soul’s race to acquire the object and turning my eyes toward the Giver of my soul’s redeemed desires.

Interruptions in my work week can illuminate the threads of discontent or the tears in the fabricated beliefs I’ve entertained. The simplicity of following Christ needs no interpretation – if I am faithless, Christ remains faithful; he cannot deny Himself (2 Timothy 2:13). I am therefore unafraid of the future, and I am free to “pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord with a pure heart.”

So Lord Jesus Christ, resurrected Savior and lover of my soul, I am pleased to be interrupted with holy days that urge me to focus on You. Like King David, I can praise (Psalm 30:11, 12).

“You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my        sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, To the end that my glory may sing praise            to You and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.”

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Lev. 22; Ps. 28,29; Eccles. 5; 2 Tim. 1

Leviticus talks about presenting gifts to God–unblemished gifts, clean hands presenting, gifts set apart so that they don’t bring shame on the Lord’s holy name.

“If you present a gift as a burnt offering to the Lord, whether it is to fulfill a vow or is a voluntary offering, 19 you will be accepted only if your offering is a male animal with no defects. It may be a bull, a ram, or a male goat. 20 Do not present an animal with defects, because the Lord will not accept it on your behalf. Leviticus 22:18-20 NLT.

Words and wealth stand out in Ecclesiastes. So does a gift.

 

18 Even so, I have noticed one thing, at least, that is good. It is good for people to eat, drink, and enjoy their work under the sun during the short life God has given them, and to accept their lot in life. 19 And it is a good thing to receive wealth from God and the good health to enjoy it. To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life—this is indeed a gift from God. 20 God keeps such people so busy enjoying life that they take no time to brood over the past.

A mighty, majestic God hears cries and saves from enemies. He strengthens his people and blesses them with peace. Gifts.

Praise the Lord!
    For he has heard my cry for mercy.
The Lord is my strength and shield.
    I trust him with all my heart.
He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy.
    I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.

The Lord gives his people strength. Psalm 28:6-8 NLT

11 The Lord gives his people strength.
    The Lord blesses them with peace. Psalm 29:11 NLT

Paul writes to Timothy … gifts.

I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you. This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:5-7 NLT.

And in my study notes, about a God who calls us to live a holy life, not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace …

2 Timothy 1:9 footnotes: Salvation is by grace alone and is based not on human effort but on God’s saving plan and the gracious gift of his Son.

Reading of gifts and the motives, methods, amount and heart of giving in an Elizabeth George study of Luke (and passion and purpose) on Tuesday nights; and “four things you really need to know about gifts” in my inbox just yesterday–I’m not surprised to see gifts lift off the pages of today’s reading.

Father, thank you for gifts–that I can receive them and give them. Thank you most of all for your great love and the work Jesus Christ did on my behalf–to save me, because I couldn’t do it on my own. The perfect offering, a sacrifice unblemished.

Courtney (66books365)

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Psalms 96,97,98; Acts 17:1-15

Paul goes to Thessalonica.

As was Paul’s custom, he went to the synagogue service, and for three Sabbaths in a row he used the Scriptures to reason with the people.

Later, he travels to Berea.

11 And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth.

He tells them what earth, sea, fields, and crops already knew.

Psalm 96:

11 Let the heavens be glad, and the earth rejoice!
Let the sea and everything in it shout his praise!
12 Let the fields and their crops burst out with joy!
Let the trees of the forest rustle with praise

Life in exclamation: Jesus is Lord.

Sing to the Lord; praise his name.
Each day proclaim the good news that he saves.
Publish his glorious deeds among the nations.
Tell everyone about the amazing things he does.

Some people have an undeniable gift for evangelism.

I got to know a woman recently who is gifted this way. Nearly every story she tells, she will tell you whether or not the people in it are believers.

“How do you know if they are believers?” I asked. “Do you ask them?”

“Yes,” she said. “Because I may not ever see them again.”

Like a crop in the field, her love bursts with joy.

I am not so bold in my daily travels, like her, or Paul. But I do hope that my love for Him is palpable and evident in how I live–like the rustle of a tree in the forest, or the crashing of waves against the shore … a life that can’t contain praise.

But some of the Jews were jealous, so they gathered some troublemakers from the marketplace to form a mob and start a riot. They attacked the home of Jason, searching for Paul and Silas so they could drag them out to the crowd. Not finding them there, they dragged out Jason and some of the other believers instead and took them before the city council. “Paul and Silas have caused trouble all over the world,” they shouted, “and now they are here disturbing our city, too. And Jason has welcomed them into his home. They are all guilty of treason against Caesar, for they profess allegiance to another king, named Jesus.”

Lord, what does my life speak of you? Who do I resemble: the world or you? Would someone have to ask me if I’m a believer? Would they notice me in the crowd?

Courtney (66books365)

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2 Kings 22, 23; Galatians 6

Sometime in my thirties when I got serious about following the Lord, I wondered what my spiritual gift was. Pastors from pulpits said every believer has at least one. I took some online tests. Depending on the day and my mood, I ranked higher in some places than others, but I didn’t feel like I had a definite gift. So I didn’t really do much as far as service went.

As a parent, I read the book The Five Love Languages of Children, and I figured a child’s love language probably mirrored an adult’s. I don’t remember all the love languages, even though there were only five, but I recognized the language(s) my family spoke, and mine: time spent with others. I soon realized that spending time with others was a close sister to hospitality–and things that I was already doing. I looked for opportunities to open heart and home to others.  My house became the weekly meeting spot for playdates and (sometimes) book clubs, and holiday gatherings. When I figured out how I was wired, and its gifting from the Lord, I poured intention into it. Time spent together is chatting a friend while we push our kids on the swings in the back yard. It’s peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on paper plates, us standing around the kitchen island while littles buzz around our feet. It’s a cup of coffee with a neighbor. Or a kitchen explosion of contents for an impromptu friends-of-family dinner.

It’s how I say I love you, however fanciful or plain. If he had gifted me musically, why wouldn’t I sing? If he had gifted me otherwise, why would I hide?

I pour myself into the service, and whether the cookies are homemade or store bought–it doesn’t matter. Isn’t it always what’s in the heart? The place where God knows us, where he sees beauty. Not from outward appearances.

I have sometimes faced criticism for my efforts–and it quenches when another would mock time and intention as an attempt for superiority–when it was an invitation to be loved. Rejection and mockery made me not want to be so bold–but then good sense intervenes: God wired me this way–to love in this manner. I want my actions to be pleasing to him. I am responsible for my own conduct.

Do not get tired of doing what is good.

Courtney (66books365)

Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem thirty-one years. His mother was Jedidah, the daughter of Adaiah from Bozkath. He did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight and followed the example of his ancestor David. He did not turn away from doing what was right. 2 Kings 22:1-2 NLT

Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. 5 For we are each responsible for our own conduct. Galatians 6:4-5 NLT.

Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Galatians 6:8-9

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2 Samuel 1; 1 Corinthians 12; Ezekiel 10; Psalm 49

The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body.   …  If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be?  But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be…  As it is, there are many parts, but one body.  The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!”  On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable.
 I Corinthians 12:12:22 (abridged)

My wife, Amy, and I seek to run our family the same way.  Our sixth child, Daniel, has Down Syndrome.  Last week, we celebrated two milestones with Daniel:  He went off to kindergarten and he participated in his first soccer practice.  Those precious events reminded us that Daniel “seems to be weaker”, but also affirmed that he is  an indispensable part of our body, our family.  Here is how we put it when we announced his birth via email over six years ago:

From: Greg and Amy DiDio
Sent: Friday, May 13, 2005 9:09 AM
Subject: The Birth of Daniel Gregory DiDio

Please celebrate with us as we rejoice in the birth of our son Daniel Gregory!

Daniel entered this world last night at 6:13 PM weighing 5 pounds, 15 ounces and he was 19 inches long.  He has blonde hair and a handsome DiDio profile.  Daniel has other attributes that may point to Down Syndrome.  A definitive diagnosis will take one to two weeks.  As we have had several months to ponder this possibility (and now another couple weeks), we have realized that if it comes to pass, it would be part of God’s perfect plan for our family. 

As our family has grown and we have observed the challenges our children have faced, we have wondered: 

  •  How do we teach our kids that they can experience joy without always coming in first place?
  • How do we encourage them to appreciate the gifts they have instead of cursing their weaknesses?
  • How do we teach them to rely on God’s provision rather than on their own abilities?
  • How do we show them that their value is based on being children of God, not on any fleeting human accomplishments?
  •  How do we provide them a forum for serving others without any expectation that they will ever be repaid?

Well last night, God may have provided His answer – in the form of a little boy who has entered our family to help teach us all these lessons and a lot more.

 Make no mistake, we would welcome your prayers and support.  If Daniel has Down Syndrome, then he carries a higher risk of several physical maladies and will require more extensive care than most “normal” children for his entire life.  But we won’t need your sympathy.  We are convinced that there was a “Daniel-shaped” void in our family that at long last  has been filled, regardless of any diagnosis.

 We wait with joyful anticipation for the amazing things that God will do through his life.

   Greg & Amy

As I look back on the huge impact and the amazing blessing of Daniel’s life, I am as convinced as ever that every word was true.  Daniel is fulfilling his special role in our family and the Body of Christ.  YES! – God gifts every believer for the benefit of all of us.

Greg (gmd40187)

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Numbers 4; Psalm 38; Song of Solomon 2; Hebrews 2

Scripture:

Hebrews 2:1-4, 1 We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. 2 For since the message spoken through angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, 3 how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. 4 God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will. (New International Version)

Observation:

What a great testimony to the salvation we have in Christ! These verses are loaded with proof after proof of how we know salvation is sure and ours. The last proof, however, is one we may miss. It’s the proof of the Holy Spirit working through us in the gifts He has given us. It is put on the same level as signs and wonders and various miracles. God’s Holy Spirit working through us in the gifts we have is another proof of our salvation! One of the questions that precedes this list is linked here. “How can we escape so great a salvation?” How can we if we have a gift or two or three of the Holy Spirit working in us? They is always with us. As Eric Liddell stated, “I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure.”

Application:

I’m not sure my mind can comprehend this truth. How wonderful and glorious is this fact that every time we exercise the spiritual gifts the Holy Spirit has given us it is a testimony to the salvation we enjoy! I am not sure I have been conscious of this fact when I have been teaching, or leading or starting new ministries. That these actions are an outworking, an assurance of my salvation in Christ! The eternal empowers the temporal and makes it eternal not only on the behalf of others, but for us as well.

Prayer:

Father God what an awesome truth You give us! Help us to be conscious of the salvation we have in You the next time we teach, or serve or discharge any gift Your Holy Spirit has given us. Help us to not take lightly the gifts we have received. Give us boldness and grace as we serve You and Your church. We pray these things in Jesus Name, Amen.

dmbaldwin

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