Tag Archives: Spiritual Gifts

Genesis 16-18; Ephesians 4

Two very interesting passages of Scripture this morning, especially Genesis 18 and Ephesians 4. Both approach organization in different ways, but appropriate for the age in which these admonitions were given.

Jethro saw his son-in-law working way to hard to govern the people of Israel so gave Moses a plan by which the people would be well cared for and Moses would keep his sanity. Jethro states in chapter 18,

I will give you advice, and God be with you! You shall represent the people before God and bring their cases to God, 20 and you shall warn them about the statutes and the laws, and make them know the way in which they must walk and what they must do. 21 Moreover, look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe, and place such men over the people as chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens. 22 And let them judge the people at all times. Every great matter they shall bring to you, but any small matter they shall decide themselves. So it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you (Genesis 18:19b-22 [ESV]).

Jethro gave Moses a plan that worked in that time and that situation. In a different age Paul gives the church in Ephesus and us all a way to organize the work of the church. He shares this,

11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes (Ephesians 4:11-14 [ESV]).

Our leaders in the church have been given to us to equip us to carry out her work. We are all given tasks to do and ministries to lead and serve in. The Holy Spirit in this age gives us all Gifts that we can use in the service of the body. If you have crossed the line of faith you have at least one of those gifts, perhaps one in the list above.

God has also laid a passion on your heart. An unmet need that He wants to see met and he has placed that burden on you. Then he comes along through His Holy Spirit and equips you with a gift to see that unmet need met.

Do you know what your spiritual gift(s) would be? Are you using them to meet those unmet needs that are on God’s heart today. 

That’s how we are organized for fruitful service in this age.

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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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