Charles Stanley – The Holy Spirit: Giver of Gifts

 

Romans 12:1-13

Do you feel ill-equipped to serve the Lord? A sense of inadequacy is one of many excuses people use to avoid ministry and service, but it’s not a valid one. Evading the Father’s call can affect His work on earth, prevent the blessings that come from obedience, and keep us from eternal rewards in heaven.

Jesus Christ knew all about the human tendency to feel inadequate. That is why He assured His followers they would receive a Helper—the Holy Spirit—who would come to abide in them forever (John 14:16). The Spirit enables, energizes, and equips believers to serve the Lord. One of the ways He aids us is by providing spiritual gifts, which are capabilities given to believers.

Our heavenly Father has a ministry in mind for each of His followers. Therefore, necessary spiritual “equipment” has been selected to help us carry out His work, and these gifts were planned by our Creator before we were born. It is His purpose that we embrace our gift and combine it with other believers’ gifts in order to serve Him wholeheartedly as the body of Christ. Even the smallest job contributes to the Great Commission and the strengthening of Jesus Christ’s body, the church.

The Lord has a plan for every believer. To ensure that we can meet His expectations, He first builds natural talents into us. At salvation, He adds a spiritual gift. Then the heavenly Father opens doors of opportunity and the Holy Spirit manifests His power so that we can carry out the work set before us.

Bible in One Year: Numbers 11-13

 

 

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Our Daily Bread — Seen by God

 

Bible in a Year:Leviticus 13; Matthew 26:26–50

She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.”

Genesis 16:13

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Genesis 16:7-14

My first pair of eyeglasses opened my eyes to a bold world. I’m nearsighted, meaning objects close up are sharp and defined. Without my glasses, however, items across a room or in the distance are a blur. At age twelve, with my first pair of eyeglasses, I was shocked to see clearer words on blackboards, tiny leaves on trees and, perhaps most important, big smiles on faces.

As friends smiled back when I greeted them, I learned that to be seen was as great a gift as the blessing of seeing.

The slave Hagar realized that as she fled from her mistress Sarai’s unkindness. Hagar was a “nobody” in her culture, pregnant and alone, fleeing to a desert without help or hope. Seen by God, however, she was empowered, in return, to see Him. No longer a vague concept, God became real to her, so real that she gave God a name, El Roi, which means “You are the God who sees me.” She said, “I have now seen the One who sees me” (Genesis 16:13).

Our seeing God sees each of us too. Feeling unseen, alone, or like a nobody? God sees you and your future. In return, may we see in Him our ever-present hope, encouragement, salvation, and joy—both for today and for our future. Praise Him today for this gift of amazing sight, to see the one true and Living God.

By Patricia Raybon

Today’s Reflection

Lord, I’m just one person in a big world, but I thank You for looking from on high and seeing me—so that I may see You.

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – The Will To Do

The following is excerpted from Ravi Zacharias’s I, Isaac, Take Thee, Rebekah(Nashville: W Publishing, 2004).

I have heard it said that the longest journey in life is from the head to the heart. Another way to say the same thing is that the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. Yet another aphorism of our time is that beginning well is a momentary thing; finishing well is a lifelong thing. All of these point to one reality—our knowledge and our response are not always in keeping with each other. We seem to be inclined to separate what God intended to remain joined together.

Solomon proved this centuries ago. He made a fascinating statement in the Book of Ecclesiastes. He relates all the areas in which he searched for meaning—pleasure, riches, power, fame, and everything else one could imagine. Through all of these forays in a search for fulfillment, he says, “My wisdom stayed with me” (Ecclesiastes 2:9). How is that possible, we ask, when his day-to-day life was a colossal mess? I understand him to mean that in the midst of his duplicity, his theoretical knowledge of right and wrong never left him. He knew how to discern. But he was volitionally weak and unable to resist the tug of attraction into wrong behavior.

I have shared the following story many times over the years. Those from parts of the world where this is foreign shake their heads in disbelief, wondering how this can even be theoretically plausible, let alone practically workable. But read the reasoning first and then I will try to explain.

I give you an example of my older brother, who lives in Toronto, Canada. The story dates back to the late 1960s. At that time he was a systems engineer with IBM. Since that time, he has gone on to do several very impressive things in the world of computer software. In other words, he is mentally all right. He doesn’t have any major problem as far as his IQ is concerned. I say that because you may begin to wonder as I tell his story.

When he was in his mid-twenties, my brother came to my father and said, “You know, Dad, I’ve always maintained even when we were in India that I’m only going to marry the girl you choose for me. I guess I am ready now. Would you please begin a search for a girl for me to marry?”

I really didn’t believe he’d go through with it. We were living in Toronto, thousands of miles and a cultural planet away from the land of our birth. But this was his choice. He wanted my parents to help in “The Search.” My father and mother said, “Fine. Tell us the kind of young woman you’re looking for.” My brother gave his “ideal partner” speech and proceeded to describe the kind of person he would choose to marry.

Under normal circumstances, the parents would travel around and look for somebody that met the criteria, but in this instance my brother said to our father, “Look, you really don’t need to do that. Why don’t you just write to your sister in Bombay and let her do the groundwork? We’ll just correspond back and forth and take it from there.”

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Joyce Meyer – Fear Not!

 

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh, my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall. — Psalm 27:1-2

Adapted from the resource The Confident Woman – by Joyce Meyer

Satan is a liar. He lies to people and places images on the picture screen of their minds that show defeat and embarrassment. For this reason, we need to know God’s promises (His Word) so we can cast down the lies of the enemy and refuse to listen to him.

Fear seems to be an epidemic in our society. Are you afraid of anything? Is it rejection, failure, the past, the future, loneliness, driving, aging, the dark, heights, life, or death? The list of fears that people experience can be endless.

Satan never runs out of new fears to place in any individual’s life. At least not until they firmly make their mind up that they will not live in fear.

You can trade in pain and paralysis for power and excitement. Don’t allow feelings of any kind to dominate you, but instead remember that God says, “Fear not.” We must be determined that we will obey Him in this area. Fear may present itself as a feeling, but if we refuse to bow down to it, that is all it is… a feeling!

Prayer Starter: Father, help me to “fear not” as I go about my day. When I am anxious, nervous, worried or fearful, remind me of Your great love. Help me to lean on Your Word and constantly expose the lies of the enemy. Thank You for being with me today and always. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Set Upon a Rock

 

“For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion: in the secret of His tabernacle shall He hide me; He shall set me up upon a rock” (Psalm 27:5, KJV).

Doug and Judy stood at the graveside of their little Timothy – their only child – who had been run over by a drunken driver while riding his tricycle on the sidewalk. It was a senseless, one-in-a-million, freak kind of accident, but their little lad was gone forever from their loving embraces.

As they wept, I consoled them with the promises of God’s Word: “In the time of trouble, He shall hide us in His pavilion, in the secret of His tabernacle shall He hide us. He shall set us upon a rock.”

In the words of Jesus, I shared with them His promise, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28, KJV). “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27, KJV).

Man’s words are never adequate in a time like this. Only the holy, inspired Word of God, revealed through the indwelling Holy Spirit, can help us to comprehend and experience the reality of His promises.

What a joy to be able to tell people – burdened people, grieving people – that we serve God, who not only saves to the uttermost, but who also is the God of all comfort. As His Holy Spirit empowers us, let us share the good news of an all-loving, ever-wise Savior.

Bible Reading:Psalm 27:1-4

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Today I will ask God to help me to be sensitive to the hurts and heartaches of others, so that I can comfort them with the Word of God through the enabling of the Holy Spirit. And when I face grievous troubles, I too will look to the rock, Christ Jesus, and claim His wonderful promises for comfort and strength.

 

 

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Max Lucado – A Listening Heart

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

“Let he who has ears to hear, use them.”  Eight times in the Gospels and eight times in the Book of Revelation we are reminded that it’s not enough just to have ears—it’s necessary to use them.  Jesus spent regular time with God, praying and listening. Luke 5:16 tells us, “Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”  If Jesus, the Son of God and the sinless Savior of humankind, thought it worthwhile to clear his calendar to pray, wouldn’t we be wise to do the same?

Jesus also spent regular time in God’s Word.  Three times in the wilderness temptation, he used the Word of God to repel the attack of Satan.  If we are to be just like Jesus, then we need to imitate his habits of prayer and Bible reading.

Read more Just Like Jesus

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

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Denison Forum – Victims of innocent suffering: Biblical help and hope

Stories about innocent suffering make the news daily.

Five watercolor paintings attributed to Adolf Hitler failed to sell at auction last weekend, reminding us that the Nazi dictator was a failed artist before inciting the deaths of six million Jews and twelve million other victims in World War II.

Nearly one hundred children have died in Africa from the second-deadliest outbreak of Ebola in history. More than eight hundred people have reported symptoms.

And the appalling report about clergy sexual abuse in the Southern Baptist Convention continues to make news today.

Tragically, no organization is immune to such abuse. The Roman Catholic Church continues to respond to reports of clergy abuse over the last several years. Sexual abuse scandals have rocked the Presbyterian Church USA, the Boy Scouts, gymnastics, swimming, hockey, college football, and political leaders as well.

A study found that nearly five hundred schoolteachers were arrested in 2015 on sexual abuse charges. Shockingly, about 10 percent of children in eighth through eleventh grades were found to have been subjected to some form of sexual abuse by an adult at school (most often a teacher or coach).

Where is God when such tragedies occur?

“Why have you forgotten me?”

Job 9 poignantly describes the pain innocent victims feel when God seems to fail them.

Job pictures the omnipotence of the One “who alone stretched out the heavens and trampled the waves of the sea . . . who does great things beyond searching out, and marvelous things beyond number” (vv. 8, 10).

But this omnipotent God seems impervious to Job’s cries for help: “If I summoned him and he answered me, I would not believe that he was listening to my voice. For he crushes me with a tempest and multiplies my wounds without cause” (vv. 16-17). In fact, according to Job, “When disaster brings sudden death, he mocks at the calamity of the innocent” (v. 23).

Continue reading Denison Forum – Victims of innocent suffering: Biblical help and hope