The Gift of the Spirit

God loves us!   He demonstrates His incalculable love for us with his incredible mercy as well as with the bestowal of his quickening Spirit who consistently exhorts us with the truth of the Word.

We are told to “pursue love and desire spiritual gifts”  (1 Corinthians 14:1a).  Making sure we have this right, love is what we pursue and gifts are what we desire.  Let’s talk for a moment about the most beautiful thing, the most sought after thing, the most fulfilling thing, and the thing we were divinely created most to pursue…God’s love.  The world offers its own kind of love-substitute which leads us down all sorts of (usually sinful) rabbit trails in hopes of finding the thing we seek most ~ love.   God’s love is the only kind of love that truly satisfies and fulfills.  When we pursue this agape love (God’s love), we then desire spiritual gifts in order to serve Him and His children.  Let’s look at some verses that point us towards receiving God’s fulfilling Spirit that the Lord says we require.

“God has resurrected this Jesus. We are all witnesses of this. Therefore, since He has been exalted to the right hand of God and has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit, He has poured out what you both see and hear.  Therefore let all the house of Israel know with certainty that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah! When they heard this, they came under deep conviction and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles: Brothers, what must we do? Repent, Peter said to them, and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children, and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call.  And with many other words he testified and strongly urged them, saying, Be saved from this corrupt generation! So those who accepted his message were baptized, and that day about 3,000 people were added to them. And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to the prayers.”     Acts 2:32-42

Did you know the Holy Spirit of Almighty God is a gift?  In our meeting we are speaking about Spiritual gifts because we already have the Spirit. But let’s not forget that this astounding gift from God himself comes about before we can expect to fully function in a Spiritual gift.  As we operate in our Spiritual gifting, we draw from and completely rely upon the Spirit of Almighty God in order to function full-throttle in our gifting.

~To receive the Holy Spirit, God’s word must first be heard and believed (Acts 11:17).  Receiving the spoken word brings conviction and power.  Once the word is received, we then open ourselves up to the Holy Spirit which the Lord uses to guide and empower us.

~We repent and are baptized in the name of Jesus Christ (as stated above) and pray to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit which baptizes (as overwhelming as water baptism) our souls and bodies with refreshing new life and renewing power.  Being baptized in the Spirit (Acts 1:5, 11:16) implies an immersion in the life of the Spirit (as does being baptized in water also implies an immersion).

~The New Testament does not indicate a testimony when someone receives the Holy Spirit and it strictly is a doctrinal event.  It does not suggest that a person may not even recognize the Spirit in them.  It instead reveals an experience.  In other words, receiving the Spirit is not an idea that sits in our head but instead is a power that transforms our heart and brings a confident boldness (Acts 1:5, 8).  This boldness causes us to magnify God (Acts 10:46).  The Spirit will help us to stop magnifying self, will give us a powerful desire to obey God daily, and will enable us to serve Him with the gifts He provides.

~In Acts, the apostles teach the baptism is a consequence of faith not a subconscious cause of faith.

Have you repented, had faith in Christ, been baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, opened yourself to the power of his Spirit, and received?

“But whoever drinks from the water that I will give him will never get thirsty again — ever!  In fact, the water I will give him will become a well of water springing up within him for eternal life.”      John 4:14

DIVAs, expect the depth of the internal supply of the Spirit to furnish you with the immediate result of eternal life (not just a future result to be realized later).  This inward fountain that bubbles up causes enough internal satisfaction to last into eternity.  Are you ‘drawing’ from this source continually?  As our experiences have shown us, as we draw from other wells they will eventually run dry.  They will either dry up on their own or their ability to quench our thirst will dissipate.  When this occurs, all we are left with is to seek different wells to draw from.  Jesus gives us the Spirit and the depth of the Spirit becomes a well within us.  Draw from this fountain of the Spirit!  If you do it continually,  Jesus promises you will never thirst again for things that do not ultimately satisfy.  Hallelujah!

In His grace,

Amanda

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Boldness Absolutely! Hinderance, Forget It

“Proclaim the kingdom of God and teach the things concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with full boldness and without hinderance.”   Acts 28:31

Greetings warriors belonging to the kingdom of the Living God!

Let’s examine these powerful phrases:
Proclaim the kingdom of God
Teach the things concerning Jesus
Do it boldly and without hinderance

What is the kingdom of God?  When the Holy Spirt of Almighty God brings righteousness, peace, and joy, the reign of God has been manifested before our very eyes!   When the reign of God is manifested His will is being done over His redeemed as seen in Jesus’ own powerful words, “Our Father in heaven, Your name be honored as holy. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”  God’s ruling hand extends to the places where His name is honored as holy (literally everything is considered God’s but His kingdom is not manifest everywhere).  The kingdom of God will come into completeness at Christ’s return.  The kingdom of God IS righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.  Do you share in the Holy Spirit’s joy?  Do you proclaim the words, “The kingdom of God come!  And may your perfect will be done!”

What things of Jesus do we need to teach? There is not time nor space to answer this question adequately.  Please turn to any or all of the four Gospels and you will find ample directives from the King Himself regarding what should be taught.  The greater question may actually be, are we even found teaching these things of Jesus?  Let’s keep in mind that teaching not only encompasses instructing another verbally but also behaving as living proof of Jesus’ instructions.  He felt they were so vital He had them established in Holy Writ lest we forget.  Have you 1) searched for them, 2) made note of them, and 3) put them into practice?  Let’s not just look to people for our instruction on how “to be more like Jesus.”  What if instead we begin training ourselves to turn our gaze inward at the Holy Spirit which He gave for our divine guidance and mimic the only One we can safely and completely mimic. Do we know Him enough to mimic Him and therefore teach Him?

We are told to proclaim and teach with boldness and without hinderance.  This not only is a command but we can also establish this verse is indicating there will be times we proclaim and teach without the boldness and hinderance required because we are either too timid or too held back.  Maybe we do not proclaim and teach at all because we are completely held back by our timidity.  Let’s examine boldness and hinderance a little deeper.

Boldness:  not hesitating or being fearful in the face of actual or even possible rebuff, courageous and daring, forward, beyond the usual limits of conventional thought or action, imaginative.

Hinderance:   Something that interferes with (or delays) action or progress, deterrent, impediment, balk, check, handicap. Any obstruction that impedes or is burdensome; a hitch, preventative, encumbrance, interference.

So we might be tempted to halt our actions when we feel intimidated by a real or even a perceived rebuff.   Yielding to it therefore prevents us from being effective because we are primarily  concerned about people’s reactions.

Press through intimidation and proclaim the kingdom of God. Teach the things concerning Jesus with His boldness and without the enemy’s influence of suggested hinderance.  You can do it DIVAs! (Divinely Inspired, Victoriously Anointed)

In His grace,

Amanda

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The Prophet Elijah

Elijah was an Old Testament prophet who will give us an example of how we can operate in extremely significant ways for God and yet still have a predominately crushing fear of man overshadow our powerful spiritual anointing. Let’s take a look at some of Elijah’s works.

Elijah announced to Ahab (king over Israel) that no dew or rain would fall on the land and certainly would not fall again until he voiced the commanded.  The Lord revealed to Elijah to hide at the Wadi Cherith.   He could drink from the wadi and God would send ravens to provide bread and meat for him.  After the wadi dried up, the Lord instructed Elijah to go to Zarephath and a widow would provide for him.  When he approached the widow for bread she informed him she had only enough for one more loaf for her and her son and then they would prepare to die.  Elijah instructed her not to be afraid but to prepare for him the first loaf and then make some for her and her child because the LORD would not allow her flour and oil to run out until He sent rain on the land again.

After some time had passed, the son of the widow became ill and died.  Elijah took the boy and prayed to the LORD for life to return to his body.  The LORD listened to Elijah and the boy’s life returned to him.

Three years later, the LORD told Elijah to present himself to Ahab.  Ahab summoned all the Israelites and prophets at Mount Carmel.  Elijah asked the people how long they intended to waver regarding following God versus following Baal.  The people still could not decide so Elijah asked them to set up two altars; each with a cut up bull placed on it.  The people following Baal would call on their god and Elijah would call on the name of Yahweh.  The one who answered them with fire would be declared God.  After much time had passed and Baal had not responded by fire, Yahweh’s fire powerfully fell and consumed the burnt offering (even though it had been drenched with water).  When the people witnessed what God had done they fell on the faces and declared, “Yahweh, He is God!  Yahweh He is God!” Elijah ordered all 450 of Baal’s prophets to be seized and he brought them to the Wadi Kishon and slaughtered them there.

Elijah then told Ahab a rainstorm was approaching. The sky grew dark and a downpour relieved the land. Ahab told Jezebel (is wife) everything Elijah and done and Jezebel responded by sending a message to Elijah that his life would end the next day.  (summary of 1 Kings 17,18,19:1-2)

“Then Elijah became afraid and immediately ran for his life.”  1 Kings 19:3

“The fear of man is a snare, but the one who trusts in the Lord is protected.” Proverbs 29:25

Elijah ran for his life.  Elijah heard Jezebel’s threat and the prophet of God feared her power more than the Lord’s.  Shocking?  Through the Lord, Elijah had stopped the rain for years, ensured the widow’s household would always have bread, raised the widow’s dead son, called on the Lord to send fire from heaven, killed all 450 of Baal’s prophets, and then brought a return of God’s blessing by prophesying the rain would come upon the land again.  He spoke with God and God heard and responded to him.  Elijah, however, did not trust God when it came to his own life.  So when Jezebel threatened it, Elijah believed the power of Jezebel’s threats more than the power God had already manifested through his own hands.  Because Elijah’s feared man more than he feared God, the LORD choose to replace Elijah as His prophet and put Elisha in his place.  

Did Elijah’s fear seem odd? The power of fear will rob you of what God has for you if you allow it the opportunity.  We have Spiritual gifts from God and if we have intimidating fears that have not yet been put under the authority of the Cross of Christ they will hinder us from operating in our full-throttle giftedness.  Our fears, like Elijah, may even tempt us to run from our  giftedness.  Search your heart and determine if this is true for you.  Take this day and release your fears at the Cross.  An exchange will take place.  You give the Lord your fears and you receive His peace and forgiveness.   Do not allow intimidation to rob you from fulfilling your calling.  Be bold for Christ.

In His grace,

Amanda

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Charisma ~ Outline

❧Week 1
Introduction page 6
Spiritual Gifts Unleashed page 8
The Essential Value of Service page 25

❧Week 2
Prophecy, A Superior Gift page 15
Prophets, God’s Reformers page 231

❧Week 3
The Nourishment of Teaching page 33
Jesus, The Ultimate Teacher page 252

❧Week 4
Exhortations Goal? Transformation page 51
The Compassion of Mercy page 88

❧Week 5
A Copious Bestowal of Giving page 67
Leading with Diligence page 83
A Helper with Good Counsel page 263
The Leadership of Administration page 266

❧Week 6
The Fear of the Lord is This: Wisdom page 98
Faith Triumphs page 129

❧Week 7
The Equipping of Knowledge page 114
The Brilliance of God’s Discernment page 198

❧Week 8
The Compassion of Healing page 156
Miracles ~ God’s Miraculous Power page 177

❧Week 9
The Relevance of Speaking in Tongues and Giving Interpretation page 208
The Mission of the Apostle page 218

❧Week 10
The Evangelist ~ Bringing People to Christ page 240
The Shepherding Role of Pastor page 244

❧Week 11
Discussion of Results of Spiritual Gifts Profile page 269
(can be combined with week 10)

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Jesus, The Ultimate Servant

 

“Before the Passover Festival, Jesus knew that His hour had come to depart from this world to the Father. Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.Now by the time of supper, the Devil had already put it into the heart of Judas, Simon Iscariot’s son, to betray Him. Jesus knew that the Father had given everything into His hands, that He had come from God, and that He was going back to God. So He got up from supper, laid aside His robe, took a towel, and tied it around Himself. Next, He poured water into a basin and began to wash His disciples’ feet and to dry them with the towel tied around Him.”  John 13:1-6

Have you ever possessed the attitude that because your life circumstances were so tumultuous it most certainly was not the time to serve others?  And if the true condition of your heart be revealed you might even confess it would be a perfect time for others to serve you!  Well, according to the Master server, regardless of how distressing our life may seem to be currently presenting itself, it lends us no excuse for not serving others.

If we purposely take our eyes off our position in time and intentionally focus them on eternity we will see that our destiny lies in a perspective of not being served but of serving.

Jesus did not tread his feet on this hard terra-cotta seeking His own comfort, ease, acceptance, and happiness.  He served others in spite of His lack of comfort, ease, acceptance, and happiness.  Shall we follow suit?  Shall we, in spite of our seemingly treacherous trials, live ABOVE them and graciously assume the servant role?

But what would enable us to do such a thing?  Do we know what lies in store for us in eternity?  Do we know we must pass through many trials and tribulations in order to pass into the Kingdom?  We must know this.  What if we view trials as mere experiences along the path of our heavenly journey and we therefore intentionally rise above the hardships; not allowing the negative sentiments to cling to us but instead learning from them.  In this way we foster an expectancy in ourselves to be able to instruct others and see how we can serve those following behind and walking beside us.

Is our personal value fueled by the statements or behavior of what man insinuates about us or are we more edified by who we are in Christ according to what the profoundly personal Word says about us?  Our ability to serve will either be developed from the strength of what we think we are, from what others say we are, or from what Scripture declares we are.  It’s  that simple.

We shall not be overwhelmed by what our senses reveal to us but we shall serve in love; as the basic and foundational motivation for service.  We absolutely must live ABOVE our circumstances if we intend to serve in love.

“The Devil had already put it into the heart of Judas, Simon Iscariot’s son, to betray Him.”  Jesus knew this.  He faced opposition.  He faced betrayal.  He without a doubt was about to face the most challenging circumstances His life in the flesh would ever know.  Did He withdraw because He knew it would not be easy, comfortable, or pleasant?  No.  He pressed on.  The presence of evil did not overshadow His love and therefore His desire to serve.  He proceeded to wash the feet of those who dinned with Him.  Do we really imagine our circumstances to be any worse than the ones He faced?  It did not hinder Him, it shall not hinder us.

Do you know who you are in Christ Jesus? Does this knowledge rise above your intellect and above the constant, possibly even oppressive noise of your environment?

“Jesus knew that the Father had given everything into His hands.”  Jesus understood what the Father had done for Him.  He was free to serve because He KNEW.  Do you know what the Father has done for you?  Do you KNOW that He provided His own perfect Son on your behalf so that you would be righteous in His eyes and free from the burden of sin?  Do you KNOW this?

Christ did not run to and fro getting affirmations from people around Him regarding His worth.  He knew beyond all dark shadows that He indeed was the Christ and was going back to the Father.  What about you?  Are you still relying on what others declare about you in order for you to find your worth?  Our knowledge of Christ and who we are in Him will empower our service.

“So He got up from supper, laid aside His robe, took a towel, and tied it around Himself.” This act was an expression of Jesus taking on the servant’s position, and “was meant to signify His assumption of the servant’s work.” (Elliott’s Commentary)

“Be ready for service and keep your lamps lit.” (Luke 12:35)  This is the symbol for readiness for active service.  The faithful servant will continue even when tired and will not allow distractions to veer her off course but will keep her “lamp lit,” always fanning into the flame the ‘fire’ that is in her.  The servant is ready to receive the Master the moment He arrives and demonstrates this by remaining His tireless servant.  Praise God.  You are a blessing!

Reflection Questions:

  1. What sort of cloak (robe) do you cover yourself with?  A cloak of despair?  A cloak of shame?  A cloak of discontent? Or do you cover yourself with a cloak or RIGHTEOUSNESS (Isaiah 61:10)!  Ponder the cloak you’re choosing to wear and how it affects your ability to serve.

In His grace,

Amanda

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