Live in the Moment

THISisTheDay

Artwork by Brendan Sceroler@creationswap

By stephanie reck

How many of us live in the regrets of the past, or in the future we are projecting? Imagine living in the moment, not going back and not going forward. Just enjoying each moment as it comes, and not allowing the unknown of the future to steal our own joy today. I believe if we can live in the moment, we could experience peace, calmness, joy, and find contentment.

Excerpts taken from my book, “Wilderness Mentality, Stop Your Stinkin’ Thinkin,” Chapter 7: Don’t look back, keep going forward: One day at a time.

God tells us not to worry about anything. Today is ALL you have. The things that you go through are temporary. It is how you react to them that can cause you to lose your joy and peace.

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things that are true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious-the best not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly, things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you have learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into His most excellent harmonies. Philippians 4:4-9, MSG

God wants us to come to Him with our worries and struggles. We are not to try and figure things out, analyze everything or worry. God wants us to enjoy right where we are. Don’t worry about the past or future, take hold of today. Embrace today; take it one day at a time. If something in your life has not worked out, then God has a new plan. Don’t waste any more time regretting the past or what lies ahead. That kind of thinking will lead to anxiousness and fear. Living one day at a time, and one moment at a time keeps us from being consumed with worry. Choose to give your anxieties to God, choose to pray specifically for things instead of worrying.

When we begin to think about tomorrow and the “what if’s,” we can lose our grace for today. God gives us His “manna” daily, not weekly or monthly. Don’t be consumed with yesterday’s junk and tomorrow’s what ifs. Don’t dwell on yesterday. Dwelling means focusing on what you should have done, what you could have done and what you ought to have done. Take it one step at a time, one day at t a time.

Sometimes we think we need to see the end of our path, maybe so we can be reassured it’s a good path. But God’s guidance is step by step. We can rest and trust God will light our path, one step at a time. Whatever comes your way, know you can handle it, one day at a time. Don’t “stockpile” tomorrow’s provisions for your life. Face your challenges one day at a time. Looking too far down the road tends to overwhelm us in our thinking. Trusting God requires we believe He gives us our “daily bread.”

Live in peace and not anxiousness and fear of the unknown. Do you really know what is going to happen? I mean really? We can formulate what we think will happen, but that is called worry. Yesterday may have been troubling, but shake it off today. Remember today is a brand new day.

Enjoy your journey as it unfolds, and take life as it comes. Don’t project what you think may happen, and don’t stay bound to your past. Stay present in the moment.

To order a copy of my book, “Wilderness Mentality, Stop Your Stinkin’ Thinkin’ go to http://www.createspace.com/4036785

Stephanie Reck, LMSW, LBT,BCCC. Christian counselor, author, speaker, and teacher. Stephanie has a passion to bring hope and encouragement and to see people made whole.
Contact Stephanie @ http://www.christianhopecounseling.com
Copyright@2014, Hope Ministry. All Rights Reserved.

Article Source: http://www.faithwriters.com <a href=”http://www.faithwriters.com”>CHRISTIAN WRITER</a>

Reflections on Waiting on God

Feet

Photo by by Laura Merchant

 

By stephanie reck

God understands our pain. It is good to share your heart with Him. Tell Him how you feel, and what you need. He is a friend to us, and is ready to listen to us.

Lord, how long will you keep me this way?  I am desperate for breakthrough. My heart has many desires that have gone unfulfilled. Lord, I have waited for you, let me not be ashamed for waiting on you.

Do you hear me Lord? Are you there? Don’t you see how my enemies have taunted me? I have seen my desires upon my enemies. Grief has struck me like a tidal wave, and my eyes have grown tired from crying. My heart aches for your promises to be fulfilled in my life. I am desperate for your touch. Lord, how much longer will you keep me this way?

God, I hurt so deeply at times, and feel misunderstood. I have been rejected by family and friends. Why are you so afar from me? Why has your presence left me? What have I done Lord, just show me so that I can make this right. Who on earth can I run to but you Lord?

Can you make this pain stop? Can you restore me God? Hope deferred makes the heart sick, God my heart is sick. My hope has vanished like the night air. I don’t have the strength nor the faith to even pick myself up again, but I know you can Lord. I believe you can make these dry bones live again.

Lord, have mercy on me. I have grown weary from the continued trials and testing of my faith. I have felt like Job at times, and have wondered will you restore the things that have been taken from me? I want to believe that I am waiting for restoration like Job and Ruth. I have waited for years for your promises to be fulfilled in my life. I have waited for you Lord. I have never lost hope in you Lord.

I am desperate. I am afflicted on every side. Troubles have come my way as I wait on you Lord. I have been broken, refined by the fire, taken into the wilderness, and pruned over and over again. Is it over yet Lord? Oh, Lord, I have waited patiently for you.

I feel alone and abandoned, but yet Lord, I know you have never left my side. Why does it feel like I have been forgotten at times, looked over? Do others know what I have been through, do they even care? Do they even ask if there is anything they can do, or offer to take me for a coffee? Or do they judge me for the things they do not know, and offer unsolicited “words from the Lord” to me? Does anyone truly see me but you Lord? And Lord if you fail me, where shall I turn?  God, what shall you have me to do? Please Father, not another day waiting in brokenness.

Father, I trust you, even though I don’t understand your ways for me most of the time. I have felt the stings of rejection since my youth, and I have felt I have lived more cursed than blessed at times. I have felt misplaced and misjudged, and have seen my enemies get the very things that I have been praying for. I have felt “slapped in the face” so many times, yet, I still hold onto to you Lord. I have lived with shame because my prayers go unanswered for a time, while my enemies get the desires of their hearts. I have waited in thanksgiving and waited in offering sacrifices of praise. But now Lord, my waiting is becoming like a vice grip to me, and it is strangling the life from me. The enemy has tried to get me to turn from you, and say, “Your ways are not good.” I know that is a lie.

Thank you Lord that I can come to you and share my heart. I know you have not forgotten me. I will wait for you. You alone are my hope.

I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me, and He heard my cry. Psalm 40:1

Cry out to the Lord in your desperation. He hears your cries. Talk to Him like your very best friend. He is waiting to hear from you today.

Stephanie Reck, LMSW, LBT,BCCC. Christian counselor, author, speaker, and teacher. Stephanie has a passion to bring hope and encouragement and to see people made whole.
Contact Stephanie @ http://www.christianhopecounseling.com
Copyright@2014, Hope Ministry. All Rights Reserved.

Article Source: http://www.faithwriters.com <a href=”http://www.faithwriters.com”>CHRISTIAN WRITER</a>

God Moves Mountains

from the mountain

Photo by Sam Knutsen@creationswap

~ By Deborah Ann Belka

You can move that mountain,
you can scale that obstacle
you can get over that barrier . . .
for with God, all things are possible.

You’ll need to have plenty of faith,
on your own, you will only quit . . .
you have to believe that it is God
who will get you up and over it.

There can be no doubting,
no thinking, this can’t be done
God will give you His strength
through, Jesus Christ, His Son.

You will need to keep on praying,
if His power, you want to receive
asking God for all of His might . . .
then you have to trust and believe.

God’s good at moving mountains,
He’s moved plenty of them before
and now He wants to give you . . .
the strength and power to move yours!

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Mark 11:23

“For verily I say unto you, That whosoever
shall say unto this mountain,  Be thou
removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and
shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe
that those things which he saith shall  come
to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.”

King James Version
by Public Domain

Copyright 2014
Deborah Ann Belka
bdebby@hotmail.com
http://www.hiswingsshadow.com

http://poetrybydeborahann.wordpress.com/

TO GOD BE THE GLORY!

Article Source: http://www.faithwriters.com <a href=”http://www.faithwriters.com”>CHRISTIAN WRITER</a>

By blackeybaptistchurch Posted in Faith

Unrelenting Faith

By CD SWANSON

And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. (Luke 22:31-32 KJV)

Have there been times in your life where you’ve experienced something almost unbearable to endure? Then, years later when looking back, you’ve realized that our fiery trials in fact, prepared us for things to come?

Throughout the Bible, scriptures will often refer to the Lord preparing us for greater things, and to be of service to our mighty God. That sometimes, He will allow us to be “sifted” to strengthen us, and to purify us thereby transforming us. When this happens we can testify and give Him the all the glory and victory, as we become witnesses for His awesome power.

When we go through our trials…prayer, consistency in His word, and an unrelenting faith and trust in God is essential to the outcome of our paths. Jesus explains to Peter in the above passages, that He allowed Satan to “sift” him, but Jesus prayed Peter’s faith not fail when it occurred. Peter needed to keep his trust in God, thereby dispelling evil with weapons of faith through God’s awesome power.

“Lord, help us maintain the process of growth by demonstrating our faith on a daily basis, as we become engrafted in Your word and Your Spirit, and become witness to your glory through each trial and blessing, In Jesus name, Amen.”

CD is a Christian writer who loves Jesus and everyone to know. Contact

 

By blackeybaptistchurch Posted in Faith

The Consistent Christian

Worship

Photo Art by lucindy garcia @creationswap

By J. Rubino

consistency – constancy: the ability to maintain a particular standard or repeat a particular task with minimal variation

Christian -believer in Jesus Christ as savior: somebody whose religion is Christianity

Christianity – religion that follows Jesus Christ’s teachings: the religion based on the life, teachings, and example of Jesus Christ

Now that we have established what these words independently mean, let’s define what it means to be a “Consistent Christian”. Based on the definitions above, it should mean something like this: The constant ability to maintain the standards of following and believing in the teachings of Jesus Christ.

The Bible tells us seven things about consistency and being a “Consistent Christian”.

They are as follows:
1. It is the way to a good reputation.
2. It is the way to renew our relationship with God.
3. It is in obedience to God.
4. It is done in faith.
5. It is a truth that only God is always consistent.
6.  It reveals good character.
7. It is necessary for discipline.

It is the way to a good reputation.
The book of Ruth in the bible is a beautiful illustration of how a few people remained strong in character and true to God despite the fact that the society around them was collapsing. It was written during a very dark time in history when people lived only to please themselves and not God. It is the story of Ruth, a destitute widow whose faith and kindness went before her. Ruth had a good reputation. At one point, Ruth asked Boaz, a very wealthy farmer who bestowed much kindness upon her, “Why have I found such favor in your eyes that you notice me  a foreigner?” (Ruth 2:10 HCSB)

Boaz replied, “I’ve been told all about what you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband  how you left your father and mother and homeland and came to live with a people you did not know before. May the Lord repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.” (Ruth 2:11-12 HCSB)

Ruth exhibited very admirable qualities. Boaz had heard and seen that she was hardworking, loving, kind, faithful and brave. It wasn’t enough that she was these things but that she was consistently these things. Wherever she went and whatever she did, it was consistent.

It is the way to renew our relationship with God.
When the ark of the Lord’s covenant came into the camp, all Israel raised such a great shout that the ground shook. Hearing the uproar, the Philistines asked, “What’s all this shouting in the Hebrew camp?” When they learned that the ark of the Lord had come into the camp, the Philistines were afraid. “A God has come into the camp,” they said. “Oh no! Nothing like this has happened before. We’re doomed! Who will deliver us from the hand of these mighty gods? They are the gods who struck down the Egyptians with all kinds of plagues in the wilderness. (1 Samuel 4:5-8 HCSB)

The Philistines were scared because they remembered all the stories they had heard about how God intervened when the people of Israel left Egypt. However, now Israel had turned from God and holding onto to what they once were. Israel was clinging to its past victories because they had failed as a people to keep renewing their faith in God. People and many churches today do this as well. We try to live on our former glories and memories of past blessings from God. The Israelites has assumed God would bring them victory because he had done so in the past even though they had turned and strayed from him.

We must renew our faith and relationship with God every day. It’s not something that we are to do just on Sunday at church. By reading the bible every day and praying consistently and constantly, we are building and growing in our relationship with God. We must seek him and be renewed by him always.

It is in obedience to God.
2 Chronicles gives us an example of someone who was not consistent in their belief of God and it led to this downfall and death. King Uzziah was only sixteen years old when he began his reign in Jerusalem. He reigned for fifty two years.

He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father Amaziah had done. He sought God during the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God. As long as he sought the Lord, God gave him success.” (2 Chronicles 2:4-5 HCSB)

But after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the Lord his God, and entered the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense.(2 Chronicles 2:16 HCSB)

Uzziah was not consistent in his relationship with God. Because of his many victories and successes, he became full of himself and disobedient. He knew he wasn’t supposed to go in the temple and burn incense. It was not his place to do so. He knew that his successes were all because of God and not his own abilities yet he chose himself over God. Uzziah then lost his cool and got angry when the priests scolded him and then he was struck down with leprosy and had to live elsewhere. He knew then he had done wrong and went away to live in a separate house from the rest of his family.

God requires lifelong obedience. He requires us to be consistent.

It is done in faith.
King Solomon is said to have been the wisest king in all of history. He was os wise that people came from afar to hear his words of wisdom. Everyone that came to hear the words God put in his heart brought elaborate and expensive gifts.  People knew that he had great faith in God and that God had blessed him immensely. Solomon grew to be a very wealthy man.

Solomon had an insatiable appetite for women, especially foreign women. He had acquired many wives from many different areas.

God had told the Israelites, “You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods.” (2 Kings 11:2 HCSB)

As Solomon grew old, his wives had turned his heart against God and towards their gods. It was his desire for his seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines that caused his faith in God to stumble greatly. He allowed his wives and assisted them even in erecting altars for their gods.

So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the Lord; he did not follow the Lord completely, as David his father had done. (2 Kinds 11:6 HCSB)

The Lord became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. Although he had forbidden Solomon to follow other Gods, Solomon did not keep the Lord’s command. (2 Kings 11:9-10 HCSB)

Solomon was not consistent in his faith to the Lord. He allowed others to come between him and his faith.

It is true that only God is always consistent.
But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations. (Psalm 33:11 HCSB)

God is always consistent. He is the one that never breaks a promise. He is the one whose standards never change.

He is the only perfect example of perfection. Although we will never achieve perfection or consistency in everything we do all the time, it should be our goal to be constant in our love, faith, and obedience to the one that is and was and ever will be.

It reveals good character.
Those who trust in the Lord are like Mt. Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever. (Psalm 125:1 HCSB)

We all know of someone who is drawn into every new fad and idea of the day.  People such as this are inconsistent and unreliable. The key to being consistent is to trust in God and only him. Why? He never changes. He is not shaken by the things of this world. People who constantly change their way of thinking to suit others or the way world indicates they should be do not have a good character. Their character is one of a person that changes with the wind and seeks to please others in order to gain approval and feel better about themselves. They put their trust in every new scheme or gadget that comes their way. They put their trust in money, fame, and worldly desires instead of placing it in God. Their character is that of the world, not of the father.

It is necessary for discipline.
We, as parents sometimes find it hard to discipline our children. We feel like all we ever do is nag them about things. We scold them and punish them all the time so sometimes we are tempted to just give up. We just get tired of always fussing at them and we are pretty sure they are tired of it too. However, correction that is kind and firm helps them to grow, learn and become wise.  We are to be consistent in our discipline with our children so they will be able to consistently discipline themselves and their children in the future.

A rod and reprimand impart wisdom, but a child left undisciplined disgraces its mother. (Proverbs 29:15 HCSB)

This verse in the bible is so often misinterpreted. It does not been that we should all beat our children with a rod. It means we should discipline our children when they do wrong so they will become wise and not disgrace their family. There is nothing wrong with discipline. God is consistent in that he will discipline his children when we step out of bounds. Our children must be taught the same.

J. Rubino lives in Northport, AL with her family and is a firm believer in Jesus Christ.

Article Source: http://www.faithwriters.com <a href=”http://www.faithwriters.com”>CHRISTIAN WRITER</a>

Contentment Where You’re at in Life

joy

Artwork by Cameron Smith@creationswap

By stephanie reck

How many times I have caught myself saying, “I will be happy when” I have waited years for answered prayers and longings of my heart to be fulfilled. Can anyone relate? What happens to some is during the “wait” we become discontented and begin to grumble and complain about our circumstances. Is it possible to have contentment right in the middle of your trials and difficult circumstances? I say, “Yes, it is possible but not easy to overcome, but yes possible.”

In my book, “Wilderness Mentality, Stop Your Stinkin’ Thinkin’,” I devote an entire chapter on the art of learning contentment. I will share with you some excerpts from chapter 3 of my book.

The definition of contentment is to be calm, relaxed, and free of worry? Does that define you? If not, why? Ask the Lord to show you why you are discontented.

If you are not content with your lot in life you will complain. I have learned (the hard way), that contentment is accepting God’s control over ALL of my circumstances. Most of us are content when circumstances are going well, but God wants us to have contentment in all things and in all seasons in our lives.

Wait for the Lord in confident expectation. Be joyful today, not when your circumstances are perfect. Enjoy your life now. God molds, teaches, and trains us through our circumstances. Surrender all to God and release control to our Savior. Stop dwelling, pondering, wishing, and wondering when, why, and where. Stop being controlled by your emotions and circumstances. Do not wish to be anybody else or have what someone else does. You really do not know what other people go through, that perfect family and perfect spouse you see; may not be all that perfect. Some people are better at hiding and covering up their problems.

Stop trying to force things to happen on your own time. It’s about timing, and God’s timing is perfect. Do not compare your situations to others. God has a unique plan for each of us individually.
Contentment means wanting nothing more than what God has given you. It is not saying you can never have desires, but if those desires become idols (idols are anything we place above God), then you are risking losing contentment.

I know all too well about the “wilderness mentality.” For so long, I was truly not content with my life (and now it’s a daily, conscience choice to be content). I had a lot of pain and heartache, and I just wanted to slip into someone else’s life. I soon realized that everyone has problems.

Instead of talking about how big your problems are, start thanking and praising God instead. It will confuse the enemy when you praise instead of complain. Stop being a victim, there are many people who go through pain and losses as well. Change your perspective about your life, is it really that bad? Is there anything that you have been blessed with?

Take it one day at a time, and refrain from magnifying everything by saying, “My life will always be this way.” The enemy will always try and keep you focused on what you don’t have, he will even show you! But don’t take that bait! REFOCUS on what you do have and what is right in your life.

Disclaimer:
And yes, everything I write here to you, I had to apply in my own life. I write from my personal experiences with contentment. It has been a journey, but I pray you will take from my experiences and learn something that took me a long time to get.

Scriptures to meditate on for contentment, ponder and reflect over these, say them out loud:

Not that I speak in regard to need, for I LEARNED IN WHATEVER STATE I AM, to be CONTENT. I know how to be abased, and I know how to be abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. Philippians 4:11-12

Give your burdens to the Lord, and He will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall. Psalm 55:22

But Godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires plunge men into ruin and destruction. 1 Timothy 6:6-10

For further reading and to order your copy of “Wilderness Mentality, Stop Your Stinkin’ Thinkin’,” Go to http://www.createspace.com/4036785

Thank you and may the Lord God speak to you through this book, and let me know how He does!

Stephanie Reck, LMSW, LBT,BCCC. Christian counselor, author, speaker, and teacher. Stephanie has a passion to bring hope and encouragement and to see people made whole.
Contact Stephanie @ http://www.christianhopecounseling.com
Copyright@2014, Hope Ministry. All Rights Reserved.

Article Source: http://www.faithwriters.com <a href=”http://www.faithwriters.com”>CHRISTIAN WRITER</a>

Following Jesus, The Future Is Your Friend

96170033

photo by Susan Helmuth

By Robert Schaetzle

“That your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.” 1 Cor 2:5 NKJV

When we’re seeking our Lord fully, there is great treasure to find to lead the way for our living. Our purpose and future can be filled with promise of things not yet seen. Our faith is given from God, so our pathway for living is secure. That doesn’t mean there will be no detours or stumps that must be removed. Obstacles or detours do come our way, but God’s “way of escape” is promised. For certain, there is no temptation or roadblock our Lord will not lead us through.

Learning to identify and take hold of God’s resources to complete our journey will sustain us beyond our expectations. His provisions are best recognized when we fully understand: “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. 1 Corinthians 2:12 NKJV

Letting go of self-determination can be our biggest roadblock toward finding the ‘Narrow Path’ of His leading for us to follow. Many occurrences I have experienced; I was the stump in the road that had to be removed before the vision was made clear again.

Not many of us have had such traumas as Paul’s “Damascus Road” experience, but when our “dead end” road becomes visible, our Lord could be blinding our way for something far greater than what our natural inclination is revealing. We’ll be further along tomorrow when recognizing; greater is ‘He’ that leads our future.

Robert serves in a ‘Sharing and Caring’ ministry in Sunnyvale, CA.
Contact

 

By blackeybaptistchurch Posted in Faith

The Witness

Share Your Story

Artwork by Rob Gros@creationswap

By Steve Countryman

The definition of witness 1. to see, hear, or know by personal presence and/or  by perception: to witness an accident. 2. to be present at as a formal witness, spectator, bystander. 3. to bear witness to; testify to; give or afford evidence of. 4. to attest by one’s signature  5. to bear witness; testify; give or afford evidence.   6. an individual who, being present, personally sees or perceives a thing; spectator, or eyewitness. 7. a person or thing that affords evidence. 8. a person who gives testimony, as in a court of law. 9. testimony or evidence.

It is what we are all called to be, to be God’s witness here on earth.  Every believer is a born again Christian and has had their life changed for it.  That means that you witnessed first hand God’s transforming power in your life.  You now have a testimony for you are no longer the person that you used to be!

A witness has personal and first hand knowledge of what they have witnessed.  Just like in a court of law a witness takes the stand and gives their testimony of what they witnessed.  They cannot say what someone told them or what they heard but are only allowed to say what they had first hand knowledge of.  Their statement is expected to be factual, accurate and truthful.

Deuteronomy 19:15 One witness is not enough to convict anyone accused of any crime or offense they may have committed. A matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.  This standard was used in the Old Testament and through out history.  It afforded the accused of being spared a false accusation by someone who was trying to get back at them, “it’s their word against your word”.  The second witness was the confirming and condemning testimony needed to convict the accused.

Luke 10:1 “After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go.”  It is the reason that Jesus sent our His disciples two by two.  As they went from town to town they gave their testimonies of what they had seen, heard and experienced as they had traveled with Jesus.  Not the stories of one man but of two witnesses.  Jesus had empowered them before they left to lay hands on the sick and they would recover and also to drive out demons.  They did this as they traveled from town to town.  Because of this people believed their witness and powerful testimonies.

So if you are going out to witness to people it is wise to do so in pairs so that you can support and encourage each other on the way.  But never pass up an opportunity to give your testimony to someone if the chance arises.  Amazing how opportunities will come up during casual conversations.  It doesn’t have to be something big or elaborate.  It may be a small prayer that God answered that will show how God cares and wants to be in our daily lives.

I had one small but needed prayer answered recently.  I had lost a close friend and planned on attending his memorial.  By mistake I also had setup an appointment to help teach a couple how to use their software for their new business.  It didn’t dawn on me that I had done this until the morning of the memorial.  I panicked for I didn’t have their name or phone number to contact them to reschedule or cancel.  My day was so full that putting them off ’til later that day wasn’t going to help me much at all.  If I left and they showed up later they would be very upset and rightly so.  I didn’t know what to do so I prayed.  I asked God to help me fix this mess I had created.  I knew that He knew who they were and that He could have them call me ahead of time.  I was afraid that they would call and that I would miss their phone call.  About two hours before I had to leave I received a call from them.

I was so overjoyed to hear from them and surprised to hear why they called.  I explained to them that I had to attend a memorial service that afternoon.  The woman said that they had called to cancel our session as they had figured out how to do it by themselves.  I was so happy and thanked them for calling.  God handled my prayer perfectly so that I could go to the service and finish the work that was waiting for me when I got back without getting further behind.  What a awesome God!

Now this wasn’t a big miracle but it was God taking the time to answer an important prayer for me.  I witnessed first hand His handy work and that became my testimony!  What is so amazing is that God does answer my prayers on a regular basis both big and small.  He does so because He wants to be involved and included in every part of our daily lives!  I am slowly learning to let God be God in me, to me, with me, for me and through me daily.

Your witness and testimony can be something that has happened to you or someone you know.  It can also be repeating someone else’s testimony that you read in the news about the hand of God.  For example I recently came across this article and it is worth sharing about missiles fired at Israel:  *’We fired the first [interceptor]. It missed. Second [interceptor]. It missed. This is very rare. I was in shock.  The defense system has been highly effective in the current round of violence between Israel and Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip – Israeli officials say it has a success rate as high as 90 percent.  The commander explains that with ‘just four seconds’ until the missile landed the military warned emergency services to be on standby.  ‘Suddenly, Iron Dome (which calculates wind speeds, among other things) shows a major wind coming from the east, a strong wind that  sends the missile into the sea. We were all stunned. I stood up and shouted, ‘There is a God!,’ he said.  ‘I witnessed this miracle with my own eyes. It was not told or reported to me. I saw the hand of God send that missile into the sea.’   *Sourcehttp://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2717659/Hand-God-prevents-rocket-striking-target-Israeli-Iron-Dome-operator-says-sudden-gust-wind-blew-missile-sea-defence-failed.html

We all have testimonies to share both big and small but we need to SHARE them.  For being His witness is not something that we do in private, in secret, behind locked doors or quietly because of political correctness.  It is something to shout about, to share with anyone who will listen.  It is to be shared to both saint and sinner alike.  How can any Christian having been saved by God’s grace and been blessed by God with answered prayer be silent?  For we are His witnesses and God is our testimony!

My name is Steve and I was born and raised in a good Christian home in Phoenix Arizona.  In 2004 God spoke to me to let me know that He would start sharing things with me that I would share with others. Little did I know how powerful and meaningful those things would be! Thank you Lord!!

Article Source: http://www.faithwriters.com <a href=”http://www.faithwriters.com”>CHRISTIAN WRITER</a>

SPIRITUAL GIFTS

Spiritual Gifts Logo

Artwork by Shad Fox@creationswap

By Jeffrey Hagan

Introduction:

I have written, preached, and taught on the topic of spiritual gifts many times. The primary focus almost always turns to whether or not the “miracle” or “sign” gifts are still active today or if they slowly ceased functioning with the decline of the original apostles and the very earliest of church fathers. Another favorite is if tongues operates today and if they are the so-called “initial physical evidence” of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. In between all of this there is a large amount of intricate details that are discussed, debated, and disagreed over.

This article is not going to focus on any of that. I want to provide a refresher as to what exactly the gifts of the Spirit are and what are their functions. Just recently I was in a discussion with someone who refused to believe or accept that there were more than seven spiritual gifts. She insisted there were only seven regardless of the biblical evidence that was presented to her. This led me to believe that perhaps an article simply identifying and briefly defining them might be in order.

What Are They?
In 1 Corinthians 12, we are informed that spiritual gifts are given to God’s elect by the Holy Spirit for “the common good.” Verse 11 tells us the gifts are given according to how God wants them distributed (“as he determines”). Ephesians 4:12 lets us know these gifts are given to equip God’s people to serve and for edifying, or building up, the body of Christ. We are also told elsewhere that at certain times particular gifts are given as a sign to those who do not believe.

The term itself, “spiritual gifts,” is derived from two Greek words: charismata (meaning gifts) and pneumatika (spirits). You might be able to tell these are plural forms of “charisma” (meaning expression of grace), and “pneumatikon” (meaning expression of Spirit). While it is true there are a variety of gifts (1 Corinthians 12:4), generally speaking, spiritual gifts are God-supplied graces (unique abilities, some are offices, some are manifestations) designed for works of service for the building up of the body of Christ as a whole. Some of which, we are told were for the purposes of laying the foundation of the church.

Are There Actual Lists Of The Gifts?
General consensus is that there are three biblical lists recording the gifts of the Spirit. Some sprinkle in a few gifts from another passage or two as well, but the three main passages dealing with spiritual gifts are Romans 12:6-8; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11, 28-31 and Ephesians 7:7-10.

Before looking at each gift individually let’s pause here and look at some important issues regarding the spiritual gifts in general.

-To start, every single Christian has, at the absolute minimum, at least one gift (1 Peter 4:10).
-No Christian possesses all of the gifts (1 Corinthians 12:28-30).
-We cannot pick and choose our gifts, that is the job of God alone (1 Corinthians 12:7-11).
-There is no one gift that is meant for all believers to possess (with the exception of faith to differing degrees) (1 Corinthians 12:29-30).
-Believers will give an account to the Lord for how they used their gifts (1 Peter 4:10).
-Spiritual gifts are an indication, or confirmation, of God’s call for a believer’s life (Romans 12:2-8).
-Any gift used without love is worthless and does not accomplish what God desires (1 Corinthians 13:1-3).
-Spiritual gifts are for the common good of the Body and are to be used to build up, or edify, the Body (1 Corinthians 12:27).

SOME BIBLICAL GUIDELINES FOR THE USE OF SPIRITUAL GIFTS:
-The use of the gifts must align with biblical protocol and teaching (2 Timothy 3:16; Romans 12; 1 Corinthians 12  14; Ephesians 4; 1 Peter 4).
-The use of the gifts result in affirmation and positive feedback from the Body (1 Corinthians 12:7; Ephesians 4:16).
-There is unity in the Body that it is indeed the Holy Spirit who is at work (1 John 4:1; 1 Thessalonians 5:21).
-The Holy Spirit fills us with peace as we exercise our gifts for the body of Christ (John 15:26; Romans 8:16).
-Godly fruit is a result of the use of gifts in the Body (John 15:8; Matthew 7:16-20).
-Fellow Christ-followers use their gifts for the common good to meet the needs of others (Acts 2:44-45; 1 Corinthians 12:7).
-A spiritual gift not offered in love is of no value (1 Corinthians 13:1-3).
-We should make every effort to live our lives worthy of the calling we are given (Ephesians 4:1).

The List Of Gifts:
PROPHECY: Rom. 12:6; 1 Cor. 12:10; Eph. 4:11  to speak forth the message of God to His people. Greek word is “prophetes,” which is the forth-telling of the will of God; ‘pro’ = forth; ‘phemi’ = to speak. Extra-biblical future telling aspects of prophecy are in direct contradiction to other passages that condemn fortune-telling and predictions of the future (Acts 16:16-18).

SERVICE: Rom. 12:7  to recognize things that are not being done in God’s work, regardless of how menial they may seem, and then using whatever is available to complete the work. Greek word is “diakonia,” which we get deacon, attendant, server; ‘diako’ = to run errands. This is actually also referred to as simply ministering to others. It is giving practical help to those in need.

TEACHING: Rom. 12:7; 1 Cor. 12:28; Eph. 4:11  the ability to instruct others regarding the Bible in a logical, systematic fashion so as to inform others of essential information for proper understanding and personal growth. It is the analysis and proclamation of God’s Word in a way that explains the meaning, context, and application to one’s life.

ENCOURAGING/EXHORTATION: Rom. 12:8  to come along the side of another with encouragement, counsel, and comfort to help them live and be as God desires. Greek word is “paraklesis” = coming along one’s side. This also carries with it the ability to strengthen those weaker in the faith and comforting those who are facing tribulation.

GIVING: Rom. 12:8  the sharing of one’s material goods with the utmost of generosity and cheerfulness with no expectation of being repaid.

LEADERSHIP: Rom. 12:8  to be at the forefront of a group in a way that attends to the direction of the body with extreme care and diligence motivating others to get involved in accomplishing the needed tasks. The word literally means “guide” and carries with it the idea of steering a ship.

MERCY: Rom. 12:8  an empathy and sensitivity for those who are suffering either physically, mentally, or emotionally and speaking and acting in compassion toward them in order to reduce the level of their distress.

WORD OF WISDOM: 1 Cor. 12:8  the application of knowledge to life in a way as to make spiritual truths “relevant and practical in proper decision-making and daily life situations.” The skillful application of biblical truth so it can be applied using great discernment.

WORD OF KNOWLEDGE: 1 Cor. 12:8  being driven to learn as much about the bible as one possibly can by gathering hordes of information, reading, studying, and then analyzing all of of that which is gathered. Another aspect is the understanding of truth in a way that can have only been gained by communication from God. The ability to grasp more difficult and so-called mysterious passages of the Bible with greater ease.

FAITH: 1 Cor. 12:8-10  to be completely convinced of God’s power and faithfulness to carry out His will and purpose and to radiate that confidence in Him and His Word in the midst of facing circumstances and situations that would normally cause others to doubt. Faith is a gift we all have to some degree or another. This is the one and only spiritual gift that all believers are given when regenerated (Galatians 5:22-23).

HEALING: 1 Cor. 12:9, 28, 30  when God makes a person whole either physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually. It is important to remember it is God who does the healing, not man.

MIRACLES: 1 Cor. 12:10, 28  when God performs a mighty deed, or “signs and wonders”, in which those involved clearly acknowledge to be supernatural in origin. Again, this is an action of God, not man.

DISCERNMENT: 1 Cor. 12:10  to be able to recognize truth from error by determining if the source is from God, Satan/demons, or humans. It’s a gift given to the church for protection.

TONGUES: 1 Cor. 12:10; 14:27-28  the ability to speak in a language one has never learned in order that unbelievers can hear the message in their native tongue so that they may be edified.

INTERPRETATION OF TONGUES: 1 Cor. 12:10; 14:27-28  translating the message which was given by the individual who spoke in tongues.

HELPS: 1 Cor. 12:28  to give support or assistance to others in the body of Christ in order to free them up for other ministry activities. This gift is closely related to mercy. One with the gift of helps has compassion and empathy toward others.

HOSPITALITY: 1 Pet. 4:9-10  to genuinely welcome people, even strangers into one’s home or church with warmth, love, and acceptance. Desire and enjoyment in serving those in need of food and/or a place to stay. Greek word is “philoxenos” = love of strangers; ‘philos’ = love; ‘xenos’ = stranger.

POVERTY: 1 Cor. 13:3  deliberately living in poverty in order to focus on serving God and others. To cheerfully give up your material goods in order to better another.

CELIBACY: 1 Cor. 7:7-8  to purposefully remain single without any regret and having the ability to keep one’s sexual drive and impulses controlled and in check in order to give more time to God and serve Him with less distractions.

MARTYRDOM: 1 Cor. 13:3  giving one’s life to persecution, and even death, for the cause of Christ while maintaining peace within.

Gifts And Offices:
APOSTLE: Eph. 4:11; 1 Cor. 12:28  to be sent out to new lands to share the Gospel, provide leadership for other church bodies, and maintain authority over spiritual issues that relate to the church. The Greek word is “apostolos,” ‘appo’ = from, ‘stello’ = send; one sent forth.

EVANGELIST: Eph. 4:11  a messenger who shares the Gospel with others. The Greek word is “euaggelistes” – preacher of the gospel; eu = well, angelos = message. Or, messenger of God.

MISSIONARY: Eph. 3:6-8  the ability and desire to minister in a different culture from your own.

PASTOR: Eph. 4:11  to be responsible for the spiritual care, protection, leading, guiding, and nurturing of a particular group of believers that have been entrusted to one’s care. Other biblical words related are elder and shepherd.

Conclusion:
Well, that’s about it for our current purposes. Of course some of these gifts overlap. Also, some people might add a couple, some might remove a couple, some would include Teaching in the “Gifts and Offices” section, and there might be some other possible differences. However, for the most part, this information and list gives a good representation and brief description of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. May God equip you with the necessary gifts to serve your circle of influence in your personal ministry.

Rev. Jeff Hagan, DCE, DMin, (ThD)

Founder and President of True Grace Ministries and Theological Institute. http://www.truegraceinstitute.webs.com

Article Source: http://www.faithwriters.com <a href=”http://www.faithwriters.com”>CHRISTIAN WRITER</a>