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.
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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>

The Handwriting On The Wall

God of the Impossible

Artwork by Cody Jensen@creationswap

 

By Tesh Njokanma

Wouldn’t it be nice to have God personally write on your wall whenever you need an answer to life’s tough questions like whom to marry, which career to pursue, what school to send your children? Wouldn’t it be a plus in your favour to just look at your wall and you can see the questions you are going to be asked at that job interview? Wouldn’t it be a big boon to have God write on your wall the exact spot where oil, diamonds, gold, silver and other precious gems are buried? Imagine God writing all of this on your wall. Hmmh! Sounds good. Right?

When we read Daniel 5, an account of God writing on the wall, one may have second thoughts about wanting God to personally write important information on our walls. It certainly wasn’t a pleasant experience for King Belshazzar when God wrote on his wall. His face turned pale, he was terribly frightened, his knees knocked together and his legs gave way as he watched the hand of God write on his palace wall (Daniel 5:6).

A detailed study of Daniel 5 reveals certain things. Firstly, God writing on the wall was an act of judgment not a blessing. So if you are looking for a way for God to disclose vital information to you, getting Him to write on your wall may not be your best bet; it may not be a blessing in disguise. Besides, for those who are close to God, those who have a relationship with Him, He’s more personal in His approach. God spoke a lot to Daniel, God revealed so many deep things to Daniel, but He didn’t have to write on the wall to get Daniel’s attention. God spoke to Daniel in a friendlier way. Jeremiah 31:33 says “This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time declares the Lord. I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people”. If God truly is your God and you are His, He won’t have to write on your wall anytime He wants to speak to you. He would simply write it or impress it on your heart. The handwriting on the wall is for those who are outside the covenant of God, the handwriting on the heart are for those who belong to the family of God.

Secondly, God’s handwriting can’t be understood by everyone. None of the enchanters, astrologers and diviners of Babylon could read and understand God’s handwriting. Only Daniel who had the Spirit of God in him understood God’s writing (Daniel 5:7-30). There’s no hidden fact, mystery, or secret God’s Spirit doesn’t know. 1 Corinthians 2:10 tells us that the Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. It’s one thing for God to write something, it’s another thing for you to understand what He has written. Whether God writes on tablets of stone or on tablets of human hearts, whether God writes on a wall or He writes in a book, you need to be filled with the Holy Spirit to clearly understand when God is writing or speaking.

Finally, after Daniel rightly interpreted the handwriting on the wall, he was honoured and promoted (Daniel 5:29). Why? Through the help of God, he performed a great feat; he did what no one else in Babylon was able to do. In our own day, we have a book that contains the writings of God. This is no ordinary book  it is the Bible, the Living Word of God. Blessings, honor and promotion come from reading, rightly dividing, interpreting and applying what God has written in His Word to your life (Matthew 13:23, 2 Timothy 2:15). Do you want to be blessed in an unbelievable way? Look to the enduring and infallible writings of God not on a building wall, but contained in the Holy Bible.
___________________
http://www.teshnwritings.com

Tesh Njokanma is a lawyer by training whose heart is in writing. She is a prolific writer with over 15 years experience as a magazine Editor. She is a pastor in the Redeemed Christian Church of God with a prayer and teaching ministry. Tesh is married with children. She is based in Lagos, Nigeria.

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

Our Father Listens

How To Get Through

Photo Art by Jeff Brotherton@creationswap

 by Susan Ferguson

I cry out to the Lord with my voice; with my voice to the Lord I make my supplication. I pour out my complaint before Him; I declare before Him my trouble. (Psalm 142: 1-2 NKJV)

Whether young or old, rich or poor, we all experience disappointment. Family or friends can let us down, or we can disappoint ourselves by letting them down. Sometimes our plans do not turn out as we hope. Perhaps a dream has died, and life seems meaningless. Christians are not exempt from life’s disappointments, but we have Jesus, who will strengthen and sustain us during times of adversity.

God wants us to be open and honest with Him about our concerns. We need not be afraid of being honest with Him, for He knows all things. Disappointment is too heavy a burden to bear alone. Our heavenly Father listens. The Bible is full of heroes such as David who poured out his heart to God for help, refuge, strength, and forgiveness.

Due to past disappointments, some people are afraid to hope for fear of another letdown. When disappointments come in waves and pile up into heaps, they can overwhelm us and cause physical and emotional problems. God does not want this to happen. He asks that we take our troubles to Him.

When we place our disappointments in Jesus’ hands, He gives us strength to move on and leave our let-down behind. He binds up the wounds of disappointment and brings healing. Every disappointment we face is an opportunity to draw closer to Jesus. When we place our trust in Jesus, He can begin new and wonderful things in our lives.

Today’s freelance writer lives with her husband in Madison, MS, USA. Contact

 

Loneliness / Depression

Cares_BW

Photo by Doug Shelton@creaionswap

 

By Henry Miranda

2 Corinthians 4:8 (KJV)
8  We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;

Everyone feels lonely from time to time, but for some, loneliness comes far too often. Feeling lonely can plague many people  including the elderly, people who are isolated, and those that suffer from depression  with symptoms such as sadness, isolation, and withdrawal. Loneliness can strike a person who lives alone or someone who lives in a house filled with people.

Have you ever heard the statement” life stinks” life is what we make of it. Have your ever played the game Monopoly? Everybody starts the same. Each is given the same money and everybody takes a turn with the dice. You make the choice whether or not to buy the property where you land and if you don’t your opponent will. You have to be able to make the right choices. So it is in life. We get one chance to go around the merry-go-round and get the brass ring. In life, just like the game of Monopoly we can make wrong choices.

What about this statement” Be strong in the Lord and the power of his might” What does that mean to you or what comes into your mind?  There is never a wrong choice with God if we lean on his strength. The bible is the book you need to go by to live the joyous, prosperous life that you deserve and that the Lord wants you to have.

Family, friends, jobs, and other factors can bring us down. But just remember that nothing should ever made you feel like you a failure in life. You are one of God’s children, and He loves you dearly. You have the chance to start over in the Lord by making him the Lord of your life. He can make the best decisions for you. But you have to give Him the chance to see what he can do in your life. Don’t focus on what’s not going well in your life because you may have trouble seeing the positive.

Do you think that loneliness brings depression? That is a good question so why do we think we must be alone. Loneliness is not a healthy thing.  I think that most of our problems come from feeling alone. We may try many things to combat that lonely feeling, but to no avail. Why is it that we get lonely in the first place? Even when we are with friends and think we are having a good time. Is it because we were never intended to be alone in the first place?

By alone, I mean that deep in our soul we are missing that desperately needed fellowship with God. When God created Adam He did not let him be alone, that’s why He created Eve so Adam could have someone with whom he could share his life with. God knew that Adam needed someone to have fellowship with, because God was not always physically present with him. It’s a hard thing being alone without someone to talk to. We may think that we are self-sufficient and don’t need any one, but that’s where we are wrong. We were created to have fellowship; we were never created to be loners. God gave us a way that we may have fellowship with Him. It is  through His Son. John 3:16. It is through salvation that we can have the fellowship that we need with God.

Being lonely is like the lowest point in our lives. Sometime we don’t even know that we are carrying that loneliness. To lose someone is a very sad and lonely experience. I remember when my mother went to be with the Lord. It must have been the loneliest day of my life. It felt to me like I was the only person in this world. I had never felt such loneliness as this. After the funeral it seemed that nothing mattered to me anymore. It seems to me that I didn’t care about anything or anyone.

That was over 20 years ago yet I remember it like it was just yesterday. Could it be that when loneliness creeps into your heart it finds a hiding place where it dwells for most of your life? Oh how I love my Lord and Savior for replacing that loneliness with his love. Who knows how long we carry that loneliness inside of us. Sometime we don’t even know that we are carrying that loneliness.

Loneliness can be a terrible thing. It’s like an ache in your heart that you can’t get rid of. Friendship is about the only thing that can replace loneliness. We all need a good friend and we have one in “Jesus” He will never leave us or forsake us. We can always talk to Him day or night, anytime. He is always there to listen to our problems

1 Peter 5:8 (KJV)
8  Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

Don’t let the devil discourage you, remember that you are made in the image of God you have the potential to do whatever you choose to do as long as it follows the plan that God has for your life. We need to pray and meditate on God’s word and wait on the directions that the Lord has for us.

I live in San Bernardino, California, in 1984 became a Christian.  Completed four years of Bible College and earned a Bachelor’s of Christian ministry @ Christian Leadership University.

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

Christians That Get Entangled

Caged

Artwork by by Cody Jensen

By stephanie reck

We are called to be Holy and to live righteously before God. We are also called to be a light in this dark world, but what happens when you become entangled in helping others? Merriam-Webster defines entanglement as something that entangles, confuses, or ensnares. The condition of being deeply involved. Synonyms for entanglement are web, mesh, net, noose, quicksand, snare, toil, and trap. Free Dictionary defines entanglement as twisting together or entwine into a confusing mass. To complicate or confuse.

Have you ever tried to help someone repeatedly and felt you were getting entangled in their problems? The more you try and help the more you feel like you are getting into quicksand and you feel there is no answer to their situations, which in turn causes you frustration. You start second guessing if you are a “real Christian.” You feel a sense of guilt over not being able to cope and handle all the problems that others bring to you. Many times the very people you are entangled with are piling heaps of guilt and manipulation upon you. This is especially difficult when dealing with loved ones and family. There is a deeper entanglement that comes from the ones we love. We don’t want them to suffer and to hurt, but what happens when all the helping is not helping but hurting you?

The enemy will bring situations and people into you path to distract and derail your purposes. There are some signs to watch for when you have gone too deep with someone.
1.    Did you feel prompted by the Holy Spirit to intervene or was it pressure from the other person or a desire to please?
2.    Are you struggling with your walk with God? Feeling spiritually bankrupt? Youth time with God is lacking and you are having trouble focusing on hearing God’s voice.
3.    You may feel discouraged, defeated, and like a failure.
4.    You are not sure God called you be in ministry and you lose your desire to minister.
5.    You feel stress, turmoil, tension, strife, chaos, and confusion.
6.    You can’t seem to get a clear or direct answer from the person you are trying to help. It seems when you talk with person you are trying to help it is muddy.
7.    You may experience fatigue and even sickness.
8.    The person you are trying to help does not listen to the advice you are trying to give to them, and they continue to do what they are doing; meanwhile still wanting you to fix their problems.
9.    You begin to feel frustrated, irritable, and maybe even angry.
10.    You are consumed with trying to intervene, and maybe even losing sleep as a result. Your focus is on their situation, and not on Christ.
11.    Your peace is gone and joy has dissipated.
12.    No amount of intervention or help is never enough for the person or people you are entangled with.
13.    You feel emotionally, physically and spiritually drained.
14.    You feel distracted and out of balance.
15.     You feel like you are on an emotional roller coaster ride with their issues.
16.    You try and point them to Jesus but discern they are not sincere in seeking Him.

You may be dealing with a toxic person. If you do not do what they want you to do, and they resort to anger, name calling, belittling, or guilt; that is a trait of a toxic person. To get entangled in a toxic person’s issues is dangerous to your mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being. Not all people who say they want help, in fact really want help. Some people are used by the agents of hell to entangle you and ensnare you. A HALLMARK OF A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP IS BOTH RECEIVE AND BOTH GIVE. There is also harmony, peace, and a desire to be around the other person. If you begin to dread being around that person or talking to them, it is a sign that it is not a healthy relationship.

Restoration and reconciliation are always hoped for in these types of relationships, but until Christ is at the center some precautions need to be made for your sanity.
1.    Take a time-out from these destructive relationships. Regain your peace and order. Ask the Lord Jesus to step-in and take full control, and you step out before you go under with them.
2.    Confront in love. The person that repeatedly causes drama and chaos in your life should be confronted as the Holy Spirit directs. Don’t do this in anger, but with the hope of true repentance.
3.    Set proper boundaries and consequences. This is important in dealing with ones who say they are sorry but continue to repeat the same behaviors over and over again. You will need to keep a guard up, and observe their behavior for a time (a solid year of consistent behavior is a good indication of true change), before realigning your life to theirs.
4.    Keep in mind that Jesus is not expecting to wear yourself out to help others who are not really helping themselves.
5.    Begin taking care of you and foster the good and positive relationships in your life. Stay away from toxic and negative people as much as possible. Nurture yourself and love yourself.
6.    Many times when we are engaged with other toxic people we neglect our other relationships that are satisfying. Take time to rebuild and restore satisfying relationships.
7.    Forgive yourself and let go of all guilt. Guilt is a tool straight from the pit of hell. It NEVER comes from God.

Stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and not to be entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Galatians 5:1, KJV
Soldiers don’t get tied up in the affairs of civilian life, for then they cannot please the officer who enlisted them. 2 Timothy 2:4, NLT

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>

By blackeybaptistchurch Posted in Faith