Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Gifts of the Spirit



Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant:  You know that you were Gentiles, carried away to these dumb idols, however you were led.  Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.
There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.  There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord.  And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all.  But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all:  for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit,  to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit,  to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.  But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.- 1 Corinthians 12:1-11 (NKJV)


The other night I woke up thinking about the gifts of the Spirit in 1 Corinthians 12. Several thoughts came to mind.

One, the gifts are of the Spirit of God. It requires Him moving through us and within us for them to work. We do not work them on our own at will. (Interestingly, it is the same with the fruit of the Spirit found in Galatians 5.  We have to learn to yield to the Holy Spirit on the inside of us, and it will grow.)

Another thought is they are spiritual gifts, not natural. This kind of builds on my first thought. They cannot be physically seen, and we cannot work them, but He works them through us, as we learn how to yield to Him and the gift.

The last thought, the gifts are spiritual, but will solve problems in the natural. Gifts of healings for example. If the Holy Spirit works through a person with this gift, when it manifests, healing will take place in a person's life. You can see that. All believers are called to lay hands on the sick, but this is a gift that moves as the Holy Spirit wills. If you look at the life of Jesus, you can see this gift working, as many of the other gifts. He is our example. Often people got healed because of their faith in Him in the Gospels, but other times, it was this gift in manifestation. You can look at all the gifts from this perspective.

There are many things we can expect as Believers, through prayer, and other promises that God has for us, but these gifts are supernatural and moved by the Spirit of God on the inside of us.

Many blessings as you continue to grow in grace and in the knowledge of Him,

Beth

Thursday, November 30, 2017

31 Days of Healing: The Healing of Malchus' Ear



And while He was still speaking, behold, a multitude; and he who was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them and drew near to Jesus to kiss Him. But Jesus said to him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”
When those around Him saw what was going to happen, they said to Him, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?”  And one of them struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his right ear.
But Jesus answered and said, “Permit even this.” And He touched his ear and healed him.
Then Jesus said to the chief priests, captains of the temple, and the elders who had come to Him, “Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs?  When I was with you daily in the temple, you did not try to seize Me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness.”-Luke 22:47-53 (NKJV)


This was seriously an intense moment.  Jesus had just been praying, and the Bible says that His sweat became like great drops of blood.  He was getting ready to be taken away.  He had prepared the disciples, but they didn't know it was immediately upon them.


And then Judas arrives.  And he identifies to those who have come to arrest Him, which one Jesus is.  When the disciples saw what was happening, I imagine the adrenaline went soaring.


Have you ever been in an intense emotional situation, either in an argument with a friend or loved one?  It usually makes your adrenaline rush and your blood pressure go up right?  Now, imagine you have a sword.  You may laugh, but I know that I have thought about this passage of scripture before when I have gotten angry, mostly to comfort myself.


They were coming to take Jesus away, and the disciples became very protective of Jesus.  One of them became so protective, He pulled out a sword and cut off the high priest's servant, right ear.  What a moment! John's Gospel identifies the man that cut off the ear as Peter, and the servant as a man named Malchus.


What happens next is most amazing.  Jesus gets a moment of pause and touches Malchus' ear, the enemy who has come to take Him away, and heals him.  Everyone sees it.  The High Priest is most likely there and he just witnessed it.  They witnessed the miracle working power of God working on an enemy.


What does that say about the character of Jesus?  He is a healer.  That's who He is.  It is what He does.  He gives life to everything He comes in contact with.  It is always His purpose to heal.

Many blessings as you grow in grace and the knowledge of Him,

Beth


To read more about the healing ministry of Jesus, please visit 31 Days of Healing.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Women in the Life of Jesus: Calling All Women



I hope if you have made it this far with me, that you have enjoyed my series, Women in the Life of Jesus.  It was a lot of fun to write, and I learned so much along the way. Women are valuable to God, and He takes great delight in us.  We are not inferior to men, but equal in humanity and in the call He has on our lives.  That is so important to know in the age of the Church.

The Lord spoke to me earlier this year and told me that the reason there are people in opposition to women in leadership in the Church, is that they don’t understand Kingdom dynamics.  We are not called to Lord it over individuals but to serve.


But Jesus called them to Himself and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them.  Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant.  And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all.  For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”-Mark 10:42-45

All women have been given gifts in the Body of Christ.  Some of them are called to the list in Ephesians 4. If you will see my post about Mary the Evangelist, I explain more about this passage there.

And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,  for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, -Ephesians 4:11-12

Examples of women from the Bible who walked in the ministry gifts in Ephesians 4 include:
Apostle-Junia (Romans 16)
Prophet-Deborah (Judges 4), Anna (Luke 2)
Pastor (Shepherd)-Lydia (Acts 16), Rachel (Genesis 29), Priscilla (Romans 16)
Teacher-Priscilla (Acts 18)
Evangelist-The Samaritan Woman (John 4), Mary Magdalene (Mark 16)

This is a short list. There are many other women listed in the Scriptures, and down through Church history that served this way. If you find these women in Scripture, you find them in the Body of Christ today.  All of these woman are a picture of how other women are supposed to be functioning in the Church.

Jesus loves women. We see Him teaching women great spiritual truths throughout the Gospels. We see them functioning and active in the Early Church. And we should see them ministering to others in whatever way the Lord has gifted them today.

I believe there are lots of women out there who, though they may not have a job in a physical church building, you may not see yourself doing anything for the Body of Christ.  That is not true. The Body of Christ is not in a building.  It is in the people who come in the building. Jesus lives within you. Much of the ministry that took place within the Early Church as found in the book of Acts happened outside of a building. I am not saying that it is not important for Believers to meet together because it is. Connection to the Church encourages and strengthens us.  But you carry the Kingdom of God wherever you go.  He has placed you where you are now with purpose and given you gift of the Holy Spirit and ministry gifts to carry out His plans for your life, to tell others are about Jesus and to call other people into the Kingdom of God.  Just keep stepping forward and get to know Him and all that He has done for you. Then you will be able to lead many others to Him.

Recently, I wanted to look up some information about women in the book of Romans, so I pulled this book off my shelf called, "What the Bible is All About" by a woman named Henrietta Mears. This is a very well known book, and I highly recommend it for your Bible study. It contains a short synopsis of each book of the Bible along with some other information about Biblical history for your study.

As I was flipping through the pages I came to the section on Judges, and my eyes fell on this, a commentary by Ms. Mears about the prophetess Deborah. It was so cool that I had to share. It reads,

"Now a prophetess arises in Israel (Judges 4:4) She was one of those rare women whose heart burns with enthusiasm when people's hearts are despondent. Many a queen, like England's Elizabeth II, has reigned with honor and wisdom, and often a woman's voice has struck a deep note that has roused nations." (page 113, "What the Bible is All About")

Isn't that an amazing tribute? There are many woman in the Bible whose voice has changed circumstances and turned the tide of events for people. There are many countless women throughout Church history whom this could also be said about. And God is still raising up women for this purpose today!

Many blessings to you as you grow in grace, peace, and love in Him,
Beth




To read more posts in this series, go here to Women in the Life of Jesus. 





Thursday, October 19, 2017

The One Year Experiencing God's Love Devotional by Sandra Byrd


The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.-Matthew 13:45-46


I love devotionals.  When I began following the Lord again in my early twenties, I spent lots of time reading devotionals.  That was one of the ways I learned about God.  

I recently had the opportunity to read Sandra Byrd’s new devotional, The One Year Experiencing God’s Love Devotional. Sandra has so much wisdom to share  that it is a joy to read her words and her stories.  Each devotional is very warm and inviting, and speaks of the Father inviting you into relationship with Him.

In her new book, you will find wisdom, encouragement, and learn about a lot of different stuff!  In a devotional entitled “Fire Power”, Sandra connected some dots for me between events in the Old Testament, and the New.  In another devotional, I was reminded that when Jesus walks into a situation, it always changes for the better. There are book lists, recipes, and an idea for an Advent activity with your family at Christmas as well.  

As I read, I often highlight or underline passages that are meaningful to me.  In "Understanding Down Under", a devotional on friendship, I highlighted these words.  It reminded me of a very close friend of mine who was my roommate at Bible school.  Though we are now far apart in distance, she is still very close in heart.

My summer circumstances often coincide with a stark time in a friend's life.  I'll share my sun to give her the warmth she needs, and she'll do it for me later, when my winter blows in-for a season-before spring arrives again.  That way, we're always dividing the grief and sharing the joy together.  He loves us both, and both through each other.  That's God's design for friendship.

The love of God is the most important subject we can learn about.  1 John 4:8 says, “God is Love.”  It is not merely what He does, but who He is.  Love is also why God sent Jesus.  John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that He sent His only Son, that whoever believes in Him, should not perish, but have eternal life.”  Love is the heartbeat and foundation for everything God does.

I recommend this devotional to anyone who wants to get to know God better. Whether you are a seasoned Believer, just starting out, or haven’t really come to know God yet, you will be encouraged, strengthened, and loved by the words in this book.  

Many blessings to you as you learn to walk in His love for you,

Beth






To learn more about the author, you can visit her at her website www.sandrabyrd.com.

Disclosure Statement:  I received a copy of this devotional from the publisher in exchange for my review.  The thoughts and opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

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