God Has Given You a Gift
The first charismatic church I attended was called the Lord’s Chapel. It was the first charismatic church in the city. People had their hands raised and their faces were radiant with joy as they worshiped God. Other people spoke in a language I had never heard! One second, they sang in English then the next it was in another language. Later, a man spoke out a word from God to the people about what He was doing in the congregation. Next, Brother Moore got on stage and said someone suffered from a certain disease and God was healing them.
I had never experienced this type of church service and was totally amazed, but in my heart, it felt so right. I later learned that in 1 Corinthians 12:4 Paul explains what I saw and heard that day:
“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit… the same God who works all things in all persons. To one is given the word of wisdom, to another the word of knowledge, to another faith, to another healing…to another miracles, prophecy, distinguishing of spirits, tongues…the same Spirit works all these things distributing to each one individually just as He wills.”
Paul also said, “you are Christ’s body.” As Christ lives in us, He expresses Himself through us; and one of the ways He does this is through these spiritual gifts.
Here Paul reveals that God has given spiritual gifts to each of us to use as He chooses and we are to ask for these gifts. While they may vary, each gift has great value and are equally important to the entire body of Christ.
For example, have you ever known something with certainty but didn’t exactly know how you knew, you just knew? I talked to a church member recently who wanted to know God’s will about something. She felt He had given her an answer but she wanted to be sure. My response to her was that “your Knower (the Spirit in you) knows.” This is a phrase I’ve heard but have never spoken, yet, it was the perfect answer. She said her mother used to tell her that and it’s a lesson she taught her children. I had no idea this was the right response but the Holy Spirit gave me this word of wisdom and it was exactly what she needed.
Also, a friend’s daughter was learning to hear God’s voice. When she was at the grocery store deli, she felt impressed to tell a lady there that she was a good mother. While it was out of the ordinary, she stepped out in faith to share this and the lady began crying. As it turned out, that very morning the lady had asked God if He thought she was a good mother.
I discovered that as we grow in Christ, He will use us in a variety of ways and places. God will prompt you to exercise your faith and speak the word of knowledge and wisdom He gives you in any situation where it is needed. We often see Him move as we pray for others. As we are yielded, He will use us.
In verse 31 Paul says we should “desire the greater gifts and I will show you a more excellent way.” We wonder, what is greater than miracles? In 1 Corinthians 13, Jesus said “the greatest of these is love.” Since God is love and we are being conformed to His image, 1 Corinthians 14:1 says to “Pursue love.” Colossians 3:14 says to “Put on love.” That, my friends, is our destiny!
Spurgeon at the Metropolitan Tabernacle: 365 Sermons
Natural or spiritual?
‘But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.’ 1 Corinthians 2:14
Suggested Further Reading: Ephesians 1:15–2:6
The same power which raised Christ Jesus from the dead must be exerted in raising us from the dead; the very same omnipotence, without which angels or worms could not have had a being, must again step forth out of its privy-chamber, and do as great a work as it did at the first creation in making us anew in Christ Jesus our Lord. There have been attempts at all times to get rid of this unpleasant necessity. Constantly the Christian church itself tries to forget it, but as often as ever this old doctrine of regeneration is brought forward pointedly, God is pleased to favour his church with a revival. The doctrine which looks at first as though it would hush every exertion with indolence, and make men sit down with listlessness and despair, is really like the trump of God to awake the dead; and where it is fully and faithfully preached, though it grate upon the carnal ear, though it excite enmity in many against the man who dares to proclaim it, yet it is owned of God. Because it honours God, God will honour it. This was the staple preaching of Whitefield. He was always great upon that which he called the great R—Regeneration. Whenever you heard him, the three Rs came out clearly—Ruin, Regeneration, and Redemption! Man ruined, wholly ruined, hopelessly, helplessly, eternally ruined! Man regenerated by the Spirit of God, and by the Spirit of God alone wholly made a new creature in Christ! Man redeemed by precious blood from all his sins, not by works of righteousness, not by deeds of the law, not by ceremonies, prayers, or resolutions, but by the precious blood of Christ! We must be very pointed, and very plain about regeneration, for this is the very pith and marrow of the matter—‘Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’
SCRIPTURE READING — MATTHEW 6:9-13
“Give us today our daily bread. . . .”
As I was growing up, my parents led our family in reading Today devotions after supper each day. One of us four kids would read the Bible passage, and another would read the meditation. It’s no wonder that, for me, reading and reflecting on Scripture is strongly associated with eating bread. Maybe you also read these devotions in connection with a meal. How does your experience of eating influence your appreciation for the nourishment of God’s Word?
Jesus taught his disciples to pray by saying “Give us today our daily bread.” And this reveals a few things. We can boldly ask God to provide for our daily needs. And we can trust that God does provide, though not always in a way we might expect. Our daily bread is something we need, and we are encouraged to ask for it every single day. The Bible is filled with marvelous stories of how God feeds and cares for his people, showing in particular that bread is a rich symbol of God’s provision and presence.
Our response to God’s gift of daily bread is often an indicator of where we stand in relationship with God. Do we trust God to provide, or do we try to take things into our own hands? And can we see that the many passages about bread in the Bible somehow point to the nurturing gift of Jesus, the bread of life, who is given for us?
Lord, we are hungry—in body and soul—for what only you can provide. “Give us today our daily bread.” In Jesus’ name, Amen.
The Secret of Contentment
When we choose to focus on Jesus, our circumstances won’t have the power to rob us of peace and joy.
What kind of life do you think brings contentment? You might assume it’s one with few problems, good health, financial security, and a loving family. But that was not the apostle Paul’s experience. His life was filled with dangers, rejection, personal attacks, beatings, and imprisonment, yet he claimed to have learned the secret of being content in every circumstance. The source of his contentedness was obviously not his situation, and that can be true for you as well.
The secret that he discovered was to focus on and rejoice in the Lord. Paul knew he was spiritually rich and had been given “every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). The comforts and pleasures of this life were not worthy to be compared to the eternal glory that awaited him (Romans 8:18).
Contentment is hard to find and even harder to keep. There’s always something newer and better to acquire or a more appealing relationship to pursue. What’s more, the hardships of life can easily drag us down if we don’t keep our focus on the Lord. When you feel unsatisfied, remember all you have in Christ and respond according to these truths rather than your feelings.
Bible in One Year: Ezekiel 17-19