Archive for August, 2017

Covered by a Foot

Wednesday, August 30th, 2017

This week in our journey of discovery about spiritual footprints, we’ll see how a footprint is an area on a surface covered by something.

If you hadn’t realized by now in this article series, we’re talking about spiritual footprints and how significant they are. They leave lasting impressions on people, have power, and can be made on a variety of surfaces, immediately or over time. But, a footprint isn’t only confined to the area underneath our feet. It expands much farther than we realize.

God has not only promised to keep our feet, but to give us power (I Samuel 2:9). We really don’t believe in this promise or else our footprint trajectory would look much differently than it does today.

God told Abraham—the father of the faithful—the land in which he walked would be given to him (Genesis 13:14–17). The same promise was given by Moses to the children of Israel: where their feet had trodden would be their inheritance (Joshua 14:9). Every place where the soles of our feet (spiritual footprints) touch is promised to be ours (Deuteronomy 11:24)!

What does this mean? Our spiritual footprint (its impact and lasting impression) is no longer is confined to a specific 7–12 inch area, but broadens to an entire nation, creed, and people. The more we walk, witness, preach, and teach the Gospel, the greater footprint we make.

The grocery store clerk we witness to, the homeless person we give a warm meal, or the coworker we hold as they cry over the loss of a recent loved one—we leave our spiritual footprint on all of them. When we go into all the world to preach the Gospel, share our testimony, or be a light for Jesus in whatever capacity, we are placing a spiritual footprint and growing the Kingdom of God.

We are too afraid of what people will think when we step out in faith. We have forgotten the promise of the spiritual footprint—the “land” where we place our feet will be won. Let’s start claiming some things in the name of Jesus, walking to places, and talking to people we want in our lives and in God’s Kingdom!

Not only do we forget to take advantage of this promise, we also think about His promises as one-dimensional. Our spiritual footprint doesn’t just impact the natural, but penetrates the supernatural as well!

In Scripture, we see how Daniel’s prayers (his spiritual footprint) were so powerful, they transcended to the supernatural realm. Angels warred against each other to stop a message from getting back to him from God. His prayers shook the heavens and caused the Prince of Grecia (a demonic angel) to leave his post to come and fight along with the Prince of Persia (Daniel 10:20)!

Our spiritual footprints have the power to leave the tangible and go far beyond this world. We cannot let our spiritual footprint just be our shoe size. It needs to be a wider breath—an area on a surface—that’s larger than we can imagine. Don’t put God in a box. He’s able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all we can ask or think according to the power that works in us (Ephesians 3:20)!

Today, I challenge all of us to get out into the world and expand our spiritual footprint. Let’s cover as much area (total footprint) as we can sharing the Gospel. And, let’s not neglect to get on our knees in prayer to impact the areas we cannot physically walk upon. Whether in person or in prayer, where we trod will be ours!

Hurricane Harvey Donations

Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

If you’d like to help the Houston area with flood rescue and recovery needs, please consider a donation to Compassion Services International. CSI is endorsed by the UPCI and funds will be used to help our churches and their members.

Compassion Services International: Hurricane Harvey

Blind Man Touched Twice

Sunday, August 27th, 2017

And he cometh to Bethsaida; and they bring a blind man unto him, and besought him to touch him. And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw ought. And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking. After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly (Mark 8:22–25, KJV).

Just prior to this Scripture setting, Jesus had performed a miracle of feeding 5,000 with just a few loaves and fishes. Afterwards, the disciples—feeding until they were full—joined Jesus in a journey to Bethsaida. On this journey, Jesus tries to expound various truths to them, but they couldn’t comprehend His words. They were too full of earthy satisfaction to see more of the supernatural bread Jesus was trying to feed them.

They encounter a blind man, who was led to Jesus for a healing. Once Jesus met the blind man, He led him out of the town, out of the man’s comfort zone. Sometimes it isn’t until we’re truly vulnerable can God perform a miracle in our lives. Jesus had perfectly positioned this man for a blessing.

Jesus spat on the man’s eyes, laid hands on him, and the man’s eyes were opened. When Jesus asked the man if he saw, he said, “I see men as trees, walking.” The man could have said, “Yes, I see.” He could have walked away seeing in the gray, thinking everything was okay, and would have been satisfied too soon. But, he had a desire for something greater. His response was another way of saying, “I want more!”

We should all have a desire to have a greater touch of the Holy Ghost in our lives. In fact, it’s God’s nature to give us more than what we ask for and to make it personal for us. All we have to do is respond to His presence and let Him know we’re not satisfied—that we want more of Him. God will willingly give back to us pressed down, shaken together, and running over (Luke 6:38).

We see examples in Scriptures of many people who gave up too soon and didn’t get enough of God. The 10 virgins—5 wise and 5 foolish. The 5 wise brought extra oil with them to usher in the presence of the Bridegroom, but the 5 foolish thought they had enough oil. They were satisfied too soon. The story of the prodigal son teaches us not just a lesson in love and redemption, but that of wanting more. The other son who had stayed home his entire life never asked for more of his father. He was satisfied with what he had experienced his entire life. He was satisfied too soon.

Jesus taught the disciples to pray in earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:9–13). We need to remember our only resource is not just on this earth, but in Heaven—that is our Father! He desires to give us our daily bread. The correct translation and meaning of “daily bread” is bread that never runs out! And, true to His Word, if we desire more of God’s blessings, He will pour it out on us and His cup will never run dry.

Today, let’s wake up and ask God for more. We need to seek after the Giver who will open the windows of Heaven, and Who will pour out a blessing that cannot be contained and cannot be controlled.

The Art of Spiritual Stability

Thursday, August 24th, 2017

For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end (Hebrews 3:14, KJV).

The Stable Message

There’s a common misconception about our walk with Christ. We hear more about falling down and getting up again than actually staying up. However, the writer of Hebrews (assumedly Paul) teaches the church that the core of the Christian walk is not so. Our relationship with Christ, through our journey of spiritual maturity, needs to be steadfast—it needs some stability.

All throughout Scripture, we see a stronger message communicated about staying stable and strong rather than “trying again” so-to-speak:

The Lord expects His to church be a spiritually strong unit. His desires His people move forward and become “spiritual aggressors” in the Kingdom. We cannot be distracted and weakened by our continual shortcomings. He wants us to be stable and take on the next challenge and complete another work for Him.

The Emphasis of Getting Up

We must consider why we hear so much about falling down and getting up, rather than just staying up. In reality, it’s because people fall a lot. It’s much easier to recover than it is to remain strong. It takes a lot of spiritual focus to stay up; it’s much more difficult to exercise those spiritual muscles.

Paul knew spiritual stability came from spiritual effort. And, he knew how much of a fight it involved (Romans 7:15). He wanted to do what was right, but he did things that he hated. His flesh fought constantly against his renewed mind in Christ, but he found Jesus Christ to be his answer for spiritual stability and how he could overcome his flesh.

A Way of Living with Stability

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit (Romans 8:1, KJV).

Paul finally realized he needed to walk after the Spirit. The word after in Greek is kata, which means: in the presence of, the direction toward, according to, etc. Basically, Paul was saying if we are going to have spiritual stability, we must live in a way that’s after, or in the presence of, the Spirit of God. We live and act in the range of, the direction toward, in conformance to, and in the likeness of Jesus Christ. We must abide after the dominance of the Holy Ghost (God’s Spirit) working in our lives, and practice this daily.

Growing Spiritually Stable

Adversity must be present in our spiritual walk for us to grow spiritually stable. We cannot define or measure spiritual stability without adversity. We won’t know how strong or stable we are until we are tested, and God has promised us that we will be tested (Job 14:1). The church must understand living a life that’s spiritually stable is the act of godly living in spite of adversity. We need to stay strong when things are hard!

While the outward life may be difficult, we are renewed day by day through God’s presence. Any trial should be viewed as a blessing because God is working on our spiritual stability (II Corinthians 4:7–9, 16–18).

The Enemies of Spiritual Stability

Enemies are like bullies—they’re strong and exist because they’re untested. However, once they are challenged, they lose their power. If we leave the following enemies in our lives (unidentified and unchallenged), they will disrupt our spiritual stability our entire lives.

Distractions

Distractions are temporary losses of focus in our spiritual walk with God. We are directed in Scripture to always look to Jesus who is the Author and Finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). While a distraction is a temporary loss of focus, it can also do a whole lot of damage. We must fight distractions intentionally by focusing our spiritual mind by reading God’s Word, fasting, and praying.

Misplaced Priorities

It’s difficult deciding what’s first in our lives. Whatever we’ve made first in our lives—our priority—becomes our foundation from which everything else is built (and/or prioritized). If we decide to make our priority/foundation the weak, shallow, and temporary things of this world, we will set ourselves up for failure. But, if we make Jesus and His kingdom the foundation, everything else in our lives will fall into their proper place (Matthew 6:33).

Impatience

We make decisions and don’t wait on God because we don’t like where we’re at. We must station ourselves and wait for God’s direction in our lives (Habakkuk 2:1). If we want God’s vision for our life or ministry, we must want to hear it, withdrawal to hear it, and wait to hear it. Impatience will get us the next thing, but it’s not necessarily the best or right thing for us. We must exercise restraint and wait on God until He tells us to move. Let’s learn to wait quietly, patiently, and expectantly (Psalms 37:7; 65:5; 130:5).

Adapted from Wednesday Night Bible Study on August 23, 2017 with Pastor Nave

The Impact of a Foot

Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017

This week, in our journey of discovery about spiritual footprints, we’ll see how a footprint is a marked effect, impression, or impact.

Last week, we learned it’s important to watch where we step and where we’re leaving our footprints. God must guide every footstep and illuminate the pathways in which we are to continually tread (Psalms 119:105, 133). However, when we couple that truth with this week’s concept, we realize what we leave our footprints in is a cause for concern. Our footprints leave lasting, impactful impressions.

All of us have come across a sidewalk somewhere in time, when right in the middle of the smoothed concrete, is the impression of a footprint. Years into the future, people will see that footprint and know someone was there. The same is true for our spiritual footprints.

Our footprints can have a marked effect/impact on future generations, and can lead others down the right or the wrong pathway. We must consider who is following after our footprints!

Joshua was keenly aware of this fact when he took 12 stones out of the river Jordan to build an altar. God had rolled back the waters to allow the priests to cross over on dry ground while carrying the ark of the covenant. Joshua wanted his spiritual footprints (the altar) to be a marked effect, impression, and impact on future generations, so they would not only serve the Lord but know the kind of God they served (Joshua 4:18–24)!

Our spiritual footprints need to impact and impress upon people on the earth. Romans 10:15 tells us the feet of those who share the Gospel are beautiful. This word in Greek is hóraios, and doesn’t mean pretty, but fruitful. When we are a witness to the world, and take the Gospel wherever we go, leaving our spiritual footprints, we will bring forth much fruit (souls) for the Kingdom of God (John 15:4–5). We will truly leave a marked impression and impact on those who hear the Gospel and respond!

God has promised to keep the feet (footprints) of His Saints (I Samuel 2:9)! Scripture tells us He will give us and our footprints:

  • Power to tread on serpents, scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy (Luke 10:19)
  • The ability to walk in times of trouble and escape the snares of the enemy (Habakkuk 3:19)
  • His anointing and manifestations to follow us wherever we walk (Mark 16:17–18)

Our spiritual footprints will leave a marked effect. The world will see and feel the impact, and the devil will know it too! I love the quote that says:

Be the kind of person who when your feet hit the floor in the morning, the devil says, “Oh no, s/he’s up!”

Because of the God we serve, our footprints have power to shake up the world and our enemies. They will leave a marked impression. We’ve got to let Hell know it’s dealing with a child of the Most High God. And, we need to know that the Holy Ghost (Jesus) who’s in us is greater than the one who’s in the world (I John 4:4).

Remember our footprints are standing as a testimony for those around us and for future generations. If we want to bear fruit and lead people to the Lord, we desperately need to leave the right marked impressions in this life. Let’s thank Jesus today for His power and provision in our lives and how He’s anointed our footprints. He’s commissioned us to go and leave footprints in the world. Let’s leave the right ones to make the greatest impact.

Be Good to You

Sunday, August 20th, 2017

And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will (II Timothy 2:24–26, KJV).

It’s silly to think about fighting against ourselves; it’s the opposite in how we live our lives every day. There’s a self-imposed mechanism within us to make things better—we are created for self-preservation.

Paul wrote to His son in the Gospel, Timothy, and told him he would minister to people who would fight themselves. This form of fighting would come in from making decisions that were easy and felt good at the time with little regard to the Creator. But, the tail end of those decisions would end up in many forms of hurt.

When people choose to make decisions on their own without consulting God, they make the wrong decisions—man of which have lasting, hurtful impacts. We must consider the eternal consequences of our decisions! If they are to work for our good they must be made in alignment with the plan and the Word of God.

Our society today looks a lot like the culture described to Timothy (II Timothy 3:1–5). We must be careful we don’t slip into the delusion that making decisions in alignment with what the world says is okay is going to work. Our decisions shouldn’t be focused on the world, but on our Lord and Savior. He must be the focal point of our lives.

When we find ourselves in opposition to God’s Word, we fight against ourselves and become our own worst enemy. That door must remain shut in our lives, or open it to the enemy and fall prey to him coming in to wreak havoc.

Acceptance and practice of truth must come at the apex of our walk with God. The Word of God is the foundation and root of truth. We can acknowledge the truth, but it’s different when we accept and abide it. It becomes private and personal. We can’t know and follow the truth if we’re fighting against ourselves. We must know that we walk in the truth—sincerity of belief/heart doesn’t prove or mean anything (II Corinthians 7:1). And, once we know it and secure it in our hearts, we must apply it every day that we live.

Every action we take in life has consequences (Proverbs 30:33). There is a certain amount of destiny in our lives—it’s called the law of cause and effect. The decisions we make now affect our future. And, when we make them with God as the focal point, we stop fighting ourselves, and reap the blessings of God’s presence.

We’re all human and there’s going to come a point when we fail and mess up. But, once we do, we must make up our minds from that point forward that we’re going to make the right decisions and commit ourselves to the Lord once more. This is ultimately how we can continually live a life that’s good to ourselves.

Spiritual Gifts: Part III

Thursday, August 17th, 2017

For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; 10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues (I Corinthians 12:8–10, KJV).

Last week, we overviewed 2 aspects of the supernatural gifts: gifts of revelation and gifts of power. This week, we’ll explore the last category of supernatural gifts—the gifts of utterance, as well as discuss the other main categories of Spiritual gifts: ministerial office gifts and ministerial service gifts.

Gifts of Utterance

Gift or Prophecy

This is the God-given, special ability to serve and strengthen the body of Christ by offering messages from God that comfort, encourage, guide, warn, and reveal sin in a way that leads to repentance and spiritual growth. These messages are given in the known-tongue of the hearers, and may be exercised in preaching, teaching, etc.

There are 2 aspects of prophecy: 1) foretelling—speaking of the future, and 2) forth-telling—speaking of what is happening now. We see an example of prophecy in Acts 21:10–14 where the prophet Agabus confirms to Paul openly what he had already heard in the Spirit. Paul teaches the church that it is better to prophesy so that everyone can understand (I Corinthians 14:5).

Diverse Kinds of Tongues & Interpretation of Tongues

These 2 aspects will be discussed simultaneously because they go hand-in-hand. Diverse kinds of tongues is the God-given, special ability to serve and strengthen the body of Christ by communicating God’s message in a special language known to the speaker.

While the initial evidence of the Holy Ghost is speaking in tongues, the spiritual gifting of tongues is the utilization of the same tongue, just for a different purpose. Note: Just because you have the Holy Ghost does not mean you are being used by God in this gifting. God chooses at a specific time to deliver a message to His people in a special language to those in attendance. This gifting is difficult to explain, but someone will speak a message in tongues, stop, and an individual is the interpretation of what was said through God’s revelation.

Giving a message in tongues only edifies or lifts up the speaker through experience. They are not speaking gibberish, but speaking to God (I Corinthians 14:2–4). However, no one else can understand what has been said (I Corinthians 14:6)—we only understand in our native tongue! We should pray for the interpretation of what has been given in tongues so that all may understand (I Corinthians 14:13).

The ultimate goal is to have an interpretation. God doesn’t give a message in tongues to remain a mystery! If there is no interpreter, people will think you’re crazy (I Corinthians 14:23). Additionally, these gifts must be used in order. The message must be given, interpreted, and evaluated by others (I Corinthians 14:29–30). Remember, we are in control of our bodies and our mouths (I Corinthians 14:32). We must operate in this gift in decency and in order. God is not the Author of confusion (I Corinthians 14:33).

Ministerial Office Gifts

We discussed these types of gifts in Part I of our study—how these comprise aspects noted in Ephesians 4:11–12. We don’t appoint ourselves to these offices; however, we can be used in the gifting.

Ministerial Service Gifts

Noted in Romans 12:6–8, these are gifts that come from our personalities, backgrounds, and talents. They can be natural-born talents or learned talents; however, they all should be leveraged and enhanced by the Holy Ghost working in our lives. We should all hope that we are used in and operate in aspects of these in the Kingdom of God. Below is a list (not all-inclusive) of these types of gifts:

  • Music—Musicians and vocalists that help usher in a spirit of worship and praise
  • Missions—Bringing the Gospel to other nations and adapting (with ease) to another culture
  • Giving—Ability to give joyfully and abundantly to various Kingdom initiatives
  • Creative/Artistic—Maintaining and beautifying the House of Worship (décor)
  • Hospitality—Serving by providing others with a welcoming environment
  • Evangelism—Helping people respond to God and follow the plan of salvation
  • Helps—Offering assistance to others in the church and ministry
  • Service—Recognizing unmet needs in the church

All of us should consider when we see something that needs to be taken care of in the church, or a missing ministry, God has gifted us to take care of it.

Adapted from Wednesday Night Bible Study on August 16, 2017 with Pastor Nave

Impressions of a Foot

Wednesday, August 16th, 2017

Last week, I shared a footprint was an impression on the foot of a surface. (I’m not really sure how people get away with using the same word in the definition as the word you’re trying to define [i.e., foot]—but hey, Merriam Webster can do whatever they want…)

We all leave footprints everywhere we walk. And, the impression of the footprint we leave behind depends on the surface we’ve stepped on or into.

If we place our feet (shoed or barefoot) onto the grass or the sand, the footprints we leave behind disappear fairly quickly. The grass will eventually stand upright, and the ocean’s tide will erode the sand. After a while, there’s no evidence we’ve moved upon those surfaces.

But, stepping into something like wet cement, leaves a little longer impression—especially if it dries. And, if you stomp on the carpet with muddy shoes, sometimes no amount of cleaning can remove the dirt stain. Your footprints are visible forever.

These types of footprints are immediate, but other footprints we leave occur over time. Take the grass for example. One step, one time doesn’t create a lasting footprint. But, if walked over and over again, over time you’ll see the worn footpath in the grass. The same is true for frays in the carpet after continual treading and dullness on the tile after enduring endless shoe friction.

When we make a footprint in this life, do we always consider how long that footprint is going to last? Is it just temporal or is it eternal? How do we determine what footprints to leave and where to step?

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path (Psalms 119: 105, KJV).

Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me (Psalms 119:133, KJV).

We need to pray that God not only orders our footprints, but helps us walk upon the right surfaces (pathways) in this life. Our footprint impressions can create a pathway to destruction or salvation. We cannot afford to make the wrong impressions in this life!

When we make the same spiritual footsteps in life, we shouldn’t be surprised to look down and see our footprints borne into the ground. If we leave the wrong footprints often enough, we’ll wake up one day and find ourselves far away from God. Or, we can make the right impressions and find ourselves right in the shadow of the Almighty.

A well-known preacher in our movement prayed in the same spot every day, so much that he wore knee prints into the wood floor of his home. What a spiritual footprint! We need to cultivate an impression (footprints) in our lives that will be after Jesus and that will last to eternity (Psalms 119:11)!

When we live a continual, habitual life (spiritual footprints) in Jesus Christ, we create new neuropathways in the brain. After a while, these footprints will become the norm. God’s ways of walking, thinking, and action will become second nature to us. And, we’ll eventually get to a place where we’ll avoid the wrong surfaces altogether.

Let’s ask God this week to help us be conscious of where we’re leaving our footprints. We need His Word to show us the way, lead our feet, and to make the right impressions to define our lives.

It’s a Wonderful Life

Sunday, August 13th, 2017

And Joshua said unto the people, Sanctify yourselves: for to morrow the LORD will do wonders among you (Joshua 3:5, KJV).

It’s Wonderful

The word wonderful is over-used by the world’s today. But, wonderful is above and beyond the world’s definition. The God we serve is the definition of wonderful—it’s even in His name (Isaiah 9:6)! When we get around God, we don’t even have the words to describe what He’s done; they’re wonderful (Psalms 107:8).

Wonderful in Life

God wants to put wonderful in our lives and work in and around us. His Spirit (the Holy Ghost) is wonderful and He wants to put it in us. Our lives would be quite different if we didn’t allow God’s wonderful to work through us. God wants to accomplish much in His Kingdom, but His desire is to work His wonderful through us so we can be a part of it.

In Joshua’s time, the people had seen wonderful. God brought them out of Egypt, rolled the waters of the Red sea back on both sides, brought them manna, water to drink out of a rock, led them by a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, etc. But, Joshua told the people that more than all of these things, God wanted to use the people—their hands, feet, and voices—to do a work for Him.

Jesus came so we could live life more abundantly (John 10:10) and to be the vehicle in which God does a more abundant work (Ephesians 3:20). If God’s wonderful isn’t in our lives, we need to stop and think what we’re doing that’s limiting Him!

Living a Life of Wonderful Results

Expect Something Different

We cannot tell God how to work in our lives. If we expect one thing, or the same thing, we aren’t licensing God to pour out wonderful. We should keep our eyes on God and allow Him to take us to places we’ve never walked before to experience His wonderful (Joshua 3:4). He wants to do something new!

God is trying to work something in us (Isaiah 64:8), so we have to stop telling Him what we think we’re better suited for (Romans 9:20–21). Get a spirit of expectancy and allow the wonder of God to be activated and alive in our life!

Do Something Different

We can expect wonderful in our lives, but it won’t come until we take part in it. Joshua had commanded the people to get up and go after God’s presence (Joshua 3:3). There has to be a human element of faith inside of us that moves us to get a part of God’s wonderful. Too many of us have missed wonderful in our lives because we’ve dismissed what God is trying to do, or move us to do, as too weird. Let’s get moving and get after that wonderful!

Spiritual Gifts: Part II

Thursday, August 10th, 2017

For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues (I Corinthians 12:8–10, KJV).

Last week, we started our study on Spiritual gifts, and learned what they were, categories, origin, and purpose in the Kingdom of God—to build and strengthen the church. This week, we take a deeper dive into the categories of Spiritual gifts, specifically into the supernatural spiritual gifts.

Supernatural Gifts

Supernatural gifts are broken into 3 main categories:

  • Gifts of Revelation—Resemble the mind of Christ and include the gifts of a word of wisdom, word of knowledge, and discerning spirits
  • Gifts of Power—Resemble the hands of Chris and include the gifts of healing, faith, and miracles
  • Gifts of Utterance—Resemble the voice of Christ and includes speaking in tongues, interpretation of tongues, and the gift of prophecy

Gifts of Revelation

A Word of Wisdom

This type of supernatural gift speaks of a specific instance where God imparts wisdom to the believer. This is the supernatural ability to apply knowledge in a wise manner. The purpose of this supernatural gift is to serve and strengthen others with wisdom and godly advice.

A Word of Knowledge

This type of supernatural gift communicates spiritually-derived facts about God’s truth or specific circumstances. The believer will be given specific facts s/he normally would have never known if it weren’t for God. We see an example of this in Scripture when Ananias lied about how much he was giving to the church. Peter called him out and asked why he was keeping back a part the “all” he claimed to have given (Acts 5:2–3).

Discerning of Spirits

This supernatural gift allows a believer to recognize truth or error within a message, person, or event. In plain terms, a believer can determine the motive behind someone or something. Many times we limit this gift to the determination of good vs. evil, a spirit from God vs. a demonic spirit, etc. But, this gift also plays into the discerning of (identifying) the human spirit. People don’t need to be possessed, but can be mistaken in their own attitudes. We’re told in Scripture not to believe every spirit but determine if they’re from God (I John 1:1–3).

Gifts of Power

Faith

This power gift gives the believer the ability to have faith in a situation that God’s purpose will be accomplished. They can trust in the Lord to handle any and all obstacles along the way. The gift of faith is used, and works in tandem, with many other spiritual gifts. While every believer has been given a measure of faith (Romans 12:3), this faith is above and beyond this introduction. The church won’t just see this gift abide with miracles and healings, but in believers who trust and believe in God through trials and impossible circumstances.

Gifts of Healing

These power gifts heal and restore health beyond traditional or natural means to those who are sick, hurting, and suffering. There are different kinds of healings that don’t just pertain to our bodies, but can include emotional and spiritual health issues—which can be just as dangerous to the body. For the healing to be classified as a gift, God must accelerate the healing outside of the natural bodily process.

Working of Miracles

This power gift is the manifestation of supernatural acts that bring validity to God and His power. Miracles are difficult to define, but we can understand them to be something that goes against natural means. Miracles can be instantaneous or occur over a season of time. Again, these types of gifts are not just about physical healing (Matthew 8:14–15). Jesus calmed the raging seas (Mark 4:35–41) and turned water into wine (John 2:1–10). Both were miracles that occurred outside of the context of healing!

Stay tuned next week as we look at the Spiritual gifts of utterance!

Adapted from Wednesday Night Bible Study on August 09, 2017 with Pastor Nave

Your Spiritual Footprint

Wednesday, August 9th, 2017

I was somewhat of an English major in college and was required to take various courses to earn a degree—technical writing, Web design, publishing, literature, non-fiction, and other great classes. But, there was one class to which I had the utmost disdain. It was poetry.

I really don’t like poetry. I don’t care for writing poems, and I loathe reading them. Trying to figure out what someone is attempting to convey via a mixture of sentence structures (or lack thereof), messed-up syntax, incorrect punctuation, and the like is not something I want to expend massive amounts of energy doing.

However, even with my unfavorable opinion (and comprehension) of poetry, I recently came across a poem I found somewhat interesting. (Notice I said interesting, not enjoyable.)

Of what I could comprehend from the poem, its words confirmed a few thought-provoking truths God had been dealing with me about in my prayer time. God had spoken to me about the concept of spiritual footprints. So, it was no coincidence to me that I “stumbled” across a poem about footprints during this time. (Just in case you needed a gentle reminder—God’s not the Author of confusion.)

In this poem, the author wrote about how our footsteps are marks on the earth of who we either are or once were. To me, this poem stated incredible truths about our footprints, but my spirit was stirred to see the truths it revealed about the spiritual footprints we leave behind.

But, as I’ve clearly stated before, I wasn’t going to find all my answers in a poem…

The concept of a spiritual footprint seemed pretty expansive to me, so with all things I desire to learn more about, I set out to research the foundational building blocks (or definition) of a “footprint.” And, I discovered what I had already suspected—our footprints are not just physical or tangible. Footprints can be:

  • An impression on the foot of a surface
  • A marked effect, impression, or impact
  • An area on a surface covered by something
  • Something that identifies: a genetic footprint

Our lives and how we live them all fashion a series of footprints we leave everywhere. But, our spiritual lives leave quite a different footprint on the earth, others, and in our own lives.

God may not be checking the mark our feet make in the physical realm (I Samuel 16:7), but the world definitely is watching to see the kind of footprints we leave behind.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll take a journey of discovery. This journey will not only leave footprints on our lives, but we’ll be able to take a moment to sit back and reflect on the footprints we’ve left in this life. And, we’ll be able to decide which footprints we want to leave in the future.

I invite you to pray with me for God to uncover His truths about our spiritual footprints. Let’s search our hearts to determine if our spiritual footprints need a little reshaping or cleaned up. Who knows what God will reveal to us before next week’s post.

Spiritual Gifts: Part I

Thursday, August 3rd, 2017

Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant (I Corinthians 12:1, KJV).

What are Spiritual Gifts?

Spiritual gifts are supernatural abilities given or enhanced via the Holy Spirit to build and strengthen the church. God gave us Spiritual gifts because He wants to invest in His church and use them for a special purpose. And, these gifts can only operate in a person filled with the Holy Ghost according to Acts 2:38.

There aren’t restrictions in God’s Word as to the number of Spiritual gifts or the exact definitions thereof. There are many gifts called out in Scripture, but there isn’t an all-inclusive list of gifts God can activate in someone’s life.

Categories of Spiritual Gifts

There are three broad categories of Spiritual gifts:

  • Supernatural Spiritual Gifts—These are gifts of power, utterance (speaking), and revelation (knowledge). These are not performed by natural means (we can’t learn how to operate in these gifts)
  • Ministerial Office Gifts—These are the offices that comprise the five-fold ministry as noted in Ephesians 4:11–12. We don’t appoint ourselves to these offices; however, we can be used in the gifting
  • Ministerial Service Gifts—These are noted in Romans 12:6–8 and should be relevant and evident in all of our lives

Understanding the Origin of the Gift

Scripture tells us there are diversities of gifts, but they’re all from the same Spirit (I Corinthians 12:4). We can desire any of the gifts, but it’s God’s choice on whom He places His gifts and how and when they are to be used. We must understand Spiritual gifts belong to God—they’re His property. It is an immense blessing to be chosen by God to operate in one of His gifts (I Corinthians 12:18–20). To be used as a conduit for the Spiritual gifts, we must be willing, submissive, and sensitive to the moving of God’s Spirit in our lives.

Spiritual Gifts in the Church

Spiritual gifts in operation in God’s church should be normal. God said He would supply everything we need, and He will pour out the Spiritual gifts needed for the church in: our individual lives, every service, every conversation, on every group, etc. God won’t leave the church in a deficit of Spiritual gifts (I Corinthians 1:7). He will always get us what we need!

Spiritual Gifts are about the Giver

We have a tendency to think more about the receiver of a Spiritual gift than the giver. The person operating in the gifting is just a person—God is the giver of the gift! We shouldn’t label someone who operates in a gift one way over the another, nor should we look upon someone negatively who isn’t used in Spiritual giftings. Note, operation in Spiritual gifts doesn’t speak of a person’s spirituality either. Consider Samson. He led a lifestyle filled with poor choices, but God chose to move upon Him at times (Judges 13:25).

Spiritual gifts say a lot about our God:

  • Prophecy, tongues, or interpretation—God wants to speak to His people in a real-time and fresh way
  • Faith—God desires that we trust Him and believe in Him more and more
  • Administration/Leadership—God wants things to be organized in His church
  • Services/Mercy—God wants to care for His people
  • Wisdom—God wants His people to make good decisions and to apply knowledge correctly
  • Miracles—God wants His people to know how powerful He is

When we focus too much on the person operating in the Spiritual gifting, we rob God of the glory. We need to pay attention to God, from who all Spiritual gifts are given.

Spiritual Gifts are for Keeps

Scripture tells us “the gifts and calling of God are without repentance” (Romans 11:29, KJV). Spiritual gifts poured out in our lives are not by mistake and God isn’t going to revoke them. We can choose to walk away from those giftings—heaven help us—but God has placed them in our lives for a purpose. God will place an unction, urge, feeling, thought, etc. upon our hearts about the Spiritual gifts He wants us to operate in. We need to be sensitive and pay attention to this when we feel this direction because God is trying to work through us in His church.

Spiritual Gifts are to be Used in the Church

When operating in Spiritual gifts, we need to be keenly aware of motive. There is only one reason why God put Spiritual gifts in operation in the church: to build a church that would bring Him glory. If we find any motive outside of this, we are out of God’s will in the realm of Spiritual giftings.

God doesn’t pour out Spiritual gifts as rewards; they are given according to need and to help the body (I Corinthians 12:7). And, most importantly, Spiritual gifts are not to be used to replace God’s Word, godly leadership, or spiritual disciplines in our lives. Spiritual gifts will only confirm and strengthen these aspects of God’s Kingdom.

Not everyone will have all the different types of gifts (I Corinthians 12:11, 29–30). However, God’s Spiritual gifts will all complement one another and work together to bring strength, unity, and edification to His church body (I Corinthians 12:14–18).

Spiritual Gifts Operate in Love

In Scripture, Paul speaks about the Spiritual gifts in I Corinthians 12 and I Corinthians 14, but right in the middle of it, he talks about love. If we don’t have love, everything we do won’t be effective and cannot be used to give God glory (I Corinthians 12:31, 13:1–3). Spiritual gifts will lose their value when love isn’t present, so we must abide in love to operate in the Spiritual gifts.

Not only do we need to exercise love when operating in the gifts, we must operate in the Spiritual gifts in excellence (I Peter 4:10). We cannot be slothful in their operation (Romans 12:11)—when God puts anything in our lives, we must use it for His Kingdom! Let’s pray that God can help prepare us to be used in His Spiritual gifts in the church according to His purpose.

Adapted from Wednesday Night Bible Study on August 02, 2017 with Pastor Nave

Getting Our Rest

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017

It’s no secret there’s a growing concern in the medical community about the global health of our society. Obesity is a widespread (and rapidly growing) problem, and our overall health is declining. Why? The short version is because we’re not exercising and we’re eating unhealthy foods.

The world we live in today is much different than the past. Life is moving by so quickly; people are multi-tasking and over-committing themselves at an alarming rate. And, with the technology movement, we think our hand-held devices possess some magical power that will iron out and/or handle the chaos we’ve created in our lives.

When we come home at the end of a long, eventful day of going 110 MPH—which really has been lived sitting for most of us—we sit some more (or sleep) and try to veg-out to get our minds and bodies to relax. The world drains every bit of life from us, and it comes from various aspects: family, jobs, school, extracurricular activities, etc. The sad reality is when we’re drained from the world, we’re drained from wanting to do anything. And, this includes spending time with God.

When our bodies have been pushed to the max, we don’t want to get up early (or stay up late) to spend time in prayer. When we’re mentally exhausted, sometimes the aspect of putting forth the brain-power to formulate sentences to pray seems overwhelming. When we spend most of the day reading at school or work, we don’t want to spend hours at home reading the Bible.

If I told you that spending time with God isn’t something that is going to drain, but refresh you, would you believe it?

To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest… (Isaiah 28:12, KJV).

I’ve talked about spiritual rest in blog posts before—and even recently—but I feel the Lord pressing me to revisit this topic again. Maybe it’s for me, or for someone out there who desperately needs to find rest.

Our rest, dear reader, isn’t going to come from closing our eyes, getting some shut eye, lazing about for a few hours looking at our phones, watching a movie, etc. Our rest and strength comes from time with the Lord, and praying through to the moment when the Holy Ghost washes over us with much-needed refreshment.

I’m not perfect, and I also struggle with this from time to time. But, I know when I get down on my knees to pray—sometimes with much drudgery—expend just a little bit of effort to connect with God, and allow His Spirit to pour into me, I get up more refreshed than any time spent in bodily rest. Sometimes even 15 minutes alone with God in prayer feel like more rest than 10 hours asleep.

Don’t get me wrong. Physical rest for the body is great. My recent vacation of lounging beside the ocean and gazing into long sunsets is something I definitely long for (mostly because I’m pretty sure this relaxing vacation has “worn off” already). But, God created our rest, our true rest to be daily. His rest is to to help us get through the stuff that tears us down and makes us head for the couch when we get home. And, that’s why we need to seek after His rest every day.

Instead of the bed or a comfy chair, we should seek something that may appear to have a little less physical comfort to begin with. By the time we’ve entered into a time of prayer with God, any bit of discomfort will be replaced with a peace and rest we can’t find anywhere else in this world.