World’s View of The Spirit

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As I sat in a group discussing the spiritual gifts that existed between us, I had a tug at my heart. I saw men light up as they described the gifts God had bestowed upon them and how they put those gifts into practice in their kingdom service. I realized how easy it is to talk about God moving in the presence of other believers, while on the other hand the same conversation with non-believers is met with confusion or skepticism. I then realized that every spiritual gift comes with a worldly stigma that faces criticism from those who cannot recognize God’s work in a person. A few examples:

The gift of Knowledge can be seen as arrogance to someone who is offended by the revelation found in that gift. The humility to be lead is a sign of wisdom and a trait of God.

The gift of Teaching can seem over bearing when the subject matter becomes eternal and spiritual. The believer is looked at as a ‘know it all’ and the words fall on deaf ears.

The gift of Encouragement makes people feel like their problem isn’t taken seriously because they don’t share the same confidence as the believer. They want a reaction that mirrors their own such as anger or fear.

The gift of Giving offends people who are too proud to receive that kind of love.

The gift of Prophecy makes people withdraw as they sit in denial about a truth that becomes clear far later than need be. They fight truth that they are not ready to receive.

The gift of Evangelism rubs anybody wrong who refuses to submit to The Creator and insists on a self-reliance that never succeeds. Just the name of God causes the sinful heart to withdraw.

Finally, the gift of Faith which looks like indifference when the world won’t approve of the lack of reaction found in Christ. They don’t find peace in reliance on a God they deny.

                Growth in Christ (spirit) is viewed as a flaw to the world (flesh). Every gift come with a perceived flaw when the lost don’t understand the true power of the Holy Spirit in a believer. Part of the deceiver’s work is to create a skewed view of God and His faithful by turning the lost away from the power of God as it works through the gifted. We should all take the time to examine our hearts and the gifts God has placed in them. That realization helps you see where God desires to use you in His kingdom. The difficult part is the perseverance we face in the light of those gifts. Ask God to give you strength and know that God has blessed you with those gifts and will continue to do so as you allow His Spirit to move through you with His gifts.

How Would You Feel?

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             Imagine that you inherited a large sum of money and decided to buy an island for your friends and family. You built housing and provided anything they could ever need on the island. If a new need arose you met that need out of love for the people you chose to live there. They want for nothing because of your provision. Over time they forget about you and glorify themselves in the luxury you provide. They become arrogant and selfish, trying to store extra things for themselves to obtain status over the other people. None of the people recognize your name anymore. You feel sad and angry. Maybe you ask them to take one day per week and remember the source of their provision. That doesn’t get followed. You institute rules for them so that they have to regain an outward focus toward you. They fail at that as well. You finally have to travel to the island to explain what your reason for the island was, and that you want them to remember the love that built it and continues to provide for it. You want them to be thankful and love you in return. You become an example to them of how you desire for them to live. They reject you. They don’t like the idea of letting you change what they have established in your absence so they look for a way to kill you. Finally, you institute a message of love that encompasses all of the original rules and gives them hearts that resemble the heart that brought the island into existence.

                I ask you to put yourself in that situation and imagine how you would feel. Would you be angry with your people? How sad would their selfishness make you? How would the rejection when you traveled to help them make you feel? I’ll let you have your own moment with the feelings that stir within you.

This is the frustration of God. He has more power and presence than we can imagine with this human example. God is far too big for us to ever understand Him or to fully see His plan. I wanted you to feel in your heart what we would see from His throne. Then imagine that He looks at you with unconditional love and accepted death to reconcile you to Him. He’s building a new island for those that choose to give Him the recognition and thanks. I don’t ask you to fully understand the infinite God. I hope you don’t let yourself become complacent and resemble the people who forget where their provision comes from.

Give What is Due

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 (Revelation 7:12) “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”

Blessing – First, a blessing was a public declaration of a favored status with God. Second, the blessing endowed power for prosperity and success. We are to honor God for giving us blessings we are unworthy of by blessing Him in return in the form of praise.

Glory– Glory speaks to recognition of God and His presence (omnipresence) in all things. God does all things and created all things for His glory. He desires our attention and recognition for all provision. God is the source of all existence and we should be thankful for everything we are allowed to experience.

Wisdom – He is the source of perfect wisdom as describes in James 3:17. An accurate definition of wisdom is: seeing things from God’s point of view. God knows the beginning from the end so He doesn’t get caught up in the small things that our human emotions drive us toward. When you are on the path of God you don’t stop for the pebbles in the way.

Thanksgiving – Thanking God for all that He bestows on His children. Without Him there would be nothing. All that we are and all that we have are because of what He gave and created. It’s human nature to believe that we can do anything without God. We prosper when we can be thankful to God or for any ability and provision He has given us for His purpose.

Honor – To honor someone, is to give weight or to grant a person a position of respect or give precedence in one’s life. God, as our sustainer and creator, not only deserves but desires the highest position in our life. Seeing God in such a light allows His judgment to guide our life as the world moves in many directions. God’s Word acts like a plumb line that never moves from perfect center. His guidance must be seen as a safe place of refuge when we can’t move forward with certainty. Giving God honor gives light to the path through this dark world.

Power – Ability/ Authority/ Dominion Over. God has ultimate power and control over all things. His authority is for all time. Just because the lost turn away doesn’t take away God’s authority, it just take away their ability to sense Him in their life. It becomes easier for the deceiver to do his work on those who deny the authority of God as well as those who drift from that realization.

Might – Strength/ Force/ Physical Power. As God, we have to realize the strength He possesses in His dominion over all the universe. What many fail to understand is God is strongest in our weakness. God does all things for His glory, so when you have nothing left, He has everything. God’s power is magnified through submissiveness. Hand your hardship to God, then let go. It is then that you can truly feel His power, and know that your efforts would have led to a lesser result.

Misunderstood Path

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                God has a plan for all who are obedient to His guidance. The plans and blessings God has prepared for those who are faithful to staying His course are far beyond our imagination. One of the most difficult aspects to walking in God’s light and taking Him by His right hand is that those who have hardened their hearts and choose to dwell outside of God’s light will never understand this walk. Being selfless, joyful, at peace, and confident make the lost question the sanity of a mind focused on the things that are eternal. God’s plan will not always be clear to those who stay in the shadow of earthly sin. Faith allows a believer to be steadfast in the provision of our God. We must accept the responsibility that comes with a knowledge of Jesus and the indwelling of the Spirit of God. God’s people must harness the power available in the Holy Spirit and become leaders of the lost, a guide toward the light of God and His path. We are only able to rightfully lead when we are rightfully lead by God. A real leader must see the goal before those who are meant to follow. Be a reflection of God’s light and a beacon in this dark world.

False Wisdom

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(Matthew 11:16-19) “To what can I compare this generation? They are like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling out to others: “‘We played the pipe for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn. ’For John (the Baptist) came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man (Jesus) came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by her deeds.”

This passage speaks to legalism, false wisdom, unrealistic/false expectation, and pointless religious ritual. People create an expectation of God as opposed to learning about Him from His word. Then they take it a step further and judge people based upon their unfounded expectation. They pride themselves on their false wisdom and their actions discredit their wisdom (11:19). There is no wisdom in humanizing our infinite God, then judging on behalf of the only judge. Their lack of wisdom due to their lack of knowledge leaves them looking to discredit the actions of those that they don’t understand or agree with. Learning who God is comes with an accountability too large for people who refuse to become selfless, in submission to the Creator. They fail to understand that all of their false wisdom and inflated theory fails in comparison to faith the size of a mustard seed, which can move mountains and truly stir the hearts of man.

Minister of God

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2 Corinthians 6:2-10

Working together with him (Christ), then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For he says,

“In a favorable time I listened to you,
    and in a day of salvation I have helped you.”

Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. We put no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; 10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything.

God gives us a description of what the ministry of His kingdom will entail.

He uses the word “in” to show the potential conditions that must be endured in the name of Jesus for reconciliation of God’s people to Him.

IN: Afflictions-Hardships-Calamities-Beatings-Imprisonment-Riots-Labors-Sleepless Nights-Hunger

We are to endure these conditions with the power found only in the Holy Spirit and in a way fitting a child of God. He uses the word “by” to show us the way and how we are to minister for His kingdom as we serve as facilitators to show the light of Christ to the world.

BY: Great Endurance-Purity-Knowledge-Patience-Kindness-The Holy Spirit-Genuine Love-Truthful      Speech-The Power of God

Knowing the conditions and the way we are to react to those conditions we see how the world will react. He uses “through” to show opposite ends of the landscape (reactions) that exists during the journey of ministry.

THROUGH: Honor-Dishonor-Slander-Praise

Being a child and minister for God causes a sanctification for you as you grow in the Spirit and bear fruit in your spiritual maturity. As you move toward holiness (become set apart) the world should take notice. As with most things that are different the reactions can be difficult and most likely will be seeing as you represent an opposition to the world, a light in the darkness. This group of verses concludes with a description of the sinful view of this world and the contrasting reality found in God. Although their hardened and sinful hearts will not allow them to see God’s truth. Praise God that He has chosen you to be set apart in service for Him. Become resolute in your position as a minister in God’s kingdom, a source of light to this dark and lost world.

Position in World’s View Position In God’s Light
Imposter True
Unknown Well Known
Dying Alive
Punished Not Killed
Sorrowful Rejoicing
Poor Making Many Rich
Having Nothing Possessing Everything

Ask and it Will be Given (5 of 5)

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Knowledge

Reciprocations (Receive-Find-Enter)

We must allow God to fill our hearts with His Spirit and His Word to fill our minds with His truth. We have to be open to receive truth, in any way it is given to us. It may be through difficult times, quiet times, joyful times, times of fear, times of anger, times of panic. It may come through a person we love, someone we are fearful of, someone we respect, someone who is the opposite of what we desire to be. God is always speaking to us, always giving real life examples of His word. Are we always listening? Are we always available to find the application of His truth? Do we expect God to tailor His infinite wisdom to accommodate our closed mind? If He did, would we receive far less than He was willing to provide? We must use knowledge to help us receive God’s provision, and understand how it can mature our spirit, fill our heart, and direct our minds. We must finally enter into God’s Wisdom, God’s viewpoint. We can use the tools He makes available to us to enter into sanctification, holiness. Seeking God daily opens the doors to the life God desires for those who will enter into His kingdom, enter into His Glory.

 

(2 Chronicles 15:2) The Lord is with you while you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you.

Ask and it Will be Given (4 of 5)

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Knowledge

Actions (Ask-Seek-Knock)

The other half of seeking God is knowledge that can lead to wisdom. God puts questions on our heart that spur us to deeper knowledge of Him, His Word, and His Will. We must always hunger to know what the Sustainer of the universe has for us. We must allow that curiosity to drive us to seek God. Our first action is allowing the questions of our heart to drive us to learn about, not to doubt, God. Seeking the answers of God drives us closer to Him as our Heavenly Father. We must spend time with God in prayer, time with God in His word (the Bible), and time with God living out our faith. We must always seek to go deeper and never be satisfied with what is around us. We will miss the unique relationship God desires with us and the plan He has for us. Knocking indicates repetition. We ask questions to determine God’s will, we seek to find His face and learn about Him, and we do this Daily. As His mercy is renewed daily, so should our hunger and thirst to stay close by His side. Close enough to hear His whisper to our hearts, close enough to receive His provision and light. A heart seeking God repels sin and temptation as it is filled with God’s Spirit and Love. 

Ask and it will be given (3 of 5)

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Prayer

Reciprocations (Receive-Find-Enter)

Many know that part of prayer is receiving the provision of God. Many have an unrealistic expectation of what that looks like. Receiving an answer to prayer involves an overlooked aspect of prayer: silence. We should spend the same amount of time and energy listening as we do speaking to God. God communicates in whispers to your heart. You must allow for God to reciprocate in your prayerful conversations with Him. Finding is a process of understanding God’s answer. People get lost as they look for God to answer them according to their expectation. The answer flies by as they look for their ideal, as opposed to being open, in submission, to the provision of God that surpasses their imagination. The process of finding also allows God to redirect our path by using His provision as a guiding light. Allow God’s provision to lead your heart into deeper communication and better understanding of His desire for you. You are now led to the opportunity to enter into God’s kingdom. Not Heaven yet, I mean to take your place in His kingdom where you can be used to show His light to this world. Through persistence and perseverance God will develop you to receive His provision and be directed to the place in His kingdom design specifically for, and available only to, your submissive heart.