Spiritual gifts are given as a result of God’s grace and not by any effort or merit on our part. These gifts are given by the Holy Spirit to teach,serve and encourage others…not us. Each one of us is given a “pattern” of gifts unique to our talents and passions. That word pattern is similar to how each shot-gun has a unique shell pattern, and brings me to my little story.
My father was a firm beliver that his three girls should learn to handle guns, and so many a Sunday afternoon were spent shooting clay pigeons. As we became older, boys started coming around, and if we liked them, they’d be invited for Sunday Dinner. After Dinner our Dad would ask the young buck if he’d like to shoot a few clay pigeons. They would all jump at the chance to show off to us girls, and being the good hosts, we always let the boy shoot first…then we’d take over! Depending on how the young man reacted determined whether we’d date him again or not. We laugh about it now, but several future husbands passed the clay pigeon test.
Paul’s friends were beseeching him not to go to Jerusalem and certain arrest. His friends reactions were very human and kind of selfish…they wanted Paul safe. But the Holy Spirit was also speaking to Paul, and he knew this is where he had to be.
Sometimes the Holy Spirit will speak things into our lives that we absolutely know are true, but when we share them with others they discourage and plead with us to reconsider. At that point you have to make the decision of who you will listen to ..God or man. Therefore, Listen carefully, if you know it’s from the Holy Spirit, don’t allow others to dissuade you from fulfilling your ministry.
The temptations of this world are sneaky, they won’t hit you over the head and drag you off to their lair. Instead,they start by just enticing you as you innocently stroll past. But if you chose to keep walking past again and again, before long that allurement has you stopped dead in your tracks, mesmerized and drawn in by it. Soon you’re dwelling in the middle of the temptation and it has become a way of life. This verse states that blessed or happy is the man who does not allow temptation to become sin. Happy is that person who just keeps walking!
Daniel did such a great job at work that he excelled above all others. So exceptional was his character, work ethic, and spirit within him that the king had taken notice. What a testimony in the work place Daniel had! It’s easy to be that super-spirtual person in church on Sunday, but the ugly truth usually comes out of us in the cold , harsh light of our work place. The reality of what comes out of our mouths and how we conduct ourselves will speak volumes to our co-workers. I encourage you to take your exceptional qualities to work tomorrow…you will be noticed!
They are bringing the sheep down from the mountains now to their Winter pastures. I was able to observe a large flock over the weekend in temporary grazing. A single stretch of electric wire around the perimeter, several dogs, and a lone shepherd kept watch over 300 sheep. I was amazed at how calm and peaceful the animals were. They seemed to feel very secure within the boundaries knowing the shepherd was there to protect them. God knew David would lead His people with the same integrity and wisdom as he had shown up in the mountains with his own flock. And in turn Israel would know peace.
When the troubles of the world are crushing us under their weight, our typical reaction is not that of joy and gladness in the moment. Rather, we moan, complain, and cry about the injustices of life. But if we would step back for a moment and try to see the big picture…The God Picture, things might take on a more eternal view. The affliction or distress creates in us patience as we wait on the Lord. That patience is proof that our character is being changed for the good. And finally, with a more God-like character, we can view our sufferings through His eyes with expectation and confidence, knowing He loves us.
The term “willingly” comes from two Hebrew words which mean- from His heart. God doesn’t want to bring hardships into our lives, but He may do so in order to teach, convict, and bring us into a right relationship with Himself. We, unfortunately, have to live with the circumstances of wrong choices we’ve made. But the wonderful news is that despite how much we mess up, the Lord’s great love for us never ends…it is new every morning!