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Archive for May, 2012

21 Question Test of Spiritual Maturity
Knowing Your Spiritual Gifts Part 1
 
Fact: The purpose of God’s gifts is for our common good. Every believer has been given a calling, spiritual gifts and a divine purpose.
 
The Lord did not make any mistakes when He designed your life purpose.  He gave you spiritual gifts to enable you to fulfill it.  You were created by God, and He is the only one that knows your purpose.  Therefore, you must seek Him (and only Him) to find out what it is.  Some people abuse their lives and do things (with their gifts) that they were not intended to. And they end up outside of God’s will.  Your spiritual gifts help you carry out your purpose.  You have to execute the Lord’s instructions and know that understanding comes with obedience.  As you submit to His will not yours, He will reveal more things to you about your purpose.
 
1 Corinthians 12:4 (Amplified Bible)                                                                                                                    Now there are distinctive varieties and distributions of endowments (gifts,[a]extraordinary powers distinguishing certain Christians, due to the power of divine grace operating in their souls by the Holy Spirit) and they vary, but the [Holy] Spirit remains the same.
 
The Earthly & Spiritual Job
Did you know that your earthly life is an interview for your eternal one?  Whatever your gifts are, use them to the proportion of your faith. This will build you up and prepare you for your life in Heaven. 
 
Romans 12:6 (Amplified Bible)
Having gifts (faculties, talents, qualities) that differ according to the grace given us, let us use them: [He whose gift is] prophecy, [let him prophesy] according to the proportion of his faith;
Ephesians 4:8 (Amplified Bible)
Therefore it is said, When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive [He led a train of] vanquished foes] and He bestowed gifts on men.
 
Gifts without Prejudice
The gifts of the Lord are irrevocable (Romans 11:29). Women have spiritual gifts too, and should be free to speak and prophecy in the church.
 
Acts 2:17 (Amplified Bible)
And it shall come to pass in the last days, God declares, that I will pour out of My Spirit upon all mankind, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy [telling forth the divine counsels] and your young men shall see visions (divinely granted appearances), and your old men shall dream [divinely suggested] dreams.
Separating Gifts from Responsibilities
Every Christian has duties that should not be confused for gifts. Our responsibilities as followers of Christ include winning souls, living by faith, financial giving, praying and walking in godly character.  Always remember that the fruits of the spirit are more valuable than the gifts of the spirit. 
Galatians 5:22-24 (Amplified Bible)
But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence). Against such things there is no law [that can bring a charge].
 
God gives the gifts of the spirit, but the fruit of the spirit must be developed for the gift to honor the Him.  When the gifts of the spirit are present, yet lack the fruit of the spirit, God does not get the glory.  For example, teaching is a gift of the spirit, but if the teacher belittles the students and uses no effort to help them, the gift has no meaning and God gets no praise.  It is possible to have great faith but no love (1 Corinthians 13:1).
 
Walking Out Your Purpose
Once you have identified your gifts of the spirit, make sure that you are balanced in walking in Godly character while fulfilling your purpose. Below are the guidelines.
1.      Study the scriptures concerning your gift and know the Word concerning your gift.
2.      Pray and ask God what He wants you to do with your gift.
3.      Consult with your pastor to find out how your gift can be used in the local church.  And when the pastor shows you the need, go directly to your position (and be faithful to it).
4.      Connect with mature Christians.
5.      Wait to be sent out; don’t walk in your gift uncovered (without the blessing of your pastor).
6.      Get over the fear of people.
7.      Be yourself.
 
Love,
Dr. Joyce Oliver
 

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21 Question Test of Spiritual Maturity
Establishing the Kingdom Family
Fact: Families are God’s idea, and they have a purpose.
Have you ever observed families in where several people teach, are doctors or are musically gifted?  That is not a coincidence; instead it is a divine gift from the Lord. He gives families dominant gifts so that they can fulfill their purpose as a unit.  And since we all come from a family, He has predesigned a divine plan for us to complete as a family unit.
The Contemporary Family
In modern culture, family is about success and child worship.  Many families are strict about educational values yet lax about church and spiritual growth.  For instance, when children head off to college, one of the most important things parents should do is find a church home for their child. Another example is that many extracurricular activities are held on Sundays which pulls children away from church.  The world culture is the enemy of the kingdom family, and it will pass away.
1Timothy 3: 4 (Amplified Bible)
He must rule his own household well, keeping his children under control, with true dignity, commanding their respect in every way and keeping them respectful.
 
Matthew 24:45 (Amplified Bible)                                                                                               Who then is the faithful, thoughtful, and wise servant, whom his master has put in charge of his household to give to the others the food and supplies at the proper time?
 
The Kingdom Family
As the coming of the Lord draws near, it is important for families to abide (stay) in our Father’s house.  We live in an age that loves intellect, self-fulfillment, comfort and pleasure.  In addition, the devil is a persistent salesman marketing his deadly products to all who will listen and buy.  He always tries to slither into our spiritual homes.  However, if the Lord resides in our homes, then we are safe. We remain secure by staying under the Word and being faithful to coming to His house.
 
1 John 2:15 (Amplified Bible)                                                                                                     Do not love or cherish the world or the things that are in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him.
 
Matthew 7:24 (Amplified Bible)                                                                                                                             
So everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts upon them [obeying them] will be like a sensible (prudent, practical, wise) man who built his house upon the rock.
 
When looking for a godly example of a family leader, look at Abraham.  He directed his life after the Lord; that’s where the Israelites originated from.  His obedience caused future generations to prosper.  Just like the Israelites, every family has a purpose as to where they should be and what they should be doing to advance the kingdom of the Lord. The leader of the families makes sure that they don’t get lost in the culture of the world.
Acts 17:26 (Amplified Bible)
And He made from one [common origin, one source, one blood] all nations of men to settle on the face of the earth, having definitely determined [their] allotted periods of time and the fixed boundaries of their habitation (their settlements, lands, and abodes).
 
Foundation of the Kingdom Family
Yes, we live in the world, but not by its principles.  The Bible is our guide.  Below is the structure for God’s family.
1.      Godly Marriage (Ephesians 5:21-25)
·      A godly husband should be able to carry the weight of providing for and protecting his family while being willing to pay the price of being the leader in the home.
2.      A godly wife is a reflection of her husband; she is his harvest.
3.      In each home, there should be an authority who will be accountable to God for how the children are raised. Children should be pointed towards the Lord.
4.      Godly parents nurture the child in their lives.
1 Samuel 1:20-24
20 Hannah became pregnant and in due time bore a son and named him Samuel [heard of God], because, she said, I have asked him of the Lord. 21 And Elkanah and all his house went up to offer to the Lord the yearly sacrifice and pay his vow.  22 But Hannah did not go, for she said to her husband, I will not go until the child is weaned, and then I will bring him, that he may appear before the Lord and remain there as long as he lives. 23 Elkanah her husband said to her, Do what seems best to you. Wait until you have weaned him; only may the Lord establish His word. So Hannah remained and nursed her son until she weaned him. 24 When she had weaned him, she took him with her, with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour, and a skin bottle of wine [to pour over the burnt offering for a sweet odor], and brought Samuel to the Lord’s house in Shiloh. The child was growing.
Love,
Dr. Joyce Oliver

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