Thursday, 21 December 2017

WHY DID JESUS COME?

A Christmas reflection: Nine reasons why Christ came to this world


                                                                   
Tis the season to be jolly! At least that’s what commercial Christmas is about: Shopping, exchanging gifts and dining in fine restaurants.

Amid this celebratory mood, it’s easy to forget the meaning behind this year-end celebration—to honour the coming of Christ to the world.

Let’s pause a few minutes to consider this: What made Jesus leave the comfort and security of heaven to come to earth as a man with his inherent weaknesses and limitations?

Here are NINE reasons for Jesus’ coming to this world:

To reconcile us to God

Christ is the sacrificial Lamb of God. He came to die on the cross, bearing the punishment for our sins. Sin had caused man to be separated from God. But when we believe that He died for our sins, we receive God’s forgiveness and, therefore, become reconciled to God.

Thus, the main purpose of Christ’s coming is to save man from sin, restore the broken relationship between God and man and enable him to get to heaven (salvation) one day when he expires.



  • “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
  • “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
  • “This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins” (1 John 4:10).
  • “God made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Since Jesus came to seek and to save the lost, sinners should respond quickly with joyful repentance.

To establish God’s kingdom

While Christ was on earth, He proclaimed: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:15). Thus, the gospel (good news) is not just about saving man from sin. There is a much bigger purpose—establishing God’s kingdom.



What is God’s kingdom? It is the realm where God’s authority and dominion reside, both a present and future reality.

God’s kingdom is a present reality in that it exists within the hearts of born-again believers (Luke 17:21).

But God’s kingdom is also a future reality. This will be fulfilled when the Holy City descends from heaven; God will dwell with His people there (Revelation 21:2-3). Christ will literally reign for 1000 years on earth.

To empower us to live righteously

When we believe in Christ, the Holy Spirit who indwells us empowers us to overcome sin. It all begins when believers become identified with Christ’s death. Our old self was crucified with Christ so that we are no longer enslaved to sin (Romans 6:6).

We are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh (Romans 8:12). For the law of the Spirit of life has set us free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:2).

As we die to self, walk in the Spirit, seek God in prayer, and fellowship with other believers, we will be strengthened from within to overcome sin (Luke 9: 23, Galatians 5:16, Matthew 26:41, 2 Timothy 2:22).

To show us how to serve in humility, power and love

In the last Passover meal He shared with His disciples, Jesus arose and washed their feet. By this humble act, a lowly task performed by servants for visitors, Jesus showed us how we should serve each other (John 13:1-5).

“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).

Christ also demonstrated how he ministered to people with love and power. Love alone without power is futile; power without love is just a show.

Love: When Christ moved on this earth, He had compassion on the multitudes and healed them (Matthew 14:14).

Power: God anointed Christ with the Holy Spirit’s power as He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil (Acts 10:38).

To give us purpose and meaning in life

Is life meant to be something like this? Go to school, work hard, enter university, work hard, get a degree, secure a good job, buy a house and a car, get married, have children, then grandchildren, get to play with them and then watch TV on our rocking chair the rest of our lives till we die?

No, Christ came to inject meaning and purpose into our lives. He came that we may have life, and that we may have it more abundantly (John 10:10). He introduced His disciples to a different kind of “food”, which is the will of God—that which He was sent to accomplish (John 4: 32-34).

More than food and material riches, which man hankers after, Christ promised a different kind of satisfaction and fulfillment that the world cannot match—and, in the hereafter, eternal life and rewards for good works. He told the Samaritan woman at the well that He offers living water which truly satisfies; whoever drinks of it will never thirst (John 4: 13-14).

Love and forgiveness towards others

Jesus taught us that it is important to set our relationship with others aright once we are reconciled to God.

In The Lord’s Prayer, He made it clear that before we can receive God’s forgiveness, we need to forgive others (Matthew 6:12). We are to constantly forgive others, even seventy times seven times. Since there is no limit to God’s forgiveness, we should not place a limit to forgiveness in inter-personal relationships (Matthew 18:22).

In fact, Jesus taught that love should be the hallmark of His followers: “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35).

To destroy the works of the devil

                                                                       
The battle between good and evil not only exists in the galaxies in “Star Wars” but also in the spiritual realm. From Genesis to Revelation, spiritual warfare is evident.

It does not get any clearer than this: “The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8b).

By defying death, through His resurrection, Christ “disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities”. He “shamed them publicly” by His victory over them at the cross (Colossians 2:15).

Believers, now seated in the heavenly places next to Christ, rest in an exalted position over the principalities and powers (Ephesians 2:6). The battle has already been won. Our task is to have faith and enforce the victory that Christ has achieved for us at the cross (Ephesians 6:10-11).

To overcome the fear of death

Christ came that He might set free those who through fear of death were subject to life-long slavery (Hebrews 2:15).

Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies” (John 11:25). Can we think of any other promise that offers greater hope to a man when he passes through the valley of death?

The resurrection of Jesus is the epitome of hope. There is life after death for believers—everlasting life in heaven. Just as Jesus’ death is not final, physical death is not final for those who believe in Him.

To restore what was lost in Creation

In the creation account, God instructed Adam and Eve to tend the fruitful Garden of Eden. However, beguiled by Satan, they fell into sin. Among the consequences of the Fall, man would need to toil to earn a living and he will die one day.

But the consolation is that Christ will come one day to undo the works of Satan.  Christ, the seed of woman, born of a virgin, will ultimately defeat Satan on the cross (by His resurrection from the dead) though Satan bruised the heel of Christ, causing His death.

“I will put enmity between you and the woman,
 and between your offspring and her offspring;
he will bruise your head, and you will bruise his heel.”
(Genesis 3:15)

One day, the likes of the paradise that existed in the Garden of Eden will be restored. When God establishes the new heaven and new earth, with gates made of pearls and streets of gold, a state of glorious perfection will once again become a reality.


                                                              
To recapitulate, what is the main reason why Christ came into this world? He wants to draw us into an everlasting relationship with God, one that transcends our earthly life into eternity.

Christmas is about Jesus who came down to earth 2000 years ago to die for man’s sins. Jesus is God but He stooped low to take the form of man. Furthermore, He willingly subjected Himself to flogging, and the humiliation and excruciating pain of being hung on the cross.

In doing so, He paved the way for man to be forgiven and be reconciled to God. Now those who believe in His sacrificial death on the cross can enter into a personal relationship with God. He is ever ready to forgive us our sins if we believe in Him. 

                                                                               
And for those who already have Christ in our hearts, this season is an opportune time to pause and reflect as to whether we harbour any unforgiveness or resentment against anyone. Inasmuch as God has forgiven us, we too need to forgive; so make decisive steps to be reconciled to our friends or family members. For bitterness, if left unchecked, will destroy us more than the ones with whom we have issues.


                                                                    
As the lyrics of “Christmas isn’t Christmas” tell us:
“Christmas isn't Christmas till it happens in your heart
Somewhere deep inside you
Is where Christmas really starts
So give your heart to Jesus,
you'll discover when you do
That it's Christmas, really Christmas for you.”

Christmas Isn't Christmas (Till It Happens In Your Heart)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UMurK0o2NGs

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THE JOY OF GIVING
Can joy come out of giving? Wouldn’t it be better to be on the receiving end instead?

EIGHT REASONS WHY WE SHOULD GIVE
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Thanks be to God for His inexpressible gift.
Now the One who gave us the greatest gift of all inspires us to give.
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Friday, 8 December 2017

WHY WE NEED GRACE

Exploring the positive aspects of grace and why we need it so badly


Some believers abuse God’s grace, using it as a licence for sinning, thinking that the more they sin, God’s grace will abound even more (Jude 4, Romans 6:1).

Such are the inherent dangers in overemphasising grace—when we go overboard on grace and think that God’s favour will forever remain with us, no matter how we live out our lives.

Yet, it does not mean that grace is unimportant or irrelevant in the lives of believers. 

The poet Robert Frost penned that “all you really want in the end is mercy.” I think he was spot on there with this one-liner. Undeniably, we all need God’s mercy and grace.

As we look at our own lives, weigh our brownie points against our sin, we will definitely conclude that a fair judgment on God’s part at the end of our lives here on earth would be this—‘guilty’.

For we have all sinned and fall short of God’s standards. If not for God’s grace and mercy, where will we be? (Romans 3:23, Romans 5:8).

As Christians, we are saved by God’s grace, not by our good works, AND stay on in this journey of faith because of His grace.

Like the penitent tax collector in Luke 18:9-14, we are constantly in need of God’s grace and mercy. We, in fact, need lots of His grace and mercy.

To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
(Luke 18:9-14)

                                      
Yes, there is nothing wrong with a teaching that emphasises grace provided …
  • it (grace) leads to transformed lives.

  • it (grace) is not misused as a licence for sinning.

  • personal responsibility is being emphasised to the same degree as grace.

Apart from grace being God’s unmerited favour towards sinners, what are the other positive aspects of grace?

Among other things, there is grace that sustains, grace that empowers, grace that denies self and grace that reflects wisdom in speech and thought.

Firstly, there is a grace that sustains us in times of trials and tribulations. The apostle Paul was afflicted with a thorn in the flesh. When he sought God for its removal, he was told, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians12:9).

This thorn, a messenger of Satan, was God’s way of keeping him from being too elated over the abundance of revelations he received while he was being transported to heaven. 

However, the exact nature of the thorn, whether it was an ailment or persecution, is unclear.
While others would have wallowed in self-pity, Paul remained level-headed and victorious even amid such adverse circumstances—truly a testimony to God’s sustaining grace.

Secondly, God’s grace also empowers us to serve Him and bless the body of believers and even beyond:
  • “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness” (Romans 12:6-8).

  • “As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies” (1 Peter 4:10-11).

  • “But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:7, 11-12).

Thirdly, the self-effacing aspect of grace is best epitomised in the life of Jesus. It’s a grace that puts the interests of others before self: “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9).

Grace that reflects self-denial is also seen in Jesus’ humility. Though He was God, He gave up all his glory and power to become man. Born in a manger to humble parents, he was obedient to the point of death at the cross (Philippians 2:6-8).

Fourthly, grace is a quality reflected in our speech: “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one” (Colossians 4:6).

Now gracious speech is likely to come from a mind that has been filled with wisdom from above: “The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy” (James 3:17).

If we say we believe in grace, then our speech must be gentle and show respect to all, even those who have different viewpoints.

Believing in a gracious God who forgives us of our sins is fine. And we certainly need loads of God’s grace and mercy.

But we also need to discover the reality of grace that sustains and empowers. We need grace to deny ourselves – that which Christ so beautifully epitomised. And, finally, we need to learn how to be gracious in speech, which is indicative of godly wisdom.

As we revisit these positive aspects of grace, we need to ask: “Are we demonstrating all these various facets of grace in our lives?”

                                                                           

ABUSE OF GRACE
When we think the more we sin, the more God’s grace abounds
“What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase?” (Romans 6:1)
When we pervert God’s grace, using it as a licence for living immoral lives
“I say this because some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God’s marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives.” (Jude 4)


CORRECT RESPONSE TO GOD’S GRACE
Grace, not an excuse to remain in our sins, but a reason to live righteously
“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age.” (Titus 2:11-12)


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GRACE AND TRUTH
The only way to know God and relate to Him is to embrace Him as He truly is—a God of grace, love and mercy AND a God of justice, righteousness and truth. To just know Him as either the former or latter is to live in complacency and indifference to sin OR guilt and despair over sin. The essence of idolatry is to entertain thoughts about God that misrepresent Him.
http://bit.ly/1MEout5

DANGER OF OVEREMPHASISING GRACE
Hyper-grace: “The truth is you are saved by grace and you are kept by grace. It’s grace from start to finish! Don’t let anyone frighten you into doing dead works, but rest secure in His finished work. Just as you did nothing to earn salvation, there is nothing you can do to lose it.”

TRANSFORMED BY MERCY
Our lives must show evidence of change in thought and behavior after we have experienced God’s love.

REPETITIVE SINNING
What fate awaits those who sin repeatedly after they have believed?

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

LET GO AND LET GOD

As we battle our way through life’s many challenges, we have to trust God. He will fight for us.



Winning a battle does not necessarily rest on a nation’s sophisticated war machine, which in ancient times meant many well-armed men, horses and chariots. If God holds the keys of victory, the side which enjoys His favour is the victor.

Here are three Old Testament accounts that reveal how God caused His people to triumph over their enemies against tremendous odds. For the battle belongs to the Lord.

Hopefully, whenever we face life’s challenges—whether it is cancer, retrenchment, marital discord or a delinquent child—these precious truths can be applied in our lives.

Foreign Invasion Repelled

When King Jehoshaphat faced a huge army, he was dismayed. A great military alliance was preparing to invade his nation, Judah. In despair, he cried out to God. Firstly, he began with adoration. He extolled the greatness and might of God. Then he placed his fears and worries before God, reminding Him how He had once driven out their enemies.

The king called upon the whole nation of Judah to pray for God’s mercy to be upon them. Then Jahaziel, the prophet, proclaimed God’s comforting word to the whole nation: “Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s” (2 Chronicles 20:15).

Acting upon the prophetic word, the king confidently arranged a worship team to go before his army. As they went into battle, they praised God, as if the Almighty had already defeated their enemies. “Praise the Lord, For His mercy endures forever” (2 Chronicles 20:21).
The battle was truly a walkover in favour of Judah. God caused their enemies to fight against one another; Judah did not even have to fight against them.

The spoils of war were so abundant that it took three days to collect them. On the fourth day, the victors gathered at the Valley of Beracah (blessing) to bless God for His favour upon them. Truly the battle was not theirs, but the Lord’s.

Parting of the Red Sea

In the exodus account, the Israelites were fearful because they were locked in a tight situation. The Red Sea lay ahead of them, rendering escape impossible. Behind them, the army of Pharaoh—with their horses and chariots—was closing in on them, relentless in hot pursuit.

Terrified, they cried out to Moses: “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die?” (Exodus 14:11).

It was true that Pharaoh’s army was behind them and the Red Sea was before them but they had forgotten one thing: God was above them.

Moses, demonstrating great faith, calmed them, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still” (Exodus 14: 13-14).



And, as they say, the rest is history. As Moses lifted his rod over the sea as if to “divide it”, in obedience to God’s command, a miracle happened. Moses’ symbolic act was instrumental in the unfolding of God’s deliverance of His people. He was God’s co-worker. The sea parted and the people of Israel were able to pass through it as if it were dry ground. When the soldiers tried to cross the sea, the walls of water on either side collapsed on them and they were drowned.

When City Walls Tumbled Down

After crossing the river Jordan, Joshua prepared the people to invade Canaan, the Promised Land. The males had to be circumcised as a mark of sanctification before the conquest.

Now Jericho, the first city that stood in the way of their conquest of Canaan, seemed like an impregnable fortress. In some places, its walls were heavily fortified, even up to 25 feet high and 20 feet thick.

God had already told Joshua exactly how to capture Jericho. Every day, for six days, they were to march around the city once. On the seventh day, however, they were to march around it seven times. Then, seven priests will blow their trumpets made from rams’ horns, everyone would shout and the walls would crumble (Joshua 6:2-5).

When God’s people obeyed these instructions, a miracle happened. The walls of Jericho collapsed and they charged straight into the city.

The conquest of Jericho illustrates the fact that the believer’s weapons of warfare are not carnal but spiritual. Repeated marching, shouting and blowing trumpets by priests may seem silly in the eyes of any military strategist. But the foolishness of God is better any day than the strength and wisdom of man.

For victorious living, what must we do? What does God require from us? He wants us to listen to His instructions, trust and obey.

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God (Psalm 20:7).

The horses are prepared for battle, but the victory belongs to the LORD (Proverbs 21:31).

His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor his pleasure in the legs of a man, but the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love (Psalm 147:10-11).

And what is the other requirement? Holiness. Notice that the Israelites failed to conquer the next city in their push into the Promised Land, Ai, because of one man’s disobedience (Joshua 7:1).

It is natural for us to fear, like Elisha’s servant who was dismayed when a great Syrian army came to capture his master. But once Elisha prayed to God for his servant’s eyes to be opened, the young man was comforted by the sight of an overwhelmingly superior army of horses and chariots sent by God to protect them (2 Kings 6:15-17).

Aren’t we inspired by the above passages—that whatever challenge we might be facing is not too big for God to handle? God is bigger than any of our problems. If we lay aside our fears and worries, and commit them to God, He will help us overcome our difficulties. He may even bless us abundantly beyond what we ask or think (Ephesians 3:20).

Victory without strife does not mean doing nothing and letting God do everything for us. On the contrary, we need to pray, seek Him, humble ourselves, listen to His instructions and obey, make the move at the opportune time and leave the results to Him.

When we face various challenges in life, we often forget that God is in control and that the keys of victory are in His hand. So let’s cease striving and start trusting Him. For the battle belongs to the Lord.

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Friday, 20 October 2017

FAN INTO FLAME THE GIFT OF GOD

Don’t let your spiritual gift lie dormant. Stir it up!



Look at John—he’s so gifted in preaching. Wow, Jane really shines when she leads in worship.

We often admire the preacher and worship team but we tend to downplay the role of the ushers and technical team in charge of the sound system. True, the former are in the limelight, but all have a part to play in a Sunday morning service.

Spiritual gifts—as opposed to our natural talents—are special abilities that God bestows upon believers. We cannot choose them; it is the Holy Spirit who distributes these gifts to whoever He wills (1 Corinthians 12:11).

The exercise of spiritual gifts need not necessarily be spectacular or awe-inspiring. Gifted believers can also serve God in quiet ways.

The apostle Peter exhorts believers to employ our gifts to benefit others—as “good stewards of God’s varied grace.” Thus, we can serve God through hospitality in a small group or preach with fire over the pulpit to hundreds or even thousands. In both instances, lives are impacted and God is glorified (1 Peter 4:9-11).

Now, who are deemed good stewards? The answer is found in the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30). This story reminds believers to utilise whatever spiritual gifts or talents God has given us. The men with two and five talents, who made a 100% return on investment for the master, were praised and given fresh responsibilities. Each received the same commendation: “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master” (Matthew 25: 21,23). However, the one-talent man who buried his talent was condemned: “You wicked and lazy servant!” (Matthew 25:26).

Faithful stewards assume responsibility in nurturing their God-given spiritual gifts so that its full potential is realised. Just because we have been endowed with spiritual gifts, it does not mean they will automatically flourish.


                                                                     
The apostle Paul reminded young Timothy to stir up his spiritual gift—“fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands” (2 Timothy 1:6).

                                                                     
He encouraged Timothy, reminding him that God had given him not a spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control (2 Timothy 1:7). It is God who empowers believers so that we become “competent as ministers of a new covenant” (2 Corinthians 3:6).

Fulfillment of God's destiny for our lives rests not on divine sovereignty alone; we have to work out our calling in obedience (Philippians 2:12-13). Jeremiah was appointed a prophet while he was still in his mother’s womb (Jeremiah 1:5). Yet, he had to persevere in his calling as he faced stubborn resistance while proclaiming God’s message.

Unity in diversity

Just as the various parts of our body have different functions, believers play diverse roles in the church, which is the body of Christ. Those who go out and win others (apostles, evangelists) as opposed to those who stay on and strengthen others (pastors, teachers) play crucial but varied roles.

As each believer is like a part of a body, no one can say he has no need of the other member. “The eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of you, nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you” (1 Corinthians 12:21).

The purpose of the five-fold ministry gifts (apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers) is to equip the saints for ministry and build up the church till it attains maturity—that it might be united amid its diversity (Ephesians 4:11-13).

There are different types of spiritual gifts, but they all come from the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord (1 Corinthians 12:4-5).

Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? (1 Corinthians 12: 29). Paul’s rhetorical questions show us that each believer is unique.

Self-esteem

Before setting aflame our spiritual gifts, we need to have a right estimate of ourselves—neither too low nor too high.  Spiritual gifts won’t flourish if we have low self-esteem or pride. While we may not cherish lofty notions of ourselves, we need healthy self-esteem before we can exercise our spiritual gifts. We are not to think of ourselves more highly than we ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each of us a measure of faith (Romans 12:3).  http://bit.ly/2xVitaU

Every Christian has been endowed with at least one spiritual gift. Therefore, it is false humility to think we are incapable of serving God and others.

Discovering our gifts

How do we determine our spiritual gifts? Firstly, as we pray and seek God, the Holy Spirit will reveal to us our spiritual gift(s) for He is the One who leads us into all truth. Secondly, other believers will reveal to us area(s) where we have special anointing, be it evangelism, teaching, counseling or worship. Thirdly, as we stir up the gift, we will receive further confirmation in our spirit and from others of our special calling. Finally, well-structured tests can help us identify our gifts. By answering 100 questions or more, our inclinations and talents are exposed. Though not foolproof, this tool can be used in conjunction with the foregoing in discovering our spiritual gifts. http://bit.ly/2tHLOzb

Need for caution

Though the Corinthian church excelled in spiritual gifts, Paul addressed its members as carnal, not spiritual, believers. In fact, he called them babes in Christ.

While spiritual gifts are important in helping the church attain maturity, we should not go overboard and value gifts more than character. Certainly, character is more important than charismahttp://bit.ly/1NmfjeI

Speaking in tongues, a spiritual gift, is not to be prohibited (1 Corinthians 14:39). Yet we must not overemphasise this spectacular gift that we neglect prophecy—proclaiming God’s word so that all can understand and benefit. The former edifies the one who speaks in tongues but the latter edifies a community of believers (1 Corinthians 14:3-5).

The exercise of spiritual gifts is attended by freedom and spontaneity. However, Paul also stressed the need for order and self-control. Let all things be done decently and in order (1 Corinthians 14:40). The spirits of prophets are subject to prophets; for God is not a God of confusion but of peace (1 Corinthians 14:32-33). http://bit.ly/1OVMVAY


                                                                     
Undue emphasis on spiritual power, signs and wonders, has its dangers. We are not to rejoice that evil spirits are subject to us but that our names are recorded in heaven (Luke 10:20).    http://bit.ly/1MQpv1W

Christ warned believers—including those with awe-inspiring spiritual gifts—not to be complacent. Not every professing believer who calls upon Christ, Lord Lord, will make it to heaven. Even those who prophesy in God’s name, drive out demons and perform many miracles may be excluded from heaven if they do not do God’s will (Matthew 7: 21-23).

Balance

Believers need to seek, stir up and serve others through our spiritual gifts. As we rekindle and celebrate our gifts, we must not get carried away by charisma at the expense of character and a Christ-centred relationship.


RELATED POSTS

CELEBRATING OUR UNIQUENESS
We need to recognise our distinctive gifts and calling, and cease comparing ourselves with others. God has a unique plan for the life of every believer. Just as each snowflake is distinct from the rest, we are to be original—not try to be a duplicate of other people.

FAITHFUL TO OUR CALLING
Knowing that God keeps us faithful till the end is not enough. We have to seek to understand His will for our lives and then live it out. In these end times when evil abounds, it is all the more important that we live intentionally and purposefully.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SELF-ESTEEM AND PRIDE?
Many fail to recognise the difference between self-esteem, which is positive, and pride, which is negative.
http://bit.ly/2xVitaU

CHARISMA VS CHARACTER
Charisma and character are important qualities in an outstanding leader. Which is more important?
http://bit.ly/1NmfjeI

TESTING THE SUPERNATURAL
May God grant us the discernment to know that NOT all supernatural experiences or manifestations are of the Holy Spirit – even though it may be happening in church. Just as not all that glitters is gold, not everything supernatural is of the Holy Spirit.   

SHOULD WE RUN AFTER SIGNS AND WONDERS?
Is there a rationale for pursuing signs and wonders?

WHAT TRULY MATTERS IN THE END
What do you think is the true measure of a believer? Does it rest solely on how much anointing or power he or she has? Or how many spectacular feats he or she can perform?

SHOULD WE EMPHASISE EXPERIENCE, DOWNPLAY DOCTRINE
Are we so mesmerised by the miraculous and sensational that we are willing to depart from sound doctrine and whatever we hold dear in our faith?
http://bit.ly/1J0LRfq


EXTERNAL LINKS

SPIRITUAL GIFT TEST
A questionnaire to uncover our spiritual gifts and inclinations

CHOOSING POWER & ANOINTING OVER INTIMACY & CHARACTER
“I see more of a hunger in the prophetic movement to obtain power than to walk in intimacy. I see more of a desire to live under the anointing than to demonstrate Christlike character. I see more of an appetite to publicly prophesy over thousands than to privately pray to the Father in heaven. I see more of an obsession to chase after someone else’s prophetic mantle than to giving our time to discovering our own unique divine design given by the Father alone. I see more of an urge to chase gold dust, feathers and angels than to encounter the person of Jesus Christ.”
http://beholdthemanministries.com/a-generation-of-simon-the-sorcerers-is-rising-posted-on-charisma-magazine-32215/