Porcupine People

Funny Porcupines_4

We’ve all been around them – porcupine people; in fact, we’ve all been one to someone else at some point in our lives. We are imperfect people living in a world filled with imperfect people!

 

The quills of a porcupine are used as a defense mechanism to detour predators from getting too close to them. They are laid flat on the body until something comes near and they feel threatened and then the quills are raised to scare the other animal or person away.

 

Many times in our own lives we form relationships with people and all seems to be going well until something is said or done that threatens the security of the other person. The quills are raised and if we aren’t careful we will get too close and experience the pain of a stick!

 

All of us have past hurts that we carry through life. The quills or barbs of pain that we experience can be revisited by something that is said or done to invoke that same feeling of fear, pain or sense of insecurity. So, how can we avoid the sting of a porcupine person? And how can we live our lives lovingly without being a porcupine person?

 

1 Peter 4:8 And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.”

 

Walk in love towards other people. Remember that just as you have sensitive areas in your life so they have in theirs as well. Love covers people with a blanket of security. It says to another that we understand their pain and respect their feelings. Love makes allowances for those times when people are vulnerable and subject to weaknesses.

One porcupine person to another

Romans 12:18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.

 

There are times when I’ve wished I could go back and pull out the quills of pain that I, as a porcupine person myself, have inflicted upon another, but often the pain is too great for that person to receive an apology or to forgive an offense. I pray that when I have done that that God will help me to not only forgive those who have hurt me but also to restore the relationships that I have had with those I have hurt. Sometimes that is not possible, but as the Word says, “if it is possible”, as much as it depends on me that I am to live in peace with all men.

 

Matthew 5:43-45 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy,’ “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, “that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”

 

Go the extra mile; love them, even if it is from a distance; bless them; do good to them and pray for them. It’s hard to continue to hold a grudge against someone you are loving, blessing, being good to and praying for. Boundaries may have to be set up to guard your own heart and keep the distance so you are not placed in harm’s way, but love can still be shown from a distance in how you speak about that person, how you smile at them when encountering them, and in how you pray for them.

 

Matthew 6:14, 15 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. “But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

 

Removing the barbs of hurtful encounters is done through forgiveness. It releases us from the pain and guilt of painful encounters with porcupine people and sets us free from the wounds that have been inflicted by people who are hurting within themselves. Porcupine people are often just reacting to hurts in their own lives that they are dealing with at that particular time. When the quills come up it is an indication that there is something in their heart that God wants to deal with. He is just bringing it to their attention. When that particular issue is not dealt with it will come up again and again until it has been resolved. We can’t change things that have been done to us but we do have control over our reaction to those things. Forgiveness allows us the freedom to move on without being tied to an offense. According to Matthew 6:15 it also clears our path for forgiveness with our heavenly Father. We need to forgive others so He will forgive us!

Dog with porcupine quills

Pray that God will heal the hurts in both of your hearts! Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted. Wounds from the quills of a porcupine person can leave lasting effects, but God is the Healer. He heals the pain involved with the barbs of words that have been spoken that can’t be taken back. Emotional wounds can sometimes be more painful than physical wounds. They have a tendency to heal more slowly and leave scars and wounds that can be re-opened if not completely healed. But God is able to remove even the remembrance of those wounds. He heals completely and brings lasting peace into our hearts.

Peace is not the absence of conflict

Father, I thank You that Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted. I pray today for those who have been hurt by words that have been spoken through times of misunderstandings and seasons of adversity in all of our lives. I pray that You will touch those who have been hurt through relationships that have gone sour and offenses that have been harbored in the hearts of those who have been injured. I ask You to set the captives free from the lasting effects of those offenses. And may we all be people of love living in peace with each other. May we consider the interests of the other person before our own and exercise forgiveness and understanding for their weaknesses. I pray that we will not be porcupine people but that we will cover the sins of hurtful words with our love. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

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WHY?

Why

Habakkuk 1:2 NKJV O LORD, how long shall I cry, And You will not hear? Even cry out to You, “Violence!” And You will not save.

 

Habakkuk was distressed over the condition of his country. He had questions that seemed to go unanswered; prayers that seemed to be ignored by God and he was perplexed by what he saw going on around him.

 

How many of us have experienced similar feelings? We look around us and see turmoil, chaos, destruction and heartache and it seems that our prayers are lost out there in space somewhere. It’s easy to get caught up in the hopelessness of what we see happening in our world today, but as Habakkuk soon found out, God had not forgotten His people, nor had He ignored their prayers.

 

Chapter one is devoted to Habakkuk’s questions and God’s response, but in chapter two we see Habakkuk humbling himself before his God ready to listen and be corrected by God’s response.

 

Habakkuk 2:1 I will stand my watch And set myself on the rampart, And watch to see what He will say to me, And what I will answer when I am corrected.

 

Habakkuk determined in his heart that he would position himself to hear from God and that with his eyes of faith he would watch for God’s movement in his world around him. He knew his perspective of God was incorrect because he stated that he would wait and listen and answer God when he was corrected. Habakkuk knew that God was bigger than any turmoil he could see going on around him and surely there was something that he was missing in what God was doing. He needed an attitude adjustment!

 

There are times in our lives, as well, when we just don’t seem to “get it”; we don’t understand what God is doing when there is so much pain going on in our lives and the lives of those around us. We simply take what rolls down the pike and believe that that is God’s will for us when He really want’s us to connect with Him and understand His ways and walk by our faith in Him. So, Habakkuk listened and God replied.

Habakkuk 2 2-4

Habakkuk 2:2, 3 Then the LORD answered me and said: “Write the vision And make it plain on tablets, That he may run who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, It will not tarry.

 

God said, Habakkuk, be sure you write down what I am saying to you and showing you about what is taking place in your world today. Because if you, as a prophet of God, have these questions about who I am and what I am doing, then the general population have them too. You are my spokesperson to give hope and encouragement to your people. When you see My hand at work and write it down so others can take it an run with it as well.

 

Proverbs 29:18 says that where there is no vision the people perish. The New King James Version says that where there is no revelation, or prophetic vision, the people cast off restraint. When people have no direction and feel that there is no hope they flounder around with no direction, simply trying to make it through each day as best as they can. But God has a better plan for our lives. He doesn’t want us to be overcome by the heartache of what is happening in our lives, because as He tells us in Habakkuk 2:2-4 things will change.

Habakkuk 2 4

Habakkuk 2:4 “Behold the proud, His soul is not upright in Him; But the just shall live by his faith.”

 

A prideful person cannot walk in God’s ways. 1 Peter 5:5 says that God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Humility before God acknowledges His lordship over life. Those who are “just” have humbled themselves to receive God’s salvation through the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary. We are made right or “just” by our faith in Him as Savior and Lord. Just as it takes faith to trust God for salvation through receiving Jesus as Savior and Lord so it takes faith to live every day walking with Him. Many times the things that happen in our world are a result of prideful ways of living. People choose to live by their own standards and not God’s.

 

Proverbs 14:12 There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.

 

In God’s economy, it takes faith in Him, trust in His ways, and acknowledging Him as first place in our lives to live uprightly before Him. Even though God shares with Habakkuk that things will change and not always be the same, there is a responsibility that the people of God have in seeing change come into their lives. It takes faith to please God and those who believe that He is and is a rewarder of them who diligently seek Him will see the good plan of God unfold in their lives. The heartache and pain will not endure forever. There is a new day coming!

 

When you look at that phrase “shall live” it is the Hebrew word chayah and is defined as to live, to stay alive, be preserved; to flourish, to enjoy life; to live in happiness; to breathe, be alive, be animated, recover health, live continuously. The fundamental idea is “to live and breath”, breathing being the evidence of life in the Hebrew concept. This present reference to the just living by faith is one of the giant pillars of faith and is referred to several times in the New Testament. It literally reads, “The righteous person in or by his faithfulness (firmness, consistency, belief, faith, steadfastness) shall live!”

 

In essence you could read the last half of verse 4 as “the just shall live, stay alive, be preserved, flourish, enjoy life, live in happiness, breath, be alive, be animated, recover health and live continuously by their faith.” It takes faith to live; it takes faith to breathe; it takes faith to recover your health; it takes faith to live continuously. There is no way that a person can successfully live by faith when their focus is on the waves of what is happening around them.

 

Mark 11:22 So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God.”

 

Faith has a focus and it is not on the bad things that are happening to you or around you. Faith’s focus is on God. He doesn’t ask us to understand everything; He just expects us to have faith in Him.

 

Faith – Greek word pistis means conviction, confidence, trust, belief, reliance, trustworthiness, and persuasion. In the New Testament setting, pistis is the divinely implanted principle of inward confidence, assurance, trust, and reliability in God and all that He says.

 

Looking at this meaning of faith, the just would then live by their conviction about God, their confidence in God’s ability to change their lives, their trust in God’s goodness, their belief in His willingness to do for them what His word promises, their reliance on Him in all things, their understanding of His trustworthiness, and their persuasion that God will perform what He says in His word for His word is His will.

 

Faith’s focus can be thwarted when the person looks at the waves of life’s storms raging around him. Faith’s focus then turns to fear. Fear is faith in the devil’s ability to harm you where faith is trust in God’s ability to save you.

 

When Jesus’ disciples were going through a severe storm on the lake as they were crossing over to the other side, they cried out for Jesus to save them. He arose and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. Then He said to His disciples, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” (Mark 4:40) It is clearly evident here that faith was needed to calm the stormy sea and bring peace into their lives. They were moved by their fear to cry out to Jesus when He expected them to live by their faith in speaking to the storm and commanding it to be still.

 

Once Habakkuk heard from God his attitude immediately changed and by the end of the book this is his response to those things that were going on around him that caused him so much distress:

 

Habakkuk 3:17-19 Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls—Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The LORD God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, And He will make me walk in my high hills.

 

All of a sudden the bad things happening around him took on a different light. He saw them through the glory of his God. He was able to say that regardless of the negative destruction that I might see or experience I will rejoice in the Lord! I will joy in the God my salvation because He is my strength. He makes me walk above the storms that are going on around me. He equips me for victory and gives me the agility that I need to maneuver through the potholes of life!

 

Paul said it like this in Acts 20:24 when speaking of the bad things that happened in his life: “But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.”

 

None of these things move me! Paul was focused on what God was doing in and through him more than he was focused on the persecution that he was experiencing as a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ. His faith was firmly secured in the trustworthiness of his God and his focus was on finishing his race, living his life by faith in God, not in fear of what could happen to him along the way.

 

What storm is it in your life that has stolen your faith in God’s ability to change things for you? Has your eye of faith been deterred away from God and onto your problems. God loves you and has a good plan for your life. Will you listen to His words of love and encouragement and turn off the voice of the enemy that speaks of failure and defeat? The just shall live by his faith!

 

Father, I thank You that even though there is turmoil all around us that You have a plan for good for our lives. I pray this morning for those who may have lost their faith and have turned their eyes to the waves of the storm instead of the One who calms the storms. Father, I ask You to show them that You are working in their lives bringing restoration from all that the enemy has stolen from them. I pray that they will be encouraged and their faith renewed as they read of Your faithfulness through your word. I pray that those who may be around them speaking life into their lives will have more effect on them than the experiences of negativity that they are currently under. Father, You have placed Your people as the head and not the tail. You have said that You would make them to be above and not beneath their circumstances. Father, I pray that You will once again show them what they need to do to cooperate with the good plan that You have for their lives. Maybe they need to humble themselves before You and repent of the doubt and unbelief they have had in You. Or Father, could it be that they have grown weary in standing and fighting the good fight of faith? I pray that You will refresh them and give them renewed hope in You. Father, You know what needs to be done in each life. I pray that Your goodness will lead men to repentance as you have stated in Your word. Father, I pray as Habakkuk prayed that You would revive Your work in the midst of our years! Do again in the hearts of people what You have done in years past and bring salvation, deliverance, healing and restoration to them. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Believe!

BElieve

Isaiah 43:10-13 NLT “But you are my witnesses, O Israel!” says the LORD, “And you are my servant. You have been chosen to know me, believe in me, and understand that I alone am God. There is no other God; there never has been and never will be. I am the LORD, and there is no other Savior. First I predicted your deliverance; I declared what I would do, and then I did it—I saved you. No foreign god has ever done this before. You are witnesses that I am the only God,” says the LORD. “From eternity to eternity I am God. No one can oppose what I do. No one can reverse my actions.”

 

God says in this portion of scripture that there are three things that we have been chosen in Him to do: 1) we have been chosen to know Him; 2) we have been chosen to believe in Him; 3) we have been chosen to understand that He alone is God.

 

It’s imperative as children of God, those who are called by His name, His people, His own family, that we know Him, believe in Him and understand that He alone is God! There is no way that we can be effective witnesses and serve the One true and living God without these three things being prevalent in our lives.

 

We must know Him! Jesus said in John 17:3: And this is the way to have eternal life—to know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth. (NLT)

 

What does it mean to “know Him”? The Greek word for “know” in that verse is the word “ginosko” and it means a knowledge obtained not by mere intellectual activity, but by operation of the Holy Spirit upon acceptance of Christ. This knowledge is not marked as finality in the fact that there is an initial meeting and a continuous growth process in knowing Him. This verb is the same word used for a husband knowing his wife sexually. It is a progressive knowledge learned through experiencing life with someone. We come to know God initially through accepting Jesus as Savior and Lord, but then we grow in knowing Him through experiencing Him as we fellowship with Him through prayer, Bible study and fellowship with the Spirit of Jesus, the Holy Spirit. There is an intimacy involved in “knowing God” that moves beyond intellect or mental assent into the realm of spiritual intimacy that comes as we grow closer to Him through our relationship with Jesus Christ. We have been chosen to know Him!

 

We have been chosen to believe in Him! The Hebrew word for “believe” in Isaiah 43:10 is the word “aman” and it means to be firm, endure, be faithful, be true, stand fast, trust, have belief, believe. In the passive stem, “aman” has several emphases. First, it indicates that a subject is “lasting” or “enduring”. It also signifies the element of “being firm” or “trustworthy”. In one scripture, Isaiah 22:23, aman refers to a “firm” place, a place into which a peg will be driven so that it will be immovable. The peg will remain firmly anchored, even though it is pushed so hard that it breaks off at the point of entry. The word also means “trustworthy”. In all these different meanings we see one common strand of understanding: we have been chosen to believe in Him because He is the One person that we can know will be faithful to us regardless of what we are experiencing in our lives. He is the anchor that we can ground ourselves to knowing that He will never change; He is always enduring and trustworthy! We can be assured that God will not move away from us or change His feelings about us. He is faithful!

 

The first biblical occurrence for “aman” is found in Genesis 15:6: And Abram believed the LORD, and the LORD declared him righteous because of his faith. It was not primarily in God’s words that he believed, but in God Himself. In other words, Abram came to experience a personal relationship with God rather than an impersonal relationship with His promises. We can read God’s word and know that He is faithful to His word and His promises are true, but until we “believe” God, knowing that He will do what He has said in His word and fulfill it to us personally, that we will experience “knowing Him and believing Him. He is a personal God that wants His children to know Him individually and trust Him to do what He has said He will do in each of our lives. We are chosen to “believe in Him” as in “trusting Him”, personally!

 

We have been chosen to understand that He alone is God! When God gives a promise and says He is going to do something, there is no person on earth or demon in hell that can reverse that promise. He is faithful to do what He has said He will do. When we pray and ask God to take care of something for us we can be assured that He will do that. In praying and seeking His will in a situation, when God gives you the scripture that promises His provision for your need ,you can be assured that if you believe, as in “trust” Him by standing on His promise and expectantly waiting for its manifestation, that He will do it. Abram “believed” God; he didn’t just believe “in God”, but he believed that what God said He would do and he waited 25 years for the fulfillment of God’s promise. That doesn’t mean that Abram sat down and didn’t do anything while he waited for God to fulfill His promise. This word “aman” in it’s New Testament counterpart is “pisteuo”. It means to trust in, have faith in, be fully convinced of, acknowledge, and rely on. It expresses reliance upon and a personal trust that produces obedience. It includes submission and a positive confession of the lordship of Jesus. We see “pisteuo” as not just a trust in or reliance upon God, but believing Him so much that we act upon that belief through something that we do. We act as if the promise has already been manifested. We see an example of this in Romans 10:9, 10:

 

(NKJV) that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

 

In this scripture we have a perfect example of “believe”. There is two parts to it: believing in your heart and confessing with your mouth. So, we see that to “believe” is more than just waiting for God to do what He has promised. There is an action that goes with what we are believing in our hearts. In this case, we speak out what we are believing in our heart that He is going to do based on His promises. Many times when Jesus healed someone he would ask them to do something to show their belief in what He was doing in their lives.

 

Matthew 12:13 Then He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out and it was restored as whole as the other.

 

Jesus often said to those to whom received His healing touch that it was their “faith” that had made them whole. They believed in Him, reached out to him in faith and He proclaimed that it was their action tied to their belief that drew upon His healing power and made them well. We have been chosen to understand that He alone is God and no one can oppose Him or reverse His actions! When we come to Him in faith believing that He will do what He has said we can know that when we act on His promises He is faithful to do them!

 

Do you know God? Are you believing Him for specific promises that He has made to you? Do you understand that He alone is God and what He has said no one can oppose or reverse His actions? God wants you to know these things! He has chosen you to be in Christ Jesus, alive spiritually in Him so you can have a living and vital relationship with Him. These are all promises that are fulfilled as you grown in your relationship with Him. But it begins with an initial introduction to the Lord Jesus Christ. If you haven’t received Him as your own personal Lord and Savior that is where the relationship begins. Ask Him into your heart today and He will come in through the presence of His Spirit to live with you and walk through every day with you.

 

Father, I bring those before You who may not know You personally. I pray that today will be their day of salvation. I ask You to draw them by Your Spirit into a living and vital relationship with Jesus as they pray to ask Him into their hearts. I thank You for touching them, for showing them their need to receive Him as their own personal Lord and Savior. Father, I pray for those who may be struggling with faith issues this morning. I pray that You will show them the promises in Your word that meet the need in their lives and help them to stand firmly as they believe You to bring those promises into manifestation. Father, open blinded eyes this morning to see that You are God and there is nothing too difficult for You. Touch hearts and bring people to salvation, healing, deliverance and freedom through Your Spirit’s power in their lives. Father, move in their lives in ways that they will see and understand that it is You and not any coincidence or chance happening. Bring glory and honor unto Yourself in each person’s life. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Father’s Love Letter

The Father heart of God is so loving and tender towards His creation. And yet so many don’t understand or receive His love. This video and letter have been such a blessing to me. We all need to understand the love that our heavenly Father has for us. I pray that you will be blessed through it as well!

Father, I thank You for the great love that You have for us. I thank You for proving that love when You gave the very best that heaven had to offer in the crucifixion of Your Son, Jesus, that we might be bought back from the kingdom of darkness that ruled over us in our disobedience. Father, I thank You that even though we were spiritually dead in our sin that You made us alive through the blood of Christ Jesus. Father, there was no way that we could earn our salvation so You paid the price through the sacrifice of Your Son that we might have an opportunity to be Your children through accepting Him personally as our own Savior and Lord. Thank You for giving Jesus for me personally that I might know You and be able to live eternally in Your presence in heaven. I praise You for the work that You did on my behalf on that old rugged cross, Lord Jesus, and I proclaim You as My Savior and My Lord. I pray that as people read this love letter, Father, that they will see the great love that You have for them and if they don’t know You, will place their trust in Jesus as their own personal Savior and Lord as well and come into the family of God. I pray that those who may not understand Your love will draw close to You that You might lavish it on them and that they would see that You are not angry with them, but that You love them so deeply and completely that they could not possibly ever do anything that would shatter the love that You have for them. Thank You, Father! In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

You are special

Fruit Or Gifts?

2 Corinthians 5 17

II Corinthians 5:17 AMP Therefore if any person is [ingrafted] in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come!

 

There’s something special that takes place in a person’s spirit when Jesus comes to be their own personal Savior and Lord. The Bible says they become a new creature; their old previous moral and spiritual condition becomes new and fresh. The heart of that person that was previously spiritually dead now becomes alive. We call that act of rebirth as regeneration.

 

Titus 3:5 AMP He saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we had done, but because of His own pity and mercy, by [th] cleansing [bath] of the new birth (regeneration) and renewing of the Holy Spirit.

 

It is in that moment of acceptance of what Jesus did on our behalf in payment of the penalty for our sin that we become “born again”; born of the Spirit, and regenerated into a new creation in Christ Jesus. Spiritually we become a new person. We look the same on the outside, but the heart is changed. Our spirits are then indwelt by the Spirit of God; the Holy Spirit who comes to live within that person.

 

Regeneration – Reproduction; the act of producing anew. In theology, new birth by the grace of God; that change by which the will and natural enmity of man to God and his law are subdued, and a principle of supreme love to God and his law, or holy affections, are implanted in the heart. (definition from Noah Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language)

 

When the Holy Spirit comes to live within us He brings His fruit, His character and nature with Him. We are now indwelt by God’s Spirit and so our DNA, so to speak, is changed. We now have the DNA of our Father, God.

 

What is DNA? It is deoxyribonucleic acid, or better known as DNA. We all know that elephants only give birth to little elephants, giraffes to giraffes, dogs to dogs and so on for every type of living creature. But why is this so?

 

The answer lies in a molecule called deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), which contains the biological instructions that make each species unique. DNA, along with the instructions it contains, is passed from adult organisms to their offspring during reproduction.

According to God’s Word when we become new creations in Christ Jesus our spiritual DNA is changed. We have now been born of God’s Spirit and His DNA flows through our veins as it did in the original creation of man in the Garden of Eden.

Genesis 1:27 AMP So God created man in His own image, in the image and likeness of God He created him; male and female He created them.

When sin entered the heart of man the spiritual nature of man in relation to God changed. The human nature, or the soul, became the driving force in man’s decision making process. He no longer could commune spiritually with His God as he had done before sin entered his heart. Spiritually he was considered dead. But that changes and he becomes alive spiritually when he receives Jesus as Savior and Lord. The channel of communication is once again established and the spirit of man is quickened or made alive. Now he can relate spirit to Spirit through the indwelling of God’s Spirit within him.

So, the Holy Spirit, when He comes to indwell man’s reborn spirit, brings with Him His fruit, or His character and nature, the fruit of the Spirit.

Galatians 5:22, 23 AMP 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].

Once regeneration takes place the Holy Spirit begins working to change the character and nature of the person that has received Jesus as Savior and Lord. Even though at salvation, or the initial moment that a person is changed spiritually to become a new creation, the process of changing the character and nature of that person is worked out as a process. We are being changed from faith to faith and from glory to glory as the Holy Spirit works on our character development.

2 Corinthians 3:18 AMP And all of us, as with unveiled face, [because we] continued to behold [in the Word of God] as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are constantly being transfigured into His very own image in ever increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another; [for this comes] from the Lord [Who is] the Spirit.

The Holy Spirit works in us to change our character and nature to match the Lord’s when He comes to live within us.

The gifts of the Spirit are totally different. They have nothing to do with a person’s character and nature; they are endowments for service. The Holy Spirit gives gifts as He wills to do the work of ministry and are given to build up or edify the church. They are described in 1 Corinthians 12 and 14. Love as discussed in 1 Corinthians 13 is what makes the gifts of God’s Spirit work. I like to think of the love chapter and it’s description in 1 Corinthians 13 as the mortar that holds the bricks of God’s gifts together. Without love, which is a “fruit”, or character and nature of God’s Spirit, we cannot function properly in displaying the “gifts”, or endowments of the Spirit even though He may give us with one. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are given as they are needed for the work of ministry in ministering to people in need.

1 Corinthians 12 1

1 Corinthians 12:1; 4 AMP NOW ABOUT the spiritual gifts (the special endowments of supernatural energy), brethren, I do not want you to be misinformed. Now there are distinctive varieties and distributions of endowments (gifts, 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.

Gifts – Greek word charisma. Strong’s #5486. Related to other words derived from the root char. Char is joy, cheerfulness, delight. Charis is grace, goodwill, undeserved favor. Charisma is a gift of grace, a free gift, divine gratuity, spiritual endowment, miraculous faculty. It is especially used to designate the gifts of the Spirit.

The “gifts” of the Spirit and the “fruit” of the Spirit are two totally different things. The “fruit” speaks of our character and nature development and the “gifts” speak of special endowments for service that the Holy Spirit gives during times of need in people’s lives.

1 Corinthians 12:8-10 describes the gifts of the Holy Spirit. We will not go into them today, but verse 11 tells us how they are distributed.

1 Corinthians 12:11 AMP All these [gifts, achievements, abilities] are inspired and brought to pass by one and the same [Holy] Spirit, Who apportions to each person individually [exactly] as He chooses.

The gifts of the Spirit are given to a person as He chooses, not as we choose. They are His special endowments and He knows who needs to manifest that particular gift at that particular time. He gives them as He sees the need. The fruit of the Holy Spirit, on the other hand, is resident within the believer and is developed through time and experiences. We are molded into the character and nature of Jesus as we live day by day under the direction and guidance of the Holy Spirit. Our character and nature is changed as we yield to the work that He does within us. The gifts that He gives for service are given at special times when needed to manifest His power to supernaturally change a person according to their need at that moment.

The “fruit” and the “gifts” are often viewed as one in the same, but they are different. Growth is a process and God’s Spirit works in each one of us to develop and change us into the image of God’s Son, Jesus Christ. We are changed over a period of time. The gifts of His Spirit come upon a person for supernatural use. One, then we see as happening over a period of time and one instantaneously through the manifestation of His Spirit. It is important that we know the difference because we sometimes become disappointed that people who accept Jesus into their hearts do not immediately exhibit the change that has taken place in their spirits. We expect them to immediately be totally different. They are changed spiritually immediately but the manifestation of that regeneration within them takes time as the Holy Spirit develops His character and nature within them.

Philippians 1:6 AMP And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you.

The Holy Spirit is always at work in each one of us working to develop us into the image of Jesus. Don’t become disappointed when you do not see a complete change immediately as it is a work in progress. He’s still working on you and me!

Father, I thank You for the process of change that You work in each one of us as we yield to Your Spirit within us. I pray that we each will cooperate with His power to change us into the image of Jesus. Father, I pray, also, that we will yield to Your Spirit as He desires to endow us with His gifts for the work of ministry. I pray that we will be ready to receive that gift when He sees the need for its use. Only You, Lord, know what needs to be given for the needs of the people around us. Father, I thank You that You are ever changing us and working through the situations around us to perfect Your work in each one of us, to Your honor and glory. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Love Crucified, Arose!

Love crucified, Arose! Love, Jesus Christ in the flesh, was crucified and arose to life once again, overcoming sin, sickness, disease, poverty and lack, that you and I might walk free, redeemed, bought back from the throes of sin, sickness and poverty, to experience His love in all its fullness!

 

I am convinced as Wayne Jacobsen says in His book, “He Loves Me”, that God’s children live “less loved” because we do not fully understand or receive the love that Jesus died to give us. God is love! There is nothing within Him that could love us any more or any less because His very essence is love. There is nothing that we can do to cause Him to love us any more or any less because He loves to the fullest extent of the word. Love is unconditionally granted to you and me because that is His character and nature.

 

As human beings we often put conditions on our love for each other. Our love is tainted by our feelings, our expectations of the other person and our need for our own selfish desires to be fulfilled. Thus, we put demands and expectations on people that often cannot be attained through our own human abilities. Paul said about the Corinthian church that their love towards him was restricted because of their own affections.

 

2 Corinthians 6:11,12 NLT O Corinthians! We have spoken openly to you, our heart is wide open. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted by your own affections.

 

Our own affections for others are often restricted because of unmet expectations that we have that the other person can’t possibly meet. The only One that can truly meet the needs of an empty heart is God. I remember when I was single waiting for God to introduce me to the one that He had picked out for me to marry. During that time He taught me a lot from His word and through fellowshiping with the Holy Spirit about marriage. One of the things that He said to me was that marriage wasn’t about what one person could get from another, but it was all about what that person could give to the other to help them be all that He had designed and created them to be. Love is about giving, not receiving. But our affections often restrict our ability to love unconditionally.

 

It is only as we understand and receive the unconditional love of the Father that we can pass that love on to others.

 

1 John 4:16-19 NLT We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in Him. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face Him with confidence because we are like Christ here in this world. Such love has no fear because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of judgment, and this shows that His love has not been perfected in us. We love each other as a result of His loving us first.

 

As we receive God’s love the fear of being taken advantage of leaves because we know we are secure in the Father’s love and there is nothing that can change that for us. His love expels the fear in our hearts that we will not have our needs met because He is the need-meeter, not the other person. As His love is perfected in us we are free to be ourselves and to pass that love on to others. His love overcomes all obstacles in our path and sets us free from fear and torment.

 

Romans 8:35-39 NLT Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean He no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or are hungry or cold or in danger or threatened with death? (Even the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from His love. Death can’t, and life can’t. The angels can’t, and the demons can’t. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can’t keep God’s love away. Whether we are high above the sky or in the deepest ocean, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

God’s love is all-encompassing; it completes us. It is through our union with Christ Jesus, love personified, that we are complete and lack nothing in our ability to love others as He loves us.

 

Colossians 2:9, 10 For in Christ the fullness of God lives in a human body, and you are complete through your union with Christ. He is the Lord over every ruler and authority in the universe.

 

Even though we are complete in Christ Jesus the manifestation of all that that encompasses is a process that He works in us as we grow in our level of maturity in Him. We are a work in progress!

 

Paul said in Ephesians 3 that He prayed for the Christians at Ephesus that they would know God’s love completely and in experiencing that love they would grow into the fullness of the life and power that comes from God.

 

Ephesians 3:17-19 And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in Him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love really is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

 

It is through trusting Christ Jesus to fulfill the deepest longings of our hearts that we come to know God’s love. As we experience His love He imparts His supernatural ability to love others and it flows from us as we are secure in the love of God as our supply, not another person. He works that in us through His Spirit as we fellowship with Him through prayer and Bible study.

 

Are you lonely and feeling unloved today? God loves you with an everlasting love. He has lavished His love upon us through the giving of His Son, Jesus Christ, as the payment for your sin and mine. Jesus was crucified to give us life and that more abundantly. Are you living “less loved” because you don’t fully understand and receive His love? May you come to know Him personally and experience the love of God that passes all understanding that you may find your fulfillment in Him and Him alone.

 

Father, I thank You for the great love that You have demonstrated towards us in giving Your very own Son, Jesus Christ, to die for our sin. I pray that You will open the eyes of our understanding to see and receive Your love, Father, that we might all be filled with the fullness of your power and ability to love others. Father, I pray for those who may be lonely and hurting today, that You might show them in ways that they will understand Your love and be warmed by Your embrace. I ask You, Father, to help us to release the love that You have placed in our hearts to those around us. May we not be critical and judgmental, but open and loving. Thank You for giving us Your Spirit to work in us to effect the fullness of Your love in our hearts. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

 

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