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Use Your Gift

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The Lord told Elijah to hide by the brook, but I don’t want you to look at this from the point of Elijah hiding from Ahab. The purpose of him being hidden had nothing to do with the past, but it had to do with the future. God was preparing him for what was about to happen.

Not only did Elijah have water to drink, but God commanded the ravens to feed him every morning and evening.  He knew exactly when the ravens were coming. Inside of Elijah was a gift, but in order for God to get out of him what He placed in him, he had to create a situation to stir up the gift that was in him. He had to make him uncomfortable.

One day, the brook dried up because there was no rain. Now, he had a thirst that he didn’t have before – and I’m not talking about a physical thirst. Had not the brook dried up, Elijah would have remained where he was, but someone needed his gift. What God had given him, wasn’t for him. It was for others. It was to serve others.

Not only did God tell him to move, but He told him where to move to. Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Zidon and dwell there. Behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain you. This woman had a need and God wanted to use Elijah to meet that need, but he never told Elijah about her need. He just told him that he was going to take care of him through this woman.

If you take care of what concerns God, He will take care of what concerns you.

Some people are still looking at the dried brook, crying over what they lost. The only thing lost that we should be concerned about is lost souls, not the things that we have lost because God can restore those things.

This widow didn’t want to die and she didn’t want her son to die, but she was preparing to die because she didn’t know what else to do.  She didn’t know where her next meal was coming from.  It didn’t look like things were going to get better and now she had a man – a perfect stranger – asking her, a widow and a single mother, to give him her last and the only thing that she had left.

Through instructions, Elijah showed her how to get out of her situation. All she had to do was obey the instructions.  All she had to do was give the very thing that she was afraid of losing.

We were created to do more than what we are doing.  There is plenty of work to do.  The harvest is plenteous (Matthew 9:37). But one person cannot do it alone. Every one of us has received a gift. Our job is to discover what that gift is and then put it to work. When you don’t do what you are supposed to do, someone else suffers. Jonah is a great example. God sent him to Nineveh, but he went where he wanted to go. When a storm came, Jonah was sleeping, but the people on the ship were suffering with fear and a near death experience.

Had Elijah not gone to where God sent him, the widow and her son would have died. It is important that we stop waiting for someone else to do what God told us to do. And stop comparing ourselves with others. Stop thinking that someone is better or can do it better than you. God gave gifts to the body of Christ to complete, not to compete with each another. Your gift is needed. Someone needs what you have.

You may not be the answer to everyone’s problem, but you are the answer to someone’s problem.

Use your gift.

 

Each of you has received a gift to use to serve others. Be good servants [stewards, managers] of God’s various gifts of grace (2 Peter 4:10, EXB). 

 

By His Spirit

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I know the moment I got saved, the Holy Spirit entered me, but years later I was asking to receive the filling of the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:1-4).  It didn’t happen immediately, but I didn’t give up or become frustrated because I knew that God wanted to give this to me.  All I had to do was ask.      

If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? (Luke 11:13)

At that time, I didn’t understand the purpose of being filled. All I remember is that I heard a very close friend of mine pray in a heavenly language and I wanted that.  What I didn’t understand was that God wanted me to do more than just speak in tongues.   

My pastor started teaching about the gift of the Holy Ghost last month and when I began to compare my life with those who were filled in the bible, I realized something was wrong – not with them, but with me.  I had been walking in fear for years, but those who were filled, walked in the spirit of power, love and a sound mind.  What was I afraid of? Was I afraid of being ‘fully’ led or controlled by His Spirit?  Did I really think I was in control of my life? (Well, I need to fire myself because apparently, I haven’t been doing a good job of managing my life). 

I also noticed the repeated cycles and patterns in my life – the ‘tricks’ I kept falling for.  I realized the inconsistency and unfaithfulness.  I would start a thing, but never finish.  I know the Lord sees that I’m trying to live right.  I’m trying to do this and I’m trying not to do that and that’s good, but the thing that God wants to do in me and through me will not be done by my power or might.  It will only be done by His Spirit. 

I now realize that I was no different than the Israelites in the wilderness.  What I’ve been trying to do for 40 years, God could have done in 11 days – by His Spirit. It shouldn’t take you 40 years to forgive someone! It shouldn’t take you 40 years to walk in your calling! (I’m just saying).

It’s not that I’m not saved.  I am.  It’s not that I didn’t receive the filling of the Holy Spirit.  I did, but God wants to complete the ‘good work’ He started.  It started with salvation, but He wants to do so much more in my life and in the life of others.  He wants to anoint me with the Holy Ghost and power so that I will go about doing good and healing those oppressed of the devil (Acts 10:38). If I am filled with His Spirit, I will be led by His Spirit (Luke 4:1).  If I am filled with His Spirit, I will walk in the Spirit and not fulfill the lusts of the flesh (Galatians 5:16).

For years, we’ve had ‘Fruit of the Spirit’ programs and we’ve talked about walking in love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance.  And I do believe that there are Christians who are trying to walk in these areas, but they are trying to do it without the Helper (John 14:26, NKJV). We have been trying for years to do things for God – without God.  The reason why Jesus prayed to the Father to send the Holy Spirit to us is because we needed help, but we’ve been trying to live without His help.  I don’t care how hard you try.  You’re not going to see the fruit without the Spirit because it is the Spirit who bears the fruit – and His fruit doesn’t come and go.  It remains (John 15:16, Galatians 5:22-23). 

When the Spirit of the Lord came upon Saul, He ‘turned’ him into another man and this is what the Holy Spirit wants to do in us – change us.  I believe a lot of us (including myself) want change, but either we’re afraid to change or we’re afraid to trust or both, but we’re missing out on so much. The Holy Spirit wants to teach you how to pray. He wants to guide you into all truth. He wants to give you gifts.  He wants to empower you so that you may shine as lights, be blameless and be the sons/daughters of God in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation. 

God has shown some of you what He’s going to do through visions and dreams.  He has promised you things through his word and through prophecy and like Mary, you’re wondering, How shall this be? How will this happen?  The same answer the angel told Mary then is the same answer for your situation now.  The Holy Spirit (Luke 1:34-35).

My prayer is that we will all want change and want to be changed and may all the things you’ve been trying to do in your own strength for years be done this year – by His Spirit.   

 

Not by power, nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of hosts (Zechariah 4:6).