383 - Where Miracles Hide

January 15, 2017

Have you ever wondered why we don't see the healings and miracles today like they did in the times of the New Testament?  Has it left you longing for what obviously the early church had that we, somehow, seem to have lost?  Or could it be something else?

We have listened to a litany of theologians try to sell us on the fact that God doesn't do the cool stuff anymore because we have the completed New Testament in our hands.  Or He only did the stuff back then to authenticate the apostles' preaching and, for some strange reason, our preaching today doesn't need authenticating.  Really?  Could've fooled me.

But what if the Bible truly means what it says?  What if God still does today what He proudly and publicly did back then?  What if miracles really happen today, but they are just hiding from us, waiting for us to seek them out?  What if the difference between the church in 2017 and the church in the book of Acts is not the way God moves, but the way we believe?  What if things could be different?

Are you interested in finding out where miracles hide?  Good.  Then keep listening.

The following is a study on 1 Corinthians 12:10.

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382 - How the Holy Spirit Expresses Himself

January 9, 2017

When we have the desire to know more about the gifts given each of us by the Holy Spirit, and our responsibility in exercising those gifts, we are faced with a couple of questions.  Especially when we see that the purpose of those gifts is to give the Holy Spirit the opportunity to manifest or express Himself to others.  Consider the following:

1 Corinthians 12:7 - But the manifestation (expression) of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all.

How does the Holy Spirit manifest or express Himself in the world today?
Does the Holy Spirit give His gifts to everyone that belongs to Christ?
Does that include you?
What gift or gifts has He given you?
And why did He give you His gifts?
So He could express Himself to others through each of us.

Do you realize the reason the Holy Spirit gives us His gifts is to manifest Himself to others through us?  Let that sink in for a moment.

According to 1 Corinthians 12:7, all the gifts that follow (word of wisdom and knowledge, faith, healings, miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, and tongues) are all given so He can use these gifts to express Himself through us to others.  

Do you know what that means?  Can you see the implications of that verse and what it means for you and me and the church today?  If not, then keep listening.

The following is a study on 1 Corinthians 12:9.

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381 - The Year of Sanctification

January 4, 2017

Many of us make resolutions this time of year.  It just seems natural.  Maybe we want to lose weight, get out of debt, or finish a long neglected project around the house.  But as a Christian, we want to somehow make our resolutions more spiritual.  That also seems natural.  So we often resolve something like this:

"I want to read my Bible more."
"I want to pray more."
"I want to share my faith more."
"I want to love more, forgive more, worship more."
"I want to live more like a Christian."
"I want to know more of God and have myself conformed to the image of His Son."

But the key to discovering the "abundant life" (John 10:10) Jesus spoke about is not in keeping resolutions, no matter how good they may be.  It's living a life of holiness.  It's practicing sanctification.  It's being set apart or consecrated unto God.  After all, we belong to Him.

But sanctification never takes place unless we first understand the way God's if / then promises work.  The promise comes after the condition.  The then follows the if.  Consider the following:

Proverbs 3:5-6 - Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.

(condition one) Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
(condition two) and lean not on your own understanding;
(condition three) in all your ways acknowledge Him,
(promise) and He shall direct your paths.

Want to know more.  Then keep listening.

The following is a study on Proverbs 3:5-6.

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380 - Fear is Not Your Friend

January 2, 2017

When we read the reason God gave each of us spiritual gifts, we find they are an expression or representation of the Holy Spirit to a lost world in dire need of Him.  Think about it, the Holy Spirit lives in each of us as a deposit or guarantee of our future inheritance in Him (Eph. 1:14).  In essence, no Holy Spirit, no salvation.  And because the Holy Spirit now lives in each of us, He also graciously gives us certain gifts that come from Him.  Some of these gifts we readily embrace.  Others we feel less than excited about.  But  regardless of our personal feelings about what the Holy Spirit has blessed us with, we are given these gifts for the benefit of others.  They are to be used for others as a clear expression of Him who now lives in us.

Consider the following:

1 Corinthians 12:7 – But the manifestation (expression, to make visible or observable) of the Spirit (Holy Spirit) is given (to bestow, to give freely of one’s own accord and with goodwill) to each one (to each and every one separately and individually) for the profit (benefit, advantage, usefulness, help, to bring together for the benefit of another) of all.

Does this also apply to the "gifts of healings" and the "working of miracles" in the verses that follow?  What about tongues and the interpretation of tongues?  How about the gift of discerning of spirits?   Now it gets a little squirrely, doesn’t it?   Do you have questions about these gifts?  Are you wondering how your experience lines up with the Scriptural teaching about spiritual gifts?  Do you feel confused and somewhat in the dark when it comes to these controversial gifts?  Don’t worry, you’re not alone.  Most of the church feels the same way.  Want some answers?  Then keep listening.

The following is a study on 1 Corinthians 12:9-10.

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379 - The Cost of Christmas

December 25, 2016

When we think of the cost of Christmas, most of us think about how much it is going to cost us and how long before we pay our credit cards off.  But that’s the horizontal cost.  The cost of presents that feel good for the moment but have very little lasting value.

There’s also a vertical cost to Christmas.  And that cost was paid by the Son of God who “emptied Himself and took on the form of a slave” (Phi.2:7), the lowest of men.

What did Christmas cost Jesus?  You’d be shocked, surprised and humbled to know.  He exchanged the praise and adoration of angels for the spittle of men.

Want to find out more?  Then keep listening.

The following is a study on Philippians 2:5-8.

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378 - What is the Gift of Faith?

December 18, 2016

In 1 Corinthians 12:9, in the beginning of the second group of spiritual gifts, it says one of the gifts is faith.

“To another faith by the same Spirit” – 1 Corinthians 12:9a.

But what kind of faith are we talking about?  Is this saving faith?  The faith God gives to those chosen by Him from the foundation of the world? (Eph. 1:4).  Or is it something else?  And, if so, what exactly is this kind of faith?

Is it faith like Abraham had when he left his home to travel to a land the Lord would show him? (Gen. 12:1).  Is it faith like Moses had when he approached Pharaoh with a staff and a simple message from the Lord, “Let My people go!”? (Ex. 8:1).  Or is it faith like Peter had when he asked Jesus to let Him step out of the boat and walk on water to Him? (Matt. 14:28).  Or again, is it something else?

And is this faith really a gift from God to reveal the Holy Spirit to others like the Scriptures say? (1 Cor. 12:7).  Could this gift be for you and me today?  Or was this gift only given to others who lived long ago in a land far, far away?

So many questions.  Do you want some answers?  Then keep listening.

The following is a study on 1 Corinthians 12:9.

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377 - The Seven Letter Solution

December 12, 2016

Often we are confused concerning the gifts of the Spirit, especially the gifts listed in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10.  Questions still linger:  Are all the gifts for today?  Or, were some of them only for the time of the apostles?  And, if they are for today, what does the exercise of these gifts look like?  How are they manifested in the church today?

In order to understand the truth behind these questions, we must begin with a simple, seven letter word:  another.  There are two Greek words translated "another" in this passage.  The first is allos, which means "another of the same kind."  And then there is heteros, which means "another of a different kind."  Now, look at the passage in question:

1 Corinthians 12:8-10 - For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another (allos) the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another (heteros) faith by the same Spirit, to another (allos) gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another (allos) the working of miracles, to another (allos) prophecy, to another (allos) discerning of spirits, to another (heteros) different kinds of tongues, to another (allos) the interpretation of tongues.

Now we have three groups of gifts each divided by the word heteros - or "another of a different kind."

Group One

Word of wisdom
Word of Knowledge

Group Two

Faith
Gifts of Healings
Working of Miracles
Prophecy
Discerning of Spirits

Group Three

Different kinds of tongues
Interpretation of tongues

Do you see how logically the Lord has presented this confusing passage about the gifts of the Spirit?  Do you see what He is trying to teach us?  If you want to know more, then keep listening.

The following is a study on 1 Corinthians 12:8-10.

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376 - Stupid is as Stupid Does

December 5, 2016

When we look at the warnings from the Lord found in the first chapter of Proverbs, we are naturally drawn to the almost prophetic words of Forrest Gump.

"Stupid is as stupid does."

To put it in the words of Solomon:

“How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity?" - Proverbs 1:22.

Or, "How long, you simple (foolish, simpleminded, stupid, naive, moronic) ones, will you love simplicity (what is foolish, simpleminded, stupid, naive, moronic)?"

Great question. But what is the object of this question? What exactly are the stupid ones loving stupidly? What can we learn about the wisdom of God from what is being said here? If you want to know more, then keep listening

The following is a study on Proverbs 1:20-33.

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375 - Why the Holy Spirit Gives Us Gifts

November 27, 2016

In our study of Spiritual gifts, the question before us is this: Why does the Holy Spirit give us His gifts? What's the point? How does giving us gifts, that we don't believe we have, benefit Him?

The answer is found in 1 Corinthians 12:7. Here it says: But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all.

Got that. But what does this verse really mean?

The word manifestation means "expression, to make visible or observable." Think about that. The "expression" of the Holy Spirit, or the way the Holy Spirit expresses Himself is "given to each one for the profit of all." Or, the way the Holy Spirit makes Himself "visible or observable" is by the gifts He gives to "each one for the profit of all."

Do you see how important these gifts actually are? And what specific gifts are we talking about?

To continue in context: for to one is given the (1) word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the (2) word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another (3) faith by the same Spirit, to another (4) gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the (5) working of miracles, to another (6) prophecy, to another (7) discerning of spirits, to another (8) different kinds of tongues, to another the (9) interpretation of tongues - 1 Cor. 12:8-10.

And this is only the beginning. There is so much more to learn. Are you interested? Then keep listening.

The following is a study on 1 Corinthians 12:4-11.

 

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374 - In Everything Give Thanks… Why?

November 21, 2016

In the final few words in his first letter to the church at Thessalonica, the apostle Paul leaves them with some heartfelt, bullet-point warnings and admonitions that speak to living in the Kingdom. In 1 Thessalonians 5:16-19 he said,

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.  Do not quench the Spirit.

If you look closer, you will see this is another classic, life-changing if / then passage.  If we do the first three, then we won't experience the last.  Or, if we don't do the first three, then the last, quenching the Spirit, is ours as a consequence of the first three.  And who in their right mind wants to willingly quench the Spirit of God in our life.  But there is so much more to be found here.  Interested?  Then keep listening.

The following is a study on 1 Thessalonians 5:16-19.

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