Thursday, September 23, 2010

Momma Nan's Insights on "Understanding Spiritual Gifts" - Week One

Here I sit at the computer knowing I must write, but not knowing what is going to come out on this email.  Without going any further in this study, I am quite sure I have been given the gift of lots of words, but I'm not sure if I have been given the gift of how to put them on paper without rambling on and on.  (For those of you who don't know me, that was an attempt at humor.)
First of all, I want to say that I have done a few in-depth studies on Spiritual Gifts, but the more I study, the more I am blown away by how we can never learn it all.  I tickles me to no end that a simple mind like mine can actually search the deep things of God!  Think about that.  We don't have to have a college degree (something I never got), we don't have to be brilliant engineers (like my husband) or even great thinkers (I can't even remember half of the things I read) - all we have to do is seek the scriptures and have is a willing, teachable heart.  God told Jeremiah that when he seeks Him, he will find Him, when he seeks Him with all his heart (Jeremiah 29:13)!
So, here I start with Week One of Understanding Spiritual Gifts.  I am going to start on page 1 and read through my answers and note here anything that spoke to me that I feel would be beneficial to a group discussion.  This is my first attempt at a Precept study on my own, so help me out, okay?
I loved how this study started out with Peter's words on our special gift(s).  Most of the things I have studied have been Paul's teachings, but as I read through 1 Peter, I couldn't help but think of how much I love Peter and identify with him.  He was a simple person whose life was turned upside down by Jesus Christ!  After all of his time with Jesus, and as much as he loved Jesus, he was actually able to deny Him three times. In all of my great passion and love for Jesus, I realize I can never say never would I do that, for I wonder if I could ever love Him as much as Peter did!???
So Peter is writing to these early church members warning them of persecution and what is ahead.  These people were living under the rule of Nero.  I wondered how that could apply to me today, because I don't really think I have someone wanting to burn me at the stake.  However, I thought about my early days of Christianity (which has been over 12-1/2 years), and what division there was within my own family because of my newly found beliefs.  To this day, I have siblings who do not speak to me because I am different than I used to be, and to me, it feels like persecution. 

 First Peter 4:10 is a good and fresh reminder to me that in the midst of my own every day life - today in 2010, I have a special gift, given to me by Jesus Christ when I put my faith and trust in Him 12-1/2 years ago! 

Jes is right in that it is important for us to view the gifts God has given us with the same importance He does.  We must know for a fact that we all have one!
Peter divided the gifts into two categories - speaking and serving.  I thought, can I have more than one gift?  Can I have one from both categories?  Can I have a gift now, but God changes it to something else later?  And when He changes it, if He does, will I just get another gift added on, or will I lose that first gift completely?  I cannot lose my salvation - so can I lose my gift?  Is it possible that I could actually have a gift and not know it?  In the same way, could I think I have a gift, but I'm actually performing in my own power (say, in an area where I have a natural ability) and not in the Spirit? If I am good at something, does that mean it's my gift?  Would God lead me to a church where there were lots of people with my gift, or would He place me somewhere where that gift is particularly needed?  And so forth.  I can hardly wait to see how He answers these questions!
When we get to Acts 6:1-6, we learn that the twelve realized they needed helpers (servers) so they could themselves concentrate on the ministry of the word.  I wonder if this is why many people believe that serving is a lesser gift than speaking - because they were serving "the speakers."  In fact, this was not what they were doing.  They were serving "the body."  I loved reading about Stephen in this context (of spiritual gifts).  When I think of Stephen, I think of him being the first martyr of the church.  I love now thinking of him as a server, and it makes me want to be a server too! 
On page 8, under OBSERVE it says, "In Chapter 3 he specifically wrote about the fact that faith in Christ brings unity to radically different people groups. . ."  I remember when my husband and I were new Christians, we were walking out of church one day, in sheer delight of the wonderfulness of it all.  The people were all so nice and we really liked them and they seemed to really like us!  (This is funny to me thinking back on it.)  Ed said to me, "We are all so different, but we all really like each other!"  We had no clue at that early stage in our walk with Christ, about the unity of the believers - that we are all unified through the Spirit of the Living God! 
I absolutely loved this in Ephesians 4:4-6!  I made my semicircle over the word one and my stick figure over the word body. Then I read the question, "what did you learn from marking one in verses 4-6?"  Well, I LOVE NUMBERS!  So the first thing I did is count how many times the word one is mentioned - and it is mentioned SEVEN times!  Seven times!  Seven!  I have read that in the Bible, the number SEVEN symbolizes God's COMPLETION, His perfection, His sovereignty and His holiness! 
And for the COMPLETION of what I'm commenting on today, I loved Ephesians 4:8-13!  I have this picture in my mind of Jesus leading us all (as captives set free) - and we are ascending on high - I'm thinking we are going to heaven - and we have gifts He has given us (I'm actually visualizing us holding wrapped packages with bows) . . . to equip us . . . until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.  That sounds like COMPLETENESS to me!
Love you all and praying someone else will join us in this! 

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