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To each person the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the benefit of all. For one person is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, and another the message of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another performance of miracles, to another prophecy, and to another discernment of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. It is one and the same Spirit, distributing as he decides to each person, who produces all these things.
Who receives what gift will always be the prerogative of God. We do not pick and choose, though I think sometimes we’d like to. We can receive these gifts because of the work Christ did on the cross, and because the Holy Spirit has made His home with us in Christ Jesus! These gifts are for the benefit of ALL, and that makes them a vehicle for the gospel to go forth, as well as a vehicle we can use to build up and encourage the body of Christ. Perhaps you do not know what your gift is, or would prefer it be something different. Spend some time seeking the Lord and go through your experiences in life. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you possible gifts as you are reflecting, and trust a mentor or good friend to help you process through how God may want to use you for the good of others, and to testify about His great love.
“If you love me, you will obey my commandments. Then I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept, because it does not see him or know him. But you know him, because he resides with you and will be in you.
Jesus speaks about the Holy Spirit as though He is equally up to the task of being there for us. Jesus calls the Holy Spirit “another Comforter” (KJV), “another Advocate” (NLT, NET, NIV), or “another Helper” (NKJV). Jesus Himself is referenced in scripture as these things. But wait – there’s even another upside to the Holy Spirit…His purpose is to “abide with us forever”. Take a moment and let the forever part become your reality. Not only has God designed complete redemption for us in Christ Jesus, but He has done so FOREVER. This is a period of time we cannot fathom or quantify. All this hinges on one thing: faith in Jesus Christ. He is everything, the cornerstone of the Kingdom of God.
Now the Spirit explicitly says that in the later times some will desert the faith and occupy themselves with deceiving spirits and demonic teachings, influenced by the hypocrisy of liars whose consciences are seared. They will prohibit marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For every creation of God is good and no food is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving. For it is sanctified by God’s word and by prayer.
The issue on the table today is standing firm in our faith. The spiritual war for our souls is being waged, and what we believe is being bombarded by deception in some form or another. Our ability to stand firm in our faith is in terrible danger when we entertain “deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons”. (NKJV) If you believe in Jesus and stand true to what it means to be a Christian, deceiving spirits will attempt to entice you into belief systems that sabotage the integrity of the Word of God which jeopardizes the core of what you believe. The tactics the serpent used in the Garden of Eden remain the same. The serpent convinced Eve that God didn't really mean what He said. Lord God, give us wisdom and discernment to know the truth and to stand firm in our faith. Thank You for Your grace, and new hope every day.
While we remained there for a number of days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. He came to us, took Paul’s belt, tied his own hands and feet with it, and said, “The Holy Spirit says this: ‘This is the way the Jews in Jerusalem will tie up the man whose belt this is, and will hand him over to the Gentiles.’” When we heard this, both we and the local people begged him not to go up to Jerusalem. Then Paul replied, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be tied up, but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” Because he could not be persuaded, we said no more except, “The Lord’s will be done.”
As Paul nears Jerusalem, the warnings continue about him facing persecution there. This is not new to Paul, who said before that the Holy Spirit had already revealed that persecution lay in store for him there. The consistency of the Holy Spirit is perfect, and at the same time those who care about Paul continually try to convince him not to go. This has the potential to act as temptation to Paul, but he stands firm and charges forward on the path God as laid before him. Throughout our lives lived in service to Jesus, we are sometimes called to difficult paths. Will we choose to stay the course and walk the path He has called us to, or will we take one of the easier roads suggested by temptation? Being led by the Holy Spirit takes the resolve to die to ourselves, like Jesus resolved to die on a cross to save us.
In the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence, and it will be a refuge for his children.
There is a healthy fear of the Lord that should saturate our relationship with Him. The foundation of this relationship is His love for us, which works in us a response of the “fear of the Lord.” Psalm 111:10 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”. This fear is not a cowering kind of fear where we huddle in a corner and hope for God not to punish us. God’s wrath against sin has been satisfied. Jesus Christ stepped in front of that punishment and took that upon Himself. When we choose to take refuge in Christ, we show that we are children of God. My life poured out in worship to God has the power to cover and protect my children. The fear of the Lord is a way of life…it is worship. Oh Lord God! May I experience the fear of the Lord in my own life for the sake of Your name, and for the sake of my family!