September 14. 2020

The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. – 1 Peter 4: 7-11 ESV


God knows our frame, He created us, He knew us before we were, and he knew our last day before our first day!  God has a plan and we are part of HIS PLAN, we are part of HIS STORY…or HISTORY! Jesus walked with his disciples, after He had walked with God, He fellowshipped with them, He Taught them, He rebuked them, He prepared the, He encouraged them, and He gifted them.  Then He was no longer going to BE WITH THEM, He said, He would send another to be with them in HIS STEAD. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. (John 14:16-17)) God sent the Holy Spirit, the PARACLETE, to come alongside us, and to ENCOURAGE US!  The Holy Spirit is a gift, a DOWNPAYMENT of the great things that God gives to those who love Him, who are called according to HIS PURPOSE.  

Leader, Jesus gifted the 12, and the people of their time, one of the greatest gifts ever- HE WALKED AMONG THEM. He was physically present so He could touch them, they could see HIM, they could hear Him and learn from Him, they could sit with Him and converse with HIM. What a GIFT, what a BLESSING. Even though Jesus is not physically with us today, He is with us in HIS WORD, and He is with us through the HOLY SPIRIT, and HE IS WITH US through the BLESSINGS OF OTHERS, He puts in our lives. Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. (James 1:16-18) Jesus told us, WE WILL BE A GIFT to other believers. How are we a GIFT TO OTHERS? By exercising our GIFTS FROM HIM! For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but think of yourself with sober judgment, according to the measure of faith God has given you. Just as each of us has one body with many members, and not all members have the same function, so in Christ we who are many are one body, and each member belongs to one another. We have different gifts according to the grace given us. If one’s gift is prophecy, let him use it in proportion to his faith; if it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is giving, let him give generously; if it is leading, let him lead with diligence; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. (Romans 12:3-8)

Conduit, Jesus was our example, He showed us the way, because HE told us, HE IS THE WAY. (John 14:6) In Isaiah 11:1-2, we are foretold what Gifts Jesus would possess: There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. AND the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. Ephesians 4:7-8 tells us that when Jesus ascended to the throne room of God, He left departing gifts for His children: Now to each one of us grace has been given according to the measure of the gift of Christ. This is why it says: “When He ascended on high, He led captives away, and gave gifts to men.” He told us that He would gift us the HOLY SPIRIT, the Paraclete, who would COME BESIDE us, COMFORT us, ENCOURAGE us, TEACH US. We have also been blessed by other believers whose job is similar to the Holy Spirit- to come alongside us and encourage us, exhort us! One of the greatest gifts that God gives us is in the people He puts in our lives. In these last days, in these DARK DAYS, in these WEIRD DAYS, in these HARD DAYS- we need encouragement! Interesting how the Greek word for Encourage, Exhort is similar to the word used for THE HELPER, the HOLY SPIRIT. The gift of encouragement or exhortation is found in Paul’s list of gifts in Romans 12:7-8. The word most often translated “exhort” or “exhortation” comes from the Greek word paraklésis, which means “to call to one’s side; to summon, encourage, admonish, entreat.” To exhort is to develop relationships with other believers for the purpose of encouraging them in their spiritual growth. We are called to be a CONDUIT of HOPE, and encouragement to other believers, while we wait for the return of our Lord! Today, check yourself, examine your life: How many people do you encourage on a daily basis? How many people do you pour into daily, as Jesus pours into you? Are you a GIFT? To whom is blessed by the gift of your ENCOURAGEMENT? Is it time for an, UP UNTIL NOW moment, in the field of encouragement? Today, BE THE GIFT!


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