Devotional Blog

October is Breast Cancer, Anti Bullying and Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Hello FIRE Community! In observation of breast cancer, anti bullying, and domestic violence month, we are going to take a pause on learning about spiritual gifts. The first two Wednesdays we are going to pray and intercede on behalf of physical healing for individuals who have been diagnosed with or are survivors of breast cancer. The last three Wednesdays we are going to intercede on emotional healing for those who are struggling with bullying, harassment, or domestic violence. 

This week we are transitioning to pray for emotional healing, with emphasis on affirming those affected by bullying and domestic violence.

Deuteronomy 32:10 (NLT) He found them in a desert land, in an empty, howling wasteland. He surrounded them and watched over them; he guarded them as he would guard his own eyes

1 Peter 1:23 (NLT) For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God.

Ephesians 1:14 (NLT) And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago.

Romans 8:37 (NLT) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

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October is Breast Cancer, Anti Bullying and Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Hello FIRE Community! In observation of breast cancer, anti bullying, and domestic violence month, we are going to take a pause on learning about spiritual gifts. The first two Wednesdays we are going to pray and intercede on behalf of physical healing for individuals who have been diagnosed with or are survivors of breast cancer. The last three Wednesdays we are going to intercede on emotional healing for those who are struggling with bullying, harassment, or domestic violence. 

This week we are continuing to pray for physical healing.

Isaiah 53:4-5 (NLT) Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins! But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.

Matthew 18:18-20 (NLT) “I tell you the truth, whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven. “I also tell you this: If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you. For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.”

For additional physical healing scriptures, look at 10/2/2019 devotional.

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October is Breast Cancer, Anti Bullying and Domestic Violence Awareness month

Hello FIRE Community! In observation of breast cancer, anti bullying, and domestic violence month, we are going to take a pause on learning about spiritual gifts. The first two Wednesdays we are going to pray and intercede on behalf of physical healing for individuals who have been diagnosed with or are survivors of breast cancer. The last three Wednesdays we are going to intercede on emotional healing for those who are struggling with bullying, harassment, or domestic violence. 


James 5:14-15 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.


Isaiah 38:16-17 Lord, by such things people live; and my spirit finds life in them too. You restored me to health and let me live. Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish. In your love you kept me from the pit of destruction; you have put all my sins behind your back.


Jeremiah 33:6 “Nevertheless, I will bring health and healing to it; I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security.”

Exodus 15:26 He said, “If you listen carefully to the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you.”

Jeremiah 17:14 Heal me, Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise.

Exodus 23:25 Worship the Lord your God, and his blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you,

Jeremiah 30:17 But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds,’ declares the Lord, ‘because you are called an outcast, Zion for whom no one cares.’

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1 Corinthians 12:28 
Assessing Your Spiritual Gifts for Spiritual Growth: Miracles

1 Corinthians 12:28 (NIV)
And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues.

1 Corinthians 12:10 (NIV)
to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues,[a] and to still another the interpretation of tongues

This week’s spiritual gift is mercy. The definition of miracles to be enabled by God to perform mighty deeds which witnesses acknowledge to be of supernatural origin and means. Miracles were given by God to the church to reveal the presence and glory of God among His people and to create a sense of awe and wonder and Godly fear.

Consider the following:
The spiritual gift of miracles is described in Scripture much like the gift of healing.  It is found in 1 Corinthians 12:10 and the Greek phrase energemata dynameon literally translates “workings of powers.”  The double plural most likely means that these gifts were diverse and were not permanently available at the will of the gifted believer, but instead were bestowed at various times and circumstances. Thus, the gifts are subject to the divine will of God and His purposes and are not decided by the one who performs the miraculous works. The gift of miracles is not about performing miracles, but about living in the miraculous reality of God’s creation. Those gifted with miracles never doubt the power and presence of God in creation, and are able to help others see and believe in God’s power. The gift of miracles does not focus on the extraordinary, but sees the miraculous in the mundane and normal. Living in the spirit of the miraculous, people see God in nature, in relationships, in kind acts, and in the power of love. One commentator wrote, “Those with the spiritual gift of miracles often have a heightened sensitivity to the presence and power of God through His Holy Spirit.  They have a special measure of faith and desire for God to reveal Himself and draw many to faith in His Son Jesus Christ.  They take care not to draw attention to themselves or have a following of people, but are constantly pointing others to Jesus.  Those with this gift understand that God is Sovereign and He can work when and how He desires, but they make sure they are available and listening to the prompting of the Holy Spirit.  This gift is often accompanied by prayer and strong petition by these individuals for God to reveal His glory to people.  They do not claim power themselves, but always give credit and glory to God for His mighty works.  Often God will deliberately humble them to keep them relying on His grace and pointing to His Son, rather than miracles.”

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Special Prayer for Our Country, Government & Service Members in Observation of 9/11

Hello FIRE Community, today we are taking a pause to pray a special prayer for our country, government, and service members in observation of September 11, 2001.

Ecclesiastes 7:9 (NLV)
Do not be quick in spirit to be angry. For anger is in the heart of fools.

Psalm 46:1-3 (NLV)
God is our safe place and our strength. He is always our help when we are in trouble. So we will not be afraid, even if the earth is shaken and the mountains fall into the center of the sea, and even if its waters go wild with storm and the mountains shake with its action.

Isaiah 40:29 (NLV)
He gives strength to the weak. And He gives power to him who has little strength.

Romans 8:38-39 (NLV)
For I know that nothing can keep us from the love of God. Death cannot! Life cannot! Angels cannot! Leaders cannot! Any other power cannot! Hard things now or in the future cannot! The world above or the world below cannot! Any other living thing cannot keep us away from the love of God which is ours through Christ Jesus our Lord.

Deuteronomy 20:4 (NLV)
“For the Lord your God is the One Who goes with you. He will fight for you against those who hate you. And He will save you.”

1 John 2:25 (NLV)
And He has promised us life that lasts forever!

Hebrews 11:6 (NLV)
A man cannot please God unless he has faith. Anyone who comes to God must believe that He is. That one must also know that God gives what is promised to the one who keeps on looking for Him.

Matthew 10:28 (NLV)
Do not be afraid of them who kill the body. They are not able to kill the soul. 

Jeremiah 29:12 (NLV)
“Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.”


Let us pray.

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Romans 12:8 
Assessing Your Spiritual Gifts for Spiritual Growth: Mercy

Romans 12:8 (NIV)
If it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead,[a] do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

This week’s spiritual gift is mercy. The definition of mercy is to be sensitive toward those who are suffering, whether physically, mentally, or emotionally, so as to feel genuine sympathy with their misery, speaking words of compassion but more so caring for them with deeds of love to help alleviate their distress.

Consider the following:
One commentator wrote, “A mercy-giver’s basic motivational drive is to sense and respond to the emotional and spiritual needs of others. Those with the mercy gift have a divine ability to sense hurt and respond to it with love and understanding.” A person with mercy is kind and gentle, is able to sense and reflect the spiritual and emotional atmosphere around them, need to be needed, drawn to other sensitive people, and they feel they must pray. People who have this gift are equipped to reach out to people who are suffering but who would likely be reluctant to tell others about their needs; are attracted to people in distress; they love the people that most of us tend to run away from; tend not to take sin lightly—their own or someone else’s; and they tend to embrace humility. However, people with this gift may also be indecisive and may often become rescuers of those who do not need to be rescued; therefore, they must learn to temper their demonstration of affection. They also try to avoid conflict of any kind. The most positive aspect is that they tend to be introspective yet it is easy for them to develop a poor self-image.

If you are a Mercy-Shower, you have the Spirit-given capacity and desire to serve God by identifying with and comforting those who are in distress. You are the person who understands and comforts fellow Christians. - Dr. Larry Gilbert

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Special Prayer For Parents

Hello FIRE Community, today we are taking a pause to pray a special prayer for our parents and parent figures. During this time of year, as children go back to school there are many parents who are struggling to get all the necessities in order for their child or children. Some parents are struggling with separation as it is their child’s first time being away from them for extended periods of time. Today we are standing in the gap for all parents and their unvoiced concerns. 

Colossians 3:21

Parents, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged

Ephesians 6:4

Parents, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord

Proverbs 22:6

Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it

Matthew 6:33-34

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Philippians 4:6-7

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Psalm 127:3-5

Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court
Let us pray.

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Special Prayer For Our Youth

Hello FIRE Community, today we are taking a pause to pray a special prayer for our youth. Many youth have started school or will be starting school soon. Some of our youth are having physical and emotional health challenges. Therefore, today we are standing in the gap for all youth who have anxiety about going back to school and who are undergoing special medical procedures. 

Psalm 127: 3-4(NLT)

 Children are a gift from the LORD ; they are a reward from him. 4 Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warrior’s hands. 

Matthew 21:15-16 (NLT)

The leading priests and the teachers of religious law saw these wonderful miracles and heard even the children in the Temple shouting, “Praise God for the Son of David.” But the leaders were indignant. 16 They asked Jesus, “Do you hear what these children are saying?” “Yes,” Jesus replied. “Haven’t you ever read the Scriptures? For they say, ‘You have taught children and infants to give you praise.’ 

Psalm 8:2 (NLT)

You have taught children and infants to tell of your strength, silencing your enemies and all who oppose you.

Proverbs 22:6 (NLT)

Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.

Mark 9:36-39 (NLT)

Then he put a little child among them. Taking the child in his arms, he said to them, 37 “Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes not only me but also my Father who sent me.


Let us pray.

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1 Corinthians 13:3 
Assessing Your Spiritual Gifts for Spiritual Growth: Martyrdom

1 Corinthians 13:3 (NLT)
If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.

This week’s spiritual gift is martyrdom. The definition of martyrdom is to give over one's life to suffer or to be put to death for the cause of Christ.

Consider the following:
Rev. Dr. Lover wrote, “After Jesus’ ascension, the disciples were advancing Christianity to their own demise. The disciples and other followers were murdered and clearly Christianity was birth out of violence, persecution, imprisonment and ultimately martyrdom.” Another source wrote, “Christians did undoubtedly face hostility, arrest, and martyrdom from its inception, even if it tended to be sporadic and localized. For small fragile immunities, it would not take much in the way of opposition either from Jewish or Gentile sources to engender a feeling of fear, insecurity, and victimization, especially after the Neronic persecutions of 64 CE. In our scripture lesson, Paul, the author of 1 Corinthians, is talking about being betrayed, the willingness to die for Christ’s cause, being handed over to persecutors, and being martyred. Therefore, when we look at the spiritual gift of martyrdom, we are looking at individual’s who base on their belief will sacrifice their life. We see this historically as well as presently, particularly if you are not living in North America that people’s lives are still at stake when they proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. Therefore, we know that being a disciple of Jesus and spreading the Good News is a part of being Christian. However, at what cost? We have heard many stories of people proudly that stated they are a Christian and then were slain. We have also heard about being people denying Christ to save their own lives. Thus, the spiritual gift of martyrdom is a gift which illustrates the true cost of being a Christian. 

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Special Pray against Violence

Hello FIRE Community, today we are taking a pause to pray a special prayer against violence. On July 28, 2019 there was a shooting in Gilroy, CA, on August 3, 2019 there was a shooting in El Paso, Texas, and on August 4, 2019 there was a shooting in Dayton Ohio. Three shootings in 7 days! Over 30 people killed and over 60 people wounded. 

1 Peter 3:9

 Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.

Isaiah 60:18 (ESV)

Violence shall no more be heard in your land, devastation or destruction within your borders; you shall call your walls Salvation,  and your gates Praise.

Proverbs 3:29-31 (ESV)

Do not plan evil against your neighbor, who dwells trustingly beside you. Do not contend with a man for no reason, when he has done you no harm. Do not envy a man of violence and do not choose any of his ways,

Titus 3:2(ESV)

to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.

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Romans 12:8 
Assessing Your Spiritual Gifts for Spiritual Growth: Leadership

Romans 12:8 (NLT)
If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.

Luke 22:24-27 (ESV)
A dispute also arose among them, as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest. 25 rAnd he said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles sexercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. 26 tBut not so with you. Rather, let sthe greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves. 27 For who is the greater, uone who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But vI am among you as the one who serves.

This week’s spiritual gift is leadership. The definition of leadership to stand before the people in such a way as to attend to the direction of the body with such care and diligence so as to motivate others to get involved in the accomplishment of these goals.


Consider the following:
In an article written by Lee June entitled, Servant Leadership, The Leadership Style of Jesus, it indicated that a “Servant Leader views themselves as a servant first” and that, “leadership is first a spiritual matter of the heart.” These concepts therefore undergird the leader’s motivation as well as their leadership goals. Jesus is the ultimate model for servant leadership and he possessed the following strengths: strength of self-mastery, strength of action, and strength of relationship. Although the author does not go into detail, I surmise the strength of self-mastery is knowing one’s strengths and weaknesses; the strength of action is knowing when to act and not to act; and the strength of relationship is knowing how to build an effective team and understand the strengths and weakness of the team members. In order to accomplish this, the leader is a visionary and is able to look for spiritual gifts in others that enables people to use what God has given them and to stay focus on executing God’s plan. As a reminder, a person who has the spiritual gift of administration develops strategies to accomplish the goal because they are more goal or task oriented, but the gift of leadership motivates others to work together in ways that help them achieve more together. In our scripture from Luke, we note that the Apostles were arguing over which one of them was the greatest and Jesus said, the one who serves is the greatest. Jesus reminded them that the definition of greatness is servant leadership. Today, I encourage you to be introspective and reflect on if you are a visionary who develops ideas, meaning, if God has given you the spiritual gift of leadership. If so, are you effectively using your spiritual gift and representing God well? Are you the leader who wants to be served or the leader who serves? Are you the leader that builds on the weaknesses of the team or continues to weaken the team?

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1 Corinthians 12:8 
Assessing Your Spiritual Gifts for Spiritual Growth: Knowledge

1 Corinthians 12:8 (NLT)
To one person the Spirit gives the ability to give wise advice; to another the same Spirit gives a message of special knowledge.

This week’s spiritual gift is knowledge. The definition of knowledge is to seek to learn as much about the Bible as possible through the gathering of much information and the analyzing of that data.


Consider the following:
Everyone has knowledge about some concept or topic. You can pick up a book, read research, or observe the environment and you would have obtained knowledge. However, similar to other spiritual gifts, a person receives the gift from God to bless others and build up the body of Christ. The spiritual gift of knowledge (Gnosis in Greek) is given to people to use to convert the facts and information gained  to translate it into applicable knowledge. In our scripture, it states that the Spirit gives a message of special knowledge. One source indicates that, “People possessing this gift can learn in a variety of ways, retain what they learn, and understand how learning can be applied in meaningful and productive ways. Those gifted with knowledge have a voracious and insatiable desire to learn more, and they seek multiple avenues for deepening their understanding of God’s world, God’s will, and God’s people.” Another source indicated that what can be concluded is, “the gift of knowledge is an understanding of the things in this world and in our lives that is founded in the Gospel and rooted in the Scriptures.” This second source continues by stating, “The Holy Spirit gives this spiritual gift to some believers to bring about understanding and to inform the church or individual believers.  The person with this gift is usually well-versed in the Scriptures and often has much committed to memory.  They can retain the truth and communicate it effectively at the appropriate times.  The gift of knowledge allows a believer to relate the Scriptures, and particularly the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to all aspects of life in this world.  They can see how it connects to every situation and circumstance and how the reality and truth of the Gospel is to inform every decision a Christian makes.” Overall, what makes the gift of knowledge a spiritual gift is the application of the learned information to the body of Christ and how to live holy. 

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1 Peter 4:8-10 
Assessing Your Spiritual Gifts for Spiritual Growth: Hospitality

1 Peter 4:8-10 (NLT)
Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay. God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.

This week’s spiritual gift is hospitality. The definition of hospitality warmly welcome people, even strangers, into one’s home or church as a means of serving those in need of food or lodging (Greek Word: philoxenos - love of strangers; 'philos'=love; 'xenos'=stranger).


Consider the following:
Similar to other spiritual gifts, a person receives the gift from God to bless others and build up the body of Christ. Likewise, whether we have this gift or not, we are to practice hospitality as Romans 12:13 (NIV) indicates, “Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” To exercise hospitality is to extend loving care and acceptance to another. To some, this exercise is almost automatic. Over time it becomes the natural response of some people. Know that being hospitable is about intentionally creating environments where people feel welcome and experience love, acceptance, and the presence of God.

According to the Bible, here are five tips to exercise this gift. Have a good attitude. The writer of our scripture, Peter, reminds us that we must use hospitality without grudging. To accomplish this, remember the reason you are serving, and you are serving because you love the Lord. Second, remember the stranger. As noted earlier, the root for hospitality means, “a love for strangers” and Hebrews 13:1-3 (NLT) states, “Keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters. Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it! Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies.” Remember to invite the sinners as Luke 5:27-29 (NLT) reads, “Later, as Jesus left the town, he saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Levi got up, left everything, and followed him. Later, Levi held a banquet in his home with Jesus as the guest of honor. Many of Levi’s fellow tax collectors and other guests also ate with them.” This scripture illustrates that Jesus never forgot the sinners, and encourages us to invite our unbelieving friends to fellowship with us. Next, provide for missionaries, as it is written in Luke 10:5-7 (NLT), “Whenever you enter someone’s home, first say, ‘May God’s peace be on this house.’ If those who live there are peaceful, the blessing will stand; if they are not, the blessing will return to you. Don’t move around from home to home. Stay in one place, eating and drinking what they provide. Don’t hesitate to accept hospitality, because those who work deserve their pay.” The scripture demonstrates the need to support missionaries because their work can be exhausting. If you are able and feel safe, offer your home at no cost, provide a meal, or take them out to eat. This form of hospitality will ensure our fellow laborers do not become weary in well-doings. Lastly, serve the poor and needy as it states in Luke 14:12-14 (NLT), “Then he turned to his host. ‘When you put on a luncheon or a banquet,’ he said, ‘don’t invite your friends, brothers, relatives, and rich neighbors. For they will invite you back, and that will be your only reward. Instead, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. Then at the resurrection of the righteous, God will reward you for inviting those who could not repay you.’” This scripture instructs us to serve the poor and needy without expecting anything in return. 

Today, I encourage each of us to be hospitable in our actions and serve with a cheerful heart. If you know that this is your spiritual gift, be an example to others of how to be hospitable.

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1 Corinthians 12:28 
Assessing Your Spiritual Gifts for Spiritual Growth: Helps

1 Corinthians 12:28 (NLT)
Here are some of the parts God has appointed for the church:first are apostles, second are prophets, third are teachers, then those who do miracles, those who have the gift of healing, those who can help others, those who have the gift of leadership, those who speak in unknown languages

Exodus 17:10-12 (NIV)
So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. 11 As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. 12 When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset.

This week’s spiritual gift is helps or helping. The definition of helping to render support or assistance to others in the body so as to free them up for ministry.


Consider the following:
In the Old Testament, Joshua, Aaron and Hur had the gift of helping, and Joshua ministered unto Moses. Moses could give him orders and Joshua stood by to carry out the wishes of Moses. And we read, "So Joshua did as Moses said unto him" (Exodus 17:10). Joshua was there simply to help Moses, and was a very faithful servant to Moses. We also saw Aaron and Hur, hold up Moses as Moses, the leader grew tired. Joshua exercised and demonstrated the gift of helps. Since we serve a faithful God, when Moses died, God chose and ordained Joshua to then take over the leadership of the people.

The gift of helping is one of support and behind-the-scenes effort that make groups, families, and congregations more effective. Not everyone is gifted to lead, but many are gifted to follow and handle the tasks that are so essential, but less glamorous. Helpers love to serve others, support others, and assist others in the important work of ministry and mission. Tireless in their willingness to serve, helpers are less interested in receiving thanks and recognition than in doing good, valuable work. Therefore, as leaders or teachers, let’s not feel like we need to do the work on our own. God has gifted people to come alongside of us to assist in ways that can enhance our ministry. Persons with the helping gift will help expand the ministry because it will free the leaders and visionaries to focus on other tasks and develop new ministries. People who have been given this gift, assist the church or community to meet the needs of all of those in the body of Christ, which in my opinion, this is one of the most important gifts in the body of Christ. They do not wait to be asked to do things, they fulfill the need as they see fit. Therefore, as leaders, preachers, or teachers, we need to demonstrate gratitude because often times people with this gift go unnoticed or are under-appreciated. Although many with the gift of helps will continue to remain behind the scenes, God can and does promote as we saw in the story of Joshua and Moses. Therefore, it is our rightful duty to show appreciation and most importantly not mistreat anyone. Today, I encourage all of those leaders whether in your career or in your church, to rethink taking all the credit and show our gratitude to God by extending appreciation to those who help support and execute the mission and vision.

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1 Corinthians 12:9 
Assessing Your Spiritual Gifts for Spiritual Growth: Healing

1 Corinthians 12:9 (NLT)
The same Spirit gives great faith to another, and to someone else the one Spirit gives the gift of healing.

1 Corinthians 12:28 (NLT)
Here are some of the parts God has appointed for the church:first are apostles, second are prophets, third are teachers, then those who do miracles, those who have the gift of healing, those who can help others, those who have the gift of leadership, those who speak in unknown languages

This week’s spiritual gift is giving. The definition of healing is to be used as a means through which God makes people whole either physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually.


Consider the following:
The gift of healing can either manifest physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually. For example, physical healing is when the doctor says that the rare bone cancer which was once in your body is now untraceable. Emotional healing is when you were in deep states of depression that you attempted to take your life multiple times, and you no longer have thoughts of death; BUT joy and peace is your core because you know Jesus came to give you life and give you life more abundantly. Mental healing is when you use to constantly criticize yourself and others and it was a challenge to affirm yourself; now you are “positive Patty” and you are your biggest supporter because God has transformed your mindset and freed you from negativity. Spiritual healing is when the physical, emotional, or mental affliction has damaged your relationship with the Trinity, and return back to Christ feeling freed instead of angry about the trials and tribulations of life. 

Although healing can take place in many forms, it is important to know that the gift of healing manifests because of the Glory. In our Bible, we see healings take place by Jesus when he touched them. Jesus did not need to pray because Jesus is the Great Healer! However, as Rev. Dr. Rosalynn Brookins says, “As Kingdom Carriers we must pray for the Glory.” Therefore, if you believe that God has given you the gift of healing whether because you work in the medical field, the mental health field, or in the church, prayer is essential. Prayer is necessary because we must always pray for the will and manifestation of the gift. Since it is a spiritual gift, not everyone will have the gift of healing. Lastly, if you have the gift of healing proper training is necessary because if it has not been taught, a person can do more harm spiritually than they are aware of.

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Romans 12:8 
Assessing Your Spiritual Gifts for Spiritual Growth: Giving

Romans 12:8 (NLT)
If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.

This week’s spiritual gift is giving. The definition of giving is to share what material resources you have with liberality and cheerfulness without thought of return.


Consider the following:
The gift of giving is the deep commitment to provide whatever resources are needed to support God’s will and plan. In addition to radical generosity, those who possess the gift of giving have the uncanny ability to discover and channel new sources of money, time, and energy to needs. Money management skills, grant writing abilities, and the easy knack of asking for donations and cultivating donors are among common skills of gifted givers.

Senior Pastor, Robert Morris, has a series entitled, The Blessed Life. In this series, he explains that giving comes from the heart and that giving applies to every area of our lives because giving goes beyond finances. In one of his sermons, he poses the question, am I generous? He indicates that the enemy of generosity is selfishness and he parallels it to living a godly life versus a sinful life. He also educates the congregants on the three levels of giving: tithes (10%), offerings (above the tithe), and extravagant offerings (radical mandate from God). Lastly, he emphasized that generosity comes from gratitude and grateful people are generous.  Know that Christ has mandated all of us to give, but when you have the gift of giving you do not find it as challenging to give just to give. As we explored during our Lenten season devotional this year, when you give just to give, God will beat your giving in your tithe, your time, and your talent! As the hymn goes, “You can't beat God's giving, no matter how you try. And just as sure as you are living and the Lord is in heaven on high. The more you give, the more He gives to you, but keep on giving because it's really true  that you can't beat God's giving, no matter how you try.”

Today, I encourage you to reflect on that giving is not about the amount or the item but it is about the heart.  

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1 Corinthians 12:8-10 
Assessing Your Spiritual Gifts for Spiritual Growth: Faith

1 Corinthians 12:8-10 (NIV)
To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues,[a] and to still another the interpretation of tongues.

Matthew 17:20 (NLT)
“You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible

The definition of faith is to be firmly persuaded of God's power and promises to accomplish His will and purpose and to display such a confidence in Him and His Word that circumstances and obstacles do not shake that conviction.


Consider the following:
Identify a time in the last seven days when your faith has been tested. Our faith is tested very often and even about minute circumstances; however, the more complex the circumstance is, the more perseverance in our faith we must have. Our Matthew text informs us that all we need to do is possess a little bit of faith and nothing is impossible! How wonderful is that! Fatih that God will continue to shine light in dark places, faith that God will open unseen doors, faith that the Holy Spirit is the protector and comforter during trials and tribulations, faith that you are not on the journey alone, faith that God will work things out, faith that God has your back, and faith that He is the healer and mighty warrior.  In April we had two devotionals that explored having authority over our faith and asking the question, where is your faith? In life our faith, which is the feeling or emotion will be tested, and our faith will be revealed based on our actions. Our actions reveal our faith because based on our decision we will see if we trust God or not. Remember, trust is the action word of faith. Having authority over our faith and possessing faith in the times when it looks impossible, is part of our job as Christians. However, what sets faith that is needed because we are Christians versus faith that is a spiritual gift is that the gift of faith is more than belief in Jesus Christ, but an abiding foundation of confidence that God works all things together for good, and that the people of God can rise above any obstacle. Faith is the bedrock upon which we build lives, congregations, and communities. People with the gift of faith hold fast to the deep conviction that no matter what we see with our eyes, we can trust the promises and plan of God.

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Romans 12:8 
Assessing Your Spiritual Gifts for Spiritual Growth: Exhortation

Romans 12:8 (NLT)
If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.

This week’s spiritual gift is exhortation. The definition of exhortation is to come along side of someone with words of encouragement, comfort, consolation, and counsel to help them be all God wants them to be.


Consider the following:
The gift of exhortation is manifested in people who offer encouragement, wise counsel, unflagging support, and empowerment. Those who exhort stay focused on helping people maximize their own potential and live from their own gifts and skills. Exhorters help people feel good about themselves, build confidence, and not grow discouraged. Often, those with the gift of exhortation make others feel good just by being present. For example, a counselor uses the spiritual gift of exhortation.

Today’s scripture notes that exhortation is the other branch of prophesying or preaching. In the apostolic writings, the one idea of “preaching” is divided into its several branches, “speaking with tongues,” “prophesying” (which appears to have had reference to the more profound portions or relations of the faith), “teaching,” and “exhortation.” Exhortation corresponds to “encouragement,” would be especially needed in the troubled circumstances of the early Church as well as the church today. In addition, exhortation is more principally the pastor's work, as well as to teach, is to exhort all sorts of persons, young and old, rich and poor, joyful and desolate, and bond and free. As a mental health professional and minister, in my professional opinion it is necessary to preach exhortation, edification (i.e., moral and spiritual improvement), and transformation (e.g., growth and dealing with universal human issues). However, two weeks ago we learned about the spiritual gift of discernment and I believe that is equally as important to discern the audience and meet them at their need. 

The person exhorting may do so professionally or informally, may provide timely advice and perspective for emerging leaders, and may provide stimulus toward potential. Thus, I encourage you to reflect if you are the “wise counsel” people seek. Do you admonish the unruly or disorderly, do you support the weak, do you comfort the contrite, and do you guide those who are under heaviness through temptations? If so, then you exhort!  Always remember you do not need to have a degree or credentials to have the spiritual gift. You do not need to be counselor, preacher, therapist, or motivational speaker to exercise the gift from God!

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Ephesians 4:11-13 
Assessing Your Spiritual Gifts for Spiritual Growth: Evangelism

Ephesians 4:11-13 (NIV)
So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

This week’s spiritual gift is evangelism. The definition of evangelism is to be a messenger of the good news of the Gospel (Greek Word: euaggelistes - preacher of gospel; eu=well, angelos=message - messenger of good). The gift of evangelism is the gift of faith-sharing and proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ to those we meet.  


Consider the following:
Today’s scripture identifies several spiritual gifts, one being evangelism. Experts indicate that evangelism is primarily a one-to-one or small group experience, grounded in building relationships with others and inviting them to make a decision for Christ. Gifted evangelists do not force their faith on others, but offer relationship with God as a gift, and are ready to tell the story of God and Christ in their own lives.

Some ministries’ main focus is evangelism. For example, prison ministry should have a focus of evangelism. As D. T. Niles wrote, “Evangelism is just one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread,” and as scripture reads, “I tell you, in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over 99 righteous people who don’t need repentance” (Luke 15:7). Individuals who have been put behind bars wrongly or justly, need to hear the Good News from a good heart. As Jesus did not come to condemn the world and neither shall we. Similar to prison ministry, church growth should be approached with the same attitude. When the church focuses on church growth, it enables the church to effectively continue to evangelize the gospel of Jesus Christ to the unsaved and unchurched. Thus, churches must teach how to appropriately evangelize because God’s reputation is on the line.

Evangelism is a spiritual gift because some people have more of an ability to offer relationship with Christ than others. However, know that it is all of our responsibilities to model Christ in our interactions. As Romans 10:15 (NLT) reads, And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!”

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