As this year draws to a close and the New Year of 2008 approaches I am grateful to God for all He has done in my life, my church, and in the lives of those around me. His Holy Spirit, His Word, and His very presence are what equips and enables us to help one another as the day approaches for His return.
When a man goes in the military - he goes off to "basic training" camp for an initial equipping in order for him to participate in what the commander will require of him. He will learn the rules and how to abide by them. He will train hard, failing from time to time, getting up and starting over. He will beat his body into submission in order to bring it to its fighting potential. Then, when he is faced with the battle before him, he will take orders from his commander, stand beside his fellow soldiers, fully equipped, ready to face the enemy - and he will be victorious!
1 Corinthians 12:4-11 (NLT)
4 There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all. 5 There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord. 6 God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us.
7 A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other. 8 To one person the Spirit gives the ability to give wise advice; to another the same Spirit gives a message of special knowledge.9 The same Spirit gives great faith to another, and to someone else the one Spirit gives the gift of healing. 10 He gives one person the power to perform miracles, and another the ability to prophesy. He gives someone else the ability to discern whether a message is from the Spirit of God or from another spirit. Still another person is given the ability to speak in unknown languages, while another is given the ability to interpret what is being said. 11 It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have. [emphasis mine]
Ephesians 4:4-7, 11-12 (NLT)
4 For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. 5 There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 and one God and Father, who is over all and in all and living through all.
7 However, He has given each one of us a special gift through the generosity of Christ.
11 Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12 Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do His work and build up the church, the body of Christ. [emphasis mine]
2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NLT)
16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 17 God uses it to prepare and equip His people to do every good work. [emphasis mine]
He gives us tasks and duties beyond our own capabilities - so that He can equip us with His power. I'm sure glad that God has our "basic training" covered with His Holy Spirit's indwelling, the pages of His Word (His very breath) as well as His presence in our lives. It's no wonder that He says we are "more than conquerors..." (Romans 8:37)
May 2008 be filled with all the blessings that come from obedience to the Living God, Jesus Christ our LORD! Let all God's people praise Him!
Choosing Great JOY,