THE GIFT OF FAITH CAN BE YOURS

1 Corinthians 12:9 – To another is given faith by the same Spirit.
Let us remember that through faith we are saved (Ephesians 2:8). We call this “saving faith.” The first work of the Spirit in our life is to lead us to faith in Christ. Faith that believes the Word of God which declares what the Lord has done for us through His death on the cross. This is faith that began to work in us before salvation actually takes place. Paul calls it “The faith of the Son of God” (Galatians 2:20).

Faith is named in the fruit of the Spirit as seen in Galatians 5:22. This kind of faith can only be developed by the Spirit as we learn to walk in the Spirit. Fruit can only be grown, not made. This fruit of faith speaks of God creating us to be a faithful people. We begin in faith that saves us. Then we learn to walk in faith, learning to trust the Holy Spirit on a daily basis. At times, we may experience the gift of faith which the Holy Spirit gives at His will for special times of need.

The gift of faithis distinct from saving faith and the fruit of faith. The gift of faith is in the family of the power gifts. When one operates in this gift, they believe God in such a way that God honors their word as His own. He miraculously brings to pass those things spoken in faith. It is a supernatural endowment by the Spirit whereby what is uttered or desired by a person shall eventually come to pass. This faith utterance covers blessing, cursing, destruction, and is different from the gift of the working of miracles and the gifts of healing in that often its operation is not immediately or even generally observed.

The operation of Miracles is more of an act, as when the Red Sea was rolled back by Moses, while the operation of the gift of faith is more of a process. The Gift of Faith begins with a sudden surge or boost of faith given by the Holy Spirit, when needed, as seen in Joshua 10:12-13, Acts 9:40, and Acts 13:11. Peter is a great example of this operation of faith. He entreated the Lord to bid him to come as the Lord was walking on the water and approaching the disciples. The other disciples in the boat thought Peter had lost it for sure, but when he came back in the boat with Jesus, Peter was their hero of “faith.” You just have to know, each one of them wished they had done what Peter did!

Holy Spirit, there are times when only the “gift of faith” can bring us through to Your intended purpose. Make me a willing vessel to allow You to give me that gift to help me do Your will when my natural ability fails me.

THE WORD OF KNOWELEDGE HELPS TO CONVINCE SINNERS

John 4:18 – You have had five husbands and the one whom you now have is not your husband.
The woman at the well is an excellent example of how powerful this New Testament gift of knowledge can be. As Jesus speaks with the Samaritan woman, He tells her life history with men. As we continue to read on in John 4:19 – 29, we learn how the whole city came to hear Jesus as a result of this one word of knowledge spoken to the women. That word helped to convince a sinner of her need of the Savior; she in turn was used to reach others by pointing them to Christ.

Acts 9:10-11 speaks of how the word of knowledge came through a vision and pointed out to Ananias a man in need. That man happened to be Saul of Tarsus, who later became the Apostle to the Gentiles. Notice how this word came in a vision to Ananias. He responded, “Here I am Lord”.

Peter received a word of knowledge about corruption in the church (Acts 5:3). The result was fatal for a man and his wife because they purposed in their heart to lie to the Holy Spirit. Today, it seems like many get away with lies and deception, but let me assure you, when this gift of knowledge begins to operate in the Lord’s Church at this level, judgment will also follow as it did in the days of the early apostles.

Please do not confuse this gift of knowledge with learning. The word of knowledge is a special supernatural revelation of facts given by the Holy Spirit. The examples are too numerous for all of them to be included. The “foretelling” of events to come is an operation of this blessed gift. To treat this gift as a vocal gift by suggesting that it is about preaching and teaching that came through studies, is to rob it entirely of its supernatural and miraculous character.

Holy Spirit, I am limited in what I know. I invite You to use me as often as it is pleasing to You through the gift of knowledge. Reveal to me what I need to know to encourage a child of God or help one to come to know the Savior. If You will, use me to point out sin, that the one in bondage may be set free to experience Your love.

SEEK EARNESTLY GOD’S KNOWLEDGE

1 Corinthians 12:8 – To another the word of knowledge, according to the same Spirit.
The word of knowledge is a supernatural revelation given to believers by the Holy Spirit of certain facts in the Mind of God. God keeps ever before Him in the storehouse of His Mind all the facts of heaven and earth. He knows every person, place, and thing in existence. He has them ever before Him. That is a real knowledge base! The word of knowledge is a revelation to an individual by the Holy Spirit of some detail that would help them to know what to do or say. It is supernatural “knowledge” such as the existence, condition, or whereabouts of some person or object. It might be theplace, location or occasion of some event. It is a gift of revelation, revealed to one’s spirit and mind. It is usually not vocal, but given as a thought, a picture, or some other type of impression.

The word of knowledge is not natural knowledge, but supernatural information. A few examples of the use of this gift in Scripture will help to make this clearer to us. In today’s lesson, we will consider a few Old Testament examples. In tomorrow’s lesson, we will look at a few from the New Testament.

In I Samuel 3:10-21, a word of knowledge was given to the child Samuel, who was to become the Prophet of Israel. God spoke to the child and said, “Behold, I am about to do a new thing in Israel” (1 Samuel 3:11). Even a child can hear the word of knowledge the Lord wants to give. In II Kings 6:8-12, the word of knowledge is used to warn a king of the enemy’s plan. A man of God sent a word to the king warning him where his enemy was about to attack. In 1 Kings 19:14-18, the word of knowledge was given to enlighten and encourage Elijah, a discouraged servant of the Lord. In II Kings 5:20-27 a word of knowledge was given to expose a hypocrite.

As one can see, the word of knowledge is not new to the New Testament. God has been giving this supernatural grace throughout His dealings with His people. The word of knowledge has been made available to any of God’s servants through the Lord Jesus Christ.

If you have not already done so, begin to ask the Father, in Jesus’ name for the “word of knowledge” to be activated in your life. Yield your mind to the Holy Spirit, inviting Him to be free to give you words that only He has to give. Lord, please help me to speak for You, as Your servants did throughout the Old and New Testaments.

SEEK EARNESTLY GOD’S WISDOM

1 Corinthians 1:31 – Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.
Today, I want us to look further into this subject of wisdom. Throughout the Scriptures, wisdom is highlighted as a gift given by God. In Matthew 2:13, we read of a word of wisdom given to Joseph through a dream which instructed Joseph to take Mary and the babe to Egypt. Compare this with Matthew 2:20 when the angel instructed Joseph to return to Israel. In Acts 13:2, the command by the Spirit to separate Barnabas and Saul was a word of wisdom as to the timing of God’s will to take the Gospel to the Gentiles. This word of wisdom had a bearing upon their walk and experience. In Acts 15:5-27, a word of wisdom is given through James as to what commands should be placed on the converted Gentiles. In Acts 26, Paul is defending himself before King Agrippa and Festus. Festus thought Paul to be insane. Paul testifies of the wisdom from the Lord given to him at his conversion which directed his life in the message he carried as the Apostle to the Gentiles.

The above Scriptures are but a few examples of this wonderful gift the Spirit of God has made available to the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. In 1 Corinthians 1:31, Paul warns us not to boast in ourselves, but in the Lord. In wisdom, he is quoting from the prophet Jeremiah. “Thus says the Lord, Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises loving-kindness, justice and righteousness on the earth; for I delight in these things, declares the Lord (Jeremiah 9:23-24).

I believe Jeremiah gives to us the sum total of the subject of wisdom. Paul establishes the need for us to pursue wisdom in our personal and corporate life. Today, receive God’s wonderful grace of wisdom. If you can identify times this grace has been released in your life, rejoice and thank the Lord continuously. Rejoice in the Lord, and again I say rejoice!

Today, ask the Holy Spirit to give you this gift as needed. Open up yourself to receive a deposit of supernatural wisdom from God by asking for the gift of wisdom, especially when you are at the end of your own sufficiency. If you are anything like me, that would be quite often.

SEEK EARNESTLY THE BEST GIFTS

1 Corinthians 12:8 – To one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit
Natural wisdom is the ability to apply possessed knowledge and experience. The “word of wisdom” is not natural or human wisdom, but supernatural wisdom from God. This Wisdom cannot be developed because it is already perfect. The word of wisdom is the supernatural revelation by the Spirit for divine plans and purpose concerning things, people, places, and events. The “word of wisdom” should not be confused with deep spiritual insight in God’s Word. The latter comes from study and revelation. The gift of the “word of wisdom” comes directly from the Spirit of God.

In a sense, the word of wisdom is the revelation of the purpose of God concerning things in the now and in the future. This wisdom is given to direct us in our decisions and provide safety from deception. Some Scriptural examples of the use of the word of wisdom will show how indispensable this gift is to a finite people.

In the Old Testament there are many examples of a word of wisdom given to those walking in a relationship with the Lord. The wisdom that comes from above always carried a redemptive purpose. Consider Genesis 6:13-22. God’s knowledge of future peril was communicated in a supernatural way to Noah. Noah was given the wisdom necessary to build the Ark and accomplish God’s will of saving the human race from the soon coming flood. King Solomon provides another example in I Kings 3:16. Solomon received supernatural wisdom to shepherd God’s people. The issue of the two women claiming to be the mother of the same baby is a great example of this wisdom given by God (1 Kings 3:16-22).

Paul tells us, “By His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God.” Today, all wisdom is found in the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul understood more fully than most about wisdom. “We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom” (Colossians 1:28). The gospel of Christ is the wisdom of God unto salvation for every individual.

Be bold and ask the Holy Spirit for the wisdom of heaven. Every day, ask for wisdom and expect the Lord to release your portion as needed. The Father, through the Holy Spirit, is waiting for us to ask and receive of the wisdom that comes from above.

RECEIVE MY REST

Isaiah 28:12— “Here is rest, give rest to the weary and here is repose,” but they would not listen.
The “rest” of God comes through obedience to His will. The Assyrian army was a growing threat to Israel’s safety and peace. What Israel had known under God’s protection was on the verge of disappearing. Once again, Israel, which had known the deliverance of Jehovah’s great power, was about to be taken into bondage and slavery by a people who spoke a different language. This people also had a different world view than that of Israel. Israel confessed faith in Jehovah and His redemptive power, but lived like the heathen nations around them. As we have seen in previous devotions, they mocked the word of the Lord and the Lord’s messenger.

The height of Israel’s rebellion and arrogance came during the times of Jesus. The religious leaders mocked Jesus and rejected the deliverance Jehovah was offering through His Son. As in the past when they killed the prophets, they planned the murder of Jesus, and later the murder of God’s apostles. In Peter’s first sermon, he warned Israel when he testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation” (Acts 2:40-41)!

There are three words that are important to consider as we speak about the rest God has provided for His people. The first word is to reflect. God sends His word and allows circumstances in order to get our attention. Many times obstacles are allowed by God to draw us toward Him. In those times, we need discernment. The second word to consider is the word received. The Lord sends His word and it is important to take a posture of receiving His word. I like the use of the word embrace because it speaks of getting close. It is possible to agree with God’s word in terms of doctrine, but not embrace His word as relevant to my circumstance. Our third word to consider is the word respond. Responding is obedience to God’s word. James expressed it this way, “Prove yourselves doers of the word and not merely hearers who delude themselves” (James 1:22).

Ask the Father, in Jesus’ name, for the help of the Holy Spirit to discern words spoken to you and the circumstances that surround your life. Ask Him to give to you grace to embrace the word of God and apply it appropriately. Finally, set your heart to obey God’s word and all of its implications to your situation.