Entries tagged with “Grace”.
Did you find what you wanted?
Mon 26 Nov 2012
Today I feel compelled to share about something that has been one of the greatest keys for me personally, for staying on track in the call of God, especially when I have been hurt.
That is, breaking free and staying free from having a judgmental attitude towards individuals, leaders and ministries.
This is especially important in church life.
Jesus taught us to be fruit-testers—to weigh up whether a prophetic ministry that purports to be from God is actually of Him by examining the fruit. (Matt 7:15-19) The Apostle Paul warned leaders to be alert for ‘wolves,’ teachers who would distort the Gospel. (Acts 20:28-31)
However, I have learned that there is a difference between God-honouring discernment that protects the church, and passing judgment in such a way that damages others and us.
What does ‘Do Not Judge’ Mean?
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Jesus, Matt 7:1-2).
Jesus made it clear that we are not to judge others.
Many of us would be aware of this command. However, if someone accused us of ‘judging’, we would be quick to refute it, mentally if not verbally.
Yet it is likely that each of us make judgments frequently. This is because summing other people up—and finding them lacking—is an inherent part of our culture today. It is also a common response when we have been hurt or wounded by someone.
But what does the Bible say?
A study of the New Testament Greek word translated ‘judge’ reveals that it means to decide the rightness or wrongness of something. In its simplest form, ‘krino’ simply means to form an opinion about whether something is right or wrong, good or bad, approved or disapproved. 
When Jesus used the term in Matt 7:1-2, he was warning us against condemning or passing sentence on others. Why? Only God can truly judge the heart and intent of people.
Some Signs we are Judging Others
Unsure about whether or not you are being judgmental of a person or a leader? Here is a checklist of some things to watch for:
1. A Blockage in our Ministry
Holding on to judgements, negative opinions and a critical attitude will affect our spiritual progress and our ministry. In prophetic ministry, judgment affects us like a blindfold across our spiritual eyes. It stops us seeing people as the Father sees them. 
If we hold judgments against a leader, it will affect our ability to serve him or her wholeheartedly.
Likewise, holding a judgement against ministers or leaders will block the flow of their ministry to us—we will not be able to receive God’s intended blessing through them.
2. A Negative Opinion
When we judge, we are forming a negative opinion of others based upon:
- Something they have said or done
- Something someone else has reported about them
- The way they look, or how circumstances appear
- A prejudice or preconceived opinion
When someone commits a wrongdoing, we cross the line to judgement when we label him or her a wrongdoer.
Just as a court judge has the power to pass sentence and send a person to imprisonment, we too imprison people and ourselves with our views and opinions.
A judgment will colour our viewpoint of someone negatively. A common way that judgments manifest is in the form of an attitude of disapproval.
Our disapproval will in turn influence others, who pick up it up from us.
“With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness.’ (James 3:9).
A criticism is simply a vocalised judgment. “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45). We have already passed sentence by the disapproval in our hearts; this is now reinforced by our words, which we inevitably share with others.
By judging another person or group, we are placing ourselves on a higher level. Sometimes we may even consider this justified, especially if we believe we hold the moral high ground.
James tells us that there is only one judge—God. (See James 4:11)
What To Do About Judgments
If you recognise that judgments have affected you in your personal, church or ministry life, you may find the following steps helpful:
An excellent way to do this is to listen carefully to what comes out of your mouth! Ask yourself the questions,
- ‘What negative opinions do I have about other people and leaders?’
- ‘What do I disapprove of?’
- ‘How have I labelled them—summed them up?’
Now, call these responses by the name of the sin that they really are: judging.
You may find it helpful, as I once did, to write out your judgments and renounce them one by one.  Intentionally replace every negative opinion with a positive one. Replace criticism (cursing) with blessing.
Re-examine the Cause
Take another look at the action that caused you to make it in the first place:
- If the judgment arose from a hurt, do you need to forgive? Or do you need to receive God’s comfort and healing?
- Is the area you have judged the other person in, something that you yourself have a weakness in? (See Matt 7:2-4)
But the Person was Wrong!
So if we cannot judge someone, does that mean that we cannot take an appropriate warning concerning his or her actions to a leader? Does it mean that we cannot bring correction or adjustment when it is needed? Does it mean that we have to trust someone who has hurt us again?
No, no and no.
What it does mean is that we step down from our high platform of judgment and onto the common ground of grace—the knowledge that we too have sinned. And from that place, allow Biblical wisdom, humility and the love of God to guide our responses.
1. Strongs Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. 1996. Ref 2919, krino, to judge.
2. See Prophesying out of God’s Love
3. This article is an adapted excerpt from my book, ‘Prophetic People in a Changing Church’ in which I share my own journey of freedom.
6 Doorways To Discouragement In Church Life
Break Free Of Hurts That Are Blocking Your Spiritual Gift
Why Is My Spiritual Gift Or Ministry Not Being Released?
Can you think of any other ways in which judgments can affect you? Or do you have a question or testimony about breaking free from judgments? Leave a comment in the comments box. If it is not visible, click on this link and scroll down.
© Helen Calder Enliven Blog – Prophetic Teaching
On team with David McCracken Ministries: Prophetic Ministry That Empowers The Church
Did you receive this from a friend? Read more from Enliven Blog or sign to receive our weekly prophetic teaching updates at http://enlivenpublishing.com/blog
Tue 21 Jun 2011
Personal guidance—receiving direction from God for our lives—can hold great power when we hear Him clearly and follow Him fully.
However, as with prophecy, there are some pitfalls if we do not exercise wisdom and care in the process of hearing from God for ourselves and others.
What are these dangers, and how can we make the most of personal guidance?
What is Personal Guidance?
As God’s children, we have a personal relationship with Him and can expect to hear His voice.  (John 10:2-5) Personal guidance occurs when we receive and follow instruction from God for decisions relating to our own lives.
A great example of someone who received personal guidance from God and acted upon it is Abraham, who is known as our ‘father of faith.’ Abraham set out from his home town and followed the call of God to Canaan. His obedience to personal guidance from God impacted the destiny of generations to come. (Gen 12:1-5).
The Holy Spirit has a significant role in our lives as our teacher and guide. (John 16:12-15)
You can receive guidance from God in many ways, including:
- Circumstances—for example, doors of opportunity opening or closing
- Scripture—a verse or story speaks to you
- Through Prayer
- Internally—an idea, thought or impression you perceive is from God
- Prophetic Dreams
- Suggestions from other people around our lives
- Through leaders
- An inner sense of peace
- The desires of your heart (Ps 37:4)
- Other prophetic means—a vision or word
When it comes to guidance for decision-making, confirmation is important. The strongest guidance occurs when a number of these things line up together, much like signposts pointing in the same direction.
If you are dependent upon receiving personal guidance through another person—for example a leader or a prophet—something is amiss in your relationship with God.
You can have confidence that God desires to speak to you personally and that you do have the right as His child, and the ability, to hear Him.
Weighing up Personal Guidance
It is amazing how people who understand that prophecy needs to be submitted and weighed up, throw all caution out the window when it comes to personal guidance!
The first test of personal guidance concerning big decisions should be the same as that of prophecy:
- Is it in agreement with the Bible’s instruction?
- Is it consistent with the nature of God?
- Is it consistent with the way God has wired and gifted you?
- What is the fruit—check the projected outcome of your decision?
- Do wise and mature Christian leaders around your life confirm your guidance?
Avoiding Pitfalls when it comes to Personal Guidance
‘But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.’James 3:17
Faith and Wisdom need to work Together.
God has given us minds to consider and process decisions. We need the wisdom that comes from consideration by ourselves and others. As David McCracken says, ‘Hear clearly. Plan wisely. Obey boldly.’
However clearly God’s direction comes to you, it is important not to forget that there are always variables. And a big one is timing. Does the direction relate to right now, or to a time in the future? Does it relate to a small window of time, or is it relating to long term?
I made a mistake once when God spoke to me clearly about taking on a certain ministry role. I made the error of assuming that His guidance related to long term, when the role was transitional. This resulted in unnecessary personal pain.
You may hear God speak something to you but the timing is not yet. I recommend recording what He has said, along with your response, in a journal.
Guidance Involving Other People
Something to watch out for is if you believe God has spoken to you about something, but the outcome is dependent upon the decisions and actions of others. Examples of this include promotion, vocationally or in ministry, or direction about a relationship such as marriage.
If your perceived guidance relates to a specific person or situation, hold onto it lightly. Consider your guidance unconfirmed until the person responds accordingly.
In the practice of personal prophecy, we have a saying, ‘No dates, no mates!’ In other words, don’t apply specific timelines, or prophesy concerning marriage relationships. I personally believe this guideline should be applied to personal guidance as well. If you sense God is saying something strongly in this area, I recommend that for your own safety and that of others, you take it to a leader or someone who you can be accountable to. 
‘But the wisdom that comes from heaven is… peace-loving, considerate’ (James 3:17)
Following through on your perceived guidance should not result in division—this is especially true of church life  or in a marriage relationship.
If your spouse is not in agreement with personal guidance you have received, this should be an orange flashing light warning that something is amiss! It may be a timing issue that will try your faith until it is resolved.
Leadership and Advice
‘For lack of guidance a nation falls, but victory is won through many advisers.’ Prov 11:14
We need to understand that we are not infallible, and we do not stand alone. God has created us to be interdependent upon one another. 
Remember that I am talking about big decisions here—not the small daily ones!
The aspect of accountability is so vital that I will spend the next post discussing it.
Don’t Hold on too Tight
Don’t hold on to personal guidance too tightly, or be specific or dogmatic about it—be willing to release it or allow it to be clarified as time goes on.
If you believe you have received instruction from God, or a vision from Him for your life, do not view it as though it is a target bulls-eye that you have hit directly centre. That is a sure way to be disappointed! Remember the stories of Joseph, and David?
Most often, the journey of following God is like the flow of a river. People in scripture who followed the call of God experienced opposition and change, but in spite of these things moved towards their destiny as they kept their hearts right. We need to trust in the sovereignty of God.
Desire of our Hearts
‘Take delight in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.’ (Ps 37:4)
It’s important to distinguish between what our God-given heart desires are, as opposed to desires that are sourced from weakness. Wrong desires can result when we have a deficit in our lives where we are not fully established in God’s love.—this is especially true of desires relating to relationships.
Watch out for confusion. It can also be a sign that the guidance is not clear enough for you to act upon—for example the timing may not be right. However, confusion may also be a sign of spiritual warfare.
God’s Grace for our Mistakes
Many years ago, The Hunk and I made a business decision based upon what we believed was guidance from God. Upon review, we missed some practical steps of wisdom and moved too quickly.
When we do make the wrong decisions based upon our interpretation of what God has communicated to us, all is not lost. His grace and mercy prevails. God uses these times to teach us and grow us.
In our case, although we lost a lot of money and learned some hard lessons, our Father delivered us miraculously when we realised, repented and cried out to Him for help. We also emerged stronger and wiser.
The Power of Obedience
Like Abraham’s response to God’s call to go to Canaan, decisions that we make in the will of God have the power to positively impact not only our own lives, but to have a ripple effect that can affect those around us, our families and generations to come.
I recommend that this post should be read in conjunction with next week’s one: Do You Have A Ministry Call?
Do you have any experiences or questions to share on this topic? I would love to hear from you. Leave a comment in the comments box below. If the comments box is not visible, click on this link and scroll down.
 As I have pointed out in the following post, the Holy Spirit has many creative ways of speaking to us:
How to Recover The Wonder Of Hearing God’s Voice
 See next week’s post on The Power of Accountability for Personal Guidance
 I have personally made mistakes in the area of division in church life. See my book, Prophetic People in a Changing Church, or listen to my testimony on the podcast page.
 Not Word Perfect: Understanding How Prophecy Works In The Church Today
 See the following post: 12 Signs Of Spiritual Warfare
© Helen Calder 2011 Enliven Blog
On team with David McCracken Ministries
Mon 13 Dec 2010
The Least Likely List
Do you have someone in your world right now whose heart seems hardened towards God?
Someone, who—if you were to make a list of those who would be least likely to become a Christian—would be first on that list?
Who else is on your list?
The imaginary list we have just made represents the PERCEPTION that we have about people close to us who do not yet know Jesus as their Saviour.
I believe that our Heavenly Father wants us to review our perception, shake it up and exchange it if need be—until we see people around our lives the way HE sees them.
The question is: will we?
Why the way we see People Around us is Important
The way we view people in our lives who don’t know God is vital:
- If we believe someone is hardened towards God and unlikely to become a Christian, that belief will affect our thoughts, prayers and actions towards that person.
- If we believe God is at work in a person’s life, we will be expectant and pray, speak and act accordingly.
Most often, we look at the evidence of our 6 senses—what we have seen and heard, as well as our history with people—and make a judgement about the state of their heart towards God and their potential for salvation.
But the Bible reveals a different viewpoint: the Father’s perspective.
The Father’s ‘Most Wanted List’
If Jesus’ disciples had a ‘Least Likely List’ of those God would welcome into His Kingdom, the Romans—despised, brutal invaders—would have been at the top of the list, followed closely by Gentiles and Samaritans.
But Jesus continually surprised them.
Time and time again, Jesus showed His disciples that those on their ‘Least Likely List’ were actually on the Father’s ‘Most Wanted List,’ along with everyone else.
A Roman commander came to him asking for healing for his daughter. Jesus healed his daughter with a word and praised him saying, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.” (Matt 8:10)
A Gentile woman came asking for deliverance for her daughter and the disciples wanted to send her away. Jesus tested her faith and then exclaimed, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” (Matt 15:28)
As Jesus ministered, He sought out the unloved, the unwanted, the despised. Tax collectors, prostitutes, criminals—all were welcome in God’s Kingdom.
One time, Jesus went out of His way to speak with a Samaritan woman with a bad reputation. An entire Samaritan city came to faith in Him after hearing the story of how she encountered Jesus.
Realising Jesus had been speaking with a Samaritan woman, the disciples were mystified. Jesus said to them, ‘Open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.’ (John 4:35)
I believe Jesus is speaking the same to us today:
‘Open your eyes and look at people—see them the way I see them. They are ready to come to Me.’
Here are 4 insights that I believe are vital to having God’s perspective about people in our world who don’t know Him yet.
1. God is Already at Work In their Lives
Paul said in Acts 17: 26-27
From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.
If there are people in your world, to whom you are connected in some way and who does not yet know Jesus, be assured that God is already at work in their lives.
The fact that God has arranged for them to be connected to you is just one evidence that He is already at work in their lives, positioning them to seek Him.
2. They are Created for Relationship with God
‘He [God] has set eternity in the hearts of men,’ states the writer of Ecclesiastes.
Peel away the layers and within every person is a need for God—a place of hunger that will only be fulfilled by a relationship with the Father through Jesus.
Created by God and for God, each person’s need for Him is written into his or her DNA.
In spite of what may be presenting, that inner need, the voice of the spirit within them, is continually letting them know of their need for God—even if they are currently trying to fill that need with other things.
3. Nothing They have Done Affects God’s Response to Them
As Jesus demonstrated, the worst of sinners are candidates for the grace of God.
Choices they have made seem to have led them further away from Him. The degree of possibility of their salvation—at least in our eyes—seems to be reduced.
Sometimes we have a personal history with people that gives us reason to believe they are unlikely to respond to God. We may even have been hurt by them.
But none of these things affects God’s heart towards them or His ability to reach and transform them. They are on His ‘Most Wanted List.’
4. Their Degree of Hardness of Heart does not Impact God’s Ability to Reach Them.
The Holy Spirit can break through the hardest of hearts. That is why you are His today. And what He has done for you, He can do for others.
It can happen in an instant. A criminal came to faith in Jesus in his dying moments on a cross. All it took was a one-sentence declaration of faith. (Luke 23:40-43)
Don’t be deterred by a person’s seeming attitude towards God. They might be a heartbeat away from faith.
So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view.
(2 Cor 5:16)
We tend to see people through the lens of our culture, our priorities, our opinions, and our personal history with them. It’s time to take off these glasses and see people the way that Jesus does.
When we do, faith will rise up in us. We will pray, speak and act accordingly, giving the Holy Spirit freedom to move through us. And miracles of salvation will result.
‘Open your eyes and look at people—see them the way I see them. They are ready to come to Me.’
Who was on the top of your ‘least likely list? Let’s pray for him or her now:
Father, right now I bring _____ before Your throne.
Thank You that you are already at work in ____’s life, drawing him/her to You by Your Spirit.
Thank You that ____ is on Your ‘Most Wanted List’; that you sent Jesus to die for ____ that he/she would not perish, but have eternal life with You.
Send Your Spirit to reveal Jesus to him/her, to assure _________ of the truth of the message of salvation.
Lord, I ask that You would send Your angels to continue setting up Divine appointments. Connect _____ with your people who will speak words of life to him/her. Speak to _____ through circumstances and at every opportunity, day and night.
Help me in my relationship with _____ to take opportunities to share Your love, to speak Your word and to have timely insights to share. Anoint me by with Your Spirit to be Your representative to _______ . I choose to stir up my faith with regard to ________’s salvation.
In Jesus’ Name
If you you have any responses or experiences to share on this topic, I would love to hear from you. Leave a comment below. If the comments section is not visible, click on this link and scroll down.
Divine Positioning: How To Be In The Right Place At The Right Time
Key To Prophetic Evangelism: What Is The Father Doing?
The Greatest Evangelist In The World Today
E-book: Pray For The Lost: Impact The Eternal Destiny Of Those You Love Through Prayer
© Helen Calder 2010 Enliven Publishing http://enlivenpublishing.com/blog/
Now on team with David McCracken Ministries
Sun 5 Sep 2010
Fathers Day (Australia & New Zealand) Sunday 5th September 2010
‘Are You the God I am afraid You are—or the God I want You to be?’
My crisis of burnout in early 2009 could be summed up in this question that I asked at that time.
‘Are You the God I am afraid that You are—a task-master whose approval I can never win? Or the Father I have longed for—a God of grace and joy?’
How can it be that a Christian of 33 years could have such a crisis of faith?
The Orphan Spirit
‘I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.’ John 14:18
As Christians, we are beloved children—sons and daughters—of a loving Father. And yet for many of us, this truth is negated by a deep-rooted belief that we need to prove our worth in order to be loved.
We are born again as sons and daughters, a relationship so valued by God that Jesus paid the price of His life-blood for it, and yet many of us live as spiritual orphans. Why?
I first came across teaching about the ‘orphan spirit’ by Jack Frost in 2002 . I read his articles with interest and agreement, little knowing that at least one statement would prove prophetic:
‘Often within the church it is difficult to tell whether a person walks in the heart attitude of an orphan or a son (this includes daughters). Outwardly, a person may have a pattern of service, sacrifice,discipline, and apparent loyalty,but you do not know what is inside a person until he or she gets bumped. Then the attitude of the heart overflows at a time when they feel they are not getting the recognition or favor they deserve.’ Jack Frost 
My loving Father arranged for the year 2008 to be the year I was ‘bumped.’ Due to transition in the ministry I served in, I had 5 responsibilities, and could do none of them well. It seemed that no matter how hard I worked, the approval I craved was withheld.
I emerged in 2009 free of all but one of the ministry roles, but burnt out and exhausted. It was in the ensuing crisis of faith that I asked the question, ‘Are You the God I am afraid You are—or the God I want You to be?’
Discovering the Father’s Heart.
It was in this year of brokenness, devoid of the ability to achieve, that I discovered the grace of my Heavenly Father.
This was chiefly expressed through my husband, who bravely bore the burden of providing for our household, giving me as much time as I needed to recover.
I also discovered grace through friends who encouraged me to find and express my own voice, resulting in this blog.
I discovered grace through the presence and patience of my pastors and church family.
I discovered grace through reconnecting with the Father and allowing Him to peel back the layers of my need to perform, replacing them with His love.
Living as Sons and Daughters
“This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” Matt 3:17
Two weeks ago I listened as Leif Hetland  taught on ‘The Orphan Spirit.’ An orphan, he said,
- Sees God as a master
- Lives by love of the law
- Is always insecure
- Needs to be noticed
- Is one for whom discipline is a duty
Whereas a son and daughter:
- Sees God as a loving Father
- Lives by the law of love
- Has security, rest, peace
- Has total acceptance
- Is one for whom discipline is a delight
He went on to share five truths associated with this—the revelation of belonging, of being wanted and valued, of favour, of being seen and watched over by God, and of being approved.
It was a great message, and when Leif gave the call for those who needed to respond to stand, I actually stayed seated—a testimony to the work God has done in my life over the past year.
Leif then asked the worship leader, Steve Swanson, to sing a song of the Father’s love over us. As I opened my heart to God in that tender moment, I had a vision:
‘I was looking at a secured metal briefcase. It immediately reminded me of the movie ‘The Bourne Identity,’ when Jason Bourne went into the secure bank deposit and came away with a briefcase that contained passports, weapons and a wealth of money.
Down the right-hand side of the briefcase was a combination lock. It was very long—a set of numbers that would be impossible to remember. At the moment I noticed it, the Father said, ‘Don’t worry, I’ve got this covered.’ He opened the case.
To my surprise, the case contained no wealth—in fact, it was relatively empty.
All it contained was a single passport.
I knew that it was a Kingdom passport, and that it was mine because I was a daughter of the King. The front cover was embossed with a large crown, along with the face of a lion. ‘The Lion of the Tribe of Judah.’
God in His grace chose a revelation that had personal meaning to me. You see, my family and I are not citizens of the country we are now living in. This has been an ongoing source of frustration to us, as there are rights and privileges we do not have access to here in Australia.
Now, He was showing me that I am a citizen of His Kingdom, belonging to His Tribe, fully qualified, with all the rights and privileges attached to being a daughter of His Kingdom. There are no places in His will I cannot go to—every door my Father opens I can pass through.
I did not realise that there was a wound attached to my citizenship status until God chose at that moment to reveal and heal it.
But better than that—the truth of sonship has, once and for all, dropped from my head to my heart. I no longer need to live as a spiritual orphan. I am a daughter of the King.
And the answer to my question?
‘I am the God you want Me to be. I am the Father you have longed for—the God of grace and joy.’
If this article has spoken to you, you may be interested in the following resources that I have referred to:
 Here are the links to download Jack and Trisha frost’s PDF articles on the orphan spirit:
(Note when you click on these links it will download the PDF files immediately. You can check out Shiloh Place Ministries website here: http://www.shilohplace.org/ )
Slavery To Sonship (1) Exposing The Roots Of The Spiritual Orphan
Slavery to Sonship (2)
 Leif Hetland – Healing The Orphan Spirit (Teaching CD)
For a prayer to help you break free from an orphan mindset, read the first of the following posts:
Breaking Free From An Orphan Mindset
4 Symptoms of the Orphan Spirit in Church Life
1 Father, 2 Sons, 3 Positions: Which Describes You?
© Enliven Publishing 2010 Helen Calder
Now on team with David McCracken Ministries
Do you know of any resources about the orphan spirit that could help others who are on this journey? I would love you to share them with us in the comments section of this post.(If the comments box is not visible, click on this link and scroll down).
Sat 17 Oct 2009
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17).
Do you remember that age-old birthday party activity called ‘Pass-the-Parcel’?
After seating the children in a circle, the music begins. The CD player is presided over by an adult, who judiciously stops the music in such a way that every child has a turn at unwrapping and receiving a gift. To the children, the anticipation of the ‘random’ stopping of the music whilst the parcel passes through their hands generates great excitement. Predictably, some in the group hold the parcel for a few seconds longer than necessary. And once chosen, their faces light with joy as they open their very own gift, small as it is.
I still recall the magic of the game from my childhood, and a generation later, when as a parent it was my own turn to carefully wrap one gift over another, until multiple layers of gifts were wrapped into one.
We have a generous and loving God, who delights in giving His children good gifts. You are loved and chosen by God, and He has paid the price in full through Jesus’ death on the cross, to give you a priceless, multi-layered gift. And you get to receive, enjoy, and use everything that’s inside. But the choice is yours as to whether you will unwrap each layer, receive all of the gifts He has given to you, and pass them on.
1. The Greatest Gift of All: Jesus & His Salvation
The first gift that the New Testament reveals to us is Jesus Himself, God’s Son. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
When you believe in and receive Jesus, and give your life to Him, you become a child of God, a member of His family. With that transaction, you receive the gift of salvation: ‘whoever believes in him shall… have eternal life.’
“How much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!” (Rom 5:15).
The Greek word translated gift in this verse is dorea, meaning a free gift, emphasising that it is unearned and unwarranted. There is nothing you have done or can do to earn this gift—the price has been fully paid by God Himself.
Once we have received God’s free gift of salvation—freedom from the penalties of sin and eternal life in relationship with God, we discover another layer of His gift-package still awaits us.
2. The Gift Of The Holy Spirit
“Repent and be baptised, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off-for all whom the Lord our God will call” (Acts 2:38-39).
The second gift you may choose to receive is the gift of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit resides in us from the moment of our salvation. However, the baptism of the Holy Spirit is an experience that is separate and distinct to that of our new birth in Christ, during which we receive the empowering of the Holy Spirit.
The Spirit is outpoured from the throne of God to give us power to live a supernatural Christian life and be effective witnesses of Jesus to others (Acts 1:8, Luke 24:49). Again, the word used is dorea—a free gift, available to all who have received God’s gift of salvation through Christ. And again, there is nothing we need do to deserve this gift, for Jesus has paid the price in full. All we need to do, as Christians committed and submitted to Jesus Christ, is simply believe, ask and receive.
3. Spiritual Gifts
“Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us” (Rom 12:4-6).
As we unwrap the free gift of our salvation, we realise that God has called us—in turn—to be His gift to the world. After His death and resurrection, Jesus said to His disciples, “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that He breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:21-22).
We discover that God has not only saved us for eternity, He has a unique place and destiny for us as we live out our lives here on earth. The desire to be a history-maker, to achieve something lasting for God, is ingrained into our spiritual DNA. In Ephesians 2:10, the Apostle Paul states, ‘For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.’ He calls us to do something for Him that is God-sized.
Not only has God called us; He also enables us. And He does this by giving us special gifts to help us serve Him. These gifts are unique to us, and eminently suited to the life mission and ministry pathway that He has prepared for us.
The word used for a spiritual gift in the New Testament is ‘charisma,’ meaning a gift of grace . The emphasis here is upon the favour and kindness of God, His graciousness in bestowing the gift.
We have a saying, ‘Which comes first, the chicken or the egg?’ Whilst God has already laid our destiny out in advance, it doesn’t come with a map or set of guidelines, for He has called us to ‘live by faith, not by sight’ (2 Cor 5:7). Whilst the call of God does come clearly and sovereignly on occasion, it usually unfolds slowly. We receive clues to our arena of service by examining the unique gifts, passion and personality that He has given to us.
“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms” (1 Peter 4:10-11).
No one has been left out. No gift is inferior to another; there are no little people or little places in God. And you have been given your own unique gifts and your own arena of service, to love people, bring them closer to Jesus, and help grow His church. You are irreplaceable.
© Helen Calder Enliven Publishing
Sun 30 Aug 2009
‘Supernatural’ refers to something that cannot be explained by natural means.
When we are living a supernatural Christian lifestyle, Jesus is the only explanation for what others see occurring in and through us.
In our relationship with God, He is the ‘super’ and we are the ‘natural.’ Supernatural Christianity is a life lived in partnership with God and His Spirit.
The good news is that we don’t have to change ourselves or try and be someone different to have God’s power displayed in our lives. Just as grace (undeserved favour from God) is the basis for our faith in Jesus, it is also the foundation of our lives as supernatural Christians.
Unlikely Bearers of Good News
I love the story of the four lepers who were living outside the city gates in Samaria (you can read the full story in 2 Kings 7).
In those days, lepers were considered unclean, and had to live apart from society. Israel’s powerful enemies had set up a siege against the city, and as a result the city’s population was starving.
The lepers finally became so desperately hungry that they approached the enemy army’s camp in a final bid to obtain food or to die trying.
In the meantime, the Lord had caused the enemy army to hear the supernatural sound of a greater army coming their way. They fled in panic, leaving their camp intact, and their bounty, clothes, food and provisions behind.
The unlikely four tucked into the bountiful feast and helped themselves to the clothes and food. Gradually the enormity of what had happened as well as their sense of personal responsibility dawned on them. There was a whole city of starving people—and they were keeping the good news of God’s salvation to themselves!
Chosen By Grace
Like the lepers, we may have flunked the system, failed to measure up, be alienated or feel disowned by people. And yet God has chosen us; firstly to discover the wealth of all Jesus has purchased for us on the cross, and secondly, to share this Good News with others.
When it comes to being bearers of God’s power and His Gospel of grace, God doesn’t look for those who are qualified or successful in human terms. One of the first evangelists in the New Testament was a Samaritan woman, who was also an outsider (see John chapter 4). But she brought an entire city to Jesus!
The journey of supernatural Christianity and prophetic evangelism is a voyage of grace-discovery. It is on the basis of grace that we receive God’s transforming power and that He uses us to share His love and power with others.
The story of the unlikely four lepers is a reminder that we don’t have to be anyone special in the world’s standards, and certainly not by religious standards, for God to use us. Jesus can use us the way that we are. Paul explains this in 1 Cor 1:26-30:
‘Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things-and the things that are not-to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.’
Are you interested in Prophetic Evangelism?
For more information, inspiration and stories, learn more in the e-book,
‘How To Be a Supernatural Christian In Your Everyday World’
A Beginner’s Guide to Prophetic Evangelism Pt 1
How To Set Your Testimony On Fire Again
© Helen Calder Enliven Blog