As some of you know, one of my New Year’s resolutions was to read Charles Stanley’s daily devotions every day. Part of why I love them is because they’re short and get to the point of teaching a great lesson. If you’re someone who has a busy schedule, these are really easy to fit into your routine. Plus, they’re free. You can read them online via InTouch Ministries Daily Devotions, or you can subscribe to get them delivered directly to your email or home. I personally like to have a physical copy of the booklets, so I get them sent to my home, but you can do whichever you prefer.
Anyhoo, on to the point of today’s blog. Spiritual gifts. Today’s devotion was about how spiritual gifts work together. We all have spiritual gifts – whether we realize it or not, and your spiritual gift might not be the same as someone else’s. Also, your spiritual gift could simply be something you’re good at, even if you don’t use it spiritually yet.
For instance, my gift is writing. It’s always come easy to me. Of course, there are plenty of other writers out there, and all writers don’t use their gifts for spiritual purposes, but that, I believe, was why our gifts were ultimately granted us – to serve our Creator with.
Maybe your gift is singing, speaking or painting. Then again, maybe your gift isn’t something quite as noticeable as something you can base a profession on. Many of us have spiritual gifts that aren’t as outwardly noticeable, yet they are just as important as some the gifts that are more outwardly prominent.
For instance, if you’ll read the snippet from Stanley’s devotion below, you’ll see how he mentions mercy as a spiritual gift. Maybe you have the spiritual gift to feel great mercy and compassion. Maybe you have a gift of prophecy in that you have dreams that often tend to come true. Maybe you have the gift of teaching in that it’s easy for you to explain things and teach them to others. Maybe you’re a leader who’s good at rallying people to your cause.
Oftentimes, we have several gifts. For instance, you might have the gifts of teaching and mercy. You might also have the gift of service in that you willingly serve and take care of others.
Regardless of what your gifts are, you can use them for the glory of God. How do you use your spiritual gifts? Just use them to honor God. Follow God’s teachings, and ask Him to use you for His purposes. I’ve found that if you apply the following verse to every situation, it can help you make the right move:
When I started reading my Bible with dedication, I started wanting to do things for God, so I asked Him to let me know what to do, and then suddenly I got the idea to create the Christian Living section of my blog. It doesn’t always seem like much to me, and I don’t always post on it every day. Rather, I wait for God to put thoughts and ideas in my head, and then I wait until He tells me to post them.
You might ask: How does He put thoughts in your head, and how does He tell you when to post? It is difficult to explain. I will just suddenly have a thought or idea out of the blue, and it usually comes at a time when I’m not even thinking about writing. I might be doing the laundry, and there it is, unbidden. Then, I’ll just have this certainty inside – this feeling that lets me know it’s from Him. The same thing about when I’m supposed to post it. Sometimes I’m meant to write it up right away and post it. Sometimes He allows obstacles to get in my way to prevent me from posting it until He is ready. It is truly an amazing experience, and I take such joy in doing it. There is no greater pleasure than knowing that you’ve done what God told you to do. (But keep in mind that just because God communicates to me this way doesn’t mean that’s how he will communicate to you. Just as we all have different spiritual gifts, so do we have different ways of hearing God. Some people claim that they’ve actually heard the voice of God on occasion. Sometimes He’ll send you a message through another person.)
When you realize your gifts and talents and allow God to guide you in using them for the good of His kingdom, then you’ll start to see amazing things happen in your life. You’ll see prayers answered and demonstrations of God’s power and mercy, and you’ll be a happier individual overall.
So what are your spiritual gifts? As always, feel free to share below in comments.
As Christians, we should yearn to know God better. We can learn more about God and His ways by reading the Bible, but just like you need to foster any other type of relationship with communication, so must you foster a relationship with God through communication. You can’t get to know someone better if you don’t ever talk to him or her, and the same goes for God.
How to Talk to God
But how do you talk to God if you can’t visually see Him or audibly hear Him? Through prayer. Prayer is simply talking to God. Prayers don’t have to be long and elaborate either. They don’t have to be spoken out loud. Sometimes a prayer can be as simple as saying, Good morning, Lord. Thank you for this beautiful day.
Granted, most of us usually like to say a more formal prayer every day too during which we thank him for all His mercy, ask Him to guide us throughout the day and cast our cares upon Him in general. Once you come to think of God as a friend and father, though, you’ll find it easier to talk to Him throughout the day. He might not always answer you visibly or audibly, and you might not see answers right away, but He does hear you, and He will answer you when the time is right according to his time.
When and Where Do You Talk to God?
While you can talk to God at any time, and you don’t have to talk to Him at the same time every day, there might be certain times that you find yourself talking to Him more than others. In today’s hectic world, it can be difficult to find the time to take your thoughts off all you have to do and center them on God, but it’s important to do that every day.
For instance, I like to talk to God first thing in the morning while I’m having my coffee and waking up. When the weather’s nice, I might do this sitting out on the front porch or in the backyard on the pool deck. Other days, I’ll sit in the library or in my chair in the living room. During this time, I just sit and meditate on God and tell Him everything that’s worrying me, ask him for help, mention any people I want to pray for and so on. Sometimes I just sit there and thank Him for all the many ways He’s blessed me.
Call me a child, but I also like to say a nighttime prayer. That habit was instilled in me since I was a little girl, and while I did it robotically for many years and then stopped doing it altogether, now I do it with understanding. During that time, I ask God to forgive me for any sins I committed that day and talk to Him about things that happened or anything else that I need to talk about.
Then, there are those times throughout the day – maybe when I’m taking a break from work – that I find myself talking to God. Throughout this summer, my habit has been to talk to God when I go swimming. If no one else is in the pool with me, I like to lay on my floatie and look up at the sky while I pray. Talking to God while gazing into the heavens makes me feel closer to Him and more in awe of his magnificence. I mean, He created all that – that beautiful sky with its cottony clouds, and when I’m talking to Him, sometimes a ray of sunlight will randomly come shining through as if in response to something that I’ve said, and it gives me such a warm, happy feeling inside, and I know deep inside me in those moments that He heard my prayer. It’s a feeling a totally can’t explain no matter how hard I try.
Sometimes when I’m doing a bit of cleaning around the house (folding clothes or whatnot), I’ll find myself asking Him questions or simply asking Him to speak to me. That doesn’t mean that I’ll hear His voice audibly, but sometimes when I do that and am receptive to hearing him, I’ll have these little thoughts or revelations that give me the answer to something I was questioning, and the questions might have been posed months or years ago – just suddenly I’ll have a solution.
Other times I’ll ask God what He wants me to do. You won’t know what works God wants you to do until you ask Him, and again, I might not always get an answer right away. It might be a week or two later when He puts a thought in my head about something that I need to write or someone I need to talk to or just anything I need to do. Sometimes He even sends other people to bring us His answers. It’s amazing all the different ways that God works to communicate with us when we talk to Him.
You might not talk to God the same way I do, at the same times or in the same places. Maybe you prefer to talk to God as you’re driving down the road on your way to work. Maybe you talk to God by speaking your prayers out loud. It is different for many of us.
God Wants to Talk to You
The point of this is no matter how or where you talk to God, it’s important that you do it if you want to grow closer to Him. God wants to talk to us. A friend and former classmate of mine really brought that home to me in a video blog she did on her Facebook page, My Life Song: praying and waiting. Near the end of the video, she equates the disappointment of parents when we don’t spend time with them to how God must feel when we don’t spend time with Him.
Watch the video I’m talking about here:
It made total sense to me. Just like a parent might feel hurt if you don’t return home for a family gathering, so must God feel hurt when we neglect to seek Him out and have our conversations with Him. Plus, just think. As much as our parents love us, God loves us so much more because he made us and sent His son to die for us. He should always be our first priority above anything else.
So when do you talk to God? Feel free to share your routine and experiences by commenting below, and may you have a very blessed day!
Also, if you like the video above and want to see more of them and lots of inspirational quotes, thoughts and more, follow April’s Facebook page at My Life Song: praying and waiting.
When reading the Bible and trying to live a Godly life, we’ll inevitably come across passages that make us uncomfortable and instruct us to do something that we really don’t want to do. The passage above from Matthew is one such example, and when I first read it, I sat in contemplation wondering if I could actually do what it was asking of me. Pray for my enemies? Granted, I don’t have too many enemies (that I know of), but a select few came to mind, and I was like How can I pray for this person who has hurt me so much? How can I pray for this one who despises me so much?
Types of Enemies
First of all, I think it’s important to clarify that there are two types of enemies: those who have wronged us and those who we have wronged. It can be difficult to pray for either type. It can be hard to forgive those who have wronged us enough to pray for them. Likewise, it can be difficult to forgive ourselves enough to pray for those who we have wronged and made an enemy of. Therefore, I think that before we can pray for our enemies, we must first pray for ourselves and have a forgiving spirit within ourselves to forgive either other people who have wronged us or ourselves for causing pain to others. Only then can we carry out God’s missive to pray for our enemies.
How to Pray for Our Enemies
I knew that when God instructs us to pray for our enemies that we are supposed to pray something good. What I mean is that I don’t believe that God wants us to pray in hate that something bad happens to our enemies because then we wouldn’t be praying in love. No, I believe that when God instructs us to pray for our enemies, he wants us to pray that He touches their lives, changes their ways and puts forgiveness in their hearts if we have wronged them.
Sometimes He might also instruct us to go a step further outside our comfort zone and speak with our enemies. For example, He might tell us to let the person who wronged us know that we have forgiven him or her. Likewise, if we have wronged someone, He might instruct us to apologize to that person.
When God puts it on our hearts to pray for our enemies, I believe there are always results whether we see them or not. I have some enemies I have prayed for that I have not felt impressed upon to speak to, and then I have others who I did have to speak to.
Not so very long ago, I had to pray and apologize to someone who I had wronged back when I was hurting and rebelling and hadn’t turned to God yet. I’d been praying for all my enemies for a little over a year when I felt like I needed to contact one of them. I didn’t want to speak to this person because of our interactions in the past. I debated on contacting them (I know I’m not using the correct pronoun here for all you grammar Nazis like myself, but for the sake of keeping the gender of the person in question anonymous, I must engage in this faux pas. Please forgive me. 😜) for days, but then the burden got so heavy that I knew I had to do it if I was going to have peace in my life. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do – to apologize to them and tell them that I was praying for them.
However, when I told them that I was praying for peace in their life, I suddenly found that I meant every word. I didn’t wish ill on this person, despite all our negative interactions in the past. I didn’t hear back from them at first, but then I was instructed to speak to them a second time and, in doing so, I finally received a response, and it was like a weight had been lifted off both of us. Never in a million years would I have thought this person would forgive me, but they did, and my life has been even more peaceful ever since.
That is the kind of power that God has. He is so great that he can bring peace into every aspect of your life, even concerning your enemies.
This experience was one of the greatest blessings and most notable shows of God’s greatness that I’ve experienced, and I believe that God wanted me to share it with you.
You might not have the same results that I had. Your enemies may never forgive you, and those who hurt you may never care that you forgave them. They may never change their ways. However, prayer does work, and whether you see the results or not, when God puts it on your heart to pray for your enemies and you do so in the right spirit, I believe those prayers go to good use, so forgive others, forgive yourself and pray for your enemies with that same forgiving spirit and watch God work miracles.