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Work is the Premise of the Sabbath

Sabbath is Sacred but Temporary

Let us balance this out. Sabbath is important. Sabbath is sacred to the Lord. However, Sabbath was not intended to be a permanent state. Some of us have been taking Sabbaths without going to work. This is not natural behavior. We were not designed this way.  

We have been so focused on the Sabbath as a religious event that we have failed to connect it with the rest of the six days. The Sabbath is a part of the week of the Lord. The week of the Lord is about the work He wants for us to do. You can have something that you are working on, in, or through for six days of your life.  

According to the ministry He has placed you in, you are supposed to be working for the Lord for six days. The ministry He has placed you in occurs in your workplace. The work you do six days a week justifies the Sabbaths in your life. 

What if God didn’t do any work on the first day through the sixth day and then said, “The seventh is a Sabbath.” However, other people try to work through the seventh. Entrepreneurs tend to work on things. Employees tend to work on things. Homemakers and people working in the domestic tend to be working through things. You get tired of just working monotonously at the same thing because you have failed to complete the Career Mandate by stopping to rest and review the work that you have done. 

Work is not what is causing you to experience fatigue. What you’re working on, what you’re working with, what you’re working through, and what you’re working in that’s frustrating you. If the environment changes, you would love creating because it is part of your innate nature.  

We need to feel productive.

Imagine this scenario. You take time off to go to the beach for a vacation. When you get there, you lay down on the first day to relax. After a while, you get a tan from the sun.

On the second day, you do the same thing again and get tanner. On the third day, you bring a book or your iPod with you thinking, “I’ve got to listen to something because I’m just lying here, and I’m browning off now.” 

Has anyone ever been in this situation before? “I’m browning off. Now, I can do something. So, I’m going to lie here, and then I’m going to get up, and I’m going to go for a dip, and then I’m going to come back. Let’s go down the road. Let’s go and see whatever else is there to do.” In this vacation, you feel the urge to do something. You cannot just lie around on the sand doing nothing.  

Work is the premise of the Sabbath, isn’t it?  Isn’t the Sabbath more meaningful because you did your work?  The Sabbath becomes a great time because you have made yourself productive all-week round. 

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Sabbath

Order of Creation : Calling Then Family

Calling and Family

God placed man’s career calling ahead of his wife and his family in the order of creation. Do not get me wrong. We are not trying to create a conflict between home and work life.  

If you are a single woman reading this, I am saying that God wants you to marry someone who has already discovered his destiny and purpose. I’m saying that the worst thing you could do is to marry someone who has no career calling with their life because that’s an unnatural state. Ladies, you are supposed to be with someone who already has a relationship with God and, secondly, someone who has already received his calling from the Lord. Gentlemen, before you go out seeking for your mates, seek God first and seek the calling you have in Him.  

It is unnatural to have no work. We find ourselves in this mess in society when we’re marrying people with unemployed, idle minds. We find ourselves in a mess when we settle for marrying people with no vision and purpose. Ladies, it is unnatural for men to live off you.  

God said, “It’s not going to happen. Adam, you are going to be working when Eve meets you. When Eve lays eyes on you for the first time, you will be working.” This picture was what God intended for relationships between husbands and wives. Please, do not use up the excuse that times are hard and you could not get a job. Suppose you cannot get a job or volunteer. Do not sit around and be idle, asking when God will show you your wife.  

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Family

Prevent-Contamination

Prevent Contamination

Prevent Contamination

Salt can lose its saltiness

Jesus gave us a warning:  “But if the salt loses its taste, how would its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trodden underfoot by men.”  This is not to say that we lose our salvation. Instead, he said, we can lose our saltiness. We can lose our purpose. When salt is contaminated, it becomes corrosive and poisonous. 

When salt is contaminated, it cannot even be used as fertilizer in the field. It needs to be thrown out on the road. The question here is, are you preventing moral decay, or are you allowing it to continue in your workplace? Worse, are you producing or speeding up the moral decay in your office? 

Allowing apathy, disobedience, carelessness, and indifference to rule our lives, especially our work lifestyles, causes us to eliminate our saltiness. There is a need for us to realize our roles so that we do not lose the purpose for which we are called. Let us not miss the primary purpose by which we are placed in the position we are placed in. We are in the companies or businesses we are in so we can be the salt in that company or business. Do not miss the point. Let us not lose our saltiness. 

Does your light shine bright?

Jesus also called us the “light of the world” (Matthew 5:14). As the “salt,” we counteract the power of sin. On the other hand, as the “light,” we illuminate where we are. When a place is illuminated, darkness ceases to exist. Whatever exists in darkness—the rulers, authorities, and powers—cannot survive in the light. 

Our lives and this widely includes our work lives, must testify to the reality of Christ’s presence. The light we possess is not our own. It reflects the Light of the World, Jesus Christ Himself.  

As Insiders, we represent Jesus. We are his agents in the world. We cannot reflect Christ’s light if we are not in contact with Christ when it comes to our day-to-day lives. The problem most Christians have is they compartmentalize. Jesus belongs in the Sunday and Church drawer. Thus, he cannot touch the Mondays to Saturdays—Work-Fun drawers. When this happens, when Jesus is not Lord over all of our lives, we fail to reflect His light into every area of our lives.  

Theology of Separation

We are taught a theology of separation. We separate our careers from our faith. Most of us struggle with the idea that our careers are in fact, our ministries. These careers we hold directly serve the interests of heaven on earth. However, we miss this point when we separate Career and God from each other.  

Most people say, “If only they were in full-time ministry” with the church then, they can help advance its mission. They see their jobs as a measure to pay their bills or get ahead in life. We can understand that God has placed us primarily in our workplaces to be His agents, His access, and His advert in the system. 

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Prevent Contamination

The Salt and the Light

The Salt and the Light

A Command for Believers

Jesus declared that those who follow him are the “salt” and the “light” of the world. These were not suggestions. These were not options. Jesus did not say, “You can be the salt” or “you have to potential to be the salt.” He is talking about your very being. Christ was describing your nature as a believer living in the world. He said you are the salt and the light. 

We cannot underestimate the value of salt. In the ancient world, the context by which Jesus used the term “salt” metaphorically refers to Roman soldiers who received their wages in salt. The Greeks even considered salt to be divine. God required all offerings presented by the Israelites to contain salt under the Mosaic Law (Leviticus 2:13).  

When Jesus called the disciples to be the salt of the earth in Matthew 5:13, they understood the metaphor. They understood their job description as Insiders. Did you know that salt was not readily available in the modern world during that time? In the same way, what you offer as believers is not readily available in your industries. 

The Distinction of Salt

What are the characteristics of the salt that caused Jesus to use this symbol? Salt preserves food. Before people created the refrigerator, they used salt to keep food in ancient times.  

Salt had a property that stopped decay. The disciples were aware of the value of salt. Without salt, the fish they had caught will spoil quickly. They needed to pack it in salt to preserve it. Jesus intended you to work as an Insider in the industry you are in to stop the moral decay in the sin-infected world of that area.  

Salt needs to be lavished on the food to be preserved to stop the decay of this food. Salt, as a preservative, is only helpful if applied to meet that is riding. If you place to fish in one container and salt in another, the salt cannot preserve the fish. We see the pattern here, don’t we?  

Insiders

We see that Jesus intended for us to be Insiders. There needs to be close contact between the believer and the world to impact the world and prevent moral decay. Moreover, the spiritual health and strength of the Christian are to counteract the corruption in the system. As Christians, we were never intended to exist in our own “holy” bubble until the time when Jesus came again. Therefore, we are called to be the salt of the earth. 

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the salt

The System of the World

The System of the World

It’s all about systems

The city has a system. It is a mechanism that is made up of parts and components. It has culture and subcultures. Reaching a city means that you have a presence in every aspect of the city.  It does not necessarily mean that you have to be the most significant influence, but you need to have an impact in every area of the world. 

The Great Commission is about evangelism in the world. In the same way, the Great Commission is meant to be an “inside job” that starts with courageous believers going into the world. In this respect, we have to be in it to win it. We have to be in every area of society, every industry, and every aspect if we want to fulfill the call of the Great Commission truly. 

 At the end of the day, fulfilling this call is what we are here for. If we were not here for that purpose, we should have gone to heaven the moment we accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior. We have a purposeful God. We are here on earth because we still have a purpose of serving.  

You cannot win a world for Christ if you are not a part of it. An outsider cannot beat the system. An outsider does not have enough influence to be able to win the system. You have to be in the system in order to establish a stronghold over it.  

Reflection

  1. Describe the rulers, authorities, and powers that exist in the darkness of your workplace. 
  1. How are you being the salt in that office or business? 
  1. How are you being the light in the industry?  

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the-world-

Spiritual

Bridging the Spiritual and Everyday Life

Bridging the Spiritual and Everyday Life

This blog series creates a bridge between the two worlds—the world of your career and the world of your faith. You will see how you can close the gap between these seemingly distant worlds. Your career becomes full of meaning by closing the gap between your profession and your true purpose in life.  

Spiritual Energy:

Imagine this 

What happens when the alarm clock you dread hearing so much on a weekday becomes an opportunity clock that wakes you up every morning with spiritual energy? What would happen if you woke up to a Monday as if you were waking up on a Sunday? When you are excited to get filled with the Holy Spirit and ready to experience the encouragement of the Lord, how exciting is that? What would happen if you went to work, even if it seemed unrelated to advancing the Kingdom of God loaded with spiritual energy? 

Do you know what would happen? You would stand out in the work atmosphere. There will be this energy surrounding you that will bless the people around you and your workplace. You would bring a presence with you into this unfamiliar space.   

Instead of being late because you are simply dragging yourself to work and having a negative attitude towards everybody, you will come on time. You will have the cheerful disposition you usually only exhibit in church. People would notice this change within you, and they would say there’s something different about you. You would look at the tasks you can accomplish and complete them with a renewed sense of energy and passion.  

Game-changer

Your employers will notice. You will stand out from the rest of the workforce who come to work with the same tired energy you used to have. Employers are looking for people with a sense of spiritual energy. It’s going to set you apart from all the other candidates. These other employees may have stellar qualifications but no sense of spirituality. When a person can bring spirituality into their profession, it’s an asset to an organization; it’s an asset to a team. It’s an asset to the industry to have that energy flowing through it. 

When your profession becomes full of purpose, you will stand out in whatever field. Whether you are a business owner, working in business, government, or public service—whatever you are doing, it will change your stride when you are full of purpose.  

Yes, I want this… but how do I do this?

While this sounds nice and exciting, the real question here is, how do we do this? How do we sustain this? In what way do you keep the spiritual energy from running out when the traffic jam going to work will make you lose the fruit of the spirit that you have asked the Lord to give you last Sunday? Could you sustain this energy when your client makes crazy demands on an even crazier deadline?  

How do you do it when your boss is being the biggest jerk? How about when your colleagues take all the credit for all the overtime work you have been doing? How do you do it when the pressure is mounting on? 

In this blog series, we will study the lives of different individuals from the bible who, like you, did not have full-time jobs in church ministry. Nevertheless, their careers were seemingly unrelated to advancing the Kingdom of God, but the Lord used them mightily for that purpose. 

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Free Prophecy for Everyone

Spiritual

The Insider

The Insider

The Insider:

Hard work spotlights people's character: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don't turn up at all.
Sam Ewing 

Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so, I am sending you.” 
John 20:21 

Living for the Sundays 

The time you spend working makes up at least a third of your life. Choosing the right career is important because you will pay for most of your life according to your choice. For most of us who were privileged to be called to do ministry-related work, it’s easy to feel and think that our careers are our calling.  

A vast majority of believers are working in industries and fields that seem utterly unrelated to the traditional work of the church. They end up feeling that the bulk of their life seems disconnected from their faith. They look forward to Sunday because it’s the time when they get to breathe. During Sundays, they feel refreshed. On Sundays, they get to breathe heavenly oxygen, knowing that they have been suffocating throughout the rest of the week.  

Christian on a Sunday

They feel like their Spiritual Man has been beaten up and defeated outside of the church. It is only on Sundays when you experience some form of spiritual victory, and it lasts until the moment you commute or drive to work the next day. How many of you have felt that each day leading up to Sunday has been antagonistic towards your faith and your values? It feels like you cannot wait for the weekend to arrive to feel spiritually refreshed again. It feels like each day the insider, and you are dragging yourself, barely surviving the struggles in the workplace.  

On Sunday nights, we groan inwardly, thinking, “It’s Monday again tomorrow.” We have this work ethic of dreading each workday. We seem to live for the weekend. We embrace this kind of attitude. Why do we feel so defeated most of the week? Why do we dread work so much?  

Most of this thinking falls on the perspective that there is no relationship between your career and who you are as a believer and the insider. There seems to be a disconnection between what you are doing for a living and for whom you are living for. Your work does not seem to be relevant to your values, your heartbeat, or your faith.  

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Free Prophecy for Everyone

The Insider

Back to Basics Part 2

In the last post, you read about going back to basics and being straightforward in your discipleship system, and keeping accurate to the model Jesus exhibited. What are other tips we can follow?

The fourth principle of Fuhs is, “Don’t blend the genders.” There will be concerns about the individual lives of the group members that they will not be comfortable sharing or confessing in the presence of the opposite sex. Lastly, “Content Matters.” Fuhs noted that while all scripture is God-breathed, not all scripture will have equal weight in transforming lives and multiplying disciples. What we teach in our small groups is what they will teach in their small groups.

There are countless principles that we can memorize and apply in our discipleship groups. There are also numerous discipleship models and frameworks that we can copy and utilize. However, just like how Jesus and the first disciples did it before, we need not complicate things. Problems arise when we get too strategic that we go beyond and forget the basics. 

Senior Pastor of New Life Bible Church Oklahoma, Alan Danielson, shared in an article, “The right way to do small groups,” the lessons he learned from years of small group consulting. He emphasized that some discipleship models do work but are not effective for others. Danielson noticed that some discipleship pastors and leaders are more focused on the process while overlooking their small group’s fundamentals.  

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Back to Basics Part 2

jesus-Called-The-Twelve

Jesus Called The Twelve – First Small Group Ministry

Small Groups Were Fundamental

When we study the structure of how the early church did ministry, we will find that small groups have indeed existed since the time of Jesus. They did not tag them as “meetings.”

When Jesus started his ministry on earth, he sought out several people. They are twelve disciples – Christ’s own brand of a small group.

Jesus gave these men the honor of being the first disciples and Jesus’ ministry. They paved the way for Christianity to be as it is now.  

In the Bible, the first mention of anything is considered monumental. The first mention of the word dictates its true context. In the same vein, Jesus introduced discipleship in the context of a small group.  When Jesus called the 12, it represented the first form of small group ministry and discipleship in the Bible.

A Small Group of Disciples to Mentor

During the first century, it was common for leaders – be this in religion, philosophy, or politics – to have a dedicated group of followers and apprentices.

In Judaism at the time, it was common for rabbis to have their own set of apprentices following after their footsteps.

Normally, interested students would approach a rabbi they admire and ask if he would mentor them. If he agrees to take them on, they will only be considered a part of the rabbi’s group.

However, Jesus did the complete opposite and chose seemingly random people with not particularly noteworthy occupations. It was common for the rabbis to mentor the brightest pupils about the Jewish faith, so having a group with many fishermen was outside this norm.

Jesus’ Small Group Had Different Personalities

At the time, there must have been plenty of men who were seemingly qualified, educated, and teachable, so there must be a reason why Jesus chose these particular twelve. Interestingly enough, they came from backgrounds various enough for us not to detect a pattern.

The first he called out were brothers Peter and Andrew. They were fishermen. Jesus called the brothers James and John next.  Jesus came across them when they were still fishing with their father.

Though their occupations were not blatantly mentioned in the Bible, Philip, James, and Thomas, there is evidence they were also fishermen since they were fishing when Jesus showed himself to them after his resurrection.  

On the other hand, Matthew was a tax collector. In that culture, Jewish people despised this profession. Jewish people considered them traitors. They believed tax collectors were corrupt. 

Meanwhile, Simon used to be a zealot, a religious sect that instigated protests and rebellions to overthrow the Roman government.

The opposing views and personalities in this group show us that Jesus did not choose them based on their credentials or righteousness.

Bible commentators can say that these disciples lived rather ordinary lives before they chose to follow him. Advanced studies of the Gospels show that none of them were especially students of the law. 

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The-Tarumah-and-The-Protection-of-God

The Tărūmāh and The Protection of God

The Tărūmāh and The Protection of God: 

“With time you can learn where to go for nourishment, where to hide for protection, where to turn for guidance. Just as your earthly house is a place of refuge, so God’s house is a place of peace.”

– Max Lucado

No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing, he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.

1 Corinthians 10:13 NRSV

Exodus 30 shows us another interesting purpose for the offering and how it is made for atonement. It is an offering that is used to save people’s lives. First, let’s examine the passage below:

11 Then the Lord spoke to Moses. He said, 12 “Make a list of the Israelites and count them. When you do, each one must pay the Lord for his life at the time he is counted. Then a plague will not come on them when you count them.

13 Each one counted must pay a fifth of an ounce of silver. It must be weighed out in keeping with the standard weights that are used in the sacred tent. The payment is an offering to the Lord.

14 Each one counted must be 20 years old or more. He must give an offering to the Lord.

15 When you make the offering, rich people must not give more than a fifth of an ounce of silver. And poor people must not give less. The offering you give to the Lord will pay for your lives.

16 Receive the money from the people of Israel. Use it for any purpose in the tent of meeting. It will remind the people that they are paying me for their lives.” (Exodus 30:11-16)

The context of the passage above took place at the numbering of people for the purpose of enrolling them in the arm of Jehovah (Num. 1:3, Exo. 7:4, 12:41). Everyone who passed over to those that were numbered was to pay half a shekel to the sanctuary as atonement money. Both the rich and the poor paid the same amount 1/5 of an ounce of silver.

Both the rich and the poor both paid the same amount 1/5 of an ounce of silver.

We are all equal in the sight of Jehovah. This payment was to be a târumah (Exo. 25:2) for Jehovah for the expiation of souls.

If we relate it to today’s context, the tithes are the same for both the rich and the poor, it is the first 10%. In terms of the târumah, it is 1/40th for the generous person.

The shekel of the sanctuary, which contained 20 s, can be considered as the original shekel of full weight. There was a lighter shekel which was currently in ordinary use. The sacred shekel, according to the present valuation is worth 26 groschens. One Euro is equivalent to 13.76 groschens. In dollar former, one sacred shekel is about $2.14.

During this time, it was a huge task to take a census. However, this is what Israel will undergo. If you have ever done an inventory, you know that the only one who can order this is the one in authority. Only the person who owns whatever is counted can order an inventory. We only have the authority to count things that are rightfully ours. We cannot put our numbers on other people’s stuff. The census declares that the Israelites who were numbered are God’s.

They were His people, and He alone had the authority to count them.

Who had the right to number the Israelites? It was only God who has the authority to do this. They were His people, and He alone had the authority to count them.  According to the commentary of A. W. Pink “When God numbers or orders anything to be numbered, taking the sum of them denotes that they belong to Him and that He has the sovereign right to do with them as He pleases. The action itself says of the things numbered, ‘These are Mine, and I assign them their place as I will.” The only way to properly count the Israelites was for God’s glory alone.

There is a risk that whenever the Israelites took a census, they are in danger of forgetting this. After all, they are the ones physically doing the counting. Thus, they would be tempted to think that their great numbers were a credit to them, rather than to God. They would be tempted to think that their great numbers were a credit to them, rather than to God. It’s not a sin to take a census, but it is a sin to rob God of His glory.

They would be tempted to think that their great numbers were a credit to them, rather than to God.

King David experienced this downfall. He started saying and feeling pride about how big his army was, without attributing its number to the Lord. David got caught up in the numbers game. This boasting can be a temptation for everyone, even a temptation for churches. Pastors always want to see the latest church attendance figures, especially based on the tithes and offering. This information is indeed useful since we want to measure if what we are doing is productive. However, we cannot use it to keep score and to compare our ministry with that of another senior pastor. We are not in a competition. We are on the same team, with the desire to advance God’s Kingdom.

In this context, to make sure the Israelites remembered that they did not belong to themselves but to God, God required a târumah. He required a ransom for every man in Israel. By paying half a shekel, they were acknowledging that they did not belong to themselves, but to God. In the same way, our tithes and offering declare that we belong to the Lord, and we (as well as our finances) are therefore protected.

In the same way, our tithes and offering declare that we belong to the Lord, and we (as well as our finances) are therefore protected.

 

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God is Working on the Giver

Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

2 Corinthians 9:7 NRSV

“All you have shall some day be given; therefore give now, that the season of giving may be yours and not your inheritors.”

The process of building

No one builds a building overnight. It starts with the intention to build one. After which someone renders a blueprint for the building of what it’ll look like once it’s done. The blueprint would be turned into a detailed copy, with full technical specifications. Builders need to have the fund and the materials they need for construction. Building any structure requires a great cost, not just financially but in terms of time, energy, and commitment. The actual construction of buildings takes from months to years. After which, it needs to be furnished before it is ready to be occupied.

The tabernacle project God intended for the Israelites is something similar. The project started with God telling Moses that He wanted to dwell with the people. God described His dwelling place in detail. He even showed Moses some sort of prototype. He carefully explained how to build it. It took some time for the Israelites to build it. God could have built it with His word. However, He made building the tabernacle a process in which the Israelites learn to listen to instruction and to obey Him.

God wants you to contribute because you change in the process of giving.

In the context of the târumah offering, God does not need your offering to the priest. He can easily provide Himself by making things appear. However, He wants to involve you in the work. God wants you to contribute because you change in the process of giving.

In the process, people sinned. There had been unexpected delays when people sin. The people set up an alternative worship service around the golden calf. They got distracted. God still forgave their sin through Moses’ intercession. They were ready to start construction.

When we are disobedient, there are delays in where we should be in our spiritual walk. We allow ourselves to get distracted by the things of this world, when the truth is, we cannot find anything better and more significant than fulfilling the purposes of God in our lives.

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Willingness and Availability

Willingness and availability are basic factors we must have to operate this gift. With these attitudes, Francis stressed on the following:

Believers must have the strong desire to release and to use the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Believers must be sensitive to God’s movement and prompting. Believers must recognize when the Holy Spirit is speaking about a certain person or matter. Believers must understand the right timing in order to make known of specific information. Believers must pray and practice ministering these words of knowledge in an edifying manner.

Believers must be willing and prepared to accept teaching, correction, and even rebuke from those God placed authority over us, to oversee our ministry. Believers must take responsibility for the effects of the words of knowledge that they have delivered or spoken. Thus, they must make sure these promptings are from God.

According to Francis, knowledge is the answer to ignorance. Paul noted on the significance of being informed. It is the same premise for this gift. In order to test that the promptings are from God, we need to make sure the words of knowledge we are speaking are aligned with God’s Word. The Holy Spirit will not prompt you to speak lies or to cause people to sin. The Holy Spirit will move you to speak words that are against the Word of God. You can test this by studying and meditating on the Word of God, as well as by seeking God.

There are different ways that a person with this gift can develop it. We are responsible for our gifts. It is our responsibility to make it grow, with the intention to use it for God’s greater glory. One of the tips involves observing other people who flow in the gift of the words of knowledge. Be an objective observant and learn from their positive and negative points. Emulate the good, and try to improve the bad with your personal growth.

We also need to have the right attitude towards such a gift. Sometimes, our attitude is, God’s sovereignty will move us to use the gift while we do nothing. While it is true that we are nothing with God’s power and without his grace, God does not overpower us and force us to move beyond our will.

God gave us free will. God is a gentle God who will not violate our will. In order for our gifts to flow, we must be willing and available to the Holy Spirit. Thus, as we receive a word of knowledge, we must make it known and we must declare that it is from the Holy Spirit.

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