This is our second devotional regarding the five graces all believes called my have. The first was “our priesthood” in Christ. The last three will be “faith, hope and love.” Love being the greatest
Numbers 11:29 – I would will that all of the Lord’s people were prophets, that the Lord would put His Spirit upon them!
God took of His Spirit which rested upon Moses and placed Him upon the seventy elders. When the Spirit rested upon them, they prophesied. Two of the seventy remained in the camp and were not present, but they too received the Spirit and prophesied. Joshua did not think this was right because those men were not present with the others. Moses thought that Joshua was jealous for Moses’ sake, but Moses revealed the heart of God with his response in verse 29.
God desires for His people to have such a relationship with Him that He can reveal His will to them so that they can voice God’s will to others. “God is no respecter of persons” (Acts 10:34). He reveals His desire that all of His people would “prophesy.” In 1 Corinthians 14:31 Paul wrote, “. . . for you can all prophesy one by one.” Paul went on to reveal that prophecy has purpose; that it is “. . . for learning and the exhorting of God’s people.” Prophecy is not the attempt of the natural man trying to figure out God’s will, but the Spirit making known God’s will to the spirit of a person. What one believes the Spirit of God has revealed to them is subject to others who are hearing God as well. No spirit of prophecy is “private,” but is to be confirmed by what others are hearing God say. “The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets; for God is not a God of confusion but peace as in all the churches of the saints” (1 Corinthians 14:32-33).
Confusion and the lack of peace are produced by a person holding onto a private interpretation of God’s Word. The man or woman that possesses the true spirit of prophecy is the one who spends time with God listening carefully for what the Spirit desires to speak. They freely submit what they are hearing to others for discernment of accuracy. The Spirit never contradicts the Word of God, nor does He limit what He is saying to one individual. The Spirit of God does not bring new “revelation” that is outside of God’s revealed Word, but helps us to apply God’s Word in our present world and culture. Wisdom is necessary to work with revelation. That is why Paul prays “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him” (Ephesians 1:17).
Ask God every day for the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Christ. Not only read God’s Word and pray, but become a listener for what the Spirit would say to you. Be prepared to speak, so others may learn and be exhorted.
Paul in his instruction to the church at Corinth said: “But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort” (1 Corinthians 14:3). Also, “you can all prophecy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged” (14:31). God answered Moses desire when the Holy Spirit was given as a down payment of our in heritance. The same Spirit that rested on Christ, rest on believers to accomplish God’s will. Ask the Father for prophetic gifting to know how to pray and to know how to encourage others in this season.
The next three devotions will focus on the pillars of our character in Christ: Faith, Hope and Love.
Faith, Hope and Love (the greatest is love), Prophetic and your Priesthood
In this first devotional I am reminded of an important change made by the Lord Jesus Christ as He established the New Covenant in His body and blood. Jesus gave to Israel a New Covenant replacing the Old that had become obsolete (see Hebrews 8:13). Every Israelite that received this New Covenant by believing that God had raised their Messiah from the dead received all that is contained in the New Covenant. Every believer in Israel became a part of the new priesthood.
As the Gentiles were added, they were grafted into the same Vine that the believing Jews had become a part. Every believer in Christ is a priest called to pray for the nations. You and I am a kingdom of priests. This is what Revelation 1:6 and Revelation 5:10-12 “And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth” (NKJV). Instead of a tribe of priests as Israel knew in the Old Covenant that represented the people before God daily through sacrifices and feast days. Now each redeemed saint has become a priest under our High Priest and King, the Lord Jesus Christ. Intercession is a responsibility of every believer!
Peter, in his first epistle develops the understanding of who we are in Christ when he writes: you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ (1 Peter2:5). Peter is bringing understanding from Isaiah 61 – But you will be called the priests of the LORD; You will be spoken of as ministers of our God You will eat the wealth of nations, And in their riches you will boast. Isaiah was prophetically picturing the results of the New Covenant which is what was promised in Isaiah 43:19 Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert. Jesus spoke of those rivers in John 7:38-39 as He pictured what Pentecost was truly about: He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
What an opportunity we have together as members of this holy priesthood by praying and interceding for California, our local regions and the unsaved all around us.
Our next devotional will consider God’s people as prophets (Numbers 11:29)
Hebrews 12:2 – Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God (KJV).
Do we see Jesus simply as a part of history or perhaps an important religious figure? Is he a theological figure in the New Testament to us, a great teacher? Perhaps we have embraced Him as our personal Savior. In today’s Scripture, the writer says we are to “fix our eyes” on the Lord Jesus. Further, He is the “author and finisher of our faith.” Everything begins with Him and ends with Him. In the book of Revelation, Jesus calls Himself, “the Alpha and the Omega” (Rev. 1:8). John the Apostle calls Jesus, “the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth” (Rev. 1:5).
Consider the instruction, “fixing our eyes on Jesus.” How often is He looked to first? How much time do believers spend thinking about Jesus and His human expression of God’s love lived out in our midst. He is our example. More than that, His life resides in the believer through the power of the Holy Spirit. A believer has a moment-by-moment choice: draw from the old self or receive from the new life rooted in Jesus Christ.
Fixing our eyes means more than to look upon. Obviously, we do not physically see Jesus, but we can look upon Him as the one who completely lived out the Father’s will. We can read and meditate on His word, and we can see the results for those who have trusted Him throughout their life.
Jesus authored our faith. The word finisher in the KJV means “perfected.” In order to fix our eyes on Jesus, we must read, study, and meditate upon the Word of God. We must learn what the author of our faith has said. Because He has already run the course and finished it, we can receive faith that leads to hope as we now run the course by His life that dwells in us. As He finished well, we too can finish well if we stay fixed upon Him.
Our verse says Jesus endured the cross because of joy. How can this be? He offered His life as a ransom for many that He knew would trust God for redemption. He despised the shame of the cross, but accepted it because He knew it was the only means to man’s redemption. When His work was finished, He sat down next to His Father. Being seated speaks of rest. Jesus is at rest having done the will of God. You and I might be anxious about many things, but our rest is found in His completed work of our salvation.
Fix your eyes on the risen Lord. Receive His rest for your life today. Be anxious for nothing, but by prayer and supplication make your requests known to Him. Endure hardships, letting the Holy Spirit work maturity in your growing life found in Christ.
Father, I choose to fix my eyes on Your Son and not on the circumstances of this life. I confess today that greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world. I know that Your Son is the author and finisher of my faith. I receive the help of the Holy Spirit to finish well.
John 14:26 – The helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.
The fruit of revelation came with the teachings of Jesus. All those that heard Jesus’ teachings were amazed because He did not teach in the way they had become accustomed. He taught “with authority” to which Jesus was not just repeating what the writers of the Old Testament had written. He brought revelation to the Scriptures. He revealed their true meaning and fulfillment found in Him. This became revelation to many of those who heard Him. Not only did Jesus explain the Scriptures accurately, He demonstrated them through signs and wonders.
The Holy Spirit is the great teacher of truth. He does not concern Himself with theoretical views, but absolutes that will transform our lives. For the believer, He is the source of all reality. Jesus is teaching His disciples about the Father sending the Helper. The Helper would teach them “all things.” The Holy Spirit is our helper too. Truth comes from the Spirit of Truth who lives in us. We study and listen to messages by Bible teachers, but seeing clearly is rooted in the Spirit of God giving us revelation power. The Holy Spirit’s purpose is to transform our thinking. When we learn the teachings concerning past revelation, it helps to establish us. For example, the “just shall live by faith” or the “priesthood of every believer” are truths that were revealed to past generations. When we hear and receive from the Holy Spirit on a personal level, it can have a great impact and bring dramatic change into our lives. That change not only changes us, but will also affect others.
George Whitefield, one of the great revivalists during the first great awakening is an example of what I am saying. God gave him a simple revelation, “preaching could be done outdoors.” It seems simple to us, but in the liturgical church of the mid-1,700’s it was not only unusual, but thought by many to be heretical. He was mocked and persecuted.
This simple revelation produced dramatic fruit. By age 24, Whitefield had preached to over 40,000 people in outdoor settings. He persuaded Wesley to do the same. Whitefield made six trips to America and once preached to 23,000 people in Philadelphia. There were estimates that during his life, he preached to half the population of the colonies, from Georgia to New England.
Father, in the name of Jesus, I ask for the Helper to teach me all things that You would have me to know. Give me simple revelations that would have dramatic fruit in my life and in the lives of others I touch.
Matthew 5:4 – Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Multitudes throughout the ages have known what it is to mourn. We may mourn the passing of a loved one, the loss of a child, a war casualty, calamities, or the loss of property such as a house or finances. Consider the oppression people suffer throughout the world. Modern day news coverage allows us to observe people weeping and lamenting their present day circumstances. Because of these first-hand observations, many become moved with compassion to share their resources with those who are suffering. Many times believers have experienced the prompting of the Holy Spirit to reach out in practical ways to those in need. There is a good reason why Jesus called the Holy Spirit “the Comforter.” Only the Spirit of God can completely comfort those who are mourning. True comfort can only be brought by what Jesus promised in Matthew 5:4.
Have you ever been hindered by your lack of words or ability to comfort another? Have you ever felt helpless during times when a person has experienced the death of a loved one, a calamity of some kind, or when their life is being oppressed by some difficult circumstance? At these times, it can be humanly impossible to bring comfort. As a believer, we have received the necessary grace from the Holy Spirit, to come alongside an individual and speak a word of comfort through the inspiration He gives. There will be a day in which we will know the totality of the Spirit’s comfort. The Scriptures speak of the day in which all our tears will be wiped away. “He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall no longer be any death, there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4).
The only answer for the conditions found in a fallen world, is found in Christ. The believer has the answers dwelling within through the person of the Holy Spirit. All His fruit, His gifts, and His power is available to those who have put their faith in Christ. Allow the Holy Spirit freedom and total access to use you for the glory of God.
As the old gospel song declares, “The Comforter has come, the Holy Ghost from heaven, the Father’s promise given.” Today, allow His comfort to be your portion. He will give you peace and assurance in every situation. He will use you to minister comfort to another.
1 Corinthians12:10 – To another, the distinguishing of spirits.
The Bible reveals four areas relating to the subject of “spirit.” The first is the Holy Spirit, for whom this devotional is dedicated. Next, the human spirit, which becomes regenerated by the power of the Holy Spirit when one repents and is converted. The third is angels, who are called ministering spirits. The fourth is demonic spirits, who are associated with the realm of darkness.
In the Gospels, these spirits of darkness are referred to in a number of ways. They are called devils, evil spirits, and unclean spirits. The gift of discernment, translated in the NASB as “distinguishing of spirits,” is a gift the Holy Spirit gives so the body of Christ knows with what realm of the spirit world it is dealing. This is a necessary gift in helping to bring freedom to those bound by evil spirits. It is also beneficial to help an individual find God’s eternal purpose for their lives as they learn to be led by the Holy Spirit.
Because of the influence of the occult in society, both in Bible days and in ours, the problem of spirits is a real issue. Many people come to Jesus, but have not received ministry regarding their past, when evil spirits attached to their lives. The early church understood the spiritual battle in which they were engaged and ministered “deliverance” from evil or unclean spirits so that the new believers could walk in freedom in their new faith in Christ.
The gift of discernment is a powerful tool that the Holy Spirit wants to impart to willing believers. It can be used to discern spiritual realms in the corporate gathering, in times of ministry to an individual, and in our personal walk with the Lord. God wants us to know how the enemy is battling against our success in Christ. The Bible is clear about our warfare not being with flesh and blood. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).
Ask the Holy Spirit today to heighten your discernment of the enemy’s territories. Yield yourself to the Holy Spirit and allow Him to show you the battle in which you are engaged. Ask for discernment as you minister to others. Father, I thank You for Your Word that tells of our spiritual battles. Cause me to be discerning as I fight the good fight of faith.