Posted in Devotionals

It’s Our Job To Edify

The Lord speaks in many different ways and gives messages through a variety of people. I was worried the way I had written this study that it would sound harsh and was hoping the Lord would give me a more loving way of giving it. The Lord always answers our prayers and the Lord’s timing is, of course, absolutely perfect.

I have been “experimenting” with different recipes now that I have time to play in the kitchen. As I was looking at variety of biscuit recipes, there was this ballad with one of the recipes, by a lady named Miss Howard Weeden.

“Of course I’ll gladly give de rule
I meks beat biscuit by,
Dough I aint’ sure dat you will mek
Dat bread de same as I.
Case cookin’s like religion is –
Some’s ‘lected an’ some ain’t,
An rules don’t know more mek a cook
Den sermons mek a saint.
Two hundred licks is what I gives
For home-folks, never fewer,
An’ if I’m ‘specting company in
I gives five hundred sure!”

Sermons don’t make a saint.

A preacher can preach his until his face turns blue and the Lord returns, but people will always be people. They will hear what they want to hear, not always what they should hear and they will do what they want to do, not always what they should do, unless of course they give themselves to the Lords will and walk in the spirit and not the flesh.

Even then each of us is going to be different. We all grow in the Lord at different rates and the Lord gives us the knowledge we need when we need it to serve His purpose. But there are commonalities. All those who call themselves Christians have the most important commonality of all. Jesus! But there are also differences.

I have been watching people, trying to understand the differences in denominations. Something I have found is that many Christians do not edify each other and they do not flow in their giftings. I have found this even in the most free churches.

What is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. 1 Corinthians 14:26

Each of us, even spiritual babies, are given gifts to edify, lift up and build up the other members of the family. We are given gifts so that each of us can participate as a member and become bonded as one in Christ Jesus. Using our gifts not only helps other people, but it helps our selves as well. We become more confident in our calling and we become more confident in our relationship with the Lord. Using our gifts helps us grow in many ways. But what happens when you don’t use your gifts? What happens when your gifts are rejected? Do you feel left out and alone, useless and worthless? And what of the other people, those who are seeking God, do they feel unloved, unwanted and unwelcome. What is the outcome, indeed, if we do not use these gifts?

Depending on how strong your faith is, you might even feel like everything you have experienced was just your imagination or even that God does not desire you in the family. And it can be devastating.

But it should never be like that.

I just finished reading Ezekiel. And the one chapter that really stood out to me is Ezekiel 34.

Then the word of the Lord came to me saying, “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel. Prophesy and say to those shepherds, ‘Thus says the Lord God, Woe shepherds of Israel who have been feeding themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flock?” Ezekiel 34:1-2

When Jesus died on that cross, we all have been given responsibility to help others come to His light and see His way and be saved. We are all shepherds. There is never a louder warning I have ever heard than God saying to stop doing the Lord’s work to please yourself. Stop doing things to boost your purse and fulfill your desires.

Do you not understand how each person is a child of God? And as a faithful Father, God is trying to get His children to come home and be with Him. These are your brothers and sisters! Why do you desire to do them harm? Why do you desire those who are lost to live in hell for eternity? Unless, of course, you are not born of God.

OH yeah! That hit a spot didn’t it? Let’s look at something John wrote.

The one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. 1 John 3:8-9

No one who is born of God practices sin. That is a very powerful statement. Now keep in mind this does not mean we do not make mistakes. We will always make mistakes because we are human and are imperfect. But we will desire to put aside those things which are sinful. We will desire to love each person and bring them and keep them in the Lord’s ways.

We have two commandments to follow. Love God and love your neighbor. How can you love God if your use him for your own gain? To feed off the need of other people or to use their goodness to line your pockets, isn’t that a sin? Wouldn’t that be lying and manipulation? You may speak the word of God, but you are doing it for the wrong intentions. That is not just a sin against a brother, but you are lying to the Lord God.

This also holds true for those who seek self pity. You are using loving members of the body to get attention. You feed on their love; you drain them and test them. You take, take, take, but you never give.

Well I have news for anyone who is a believer of the Lord. You are a shepherd. You may not be a pastor or an elder, but you are a shepherd. You have been given gifts by the Lord to lift up and edify all people. You have gifts to help those in need and to reach out to the lost. But what if we are not using our gifts?

Let’s continue to look at Ezekiel. The Lord also told Ezekiel to tell the shepherds that they are not doing their job.

“Those who are sickly you have not strengthened, the diseased you have not healed, the broken you have not bound up, the scattered you have not brought back, nor have you sought for the lost; but with force and severity you have dominated them. They were scattered for lack of a shepherd, and they became food for every beast of the field and were scattered.” Ezekiel 34:4-5

I want you to take note of the words “you have dominated them”. Whether by fear, intimidation, or lying you dominate the scene. You force your will on others. You use them, and you seek their attention, you feed off their hearts and desires. Everything that is done is done for a selfish need to please oneself and to fill your pockets. It’s your way or no way, when it truly should be God’s way.

When we are doing things Gods way, we will use our gifts to serve other people in order to glorify God. This is why it is important to understand the need to use our gifts. Some believe it is only the leaders who have the gifts, others think that everyone has every single gift and still others believe that the Lord gives gifts as we grow closer to Him.

It doesn’t matter how many gifts you have. What matters is that you use them to benefit others and not yourselves. Even more importantly is that you give God all the Glory and not yourself.

But what if you do not use your gifts? Is it you that suffers or is it your brothers, sisters and the lost that suffer?

The acts of a wolf can be very disturbing. Leaders need to recognize gifts of followers and followers need to be honest in their gifts and use them.

I asked a young friend of mine if I could use her as an example in this, because she is a perfect example for what the Lord is trying to say to people.

This is a young lady that has come a long way since I have known her. She has the strongest desire in her to do what is right, but yet, at the same time she tries to rebel against it. She has seen the Lord work in her life, but she doesn’t want to admit it. She doesn’t want to call herself a Christian and do you know why? She doesn’t want to be a hypocrite like most of the Christians she knows. She sees most Christians as fakes. Why is that?

Because they believe that they have the right to lie, manipulate the needy, cheat and steal, commit adultery, gossip and do all kinds of horrific things to others, all because Christ died to save people from sin. These people believe I can do wrong, ask forgiveness and do wrong again and God will forgive.

Is that truly what God is all about? Is that truly a person who believes in the awesome love God has for us? If a person truly understands what God’s love means and what it is all about then they will realize this thought process is wrong.

The Lord has put the word sincere on my heart. You can not lie to God. Why do you even try? God wants you to be sincere in your walk, sincere with your heart, sincere in your words. God wants you love Him and love others. And you will know when you do wrong. You have something very special inside you. The spirit inside you will tweak your heart and convict you, when you are not walking in the way of the Lord.

There is a very important word that goes with that thought. The word is REPENT. Repent means to turn away from, to turn from sin, to be sorry. We are to repent when we do not follow those two commandments – love God and love your neighbor.

For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies,” declares the Lord God, “Therefore, repent and live.” Ezekiel 18:32

I did a study not that long ago and one of the things it said in it is that we are saved by God’s grace and grace alone. But you can tell a person who is truly saved, because that person will have the actions to go along with the words. There are many scriptures which describe a person who has Christ in them. But there are some who talk a big talk, but they do not walk the walk.

Anyone can say they are saved, but that doesn’t mean they really are. Even Satan can disguise himself as an angel of light. If Satan can do that, so can false prophets, teachers, and those meant to distract, divide and cause discord among the family.

That is why we are to test ourselves. We are to check to be sure we are where we should be. And not just saying we are. Ask these questions of yourself at the end of each day. Did I cause harm to anyone? Did I love God with all my heart and did I love others as myself? Then truly search through your day and see if you have fallen short. Then, either way, pray to the Lord to forgive you any wrongs you have done. Thank Him for the wonderful sacrifice He made all because He loves us. And re-dedicate your desire to serve.

Now what if you cause another to fall away from the Lord by your actions, by not using your gifts or by not using them with sincerity of heart and they see the manipulation?

And He called a child to Himself and set him before them and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me; but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world because of its stumbling blocks! For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to that man through whom the stumbling block comes! If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble cut it off and throw it from you; it is better for you to enter life crippled or lame, than to have two hands or two feet and be cast into the eternal fire. If your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out and throw it from you. It is better for you to enter life with one eye, than to have two eyes and be cast into the fiery hell. See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven continually see the face of My Father who is in heaven. For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost. Matthew 18:2-11

If you cause one of God’s children to stumble or fall away, the Lord says it would be better if you drown yourself with a millstone around your neck, than to face Him. You may be saved now, but my guess is it will not be a pleasant meeting between you and the Lord.

But the truth is God gave us the tools we need to help others grow so they can help us to help others grow. We need to use them. What are these tools? They are the gifts.

There are office gifts from God:

Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness. Romans 12:6-8

There are ministry gifts from the Spirit:

But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another {various} kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills. 1 Corinthians 12:7-11

And there are gifts we receive from Christ:

And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. Ephesians 4:11-13

There is a gift or two or three or more in you. Use it and honor God If you feel can’t use it, then ask the Lord to make a way. Show God just how sincere you are in your love for Him. Help the Lord’s children to come home and stay home.

Amen!

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I am just a person on a life journey to who knows where!

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