November 14 – Identify Your Friends

“Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth, and afoot out of joint.”  Proverbs 25:19

Picture yourself in this crisis… alone in a car on a remote country road. It is after midnight and you have just run out of gas. Fortunately, you are near a phone booth, but all you have in change is one quarter for one telephone call.

WHO ARE YOU GOING TO CALL FOR HELP?

Suppose that you are not a member of AAA Road Service Club and that all your immediate family is overseas on a trip… NOW who are you going to call?

Your answer to this scenario may help you to identify your real friends. Can you name ONE who would gladly come to help you at midnight? Can you name FIVE?

You will qualify and identify your friends in three ways:

1) CHARACTER QUALITIES – honesty, integrity, love.

2) PRIOR EXPERIENCES – “How did they respond before?”

3) PROVEN THROUGH TIME – “How long have I known them?”

So, what kind of friend are YOU? How would you respond to a call from your friend at midnight?

PRAY: “Loving heavenly Father, You are the greatest example of a friend upon whom I can depend. Help me to be more like You as I broaden my family of friends.”

November 13 – Unity of the Faith

“Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”   Ephesians 4:13

God is looking for a church body that is in UNITY, a body that is alive and functioning as it was intended… growing up unto a perfect man… with

the EYES of a prophet the HANDS of a servant the EARS of a teacher

the FEET of an exhorter the ARMS of a giver

the HEAD of a ruler the HEART of mercy

Working together in Christ, all form a complete, healthy, functional body.

“From whom [Christ] the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” (Ephesians 4:16)

So… “As every man hath received the GIFT, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” (I Peter 4:10) (Emphasis supplied.)

PRAY: “Dear Lord, with Your help l am discovering the gifts and abilities given me.  Help me also to appreciate the gifts of others, so that together we will be effective and see Your body increase. In Jesus’ Name, amen.”

November 12 – Motivational Gifts #7 – Mercy

“Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy.” Matthew 5:7

We serve a God of mercy, who is “slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.” (Psalm 103:8) That is why God has placed in the body of Christ some who are specially gifted in MERCY. They are the HEART of the body and motivated toward the spiritual and emotional needs of others. They have a supernatural ability to identify and empathize with those who are hurting.

The “Good Samaritan” in Luke 10:29-37, defied the prejudices of his day to help the man in need, moved by a deep sense of love and compassion. The heart of a mercy- motivated person will actually attract people in need. They “feel” for the hurts of others and will aggressively defend them.

The Apostle John was the one who seemed closest to Jesus. He was mercy motivated and used the word “love” in his writings more than the other writers. At the last supper, he seemed most concerned about the predicted betrayal of Jesus.

If you are mercy activated, recognize your function in the body to bring care and healing. Embrace people and help them bear their pain, but be careful not to get in the way of God’s gentle dealings. Further, do not expect everyone to feel as deeply as you do. Remember, God has specially gifted you to function in the gift of mercy.

PRAY: “Merciful Father, You alone are able to feel and understand the hurts that this world brings.  Be strong in me to minister Your love and compassion to the needs of others.”

November 11 – Motivational Gifts #6 – Ruling

“Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.” Hebrews 13:17

God has placed RULERS in the body. . . people with the natural gift and ability to lead. They are motivated toward leadership and able to coordinate people for the accomplishment of great visions and goals. This leadership gift positions them at the HEAD of the body.

Nehemiah was used of God to organize the children of Israel for the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem. He was able to visualize this enormous task and delegate the workload into smaller pieces, with work assignments to motivate the people despite much adversity.

Rulers are able to put up with the criticism of being the head, and work well under pressure to see a job to completion. Generally good communicators, they demand loyalty and lead with confidence, encouraging others to work together diligently and in harmony.

If you are motivated this way, ask God for the wisdom to rule well. Adopt a caring, sensitive spirit toward those whom you lead, and do not allow the project to come before your relationship with God. Learn well how to serve under the leadership of others… IN authority and UNDER authority. Remember, God has gifted you to lead under His guiding hand.

PRAY: “Mighty God, I bow low under the covering of Your guiding hand. You are my constant authority Let me be sensitive always to Your voice of quiet instruction. Amen.”

November 10 – Motivational Gifts #5 – Giving

“Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom.” Luke 6:38a

Giving can consist of material things, of money, of spiritual things or even of one’s time and life. Those with a special God-given gift of GIVING often have the ability to make money and have money to give. They are the ARMS of the body and willing to bear up others in loving, giving support.

Matthew was a tax collector, gifted in the handling of money. Parables and stories in his Gospel give emphasis on the management of money. He is the only one to record Jesus’ parable of the servant who was forgiven a large debt who would not forgive his fellow servant of a small amount. Also, Matthew was among the few who held a great feast for Jesus in his home.

A giver is a good steward of his resources and generally lives modestly and works hard in order to have more to give. He brings fiscal accountability to the body and is a blessing through his giving.

If this is a picture of you, be careful not to put undue pressure on others to measure up to what God has gifted in you. Also, do not allow preoccupation with money to distract you from your personal relationship with God. Remember, Jesus said it is difficult for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. (See Matthew 19:24.)

PRAY: “Generous Lord, thank You for Your provision and the abilities You have given. Let my heart motivations be pure in all that I do and say today. You are everything to me. I pray in Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

November 9 – Motivational Gifts #4 – Exhortation

“As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children.” I Thessalonians 2:11

Exhorters are motivated to see people encouraged and strengthened. They are the FEET of the body and will go out of their way to bring peace, unity, and counsel to others. Usually good counselors, their words stimulate faith, and they have a God given ability to love people through difficult or negative circumstances.

Barnabas is the Bible character that typifies the gift of EXHORTATION. When the Church at Jerusalem doubted Saul’s conversion and ministry motives, it was Barnabas who came to his defense. (See Acts 9:27.) Barnabas personally took Saul to the apostles and testified on his behalf, convincing the others that Saul (later to be named Paul) could be trusted.

Exhorters are “people persons,” practical in their approach, usually patient and not quick to give up (Barnabas stayed with Paul a year).

If this gift fits your character, then exhort for the glory of God; but be careful not to neglect your own family or personal relationship with the Lord. “For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men ?for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10. Always be sure to please God first!

PRAY: “Father, bestow unto me the ability to use my gifts to bring help and healing to Your body.   I will not forget my need for personal fellowship with You. Thank You for helping me to set proper priorities.”

November 8 – Motivational Gifts #3 – Teaching

“And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” II Timothy 2:2

A person with a TEACHING gift is not necessarily a public speaker, but one that is motivated to search out and clarify truth. . . interested in accuracy, facts, details.

Luke’s Gospel writing is the longest. Written in painstaking detail, it describes conversations with names, dates, and cities in a systematic sequence unparalleled by other writers. Luke was a teacher.

Teachers are the EARS of the body. They are important to keeping the Church on the “straight and narrow.” Unmoved by feelings or the philosophies of men, they are sticklers for the “facts” and diligent students of the Word. Their ears are always awake to distinguish between truth and error.

If you have a teacher’s motivational gift, be careful not to be argumentative, proud, or critical. Know that you are a functional part of the body, but learn to appreciate and value others that do not appear to be as informed. Also, be careful that your over attention to study does not cause you to neglect the personal and practical needs of others, and, most importantly, be thankful to God for making you just the way you are.

PRAY: “God of all truth, lead me in the path of wisdom and understanding today so that I might apply the knowledge You have given in a manner that is useful to others. Thank You for Your Word. In Jesus’ Name, amen.”