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What will it take for you to believe? reblogged from Laura on http://lightenough.wordpress.com

Enough Light

Any sensationalism inevitably is frustrated by the law of diminishing returns. People are never satisfied. They always want one more sign, one more miracle, one more show. To have maintained His influence over the people by the use of miracles, Jesus would have had to produce greater and greater sensations. Because the natural, carnal heart can never be satisfied, this year’s miracle would have become next year’s bore. His followers would only have been lovers of sensation, not lovers of God.

Reference: The MacArthur New Testament Commentary Matthew 1-7, Moody, 1985, p. 94-95.

I recently came upon the above comment by John MacArthur, and it got me thinking about issues I have previously blogged about. Whether it is evidence in the academic sense, or evidence in the miraculous sense, some people say they will not believe until… another question is answered or God reveals himself in some special way to…

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Worthless… Abusive Words to Many Ears

The Abuse Expose' with Secret Angel

Every time I see this picture, I think of those who I know that have been wounded by these negative words spoken into their lives. There is power in words spoken. So, be careful the words that you speak!

Worthless… Worthless…
abusive words to many ears…
witnessed with anger…
with feelings of fear.
For these words are spoken…
to so many when young…
who then feel worthless…
before their lives have begun.

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The Creative Power of Life by Rick Joyner (Morning Star Ministries)

The Creative Power of Life

The whole creation testifies of the ways of the Lord. One fundamental thing that creation reveals is that He is creative! This seems elementary, maybe even foolish to say, but it is obvious that very few Christians really understand this. One of the great tragedies of church history has been the way the fearful and uncreative have so often dominated church leadership and thereby stifled the church’s creativity.
To this day there are powerful forces in the church that reward mediocrity and conformity and penalize any who deviate from their own overly narrow perceptions of God and His truth. We will never rise above the powerlessness and deadness of what Christianity in general has become if we do not rise up with courage to throw off the yokes of this perverted conformity, which the Lord never put on His people. Neither will we rise above this powerlessness and deadness if we do not come into the unity He has called us to.
To be a non-conformist merely for the sake of standing against the pressures of conformity will eventually lead to the deadly trap of lawlessness. Again, there is a ditch on either side of the path of life. As the Lord Jesus declared, “For the gate is small, and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it” (Matthew 7:14). True creativity is not reactionary; it is not against something—it is for life.
Jesus was not a revolutionary because He did what He did in reaction to the Pharisees, but because of who He was. The Pharisees reacted to Jesus the way the legalistically religious will always react to His true creative life when it is revealed in someone. However, lawlessness is just as deadly as legalistic religion. Remember, there is a ditch on either side of the path of life.
Because God “the Creator” made man in His image, the true nature of man is also creative. We will never come into the fullness of who we were created to be until and unless we are creative. However, creativity for the sake of creativity will lead to a fall. Man was also created to walk with God, and true creativity that leads to life can only come out of walking with Him.
Though some of the most stifling pressures that inhibit creativity are now found in the church, every art form and style of music can be traced to the church as its birthplace. Presently, many things that are being birthed by the church, are also being driven out of the church by the timid or legalistically religious, and then captured by the enemy and used for his diabolical purposes. This can and must cease.
However, the church has still been the seedbed for the greatest creativity the world has ever known. It will become even more creative before the end, because a new breed of leader is going to be given to the church with the ability to understand and shepherd the greatest powers of creativity that are about to be released through the church. The Lord really has saved His best wine for last. This ultimate release of creativity will also bring revelation of the Creator like man has never known.
It has been estimated that man only uses about 10 percent of his brain, and the greatest genius probably only uses about 15 percent. What is the other 85 percent used for? It is for perceiving, comprehending, and enjoying God. As regeneration truly works in our lives, our minds will be both renewed and restored. We are assured in Romans 8:11: “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you” (KJV).
The Greek word that is translated “quicken” in this verse is zoopoieo, which literally means to “vitalize, make alive, or give life to.” If we are already made alive in Christ when we are reborn, what is there to give life to? He is giving life to that part of us that has been dead, a great portion of which is our minds. As I Corinthians 2:14-16 explains,
     But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God;
     for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them,
     because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual appraises all things,
     yet he himself is appraised by no man. For who has known the mind of the LORD,
     that he should instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.
In response to those who have at times been leaders of the church, but obviously had minds that could only understand from the natural perspective, many Christians react to almost any form of thinking or planning. This is a most tragic deception. Christians should be the most intellectually brilliant human beings on the planet! We have not only been given a spiritual perspective that transcends the natural, we have been given the mind of Christ!
The Lord is not against us using our minds—He is against us not using them! He wants to awaken the 85 percent of our minds that we are currently not using. As this takes place, Christians will rise to the top in every field of science, art, education, and even government.
So, how do we have our minds renewed and awakened? First, we must understand that Paul did not say “I” have the mind of Christ, but “we” have the mind of Christ. The Lord has designed the new creation as a great corporate body. Walking with God now means being a part of His body, the church. The dynamic of true church life will help to both renew and awaken our minds. This is stated in such Scriptures as I John 1:7, “but if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” If we are not having fellowship with one another we are not walking in the light.
The church is called first to be a family, not an organization. When the organization begins to eclipse relationships, then we are departing from true church life. That is why institutionalized Christianity has always been the greatest threat to the church becoming what it was created to be—a living body with Christ as its head. When true church life is restored the way that it was intended to be, it will awaken us all to far more than we ever dreamed possible in this life. The Lord is going to be revealed in His people, and together they will be a well from which His living water will flow.

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Even a Great Husband Makes a Very Poor God

As I read this it sent my thoughts into screaming activity as I acknowledged how much I have looked to Keith over the last three and a half years to sort out my problems, to bring light on the why’s and wherefore’s of why my life is as it is.  To make it better.  It has tested our relationship very severely and it has nothing to do with him at all, it is to do with me and the exclusion of me from my children and my grandchildren’s lives.  I know it is neither Keith’s place nor in his power to make it all betteronly God can do that, by working in my life and the lives of my children.  I know God is doing tht, but have I prayed well enough?  I certainly fall short in many areas of that focus and lean only onto my own understanding time and time again.  Not good.  Time to make some permanent changes.

via Even a Great Husband Makes a Very Poor God.

 

Even a Great Husband Makes a Very Poor God

Even a Great Husband Makes a Very Poor God

May 22, 2014

“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19 (NIV)

Lysa TerKeurst

I’ve often wished I could travel back 21 years ago and give my “young bride self” some advice. But since that’s not possible, I love sharing what I’ve learned with others.

Not so long ago, I had dinner with a friend in her twenties who would love to be married one day. During our time together, the conversation flowed freely about all sorts of things. Blogs. Writing. Leaving your comfort zone because God said so. You know, girl stuff. And then we moved on to the subject of relationships and marriage.

I shared with my friend that when I was single, I thought marriage was all about finding the right partner. I thought if you found “the one,” you’d be happy, secure and fulfilled.

I do think it’s good to have a list of standards you desire in a spouse. However, it can never be with the expectation that if you find that special someone, he’ll right all your wrongs and fill up all your insecurities. The problem with this thinking is the pressure it will eventually put on your spouse.

To expect another person to make you feel happy, secure and fulfilled will leave you disappointed at best and disillusioned at worst. Even a great husband makes a very poor God.

Only God Himself can settle those deep heart-needs. Our key verse, Philippians 4:19 reminds us of this, “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”

If a husband could meet every need his wife had, we’d have no need for God. Therefore, instead of just focusing on finding the right partner, let God work on your heart to help you become the right partner. The time to start working on becoming a wife is now. Before the white dress, delicate bouquets, unity candle, bacon-wrapped shrimp and reception punch, there is some heart stuff to consider:

Getting married doesn’t instantly make you selfless it makes you realize how very selfish you can be at times.

Getting married doesn’t make you feel loved it makes you realize love is more of a decision you make than a feeling you feel.

Getting married doesn’t take away loneliness it makes you realize true companionship comes not when you demand it, but rather when you give it to another person.

So, what does marriage give? A beautiful chance to make the choice to

Laugh whether or not the jokes are funny.

Love by folding his collar over his tie every morning.

Talk things through by addressing issues rather than attacking him personally.

Cheer him on through both failures and successes.

Look for a positive quality in him each day and take the time to tell him.

Thank God for the privilege of being his wife.

After our time together, my friend thanked me for our talk. She said it gave her a lot to think about. To be honest, it gave me a lot to think about as well.

Dear Lord, only You can fill my heart, right my wrongs, and make me feel loved. I pray that You would show me how to keep my expectations of my husband in check. Help me be the wife he desires. And help me remember that marriage was never meant to make me happy all the time. Marriage is a decision to honor You by honoring the one you’ve entrusted to me to be my husband. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Romans 15:13, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (NIV)

2 Peter 1:3, “Everything that goes into a life of pleasing God has been miraculously given to us by getting to know, personally and intimately, the One who invited us to God. The best invitation we ever received!” (MSG)

RELATED RESOURCES:
Determine to pray more words over your marriage than you speak about your marriage. Lysa is sharing five powerful Scriptures you can pray for yourself and your husband on her blog. Click here to find out more.

If you’re seeking more encouragement for your marriage, Lysa’s books, Capture His Heart (for wives) and Capture Her Heart (for husbands) can help. These books are wonderful resources to read with your husband!

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
If you aren’t married yet, think of some ways God might want to work on your heart before marriage.

If you are married, think of a way you’ve tried to get your husband to fill a need only God can meet. Pray and ask God how you can rely on Him for this need instead of your husband.

Lysa TerKeurstClick here to pin the imageClick here to download this free printable PDF

© 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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Rick Renner – The Right Way to Die

The Right Way To Die!

I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.— 2 Timothy 4:7

 

When I was just old enough to get a job, I heard about a job opening at the huge cemetery just down the street from where my family lived. The old caretaker needed someone to mow the cemetery lawn. So one day I walked down to the cemetery and knocked on the door at the caretaker’s residence. When he came to the door, I said, “Sir, I understand there’s a job opening here. I’ve come to apply for that position.”

The old man, who had been the caretaker for more than forty years, looked me over and asked me a few questions. Then he told me to report to work on the following Monday.

That following Monday I started my short career at the local graveyard — my first real job! Every day after school, I quickly dashed down the hallway to put my books in my locker, and then rushed across town to the cemetery, pulled out my lawnmower, and went to the next section of the cemetery that needed to be mowed. Five days a week, I lived and worked among the dead!

Each day, I mowed and edged the weeds around new graves, old graves, mausoleums, and one section of the cemetery that was so old, no one could decipher the inscriptions on the limestone markers any longer. When it was time to bury someone, I helped dig the grave, lower the casket, and fill the grave with dirt. When the flowers wilted that loved ones had placed on the graves, I was the one who gathered up the dead flowers and took them to the garbage. I helped put up the tent that loved ones stood under during gravesite rites, and then I helped take it down.

Working in a graveyard had a very strong effect on my life in those formative years. God used that time in the graveyard to make me think about the seriousness and temporal nature of life in general, as well as what I was going to do with my own life.

As I walked between the tombstones, I’d look at them and ask myself, Who were these people? What did they do with their lives? Did they contribute anything to the world, or did they just live, die, and then disappear into these graves? Every day I thought about these questions. It made me determine that I would not pass from this earth without doing something significant for God with my life. I resolved that when I died, no one would have to ask, “Gee, I wonder who he was and what he did with his life?” To me, it was totally unacceptable that I would end up like so many others had — as just another name on another tombstone.

People don’t like to think about dying, yet death is a reality each of us ultimately has to face. We may hope and wait for Jesus’ return in our lifetime. But if He doesn’t come before we die, then a day will come in all our futures when we will be laid in a coffin. Family and friends will come to our funeral services; the casket lid will be closed for the last time; and we will be lowered into a grave that will then get packed with dirt. Later our graves will have grass growing on top of them — and a young boy will push the lawnmower over them as a part of his job, just as I did years ago.

Like it or not, there is a funeral in all our futures unless Jesus comes while we are still alive. This thought may sound morbid, but if you live with this unavoidable fact before you at all times, it will help you to live a more balanced and committed life. Why is that? Because when you live thinking only of today, everything seems monumental. Yet the truth is, most of the things that steal our peace, hinder us from doing what God wants us to do, disrupt our joy, and hurt our relationships won’t matter anymore when we die and stand before Jesus. The only thing that will matter then is what Jesus will say to us when we stand before Him and look into His eyes.

The apostle Paul told us, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10). Because Paul lived with the awareness of that moment when he would stand before Jesus, he was able to keep pushing ahead even when times became exceedingly difficult. He knew that eventually life would pass and the difficult trials would end, and he would stand before Jesus to give account for his life.

This is why Paul wrote, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Corinthians 4:17).

I love this verse, because it sheds light on Paul’s attitude toward life and afflictions. He didn’t like afflictions and he stood against them, but he refused to over-magnify them, choosing instead to view them as “light afflictions.”

Would you call Paul’s problems “light afflictions”? He faced rejection from some of his closest friends and, even worse, by many of the churches in Asia (2 Timothy 1:15). He had been severely beaten several times (2 Corinthians 11:24,25). He had been shipwrecked three times (2 Corinthians 11:25). He had lived through perils in the city, in the wilderness, and at sea. He had been in peril of robbers, of heathens, and of false brethren and had endured periods of hunger, thirst, and sleeplessness (2 Corinthians 11:26,27).

These were monumental problems, yet Paul refused to let them be monumental in his life. Instead, he deemed them “small stuff” — mere distractions compared to the eternal glory that awaited him.

What enabled Paul to press ahead when he was being assaulted so viciously? How could he maintain such a victorious attitude? How is it that he never surrendered to weariness, exhaustion, or to the devil’s attacks?

These questions can all be answered by the foremost desire of Paul’s heart: That he would one day hear Jesus say to him, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” Paul’s driving motivation was his anticipation to hear Jesus say those words and to know that he had finished his race well. This is why Paul said, “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy…” (Acts 20:24).

At the end of his life, he wrote to Timothy and triumphantly declared, “I have fought a good fight…” (2 Timothy 4:7). The words “fought” and “fight” are from the Greek word agonidzo. This word means a struggle, a fight, a combat, or a fierce competition, and it is where we get the word agony. By using this word, Paul tells us that some of his ministry has been a real struggle — difficult, fierce, and agonizing. Yet Paul never budged an inch! He stayed in the fight and was faithful to his call!

This verse could literally be translated, “A good fight — that’s what I fought!” That proclamation has the sense of victory and exhilaration. These are the sentiments of a man who has no regrets. He is proud of the contest in which he has been engaged. Regardless of all the others who have dropped out of the fight, Paul can say, “I stayed in there. A good fight — that’s what I fought!”

Then Paul goes on to tell us, “…I have finished my course….” This word “course” is the Greek word dromos, which always describes a foot race or a running track. Also, notice that he referred to his life assignment as “my course.” Paul knew precisely what race he was called to run, and he didn’t attempt to run anyone else’s course. In spite of all the things that tried to slow him down, knock him out of the race, and defeat him, he refused to quit running! No matter what happened, Paul just stayed right on track — true to the course God had given him. Thus, this part of the verse could be translated, “My race — I ran it with all my might, never stopping until I knew I had reached the goal and finished it!

Lastly, Paul writes, “…I have kept the faith.” The Greek word for “kept” is the word tereo. It is the same Greek word used to depict a watch of soldiers who were positioned to protect something important. The job of these soldiers was to stand guard and to keep watch. They were to be faithful and remain committed to their charge of keeping watch regardless of the kind of assault or the number of attackers they might encounter.

This is the word Paul uses when he says, “I have kept the faith.” Even though he encountered difficulties and challenges, he never left his post or surrendered to the assaults and attacks that came against him. Through it all, Paul kept watch over the mission and the message God gave him!

When you put all of this together,

Second Timothy 4:7 could be understood to say this:

“A good fight — that’s what I fought! My race — I ran it with all my might, never stopping until I knew I had reached the goal and finished it! The faith — I protected it, guarded it, and watched over it with all my heart and strength. In spite of the assaults and attacks, I stayed true to my assignment!”

This soldier of the Lord has everything to shout about! His ministry may have been difficult, but he made it! Paul never gave an inch to the enemy. Now as he faces his own death, he isn’t fearful; rather, he rejoices because he knows he has done well. He’s ready to depart this earth and to be forever with his Lord! Looking toward that moment when he will finally stand before Jesus, Paul confidently writes, “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8).

When you are tempted to be sidetracked and distracted by the problems of life, try to find a few minutes to be alone with the Lord. Remind yourself that all your problems are fleeting and that they will soon pass. But your obedience to God is eternal, so there is nothing more important than doing what God has told you to do.

When you stand before Jesus, all the challenges you faced will be forgotten, and just one question will remain. Jesus will want to know, “Did you do what I asked you to do, or did you get distracted and let the cares of life stop you from fulfilling your assignment?”

It will help you live a more balanced and committed life if you will keep everything that happens to you in perspective of that day when you stand before Jesus. Don’t you want to look into His face with confidence? Of course you do. So take the attitude of the apostle Paul. Decide to deliberately view your problems as nothing but “light affliction” that won’t last too long. On the other hand, what you do with God’s call on your life will last forever, so don’t let those measly little problems prevent you from pushing onward toward the high calling of God!

Just as the apostle Paul finished his race with joy, you can finish your course with joy and victory as well. Determine today that you will be a soldier of the Lord who can look back one day and be proud of the fight you fought, the race you ran, and the faith you kept — a soldier with no regrets!

sparking gems from the greek

My Prayer for Today

 

 

Lord, help me to keep my focus and to not allow the challenges I face to distract me from fulfilling Your will for my life. I know that the enemy keeps surrounding me with distractions because You have called me to do something important. Rather than let these nuisances break me and steal my joy, help me keep my eyes focused on that day when I will stand before You. I ask that Your Spirit will supernaturally energize me to push beyond the obstacles and keep pressing forward to the high calling You have designed for my life!

I pray this in Jesus’ name!

sparking gems from the greek

My Confession for Today

 

 

I boldly declare that I am a winner and not a loser. I don’t throw in the towel and quit when it gets hard; instead, I dig in my heels and refuse to surrender the territory that God has called me to conquer and possess. I live my life seriously and with balance and commitment. Because of God’s Spirit inside me, I am tougher than any challenge and stronger than any foe. I fight a good fight and run a good race — and I successfully guard over and hold tight to the assignment God has given to my life!

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

 

– See more at: http://www.renner.org/victorious-living/the-right-way-to-die/#utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=the-right-way-to-die

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Right Here, Right Now – Paul Tripp Ministries

CONFLICT – WHY DOES IT HAPPEN? PART 204/25/2014

http://paultripp.com/right-here-right-now#!/swx/pp/media_archives/170530/episode/48240

The Bible is very clear about two things: human beings were made for relationships, but we have a terrible time getting along with one another! In this episode of Right Here, Right Now, Paul David Tripp teaches from one of the most significant relational passages in all of Scripture.Connecting the transforming power of Jesus Christ to everyday life.

via Right Here, Right Now.

 

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If a Gift is Something Given – Spiritual Gifts Must Surely Be Something Given by the Spirit. | The Promise And The Premise by Keith Lannon

To read this in it’s original blog space go to Keith’s pageshttp://thepromiseandthepremise.wordpress.com/2014/04/22/if-a-gift-is-something-given-spiritual-gifts-must-surely-be-something-given-by-the-spirit/

Spiritual gifts! It’s a huge issue! But today I want to just throw a spanner into the engine of people’s thought processes. It is a spanner that will break up one’s thoughts, or like a good spanner, it should tighten the screws and make the thought engine run better.

02

Romans 12:6 says, “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given us, let us use them. If prophecy, let us prophecy according to our faith”.  So we all have gifts. The kind of gift that Paul is discussing is that which has been given by the Spirit of God to a person. There are gifts given according to the grace given us. This means that some people would have different gifts, or even more gifts than others. It is an individual thing, and everybody receives their gift or gifts differently, in different measures and in differing styles. God’s variety is utterly glorious.

These gifts as listed in 1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12 and Ephesians 4 are referred to as Spiritual gifts simply because they were given, prompted, imparted and planted by or through the Holy Spirit Himself.  It is this writers conviction that the gifts referred to in 1 Corinthians 12 can only be accessed and activated through, or because of the baptism in the Holy Spirit. A gift of the Holy Spirit cannot be learned, studied for, or bought. They are simply given.

Study is good. But because I may have learned the Bible from cover to cover, and know all its history, and have also studied Greek and Hebrew so that I can speak both languages fluently does not even suggest that I am gifted of the Holy Spirit. I may be gifted to be an academic. I may be gifted to be practical. I may be gifted in many ways – but when the Bible refers to the spiritual gifts we are talking of gifts that facilitates the recipient to minister, shere, heal, exhort, give or serve by the grace and power of the Holy Spirit in order to edify other people’s faith and take them forward.

We are intended by God to serve Christ and His body with whatever gift is ours. We are not intended to interfere or criticise other people’s gifts, gifts that the complainer might not have. A gift is simply a packaged item that has been given to somebody.

We are intended to drink from the same Spirit. Every person has their form, their place, their gift and their use in the body of Christ. All Christians have different gifts, different insights, different degrees of power and different positions within the body of Christ. Whatever we have must be used to the best of our ability. Whatever we do must be done for the glory of God. Whatever purpose they are used for must be to the edifying of the saints.

For you and I, our destiny and our future is connected to people. Some of us are afraid to be connected to people. Some of us have been hurt and rejected, demeaned or abused. Those negative experiences lead many of us to ensure we never connect with people, but to connect with people, as a Christians is part of the cultural air that we breathe. Jesus was not a hermit in the build up to His Passion. He mixed with, talked to, dined with, healed  and generally interacted with all kinds of people on every conceivable level.

Who are you connecting with?  There are many people in our lives – those who subtract, those who divide, those who add and those who multiply. There are those who subtract from what God has given you, those who divide the whole thing, those who multiply and those who, when you meet them, will add with their counsel, words of faith and advice. These are the four kinds of people in your life. We cannot succeed alone. We are, in the body of Christ, each others strength. We all need a problem solver in our lives.

We all need to see beyond appearance and the way things look in our human way of thinking. We need to see things as God sees them.  When we look beyond the physical, and transcend what we think we see in our human way of looking at things. We will become discerning and will lose ungodly naiveté. Discerning of Spirits is a gift from God that imparts to a person the  ability to determine what is truth and what is error.  Without this gift we easily lose direction. We should be able to judge the source of the messages we hear.

It needs to be understood that the gifts of the Spirit are no indicator of the spirituality, or the character of the person who exercises those gifts. A gift is that – a gift! If the gifts of the Spirit are only given to the Spiritual people in the body of Christ, then we need to stop calling them gifts, for we are teaching that one has to become a spiritual sort of person before they can receive those gifts. But if I have to earn them by my spirituality they are clearly no longer gifts. A true gift is given utterly regardless of the character or the deeds of the person receiving the gift.

We need to judge  with righteous judgement.

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