Empty Cross Ministries Daily Devotional 28 Feb 2021 The Toolbox


Click on the link above that is below the image to listen to the devotional presented by Rev. Dr. David Stembaugh, D.D.

Empty Cross Ministries

Daily Devotional February 28, 2021

Daily Devotion in Romans 12

What are You Making?

God has plans for every Christian. To better equip each child of God and to bring Him the glory, each is given a gift(s) to better serve the Saviour.

These gifts are not the gifts the early church had before they were given the entire Word of God. These seven gifts (Romans 12:6-8) are necessary to get the work of God done in today’s world. They include the gifts of:

  • Prophecy. This is not the same ability prophets and early disciples had. We have the entire plan of God in His written, preserved Word of God. We do not need to foretell the future as they did in Old Testament days.

    This gift of prophecy is taking the Word of God and helping others understand it better. Noah Webster in his 1828 dictionary defines the gift as the ability, “to preach; to instruct in religious doctrines; to interpret or explain Scripture or religious subjects …”
  • Ministry. This God-given gift gives a great burden to a Christian to meet the needs of others.
  • Teaching. This is a gift that allows one to help others better understand the things of God.
  • Exhorting. This important gift helps one be an encourager to others — a most needed gift, especially among God’s people.
  • Giving. This gift gives one the burden to meet others’ needs by their giving — giving of things and of themselves.
  • Ruling. This gift allows one to be a leader. Too many think they have it, but few have the God-given ability to lead God’s people.
  • Mercy. This gift gives one a heart to have understanding, patience, and kindness with others.

If you are a child of God, God does not plan for you to just sit. He desires that you serve Him and help others. He has given you at least one of the above gifts given in this church age. What are your gifts and are you using them to help others, honor God, and bring others to know and serve the Lord better?

God’s Toolbox

Every handyman has a toolbox in which his tools are stored. Since maintenance repairs are varied, so are his tools. The box usually does not contain just hammers or screwdrivers. It is filled with all kinds of different tools to help fix whatever may be broken. Most likely, there are wrenches, saws, screwdrivers, hammers, sockets, and a host of others. There is much to be maintained.

Just as man maintains what he has, or at least should, God also has tasks around His creation that also need attention. He has angels, and other heavenly creatures that do His bidding.  On earth, He often uses man to meet the needs of mankind.

To accomplish what the Master requires, God gives His workers certain “tools” to get His jobs done. No, the tools are not hammers, wrenches, or saws. The tools given to each of His born-again family members are special, spiritual gifts. When God meets a need of a person or group of people, he often selects a person to complete the task utilizing the gift God has given him, to accomplish what needs to be done.

The tools to meet man’s every day needs, both spiritual and physical, have changed as church ages have progressed. Before God had man compile the complete Word of God we have today, God handled man’s needs differently. Since the early church did not have His guidelines, He presented man with other gifts; many of them are referred to as sign gifts.

Those gifts were “signs” that God was with man. The nine spiritual gifts included: words of wisdom and knowledge, faith, healing, working of miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, tongues, and interpretation of tongues (ICorinthians 12: 8-10). Many of these gifts stopped or changed when “that which is perfect is come” (I Corinthians 13:10), the Bible.

The early church did not have a compiled written copy of God’s Word to follow God’s commands. When the Bible was made available to man, man was to live by faith (II Corinthians 5:7, Galatians 3:1), and no longer needed to live by sight. He no longer needed the “proof” of miracles.

God is not done with man yet. He still has big plans for those who are willing to turn to and heed Him. Although God still does miracles, the believer no longer has need of the sign gifts of the early church, because he has God’s written instructions.  Instead of “sign gifts” to do the tasks God desires accomplished, He equips the born-again child of God with at least one of the seven gifts (Romans 12:6-8) that he has provided for this church age. These gifts are the tools God knows will be necessary to do the tasks He requires. These “tools” include:

Prophecy. This gift of prophecy is not the same as the early church had. They were able to foretell the future. We no longer need to foretell the future; as God has recorded all He desires us to know about it in His preserved Word. That ability to predict the future has stopped (I Corinthians 13:8).

Prophecy also can mean , as Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines it, “to preach; to instruct in religious doctrines; to interpret or explain Scripture or religious subjects ….” This is a very important gift still used amongst today’s believers.

This gift from God enables certain believers, who have read and studied the Word of God, to help other believers by sharing its meaning. These people can shed light on a dark situation in a person’s life, and can tell a troubled person God’s solution to the problem, according to God’s Word.

One with the gift of prophecy can tell a sinner that there will be consequences for his sinful actions, and be right, because God’s Word promises there are “wages” for sin. As the prophet of Old Testament times was right 100% of the time, so can the one today with the gift of prophecy because God’s Word is always right.

Ministry. Another essential tool needed to support the needs of God’s people is the gift of meeting the needs of and ministering to others. Many times the service to others does not get the spotlight it should, but the body of Christ surely suffers when the possessor of this gift does not exercise it.

The gift of ministry has no limits as to what it can encompass. When a need is seen, service can be rendered by feeding those that cannot feed themselves, bringing children to church that cannot get there themselves, pushing an invalid in a wheelchair, helping a sick person recover, helping the deaf “hear” the Gospel by signing for them, cleaning the church’s restrooms, and on and on. People’s needs are so many, and this is why the gift of ministry is so needed.

Teaching. Just as a student in school needs guidance to understand required subjects, so does the child of God or an unsaved person need a teacher that has the gift of teaching the truths of the Bible. God has given some the gift to teach the principles, doctrines, and facts found in His Word. As the eunuch told Philip when he could not understand the scriptures, “… How can I, except some man should guide me? …” (Acts 8:31); so too, all need teachers.

Exhorting. Exhorting is an important tool that God has given certain believers. This gift is used to encourage and comfort fellow-believers. Often its exercise is sadly lacking. Many more would be encouraged and still be fruitful in the ministry, if more spiritual cheerleaders were urging Christian soldiers onward.

Giving. Anyone can get and take, but with the tool of giving God has for some, they have the desire to give and give. They give of themselves, their time, and often their finances. Most churches physically would not exist, if givers had not provided for their existence. Many are encouraged to serve and live for God, because someone thought them important enough to give of their time and energy to help them.

Ruling (Leadership). Too many want to be boss, but God does not give this gift of ruling the local flock of believers to everyone. With this gift, a leader can lead and encourage the work of God to grow and accomplish much. He also has wisdom in the administration of the church and other ministries.

Mercy.  In a very angry world, this special tool can soothe and aid those in hard times. It is with this gift of kindness and understanding that many are given second chances and encouraged to keep on serving and obeying the Lord, no matter what has happened. It is because of this gift that some have been given, that many lives have been changed.

God loves His people, and wants to help us. He also wants us to help ourselves. With the tools He has given all believers, if they are used the way God intends, the body of believers can be strengthened, encouraged and able to accomplish much for the glory of God. Unfortunately, too many have never recognized their gift, or even taken it out of the “box” and used it. The church is weaker than it should be, because too many believers are not utilizing what God has given them. Today, pray and study the gifts found in Romans 12:6-8. Ask the Lord to help you realize what gift or gifts are yours. When He shows you, use that special tool. We are saved not just to sit, but to serve. We believers would be much stronger and able to accomplish more, if more would use their spiritual gifts.

Today’s Thought: 
“They that bury their gifts make a grave mistake.” — Author Unknown

Words to Understand:
Condescend: to stoop to a lower to what is normal
Conformed: to make like another to fit in; be like others
Dissimulation: not hid; without being concealed
Fervent: with excitement; done energetically
Recompense: payback; reward
Slothful: lazy
Transformed: changed; an altered state

         Romans 12
1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:
5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;
7 Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;
8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.
9 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.
10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;
11 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;
12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;
13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.
14 Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.
15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.
16 Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.
17 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.
18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.
21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

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