Manifest

Todays readings are Esther 6 and 1 Corinthians 12:1-11

Hide and seek is not a game I play much anymore. But I do like playing the game of spotting the local Highway patrol playing hide and seek. In their efforts to keep our roads safe, they constantly find new hiding places – under freeway bridges, behind trees and on bends as they seek out those whom are speeding. In their best hiding places, you could easily miss them (as long as they have no reason to catch you).

The work of God in the book of Esther is a little like that – it could be easily missed. For those who have eyes to see, his hands are all over the story. The king’s sleeplessness and consequent reading that reminds him of Mordecai’s loyalty are just a normal part of the story at one level, but at another the work of God is seen. In the same way Mordecai’s actions in exposing the officers who were planning to assassinate the king, was at one level just the act of a good man but at another the work of God.  There is a sense that as the days were unfolding, God is doing something extraordinary, but it is not always clear in the story what God is doing – where the story is leading. Mordecai, Esther and others need to trust God’s hand when it is not clear or “manifest”. This can be true for us as well. While some things God has made very clear (eg. the way we are saved through Jesus), other things are not so clear (eg. a particular challenge in life), yet we trust God’s loving and sovereign hand even though his ways or reasons are not manifest.

Other times though, Gods ways are indeed manifest. As Paul returns to address the Corinthians about the work of the Holy Spirit (see1 Corinthians 2 & 3), and particularly the gifts of the Holy Spirit, he says “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good (v7).”

The work of God becomes clear through the gifts the Holy Spirit gives his people. The gifts are different, and even within a gift there is breadth of expression, but the Spirit of God is manifest among God’s people as the gifts are expressed. Paul goes on (v11); “All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.”

As Christian people use the gifts the spirit has given them for the common good, we see God working among us. Have you ever thought about it like that? If you see the gift of hospitality, or service, or teaching, or leading, or healing, or discernment, or faith, or tongues being used for the good of people, the Spirit of God is manifest among us. God is doing his work.

Sometimes we wait and hope that  “God will show up”. Sometimes we miss the clear way in which God clearly comes to us and does his work (v6), manifesting himself in his people to achieve his good.

So, as God manifests himself through the gifts he gives others that encourage you today, whether it be a word of encouragement or a message of wisdom – thank the giver for their ministry and love and thank God – that he has and continually does show himself among us!

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3 thoughts on “Manifest

  1. Thank you Ron for your ministry. Thank you that you are using your God-given gifts and talents to bless us at FAC, a great reflection of how God is working amongst us. We have so much to be thankful for.

  2. Thank you Ron. I think that in doing life sometimes when your in the thick of it you don’t see Gods Hand, but as you look back there is a definite sense of His Hand involved. I always encourage Christians to keep a “book of remembrance” as when we face those valleys or start to doubt we
    can read back of Gods faithfulness and continue to trust Him. The Israelites were only out of Egypt for a very short time and had already forgotten about Gods Hand in their whole deliverance.

    Part of belonging to a church is to find an area to serve other Christians by using the gift that God has given you. These 9 spiritual gifts (which is what this passage is talking about) are to be used to build up the body of Christ and must be used in love. If they are not used with love damage will be done. Unfortunately there are too may believers who don’t know their Spiritual Gift. There is nothing wrong with testing the gifts out and keeping a record of your “success” rate. Next time you pray for someone who is sick ask God to give you the gift of healing or ask for a miracle for that person. Same with seeking a word of knowledge or a word of wisdom, ask God if He would impart that gifting for that situation. We can be prompted by the Holy Spirit to ask for a certain gift in many different situations. Just have to discern what He is saying. It certainly adds a wholeness to doing ministry. God is just waiting to be asked. Nobody has all the 9 gifts because then we wouldn’t need one another, but I think it would be great if we were more aware of the gifting’s within our own church. Remember its all for His Glory!!! Today there can still be an unhealthy emphasis on the gift of tongues which has caused many problems in the church. This I suppose is the least understood of the gifts but it seems to be the most coveted. If your Father says “No”, to this gift just accept that, that is His will for you and go and ask Him for another. He will not leave you without at least one spiritual gift, be faithful with that gift and He may give you more!! If you have the Holy Spirit, you will have a gift.

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