John 15:1-5 says, Jesus said, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that does not produce fruit. He also trims every branch that produces fruit to prepare it to produce even more. You have already been prepared to produce more fruit by the teaching I have given you. Stay joined to me and I will stay joined to you. No branch can produce fruit alone. It must stay connected to the vine. It is the same with you. You cannot produce fruit alone. You must stay joined to me. I am the vine, and you are the branches. If you stay joined to me, and I to you, you will produce plenty of fruit. But separated from me you won’t be able to do anything."
Jesus is like the vine and we are like the branches. The vine gives life to the branches and brings nutrients and water from the soil so that the branches can survive and produce fruit. Jesus gives us eternal spiritual life which we can not enjoy if we are separated from him. He also sustains us so that we can produce fruit (good character and deeds).
The park where I walk my dog has some big eucalyptus trees. Due to the extreme heat this summer, many of them have dropped some big branches. These branches soon die off once they are disconnected from the tree. It's the same with us - we have to stay connected to God to stay alive spiritually. We do this by praying, reading and studying the Bible, fasting, worshipping, serving, and other spiritual disciplines.
The gift of discernment is when God's Holy Spirit enables someone to discern the truth from a lie, right motives from wrong, or whether something is from the Holy Spirit or another spirit. In Acts chapter 5 Ananias and his wife, Sapphira, sold some land gave the money to the church. However, they secretly kept some of it for themselves.
Acts 5:3 Peter said, “Ananias, why did you let Satan rule your heart? You lied to the Holy Spirit. Why did you keep part of the money you received for the land for yourself?
The Holy Spirit gave Peter the gift of discernment so that he knew they were lying. No one else knew, just Ananias, Sapphira and God.
1 John 4:1 says, My dear friends, many false prophets are in the world now. So do not believe every spirit. But test the spirits to see if they are from God.
Not every preacher on TV is correctly teaching God's Word. There are all kinds of false prophets out there. That's why it's important for someone to discern if what they are teaching is from the Holy Spirit or another spirit. This is just one application of the gift of discernment.
I love watching the Olympic Games - both the Summer and Winter ones. Those athletes have devoted their lives to their sport. They train for hours, eat healthy food, and get plenty of sleep. They started as beginners but got better. They fell down a lot, but they got back up and tried again. A lot of Christians wonder why they’re not living a victorious Christian life - I’m not talking about worldly health, wealth and prosperity, but a fruitful Christian life. You can’t expect to win the race if you’re not doing the training. It would be a bit like me joining the Olympic snowboarding team (which is highly unlikely given that I have never snowboarded in my life and live 2000km away from the closest snow). It would be unrealistic to expect to win a gold medal if I didn’t do the training. 1 Corinthians 9:24 says, You know that many runners enter a race, and only one of them wins the prize. So run to win! The Bible uses the example of running because it was an illustration that everyone would understand and snowboarding didn't exist in Bible times, but the principle is the same. If you want to get good at something you have to train. Training for a Christian involves reading your Bible, prayer, service, worship, and other spiritual disciplines. How can you improve you spiritual fitness this week?
1 Corinthians 14:1 says, Be eager to have the gifts that come from the Holy Spirit, especially the gift of prophecy. The gift of prophecy is when God reveals a message directly to someone so they can relay it to an individual or group of believers. We usually associate prophecy with telling the future, however, the Spiritual gift of prophecy is different to this.
I have seen the gift of prophecy in action at prayer and worship nights when someone gets a message of encouragement, instruction or comfort. The message is from God, not from the person speaking.
In 1 Corinthians Paul tells us that we should want to have the gift of prophecy more than the other spiritual gifts. Here's what else 1 Corinthians 14 says about prophecy:
1 Corinthians 14:3 But one who prophesies is speaking to people. He gives people strength, encouragement, and comfort.
1 Corinthians 14:4b But the one who prophesies is helping the whole church.
1 Corinthians 14:22b Prophecy is for people who believe, not for those who do not believe.
1 Corinthians 14:29 And only two or three prophets should speak. The others should judge what they say.
From these verses we learn:
Short and sweet inspirations for Christian teen girls.