We are definitely living in interesting times — and how important it is that we keep our eyes on Jesus and not be moved by what we hear and see in the news. Even when it looks like the world around us is falling apart, Jesus is still seated on the throne and He remains Lord over all! Because I believe we must remind ourselves and encourage each other concerning this truth, I want to tell you right from the start in this letter to keep your eyes on Jesus!
Part of encouraging each other includes praying for each other. James 5:16 says, “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, so that you may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” The meaning of the word “faults” in this verse includes struggles and challenges of any type. We are commanded to undergird each other in prayer — and if we do it in faith, as this verse says, our prayers will avail much. The Amplified Bible says, “The heartfelt and persistent prayer of a righteous man (believer) can accomplish much [when put into action and made effective by God — it is dynamic and can have tremendous power].”
I want you to know that we want to put our “heartfelt and persistent prayers” to work for you. This verse promises that such prayers accomplish much — and that they are dynamic and can yield tremendous power. Denise and I really believe this is true. So please, let us know how we can be praying for you right now. As always, we’ll keep confidential whatever need you share with us.
And again, I want to say THANK YOU for your friendship and partnership with our ministry. Your regular monthly gifts empower this ministry to fulfill its God-given assignment. But right now, we are taking new steps forward in our Ministry Expansion Project. This huge step of faith will provide our Tulsa office with a larger building and much-needed space to extend our own reach to the many precious people who are reaching out to us. It will also help enlarge and update our TV studio in Moscow so we can expand our reach by television and the Internet literally around the world. If you would like to be a part of the giving team on this project or to get an up-to-date look at how many square feet have been secured so far, please go to renner.org/expansion. I do not have words to express how thankful I am for your prayers and your generous giving to help us achieve this goal!
In my letter to you last month, I wrote about the ministry of the Holy Spirit. But today I’d like to take it one step further and speak to you about the gifts of the Holy Spirit. If you don’t know about the gifts of the Holy Spirit, I urge you to go to renner.org and order my book called Why We Need the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. Although it’s only 96 pages long, I believe this book will really take you into new spiritual territory!
Sometimes people say, “I’m not special enough to be used in the gifts of the Holy Spirit.” But wait — First Peter 4:10 says, “As every man hath received the gift….” In this verse written by Peter, he was referring to the spiritual enablements each believer has received from the Lord that empowers him or her to minister to others.
In fact, the words “every man” are translated from the Greek word hekastos, an all-inclusive word that literally means every single person, no one excluded. This undeniably means that every person who has been born of the Spirit and who declares that Jesus is Lord has been supernaturally graced or endowed from on High with divine gifts — including the gifts of the Spirit! This means even the person with the lowest self-esteem is mightily gifted by the Spirit of God; he is simply unaware of the powerful gifts that reside within him.
But First Peter 4:10 goes on to say, “As every man hath received the gift….” The word “received” comes from the Greek word lambano, which means to receive into one’s possession or to take into one’s own control and ownership. It carries the idea of taking hold of something; grasping onto something; or embracing something so tightly that it becomes your very own. As used in this verse, it means that it’s our responsibility to accept and take ownership of these gifts as our own.
Then the verse adds, “As every man hath received the gift….” The word “gift” is a translation of the word charisma, derived from the word charis, the Greek word for grace. But when the word charis becomes charisma, it doesn’t describe only grace, but it speaks of grace-given gifts. Specifically, the word charisma denoted individuals who were graced and favored with a divine touch that enabled them to do something supernaturally. The charisma they received means God equipped them with supernatural abilities. If you have been born again, this includes you!
First Peter 4:10 also charges us, “As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” The word “steward” is from the Greek word oikonomos and was specifically used to describe the household manager for an upper-class, wealthy home. By using the word oikonomos in this verse, the Bible tells us that God has made us the stewards of His own personal treasures. That means He expects us to give Him glory by allowing these gifts to operate through us to meet the needs of those around us.
Taking all these Greek words into consideration, First Peter 4:10 could be interpreted:
Every single one of you without exception has received a grace-given gift. Embrace what God has placed inside you. Take ownership of it, and do your best to develop and use that gift to meet the needs of one another. God has entrusted a great deal to you by placing such a special gift in your life, and He is depending on you to be faithful with this important responsibility.
This means God has given YOU spiritual gifts and He expects you to let them operate through you for the purpose of meeting the needs of those around you. Those gifts are inside your spirit, just waiting for you to step out in obedience when the Holy Spirit prompts you so they can begin to manifest for the blessing and benefit of others.
So make the decision — if you haven’t already done so — to yield to the Holy Spirit’s leading and to release the divine gifts God has placed inside you. And if you are hungry to know more about the gifts of the Holy Spirit, be sure to order my book Why We Need the Gifts of the Holy Spirit.
I’m so thankful that I learned to let God’s gifts work in me, and as I walk with the Lord, I want to become an even more yielded vessel for Him to use. It makes me shudder to think how many people are loaded with spiritual gifts, but because they never learned about them, they have never experienced the treasures laid up inside them. Don’t let that be you!
Please remember that Denise and I and our team want to put our prayers to work for whatever you are facing or whatever is on your heart. So please let us know how we can be praying for you right now. And remember to pray for us too. Thank you for being an amazing partner. We are so thankful for you!
We love you and thank God for you!
along with Paul, Philip, and Joel and their families