Attributes of the Perceiver Day 2

Remember, yesterday we were in Matthew. We looked at four characteristics of the Perciever and today we'll study four more. For each Gift, there are 20 attributes. These 20 attributes have been researched with 1000s of Christians taking questionaires given by Don and Katy Fortune. I took these attributes and scoured the Bible to find men and women who illustrated these attributes. It was such a wonderful study! I did this several years ago and I'm having such fun going through this again. This is my fourth or fifth time, now, and I am learning even more. I believe strongly that our motivations shift occasionally so we fit better into God's mold for our work. Don't forget, He gives according to our abilities and our faith. It is amazing how much more I understand now than back then. I recommend you copy/paste/print and save it to do again next year to see how your gifts may have shifted or increased. I hereby give my written permission to share this with anyone, but you cannot sell it and you must give Charles Stanley, Don and Katy Fortune and me credit. Also, you must give the sources where the information can be found.

I hope you kept your something's in Matthew 3:1-10 and Matthew 11:1-6.


We are studying the characteristics of John the Baptist and how closely he illustrates the Spiritual Gift of Perceiver. Put the chapter and verse beside the different characteristics (in bold) of John the Baptist. Then in the grid, score yourself on how true the statement is about you. Total the points on the score sheet at the end of this section. You will note there are twenty statements and there is a possibility of a 100% score for each gift.

Strongly believes difficulties will produce positive personal brokenness ___________________

Never = 0
Seldom = 1
Sometimes = 2
Usually = 3
Mostly = 4
Always = 5
Total ___________

Has only a few or no close friends
Never = 0
Seldom = 1
Sometimes = 2
Usually = 3
Mostly = 4
Always = 5
Total ___________

Views the Bible as the basis for truth, belief, action, and authority _______________________

Never = 0
Seldom = 1
Sometimes = 2
Usually = 3
Mostly = 4
Always = 5
Total __________

Boldly operates on spiritual principles ______________________________________________

Never = 0
Seldom = 1
Sometimes = 2
Usually = 3
Mostly = 4
Always = 5
Total _______________

For today, my total is 19 out of a possible 20. It looks like my Motivational Spiritual gifts have shifted a bit. This just illustrates how God shifts our motivations from time to time so that we will be equiped to do His work. 

Attributes of the Perceiver Day 3 study continued...

Attributes of the Perceiver

Each day we will explore different attributes of the Perceiver. This is a personal Bible study and there are no right or wrong answers. This is to help you understand each gift. Even if these attributes do not come close to describing you, you will be able to understand a sister or brother who does have these attributes. You will see why you act and say things... or your sibling in Christ... or your spouse. This will absolutely change the way you see your siblings in Christ.

Week Two Bible Study
___________________Attributes of the Perceiver

Because of the definition today’s society has dedicated to the word “Prophet”, we will use the word Perceiver for our purposes although John the Baptist was absolutely the last Old Testament Prophet. He called himself “Friend of the Bridegroom” not fit to tie His sandal. I wish we had time to explore that further!

Greek word transliterated: Propheteia (prof-ay-ti'-ah) -- prophecy
a discourse emanating from divine inspiration and declaring the purposes of God, whether by reproving and admonishing the wicked, or comforting the afflicted, or revealing things hidden; esp. by foretelling future events
Used in the NT of the utterance of OT prophets
1. of the prediction of events relating to Christ's kingdom and its speedy triumph, together with the consolations and admonitions pertaining to it, the spirit of prophecy, the divine mind, to which the prophetic faculty is due
2. of the endowment and speech of the Christian teachers called prophets
3. the gifts and utterances of these prophets, esp. of the predictions of the works of which, set apart to teach the gospel, will accomplish for the kingdom of Christ

In an ancient monastery in a far away place, a new monk arrived to join his brothers in copying books and scrolls in the monastery’s scriptorium. He was assigned a book that had already been copied by hand. One day he asked Father Florian (the Armarius of the Scriptorium), “Does not the copying by hand of other copies allow for chances of error? How do we know we are not copying the mistakes of someone else? Are they ever checked against the original?” Father Florian was set back a bit by the obvious, logical observation of this youthful monk. “A very good point, my son. I will take one of the latest books down to the vault and compare it to the original.” Father Florian went down to the secured vault and began his verification. After a day and passed, the monks began to worry and went down looking for the old priest. They were sure something must have happened. As they approached the vault, they heard sobbing and crying. When they opened the door, they found Father Florian sobbing over the new copy and the original ancient book, both of which opened before him on the table. It was obvious to all that the poor man had been crying his old heart out for a long time. “What is the problem, Reverend Father?” asked one of the monks. “Oh, my Lord,” sobbed the priest, “the word is ‘celebrate’.”

Obviously, this isn’t a true story, however it is exactly how a Perceiver would react to obvious abuse of God’s Word in a misinterpretation.

Before we go any further, I want to make it clear that Jesus being fully human and being fully God personifies all the positive attributes of each Spiritual Gift. Having each of these gifts in full measure, Jesus also had the negative temptations that go along with each motivational spiritual gift. Since He was fully God and perfect, He did not succumb to the temptations.
Therefore, when I cannot find a Biblical reference for the Biblical example used, we will look at the attribute exemplified by Jesus.

Day 1___________________________________

Look up Matthew 3:1-10 put something in that spot and look up Matthew 11:1-6.

Put the chapter and verse beside the different characteristics (in bold) of John the Baptist.

Then score yourself on how true the statement is about you. ( Total the points on the score sheet at the end of this week. You will note there are twenty statements and there is a possibility of a 100% score for each gift.

Accurately identifies good and evil and hates evil ____________________________________
Never = 0
Seldom = 1
Sometimes = 2
Usually = 3
Mostly = 4
Always = 5
Total = __________

Sees everything as black or white, no gray. _________________________________________

Never = 0
Seldom = 1
Sometimes = 2
Usually = 3
Mostly = 4
Always = 5
Total = __________

Easily perceives the character of individuals and groups. ______________________________
Never = 0
Seldom = 1
Sometimes = 2
Usually = 3
Mostly = 4
Always = 5
Total ___________

Encourages repentance that produces good fruit _____________________________________
Never = 0
Seldom = 1
Sometimes = 2
Usually = 3
Mostly = 4
Always = 5
Total ______________

Continue the Study... But you really need to let what you've learned soak in. I recommend you click on each day and copy/paste and then do each day each day rather than in one huge dose.

Who can you think of that has these qualities? Comment here about your thoughts, others will learn, too.

Each Gift is of Equal Value

All gifts are of equal importance to the body of Christ. Look back at Romans chapter 12. In a few words briefly recap verses 3-5 in the space provided.

3 I'm speaking to you out of deep gratitude for all that God has given me, and especially as I have responsibilities in relation to you. Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it's important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him. 4In this way we are like the various parts of a human body. Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around. 5The body we're talking about is Christ's body of chosen people. Each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of his body. But as a chopped-off finger or cut-off toe we wouldn't amount to much, would we? So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ's body, 6let's just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren't. The Message, NavPress

Is he telling us not to be prideful about our abilities? Absolutely and he is also telling us that in Christ, each gift is His own very special gift to each one of us. Whichever motivational gift you have been given was granted in order to fully do those works which were planned for you by God from the very foundation of the world without getting tired or burned out.

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Eph 2:10

This tells us that God is very specific about what we are to do for Him. He is so specific that He gives us the motivation to do what He has planned all along for us. The highest motivation should be because we desire to please Him. This is one of the things that God desires most from us…the choosing to do His will and the exercising of our own free will to follow His plan for our lives.

Just for grins... think of a job in your church that you would just love to do. Are you currently doing that job? If not, why not? Our motivational gift is the "want to" in God's work.

Below I've listed each:

PERCEIVER-- Declares the will of God - Spiritual - Keeps us centered on spiritual principles
SERVER-- Renders practical service - Practical - Keeps the work of ministry moving
TEACHER--Researches and teaches the Bible - Mental - Keeps us studying & learning
EXHORTER -- Encourages personal spiritual growth - Psychological - Keeps us applying spiritual truths
GIVER -- Shares material assistance - Material - Keeps specific needs provided for
ADMINISTRATOR -- Gives leadership & direction - Functional - Keeps us organized and increases our vision
COMPASSION/MERCY -- Provides personal and emotional support - Emotional - Keeps us in right attitudes & relationships

So how do we know the function of each gift? Because God has infused His word with many examples of each gift and we Christians are the illustrations of them. When you finish this study you will be amazed at how well you understand your brothers and sisters in Christ. You will be astounded as you hear someone say something and just know which motivation they are speaking from. God is so amazing to give us this insight to each other!

I know that if we understood each other's motivations better, there would be a great deal more unity in the body.  Continue Study...

Motivational Gifts

Each of us has the responsibility to:

Discover our gift. Develop our gift. Exercise our gift.

Your motivational gift is what drives you. It is what causes you to do and think and be what God intends you to be. To discover your gift, simply ask God to reveal it to you in an unmistakable way.

There are some things that keep you from discovering your gift.
1. You have unresolved conflicts which are clouding the issue—unforgiveness, anger, pride, resentments. These are less obvious “Christian” sins.
2. Not currently involved in any kind of ministry. God reveals our gifts as we act not as we sit.
3. Trying to imitate someone else’s gift.
4. Failure to analyze what you do and why. Ask yourself the question: What is my motive/real reason for doing or saying what I did or said? This is the key to finding your spiritual motivational gift after you have asked God to reveal it to you.
5. You are confusing ministry with your gift. 1 Cor 12:4-


1. You must learn to walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh. This takes discipline and practice. This means you are willing to examine your life and cooperate with God to take care of anything that shouldn’t be there. You must admit dependence. We only get our significance from God…As Christians with the mind of Christ, this is who we are.

2. Learn the characteristics of your gift. Ask God to sharpen your focus and to increase your sensitivity to the Holy Spirit’s motivation of you. You will see results that will dazzle you! There will be a depth to your life that others will recognize but more importantly you will be so much more satisfied in your walk with the Lord. The more you develop your gift the more maturity and fruitfulness you will manifest and the more real joy will fill your heart.


If I don’t involve myself in other people’s lives, I won’t see my gift!

Here is an encouraging thought…God can express Himself through you using all the gifts because He equips you for the momentary need. Think about that statement and describe what it means to you.

God will use any means necessary to draw us to Himself. He will give me a booster shot of perception if that is what it takes to fill one of His children’s needs. Or a booster shot of any of the other gifts. All gifts are to give God glory and to motivate His children and to get His work done.

Now look up the following scriptures and identify what gift each scripture is describing.

I Corinthians 14:1 Prophecy or Perception 1Love should be your guide. Be eager to have the gifts that come from the Holy Spirit, especially the gift of prophecy.

Galatians 5:13 Service 13My friends, you were chosen to be free. So don't use your freedom as an excuse to do anything you want. Use it as an opportunity to serve each other with love.

Colossians 3:16 Teaching 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

Hebrews 3:13 Exhortation – Encouraging 13but exhort one another daily, while it is called "Today," lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

Luke 6:38 Giving 38Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you."

1 Timothy 3:4 Administration – Organization 4one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence

Colossians 3:12 Mercy – Compassion 12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering;

Because Jesus lives within us and we have the Mind of Christ, we all have the capacity to exercise all these gifts. At any given need of someone we come into contact with, God grants us a “booster shot” of a motivational gift that person needs. Or if a situation arises which results in an identified need but no one to fill that need, then God provides that gift to one of His children so the need can be filled. However, God has designed the Body of Christ and each member of the body to fill a specific need in the Body. He has done this so that we can build each other up, we can edify (teach/encourage) one another to reach our full potential and maturity in Christ. Others can point out our “blind spots” if we are willing to listen and learn.

Are you a spectator or a minister? What’s the point of being a Christian if you are missing out on God’s plan and purpose??
Give some real thought to this next question and seriously answer below. You don’t have to share this in class. Are you a spectator or are you a minister?

We are to give ourselves away to others (without the constant thought of ME) Otherwise we are carnal and not in the will of God. Don’t waste your life!

Are you limiting God? Explain.

Are you resisting the “squeeze” of God? Explain.

(Remember that in squeezing you through circumstances, people, or finances, that God’s goal is to get His life “out” of you as an extension of His own life to others.)

In order to be what God wants you to be, you must be willing to let Him call the shots! That means He can “squeeze” whenever and however He chooses…because He is God and we are not.

What will you do with the Spiritual Gift God has given you?

There is a reason why I Corinthians 13 follows chapter 12. Look up chapter 13 and reread it again. What part of the expression of love speaks to you the most?


Now look at the last part of chapter 12. What does it say?

Do we do anything in this world without being motivated to do it? Certainly not. God designed us this way and therefore He has given us motivations each according to the gifts He has given us. It should be the utmost importance to us that we be good stewards of the gifts He has given us.

What motivates you to do whatever you do for Jesus?

Is your attitude right with God? (Heart attitude not outward attitude.)

Are you walking in the Spirit? Are you walking in the Flesh? Explain how you know.

Important point for any of the gifts you have: When you are exercising YOUR motivational gift, you will experience a minimum of weariness and a maximum of effectiveness.

Romans 12: 6-8
Different people do have different gifts…there is no such thing as vanilla Christians.

When you are exercising your primary gift:
1. You will find your greatest sense of contentment (Joy).
2. You will see why people misunderstand you and why you act the way you do.
3. You will see what it looks like when you are carnal AND when you are walking in the Spirit.

The Americans and the Japanese decided to engage in a boat race. Both teams practiced hard and long to reach their peak performance.
On the big day, the Japanese won by a mile. Afterward, the American team was discouraged by the loss. Morale sagged, Corporate management decided that the reason for the crushing defeat had to be found, so a consulting firm was hired to investigate the problem and recommended corrective action.
The Finding: The Japanese team had eight people rowing and one person steering; the American team had one person rowing and eight people steering. Too many people steering and not enough rowing
After a year of study and millions of dollars spent....
The managers new structure: Americans, reorganized and the managers challenged the Japanese again. Four steering managers, three area steering managers and a new performance review system for the person rowing the boat to provide work incentive.
The Outcome: The Japanese won by two miles, the Americans laid off the rower for poor performance and gave the managers a bonus for discovering the problem.

The moral here is there is only one “head” to the body of Christ and that is Jesus himself.  Continue Study...

Manifestation Gifts

Spiritual Gifts
1 Corinthians 12: 1What I want to talk about now is the various ways God's Spirit gets worked into our lives. This is complex and often misunderstood, but I want you to be informed and knowledgeable. 2Remember how you were when you didn't know God, led from one phony god to another, never knowing what you were doing, just doing it because everybody else did it? It's different in this life. God wants us to use our intelligence, to seek to understand as well as we can. 3For instance, by using your heads, you know perfectly well that the Spirit of God would never prompt anyone to say "Jesus be damned!" Nor would anyone be inclined to say "Jesus is Master!" without the insight of the Holy Spirit.4God's various gifts are handed out everywhere; but they all originate in God's Spirit. 5God's various ministries are carried out everywhere; but they all originate in God's Spirit. 6God's various expressions of power are in action everywhere; but God himself is behind it all.

I have copied the above passages for a comparison. Please note verses 4-6 in 1 Corinthians 12.
We see 1. various gifts 2. various ministries and 3. various expressions of power. The various expressions of power are the Gifts of Manifestations. The various ministries are the Works that God has provided for us to do from the foundations of the world. The various gifts are the motivations that God has put inside us to motivate us to do His ministries. Please do not let anyone confuse these very separate types of gifts but they all work together like well-oiled machinery.

Our study is only on the Motivational Gifts of the Spirit. These gifts are what make us who we are in Christ. These gifts drive our personality and define our souls so that we may all work together to make a whole. One body, one Spirit, one Baptism formulate the unity of Jesus. This is something that I believe Christ’s church is forgetting. We are so caught up in political correctness that we forget Christ’s Correctness.

In order to understand the difference in the gifts, we must compare the Ministry Gifts (Eph 4:11-16) with the Manifestation Gifts with the Motivational Gifts. The Manifestation gifts are listed by Paul in 1 Cor 12:7-10

7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8 For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues.

a. wisdom through the Spirit
b. knowledge through the Spirit
c. faith through the Spirit
d. healing through the Spirit
e miracles through the Spirit
f. prophecy through the Spirit
g. discernment of spirits
h. various tongues
i. interpretation of tongues

That's a lot of gifts of the Spirit which prove the Holy Spirit and express the Holy Spirit's power. These gifts can be likened to a super nova because they will just explode from us and spread out covering those around us. That is basically what manifestation means. It is the Greek word

φανερωσις phanerōsis (fan-er'-o-sis)
exhibition, that is, (figuratively) expression, (by extension) a bestowment: - manifestation.

Gifts are God's way of drawing us closer to Himself. He will use us to be bridges for others. He will give us booster shots of what we need in order to show others Who God is. He has such amazing power. He raised Jesus from the dead and that same power is available to us to get His work done.

When we understand our gifts and how they work, we understand God's Work better and then we will work with God rather than against Him in all things. When we understand our own gifts, we then understand why we do what we do; why we say what we say and why we have so much energy for some things and such dread in our hearts for other things. We also understand why some Christians are stumbling blocks for other Christians without even knowing they are blocking the progress of a sister or brother!  Continue Study...

You can get a book from: Katy and Don Fortune
You can hear Charles Stanley's sermons: Charles Stanley

Ministry Gifts

Evangelism isn't for everyone. The follow-up is as crucial as the initial drawing to Christ. In Ephesians Paul gives a list of the ministry gifts and he lets us know without a doubt that each has his own ministry according to his own gift.

I cannot go door to door. It makes me extremely uncomfortable. Some would have us believe that we aren't doing God's will unless we are outside our comfort zone. Poppycock.

God gave us motivational Spiritual gifts so that we would be motivated to do His work in our ministry gifts.

Ministry Gifts – Eph 4:11-16 – these gifts are specifically for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ until we all come in the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God unto a perfect man and unto the measure
  • a. apostles
  • b. prophets
  • c. evangelist
  • d. pastor
  • e. teacher

Not everyone can teach. Not everyone can understand God's Word perfectly with Spiritual understanding and wisdom; not everyone has the ability to pastor (I wonder how many pastors there are who are church called and not God-called pastors.)

Sometimes people don't want to talk about what Christ has done in their life because they do not feel worthy or because they have some secret sin in their life and they are walking in the darkness... but, do not want to change.

Some people have dozens of excuses for not sharing Christ but say they try to do it. Well according to Ray Pritchard, "trying to do something is actually failure to do it and it is an excuse."

I am not talking about going door to door or dialing for Christians or bringing folks to crusades.

What I am talking about is actual Ministry. If we use our specific God-given gifts in ministry, God will open the eyes of those we minister to and He will use us to draw so many to Himself.

The Hebrew word יד yâd (yawd) means many things, but among them: servant, open hand, fellowship, labor, draw with strength...

I love that last definition so much. To draw with strength. Isn't that what God did for us? His great strength He gives to us in measure so that we can do his work and not falter. That is a great responsibility.

The Greek word διακονία diakonia (dee-ak-on-ee'-ah) is where we get our word Deacon and means attendance, service, office, relief.

If we practice the above with those we come in contact with, that is a very strong witness for our Lord Jesus. Would you agree?

I once heard a man named Gordon McGee who said that he never let a day go by without witnessing to at least one lost person. Now that he's retired, I imagine that is kinda hard to do. I also heard our Louisiana Women's Ministry Director, Cindy Townsend, say that she deeply desired for everyone she met to know that they had met Jesus through her.

Those two statements made a deep impact on me. Do I practice that everyday? No. I fail at that. However, I am much more conscious now of how much my actions impact those around me in how they view Jesus. That is a responsibility that makes me tremble.

Continue Study...

The 7 Highly Effective Motivational Spiritual Gifts

I wrote a Bible study several years ago from some of Charles Stanley's sermons and from a book written by Katy and Don Fortune called Discovering Your God-Given Gifts located at


The following are some personality traits which some have suggested to be prevalent in those who have displayed various spiritual gifts. Answer each honestly as how you would react in general or how you would “usually” react in a given situation and not how you “might act” in that specific situation. Answering honestly may assist you in evaluating the presence of a particular gift.

1 – I prefer speaking to a group over individual interaction with a person.
2 – I have difficulty with being sensitive to and patient with individual’s problems.
3 – I am not afraid to tell a person something that I know might hurt their feelings or even make them angry with me but will eventually help them to be a better person.
4 – I am often impulsive, making quick decisions and acting on them.
5 – I tend to go to extremes on things; no grey areas, just black and white!
6 – I am a very open and direct person. I don’t like to “beat about the bush”.
7 – I am not hesitant to speak or give my opinion when in a group discussing some topic.
8 – I am able to speak well and am very persuasive. I would make a good sales person.
9 – I can sometimes be overbearing in making a point.
10 – I just can’t let a conversation end without coming to some sort of conclusion.
11 – Once I make a decision, I am not easily swayed from my opinion.
12 – I am often aware of when a person is hurting inside. I just seem to be able to tell.
13 – When faced with a task, I tend to more than is necessary as opposed to doing “just enough.”
14 – When faced with a task, I tend to do more than is necessary as opposed to delegating the responsibility to anyone else. This way I know it is done properly.
15 – I have a hard time saying “no” when asked to do something.
16 – I dislike “organization” and “procedures”; I just like to get the job done.
17 – I almost never leave a task until it is done.
18 – If I were performing a task and I ran out of resources, I will usually use personal funds to complete it before I left it undone.
19 – I am somewhat impatient with “logical and cautious” thinkers.
20 – I am not frightened or concerned about tackling major projects, even though they may seem impossible to accomplish.
21 – When dealing with a task, I frequently tend to concern myself with “end goals”, often overlooking “details” as unimportant.
22 – I am not easily swayed by present circumstances.
23 – I feel that accuracy is very important; I dislike speculation. If I can’t prove it, I forget it.
24 – I enjoy looking up fact and doing research.
25 – When involved in a discussion, I usually will stick to one topic and am annoyed when someone tries to jump from topic to topic.
26 – I am an organized person…everything has its place and is in its place.
27 – Sometimes I get “bogged down” with details when performing a task.
28 – In any given instance, I may know the right thing to do, but will not always do it. I don’t always practice what I preach.
29 – I tend to look at everything from a biblical point of view, trying to answer questions from my biblical understanding. If I can’t find the answers, I will usually research the subject in the Bible.
30 – I tend to do a lot of “studies” and accumulate notes, even though I have not immediate place to share this information.
31 – If something interests me, I will usually look up some information on it to learn more about it.
32 – I enjoy reading.
33 – I spend much of my reading time in nonfiction material.
34 – I can often relate to what a person is going through when they are hurting.
35 – I am often told by others that I frequently “say the right things at the right time.”
36 – When assembling something I usually will jump right in there and start to put it together. Then, if I run into a problem, I sit down and read the instructions.
37 – Often when someone is telling me their problems, I know what the problem is before they are finished. It is as if I knew what they were going to say before they say it.
38 – I work better on a one-on-one basis than I do with a group.
39 – When confronted with a problem, I try to analyze it on a spiritual plane using biblical principles as rather than using available facts.
40 – When ministering to a person who is hurting, I frequently get so involved, I almost make the problem my own.
41 – I tend to over simplify problems
42 – I frequently identify emotionally with people who are hurting.
43 – I can easily visualize steps and/or goals for others to follow when they are having problems.
44 – I tend to have difficulty with studying the scriptures in depth because of a greater concern for practical application of surface reading.
45 – I am usually successful with anything I try to do.
46 – When it comes to my time, energies and/or money, I am usually very selective in my support of any programs.
47 – I really dislike it when someone tries to use pressure to “sell” me something.
48 – When someone tries to “pressure” me into supporting a program, I will usually refuse, even if that program is good.
49 – I will usually support something because of it’s own merit and not on the recommendations of others no matter who they might be.
50 – If I think that some program has merit, I will support it even if it is unpopular and no one else supports it.
51 – If I don’t believe in a program but everyone else does, I will usually donate something to it or give some of my time just to help out.
52 – I can usually sense when a person is in need of something.
53 – I always listen to the Holy Spirit’s urgings about supporting anything or any program.
54 – My initial “feelings” concerning supporting a program or not are usually correct.
55 – I am a tither.
56 – I am not afraid to accept responsibility for something that has gone wrong.
57 – I work well with people and in organizations.
58 – I enjoy playing “team” sports like softball, basketball or volley ball.
59 – Once I see a goal, I am not easily “side-tracked” from accomplishing that goal.
60 – I almost never leave a job unfinished.
61 – I am well aware of my abilities and when I come up against a responsibility that is above my abilities, I have no problem in delegating it to someone who does have the abilities.
62 – I am not afraid to delegate responsibility.
63 – I am not afraid to take the lead position.
64 – I usually always have something going on. As soon as I finish one job, I’m looking for another.
65 – In my daily occupational responsibilities I have a supervisory position.
66 – If there is a job to be done, and no one steps forward to do it, I usually begin on my own to organize to get it done.
67 – When I see people hurting, I usually hurt with them.
68 – Some people get jealous when they see someone get a break. I actually feel happy for him.
69 – I seem to be attracted to people who have problems.
70 – Some people get uncomfortable when they are around a physically or mentally handicapped person, I usually am not.
71 – I tend to be protective of those who are hurting or having a hard time.
72 – I usually lack firmness when dealing with others.
73 – I can usually tell if a person I being honest with me.
74 – I frequently get upset with a “harsh” person who is dealing with another who did something wrong, even when they are justified in their actions and the other deserves a harsh reprimand.
75 – I am usually on the side of the “underdog”
76 – Generally, I am a cheerful, non-condemning compassionate and sensitive person.
77 – I have a tendency to be indecisive.

Prophecy……………………………………………………1 – 11 _____
Server ……………………………………………………...12 – 2 _____
Teaching …………………………………………………..23 – 33_____
Exhortation ……………………………………………... 34 – 44_____
Giving ………………………………………………………45 – 55_____
Administration …………………………………………..56 – 66_____
Mercy ………………………………………………….......67 – 77_____
Put a T beside each True-for-you statement. If the statement is False-for-you, then it doesn't count. Total up all the True statements in each group of questions and put the total in the blank beside the group.

1 -F- I prefer speaking to a group over individual interaction with a person.
2 -F- I have difficulty with being sensitive to and patient with individual’s problems.
3 -T- I am not afraid to tell a person something that I know might hurt their feelings or even make them angry with me but will eventually help them to be a better person.

And so on until you've completed the questionaire.

I have 7 true statements in the first group so my score for Prophecy is 7. I rate the highest in Administrative Gift with 10 True statements (Oh! So that's why I'm so bossy :) Once you have your questionaire completed, you will understand this study much better. Continue study...

Best advice ever

After reading numerous blogs today (and plenty good they were), I am strongly recommending all y'all read Berrymom's blog for the 10 Commandments of Marriage -- Actually it is 10 for wives and 10 for husbands which, technically, makes it 20 Commandments. It is Superior.

Can you do this?

I WAS proud to say I could do this.

This was developed as an age test by an R&D department at Harvard University. Take your time and see if you can read each line aloud without a mistake. The average person 40 years of age or older can't do it!
  • 01. This is this cat
  • 02. This is is cat
  • 03. This is how cat
  • 04. This is to cat
  • 05. This is keep cat
  • 06. This is an cat
  • 07. This is old cat
  • 08. This is person cat
  • 09. This is busy cat
  • 10. This is for cat
  • 11. This is forty cat
  • 12. This is seconds cat

Now go back and read the third word in each line from the top down
I betcha you can't resist passing it on

I am not satisfied

Yesterday, I was lost in homesickness. You know, that aching and longing to be with the One you know the best in all the world.

I went to church and just loved studying our lesson about how God is God. He doesn't need us but we need Him desparately. I sang with all my heart that He is my All in All. I studied about the travails of Jesus as a baby when Joesph had to take his little family to Egypt to get away from Herod while my dear pastor preached from Matthew and Luke.

We didn't cook so we decided to order lasagna from Sonny's. I laughed and chatted with Linda at Sonny's Pizza when I went to pick up our lunch. On the way home, this wave of missing my dad washed over me. I miss him so much. Then I thought jealously about where he is and Who he is laughing and chatting with. A yearning so deep and so poignant rushed through me. I cried out, "Come, Lord Jesus, come and get me and take me to my real home, Father!"

Something must have happened because as soon as my daughter saw my face, she asked me "What has happened? Are you all right?"

Yesterday afternoon, I spent studying with my online Bible study buddies at, it would seem that would be enough. But it is not. I am not satisfied. I want more. Nothing here satisfies. There are instant gratifications that satisfy for seconds... smoking, alcohol, sex. They consume time with thoughts and with actions but they do not last even a tenth of the time that satisfaction lasts from true worship of my God. Sin has a way of enticing but not fulfilling.

Nothing here satisfies....

I have family, and it is sweet. I have a ministry and it is sweet. I have two Bible study groups (one online and the other on Monday nights). I teach Sunday School. I sing in the choir and the praise team and we have an ensemble... yet, that is not enough. It is enough that Jesus died for me and that He has saved me. Yet, I know in my Spirit there is more, so much more and I yearn for my Beloved Bridegroom.

And yet He is satisfied with leaving me here for a time. But soon... soon... We will dance on the streets that are golden and every tongue and tribe and nation will join in the Song of the Lamb. On that day, what a glorious day, we will be satisfied. We will be filled with the Wedding Supper of the Lamb. No more tears, no more longing and yearning for something just beyond reach for it will be there, with Him that we will be satisfied.

Retreat part 5

David shows us his style of worship in 1 Chronicles 16 starting with verse 8.

1Ch 16:8 Give thanks to Jehovah, call on His name, make known His deeds among the people. 9 Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him, talk of all His wondrous works. 10 Glory in His holy name, let the heart of those who seek Jehovah rejoice. 11 Seek Jehovah and His strength; seek His face continually. 12 Remember His marvelous works which He had done, His wonders, and the judgments of His mouth,

And he adds something incredibly important across the page in verse 29

1Ch 16:29 Give to Jehovah the glory of His name; bring an offering and come before Him. Worship Jehovah in the beauty of holiness.

Bringing our tithes and offerings is absolutely a part of worship. We are participating in a godly way in God's work when we tithe... It all belongs to Him anyway!

Do you remember seeing those snippets of newsreels showing the Beatles singing on stage and those girls just swooning and screaming, jumping up and down? That’s worship. That is idol worship and it is unholy.

Worship involves holiness. We saints are holy because of Jesus. We are sanctified because of His blood.

Hezekiah’s father, Ahaz, was a very evil king of Judah. He’s the one, remember, that sacrificed his son to the demon god Molech.

Looking in 2 Chronicles 29,

Hezekiah becomes king and he did right in the eyes of the Lord, all that David had done. That is high praise actually. King Hezekiah told the Levites to sanctify themselves. That word sanctify means the same as the word holy… to make or cause to be clean, to dedicate, hallow or keep holy. They did a LOT to make themselves holy in order to worship God and to keep the Passover feast.
Verse 17…

Verse 31 states, as many as were of a free heart brought burnt offerings. They sang, the trumpets blasted, the cymbals, harps and lyres just as David had commanded.
Verse 34 states the offerings were too much for the priests to handle so the Levites helped and were of more upright heart to make themselves pure than the priests.

The text doesn’t say, but I suspect it is because those priests had been serving the Ba’al during the reign of Ahaz. I love verse 36, And Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced, that God had prepared the people. For the thing happened suddenly. We aren’t told what was in the hearts of those priests, but this gives us an indication. What I find so sweet here is: God prepared their hearts.

All through the Old Testament, confession and repentance is followed by a deeply reverent worship of God with raised hands, singing praises as in Nehemiah. Job tore his robe, shaved his head and fell down and worshiped. Shedrach, Meshach and Abednego worshiped God and it was a testimony to the One True God. It is consistently illustrated as a heart matter which is why the outward appearance of worship without an engaged heart was such an affront, and a definite insult to God Almighty.

In John 4:23, Jesus explains it all. "… an hour is coming and now is, when the true worshipers will worship (proskuneo) the Father in spirit and in truth; for indeed the Father seeks such ones to worship (proskuneo) Him." In this scripture, Jesus uses the same word previously used for the physical expression of reverence and submission and applies it, instead, to the attitude of a person's heart or spirit. Worship entails a heart-desire rather than a physical position or action. Jesus explains what God has desired all along: worship is not a physical stance, but the heart attitude. He changed it forever from a stagnate postion to a continuous state of being. When He rose from the dead and presented us with the seal for our hearts, the Holy Spirit, He enabled us to sustain this worship state of being.

Remember the definition of the Greek word Proskuneo. Let me remind you it means to kiss the hand to or towards one in token of reverence; to fall upon the knees and touch the ground with the forehead as an expression of profound reverence, to kiss the feet; kneeling or prostration in homage. From a word that loosely means to kiss like a dog licking his master’s hand.

One thing to remember here is that unless the Master offers His hand, the dog cannot kiss it. Worship is very much a two way thing. It is vitality on both sides.

An example of this is Stephen, the first martyr in Acts 7:54-60. It is a perfect illustration of this when he looks up and sees Jesus as he is being stoned to death. His last thought is for those who are stoning him and he asks forgiveness for them. Jesus, who ascended to sit down by His Father’s right hand, was standing to receive him. It was an honor for Stephen’s unwavering faith and his obedience. Isn’t that just precious?

John fell on his face at his first glimpse of Jesus in Revelation 1:17. Daniel had that same reaction when he saw the LORD above the river. In the Garden, when Jesus was betrayed by Judas, Jesus asked “Whom do you seek?” John 18:5, they replied “Jesus of Nazareth” and He replied, “I AM…” and immediately they fell to the ground. At His breath every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. Two words and they knew. Two words and they could not help but recognize His authority. For those who were bent on getting Jesus to the cross, Worship was just a one time event.

This is what Isaiah was warning us against. Without hearts full of worship, our prayers won’t get off the ground. But, for US, worship is not an event, it is a lifestyle.

Retreat part 4

1 Samuel 1:3

Here is the story of Hannah but, we’re only going to look at one verse here. Her husband regularly went up before the Lord of Hosts of Shiloh to worship and sacrifice. Here there is a distinction between worshipping and sacrifice. In Genesis, it was implied that the sacrifice was the worship of Abraham. But actually the worship was obedience, or actually more at submission, by Abraham. Elkanah was obedient to God’s ordinances. It wasn’t that he could not worship God within his own house, but that was not where God wanted the people to sacrifice unless it was a hardship to travel to the Tabernacle. Therefore, sacrifice by itself is not worship. The reason that sacrifices had to be included in worship was because the remission of sins required the shedding of blood. We find that in Hebrews.

Heb 9:22 And almost all things are purified by blood according to the Law; and apart from shedding of blood no remission occurs.

The sacrifices pointed toward Jesus and had a purpose of softening or tenderizing hearts; making them look toward Him. This meant more to God than all the burnt offerings or sacrifices.

And in Mark …
Mar 12:33 "and to love Him from all the heart", and from all the understanding, "and from all the soul, and from all the strength;" (Deut. 6:4, 5) and "to love one's neighbor as oneself" (Lev. 19:18) is more than all the burnt offerings and the sacrifices.

That is the crucial lesson here. God points out the heart must be involved in worship of Him.

Psalm 32

Have you ever taken a cat to the vet?

We had to take our cat to the vet a few weeks ago and the caterwauling he set up all the way there and all the way back! (that’s where that word comes from… CAT—er—wailing)

I was grateful it was only a 30 minute drive. “Out, out, I want out,” was his plaintive cry.

I can imagine David’s misery which he describes in this Psalm. Unconfessed sin makes the body sick.

Look at verse 3…

It is like borrowing money from a friend knowing you can’t pay it back. After awhile you start avoiding your friend. Soon, you’re ducking down hallways and going the long way around just so you won’t bump into your friend. Then you want to avoid your friend at all costs because you have built a wall. (Can you tell this happened to me?) The person you borrowed from doesn’t care about the money, never did care about it. Your friend loves the fellowship with you. That’s how God is. He wants that relationship with you, but sin breaks the fellowship on your part, not His. David finally understood this.

Psalm 32 – the ungodly can be reinstated into godliness. David is prostrate in repentance and worship. This was after Nathan had confronted him about his sin with Bathsheba. We get a peek into his heart in this Psalm.

His bones became old. Now, I’m growing older and I have more aches and pains than I ever had when I was younger. Just to get out of bed sometimes sounds like a tool box being turned over with all the clanks and grindings.

He was howling all day. Imagine that. King James translates it roaring. The word means literally “a rumbling or moan”, so I translate that as CAT-er-wailing.
He says in verse 5:

Psa 32:5 I confessed my sin to You, and I have not hidden my iniquity; I said, I will confess over my transgression to Jehovah; and You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah.
Glory! There is something so incredibly important here. First we see David angry at the injustice, then he is deeply repentant when he recognizes his own sin. (2 Samuel 12:13), Then he is prostrate (2 Samuel 12:16) for his son, fasting, seeking God in the hope God may have mercy and let his son live. David understands the deep necessity of confession in order to be right with the Lord and how God forgives. It is essential that we know beyond doubt that God forgives our transgressions.

Without that knowledge, we cannot worship from our heart. Without that knowledge, Satan builds a web of guilt and shame around us to keep us from Worshipping God.

Psalm 32:11 Be glad in Jehovah and rejoice, you righteous ones; and all the upright in heart, shout for joy.

David addresses it again in Psalm 51. He tells us Who to go to to get right with God. We can't do it on our own. God can.

Psalm 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11 Do not cast me out from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.

We have established that there is much more to worship than singing and praising, although that is part of worship. The word Worship means to bow low and to serve. In actions, it means,
Obedience regardless of the apparent cost, as Abraham obeyed. Sacrifice as ordained by God. Confession and repentance is crucial to experience worship as God would have us experience it... with a clean heart and a right spirit. It can be done from a distance as the Children of Israel did when God came to the Tabernacle, but is that how we should worship? It involves the heart (will), the ears (understanding).

The Retreat part 3

Exodus 33
is an interesting chapter. Moses sets up the Tabernacle tent far outside the camp. If anyone was seeking God, they went to the Tabernacle. God tells the people that He won’t go up among them because He just might consume them (literally to kill them) because they are a stiff-necked people. Proud. Foolish. Disobedient by making a gold calf to worship after God had specifically told them in Exodus 20 they were to have no other gods before Him. Many lost their lives over that escapade. This is an example of how not to act and the consequences of worshipping idols instead of the One True God.

Therefore, the people had to worship at a distance from God. In Exodus 33:10, when the people saw the cloud descend, all of them would "arise" and worship, each man in his tent door, when the cloud descended to the tent. Why not gather together and worship corporately? Why each man in his own tent door? We see why in the preceding chapter of Exodus 32. The people had made that golden calf to worship corporately, which deeply angered God and Moses. They could go individually to the Tabernacle to seek God and to sacrifice, but not corporately unless God called them all together.

There is more involved in worship than a bent neck or knee.

Deuteronomy 30:11-20
Worship involves the ear which is listening, along with the heart and service. This describes the will of man. It is a choice to hear. My daughter tells me all the time, “You are not listening to me.” I am listening to her. I’m looking right at her, hearing the words come from her lips but what I hear may not be what she means. We must be on the same wavelength in order to understand what we hear. That involves paying attention while we listen, not thinking about what we’re going to cook for supper while we listen. This also means the heart which is our understanding and willingness to serve.

Look at verse 14 -- “But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart that you may do it.” God gave them a choice. God’s relationship to mankind has changed since then because He sent His son. We are reconciled to Him now. But, how God deals with us remains the same from Adam to now all the way through the 1000 years of peace. God has given us a choice. His command is not far away. As He states in verse 12, “it isn’t in Heaven where we cannot get to it, nor in the sea, but right in our hearts.” The choice is given between “life and good” or “death and evil”, verse 15. This is one of several warnings to Israel not to be drawn away into serving the gods of foreign countries. Jesus said that where your treasure is, there your heart will be also Matthew 6:21 and in Matthew 12:35 He says that out of the good treasure of the heart comes good things and out of the evil treasure of the heart comes evil things. Our heart is most definitely required to be engaged when we worship.

slight interruption

I have to interrupt this series for just a moment. I just read Joe B's blog and am still wiping a few stray tears from my cheeks. When I say his post is good... I mean it is weally weally GOOD! Go check it out at God loves idiots like me

The same warning

They are the same warning. Jesus was calling those scribes and Pharisees exactly what they were... a brood of vipers. In verse 13 of Isaiah 58, God is saying to refute that way and delight not only in deed but in heart in the LORD.

There are 5 Hebrew words that are translated – Worship, we’ll look at two.
Shachah – (shaw-khaw) to bow down in homage, prostrate oneself before God or false gods or angels.
‘abad – (aw-bad’) to serve, to work, to labor or be enticed to serve.

There are 11 Greek words that are translated – Worship, we’ll look at one.

Proskuneo – (pros – koo – neh – oh) to kiss the hand to/towards one in token of reverence; to fall upon the knees and touch the ground with the forehead as an expression of profound reverence; kneeling or prostration in homage. From a word that loosely means to kiss like a dog licking his master’s hand.

I was a member of a Lay Renewal team back when I was an older teen. We called it Worship Service back then. I really liked that term. When we would have our "debriefing sessions"...some of us would say, "The Holy Spirit was really working in this!" And others would say, "You really think so? I couldn't see it!" And yes, we were at the same church on the same weekend... I have been to the exact same service as someone else and received such a deep blessing while the person beside me had to cover yawns and fight to keep awake.

What is illustrated here is that worship is definitely a 2-way street. We must work with the Holy Spirit. If we work with Him and prepare our hearts for Him then we have a completely different experience than if we just go through the motions and our heart is not in it. And if you don’t believe me, in the next few minutes, I’ll prove it. Remember the dog licking the master's hand.

Today we call our singing service before the preaching, Praise and Worship. We just spent a Wonder-Full half hour singing praises to my beloved Lord. However, I suggest to you that Worship is far more than singing, raising hands, praying, preaching and anything else we do in our Sunday Morning Worship services.

As I studied this Worship thing, it seems that God was teaching the Israelites in the OT that worshiping was different than anything else mentioned along with it. Uncountable times it reads, “Bow down and worship” or “Sing praises and worshipped.” Starting with Abraham in Genesis through Revelation, Worship or some form of it is mentioned 385 times in Scripture.
Turn with me to Genesis 22:5.

When my girls were young, about 3 and 4 years old, my Mom was so excited at Christmas because they were old enough to actually understand the Christmas story. She gathered them up in her lap and read the story to them from the Bible. When she got through, she said, “Now, that was the story of the very first Christmas almost 2000 years ago and why every year we remember Jesus’ birth at this time.” My older daughter, Lauri Anne looked up at her with her eyes wide and such a look on her face, we thought for sure she was going to say something profound or really sweet about the baby Jesus, when she said, “You’re not going to tell us all the other 2000 Christmas stories are you?”

So, no, we’re not going to explore all 385 times worship or a word like it is mentioned. I’ve whittled it down to several verses, though. So hang on to your hats girls.

Genesis 22:5
Gen 22:5 And Abraham said to his young men, You stay here with the ass. I and the boy will go over there that we may worship and may return to you.
Gen 22:6 And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on his son Isaac; and he took the fire and the knife in his hand. And the two went together.

A primitive root; to depress, that is, prostrate (especially reflexively in homage to royalty or God): - bow (self) down, crouch, fall down (flat), humbly beseech, do (make) obeisance, do reverence, make to stoop, worship.

The first time this word is used is a few chapters before in Genesis 18. But this is the first time Shaw-khaw is translated worship. Shaw-khaw. Notice that Abraham takes wood and fire and the knife and the two went together to Moriah (Mo-ree-yaw). Moriah means “Chosen by God.” This mountain that Abraham and Isaac offer sacrifice on is the same mountain where Old Jerusalem stands. The same mountain that David bought in order to build God’s Temple and the same mountain where Solomon built the Temple. It is the same mountain where Jesus died on the cross.

Fire and a
Knife –

The Cross,
Judgment and the

Oh, I wish we had time to camp on that awhile. This is an illustration that we don’t have time to investigate further but can’t just be passed over.

Now look a few verses higher in 22:1. Abraham is being tested. We see here that Abraham is a man of few questions of God. He obeyed. He remembered what God had promised about Isaac so he didn’t fear and he obeyed God without question. He and the boy would go over yonder and worship and return to them, the servants.

What an incredible testimony of faith and worship. He obeyed God no matter the apparent cost.

In the Old Testament, the people bowed low to worship most of the time. What does that literally mean, to bow down or to bow low? Let’s consider this for a moment. If we are proud of something, what is our stance? Standing up straight, chest out, neck back, arms wide sometimes. When we are bragging on our children, grandchildren, husband …. Fill in the blank, we are proud…stiff-necked… focused on “me”, “my” and “mine”. Right?

Here is the problem with that focus; it is inward and earthly. But, when we bow our heads and bow down, we are in the perfect position to take on the yoke of possession of God. Taking on that yoke is part of belonging to Him. It is submission. It is acknowledging that God is greater and higher and mightier than “me”, “my”, “mine”. Idols are earthly things. When we have an earthly focus we leave out God.

The Retreat

Claire... THANK you for asking! You are a precious sister in Christ.

I felt like a fish out of water. I actually told everyone there that if I disappeared from in front of them to look for me right down there on the floor, flopping around like a fish out of water. I asked them to throw some water on me for a last gasp.

I have taught Sunday School for 25+ years and I have written a couple of Bible studies... but, this was entirely different from sitting with a class of high school girls or 5 or 6 ladies on Sunday morning. I was looking at a sea of about 100 faces...maybe a little less, we didn't get an absolute count.

Someone once told me in a speech class not to ever look into the faces of the audience but to look just over their heads. I want you to know that as soon as I started seeing those precious faces, my spirit calmed right down. It was beautiful.

This week, I will share the teaching. I hope it blesses you like it did me while studying it and then writing it.

Isaiah 58
Your Prayers Won't Get Off the Ground
1"Shout! A full-throated shout!
Hold nothing back--a trumpet-blast shout!
Tell my people what's wrong with their lives,
face my family Jacob with their sins!
2They're busy, busy, busy at worship,
and love studying all about me.
To all appearances they're a nation of right-living people--
law-abiding, God-honoring.
They ask me, "What's the right thing to do?'
and love having me on their side.
3But they also complain,
"Why do we fast and you don't look our way?
Why do we humble ourselves and you don't even notice?'
"Well, here's why:
"The bottom line on your "fast days' is profit.
You drive your employees much too hard.
4You fast, but at the same time you bicker and fight.
You fast, but you swing a mean fist.
The kind of fasting you do
won't get your prayers off the ground.
5Do you think this is the kind of fast day I'm after:
a day to show off humility?
To put on a pious long face
and parade around solemnly in black?
Do you call that fasting,
a fast day that I, GOD, would like?

In verse 2 we see the outward show of religious fervor.

In verse 3a we see grumbling that God isn’t taking notice of their self-sacrifices

In verse 3b we see God’s answer. You make a big show, but you don’t really care about Me you care about your fattening your wallet. That isn’t what I’m all about.

In verse 4 we see Him go into greater detail. Fighting and bickering makes your worship a lie. You fight with your fists and not just words. Your prayers won’t get off the ground.

In verse 5, God gets a little cranky. Is this what you think I’m all about?

There is a lot of speculation among scholars about who this is directed to specifically. Some say it was to a specific group of Jews during the time of Isaiah’s prophesying.

Some think it’s directed those Jews who be led captive to Babylon.

Matthew Henry says it is directed to all hypocrites of all ages. I tend to agree with him.

So what were they doing wrong?

They looked good on the outside but were like whitewashed graves, which indeed appear beautiful outside, but inside they are full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. (Matt 23:27) Some scholars believe that Isaiah’s vision is about the Jews of Jesus’ day when he proclaims the “Woe to you” curses.

Matthew 23.

Jesus spoke to the crowds and to the disciples and in verse 3 He tells them “do as they say, but not as they do, for they say and do not.” 4 For they bind heavy and hard to bear burdens, and lay them on the shoulders of men, but they do not desire to move them with their finger.

Isa 58:2 Yet they seek Me day by day, and desire knowledge of My ways. As a nation that has done right, and not forsaking the judgment of their God, they ask Me about judgments of righteousness; they desire to draw near to God.

Isaiah 58:3 … Behold, on the day of your fast you find pleasure; and you drive all your laborers hard. (The employees never find a day of rest.)

In other words, the appearance of godliness, but the heart intent is not there. You fast, but you bicker and fight. You fast but you act mean.

So, again, what were they doing wrong? I believe what Isaiah is saying here correlates with Jesus’ cursing of the scribes and Pharisees in Matthew 23. Only Jesus says it much harsher drop down to verse 25.

Mat 23:25 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of extortion and excess.
26 Blind Pharisee! First cleanse the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of them may be clean also. 27 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which indeed appear beautiful outside, but inside they are full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. 28 Even so you also appear righteous to men outwardly, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.

Now compare Isaiah 58:13 If you turn your foot because of the Sabbath, from doing what you please on My holy days, and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of Jehovah, honorable; and shall honor Him, not doing your own ways, nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words…

They are almost exactly the same.

Comes a Horseman update

I posted a review of a Christian fiction book back in December here. I just received an email from Bob telling me that his publisher Westbow Press is offering a free abriged audio book download at Comes a Horseman website. It can be downloaded, along with desktop wallpaper of the cover art and a video. A Happy New Year gift!!

Refreshment in Refuge January 7th Retreat

My posts have been erratic these past few days because of all kinds of things. Hopefully next week my routine will get back in the groove.

On Saturday we will be having our retreat. Please come if you can because it will be just wonderful! You should see the sanctuary. We transformed it into a Watered Garden with a shimmering blue river (shiny cloth) running through it.

My part of the program will be the "set up" or the introduction for the Bible study. It's on Isaiah 58... The Well Watered Garden.

Did you know that Isaiah was a prophet to 4 kings of Judah? Uzziah, Johtam, Ahaz and Hezekiah. His name means The LORD is Salvation, which is very similar to Joshua, Elisha and Jesus. He was a contemporary of Hosea and Micah. These were the last prophets before God's 400 years of silence.

I did this in depth study of Worship and then it seemed like God was saying, put that down, Gina, and listen to what I want you to say. Well, wasn't that what I was doing? I guess not. So, this afternoon, I'm having to basically start all over and the thing is Saturday! Maybe I won't have to start all over. Maybe it's that I have too much to share in half an hour. I guess I'd better get to work!

What has happened to funerals these days?

There's a book called "How To Do A Funeral". Can you imagine that? I hooted when I saw that.

Then I went to a funeral. We need more books like that.

Actually, if we were all the same, then the world would be a very boring place, so I am not advocating a funeral template that we all must follow. However, there are certain things that should remain constant.

Polite Etiquette:
  • Make sure your guests know they are noticed. Nod, smile, at least lift your hand in acknowledgment of them, even if you are conversing with someone else... but, do not look at everyone else and not the person you are conversing with.
  • Don't tell someone to hang on 20 more minutes without at least saying, "I'm so honored that you came" and without telling them where the bathroom is and where the coffee is
  • If you can't think of anything to say, hug them. In the South that always works
  • If your mother or mother-in-law is there, just say, "I'd love to sit and visit with you but I've got all these other people to nod, smile and wave at, please forgive me for not fawning all over you...even if she has to travel 350 miles round trip. Your first order of business is to be a good hostess. This helps with self-control and with grief. It costs nothing to be gracious.
  • Never, ever forget to introduce people who are talking with you and are in close proximity. You never know if they might have some wonderful common ground which will give you freedom to nod, smile and wave at people.
  • If you have to have the funeral at a funeral home, make sure there is good flow and a clump of people are not clogging the way to get to the family to express sympathy.
  • Try not to do the wake and the funeral in the same 3 hour period. This is exhausting for people who have to drive 350 miles round trip.

I have to tell you, I was very proud of my daughter. An objective fly on the wall would have known within the first few minutes that my daughter was gracious and very good at doing funerals even though this was her first experience with "immediate family death". The other two daughters-in-law were not prostrate with grief, but neither were they much good at being gracious hostesses. I want you to know, I am not being critical because, bless their hearts, they have never had to do a funeral before either.

So, please take these few things I've listed above as etiquette points to ponder. It isn't because it is the Southern Way. It is because they will serve you well in any gathering where you find yourself the hostess or host. There are just certain things that are done and not done which emblazon a banner across your forehead that either says, 'Gracious' or 'Uncouth Idiot'.

A couple o' things...

First, please pray with me. My daughter's father-in-law had a heart attack last Saturday and passed away suddenly. Didn't even know he had a heart problem. Pray that this causes my son-in-law to draw closer to God and my daughter, too. It just breaks my heart that this happened. Pray that relationships will mend between my daughters. I really need my younger daughter back. I have missed her so much and I feel like I hardly know her anymore. It's not like we live a continent apart, either. I pray that this will draw me and them closer together, too, along with my son-in-law.

In the coming weeks I will be reviewing some gifted writers and then new books. Be looking for my review first of February of Marilynn Griffith's new book Pink (Shades of Style). I got a peek at the first chapter and it is loads of fun! I'll be looking at Brandilyn Collins' new book Web of Lies either end of January or mid-February and in March we'll look at Brenda Coulter's A Family Forever". Then in April Kathern Mackel's Outrider. I'm really excited about these upcoming Christian Fiction books.

If anyone would like to join the Blog Tour (even for just a book or two) let me know.