I am Gail Achilles connecting through the Word of God. Hope your summer was as refreshing and wonderful as mine. Gathering with family and friends indoors and outdoors works wonders for the soul. As we enter September for me it always seems like a new beginning. A fresh start. A renewal of sorts. I can remember on Pentecost Sunday 7 years ago when my husband Ernie and I became members of Faith Lutheran Church. We were there to worship our Lord and to have fellowship with the congregation and to have our souls fed by not only the pastor but all the believers we met at Faith through your words and actions led by Christ alone.
Then that first September rolled around and inside the Sunday bulletin was an insert for Ernie and I to fill out listing our gifts so that we might do God’s work as his disciples and not just show up once a week and be receivers, but maybe the note was saying become doers. I looked at Ernie, and asked, “What special gifts do we have that would benefit Faith Church and its congregation? We are not near the level of Christian/Lutheran knowledge found in the people of Faith.”
Aha! I soon found out from attending service, joining bible study classes, and from my faithful friends at Faith that we are all God’s children and when we are baptized we receive the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit which we learn from the apostle Peter from the book of Acts 2:38: Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
WHAT ARE THE SEVEN GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT?
wisdom ● understanding ● counsel ● fortitude ● knowledge ● piety ● fear of God
These gifts were spoken in the Old Testament in Isaiah 11:1-3:
1 A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. 2 The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him—the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the LORD—3 and he will delight in the fear of the Lord. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears.” (The phrase, “Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit,” is a title of the devotional application of Isaiah. (https://www.biblestudytools.com).
Another aha moment: Ernie and I do not have to be highly educated theologians, for we are endowed by our Creator with the gifts of the Holy Spirit like all Christ followers. So we do have gifts that we can share as God’s disciples and be pleasing to our Lord. We all do!
We learn from the book of 1 Corinthians 12-14 12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by[c] one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.”
Aha moment again. We are all God’s Children in His Church as we believe in Christ and are baptized by His Spirit, even with all our diversity we can each bring our own uniqueness to strengthen His Church. So when we are called to offer up our gifts, we all have something unique to give. Many know this, many are aware of the spirit that is within them and use it for the good of others already. Listen what Romans 8:14 tells us: 14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.
Ernie and I began to see where we could be doers and not just receivers and, in so doing draw a closer relationship with the Lord by fulfilling His will and following His plans for us.
Hear His Words in Jeremiah 1:5: Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.
All believers possess these wonderful gifts God bestowed on us through His Holy Spirit. We just have to develop them by practicing them on a daily basis and follow in His footsteps as we spread His Good Word through our word and actions. We learn in Galatians 5:22-23 as we grow with Christ we enjoy the fruits of His Spirit: 22…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23gentleness, self-control, against such things there is no law. Please take note how generous our Lord is to us!
In Jesus, our Savior’s Holy Name, I close with a Psalm of David Chapter 62 verses 1, 6, 7: 1. My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him…6. He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken…7. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Our God is Good! Thank you Lord for empowering us with your Holy Spirit. Amen.
--Gail Achilles, Call Committee Chair and Council Secretary
(So when you see those sign-up sheets in the bulletin, or in the pews, or on the tables in the foyer, do not sell yourself short. We all have God given gifts to share! Just imagine what we can do with His spiritual gifts and fruits not only for our Church, but for all of God’s creation).