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New Life Member Reflects Elim Spiritual Training

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New Life Community Church member Pam Meza gave reflection on Elim Spiritual Training from June 30 to July 3. Below is her reflection.

"I learned much during this short time at Elim. Most notably, the "why" of Spiritual gifts, the importance of purity of heart, and how, through our increased intimacy in relationship with God, our relationships with one another can be better.

Pastor Faith used the Apostolic prayer in Ephesians 1:17-23 as the basis for much of the teaching on the "why" of Spiritual gifts. The focus of our desires should be on the heart of God, on deeper intimacy with Him. Spiritual gifts are not an end unto themselves, but rather a way of drawing into closer intimacy with God and extending this intimacy to others. The analogy of the Bible as a note (love letter), and the Spiritual gifts as a meeting was very helpful. As we grow in relationship with God, as we LISTEN to Him share what is on His heart, and just enjoy being in His company, our connection with Him deepens. The Spiritual gifts flow naturally out of this relationship and connectivity. We ask and receive not out of a worldly sense of entitlement (demanding, taking based on what we think we deserve), but rather out of the relationship and right standing Jesus purchased for us on the cross. This way of relating is true, right, restored relationship based on the Father's love.

God's love for us is eternal, and is not limited to our earthly well being (health, provision, etc.) He cares about what is truly important-our eternal, spiritual well-being. As His Spirit is knit with our spirit to affirm we are His children (Romans 8:16), and we grow in intimacy with Him, He gifts us with growing healing and wholeness which will ultimately result in such unity with Him that all sin, sickness, and death will be swallowed up in life. (1 Cor. 15:54, 2 Cor 5:4) Deep, abiding union and communion with Him results in His healing our deepest wound-the broken relationship with Him. While symptoms are also taken care of, He desires to fully address the root cause of our problems. We can then experience true Shalom (Completeness, soundness, welfare, peace. Strong's Exhaustive Concordance).

Purity of heart is vital. When there is any mixture in our hearts with anything that is less than the Truth, anything that is not God's voice (our own voices reinforcing our own thoughts, others' thoughts, the enemy's voice, distraction, confusion, etc.), this mixture results in confusion, evil, and our not fully receiving all He has for us. In Matthew 5:8 Jesus says, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God." We must seek to hear His voice, and discern His voice as His sheep (John 10), rejecting anything that is not pure and holy.

As we become more connected to God, the gifts we receive from Him will allow us deeper intimacy with Him, will enable us to help others go deeper with Him, and allow us to show those who don't yet know Him, His goodness. As we share the gifts and our connection with the Giver, we are privileged to help serve at the banquet of His love.

I also was reminded that the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. (Romans 11:29) We need to be good stewards of the gifts and use them while they can advance the Kingdom. (1 Cor. 13:8-10)

I believe that the Spiritual gifts I have are being strengthened through increasing intimacy with God, good teaching, and discernment. Currently, the gifts of dreams, visions, and prophecy seem to be strongest, but I believe God will continue to equip and strengthen all the gifts in me as I grow in relationship with Him."

Please pray for Meza to know God's love deeper!