We are Pentecostal. This week our pastor preached on the subject of the gift of the Holy Ghost (or Holy Spirit- your choice). It is a difficult subject, and one that is hard to explain to those who have never experienced His power. So I thought I would give it a try by just explaining the things that have happened in my life…
Let’s start with a tough one: Prophecy
Now I do not receive prophecies from God on a regular basis, so I do not consider myself a prophet. I have never asked God for a message and received one either; they have always come unbidden and at the oddest times. But the thing is, when they do come, I just know that I know that this is from God. There’s not a question about it. I just look at people like, ‘How could you not know that these are the words of God?’ People who are not convicted do not like this attitude by the way…
Let me explain.
One of my first prophecies occurred while talking with an unbeliever about Christ. I was reading through the Bible for the first time. (I have a weird salvation story, and decided if I was going to say I believed what was in the Bible I had better actually know what it said! Maybe I will share my salvation story later, but right now I was talking to an unbelieving person.) During this conversation I said something. Something I did not plan to say. I thought about what I said, and thought to tell the woman that I don’t know why I said that. Then I thought ‘no,’ that’s right, and it sounds like something that is in the Bible. Well the woman went ballistic. I did not think that what I said warranted such an emotional response, but it certainly struck a nerve. I thought again to tell her that I had no idea why I said that, but then realized that I could not say this, that what I had said was right, and that it would not only be wrong, but painful to me (a grieving pain, like I was betraying someone) to take it back. So I stood there, and she ranted. Later, as I was finishing my reading of the New Testament I saw the words I had said, but not known were there. It was a verse from scripture, a direct quote, and one that obviously struck a nerve and hit a secret spot in this woman’s life that I did not know about.
A bit later I was with a group of new believers in a karate do-jang. I turned to a man and told him, ‘You need to clean your house.’ Everyone in the group, including the man, immediately realized that this was a word from God, and we were excited to do what He said. Now here is where we went wrong. Instead of praying and asking God to reveal exactly what He meant by this, we used our own logic. We examined the man’s life and decided that it was time for him to break up with his unbelieving girl friend who was pressuring him to do things he was committed to not do now that he was a believer. Well, breaking up with the girl might not have been a bad thing, but it was not what God meant. A few days later the police arrived at his home. Apparently his ex-wife was spreading lies and accusing him of things that he did not do. While no evidence of what she accused him of was found, there were many things from his old life tucked away in corners of closets that did not make him look good. When we heard what had happened we instantly knew that this is what the Lord had been telling us. We were to literally clean his house! Oops.
Another prophecy came to me in a dream. We had adopted a daughter with Reactive Attachment Disorder. (Let’s just say ‘Extremely Tough Kid.’) Many people were encouraging me to put her back into the system and focus on the rest of the children. (Some decided she was bad because I didn’t know how to parent, but that is another story.) So this daughter was giving us much trouble. God woke me up from a dream where He said, ‘She was Macaah. She is now Merabah. She will be Merab-Manasseh!’ I had no idea what these words meant, so I trudged down the stairs to get my concordance at two in the morning, not happy about being up. (Remember, I had small children and a full day.) Also, I had encountered a group of people in our church who, in my opinion, just made this stuff up, and I did not want to be in that group, so if this wasn’t right, I was not going to be happy. (God and I argue a lot. I’m glad He and David did too.) This is the translation I found. ‘She was dull-stupid.’ When we adopted our daughter the school system told us that she was borderline mentally retarded and that she would fall into the mentally retarded range as she aged because of her emotional problems. She would never learn to read, and would have to live in a group home for the emotionally handicapped for the rest of her life. Shortly after adopting her I realized that this girl was not lacking in intelligence. No one who is mentally retarded could think up this many creative ways to tick me off! The next part of the prophecy was that she was ‘Merabah.’ This name means, ‘Strife, rebellion, one who cuts down.’ This is exactly the type of behavior we were seeing in our home! But, there was hope. (And she is still not here yet, though she does read and is a wife and the mother of a huge baby boy!) The hope is that she will be Merabah- one who brings abundant blessings, and Manasseh- one who makes you forget the past. Now the Lord also reminded me that Moses did not begin to fulfill his prophecy until he was eighty… But I knew that I was to keep her, and even though it was tough, there was hope.