Christian living- dealing with one 'oops' at a time…

Posts tagged ‘Spiritual Gifts’

My Encounters With the Holy Ghost (Con’t): Mercy

Mercy

Can’t tell you. I have none. Okay that is not entirely true, but I do resemble Bones (from the TV show) just to give you a clue as to who I am. The gift of mercy involves knowing when to punish and when not to punish. I need a definition to follow, and mine is, when the person repents stop the punishment. Punishment is to bring the person to repentance so they will not repeat the act. When the purpose, repentance, has been accomplished, no more is needed. People with the gift of mercy do not need a definition. They instinctively know what a person needs in order to be right with Christ, and can show love and compassion as soon as it is needed. That does not mean they condone sin. It just means that they are the first to see when punishment should change to much love and are quick to give it.

Don’t worry if this is not you, just be aware and jump on board when you see someone you know who flows in this gift lavishing praise and comfort on someone you recently wanted to kill and know you need to change as well. Now there are people who want to love everyone all of the time. This is not mercy, this is indiscriminate affection. It is immature since it often enables people to believe that it is okay to sin and hurt others. These people are annoying because they get in the way of others who are truly trying to help the person overcome whatever it is that is affecting their lives. A person who flows with mercy does not do this. They do not enable people. They just know exactly when to show love, how to show it so the person best receives it and when it is inappropriate to do so. They are awesome people to be around, since they are very affirming. And they are good for you since they do not flatter and lie to make you feel better. This is why it is a spiritual gift. Many can flatter and lie, or give ‘love’ to everyone, but the Bible tells us that flattery is wicked, and that there are times to punish, reprimand and leave people alone in there sin. People with the gift of mercy know this, and can give ‘love’ without forgetting that these other things need to be there as well.

Advertisements

My Encounters With the Holy Ghost (Con’t): Apostle

Apostle

The gift of apostle is a much-debated gift. Not everyone agrees as to what this is. To me, after much study of scripture, it is a church planter. The term ‘apostle’ means one who is sent out, and it implies that he has a message from someone important like a king. In scripture we see apostles planting churches, and then moving on once the church is established (and not always well established) to plant another. Many of our missionaries may have this gift. I was blessed to speak with a couple that planted over 30 churches in Europe before they went to be with the Lord. This is who I see having this gift today.

My Encounters With the Holy Ghost (con’t): Evangelism

Evangelism

This is also not a gift my husband and I have. While we are part of a few salvation stories, we have met people who are a part of many, many other’s path to salvation.

My favorite is Pastor Bill. Now Pastor Bill is an extreme case. He could walk through a park, meet someone, lead them to the Lord, then be invited to their home to tell their spouse about the Lord (who also ‘got saved’). One day we were going somewhere with the karate club and Pastor Bill decided to tag along. We stopped for gas, and then waited, and waited for Pastor Bill to come out of the gas station. We waited so long that we had to ask why it took him so long to come out. He said that he stopped at the coffee area to get coffee when a man approached him and asked him about his hat. (Now we were all wearing the same hat, a baseball cap with the club logo on the front and Psalms 144:1 stitched across the back.) Pastor Bill explained and the man asked what he needed to do to be saved. So Pastor Bill led him through the sinner’s prayer right beside the coffee pot. (I would not be surprised if some who were listening accepted the Lord as well.) This is an example of an evangelist. Many preach the Word, but this person seems to be the one God uses to close the deal.

Another great story. There is a very famous Bible teacher who told this one. Because I will probably get some of the details wrong I won’t share her name, but the point of the story is the same. She had a friend who had the gift of evangelism who told her about her dishwasher repairman accepting the Lord when he came on a service call. Now this woman teacher was convicted, since in her ministry, which is to mature many who are already saved, she rarely sees people come to the Lord. Well lo and behold her refrigerator breaks and who does God send but a Muslim repair man. Throughout his visit the speak of the Lord, but their is no conversion. Years later her refrigerator breaks down again and the same man comes to fix it. He remembers her as a very nice woman, but he is still not saved…

Gifts are like that. Some function in the gift their whole life, others for a specific time, but we do not typically receive all of them. God likes us to work together as a body and He has a plan for everything. Just make sure you do your part!

My Encounters With the Holy Ghost (con’t): The gift of tongues

Tongues

The first time I spoke in tongues was at a Benny Hinn revival. Now before you get too judgmental remember, these revivals have over 30,000 committed Christians praising the Lord for many days straight. Even if Mr. Hinn is not the type of ‘godly’ you would like him to be, there is no doubt that there is power in this many people praising God. So here I was, singing with the choir with the rest of the stadium, lost in the fact that I loved the Lord, and it just happened. And it was wonderful. And I wanted to do it all day, everyday, which would have been weird. I think that reason that so many do not receive this gift is that we are rarely completely focused on praising God. I know that this is difficult for me. Even now my worship and prayer time are commonly a struggle between giving attention to God, and thinking about whatever else is going on in my life, mostly stupid little stuff, not even things I am greatly worried about. So what I am going to have for dinner often precludes being totally present with the Lord. Sad, but true. It is this tendency that keeps many from having an experience where the Holy Spirit can freely work in and through you. Being completely present when you worship and pray is therefore the goal I would recommend seeking if you want to experience His gift. Do not focus on the gift, but the giver, God, and be content letting Him decide where or when He will give you what you seek. Two things to remember though. God is a gentleman; He will not give you things you do not want, against your will. Second, this is a gift, and the giver gets to decide what and when a gift is given. Sometime it is not you. It is just not the right time, and when you do receive it, it is then that you know why He waited. Or maybe not.

So what is it like to speak in tongues? I really can’t say. Even though I am able to pray this way, it is incredibly difficult to describe. You are talking, but you are fervent, wanting to really pray. It is like you are going to fast for words. (Not that tongues is speaking fast, it just seems ‘efficient.’) Most of the time you know who or what you are led by God to pray for, just not really aware of what exactly you are praying. There is sometimes an urgency, like this really needs to be prayed for, but sometimes a peace, and a comfortable feeling. It probably depends on the person you are praying for’s need. One time I began laughing every time I prayed for a certain man. He was my pastor. (Not my current pastor.) It got to the point that I wanted to know what the joke was. Then he spoke on the gift of tongues and said that the first time God blessed him he could not stop laughing. Somehow this made sense. You don’t know what you are praying for, exactly, when you pray in tongues but you have a feeling that you are being effective and that God is hearing you intercede for whatever the need is. (How is that for a non-answer?)

Tongues in church, or other group setting is different. Why? Probably because you are not by yourself. This prayer is therefore not just between you and God, but for the edification (building up, benefit) of the group you are in. For this reason it is different. First, there should be someone else there who has accepted the gift of the Holy Spirit so that they may interpret in words people can understand what you have said. On Pentecost it seems that many, many people were gifted with the ability to interpret in their own language, and it makes sense that they would translate in the language that they are most comfortable speaking, probably the language they think in. Today it happens like this (at least in my experience). There is a feeling, almost a ‘heaviness.’ The church gets quiet. (Even my seven children shut up and settled down, which is how I know it must be from God!) It is as if people are waiting for something to happen. Someone will then say something. It sounds good, but no one understands. Then someone, usually someone different, translates and tells the room what was said. I have never spoken in tongues in a group, nor have I translated. I instead am often able to ‘confirm’ the message. (This is not in scripture, but it is what I do.) God gives me the translation after the interpreter speaks, usually about one or two words before they say them. Not fast enough to be the interpreter, but just early enough to know the message is from God.

Has anyone ever faked a message? Yes. One person I know always had messages that basically said ‘everyone needs to be nicer to me.’ Another group told a woman she would have a baby in a year. She didn’t and actually had her uterus removed. This I knew was false, but how do you tell an infertile woman people she loves are giving her false hope? She left the church over this, but has thankfully kept her faith. Faking this is an awful, awful thing to do. I am not sure everyone who does it understands that they are faking. I think some are emotional people who really want what they say to be true. But it hurts people and destroys their faith, so let’s be sure before we say anything, okay? And remember, God tends to trust people with maturity with His messages, so it is okay to consider the source.

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: