My Life Drastically Changed

William Campbell

(William is a good missionary friend doing an excellent job in Paris.)

THIRTY YEARS AGO this week, my life drastically changed.

I was 22 years-old and going nowhere. Had already flunked out of college. Was working menial jobs here and there. Had dreams and ambitions, and a boatload of talent, but couldn’t get the boat out of harbor. Heck, I couldn’t even keep it afloat.

I was sinking. Fast.

The drugs and alcohol, which used to be such fun, didn’t satisfy anymore. No matter how much I did, and no matter the combinations. The womanizing, the broken relationships, the partying, all the consuming. It all left me empty, miserable, frustrated, and… tormented. I had no peace. It was hell on earth.

I was desperate.

Something inside of me started crying out. I needed help. Fast.

Anything that would give me peace. Drugs no longer worked, in fact, they made it worse. Sex, music, money, selfishness… nothing gave me peace.

Something inside of me cried out to God: “Whoever You are, wherever You are, please help me, please give me peace.”

I looked into different religions. Searching. Clawing my way through the muddy dark cave of my soul. Tormented. Desperate.

Sinking fast.

Finally, one night in early September, I snuck into my mom’s bedroom and grabbed her big ol’ Bible. The last thing I wanted, or needed, was religion. I needed peace. And love. And forgiveness.

Lots of doubts about Jesus coursed through my mind. I’d already kinda tried that stuff as a kid and as a teen. Nothing super serious, but I knew some of the basics. And yeah, the people I’d met at church back in the day were, in retrospect, actually really kind, warm, loving, and… peaceful. But sheesh, I wasn’t ready for no religious trip, man.

However, I couldn’t deny that light I’d seen in the eyes of my Sunday school teacher when I was about 8. That light was bright. It oozed love. And, peace.

So I plunged into that big, ol’ Bible. But I’d only read the Old Testament, the part written before the life of Jesus. I wanted to do my OWN research. Wanted to find out FOR MYSELF. No church, no religion, no words of men. Just trying to find this God who had showed up at the Red Sea and bailed out Charlton Heston in that movie.

So I read, and cried out to God. “Please help me.”

And I read, and cried out. And read, and read, and read. And cried.

And then… He came.

My eyes had fallen upon the 53rd chapter of Isaiah, a prophet writing around 700 BC. He described the future Messiah and how He would die for the sins of the people.

“But He was wounded for our transgressions,

He was bruised for our iniquities,

the chastisement for our peace was upon Him,

and by His stripes we are healed.”

And then… He came.

Human language feels inadequate to explain what happened that moment.

It felt like a wave of love and peace washed over me such as I had never felt before.

Wave after wave of liquid love broke forth upon me and within me and in an instant I knew that Jesus was real. And that He LOVED ME. And that He had done all of that… FOR ME. And that somehow, someway, He was there in my room in Liddonfield Housing Project in early September 1992.

His love broke through upon me and I was born again.

It was… no, … HE was … overwhelming, and exhilarating, and enthralling, and kind. And peace. He was, and is, peace.

I wept and wept and wept. And I revelled in His love. And I gave Him all my heart, all my love, and all my life.

And in a moment, my life was completely changed.

From one day to the next I was completely different.

Not perfect.

Not always what I wanted to be.

And not always what I’m going to be.

But I sure wasn’t what I used to be.

And it was all because of Him. Because He IS love.

And since then – three decades ago – He has been undeniably faithful.

And so, so good.

I’ve never regretted for even one second surrendering all my heart and life to Him. Jesus. The Prince of Peace.

Thirty years ago this week, my life drastically changed.

Holy Spirit Gifts and Ways

A Study Of God in Action

(Gifts of the Spirit)

Quote from Philippe Bouvard—“Is the progress due to the intelligence of man of such a nature as to discourage the interventions of God?” He was reacting to the remarks of Doctor Theuillier, head of the medical office of Our Lady of Lourdes, who attributes to advances in science, the decline in the number of miracles observed annually in Lourdes.

We always have a little doubt about such miracles (of Marian origin). But with us, where have the miracles gone? How many Christians in our churches have never seen a miracle? In America, the majority of the members of the Assemblies of God, a Pentecostal church, are not baptized with the Holy Spirit.

Asaph expressed our feelings well, “the Most High no longer acts as he used to…” but he knew deep down “For you are the God of miracles” (Ps. 77: 11, 15).

Are the gifts of the Spirit becoming the dinosaurs of the Pentecostal churches? We go to the Christian bookstore to buy books that tell of the miracles that God has done in the past or elsewhere. The bones are not as beautiful or fearsome as the dinosaur itself.

Today there are even “tests” to help you decide what your spiritual gifts are. But I rather tend to believe that they measure the abilities and tendencies that God has put in us from our birth, more than the gifts of the Spirit.

I.

a) What is a gift of the Spirit?

A supernatural intervention in a Christian to help him in evangelism or for the Church to be edified. The Bible speaks of the “manifestations” of the Spirit (Greek: Phaneros = to manifest)

• By these gifts it is manifested, either in word or in deed, that Jesus is Lord (1 Cor. 12:3).

• It is the pagans who “let themselves be carried away blindly” (v.2). I believe the supernatural is always going to seem weird to someone who doesn’t does not know God, and will always challenge the Church. But it is not necessary to let ourselves be “led”. It is the Holy Spirit who shares his gifts and the focus must be on Jesus alone. There will be moments of excesses but this is not in all meetings. It is not necessary to be in a “trance” to exercise a gift of the Spirit. The spirit of the prophets is subject to the prophets.

• A manifestation of the Spirit is for common good and not for personal elevation (v. 7).

• Gifts are normally scattered among all God’s people and not concentrated on one person (“to one is given”—vv. 8, 11).

• It is the Spirit who decides who will have which gift (11b) although we have the freedom to aspire…

• There may be certain gifts and members that are more useful or prominent, but each has an important function, and without that gift the Body suffers (v. 22).

• When members and gifts are functioning properly, each member suffers with the member who suffers, and rejoices with the member who rejoices (vv. 25, 26).

• Different people exercise different gifts

    (vv. 28-30).

• Some gifts are “better” and we can “aspire” to those gifts (v. 31). Which ? I believe for the “normal” Christian it is the gift of prophecy (14:1).

• Without love these gifts and ministries do nothing for me (13:1-3). It should be noted that Paul did not say that “without love the gift is nothing”. It is the person who exercises them. Oh yes. It happens that some who have a slightly suspicious heart exercise a gift for a certain time. The gift is real, but they are hypocrites or profiteers. Normally without repentance, the character weighs so heavily on the gift that the results are very mixed in the long run.

• The gift does not enhance the person unless that person has the love of Christ in the heart (13:4-8). It seems strange to us that the gift and the person are not always the same. But God spoke to Balaam through the mouth of a donkey. Maybe he still does, once in a while.

• The gifts will disappear when the Lord returns (13:10; 1 Cor. 1:7). Even with these wonderful gifts, our vision is so limited. We long for the coming of our Lord!

B) I insist on the supernatural aspect of his gifts. Quite often they all look natural, but it’s unearthly. Often these gifts have been given a definition that has nothing to do with supernatural intervention.

– For example, many say that preaching is the gift of prophecy. It may be prophetic, but normally it is not. I believe that the anointing with which we should preach is indeed supernatural, but looking at the context of what Paul is saying about prophecy, I believe it is obvious that it is something other than preaching and teaching.

– Others say that God acts by the hand of doctors to operate his healing. I glorify God for doctors. I go there myself. I have no doubt that medicine comes from the Lord and that God works with good doctors. But, it is not the gifts of healing that are spoken of in the Bible.

We try so hard to conform the Word of God to our experience instead of seeking God for the true manifestation of His Spirit.

C) There are those who insist so much on gifts and miracles that they trivialize them. You don’t see a miracle every five minutes. Otherwise, the impact is lost.

– Others are still bugging us with, “Where are the miracles of old?” If we had faith like the people of old, we would enter the hospital and heal all the sick.” They blame us. But they don’t see much either. So, can we criticize if we are in the same situation? At the pond of Bethesda, Jesus did not heal all the sick. There was one healing that the Father was looking for at that time.

d) But why did God give the gifts? (Let’s take a moment to delve into the Acts of the Apostles. See the supernatural acts and what was the result of each intervention of the Spirit 1:3/12; 2:2-4/v, 7, 37, 41; 3: 7, 8/10b, 4:4; 4:8, 13; 4:29-31/v.31-37; 5:3/5, 11-16/v 14, 17; 5:19, 6:8 /11, 7:55, 59; 8:6, 7, 12/v. 8, 8:15, 17/19; 8:39; 9:3, 10, 18; 9:34/35; 9:40 , 42; 10:3, 11/44; 11:28/29; 12:7/11; 13:2/3; 13:11/12; 14:1/1; 14:3; 14:9, 10 /11, 19, 20; 16:6-9/10; 16:18, 26/30; 18:10/11; 19:5, 611, 12/10; 19:15-20; 20:9,10 /12; 21:11, 13; 23:11; 27:10, 22-25/44; 28:5/7; 25:8,9/10; 28:25-28/30) healings, visions, angels , prophecies, divine direction, etc.

• revelation of God/His praise

• Church growth/salvation of souls

• edification of the Church and individual members

They are indications from heaven, the “little revelations of Jesus”. Jesus promised that the apostles will testify of Him, but also the Spirit. When the hand of God acted like this, his enemies had a hard time denying the truth of the Lord, especially since they did not have the same power.

e) Why don’t we see them so often?

Is God on strike?

– The atmosphere in which donations occur.

Compassion/faith (faith works through love)

– Has science taken away our faith? Compare for example our society where the idea is that everything is explained by a natural response. If we don’t know why something happened, we think there must be a natural explanation somewhere. If we hear a noise that we can’t explain in the night, we don’t say it’s a ghost. In many societies around the world, there is a belief in angels and demons, etc., which means that the supernatural does not come as a surprise. When we say that Jesus heals, it is in their “world view” that such a thing is possible. But tell that to a European…. Does the “world view” (way of seeing and organizing reality in our minds) contribute to whether we see miracles or not?

– Is there an element of despair in faith that is missing, because our faith is very much in science? We should be “beggars” in faith. “Blessed are the poor in spirit” those who realize they are not sufficient in themselves and wholeheartedly seek God for a resolution.

f) How are we going to make them more present in our churches and our lives?

to preach/study/desire/dare/act

II.

What are the gifts?

1. ministry gifts (of people) Eph. 4:11.

2. gifts of the Spirit. (1 Cor. 12:8-10). Does this list include all donations? We know that at least these nine are of the Spirit.

3. different activities.

  I Cor. 12:4-6

These gifts exist to build up the church, not to increase the importance of the individual who manifests them (12:7). If the enemy can’t stop us from believing so that these manifestations are prominent in the church, he has another maneuver. He fills us with pride.

After all, it’s pretty intoxicating to pray for somebody and have that person healed, isn’t it? It’s easy to believe what the enemy whispers in our ears during a revelation the Lord gives us. “You are really strong in the Lord, you know? Pride believes in it—jealousy and division follow it—and the devil laughs.

It is no coincidence that the most beautiful talk about love in the entire Bible is found right in the middle of this teaching on the gifts of the Spirit. It surprises us, but it is not the gifts of the Spirit that make a person spiritual. It is the fruits of the Spirit that indicate that a

Man is mature (Gal. 5:22, 23). Listen to a description of a spiritual person (1 Cor. 13:4-8).

Spiritual Gifts

      How many are there? Some matter a lot, but there are at least nine!

Stanley Horton noted, “But Paul does not say of these nine gifts, ‘These are the gifts of the Spirit.’ Spirit. The emphasis is that they come from the Holy Spirit, not that all gifts are listed. (“What the Bible Teaches About the Holy Spirit,” Horton, S. p. 209).

In this study we will limit ourselves for the most part to his nine gifts.

It should be noted that there are different ideas regarding the definition of his gifts. I have no notion that I know everything and that what I say is the last word. I offer these insights based on my understanding of God’s Word and my own experience.

These nine are grouped into triads:

gifts of expression, gifts of power, gifts of revelation.

  1. the speaking gifts are: speaking in tongues, interpretation of tongues, and prophecy. 1. speaking in tongues (at least 4 reasons the Lord gave it) Various kinds of tongues: known, unknown, or perhaps even the language of angels (13:1)

• initial evidence of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. In Acts, 3 times (of the 5 instances where we see people baptized in the Holy Spirit) it is clearly stated that they spoke in other tongues. The other two times can be inferred. Some argue that doctrine cannot be established from historical accounts like Acts. The question I am asking is simply: Who said it? If it is an isolated and obscure instance, yes I understand. If it’s something in conflict with the revelation in the Word, I understand. But here Luke details how it was in the early church

• (Acts shows the doctrine expressed in the epistles in action). He was a companion to him who wrote much of the epistles and gave us by the Spirit much of our doctrine. Paul probably read what Luke wrote. I would rather say that the Acts of the Apostles and the Gospels show us the doctrine in action. The problem is that people seek to speak in tongues instead of seeking to be baptized in the Spirit. Speaking in tongues is far from the only sign of SE baptism, and if it were the only sign I had, I would wonder.

• Help that edifies the Christian in his prayer life. “He speaks to God” “He speaks of the mysteries” (perhaps Paul compares them to the words of the followers of the secret groups who had certain words that only the enlightened ones knew. It would be another way of speaking without someone from without understands), “he builds himself up” v. 4; the apostle wants everyone to speak in tongues, v. 5; when I pray like this my spirit is praying, v. 14; Speaking in tongues without interpretation is not for the building up of the church “you shall speak in the air” v. 8. (e.g. the two pastors in the video talking to each other for quite a long time in other languages. In my opinion, this is not biblical); in the church there are gifts which are more useful than speaking in tongues, v. 19; if everyone speaks in very strong tongues at the same time, an unconverted person may be shocked by what he sees and by what he does not understand at all, v. 23; if one speaks in tongues (loudly) in the congregation he must ask the interpretation of the Lord or desist and speak softly to himself, v. 13, 28; what will the content of speaking in tongues be? Blessings and Thanksgiving to the Lord v. 16, 18. Can the Spirit appeal to the unsaved or the backslider by speaking in tongues and its interpretation? Maybe. Look at the content of the prophecy in v. 24. Some say speaking in tongues is always directed to God. But I think a pretty strong argument can be made from verses 21 and 24. God speaks to us through his expressions. We can even sing in tongues to the Lord in our private prayer life, v. 15. Should singing in tongues in a church meeting be interpreted? I tend to say that it would be better, but it is less common and I believe that there is a power to challenge in the music itself. I give you my opinion. It shouldn’t have been long, and I think it’s mostly better if it’s interpreted. What if everyone sings in tongues at the same time? I was present when it happened and I have to be frank, from a personal point of view I thought it was very uplifting for the Assembly. It was a moment when everyone prayed together and this way of praising the Lord worked very well in the frame. Again I give my personal opinion. I don’t believe Paul listed every possible instance for expressions of the Spirit and personally I believe this is edifying.

These languages ​​are a great help in our prayer life. Speaking in tongues, accompanied by interpretation, has its place in worship but it must be practiced in order (no more than two or at most three, vv. 27, 39, 40).

When Paul asks the question, “Do all speak with other tongues,” 1 Cor. 12:30, it is obvious that he is talking about something other than speaking in tongues in private prayer. He makes it clear that he desires all to speak in other tongues (14:5). But we’ll talk now about speaking in tongues which is for the whole church.

• Through him the Spirit edifies the Church, if accompanied by interpretation. It is possible that speaking in tongues with its companion gift, the interpretation of tongues, brings a blessing equivalent to that of prophecy (v. 5b). Normally there should be no more than two or at most three speaking in tongues with interpretation in a meeting. If no one interprets them, the speaker must remain silent.

• Speaking in tongues is a sign that appeals to the unconverted. V. 21, 22. I do not believe that the sign which challenges them is, that of v. 23 when everyone speaks with a loud voice together in tongues. Nor are the unconverted necessarily struck when the church spends much of the meeting speaking in other tongues while others wait for them to finish. The problem with the unconverted does not seem to be that someone speaks in other languages. There is a certain “shock” value that may pique their attention. The problem was for those who only did that or spoke very loudly for a very long time. We can control our mind v. 32. We must not be carried away like the pagans of 12.2. God does not force us, although sometimes spiritual feelings and emotions are very strong. Our heart must be pure with a desire to bless the church, not to show how spiritual we are. Speaking in tongues is especially a sign when the spoken tongues are known to the unbeliever, as on the day of Pentecost.

• Speaking in tongues can help us in intercessory prayers. Sometimes we don’t know how to pray and the Spirit comes to our aid, praying exactly according to God’s will (Rom. 8:26-28). There are several testimonies of people waking up at night with the burden of praying for another person. Since they did not know what to pray, the Holy Spirit interceded through their hearts and their mouths. I don’t know what this effect Paul is talking about. Rom. 8:26-28 when talking about inexpressible sighs, but it is still something the Spirit does sometimes.

It may be speaking it in other tongues, but maybe it is other things.

• In my experience speaking in tongues is a gift that helps us enter into the presence of God and “sets fire” to our personal prayers. Quite often it seems to us that our prayers are dry or empty. The Spirit comes in speaking in tongues to give life to our prayers.

The interpretation of tongues is the gift of rendering in one language known to the congregation what has been said in other languages. In my opinion, it is not necessarily a translation, word by word, but an expression which gives the meaning of what has been said. The speaker can give the interpretation or it can be another person in the congregation. He who speaks in tongues is invited to pray for interpretation. If there is no one in the congregation who interprets, let the speaker be silent, instead of starting to speak in tongues again (14.13)

The prophecy. In the Old Testament God communicated to his people through the prophets. They were the mouthpieces of the Lord. It was the Holy Spirit speaking through them (2 Pet. 1:21). What they said *foreshadowed the future, *called the people to order when they drifted (2 Kings 17:13), and *comforted them when they were downcast and weak. *People consulted the prophets to find out what God was advising (2 Kings 3:11). God *revealed himself through the words of his prophets. God’s people would have been much poorer without the revelations of God’s character in Isaiah, for example. When we think of the prophets, it is above all this phenomenon of prediction that is obvious. But if you analyze what they said, there are not many verses that point to the future. There are of course hundreds of them, but compared to the total number of verses, it is not huge.

The character of prophecy in the New Testament has changed to this: If the prophet was the mouthpiece of God, revealing his ways in the Old Testament, we have an even more vivid revelation, that of the Son of God himself. (Heb. 1:1)…………………………. New Testament prophecy is even less focused on predicting the future. It exists, but beware, there are profiteers who are not far from “fortune tellers”. All the same, we see Agabus announcing a famine in Jerusalem, which happened by the after. We see him later telling Paul what would happen to him in Jerusalem. Other churches told him the same thing, (while adding their own advice). I believe this aspect of prediction is normally in the ministry of a prophet, and it will be quite rare, in my opinion, in the typical church. I don’t believe this will happen every Sunday. ………………………………. .We see this dimension of prediction/revelation in the life of Paul (1 Thessa. 4 for example), and Peter (2 Peter). The Lord Jesus himself shapes the future (Mat. 25). *********************************************

He who prophesies in the church is not necessarily a prophet. In Ephesus, Paul baptized new Christians (Acts 19). They were immediately baptized with the Holy Spirit, speaking in tongues and prophesying. So prophecy is not only available to people who are very advanced spiritually.

New Testament prophecies do not have the same force as prophecies written in the Old Testament. It’s not the infallible Word of God. In the Church, prophecies are to be “judged” by other spiritual people (1 Cor. 14:29).

“Judge” here is the same word that is used in 1 Cor. 6:5 in the sense of deciding between two disputing brothers, and in 1 Cor. 11:31 where we are advised to judge ourselves before taking the Lord’s Supper.

“Do not quench the Spirit; do not despise the prophecies, but examine all things, hold fast what is good. (1 Thessa. 5:19-21).

Is it possible when in some “prophecies” there is something that is, say, a little less inspired? Most likely. But it should not be despised. We must weigh, think, reflect and retain what edifies you, even if it hurts a little.

It is possible that the meaning of the verb “to judge” has a better translation as perhaps “to weigh”, “to consider”. I believe both meanings are true. Everything spoken by God agrees with His written Word, the Bible. Consider whether what is being said agrees with His Word.

But we must also consider what has been said, weigh it, to see if through it God speaks to us. If the answer is “yes”, then we must change our way of life accordingly. 

Contents.

1. Edification (gc. Oikodom¬¬e)= the act of building

2. Exhortation (encourage-“fluent French” “instruction and stimulation in their faith” version “Sower”-v. 31)

3. Consolation (gc. Paraklesis) also translated as “to comfort”. see 2 Thessa. 2:16, 17. The Greek means, “called beside one.” Does this remind you of another Comforter? Jeans. 14:6

4. Message to the unconverted or uneducated (1 Cor. 14 v. 24, 25),

5. A “sign” for believers (v. 22).

6. A warning or encouragement from the future (it must come to pass)

” When ? We can “control” the prophetic impulse. We are not overpowered by our emotions, but to truly give our best to the church, we can even “save” the inspiration for the right time to give prophecy in the meeting. “The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. v.32. The statement, “I couldn’t help myself” is probably false. “I didn’t want…” yes, “couldn’t” no.

“Attitude” (respect for others + order) v. 29-33.

The Gifts of Revelation

Word (message) of wisdom—It seems to me that this word or message of wisdom will be a revelation of the mind of Christ (which is the wisdom of God) for a specific situation. It will not be all the wisdom in the world and the one who exercises this gift is not necessarily very wise normally. It will be a “flash” of wisdom for a specific situation.

It can also be a revelation of something we have in Christ Jesus or a revelation of some aspect of his personality. You will know this gift is from God because it will be in accord with

James 3:17.

1. The word in Greek is “sophia”. It means, “wisdom, broad and full understanding.” »

2. Here are other places where this same word is used—Rom. 11:33; 1 Cor. 1:17, 19 (these verses are about the contrast between the wisdom of the world and the wisdom of God. Christ is the wisdom of God, so in this spiritual manifestation there will be a manifestation of Christ. We must seek it God has made Him wisdom for us. This word will not agree with the wisdom of this world. Christ will be its source and the God’s great plan through Jesus Christ will be its context. He will be exalted by what is said: Eph. 1:17; 3:10; Collar. 1:9; 1:28; 2:3; 3:16; James 1:5 —if you need his wisdom, ask God for it. He gives it freely. 3:13 — the wisdom of God is humble. This is a description of his wisdom (James 3:17)–.

3. In a general meeting, there was quite a lively debate. There was a message in tongues with interpretation. One was for and another was against. Were these brothers walking in the wisdom of God?

4. Examples:

• James at the Jerusalem conference (Acts 15:19, 20, 28)

• Paul being arrested by the Spirit and directed to Philippi (Acts 16:6-10)

• ?? Perhaps when Paul making known the revelation of Jesus in Ephesus (Eph. 1:17; Col. 2:3)

• Peter giving the order to baptize non-Jews

(Acts 10:43)

• Peter knowing that he had to go with Cornelius’ servants (Acts 10:20).

• Barnabas seeking Saul to help him (Acts 11:24, 25). ??

• Jeremiah warning the rest of the people of Israel not to go down to Egypt.

• Behatsleel, filled with wisdom to build the tabernacle.

5. Attention: This is not the gift of leading or calling others to ministry.

Word (or message) of Knowledge

1. The word in Greek is “gnossis.” According to Robertson it is “insight, insight, clairvoyance. »

2. It’s supernatural. It’s not knowing everything. There is a knowledge, even spiritual wisdom that develops in us over the years as a result of our thirst and spiritual search for God and His Word. But that’s not it. It is a word, a “flash. It is a limited knowledge by which we will know something of the Lord that we would not have known naturally.

3. I believe it goes hand in hand with the word of wisdom. “To know” is to know something. “Wisdom” is knowing what to do with knowledge.

• “Pierre, someone is at the door. ”  A revelation. A knowledge of something before it knocks on the door. ” Goes with. The wisdom of God (Acts 10). God did this in a supernatural way so that Peter would be encouraged. It was truly from God, because the Lord was going to plan something that was going to blow up his little “kosher” world. »

• Joseph knew the interpretation of the king’s dream—knowledge. The advice was based on this knowledge—wisdom.

• Believers in churches, “Your bonds await you in Jerusalem, Paul. » Knowledge (or prophecy). ” Do not go. No wisdom because God’s will for Paul was to go.

• Peter said, “You are lying, Ananias! ” Knowledge. ” You are going to die ! “Faith or miracle.

4. Know what to do with revelation. Very often it is for prayer and not for anything else. (The woman who received the revelation that the missionary was in danger prayed for him). You can do harm if you act without discretion. I believe you can even call on spiritual people to confirm that it’s from God. It can be a wonderful help in counseling. Sometimes knowledge even comes in a dream. But be careful, there are dreams that come because we ate a spicy pizza at 10 p.m.!

5. He who has the knowledge of God will judge according to reality and not according to appearance (Isa. 11:2, 3).

6. Others see in this gift another definition. When they look at 1 Cor. 14:6, it seems that the word of knowledge can be considered in the family of revelation, prophecy, and teaching. In this case, we might have a revelation of the Word that reveals Jesus more clearly—but in a flash of insight. It should be something that one would be able to share with other Christians for edification.

I believe that both definitions are valid. It is perhaps more important to know what is possible from the examples we see in the Word, than to put a precise name on each manifestation.

discernment of spirits

1. It is the ability to know by what spirit a person is moved when he speaks or acts. It’s not the gift of criticism, but a revelation of God.

2. In the spirit world, there are at least three speaking spirits: the Spirit of God, the human spirit, and the spirit of the devil (or demonic spirits). Among God’s people it is the Spirit of God who speaks and sometimes the human spirit—or a mixture of the two. This is why everything must be weighed, judged, and considered.

3. Sometimes there is someone driven by a demon who slips into the assembly to disturb the people of God. He will give a message that sows confusion or hinders the action of the Holy Spirit. He who has the gift of discerning of spirits will know from the Lord when he can expose it. When the Lord showed John that it was a demon speaking and not the Holy Spirit when a person appeared to be baptized with the Holy Spirit.

4. Caution. It can be someone who is not well in his head, but not necessarily pushed by the devil. Ai, yii, yii, yii, yiii. We cannot use our preconceptions and our prejudices to attack someone by saying that it is an evil spirit speaking. It is a revelation and not a way to win an argument. There are doctrines inspired by demons, according to Paul.

5. The demon-inspired message is not necessarily incorrect in what it says. The girl possessed by a spirit of divination was telling the truth about Paul and his gang. The demons were also telling the truth about Jesus, but the Lord shut their mouths. We don’t need witnesses like that. Beware of spirits who always want to flatter you.

Perhaps the person himself thinks he is sincere, but this is not an encouragement to good works. Rather, it is an encouragement to pride. Encouragement is good, but someone who always flatters us is dangerous. The devil uses this tactic more often than blasphemies against the Lord Jesus. He would like to blaspheme but that would reveal him. It will be too obvious.

6. Sometimes the young Christian says something about himself. It is not an evil spirit but a youth who does not yet have enough faith or a proud human spirit. Personally, I will avoid correcting someone who is sincere in front of the whole congregation, if possible. I will speak to him in private. If it’s a demon speaking, that’s something else.

7. In my opinion, this gift must be in operation when one casts out a demon to know that it is really a demon and not a sick human spirit.

8. If a church has spiritual manifestations, this gift is essential. It’s the fuse that blows so the house doesn’t burn down.

9. The Bible warns us that false prophets will come. It’s not, “they may come”, but they will (1Jn. 4:1)

10. Examples:

• The prophets who spoke to Ahab. Then the true prophet spoke.

• Jeremiah’s prophetic enemies. They used the Lord’s name and His promises in their proclamations. But it was Jeremiah’s word that was fulfilled.

• The girl who flattered Paul and his companions.

• Simeon the magician.

Measure everything by the Word of God. Even if there is no specific revelation, it shows us when people go wrong.

Gifts of power: gifts of healing, gift of faith, gift of working miracles.

These are eye-catching gifts that can bring great blessing in building up and expanding the Church. These are gifts that people often desire more than others. They are not that common. There were extremes in the teaching of his gifts and see exaggerations, as with all gifts, for that matter.

I believe the exaggerations came about because we thought these gifts were systematically manifesting. But in reality, God gave them punctually.

God sends an angel and Peter was miraculously delivered from prison. Jacques has lost his mind. Was it a lack of faith in Jacques? Was the church forgetting to pray? I do not believe. In the first case, God needed a miracle, in the second, he needed a martyr. He was glorified and the church moved forward in edification in both cases (obviously we prefer to be in the place of Peter than that of James in these cases).

The Bible says words of knowledge are partial as well as prophecy. We don’t know everything. God reveals a part to us. I believe that all gifts are biased in this sense. Unfortunately, not all the sick are healed, not all the mountains fall. Some of them have to be climbed. But I am sure of one thing: if the Lord does not grant supernatural intervention, He will grant supernatural grace.

The splinter stung Paul very hard. He cried out to the Lord for help. The Lord simply replied, “No, my grace is sufficient for you…for my power is fulfilled in weakness. So I will boast much more gladly in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me…for when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Cor. 12:9, 10.

I believe there are two mistakes that should be avoided:

– The first is not to expect great things from God. God does miracles, but we don’t see them too often. So, let’s manage somehow like everyone else. I fear this is the error most churches have fallen into.

– The error of the other extreme consists in saying that God will perform a miracle only each time we have enough faith. So if healing doesn’t happen it’s not God, but a lack of faith on our part. It can be cruel.

But for the most part, that’s not our problem. These gifts were given for the edification of the church and the expansion of the church. How many members of our churches have seen a miracle with their own eyes? Or an immediate cure. Little.

Let us seek the face of the Lord and ask Him, with persistence, to grant us these gifts which build the church.

Gifts of Healing:

1. They are supernatural gifts that God has given to restore the sick to health. That’s not the doctor’s job. I greatly appreciate doctors, but their science is natural and not supernatural. These gifts are supernatural (the gifts of the Spirit of God). I believe that each time we pray for a sick person, we must wait for that person to be healed, while realizing that if the Lord has another plan in this situation, He is still Lord and He does according to His wisdom. Three things were striking in the ministry of Jesus: the power of his preaching and teaching; the number of recoveries; and the number of demons cast out.

2. One thing that is obvious is that this “gift” is plural. “Gifts of Healing”. This indicates that there is more than one way this gift manifests. There are people who seem “gifted” by God in this area and He often uses them like this. But we can also call the elders of the church (James 5:14). Sometimes people are healed by hearing the Word, others receive a “word of faith,” some are anointed with oil, and still others simply believe the Word of God.

3. It is a gift that shows the compassion of Christ. His earthly ministry was marked by this gift. This is where I struggle a bit. Seeing the Lord’s desire to heal, am I correct in saying that sometimes it is not His will to heal? Honestly, this remains an open question for me. If the Lord does not heal, it is not a lack of compassion but for other reasons.

4. It is a gift that is very useful for evangelism for a large number of people. Aimé Semple Macpherson was an evangelist almost a hundred years ago. Crowds came to be saved and healed in these meetings.

She said, “I don’t preach Jesus as, ‘the Great I was,’ but as ‘the Great I Am!’ These healings testified to his resurrection and power.

Examples:

• full in the ministry of Jesus.

• The man at the Temple Gate called “La Belle”

• The impotent man of the feet in Lystra

5. Certain afflictions among the unconverted seemed to have a demonic origin. (son with epilepsy. Some had a deaf spirit. Satan had bent a poor woman for years. Beware: not everyone with these types of illnesses is afflicted with a spirit. Often Jesus n He didn’t cast out a spirit. He just healed them, and the spirit had to go.

6. Some say that if the disease goes away immediately, it is a miracle. If it leaves gradually, it is a cure.

The gift of working miracles:

A miracle would be supernatural intervention in the natural world that momentarily overrides the laws of nature. We have trivialized miracles by giving the name “miracle” to many things.

a) Examples

• When Jesus calmed the storm, it was a miracle.

• When Eli called fire from heaven, it was a miracle.

• When Peter raised Tabitha by the power of God it was a miracle.

• When Jesus turned water into wine, it was a miracle.

• When your son passed his math exam it was an answer to prayer, but not necessarily a miracle.

This gift seems above all to be intended to challenge people and turn them to the Lord. For Christians, it increases their faith. Look at the joy of Israel when they crossed the Red Sea and God destroyed their enemies.

b) Certain gifts seem to be more present in the ministry of those who have gifted ministries in the church, i.e., apostles, prophets and evangelists.

The gift of faith

This is not “ordinary” faith. This is powerful faith for a specific situation. It is a faith that moves mountains. It seems that there are Christians who have more faith than others. Of course, everyone has a measure of faith.

But sometimes we need big things. All of a sudden, a member of the church is “seized” by faith. At least twice, the Lord grabbed me like this to pray for people who had strayed from God. In both cases, there were quite extraordinary results.

God inspires us to ask Him crazy things, and we believe it.

Will You Do a Holy Strut?

Our last years in France I had the privilege of ministering in churches where the majority of the members were from Africa, or of African origin or they were from the French-speaking Caribbean.

In the African and French-Caribbean culture, the dance is part of the way Christians worship the Lord.

So, the kids in the Creteil church tried to teach me to dance. The key word here is “tried.” They would crack up laughing as soon as I started. I had to face the fact that I dance like an old white man.

And that ain’t pretty.

But, in heaven I hope to do a “holy strut.”

“Strutting Before the Lord”

“For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? For you are our glory and joy.” 1 Thessa. 2:19, 20, ESV

“Boasting” before the Lord Jesus?

Will we be able to boast before the Lord at His coming at the works we did for the Lord? Yes, but it will be a holy boasting. That seems an oxymoron if ever there was one, but it’s the kind of boasting a kid does before his parent when he does something right.

Hey, the Lord is giving out rewards when He comes. I don’t know if there are any participation trophies or not, but you need to work in a way that you can strut a little on the Day that Jesus returns. “So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.” (2 Corinthians 5:9-11, ESV)

My junior year of high school we wiped out our fierce enemies, the Rattlers. They had annihilated us the year before, and we got them back. You want to talk about strutting and exulting. We did it.

I say this knowing that we need to walk lightly before Him. We can do nothing without Him and His blessing. We’re going to spend a lot more time on our knees and our faces before Him, than bragging.

But, It’s like a four-year old bragging to mama about what “we” did, when it was daddy who did 99.9% of the work. Honestly, when my kids were honored, I enjoyed hearing them brag about it. “Tell me more!” That way I could crow to others about what my kids had done.

I think the Lord enjoys it when we do well. He may have to calm us down a bit but it makes Him rejoice, too.

Once Jesus sent 72 of his disciples out to preach His Word. They came strutting back, over the moon with joy at what they had seen God do through them.

“The seventy came back triumphant. ‘Master, even the demons danced to your tune!’

“Jesus said, ‘I know. I saw Satan fall, a bolt of lightning out of the sky. See what I’ve given you? Safe passage as you walk on snakes and scorpions, and protection from every assault of the Enemy. No one can put a hand on you. All the same, the great triumph is not in your authority over evil, but in God’s authority over you and presence with you. Not what you do for God but what God does for you—that’s the agenda for rejoicing.’”

And Jesus got excited (I don’t dare say He started strutting.)

“At that, Jesus rejoiced, exuberant in the Holy Spirit. ‘I thank you, Father, Master of heaven and earth, that you hid these things from the know-it-alls and showed them to these innocent newcomers. Yes, Father, it pleased you to do it this way.’” (Luke 10:16-21, The Message)

Ah Lord, help me to be able to do a “holy strut.” Help my work for you to be acceptable and solid. Eternal.

Hey folks. What are you going to do today to give Jesus something to shout about?

A Healing To See God’s Glory

Here’s a guest post from a friend, Melanie Clark. She tells us how God intervened in a special way by healing her eye.

I am thankful that I could see the beauty in the places we went. (During a recent family vacation).

Nearly 8 years ago, I woke up to a red spot in the middle of my vision of my right eye. It got bigger, and everything started turning black. My eye doctor got me in immediately, and took a 3D scan of my eyeball, which showed bleeding into the retina. He immediately was able to get me an emergency appointment with a retinal specialist at Mercy (hospital), and I had hours of testing, an angiogram, all kinds of fun things. They determined macular hemorrhage – a blood vessel in the macula of my eyeball had burst.

While I was there, an older lady was told she was permanently losing her vision, and there was no cure. Her cries were heart-rendering, and I kept getting teary-eyed thinking about the possibility that I would no longer see my kids’ faces. How I cried out to God desperately to let me have sight, so I could watch my kids grow up.

My life group prayed earnestly with us, and God provided the miracle. The bleeding stopped, and the only damage was a slight squiggle in the center of my vision when I am looking at a computer screen.

A year after that, at my annual eye appointment, my doctor told me how lucky I was to have my vision. He told me another patient had the same exact thing, and permanently lost her vision, and the bleeding was starting in the other eye, too. Since then, I have heard of others who also lost vision.

God has not always answered all of my prayers. I have not always seen miracles. But this one is so precious to me. I thank God for my sight, to stare at my kids until they tell me to quit, to see the beauty of creation, and to give glory to God that something that we often take for granted, like being able to see, is something I can rejoice over on a daily basis.

Pray Like This?

Ministries morph and shift as the years go by. One which has taken a big part of my time recently has been responding to people who write the French ministry of Network 211, Reponses pour ta vie.com

We get all sorts of requests. Sometimes men will write, saying, “I want a woman.” Women might search for the perfect man. I’m tempted to write back to inform them that God doesn’t make perfect men anymore. My wife got the last one.

Most of the emails touch my heart. Here is a small sample of what I’ve been answering lately.

From France, “I would like Jesus to be with me. I only have bad things happening to me at the moment and I would like someone to be with me. I need to pray and someone to hear it. I am baptized but I have never participated in a mass, I would like to believe in God.

Also from France, “Hello, I am baptized and I never really asked myself questions about religion, but I want to know more, and why not? Practice it 🙂

A lady from Ukraine chimes in, “ I feel far from God. I want to be forgiven. I have sinned a lot. I also want to repent. I don’t know how. Help me, please.”

This from Congo, “For some time I have had a strong desire to be in a personal relationship with Jesus, to experience happiness with Him. But I haven’t succeeded yet. Through you, I hope to discover a very sure way (orientations).

From France—“Hello, I need to regain my intimacy with God. I let a lot of things destroy everything I started with God. Today I just want to come back to him and have that peace of heart that I had before times. I need help!”

These are a joy to answer.

Repeated Question

One question I get over and over concerns prayer. “How do you pray? Can you send me some model prayers? Etc.” Honestly, I struggle like many others in my prayer life. I pray daily, but I often feel that I’m a man who prays more than a man of prayer.

Sometimes, I feel like I need to get my time in so God won’t be mad. And it’s tough. Just being honest. Happily, it’s not always like that. Occasionally it’s like heaven on earth. And frankly, the results are often marvelous even if I didn’t have overwhelming emotions when I prayed.

Recently, I’ve found a prayer rhythm that really builds me up. I thought I would share it with you.

I usually start with singing. I’ve got an old songbook I use, but I’ve also made my own songbook. I go online and find the lyrics of worship songs that really speak to me at the moment. I copy them into a file on my phone. So I might sing to the Lord, “Shout To the Lord,” or “I Speak Jesus,” or “Waymaker,” or whatever song helps me lift my praise to God that morning.

It doesn’t matter if my voice is angel-like or crow-like. As it passes into heavenly places, God’s Spirit changes it into audio-gold to the ears of God.

I also use the Psalms and read from one of them as a prayer to the Lord.

I’ve got a journal where I often write a prayer to the Lord expressing my praise, my needs or the cry of my heart.

And usually, during my praying, I’ll raise my voice and pray in the Spirit for a while. He knows how to praise God and He knows what to pray for when I don’t.

Freewheeling

I still “freewheel,” praying extemporaneously, simply telling God what my needs are and asking Him to respond. Yes, and sometimes I ask for the same things over and over and over. I pester the Lord like the little widow pestered the uncaring judge.

The Amplified translation of Matthew 7:7 says, “Ask and keep on asking and it will be given to you; seek and keep on seeking and you will find; knock and keep on knocking and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who keeps on asking receives, and he who keeps on seeking finds, and to him who keeps on knocking, it will be opened.”

This version includes a note that says, “Here the use of Greek present imperatives (asking, seeking, knocking; vv 7, 8) emphasizes persistent, constant prayer.”

Asking more than once isn’t unbelief. It’s the prayer of someone who is sure that he or she is asking at the right place and they insist because they know the source of the answer is in God.

Kind of like your kids when they want something.

You may have your own prayer secrets or fruitful habits. If you want to share, I’d love for you to write and tell me your keys to fulfilling prayer.