Archive for the ‘Gifts of the Spirit’ Category

Lap time

[T]he LORD came down in a pillar of cloud … and summoned Aaron and Miriam …. he said, “Listen to my words: “When there is a prophet among you, I, the LORD, reveal myself to them in visions, I speak to them in dreams. But this is not true of my servant Moses; … With him I speak face to face…” – Numbers 12:5b-8a (NIV)

Clearly, God had a different relationship with Moses than with the “prophets” of that day. We see that difference also in the lives of Noah, Enoch, Abraham, Moses, Daniel, even Job — throughout history God chooses with whom to have a closer relationship.

We, too, can have that closer walk – paid for by Christ and brought to us by the Holy Spirit!

[T]he Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ – Romans 8:15b-17a

Dreams and visions are great but why settle for anything less than lap time?

– fritz@langgang.com

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“What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only?” – 1st Corinthians 14:36

There’s a curious little literature construct unexpected in the Bible, yet, there it is!

Paul has a “woman-hater” reputation among the uninformed and failure to recognize this construct is partly to blame.

Paul wrote to the Corinthian believers about church life and how to exercise the gifts of the Spirit.  Then, almost out of context he writes,

“Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law.  And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church. – 1st Corinthians 14:34-35

That’s where most stop, without looking at the next word.

That next word, “What!”, is translated various ways and sometimes not at all, but in the original language it not only means, “What!”, but presents a negative to what was just said, sometimes even accompanied by a “God Forbid!”.1 Today, it would be like us presenting a silly idea then saying, “NOT!”. This better translation is further indicated by Paul’s choice of the following word, “YOU”, which literally means, “You men”.

So, Paul is really saying, a little sarcastically, “Everyone can exercise the gifts of the Spirit in Church except your women.   They should be silent, getting their understanding of God from their husbands because it’s a shame for them to speak! — Not!  Does the word of God come just from you men?! Of course not!”

The Holy Spirit moves equally on both men and women and Holy Spirit’s ministry is valid for all!

“I will pour out my spirit … and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy” – Joel 2:28b

Let God’s gifts flow!

1 – 1st Corinthians 6:15b-16a

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“For to one is given by the Spirit … the interpretation of tongues” – 1st Corinthians 8a, 10e

There would be little need for this gift if the gift of tongues was unintended for public use.

When a message is given in tongues an interpretation is to be provided. In fact, if no one else steps up, the tongues speaker is to ask God to give him or her that interpretation.1

It should be noted this is not the translation but the Interpretation of Tongues. It will not, necessariliary, be word for word and should not be expected as such.

Like any of the other verbal gifts of the Holy Spirit, there will be an urge to express an inner stirring. The whole interpretation may not be given at once and is not required to begin. Speak what is given and quit when there is nothing more to express.

God’s NOT going to waggle your tongue for you – you always have the choice to respond or not. Feel the internal urge, like you have something to say though you may not know what it is, and say what you are given when there is opportunity.

We make it more complicated than it has to be [grin].

– fritz

1 – 1st Corinthians 14:13

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“For to one is given by the Spirit … divers kinds of tongues” – 1st Corinthians 13:8a, 10d

Tongues is a hot topic in some churches. Godly people believe those who speak in tongues are of the devil and others, just as godly, believe only those who speak in tongues are saved – both sides saying they believe the Bible.

Tongues is a prophetic utterance in a human or angelic1 language unknown by the speaker and sometimes unknown to the hearers.

Its primary purpose is personal spiritual growth2 but there are two (2) more worth mentioning.

1. The Bible says tongues are a sign to non-believers3 that this group of people is different, and not afraid to be so.   That group may be considered strange or crazy but when everything “normal” fails one often inquires from the unique.

God excels at satisfying those who have found the world’s “normal” ways wanting.

2. There’s also another purpose and here, in combination with the gift of Interpretation of tongues, is its place in church services.4 It is encouraging when the church gathers and experiences an act of God. I have seen it, it’s awesome!

Much of what we do in church is of human origin – our liturgy, our programs, our efforts as we express our love to God. It’s awesome to experience God’s response.

Sure we’ll get it wrong sometimes and use God’s gifts ineffectively but that’s to be expected. A wise pastor will teach, direct in right ways, and encourage his people to step out into God’s gifting.

Paul’s admonition still stands

“Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues.” – 1st Corinthians 14:39

– fritz
1 – 1st Corinthians 13:1
2 – 1st Corinthians 14:4
3 – 1st Corinthians 14:22
4 – 1st Corinthians 14:5

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“For to one is given by the Spirit … divers kinds of tongues” – 1st Corinthians 13:8a, 10d

This gift has always been a little controversial so the apostle Paul goes into great detail in later in his letter.

Tongues is the prophetic utterance in a human or angelic 1 language unknown by the speaker 2 and sometimes the hearers.

Not engaging the speaker’s language, it doesn’t affect the speakers thinking unless it is interpreted2 – so what is its purpose?

Paul lists several, but primarily as a tool to strengthen the participant’s inner man.3

Originating from the speaker’s human spirit (inner man) it is a direct prayer link between the speaker and God4 unhindered by the person’s preferences and paradigms.

We dare not discount the importance of that; how and what we think affects our spiritual growth! If everything must be filtered through our thought processes much won’t make it through!

This is so important Jesus’ own brother wrote

“But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost keep yourselves in the love of God” – Jude 1:20-21a

Who can have this gift? As a manifestation of the Holy Spirit all in Christ have the equal access, as any spiritual gift.

We are admonished to seek the “best” gifts.5 Which is best? The one you need at the time, of course!

Do you need to be built up in your faith and kept in the love of God?

– fritz
1 – 1st Corinthians 13:1
2 – 1st Corinthians 14:14
3 – 1st Corinthians 14:4a
4 – 1st Corinthians 14:2
5 – 1st Corinthians 12:31

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“For to one is given by the Spirit … to another discerning of spirits” – 1st Corinthians 12:9a, 10c

At least part of “Discerning of Spirits” is our need to know if our internal promptings arise from God’s Holy Spirit or our own human spirit.

In prayer we need to ask for the Holy Spirit to intervene, showing us with an overwhelming peace the source of our stirrings. This, too, is a gift of God, essential for today.

– fritz

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“For to one is given by the Spirit … prophecy” – 1st Corinthians 12:9a, 10b

This is not the same gift as in the Old Testament.

Then, prophecy was reserved just for special holy men.  When normal people wanted to hear from God they would go to a prophet and ask him to pray and to speak for God.

Now, everyone in Christ can prophesy!

“For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted.” – 1st Corinthians 14:31

Prophesy now has three main purposes –

“But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.” – 1st Corinthians 14:3

Long ago I heard a preacher Ferguson, Kentucky, say this verse means prophecy is to

Build up,
Stir up, and
Cheer up.

So how is that different from preaching?

Preaching is a (hopefully) prepared lesson from the mind and heart of a preacher whereas prophesy, like the other spiritual gifts, is given at the moment specifically for a circumstance often unknown by the speaker.

It, like the other verbal gifts, is accompanied by a strong urge to speak hard to shake but able to be ignored by the one called to give.

A wise pastor will encourage his flock to begin speaking these urgings, understand inevitable mistakes, and without condemnation teach how to recognize God’s wonderful gift of Prophesy.

– fritz

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