February 20 2017

Praying In Tongues vs Speaking In Tongues: A Biblical Guide

praying in tonguesWhen I first learned how to pray in tongues, I was really unaware that it was a form of prayer. All I knew about tongues is that it was like a heavenly language from God, that I could not understand. I did not realize that there was a difference between speaking in tongues and praying in tongues. So I naturally assumed that all tongues was speaking in tongues. The gift began to form in me naturally, and allowed the Holy Spirit to guide me in this gift.

Many people seem to have a fear of the gift of tongues, so I decided to get deep into scripture to try to better understand what God says about this heavenly language. I believe the fear is based off of false teachings, that are spread by the lies of the devil. As you will see here, tongues is a powerful weapon in our tool belt; one that every believer must employ. Most of my study is based off of 1 Corinthians 14, however I did find some other valuable passages that teach about speaking in tongues, as well as praying in tongues.

The language of tongues is a spiritual gift, and it comes from the Holy Spirit. Each Christian will receive a gift from the Spirit of God, to be used for the good of all. The Holy Spirit is the one who determines who gets what gift and when. The Apostle Paul says we should all desire to receive spiritual gifts, and wishes that we would all speak in tongues. When a person speaks in tongues, they are speaking not to men, but to God Himself. No one understands tongues, because it is a mystery to the human mind.

For by people of strange lips and with a foreign tongue the LORD will speak to this people

Isaiah 28:11

Speaking in tongues is a role assigned to a member of the body to deliver messages to the church. These messages are to be spoken in love to edify the church body. When giving a message in tongues, there needs to be order and purpose in the church meeting. So there needs to be a structured time set aside for the purpose of giving a message in tongues.

During the church meeting, only 2 or 3 people should give a message in tongues. Only one person should speak at a time, and each message should come with an interpretation. It is important to have order when allowing messages from God to be spoken in tongues, as to not create confusion among the church. The Apostle Paul is very specific in his guidelines for speaking in tongues.

Tongues can also be used as a sign for unbelievers. When an unbeliever walks in to a room where tongues is being spoken, it can be a sign to them of the power of God and bring them into His presence. Just like at Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came onto the disciples and they began speaking in tongues, it encouraged many others to come to Christ.

While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word.  And the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles.  For they were hearing them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter declared,  “Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?”  And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. 

Acts 10:44-48

However, according to 1 Corinthians 14, praying in tongues is when your spirit prays. Praying in tongues is a person’s prayer language, and it is not to be confused with speaking in tongues. Praying in tongues, as well as singing or worshiping in tongues is used to edify ourselves. We can use this prayer language when we are unable to find words to pray, because we are too weak. God knows our hearts and as we use this heavenly language to communicate with Him, the Holy Spirit can intercede on our behalf.

Praying in tongues is also very useful when praying for other believers. Whether interceding on their behalf, or praying for a person directly, praying in tongues can speak to the depths of the human spirit. It can edify their soul and spirit in ways that human words cannot, because the words come directly from the Father to touch those deep places that are aching. Many times someone has prayed in tongues over me and I just begin weeping because it touches me in such deep ways. Even though my mind has no idea what is being said, my spirit knows and is deeply affected!

Praying in the spirit is a wonderful way to grow closer to God and connect with Him on deeper levels. It is also a part of the armor of God. According to Ephesians 6:18, praying in the spirit helps strengthen us in our battle against the evil one. Prayer is a major part of our armor and needs to be done daily, and I believe that praying in tongues activates our armor! Without praying in tongues, our armor is incomplete.

Much like praying in tongues,  singing in tongues is the same type of thing. It goes hand in hand with the praise and worship of our prayers, in a language directed by the Holy Spirit. There have even been scientific studies done that show how tongues affects our brains. Check this video out to learn more.

“And it shall come to pass afterward,
    that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh;
your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
    your old men shall dream dreams,
    and your young men shall see visions.”

Joel 2:28

Once Jesus returns, we will no longer need the gift of tongues. It will be unnecessary because we will have Jesus Himself with us. He will directly communicate with us in ways we have never experienced before. Tongues was born out of the desperate need for man to communicate with God, yet when Jesus returns, all of our desperation will be turned into completion and fulfillment. So until then, we need to continue to be led by the Spirit, and walk how He guides us.

Jesus wants so very much for us to be a part of Him. That is why He gave us this important language. If we take the gift of tongues for granted without thoroughly pressing in to Jesus to allow Him to teach us, we are instead allowing the enemy to shape our hearts and minds. Jesus only gives us good gifts, and the devil would very much love to steal, kill and destroy them all. The gifts of the spirit bring the Kingdom of Heaven down to earth among the people. That is the intention God had when He created them.

Each gift is special and unique with a special purpose assigned to it. God wants us to lay down everything that we have allowed the world to teach us about God, and instead empty ourselves so we can be filled with His truth. God has a great plan and purpose for each one of us, no matter where we are right now. Allow God into your heart, so He can be the one to answer all of your questions, and break down all the lies. He is good.

Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.  For we know in part and we prophesy in part,  but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.

1 Corinthians 13:8-10

 

January 30 2017

Manifesting Spiritual Gifts From God

This past weekend I had the most incredible experience at an equipping session for those working in the prophetic. I have never been to anything like it, as truly God Himself has been training me in everything I do for the past three and a half years. I was very excited to go with a dear friend, who too has similar spiritual gifts as I do. I had no idea what to expect, but what I did not expect was to be blessed beyond measure.

Being in a prophetic community was absolutely wonderful. God poured out His Spirit over me, over and over again, lifting me into a place of such deep awe for my loving Father. How God could treat me in such a special way is honestly beyond me, but He proved that I am indeed loved. How does a woman who has spent her whole life living in shame and worthlessness take such declarations of love from God? With a lost of tears and appreciation.

One of the best parts about being in a community where the gifts of the Spirit are encouraged and freely used is not feeling so unusual and alone. For me, my gifts are very strong and not something that I control. I get visions, prophecy, and discernment every day, and it is just a part of who I am. It is so much a part of who I am that before this weekend I could not tell you when I was pouring out prophecy and when I was discerning spirits. It just all flows together so naturally to me that there is not differentiating.

To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.

1 Corinthians 12:7

I believe there are many people out there who are walking with wonderful gifts from the Holy Spirit, but do not realize they are doing so. They are not in a community that can help foster those gifts or teach them how to use them. They may even be in a community that is against them, and therefore don’t even realize what these gifts look like or how they work. The Holy Spirit has given each one of us good gifts to use as He determines. These gifts are meant for the good of the whole body, and to be used to help others.

I have walked strongly in all of my gifts since I was a very young child. However, the environment I grew up in was one that had absolute hatred towards those gifts. I grew to believe that my gifts meant I was crazy, evil, bad and more, and so I tried very hard not to use them. I was greatly punished for using them, because they were clearly a gift of God. Those who are enemies of God will always try to impede gifts of the Spirit, because they further the mighty work for the Kingdom.

It was not until I began truly giving my life over to Christ, every part of my being that I possible could, that I began to see the fruit of these gifts again. It was not that they were gone or lost; I don’t believe that ever happens. It was that I was too afraid to allow them to manifest into full power in my life. The devil instilled that fear into me, just as he has into many areas of the church. Many Christians are told and believe that all of the gifts of the Holy Spirit are dead and gone. As a matter of fact, I have even been told that if you use these gifts you are actually partnering with the devil.

Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy.

1 Corinthians 14:1

Of course the devil wants us to believe that. He wants nothing more than to stomp out these amazing gifts that bring healing, grace, edification, encouragement, and so much more, not only to ourselves, but to the entire body. When one person walks with the Spirit of God freely, it empowers those around to do the same. We should not live in fear, but have courage to follow Jesus unhindered. We need to do this, because the world is desperate for the signs, wonders, and miracles that these gifts bring to this dark world.

I know a lot of people wonder how they can tell if they have a gift, or if they have a gift how to use it. My best advice really is just Jesus. Jesus is the one who can teach us and guide is in every single question. We know from 1 Corinthians 12 that every believer will receive spiritual gifts, so my presumption is that you most likely already have one. In order to truly understand the spiritual gifts that we have and how to use them best, we need to go to Jesus. If He feels we need outside resources to learn and grow, He will surely lead us right to them. We must have faith.

I have been walking in my spiritual gifts as a Christian for almost 4 years now, but it has taken this long to get a grasp and understanding of these gifts, what they are, and why I even have them. All of this knowledge has only come from the Holy Spirit Himself. Reading books and articles and watching videos or listening to speakers is great, but it is only walking with Jesus, asking Him the hard questions, and leaning on Him for guidance that has truly led me to growth and understanding.

But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit–the Father will send Him in My name–will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you.

John 14:26

The Apostle make makes it clear that every believer should desire to speak in tongues and to prophecy. This means that every believer has the ability to speak in tongues and to prophecy. These are spiritual gifts that freely flow through the Holy Spirit to each one of us. Speaking in tongues does not necessarily mean delivering a message in tongues, but more likely praying in tongues. Praying in tongues is using tongues as a personal prayer language. This allows you to connect with God on a deeper level when you have no words, or it is a powerful weapon when you are in a bad place. Praying in tongues edifies your spirit man, as well as others you pray for.

Prophecy is used to edify the church as well as other believers. Prophecy does not necessarily mean predicting the future, and it should never be used as a means of divination. Prophecy is a wonderful gift that should be used to build an atmosphere of hope and brings revival in the hearts of those that hear it. We need to always be very careful when giving messages as well as receiving them, because many people with good intentions have brought curses on others with their false prophecies. False prophecies are a result of being connected with the wrong spirit, who yearns to deceive and bring down the elect.

While we should all strive for spiritual gifts, we should never try to force them. They should flow out of a deep connection with our Father, not because we want to make them happen. While I wholly agree we should all walk in the gifts of the Spirit, I also believe that we may need to walk through deliverance to relieve oppression or strongholds that are hindering our abilities. This is also very important because, as I mentioned before, if we do not clean our houses (deliverance), then we could be harnessing powers of the Second Heaven , which is the Kingdom of Darkness. This does not mean we are bad or evil, it simply means we need to go deep into our souls to break away any ties that are harmful to us, and others.

I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
    your old men will dream dreams,
    your young men will see visions.
Even on my servants, both men and women,
    I will pour out my Spirit in those days.

Joel 2:28-29

spiritual giftsDuring my weekend equipping session I witnessed believers who were connecting to the Second Heaven through their God given spiritual gifts. I saw a woman who used painting as a form of worship. She was incredibly talented, but during each session I saw her painting things of a very disturbing nature, things that were of a spiritual nature, only seen with the spiritual eyes. I also saw a worship singer who was lacking confidence and channeling the power of Second Heaven to bring in a soulish form of worship. He too was very talented in his God given gifts, but he did not realize that he was tapping in to the Holy Spirit and the Second Heaven at the same time.

Each of these individuals is loved and important to God. He does not look down on them for what they are doing, but instead He understands exactly why they do this. He loves their worship, because truly their spirits are worshiping God, even though their souls are not. God has a purpose and plan for us all. He uses all these things for our good. I fully believe that He wants us to all come into greater levels of healing so we can come to know Him more intimately. We just have to be willing to look at the dark places inside of us that He has allowed to remain hidden for our own good.

God knows the perfect timing in which everything in our lives needs to happen. He is not worried, and we should not worry either. Wherever we are with our spiritual gifts, God is there with us. We need only continue to lay out our hearts to Him, even if it means just giving Jesus one piece at a time. That is exactly what I am doing. I am far from perfect, and I am very thankful that God loves me exactly where I am right now. And I am very thankful that my desire to use spiritual gifts in His Kingdom has brought about a closer relationship with Jesus, that has helped me to bear good fruit for Him.

I pray we all allow our desire for spiritual gifts to bring us to greater revelations of who God is, His great love for us, and a greater love for each other. I pray that each of us begins to walk with the Spirit, in Truth and in love, allowing the Holy Spirit to mold and shape us into who He originally designed us to be. I pray that through this we create revival fires everywhere we go, setting the peoples of this earth on fire for more of Jesus Christ. Bless you, my dearest brothers and sisters.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,  casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:6-7

 

 

 

March 12 2015

Fear of the Dark

sleepingWhen I was a child, I was deathly afraid of the dark. My room always seemed to be pitch black, even with a tiny little Cabbage Patch Kids night light I had for a time. When I would go to bed, I would try very hard to turn off the light without getting off of my bed. I even had a back scratcher at one point to try to hit the light switch off. Anytime I had to turn off the light before getting into bed, I would immediately run and jump onto my bed as fast as I could, so nothing could get me.

Even my bed wasn’t a safe haven though. In my bed I was still paralyzed with fear. I would lay in the middle of the bed, for fear something could come up and reach me from the sides. There was a space between the bed and the wall, only a couple of inches, but enough that I knew I wasn’t safe. As if that wasn’t enough, I also had to have at least a sheet covering me at all times, no matter how hot I was. It seemed that sheet was like a protective barrier between the monsters and I. My room would get sweltering hot in the summer. It gets to be up to 100+ where I live, and there was no air conditioning in my room. So I would be miserably hot, yet still be covered up and hiding under that sheet to protect myself.

If I ever had to get up to go to the bathroom, it was even worse. I would get up as much courage as I could and then run out of my room and into the bathroom. I would turn on the light and shut the door as fast as I could. I did not like the darkness at all. Then I would get up enough courage to run back into my room and launch myself onto my bed. This lasted for all my childhood. I can’t remember when I started to become less fearful of the dark, but eventually it did get better. That fear never completely went away though.

darkAt one point in time, when I was about 18 I think, I decided I wanted to conquer that fear of the dark. I wanted to believe there was nothing out there, waiting to get me. So I began to take walks at night, alone, in my neighborhood. I lived in a fairly good neighborhood, so I don’t think I would have ever ran into much trouble. Not that I am saying it’s a great idea, but nothing bad ever did happen to me. It was difficult for me to lose that “something is going to get me” feeling that I had in the dark. At that time I was very into the occult, and I thought my gods and goddess were protecting me. I used “magik” to put a protection around myself, so nothing with ill intent could harm me. And since nothing bad every happened, I believed it worked. I was completely opening up myself to and immersing myself in darkness, and the darkness was welcoming me with open arms.

It has been many years since I was 18 and testing the limits by walking around alone at night. It seems very silly to me know, but I had courage from my beliefs and from the substance (drug) I was using. I can say I have lost my fear of the dark though. I easily sleep in a very dark room, and do not have to run and jump on my bed when I get up to go to the bathroom. I think I had a period where I was very into horror movies where I did have a fear of the dark again, for a short time. For years I have been perfectly fine, and had forgotten all about it. That is until recently.

You see, recently I have been getting in touch with spiritual gifts that God has bestowed upon me. One of them is the gift of discerning spirits. Discerning spirits is one of the gifts listed in the Bible, and it means that you can tell if there are good or evil spirits present, even if they can’t be seen. Some people with this gift can actually see the spirits, I am not one of them. The gift of discernment also helps you to understand things about people by revelation of the Holy Spirit, that you would not otherwise be able to know.

In the past few months I have had several occurrences where I came into the presence of an evil or demonic spirit. As I mentioned, I cannot see them, but I can feel them. For me, this means when and evil or demonic presence is near, I get short of breath, my heart rate speeds up rapidly, and I feel shaky, as if I am very cold. This all happens very suddenly. I also get a sick feeling in my stomach and sometimes I even get that feeling that something wants to get me.

To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 1 Corinthians 7:10

At first when I began to have these experiences, it was quite scary. I had no idea where this was coming from or why it was happening to me. I had never felt demons to my knowledge before, so why should it start now? I have been save for almost two years at the time of this experience. The first time was an isolated incident that didn’t happen again for two weeks. Then another two weeks after. Then it was a week later. It just started happening more often. I started to feel as though maybe I was crazy, yet it was clearly real to me. When someone told me I had the gift of discerning spirits, I laughed. Surely that wasn’t me.

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8

Of course I quickly came to accept that God had given me a gift, a gift I was to use to help others in whatever way I could. And to tell you the truth, while it was a little scary, it was even more exciting! I began to see how God has appointed us to live a life that is far greater than anything we could ever imagine for ourselves! He has divine power He wants to use through us! Not everyone is going to have this particular gift, because there are so many, but we each have spiritual gifts from God, that are to be used in accordance with God’s Word to help and encourage others.

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God. 1 Peter 4:10

So back to being scared something is going to get me at night. It was just a couple of weeks ago, when this gift was really starting to get active in my life, that I suddenly began to feel very afraid when I would wake in the night. I would have this sense of dread come over me and I would find myself fearing that something was going to get me. It was very out of the ordinary for my life at this point in time and it brought my memories of childhood flooding back to me. Why would I have that feeling after so many years? It was easy enough answered for me. There was a demonic presence near.

So many things have happened to me so quickly during this short walk I have had with Jesus. I have prayed to God over and over again, to please take me and use me for the good of His Kingdom. I want nothing more than to give my life over to Him, the best I can. I want to help people and I am open to God working in my life, because I love Him so very much. That is the only reason I can think that my spiritual gifts have really opened up to me. But another thing is, I realized that I have had this gift of discernment all along. As far back as I can remember, it has been easy for me to understand people and things about people I couldn’t have known on my own. And there have been times when I had that sickening feeling in my stomach that someone was just behind me, waiting to hurt me, even when I knew there was no one there. This was long before I became a believer in Jesus Christ.

It was very easy to begin to succumb to the fear I felt. The fear seemed to creep up out of nowhere and take hold of me. It whispered in my brain that I was not safe and that evil was lurking to take hold of me at any minute. And I believed it for many nights. It was so easy to believe, because it was just like being a little girl, alone and vulnerable, all over again. That is exactly the place that our enemy wants us to be in. In a place where we let our thoughts and feelings control us. It makes his job very easy!

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7

For in our fears, our worries, our anxieties, we are not submitting to God, but to ourselves. For God has promised us countless times that He is with us, protecting us, taking care of us, and that Satan cannot harm us. We are His dear children and He wants to help us when things in life are difficult or scary. He delights in us coming to us with our problems! That means Satan cannot harm us, he can only lie to us and make us believe he can. We are to cast all our cares to God, and let Him comfort and guide us through life. When we stop trusting God and letting Him be our primary lead, we start giving the devil a foothold in our lives.

We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the One who was born of God keeps them safe, and the evil one cannot harm them. 1 John 5:18

jesuslightWe are not to be afraid of the dark. Jesus came to defeat death and darkness. Darkness can never win, unless we give ourselves over to it. That is through fear, worry, anxiety, anger, rage, unforgiveness, or any other sin that causes us to fall away from God. All of these things are like a slow poison that is killing our relationship with Jesus, our Savior. We must remember to daily repent of things that we do that grieve the Holy Spirit, and to continuously move closer to God. He has a plan for our lives, and He wants to prosper us and watch us be mighty warriors in His Kingdom! Do not let fear hold you back from the victorious life in Jesus Christ that God has given you!

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12

 

Category: Christian Life, My Salvation | Comments Off on Fear of the Dark
January 28 2015

Experience God

experience GodEveryone has their own way to experience God. Some people have had an encounter with Jesus where they have actually seen Him walk into the room and sit on the bed. Amazing. I have heard stories of villages where everyone had the same dream that they saw Jesus, and whole villages are being converted. Paul the Apostle saw Jesus on the road to Damascus and was changed forever. Some people experience God through a gift of healing others by praying in the name of Jesus. There are so many ways to experience God, to really feel and see and taste His presence in your life.

Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. Psalm 34:8

Have you experienced God for yourself? Have you had an encounter with the one true Living God that has blown you away? If not, then prepare to open your heart friend, because He is waiting to show you so much more. When we open are hearts and minds to Jesus, when we are obedient to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, you can watch God do the most amazing things in your life!

During the first year of my walk with Jesus I was very open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. He asked me to change many things in my life, things that I didn’t really want to change, but I knew it was right. And I wanted to honor and obey my Lord, because I love Him. He knows whats best for me, much better than I do. I tried to keep myself open to the Holy Spirit and let Him led me often. Unfortunately there were times when I refused to listen, and I can see how it has impacted my life. Not because I was punished by God, but much as a child refuses to listen to a parent, they reap the consequences of it.

Yet many times I followed through with things I felt the Spirit moving me to do, even when it seemed downright crazy. There have been many times I felt God prompting me to tell different people things. I went with it. It was weird for me. But it was also so cool. God wants to work through us to speak to others! We just have to listen, trust and obey. I am learning many of the spiritual gifts God has given me because of my willingness to obey Him. For instance, I felt very strongly at one point to email one of the church leaders and tell them a message God wanted me to give. I really did not want to. I really felt it was very crazy and dumb. I mean who emails church leaders with a message from God?

God doesn’t really speak through people to prophecy anymore, right? God doesn’t use people to heal or work miracles still. Those are all just stories from the Bible. Stories from 2000 years ago! Right? WRONG!  Do not be fooled into thinking God has changed! He has not. The God who walked with His people and commanded us to go out and heal and cast out demons and prophecy is still real, still alive and still exactly the same.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8

Satan does not want you to experience God, however. It is his job to keep you away from God. To deceive you into forgetting the truth and thinking that the stories from the Bible are dead and done for our generation. Look at all the distractions in life that take you away from God? Do you think it is a coincidence? Are lives are jam-packed with things to do and stress and problems – all designed to mask the reality that we have been given by God. We are here on earth to live a victorious life and to spread the Gospel message so others can live a victorious life as well. Are you claiming your life of victory right now? Or living just trying to get by every day?

Last year there was a homeless man who began to stand on a little strip of concrete that divided the road near a busy intersection. Honestly I didn’t think much about him and he was there for probably a couple of weeks. Until one night my husband and I were driving home from Bible study. Suddenly I was overcome by compassion for the man and I told my husband we needed to stop. He said he would stop tomorrow on the way home from work, but I insisted we needed too. He declined again and as were rounded the corner into our neighborhood we saw a cat that looked like the one that had run away. My husband turned the car around so we could look for her, and I asked him again to go back to the homeless man. I knew God wanted us to talk to him.

So he turned around and we went back to the corner and parked in a parking lot. My husband went over to the man and knelt down next to him and prayed. It was so weird because there was something almost angelic about the man. I felt very strongly that we needed to give him a Bible and I told my husband so when he got back in the car. He said the man was Christian was quoting scripture to him. He said he would bring him a Bible tomorrow. I said no he needed one now. So I handed my Bible to give to the man. Of course we had already started driving away again, so my husband had to turn around and go back. But the man was gone. So we looked for him and found him at the gas station on the opposite side of the street. My husband gave him the Bible, then came back to the car. I asked him if he had given him money for food, and he hadn’t, so he went to find him again to give him money.

The whole thing was just crazy in my mind. I started to feel very strongly that I needed to talk to the man and tell him that his daughter was looking for him. His daughter? How could I know that he had a daughter. I did not want to just start talking crazy talk to someone like that, but I felt so strongly that I needed to tell him this. The conviction was so strong I could not get away from it. I had to obey it.

So again my husband came back to the car and I told him. He said OK, let’s go talk to him together. I did not want to, I was so scared! Finally I got up enough nerve to do it. I had not really had any encounters with homeless people before. I had looked down on them really. This man’s name was Charles. He was very dirty and smelled like alcohol very strongly. I began to talk to him and I could tell he was drunk. He said angels protected him while he was on the streets, and I believed it. Like I said, there was something almost angelic about him, and I knew then that what he said was true.

I asked him if he had a daughter, and he did. He hadn’t talked to her in a number of years. I told him that she was looking for him, and that she Jesus was in her life. I told him that she was going to find him and he was going to go live with her. Crazy. Then I told my husband we needed to pray and cast out demons from him. We did. Super crazy. But real. So real.

We believed in God, and trusted in Him that this happened to help this man. I felt very strongly that he had been oppressed for many years by Satan who used the alcohol and other things to keep him away from doing what God wanted him to do. The next afternoon I did see Charles at the corner again. I was driving by to get my son from school and could not stop. He looked like he had a shower though. That was the last time I saw Charles. I believe that God worked through prayer to save this man from his oppression and deliver him.

Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.  And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues;  they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover. Mark 16:16-18

This is real. Everyone can experience God this way. I am not special, I do not possess something unusual that others do not. Jesus tells us right in the Bible that we can and should live a supernatural life. We are not physical body’s having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual bodies having a human experience. And why should these things sound crazy? Perhaps you have been tricked by the horror movies into thinking it is all fake. Do you know in other countries they believe and know demons are real and active. They see them and have spiritual battles daily. Why is it that here in the US we are so blinded to the wiles of the devil? His biggest ally here is that we do not believe in him.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12

Doubtful? Repent to God for being closed to His prompting in your life. Open yourself up to the Holy Spirit and ask Him to reveal Himself to you. Trust Him and obey any convictions or promptings you begin to feel. God wants to work in you and through you. You have spiritual gifts that are waiting to be discovered. They were not given to you for your own use, but to share with others. God loves His people – all people, and He wants each of them to experience salvation and hope and love. You can be a conduit in which that can happen, all you have to do is allow God to use you.

You can experience God in amazing and powerful ways. You were created to have a relationship with the Almighty God. It can be overwhelming and scary to think about this being real. But once you taste and see the Lord and His true love for you, you will never want to go back to an ordinary life where distractions carry you far away from Him.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10

Category: My Salvation, Who Is Jesus? | Comments Off on Experience God
December 4 2014

Gifts of the Spirit

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.  To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit,  to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit,  to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.  All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines. 1 Corinthians 12:7-11

givingGod was beginning to call me out to be bolder in my life. It was as thought I first went through a cleansing stage, where He was making me new. I was getting rid of sinful behaviors and desires and replacing them with God’s will and desires. Next it was time to grow a new intimacy with Jesus and learn about who He is and what a Christian life can look like. That required me to step out of my comfort zone and focus on the one whom I adore.

My church has an annual women’s retreat every March. It was not something I had every even considered attending before, because on top of the financial burden, I was not willing to live my kids and my husband. I had not been away from my husband for more than two nights since we began living together nine years ago. And I liked it that way thankyouverymuch. As march began to approach women began asking me if I was going to attend. I didn’t think it was a very good idea, but I figured I could pray about it, and ask my husband to pray about it as well. I knew if God wanted me there, I would go. Otherwise I would be perfectly happy to stay home.

I prayed to know God’s will and that if He wanted me to go that I could get a scholarship, because otherwise I could not afford to go. Before I knew it I had a scholarship and a cabin assignment and a ride up there. It happened so fast I didn’t know what hit me. God made His will known, and I was going to spend my first weekend away from my family. I was nervous, but excited. Talk about stepping outside of my comfort zone. Not to mention I never saw myself as much of a people person. I was more afraid of people than anything else.

The Friday I was supposed to leave I was so afraid! My husband called me from work to tell me God wanted me to know that I was going to have a great weekend, so I should relax. Relax? Really? Easier said than done. The first night was rough. There was no cell service and I could not call home. I tried to find a spot where my phone would get reception, but there was none. I missed my husband badly, and yes even my kids. I had to sleep in a dorm style room with a group of women I didn’t really know. So out of my comfort zone! But I put my trust in God. He wanted me there, even though I had no idea why, so I knew I had to go with it.

The retreat’s schedule included a worship time, a speaker and then cabin time to talk about what we learned. This was scheduled twice a day. I was thrown into an intimacy with women I had never even experienced in my life before. Growing up with a mom and a sister at home there was no closeness at all between us. Still to this day we have strained relationships at best. So to be in this proximity with other women, sleeping, eating and sharing a bathroom together, was so strange for me. Yet by the end of the weekend I had bonded with several of the women.

Most exciting of all I had an amazing experience growing closer to God through worship. Before I had always had a bit of a bad attitude during worship at church. If I didn’t know the song or didn’t want to hear it, my worship wasn’t good. If I thought the musicians were off, or if I was tired, I couldn’t get into it. And believe me I started off the weekend this way to. But something happened over the course of those three days where God met me in a new place. And I gave Him all my love and adoration, throwing myself into every song and bringing myself on my knees before Him. I couldn’t get enough of it! I never wanted the worship to end. I wanted to just stay in that place and be with God forever. I knew that must be just what heaven is like, singing praises to our King!

The experience has completely changed my attitude during worship time. Now every time I am in worship I feel the spirit moving me and molding me. I always take a posture of submission; raising my hands and enjoying every minute of it, no matter what song it is or how it is played. I am here to give my all to God, not the other way around. I don’t know if it was the worship or being out in the woods and closer to His creation, or what it was, but I grew in my boldness as well. I was praying for women, crying out on their behalf for their pain and burdens, praying for restoration and faith and healing. And I loved every minute of it. I was speaking words of encouragement and words of knowledge and faith. I never knew I had it in me to pray so boldly and to speak so honestly. God knew. He was just waiting for that right moment to show it to me. That moment when I would be humbled before him and ready to take that next step into His world.

I did not realize these things were spiritual gifts – encouraging, speaking truth, praying, faith, helping others. Sometimes something that is already so much a part of you just seems normal. And sometimes things that feel right, also just feel to scary to step out and do. So you don’t look at it as a gift from your Creator. A gift you were given to share with the world, to be a light and shine brightly with faith and love. Something as simple as volunteering at church or smiling at people you walk by in the store, those are spiritual gifts. And they are so very important to God. He sees all you do, and those you do for the least of these, you did for me.

It took time for me to realize that I had any spiritual gifts at all. I had to keep being put in positions where it was out of the ordinary for me – out of my comfort zone – so that I would begin to exercise them without out even realizing it. Until I just couldn’t stop myself spiritual giftfrom using them every time I was around people. It became a joy to me and that is when you know you are doing God’s work – when it fills you with joy and love. If you find yourself in a position like that, then maybe you have found your spiritual gift.

This test can be helpful for you to learn more about what gifts of the spirit are and what gifts of the spirit you have been given. Once you start to understand what your spiritual gifts are, you can began to pray and ask God to lead you in how to use them. It may be as simple as feeding a homeless person, or it may be something more complicated like leading a Bible study. Whatever it is, it is valuable in the eyes of God,and needed in our church body!

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 4:10-11

 

 

 

 

Category: Into The Light, Living In Darkness, Spiritual Gifts | Comments Off on Gifts of the Spirit