Monday, July 14, 2014

Spiritual Gifts

Important: We are sharing a powerful vision from the Lord at the end of this article, and have also added it under our Visions Section.

Commonly, the expressions 'gifts of the Spirit' and 'spiritual gifts' refer to those abilities that God gives to believers for use in His service. It is my personal belief that every Christian has received some spiritual gift from God. These gifts are “for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12 NASB). Gifts are not given to attract attention to ourselves, nor should they be used to display how powerful we are; they are essentially to build up or edify believers and to Glorify the Lord (John 16:14).

Various Kinds of Gifts

This article, however, will not exhaustively examine each one of the spiritual gifts mentioned in the Bible, for time and space would not permit us. We will rather present this work so as to express the influence the gifts would have on our lives and ministry. In addition, spiritual gifts are not necessarily referring to the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit. There are other gifts separately grouped as "ministry or service gifts".

Therefore for the purpose of clarity we would like to reference those gifts here: “And He personally gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers (Ephesians 4:11 HCSB). In the book to the Romans we also have the following gifts: “If prophecy, use it according to the standard of one’s faith; if service, in service; if teaching, in teaching; if exhorting, in exhortation; giving, with generosity; leading, with diligence; showing mercy, with cheerfulness” (Romans 12:7-8 HCSB).

Additionally, in the book of Corinthians we find first the gifts of the Holy Spirit, “to one is given a message of wisdom through the Spirit, to another, a message of knowledge by the same Spirit, to another, faith by the same Spirit, to another, gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another, the performing of miracles, to another, prophecy, to another, distinguishing between spirits, to another, different kinds of languages, to another, interpretation of languages (1 Corinthians 12:8-10 HCSB) and further down the apostle Paul mentions more additional gifts, some already mentioned elsewhere. “First apostles, second prophets, third teachers, next miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, managing, various kinds of languages. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all do miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in other languages? Do all interpret?” (1 Corinthians 12:28-30 HCSB).

Similarly, Peter briefly mentioned some gifts: “If anyone speaks, it should be as one who speaks God’s words; if anyone serves, it should be from the strength God provides, so that God may be glorified through Jesus Christ in everything” (1 Peter 4:11 HCSB).

Levels of Authority

In the light of these various gifts and different levels of service, it must be remembered that these do not indicate different levels of spirituality or authority in the church. Briefly, the various levels of authority in the world have undoubtedly been accepted by the church today. The titles used in the world describe the authority an individual has to exercise their duties. I don’t have a problem with that because it creates some order. In contrast, in the body of Christ we are called to serve one another (Luke 22:24-27) and not to control the conscience of people into submission to our ungodly teachings. God never called any minister to ‘lord it over those entrusted in your care’ (1 Peter 5:3 NIV). Instead, our leading must be by example (following the example of Christ) and the flock must imitate the Christ-like lifestyle of the overseers (1 Corinthians 11:1).

Brethren, I am not teaching rebelliousness against ministers of the Word of God; that would be undermining the Scriptures that clearly says we must submit to those who are over us (Hebrews 13:17). It must be understood that the Bible does not say we must submit to our leaders’ every teaching; our salvation is personal and God will judge us for the choices we subjected ourselves to. Paul said, we must test all things and hold onto what is good (1 Thessalonians 5:21). Therefore, we owe it to our salvation to check what we are taught (Acts 17:11).

Personal Experiences

Someone once said, “An ounce of experience is worth a ton of theory”. Paul also gave his personal testimony when presented with an opportunity (see Acts 22:1-30, 26:1-32; Galatians 1:1-24). I will also recall on some of our own experiences as well as some from people in the Bible. As a word of caution: while an experience with God makes our salvation real, at the same time no one’s experience with God should be used as a ‘mould’ or template for everyone else. Throughout the Bible, God used different people who expressed their faith and convictions to Him in different ways; the only thing they had in common was their love for God and their obedience (Daniel 6:10; Psalm 116:1-19; Jeremiah 9:24; Acts 21:13).

Scripturally, one of the principal reasons we serve God is not just to escape His Judgement, but that we should LOVE HIM MORE THAN ANYTHING OR ANY ONE INCLUDING OURSELVES (Luke 10:27; Matthew 10:37). You might say, Brother Glenn this has nothing to do with spiritual gifts! Yes, it has everything to do with it, for the Bible says: “If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I AM NOTHING (emphasis mine) (1 Corinthians 13:2 NIV). In the beginning of my walk with God, I asked Him to help me love Him more than just His gifts and blessings. He listened to my prayer and answered me. While the sufferings and hardships I endured for the sake of the gospel cannot compare to those of Paul, Job, Daniel and David, our Lord Jesus tested me through trials to prove the love I professed to have for Him, and in a spirit of humility, He counted me worthy to serve my brethren by bestowing me with gifts. Also, as part of the gifts the Lord gave my daughter Charis and I, He bestowed the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) upon us and said they were spiritual gifts from Him. We received it by faith, and we know those gifts are present in us, for it made us serve Him better and with greater confidence.

Using the Gifts Through the Fruit of the Holy Spirit

The Bible says that as individual Christians we should desire spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 14:1) and we should pray for gifts (1 Corinthians 14:13). If our motive is to attract people to us and display our ‘glory’ to others, then our motives are wrong in seeking gifts from the Lord (Acts 8:18-23). Like I mentioned above, gifts are to glorify the Lord and to equip the saints for works of service (Ephesians 4:11-13).

In conclusion, many people overlook the values that make up a Christian’s personality - the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Brethren, the Lord told us that no gift, no matter how powerful, can operate if love and the rest of the fruits are absent. Also, the Lord told us that the nine fruit of the Holy Spirit are gifts, because they do not grow automatically into believers' hearts; He prunes us to bear fruit (John 15:4-5). We might pursue the spiritual gifts that show our ‘power’ to others, but have we asked God for the fruit that magnifies the gifts (Acts 4:13)?

Furthermore, if we exercise a spiritual gift with the wrong attitude, we may cause spiritual harm (1 Corinthians 13:1-3). The Lord has given gifts to build up the church and not to satisfy our pride and selfishness. As an indication of the Holy Spirit’s work in us, it is not just the spiritual gift that we must exercise, but the spiritual fruit that we must produce (Galatians 5:22-23; 2 Corinthians 3:17-18).

Finally, the gifts identify the authority of the Lord over all natural things, sicknesses and death (Mark 16:18; Acts 3:16; Acts 5:16; Acts 28:3-6; Galatians 3:5). His promised gifts are as sure as His promised return for His children (John 14:15-21, 25-26).

Rapture Vision - Saved by One Minute

This short vision was given to Charis after her early morning 06:30 AM prayers.

“The Lord gave me a vision on July 9, 2014. In the vision, I saw my mother, father and one of the sisters in the ministry, sitting outside in the car discussing something. My father and mother were sitting on the back passenger seats, while this sister was seated in the front passenger seat. On the driver’s seat was a Black Figure with his head on the steering wheel; his head was covered like someone who has a hoodie jacket. I came outside the house and went to them, sitting next to my mother while laying my head on her lap. It appeared to be very late at night and it was very cold. While I was laying my head on my mother’s lap, I heard my father swearing and as he did so, my right eye’s focus was sharpened and I saw a pair of black cards with time on it, and it was 11:59.

Being prompted by the Holy Spirit, I told my father: repent, repent! My father prayed in repentance and suddenly everything became silent and I heard the final seconds ticking by with the last SECONDS being very LOUD and the clock showed 12:00. While I was looking at the time, I noticed black clouds in the sky and I saw our family (my father, mother, Claudia, Jaydeen, Cailin and myself) being caught up in the sky into Heaven. The sister who was sitting with my parents in the car was not raptured; she threw her head back and she cried uncontrollably in a loud demonic voice, “I am left behind!” with the Black Figure next to her! The next moment I heard the Lord’s VOICE saying to my father, “You were saved by one minute!”

Interpretation of Vision

The Lord said that the RAPTURE will happen soon, but that many people are not ready! (Revelation 22:12, 20) People don’t know when the last minute is, but many risk missing the rapture by living sinfully. The Lord said that the sister in the above vision was left behind because she did not repent and her heart was still in the world and not on Him. The Black Figure (Satan) was with this sister in front to show that he has been deceiving her. My wife and I, with Charis later joining, shows that we are there to intercede for her and as witnesses. The Lord also said that He used me as an example and saved me at the last minute to illustrate that only those who have lived holy lives and repented of their sins will be saved. Our years of service will not count in our favour when the Rapture takes place, “but only those who are faithful till the end will be saved” (Matthew 24:13). The Lord is warning Christians to be READY and live Holy every minute of our service to Him; only then will we be READY and worthy to see His face. Live a repentant life, brethren, for sinful living will expose your hypocrisy on that DAY, like our sister and myself were made to find out. Praise God for His grace that one minute makes all the difference; I bless the LORD!!!

Blessed Love,
Brother Glenn.