My Thoughts

My Thoughts on Christianity and Other Things

Archive for the month “November, 2013”

Spiritual Gifts

I didn’t really want to write about this, but here it goes. And I’m sure there will be trouble.

Some people say that every believer has a spiritual gift. Whether they know what theirs are, or not. Some believe that there are no more spiritual gifts, and that those who say there are, are just fooling themselves. Many people are very opinionated about spiritual gifts. And to a point, I believe that’s OK. However if one gets stubborn and refuses to listen, even to Scripture, well that’s not OK.

One of the common things I hear about spiritual gifts is that you must speak in tongues or some strange language. Why? The Bible doesn’t say that.

I know many people will say “In 1 Corinthians 14:5, Paul said ‘I wish you could all speak in tongues’.” Yet they ignore the rest of what Paul said. I believe this is wrong and dangerous on many levels. I’ll explain why in a minute.

1 Corinthians 14:5 says I wish you could all speak in tongues, but even more I wish you could all prophesy. For prophecy is greater than speaking in tongues, unless someone interprets what you are saying so that the whole church will be strengthened.

Saying that you must speak in tongues isn’t in the Bible. So claiming that it is and that you must do it if you have the Holy Spirit is a lie. 1 Corinthians 12:7-10 says there are different gifts for different people. NOT EVERYONE will get the gift of tongues. 1 Corinthians 12:11 says It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts. HE ALONE DECIDES WHICH GIFT EACH PERSON SHOULD HAVE. Not you and not me.

I wonder how many young believers, who honestly wanted to follow the Lord with all their heart felt defeated and give up because they were told they did not have the Spirit because they couldn’t speak in tongues. This is evil, because this faulty teaching is dividing the church and driving away some believers.

If somebody prays and heals someone right in front of you, will you ignore the gift of healing and tell that person he or she doesn’t have the Holy Spirit because that person can’t speak in tongues? I would like to see you explain that to our Lord.

For years I have been having trouble with my left leg and left foot. Sometimes it hurts. The pain is on the skin just under that bone that sticks out at the ankle. (The right leg and foot is OK.) The doctors know what’s wrong, they just can’t fix it. A few years ago, a woman asked if she could pray for it. I said yes. She then asked if I speak in tongues. I said no. She told me that if I don’t speak in tongues, it’s a clear sign that I don’t have the Holy Spirit. She even quoted the first part of 1 Corinthians 14:5, but of course not the second part.

I knew what she was saying was wrong, and I knew I should tell her, but I didn’t. I was in pain and I wanted to be prayed for. Well the next day the pain got worse. And for the next two years I had very intense pain, with infections, and even MRSA a few couple of times. To give you an idea of how bad the pain was, one day I had a little discomfort in my tooth. I went to the dentist so it wouldn’t get worse. Turns out the tooth was so bad it needed a root canal. Yet the pain in my foot was over shadowing the pain in my foot.

Many people prayed and I prayed, but nothing happened. One day my pastor and a few people in our church put oil on me and prayed. The pain eased up a lot, but it still hurt. Soon after that I was thinking about that woman who told me the faulty doctrine about speaking in tongues. And how I knew I should have said something about it, but didn’t. I knew it was wrong because I knew the truth but said nothing. I confessed my sin to God and to my wife.

The next day the pain was gone and the infection was gone. In a few days the sore was healing. I was pain free for a whole year! I still have a little pain now. Not much, just enough to remind me. I have other problems now, but that is another story.

The woman claimed to be praying in the spirit. But she wasn’t. I know she’s a Christian, yet she wasn’t praying in the spirit but instead praying in the flesh to show off. That was her sin. My sin was knowing it but not correcting her. And I paid for it.

If you honestly have the gift of tongues, good but use it wisely. If you do not have the gift of tongues, I say that too is good. But I must add, if you don’t have the gift of tongues, I hope you would be brave enough to say you don’t and to not fake it. And try not to let anyone bully you.

I know a man who is in his 30s and have Downs Syndrome. He is friendly and out going. Sometimes during Bible study he speaks slowly and carefully making sure he says exactly what he means to say. (Our church is active in Young Life Capernaum.) One night though, while he was praying during the group prayer, something happened. His speech changed. It was still his voice but what he said and the way he said it was not him. He spoke as clearly and as fluidly as an expert speaker. He prayed by giving thanks for the new bodies we would receive after the Resurrection. Bodies that would not get sick, when there would no longer be any suffering. He was prophesying. The Holy Spirit was speaking through him. I shouldn’t have been amazed to see this, but I was.

1 Corinthians 12:7
A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.

We may not know what our gifts are, and I think maybe that’s OK; though it would be nice to know. I may be wrong, but I believe that when needed, we will naturally use that gift. Just keep in mind that God created all of us differently. And He will also gift us differently as shown in 1 Corinthians 12:8-11 .

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California Trip

The last few weeks I have been distracted. Not because of anything bad, but because my nephew was getting married in Berkeley California. I am not going to show who they are because I respect their privacy. (That and the photos didn’t turn out good.)

The trip started with deciding whether to drive or fly the 1800 mile (2897 kilometers) round trip to Berkeley or not. After talking it over my wife and I decided to drive for several reasons. The drive and the hotels would have been cheaper than flying. Plus we wouldn’t have to rush to the airport or the car rental. We could also carry what we want too.

We left home at about 7:30AM on November 7th. Things went pretty smoothly until we drove through Lacy, Washington. That was when the ‘CHECK ENGINE’ light came on. “Oh No! Now what!?” I had it checked out and found that maybe one of the oxygen sensors was faulty. We decided to keep driving. After about 50 miles (80 kilometers) the light went out and everything seemed fine.

Fine until we made it to southern Oregon and northern California. There we were driving through the dark night, in the heavy rain, and fog. At one point I had to slow down to about 30 MPH (50 KPH) because of poor visibility. We couldn’t see squat.

It was about that time when my wife, Karen grabbed the cell phone to call Best Western in Yreka, California where we sent the night. It was nice to crawl into bed.

The next morning we were on the road again. The scenery was beautiful. Instead of going straight to Berkeley, we detoured to Santa Rosa. On the way we stopped at Nichelini Winery. What an enjoyable stop. After some wine tasting, Karen stayed inside and talked to the owners about whatever, and I was outside exploring.

Nichelini Winery

Filling the new barrels with water so the wood would swell, so it would later hold wine.

Filling the new barrels with water so the wood would hydrate and swell, so it would later hold wine.

Myself by wine press. The pole is the lever that's used to crush the grapes in the tank. Much like a giant garlic press.

Myself by an old wine press. The pole is the lever that’s used to crush the grapes in the tank. Much like a giant garlic press.

After the night in Santa Rosa we arrived in Berkeley and stayed at the Berkeley City Club. The next morning while the bride and groom and their parents were doing whatever needing to be done; I was off exploring the site. Every door that wasn’t locked, I tried. Almost. There was one small door outside going into a crawl space area that looked interesting. However if the hotel found out somehow, I’m sure they wouldn’t be too happy. And if I came out all dirty, my wife would be most displeased.

The wedding was good. Simple with plenty of food before and supper after the wedding. They had beef and chicken to choose from. The reception went until about 11:00 that night.

Berkeley is a nice place to visit with some good eating places. Karen and I ate at a great Cajun restaurant just a few blocks from the hotel.

After a few days we took our long drive home. It was fun, but it’s good to be home again.

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