Manifestations of the Spirit…

 

OXYGEN VOLUME 13

“But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man for his benefit” (1 Corinthians 12:7).

The Bible is full of promises.

However, few people avail themselves of them.

It all stems from either lack of faith or a timid, fearful spirit.

Paul discerned this same issue with Timothy in his letter to him. He told Timothy to “stir up the gift of God, which is in you by the laying of my hands” (2 Timothy 1:6). Paul added that “God has not given us a spirit of fear; but of love, …power…and a sound mind.”

Fear is not the product of a sound mind. Fear has torment according to John the Elder in his first epistle. God has given us peace… not anxiety, …faith, not fear. The very word for “timidity” seems like to have been derived from the name of Timothy.

However, this is not true.

Timotheus, from which the name Timothy is derived from, means “honored by God.”

Which was Timothy?

Considering that Timothy came from a line of faith in which his mother and grandmother were firm believers, it is certain that “blood would tell.”

I used to be a pretty timid young man. I was very slim. In my graduation picture, my “adam’s apple” was the biggest object on my body. But after awhile, “blood would tell.” My father was a very bold man. I heard many stories about him and his exploits. Both of my older brothers were the same way. One, was pretty successful in his career. The other did not quite reach the same status but in my estimation, he was one of the bravest men that I have ever known. I have personally seen him fight three or four men, I forget exactly the number in the heat of the moment, and lay them all out like cord wood. He was not a big man. But he was fearless when things were on the line.

I remember when we had moved to South Carolina from Ohio. We were originally from southern Missouri and just as much “southern” as anyone in South Carolina. But we were harassed as “Yankees.” They spit on my brother, “keyed” his car, and tried to humiliate him through gang intimidation.

They were incredible cowards. None of them would approach him by himself.

My brother took up martial arts in a hurry. He got to be very good at it, very quickly. His life probably depended on it. Yep, it was that bad.

I remember we were in a car on a Friday night with a fellow new school friend. Since he was from Arizona, he was not considered to be a “yankee.”

We pulled into a Hardees restaurant for something to eat. The other boys were there who were picking on my brother. They surrounded the car and demanded that my brother get out of the car. He did. There must have been a hundred young men who thronged my brother. A local tough, who was a few years older than the high school kids took charge. They all wanted to see my brother do some Martial Art moves. The local tough cut to the chase. He produced two heavy concrete blocks. He set both of them on adjoining tables. He said that if my brother was a true practitioner of Martial Arts, like he was, then he could break one of the blocks.

This guy’s name was Gerald. He was about 5’11” and solidly, squarely built, I would say about 195 pounds. All the high school boys were afraid of him. He set his concrete block up and with one blow from a gripped, meaty fist, split the block in two. I saw it. It was an amazing display of strength, focus, and power. He then challenged my brother to do the same successfully, or he would “pound my brother first, and then let the others do the same.”

What I witnessed, you cannot duplicate in a Hollywood movie. The scene was incredibly thick with hatred toward my brother…

My brother Ben, adjusted the block for stability.

My brother squared his feet and his shoulders for balance.

I did not know how he was going to ever bust that block with his little hand.

What he did next… blew not only my mind, but everyone else that was there.

He raised his elbow up over his head, and did an martial art elbow strike squarely on the block.

The block crumbled into pieces.

There was a mob scene. The local tough Gerald, swept in and grabbed my brother from the surging crowd. He stepped out in front of him and them, and declared my brother a bonafide martial arts practitioner… and that anyone who wanted to challenge him to a fight would have to go through him!

It was pandemonium.

My brother was not challenged again for a long time.

I have never seen such a display of courage ever in my life, considering what was at stake, as it seemed our very lives. It seems to me to be legendary stuff.

***************************************

david-goliathDavid was only a lad about 5’4″ at that time. Goliath was a Nephilim or giant, who was about eleven feet tall, using 21 inch cubits. The Nephilim were traced back to the “giants in the earth” as described in Genesis 6:4. Archaeologists have found bodies larger than this in ancient burial graves, thus giving substance to the Biblical accounts of the Nephilim.

To have the faith to utilize spiritual gifts takes courage.

Many churches claim all such spiritual gifts were for the times only in the New Testament. They are called “cessationists.” They hide behind unbelief, cowardice, and a fearful spirit, so that they do not have to take a stand. They deny the miraculous in Christianity. Yet Christianity is based wholly on the miraculous…then and now… This is why it is called a “faith.”

You can imagine then, where such people would be if they were to have accompanied David when he encountered a bear and a lion when but a boy.

The same shepherd boy learned his lessons of faith in trusting God. He used the experience in killing an angry bear and a hungry lion to gird himself for the challenge of Goliath. He said that if God had delivered him from the paw of the bear and the mouth of the lion, that God would deliver an uncircumcised Philistine giant into his hand.

We all know the rest of the story. It is legendary stuff.

David could have avoided such trouble. After all, he was just a kid. But David dared to believe God.  He challenged God to honor His Word and His Promises and trusted in Him for the desired results.

It reminds me of what the famous missionary Hudson Taylor, once said:

“What we need is not a great faith; but faith in a Great God.”

This is the kind of faith it takes to step out to use God’s promises and to use God’s spiritual gifts. We must believe that God is able. Otherwise, we have no standing with Him.

There always seems to be a “decision” involved in following the true God. There is one here too.

Which decision will you make?

Will you believe and trust in God? Will you test God to fulfill His Word and promises.

Abraham did.

Or, will you withdraw from serving such a powerful God because human reason demands more proof than needed when you appropriate the power of faith?

There is the natural reasoning… and then there is spiritual law.

It is amazing how diametrically opposed one is the to the other.

Natural reasoning says… “seeing is believing…”

Spiritual Law, or the law of Faith states simply… “believing is seeing.”

I have seen this “believing is seeing” business work for some time now. I no longer have to see to believe… I believe to see…

Some folks in the New Age crowd have a phony name for it. They call it visualization. Well, if you have the gift of faith, you don’t need to visualize…. Instead, you see it occurring beforehand because you are dependent on God. By spiritual sight, you see it happening. Spiritual sight, or faith as a gift, is not some “do-it-yourself” visualization. There is no effort associated with yourself.

Jesus explained this very phenomenon.

He said, “Truly, truly,…the Son can do nothing of himself, but what he sees the Father do: for whatsoever things the Father does, these also does the Son likewise” (Gospel of John, 5:19).

The Gospel of John alludes four additional times in its text regarding this phenomenon of “seeing” faith.

Yet, you never hear this preached. I never have. And, you never will… unless you yourself, or someone worth listening to, has had this personal revelation of this truth directly given to them by the Spirit of God.

Yep, this is a miracle. The Spirit of God giving revelations. Imagine this with the “cessationist” crowd. They are so afraid of God with their unbelief that they possess no reality of Him.

Yes, if your God is real, it is because He has revealed Himself to you. Yes, if your Jesus is real, it is because he has revealed himself to you. Yes, if the Holy Spirit is real, it is because he has revealed Christ and God to you. Jesus confirmed such when he said, “If a man loves me…my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him” (Gospel of John, 14:23). And again, “…he that loves me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest (reveal my presence) myself to him” (ibid, verse 21).

As a Bible-based Christian, your God must be real. Christ must be real. The presence of their Spirit must be real. If you have no such reality, then you need a revelation. When you have a revelation from God and Christ, then you will have a testimony. If you do not have a testimony, you cannot call yourself a Christian.

Here is my testimony:

When you have a God-given conviction of faith in your heart imparted by the Holy Spirit as a gift, then you have little need of much anything else. When you constantly have this conviction of faith in your heart available for every challenge and waking moment in your life from God… it is a very wonderful thing.

It is a gift.

Yes, spiritual gifts are real.

And, I am from Missouri, … the “show-me” State.

Thanks for reading.

https://encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSaUBUhA71L7agjKvozCe43wq9XuPQilxVuRuOxPZv1ZAUqxGh_1ACopyrighted. Joseph Spickard, 2014. All rights reserved. Any reproduction of this intellectual property without prior permission from the author is prohibited.

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