We’re not talking about that, or if you are receiving two of the same item from different people, or even that time when your husband forgot he already bought you that, for an earlier anniversary.
Rather our conversation on this edition of “Becoming Today” will examine Gifts That Keep On Giving, that you may not be making use of or even realize you have.
Recently we discussed how you really do not always need to know all the details. Not needing to know is freeing and healing.
I have come to learn that often what we call worry is a sign from God. A warning that we may be approaching a situation we are not yet ready for or have diverted off our path. Gently accepting his nudge of correction I can then ease the tensions by remaining faithful, staying steadfast, being forbearant, living joyfully and expectantly while I wait for God to lead me forward.
So how can you learn to more easily determine which situations, events, circumstances truly need our attention? That’s where these gifts I mentioned come in.
The gifts of the Spirit manifest themselves for the common good and are readily available if you accept them and choose to make use of these resources within.
Picking up The Passion Translation of the Bible we find a good explanation of just exactly who can receive these gifts. And spoiler alert it’s all of us, if we choose wisely.
In 1 Corinthians 12:11, we read, “Remember, it is the same Holy Spirit who distributes, activates, and operates these different gifts as he chooses for each believer”. The footnote simplifies the language as “Spiritual gifts are given by the Holy Spirit at any time to anyone, he chooses”.
So at any moment, including possibly this one you can be selected. However you need to be in it, to win it. In order to be qualified for this drawing of course you need to register in advance. However there are no forms to fill out, or is a valid email required, you enter into this process by believing.
Your belief in God, your faith in His promises and your trust in the process ensures all things work for the ultimate good, including your ability to receive the gifts of the Spirit.
So now knowing you’ve got a great chance of receiving at least one if not all of them at some point in your life, let’s identify exactly what they are.
Going back a few verses in 1 Corinthians 12, they are listed beginning in verse eight:
“… The Spirit gives to one the gift of the word of wisdom.
To another, the same Spirit gives the gift of the word of revelation knowledge.
9 And to another, the same Spirit gives the gift of faith.
And to another, the same Spirit gives gifts of healing.
10 And to another the power to work miracles.
And to another the gift of prophecy.
And to another the gift to discern what the Spirit is speaking.
And to another the gift of speaking different kinds of tongues.
And to another the gift of interpretation of tongues.”
There they are seemingly simple, but while basic by design they are so much more.
So let’s take a look and further explore each gift. Now I’ll do so a bit out of order, because well, for me there is one that I’m saving as the best for last.
That’s not making a judgment, rather it’s my testimony of how this particular gift has served me best time and time again from a young age even before I knew what it was.
Let’s begin with what many list as wisdom. While wisdom is part of the gift here the wording is very specific. Linguists and translators note that the gift is in the phrase quote, “the word of wisdom”.
That comes from the Greek of “the message of wisdom” which expands upon the concept beyond knowledge partnered with good judgment. “The message” sets this type of wisdom apart as being insights, strategies and understandings that could only come from God.
These are experiences that give you a deeper knowing in the moment, being able to accurately assess and see the content of another’s character or getting a glimpse as to what is actually in their heart.
A very powerful gift, one that can be rewarding and depending upon the circumstance can provide heightened awareness and the need for additional security.
This can also be heightened by the next gift, that of “the word of revelation knowledge”.
This is not something that just magically pops into your head, though at times it seems like maybe it did just that. Again the terminology is from the Greek with “the message” of revelation knowledge intended to explain this information being downloaded into you through your direct connect with the Creator, your Spirit within.
Revelation knowledge can be an unveiling of information that first manifests as an impression, a feeling, a nuance that leads you to understand things that you previously had not. This differs from learning as it happens in the moment, suddenly you speak with authority on a topic you previously had no knowledge of or you follow your intuition and key answers are suddenly revealed to you.
We all have the potential for these abilities and they are not lost in history as some would try and suggest that God does not speak to us today. He does. You do not need a middle man, you can converse with Him, as long as you are willing to listen to the answers often revealed in those small still moments whether through that feeling in the silence or through a symbol that presents itself.
This is where revelation knowledge can be assured with very personal and concrete signs to each of them differ, depending upon your beliefs, culture and willingness to accept.
As for myself, I am often blessed with the appearance of hawks. Hawks in parts of my culture are symbolic of a messenger from God. I can no longer count how many times I have been blessed with these winged assurances.
For example I’ll be driving somewhere I’ve never been before and there is a more than proverbial fork in the road ahead, Am I to veer left or stay to the right? Then I glance up and a hawk will swoop over the direction I need to take.
So if you see me and I’m looking up in the air appearing to be talking to myself, I’m not. My head is not in the clouds, I’m watching the hawk soaring near them and giving thanks for the gift.
Also included in this list of the gifts of the Spirit are two I’d like to address together. They either go hand in hand or they don’t.
These are “And to another the gift of speaking different kinds of tongues. And to another the gift of interpretation of tongues.”
It seems many churches and much of culture just tries to ignore or dismiss this idea of speaking in tongues. That would be because they don’t want to take the time to understand it or they are too focused on the lesser qualities of human nature to be willing to accept the idea.
Non-believers consider a simultaneous outburst of an individual speaking what they might call gibberish, as being an act, someone calling attention to themselves or trying to overcome insecurities by acting as if they are better than others in some way. No doubt all of these instances have occurred, but that does not mean that “tongues” are false.
First, just because we don’t understand a language does not mean it’;s made up. Second, there are many ancient languages that are no longer spoken or considered by academics to be “dead languages”. Who is to say that’s not what is occurring?
If you don’t understand it, maybe it’s not meant for you to. That’s why oftentimes, the people who receive this gift will say things they don’t even know what they are saying, however someone else is able to translate it, and share the message, if necessary. This is where the two gifts work together, one is receiving the gift to speak the tongue, the other the gift to interpret it.
I could say I’ve never experienced this, but that would not be true. I wa snot suddenly speaking a forgotten language, but in the case of a medical emergency I assisted because both myself and an individual I had never met before nor seen since were simultaneously gifted the abilities which assisted in him receiving the emergency help he needed.
I was in south Louisiana at the time, and I saw this older man collapse. I rushed over to see if I could help and began asking him what happened? What was he feeling? He had fallen, losing his balance in connection with an ongoing medical issue. I spoke with him, asking questions and continued assisting as the paramedics arrived.
When they were putting him in the ambulance, one of his family members asked me, how did you do that?
Do what? I inquired.
Uhmm… well I spoke and listened.
But he doesn’t speak English and he answered you!
I believed the conversation was going on in English.
They asked him, how did you understand her?
He replied, well she was speaking in Acadian.
We each believed we were conversing in our native languages and to those around us, each of us were. The gift of tongues and the gift to interpret them was gifted to each of us in that moment, when assistance was required.
To this day I only know a few words of his native language and they certainly are not enough to share symptoms and medical information, so I know without a doubt what occurred that afternoon.
In case you want to explore a new tongue for yourself, all I can safely say in Acadian, which is more commonly described as the Cajun dialect of French, is that if someone asks me “Se bon”? I reply Au Rouleez!.
While dictionaries will differ I know the common usage is “everything good with you?” and the reply is “let the good times roll”.
Next in our discussion is “And to another, the same Spirit gives the gift of faith”. This again is a supercharged meaning of the word. While faith can generally be defined as confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see, it can also be manifest as a supernatural power.
When Spirit bestows the gift of faith upon a believer it allows for them to become a vessel. They are empowered to perform and release miracles on earth. Not by their own abilities rather by God doing the good works through them. It’s the ability to be a channel for His love and abilities to assist, when called for. Examples can range from healing touches, to someone suddenly able to lift a car off a child to an unknown person handing another a hundred dollar bill, when they just learned they were overdrawn at the bank.
Miracles and blessings are available and they differ greatly depending upon the situation. Sometimes you may perform one and not realize you just did. Remain open to the possibility and accepting of the gift when the need arises.
Next are the “gifts of healing”. This capacity can take on several forms from one who has a ‘healing touch” to those gifted with enhanced medical abilities to diagnose and treat, to those who refuse to listen to the terminal diagnosis and through their belief and faith put into action are cancer free 22 years after they were given a month to live.
We’ve all heard these stories. Many have witnessed them. Trust, believe and receive this gift of the Spirit in its appropriate form when it’s needed most.
The next two can also often follow one another.
“And to another the power to work miracles. And to another the gift of prophecy.”
We’ve already touched upon how miracles can be performed both through us and for us. Oftentimes I think we may have been used by the Creator for these purposes and never known or fully realized the miraculous impact we had upon someone. Or sometimes we tend to downplay our receiving a miracle as “good timing” or “luck”. To which I say truly reflect and you’ll come to a different understanding and I hope respond with the appropriate gratitude, which in itself is very rewarding, freeing and a gift unto itself.
As for the gift of prophecy, it too remains available to those willing to accept the responsibility. Prophecy was not limited to ancient times nor restricted to naked bug eating individuals running around deserts.
Prophecy itself has many meanings and is not limited to predictions of world events or attempts to zero in on the date of the so-called end times.
Prophecy is simply defined as “a prediction”. Now I’m not saying predicting the winner of tonight’s Royals-rangers game is a prophecy. In this case prediction is further understood as forecasting, far more than the weather and as divination.
The latter is explained as the practice of seeking and receiving knowledge by supernatural means. IKt allows us to make bold declarations, to have the understanding and ability to proclaim things and later witness them as truth.
I believe this gift can also be increased when the recipient is also in possession of revelation knowledge, which involves the acceptance that this information comes not from you, but through you for the highest good.
That leaves one more gift of the Spirit we need to talk about, the one I earlier described as saving the best for last.
For me that has been true. This gift is “to discern what the Spirit is speaking”.
Discernment is certainly a well desired ability that is capable of supplying aid, assisting, delivering, healing, instructing and even protecting.
That’s because discernment is the ability to judge well. It allows for us to be enlightened with the sensitivity to perceive the wisdom in or or a situation.
This is a gift I have come to know I received well before I had any real idea what it was.
It was gifted to me at a very young age. I do not use the word childhood to describe my journey, preferring to say I was short for a while and grew out of it. My initial years on this earth were anything but childlike and even in the good times I was expected to be a small adult.
I now understand I was given the gift to discern a number of things, though for many years I falsely believed I had developed a skill. I can give multitudes of examples but for today I’ll share what I call the first incarnation of my “Rule of 8”.
Growing up in an inner city urban setting you had to make many decisions, quickly, without hesitation and hope for the best. Some of these quite literally were life or death situations. I used to say if I looked into someone’s eyes for eight seconds I could tell if they were good or bad. In the mind of a minor child, not yet ever hearing the word discernment, I was granted the gift to make decisions to remain safe, to step away to run away from what can only be described as evil.
That’s why for me the gift of discernment is the best. It has guarded me, empowered me and quite literally saved me, many times. Without it, I would not be here writing this now.
Not being initiated in spiritual beliefs or practices in those years I did not know about putting on the whole armor of God or having his hedge of protection around me. I did believe in God, because somehow I knew there had to be more to life than the abuse and pain I witnessed and suffered daily.
I ‘knew” there was. I just had to find the way to move beyond. Fortunately I was able to discern the paths leading to the one I choose to share with you today.
Another note about the gifts of the Spirit is that they are in a much more positive sense, lol, the true gifts that keep on giving.
They are available to those who believe, throughout their lives, no matter how many times you need them or are needed to help deliver them. The rewards of receiving them also are long lasting, perhaps even infinite.
So I’ll allow you some time to digest today’s discussion and comment if you care to.
If you feel the need to do so privately, you can click to our “Contact” where “my people ” assure you your privacy is safe, because I am my people. I’m the only one who sees those communications.
As I mentioned, the gifts of the Spirit offer many rewards, that’s why next Tuesday we’ll take a bite out of the “fruits of the Spirit” and explore more. In the meantime tomorrow is time to check in on our now extended odyssey.
Wednesdays are becoming our day together to revive and refresh, coming together to search and restore wisdom in our communities, cultures and ourselves. I hope you’ll choose to join us for that on our next edition of “Becoming Today”.