GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT
Explanations of 'gifts' given by the Holy Spirit to committed
Christians, to be used by them to demonstrate
his actual presence in the Church.
When I wrote about these ‘gifts of the Holy Spirit’ being applied right in front of us, or even to us, in the article “Experiencing the Holy Spirit”, I wrote “that the events can occasionally
take us even beyond
the boundaries of our imagination as to what might be possible”. I am
confident that this was not an exaggeration. You can read that article mentioned above, to get an understanding of how these gifts from the Spirit fit within the greater Christian Church.
In effect these ‘gifts’ provide
of God’s presence to us individually, as they are manifested right there and then in church services. Now, you cannot take words like
those lightly can you? Yes, God may be invisible, but my golly he has the ability,
when the time is right, to clearly demonstrate to us that he is indeed present in
this world. So, all I can say is, just wait until you are placed in a similar
This particular article then, describes these ‘gifts’ and their outcomes.
2. GIFTS AND BLESSINGS THAT FLOW FROM THE SPIRIT
I have explained already, many people receive gifts – miraculous healing, tongues, prophecy etc. – from
the Holy Spirit when
being touched spiritually by him, within a church service. This usually
occurs under the guidance of a clergy person (minister, priest, pastor,
vicar etc) who has been anointed in the Spirit themselves. Then after
the event, these now gifted
individuals can then utilise the gifts they have received. They may,
depending on what gifts they have been given, heal the sick, prophesy etc. I have
been blessed to receive my own gifts, and have witnessed some extreme
examples of the manifestation of gifts
that had been given to others.
The most notable and unforgettable example of the manifestation of a gift from the Spirit, that I have personally seen,
was the healing of my wife, then a
victim of more than six months. She had suffered from semi paralysis
on one side of her
droopy eyelid, loss of peripheral sight in that eye and continuous,
debilitating headaches as a result of the stroke. That stroke-damaged
side of her body always appeared to be more pale in its extremities (hands and feet) than the other as
well. Life on the whole was
miserable for her, not that she complained much. And she had also lost her job as a result of those disabilities.
And there we were, in a packed church, attending a ‘healing’ service. A Christian healer rested her hand on my wife’s shoulder. I stood and watched as
the white, weakened flesh of my wife’s left hand, which was visible to me, turned pink and
before my eyes. In that instant, brain cells had been rebuilt,
blood circulation, sight and strength to previously afflicted body parts.
And that headache was gone too.
Obviously, this sort of stuff is supposed to be
impossible! Brain cells,
once destroyed, cannot ‘physically’ regenerate within a
second of time under normal
circumstances. My wife, who was in her early forties at
the time, is still free from symptoms twenty five years later, therefore I
definitely know it was all very genuine and the effects
were permanent. Many witnesses, including
our community of faith at that time, remember the incident well.
had certainly believed in God prior to joining the Born Again/
Charismatic movement, but that event undeniably took our belief to a whole new
level. Of course we have had many more experiences of the Spirit’s
presence, some also quite profound, whilst in that area of the
Church. We had no idea really of what had awaited us when we joined the movement.
Yes, the gifts that may be made available to those of us in the movement, that flow to us through the Spirit’s touch, are (to use one of my grandson’s favourite words) ‘awesome’.
Based on my own experiences, I
have tried under the next few headings to explain
the outcomes of those gifts previously named above.
3. SPEAKING IN TONGUES
The ability to speak in ‘tongues’ is
a common gift to those people in ‘the movement’ who have been touched by the Spirit. In fact, it is seen as the only proof of being
‘born again’ within some
Pentecostal churches. In other words, these churches consider
that only those people who can speak in tongues will
(with reference to verses John 3:1-8).
Most Christians including myself disagree whole heartedly, seeing this as an inappropriate
understanding. I write this because other New Testament verses indicate otherwise (1 Corinthians 12
included). I personally
actually spoken in tongues yet so, tongue in cheek literally, I hope I am correct about that!
Despite not possessing that particular gift, I know that I do
thankfully have others.
As I see it, tongues is generally
way of praying to God. To the outsider it generally sounds to be garbled
the person praying in tongues, it is often a means of expressing
emotion, devotion and
to God, which are beyond the limits of the spoken word. The ‘words’ as such are not even chosen, and the
flow from one’s uncontrollably fluttering tongue without
deliberation. The meaning behind tongues is sometimes not
even known to
the person uttering it. Others are gifted with the ability to interpret
the sound of tongues when uttered within a congregation.
do not normally report outcomes from gifts I have not witnessed myself,
but I have been told by a close friend that on rare occasions people, with
the gift of tongues, can actually speak in a language foreign to
them (when the Spirit wants it to happen). That is the gifted person may
speak in a language, unknown to them, but it is understood by another
person fluent with that language who is present before them. That type of gift is actually mentioned in the Bible [Acts 2:4-11].
In itself, tongues, when seen in
isolation, may not offer any tangible evidence of God’s presence
unbeliever. But its manifestation in a ‘genuine’ congregation within the movement normally indicates
other gifts, which can
more readily demonstrate God’s presence, are available there.
Healing in this setting can occur in many forms,
psychological or emotional strengthening, through an
acceleration of normal physical healing
functions, to complete and miraculous transformations (as in my
example of instantaneous recovery from a stroke).
Totally unpredictable healing events can also come out of ‘left field’.
effect, the Spirit actually performs the act of healing as he sees fit,
through a gifted healer or even just spontaneously. It is not up to the healer to choose the
degree of healing that is to occur. The healer is, in effect again, a ‘conduit’ of the Spirit’s power.
Major physical defects, illnesses etc can be eradicated in
of an eye. On the other hand, nothing outwardly ‘obvious’ to the observer
may occur. A gift of emotional strength for example won’t be noticeable to observers.
does happen, however, can it be put down to some unknown law of
physics? I really don’t
believe so. It is also obvious that particular people in the Church have the ‘gift’ of healing (i.e. those who can indeed pass on the Spirit’s power in this manner), because
always the common denominators in such events. Also I have noted that
known to me did not
these powers prior to them being anointed or touched by the Spirit.
I know that local clergy and lay ministers had laid hands
on my wife, after her stroke, prior to her ‘miracle healing’ with no noticeable effect to me. The actual ‘miracle’ itself occurred at a well attended church ‘healing
service’ as I have already described. Prior to the service, she doubted anything would
happen. BUT happen it did! It was of course the Spirit’s ‘call’ as to what happened and when.
can also positively say that when genuine healing
occurs, it is not a
‘mind over matter’ thing occurring within the affected
person. When healing does result from the placebo
the health of the person, who thought they had been healed, will
regress. That will happen within a few days of the event. The health
issue will return. I am absolutely confident from what I have witnessed
when it does occur, comes from a source other than from within those of
us on the receiving end. My wife’s healing was an absolute testimony to that fact.
But as I have already indicated, nothing is certain to us before these events unfold. I will say that some level of healing always
occurs when they ‘lay on hands’, ‘anoint with oil’
etc. However, as I have
miraculous physical changes do not always happen on the spot; right
there. Sometimes, an injection
personal strength to face circumstances may only come to pass. As I
have indicated above, emotional healing; an injection of strength to
cope with the situation, may occur. In such
appears to the casual observer, who may not follow through on outcomes,
miracles occur sometimes and yet other times nothing happens –
which is usually not the
case at all!
I, for example, received the laying on of hands, described in another article, from a
the clergy when first diagnosed with a life threatening health
Although I did not expect any special sensation at that time (I didn’t
know that he was a member of the movement, i.e. he had been previously anointed by the Spirit), I felt a unique
‘infilling’ (a thick oil-like feeling) strongly
flooding through me. The strength of the experience led me to hope at the time that
been cured, but it was not so, at least not at that stage anyway. The
event did not save me from
surgery, and the following drawn out treatment over many months. What
came out of it
a sense of personal strength to cope with it all. And, of
course, I am
obviously still here to write these words more than twelve years later.
one can guess who will actually receive miraculous healing. Normally, when they do
occur, they are timed to best suit building up the Church (termed
“edification”): to bring people to Jesus.
Although I have never heard of really significant outcomes
from my own laying on of hands, I know that I do at least have
a healing gift. As one example, when performing a lay
role for my church in a hospital, I laid hands on a Christian woman who was having a powerful full-body
seizure resulting from earlier brain surgery and requested the Holy
Spirit to act. The seizure just ‘stopped’ immediately as a
result and I continued my ministry with the patient.
another occasion, I called on the Spirit to again heal another
Christian woman in the
same hospital. I knew she was a lay minister in a distant parish and a
member of the movement,
but she did
not know me. She had been admitted to hospital as a result of a heart
attack. She subsequently admitted she had enjoyed an ecstatic
experience from the
Spirit, as he touched/ anointed her, as
a result of my request to him for healing. She further described, after
that she recognised a palpable healing sensation around
her heart. I know that she is still enjoying good health, many years
No doubt the lay minister
would have informed her fellow worshipers, at the church she attended,
of the details. She would have made sure that the event was edifying; used for strengthening the faith of others. Note that the lay minister’s
powerful and ecstatic spiritual experience again occurred spontaneously. Once again, emotions,
hysteria etc played no part in the event. It just happened, there
and then, totally unexpected by the lay minister.
what the gifted Born Again/ Charismatic feels when he or she passes on the Spirit’s healing to
another person? Well, in
my small examples, I personally never felt anything at all when praying
or laying on hands for the sick, no matter what the outcome.
5. WORDS OF THE SPIRIT
“Prophecy” [1Corinthians:12] and other advisory gifts, such as so-called “words/ messages of knowledge” are quite commonly witnessed within the Born Again/ Charismatic
possess these gifts are used by God, again as a conduit, to provide guidance or advice to
others. And again, it edifies the Church; is used in effect to draw people to Jesus etc.
I have also recognised evidence of God’s widespread love at times through some of the words of knowledge I have witnessed. It was very personal and heartrending stuff, at times directed towards other faithful Christians present. As a Christian I understand the Bible’s message about God’s
love for us. And Jesus’ life on earth, as described within the Bible,
clearly personified that love for us. But when you see an actual
verbal outpouring of God’s love for one of his faithful through the words of a gifted person, in REAL life like that, it certainly brings the Bible’s ‘message of love’ home.
Moving firstly on to the gift of prophecy, it is often although not always related
to ministry and spiritual growth for both individuals and
a whole. After the
information ‘passed on’ has been proven (i.e. the prophecy is fulfilled) it offers clear evidence
of God’s presence
to the person giving the advice, the person receiving the advice and
any other witnesses.
I have again a very special incident to share. Again it
relates to my wife. This second example for her occurred about ten
after the previously described healing miracle, so now possibly 17 years in the past. Again, it related to a health issue.
wife had on this occasion undergone abdominal surgery and had been left
with ongoing and severely
painful intestinal episodes. She endured a couple of investigative
surgical procedures as a result. This situation actually went on for
years. Finally unable to identify any causes, the
surgeon wrote the issue off to good old ‘it’s
all in your mind’.
The severe yet intermittent pains continued, seriously affecting my
wife’s quality of life and we really didn’t
know where to turn. We regularly prayed
together for an answer.
The resulting healing
rolled out in a completely unexpected manner. My wife and I
attended a regular mid-week evening Charismatic service within our
Protestant church without any expectations. The officiating clergyman,
a bishop no less, began
in the closing stages of the service to offer ‘prophesies’ to
individuals in the congregation. He knew absolutely nothing of my
wife’s ailment but he stopped beside her
and offered these words, “The doctors will find the cause of your pain
shortly and fix it!”
The bishop knew nothing of my wife’s condition I might add. My wife and I were certainly encouraged by the statement, but bearing
in mind that
her surgeon had written her off, we had no idea how the issue could be
furthered. But thankfully the prophesy quickly came to pass.
wife visited another health specialist, who had attended to her over the
years, for a routine examination a few days after the church service.
During the course of the consultancy she mentioned her health dilemma.
The specialist knew my wife extremely well and stated that, as a result, he knew her
pain would not just be in her mind, as the surgeon had theorised.
Shortly after the consultation, the specialist contacted the
surgeon. Begrudgingly the surgeon agreed to examine my wife’s
through an endoscope (a viewing tube inserted through a small
incision). He told my wife’s specialist that he (the surgeon) would only
procedure if the specialist also attended the hospital and assisted in
the procedure. The
deal was the surgeon would give the specialist a well aged bottle of
scotch whisky if they found anything out of the ordinary. And the surgeon
obviously felt he was pretty safe with that deal.
In short, during the
operating theatre procedure
the doctors noted a section of intestine that had been accidentally
stitched to the wall of my wife’s
stomach. This had happened when the incision was
closed after that first abdominal surgical procedure I referred
to earlier. The stitch was snipped using an attachment on the
endoscope, allowing the pinched section of intestine to drop into its
rightful place. And that intermittent and severe pain was no more. The
subsequently too embarrassed to charge for the procedure. Indeed as the
bishop had said, “The doctors
will find the cause of your pain shortly and fix it!” The well intentioned specialist got his bottle
of scotch whisky too.
will note that the two examples of healing with my wife occurred
in completely different ways. One, the healing of stroke
effected in the moment within a healing service through a direct act of
God. The other was clearly orchestrated through an act of God’s providence (his helping hand) after the offering of the prophecy.
I can assure you that it is quite
amazing when you are actually on the receiving end of genuine advice from the Spirit. It
really is potent evidence of the presence of God, and I am not
information, which is very pertinent and personal, will be quite
addressed to you. You will know that
when it occurs. And, because
it does regularly happen, it offers strong ongoing evidence that God is
away within your life and within his Church.
One is never embarrassed
by God if these ‘words’ are past on verbally in front of our community of faith. I was, for an example of ‘message of knowledge’, informed by God through a visiting pastor, that I
(particularly the Bible’s New Testament). That one was ‘spot
on’. I have already highlighted my analytical nature in other articles on this website. My church
friends laughed. They knew me all too well I am afraid. And
I laughed along with them. The pastor went on to tell me that I needed to look at Biblical scriptures in a different way: to ‘place myself’
in the stories to get a better understanding of the underlying
messages. After that advice I did start to look at the New Testament
with ‘new eyes’. I had never before met
the pastor providing the words. He had been invited to our fellowship, on the night, by our own church leader to demonstrate his gifts.
I mentioned in another article (“So, what is God?”) how
advice, through a pastor in ‘the movement’,
that earlier mystical
experiences of mine had indeed been genuine encounters with
God. And it is that pastor whom I am referring to here. He continued with his message/ words of
knowledge, “You have
‘known’ God in a way that others here have not!” It was made very clear to me that God
was referring to my earlier mystical experiences.
During the course of that session I was also advised by
God, through a ‘prophesy’ past on by the pastor, that I would act as a “bridge
to Christianity” during one-on-one ministries that
would arise for me. A picture of a chapter heading, i.e. those exact words from
a book I had read recently, appeared inside my head as the pastor spoke. The chapter
people from pantheist
religions to Christianity via a ‘bridge’ of
Obviously, the chapter heading,
that came from the mouth of the pastor, was intended by God to make
that very connection. Because of my broad religious knowledge (again see “So, what is God?”)
I could easily engage in conversations with people from
pantheist and alternative religions. My knowledge of mysticism, and
now thanks to God’s verification that it been him that I had recognised there in my own earlier experiences, put me in the perfect
position to encourage people
to trial Christianity for themselves. My occupation at the time meant that
I met and chatted one-on-one with hundreds of fellow staff members, in a large organisation, during a year. I never
had to push the religion ‘wheelbarrow’ in
this personal ministry because God, through acts of providence, actually brought me into contact
as prophesied, with people who were open to, and indeed enjoyed, such conversations. And I
comfortably did as I had been directed by him. As I have stated, providence, or God’s helping hand, brought it all together. It was a case of ‘no sweat’ for me!
The combination of personalised communication directed by the Spirit ‘through’ a gifted person, and a flurry of neural connections again effected internally by the Spirit ‘to’ relevant memories
in your brain, really makes one take stock of the experience.
Words delivered in this way are not easily forgotten I can assure you. They hit hard! I have heard of otherwise
strong people reduced to tears by prophesies, guidance or reassurance, as intense emotional weight has been lifted off their
years after that event described above I
was given further advice from the Spirit: through another member of the clergy this time,
the Protestant bishop (in the movement) whom I have already referred to. This time I was told, through a prophesy, that
broaden my Christian ministry widely, to the masses, i.e. I
was no longer restricted to one-on-one sessions or a narrow focus when
promoting faith. And I now guess that this website is the result of that prophesy.
advice from the bishop certainly came to impact me. I could see in hindsight that God would
have had a forward plan for me, when he had directed at that earlier time that I should only minister
The two clergy men, who passed on those words to me, could
not have had a clue about what each other had said in the past or would say in the future.
yet smaller, related example that occurred
with me is worth sharing here, to
demonstrate how God can enter into our day-to-day lives (as faithful Christians) to assist in simple
I was under a lot of stress, over twenty five years ago. I
taken on a
new demanding job and was simultaneously building a family
for both were intense, and as a result I was in a state of continual
God chose to intervene, even though he had not been requested
by me to do so.
He selected one of my old friends, also a member of the movement, who had not been in
me for some time, to act for him. He had absolutely no opportunity to
know of my stressful situation. My friend confronted me at my workplace and,
although unsure about its context, said that he had a message
from God. The message was, “You don’t
have any need to be stressed. Hand
over all your problems
to the Lord.”
have known to do just that, but stress does strange things to our
normal behaviour. I
was quite taken
aback. Knowing that my
knew nothing of
my ‘trying’ stressful circumstances beforehand made it clear that
the message was genuine. A
flush of relief seized me as I heard the words. That home building
fell into place, like
really, after that. Some prayers for assistance during
construction were answered with incredible
outcomes along the way I might add. (I
think I could actually write a complete article on just those events.)
Responsibilities, in that new job of mine, certainly became easier to
manage as well. Events like that, although small in comparison to some
experiences, have the capacity to create significant increases in
faith and belief.
Like healers, those with this gift become very confident, through its use, in what
doing. When God gives them knowledge to pass on, they do so!
Now, a lot of the stuff in this article may have looked crazy to you. Man, oh man ... and don’t I know it. And I am sure that there are events in these fellowships that are still “even beyond
the boundaries of my imagination as to what is possible”.
Yes, obviously my observations are my own, and they can merely open
your mind as
to what might be possible ... if you can even accept the events I have
written about being possible, of course. If this sort of thing fits
personality and/ or desire to see tangible proof of God's existence, through the person of the Holy Spirit, then you must try it for yourself. Yes, it is so belief building.
Continue to the next article, “Joining the movement”.