I can dream can't I? Tonight I was asked what was the greatest gift I ever received. In a half humorous statement I blurted out a red Radio Flyer Wagon on Christmas when I was 5 years old. Why that ever came up I don't have a clue. I was quite a believer in Santa clause back then and even though we didn't have chimneys or fire places in houses in Florida, I just knew Santa was going to get one into the house some way. I did get the little red wagon on Christmas day but he left it on the roof instead. My Dad and Uncle were quite imaginative in those days to my great surprise. I remember another time My Dad gave me another great gift of the times when I was about 8 years old. I had been wanting a camping tent because I was getting involved in the Cub Scouts and wanted one for camping trips. Here again, No chimneys and fire places in Florida but Dad came through again for me. After I went to bed, he and my Uncle spent Christmas Eve in our back yard putting up this great tent with only two flash lights and a lot of determination to surprise me.
Over the years I have received great gifts but as an adult these gifts became more special. My wife who decided to marry me was a great gift I had received as an adult at that time. Then there was our two daughters that followed two and four years later.
To say I was blessed is an understatement.
Tonight this question meant a new meaning. What was the greatest gift I ever received spiritually. To be honest, I can't list just one as the greatest. It would have to be many. You have to remember I am not a youngun any more and have been around a while.
When you are speaking of Spiritual gifts there are many as I have mentioned before so I will not dig too deep in that but it is a great honor to be given just one gift from the Holy Spirit through God's grace. With that honor comes a great responsibility and the wisdom of when to use it and how which I will discuss.
For most believers, the first great gift is the Baptism by water and the sanctification of being born again in a new body in Christ. What great joy that was in my experience. But that is only the beginning as far as gifts from God. He so loves you that he will shower you with as many great gifts as you can take in and use in service to Him. There is a second Baptism and it is by the Holy Spirit when He moves you to elation and joy in glorifying God. How do you know if you have been Baptised in the Holy Spirit? I cannot tell you how. There are many ways it affects the people. I can tell you in my experience I was more sedate and tranquil but became passionate in discussing the scriptures in the bible with any one that would listen. I found my self wanting to serve in the church, I felt compassion for others less fortunate, I looked for ways to win others to Christ, I really began to pray to the Lord for guidance and forgiveness of my sins frequently, I prayed for others that were ill, I found love for my fellow persons, I found a new interest in the Spiritual gifts and a burning desire to learn all that I could, and the list goes on.
As it is said in the bible ask in Jesus name and you shall receive. So it is with the gifts. Just ask for them and you will receive them that are best suited for you. Now you do not need to continually pray for the gifts as some might think. Once or twice at the most is all that you need. You will then become aware of what gifts you have been given. No God is not going to speak out in a thunderous voice and say "it is done" to you but you will start to get a feeling for possessing something special. Read in Corinthians of what Paul says on the spiritual gifts. As a matter of fact read all of Corinthians. You will get a deeper insight.
1 John 4:1-3 mentions to test the spirits for validity. There are two types of spirits. The Holy Spirit and the demon spirits which will give you a fit if you listen to the wrong one. Just as we think God is talking to us we should always ask "did Jesus come in the flesh" vocally. If you are unsure of who is talking to you in your spiritual communication. Any spirit that does not confess that Jesus did come in the flesh, you might be talking to the wrong spirit. Watch out! You are being set up to be led away from God. There is a reason for being vocal in your prayers. The demon spirits cannot read your thoughts. They can hear you and speak to you in your thoughts but they cannot hear your thoughts. Thus always ask and pray vocally or whisper. That way you will not get mixed signals and think the Holy spirit is the only one talking to you. It also lets the demon spirits know that you are under the influence of God's grace and time to move on. The reason I mentioned this is I am sure you are going to get this voice in your head that is going to promise wonderful things and certainly will not be the voice of the Holy spirit or God. Test the voices and spirit. Do not be led astray.
Now we have been blessed with spiritual gifts form the Holy Spirit. What do we do next? Which one did we get? Which one did you want? They all have about the same rule of protocol. The first thing you don't want to do is go about bragging you have a gift and edifying your self. You are supposed to edify the church and God in using the gifts. Use them with greatness but use them in the grace of the Holy Spirit and humbly
1 Corinthians14:1 Prophesy. When we think of prophesy we think of for telling the future only. That is part of prophesy but we can prophesy today by giving testimonials which is what most of us can readily do. However, Let the Holy Spirit lead the way in your testimonial and DO NOT stretch it out in a long winded essay that goes on and eventually is peppered by your own thoughts. Let the Holy Spirit lead you, not you lead the Holy Spirit. What you are trying to convey is that non believers also can be given the grace of God too, just as we have.
Next up is Wisdom and faith in part two.