THE MOODS OF THE HOLY GHOST

As a minister I’ve been privileged over the years to be in all kinds of meetings. There are always participators and spectators that attend – believers, skeptics, and at times even mockers, scoffers, and scorners.

I would say that the meetings most people have a difficult time receiving, embracing, and participating in are the Holy Ghost meetings that exude much joy, laughter, dancing, and wild demonstrations. Concerning these type of meetings, I’ve heard the following criticisms from various Christians:

1. We need to reverence God and not carry on with such foolishness.
2. These are fleshly manifestations and emotionalism.
3. This is not scriptural. Show me that in the Word!
4. If it’s God there will be change in the people, but if their lives don’t change then it’s not God.

These types of critical comments are a failure in Christians to understand the multi-faceted nature and personality of God. He is not always serious.

The Holy Ghost has many moods. Sometimes the Father plays with His children and He lets His children play. Irreverence would be to not enter into the mood that the Holy Ghost is manifesting at the moment. Irreverence is to be serious when it’s time to play.

God said He would pour out of His Spirit on all flesh beginning in Acts 2. Often when this happens there are wild manifestations. People are filled with the Holy Ghost and joy, singing, and laughter. People run, dance, and shout. In the presence of the Lord there is fullness of joy (Ps. 16:11).

Have you ever seen a drunk man? How does he act? Often they display some very wild, unusual, and funny behavior, don’t they? It’s the same with being drunk in the Spirit.

“Be not drunk with wine wherein is excess but filled (or be drunk) with the Holy Spirit” (Eph. 5:18).

And yes, people do change and are transformed in God’s presence. But soon they will be sober again, and will need to fill up once more. I’ve seen people healed, delivered, and set free from all kinds of oppression and bondages.

Many Christians only know one side of God or one mood and stream of the Holy Ghost. Denominations and different streams of faith are usually only familiar with their particular brand or stream of how God manifests Himself within their group. And frankly, in many places He is hardly ever allowed to manifest Himself at all.

As I stated, God is multi-faceted in His character and personality, and the Holy Ghost has many moods. We’ve already mentioned the joy and hilarity by which the Lord manifests Himself at times. Here are other moods and atmospheres by which God manifests:

1. The fear of the Lord – This is what happened in Acts 5 when Ananias and Sapphira were struck dead for lying to the Holy Ghost. I’ve been in meetings where the Spirit of the fear of the Lord was in manifestation, and you could hear a pin drop. Everyone was quiet and reverent or on their faces weeping. No one could talk, No one wanted to talk because the atmosphere was so impregnated with a holy fear.

2. The miracle atmosphere – This is when God flexes His muscles and manifests His power to heal all kinds of sicknesses and diseases. People are delivered of various ailments, the lame walk, the blind see, and demons are cast out or they just leave. The people witnessed this in Samaria through the ministry of Philip (Acts 8).

3. The sweetness of the Lord – This is an anointing that touches people deep in their emotions. It manifests in healing for broken hearts and people who are desperate and hurting. It is the Lord moving in His kindness and compassion. We see this continually in the ministry of Jesus.

When the Holy Ghost manifests Himself in these various ways just flow with it and participate. Don’t stand back and criticize it because you don’t understand it or are not familiar with it.

Judge everything by the anointing and the presence of God that is there. Are people being healed and delivered? Are they being filled with the Spirit? Are they being blessed and helped? If so, then rejoice in what the Lord is doing. Thank God He is not boring.

Get acquainted with your Father. Get to know the multi-faceted personality and moods of the Holy Ghost, and the manifold wisdom of God . Receive all the Lord has for you. Go outside your own camp if you have to.

Be glad and rejoice in the goodness of God.

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PRETTY THINGS AND FOOD FOR THE SWEET TOOTH

In the 1980’s and into the 90’s there was a great wave of a move of God’s Spirit that was rising and gaining momentum in the American Church, but somehow it was miscarried and never reached its full potential. The reason was because of a gradual and subtle attachment to man’s wisdom that crept in. The preeminence was placed on outward appearance and the goal for so many of our pastors and churches became numerical growth and money – attendance and giving; and the protecting of our own projects.

I was blessed to have been a part of the end of the Charismatic movement and later a Holy Ghost outpouring known as the Brownsville revival. In the latter I saw how the reputation of man became more important than the glory of God, and how the full effects of that outpouring and its lasting long-term fruit were aborted.

I also witnessed the ugliness of religious politics and how it gained precedence over the bond of love by which the leaders of that revival had previously labored under. Thus the reason for the subsequent diminishing of the Spirit of God in that revival and others throughout history. When men stop following the flow of love, the flow of the Spirit is also cut short.

But today as more and more of our Spirit generals and pioneers have departed I see a greater dependence on the wisdom of men. If one is unwilling to pay the price to wait on the Lord for His plan and His higher wisdom that would produce the wine of the Spirit then they will naturally lean to man’s wisdom and the wine of the flesh.

I’ve seen the effects of so many churches over the years that are using man’s methods to keep itself moving and business open. I have concern for conferences that train pastors and leaders to run their churches like CEO’s run their businesses and companies. I see an attachment to pretty things, and messages for the sweet tooth that take the offense away from the gospel. What kind of example are we setting for the next generation?

“For who shall bring the presence of God but those who understand the Spirit of God? And herein is a part of the equipping of the body; to understand this place. For there is such an effort and assault against who we are in Christ and what He paid for. And that is why there are people so disturbed by what is going on with this by making things easy for people to come into churches. It goes against the very core of what Jesus did and paid for. So many like sheep are just following the latest fads/trends because it has a form of godliness but denies the power.” (Holy Spirit inspired utterance)

How can men see the wisdom of God unless they be in the Spirit?

Spiritual leaders must bring understanding to this so that revelation will come to hearts and God’s people will begin to press into a greater place in the Spirit instead of consulting their soul. The Spirit of the Lord bears witness of this problem that many of His leaders and people consult their souls too much, and so they will never see the manifold wisdom of God in that soulish place because it is first spiritually discerned (1 Cor 2).

In prayer we come against that spirit that’s trying to take away the manifold wisdom of God from the Church (Eph. 3:10) and we contend for victory in this. The victory and glory of God, and the place we are seated is strong enough to stand in this hour and bring this wisdom forth.

“However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” (1 Cor. 2:6-8)

The rulers of this age (Satan and his cohorts) were completely confounded by the wisdom of the cross. It was an upside down plan. The quality of this wisdom is foolishness to the natural man. Those ministers who are walking closely with the Lord in this hour are doing opposite of what man’s wisdom would tell them to grow  a church or a ministry. The early Church grew numerically through the wisdom and power of God, not through fads and trends and the methods of men. God uses the foolish things to confound the wise.

The blood of Jesus is over those in this place who seek to understand His plan for this hour. Deception shall not win.

We will stand and fight in the name of Jesus for that place so His body will understand, and His manifold wisdom shall be displayed before the principalities and powers of this world.

“This should be the vision and commission of every minister – to go to that place so that provision can be made of the wisdom of God. Spiritual men understand this and they seek it. This is why wise men seek those who pray and have a place with Me – because they know that the wisdom of God is the highest standard.” (Holy Spirit inspired utterance)

God is speaking. Another book is being birthed. Words from Him never die. Stay tuned. More to come…

DRAWING US BACK TO LOVE

No one has ever been as loving and merciful as our heavenly Father. He even makes His sun to rise on the evil, and sends rain on the unjust (Mt. 5:45).

It is only when the heart is softened through the Holy Spirit’s outpouring of God’s love that we are enabled to also move in this love. When our hearts are sensitized to God’s love we are even able to love our enemies and do good to those who hate us (v 44). This supernatural love is purely an operation of the Holy Spirit.

Human love is not capable of loving those who offend them and do them wrong. How one handles offense is the fundamental difference between walking in that love and walking in the human sentimental love which is fickle and changing.

I’ve met many Christians in my lifetime who ooze with niceness and mushiness and appear so sweet until you cross them. Then they turn into vicious wolves who bite and devour.

Here’s an inspired utterance from the Holy Spirit: “One of the big differences between a natural and a supernatural love is that a natural love does not stand up under offense. But a supernatural love does not grow hard through offense, but instead it grows even more tender as it reaches out to the one who offends and says, ‘Father, forgive them for they know not what they do or what they say.’ “

Our love can wax cold if we don’t nurture it. Our heart can grow hard if we don’t guard it. On the other hand, it’s so easy to move, forgive and obey when God’s love is motivating our hearts.

Do you remember the former days of your salvation? How easy it was to walk away from the lifestyle of sin when the Holy Spirit moved on our hearts with the love of God! His love and presence causes grown men to fall to their knees and cry like a baby. The power of this love breaks the hardest heart.

The Gadarene demoniac did not want to leave Jesus after being delivered and touched by His love (Mk. 5).

The heart of the woman at the well was fulfilled at last and she ran out to testify of Jesus to the men of her city (John 4).

The leper when told not to testify of his own miracle went everywhere blazing abroad the matter (Mk. 1).

It was the revelation of love that caused their hearts to change. It was that sense of value and worth that resonated within them that birthed an excitement and a newness of life. This love is the activation of our gospel witness  and of our life’s good works.

It is time for the body of Christ to remember those former days and fall in love with Jesus again – a love that caused those early Christians to share all they had with those in need (Acts 2, 4); a love that caused the disciples to fall on Paul’s neck and kiss him (Acts 21); a love that works and lives to give and not to get (Eph. 4:28).

Love will lead us to a more consecrated lifestyle. The gratitude of a life change is the initiative of this love.

We cannot be filled with the fullness of God without knowing the depth of this love (Eph. 3:14-21). We are not easily deceived or led astray when this love fills every inch of our hearts.

The world will know we are His disciples by the love we have one for another (John 13:35). This emanating love makes us radiant and irresistible.

TRUE OR FALSE: MOTIVES AND MEN

“Because of the miracles he did in Jerusalem at the Passover celebration, many people were convinced that he was indeed the Messiah. But Jesus didn’t trust them, for he knew mankind to the core. No one needed to tell him how changeable human nature is!” (John 2:23-25 LB)

Many are the men who believe in God’s acts, but who remain fickle because they don’t know His ways. Many are they who are familiar with God’s house, but so unfamiliar with God’s heart. The Apostle Paul echoed the cause of the frequent mistrust he and the Lord Jesus had for men: “For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus” (Phil 2:21).

Yes, the love of God believes the best of people, but at the same time, it is not naive. In his humanity, every man is weak, frail, and his heart often deceptive. Even the greatest of God’s servants have feet of clay. Even in man’s great moments, Christ must remain the focus. “I am more afraid of my own heart than of the Pope and all Cardinals,” Martin Luther said.

Multitudes followed Jesus. They heard his preaching gladly. They witnessed His mighty miracles. But they were fickle. One day they wanted to crown Him King and the next day they wanted to crucify Him. Jesus was constantly sifting the crowds. In the end when Jesus set His face like flint toward the cross and began speaking to them of the covenant (John 6:53-66) and of the identification they were to have with Him, the multitudes left along with some of His disciples. Even Peter, one of Jesus’ closest disciples, rebuked Him for choosing the way of the cross. Jesus recognized the real source of this rebuke.

“Get behind me, Satan! You are in my way, an offense and a hindrance and a snare to Me; for you are minding what partakes not of the nature and quality of God, but of men” (Mat 16:23 Amp.).

Beware of men who have no marks of the cross in their lives and preaching. They are diabolically aligned with the spirits of this age. They are “enemies of the cross whose god is their belly, and whose glory is their shame—who set their mind on earthly things” (Phil 3:18-19). They are self- deceived.

There is a great truth to be told here. The closer Jesus got to the cross, the less people stayed with Him. The disciples tried to guard Jesus’ life, but Jesus was guarding His death. If anything originated from man, Jesus wanted no part of it. “I receive not glory from men – I crave no human honor, I look for no mortal fame” (John 5:41 Amp).

Compare the nature and quality of Jesus versus the religious leaders of His day: “For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God” (John 12:43). In life and ministry, what are you hoping to receive? What are you craving? What are you really looking for? What is it that you wish from men? Is it their smile? Or do you long for self-denial? Jesus was dead to human praise, human criticism, and human opinion.

Listen to the frequent conversations at Christian conventions. It’s all about men. It’s all about who this one is and who that one is, who did what, and who’s been where. Doesn’t it get nauseating at times? Have you ever looked with holy eyes at some of today’s most popular Christian magazines? It’s all about conferences and camp meetings, special people and special programs, and how much we are all doing for the Lord. I realize some of these things have their place, but in all of it, where is His face? Don’t you want to see Jesus? Doesn’t it disturb you when some mere mortal stands in the way? Hide us, oh God in the cross of Christ!

The real truth about most men is this: They don’t really know themselves as well as they think. We are never as submissive to God as we think we are. Even Paul near the end of his earthly life and ministry had to be broken so that he wouldn’t be puffed up with pride because of his many visions and revelations (2 Cor 12:7-9). Who do we think you are? Our only safeguard against pride is to walk in love toward God and toward man. Love never seeks its own.

True men are men of selfless love. Paul said of Timothy, “I have no one like him” (Phil 2:20) because he was not self-serving or self-seeking. Paul also commended another true man:

“…Honor men like him because he almost died for the work of Christ, risking his life to make up for the help you could not give me” (Phil 2:29-30 NIV). Epaphroditus almost died through overwork to make up for the lack of service that the church gave to Paul. But here is the amazing thing about all this: Epaphroditus didn’t want the church to know! He was distressed because the church heard that he was sick. Perhaps they would have felt bad for not being able to provide the service he rendered. What pure love and servanthood was in this man! He was seeking not his own glory, but the glory of the One who sent Him.

Whose glory are you really seeking?

 

TRUE OR FALSE: MOTIVES AND MONEY

Money has always been a sensitive subject. In my Christian life I have seen both sides of the spectrum concerning philosophies people have about money.

On one side, there are those who will fight to stay poor, believing that somehow poverty equates to holy living and is therefore a real blessing from God. On the other side, there are those who will fight to be rich, considering it to be one of the great pinnacles of godliness. The Bible teaches that both of these positions are extreme. It is not my purpose to get into the theology of money, but into the heart of it. After all, it is not money that is evil, but the love of it.

My wife Carolyn, to whom God often speaks in dreams, was cautioned by the Lord about a wind of doctrine concerning money. The Lord showed her how many believers would suffer as a result of yielding to this wind.

In the dream, both she and I were gathered with a multitude of other Christians at a pool party. People were climbing up on this long rope ladder onto a diving board and then jumping into this huge pool of refreshing waters. Everyone was laughing and having a great time. As people were going up to the diving board on this rope ladder, the wind would blow and sway the ladder back and forth. Because of this wind, Carolyn was hesitant to climb up. You see, Carolyn had her purse with money in it, and didn’t know what to do with it. She needed to have both hands completely free to go up to the diving board.

Finally, she hid her purse in a gutter on top of the roof of a small building. But then suddenly, as she was walking toward the ladder, that same wind came with such force that it blew many of the people right off the rope ladder and into some high telephone wires. Then, after being burnt, they fell into the water, as the other Christians around them rushed to their aid, and began ministering to them.

The dream is a prophetic warning. Its meaning is plain. There is a wind of doctrine concerning money in which some Christians will be caught up in and for which they will suffer hurt. The refreshing waters represent the fact that the Holy Spirit initiated this move of God, but it got off. Judgment came to many because they did not heed the Lord’s warning.

Be careful of money. Many ministers have become money-minded and lost the anointing. The problem is not with being rich, but rather, not being rich toward God (Lk. 12:21).

Many ministers, including myself, have often said, “You can’t do anything without money. It takes money to preach the gospel.” This is obvious, but where is the emphasis and what is the Biblical pattern? One time I was so disturbed by the overemphasis on the teaching of financial prosperity that I began to search and seek to see if God had a pattern. Was there to be an emphasis on financial prosperity, and if so, where was the emphasis supposed to be? It didn’t take me long to find the answer in the beginnings of the Church age.

“Now all who believed were together and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need” (Acts 2:44-45).

“Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands and houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles’ feet, and they distributed to each as had need” (Acts 4:34-35).

Here is the Biblical pattern: First revival, then financial prosperity. Contrary to what some teach, we do not need money to have revival. Money should follow revival. If God has control of the hearts of the people, then He has their money, too.

Note the above verses. The revival in the early Church didn’t cause these Christians to run out and purchase possessions and goods or lands and houses, but it caused them to sell these things! Financial prosperity is for the primary purpose of giving, not getting. God doesn’t mind His children having good things and being blessed, but the motive is what determines the rightness and wrongness of it.

Even our work is to be done with the motivation of giving.

“Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.” (Eph. 4:28).

There’s more than one way to look at financial prosperity. There are many facets of truth and angles of thought concerning money. What about stewardship and sacrifice? What about doing without so others can be blessed? There is a higher call and a higher level of consecration which is determined not only by how much you give away, but by how much (little) you keep (Mk 12:41-44). Jesus chose not to call on the Father for twelve legions of angels to deliver Him from a sure death (Mat 26:53) and our redemption. He chose not to heap up riches for himself. He chose not to accumulate this world’s wealth. But He emptied Himself of everything for us.

And besides, financial prosperity is neither a foundational doctrine nor a principle teaching in the Church. It is only a benefit just like healing, deliverance, protection, etc. Does that mean we shouldn’t teach on finances or God’s will for Christians to prosper? No, it just means we shouldn’t place an extreme emphasis on it. Every believer should eventually walk in these blessings as a direct by-product of a consecrated and godly lifestyle. My fear is that we have majored on the minors and caused the hearts of many to go astray.

Poverty is not holiness. Gain is not godliness. But one thing is for sure: Greed will lead to grief.

Beware of hype, gimmicks, and manipulative tactics when it comes to money. Beware of so-called miracle offerings which don’t go for miracles at all. Beware of investing in Ishmaels that are not born of God, but of men. Invest in Isaacs.

Ishmaels are birthed by negligent priests who fail to wait on God for the Isaac. Then those same Ishmaels are paid for by the offerings of naive and misinformed people who have been conditioned to give emotionally by the hyped up efforts of pitiful priests.

TRUE OR FALSE: MOTIVES AND MINISTRY

“He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who is seeking the glory of the one who sent Him, He is true…” (John 7:18 NAS).

“…there is nothing false about him” (John 7:18 NIV).

With one eye on his sermon, and one eye on the old wise minister sitting in the first row, the young minister strove to produce a good impression on his older and wiser friend. Once the evangelistic meeting was over, he quickly walked up to the aged minister, and with an apparent air of self- congratulation and subtle pride, not to mention a feeling of having preached really well, he asked how he fared. The aged minister fired a sweeping retort that proved very valuable, although at the time disheartening, to the young preacher. “How many people came to the Lord?” the aged minister asked.

The lesson was as obvious as the answer to the question. None were saved that night. The young man’s falsehood was exposed. He was more interested in his sermon than his subjects. He was more interested in how he fared than how many were saved. He was seeking his own glory rather than the glory of the One who sent him.

A young group of Bible school students left the seminar frustrated because their desire to hear the deeper truths of the Bible expounded by the old prophet of God seemed to be denied. They just didn’t understand why the old, experienced man of God didn’t delve deeper into the Word of God.

“Maybe he’s just getting too old to preach,” they thought. “Or maybe he’s just not studying and praying as much as he should.” But the truth was that the older minister purposefully made himself look less intelligent and “lacking depth” to the public eye so that the simple in attendance that evening could understand him.

The old prophet of God was more interested in relating to his audience than receiving applause. He was more interested in appealing to his needy subjects rather than appeasing his greedy fans. His teaching originated from God and not from himself. He was true.

Any word spoken or act done in falsehood, no matter how acclaimed it is by public opinion, will not receive honor from God. I do not use ministry examples to expose, bring suspicion, or breed mistrust concerning ministers. Neither is it to cause you to doubt every minister that comes down the pike. Thank God there are many honest, pure-hearted, and upright ministers still in the land. As a matter of fact, I believe the number of them is growing. Only God alone knows the true motives of every man’s heart. Every individual must examine his own heart. Every minister must search his own motives.

There’s no need to look for something that’s not there, either. You can’t keep tormenting yourself and doubting every single thing you or others do. However, we must also understand that the most deceiving words and acts are those covered and cloaked with the name of the Lord, and done under the guise of ministry, charity, and religion.

Jesus and the New Testament writers warned of false prophets and false teachers. These foundations were the first of many things Jesus taught (Mat. 5-7). People often only know ministers by the visible fruit of their ministries, but God knows us by the fruit of our lives. We are known and will be judged more by the fruit of our lives than by the fruit of our ministries (Mat 7:20, 22). The latter is only an outflow of the former. What is more important to you, being successful in public or being successful in private?

I have often wondered in my own ministry how much merit I will receive for all the words and works I’ve said and done in the name of Jesus. It has caused me to reflect on how much has really been accomplished purely for the glory and honor of God and out of a genuine love for the people. You could say I’ve done a lot of reflecting, and a lot of repenting. Our own hearts can so easily deceive us if we’re not careful.

Let us seek to be true, beholding the glory of the Lord and not of ourselves (2 Cor. 3:18).

TONGUES AND INTERPRETATION (PT 3): MORE HELPFUL GEMS

There I sat at the kitchen table of our home after enjoying a nice dinner with special friends. Then one of my spiritual fathers, Dr. Ron Smith, spontaneously, as he would often do, turned to one of our sisters and told her that she was to give a tongue and I was to interpret. This happened twice.

Privately afterwards I told Papa Ron, as we affectionately called him, that I did not think I did a good job of interpreting our sister’s tongue. His response to my concern was a revelation to me. He told me that the onus is not on the interpreter, but on the person giving the message in tongues.

In other words, the person giving the tongue must move in an anointing and depth of diversity in word and gesture that a good interpreter will be able to pick up. The tongue should trigger revelation and authority in the interpreter.

I’m not sure Papa Ron knew that this was the first time our sister had given a public message in tongues. I had compassion on her, but this is how Papa Ron operated. He was a master at drawing the gifts out in other people, not just in public services but sometimes during informal gatherings as well. You had to be on your toes spiritually.

You might ask, “How would one know they have a message in tongues?” Through the anointing, example, and experience of it. There’s a quickening in you. You know that the Holy Spirit wants to interject an utterance and you step forth in faith and give it. You sense He wants to punctuate a sermon or a conversation with His higher thoughts and revelation.

For example, often when I am preaching in a public service my wife will stand up and give a tongue in the middle of my preaching. She has permission to do that, and in churches where liberty is given she will have an extra microphone just in case she has something from the Spirit.

In a believers gathering it is rather obvious that we are there to share what the Lord has given us for the edification of everyone present. So we should expect these things.

“How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification” (1 Cor. 14:26).

In my New King James Bible this verse places the word “revelation” in-between “tongue” and “interpretation”. I believe that is intentional and not incidental. There is a revelation in the tongue that a good interpreter will draw out.

In nearly 30 years of ministry I’ve been privileged to see varied uses of the twin gifts of tongues and interpretation and move in some of them personally and with my wife. Not only have we witnessed these gifts manifested to congregations but to individuals as well. They bring revelation, edification, exhortation, and comfort. I’ve also witnessed the use of these gifts to minister physical healing to people. They are tremendous in their diversity.

There  is much confusion concerning tongues and interpretation today because people have not been rightly taught by precept and example. Not only have people confused the private and public use of tongues, but they’ve confused their different purposes as well.

For example, in Acts 2 we see that tongues was manifested in the streets of Jerusalem as a sign to the unbelievers gathered there from many nations (v. 5-12). The newly spiritually baptized Galileans were speaking in other languages never learned that were understood by the other nationalities that were there. How wonderful! And yet, that is only one of their purposes – a sign to the unbelievers.

A second purpose of tongues and the most common, is that it is simply a means of personal edification where you build yourself up on your most holy faith (1 Cor. 14:4) (Jude 20). You can speak or sing in tongues and even pray that you would interpret with your understanding so that you mind would be fruitful (1 Cor. 14:13-15).

A third purpose is a means of praying the mysteries of God, or things we know not to pray for as we ought (Rom. 8:26). It is especially to be used in making intercession for people and for situations. It gives birth to the real purposes of God.

And the fourth and final purpose of tongues (divers) is for the public ministry of interpretation, as we’ve been sharing.

I hope these last three blogs on tongues and interpretation have been a help and blessing to you. I especially hope that they have provided clarity concerning this important topic that has been so neglected, misunderstood, and abused in today’s churches.

Here is a YouTube link of a great example of the beauty and wonder of these sacred twin gifts. You can find many other examples on there or here on our website.

Don’t forget to register for our upcoming Holy Ghost Forum on our home page. http://www.holy-fire.org

God bless you richly.

TONGUES AND INTERPRETATION (PT. 2): DECENTLY AND IN ORDER

Many Christians have a good strong devotional tongue and are candidates for giving messages in tongues during a public service. What I mean by a good strong tongue is that there is some depth and diversity in it. If your devotional tongue only consists of a few of the same syllables repeated over and over again then you are not yet a candidate to give a public message in tongues. Work on cultivating your heavenly prayer language first.

Recent statistics reveal that only approximately 15% of all Spirit-baptized believers pray in other tongues on a regular basis. Some are just negligent while others do not have much fluency and a flow of liberty in their tongues. As a general rule, the more you use it the larger and more expansive your prayer language becomes.

The second element in giving public messages in tongues is you must have an interpreter present. You might ask, “How would you know if there is an interpreter present?” By example. If the pastor/minister or the leader of the meeting has not set the pattern and example for these twin gifts to be exercised in your gatherings, then more than likely, it will not happen. You’ve heard it said – everything starts with leadership.

Have you ever been in a meeting and someone in the congregation belts out a loud tongue and no one interprets it? It could be in a large meeting or a smaller one. The reason there is no interpreter is because one has not been assigned. And what usually happens is that there is a long un-edifying lull, and the leader might ask if there is someone who can give the  interpretation for the tongue. Or, someone may attempt to give an interpretation of it, but perhaps it is inaccurate or given from someone who is a stranger to the church community. The Bible says to know the leaders who labor among you (1 Thes. 5:12). Another possibility may be that the tongue never gets interpreted. When any of these things happen there is usually confusion.

The most comfortable, accurate, and secure interpretation that people will have confidence in will usually come from a recognized leader or a seasoned minister, or at the least, someone who’s been trained and has some experience. Furthermore, there has to be some kind of protocol given to people so that they will know the boundaries of what, when, and how they are to give what they receive from the Spirit of God.

For example, one pastor I know puts a handkerchief over the microphone when the meeting is closed to any participation from those gathered or when it is not appropriate to do so. Another will have people raise their hand or step to the front when they have something from the Spirit to share with the congregation. Establishing some sort of protocol is necessary to avoid disorder, confusion, and chaos like they had in Corinth before Paul brought correction (1 Cor. 14).

We don’t want disorder, chaos, and confusion. We want decency and order. We want liberty but with limitations. Although liberty without limitations will gender maximum participation, it will usually not produce maximum edification. On the other hand, limitations without much liberty will stifle and quench the Spirit. The balance we are after is liberty with limitations.

“If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret” (1 Cor. 14:27).

The full participation of these gifts works best under seasoned leadership, and in smaller churches or home groups. In larger churches the operation of these gifts should mainly be demonstrated by seasoned ministers or those who’ve been proven and assigned to such. In other words, they have been given liberty to exercise such gifts in a public service.

Again, all these points are moot if there is no interpreter. If every pastor would ask the Lord for interpretation, or better yet, to be an interpreter of public meetings, I am confident the Lord would grant it. Why would the Lord want to keep the leader in the dark about these things? If he is the leader then he should know the flow and direction of any service and have the ability to interpret messages in tongues.

Therein lay the problem, though. As one of my highly respected spiritual fathers used to always say: “Most pastors wouldn’t recognize the Holy Ghost if he walked in with a red suit and a red hat on.” I don’t say that to be disrespectful. For years I was not schooled in these things either; thus the necessity for more ministerial training.

We’ve trained people privately to conduct or move in 1 Cor. 14:26 type meetings. These type of meetings are mainly conducted only when believers are present. Training people privately is a real safe way to begin. I’ve led teams on mission trips and conducted early morning training sessions with them. In about an hour or two I’d have several of them giving a message in tongues for the first time in their lives or moving in prophecy. Now if I was pastoring a church I would probably have a few more training sessions with certain select candidates before giving them liberty to exercise these gifts in larger public meetings. When I say public, I mean when mostly believers are present.

So here are the elements that produce decency, order, and liberty in such believers meetings and will cause maximum edification:

1. Training by precept and example. Believers must receive teaching and instruction with demonstration in these gifts.
2. There must be certain protocol to establish boundaries as to what, when, and how to exercise these gifts.
3. These gifts must be demonstrated by those who’ve been trained and proven in private smaller sessions before allowing them to minister in larger settings.
4. There must be an interpreter present.
5. All pastors who lead their congregations should be able to interpret messages in tongues and the flow of public meetings.

Do you desire training in a 1 Corinthians 14:26 type of setting? Register now for our upcoming forum. http://www.holy-fire.org