We're meant to advance, we humans. I'm almost 50 and I got to thinking about about how much I've advanced in my personal and spiritual life.
I think I'm finally learning to rest physically. Before, even if I hadn't slept for 2 weeks, as soon as the sun rose, I'd rise up at the crack of dawn.
Am also learning a bit more how to enter into spiritual rest, how to trust the Word of God to change my spirit, soul, mind and body without me "working" at it.
I find myself thinking that I should be a little farther along in most things though. Okay, if I had trusted the word to do it all this time I would've been far along the road but eh, fits and starts happen. In this life, we don't learn stuff. We forget stuff we learn. We ignore stuff we learned. Then we have to learn the basics all over again.
I mean I'm finally learning to eat the right thing and avoid the wrong. I'm finally learning when to go to bed. But other things? Am I becoming a better writer, for instance?
I remember reading a book written by a guy who'd died and gone to heaven then had come back. (I think he had died but it may have been a vision.) He said he saw universities there. People learned about the universe, growing more and more in the knowledge of God. I believe that, I think. Some folks believe that when we die we suddenly know all there is to know. Who knows? Maybe that'll happen too. (instead?) But one thing he said really impressed me. He said that when we learn a thing in heaven we never forget it. How wonderful! To learn and to advance and to not forget. To grow from glory to glory.
I was thinking of St Paul's advice that we grow in all spiritual gifts, that we come not behind in any spiritual gift, that we go from glory to glory. I got to thinking about my spiritual gifts and if I've grown. I know they're "gifts" given by God and yet there is something in us that helps the gift be received, and grown and show itself.
I started thinking:
Gifts of the word of knowledge. As far as I know, that happened only twice. One instance was I was in the local GNC and I saw a man I didn't know. I heard quite clearly in my spirit: "That man's name is Don Bennett." I went over to him and asked, "Are you Don Bennett?" He answered that he was. Luckily he turned out to be quite important so he didn't think it strange that I should know his name. Except that I didn't know who the heck he was and I didn't know his name. He became a friend after that. But aside from two experiences I can't think of any other instance.
Healing. I remember two instances. Only two in my almost 50 years of life, 40 years of knowing God. (Is that enough? Shouldn't I have gone from glory to glory?) One was a hispanic man visiting from Florida. He said his back was hurting and although I didn't know him I said, "Let me pray for that." I did and the next day he was walking around saying how his back was so much more improved. He seemed totally surprised. The other was a drug addict I met on the street. I felt the need to pray for him. I think he was homeless too. I commanded the addiction spirit to leave him and left. I met the guy about ten years later. I didn't know him from Adam. He came up to me and said, "Carole! I want to thank you so much. When you prayed for me, all the drug desire left!" I was like, "Who are you? When did I pray for you?" He described the town where I met him and I remembered.
Word of Wisdom: Once. A Jehovah's witness came to my door and would not let me go. I kept arguing theology with him. At last the holy spirit told me what to say. "I said, Why do you bother me about this when you know your family was messed up and torn apart by religion?" <-- okay, that may have been word of knowledge, but I felt it was a wise thing to say to get me from being bothered.
Prophesy: Once I think. I saw two little hispanic toddler girls and suddenly told the mother what their issues and challenges would be when they were older. She looked at me amazed! I had pinpointed those girls exactly.
Discerning of spirits: Am pretty good at recognizing church folks who have a "religious spirit." Saw a demon in a little kid once. Saw a demon somewhere else too. Saw angels a couple of times. But really, not as much as should be expected for a person who's been a Christian for so long.
Spoken in tongues? Yep, but not as much as I should have.
Interpreted tongues: Got the "impression" of what was being said and who it was about, not really a translation.
Working of miracles? Nada. But waiting for Gabe's healing to manifest.
Gift of faith. Nada.
The thing is...shouldn't I be farther along in this? Shouldn't I advance more and more? Shouldn't I have more gifts and more testimonies of his gifts after all this time? So, then, will read my Bible more...so the word of God will work more and more mightily in me. So, then, will forgive some creepy people who I've been seething against. So, then, will walk away from some sins. Will speak in tongues more, so I can edify my spirit more. My walk with God has been too long for me to bring to God so little.
Jesus told us to make disciples. He wants us to be called out. He wants us to build the kingdom. But the church and the kingdom are not the same thing. The kingdom is far more comprehensive. It involves occupies, it conquers the demonic, it heals the sick. A church can be big and yet not be called out of the world. Heck so many churches worship Mammon and don't take care of the widows and orphans. So many churches reflect the dark philosophies of the world and consider as just another teacher. So many churches do not pray for the sick, cast out devils. Or they talk the talk but they don't walk the walk. When churches have building plans, do they build in order to teach the called out ones to be truly called out and to use the gifts of the spirit -- as Paul lists them-- to heal the sick, set the captive free, bind up the broken hearted.
"Lord, Help me to grow. I don't want to be 80 with only two visions of angels, two healed people, two words of knowledge on my spiritual resume. Lord, please, take me away from what the churches of this world have gotten used to and lead me to what you really want your people to be. God in us. Earthen vessel that I am, help me to show the treasures of your kingdom that the captive might be set free. Amen."
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