The Gifts God Gives to us are Excellent

God’s gifts to us are excellent, absolutely excellent!

The gifts that we receive from Him are glorious to behold.

He spoke to what He made and called it good – yes, very good.

And when we trust in Him, we have good reason to be bold.

 

Those who believe in Christ will do the same works He has done,

Because His gifts are excellent, and giving them is fun.

Such gifts, which God dispenses, can result in signs and wonders,

Because, though man may fail you, our Lord Jesus makes no blunders.

 

He never doubted who He was but spoke with clarity.

The teachings that he fed the crowds rang with authority.

“For if you who are evil know to give your kids good stuff,

Your Father who’s in heaven will supply more than enough

 

Of what you need to live a joyful life upon the earth.

The love He lavishes is of immeasurable worth.”

In order to accept it, though, you need to know it’s real,

That using spiritual gifts does not depend on how you feel.

 

They are not based what you feel or think that you deserve.

The strength you need to offer them does not require raw nerve,

But a love for excellence you know can only come from God.

So, let that be the shoe with which your gospel feet are shod,

 

With praise poured through an earthen vessel resting on His Word,

And acts of faith well-grounded in the truths that you have heard.

For healing comes by being fortified in His great might,

So, take the time to edify yourself before you fight

 

By knowing that’s He’s excellent. His gifts to your are excellent.

The gifts that you receive from Him are glorious to behold.

He spoke to what He made and called it good – yes, very good.

And when you trust in Him, you have good reason to be bold.

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Speed of Sight Pokes Fun at the Idol of Human Intellect

Human Intellect Versus Real Power

Welcome to Speed of Sight, a Superhero Adventure by C.R. Flamingbush. This upcoming release by Dove Christian Publishers pokes fun at the idol of human intellect.

The novel revolves around a special comic book with magical powers that transports an awkward twelve-year-old boy to a different world. Once inside that world, he glimpses past events he never knew of and goes for a ride almost too real to put in words. Then, when he gets back, his best friend treats him like a space alien.

“Oh no. Pete, what have you done?”

What was Pete’s crime? Daring to actually read the book he was supposed to hide. “But why would that be wrong?” you might ask.

Well, to quote an excerpt from Speed of Sight (the bottom of pages 31 to the top of 32),

Jack put his hands up to block the view (of the comic book). “Don’t shove those pictures in my face. You must be very careful.” He looked nervously about. “This book has been banned for a good reason. Here, let me show you something.” He grabbed the book and turned to the last page.

“What is it?” Pete asked. The handwriting was hard to read and very strange to him.

“It’s a one thousand, five hundred, fifty-five-letter commentary that explains why you’re not supposed to use the comics for adventures,” Jack replied.

Sounds pretty crazy, doesn’t it? “Don’t use the comics for adventures?” I mean, isn’t that what comic books are for? Don’t they in effect take us on adventures, with heroes who have supernatural super powers?

Spiritual Gifts Free Us From Faithless Religiosity

 

In the case of believing Christians, those powers – better known as “spiritual gifts” – come from God. Some Christians, however, either don’t receive those gifts (powers) or else they totally reject them. Like the Sadducees in Jesus’ time who didn’t believe in a resurrection, they interpret Bible verses in ways that promote unbelief. Theirs is a powerless religion – or should we say “religiosity,” in which religion becomes all about form but lacks true substance.

Speed of Sight pokes fun at such mindsets.  To quote an excerpt taken from page 32,

 

“Because that’s the sort of thing I was warning you about when I told you not to read the book,” Jack said. “You must have read the pictures and seen the speech balloons. The commentary writer, who is a good friend of our family, says it’s very dangerous to do that. He should know. He dissects comic books for a living.”

“You mean he picks them apart into tiny pieces?”

The genius boy looked proudly down at Pete. “No, silly. He puts the pages under a microscope and analyzes them molecule by molecule. He wrote a huge book describing what they’re made of.”

“Sounds heavy,” Pete said.

“Of course, it is. It weighs more than I do. He weighs a ton too. That’s because he’s an expert. . .”

 

Powerless Religion: a Heavy Burden – Who Can Bear it?

 

Unlike the noble Bereans of Acts 17:11 who “searched the scriptures daily, whether those things (of which Paul spoke) were so, Jack’s commentator takes a hyper-critical approach to the biblically inspired comics. Instead of welcoming them as vehicles of faith to launch a younger generation into their destiny, he takes a stance similar to that of the scribes and Pharisees – the ones Jesus described in Matthew 23:1-7.

 

“They say and do not. . . For they bind heavy burdens grievous to be borne and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.” (verses 3 & 4).

 

How well might they fit in with the “miracles aren’t for today” crowd, clinging to man-made traditions that deny God’s power! (See II Timothy 3:5). After all, they taught a powerless religion that weighed their hearers down rather than lifting them up toward God’s throne of grace.

 

Hebrews 12:1 exhorts believers to throw off such dead weights and the sin that so easily hinders their race, while keeping their eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of their faith.

 

That’s what Speed of Sight’s Pete Plain does. By following the beloved comic book author and reading His books with childlike faith, he pokes fun at powerless religion while at the same time encouraging believers to take their faith to a higher level.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beating the Burden of Book Marketing

The burden of book marketing can bog down the flow of fresh ideas bursting from my fingers, because it’s like a heavy yoke (and that’s no joke). It floods the atmosphere with doubt. And so, I wrote this poem about it:

 

Goliath’s Marketing Monopoly

 

“Behold the giant standing in your way.

How will you ever get him to obey?

“Behold his stack of books is so well read

That yours cannot compete with it,” they said.

 

“You must jump through the same hoops he once did,

If you ever want to pop that stupid lid

That’s sits atop the path to your success,

The glass ceiling that’s been causing you such stress.”

 

“To fashion a best seller takes much sweat,

So with your muscles  you must lift the debt

You owe yourself regarding your great book

At which, it seems, nobody cares to look.”

 

“As an author you must form a strategy

Geared at launching your monstrosity.

Because you cannot make it fly for free,

Much grunt work you will need, most certainly.”

 

But must we heed the ogre and cave in,

Putting on his armor with a grin,

And taking all his insults on the chin?

To say he’s always right – is that no sin?

 

Had David donned Saul’s armor to slay Goliath, he wouldn’t have gotten very far. Had he tried to kill the giant with a javelin, he most likely would have missed. That’s because such weapons were too unwieldy for him. He hadn’t tested them. Instead of approaching Goliath the same way Goliath approached him, with a weight of fleshly pride and a mouthful of insults, he armed himself with godly fear and a true humility. He leaned on God for wisdom and let the Holy Spirit guide his stone.

And why can’t we as authors do the same?

For example, what if we redefined success to fit the gifts and callings God gave us? What if we came up with new, out-of-the-box methods of book marketing instead of copying someone else’s version of a platform?

I am beginning to think that for me, personally, word of mouth is a better key to gaining readers than a website. That’s because people tend to take more notice of my artwork than my “smart work.”

So, why can’t I use cartoons to promote my work? I’m a whole lot better at that than trying to explain verbally to somebody why he or she should read my book.

And when it comes to writing, I value quality over quantity. And that’s what I value when it comes to marketing too. Mass mailings? I have no idea how to do them. But God has given me a passion for my message and He does answer my prayers. I believe He led me to the right publisher – speaking of which, my editor sure put up with a lot from me. After numerous edits, they sent me the proof and I found all sorts of things that needed changing.

I was like, “This part sounds strange. Why did I word it this way?”

That’s my talent, you see. I’m picky. Good clean copy tops the list of my priorities when it comes to book marketing, because if I don’t like my product, how can I convince someone else it’s a great read? Unlike my favorite extrovert who could sell the broad side off a barn (for lack of a better analogy), I simply can’t sell anything I don’t believe in. That’s why, instead of paying for a package that provided press releases, radio interviews, and so forth, I spent money on professional editing. I needed to know I had a great product before I put it out there.

Now I need to market it, and to market it I need a platform – a platform that conforms to who I am and what I’m called to do. I’ve tried socially media, but very frankly, I need more friends to make it work. So, that’s what I’m working on now. It may not be your approach, but that’s fine, because book marketing shouldn’t be a burden. It should be a joy.

“Take my yoke upon you and learn of me: for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:29-30, KJV

So, let’s have fun with it, shall we?

 

 

 

https://miracle-times.com/healing/believe-instant-miracles/

 

 

Don’t Be a Jezebel Eunuch; Know What You Believe

Don’t be a Jezebel eunuch,

But know what you believe

Instead of chasing handsome wolves

Who hunger to deceive.

 

Don’t let her neutralize your faith

With her unwieldy tongue

Which tries to cut to shreds the truths

You learned when you were young.

 

Though she aims darts with confidence,

Asserting firm control,

She never will apologize

For anything she stole.

 

Don’t be a Jezebel eunuch,

But know what you believe

Instead of chasing handsome wolves

Who hunger to deceive.

 

The fact is, Jezebel desires to

Decimate your soul.

Therefore resist her with God’s Word.

Don’t let her take control

 

Because if you’ll return to Christ

With simple, childlike trust,

He’ll give you courage to succeed

And treasures that won’t rust.

 

Don’t be a Jezebel eunuch,

But know what you believe

Instead of chasing handsome wolves

Who hunger to deceive.

 

You’ve power to share the gospel,

To the flesh a daunting task,

But the Holy Spirit will enable you

If you will ask.

 

Don’t let her talk you out of it,

For satan cannot win

When you know Jesus conquered him

By paying for your sin.

 

Therefore, do not be lazy

But believe God’s holy Word.

Take time to memorize it

And to practice what you’ve heard.

 

For when you walk in authority,

You have nothing to dread

Because it gives you power

To heal the sick and raise the dead.

 

Don’t be a Jezebel eunuch,

But know what you believe

Instead of chasing handsome wolves

Who hunger to deceive.

 

 

Resist the devil and he’ll flee,

But first submit to Christ.

Then act like you believe Him,

For no nugget of advice

 

Or shred of wishful thinking

Based on wisdom man has formed

Will get across the message

Like a life that’s been transformed.

 

Don’t be a Jezebel eunuch,

But know what you believe

Instead of chasing handsome wolves

Who hunger to deceive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why I Believe in Instant Miracles

I believe in instant miracles for several reasons. First of all, I see them in God’s Word, especially  Mark’s gospel. Here are a few examples.

Mark 1:40-42 shows a leper bowing before Jesus. He says, “If you will, you can make me clean.”

Jesus puts forth His hand and tells him, “I will. Be clean.”

The man receives an instant miracle.

In the very next chapter, we see four men take apart a roof and lower a man to Jesus. Jesus forgives his sins. Then he tells the paralyzed guy to take up his bed and go home. The man picks up his mat and leaves immediately, amazing everyone.

One day a woman with a bleeding problem sneaks up behind Jesus and touches the hem of his robe. Her blood flow dries up “immediately.”

That’s three instant miracles so far, but the scriptures record more.

Every miracle Jesus did seemed to happen pretty fast – as in, right away. His miracles didn’t take a month, a week, or even a whole day.

But that’s not the only reason I believe in instant miracles. The fact is, I’ve experienced them firsthand.

For example, one time my pastor had a word of knowledge that someone had a stomach problem. I knew it was me, so I went up for prayer and was healed right away. I had a hearty lunch that afternoon with no pain whatsoever. Now that’s what I call an instant miracle.

I have also prayed for people in Jesus’ name and have seen them get healed according to the promise in Mark 16:17-18 that “These signs shall follow them that believe… they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover.” I have known bumps to disappear and have watched red blotches dwindle into nothing. Eyes have lost their redness. I have heard reports of tumors vanishing and people receiving instant relief from pain.

Just today my pastor gave a testimony about a woman who was in an accident which left her mostly blind. She couldn’t drive or function properly. But in January, our church set aside three weeks to fast and pray. She kept writing on the prayer cards “I want to see again.” Then one Saturday night, a whole bunch of people felt led to pray for her. The next morning, she woke up healed.

How instant was her miracle? Well, if you ask me, she received it pretty quickly, although she had been praying for a while.

Miracles don’t always happen instantly, but sometimes they do. I think that when they happen quickly, it is God’s way of reminding us just how powerful He is. Sometimes the miracle you pray for may be delayed. It might not happen right away. But that doesn’t mean you should give up asking.

One time, Jesus told a story about a woman who kept asking an unjust judge to avenge her against her adversary (see Luke 18:1-7). For a while he refused, but eventually he gave in because she was wearing him out. “And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he (may) bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily.”

“Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” (I Corinthians 15:51-52)

Those who believe in Jesus will experience this instant miracle.

It will be very quick.

“Nevertheless, when the Son of man comes, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Behind the Dark Mask

A mysterious bag lay beneath a dark mask.

The girl who reached for it got taken to task.

 

“Why can I not touch it? God said ‘Do not fear,’”

She argued, but they would not let her come near.
“It’s evil,” they told her.

 

“I don’t understand.”

 

“Do not ask about it,” came their reprimand.

 

“The thing that lies buried within must stay hidden.

You mustn’t expose it. Now do as you’re bidden.”

 

With those rigid words, they set down the strict law.

“It’s risky to open it. Tremble in awe.”

 

So read the cold rules hammered into the wall,

Engraved in hard stone to be heeded by all.

 

“The devil has left this bag here as a snare.

He’s trying to trick the poor children. Beware!”

 

Jesus showed her this gift. Must she leave it alone?

Obey man or God? What lord sat on the throne?

 

It didn’t feel right to be scared of that mask.

She wondered why they thought to take her to task.

 

If the gift was so wrong, why would they leave it there?

Could no one remove it if it was a snare?

 

Who had greater power – the devil or Christ?

“Read your Bible, dear fellows. You needn’t think twice.”

 

“You say such gifts no longer are for today

So, it has to be counterfeit? ‘Keep it at bay’?”

 

“If you’re afraid, why not ask God to deliver

You from this strange bag here at which you folks shiver?”

 

“For surely, He’s able and surely, He’s just.

If you ask Him for good things, protect you He must.”

 

They cringed at her words, yet they feared to say more.

On the softest of tiptoes, they snuck out the door.

 

They gave it a slam just to pound in their point,

And yet they could not knock her nose out of joint.

 

In one daring move she yanked back the dark mask,

The mask for which she had been taken to task.

 

She opened the bag which was covered with dust.

Out flew a bright light. It was true. It was just.

 

A peace filled the room. There was joy, there was love,

Which shone, as it were, from the wings of a dove.

 

There were visions and dreams, prophecy to be had,

Tongues of men and of angels. These gifts were not bad.

 

In that tiny back room, they had languished so long.

But they were the gifts that can make people strong.

 

The law locked them up, but God’s grace broke the chain,

For gifts that Christ purchased we should not restrain.

 

(Merchandisers prefer to have us entertained,

Until the time comes when their ankles get sprained.

 

Then suddenly they start to plan how to snag

The healing that lies in that mystery bag…)

 

 

 

 

 

The Last Time I Blogged

When was the last time I blogged? It’s hard to remember. I’ve been having too much fun watching my grandson four days a week, revising my novel that I actually took the time to get professionally critiqued (I don’t know why I didn’t do that years before), and doing illustrations for my friend’s book.  I haven’t had much time to write about other topics that are so dear to my heart: like believing God for miracles in Jesus’ name, encouraging people to trust God for miracles in Jesus’ name, reminding myself of all the healing scriptures I know and how I must compose another healing tract before I embark on my next missions trip. I must translate said tract into Spanish, of course. But priorities are priorities. Yes, these things can and will get done, but they will have to wait.

So anyhow, here are a few thoughts when it comes to being a grandmother. In the Bible, there are good grandmothers and bad grandmothers. The most notorious grandmother I remember reading about was a queen named Athaliah, daughter of Ahab and Jezebel. She had her own grandchildren killed so that she could rule the land of Judah, which means “praise.” Do you and I know any women like that today –  women who must come first, who have to be in charge, sacrificing family at the altar of fame, fortune, and all-consuming career? As long as Athaliah could rule her son, she was content to let him reign. But once her influence seemed as if it might wane, things changed. She turned into the nastiest woman I ever recall reading about.

As for me, I’d rather be the kind of grandmother that Timothy had, passing on my faith to the next generation. With Jesus ruling in my heart, I don’t have to rule the land. It is not my role to be “number one” but to put others first and to pour into the next generation life-changing scriptural truths that will help them reign in life through the power of God. That’s why I am praying for my grandson and speaking God’s Word over his life. I’m planting seeds of faith in him while he is only three months old (but so adorable), trusting that those seeds of faith will sink into his mind even before he learns to talk. I envision him going places I have never been, walking in greater gifts than I do, and doing greater works than I ever have.

It’s not a grandmother’s role to take but to give. Never underestimate the power of a grandmother to change a life, and by so doing, to change the world. Yes, it does mean putting some things on hold temporarily, but the reward of seeing my children walk in truth outweighs any minor sacrifice I have to make to do so. That’s why I haven’t composed any new articles lately. Raising up the next generation has taken precedence over writing. Don’t get me wrong. I still find time to write; but it’s family first, then novel,  book illustrations, then articles.

Hopefully within a few months, once I’ve finished revising my novel for what feels like the hundredth time, and have finally sent it off to a publisher, I will be able to publish a few more blog posts. Until then, happy blogging, friends. I will catch up with you as soon as I can.

Killjoys

Once upon a time there was a boy named Roy. He liked to read his Bible, especially stories about Jesus and the miracles he did. He read it like a child and believed every word. One day he was sitting under a tree, reading the passage in John where Jesus said, “He who believes in me will do the same things I do, and greater things.” Roy got all excited.

“Maybe God could use me to heal people too,” he said excitedly. “I could even open blind eyes, and raise the dead.” There seemed to be no limit to the miracles God could do through him if he believed.

Unknown to Roy, two men in black suits were standing by a fence nearby, listening to him talk and plotting. They sneaked up on him with a balloon and popped it in his face.

Roy was so startled, he dropped his Bible. “What’s going on?” he said.

“You’re taking the Bible too literally,” they replied. “God doesn’t do miracles anymore, so stop acting like a fanatic before we really make you jump.”

“How? With more balloons?” asked Roy, shocked beyond belief.

“No, but as God’s thought police, we’re here to correct you,” said the first man. “God frowns on having fun, you know. To follow Christ, you must take up your cross.”

“You mean, like, ‘Nose to the grindstone’?” asked Roy.

“Yes, you have to strain your brain to do God’s will,” said the second man. “Don’t expect to be suddenly empowered by some unknown tongue or prophecy from above. God dispensed with things like that a long time ago. Today He’s given us much more mysterious ways to His will, through mind-boggling inventions such as television, telephones and the Internet.”

“Raw human intellect is His current tool for reaching the masses,” added the first man. “He doesn’t need to use signs and wonders anymore.”

Roy hung his head. He felt as if the rug had been pulled out from under him. To think that God didn’t do miracles anymore made him so depressed, he stopped reading his Bible. Soon he found himself attending the balloon poppers’ church, which had many rules for pleasing God. You had to dress a certain way, talk a certain way, and if they happened to stop by your house you had to entertain them while they inspected every room. Any hint of dust or clutter earned you a sharp rebuke. Strict obedience to one’s “shepherd” was required. Any hint of rebellion was a sign that you weren’t saved. To “honor those who reign over you in the LORD” was the main law. To attend a different kind of church was to be branded a heretic, and to promote the free exercise of spiritual gifts earned you the title of “false prophet.”

That was why Roy was so afraid to leave the church. He feared that if he did, he’d go to hell, but he couldn’t stand to stay because the regulations were killing him. Then he remembered a book he’d read one time about praising God amid the worst of circumstances. Desperate to reconnect with God, he began to do just that. As he was searching for things to rejoice over, he happened to find his Bible. He opened it up and found himself staring at the passage in Matthew 7:15, which warns believers to beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing, “but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.”

The next verse said, “You will know them by their fruits” (meaning the results of their teaching). Roy cross-referenced that verse with the passage in Galatians 5:19-22, which compares the works of the flesh to the works of the Spirit.

According to verse 22, the fruit of the Holy Spirit is “love, peace, and joy.”

Roy realized he hadn’t experienced much love, joy, or peace in a very long time. All he felt in his church was fear, but Jesus promised comfort to his followers through Holy Spirit whom He said would teach them “all things.” (John 14:26).

The fruit of his church’s teaching, which was that spiritual gifts were no longer relevant, had made Roy very sad, but he knew God didn’t want him to be sad.

“These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full,” Jesus told his disciples in John 15:11.

To the lukewarm church in Revelation 3:14-21, Jesus said in verse 20, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hears my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”

In other words, it was all about having a personal relationship with Him, not about obeying man. Roy also read the scripture in Hebrews 13:8, which says that Jesus Christ “is the same yesterday, and today and forever.”

If so, then He hadn’t changed His mind when it came to doing miracles, Roy decided.

His original disciples took Jesus at His Word and bore good fruit. The wonders they did in His name caused many people to be saved.

“That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” (I Corinthians 2:5)

The moral of this story is that, when in doubt about any sort of teaching or statement, you should examine it in light of God’s word and look at the results (fruit) of it. For example, if you have been taught that God doesn’t do signs and wonders anymore, then ask yourself what has been the result of that teaching in your own life. For many of us, such teaching has been extremely discouraging, but when we discovered that God still does those things our faith was built up and our confidence in Him was restored.

To Walk in the Miraculous is a Humbling Thing

Picture twelve men weathering a storm by boat at night,

The wind and waves against them, there’s no victory in sight.

 

Then suddenly appears a light. They cry “Oh no, a ghost!”

Methinks this crew hath zero bravery of which to boast.

 

“Fear not, ‘tis I,” their Savior says. Thank God, what sweet relief!

Though cold and battered, they’ll survive. But their reprieve is brief,

 

Because that show-off Peter simply has to rock the boat.

“If it is you, Jesus,” he says, “Then make my feet to float.”

 

“Come,” Jesus says, and urges him to step over the brink.

The others seem to think Pete’s crazy. What if he should sink?

 

“There goes old ‘Name it, claim it,’” I can almost hear them say.

“He acts like he’s ‘all that.’ He’s getting so carried away!”

 

“In his thirst for signs and wonders, Peter has gone overboard.

We’re not sure it’s the smartest way for him to serve the Lord.

 

It seems he took that ‘Follow me’ command too literally.”

One thing’s for sure. They’re not about to join him on that sea.

 

While Judas clasps the money bag (can’t let the coins get soaked),

The others stay inside the boat, their motives safely cloaked.

 

No fear of looking foolish, nobody will see them fall.

Their pride likely remains unscathed. They do not “miss the ball.”

 

Not that they tried to hit it, no one’s really keeping score.

But obviously, from their “perch,” Pete’s flaws they can’t ignore.

 

Through Christ he walks in miracles, but boisterous waves and wind

Discourage him. He starts to doubt. It’s plain to see he sinned.

 

It seems this “charismatic” man of dubious renown

Has made a fatal error, and now he’s about to drown.

 

Then He calls to Jesus, who extends a hand of grace.

He will do the same for us if we will seek His face.

 

He says we’ll do the same works He does if we will believe,

But if we don’t step out in faith, then how can we receive?

 

If you want to see a miracle, then you must take a risk,

Though others remain silent, shake their heads, or say “Tsk, tsk.”

 

Their viewpoints do not matter if they’re safe inside the ship.

So, keep eyes on Jesus, for He will  not let you slip.

 

Yes, it’s sure to humble you, but in that there’s no shame,

Because, though you might make mistakes, you’ve glorified His name.

 

If you could do it perfectly, you might get into pride.

To save you from such things is the reason that Christ died.

 

He wants you walking in His power. His gifts are for today.

All you have to do is simply listen and obey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cessationism and the Charismatic Church

Do you long for revival, to have God’s fire burn in you?

Do you want to do more than sit in a church pew?

It has been my experience that ministry opportunities are often few, especially in churches which don’t allow for spiritual gifts such as tongues, prophecy, or miracles.

I believe that the doctrine of cessationism, which says that so-called “charismatic” or “Pentecostal” gifts aren’t for today, causes more things to cease than tongues. It causes hope to cease and the power of God’s Word to lose its relevance. When there’s no expectation that God will step into the meeting place and do something really awesome, then people start to leave. They start to get bored.

“I didn’t come to church for this lukewarm bath!” I can hear them say.

But oh, we must be careful of the wolves in sheep’s clothing, for what Bible-believing Christian isn’t familiar with Jesus’ warning that not everyone who calls him Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven?

“Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in they name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matthew 8:22-23)

I Corinthians 8:3 tells us that “if any man love God, the same is known of him.”

In other words, it’s not the use of spiritual gifts such as casting out devils or prophecy that Jesus is against. It’s that they never loved him. They never really got to know him. If they prophesied truth, it was not in love. They might have cast out devils, but welcomed bigger devils into their homes. Judas is a prime example of a disciple who went out with all the rest to heal the sick and cast out devils (see Luke chapter 9, verse 2). He was involved in wonderful works, yet he had no true love for Jesus and in the end betrayed him.

Though there may be many who operate in false gifts or prophesy out of their own minds, that doesn’t mean that spiritual gifts have ceased. Take Ahab for example, the fleshly king who had four hundred false prophets prophesy success for him in God’s name (see I Kings chapter 22). There was one man, Micaiah, who had a true gift of prophecy for Ahab, however. He spoke a truthful word and Ahab had him thrown in jail.

If Jehoshaphat,  the godly king of Judah, had ignored Ahab and heeded that word,  he wouldn’t have gone to battle with Ahab and nearly gotten himself killed. True spiritual gifts – in this case, prophecy – can save lives, yet some people insist on preaching against such things. The number of anti-charismatic sites on the web is  astounding.

Spiritual counterfeits cause people to be disillusioned with spiritual gifts, but think on this: Satan is below God, not above him. He can’t counterfeit anything of God that isn’t real. When he couldn’t stop Jesus from casting out devils, he had men accuse Jesus of doing the devil’s work. Now he uses the doctrine of cessationism to accuse Jesus’ followers of the same thing.

After all, if gifts such as tongues and prophecy have ceased from operating in the church, then God can’t be behind them, can he?

I’m not saying we should accept every tongue or prophecy that comes our way, but we need to use discernment because for every four hundred false prophets there’s liable to be at least one true one. The same goes for tongues, as well as for every other spiritual gift. We shouldn’t let Satan scare us away from spiritual gifts that are still for today.