Have you experienced the power of the Gift as described in 1 John 20? “You have the gift that the Holy One gave you, so you all know the truth”. Sharing stories about being filled with the Spirit and receiving gifts has surely raised eyebrows and sparked conversations from believers who do not believe…or understand. The stirring from within is to bring attention to the times in which we live, to know the truth and the need to be filled to overflowing with the Spirit. It is not about me for I am constantly learning and leaning on the everlasting arms of Jesus to help me go forth in faith; it is about making Jesus Lord of our lives and being ready when Jesus returns.
Smith Wigglesworth shares in his book what many of you may have experienced, as I did when I was 15 years old. “ Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit” 1 Corinthians 12:4
“We must look to the Holy Spirit to show us the use of the gifts, what they are for, and when to use them so that we may never use them without His power. I do not know of anything so tragic today as people using a Gift without the Power. Some have used the prophetic gift without the Holy touch; and they have come into the realm of the natural and it has bought ruin, caused dissatisfaction, broken hearts, upset churches.
Paul says, “For whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God: or whether we be sober, it is for your cause.” 2 Cor. 5:13 The Lord will allow you to be very drunk in His presence – (like the 120 on the day of Pentecost), but sober among people. If you allow yourself to be drunk in a place of worship where people come who know nothing about the Word, you send people away. They look at you instead of seeing God. They condemn the whole thing because you have not been sober at the right time. So many things are commendable when all the people are in the Spirit. Many things are very foolish if the people round about you are not in the Spirit. We must be careful not to have a good time at the expense of somebody else. Throughout worship experiences the all important thing is to be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. Where the glory of God alone is desired you can look for every needed gift to be made manifest. To glorify God is better than to idolize gifts. We prefer the Spirit of God to any gift; but we can look for the Trinity in manifestation, different gifts by the same Spirit, different administrations but the same Lord, diversities of operation but the same God working all in all. Can you conceive of what it will mean for our triune God to be manifesting Himself in His fullness in our churches?”
In my youth, I believed but didn’t believe (understand). Attending a revival with a special friend at 15 years old left me shaking in my shoes and holding to the pew in front of me as the entire church celebrated in the Spirit: dancing, shouting, singing and speaking in tongues, which I had never experienced in worship at my church. I kept my head bowed while clinging to the pew and asking God to help me know what to do. I finally moved from the back pew and stood at the altar with no clear meaning of what was happening. I knew I loved Jesus and talked to Him in my heart without making a sound as I stood before Him in humility, I didn’t receive the revelation the precious people surely hoped for me to get that night; fear and lack of knowledge kept me from understanding and enjoying the gifts of the Spirit.
Nine years later, I attended another revival at the same church and enjoyed an amazing worship experience. Tim, my husband of one year, stayed home that Monday night to watch the Miami Dolphins play football. A lady evangelist shared the message that reached deep inside my heart. Sitting alone on the back pew, I thought of leaving when the invitation began. Do you have people in your church who leave before the invitation? The devil gave every reason to do so: your husband is home waiting for you, remember what happened last time, it will last forever, you need to get home and prepare for teaching tomorrow, this is not your style of worship, leave before it gets loud, go home Becky! But…His still voice stirred inside with a calmness that urged me to stay. And I did!
When the invitation was almost over, I was still standing in my pew praying silently and listening to the preacher’s plea to come forth and receive God’s blessing. There was no confusion, fear, or pressure to go forth, but a sweet, powerful presence stirred my heart with a desire to step in faith (amidst the chatter of tongues and shouts of praise to God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost). So, I did.
I found a place near the corner of the altar and kneeled in humility. Many people praised out loud; I prayed and praised with tears flowing – without making a sound. Yet, my heart exploded with joy and jubilation. People placed their hands on my shoulder but when the preacher laid her hand on my head, the power of the Spirit shot through me like a bolt of lightning. She asked me to stand for God had given her a word for me. In shock, I stood with no fear only admiration for my heavenly Father who opened the eyes of my heart as only He can do. The church became quiet as she spoke prophetic words that would be fulfilled eight years later.
“God says that your husband will go to a foreign country and serve as a missionary to help build a church”
I stood in awe of God and the word He sent to me as a newlywed whose husband had not received Christ and been baptized. Tim believed, loved the Lord, and we were active in church. I prayed for God to work in his life and use us to glorify Him throughout our life together. Then, I witnessed the sweet fellowship of believers who believe. Finally, I went home!
Tim was waiting with a grin. Sitting in his black leather (actually plastic) chair, watching our black and white television, eating a snack, wearing his Dolphin’s jersey, he motioned for me to come sit on his lap and enjoy the ending of a great football game. And I did!
When the news came on, I turned off our television and proceeded to share all about the service and word the lady evangelist had given me for Tim. He listened intently but shrugged it off with little regard for the fulfilling of this prophecy to ever come forth in his life. I hushed for the Spirit gave a peace to be quiet and know He was God who can do all things when we believe. So, I believed and prayed for God to work it all out. And He did!
The next eight years God blessed us beyond measure with Tim accepting Jesus and being baptized at Union Grove Baptist Church by Rev. Paul Honeycutt (the first person he baptized); our first child, Cameron Odell; our move to Sumter, S.C. with Tim’s new job; joining Sumter Baptist Church; moving back home and buying a home in Clinton; Tim working with Mike Hatch at Connor Mobile Homes, me teaching, Tim beginning a career with Allstate, us joining First Baptist Church, Mr. Warren and Mr. Pearson visiting in our home and bringing us into closer fellowship with Christ and our church, me selling Avon and World Book Encyclopedias, us striving to make ends meet and seeing God provide, Rev. Bill Jones taking time to minister powerfully in Tim’s life; and in 1981 seeing the prophetic word spoken over Tim’s life in our first year of marriage become reality. Pastor Jones asked Tim to join other men from our church on a two week mission trip to Venezula to help build a church. And he went! I am still praising God for that Word and remembering the joy we shared as a young couple so in love with one another and the Lord.
Thirty five years after that amazing mission trip changed our lives and brought us up close and personal with the power of His Holy Spirit, I am still in awe of how God works things out according to His plans for our lives. Next week, Smith concludes this series with his story of the perfect way to receive the Gift!
Becky Spell Vann is the owner and operator of Tim’s Gift and The Learning Station.