Children of the Day Post 7: 2 Thessalonians 1

Children of the Day

Today I’m breaking with my “tradition” of summarizing last Sunday’s DVD session and then giving my thoughts about the homework for the week so far and simply tell you a little about myself as it pertains to the last DVD session. I promise to return to homework reflections next Wednesday! The topic in the last DVD session just demands the story, if I am to remain a transparent Christian here at MIP. If my past experience with telling this story has taught me anything, it’s that I usually lose the respect of half of my friends telling this story. But, Jesus told me that I should expect exactly that when sharing my faith story with others and since He’s “Exhibit A” of such a thing, I guess I’m in good company. Honestly? To retell this tale fills me with dread. But, my God told me to be “strong and courageous”, so here I go:

Even Beth Moore has changed her viewpoint on the often supernatural expressions of that mysterious 3rd part of the God-in-3-persons trinity–the Holy Spirit. For those not well-versed in Christian “stuff”, let me explain that verses 19-22 of 1 Thessalonians 5 talks about not squelching the workings of the Holy Spirit and specifically discusses that prophecies should not be despised.

Certain wonderful denominations within the Christian community have espoused that people no longer “speak in tongues” and “prophesy” as they did in the Bible. Other denominations very actively express their faith through speaking in tongues and have heard or given prophecies to this day. Thus, there is often a great debate among Christian believers about this.

I confess, that as an early Presbyterian, I seldom heard anything about the Holy Spirit. Indeed, I refer to my beloved Presbyterians as the “frozen chosen.” As a Preacher’s Kid (PK), I vividly remember members of the congregation being irritated at having to stand up to sing more than 3 hymns in 1 church service. That was a little too much “expression” for them. True story.

As a kid literally raised in a church (Ministers’ families are always the first ones to arrive at church and the last ones to leave!), I, as a teen and young adult, often questioned whether I was really “saved.” And because I questioned that, I often wondered if God would let me into His Heaven and wondered if He was real. It took me years to realize that I simply lived my life the way God would prefer for all of us to live our lives–raised in a Christian home where believing in Christ was something I just assimilated as a very young child. It was just a way of life. And yet, I still had that gnawing doubt in my heart because I didn’t have some earth-shattering change in my character when I, repeatedly, asked God into my heart. I couldn’t point to a specific day when God came into my heart as so many can do.

Thus, I think you can safely label me as a doubting Thomas in female form. I yearned for some “tangible evidence” that God was not a figment of my imagination.

Enter the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit was actually doing some Twilight Zone type stuff in my life long before my 20s–I just didn’t know that He was the instigator of that stuff. But, in my 20s I started hanging out with some very smart, very confident Christians who taught me about the Holy Spirit and thought that modern-day manifestations of the Holy Spirit were just as normal as singing one of those hymns on Sunday morning. And they were Presbyterians!

After much prayer, study, and trepidation, I finally asked God to give me the ability to pray in tongues. It eventually happened one quiet, sunny Virginia morning in July in my living room. And shortly after that, I heard a bona fide prophecy from one of the aforementioned smart people. Other interesting Twilight Zone stuff also followed and that continues to this day. Thus, I’m afraid this frozen former Presbyterian has to acknowledge that God can do whatever He pleases in the “wild zone” and I have no choice but to believe that these acts of God still exist.

Doubting Female Thomas died that day.

Let me be the first to say that I don’t, for a nanosecond, think that anyone who does not have these gifts or has not witnessed them, is any less of a Christian than I am. In fact I think the opposite. They believe in Christ’s saving grace without any “proof.” Even Jesus said that was the better way to be. And I would be telling you a bald-faced lie if I stated that I pray in tongues on a regular basis. I only do that when I have no earthly idea how to pray for a particular situation or person. To me, it’s just an added “tool” in my prayer toolbox.

Now that I’ve ostracized half my dear readers, let me tell Beth’s new viewpoint on this subject. I think she once was my doubting Thomas twin sister–fraternally…I look nothing like Beth. She has come to a similar conclusion about the Holy Spirit. She has had experiences that she can’t explain just as I have had. Thus, she believes God put those verses in I Thessalonians 5 for a reason.

She is quick to point out that each of us has the right and actually, the obligation to test prophetic statements against the Word of God (aka the Bible) and make sure they square with God’s character and teachings. And we have the right to examine what others believe are prophetic words for us and decide if those statements are actually meant for our growth as Christians. We might not like some prophetic statements, but they may still be for us! On the other hand, we may not like them because the Holy Spirit is trying to tell us that those statements did not come from Him or weren’t meant for us. But, to be lazy and not study about the Holy Spirit in the Bible and test out these things via the Bible and through praying, is not okay when others give us a “word” from that mysterious “Mister” who now dwells in us as believers.

To do so is to try to put God in a human-sized box. And God is most definitely an “outside-the-box” being. This is just my humble opinion and you are most welcome to vehemently disagree with me, but I think some of us who believe that such things only happened in the Bible (as I once did!) believe this viewpoint because we are a little fearful of all this Twilight Zone-like behavior of the Holy Spirit. It’s unpredictable. It’s “out there.” And even worse, we have little “control” over it. It’s sooo human for us to want to control what we don’t completely understand and trying to understand the workings of the Holy Spirit is a little like trying to rope water.

If we don’t fear the Holy Spirit, then we may think those who do embrace His unusual way of working are nut cases. And we certainly don’t want to be nut cases! Can I just state that on the day when I finally prayed in tongues, I still had a degree in psychology from a reputable university and I was still able to function without the use of psycho-tropic drugs? In fact this
“nut case” even went on to get a master’s degree in psychology from yet another reputable university after that sunny Virginia July morning.

I once heard it said that the Holy Spirit is a gentleman. Thus, He won’t start doing the “wild stuff” unless we desire for that to happen in our lives. In fact sometimes realizing that He’s working requires extreme stillness because His voice is very quiet and serene most of the time. Thus, if we choose not to “go there,” God still loves us and can work around that decision and still do miraculous things through us. All I ask, is that you go and study the Bible, as I did, consult reputable books on the subject, and then make up your own mind about it. I love you, regardless of your decision and so does God.

And one more thing…the reason why I deviated from my usual format for these posts today? I think the Holy Spirit was nudging me to be a little brave today.

You’ll have to excuse me now…I have some water to rope. 🙂

Friday’s Post: A new MIP feature!

You Might Also Like: Children of the Day Post 6; Children of the Day Reflection # 5; Children of the Day Reflection # 4; and Children of the Day Reflection # 3

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 at 10:50 am and is filed under God stuff. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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