November 2

1 Corinthians 11-12, Psalm 146

Benny Hinn has a net worth of $42 million dollars primarily proclaiming a gospel that empowers "faith healing", with his followers believing and paying large sums of money to be prayed over and convinced that they will be healed of any malady. T.B. Joshua (Nigerian pastor) has a net worth of $10 million dollars and will send you "anointed water" to heal anywhere in the world. Chris Oyakhilome, Nigerian pastor, also claims to be a faith healer, has a net worth of $50 million dollars and even claims to be capable of healing AIDS. Pastor Chuck Smith told the story a number of years back after a morning service when some children wheeled their grandfather to the front of the church for prayer. Unknowingly they brought him up to pray for relief of his cold. But when Chuck laid his hand on him he felt the Holy Spirit telling him to lift him up and in the name of Jesus , the man began to walk. Pastor Chuck said that he doesn't make a practice of pulling people out of wheelchairs, but at that instant God gave him both the gift of faith and healing. God does what He wants when He wants, and it is a blessing when he uses us and gives us needed gifts at different times. As opposed to the first 3 preachers mentioned who draw attention and money to themselves rather than God, Pastor Chuck drew attention to God and not himself.

Paul discusses gifts in 1 Corinthians 12:4-7, "There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all:...". Certain gifts are exalted over others by people but Paul goes on to explain the importance of the contributions of the entire body of believers, using the analogy of the parts of the human body, in 12:17-19, "If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. And if they were all one member, where would the body be?" Many churches will have people fill out a checklist to figure out their spiritual gifts. This would draw the emphasis on our natural abilities rather than the ability of the Spirit to work through us. In Numbers 22:28-30, we see the encounter between Baalam and his donkey who was given the ability to speak. Like us, the Holy Spirit didn't need the natural abilities of the donkey, nor did the donkey ever fill out a questionnaire to see if she possessed this gift. Gifts come through and by the Holy Spirit to those who are willing to be used by Him, for His glory rather than our own.

Gifts are crucial to the healthy functioning of His church. If every individual filled with the Holy Spirit would focus less on ourselves and more on what the Holy Spirit can do through us, not limiting our use by focusing on our natural abilities, we would see revival exploding throughout the world. There are many gifts which do hold a position, such as our pastors and teachers. But no matter what our natural abilities might be, if yielded to the Holy Spirit, we never know when God might choose to use His word of wisdom or gift of healing through us, exactly when it is necessary. This might be a one time event, since the power is not inherent in ourselves but from God. We are all part of the body and everyone has function or role to play if the body is to function healthily. God has placed us where it pleases Him, not us. So we should all faithfully fulfill whatever role He has given us, and never covet those more prestigious roles. In heaven we may be surprised by so many who never were in the limelight but consistently, faithfully acted upon the call of God and the movement of the Holy Spirit in their lives. May we all echo Isaiah's words in Isaiah 6:8, "...Here am I! Send me."

Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley:

Marj Lancaster