By Rev. Ray J. Miller, retired
A church on the coast held evening services. Part of one service was an invitation for open prayer. A lady, who seldom spoke. stood up and began to speak in "tongues." The windows were open and she could be heard outside. A man walking by heard her. He was from another country and feeling very lonely without his family. He heard her speaking and understood every word. He went into the church, thrilled to talk to her. This confirmed her gift. She and the congregation celebrated. he became a member of the church and they helped bring family to him.
The gift of speaking in tongues can be a blessing. But speaking in tongues can also be false. People can claim to have special visions or dreams to manipulate others.
The Old Testament warns about false prophets who used dreams to get their way. Cults appeared and attracted loyal followers that elevated leaders to god-like authority. Cult leaders try to control, but the gospel gives us freedom. Peace, patience, goodness and self-control are evidence of the Holy Spirit given to us all.
Beware of those who claim to know the bible better than anyone else.
Our country is loaded with cults, religious and political. Each has a leader who is gifted in speaking and claims special knowledge. They have their own agendas and appeal to people's prejudices or religious beliefs to gain power. However, love summarizes the teaching and life of Jesus.
Psalm 22 described Jesus' agony on the cross as he was dying. He prayed this from the cross, a gift of the spirit given over 1,000 years before.
The disaster in Texas will reveal the spirit at work. Thousands will volunteer to help. Food and materials will pour in. The spirit will gather people from all groups, colors and languages to bring help to those in need. I went five times to help with aid for hurricane Katrina's victims 10 years ago. The gathering of volunteers is a humanity of love. Texans are experiencing agony now, but the spirit works through us to bring hope and aid to suffering people. Love is a gift from the spirit.