This post has been on my heart for sometime. I have prayed for the right time to share. I have prayed for the guidance of the Holy Spirit. It is my desire, my deepest heart's desire that it will ignite a huge flame in the heart of every reader. Never before, have I shared such an intimate testimony. To be God the glory, all the honor, all the praise, and all the thankfulness. All my life. His touch will forever transform. I adore Him for that... and so much more.
On December 8th of 2009, I was baptized in the Holy Spirit. The breath of heaven washed over me in a way I could have only hoped to have known, felt, experienced. My heart wanted it so badly. My soul knew it lingered there for a long time...waiting to explode... to ignite a holy fire... to start to refine like never before. I have been left forever marked... forever changed... forever wanting... more.
We had a small group meeting in our home. The way the Lord worked all that out is heavenly! We started the group in hopes of helping/encouraging couples with marriage. To pray for our marriages, support, hold each other accountable... all that stuff! Which is great stuff. Really great stuff. But God had another idea.
People weren't signing up! HA HA Seemed like no one wanted a "marriage" small group. Our pastor encouraged us to call some people. Don and I felt strongly that God would send whom He had decided... even if it was two couples. And so we waited. People started signing up and we ended up with three dedicated couples, plus ourselves. We asked them what they wanted to do. We explained that we didn't want to have a "plan" but wanted the group to meet the needs of everyone there. Everyone quickly agreed to let the Spirit be in control and guide it. Excellent decision number one! We ended up being a prayer life group. Excellent decision number two! We ministered to each other and grew in love and friendship and the Holy Spirit was present and amazing. Each time, people would hear similar things and it would be totally apparent what we needed to do for each other that night.
One of the couples laughed and finally shared that when the Lord told them to sign up for our group, they were disappointed! LOL They thought, "marriage"... really???? But they were obedient. They had experienced the baptism of the Holy Spirit and were the very ones God called to lead us in closer to Him. I praise Him for that. B and J... your obedience to the Spirit... excellent decision number three!
Soon, our little group was encountering His presence every time we gathered and it was amazing. It was Holy. It was beautiful. Then one night, another woman started praying in the Spirit for the first time. At first, I thought she was crying and I reached out and put my hand on her leg. Suddenly, I could feel power flowing through her like I had my finger in an electrical outlet and I knew what it was. I knew this woman to be a true, warrior, lover of the LORD and so I knew to trust what was happening. When you feel, literally feel, the power of the LORD... there is not much else to think it is!
After that night, I was on my face in my room, begging the LORD to touch me like that. As a believer, I know I am sealed with the Holy Spirit. And I know that Christ dwells inside me. I had experienced promptings of the Holy Spirit for years. And I had experienced two, what I call... "washings" of the Holy Spirit in the deepest darkness of Abby's illness, where I immediately knew God had spoken/answered me in the Spirit. So I was already hungry for any interaction with the Spirit I could get. I had no fear. How could I fear being saturated with the living power of God Almighty that He sent to us in exchange for Jesus returning to heaven? Christ told the disciples they would be GLAD Jesus was returning BECAUSE THEN God could send the Spirit. Now the Spirit must be something AMAZING if we are to be GLAD JESUS is back in heaven so we can receive it!
I prayed and prayed. And waited and waited. Nothing. I told the LORD, "That is ok. I will wait. I know you have this for me. And I will wait and love you and seek you... always."
During this time we were invited to go to a Tuesday night house church that worshiped freely in the Spirit. What I mean by this is this: The person who "led" the group would feel God put something on his heart to share that night with the group. He and his wife and others would pray all week for God to show them, guide them to what He wanted then to share and talk about. Then when we would meet, we would worship. If the LORD put a scripture on someone's heart, they could stand and share it. Then someone else might add to it. Then someone else would share a testimony. Then two others would share how that was exactly what God had been telling them that week and they would share. Then we would worship... praising the LORD for hours sometimes.
They were having a night for healing prayers. The night was dedicated to crying out to the LORD for healing for ourselves and others. Of course, Abby was on my heart. My heart wanted to ask for prayer for the baptism of the Holy Spirit. But I felt it was selfish to ask. I wanted Abby's healing before I wanted mine. I wanted it with everything I had inside me. THAT was why I was going.
So we went. And amazingly, two other couples from our small group were there. Four of them went up for prayer. When they did, they were asked if we (Don and I) were with them. They answered yes. They then asked them to ask us to join them up there. I was waiting for the LORD to tell me what to do and when and so we went up and joined them. (*Note* Later, they shared that that week, the Lord told them that 6 people were coming who were in need of healing. That's why they asked if we were with them... we made 6. It was my first time there. A couple in our small group had been going for a while and had often asked us to join them.)
One by one, we were asked what we needed. One by one, we shared. When they got to me, I was asked what I wanted. "I am here to pray for healing for my daughter." This woman looked at me, like she was looking at me for the first time and asked again, "What are "YOU" here for?" I knew in that moment. She knew. She was looking deep into my soul and it cried out... TELL HER! So I did. "I want to be baptized in the Holy Spirit." She asked, have you never been baptized in the Spirit? "No," I answered.
*I feel I must interrupt the flow here for a moment. I am not a biblical expert. But here is what I know. I was baptized at 11 years of age because I was told that if I died that day I would go to hell because I knew right from wrong and was not a Christian. I was baptized out of fear. Later in my life, in my twenties, when I realized that being a christian was about a surrendered and obedient relationship with the Father who loved us SO much that He sent Jesus to take my place in death and judgement, I was re-baptized into Christ out of humble thankfulness and to be buried with Him in my death and risen again in new life. They were totally different from each other. But I know, what I know, from what happened to me, that water baptism is symbolic of the washing of my sins, being buried with Him in the tomb, and then risen again into new life. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is different. It is a washing of the Spirit. It was Christ baptizing with fire. I will share scriptures for this at the end.*
As she layed hands on me, doubt tried to step in and tell me this was a crock. She simply prayed that I would be washed in the baptism of the Holy Spirit. She continued to pray and I felt my knees start to slide down. "What are you doing," I heard myself ask myself? "Do not go down on the floor," I told myself... or actually... Satan told me. The battle was raging. I could feel it. It was unbelievable. Then "surrender" came to me over and over and over... "surrender" washed over and me I said, "I surrender." At that moment my mouth started moving and I was not moving it. Then waves of power started rolling through me like my finger was in a light socket. And so I let go... and fell into it.
PRAISE THE LORD ALMIGHTY.
As my mouth moved and the most beautiful words I have ever heard flowed out... my heart felt as if it would burst. I was overcome with so much joy I thought I would really explode. I started laughing as I continued to hear words roll from my mouth that were the Spirit's words. It felt as if a tiny window in heaven had opened and there was this direct chord from me to God. I could not believe that God was so gracious to show Himself to me like this. My laughing then turned to tears as I was overcome with so much humbleness and gratitude... who was I for the LORD to touch me like this. I am just a girl. I am just me. And You are You... God. And THIS. You are showing me THIS. It felt like every prayer I had ever prayed, every emotion I had ever had, every fear, every longing was spilling out in such rapid fashion that I could not even swallow my spit! And I was afraid to stop long enough to swallow my spit because I wanted it to last forever. I lied there for what I thought was 15 minutes. My husband told me it was an hour. The most amazing hour of my entire life. I no longer just had faith in the Holy Spirit. I had knowledge. He was more real than I had ever even tried to fathom. I was blown away. Forever, forever changed. The spiritual had become physical before me. The two realms were present before me and my eyes were opened. I can only shake my head as I remember this for the first time. I thought I would never be able to move again!
The next day, doubt (Satan) came back to tell me that what happened was not real. So I got back down on my sweet floor... face down, and I asked the LORD to touch me again... to confirm what had happened... that I only wanted Him and ALL of Him I could get... right here on earth. And it happened again... right there on my sweet floor.
THANK YOU FATHER.
I was like Dorothy in the "Wizard of Oz"! I felt like I had been living in black and white. I only knew black and white. But I felt like there was more. And then, the door was opened... to a world of color. Nothing would be the same. Ever. It had been right there... right there!
I wondered how I would even be able to grocery shop again. How could I just do anything "normal" like that again! LOL I just wanted to hole up in my room and pray and pray and pray. I dove into the bible with a hunger like I had never known. Digging and digging for treasure. And God answered. That year was a huge year for us as we discovered our identity in Israel, beauty of treasures hidden in the original language of the Word, and people started coming out of the wood work who were experiencing the same thing. I began having vivid dreams and was simply addicted to the LORD! Glory Hallelujah.
Sadly, the enemy is never far behind.
"The enemy will not see you vanish into God's company without an effort to reclaim you." --C.S. Lewis
Of course, once you know the door to the world of color is right there... right there for the taking... waiting to be sought, waiting to be knocked on, waiting to be opened... you want to tell everyone. I was giddy. Seriously. I smile just to remember. But not every one wants to hear it. And not every one wants to know. And not every one wants to celebrate with you. Enter in a new set of spiritual warfare attacks. I have friends and even family who think I am "that" one. There are even people we worship with who think I am "that" one. Now I can laugh. Praise the LORD. I AM THAT ONE! I AM SOLD OUT. I HAVE BEEN TOUCHED AND I AM THAT ONE. AND I AM FINALLY FREE TO SHOUT IT FROM THE ROOF TOPS!
It affected friendships. It affected my blogging. It brought on more warfare with the enemy. It affected my worship. That was a hard one. I would feel the Spirit start to ignite/manifest... whatever you want to call it... during worship and I would shut it down for fear of what people would think. Satan would tell me, "Everyone thinks you just want to be seen." And I would listen, agree with him, and shut down the Spirit. One day at church, I literally had a napkin in my mouth as the Spirit just went to town! I was on the praise team and I would feel it coming... and I would shut it down. You can either surrender and go with it or you can clamp down and shut it down. I was on stage at church, singing with the praise team, and it arrived. I had entered the throne room in worship. Forgotten where I was and really entered in... really was worshiping. Suddenly, I stood as rigid as I could and clamped my mouth tight and stood there almost in tears. The word says to use your gifts to encourage one another. It also says not to quench or grieve the Spirit. I was telling Him, "No, not here, not now." My heart was pierced deeply. I quit praise team and I went home and went to bed and cried and cried and cried. I promised I would never shut Him down ever ever again. That if He ever graced me with His presence again like that, I didn't care who I was with or where... He could have His way with me. I am just the vessel. And I want to be used and obedient. And oh how I want His presence!
I launched into a study on the Holy Spirit and became solid in my belief for what had happened... what was happening... and grew in my desire and delight for it. Slowly I began to realize that I would share when the occasion presented itself... or should I say... God presented the situation. I also realized I could leave a room if I needed to... but still not shut it down. I have had the privilege of sharing with several people who have since experienced this and who were seeking for more. Others are asking and still seeking. It is a sweet gift to share something so sweet with someone wanting more! To see people's lives changed from such an encounter is a gift.
So there it is. I have prayed about when to share. I so wanted to share. But there is this little thing... fear of man... that the enemy likes to taunt me with... about what people will think...say... respond. But that is not up to me. Even Christ was accused of being possessed by Satan by the religious leaders when He spoke God's word and performed miracles. Who am I to also not be accused of what ever man may say? What is up to me is to be a reflection of Christ. To share how real He is. To share about how the Holy Spirit is the agent of His power on earth and it is very alive and active. To live for Him, to grow in Him, to be used by Him. And that is what I long to do. More than anything.
More than anything.
I am singing again. I see how Satan attacks my worship with his lies. I realized that I was giving in to him and not doing what God created me to do... worship Him. Worship is my passion. I can not do it enough. It is a verb. It is an action. My favorite way to worship is in song. I still struggle, hearing Satan's lies and attacks as he strives to quiet me. But I will keep worshiping as long as I have breath.
This Sunday we are singing, "Awake my Soul" by Chris Tomlin. You can listen to it at the end. After listening to it about 20 times in 2 days... I realized I was being called to awaken again. To get out of the distraction of life and awaken. And the Spirit said... share. And I was obedient. So I am laying down my "anything" of "fear of man". And I boldly proclaim who He is... in ALL HIS GLORY. He is my everything.
I pray you are blessed in some way. And I pray that the flame of the LORD'S heart and Spirit romances each and every one of you!
These scriptures were helpful for me in my journey. I pray, if you have ever felt, in your Spirit, that there is more... there is. Please seek it... and you shall find it!
"The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned."
1 Corinthians 2:14~
1 Corinthians 12- (1)" Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant: (3) therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit. (4) There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different ministries, but the same LORD. And there are diversities of activities, but the same God who works all in all. (7) But the MANIFESTATION OF THE SPIRIT IS GIVEN TO EACH ONE FOR THE PROFIT OF ALL: (8) for one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another working of miracles, to another prophesy, to another discerning spirits, to another different kinds of tongues. (11) But one and the same Spirit works all these things DISTRIBUTING TO EACH ONE INDIVIDUALLY AS HE WILLS. "
Spiritual gifts are there for every believer. Each one. The Holy Spirit decides what gifts He wills you to have. But we are told to "earnestly desire the best gifts" in verse 31.
All the gifts exist to edify or build up the church as a whole, as well as each individual member/believer. What better reason for Satan to attack this area in our lives!?
Acts 10:44-46, Acts 19:1-6 show that after one receives the baptism of the Holy Spirit, an initial act that follows is the person's ability to speak in tongues, or pray in the Spirit. Acts 19 shows clearly that they were believers who had not yet been baptized in the Spirit.
"And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples he said to them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" So they said to him, "We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit. And he said to them, "Into what then were you baptized? So they said, "Into John's baptism." Then Paul said, "John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied." Acts 19:1-6
"While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. And those of circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. "Then Peter answered, "Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days." Acts 10:44-48~
These scriptures confirmed, for me, that the baptism of the Holy Spirit can be at a different time than water baptism into the name of Jesus Christ.
"And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams. And on my menservants and on my maidservants I will pour out my Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy." Acts 2:14~
Belief and doubt affect the power of the Holy Spirit. Christ was not able to do miracles in His own hometown "because of their unbelief." Matthew 13:53-58~
Luke shows an account where it is mentioned that Christ was able to heal because the power of the LORD, Holy Spirit, was upon Him.
"Now it happened on a certain day, as He was teaching, that there were Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting by, who had come out of every town of Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem. And the power of the LORD was present to heal them." Luke 5:17~
"Most assuredly, I say unto you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also: and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father." John 14:12~
This scripture speaks VOLUMES to what our life should be like as a believer. And Satan doesn't want us to know... doesn't want us to believe. He wants to silence the power of God and strives for it daily... moment by moment... person by person. He wants to keep us from the Presence of God and he strives for it daily... moment by moment... person by person. He has armies on assignment (Ephesians 6:12) and they attack us... daily. Their job is to KILL, STEAL, and DESTROY. They steal our gifts, our blessings, our time, our intimacy, our potential, our testimony, our families, our children, our marriages, our health, our ministries, our focus, our relationships, our hearts.
They hate us with a passion because Christ loved us to death... and saved us.
There is power in the Holy Spirit and in the name of Jesus Christ. They are gifts to us from God Himself... to be used here.. now. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are the bonus prizes of becoming a believer.
This is a great read if you want more information on the gifts of the Holy Spirit. You can find it on Amazon and in many book stores.
I will end with part of my devotion from last night, from "At His Feet" by Chris Tiegreen.
"One of the foundational dynamics of the kingdom of God is this principle: faith, then sight. How often do we reverse the order? Our natural inclination is, "I'll believe it when I see it." But throughout Jesus' ministry, He is emphatic that we have it backward. We'll see the glory of God when we believe! It's one of the hardest principles for Christians to grasp. The work of the Almighty is dependent on the level of our faith. It isn't that we limit Him; it's that He has limited Himself. His modus operandi in this world is to act in response to faith: the prayers of the faith, the obedience of faith, and the attitude of faith. As incredible as it seems, the biblical witness is that our belief prompts His intervention. And without belief, He often does not intervene."
"Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?"
The world tells us to believe in ourselves. The world tells us to believe in Santa, and the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy. If we spent half the time people spend trying to convince their children to believe in Santa and such into believing in the Holy Spirit... then there would be a revolution for sure! The word of God tells us to believe in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. And to believe with the faith of a child.
Christ died for us while we were sinners. But we are risen with Him as a new creation. And we are called to walk in the Spirit. We were given authority over the enemy with the name of Jesus. It is time we use it and break free from bondage that binds our lives in the physical, even though we are seated at the right hand in the spiritual!
You can read about my #1 Anything here.