It has been 32 years since I received the glorious Baptism in the
Holy Spirit. I had prayed to receive Christ as my Savior as a youngster,
but for years afterward had remained ignorant of my need to enter
into a deeper dimension of the Life of Christ. I had drunk from
the Well of Living Water, yet needed to be immersed more fully into
the River of God, the Holy Spirit. As we live in the Spirit, we
can more readily appropriate the power of Christ for victory in
daily living, and His Presence seems so much more real. Up until
the time of my spiritual Baptism into the Life of God, I had had
only a superficial belief in the living Christ. I had never been
taught about my rights as a child of God. Nor had I ever heard a
sermon given on the spiritual gifts, which are available to those
who are baptized in the Spirit, and crucial for lasting victory
over satan. The devil rejoices when a believer does not know what
resources have been provided for him or her through the atonement
of Christ. It delights him when Gods supernatural gifts are
either relegated to the scrap heap of past dispensations or spiritualized
away.The enemy had me for lunch every day, my prayers were
feeble, and my relationship to God dwindled to virtually nothing
over the years, as the storms of life took their toll on me.
most dramatic change I experienced from My encounter with the Holy
Spirit was this: I learned the meaning of I John 4:7-8: Beloved,
let us love one another: for love is of God, and everyone who loves
(with Gods love) is born of God and knows God. He who does
not love does not know God; for God is love. I gained a vital awareness
that God is my loving Heavenly Father, not some slave-driver in
the Baptism of the Holy Ghost enabled me to receive love and to
give love to God and to others. I had been bullied as a child in
school, and my goal was to survive, rather than thrive. My ability
to love and reach out had been damaged by the cruelty of my peers.
It took a miracle to infuse new life into my wounded spirit.
any event, human love is vastly inferior to the love of God in Christ
Jesus. We must avail ourselves of His love. God the Father delights
in using His children as channels through which the perfect love
of His only begotten Son may be demonstrated.
the late 60s and early 70s, there was a wonderful outpouring
of the Holy Spirit in America, especially among young people who
were disenchanted with the stiff, dry formality of conventional
church settings. Millions of people like myself yearned for a real
encounter with the Living God. This great revival began in Costa
Mesa, California, and spread throughout the United States and even
around the world. There was a resurgence of the supernatural element
in the Church which had been suppressed for nearly 2000 years. I
was particularly thrilled by the reappearance of the nine gifts
(supernatural manifestations) of the Holy Spirit, which are enumerated
in I Corinthians 12:8-10. Shortly after receiving the Holy Spirit,
God graciously bestowed the the gift of prophecy upon me. This gift
was always exercised in an orderly manner, usually during a lull
in the worship service when everyone grew silent, waiting on God
to speak to all our hearts. The number of prophetic utterances would
vary from service to service. There might be one prophecy given,
sometimes two or three; occasionally more, or none at all. In our
church, there were no hard and fast rules restricting the number
of prophecies, although I Corinthians 14:29 indicates that two or
three occurring during any one particular service is the norm. On
certain occasions, visiting Spirit-filled ministers would come and
pray over individual members, and God would frequently impart an
uplifting message of edification, exhortation, and comfort to these
people, as described in I Corinthians 14:3. The goal of prophecy
given over believers is three-fold: to edify, (strengthen a person
in his spirit) to exhort him to faith and godliness, and to comfort
(lend encouragement in his walk with God). These days, Gods
children need all the help He can give them.
I have noticed a sharp decline in the occurrence of the gifts over
the past two decades; this, in spite of the fact that satan has
reserved his very worst nuclear warheads for these last days, just
before God takes His people home and unleashes a season of judgment
upon this Christ-rejecting world. As a rule, services have grown
shorter, and are kept within the confines of good taste.Sermons
have lost their holy fire, for preachers are afraid to call sin
sin anymore. Moreover, a vital sense of urgency has been lost in
the church as multitudes die in their sins and go to hell. Many
church members are bound by problems in their lives. They have been
robbed blind by satan in their marriages, health, and finances.
So many of these people are at the utter end of their tether, and
dont know which way to turn. Having rejected th power of God,
their pastors wonder why love alone is not sufficient to resolve
the crises in the lives of their parishioners, and why carnal methods
cannot loosen the ironclad grip of satan on their lives.
Usually, big changes dont happen all at once. The enemy steals
from individuals or the entire church by degrees. I observed that
prophecy occurred less and less often in the life of the average
church. As the utterance (spoken) gifts were phased out, the power
gifts (healing, miracles, supernatural faith) became all but non-existent.
In recent years I endured some very dark days, and felt that no
one on earth knew how to touch God on my behalf. No matter how long
youve walked with the Lord, battles will come, and it helps
to have someone who will pray with you, and truly care about you
as an individual. When I could find no help within the context of
a formal church situation, I found one ministry which cared.
of the purest hearts I ever knew, (Ill call him Brother
Bob) did not conduct formal church services, but he did host
small prayer meetings in his home. Many people, saint and sinner
alike, came to him out of sheer desperation. Their churches had
either lost the power of God or had never really wanted it in the
first place. The Lord anointed him with the gift of supernatural
knowledge and wisdom, and faith to pray for miracles. Graciously
he ministered to those who came to him seeking prayer and a
word in good season to overcome oppressive circumstances.
The Holy Spirit would bring Biblical verses to Brother Bobs
remembrance and anoint them with divine power, and people would
be set free from the works of the devil in their lives.
Time and again Id phone him for advice or prayer. That old
saying: No man is an island is true. Truly Gods
people need one another. This kindly, unpretentious saint was always
full of homespun wisdom. Patiently hed take the time to inspire
me with words of encouragement and faith. Because one man was willing
to share the love of Jesus in the power of the Holy Ghost, many
miracles came into my life to overcome the devils attacks.
Through his ministry, I rediscovered the meaning of the true nature
of Jesus, and acquired the ability to disassociate God from loveless
that Brother Bob has gone to be with the Lord, I feel more urgently
than ever before about the restoration of Gods supernatural
resources to His Charismatic Church. The word charismatic
is derived from the word charisma, which refers to the
supernatural gifts manifested by the early church.
the Yellow Pages of many American cities, youll find a listing
for Charismatic Churches under the general heading Churches.
Can you see the supreme irony? In the beginning of the Holy Ghost
outpouring, it would have been an apt description. But much of Gods
church has compromised with the world. God is being robbed of His
supernatural glory by religious spin doctors who transform Him into
a benign Being of sentimental, powerless love. Why has
satan succeeded in robbing Charismatic and Pentecostal churches
of the very spiritual gifts which once distinguished them from the
rest of the church world?
sum it up: Fear of public opinion. A great many religious leaders
fear that if they dont cater to the prejudices and inhibitions
of the vast majority of churchgoers, their attendance will dwindle,
and they will preside over an empty sanctuary. Consequently, their
funds will dry up.
Less controversial (and powerless) things now make up a typical
ninety-minute church service. Gods spiritual gifts are vital
weapons in the war against satan. The Kingdom of God ought to be
manifested in power in the midst of the saints. This is what the
devil which fears most, not some whimsical song or sermon on positive
thinking. If a preacher is full of the Holy Ghost and fire, it will
feel like a fire shut up in his bones (Jeremiah 20:9)., and he will
not rest content until he delivers the message entrusted to him
Precious manifestations of Gods power, briefly revived, have
been subtly phased out, as they were in earlier church dispensations
which substituted the wisdom of men for the power of God. So satan
has snatched a measure of temporary victory from the jaws of defeat.
His assaults on the Church now meet with much less resistance. He
is due no courtesy, so I spell his name with a little s.
I can no longer receive the same type of ministry in church as I
did in my youth, the Lord Himself has had to strengthen me inwardly
by illuminating the Truths of His Word. He has promised me Paradise,
and a place of rulership in His Kingdom once my mortal sojourn is
over. This is not egotism on my part, for it is the King of Glory
dwelling in my heart who gives me boldness to speak out for Him
(Luke 24:49; Acts Acts 4:31). All faithful believers in Christ are
promised such wonderful rewards (Daniel 7:18; Revelation 3:21).
The testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of Prophecy (Revelation 19:10).
The Holy Spirit will not be suppressed. If He is not permitted to
get a word in edgewise in the churches, He will still find ways
to convey Christs words of comfort to His people, in order
that our King may be exalted and have the preeminence.