My experience with the baptism of the Holy Spirit was but a foretaste of good things to come. I had shared with my husband Bob what had happened to me, and rather than being upset, he did not object to any of it, explaining it this way: most of his relatives were died-in-the-wool Southern Baptists and had often talked about an uncle who spoke in tongues and had slipped off and joined the Union army in the civil war to fight against slavery. It upset them so much they had passed the story onto successive generations as one of their most tragic of family secrets! No one knew what happened to the uncle, but he had never returned home to the South. Bob laughed, thinking of how irritating this bit of family history still provoked heated discussions a hundred years later. But he was not yet ready to accept it for himself.
Though I had not shared this event with anyone else, soon people were coming and asking me, "what has happened to your organ playing? It is so different!" I hadn't noticed...but soon I was to discover that my musical talent had been affected as well---I was able to play by ear as well as read notes, something I had always desired to do. I could also feel that anointing come upon me when I would play certain songs. However, I did not keep my secret for long. One day, over a cup of coffee, I revealed it to a friend. She shocked me when she told of how she had grown up in Pentecost!
"My mother was a real prayer warrior! When my brothers and father would go out drinking, my mother would take me upstairs where she would pray in tongues all the time they were gone. I remember one occasion when we had been praying about two hours and there was a knock on the door. We went downstairs and opened it to find a hysterical woman telling how my brothers had come to her house to drink beer. But when they would reach for a can, it would not stay in their hands. Every time they would grasp another, it would immediately be dropped to the floor. I don't know where your sons are now, but they left my house completely scared" she said. We knew what had happened.
But my desire to witness and tell others about the love of Christ was at the forefront of my agenda. One of my first lessons was to learn how demonic power was no match for the Holy Spirit.
One morning a friend and I went to visit a lady who had come to church at times, but her husband was a difficult man who sometimes abused her. We chose to go in the morning hours when he would be away at work. After spending about an hour with her, suddenly and unexpectedly her husband returned home. When he walked in, he saw us and said, "Who are you?" "We are from the Baptist church your wife attends. We came just to visit with her".
Suddenly, anger rose in his voice. "IF MY WIFE NEEDS ANYBODY TO TELL HER ABOUT GOD, I WILL BE THE ONE TO DO THAT!"
We were shocked, but knew we had better leave soon. "I think we should be going now" I said.
"SIT DOWN!!" he thundered.
"No, I think we must be going" I replied.
Suddenly, he raged and yelled, pointing to shelves of books. "YOU SEE THESE? I HAVE READ ABOUT EVERY RELIGION IN THE WORLD. I DON'T NEED YOU COMING HERE TO TELL MY WIFE ANYTHING! I WILL BE THE ONE TO TELL HER WHAT TO BELIEVE!" he screamed and drew back his fist as we edged toward the door. The man's eyes were dancing with wild demons.
All of this time, I was speaking inside to the Holy Spirit. "What shall I do, Lord?"
I opened my mouth, and these words flowed gently; "Sir, I can see you are well read and know a lot about religion. Surely then, you must recall the words Jesus said, 'that except we become as a little child we cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven."
Infuriated, he once again drew back his fist in my face.
But suddenly he began to shake and tremble. We watched as this man collapsed on the floor in a heap. We turned and walked out the door. He had no answer for those powerful words spoken 2,000 years before---
I was gaining new insights daily with this new-found presence. I had much to learn, but always it was an exciting adventure. For instance, I read in the Bible where Jesus told his disciples how to pray---to go into their closet and shut the door. Not knowing that the Jewish "closet" was their prayer shawl, I decided to see what would happen inside of my closet when I obeyed Him. Of course, it was full of clothing. So I took everything out and laid it on the bed and climbed inside and sat down. But my eyes soon adjusted to the darkness and I could see light coming under the door.
So I quickly went and brought back a towel to stuff in the gap. Soon, it was completely dark. And hot. But I had come to pray, and so I did...out loud. I found it so easy to enter into the Spirit and get lost in that Holy Presence. Soon I was speaking in tongues more and more, and I discovered there were steps into the Spirit---for the more I did this, the greater I felt the anointing, like climbing a ladder. I did not understand tongues at all, yet that time in the closet taught me that God, too, speaks in mysteries. And that there are things I must accept by faith.
God does not give us gifts that are of no consequence. I soon began to discover just how helpful the Holy Spirit really was in our everyday living.
One year, sometime later, I had found myself in a hospital waiting room late at night...alone. Bob had had ten hours of by-pass heart surgery that day and was now in the recovery room. Suddenly, the doctor came with troubling news---he had begun to bleed internally. "If the bleeding does not stop in 15 minutes, we must take him back to surgery" he said. This doctor was a Jew--and I had already witnessed to him. But now he must see the hand of Jesus. "Doctor, give me 15 minutes to pray", I answered him. "All right...I will be back shortly" he spoke and left me in the darkness by myself...or so I thought. I immediately began to pray out loud...in tongues. The Bible tells us that we can pray with understanding and also when we do not know how we should pray, then we can allow the Spirit to pray through us. That is what I needed at that moment....
In just a short while the doctor returned. He jumped up on a ledge by the window. "How would you like to work for me? That bleeding stopped!" he explained, very excitedly. "Doctor, it wasn't me that did that. It was Jesus to whom I prayed for help". He grinned sheepishly and left. I sat there so happy, so grateful to the Lord. But suddenly, from the darkness, appeared a woman. "THAT WAS A MIRACLE!" she said. "I WATCHED IT ALL HAPPEN! I HEARD YOU PRAYING! I WAS SEATED IN THE CORNER OVER THERE IN THE DARKNESS" she exclaimed. "Yes, God truly answers our prayers" I replied. Then she drew a little closer to me. "Could I get you to pray like that for my husband? he is in intensive care right now". "Of course I will" I answered her.
Then I held her hand and prayed once more for her need. I had discovered that God was not particular what kind of closet I chose to enter to talk to Him nor where it was located...He would be there, and even do the praying for me if I couldn't figure out what to ask.
One time we rushed our son Tom to the emergency room. He had fallen off the roof of the garage and fractured the small round bone on his elbow. X-rays revealed it was broken into 5 pieces. "Has he eaten anything?" the doctor asked. "We must operate and put in pins to hold the pieces together so they can heal" he explained. Surgery?...not something we wanted for him. "Doctor, can we go and pray for a moment or two?" Bob asked. We found a small room and immediately I began to pray in tongues.
Then we returned to the doctor's office. "Please x-ray again" Bob asked. Grudgingly, the doctor took pictures once more. Suddenly, he yelled..."HOLD THAT ARM RIGHT WHERE IT IS! THOSE PIECES HAVE COME TOGETHER!" And so Tom's elbow was put into a cast before the fragile pieces had another chance to separate. The doctor warned us that Tom would never be able to bend his elbow very far...but that didn't happen. Tom's arm is good as new today!
Mark, the youngest of our boys, needed a car. I always was apprehensive for the time to come when the boys were old enough to drive. Incredibly, all of them would wreck their cars...yet none was ever seriously injured. But we took him to the car lot, and he picked out his choice, and drove off. It being a nice day, Bob and I decided to drive out to the lake for awhile. But we had not been gone long when suddenly I felt a definite nudge from the Holy Spirit; "PRAY FOR MARK!!"
I told Bob what had just happened. "We better head toward home then", he answered. All the way I prayed in tongues...after all, we had no idea what had happened nor how to pray as we should. When we got to the house, the phone was ringing. Mark had been involved in an accident. As kids sometimes do, he had answered a challenge to race with another boy in another car. His vehicle had spun out of control and hit the wall of a railroad underpass and broke the car completely in two. Several of his friends were in the vehicle, but not one suffered even a scratch! I shudder today to think what might have happened to Mark if one had been killed...he would have spent time in prison for manslaughter!
How my life had changed so dramatically since I had come to know the Holy Spirit! To walk with this wonderful helper and comforter was becoming the most exciting thing I had ever done...every day was another surprise, a new adventure with God. Each challenge was a fresh opportunity to learn and experience oneness with Him. How I wanted everyone around me to know this joy unspeakable and full of glory....yet the blessing could only come to them out of their own spiritual hunger and thirst..., they must come to the well and drink of the Living Water for themselves.
Soon, time was fast approaching when we would be leaving the Air Force. Bob was cross-training into law enforcement in preparation for retirement and we would be leaving Alaska. But what lay ahead was an awesome experience that would change our lives forever....
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