Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Fall Down....

Acts 9:" 1 Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. 3 As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”

5 “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.

“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. 6 “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”

7 The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. 8 Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. 9 For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything."

I always love reading about Saul's transformation. In a way it reminds me of myself. You see, I was raised in the Episcopal church until we moved to a United Methodist Church. Both dead as a anyone could ever imagine. I was saved in a little backwoods Baptist church on a homecoming Sunday morning when a friend asked me to come. Right after that I changed my life and quit drinking and lived my life as close to the bible as possible. This change lasted a full 2 years until my Sophomore year in college when the pressures to party finally got to me. And party I did. I sometimes think that those who have tasted God's love and the Holy Spirit have to run especially hard and fast to 'hide'. What better place to run hard and fast than the Navy? After we got married and started to have children, God placed on my heart that I better get to church. So being so worldly we joined the Presbyterian church. This church was a perfect 'transition' church. It was liberal in all the things I wasn't ready to give up, but it allowed me to start mending my relationship. It also was great for Charity too but I'm not going to give her side because that's HER story. Anyway, God forced us to move churches and Rock Springs just fit. Right away the Lord convicted me of my drinking and I quit cold turkey without any real problems at all. My walk progressed until it hit a wall. There wasn't anything I did that got me through the wall. I prayed, but it seemed as if I was back to putting distance between me and God instead of drawing closer. Then something happened.

Larry Ballard was starting up a new Sunday school class and had asked Charity to be the secretary. We were all excited and had a good turn out. The class started on leadership and we had maybe 5 Sunday's of this. Larry comes from a Pentecostal church and he wanted to teach on the Holy Spirit. Not just the Holy Spirit but baptism in the Holy Spirit. All my life I had made fun of Holy rollers. Prophesy and speaking in tongues was all hokey. Sure I believed that all those things happened at Pentecost, but that was right after Jesus had resurrected and wasn't applicable today. So we studied the Bible and reviewed and 'proved' where the Holy Spirit had moved. Then Larry said that next week he was going to preach a message and then if anyone wanted to stay after class we'd pray to receive the Holy Spirit. All week people were excited and wondered what would happen. Not me though... I knew it was all put on. Larry preached his sermon and I thought it was ok but nothing spectacular. Then class was over. Charity wanted to really stay and pray and asked if I would stay too. I figured it wouldn't do any harm AND it would pretty much set in stone that all this foolishness was just a put on. So we started praying. I decided that I would earnestly ask, not really to receive but to disprove. Larry started talking in tongues and still nothing for anyone. Next came anointing with oil and more prayer. Still nothing. So someone started speaking in tongues and I thought... yeah, that's convenient. What a waste of time. I stopped praying. Just listened. I was feeling pretty good that after all this time I KNEW and proved it was all a put on. I figured I would just get up and wait outside the room for Charity to get finished. I went to stand up. And....


The Holy Spirit broke me. Honestly it felt like I had been turned to a very warm candle (not watery wax, but like putty). I guess I balled my eyes out. All I could feel is...Why me? How could you touch me this way? Why would I ever believe it wasn't for me too? It was so radical that I envisioned more like The Holy Spirit had this bucket of spirit over my head and literally dumped it all on me at one time. All I could do was be with Jesus. This feeling lasted a good 4 days. Serious joyous feeling. Not wanting to argue or even do much and it was so tiring. Slowly it faded away and life seemed to come back at me. The worst thing after a revival will be when the real world starts to slowly fade back. You long for the intense Spirit. Well lately, I've been back to treading water. Every now and then I'd feel the Spirit move in my life, but few and far between. Two weeks ago we were in a service at night and Pastor Benny was going to preach on Demons. That night we just sang 'I surrender' a billion times. Where I sit on the stage I can see right out the back window and God gave me a vision of the Holy Spirit. I could see it just like it was there for everyone to see. He was stark white and sitting upon a horse. In his hand was like a chain or maybe a rope and at the end of the rope was a lantern of some sort. All I knew was the Holy Spirit was right out where Mae English and Chappel Mill connect. I prayed for him to sling that 'lantern' at us because I knew it would douse us all in the Spirit. I watched the window and the Holy Spirit watched me back. He never did anything at all... just sitting there on his horse watching. I prayed and prayed for him to just pour out the spirit on us, but still nothing. I was confused why the Spirit was here and didn't move completely.

Sunday Night the Lee University choir came and sang. I felt the rushing and yet again the Spirit moving this time not near like the first time though... renewing. Know what I felt? FREEDOM! Yep, like Dave Ramsey and Mel Gibson yelled.... FREEEEEEEEEDOMMMMMM! It was revealed to me that I was holding so much back in the effort to not appear like a holy roller. With one touch the Spirit released it in me. If I truly love Jesus like I know I do... then why would I ever care or quash lifting my hands to praise him? Seriously. I feel renewed. It's not the same as before... because before I was a doubter and I needed something mighty. Now I was a prisoner and needed release. So from now on I'm not going to hide the Spirit but am going to bathe in it and teach it every chance I can. I know this has been a long post and probably seems odd. This same Holy Spirit is here and wanting to come and fill all our lives. Who knows what we're going to do when this happens. Great things. Unbelievable things for God. Guaranteed things that cannot be accomplished without the Holy Spirit's power.

If you're reading this and just can't believe in modern day baptism of the Holy Spirit I just ask you to give him a chance. I don't want you to do anything other than pray for him to come and burn out all the vines of doubt and sin that are invading the precious garden of your soul. Ask him to come and give you the power so you can be victorious in Christ over callouses that repeated sin has caused. Earnestly pray for his presence in your life. There is a huge difference between feeling God's presence and having the Holy Spirit fill you. I look at the trinity in a very real light. God is the beginning and the end. When it's all over with... you have God. He's the supreme. Jesus is the son sent to redeem us. He is the go between for us and God. If not for Jesus, we would never get to see God. Then there is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the power only given to Christ's redeemed. You can be redeemed and without the Holy Spirit but not Spirit filled and unredeemed. As Emerald would say... the Spirit 'kicks it up a notch'. It was that same Spirit that filled the disciples and Paul that gave them the super strength needed to stand tall and spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If God can use a wretched person like Paul to accomplish his mission... imagine what he's got for us. Just remember, the second before the light came, Paul had no idea what he would do for the Lord. One second later it all changed. It could be any one of us next. How's that for scary?

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