Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away,
the Helper (Holy Spirit) will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. John 16:7
I know that there are people who are not familiar with the Holy Spirit. I know there are people who flat out refuse to believe anything concerning the Holy Spirit. For some people, the only time they think about the Holy Spirit is when they use His name at the end of a prayer: "in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Then there are some who believe that there is a Holy Spirit, but they say that we don't need him nowadays. They agree that the Bible speaks of Him, especially on the Day of Pentecost. But sad to say, their belief stops there. They say that He was given to them because they needed Him to establish a church. Now that the church is established, the Holy Spirit is no longer needed. More than likely, these people use 1st Corinthians 13:8-10 to defend their beliefs:
Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; where there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.
It seems to me that there is nothing perfect about anything on this earth. The only perfect thing in the whole universe is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. The church is not perfect. Mankind is not perfect. So in order for the above scripture to come true, Jesus Christ will have to set his kingdom upon this earth. Until that happens, the whole world is in need of the Holy Spirit.
And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, "which," He said, "you have heard from Me, for John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now." Acts 1:4,5
And he said unto them, "It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the world. Acts 1: 7,8
As you know, I was saved on Mother's Day. What I did not know was that I had also received the Holy Spirit the same day. The reason that I can say this is because I could hear tongues being spoken in my head. For many weeks I did not understand what was going on. I was even scared that I might be sinning by hearing tongues in my head. For you see, it was my understanding that when a person received the Holy Spirit, he or she would immediately speak out in tongues at least once. I never did this, so, therefore, I could not and did not believe that I was filled with the Holy Spirit. It was a mistake on my part. The Lord loves us anyway, even though we make mistakes or don't have the proper understanding of His ways.
Before we go any further, I must tell you that I have a small speech problem. I do not say certain words correctly. I don't like to read aloud because sometimes I can look at a word and know what it is in my head, but it doesn't come out of my mouth the same. Sometimes I will want to say color, but it will come out collar. I had to go to speech class when I was in grade school. Oh, did I ever hate that. Mainly because it singled me out, letting the rest of the class know that there was something wrong with me. So there is a small phobia about my talking ability that sometimes bothers me. I don't want to make a big deal out of this, because I know people who have a worse problem than I do.
A couple of weeks after I was saved, there was an evangelist at our church. He prayed for everyone who wanted to receive the Holy Spirit. In my lack of understanding, I went forward to get prayed for. Nothing happened. The elders of the church told me to be patient, that it would happen someday. They told me not to think about it too much. Looking back on the experience, I can say that I was trying too hard to make it happen. No man, woman or child can make it happen. The secret is to let it happen. You have to give yourself to total submission to the Lord.
Then I was given two books to read. The first one was about Smith Wigglesworth, Apostle of Faith, by Stanley Howard Frodsham. I highly recommend everyone to read about Smith Wigglesworth. I pray that I will have courage and faith that he did. Praise the Lord!!!
The second book was Good Morning, Holy Spirit by Benny Hinn. I have to admit that I didn't know too much about Benny Hinn. Rarely did I watch any Christian preachers before I got saved. In fact, I avoided them on a regular business. After a couple of chapters, I felt like I was ready to receive the Holy Spirit. I had already believed that He was real. I had seen His work hundreds of times while I was growing up. To me, it was naturally the next step after a person gets saved. So I prayed to receive the Holy Spirit. Nothing happened.
The same weekend I prayed for my eyes. I had told my mother that sometimes I see specks of light once in a while. She told me that I would probably get cataracts, since she has had them already. Not only did I pray that I would never get cataracts, but I also prayed that God would completely heal my eyes. It would be wrong for me to say that nothing happened. Because I do not see the specks all the time. It is a wait and see sort of thing. But I have to have faith and trust in the Lord that it can and will happen.
Then one day while at work, a thought crossed my mind. How could I speak in tongues or get my eyes completely healed if I never asked for my hemorrhoids to be healed. Before I go on, I must stress that you don't have to do anything except ask and you will receive the Holy Spirit. You must be saved before you can receive the Holy Spirit. But none of this is based on works. It is all a matter of faith.
It was on a Wednesday that this happened. So I told myself that I would go before the elders and ask them to pray for my eyes and hemorrhoids. This was an important step in my growth. But as important as this was, the conversation that I had with them was just as important. In fact, I believe the Lord lead me to get prayed for so I would have this conversation. I was asked if I was filled with the Holy Spirit. My answer was no, and I told them why. So they prayed for me to again. Nothing happened. I was told that I indeed was filled, but it was up to me to give utterance. They said that the Holy Spirit would never force me to speak in tongues. It was I who had to give myself to His Spirit. I can't begin to tell you what a difference this made to me. All along, I thought that I when you were slain in the Spirit, that He would force you to speak in tongues. The trip home was once again a joyous one. Because this had been weighting heavily on me for a couple of weeks.
Revival! For years I had dreaded the word. But now there was one scheduled to start on Sunday morning and go through Wednesday night. I wanted to go to each service. On Sunday night, while the sermon was being preached, I felt like I was being led to fast for three days. So I told the Lord that I would do it. The one condition was that I didn't want to get so hungry that it hurt. We have all been there before. You get caught in the middle of something and you were late for dinner and you were so hungry that you just couldn't stand it. Well, I told God that if I ever had that feeling, I was going to eat. because then I would know that He was not in it. It was just me trying to do something without God. You want to know something? That is the way it's supposed to work. There is nothing wrong with testing God, but we should never tempt Him. There is a huge difference.
I had a desire to eat. But I NEVER was hungry. For the first time in my life, I finally realized that fasting is a way to totally submit everything about yourself to the Lord. And that is exactly where the Lord wants us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year. Can you imagine what it would be like if we all did that? The people who come to mind are Enoch and Elijah, two people who never died. The Lord took them to be with Him in Heaven. Oh Hallelujah!!!
After the evangelist preached, he asked if anyone wished to be filled or if they believe they were filled, but needed help speaking in tongues to come forward. I went forward. They prayed for me, and I stood there praying, I didn't think that I said anything. The evangelist and another man said that they heard me speak in tongues. You see, because of my speech problem, I always felt like I had to maintain control of my tongue. If I was around friends, I could let my guard down, because they all knew about it. They would actually tease me about it. So even though I didn't think that I had said anything, I believed that the other two did. That was a start!
When I got home from church on Tuesday night, I rocked my youngest daughter to sleep, and I felt the need to pray. I kissed my wife good night, and I went downstairs and started to pray. Before I knew it, I stopped praying in English. My tongue was moving, but nothing was coming out. A few minutes later, I could tell that I was starting to pray in tongues. Words cannot begin to describe how excited I was. It didn't take long before it was coming out in my normal voice. Now I have to tell you something; none of this was me. I have enough of a hard time with English sometimes. I do know a little Spanish. But it wasn't me that was saying a word. It was the Holy Spirit praying through me. I was just a vessel that was being used. I tell you this not to boast about myself but to boast about the Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.
I did not understand what was being said. The Holy Spirit knew, and that is what's important. I will say one thing about that experience - IT WAS BEAUTIFUL!!! I won't even try to describe it further than that.
Then much to my surprise, I got the feeling that it was okay to eat. I had prayed in tongues. That was one of the goals that I had set out for. Mission accomplished. Right? Wrong!!!!!!!! I had made a commitment with the Lord. I had to see this thing through no matter what. With the Lord's help, I did see it through.
This experience has brought me spiritual confidence in my Lord and Savior. If we obey and trust Him, then He will follow through on His promises. The bottom line is that it takes Love. You have to Love the Lord, before you can follow Him.
This is the way that the Lord helped overcome my struggles. It could very well be different for you. If you are struggling with something in your life, listen to the Lord and He will guide you on how to overcome it. Through Him all things are possible. We cannot do it by ourselves. I just want to give all the glory to the Lord. He deserves it. Amen!