Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Hungering and Thirsting For More of God

Hold on Sister! Let Go! (How do I manage both at the same time?)

Yesterday, I began this blog topic about understanding the purpose for the gift of tongues. I had questions. I had concern that I do not want any emotional experience, fanaticism, or deception. I found ample evidence in the New Testament that tongues is a valid, though somewhat mysterious gift from the  Holy Spirit.
      The more I read, the more I felt the Spirit of Truth prompting me to ask the Father for this prayer language. However I wanted all my questions answered before I committed myself to this prompting. I checked out library books on church doctrine. It took me about a year of serious study. I also began to attend a small country church with a co-worker at the school where I taught. She was not the typical, long-skirted, hair-piled high, thick hose and clunky-shoes lady. She dressed attractively and wore a stylish hair cut. She was well educated. I had never met anyone who had such deep faith. I  enjoyed her sense of humor. And she also prayed in tongues (privately).
         I felt a little apprehensive, not knowing what to expect at her church. Nobody rolled in the aisle. Nobody blabbered or behaved in a fanatical manner. They conducted their service with respectful order. They also did something I had never seen before in any service. They had a time for testimonies of how God had answered their prayers that week. One elderly farm wife told how she desperately needed her one and only milk cow, which was dying. Her husband planned to put it out of its misery, however she asked the Lord to heal it. The next morning he went up the hill with his gun and found the cow up and eating grass. 
     A young mother stood up and said her little 2-year-old daughter had been ill with a high fever. She prayed and said the child immediately got out of bed and ran to her, the fever gone. With tears running down her cheeks, this mother said, "And she was alright!"
      I was impressed. Clearly these people had a genuine relationship with God that I didn't have. But I wanted it. What was the difference?
      Then the pastor invited anyone who wanted to receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit to come forward. I watched with intense curiosity. A young couple went to the altar, got down on their knees and began to pray. The pastor laid hands on them. They stayed at the altar a long time. I did not see them behaving with any fanaticism. Instead they rose and walked back to their pew with tears of  joy on their shining faces.
       I decided to go back to this church again.
       There is a principle of confirmation in the Bible: In the mouth of two or three witnesses, let all things be confirmed ( 2 Cor. 13: 1). I have learned to look for examples from the Old Testament which always foreshadows what happens in the life of (and life in) Christ. Of course, nobody spoke in tongues in the Old Testament, however I did find scriptures which clearly show that when the Spirit of God came upon a man he spoke supernaturally. In Numbers 11: [25] And the LORD came down in a cloud, and spake unto him (Moses), and took of the spirit that was upon him, and gave it unto the seventy elders: and it came to pass, that, when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied, and did not cease.
         And in I Sam 10:9-13, As [Saul] turned around to leave Samuel, God gave him another heart; and all those signs were fulfilled that same day. And when they came there, to the Hill, he saw a band of prophets coming toward him. Thereupon the spirit of God gripped him, and he spoke in ecstasy among them.    

 So there you have it. More than two witnesses. "O that all the people might prophesy, and that the Lord would give them his spirit!" Those are the words of Moses. It's very clear that when the Lord gives His Spirit, it is accompanied by speaking words divinely inspired, Numbers 11:29.
      Eventually convinced I was on rock-solid scripture, I dared to go forward and ask to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The pastor knew I had a seeking heart. He knew I was hungering and thirsting for more of God. Sincere church people gathered around me and laid hands on my head to pray. Were they going to shove me down? I knelt there not knowing what exactly to expect. One woman instructed, "Hold on sister!" Another one said, "Let go!"
     How do I hold on and let go at the same time? I did not speak in a prayer language that night. Instead I went home somewhat disappointed. Was I unworthy of  this wonderful gift?
     I began attending a Full Gospel Businessmen's Fellowship which at that time was a fabulous gathering of people, men and women, who met periodically in a hotel banquet room to share their testimonies. I loved hearing their miraculous encounters with the Lord. It was like watching the book of Acts come alive in the present. I became even more hungry and thirsty for the kingdom of God and His righteousness.
     Then God, knowing my heart, gave me a most special, supernatural confirmation, which only He could bring to pass.

      I will describe it in my next blog. 

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