I want to jump right in where we left off with yesterday’s session…. If you missed the last two sessions they can be found here:
Shaken & Stirred Pt. 3
Being filled with the Spirit mean recognizing that Holy Spirit lives in us 24/7 and owns us 24/7. But being filled goes beyond just recognizing those two facts. It means recognizing and receiving the Spirit… by
Receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit with the initial evidence of speaking in other tongues.
I want to share with you the testimony of Florence Crawford founder of the Apostolic Faith Mission in Portland Oregon.
When I was a girl, brought up in a home of unbelief—never knew what it was to hear a mother pray, never laid my hand on a Bible till I was a grown woman—the God I serve looked down into my heart and saw that I wanted something real.
One night as I was dancing in a ballroom I heard a voice speak out of Heaven and said, “Daughter, give Me thine heart.” I did not know the voice of God the first time and went on in the dance. Again the voice spoke from Heaven, and it seemed that Heaven came down into that ballroom and my feet became heavy and the place was no longer beautiful to me. Again the voice spoke much louder, “Daughter, give Me thine heart!” The music died away and I left the ballroom; and for three days and nights I prayed and wept and wrestled for my salvation. If ever I realized my soul was a sepulchre of dead men’s bones, I did then. It seemed there was no hope for me, but I thought: Why did God speak out of Heaven if there were no hope?
At last I remembered a woman I knew was a Christian, and I went directly to her home; and when she looked into my face she said, “You want God.” I said, “I want Him more than anything else in the world.” I fell on my knees right there, and she prayed for me—and God came into my heart.
Oh, it was wonderful, the rest, the peace, the quietness that flooded my soul! And as I wept for joy, I said, “I must go and tell the others.” I went into the house where my friends were. They had cards on the table ready to play, waiting for me; but I lifted my hands to Heaven and said, “No cards for me; I have found Jesus whom my soul has hungered for so long.” When they looked at me they saw the light of another world on my face. The cards were put away and we sang sacred songs, and oh, how God blessed my soul!
The flowers went, the feathers and the fine clothes. Everything I had loved that was of the world was taken out of my heart; but, oh, how I loved lost souls and wept as I saw those who looked sad, and many times I would stop and tell them the story of Jesus.
And when I heard that God could sanctify wholly, for years I sought that experience. I went from place to place where they taught sanctification, willing to kneel at any altar, no matter how humble, if only I could find satisfaction to my hungry soul. I consecrated my life to God, hoping that that would bring it, and thought consecration was sanctification. But oh, it is not! While it takes consecration, laying your life, your all, at the feet of Jesus, it is more than that. You surrender your will, your innermost soul and being to God for time and eternity; and that brings the fire of God, the holy, sanctifying flame down on the sacrifice, and your whole being is saturated with the presence and power of another world. Question it—doubt it? You never can! Depart from it? Never! It is the very choicest treasure your life holds, for it is the purifying of your life, the preparation for the bridehood. It is the purity that God demands for the wife of His Son. It stands like the Rock of Ages against every false thing that could rob Christ’s Bride of her purity. The holy living flame burns through every fiber of your being. Oh, how I thank God it was for me!
When evangelists would come to the city, I found my way to get a private interview with them, if possible, and told of my hunger. They would say, “But you are sanctified.” But I knew I was not. The hunger, the craving, the thirst that was in my heart, no human could know unless he had it. And while I lived a consecrated life, yet the fire had not fallen on the sacrifice.
How I thank God that when I heard of the latter outpouring of the Holy Ghost, He led me to that little mission. It was not a fine hall, just an old barnlike building with only an old board laid on two chairs for an altar. The floor was carpeted with sawdust; the walls and beams blackened by smoke. I looked around to see if anybody saw me go in, but I would not have cared if the whole world saw me go out. I had found a people that had the experience I wanted. The first “hallelujah” I heard echoed down in my soul. When I went out of there that day I felt so little. The only thing I wondered was, can I ever get From Monday morning till Friday at four o’clock, I lay on my face, between my duties (you can do your work and do it well and seek God, too). I lay on my face and shed tears and read my Bible. That Friday afternoon at the mission, the preacher stopped and said, “Somebody in this place wants something from God.” I pushed the chairs away in front of me and fell at the altar. And the fire fell and God sanctified me. The power of God went through me like thousands of needles.
“He sanctified me” were the only words I could speak for days after the fire fell on my heart. If you get the real experience you will never deny it. It will stand when you face all hell. It can weather any storm.
Three days later, after living with Jesus alone, a great hunger seized me and down I went before God. He showed me I must be baptized with the Holy Ghost and fire. He showed me that the temple was clean, that the Holy Ghost could come only on clean vessels. And how I pled with Him and prayed and praised God and consecrated! Yes, I consecrated again, deeper and deeper, and sought for the power to tell the world what great things God had done for me. I sought till the following Friday.
As I sat in my chair in the mission, the Holy Ghost fell from Heaven and a rushing mighty wind filled the room. This tongue that never spoke another word but English began to magnify and praise God in another language. I was speaking in Chinese, and it was the sweetest thing I ever heard in my life. The power of God shook my being, and rivers of joy and divine love flooded my soul. Oh, it was wonderful! But the greatest joy to my heart was that I had received the power to witness to lost souls that they might find Jesus.”
I would love to hear your stories about how the Spirit of God has moved in your life.