Philippians 2:12 ------- Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling
For years I wandered in darkness. I was deep in sin and didn’t know how to get free. Even when I attended church, I was still completely bound by Satan. As I worked in the fields on my mother’s farm, I would find myself thinking about various things in relationship with heaven, and hell. As I thought about these, I would consider such things as, is there a place called heaven? Is there a place called hell? How can a person know if they are saved? Or what must a person do to be saved?
As I plowed in the fields with a mule, many such thoughts entered my mind, and I would think about these things and try to figure them out, but I couldn’t. Many times while plowing in the fields I would hear singing, preaching, and an invitation to come to a revival in progress at a certain Church of God in North Carolina, USA, using a loud speaker on top of the car as they went through the area. Many times these preachers were preaching hell fire and brimstone messages. I would feel a strange feeling come over me while this was happening. At that time I didn’t know what it was. Why? I was walking in darkness and could not find my way. I didn’t know how to move from darkness into light.
It seems to me now, that the majority of the people, and the pastor, at the church I attended, were walking in the same darkness as I. Why do you say this? Answer. I didn’t see any movement of the Holy Spirit operating in our services. Yet, I continued to attend until I reached the age of 21.
I had friends that attended the same church as I, and when the invitation was given to come forward and accept Jesus as their Saviour, they went forward and took the minister by the hand. He said something to them as he held their hand, and as others came forward they did the same.
My question is? What happened to them? I never saw anyone kneel, pray, or confess his or her sins. I never saw any change in their lives after they claimed they were saved. They continued the sinning business. My thoughts were, if Jesus died for our sins, there has to be more to getting saved, than what I saw happening. To me this was nothing more than a ritual performed by man. What I saw happening was not accompanied by the spiritual working of the Holy Spirit.
For years I was caught up in this web of deceitfulness, walking in darkness, and couldn’t find my way.
I would even dream of the world coming to an end. I would be trapped with fire coming toward me from all directions, with no way to escape. When I awoke, I was frightened and noticed my heart was beating very fast. I was always glad when I awoke, because in reality, I knew it was not on fire. When this happened, I would stay awake for some time thinking about my lost condition.
Eventually some of the people that attended the Church of God began talking to me about the experiences they had at their church. What they told me was entirely different from what was happening at our church. There was no excitement and rejoicing in our church. They told me there was excitement, rejoicing, with people praising and giving glory to the Lord at their church. Some of these people once went to the church I attended. As I continued listening to them, I began to watch their lives. This was easy to do because some of them lived on the same farm as I, but in different houses. I was amazed at the change that had taken place in these people. They talked about Jesus in the morning. They talked about Jesus in the afternoon. They talked about Jesus at night, and they talked about Jesus to almost every one that would listen. I was overwhelmed at the change that had taken place in these peoples lives. They definitely had something that we at our church didn’t have. As I meditated day and night on these things the Lord began preparing my heart for what was to soon come.
One day they asked me to go with them to a revival at another Church of God. They had asked me at different times before, and I said no, but this time I said, OK. As we drove up to the church, the loud speaker on the side of the church was playing gospel music. We entered the small, unfinished church, which had homemade pews, and took a seat on the left front pew. I was very uncomfortable this close to the front. I had rather been near the back, but knowing no one but those I went with, I sit with them. Suddenly I wanted to get out of this place, but being bashful, I stayed. As everyone stood and began singing, I joined in. As they sang, some began to shout in the spirit, while others spoke in tongues. Now I was very uncomfortable, but I stayed.
Then the special singing began as different ones came forward to sing. That night I heard singing as I’d never heard before, both congregational and special. The singing I heard that night brought on a need within my heart to get right with God.
After the special singing ended, the evangelist, Brother Curtis, began his message. At end of the message an altar call was given. I went and knelt down on my knees and began to try to pray. I didn’t know how to pray, but I tried. Now that I had finally come to the point and place in time to get saved, I didn’t know what to do, because I had been walking in darkness and couldn’t find my way. Suddenly I noticed people gathering around me and they began giving instructions on how to pray. I found out later, that these people were already spirit filled and knew how to give instructions in regard to receiving the blessings of God. I began asking Jesus to forgive my sins. While I was praying, I heard music playing and people singing. This made it easier to pray because it seemed that no one could hear what I was saying to Jesus. At first I felt nothing, except it was hot as I prayed and sweated. Nevertheless, I continued asking Jesus to forgive my sins. Then, in an instant something happened. I was overwhelmed with sorrow and grief over the way I’d sinned against God, and I began to cry, as I begged and pleaded with Him to forgive me for the way I’d treated Him. As I prayed, the things I’d done began to come before me. Each time something I’d done wrong came before me, I asked Him to forgive me. This went on for some time as I prayed, cried, and sweated. It seemed I couldn’t cry and pray enough. The more I cried and prayed, the more I wanted to cry and pray. Suddenly A peace flooded my soul. It was as if I’d been completely washed out inside. I knew within an instant that a change had taken place within my heart. I would never be the same again. If I had been alone, I would’ve stopped praying, thinking I had received the complete experience I needed from God. But those praying with me told me to continue praying and get sanctified. What was sanctified? I didn’t know what it was, or how to receive it, but I’ll try to get sanctified, whatever it is. They told me to begin asking Jesus to sanctify me, which I did. They told me to offer praises, and give glory to God by praying such things as, glory to God, thank you Jesus for saving me, please sanctify me, praise His name, or do whatever I could think of, to offer and give praises to him. I did as they said. Some would say raise your hands to God, clap your hands as an offering to God. I tried to do what they told me to do, as I cried, prayed, and sweated. This went on for some time until suddenly; I felt the spirit of God flow into my right hand. It was so powerful that it startled me. I even opened my eyes to see what happened. It was a wonderful feeling. I wanted that flow of the spirit to completely fill me. Then it came upon me so powerful that it ran throughout my body as if I had plugged into an electric outlet. Electric current hurts and kills, but this flow of the Spirit of God feels good, and it gave me life. Suddenly I heard the sound as an approaching wind. As the sound got louder, the flow of the spirit upon my body increased. As it did, my body began to shake and quake with manifestations of the spirit. Then it happened, I was slain in the spirit. That sound of wind I heard was The Holy Ghost coming into me. During the time I was slain in the spirit, I knew nothing about what was happening inside that church building. I was completely in the presence of The Holy Spirit. During the time I was submerged in the spiritual presence of the Holy Spirit, I was baptized with The Holy Ghost. When I finally realized I was still in this present world, I lay flat on my back, looking up at those that prayed with me. Every time I tried to say something, I spoke a language I had never heard before. I had received the baptism of The Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in tongues as the spirit gave the utterance. From that day forward, I would never be the same again. I arose and came forward a new creature in Christ Jesus, I had been walking in darkness and couldn’t find my way, but glory to God I met some people who knew the way. Since they left that world of darkness and entered into that marvelous light, they were willing to help me find that wonderful light. Would you like to go with me on this glorious journey? If the answer is yes, begin knocking on that door until Jesus opens it. Once you go through that door, you’ve moved from darkness into that glorious light, you’ve found your way.
Find a place somewhere and begin seeking the Lord with all your heart. Begin praying, asking Jesus to forgive your sins. Pray until you know for sure Jesus has forgiven your sins. Then continue praying until you feel the flow of the Holy Spirit throughout your body. When this happens Jesus is sanctifying you. Continue praying until you are filled with the Holy Ghost. You’ll know when he comes because He will speak in a language you’ve never heard before. Once this happens, you will also never be the same again.
Let me know when you receive these blessings by contacting me using the Contact Us Form on this web site.
Testimony By: Hutch Locklear
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