I was fifteen years old when I realized that I loved God, and I wanted to serve Him. I even asked my dad about becoming a Nun. He responded by telling me, “There are many ways to serve God,” and he handed me a Bible. He also said, “The Bible would answer all my questions about God.” Sometimes, I would read the Bible my dad gave me, outside, under one of the streetlights, near my house.
Unfortunately, as a young teen, I didn’t follow through with my desire to serve God. I succumbed to peer pressure, and I began to hang around with the wrong people. I used drugs, disobeyed my parents, ran away from home, and skipped school: my life spiraled out of control.
I was nineteen years old when I asked Jesus to be my Lord and Savior. It was Springtime, and I remember driving down the highway looking at all the beautiful flowers, wondering, “What could I do to feel as pretty inside, as those flowers looked outside.” I felt impure! After I became a Christian and learned more about the Holy Spirit, I realized that the “impure” feeling was the Holy Spirit convicting me.
One evening, a few days later, I was ironing and watching the 700 Club on the television. Pat Robertson, the Host of the 700 Club asked a question that, instantly, got my attention. He said, “Is there anyone in our audience, that has not asked Jesus Christ to come into their heart, and to forgive their sins?” Then he turned his attention to the television audience and asked them the same question. He asked all who wished to ask Jesus into their hearts and receive forgiveness for their sins, to pray with him, so I prayed with Pat! When we finished praying together, Pat encouraged those who prayed with him, to call somebody that they knew and tell them about the decision they had just made, or call the 700 Club and tell one of the telephone operators on standby, that you had just prayed and asked Jesus to come into your heart and to forgive you for your sins.
I chose to call the 700 Club. The lady who answered the phone was happy for me! She asked me, “Would you like to receive the Holy Spirit?” I said, “Please send me more information about that subject.”
“For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:10 (NIV)
After I became a Christian, I read my Bible, regularly and I found that I needed to be baptized in water.
Water baptism is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer’s faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Savior, the believer’s death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus.
I had no church affiliation, and I didn’t know what church to call, to baptize me, so I decided to open the telephone book and look for a church. I had no idea what denomination to choose, so I closed my eyes, and pointed. Please don’t follow my example, there are many cults (false teachers) in the World, today! When I opened my eyes my finger was on a church called: Full Gospel Fellowship, which happened to be just a few miles from my home. I called that church and asked the Pastor, whose name was Gary Wood, to baptize me in water. He was happy to do so, and he told me what day and time to be at their church service, to be baptized. When I went into the church, the people were very friendly. The Pastor baptized me and afterward, he taught the Word of God. I joined that church and went on to serve God in many different capacities for eight years.
One day, after one of the church services, Tina, the wife of Richard Ford, an Elder at that time, said “Would you like to have a Ladies Bible Study in your home?” I was longing to learn more about God’s Word, so I held one in my home about a week later. At the end of the Bible Study, Tina asked me, “Have you received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit?” I told her, “No” and she asked me, “Would you like to receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit?” I was a little embarrassed because I didn’t know what to expect, so I declined.
After everyone went home, I began to think about Tina’s question. I concluded, that if God had more to offer me: I wanted it! I got down on my knees and asked God to baptize me with the Holy Spirit. God answered my prayer. I was so thrilled about the unbelievable experience that I had just had with the Holy Spirit, that I went to the telephone, to call one of my friends and tell them the Holy Spirit is real! I picked up the receiver, and my legs buckled: I dropped the receiver and slid down the wall, to the floor.
The Baptism with the Holy Spirit is a blessing from God which causes ordinary people to become extraordinarily, effective witnesses for Jesus Christ.
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8 (ESV)
The Holy Spirit equips believers today with the same power we read about in the New Testament.
God’s plan has always been to baptize every believer with the Holy Spirit, so that the ministry of Jesus Christ may continue through us.
In † Christian love, Susan Osten