A Devotional Thought
MY TESTIMONY by Don Woods
While I was attending a secular college, I became a born-again Christian. Jesus changed my life. Right away I started reading the Bible, praying throughout the day, listening to Christian radio and witnessing for Jesus. Then, after receiving guidance from my pastor, I enrolled at Pasadena Nazarene College.
I began to wonder how close to the Lord I should be and was moved by the Holy Spirit to find out. For many weeks I prayed an average of 3 hours each day at the College Prayer Chapel. I confessed my sins, prayed to die to self and surrender my will completely, and consecrate my life for service to Jesus even if it meant dying for Him.
These intense prayer sessions brought me very close to the Lord. I could hear God’s voice clearly. It seemed that I had arrived. However, there was more awaiting me. While attending a prayer meeting on campus, I was deeply moved by the love of Jesus. I said “I love you Jesus and I want whatever you want for me.” Then, the love of Jesus became very strong, I saw a vision of Jesus above me and the Holy Spirit came upon me. I began speaking only the words the Holy Spirit was giving. I did not understand the words but I was expressing the deepest, most profound prayer that I had ever prayed in my life to God. The presence of God was so powerful, so real.
Because the Spirit was upon me, my understandings of the Scriptures were profound. I also soon discovered how the power of the Holy Spirit was released in me to witness and bring unbelievers to experience Christ’s saving power. Previously, I had witnessed regularly, but had never led a person to Christ. Frankly, I did not understand how to allow the Holy Spirit to come upon me to empower my witness.
I read in Acts 1:8 that receiving the power to witness occurred after the Spirit came upon them. The disciples needed this “coming upon” experience even though they were filled with the Spirit prior to Pentecost (John 20:22). When Pentecost happens (Acts 2:4) – they sought the Spirit, the Spirit came upon them, gave them words to speak, and the spoken words witnessed to the glories of God (Acts 2:11). Thousands were saved. Here was a Biblical model for the empowerment experience to witness.
The term “coming upon or falling upon” occurs several times in Acts (19:6; 10:44-47; 2: 4). In Acts 8:15-16 the people of Samaria believed on Jesus, received new birth and were baptized in water. Peter and John were subsequently led to pray for the Holy Spirit to come upon these new believers. And it happened.
The “Spirit coming upon” me was an actual experience when I was led to witness. The Spirit gave me words of knowledge, wisdom and discernment to speak as I witnessed. These words could be personal where only the Spirit and the person hearing would know. This witness of God’s love, presence and power would result in the person accepting Jesus as Savior. The Spirit coming upon and flowing through me made witnessing easy. Because of the Holy Spirit working through me, I have been blessed to experience over 1200 people individually pray with me and accept Jesus as their Savior. Allowing the Holy Spirit to come upon me each time and speak was the key to successful witnessing.
In I Corinthians 14:14-15, Paul mentions praying in the Spirit and praying with the mind or understanding. Paul did both as I do also and it is the Spirit empowering for me. Paul knew that God is a spirit, and must be worshiped in "...spirit and in truth.” John 4:23-24.
By praying in the Spirit and by reading God’s Word, I am coming to know more and more what God freely gives as taught by the Holy Spirit’s words (I Corinthians 2:12-13). I am truly blessed. To God be the glory for His work continues in me.
Don Woods serves as Vice-Chair of the PGCC Leadership Team.