Posted by: Veroni Kruger | August 13, 2011

Unspeakably Gentle, Incredibly Powerful

The voice of the Spirit is as gentle as a zephyr (a soft gentle breeze), so gentle that unless you are living in perfect communion with God, you never hear it. The checks of the Spirit come in the most extraordinarily gentle ways, and if you are not sensitive enough to detect His voice you will quench it, and your personal spiritual life will be impaired. His checks always come as a still small voice, so small that no one but the saint notices them (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for his Highest, August 13).

One of my most prominent memories of growing up in the Pentecostal movement is their emphasis on sensitivity to the Holy Spirit. We really believed that the ministry of the Holy Spirit was as much a part of our lives as of the early church. He was involved in every aspect of our lives, spiritually as well as in a very practical sense, as our guide and advisor.

Concomitant with the appreciation of and sensitivity to the Holy Spirit, was the very real expectation that He would intervene in our daily lives in a powerful manner. This expectation was fulfilled in the many miracles we saw occurring before our eyes. Of these, the change that came over people’s lives at being born again was undoubtedly the greatest. Other signs of the power of God were miracles of healing, and deliverance from all sorts of demonic oppression. Countless examples of answers to prayer would also be counted among the instances of the evidence of the power of God. Meetings were often characterized by the very real awareness of the powerful presence of God. This often had to be acknowledged by opponents of the Pentecostal Movement. The following incident illustrates this point.

The Pentecostals had started to work in a town in what was then the Eastern Transvaal, part of the province of the Transvaal, South Africa, now known as the province of Mpumalanga. The local Dutch Reformed Church was eager to get to know as much as possible about the new religious phenomenon, and commissioned one of their elders to investigate. The objective was not to learn from the new religious movement, it was rather to find out how to combat the movement. The brother did the best he could, visiting the meetings of the “sect”, as it was then called. His report to the church board was not satisfactory to the majority. “I am not sure yet what spirit it is, but I want to tell you that there is a powerful spirit present among them.”

One afternoon he attended an outdoor baptismal service, still fulfilling his commission to “spy” on the Pentecostals. Because they had no facilities of their own yet, they held the baptismal service on the banks of the river that flowed past the town, and baptized believers in the muddy waters of the river. The elder watched as one candidate after the other entered the water to be baptized by immersion, in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. As was often the case, there were hecklers present who mocked the believers. Some even threw dogs into the water among the people who were participating in holy baptism, crying out in jest: “Receive the Holy Spirit!”

As the elder watched, his uncertainty about what spirit was present was replaced by a firm conviction. To the amazement of all the bystanders, he took off his jacket and with enthusiasm walked into the river with an exclamation “I want to be baptized!”

Another, more humorous story illustrates how the community, though often refusing to identify themselves with the Pentecostal Movement, respected the Pentecostals for what they knew of the power of God present among them.

There were many colorful personalities among the early Pentecostal preachers. One of them, a brother Van Eyk, who was also well-known for the miracles of healing that took place under his ministry was conducting a series of services in Pretoria, South Africa. The room was filled to capacity, and people were standing at the windows. As usual there were some hecklers present, particularly among the crowd outside. One of them threw a brick through one of the widows, which landed in the centre of the area in front of the platform on which the preacher stood. Without any announcement, the preacher prayed:

“Lord, you know who threw this brick through the window. We pray now that that person will either come in immediately to remove the brick, or that he will be struck dead!”

The next moment the back door flew open, and a young man rushed forward desperately, picked up the brick and ran out again.

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Responses

  1. I’m really blessed by this. God bless


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