A Personal Testimony
“Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect…. I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:12, 14
A teacher (Walter Beuttler) in the Bible school I attended often spoke of having a “dissatisfied satisfaction.” He was thankful for, and satisfied with all that he had received from the Lord, yet he was dissatisfied as he knew there was much more that could be possessed.
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10
These “good works” are the things or circumstances that the Lord places in our path for the outworking of His purposes – first within us during our time of preparation, and then through us for the benefit of others. The word “should” is conditional, which means that we have a part in choosing the path that we will follow in the outworking of the Lord’s purpose for us. Because the right choice is usually not the easiest or most convenient, it is extremely important that we choose rightly.
After graduating from Bible school, I diligently sought the Lord as to what I was to do, but seemingly, I was not receiving direction from the Lord. I knew about a new school that was about to open. One of their goals was to train students to minister in the Italian language, and I was unable to relate to this, as I am not Italian, nor felt any calling to minister to Italians.
Therefore, I pushed aside the “drawing” that I felt toward this school, and instead, I decided to pioneer a church on Stenton Avenue in north central Philadelphia. On July 4, 1959, I started toward Philadelphia, a sixty mile trip, to rent a store front for the church, and to find a place to live. As I drove south, the feeling that I was going in the wrong direction became stronger and stronger.
I stopped the car and asked the Lord about this feeling. He responded that I was to go to this new school. I had to turn around and go in the opposite direction. I had prayed much about what I was to do after graduation from Bible School, but the Lord waited until I had taken an active step toward serving Him, then He spoke regarding the place where I was to be.
Soon after arriving and being settled in a guest room, I found a quiet place where I could pray, and repeated to the Lord that I did not want to come here, but that I wanted His best. In response, the Lord clearly spoke the following into the depth of my being: “I will allow you to go to Philadelphia, and I will give you a ministry there and I will bless it. But, this is where I want you, as this is My will for you at this present time.”
The next day, I was accepted as a student and moved in. A few months later while alone praying, suddenly I was in heaven, standing in the presence of God. I knew that He was directly in front of me, seated on His throne, but I could not see Him as I was blinded by brilliant glory. I had a sense of holiness that was beyond any ability or words to express.
As I stood there facing the throne, from my left, intense wave-like streams of glory, in brilliant color, began to move slowly toward me and entered into the depths of my spirit. This could be compared to a freight train, with each box-car carrying a cargo that was deposited into my spirit. As each of these entered into me, one after another, I became aware that I was to establish a ministry on this property. It was as if every cell in my body became a sensitized voice box, and I understood the Lord’s desire for a “set-apart place” in which He could both be and do as He desired.
When I returned from heaven to the place where I had been praying, I was so deeply affected by the manifest glory I had experienced, that I had great difficulty in relating and functioning in my normal circumstances. It was two weeks later that I was able to be “normal” again.
I gradually became aware that the purpose of the “ministry” to which I was being called would be to prepare those whom the Lord would send, to recognize and become responsive to His voice and also to have a respect for, and a sensitivity to His manifest presence. This related to those who would be “called apart” to be “made ready” for His end-time purposes.
“Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife has made herself ready.” Revelation 19:7
This Italian Assemblies of God school closed at the end of its third year and remained vacant for six years, when in a very unusual way, this property was given to me. While waiting during this period of time, the Lord caused me to know that I was being prepared to be used as an end-time “John the Baptist.” Later, the Lord confirmed this through a Scripture that expresses the deepest irony in all the Word of God.
“Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came to John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.” Luke 3:2
“Annas and Caiaphas” speaks of the headship and function of the established religious system, which the Lord by-passed. “John… in the wilderness” speaks of an isolated, barren environment, which the Lord used to prepare John for a critical time of ministry.
The Church system was fully in place and functioning. Yet the Lord could find no one within the religious system of that day who had a “hearing ear,” to whom He could impart a “present” word. Therefore, He chose one who was not a priest, and led him into a “wilderness experience” to be trained.
Today also, there are those within the Church who have fully committed the totality of their being to the Lord, and are being called apart to receive a fresh word from the Lord. This speaks of the absolute necessity of our receiving a “present word” concerning preparation (our being an end-time corporate John the Baptist), to become a witness of the Lord’s manifest presence in these last days. Therefore, we must make the right choices to bring this witness into its full expression, first within and then through us.
This religious system, which the Lord by-passed, had experienced the glory of God and had received much by direct revelation from the Lord. However, they became dependent upon past experiences for their present standing with the Lord. The fact that the Lord had moved through them in the past was not enough to equip them for the present need. They were incapable of hearing a present word concerning the soon to appear “Lamb of God.”
During this present time, there are those who are being called apart concerning the soon to appear “Lion of the tribe of Judah.” Therefore, there must be within each of us a present seeking of the Lord, even though we may have received much revelation from Him. Yesterday’s revelation is not enough to prepare us to face today’s problems and pressures.
While I was a student in Bible School (1956-1959), we experienced a major visitation from the Lord which lasted two weeks. We were daily in Chapel from early morning until late at night. In the beginning, there was a time of intense confession and cleansing, after which His “manifest glory” was poured out upon us. Along with this, a “fountain of new wine” was discovered. Anyone who “drank” therein became intensely filled with the Holy Spirit in boldness and power.
“And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.” Ephesians 5:18
“Being not drunk with wine, wherein is excess” speaks of a substitute for this higher spiritual impartation and enabling power. This substitute (wine) has been used by Satan to wreck countless lives and families. Any seeming “benefit” that comes from it is deceptive, and carries a terrible price tag.
“…but be filled with the Spirit; speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:18-19). This is the transforming effect of the real wine of the Holy Spirit. It will release us into a spiritual boldness and liberty beyond that of which we are capable, which will glorify God and enable us to minister in great freedom and power.
However, no matter how tremendous this experience might be, we cannot continue to depend upon the experience of “drinking at the fountain of past visitations.” It is urgent that we begin seeking the Lord to bring us into a fresh new dimension of the supernatural. No longer are we to look back to where we first met the Lord. Nor, are we to tell the Lord how, when, or where the “new” is to come into our lives and ministries (I turned around went north to a place that seemingly did not fit the calling I had received).
We must have a “dissatisfied satisfaction” – our being thankful for what we presently have, but actively seeking the Lord for “more.” There are two sides to a coin. They are different, yet make a singular whole. Our past and present experiences must merge to make a way for us to enter the future.
John’s testimony was that he is the “voice of one crying in the wilderness.” He clearly saw the urgent need of that hour by saying, “Prepare you the way of the Lord, make His paths straight” (Mark 1:3). The very heart of my calling and ministry is the preparation of a “voice” that can speak in our day, as John spoke in his day, to be available to the Lord for His purposes during this difficult time in which we live.
All this came into being, when, on July 4, 1959, I stopped the car while driving toward Philadelphia, turned around and went in the opposite direction, in response to “a present word” from the Lord. Looking back, I can rejoice in the fact that I made the right choice.
Many years have passed since that date in 1959. There were years of glory, spiritual impartation, and transformed lives. Mistakes were also made, for which I have repented and received forgiveness from our Lord. Now, at this present time while residing in Washington DC, I am receiving a “present word,” and I am again making another “turn” that I might move into a higher outworking of my calling and ministry, which is now coming into its intended purpose and fulfillment.
I pray that you also will look beyond your past spiritual experiences, and your present circumstances, and make the right choice during your critical moment of decision.