"I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire." Matthew 3:11 (NIV)
Over the summer, I was going to a study group of fellow believers from my home base, Shore Vineyard Church, Toms River, NJ. We were going through a series by Bill Johnson of Bethel, Redding, CA. The series is titled, Hosting the Presence: Unveiling Heaven's Agenda. It was through the series I first heard of a baptism of fire through Bill Johnson's testimony. It sounded wonderful and exciting. Bill Johnson has been one of my favorite teachers these last few years. Amazing man of God.
After we finished the DVD, our group all stood and prayed for a fire baptism to happen in our lives. I can say that I earnestly wanted this and prayed over the next six months for this to happen for me. God is faithful.
It was early morning of Sunday, November 29, just 2 weeks ago. The Lord had me waking up at 5am every morning that week. I would worship, pray and study. That morning I had my great niece and nephew over for a sleep over with my kids. In total 5 kids to get ready for church at 11:15am. My husband still asleep at 9:30am as he was awake the night before till 3am. I was running around getting breakfast for the kids and my 9 month old baby.
While I was spending time with the Lord, I stumbled upon a prophecy in my email entitled, "Flying with the eagles." Over the previous few days, a couple of people gave me words about soaring with the eagles. As I read the words I felt the Lord's hand on my shoulder saying, "This is for you. This is happening today." It was all about the winds of change and God's DNA being infused into His chosen ones that day.
I looked at the clock at 10:15am and my heart sank. At this point I started to feel the presence of the Holy Spirit heavy upon me. I needed to start getting myself ready. I kindly asked my husband to take over kid duties, now feeling as if I could barely stand.
The Lord told me, "Just get in the shower." I got in and could not stand, so I laid on the floor of the tub in fetal position with my hand over my ear so I wouldn't get an ear-full of water. I had my eyes closed and it seemed as if the room disappeared. It felt like I was among clouds and the water was God's grace raining down on me. I laid there for awhile until I the side of my body was throbbing with pain. I still could not stand so I sat on my knees with my body bowed down over. My eyes began to burn even though they were still closed. I cupped my hands and washed my eyes then kept my hands over my eyes as they still burned. I stayed there for another long while as I could not stand. I stayed until the water turned cold.
My rational mind broke in and I realized it must be getting late and I was to be at church by 11:15am because I had nursery duty that morning. I stood up and knew I was really too weak to stand still. I asked God, "What should I do?" He said, "Go lay down in your bed." I said, "What about church? What about nursery? I'm supposed to serve today." He said, "Are you going to listen to Me, or try to please man?" There was no way to argue with that, so I got into bed. At this point my body started to tremble and contract.
My husband came into the room and saw the state I was in. He asked, "What's going on? We have to get ready. We have to be at church." The only word I could manage to say was, "Fire." He took the towel off my head and felt my skin. He said, "You are burning." He placed both hands on me and began to pray in tongues over me. That sent me into the depths. I began having visions and revelations. I heard the words, "Exit Dream." I asked him to call my friends husband to let them know I could not move and would not be coming to church. My husband asked, "What am I supposed to tell them?" I said, "I don't know, I can't move." I proceeded to fall asleep.
I was swimming in dreams for what felt like several hours. The end of the last dream was so vivid. My husband and I were driving back into Toms River from Seaside bridge. We looked across the bay and sink holes with a diameter of at least 20ft began forming and the water was draining down them. We were in awe. Next, we looked back toward the bridge in front of us. The bridge had disappeared and in its place was a swarm of clouds mixed with an ebb of water where the ocean meets the land. I saw the words, "Heaven is near..." Then everything began to dissipate into white glory. I felt myself disappearing into the light. My eyes opened and I was awake in my bed.
I lay there entirely weak and drained. I still couldn't move. My bedroom door was open and the kids were running around so I didn't want to get up anyway as I wasn't dressed. Suddenly I heard my husband playing a beautiful worship song. He was singing like I've never heard him sing before. The sound was so beautiful. It felt as if angels were bowing down in awe and content. The music began to fill me with energy.
When he was done playing he came to see how I was. "You've been asleep for 3 hours," he said. I asked him to close the door so I could get dressed. I got dressed and grabbed my phone. I had several missed calls and texts. I could not even think to respond at that point. I went on the porch with my husband and showed him the email I read that morning on "Flying with the Eagles."
As he was reading, he began to read it aloud. Suddenly, a large bird landed on a bare tree in front of me. I stared at it a few minutes, then asked, "Matt, what kind of bird is that?" He said, "Oh wow, I think it's a hawk. Wait 'till you see it's wingspan." The hawk proceeded to turn toward us, unfolded it's wings and took flight directly over our heads. We looked at each other in wonder.
The following few days were that of amazement. I noticed an increase in my prophetic ability. My awareness of how all things flow through the Holy Spirit in a most intentional way was brought to a whole new level. I could hear and see God's plans in a greater way. The most beautiful thing God gave me though was the eyes of Jesus. An ability to clearly see from Heaven's view the hidden gold and treasures in His people. The outcasts, the ones unseen, hidden in corners, the judged, the oppressed, the forgotten. God sees you. You are who Jesus came for. You are His chosen. Those in jails, institutions, hospitals and homeless. God has a plan for you. It's in Isaiah 61:1-11
"The Year of the Lord’s Favor
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion--
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.
They will rebuild the ancient ruins
and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
that have been devastated for generations.
Strangers will shepherd your flocks;
foreigners will work your fields and vineyards.
And you will be called priests of the Lord,
you will be named ministers of our God.
You will feed on the wealth of nations,
and in their riches you will boast.
Instead of your shame
you will receive a double portion,
and instead of disgrace
you will rejoice in your inheritance.
And so you will inherit a double portion in your land,
and everlasting joy will be yours.
“For I, the Lord, love justice;
I hate robbery and wrongdoing.
In my faithfulness I will reward my people
and make an everlasting covenant with them.
Their descendants will be known among the nations
and their offspring among the peoples.
All who see them will acknowledge
that they are a people the Lord has blessed.”
I delight greatly in the Lord;
my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness,
as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
For as the soil makes the sprout come up
and a garden causes seeds to grow,
so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness
and praise spring up before all nations."