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BETTER EQUIPPED
     
                       
I have often wondered when someone is born-again but not baptized in the Spirit, if he or she is able to cast
out demons effectively, or even able to discern when someone is demon possessed?  I refer to the term
"baptized in the Spirit" which is one way of saying "speaking in tongues" to many people, but there’s a
possibility that someone could be baptized in the Spirit and not openly display tongues.  It would be
exceptional, and in my experience I haven’t known of anyone like that.  It's one of God's gifts of the Spirit and
it occasionally happens at the moment when someone accepts Jesus as Lord and Savior, but in most cases it
comes later by desire of the believer.  It's no different to the Upper Room experience, or the outpouring at
Cornelius' home, or the even larger demonstration of the Holy Spirit which followed in Antioch.  The deal is
that sometimes whole denominations dismiss it as something that occurred in ancient times and claim it's not
for us today.  That’s because they haven’t experienced the Holy Spirit in this powerful way and they become
experts at rationalizing.  I’ve always thought of it as incomplete when someone doesn't take advantage of
having their heavenly language right here and now.  They’re missing out on the fast track to God’s favor.

One night recently I caught the evangelist Jesse Duplantis on TV as I was surfing channels.  He was telling
about a woman on a plane whom he had discerned to be demon possessed.  The plane was full to capacity
and there was no way he could go back to where she was sitting in the middle of a crowded row to cast the
demon out of her.  He opted to pray in tongues just where he was in his seat for her deliverance.  The
healing happened in God’s timing very soon after, but in the meantime she was growling and tossing and
turning in her seat.  The flight attendants stepped back once Jesse told them that the woman was being
exorcised, and from the instant God delivered the woman all went back to normal.  Two more things followed
- one was that the pilot called Jesse into the cockpit and the two of them rejoiced in God's deliverance of the
woman.  The other is that a Baptist man sitting next to Jesse by his own admission declared that this kind of
thing was beyond anything his church was used to doing.  No kidding.

Back in the 70's when I was first became involved in Metropolitan Community Church in Los Angeles, I had
come from a Baptist background and had never even heard of the term "baptized in the Spirit", much less
understood that speaking in tongues was just as relevant for today as in New Testament times.  Many of my
born-again friends were speaking in tongues, and that created in me the desire big time.  My friends Ruth
and Paulette, a mother and daughter combo, were sitting with me almost in the back row in a church in North
Hollywood; the only seats available in this very popular contemporary church.  I had been praying for the gift
of tongues for a while, and at some point during that service it happened.  For me it was sort of a whisper at
first, as opposed to some people who's initial experience is at full volume.

For days after that I couldn't stop.  I would be walking down the street praising away in tongues and getting
unusual glances from strangers.  Thus it had begun.  I've never stopped since, and why would I want to?  Not
too long afterward I became very involved in Shekinah Fellowship in Long Beach where the gifts of the Holy
Spirit flowed like Victoria Falls.  Speaking in tongues was only the beginning.  And kind of like Apollos who
needed Priscilla and Aquilla to bring him further along, I quickly learned that there was even more.  The faith
healer whom the ministry was formed around was Brant Baker.  He and I became quick friends and palled
around together.  At one point we were roommates briefly and he moved into the house my partner and I had
been renting up the street.  Not only were those fun days, but I learned so much about walking in the Spirit
for real.  The first time I prayed for someone who fell over in the Spirit, I think I was already prepared to be
used of the Lord in that capacity because I never even batted an eyelash.  I looked down at her sprawled out
on the floor and saw an expressing of contentment on her face.  She was beaming and having a
conversation with Jesus.  Probably the lack of strong reaction was because I had acquired some of the habit
of surrendering to the Holy Spirit from being around Brant so much.  When not in a ministering capacity, we
clowned around a lot too and had some outrageous adventures together, but living in a sensitive mode to the
Holy Spirit was part of Brant and it became part of me too.

So, back to square one, are people who are born-again but not baptized in the Spirit equipped to cast out
demons?  Not as a rule.  They're not even aware when there’s a demon in their presence.  

With our remodeling houses while living in them at the same time, we've had a lot of workers in and out and
all around the properties.  It can be annoying, but necessary.  Most mornings early I sit in my easy chair and
have my time with the Lord which includes Scripture and devotional reading, and prayer.  While under
renovation there was a time slot when I would unlock the door at daybreak so that one of the workers could
come in the house on his own, walk through to his work area, and do his thing.  This one man was much
younger than I and Amish by his declaration, had a bad eye, a bad leg, and was constantly cut and bruised
as if an invisible someone were beating him up.  While I would be sitting peacefully in my chair, he would
come into the house in the mornings oblivious to my presence and walk through to his work place swearing
unmercifully to himself in the most fowl language I've ever heard.  I recognized this man as having a demon in
him, the other-worldly sound of the voice notwithstanding, but I think many Christians would just pass it off as
an accident-prone guy with an uncontrolled personality perhaps in need of a shrink.  That's both because
they are unable to recognize it for what it is, and also because they are unequipped to do anything about it
and live in denial.  What it boils down to is that God can't use them.

Did I pray for him?  You bet I did.

This is my way of saying that if you are not baptized in the Spirit, that you should ask God to bless you with
this very important gift of the Holy Spirit.  God will not deny this request because He wants you to have it.  It's
the beginning of a deeper relationship with Jesus that you haven't yet experienced.  For me now, it's actually
difficult to restrain the Holy Spirit when I pray, not that I want to, but because often I'm surrounded with people
who either don't get it or are resistant because much of the traditional church has taught against it.  Poor
God.  Not every time by any means, but it's not all that far fetched for people to be slain in the Spirit when I
pray for them.  This could be your testimony too.  What an indescribable thrill to be used of the Holy Spirit in
this way.


"Put on the complete armor that God supplies so that you will be able
to stand against the devil..... praying always in the Spirit."

                                                                                      Ephesians 6:11 & 6:18






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