A Plain Talk to Seekers
“Ask, and it shall be given you; Seek, and ye shall find; Knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father will he give him a stone? Or, if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or, if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children; how much more shall your Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?”
FROM AN AFTERNOON TALK GIVEN AT THE NATIONWIDE CAMP MEETING
If there is any humble little ministry that the Lord has given me, it has been mainly that of praying for those seeking the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Each member of the body should have its own particular ministry. Some are definitely led out along the line of praying for the sick, and when the message comes that someone is ill and suffering in body, there is that within the child of God which leaps up with great desire to pray for the sick one. Others are led out definitely along the line of casting out demons, and the Spirit rises up within them, using them with great unction and power.
As for myself, whenever I hear of someone seeking the baptism of the Holy Spirit with all his heart, I feel such great drawing power within that I can scarcely resist leaping over all the others to get to that person to pray for him that he may receive. Ofttimes I have been invited to go to meetings far and near without feeling any particular interest in the call until word would come saying:
“O, we have so many here that are just starving and crying for the baptism of the Holy Ghost; do come and pray for them.” And immediately a great urging would rise within me to go and pray for those precious seekers. When God gives us this longing to see seekers filled with the Spirit, how much more does the Father Himself long to pour out the Spirit on all those who wait upon Him?
My heart goes out to all the dear seekers who are tarrying for the baptism of the Holy Spirit. How I long to bring you a message from the Lord, a message of encouragement and instruction that will help to lift up the hands that hang down and strengthen the feeble knees, that will cause you to press on into this glorious realm, this life filled and controlled by the Holy Spirit!
GOD’S TIME IS NOW
First of all let us make it plain that God is on the giving hand, and is more willing to give than you are to receive. Let us remember that God’s time is now, not tomorrow, but NOW.
WAITING ON GOD’S TIME
Many people say: “Well, when God is ready, when my time comes, He will baptize me with the Holy Spirit.” Dear ones, the Lord has been ready for many years; it is YOU who have not been ready. He is waiting above you just now, longing to pour into your soul great floods of glory, and to make you the Temple of the Holy Spirit. If the devil can make you believe that you are waiting for the Lord to fill you, if he can persuade you to put off definite seeking day after day, day after day, till Jesus comes and you will be found still waiting unfilled with the Spirit, he will have fulfilled his purpose. O, dear heart, stop forever making this excuse. If you are not filled with the Holy Spirit today it will be your own fault, not the fault of the Lord, for He is more willing to give than you are to receive.
Others say, “I would like to receive the Holy Spirit, but I am afraid I am not ready.” Well, beloved, how long would it take God to get you ready? Just one moment, as long as it takes you to get under the blood. I have seen sinners come to the altars in our tent just laden with sin and iniquity. I have seen them fall on their knees, and throwing up their hands, cry aloud to God for mercy; I have seen the light breaking over their faces and the glory sweeping over their souls as they passed from death unto life, and their sins were washed away. Inside of fifteen minutes from the time that they came to the altar seeking salvation I have seen such penitents fall prostrate under the power of the Spirit, receive the Holy Ghost, and burst forth speaking in other tongues as the Spirit gave utterance. I have watched such lives through the following years, and know that they are standing today declaring the whole Word of God, and living a holy life before Him. God has no favorites, He is no respecter of persons, we are all on one common footing before Him. What He has done for others He will do for you.
If you feel that you are unworthy, that is a splendid, humble place from which to start seeking. Come empty and be filled. Just tell Father all about it; ask Him to cover you with the precious blood afresh today, and under the covering of that blood ask Him to fill you with the Holy Spirit, that He may lead and direct and fill your whole life for His honor and glory.
BEEN SEEKING FOR YEARS
Someone else says: “Well, I have been seeking for years, and I have never received.” But O, as I look over the long altar benches filled with seekers in our tabernacle, I find so many that think they are seeking who are in reality just sitting down at ease, resting their heads in their hands, elbow propped on the altar bench, hardly open their mouths to praise God. No desperate earnestness or hundred-fold praises, and they call that seeking. Look up — all good gifts come from above.
THE PITCHER AND THE GLASS
I have in my hand a glass, an empty glass. In my other hand I have a pitcher, filled with cool, refreshing water. Let us say you are the glass, and that Jesus is holding the pitcher filled with water, which is a type of the Holy Spirit. We want to fill the tumbler with water, but it is turned bottom side up, the mouth is down, just as many of you seekers put your heads down instead of up. We can pour all the water we like on the bottom of the tumbler, but it will never be filled. It will come out from under the downpour just as empty as ever, wondering why all the other tumblers were filled and it left empty.
But now let us turn the tumbler right side up. Pour the water out from the pitcher and the glass begins to fill and fill and fill, till the water is overflowing on the dry ground all about it. Dear ones, do just like this glass, look up. Lift your face up toward the heavens, lift up your hands, begin to praise God with all your soul, and He will fill you to overflowing.
PRAISING IN HEART ONLY
Another seeker says, “Ah! but I fear I will not run over or be demonstrative; I am deep, I am such a quiet sort of a person; I believe in praising the Lord in my heart.” Dear ones, there is not one of you so deep but what God can fill you. You may feel that you are big and deep, but God is bigger and deeper than you, and when He fills you just so full, you have to run over and speak, as the Spirit gives utterance, the glorious praises of Jesus.
Take, for instance, this pitcher filled with water: it is larger than the glass — the tumbler cannot possibly contain all the water held in the pitcher — it must overflow. Just so, God is bigger than you, and when He pours the Holy Spirit into your heart you must overflow with His praises.
OPEN TO GOD
Now we will suppose that we have a glass which was marred in the making. There is no way of filling it, but the glass with the wide open mouth can be readily filled. Then we will take a bottle with a small mouth; it takes a great deal longer to fill than it does the tumbler. Seekers, “Open your mouth wide and I will fill it, saith the Lord.”
We open our mouths wide as for the latter rain. O, Hallelujah! Open up every avenue of your being, every channel of your soul, open your lips in praise, “be ye lifted up, ye everlasting doors, and the King of Glory shall come in.”
ASK, AND YE SHALL RECEIVE
Ask, and you shall receive. Here is a definite promise from God. If you ask, He has promised that it shall be given you. Remember the widow who went to the unjust judge; at first he refused her, but morning after morning we can picture her putting on her hat, walking down the road to the judge’s office, knocking on the door, and waiting her turn till she could cry out: “O, Judge, please avenge me of mine adversary.” When she was refused she was still undaunted, and the next morning found her pressing and pinning on her hat, walking down the road and up to the judge’s office, waiting her turn again, and saying: “O, Judge, please avenge me of mine adversary.”
Refused again, she was still undismayed, and the next morning found her again in the anteroom. No doubt the judge said: “Is that woman here again to weary me?” But again she pled her cause.
Oh, I believe that when the unjust judge granted her request, he seized his pen and paper quickly, and wrote off the order, and said: “Here, woman, take it quick, and get out of my sight. You weary me with your oft coming.”
Ah! dear ones, if the unjust judge heard the widow’s plea, how much more will our just Father hear your cry. If you ask, you shall surely receive, yes, and receive quickly, for in such an hour as ye think not he shall come suddenly and fill His temple.
SEEK, AND YE SHALL FIND
Here is another definite promise. Do you remember the woman who swept the floor, lighted a candle and swept on until she found her lost money? Oh, dear hearts, be willing to rise early in the morning to seek, and to seek by the lighted candle if necessary. Seek till you forget your meals, till you forget your bed; forget all else till His gift is received.
KNOCK, AND IT SHALL BE OPENED UNTO YOU
If the door has not been opened unto you, the fault is not with God. Perhaps there has been something amiss with your knocking. Do you remember the man who went to knock at his friend’s door for bread, and he said: “Friend, rise and give me three loaves; a friend of mine in his journey has come, and I have nothing to set before him”?
But the man from within answered him: “Trouble me not. My children are with me in bed; the hour is late.” Perhaps the enemy has whispered to you: “Come now, it is eleven o’clock; time you were in bed. You know you have to get up early in the morning.”
How often have you reasoned like this, and gone to your rest, but not so with the man who knocked in the Bible. “Knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” Oh, I love these definite assurances of our God. “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but not one jot or tittle shall fail until all be fulfilled.”
“Rap! Rap! Rap!” I can hear that man knocking at the door.
“Trouble me not,” says the voice from above.
“Rap! Rap! Rap!” “O, friend, arise and give me three loaves.”
“The hour is late; surely you can come back another time for bread.”
“Rap! Rap! Rap!” “A friend in his journey has come and I have nothing to set before him. Rise and give me the three loaves.”
And so the man knocked and knocked, and rapped, and called and pled, till at last the man from above swung his feet out of bed, lighted his candle, went to the pantry shelf, jerked out three loaves of bread, and thrust them into his neighbor’s hand, and said: “Here, man, here are your three loaves — not because you are my friend, but because of your importunity. Take them, and go your way.”
How much more then shall Jesus, who is our friend, the friend above every other friend, rise and give us the blessed, promised Holy Ghost.
WITH YOUR WHOLE HEART
Do you feel ashamed before God this afternoon for the feeble pretense of your asking and seeking and knocking? Rise, beloved, and seek Him with all your heart, for here is a promise that you can stand on flat-footed, without wavering or doubting. “In the day that ye seek Me with your whole heart, I will be found of you.” If you seek Him, then with your WHOLE HEART, your whole mind and strength and voice, He shall be found of you, for “Every one that asketh receiveth.”
THE HOLY SPIRIT NOT FOR ME
We have heard many people say, “Oh, Sister, I fear the Holy Spirit is not for me.” Now, dear ones, look at God’s Word. Can you not believe Him? “Every one that asketh receiveth.” God is no respecter of persons. You are just as dear to Him as any other child. “Every one.” Yes, that means you, dear, discouraged soul. “He that seeketh findeth, and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”
AFRAID OF A COUNTERFEIT
Then someone says, “Yes, I would like to receive the Holy Spirit, but I am so afraid when the power of God falls upon me that it might be my own mind, or the flesh, or the devil.” “I am so afraid that I might receive something that was counterfeit and not of God.” Here is a promise for you, dear, timid soul. “If a son ask bread of any of you that is a father, will ye give him a stone, or if he ask fish, will he for fish give a serpent, or if he ask an egg will he offer him a scorpion?” In the Eastern countries the loaves of brown bread resembled very much a stone. The eel, which is a member of the fish family, resembles very much the serpent. The egg of the scorpion resembles very much the eggs which are used in domestic cooking. Now, we do not deny that there is the counterfeit. The devil is always trying to counterfeit God’s work. We do not deny that there is the stone, the serpent and the scorpion. But we do deny that our Heavenly Father gives stones, scorpions and serpents to His bloodwashed children.
Oh, how the Father’s heart must be grieved when you go to Him under the precious blood and say, “I would like the Holy Spirit, but am so afraid that if I get down on my knees here at the altar with these Pentecostal folks and ask for it, You might give me a serpent, or a demon, or a counterfeit spirit.” Are you, then, afraid of your Father? If this is the kind of father you have, a father that you are afraid to trust, a father who would give you a serpent instead of a fish, a scorpion instead of an egg, you had better change your father and accept God as your parent, for He gives good gifts to His children.
If you had ten dollars in your hand, and you found that one of them was a counterfeit, would you throw away the other nine dollars and say you were never going to handle another dollar again? Why, of course, you would not. If you happen to have been so unfortunate as to have seen someone who was not genuine, will you then discountenance all that God has done, and say, because this one had a wrong spirit, which had never been received from God, that you would henceforth cease seeking for the genuine gift of the Holy Ghost?
RECOGNIZE THE HOLY SPIRIT
Just suppose you invited me to come to your house for dinner. You had read my writings, you had heard people speak of me, and now you were writing me a letter of invitation to dine and spend a few days of rest. I accept your invitation and take my suitcase and travel many miles to get to your home. I rap at your door and you open to me, and ask:
“Who are you?” I reply, “Why, I am Sister McPherson. You invited me to come to spend a few days with you for rest and quiet;” and you look at me with a doubtful air, and say:
“Well, you do not look just as I thought Sister McPherson would. I thought she would be a much older woman. I had pictured her differently. You are not dressed as I thought Sister McPherson would be dressed. Your voice is not just the same as I imagined it would be, and I fear you are not the woman you claim to be.”
I reply: “Why, yes, dear sister, I really am the one you have invited here.” But you still hold the door almost closed, and peer out through the aperture and say:
“No, I really cannot let you in; I am so fearful. I am afraid that you are not the one that I invited here. Perhaps I just imagine you are. Perhaps it might be myself, that just thinks it is you, or you may be the devil, himself, for all I know.”
How grieved, and hurt, and surprised I should be. I should probably take up my suitcase, walk slowly down the steps, and the next time an invitation came to go to your house, I should be just a little hesitant, perhaps, in moving in that direction.
Now, how many of you have done just this with the Holy Spirit? You have read about Him. You have heard about Him from some who have described His glorious presence to you, and you have invited Him to come into your house and make you His Temple. But when He came to your door, when you began to tremble under His power, you drew back and said:
“Oh, perhaps this is only myself.” When He began to knock gently at the door of your lips, to stammer with His power, or you were prostrated to the floor, you straightway permitted the devil to whisper doubts into your ear, and said: “Why, this is not just as I imagined the Holy Spirit was to come. I thought He would come as a still, small dove, or vice versa, I expected Him to come as a mighty, rushing wind. Perhaps this is not the Holy Spirit. Perhaps this is the devil, himself.” Oh, you grieve and wound the dear Holy Spirit, and He spreads his pinions and passes on to others kneeling beside you, and fills them instead, and you wonder why they are filled and you are left unfilled.
DO NOT DOUBT HIM
So many people I find have got it all fixed up in their minds just how the Holy Spirit is going to come to them. Some feel that He is to come to them as a still, small dove, in a gentle way as they sit in their seats, or as they kneel in a dignified manner at the altar. To such He usually comes as a mighty, rushing wind, slaying them under the power and giving mighty manifestations. Others have it all figured out that the Holy Spirit is to come to them as a great dynamic, explosive power, accompanied with a mighty, rushing wind and tongues of flame and great manifestations. To these He sometimes comes as the still, small dove, and quietly fills them, speaking through them in other tongues softly and tenderly, the glorious praises of Jesus and the message of His coming. But in whatsoever form He comes, do not doubt Him. You have invited Him to come, now just receive Him.
ENTER THROUGH THE GATES OF PRAISE
When you come to the altar, come determined to praise God. Come not to seek, but to receive. Do not look miles and miles away for the Holy Ghost to come to you, for He is right near you. Praise and glorify the name of Jesus with ALL your heart, and He will pour His Spirit upon you.
I DO NOT FEEL LIKE PRAISING HIM
Some say: “Well, I am not going to praise the Lord when I do not feel like it, I do not want to put anything on.” I do not believe there is a person in the world that dislikes seeing anybody put anything on more than I do myself, but bless the Lord, there is one thing that God’s Word authorizes us to put on, and that is to put on praise as a garment. “Well, but,” you say, “I cannot praise Him unless I feel like it.”
Is that the way your spiritual life is ruled, by feeling? Praise Him because He is worthy; because He has washed your sins away. Praise Him because he deserves all the praise in Heaven and in earth forever and forever, and you soon will feel like praising Him. Bless His Holy Name! Do not attempt to go by feeling. Isaac was the only man in the Bible that went by feeling. Just see how much he was deceived. He got hold of the wrong son through feeling the hairy covering that was upon his son’s arm. Do not go by feeling, but go by faith.
Oftentimes when our altars are filled with hungry seekers, I stand on the platform for a moment looking over the people, and wondering to myself, “Where shall I begin? Whom shall I pray for first ?” And passing by the ones who are sitting down resting their heads on their hands, in a half-hearted way, I look for that one who acts as though he were desperately in earnest, who, with uplifted hands and face, is praising God from the depths of His heart and seeking with all his might; and we workers say to ourselves: “There is someone who is desperately in earnest. Let us go and pray for that one.” And do you know, I believe that is almost the way the Lord looks down upon it. And He stands there this afternoon at this altar, ready and willing to pour out His Spirit; He is looking for someone who is seeking with all his heart. This one He will surely fill. Praise the Lord until you feel his power taking control of you, until your lips begin to move and tremble under the power, then stop talking in your own language and let the Holy Spirit do the rest. You have nothing to do at all but yield and He will speak.
WHEN MAN CEASES GOD BEGINS
In my experience of seeking the Holy Spirit, there was day after day when He came upon me with stammering lips before He spoke in other tongues. Since I have received the baptism, I can see where I hindered Him from speaking in other tongues a great deal. Every time that my lips would begin to tremble and my chin to quiver, I would begin to praise the Lord with redoubled force, feeling that if ever I praised Him I must praise Him then, or He would leave me. This was perhaps a mistake, as two could not talk at once, and while I was doing the talking the Holy Spirit could not speak. We are all too courteous to interrupt another while he is speaking, and the Holy Spirit is just as courteous as we are. When I got all through talking and just yielded my lips, my tongue, and all my vocal organs, the stammering increased, and the first thing I knew my chin began to quiver and jerk sideways and up and down, my tongue began to move about in my mouth, and as I gave Him my voice He began to make strange sounds, syllables, words, fragments of sentences, and then like a mighty torrent there flowed forth from my innermost being rivers of praise, as the Spirit gave utterance in other tongues. Praise Him, dear ones, until you feel His power upon your lips, your vocal organs, then as you have talked all your life, be still and let the Holy Spirit do the talking. He can praise Jesus in so much more excellent a way than you can. He has glorious words that our human minds can never fathom. Rivers of praise will flow forth, rising and rising until they ascend to the Father’s throne in glorious tributes of thanksgiving.
Source: McPherson, Aimee Semple. “A Plain Talk to Seekers.” In This is That: Personal Experiences, 380-382. Los Angeles: Bridal Call Publishing House, 1919.