That which was hidden from me because of sin and separation from God, was now being revealed because my faith has accepted His Gift. Now, I “can see the kingdom of God.” What seemed like fiction before is made real.
I would have the distinct privilege of meeting Benji Clark Mallory a couple more times, but not before a series of events took place within me. For one, I felt compelled to go out immediately to the highways and byways to preach God’s Good News. JESUS SAVES! You see, I already had the Word of God in my heart since 3 years old.
I looked at that big black Bible my auntie gave me a couple of years before I accepted Christ and said,
“Whatever happened to me is in here.”
Indeed, I had experienced a change. Old friends and strangers had witnessed it too. Fortunately their curiosity kept them around long enough to try to figure out what happened to the old me. Well, I knew the old me was still lurching in the darkness; regeneration had begun and its still taking place today. But with the help of a force given to me in the form of the Holy Spirit, I have been able to experience victories over that old self. Some defeats; but more victories than defeats. The onlookers saw Christ being developed in my life.
After my Prayer Breakfast event, I knew I had to tell others… so I went out right away. Everybody the Lord put in my path for the next 2 days were subject to the Gospel of Jesus Christ coming from my lips. Big black bible in my hand, full of the thoughts of Jesus in my head… OH Yeah! It’s on! I guess many would call it ‘zeal without knowledge.’
During this time, I realized that I still had to do life on this level; one of the things I was facing is I needed to find a job. But what about the gospel? Somebody had to tell people! I made my way to Patsy on the evening of 12/14/1981. I told her of my strong desires I had since the Prayer Breakfast. I remember her face, so soft, kind, loving, eyes looked a little wimpish like she wanted to tear-up. OKAY. What’s that about?
She reached across of what seemed to me a large office desk at the time and touched my hand and said, “Rochelle, the Lord wants you to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” I looked at her and said, “The Holy…?” before I could finish asking, He was there. That office filled with a Presence that I would later refer to as ‘liquid love’ so pure and Holy, I began to cry the powerful love of God. Yet, like Isaiah, I was unworthy in the Presence. ( Isaiah 6:1-5a). “Woe to me… I am ruined!”
Remember the bird on that cross pin? I learned it was a dove that symbolizes the Holy Spirit.
Let me just take a breather here before going any further. Over the past nearly 40 years now, I have heard everything from the halls of theology and everywhere else trying to explain what God does and does not do… anymore. I always thank God that I was not told to expect anything from Him beyond that new birth experience; I was miles from a Church or religious group; no affiliation with a denomination or other influential entity to groom me for that moment in time, December 14, 1981.
Respectively speaking, when I hear that God has changed from the first century, He continues to remind me of the importance of a close relationship to Him through His Word, His Son, and the Holy Spirit. Just the requirements He had for those in the first century. Remember the characters I took note of on that cold winter morning in December (see Part 2 of My Story), those who spoke of Jesus as though they knew Him personally? That’s what He was driving home to me. It is possible to walk close; and He desires and encourages relationship. He is the ultimate authority on His nature and how He wishes to relate to His creation. Good reference: 1 John 2:24-27
24 As for you, see that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father.25 And this is what He promised us—eternal life.
26 I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. 27 As for you, the anointing you received from Him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as His anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in Him.
I’m no way saying we do not need to sit under good teaching. On the contrary. Remember in part 1 of My Story, I mentioned not having a structured life… not being guided? Well, this is very important for a believer; in fact it is necessary to sit under good teachers for spiritual growth; to avoid the pitfalls and traps of the enemy.
Back in Patsy’s office… I could not determine how long I had been crying and praising God… for the first time in my life. When the moment broke. I looked at Patsy. I had absolutely NO questions. So I picked up my Bible I had been toting around for 2 days, and said to her, “Have a good Day!” Just like that. I knew without a shadow of a doubt, God got me from this point on. I just knew all the answers were in that Big Black Bible.
I started each day like a watchman on the wall. I looked for every opportunity to present the Gospel to others. Praying on the bus, “Is it that person, Lord?” Praying on a park bench, “Are you sending someone to sit beside me who needs to hear Your Good News?” Shortly after this time, God gave me a fantastic job at a country club. As a servant to the wealthy.
On a balcony at the country club I would pray for the dignitaries I would meet at conferences and conventions. Remember that little pin with the cross and bird? It was now coupled with a Star of David pin I wore often. It struck up a conversation with a dignitary from Israel one day. I told him of my faith in Jesus, the Holy One of Israel.
He just looked up in my face… stared and smiled. Not sure what that was about. But oh well. I prayed.
In the upcoming days, months and years, I saw the move of God in ways I could not have imagined before. Friends came to Christ just watching the Lord change me; and being drawn in close enough to hear the Gospel come out of my mouth. There are things the Lord has done when I walked in obedience to Him that would take much time to tell using a series beyond Part. 3 of My Story.
Not long after these events, Patsy hosted a small meeting where I and others would see Benji Clark in a more personal setting. She ministered and loved on everyone with the Love of God. A few years later I would attend one of her workshops near my hometown of Savannah, GA. That day, October 29th, 1988 is etched in my mind as though it were just yesterday. I remember hearing the message and afterward, being called to join her on the podium. She gave me a moment to share; I spoke briefly of the Power of God that changed me and of His faithfulness. I remember sharing the importance of keeping the Gospel fresh… and asking the audience if it is still “Good News to you?” Below is a cassette tape of that event.
Image of a handwritten script of what the Lord gave Benji for me.
On speaking of the prophetic and its place today I have learned there will always be skeptics and naysayers. What I also learned decades ago is that the best way to know if a word from God is truly from Him it will come to pass. Benji spoke the Word of God into my life. I searched those words out.
On October 29th 1988, I was Called to Bear Fruit. I can look back over the past 38 years and see the move of God. How He propelled me to “GO!” Today I still have that fire inside; more intense than ever before.
Benji’s transparency, her story was meant to reach hundreds if not thousands. She could have said, “No. I’m not going to tell this part of my life.” God knew that other lives would be changed if she just obeyed Him. Her story accompanied with the Good News of Jesus Christ drew me in His loving arms. Some people downplay personal experiences. Our experiences, good and bad are allowed and are used by God to draw us and others to Him.
I encourage everyone who has a story to tell, don’t allow anyone to steal or suppress your testimony; making you feel as though you are trying to lift up ‘self.’ Satan is clever; if he feels he can get you to stay silent he knows he has won the day. What the devil intends to use to destroy us with, God uses to deliver us from the grips of hell. The Gospel is preached and lives are changed. I’ve become eccentric in a way. I’ve kept a journal of events since December 1981.
When you speak of giving your story, many will say its all about you getting glory. Don’t listen to that. It’s all about glorifying Him. To not share it is to really make it about you. When we are discouraged to share our experiences of God’s Power in our lives, turn to these characters whose ministries were launched the day they encountered Jesus, the Christ.
All those at the wedding in Cana where Jesus turn water to wine; John 2:1-12
Blind Bartimaeus who received his sight; Mark 10:46-52
The man who was lame was told to take up his bed and walk. On the Sabbath!! Yikes!! John 5:1-15. Scoffers didn’t see the miracle; after being an invalid for 38 years he was suddenly able to walk. They had an issue that it was done on the Sabbath. Wow!
The demoniacs who were freed from demon possession; Matthew 8:28-34
The woman at the well who dropped her water pot and ran into town to tell everyone, “Come see a Man who told me everything I had done!” John 4:39 because of her testimony many believed; Later they urged Jesus to stay with them. He stayed 2 days and many more came to believe because of His word. John 4.
The woman who was cleansed from the issue of blood when she touched the hem of Jesus’ garment; and Jairus’ 12 year old daughter who was raised from the dead and many more. Mark 5:22-43
Lazarus whom Jesus raised from the dead; John 11:1-44
The centurion whose servant was healed by faith; Luke 7:1-10
Ministries were launched because of these personal encounters with the Living Christ. These were testimonies. No two are the same; yet we all can witness to His goodness, kindness, and mercy in our lives. The people JOYFULLY PRAISED God for the miracles they witnessed. Word says the rocks will cry out if we don’t. Luke 19:37-40 read it for yourself.
37 When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:
38 “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”[a]
“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”
40 “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”
I’m not letting a rock witness for me. Satan is unable to steal my testimony. Don’t let it happen to you. I have intentionally included scripture for each reader to have the opportunity to know, this is the God I met on Dec. 12, 1981. The God who Changes Lives… and calls us to do the same. 2 Corinthians 5:18
18 “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:”
18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
You know how I know it means us today? Because the disciples didn’t live to the very end of the age. The Great Commission extended beyond the disciples. Down through the ages… to US.
I know for a truth that I am NOT my story. It is NOT who I am.. It points to Whose I am and how He chose to bring me to Him. My story is His Story. His Story is one of true love and redemption. Written not only for me; but for everyone who will believe. I am eternally grateful to Patsy Lewis who offered a (spiritually) hungry girl a meal and Benji Clark for sharing her testimony that pointed me to a Loving Savior, Jesus Christ.
I am reminded of an old negro spiritual when I think of what the Lord has done; “I Know I’ve Been Changed.” This is a video of the song. The Staple Singers. Different for some, maybe; but it speaks to the heart of the God’s redemptive power.
A loving Note: I will be surprising Benji Clark at her Raising Up Elishas conference July 11th-13th in Carrollton, GA. It will be a blessing to see her once again.