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White Fields Ezine

copyright 2008 by Greg Nichols


The Holy Spirit’s Power Within!


A Testimony about Sergeant Sam Nichols USMC


by Greg Nichols


At times in Pentecostal Christianity, we lose sight of basics and origins.  I was saved in August of 1982, baptized in the Holy Spirit on October 20, 1983, and I was serving in ministry in 1985 with the power of God moving through me for healing and other gifts of the Holy Spirit.  I was functioning in things I had no knowledge of, and learned about the gifts later, already having had experience in them. As I learned about the gifts, it was easy to understand because I had operated in them already.  I met my wife Debbie in ministry and we married in 1987, and she was and still is my ministry partner, and a woman truly anointed of God. Together, we have seen God do some amazing things.


I gave that background as it helps me share the following testimony and points.  Just as we are instructed in Revelations not to forget our first love, Christ, it is also important to not forget the start of our Pentecostal experience and our love for the Holy Spirit.  He is an absolutely amazing person, and He is absolutely Holy, as His name implies, and His presence in us is a solemn and sobering thing on the one hand which then causes us to erupt in joy unspeakable and laughter at times that is childlike on the other hand.


“…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;” Philippians 2:12b


“For the Kingdom of God is not food or drink, but righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”  Romans 14: 17


We stand in awe of who lives in us, we imperfect vessels, and we rejoice that He does, and this paradox of His presence in our flesh is just about as much of a mind bender as understanding the Trinity.  But we do understand to a degree, seeing through a dark glass, so to speak, with eyes having not yet fully seen or ears having not fully heard the riches or treasures of spiritual significance in store for us.


God humbled Himself ever so much to come and enter inside the Ark of the Covenant, and to be carried around by men.  The great God of the Universe, the Omnipotent Creator worked a miracle of changing His presence for a time into a small box, all with the goal of living near and close to man, - us, to be closer to His beloved creation, man.  He humbled Himself so much. He walked a path we needed Him to walk; He didn’t need to do it for Himself. Then the Nativity was the other great humbling of our dear Creator, taking on human flesh in our likeness.


One man died when he touched the Ark, the glory of a Holy God brought about sudden death to sinful flesh.  (1 Chronicles 13:10) And yet, that same God lives within us now, another loving and humbling action He took, and I am amazed at my own occasional deliberate sin that I seem to drag Him through, as if I had learned nothing from that man that died when he steadied the Ark on the ox cart.  But oh the infinite grace and the blood of the cross that seems to rush to my defense and cover me so wonderfully, and this I know well is the precious work of the person who I am writing of now, the Holy Spirit.  I thank you so much for that special help you give me at all times, Holy Spirit. 


If I may shift a gear now:  In late July of 2007, I stood by the bed of my dear nephew Sam Nichols, the marine sergeant who was hit by a bomb in Iraq.  4 of his men died in the blast, they were in 3 vehicles that were hit. My family’s prayers had been heard, to spare him on his 2nd tour to Iraq.  But it was not good.  I cried as I looked at him.  I was painfully aware that he took this hit for the rest of us.  Sam was brain dead, on life support, lying at Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland, the same place they rushed Ronald Reagan to when he received an assassin’s bullet.  Sam was a gruesome sight, he had huge chunks of flesh missing, he was swollen, he had tubes everywhere, his neck was broken, his leg was broken, his arm was broken, his brain was hopelessly injured and filled with blood and swelling.  His body was full of shrapnel. But what really gave the doctors no hope was his brain stem which was all bled out, was totally bruised, and much like mush.  I had flown back to Maryland to be with my brother Eric and to pray.  He and his family were very beat down by this horrendous circumstance.  Two naval officers, also neural-surgeons, sat us down and told us it was hopeless.  They said he was brain dead, and met all the Harvard Medical School qualifications for brain death.  1)  Eyes don’t track, also called doll eyes, 2) eyes don’t respond to light,   3) Pupils totally unresponsive.  (There are 7 other points but Sam met them all.)  The two doctors showed us a cat scan and pointed out why they had no hope, and they told me, my brother Eric and Erin, Sam’s young wife, he was gone and we must face it.  My brother asked them how many cases they have seen like Sam’s. They said 450. My brother asked them how many woke or survived.  They said none.  According to the doctors, Sam was in a coma which he would never wake up from.


This was huge, and a tough pill to swallow, but how huge is our God, and just Who and What is this person called the Holy Spirit like who we all have living in us?  I want to boast on Him!  We asked the two doctors if we could discuss it alone, Eric, Erin, and I.  They left, with faces like morticians, and expected an answer from us of caving in.  As soon as the door closed behind them, I plopped down by Erin, and said, “are you ready to receive Christ?”  She said “yes,” and the Holy Spirit raised the first dead person in this story.  We called the doctors in and said, we are people of faith, and we will not give up, we are going to pray and trust God.  They actually tried to talk us out of it.  But the Holy Spirit had a plan and a path for us to walk, and the unfolding had already begun.  A few days later, Erin, who was hungry for God, received the gift of the Holy Spirit.



Back at the hotel room, I put in a call to a mentor of mine, Dave Duell, a world evangelist and apostle of God.  I do not know how I had his cell phone number.  I had never called him before.  In 15 minutes, Dave called me back from Hungary, where it was 7:00 PM in the evening, and he was about to start a miracle crusade.  Dave listened to the story, and the odds against us, and then he said the words that to this day echo in my mind, and are still being said by thousands today who pray for Sam.   He said, “brother, faith overrules fact.”  He said it again. Then he said, “you go raise him up, you have everything you need to do it.”  I was so thankful to hear from Dave Duell, the Holy Spirit was at work, and Dave’s call was part of it.  We began a vigil at Sam’s side, and Sam’s new believer wife, Erin, was the most diligent of all.  I stayed 11 days, and finally flew home, but in those 11 days, I was able to highly disciple this little niece of mine, Erin.  I call her little, since she is maybe 5’2”, but her spirit inside is tall.  What a man of faith my brother Eric turned into over night.  He had not been following God very long when this happened.  The Holy Spirit is awesome, He caused me to have a cell phone number to connect with a man from Colorado who called us from Hungary and gave us a preceding Word to stand on!  The Holy Spirit was also about to walk us and a host of people through the fire with tempering flames, with great faith on the other side.


Sam had some near misses in those first few days. A day or so after Dave’s call, and our stand of faith, Satan tried to take Sam. We got summoned to him by an early morning call, and it was now his heart.  The assistant Commandant of the Marines was coming, they wanted to impart a purple heart before Sam passed away. We got there and they had a chaplain, ready to comfort the grieving wife, and several officers had been called in.  My brother and Erin and I looked at the monitor, and Sam’s heart was beating way above normal blood pressure.  A team of doctors and nurses were all around him.  They said this was normal right before the end.  Erin and I, right in front of everyone, laid our hands on Sam’s heart and commanded healing in Jesus’ name, and it slowed down as we watched the monitor.  Sam was better on this issue within a few hours.  A few days later, they said they needed to amputate Sam’s right leg. It was severely broken and shattered right at the shin, with bone and skin missing.  Erin signed a permission form for this to be done, but it did not set right with me at all.   A prayer warrior in our family, my sister or wife or someone, got a scripture about this and fed it to us by cell phone.  “For the Lord will be your confidence and will keep thy foot from being taken.”  Proverbs 3:26! Eric and I went to Erin and gave her this word, and then I said to Erin, “according to Paul in 1 Corinthians 7, the husband has not power over his own body but the wife.  Plus, you two are one flesh.  So if you have power over Sam’s body and you are one with him, then that leg belongs to you, and you need to hold onto to your leg by faith and claim that leg as healed.”  Erin did this, and after signing an amputation permission form the day before, Erin received her leg (Sam’s) the next day by doctors deciding not to amputate. We never told them of our prayer and stand of faith for the leg.  They had their permission form, only God could have stopped them.  The Holy Spirit would not turn over that leg.  Praise Him! 


The Holy Spirit had caused our prayer team from back home to give forth a Word with a miracle in it for that leg.  When I finally flew home, Sam had not awoke or risen, but in those days before I left, what a fight of faith we had to fight.  Eric and I would walk back and forth on the Naval base from our quarter’s to the hospital in high humidity and heat, and when we got there, the doctors would release another attack against ours and Erin’s faith.  They kept sending more doctors to state the facts, and bigger doctors, I mean a doctor who was 6 ft 5 inches came in and told us it was not going to happen.   They gave us wave after wave of fear and negativity, and we were weary, but the whole country of believers seemed to be networked in prayer over Sam.  We could feel the anointing in the air.  My sister Jan called me and said that we reminded her of Moses and Aaron, (my brother and I) walking back and forth between the Lord and Pharaoh many times.  She said that each time you go back you grow stronger with more resolve.  That was so true.  Although it is true we had some victories, we had no visible sign or any physical encouragement in the natural realm of any kind that Sam would wake up from brain death.  We had to base our stand and reputation on the Word of God alone.  What a lesson I learned in that trial by fire, of listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit. My brother feels the same way.


But now I have come to the whole point of my story.  We needed faith in this trial, and although we won some physical victories, it was all for naught if he was only being sustained by life support. One day, as we saw no change in Sam or his coma, Eric and I were interceding in our room, and the precious Holy Spirit spoke to me. 


I was praying, and very frustrated, and I was thinking of how Dave Duell said I had all I needed to do this, and it didn’t seem to be working.  I thought of John Lake and Smith Wigglesworth, and how much faith they had, and how Sam might have been up by now if they had been there. The Holy Spirit must get a kick out of us sometimes in our frail thinking.  I actually cried out to God right there in my room, “Lord, give me more power.”  Suddenly, He spoke. The Holy Spirit spoke to me clearly.  He said, “you have all the power you will ever need.”  I sat up with a jerk, as His words were so sharp and clear.  Then He said, “go to Acts 1:8!”  I immediately opened my Bible to that passage. “But ye shall receive power, after the Holy Ghost is come upon you:” As I read that, God showed me how I had Heaven’s power in that receiving of the Holy Spirit as soon as I received Him in 1983.   It was a done deal.  No wonder the miracles started for the disciples that very first day on Pentecost.  No teaching had to be done, they had all of the power that day.  You who are reading this writing got all God’s power that day you received the Holy Spirit. Later, I looked this up in the New King James version.  “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you:” So the Old King James says “after”, and the New King James says “when,” and in either case, God wanted me to see that at that time is when I get His power, when I received His Holy Spirit.  It is not at the New Birth, but there is some power imparted there, but rather at the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.  So we must not pray for more power. We are loaded.  It is so simple and clear we need help to misunderstand it.  And there are many believers around that seem to have the job of settling us down and diluting us somewhat from the raw amazing faith we got when we are baptized in the Holy Spirit.  We want to take on the world and the devil, and brother John Q Humble says, “now Greg, you need to balance yourself out, don’t you think?  Sure you have power, but you mustn’t be too radical.”  When I got saved, I was so radical, my family thought I was crazy, and the elders wanted me to quiet down, and steady myself and not make waves.  So I changed a little.  I became less daring, and safer. This happens to most of us. 


I am telling you right now, we do have all the power we need, but we often are hindered by not understanding it, or by unbelief.  A car battery can have a full charge, but if the cable is corroded, then the power is shorted out.  An electric light can have full power leading to it if the switch is on, but if the switch is off, it has none.  The Holy Spirit taught me that I was given the power of Heaven when I got Him, but my cables can get corroded, or my switch can be off.  Raw faith, or simply believing, turns the switch on.  Getting understanding of how the Holy Spirit functions is like cleaning the corroded cables, so we have a conductive flow of all the power of Heaven.  I had known this truth for years the day God spoke it to me in 2007, I had even taught it before, but how soon we forget when trials hit.  It is a revelation we need to get down on the inside of our hearts.


God showed me one more reason we might not have the power flowing. We are not walking in love as He needs us to.  This is a choice we must make, using faith and understanding.  That raw power is dangerous and Jesus had an unlimited amount of it and could be trusted with it because He was full of the love of God.  It is disobedient to not walk in love, and God cannot trust us with raw power if we have issues with people.  Disobedience is un- yielded-ness.  As we yield our will and our minds over to the love of the Holy Spirit, raw power rushes through us.  “The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given to us.”  Romans 5:5b   


He that yields to the fruit of the Spirit has no block to the power of God or the gifts of the Holy Spirit.


Back to Sam:  My brother got this following understanding from God before we left Maryland.  We did not see him awake then, but Eric said that God no doubt had Sam in an anesthetic coma for his own good, to stay off pain, and in a sense, our prayers were being answered, God’s way.  Oh, by the way, let me get to the end of the story.  In several weeks, Sam awoke. Countless people got saved in the process.  Many soldiers got healed back there in Bethesda.  Erin got to minister to many families.  One soldier had leukemia and just a few days to live.  Erin prayed with the family and the young man had a drastic turn around.  Sam’s cup ran over.  The grace could not be contained. Little Erin, the feisty believing wife got her hubby back, and the precious Holy Spirit literally manifested this scripture on the earth once more:  “by faith….. Women received their dead raised to life again.”  Hebrews 11:3a and 35a.  Sam not only awoke, but He knows the Lord.  He is double raised from death.  This couple is destined to be in some form of the ministry, and Sam is a miracle and example to many TBI patients.  (Traumatic Brain Injury)  Sam is now in the Bay area of California and undergoing rehabilitation and making gains daily with his wife Erin at his side.  When you think of it, pray for this couple that God has His will with all the restoration needed.  They have come so far.  Erin and Sam are still fighting battles, but failure to go all the way is not even an option for them, or the rest of us.


Sam Nichols’ story is one like so many others, a tapestry of the work of the Holy Spirit of God, based on the Cross of Christ. You have all of God’s power if you have received His Holy Spirit. Paul indicated in Ephesians 5:18 that we must be filled continually with the Holy Sprit which means we leak Him out, and must be refilled.  That first time we received Him, we received the power, the fullness of the Holy Spirit, and faith for a new “wine skin” of capacity to hold Him within us, and be refilled any time we desire Him and seek His presence.  Bless His name forever!   Mark 16 tells us what Jesus expected us to do once we were filled with the Holy Spirit:  We would be going into all the world, preaching the gospel, casting out devils, speaking with new tongues and healing the sick, like Sam Nichols.  Jesus also said if you are going to go, get filled first.  Imagine a knight going out to battle without his armor.  Imagine a fisherman going out without his pole. Imagine a preacher going out without his Bible.  But the biggest advice Jesus ever gave anyone was, don’t go out without the Holy Spirit.  Don’t start anything, don’t say a word, don’t pray a prayer, don’t minister to anyone, just wait, and be still, and be filled.  Jesus knew this and He walked it out Himself.  The carpenter stayed a carpenter until He was filled and then He became a preacher.  OK, you got it too?  Now you have the power.  Now go!   


My goal is that this story, testimony and understanding may have cleaned some corroded cables, let’s let that power out now!  For some of us, it is just a faith issue. If God said you have the power, then that settles it, just believe it.  Those of us who long for revival must not forget the author and symphony conductor of revival, the Holy Spirit.  Let’s hit this world with a full spread of Holy Ghost power torpedoes, made up of love and delivered with faith!


Our prayer: Holy Spirit, each one of us knows you are in us and one with us, and we have your power, thank you now for that power, in Jesus’ name.  Amen!


Greg Nichols