When I was sixteen years old, before I became a Christian, I was sitting in a chair looking out a clear storm door, watching clouds go by. They caught my eye because they were moving pretty fast. As I sat watching them go by, a small cloud stopped as soon as I saw it. All the other clouds kept moving by fast and this small cloud sat motionless in the sky. Without realizing that I had stood up, walked outside, and down the driveway, I found myself kneeling in the street at the edge of the curb listening to a departed saint who was standing on the small cloud speaking to me. He told me my purpose in life was to help people. I asked how I was to do it and he said I would find the way. As soon as he spoke these words I saw a figure walking through the sky heading to the small cloud. I immediately looked to the ground because this figure was so brilliant I couldn’t keep my eyes on it. I glanced back at the cloud and the brilliant figure had reached the cloud and the departed saint said, “This is Jesus. I have to go now.” The little cloud began moving with the other clouds and I watched as it drifted away. This was the first I had ever seen Jesus.
A lady from up the street came to see me when I went back in the house and said, “You just had a vision, didn’t you?” I honestly had never heard of a vision (I wasn’t raised in church). I told her what had happened and learned that it was a vision. Years later I was born again and soon afterwards married a girl the Lord chose for me. Her name is Sandra. Sandra means ‘helper or defender of people’. I was to help people and she was to assist me. And we have found the way.
The night I was born again Jesus took my arm and walked me down the aisle of a huge open air pavilion at an Oklahoma Church of God campground. When I knelt at the altar He knelt in front of me. Two pastors were kneeling with us, one by Jesus, the other by me. The two pastors began talking to me, but I couldn’t hear a word they said. It was as if they were light years away. I was completely engrossed in the presence of Jesus. I don’t know how long we knelt there, but it seemed to be quite a while. When I finally went back to my seat, it dawned on me that I didn’t even pray at the altar; I had just knelt motionless in front of Jesus. Without uttering a prayer, I was in a brand new place, a place I had never before experienced in my lifetime. There was a Spirit in me who had changed everything; I was literally in a new life, a new realm, that I learned later was the kingdom of God.
When I was a brand new Christian my grandmother and I had an argument. I ran outside and knelt by a bed of flowers and angrily slapped at a plant with several flowers on it. I immediately felt horrible for striking the plant and said, “I’m sorry.” The plant spoke and said, “I understand, and where there is understanding there is forgiveness.” This was the first time I had ever heard a flower or plant speak.
When I was twenty-two years old I glanced at a sixteen year old girl whom I didn’t know, and the Lord spoke and said, “This is the girl you are to marry.” We met about a year later, and we married a year after we met. We just celebrated our fiftieth wedding anniversary this past December 22, 2018.
One Sunday a lady invited several people to her house after church for some soft drinks and snacks. While there, she invited my wife and me to step into her kitchen with her. Another couple heard her invite us and followed us to the kitchen. The lady began by saying she wanted to tell me about something she had never told anyone before. She said she was the nurse on duty when I was born and that when she entered the delivery room Jesus was standing in the corner of the room. She also said He stood in the corner of the room my mom and I were placed in after my birth. He stayed there until we were released from the hospital. She told us His presence was so brilliant it was hard for her to walk into the room to check on us, which she had to do several times a day.
When I was still a young Christian an evangelist held a revival at my church. He was a very humble man. He and his wife were staying at my pastor’s house and I asked my pastor what he was like. My pastor said, “I don’t know. He never comes out of his room. He stays in his room praying.” This gentleman preached his last sermon of the revival on Sunday morning. During that sermon I saw Jesus standing to his left and about a step behind him.
When the service was over my pastor told the congregation this brother and his wife had a service that same evening in another town many miles away and they had to leave immediately. He asked the congregation to remain seated until they had left.
I was very disappointed because I wanted to at least shake this man’s hand. I was sitting on the second row up front. I watched them walk out the doorway into the foyer and then hung my head disappointed that I didn’t get to meet him. As I sat there waiting for the congregation to be released I looked to my right and this humble man of God had walked back to shake my hand and tell me something. He said, “Jesus is going to lead you down a path you wouldn’t choose for yourself. Stay true to Him.” Right then I knew Jesus has some servants who are special, and this brother was one of them. His name was Rev. Robert Morgan.
Rev. Morgan finished his course years ago but his words still comfort me to this day. I don’t have many friends. Most people sit in judgment of me. But Jesus loves me. And I will continue walking the path that I didn’t choose for myself for the simple reason that Jesus is leading me down that path, and He does so in accordance to the will of God.
I was in a prayer meeting in Houston, TX with twenty or so people several months before I started Bible College. I was sitting near the bottom of a staircase. Jesus appeared and laid His hands on my shoulders and said, “I ordain you to preach My gospel.” After He ordained me (I felt the weight of His hands) He started up the staircase and I turned back, reached out, and touched the hem of His garment. He stopped, looked back, and smiled, then proceeded up the staircase. He disappeared when He reached the top of the stairs.
While in my second semester of Bible College the Lord told me to quit school and move back to Oklahoma because my natural father needed me. I did and we headed to Oklahoma. I hadn’t been with him 15-20 minutes and he had a heart attack and died. I prayed for approximately 30-35 minutes asking God to give him another chance (he wasn’t a Christian when he died). The Lord heard my prayers and mercifully raised my father from the dead. When he came back to life he was a born again Christian.
When I was in my thirties I attended a prayer meeting held in the loft of a barn. As we were all praying silently I was filled with faith and stood up and began to speak. Before I could complete a sentence my body fell to the floor and I found myself standing next to Jesus in a place far above the earth. He stood beside me to my left; on my right Peter, James, and John stood with us. Jesus began speaking to me, and, as He spoke, Paul walked from our right to our left several feet in front of us. Paul was looking directly at me. I felt like he knew me. It was that intense. Jesus told me I had been born before my time and the knowledge I had received would be usable, but I must wait until God had completed a work in His people. He then stretched His hand toward me and said, “You are the Apostle of the Restoration. There are two other apostles in the United States.” He gave me the name of one of them. After He said this, my spirit returned to my body. My entire body ached for weeks after this experience.
When I was seventy-two years old, as I was walking through a doorway from one room to another, the Lord spoke, and said, “It is time.”
These experiences have each had an extraordinary impact on my Christian life, and still do to this day. Our Lord is good. He is kind. He cares for each one of us. To Him be all glory forever.
Jon David Banks, God’s most unworthy servant