Imagine Sitting with Jesus

Milky Way Cook Forest

Cook Forest State Park by Phil Voystock

Imagine sitting outside with Jesus one night, staring into the dark, starry sky. It’s so peaceful. A soft breeze playfully brushes your hair toward your face.

You lean back on your arms as you sit on the grass looking up. You crane your neck as far back as you can while looking from side to side to capture the view. Around you night creatures begin to stir. You hear a rustle in the bushes nearby. A twig cracks in the distance and you sit up to look around while the crickets sing their evening song.

The smell of moisture hangs in the night air. It’s not cold – the temperature is perfect for an evening like this. ❤

You drink in the stillness of just being at this place and time with Him whom your soul loves. You close your eyes and gently lean toward Jesus until your head rests on His shoulder. He inclines His head until it rests on yours while putting his arm around you. No words are needed – just being together is simply enough.

Take some time to rest in Him now as you imagine yourself in this scene. Let your heart soak in His presence for a few minutes. He is here with you right now. 🙂

Jesus under the stars looking up

Worlds Without End by Greg Olsen

Overcoming Fear

One of the major blockages to learning how to use the gift of discernment is FEAR. We are raised to be afraid of what we don’t understand and especially what we can’t see or perceive with our natural senses. Through movies, television, books and other media, we are taught that these things are “creepy”.

I’m sure that’s part of the enemy’s marketing scheme – to make us think that the unseen realm is scary, unpredictable and generally dangerous. I’ve seen a lot of people with beautiful gifts in discernment “shut down” because religious leaders in their lives made them feel ashamed or inferior for knowing about the unseen realm. Anything they couldn’t easily explain or describe was considered some form of evil or witchcraft or “forbidden”. I am so sorry if this has ever happened to you.

So you might feel a little cautious about exploring this realm or the idea of experiencing the unseen realm. You might be

  • afraid of what you might see
  • afraid of what you might feel
  • afraid of what you might hear
  • afraid of being labeled a “witch”
  • afraid of the dark and what might jump out and “get you”
  • afraid of the unknown
  • afraid of the unseen realm
  • afraid of what you don’t understand
  • afraid of your own gifts and what opening that door might mean in the future
  • afraid of (insert your fear here)

I know I was VERY afraid of the unseen realm. It really hampered the development of my confidence in using my gifts. It took a LONG time before I realized fear didn’t have to be associated with the gift of discernment.

fear-is-a-liar

As part of learning how to overcome my fears,  I discovered this little exercise that really helped me. I did the Fear Finder exercise over and over – each time using a different fear (because I had many fears). I did this over a period of a year or so (as fears came up). Little by little my fears disappeared and I can honestly say that now, I’m not afraid of the unseen realm. I am confident and secure. Do I still occasionally get creeped out? Sure, but then I realize that it’s just a scare tactic and I snap out of it. I know what to do when I encounter fear and I know how to get rid of it easily. Maybe I’ll share that strategy in a future post. 🙂

Step: Fear Finder

Go to a place where you will not be interrupted. Take a few deep breaths, letting them out slowly to help you relax and to quiet your mind.

Say these statements/questions out loud and then wait for an answer. An answer may come as a feeling, a thought, a picture in your mind, a word, a memory or just an inner knowing. You can do this alone or with a friend. If no answer comes to the first question, this may not be the right time for this step. Take a break and try again later.

Focus on a specific fear you have and ask out loud,

“Spirit of Truth, where did this fear come from?”  (pause and wait for an answer)

“Who taught me this fear?”  (pause and wait for an answer)

“I forgive _(name)_ for teaching me this fear. I release them from the harm they caused me. I no longer choose to partner with this fear. I let it go.”

Take deep cleansing breaths, release the negative emotions and let them go.

“Spirit of Truth, what can I have in exchange?” (pause and wait for an answer)

“I receive _______ in exchange for my fear of _____.”

(pause and open your heart to receive)

(Excerpt from Freedom through Forgiveness: The Power of Forgiveness Can Change Your Life)

Try it out! I was amazed how many fears this removed from my mind and my heart – instantly! It wasn’t hard at all. Sometimes I got mad when I realized how I got the fear in the first place and I had to work through that in order to forgive and let it go. The book talks about dealing with forgiveness and how to do it when you don’t really want to forgive. But it’s totally worth it because now I’m FREE! I’m no longer afraid like I used to be. 🙂

After you do the exercise, would you mind coming back here and sharing your experience? I often hear stories of how this little exercise has helped people (I share it whenever anyone mentions fear and sometimes I do the process with friends I’m with). It really works!

 

Return + Rest = Confident Peace

The Lord keeps bringing this scripture to mind for me to think about. I thought you might enjoy thinking about it too.

For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel:
“In returning and rest you shall be saved;
In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.”
But you would not. Isaiah 30:15

It really does “save” me (rescue me from stress and anxiety), whenever I remember to return and rest in Him. Rest that He has a plan that I cannot improve upon, that I don’t have to figure out, that I can trust Him to guide me and take care of everything that concerns me.

It really does give me strength to quiet my mind as I rest in Him. Trusting Him gives me confidence. When I’m worried about something, I tend to talk about it. When I’m trusting Him, I notice that both my mind and my mouth are quieter. That gives me peace and strength (conserves my emotional energy).

“But you would not.” – that tells me it doesn’t just magically happen. This is a choice I make. My will opens the doorway to this benefit of rest, confidence, peace and salvation from stress and worry.

Rest in God

This reminds me of quote I love:

“I dream of a people who know that their times are in the hands of their Lord.
They rest with confidence and full assurance knowing that He has laid a plan that they cannot improve upon and that He is directing their future.
So they rest in Him,
waiting for the sound of His voice
and doing with all their heart . . .
whatever is before them to do.”
– Don Nori, Love Shack

 

It’s important to know the sound of His voice – knowing when God is directing you. Do you know God’s voice? If not, there’s several posts on this site that can help you with that:

How to Pray & Hear from God
Hearing God – How Do You Know It’s REALLY God?
God’s Voice vs Other Voices: How Can You Tell the Difference?
God Speaks through Dreams

Let me know if you get any insight from this scripture. This was mine today. 🙂

Deep Healing So You Can Rest

Many times we experience spiritual attacks because of wounds we have inside (emotional or spiritual). We are often unconscious that we have these wounds. We tend to move on with life without dealing with them, usually because we simply don’t know how. These wounds often bring curses or “open doors” to the realm of darkness.

A friend sent me this wonderful video that helps to deal with those hidden wounds. Jim Banks talks for a few minutes and then he does a “prayer process”, as he calls it. He covers several things in his prayer and you will be surprised by how many seem to impact you directly. Many people say listening to this helped them sleep better than they have in years!

He also does some specific things during this prayer that can help with spiritual attacks – he breaks curses and disconnects you from things that may be harassing or influencing you. He helps your body release anxiety and stress that you may not know you are carrying.

I recommend listening to it at a time that you can pay attention without distraction, just before bedtime. The video is a just under an hour. Listening to the prayer makes you very relaxed and sleepy (hence the suggestion to listen before bed).

Once you’ve listened to the whole thing, you can go back the next day and listen to just the prayer process. I’ve listened to it several times and I always get something new. He says on his blog that some people make it part of their “getting ready for bed” ritual, to help them relax and sleep peacefully. 🙂

The video is on YouTube – it’s called Effective Trauma Release — [deeper healing in the spirit]. Here it is:

 

There’s a copy of this “prayer process” in his book, The Effects of Trauma and How to Deal with It.

If you want more in-depth help, Jim and his wife offer individual prayer counseling sessions by phone, skype or Facebook messenger video call. They also offer 1-3 days intensives if you want to meet with them in person. They are currently located near Nashville, Tennessee. Here’s the details of how to make an appointment: https://www.houseofhealingministries.org/personal-ministry.html.

After you listen to the video, please come back to this blog and let me know how it helped you. Your testimony may encourage someone else!

God Loves You As You Are

There is an AWESOME video of Graham Cooke sharing a word from God’s heart about His Love for you. It will deeply touch your heart, if you let it. Listen to it over and over until it really sinks in. I’ve written some of the words he says (but not all), but there’s nothing like listening to them so they get down into your soul. ❤

The Lord says that there is nothing that you can do that would make Him love you more,

there is also nothing you can do that will make Him love you less.

He loves you

because He loves you,

because He loves you,

because He loves you,

because He loves you,

because He loves you,

because He loves you,

because He loves you,

because that is what He is like.

It is His nature to love and you will always be the beloved.

What will change, says the Lord, is your ability to receive My Love.

I challenge you to open your heart to Me,

and you will receive

more of My Love than you have ever experienced before.

I dare you – give Me your heart, give Me whatever your obstacle is.

I love you as you are.

You are the beloved.

It is your job, says the Lord, to be loved outrageously.

I AM He that loves you outrageously!

My love comes to set you free from rejection, and from shame,

and from low self esteem, and from despair, and from abuse.

My love will fight fear. It will fight fear in you,

it will fight fear around you.

Beloved, you are My beloved.

So be loved!

Unexpected KEY to Intimacy with God

I’ve been seeking the Lord for over 35 years. I’ve been in thousands of church meetings and Bible studies – I can’t recall a single time this was ever mentioned as a key to being close to God.

I was amazed when I discovered it. I wish I’d known this sooner. I could have enjoyed the Lord’s love and presence so much more over the years.

It all started one day when the Holy Spirit whispered into my heart, “You can be as free as you want to be.” I was shocked. I had been carrying a lot of emotional baggage all my life – fear, insecurity, low self-esteem, etc. I’d tried all kinds of methods to get free, but it seemed like such a slow, hard process. I was so discouraged – then I heard His whisper.

It gave me such HOPE!

I desperately wanted to be at peace, to be confident and to be a woman of faith that trusted God. I did not want to be this insecure girl full of fear who was always wondering what was wrong with me. Can you relate? (Maybe a little?)

So I started pursuing emotional healing with all my heart AND I finally found a method that worked for me. I was amazed how fast I was getting free of lifelong fears and insecurities. It was like going through an extreme makeover emotionally. I could hardly believe how much I was changing into the woman I wanted to be.

The key was: The more healed I was inside, the more open and trusting I was able to be with God.

As I was healed from emotional pain from my past, it opened me up to trust God deeply in ways I had struggled to trust Him before. I discovered so many lies I believed subconsciously about myself, about God and about how life works. As the lies came to light, one by one, I was able to let them go and receive the truth.

It was so incredibly liberating – I had no idea what a shift it would make in my perspective. I got healed of things I didn’t even know were broken! Words feel so inadequate in trying to explain to you how BIG this was – emotional healing not only set ME free, it opened up a whole new WORLD in my relationship with God!!

Would you like to know what method worked for me? I tried so many different things, but very few seemed to have lasting effects. I finally found a very simple method and wrote it down. When I shared it with friends, they also had big breakthroughs in their own healing. I started carrying around photocopies of my notes because every time someone was helped, they asked for a copy so they could share it with someone else.

I finally put them in a little book. It’s not very long – the main point is to DO the method, not just read about it. I purposely made it short so people could just jump right in and start getting healed.

Thanks for listening to my story. I have so much peace now. I feel utterly secure – confident in who God made me to be. I wish I had words to describe how much better my life is now – it’s blessing upon blessing with no fear of the future. Yes, I still have a rough day once in awhile, but NOTHING compared to what it was like before.

If you are interested in the book, here’s the link.

Can you relate to my story at all? If so, I’d love to hear from you.

P.S. I’d love to support you in your journey to a more intimate relationship with God. I offer books, an online course and one-on-one mentoring. Let me know how I can help you today ❤

Get Your Fire Back!

What do you do when you know you should have a desire to seek the Lord, but you just don’t have it?

I recall when I first “fell in love” with Jesus. It was so powerful! I couldn’t believe how good I felt and how much I could feel His love for me. It was like falling in love, except it wasn’t with a natural man – it was with Jesus!

I remember trying to explain this to my friends – they didn’t get it. But Jesus was SO REAL to me and I KNEW for the first time in my life, really knew I was loved by Him.

But then the drudgery of daily life took over.

I wanted to keep my passion and fire for Jesus, but it was disappearing and I didn’t know what to do. I was also afraid to tell anyone because they might judge me.

Have you ever felt that way? LIke you wanted to be close to God but the desire to seek Him just was not there?

I have great news! I figured out what to do and it has worked for me many, many times since then. And it’s super easy!

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Matthew 6:33

How to Get Your Fire for God back

First, just admit it. Sometimes it’s hard to recognize that you are losing your fire – it happens very slowly and quietly. If you are not around other people who are passionate about Jesus, it can be even harder to recognize – there’s no one to stir you up! But eventually you will realize it. It’s important to admit it – that’s the first step. Admit it to yourself – “I don’t feel like seeking God. My heart is cold.” This is humbling – it kills your pride.

Then, tell Jesus that you feel cold toward Him. I know you probably don’t want to, but this is important. Acknowledge that you WISH you had a desire to seek Him and His ways, but you just don’t. Ask Him to forgive you for the lack of desire to seek Him.

Lastly, ask Jesus to give you a desire to seek Him. I know that doesn’t make sense, but honestly – where do you think you got the desire to seek God in the first place? From Him! We are dependent on Him even for the desire to seek Him.

No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him.” John 6:44

You may not have an “instant” experience of suddenly being passionate about God again. What I’ve noticed when I’ve prayed this prayer is that it takes about 24-48 hours to take effect. I often forget about the prayer and then a couple of days later I notice I suddenly have a desire to seek the Lord. It happens spontaneously, at least for me.

So – try it! I encourage you to choose to seek the Lord. He is worthy and you won’t regret it. Life with Him is AWESOME!

Here’s an example of a prayer you can pray:

Jesus, I’m sorry. I have no desire to seek You right now. I don’t know why. I feel cold in my heart and I want to be different inside. Please restore the desire to seek You in my heart. Thank you. Amen.

Let me know in the comments below what happened after you prayed that prayer. I love to hear how God changes lives. He’s changed mine over and over again. He’ll do it for you too!

Intimate Relationship with God – Free book!

BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!!

I wrote an ebook to help you develop an intimate relationship with God. It’s free! You can download it by clicking on the link below. I hope it helps you get closer to God. That’s my heart for each one of you who finds this blog – that you might KNOW HIM. ❤

Intimate Relationship with God ebook

Free Ebook: Intimate Relationship with God by Sandy Walker

Download

This short ebook will help you draw closer to God, to know Him more intimately than you ever thought possible. In this book I share what I’ve learned from walking with Him for over 35 years – things like how to pray and hear from God, how to cultivate an intimate friendship with Him, how to experience God’s presence in your daily life as well as how to receive the Love of God in a tangible way. I also include simple, practical exercises that will help you to be more aware of God’s presence, His direction and Love throughout the day. If you’re looking for a deeper walk with God, I encourage you to check out this little book – it’s free! 🙂

When I was younger it was so hard to find anyone who knew God like I wanted to know Him – so I wrote this little ebook as a candle to light their way. 🙂

Feel free to share it with your friends and family. ❤

Presence Based Worship Songs

There are some songs that just seem to draw us closer to the Lord, aren’t there? We all have our favorite songs we like to sing to God. But it seems like some songs just open up heaven and His presence fills the room.

I love the songs that talk about His presence. It reminds us that He is literally right here, right now, with us. It makes us more aware of His presence. Songs about the Holy Spirit also seem to have that effect.

Here are some presence based worship songs that I never want to forget. So I’m saving them right here.

YouTube Link to this song

 


YouTube Link to this song

 

 

YouTube Link to this song

 

 

YouTube Link for this song

 

What’s your favorite presence based worship song? Feel free to share the link in the comments or post the name of the song and the person who sings it (if you know who it is).

Looking for more? This article appears in a free ebook called Intimate Relationship with God – you can download it here. 🙂

How to Host a God Gathering

People seeking God

It has been on my heart recently to host a “God Gathering” – a place where people can gather to seek the Lord. In the old days, people referred to this as “tarrying in the presence of the Lord”. It’s not exactly a prayer meeting – I’m not sure what to call it so I call it a “God Gathering”. 🙂

I have hosted many of these over the years and it occurred to me last night that there may be someone who doesn’t know how to do this so here’s how I do it – in case it might inspire someone else to host a God Gathering of their own!

  1. Make sure you are hosting the God Gathering for the right reasons. The Holy Spirit is usually the one who initiates the invitation by putting it on my heart to host one. You do not want to do this just because you feel like it – it won’t work. I had a friend call me one time and ask me to host one for her. I had a feeling she was motivated by emotion more than by the Spirit because she seemed upset and hosting the meeting was a reaction to her emotional turmoil. She contacted a bunch of people and twelve of them said they would come. I prepared for it, but I had this sense that this was an empty endeavor. Sure enough, the day for the meeting arrived and she was the only one who showed up. We sat together, quietly talking. When it became obvious that no one else was coming (not even other spiritual leaders, pastors, etc. that had promised to come), I told her I had a sense that it just wasn’t the right time. She agreed and went home. This was a clear object lesson for me – don’t be tempted to do this on your own. Wait for His timing.
  2. Prepare the environment. I usually do this by cleaning the room where we will be meeting and playing some soaking music softly in the background. I often do this a few days before and just let the music keep playing. My brother used to tell me he could tell the angels liked it when he left the soaking music on. I’m not aware of that but it does help your mind to focus on the Lord every time you hear the music. Some suggestions for soaking music are here.
  3. Send out an invitation and make sure people are clear on why you are hosting this meeting. You want to make sure that the people who are coming are sincerely wanting to connect with the Lord. This is not just a social gathering. If parents ask, I don’t usually include young children because it’s hard for them to sit still (though I have seen some children who really like these kinds of meetings, but it is rare). You want an environment with no distractions.
  4. Prepare the spiritual environment. Once the people have gathered and greeted each other, I turn down the lighting to signal that it’s time to begin. Then I pray some specific prayers to prepare the spiritual environment and our hearts for an encounter with Jesus.
    1. Pray over the room, asking the Lord to wash it and commanding everything else to leave. For example, “Lord, thank You for meeting with us. We are here for You. Would You please wash off this room and remove anything that does not belong here? No spirits of the enemy are allowed to stay here – leave now, in Jesus’ name.”
    2. Pray over the people, asking the Lord to wash us off and remove any distractions from hindering our time with Him. For example, “Lord, I ask that You wash us off from all that we’ve picked up today. Would You please draw us close to You? Open our hearts and minds to hear from You. Please remove any distracting influences during our time together.”
  5. Invite the Holy Spirit to come. Yes, the Lord is already there, but there’s something about this step that prepares YOU to hear from Him. For example, “Holy Spirit, we invite You to come. You are welcome in this place. Please increase our awareness of Your presence.” There’s a difference between the omnipresence of God and the tangible manifest presence of God. We are seeking His manifest presence.
  6. Invite Wisdom and Revelation. For example, “Wisdom and Revelation, come. We welcome you. We invite you to speak to us and show us God’s glory and goodness.” I don’t know how this works, but I know that when I do this it shifts the atmosphere. Some say these are specific angels that are released to minister – others say these are aspects of the Spirit of the Lord. Either way, you are welcoming them to reveal the Lord’s goodness and glory. I don’t have to understand it for it to work (like electricity, right?). Childlike faith is simple and powerful.
  7. Wait expectantly. At this point, I often turn the music up just a little bit so we can hear it and drown out any other sounds. It helps us to focus without distraction. Often the presence of the Lord has been building with each prayer of invitation spoken so now we just enjoy Him. I often find a smile bursting on my face because He’s HERE in such a tangible way – I am so happy to be with Him. Sometimes I whisper my love and worship to Him – trying not to distract anyone, but at the same time honoring who He is to me. Others may also whisper their love and worship. 🙂 Some people sit, some lay down on the floor, some kneel – each one is free to do whatever feels comfortable for them. (I have tile floors so when I host these, I often put big cushions on the floor and some fluffy throw rugs for people to lay on, if they want to.) Sometimes people pace at the end of the room – that’s okay too. It’s important for each person to be free to be themselves. I also make sure there is paper and pens on the coffee tables in case anyone needs to write what the Lord is saying to them, especially if they wish to give it to someone else.
  8. Receive from His presence. Just being together in God’s presence is incredibly refreshing and healing. We often just sit quietly and soak up His presence. No one is moving or talking – just being together. Letting God be God.
  9. Ask people to share. After a time of waiting on God, I will often feel prompted to lower the music a little bit and then I ask, “Would anyone like to share what the Lord is showing them?” One by one people share what the Lord shared with them – it could be a Scripture verse, a new insight into His goodness and care, a word, a song or a vision. Scripture says, “When you gather for worship, each one of you be prepared with something that will be useful for all: Sing a hymn, teach a lesson, tell a story, lead a prayer, provide an insight. Take your turn, no one person taking over. Then each speaker gets a chance to say something special from God, and you all learn from each other.” I Corinthians 14 The Message.
  10. Respond to each thing that is shared. This is really important and some people miss this. Pay attention to what the Lord is saying through each person who shares. Acknowledge what has been shared (thank the person) and then ask the Lord if there’s anything that needs to be done. I am often doing this internally while the person shares, asking the Lord to direct us. Sometimes it is obvious – perhaps something the person shares relates to a current event that needs to be prayed for. Ask that person to lead in prayer, others can join in after they pray. Usually the person who gets the insight or revelation has the authority to pray it out. If someone gets a word of knowledge or word of wisdom for an individual in the meeting, they should offer to minister to that person. Maybe they need prayer – but don’t force it. Ask them first. Sometimes it is not obvious right away what the Lord is saying but after 2-3 people share, you might see a theme emerging that guides you. Ask the Holy Spirit – in fact, I often just stop everything and say out loud, “Holy Spirit, what do You want us to do with this?” and we all just wait. If you don’t hear or sense anything, then just move to the next person who wants to share.
  11. Pray for each other. After everyone has had a chance to share what the Lord showed them, ask if anyone needs prayer. If there are many needs and time is running out, break up into pairs or groups of three and pray for each other. This is so important – we have no idea how much the people around us are in need until we ask. Asking for prayer requests tends to open people up like nothing else does – this is often the most precious part of these gatherings as people feel safe enough to be vulnerable and transparent about their pain and struggles. This is the body of Christ loving on one another – first we love God and receive His love, then we love one another. ❤
  12. Close in prayer. You’d think you could skip this step since so much prayer has been going on all night, right? But there’s something about “closing” that feels right. For example, “Lord, thank You so much for meeting with us tonight. We enjoy Your presence so much! Thank You for all You did tonight. We ask that You seal these prayers and all that happened here. We love You.”

I have not encountered too many church meetings that follow this format. But every time I follow it, the Lord comes powerfully and everyone leaves very happy, refreshed and blessed.

I wonder if you could do this virtually. Could you have an online God Gathering using video chat? What do you think? Would it work?

Is there anything you do that helps you and your friends connect with God? Please feel free to share it. I love new ideas!