Category Archives: Inspirational

Is Jesus really there?

“I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.” John 14:18

This Scripture keeps coming to my mind this morning. Jesus said this in the context of the Holy Spirit coming as our helper. He seems to imply that the coming of the Holy Spirit is the same as Him coming. And He says He won’t leave them as “orphans” – as though He is their father.

I have noticed the number one thing that holds us back from experiencing the “abundant life” that Jesus promised is the “orphan mindset” – aka victim mentality. We all struggle with times of feeling alone, abandoned, unloved, uncared for, etc – we feel like we are on our own in the cold, cruel world.

But Jesus said, ” I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.” The main question is – Do we believe this? When we choose to believe He is always with us, something special happens – we start noticing Him around us. It opens our eyes to see His goodness and provision. However if we don’t believe this, we become blind to it and it increases our feelings of abandonment.

I think this is part of “awakening” to your identity as a son/daughter of God – believing the Lord’s love and goodness toward us that He never leaves us. “As a woman thinks in her heart, so is she.” Proverbs 23:7 (KWV)

What do you think?

I am a Child of God. I know it. I live it. I love it!

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The Love of God – New Access Point

We all long for Love – it is a basic human need. It is essential to our survival – both mentally and emotionally.

Yet it can feel very elusive – you think you found love and then it disappears. We desperately need a consistent, reliable source of Love in order to be happy and healthy.

For years, I searched for this Love. It was fleeting – I’d experience it here and there, but I never knew how to access Love when I needed it.

But then I read a book that totally changed my perspective. That book directed me how to find the Love I was looking for! And I found it! It totally changed my experience of life. Now I can access a reliable, constant source of Love ANYTIME I need it.

Can you say that?

I want to share with you the Truth that set me free from the search for Love. It has really changed me inside. I am so much more secure and happy. I no longer feel like I’m always looking for Love – because I already have access to it 24/7.

The book I read was Experiencing Father’s Embrace by Jack Frost. One line in the book changed me. He said, “You have already received all of the love of God that you will ever receive.” When you open your heart to Christ and invite His Spirit to come into you, He brings all of God’s Love. You have it – right there inside of you!

So instead of searching outside of myself for this Love, I discovered it was hidden in plain sight – inside my spirit! Then I had to figure out how to access it. I asked the Holy Spirit to show me how to tap into this Love. I think it’s very individual – I can’t really explain how to do it other than to say, ask Him and He will show you – it’s inside of you, inside of God’s Spirit in your inner being.

I also realized that anytime I feel completely alone, unloved, unwanted, rejected, abandoned, etc. – that is a LIE. I am being deceived in my mind. Because if God’s Spirit is inside of me, then I am NEVER alone, unloved, unwanted, rejected, abandoned – NEVER. In fact, one day He showed me that since we are one with Him, it’s actually impossible to be alone. He never leaves us.

The challenge was learning how to disbelieve the lies that felt so true – that were making me feel bad. I had to learn how to believe what God said and learn how to access the Love of God inside of me so that I could feel it. I know people say, “Don’t go by your feelings.” but in reality, we are emotional creatures for a reason. God has feelings and so do we. They are meant to help us.

I am created for Love – God made me that way. He made you that way too. And you can FEEL His Love every single day. I promise. Ask Him to show you how. It really is possible – even for YOU.

Now I can “soak” or “drink” up His Love in my heart, mind, soul, spirit and body anytime I want to – when I’m having a bad day, or I’m stressed or whatever. I’ve noticed since I started doing this that I no longer fear being rejected by other people. I realized that if someone rejects me (or doesn’t like me), it’s THEIR issue, not mine. I am already LOVED and valued and appreciated by the One that matters most in my life. We are commanded to Love each other and if they don’t love me, that’s their problem to deal with. I can just be ME!

I hope this inspires and encourages you. You are not alone. You are Loved. You can receive His love today – just ask Him to come and fill your heart with His love until you feel it. Open your heart and let it come in.

Have you experienced this yourself? If so, please comment below. How do you do it?

 

Spirit Guides – Andrea’s Transformation

When I first met Andrea*, my spirit jumped and I was excited to help her. I couldn’t explain it by anything I could see with my eyes, but my spirit “knew” she was ready for a great breakthrough. During our first session together, she mentioned that she had spirit guides and that she received messages from them. I listened compassionately, then gently said to her, “I want to warn you. It can be very dangerous to communicate with spirit guides. I have heard some really terrible stories of people who were harmed by them. They seem to be friendly and helpful at first, but later they become pushy, wanting more and more control, especially if you’ve invited them in.”

Spirit Guides - Do we need them?

Spirit Guides - helpful or harmful?

She looked a little alarmed and said, “Well, I’ve never invited them in.” I simply nodded. I didn’t say more because I knew it wasn’t time yet. I asked about her spiritual background. She told me she had been raised in a Christian family that was very strict about church attendance. She didn’t like the way she was taught to fear God with a sense of judgment and condemnation. When she left home, she decided to leave the church and explore other forms of spirituality. This led her to the New Age belief system and developing a connection with her spirit guides.

Fear of Supernatural Evil

As we worked together over several months, she often had experiences related to fear and anxiety, especially fear of supernatural evil. I told her that my primary protection against fear of supernatural evil was to connect with God. I explained that my concept of God was not fearful and condemning, but rather loving and just. I told her God was someone I could trust to take care of me and was much more powerful than any form of evil. I could tell she was interested, but still cautious.

We worked through many of her fears and other issues using the exercises in this book. Little by little I saw a transformation in her. Her anxiety reduced, she started to love and accept who she was and had less stress. I encouraged her to open her heart to God and ask for His help. I encouraged her that He loved her and cared about everything that concerned her. She was still hesitant, but open to the idea.

A few weeks later, I saw a HUGE change in her. She told me, “I don’t know why I waited so long to do this. This week I opened my heart to God completely. I feel so much peace and I don’t feel alone anymore!” She was beaming as she spoke. I was thrilled.

Know God Know Peace

From that point on, her path became clearer and clearer. Every time we met, she had stories of how God was helping her deal with one thing after another. Her peace and confidence were increasing. I suggested that she read Victory Over the Darkness by Neil Anderson. She did and then she read the book that the author recommends after that one called, Steps to Freedom in Christ. This book includes very specific prayers to pray to be released from spiritual darkness. She prayed through every single one! By now the taste of freedom she had experienced made her long for more. She was eager for every drop she could get!

She realized that she needed to ask Jesus to forgive her for rejecting her Christian faith. She decided that she could disagree with the way she was taught, but still trust Him to guide her. She opened her heart to Jesus and began a relationship with Him. The next time we met, she told me she had experienced so many breakthroughs!

The supernatural realm was no longer as scary as it used to be

Here are some of them:

– the supernatural realm was no longer as scary as it used to be
– she stopped hearing from her spirit guides as much and their thoughts were less intrusive when she did hear them
– she felt validated for her spiritual discernment, that she’s “normal” and not weird
– her fear and anxiety substantially reduced in all areas of life
– she noticed her discernment was much more clear, instead of just feeling “something”, she had specific insight into what she was sensing
– her daughter was no longer scared at night (as she had been for years)
– she felt less needy and felt instead that she had something to offer others
– she found herself acting less self-centered
– people started spontaneously coming up to her and telling her their problems; she felt she was able to help them simply by listening with compassion
– her husband started showing an interest in spiritual things and wanted to go to church with her
– her relationship with her husband improved as she showed him respect
– she was sleeping better and had much fewer nightmares
– she had a strong sense of well-being and experienced so much peace that it was literally a physical sensation

Wow! So much change! It’s amazing what having a healthy, loving connection with God can do! Andrea’s life was changed completely. From then on, every time we met she had such peace. I remember when I first met her and how much anxiety she had. She is a completely different woman now! Even her children have thanked her for being their “rock” during a difficult time in their family.

It is such a pleasure to witness the spiritual transformation of another human being. I love to partner with God to help His children reconnect with His love.

A note for those who have spirit guides: One of the things Andrea discovered was that she didn’t need a different source of supernatural information other than God. As she drew closer to God and opened her heart to Him, she no longer needed her spirit guides. God provided direction, support and comfort to her – the things she used to get from her spirit guides. She noticed that sometimes her spirit guides said things to her that were disturbing or caused her a LOT of fear. This was not true with God – the things she heard from Him were always encouraging and reduced her fear or anxiety.

Do you have any examples of how your life changed as a result of developing a relationship with God or Jesus? Please feel free to share in the comments below.

*name changed to protect individual’s privacy

Soaking in God’s Presence

Rating: Educational, inspirational, pleasant

Lately it seems that the topic of Spiritual Soaking has been coming up a lot. Do you know what that is?

During the movement called the Toronto Blessing (back in the 1990’s), the Lord showed John and Carol Arnott that they needed to learn how to simple sit in God’s presence and “soak”. Imagine taking a warm bath – you fill the tub with warm water, add some essential oils or bubble bath to make it smell nice and then you slowly get in. You don’t jump in, immerse yourself in the water and then jump out. The point of taking a bath is to relax, soak in the warm water, let your muscles rest and your soul unwind. You breathe in the scent of the fragrant oils and just BE. There’s no rushing – the point is to soak until you feel relaxed and at peace.

warm bath

The Lord taught many people how to soak and it changed their lives. The movement started in Toronto and it spread around the world.

Here’s how I do it – I often do this alone, but I have also invited people over to my house for “soaking sessions”.

First I prepare the environment where I will be soaking. I pick a quiet room in the house. I remove all distractions (i.e. turn off cell phones, televisions, etc. and notify family that I don’t want to be disturbed for a while). I close the blinds or turn down the lights so that there are no bright lights in my eyes. I put on something comfortable – sweats and a t-shirt or shorts.

Next I choose some “soaking music”. There are many musicians that specialize in soaking music. Some of my favorite are

Julie True – Spirit to Spirit is my favorite right now

Alberto and Kimberly Rivera – they have many soaking albums, most are “live” albums

Laura Rhinehart – her music is “deep” water

Happy relaxed woman resting on a couch at home with arms in the head

Then I sit in a comfortable chair or lay down. I close my eyes and let myself relax. It usually takes a while to get my mind to settle down. I take several deep breaths slowly and try to quiet my thoughts. Then I just let myself BE. I just sit there. I don’t specifically pray or worship. I am just waiting in the presence of God – I open my heart to Him. Often I will begin to feel the presence of God around me. The soaking music is uniquely crafted to help you “tune in” to God. I focus on God’s Presence. Just like being with another person – I focus on HIM and not me. 🙂 I often ask Him to increase my awareness of His presence and He does.

It is very relaxing and it restores my soul when I soak. I highly recommend it.

It’s okay if you fall asleep – it’s the intention that matters. 🙂

Spiritual Exercise

Rating: Educational, inspirational

Recently one of my clients told me he wanted to draw closer to God, but didn’t know how. Faith was new to him. He was raised in a home where no one went to church or prayed or anything so he didn’t really know where to start. He asked me for some direction. Here are some thoughts I shared with him.

Developing a spiritual practice that helps you draw closer to God is really important. But you want to make sure it doesn’t become an empty ritual. It needs to be authentic and based on your desire for God. I discovered early on in my spiritual journey that there is one prayer that God answers every time – asking Him to give you the desire to seek Him. When I first started out, I was excited to talk to God. It was new and different. But then over time, I felt my spiritual fervor waning. At first, I was kind of embarrassed. How do you get the desire for God back?

desire-God prayer

The answer I discovered is this: Admit you lack the desire and ask Him to give it to you. It seems counter-intuitive, but it works. When I ask God to give me the desire to spend time with Him, usually within a day or two it comes. It is not immediate, but it always comes. I’ve done this many times over the years.

So – that’s the first “exercise” I shared with him – ask God for desire. Because without the desire, any spiritual exercise can become an empty ritual.

Then I wrote up a “spiritual exercise” for him. I reached back into my past and tried to remember the first things I was taught that helped me become more closely connected with God. At first, I did these every day as a discipline – whether I felt like it or not. I wanted to teach myself to have a spiritual practice. Then after awhile they became second nature to me. I do them now without even realizing it – they have become part of who I am.

girl praying

These are in a certain order – do them this way for 30 days. After the practice becomes familiar, you can improvise. 🙂

Spiritual Exercise:

1. Acknowledge God – Honor who God is and that you need Him, humble yourself.
2. Confess your self-centered ways – Admit to God and yourself the thoughts and decisions you’ve made in the last 24 hours that were self-centered and apart from Him.
3. Ask the Spirit of God to lead you – Ask Him to show you His ways and the right decisions to make.
4. Open the Bible – Ask for inspiration and then read a passage from the Bible.
5. Turn something from what you read into a prayer – Make it personal to your life.
6. Give thanks – Tell God what you are thankful for.
7. Ask for what you need and finish by thanking God in advance for providing what is needed. He loves it when you thank Him ahead of time because it demonstrates your confidence that He is good and trustworthy. (It also gives you hope.)
8. Sing a song to Him – Learn some worship songs or make up one of your own. Rejoice in the goodness of God and His care for you.

boy-worshipping

This is not a rigid ritual, but more of a practice to teach your heart to turn to the Lord and depend on Him. You will be so glad that you did!

You are dearly loved by God and He is looking forward to talking to you and spending time with you. Did you know that?

So, how about you? Do you have a spiritual practice that you do on a regular basis that helps you to connect with the Lord? Please share it with us!

War Room – Great idea!

Rating: Inspirational, Educational

War Room was the #1 movie in America last week. It is about the power of prayer and how it directly, significantly changes the lives of those who are prayed for as well as the one who is praying! I loved the movie and have seen it twice. It is very inspirational! I encourage you to see it. Here’s the trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mIl-XY9t_Lw

In War Room, an older Christian woman, Clara, explains to a young wife and mother, Elizabeth, that instead of fighting with her husband, she should do her fighting on her knees in prayer. She explains that we are all in a battle and that we need a War Room – a place we can get alone with God and connect with Him as well as plan strategies against the forces of darkness. Clara shows Elizabeth her War Room – a small walk in closet with prayers and scriptures posted on the walls. The movie shows Clara in her War Room, praying for Elizabeth and others.

Many people have become inspired to create their own War Room. I saw one video of a man with 5 children who said they didn’t have any space in their house. However, after the entire family saw the movie, the kids (who were older) decided to turn their old playhouse into the family War Room. They put Christmas lights up and added floor cushions so that they could sit in there and pray. He showed how the children had written out their prayer requests and taped them up in the playhouse. This father was grinning from ear to ear, so proud of his children and their desire to pray. Oh, may we all be so passionate and childlike in our trust in Father God! ♥

Do you have a special place where you pray each day? If so, please feel free to leave a comment and tell us about it. I have heard that if you pray in the same place every day, that place starts to change. It becomes “charged” with a spiritual atmosphere that others can feel. They showed that in the movie too. 🙂

By the way, if you need some inspiration and/or training in prayer, there’s a special book released as part of this movie. It’s called The Battle Plan for Prayer. It looks good! There are more resources on their site: http://warroommovieresources.com/

Update: You can now watch the movie for $6 on Amazon here: http://amzn.to/1TFGseu

Breathing with God exercise

I was describing to a friend recently the experience of the presence of God. It is hard to describe in words of the natural realm. “Many people want to experience God’s presence,” she said, “but they don’t know how. You should share this.”

As I pondered how to teach someone the very first step toward becoming aware of the presence of God, this exercise came to me. I hope it helps you take your first step toward a deeper relationship with God.

Breathing with God

Close your eyes and take a deep breath slowly. Imagine the Spirit of God filling you as you breathe in. Hold your breath and count to five mentally. Let the breath out as you say, “Thank you, Jesus.”

Set a timer on your cell phone for one minute. Do the breathing exercise. You can use different phrases like, “I love you, Jesus” or “You’re wonderful, Jesus” if you want to add variety.

Notice how you feel after doing this exercise. I feel relaxed, at peace and I have mental clarity.

Start by doing this exercise once a day.

Once it feels comfortable doing this for one minute every day, set the timer for three minutes.

You’ll notice an even greater peace and clarity of mind. You may begin to become aware of God’s presence.

Don’t start with three minutes if you have never done this before. Start with one minute. I know some of you want to skip ahead, but trust me on this. Take baby steps – this is a lifetime practice, not a quick fix. Taking it slowly now will payoff very well later. I promise!

Keep doing it every day. You can do this more than once a day, if you wish. It can be particularly helpful to do this while sitting in traffic, to reduce your stress (but keep your eyes open please).

After awhile you will look forward to your special time with God each day. That’s when you can stop using the timer. Spend as much time as you want. The more you do this, the more likely you will become aware of God’s presence.

Don’t give up. Let your desire for God draw you to this time. If you lack desire, then when you breathe out say, “Draw me, Lord.”

What is God’s presence like? Some people sense a presence (or energy) of love or of peace. Others sense companionship – like someone is there with them and they are no longer alone. You’ll know when it happens to you – it’s personal and unique. ♥

Once you become aware of God’s presence, you can do the breathing exercise longer, if you wish. It can help you stay focused on Him. You can share your thoughts and feelings with God. Or you may enjoy practicing Listening Prayer, another exercise to help you connect with God. [I’ll post a description on this blog later, but for now you can Google “Listening Prayer” if you want to learn more.]

Let me know what you experience when you try this exercise. It’s so simple, yet it has profound effects.

Heaven is Movin’ In

danny-hahlbohm-come-for-all

Learn to be familiar with the realm of the Spirit.

Learn to be familiar with this realm that you came from.

Learn to be familiar with the supernatural

‘Cause heaven … Heaven is movin’ in.

 

Don’t be surprised when you have angelic encounters.

Don’t be surprised if you should see the living creatures.

Oh, learn to be familiar with the realm of the Spirit.

Oh, learn to be familiar with this realm that you came from.

Song: Heaven is Movin’ In, Messengers of Fire album by Joann McFatter, Steve Mitchell and Steve Swanson

This album is AMAZING!!! When I play it, I literally feel the “shift” in my living room. I wish this song was on YouTube – I’d give you the link so you could feel it yourself. The album was recorded live at a worship conference – wow, you can really get a taste for what the participants at that conference must have experienced. It is off the charts!

This is my favorite song from the album – it just resonates with me. The entire album is worth every penny. You can download it from JoAnn McFatter’s site here: http://joannmcfatter.com/messengers-of-fire/

Here’s the CD description: Recorded at the Deep Unto Deep worship weekend at Suncoast Worship Center, “Messengers of Fire” captures a visitation from the King. The Lord revealed His heart and His will in a fresh way. This unique CD features a totally spontaneous journey into undiscovered territory. Listen as you hear the King arriving with His heavenly procession. Hear angelic hosts entering the room with an impartation of holy fire! The whole church was caught up in a swirl of glory as He “branded” us with His fire and called us His own! This CD takes you on a journey into the Throne Room and into heavenly realms of God’s Glory! Released 2003

It’s one of those CDs that goes from one song to another without a gap or break between songs. It’s an “experience” – not just a music CD.

Here’s how the song continues – it will raise goose bumps on your arm.

 

(Marching music begins to build in the background)

Heaven is movin’ in, heaven is movin’ in, heaven is movin’ in

Movin’ in, movin’ in, movin’ in, NOW!

Coming down the mountain – angelic hosts,

Step by step, step by step, step by step – holy invasion!

Coming down, coming down, coming down,

Convergence – supernatural invading the natural!

 

Heaven is movin’ in, movin’ in, movin’ in,

Holy invasion!

 

Following the Captain of the Hosts,

Following divine orders:

Release, release, release!

Holy invasion!

 

Time is running out, time is running out, time is running out, time is running out,

time is running out, time is running out, time is running out, time is running out,

time is running out, time is running out, time is running out, time is running out,

time is running out, time is running out, time is running out.

 

(it flows into the next track, “Contact”)

Watchmen on the walls, what do you see?

Watchmen on the walls, what do you hear?

I hear the sound of  a distant thunder; I hear the sound of  a distant thunder.

Watchmen, O Watchmen,

Watchmen, O Watchmen,

Keep your eyes, keep your eyes, keep your eyes and your ears open.

Watchmen, O Watchmen,

Keep your eyes and your ears open to the call, open to the call of the Spirit.

The time is near, the time is at hand!

 

The Day of the Lord – The Day of the Lord is at hand!

LionKing

———————————————————-

Are you ready for the holy invasion? How exciting! The Day of the Lord is a fearful thing if you are not ready – both for “believers” and those that don’t believe. It’s time to seek the Lord and pay attention to what your heart is telling you.

I’m think I’m ready. Are you?

How to See the Unseen Realm

I get a lot of questions about this. “How do you see in the unseen realm?”

I’ll try to answer this – it’s not the easiest thing to describe because we are trying to use concrete terms to define things that are not concrete in this world. 🙂

From my understanding, there are primarily 3 different ways to “see” the unseen realm. If you’re interested in this – I’ll give you the title of a great resource that can help you “tap in” to the ability to see.

Some people say that they “see” the unseen realm with their natural eyes. There are many, many stories of people who simply saw an angel and can describe it just like seeing another person. I think most of these encounters are unexpected – meaning that the person has no control over the situation. It just “happens” to them – they don’t anticipate it or make it happen. I’ve also heard stories of people experiencing evil things like that – it just “happened” … and they usually don’t want it to ever happen again!

The other two ways of “seeing” the unseen realm are more common.

One way is seeing “glimpses” of something that you can sense is there, but can’t see with your natural eyes. Your spiritual eyes see it, but your natural eyes don’t really see it. Because we are not used to seeing with our spiritual eyes it can surprise us when we perceive something with them. Some people describe it as seeing something out of the corner of their eye. Or seeing a “shadow” or an outline of someone standing in the room … kind of translucent, not really “solid”.

The third way of seeing is seeing in your mind’s eye. This is how I see most things I describe in the unseen realm. For instance, as I’m typing this, I looked up to “see” what I could see in the unseen realm. In the doorway of my office, I saw a large figure standing there. My natural eyes just see the door and the hallway leading away from my office. But in my mind’s eye, I see the same exact picture except that there’s a large figure standing there. It’s as tall as the door – about 7 feet tall. I don’t see any details – my eyesight isn’t that sharp. But I sense that it is an angel, a good one.

There are two books I recommend when someone tells me, “I want to perceive the unseen realm better. I want to “see”. What can I do?”

Open_My_Eyes_Oates

The first book I recommend is Open My Eyes, Lord by Gary Oates. I had the privilege of meeting Gary at a conference where he taught the contents of this book in an afternoon workshop. Wow! He made it so simple, especially for those new to this whole idea. I went in a little unsure of what to expect. He told the story of how his eyes were open and the things he saw. It was very inspiring (the story is in the book). Then he told us some of the things that can block you from being able to see. That was VERY helpful for me. In his book, he has some suggested prayers you can pray to remove these blocks. In the workshop, we did it “live”. Then he told us to take a few minutes to practice using our new gift of seeing in the unseen realm (or seeing in the spirit).

I could see things SO clearly! Oh my gosh! It was so much fun! Going to his workshop gave me so much confidence in this whole area of seeing. I’ve never been the same since. If you can attend one of Gary’s workshops in person, please do. You’ll really enjoy it. The next best thing is reading his book, Open My Eyes, Lord. It’s very short. A friend of mine told me she wanted to being able to see like I do. I told her about the book and she read it on a plane ride. She closed her eyes and said the prayers in the book. She said by the end of the flight, she was able to look around the plane and identify where the angels were. Isn’t that fun? 🙂

After you read Gary’s book, the next one I recommend is Blake Healy’s book, The Veil. I did a review on the book last year. It’s really good. Blake does an excellent job of making the unseen realm “normal” and not spooky or weird. I love his attitude and the way he writes and describes what he sees. I would say that The Veil is more advanced reading. If you are just getting started, read Open My Eyes, Lord especially if you are cynical or this is kind of new for you.

What about you? How do you perceive the unseen realm? There are many ways to do it – what’s your strongest? Post your insights below. I’d love to hear about your journey into the unseen realm. 🙂

 

How I Met God ♥

Cross

Today is a very special day to me. On October 8, 1980, I started my relationship with God.

I had heard of God and his Son, Jesus. But I didn’t really know much about them personally. I had heard some stories from the Bible and I had even memorized a few Scriptures. I attended a private Christian school and memorizing Bible verses was sometimes required for homework. I did it because it was homework, not because I had any interest in religion.

My family was not religious. We attended my grandmother’s small country church once or twice a year as part of a family tradition – usually just for Christmas and Easter. Most of my classmates at school were from religious homes where they attended church every week and went to Bible camp during the summers. But not me. I was different.

October 8 was a normal Wednesday. I got ready for school as usual. I made it to home room on time and went to my first two classes. Then we went to chapel, a weekly “class” that everyone attended. Our entire junior and senior high went to the same service – about 150 kids. The younger children in elementary school had a separate service, geared to their age group. I had attended this school since first grade and had been to many, many chapel services.

Chapel type service

I sat in chapel that day with all the other 8th grade girls. Boys had “cooties” so we didn’t sit with them. I recall that we were seated near the back of the chapel, far from the front where the action was.

We sang some songs, among them “Onward Christian Soldiers”. A guest minister got up to speak. I don’t recall a word he said. Toward the end of the service, he started the altar call. That’s when a minister asks the listeners to respond to his message. I don’t know what he said, but it was effective. The last girl on our row began to cry. Her two best girlfriends were sitting next to her and they tried to comfort her. She got up and went to the front to pray with the minister, to respond to his invitation. Her friends went with her along with the girl sitting closest to them. There were only 3 of us left sitting on the pew. I turned to the girl next to me, we shrugged our shoulders and decided to follow the others. It seemed like “the right thing to do”.

By the time we got to the front of the chapel, we saw that the place for prayer (the altar) was really crowded – many other kids had also responded to the minister’s call. One of the girls saw an empty space behind the pulpit on the left side, so we all walked up the stairs to the platform and gathered in a circle on the dark red carpeted floor. I was hoping we weren’t going to get in trouble as normally no one was allowed up there but the adults.

I joined my friends, not really sure what to do. I was there for moral support. I had never been to an altar before – what was expected?

Soon the minister came to us and said, “Girls, would you like to give your lives to God?” Several of the “church girls” immediately nodded. They had all been to a youth retreat a few weeks prior where they all got “saved” again. It seemed that perhaps they had backslidden and needed to “fix” things with God. I didn’t really know what the man was asking, but I didn’t want to stand out  – so I didn’t ask any questions. I remember that I glanced at the ceiling and thought, “Do I believe in God?” My heart answered, “Yes.” So I decided that meant I could pray with the minister.

He led us all in a prayer where we repeated some statements after him, as though we were talking to God. I had never prayed before – well, except that in elementary school we all recited a prayer before we went to the lunchroom each day. But that was different.

I don’t remember a word of what I said. I didn’t feel anything. No bright lights or a voice from heaven. I just “prayed the prayer” because someone asked me – and I didn’t want to be the only one who didn’t do it. When I looked around the room after the prayer, I noticed that the entire student body was on their knees praying – except for 2 boys in the senior class. They were surrounded by a few teachers who were talking to them – the boys kept shaking their heads “No”. I was amazed that they refused to open their hearts to God that day as everyone else in the place definitely was. I remember seeing even the “tough” boys in our class lined up at a nearby pew, on their knees, praying with the minister. That’s how real God was in that place.

Later that night, I spoke to God on my own. I had heard a few weeks earlier that you should talk to God every day. I remember thinking, “Then He should talk back to me then.” I was kind of cynical, even at that age.

Me, 1980-81

The next day, as I was walking into the girl’s locker room, I said a swear word. Immediately, I heard a voice in my heart say, “You’re a Christian now. Christians don’t talk like that.”

I stopped walking. I knew that wasn’t my voice talking to me because I would not have thought of that. I remembered being told that after you decide to give your life to God and ask Jesus into your heart – He actually sends His Spirit to live inside of you. Hearing this voice and feeling the conviction that went with it, I realized, “This must be the Holy Spirit. I better obey.” And from that day on, I stopped swearing.

It’s funny how, when looking back, I see how “non-eventful” this experience appeared to be at the time. It was a normal Wednesday morning. I was in chapel, as I had been hundreds of times before. Yet on this day, something changed. Someone asked me to open my heart and life to God’s love. And I did. Not because I understood it. Peer pressure “saved” me. I didn’t want to be left out.

Since that time, I can honestly say that it was the BEST DECISION I have ever made in my entire life. From that first day, I started talking to God every night before bed and I have never stopped. He is the air I breathe. He is my hope, my peace, my joy and my strength. My life is SO MUCH BETTER because I decided to open my heart to Him.

Thank You, Jesus, for saving me as a young girl when I didn’t even know what I was doing. Thank You for being there through everything – my parent’s divorce, my boyfriends and my break-ups, my high school and college years, my first marriage and divorce, my time away from home and my time returning to my roots … and all the other times when I needed a friend, a confidante, a savior to get me out of myself and learn how to love others, really love others.

I love what You’ve done with my life. It is so exciting to see where we are going next. I never know what You have up Your sleeve – like the wonderful surprise of my new husband and what a pleasure it is to be married to him. I never saw that coming! And the life You’ve given me, allowing me to help others by sharing the pain and challenges I’ve overcome.

I am so incredibly thankful today. Thank you, dear readers, for celebrating this day with me.

Listen heart2

I hope that if you are reading this and you have not yet opened your heart to God, that perhaps you will. Would you like to? It’s not hard. It’s just a choice – to choose to follow Jesus and learn how to love others, to respond to God’s love for you as His child. And guess what? He DOES talk back when you talk to Him! 🙂

If you’d like to do that, you can pray this prayer or something similar. You can use your own words, if you prefer.

“God, I am willing – I open my heart to Your Love. I give You my life. Jesus, please come and save me. I need Your help. I’m sorry for the things I’ve done wrong. Please teach me how to receive Your love so I can love others. Thank you.”

If you’ve never prayed that kind of prayer, please do. It will open up a world of goodness you cannot even imagine. There is so much peace and joy and love just waiting to come to you, if you open yourself up to it. Words fail me how much better my life is because of God’s love. It does not prevent bad things from happening to you – instead it gives you an inner resilience and a peace that passes understanding.

If you prayed this for the first time just now – then please let me know. Either post something below or send me an email: kingdomwalker2 (at) gmail (dot) com. I would love to celebrate with YOU and help you in your new relationship with God just as others helped me when I first started out.

God bless you today! ♥

The chapel today