Category Archives: Inspirational
I read this story today by Mike Olsen and I LOVED it!! I have never heard of anyone doing what this man did during his near death experience. It will warm your heart. 💕
“Mike, we found a match,” my doctor said over the phone. “You’re getting a new set of lungs. I’ll see you in surgery early tomorrow morning.”
I stared at my wife, Patti, in shock. I could hardly believe what I was hearing. This was the call we’d been praying for. I hung up the phone, and Patti swept me into a hug.
Five years before, I’d been diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), a disease that causes scar tissue to form in the lungs, making it hard to breathe. There is no cure and, in some cases, like mine, no known cause. Before my diagnosis, I thought I was healthy. I was 54 years old, the pastor of our church in Louisville, Kentucky. I had never smoked a day in my life. I was even a singer who’d performed on-stage. After my diagnosis, my condition had continued to deteriorate rapidly until I needed to be on an oxygen tank 24/7. I’d been on the transplant list for three years.
That night we packed a bag and hurried to the car, my oxygen tank in tow. During the drive to the hospital, I was lost in thought. Receiving a new pair of lungs was a huge blessing, but it was a lot for me to take in. Even though my lungs were no longer healthy, it was hard to reconcile losing the organs I’d used to take my first breath, sing my first song. They were about to be replaced by the lungs of a total stranger, an anonymous donor, someone whose death meant that my life would be saved. I felt guilty that I got to keep on living. It felt as if I were taking something from a stranger that didn’t belong to me.
I knew one potential risk of surgery was that my body could reject the new lungs. I couldn’t help but wonder—if my soul couldn’t come to terms with the transplant, what chance did my body have? Though I tried to push the question from my mind, it needled me like a thorn.
At the hospital, we settled in and waited for the operation, which was scheduled for 6 A.M. In the morning, the nurses prepped me for surgery. I kissed Patti and held her close. “Everything is going to be okay,” she said. Still, as the nurses got me ready, I remained uneasy. When they wheeled me into the operating room and put the anesthesia mask over my face, I sank into a timeless darkness.
Then I was conscious. I couldn’t feel anything, but I could see. What’s going on? I thought. I was in the operating room, but I wasn’t on the operating table. I was floating above it. From my vantage point overhead, I saw my body on the table. The surgeons were hunched over my body, conferring with one another, their voices strained. Something must have gone very wrong.
I kept rising upward. The scene below me disappeared, and I came to a space of swirling lights. Reds, to blues, greens, yellows, all spinning together in a mesmerizing display. The lights were comforting, as if beckoning me to follow. As I moved along, I heard voices. Singing voices. The melody was enchanting, but I couldn’t make out the words. That is, until a chorus of voices announced over the singing: “Mike’s coming home!”
“No,” I heard a commanding voice say. “He is just here for a visit.”
In a sudden burst of energy, I was transported to a place of blinding white light. It surrounded me and stretched on endlessly. I felt only pure peace and joy. I’d never experienced such bliss before. I was in heaven but, as that divine voice had said, only there for a visit. I knew what I needed to do.
I called out into the light—not with my voice but with my soul, “I want to thank my organ donor.”
A presence materialized behind my left shoulder. I turned and saw two figures approaching. I could see only the outlines of their forms, shimmering and iridescent. I recognized one as Jesus, and the other alongside him as my anonymous donor.
“Thank you,” I communicated. With every bit of my essence, I exuded pure gratitude. “Thank you.”
I sensed that the donor accepted my gratitude with humility. Then Jesus put his hand on my shoulder.
“These are your lungs now,” he said.
“Yes,” I agreed.
With that, I fell backward, the space of light turning into a speck before disappearing entirely. I was back in my body on the operating table at the hospital for a moment, then everything went black.
I’d later learn that I was in a coma for 10 days. During the transplant, the first lung went in fine. After the second lung was put it, the surgeon released a clamp too early. I’d bled out and needed to be resuscitated. Only through the staff’s best efforts had I been brought back. I was hooked up to a machine that breathed for me until I regained consciousness. Despite everything that had happened, the transplant was successful. I had my new lungs.
Today I continue working in ministry, while advocating for funding studies about IPF. I can even sing again. And I do it all using the lungs God gave me.
Did you know there’s a difference between praying from your spirit versus praying from your soul?
I’ve seen this time and time again – especially in prayer meetings where various people pray. I can immediately tell from the frequency in someone’s voice (their tone, passion, etc.) whether they are praying from their spirit or their soul.
So what’s the difference? And does it change the results?
When we pray from our souls, we tend to connect with our emotions. We focus on the problem and we pray the problem out loud. When someone prays from their soul they often focus on the pain of the problem and it can make them cry or speak very passionately. There’s nothing wrong with that. It is one way of praying. It may make us feel better or sometimes it makes us feel worse (more emotionally upset). Here’s an example,
“Lord, you know what is happening with our young people. They are doing drugs, they are not listening to their parents, they are going after the world. Oh, Lord, you know this breaks our hearts. It is not right. We need you to intervene and change their hearts. They are headed down a very dark path that leads to destruction. We don’t want that to happen. We don’t want them to die young from a drug overdose or from violence in the streets. Oh Lord, please help us! Please help our young people turn to you!”
When we pray from our spirits, we are listening to the Holy Spirit and waiting to hear from the Spirit what we should say. We are not focused on the problem, we are focused on what the Spirit is saying. I often hear spiritual authority in someone’s voice when they pray from their spirit instead of from their soul. When someone prays from their soul, they are using their emotional energy to convey the importance of their request – by getting more passionate about it, they feel they are connecting more with God. When someone prays from their spirit, they are using the energy of spiritual authority and that has a completely different effect. Here’s an example,
“Thank you, Lord, that you are taking care of our young people. We see that some are not honoring you, but we know that you are already working in their hearts to dismantle their love of the world. Thank you that you have dispatched angels tonight to fight on their behalf against the darkness. We specifically release an increased awareness of Your presence and Your goodness in the lives of Sammy, Tom, Junior and Olivia. We expect to see the outworking of Your grace in their choices soon. Thank you so much for your love and kindness that you care about them and their future. You are a good, good Father!”
Often a prayer from the Spirit becomes more and more specific. Instead of just praying for “young people” in general, the Spirit will bring specific young people to mind and how to pray for them personally. God is a personal God – He knows each of us by name and can give us very specific insight into how to pray for those we care about. Or He may reveal a specific strategy He is using to reach a large group of people. Either way, it becomes more and more specific the longer we listen and pray what He is saying.
When we pray from our spirits, we are not trying to move God by our tears or our passion. We are simply agreeing with what HE is already doing and we are partnering with His purposes on the earth. How do you know what He is already doing? By listening to the Holy Spirit as you pray – He will tell you what to say and how to say it. I’m not kidding – it really works that way! Then, guess what? Those prayers tend to get answered more quickly and effectively! Why? Because you were praying according to His will, not according to yours.
John said it like this, “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.” I John 5:14-15
I LOVE to be in a prayer meeting where each person is listening to the Holy Spirit and only praying what they hear the Lord saying. There’s such freedom and power! It is incredibly encouraging as the Lord reveals His plans for the problems we see. By the end of the prayer time, we are so filled with joy and anticipation of what God is going to do!!
I don’t enjoy as much the prayer meetings I have been in when people are praying from their souls. It can be moving to hear how much they care about an issue, but often it begins to feel almost like charismatic witchcraft – trying to get God to do what YOU want Him to do. It’s actually quite painful at times as you sense the lack of faith in God’s goodness – when you “pray the problem”, it tends to grow in your mind and weigh you down even more. Yuk!
If you need help learning how to listen to the Holy Spirit, I created a short course to help with that. It only takes a few minutes to go through the material and then practice – I recommend 15 minutes each week for 4 weeks. The more you practice, the easier it gets! The course is called Developing A Close Relationship with God: A Simple Method. You can click on the course icon below to find out more information. You will enjoy it! 🙂
So how about you? Do you know the difference between when you are praying in your soul versus when you are praying in your spirit? Can you shift between them when you want to? Do you know how to listen to the Holy Spirit when you are praying? Comment below! Share your experience – I shared mine. We learn from each other that way. ❤
Related post you might be interested in: Spirit vs Soul, a two part series discussing the difference between the two & what it means for your everyday life
Here’s an example of what it means to follow Jesus.
Amy works at Best Buy, an electronics store chain. She used to work in real estate selling homes several years ago, but took a break after she had a car accident. During her recovery, her husband suddenly died of a heart attack. Without her husband’s financial support, she needed a job – fast. She felt drawn to work at Best Buy and did very well there – she became a “pastor” to the people she worked with and often had opportunities to pray for them and help them find hope. This job provided a much needed sense of stability to the sudden roller coaster of her life. She’s been there for almost three years now.
A few weeks ago, she began to feel the Lord directing her to go back into real estate. She was a little hesitant because it had been so long and she was used to getting a regular paycheck from Best Buy. It would take her out of her comfort zone. She told the Lord, “If you give me a listing to sell a house, I’ll resign.” Someone called her and asked her to list their home for $650,000 (USD).
However she still had doubts. What if she didn’t get any more listings? What if she couldn’t pay her rent? A friend in real estate told her that right now is a seller’s market which means it is hard to find properties that are for sale (new listings). Plenty of buyers, but very few people are selling. This discouraged her and made her wonder if she really should quit her dependable job.
As she pondered it, it dawned on her that with just 2 real estate listings she could make as much as she made all year with Best Buy! This gave her courage to step out. So she said, “Yes, Lord, I am willing. I will turn in my resignation tomorrow.” That night a woman she knew called her at 1:30am. The woman had been looking at a particular house she wanted and it was suddenly listed as available for sale. She asked Amy to write a contract for that house immediately – at 2am she completed the contract and sent it in.
The next morning the agent that had listed the house was shocked. Who writes contracts at 2am? She had to find out so she called her. Amy explained how much this woman wanted THAT particular house and had contacted her in the middle of the night. The agent explained that she had only listed the house for a few minutes last night and that the house was not available right now. However she said she would talk to the owner and get back to her. Within a few hours, she called back and said, “We’re not going to list the house to the public, but we ARE going to work with you and the buyer who really wants this house.”
That was the listing she needed. Praise God!
That morning she went to Best Buy and turned in her resignation, giving them a two week notice. Two days later a coworker invited her to lunch with some friends of his (a couple). She had met these friends at a previous event and felt prompted to go. They had a nice lunch and she went back to work. A few hours later, the woman called and said, “We are moving out of our condo and we want to buy a house. We want you handle the real estate transactions for both properties.”
That was a third listing! And she would represent them in a fourth listing when they bought a new house!
But wait, it gets even better. 😃
She wanted to have her own office, but did not have the means to rent a place. A lot of agents work from their homes, but she knew with family obligations, she would prefer to have a space to focus just on business.
The next day, a business associate from her past called her. He said he was having a lot of trouble doing business in his country due to COVID-19. He asked her if they could build a partnership where he could do business in a city near her and she would represent him. He told her, “Find an office we can use and I’ll pay half of all the expenses.”
Yes! In less than 1 week, she got three new real estate listings and she now had the means to get her own office! She also would have even MORE business as she partnered with this colleague who would send her clients who were looking for real estate in her area.
She said, “I had been waiting on God, but as I stepped out to walk by faith, I felt like He had been waiting on me! He had all these people lined up, ready to bless me with business – and here I was afraid to step out. He is a good, good Father.”
This is an example of what it means to follow Jesus – to step out in faith, obeying the prompting in your heart from the Lord, even when you have no idea how it will work out. It means taking the risk that God is who He said He is and that His plans for you are always good. ❤
Do you have a story like this that you’d like to share? Please post it in the comments! Or you can write a guest post for this blog. We’d love to hear from you. 🙂
Many people describe near death experiences – this is the first one I’ve read that had a husband and wife who died together, but one of them came back. Can you imagine what that must be like?
Jeff Olsen: The accident happened while we were driving back to our home in Bountiful, Utah, from a visit to relatives in the southern part of the state. My wife, Tamara, was asleep beside me. Our seven-year-old son, Spencer, was in the back seat, playing with his toys. Our toddler, Griffin, slept in his car seat. The road stretched out ahead, and my eyes grew heavy. It felt as if I’d blinked for just a second.
That was all it took.
I lost control. The car rolled, windows exploding, gravel flying, as we spun over and over until I lost consciousness. I woke only for a second after we stopped. I felt horrible pain and heard Spencer crying in the backseat. Everything went black again. I was terrified. Where is my family? Are they safe?
Then, suddenly, I was calm. The pain was gone. I looked around. I was floating above our car accident. Before I could react, I felt a presence near me. It was Tamara. We were encircled in a bubble of light that was emanating complete peace. I knew then she was gone, but it was as if my grief were suspended. All I could feel was serenity. I wondered if we were on our way to heaven.
Tamara looked at me, her face serious. “Jeff, you cannot be here,” she said. “You have to go back.” How could I? She was here. Then I remembered Spencer’s cries. He was still alive. He needed me. I knew I had to make a choice. I pulled Tamara close to me. “Goodbye,” I said. I let go. Then I felt myself drifting away from Tamara and the comforting light.
Suddenly, I was in a hospital. I was not yet back in my body—I was still weightless, without pain. I moved freely through the halls, observing the people around me. Somehow, I was able to see their whole lives as I looked at them. Their stories, their fears, their experiences. I felt no judgment toward any of them. I was filled with the most incredible love and oneness with each of them.
I finally reached a room and stopped. The patient was in terrible shape, and doctors were rushing around him. Wait, I thought. Is that me? I recognized my own face now. I was horrified. I couldn’t go back to that! Then I remembered what Tamara had said. I thought of Spencer. I couldn’t leave him alone.
I let go and chose to move toward the body. The heaviness was the first thing I noticed, then came the horrific pain. But the worst part was the guilt. It hit me like a tidal wave. Tamara and Griffin were gone. Even as I sensed the doctors over me, working furiously to save my life, the only thing I could think was: This was my fault.
Dr. Jeff O’Driscoll was finishing his rounds at the hospital when Rachel, an ER nurse, grabbed his arm. “Come see this,” she said. “His wife is…here.”
Dr. O’Driscoll: Rachel and I stood in the doorway. The room was loud. A team of doctors worked to stabilize the patient. As I watched, the sounds around me faded out. I sensed a divine presence in the room. And then I noticed a light. In it was the form of a woman, floating above the patient’s bed. She had flowing, curly blonde hair and was dressed in various shades of white. Her form was almost transparent, and the look on her face was serene. She looked vibrant, otherworldly—I knew innately that this was the man’s wife. The divine presence in the room was allowing me to view her eternal soul.
She smiled at me, as if she’d known me forever. I sensed her immense gratitude toward the doctors who were working to save her husband. She looked directly at me and back at her husband, then back at me. Her eyes were intent.
Then everything slowly returned to normal. I could hear the doctors speaking, and I could hear Rachel again. “Did you see her too?” she asked. I looked again. The patient’s wife was gone. The trauma surgeon took the man to surgery.
Olsen: After a few months and 18 surgeries, I finally moved to the rehab wing. One night, just days before my release, I fell into a deep sleep and had a dream that was more powerful than any I’d ever had. I was standing in a big field. The serenity I’d felt in the bubble of light on the day of the accident returned. My body was healed, and I could walk freely. I felt light and started running. I noticed a corridor appear on my left. I entered and followed it to the end. I found Griffin there, asleep in his crib. He looked perfect. Tears filled my eyes as I picked him up and held him close. I could feel his breath on my neck as I rocked him. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to forgive myself, I thought.
Then I felt a divine presence behind me. It exuded pure love. It felt like the love I’d experienced for the people in the hospital the day of the accident, free of judgment. I now understood that I’d been shown a glimpse of the kind of complete love that God had for me. I felt two arms wrap around Griffin and me, enveloping us. A reassuring voice said, “There’s nothing to forgive.”
For more information, I highly recommend the book Imagine Heaven by John Burke. It really encouraged me after someone close to me unexpectedly passed away. It is full of stories like this and it examines the details of these experiences in light of what the Scriptures say. Click on the book cover below to see the description on Amazon.
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. 🙂
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.
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:
Let me know if you get any insight from this scripture. This was mine today. 🙂
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://jimandpatbanks.com/personal-ministry/
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!
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!
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.