Category Archives: Jesus
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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.”
- 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.”
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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. ❤
- 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!
Did you know that you can enjoy the companionship of Jesus Christ?
I don’t often hear this mentioned when people discuss matters of faith. Jesus Christ is real – He’s alive and active in the world today. He wasn’t just a historical figure known for teaching people to love one another. Most people have heard that he was killed (crucified, you’ve seen the statues, right?), but did you know He also rose from the dead? (Maybe it’s a little harder to make that into a statue.)
Jesus is the only one who died, came back to life in his physical body and then went to heaven (without dying again). What’s unique is that He told His disciples before He left – I will always be with you. (Matthew 28:20)
This is not something theoretical – this is real and practical. Have you ever experienced the companionship of Christ?
The other night I was laying in bed thinking of something – praying about something that was on my mind. I can’t recall now exactly what it was. Probably worried about someone I love – that’s usually what’s on my mind before I fall asleep. As I was talking to Jesus, I became aware of His presence. One minute I was alone in the room, talking to the ceiling and the next minute I was not. He was there. It was a gentle, comforting sense that He was listening, paying attention, keeping me company.
I was reminded that Jesus said, “I will ask the Father and he will give you another Comforter.” And He promised about this Comforter, “He will never leave you.” (John 14:16)
In The Message Bible, it says it like this:
“I will talk to the Father, and he’ll provide you another Friend so that you will always have someone with you.”
That’s really unique. A Friend who will always be with you.
Companionship is really important – we are not meant to do life alone. Though if we’re honest, most of us feel alone. In our innermost thoughts and worries, no one really knows what we’re thinking or how we are feeling.
Even when surrounded by other people, many people feel alone. There’s just no way another person can know what it’s like to be YOU.
Except Jesus. He’s the exception – He can know. That’s really amazing, isn’t it?
When you allow Him into your life, He brings with Him the knowledge He has about you, about life, about other people and what they are like. And most of all – He brings His love, His comforting presence, His companionship.
He wants to be our companion in life. He wants us to enjoy His friendship – to be aware of His ever-present help and support.
I love that about Him. Think about the story of Adam and Eve in the garden. It was God who came looking for them. Why? To spend time with them. You get the impression from the story that He often came “walking in the garden in the cool of the day” to hang out with Adam and Eve. He likes our company.
I encourage you to consider the companionship of Christ. He can be with you if you’d like. Invite Him to make you aware of His presence. Talk to Him. Look for Him. Give yourself permission to enjoy and receive His friendship.
He likes you and He enjoys being with you. ❤
Having a deep, personal relationship with Jesus Christ is better than any relationship you can have with another human being anywhere in the world. When you know Him and you allow Him to know you (to come into your heart and life) – it’s the best thing you can ever experience. I don’t even have words to describe the incredible benefits that this life-giving connection has on your body, soul and spirit.
We all long for connection. To feel like someone “gets” us or understands us on a very deep, personal level. Have you ever had a special experience happen to you and afterwards you immediately thought of that one person you wanted to tell? Why did you think of them specifically? Because you share a very personal connection with them and they would understand why that experience was so special to you.
That’s called intimacy – when we know someone well and they know us well. We often share that kind of intimacy with family members – we’ve known each other all our lives so there’s a certain degree of intimacy. They remember what we were like as kids or they were part of significant events in our lives. Shared experiences build a certain kind of intimacy.
But even then, there’s a deeper intimacy we can have with someone where we CHOOSE to share ourselves with them. We find that one special person that we like and trust. It might be a family member or a best friend. With this person, we share our more personal thoughts and emotions, our dreams and our fears – the kind of things we don’t share with just anybody. We reserve them for that special person.
Jesus Christ can be that special person, if you let Him.
One thing that’s really cool about Jesus Christ is that He’s God’s Son. God knows everything! So when you become close to Jesus, He already knows everything about you. I love that. No need to keep secrets or wonder if you should tell Him something – He already knows! This makes Him a great friend because He already knows your favorite color, your favorite music or movies or books, your favorite flavors, your favorite places, etc. Usually it takes a long time for someone to care that much about you to learn those kinds of things and remember them. He already knows all that stuff! (And He loves who you are!)
He also remembers everything. This is helpful when you are dealing with something from your past that you need to talk to someone about. He was there. You can talk to Him about anything because He knows what happened and He can empathize with your emotions about the event (good OR bad or both). This is so incredibly comforting. He lived on the earth so He knows all the stuff we struggle with – the good, the bad AND the ugly. He really knows what it’s like so you can trust Him to understand what you’re going through. He wants to be there for you. And He’s a GREAT listener. ❤
No one understands like Jesus Christ. He “gets” you like no one else on the face of the planet can. He feels what you are feeling. He knows what you are thinking. He loves to hear your voice and to have you talk to Him. Like He literally gets excited to know that you want to talk to Him! He waits to hear your voice.
So, what are you waiting for? Just talk to Him. From your heart. Be honest. Be real. Just be yourself.
Then do it again the next day. Then the next. Pretty soon you’ll be very close and you’ll wonder how you ever made it through a day without spending time with Him.
I hope this has encouraged you. Please feel free to share any thoughts that this post inspired in you.
I was recently asked this question:
My church does not teach anything about talking to the Holy Spirit. What assurance can you give me as a Christian that this is the right path in our quest to have a close relationship to God. And why don’t churches talk about this kind of thing?
One of the foundational truths of the Christian faith – the one thing that unites all true believers is the belief that “Jesus is Lord”. In fact, to become a follower of Christ, to take on the name “Christian” means that you have decided to make Jesus the Lord of your life. You seek to follow His ways and let Him guide you in your daily decisions.
How did He say He would guide us? He’s no longer physically here on the earth where we can see Him. Jesus said, “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.” John 16:12-13
In the New Testament, the word “Spirit” is used to refer to “the Lord”, to “God” and to “Christ” interchangeably, so it seems that the Spirit is the same as God or Jesus. Here are some Scriptures to illustrate this point:
Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 2 Corinthians 3:17
However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. Romans 8:9
Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” Galatians 4:6
In fact, Peter says that it was the Spirit of Christ that spoke to the prophets of Israel as recorded in the Old Testament scriptures (I Peter 1:11).
From the dawn of creation, God is described as a Spirit.
The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. Genesis 1:2-3
Jesus affirmed this when speaking to the woman at the well in Samaria. He said, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:24
It seems pretty clear that the Spirit refers to God or Jesus so talking to the Holy Spirit is the same as talking to God or Jesus. Jesus said He would guide us through the Holy Spirit (aka the Spirit of Truth) so talking to Him would be an essential part of our guidance – at least in my opinion. When you are driving a car and the passenger says to you, “Turn right up there.” My natural reaction is to ask, “You mean here?” and point with my hand to confirm that I understood what they meant. Even though they are guiding me, I still sometimes need clarification and therefore I need to talk to them. It’s the same with the Lord.
When I was a little girl, someone told me, “Talk to Jesus every day – He’s your best friend.” And I thought to myself, “Well, if I talk to Him, He better talk to me too!” Even in my childlike understanding, I knew that relationships are a two-way street. Both parties need to communicate if there’s a relationship – if not, it’s just a monologue! How boring that would be!
When I chose to follow Christ, I was twelve years old. The very next day after this decision, I was walking to my locker at school and something made me mad. I said a curse word. Immediately, I heard in my heart, “You are a Christian now and Christians don’t talk that way.” Guess what? That was the Holy Spirit teaching me how to follow Christ. That certainly wasn’t my thought – it was completely foreign to my mind. I stopped immediately and thought to myself, “Yes, that’s right. I will no longer curse.” And I stopped using curse words – I was only a kid so the habit hadn’t really caught on yet. 🙂
Later that same “voice in my heart” told me to go to church. I went home and told my mother, “I want to go to church.” She said, “Okay, which one?” I had no idea so I took out the phone book and started looking for a church. I decided to go to one service of each different kind of church listed to see what they were like (Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, Pentecostal, etc.). Finally, I decided to attend a small Presbyterian church where a friend from school was playing the piano.
The church told me, “Read your Bible.” So I did. I noticed that every story in the Bible was about people interacting with God. God spoke to someone and they responded and that became their story, as recorded in the Scripture. So I began to expect God to speak to me like He did to everyone else. There were no stories of God NOT speaking to people so I figured that was the normal experience of a follower of God.
Every day I talked to God and I expected Him to talk to me. Why not? He talked to lots of people in the Bible. It took me years to learn how He talks, but I did learn it. And you can too. Here’s a post that will help you with that, Look for Him – He’s right there.
There’s also a spiritual training course you can take called, “Developing a Close Relationship with God: A Simple Method” (http://tinyurl.com/Heart4God)
Each type of church has their own methods for how they encourage people in their connection with God. Some use ritual, some use stained glass, some use silence, some use music, some use preaching or teaching. Because we are all so unique, some methods will resonate more with you than with others. That’s okay. Find what works for you and pursue it! Ask God to show you how to draw close to Him and He will – I promise. He knows how to “speak your language” whether that is quiet meditation or loud, joyful music.
Do you talk to the Holy Spirit? I do – every day. What has your experience been? Feel free to share below – to encourage others who are just learning about this. 🙂
[By the way, there ARE churches that talk about this – they are usually called charismatic or Pentecostal. Look for one near you – it just might surprise you what you find there! If you need help finding one in your area, let me know and I’ll help you.]
Rating: Educational, creepy, strange
A friend of mine, Lee, moved into a new apartment. She loved the view of the lake from her bedroom window upstairs. It was a peaceful, relaxing place to live.
One day she told me that she had been unable to sleep well ever since she had moved to the new apartment. I asked her why.
She mentioned getting a new bed – she thought perhaps that was the problem. It was a relatively inexpensive bed so the quality of the mattress was not very good. I asked if she still had her old bed. She said her daughter was using it in her room.
Is it the bed or is it a curse?
I suggested she sleep in her daughter’s bed to see if she slept better. She did that and she did sleep better, so she moved the bed into her room.
The next morning she was surprised to wake up feeling horrible. She hurt all over. Bruises appeared on her arms and legs – she had no idea where they came from. And she awoke exhausted.
I told her that waking up with multiple, unexplained bruises could be a sign of witchcraft. I have heard of that before. Also waking up exhausted after a full night’s sleep could be an indication that she had been in spiritual warfare all night. She said it felt like her body had been beat up all over.
She spoke to a couple of other friends and they both suggested the same thing – pray over the room and the rest of the apartment. I had mentioned this when she first told me she wasn’t sleeping well. It has been my experience that constant unexplained sleep disturbances are often related to the spiritual realm.
She took some anointing oil and anointed her room, her children’s rooms and the rest of the apartment. She prayed over the windows and the doors and anything else she felt led to pray over. She recently saw the movie, War Room, and followed the woman’s example in the movie – after praying, she opened the front door and commanded every evil thing to leave. Then she anointed the door and closed it.
She called me the next day – she sounded very excited. She had finally slept well! And she was surprised that all the pain had left her body. I asked her if the Lord showed her what had been keeping her from sleeping.
It was a curse!
As she prayed, asking the Holy Spirit to guide her, the words He kept giving her to say were, “I break this curse, in the name of Jesus. I plead the blood of Jesus over this place.” and other similar phrases.
My guess is that the previous tenants were practicing witchcraft – probably in that bedroom. People often conduct rituals in secret where others cannot see them. By conducting witchcraft in that room, a door was opened in the unseen realm. This door allowed evil spirits to come in and disturb her sleep. Once they saw her trying to fix the problem, perhaps they increased their attack to intimidate her.
When she used her God-given spiritual authority to break the curse and command all the evil spirits to leave, that closed the door in the spirit world and she was finally able to sleep.
Thank God for Jesus and the sacrifice of His blood – it breaks every curse! 🙂
I am very proud of Lee for taking authority over the demonic influence in her home – she had never done anything like that before. Her sleep being immediately restored spoke volumes to her and her children about the reality of the unseen realm and the importance of guarding themselves in it.
If you think you are experiencing similar problems in your house, you might want to read these posts:
The Veil between the worlds is getting thinner – can you feel it? It has been steadily changing over time. I first noticed the shift about 2004. I couldn’t describe it very well, but I knew something was happening.
In 2015, I noticed more obvious changes, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on what was happening. Other people noticed it too and called me to ask what I thought was happening. I noticed an increase of the glory of the Lord, but I didn’t understand what effect that would have on earth.
Last week I was awakened about 5am and got a download of insight about The Veil and what is happening right now. I don’t claim to understand it all – I’ll just share what I received. Perhaps someone else has insight related to this that will bring more clarity.
Illusion of Control
The Veil between the worlds is the illusion of control. This shift we have been feeling is that illusion slowly being removed. That’s why people are no longer able to pretend to be something that they are not. They can no longer control their behavior to deceive others – what’s really inside of them is showing. Sometimes it is surprising because they have pretended to be something else for so long that they had us convinced it was real.
But now Jesus is bringing the true reality to light and there’s no stopping it. He is in control and no one else is. He IS the Lord!! 🙂
“We know that … the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.” I John 5:19
His “sway” is the deception that he (and therefore we) can be in control, apart from God.
In fact, I think that the greatest deception is that we CAN be apart from God! Paul said to a group of people in Athens, Greece that “… in Him we live and move and have our being ….” How can we be apart from Him? Is this the illusion that Lucifer fell into – that he could be apart from God and rule independently? Then he sways us to believe the same illusion he believes. Wow! What a fool he’s been and what fools we’ve been in believing his deception!
Paul said we need to repent – to change our minds – to accept God’s assessment of the situation. We cannot be in control or live independently of Him. It just doesn’t work. We were not created to live as though we are separate from God. We are His children, bought with a price.
Matthew 27:51 The veil in the temple was torn apart – symbolic of this illusion being torn apart. We are no longer separated from God – He paid the price for us to be sons and daughters again.
Revelation 6:14 “Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up ….” The removing of the veil of deception – the illusion of control. This is called the great and terrible Day of the Lord. Men can no longer pretend to be powerful and in control of their lives. They must admit and surrender to Jesus as Lord. Every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (Philippians 2:10-11).
That’s why Satan hates followers of Christ. We blow his illusion of control every time we say, “Jesus is Lord.” He doesn’t want to remember or acknowledge that. 🙂
Relinquish the Illusion of Control
What I have learned is that the more I relinquish the illusion of control (aka surrender to the Lordship of Christ), the happier I am. The illusion of control makes me anxious and depressed – I’m either worrying about things over which I have no control or I am depressed that no matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to control the things that worry me. Giving up the illusion gives me peace and joy – I trust in God’s goodness and His ability to take care of me. The kingdom of God is characterized by righteousness, peace and joy – to the degree that I relinquish control, I get to experience these every day! (Romans 14:17)
“For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” I John 3:8 As we surrender to Jesus, we destroy the devil’s deception that HE is in control. When we tell others, this drives him crazy because he can’t control it. We have given up his kingdom and become heirs of God’s kingdom. He can’t stop us, no matter how hard he tries – we just keep telling people about freedom in Jesus.
I love that thought – that we drive the devil crazy! We destroy his works simply by surrendering to Jesus and saying, “YOU are Lord, not me and not him.” 🙂
What do you think? Are you ready to give up the illusion? Try making a list of the things you think you are in control of – that really helps me. The list is very, very short.
♥ JESUS IS LORD ! ♥
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.
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.
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.
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! ♥
Jesus said, “Give Me back My stuff!” He looked annoyed.
I said, “Excuse me?” and took a step back.
“Give Me back My stuff!” He said again, with determination in His eyes.
I replied, “I don’t know what you mean, Lord.”
Jesus said, “Yes you do. Don’t mess around with me. Give Me back My stuff! I want it and I want it RIGHT NOW!”
“But Lord, everything I’ve got – You gave me,” I replied. I was starting to sweat.
He said, “Part of that is true, but you took some stuff that belongs to Me that I don’t want you to have. Give it back. NOW!”
At this point, I’m on my knees and I’m crying. I’m saying, “I don’t know what you mean, I don’t know what you mean.”
Jesus points at me and says, “That worry. That anger. That resentment. That bitterness. That fear. I died for it. I paid a price for it. It belongs to ME – it doesn’t belong to you. Give Me back My stuff!”
Suddenly I understood and I could see it. All those different things He died for, He took them to the cross and I’ve been resurrecting them. I was absolutely, utterly appalled. I started crying again and said, “I’m so sorry. You’re right, Lord. You’re right.”
Then He smiled at me, reached down and pulled me up. He kissed me on both cheeks and then He looked right into my eyes and said, “Have you any idea how utterly delighted I was to die for all those things? When I was on the cross, the joy that was set before me was that I KNEW I was robbing you of the ability to experience all that negativity. I was taking all those things away from you that you would NEVER have to experience them or encounter them ever again. I could give you a whole new life where those things would be absent and you could learn a different way of being. Do you have any idea how excited I was to be able to take all those things away from you? You’d never be fearful again, you’d never be anxious or worried or panicked. You’d never have to be angry or bitter or resentful. You’d never have to do any of that stuff. You could be FREE.”
He paused, then continued.
“Here you are, taking it all back like it belongs to you. It DOESN’T belong to you. I died for it. I paid a price for it. It’s Mine. You can’t have it because all the time you are taking hold of those things, you can’t see who you really are. When you focus on those things, there is a disconnect between you and heaven. I died so that you could stay connected. As long as you are holding onto that stuff, you can’t receive all that I want to give you.
“Give Me back that stuff. I’ve got things to give you. We can’t be messing around with this baby stuff anymore. We have things to do.”
We sat down and I wrote down all the stuff I had stolen back. Then I wrote down what was the opposite of that because that’s what I’m taking in exchange.
– Graham Cooke, paraphrased from this video:
So, are you ready to give to Jesus the stuff you took back from Him? 🙂
Or maybe, if this is your first time, you need to make a list of things to give Him and then turn them over. He paid for them with His death on the cross. Why are you holding on to it? Give Him back His stuff!!
Hey, Movie Watchers, have you seen the new film “Holy Ghost”? It’s pretty “out there” for most people. It’s definitely challenging – most people don’t know how to describe the Holy Spirit (or Holy Ghost) much less make a movie about Him. If this topic intrigues you, you might enjoy this film. It’s not a dry documentary. It’s one man’s passion to find God actually engaging with everyday people. It’s worth watching, in my opinion.
And the best part? It’s free to watch today and tomorrow if you go to this link: http://holyghost.wpfilm.com/
Offer expires Monday night, 9/8/2014 at 5pm PST or 8pm CST.
Rolland and Heidi Baker are known for the impact they have made in Pemba, Mozambique. Here Rolland shares what gives them the motivation to keep feeding the hungry, taking care of orphans and working on development in such a desperately poor country. It really makes sense to me, but it’s not what you’d expect him to say. People come from around the world to study their “program”, trying to understand what makes it so successful. His answer is unique.
Our years in Pemba, Mozambique have been tumultuous, intense, filled with demonic attacks, violence, threats, opposition from the government, discouragement, theft, loss, disappointments, failures, staff turnover, and the constant, unrelenting demands of extreme poverty and disease all around us. It almost always seemed that our capabilities and resources were no match for the challenges we faced every day, resulting in a level of chaos and stress that literally threatened our health and lives. Heidi and I remember many times when we did not know how we could continue. What motivates us to keep going? How do we stay patient and upbeat when the outlook seems bleak, yet again? It is not found in anything external. It is found in the secret place of relationship with Jesus. Without relationship we are the living dead. When we turn away from relationship to pursue anything else, we lose. We have no strength to give or love anyone.
Relationship is all that Jesus cares about, all that motivates Him. He could do many more amazing miracles and dazzle the world with His powers, but He is interested only in relationship. The entire creation, all the grandeur of the physical world, and all His works are designed to serve one thing: Relationship.
There is no pressure in genuine relationship. It brings the utmost peace, and washes away all tension. It is the point of living, the substance of existence, the atmosphere of heaven. It motivates to heroic heights, bringing out our best.
As our Perfect Savior, Jesus provides us with relationship. For this He died and rose again on our behalf. And from this tree of life, we can branch out into more and more relationship with those all around us.
We were never meant to be alone for a moment. Our whole motive is to live life and do everything together with our God, to take pleasure in His company always. Our power to live comes entirely from our satisfying relationship with Him.
His presence pursues us. He Himself follows us, responds to us, and takes pleasure in making us happy, for we make Him happy. We care how He feels. We satisfy His longing. To stay close to Him is no effort, but a relief, a release, a door to freedom. – Rolland Baker
Excerpt from Iris Newsletter posted July 16, 2014, www.irisglobal.org