Category Archives: Pleasant
A man shared this story with me and I thought it would help to illustrate the importance of following the Holy Spirit.
He was on a business trip and contacted some old friends he hadn’t seen in years. They picked him up for church and then invited him over for lunch. He spent several hours with them, enjoying their company and getting to know their three small children. (He loves kids!)
The following weekend, he was making plans to see them again. As he was getting ready, the Holy Spirit impressed on him to prepare to give them some money – $120 in cash. He wrestled with the idea. When he had visited them, they had seemed to be doing okay. Their house was nice, their children had toys and were dressed well. They didn’t appear to have any financial needs.
Especially as a man, he didn’t want to embarrass his friend by offering him the money and implying that he wasn’t a good provider for his family. He kept wondering, “Why do I feel this nudge to give them money? This doesn’t make any sense!”
But this man has walked with God for many years – so he knew better than to second guess. He put the cash in an envelope and prepared to give it to them at the right time. Even though he had no idea why.
He visited with them and just before he was ready to leave, he spoke to both the husband and wife together. He said, “I felt from the Lord that I was to give you this money. I’m not sure what you need it for – maybe for Christmas or something.” The couple politely thanked him and then his friend drove him back to his hotel.
As they drove, his friend told him what a HUGE blessing that money would be to them. He told him that just a few days before, he’d given his wife his last $40 to buy groceries for the week. He had put $10 of gas in her car and $3 in his, hoping to make it to the end of the week when his next paycheck would come. They had been able to meet their basic expenses like rent, electricity, gas, etc, but right now, they had no cash flow and things were very tight.
His unexpected cash gift was a BIG answer to prayer and came at just the right time!
Isn’t that cool? From the outside, they looked like any other family. The man had no idea they were in need. They never mentioned it to him. But thank God, he listened to the Holy Spirit, he obeyed and didn’t second guess himself. Not only did it increase his faith, it also increased theirs – God demonstrated Himself as their Provider without them saying a word to anyone! I love that! ❤
Have you ever had an experience like that? Please feel free to share it below. 🙂
This story was submitted by one of my readers – it happened in 1989. Here it is in his own words:
It was a Sunday night sometime prior to 7:00 p.m. It was late fall or winter and it was dark outside. I was on my way to a small Assembly of God church located outside of Phoenix, off Interstate 10. At this location the Interstate had four westbound lanes – three for normal traffic flow and one for carpooling.
This particular section of the Interstate (the area between 75th & 79th Avenues) was very unusual for two reasons: first, there was an on-ramp located only a very short distance from an off-ramp – a very small distance between locations where you could enter or exit the Interstate. Second, the off-ramp was located in the median, which required exiting vehicles to use the carpooling lane as the access point for the off-ramp. The net result of this design was that the actual entry point for the on-ramp was extremely close to the exit point for the off-ramp (the distance between 75th and 79th Avenues is only 1/2 mile).
[KW: Based on the photo I found on the internet (below), it looks like the distance on the interstate is even shorter – 1/4 mile, about 1300 feet]
On this particular occasion I was proceeding westerly in the extreme left lane. The carpooling lane was to my left. I had just passed a vehicle in the extreme right westbound lane. Immediately after driving under the 75th Avenue overpass which produced the on-ramp to the Interstate, I noticed that a large semi truck was barreling down the on-ramp. I wasn’t concerned, however, because I was in the far left lane.
The semi came to the Interstate entry point ahead of me. Then for whatever unknown reason, the semi immediately began moving across all of the westbound lanes. When I saw him begin to drift toward me, I didn’t realize that he wasn’t just moving into my lane, he was actually attempting to exit off the 79th Avenue exit ramp in the median area. In a matter of a couple of seconds the semi had blocked the center lane, far left lane and the carpooling lane in something of a diagonal line. I was no more than fifty yards away from the semi, traveling at an Interstate speed – it was directly in front of me, blocking all paths of escape.
When I realized I had nowhere to go, I jammed on the brakes. Too late. I saw the front of my car impacting just behind the front wheel of the semi’s trailer. I was going to slam into that trailer.
Then my field of vision was obscured by what seemed to be a lightweight, almost transparent curtain of grey. All I could see was a sheet of grey; the semi was no longer visible. The next sensation I had was like taking my hands off the steering wheel. In a matter of less than two seconds, it seemed as if my hands returned to the steering wheel. I could once again see what was in front of me – I was still in the left lane. I was just coming out from under the 79th Avenue overpass associated with the median off-ramp and I was calmly driving down the Interstate. I could still see the semi stretched across the Interstate in my rear-view mirror. In a matter of moments, the car which had been in the right lane came alongside me and maintained that position for several seconds, perhaps wondering if I really was the same car that should have smashed into the semi’s trailer. I kept driving and arrived at the church.
I knew God was real a very long time before this event occurred. I do not believe in God because of this experience. But I will say this: If you and your vehicle are ever physically “translated” (a Biblical term used to describe what happened), teleported or “beamed up” (to use a Star Trek expression), you are not going to doubt the existence of God. Believe me. Only God can do what I experienced that night. And I have absolutely no idea why this event occurred in my life. – C.T.
Wow – What a story! I have read of this happening to other people so I believe this is a true story. Imagine if he had hit that semi, it would have looked like this:
C.T. says he doesn’t know why it happened to him. Well I think I have an idea – he was meant to live. Sometimes God intervenes and saves us from physical harm for His own purposes. We don’t understand why it happens exactly but we know there is a reason.
Do you have a story of the supernatural to share? If so, post it below as a comment or send it to me via email as a future guest post. I love to get submissions from my readers! 🙂
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.]
“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?
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?
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.
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
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. 🙂
Rating: Educational, pleasant
I want to tell you a story – it’s the story of a small brown dog. This story illustrates how following the Holy Spirit in the unseen realm can be quite an unexpected adventure! 🙂
Several months ago whenever I walked my dog, I kept getting impressions of a small dog. I have never owned a small dog. Most of my dogs have been medium-sized dogs or larger. I currently had a dog and had no intention of getting a new dog. I didn’t know why I kept getting these impressions or faint images of a small dog in my mind.
I began to notice small dogs in my neighborhood. One day I walked out my front door and there was a woman I had never seen before. She was walking a Shih Tzu. I asked her about her dog – she told me she had rescued it and that she had two other small dogs at home. Then the neighbor down the street lost her Yorkie and came to my house to see if I had seen her dog. She was so worried! I helped her put up posters in the neighborhood and spread the word among the neighbors via text message. Thankfully, someone saw her dog and returned it to her. Crisis averted – all was well.
That summer my dog passed away – he was 14.5 years old. I missed him terribly – he was my fitness partner, always eager to get me up and walking around the neighborhood.
About 3 months later, I suddenly started getting the pictures of the small dog again. This time it was more insistent and I noticed a color – it was a small brown dog. I told my husband about it. We were getting ready to go out of town for the holidays (near Thanksgiving) so he suggested that if we were to get a dog, we should wait until after we got back. I sighed and patiently waited. I wasn’t sure why I kept getting these pictures, but I felt sure they were important and I should do something to respond.
Unfortunately, we both got sick and had to delay our trip. I was starting to feel anxious – I felt sure that there was a small brown dog that needed our help and we needed to find it. As soon as we returned, I started looking for a small brown dog on Petfinder.com. I also looked in the Lost and Found site for pets (a local service). Nothing felt right. We went to two pet adoption events at pet stores (hosted by rescue groups) – lots of nice doggies, but not the dog I sensed needed us.
Finally we decided to try the county shelter. I am very happy to report that all the small dogs were already adopted! What a relief! Yet the search continued.
I began to wonder if it was “just me”. Maybe I wanted a dog and this was just my crazy idea.
Then a friend called and said he needed prayer. He asked if he could meet with my husband and I. We agreed. He came over and while we were waiting on God, the presence of God filled the living room. It was very tangible. The Lord spoke to our friend and it was exactly what he needed to hear. My husband also received a word from the Lord for him – and it lined up with what the Lord had told our friend. While these two men were being “spiritual”, all I got was a larger, clearer picture of a small brown dog! Front and center – the image filled my mind. I took that as a sign that God really was behind this dog search and that He wanted us to find a specific dog who needed us.
The next day we went back to the shelter. Still no dogs that matched my vision. We came home and I laid down to rest. I felt an insistent nudge to go on Craigslist. I am not a fan of Craigslist – there’s a lot of shady things that go on there and you never know who you are dealing with (especially in Miami). But the nudge wouldn’t go away. I did a search and there was a post that caught my eye. I contacted the person by phone.
A woman named Zoey said a casual friend lost her apartment and asked her to keep the dog for a few weeks until she got a new place. She did it as a favor. Then after the friend moved, she didn’t want the dog back. Zoey kept calling; the woman did not answer. Finally she left several messages saying she was selling the dog. After a month of no response from the owner, she posted the dog on Craigslist. Three hours later, I saw the post.
We agreed to meet. The dog was adorable – small, brown and lively. Very loving and well-behaved. We paid her a small re-homing fee. We had found our dog! Both my husband and I KNEW this was the dog we had been searching for.
It didn’t dawn on me until later – the timing factor. The insistent nudges I received that we needed to DO something were just about the same time that Zoey’s “friend” brought her the dog. However, we never would have found her at that time because she wasn’t in need of adoption yet. Then we got sick and our trip was delayed. After we returned, we went on several trips to shelters and adoption events. Finally, when I was ready to give up and began to think I was “crazy”, God sent me a confirmation that it really was HIM and not me. The next day, we found her through an unconventional path – something I never would have thought of to begin with. If we hadn’t gone through all those unsuccessful attempts to find the dog, I probably would have dismissed the idea of searching on Craigslist.
The Lord knows our thoughts and our path. He knows how to direct our steps even when they are not what we would normally do. He’s amazing, isn’t He? I love the adventure. We had so little to go on – a faint vision, an insistent nudge and a feeling that there was something we were supposed to do. A small brown dog needed to be rescued and the Lord cared enough to order our steps so we would find her. I am so glad He did! ❤
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?”
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. 🙂
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!!