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, inspirational
Recently one of my clients told me he wanted to draw closer to God, but didn’t know how. Faith was new to him. He was raised in a home where no one went to church or prayed or anything so he didn’t really know where to start. He asked me for some direction. Here are some thoughts I shared with him.
Developing a spiritual practice that helps you draw closer to God is really important. But you want to make sure it doesn’t become an empty ritual. It needs to be authentic and based on your desire for God. I discovered early on in my spiritual journey that there is one prayer that God answers every time – asking Him to give you the desire to seek Him. When I first started out, I was excited to talk to God. It was new and different. But then over time, I felt my spiritual fervor waning. At first, I was kind of embarrassed. How do you get the desire for God back?
The answer I discovered is this: Admit you lack the desire and ask Him to give it to you. It seems counter-intuitive, but it works. When I ask God to give me the desire to spend time with Him, usually within a day or two it comes. It is not immediate, but it always comes. I’ve done this many times over the years.
So – that’s the first “exercise” I shared with him – ask God for desire. Because without the desire, any spiritual exercise can become an empty ritual.
Then I wrote up a “spiritual exercise” for him. I reached back into my past and tried to remember the first things I was taught that helped me become more closely connected with God. At first, I did these every day as a discipline – whether I felt like it or not. I wanted to teach myself to have a spiritual practice. Then after awhile they became second nature to me. I do them now without even realizing it – they have become part of who I am.
These are in a certain order – do them this way for 30 days. After the practice becomes familiar, you can improvise. 🙂
1. Acknowledge God – Honor who God is and that you need Him, humble yourself.
2. Confess your self-centered ways – Admit to God and yourself the thoughts and decisions you’ve made in the last 24 hours that were self-centered and apart from Him.
3. Ask the Spirit of God to lead you – Ask Him to show you His ways and the right decisions to make.
4. Open the Bible – Ask for inspiration and then read a passage from the Bible.
5. Turn something from what you read into a prayer – Make it personal to your life.
6. Give thanks – Tell God what you are thankful for.
7. Ask for what you need and finish by thanking God in advance for providing what is needed. He loves it when you thank Him ahead of time because it demonstrates your confidence that He is good and trustworthy. (It also gives you hope.)
8. Sing a song to Him – Learn some worship songs or make up one of your own. Rejoice in the goodness of God and His care for you.
This is not a rigid ritual, but more of a practice to teach your heart to turn to the Lord and depend on Him. You will be so glad that you did!
You are dearly loved by God and He is looking forward to talking to you and spending time with you. Did you know that?
So, how about you? Do you have a spiritual practice that you do on a regular basis that helps you to connect with the Lord? Please share it with us!
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! ❤
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 ! ♥
What Is A Soul Tie?
Human relationships can be a little taste of heaven or a little taste of hell, depending on the health of the relationship. Often we experience unhealthy relationships because our soul is trying to get another person to meet our needs. People do meet some of our needs for companionship, comfort, love, etc. But when we look to them as our Source of Love – that’s when it becomes unhealthy.
When we become intimate with someone – whether emotionally or physically – we build a bond with that person. We draw strength from the connection. This is what forms the foundation for family and a sense of belonging in a home or community. Some refer to this bond as a soul tie.
There are healthy soul ties and unhealthy soul ties. A healthy soul tie enhances your life – it makes you a better person, it provides strength and support for you to become all that you can be. You might see this kind of healthy soul tie between a husband and wife or between a parent and child.
Unhealthy soul ties have a negative effect on your life. You feel tied to someone in a way that sometimes pulls you down or holds you back. At one point in your life, the soul tie might have been a source of strength, but now it is not. Often this happens when a child grows up and the parents (or the child) have a hard time letting go. The child wants to move on with their life, but they feel a tug or pull to stay close to mom or dad. This can happen even if the person is no longer living – their memory or their desires for your life can still pull on your heart in an unhealthy way.
Another common unhealthy soul tie is with a person with whom you had a past intimate relationship. This could be an old boyfriend or girlfriend, a past roommate or even a best friend. Someone that you spent a lot of time with and shared your life with – especially if you were physically intimate with this person – there’s a good chance you have a soul tie with them. If the relationship is over, but you still have a reaction whenever you hear their name or you still dwell on memories of them, it is likely there is an unhealthy soul tie there. Some part of you is still connected with them and it may be holding you back from fully enjoying your life now.
Here are some common symptoms of an unhealthy soul tie:
- You feel emotionally tied to the other person even when you do not want to be.
- You can’t stop thinking about the person even though the relationship is over.
- You have an emotional reaction that is unpleasant when someone mentions their name or if you run into the other person unexpectedly.
- You feel like you can’t move on with your life; you feel tied to the past with the other person.
Can you have both an unhealthy soul tie and a healthy soul tie with the same person? Yes, you can. Breaking the unhealthy soul tie can bring freedom to the relationship so that it becomes stronger and healthier for both of you.
Some of the benefits of breaking an unhealthy soul tie are:
- You experience inner peace (instead of turmoil over what they may think about you).
- You feel free to express who you really are.
- You can make decisions that are best for you, without the pressure to conform to someone else’s expectations.
- You are able to move on with your life (if the relationship is over).
Forgiveness is an important part of breaking an unhealthy soul tie. If you are holding a grudge against someone, it ties you to them emotionally. Forgive them from your heart and let it go. Then you can break the unhealthy soul tie. If you try to break the soul tie, but you don’t forgive them, you won’t be able to break the power they have over your life. You’ll still feel connected to them, even if that person is someone you’d rather forget. If you need help choosing to forgive (you know you need to, but you are having trouble), here’s a helpful article.
How to Break a Human Soul Tie
When you are ready to break an unhealthy soul tie, here’s how you do it. Say these things OUT LOUD.
1. Forgive them: “I forgive _(name)_. I release him/her from the harm he/she caused me. I let it go.”
2. Break the tie: “I break the unhealthy soul tie between me and __(name)___. I send back any part of their soul that I have kept and I take back to myself any part of me that they kept. God, please wash me of this connection and restore my connection with You in this area of my soul.”
Excerpt from Freedom through Forgiveness: The Power of Forgiveness Can Change Your Life, Second Edition © 2012. Reprinted with the author’s permission.
Learn to be familiar with the realm of the Spirit.
Learn to be familiar with this realm that you came from.
Learn to be familiar with the supernatural
‘Cause heaven … Heaven is movin’ in.
Don’t be surprised when you have angelic encounters.
Don’t be surprised if you should see the living creatures.
Oh, learn to be familiar with the realm of the Spirit.
Oh, learn to be familiar with this realm that you came from.
Song: Heaven is Movin’ In, Messengers of Fire album by Joann McFatter, Steve Mitchell and Steve Swanson
This album is AMAZING!!! When I play it, I literally feel the “shift” in my living room. I wish this song was on YouTube – I’d give you the link so you could feel it yourself. The album was recorded live at a worship conference – wow, you can really get a taste for what the participants at that conference must have experienced. It is off the charts!
This is my favorite song from the album – it just resonates with me. The entire album is worth every penny. You can download it from JoAnn McFatter’s site here: http://joannmcfatter.com/messengers-of-fire/
Here’s the CD description: Recorded at the Deep Unto Deep worship weekend at Suncoast Worship Center, “Messengers of Fire” captures a visitation from the King. The Lord revealed His heart and His will in a fresh way. This unique CD features a totally spontaneous journey into undiscovered territory. Listen as you hear the King arriving with His heavenly procession. Hear angelic hosts entering the room with an impartation of holy fire! The whole church was caught up in a swirl of glory as He “branded” us with His fire and called us His own! This CD takes you on a journey into the Throne Room and into heavenly realms of God’s Glory! Released 2003
It’s one of those CDs that goes from one song to another without a gap or break between songs. It’s an “experience” – not just a music CD.
Here’s how the song continues – it will raise goose bumps on your arm.
(Marching music begins to build in the background)
Heaven is movin’ in, heaven is movin’ in, heaven is movin’ in
Movin’ in, movin’ in, movin’ in, NOW!
Coming down the mountain – angelic hosts,
Step by step, step by step, step by step – holy invasion!
Coming down, coming down, coming down,
Convergence – supernatural invading the natural!
Heaven is movin’ in, movin’ in, movin’ in,
Following the Captain of the Hosts,
Following divine orders:
Release, release, release!
Time is running out, time is running out, time is running out, time is running out,
time is running out, time is running out, time is running out, time is running out,
time is running out, time is running out, time is running out, time is running out,
time is running out, time is running out, time is running out.
(it flows into the next track, “Contact”)
Watchmen on the walls, what do you see?
Watchmen on the walls, what do you hear?
I hear the sound of a distant thunder; I hear the sound of a distant thunder.
Watchmen, O Watchmen,
Watchmen, O Watchmen,
Keep your eyes, keep your eyes, keep your eyes and your ears open.
Watchmen, O Watchmen,
Keep your eyes and your ears open to the call, open to the call of the Spirit.
The time is near, the time is at hand!
The Day of the Lord – The Day of the Lord is at hand!
Are you ready for the holy invasion? How exciting! The Day of the Lord is a fearful thing if you are not ready – both for “believers” and those that don’t believe. It’s time to seek the Lord and pay attention to what your heart is telling you.
I’m think I’m ready. Are you?
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! ♥
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.