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Talking to the Spirit – Is It Okay?

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?

My response:

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.]

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Breaking Curses – Lee’s story

Rating: Educational, creepy, strange

Lee lakeside view4

Photo taken from Lee’s bedroom window – yes, we live in Paradise. 🙂

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:

Spiritual Protection from Dark Forces & Evil Spirits

Spiritual Cleansing: Taking a Spiritual Shower Each Day

The Veil Is Getting Thinner

Door to heaven

Rating: Educational

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.
heavens embrace

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. 🙂

portal JPG

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.

staircase to heaven

♥ JESUS IS LORD ! ♥

How I Met God ♥

Cross

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

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

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

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

Chapel type service

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Me, 1980-81

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Listen heart2

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

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

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

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

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

God bless you today! ♥

The chapel today

“Give Me back My stuff!” Jesus said

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:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-dBioGxk0E&feature=youtu.be

 

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!!

Holy Ghost Movie – FREE until Monday night (9/8/2014)

Holy Ghost premiere

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.

Enjoy!

Relationship Brings LIFE

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.

Rolland-Heidi-Baker

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

Book Review: The Path by Rick Joyner – Worth reading!

Amazon book cover image

The Path: Fire on the Mountain, Book One by Rick Joyner

Amazon link

Wow! I LOVED this book. It was so incredibly refreshing to me. So many books I read are just the same stuff, in a slightly different format or from a different author’s perspective.

THIS IS FRESH!

When I was in college, I used to take notes if a book was good. I haven’t done that in many, many years. I took 12 pages of notes on this little book of 200 pages. That should tell you something.

Normally, I like to highlight in a book when something “speaks” to me. This was different. I wanted to write down the statements or concepts that really jumped out at me. I wanted to be able to meditate on them later and share them with others. That’s why I ended up with 12 pages of notes. Then I typed them into my computer for safekeeping because who keeps handwritten notes anymore? And how will I find them when I am looking for them next year? 🙂

Anyway, I’ll give you a synopsis of the book and then some special highlights that I liked. The story is written like an allegory or a parable. There’s no introduction explaining whether this is fiction or whether Rick Joyner experienced this story as a vision. In the Final Quest series (which this book mimics), he said in the intro that those books came as a series of visions he received from the Lord. But this book is silent as to the source. Was it a vision or did Rick write it in story form to illustrate the truths he wanted to convey? No idea. But either way, it’s pretty well written as a story.

It starts with the main character trudging through a dreary wilderness thinking that every step will be his last. He comes across of pool of living water. He drinks some water and suddenly his senses are sharp and clear, he feels rejuvenated and “alive” like he hasn’t felt in years. A man comes and speaks to him. His dialog with this man continues throughout the book and he later refers to him as Elijah, as in the prophet Elijah from the Old Testament of the Bible. Later he also meets someone referred to as Enoch, as in “Enoch walked with God and he was not, for God took him.” (Genesis 5:24, The Bible).

Elijah tells him to follow him. They walk for a while and arrive on a beach with a large cruise ship in the water nearby. There are a group of people who ask the main character to lead them through the wilderness. He agrees and off they go. The rest of the book is the story of their journey through the wilderness & their interaction with Elijah and Enoch.

The story line is meant to convey not only their journey, but the spiritual truths they need to “stay on the right path” in following the Lord. The story focuses mostly on their conversations along the way. There are a few areas of tension in the story – they run into lions a few times and then later there is possible division brewing in the group and they have to resolve that. Other than that, it’s mainly a lot of dialog meant to convey spiritual truths.

What I loved about it was that many of the truths presented are not your typical “Sunday school curriculum”. They are MUCH DEEPER than that. They are things I have discovered in my own walk with God, but have rarely if ever heard anyone talk about. I appreciated that Rick was willing to go out on a limb and deal with some tough issues that most people in the Christian faith ignore or deny. He did it in a respectful manner, but he was direct and firm. I like that. I am hoping that since Rick is well-known in the Christian world his book will be read by many. Perhaps it will inspire others to take the trek into the wilderness of true intimacy with Christ.

Here are some quotes or concepts from the book that impacted me – I hope something here will inspire you as well.

In general, leaders have given themselves to building organizations more than building PEOPLE. Great saints are becoming rare. (p. 9)

Your guidance must come from your heart, your spirit. You must see with the eyes of your heart more clearly than you see with your natural eyes or you will not stay on the right path. (p. 13)

You must drink from the living water as soon as you begin to thirst. Even drink when you are not thirsty. Staying close to it will keep you alive and on the path. When you are on the right path, it will always be close to you, so find it, drink it often and never go far from it. This is the MOST BASIC LESSON!     (p. 8 & 13)

People are being led to the things of the Lord, but not to the Lord Himself. Many are lukewarm because they have so many distractions. Others are lukewarm because they are worn out from all the hype. Those who repent will be given the grace to change. (p. 19)

It is not just love or just power, but it is the power of love you must have. (p. 25)

To get the full benefit of the wilderness, you need to experience it with others. The purpose of the wilderness is to forge “koinonia”, a bonding together into a single unit that is inseparable, like a human body is inseparable. We will perish in the wilderness without it. It is forged by experience in the wilderness together. It is formed through love for Jesus that causes us to treat each other as we would treat Him (with respect). We must have koinonia for the life of Christ to flow through His body (like blood flowing through a human body). We need each other. I (the leader) may need you more than you need me. Those who have never tasted of this fellowship cannot understand it. To experience His glory and presence together is the greatest bond of all. (p. 52-55, 61, 69)

On this path, we earn to live in two worlds – spiritual and natural. The two worlds were meant to be connected by man. To live in both worlds is the natural state of man. Man is both spirit and flesh. The more you can do this, the more you will become who you were created to be. (p. 66)

We must not allow fear to control us, guide us or influence our decisions. Every day that we stay on course, resisting fear, we will become stronger in the Lord. There are many paths and almost all are very inviting. There is no formula – we follow a Person, not a formula. The right path seems to look harder and may be harder for a time. It is NOT the most inviting. We must have faith to see it, follow the Lord and not our own reasoning. The wrong path looks easier, tempts you to escape your difficulties. It leads to entanglements that few ever get free of. (p. 67-68)

If you see the Lion who lives in you, you will not be afraid of anything else. (p. 79)

The life of a disciple is to be taught by the Master (Jesus).  The Lord has a special delight in teaching His people. God does not hide things from us, He hides them FOR us. I learned to hear the Word Himself through whomever He chose to speak or by whatever means. (p. 85-86)

Self-focus and self-centeredness are the nature of the immature. It is hard to find those who care about the deeper things of the Lord. Of those who DO care, few are able to resist worldly distractions to actually pursue a deeper relationship with the Lord – to be taught by Him. (p. 92)

For a truth to become life, it must be applied to our life. As you live what you learn, your words will have the power of life. You will not just teach the truth, but you will impart a love for the truth when it is your life. (p. 93, 102)

There is a lot of teaching today that keeps people self-centered rather than Christ-centered. This keeps them in immaturity. You must come to know the Teacher’s voice, regardless of how He speaks or who He speaks through. You must also learn to obey Him. To obey Him almost always requires risk and disregard for self-interest. When you seek the interests of Christ, then your own selfish interests will begin to seem as small and petty as they really are. (p. 94)

Seal these three things in your heart – to know His voice, to do His will and to abide in Him. These will keep you and they will lead you to the kingdom. (p. 97)

The result of experiencing the manifest presence of God is an insatiable desire for more of Him and a special fellowship (koinonia) with all who experience it. (p. 107)

Many people gave their lives to Christ but were then taught to follow people, movements or certain doctrines and were never led to Him. This leads to disappointment and a shallow, frustrating  life – not the abundant life He promises. (p. 120)

We must get so close to Him that we are following HIM, not just principles. We often miss Him because we are looking for Him as we expect Him to be, rather than as He is. (p. 123, 147)

We cannot think of ourselves as better than others, but as servants of those who may not have had our experiences. Do not become proud of the grace you have been given! (p. 149)

The main purpose of the true church is to BE the temple – so we should look for the presence of the Lord. The way we find the true church is not by looking for a church, but by looking for the Lord. It is one thing to be in a place with good teaching, worship and ministry. It is something else when He is the true focus of attention. (p. 152)

Nothing else on earth can ever satisfy you like being in the manifest presence of the Lord. Because we were created to have fellowship with God, this is the deepest yearning of the human heart and nothing else can ever compare to it. (p. 160)

Thank you, Rick Joyner, for writing this book. It was like water in the desert to this thirsty soul. I am so eager for more people to “get” this – to realize that it’s all about HIM! Our focus is not supposed to be on church attendance, programs, good sermons, etc. There is no formula or principles – it’s about following a Person: JESUS. I wish, oh how I wish, more churches would focus on the manifest presence of the Lord because that is what we need more than anything. Why don’t more leaders realize that? Why is there such a drought of the manifest presence of God in our meetings and why doesn’t anyone say anything? It’s like the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes – everyone was afraid to tell the Emperor that he was naked. It’s time for something to change. I hope this new book can start a movement of believers who are not willing to settle for the same old thing in church anymore. We need HIM and only HIM.

Here’s the link to Amazon – you can preview some of the chapters before purchasing the book, if you like.

If you’re interested in the Final Quest series, here is a link to the Final Quest, Book One – free PDF online. Sometimes authors release the first book for free so that you (the reader) can decide whether the series is for you. This one is definitely worth reading. 🙂

You can also purchase the entire Final Quest series on Amazon – Amazon link

Look for Him – He’s right there ♥

“He meant us to see Him and live with Him and draw our life from His smile.” – A. W Tozer, The Pursuit of God, Chapter 3

I read this back in 1990 and was blown away. My heart “knew” this statement was true, but I didn’t know anyone who knew God like this. Not a soul. At the time, I was surrounded by the most on-fire Christians I could find. I had just spent two years in Bible College with a bunch of radical students who wanted nothing more than to give their lives for Jesus, going anywhere He wanted them to go. Then I joined a youth organization known for its mission work around the globe. I had just arrived at a new base that was birthed out of one man’s passion to see revival brought to America.

Yet this simple statement seemed incredulous to me. If this was true, if this man experienced God that way, then why didn’t I know anyone else who had? If this was possible, why oh why, didn’t everyone walk with God like this?!

I became determined that THIS would be my life. That I would “find” God like this as though my life depended on it. Because in my heart, I knew it did.

“To have found God and still to pursue Him is the soul’s paradox of love, scorned indeed by the too-easily- satisfied religionist, but justified in happy experience by the children of the burning heart.” – A. W Tozer, The Pursuit of God, Chapter 1

The “children of the burning heart” – that described me perfectly.

& & & & & & & & & & & & & & & &

I am happy to say that NOW – I do experience life with Him like that. I DO see Him, live with Him and draw my life from His smile…  Every. Single. Day. It really IS possible – even for you. Peter, one of the followers of Jesus said, “God is no respecter of persons” (Acts 10:34, The Bible). That means ANYONE can come to Him and “see” Him. Whosoever will … may come to Him because He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6, The Bible).

So, what does that mean? Elsewhere I have written about the 5 senses we have in our spirit or soul. We can use these 5 (or 6) senses to interact with Him, to “see” Him in our daily experience. Jesus used these senses. Here’s some examples:

“Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.” (John 5:19, The Bible)

“When He saw their faith, He said to him, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” (Luke 5:20, The Bible)

“I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.” (John 5:30, The Bible)

“And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, He answered and said to them, “Why are you reasoning in your hearts? Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise up and walk’?” (Luke 5:21-23, The Bible)

“Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.” (Matthew 4:11, The Bible)

Jesus not only interacted with God in the unseen realm, He also interacted with the devil and with angels. And he could perceive other people’s thoughts. He showed us what was possible as a son or daughter of God.

It’s not “out there” – it’s right here, in our midst.

“A spiritual kingdom lies all about us, enclosing us, embracing us, altogether within reach of our inner selves, waiting for us to recognize it. God Himself is here waiting our response to His Presence. This eternal world will come alive to us the moment we begin to reckon upon its reality.” – A. W Tozer, The Pursuit of God, Chapter 4

Wow! What a statement. This spiritual kingdom is “within reach of our inner selves” – that means we don’t use our outer 5 senses to perceive it. We use our “inner” 5 (or 6) senses. It is “waiting for us to recognize it” and “God Himself is here waiting” – doesn’t that make you want to stop what you are doing and look for it? It makes me excited just thinking about it.

We can actually learn to interact with the unseen realm on a daily basis. I’ve proven it in my own life by actually DOING it. I love that last line above “This eternal world will come alive to us the moment we begin to reckon upon its reality”. So very, very true. The first step is to “reckon upon its reality” – admit that it exists. Choose to believe what our natural eyes and ears cannot see or hear. That’s the first step – FAITH.

But this is not “blind” faith, meaning that you just believe with no proof whatsoever. I promise you, that if you will step out and “reckon upon its reality”, you will get plenty of proof – over and over and over. I experience this every day. Jesus experienced it in His lifetime on earth. YOU can experience it too.

Just step out .. play the “what if” game. What if that spiritual kingdom really was all around me? What if God is real and He can speak to me? What if I really do have the capacity to live with Him and draw my life from His smile? What if it’s really real?

One of my friends started using this catchphrase “The Kindgom is Real!” Whenever we encountered the unseen realm and chose to believe, we were rewarded (remember He rewards those who diligently seek Him?). Then she would say, “The Kindgom is Real!” Saying something out loud repeatedly helps your cynical mind accept reality. It grounds it in your experience.

“So, how do I do this?” you may be asking. The first step is to believe you CAN do it. That God is eagerly waiting for you to find Him.

Then set aside time every day, throughout your day, to pay attention. Ask God to reveal Himself to you and then notice what happens. Spend time sitting quietly, focusing on the fact that there IS a spiritual kingdom all around you. Look around in nature and see the beauty of God reflected in His creation. Thank Him for that beauty and ask Him to open your eyes to see more.

We all have these spiritual senses – it’s part of who we are as human beings. What I’ve learned is that the more you pay attention to something, the more it grows. The more I choose to stop and focus on the fact that God is with me right now, the more aware I become of Him. It becomes a habit, a pattern, a familiar experience – in short, it becomes “normal” to feel God’s presence. The more you do it, the more natural it feels.

One word of caution – God rewards those who diligently seek HIM. I have seen people get into some pretty weird stuff when they tried to seek other spiritual phenomenon – like communicating with angels, seeking a spirit guide or contacting the dead. Don’t go there – it’s dangerous. It starts to mess with your mind in a way that’s hard for you to perceive, but everyone else can see it. It muddies your thinking – that’s the best way I can describe it. Stick to seeking GOD in this unseen realm and everything else will fall into place. God is what your heart is longing for – trust me. When you find HIM, you find everything you’ve ever been looking for.

“…in Him we shall find that for which we have all our lives been secretly longing.” – A. W Tozer, The Pursuit of God, Chapter 1

Please feel free to share your story of seeing God or experiencing Him and His kingdom. I love to hear “God stories” – you can post it below, if you’d like.

A.W. Tozer’s book online – Free  🙂  Read it – your heart will thank you! ♥

Living in the Manifest Presence of God

Rating: Inspirational

Abraham said, “The Lord, in Whose presence I walk …” [Genesis 24:40]
“There’s a difference between living in the Omnipresence of God and living in the Manifest Presence of God.” – Alyn Jones, Grace Center, Franklin, TN

We all live in the Omnipresence of God – God is everywhere. We can acknowledge that and live in that knowledge.

But there is a place of living in the Manifest Presence of God – where you KNOW HE IS THERE, right there where you are. You are tangibly aware of His presence. It’s amazing – it’s life-giving, it’s comforting, it’s fullness of joy.

You can know this place – you can walk with God like this. It’s not impossible. Truly.

Walk with Him and obey Him. What is He telling YOU to do? Do that. Just that and nothing else. Don’t try to EARN your way into His Manifest Presence. Just obey with all your heart the last thing He told you to do. Be faithful.

Cultivate an awareness of His Presence. I’ve spent my life chasing after Him and I am happy to report that I now live in His Manifest Presence. Every day. Every morning I wake up aware of His Presence. If I wake up feeling foggy, then I speak to Him until my mind clears and I am again aware of His presence. I don’t leave my bed until I do.

Just do it – you won’t regret it. Make yourself aware of His Presence. Talk to Him as though He is really RIGHT THERE with you. Because He is. You just don’t realize it. 🙂

“Our believing produces our receiving.” – Alyn Jones

Can you imagine what it would look like to live in God’s Manifest Presence 24/7? Imagine the peace of knowing all your steps are ordered – never feeling rushed or worried. Being sure that all that you need will be provided when you need it – just like the sparrows.

Can you believe and can you trust enough to actually receive this in your heart?

That is the question.

IMMERSED LLee
“Immersed” by Linda Lee