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Soaking in God’s Presence

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.

warm bath

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

Happy relaxed woman resting on a couch at home with arms in the head

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. 🙂

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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.

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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! ♥

Cultivating Closeness

I have been feeling drawn … closer. Closer to God, closer to an awareness of His nearness. I feel a greater need to “pay attention” to God’s Spirit, follow more closely, don’t get distracted.

It is SO easy to get distracted in this digital world – so much vies for our attention. There’s so much “mental noise” trying to drown out the still, small voice of the Lord.

However, I sense that there is coming a time when those who can follow closely will be dearly needed – and they will be few and far between. I remember hearing stories of the USSR when it was under communist rule. The Christians had to follow the Holy Spirit very closely. They were not allowed to meet in a church or in a public place to worship. They became the underground church. They would meet secretly in people’s homes to worship and pray together. They did not send out invitations – that would have been dangerous. Instead they listened to the Holy Spirit. I remember hearing the stories how people would individually feel drawn to a specific person’s house. When they arrived, they would find others who had been drawn. Throughout the evening, people would arrive one by one. No one had “called” a meeting – the Holy Spirit led them. This way the secret police could never discover their plans … because they HAD NO PLANS. It was too dangerous to plan a gathering. Once they arrived, they worshipped, prayed and enjoyed God’s presence together.

I hope things don’t get as bad as they once were in the USSR. But there may be other situations where being sensitive to His leading will be life saving. I want to be ready. Now is the time to be “practicing” so that when the time comes when you are dearly needed, you will be ready.

Press in!

 

born-for-such-a-time-dolores-develde

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

You asked to know ahead of time ….

Rating: Educational

This is funny. Ironic really. So many times I have heard people groan in frustration, “I just wish I knew what was coming! I wish I knew what the next step was or what to expect! I feel so frustrated not knowing what to do next. Aargh!”

When we follow the leading of the Spirit, or try to listen to our intuition to guide us, it often feels that way. We are listening, stretching our inner being, waiting for a signal, a sign, something to help us find our way. We often have no idea what to expect. We just keep plodding along, step by step, hoping there’s some direction in the seemingly randomness of our life experiences.

In fact, I’ve heard people reply to this frustration with, “God doesn’t tell you ahead of time what is coming because if you knew, you’d run the other way!”

Or others have said of themselves, “I’m glad I don’t know ahead of time because if I did I’d run ahead and probably mess it up.”

Lots of rationalizations to help us deal with the frustration.

However, I have always wished I knew what was coming ahead of time. I’m sure I’ve asked that question a million times, “What’s next, Lord?” And I’ve expressed my share of frustration over this issue.

Well, guess what? Now, I’ve experienced the flip side of this and it is just as frustrating. Let me explain.

For several weeks now I have felt this inner nudging that I need to call a certain person. I wrote it down as a note to myself. I rehearsed the dialog in my mind – what am I going to say? What do I need to tell them? How will they respond? I’ve done this several times over the last few weeks.

And yet, I cannot find it within myself to make that call. I don’t know why.

I’ve wrestled with – Why can’t I call them? It’s not a big deal. They are a friendly sort of person. I haven’t talked to them in awhile, but that’s not a big deal. The conversation should be pleasant.

Funny, isn’t it?

And then this morning, it dawned on me. It’s not time yet! I don’t know how I knew this, I just “knew”. I felt it inside. I AM supposed to call this person, but just not yet. That’s why I can’t seem to make myself do it. It seemed completely irrational, yet now I understand.

So, to me this is rather ironic. We often wish we knew what the next step was on our path and we get frustrated waiting and wondering what’s next. And yet, when I received the next step ahead of time, it was frustrating for me. I didn’t realize that it wasn’t time yet. I felt this nudge to do it, but I didn’t have the means to accomplish it.

Great insight. Now, I know. If you get a sense of direction, but you feel blocked, then just wait for the right timing.

It’s funny because yesterday when I was trying to figure out what to do next, I literally felt an arm holding me back. It felt like when you are kid and your parent puts an arm across the top of your chest from behind, holding you from going forward. It puzzled me. I felt safe, but I couldn’t move forward. Now, I’m beginning to understand.

Finding your way in the unseen realm is uncertain because you can’t SEE anything. I go mainly by feeling things (i.e. peace or no peace). Sometimes I get an inner “knowing”. Rarely do I get a “sign” or something that’s real obvious. And yet, looking back, things seem to be orchestrated beautifully.

Well, I learned my lesson today. It might help others, so I decided to post it. I’m beginning to get the idea that some things are orchestrated for us and other things are up to us. Wisdom is figuring out which is which. 🙂

Feel free to comment – What are your thoughts on getting direction?

What is Respondability?

Rating: Inspirational

I am making up a new word: Respondability

Let me explain.

God keeps showing me, impressing on my thoughts, this idea that we need to pay attention to how we respond when He tries to get our attention. Are we responding?

If you want to develop a relationship with someone, then when they call you, you want to take their call. You respond to their desire to connect with you.

In the same way, God reaches out to us every day. You feel a nudge in your heart. Or your eyes are drawn to something specific that makes you smile (or causes you concern). You feel this tug of love toward someone or you spontaneously feel like smiling at a neighbor who is walking by. These are examples of His desire to connect with us. Sometimes He draws you to spend time in prayer or worship or meditation on His beautiful creation. Sometimes you feel the nudge to just sit still and BE. There’s so many ways He reaches out to us.

Some might refer to this as intuition and that would be right, but it is much more personal than just intuition. At least, it is for me. It is God inviting me into relationship with Him.

He has been encouraging me that when we respond to His nudges, His direction, His drawing, then He will take care of what we generally consider our “responsibilities”. We can rest in Him. Just like a little child with a good, caring father. We don’t have to have it all figured out. We can ask for help and He will respond and help us. For more on this, read this post about asking for help.

He keeps telling me, impressing on my mind and heart, that life is more about our “respondability” than our “responsibility”. Our ability to respond to Him, no matter what. That takes time and cultivation. If you are not used to recognizing His nudges and direction, you need to take time to learn to perceive them. Once you begin to perceive them, you need to respond to them. Follow them and see where they go. At some point, you need to transfer your trust from your own “common sense” to following His direction effortlessly. Stop second guessing yourself and just go with His flow. It never ceases to amaze me how things work out so much better when I do this.

We focus so much on our “responsibilities” as adults. There’s so much we have to keep track of – doctors appointments, car tune ups, household chores, career development, parenting, marriage issues, friendships, etc. It boggles the mind. And overwhelms us … and causes us stress.

However, if we will let go of our sense of “responsibilities” and instead choose to develop our “respondability”, He can guide us moment-by-moment, day-by-day. All our responsibilities will get taken care of as we respond to Him and His guidance.

Pretty “out-there”, huh?

It takes a lot of practice – this “following” thing. We are so hard-headed and stubborn and unwilling to trust someone we cannot see. But as we choose to deny ourselves and actually FOLLOW Him, it works. It really does. And it’s a lot less stressful than the other option.

So, what do you think? Should I submit this word to Merriam-Webster? Maybe create a YouTube video about it, make it go viral and then everyone will start using this word? 🙂

The concept behind it is definitely worth sharing. Try it out and let me know how it works for you. I think you’ll be glad you did!

Spiritual Senses – Which one is your strongest?

Rating: Educational

When I began to perceive the spiritual realm, I wasn’t really sure how I “knew” the things I knew. Part of me was convinced that when I sensed something that it was really there and part of me tried to rationalize away the feeling and just dismiss it. We have all probably experienced that.

I learned from Arthur Burk in his series, Nurturing the Spirit, that our soul tends to rationalize away the impressions we get in our spirit because they don’t necessarily make logical sense. For instance, when I was a child and I sensed that there was something scary lurking at the end of the hall or under my bed, my natural eyes could turn on the light and see that there’s nothing there in the visible realm. “See, you’re just making things up!” my mind would tell me. Or as most children are told by adults, “There’s no boogey-man under the bed or in the closet. See?” They open the closet and look under the bed just to convince you. But as soon as they leave, what do you believe if you can still “feel” them in the room? Does it mean you are crazy?

Anyway, during my studies of trying to figure out how this “sensing” the unseen realm stuff works, I came across a book. I can’t recall the title, but the concept has stayed with me. The author suggested that since we have 5 senses in our physical body, perhaps we have 5 senses in our spiritual body. Since that time, I have met people who have experienced the unseen realm through their spiritual senses: sight, hearing, touch, smell or taste. Then there’s that “sixth sense” where you just have an inner knowing, but you can’t exactly explain why. Either your senses are picking something up and your brain comes to a conclusion so quickly that you are not conscious of it or perhaps the Holy Spirit gives you the information through a word of knowledge. Somehow you just know.

Some people who “see” in the spirit say they can see the unseen realm with their natural eyes just like they would look at you or me. Blake Healy in his book, The Veil, describes his sight that way. For me, I “see” things in my mind while my natural eyes are looking at the location where I sense a presence. It’s like I’m seeing in my mind the exact same picture I see with my natural eyes except there is an added element there, such as an angel. I learned this (or was strengthened in it) through Gary Oates’ teaching called “Open My Eyes, Lord”. Both of these materials are listed on the Resources tab above. In Blake’s book, he says he encourages people to increase their perception through whatever way they normally use to “hear” from God. Is it through pictures in their mind or a feeling or hearing words in their thoughts? Whichever way God speaks to them is a sense they have learned to trust, so he says that’s a good place to start when learning to sense the unseen realm. His book has exercises to help you “practice”.

I don’t often hear things, but I have met people who do. Touch is the one I guess I relate to the most – I “feel” things often, everywhere I go. I am also very sensitive to the presence of the Lord and often “feel” His presence. Taste and smell are the most unusual ones – not too many people mention these. I have smelled anointing oil in a service that was thick with the Presence of the Holy Spirit. I have read of people who get a bad “taste” in their mouth when certain demonic spirits are nearby. I’ve never experienced that one, have you?

One other thing I realized recently – I think we sense things differently in our spirit versus in our soul. For instance, my soul can easily detect anything that is evil or unclean. And it usually freaks me out – my soul doesn’t know what to do with the information. However, my spirit does know what to do – so I have to remember to consciously choose to connect with my spirit and then use my authority to remove anything evil that’s bothering me (in my home or near me in a public place).

I also have very sensitive discernment when it comes to dealing with people. That’s a gift in my spirit. When I look in someone’s eyes, 9 times out of 10 I can see their soul. My gift is emotional healing so I see clearly their soul wounds. I can often also see their gifting or original design from the Father. Sometimes I can also discern if there are evil spirits oppressing the person. As you can imagine, I have to be very cautious not to reveal all this information on my face when I’m introduced to someone I’ve never met. I get it all pretty quickly. Being in a party full of people can sometimes be pretty overwhelming to my senses, receiving all this information at once.

So, how do you sense the unseen realm? As I shared on another post, what helped me was finding someone who sensed things using a different method than I did. We would go places and share what we were each aware of. By comparing notes, we grew exponentially both in confidence and in accuracy in being able to identify what we were experiencing. So if you naturally “see” in the unseen realm, go find someone who “feels” and vice versa. You’ll be glad you did.