STRIPPED OF SELF - CLOTHED WITH GOD'S SPIRITUAL TRUTH

Jesus Did It!

By: Lorne McPherson

The following testimony is Lorne's journey in search of spiritual enlightenment.  It is longer than many on the Precious Testimonies website, but well worth taking the time to read - especially if YOU too are seeking for spiritual englightenment and spiritual truth  - Norm Rasmussen, Director


Everyone has their story to tell and this is mine. I’ve never talked about it before because I know how people can be. It’s taken a lot of courage that’s not my own to do it. But all that I’ve written is true, whether you believe it or not is up to you. All I ask is that you keep an open mind. Some names have been changed to protect certain individuals.

HOW IT ALL BEGAN

I grew up in a secular environment after my mother decided to quit Sunday school as a teenager and got a boyfriend instead. He turned out to be my father, and Church or anything else to do with religion took a back seat in our household. Even though this was the case I believed in ghosts because we encountered them on numerous occasions.

I sort solace in creative outlets – mainly the arts. I loved films, but stayed away from horrors as I knew to well that these things could happen. Ironically my mother loved them and would stay up all hours watching them with one of my brothers. I also devoured books of which we had plenty, mainly on new age phenomenon and biographies of famous people. That said, there was always a bible kept in the house and it sat amongst the other books collecting dust like it was part of the furniture.

Once my parents divorced, there seemed to be turmoil on every corner. Even though I was an active child this affected me very much; maybe because I was the eldest and understood more of what was going on. I vowed never to get married or have children of my own.

RUNNING WILD

Leaving home for me was like ice cold water on the face. After a spell of homelessness and a friend’s father rescuing me from my plight, I took to life with a vengeance, vowing to see the world and got a job as an airline hostess. I worked hard, partied harder and lived fast. There wasn’t a party around that I didn’t know about; I was the go-to-girl for info. As I burned my way through life I didn’t give a thought to anything else; it was just one big cycle. I had this wanderlust spirit and in a short space of time I must’ve moved about five times and changed numerous jobs. It was great for the variety I craved and taught me many skills, but something was missing. Each time I hoped that this move or that job would settle my lack of direction or fill the emptiness in my heart. This time I hoped this is what I’d been searching for.

I was a go-getter, almost reckless in my pursuit. This sudden passion for life came about after watching people I loved die at a very young age, reminding me that we are not invincible. I grabbed life and ran with it, but in no particular direction.  I went off the rails having destructive and abusive so-called friendships, getting in with the wrong crowd doing things I shouldn’t be doing with no regard for myself. People always show you who they are when you first meet them. And then somewhere down the line, the communication gets skewered and the rose tinted glasses gets put on.  I did things I’m not proud of and when I finally decided to listen to my conscience, the burden of the ill I’d done and the pain I’d caused was high. I was constantly looking for external things to prop me up.  The more I chased them, the more disillusioned I became and a slave to whatever it was. Allowing myself to be conditioned by a society lacking in morals, something had to give, and that was the first to go.

I looked to others and things for my self-worth – others that didn’t care less about my well-being or me. But that suited me just fine, because neither did I at the time. I allowed them to use me just so I could keep their friendship and be waltzed around the glitzy parts of town. Their lives seemed so exciting, so different from the one I’d known. I was dazzled by the lights.

Holding on to this was more important to me than my wellbeing. Deep down I knew I was using them too. Without them I would’ve been confined to the nothingness of everyday life. With them I got waltzed into a shallow shiny fairy tale, with private parties, premieres and swish hotels, flutes of champagne, and, the A- to-C list of celebrities.

People treat you how you allow them to treat you. I bought into all the sexy images in the press; I didn’t think I could get a man unless I looked like the woman in a magazine. The perfect woman with the right sized breasts, colour and weight. I couldn’t believe someone could accept me for me. I had to live in the best areas in this fake life; with fake hair, fake nails, fake friends and most of all a fake me. I was not the bona-fide unique creation that God created me to be – all because I wanted to fit in and keep up with ‘the Joneses.’ In my case the privately educated girls with trust funds, some of which got whittled away by a greedy family member who knew the loop holes in the law, making them have to work for a living. The majority of them were groomed by their families to marry wealthy husbands. The first thing they would check was the guys’ credentials, and the personality came second.

I never had the money for a lot of the splurges, so debt got built up in a very short time. I was trying to be loved by the masses and in my delusion it worked for a while. And in my delusion I was one of them, basking in their shadow. Handling money was not one of my strongest points, my schooling in good finance was nil. I didn’t even know how to pay a bill until it smacked me in the face. It was financial disaster after financial disaster; I’d buy into the get-rich-quick schemes and end up out of pocket. When I finally had to face my debts, I had to face myself as well. It was scary, because my spending was out of control, just like me. They somehow went hand in hand.

I managed to get through life on a skip and a whim, living from hand to mouth. I guess I used to have a lot of faith in those days, trusting blindly that work will come my way and it did, tenfold. I was living in a three bedroom apartment in a swanky part of town. I had my little routine down to the ‘tee’ and a nice little car. Life was going swimmingly. Morning came: I went to work, then night would roll in and I would come alive. Places to go, things to do and people to see – day in and day out.

LIFE TAKES A TURN

I didn’t even notice the years roll by, but how they had flown and I had nothing to show for it. I was still living the 'same old, same old' life, chasing after some elusive dream that never came to reality. But I understood that in order for things to change, I had to do something different. To escape that whole lifestyle I had to physically move away from the people, who I considered to be a negative influence on my life and start afresh.

Jobless,  I ended up living with my Grandmother ‘a church goer’ after losing my home due to some poor decisions. This wanderlust spirit of mine seemed to be attracting a rootless existence.  But that soon changed when I randomly helped a woman at the library. We’d got talking and the conversation soon turned to one’s livelihood.  she’d given me a hot lead and I wasted no time following it up. My initiative paid off, and I got the job and started not long after. Finally I was blessed with employment and a decent wage.  My Gran was proud. I now had a respectable job, where my shoes ‘fit nicely under the table’ and I made myself right at home.  

After the trial period, I was offered a higher position as a personal assistant to two financial brokers. I relished going to work every day.  I lived for it.  I actually enjoyed the repetitive daily routine; there was something soothing in the motion, where you could just switch off and be. I was used to hustle and bustle, but this was a complete change. I’d found my ideal job. But that soon changed.  Before I was offered the permanent position, I was made to sit with a few women who’d been with the company relatively from the start. First thing in the morning they would come in and huddle round for the latest gossip, about whatever and whoever from the company director to the new attractive temp. They were vulgar, intimidating and racist. It hadn’t missed their attention that the men took a shine to her and would flirt constantly; much to their chagrin. She was a very nice girl and they took it in turns to invite her over and insult her with their bitchy comments.

Once she left, it was my turn. It got so bad I didn’t know where to turn.  I avoided them as much as I could. My thinking was, if I just got on with my work and ignored them; they’d get the message and leave me alone. But as the saying goes what you resist, persists. That grand idea wasn’t going to cut it and I racked my brain on what to do next. Their eyes seeped into your soul for signs of weakness and like snakes they aimed with direct precision targeting with their venomous tongues and covert operations.

Operation Lorne was in full swing. They hit from all angles relentlessly, but in my stubbornness I wasn’t about to be pushed out. I tried talking to one of the women who was neutral in their little clique. When she approached them, they denied it; their faces blank and sweet like they couldn’t possibly fathom what I was talking about.

In simple terms I was being bullied. I wondered were that young girl in the playground had gone, the one that fearlessly stood up for herself.  She’d all but disappeared, for I’d become this meek mouse. This meek mouse that had sold her soul trying to hold on to her so-called perfect job that society deemed respectable and safe.

It began taking its toll on me. Family members didn’t seem to understand my situation and chastised me for not being stronger and ‘putting them in their place.’ Somewhere along the way I’d lost my will to fight. I felt outnumbered and their ace card was having the female boss of our section as ringleader.

All the while I was holding down a long distance relationship and taking a holistic therapy course in order to set up my own business, and tried to fit it in around work to take my mind off things. My lunch times would be spent studying and eating my sandwiches alone in the corner, or going for long walks by the river to clear my head before going back into the snake pit. This went on for many months and slowly but surely I got beating down and my confidence began to wane.   

  SOMETHING'S GOT TO GIVE

Who knows when the depression set in; it crept up like a thief in the night. I thought I was this strong independent woman, doing things for myself. I’d still managed to past my exams and set up my business on the side, but the most ironic thing was, I was going to teach to others what I needed to learn the most. How far from truth was I? I was depending on myself to pull off some kind of miracle.

I had pulled the wool over my own eyes, blinded by the fog of deceit. Trying to live up to other people’s expectation’s, I stayed in a job I now hated and a relationship that was over. I knew all that time and energy had gone to waste. My money could’ve been put to better use, like a home to call my own. I had compromised myself. It’s like my subconscious knew and was trying to give my conscious an update, but each time it kept missing the memos. Your body has a funny way of letting you know and all of a sudden it’s like I hit a brick wall.

I had to get away, so I booked a course in Scotland thinking it would give me the break I needed. There in the warmth of support, relaxation and time away from my problems, the lid was blown off. This outwardly composed, groomed and bubbly woman came apart. The mask fell down and I was exposed. Gently prodded in the exercises by questions I would never have answered in the past, I finally got the updates all at once. It was a sudden overload. I was hysterically distraught when I realised I had been living a lie. This world I had built around me was about to come tumbling down in front of strangers.

Update Insert: With all the drama going on around me, the business that I’d set up was going to be short lived. The time and energy that it needed would leave me even more drained than I already felt.

Update Insert: My long distance partner, who was meant to be my savior by taking me out of my misery into Floridian or marital bliss, was not the one. He knew it and I knew it.  We’d both buried our heads in the sand and hoped that our relationship problems would magically disappear.

Update Insert: My silence during my adversity at work had only fuelled the fire. It was time to get out and my friend had giving me the options months before, but I was afraid to act on them. I thought I’d put up with it just a little while longer whilst I gathered up some more money for the business and to help with the move stateside.

Update Insert: I was on my own in the wilderness. All the prayers and psalms I prayed in my despair didn’t seem to be working, but my Grandmother kept plying me with them anyway, much to my dismay. In fact the opposite was taking hold. I wasn’t in control; someone else was driving my car in the wrong direction. My hands were tied and all I could do was watch through the window as things unfolded in an alarmingly fast pace. 

I needed out. That little group of women in Scotland became my confidants: they listened, advised, sympathized, but most of all they didn’t – not openly anyway – judge me.  I slept a lot and wept a lot, and after a nightmare journey home, I ended it with my partner.

I had dropped 18 pounds in a very short space of time. I couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep, and couldn’t focus. My friend suggested again that I look for another job, but my confidence had taken such a battering; I didn’t have the frame of mind or the energy. I began calling in sick and suffered in silence.

Then the big crash came.

INTERVENTION

I became so depressed that I decided to seek professional help. I booked an appointment with my local GP and he signed me off work. He advised that with adequate rest, a healthy diet, I didn’t need to take pills if I didn’t want too. I chose the holistic approach and set a return date for a reassessment, after the assigned rest period.

During that time, empty and broken, I handed in my notice at work. I became unbearable to be around. I was short tempered, angry and highly strung, a self-pitying mess. Angry that I allowed myself to be bullied, angry at feeling the way I did. If I weren’t such a slave to money, I would never have put it before my happiness – I was angry at that too. I lay in bed broken like an open wound, seeping hatred. From out of the blue I was hit by a giant sledgehammer. It had crept up on me in broad daylight, but I was too blinded by everyday life to see it. When it struck, I was dumbfounded and for once in my life I sat up and took notice.

When I was down, I was being kicked hard, the devil sent his angels to deliver the final blow - a major family crisis hit, one that was too much to bare. Jobless, depressed and stuck in a corner with no way out, I looked for one. I wasn’t going to live like this anymore. Nothing could lift me out of the depression; there was a heaviness around me, that not even my brother Chris with all his good intentions and support, could lift. It wasn’t enough, and I was afraid to go back to the doctor. I didn’t want to be here anymore. I figured if this is what life was all about then I didn’t want it.                     

I sat idly at the computer Googling all the ways I could end my life painlessly - the coward that I was. I thought about all the people that loved me and decided in my selfishness that they’d be better off without me weighing down their lives with my problems. They already had enough on their plates without me adding to it and something told me that they’d be secretly glad I did, so they didn’t have to deal with it. I’d go away some place I thought, somewhere no one can find me and do it, finally rid of this miserable existence.

It sounded like a really good idea. I didn’t think about the aftermath of such a decision and the devastation it would’ve caused. Googling away, eyes red from crying, my hand jerked some command button on the keypad and up popped a webpage. Through bleary eyes I honed in on it.  It read the Samaritans. It was the Samaritans website!

I had not put that in the search engine, and it was far from what I was looking for. At one time I considered doing voluntary work with them, but due to my schedule I couldn’t fit it in, and who’d have thought that I, ‘miss fix-it’ was now in need of their services? But there it was on my screen, staring back at me in black and white. A site to help people in distress, people like me – isn’t life funny.

As I read the words, I sat there dumbfounded and then I began to shake, really shake uncontrollably, as I tried to get a grip of myself.  As I came to my senses, I couldn’t believe what I was thinking of doing. I pondered on whether I should call the number on the screen, but instead I suddenly decided to make a pact with God. Where this random thought came from I’ve no idea. I begged for forgiveness for my selfishness and any part I may have played in the whole scenario of my life, knowingly and unknowingly. Then I thought about my brother, and sister, and Gran who loved me and how it would’ve torn them apart.

“Thy will be done…” I said as I remembered reading that somewhere, maybe one of my Grandmother’s prayers. “I’m all yours, I quit fighting, whatever, I’m done. Put me to use, use me for something good,” and I honestly didn’t care what happened next. After I said those words, the most serene peace came over me, it’s like someone had sprinkled fairy dust on me and I felt all woozy and sleepy. I knew I’d been touched by the Lord, and for the first time in a long time I slept like a baby. I was cold.

That night in the midst of the storm, I’d felt the Lord’s grace and presence in my room. He accepted me for whom I was, with no pomp or parade. I was no saint; just a broken self-pitying and selfish person, crying out for help after getting myself into a mess, after thinking I was the Lord of my life.

ON THE MEND

In the morning I awoke fresh, and the night before played over and over again in my mind. I told no one of my plight, for the doctor would’ve been called even before I’d finished talking. My whole body felt exhausted, drained from years of faking it. My books lined the walls and lay scattered on the desk, as I gently began to nod off in the chair. This was to be my state for the coming weeks, just mulling in serene peacefulness, as my body repaired itself with rest and good food. My Grandmother could tell something was wrong, but I don’t think she knew what to do about it, how to approach it, except through prayer.

I suddenly had a new lease of life, one where I felt I could do anything. I felt like a new person; before when someone asked me, “Tell me about yourself?”  I’d reply “I’m a p.a.” That is until they corrected me saying “That’s what you do, not who you are as a person.” They were right, now I’d answer “a human being full of passion for life.” Who’d have known it was just the other month I was trying to take it. If I’d have  taken stock and given thanks for the breath I breathe, my good health, food to eat and eyes to see, to say the least. If I’d of taken stock of these things alone, not including my education and health, would I’ve even thought those disturbing things? This thought of lack in a western culture, that’s considered one of the wealthiest and most privileged around the world is quite shameful and I know my case is not an isolated incident. But the needs I was crying out for was much more than material things. My soul was crying out for something I didn’t even know I needed.        

In my quietude the Lord could talk to me. Not with an audible voice but as an impression in my heart, a quiet gentle voice, that was not my own. So many things would be going through my mind, trying to make heads and tails of it all, like how hasty I was and if there was an afterlife how disappointed I would’ve been at all things I’d have missed out on, here on Earth, or if I was reincarnated I would’ve been born into something dire. In my bones I could feel great things were about to happen for me. I was so grateful and humbled that the Lord loved me enough to care about what I was going through. Slowly I was coming round to the fact that we could have some sort of relationship and I opened up.

As I spilled out all my problems, it felt good to release it. He had listened intently, “You like to write, so write,” came the still voice.

“But I don’t know what to write about?” came the excuse.

“Write about what you know.” Yes, I did like to write, even from my childhood.  I would place my deepest darkest secrets in a little maroon diary or on pieces of paper that my brothers would find and tease me about.

My homework was set. He wanted to know everything that was playing on my mind.  He wanted me to purge myself: the events, the people, everything and take accountability for the things I’d done. That meant holding my hand up and saying, "Hey - what that person did was not right," but the way I responded was not right either.  That meant swallowing my pride.  “Just write, I will do the rest," came the voice. Here I was, Miss confident, feeling anything but. I was about to be stripped bare: Including the mask, my face to the world.

What better therapy to use on a selfish person than one that made them look at themselves, but the Lord had a bigger plan. His ways are not our ways, so we wouldn’t even begin to fathom what tricks He’s got up His sleeves. Before this I’d always believed that the past remained in the past and that it was best to live in the now. Even though that rings true for me, I’ve remained stuck in certain areas of my life and in order to heal, He needed to get to the root of the problem, instead of just touching on the symptoms I was so good at masking.

All the gunk and all the memories of yesteryears was about to be dug up. Even the things I’d thought I’d forgotten about were as fresh as the day it happened. My own personal movie went into overload, squooshing across the screen in full sensory motion. I’d find a quiet space and let it all flood over me; the good, the bad, and the far out. Areas of my life where I needed to forgive or change negative patterns for myself or my family.

As I began the process a funny thing began to happen.  Fresh insight, truth and healing was given to me. I’d look at things from a different perspective; things I hadn’t noticed before became clear and a change began to stir within. I began to read a lot. It seemed like when I opened up a book, there’d be a message of hope for me or the answer to a question I needed. If I turned on the TV or overheard a conversation, it was the same thing. In my quietude He could talk to me. Finally He could get through to me; finally He had me to Himself; before I had too much ‘hectic’ going on. I devoured books and prayed for a way out of this sorry state.

A CHANGE OF SCENERY

Whilst working on my new little project, I began to feel ‘whole’ again and decided I was ready to go back to work. A window of opportunity opened up abroad and I gave thanks for it. I had to work to get it mind, but not everything is just put in your lap, that would bring about a spirit of laziness. This came about at a time of mass unemployment and economic strife around the world, and I considered it a blessing. Blessings don’t always come in monetary terms; they can come in many forms, it’s just recognizing them, and my eyes were beginning to be opened.

I was thrown in at the deep end, but I found it easier to swim amongst the different types of personalities. It’s only natural that some will rub you the wrong way, but I got the feeling that some people are put in your path on purpose to smooth out the rough edges. It’s the irritation of the sand that produces the pearl in the shell. And other times it was just out and out bullying; people who gain joy in throwing their weight around. This time, I knew what was what though.  I called them on it and when that didn’t work, as sometimes there’s no negotiating with people like that, you have to take it to the next level and get someone of a higher authority involved. Sometimes though they’re so surprised that you called them on it.  It shocks them and they try to be a nicer person to you.

To be honest one of the main reasons that I had no fear of standing up to them is because, if it came to it, I would’ve walked away from the job. I had no fear of being unemployed. I’d already been there and knew I had something greater holding me up. No amount of money will ever allow me to overlook my personal happiness and well-being again. Without that, what have you got? When I think back to my troubled past, work practically dominated my life. I had little or no time for anything or anyone else. I shut people out, didn’t see friends or family members for months, solely focused on making money. The materialistic world was my God; this is where I worshipped every day. With bills to pay, the new fad to buy into, it was easy to become a slave to them. It was one big repetition of the same old, same old.

All the signs were there for me to move on. But instead of taking this on board, I remained part of the furniture. It’s as if I was hanging on by my finger nails. I wanted to belong and be a part of this fast paced society, and have this fabulous job that paid lots of money, and say that I worked in the city and waiting for me at home was this fabulous fiancé that whisked me around the world, and to go for long lunches and drink cocktails by the river with people, who wouldn’t even stop to spit on me if they saw me begging in the street.  All for what?  To impress people I didn’t even know.

These things are only for a time.  the only person that suffered was me. When I was lying in my bed ill, it wasn’t work that took care of me or listened to my complaints or cooked me dinners.  It was my family - my brother and my Gran. The people who I didn’t have time for. I could get another job, but people are irreplaceable. It took this event to show me this.

If I had just ‘let go’ sooner I would have stepped into my new blessings. I was relying on myself instead of Him and even though I had been praying, my prayers weren’t answered in the way I wanted them to be answered. I got what I needed instead. The nervous breakdown was a breakthrough, a transformative time for me; literally I was being stripped bare and rebuilt. I couldn’t have done it on my own and needed an intervention. There’s nothing like a good old crisis to set it up. Everywhere I looked I had one going on in all areas of my life.

When I think back I don’t think I would’ve really hurt myself.  I don’t have the guts. When I was down the devil sent his minions to keep me down, telling me I was worthless and of no use to anyone. Pushing my buttons in order for me to take my life, in full knowledge that I wasn’t saved. Our lives are not our own to take -- we belong to God. He knew that once I’d taken my life, he would‘ve had one more notch on his belt.

When I totally ‘let go’ - gave up the control and genuinely gave it over to God - that change came. Due to my stubborn personality type, for me to give up that control, I had to hit rock bottom.  For others I’m sure it took less. Then and only then did I surrender to God when I was all out of ‘tricks’ and getting nowhere.

I questioned why I had been so fearful, when I’d been homeless and was provided for? The answer was lack of faith. It’s faith that makes you get in a tin can with 300 other people called an airplane, and have no fear. It’s faith that makes you think you’ll awake in the morning. It’s faith that when you sit on a chair you believe it will support you. All these things I could believe, but the creator of all things ... I couldn’t believe could provide for me. All He was doing was waiting for me to take a step out in faith, and He would’ve met me half way.

My new job kept me busy and focused on other people, rather than myself. On ships it’s easy to lose touch with the outside world and for me it was a good thing, as the Lord was beginning to work on me and show me His truths. The more I learned the more I realised how much I didn’t know. I never watched TV or read newspapers, as I wanted to live void of media influences. I was happy in my environment and the job suited my personality, for it was something that came naturally to me.  But alas, this door was closing as my contract was coming to an end and soon it would be time for me to move on. Forced to use my air miles or lose – – I looked into going to a retreat.  It was something I’d always wanted to do, so I figured why not incorporate a relaxing holiday with holistic studies.

A SPECIAL BLESSING

Touching down in New York SState - I was in awe of how beautiful fall is there. The retreat was out in the sticks with a large lake surrounded by trees blazing with colours of reds, oranges and yellows, in a dewy wet haze. Buried amongst them were the main brickwork buildings, partially draped in ivy. The little wooden out-houses stood helter-skelter across the acre of land, built at a later date to accommodate the growing trade of new age guests wary from their day-to-day lives -- seeking refuge from the outside world in the cocoon of classes, therapy, relaxation and healthy organic meals lovingly prepared by volunteers seeking the same thing – but without the hefty price tag. I fit in well.

Over the years I’d read New Age, self-help and metaphysical books constantly trying to find the answer to connect to the ‘higher consciousness’ called God, and in the process bringing the world into a peaceful state. All the popular names on the subjects had passed through my hands and then onto my brother Chris. I’ve always considered myself open enough to try something new in the attainment of enlightment, furthering my own spiritual awareness through the smorgasbord of choices that fit the New Age umbrella.

I’d constantly searched for that special silver lining, and the new age phenomenon looked like it might be it. Philosophies from the east, teaching about higher truth, fulfillment and enlightenment, all in the belief that the harder one worked, the nearer one was to enlightment; hence some was nearer to enlightment than others. One adopts a positive attitude and like coaching, you set short and long term goals in order to complete it. In an ideal world I wanted to live in a community of like-minded people who practiced yoga, meditation, good nutrition, living off the land and benefiting the planet and others in some way. 

Coming from a secular environment I’d pondered on the meaning of life, opened up initially by an old boyfriend who read literature on Buddhism and the likes. Since then I’d come a long way and considered myself a bit of a New Age connoisseur, the wanderer, who took self-improvement programs.

As well as the life coaching, I’d considered holistic therapy focusing on hypnotherapy for past life regression, as I believed in reincarnation. I thought nothing of delving into astrology, numerology, horoscopes, using tarot cards, consulting mediums and seeking out a spirit guide as all these came under the New Age umbrella, introduced to me from my mother’s book collection.

There were many things I could’ve chosen to do that day, all part of the package including free classes. The list of activities were extensive, but I singled out the Jacque Montand class, a man with a colorful past, who’d come to the retreat with the Deeksha blessings (now known as the Oneness blessing) for the morning class.

Not knowing what to expect, I went along to listen. He talked about his trip to India a and how he came to be a Deeksha giver after a failed relationship – there was no surprise there – and this feeling of wanting more from life. I could totally relate and drunk up the rest of what he had to say; he seemed like a nice guy, and genuine. He sat for a few minutes in meditative silence and then arose all serene. Behind sat the pictures of the founding members, whom he talked incessantly about. He had us line up and one by one, we stood in front of him as he placed his hands upon our heads. By looking in our right eye for about 30 seconds he passed on the Deeksha blessing. Just by intent it’s supposed to open you up to enlightment - bringing about bliss and clarity in the process. One could feel a heat energy being transmitted, whilst soft mantra music played in the background. I took a seat at the back of the room, plunking down against an oversized embroidered cushion, to fully absorb what had just taken place.

As I sat there, a slight headache engulfed me; my head felt muggy and began to have visions of deities from all the different religions – except Christianity. It was like a door had been opened and they flooded in; in my vision they were doing strange things to my body and chakras, like I was in some sort of rites of passage that made me shudder in the process. That night I went to bed tossing and turning, unable to sleep, and when I did, I had vivid dreams of being swarmed by these well-known deities, telling me I was like God and we were all one, and how I had to focus on the earth bounding exercises I’d been taught during the week.

At first, I couldn’t figure out why they were coming to me and then the penny dropped.  It was partly to do from my beliefs in reincarnation and karma. This continued over the coming days. It got so bad I brought it up in conversation to Rebecca, a woman in my group I felt I could trust. She informed me that everyone has different experiences and that it was good because I must’ve been, “Really open to it; just go with the flow.” This relaxed me a bit, but I still felt uneasy.    

Jacque had encouraged us to become Deeksha givers too.  He said he was going to be holding a training class in the summer and that we were to sign up. Everyone seemed hyped up about it and I pondered on taking it too, but something was holding me back, so I said I’d think about it. The whole focus was on healing and opening people up to the divine light within them. Apparently this could be ministered to people regardless of one’s religious status and beliefs, as it was only to enhance one’s experiences.   

Out of the blue that still small voice which was like an imprint on my heart, kicked in saying, Who did I think I was too feel I can open people to the divine light, and to heal what is already healed if accepted? These words were like a jolt to my conscience, and prompted by the still voice I began digging for more information. Information I should’ve seeked before receiving the blessing.

The Deeksha blessing had an eastern philosophy, with a pantheistic view that we are all One. By intent or the ‘laying of the hands’ the energy could be passed on to anyone who wanted it as a free gift. The Deeksha blessing could be given by anyone whwho paid a lot of money to the founding members in order to do it. If someone didn’t have good energy and passed it on to someone else, it could be very dangerous, because it opens up the receiver for negative forces, i.e. familiar spirits, to come and go as they please.

It’s reported that many people had the same visions I had, and others had gone into serious depressed states and tried to commit suicide after receiving the blessing! And then there were those who became obsessed with the founding members, worshipping their new found gurus. These statements were giving by the people that worked closely with the founding members for years. They talked about calling on Jesus to heal them and be washed by the blood. This was alien to me; I knew of God but only heard of Jesus in passing. Alarm bells began to go off, had I been innocently initiated into some sort of cult?

Confusion began to wreck my brain.  I felt as if I’d jumped out of the frying pan, straight into the fire. My Gran had told me that whenever I was in trouble to pray for release. So I prayed the prayers she’d given me in the midst of my depression. As I lay resting, I had fragments of a prayer my Gram had written me, come to me… In you Lord, do I put my trust, let me not be put to confusion, deliver me in your righteousness… Then the revelations continued throughout the night in a dream …there shall be no other God before me… I tell these things to you concerning those who would deceive you… And so it written… Do not worship Angels, but the One who sent them, God… Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves

In the morning fully refreshed and basking in the revelation during the night, I was in awe. I immediately scrapped any plans to becoming a Deeksha giver, considering it a lucky escape. I contacted fellow students who had received the ‘blessing’ to warn them, for when the truth is revealed; it’s an impulsive instinct to share the knowledge, so that others’ eyes can be opened too. You can catch disease but you can’t catch health, and ungodliness is a disease. This was a serious wake-up call for me and spurred me to seek God on my own, through prayer and learning the Truth via His words and His direction.. Besides I had already surrendered to Him in my darkest hour, which I’d conveniently forgotten.

A HEAVENLY ENCOUNTER

Nearly all New Age type groups believe in a coming new age of heightened spiritual awareness in the world but differ in how they think that’s going to happen. I could never understand all the fighting in the name of religion and considered myself spiritual rather than religious like many New-Agers. To me all the gods were the same, different branches of the same tree, and with different names. I never did stop to think about it to be honest. By taking religion out of the equation and focusing on the spiritual side of it, it solved the problem.

At the time I was very much into past life regression; it fascinated me. Hence the ‘deities’ thinking they had a right to come in, because of my belief system. I’d bought the books and now it was time to check out a seminar. One in particular caught my eye. It was to be presented by a well-known Doctor with a lot of heavyweight guest speakers. I signed up, packed up and flew out.

On the day, all the students had gathered into the classroom for the teachings. Part of it was to be put under yourself, so the renowned Doctor did what he’d done countless times in the past, and in a slow monotone voice led us into a group regression, a state of hypnosis. Each step would take us deeper and deeper, where vivid images began to appear. In one of my deeper regressed states, I went into a scene where I had died and was floating up into a hole. It was lined with beautiful petals of light and then I began to move faster and faster through what had now become a tunnel.

When I got to the other side I was very surprised to see a spiritual being standing there.  I recognized him to be Jesus, because that’s how I pictured Him. I was surprised by this to say the least. I approached Him, smiled pleasantly without saying a word, and rudely went to walk past Him as I could see something in the background, but I couldn’t quite make it out. He stopped me in my tracks by putting his hand out and conveyed to me how I had to go back; no words were used. I tried to look past Him but I couldn’t.  I wasn’t allowed to see. I was puzzled by this, but I got the message loud and clear that I wasn’t allowed entrance.  Next thing I knew I found myself in a cropped wheat field laying on my back, and as I went to get up I realised I’d been sent back in a blink of an eye. He had obviously intervened in my regressed state.

I started coming too, as I was gently being woken up by the doctor. I had been under deep and hadn’t even realised that forty minutes had passed; it only seemed like a few minutes. I made a note of this, because up until this point I’d never really given Jesus any thought.

That experience stayed with me and caused me to think. My knowledge of Him was from Christmas school plays, the generic story of Him being born in a manger in Bethlehem to Mary and Joseph, and that three wise kings gave some Him special gifts. I wrecked my brain and couldn’t get my head around what was wrong.

Sometime after that experience whilst doing my make-up, of all things, the answer just popped into my head. I wasn’t supposed to be at the holistic centre, let alone in a reduced regressed state!  Not only was I not supposed to be there but in my time of need, He had shown me mercy, and given me peace and healing. But now I was to humble myself before Him and acknowledge His existence. I was going around like I’m all that, by my own efforts. I treated Him like a bystander in the course of things, and in that regression He showed me He was very real. But I must admit I didn’t know it was Him that night. It caught me off guard and I stopped doing my make-up to absorb it all, and just stared at myself in the mirror a long time as I got this reality check.

TRUTH REVEALED

I made it my mission to find out more, raking up the facts and comparing them to my other beliefs. It seemed as if I were helped along with my little research project.  Info would come along so easily, like it was laid out in my path.

Jesus’ existence actually begun with the creation of the universe. It is stated that He was at the right hand of God the Father and helped to form the world. He is part of what we call ‘the trinity’ making up the Father, the Son and Holy Ghost which is one – making one triune God.  Just like we have a body, soul and spirit, but are still one, it’s exactly the same. This I understood from my New Age endeavors’, which I found helpful in me understanding this, only bits of it were interpreted very differently.

When Adam messed up in the garden allowing sin to enter the world, man from then on became destined to die and suffer. However, God had a plan to rescue man, for it wasn’t His intention for this to happen. He had created man to have a relationship with Him and His plan became a promise when He made a covenant with Abraham, the father of the nation of Israel. His promise was fulfilled with the birth of the Messiah, the One who would save all people from their iniquities i.e. - sins. His name was Jesus Christ, Christ meaning the anointed one. This was also foretold by the prophets of Israel.

Jesus was like the new Adam.  He bridged the gap between God and man, because He took us out of sin, whereas the original Adam brought us into sin. He lives in the believer’s heart, and gives peace, healing, joy and many other blessings as well as the assurance of eternal life, through the presence of the Holy Spirit. One sacrifice for all time, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16). Jesus Christ fulfilled numerous prophecies in his lifetime. His life was recorded by well-known secular historians, such as Tacitus and Josephus.

I was blown away because somehow I’d missed this, my whole life.  It was like some big, hidden secret. Even if I didn’t know the bulk of it, the important part was I’d been given this free gift of salvation, now available TO me because Jesus known as ‘The Way’ pro-death/rising, had done this at the Cross for all mankind. And I didn’t need to do anything for it, just receive it with gratitude.

It’s so ironic.  When Jesus was on Earth He hated religion and how it manipulated people; that’s why He never saw eye to eye with the Pharisees, the religious leaders of His time. We have the same thing going on today. He didn’t come to give us religion but a one on one personal relationship with Him, God. You don’t need to go through any man or woman to get to Him.  The path is direct for everyone.

EXPERIENCING THE SUPERNATURAL

After finding all this out, unusual incidents came flooding back to me from my past. The first was when I was about twelve years old and alone in my damp room, sorting out my dirty clothes to be washed on the floor. It was late afternoon and my Duran Duran poster was slightly peeling off the wall. My bed had been made and the room vacuumed ready for my return, for I had been at my Aunt’s the weekend. She’d taken us to a Billy Graham Convention. I didn’t know who Billy Graham was, but four young children became bored very quickly and played around - whilst she sang, clapped and swayed along to the music with the rest of the people.

As I sat splayed out on the floor, immersed in what I was doing -- from the corner of my eye there was a glimmer that started to get bigger. Out of curiosity I stopped what I was doing to give it my full attention. Suddenly I was engulfed and almost blinded by a bright light. It was whitish gold that had come out of nowhere and surrounded me.

The light became me and I became it. You couldn’t even see the furniture. The energy was pulsating and I instantaneously felt warmth and loved. I basked in the glow, for it was so overwhelming; I thought my heart would burst. I wished I could stay in it forever, but as soon as I tried to embrace it, it disappeared. It was gone, and with it the room turned cold.

Out of my mouth came the words, “I don’t have to do what you say any more.” Why these words flowed from my lips, I’ve no idea. It just came out unconsciously, like I was talking to the darkness, of which I had been afraid ever since I could remember. 

I didn’t know what to make of the whole experience.  To me it was so bazaar and far from anything I’d ever experienced. Because of this, I kept it to myself, holding it close to my heart, and something told me that no one would believe me anyway.  That day I learned of a different kind of power. The experience was so overwhelming; words would just diminish it, as nothing could really grasp what I felt, except experiencing it for oneself.

Then I was reminded of the times on my many travels that I needed aid and I was sent angels to help. God’s helpers came about because I was in a crisis - even to a non-believer at the time.

 SWEDEN

There it is again. Loud and clear, “Get up now!” said the voice. I’d heard this voice before. It was always quiet, calm and collected - a voice that was not my own. I felt someone literally push me out of the bed. I felt compelled to do as it said, even though I hadn’t planned on leaving my summer job until I got paid.

It was around 4 a.m. in the morning, with a blistering Swedish winter brewing outside. The manager’s unwanted advances had become too much to bear and I didn’t feel safe. I was vulnerable in my cottage and the hotel in which I worked was giving me the heebie-jeebies.

Prior to this night, I’d wandered around the village aimlessly trying to find the train station. I had discreetly asked shopkeepers in fear of raising the alarm, and my sleazy boss finding out I was trying to leave. I stumbled across the rickety old bridge and up the hill. Hidden way behind the trees was a remote train station with a little out-house overlooked by pretty Scandinavian box homes with chimney stacks. Relieved, with my heart racing I climbed the hill and found what looked like the timetable. I took a look around to check no one was watching me as I tried to decipher the cryptogram. I must’ve stood there for 15 minutes trying to figure out all the numbers and words.

My heart sank as I realised another trip with my phrase book was necessary. More cloak and dagger hoodwinking was needed for me to get away from the hotel undetected. I felt the tears well up in my eyes with the sting of frustration.

Alone in a foreign country, I had no one to turn too. My sweet little adventure had turned sour and now I had to have my wits about me to get out. My brain ticking overtime, I decided to come back the next day as a train-spotter, clocking the arrivals and making notes – all day if I had to. I prayed the 40 minute walk home and that night too, praying for guidance and help, the Lord knows I needed it.

Armed with my phrase book and some lunch, I set out. Failure was not an option. The morning was fresh and you could hear the sound of the river flowing down in the valley. I trundled down the side of the road on the dirt track, avoiding the passing cars. I checked each one as they passed to see if my boss was driving. I was paranoid about being caught. I knew his temper and was afraid of how he might react.

The dense forestry that skirted the ditches and the few littered houses would’ve been pretty scenery in different circumstances. But in this case I felt homed in like they were caving in on me. When I arrived there were a couple of backpackers and a small family waiting at the station; that meant a train was due.

To a city girl from London the quietness was deafening. As I bent over to look at the map, I felt someone beside me. I looked up to see a little old lady staring at me. A trilby hat perched precariously on her head, with a tweed suit fitted to her tiny frame. She wore stockings with brown lace up shoes; she was oddly out of place. She was smiling at me and I liked her energy. I immediately felt relaxed, but wondered where she had come from. I didn‘t see her come up the hill. It was a small train station with just a few people: the outhouse, the platform and the track.

I moved to the side, thinking she wanted to look at the timetable too. Instead she just stood there staring at me making me feel self-conscious. She reminded me of Miss Maples from the Agatha Christie television series.

“You know,” she said in perfect English. “Saturday would be a good time to go.  The last train pulls in around 10 a.m and will get you into the main town for 11 a.m. But if you miss it, the next train won’t be until 5 p.m.  And we both know, you wouldn’t want to wait that long. Would you?”

My mind was boggled.

How did she know I was thinking of leaving, let alone that I spoke English? I stood there stunned. I looked around at the other people, but they didn‘t seem to notice her.

She was right too.

If I left on Saturday, I couldn’t afford to miss the train because on that day, my boss met his friends who had a stall at the fete. It started at 12 every week and if I missed it, he would spot me, as it was literally next door.

She stood there staring at me again making sure I’d taken in what she’d said. I had, but my mind was racing.

Coming down the track was the train.  As it began to pull into the station, she brushed herself down. As she did so, I noticed that all she had with her was a small purse; nothing else.

As she boarded the train she gave me one last smile. I watched it pull out of the station and felt exhilarated, humbled and teary eyed all at the same time. That whole journey back to my creepy little cottage I tried to make ‘heads and tales’ of my encounter.

Still tired, I got out of bed and packed quickly. I took only what I needed and set out into the night. It was so cold; I thought I’d die of frost bite. Finally after what seemed like forever, I made it to the train station and sat warming my hands in the outhouse. Even ‘Miss Maples’ hadn’t gathered I would leave in such a hurry. I didn’t wait long for a train and I sat there smugly, watching the sleet outside the window, wondering about his reaction when he realised I’d gone.

The train pulled into the main station and I hurried out, running to catch the connection to Stockholm. Across the board were cancellations. All destinations were crossed out, until 1 p.m. I couldn’t wait that long. Quick thinking, I decided to get a coach instead.  I remembered passing the station earlier in the month in our group outing and they ran all over the country.

Glancing around looking for signs, I spotted a lone taxi sitting on the tarmac. It’s like it was waiting for me. I made a bee line for it; told the driver where to go and he sped off. A coach was just about to leave but he blocked its path. I pushed some money into the taxi driver’s hand, jumped out and pushed open the coach door, whilst the taxi driver threw my case in the hold. There was a big sigh of relief as it pulled out the lot.

I’d escaped.

After I had settled in Stockholm and booked my flight home, I felt it safe enough to contact a woman named Ingrid. She knew I was unhappy and had kindly invited me to her home on the lake. Her husband had taught me ice fishing, took me out on their snow mobile and cooked a delicious meal for me: reindeer with berry sauce and scallop potatoes, washed down with copious amounts of red wine. It was the most fun I had the whole time I was there.

Ingrid worked in the office and would’ve been worried once she’d found out I was missing. So I sent her an email.

The next day I received a message back.

She said she was glad to hear I was safe and that she would miss me. She also went on to tell me that it’s a good job I left when I did, because that Sunday the owner of the hotel showed up in a rage. He wasn’t happy with the way my old boss was running the place and he wanted everybody out, that afternoon!

He didn’t even allow them to pack properly or wait until they found new accommodations. If I was still there I would’ve been stranded and at the mercy of my boss, for we were in the middle of nowhere.

Now I understood the urgency of the voice wanting me to leave when it did and the little old lady, making doubly sure I left. It’s the first time I showed faith, not knowing all the information. And by me contacting Ingrid out of consideration, the pieces of the jigsaw finally fit together.

ITALY

We listened to the babble of the Italian language, as we made our way down to the lake. Mary and I had packed some refreshments, a towel and our swimming costumes. We needed a break from all the drama back at the house. As we hopped off the bus, we spotted a few deck chairs and made ourselves comfortable. As we did so, we noticed people staring at us and it became apparent that this place was frequented by local people -- we were not local.

We’d jumped off a plane four weeks ago from London, crossed the border into Northern Italy, where we worked to see out the dance contract we‘d gotten with a German troupe.

After eating a gelato or two, we were quite content chatting away, ignoring obscene gestures and wolf whistles from a group of guys gathered by the boats. The sun began to fade and people started packing up to leave. Mary and I had lost track of time. Ready to go home now, we found out that the bus stopped running three hours prior. We were stranded in a remote place with remote facilities, not even a telephone, just a lake surrounded by hilly woodlands and a dusty road.

Darkness came quickly.

Mary and I pondered on what to do next. Between us we only knew a few sentences in Italian and most of those were swear words. Jane mentioned how she’d thumbed a lift in the past, so we thought we’d try that. Our only other alternative was to sleep there until morning and pick up the bus once it started running again. No thanks.

We both took it in turns to stand by the curb and hold out our hand. It was an uneasy feeling as we both knew the danger of this. None of the cars stopped for us anyway. Some of the people just jeered at us and kept driving. Not one person stopped to help. By this time, we became so upset that we both took it in turn to sit on the road side and cry.

The weather started to turn cold and the air became heavy like it was about to rain. We huddled up together and sat on the pavement, defeated.

We had been there a while, when coming up the road was a beat up old white car with a lone passenger driver. Jane quickly jumped up and put out her hand. The car came to a stop and the grey haired man beckoned us inside. Ecstatic, we jumped in the back and began to talk at him in English. Not thinking, we just went on and on telling him of our plight.

Relief was an understatement.

Our lone driver just kept his head straight and once in a while he would glance at us through the rear-view mirror. He just nodded and said nothing. I thought that he didn’t understand the language and was too polite to say, even though we were too rude to stop. He just smiled warmly at us with soft brown eyes and made us feel safe. I didn’t pick up any negative vibes from him. For all we knew he could‘ve been an axe murderer. They say victims never see it coming 'till it’s too late. But with that face and smile I think we were going to be okay.

What Mary and I forgot to tell him in our ramblings is where we lived. We remembered this vital piece of information when he pulled up in front of our road and came to a stop. Mary and I just looked at each other.

I know I didn’t tell him and I know she hadn’t either.

He said nothing and just smiled at us, as if to say, your home. As we got out of the car, all I could think is, how did he know? He wasn’t from around here.  His number plates were from out of town and we knew all the local people. He even knew not to drive up the road, because of the gate that made it near impossible to turn round – a big mistake many unfamiliar people make. We got out his car and waved him off.

As we walked away puzzled, we looked at each other and intuitively made the decision to thank him one more time. But as we turned around to do so, he was gone. It had only been a matter of seconds.  Where had the car gone too?!  On this particular road you could see for miles.

“Quick” Mary said, “Let’s run round the short cut just in case he parked off the road.” So we did and there was no car. Not one car on the road, parked or otherwise.

No words were needed.  We were humbled to the point of tears, because we both knew the Lord was looking out for us that day and sent us a little helper. He didn’t have a halo or wings ... just that knowing smile. There was no mistaken.  We just knew and I felt warm and fuzzy inside and gave up a grateful, "Thank you."

Angels are said to walk amongst us and come to our aid as of when needed. Assistance is always available in times of need, whether we’re aware of it or not. There’s always the bigger picture and we can’t always see behind the curtain, but I’m grateful for the assistance, in whatever form it takes.  Everyday people like you and me, are God’s little helpers too.  It comes in the form of a kindness in which we extend to another, thus becoming someone else’s miracle.  

This whole thing seemed like a deliberate reminder of those events, and I couldn’t help wondering if it was Him I encountered that day in my bedroom.  He was real and letting me know it. The confirmation for me was that in my heart, deep down in my conscience I knew this to be true. And at that moment my search for truth had just ended. The warmth in my heart was overwhelming and this time I seeked Him out.  I wanted Jesus in my life. I knew I had to invite Him in, so I found a quiet spot so I could pray out loud: “Lord Jesus, come into my heart.  I’ll make you my Lord and Savior. I repent of my sins; please forgive me, as I forgive others. I need salvation and I know that you’re the key. Break the bondages of sin in my life. Purify me Lord Jesus, and send the Holy Spirit to live inside me. Use me for your glory. This I pray in gratitude, Amen.”    

That night I had two dreams. The first: I saw the scriptures on old parchment scrolls being unraveled before my eyes at lightning speed and I was trying to keep up with reading them. In the next dream: Jesus came to me. His demeanor was completely different from before. He was glorious and ecstatic as He moved to greet me, smiling from ear to ear. His eyes bright like He’d been waiting for this moment a long time and He began to continuously hug me. I felt warmth and so loved -- that same warmth and love I felt that day in my room as a young girl. Was it Him? I’ll have to ask Him that one day. He put this beautiful white iridescent cloak around me that seemed alive with energy. Even when I awoke He was there in my mind’s eye, watching over me and I felt safe.

I also felt unworthy, so much so I couldn’t look Him in the eyes.  I was humbled in His presence. But most of all I felt home and free, like a burden had been lifted off me - the weight of the world and all its expectations – in all its forms – the pressure was gone.     

I didn’t need to do any of those things in order to be accepted by Him. All I needed was to invite Him in.  It was that simple. But if this was the case ... what was I doing before with all that ‘new age’ stuff, and having to work to reach Him by releasing the 'divine within' ... when all He clearly needed was to be invited in by our own free will?  Jesus talked about the free gift of salvation, and I remembered that I’d heard that phase somewhere before.  It was at Deeksha/oneness blessing, where they said it was a ‘free gift’ if accepted. The free gift of salvation is where you receive the authentic Holy Spirit, that teaches, guides, helps regenerate your mind and communicates with God.  The Deeksha blessing gave you a spirit alright, an evil one, or two – if you’re really lucky that's all you get!  The founding members said they wanted to save the world, but the stage had already been set by what Jesus did (accomplished for us both personally as well as what God The Father has decreed prophetically in the holy scriptures will happen in the 1000 year physical reign of Jesus Christ His Son on the earth) on the cross 2,000 years ago and will come to a conclusion on His return. Read the end of the Bible -- He won. 

I smelled a rat from my New Age teachings.

IGNORANCE IS NOT BLISS - IT WILL LEAD YOU STRAIGHT TO HELL

In the morning I was thinking back to how I had treated Him and I just started to cry. I felt like such an ungrateful person. But then I was made to realise that it wasn’t intentional on my part.  I was just ill-informed. Then the quote from the Bible came to me: ” I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me,” (John 14:6). Maybe that’s why His movement was called: The Way.

I was also made to realise that those women at my old workplace meant me harm, but God turned it around and used them to force me to move on. He also used them to help me realise I was more than that job. I was more than a relationship. I was more than money and worth a lot more than I care to put a price tag on. I was bought with the blood of Christ at Calvary, a priceless gem in the eyes of the Lord. Everything I need is already given to me, all I need do is ask within the will of God, and He will give me what he knows I need and not what I feel I want.

I was ill-informed by a small untruth that was planted amongst many truths to create a seed of doubt (The classic way Satan deceives).  It’s all so subtle. Once that seed’s planted it can be manipulated to grow. Continuous bombardment of misinformation masking the truth will make you ‘throw the baby out with the bath water.’ And like Chinese whispers, the next thing you know, the earth is flat. One by one my beliefs came under the light for examination. 

Satan, whose very name means to oppose, adversary, the deceiver, comes as a ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’ and for every Truth that God gives, he creates an excellent counterfeit, saying it can be done without God through other methods. But the catch is you can’t have a good counterfeit unless it’s of something authentic, the supernatural triune God of the Bible, with all His miracles, healings and other wonderful things. But there’s something that looks so close that many people are deceived and it’s called the New Age.

It looks like it, tastes like it and even smells like it, but it’s not it.  I was one of those New-Agers that believed all religions and all paths of spirituality are legitimate means to achieve the ‘in’ with the ultimate reality. This is where the error comes in.  There’s one major ingredient missing: Jesus, the link between God and man.  Wide is the way to destruction, but narrow is the gate into the Kingdom Of God (heaven) and very few people enter it.” (See: Matthew 7:13).  Many think of Satan as some mere myth, but he is very real, as real as birth pains and he is working overtime to deceive you otherwise.

Many have been blinded to the fact that God and Jesus are real, as well as demons and Satan are real. Furthermore, there’s an interesting implication hidden between the line when one looks at what Satan and his followers do. Everything they do is directed against Jesus Christ, the Son of God. They don’t go against any other religion or deity -- not even against efforts to find and come into contact with extra-terrestrial life or the ‘spirit world’ or any other dimensions.  In fact, quite the opposite; they encourage it. They call it enlightening, empowering and liberating; to get people to try it and find ‘something greater.’  Oh sure ... they like to speak of "the Christ" a lot, to make it blend in with Christian speak, but when you start mentioning JESUS the Christ around them -- and it was specifically HE who was the only one qualified to pay full penality for everyone's sins so they would be forgiven them on the Judgment Day ... watch them get nervous real quick and begin trying to dominate the conversation with more slick deception - or give you the 'left foot of fellowship' if you keep persisting with THAT truth!  Might it be because only a great fool would fight against himself?

The New Age movement can swing all the way to the left and embrace dark spirituality like Wicca and witchcraft, and then it can swing all the way to the right and embrace groups like mind science groups and positive thinking courses, and quite a few other groups in between. Many people think occult practices are harmless fun, which our culture promotes as normal and is encouraged within the media.

One that you may be familiar with is astrology. It’s the cornerstone of witchcraft; you cannot cast a spell or mix a potion without a firm knowledge of astrology. It is the base for all practices in witchcraft, and one of its teachings is that you are born a set personality and there is nothing you can do to change from that set personality.  Sound familiar?  Other in-between groups are fortune-telling, psychics, spiritism, magic, witchcraft, sorcery, Satanism, wizards, mediums, and paganism, spirit guides and this is not an exhaustive list.

Hitler, who was a closet Satanist of the highest order but fronted himself as a Christian, actually coined the phrase New Age and put the foundations under it.  It’s re-emerged in recent years. He is also the one who implemented the eastern philosophies to the west, for the sole reason that they have many gods. He wanted a superior race, a world government and one religion, because this will assist in bringing in the New Age ‘Christ’ i.e. the anti-Christ and a one world government. All this is in the Bible, the only book that you’ve been discouraged to read or banned from reading.  Now isn't that interesting?

There’s supposed to be a coming age of enlightenment, and the way we’re going to move into that ‘New Age’ is by individuals awakening their own divine nature ... believing that we are God, and that we are expressions of the Divine, and the key to bringing this planet to peace ... is by realizing our own Godhead; realizing our own spark of divinity, but that’s the anti-thesis of the truth.  We’ll never be God. When I invited Jesus into my heart, the Holy Spirit came into me from without. So God was external prior to a salvation experience, instead of inside us, as New Age adherants love to teach.                

Constance Cumbey states “New Age initiates are encouraged to “graduate” to various forms of yoga such as TM, and other “psych-technologies” that lead to transcendental experiences – the mystical glue that binds the majority of those involved in the New Age Movement to each other.” As the practitioner is seeking the “higher self,” also known as the “divine-within,” they are being conditioned to accept the coming Aquarian age and their philosophy that “all is One.” As the population is in an altered state of consciousness, the New Age movement is making inroads into messing people up spiritually and creating an age of occultic mysticism.  All Satan's plan: Keeping people deceived from realizing GOD's Truth (and on the Judgment Day, it will be only God's Truth that matters, may I remind you) and to prepare the masses to welcome the anti-christ to set up his operation fully on earth prior to the return of Jesus Christ.

ALL IS REVEALED

When I got home and sat in quietude, direction would be given to me in unearthing the truth and it came in many forms, but I took notice and made note:

Is there a God?:  The creation around us tells us there’s a God because every design has a designer. All you need do is look around at nature and marvel at His handiwork.  Our conscience -- the knowing of right and wrong which is implanted in all of us -- regardless of colour, location, language, genders, culture and religious background. We humans have selfish desires and want to be our own God at most times, so we suppress the truth and deny there’s a God to fit in with our own agenda or we make our own God.

The miracles that have happened over and over again is not random but an act of a living God. God is love and loves every one of us, male and female.  He just doesn’t love our sinful nature, because sin is the very character of SATAN ... rebellion against what is holy and precious to God.  For by Jesus Christ all things were created: things in heaven and earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (See: Colossians 1:13-17)

How Christianity is different:  I found a lot of contradictions when it came to the point of salvation. There is crucial fundamental difference in that not all paths lead to the same God to make peace with Him.  Where I have the freedom to choose any religion I want, I looked into many of them. I hold on to the Lord’s saying that: His people die for the lack of knowledge. The Lord asks for you to seek Him out. Here are some of the ways Christianity is different:

1. God (The Father and The Holy Spirit) had a Son named Jesus that died for us; we didn’t need to die for Him.

2. Salvation is not dependent on good works: it’s free! It is by God’s grace we are saved. We were bought by the blood of Jesus at Calvary and it’s available to anyone who asks for it in the name of Jesus.

3. No one goes to God The Father but through Jesus, who is the light, and the way, through the narrow gate.

4. If a believer sin’s after being born-again, they can ask for forgiveness. They then turn away from the sin, and it’s forgiven.

5. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, is tangible and accessible. We can have a relationship with him.

6. God confesses His love for everyone, “…and god so loved the world he gave His only begotten son” (John 3:16).  He just hates our sin, because it keeps us seperated from Him.

7. Jesus was the first to acknowledge women’s rights, in a period of time that did not.

8. Jesus was born of supernatural circumstances, of a virgin. He performed miracles and rose from the dead to give us eternal life.

9. Our God is triune in nature, but one with different roles: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. We have something similar: The body, the soul and the spirit. It’s our spirit that has a relationship with God through prayer and reading His word, the bible.

14. The Lord doesn’t expect us to be perfect (sinless; isn't going to happen completely in this life anyway) first before we can have a relationship with him; He is a tangible God full of grace. We get the gift of the Holy Spirit to help us with the bits we can’t change on our own, after we’ve accepted Jesus.

15. Freedom of choice to choose, with love being the primary commandment.

Many of us practice the rigmaroles that come with that which we were born into and had no choice of which we were born into, but feel we have to honor.  But that’s the great thing about choice.  When you’re older and see truth, you have a God given choice on which path you choose to go down. Whether you’re allowed to exercise that freedom is another matter. A lot of people have this dilemma and in some choices you have to walk away from the people you love if they do not respect your choice and hope that down the road they see the light that love comes first and if they love that person they respect the choices they have chosen for themselves – and if not, then so be it.

The Bible and creation: The devil must’ve been working over time to come up with this one. If he could get you to believe that the world began with the big bang theory and evolved it this wonderful masterpiece, then that means it wasn’t created, and every creation has an creator. It takes God out of the equation. Then who is God, a myth?! And so it’s been for the past century via a man called Charles Darwin.

What’s the bible; you won’t need that:  Once you have the word of God, you have knowledge. The Lord said that “His people die for the lack of knowledge.” Where do you find knowledge you can TRUST but in the God breathed or inspired book called The Bible – 66 books written over a period of 1600 years by 44 men from different walks of life. From the only God that can give prophecy (100 fulfilled to date under the Old Testament and 300 yet to be fulfilled regarding the second coming of Christ). 

Through our culture this doctrine of Truth (the bible) has been ridiculed, cast aside as trash. And that trash containing the Lord’s word is the very thing that can save your life for eternity. When you read it, digest it and meditate on it, you will KNOW the Lord’s word. Through His words you will know the Truth and gain knowledge and wisdom. It is the sword of the spirit against the enemy. When you have those things nothing (unless you let it) can shake you in your foundation, because you’re in the palm of the Lord’s hand and nothing can snatch you out of it. You will become like a tree in a hurricane – that hurricane being the devil – whirling around you, whispering his untruths like he did with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.

There’s a fight against good and evil, but the Lord’s already won the victory. It was won on the cross at Calvary. Satan and his minion’s time is drawing near to an end, for them to be cast down to Hell. Hell wasn’t built for human’s.  It was built to hold the devil at the time of judgment and his followers. But if you’re not with God, you’re against Him, just like the devil, and you’ll go where he’s going, to Hell.

But before that time, he is looking to bring many of God’s people with him, hence the Lord asks for us to walk in the light of GOD'S truth, where he can grant our safety.  When we don’t we are at the mercy of Satan. He plants false Christians among the true and he seeks to devour the Lord’s people and falsely accuses God’s children. He rules over the unsaved world and he deceives people with his outright lies with his cleverly designed thought systems. He can possess nonbelievers and we are constantly interacting with the workings of this evil strategist. For this reason we must continually depend on the lord’s ability to lead us.

Did Jesus arise from the grave?:  Many eyewitnesses saw him with their own eyes and many different occasions - over 40 days - and even died for their testimony. If you knew you were going to be executed for what you believe you saw and you knew it was a lie, wouldn’t you come clean? All 11 disciples were murdered for their belief and until their last breath maintained that Jesus rose from the grave. They believed this to be true, because they went around the world preaching it. They had nothing to gain: no wealth, no accolades of sort, nada. (1 Corinthians 15:3-8)

"Religion" is to try to please God by our own good deeds and self-effect.  Practicing diligent service, discipline and obedience in hope of reward, through our self-motivation and self-control. This can lead to chronic guilt, apathy, depression and a constant desire for approval. Salvation through faith in Christ sounds too easy to some people, who would rather think that they have done something to save themselves. Their religion becomes one of self effort that leads either to disappointment or pride, but finally to eternal death; instead of eternal life which through Jesus, is free. All that is required is to trust in Christ and then live to please God. We commit ourselves to Christ’s control. The Holy Spirit then helps us to do good works for Christ’s Kingdom. Our salvation brings joy, thankfulness, love, guidance, service and forgiveness.

There are dark forces at play:  The spirit world is that invisible realm inhabited by holy angels who actively serve God for our good (Hebrew 1:14) and by Satan’s demonic forces who oppose God and seek to harm us (Ephesians 6:12). It’s existence is one of the primary reasons that things in our world are not always as they seem. Our challenge is far greater than merely to deal with the visible details of life. Our primary struggle for well-being does not depend just on our flesh-and-blood relationships but on unseen friends and enemies as well.

What are angels?:  Angels are created, powerful, personal, and deathless spirit beings designed to worship and serve the Lord and to minister to believers. While natural observation does not reveal their importance to us, faith in the Word of God assures us that God’s sovereign provision in our lives is often mediated by these invisible servants. Even more astounding is the assurance of the Scriptures that they do not always remain invisible, as in my cases. Because of this, the letter to the Hebrews urges us, “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels” (Hebrews 13:2).

There are good and bad angels: Our arch enemy Satan is an especially powerful angel who rebelled against God. His act of rebellion is not described directly in the Bible but is alluded to in Isaiah’s description of the king of Babylon (14:12-15) and because of his constant activity against God, he is a far greater threat to us than any other enemy, personal or national.

He is a deceiver.  If he came looking monstrous with horns breathing fire, you would run for your life (think of all the horror films). He is clever and comes disguised as an angel of light. He knows, as people, we are drawn to light and not too darkness, so to fool you he invents other religions, dressed up as good, spiritually enlightening and all really good - feel good things. But one thing is missing? Jesus Christ! 

His helpers (Demons) are fallen angels who joined Satan in his rebellion. Some are active as members of Satan’s army while others have been imprisoned by God (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6). These personal agents of Satan’s evil empire can stimulate and arouse the worst capacities and desires within us. They don’t make us evil, but they willingly dominate those who refuse to surrender their hearts' to God.

The ultimate defeat of Satan and his forces:  By His death and resurrection, the Lord Jesus broke Satan’s legal power over the human race (Col. 2:14-15; Heb. 2:14-15). So the devil and his forces operate today as defeated foes who know they are doomed to the lake of fire (Mt. 8:29; Jas.2:19; Rev. 20:10). It is absolutely essential to keep in mind that Satan’s final outcome is s foregone conclusion. His predetermined fate is a terrible reality that should help us to avoid either carelessness or despair.

We cannot have two masters. With our own free will, we can chose to be a citizen of hell or a citizen of heaven based on the decision we make on who we want to serve in this life time. Being born again means excepting Christ and being born again spiritually, so when you physically die once, you go to heaven in the spirit. Or if you go to hell you die twice both physically and spiritually.

You can also test a ghost or angel:  “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.” (1 John 4:1-5).  Also, once you’re born again you can put on the full armor of God for protection.

Corrected on the new age philosophy:  A lot of the new age philosophy borrows heavily from the bible and then twists it to the ‘Self’ instead of towards our Creator God in which it was intended. Giving to the notion that by self-works we can be God. Many New Age beliefs, deities and religions exclude Jesus – the one thing you need to be saved: “No man comes to the Father but through me”. (John 14:6). Where the Lord plants a truth the devil has an excellent counterfeit.

Another New Age idea is that you can control your life and everything around you. New Agers believe there are god-like powers within humans that can be unlocked through meditation and other practices. God’s role is either minimized or overlooked. New Agers are told to have inward gratitude, rather than thanking God. Thoughts and meditation are usually internal rather than directed to God as a conversation with Him. If God (or a higher power) is mentioned in New Age thought, God is seen as something man should control or possess. New Agers often position themselves as being more "tolerant" than Christians with their idea “all paths lead to God.” Hence it’s popularity.

In truth, they don’t view all paths as the same distance: Some people move faster toward their New Age goals of self-actualization, enlightenment or nirvana – thus, some paths must be superior. Though a primary concept in New Age thought is to make perfection available to everyone, there is a definite spiritual hierarchy (consider how Buddhist monks are viewed). In Eastern and New Age thought, some folks are considered spiritually far superior, largely because they meditate more often or “try harder” to reach their spiritual goals. 

Reincarnation If there’s reincarnation there can be no need for a resurrection. The devil and his angels (demons) are spirit beings have been on this Earth for centuries and seen it all. So it’s within their power to come disguised as ghosts pretending to be loved ones or regular ‘joe some’ people. They’re very convincing as they know stuff about you and your loved ones that no one else does. If there are ghosts, man has somehow defied death and will not need to be risen on judgment day. God’s word says, “It is appointed to men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). This teaching is in direct competition with the Christian concept of heaven and hell. The concept of reincarnation is very popular in our society.

Another concept is it’s by your own works that decides what happens in the next life and there is no God to hold us accountable for what we do, and you have to incarnate over and over again in order to be perfect before you can be presented before the Lord.

Under the banner of reincarnation, the blatant inequities that abound in this world appear to fall into a sensible order. Instead of negative things happening by random chance, the theory of reincarnation offers a worldview that seems to ‘fit the pieces together,’ penetrating the chaotic and unpredictable with a multi-faceted system of cause and effect. Jesus also predicted that at the conclusion of this era, there would be literal resurrection of the righteous, then later on, of the unrighteous. (John 5:23-29, Revelation 20)

Karma: The reason why I no longer believe in karma is because that means obedience and reward are linked; and that’s not always the case because if so, good people would be rich and the suffering would always be a sign of a sinful nature, and we all are sinners. Suffering could’ve come about in someone’s life because of someone else’s choice to sin or circumstances. Also for someone to reap negative karma for something bad they’ve done, someone else has to be the perpetrator in order for this to play out and take effect. So, what happens when everyone reaches enlightenment bar two people, and one of them has to be the perpetrator so the other can get their ‘just desserts’?

PLAYING AROUND IN THE DEVIL'S PLAYGROUND

Before I gave my life to Jesus, my brother Chris and I where on the same journey. We would sit around talking and debating about books we’d read, and they were coincidentally parallel in topic. Chris was like my study buddy.  We used to sit around and talk about our journey of ‘enlightment’ and what stage we thought we’d reached, high fiving and slapping each other on the back at our good works; proud in our accomplishments.

A conversation with my Gran revealed that she’d been praying for my salvation ever since my illness. She’d been watching on the sidelines, as her prayers began to take effect in my life. Prayer is a powerful tool, especially when used for healing. There’s an invisible realm where things come into effect there first, before they manifest themselves in our physical realm – the realm in which we live. Hence the saying that comes from the Bible -- you are what you say you are.

The time had come for me to say my goodbyes and head back to the ships, back into the rhythm of life with my onboard family. The time there was taken up with the job at hand, not leaving much time for anything else. But I made an effort to read a couple of pages of the bible every day.  I’d found a way in which I could finish the whole book within a year.  Each week we’d dock in our main port, Port Canaveral in Florida. I’d begun attending a charity for people who works at sea. You could get free internet, lunch, play pool, and have access to phones to call home, wherever home was around the world. But one of its main features was that it was a Christian ministry that held sermons. Nobody really bothered attending any of the sermons; they just enjoyed the other goodies.  All the staff there were volunteers, friendly and willing to help with any problems you may have. This place was supposed to be our home away from home. For me it was becoming just that. Around that time it finally sunk in that I was actually part of God’s family and if I was a follower of Christ, I was a Christian. This was heavy for me, as I never liked labels, especially that one.  The Romans had used it as a derogatory term.  It had been misrepresented over the years, caused wars because of all the wolves in sheep’s clothing, dragging its precious name through the mud. But if I had a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, that’s what I was – and I just needed to get over it.

There’s temptation around every corner. If you weren’t on your guard, it’s so easy to succumb to it; especially being away from family and friends, people get so lonely. The peer pressure alone is intense.  I found myself compromising my faith many times. Even though I tried to take myself out of temptation's way, it wasn’t always that easy, and I needed the willpower to resist that I could only get through Christ, who strengthens me.

All the while my bible readings was throwing up many questions for me, and I prayed for help by asking for wisdom and understanding. Now when you ask God for help, He can reveal it to you in so many ways so I had to keep my eyes and ears open. It could come through the quiet voice, not some booming Charlton Heston voice; a message on TV, radio, opening a magazine or even a person. So we never know where that assistant is going to come from.   

After months of attending this charity ministry, just before lunch the pastor got up and announced the sermon. My ears pricked up because it was the very thing I needed an answer too. Sheepishly, I snuck into the sermon because I didn’t want my colleagues to see me go into the room, and think I was religious. This is one of the things that I struggled with, and here was history repeating itself in my life, caring what other people think. This was brought to my attention, and that hard lesson learned not so long ago came hurtling back.

Entering the room, I noticed there was only one other person besides myself. There were easily about sixty people or more in the whole building, but just two had come in for the message. It was set up with about ten pews, bibles, flowers to decorate and pamphlets. On entering you collected the outline of the day’s message. The pastor’s name was Paul; he was soft spoken, gentle and genuine, just like his wife. This helped me warm to him. As the pastor begun to speak, it was like he was there only for me, answering the very questions I needed help with. So after the sermon I thanked the pastor and told him that I had been waiting for that revelation. He was so kind and understanding, I began to open up and start bombarding him with masses of other questions I had.                                        

I felt like I could confide in him, and felt a prompting to tell him about the ghosts and the deities. He seemed concerned and begun to question me about my other beliefs, about certain new age practices I’d been involved in. He explained that I had invited darkness in, and when he spoke it registered with me. It’s what I believed happened all along, and it aligned with what I’d prayed about and rang true.      

Right then and there, he prayed over me and led me in prayer to renounce all things to do with the occult, because that’s what I was dabbling with, under a fancy new label more pleasing to the masses. Also I had to renounce Satan and his demons, ask for forgiveness and promise never to touch any of those things again. He explained that people don’t realise what they are getting themselves into. There are things of this world and in the spirit realm, that we don’t understand and because of this, the Lord wants us to stay away from them, not because He wants to withhold knowledge from us, but because he knows, through it, you can be easily manipulated for dark forces to come in and deceive.  

It is also seeking knowledge apart from God in which people come to rely on, instead of having faith in Jesus. It is also disobeying His word. Here’s just one of the verses from the bible stating this: “When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nation’s there. Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord, and because of these detestable practices the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you. You must be blameless before the Lord your God. The nations you will dispossess listen to those who practice sorcery or divination. But as for you, the Lord your God has not permitted you to do so.” (Deuteronomy 18:9 -14)   

Once you start to seek after these things, you get drawn deeper and cross over to a darker side, giving the demonic realm full legal right to come into your life. As well as there being laws here on Earth, there’s also laws in the spiritual realm, both good and bad.

In all his years of ministry Pastor Paul’s seen a few things; people getting themselves into scrapes with things that seemed innocent, even with good benefits. But even drugs have benefits of making people feel good, but it doesn’t mean it is. The Lord watches over us like a big protector and by His grace he saves a lot of us from demonic harm when we toy around with things we shouldn't.  

I’ve found that when I’ve needed guidance on something, they have to meet a certain criteria in order for me to know that it’s in the will of God. Here’s some of the method’s I like to use and they must align with each other:

·        Submit a prayer with the question that you have and wait for an answer. The answer could be yes, no, or not yet – you can ask for a sign to be shown.

·        What does the bible say in regards to the matter?

·        Seek Godly counsel (I sought Pastor Paul).

·        Listen to the inner witness from the Holy Spirit - the small voice.

Once you know the lord’s word, it’s easy to detect a counterfeit. That’s exactly how banks train their new recruits to detect fake bank notes. They get them so used to handling the real thing, so when they come across a counterfeit, they know immediately something’s up. If it’s not of the Lord, you will know. Just as the Lord can guide us via dreams, so too can the devil sneak up and try and do the same. If it’s negative it’s not of the Lord, especially if it’s telling you to harm yourself or another person. When the Lord speaks to you it’s of positive things and using His word. The devil is good at counterfeiting but he can never duplicate the real thing.

CHANGES BEGINNING TO HAPPEN

The Lord seemed to be working overtime where I was concerned. Under the light coming through the window the law shone on my sins and flaws throughout my life and like scattered dust left on the table after a good clean they shone bright. I had broken nearly every one, whether I considered it trivial or not. The only thing that could save me was to turn away from sinful nature and ask for forgiveness, repent (turn from sin) and put on Christ. He came not to abolish the law, but to fulfill it.

I soon joined a fellowship and arriving back home started attending Church and got baptized. Over a time, the quiet voice of the Holy Spirit would talk to me in my quietness.  He very gently held up the high-definition mirror to my flaws, helping me to correct them and heal, by taking a good hard look at the Self, before I would’ve shunned away from it but Christ is the adhesive for all broken things; be it a broken heart, a broken marriage, a broken home, broken finances -- it doesn’t matter -- he covers the mental, physical and the spiritual. He integrates all the parts of us. It’s in the ‘clean up’ process that the Holy Spirit starts bringing you in line with all things Godly. In it is the anointing you receive to walk with the Lord, and it’s that which Jesus has made clean in you to approach a Holy, just and righteous God. All Jesus requires is that you have faith in Him. “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air (Satan), the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.  All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.  But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions —it is by grace you have been saved.  And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.  For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith —and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God —  not by works, so that no one can boast.  For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2: 1-10).

WAKE UP CALL 

Before I believed myself too educated, too well-read to believe in a prophet named Jesus Christ and that my intellect had bypassed that of needing someone else to get me to heaven other than on my own merits. In my arrogance I missed the bigger picture and in my naiveté I was led down the garden path.

Ever since I’d been born-again, I’d wanted to have a deeper relationship with the Lord. I’d heard all these stories of people talking about this ‘deep, personal relationship’ with Jesus. I’d never experienced that, so I automatically assumed they must’ve been exaggerating a little, either that or I’d missed something along the way. Yet I didn’t know what.

I prayed to experience this and also for any part of my heart that wasn’t ready to be a “bride” for Christ shown to me. I’d had a dream about the rapture and I wasn’t amongst the people getting ‘raptured’ or ‘translated’. In fact I watched by the way side as this happened and couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t one of the chosen few. In my eyes I had turned away from sin and tried to guard my treacherous tongue. I questioned whether I’d been saved at all or whether it was the enemy aiming a fiery dart. I was supposed to be a new creature in Christ.

All that had gone before me was supposed to be no more. The slate had been wiped clean of a past that was just “beauty for ashes”. It’s like my flesh was screaming, ranting and raving - refusing to be tossed aside so easily, and now aware of this thorn in my side, the battle begun as the Lord tried to sanctify this selfish being. Pride, rebellion, self-confidence, anger, jealousy, hatred had to go, in order for the fruits of the Lord to manifest themselves. Day after day the Holy Spirit, who was sent to guide, teach, comfort and give me wisdom for the things of the Lord… toiled on.

The day I had become aware that I was not worthy to be a ‘bride’ ready for Christ is when I had read an article on dead works, and as I read it I might as well of had a pen in my hand ticking the boxes because every single one applied to me. I was cut to the bone, my pride was dented and I realised all those so-called good deeds were done for myself, or out of obligation, or guilt or for reward. Now I questioned everything and felt broken inside. Had I ever done a living work in my life? One that was led by the Holy Spirit and done with good cheer, or was it all about me? Still.

If judgment day was to come tomorrow, I’d be toast! Not only were my dead works revealed to me but also my Self-life, the real me under the exterior of new found Christianity when the Lord shone His light on my heart, I’d thought He’d find the fruits of the Lord, one by one the fruits of the devil lit up like fox’s eyes in the night: pride, anger, jealousy, selfishness, self-righteousness, hatred and so the list went on and on, and as soon as I tried to justify my actions, I just shut my mouth for it was plain as daylight, and I felt ashamed, the Holy Spirit had His work cut out.

I had to take a good hard look at myself and my non-existent relationship with the Lord. I had to deny myself for once and totally surrender, not partially, but fully. There’s no way I could do this alone, this was greater than me and hand in hand, step by step I had to learn to take a walk in faith and listen and be led by the Holy Spirit. This is the true sanctification process. I thank God for His mercy and that He is patient and so loving to show me this, so I could correct it.

My body and soul have been used to doing its own thing for all these years and now they have to be harnessed to the seasoned veteran Jesus, and walk with him. Of course I stumble, become impatient, I’m impulsive too; and it’s taking a lot to reel in this wild horse that’s been out in the crazy world that had done as it ‘sees fit’ for so long.

It takes patience, commitment, total obedience and a humbling that my hot temperament finds so alien. But I will plod on through my stubbornness and I hope not out of pride, but out of wanting to do my master’s will, that I’ve prayed to do countless times then finished the prayer, got up and went my own merry way – one in which I saw fit. I had been doing some serious lip service without backing it up with action.

Now the Lord was calling me on it, especially because I’d been seeking for a deeper relationship. I call Him my bridegroom but no part of my being was acting like His bride. I forget the Lord could see my heart and it was for selfish reasons that I sought Him out initially. I was as transparent to Him as glass.

The Spirit is willing but constantly fighting against the flesh, the ‘Self’  part of me, that’s why they say to deny the flesh, do not feed it and eventually it dies and has no power to do the bidding of the spirit which has been fed instead. The soul (one's mind, will and emotions) sits on the fence and follows that which is strongest – the body or the spirit.

Prior to this I was always seeking His hand and not His face – I was one of the “what can you do for me?” brigade. Now it’s trying to break through my iciness into the deep living waters. If we all just took the time to wade in over our heads and be led by the Spirit, how much better would our lives be? When we focus on Him and only Him, as it’s all about Him, then everything else would fall into place. For He knows what we need more than we do, and He knows the miracles He can work in us. Seeking Him through prayer, His word and waiting on the Holy Spirit that resides in us, if we’re born again, then we would come to know the fruits of the Lord and the Spirit. Give it all to Him and bow to His will.

My new prayer is “Drown me in your love Lord, let me never come up for air, clothe me with the power of your righteousness and wash me with the blood. Touch me with your fire and humble me in your wake. Make me a bride worthy of the bridegroom. Let my lamp burn bright and submit onto you all that I am, in Jesus name.”

When the Lord in His loving grace showed me my heart, I vowed to make changes immediately and delved to spend more time with Him every waking moment and it’s not until I did this, that I was shown another dream, this time I was in the rapture. In a blink of an eye I was caught up. And now I look to be guided by the Holy Spirit in the good deeds that I do, the Lord’s work. I check myself to make sure it is done with good cheer and even though sometimes I can be fearful, I remind myself that the Lord did not give me a spirit of fear, so this is not from Him. I feel it and press on through it and once it’s done, I realise it was another fiery dart from the enemy.

When the devil comes prowling looking for someone to devour, I have to remind myself that I was crucified with Jesus on the cross when I was born again and now a new creature in Christ and that the sanctification process is a very slow process, so I have to be patient with myself. Rome wasn’t built in a day and habits that’s been ingrained over the years, takes a while to change.

Every morning I have to suit up with the armor of the Lord, for truly as I write there’s spiritual warfare going on. So when we step out on a limb, out of God’s grace, He can’t protect us, because He won't impose upon our free-will and so the devil and his minions have full reign to step in and burn us. More times out of ten we turn round and blame God for our disobedience instead of taking full responsibility for our own actions. Yes we are tempted, but putting yourself in temptation's way doesn’t help. If you really want to get rid of it once and for all, give it to God, turn it over to Him and He will deliver you.

The bible could stand for: Basic Instruction Before Leaving Earth – the operative word is basic. If we can’t get this right, what about the rest the Lord has stored up for us? Jesus said that He has many more things to say and show us -- I gather things that would basically blow our minds. I bet when we get to heaven we’re going to be shocked at what a born-again believer had at their disposal here on Earth. If we’d only seek it, ask for it and utilize it with pure hearts in order to glorify the Kingdom, we would receive it. We are loved so much and the Lord has given us through Jesus many blessings.

Something as important as where my soul was going to spend eternity needed my full attention, as souls are the only one true commodity. It’s the only thing you can take with you to heaven, not material things. Jesus said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul? (Mark 8:34-37)  

A lie dressed up as the truth can become so ingrained in your psyche that it rocks you to the core when it is detected. This happened to me, but over time I had to recondition those beliefs and plant the truths, helped along by the Holy Spirit. As believers we are considered not of this world because we belong to the Kingdom, we’re regarded as a pilgrim passing through, documenting its demise. When your still of the world, you scoff and laugh at what I’m saying like I’m some deluded fool, and I totally relate.  At one time I was the same, especially whilst I was out shopping on a Saturday afternoon.  If someone were preaching the gospel, I’d become angry and many other passersby’s too. I hated being reminded of my indiscretions.  The truth may offend but we need to hear it.

It is never our desire to offend anyone, but we must realize that truth, even if it is presented in love, will offend some people. We each have the choice to either love people enough to offer them everlasting life, knowing that we might offend them, or we can choose to simply be quiet and not risk offending anyone. Let’s make the same choice Jesus did and tell people about Jesus and everlasting life, knowing we will live forever with some of them because of our efforts.

A BRIGHT FUTURE

My homelessness had been the start of a rootless existence, moving from one place to another. But in the lord I am firmly rooted and know His arms are wide open and I’ll always have home in Him. Today I laugh, as the grass had always been greener on the other side, and nearer than I could ever imagine, was my Lord and Savior now indwelling in me. Without having to take a plane, put on my make-up or dress up, more obtainable and more real than the chair I was sitting on or some fancy lifestyle. Giving me a peace and joy I’ve never felt before and the more I pressed in the deeper it was. I didn’t need to go anywhere, just receive it. When I realised what was available to me, I felt cheated. Why hadn’t anyone told me?! My immediate reaction was to blame someone else, instead of taken responsibility for my own actions. That was then and this is now, I’ve a lot of catching up to do and I’m so grateful that it’s not my strength but His that I can lean in and go forward with.

The truth had been staring me in the face – it was too easy. But it’s the simplicity that fools us to cast it aside and look for harder ways to find God, self-sacrificing ourselves when our God had already made the sacrifice – He died for us. We didn’t have to die for him to prove ourselves worthy or do good works, he loved us enough in all our sin to die for us.

For all my indiscretions I am not the same person on the inside, I have changed so much, I shock myself. Many of the things I do now, skip back a year or so; you’d think I was a different person and I was. Sure I revert to type and get angry, judgmental, and critical and hold the odd pity party, but because I’m aware of my negative traits, I catch myself in the process, because left unchecked it would become rampant and out of control. But the devil likes to wave them at you like a banner, so this is were the Lord’s word comes into play to use back at the enemy.

The Holy Spirit enables me to be competent because I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. And in His name I have salvation, deliverance, grace, joy, peace, mercy and healing to name but a few. The Lord has giving me a healthy self image, I know who I am in Christ, my inheritance, and that I’m loved.

I have to make it a daily walk with the Lord to keep myself on the straight and narrow. There’s always temptation around, but I pray for strength and guidance to resist it. It is a choice I make every day. We choose to walk with Him or not. You may be tempted, as the evil one is in a fight with the Lord for your soul and were the Lord will not infringe upon your free will, the devil given a foothold will. Where you’ve strayed from the Lord’s way; you made a hole in the armor weakening it. The enemy will come in with the choice you made, to deliberately and willfully step outside the Lord’s protection. So the devil and his demons have a legal right to come in and mess with you when you are walking in disobedience -- yes, even with the devil and His minions, the Lord is just and righteous.      

LEARNING TO FORGIVE

Hurt people hurt people and its usually the one’s you care about the most. Maybe because you feel safe to reveal your pain, but it’s also where you need to admit you need help and seek it, as no one should be used as someone else’s battering ram. Checking yourself in the mirror can be hard to do, but the acknowledgement that there’s a problem and to do something about it is when healing can begin. They say there’s no greater journey than from the head to the heart.

When I know I’ve done wrong I can put my pride aside and whether I’m right or wrong I can make peace with the person. That in it’s self is a big rule of measure for me, because if I knew I was right, no way was I going to them. I could go days, even weeks without talking to someone. I found it hard to forgive and had to make peace with certain people in my life; not for them but peace for myself. I didn’t want to remain a prisoner of hate, whilst they were going round living there lives without even a thought of me and my pain. Forgiveness isn’t forgetting. I’ve learned to forgive people and in doing so healed a part of myself. For by doing so I unlocked the jail door that held me captive and cut the negative tie between that person and myself.

FINALE

I’m a lot calmer and not so quick to ‘bite’ or fight back in an argument, I let the Lord fight those. I’m learning to let a lot of things go. I don’t stress over things I don’t have control over. When I show gratitude, I get more of the things I’m grateful for. As the Holy Spirit does his work in me of correcting, teaching, guiding, I’m more aware of how I conduct myself, as we’re considered Jesus’ representatives. I have a hunger for knowledge of all things of the Lord, His words; this is how He speaks to me. Trust me when I tell you, I had no hunger pangs before my conversion!

Many times the Lord came knocking at my door, the Lord gives you plenty of time to get right with Him. The word says, “This is the third time I’m coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.” (2 Corinthians 13:1)

I make an effort to be more considerate of my fellow beings. I’m not saying I don’t have bad days and thoughts, of course I do, I’m human. But what’s humbling for me is that I’m not perfect – far from it – but the Lord uses me to do his work anyway. We all have gifts that can be used, for the greater good. Everyone is born with one. I’m trying to let my light shine and try not to get jaded along the way with comparing it to others around me. All gifts are equal, no matter how insignificant you think it is. All kindness is equal, no matter how insignificant you think it is. David used a slingshot to defeat a giant, and Samson the jawbone of a donkey to defeat an army. God uses whatever it is you have and makes it useful in ways you never thought possible to glorify His Holy name. You just have to ask him into your life and he’ll meet you half way. He’s just waiting for the invitation.

Lorne's email:  tcnews@hotmail.co.uk


 

PLEASE HELP SHARE THE BEST NEWS GOD HAS FOR EVERY PERSON!

"And this gospel of the kingdom [Jesus died for sinners] shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come." (Quote from Jesus Himself: Matthew 24:14).

Consider how many children in "all the nations" have never heard YET what Jesus accomplished for THEM at the cross? PLEASE HELP SPREAD THE GOOD NEWS TO THE LITTLE CHILDREN!

To help us share the Best News every person needs to hear on this planet, randomly click FOR JESUS on just three (3) of the JESUS DID IT! links below. It will take just a few moments of your time. Please - that’s all you are asked to do. God will reward you! (Of course, be highly encouraged to forward one of these video clips to those who may have never heard what Jesus did for them on the cross ... especially young people). Thank you so much!

JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!

JESUS DID IT!  - or -  JESUS DID IT!

(Please paste one of the above links onto your Facebook page - website - blog - video; etc.)

Let God Use Your Salvation Testimony!


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Dear Reader - are you at peace with God?  If not, you can be.  Do you know what awaits you when you die?  You can have the assurance from God that heaven will be your home, if you would like to be certain.  Either Jesus Christ died for your sins, or He didn't (He did!).  Are you prepared to stand before God on the Judgment Day and tell Him that you didn't need the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the Cross to have your sins forgiven and get in right-standing with God?  We plead with you...please don't make such a tragic mistake.

To get to know God, to be at peace with God, to have your sins forgiven, to make certain heaven will be your home for eternity, to make certain that you are in right-standing with God right now ... please click here to help you understand the importance of being reconciled to God.  What you do about being reconciled to God will determine where you will spend eternity, precious one.  Your decision to be reconciled to God is the most important decision you'll ever make in this life, because in Christ, it is impossible to put a value on the worth of your soul in light of eternity.


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