The Man Who Never Experienced God

My mom has told me a story over and over about God’s gifts of His grace and I want to share it now because finally in my own walk I see the light.

There was a man who lived his life without seeing God, hearing God or even feeling like God knew he existed. He never experienced God in his whole life. He died and went to heaven and was being led by Peter, who was a disciple of Jesus, and Peter took him to a storehouse full of gifts. The man asked Peter, “What’s all this?” Peter replied,” It’s all God’s gifts to you in your life that you didn’t receive. God’s grace toward you. You never opened even one.” The man looked with amazement and wished he had paid attention to his life! He wanted to go back and live fully, live the life Jesus promised us through our faith in Him. But now it was too late, his life was over, oh how he wished for a “do over!” The good news is this: You, who are reading this story, you still have time! You can start receiving your gifts of grace right now and the first one is God’s gift of Jesus Christ. You have to repent, which means giving up your way and taking on Jesus’ way.

I am going to try to explain what has happened to me in the past few months that has led me to the full life in Jesus Christ. What I have experienced this past week is life changing. What I have learned made me remember this story my mom told me many times and I never understood it. I never understood what the gifts were and how there could be so many! I realized this morning that there are many layers to understanding something. I began writing The Changes In Me last November 2015. And I have updated my progress every month, The Changes In Me One Month LaterThe Changes In Me Two Months Later and The Changes In Me Three Months Later. Now in this fourth month God has shown me the answer to everything.

During this past month I have been on a search or quest to experience God in all the moments of my life. I have tastes of His presence and it’s so good that I never want it to end. I was drawn to frequencies and thought that was how to experience God all the time, if I was on His frequency I would feel Him. I thought learning Hebrew or Latin or learning how to sing the Gregorian Chant would bring me closer to Him. I bought a lot of books to help me figure this out even one on prayer. If I could pray enough, pray all through the day I would experience Him. None of this is the answer. Now I know when I sing to God in praise I feel His presence but I can’t do that all day, it’s unrealistic. We do have lives to live and responsibilities. What I wanted was to feel His presence ALL THE TIME. I even finally resorted to believing that it’s impossible to “feel” God all the time. I was starting to believe what religion says that you can’t feel God all the time. That we live by faith and not feeling which is true to some degree but I needed more. One of the books I was led to buy was Ann Voskamp’s book One Thousand Gifts. I was also led to do her Lent devotion Trail to the Tree. The timing of doing the Lent devotion and then when I actually got the book was unbelievable! What I was reading in the Lent devotion was setting me up to receive the book. Even through all the searching before, God was preparing me to read this book. She has a lot of similarities in her book to what God had been showing me.

What Ann asks in her book is, do you want to come to the end of your life and realize you didn’t live fully? That you were empty the whole time? My answer was a definite no. I had already been searching for the full life! and now could I actually have the answer right in my hands? The answer to everything?! She explains that she was on a dare to write down 1000 things that she loves. As she did this she realized she was writing down God’s gifts to her. She discovered a word eucharisteo, which means grace, thanksgiving, joy. She learned Jesus practiced this. Jesus has shown us the way to a full life by His demonstration of thanks to God before anything He did. Ann says the miracle always comes after the giving of thanks. By writing down what I notice that I love I am actually receiving God’s gifts of His grace toward me. It’s His love for me transformed into something I can see, feel, touch. This awareness and the naming of the moment causes the moment to become holy. Through these gifts recognized I am experiencing God. I am receiving His gifts by writing them down and thanking Him by acknowledging these moments as gifts of grace. It brings great joy to do this! I know it’s hard to believe but it’s real and I am experiencing it. You have to read this book and practice this to know what I mean. There was a dream I had recently about grace also. I told my dad that the hardest thing to learn about salvation is grace. I woke up wondering, what does this mean! Ann has answered it! By thanking God for the moments, the people, the things that I love as they come into my life I am learning grace! The practice of this is learning grace! I have done this for almost one whole week now and last night the story my mom used to tell me came to my mind. It finally clicked! The gifts in the storehouse were all the moments, people and things God gave him that he didn’t notice! All the ways God tried to communicate with him, to get his attention and he never got it. Because he never noticed, he never experienced God. His life was empty.

This practice has opened up a new life to me! I used to think when my mom told this story, ” What gifts?” “What exactly is grace?” I know the Bible says it’s God’s unmerited favor, but what is it tangibly?  Now I know and when I told her today what I have learned and now I know what the gifts were in the storehouse we both cried tears of joy!

6a01053721da13970b016302c550e0970d-800wi

Advertisements

January’s Gifts!

January 1000 Gifts

1. Gregorian Chant CD, birds chirping and dogs barking, my daughter’s voice lulling me to sleep

2. I had raspberry sweet cream cheese crepes from Ihop for breakfast, taking my Christmas decorations down and having everything back to normal, looking at the trees and my little tree with white lights.

3. Someone who had a premature baby that I know told me he is now 10 pounds after 6 months and is out of the hospital! Two other people said they had a great Christmas!

4. Old- watching and listening to old noggin cartoons, shows and moose with zee. New- a book called Not by Sight: A fresh look at old stories of walking by faith. Blue- watched Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader tryouts with my daughter.

5.Reading my four books I got for Christmas, The Pilgrim’s Progress, Hungry For More of Jesus, Pleasing God, Letters from The Desert. Seeing Steven Furtick preach for the New Year, unstop your heart for the water to flow. The blessings from God. Making time to help my son, to help him unstop his heart to let blessings flow from God into his schoolwork. To change his outlook and attitude about school. To help him see complaining is stopping God’s flow in his life.

6. In my bag- money, in my fridge- backyard potatoes, in my heart- love

7. My daughter put her hand on my hand after I had hurt it on the door and it did make it feel better. My husband opened a can for me. My husband put the left over dinner in the fridge for me.

8. The morning has been foggy outside and cold. It is a typical winter day with a coziness with it. I was watching Becoming Jane and her reflection in the window carriage was a surprise.  I watched Spirited Away with my kids and we saw a lot of shadows.

9. My family members held. Passed by food at the grocery store. Sat with my dog.

10.  A gift sour could only be that my husband didn’t sell a lot today. A gift sweet would be he won money for being top seller. A gift just right would be the sermon I watched live from Elevation church.

11. I already had a gift of mercy this morning by listening to the Holy Spirit and avoiding an accident near my house! God has made a way for us financially to get through the month! The mechanical pencils I had to buy for my kids were buy one get one free!

12. Something above is the roof over my head. Something below is the floor I walk on. Something beside is all the beautiful things God has blessed me with to make my house feel like a home.

13. I’m grateful that I am quiet, small and that I really truly have come into the experience and knowledge of Jesus Christ.

14. My son’s teacher called to give him work to do so he will pass the class! My older son got a curve on his math exam and got an A and will now pass! We got extra money we didn’t plan on in the bank!

15.  Getting my hair cut. Getting my kids hair cut. Our dinner from Buffalo Wild Wings.

16. My husband getting a spiff at his part time job. Realizing I didn’t have to do my regular housework because Monday is a holiday which means no school! My daughter singing and playing the piano keyboard and my son playing the trumpet.

17.  My husband and son making me laugh.  Watching Elevation church this morning for prayer. Quiet would be seeing monks talk about their chant on The Sunday Morning Show and realizing from watching them talk about it how it has really affected my life.

18. That the Holy Spirit helps me succeed. Zachariah 4:6 I am already living in God’s glory. II Corinthians 3:18 Procrastination is disobedience to God. Haggai chapter 1

19. My husband, my children, my time that I get to spend with Jesus.

20. The design of a snowflake. The little freckles on my daughter’s nose. The fur on my bunny.

21. The sun. Life is in water. Memory is a gift in itself because without it we wouldn’t be. Like Aristotle said, Memory is the scribe of the soul. I love that!

22. Money to order Pilgrim’s Progress Journey to Heaven DVD. My computer screen to watch T.D. Jakes sermon My Dream.  As my day unfolded with my family home from work and school, God showed me through my husband and the book Pilgrim’s Progress that I can’t stop what I am learning and doing because what I am involved in doing with God is affecting my family. If I stopped it would not be good for them, do it for them, do it for love.

23. He is wonderful counselor, prince of peace and mighty God.

24. The blue sky that I can see today with the sun shining. The blue background screen on Steven Furtick’s stage today that read SUPPLY: God’s provision is Seasonal, God’s provision is Unusual, God’s provision is Proportional, God’s provision is Personal, God’s provision is Local, God’s provision is Yours. My Gregorian Chant CD I listened to.

25. A grace borrowed could be Miss Beck telling me about Elevation church a few months back. A grace found is all the books I found to read on Amazon and now one has led me to my movie I will get soon called Pilgrim’s Progress A Journey To Heaven. A grace inherited is my Catholic background and Native American heritage.

26. My music. Watching a show called The Code and my husband calling me. My husband getting another spiff at work!

27. Coffee, food, working appliances

28. They always listen, they tell you what your good at, they are there when you need them

29. Yeha Noha song, I love you from my husband, the sun shining today!

30. hearing, music, The massiveness of God. The awareness of how intelligent He really is.

31. All the scripture in the Bible and all my books I am reading, the humor in my husband cause he keeps me laughing, all the beautiful art in the St. John’s Bible found here

 

A Person Cannot Receive EVEN ONE THING UNLESS It Is Given Him From Heaven

January 1000 Gifts

Counting 1000 gifts this year beginning January 1st 2016.  I have been a little down since Christmas has been over but I am starting to see the New Year coming and I am looking forward to it! I  wanted to mention 3 gifts of the Holy Spirit that I received Christmas Day and then a few days after. The first gift was dinner at Mc Donald’s for free! On Christmas Day my husband and daughter went to Mc Donalds for food cause I woke up sick that day.  Anyway, they left me home watching The Nativity towards the end of the movie and I was already feeling Jesus but they came in and said, ” Your not gonna believe what happened!” I said,”What?” They said, ” A lady paid for our food!” I said,” How?” with tears welling up in my eyes cause I knew I was getting ready to witness a miracle. They said that they let her go ahead of them in the drive thru line and when they got to the cashier to pay they were told that the  lady  in front of them paid the bill! That was thirty dollars we saved! Another gift is I think God has healed my stomach. I get stomach aches every time I eat and spend every night with severe stomach pains. I had been feeling a fluttering in my stomach for about 3 days and now for 3 days no stomach aches at all! That has been a tremendous relief! The next thing was on Christmas Eve we go to family’s house and exchange gifts only this year I ended up with a scarf. It was because the earrings I got won’t work for my ear and a sweater I got was too big. I was okay with it because I have Jesus and that’s  all that matters but something interesting happened. The day before yesterday I was drying dishes and I thought, all they had to get me would have been some towels and I would have been happy! Then my husband came home from his mom’s house and said his mom had been thinking that I didn’t really get enough for Christmas and wants to take me where ever I want to go to buy some towels! I knew in every one of these instances that the Holy Spirit was making Himself known.

I figured after Christmas this was why I was a little sad, I was full of experiences with God during Christmas and then boom I wasn’t experiencing anything. It made me sad. But I remembered Ann Voskamp’s 1000 gifts which I have tried before and quit several times. I quit because I found it hard to be thankful for the mundane things such as a cat laying in a chair but God has revealed something to me about this. If you truly are following Christ in every moment then your in God’s Will and everything you are experiencing is actually a gift from God. Now I know you might disagree because some things don’t look like gifts, they look like thorns. But I read in Ann’s The Greatest Gift that you don’t have a trial that doesn’t have a gift.  I listened to Steve Furtick recently and he was preaching about Paul’s thorn. THORN stands for: Temptation, Hardship, Opposition, Rejection, Need. He goes on to say the “thorn” is from Satan but the message is from God. He said to ask yourself, could I be getting  a gift from God wrapped in the package of the enemy right now in my life? The thorns Jesus wore brought pain but also brought God glory! So, what I am trying to say is, if we look closely and pay attention, God is giving us gifts continuously. The title to this post is a scripture from the Bible John 3:27. I have meditated on this scripture and had the revelation that this Earth is God’s. We are IN HIS creation. He is overlooking us like we would an ant farm. He GIVES us EVERYTHING we need to live. He MAINTAINS everything we need to live. When your in His plan for your life, He is in CONTROL.  So, suddenly I see everything around me as a gift directly from Him. I finally get how you can experience God in little things that may seem mundane to us, but it’s actually a gift from Him. How many times a day we fail to thank God for the little things because we don’t see them as coming from heaven. We take so much for granted. So much could be taken away and we don’t even give it a thought.

I want Christmas to keep going, not to end. I am thankful for my Holy Spirit gifts and pray to experience at least 3 every day this coming year. The way I have figured out how to do this is with this scripture, to be mindful that whatever I receive, any joy I feel is ultimately from heaven. And when something hard happens I will be looking for the gift cause I know God has a message for me in the hard moments. He is always growing us in the hard times. If you are reading this and don’t believe what I’m saying, it’s because you CHOOSE a different reality than me. My reality is with God, I choose to take His perspective on my life and therefore, I experience HIM. John 14:21, The person who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who[really] loves Me; and whoever [really] loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and reveal Myself to him [I will make Myself real to him].”

Follow Jesus and what He says for real and you experience Him for real.

I also enjoyed giving gifts this year to neighbors and family and plan to figure out ways to give to others at least three times a day. I felt God in giving to others. I remember in the movie Pay It Forward it was said that if your giving doesn’t give relief then it isn’t really giving. I pray to give some people some relief this year.  2 Thessalonians 2:17, comfort and encourage and strengthen your hearts [keeping them steadfast and on course] in every good work and word.  Just as Jesus did, Acts 10:38,  how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with great power; and He went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, because God was with Him. We are anointed  to bless like Jesus did.

A Time For Us

In my post about the dream I had with Jesus called “To Lie Down In Green Pastures”, I mentioned a Romeo and Juliet record that I had growing up. For my birthday this year my husband bought me a record player and I bought the Romeo and Juliet record in my dream. As I listened to it I couldn’t believe I was hearing Gregorian Chant at the end of side one! I researched to find what the chant is and the translation but couldn’t find it. Anyway, there has been another meaning that has come to me about this record and why it was in my dream with Jesus.

As I was reading my Advent devotional yesterday with Ann Voskamp she mentioned something that stuck out to me. She said we have to make space in our heart and in our time for Jesus. Then I remembered in the dream I felt like I had no time for Jesus and told Him if He had to go it was okay. Some one commented that maybe I actually think Jesus doesn’t have time for me. This brought it into a different perspective. Then a few weeks later I had an encounter with Jesus in my spirit where He revealed to me that I push love away. I don’t want to get hurt from loving others. I run away and He told me not to run away again. I felt a wall collapse inside of me, a dam really, cause I had a flood of tears come forth for about 5 or 6 hours.  Ever since this experience I have made myself more aware of love and giving to others. Ann goes on to say relationship is the only reality; there is nothing else. When grace conceives in you, you take hold of God. When you are a space to receive whatever the will of God is in this moment as grace, you take hold of God. I love how she said the will of God in this moment. Our lives are made of moments. like in the song These Small Hours. Rob Thomas says, our lives are made in these small hours, these little wonders, these twists and turns of fate. It’s our choice if we choose God in every moment. Will we chose fate or God?

So, with all this in mind my daughter came to me to sit in my lap yesterday and I said no initially because I felt hot from just getting out of the shower. But the Holy Spirit spoke to me right away and made me aware that this is the pushing away that God says not to do. In actuality I was pushing a gift from God away. So, I said for her to come back and I held her. After that I was drying my hair and the Holy Spirit came again and revealed, make time for love to be received instead of pushing it away. I realized that the theme song for Romeo and Juliet is ” A Time For Us!”  I felt Jesus telling me this song is for me and you. This is why the record was in my dream. He has been laying out the clues for me to figure this out. When you read the lyrics it’s awesome how they go with our relationship with Jesus. It wraps everything together in my dream into the perfect gift for Christmas.

A Time For US

A time for us some day there’ll be
When chains are torn by courage born of a love that’s free
A time when dreams so long denied
Can flourish as we unveil the love we now must hide

A time for us at last to see
A life worthwhile for you and me

And with our love through tears and thorns
We will endure as we pass surely through every storm
A time for us some day there’ll be a new world
A world of shining hope for you and me

For you and me

And with our love through tears and thorns
We will endure as we pass surely through every storm
A time for us some day there’ll be a new world
A world of shining hope for you and me

A world of shining hope for you and me

Ann also said, sometimes receiving is harder than giving.

Receiving means you have to open your hands, open your heart. When we do this, Jesus can come in. You will be able to experience Him like never before.