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!

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Seek And Delight In The Lord

The scripture Matthew 6:33, But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well, has been a significant one in my life as a follower of Jesus. When I heard it the first time was during Whitney Houston’s funeral when Bishop Jakes talked there. I can still remember his voice saying this scripture and me hanging on the words trying to understand the meaning. At first, for awhile I have thought it means to put God first in my day, my life and He will take care of me. I do think it has this meaning but there is also a deeper meaning or maybe another meaning to me since I have matured. I have been thinking what “His righteousness” means. Jesus is our righteousness which means right standing with God. Only through Jesus can we have right standing with God. So, to seek His righteousness, I need to seek Jesus. Since I am born  again, I already have sought Jesus and now have His righteousness. I have put Him first and now I have right standing with God and have access to God’s Kingdom living. Because this is true, God gives me everything else I need.

This gives way to delighting myself in God. Psalm 37:4, Take delight in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.  Another word for delight is captivate. When I have great pleasure and captivate myself with Jesus and God, He gives me the desires of my heart. What He wants us to desire is Him first. A heart that desires God above all else is the delighted, fulfilled person. Not only that but God directs the steps of the one who delights in Him and establishes his way. Psalm 37:23, The steps of a [good and righteous] man are directed and established by the Lord,
And He delights in his way [and blesses his path]. So, God will direct which way to go in life and you have the assurance that you are living in His will and purpose for your life. And to make it even better God blesses your path. Your life will be full of blessings!

A Full Life or Long Life?

Which would you choose? This question came to me this morning as I was watching the Today show they were talking about eating to have a longer life. This struck me because I have been reading 1000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp and she talks about living a full life. She contemplates dying and when we actually get to that point, are we going to feel full or empty? I really loved how she put it. Now when I see something about living a long life I wonder which would really be the best? In my own opinion I think living the full life long would be the ultimate life but if I had to choose I would want the full life. If life was empty, then a long empty life would just be miserable.

You may want to know what a full life looks like. As Jesus said, He came to give us life to the full. I have really meditated on that verse in the past and now Ann has revealed the key to unlocking the full life. It’s gratitude for everything you love. It’s not just feeling the gratitude but writing them down. Writing them down gives the moment a space, a sacred space that is a gift from God. This is what Ann talks about in her book. She says writing them down is the actual receiving of the gifts. She emphasizes to carry a little notebook with you which causes you to be aware of life happening and write them down as you go. I started this today and already have over 30 gifts! She says we hurry through life and miss the small stuff which is really the big stuff. We don’t pay attention to what really matters and to what is right in front of us. God is in every moment if we will just recognize Him there. When we do this we are living each moment to it’s fullest. We have given the moment a name, we have made the space in the moment holy. This is all God wants, communion with us and this is how we do it. God’s presence is the answer to all our longings, all our emptiness. Instead of filling the gaps with “things” we need to fill the gaps with thankfulness and recognize the gifts God is continually giving.

I know myself that I have lived some empty life. I can’t get it back but I can vow today to live a full life. I refuse to get to my dying day and wish I had lived more fully. This is the answer to not being afraid to die. When you know without a doubt you lived fully in God’s presence, you know without a doubt you will live in His full presence in eternity.

Short quotes from Regina Gibson

Heaven Time

Heaven lights the end of time as we wait to touch each other in the calm peace of love forever.

Summer Morning

The sweet sunshine rose beyond the gate through it’s hinges gracefully covered the garden.

To Jesus

Because He gave me life again, I give Him my life.

A Single Leaf

A single leaf

                                                                                           F

                                                                                                   A

                                                                                                          L

                                                                                                                L

                                                                                                                         I

                                                                                                                                N

                                                                                                                                          G

alone, asleep , dying.

God’s Word Speaks Life!

 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh conveys no benefit [it is of no account]. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life [providing eternal life]. John 6:63

Back in October 2010 I had a dream. This was shortly after I had my encounter with Jesus, I was going to a non denomination church. I was in church listening to the sermon when a woman spoke out saying,” It’s just words.” I said,” It’s not just words, it’s GOD’S WORD and it’s the TRUTH! His WORD speaks life! Live by His Word and you will live forever! ” Then she began singing Amazing Grace.

Do you know what empty words are?  In my opinion empty words are words with no love. Just as it says in First Corinthians 13:1-3, If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not [a]love [for others growing out of God’s love for me], then I have become only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal [just an annoying distraction]. And if I have the gift of prophecy [and speak a new message from God to the people], and understand all mysteries, and [possess] all knowledge; and if I have all [sufficient] faith so that I can remove mountains, but do not have love [reaching out to others], I am nothing. If I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body [b]to be burned, but do not have love, it does me no good at all. 

So many preachers today want to send the message but people aren’t hearing it because there is no LOVE! I left that church I mentioned above because I never felt wanted. I served in the church out of my love for Jesus. I cleaned. I felt more wanted and loved from the woman in charge of cleaning than I did the pastor! Then another church I went to I told the pastor, we are looking for love. His response was, aren’t we all? I went to another church also but none of them could hold me there. What’s missing from our churches today is REAL LOVE.  Real love is explained in  First Corinthians 13.  When I was filled with the Holy Spirit the Bible became a love letter to me from God. He only speaks with love, purpose and meaning. This is why we can trust what God says in the Bible. Ever notice that Jesus never said words to just hear Himself speak? He always had a purpose, a meaning, a teaching. He portrayed love with every word He spoke. I could feel His love in the Gospel of John, that’s how I got saved. When you get a revelation that God’s Word is written for YOU, and I mean that present tense because the Bible is the living word, you begin to live in the supernatural.

When I first began reading the promises of God, I wanted to believe them for myself. I started praying with God’s Word in my prayer and suddenly I felt a change in my spirit. Instead of saying a natural minded prayer like this: God, please supply some money, it’s getting low and you know we have to eat, please send some money, Amen. Your prayers become like this: God, it says in Your Word that I am more valuable to You than the sparrow and You will supply all my needs according to Your riches in Glory. I know I belong to You because I have faith in Jesus, I have received Your gift. You said not to worry and put You first and all these things shall be added unto me. So, thank you God, for supplying my need and I know You are working already to answer my prayer because in Your Word it says that You hear the prayers of the righteous. I am one of the righteous through Your son Jesus Christ. Amen.  With God’s Word infused in your prayers they become powerful. You can feel the difference in your soul because you know you are agreeing with what God says. Our agreement and faith in Him is what activates it. It also says in the Bible that we can not please God without faith. Hebrews 11:6,[ But without faith it is impossible to [walk with God and] please Him, for whoever comes [near] to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He rewards those who [earnestly and diligently] seek Him. ]  But Jesus looked at them and said, “With people [as far as it depends on them] it is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26.  When God finds people that are thinking His Word, speaking His Word and doing His Word, life becomes supernatural!

Survive or Thrive?

One day these two words came to me and I decided some further insight was needed. I felt that it would be beneficial to know the difference between surviving and thriving and living for God’s kingdom. I think of surviving as something wild animals do. They live outdoors, always looking for food and shelter. Unfortunately there are some people who are living this way, just surviving. Matthew 10:31 tells us we are worth more to God than many sparrows, so I know God didn’t intend for us to just survive. How many times has some one asked us,” How are you doing?” and we respond ” surviving.” Well, I don’t know about you but I want more! I want more from my life than just looking for my next meal and wondering if my needs will be met. I remember something Jesus said about the life He gives. In John 10:10 Jesus said, The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows]. See, Satan wants us to just survive and not really live. He wants us to be caught up in our own survival so that we can’t focus on anything worth eternal value. Have you seen the show Survivor? You can see from watching this show what surviving does to people. It turns them evil and then adding the love of money to it and they are doomed!  But Jesus said He came to give us life to the full and to enjoy life! In order for us to do this we have to be thriving! And how do we thrive in life? We follow the Holy Spirit. It came to me that if I am truly following the Holy Spirit in every step I take it, He will lead me to the life that is full and I will enjoy it because I know I am in the will of God! Jesus wants us to enjoy our life and to thrive! When we are thriving we can then focus on other people and overflow His blessings to them. This is called Kingdom living.

We Are The Grand Band

Recently we were at a band concert at the high school where my son plays the trumpet. As we were waiting for the concert to start an interesting thought came to my mind. The band was on stage before the conductor came out and they were all playing their own tune, doing their own thing. But when the conductor came out they were all at attention and quiet waiting for their instruction . When the conductor conveyed what song to play they were all in unison playing the song and it was magnificent!

Here is what I thought: God is the conductor of our lives. We need to sit at attention quietly each day and wait for His instruction on what we are to do for that day. When we start going our own way and we don’t listen to God we begin playing out of tune. When God, the conductor of our lives comes, we stand at attention and listen to His lead. We then begin to play out our life in unison with others who are following His lead and when we do this it produces for Him a marvelous song of praise that is music to His ears!

Life Song by Casting Crowns

Empty hands held high
Such small sacrifice
If not joined with my life
I sing in vain tonightMay the words I say
And the things I do
Make my lifesong sing
Bring a smile to YouLet my lifesong sing to You
Let my lifesong sing to You
I want to sign Your name to the end of this day
Knowing that my heart was true
Let my lifesong sing to You

Lord I give my life
A living sacrifice
To reach a world in need
To be Your hands and feet

So may the words I say
And the things I do
Make my lifesong sing
Bring a smile to You

Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Let my lifesong sing to You