Inspiration and Reflection

I have so much to write, but so little time. Forgive me if this become a strange, unstructured ramble. It doesn’t matter. I just want to share these thoughts in the hope it may help somebody somewhere to come home to God.

Since the 27th June 2019, I have changed immeasurably. Please read what happened on that date here.

Looking back at my early blog entries it strikes me that there was an arrogance in my attitude towards the Church and Christianity. That arrogance has gone. I had a slight feeling of superiority because I have experienced mystical phenomena such as out-of-body-experiences and pre-cognition and assumed that this was beyond the level of comprehension of Christianity.

But now I am humbled.

I’m currently reading (slowly!) Interior Castle by St Teresa of Avila and have been pretty amazed by finding that I have been mostly wandering about in the outermost mansion for most of my spiritual explorations. It’s also comforting that in St Teresa I have a guide and companion in my spiritual life.

Actually, I think I’ve had the best spiritual companion all along. Here is a clipping from mediation journal from 2010:

For years, I wondered about this. It was received at a time when I was still quite hostile towards Christianity. A few days ago whilst listening to one of the later lectures in Derek Prince’s life-changing “Laying the Foundation” series, he explains that in the book of Revelation Jesus is referred to as The Lion of the tribe of Judah.

How could I have had this experience and still resisted accepting Jesus Christ as my saviour?! How foolish I have been.

Looking back, I can see that I had an issue with thought of giving myself to Jesus: it felt like I wanted to keep at least 50% of myself for me, if that makes sense? But the truth is, here on the other side of being delivered and freed from the entity / entities that had been overshadowing me for as long as I can remember, I can assure you that in giving yourself totally to Jesus Christ, you lose nothing of value but gain something priceless.

You have no idea what it feels like to be able to move around in the world with freedom and joy, having been released from the feelings of shame and inferiority that had weighed down upon me and had even begun to break down my physical health.

Praise and glory to God!

But this brings me on to the Church (at least Anglican Church) and something I really need to share.

As you can see from the above, the experiences that have led me back to Jesus have been supernatural. Christianity is supernatural in EVERY respect. But the Anglican Church does not adequately convey this and this is a travesty.

Having just been reading Acts 19, it appears this has been a problem since the earliest days of the Church:

Paul in Ephesus

19 While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when[a] you believed?”

They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”

So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?”

“John’s baptism,” they replied.

Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues[b] and prophesied. There were about twelve men in all.

Acts 19 New International Version (NIV)

In our Church, we don’t lay on hands. We don’t verify that we’ve each received the Holy Spirit. We don’t speak in tongues. We don’t heal the sick.

We do lots of good things – lots of nice community things, but are we apostles?

My life’s work is to be a true apostle.

Anyhow, how did I get over the resistance to Jesus? How did I get to the point where deliverance could happen? Quite simply, I filled myself with praise for Him. As far as possible, I banned anything from entering my eyes or ears that wasn’t Christ-focused. Every commute would be spent listening to Derek Prince or Christian music. The Chirstian music particularly helped, as I would find myself singing these songs or hearing the melodies constantly throughout the day, until every day has pretty much become a rolling prayer.

When you fill yourself with light, it begins to force the darkness out.

These are the songs that work me in a very powerful way:

The next step for me is to research where I can receive a baptism in the name of Jesus, followed by receiving the Holy Spirit. I pray that this will happen by direct transmission from God through a mystical experience, but I concede that it may be beneficial to do this by connecting with other like-minded Christians who share my mindset.

Wherever you may be on your journey of faith, may God’s love and miracles work upon you and through you, through the Holy Spirit. This I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.

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Deliverance

I will hold the 27th June 2019 as one of the most significant days of my life.

In the last 6 months I have been fortunate enough to find the teachings of Derek Prince via uploaded youtube sermons. I find it heartening that we live in an age where transformative sermons and teachings are available for anybody to view at any time.

On the evening of the 26th June I met with the parish vicar, having shared with him an overview of my spiritual life of the past 15 years and the journey from being an atheist to a follower of Christ.

It was a great meeting: one man who, from the youngest age, knew he was of God and what his purpose in life was; the other who had been duped into the darkness but through God’s grace has been offered redemption. Both coming together to share their faith and their difficulties.

As the evening progressed I developed a bad taste in my mouth and on the morning of 27th June, I woke with the return of my recurrent gut issues.

I had a work meeting about an hour away that morning and for the journey I had selected a Derek Prince lecture on deliverance to listen to. During the return journey I reached the end of the lecture which featured a very powerful prayer.

I chose to partake in the prayer and the most disturbing but incredible thing happened.

As I repeated the words, it felt like they carried an authority I’ve never felt before. I spoke with such force, following Derek’s lead.

Then it happened.

A shrill scream erupted from deep within and it went on and on and on and on. It was a hideous sound. Truly disturbing. Almost inhuman.

The fact that this all happened spontaneously and in a place where I was able to abandon myself to the process meant that this thing (or these things) were able to be properly expelled.

I feel great. Exhausted, but great. I’m free. At last, I am free and can start living. I can start serving Jesus Christ.

I’ve linked to the first part of the lecture series that led to this startling but amazing experience. It’s important to watch them in order and really give your undivided attention to everything Derek says: it’s all scripture based.

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Whose Temple have you Built?

Jesus answered, “Tear down this Temple, and in three days I will build it again.”

John 2 v 19

I only surrendered to Jesus and God fully, this year.

Having been a spiritual explorer for over a decade it took me a long, long time to discover that the only things I really wanted were forgiveness for the bad things I have done in life, more of the love I’ve been blessed with through my family and, healing so that I could move forward in life.

In my arrogance and confusion I had sought healing from every source other than the Bible.

It’s amazing what happens when you spend some time alone with the Bible and read it with an open heart and a genuine thirst for God’s love and wisdom.

In the verse from the gospel of John, above, Jesus refers to his body as a temple and given that he lived without sin, it truly was a holy place. But what about me? Mine belongs to a sinner. Let’s have a quick review of the seven deadly sins:

  • Lust
  • Gluttony
  • Greed
  • Sloth
  • Wrath
  • Envy
  • Pride

Yes, I’ve indulged in them all in a big way. But we’re all human, and I suspect if nothing else unites us in this age of division and polarisation, our collective propensity to sin does.

So it could be said that through either ignorance or willful indulgence, the temple I’ve been building for most of my 40 years is a temple of sin and shame. It’s not that I’m a bad person, just that I’ve not been hungry enough to be a great person. I’ve been satisfied to sit back in the shadows, minding my own business.

Thankfully, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are an expert team in temple renovation, meaning that we don’t need to tear down the temple, but instead, we can let God fix us brick by brick.

However, as with all renovations, you have to first empty the building of its contents before the heavy work starts and I can attest that it feels quite unnerving to find, half-way through your life, that you’re a shell of your former self. However, it’s also tremendously exciting to appreciate that God is painstakingly working to replace your foundations, repair the broken bits of you and create His masterpiece in you. What could be more wonderful?

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A Prayer for Wisdom

Around 18 months have passed since my last post. I’m still going to church with my son and I’m still reaching for the new Christian life and the change that I referred to in my last post.n

In the interim period I discovered the Christian teacher Derek Prince who has become the bridge between my mystical experiences of the last 15 years and Christianity. If you haven’t heard of him, I thoroughly recommend reading some of his books and watching some of his presentations.

Anyway, I came to him in a state of sickness. First, at the beginning of the year, it was persistent migraines and the feeling that I was in a pit of spiritual despair, trapped by unhealthy patterns of thought and behaviour. More recently, I found myself unable to eat due to nausea and I feared the return of a serious illness which had struck me down some 5 years ago.

This week, I found myself buying and reading Derek’s little book God’s Medicine Bottle and yesterday I commenced the prescription of taking God’s Word, three times a day with meals! 

Derek advocates taking a simple, honest approach to this exercise and having never really spent any time studying the Bible (I know that must be strange to read and I do find it conspicuous that I have had what I can only describe as an aversion to Bible study) I didn’t really know where to begin. However, a verse from Proverbs quoted by Derek piqued my interest, so that where I started.

I’d only got to Chapter 5 and was hit hard by the prospect that God had taken me straight to the source of my sickness: adultery. Around 10 years ago, I had allowed a situation to develop which, however else I may try to frame it, constituted adultery.  Proverbs 5 says:

  • Adultery is the road to death;
  • Caught in the net of one’s own sin;
  • His utter stupidity will send him to his grave.

Well, not much to take comfort from there, but it certainly rings true to what has happened to my health since those days and also explains why God was angry with me when I heard His voice a couple of years ago.

I said a prayer of repentance and as I carried on making my way through Proverbs, I found Chapters 7 and 8 which introduce Wisdom as a woman who was God’s earliest companion when creating the Earth. 

Say unto wisdom, Thou art my sister, and call understanding thy kinswoman,

As I read these Chapters, I received an instruction to build a prayer from Proverbs 8 and that this would protect me from the effects of my past mistakes and guard against repeating the mistake in the future (not that I would ever let that happen again). It would also guard against all other forms of stupidity that we’re prone to as humans as well as open ourselves up to the many gifts that Wisdom wants to impart upon us.

The prayer wrote itself in minutes and I invite you to use it in your own healing. 

Lord, I come to you

To ask that I hear Wisdom

In the silence of prayer and in the clamour of the day

May I always be bound to her guidance

In Her I am mature

In Her I have sense

I Her I am truth

She blesses me with clear vision and deepens my love for you

I love Wisdom and in return

She blesses me with riches, honour, prosperity and success

She leads me to you

And so in finding her I have found life

Lord, I ask this in the name of Jesus Christ

Amen

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The Parable of the Three Servants

I need change.

I fear change.

I crave safety and familiarity.

I need change.

I need to live and work in such a way to be true to the direct spiritual experiences that have punctuated my life since 2005. These are the experiences that have brought me, a former hardened atheist,  back to Christianity but have thus far, not brought about any changes in my outer life.

In an effort to do something about this and open new career opportunities, I drafted an email to Christians Against Poverty (or CAP as they are commonly known) after hearing about their excellent work on BBC Radio 4’s Today program, enquiring whether they had any suitable vacancies. But then, I hesitated… and after hesitating I abandoned the email… and then I berated myself for even thinking that I am capable of changing career direction at this point in my life when I have a family to support and a mortgage to pay.

At Church on Sunday the Gospel reading was from Matthew 25:14-30. It couldn’t have been more apt and it served as a kick up the backside from Jesus, prompting me to stop making excuses and start committing my life to God.

26 His master answered, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not winnowed. 27 Then you ought to have given my money to the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest.

28  ‘So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents.29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from him who has nothing, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And throw the unprofitable servant into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

I’m definitely guilty of burying the gifts of the Spirit I’ve been given and I recognise the outer darkness from my many out-of-body-experiences. It was in this outer darkness that I heard the voice of God berate me.

Now I know why.

This made me retrieve my abandoned email to CAP, complete it and hit the send button.

I hope that they don’t bin it – it was a bit of a rambling mess, so I could understand if they write me off as a crazy man – but even if they do, at least I’ve taken a positive step forward into transitioning into the fulfilling Christian outer-life I intuitively feel is waiting for me.

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Ask Not What You Can Do for God, Ask What God Can Do for You

Wait a minute, surely, there’s a mistake in that title? I got it the wrong way around, right?

Wrong.

After my last post, inspired by the parable of the unforgiving slave, something was nagging at me. There was something deeper within the parable that was speaking to me, something that I had missed.

And then it came to me!

The unforgiving slave had pleaded to the king for forgiveness of his debts, but refused to show forgiveness to his fellow slave. The king found out and forgiveness was revoked.  The king’s forgiveness was contingent upon the slave’s ability to forgive others. There is something in the dynamic here that I believe has a much wider application than in respect of forgiveness alone.

I want to be healthy. I want fantastically good health and to live a long life. Do you think God would grant me that if I were to ask? Maybe. But maybe there’s a condition attached; the condition being that I have to work in some way to improve the health of others and then God will answer my plea.

OK, I also want to be wealthy. Not because I desire material trappings or the admiration of others, but simply so I can feel financially secure and dedicate more time to things that I’m passionate about: family, friends, travel and spiritual exploration. I’ve never prayed for wealth because I consider it to be an earthly matter that I ought to be able to resolve for myself, but perhaps I should be helping others become wealthy and in doing so, will qualify for a divine dividend.

So after pondering this for a while, I naturally started to think about the “The Secret”* and the multitudinous other works based upon the purported law of attraction (LOA), all offering to grant you your wishes if you just think about them in the right way. I’ve always been  repulsed by their glossy adverts and the materialistic sentiments that they leverage to  draw people in. And yet, I do think that there is something magical to be discovered in creative visualisation – but perhaps that will be the topic of another post sometime.

The critical difference between the teaching in the parable and those of the greed-mongers is the condition that you will do your utmost to create the conditions you are seeking for yourself, for others.

So often in my own life I’ve become so caught up in the daily grind, so preoccupied with my scarce financial resources that I’ve been consumed with trying to improve my own situation, without stopping to think whether I could be helping others who may be in the same position. I think this is a perfectly natural mode of behaviour and that it would take a real act of will to think beyond the boundaries of one’s own circumstances, but that is what I am going to aspire to do.

So get asking God for favours and perhaps, if you do your bit to help others obtain whatever it is you desire, you may just find your prayers are answered.

What do you think? Am I on to something here?

*I need to be completely honest and admit that I’ve never read or watched The Secret, but have had discussions with friends who are proponents of it.

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17 September 2017 – Forgiveness

I’ve been in a rather introverted state of mind this last year. I’m going through a phase where I feel like a fraud in many areas of my life – particularly in my career, but also in my spiritual life too. This morning’s Church service was great however, a real “invigorator”, helped in no small part by the hymns, one of which was Dear Lord and Father of Mankind, my favourite. I just pity the poor people sat near me who had to endure my enthusiastic but not-so-tuneful rendition!

Have you ever heard the voice of God?

Last year, on two occasions, I believe I heard God speaking directly to me. In each instance, after going to bed and falling asleep, I woke into sleep paralysis and then found myself in the void. The void is a state of consciousness where I am fully aware, but have no sense or conception of a physical self. It is often the state from which I will be projected into an out-of-body experience / astral projection but quite often weird things happen in that state too and I have come to think of it as a place where the greater self integrates into the everyday, waking self.

In this place, quite unexpectedly, a voice spoke to me. The voice was so grand it could have shaken the atoms of my being apart, yet it was crystal clear. What was said will remain between me and God, but until this morning I don’t think I quite understood the meaning.

Matthew 18:32-351599 Geneva Bible (GNV)

32 Then his lord called him unto him, and said to him, O evil servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou prayedst me.

33 Oughtest not thou also to have had pity on thy fellow servant, even as I had pity on thee?

34 So his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due to him.

35 So likewise shall mine heavenly Father do unto you, except ye forgive from your hearts, each one to his brother their trespasses.

Forgiveness. Such a simple concept and generally, I have considered myself to be a very forgiving person. However, a deeper truth hit me today. Forgiveness is not just about looking back on our lives and forgiving every unjust act that’s every been dealt us by others, it’s about living in a permanent state of forgiveness.

This doesn’t mean that we have to be completely passive, but it means that we need to adopt an attitude of graceful forgiveness in realtime. That’s tricky when we’re caught up in the daily grind, but we can start by keeping in mind that humans are implusive by their nature, often reacting to events without clear thought and too much emotion. If our first response is to react in the same way, we just add more chaos and emotion to the situation and become part of the problem.

Instead, we need to adopt a higher perspective and make it our daily objective to pass on to others that which we seek from God and to do this in each and every interaction with others. If we can try to contemplate the vastness of God’s grace then even the biggest problems begin to feel trivial against such awesomeness.

Perhaps collectively, intead of movements of mass protest, we should be creating movements of mass forgiveness, spreading grace instead of exacerbating chaos.

As verse 35 warns us, it is in our highest interest to do this.

Dear Lord and Father of Mankind

 

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