One night as I searched the internet for 'creative writing' courses, I stumbled across something profoundly much more intriguing... Christian Leadership University...and my life hasn't been the same since! I had always yearned to attend a Bible College of some sort (since the seminary wouldn't allow women into their hallowed halls) but as a strictly trained Roman Catholic I was frightened of the thumping I would be subjected to ( of those fundamentalist Bible-thumpers )! I was taught the Catholic way was the Way of Jesus and all others were wayward rebels and would have a hard time getting into heaven since they were so deluded! When I think of the self-righteous and arrogant attitude I was reared in, I cringe...no wonder I struggle with judgementalism! When I found you Mark, the only reason I took courage and followed through with my studies is that you promised on your website that differences of opinion were respected. Thank-you Jesus!
I started into studying 'Communion With God' with some trepidation, but as I progressed through the book I found that I could trust you and what I especially liked was that you are so teachable...the least I could do is have the same open attitude. My spiritual counselor is a Catholic who also teaches a women's group in a Baptist church, so she was invaluable to me in making a smooth adjustment to your style of teaching. What I wasn't aware of and discovered with your sharings was that both of our childhood churches are so full of fear. This is the father of the legalism, judgementalism, narrow-mindedness, Pharisee-ism and other destructive forces that our hurting our churches and our world so badly. I am glad to be healed of my fearful attitude! I was also interested in the chapter on Pharisee-ism and found it helpful in finding how I still think in rigid, fearful ways. I can't change my attitude if I won't look at it, and the test that is included in that chapter helped me to weed out hidden prejudices. This was the first change that I made...I slowly but surely let go of my fear and began to focus on our similarities and Christ in each of us. God put you in my life to teach me so I decided to learn.
And learn I did! I have learned to hear God's voice! I have journaled on and off for many years now and it has been a real blessing in my life. I love to write to begin with and it was the only sure way I could contact my inner self, her feelings and needs etc. For most of my life I had ignored myself and been codependent with others...my focus had always been outside of myself...I relate to your wife Patti. So, journaling helped me to go within and contact self. Alleluia! I was alive! I let go of journaling for a long time and I wondered why since I do love to write. I then began to experience a yearning to keep a journal of my prayers to God and I did actually start a little book of prayers. Now I realize what God was saying...he wanted two-way communication. I would never have imagined that that was possible and until you gave me permission to try this Mark, I would have considered it blasphemous and way too wickedly bold of me! Instead I am blossoming into God's beautiful rose because I am allowing his water and light to fall on me. I am letting my Maker nurture me and it is wonderful indeed! Instead of being codependent on others, I realize the healthy thing to do is depend on my Lord totally...then I can learn what love really is, experience it and share it with others.
I am falling in love with him more and more each day...as I realize just how gentle, encouraging, sweet, tender his love really is. For the first time in my life I am understanding what the saints meant when they wanted to be with their Lord all the time...like Saint Therese of Lisieux comes to mind. She talked so passionately of Jesus and really I could never quite understand it...until now. Now I am getting a glimpse as to why she felt so much passion and I know that I am on the same road of mystical discovery. Up until now I have hated meditation...I felt like a dog being pulled by the leash into the bathtub. I had to talk myself into it EVERY time! This was mostly because I was so bored and had a hard time tuning into God during my meditation times...it was an exercise to be endured...then I learned about right and left brain functions which I knew about before, but I had never tied it in to my prayer life. I have begun using music to help me make the transition to the right side of my brain, which in turn leads me almost immediately to my intuitive self and then the natural next step is God.
When you talked about vision, my first thought was...well, that's fine for other people, but not for me. As I progressed through the course and you wouldn't let it go, but kept 'harping' about vision I became irritated and fearful. But, as I thought about it I realized I already use vision in small ways and I am definitely a dreamer. God has given me many powerful dreams that have helped me through my journey...and since this course I received my most vivid dream, movie-like, complete with poetry, (digital) colour and music. WOW! ( I would love to get your input as to its meaning ). I began to be open to vision, realizing that if God was already giving me this gift he probably would appreciate it if I allowed him to expand it in me.
Actually today I received my first vision as you teach it, as a part of prayer time. I saw Jesus' face very clear today and I began to weep, I asked myself why was I crying? And I realized I was just so moved by his presence. It is just as you say, Mark, God uses vision to crystallize truths in our hearts...so the vision of Jesus made the reality of his presence in the room with me crystal clear. I no longer had to hope he was there...he was , as a matter of fact, with me and available to me for as long as I needed him . The lovely thing about Jesus, he has no pressing engagements to rush off to, he is totally present and available. And he did, he stayed...I was afraid he would run off...disappear like a ghost does. As long as I looked at him he was there and we had a lovely time together in a garden. In this beautiful garden, he said " this is what your heart looks like...this is the beauty of your inner sanctuary". Oh, I was so moved and so happy and I felt so ministered to. He also gave me a healing!
When I listened to one of your tapes there was a man who was freed from a 'spirit of pornography' and I was so happy to hear about this, because I had had the same problem of visualizing Jesus naked ( perhaps this was the real reason I shied away from visions). When I was a young girl my uncle abused me sexually and he hit on me just as I reached puberty...my body exploding in different ways. I reacted by reading and looking at alot of pornographic material as well as stuff he exposed me to. I didn't think anything of that part of it until recently when I realized I was still very much affected. Jesus freed me of that bondage today when he appeared to me and he showed himself as a Spirit so I had no problem letting go of his flesh. I asked him if he wanted me to follow-up with anyone to complete it...lay hands or something to exorcise the wicked spirit, but he said it wasn't necessary, that he had taken care of it. And I didn't have any problems and I did feel something spiritually lift from me and a peaceful feeling when this happened...so I am so blessed! I feel so much closer to Jesus after today! And I feel motivated to run to him! Any time I want! I am busting free!
I have pondered over the last few months who my counselors would be. At first I didn't want my husband because he wasn't submitted to anyone...he was standing alone. Now, however he is submitted to some good people whose goals are in line with God's, so I have asked him to be my covering. My therapist who also happens to be the Christian lady I mentioned above is an obvious choice for me, her daughter is my mentor, and another good woman God put in front of both me and my husband recently. She actually counseled us both through a separation in our marriage...a do or die situation. I have seen the long, mighty arm of Yahweh move in my life over the past few months and save that which should have died to natural laws. He is a supernatural God moving about in my natural life! Having his way with me as I learn to submit and surrender myself to him and to the counselors he has placed in my life. When I decided to leave my husband I was studying this course and you had mentioned Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac which God cancelled at the last minute...what you said really spoke to me and gave me courage. It turned out to be exactly what I needed to hear because it was exactly my experience! I experienced what God called Abraham to do...let go of the very thing I was holding on to so tightly and when I had truly let go of it God restored it to me. In the past I never trusted God with my relationships, much less surrender them to him. When I let go of my husband I found that what I had actually released was fear of rejection, not the love in my heart! To experience these truths for myself has been really scary, yet effective in imprinting on my heart how I can trust God with everything...even my marriage.
God is showing me how he has always been in my life, I just never realized it. God is always talking to me...I just never knew it was him. He has been using me and guiding me, but I never really paid much attention. I wasn't looking at the reality of God's presence in my life...I had always done things on my own and I didn't need anybody's help, thank-you very much. I didn't trust easily and God? Well, his invisibility always bothered me, but he is showing me how he was present even when I thought he had abandoned me for good. In the most painful times of my life, which was in childhood, I now see he protected me from too much harm. He helped me to survive and now he is teaching me to thrive. Communion with God is a great way to thrive!
As I focus more and more on completing this course I am spending more hours in each day working on the assignments etc. and I feel a greater peace in each day. I know I am spending my hours exactly as he wants me to and the fruit of this behaviour is a content, peaceful, satisfied heart. My restlessness is gone, the anxiety I used to live with on a daily basis when I fretted what I was supposed to be doing with myself and keeping busy trying to do the right thing to please God. My people-pleasing tendencies are greatly diminishing as I focus on finding out what pleases my Lord...and it is not busyness. Jesus is directing me to be like Mary in the Martha and Mary story. Sit with him with a quiet spirit, look at him and listen intently to his every word...as I would with a cherished lover...and write it down so that I will remember and obey his word. It is entering into fellowship with my Creator God...imagine that! The natural next step for me is to take prayer time in the morning and ask him what he would have me do for the day...I really like that. I cannot go wrong with the Holy Spirit in charge of my life!
I am getting so comfortable with the Holy Spirit and also re-igniting my passion for 'tongues'. You have really helped me with that, Mark, with your story about how it was hard for you to trust that it really was God uttering his language through you...I, too, have never really trusted and thought for sure I was just babbling. I abandoned this gift for many years, but because of this course that God has given you to teach, I have returned to it, gaining in trust and overcoming my doubts of the past. As I speak in tongues, I have been paying attention and I see that I do not form the words with my mind...so I can stop worrying and start trusting in the goodness of God. I do not believe my heavenly Father would allow me to babble on foolishly...that is not his way at all. My heart is pure and I want to be close to him...he will lead me down every good and virtuous path teaching me through his Holy Spirit many wonderful mysteries and fundamental truths. The Spirit does help me to express what I cannot express in english and I am grateful for every wonderful gift from my God.
Over the past few months have made many life-producing changes that God has asked me to make. I have stopped blaming others, I have forgiven my mother, I have stopped beating myself up, I have established healthy boundaries...and because of these changes I am living in a higher place than ever before. I am enjoying a life I once only dreamed about and I see that I really am a powerful channel of God! As I am freed from old ways of behaving and thinking, God flows his life through me like never before and of course this makes me ecstatically happy! I am so happy to be on the right side of the fence...my behind was getting sore on that old fence!
I have a desire to minister and teach people in some form I am not sure of yet, but I will find out as God leads me. I am on the right road with Christian Leadership University and Communion with God... I am learning to walk with confidence letting God unfold my purpose before me as I travel and trust in his guidance. I always wondered how to increase my faith...it's so simple with the six pillars acknowledged and integrated into my life. Even as I write my heart is leaping with joy...I am so happy and GRATEFUL to be nestled much closer to my Father's heart than ever before and enjoying his favour. Just a closer walk with thee, my Lord...thank-you for hearing my plea! Praise Be!
You can experience exactly what the author of this testimony has experienced, and live out of the voice of God every day. The following books will teach you step-by-step how to have communion with God: How to Hear God's Voice and Dialogue with God.
These books, as well as the accompanying CDs and Seminar Workbook, are also part of the foundational distance learning college course from Christian leadership University: REN103 Communion With God. Committing to this level of discipleship will allow you to fully integrate these principles at the level that is described in the testimony above.