I went to college and was transformed because I met and married Patti, who has brought 45 years of joy and blessing to my life. On the other hand, one student who graduated from a leading charismatic university told me, with tears in his eyes, that he went for his master’s degree because he hungered to get closer to God, and instead his spiritual life dried up!!! Wow! The opposite of what he was hoping for.
Below is a testimony from Wendy Kay Domena concerning the impact her first course at Christian Leadership University had on her life. Let it take your breath away...
How could I have possibly known that taking this course would completely transform my life? When I first began this course a few months ago, I thought that it would be similar to most of the introductory courses that I have taken in my college career. I assumed that I would learn a little bit more about the Bible, possibly some theology and historical accounts, as well as confirming knowledge that I already had about the Bible. I could not have been more wrong. This course was anything but typical. This was not a “book and notes” kind of class. This was an experience. From the very first lesson, I realized that I was in for a real adventure with God.
This adventure began with learning about the four keys to hearing God’s voice. In the first chapter of Four Keys to Hearing God’s Voice, Mark Virkler introduced me to a process of quieting myself down, fixing my eyes on Jesus, tuning to spontaneity, and two-way journaling. This process absolutely transformed my relationship with God! I could now hear God speaking to my heart, which had been my desire for a very long time. I also now had a system to help me connect my spirit to the Spirit of God. What an awesome gift -- to be able to hear the voice of God and commune with Him in such an intimate way! I am so grateful for this course and life changes that have resulted because of it.
These life changes are many and range from how I view God to how I view my husband and children to how I view my church and to how I view the world. I am learning how to be much more sensitive to the leading and prompting of the Holy Spirit. I used to “save” my prayers for a specific devotional time or prayer time, but now I am led to pray right in the moment. I am not waiting for some specific prayer time. Rather, I am using each moment throughout my day as an opportunity for a prayer time. I am also realizing that when spontaneous thoughts to pray or text someone to encourage them come to me, that is the voice of God bubbling up on the inside of me. I am more aware and quicker to respond to this prompting now, and I -- and the recipient of the prayer or text -- am blessed because of it. Additionally, I find myself taking more quiet moments throughout my day, rather than hurrying through my lists of tasks. I am finding that when I slow down and take quiet times to hear from God, I am not only more productive, but I am in a better place spiritually, physically, and emotionally. God has become my ever-present help, counselor, and sustainer -- my “right now” God --, and I no longer have to wait until “later” to reach out to Him.
Additionally, I now have a deeper desire for the things of God. My hunger and thirst for His presence has increased exponentially. I am able to to tune to flow and hear from God, and so because I now have freer access to Him, I want to connect with Him more often. I have learned to become still and rest in His presence, which has given me a peace and a joy that passes all understanding. Two-way journaling has also been revolutionary for my life. I have always found writing - specifically journaling - to be helpful throughout my life. However, the journaling that I was used to involved me writing down everything that I was thinking, feeling, and going through at the time. It was more of a release of everything that I had stored up inside. When I finished writing, though, there was no change. It was just writing on a page -- more like documenting my journey, rather than bringing about any kind of transformation.
Amazingly, two-way journaling has been nothing short of a miracle for me. Now, rather than just writing down everything that I am thinking or feeling, I ask God specific questions about my thoughts or feelings and wait for Him to speak to me -- AND HE DOES!!! EVERY TIME!!! With two-way journaling. God does most of the talking, and I do most of the listening. He is able to speak into my situation and bring hope, comfort, encouragement, healing, or whatever else I might need at the time. It is so awesome to be so intimately connected to the One who knows me and loves me and gives me exactly what I need.
Not only has journaling helped me to hear the voice of God and connect to Him in a deeper way, but it has also encouraged me to begin recording some of my dreams. This is an area that I am just beginning to explore, but I see how God can use this type of journaling to counsel and reveal things to me from my dreams. I want to learn more about this area, and I am hoping to take another course in helping me to interpret the dreams that God is giving to me.
Throughout this course, God has brought about many changes in my understanding, attitudes, and behavior. I now truly believe that He wants to speak to me. I have always wanted to hear from God, but I harbored some doubts about whether or not He actually wanted to speak to me. Now I know wholeheartedly that yes, indeed, He does want to speak to me. I now understand that He created me to have this kind of relationship with me, to commune with me, to share love with me. I am so grateful that He chose me before the foundations of the world. I believe more firmly that I belong to Him and that nothing and no one can snatch me from His hand.
I have also realized that I need to spend more time with God. I used to have designated times to pray or read my Bible, but those times were always “separate” from all the other things going on in my life. Now, I see that God wants to be a part of everything that is going on in my life - not just be relegated to a certain part of my day. I am more God-conscious throughout my day and am doing less of my own striving and relying more on God. I am realizing that most of what I do is not my doing anyway, but rather Him working through me. It is so freeing to know that my works flow from and because of my relationship with God, rather than me trying to do works to gain a relationship with Him. I see that He desires my heart first, and then my works can come from the overflow that He pours out to me. What an awesome God!!
My attitude has also shifted to one of gratitude and submission. Having strong left-brain tendencies, I often find myself getting upset when things do not go as planned or when people do not behave in a way that I want them to act. This course has helped me to stay centered in God and to be grateful for the relationship that I have with Him first and then the relationships that I have with others. I am more patient and loving with my spouse and my children, seeing them through God’s eyes, rather than through the lens of my own expectations. I am also submitting my will and my desires to God before acting on my own initiative. This has helped tremendously in my decision-making and in keeping my emotions more leveled. Being under the direction of the Holy Spirit helps me to remain calm and settled in my spirit, mind, will and emotions.
As part of my spiritual accountability and attitude of submission, I have asked one of my pastors, one of my close friends and sister in Christ, and my husband, to be spiritual advisors/counselors in my life. I have been submitting journal entries to them throughout this course, so that they can give me feedback as to whether or not I am hearing from God. I thank God for them and their guidance and counsel as I learn to hear the voice of God more clearly,
Stillness has always been difficult for me. This course has given me some tools to bring myself to that quiet place with God. Some of the most effective methods for me are listening to calming music, separating myself from others in a non-distracting space, and picturing myself in a scene with Jesus. Using these three tools helps me to focus in on what God is speaking to me. I am able to quiet my mind and body and concentrate on Him, not on myself or my circumstances. When I am particularly upset or unsettled, going straight to picturing myself with Jesus always brings me to a place of stillness. He is always ready with open arms to gather me to Himself and give me exactly what I need in that moment. He is always waiting for me and encourages me to stay with Him for a while -- and I do -- and I am better because of it!
Using vision has been a new experience for me. I have always thought of vision as something that prophets/prophetesses and seers have, but it was not really for me. This course has taught me that vision is for everyone. God uses pictures, visions, and dreams to speak to all of His people, if we look for it. I have now become better at looking for vision as I pray, expecting and believing God to show me something during my prayer and meditation time. I look for pictures while I pray. I use vision to picture myself with Jesus. I am starting to record my dreams, as God gives them to me. I am seeing the power of pictures and how God uses them to speak to my heart and give me more revelation of who He is, in a deeper way than words can allow. He is showing me myself, and He is helping to mold me and shape me through the use of vision. I now see it as a very powerful tool in my faith walk, and I am intentional in looking for vision during my quiet times with God.
I thank God for this course and the way that it has deepened my relationship with Him. I can now more clearly hear His voice, and I desire to spend more time being with Him. Prayer is now a way of life. No more waiting for a “special prayer time,” but now anytime something lights upon my heart can be an intercession moment with my God. I now talk with God throughout my day, and I find that it really is less of me talking and more of Him. I am learning how to be quiet, to be still in His presence, and to stay present in the moment with Him, rather than trying to get ahead or dwell on the past. And lastly, this course has reminded me on the deepest level that my relationship with God is truly the most important thing of all. No matter what may come, I am certain that God is on my side. He is my All in All, and He is the One who will keep me, guide me, and protect me. I have learned to have true communion with God -- hallelujah!!