Hold On To Hope

The word “hope” in the New Testament is elpis (Strong’s NT:1680).  It is defined as expectation, to anticipate (usually with pleasure), confidence and security.  In a good sense, expectation of good, hope, and in the Christian sense, joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation.  The author of hope, or He who is its foundation.  The thing hoped for.  Translated in some verses in the KJV as faith.

Hebrews 6:19 says that hope is an anchor to the soul. When the storms come and the winds blow, hope will keep us firmly secured so that we are not tossed to and fro.

Sometimes situations happen in life where we are tempted to give up, where we begin to lose hope.

Some have lost hope, or are just hanging on by a thread.  You’ve waited on the Lord, have prayed many prayers, have cried many tears … yet the promise has not come to pass yet.  The healing that you are believing for has not manifested yet.

But don’t give up, because He WILL show up.

This is a prayer that the Psalmist David penned when he was in distress.  Depression and hopelessness had set in and he found himself in a pit of despair.

Psalms 69:2-3, 14-17  AMP

2 I sink in deep mire, where there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters, where the floods overwhelm me.

3 I am weary with my crying; my throat is parched; my eyes fail with waiting [hopefully] for my God.

14 Rescue me out of the mire, and let me not sink; let me be delivered from those who hate me and from out of the deep waters.

15 Let not the floodwaters overflow and overwhelm me, neither let the deep swallow me up nor the [dug] pit [with water perhaps in the bottom] close its mouth over me.

16 Hear and answer me, O Lord, for Your loving-kindness is sweet and comforting; according to Your plenteous tender mercy and steadfast love turn to me.

17 Hide not Your face from Your servant, for I am in distress; O answer me speedily!

David had been anointed as king, yet spent several years of his life hiding in caves and fleeing from Saul.  Those were difficult years but God brought him through it.  Eventually, the promise was fulfilled in his life.  He was appointed as king over Judah for 7 years, then king over all Israel for the next 33 years, totaling 40 years.

David said in Psalms 27:13-14, “I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord In the land of the living.  Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord.”  NASU

The year was approximately 1997 or 1998.  I had hit a low place in my life.  Proverbs 13:12 says that hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes it is a tree of life.  I was going through burn out.  I was working full time, going to college in the evenings and Saturdays, plus other activities I was involved in.  I did a lot of commuting on the hectic freeways in bumper-to-bumper traffic on a daily basis.  Sometimes I didn’t get home until after 10:30pm, then would start the next cycle the following morning.

Also, I was distressed with problems in my family.  Plus, hopelessness set in waiting for some promises to come to pass in my life.  I reached a point where hope had been lost and I wanted to go to heaven.  I fell into a deep depression.  The pain was more than I could bear.  I never did attempt to commit suicide, but thoughts of dying, suicide and going to heaven were on my mind a lot.

One evening I was sitting on the edge of my bed with thoughts going through my mind of wanting to die and go on to heaven.  Meanwhile, my mother was in the family room watching the Praise the Lord broadcast on TBN.  My mother rushed into my room and told me that Jan Crouch had a word of knowledge that there was a woman who was thinking about dying, had suicidal thoughts on her mind (although, as I said, I never attempted to kill myself).  When Jan Crouch gave that word of knowledge, my mother knew it was for me and she was right.

Around that same time, I was sleeping and had a vision during the night.  I don’t know if I woke up and saw the vision or if I was asleep the whole time.  All I know is that it was SO real and tangible.  I was asleep and then I opened my eyes and saw an Asian woman (around in her 20’s or 30’s) who I did not recognize.  She was sitting on the edge of my bed in front of me.  She said that she came to give me a word from the Lord, and it was along the same lines as the word of knowledge from Jan Crouch.  The Lord (through her — maybe she was an angel) told me the consequences if I were to go through with ending it all.  (I would end up in hell.)  I immediately repented.

Psalms 40:1-3 in the Amplified Version says,

1 I waited patiently and expectantly for the Lord; and He inclined to me and heard my cry.

2 He drew me up out of a horrible pit [a pit of tumult and of destruction], out of the miry clay (froth and slime), and set my feet upon a rock, steadying my steps and establishing my goings.

3 And He has put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many shall see and fear (revere and worship) and put their trust and confident reliance in the Lord.  [Psalms 5:11.]

God promises to transform our valley of trouble into a door of hope.

Hosea 2:15-16 (AMP) says,

15 There I will give her her vineyards and make the Valley of Achor [troubling] to be for her a door of hope and expectation. And she shall sing there and respond as in the days of her youth and as at the time when she came up out of the land of Egypt.

16 And it shall be in that day, says the Lord, that you will call Me Ishi [my Husband], and you shall no more call Me Baali [my Master].

The Easton’s Bible Dictionary goes into detail about the Valley of Achor.  Achor means “trouble”.  This valley was near Jericho, and identified as the Wady Kelt.  It was named after the consequence of the trouble which the sin of Achan caused Israel (Joshua 7:24-26).

The expression “Valley of Achor” became proverbial for that which caused trouble.  When Isaiah 65:10 refers to it, the Valley of Achor would be a place for herds to lie down.  Meaning, that which had been a source of calamity would become a source of blessing.  Hosea 2:15 uses the expression in the same sense.  The Valley of Achor (trouble) would be for a door of hope.  Trouble would be turned into joy, despair into hope.

If we will surrender to the Lord, He will turn our Valley of Achor into a door of hope.  It will not only bring hope to us, but we in turn will be able to offer other people hope who are going through the same thing.

Intimacy With God – My Introduction to this Level of Relationship

In the early 1990’s, the Lord brought key people into my life to teach me about intimacy with the Lord.  I had not really received any teaching on this prior to that time, although I had always loved the Lord and cherished His Presence since being a child.

I was ripe to hear the message about intimacy with Jesus, and I soaked it all in like a sponge.  I was in my mid 20’s, very lonely, wanting to be married sooooo bad.  I thought that a man could fill the empty places of my soul and then I would feel complete, but came to learn that only Jesus can meet my deepest desires and complete me.

As I received the message on intimacy with the Lord, little by little I began to allow Him access into the secret chambers of my heart and sharing with Him all my secrets, my heartaches, my dreams … everything.  The Lord did promise me a husband, and that he would be a tremendous blessing to my life.  But he would not be my source for meeting all of my needs.  Only the Lord can meet every need.

One of the key people God used to teach me about intimacy with God is Rev. Pat Chen www.firstloveprayer.net.  She was a member of Shiloh Christian Fellowship in Oakland, California at the time (two years later God led me to begin attending Shiloh) and occasionally would come and minister to the women’s group at Family Worship Center in Concord, California (now called Harvest Church).  In 1995, Rev. Pat Chen came on pastoral staff at Harvest Church.

Below are notes that I took on April 30, 1993 when Rev. Pat Chen spoke on intimacy with God:

Notes on Intimacy With God

April 30, 1993

Rev. Pat Chen www.firstloveprayer.net

A. Levels of Closeness
1. Walking side by side with God

2. Face to face with Jesus

3. Intertwined with the Lord

4. One with God

B. Intimacy = Entering into innermost character.

Knowing someone to the very fiber of their being.

Intrinsic = inherent, innate, inbuilt, real, genuine, central, native, natural, inborn.

C. God wants us to be as crushed powder, crushed to be poured out as a fragrance.  He wants us to be broken before Him so that we are pliable as fine soil. It’s the only way we are going to reach full intimacy with Christ.
D. Intercession = Praying on someone else’s behalf.  Standing in the gap.  Partnering with God to see His will done.  But there’s more:  we need to touch the heart of God.  It’s not enough to say the right words.  Silence before God is a form of communion and prayer before God.

Prayer means to ask earnestly, to seek the favor of, to entreat, to make His face pleasant (to delight God and to be delighted), to fall upon, to cry out, to ask, to worship, to supplicate, to beseech or request, to give thanks, to share thoughts, ideas and everything.

E. A = Adoration

C = Confession

T = Thanksgiving

S = Supplication

F. R = Retreat (get alone with God)

R = Relate (share your heart)

R = Read (take in the Word of God)

R = Record (write down what He shares with you)

G. Jealous = demanding exclusive loyalty; protective of us.  God is a Jealous God (Exodus 34:14).
H. Communion = interchange of thoughts, agreement, fellowship, mutual union, giving and receiving.
I. Why do we pray?

Because God wants us to.  God is love and wants fellowship with us.  He is Almighty, with eternal love.  It’s to please God.  It satisfies God.

J. The greatest form of spiritual warfare is having intimacy with God.  To kiss Him.  His kiss is as equipping us with weapons.  This is the other side of spiritual warfare.
K. God does the work.  He just wants us to pray, trust and be in His Presence.  He does the work through us.  Enjoy God and watch Him do the work.

When we are with Him, He fills us with all the power we need when it comes time to be used by God.  Don’t underestimate God.  He’s too small in our eyes.  We put Him in a box.  When we struggle with believing for something, then He’s too small in our eyes.

The only struggle we should have is travailing in prayer.  Praying in tongues is very important.  Be prayed up and be an open channel.  Be a step ahead of what the devil is attempting to do.  Satan is afraid of prayer.  That’s why he tries to get us to slack off.  Through prayer, you bring power and changes to situations, and it saves the lost.

L. Sitting Before the Lord.

Luke 10:38 – Mary was continually listening to Jesus. She was concentrating on Him.  This word of “sitting” means to be established at Jesus’ feet, to be quiet, to listen, to humble yourself, to wait, to gaze upon.  2 Samuel 7:18 talks about sitting and meditating upon the Lord.

M. Meditation

The activity of calling to mind the various things that God has done.  Holy thoughts consciously performed in the presence of God as a means of communion with God.  Sharing your heart with the Lord.  The purpose of meditation is that it clears one’s thoughts and mind. To ponder.  To converse with oneself.  To mutter.

Psalm 1:2, 119:48, 143:5   Joshua 1:8

N. Rest

To colonize; abiding by the guidelines and meditations of God.  Living in the world, but abiding by God’s Word.

O. Being careful with vows you make.  Ecc 5:2
P. If you become disciplined in your prayer life, it will spill over and carry over into other areas of your life.  You’ll start to get more disciplined in other areas.
Q. Established

To stand perpendicular; to make firm; to be prosperous; to render sure.

Shame

It was the early 1990’s. I would have been in my mid 20’s back then. The church I was attending at the time hosted a one-day Women’s Retreat held at a hotel in Concord, California. I don’t remember who the special speaker was. I just remember the deep work of healing that the Holy Spirit was doing in the lives of the women present.

The Holy Spirit swept through the place, and women were weeping and wailing. Women of all ages. Married and single women. God was doing a deep Sovereign work.

Towards the end of the speaker’s message, the Lord began to prophetically speak through her that so many of the women in that room were wearing, as if it were, a black veil of mourning and shame. God wanted to remove that veil and replace it with a crown of beauty. He wanted to lift off the shame and reproach in our lives and give us a beautiful bridal veil to wear, since He is our bridegroom and we are His bride.

Women were carrying around shame, rejection and mourning for various reasons. For some, it was because of past or present abuse. For others, it was the broken heart of a failed marriage or having been widowed. For some, past immorality. For several single women, including myself, the feelings of being alone, feeling forgotten by God, rejection by men and living with the “stigma” of singleness because society says that we should be married or have a boyfriend, and the grief and despair and bitterness of soul over having empty arms (no husband meant no babies).

For a few women who were married and having a difficult time conceiving a child, or had frequent miscarriages, they were in utter despair and grief. The pain of having empty arms was almost too much for them to bear especially when their friends were having babies. Almost every woman there felt ashamed, for one reason or another, about her appearance or body image. Even the ones who seemed to be so beautiful were ashamed about certain things in their appearance. There were so many reasons why the women in that place felt shame, rejection and mourning.

The Lord was doing such a deep work of healing that day, tenderly holding us in His arms and whispering so gently, “I love you, you are my beautiful bride, I will give you the oil of joy for mourning and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. I will give you beauty for ashes. I am your glory and the lifter of your head. I want to heal you and set you free. Those who look to Me are radiant and their faces are never covered in shame. I am the lover of your soul. I will never abandon you. I will never fail you. I long to share sweet intimacy with you, My bride. I want to romance you, dance with you, validate you. Only I can meet all of your needs. Would you give Me permission to come into those secret chambers of your heart and cleanse the deep wounds? Would you allow Me to heal the memories? I am the Lord your healer. You are so beautiful to me, My precious jewel. Would you allow Me complete access to your heart?”

What is shame?

In the Bible, there are many words translated as shame. The Hebrew and Greek defines shame as:

  • To pale, to blush
  • Humiliation
  • Confusion, to be confounded
  • Dishonored or not honored
  • Reproach
  • Disgrace
  • Depised, Contempt
  • Lightly Esteem
  • Maltreat
  • To wound, to taunt, to insult
  • To expose, to defame, to rail
  • Disappointment and delay
  • To become dry

Notice that the last two definitions deal with disappointment, delay and being dry (parched). Shame leaves a sense of desolation to the soul. (Hope deferred also leads to feeling stripped dry.) Shame causes emotional barrenness. The Lord wants to transform the ruins in your life into an Eden. He wants to turn the wilderness into a land that is lush and green with pools of refreshing water.

Shame is like a garment. The Lord wants to do a Divine exchange, and give us a garment of righteousness and beauty to wear if we will give Him our garment of shame. When you are ashamed, you feel bad about yourself and want to hide. Shame can become a lifestyle, where you always want to hide, or put up a facade so people don’t see the real you. The Lord says, “The walls you have built to protect yourself are not only keeping everyone else out, but also keeping Me out as well. Would you give Me permission to get close to you without you pushing Me away, keeping Me at a distance? Would You allow Me to go into every room of your heart?”

The Lord wants to remove that black veil of mourning, and crown our head with a white bridal veil instead. He wants us to hold our heads high knowing who we are in Christ. Our identity and validation comes from Him and who He says we are. He says that we are kings and priests. He says that we are His beautiful and radiant bride. He says that we are complete in Him.

Whatever has happened in the past, whatever mistakes you have made, whatever injustices happened to you … it’s over with and done. The Lord is doing a new thing. Now it springs forth. Your past does not determine your destiny. God promises to give us a double portion recompense for what we went through.

Isaiah 61:7-8 says, “Instead of your [former] shame you shall have a twofold recompense; instead of dishonor and reproach [your people] shall rejoice in their portion. Therefore in their land they shall possess double [what they had forfeited]; everlasting joy shall be theirs. For I the Lord love justice.”

The Lord loves justice (fairness, equity). Whatever we went through in life that was unfair, the Lord wants to make it up to us in some way.

Isaiah 54:4-5 AMP

Fear not, for you shall not be ashamed; neither be confounded and depressed, for you shall not be put to shame. For you shall forget the shame of your youth, and you shall not [seriously] remember the reproach of your widowhood any more. For your Maker is your Husband — the Lord of hosts is His name — and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; the God of the whole earth He is called.

Psalms 34:4-5 AMP

I sought (inquired of) the Lord and required Him [of necessity and on the authority of His Word], and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. They looked to Him and were radiant; their faces shall never blush for shame or be confused.

Isaiah 60:1 AMP

Arise [from the depression and prostration in which circumstances have kept you — rise to a new life]! Shine (be radiant with the glory of the Lord), for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you!

The Presence of the Father

The event was a Women’s Aglow Retreat. The year was approximately 1992.

The setting was Sonoma County in Northern California. That’s an area where the grape vineyards are grown in the flat land as well as along the sides of the golden hills about 30-40 miles inland. There are wineries in the area. The landscape changes to that of a Redwood forested area, heading west towards the Pacific Ocean.

The town was Occidental, California, in the forest about ten miles from the ocean. The Christian retreat center was Alliance Redwoods.

The fragrance of the forest and the fresh crisp air was so refreshing to breathe in. There was a sense of peace taking walks along the trails, sitting near the creek hearing a gentle waterfall, hearing the birds chirp and just enjoying God’s creation. The fellowship with others was sweet to my soul. That weekend I discovered a fellowship much sweeter than any earthly relationship, and breathed in a Heavenly fragrance much more beautiful than any other aroma on this earth.

How could it be that just a mere sweet fragrance could be so intoxicating where you don’t want the experience to end? How could it be that such a delightful fragrance could be so transforming to my soul and impact my life forever?

There was a tangible Presence of God or Anointing or Shekinah Glory in the perfume itself.

Why was the Glory of God shining on my countenance after that experience of just breathing in this fragrance?

At the end of the Saturday night service, a group of us ladies lingered at the Altar just worshipping, singing praises to His Name and adoring Him. After we had been waiting in the Lord’s Presence for a while, I was standing near the front and began to smell a very strong aroma.

It was the most beautiful fragrance I had ever breathed in. There was delight, life, physical strength, and the Glory of God in the fragrance.

It had the scent of a mixture of frankincense, myrrh, spikenard, cassia, cinnamon, roses and other spices and floral scents.

It was as if that fragrance would come and go. One minute the aroma would be so strong. Then it was as if it would slowly fade as if to be from a distance, then as it got closer again, the aroma got stronger.

Now as I look back, I know that Jesus was there in Person, walking among us, but was invisible.

I know this because when the fragrance was exceptionally strong I also felt a Presence standing next to me. Then I would feel the Presence walk away and felt a breeze as He walked back and forth among us.

Since this was a new experience for me, I didn’t say anything to anyone to see if they were experiencing the same thing.

A few moments later, the president of Aglow, who was standing on the stage, announced that the fragrance of the Lord was there. That was a confirmation to me that this experience was real and others were experiencing the same thing.

Several of us ladies just basked in God’s Presence for a while with that beautiful abiding fragrance and Presence walking in and out among us.

What we experienced was the Shekinah Glory of the Lord, or Jesus Himself.

One woman said she didn’t necessarily smell the Lord’s fragrance, but felt a wind blowing in the place (and the doors were closed). The Holy Spirit, and Jesus, also manifests as literal wind blowing like on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2.

After we had been saturating in the Glory for a while, one of the Aglow leaders came up to the podium, got the microphone and said something that forever changed my thinking.

She announced the simple statement: “The Presence of the Father is in this place.”

How could that one statement forever impact my life and shatter old religious mindsets?

Being Trinitarian, I separated the Father, Son and Holy Spirit TOO much. They are also one (yes in unity, but also literally).

Jesse Duplantis and Kat Kerr who have been to heaven and witnessed it for themselves both said the same thing. They testified that the Father and Son are two separate Beings, each having their own Throne.

The Holy Spirit also has a form of a human body, but more transparent like, and much taller, with rainbows issuing out.

However, Jesus can literally “step into” the Father and they literally become one (1) Being. Then when He steps out of the Father, they are two separate Beings again.

Several Scriptures say that the Holy Spirit is the Presence of the Father AND the Son. The Holy Spirit issues out of both the Father and the Son, and does their will. The Father and Son share the same Spirit.

John the Beloved said that Jesus comes from the bosom of the Father, and he meant it literally and not just figuratively.

I always thought of Jesus and the Holy Spirit as being so gentle and kind, and I had an easy time relating to them.

I grew up with a mindset that the Father was hard to please, a God of wrath and ready to punish you for any wrongdoing. I was afraid of the Father and lacked boldness to come before His Throne with confidence.

However, Jesus was approachable, and the Holy Spirit was my friend and Comforter.

I thought that if the Presence of the Father was present, that there would have been thunder and lightning, as He is so powerful.

This reminds me of the passage in 1 Kings 19:11-13 where Elijah heard God’s voice. God was not in the wind, earthquake or fire. His voice was a still, small, soft voice. The Living Bible says His voice was “the sound of a gentle whisper”.

I’ve learned that I need to be still before the Lord and become quiet to hear His Voice.

Religion does NOT believe that God is Good all the time.

I was always taught about the Old Testament passages where God poured out wrath and judgment on evil doers. However, I was mis-led by religion. God only poured out judgment and wrath on His enemies, and Satan, but not His children.

But if you take a closer look at those Scriptures, often God put off judgment for hundreds of years, giving people an opportunity to repent.

The Father is actually very merciful and kind. And technically He is no longer the Judge. The Bible says that the Father has entrusted all judgment to the Son.

I grew up with a father who was very mean, cruel and abusive. There was nothing I could do to please him or get him to love and accept me. He rejected and despised me even from the womb, because he didn’t want children, and then I came along. He always hated me and made sure that I knew that.

He was very jealous and angry with me because he wanted my mother all to himself, and resented the fact that my mother spent so much of her time taking care of me. And then 16 months after I arrived in this world, my brother was born. Then my mother now had a toddler and a newborn to take care of, plus her elderly sickly mother who lived with us.

He was abusive to the entire family and the dog, but especially targeted me for some reason. I had a very difficult time trusting the Heavenly Father and thought that maybe He felt the same way towards me that my earthly father did.

The Glory I felt that evening at the Aglow retreat was a very gentle Presence (and it was supposed to be the Presence of the Father).

The Presence was very nurturing, very tender, very sweet, very kind, very doting, very loving … almost like a loving mother who nurtures her young children, or a hen who gathers her chicks under her wings and protects them.

I received a whole new revelation that evening of the Father’s tender loving affection. I could never call God “Abba”. Abba was too affectionate … like calling Him daddy or papa.

The Presence of the Father walking among us and settling on us at the Altar after the Saturday night Aglow meeting in 1992 was the beginning of some major healing in my life, as well as the Lord calling me into ministry.

Progressively over the years, the Father has been giving me a deeper understanding of His Fatherhood. He said that He would be a Father to the fatherless.

After leaving the sanctuary that evening after the meeting, a group of us ladies went to the dining hall for a fruit snack before bedtime. While sitting at the table, the other ladies got their purses and Bibles, and headed back for their cabin.

I remained at the table by myself for a few minutes, and then suddenly that strong fragrance appeared out of nowhere and surrounded me. It seemed like I basked in that fragrance for a minute or two, then the fragrance faded away.

I got my purse and began to head back to my cabin for the night. On the way back to the cabin, I realized I had left my Bible on the dining room table. I went back to retrieve it.

When I went to pick up my Bible from off the table, that beautiful fragrance appeared again for a minute, and surrounded me, then faded away.

After returning to the cabin and climbing into bed, twice I smelled a faint aroma of Jesus’ perfume before falling off to sleep.

The next day, which was Sunday, the retreat ended around noon time and a group of us headed on home.

Later that evening, I attended the Care Group I was involved in at my church I attended at the time. I was still very excited about this new experience I had that weekend.

When I walked in the door, later on the leader in charge of the Care Group said that my face had a glow on it, and he knew that something transformational had happened. He knew I had been with Jesus.

At Care Group I shared what had happened and others were touched and seemed to express a hunger to experience God’s Glory as well.

Since that time, I have experienced breathing in the sweet perfume of the Father, Jesus, and Holy Spirit on several occasions.

Sometimes it happened in dreams which were Heavenly or Prophetic in nature. Other times it happened in waking life while worshipping with music.

A few times it happened in a church setting where people were soaking in God’s Presence, and a few times at Benny Hinn conferences when the Glory was strong or when watching his program on TV.

I wish it happened more often. It’s been several years since it last happened.

Besides coming to a new revelation of who the Father is (so tender, so sweet, so doting), this was also a time in my life of being introduced to the concept of intimacy with Jesus (in spirit and soul).

Prior to 1992-1993 I had often spent hours soaking in God’s Presence privately at home, and feeling God’s Glory, but had not necessarily received teaching on the subject of intimacy with God.

God used several key people in my life to introduce me to this level of relationship with the Lord. The first person to introduce this teaching on intimacy with Jesus was Rev. Pat Chen http://www.firstloveprayer.net/

Pat Chen’s passion for the Lord was very contagious, and it put a deep desire in my heart to know Jesus in that intimate way as well.

Kat Kerr, Jesse Duplantis and others who have been to heaven all say that all of Heaven is filled with this lovely fragrance I have shared about. They all say that this fragrance is the Glory of the Father, and the aroma permeates all of Heaven.

When you begin to breathe it in, it is so intoxicating in a positive way that you don’t want the experience to end. Just the fragrance itself infuses life and strength into your body, and fills your soul with joy, peace and great delight!

The fragrance contains the tangible Presence of God, Anointing, and Shekinah Glory itself.

Romans 8:15-17 NKJV

For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of Adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs — heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.

Galatians 4:6 NKJV

And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!”

My Personal Testimony

Just to share some of my background with you, I was born and raised in the Assemblies of God Church. I grew up in Antioch, California (which is 60 miles east of San Francisco). It used to be a small town on the east side of Contra Costa County with a population of 3,000. However, over the years it has grown to over 100,000 residents and has gained honor.

Growing up, we attended a few different Assembly of God Churches in the area. I grew up since birth being in an atmosphere where the Holy Spirit was free to move. I witnessed people being baptized in the Holy Spirit with the initial evidence of speaking in other tongues. I saw the miracles and healings take place. I witnessed people being “slain” in the Spirit (falling under the power of the Spirit) when the Holy Spirit touched them.

I grew up in an atmosphere of Davidic style worship, and the anointing in the music and worship was so strong at times. I saw people dancing in the Spirit, and sometimes individuals would run around the sanctuary up and down the aisles when touched by the Holy Spirit.

It wasn’t always shouting and dancing, but often times everyone would be at the altar kneeling or worshiping God, with soft anointed sacred music playing in the background. I remember those special times of waiting on the Lord, and praying through until victory came.

I used to cry when in God’s Presence as a child, as the Holy Spirit touched my heart in a very deep way. I would lift my hands up to the Lord while we would be worshiping at church.

I gave my heart to the Lord when I was six years old. It was a Sunday afternoon or evening at home in our living room. Rev. Rex Humbard was preaching on television, and the salvation message he preached gripped my soul. I knew I was a sinner that needed to be saved, and so I told my mom that I wanted to ask Jesus to come into my heart.

She knelt down with me at the sofa, and I prayed after her a salvation prayer. When I did, I instantly felt the Holy Spirit rush into my heart and fill me with His Presence. I felt so much peace and joy fill my soul, and also felt a literal cleansing take place in my heart. I was a brand new creature in Christ Jesus.

I was filled with the Holy Spirit prior to being baptized in the Holy Ghost and speaking in tongues.

At the age of 20, I began attending Full Gospel Church. Since that time, I have attended Charismatic/Pentecostal non-denominational churches in Northern California, including Family Worship Center in Pleasant Hill for 9 years, Shiloh Church in Oakland for 15 years, New Birth (Destiny) Church in Pittsburg for 3 years, and Light the Bay Church in Pittsburg for 5 years.

As a child, my brother and I attended a Baptist Christian School in Concord, California (which was 25 miles away) for five years called Higher Heights Christian School. It was the best school we ever went to. We learned all about the fruit of the Spirit, the Beatitudes and the Bible in general. They did not teach doctrine. When we had chapel, we did not lift our hands in worship as they did in the Assemblies of God, but the presence of God was certainly there. Most of the songs we sung were psalms set to music. I had stability in my life at this school, and I was excelling in my studies. I had several friends at this school and was very happy and contented.

This school kept on raising the tuition and moved the school over to a neighboring town called Martinez. My parents were weary from the 5 days a week commute to Concord and back in heavy traffic, and Martinez was even a further distance. They decided to switch us to a different Christian school closer to home.

When I was in the 6th grade, my parents switched my brother and I to a different Baptist school right there in Antioch very close to home. It was one of the biggest mistakes for us to attend this school. We were out of the will of God, and it cost us dearly.

It was a brand new school that opened up and it was only a mile and a half from home, plus the tuition was less. However, it was never God’s will for us to be there. My brother backslid from the Lord while at this new school, and my life was filled with chaos and torment after being at that school.

Some of the kids used to talk down to me because I believed in speaking in tongues and they did not. I was made to feel ashamed, inferior and belittled for my faith. So I began to clam up and close myself off from others, and even began to close myself off from the Holy Spirit to a degree. I would resist the Holy Spirit to a degree. The Lord would be tugging at my heart, and I would push Him away.

With strife going on in our home, plus the instability of this school, I felt confused and battled with depression. The leadership at this school were unreliable and lacked maturity. The first year went okay (although it was never stable like Higher Heights was), but in October of the second year (when I was in the 7th grade), there was a church split (in the Baptist School we attended), and the pastor stayed put while the principle and a couple of the teachers went their own way. I cannot put into words how painful and tormenting it was to experience a church/school split. My heart was torn into a thousand pieces. James 3:16 says that where there is envying and strife, there is confusion and every demonic work.

The leaders that abandoned us kids at this school started their own school within three months. My brother and I transitioned over to their school in January of my 7th grade year. However, those next five months were filled with confusion, strife, turmoil, instability, fear and torment. They moved to two different locations during that time. The principle had a sick enjoyment of giving out corporal punishment. The leaders lied to the parents and did not come through on their end of the deal. By this time, I had sunk into despair and would stay in my bedroom all the time, except when I had to go somewhere.

Meanwhile, war broke out in our home with my father’s bad temper. He is a changed man now, and is sorry for all he put us through years ago. While growing up, he had a very bad temper and was verbally abusive. He almost tore the family apart, but finally God got control of his life.

My father’s anger added to the depression and despair I was experiencing beginning around age 12. He would always say very hurtful things to me on purpose. At the time, he was under the control of the devil, instead of being under the control of the Holy Spirit. The verbal abuse went on for the first 22 years of my life until I put a stop to it. Now he is a more meek man and has really gone through a transformation.

Now he gives me compliments often, and he tells me he loves me. He also demonstrates his love by being such a servant leader in our family. He helps us with tasks, as well as with household chores. He helps me with my cats. He brings prepared food home to the family or goes to the store for us. He very rarely raises his voice, as he is very kind now. He has been a good provider for all of my life for the whole family.

I love my father and now we are very close and get along very well. He has been a comfort to me since my mother passed away on July 4, 2019 from congestive heart failure.

If you have a family member who has a bad temper and goes into rages, there is hope. When you place them in God’s hands, He can change them into very meek and kind people, as He pours His love into their hearts.

At the beginning of my 8th grade year, my parents placed my brother and I into the public school. My brother and I never did flourish and thrive in the public school. However, things got a lot better once I went to college. I did well at a Community College, but thrived the very most at Bible College (since ministry is my primary calling).

When my brother and I were teenagers, I chose to walk with the Lord and to serve God. My brother chose to walk away from God and to live for this world. My brother stopped going to church and refused to go to youth meetings and retreats. He still is backslidden to this day, but we continue to pray for his salvation.

I had such a hunger for God and for the Presence of the Holy Spirit during my youth years, and even in my adult years. I longed so much to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit with the initial evidence of speaking in other tongues. I wanted more of God generally speaking.

Often the youth would go on retreats. This retreat happened to be held at a lodge in the mountains of the Sierra Nevada’s, north of Yosemite National Park.

At one of the services at the retreat, the leaders were praying that we would be baptized in the Holy Spirit and begin speaking with other tongues. I did feel something bubble up within me, and I began to speak with tongues. But then I stopped because I second-questioned if I was having a real experience. When I was at that Baptist School in the 6th and 7th grade, some of those students nearly stripped me of my belief in the power of tongues and I was closed off to receiving. I would question if the experience was real.

Also, my heart was filled with rage and anger, hatred, bitterness and unforgiveness towards my father and a few others who had hurt me. That right there closed me off to receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit. My soul was clogged up and the Holy Spirit could not flow the way He wanted to, until I learned to forgive.

It took me years to forgive and let go of offenses and past pain. When you hold onto bitterness and unforgiveness it ties God’s hands. He is not free to flow as He would want to.

In my 20’s, I still yearned to receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit with the initial evidence of speaking in other tongues. Besides being locked up on the inside, I also had issues with my past religious upbringing. While all of those Pentecostal/Charismatic experiences were real, it seemed as if in my denomination that the church members would shout all the time, excessively. I felt that if I went to my own church group to have them pray over me, then they would all be shouting out their prayers, and then commanding me to begin to speak in tongues.

All I knew was that I wanted this experience to be for real (of speaking with other tongues), and not something hyped up. I wanted it to be a very gentle experience.

During my 20’s, I was heavily involved in Women’s Aglow. Women from many major denominations attended the meetings, including Charismatic Catholics. Thoughts came to my mind that for me to know for sure that me speaking in tongues is for real, then I would seek out prayer from the Charismatic Catholic ladies. They were conservative but very anointed! They had power with God! I knew that they would not be showing excessive emotionalism, or shouting, or nearly pushing me down when laying hands on me. And if I received the gift of tongues, then I would know that it’s of God.

So at one of the retreats, at the end of the service there were ladies at the front who were there to pray for people. I sought out one of the Charismatic Catholic ladies to lay hands on me and pray over me that I would receive the baptism of the Holy Ghost. She began to pray, but then stopped. Then she spoke up and said that I was already filled with the Spirit, and all I needed to do is to open my mouth and let the Spirit speak through me. Then I was able to receive the language of tongues from that point on.

I guess I was expecting the Holy Spirit to do the speaking in tongues for me (like Him take over my mouth), but what happened is that I had to just begin speaking whatever syllables He put into my mind and spirit.

Since that time, I have spoken in tongues while praying (but have not prayed in tongues as often as I ought to, I have to admit). Several years ago, my tongues began to change to a different heavenly language (something like a Chinese or Asian dialect). About a year ago, the Lord spoke to me and told me that when I pray in that Asian dialect, then I am calling out to my Abba Father God. That really touched me deeply.

If you have ever been in a service where everyone is singing in tongues (or in their prayer language) at the same time, it is so beautiful to experience, and the anointing is so strong. It’s like a taste of Heaven where there will be people there from all nations, tribes, kindreds and people groups all worshiping around the Throne.

 

Not Guilty Because of the Blood

Easter Sunday Sermon Notes

April 24, 2011

Title:  “Not Guilty Because of the Blood”

On Resurrection Sunday, Bishop C. Carl Smith preached a dynamic sermon on the Blood of Jesus.  It was a continuation of the message he preached on Good Friday.

I wrote down notes in my journal as he preached, and wanted to share some of the highlights of his message.

For information on how to obtain CD’s or DVD’s of Bishop Smith’s sermons, and his book, please go to https://www.newdestiny.online/

God has no recollection of what you’ve done in the past.  The slate has been made clean.

The Blood will never fail you.

Romans 3:23-25 NKJV

23 For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God,

24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,

25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His Blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed.

We are seated with the Most High in heavenly places.  Because of the Blood, we have a restored place of dominion and authority.

We are no longer broken down individuals or emotionally crippled, because of the Blood of Jesus.

The Resurrection is the evidence of the Christian’s belief.  Anything that is Christ-like has life flowing from it.

Jesus got up (rose again from the dead) to carry His Blood to the Mercy Seat in Heaven.

One of the functions of the high priest was to sprinkle the blood of an animal on the mercy seat in the earthly Holy of Holies (in the tabernacle) once a year for the propitiation of all sins nationwide.

Since Jesus is our Great High Priest, who has ascended into the heavens, He took His own Blood (which is perfect Blood) and sprinkled it on the true Mercy Seat in the Holy of Holies in Heaven, thus signifying that He has made eternal propitiation for the sins of the entire world.  He does not have to offer His body again as a sacrifice, because one time was enough to atone for sins forever.

Jesus’ death was just part of the story.  That’s why He borrowed the tomb.  He wasn’t planning on using it for more than a few days.

The other part of the story is that Jesus got up.  He rose from the dead and came out of the tomb.

We have been justified by faith through Christ’s Blood – Romans 5:9.

Definition of Justified = Declared righteous; to be made right with God.

Your past has no effect on your future because of the Blood of Christ.

The first thing you will experience by being made right with God is peace (shalom).  Everything that was out of order now comes into order.  Romans 5:1 declares, “Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

To read the multiple Hebrew definitions of the word shalom (usually translated into English as peace, safety, wholeness or health), please click on: Blessings of Shalom

The second thing you will experience by being made right with God is that you will be able to stand before God with no guilt or inferiority.  On your part, and on God’s part, there will be no consciousness or recollection of sin.

If we have asked the Lord to forgive us of past sins, but we still feel guilty, then it could be that we haven’t forgiven ourselves.  Also, the accuser of the brethren, who is the devil, will constantly bring up what you did wrong in the past.

Give a burial to the past.  Don’t resurrect the mistakes of the past.  The past has no more power in your life to control you any further.

Guilt and shame leaves you feeling unworthy with no confidence before God.  But that’s why Christ died … to remove your guilt and shame.

We are restored to perfect fellowship with the Lord.  He will perfect (bring to completion) everything which concerns me (Psalm 138:8).

Hebrews 10:14 says, “For by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.”

The highest court of our land is the Supreme Court.  The Heavenly Court is even higher than the Supreme Court.  When Jesus presents your case, the Father lays down His gavel and declares “not guilty”.

You are also free from shame.  You can hold your head up.  All the charges have been dropped.  The Lord is your glory, and the lifter up of your head (Psalm 3:3).

Praise God for the Blood!

The Blood washes “whiter than” snow.  Fresh snow is the brightest white, and glows like bright light.  The Blood of Jesus washes us even “whiter than” snow.

Mankind sinned in a garden (Eden).  Jesus went back to a garden (Gethsemane) to win mankind back to Himself.  He restored the fellowship between God and man in the second garden.

Jesus took upon Himself all of our transgressions.  Think of the things you’ve done that fall into this category.  Jesus removed from us all of our transgressions.

The Hebrew definition of transgression is:  rebellion, sin, lawlessness, revolt, trespasses, offenses, breaking away from God’s authority.

Jesus also took upon Himself all of our iniquities.  The Hebrew definition of iniquity is:  moral evil, perversities, depravity, crookedness, wickedness, twistedness, wrongdoing, guilt of committing iniquity.

To read the teaching on the Blood Atonement in Isaiah 53, please go to: Blood Atonement of Jesus – Isaiah 53

God lifts off of us our sin, puts it on Himself, and carries it to hell (which is made for transgressors).  Jesus went to hell for us.  He restored the keys of the Kingdom (Revelation 1:18, Matthew 16:19).  He got up on the 3rd day.  He arose in all dominion, power and authority.  He ever lives to make intercession for you and me (Hebrews 7:25).

The life of the Believer is in the Blood transfusion.  Out with the old blood, and in with the New Blood (of Christ).  If you are in Christ, then His Blood is flowing through your veins.

When the Father looks at you, He hears (from the Son saying) “Mercy!”  “Mercy!”  “Mercy!”.  When Jesus ascended to Heaven, He took a seat next to the right hand of the Father.  He makes intercession to the Father on our behalf.  The Father looks at us through the Blood of His Son.

If Jesus went to hell for you (which is the ultimate), do you think there is any place He would not go for you, or anything He would not do for you?

If you would like to know this Jesus that I’ve been sharing about, or to re-dedicate your life to Christ, then pray this prayer with me:

Dear Lord Jesus,

I receive You into my life as my personal Lord and Savior.  I invite You to come into my heart and make my heart Your home.  Wash away my sins by Your Blood.  Write my name in the Lamb’s Book of Life.  Fill me with the presence and power of Your Holy Spirit.  Give me the strength to live for you.  Help me to become the person You created me to be.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen

If you prayed this prayer, do you feel the Lord’s presence in your heart?  If so, then you are born again.

2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

Welcome to the family of God.  You are accepted in the Beloved (Ephesians 1:6).