The Secret Place

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Relationship with God is just. so. important. Every day is an opportunity to grow. Are we actively taking that opportunity or squandering it?

I want to share a testimony. As I have said previously, I got addicted to porn at a young age and last year stopped watching it. Completely. It was amazing because low-level depression along with most other symptoms of porn left 🙂 Yes! It was amazing! However, although I was set free from watching it, I was still tormented in some capacity by thoughts of going back. Scenes would replay in my head and it was horrible. I prayed throughout the whole year for my Father to set me free from it. But nothing seemed to happennnnnn 😦

Fast forward to a few weeks ago. (This is very close to a year since I started praying.) Holy Spirit led me to a certain kind of prayer that:

  1. Acknowledged the sin by name (e.g. watching porn, lusting, etc.)
  2. Repented of the sin and asked forgiveness
  3. Told the sin and evil spirit to leave in Jesus’ name

Wow!

I felt so freeeeee

All those thoughts just. stopped. It felt like I almost had an “empty” mind or something. It was kinda weird, but amazing!

The reason I tell this story is to make this point. I would never have been set free if I didn’t have a relationship with God. I had to pray and really listen to the Holy Spirit leading me. He was so patient with me and not in a hurry. When I was ready, he gave me the words, exact words to pray to break those evil spirits. The thing is, as good as all other christians and churches and podcasts and sermons are, they never knew my heart and set me free. Only God could see what I was dealing with and knew exactly what to do. 🙂

I have found that the most impacting moments in my life were all when I was alone and praying, worshipping or reading the Word of God. Our Father is in heaven, yet he is so close to us and understands us better than any other person. Because of this, I have changed my view on church and my spiritual growth. Rather than seeking that growth from my church, I have changed my focus to expect my growth to come directly from God.

This means that the only stopping capacity is how far I am willing to go. I am no longer capped by anything except myself. How many hours will I pray before stopping? How long will I ask God for freedom before being set free? Am I willing to give up gaming to spend more time praying? These are the kind of decisions that determine my level of relationship with God.

Here is a list of some positive side affects of doubling – tripling the amount of time I spend with God:

  1. Far less fear
  2. Freedom from lustful/unclean thoughts
  3. No more nightmares
  4. Peace. So much peace.
  5. Being shown things by God
  6. Ridiculous favour at work
  7. Very deep relationships with people I previously had little to none
  8. More wisdom
  9. Increased awareness of others

Each of these points came either directly from praying for them, or just general prayer and listening to God. Some I asked for specifically, others just came.

The more I spend time with the Father, the more I feel his heart for me, and others. He is so loving, so gentle, so patient, so kind, and so humble. He is so humble! The love in his eyes is so pure, it changes you. You cannot be the same after; I’m quite sure it’s impossible.

There are things you can’t experience unless you spend several hours just praying. There are experiences you will never experience until you get on your knees for extended periods of time. I will pray that you open your heart to this idea and pray for a desire to be drawn to prayer.

If you want to be closer to God than most people even know is possible, pray for it. Ask God to draw you into the secret place. Don’t let anyone put a limit on you for what is acceptable. I used to believe that an hour each day is enough time with God, simply because a pastor told me. That is a very good amount of time with God if you want to stay a bit above average. However, if you’re anything like me and want to push the boundaries, I dare you to spend 5 hours each night praying for a week in a row.

If your world isn’t absolutely blown apart by God, send me a message and I will personally video chat with you and pray with you. I double-dare you to do it. Pray for 7 hours a day. Pray for 9. Don’t stop there, see what happens for even more. Try 12 hours in a single session.

This change absolutely shook my world and turned it upside-down. I believe it will do the same to your world too. Please let me know what happens. I want to hear your testimonies!

Who Is The Stronger Man?

I was resting when a scene played in my mind. I saw a very strong and muscular man protecting his house. Next, I saw another stronger man overpower the first and take ownership of the house and all that was in it.

After seeing this I was disturbed – why would someone take what isn’t his? Why did one man overpower the first?

I asked the Holy Spirit to show me what this meant. Later the same morning as I was reading through my Bible devotion for the day, I came across this passage:

 For when a strong man is fully armed and guards his palace, his possessions are safe—  until someone even stronger attacks and overpowers him, strips him of his weapons, and carries off his belongings.
 “Anyone who isn’t with me opposes me, and anyone who isn’t working with me is actually working against me.

Luke 11:21-23 NLT

The strong man Jesus talked about here sounded exactly like the picture I saw. I looked up what it meant to understand more of what this meant. It seems that Jesus is saying he is the stronger man who is overpowering Satan and taking back what was stolen. This makes more sense as to why the second man would attack – he was taking back what was stolen and rightfully his!

So, what does this mean? I think it’s a pretty cool reminder that no matter how muscular Satan looks, Jesus is stronger and has already defeated him! We can trust in Jesus and his strength.

Generosity Revisited

I want to talk about generosity again, now that my perspective has changed since I last wrote about it. There are a few points I want to address:

  1. Your heart attitude is more important than the way you give
  2. Percentage matters more than the dollar amount
  3. Our Father wants your heart, not your money
  4. Real giving has no strings attached

Your heart attitude is more important than the way you give. A few weeks ago, Jesus appeared to me in a dream. He told me a few things, but there is one that I need to share with you. He told me that my heart motives are more important than my actions. What does this mean in the context of generosity? The gift you give is not scrutinised by God the same way your heart is. Here are some questions to ask yourself before giving. Are you reluctantly or resentfully giving the gift? Do you feel forced to give because of tithing expectations? Do you hold unforgiveness in your heart toward a brother or sister? If you or I answer yes to any of these questions, we must examine our heart to ensure we have pure motives. Pray on each issue that arises and ask Jesus to change your heart.

Percentage matters more than the dollar amount. Whenever I think about generosity, I am reminded of a particular Bible story (Luke 21:1-4). Jesus is with his disciples in the temple, watching various people give offerings. Many rich people gave large sums, but when a widow put in two small copper coins, Jesus declared that she had given more than the rich before her. The poor widow had given all she had to live! There was a direct pain in giving those coins because, for that week, there was no money for food, accommodation, or other expenses. In the same way as that story, God knows your financial state, so larger dollar amounts do not always equal a more generous gift. If you desire to give more, do so based on your money percentage rather than thinking in dollar amounts.

Our Father wants your heart, not your money. God is infinitely rich because he created all things, so he has no need for you to give. However, he wants you to give because by giving your money, he gets your heart. Jesus stated that where your treasure is, there your heart is also (Matthew 6:21). He warned against storing up treasures on earth because they do not last. When you give to God, you get treasure in heaven, and when you have treasure in heaven, your heart is in heaven. Therefore, following this progression, when you give God money, you are giving him your heart.

Real giving has no strings attached. A genuine gift must be given in whole with no expectation of return; otherwise, it is a transaction. Imagine the following story as an example. You are close with your best friend, and he gives you a gift every birthday and Christmas. One day when you are both walking together along a road, a car swerves toward your friend, but you see it fast enough to push him out of the way. Tragically, you are killed instead. At your funeral, your friend is giving a speech. At the speech, he complains that he wasted a lot of money on gifts for you, because you didn’t give enough back.

This story has likely never happened between two best friends, but is it possible to happen between God and us? God gave his life so you and I can live in freedom with him, so why should we give with a motive behind the gift that expects some kind of ‘return on investment’? God is the investment! God has already given more than you or I could ever possibly hope to repay!

May you have a blessed week.

2020: A Year of Vision and Growth

If you have been following my journey for a while, you will know I wrote early last year about some of the difficulties I faced. Although the year started rough, I learned many lessons and ultimately came out better than before. I firmly believe that my growth happened because I decided to start seriously praying.

At the start, the prayer increase was partly due to not having anything else to do, and not desiring to find anything else to do with my time. I heard a sermon at the start of the year about being equipped for battle by spending time with God, and I realised that I’d rarely spent more than an hour at a time seeking God. So I made it my goal to spend longer amounts of time with God to see what would happen.

The result of increased prayer was spiritual alertness and vision I had never experienced before. As I grew spiritually throughout the year, I saw most things differently; My perspective changed dramatically in only 12 months! The most obvious change to me was that I became more aware of the spiritual health of myself and those around me. I have realised that gifts (in and out of the church) do not equal spiritual maturity. In some cases, I saw that people with gifts had become spiritually dry over time as they started to lean on their gifts rather than their relationship with God! However, those who were healthy all had one thing in common – a close relationship with God and regular prayer.

Seeing things the way I do now, I find it quite interesting that most christians I talk to do not see the need for much intentional prayer, if any at all. I agree that subconscious prayer is incredibly powerful and should be practiced by all christians, and the bible backs this up in Thessalonians:

Never stop praying.

1 Thessalonians 5:17 NLT

Buuuuuut, there’s more to prayer than the inner prayer. It’s the intentional prayer, when time is set aside specifically to address concerns and talk with the Father. I believe Jesus was talking about this kind of prayer in Matthew 6:

“But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.

Matthew 6:6 NLT

And also in Luke 11:

“And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.

Luke 11:9 NLT

There are many other verses on prayer, but these three already start to show what a healthy prayer life looks like. I want to encourage you to work towards this kind of prayer life. Although I am the one talking about this, I am also still learning to pray more and make sure to be intentional about it.

What are the results of increased intentional prayer? For me, it was the following:
– Wisdom in difficult situations
– Less fear of man
– More reverence for God
– Increased communication with God
– Less insecurity
– More love for people

In addition to these answered prayer points, I noticed increased spiritual activity around me. Jesus has visited me multiple times in dreams and visions. In addition, I notice more angelic and demonic activity. Demons have specifically targeted me to bring me down and cause me to stumble, but the Father has rescued me every time. Crazy things happen now, some of which I have shared, and many which I haven’t. I am incredibly blessed, and I have had opportunities open to me that would have taken me many years to see. These are only some of the benefits of a closer relationship with God.

If you struggle with anything at all, I want to encourage you to write it down and create a list of things you want the Father to develop in your life. As Jesus said in Luke, keep asking and you will receive what you ask for. I personally focused on character development and prayers around growing spiritually and maturely, but you may want to broaden your prayers to your work life, family, friends, and other areas. 🙂

May God be with you as you pray.

Undeserved Grace

I am so thankful for the grace of God! He reminded me today that grace is a gift from him to me, because, little did I realise, I had been subconsciously trying to earn his grace. Yes, it’s a fool’s errand even to attempt to earn God’s grace, yet without realising it, I had drifted to that mindset.

It was when a friend was praying for me that I realised my error. I felt the Father’s love at that moment, and he reminded me that grace is his gift to those who confess their sins and repent. I had already done that, yet I held on to guilt, shame, and the other side effects of sin. The best thing to do is fully embrace God and accept all his gifts, including grace. The Bible has this to say about grace:

God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.

Ephesians 2:8-9 NLT

The challenge in all of this is to have a balance based in God’s word. You cannot have grace if you do not repent because sin is still living in you and you are not made new. However, on the other side, you also cannot live a perfect life to earn it. I believe the best way is to repent from sin and accept God’s grace. This way there is a turning from sin, yet no striving to attempt to earn grace.

Grace is no reward, and it never will be. It is always a beautiful gift from God, and no one can take that away from him. By trying even a little to earn it, I went astray. I pray that you learn from my mistake and fully embrace this beautiful gift our Father has given!

Have a blessed day! 🙂

Pure Love

After talking about the harder topics such as hell and Jesus’ return, coming back to his love is even more powerful! If God is so pure that sin has to be cast into eternal fire, yet he still chooses to extend his arms and show his love to us, (sinful beings), how incredible is that love!

I believe that the love Jesus has for us is beyond understanding. Having experienced closeness with him, I must shake my head and say I cannot describe the love. It is absolutely out of this world. There is no comparison. Family love, best friend’s love, or even romantic love, have nothing on Jesus’ love.

It makes sense when you take some time to think about it. The only being in existence decided to create some intelligent, lesser beings. Those people, his very own creation, refused him and rejected him. Instead of responding in kind, he put aside all of his power and took the form of his creation. He then lived a life of rejection and loneliness, to finally end on a cross, dying in the prime of his life for the very people that killed him.

That’s crazy love!

I am so thankful for the love Jesus has for me! He has held me in the darkest moments of my life and whispered caring words in my ears at the perfect time. He has told me he cares for me and wants the best for me, and those words have comforted me in the worst of times.

Jesus’ love is not limited to me, though. His love is for you too when you turn to him. I encourage you to spend some time quietly praying to thank him for his love. 🙂

Encounter

One night I was quietly praying in my bed when I suddenly felt the presence of a heavenly being! I believe it was Jesus because love flowed out of him and he was very powerful. There was also a feeling like electricity going through my veins; this electricity was far more potent than adrenaline and the feeling of butterflies from a new relationship, combined! It is so out-of-this-world that I cannot describe it.

Although the most powerful feeling was love, the second most dominant feeling was fear. This fear wasn’t rational, though, it was different. I wasn’t afraid of Jesus, although I had a fear of him. It isn’t easy to put this into words. I think what I experienced was the fear of God. It’s different to rational fear; This fear was almost…healthy?

This experience was all very strange to me, and I was terrified because I knew Jesus had the power to kill me in an instant. It wasn’t that he would kill me; it’s just that he could. I know it isn’t in his character, but he is simply that powerful, and it was instantly understood.

Some things in this world can be explained logically because they frequently occur to many people, while others cannot be explained. This encounter is one of those things that can’t be communicated easily. It’s one of those things where you’ve either experienced it yourself or can’t relate at all. There isn’t much middle ground.

I want to encourage you to be more intentional with your relationship with God. He embodies love and is waiting for you with open arms, even coming close physically in some cases. Please pray about this and ask Jesus to visit you personally. I’m certain he will 🙂

Jesus is Returning Soon! Get Ready.

On this blog, I have shared intimate details of my life that I would feel uncomfortable telling most people. Today I will go even further because I believe very strongly this message is vital. So, without further ado, here goes.

When I was young, from about age ten onward (I don’t remember exactly how old I was), I had powerful dreams that I believe were from God. These dreams were the kind where I woke up in a cold sweat, heart pounding, fearing for my very life. They were dreams of Jesus returning. It wasn’t often I had a dream of Jesus returning, but when I did, fear and emotion gripped me! In those moments, all I cared about was that Jesus took me with him into heaven.

Up until this year, as far as I can remember, whenever Jesus returned in a dream, I was left behind. Sometimes I saw specific people being taken to heaven, and other times it had less detail and just showed a variety of people going. In either case, some people went while others were left behind. In one particular dream, I was pulled down a long chamber into hell to be tortured; this was arguably the most terrifying experience of my life.

However, just weeks ago, I had another dream of Jesus returning. This time, I was pulled toward him along with other people. I felt the fear of God as in all other dreams, but this time I felt relief too! I cannot describe how I felt; I have never felt this way my whole life on earth! I should also mention that in all of these dreams, they were so real, and the emotion, fear, and utter horror experienced in them was so terrifying, that I thought they were real life! There was absolutely no knowing they were dreams.

Now, in the dream, after an invisible force pulled me to Jesus, he set me aside and brought me to a tiny wardrobe-type cupboard in the wall and told me to wait there. The door in the wall opened to a small space that was so small that only my body could fit; there was no room for anything or anyone else. It was dark and lonely, but I knew I had to pray there; It was my assignment.

As soon as I awoke, I knew that prayer would prepare me for Jesus’ coming. It is when we get alone by ourselves and pray to our Father in heaven that our relationship with him starts to grow. No amount of other things can substitute. Jesus gave this lesson on prayer: be alone and pray to your Father only; prayer is a private matter between you and him.

“When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get. But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.

Matthew 6:5-6 NLT

Please set aside time to pray. The need to pray is no longer a light matter – this is very serious! You cannot understand the utter terror and horror experienced by those who do not know Jesus. They will be cast into hell for eternity, all because they didn’t cultivate a relationship with God; they never knew him. Jesus put it this way:

“Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’

Matthew 7:21-23 NLT

Notice that many of those who call Jesus “Lord!” will be cast away from his presence! To me this is scary, because I don’t see unbelievers calling Jesus “Lord”. I have only seen those who call themselves Christian call Jesus “Lord”.

You and I must do the will of the Father and know him. There is no substitute.

It’s all about Jesus

Following on from my previous post about Cambodia, I want to dive deeper into the need for Jesus.

The culture I live in loves job promotions, high status, being famous, good looks, and absolutely idolises having loads of money. The thought of being able to retire at 30 and travel the world eating endless amounts of delicious food is just too good to be true for most people. I’ve often heard it said that I should “be happy” and do things I want to. Being selfish is wisdom in this culture!

However, I have come to realise that a lot of pain and suffering comes from the selfishness in me! Every idol I have put in my life has been from selfishness, and it’s those idols that hurt the most. For example, by putting my career as an idol, any time something went wrong with my job, I got extremely distressed. I was always fearful of losing my job and the social status that came along with it. The fear was crippling and draining my life.

If I had genuine unselfishness and had put my focus on Jesus and what he wanted for me, this suffering would have never happened. I am so thankful for the trip to Cambodia, which taught me a lot more about what is most important in this world. My job is just that – a job. It’s not my identity, and if I lose it, I’m sure my Father will lead me to another one to pay the bills. 🙂

I challenge you to put your trust and hope in Jesus. Don’t put more weight on things of this world than you should. After all, we are called to be “in the world but not of the world.”

Simple Humility

The following post is something I believe God is telling me to do, and I wrote it like a letter to myself. However, I want to share it with you because you may also find it useful.

Give up the desire to be better than other Christians. Don’t try to be more than others; Don’t even compare yourself to them. Comparison isn’t from God; It’s a worldly way of thinking. Your desire should be to have an intimate relationship with God. Pursue intimacy with your Father, Jesus, and Holy Spirit. Don’t spend a single drop of energy in the pursuit of being more than another Christian. It seems godly to want more than others, but the foundation of that thinking is selfishness. You want more for you than for them.

Although you know it’s wrong, it leads to thoughts of wanting others to fail, or at least not succeed as much as you. It may lead you to prayers along these lines: Can I be more spiritual? Can I have just a little bit more anointing? Can I lead just a little better?

Put these thoughts of being better to death. You are here to be God’s hands and feet, so you represent him and no one else. No, you shouldn’t even represent yourself. The more you die to yourself, the better. Jesus said to deny yourself, take up your cross and follow him. So, how’s that self-denial going? How does that cross feel? Are you dying? You must die so that he can live.

“The old has passed away. Behold! The new has come.”

You weren’t given life to live for yourself. Many people do that and end up with nothing inside. Australia is arguably one of the richest countries on earth, and suicide is higher here than anywhere in the world. Why? Many, if not most, Australians do not deny themselves, and do not take up their cross to follow Jesus. They look inward rather than looking outward. Do not do that, but rather, live for Jesus instead; He gives life and fullness, and only he can satisfy.

Who are the happiest people on earth? The rich? They have plenty but often want more. The poor? Sometimes yes, but the poor can covet riches and be miserable too. No, those who are truly happy have died to themself and put away every lust of success and riches. They live not for themselves but for God alone; He gives them strength and purpose. Interestingly enough, God may give them success and riches beyond their dreams. HOWEVER, those joyful people take no pride in their riches nor do they boast in them. They boast only in the Lord because their worth is in him!

If you look at each decision you’ve made the past year, do they tell the story that you’re denying yourself and taking up your cross? Do they say you are pursuing money? Do your actions paint a picture of humility, or a picture of pride?

Rejoice because your names are registered in heaven

As many times as I write about this, it still burns in my heart: a healthy relationship and intimacy with God are more important than anything else in this world. At one time in Jesus’ ministry, he sent out the Twelve disciples, along with many others, to preach the gospel. They returned to him excited because demons obeyed them! However, Jesus brought perspective:

17 When the seventy-two disciples returned, they joyfully reported to him, “Lord, even the demons obey us when we use your name!” 18 “Yes,” he told them, “I saw Satan fall from heaven like lightning! 19 Look, I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy, and you can walk among snakes and scorpions and crush them. Nothing will injure you. 20 But don’t rejoice because evil spirits obey you; rejoice because your names are registered in heaven.”

Luke 10:17-20 NLT

From reading this, I can see how much value Jesus puts on salvation. Miracles are of more value than money because you can’t buy them, yet Jesus puts their value below salvation. Healing is impressive, but salvation is better. Spiritual authority is excellent, but salvation is better. Immunity from all earthly harm is unbelievable, but salvation is still better.

Salvation is of utmost importance to Jesus, and if it isn’t for you, you may need to change the way you think. Take a moment to pray and let the Holy Spirit point out one or two things in your life that you have put more value in than salvation.