My Testimony Part 1:
I had a powerful encounter with the living God, my loving heavenly Papa, at the age of eleven or twelve. Let me tell you how that happened and the events preceding it.
I grew up in a Christian home and had prayed to receive Christ, willfully and intentionally, on my eighth birthday. For the next few years I really enjoyed life! Especially being ten. That was a great year! I remember having this reflective moment as a ten year old, ‘Life is SO good!’
Shortly thereafter a neighbor introduced me to his dad’s Playboy magazine. =(
For the next few years I struggled with lust. The reason I get into this horrifying and shameful topic is because it was the prelude to my first amazing encounter with God.
I was in my treehouse struggling once again with lust and then the most amazing thing happened.
God showed up.
I knew him immediately. There was no mistaking it. This was God, my Creator, my Savior. I cannot describe to you how amazing it was. He was brimming with fatherly love, there was no judgment, just compassion. I felt the energy and holiness of his presence. I perceived him in the spirit realm beyond the mirage of what C.S. Lewis call the shadowlands (this physical realm).
He respected my free will and told me telepathically (this is how everyone in heaven most always communicates… get over it), “If you continue in this I will have to hand you over.”
As with most every time God says something to you, the understanding came with his words. I knew he was referring to Romans chapter 1:
God’s Anger at Sin
18 But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness. 19 They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. 20 For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.
21 Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. 22 Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools. 23 And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles.
24 So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. 25 They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen. 26 That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. 27 And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved.
28 Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done. 29 Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. 30 They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They invent new ways of sinning, and they disobey their parents. 31 They refuse to understand, break their promises, are heartless, and have no mercy. 32 They know God’s justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too. – (Romans 1 NLT)
So this was stage one. God abandoning me to do what I desired (or “hand me over” as some translations put it). I knew he didn’t want to hand me over but he respects our free will. We get to decide what kind of lives we want to live. I believe that to a large degree, we decide our destinies. Our free will matters.
I did not choose wisely.
An evil spirit entered me that day. It provoked me to sin. Mentally abusing me day after day. I grew to hate myself. I’d cut myself and bash my head with rocks at times. Eventually I turned to alcohol and other vices to numb the pain.
I would have times where I would turn back to God and find some relief but I didn’t have much of a support system to sustain following Jesus.
The encounter with God that day was life altering. I knew God was real. I couldn’t ever walk away from this. The rest of my life will be seeking him, coming back to him, following Jesus.
I want to encourage you with a few Scriptures that have encouraged me in this pursuit of Christ and really has formed a proof, like a mathematical proof in geometry, that I have eternal life and am secure in the love and care of my Good Shepherd and loving Papa.
“However, those the Father has given me will come to me, and I will never reject them.” – Jesus, (John 6:37 NLT)
“Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, 2 as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” – Jesus, (John 17:2-3 NKJV)
Did you catch that? If you come to Jesus, he won’t reject you. He can’t! The fact that you came to him shows that the Father has given you to Jesus. He then promises to give eternal life to all those who the Father has given him.
I have since had several other profound encounters with God that have changed me. He met me when I came back to him at the age of eighteen. He’s taken me on spiritual journeys. Came and commissioned me for my calling at twenty. He meets me in dream after dream – which I am particularly fascinated by!
Jesus stood before me in the spirit once and looked me in the eyes while I was reading the prodigal son story in front of a crowd. In fact, I sense his presence and experience his fathering every day. He is merciful, forgiving, gracious and so very good and loving to me. He is anxious to do the same for you. The reason I tell you all this is to provoke you to seek the Lord. He guarantees that you will experience him if you seek him with all your heart.
“You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. ‘I will be found by you,’ declares the LORD”. (Jeremiah 29:13-14 NIV)
Have you ever had an encounter with God? If so I’d like to hear about it. Leave a comment!