Visit by Jesus changed wayward financial advisor

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By Mark Ellis —

Trent and Kelli, before he found Christ
Jamie and Kelli, before he found Christ

Baptized as an adult in his church, Jamie Trent led a double life. By all appearances, he was a successful financial advisor and family man. But beneath the saccharine smile on Sunday mornings lurked a drug addict and serial adulterer locked in a self-destructive downward spiral.

“My first memory I have is of my dad hitting my mom,” says James “Jamie” Trent, author of “My Trip to God” (LifeBridge Books). Jamie’s father spent time in prison for embezzlement, so his mother became the breadwinner of the family.

“There was no Jesus, no praying, no Bible, no nothing (religious),” he recalls, during his upbringing.

Sexual abuse by an elder cousin and an older boy in the neighborhood left a big wound. By 10th grade he was filling the emptiness inside with porn, alcohol, marijuana — and he caused a fellow student’s pregnancy.

51pd8GFEW9L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Despite his excesses, reasonably good grades landed him at the University of South Carolina, where drinking binges continued and he met his first wife, who joined him in the party. They lived together for four years before they got married.

After their marriage, the out-of-the-box social revelry continued. “We got into group situations with inappropriate sex and I ultimately left her,” he recounts.

Later, he met a young woman named Kelli who ultimately became his wife. She was pregnant after their first six weeks together, but wisely refused to marry him. After they moved in together and had their second child on the way, he issued an ultimatum.

“My grandmother wants us to get married before she dies,” he informed her, which was actually a lie.

“I was manipulating her,” he admits.

She assented to his ploy, and the newlyweds moved into a new house, where his detached office in the garage allowed his addictions to porn, gambling, drugs, and alcohol to continue unabated.

“Do you think I have a problem with alcohol?” he asked Kelli one day.

“That’s for you to figure out,” she replied, with some sagacity.

As he reflected on his condition, he knew something wasn’t right and he needed help, so he started going to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.

Wife Kelli suggested they start attending a Baptist church, where Jamie was baptized in 2006. “I didn’t understand what it (baptism) meant,” he concedes. “Jesus was not part of my life – it was a good front.”

Jamie accepted a position at an investment firm with an office outside the home for the first time, but this led to other temptations. “I was using prescription drugs and I began to engage in adulterous behavior.” He found a willing partner at work that became his mistress.

Despite the errant behavior, he was remarkably successful as a financial advisor. The front he constructed looked perfect: he sat at church on Sundays; he was tithing, volunteering in church activities, and sent his kids to Christian school, but he was really miserable. “Everything on the outside looked perfect, but on the inside, it was a living hell,” Jamie confesses.

“I didn’t know how to get out of it. I couldn’t take enough pills to numb the pain.” How do I get out of this deep hole, he wondered.

When Kelli went away for the weekend with their girls, he and his mistress decided to have their own getaway to the beach. While they were away, God was “slamming his conscience.”

On Sunday morning, as he stood in front of their hotel window, suddenly the window went dark and God gave him an unforgettable vision.

He saw his middle daughter in bed. “I leaned over and gave her a kiss,” he recalls.

As I turned to walk away, she said, “Daddy I love you and I’m going to miss you.”

When the vision ended, Jamie was frantic to return home. God began to turn his heart back to his family and Jamie began to consider how he could break off his adulterous affair.

Confrontation

In August 2012, Kelli called him while he drove to a business appointment. “Jamie,” she said, “I just read an article on Yahoo, ’10 signs your spouse is cheating’ and you have all 10 symptoms.”

With his facile mind and propensity for lying he managed to shift the blame, to convince her she was imagining things – even crazy — but underneath, he knew the real truth.

Immediately, he texted his mistress. “Kelli knows.”

But somehow divine providence interceded. The text did not go to the other woman. It went to his wife. Within seconds, his phone beeped back, “Kelli knows what?”

Caught red-handed, the subsequent phone conversation with Kelli did not go well. “I somehow persuaded her to go to counseling – promising that if she would, I would tell her everything. (another lie) She reluctantly agreed.”

The next day they found themselves in the office of Steve Arneson, a seasoned Christian counselor in Columbia, South Carolina, with expertise in marriage and adult issues.

“He was a brass-knuckles, no-nonsense individual,” Trent notes in his book. “I remember thinking, ‘This is not going well. I made a mistake in coming here.’”

“The counselor had zero tolerance for my lies and manipulation. He saw right through the smokescreen and called me exactly what I was: a liar.”

Because of fears he would lose his wife and family, Trent resisted coming clean. His pride and his pain loomed as large as ever. That evening, he took more prescription drugs to numb the pain.

Finally, Kelli had enough and asked him to move out, so he went to a local hotel.

One morning in the shower, while Trent was in the depths of despondency and despair, he had a powerful visit from Jesus Himself.

“I felt something pushing me to the bottom of the tub. The only way I can describe it is that I was in a trance. I suddenly felt the presence of Jesus. He was standing in front of me in all His glory.

My son, you do not have to fight anymore, Jesus said. It is time to repent of your sins. There is nothing to fear.

The tears began to pour down Trent’s cheeks as he confessed a lengthy litany of sins. He confessed all the garbage that kept him in bondage and finally choked out the words, “Lord, please forgive me.”

Jesus placed his hands on Trent’s back and said, My son, your sins are forgiven. There is nothing to fear. Everything is going to be okay.

When Trent walked out of the shower he felt like a new person. “He wiped my slate clean, took away all the pain, and released me from the chains of addiction and sin. For the first time in my life I felt joy and peace.”

Jesus-by-Akiane-Kramarik-768x1024Jamie says Jesus wore a white robe with “something golden around it.” His eyes were like “fire and cobalt blue.” The closest representation he has seen is the painting done by the child prodigy Akiane, which was also recognized by Colton Burpo in the book, Heaven is for Real.

The next morning Jesus visited Jamie again in a vision and told him he needed to repent daily. “He explained that everything in my past is forgiven, but daily repentance is necessary and I could do this anytime I needed to.”

That night, Jamie began to read the Bible and the words came alive as never before. Suddenly, the phone rang. It was Kelli and she asked him to come home.

He recognized God’s grace had given him something he didn’t deserve. Tears began to flow once more as he

Trent and Kelli, shortly after he received Christ
Jamie and Kelli, shortly after he received Christ

raced home as fast as he could.

The next day in the counselor’s office, Jamie revealed his startling encounters with Jesus, and that he felt like a changed person. “This may be all the hope you have going forward,” the counselor told him.

Later, Kelli told her husband, “God spoke and told me that I am not to leave you – whether or not I ever find out the whole truth…There is nothing to fear.”

She repeated the same words Jesus told him in the hotel – there is nothing to fear!

Perhaps the most unusual aspect to Jamie’s story is that the highly personal encounters with Jesus continued on a daily basis.

“Since August 20, 2012, when Jesus first appeared in my presence, He taught me to pray to Him every day. I get down on my knees, face to the ground, close my eyes, pray to His Spirit, and totally focus on the Lord.”

“I meet with Him in visions, kissing his feet and telling Him I love Him.”

These daily encounters with Jesus revolve around ten instructional topics, which illuminate the Scripture, but do not supersede it:

 

  1. “Listen to Me.”
  2. Stay focused on Me.”
  3. “Abide in Me with all your heart.”
  4. “Walk with me in humility.”
  5. “Recognize and turn away from evil, sin and pride – rebuke Satan.”
  6. “Open your heart. There is nothing to fear.”
  7. “Come by way of the cross.”
  8. “The opposite of what you believe is true.”
  9. “Give thanks in all things.”
  10.  “This is a process – a daily process.”

The second half of Jamie’s book unpacks the insights gained from these daily visits with Jesus.

On one particular morning, Jesus gave Jamie a definition of faith. He called Steve Arneson, his counselor, excitedly with this new bit of teaching.

“I got the definition of faith,” he told Arneson.

“Really?” he asked, somewhat skeptical.

Recent photo of Jamie and Kelli with girls
Recent photo of Jamie and Kelli with girls

“Faith is the unconditional belief, submission, trust, and obedience in Jesus,” Jamie replied.

Arneson took the definition to several pastor friends who were struck by its brilliance, along with some of the other teachings. “This is not new revelation,” Arneson is quick to note. “It is not adding to the Bible. But it unpacks the Scripture as if you had 10 theologians sitting there unpacking it.”

Jamie is filled with gratitude for the changes in his life. “Our home is a miracle of God,” he exults. “Where there was once deceit, unfaithfulness, and anger. He has given us peace, joy, light and love.”

Statement of Steve Arneson, M.A., L.P.C.

“I have been a licensed Christian counselor for 15 years. When Jamie came in, for the first three weeks he was lying through his teeth. There was no change in him. I told him your biggest problem is your priorities. I told him you have to put God as Lord in your life, you can’t have him just as a Savior. I was trying to help him submit to the authority of God.

“Usually, it takes time to turn and heal addictive personality disorders. When he met Jesus, they all started turning at one time. Because of complete surrender, they were all going and turning rapidly – lightning fast in some areas. I was concerned for a while he had another counselor helping him. I found out later (when he let me know about the visions) he was getting help from the Wonderful Counselor.”

“I asked him to write down the visions. I spent an hour every day opening the Bible and I could verify there is nothing added to the Scriptures and nothing taken away. The authenticity and clarity was impeccable. I’ve been to seminary and I’m pretty deep in the Word. I got the Word on steroids. Day after day and month after month I labored over the visions he sent me. These are words coming from Jesus to Jamie. Each one of them was blowing my mind.”

“This book is not about dreams and visions. It’s about glorifying God, and that His will be done on earth. The intimacy with Jesus is open to anybody. We just have to open our hearts.”

 

If you want to know more about a personal relationship with God, go here

5 COMMENTS

  1. My Night With
    The King

    I’m asking God for one thing,
    only one thing:
    To live with him in his house
    my whole life long.
    I’ll contemplate his beauty;
    I’ll study at his feet.
    -Psalm 27:4

    The account
    of a present-day encounter
    with
    Jesus Christ.

    Although my father and my mother have forsaken me,
    yet the Lord will take me up
    [adopt me as His child].
    – Psalm 27:10

    On December 10, 2006, the same Jesus that we read about in the Bible came to me in a unique way. He saved my life, and changed it forever.

    I was raised in a very strict, legalistic church and family. We believed that the Bible was true, but that nobody who wasn’t in our particular sect of this particular denomination really believed and understood God the way that we did. We believed that real Christian fellowship with anyone not in our sect was wrong, and not acceptable for us as the only truly ’correct’ believers. Nobody who didn’t have membership to our sect was allowed communion at our church, and we were not to receive communion elsewhere. It was particularly wrong to pray with anybody outside of our sect, even to bless a meal.

    There had been a family at the church I attended which defected from our sect to become members of a larger sect. After they left, the pastor at my church had a “bible study” for several weeks about this issue. The “bible study” elaborated on why our sect was right, the other sect was wrong, and why we could not pray with anybody outside of our sect. I had been a goose-stepping member of one or the other of these two sects my entire life, and was as loyal and ferocious a member of this sect as they come. I was well-versed in our catechism, and knew every reason why our sect was right, and why all the other sects and denominations were not. I had served as a Sunday school teacher, planned church potlucks, garage-sales and dinners, had served as the church secretary and had sung in the choir. Yet when I was told I could not pray with my friends over dinner because they had defected to a different sect, I questioned this doctrine and teaching.

    My pastor came to my house to explain this to me so that I could see the error of my ways and repent, and after I would repent I could once again take communion with a clean conscience. But although he and I both knew up and down our sect’s doctrine and the Biblical ‘proof’ to back up this stance, there was simply something underneath all of it that, although I couldn‘t put my finger on it, made me know that this teaching was false.

    While the pastor was at my house, I took the opportunity to ask him another question. I had always hoped that God still talks to us, even though I was sure I would never qualify to receive such a rare honor. I am not Moses, nor the Apostle Paul. But something inside me told me that He talks, and even perhaps that I had heard Him before without even knowing it. So I asked the pastor if God had ever spoken to him? With a very appalled look and an offended tone, he answered “No!”, as though it were blasphemy or sacrilege for me to ask such a thing, especially of him. He was a pastor, not some lunatic that talks to God. That was the last I went to a church within that sect. Not long following this, I attended a church of the other sect, but although the music was several hundred years more current, it was basically the same teachings and I felt loneliness in my heart for the want of God. I didn’t know this was what was missing. I knew the Bible back and forth. I knew all about God the Father, and Jesus His Son. I had attended Bible studies about the Holy Spirit, but I didn’t know Him. I prayed to Jesus, and I sometimes addressed the Father. I often longed to really “meet“ the Father after I was dead and went to be with Him in heaven. On top of the deep loneliness, I thought that if I could just act differently, or convince my husband to love me, everything would fall into place and be okay.

    And yet despite all of my religion, despite that I believed that the Bible was the true revealed Word of God, my life was falling apart. I had gone from one thing to another to find the love and acceptance and security that I needed, and nothing worked. I had tried very hard to be perfect and to obey the Ten Commandments, because I wanted to please God and be accepted by my family. But the more I tried to be perfect and obey all of the “thou shalt nots”, the worse everything became. I recited the prayers of repentance in church, and wanted with all of my strength to turn from my sin, but it was impossible for me. I yearned for love. I threw myself into worship at church, and kept the topic of God alive at home, but nevertheless I became depressed, confused, and desperate. All the time, what I needed and longed for was love and grace but it was not to be found in my church, my marriage, or in my family. Later I came to understand that because the world now functions under the law of Grace, the law of sin and death doesn’t work. It’s like trying to be a square peg and fit into a round hole. It can’t be done, no matter how religious or how thoroughly one wants it to work. No matter what I recited at church or repeated from the Bible or the catechism, I lived in fear and loneliness, and grace was something to receive after I had mastered obedience to the law.

    In 2004, my marriage began to fall apart at the seams. My husband did not have any idea how to be a Christian husband, and I did not know how to be a godly wife. I wanted so much to be the Proverbs 31 woman, and I tried, but I failed. My marriage needed help. My husband needed help. I needed help. But instead of getting help, the worst thing I could ever have imagined came true for me. In February of 2005, my husband left me, stopped payment on the house, and took my son to another state. All that I owned in the world – car, home, every worldly good, was lost. Everything I had ever had but one purse, my son’s “baby book”, a matchbox car and one of his old pacifiers was taken or thrown away. My family judged me harshly, and threw the Bible in my face. I was forsaken, accused, and abandoned by my husband and my family too. It was finally revealed that I was a despicable, contemptible, good-for-nothing sinner, and the only way for me to prove I was worth any sort of compassion or mercy was to admit what a useless, evil, detestable creature I was and come crawling back to the family so that they could pass proper judgment on me. Maybe I could see my son again one day if I just admitted I’m a pathetic piece of garbage and don’t deserve to be a mother anyway. I’m not saying this was all typed up in a memo – this is just the way my family had always operated, myself included. It was as though there always had to be a sacrificial lamb for the rest of us to judge and condemn, so we could feel better about ourselves and our righteousness in comparison. None of us knew any better – but then again, God says “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” He also says “the traditions and doctrines of man render the Word of God to none effect”, but that verse was conveniently left out of our catechism.

    By December of 2006, I was at the very end of everything. I had tried, fought, and struggled to survive to the point that the next thing that was going to happen was that I would die. I was absolutely and completely alone. I wanted my son so desperately that even the thought of his name would bring me to deep depths of agony, despair and hopelessness. I could not find work to save my life – literally – and even when I found a job it was temporary and left me feeling more desperate than before once it ended. I looked to the church for help, but they wanted nothing to do with me. I still turned sometimes to my family, when some well-meaning outsider would assure me that certainly, your father will help you? But no – whenever I begged my father for help, he would turn me away and even try and have me arrested or prosecuted legally for something. Grace is for people who deserve it. I begged God to help me, and yet nothing changed. Since I believed that God would not help me unless I stopped being a sinner, I looked to “the world” for help and comfort. But the world only lead me further away from what I needed, and I needed nothing more than I needed God.

    In November 2006, I had managed to move into a small apartment downtown. But the rent was coming due, and I had no money. I had managed to buy a scooter so that I could get to a job I had found, but the scooter was stolen, and I lost the job.
    A couple of months earlier, I had been watching Christian TV and saw a show called “The Gospel Truth”. I had never heard the Gospel before the way that this man (Andrew Wommack) had conveyed it. Without a doubt, it was absolutely, completely, 100% Bible, but nothing was explained away or added to it that hundreds of years of scholars had come up with to help my understanding. The Gospel the way it was presented – without anyone’s spin or doctrine -caught my attention, and my heart. I watched this show as often as I could. I knew all the scripture this man was referring to verbatim and I knew that the words were true – but I had never heard the real truth in the scripture before. I always knew that the Bible was true, but I never could get it to really change me or my life. I had no idea how much unbelief I lived in. I listened to this show when it came on in the middle of the night, and it was kind of my last hope. I realized that one way or another, my life would be ending soon. I would never take my own life, because 1) I believed I would go to hell and 2) my little boy was out there somewhere and needed me. But I was at the end of my life, and I knew it. There was nothing left to do. There was nowhere left to go. Nobody to turn to for help. If I happened to keep living for another few days, I would have been removed from this little apartment and set out on the street but that would only have prolonged death for a short time. There were no more rocks to turn over. I knew that this was my last few days on the earth, and that the next time anybody saw me would be when the apartment manager would break in and throw me out, or because somebody had reported the smell of decomposing flesh. I had spent all of my life wanting so much to be good, and to love Jesus, and to have a happy family, and just be free and happy and peaceful and loved. But it had never happened, and now it was too late. But… my son was out there somewhere, and he needed his mommy, and he needed her to be whole and healthy and able to take care of him and give him the love that neither of us had ever had – the love that God would be able to give to me, if only I could find Him. My son needing me was what had kept me going.

    Sometime in the first or second week of December, the topic of the show I’d been watching was “Self-Centeredness: The Source of All Grief”. I realized I was literally dying of self-centeredness. I looked at myself, my problems, my fears, my heartache, and my pain – when what I needed to do was lift up my gaze from myself and focus on Jesus. So from my little pallet on the floor in my apartment, sometime just before midnight on Dec. 10, 2006, I prayed to the Lord Jesus. I had prayed to him a lot before, but this time it was different. This time, was the last time. My entire life rode on whether He would answer me or not. I said “Lord Jesus, I know you are real. I know you hear me. I know that I am to hear a voice behind me saying ‘this is the road; walk in it’. Please, I need to hear your voice. I need your help, or I will die, and Tommy needs me. I know that your ‘sheep hear your voice’. Please Jesus, make me your sheep. If I am not your sheep, I am nothing. Please Jesus, please help me. I need to hear your voice, or I will die. Please, Jesus. What does your voice sound like?”

    The moment those words left my mouth, something happened to me that I don’t really know how to describe. I felt suddenly enveloped in a kind of bubble, and the air on the inside of the bubble felt like peace, and joy, and goodness, and kindness; and I felt all over me what I heard someone else describe once as waves of liquid love. And then I felt something that reminded me of when I was toward the end of my pregnancy and my baby ‘dropped’ to position himself for delivery. It was like a huge “whoosh” filling me up on the inside. I can’t describe it very well but I will never forget it. Even the memory of it, when I slow down long enough to recall it, makes me cry. It was so special. It had only been a moment earlier that I had said “Please, Jesus. What does your voice sound like?” and then the next thing that happened was that a huge “whoosh” filled me all the way up on the inside, pressed up in me and waited for me to yield my mouth. So I did. I opened my mouth, and a voice came out of it, and said “Like this.”

    My beloved speaks and says to me,
    Rise up my love, my fair one,
    and come away.
    -Song of Solomon 2:10

    The next several hours were the most precious ones of my life. Here I was, on the floor of my little apartment, speaking one-on-One with the Lord Jesus Christ. It was so natural, like no big deal, it‘s only Jesus. He‘s always here anyway. I felt in such a deep and obvious way that He had always known me, and always been with me, and always loved me. I had loved Him the best I knew how since I was a very little girl and my entire life was hung on the hope that He would welcome me to be with Him when I died. I used to envy the “Marys” in Jesus’ life – the women who got to sit at His feet, and wash His feet with their hair and their tears, and just love Him. The thought of Jesus had always been like a precious, beautiful rose that I could hold carefully in my hands and hold up to my face and breathe in all hope that Jesus could be to me. And now, here I was in the very middle of a beautiful rose garden. I don’t always feel it, but I realized then that I actually live in that rose garden.

    While He was with me in this unique way, the very atmosphere around me felt like peace. I have heard other people say that peace is the atmosphere of heaven, and I believe it. There was nothing rushed about the way Jesus spoke to me. And while He was with me in this special way, I was not upset, or afraid, or worried, or lonely, or heartbroken, or rejected. All of that was just… gone. We talked for hours, though most of it is no longer in the front of my mind. I would ask Jesus something, or answer a question, or just talk about something, anything- and he would answer.

    He asked me questions, just conversationally, and we talked about whatever was in my heart to talk about. He was so gentle. It’s amazing to me that the One who has been given all power and all authority in Heaven and on Earth could speak with the most gentle and unassuming voice I had ever heard. His way with me was so respectful and adoring, as though He were the one blessed to be speaking to me. Much later, on the 3rd anniversary of this encounter, Jesus gave me a brief sight into this encounter from His perspective. For a few moments, I saw myself through His eyes, and felt His unique and exquisite love for me. It was beyond anything that I have believed about the love of God. I believe that He loves me, but for a moment, I had His perspective of me, and saw His love for me in such a way that I have no words to describe it. Occasionally, I will be given a kind of sight of another person through His eyes, and it is always an awesome experience. To see another person the way the Lord does is very moving and it only happens briefly because His love is overwhelming. “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”

    Jesus was literally the embodiment of patience. No pressure, no harshness, no condemnation, no sadness, no anger, no judgment, nothing like that at all. I absolutely felt His complete acceptance and amazingly tender love for me. I know people sometimes depict God as being so hard on the world, like He’s judging us all the time, that this country had better shape up and fly right or He’ll really let us have it; that He’s always threatening us with earthquakes and hurricanes and terrorists and things like that. But He’s not like that at all. God punished all the sin of the entire world on the cross, 2000 years ago. He’s not mad at us. I’m telling you, if anybody would incur His wrath it would have been me, and He is not angry. He really isn’t. Jesus has a smile on His face. I couldn’t see Him with my eyes, but He is always smiling, I am sure of it. The Bible says that ‘God has anointed (Him) with the oil of exultant joy and gladness above and beyond (His) companions’. Jesus is often imagined as very solemn, and dour, and serious. But in my experience, and according to the Bible, this is not true at all. And if it is not true of Jesus, then it is not true of the Father, because the Bible says that ‘He is the perfect imprint and very image of [God’s] nature’. It’s a huge relief to me to know that God is Love, and that Love is patient, kind, keeps no record of having been wronged, never haughty or unseemly or rude, not vain, not self-seeking… I was actually in the presence of Love, and that is what it felt like. If when I die, I only go to a place that feels like I felt when Jesus was with me this way – it will be worth all of the pain that I’ve gone through in this world I have encountered Jesus Christ, and He is the one thing that has made a difference in me.

    One of the greatest impressions that this left on me is that though I was guilty of sin, and evidence of my sin was even there in my apartment – there was a complete lack of recognition of any of this by Jesus. One could imagine that out of some extreme and unusual benevolence, He simply pretended to turn a blind eye to this, and to the sin He would obviously have known I’d committed. But I know that this is not what happened. The Bible tells us that ’there is now no condemnation (no adjudging guilty of wrong) for those who are in Christ Jesus, who live [and] walk not after the dictates of the flesh, but after the dictates of the Spirit.’ And what I experienced was the complete lack of any sort of condemnation about my sin. We didn’t even talk about it. I may have thanked Him for forgiving me, but I honestly don’t even remember. My sin is forgiven, and I am in a perpetual state of redemption. Sin is not an issue in the mind of God that it comes between Him and those who have accepted His Son into their hearts. My sin was as far from me as the east is from the west, and if I had not felt the reality of that for several hours in His presence, I would not have really believed it.

    Another thing I’d like to mention is that Jesus really does have a tremendous sense of humor. It sometimes takes effort for me to think of something funny that doesn’t involve criticism or vulgarity. But Jesus made me laugh, though I can’t remember the comment He made that time. He really is funny, and He didn’t make fun of anyone use anything unseemly to make me laugh. I remember that whatever it was that He had said, I was just getting up and moving around the apartment when He had said it. I remember telling Him that He’s funny, and it was really neat to know He actually throws out some hilarious one-liners. He’s really got a great sense of humor. He told me in response that He likes my sense of humor. J But then, He made me, and He knows everything about me. He knows all of my thoughts, all of my feelings, and all of my desires. And so long as He is the delight of my heart, He will give me all the desires of mine! It’s still strange for me to know that He made me on purpose – the me that I am, not the me that I want to be. And that He loves me. Not a rolling-your-eyes, “if only you would change” kind of love, but the real thing. The kind of love that hurts so badly when you don’t have it. Jesus is beyond a doubt, the most incredible, awesome, amazing man I have ever met. He is beyond description. It’s amazing to know that He is always with me – always. He is with you too, just as He says He is. And He loves you beyond measure, just as He says He does. I still have a heart and mind that don’t always ‘feel’ loved, but those are just feelings and not the truth

    And whatever you ask for in prayer, having faith
    and [really] believing, you will receive.
    – Matthew 21:22

    When I was experiencing this special time with Jesus, I already had a number of questions about certain scripture that I really wanted to know. I had memorized a lot of the Bible and believed that it was true, but clearly I didn’t really “get it” or I would not be in the position I was in. To reiterate: I was completely alone, had lost my child, my marriage, my home, my income, all of my worldly goods, my relationship with ‘the church’ and with my family, and my life was soon coming to a conclusion. If prayer ‘worked’ as I understood it, I would not be where I was. So I asked the Lord Jesus, would it be alright if I asked you to explain about prayer? I told Him that clearly I’m missing something, and that I knew it was my fault not His. If begging and pleading and need alone worked, I would not been in the situation I was in. I needed to know how prayer could make a difference in my life. Here was Jesus, and I understood that He was always with me. But how could I talk to Him when He wasn’t granting me this special time?

    I quoted some scripture to Him, like “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you”. And this is what He explained to me, as best I can recount it. First of all, God relates to us through a thing called Faith. We are made in His image- spirit being in Earth suits. He is Spirit, and He relates to is through who we are in our spirit. He sees and knows our hurt and our need, and He cares as much as we hope that He does. But all the hurt and need and confusion and pain is part of our flesh. Let me reiterate that He is as touched by our hurt and need as we would hope He would be. But that is all part of our flesh nature, and not how He sees His children. He sees our hurt and is touched, but He is not moved by our flesh and our need. If He were, then anytime anybody needed anything, and asked Him for help, it would be done! But He relates to us by our spirit and through faith. He sees Jesus’ righteousness and holiness in us, so that is how He relates to us – as He related to Jesus. The Bible says that by grace we are saved – through faith. God is Spirit, and so are we once we accept Jesus into ourselves. God communicates to us through our spirit, and the way spirit communicates is through faith. He who is in Christ is a new creation. When Jesus is given permission to enter us, our spirits come alive in Him, and through Him. And when Jesus is in us, it is Jesus’ own righteous, perfection and holiness that God sees, and it is this Christ nature in us that He relates to. It is to our new-creation selves that He relates, and with which He communicates. It’s just the way God is. If He were human, He’d communicate to us through what we can see, hear, taste, touch and smell. But God is Spirit. And the way He communicates with us, being that we are made in His image, is through our spirit, and by faith. His heart is deeply moved by our need of Him. But His promises are activated in our lives by Faith. He has gone to very great lengths to give us a way to access all of who He is and all of what we have in Him. He has given us His Son, Jesus Christ, and everything anybody ever needs to know about Him or anything is in the Bible, which is true, perfect, and reliable. The Bible is the truth greater and beyond anything else there is, period. Jesus is the Word made flesh, and we find active relationship with Jesus Christ by the written Word. Sometimes people chafe at this, and don’t want it to be so. I understand, because I too have had a mind and heart in rebellion to God. I love people who don’t know Jesus yet, but the awesome news is that God loves them much more than I ever will. But they might never come to know Him if I don’t show them His love as best I can.

    What He told me about how prayer works was this. He told me that whatever I ask while I’m “in faith”, and in my understanding that meant while I am in a place of oneness with the Father, like I was then – that I may pray any scripture, and it has already been accomplished for me. I just have to set it in motion by believing and claiming it. I have yet to wrap my brain around that He said “any scripture” but I have at least understood that I know that I may ask anything of Him which will sanctify and make me more like Him. And what He told me about such prayer, which has totally changed my life, is that the answer from God when we pray this way is an automatic, immediate, irrevocable “yes”. That’s a very powerful thing to know. I’ve heard people say before that “you’d better be careful what you pray for, or else it might come true” I always thought that was silly, but there is truth in it. I have been extremely bold with the things I have asked Him to do in me. I call them “lapel-grabbing prayers”. There have been times in which I have looked Him in the eye so-to-speak, knowing that what comes out of my mouth next will be done for me until I die or Jesus returns. I have asked Him for things that have been tremendously difficult to go through, but so long as He gets me through the purifying part and into that for which I have prayed, it is worth it. I know that for the rest of my life, whatever I pray for this way, He will do His part to make that happen, and I can surrender to it, learn and grow, or I can fight what He’s doing for me. When I find myself in some kind of new or painful situation, I stop to remember what I last prayed for, because like it or not, the Lord is answering my prayer. I may forget that I’ve asked Him something like “take the pride out of me” – but He won’t forget, and He doesn’t stop just because I get distracted. He is faithful, even when I am not. But no matter what, once we pray in faith any scripture, it will happen for the rest of our lives. Prayer is not a difficult thing, though I am still learning how to pray. But He really walked through it with me, and I appreciate it a lot.

    As we were talking, there came a time that I asked Him if it would be alright for me to ask Him some questions about my own life. He said “yes.” At this time in my life, the issue that was at the heart of my distress was that my little boy had been taken by my ex-husband, and I didn’t know where in the world he was. I would never have been able to get him back and in a good situation on my own. I had been defeated, and it would take God’s direct involvement to be reunited with him properly. So with great anticipation, I asked the Lord “Will I get Tommy back?” and the Lord Jesus said “Yes”. I remember that I was sitting on the floor on my knees when I asked Him that, and I jumped up with praise and thanksgiving that I had never felt before. That answer alone changed my life. I asked Him when, and he said “soon”. It was about 1 ½ years later that this occurred, but I’m certain that if I’d been more obedient and cooperative with the Holy Spirit, it would have happened sooner.

    The second question I asked Jesus was “will I be married again?” He paused a moment and then He said “yes”. So then of course I had a lot of questions about who it would be? Where does he live? What does he do? How old is he? But He was silent with all of them, except for one. For some reason I asked the Lord “May I start loving this man?” and he said ‘Yes!” with a smile in his voice. J This changed a lot for me as you can imagine. I know for sure that I’ll be married, and I’m glad because I want to be part of a whole unit: man/woman/God. I believe that when a man and a woman are brought together by Him, in Him, under Him – there is such wholeness in worship. As though Eve had not been separated out of Adam. I have not experienced this, though I have been married before. But I believe it is His perfect plan for each of us – to be unified and made “one” in Him. It’s about the most beautiful thing I can imagine. Since that time, I’ve asked the Lord to make me ready for the man I’m meant to complete, to make me ‘a helper suitable for him’. But I’m sure that when any of us ask the Lord to make us suitable for our spouse, whether we’re married yet or not, He will do it. This has helped me be much more selective about who I spend time with. I could run out and marry the first guy I see, but that would not be suitable behavior for a daughter of the King. A King would only choose for the daughter that He loves the very best possible match for her. The same is true for His sons. Knowing that I am being made ready for someone in particular has made me see through a different set of eyes. There are things that I believe the Lord has taught me about this in the last 3 years that I won’t repeat publicly, but whoever it is that He has in store for me, I pray that he be seeking the Lord with all of his heart, and that he be made ready to receive me and me him. I think this is a good prayer for anyone. God can do anything, and He loves to see His children blessed and happy.

    Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and
    overburdened, and I will cause you to rest.
    -Matthew 11:28 28

    When the Lord came to visit me that night, I was a real mess. I had not slept in days. My body was spent, and exhausted. I had hives. My stomach was upset. My muscles would jump and twitch when I tried to relax. I was being tormented spiritually, and it had a definite effect on me physically. When Jesus and I were together the way we were, I asked Him if he could help me to sleep? Of course He said “yes”, because He can do anything. I asked Him, “Well, will you please?” and He said “yes, if you‘d like me to”. I wanted so much to sleep, but I didn’t want to lose a moment of this time with Him, so I asked Him if He would stay with me when I slept, and be here when I woke up? Well of course He would, because He never leaves me or forsakes me. But He answered that yes, He’d be here. I could tell He was smiling and seemed sweetly amused. He wasn’t laughing at me, because He would never do that. He is so kind and so sweet, I cannot even express how sweet and kind He is. I was undecided about whether or not I wanted to sleep and miss this conversation, or stay awake and not benefit from the kind of rest I was sure He would give me. And the Lord left it up to me- He would do as I asked, and was completely patient while I vacillated. It strikes me how strange it is to see it that way. He didn’t seem to be leading me to any particular choice; it was whatever I wanted, and He would indulge me either way, happily. Imagine – the King of Glory, waiting patiently for me to decide what I would most like Him to do for me. Finally, I decided that I would ask Him to help me to sleep, but only when I was convinced that He would still talk to me while I was asleep, and be with me this way when I woke up.

    I got comfortable on the floor, on my side, and after a moment I felt His hand on my head, and I felt my body relax in a very strange way, and then in a few moments, I was asleep. I’ve thought I was asleep before and been cognizant, but this was totally different. I was absolutely asleep. And yet part of me was fully awake and present and still talking with Jesus. Jesus took this opportunity to demonstrate to me the different ways I will be able to hear His voice. He talked to me about a lot of things during my sleep, but I don’t remember much of what He said other than the different ways I am to remember that He talks to me. The next 2 or 3 nights I asked Him to put me to sleep this way again, and He did.

    There are a couple more things that happened or He explained to me, but I can’t remember if they were before or after I slept.

    He talked with me some about what we usually call “faith healing” and I remember coming to understand that anyone and everyone is given the opportunity to be made whole and healthy in our bodies because He has already provided this to us. It is our birthright as His children to accept His healing into our bodies. If people don’t get healed, and I myself have not always been healed, it is not because God has failed to do this for us, or because it is “God’s will” for anyone of us to go around sick or injured. I can understand that He is wonderfully able to teach us and show us His love through and despite illness or disease. He causes all things to work together for the good for those of us who love Him, and are called according to His purpose. But it is not His will that we remain sick or injured or diseased. No more so than I would ever will my own son to remain sick or injured. No, “by His stripes we are healed”. This is part of what He was talking about when He was on the cross, just about to die, and He said “It is finished!” He wasn’t just talking about His death, or only the forgiveness of sins – He was talking about everything. Everything that was broken or lost from man’s fall into sin was made completely right again in Him. If I have the flu, I don’t have to keep it. And if I tell the flu to leave and I speak healing into my body, but this doesn’t “work”? It isn’t God’s failing, or His perfect will for me, it’s my doing for not really believing the truth. I
    know that a lot of people have trouble grasping this, and sometimes they want to argue about it, but to explain away the fact that “by His stripes we are healed” because the ‘church’ has largely dropped the ball for several hundred years isn’t fair to God, nor to any of us. Let God be true, and every man a liar.

    Once, our conversation lead to His asking me if I would like Him to break the bondages I was in off of me. He is not a puppeteer but a gentleman and He won’t do anything He’s not invited to do. I said yes please, and I lay down on the floor on my back. I remember seeing angels’ feet around my head, Not really with my eyes so much but with the eyes of faith I guess you could say. Nevertheless, I was aware of angels surrounding me. Jesus broke what seemed like chains off of me, and if I recall correctly, it seemed that He did this with a sword, which would certainly make sense. But when He did so, my torso jumped right up like a spring, and I could feel that my muscles weren’t twitching anymore, and I could breathe easier. I remember mentally going over all the places of my body where I’d felt pain or tension, and I’d stop at my stomach for instance, and He would say something like “fear of loss”; or on a twitching muscle in my back and He’d say something like “guilt”. Whatever part of me I mentally stopped at, I would put my hands on it and say “go now” or “forgiveness” or something like that and it would stop hurting or tensing up.

    Another thing that meant so much to me when I was with Jesus this way was that He sang to me. It was a very simple little tune, and only three words, but it meant everything to me. Jesus sang it, and then I would sing it back to Him. I still do this sometimes when I’m feeling particularly close to Him in prayer. I look forward to when I am with Him where He is, in His Kingdom, and He sings this to me again, but this time with His own mouth, and I will sing it back to Him forever. When I think of this song, and the fact that Jesus Himself sang a private little song to me that He made up just for us, it makes my heart ache for the want of being together forever with Him. It makes me ache to feel His arms around me, to feel His face against mine, to just hold Him and be held by Him. When He was with me that night, I cried about a lot of things that were hurting me, and He helped me to lie very still and let Him hold me, and put my head on His chest just like His friend John did. When I am feeling lonely now, it helps me so much to go off by myself and be alone; and be still and know that He is God, and that He is always with me, and will never forsake, reject or abandon me.

    Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me,
    for I am gentle (meek) and humble
    (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest
    (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet)
    for your souls.
    – Matthew 11:29

    For a long time, I had wanted to understand what it meant to take His yoke upon me. I’d asked one or two people who I considered to be experienced Christians if they understood this, but nobody explained it adequately to me. Until I asked Jesus Himself. Of all the things we had talked about, this was the thing that He spent the most time discussing with me. Again I am reminded of His patience – anyone else would have given up waiting for me to digest it, but of course being patient is the first word used to describe Love. I find myself often lately going back to this part of our conversation so that I can remember what He told me and remember what I learned. I will do my best to describe what He explained to me.

    First, Jesus waited for me to understand that He has no “baggage”. He is not sad about anything. He holds onto no memory of sadness, or pain, or hurt. He has no unforgiveness, nor any hard feelings against anyone at all. He has no unfulfilled longings, nor any emptiness. He has no negative emotion. He is simply… free. He lives in absolute peace, and is absolutely fulfilled, and absolutely happy and filled with joy and gladness. There is no negative, accusatory, or harmful thought that crosses His mind, nor any pang of fear or grief or anger that touches His heart. Ever. He has existed since before eternity, before He came to the Earth in the form of a human, and lives in a perfect heaven. He has all power and all authority in heaven and on Earth. It is impossible for Him to be stressed, or upset, or worried. He is All in All. He’s It. He is absolutely complete, and perfect, and perfectly wonderful and beautiful and powerful and glorious. Nothing exists that was not made by Him. He is the King of Glory. This is so unlike the way that we are that I believe only by our spirit can we even begin to touch what it is like to be Him. But the Bible tells us that those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. He also tells us ‘Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.’

    The pattern of this world is pretty terrible. So terrible that unless we have a reborn spirit, we can’t even really comprehend that there is anything else but selfishness, grief, hatred, anger, misery, jealousy, loneliness and the like. But there is. There is being like Jesus. Ugly things like that can’t even get close enough to touch Him. These things exist on Earth, but not in the Kingdom of God, and not in the spirit of one who has received Christ’s spirit into us.

    So Jesus asked me to imagine Him, and all that He is, and then He reminded me what a yoke does. A yoke harnesses two draft animals together so that they can pull a load. If one of the animals is weaker than the other, the animals cannot pull the load effectively. The weaker would pull the stronger one back, or the stronger would have to try and pull the weight of the weaker. Jesus helped me to see that since He has no baggage, no heaviness, to pull him back, that He is above and walks in complete victory over anything that would make somebody like me stumble or fall. He had me picture Him putting His arm around my shoulder, as though we were walking side by side, very closely and companionably. If I can walk this way, I get to go where He goes, and do what He does, and I’m not stopped or held back by my own ‘stuff’. Then He had me take note of all the things that I carry around with me that He doesn’t carry – like guilt, or grief, or anger. Bless His heart, He was so very patient with me through this. But for the rest of those hours that He spent with me, He really worked with me to help me to drop all the things I was carrying around with me that would slow us down as we walked together with his arm – His yoke- around me, walking freely wherever He wanted us to walk. I really can do all things through Christ, who gives me strength. I hope to comprehend and live this out more and more.

    It was after this long conversation that He wanted me to see that if only I could drop all my ‘stuff’ and be free like He is, I could also speak to mountains, tell them to fall into the sea, and they would do just that. If I didn’t have all this stuff to slow me down from walking right along with Him, I could also do whatever He did while He was here. In fact, that is exactly what He told us before He left -He said “I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, if anyone steadfastly believes in Me, he will himself be able to do the things that I do; and he will do even greater things than these, because I go to the Father’. I have only a very small understanding of this, but I do absolutely believe that “Everything is possible for him who believes”, and that ‘with Christ, all things are possible”.

    I wish I’d have been able to keep up with Him better through this part of what He tried to help me to understand, but I just couldn’t quite wrap my head all the way around it. But I have made at least some progress since then. J

    And I will restore or replace for you the years that the locust has eaten–the hopping locust, the stripping locust, and the crawling locust, My great army which I sent among you.

    And you shall eat in plenty and be satisfied and praise the name of the Lord, your God, Who has dealt wondrously with you. And My people shall never be put to shame.

    And you shall know, understand, and realize that I am in the midst of Israel and that I the Lord am your God and there is none else. My people shall never be put to shame.
    – Joel 2:25-28

    When my husband first left in 2005, and I realized that it would take a miracle for me to ever be mother to my son again, when my entire life was collapsing right in front of me, the devastation and distress was overwhelming. For months, I could barely even crawl out of bed. I had been through enormous pain before in my life, and this was not the first time that divorce had devastated me. I was in a kind of shock; I withdrew from what was left, because I was completely unable to function in the midst of the grief of losing my child and everything else. I sought the Lord as desperately as I knew how, and as stunted as my relationship with Him was, I clung to God with all that I had in me.

    I had a vision then, sometime in May I think, after I had pushed everything out of me that I could and grabbed onto the promises of God with as much strength as I could muster. I came boldly to the Throne of Grace, and insisted to the Lord that whatever nightmare my son and I would have to live through, that He not let it happen unless at the end of it, He would receive a great deal of glory. I thought anything Thomas and I would go through would be worth it if He got a lot of attention and glory for being the huge, amazing God that He is once it was done.

    I don’t know yet if it was a general picture of what would be, or if it was a snapshot of a particular moment in the future for me to hold onto until I saw this happen in front of my eyes. What I saw, if you happened to have known my family at this time, would have been completely impossible. Much the same as a vision of George W. Bush and Osama Bin Laden sitting around a fire and sipping tea would have been at that time. I saw my brother with his wife and kids, my mother, and myself all standing in a circle in my dad’s front yard, talking about the Lord, and then worshipping Him together. I am happy to tell you that last year, my son and I spent the first Christmas with my mom that I’ve spent with her since 1978. And we flew to see her, compliments of my dad. My dad had a life-changing motorcycle accident in the summer of 2008. As only God could arrange, it was me who took care of him when he came home from the hospital, and my father who has opened his home and his life to Thomas and me. We are currently living in the house my family moved to when I was 14. My father and my brother are working on reconciling, and my mom and dad have spoken for the first time since 1979. I have much more to look forward to, and more promises to see manifest in my life. I have had other special experiences and encounters with the Lord and with His Holy Spirit since then; and each time I feel His touch or sense the Holy Spirit expanding and operating inside of me, I am gratefully reminded that He is God, and that we are His children, and the sheep of His pasture.

    I don’t believe that there is anything different or remarkable about me, because God is no preferrer of persons. Many of the experiences and visions I have had happened when I was religious and didn’t really believe in the Lord’s activity in the world today. He has done what He has done in my life for His own reasons, and because He loves me. Ask Him to show you how He has been present in your life too, because He never leaves you, or forsakes you. He never has, and He never will. That is just a fact. Even in the midst of what you may consider grossly sinful behavior – He sees the precious treasure that He made when He made you, and even if you haven’t accepted it yet – He has already forgiven you for every sin, long before you were even born. He has already forgiven you, and He loves you, and He will clean you up and keep every single promise that He has made to you. This too is a fact. This is because of who He is, and because of His goodness, not because of you, and what you do or don’t do. I mean, isn’t that a relief? There are tons of amazing, awesome promises to you, and they’re all in the Bible. All you have to do is believe, and receive His goodness. He is goodness, and mercy and love, and you have this whole lifetime to enjoy being His child. He loves you. He just does, and it is a fact. You weren’t made to try to be independent and self-sufficient and to take the world on your shoulders. You cannot do it. You are only a child. So God did it for you. You were made in His image, you did not evolve from muck. You are God’s child, you were made for His pleasure, and He is a very, very good Father.

    I believe it would delight Him should you ask Him to show you all that He has done for you, what He has spared you from enduring, how He has guided you and protected you, and how He has blessed you. He loves you, and He loves to talk to you and He loves to listen to you. If you haven’t asked Jesus to fill you up with Himself, to live in your heart and to accept you as His own, ask Him to do so now, and He will. If you aren’t sure how to do this, ask Him to lead you to somebody who will pray with you, and He will. He will lead you – He is the Good Shepherd, and He wants you to be His sheep. “We are His children, and the sheep of His pasture.” What a relief. I’m not alone, and I’m not on my own. I am His. And so are you. You are not alone. He has always been with you, and He loves you. Did you know that God the Father loves you as much as He loves Jesus? It is even more reliable that God loves you than the sun will come up again in the morning. It is simply a fact, and there’s no point in arguing about it or in wasting time feeling unworthy. I am convinced that the more you look at and speak to Him through His Word, and ask Him to reveal His heart and His love and His voice to you, He will. It has been the only thing that has actually made a difference in my life, and it will make a difference in yours, too. As we say at my church, He is ridiculously good J

    There is so much more to tell, but I am certain that I’m only at the beginning of this excellent journey He is taking with me. I am glad for the reminder that I may always walk under His arm, and that He knows me, and He loves me. He knows and loves you just the same. Thank you so much for allowing me to share this experience with you.

    Deborah Layne

    For more information, please contact:

    Hope And Mercy Foundation
    P.O. Box 91096
    San Antonio, TX 78209
    210-430-7173
    http://www.HopeAndMercy.org

  2. Thanks for sharing your journey toward and since, with Jesus Deborah. I am very glad you found Him and have Him. I was agnostic when I first called out on Him for help oneday and He came into the room where I was and I found myself on my knees kneeling in front of His awesome Presence bathed in Light. He was laughing at me, but in a kind and joyful way. I suppose I did look silly, my eyes bugging out of my head and my hand over my mouth in shock and my mind saying over and over, like a stuck record, “You’re real! You’re really real!” Everytime I said it He laughed happily. I wont go into all the details of our conversation and what he did for me in that visit, but it started me earnestly seeking Him. I eventually found Him and was baptized and Spirit-filled like in the Book of Acts. He has transformed my life. “My Beloved is mine and I am His.” You are so right about Him being a gentleman. So humble and so polite and respectful! I feel quite rough and crude sometimes in His Presence, even though I feel accepted by HIm. I had a very physically and mentally abusive background (from the time I was a small baby,) I came out of it rough, fighting, cursing and tough. Underneath I wasnt though and Jesus knew. It is so wonderful to have Him isnt it. It is a joy to tell others about Him too. God bless you. I live in New Zealand.

  3. Thank you so much Deborah.I had my own experience with Jesus,and I still do.I had this overwhelming feeling today to search on real stories about people who are testifying to having talked or seen Jesus.I am so glad l did and now l am assured that I should never doubt l met Jesus.He is alive and does visit people personally.he gave me a mission after our journey where He showed me the great misery in the world and the fallen church where so manyfalse teachers have penetrated.One sentence even to those who read this.”Jesus loves you”.I loveyour very clear way as to how we can walk with Jesus so that we are not distracted or confused.The symbolic explaination of giving Him our “Yoke”made tears come to my eyes and total relief.As l type L literally feel His Presence and His arm on my shoulder.From this moment I shall keep this memory alive as a reminder that He is always with me.I am glad for your faith and the reconciliation with your son,parents and siblings.I am praying for a reconciliation with my first-born,salvation for all my children and the unity as a family of ,by.for The Kingdom of God

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