Many different people seem to assume that when I write articles for the EARS web site, I just sit down with my Bible, read passages, and logically come up with theories explaining these passages. I'm writing this specific article to hopefully show people that this isn't at all how it works.
It's actually the other way around. Through prayer and meditation, I am basically given a theory or idea. Where do I get these? In a word, I believe that they are essentially from "God" - the one Jesus referred to as the Father. Once I am given this idea, it's left up to me to search the Bible for passages that support these ideas. You can't really just run around saying "God told me so and so" can you? People would logically want some kind of objective evidence to back it up. In my case, I've found that, among other places, the truths that I get from God are almost always backed up in the text of the Bible.
So if I am getting messages from God you may ask, "What makes you so special?" I don't believe I am. I fully believe that ANYONE can do this, but it does take a LOT of hard work and dedication. After the hard work is there, in most people's cases I think that can result in a sudden and surprising reaction from the Creator.
To help everyone fully understand how all this came to be in my case specifically, I must first provide some background information. Keep in mind this is the first time I'm telling this story anywhere on the internet, and I realize it may sound far-fetched to some and I had a lot of doubt about whether to actually post it or not. But I also think that it's foolish to just sit on the experience and not tell anyone - especially if it can help people realize that Jesus isn't just a storybook character, he's actually a real spiritual being that is alive and active.
So here it goes...
So I drifted off and it didn't seem long before I was in a room with a number of people, just milling around and chatting with each other. It wasn't quite a dream, it was as if I was actually there. I looked around and recognized one of the men, so I went up to him and he turned around to face me. There was an immediate bond there, a bond of intense friendship and love. It was like meeting an old friend, a friend I had known as Jesus. No kidding! There I found myself standing face to face with him, and realizing that I already knew him, and wondering how I could have ever forgotten him.
Sound weird? Believe it or not, for some reason it seemed perfectly natural at the time (on the other hand, I was absolutely floored later when this all finally sank in). It was almost like he had a calming effect. Maybe I forgot to be surprised due to some of the frustration I still felt from my Bible studies. He seemed to sense this and calmly said, "So I hear you have some questions for me."
I quickly started asking questions. To tell you the truth, I can't specifically remember any of them to this day. But I got through all my big questions, and he answered them all very succinctly, usually only with a sentence or two, but each of those sentences seemed to communicate chapters worth of information. After I was done with all those questions, he was still there waiting patiently, so I figured I'd keep asking questions.
You've heard it said that there's no such thing as a stupid question, right? Well, I believe in this case I managed to come up with some. Then suddenly I realized that all this time Jesus had his full attention on me, and still did, as if I were the only person in the world, and he waited patiently and calmly answered even my stupid questions. Then at one specific moment I suddenly realized what I was doing and thought "Why is he spending so much time with just me? Doesn't he have a universe to run or something?"
As soon as I thought this I didn't feel right asking anymore questions. I was done, and as if he knew this, he smiled as if to say "I'll see you again" and quietly walked away.
I woke up in bed thinking that was the strangest thing. What surprised me the most is that Jesus appeared not as a king or a superman, but simply as a friend. He wasn't dressed spectacularly, and it wasn't like his face glowed or anything mystical like that, but his sincerity and love were unmistakable. That's what made him simply amazing.
It also helped me realize that while he seemed to have all the answers, I didn't even have all the questions yet. I went into the whole experience thinking that if I could ask questions of Jesus, I'd end up with all the answers about the meaning of life and so on. That didn't seem to be the way it really works. I've had other encounters since then, but none like this first one. Now I might have questions, but realize that asking these questions is just part of it. If I listen with an open mind, I not only get complete answers to my questions, but in addition I am given the opportunity to benefit from insight and answers to questions I haven't even thought of yet.
That is a large part of why I started the EARS web site. I realized, without a shred of doubt, that these answers that come through Jesus also came with a very serious responsiblity. It wasn't that it would be neat to share the ideas, I absolutely HAD TO share the ideas to the best of my ability.
|John 14:18-20 (NIV) Jesus Speaking|
|I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.|
Note: In retrospect, I think the answers that Jesus did provide me with formed the basis for the EARS articles you see here. As I mentioned, I did not remember any of the questions or answers immediately after the conversation, and to this day do not remember the specifics of the conversation. But what I do know is that after this experience answers started popping out of the Biblical text. I started seeing things that I didn't find before the conversation. My questions were being answered not in a supernatural conversation but in the very book that I had been becoming frustrated and bored with. I believe that this meeting with Jesus was an exercise in helping me prayerfully study the Bible. Before this happened, I had many doubts about the validity of the Bible and figured it was good but just written and compiled by a bunch of old guys. The more I pray, the more I am shown that this is not the case and I now believe that the Bible we read actually was compiled by God. There is something above the third dimension at work in this text. Not that I expect you to blindly believe that of course. This is simply my experience with it but the only way you can come to your own conclusions is to try it, right? Maybe ask God for answers and see if he points them out within the Biblical text. It might freak you out how this works. It sure surprised me and to this day it continues to surprise me.
I'd like to share an interesting experience that really helped me understand that help from Jesus doesn't come without effort. As in the example above where I first met Jesus, I had just spent hours studying a particular Biblical concept to the point of confusing myself, and in frustration thought "God, if you want me to understand all this crap why don't you just freakin' tell me what it means already!" My brain was tired so I decided to lay down for a bit.
Seconds after I laid down a sort of calm came over me. Then I heard an audible voice that said "Do you wanna see something really cool in the Bible?"
I was surprised. It sounded like there was someone kneeling right beside the bed, but I didn't open my eyes. Who was it? At the time I felt I actually KNEW without a doubt that it was the being we know as Jesus. My logical mind naturally tends to be skeptical of it now, but if I look at my very strong original impression - which I think was probably much more accurate than just my memory as I look back at the incident today - I absolutely believe with no doubt whatsoever that Jesus was actually right there talking to me.
When he started with saying "Do you wanna see something really cool in the Bible?" I of course thought my prayer had been answered and he was going to directly show me what I was looking for, so I quickly answered "Well yeah!" Suddenly an actual visual picture of a big old fancy Bible appeared (I still had my eyes closed) and he said "Ok, open it up to the index and find..."
Now this next part is hard to explain if you haven't heard the song "Give It Away" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. He actually sang the chorus line of that song which goes "Give it away, give it away, give it away now." The part is kind of sung kind of fast and funky. It didn't seem weird to me at the time that Jesus would be singing a Red Hot Chili Peppers song (does now though) so I actually looked in the index in my big old fancy vision Bible under the letter G. I went up and down the column and looked where phrase "give it away" would be. There was no entry.
So I said, "It's not in there."
As soon as I said that he was gone. Then I got the point, and had to laugh at the humor that was used to make it. It was clear to me that any enlightenment takes work, and nothing is given away for free.
Hope you enjoyed the story. True story, although I guess I can't expect anyone to blindly believe it. But my main point is that if you start out and put forth the effort, you never really know what might end up happening. God still freaks me out with new stuff like this almost daily.
|Matthew 28:20b (NIV) Jesus Speaking|
|And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.|
I'd like to conclude by relating a few of the things that I've personally had to overcome. I think these are common hurdles that we all have to deal with in life and hopefully my sharing some of what I've learned can help you progress past these challenges faster than I did:
|Matthew 7:7-8 (NIV) Jesus Speaking|
|Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.|
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