My experience of transformation spans over my whole life. Although I'm the one putting the pieces together, the pieces were taught to me through many brilliant people. I simply decided to devote myself -- daily, over decades -- to gradually examine the pieces and connect them.
I found God
I found God through seeking God purposefully over time. Finding God became my mission in life. Don't get me wrong. God wasn't lost. God was always there. Due to my limited understanding, I just didn't know how to sense God.
I was instructed to practice new ways of thinking and behaving. I did not desire to do them, but I did them anyway. I just wanted to help.
I didn't really want peace. I wanted things fast and I enjoyed being busy. Slowing down was not attractive to me. Being calm and meditating did not interest me.
My wants and desires were not with God.
I believed love hurt. I believed love was a fantasy because everyone seemed so dishonest and full of selfish ambition. I never experienced sincere, genuine, honest, and caring people. My mind was at least partially closed to the idea of love.
To give love and peace a chance to enter into my heart and mind I needed to become more open to the idea and look for it. This meant inward reorganization.
Before anyone would help me, I needed to agree to go to any length to change. I needed an extreme sense of willingness with an open mind. Once I agreed to apply myself, I was told to complete a number of tasks: pray and meditate daily, serve others, get a sponsor (mentor, spiritual guide who knows the process), make a resentment list, share that list and see my own part in it, identify my own character defects, humbly pray to God to take them away, make amends to others (restitution), and help others do the same. I experienced this through a Twelve-Step Program. The Program wouldn't define God for me. I had to seek God on my own and find Him.
Emotional Battle & Surrender
I was hard hearted, disconnected, skeptical, distrusting, uncaring, callous, cold, direct, and very far from peace and love. Yet I was transforming. My mind and heart were being changed and I was experiencing new senses within and around me. Like a sudden cold breeze I could feel it throughout my being, but I couldn't see it or explain it. My mind would try to resist it and explain it away as circumstance, but I kept applying myself to follow spiritual principles that situated me to continue sensing these things. It continued to happen over and over again
and I stopped excusing it away and began to accept it. I came to believe these principles had power that could save me, if i continued to live by them.
The hurt within me was extreme. The violence, exploitation, lies, sex, corruption, defilement, and pain I felt was enormous. The memories were fresh in my mind and visiting me every day. Trials came and the only way I knew how to express myself was through anger. Yet I was instructed not to use anger. I was confused and had no way of expressing the pressure within me. Addiction was one way of medicating the mind and heart problems. Now sober, what was I going to do? I became powerless over this emotional bomb within me and went to God with it. For the first time I gave up emotional control and let it out. After 30 minutes or so the flood of tears stopped. I felt something I had never felt before . . . Peace.
Abiding in God
I learned to intentionally seek sensitivity within my heart and mind. There was something spiritually powerful there I could not explain. I felt like the Beast in Beauty & and the Beast. It's important to understand that at this time in my life I was 21 years old, fully focused upon God's grace. I didn't have a job and I was unemployable. I had no bank account, credit card, car, or bicycle. I hitch hiked to get to places. I lived with my parents who threatened to kick me out. I had nothing and God became my everything. Nothing was distracting me from God.
Grafted in Again
I got accepted at the University of Arizona and moved into the cheapest dorm on campus. I entered a whole new world. My support systems were gone and I did not know how to get plugged into one. Solitude for prayer and meditation seemed impossible. Where could I be emotionally transparent and open before God? I became disconnected. Gradually over a period of six months, I hardened up again. It took another year later to hit another emotional and spiritual bottom.
I reached out to a man I met at a meeting who seemed really emotionally transparent and spiritually connected with God. I met with him and he spoke truth to me, validating my understanding of God. He said, "God has to be more important than anything or anyone." I knew exactly what he was saying. I rededicated myself to God, and as I relied upon God with my thoughts, heart, and actions I re-experienced spiritual and emotional sensations of Grace. Great humility has always been the first step before great spiritual experiences.
Then I Read the Bible
I came upon the Bible about nine years later. My experience related to the 'Parable of the Sower.' (Matthew 13, Mark 4, Luke 8) My experience related to John 15 and Ezekiel 18. I experienced salvation & wrath and what it's like to be saved. I experienced spiritual death - life - death again - and life again. I experienced the pattern of spiritual suffering and peace brought about by the condition of my mind and heart. My Faith and how I lived by it was the active ingredient to determine the condition of my soul (life). My experience has been crucial evidence of. . . know love - know God.
1 John 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments.
The God I had found without the Bible was indeed the God I found in the Bible. The Bible is full of instructions describing many stories of how others grew with God; these stories relate to my own. Jesus lays out clearly how to behave in Matthew 5-7. The method of action is easy. Convincing ourselves to take the action is difficult because of our unbelief. This is the real puzzle: how to help ourselves become convinced to give our heart, mind, soul, and strength to God. How can we convince ourselves to wake up with God, pray, set our minds upon God's goodness, and then act upon that grace throughout each day? It's a choice. It's our choice. It's our choice every day. Will we make it more about God?
The 'Experience Groups' page provides material to read and discuss, which is exclusively from the Bible and that is geared to investigate transformative experiences. Ultimately, we need to swallow our pride, humble ourselves, dedicate ourselves to trust God, and experience God's character with introspective analysis to get a more pure taste of God. Just as our physical bodies are limited and subject to disease, so too are our minds limited and subject to corruption. We need to learn how our thoughts, beliefs, and faith can improve. The 'Experience Groups' material is created to gradually purify and enrich a more precise understanding of God through readings and discussions. There is a massive amount of information that can be writen to back this up, but that would be TMI, and we can easily get lost in that. However, there is plenty on this site to lose yourself in, if you so desire. Please email questions or talk with someone who has Experience in purifying their heart and cleansing their conscience with God. For I believe only those who are being developed through Experience can purify their understanding of God.
Hosea 6:6 For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, And the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.
Matthew 9:13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”
Matthew 12:7 But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless.
Luke 10:37 And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise
Please read slowly and carefully all of Deuteronomy 30:11-20, Ezekiel 18, and John 15. Then see how they all relate:)