“How Jesus speaks to me’ Arthur Blessitt
I am going to open my heart and tell how Jesus speaks to me and how I personally know and seek to do the Will of God.
My dear brother, friend and fellow evangelist Ricky Hobbs who gave me the idea for these columns asked me to be open and honest and expose my life and walk with Jesus to the world. He said ‘Help us’ know how to live the life. I am touching on things that are my treasures; my most intimate and cherished thing; my relationship and fellowship with God who is Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
I will start at the early days of my life and then on to the present. This will take several columns and then I will go back and show from the Bible how people heard from God. This is what I had planned for now but felt led to change the order. This is my personal experience in this column. For the scriptural basis of this teaching please read the two previous columns on ‘How to Know and Do the Will of God’.
All night praying as a child:
I well remember as a child of about 7 or 8 years old sitting in the big oak tree in our front yard and praying all night. I would sit there in that tree and visit with God. I would see the stars and moon and the passing clouds and know that Jesus was there with me. My mother would call out often in the night “Son, don’t go to sleep and fall out of that tree’. My mother is now 94 years old and the other night we were speaking on the phone about that. Those are some of the most wonderful moments of my childhood. For me to pray and just be in the Presence of God has been common for me all my life. I would sit in that tree and talk to God. I would tell Him all that was on my mind then just sit there and enjoy His presence. Now I cannot explain how I felt but I ‘know’ how I felt.
When I was saved:
When I was 7 years old my mother, father and sister went to a ‘Brush Arbor’ Revival meeting in our community out in the country at Goodwill, Louisiana. The meeting was on the grounds of the Goodwill Baptist Church. There were poles with tree brush on top and sawdust on the ground. I remember the evangelist preaching and when he gave the invitation at the end of his message for people to come to the front and pray and give their lives to Jesus and be saved and follow Jesus I wanted to go forward but my mother held my shirt and would not let me go to the front. On the way home in the truck I asked mother and dad why they would not let me go and give my life to Jesus. I will never forget, my dad turned the truck around and drove back to the church grounds. Almost everyone was gone. But then I saw one car and the pastor and the evangelist going to it. I ran over and said “I want Jesus in my life, I want to be saved’. That evangelist knelt on his knees and told me about Jesus and how Jesus died for me and arose from the grave and ascended into heaven and will hear my prayer now and live in my life forever. He then led me in a simple prayer something like “Dear God I give You my life, I repent of my sins and give my life to Jesus. I believe Jesus died for my sins. Cleanse me and write my name in Your Book of Life. Make my home in heaven. Thank you Jesus.’ I know Jesus saved me then and there! I did not cry or shout but I knew! I have never felt even for a moment in my entire life since then that I have not had Jesus in my life and knew His Presence and Power and Glory. I am 62 years old as I write this and
“ I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day’. (2 Timothy 1:12 in the Holy Bible)
I would just like to add one thing. I grew up knowing about Jesus and loving Him. But the first time I ever felt lost I got saved! Only for a few minutes between that invitation to go forward and the time we got back to the grounds did I ever feel lost, perhaps about 10 or 15 minutes! I wanted to give my life to Jesus. Never had to battle not wanting to follow Jesus. Of course have had to battle to live out the will of God.
Steps with Jesus:
When I was about 8 or 9 years old one of my jobs was to carry water to the people chopping cotton in the fields. It was often a long hot walk from the house with ice water. Many times as I started off with heavy buckets of water I would head directly toward the farm workers. But so often I would hear Jesus speak to me something like: “Go straight ahead 30 steps, turn right and go ten steps then left again 7 steps. I will tell you then which way to go.’
Tears fill my eyes now as I write this for this is a Holy Thing I am speaking about. Off I would go counting steps and turning and obeying the Words of Jesus to me. Sometimes I would be on the far side of the field from where I was supposed to be. I remember one time my dad found me walking far away from where I was to be walking. He said “What are you doing over here?’ I tried to tell him that Jesus was leading me and telling me which way to go. But my dad thought I was just playing and firmly pointed me in the direction of the cotton choppers and told me that “’He’ was now telling me which way to go.’ I cried as I obeyed my dad.
Oh, dear friends this happened to me as a child Jesus speaking and telling me exactly what to do. He was teaching me to hear His Voice and obey. Time and time again throughout my life Jesus has spoken to the exactly the same way telling me where to go and what to do and even the dates to be at places etc. My commitment is just to obey His Voice and do it even should I not fully understand all that is happening. All Glory to Jesus my Lord.
My call to preach:
This 15 year old farm boy living now in the swamps of Louisiana with his family was me, Arthur Blessitt. We were living in the ‘woods’. You would have to know what that term means but some of you do. One night as I lay in bed I felt Jesus calling me to preach. I got up and went to the bedroom where mother and dad were in bed and I told them what Jesus said. I ask them what they thought. I remember mother saying “Well, son should God want you to preach then do it, but if He is not calling you don’t’. With that in mind I went back to bed. The next night as I lay in bed Jesus spoke again, “I want you to give your life to me to preach’. I lay there and pondered the words and call. Then I said “Yes, I give my life to you Lord to preach.’ Peace flooded me and the Glory of God was upon me and I went immediately to sleep!
After I surrendered to preach, the word of course spread all about my high school. One day someone said to me. “Well, you are going to be a preacher where are you going to college to study?’ Suddenly these words burst forth from me, something I had never even though about or considered. “I will be going to Mississippi College’. I realized that I had spoken forth my own prophesy. Peace flooded my heart and I never doubted that call but started making plans to go there after graduation.
How God led me in the early years:
Walking by the post office in Clinton, Mississippi one day while I was in College, I saw the famous World War I recruiting poster that had been revived. Uncle Sam pointing a stern finger and saying, “I want you.” I gazed at the poster, transfixed. As long as you stand in front of that poster or even on the side of it, it seems that the finger is pointing toward you.
I found a card with a prayer that someone had written on it in my wallet. I had never before taken the time to read the words.
“O God, glorify Thyself today at my expense. Send me the bill anything, Lord. I set no price. I will not dicker or bargain. Glorify Thyself. I’ll take the consequences.”
Then there was a place to sign the card.
In my dorm room I lay in the floor crying and signed my life away to Jesus. What glory, what peace.
All through my college years and on I found that as I considered and prayed about things there would be a great peace about one direction the Lord would be leading me in.
I would consider several things but when I would think of one thing there would be peace. However often there was still the direct Voice of Jesus in my heart telling me exactly what to do.
I was in San Francisco, California on Christmas Day 1963 driving down Market Street. I was a student at Golden Gate Seminary and was undecided about staying in school. My peace was gone but to leave would be failure in the eyes of most people. A thought flashed through my mind that I had never considered ‘Nevada’, and then I said out loud “I feel the Lord calling me to the desert, to Nevada.’ I burst into praise and joy and laughter. There was a peace that passes understanding. I went back to seminary and packed and on New Years Day I crossed the state line into Nevada and never looked back.
With Jesus at Lake Tahoe:
I share this experience with a friend who will testify to its authenticity because it goes beyond logic and rational explanation. I put it before you with pride and humility, unashamed and without apology. These few words of prelude are merely a recognition of the fact in an age of nuclear weapons, space exploration… whatever cannot be tested in a wind tunnel or laboratory or formulated on an engineer’s drawing board is generally treated with skepticism, but the total knowledge of man doesn’t bubble up in a test tube or flow from a slide rule. There are spiritual experiences that pass human understanding, this is one of them.
I had been invited to preach a two week revival at the First Baptist Church, Lake Tahoe, on the Nevada-California border. Reverend Gordon Siler was the dear pastor, Ron Willis was leading the song service and we were all about the same age.
One night during the meeting I felt a deep inner need to go to Lake Tahoe to pray. It was an awesome feeling I often feel when God wants to speak to me in a special way. I asked Pastor Siler to go with me, but he said, “It’s too cold. You might lose your voice… why don’t you pray here at the church?”
” No,” I said. “I must go there and pray.” And then I asked Ron if he would go and he agreed.
It was cold when Ron and I arrived at the Mile High Lake. Clear skies revealed the surrounding mountains and their snow-covered beauty. The night was bright and the stars sparkled in their own special way. The snow was deep on the ground with high drifts. Walking along the shore, we began to talk about Peter, one of Christ’s disciples, an early evangelist. We spoke of how the disciple saw Jesus walking on the water and Peter asked Him if he, too, could walk on the water to Jesus. The story is recorded in Matthew 14:28-31 and tells how Peter stepped out of the ship and walked on the water toward Jesus, then became fearful as he saw the boisterous wind arise and he began to sink. “Lord, save me,” he said, and Jesus reached and stretched forth His hand and caught him saying, “Oh, thou of little faith, why did you doubt?”
I have criticized Peter for becoming afraid. Tonight I was admiring him for doing something that no one but Jesus had ever done … he walked on the water!
We reached a snow bank, so we turned around and started back along the shore. Something on the water caught my eye … HIM! He was there, standing on the water! I shook my head in disbelief and turned away. Ron had his back to the lake, then he looked out over the lake and turned to me.
” Arthur, have you looked out over the lake?”
” Yes, I saw Him too, Ron. What’s happening?”
No words can express my shock and glorious emotion. We both decided to look around at the lights and mountains. We were sure that this was no strange reflected light or a dream or a vision. I wanted to know forever beyond any doubt that what I was seeing was Jesus for real. I had to know for my own sake. I looked again . . HIM, Jesus my Lord, still there – unmistakably there standing on the water, and now He came walking toward us. His garment was bright as a fluorescent lamp, glittering, shining and sparkling, so immaculate and pure that it looked more like silver than white … glory flooded over me.
All awareness of cold, snow, and doubt were non-existent. All of life was now. My spirit leaped, then the most awful feeling of sin and guilt, uncleanliness, possessed me. Ron and I fell to our knees in the snow just at the water’s edge. My head was bowed and I could not look. Lord, how vile, filthy, vulgar and dirty I am. Oh, Jesus, have mercy, wash me, cleanse, me, free me, save me from my vile life. Tears poured, my body shook in agony. I thought my insides would burst open in grief… then peace, glory and brightness filled me. I was clean … an inner glow burst forth inside me. Joy flooded my soul and I was laughing and saying, “Thank you, Jesus, oh, my Lord, I love You. Praise You, all glory and honor and praise be unto You.”
Still on my knees, I looked up … He was coming closer, slowly walking toward us, closer and closer. I felt I would burst with joy, and peace covered me. It seemed as if I was beginning to float out to Him, then He stopped, stood and looked at us. If He had taken another step I think two bodies would have been found on the shore the next morning. Ron and I would have gone to be with Him.
At that moment I understood what death is for the follower of Jesus. It is simply going to be with Him, stepping out of the flesh into His arms, being with Him completely. This is not death; this is everlasting life, exactly as promised in the Bible. I also understood that if I remain a part of this life I would never fear death again. Jesus and the will of the Father was my value. I had been set free from the opinion of men, the secular and religious value system of success and failure. Jesus is everything. You lose interest in earthly values when you have been with Jesus. He was standing only about ten feet away. I could see Jesus clearly as He stood on the water.
In the Bible, the closest disciples of His chose not to reveal anything about His looks, even the apostle Paul saw Him and never spoke of His looks, not even the description of John in Revelation tells us about His real physical characteristics, so if the Bible remains silent, so will I.
Every time I preach, for years now, I look up toward Heaven and I can see Him in my mind. I know why I am there to preach, who is with me, and it is all unto Him. It is like He is the embodiment of all things. I could have stayed forever as He looked at me, then I heard the voice of Ron saying, “Arthur, I think it’s time to go.”
I can’t explain it, but so did I. We stood, tears of joy pouring from our eyes. I was the richest person on earth!
I continued to speak my words of love to Jesus, knowing I’d probably never see Him again until…. With all the strength I had, I turned to walk away… only a few steps; I could stand it no more. I could not just walk away, I wanted Him to bless me …I needed that. I turned toward the waters of Lake Tahoe again. Jesus was walking away. I cried out, “Lord, bless me, bless me.” Oh, I wanted to see Jesus again. He turned toward me, lifted up His hand and looked at me. Wave after wave of His power swept over me and engulfed me. He was passing to me as a gift … more faith, more love, more belief, and more courage. I was speechless. Jesus was blessing me! There is no vocabulary to describe the precious tender moments of that union with Him. Then high above, a cloud began to form. There was a glorious brightness about it … it was like a fog of glory. The cloud seemed to get lower and Jesus rose up into the cloudy fog, then it began to dissolve’¦not to go away, but to dissolve in the same place. Soon the sky above the lake was clear. Jesus was gone.
Call to Evangelism:
My call to go into fulltime evangelism was a turning point in my knowing the will of God. He brought me into a new dimension. It goes like this. I was pastoring churches that Jesus had called me to start in Elko, Nevada and surrounding areas. I was happy and fulfilled there, yet the deep inner pull of my heart and mind kept going to be a traveling evangelist. I was already a pastor evangelist and personal evangelist. This would mean leaving pastoring and going out to the world. There was no demand for me from other pastors and no call for me to preach just that inner struggle that I could not dismiss or get peace about. I was at a pastor’s conference in California and one man of God deeply impressed me. I asked to speak with him and as we walked and talked on the campgrounds I told him about my struggle.
He told me to go back to Nevada and go off at night alone and find a quiet place to pray. Then he said you ask God should He want you to stay and pastor to let you see in your mind the faces of people in your church and area that you know when you say ‘yes, I will stay and pastor in this area. Then you do the same and ask God should He want you to leave and go into evangelism to show you the faces of people around the world that you have never seen when you say ‘yes, I will go into evangelism’.
When I returned to Elko I went up to my prayer mountain. A place out of town but it over looked the city. It was night and about midnight. I climbed up to the top and sat on a big rock and looked out over the city that I loved. I did not know what to expect and was a bit fearful that nothing would happen. After praying for a while I lay down on the rocky ground and prayed even more asking God to cleanse my heart and mind and that the Holy Spirit would have free control of my heart, mind and thoughts.
Then I took the leap!
“ Dear Jesus if you want me to pastor when I say ‘yes’ then let me see the faces of the people in my church and this area! Then I said; ‘yes’ I will stay and pastor.’
I felt nothing. I saw nothing. I was blank.
I pressed on to the second question.
“ Dear Jesus if you want me to go into evangelism when I say ‘yes’ then let me see the faces of people around the world that I have never seen! ”
Then I said; “Yes’¦I will go into evangelism’¦”
Water burst forth from my eyes as tears wet the ground. I could see the faces of people of all colors, of all races, people I had never seen before’¦all looking at me!
I was weeping uncontrollably. I opened my eyes and the ground all around me was glowing white. Just the same glow as when I was with Jesus at Lake Tahoe. Wave after wave of the glory of the Holy Spirit swept over me. I now Jesus was standing there beside me strengthening me for the world mission He had before me.
When I came down that night from the mountain people who saw me said my face was glowing. Just like it had at Lake Tahoe when I was with Jesus.
I can hardly write on the computer now, my eyes are flowing with tears and God’s Great Glory is covering me. I will try to get this in print, something so deep and so personal but I want to say it.
I have carried the cross around the word now into the 34th year. Time and again somewhere in the world I have seen a face that was in that picture of faces. I can still see those faces in my mind. I believe I will live in this world doing Jesus call in evangelism until I see that last face in the picture. Then I think He will call me Home!
God willing the next column I will start where I left off now. It will include my call to carry the cross; how God showed me a person sitting by a lighted window in LA and directed me there. Why I lay down now and pray with my face down on the ground, etc.
Pilgrim followers of Jesus,
Arthur and Denise Blessitt Editor