Category Archives: Educational
I was recently asked this question:
My church does not teach anything about talking to the Holy Spirit. What assurance can you give me as a Christian that this is the right path in our quest to have a close relationship to God. And why don’t churches talk about this kind of thing?
One of the foundational truths of the Christian faith – the one thing that unites all true believers is the belief that “Jesus is Lord”. In fact, to become a follower of Christ, to take on the name “Christian” means that you have decided to make Jesus the Lord of your life. You seek to follow His ways and let Him guide you in your daily decisions.
How did He say He would guide us? He’s no longer physically here on the earth where we can see Him. Jesus said, “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.” John 16:12-13
In the New Testament, the word “Spirit” is used to refer to “the Lord”, to “God” and to “Christ” interchangeably, so it seems that the Spirit is the same as God or Jesus. Here are some Scriptures to illustrate this point:
Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 2 Corinthians 3:17
However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. Romans 8:9
Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” Galatians 4:6
In fact, Peter says that it was the Spirit of Christ that spoke to the prophets of Israel as recorded in the Old Testament scriptures (I Peter 1:11).
From the dawn of creation, God is described as a Spirit.
The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. Genesis 1:2-3
Jesus affirmed this when speaking to the woman at the well in Samaria. He said, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:24
It seems pretty clear that the Spirit refers to God or Jesus so talking to the Holy Spirit is the same as talking to God or Jesus. Jesus said He would guide us through the Holy Spirit (aka the Spirit of Truth) so talking to Him would be an essential part of our guidance – at least in my opinion. When you are driving a car and the passenger says to you, “Turn right up there.” My natural reaction is to ask, “You mean here?” and point with my hand to confirm that I understood what they meant. Even though they are guiding me, I still sometimes need clarification and therefore I need to talk to them. It’s the same with the Lord.
When I was a little girl, someone told me, “Talk to Jesus every day – He’s your best friend.” And I thought to myself, “Well, if I talk to Him, He better talk to me too!” Even in my childlike understanding, I knew that relationships are a two-way street. Both parties need to communicate if there’s a relationship – if not, it’s just a monologue! How boring that would be!
When I chose to follow Christ, I was twelve years old. The very next day after this decision, I was walking to my locker at school and something made me mad. I said a curse word. Immediately, I heard in my heart, “You are a Christian now and Christians don’t talk that way.” Guess what? That was the Holy Spirit teaching me how to follow Christ. That certainly wasn’t my thought – it was completely foreign to my mind. I stopped immediately and thought to myself, “Yes, that’s right. I will no longer curse.” And I stopped using curse words – I was only a kid so the habit hadn’t really caught on yet. 🙂
Later that same “voice in my heart” told me to go to church. I went home and told my mother, “I want to go to church.” She said, “Okay, which one?” I had no idea so I took out the phone book and started looking for a church. I decided to go to one service of each different kind of church listed to see what they were like (Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, Pentecostal, etc.). Finally, I decided to attend a small Presbyterian church where a friend from school was playing the piano.
The church told me, “Read your Bible.” So I did. I noticed that every story in the Bible was about people interacting with God. God spoke to someone and they responded and that became their story, as recorded in the Scripture. So I began to expect God to speak to me like He did to everyone else. There were no stories of God NOT speaking to people so I figured that was the normal experience of a follower of God.
Every day I talked to God and I expected Him to talk to me. Why not? He talked to lots of people in the Bible. It took me years to learn how He talks, but I did learn it. And you can too. Here’s a post that will help you with that, Look for Him – He’s right there.
There’s also a spiritual training course you can take called, “Developing a Close Relationship with God: A Simple Method” (http://tinyurl.com/Heart4God)
Each type of church has their own methods for how they encourage people in their connection with God. Some use ritual, some use stained glass, some use silence, some use music, some use preaching or teaching. Because we are all so unique, some methods will resonate more with you than with others. That’s okay. Find what works for you and pursue it! Ask God to show you how to draw close to Him and He will – I promise. He knows how to “speak your language” whether that is quiet meditation or loud, joyful music.
Do you talk to the Holy Spirit? I do – every day. What has your experience been? Feel free to share below – to encourage others who are just learning about this. 🙂
[By the way, there ARE churches that talk about this – they are usually called charismatic or Pentecostal. Look for one near you – it just might surprise you what you find there! If you need help finding one in your area, let me know and I’ll help you.]
This post is to continue the discussion of Spirit vs Soul. The first part of the post is here – I recommend you read that one first or else this might not make sense (you have been forewarned). 🙂
Quick summary: You are a spirit and you have a soul. Your spirit and your soul were each created with their own purpose. They are not the same. Learning to switch between them can change your experience of life dramatically – you can have much more peace, joy, love, patience, etc. There is a process in learning how to make the switch – it starts with learning the difference between the two. Most of us are clueless – I know I was! The process is:
a) Become aware of your spirit
b) Acknowledge your spirit’s place
c) Strengthen your spirit
d) Let your spirit lead
Last time we discussed the first two points, this time I will cover the last two. Here we go!
Strengthen your spirit
Strengthening your spirit involves learning what your spirit can do. It is an education for your soul in who you really are. Your soul may have heard many negative messages about who you are (i.e. you’re stupid, you’ll never succeed, etc.). As you learn who you are in your spirit – God’s DNA in you – you begin to see your own value, the value God put in you. You have a core value that no one can take away.
Think of all the negative things you have either heard or thought about yourself. Now write down some statements of the opposite of those things. For instance, if you tell yourself, “I’m dumb and I can’t remember things”. Then the opposite would be, “I am intelligent and I have a good memory”. Once you have a list of these, begin to say them to yourself out loud each day.
It feels like my soul is drinking in the words.
I like to look at the list while I am reading them (versus memorizing the list and recalling it from memory). First, I ask God’s Spirit to come and fill me and wash me. Then I read my list out loud to myself. I use the pronoun “I” instead of “you” because it helps me to “own” the statement of truth.
Below is an example of some of the things I have said to myself. I start with, “Spirit of Sandy, I call you to attention. You have been blessed with every spiritual blessing. These are some of the blessings you have:
- I am free and I give others their freedom.
- I am accepted and I belong.
- I am appreciated and acknowledged for my contributions to the world.
- What I say is important, valued and received with honor and respect.
- I am loved for who I am.
- I receive love and respect from other people.
- I have faithful, loving, close relationships. I am a blessing to others.
- I am compassionate and I am able to receive compassion from others.
- I am worthy. I am trustworthy. I am faithful.
- I trust God to order my steps and to take care of everything that concerns me.
- I have everything I need to fulfill my destiny.
- I rely on the Holy Spirit to show me things.
- I am confident and secure. I am FEARLESS!
- I am welcome to demonstrate who I am. The world is waiting for me with anticipation and joy.
You can borrow any of these statements that feels true to you or you can write your own. Write them without using negative statements. Instead of “I’m not dumb”, you would say, “I am intelligent” or something similar that is positive. Choose your words carefully because it makes a difference. You are learning to speak kindly to yourself and that’s very important.
Now I’m going to be honest – when I first started doing this, it was tough. I would read my list out loud and my soul would react and say things like, “Yeah, right!” with this sarcastic tone of unbelief. Saying things like “I am accepted and I belong” would cause my soul to immediately remind me of how rejected I felt the day before because of something a friend did to me. But I kept doing it – because I wanted to CHANGE the conversation in my head. My soul needed to acknowledge my spirit’s place and my spirit was not going to feel confident to step out if it was constantly listening to the negativity coming from my soul. This step really helps you to experience the difference between the two. At first, my spirit was quite weak. I simply read my list because I was desperate to change. I didn’t feel confident or strong or fearless. But I had a tiny bit of faith and a whole lot of determination to see things change. And they did!
I will also say that helping your soul heal from the wounds of rejection and fear is also a big part of becoming whole. I didn’t know how to do that when I started this process, but a few years later I did. The exercises in this book called Freedom through Forgiveness helped me tremendously. Healing the soul enables you to switch between your spirit and soul more easily.
Now for the last step ….
Let your spirit lead
The last step is to work with your spirit and your soul each day as the need arises. I would not try this step until you have done the previous steps for several weeks, maybe longer. You will begin to feel different inside as a result of those steps. Then you’ll be ready to move forward with this process.
Your soul is like a little child that needs protection from harmful influences. Your spirit was designed to do that. When your soul feels sad, lonely, fearful, rejected, etc., your spirit can give it what it needs in terms of encouragement, support, security, acceptance, etc. because of the presence of the Holy Spirit in your spirit.
Here’s an example. I have often felt anxious about facing new challenges. Whenever I notice that my soul is anxious, I say out loud, “I come out of agreement with anxiety and fear. I release peace and trust in the Lord into my soul.” This is my spirit ministering to my soul. It actually makes me feel better, usually within a few minutes. When I have felt sad or lonely, like no one understands my troubles, I will tell my soul, “It’s okay. You’re not alone. Jesus said He would never leave you or give up on you. Lord, open my soul up to receive Your love.” Then I will wait expectantly – soon I feel God’s love fill my soul. I soak it up by just being still and letting His love fill the sad, empty place in my soul. I’m tapping into my spirit where God’s Spirit is. Peace will come over me and I let it permeate my entire being, including my soul – the place that felt sad or lonely just a few minutes before now feels happy and full.
Once you’ve 1) become aware of your spirit, 2) acknowledge that it has a right to be expressed and 3) you’ve strengthened your spirit by embracing the truth, try letting your spirit lead. On a day when you have to face something you don’t really want to, ask your spirit to come to the front and ask your soul to go to the back and sit down. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you. Then walk into the uncomfortable situation. You will probably notice that you are functioning better than you expected. Most people are amazed at the results. They tell me that they went from being fearful to being confident in less than 30 seconds. This is because they had been strengthening their spirit and when they needed it, the strength was there.
Practice calling your spirit to lead whenever you feel weak or overwhelmed by life’s demands. This is what I usually say, “Spirit, I call you to attention – please come forward and lead. Soul, please go to the back and rest. Holy Spirit, I need your help – please guide me now.”
Try it out in different situations and see what happens. If you try it and you don’t see the results you were expecting, it may be that your spirit is not yet strong enough in that area. If you felt intimidated when you wanted to feel confident, maybe you need to concentrate on “I am secure and confident” for a few weeks and then go back and try it again.
There are many different ways to apply this concept. I may do some future posts on this because it seems to come up a lot. How will you use this new idea? Can you think of some scenarios where switching to your spirit would enable you to face some things you’ve avoided?
Here’s an example from one of my clients: She had an important business meeting coming up. She was meeting with an influential person and had to give a presentation on a new business idea. She was hoping to get this person’s feedback and ultimately their support (maybe even do some work together to start a new product line). She was very nervous – it was a big deal to her. She really wanted to see it succeed. She was afraid her anxiety would interfere with the meeting – the other person would pick up on that and it would likely cause them to hesitate to work with her. I taught her this principle of Spirit vs Soul and she worked for weeks on strengthening her spirit in being confident and secure. She also worked on some areas of inner healing regarding negative messages she had received in the past about herself. On the day of the meeting, she called her spirit to attention and walked into the room.
After the meeting, she called me. She was AMAZED at how smoothly everything went. She said she had such clarity and was able to communicate exactly what she wanted to say. The other person was impressed at how well she had thought through the new idea and immediately congratulated her. They also agreed to work with her and were happy to support her in launching the new product. She couldn’t believe how successful and confident she felt. It was a complete transformation from the way she used to be.
Now please keep in mind – this is not an overnight process. It takes TIME and EFFORT. But it is really, really worth it. Are you ready to try? Go to Part 1 of this post and start. It’s not that hard, but it does take persistence and practice until it becomes natural. Then you’ll have your own story of amazing breakthrough!
Any questions? Please feel free to contact me or comment below.
(My contact email is on the About Me page if you’d prefer to contact me privately.)
I have noticed that very few people talk about the different parts of ourselves that are unseen. Most people acknowledge that there are at least 2 parts of us – the part everyone can see on the outside (our body) and the hidden part inside of us (our inner being). But I have discovered that our inner being is comprised of at least 2 parts, which I refer to as Spirit and Soul. In reading what others have to say, I’ve noticed there is no universal language to describe it – each author uses different words (which adds to the confusion, I’m sure). Rather than try to pick words that fit all the different expressions of this reality, I’m going to stick to the words I’m familiar with from the Bible. It helps to give me a foundation from which to build. It also connects to the ancient traditions of the Christian faith, which I value. I’m going to try to express what I have seen, heard and experienced in my own life and in those I have helped. It has made a HUGE difference in my life.
I discovered a doorway to peace and joy and love that I never knew existed.
Spirit vs Soul
You are a spirit and you have a soul (Hebrews 4:12, I Thessalonians 5:23). Your spirit carries your spiritual DNA – that’s part of your identity. Your spiritual DNA is the way God made you for His specific purposes to be fulfilled in your life time. When you become a follower of Jesus, your spirit becomes one with His Spirit (I Corinthians 6:17).
Your soul carries your natural identity – who you are on the earth. This would include your personality, your likes and dislikes about natural things (i.e. I love chocolate). Most of our daily lives revolve around the soul. This is what feels most comfortable to us – it comes naturally.
Some people define the soul as containing the mind, the will and the emotions. I’m not sure it’s that simple because we also carry “the mind of Christ” in our spirit (I Corinthians 2:16). Our spirit has intelligence, creativity and intuition. It also seems to be the seat of our conscience (our sense of right and wrong). You could say the soul contains YOUR mind, will and emotions whereas your spirit carries the mind, will and emotions of the Holy Spirit (if you are one with Him).
Your spirit and your soul were each created with their own purpose. They are not the same. Your soul was created to do certain things. Your spirit was created to do certain other things. They are both valid. They are both very important. Sometimes what causes us to struggle is when we try to get our soul to do what our spirit was created to do and vice versa. It causes confusion for us – especially when we don’t get the results we were expecting! This has happened to me many times. Once I learned the difference between the two and how to switch between then, I got much better results. As I have shared this with others, they have told me what a game changer it is! So that’s why I’m trying to share it here.
If you let your spirit lead your life, you experience the fruit of the Holy Spirit every day – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). You experience this wonderful fruit in all your relationships, both at home and at work or school. You experience the abundant life that Jesus promised (John 10:10).
If you lead your life by your soul, you may feel anxious, uptight, or unsure of what you’re doing. You worry about what people are thinking about you. You worry about the future; you dwell on the past. It’s easy to get “stuck” in your soul. This is perfectly natural. Most mental health issues are in the soul. That’s where we primarily need healing in order to be happy and healthy.
In order to move from living by your soul to being led by your spirit, there is a process that can help you. I learned this from Arthur Burk in his series, Nurturing Your Spirit. I will summarize the main ideas that helped me. Some of this is my own insights and some of this is from his series. Arthur tells people when he teaches, “Look – here are my ideas about this topic. You take it and run with it!” So that’s what I’m doing. 🙂
Your spirit is a very real part of you. If you have ignored it for most of your life (like we all have done), it will take a while to make the change. First, you have to become aware of your spirit through daily practice. What you want to do is
a) Become aware of your spirit
b) Acknowledge your spirit’s place
c) Strengthen your spirit
d) Let your spirit lead
Become aware of your spirit
The first step is to become aware of your spirit and to begin to connect with it. Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you how to recognize your spirit. Close your eyes and take a few slow deep breaths. Focus on the way the air feels as it flows through your chest. Imagine your spirit filling you on the inside just like your breath fills you. Stay with the feeling for a few minutes. Focus on your breath and just “be”.
It takes a lot of practice to become aware of your spirit. I recommend that you take a minute and do this breathing exercise every day. You can do it when you first wake up, or when you are waiting at stop light in traffic or anytime you remember to do it. The point is to practice and pay attention until it becomes easy for you to recognize your spirit.
Acknowledge your spirit’s place
As you begin to connect with your spirit, you will recognize what value it has. God created it for a very specific purpose. He will show you that purpose, to encourage you and strengthen you. Acknowledge to yourself that your spirit has a right to be expressed. That there is something special inside of you that deserves to be known to the outside world.
Each day ask God’s Spirit to come and fill your spirit and wash it. Take a few deep breaths and see if you feel anything. Sometimes it feels like you are standing in a rain shower. Sometimes it may feel like a soft blanket of peace or love. Sometimes you don’t feel anything, but it is still happening. God promises to give His Spirit to anyone who asks.
God’s Spirit is the provider of all the resources you need to fulfill your destiny. When you invite Him to come and fill you, He begins to direct your day and lead your steps (and you notice it). At first, it may seem surprising. After a while, it becomes very comforting.
I’m going to stop there for today. This is a lot to take in when you first read it. Ponder this concept of being a three part being – body, soul and spirit. Practice the breathing exercise and see if you can recognize your spirit. What does it feel like to you? How would you describe it? Spend some time each day paying attention to it and begin to acknowledge your spirit and its value.
If you have some insight you’d like to share, please feel free to comment below. I will continue this topic in the next post.
Many people open doors to the realm of darkness without even realizing it. Could this be happening to you? Or to your children?
I am amazed at how the simplest things that we take for granted, things we do on a daily basis without thinking too much about them, can open a door to fear – one of the most powerful strategies of the enemy to rob us of peace and joy.
Because I am so sensitive to the unseen realm, I pick up on these easily. I feel them or sense them – as soon as something walks in through the “open door”.
What do I mean by “open door”? An open door is an opening in your mind, will or emotions that accepts, tolerates or entertains a thought, a feeling or a choice. You can open doors to goodness in your life by inviting good things to come to you, good relationships, good thoughts and of course, the Source of all Goodness = God. You can also open doors to the opposite of goodness – fear, hate, dark thoughts and feelings, death, chaos and confusion. The choice is yours.
What I do is look at the source of something to determine what is likely to come through that door. For instance, we all read, listen or watch the news each day. Many news stories are very negative – they play up the fear and violence in such a way that you are left with a very bad feeling. Often they purposely show you grisly images and once you see something, you cannot “unsee” it. It’s very hard to make it go away – that’s an open door and something has walked through it right into your mind.
The same dynamic can apply to anything you read, watch or listen to – blog posts, movies, books, television shows, websites, podcasts, music or any other type of media you encounter. Anything that plays upon your imagination can open a door in your soul to darkness – this happens even with what appears as “children’s entertainment”. Don’t assume that because it’s for kids that it is automatically “innocent”. Have you noticed how dark some of the more recent movies for kids are? I am shocked that parents take them to see it assuming it is okay because “it’s for kids”.
The good news is you can also open doors to things that are good, peaceful, uplifting, inspiring, kind and joyful. Notice when you watch certain tv shows or movies – do you feel better after watching them or worse? For instance, I had a client once who had terrible insomnia due to anxiety. I asked him to try something – don’t watch the news before bed for 1 week. He came back beaming and he looked so much more at peace. It worked! He was shocked that simply choosing to keep that door “closed” in his mind before bed enabled him to sleep better than he had in years! 🙂
The one door we need to be very careful with is any door to the supernatural realm. There are websites, tv shows, movies and books that are all trying to capture our attention with the attraction of the supernatural realm. Most people have a fascination with the supernatural realm because it’s exciting, mysterious and unknown. There’s some kind of power there and we wonder how we might experience it.
There’s also danger – we can feel it. When you mix power and the unknown realm, you intuitively know there is some danger – maybe that’s what makes it exciting. It feels intriguing, doesn’t it?
This is where extreme caution is needed. As the meme says above, “You have been given great power. Use your power wisely”. If you open a door to darkness and evil, don’t think it won’t affect you or that you can control it. You are dealing with something very cruel and very ancient. You would be better off never opening a door to it. What you are looking for does not exist behind that door.
The truth is we ARE supernatural beings. We do have power. And we can tap into it – but not in the realm of darkness. It is meant to be used in the Light or it will destroy you. It looks tempting and easy, but in reality it is the worst decision you can make.
What can you do if you realize you have opened a door to darkness? Simply close the door! You can say out loud, “I close every open door to the realm of darkness in my life.” Then pay attention to where you opened that door and don’t do that again. Maybe you need to change the type of music you listen to or movies you watch. Maybe there are people in your life that encourage you to open doors that you know you shouldn’t. Pay attention to this and take action to keep certain doors closed. Your heart will thank you.
If it is all around us, how can we avoid it? Don’t allow yourself to be charmed by evil. Don’t entertain any interest in darkness – you know what I mean. Anything that brings darkness into your life is not worth it in the long run. You’ll be much better off if you leave that door closed and seal it shut.
You can also pray a prayer of cleansing at the end of the day – I do this often. We are constantly bombarded by things trying to get our attention. We can get dirty by being exposed to these things and we need to wash off. Here’s an example of the kind of prayer I pray before I go to sleep at night:
“Lord, please wash me off from anything I might have picked up today. Please remove anything from our house that doesn’t belong here. I close every open door to the enemy’s realm and I seal them shut with the blood of Jesus. Thank you, Lord, for your protection. In Jesus name, Amen.”
Do you have any open doors in your life that need to be closed?
Feel free to comment below about your experience with opening and closing doors in the unseen realm.
Rating: Creepy, educational
A woman wrote to me recently and said she had participated in a Santeria ritual with her boyfriend because he told her it helped him achieve his goals. She did not realize how dangerous this was. She later suffered the consequences and asked me how to get rid of the “bad energy” in her house. Santeria is a form of witchcraft – it is a ritual to call on unseen powers to do what you ask them to do. People think they are in control of the powers that they invoke, but in reality they are not. There are 2 kinds of unseen power – God’s power and Satan’s power. If you are not calling on Jesus to help you, guess who’s power you are asking for? It may go by many different names, but I guarantee you – any power not coming from God is dangerous. You can get hurt badly. Don’t mess around with it.
Sometimes people are given objects that carry some of this unseen power. You may have received one as a gift. It might be a bracelet, a necklace or a figurine (like a sculpture of a turtle, frog, owl, etc.) It could even be something very nice and very expensive. It might not look like it has unseen power attached to it. It might be a beautiful painting, a piece of clothing or even a child’s toy.
If an object has been used in a ritual, it can carry an “attachment” to the unseen realm that is dangerous. We call this a cursed object. It can bring “bad energy” or evil spirits into your home. People who are very sensitive to the unseen realm can often sense it. I have a friend that can hold any object in her hand and tell you if there’s energy on it. I have another friend who can “see” whether there is something attached to an object. Not everyone has these types of gifts, so what can you do if you think you might have a cursed object in your home?
Symptoms that you might have a cursed object in your home:
A bad feeling in a specific region of your house (i.e. a certain room or closet)
Suddenly getting very, very sick for no reason
Suddenly having a lot of chaos or conflict in your home for no reason (i.e. the kids keep fighting whereas before they played well together)
Having a sense that something is not “right” in your house – you may feel this when you first walk into the room where the object is
Feeling like you are being watched when you are alone at home (this feeling may intensify at night)
First, ask God to come into your home and cleanse it. Open your heart to Him and ask Him to come into your life. Choose to follow Jesus and ask Him to forgive you for your sins. Do this sincerely – you can’t fool God. He knows whether or not you mean it.
Then ask God to fill you with His Spirit. Wait a few minutes. Ask God if there is anything in your house that you need to get rid of. If you have a specific object in mind, bring it out and ask Him to show you whether you need to get rid of it. He will show you. He might show you immediately or He might show you later.
Sometimes it can be hard to get rid of something that is cursed. It might seem wasteful to just throw it away. Sometimes people are tempted to give it away to someone else. But why would you want to pass on a curse to someone else?
If God shows you something you need to get rid of, then do it! Take it outside of your house and throw it away or burn it. You really don’t need a cursed object in your house.
Whenever someone tells me they feel “funny” in their house – like something is not right – I ask them to pray over the house and then ask God if there’s anything that doesn’t belong there. Often they discover an item they recently obtained – either they bought it or a friend gave it to them. For some reason, that item is not supposed to stay with them. Sometimes the item looks really innocent – and you may question yourself, “Why should I get rid of this?” But if God is showing you to do it, just do it. You’ll be much better off without it.
There have been times when I have bought something at a place that had weird vibes. Just as a safeguard, I ask God to wash off anything associated with the item. I cut off any assignments attached to the item and I ask God if it’s okay to keep it. In most cases, it is. If not, I get rid of it. I don’t want to bring any item that has a curse into my house!
If an item comes to mind while you are reading this article, that might mean something. Ask God to show you.
If you have had a cursed item in your house, please feel free to share your experience below. We all learn from each other as we share our experiences. How did you know it was cursed and what did you do with the item?
When I first met Andrea*, my spirit jumped and I was excited to help her. I couldn’t explain it by anything I could see with my eyes, but my spirit “knew” she was ready for a great breakthrough. During our first session together, she mentioned that she had spirit guides and that she received messages from them. I listened compassionately, then gently said to her, “I want to warn you. It can be very dangerous to communicate with spirit guides. I have heard some really terrible stories of people who were harmed by them. They seem to be friendly and helpful at first, but later they become pushy, wanting more and more control, especially if you’ve invited them in.”
She looked a little alarmed and said, “Well, I’ve never invited them in.” I simply nodded. I didn’t say more because I knew it wasn’t time yet. I asked about her spiritual background. She told me she had been raised in a Christian family that was very strict about church attendance. She didn’t like the way she was taught to fear God with a sense of judgment and condemnation. When she left home, she decided to leave the church and explore other forms of spirituality. This led her to the New Age belief system and developing a connection with her spirit guides.
Fear of Supernatural Evil
As we worked together over several months, she often had experiences related to fear and anxiety, especially fear of supernatural evil. I told her that my primary protection against fear of supernatural evil was to connect with God. I explained that my concept of God was not fearful and condemning, but rather loving and just. I told her God was someone I could trust to take care of me and was much more powerful than any form of evil. I could tell she was interested, but still cautious.
We worked through many of her fears and other issues using the exercises in this book. Little by little I saw a transformation in her. Her anxiety reduced, she started to love and accept who she was and had less stress. I encouraged her to open her heart to God and ask for His help. I encouraged her that He loved her and cared about everything that concerned her. She was still hesitant, but open to the idea.
A few weeks later, I saw a HUGE change in her. She told me, “I don’t know why I waited so long to do this. This week I opened my heart to God completely. I feel so much peace and I don’t feel alone anymore!” She was beaming as she spoke. I was thrilled.
From that point on, her path became clearer and clearer. Every time we met, she had stories of how God was helping her deal with one thing after another. Her peace and confidence were increasing. I suggested that she read Victory Over the Darkness by Neil Anderson. She did and then she read the book that the author recommends after that one called, Steps to Freedom in Christ. This book includes very specific prayers to pray to be released from spiritual darkness. She prayed through every single one! By now the taste of freedom she had experienced made her long for more. She was eager for every drop she could get!
She realized that she needed to ask Jesus to forgive her for rejecting her Christian faith. She decided that she could disagree with the way she was taught, but still trust Him to guide her. She opened her heart to Jesus and began a relationship with Him. The next time we met, she told me she had experienced so many breakthroughs!
The supernatural realm was no longer as scary as it used to be
Here are some of them:
– the supernatural realm was no longer as scary as it used to be
– she stopped hearing from her spirit guides as much and their thoughts were less intrusive when she did hear them
– she felt validated for her spiritual discernment, that she’s “normal” and not weird
– her fear and anxiety substantially reduced in all areas of life
– she noticed her discernment was much more clear, instead of just feeling “something”, she had specific insight into what she was sensing
– her daughter was no longer scared at night (as she had been for years)
– she felt less needy and felt instead that she had something to offer others
– she found herself acting less self-centered
– people started spontaneously coming up to her and telling her their problems; she felt she was able to help them simply by listening with compassion
– her husband started showing an interest in spiritual things and wanted to go to church with her
– her relationship with her husband improved as she showed him respect
– she was sleeping better and had much fewer nightmares
– she had a strong sense of well-being and experienced so much peace that it was literally a physical sensation
Wow! So much change! It’s amazing what having a healthy, loving connection with God can do! Andrea’s life was changed completely. From then on, every time we met she had such peace. I remember when I first met her and how much anxiety she had. She is a completely different woman now! Even her children have thanked her for being their “rock” during a difficult time in their family.
It is such a pleasure to witness the spiritual transformation of another human being. I love to partner with God to help His children reconnect with His love.
A note for those who have spirit guides: One of the things Andrea discovered was that she didn’t need a different source of supernatural information other than God. As she drew closer to God and opened her heart to Him, she no longer needed her spirit guides. God provided direction, support and comfort to her – the things she used to get from her spirit guides. She noticed that sometimes her spirit guides said things to her that were disturbing or caused her a LOT of fear. This was not true with God – the things she heard from Him were always encouraging and reduced her fear or anxiety.
Do you have any examples of how your life changed as a result of developing a relationship with God or Jesus? Please feel free to share in the comments below.
*name changed to protect individual’s privacy
Rating: Educational, inspirational, pleasant
Lately it seems that the topic of Spiritual Soaking has been coming up a lot. Do you know what that is?
During the movement called the Toronto Blessing (back in the 1990’s), the Lord showed John and Carol Arnott that they needed to learn how to simple sit in God’s presence and “soak”. Imagine taking a warm bath – you fill the tub with warm water, add some essential oils or bubble bath to make it smell nice and then you slowly get in. You don’t jump in, immerse yourself in the water and then jump out. The point of taking a bath is to relax, soak in the warm water, let your muscles rest and your soul unwind. You breathe in the scent of the fragrant oils and just BE. There’s no rushing – the point is to soak until you feel relaxed and at peace.
The Lord taught many people how to soak and it changed their lives. The movement started in Toronto and it spread around the world.
Here’s how I do it – I often do this alone, but I have also invited people over to my house for “soaking sessions”.
First I prepare the environment where I will be soaking. I pick a quiet room in the house. I remove all distractions (i.e. turn off cell phones, televisions, etc. and notify family that I don’t want to be disturbed for a while). I close the blinds or turn down the lights so that there are no bright lights in my eyes. I put on something comfortable – sweats and a t-shirt or shorts.
Next I choose some “soaking music”. There are many musicians that specialize in soaking music. Some of my favorite are
Julie True – Spirit to Spirit is my favorite right now
Alberto and Kimberly Rivera – they have many soaking albums, most are “live” albums
Laura Rhinehart – her music is “deep” water
Then I sit in a comfortable chair or lay down. I close my eyes and let myself relax. It usually takes a while to get my mind to settle down. I take several deep breaths slowly and try to quiet my thoughts. Then I just let myself BE. I just sit there. I don’t specifically pray or worship. I am just waiting in the presence of God – I open my heart to Him. Often I will begin to feel the presence of God around me. The soaking music is uniquely crafted to help you “tune in” to God. I focus on God’s Presence. Just like being with another person – I focus on HIM and not me. 🙂 I often ask Him to increase my awareness of His presence and He does.
It is very relaxing and it restores my soul when I soak. I highly recommend it.
It’s okay if you fall asleep – it’s the intention that matters. 🙂
Learn to be still.
In our society of rushing here and there, constant mental stimulation from the media and multitudes of distractions, it can be very hard to simply learn to be still. This is an important aspect of prayer that many do not mention. It’s not fast, fun or easy. It doesn’t appeal to our desire for self-gratification. Learning to be still is very important because it teaches you to wait on the Lord and quiet your mind.
Invite God to speak to you.
We not only talk to God when we pray, but it is also a time for us to listen to God. Tell Him you want to hear from Him. Open your heart and be willing to receive whatever He says (even if you don’t like it). He knows whether you will listen and obey Him or not so be sincere in your request. Lay down your natural willfulness and be open to what He has to say.
This is part of waiting on the Lord. Just like in a conversation – you speak and then you wait for the other person to respond. Sometimes the Lord is quick to reply, but often He waits to see if you really want to hear from Him. It may try your patience. Just sit quietly and wait – sometimes He answers right away and other times He answers later, sometimes days later.
Obey – do whatever He tells you to do.
Obviously, if God tells you to do something, you should do it. Henry Blackaby says that God’s ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not like our thoughts. They are so different that sometimes what He tells you to do may seem wrong or crazy. However, if you notice the pattern in the stories in the Bible, every person who was asked to do something by God knew it was God. It wasn’t like “well, this could be me or maybe this is God”. They KNEW. If you’re not sure, then wait for Him to confirm it. Usually you can tell because it stirs your heart and you just KNOW you better do what He said. And often it is not easy – not something you would have come up with on your own.
He really, really likes it when we trust Him. It’s a big deal. We like it when someone trusts US and we get offended if someone does something that demonstrates they don’t trust us, right? Why is that? Because we want people to trust our character and the intentions of our heart – that we will do what we say we will do. God is like that too – He likes it when we trust His character and His intentions, when we demonstrate that we believe He will do what He says He will do.
If you’d like some practical ways to get closer to God, I recommend the course: Developing a Close Relationship with God: A Simple Method. The course teaches you how to focus so you can pay attention to God without distractions. You will also learn to recognize God’s voice and become familiar with the different ways that He communicates. It provides simple activities you can do to interact with God. It’s short – just 15 minutes a week for 4 weeks. It’s online so it’s available whenever you are. You can listen to it while you drive or when you exercise. It can make God more “real” for you – and that’s priceless! 🙂
If you want to go deeper into having a relationship with God, I also recommend the book Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby. The workbook version gives you exercises where you can practice talking to God and hearing from Him. It’s a lot of fun and it will also s-t-r-e-t-c-h you spiritually. I’ve read the book, done the workbook and taken a class on it. I’ve also taught the workbook with a small group once or twice. It is really life changing – you’ll never be the same after you learn how to recognize the voice of God in your every day life. 🙂
“You will not obey Him, if you do not believe Him and trust Him. You cannot believe Him if you do not love Him. You cannot love Him unless you know Him.”
-Henry Blackaby, Experiencing God
Rating: Educational, inspirational
Recently one of my clients told me he wanted to draw closer to God, but didn’t know how. Faith was new to him. He was raised in a home where no one went to church or prayed or anything so he didn’t really know where to start. He asked me for some direction. Here are some thoughts I shared with him.
Developing a spiritual practice that helps you draw closer to God is really important. But you want to make sure it doesn’t become an empty ritual. It needs to be authentic and based on your desire for God. I discovered early on in my spiritual journey that there is one prayer that God answers every time – asking Him to give you the desire to seek Him. When I first started out, I was excited to talk to God. It was new and different. But then over time, I felt my spiritual fervor waning. At first, I was kind of embarrassed. How do you get the desire for God back?
The answer I discovered is this: Admit you lack the desire and ask Him to give it to you. It seems counter-intuitive, but it works. When I ask God to give me the desire to spend time with Him, usually within a day or two it comes. It is not immediate, but it always comes. I’ve done this many times over the years.
So – that’s the first “exercise” I shared with him – ask God for desire. Because without the desire, any spiritual exercise can become an empty ritual.
Then I wrote up a “spiritual exercise” for him. I reached back into my past and tried to remember the first things I was taught that helped me become more closely connected with God. At first, I did these every day as a discipline – whether I felt like it or not. I wanted to teach myself to have a spiritual practice. Then after awhile they became second nature to me. I do them now without even realizing it – they have become part of who I am.
These are in a certain order – do them this way for 30 days. After the practice becomes familiar, you can improvise. 🙂
1. Acknowledge God – Honor who God is and that you need Him, humble yourself.
2. Confess your self-centered ways – Admit to God and yourself the thoughts and decisions you’ve made in the last 24 hours that were self-centered and apart from Him.
3. Ask the Spirit of God to lead you – Ask Him to show you His ways and the right decisions to make.
4. Open the Bible – Ask for inspiration and then read a passage from the Bible.
5. Turn something from what you read into a prayer – Make it personal to your life.
6. Give thanks – Tell God what you are thankful for.
7. Ask for what you need and finish by thanking God in advance for providing what is needed. He loves it when you thank Him ahead of time because it demonstrates your confidence that He is good and trustworthy. (It also gives you hope.)
8. Sing a song to Him – Learn some worship songs or make up one of your own. Rejoice in the goodness of God and His care for you.
This is not a rigid ritual, but more of a practice to teach your heart to turn to the Lord and depend on Him. You will be so glad that you did!
You are dearly loved by God and He is looking forward to talking to you and spending time with you. Did you know that?
So, how about you? Do you have a spiritual practice that you do on a regular basis that helps you to connect with the Lord? Please share it with us!
Rating: Educational, pleasant
I want to tell you a story – it’s the story of a small brown dog. This story illustrates how following the Holy Spirit in the unseen realm can be quite an unexpected adventure! 🙂
Several months ago whenever I walked my dog, I kept getting impressions of a small dog. I have never owned a small dog. Most of my dogs have been medium-sized dogs or larger. I currently had a dog and had no intention of getting a new dog. I didn’t know why I kept getting these impressions or faint images of a small dog in my mind.
I began to notice small dogs in my neighborhood. One day I walked out my front door and there was a woman I had never seen before. She was walking a Shih Tzu. I asked her about her dog – she told me she had rescued it and that she had two other small dogs at home. Then the neighbor down the street lost her Yorkie and came to my house to see if I had seen her dog. She was so worried! I helped her put up posters in the neighborhood and spread the word among the neighbors via text message. Thankfully, someone saw her dog and returned it to her. Crisis averted – all was well.
That summer my dog passed away – he was 14.5 years old. I missed him terribly – he was my fitness partner, always eager to get me up and walking around the neighborhood.
About 3 months later, I suddenly started getting the pictures of the small dog again. This time it was more insistent and I noticed a color – it was a small brown dog. I told my husband about it. We were getting ready to go out of town for the holidays (near Thanksgiving) so he suggested that if we were to get a dog, we should wait until after we got back. I sighed and patiently waited. I wasn’t sure why I kept getting these pictures, but I felt sure they were important and I should do something to respond.
Unfortunately, we both got sick and had to delay our trip. I was starting to feel anxious – I felt sure that there was a small brown dog that needed our help and we needed to find it. As soon as we returned, I started looking for a small brown dog on Petfinder.com. I also looked in the Lost and Found site for pets (a local service). Nothing felt right. We went to two pet adoption events at pet stores (hosted by rescue groups) – lots of nice doggies, but not the dog I sensed needed us.
Finally we decided to try the county shelter. I am very happy to report that all the small dogs were already adopted! What a relief! Yet the search continued.
I began to wonder if it was “just me”. Maybe I wanted a dog and this was just my crazy idea.
Then a friend called and said he needed prayer. He asked if he could meet with my husband and I. We agreed. He came over and while we were waiting on God, the presence of God filled the living room. It was very tangible. The Lord spoke to our friend and it was exactly what he needed to hear. My husband also received a word from the Lord for him – and it lined up with what the Lord had told our friend. While these two men were being “spiritual”, all I got was a larger, clearer picture of a small brown dog! Front and center – the image filled my mind. I took that as a sign that God really was behind this dog search and that He wanted us to find a specific dog who needed us.
The next day we went back to the shelter. Still no dogs that matched my vision. We came home and I laid down to rest. I felt an insistent nudge to go on Craigslist. I am not a fan of Craigslist – there’s a lot of shady things that go on there and you never know who you are dealing with (especially in Miami). But the nudge wouldn’t go away. I did a search and there was a post that caught my eye. I contacted the person by phone.
A woman named Zoey said a casual friend lost her apartment and asked her to keep the dog for a few weeks until she got a new place. She did it as a favor. Then after the friend moved, she didn’t want the dog back. Zoey kept calling; the woman did not answer. Finally she left several messages saying she was selling the dog. After a month of no response from the owner, she posted the dog on Craigslist. Three hours later, I saw the post.
We agreed to meet. The dog was adorable – small, brown and lively. Very loving and well-behaved. We paid her a small re-homing fee. We had found our dog! Both my husband and I KNEW this was the dog we had been searching for.
It didn’t dawn on me until later – the timing factor. The insistent nudges I received that we needed to DO something were just about the same time that Zoey’s “friend” brought her the dog. However, we never would have found her at that time because she wasn’t in need of adoption yet. Then we got sick and our trip was delayed. After we returned, we went on several trips to shelters and adoption events. Finally, when I was ready to give up and began to think I was “crazy”, God sent me a confirmation that it really was HIM and not me. The next day, we found her through an unconventional path – something I never would have thought of to begin with. If we hadn’t gone through all those unsuccessful attempts to find the dog, I probably would have dismissed the idea of searching on Craigslist.
The Lord knows our thoughts and our path. He knows how to direct our steps even when they are not what we would normally do. He’s amazing, isn’t He? I love the adventure. We had so little to go on – a faint vision, an insistent nudge and a feeling that there was something we were supposed to do. A small brown dog needed to be rescued and the Lord cared enough to order our steps so we would find her. I am so glad He did! ❤