Category Archives: Educational

Listen, obey – don’t second guess!

Trust & Obey

A man shared this story with me and I thought it would help to illustrate the importance of following the Holy Spirit.

He was on a business trip and contacted some old friends he hadn’t seen in years. They picked him up for church and then invited him over for lunch. He spent several hours with them, enjoying their company and getting to know their three small children. (He loves kids!)

The following weekend, he was making plans to see them again. As he was getting ready, the Holy Spirit impressed on him to prepare to give them some money – $120 in cash. He wrestled with the idea. When he had visited them, they had seemed to be doing okay. Their house was nice, their children had toys and were dressed well. They didn’t appear to have any financial needs.

Especially as a man, he didn’t want to embarrass his friend by offering him the money and implying that he wasn’t a good provider for his family. He kept wondering, “Why do I feel this nudge to give them money? This doesn’t make any sense!”

But this man has walked with God for many years – so he knew better than to second guess. He put the cash in an envelope and prepared to give it to them at the right time. Even though he had no idea why.

He visited with them and just before he was ready to leave, he spoke to both the husband and wife together. He said, “I felt from the Lord that I was to give you this money. I’m not sure what you need it for – maybe for Christmas or something.” The couple politely thanked him and then his friend drove him back to his hotel.

As they drove, his friend told him what a HUGE blessing that money would be to them. He told him that just a few days before, he’d given his wife his last $40 to buy groceries for the week. He had put $10 of gas in her car and $3 in his, hoping to make it to the end of the week when his next paycheck would come. They had been able to meet their basic expenses like rent, electricity, gas, etc, but right now, they had no cash flow and things were very tight.

His unexpected cash gift was a BIG answer to prayer and came at just the right time!

Isn’t that cool? From the outside, they looked like any other family. The man had no idea they were in need. They never mentioned it to him. But thank God, he listened to the Holy Spirit, he obeyed and didn’t second guess himself. Not only did it increase his faith, it also increased theirs – God demonstrated Himself as their Provider without them saying a word to anyone! I love that! ❤

Have you ever had an experience like that? Please feel free to share it below. 🙂

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Confronting Intimidation

Yelling boss

Jenny* called me on her drive home from work. She told me how her boss was not treating her well. He was humiliating her in front of other employees. Now the higher up boss was doing it too. She felt so embarrassed when they did this.

What made it even more infuriating was that she was filling in for 4 other people who had left the job. She was working really hard, really long hours trying to keep everything running in her department, but instead of being appreciated and thanked, she was being called out on every little mistake they were finding. She was exhausted, both mentally and emotionally.

When she first got this job, they had shown her a lot of respect. She had many years of experience in the industry and they were very happy she had joined their team. Now she felt intimidated daily by all their accusations and frustrated no one could see the good she was doing. She was angry, tired and feeling overwhelmed.

I listened and tried to empathize with her. I recognized a pattern – this was similar to the previous job she’d had. That boss had accused her and treated her badly as well. She justified his actions because she knew he had mental health issues and was on and off medication. This time there was no justification.

“You’ve got to deal with this in the unseen realm,” I told her.

“This is not normal. You’re right. What should I do?” She agreed.

“You need to take authority over this spirit of Intimidation so that it doesn’t harass you at work any more,” I said.

“But how can I? It’s my boss. I don’t have authority over him. I don’t want to be disrespectful of his position,” she replied.

“You’re right. You do want to respect his position. But you don’t deserve to be treated disrespectfully. That’s not right! I learned something that I believe will work for you. You cannot change his actions, but you can bind that spirit of Intimidation from manifesting in your presence. Then you’ll just be dealing with a normal human being – not one that is being influenced and empowered by an evil spirit,” I suggested.

She agreed to try it. I sent her some prayers to pray before work. I put them in an email so she could keep it easily accessible on her phone. Here’s the message I sent her:

Here are 3 specific prayers that will help you stand and take authority in your situation.

You don’t deserve to be treated with disrespect. You don’t deserve to work in an environment where you feel intimidated.

1. I come out of agreement with fear and intimidation. I release peace and trust in the Lord into my soul. (pause for a moment)
2. Spirit of Jenny, I call you to attention. Please come forward and lead. Soul, please go to the back and rest. (pause for a moment)
3. I take authority over Intimidation operating through (name of person). You do not have permission to manifest in my presence. I release the fear of the Lord, wisdom, humility and teamwork right now, in Jesus name! Thank you, Lord!

Save this email. When you cannot think straight, say these 3 prayers in this order.
Also say them before any time you know you will speak to your boss, supervisor, etc. Any person who is not treating you right – say this prayer before you talk to them. I would encourage you to say these prayers each day before work.

You WILL see this situation change – I promise!

The next morning I sent her a short text message reminding her – she said she got my message while driving to work and immediately pulled over so she could say those prayers.

At the end of the day, I got this message from her:

“I don’t have words enough to thank you for your time listening and your time writing this for me. Thank you for your prayers. Today was a good day at work. I haven’t had a good day like this in a very long time.

Many times the issues we have with people are not about the people themselves. It is an attack against us by demonic forces. They want to see if you know who you are – your identity in Christ.

Paul said in Ephesians 6:12:

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood (human beings), but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Especially when you see the same pattern happening over and over in your life, it’s safe to assume there’s something spiritual going on. Ask the Lord for insight and understanding. Feel free to adapt these prayers to fit your own situation.

I hope this post will help someone today – it certainly helped Jennie! 🙂

Feel free to share below any specific prayers that you have found helpful so we can learn from each other. And if you try these 3 prayers – please let me know how it worked out for you. I expect you’ll see a shift in how people are treating you at your job too!

*name changed to protect privacy

For more information about prayer #2, follow these links: Spirit vs Soul Part 1 and Part 2

Help Me, Holy Spirit!

“Help Me, Holy Spirit!”

I have found this to be the BEST prayer for everyday life. The Holy Spirit is referred to as our Helper in John 14:26:

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things,

and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. – Jesus Christ, The Bible

Oftentimes we don’t know what to pray. Life situations can overwhelm us. We can get so tired or so busy that it seems like an effort to connect with God.

Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would be sent to us by the Father. The Spirit has many functions – one of which is to help us! Isn’t that cool?

I don’t know about you, but I need help every day.

When I’m trying to figure out what to cook for dinner and my mind is drawing a blank, I say, “Help me, Holy Spirit!”. Pretty soon a dinner menu drops into my mind with the ingredients I need (or already have on hand). I know what to make and I know how to make it. Instantly! Sometimes when my family asks, “What is this?” I tell them, “This is a new dish – never before seen on the earth! It’s a new creation. I hope you like it.” They dig in and usually love it! But don’t ask me to make it again because I won’t remember how I made it. It’s like art – you can’t mass produce it and make “prints” from it. 🙂

When I haven’t slept well and the day seems challenging with all that I need to accomplish, I have often found myself walking toward the store saying, “Help me, Holy Spirit.” I discover the energy I need to accomplish all that is on my list to do that day. When I fall into bed that night, I am often amazed at how much got done. I whisper, “Thank you, Holy Spirit, I know that was YOU.” The Spirit can quicken our mortal bodies to have the energy we need to finish our daily race (Romans 8:11).

When a friend calls with a serious relationship problem or a deep question about the meaning of life, I silently pray, “Help me, Holy Spirit!”, as I listen with my heart. Miraculously I open my mouth and say things that seem to help. Often times I’ve never even thought of the things I say – I learn even as I’m speaking! It’s really cool – instant download of new revelation from the Holy Spirit. I call that “hands-on training”. One minute I had no idea what to say and the next minute I sound like I have all this wisdom to help my friend. That’s the Holy Spirit!

Jesus said the Holy Spirit would help us by teaching us all things. He also said the Spirit would bring things to our remembrance. That is very comforting – especially as our minds age and we start forgetting things. Whenever my husband or I misplace something (i.e. keys, wallet or glasses), we cry out, “Help me, Holy Spirit!” and guess what? The missing item shows up. Every time.

I remind people who are in school that if they are struggling with a specific subject (i.e. Calculus, for instance) that they can pray, “Help me, Holy Spirit!”. They will receive supernatural “teaching” to help their mind comprehend what is necessary. And it can’t hurt to pray that same thing just before a test, asking the Spirit to bring to your remembrance the material that was studied. I often experienced supernatural memory recall when I was studying and taking tests for my Masters degree. It reduces your anxiety about big tests when you rely on the Holy Spirit to teach you and help you. 🙂

There are so many situations where this simple prayer can help

  • making decisions
  • parenting children
  • choosing a career
  • planning a vacation
  • making new friends
  • developing a business idea
  • making sales calls
  • writing a proposal

I encourage you to practice saying this prayer this week and then watch to see what happens. Please come back and tell us what you experienced!

I love this simple prayer! It cultivates in me an attitude of reliance on the Holy Spirit to lead me, guide me, teach me and help me. 🙂

Physical Symptoms of Discernment

Sometimes you can experience physical sensations in your body that tell you something is going on in the unseen realm. Has this ever happened to you?

A reader of the blog sent me this question:
“I sometime will feel the sensation of worms or ants crawling under my skin. Sometimes it will be all over my body, other times just on my head or back of shoulders. I know I’m sensing something demonic and it partly has to do with the enemy speaking lies and trying to manipulate. Why do I feel it in different places and what is the Lord trying to tell me?”

Good question! I had never experienced this before so I sent this question to a few friends who are gifted with discernment and have been walking with the Lord for a long time. Three people told me they had experienced it before. Two people said it was related to witchcraft. Witchcraft is a form of manipulation.

Regarding why it is felt in different places – one person replied that the location on the body didn’t make any difference to him. It was just God’s way of getting his attention that something wasn’t right and he needed to pay attention. Another person responded that the different locations are likely tied into the type of witchcraft – perhaps one is atmospheric witchcraft (on the head) whereas the one on the back is a specific person manipulating you.

Very interesting responses – I like that each person had their own experience of this and was able to provide some insight. We see in part and know in part (I Cor 13:9-12). This is why I started this blog – to open the conversation regarding this topic because none of us has it all together!

This question made me start thinking of other physical symptoms of discernment – what I mean is you have a physical sensation in your body and this tells you something spiritual or unseen may be happening. Often you also get a certain kind of “knowing” that it’s not just a physical sensation, especially if it happens suddenly. There are no “rules” that say, “This symptom always correlates to this particular spirit”. I know that makes it hard for those who are just starting out. The key is to never assume. Just ask the Holy Spirit – He will tell you what you need to know. If you don’t get an answer, maybe you don’t need to know. Or sometimes you might be asking the wrong question.

Why aren’t there “rules”? Because spiritual gifts are meant to draw you closer to Jesus. You become more dependent on Him as you seek Him for understanding. If there was a simple chart or book that explained it all, then why would you need to depend on Him? You could just lean on your own understanding – not a good idea, when it comes to spiritual warfare and discerning what it happening in the unseen realm.

That being said, here are some symptoms that people have experienced in relation to specific spiritual influences. This might help you as you ask the Lord what is happening – if nothing else, it might make you feel better that you’re not crazy and you’re not alone. (One of the main reasons this blog exists, by the way!)

Witchcraft:
Sudden sharp headache – might feel like an ice pick in one side of the head
Ringing in the ears, also means something is shifting in the spirit realm (usually not good)
Sudden Nausea
Painful pressure on the chest

Fear:

Butterflies or knots in the stomach
Tension on the back of the neck, tingling up the spine

Eyes twitching/burning – May be blocked from seeing in the spirit

Ears irritated/plugged – May be blocked from hearing from the Lord

Feeling of being squeezed – Python/Divination

Pain in the lungs when breathing – Needs filling with the Holy Spirit, related to Python perhaps?
Sharp pain in lower left stomach – Rejection

Heaviness on the shoulders – Carrying a heavy burden that was not meant for them
Sudden drowsiness – Leviathan, a spirit that comes against leaders & their followers

Sometimes when you experience one of these symptoms, the discernment is for YOU. To warn you to pay attention and pray for more clarity. Sometimes you are discerning something for another person. It’s very important that when physical symptoms suddenly come that you ask the Lord to help you figure out whether it is for you or for someone else. Also use some common sense and determine whether your body is responding to something in the natural realm. Don’t ignore physical symptoms. But also be careful not to over-spiritualize them. If they are part of the gift of discernment, then the Lord will give you clarity as to what to do with them. Once you take the action He tells you (pray, decree, bind, loose or whatever), the symptom will disappear. If it doesn’t, it might just be a headache. Rest, drink water and it will go away. 🙂

Was this post helpful? Please leave a comment below. If you’ve experienced a physical sensation related to discernment, please let us know.

Sexual Harassment from the Dark Side

 

I was having coffee recently with two female friends. Linda* was telling us about a man who was pursuing her romantically. She felt very uncomfortable with his behavior and was trying to figure out how to handle it appropriately. She was afraid to confront him. It suddenly dawned on her that the situation reminded her of when she was a child and was abused. It also reminded her of when she spoke up as an adult regarding sexual harassment she experienced at an organization where she worked. In both situations, she had no voice. She tried to speak up and instead of being defended, the situation got worse. It brought tears to her eyes.

“I can relate. Something happened to me when I was young and I felt the same way. I told my mom and she did nothing. For years, whenever a man would stand too close to me, I would immediately get tense and feel very uncomfortable,” Yesenia* said.

“Maybe the Lord is allowing this man to come into your life to stir up these issues – so you can be healed,” I said.

“I hope so. I thought I had put this behind me – I’m surprised that I got so emotional just telling you about it right now. That must mean there’s more healing for me to do,” Linda replied.

“You know, there’s a spirit behind that man that’s making you uncomfortable,” Yesenia said.

“I know! I was thinking the same thing! His behavior makes me feel intimidated. Last week, we were both at an outreach event and someone put their hands on both sides of my waist briefly. I felt something touch my butt. When I turned around, he was the only one nearby that could have done it. It made me so mad but I didn’t want to make a scene,” Linda vented.

“Man, I would have been angry! How dare he touch you like that without your permission!” I interjected.

“That’s a very intimate way to touch a woman. He crossed the line right there,” Yesenia sympathized. “I’m sorry that happened to you.”

“That’s sexual harassment AND intimidation,” I said. “Intimidation is a spiritual force. It often comes with a spirit of Control.”

“Yeah, someone else told me that he’s very controlling. I’ve seen that aspect of him sometimes. He used to be so humble, but lately he’s become very opinionated and seems to know it all. That reminds me of my ex who abused me,” Linda remarked.

“I bet this is a challenge of your identity. The enemy wants to see whether you really know who you are. You used to be the woman that men could take advantage of – but not any more! As you allow the Lord to heal your heart in this area, you will become more confident. And I bet that guy will leave you alone,” I said.

Just as we were discussing the spiritual forces behind this man’s behavior, a stranger walked into the coffee shop. He started speaking loudly as he approached our table. He was cursing and making sexually explicit comments. He got right in our faces. We were shocked. He looked disheveled and unkempt. It is obvious he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Nothing he said made any sense.

We felt so uncomfortable that all three of us grabbed our purses and walked toward the exit. Linda turned to him and said, “I feel bad for you. I’m sorry you’re in pain.”

He called her several vulgar names, yelling them as we left. He was really creating a scene. I looked around and there were no employees behind the counter. Where was the manager?

We got outside and found an employee sweeping the outdoor tables. We told him to find a manager and get rid of that man because he was harassing us. As we left, we saw through the front window a manager and that employee talking to the man.

Linda was shaking. Yesenia was angry. I was concerned but not afraid.

“He called me names I’ve heard before. It really shook me,” Linda confessed in a quiet voice. “But I also saw how broken he is on the inside. I feel so bad for him.”

We walk her to her car and watched as she drove away. Yesenia and I walked to my car. The man walked toward us. I got in my car and locked the doors. As I was pulling out, I saw the man following Yesenia to her car. I stopped and waited for her to get in and leave. He was not far behind but thankfully we both were able to drive away without further confrontation.

Yesenia called me as we drove home.

“Do you realize what just happened? That was spiritual sexual harassment! That guy was out of his mind and he came straight over to our table, saying all those obscene comments. It was targeted at Linda.”

“Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. What are the odds that just as we were revealing the spiritual forces behind her current situation that some random guy comes in trying to intimidate us with such sexually explicit comments? And did you notice that there was a policeman there just moments before the guy came in? He disappeared – I guess he left after getting his coffee. That makes me think about authority. If he’d been there, that strange guy would never have gotten away with his behavior. Identity and authority are linked. When Linda recovers her true identity in this area of her life, she will have the authority to stop this harassment she is feeling from this man in her life.”

We paused and pondered what had just happened to us.

“Wow. God is so good. He even uses what the enemy meant for evil to bring about His purposes. I’m so glad we were together,” I said.


*names changed to protect privacy

Does that story sound crazy or believable to you? It’s hard to believe – unless it happens to you. That guy was under the influence of demons. He came in and confirmed that what we were talking about was accurate and important. If it wasn’t, he wouldn’t have come.

The dark side hates to be revealed – just talking about it brings it to the light and reduces its power. Now Linda knows what’s going on and what the Lord wants to work on in her life. That helps her because now she won’t be so worried about this man in her life. Instead she will be focused on allowing the Lord to heal that place in her heart that is afraid to confront this man’s behavior. This will strengthen her in her identity and give her the confidence she needs.

I am so thankful that the Lord joined us for coffee that night! He said he would be there whenever two or three are gathered. 🙂

Has anything ever happened to you like this? Feel free to share it in the comments below.

Lack is a LIE

The Lord has been really emphasizing to my heart that “Lack is a LIE!”

Jesus Christ has given us everything that pertains to life and godliness. He IS our Life. He is all that we need and He is our Provider.

The enemy uses deceptive strategies to get us to believe the lie of Lack. Like a magician’s illusion, we rely on what we see with our eyes and we become convinced that we lack.

But in Christ’s kingdom, there is no lack. He provides for all our needs.

Part of the enemy’s strategy is to get us to question whether or not God is a good provider. The question behind the strategy is always, “Is God really that good?”

If we give in to this doubt, then we believe the lie of lack and just like the law of attraction says, we will attract lack to our lives.

Lack is feeling alone, like no one cares. Lack is not having the resources you need (i.e. money to pay bills, the right job, etc.). Lack is feeling “less than” in your sense of self or in your relationships. There are so many areas where we can experience Lack.

But if we will turn to the Lord and say, “Lack is a Lie. I don’t believe it. Please show me where my provision is.” He will show us!

Many of us are familiar with the acronym for FEAR as False Evidence Appearing Real. Here’s one for LACK – Lying About Christ’s Kingdom.

When we focus on the lack and put our faith in its reality, then we are lying about Christ’s kingdom. We are saying there isn’t enough, God is not a good provider, I am all alone and no one cares about my lack.

We are NEVER alone, God is always providing what we need (maybe not always what we want, but always what we need) and there is always enough! God is always looking out for everything that concerns us. He cares for us like a good parent.

Ask the Lord to show you this personally. I’m just sharing what He has been saying to me … I hope it gives you courage to stand up to the lie. 🙂

Battle Strategies in a Song

You gotta know when to hold ‘em

Know when to fold ‘em

Know when to walk away,

Know when to run!

 

These lyrics from the song, The Gambler, by Kenny Rogers came to mind today as I contemplated some principles of spiritual warfare that I teach.

When the enemy is invading your territory (i.e. your home, your relationships, your business), it is vitally important to know which action to take.

There are times when you are supposed to “hold ‘em” – that could be standing your ground, making declarations in the spirit realm or even confronting another person about the darkness they are bringing into your territory.

There are times when you need to “fold ‘em” – that made me think of folding your hands together to pray for the situation. Maybe the bulk of the warfare is just clearing out the emotional baggage in your own heart and mind. This usually requires repentance – your own, or on behalf of someone else, and often on behalf of someone in your bloodline or ancestry.

There are times when you need to walk away. Yes, this is hard. But sometimes the best thing to do is pray for the other person and then say, “This is not my problem. You need to figure this out.” You emotionally disconnect from the darkness they are bringing into your life. You still love them, but you just step back from being emotionally attached to their breakthrough. This is often the hardest step for most of us to take because it doesn’t feel like love – but it is. It’s called Tough Love. And it can be a critical step to surviving a battle.

Lastly, “know when to run” means to be very aware of backlash from the enemy after you have stood your ground. You don’t literally “run”, but you do make sure that every door of opportunity that he has used against you is slammed shut and sealed with the blood of Jesus. You don’t open it and check to make sure – you keep that door closed!! If alcohol has been a problem for you, you don’t take one sip at a party just to see if you’re still free of it. If a certain person has been removed from your life, you don’t send a birthday text just to make sure they know you remembered it was their birthday. Don’t do it!

Backlash Can Be Brutal

I think the hardest part of spiritual warfare is the surprising force with which Backlash hits you. Usually when you least expect it. You’ve done the hard part of standing your ground, cleaning out the emotional “garbage” from you and your bloodline, releasing your sense of responsibility for the breakthrough of the people involved and finally you rest. Ahhh, the breakthrough is coming – I can feel it. You may even begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Then, BAM! You get hit by something unexpected that is designed to shake you to your core. It is sent to rattle you – to cause you to question who you are and your basis for authority. It’s happened to me many times.

Yet all you can do is STAND. Just keep moving forward in faith. Even when it seems impossible and you are ready to give up. Just do it. (And having done all, stand. Ephesians 6:13)

One of the enemy’s main tactics is to get your eyes off of the Father’s goodness and blessing to you and instead turn your eyes onto the darkness he is attacking you with. Use all your strength to ignore him and turn your eyes to God. Stay in Peace – he hates that!

You will keep her in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because she trusts in You. Isaiah 26:3

Backlash can be brutal. It makes you wonder who you are and what you think you are doing. It can attack your body, your mind and/or your emotions. Sometimes it is so vile, you don’t even realize what is going on. You just know you are miserable!

THIS is when you need the body of Christ around you. THIS is when you need a stable prayer partner or someone you can call to help you. Having a person who is very prophetic and sees in the spirit clearly can really help you break the power of backlash – because you will think you are losing your mind. You need someone who can tell you, “Wait. This isn’t yours. This is backlash. Let me pray.” And when they do, suddenly all the effects of backlash disappear.

I didn’t know that the enemy could attack your emotions and suddenly make you feel depressed, overwhelmed, jealous, fearful, suicidal, [insert any negative emotion here] FOR NO REASON. I thought emotional attacks were related to your actions – for instance, if you focus on your problems, you can get depressed or feel overwhelmed. But when you are suddenly hit with deep, overwhelming emotions that are dark, it surprises you. You have no idea why they are there. You can’t “fix” ‘em because they are NOT yours! They are often so thick that it is hard to think clearly so it may take a while for you to figure this out. That’s why having a close relationship with another intercessor or prophetic person can really help – tell them how you are honestly feeling and then the Lord can give them insight for you.

So, remember,

You gotta know when to hold ‘em

Know when to fold ‘em

Know when to walk away,

Know when to run!

And how do I know when to do each of these in battle? , you might be thinking. Answer: ATL

That means Ask The Lord. He is the Commander-in-Chief and He is the only one who knows which step is needed when. You follow Him and everything will work itself out for your good.


Got any keys that help you in battle? Please feel free to comment below so we can learn from each other. 🙂

Talking to the Spirit – Is It Okay?

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?

My response:

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.]

Spirit vs Soul, Part 2

Rating: Educational

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.

Practical Application

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.)

Spirit vs Soul, Part 1

Rating: Educational

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.