The Blessing

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 We live in a day like no other that we have ever seen in our times. The family is being destroyed. More than anything else, we must have healing for the families. The Blessing is what we need in order to be healed. Most of us suffer with not receiving The Blessing from our parents.

God’s cry today is for His people to be healed. If we are not healed of our hurts, how can we stand with God when Satan attacks? Satan knows our weak points and our weak points are the areas that need healing.

You are driven to success. You will do anything just to succeed. What is driving you so hard to succeed? Maybe you have gone the other way and you have said that if I can’t be successful, I will just do nothing. I am nothing anyway. Maybe you have not received The Blessing. If we are to be at peace with our lives, we need to realize that we need to be healed of not receiving The Blessing. This is so very important, because if we feel we have to earn everything that we get, it is hard to accept the gift of salvation that God wants to give us.

There are two assumptions about human nature. The first is that we are driven and we don’t know why we are so driven. Another assumption is that most of us have a strong need for the blessing and approval of others. We want to feel accepted, worthy. Many of us bring from an early age the idea that we have to do something in order to be accepted. We can’t really be loved as we are. We feel that we must earn that love. This behavior keeps us out of touch with our true feelings and causes us to be insecure. It prevents us from discovering our own wants and needs. We are always on the lookout for other’s reaction and attempt to manage their impression of us. We are constantly trying to please everyone and remain loyal to extremes.

If I assume that you will accept me only after I make certain changes, only after I do what you want, then I do not understand acceptance. Genuine acceptance is given to a person, not to a person’s changes or his behavior. It is given upon one’s being rather than one’s doing. It is being real.

“What is real? Asked the rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came in to tidy the room. ‘Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick out handle?’

‘Real isn’t how you are made,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t often happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, the time you are real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these thing don’t matter at all, because once you are real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.” (The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams)

If we have not received The Blessing, we don’t know how to be real. We are trying to be someone we are not.

If we did not receive the blessing from our parents, we struggle for our identity. The assumption is that with much work, education, or worldly success, the world will discover us and our worth known. If we gain a position where all the world forms a cheering section, then our parents will at least have to join in.

I am not saying that our parents were bad, some may have been, but most just did not know how to give The Blessing. They were not given The Blessing. Most of our parents did the best they could and they love us with all of their hearts.

 

 

The Blessing is Important

 “And when the Man saw that he couldn’t win the match, he struck Jacob’s hip and knocked it out of joint at the socket. Then the Man said, “Let me go, for it is dawn. But Jacob panted, “I will not let you go until you bless me.” Genesis 32:25-26 TLB

The blessing is so important that Jacob would not let the angel go until he received his blessing. Today the blessing is still important. It is what gives us our self-esteem, our confidence to face the world. I pray that I have given the blessing to my son. I tried to let him know that he was loved and to show him that he had a very special future. Our parents are to give us the blessing, but so often our parents did not receive the blessing, so they do not know what the blessing is, so we just keep passing our problems on down to our children. There are both blessings and curses passed down to other generations. This can be broken with the help of God. Then we can pass the blessing on to the next generation.

 

What is the blessing? The blessing is a gift of power, the gift of self to another, permission to be as well as to do. The blessing is both material and spiritual. It is a gift of who and what we are along with what we own; not to control the future, but to open it to possibility. Blessing sets free; it does not bind or restrict. A gift is not a gift if there is a demand or expectation with it. Blessing is the freedom to venture out to become the unique and different person you are.

 

We not only give the blessing to our children, we need to pass the blessing on to others. Our words and how we talk to others affect how they feel about themselves.

 

 

 

What are the elements of the blessing?

 

Meaningful touch. Over one third of our five million touch receptors are in our hands. Touch is so important. Just touching hands can be very meaningful. It is a proven fact that touching can lower your blood pressure and mean a healthier life. Hugs are so important. I am really not much of a hugging person, but I should be. I can still remember my father and me hugging in the airport in Denver.  It was in August and he died in January. This was the last time I saw him alive. It was so special and I still have that moment in my heart. I will have that moment the rest of my life.

 

Spoken words. Our words are so important.  We just don’t realize how much damage we cause by our words. I know that I have spoken before I thought and others have been hurt. These wounds are hard to heal. Words have incredible power, to build us up or tear us down emotionally. The problem we have in our world today is we never talk to each other or hear what the other is saying. We are too busy to just sit down and talk and really listen. To make the changes in our society that we need to make, we need to slow down and speak words of encouragement and listen to others.

Expressing high value.  Value is something that you attach great importance to. Expressing value to another is not just saying in words that they are valuable. We must show them how valuable they are by giving of our time and energy to them. When I attended college in Colorado, I worked for a hospital. I told my boss when he hired me that if this job got in the way of my family or my schooling I would find another job. He hired me anyway. I worked there until I finished school and they were very good to me. My family had more value than my job. I could get another job, but I could not get another family. God is on the top of my list of things I value. My family is next. I know that if I keep these things in line that God will provide all of my needs.

Picturing a special future. I think this is expressed very well in what Isaac said to Jacob in Genesis, “Therefore may God give you of the dew of heaven, of the fatness of the earth, and plenty of grain and wine. Let people serve you, and nations bow down to you. Be master over your brethren, and let your mother’s sons bow down to you. Cursed be everyone who curses you, and blessed be those who bless you!” (Genesis 27:28-29)

 

We can make this world such a better place, if we will just give the blessing. Not just to our children, but to all we meet. I know that I fall short of what God wants me to do, but I am praying that I can give more people the blessing and make this world a better place.

 

Remember, we are only here a short time and then there is eternity. We need to make the best of our time here on earth.

 

Living Apart from the Blessing

 

“I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey  His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of days; and that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.” (Deuteronomy 30:19-20)

 

We need to realize that our parents are not altogether to be blamed for us not receiving the blessing from them. Most of our parents did not receive the blessing so how were they to know how to pass the blessing down to their children. I believe that we pass both blessings and curses down from generation to generation. The important thing is we must stop passing down the curses to the next generation.

 

“Let us search out and examine our ways, and turn back to the Lord; let us lift our hearts and hands to God in heaven.”  (Lamentations 3:40-41)

 

If we do not receive the blessing, we seek it from the world. Without the blessing, we are always trying to prove to the world that we deserve the blessing. In doing this, we give the world the power to control our lives and what we do in the world. If you are trying to receive the blessing from the world, the giving of God’s grace is not a gift. You will feel that in order to have this grace you must somehow earn the grace of God. We cannot allow ourselves to be blessed until we have fulfilled a list of requirements that will never happen. Our striving for what we cannot get becomes our curse. Jesus’ death on the cross was to take away the curses and give us the blessing. It is a free gift that we cannot earn.

 

“Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:4-5

 

 

Because of Jesus we can have the blessing. We just have to let go of the world.

 

In Gethsemane, Jesus let go of the world and put His hand in the hand of God. (Matthew 26:36-46)  In these verses in Matthew, we see that the disciples waited for Jesus to go deeper in the garden. The disciples were not ready to completely let go of the world.  Jesus knew that He had to let go of the world and put His hand in God’s hand if we were to have the blessing. Letting go of the world is not an easy thing to do, even Jesus struggled with this.

 

I lived in a loving home and I knew that my parents loved me and to the best of their knowledge, they gave me the blessing. I have other people in my life that I have called my parents and they have given me the blessing. Even with all of the love that I know I had during my growing up years, I have had issues that God had to heal so I could move forward with God, so I could reach out closer to the hand of God. I can see the hand of God and at times I can even touch that hand, but I still have so much baggage, that at times I let that baggage get in the way.  I know that God is blessing me and I am looking forward to the time when I can lay all my baggage down and hold on to His hand, then I will be truly blessed.

 

We are in bondage to our past. As the scripture in Lamentations says, we must search out our lives and examine our ways and let God’s healing take place in our life. Then we will have the blessing. The world will never give us the approval or the blessing that we need. This can only come from God.

 

Just as Jesus walked the journey to the hand of God and found that He was unique, then He could be obedient to God’s call on His life. Once we discover that we are unique in the sight of God, We can love others and pass the blessing on to them. We must undergo Abraham’s separation, that of “going out not knowing whither we go.”  This is the journey of ultimate trust in that the call of God does not lead us astray. The call of God is not something that we ever know, but something we believe.

 

God does not seem to make Himself known except to the obedient believer, the one who believes enough to act on that belief.

 

Scripture Readings: Genesis 27 – 32

 

Book: The Blessing by John Trent and Gary Smalley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stages of Healing

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“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but be a new and different person with a fresh newness in all you do and think. Then you will learn from your own experience how his ways will really satisfy you.” Romans 12:2

Healing does not happen once and for all, we are healed over time. It happens one day at a time! We are healed over time, through a complex system of interactions with other people and with our environment, our work, our living and leisure space, our spiritual space. And always, we make choices, decisions trigged by what happens around us and within us.

The greatest barrier to healing is the determination to take no risk. Riskless you avoid short-term discomfort, you avoid uncertainty and anxiety. But, riskless, you also block learning, feeling, changing, loving and living to the fullest. When you take no risk, you suffer a loss of freedom.

And only the person who risk is free. Personal freedom opens the door to a closer walk with God. Healing takes place when you can feel a new awareness, a sense of courage, a renewed faith and openness.

As we approach each new healing, it appears that we have a kind of progression of events.

First, we are aware of an issue that needs healing. This issue has both reality and meaning to us. And we are prepared to defend it because it is a truth we hold dear.

Second, the ego is involved in this issue because there is a personal investment. It may stem from tradition, family styles, religion, or society. One’s ego and self-worth are closely tied to this issue, which makes the issue take on an extraordinary value.

Third, a problem erupts – a conflict takes place. The issue no longer works. It is seen to be a myth or fantasy. Disillusionment sets in and one feels shattered.

Fourth, there is no hope. The end. It’s over. Nothing more can be done to preserve the cherished issue.

Fifth, the struggle begins. The intensity of this painful time is directly related to the amount of energy spent clinging to the old order, desperately trying to make it work. New knowledge hovers on the threshold of awareness, but old definitions, deeply entrenched thoughts, and fear prevents the new knowledge from taking over.

Sixth, new information seeps in and new energy and possibilities bubble under the surface. Out of pain, some new life in another direction is building. During this time new channels of thought and feeling are being developed within to hold the growing new awareness and expansion of the consciousness.

Concentration on a problem restricts energy and it constricts choice making. Surrender allows new energy to flow into newly developing channels of thought and feeling. Surrender allows expansion of opportunities and options.

Seventh, externalization occurs, a time of opening up, sharing with trusted others. There is a feeling of joy and excitement to share this experience with God and His healing power. To be understood and heard by others makes the experience real.

Eighth, integration…at this stage, the new reality becomes part of oneself. There is a feeling of relief in the change and a sense of inner peace that only God can give.

These patterns will repeat each time a new issue comes up and you start the healing process.

The healing person lives a life of opportunity, awareness and freedom.

 

The Cost of our Healing

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“And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?  For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘this person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’ Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace.  In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.” Luke 14:27-3

“It cost so much to be a full human being that there are few who have the enlightenment, or the courage, to pay the price… One has to abandon altogether the search for security, and reach out to the risk of living with both arms. One has to embrace the world like a lover, and yet demand no easy return of love. One has to accept pain as a condition of existence. One has to court doubt and darkness as the cost of knowing. One needs a will suborn in conflict, but apt always to total acceptance of every consequence of living and dying.” (Morris West)

In 2010 I received a phone call from my best friend. He told me that his nephew had committed suicide and they wanted me to do the funeral. This was one of the hardest funerals I have ever performed. After the funeral, God spoke to me and told me, this is an example of losing heart. We must guard our hearts. This young man lost both his parents at a young age. He did not receive healing for this loss. His wife had asked him to move out and she was in the process of taking his sons away. His sons were the apple of his eye. He loved them so must. The final loss was his job and this was his breaking point. He never had the healing of Jesus in his life. The Lord has laid on my heart such a burden for the healing ministry. The church has failed in this ministry. The church today does not want to tell people about what Jesus can do for you if you will just allow Him to work in your heart.

The problem is the cost to allow Jesus to heal you is very high, because in the process you must give up everything. The wonderful thing about giving up everything is that Jesus will give you back more than you ever gave up and it will be more glorious than you can imagine.

“Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vine; though the labor of olives may fail, and the field yield no food; though the flock may be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stall – yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, and He will make me walk on my high hills.” Habakkuk 3:17-19

Surrender is giving it all to God, no matter what is going on in your life. Total trust of God. Hold nothing back.

This is what healing is all about!

Healing is not merely a way to restore hurting people, true it does do that, but it is so much more. It is a ministry in the Body of Christ to enable believers to come to more effective and continual death on the cross and resurrection into the fullness of life in Christ. Inner healing is a tool the Lord uses to mature His people.

“So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” Ephesians 4:11-16

As spiritual children of God, we must grow up into mature Christians. We are not born, in the physical, full grown so why do we think that we are born in the spiritual full grown. We must grow in Christ and part of that growing is healing the hurts in our lives.

Paul tells us that we must work out our salvation. “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling…”( Philippians 2:12)  This is our maturing in Christ.

Inner healing is actually the application of the crucified and resurrected life of Jesus Christ and His blood to those parts of our heart that did not get fully the message when we received Jesus as our Savior.

“See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end.” Hebrews 3:12-14

Some deep areas of our hearts have not gotten the message. We are new creatures in Christ, but some of our old self-centered selfish character continues to act in its ugly old ways, as though we had not yet received the Lord.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.  We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” 2 Corinthians 5:17-20

Paul is telling us that we need to be reconciled to God. God has done His part, now we need to do our part. This is what healing is all about; it is about totally surrendering to God the parts of our heart that we are holding back. We may not know what these parts are, but we know that there is a problem and there is something blocking our closeness with God.

We have been saved by asking Jesus into our hearts, but we have to take hold of that salvation and make it effective in every area of our life. Inner healing is a tool of prayer and counseling to make salvation fully effective in all dimensions of our life and character.

When Abraham came through Canaan, God gave him the land. At that point the land belonged to the Jews, but they had to become slaves in Egypt for four hundred years. Then they had to cross the Jordon, kill the giants and conquer the fenced-in-walled cities to possess what they already owned.

Yes, we have received Jesus as Lord and Savior, we possess the perfection of our souls. But we must yet cross our own inner Jordon, kill our own giants and conquer the fenced and walled areas of our own stony heart to possess what we already own.

The entire universe is filled with the healing power of God. But in order to be healed, one has to come in contact with that power. God is the source of the power and the Holy Spirit is the outlet. God is a perfect gentleman; He will not come until He is invited.  If we are to be healed, we must ask God to start the process in our lives.

Countless lives live on in misery and defeat because they are unwilling to pay the price of inner healing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Journey of the Heart

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We are eternal beings experiencing a human journey. The course we choose to take can be driven by our minds based on our life experiences, or it can be one that unfolds from our hearts as we walk closely with the Creator, the One who is Love. We were created to know and experience this Love in relationship with Him, with each other, and within our own hearts.

Our hearts are the centerpieces of leading a life filled with love, joy, and meaning – they are the place where Jesus chooses to live in us. Unlike our minds, our hearts contain the essence of who we are. The Creator has deposited His DNA – Love – within each of us, and our connection with Him affirms our value and worth and enables us to love ourselves and others. His diverse nature is revealed in that no two people are alike, yet we often settle for becoming false images of our fellow man’s handiwork rather than discovering and embracing who He really made us to be.

Often we struggle to embrace and love our own hearts because of our painful experiences. Although our hearts were created for love, it is no secret that they are often left with indelible marks because of how they are wounded in this life. Many times our harm is experienced at the hands of others, and this can lead us to despise ourselves and distrust others, including the One who made us. We may find ourselves building an “I’m fine” façade, or we may quietly believe that no one could understand or accept us, leaving us to suffer alone. Sadly, these things only move us away from the healing we need and away from the One who brings our healing.

Every one of us have wounded and broken parts of our hearts…and I mean everyone. It doesn’t matter how good our childhood was because no parent is perfect and often unintentionally wounded us with their words or actions. Even if our childhood years were somewhat safe and loving, the adult years often can be a whole different story. Our hearts can potentially be wounded every day by those around us or by ourselves. That’s why we call it a journey. It is all about loving ourselves in the midst of painful experiences in life, past or present.

Those of us who have been traumatized, particularly as children, have had the most stolen from our hearts and identities.

Pain and suffering led us to believe and contain hundreds of false ideas about who we are. Self-hatred is something we’ve grown accustomed to carrying. Our minds couldn’t comprehend what was experienced in the midst of the abuse; we did the best we could to survive, but it didn’t prevent the heart from being shattered and even hidden away. When our hearts experience such trauma or abuse, parts of our core – parts of our heart – are broken off, often hiding the experiences and all the pain associated with them. This pain may manifest in more subtle ways, yet like the one who says, “I’m fine,” it is very possible to spend much of life covering the pain and ignoring our heart’s cry – coping rather than truly living.

Where many therapeutic models may try to “fix” us or adjust our behavior or thinking after we have experienced hurt, the journey of the heart is a way of life rooted in the power of Love. Seeing the parts of our hearts come back together as we learn to love ourselves and discover who He made us to be is the joy of our Creator. To put it simply, love heals!

As we have journeyed with our own hearts and with the hearts of others, we have seen this love bring wholeness as broken off parts – each containing a beautiful piece of the heart – are brought back together again. Though many of us try to forget our painful life experiences, these shattered parts of our hearts often begin making themselves known through flashbacks, body memories, and physical and emotional pains. When the adult is willing to listen to and embrace each part of the heart that desires love and acceptance, true transformation begins to take place inside. Whether we have experienced trauma or not, this journey of loving our hearts with the love given to us by God is what life is all about !

Our desire is to see hearts restored and come alive. There are many thoughtful questions birthed out of the journey of the heart. With that in mind, we want to encourage one another to think outside of our societal and cultural perceptions and current understandings. Is there a different way to live and think? We believe so. We invite you to a new journey…a journey with your own heart.

 

Dallas Willard

The Start of the Journey

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 Healing the Wounded Spirit

 The Start of the Journey

Addiction begins with a wound that has not been healed.

“How easy it was to agree with the preacher in church. As I left I would shake his hand and say with a grin, ‘Great preaching, brother’! This kept the surface of my lake unruffled. But once in the car, I would reveal my true self. More and more, on the surface, my lips were speaking praises to God and my life was showing forth the image of Jesus simply because I willed it to be. But my subconscious, the vast reservoir of who I really was, that area revealed primarily through dreams and sudden disturbances of the surface, still seemed to be as un-Christlike as ever.” (Jamie Buckingham – Risky Living)

“The Lord wants us to accept ourselves as we are, rotten and unchanged, and then let Him express His goodness and righteousness in us through His Holy Spirit. ‘Come to Him, to that living stone, rejected by men but in God’s sight chosen and precious; and like living stones be yourself built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:4-5) Note the passive voice, ‘be built,’  not build yourself.” (John Sandford) The call is not to build, the call is to die.

This is what healing is all about. It is about us dying. Dying to self and living to Jesus Christ. The problem is that we have to go through a process to die completely. I don’t know if we ever die completely until we see Jesus face to face, but we must be going through the process if we are to become more like Jesus.

God’s healing is all around us. I don’t believe there is any healing without God. A physical wound must be cleaned and medicated rather than ignored in order to heal. Emotional and spiritual wounds also need attention in order to be healed. They don’t just go away.

What does spiritual growth and healing mean? It means that we become more like Jesus Christ. If we are carrying around all of our old baggage (hurts, hang-ups from our past), we cannot become like Jesus. Our spirits are wounded and Jesus wants to heal our spirits. He wants to bring us to the realization that we can have a life filled with the peace that passes all understanding.

Healing the wounded spirit is a process through which painful or traumatic memories are taken captive and made obedient to Christ. Under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, who guides the believer into all truth, we are able to uncover wounds and lies that have held a person captive in shame, guilt, or fear. Going back to the painful memory in the presence of the Risen Lord Jesus and letting Him speak the Gospel into the heart, bringing truth, healing, peace and forgiveness.

People, even Christians, are affected by what is said and done to them. Over the years, if hurtful words and actions are not brought into the light of Christ, they fester like emotional cancers. Eventually they surface in problems such as anxiety, depression, addictions, compulsiveness, inability for intimacy, chronic anger, eating disorders, sexual confusion, etc.

Healing goes to the root cause of the symptoms. The Holy Spirit is able to pinpoint the source of the emotional afflictions and speak the truth to the part of the spirit that is wounded or bound. As the healing occurs over time, people begin to realize that they are being freed from what held them captive.

While the healing does not change the hurtful things that happened, it does allow God to heal the wounded spirit.

I believe that we all need healing in our life. Some of us more than others. If you have some of these problem you need healing in your life.

 

  • An inability to have spontaneous fun, an inability to let go.
  • Problems with intimacy.
  • Addiction
  • Always need drama in your life.
  • Inability to know what normal behavior is.
  • An exaggerated need for approval of others.
  • Confusion about making decisions.
  • Anxiety about making changes.
  • Black and white judgment. No gray areas.
  • Fear and denial of anger.
  • Lies and exaggeration. When it is easy to tell the truth.
  • Fear of abandonment.
  • Tendency to look for people to take care of.
  • Need to control self and others.

 

Homework: Read Romans 12:1-2, Psalm 34:17-18. What does these verses mean to you and your life?

 

 

 

Are you really committed to the healing of Jesus Christ in your life? Explain, why or why not.

 

Soul Care Lesson 2

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 “Our soul is like a stream of water, which gives strength, direction, and harmony to every area of our life. When that stream is as it should be, we are constantly refreshed and exuberant in all we do, because our soul itself is then rooted in the vastness of God and His kingdom, including nature; and all else within us is enlivened and directed by that stream. Therefore we are in harmony with God, reality, and the rest of human nature and nature at large.” (Dallas Willard)

What is this soul that we are talking about? It is something we all have and it is something that God breathed into our bodies when He made us out of dirt. We have an outer life and we all have an inner life. The outer life is the life that most people see. It is the life that we show people every day. The inner life is the life that is really who we are. The inner life is where my secret thoughts, hopes and wishes live. Because my inner life is invisible, it is easy to neglect. When we become Christians, we work at changing our outer life, but so many times we neglect the most important part of us, our inner life or our soul. Our soul is made by God and it is made for God. It is that part of us that we try to fill with everything in the world and nothing works until we fill it with God.

We try to change our habits and patterns and attitudes that are deeply rooted in us. We try to change them by will power. When we work on problems by will power, we become exhausted. We can only change if we improve our soul.

“Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”  Matthew 11:28-30 (NLT)

This is the key to our healing and the peace that passes all understanding, but it is easier said than done. This is why we are working on soul care.

Read the scriptures and answer the questions.

Psalm 94:16-19

What does these scriptures say to your soul?

Matthew 16:24-26

This is what it will cost to follow Jesus. It will cost everything. Do you feel that soul care is worth the price?

 

Soul care helps maintain the interconnectedness of the mind, body, heart and soul and keeps us spiritually alive. Nothing substitutes for making the soul your priority.

Soul care begins with time. But that doesn’t mean we have to tear apart our insides for weeks of repair and downtime. We can begin the soul’s care with small time commitments.

What condition do you think your soul is in today?

What maintenance or repair will you need?

Are you willing to make the commitment to repair your soul?

Deuteronomy 10:11-13

To possess the promise land, we must arise and begin our journey.

Soul Care Lesson 1

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 The most important thing in your life is not what you do. It’s who you become. That’s what you will take into eternity. You are an unceasing spiritual being with an eternal destiny in God’s great universe.

You may think that you need to be someplace else doing something different. You think if I just had someone who understood me, I would have peace. If I just had more money, I would have peace. If I just had another body, I would have peace. If I was smarter, I would have peace. Nothing seems to work. But your peace is right here; right where God planted you.

Your body is not important. Yes, we need to take care of our bodies, but they are not what is going to live for an eternity. Your bodies are dirt and they will return to dirt. Your soul is the center of your being.

The first thing we need to do is find our soul. Find the most important part of us and make it better. This is the place where you will find peace and healing.

Read the scriptures and answer the questions.

Genesis 2:7, Job 33:4, 1 Corinthians 15:42-49

What do these verses tell you about your soul?

Luke 9:20-25

In these verses, what does Jesus say about the soul? Jesus asked Peter a question in these verses. How do you answer that question?

Do I really want God to heal me and find the peace that passes all understand? Am I willing to pay the price?

Our Concept of God

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Our concept of God means more to our healing than anything else we do in this program. How do we see God? Who is this God that we are talking about? I do not believe that we can move forward until we can see that God loves us and wants to heal us. The problem is so many of us have a wrong concept of God. We avoid God because of this wrong concept.

We need to have the concept of God as a God who loves us unconditionally. None of us are perfect and God does not expect us to be perfect. This is what grace is all about.

“To illustrate the point further, Jesus told them this story: “A man had two sons. The younger son told his father, ‘I want my share of your estate now before you die.’ So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons. “A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and moved to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money in wild living. About the time his money ran out, a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve.  He persuaded a local farmer to hire him, and the man sent him into his fields to feed the pigs.  The young man became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the pigs looked good to him. But no one gave him anything. “When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger!  I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.”’ “So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.’ “But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet.  And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began. “Meanwhile, the older son was in the fields working. When he returned home, he heard music and dancing in the house, and he asked one of the servants what was going on. ‘Your brother is back,’ he was told, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf. We are celebrating because of his safe return.’ “The older brother was angry and wouldn’t go in. His father came out and begged him, but he replied, ‘All these years I’ve slaved for you and never once refused to do a single thing you told me to. And in all that time you never gave me even one young goat for a feast with my friends. Yet when this son of yours comes back after squandering your money on prostitutes, you celebrate by killing the fattened calf!’ “His father said to him, ‘Look, dear son, you have always stayed by me, and everything I have is yours. We had to celebrate this happy day. For your brother was dead and has come back to life! He was lost, but now he is found!’” Luke 15:11-32

The story of the prodigal son is a story of God’s love for us. It is the story of God that loves us more than we can imagine. God would not even let us tell our story of how sorry we are for our sins. God just wanted us home. It does not matter what the son had done. It doesn’t matter where the son had been.  All that matters was that the son was home. Home where he belonged. This is how God feel about us. He just wants us home where we belong. This is what grace is all about.

“In Jesus, God has put up a “Gone Fishing” sign on the religion shop. He has done the whole job in Jesus, once and for all, and simply invited us to believe it – to trust the bizarre, unprovable proposition that in Him, every last person on earth is already home free without a single religious exertion: no fasting till your knees fold, no prayer you have to get right or else, no standing on your head with your right thumb in your left ear and reciting the correct creed – no nothing…The entire show has been set to rights in the Mystery of Christ – even though nobody can see a single improvement. Yes, it’s crazy, and yes, it’s wild, and outrageous, and vulgar. And any God who would do such a thing is a God who has no taste, And worst of all, it doesn’t sell worth beans. But it is Good News – the only permanently good news there is – and therefore I find it captivating.” (Robert Capon)

I don’t understand grace but I praise God for His grace. Where would I be without God’s wonderful grace? This is a grace that pays the eager beaver who works all day long the same wages as the person who shows up at ten till five. A grace that hikes up the robe and runs breakneck toward the prodigal who has sinned and wraps him up and decides to throw a party no ifs, ands or buts. A grace that raises bloodshot eyes to a dying thief’s request, “Please remember me” and assures him, “you bet.” This is grace. This grace is compassion. It works without anything of us. Jesus Christ left His Father’s side not for heaven’s sake but for our sakes, yours and mine. Grace is sufficient even though we huff and puff with all our might to try to find something or someone it cannot cover.

This kind of grace is hard to conceive. We have been taught that we must do something in order for God to love us. There is nothing that we can do for God so that He will love us any more or any less. He loves us with an unconditional love.

Laurie Beth Jones writes in her book “Jesus in Blue Jeans”, “Many years ago I dreamed that I saw a man standing in a meadow. Suddenly I saw a man approaching me. As He got nearer, I gasped to realize that it was Jesus in Blue Jeans. When He saw the expression on my face, He said, “Why are you surprised? I came to them wearing a robe because they wore robes. I come to you in blue jeans because you wear blue jeans.” This is the God that we serve. He is a God that comes to us right where we are. We don’t have to go to Him. He wants a relationship with us so much that He comes to us.

 

Questions:

How do you see God?

Do you believe that God loves you?

What concept of God did you have as a child?

Do you believe that God wants to heal you and make you whole?

 

The Refiner and His Fire

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Come with me as we take a journey back to a Judean village in ancient days.

Inside a small, walled courtyard under a bright blue sky, there stands a refiner of metal. In His hands he’s rolling and fingering a lump of ore. He watches the sun play on the streaks and veins of lead and other minerals running through this bit of rock chiseled from the bowels of the earth.

His experienced eye knows that, intermingled within this ore, there is silver.

He lays the ore on his worktable then builds his fire with care and the wisdom of years. Soon the flames are rising in the pit situated against the courtyard’s stone wall.

At the worktable he picks up his hammer and begins crushing the lump into smaller pieces.

He pauses occasionally to stare at the fire, as if in study. From time to time he places more fuel upon the already blazing coals and works his bellows until the flames are in a frenzy.

When the fire is right, he gathers the hammered bits of ore from the place of their crushing and lays them in a small, sturdy container of tempered pottery, his crucible.

He places the crucible in the fire and sits down beside it. A long day is before him, and this is where he will stay for as long as the metal is subject to the flames. Silver is too precious to be forsaken in the furnace, too valuable to be ruined through inattention.

Carefully he watches the fire. It must be maintained at exactly the right temperature for the right duration of time to accomplish its purpose. Slowly the ore softens. The silver, with its greater density and lower melting point, liquefies first, hissing and bubbling as oxygen is released. The still solid impurities rise to the top of the molten metal. This is the dross and the refiner skims it off.

Now he adds bits of charcoal inside the crucible. He knows this will enhance the sheen of the silver. The carbon of the charcoal will keep the refined metal from reabsorbing oxygen from the air, which would only dull its finish.

He tends the fire, adds more fuel, and applies more air from the bellows.

Amid the relentless heat surrounding the crucible, more dull impurities, newly revealed, rise to the surface of the mixture.

Again the refiner carefully skims away the murky, smudgy metal floating to the top of the crucible. Gazing down upon the molten surface, the refiner sees at best but a dim reflection of himself.

The refiner works and watches and waits. The heat and its effect continue. More impurities rise to the surface, and again he skims them off.

He never leaves the crucible unattended, never steps away from the fire he has formed to do his work. The finished product he cherishes demands this process. Only his guided and guarded refinement will yield the promised and precious metal. And he is not yet satisfied. He lets the fire cool. Eventually he sets the crucible aside.

Then once again he builds up the fire, and the process begins all over. This time the skilled refiner makes the fire hotter. Within the crucible, new impurities are released, brought to the surface, exposed for what they are, and then skimmed off.

Finally his leathery face breaks into a smile, for now as he gazes into the liquid silver his reflection is apparent, not yet sharp, but more distinct than before.

More hours pass as he perseveres in his anxious and delicate work.

And then, once more he bends over the crucible, and this time he catches his breath. There it is! In the silver he sees what he has been waiting for so patiently: a clear image of himself, distinct and sharp. His task is done. The impurities are gone. The silver is refined. He has his treasure. He has “choice” silver, the most lustrous of all metals, beautiful and highly valued.

The refiner has taken what was impure and made it pure. He had taken what was dull and made it beautiful.

And the fire – the guarded, relentless fire – made the difference. The fire allowed ordinary ore from the earth to be transformed into treasure.

All under the refiner’s watchful care, for all the while he never left it unattended.

“And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in His hand and He will thoroughly purge His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” (Matthew 3:10-12)

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)

If we are to have the power of God in our lives, we must allow God to purify our lives. In this purification process God will be with you always, never leaving you for one moment.

In your healing you will feel like you are going through the fire and you are because that is the place where God can refine you and make you the person He wants you to be. As you go through this healing process you are not alone. God is with you no matter if you can feel Him of not He is there. Recovery is a process, it does not have an ending. You will be recovering the rest of your life. When you feel that you have made it. That is when you are in trouble.

There is a dark place hidden deep inside all of our souls. It lays in wait, lurking there, lingering until the right moment in a person’s life to show itself. It remains concealed never letting you know, buried deep and out of sight. Taking root and keeping itself secret from you. When it does finally come out, it lays waste and wreaks havoc, destroying any peace and comfort, any happiness and joy that you have as it breaks out in the most significant of ways.

“For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.” 1 John 5:4

There are things wrong with my life, just like there are things wrong with everyone’s life, but I had never learned how to actually cope with that reality. I had never learned what was causing these problems. I was just letting them control my life. Once I learned about these problems and faced the reality that they did exist, I was able to move forward with God and live the abundant life that God wants all of His children to live.

In this book we are going to address some of the issues that we need to be healed from. As we look at these issues, you may not have these issues in your life, but you do suffer for some of these issues. As we study these issues allow God to bring you to the reality that you do suffer from some deep seated issue in your life that is stealing your joy and peace. Making life not only miserable for you but the ones you love.

Allow God to look into the deep places in your life and heal your spirit!

Healing the Wounded

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I believe that the greatest cry of God today is that He wants to heal our wounds, our addictions and all of our behavior that is not focused on Him. The burden on my heart is to get the message out that God wants us to be healed.

Ministry to the inner man is not just for a few troubled souls, but it is a vital key to the transformation of every heart of every normal Christian. Yes, maybe we have been saved and filled with the Holy Spirit, but there are parts of our inner being that has not died to Jesus Christ yet. For us to live the abundant life that God has for us we must allow the Holy Spirit to heal these past hurts and wounds. God is not just trying to change your outward behavior.  He wants to change you from the inside out. If we can heal our hurts, our behavior will change.

“For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light!”  Ephesians 5:8

Are you truly living as people of light?

“I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me.” Philippians 3:12

Are you pressing on trying to change your behavior, or do you want to heal your wounded spirit?

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:2

Are you still trying to copy the ways of the world and think that you can handle everything? Are you doing a good job of handling your life?

“When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.” 1 Corinthians 13:11

Are you still acting as a child? Are you still trying to get your way, no matter what? Are you willing to accept your responsibility for your life and allow God to heal you?

“A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit.  A tree is identified by its fruit. Figs are never gathered from thorn bushes, and grapes are not picked from bramble bushes.  A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.” Luke 6:43-45

What is the treasury of your heart? What is the most important thing in your life?

 

“So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say?  I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it.  It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built.  But anyone who hears and doesn’t obey is like a person who builds a house without a foundation. When the floods sweep down against that house, it will collapse into a heap of ruins.” Luke 6:46-49

Allowing God’s healing in your life will help you build that foundation.