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.

Building on the Rock

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“Whoever comes to Me and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like: He is like a man who built a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock.” (Luke 6:47-48)

We must build our house on the rock. Our foundation must be deep. Before we can build on this foundation, we must clear out all the trash so that the foundation is rock.

You may ask why do I need the healing of the Spirit? I have been saved and God lives in me. Do you have the peace that passes all understanding? Are you a rock when the storms of life attack you?

If we are saved from our sins and born again, why do we act the way we do? Why can’t we have the mind of Christ in us when we are born again?

During the early formative years of our early life we do not have the mind of Christ or the knowledge of the ways of God. We learn to live our life independent of God. Nobody pushed a delete button and our memory bank was wiped out. Everything we learned before Christ is still in our memory bank. This is why Paul tells us that we should be renewing our minds. (Romans 12:2)

In our natural state we learned to defend our emotions and cope with our problems in a way that was not always healthy. Some of these are:

Denial

Fantasy

Emotional withdrawal

Regression

Displacement (Taking out our frustrations on others)

Projection (Blaming others)

Rationalization (Making excuses for our behavior)

Paul called all of these strongholds. (2 Corinthians 10:3-5) These are the things that were programmed into our mind when we were independent of God. What was learned has to be relearned. We can renew our minds because now we have the mind of Christ and the Holy Spirit can lead us into all truth.

I believe that we all have these hurts deep down. Some of us don’t even know what the hurts are or how to heal them, but God does. To be all that God wants us to be, we must be healed.