Overcoming Behaviour Tendencies

I know that our behaviour can be self regulated. When we are upset sometimes it helps to have a good friend to pick us up, but in the end, we get to choose how we will act in our circumstances.

Probable everyone has over-reacted. Most people have been “out of control” at one time or another either in anger or in frustration. At one time I believed that it was impossible to change this tendency. Having seen the anger lose it’s hold on me and knowing the peace that rules over me most of the time (nobody’s perfect), I now know that our behaviour can change. 

When a person is deeply hurt it often is expressed in anger. That anger will grow into a storm of bad behaviours if gone unchecked. Sometimes only love can calm the storm. 

The Night Before the Wedding

One dramatic example of this happened a few years ago. (Names and details have been changed) Mary’s daughter was getting married. Mary herself was separated from her husband and her husband was in another relationship and she was heartbroken. Furthermore, she was homeless at the time of the wedding, with very little income and was doing everything she could to put a wedding together. Her husband had moved his lover into their home the week of the wedding. It couldn’t get any worse as far as she was concerned.

The night before the wedding, her whole family gathered at her former home with her husband and his lover. She wasn’t invited and her heart hurt deeply. She became angry. When the phone rang, she snapped out a brisk hello.

“Hey, honey,” her friend said. “How are you doing?”

“How do you think I’m doing?” Mary cried. “My daughter is getting married tomorrow. This should be a family event and I’ve done all the work and this is how I get rewarded…” On and on she went, spilling out her bitter disappointment and hurt over the past two to three years about how she felt abandoned etc., etc.

Her friend listened quietly without interruption allowing Mary to wind down. Mary poured out her heart until she was spent. Then her friend quietly spoke to her.

“Mary, may I say something to you as your friend?” she asked. Then she waited for a response.

Mary warily replied, “Yes.”

“Honey, you know I love you and I say this with your best in mind.”

Mary bristled. “Okay, keep going,” she said.

“I need to tell you to go and get your big girl panties on and take off those little girl panties.” Mary’s friend told her.

Mary had never heard that figure of speech before and stared at her wall in silence while she tried to think what that could mean.

“This wedding is not about you or your ex-husband, it’s about your daughter and it’s her wedding day tomorrow. You have to be the most mature person at that wedding tomorrow and you have to make it a wonderful experience for them. Can you do that?” 

“I, I think I can,” Mary stammered.

“Then my job is done here, honey” her friend replied. “I’ll be praying for you and your family tomorrow.” Then she bid her friend adieu.

Mary’s anger ground to a halt. She was stunned. She sorted through the short conversation and considered the message. She had a decision to make. It was made as she imagined her daughter walking down the aisle on her father’s arm the next day. Yes, her ex-husband was a part of the wedding but it was her daughter she focused on. Her daughter was looking at her in her vision of the morrow. She was searching with hope that her mother would be happy for her and that she would be celebrating the most important day of her life with her. It made all the difference in the world. Mary got busy and finished the last-minute details quickly. She had a big day ahead.

The Day of the Wedding

I got to attend that wedding the next day. It began with a bit of tension, but it ended very well. Mary used the rest of her evening the night before the wedding crafting a fun skit for the young couple, describing how they met and fell in love. She enlisted the couple’s siblings and engaged the whole crowd in her skit and it ended with everyone participating, laughing and applauding. 

Mary was able, with the help of a friend, to change her whole outlook and rose above her circumstances. She was no longer a slave to her husband’s actions. Even her children were unaware of how difficult it had been for her as told to me by one of her sons. How different the wedding might have been if she hadn’t gotten that phone call or hadn’t accepted the words of a friend. Can you see God’s hand in all this?

This is a good example of the choices we get to make when we are in distress or we are in deep pain. God will send us help and give us creative solutions at times of trouble. It is tragic that more people don’t accept the help so readily available to us.

My prayer for you is that you will seek the help you need, and that you will keep on seeking it until you find it. It is also my hope that when you are presented an opportunity to receive help that you will be humble enough to receive it. Then the peace of Christ that passes all understanding will guard your heart and your mind and you will be more open to God’s solutions. Conquering our difficult circumstances is one of those things God does very well.

Open Minded

God Rewards All Who Seek Him 

 I’ve prayed with believers and unbelievers alike. Both have heard truth that has set them free and usually if a person doesn’t believe in God before their healing, they know He exists when they are done and have a very new view of Him. 

 “Unbelievers getting healed? How can this be?” you might wonder. Well, there are lots of reasons. God is bigger than we know. He is better at communicating with us than our limited understanding can comprehend. He loves us more than we can imagine and rewards all those who seek Him. 

 Jesus declared, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” When someone gets the truth, they have access to the Father should they decide to go through that door because He is the truth. When they get truth, they are accessing Him. He knows that it is not a part of our natural inclination to go looking for Him unless we need Him, so He reaches out to us and this is one of the ways He does this. 

 Here is an example of someone who did not know God but heard His voice anyway. It happened in the past year. I needed help with my car at home and someone suggested I call a mobile mechanic. The fellow came within the hour of calling him. Seeing as he was going to be working on my car in my garage, I stuck around to see what he was going to do.  

 The guy (I’ll call him Sean) was friendly and got to work right away. He had no trouble finding the problem and showed and explained the problem to me. He was able to fix it right away. He kept an ongoing conversation with me back and forth telling me about his life of forty years and how he ended up doing this for a living. 

 He asked me what I did and I told him I prayed for people and he stiffened saying, “Well the big guy and I don’t get along so good.” 

 Soon though he relaxed again and continued on with the story of his life. As he chatted, he talked about his disappointment with his divorce and how he felt afraid of himself. 

 Curiously, I asked him why. This is a bit of the story as I remember it:  

“My mother-in-law was a piece of work. When she came to visit us, we were always on pins and needles. We couldn’t do anything right. We didn’t cook the food right. We didn’t hold the baby right. We didn’t do ANYTHING right and I mean anything. She was so toxic my wife would get sick and couldn’t sleep.” He sighed deeply. 

 “I tried to keep my mouth shut. My wife didn’t like it when I argued with her so I tried really hard. Sometimes I’d go outside to cool off. Well that wasn’t right either. I wasn’t supportive enough of my wife.” By this time Sean was well into his story. He was finished working on it and kept wiping his hands on a rag from his pocket. 

 “One Christmas, she came and within an hour she was at us. The tree wasn’t in the right place and she was mad about how we put the ornaments on or something. “Blah, blah, blah” he said. “And she was mean. I mean she didn’t just whine, but she cussed and then one day I just had it. She was staying for three days and my wife was running to the bathroom to cry every five minutes. I was holding our daughter and she came running at me yelling about something. She had some kind of pot in her hand and I thought, “Man, she’s going to hit me with my baby in my arms.” I jumped up sideways to protect the baby and she was yelling at me.”  

 “I just snapped.” He looked stricken as he was remembering the day. “I put the baby down in her play pen and I just picked her up by her arms and I kicked the door open and I put her into a snow bank. She was yelling and I yelled louder.” His voice raised as he repeated his speech to her. He said, “‘You are the nastiest woman I have ever met. This is our house not yours. If you cannot be nice in our house you are not welcome here. Go home.” I went back into the house, got her purse, her suitcase and her coat and I took them to her.” Sean looked at me embarrassed. “She left, cussing all the way.” 

“I left my wife and the baby after that. I’m afraid that I will hurt someone. My wife cried for a week after her mom left. She wanted me to make up to her mom, but I couldn’t.” He sighed. 

The Truth Speaks

After a pause, I asked him. “Would you like to know the truth about that situation?”  

 “How would I do that?” he asked.  

 “Well, I’ll ask the “Truth” to tell you more information. There is something in that story you don’t know.” Then I asked Sean, “What did you believe about yourself that day?” 

 After some thought, Sean replied, “I believed I lost control. I was just like my dad who always lost his temper and beat on us.”   

 “So then, I’ll ask “Truth” to tell you what He knows. Let me know what He says, ok?” 

 “Sure,” he said, closing my hood and wiping away some dust from the top of it.  

 “I ask Truth to reveal more to Sean than he now understands.” Then I waited. 

 After a minute or two he looked at me. 

 “So, did you get anything?” I asked. 

 “Well…” Sean hesitated. 

 “Well?” I asked. “Just spit it out and we can evaluate it together.” 

Turning his face away from me he said, “Ok, I got that I did show self-control that day. There were a lot of things I could have done that were way worse. I didn’t hurt her. She was just so nasty and I couldn’t stand it anymore. She kept telling me I wasn’t a real man. She was always calling my wife names. I wanted to do a lot of things, but I didn’t.” Then he ducked his head and looked at me again. 

 “Is there any other truth?” I asked. 

 “I’m not sure what this means,” he said. “I’m hearing, ‘I’m not disappointed with you either. You are forgivable.’ What’s that all about?” 

 At that point in the conversation I explained to him that the Lord Jesus Christ was the one speaking to him because He is the way the truth and the life. The conversation continued for a short while and Sean had much to think about. It would be wonderful to know that he made a decision for Christ right then and there, but he didn’t. That’s between the Lord and him. His phone rang and he left shortly after. I paid him and blessed him on his way. 

It is my prayer for you that you keep an open mind. Maybe the Lord will reveal truth to you as well and you will know more than you once thought. 

 

Blocked From Entry?

 Do You Feel Like You are Being Blocked from Entry? 

 

Have you ever gone somewhere expecting to be allowed entrance only to be told at the door that you are not allowed to enter? You may have gone to a show or a doctor’s appointment with a family member. It can be disappointing or distressing. I imagine it is always frustrating.  

 

While emotional healing prayer is available to all people through Jesus Christ, sometimes people may face hindrances that keep them from entering into a healing experience and draw the conclusion they are getting a NO from God.  

I do not always know why this happens, but I have a few theories. I’ve experienced these hindrances myself and so I assume that one or more of these may apply to someone else who gets nothing out of a healing prayer session. 

 

So here are the top eleven reasons, in random order, that I don’t get healing: 

 

  1. I don’t look for it. It’s easy to forget in the midst of pain that there may be healing available while we are in it. It is my hope that you will look for healing even when you are in great emotional pain. If at first you don’t find it, keep looking. It’s not about having enough faith. It’s more about persisting in your search. There are so many different ways that God uses to offer healing that you may find which one works if you keep seeking.  
  1. I don’t want it. Either I feel justified in my pain or wear it as a badge of honour. This happens when I am offended by someone. Blaming the offender for hurting doesn’t really lend itself to peace and freedom. I have to give up my anger to receive the healing from the offence.  
  1. I feel like I am dishonouring someone else by giving up my pain. This happens quite often when I am grieving the loss of a loved one. For a season, this is actually a healthy kind of pain based on the truth of a loss. It’s ok to grieve for a time. Even when I am glad for their sakes that they are now pain free and with the Lord, I may still hang onto some grieving long after they’ve died if there is unfinished business that I didn’t get to do with them while they were alive. When my grief goes on for years, there may be some healing the Lord wants to offer. 
  1. I don’t believe the Lord will deal with “that” pain because the cause was my own fault. This is not from the Lord. This kind of attitude is just the kind of thing the Lord would love to help us with. When I confess my sins, He is faithful and just to forgive me and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9). God willingly forgives a sincere confession and offers healing as well. 
  1. I don’t recognize the way God is trying to communicate with me or help me. God uses a variety of methods to make healing possible and He deals with each person and each situation differently. I’ve had to open my mind to new possibilities. God often demonstrates His love in different ways than I am expecting. Persistence pays off when learning to hear His voice in a new way. 
  1. I don’t have the kind of help I need. Very often I need a prayer partner to receive the healing I am seeking. This is very common in my own life. The Lord doesn’t always let me work alone. It is common for me to want to withdraw when I am hurting. This is part of the process for me. While getting healing, I am also learning to remain in community and stay connected to the body.  
  1. It’s not a good time. Sometimes there are situations when you just can’t stop doing what you are doing to get your prayer. Sometimes when I am praying for someone else, I get triggered because they are getting prayer for something that I am familiar with and have not yet had healing for. I can’t stop their prayer session on my account. When this happens, I’ve learned to ask the Lord to cover that pain and hold it for me so that I can stay in relationship with the person I am praying with. He will bring me to a place of peace at a more opportune time. This is also true in the case of a traumatic experience. Sometimes there are other things that need to be dealt with before I can focus on emotional healing. 
  1. I’m not in a spiritual position to be healed. There have been seasons in my life when I was knowingly in sin. At those times I’m in rebellion to God and am not listening anyway.   
  1. Illness can make hearing harder. When a person is really sick or in physical pain, it is much harder to listen to anyone because it takes so much energy to focus on recovery. When this happens, I’ve learned to focus on my physical body until it is well. It’s a lot easier to receive healing when I’m not ill or in agony. 
  1. Under the influence of mind altering drugs or alcohol. I’ve not taken illegal drugs and I’ve never been drunk, but I’ve had mind altering drugs given to me after surgery. During that time, I was not in my right mind and therefore could not feel pain of any kind, physical or emotional, and I felt invincible.   
  1. The Lord is waiting for the timing to be right. Sometimes healing comes when, where and how the Lord determines. It is simply a waiting period and we learn that it isn’t about us. Pain is not always a bad thing even though it hurts.   

 

 

These do not cover every reason, but I have found them to be common to many of those I pray with as well as myself. I’ve experienced enough healing by now to know that it is well worth the effort to overcome some of these obstacles to seek the healing I need. The Lord can handle it all and help us get through those things that try to resist His presence in our lives. Asking for help is a good thing. It’s ok to wait on Him until you are ready. Ultimately, healing is in the Lord’s hands. However, when we cooperate with Him we sometimes manage to speed up the process. 

 

My prayer for you is that if you know you would like healing but see a reason listed above that might prevent you from hearing directly from God, that you will seek His face and inquire of Him. He will lead you and show you if there is anything that you can do to cooperate with Him better, or if it is just time to rest in Him and wait. 

 

There’s a wonderful song out there by Casting Crowns on their Thrive album called Just Be Held. This has been a most healing producing song I’ve heard recently. Check it out and experience a new view of the God who Heals. 

A Hair Raising Experience

A Simple Walk to the Park

I talked a couple of weeks ago about healthy and unhealthy fear. Earlier this week I had a hair-raising experience which refers to both kinds. See what you think.

I’ve been playing nanny to my three little grandchildren. On the way to the park I had the eight-month-old in the stroller, the two-year-old in tow right behind it between me and the stroller, and the three-year-old was hanging on to the front right side. We’d had a pleasant morning and going to the park was a joy for all of us. I’d taken the family shelty along on a short leash.

Just a few houses from the park entrance, I saw a middle-aged man approaching us with a German Shepherd dog. The dog looked young and untrained since the man seemed barely able to control it. As they approached we halted and moved over to accommodate them.

The fellow did not give us a wide berth as they approached us. He was too close and his dog was too strong for him. The shepherd came alongside of the stroller, snarled and lunged open mouth at our dog, with the two-year old in between. Using my legs as a shield, the two-year-old bumped into the back of the stroller. Our dog, Thor, met the challenge with his own snarls and snapping rage. The three-year-old stayed where he was, hand on stroller. The dog’s mouth brushed my legs and the stranger yanked hard on his leash, and no one was hurt. The potential danger passed and I stood frozen in shock and distress.

The three-year-old broke me out of my freeze mode when he asked, “Can we go to the park and play now?” We were all back in motion and the boys romped along to the park as though it was just another day.

When I arrived at the park near the play zone, I was shaking. I attached Thor to the park bench, checked on the baby who was content in her stroller, and let the boys play in front of me on the slide and climbing structure. At that point I melted in tears and called my praying friend.

The Prayer Time

My prayer friend, Karin, is a gifted compassionate woman who prays for the healing of many. She has been trained in many methods of healing prayer and has more experience than most as she works as a full time missionary to the inner city. When she picked up the phone that day, she heard the distress in my voice and excused herself from where she was and took herself to a private place.

As I was blubbering about the dog into the phone, she was praying for guidance and listening for clues about what the problem was. With my eyes wide open on the boys playing in front of me, I managed to get the story out. In and of itself it was a shocking situation, but I’d been bitten by a dog only a few years ago and the memory was still vivid and I had the scar to prove it.

As we prayed through the former incident, I saw the Lord push me out of the snarling dog’s reach. It had only snagged my calf and drew blood. It had not gotten a grip of my leg. That would have been much worse. Then the Lord told me that the occurrence was over and would not happen again. I gave the Lord my fear, my shock and I forgave the owners who allowed that to happen. I released every part of the pain to the Lord to carry for me and He gave me peace about it.

From there we looked at the apparent attack by the German Shepherd. Again, I saw the Lord push me between the child and Thor (our dog) and the stranger’s dog. One angel grabbed the man and his leash and yanked his dog back from us and sent them on their way. Another guarded our back. Again, I forgave the man for not controlling his dog and for not giving us enough space as he walked around us when we were stopped to let him pass. I gave the Lord my fear, my shock and confusion. He gave me peace.

At that point I saw something new in the spirit. It’s like God just pulled back a curtain and there were angels playing with the boys. There were guards all around. There was even an angel cooing to the baby, and the Lord sat beside me on the bench. He reminded me of the first time I saw angels. At that time, I asked why they were there as I saw many in and around my home. He told me that they were there to protect His interests in my family. What a wonder, that God should have an interest in our family. I felt safe and secure and loved.

By then I was ok and very grateful for Karin’s availability and we said goodbye. I continued to talk with the Lord about our family and I had a sweet time with Him. During the entire hour we were in the park, only one person walked through it and did not glance our way. The boys were both ready to return home at the same time and none of the children seemed the least bit perturbed by the earlier incident.

My Prayer for You

Would that everyone had a friend like Karin. It is my prayer for you that as you go through life, you will find Jesus to be your best friend and that He will add people to you who are so much like Him that you feel very safe in their presence knowing that they are connected enough to the Lord that they can help you to hear from him when you find it difficult. May you be able to find such a friend that you can call on in a time of crisis who you know will seek the Lord’s guidance and then pray for you. I pray too that you might become such a friend as well.

The Doctor and the Nurse

Career Choice

Somewhere, years ago, I read that 80% of all those in the healing professions need healing themselves. Psychologists, doctors, nurses, psychiatrists, chiropractors and the like apparently go into those occupations because they look for ways to help others in order to sooth their own pain. I don’t know how accurate that information is but I know many people in the healing careers who are indeed wounded people. 

 When I chose my first career, I went into nursing. During my time at school I experienced a number of deep wounds including sexual assault, betrayal and manipulation. I opted out of the RN program and chose to become a Licensed Practical Nurse instead. The responsibility of an RN was too daunting for my wounded heart when I was nineteen and in hindsight, I can see that it was a good choice. Years later, as I matured and experienced healing in Jesus, I would have been able to handle the responsibility of a Registered Nurse. Had life been different, I might have returned to school to become an RN, but I chose to be a full-time stay-at-home mother. It was when my youngest children grew older that I was able to explore healing at a deeper emotional level. 

 Hindsight is always clearer than foresight. I can see that I was too wounded to help anyone on a deep level. Most of my nursing career concerned taking care of seniors who were very sick. They were undemanding and all they needed from me was tenderness, compassion and general patient care. I had it in me to give that. 

The Path and It’s Results 

I learned the pathway to emotional healing, little by little. I read lots of books on the subject and practiced with the help of others who were good teachers. I learned to seek the help I needed from wherever I could find it.  

 I can be helpful with Jesus in me, guiding and directing me, and because of how He has equipped me. My experience with pain and healing makes me uniquely qualified to be compassionate and hopeful for others. I have accepted the training and mentorship of others so that I can pass on what I have received to as many people as want to receive this kind of help as well. 

 I have grown in confidence over the years in my ability to lend a hand, but I never stop relying on the Lord to lead. It’s not so much in what I have learned that brings people into their own healing, but far more importantly, it is the Lord’s ability to help us live a life He intended for us to live. 

Jesus the Great Physician 

Jesus really does love us. He came to earth to let us know that, and to bring us back into a love relationship with Him. One of the ways He does that is to tell us the truth about our circumstances and to set us free from the power of sin and death. It’s not just a good theory. He is very practical in the way He applies the truth to our lives. 

 I know the Lord is the Great Physician. I’m glad I get to help as a practical nurse, but I am very thankful that He heals. He knows exactly what is hurting us and He knows precisely what will heal us. All we have to do is go to the Right Doctor. 

 It is my prayer for you that you will seek the healing you need in Doctor Jesus. You may need a nurse to help you connect with Him. I pray you will find what you are looking for in your journey. As you heal, you too can be uniquely qualified to assist The Great Physician in the healing of others. 

 

Definitions of Fear: Which One Do You Have?

 

Healthy Fear versus Unhealthy Fear

“How can there be healthy fear?” you say.

Fear is defined as:

1. an unpleasant, often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger. A state marked by this emotion.

2. Anxious concern.

3. A profound reverence and awe especially towards God

4. A reason for alarm

Two Kinds of Healthy Fear

There are two kinds of healthy fear. One we learn about as children. I call it fear of danger. This is a healthy fear that children learn from their parents as they are nurtured and taught. Children are taught how to cross the street in a safe way because of a healthy fear of cars. They are taught not to touch things like hot stoves and glass jars that could harm them. Children are shown signs of potential danger and warned to obey certain safety rules to protect them from harm.

I’ve viewed experiments that show children learning to fear based on their mother’s reactions to situations. When children sense their parents’ fears, they mimic them. When their caregivers do not seem concerned, the children do not get concerned. It seems that children are rarely born with fear built into their personalities. Experiences teach children to know when fear is a healthy expression of emotion.

Children who grow up in a healthy environment in their preschool years are by and large less fearful than those who grow up in a less healthy environment. Those fearless children grow up learning how to recognize danger. They learn to look both ways when crossing the street. They learn to stay close to parents in an unfamiliar location. They learn not to lean over fences that are put there to keep people safe. This fear of danger is what I mean by healthy fear. It’s more of a discerning of situations than fear as we understand it. They can recognize danger as a reason for alarm.

The other healthy fear is a profound reverence or awe of God. This kind of fear is understanding the grandeur of God; how powerful He is and how

righteous, pure and holy He is. This fear recognizes that God knows everything and is able to meet out both justice and mercy. It also causes those who know Him to worship and adore Him.

Both kinds of fear are based on a healthy respect of the power of God or danger. Both God and dangerous situations can destroy us if we do not act carefully around them. God is not dangerous to those who obey Him and He deserves to be treated with the utmost respect. Things like electricity are good, useful and powerful. It needs to be treated with a healthy fear and a proper respect. It cannot be taken for granted without there being consequences. The same can be said for God. He is good and true to His word and very powerful. It is wise to treat Him with the utmost respect because going against His counsel can have dangerous consequences.

Unhealthy Fear

Unhealthy fear is in the category of anxious concern. Unhealthy anticipation of harm can cripple us. This is the subject of many theses on the subject of paranoia and phobias in mental health issues. Many mental illnesses are caused by an unhealthy amount of fear that has taken root. Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome is an example of an unhealthy fear.

The fear that makes us unhealthy is based on something that is not true or is no longer true. As in the case of a war veteran, his life is no longer in danger when he is at home with his family in his peaceful homeland. Yet the amount of trauma he experienced in battle remains stuck in his brain. Likewise, a woman who has experienced sexual assault may remain fearful of all men even when in safe situations.

It is a loving parent who sets up a healthy environment for a child. Yet children do experience pain sometimes and that same parent can bring healing and comfort to the child in pain. So too does God offer comfort and healing to the one who has experienced pain and He also offers healing. When fear causes anxiety, God is ready and able to help to remove the lies that cause unnecessary fear.

To all those who experience fear based on lies, I pray you will find God to be a good parent, more than willing to bring comfort, healing and hope.

A Lesson on Hearing God

Is This Really God? 

God speaks to us in many ways. He spoke to Adam and Eve in the cool of the day while walking with them. After they sinned that closeness was severed and they experienced guilt and shame. Yet He still speaks.

The Bible records many ways that God spoke:
• by visual means i.e. the tabernacle, cloud and pillar of fire in Exodus
• through the prophets (1Kings 17:24 Then the woman told Elijah, “Now I know for sure that you are a man of God, and that the Lord truly speaks through you.”)
• through dreams (See the book of Daniel)
• through visions (See the Book of Acts)
• through Jesus (See the Gospels)
• through the teachings of apostles (See the Epistles)
• through a “word of knowledge” in the church (See 1st and 2nd Corinthians.)
• through signs and wonders and miracles (sprinkled throughout the Old and New Testaments)
• Through revelation (see the book of Revelation)

God does understand our limitations and doubts about this matter. He said in Job 33:14, “For God speaks again and again, though people do not recognize it.” The Bible can help you to recognize His communication styles.

As you study and read through the Bible you will see common threads throughout all of the different books that comprise the one whole Bible. Character traits of God become evident and remain consistent from one end to the other. Many of the names God gives to Himself describe what He is like.

I am still learning about His nature and character even now after many years as a Christian. I don’t know all about Him because I think it would take more than one human lifetime to know an Infinite God.

A Few Examples 

I remember the first time I got the Bible on audio recording. Because someone else was reading it, I could listen to the whole Bible in about 3 days during a long road trip. By listening to it quickly like that, I discovered God’s love in a way I had not noticed before. No matter how far or how often Israel strayed from Him, again and again He redeemed them. While pondering this, I realized that what he did for them He would do for me. It was an “aha” moment. It settled a deep concern I’d had about my salvation. If I listened to God’s call to repentance which He spoke often in the many books of the Bible, and if I sincerely repented of those things He was convicting me of, He would rescue me from my self-destructive path. I’d heard from God.

I’ve learned from several good teachers the value of journaling. One thing I do quite regularly now is ask God questions in my journal and listen for the answer. Some of the answers can be quite profound.

Here is one example: “Lord, why do I have to forgive every single time someone sins against me? It’s tedious and time consuming and it seems that they are getting away with something every time I forgive them. Can’t I just walk away and forget them?”

God’s answer: “My dear daughter. When someone sins against you it becomes like a thorn in your body. If not removed it will fester and hurt you much longer than necessary. Left unattended long enough it can get seriously infected. This is what bitterness is like. Eventually, if not dealt with, not only does the pain of the original sin increase, but it eventually affects other parts of your body and can cause death. When you forgive every sin another commits against you, you remain healthy and heal quickly. I am both merciful and just. I’ve asked you to forgive others as I’ve forgiven you. I’ve asked you to love others as I have loved you. If you love me you will do as I command. When you obey me in this matter, I am free to help both you and your opponent find forgiveness and healing and the enemy will not gain a foothold in your life. Forgiveness is a good thing, especially for you.”

One more example of hearing from God is through dreams and visions. One day I was talking to a young man who told me about his dream. In his dream, he was standing in the house he grew up in which he knew he now owned. It was old and dilapidated and the front screen door was open hanging from one hinge. As he looked outside, he was terrified to see several police cars driving up the hill towards his house with sirens on and lights flashing. As they approached his house, he woke up.

The interpretation we prayed for went like this: “The old house represents you. You are a product of your childhood, but since you are an adult you now own your own life and your family is no longer responsible for the way you live. You have become “unhinged” as it were and you are now open to see beyond yourself. The police cars represent justice. On your own, you face a just God who will judge you based on justice. If you do not repent of your sins you will not access the mercy of God. There is good reason to be terrified. This is a warning dream.

The result: the gentleman was open to the Good News that Jesus was willing to take upon Himself the sin of this man in exchange for Life through Jesus Christ. The man asked for forgiveness for his sins right there. He invited Jesus to become his Lord and committed his life to Jesus from then on.

It is my prayer for you that you will open yourself up to hear from God. I pray that you will know when it’s Him and not just your own imagination or some other voice. May you find that God speaks in love and always for your good.

“What’s All That Crying About?”

When I was a child, my dad said things that many dads say. “Stop that crying or I’ll give you something to cry about”. My dad passed away many years ago and I can still hear his voice and the way he said it. At the time, those words evoked fear in my heart. I was always terrified of my dad as a little girl. I know I wasn’t the only child to hear these words.

I now have four wee little grandchildren and although each one is different, they all have one thing in common. They cry. When they cry a lot, they distress their parents to no end. Crying is a child’s non-verbal way of expressing their needs and desires, like pain, boredom, hunger or fear. There are lots of reasons a child cries. Parents in their humanness sometimes react in ways that are not helpful or healthy.

How People Respond Matters 

Some responses to a child who cries can cause the child in their immaturity to interpret their caregiver’s tone of voice or reactions in a way that may not be intended or even considered. Sometimes this can create a core belief in the child that becomes a theme or framework for their entire lives.

I know now that my dad was a tender-hearted man who loved his three children and was very proud of us. I didn’t always believe this. When I was growing up, I saw him as a mean man who was too quick to strike and too slow to listen. I never felt secure around him, especially when I was alone with him.

My perspective changed several years after he died. I had a load of memories of him reacting to my tears or my other childish “flaws”. During my early years as a Christian, I was taught the need to forgive others. The Lord’s prayer reads in Matthew 6:12, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” It further states in Matthew 6:14, “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.”

I learned to forgive my dad for every negative memory I had of him. I released him into the hands and care of my heavenly Father and asked God to bless him. I then asked the Father to forgive me for holding those negative actions against him and asked the Lord to wipe the slate clean between us over those events. It took several years and loads of memories to go through, but over time it became easier and easier to remember some of the good things about him. As I cooperated in this process, God met me along the way.

After Practicing Forgiveness   

About fifteen years after my dad’s funeral, I woke early in the morning before anyone else in the house stirred. Not wanting to leave my comfortable bed, I decided to just thank God in my head for all the blessings I was enjoying at that point and time. As I did, I entered into what seemed like a daydream. I “saw” the Lord walk into my room with another fellow. I knew it was Jesus and he told me that this gentleman had asked permission to talk to me and He had decided to grant permission. Now it was up to me to decide.

Because I didn’t recognize him, I wondered who he was even though I’d said yes to letting him speak to me. I saw an old picture of my dad in my hand.  It turns out that this person was indeed my dad and he wanted to tell me how sorry he was for not knowing how to raise me well. He apologized for a long list of faults and failures and asked me to forgive him.

Astonished, I forgave him immediately. The confession was so sincere. My dad proceeded to tell me all the things he loved about me as a little girl. From there he went on to affirm me as a woman and a mother and to let me know how proud he was of me. Years of fear washed away. Any list of sins I had retained against him were forgotten during that conversation except what I needed to remember for this testimony. He bestowed upon me a father’s blessing and assured me that I would recognize him in heaven when I got there as he had been healed of all that had deformed him as a man on earth.

The conversation went on for many minutes. I cried during a lot of it and still cry today in the memory of it. These tears are not negative in nature. They are not a sign of need or pain and they are not full of regrets either. These are tears of gratitude for the encounter I had in a day-dream where the Lord revealed something to me in a way I could receive and accept. Now, I can hardly remember the negatives of my childhood with my dad.

I do remember him getting on the floor with my brothers and me playing arm wrestling with him and hearing him laugh at our vain attempts to beat him. I remember playing checkers and washing the dishes with him. I remember how he used to boast about my brothers to visitors after they left home and I am sure he boasted about me too when I left.

I remember the many hours he, being almost illiterate, helping me with homework by dictating the numbers I had to copy out of the text book to help me get it done faster. I remember him bringing my mother breakfast in bed when she was really really sick and bringing her plastic flowers on her birthday.

I remember reading the Bible to him as he lay dying of cancer at home. And I remember being there when he said his last word to God, and I know that I will see him again.

May you, my reader, learn to forgive those who did not react to your crying well. May you practice that act of forgiveness in the presence of God and may He lead you to the full healing you need so that you in turn can react well to those who cry around you. And may your tears become tears of joy and gratitude in many times and in many ways.

Why Affirmations Don’t Heal Us

What Are Affirmations?

There is a lot of talk about affirmations. There are whole industries based on telling yourself who you are and what you will become as if it has already happened. Many famous people have asserted that this is how they became successful and I will not dispute their claims. However, I have discovered that many more people can tell themselves these mantras again and again and never seem to change.

Why is this? Is it because they never tell themselves long enough? Maybe they don’t talk loud enough or enthusiastically enough. Maybe they forget to do the routine regularly or often enough.

May I suggest that it may be because they really don’t believe what they are saying and cannot convince themselves that what they are trying to tell themselves is even remotely possible. When I was a kid, I remember my mom telling me that when a person hears a lie often enough he will eventually believe it. I saw ample evidence of that over the years.

You would think that the opposite would be true and perhaps in some cases it is. Yet spending a year or more telling yourself things that go against your core beliefs about yourself seems to be a waste of time and produces whole heap of guilt and condemnation while you wonder why you can’t overcome your resistance to success.

My perspective is that if we could be all we can be by our own effort, then we really don’t need the help of God. Then some of the scriptures would be either an outright lie or a misrepresentation of God. Bible verses like Genesis 12:2, “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.”

If we could talk ourselves into greatness we would all be good and avoid evil. We would all live healthy happy lives and our relationships would be full of love and joy. Only good things would come our way because we declared it to be so. I’ve taken classes that promised me this if I just learned to clear my mind of all negativity and chanted the right words. I spent countless hours trying to keep at this and by appearances, I was the epitome of a healthy happy woman in a perfect marriage raising a bunch of amazing wonderful children. Outside, my facade was quite amazing. Inside, I was grieving and wondered if I would ever be happy or healthy or wise.

I continued in this struggle of pretence versus truth for more than ten years. Then I was introduced to the Truth and it was the Truth that set me free to be my true authentic self.

The Problem with Mantras 

Mantras are a group of self-elevating affirmations that one might repeat to oneself over and over while in a state of induced relaxation. These words are often directed by someone other than yourself like a life coach or a guru who tells you what you should be saying to yourself.

The Solution 

Jesus told his disciples to follow him. After three years of teaching them and training them, He performed the ultimate sacrifice for them so that they could access Him and His Father through the Holy Spirit by dying on the cross for them (and the whole world) to pay the way. Then He resurrected from the dead and spent fifty more days with them to fill them in on the rest of the story. He commissioned them to go and make disciples, teaching them everything they’d learned to build His kingdom. We now have the same access to Him and His Father through the Holy Spirit because they did what He asked and left us a living record we call the Bible.

Jesus opened a door of access to the all knowing, all present, all powerful God. Because of this open door created by shedding His blood on the cross for us we have access to the whole truth which is greater than anything we could make up on our own. He knows just what we need to know to overcome our pain, our weaknesses and our greatest fears.

In my healing journey, I have discovered again and again that the truth trumps the facts which can be misinterpretted and the only one who knows the whole truth is God. He has a perspective that can completely overturn our core beliefs. When this happens, we can turn in a new direction with much more ease and the need for repetitious sentences is reduced sometimes to zero. There are times He simply puts the facts into perspective in a way you could not understand before. AFTER the new viewpoint is received, then repeating the new understanding can be helpful to retain what you have learned.

One example of this in my own life came when God gave me a new perspective of my marriage. I felt like a failure even after trying consistently to make my husband happy by trying every idea I could manage to no avail. I still felt like a failure even after all the prayers of repentance and all the forgiving prayers I’d prayed and following all the formulas for a happy marriage that I found.

I felt I had completely failed until I heard that inner voice I’ve learned to recognize as God’s. He said, “You did not fail. Nor did you make a mistake in marrying him. I gave him as a gift to you and you were a gift to him. What each of you did with your gift was up to each of you. I know that you did the best you could considering your limitations and I am satisfied that you gave it your personal best and grew up along the way. Now, I am a God of choice and your husband made his. Will you please let him go?”

One simple statement can erase years of torment. That single conversation made it possible to release my ex-husband to his own choices and close the door to a thirty year relationship. It healed many hurts and made forgiving him for the many years of pain I felt during our marriage so much easier. I was freed from the need to compel the man to believe that I’d loved him and to prove my worth as a wife even when he’d made it clear that he didn’t want me.

It is my prayer for each of you reading this that you would find such truth from the One who is Truth. I pray that you will learn to hear that voice and recognize when He is speaking to you and that The Truth will set you free.

Start Dealing with the Poverty Spirit

I know that there are lots of people who feel poor whether or not they are. Many people my age are the children of those growing up during the great depression of the 1920’s and 1930’s. At that time if someone got paid one dollar a day they were doing well, especially if they could keep that job. Those children grew up feeling very poor. There was no money for “extras” like ice cream and fancy clothes. Many families were larger then and hand- me-down clothes were common from older siblings to younger siblings.

When my parents had young children, families were smaller yet my mother still believed we were poor as well. She went out to work for most of the years we grew up and worked past the age of sixty-five saving and saving in Guaranteed Investment Certificates. Financial security was very important to her. I grew up in that environment and during my entire married life, felt that we were very poor even though my husband made a very good wage as an accountant.

One year while I was apprenticing in a healing prayer ministry, it was my turn to have my own healing session as a requirement of the program. As I asked the Lord what He wanted to heal in my life, the issue of poverty came up. I’ve always loved being generous and found all kinds of non-financial ways to give. I grew a big garden to share produce, shared clothes, food, and even furniture I built. I shared my time and talents and knowledge base with scores of people, but I never felt free to share money. My husband had control over our finances and had budgeted our giving and so I never gave much more than change in the Salvation Army pot at Christmas time or the penny drive at school.

As I mentioned this to my prayer partner, I felt a flood of emotions flow over me. I felt shame and condemnation. It felt like I was in this prison of poverty and I would never be free. By this time, I had given up a career in nursing to become a full time stay-at-home mom. I actually had no real income; only a couple of hobbies that paid for themselves.

I found the source of these feelings of poverty and shame to be a theme throughout my lifetime. There was no obvious beginning event to this feeling of being poor. It seemed it had always been a part of my life.

I asked the Lord for His perspective. I heard a scripture from Psalm 37:25, “I have been young and now I am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his descendants begging bread.”

“But Lord,” I protested, “surely some of the righteous since that writing have starved to death. Look at all those who starved in concentration camps?”

Then I heard Him ask me, “Has anyone in your mother or father’s family starved to death?”

Thinking of my family history I said, “No, I don’t think so.”

Fear Passed from Generation to Generation

“Then why do you think they were afraid of poverty?” I wondered about this for a few minutes. It occurred to me that perhaps this was one of those fears passed on from generation to generation. During the great depression, some people probably did starve to death. I had certainly heard stories about my grandparents handing out mashed potato sandwiches for lunch at school and being ashamed of their poverty.

I felt led to ask God to forgive me for not trusting Him to provide for me. I asked God to forgive anyone in my family bloodline who may have had the same problem. I asked God to break off all shame from our family for being poor at one time or another. Symbolically, I put Jesus and His cross between me and any spirit of poverty or related shame. In the name and power of Jesus Christ, I cast off of me anything that would make me feel poor.

I did feel lighter after that. I can’t say the whole issue was solved in that one set of prayers, but I no longer felt that I could not give money and I began giving more than just pocket change.

At that point I was able to trust the Lord more. I found God able and willing to provide more than enough. There were other points of prayer about the poverty spirit to come. Yet it was a good starting point for me. Since then, I’ve seen supernatural provision of money on more than one occasion and I know that God is my provider as it says in the Bible in Psalm 68:10 “Your people settled in it, and from your bounty, God, you provided for the poor.”

I have been in poverty and I have been in monetary wealth, but abundance is of the Lord. It is my hope that if you have a feeling of always being poor or not having enough to keep let alone share, that you will find your way on your own healing journey.

Helping you find healing from the inside out