Posts Tagged ‘inner healing’

Grace is everything. If I could only grasp the full power of grace every day, nothing could cause lasting harm. Grace diffuses anger, despair, disappointments and resentments which all fuel bitterness. And bitterness hurts everyone.

Hebrews 12:15
Exercise foresight and be on the watch to look [after one another], to see that no one falls back from and fails to secure God’s grace (His unmerited favor and spiritual blessing), in order that no root of resentment (rancor, bitterness, or hatred) shoots forth and causes trouble and bitter torment, and the many become contaminated and defiled by it.

For some years I worked with the Elijah House ministries; I read many of the John and Paula Sandford books, I participated in the Basic School which taught the essentials of prayer for healing and how to recognize and address bitter root judgments. I met with my own counselor for several years.

So many early bitter roots are like persistent weeds in the garden that grow very deeply in the soil. They cannot be merely cut at ground level, they must be pulled out, otherwise, they will tend to grow back, sometimes larger, stronger, and even deeper than before.

Hurtful instances in our past act in the same way and can derail a life. My own life was on a treadmill of resentments about situations that were mostly outside my direct control: my father’s alcoholism and death when I was a child, my mother’s mental illness, our relative poverty, my brilliant brother, just to name a few. I had an internal tirade always playing in my head: why these parents, why this family, why this city, why this school, why this husband, and why this body. And the follow up to “why” became “if only” — if only I had more money, if only I had a different family, etc. The litany was endless. And each verse dug my roots in deeper and deeper.

When I began the healing process of allowing the Spirit to weed my garden heart, I thought I would explode into a million pieces. I had held on to those issues for so long that I didn’t know who I would be without them.

Although I was able to release many of my old hurts and habits, I recognize now that a life picks up other hurts along the way. Not all bitter roots come from childhood or even teen years, they can find yummy soil ten years ago or five or even yesterday. How deeply they are planted and how much I water my bitter roots will determine how easily they can be removed.

This is where grace comes in, through the love and power of the Holy Spirit, the work of the Messiah, and the intention of God to make all things well.

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Intriguing instruction to be watchful and thankful in prayer. I mean, these aren’t two words one would normally put together for something as benign-seeming as prayer. And yet, it’s not the first time Paul speaks of danger in the prayer closet or the necessity for alertness.

Colossians 4:2
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.

But is there danger in my prayers? Not hardly. At least, not at first blush. I rarely consider myself to be in deep spiritual battle. Or am I?

Is it possible that mere steadfastness, faithfulness, and consistency can make waves in the spiritual realm? Is it possible that I am part of the “transformational” by holding up my friends and family in the Light of the Christ? Is it possible that my quiet moments of deep connection to the Spirit have resounding impact? And if that is so, is it possible that there is push back that manifests in ways I do not realize?

Perhaps this is what it means to be watchful in prayer: becoming aware of the imprint of God. Watch for movement in the spirit realm. Allow the spiritual senses to become alive in prayer: not just seeing with the inner eye, but also hearing, tasting, smelling, and feeling.

One of my all-time favorite devotionals is You Set My Spirit Free: A 40-Day Journey in the Company of John of the Cross, arranged and paraphrased by David Hazard [1994]: “He creates in you the desire to find Him [the Spirit] and run after Him–to follow wherever He leads you, and to press peacefully against His heart wherever He is . . . Press, and keep pressing into His heart, until you have pressed the image of His invisible nature into the substance of your soul.”

Be watchful. When this happens, there could be fireworks.

We are told in various places throughout the New Testament to give thanks, from Romans 14:6 to I Thessalonians 5:18 to Revelation 11:17. Give thanks.

I have always thought of this as something I must do willfully and consciously, but today I imagine what it would be like to be overcome with a spirit of thanksgiving. To give thanks out of a heart overflowing with an appreciation for the presence of God.

So then, the essence is to “be watchful” in order to experience the fullness of the Spirit which automatically leads to thankfulness. That’s good.

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God's Light by Max Ash

God is light [I John 1:5]; God is love [I John 4:8]. And I am offered a chance to live my life in the circle of both: light and love. I ask for God’s indwelling and both are available to me. So, why do I continue to shutter the light and edit the love? Why do I “kick against the goads?”

Ephesians 5:8-10
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord.

This is the prayer that Mother Teresa and her Missionaries of Charity would recite each day (by John Henry Cardinal Newman)

Dear Jesus,
Help me to spread Your fragrance everywhere I go.
Flood my soul with Your spirit and life.
Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly,
that my life may only be a radiance of Yours.
Shine through me, and be so in me
that every soul I come in contact with may feel Your presence in my soul.

Let them look up and see no longer me,
but only Jesus!
Stay with me and then I shall begin to shine as you shine,
so to shine as to be a light to others;
the light, O Jesus will be all from You;

none of it will be mine;
it will be you, shining on others through me.
Let me thus praise You the way You love best,
by shining on those around me.
Let me preach You without preaching,
not by words but by my example,
by the catching force of the sympathetic influence of what I do,
the evident fullness of the love my heart bears to You.

It’s a process, that’s why. It’s a daily prayer, a daily unveiling, an awareness, a practice.

I’m thinking this is more difficult alone than in a group. The whole point of fellowship with other light-minded people is to help keep the light shining, to fan the flame, to encourage the embers, to light the darkness.

“Kindle in me the fire of your love . . . ”


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Easy, peasy. Just live by the Spirit and all shall be well. Why? Because the Spirit can crowd out my desire for all the other stuff. The Spirit is big, a consuming fire, a powerhouse, a counselor, a wise and holy One. So what’s the problem? Apparently, the Spirit is also a bit finicky about the conditions of its dwelling place.

Galatians 5:16-17a
So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature.

Photo by Cherie Stangis

If I were to compare my inner habitat to a house with many rooms, I think, most of the rooms would be considered pig pens while the Spirit is hanging out in one of the closets. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve seen this closet. I’ve even been in there. It’s immaculate, orderly, clean, and full of light and color. Additionally, it’s not unlike the Tardis from Dr. Who: once I step in there, it’s a lot bigger on the inside than it looks from the outside.

All right, it might not be quite as bad as that. I mean, there have been seasons of my life, when the Spirit had an expanded domicile into some of the other rooms, but I haven’t been very cooperative and a lot of those rooms have gone back to their original condition. You know how it is, the Spirit wants to paint a room yellow and I’m in the mood for red. So what does polite Spirit do? Lets me have a red room with all that goes with it. One difference, the Spirit doesn’t hang in there with me. My choice. My free will. My loss.

Intellectually I understand all of this. If I just let the Spirit re-decorate the whole place, without my interference, it would look and feel so much different. And the more I consider and study, I’m sure a wholly Spirit-run establishment would become a miracle-working address (mountain moving and so forth).

Face it. I still want to be in control (Harumph! As though I have “interior” decorating experience). I’m not that different from the original Sarah (you know the story: “let me show you how to make God’s promise happen with little Hagar here”). [Genesis 16]

Red, green, and black rooms, all stuffed with furniture while windows are covered with heavy blinds, and electronic gizmos sit in every corner. You know, of course, every room has a refrigerator and a pantry too. There’s one room that has nothing in it but disappointments. Another room has chalk boards filled with all the things I’ve said to hurt others. Another room has pictures of people in my past plastered everywhere; I go in there for target practice. But undoubtedly, the biggest room of all is the courtroom. I have my own dais and gavel and when the memories float by, I pound out my judgments. It’s quite crowded and noisy in there.

How do I begin to tackle all of this? Mind boggling. Frightening. HUGE.

Does this sound possible? First, I find my way back to the Spirit Closet and call that “home base” (need to be sure I can get there from anywhere). Then, from there, with the closet light shining out, I will start on the immediate area near the closet. One square foot at a time.

In the organization business, there are only three choices: throw it away, file it, or act on it. Although I know that courtroom is the biggest and hardest room to clean up, I won’t jump in there just yet. I will start smaller and get a little experience behind me, particularly the “throwing away” choice.

If I give over each of these rooms to the Spirit, I know, most of the stuff I’ll find is junk. I’ve been hoarding. I know it. But, confession, I’m pretty sure, when I get to those really messy rooms, I’ll probably need some help. That’s where community comes in. Can I count on you to help?

It’s time for a little Light housekeeping.

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How do we know? Isn’t it highly presumptuous to imagine I can actually know the deeper things of God? The answer: I can’t know, except in one regard, the mystery of a Redeemer given for humankind . . . given for me.

I Corinthians 2:10
” . . . but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.”

So many mysteries in our world: some live while others die; some are weak while others are strong; some are rich while others are poor; and some are sensitized to the Spirit while others are not.

Why did it all make sense to me back in 1979? Why did words/ideas from the Bible suddenly jump out to me that day and speak to my inner being? I stepped over the line from unbelief to belief. At first it made no sense and the next day it did. My inner eye was opened. My mind was reset. My spirit found connection.

That place is the first step toward the deep things of God. That was my first mystery revealed. I couldn’t answer any of those other questions for anyone else. I only knew that moment was real for me. I encountered a real God: a real Spirit.

Where is reality? For my work, I just read a book that received the 2009 Printz Award for distinction in young adult literature called Going Bovine by Libba Bray. It’s not a particularly easy book to read nor is it particularly spiritual. But there is a current of thought through it about the world within. The boy is quite ill with Creuzfeld Jakob’s disease (Mad Cow disease) and is confined to a hospital bed and mostly unconscious. During that time, he lives through a great adventure, a quest. Was it real?

And so it is with the deep things of God. These things are also real and beyond our three dimensional understanding of time and space. We must let go to know. We must let go to live that bigger life within.

That which is redeemed is within.

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Here it is: God takes the most lowly and insignificant thing/person and breaks apart the norm, the traditional, the comfort zones, and the “interpreted now.” He takes “what is not” and creates something new: from nothing–something.

I Corinthians 1:28
He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, . . .

There is a wonderful show on the History channel about the Shroud of Turn called the Real Face of Jesus. I recommend it. A scientific study has been going on for the last several years and only now are these results being made public. In the end, they still have no idea HOW the image manifested on the shroud. One theory is that it was created by a tremendous release of energy or light. Not too surprising for a believer to accept, more difficult for a team of scientists. They are faced with the power of “what was not” becoming something.

Healings are the same thing: bringing into our world something that was not: healthy body parts and organs.

This is all miracle stuff and the point is? Only God can make these things happen. Here’s our job, those called as witnesses, we are simply to look and acknowledge those moments when “what is not” is replaced by “what is.”

Sometimes these are physical transformations, but they can also be spiritual and mental transformations. Ask. Confess. Wait.

“And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.” [Romans 8:11]

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I just realized I’ve been confusing God’s gifts with God’s tools.

Romans 11:29
For God’s gifts and His call are irrevocable. [He never withdraws them when once they are given, and He does not change His mind about those to whom He gives His grace or to whom He sends His call.] [Amplified]

The parable of the talents has always been a challenge for me as I thought of those talents as gifts (like intelligence, creativity, good health, etc.) [Matthew 25:14-30] And how important it has been for me to invest these talents wisely that they may bring forth fruit. Obviously, I don’t want to be the one-talent guy who gets the outer darkness treatment.

But as I pondered verses 11:28-29, I realized the talent parable is not about irrevocable gifts. It’s about “tools” that God gives to help us accomplish whatever is laid out before us. He gives challenges and he gives equipment.

But the irrevocable gifts are wrapped up in “call.” This truth is foundational from the times of Noah and Abraham. The covenants of God are eternal. We will not be destroyed and if we accept the call to God Presence within, that gift is also eternal.

I have been too centered on what my senses can experience and not given enough place to the spirit. This is where the words of eternity have meaning. This is where faith can grow. This is where assurance, trust, and hope find root.

Glory be to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Alleluia. Amen.

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