Healing of the Soul


And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. Genesis 2:7

This scripture details the very beginning of humanity. It gives us a glimpse into our created nature. We are products of two realities:

Earth and Breath

Our bodies are carbon based. Carbon is a key component of all known life on Earth. Complex molecules are made up of carbon bonded with other elements, especially oxygen, hydrogen and nitrogen. Carbon is abundant on Earth. 

But, we are also a product of breath. Whose breath? God’s breath. While we do know that every created creature was made of Earth, we (humans) are the only creature we see made alive by the breath of God. The Bible tells us that God’s breath made us a “living being”.

Being: existence, conscious, nature

So, to know what it means “to be”, we must know more about the breath that brought us to life.

You will notice that the carbon based body did not “live” until the breath of God entered it. Therefore, the true life force of humanity is found in the presence of the breath of God. No breath – no life.

What is this breath?

psyxḗ (from psyxō, “to breathe, blow” which is the root of the English words “psyche,” “psychology”) – soul (psyche); a person’s distinct identity (unique personhood), i.e. individual personality.

(psyxē) corresponds exactly to the OT /phágō (“soul”). The soul is the direct aftermath of God breathing (blowing) His gift of life into a person, making them an ensouled being.

So, you could define the breath that made us alive as “soul” which is our individual personality and our sense of self. The Bible tells us that we are created in the image of God. We are made with characteristics that identify us as made like Him.

The Godhead is a tri-part unity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Humanity is not just a soul and body, but the Bible tells us that we are also made of three parts:

May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thess. 5:23 NIV


This scripture speaks of wholeness. The word used for “blameless” here actually means “whole”. We know that the Hebrew mindset attributes the God of peace (Shalom) as the God of wholeness: nothing missing, nothing lacking.

The “spirit” of man, along with the soul make up the immaterial parts of man. The “spirit” is the element that gives us the ability to have a relationship with God. God is Spirit, so to fellowship with and know Him, we must also contain a spirit. The Bible tells us that believers are spiritually alive and that unbelievers are spiritually dead. So, our spirit is present but operating in darkness when not in fellowship with God.

One more important scripture:

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12 NIV

This scripture tells us that the soul and spirit are two different entities. It also tells us that the soul and the spirit can agree or disagree.

This is where problems occur for believers! If our spirit is united with Christ through the presence of the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit is saying one thing and our soul, which is our sense of self is believing something contrary, well, we’ve got confusion, double-mindedness, lack of peace, disobedience, you name it!

You see, our sense of self is expressed through our beliefs and our emotions. Our soul can be wounded by life or others. If our soul is wounded, it can carry pain, fear, anger, depression, and beliefs that are shaped by the bad experiences we have been through.

So, the Word of God can be speaking truths about us and we can believe lies at the same time. When we believe lies or are living in internal pain, fear, depression, anxiety, then our soul needs healing.

I believe that this is the cause of much of the difficulty we experience walking with God.

Next time we are together, I want to look at what God has provided to deliver the soul.

 

Fastest Way to Change


If your relationships are not working, here’s a fast way to create change. Notice: this will first create change in you. The changes in you will be noticed by others and create a pathway for God to work in them. It removes you from being part of the problem and makes you part of the solution. It’s like the “rock in the pond”. You throw a rock into a pond. The rock enters at just one point, but the ripple effect is felt all throughout the pond. Let God change you through submission to Him and the ripple effect will be felt by everyone around you. While I can guarantee that everyone will notice and have to respond to the changes in you, I cannot guarantee that everyone will change for the better. But, this is the fastest way to find out what is going to happen in your relationships and the quickest and surest way to your peace.

Submission to God requires:

Humility: I agree with God’s assessment of who I am.

Repentance: I turn away from lies, attitudes, actions, and outlooks that do not reflect God’s Word.

Release: I release my relationships to the power and authority of God. I stop trying to change others and I stop judging them.

Obedience: I put all my energies into seeing myself become a Spirit walking, Word obeying, child of God.

No Rationalizing or Denying: I give up denying my sinful behavior or rationalizing my sins because of what others have done to me or because of bad circumstances.

If you use this as another manipulation technique to get others to do what you want, this will fail. But, if you do it because it is the right thing to do for you, then you have a chance to see God restore you and everything around you!

The Trash Man


Early this morning, I was sitting in my normal place of prayer in my home. Today is trash day. It’s the day in which the waste company comes to our neighborhood and carries off the garbage produced by the neighborhood over the last week.

As I sat there, I began to pray for these workers. I expressed my thankfulness for the job that they do each day. And, I began to think about the “Man” who comes continually to my house to carry off the “trash” that I accumulate in my life.

Trash is produced as a product of living. Only dead people produce zero trash. As much as I want to live “green” – with little negative effect on my environment – I still realize that if I’m alive I will produce some trash or refuse.

We want to live in such a way that we have as little negative effect upon those in our world as possible. We want to be able to produce things that are good for meeting needs that will be able to be “recycled” and be refilled for use over and over again. Meeting needs – positive impact – little trash. It’s a noble goal for living.

As much as I long to produce zero refuse in my life I realize that is not a realistic goal. Living produces consumables, non-perishables and “throw aways”. Jesus knew this when He taught His disciples this prayer:

“Thy kingdom come” – “Lord, give us the non-perishable”

“Give us this day our daily bread” – “Lord, provide the consumables we need”

“Forgive us our debts” – “Lord, please take away my trash”

Unattended trash causes disease. It must be hauled away or it will have long term effects.

Next time you see the men take away your trash, thank them for their service.

And, thank God for the “Man” who hauls away our trash to the incinerator of Calvary.

 

Sounds of Stone


 

 

A stone upon a hole

The roll damns up the soul

A clock that has no face

Eternity absent grace

Death will always be

Its captives never free

Son of Man lays in the space

Vanish without a trace

Enter to see no more

Stone blockades His door

But how does stone make a sound

With no one else around

To open up the hole

To free imprisoned soul

 

Happy Resurrection!!!!

The Tree


 

 

Underneath the spreading tree

 mixtures of both light and leaf

Beautiful but deceptive still

A tease to find what I long to feel

Childlike wonder – where did you go

Sifting shapes captive to the blow

So afraid to make the choice

When as a child calls like a voice

Get higher to a better place

To feel the sun upon my face

A hill would be closer to

Sun and sky the open blue

To the hill I run to find

Another tree of a different kind

This one stark marred by death

No life or limb no leaf or breath

Nothing to block the light I seek

No burn just warm upon the cheek

The dichotomy is hard to miss

The green disappoints the death is bliss

Living life under the tree

One of the world one of Calvary

The King of Soul


The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows. Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. 

The Twenty-Third Psalm. One of the most famous and loved passages of Scripture. When you have given your heart to Jesus, His Holy Spirit enters your life. Upon entry, the Spirit takes control. There is nothing wrong or missing in the “spirit” part of your life.

But, there are other parts of your nature. There’s your physical body and there is your soul. What is your soul? Lots of debate about that. But, your soul is the part of you that makes you unique. It contains your personality and your sense of self. When you are wounded by others, you feel the pain. Often, your sense of self is negatively affected by these wounds, and your personality can even be affected in the sense that you may become more introverted or less free to express yourself. So, you can be a Christian and in a good relationship with God and still be suffering in the soul.

The Twenty-Third Psalm has great news for you. It tells us that God is the restorer of our soul. What does that mean? It literally means that God “brings my soul back”. It means that God heals the hurt you have experienced, empowers you to forgive the offender and brings your soul back to health. While your memory can still recall the painful experience, your soul is not held prisoner to the pain and life controlling lies that where created as a result of the event. Your personality can be restored to liberty – restored to the place that you can function as “you” without the restrictions of fear, self loathing, and self sabotage.

How is your soul? Is it in need of being brought back from where life has taken it? God will go to your soul and lead it into health again. No more negative, controlling emotions or thoughts. No more self hatred and “shooting yourself in the foot”. No more going through life without a sense of wonder and joy.

It’s your time! God is the Shepherd of your personality and sense of self. Let Him perform a miracle there for you!

I’m Saved: Why is it still so difficult?


John, chapter three records a conversation about salvation between Jesus and Nicodemus, a Pharisee and a ruler of the Jews. But, ultimately what Jesus is speaking of in this conversation only begins at salvation. Jesus is speaking to Nicodemus about something much more than salvation, He is speaking to Nicodemus of new life. Salvation is a “one time” experience. New life is what comes after salvation. It is the different way in which we process and approach life once in the kingdom of God.

Jesus used the metaphor of being “born again” to describe this phenomenon. Nicodemus understood the process of natural birth, so the concept was familiar to him. But, the process was mysterious. How could a man enter a second time into the womb to be born?

Natural birth and spiritual birth has some things in common which is why Jesus used the metaphor. When a baby is born, it comes into the world as a product of two differing matters: spirit and earth.

Remember when God created Adam? He formed him from the dust of the ground and breathed into him the breath of life. When a baby is born, the same process takes place: the physical forms around the spirit. Life is a product of both realities.

A baby is born into this world with little knowledge. Everything that is learned that forms a child’s psyche is a product of relationship.

A child is given parents who teach the child the basics of life. When I speak of the basics, I’m speaking of much more than intellectual learning. I’m speaking of the things imparted through which the child will interact with the measure of faith given him by God.

His trust level, his knowledge of love, his confidence in exploring the unknown, his understanding of the world he lives in, his ability to rebound from failure, his understanding of purpose and success – all these and a few more are the basics of life. These things will determine his level of faith, his ability to forgive, his ability to relate to others, his confidence and security, and his hope for the future.

God created a baby as almost a “blank slate”. He has no filters through which he receives the input from his parents. He receives it unfiltered based upon certain factors:

He is a product of his parents, so no one knows him better.

His parents are smarter than he is therefore he has no reference from which to question what they teach him.

These factors cause the parent’s teaching to go straight to the heart of the child without interference. Therefore, whatever the parents teach the child – lies or truth – are hardwired into forming the child’s psyche.

Isn’t this a great process for godly parenting? The child receives without interference.

Once you are born again, the process begins again.

You are born again as a product of two different realities: spirit and earth. You are a spirit controlled being living inside a physical body. Your body didn’t die when you were born again, it continues to live so the battle between the two differing motives continues just as you see in a child. We call it the terrible two’s!

Your salvation comes through the fact that the Holy Spirit controls the decisions. This is what creates new life and what causes us to experience kingdom living.

The conflict we experience as we walk in newness of life basically comes from two sources:

The conflicting motives of the physical and the spiritual.

The basics of life taught us before our salvation that do not originate in kingdom reality.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God–this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:1-2

To offer our bodies as a living sacrifice – with a view to be holy and pleasing to God is what it means to be saved. There is no other acceptable worship recognized as true and proper. Until this is done, salvation has not truly taken place.

As we live in sacrifice of our pleasures and our desire to be holy and pleasing to God, we find this takes care of the conflict between the motives of the physical and the spiritual.

But, something else must be dealt with as well.

The basics of life we have been taught before salvation have caused us to conform to a certain way of life. These basics have determined how much trust we will have which affects our faith level; they affect how much we will believe promises, what right we have to expect good; how much love we receive and give, how much mercy we extend; how much hope we have; how many chances we will take.

So, we don’t come into our relationship with God completely unfiltered like a natural baby. We come into our relationship with God carrying experiential truths hardwired into our psyche that have dictated how we live and what we expect!

Therefore, for us to fully experience the new life of the kingdom of God, we must have our minds renewed at the places that they do not say “Amen” to biblical truth!

Prove – dokimos: say “yes” to. To know the truth of something through examination.

Romans 12: 1-2 spoke of proof. If biblical truths have been lived before you, they are more proven and easier to say “yes” to. You know the good, the freedom, and the veracity of their nature.

If demonic and ungodly lies have been imparted to you, then your experience may fight against the truth of what the Bible says.

How many of you have experienced this battle between the Word of God and your experiences?

What do you do?

Repent: desire a change to kingdom living. Pray healing over yourself. Get others who you love and trust involved. 

Renounce: come out of agreement with ungodly ways of thinking.

Replace: find out what the Word of God says about you and choose it as your reference for life!

Receive: experience the power of the new life found in the Word of God!

The Loins of the Mind


We are tri-part creations: spirit, soul, and body. Trials can attack us at a couple of levels of life or they can attack us at all three levels. While the attack may come in one or more of the levels of our being, the battle is usually waged and, I might say – won or lost in the mind.

The mind is the center of reason. It is there that the devil attacks us with his messages of temptation, fear, and doubt. While lustful temptations may begin in another part of our being other than the mind, the decision to give in or stand is usually made in the mind.

I’m not saying that we win spiritual victories through “mind over matter”. The heart is the center of our affections. It is in the heart that we love or lust. Jesus seeks to be Lord over our heart because then, He is the Lord over our loves. By being Lord over our loves, He controls our behaviors. But, the data coming from these areas is all sifted through in the mind. The mind is the area in which we are aware of the battle for control.

The Bible tells us, that when in suffering, we must “gird up the loins of our mind”.

I bet you didn’t know that your mind had loins?

What does that mean?

anaznnymi (from /aná, “up to down” and /znnymi, “gird, take out slack”) – properly, raise up a tunic (= “tighten the belt”), “girding oneself”; (figuratively) getting ready (prepared) to move quickly, i.e. where someone needs to go and arrive at without delay (used only in 1 Pet 1:13).

In Bible days, people wore tunics down to their feet. If they had to move fast, they pulled the tunic up and tucked it in their belt so that their clothing would not inhibit their movement.

This literally means that we need to take control over our minds. In a trial, thoughts will come from different directions: from God and from the flesh and the devil. We are to be prepared to move in the will of God and not allow ungodly thoughts to trip us up.

In regard to our thoughts, the Bible tells us to “be sober”. That means that we must be on guard for the illusions of sin and the irrationality that comes along with pain in the midst of trials. Sin calls to us as a way out of our pain. Irrationality lies to us about the motives of God, and the duration and hopelessness of our situation. It leads us away from the word of God to counterfeit solutions.

Our hope must be fully set upon the grace of God to be brought to us upon the revelation of Jesus Christ! When will He be revealed? He determines that. But, until then, I will rest in hope!

Painful trials cut a deeper pathway for a life of faith in God’s word. But, they also carry within them, due to our own lusts, the temptation to return to a life of conformity to our old, worldly ways. Trials are likened to a “wilderness” time in our lives.

The Characteristics of a Wilderness Time

  1. Sense of Lack
  2. Pain/Discomfort
  3. Feelings of being “out of control”

These characteristics bring to the surface every strength and weakness we have! The wilderness “highlights” cravings. Whatever you crave for will be revealed in the wilderness!

God uses “wilderness” times or times of trial to bring about the outcome found in 1 Peter 1:22:

  1. Purification of the soul – death of controlling, sinful cravings.
  2. Lordship of the Spirit – obedience to the Word of God.
  3. Sincere love for God and others – the death of selfish motivations.

You could describe the sum of these changes in yourself as being “pure in heart”. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God!

The product is holiness: a life that is not directed by corruptible influences but by the incorruptible word of God.

And, what endures forever?

The Word of God!

This means that we have moved from being “hearers of the word to being doers of the word”!

This entire process was aided by the use of trials!

Trials and Tribulations


You may be going through a hard time right now. You may be feeling as if you are going through a test and you are failing! If you are struggling in a hard time, I want to share some things that I hope will help. The Bible calls hard times “trials”.

First, let’s define what the Bible is talking about when it mentions a trial.

Trial – temptation or a test – similar to an experiment to determine the validity of something.

Now, there is a difference between the biblical definition of temptation and a test. In its truest sense, a temptation is when we are enticed by our own lust to do evil. Often, the instrument used to tempt us has been placed before us with evil intent.

Here is something to remember about temptation:

James 1:13-17: “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. The when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.”

If you are being tempted to do evil, God is not doing the tempting. It is our own lust which is enticing us to do evil. No matter how beautiful or desirable the temptation is, if it is enticing us to do evil, it is not from God!

Trials are a different matter. The intent of a trial is to test the validity of our faith; and while doing so, purify and refine our faith. Just as gold is proved valid and purified by fire, so is our faith. Just as heat removes impurities from gold, so the pressure of a trial is intended to remove impurities from our lives.

That doesn’t mean that you may not experience temptation in your trial. The definition of a trial we just reviewed actually tells us that in some cases, both senses – temptation and testing can be present. But, if temptation arises in our trial, it is not originating from God, it is originating from our flesh. The trial is only revealing what is already present and the intent of the Holy Spirit is to destroy the evil in the fire of God!

Here are some other truths 1 Peter tells us about trials:

  1. Trials come in different forms.

In chapter one, verse six, it says that we go through “various trials”. Each trial is different but there is a purpose in every trial you face. Some trials come as a response to our faith in the form of persecution. We are persecuted because of our faith in Jesus. The trial that comes as a result of our faith in Jesus serves as a testimony to His glory. It confronts the world with His reality and lordship. These persecutions also serve as “focus events” in our lives: destroying all else but the desire for His will! They also are collecting for us great rewards in heaven!!

Some trials come as a result of adverse circumstances. Such trials also have within them the power to bring focus to our lives; to sharpen our intent to live for Jesus no matter what comes our way. Trials of circumstance purify our lives and sharpen our faith.

  1. Trials come as needed.

Verse six also says that we go through trials “if need be”. Remember, there is a purpose in each trial you face. Things are not happening to you “haphazardly”. God is in control of your life. God’s intent is for you to be strengthened by what you go through. Trials have no other purpose than to strengthen and purify us and to bring glory to Jesus!

  1. Trials are painful.

Verse six also says that trials can bring us grief. Fire is hot, is it not? If you touch fire, does it burn you? Does fire have a purpose? Yes, it does! Submission is recognized in our lives as genuine when we face suffering and pain in the knowledge that God is in control of what is happening to us. We hate pain, yet pain is a great refiner and a great tool of focus. We try to avoid pain at all costs. The avoidance of all pain in life seems like a lofty goal, but is a fool’s goal to turn life into something it is not. The desire to avoid all pain will also lead us to the avoidance of all that can grow us and the avoidance of that which exalts God. God uses both good and bad in our lives to bring what is good for us to us. This is not popular preaching but it is real and mature. We live in the presence of imperfection and the flesh and the devil, so pain is inevitable. God, use it to bring glory to you!

  1. Trials have a time limit.

No trial lasts forever. I repeat: no trial lasts forever. Even if you have some type of handicap, that will disappear in the light of the glory of God! Trials last for “a little while”. We cannot sell out eternity and the blessings of God for the temporary. Get it in your mind: there will come a day that what you are going through will be over! If you don’t have a vision of the future, you will sell out the present! God has His hand on the time limit of your trial! Trust His timing!

  1. Trials test the genuineness of your faith.

How do you know something is real? You test it. How do you know something is operating according to design? You test it. How do we know our faith is founded on Jesus alone? It is tested.

  1. Trials deliver the soul.

In the presence of the fire of your trial, every love, every leaning toward a certain response, every bad attitude, every excuse, every lie, everything that you have a tendency to lean on and depend on other than Jesus, will be exposed and burned off of you. Deliverance comes in different forms, but this is one form which God does use in our lives. When your trial is over, the goal is for you to be more like Christ!

The Bible gives us this perspective on trials:

2 Corinthians 4:16-18: “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

Can you see Jesus with you? He’s there so don’t give up! Your hurt is not being wasted. His love cannot allow it. This too will pass and when it does, you will rewarded for your faithfulness and trust in God!