My Testimony about Freemasonry and How It Affected My Life

A guest post by Susan McPherson …

I was born into an upper middle class home, never lacking for anything materially, and yet lacking in spiritual freedom. I felt like I always had a dark cloud over my head growing up as a child. I was probably not depressed but just kind of sad and empty, no joy. And yet, I had all of my physical needs met.

As a teenager I sometimes felt I was going crazy. Not knowing what that was or how to cope with it I just lived with it. I didn’t have much relationship with my two younger brothers, the older being very social and comfortable in crowds and my younger brother being rather shy and socially uncomfortable.

At 15 I went to a youth camp with my church. The Holy Spirit showed up and many were saved and their lives changed. I had received Christ at a young age, but this was the moment I felt He called me out to be His and live for Him, and I did. So began my journey with Jesus, looking to Him to guide me in decisions and choosing to follow Him. I had been brought up in the church so my decision was well received in my family. And, actually, my parents were greatly affected by my new life. As a teenager, I received the baptism in the Holy Spirit, and healing (God grew one of my legs out as it was shorter than the other one), and deliverance. Lots of things were happening in the spiritual realm in the early 70s.

I received a measure of healing in my mind as I sought Him. 2 Timothy 1:7 became very real to me: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (NKJV).

Depression and mental illness seemed to run in our family on my mother’s side. My aunt was depressed, my cousin was having mental problems, my younger brother developed mental problems characterized by hearing voices especially about the end times. I bet my mother was depressed – she didn’t seem very joyful or glad about life.

Thankfully, as I looked to God, He directed my steps and led me to Atlanta, out of college, to be with a Spirit-filled church. I had much growth in a great spiritual family.

I met my first husband in the church. God showed us we were to be married, so we were, and seven years later had our first baby. While he was in the womb, I was attacked one night and something was on me trying to suffocate me. We woke up and did much spiritual warfare thinking this was an attempt from the enemy on my baby’s life. But why was this happening? How did the enemy even have access to come in and do that?

Baby boy was born. Six months later we (my husband, baby, and I) were at the beach with many of our church family members, including our pastor. My husband took off to the beach, got in the water, and was taken out by a riptide and undertow and drowned. Devastation hit my life. I had never had any tragedies in my life. Yes, some of my grandparents had died but that was all. How did this happen, God? How could this have happened!

Thankfully, I had a close walk with Jesus and lots of support from my church family and my natural family. God saw me through this dark time, with me not knowing which way was up some days, and left with a six-month-old to care for by myself.

Fast forward, I met another man in my church and we became engaged and married. Before we were married we had a prayer time together that was very powerful. God showed my future husband that the enemy was trying to get to my baby – it was actually the hand of death. So we did warfare to cancel the assignment over my baby. But again, why was this happening?

To catch up on my family: My cousin who had the mental issues committed suicide, and my younger brother ended up in a mental hospital for a while and had other visits there in the years ahead. I was tormented by fear frequently, my aunt was still suffering with depression, and another cousin was having tormenting issues too, resulting in not being able to sleep.

As my son grew older and I had more children, they were all growing and at different stages. I had been raising them in the Lord, in prayer, in the church (a Spirit-filled church), even home-schooling them. But my husband and I began noticing history repeating itself. As I was sharing with a woman of God one day of some of my struggles, she said (out of the blue), “Do you have Freemasonry in your background?” I said, no, not that I know of. Several weeks or months later I found a picture of my grandfather with a Shriner’s hat on! That’s a high order of Masons. So I began to look into the “fruit” of Freemasonry: premature death, depression, mental illness, suicide, among some of them – which were common in my family on my mother’s side.

Fast forward to when I became the power of attorney for my mother-in-law (from my first husband) and was looking through her papers that I saw her husband was a Mason. He died prematurely, both of his sons died prematurely (one being my husband), and now the enemy was after my baby – now a teenager. So my son was getting it from both sides: father (his grandfather on his biological father’s side) and his great-grandfather on his mother’s side.

So what does this involvement in Freemasonry do? It opens doors for the enemy to have legal rights to torment, which can cause family members to kill themselves and/or the enemy to kill them when the person who was in Freemasonry either pulls out or the descendants don’t carry it on.

Because of all the fruit in my family, and especially in my immediate family with my son’s life being threatened by the enemy, I began to search out how to close doors. It’s not an easy fix. It’s a huge issue and not to be taken lightly.

I was led to some very experienced counselors/prayer ministers who taught me how to repent on behalf of my grandfather and father-in-law (my ancestors) and do a very thorough renunciation. This prayer also included closing doors to the enemy, so that present and future generations don’t have to suffer the torment of depression, mental illness, suicide, and premature death. This renunciation had to be done corporately since the oaths were made corporately. One of the first of many oaths they (the Masons) take is to be hoodwinked, which means “deceived.” So from that point on, all is deception. That’s why this can be so hard to pinpoint.

The first renunciation was done with a group of people, all corporately, in unison, speaking and reading the 11-page “Prayer of Freemasonry Renouncement.” I have done it many times since that first time. I’ve heard it said that one should do it as many times as their ancestor was involved. For example, 18th degree – 18 times; 32nd degree – 32 times. I still do this renunciation corporately every time I have the opportunity. This prayer of renunciation has tremendous spiritual impact, and things just change on behalf of your children and ultimately your generations.

For example, I was able to see how my renunciation prayer affected my son – the son I referred to earlier who was attacked in the womb and had freemasonry on both sides of the family line. He returned safely from two active war zone deployments. During one of those deployments, he was rescued several times from extreme near death encounters. He experienced God’s hand of intervention in those situations. So it was evident that those curses against my son were not in place anymore.

Also, my cousin I referred to who was tormented in the night and couldn’t sleep, she is no longer tormented and is sleeping better. I feel that the renunciation prayer also contributed to her freedom in this area.

If you have any fruit of Freemasonry or know of ancestors in your family that were Masons, seek out help with this. Warning: you cannot do this on your own. The Center for Inner Healing can put you in touch with those who can do this with you in a well-covered (by intercessors), safe place. This “Prayer of Freemasonry Renouncement” has done amazing things in my family. The doors have been shut to the enemy – the tormentor – not only for me but also for all my children.

Thank You, God, for leading my family and me on this journey to freedom from torment. I hope and pray others that have Freemasonry in their generations can identify this in their life and get the freedom that Jesus paid for.

*****

Susan McPherson is a mother of seven and blessed with many beautiful grandchildren. After raising her children on a farm, she and her husband have moved to the mountains, where they are enjoying rest.

Inner Healing Testimony

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How Jesus Healed a Long-Hidden Fear

A guest post by Janet Eriksson …

After nine years in seminary, the big day had come. I was graduating! I should have been excited, and I was. After all the hard work, I could finally celebrate and enjoy the moment.

But as I made my way toward Orlando, Florida for my graduation, I felt something stronger than excitement. It was fear.

Fear? Seriously? What in the world did I have to be afraid of? I had done the hard work already. Successfully completed 96 credit hours of papers and exams. Shown up for classes on campus in Florida and Kentucky, exhausted and disoriented, after driving for hours to and from my home in Georgia.

What was left to be afraid of?

After some reflection, I was able to identify my fear. I was afraid of showing up at the graduation ceremony and not knowing what to do.

Seriously? I’m 53 years old. I’ve traveled all over the world into stranger situations. What in the world?

“I’m pretty sure they will tell you what to do,” said my friend who accompanied me on the trip. “That’s why you’re having rehearsal that morning.”

But as Orlando loomed closer, this knot of fear began to grow. I wanted to enjoy this weekend. Not only was it my graduation celebration. It was also a visit to one of my old home towns of Orlando where I don’t get to visit much anymore. One of my friends had surprised me with a day at Animal Kingdom as well. Surely I could set aside this fear and just enjoy my time.

Inner healing prayer

I tried to do exactly that. I was determined: I will enjoy this weekend. I will not be afraid. And I did have a great time at Animal Kingdom. But whenever the thought of the next day’s events crept into my mind, the knot of fear increased. By the eve of my graduation ceremony, that fear had reached unreasonable proportions.

All along, I had been asking God to help me and was wanting just to trust Him. I kept reminding myself, “God will be with you. What do you have to be afraid of?” But the fear kept growing stronger. Why did it have such a hold of me?

“Why won’t they tell us what to expect?” I kept asking my friend. “Why can’t they send us instructions for the ceremony, so we will be ready?” As if a bunch of graduating students wanted yet another set of instructions to study.

“I’m sure they will tell you at rehearsal,” my friend kept saying.

Finally about 10 pm the night before the ceremony, as the fear began morphing into terror, I asked God what I should have asked all along: “What is going on that makes me so afraid?”

Immediately He showed me. He brought to mind a scene from when I was four years old. I was graduating from nursery school, and I was the “valedictorian.” My teacher asked me to give a speech at graduation, a speech that I wrote myself and rehearsed until I had it memorized.

I was so short that I looked even younger than my four years. My head could barely be seen over the podium. But I wasn’t afraid to address the audience. I have always loved public speaking, even way back then, even as a shy kid. Put me in a room of people I don’t know and ask me to mingle, and I shut down. Put me in front of a crowd and ask me to speak, no problem. I love it and always did.

“Lord, what does that nursery school graduation have to do with my graduation from seminary? I already know I wasn’t afraid to give that speech when I was little. And I’m not even speaking at this graduation.”

As I pressed further in prayer, the Lord brought something to mind that I had not thought of in close to 50 years. I had been afraid at that little nursery school graduation, but it wasn’t the speech that caused my fear. It was my teacher. She never prepped me on what to do logistically – when to stand up, when to approach the podium.

I had tried to ask her for the details. It’s the way I am wired. I have to know how to map things out. I can’t just “show up.” I need some idea of what to expect. Neither my teacher nor my mom seemed to understand that about me.

My teacher kept saying, “Don’t worry. I will cue you.” For a little kid on stage, what does that mean? What’s a cue? Will I know it when I see it? What if I miss it? Is there a backup plan?

As adults, we can look at this situation and realize it’s no big deal. But put yourself in the mind of a four-year-old kid. Everything is riding on this cue, and you don’t even know what a cue is.

All my mom told me was, “Just follow your teacher.”

Great. So I couldn’t even enjoy my nursery school graduation ceremony. Because my eyes were glued to my teacher.

And the stress. Oh my goodness, the stress. My heart pounded every time my teacher made a move. I couldn’t hear her or see her half the time. Why are my fellow students so squirmy? Why won’t they be quiet and hold still? Don’t they know everything is riding on me not missing the cue?

Inner healing from fear
Nursery school graduation 1970. I’m the tiny one in the middle.

Everything I felt in that moment at four years old had been stored away in my heart as a big bundle of fear. It had never been dealt with or resolved. It just got pushed way down into my heart. When my seminary graduation day approached, that door in my heart was unlatched. All of that four-year-old fear rose to the surface.

“Lord Jesus, show me where You were on graduation day when I was four.”

He was right there, kneeling beside me, holding my hand. And smiling the proudest smile I have ever seen.

“I’ll show you what to do,” He said. “And we will go up there together.”

Immediately my entire being was filled with calm and peace. I could breathe. My heart stopped racing and settled into a calm rhythm. I was holding Jesus’ hand. With His big strong hand wrapped around mine, there was no way I could miss my cue. All I had to do was let Him lead me up there to the podium. When I got up to speak, He stood there with me the entire time. Then He led me back to my seat when the speech was over. I didn’t miss a beat because He had my hand in His. And He knew what to do.

Which is exactly how it happened. Because that little nursery school speech in Miami, Florida in 1970 had gone off without a hitch. Jesus had been there with me all along. And now that I knew He was there, and I believed He was more than able to care for me, I could let go of fear.

And just like that, all the fear was gone. Deep breath. Exhale.

“Thank You, Jesus.”

With the help of my friend, I was able to pray through repentance for fear and lack of trust. I was able to forgive my teacher and my mom for not sensing that I needed more help with instructions. Back to the present moment, I was able to forgive the seminary for not telling us much ahead of time. I was able to tell God, “I trust You for the ceremony tomorrow. I just want to enjoy it with You.” And I meant it with my whole peaceful heart.

I was able to sleep well. I woke up refreshed and excited for the day.

When I got to the graduation site, I finally understood the lack of advance instructions. The ceremony was so complicated they could never have explained it ahead of time. If they had tried, no one would have shown up!

But it was so well-planned and implemented. We had lots of leaders guiding us at each stage, numerous prompts and cues, with extra fail-safe measures folded in, and plenty of rehearsal time. I was so impressed by the graduation crew, how well they had planned it out, how diligent they were to triple check that everyone was in the right place at the right time. It was a well-oiled machine.

And Jesus was right there, leading everything and everybody. Smiling, proud as can be of all His kids.

I enjoyed the events of the morning so much. The minute we put on our robes, I was grinning from ear to ear. My excitement was through the roof – as it should have been. I had no worries. And my smile never left my face. It was a day I’m sure I will always remember. And I am so grateful to God for healing my heart from fear so I could enjoy that amazing day with my friends and with Jesus.

*****

Janet Eriksson is a prayer minister, writer, editor, and teacher in Dahlonega, Georgia. She loves conversation with friends, front porch swings, sweet tea, and spending time on lakes and rivers. The author of eight books and editor of many more, Janet blogs and teaches online at https://adventureswithgod.blog/.

Healed of fear

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The Little Secret

Christian inner healing
Photo by Skeeze at Pixabay

A guest post by Karen Castleberry …

Frustration, anguish, and shame permeated my being. How could a seemingly insignificant secret cause such pain?

My nephew moved his family of six across the state line for a new job and a fresh start when illness struck. His wife was taking care of their three little ones at home with health issues. My niece was in the hospital alone. And I couldn’t get there to help. My little secret was exposed. I couldn’t drive on the interstate, or for any distance really, without having a full-blown panic attack.

A coworker tried to comfort me as I sobbed my anguish. She suggested I go to a Christian counselor who is skilled in inner healing. Despite my uncontrollable fear of driving any distance, I was determined to get over this fear. I white-knuckled the 45-minute drive down the interstate to her office. Arriving with numb hands, sweat pouring off of me, and gasping for breath, my journey to inner healing began.

Several months passed, and while I did get a measure of relief, I couldn’t say I was healed. My counselor suggested I take a 12-week course in inner healing and deliverance. My eyes and heart began to open up to God. I cannot remember not knowing about God. I come from a long line of pastors and have been a Christian, I think, since birth. I often envied those that have a distinct before and after testimony, not grasping at the time how blessed I was to grow up in a Christian family.

Over the years my faith in God increased. And a personal relationship with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit slowly developed as I peeled back the layers of inner healing. Learning that God desires to have a personal relationship and is wanting to be invited into every detail of my life was a revelation and a joy. As I studied the Bible, my relationship with God grew and my fear diminished.

Twelve years after my first counseling session I ran into my counselor. She asked if God ever revealed what was the source and origin of my fear of driving distances. Puzzled, I said, “No, He didn’t, but I am able to drive now because I know He is always with me.”

Curious, I asked God what was the source of my fear. Later that day a teacher was describing her experience at the dentist. It hit me that was the source of my fear.

Growing up I had a filling put in nearly every tooth. The visits to the dentist were dreadful. My father’s well-meaning attempt to lessen the trauma only made it worse. We went to a dentist that used what I called goofy gas to calm us while working on our teeth. I was the only one in my whole family who didn’t love it. It made me feel nervous and out of control. The noise of the drill and the light flashing in my eyes sent me into a panic, crying uncontrollably at the end of each session. I was horrified to learn, not long after my last tooth was filled, that my dentist was found dead, in his office, hooked up to the goofy gas.

The panic I felt in the dentist’s chair was the same panic I felt driving on the highway. The drone of the tires, the sunlight flashing through the trees, and the claustrophobic effect of traffic could trigger those traumatic memories. That combination would bring on a panic attack while driving.

I stomped my foot and demanded to know, “Why, God, didn’t You just tell me back in the beginning of this journey and heal me instantly?”

I felt His loving smile and His gentle eyes rest on me as I heard, “My beloved child, you wouldn’t have pursued Me.”

*****

Karen Castleberry is a Missionary of Prayer. She lives with her husband, Gary, and 2 dogs, in a little cottage nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains of North Georgia. Her son, Jeremiah, lives and works nearby. Karen loves reading, writing, photography, knitting, and all things creative. Her greatest joy in life is spending time with Jesus, her family and friends.

Inner healing testimony

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The Ripple Effects of Little Wounds

Christian inner healing
Photo by Skitterphoto at Pixabay

A guest post by Janet Eriksson …

I am always amazed at how much God desires to remove the smallest of wounds from our hearts. I am equally amazed at how much this freedom from a minor childhood incident can change our lives today.

Throughout my adult life, I have undervalued myself in my working life. I also struggle to charge what I’m worth. A friend (a prayer minister) and I were talking about this one day over lunch. I was looking at a particular client writing opportunity, and I was already disqualifying myself, and certainly not wanting to charge a market rate.

“Why do you always undervalue yourself?” my friend said. “You know you can do the work, and you know what it should pay. Why do you always struggle with this? Have you asked God?”

In fact, I hadn’t asked God. However, I had complained to God a lot about this situation, without listening for His response.

She asked if we could pray together.

“Sure.”

God began to show me the root of this problem that had plagued my adult working life. As He peeled back the layers, I saw several incidents of my early adulthood where I had struggled with the same problem. My friend led me in repentance for undervaluing and disqualifying myself. She also prompted me to forgive those who had taken advantage, and especially to forgive myself for selling myself short.

Finally she said, “Why do you always give your authority away?”

Boy, that bumped up against a deep wound because through tears I said, “If I give it away, no one can take it from me.”

“Where does that come from, Lord?” my friend asked.

God showed me an incident long forgotten. I was 11 years old, just starting 6th grade, and I had been with our Girl Scout troop since Brownies. Our troop leader had told our parents she was going to make sure the new 6th graders would be the patrol leaders for the coming year. My mom told me what to expect.

At our first meeting, the troop leader divided us into patrols and left us to choose our patrol leaders. I guess she thought we older kids would speak up and assert the authority she intended to give us. But I was shy and not assertive. A 5th grader took over the discussion and volunteered herself as the leader. One of the newbies said to her, “I pick you.” The 5th grader looked at me and said, “How about I’ll be the leader, and you’ll be the assistant leader.” It happened so fast. I simply nodded. But I was deeply disappointed, really to the point of shock.

We went to our troop leader to tell her what we had decided. She looked at me funny but didn’t say anything. She was the kind of adult who wanted kids to figure things out for themselves. In hindsight, I realized she had wanted me to stand up and assert my authority. That was something I simply couldn’t have done without help. Later when I told my mom, she asked me why I didn’t speak up. It never occurred to her I was only 11, very shy, and didn’t know how to speak up.

You wouldn’t think such a seemingly minor moment in childhood could have such long-lasting consequences. But the wound I took into my heart that day would affect my entire adult working life until, at age 53, I finally prayed with my friend to invite Jesus into that wound. I forgave my Girl Scout leader, my fellow Girl Scouts, my mom for disappointing and hurting me. I forgave the adults for not teaching me how to be assertive and for not helping me to overcome my shyness.

Christian inner healing
Photo by jeffjacobs1990 at Pixabay

I forgave God for allowing the incident to happen. God didn’t do anything wrong, but sometimes we need to forgive Him to release our own unforgiveness that we hold against Him. My unforgiveness against God had grown over the years. Each time I gave my authority away and saw the results (not getting the jobs I wanted, not earning the income I needed), I blamed Him. My unforgiveness against God was even stronger because the Girl Scout leader who had not spoken up for me was a Catholic nun. So she represented God to me as well.

I also repented for giving away my authority that day and many days (years) since then. I repented for undervaluing myself and underpricing my freelance business contracts. I repented for not standing in the authority God intended me to walk in as His daughter. And I came out of agreement with the lie I formed in my heart that young day: That if I give my authority away, that’s better than someone taking it from me.

The change that followed these prayers was significant. I was able to raise my professional prices, to pursue work opportunities I would have shied away from, and to grow in the confidence that I could do jobs I was well trained for and well experienced in. I stopped disqualifying myself and was able to see clearly, “Yes, I’ve done this job before and done it well. I can certainly do it again.”

God is with us in the big things that come against us. But He is also with us in the little things. And those little things can cause deep pain and have lasting consequences. Often these little roots are invisible to us until we invite Jesus in and ask Him, “Why does this keep happening to me?” The answer is often surprising. A seemingly minor incident can be a big deal for a child, and those roots grow deeper in our hearts, affecting our adult lives many years after the incident was forgotten. But Jesus knows, and He desires to free us and heal us, so we can live the lives He intends for us to live.

Thank You, God, for Your love and for the freedom You desire for us.

*****

Janet Eriksson is a prayer minister, writer, editor, and teacher in Dahlonega, Georgia. She loves conversation with friends, front porch swings, sweet tea, and spending time on lakes and rivers. The author of eight books and editor of many more, Janet blogs and teaches online at https://adventureswithgod.blog/.

Christian inner healing

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Wearing a Matter

As many of you may (or may not) know, my son just picked a university!!!  Not without many visits, many explorations, etc. that go along with such an important decision.

Finally, we had it narrowed down to two schools.  One has an incredible sports program, is more than 36 “driving” hours away from our house, and offered him an incredible scholarship.  The second school (and my personal fav) offers an incredible Biomechanics (also sports med but more robotic) program, is only 5 hours away, and offered him an even better scholarship.

In the end, we told McKinley he was the one who was going to have to live with his decision and we would support either.  So, the process began.  I offered advice (as usual).  My suggestion when choosing between one or more options is “to wear it.”

“To wear it” means that on the first day of the week, I “put on” my first option.  Everything for that week lines up with that decision.  Where are you going to school?  Option #1.  Have you picked a college yet?  Yes!  Option #1.  Have you narrowed down your choice of schools?  Yes!  Option #1.  I orchestrate my entire response based on Option #1.  Everything that I contemplate for my future is based on Option #1, for one week.

And then comes week two.  And I change things up a bit.

For week #2:  Where are you going to school?  Option #2.  Have you picked a school yet?  Yep, Option #2.  I keep “living,” “wearing,” “supposing,” “concluding,” that Option #2 is the answer to everything that is involved in my decision.  Option #2 is my answer.

The goal is to see what fits.  Does it feel “heavy?”  Do I feel that this answer “weighs me down?”  Do I have peace with this answer?  I have learned that over time, I can get a sense of peace based on how I feel “yoked” to my answer.

If Option #1 feels heavy and cumbersome, then I take note.  If it feels “unfitting,” I take note.  For each week that I have made that determination, I look for the results.  How do I feel saying it out loud?  How does it feel as my future?  Do I feel peace when Option #1 is my answer?  If not, then I continue rotating my options until I feel peace.

Soon enough, I will be able to determine if my choices are a comfortable fit for me.  If not, I cast them off.  Each time I am wearing them, I am asking the Lord to yoke me with His best for me and my future.

You see, I’ve learned over time that He has a path for me (Jeremiah 33:11), but it’s my responsibility to search a matter out.  Proverbs 16:9 says, “God puts a plan in a man’s heart but He directs his steps.”  For me, I have discovered it’s best to “wear” a matter to see how it “fits.”   Once I’ve “worn” it long enough, I’ll know if it’s God’s best or not.

Thank God McKinley is open to wearing his options instead of just flipping a coin.  I’m looking forward to watching God’s best unfold for him, and the best part is that I don’t have to worry if he made the right choice.  Go God and CONGRATS High Point University. You are gaining a great kid!!!

Inner healing

 

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Sabbatismos!

If you’ve been around me for any amount of time, you’ll know that one of my favorite words is “katartismos.”  This Greek word comes out of Ephesians 4:12 and refers to “fitting together in proper order” (referring to gifts, etc. in the Body of Christ).

Another definition of this word (which is my personal favorite) is “a chiropractic adjustment in the Spirit.”  Many of you experienced this during our most recent retreat.  You will also experience it many times during your ongoing prayer ministry sessions.

Today, however, I would like to introduce you to my new favorite word!!! “Sabbatismos!”  (Ref. Hebrews 4:10.)

As you begin to familiarize yourself with me and this ministry, you’ll quickly recognize that one of my goals for you is to learn to rest in the Spirit of the Lord.  That has a two-fold meaning:  1. To live in a place of rest.  2.  To move, and live, and have your being in the Holy Spirit.

This week while reading Hebrews, I came across the word “Sabbatismos.”  Oh!  My word!!!  I can’t tell you how excited I was to now have a word that perfectly describes our goal.

“Sabbatismos” means “living in the Sabbath rest,” which is exactly what we should desire.  Most folks think the Sabbath is only relegated to a day, but in fact, it is a promised lifestyle for us as Christians!!!

Inner healing, sabbath rest, peace
Photo by Javardh at Unsplash

Ideally, we all should grow in our spiritual maturity to the degree that we are completely unaffected by our surroundings, our environment, and our circumstances.  We then can choose instead – and are able – to live in perfect Peace.  (Notice the capital letter that begins Peace – which means we live in the personhood of Peace, promised to us by the cross and blood of Christ, in the promises of the Word of God, through the power of the Holy Spirit).

So, if we know all of that and believe all of that, then we should aspire to live in it.  And that is one of the goals we have in this Journey.  Which brings us to the next point.

How do we choose to live in Sabbatismos?  First, we have to acknowledge that it is a promise of God.  Not only does He instruct us to “take a day of Sabbath” (one day a week), but He also offers us this every day.

For me to learn this process, He first showed me the importance of honoring a Sabbath day.  I realized the difference in my life with just that small shift in my heart and mind.

After I realized the incredible results that the Sabbath had on my life, I started trying to bring that into the other aspects of my life.

Then, I realized this is His desire for me – to live absolutely unaffected by the things in the world.  Ideally, nothing should steal my Peace.  Nothing should affect my ability to remain in Presence.

The second thing He introduced me to was to practice “centering prayer” or “contemplative prayer.”  (They are the same thing.)  This form of prayer requires you to sit quietly focusing on the Kingdom of God within you.

(You can download a centering prayer app to help you with this process.  It’s located under Health & Fitness in the Apple store and is offered free.  You can also read about centering prayer and other contemplative processes in Richard Foster’s book Celebration of Discipline.  I highly recommend reading that book as it offers many of the disciplines that I suggest for growing in this Peace journey.)

The process of centering prayer not only offers the Peace that is promised, but also it actually rewires your brain to peace.  I’ll teach on that a little later, but for now, just trust that any and all forms of prayer re-train your brain to return to the “Joy center” of your brain which is where peace and rest are for you.  I call this “coming back to peace” or “coming home.”

Once you recognize this place is accessible for you, then you can practice it and choose it anytime and anywhere.  Then you will become so familiar with it that you will not want to be anywhere but in perfect peace.

While you’re in traffic you can “decide” to go to peace.  When there is chaos in your environment, you can choose to go to peace.  Before long you will realize that you are living there without even consciously making a decision to do so.

Out of practicing a Sabbath and practicing prayer, you can choose to live in this place of rest (body, soul, and spirit) no matter where you are or what you are doing.  You just have to choose over and over to bring yourself back to peace.

I believe this is the promise of living in Sabbatismos!!!  And we are going to become residents of this promise!!!

 

“Still / Live at Peace on Earth” by Amanda Cook

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Questioning Everything

Inner healing, identity, and dark night of the soul
Photo by _Marion at Pixabay

Have you ever felt like one day you woke up and everything you believed was in question? I’m experiencing this right now but am quite sure I am not yet even fully awake. So, not only am I questioning all of the things that I have always “known” for sure, but I am also groggy from the process of getting here. It took a lot of upheaval to get me here.

About three years ago, after a series of very traumatic events, I found myself questioning everything I had ever believed. I questioned myself, my identity, my “calling,” my choices, my beliefs, my faith, and oftentimes, even God. All those things I had always felt so secure in suddenly weren’t. And, quite honestly, I didn’t know how to respond.

In my quest to stop the spinning (envision the little icon on your computer when it can’t settle), I felt like the only way I could get any peace was to be very still and quiet. Before long, quiet was the only thing I desired. I was completely raw inside and out. My brain felt foggy, my body lethargic, and my heart broken. I didn’t know how to get out of this experience.

Generally, when I have had a circumstance of upheaval in my life, whether emotional or spiritual, I would just read all of the books, articles, etc. on how to deal with it. This time I had no energy to read, and if I did attempt to read, I was unable to process information. I knew I needed help, so I reached out to a few friends that I trusted knew me enough to help me navigate this chasm of chaos.

I called on those friends to sit in the darkness with me. I didn’t want to be around anyone very often because I found that conversation was exhausting. However, I had been through depression before and just needed to make sure I was safe, still somewhat sane, and didn’t need professional help. “Taking my emotional pulse” kind of friends. I knew these folks wouldn’t discount me when I needed to rant, cuss, spit, and growl. They had no idea what they were in for. God bless them for persevering. I ranted, spat, cussed, and cried for a couple of years. They were enduring to say the least. Most importantly, they didn’t try to fix me. They just sat with me in my pain.

Sometimes we would sit at the barn with the horses, a stray cat, chickens, and a rooster that I’m sure needed deliverance. Or we would sit by the creek with a bottle of wine. Sometimes Susan would treat us to her homemade cookies and infamous chicken salad. They seemed to be completely content just sitting and listening. Wherever we were, no matter what we were doing or not doing, they seemed content to sit in my mess with me.

I called on another couple of friends to counsel me into or out of this experience that I began to think was a mid-life crisis. I didn’t really want to admit it, but that thought ran through my mind. I didn’t google what I was going through. I just knew it was pain. Deep emotional pain. And, quite honestly, I couldn’t remedy it with the things that had worked before: eating, drinking, art, good music, nature, etc. It just kept hanging on like a bad cold. It affected me like a bad cold too. No energy, stuffy headed, just wanted to rest and be quiet.

After a couple of prayer ministry sessions with friends of mine, I began to understand that what I was going through was called the Dark Night of the Soul. The dark night of the soul is just that – a place where your soul questions everything and the Teacher is quiet. The thing that stood out like a siren was the silence of the Lord. I had never gone for such a long time without hearing, being led by, or enjoying the Lord. Not only did I not hear Him or sense Him, but also I certainly didn’t feel His peace or presence. I thought He had abandoned me at my worst.

So, for three years, almost four now, I have been sitting, waiting, resting, arguing, growling, contemplating, wondering where the Lord is and what His intention is in allowing me to be in this place. I still don’t know. But what I do know is that I am not affected by dumb things as much as I used to be. I have way more sensitivities to the things that do matter. I am more at rest. More at peace. I have more tolerance for “stupid” (the one conclusion from the doctor out of my psych test when I went into ministry was that I had no tolerance for “stupid”). I was perplexed (and still am) as I had no idea I was supposed to tolerate “stupid.” Hey, I was just glad for documented evidence that I wasn’t crazy.

Inner healing, identity, and dark night of the soul
Photo by Comfreak at Pixabay

The dark night of the soul is the process of the Lord stripping you of the things that are really irrelevant regarding the issues of your heart. He wants to bring you out of any of the crutches you have depended on in your relationship with Him. He wants you to give up your faith and give up what works and what doesn’t work. He wants to tear down the falsehoods you believe about yourself, others, and mostly the falsehoods you believe about Him. Take you back to the beginning, so to speak, in your relationship with Him. No pretense, no knowledge, just the decision to walk alongside Him blindly without trying to figure things out. Pulling down all strongholds of belief about your religion, your denomination, your worship. He even took away my interest in reading and studying about Him. I just wanted to be still and quiet. And still do.

I understand that anybody who has asked that the Lord use them to any capacity will go through this, and I did ask that. I have always prayed that I wanted to serve Him more than anything. Now, in hindsight, I question what that means. And what did I commit to?

I used to love preaching more than ice cream. I haven’t been able to do that but a few times in the past couple of years. I have always loved leading a group of folks into their best spiritual selves, and He is restoring that opportunity. But I still long for the old days where I sensed Him, heard Him, and almost knew His will. Or did I?

Now I don’t know much of anything except that He desires that I live in this quiet, restful place even among others, amidst chaos, and even when I don’t feel like it. That’s His best. I am much more observant these days, and I watch folks buzzing around with miserable scowls on their faces. Then I think to myself – Is that what I look like? Is that how I affect my environment? If so, I don’t want to any longer. I want to bring peace and rest wherever I go. Most importantly, I want to love well.

I am in the process of recalibrating, trying to follow the Lord as best I can. I don’t know where I’m going or what I’m doing, but I have the best company (a couple of friends, good prayer ministers, a wonderful family, and a couple of dogs – we finally had to lay to rest the demonic rooster). And if I don’t hear Him, sense Him, or feel Him, I can trust that He works all things to good for those who are called according to His purpose. I’m called, and I have a purpose. For right now, I need to be okay with being still and in peace.

 

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Inner Healing Time

A guest post by Lisa Baumgarth …

My life plan was really unleashed at the Center for Inner Healing retreat. I sat in session after session listening to women and one man being vulnerable, broken, authentic and open to healing.

I was in a session that broke off years of lies, inner vows, and a lifetime of walls that had protected my heart. A group of women repented on behalf of the church for how I had been hurt by the church, and then they washed my feet. Really, who are these women? They are God’s messengers into a broken world where our heartache, disappointment, inner vows, and generational sins keep us stuck when sometimes we have no idea why.

After the retreat, I was free – old patterns were destroyed and my relationship and intimacy with Jesus became the focus of my life. I was empowered, encouraged and wanted nothing more than to speak this truth, love and healing into others’ lives .

We are all broken, we are all trying to find love, peace and hope in this crazy world. This retreat set me on a path that I am walking each day now. Kerri and her team are truly amazing people, and the moment I met her, I thought, Now this is my tribe, and it is and has been these past seven months.

God is still in the miracle-working business, and many of our issues in life can only be healed by digging down deep – getting those roots out. The retreat is the place to do this – I felt loved, honored, safe, valuable and by the end I felt FREEDOM.

There is still time to register for the healing retreat that begins Monday, March 18, 2019.

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Cobwebs

A guest post by Shannon Tormoen …

One peaceful morning on the retreat, I was having my quiet time down by the lake when something caught my immediate attention. I was looking towards the sun, and through the wooden beams around the deck I noticed cobwebs everywhere between each beam exposed by the sunlight. All the intricate lines and patterns were revealed creating their own specific detailed designs.

At first I was disgusted by the fact that it was cobwebs created by a spider, a creature to me to be feared and that represented evil. I wanted to demolish all the cobwebs to clean what I thought was dirty and destroying my experience and atmosphere on this placid lake that was so peaceful and calming. I then realized one thing that was missing in each cobweb: the spider that created it. The very thing that created this had vacated, but the remnants of its entwining traps were still firmly in place.

I then thought how magnificent they looked with the sunlight shining through them displaying like fine pieces of art. I had to capture it on my camera since I knew God was telling me something profound at that moment.

Inner healing retreat testimony
Photo by Shannon Tormoen

What started out to be a fascinating photo opportunity quickly morphed into a profound revelation from God. It was as though I was being transported back to the days Jesus walked on the earth and was teaching the disciples through a parable. The awesome truth was the God of the universe was speaking directly to me through His creation. He was explaining that the spider which was now gone represented the destroyer of our lives (satan) who comes into our lives creating a cobweb of torment, trauma, pain, dysfunction and destruction. No longer was the tormenter there, but the aftermath it created was completely still intact to the finest detail.

God showed me that when we look at somebody who appears to be dirty, messed up, hopeless, beyond repair that we tend to only look at the destruction on the surface. What we don’t realize is what series of many traumas, wounds and lies in their life created that web.

When Jesus is invited to come into our cobwebs of life and remove the spiders of destruction, His heavenly light can redeem and reflect a masterpiece for all to see and know that God can turn anyone’s mess into a message of hope, restoration and beauty. My eyes and heart have been opened to now see past the cobwebs in a person and look for the gold in them that the Lord wants to see shine.

*****

Shannon Tormoen is from Minnesota but left the cold for San Diego years ago. She is an avid outdoor lover of God’s creation and enjoys exploring new destinations to hike and mountain bike. She loves playing the guitar and singing in the worship band at her church. Her new passion now is helping people get freedom, healing and deliverance from a Christ-centered standpoint. “Freely I have received, now freely I will give.” Matthew 10:8

Inner healing

To learn more about The Center for Inner Healing’s retreats, please visit Healing Retreats.

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Love Letters in Your Dreams

I love dreams. I love having them. I love interpreting them.

Most folks have dreams. Dreams are often crazy. Let me rephrase: Dreams often seem crazy. They are, in fact, created in amazing symbolism. Some folks think that in itself is crazy. But in case you haven’t noticed, God is crazy. I mean, come on, have you read His book?

Dreams are an extension of our conversations with God. I often think God gives me dreams at night because he can’t get enough of my attention during the day. (Not proud, but it’s probably true).

Inner Healing and Dream Interpretation
Photo by JR Korpa at Unsplash

This month, our tribe (The Journey) met together to go over dream interpretations. They each sent in their dreams, and they were asked to pray for interpretations for each other. I gave them some pointers to help them prepare. I would like to share these with you, so you can explore dream interpretation.

Rarely do we get the interpretation for our own dreams. God gives us interpretations for each other because He wants us to work in community.

Here are a few pointers when praying for an interpretation for a person’s dream:

1. Prayerfully read over the dream. Ask the Lord to show you anything that would be relevant before you work on symbolism. Look for “plays on words, dark speech, etc.”

Make note of anything that pops out during reading.

2. Take your dream materials (I recommend the book A to Z Dream Symbology Dictionary by Barbie Breathitt, and John Paul Jackson has some amazing resources also) and research all of the symbolism. Type it into your dream in a different color.

3. Now reread the dream with symbolism included. Ask the Lord to give any additional revelation. Try to recognize the tone/position of the dream regarding the dreamer. Symbolism has a negative and a positive slant. Try to follow the “perception” of the dreamer. For example: If the dreamer has a dream of cats, it’s important to note that the symbolism of a cat can be positive or negative, all depending on whether the dreamer is a cat fan or not.

4. Check for emotions/perspective from the dreamer. If you have any questions or need elaboration, call the dreamer for more info. It is always very helpful to talk to the dreamer so you can grasp their emotions, motives, etc. of the dream.

5. Pray again and ask God for the interpretation.

6. Write out the interpretation above the dream in story form. (Leave out specifics of symbolism, notes, etc.)

Present your interpretation to the dreamer, but the dreamer must have a revelatory response to the dream or you may not have the appropriate interpretation.

If the dreamer doesn’t resonate with your interpretation, that is okay. Just present the dream back to the dreamer to take before the Lord for His revelation in His timing. God may want this person pursuing Him for revelation instead of someone else doing the work for them. We very seldom are able to interpret our own dreams. But often, the Lord wants us all to Himself and desires that we pursue His heart for His nighttime love letters.

So, there you go. I hope that will help as you begin the amazing experience of interpreting dreams.

Interested in more experiences like this? We have a Healing Retreat coming up soon (March 18-22, 2019) and would love for you to join us. Or for more info, join our ongoing revelations at The Center for Inner Healing or sign up for our e-newsletter.

God bless and keep dreaming!!!

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