Thursday, September 30, 2004

When we are out to pasture - eating grass.

The Ten Commandments make it clear that God is intolerant of idols.

I have observed that God humbles us in order to deal with idolatry in our life. Some might call it pride, a Self-Image or an identity. It is just that there are times when we have too much investment in our self-image or identity and God says, in effect, "enough is enough."

Bad things happen when God says; "enough." Everything that can go wrong does go wrong.

The rubble of one's life might include problems with job and finances, alienation from one's spouse and possible other relationships. The reality or the sense you have is that you have been put out to pasture - eating grass, overlooked, put on the back shelf, etc. You may feel very alone.

Your thoughts and feelings during this time might include hurt and resentment about lack of recognition or insult or criticism in a life area that you felt was your strength. This is a clue as to the ego's Self-Image over-involvement.

If you are a person of strong faith you may be spending a lot of time in prayer and some of that time may be in tears. You are sincerely seeking God. You can be described as broken, contrite or humble.

In counselling a person in this time of life I would introduce them to the above thoughts and suggest that we can speed up this process with targeted prayer. I would explain that our Self-Image can become an idol. God may be in the business of smashing idols in our life. We can come up with a prayer of confession and a picture of submitting the idol = Self-Image to God. Some suggestions for this can be found on under articles.

In the Bible it is King Neb (Nebuchadnezzar) who was put out to pasture by God when he wanted everyone to bow down to his image and worship him. He spent 7 years EATING GRASS.

Once we emerge from this process successfully - with the idolatry confessed and cleansed out - then we can be returned to position and be reconciled to loved ones. They will discover that we are less arrogant, prideful and critical of others. We have gained in humility and compassion.

In leadership we may find that we are less focused on recognition for ourselves and honestly invest in others that they may be promoted and do well and receive recognition. This new attitude means that we can be trusted as leaders; God can anoint us for leadership. So will raise up others under us. Graham Cooke calls this the 'Corporate anointing.'

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Yes we can learn from God .

Paul, an apostle (not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised Him from the dead), and all the brethren who are with me, To the churches of Galatia. Grace to you, and peace from our Lord Jesus Christ. ... So begins Paul's letter to the Celtic churches in Galatia.

Later in this letter (1:14) Paul says "that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught but through the revelation of Jesus Christ." What a strange, unusual and extraordinary claim. Paul claimed that his teaching bypassed men. That he was no man's disciple in the Way but that He was taught by Christ directly.

If any man made any such claim today we would be suspicious, scandalized and question what drug, delusion or power trip they were on. Psychiatrists would wonder about Schizophrenia. Churches would expel him and most Christians would keep their distance.

For centuries now the church has believed that God does not speak directly to man, that prophecy is dead, that the gifts of the Spirit are no longer necessary with the advent of the Bible. In early centuries the Christians who insisted on lively gifts of the Spirit were expelled from the orthodox church as heretics. Until the Pentecostal and then Charismatic movements of the last 100 years is has stood as orthodoxy that one did not hear directly from God one read the Bible for revelation.

Paul's claim that all his teaching came by revelation from the Risen Christ is extraordinary even for charismatics and Pentecostals. It is an extreme claim that stretched my faith - and I have a gift of faith! But now, Paul's experience does not seem so strange and distant.

The reason is, that as a counselor, facilitator, therapist using Listening Prayer Therapy I have been there when people have met with the Risen Christ and been touched by Him in the hearts, spirits, inner Child and traumatic memories. My faith has been building. Paul's claims seem less and less incredulous.

Soon, I am going to start sounding like Paul. Soon I will have to admit that some of the methods that I teach came direct from the prayer encounters of clients with the Risen Christ.

Listening Prayer Therapy is growing. Now problems bring forth new solutions and they are coming fresh from revelation from Jesus the Risen Christ. Paul's claim now seems plausible because more and more Listening Prayer Therapy is rooted in such experience.

I have met the Risen Christ! He is risen, indeed, and an ongoing source of life, healing, deliverance and insight. Praise be to the Risen Christ. Amen to Paul's experience.

George <><

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Severe emotional problems & the human spirit - part 2

I have said that severe emotional problems often have at their base a problem with the core of our emotional life - the human spirit. My understanding of the human spirit provides me with important insight in to problems that baffle many individuals and their pastors:

  1. Why some people have problems attaining to Christian maturity;
  2. Why some habits and sin problems are so hard to break;
  3. Why some people do not maintain deliverance from darkness.

Some further characteristics of one whose human spirit has not grown to maturity:

  1. Inability to foresee the consequences of behaviour in the future and thereby make wise decisions or avoid sin;
  2. Weakened ability to draw upon the good experiences of life to help one over the bad times - the good of the past seems to be forgotten;
  3. Inability to receive love or register a sense of being loved or to remember being loved so that one lives with emptiness from love or the belief that they have not been loved;
  4. Difficulty in benefiting from insight type counselling - understanding does not help change or control behaviour. It seems that it impossible to think our way in to goodness or love.
  5. Difficulty in learning from the past (mistakes, bad decisions, punishments and scoldings) so as to correct one's behaviour. Given that one's mind and intelligence are intact if not superior, it seems that love and goodness involve more than learning from the past. Good thinking is not enough to produce good moral character.
  6. Conscience or value decisions are not based on empathy with how others feel or how one's actions will effect them. Conscience (value decisions), instead, are based on laws and rules of what is right and what is wrong - life is black or white.
  7. We are talking about lack of strength, life and maturity in the Human spirit resulting in emotional immaturity. Without an adult human spirit we handle situations with the emotional intelligence and strength of a child. At the core we are still in a child state.
  8. One meaning of this is that we are not emotionally ready for adult intimacy and sexuality. We will approach intimacy and sexuality with the emotional capacities of a child. We may, in fact, feel more comfortable in relationships with children than adults because they match our emotional maturity and play interests.

Descriptions of the state of the inner core will make use of pictures and language. When counselling someone I prefer to discover the language and pictures that their heart and mind uses to describe their inner state.

John and Paula Sandford use the picture language of sleep - the slumbering spirit - or of imprisonment - the captive spirit.

The Bible uses similar language to describe a person's spiritual or emotional state. Biblical imagery speaks in terms of life - a tree planted by water - of being in a pit or prison - and also calls for us to wake up referring to sleep.

  1. Prison: Luke 4:18 "He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives,"
  2. Blindness: Luke 4:18 "recovery of sight to the blind,"
  3. Pits and prisons: Isaiah 42: 22 "But this is a people plundered and looted, all of them trapped in pits or hidden away in prisons."
  4. Pits: See the following Psalms: 88:1-8,15,18; 28:1; 30:2,3; 40:1-3; all of 142 and 143. In particular notice the complete description of Psalm 142 and 143 and the mention of "my spirit."
  5. Psalm 143 uses the language of "my spirit being overwhelmed and fainting within me" - verse 4; my soul thirsting after Yahweh like a thirsty land - verse 6; as well as the imagery of going down into the pit.

In general the root cause or causes of human spirit being trapped, hidden away, fainting within, etc. so that one does not attain emotional maturity go back to very early life.

  • Events prenatal, at birth or in the early years may be involved - usually something that blocked normal boding between mother and child.
  • Severe trauma that brings about dissociation may be involved at various stages of childhood. In such a case there may be a distinct difference when working with memories before as compared with after this event. The child a later stages may find it hard to get in touch with his or her feelings.
  • It is also possible that the family did not provide affection, love and personal acknowledgement to the child and encouraged a phony self - the 'pretty girl' or 'nice boy.' When such dynamics are strong enough one's spirit can fall asleep and one can get quite out of touch with the real inner person.

Jesus can deal with such depth issues but it helps if you understand what it happening so that you can guide the healing process. I would like you to learn to discern "core issues." Contact me by way of the comments if you are the team of by phone if you are not (in Canada or USA: 1 877 854-3990 or 416 234-1850.) Ask questions as you try to understand and apply this.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Severe emotional problems & the human spirit - part 1

Severe emotional problems - What are they? What does this mean? What does healing of severe emotional problems look like?

When one speaks of "severe emotional problems" to me I become attentive. Are we talking about "Core Issues" - my code word for deep trouble with the growth, maturity and functioning of the human spirit? I now need to look for this.

As I make further enquiry around the issue of severe emotional problems I look for evidence that the functions of the human spirit are blocked, indications of related problems and reasonable causes in the life story.

Many severe emotional problems build on, or stem from, core issues involving the human spirit. The human spirit, our unique individual human spirit, is the core of the person we are. My spirit flows through my body to give energy to my conscious mind, will and emotions. My unique human spirit is the core of who I am - my identity, and the core of my personality. My spirit is the core of the I - the inner "I."

My spirit is the core of my mind - the"spirit of my mind", to quote scripture. My spirit is the core of action flowing through my body in feats beyond my self. My spirit is the core of intuition and creativity. My spirit is an essential part of human to human communication including what we call empathy.

My spirit is essential to human to God communication and is source of how God speaks to us (to our spirit and then registering in our consciousness). My spirit effects the operation of faith - the Pygmalion effect in Psychology. My spirit effects others who will respond to me based on the core identity, beliefs and expectations in my spirit. My spirit even releases or binds others into healthy or unhealthy patterns because in truth we are al spirit beings and our spirits are networked forming powerful systems that hold people into healthy or unhealthy patterns. Finally, hate and love are a flow of the spirit. Without a functioning spirit I am not able to give and receive love.

When the human spirit is blocked a person may sense problems in the above functions and report this in their own words. This is what others or the person will observe:

  1. They may feel that "something is missing" in their life.
  2. They may feel cut off from others as if a glass wall was in between them and others.
  3. They may have a lot of thoughts and feelings related to not feeling loved.
  4. They may try hard to please and do it right in order to feel loved.
  5. They may become depressed easily with little energy to move ahead in life.
  6. They may have had thoughts of suicide.
  7. They may feel cut off from God.
  8. Their social and emotional intelligence is low which impacts their relationships.
  9. Relationships break down.
  10. They feel like an little child within an adult body.
  11. Their emotional reactions seem like that of a little child. In other words, at times they act emotionally immature.
  12. In their life in Christ they will also find it difficult to mature.
  13. They may find responsibility a difficult thing.
  14. They prefer life to be run by rules in which it is clear what is the expected behaviour in every situation.

I have more to say on understanding core issues. For more about the human spirit read Watchman Knee "Releasing the Human Spirit," John and Paula Sandford, "Healing the Wounded Spirit" especially their chapters on "Functions of the Human Spirit", "The Slumbering Spirit" and "the Captive Spirit."

Therapy (healing) of Severe Emotional Problems when it is related to such "core issues" is going to take more time and care then normal healing (therapy). I plan to slow down, listen more carefully and look for ways to bring healing to these core issues.